Tag: The Wild Rose Press

Guest Review: Nobody’s Lady by Annabelle Anders

Posted May 15, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Nobody’s Lady by Annabelle AndersReviewer: Tracy
Nobody's Lady by Annabelle Anders
Series: Lord Love a Lady #1
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Publication Date: May 2, 2018
Format: eARC
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 300
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Dukes don’t need help, or do they?

Michael Redmond, the Duke of Cortland, needs to be in London—most expeditiously—but a band of highway robbers have thwarted his plans. Purse-pinched, coachless, and mired in mud, he stumbles on Lilly Beauchamp, the woman who betrayed him years ago.

Ladies can’t be heroes, or can they?

Michael was her first love, her first lover, but he abandoned her when she needed him most. She’d trusted him, and then he failed to meet with her father as promised. A widowed stepmother now, Lilly loves her country and will do her part for the Good of England—even if that means aiding this hobbled and pathetic duke.

They lost their chance at love, or did they?

A betrothal, a scandal, and a kidnapping stand between them now. Can honor emerge from the ashes of their love?

Michael, the Duke of Cortland, is set upon by highwaymen while on his way to London.  He and his coachman and outriders set out, barefoot, for the nearest inn but that takes most of the day.  When they finally arrive at an inn, they are soaked from the rain and covered in mud.  Of course the innkeeper doesn’t believe Michael’s a duke, but a voice from Michael’s past pipes up and vouches for him.  The voice belongs to Lilly Bridge, the woman he fell in love with and the woman who left him to marry another man.  He tells himself he’s over her but he’s not sure that’s true.  He’s engaged to another woman, however, and despite what his deep-down feelings for Lilly are, he can do nothing about them.

Lilly hasn’t had a great life since leaving Michael at the house party.  She felt betrayed by him and felt that he didn’t truly love her – he just abandoned her after they had made love!  Lilly had spent years married to Baron Beauchamp – her dead sister’s widower – and he’d made her life miserable.  Now he’s dead and Lilly is trying to secure a good match for her niece/step-daughter, Glenda.  They are on their way to London for the Season when they run into Michael.  Lilly never got over the man but when she finds out he’s engaged she determines that she’ll stay as far away from him as she can.  Things don’t always work as planned.

Lilly and Michel, despite the extended separation, never stopped being in love.  Now Michael is trying to do the honorable thing by keeping his promise to marry Lady Natalie but he wants no one but Lilly.  Lilly just wants to be free from the pain of her life and figures once she marries Glenda off she’ll get a small cottage and live in peace, on her own terms.  Of course life has its ups and downs and, as Lilly knows, life doesn’t always work out the way you plan it.

This was a sweet story that I enjoyed reading.  I loved reading about Michael and Lilly when they were younger. For about half of the book it has alternating chapters in the present and the past.  This did get a little old but once the whole past story was out the book stayed firmly in the present.

Both Lilly and Michael felt betrayed by the other but neither had the full story about what happened.  Michael had a very good reason for not contacting Lilly but I also understood Lilly capitulating to her father as he insisted that she be well taken care of.  He was dying and wanted her secure – too bad he didn’t know what a bastard Baron Beauchamp would be to his daughter.

While I loved reading this story and about how much Michael and Lilly loved each other, there were times when their declarations of love got a little too cheesy for my liking.  It was heart-warming, but I found myself laughing as well when it got to be a bit too much. When the “villain” in the book does something near the end of the story it was a little over the top and contrived.  The villain had been mostly silent during the book so for him to make the move he did made me roll my eyes a little.

Overall it was a nice historical romance.

Rating: 3.5/3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: To Tame a Wolf by Joann Black

Posted February 19, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: To Tame a Wolf by Joann BlackReviewer: Tracy
To Tame a Wolf by Joann Black
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Publication Date: September 27th 2017
Format: eARC
Genres: Historical Romance
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

Summoned from her contemplative life in the abbey, Alexandra Ashford finds herself at the mercy of her malicious guardian, a cousin she fears and despises. He plans to force her to marry his crony and so forfeit her estate. Her only chance of escape is to trust the wounded man imprisoned by her cousin.

