Review: The Lady in Question (Effingtons, Book 7) by Victoria Alexander

lady in questionHeroine: Lady Philadelphia (Delia) Wilmont is the identical twin sister of Cassandra Effington. Delia is considered the sensible sister while Cassie is the reckless sister. So it comes as a complete shock to everyone when it is Delia who invokes a scandal by running off and marrying a rake. Before society can get over the scandal, her husband dies and makes her an infamous widow. When she finally returns to society, it is not as herself, but as her sister. For one glorious evening she is in the arms of the handsome Viscount St. Stephens. He seems wonderfully familiar, but she’s not sure why.

Hero: Viscount Anthony St. Stephens is an agent for the crown and has for the past little while been serving as Lady Wilmont’s butler… in disguise, of course. Delia could be in danger because of the actions of her late husband (who also happens to have been a good friend). Anthony is also in her house in order to discover clues as to why Lord Wilmont behaved as he did. Why did Wilmont marry Delia when the job only called for flirtation? All too soon the viscount understands and wants to marry the lovely widow himself…

Review: Loved the trumped up angst. Delia is afraid to reveal she’s the scandalous sister to Anthony, but Anthony knows because he’s the butler of her household. He’s at first in a position where he can’t tell her who he is without compromising the mission and then later can’t tell her without ruining their relationship.

I liked Anthony’s time as Gordon, the elderly butler. He and Delia were able to become friends through his actions. He gained her trust (for a little while) and at times was avuncular in his role trying to assist her in her daily decisions. They have very few walls between them as Gordon and Delia. This worked for me because we, as the reader’s knew Anthony was far from avuncular in his true regard for Delia and Delia was blissfully unaware of the whole quagmire until it is revealed.

The one glaring error I felt came when Anthony so easily trusted Delia’s uncle, the duke. As a spy there must have been some way to confirm the man’s position and loyalties. This whole “trust me because I say I am who I am” didn’t work for me. It especially didn’t work because Delia’s uncle was the whole reason behind Wilmont’s mission to woo Delia in the first place. Get close to the Effingtons and discover if they are loyal or not to the crown.

It’s a sweet romance with a lot of great moments.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Lady in Question (Effington Family)

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Of Triangles and Twins

Waltz with a StrangerGuest Blog by Pamela Sherwood, author of Waltz with a Stranger

Hello to everyone on Love Romance Passion–thank you for having me visit today!

My hosts have asked me to talk about twins in romance, and to address the question of whether it’s looks or character that win the heart. My instinctive response is to assert that character always carries the day–but looks can certainly attract attention. Not just good looks, either, but any appearance that’s out of the ordinary. And when two people resemble each other as closely as Aurelia and Amy Newbold, the twin heroines of Waltz with a Stranger, looks can be a source of great confusion as well.

My first exposure to twins in fiction was a junior novelization of The Parent Trap that I found in my fourth-grade class library. On mentioning it to my mother, a teacher and former children’s librarian, I was promptly directed to the book that inspired the film, Erich Kästner’s Lisa and Lottie, which I found richer and much more satisfying. (Yes, that’s a recommendation.)

As I read on through the years, I encountered still more pairs of twins. The double duos of Antipholus and Dromio, who cause such pandemonium in Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors. Alexandre Dumas’s Corsican brothers, formerly conjoined twins who literally feel each other’s pain. Harry Potter’s Fred and George Weasley, and Padma and Parvati Patil. And in the romance genre, Georgette Heyer’s Evelyn and Christopher Fancot in False Colours. Mary Jo Putney’s Kit and Kira Travers in Dancing on the Wind, and later Kyle and Dominic Renborne in The Wild Child.

I continue to find identical twins fascinating: two siblings–mirror images–who could be best friends or bitter foes, staunch allies or fierce rivals. And sometimes all of the above! But twins are also individuals, who can differ in tastes and temperament. The tendency in fiction is to polarize them–the good twin and the bad twin, the shy twin and the bold twin.  But the dichotomy between twins is seldom that simple. The shy twin may have unexpected reserves of courage and strength, while the bold twin may be more vulnerable and insecure than anyone suspects.

