Review: Sold On A Monday by Kristina McMorris

SoldMonday

Published:    8/28/18                                       Rating: 5*

Sourcebooks Landmark                                ISBN: 9781492663997

Just so tired of covering and photographing society events for his newspaper Ellis Reed drove through a town and stopped by a sign and scene that evoked memories of a dark past from his childhood.  The sign read “ 2 CHILDREN FOR SALE”.  Evidently it was the final act of a family’s struggle to feed themselves in 1931.  The great Crash, the great depression, bread lines, soup kitchens – it could have been written by so many families who couldn’t stand to see her children starve.  

Ellis took the picture bringing it back to the paper where Lillian Palmer saw it and brought it to the chief editor who wanted a story to go with it.  It was the big break Ellis Reed needed, even though the picture was never meant for publication. But then just before it was printed, it was damaged and Ellis had to go back and re-take the photo, only the original children weren’t there, so he substituted other children into the photo with disastrous results.  

Both Ellis and Lillian realize that their actions had caused a great deal of misunderstanding and grief and though there was connection to their friendship they both felt the need to try and correct the actions that had been set in motion. As the two try to mend the fractured family, they naturally find a commonality and sense of soul in each other.  

As this book was inspired by an actual article and photograph from a newspaper that stunned a nation, you’ll find this to be a powerful novel of love and redemption between two unexpected souls who found their way back to a way of life they had been missing,

Marilyn Rondeau

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Review: More Or Less a Countess by Anna Bradley

MoreLess Countess

Publication: August 7th 2018 by Lyrical Press

ASIN:   B078LJSGY9

Series:   The Somerset Sisters #2

Right from the boat I have to say I LOVED this story!  From the beginning to the end  I couldn’t put it down!   Violet Somerset was a terrific heroine and her attempt to save her young sister was well thought out as well as extremely entertaining!   One (me) had to laugh out loud at Violet’s remarks to Nicholas, the Earl of Dare, who was so clueless as to the double entendre’s Violet was continually lobbing at him.   For Nicholas, who had never had problems in seducing or attracting females – as the handsome bachelor earl – really couldn’t comprehend  why he was having so much trouble trying to charm this very unique and intelligent young woman!  He was told she was shy and unassuming – but with him she was anything but!   I found the story be unbelievably funny, until of course the game was up when Nicolas found out his ‘Hyacinth’ was none other than her older sister Violet, who by that time was just almost ready to tell him the truth. 

Bottom line:  Again I loved this story and can’t wait for the third book in this absolutely delightful series!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Tiffany Blues by M. J. Rose

Tiffany Blues

Publish by Simon & Schuster  – Aug 7, 2018        ISBN13: 9781501173592  

Rating:  5*

Set in New York in 1924, you are introduced to 24year old Jenny Bell, who is struggling to make ends meet while studying art.  Through the friendship and manipulations of her closest and – only friend – Minx Deering, Jenny is selected along with the other top students to study at the luxurious home of Louis Comfort Tiffany Laurelton Hall.   Jenny has closed herself off to any romantic entanglements and for the most part trusting many people, knowing that she must rely only upon herself and is working hard towards that end. 

Unfortunately, Jenny’s past seems to be following her to Long Island with images of her beloved mother, her hateful step-father, waterfalls, and murder from the dark hallways of the notorious girls reformatory Andrew Mercer Reformatory for Women.  As she tries to bury those memories of her imprisonment, she must keep those secrets at bay while she is being sensually pulled towards Oliver, grandson of Mr. Tiffany.

Competition is fierce for the prize that is being offered for the artist who submits the best example of their art and win a spot at Tiffany’s New York Gallery.   But then a series of incidents both suspicious and disturbing let Jenny know that someone is out there who knows of her past and is trying to scare her away before all is  revealed.  

Not only did I love this story and M.J.Rose’s beautifully detailed and expressive descriptions of the grandeur of Laurelton Hall, but she drew the characterizations of her subjects with emotions and motives that one could almost believe they were there experiencing the beauty that Tiffany had created and being able to understand Jenny’s innermost issues. 

The romance that sprung between Jenny and Oliver was both breathtaking and a bit heartbreakingly enduring as well as very real.  The suspense and nature of the villain was rather obvious but the TWIST at the end I hadn’t seen coming nor was I prepared for it.    All in all – this is a book you must put on your list for a remarkable and entertaining read. 

