Five Stars, Four Stars, Heather B. Moore, Low Language, Low Religion, Low Romance, Low Violence, Nichole Van, Timeless Romance Anthologies

Learn to Fly

For some unlucky reason I keep picking up books that  I’ve read before, not realizing until the second or third page that I’ve already read it. I understand the purpose of re-releasing a book that was part of an anthology, or needs a new cover. Same book, different title or cover can make a difference in sales for an author. As a reader it can be a little disappointing to get all excited about a new book only to find out it’s not a new book.

On the other hand, I LOVE it when I find a novella or short story that I enjoyed has been rewritten as a full length novel. I love seeing new details and getting in deeper with characters I came to love the first time around.

I found that to be true in both Seeing Miss Heartstone by Nichole Van. Which was originally published as “An Invisible Heiress”, in the Spring in Hyde Park (Timeless Regency Collection Book 3).  As well as Let’s Begin Again by Heather B. Moore. Which was originally published as “Every Occasion” in the Valentine’s Day Collection (A Timeless Romance Anthology Book 19).

51BxLkA2f+L

Miss Belle Heartstone—heiress and savvy businesswoman—needs a husband. Immediately. As in, yesterday would not have been soon enough. Her mother’s attempts at matchmaking have been disastrous. So Belle decides to solve the problem her way—survey the market and purchase the best groom available. 

Colin Radcliffe, Marquess of Blake—debt-ridden and penniless—needs a large infusion of cash. Desperately. Preferably cash that does not come with a wife attached. It is no surprise, then, when he receives Miss Heartstone’s brazen proposal—her cash, his title, their marriage—that he politely declines. 

But before he leaves her, Blake suggests something truly radical: Maybe before finding a husband, Belle should find herself. 
His simple words send them both on an unexpected journey, spanning continents and years, entwining their lives in ways neither could have foreseen. Can two lonely souls move past societal expectations and forge a unique life together?

I absolutely adored this story when I read it the first time in Spring in Hyde Park. Nichole Van’s characters are always well written and fascinating to read; either in a novella or a novel. Seeing in more depth the transformation Belle takes just made me love her character even more.

This was also true with my favorite detail added to the longer novel. I loved getting to see more of Blake’s response to Belle’s identity. His response was not only true to character, but written so emotionally well that I felt his conflict for myself.

I was pulled in instantly the first time around, but not can’t imagine not having the beautiful details that were added to the full length novel. It’s a new favorite and fully deserving of the recent Whitney Award Finalist announcement.

Let's Begin Again (Pine Valley Book 7) by [Moore, Heather B.]

When Maurie Ledbetter moves back to her hometown to open her dream shop, she calls a local construction crew for help. Former teenage crush Grant Shelton shows up on her front porch, answering the call for the construction job. Seeing Grant again brings back Maurie’s memories of her troubled childhood, and she doesn’t know if spending time around Grant is the best way to move on. But when she discovers Grant has gone through difficulties of his own, Maurie realizes that he might be the key to her own healing.

I was excited about a new Pine Valley novel, and like I said, a little disappointed when I found out I’ve already read it. I remembered liking the story in the timeless anthology so I kept reading and I’m glad I did.

The story of Maurie and Grant was even better fleshed out. Heather Moore did a great job of balancing the drama of their past with the sweetness of their current relationship. The pain of they’d both experienced was written honestly and up front which gave a great depth to the overall story.

Novella’s are awesome to give you a little taste of the story, but nothing beats the story depth and character development you can get from a full length novel. Part of me wants to write the authors of some of my favorite novella’s and say, please do more with this, I love it!

3 1/2 Stars, Heather B. Moore, Jen Geigle Johnson, Sarah M. Eden, Timeless Romance Anthologies

Tradition!

I love the holiday season, the music, the decorations, the traditions. I love creating new traditions in my littles and watching the season come alive in their eyes. Books have always been a part of our traditions and I love a good holiday story to get me in the Christmas spirit.

51+TuTOo0BL._SY346_

ALWAYS KISS AT CHRISTMAS by Regina Scott
Mary Rose has one goal for her mother’s annual Christmas Eve party: convince her childhood friend Julian Mayes to marry her. She has always admired Julian. Surely one moment under the kissing bough will convince him they were meant to be together. Newly hired by a prestigious London law firm, Julian is ready to shake the dust of the countryside off his polished boots. But he’s always had a soft spot for Mary. As the danger to her future becomes clear, will one kiss be enough to prove to him how far he will go to protect her?