A triangle involving twins lies at the heart of Waltz with a Stranger–which is fitting because a poem about such a triangle was one of its main influences. Tennyson’s “The Sisters” tells the story of a man who inadvertently courts identical twins, with tragic results. Significantly, there is no villain in that triangle: only three well-intentioned young people muddling through a complicated situation and, sadly, getting it wrong. My goal was to take a similar situation, create a triangle in which all the parties were fully realized sympathetic characters, and make it come out right–for everyone.

Aurelia, the primary heroine, may be the most sympathetic of the trio: the quieter, more thoughtful sister who strives to reclaim the person she was before a riding accident left her scarred in body and soul. Her sense of self is on shaky ground, partly because she is no longer the mirror image of her twin, a circumstance that has defined her until now. Even after she regains some of her confidence, she must contend with more heartache on discovering that the man of her dreams–who won her heart when they shared a secret waltz in the conservatory–is now engaged to her twin.

Amy, Aurelia’s twin, may be the “other woman,” but she’s no villainess. More outgoing and confident than Aurelia, she is also the practical one, who leads with her head rather than her heart. Her poise and assurance, however, hide a vulnerable core. Too often stung by social snubs in the past, Amy is determined to make a brilliant marriage, not just for her own benefit, but for her family’s–especially Aurelia. While not in love with James, Amy likes and respects him, and intends to be a loyal wife and a perfect countess once they’re married.

Meanwhile, James–the hero–is caught between love and honor, and his genuine feelings for both women. Amy’s vivacity charms him, while Aurelia rouses his tender, protective side. But after he inherits an earldom and all its attendant responsibilities, it is assertive, ambitious Amy who seems the clear choice for his countess, rather than her sister, “fragile as a glass butterfly.” James is unprepared for the revitalized Aurelia who returns to London ready to take on the world–and equally unprepared for the desire she stirs in him. Only by gaining a deeper understanding of both women’s characters–and of his own heart–can he resolve the conflict that threatens to destroy all their happiness.

So, do you have any favorite romances in which twins play a major role? Or that contained well-constructed triangles that made you sympathize with all three parties?

Buy: Waltz with a Stranger

GIVEAWAY: 1 print copy of Waltz with a Stranger up for grabs. Open to US and CAN. Enter by telling us about your favorite twin romance!

Get into Bed with Amelia Grey (Author Interview 2)

Gentleman Says I Do

Keira: Twins! I love twin romances. Are they some of your favorites too?

Amelia Grey: It seems like the first “twin” romances I read were Jude Deveraux’s Twin of Ice and Twin of Fire. Of course the heroines were the twins in her books and in my books the heroes are the twins, Iverson and Matson Brentwood. I’ve always found the idea of twins intriguing. After twenty years of writing and twenty-five books I thought it was time to do “Twin” books.

Keira: Sounds like there’s trouble when you use your father’s name as your nom de plume. How much trouble?

Amelia: Oh, yes, my heroine Catalina Crisp gets herself into big trouble when she starts finishing her father’s work for him. Catalina’s father is a well-known writer, but he’s a wastrel whose disappearances continuously put the family close to destitution.  She knows something drastic must change, so it is with quill in hand, that Catalina completes her father’s latest parody of Iverson and Matson Brentwood’s spectacular arrival in London.  When the story hits the newsprint, the darkly handsome Iverson is at her door, looking for her father, but of course, he finds Catalina.

When she see the dashing rogue in the flesh, for a bewildering moment, dallying with the rake seems like the perfect fictional escape—and it’s all she can do not to give into the madness of the intriguing man.

Keira: Doesn’t Lord Iverson Brentwood have a sense of humor? After all Catalina wrote a parody right? *wink*

Amelia: It’s hard for Iverson to have a sense of humor about the parody because it casts a slanderous light on his mother’s good name. It suggested that his mother had an affair while married and the twins were the result of the affair and Iverson found no humor in that.

Keira: If your characters were real and you could talk to them, what would you tell them? What advice would you give?

Amelia: I would probably tell Iverson to lighten up which of course he does toward the end of the story as he falls in love with the lovely Catalina. He is a very intense man and doesn’t take lightly someone besmirching his family’s good name. I love stories in which the heroine helps to soften the bad boy hero. As for Catalina, I would have told her that she should have confessed that she had finished the story for her father the first day she met Iverson. But, I think it is human nature to put off doing something if we know it’s going to be unpleasant. I know I certainly do.

