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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Review: Torch in the Forest by Marcie Kremer

torch in the forestHeroine: Eleanor of Strathcombe is a young widow, only 18, and managing her late husband’s estate. Poachers are running rampant and keep escaping into the neighboring Lord’s estate, where her forrestor cannot pursue. The poacher’s activity is creating a whole host of problems. Then the long absent Lord returns and blames her for the poachers. What’s a lady to do? Fight him of course.

Hero: Lord Hugh of Wykeham doesn’t trust any woman, and stands accused of murdering his faithless wife. Now he is back from crusading and finds his lands are being poached. If Eleanor were a better stewardess this wouldn’t be a problem. Demanding control of the forest boundaries is the only option… that and to marry Eleanor’s sister… which clearly won’t do at all because Eleanor likes the arrogant fellow.

Review: I wasn’t able to connect with the characters in this book and found myself trudging through by sheer force of will at times. The heroine is too strong and comes across anachronistic. A child bride who was married for two years and widowed for two more could be strong, no question, but I didn’t sense the buildup of this strength. The hero is a dunderhead and came across one-dimensional.

Rating: ★½☆☆☆

Buy: Torch in the Forest (Entangled Scandalous)

Review: What a Wicked Earl Wants (The Sinful Scoundrels, Book 1) by Vicky Dreiling

What a Wicked Earl WantsHero: The Earl of Bellingham, Lord Andrew Carrington, is a rakehell looking for a new mistress to warm his bed. No married ladies or virgins need apply. Widows however would do quite nicely, thank you.

Heroine: Laura Davenport is a young widow and is about to lose her rebellious stepson who is trying to spread his wings in London. Until recently they were very close, and even though she has been raising him for five years, Justin wants to do the sort of things young men in London do and accuses his stepmother of cramping his style. She turns to Andrew to assist her in curbing Justin’s wild impulses.

Review: The trouble I had with What a Wicked Earl Wants was the main characters. I was not invested in either the hero or heroine. Their backgrounds and woes seemed old hat. Lord Andrew for instance isn’t much of a rake and his emotional hang-ups are superstitious and silly. His reputation is overstated and in many respects he’s a very conservative gentleman. Well… until he propositions Laura, but other than that not very rakish. However, since Laura is hearing from all and sundry that he is a rake, why does she think Lord Andrew can curb Justin’s wild behavior? And why would she want him to? I have no idea and it doesn’t make sense to me other than an attempt to get Laura and Andrew together and continue as a team against Monclief, the boy’s uncle and the villain of the piece.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Buy: What a Wicked Earl Wants (The Sinful Scoundrels)

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Review: Two Sinful Secrets (The Scandalous St. Claires, Book 2) by Laurel McKee

two sinful secretsHero: Dominic St. Claire and his brothers continue to uphold a feud that started many years ago with the Huntingtons, involving older relatives on both sides. They brothers blame the Huntingtons for the loss of their family fortune. Revenge would be sweet and Lady Sophia would be perfect target. Dominic decides he will elope with her and then dump her at the altar, forever ruining her. What will he do, however, when his treacherous heart gets involved?

Heroine: When Lady Sophia Huntington, now Mrs. Westman, was younger refused to give up a man she thought she loved was banished from her family’s bosom. He wasn’t such a prince after all. Widowed now, Sophia is betting against the house in order to survive and maybe to finally make her way home. But blast it all! She can’t possibly win her family’s forgiveness if she shows up with Dominic St. Claire. Can she?

Review: I could have done without the obsessed stalker hunting the heroine. In my opinion, it was superfluous to the storyline. The revenge plot could have had more oomph. It’s hard to feel for somebody holding onto a grudge that really isn’t his to hold. One of the hottest scenes in the book is the very first chapter. It introduces both characters and a meeting they had prior to the start of the main action. She’s a masked figure gambling in his family’s gaming establishment. Sophia knows who Dominic is, but he does not know her. They share quite a passionate kiss before she breaks it off and runs away. It’s a moment neither party can forget or the reader.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: Two Sinful Secrets (The Scandalous St. Claires)

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Review: Checkmate, My Lord by Tracey Devlyn

Checkmate My LordReviewed by Zarabeth

Spies! This is, in this reviewer’s humble opinion, a very tricky genre. Creating intrigue and danger can often often be a fantastic plot point for putting two people together and having them work through conflict to discover their love. But, there are many spy stories out there that are so predictable that they are no longer enjoyable.