Taken captive and chained to his torturer's floor, clan laird Ian McGregor is left for dead after a brutal beating. He has little hope of escape. But when his enemy's betrothed offers him freedom and asks for his help, he realizes revenge could be sweet indeed.

Facing seemingly unbeatable odds to escape and reach the McGregor stronghold, their greatest challenge is fighting their growing attraction. How will Alexandra react when she realizes she’s the prisoner of the McGregor laird who considers her the “betrothed” of his enemy?

Alexandra wants nothing to do with her guardian and hopes to spend the rest of her life at the Abbey.  Unfortunately he calls for her and tells her that he plans to marry her off to a man who’s just as vile as her guardian.  She hatches a plan to get out of dodge.  She sets the man free who’s chained up in the main hall and asks him to take her to the McGregor clan, hoping that their laird will allow her sanctuary.  She has no idea that the man she frees is the laird and he become quite smitten with Alexandra.

This was a great little historical.  It was a quick read and just kind of hit in all of the right places for me.  Alexandra setting Ian free, their flight to freedom and everything that entailed and of course their attraction to each other.  The author did a fine job of giving us simmering tension between Ian and Alexandra, I loved it.

If you want a simple yet entertaining historical romance to read then this is the book for you.

Rating: 4 out of 5

I do have to say that the cover of the book is absolutely ridiculous.  Why in heaven’s name are they staring at his pec?  I just don’t get it!  You can see my thoughts on it here (and Holly’s too!).

four-stars


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Guest Review: Deacon’s Touch by Callie Croix

Posted February 12, 2012 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Judith’s review of Deacon’s Touch (Dumen Ranch #1) by Callie Croix.

After her own engagement goes to hell, workaholic Jessica Talbot dreads her friend’s bachelorette party at a dude ranch in Nowheresville, Texas. But the outlook for the weekend brightens when Deacon Dumen picks her up at the airport. The sexy cowboy awakens every dormant sexual fantasy with nothing more than a friendly smile and a handshake.

Ex-Air Force Pararescueman Deke Dumen doesn’t know what to make of the sexy yet reserved brunette who breaks through the walls he built after an injury ended his career and a divorce soured him on relationships. As a guest at his family’s ranch Jessie is off limits, but the Dom in him rebels at the restriction, even as he realizes his penchant for control in the bedroom would likely scare the holy hell out of her. When Jessie shocks Deke by asking for exactly what he’s been craving, he’s ready to break the rules and introduce her to his own brand of dominance. Her willing surrender rocks them both to the core. But once the weekend’s over, they must decide if it was just a wild fling or the start of something more.

OK, so I really like cowboys–didn’t used to read much of the Western cowboy stuff, but in the last year or so I have discovered that they are what they always were reported to be: strong and silent type men. They seem to personify the belief that many have in the United States of what it means to be male, alpha, dominant. That doesn’t work for some folks, but it sure does make interesting and, to be honest, sexy reading. This particular author is new to me, but I enjoyed this book a lot and felt that both the story itself and the writing were well crafted.

This story is about two hurting people. One–the heroine–is recovering from deep betrayal by a man she has known and dated for quite some time and who has now abandoned her emotionally, broken their engagement with his bad behavior. She is less than enthusiastic about coming to this bachelorette party at a ranch in Texas–in the middle of the boonies–but she wants to be a loyal friend so she takes some time away from her life and her job in Washington State. Deacon Dumen has come home to be at his family ranch while recovering–on the one hand he has some physical recovery from his military service; on the other hand he, too, is scalded by the disrespect and infidelity of his wife and the divorce still is making him bitter toward committed relationships in general. Both Jessica and Deacon have positive reactions when they meet at the airport where Deacon has gone to “collect” Jessica. But his internal struggles with the changes in his life as well as with his own dominant nature make him back away. Jessica is not quite so reticent and takes the “bull by the horns.” Ultimately, things really heat up between these two. But what does this mean for them long term and does their short-term affair really solve any of the issues that impact their respective futures?

There is lots of fun in this book, some very colorful background characters, lots of hot loving, as well as some deep emotion that this author has brought to the surface and which will be felt by any reader. I know that I really wanted to see these two unhappy people find a way to resolve their hurts and heal each others wounds. I was impressed how this author managed to end the story–I wasn’t really prepared for it but enjoyed it tremendously. Readers will also encounter the power of a cohesive family, the rockem sockem interaction between the brothers, some gals who really like to party, a bride who truly loves her bridegroom but isn’t hesitant to kick up her heels one last time, and so much more. It is love, Texas style. It is a very engaging read and one that will fill some time in a quality way. I think lovers of cowboy romance will find it to be a very satisfying experience.

