Review: The Fashion Designer by Nancy Moser

FashionDesigner#2

Paperback, 320 pages                          Published July 1st 2018 by Shiloh Run Press

ISBN13: 9781683226017                      Series:  The Pattern Artist #2

Rating 5*

In this second book of the Pattern Artist series, author Nancy Moser has let a little time pass for Annie Wood, a housemaid-turned-pattern designer who is now making a another leap of faith at the chance of designing her own clothing line with the help of a wealthy New York couple who offered to finance her endeavor.   Included in the project are Annie’s new husband, Sean Culver, her best friend at Butterwick, Maude Nascato, and a mother figure, Edna Holmquist (all introduced before in the PATTERN ARTIST)

This now is an even bigger leap of faith when Annie and her colleagues give up their careers, risking all to follow a shared passion of making ready to wear clothes for the working woman which would be both fashionable and functional for the modern, busy woman in 1912.  

While the main characters Annie, her husband and good friends, struggle with planning the designs for a 12 dress fashion show with their financier, they discover that the dream they had for designs was not that of their backers and as a result their backers pulled out.  It was tough going with many ups and downs and their many prayers to the Almighty to “show them the way”.   Each step forward sometimes left them back at the starting plate, but through their unsurmountable faith and incredible hard work they strove forward.  

The story really tested the mettle of so many of the engaging characters found in this story and the meeting between Annie and the famous Lane Bryant was truly a treat along with all the other historical glimpses of that time.   This is truly a most engaging and lovely read that leaves the reader with that ahhhhh…… feeling of true contentment.

Marilyn Rondeau

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Review: One for the Rogue by Manda Collins

One for athe Rogue

Series: Studies in Scandal #4        June 26, 2018

Rating 4*

Geologist Gemma Hastings has no interest in pursuing Lord Cameron Lisle, an esteemed fossil hunter who has a way of raising her hackles.   Handsome as can be, even related by marriage and Gemma couldn’t name the reason he somehow made her tingle. When a shocking attack puts Gemma in very real danger, she may have to accept Lisle’s offer of protection, even if that means entering into a dangerous flirtation. 

Cam was amused by Gemma’s dedication to her work although realizes how much he’s underestimated her—a woman whose beauty is matched only by her intelligence!  Cam is now desperate to prove his respect and his regard for Gemma, but a bitter rival, desperate to steal Gemma’s scientific findings, is still at-large. Can Cam help uncover the culprit and keep her safe—forever, in his loving arms?

***  This has been a delightful series and with ONE FOR THE ROGUE it completes the four heiresses series who all seemed to have gotten into a bit of scandal in each book.   This one featured the last heiress, Gemma who excelled in geology and locating new fossils was left a letter from their benefactor only it was never finished giving her the clues to find a most remarkable and rare fossil.

Gemma was extremely independent and stubborn and the romance between her and Cam was extremely lively as well as sensual.   Bottom line – I loved and thoroughly enjoyed the book from cover to cover!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Only Seduction Will Do by Jenna Jaxon

OnlySeduction Will do

Expected publication: June 5th 2018 by Lyrical Press

ASIN:  B075HY5WPW

Series:   House of Pleasure #4 Rating: 4*

At a ball a comment sent crushed and heartbroken, Alethea Forsythe running.  She was followed into the stable where a smooth talking peer came to offer comfort – before the slime-ball  seduced and forced himself on her. Unfortunately, the results of that act would be appearing in nine months.  With her reputation soon be in tatters Alethea will be forced to wed a stranger—unless she takes matters into her own hands.

When Jack Fitzwilliam, the Earl of Manning, received a summons from the House of Pleasure on a matter of importance, he was more than shocked by the unusual request  he was asked to consider.  Jack has long been aware of Alethea’s infatuation with him, marriage at twenty-three to an expectant bride was certainly not in his plans. However, despite her appearance which reminded him of his sister, the desperation in Alethea’s eyes overrides his misgivings.

It was Alethea’s heart’s desire to be married to Jack and she couldn’t be more anxious to have him take her to the wedded bed!  EXCEPT he was too chivalrous and explained that they should begin to learn about each other before consumption.  Lord Almighty ! Alethea couldn’t believe it that Jack could be so amicable in public but maintained his own quarters.   Alethea began a campaign to do all she could to seduce her husband – the love of her life!

Throughout the story the author takes you on a journey of frustrations and some hilarious scenario’s where both parties were trying their hardest to achieve the inevitable!   Great scenarios, wonderful pacing and fun dialogs!   Both had secrets and both needed to divulge and get on with it!  Pretty good story and loved the characterizations.  

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: It’s All About the Duke by Amelia Grey

All about the Duke

Nearing thirty, the Duke of Rathburne is finally ready to make amends for the wager that caused him and his best friends such scandal – the blasted Secret Admirers Scandal.  But, more or less cajoled into taking on a ward who needs a husband is a feat he’s not sure he can manage. The last he saw of Miss Marlena Fast, she was a spirited little ruffian, not the sort of bride most bachelors on the marriage mart sought. But one glance at the lovely lady she has become is enough to convince him otherwise…

Orphaned young and shuffled from family to family, Marlena counts on her fierce independence and quick wits to keep herself content.  Having followed her step brothers around for years, she became quite independent and could fend for herself.  