The Plot was cute and the characters were endearing but there was something lacking in the natural flow of the story.

A YULETIDE MATCH by Sarah M. Eden
Famed matchmaker to the ton, Adelaide Northrup cannot imagine a more perfect way to spend Christmas than answering the desperate call of Mr. Porter Bartrum: widower, young father, dunderhead. The young gentleman’s first marriage was an arranged one and he hasn’t the first idea how to find a wife on his own. His dear friend, Chloe Munson, has watched his attempts with amusement and finds this latest approach, the clandestine hiring of a matchmaker, his most entertaining yet. If Adelaide plays her cards right, and she always does, she might very well manage to secure two happy endings.

I mentioned on Social Media how excited I was to hear more from Mrs. Northrop and she did not disappoint. Using Mrs. Northrop to guide the two characters to a realization of their feelings worked so well and made the story nothing short of adorable.

THE FORBIDDEN DUKE by Jen Geigle Johnson
They weren’t supposed to meet, but now that they have, nothing will ever be the same. The Duke of Salsbury blames her family. Lady Catherine blames his. Will an age-old dispute between the Salsburys and Asters rip apart any hope they have to be together? In this game of secrets and lies, can their love for each other conquer even the most tightly held family prejudices?

This nod to Romeo and Julie, but with a sweet ending had my favorite meet cute of the anthology. The author did a beautiful job with the romance balancing their attraction with the struggles in their background they needed to over come.

MISTLETOE AT WILLOWSMEADE by Annette Lyon
On Christmas Eve, Eleanor Hadfield, who works as governess at her childhood home of Willowsmeade, is stunned to learn that the love of her youth, Julian Phillips, is coming back after a decade’s absence. Once the gardener’s son, he has elevated his station to navy captain. Making a match with a mere governess would lower his position, if he were to still love her as he did as a young man, which is unlikely. Unable to bear the idea of noble Julian keeping an old promise out of obligation or pity, Eleanor decides to leave the only place that has ever been a home.

In this second chance love story it was easy to connect with the emotions of the two characters and the author’s slow build from both points of view until they finally were brave enough to express their feelings created a good tension and satisfying ending.

FOLLOW THE RIVER HOME by Krista Lynne Jensen
With her beloved home entailed away to a wealthy cousin, spirited Arabelle Hyatt has resigned herself to marry the arrogant man, if only to save her family from destitution. But before an understanding is reached, a childhood friend returns from war, wounded in more ways than one. With Christmas coming—what may be their last at Hybrigge—holiday traditions are celebrated, memories are revisited, and Arabelle learns what lies in a man’s words is not always what lies in his heart.

I liked the way the author set up the characters for this story, but they seemed to get a little lost in the plot. There was a little too much going on. It would’ve worked great in a flushed out novel but made the short story feel disconcerting.

THE NEW EARL by Heather B. Moore
Celia Thompson knows she can’t live with the new earl who’s come to take her brother’s place. Before she can pack her belongings and reconcile herself to a fate of living as a spinster in her aunt’s home, the new earl arrives. Yet, Aaron, now Lord Banfield, is not the pompous, arrogant man she’d imagined. In fact, he’s quite . . . interesting and handsome. Celia decides to help the man acclimate to his new role. But the longer she stays on at Banfield, the more she realizes the new earl might be the answer she’s been looking for.

I really like the set up of Heather Moore’s  story and the banter back and forth between the two characters. The clandestine meetings and the way they came to respect each other made for a good romance, but for some reason the ending left me feeling a little underwhelmed.

One of my favorite things about reading Holiday themed books from the Regency era is the traditions. I loved learning how they celebrated and the little things they did to make the holiday special. It was obvious all these authors did their research bringing something new and interesting to my holiday tradition repertoire.