Amelia GreyKeira: When you’re not writing you are… (fill in the blank)

Amelia: I’m traveling. My husband and I love to travel to places we’ve never been before. We’ve seen most of Europe and we even spent a couple of days in St. Petersburg, Russia a few years ago. I do have to say the highlight of all the places we’ve gone is on a safari in Tanzania, Africa a couple of years ago.  We hope to tour Australia in 2013.

Keira: What do you love best about the Regency period?

Amelia: I love the time period itself because men were gentlemen and women were ladies.  The clothing is stunning and delicate with fine linen chemises, silk stockings, wispy bits of lace, brocaded gowns, and jeweled hair pieces.  I love seeing the pictures of gentlemen wearing perfectly tied neckcloths, cutaway coats, Hessian boots polished to a sexy gleam, and carrying an ivory walking stick.  I would love to ride in a glossy black barouche pulled by six white, spirited horses. I love the expansive marble floors, and wall scones that flicker candlelight in corridors that are perfect for a romantic rendezvous between an innocent young lady and a handsome gent, or star-crossed lovers. And the added touch of royalty is very intriguing to me.  We have little knowledge of the concept of a king, queen, duke, or an earl, but to me it’s fascinating.  And servants… I don’t have much knowledge of servants, but I think might enjoy having someone pick up after me—for a few days anyway.

Keira: What is the strangest manner rule you’ve come across in research?

Amelia: That a young lady was seldom left alone in a gentleman’s company. Even widows and married ladies needed a companion with them when they went out of the house to remain respectable. We are so free in our society that it’s sometimes difficult to relate to this strict rule. And it also makes it very hard to come up with ways for the hero and heroine to be alone so they can share a kiss or two—or more.

Keira: What are your current projects?

Amelia: I am currently finishing the second twin’s story with the title yet to be determined. Here’s a short synopsis of the next “TWIN” story:

Matson Brentwood has finally met the woman of his dreams. The lovely, red-haired Sophia Hart heats his blood like no other lady.  Her alluring countenance has stopped him dead in his tracks. But no matter how attracted he is to her, he can’t give into his desire to possess her in every way because she is the ward of the man he’s sworn to hate.

Newly arrived in London, Miss Sophia Hart is in need of a husband, but not just for herself.  She has twin, spinster aunts and one of them has decided she wants a man. Sophia agrees to help her aunt by allowing older gentlemen to call on her and then make sure Auntie spends more time in the gentleman’s company than Sophia does. But when Sophia meets the darkly handsome and intriguing Mr. Matson Brentwood, she knows that for the first time, she in danger of losing her heart.

But there’s more than just an adversarial guardian and a long list of beaus standing between Sophia and Matson. Sophia promised her dying father she would honor his lifelong plan for her as an heiress and marry a titled gentleman. Matson isn’t titled so she must deny her love for him and make up to her father for costing him the love of his life.

However, Iverson Brentwood’s story comes first in A Gentleman Says “I Do” which is currently available at your favorite local or online bookstore.

I love to hear from readers. Please contact me at ameliagrey.com, ameliagrey@comcast.net, or find me on www.Facebook.com/AmeliaGreyBooks 

Buy: A Gentleman Says “I Do”

Review: Make Mine a Bad Boy by Katie Lane

Reviewed by Aggie S.

Do you like to read a cowboy romance? Yes? Well this is the book for you!

Hope, is the town’s former head cheerleader and homecoming queen. She finally decides to return home after sowing her wild oats in Hollywood, only to find that a twin sister she didn’t know existed has stepped into her shoes… or should I say love life? Hope’s dreams were shattered when Slade married her twin sister.

Colt, the town’s bad boy is late for the wedding and figures the only thing he can do is kiss the bride. Hope yells for him to take his hands off her sister, but Slade has already gotten there and punched him for grabbing his new wife. Colt comes up swinging and punches Hope out.

It’s a classic – he pursues, she evades, cat and mouse, tit for tat romance.

I’m going to classify this romance as enemies to lovers because Colt has pulled so many pranks on Hope that she feels he hates her. But is that really true? Shirlene, Colt’s sister, tells her he does it because he is so hung up on her and he feels he needs to torment her to get her attention.

You really need to read this captivating story to find out why Colt had a snarling hog with a tiara tattooed on his arm. And, why is there all of a sudden a shot-gun wedding and for who! This book is such an interesting read, with what a plot so realistic it could be an actually true story for many homecoming queens and town bad boys.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Make Mine a Bad Boy (A Deep in the Heart of Texas novel)

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Review: Only Mine (Fool’s Gold, Book 4) by Susan Mallery

Only Mine is Dakota’s story, the first story of the Hendrix triplets in the Fool’s Gold series.