I am very pleased to report that Tracey Devlyn has the skill to weave an intriguing, dangerous, enjoyable plot with a great mix of passion and romance!

Our hero is a spymaster, of course, who is put in a very difficult position trying to solve a homicide, keep his spies secret, and protect/investigate the very nosy and determined widow, our heroine. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer!

It certainly helps that our heroine is the lovely Catherine Ashcroft who could not be more delectable and it has been a very long time since either of them felt this way in the presence of the opposite sex. They are both overcome by passion despite all of the reasons they should not, and there are many, not the least of which being the safety of Catherine’s 7 year old daughter.

Will they be able to trust each other in the midst of danger? Can they solve the mystery before someone else dies? Will the sex always be THIS HOT?

I have my suspicions! But read it and you can be the judge! I give it 4.5 stars. Enjoy!

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Checkmate, My Lord

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Get into Bed with Samantha Grace (Author Interview 2)

little white lieKeira: What little white lie inspired Miss Lavigne’s Little White Lie?

Samantha Grace: The words “little white lie” in the title are meant a bit tongue-in-cheek. What seems like a small lie in the beginning—allowing Captain Daniel Hillary to believe she is a widow—places her future and that of her brother and cousin in jeopardy. But probably what is most damaging isn’t necessarily a lie. When the captain notices she seems desperate to leave New Orleans, he asks if she is in trouble. Is she a fugitive? She tells him no, but she is running from someone and this places everyone on ship in danger. Of course, Lisette couldn’t have predicted the danger, because it’s unreasonable that her fiancé would pursue her for her small dowry.

Keira: When is lying acceptable?

Samantha: Tough question. Sometimes what I might consider the “truth” is actually just my opinion. Giving my unvarnished opinion may cause more harm than good in some situations, such as when there is nothing the person can do about it. For example, you’re walking into a party and your friend asks if the dress she’s wearing makes her look fat. Maybe I think she should have chosen a black dress, because she’s still carrying some baby weight from her last pregnancy and it shows in the white dress. What would it accomplish by telling her what I think? Is she really going to run out and buy a new dress at the moment? No. She would go into the party feeling uncomfortable and self-conscious. Why would I steal her joy?

Another time it makes no sense to give a dissenting opinion is when it doesn’t really matter what I think. If my friend loves her new haircut and I think it looks hideous, it seems arrogant to think my opinion is more valuable than hers. I’ll keep my mouth closed.

On the other hand, I work closely with other writers and I’m asked to give feedback on something they’ve written. I always tell them “this is just my opinion”, but if I see a potential problem or have a negative reaction to a character, I feel a duty to respectfully tell them what I think. If I’m not honest, it may hurt their chances of making a sale, or they might receive criticism from readers. It’s their decision if they want to listen to my feedback.

I feel I have to weigh the potential harm against the good when deciding whether or not to tell the truth. The only time I would lie without hesitation is if the truth would place another person in danger.

Keira: Is it ever acceptable if the intentions were selfish?

Samantha: Wow. Another great question. Essentially, most intentions could be considered selfish, I suppose. If we lie to protect a friend’s feelings, it’s because we don’t want to lose the friendship, right? But if we are lying for self-gain, then no. I don’t think it’s ever acceptable.

Keira: Why does Captain Daniel Hillary not allow women on board his ship? Is it superstition?

Samantha: Daniel had a woman die on his ship, so he thinks sea travel is too dangerous for women. I can’t go into more detail without giving away an important part of the story. :)

Keira: Fill in the Blank: Quick weddings lead to _____________.

Samantha: interesting wedding nights.

I had fun writing Daniel and Lisette’s wedding night scene. It has a dose of humor along with a little sweetness and a bit of steaminess. I couldn’t write a sweeping love scene without it feeling generic. It really had to fit the characters.

Keira: What is your next project?

Samantha: I recently returned revisions for the last Beau Monde Bachelors story, Lady Vivian Defies a Duke, to my new editor, Leah Hultenschmidt. The book will be released May 1, 2013, and here is a basic overview of the story.

Luke Forest, the Duke of Foxhaven, inherited more than a title with his father’s untimely death; he has a fiancée he never knew existed. Luke isn’t any more suited to be a husband than he is to fill his father’s Hessians, so he pays a call to his betrothed, hoping he can convince her to break their agreement. When Lady Vivian refuses, he proposes to find her a replacement husband at his mother’s house party and she agrees. Little does he realize Lady Vivian intends to win his heart long before they reach their destination.