 

4 1/2 stars, Donna Hatch, Heather B. Moore, Low Language, Low Romance, Low Violence, Timeless Romance Anthologies

I Bet You Can’t

I’ve been counting down the days until this week for the past month, school is back in session! Perfect time for a new release.Wedding Wagers (Timeless Regency Collection Book 11) by [Hatch, Donna, Moore, Heather B., Holmes, Michele Paige]

The Timeless Anthologies always bring together a group of fantastic authors and this time was no exception. Wedding Wagers has stories by Donna Hatch, Heather B. Moore and Michele Paige Holmes. They are all authors that I have enjoyed in the past, and I loved what they did in the collection.

A WAGER FOR LOVE by Donna Hatch:
For once, Phillip would like to be seen as more than the younger brother of a duke. When he unexpectedly meets the one girl in all London who doesn’t give two figs for his rank in society, she won’t give him the time of day. Determined to gain her attention, he accidentally tips over her boat and dumps her into a river. Not the best way to convince a lady of worth that he is a gentleman of promise. Frustrated, Phillip makes a rash wager with a friend: he vows he’ll not only gain her forgiveness, but her hand in marriage by the end of the Season. The stakes are high in this romantic Regency romp!

THE FINAL WAGER by Heather B. Moore:
When Victor Roland, Earl of Locken, enters into a game of twenty-one with Lord Southill, the stakes get quickly out of control. Before Victor knows it, Southill is betting the dowry of his sister. While completely illegal, Victor is mostly insulted, so he does what any gentleman of the ton should do. He punches Southill out. Problem is, Southill is in so much debt that he’d been kicked out of his townhouse earlier that day. So Victor is forced to deliver Southill at his estate outside of London . . . only to meet Southill’s sister, Lady Juliet, a woman who Victor now wishes he’d bet on.

AN IMPROBABLE WAGER by Michele Paige Holmes:
Sherborne Alexander Rowley III has come home to marry his neighbor—and solve his financial problems in one fell swoop. Love doesn’t figure into the equation, only the need to save his family’s estate. The reserved Miss Emily Montgomery seems willing enough, leaving the only possible obstacle to Sherborne’s success his childhood friend, Eli Linfield, and the wager they made long ago that Eli would be the one to marry Emily. When the timely birth of a colt, Emily’s mischievous sister Sophia, and Emily herself all conspire to ruin Sherborne’s plans, one night of mayhem unravels far more than their betrothal. Emily is not as demure as he believed, nor is Eli what he has pretended these many years. Yet the future for all may yet be bright. Sherborne might even wager on it.

This was such a fun topic. The wagers were respectable without being ridiculous and all three relationships were well developed, which can be difficult in a novella.

The chemistry of the lovers and the excitement of the wages made all three stories engaging and highly entertaining, I love it when great authors collaborate together to yield something I will read over again.  –N.C.

 

3 1/2 Stars, Low Language, Low Romance, Low Violence, Sarah M. Eden, Timeless Romance Anthologies

Something Old, Something New

I have to confess the first time I saw the cover for the newest Timeless Western Collection, Calico Ball, I had no idea what one was.

Now that I’ve learned something new about something old, I keep thinking, why don’t we do stuff like this anymore? It sounds charitable and delightful, and something I would definitely attend.Calico Ball (Timeless Western Collection Book 1) by [Kelly, Carla, Eden, Sarah M., Holt, Kristin]

This collection contains three short stories set in The West and each about a Calico Ball.

“The Keeper of the Western Door” by Carla Kelly has a slow but budding tender relationship. The be true to your roots message was sweet. However I felt like the conversations were a little stilted.

“A Convenient Arrangement” by Sarah Eden like most of her writing is an emotionally driven story. It’s one of the reasons people connect to her stories and her characters. Her descriptions of the characters and their reactions to each other made an already delightful tale, adorable.

“Isabella’s Calico Groom” by Kristin Holt was probably my favorite of the three stories. It took me a few pages to place the other characters in the book as stories I’d already read. The characters from Sophia’s Leap Year Courtship a Timeless Romance Single and “Wanted: Midwife Bride” from the Mail Order Bride Collection appear briefly in this story. Kristin Holt combined a story of independence and being who you are with a heart warming romance. I particularly appreciated that she created in Isabella a woman not afraid to speak up and communicate through misunderstandings, it was refreshing.