Now all of a sudden she is being thrown under the guardianship of a notoriously wicked duke.   The very same duke  whom Marlena had made it her life’s mission to make pay for the damage he and his cohorts had inflicted on innocent young ladies!  How could she manage to keep this devastating secret when she realizes he arouses feminine desires she never felt before in her life. Marlena must be careful. She has her own scandalous secret to protect. If he finds out, will it shatter her chances of a happily-ever-after with the notorious rake?

*** Wonderful dialogs, fast pace and wonderfully sensual moods and emotions all made IT’S ALL ABOUT THE DUKE a really splendid and extremely amusing read! Loved every bit of this book!

Marilyn Rondeau

REVIEW: The Perfect Duchess by Erica Taylor

Perfect Duchess

Paperback, 392 pages                    Publication: April 17, 2018 by Amberjack Publishing

ISBN13: 9781944995577.                    Series:    The Macalisters #2

Andrew Macalister, oft regarded as the Stone Duke of Bradstone, hates his annual birthday ball tradition! He dislikes being a duke; hates the sycophants who only see him for his title; and hates that he has given up a chance to live a normal unencumbered life.  He’s simply biding his time until he can possibly slip away without anyone noticing. However, when he spots Lady Clara Masson across the ballroom he couldn’t quite believe his eyes. Clara’s twin sister is the woman who infamously jilted Andrew at the altar five years ago, but little does Clara know, Andrew had been smitten with her since childhood, and he finds her presence a ray of sunshine in a dreary dukedom. 

However when he notices another ‘Lady’ scornfully harassing Clara over the innuendoes her brother has been passing around to try and destroy her reputation, Andrew has to step up and save her.  They danced and for the first time in a long time Andrew felt himself actually smiling.

Because Clara had disobeyed her brother Jonathan in going to the ball, he was furious and tried to throw her out of his house with the clothes on her back.  A fight ensued and physical blows were rained down on Clara when he knocked her down and she passed out from the severe bump to her head.  It was at that time Andrew arrived to call on Clara when he realized Clara’s life was being threatened by her evil brother. Andrew did the only thing he could think of to save her; propose marriage. Between Clara’s trust issues and Andrew not caring a fig for what the ton thought, as well as Jonathan’s continued atempts to murder Clara, Andrew needed to discover what was going on in a madman’s mind!

Bottom line:  A GREAT read – loved the excitement and suspense of what was behind all of the mystery surrounding the Masson twin sisters!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: The Hellion by Christi Caldwell

Hellion_Caldwell

Published:   April 3, 2018 by:   Montlake Romance

ISBN:   B07539FLHF                                 Series:    Wicked Wallflowers #1

Adair Thorne was reliving his nightmare! Once again his life was going up in flames.  Luckily none of his family would be dying this day but his gaming-hell dream was simply being turned into ashes.  Problem was he was certain he knew the rival gaming hell owner and family, the Killorans, were behind it.   His hatred, fury and passion for the Killorans was palatable, but when he met Cleopatra Killoran, a tart mouthed vixen who has made it her priority to ridicule him at every opportunity. If she were anyone else but a Killoran, Adair would unleash at the passion that devours him each time he looks at her.

No one can make Cleopatra do anything she doesn’t want to, but if it means protecting her siblings she would do it at a cost to her own happiness.  A peace accord had been reached whereby the Black family would sponsor Cleopatra  for a season in order to land a noble husband. But her heart seems to have a mind of it’s own Cleo  cannot allow her head to be turned by the infuriating and darkly handsome Adair Thorne.

*** What a terrific read, and what great characterizations! Can’t help but fall in love with Cleopatra – tough gal with an even tenderer heart she tries to hide from the world.  But little by little Adair, who really didn’t want to give an inch started to see her through different eyes and acknowledged that her ideas for the design of his new gaming-hell were both smart and sensible.  And though she was a slight ‘bit of a thing’ and not his usual type of round and buxom – Cleo was looking mighty fine.

Only one thing that threatens the rules of this game: Cleopatra has a secret! One that could unravel the families’ tenuous truce and shatter the unpredictably sinful romance mounting between the hellion…and a scoundrel who could pass for the devil himself.  But Romance being romance you’ll love the ending just as much as I did!

Marilyn Rondeau

REVIEW: A Lady’s Honor by A.S. Fenichel

Lady'sHonor

Published:   April 3, 2018                     by:   Lyrical Press

ISBN:   B073PB8P6N                     Series:  Everton Domestic Society #1

Rating:     5*

REVIEW:  Phoebe Hallsmith doesn’t regret the years of caring for her ailing grandmother.  No, discovering that the man she was once betrothed to turned out to be a rat-bastard doesn’t really bother her as well; so all in all Phoebe is more or less resigned to ‘spinsterhood’.   She has disappointed her parents and her brother has disowned her since she is now working as an employee of the Everton Domestic Society of London.  Phoebe generally doesn’t accept positions where she is acquainted with the client, but upon a special request she agrees to try and sort out the chaos of her best friend’s grieving husband’s life – Markus Flammel.