Samantha Grace Spring

Author Bio: Samantha Grace made her debut earlier this year with Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel. Her newest regency romance, Miss Lavigne’s Little White Lie, received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, and she did a happy dance in her kitchen. Samantha lives with her husband, their two tenacious kids, and an endless parade of characters that inhabit her imagination. You can connect with Samantha at:

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Lady Scribes

Buy: Miss Lavigne’s Little White Lie

Review: Catch Me a Cowboy by Katie Lane

Catch Me a CowboyReviewed by Mailani

A woman whose lost it all and doesn’t even know it until it’s too late… that’s Shirlene Dalton. Growing up was rough on her, but she and her brother made it to the top of their little town in Bramble, Texas. Shirlene, who’s widowed by her lucrative older husband, losses a great deal of her fortune through a mismanagement of her funds. A Texas damsel in distress, she works at covering up her financial problems from the town and family. She’ll do anything to appear
unscathed by her loss, even moving back into an old unused trailer, a childhood home, after losing her substantial house to foreclosure.

Upon moving into the trailer, she finds out she’s not the only tenet… but one of four others. A teenager with a chip on her shoulder, a little preteen salesman, and a screaming baby… whatever is she to do? She makes a deal with the children, that she wont turn them in… in the processes of helping them, finds out what’s she’s been missing in her
posh life… motherhood.

Through all this growth, you’d be shocked to find out that she just so happens to be living next to a crude sexy cowboy, whom she just can’t get enough of. His boyish good guy ways, strike a cord in her heart… until she finds out who this man truly happens to be, and why he’s come to her town. The man she falls in love with came to destroy her town and all in his path… including her. The Banker… a man whom plans revenge on Bramble to right a curse that’s affected his family for generations.

All in all, I felt like the romance wasn’t a great build up; the infatuation was a little too immediate; but the description of the banker will live forever in my good old Texas boy fantasies. Swoon.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Catch Me a Cowboy (Deep in the Heart of Texas)

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Review: Sunrise Point (Virgin River, Book 19) by Robyn Carr

sunrisepointReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

This is book 19 of the “Virgin River” series.

Single mother, Nora Crane, is a newcomer to Virgin River. She has two small daughters and she’s looking for work. Robyn first introduced us to Nora in Book 16, Bring Me Home for Christmas. Tom Cavanaugh is looking for help at his apple orchard. Nora’s a woman that landed in Virgin River with hardly anything. Having read a couple of the other of “Virgin River” books, I think she’ll fit right in.

As Robyn continues this series, we get to know more about its inhabitants. She makes the town come so alive you just want to move there. The town is small that enough that everyone cares about everyone else. They are willing to give anyone a helping hand.

As Reverend Noah Kincaid, Forbidden Falls (Book 9), drives Nora out to the orchard you can almost picture the scene as part of the series The Waltons. I could picture Richard Thomas behind the wheel. Who do you think would be the perfect Ellie?

Maxie Cavanaugh is Tom’s grandmother and one hot pistol. I could picture Ellen Corby playing Maxie. Nora gets a hint of how Maxie ended up at the orchard and it sounds familiar. We see Nora grow as a person as the story progresses. Her upbringing affects her behavior but being around the good people of Virgin River has helped her come out of her shell.

Robyn is always very good about how she describes her scenes. You can picture everything as if you are a part of what’s going on. The reader is a participant instead of an onlooker. That’s one reason for being a fan of the series.

Tom has an old friend, Darla, who has come to visit for the weekend. At the time, she looks like she would be perfect for Tom but will she? Even though Tom and Nora are only at the friend stage, I feel like he’s cheating on her. We will have to finish the story to find out how everything works out. It shows how Robyn is so good at creating her characters.

We also get reacquainted with a few of Robyn’s couples that have appeared in previous books. There is Jack and Mel who started it all in Deep in the Valley (Book 1), then Luke and Shelby whose story was in Temptation Ridge (Book 6), and then Colin and Jillian that we met in Wild Man Creek (Book 14). The military also has a part in Robyn’s story line.

Verdict: This is a book that you’ll not want to put down until you finish reading it. Robyn once again does not disappoint her fans. Book 20, “My Kind of Christmas”, will not be out until November so it will give you plenty of time to catch up or at least read the books that go with the other couples we see in this book.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Sunrise Point (Virgin River)

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