Overall I really enjoyed this Collection, I love learning about new things and felt pulled right into the excitement of the Calico Ball. The next time someone wants ideas for a fundraiser, a Calico Ball will be on the top of my list…but then I might actually have to learn how to sew…

 

Four Stars, Low Language, Low Romance, Low Violence, Timeless Romance Anthologies

They’ve Eloped!

I can’t say that when I was a young adult that I ever had the desire to elope. However, it does make for a really interesting story. Three to be exact in this case. The Timeless Regency Collection’s newest release came out yesterday. Road to Gretna Green has stories from Lucinda Brant, Julie Daines, and Heather B. Moore.

Road to Gretna Green (Timeless Regency Collection Book 10) by [Brant, Lucinda, Daines, Julie, Moore, Heather B.]

SAVING GRACE by Lucinda Brant
“When widow Helen, Lady Dysart, returns to the English border town of Carlisle for a family wedding, she decides to confront local physician Royston Meredith, the man who broke her heart. Royston has loved Helen since they were teenagers. He thought the feeling mutual until she up and married the local MP. While everyone around them hopes this reunion will see Helen and Royston sort out their differences, of more immediate concern is Royston’s youngest sister Grace, when she elopes with the steward’s son. Helen and Royston dash after her, determined to save her from scandal and an imprudent match. But in saving Grace the couple may very well be saving themselves.”

This was a cute second chance love story. Sometimes I have a hard time with these stories. I want to just shake the characters, seriously your pride is wounded enough not to check on things and talk it out? But, the feelings were sweet and the chemistry was well written.

FOOLS RUSH IN by Julie Daines
“Richard Arden needs a wife in order to collect his inheritance. Eliza Barnes needs to escape an arranged marriage to the odious Mr. Barrington. When Richard overhears Eliza’s plight at the coaching inn, he does the most reckless thing he’s ever done—he proposes to a woman he’s never met before. What begins as an easy solution leads Richard and Eliza on a journey across the country with Mr. Barrington at their heels, complicated even more when their fake engagement leads to feelings that are very real.”

This in the moment bargain that brings a developing love, was very well done. The spunky character were well developed, something you don’t get as much in a Novella. The intrigue and the twist with the inheritance was clever, and the ending was not only sweet, but fit so well with the characters and story she built.
A LADY OF SCANDAL by Heather B. Moore
“Unfortunately, Bridget’s marriage is over in four hours due to her husband’s tragic death. Fortunately, Bridget is now free from her distasteful marriage of convenience. When her year of mourning passes, and she meets her former husband’s cousin, Bridget discovers that her difficulties are far from over. Lord Hugh Wilde blames Bridget for his cousin’s death. But when Bridget’s sister elopes to Gretna Green with a man of questionable reputation, Lord Wilde is the only one who can help, and they both have to set aside their pride to rescue the errant sister. “

This story has a good balance of tension and misunderstandings that captures your interest through to the last page. The way she used the misunderstandings to pull the couples together made for a unique romance that left you smiling at how she wrapped it all up.

 

Four Stars, Low Language, Low Romance, Low Violence, Timeless Romance Anthologies

All Aboard

Confession: I’ve always wanted to ride a train, and I’m not talking one of those modern day smelly transit trains. I’m talking a smokestack, caboose, kind of train with a dining car and a lounge car and your very own sleeping compartment. I guess the next best thing would be reading about them.

The Timeless Romance Anthologies just released another set of stories in their Victorian Collection. The Orient Express contains three stories from Elizabeth Johns, Annette Lyon and Nancy Campbell Allen about the intrigue and opulence of the long-distance passenger train that ran from Paris to Constantinople with various stops in between. The Orient Express (Timeless Victorian Collection Book 3) by [Johns, Elizabeth, Lyon, Annette, Allen, Nancy Campbell]

TO BREAK A BETROTHAL by Elizabeth Johns: 
Recently orphaned heiress Kate Worthington must travel to England from her home in India to break an outdated betrothal contract.  A gentleman befriends her whilst she is aboard the luxurious Orient Express, and the attraction she feels firms her resolve to break the betrothal. What she does not count on is Lord Darlington’s hidden depths. 