After Markus’ wife Emma passed giving birth to a beautiful baby girl he’d been drowning his grief inn a bottle.  Not even his toddler daughter can bring him  any form of happiness.  Phoebe who had been best friends and missed Emma was not about to let Markus get away with drowning his sorrows and neglecting his daughter – not if she had anything to do with it!

***  Again, I have been enthralled and moved by a book! I will also confess that I was originally drawn to this book by the luscious cover art and was thrilled to find that the beauty of the cover translated into a beautiful story as well!  Lucky me!!

Phoebe had known how much her friend Emma loved her husband, although she herself didn’t have that much interaction with him. However, knowing Emma, she knew that only a good, honest, and honorable man could have had her friend so mush in love.   For the sake of Emma’s beautiful daughter Phoebe would fight tooth and nail to bring Markus back to the living.  Once Phoebe convinced Markus to stop drinking and look at his daughter, she began the long process of bringing his estate back to rights and letting him discover the joy of loving the precious gift of his daughter that Emma left behind.

With a few twists and turns from an old beau and a new conquest, Phoebe now had to examine  her heart and decide if falling in love with her best friends widowed husband was the right thing to do.  Also, was Markus ready to move on as well?

Bottom line:  A wonderful story – high five star rating!

Marilyn Rondeau

Joanna’s Highlander by Maeve Grayson

Joanna's Highlander

Published:   April 10, 2018 by:   Loveswept Random House

ISBN:    B073YSNSLQ                       Series: Highland Protectors

Rating:    5*

REVIEW:      Grant MacDara still dreams of home – in tenth-century Scotland. His heart aches for what will never be again until a sharp-tongued, redheaded beauty leads a tour of senior citizens through his family’s North Carolina theme park, Highland Life and Legends. Though he’ll never forget his first love, Joanna Martin intrigues him like no other.  Deciding that she’s worth the risk of loving again, he tries so hard to hold her close that she nearly slips through his fingers.

Forced out of her job as a pharmaceutical sales rep by a devious ex, Joanna is trying to make the best of her quiet new life as a tour guide. But it’s not as if Joanna is immune to Grant’s charms, she’s just running scared from her poor choices in the relationship game which have made her think of herself as a “loser magnet”.  Although Grant seems to be the last honorable man left on earth, this mouthwatering stud needs a crash course in twenty-first-century women and Joanna is just the gal to teach him.

*** Let me say it – I LOVED this story!  First of all, Joanna was escorting a bevy of senior citizen widows who I believe were reliving their youth vicariously through interference in Joanna’s love life.   Having led a group of seniors once myself I need to tell you they’ll keep you hopping and find great amusement in embarrassing the hell out of you which is exactly what they did in trying to accelerate Joanna and Grant’s romance.   Those scenes were a hoot by the way!

What I really enjoyed was the dialogs between the two and the wonderful way Grant romanced her in the little things he did to show Joanna how he planned to cherish her!   There was, of course a bit of a hiccup in between before they had their happily ever after, but all in all – a TERRIFIC read!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Wallflower Most Wanted by Manda Collins

Wallflower Most Wanted

Mass Market Paperback, 307 pages

January 30th 2018 by                  Published : St. Martin’s Paperbacks Edition

ISBN13: 978125010990                                 SeriesStudies in Scandal #3

As  a dedicated artist, Miss Sophia Hastings could care less about finding Mr. Right then finding the correct angle of light for her paintings.   However, when she overhears a conversation indicating that there was danger for local artists she had to get involved.  It appeared that someone was making forgeries of famous works of art and passing them off as the originals.  What she wasn’t anticipating though was having to accept the assistance of the new impossibly handsome vicar who insists on accompanying her in her quest for more information.

Reverend Lord Benedict Lisle feels that Sophia is no damsel in distress, but he is not about to let her wander off alone either.  He finds Sophia’s curious, free-spirited nature extremely  alluring and he is planning to save her from herself before she she gets further into a situation that is becoming more and more dangerous, and he was beginning to feel that he wasn’t about to lose the one woman who stirred more than just his heart!

*** I simply love a good mystery and romance and find it even better when the two protagonists seem so completely polar opposites.   However, one thing Benedict did realize right from the start is that no one should ever keep  Sophia’s art interpretation’s from being shown at the upcoming art exhibition.   Sophia’s art might be a bit disturbing but it was life  and not just the  lovely landscapes most genteel young woman were supposed to paint.

Their relationship grew throughout the story and it was a lovely development from regard, to valued friendship, and obviously a great passion for one another either wasn’t ready to admit to. I must say that this story was great, the culprit who was actually producing the fake masterpieces was quite a twist I never saw coming.  All in all, a wonderfully engaging story.

Marilyn Rondeau