I give it a rating of 4 out of 5

You can read more from Judith at Dr. J’s Book Place

This book is available from Wild Rose Press. You can buy it here or here in e-format.


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Guest Review: Resort To Murder by Glenys O’Connell

Posted October 24, 2010 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 2 Comments

Genres: Romantic Suspense

Falsely disgraced police detective Ellie Fitzpatrick is prepared to face a vicious killer to redeem herself but is she also brave enough to make peace with the man she loves? When her meteoric career crashed and burned after she was accused of accepting bribes from thugs running a protection racket, Ellie is suspended from the job she loves and believes herself abandoned not only by police colleagues but by her lover, Detective Liam O’Reilly. She is called back to work when a biography of a serial killer she arrested suggests the man may be innocent. Reilly vows to protect Ellie from the gang who tried to frame her and the vicious killer who’s stalking her. Can she trust him with her life?

Northern England, specifically the area known as Yorkshire, possesses a wild beauty with its rolling hills and misty moors, dotted with flocks of sheep and intersected with winding roads. Set in the midst of that is the bustling city of Leeds, a manufacturing hub and one of the transit centers of the region. Having traveled there extensively (I took the train between Skipton and Leeds often over a five week period), one becomes aware that this is no out-of-the-way part of civilization. But it is a long way from better known metropolitan areas like London and Edinburgh and there are a number of resort areas along the North Sea that draw sizeable crowds throughout the warm weather.

Caught in the throes of a personal and departmental scandal, Inspector Ellie Fitzpatrick of the Leeds Special Investigative Unit is on a six-month unpaid suspension, wrongfully accused of money laundering, taking bribes, and compromising important criminal investigations. She has taken up residence in her family’s vacation cottage, very close to the Funland Pleasure Center, a resort area on the North Sea. In addition to being shunned by her co-workers, she is also nursing a broken heart. Her lover and friend, Inspector Reilly, took off and apparently abandoned her in her time of greatest need. Now she is alone except for the attentions of her neighbor, Brad Scott, who has been wooing her for months and who has now proposed. In her heart of hearts she knows she still loves Reilly, but she is also convinced that their relationship is at an end. Still, she hesitates to accept Brad’s proposal. Something is holding her back.

Now there has been a brutal murder very close to her cottage, and while she has been cleared of any suspicion, Reilly as the investigating officer is back in her life and Brad is the chief suspect. Ellie has been called back to duty by her department head even though she still remains under a cloud. Her relationship with Brad threatens to compromise her future success. Her life and her professional future are a mess. It is a story worthy of a James Patterson novel or the best of Earl Stanley Gardner.

This is a love story–broken hearts, miscommunications, anger and frustrations, apparent abandonment issues on both sides, and an attraction that won’t go away. But this love tale is wrapped up tightly in a murder mystery that involves the man she has been dating, a possible serial murderer, and persons related to earlier victims who continue to be under suspicion. This novel is not necessarily easy to read–by that I mean that it won’t be the kind of book you can sit down and consume easily in a couple of hours. The reader will have to keep the characters straight; the story line is complicated and requires processing as one continues on, and the reader must deal with the hints and clues that are embedded in the story. All in all, it is a very good read.

Ms O’Connell has done very well in writing about the processes and inner workings of a British police investigative unit, and she has a very good knowledge of life in this part of the United Kingdom. That being said, these characters are people–and people are people no matter where they live, and they are subject to the same feelings and urges worldwide. And as they become embroiled in difficult circumstances their true nature and character emerges. So it is in this story.

This is a story about love and loss, wounds and forgiveness, expectations and disappointment, broken trust and trust regained. And throughout the story is woven Ellie’s personal “take” on her experiences and how she is responding to the pressures and demands of her personal and professional life. I found this story very readable and engaging. I own up to really liking mystery novels so I was hooked from the first. That there was a fascinating love relationship gone awry contained within pleased me immensely and I read this novel nearly in one sitting. This is one I didn’t speed read. I didn’t want to miss one word. Part of that, too, is that I love England–I am a true Anglophile–so the context of the story drew me in as well.