DETECTIVE GRACE MEETS HER MATCH by Annette Lyon:
Even private investigator Grace Thomas needs a vacation, yet she can’t exactly turn off her detective skills at a whim.  She prides herself in being one step ahead of any flirtatious gentlemen, and fellow passenger Marshall Bailey is no exception. When Grace discovers that Marshall is traveling under another name, she learns that her first impressions aren’t always correct, and that she’s mistakenly allowed him to play havoc on her heart. 

MARRIED ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS by Nancy Campbell Allen:
Detective Vincent Brady must recover a priceless statue before it falls into the wrong hands. The only problem is that the American woman who’s carrying it for her brother has no idea the value.  Vincent soon discovers that out of all the hardships he’s overcome in his lifetime to rise to his current detective status, convincing Emily to take a chance on him is even harder.

All three stories are lighthearted mysteries with a little romance thrown in. Novellas can always seem a little hurried in the relationship department but somehow all three authors not only make it work, but make it compellingly believable. All three stories contain characters that are complex without being heavy, character’s in whose time I spent with was delightful, and as such, just a little too short.

I did feel like the middle story, “Detective Grace Meets Her Match”, had a fascinating plot, but too much of it was contained to their thoughts. Though in certain circumstance this is not necessarily a bad thing, with all the stories being a little more espionage and action oriented the 60% thought process and 40% action made it drag just a little bit for me.

Overall I really enjoyed all three stories and would definitely recommend them for anyone looking for a quirky combination of action, mystery and romance. Or, for people who like me, live vicariously through their reading and hope to someday ride a train as cool as The Orient Express has been portrayed. –N.C.

Four Stars, Low Language, Low Religion, Low Romance, Timeless Romance Anthologies

Timeless

Sometimes I’m in the mood for a short and sweet read. Which is why I love the Timeless Anthologies. The newest one, A Night in Grosvenor Square, was the prefect short and sweet read.

A Night in Grosvenor Square (Timeless Regency Collection Book 9) by [Eden, Sarah M., Lyon, Annette, Moore, Heather B.]
A MATCH FOR PRINCESS POMPOUS by Sarah M. Eden
“Matchmaker Adelaide Northrop may be embarking on her greatest challenge yet. Miss Odette Armistead has been dubbed “Princess Pompous” by Society’s elite, and Odette’s parents are desperate to see her married off to a respectable gentleman. When Adelaide first meets Odette, she is expecting a young lady who fits the pompous description. Instead, Adelaide discovers that Odette is far from conceited.”

Sarah Eden delivered another fantastic story that left me needing more of Mrs. Northrop. I’m hoping that was not the last we see of her. It was brilliant to have the story told from all three perspectives. I love how Mrs. Northrop was most concerned about discovering if the two were really in love and a good fit, it was a pleasant change from regency’s conniving matchmaking mothers. Loved this sweet clean romance.

CONFECTIONS AND PRETENSE by Annette Lyon
“Anne Preston dreams of opening her own dessert shop some day and saves every spare penny she earns working at Gunter’s Tea Shop. When an American man orders an ice, Anne is immediately taken with Davis Whitledge, but he is far above her station in life. He doesn’t understand London ways, and his generosity has the potential to steal Anne’s dreams, or to make them soar.” 

Annette Lyon wrote a unique story for this time period. It’s not often we get stories about a working class independent girl and an American who doesn’t realize he’s making matters worse. Annette’s story held elements of fairy-tale dreams and a rich hero, but what I like most was how she dealt with not just differing stations, but the different cultures merging.
LITTLE LONDON by Heather B. Moore
“Ellen Humphreys has never had a Season, and will likely never do so while confined to watching over her ill mother. Therefore, Ellen creates her own Little London. When Quinn Edwards, Marquess of Kenworth, comes upon her quite by happenstance while Ellen is imagining herself in a London ballroom, she is mortified about her playacting. But a chain of events is set off from this one meeting that has Ellen questioning if her reputation would ever survive a Season or another encounter with the marquess.”

Heather Moore created in Ellen an adorably relate-able character. It was easy to get lost in her imagination. The first time Ellen and Quinn meet in her meadow is the essence of a meet cute. I loved how Heather tied the whole story up back in their Little London.

These three fantastic Authors combined their talents to put together a timeless clean regency that lets you escape back into a time not our own and vicariously enjoy falling in love.