Heroine: Dakota Hendrix can’t have kids and she wants one so she’s in the process of adopting. Meanwhile there isn’t a guy on her radar (could be because of the man shortage) and she’s doing a favor for the mayor by being the contact person between the town and the new reality TV show being filmed there.

Hero: Finn Anderson is the opposite. He doesn’t want kids after raising his twin brothers for so long. He’s a pilot with a business in Alaska. He’s in town to force his stupid twin brothers back to college and off the dumb reality show they’re trying out for, but of course, as they’re twins they are automatically voted on and once they are they’re not leaving. He’s an overprotective brother, but a solid good guy.

The Twins:

Sasha: In a word – metrosexual. It doesn’t take more than his name to peg him as a character. He wants to be famous and he’s willing to do what it takes to get there including pretending a wild romance with Lani who is also interested in the same thing.

Stephen: He wants out of small town Alaska and the best thing for that is to follow Sasha onto this dating reality show. In the process he’s matched with an older woman (as un-cougar as they get) and he really digs her (can we say hot?).

Review: I wasn’t really into the main romance. It could be because it reads friends-to-lovers, a trope I’ve never been behind. And Dakota getting pregnant was too predictable. I was hoping a miracle pregnancy wouldn’t enter the picture, because it made the story highly unrealistic. It took care of the angst and depth to Dakota’s character in one too neat package.

I also thought it was unrealistic that Finn who didn’t want kids after raising his brothers after their parents’ deaths would jumped back into raising kids again so soon even if he loved Dakota. He’s never had a chance to be a carefree adult and I felt he really deserved it.

As far as the side romance goes, it really upstaged the main romance in my opinion. I loved their first date. The two of them had a lot of depth and were cute. They could easily have had their own stand alone.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: Only Mine

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Twins – Similar or Dissimilar?

by Amelia Grey, guest blogger and author of A Gentleman Never Tells

Good morning! Thank you for having me at the fabulous site of Love Passion Romance. I’m thrilled to be here and to talk a little about my new book A Gentleman Never Tells.

Several books ago, I decided I wanted to do heroes who were twins, but I had to wait for the right opportunity and it finally arrived. The set up for the twins came in my last book An Earl to Enchant. There are no twins in my family so I don’t have much to go on from personal experience as to  how twins interact, so I started asking around from people who had known twins and the information was widely varied as you can imagine.

Also, I recently read another blog where an author had done some historical research about twins in the early 1800s. She alluded to the fact there wasn’t much in the way of research to gather which is what I had concluded. So with that in mind, I quickly decided that I needed to tell the twins’ older brother’s story first. That would give me more time to know if I wanted my twins to have a lot in common, other than their looks, or be very different.   I knew as I wrote Lord Brentwood’s story, I could also get to know the twins a little better, too.

In A Gentleman Never Tells, Viscount Brent finds himself in a whole lot of trouble.  He’s minding his own business, walking his mother’s Pomeranian in Hyde Park early one morning when a lovely and alluring young lady, walks out of the mist and into his arms. Of course, this is all very much to his liking until they are caught, and he finds out that she is not only another man’s fiancé, she also happens to be the daughter of a powerful duke. And if that wasn’t enough trouble for the Viscount to be in the middle of, he’s lost his mother’s dog, too.

Lady Gabrielle is dependable, sensible, and obedient. That’s why she had accepted the practical, unemotional marriage her formidable father had arranged for her. That’s what those of her kind did—or so she had always believed until early one morning, when her defenses were down, she threw all of her upbringing away for the chance to spend a few passionate moments in the arms of a handsome stranger.

But kissing the stranger didn’t free Lady Gabrielle. She only thwarted the shackles of one arranged betrothal to immediately find herself stuck in yet another forced engagement.  The strong-willed lady isn’t going to give up her freedom so easily. She has plans that her father and Lord Brentwood don’t know about and scandal and mishaps becomes the order of the day while Gabrielle and Brent scour London to find a notorious dog thief.

So do you think the Brentwood twins should be mirror images of each other in personalities as well as looks or completely different? Let me know for a chance to win one of two copies of A Gentleman Never Tells.  Good luck!