Marilyn Rondeau

Review:To Love a Duchess by Karen Ranney

ToLoveDuchess

ebook, 384 pages                Publication: July 31st 2018 by Avon

ISBN13: 9780062841056      Series:   All for Love #1

Adam Drummond is a spy working for the Home Office posing undercover as a majordomo in Marsley House with one mission – gather proof that the late Duke of Marsley was an unforgivable traitor to his country. Usually Adam never strays from mission but the very beguiling young and still-grieving duchess has him more than concerned for her safety and health.  Not only is she one of the most beautiful woman he’s ever met but she has secrets which he feels must be exposed – did she know or was she a part of the traitorous acts perpetrated by the late Duke?

Suzanne Whitcomb, Duchess of Marsley has not been herself for some time yet she is shocked that a servant such as the new majordomo has aroused her passion. Two years of grieving since the duke had lost his life and Suzanne can’t comprehend how the touch from a mere servant has quickened her pulse.  There are other dangers in Marsley House that Drummond is discovering that must be dealt with and when his real mission is revealed, along with the truths of Suzanne’s extreme grief are exposed – will it tear them apart or enforce the love that has begun to bring them together.   

Another excellent and extremely beautifully written sensual love story written by one of my very favorite historical romance authors.   Characterizations of the principals and secondary characters are always spot on and motivations are clearly shown.  The quick pace of the story make the book feel shorter than the 384 pages.  So happy when I can begin a series with book one and I’ll be looking forward to the next book by this extremely talented author.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: The Warrior of Clan Kincaid by Lily Blackwood

warriorClanKincaid

Publication: July 31st 2018 by St. Martin’s Paperbacks

ISBN13: 9781250084842                 Series: Highland Warrior #3

Derryth MacClaren is fleeing her sister’s castle home to avoid capture by the vicious nobleman known as the Wolf.   When a surprise attack leaves Derryth vulnerable, she ends up in the hands of Cull, an enemy warrior who claims her. Cull’s gentle ways and touch seduce her heart—and body—completely…and when she discovers the tattoo on his arm that proves him to be the legendary, long-believed dead son of the murdered Laird of Kincaid, Derryth knows she must find a way to alter his fate—and her own.

Cull has no memory of his family or past—all he knows is the life of a slave then trained as a warrior, to fight on behalf of the Scottish king. If Cull can help the king’s law officer, the Wolf of Badenoch, defeat the Highlanders, Cull will earn a name and land plus keep possession of Derryth. But now that she has told him who he really is — Cullen Braewick, the youngest son of the slain laird—he is torn. If Cull exacts revenge against the Wolf, who executed his father, he stands to lose the precious lass who he has come to love. What is he willing to sacrifice for Derryth to keep her safe…and in his arms?

A very sensual love story between the two protagonists as they come to trust another and recognize the feelings each inspires in each other. The betrayals of the Wolf and his treacherous games and son are part of what made this story so fast paced and full of suspense.  It was fun to see Derryth’s attempts to aggravate Cull into sending her back to the other hostages and his reactions to her tricks.   Great characterizations of all including the villains who were really nasty!  The romance was terrific and loved the entire story !

Marilyn Rondeau 

Review: Midnight Proposal by Gloria Gay

MidnightPProposal

Kindle Edition, 218 pages                                Published June 12th 2018

ASIN B07DQ7VMKL                                     Rating: 4*

I must say this was quite a fresh outlook on a simple Regency historical romance.  The heroine was in extreme dire straits and her life was going to be hell if she hadn’t had the support of a loving aunt who gave this young woman the strength to save herself.   All she had to do was convince the Earl of Westal to agree to her outrageous proposal.    Without giving too much away in spoilers of our heroine, Veronica Glendalion, you can only surmise that her future looked extremely bleak and short if she couldn’t convince the Earl to help her.

In a normal world Veronica might have been turned away immediately as a crazy person for approaching an almost complete stranger – the Earl of Westal,  a member of the nobility – but she had met him as a child and hoped that he would remember him saving her from a bunch of bullies.  However, what helped her case was the fact that the Earl’s mother had been trying for years to marry him to another whom he had absolutely no interest in.   Other than the fact that Westal was quite taken with Veronica’s striking blue eyes, he definitely wanted to help this lady in distress!

Frankly, I truly LOVED this story, the pacing, the suspense, the characterizations, but due to some portions of the book being repeated and poor editing I can’t give this a a higher rating.   The story itself is a 5* but overall I have to give it a 4*… 

Marilyn Rondeau

 

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

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