My hope is that mystery fans as well as romance fans will read this novel because I think it will be a very satisfying experience. It is well-written and researched, all the parts assembled with skill and care, and testifying to a writer with a great deal of writing finesse and talent. Just the kind of book we readers really don’t want to miss.

I give this novel a 4.5 out of 5.

You can read more from Judith at Dr. J’s Book Place

This book is available from The Wild Rose Press. You can buy it here in e-format.


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Guest Review: The Diva of Peddler Creek by Ava Bleu.

Posted September 30, 2010 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 3 Comments

Romance novelist Taylor Beir will stop at nothing to get her mother off her back, including relocating to Peddler’s Creek to teach a little boy she doesn’t know how to read. But Christopher Doubleday doesn’t want to learn. His older brother, Boyd, has an invisible stick up his backside. And she suspects his parents, Mary and Jesse, of trying to transform her into the “good girl” she has never been, either by the power of suggestion or by filling her with endless goodies from Mary’s kitchen.

Taylor may be down-and-stuffed but not out. Someday the citizens of Peddler’s Creek, West Virginia, will realize that their hostility is misplaced, and recognize her for the gentle, misunderstood soul she really is. And they will admit that she is the best thing that has even happened to their dirt-water, backwoods, middle-of-the-creek town.

First of all, I have to say that the author of this really crazy novel has filled it with some of the most colorful characters I have encountered in recent months. The characterizations, the antics, the dialogue are all zippy and full of strength and color. It is absolutely impossible to read this novel without accurately picturing all the people and the way they interact. I think it is one of the most “in your face” reads that has been published recently.

Given that, there is a story here about a family who have a very troubled boy named Christopher who, quite simply, doesn’t want to learn to read. Taylor’s mother, having been born and raised in Peddler’s Creek, pushes and shoves and manipulates her to go and live with mom’s best friends, Mary & Jesse, so that she–a romance novelist, you know–can work her magic and teach this boy something. Taylor freely admits that she is out of her depth on this. Her mother seems to think that a summer in Peddler’s Creek will transform her into a socially acceptable, amenable, marriageable daughter. Mary & Jesse’s home seemed to be a literary version of “Mayberry RFD” and their seeming lack of concern about Christopher and their absolute faith in Taylor all seemed to be a bit out of whack. As I finished the book, I think that was intentional. Boyd, the oldest son and considerably older than his brother, was independent, a architect and building contractor, and someone who was deeply resentful of Taylor–styling her as a “diva”–even though he was sexually attracted to her.

It seemed to me that the whole situation was out of balance, and perhaps that is the point of the story. Taylor’s mother certainly seemed to be pushing her toward something she really didn’t want to do. Boyd really resented her. Mary & Jesse seemed bent on reforming her. The town was unwilling to accept her. Mary was working very hard to be the perfect homemaker; Taylor, on the other hand, was working very hard to be the perfect career woman. It was the supreme feminist clash. There seemed to be a change brewing–Mary & Jesse had to own up to being way too indulgent, that having the perfect home or the best recipes in town didn’t always substitute for discipline and guidance; Taylor had to admit that she wanted to succeed with this boy but her failure forced her to look at herself and to re-examine what she really wanted out of life; Boyd had to admit that he was determined to have Taylor in his life; the town slowly began to realize that Taylor wasn’t just a snobby nosed Yankee and actually had something to contribute to their community life.

This story is wild and crazy and just a lot of fun. I’m not sure that it will appeal to a lot of people but the writing is good, the plot is unusual, and the characters are fascinating. I do admit that I never really understood Taylor’s mother very well. I think she wanted her daughter to somehow succeed in that town where she failed. And perhaps by doing so the past with its disappointments could be put to rest. Maybe by sending Taylor there her mom hoped that the town could somehow realize that she hadn’t made a complete shambles of her life away from them.

Anyway, it is a fun read and I think we can all enjoy an amusing and witty story like this one.

I give it a 3.5 out of 5.

You can read more from Judith at Dr. J’s Book Place

This book is available from The Wild Rose Press. You can buy it here or here in e-format.


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