Please visit my website at ameliagrey.com or email me at ameliagrey@comcast.net for more information about me and my books.

A GENTLEMAN NEVER TELLS BY AMELIA GREY—IN STORES JULY 2011

A stolen kiss from a stranger…

As if from a dream, Lady Gabrielle walked from the mist and into Viscount Brentwood’s arms. Within moments, he’s embroiled in more scandal than he ever thought possible…

Can sink even a perfect gentleman…

Beautiful, clever, and courageous, Lady Gabrielle needs Brent’s help to get out of a seriously bad situation. But the more she gets to know him, the worse she feels about ruining his life…

Enter the unforgettable world of Amelia Grey’s sparkling Regency London, where a single encounter may have devastating consequences for a gentleman and a lady…

Buy: A Gentleman Never Tells, A Gentleman Never Tells (UK)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Winner of the Booksellers Best Award and the Romantic Times Award for Love and Laughter, Amelia Grey’s books have sold in Europe, Russia and China.  Married for twenty-five years to her high school sweetheart, she has lived in Alabama, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and now calls Panama City Beach, Florida, home. For more information, please visit www.ameliagrey.com.

GIVEAWAY! I have 2 copies of A Gentleman Never Tells for giveaway. That means 2 winners. Hurray! This giveaway is open for US and Canadian readers/addresses only. To enter answer Amelia’s question about the Brentwood twins. Last day to enter: July 15, 2011.

Review: Going Cowboy Crazy by Katie Lane

Summary: Faith Aldridge goes to Bramble, Texas, looking to find her sister, Hope, the twin she never knew she had. Except that the backwards town only sees Hope and they’re determined to hook “Hope” up with her old high school flame, Slate Calhoun. Now Slate knows there’s something off about “Hope” and he doesn’t think it’s because Hollywood took away her personality and attitude. He actually likes sweet shy feminine Faith, who is a total contrast to loud, brash, tomboy Hope. A small town hides big secrets and Faith is about to learn one she never expected and now the real Hope is headed home and she wants Slate for herself.

Mistaken Identity: I don’t know how a whole town can just not “get it” when Slate gets it right away. Faith acts nothing like Hope and her style of dress and speech is galaxies away from Hope’s as well as her accent. It’s not Texan. Hello! Other than that they’re the epitome of small town characters who are nice, and sometimes rowdy, interfering busybodies. I wouldn’t mind moving there.

Review: You know its love when the heroine and reader think the guy has a nicer truck than he has a trailer. Slate’s not poor, but he’s not rich either. He’s a high school football coach. The heroine likes dogs, but could easily kill one by looking at it wrong; she’s that bad with them. She’s a computer programmer but desires to be a teacher. The two had good chemistry.

Recommended: For readers who love cowboys, twin mistaken identity plots, and heroines older than the usual late teens/early twenties.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Going Cowboy Crazy (A Deep in the Heart of Texas novel)

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Review: My Wicked Enemy by Carolyn Jewel

bookreview

Do you like paranormal romance? Did you at one point enjoy Anita Blake? Well, My Wicked Enemy just pwned Anita Blake, but don’t take my word for it see for yourself! I read this in a day, I couldn’t put it down!

Our heroine is a terrified (rightly so) woman who experiences intense migraines. She’s seen something she shouldn’t (a ritual sacrifice) and it on the run from her guardian (the bad guy). Carson took nothing with her, and that includes her medicine, in hopes to escape. Being in a hurry might seem like a disadvantage now, with a pulsing multi-colored migraine rearing its ugly head and a man who’s stalking her through the streets, but it will in fact be a blessing in disguise.

Nikodemus is a warlord, a fiend with natural leadership, and he is the one stalking the pretty and petite Carson Philips through the streets. Killing her is on his to-do list, just below mage Magellan. He can’t believe how easy it is to track the witch. Her magic is fluctuating all over the place. One minute it’s there and the next it’s almost as if she were a human. When he corners her, Nikodemus asks just one question, “Why shouldn’t I kill you?”

The answer leads them through a dangerous adventure that spins out of control as they face mageheld fiends, evil mages, skitterish warlords, blood twins and more! The book starts out like it ends, by taking your breath away.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Marked interracial because the heroine is a witch and the hero is a fiend.

Buy: My Wicked Enemy

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