Posted in audio books, Book Review

Some Like It Scandalous

Some Like It Scandalous By Maya Rodale

Narrated by Charlotte North

Ugly Duckling Daisy Swann finds herself engaged to her sworn enemy, Theodore Prescott the Third.

Theodore, one of the spoiled rogues of Manhattan’s elite has finally done it. He has pushed his father too far with his antics and the only way out of his current predicament is marry a woman above reproof, one like Daisy Swann. Daisy is the last woman he wants to marry, she sees right through him and makes him feel weak and foolish.

Theodore’s father and Daisy’s mother have conspired to bring the two of them together. Each parent has their own agenda. They just want to save their children and believe marriage is the way to do it.

But Daisy isn’t exactly what his father and society believes her to be, she is so much more. Educated with dreams of being her own woman, Daisy has no desire to marry a man who is only a pretty face.

When they realize their parents are just going to keep throwing them together, they decide to fake their engagement. True to the romance genre, these two soon discover they were wrong about each other and find themselves falling in love for real. BUT…. There was a reason Daisy’s mother was pushing her to marry and her world implodes threatening to destroy all she has worked so hard to create and the new-found love she and Theo have just discovered.

The Gilded Age Manhattan series is modern women in a historical setting. It is more than romance, it is the power of women.

Charlotte North is one of my favorite narrators. Her voice is the perfect sound track for Maya Rodale’s historical romance series.

Posted in Book Review

Gilded Age Girls Club

Maya Rodale’s Duchess by Design

I was first introduced to Maya Rodale’s work when she was planning to be a presenter at our Heart of Carolina Fall Conference a few years ago. Unfamiliar with her work, I purchased one of her stories and before long I was reading two of her series. She is delightfully funny, witty and imparts a bit of wisdom amid the pages of her romance.

Duchess by Design is a gilded age historical romance set in Manhattan with strong female characters.

What’s an impoverished duke supposed to do? Why marry an heiress of course. Unless he falls for the first woman he meets and she just happens to be a seamstress.

New York is filled with opportunities and Adeline Black is determined to be a renowned dressmaker, not have her name notoriously linked to the Duke of Kingston. When she falls into his arms, Adeline can’t help but wonder what it would be like to be with a man like Brandon Fiennes.  

Nowhere in the world could a duke and a dressmaker fall in love, except maybe Manhattan in the gilded age. “Change the world Duke,” she tells him, but one man cannot change the world, perhaps together they can.

If you like your romance with a bit of rogue and a lot of strong female characters, this is the book for you. There is a lot happening in the world during this time period. The world is changing. Suffragettes, marrying for love, women’s rights, the protection of animals, children and the importance of clean sanitation are on the lips of many. This is a fabulous time in history and a great backdrop for a love story.

Posted in Book Review

At The Billionaire’s Wedding (an anthology)

At the Billionaire’s Wedding
An Anthology by Maya Rodale, Caroline Linden, Miranda Neville and Katharine Ashe a culmination of contemporary romances based on The Bad Boy Billionaire Series by Maya Rodale.

These talented ladies did something amazing with this book. Taking characters who’d attend the wedding of romance writer Jane Sparks to her bad boy billionaire Duke Austen these ladies brought us different shades of romance. Never have I read an anthology that moved so seamlessly together. While each author’s voice is different their individual stories worked so well together it was at times difficult to believe they were not written with one heart.

I have been a fan of Katharine Ashe for some time. I love her Prince Catcher series. Her story of Piers and Cali, The Day it Rained Books is in true Ashe style of hope and love and happy endings. This Cinderella story brings two mismatched characters into the modern reality of poverty and literacy. As these two characters confront their fears and learn to hope for a future together. They find strengths they did not know they had.

The Best Laid Planner by Miranda Neville and Will You Be My Wi-Fi? By Caroline Linden are two fantastic stories and have succeeded in making me a new fan of these two writers.

Miranda Neville gives life to Arwen Kilpatrick in The Best Laid Wedding Planner making her so real I’d want to hire her for my own wedding. She is feisty and fun and as her own romance twists and turns, we see the woman within. A great loop of fate, this story of love, lust and destiny is a perfect fit into the wedding celebration of Jane and Duke.

Caroline Linden brought an obscure character, Duke’s lawyer Archer Quinn into his own with Will You Be My Wi-Fi? This serious minded man comes to life with the scent of good cuisine. The layering of sensuous desires and personal obligations come together in a tale of true romance. The person who is right for us should give us the strength to be the best we can be.

I bought the Bad Boy Billionaire and Wallflower series by Maya Rodale when I learned she was going to be the speaker at the Heart of Carolina workshop in October 2014, I fell in love. I became intoxicated by the love story of Duke and Jane and spent my whole book budget on her two intertwined series. Maya is not only a fantastic writer, she is also a wonderful speaker giving great advice to new and experienced writers. I have looked forward to the wedding of Duke and Jane as if they are friends, which after three books I feel that they are.

That Moment When You Fall in Love is the story of Roxanna and her secret lover. What would you do for love or friendship? Roxanna and Damien are not your typical romantic couple but their love story is one of the most intriguing because of it. Each of us must interpret love and romance by what we need from the relationship. It is heartening to see these two discover what works for them. As Jane’s best friend and roommate, Roxanna has had an investment in their relationship and it is wonderful to see her find her own happy ending.

For a great adventure in love and romance, check these four exciting stories and the authors who created them.

Posted in event

HCRW & Maya Rodale Workshop

I returned home exhausted but still excited, the Heart of Carolina Workshop I attended in Durham with speaker Maya Rodale was an amazing experience. Weeks before the workshop I started reading Maya Rodale’s two series The Bad Boy Billionaire and The Wall Flower Series. What an amazing marketing concept, you have no choice but to read all six books, they are so good and linked together it is impossible not to finish these series. I fell in love with the characters, the way she intertwined the two series, the modern series with plain Jane librarian good girl and sexy bad boy who needs a PR change only she can give him. She needs a life. They both get more than they bargain for.

At the workshop, Maya showed how to romance our readers and write faster with the idea of writing the book we want to read. We learned so much, not only from Maya but from the other experienced authors who were willing to share their information and inspiration to make the workshop much more than could be found anywhere else in the world.

The Heart of Carolina Romance Writers is a group that embraces its members and willingly shares knowledge and experience. Even after two years, I was welcomed by several who remembered me, others who knew me from on-line classes and posts. It was a joyous day of meeting, greeting and learning. I am so thankful for this group who have done so much to help me hone my writing skills.

I had a table full of talented authors to learn from and share with, my wise women from the east Kate Parker and Hannah Meredith kept me laughing as we traveled to and from the workshop. They are working on a Christmas Anthology that is destined to be a winner and will be hosting a Facebook party. It is exciting to learn how they are bringing it all together.

I also had the chance to meet Katharine Ashe who will be a presenter at the Pamlico Writers Conference in March 2015. She is another rock star writer who I’ve enjoyed reading…”The Prince Catcher” Series “I Married a Duke” and “I Adored a Lord” as well as, “Kisses she Wrote” are part of this series, I can hardly wait for the last one.

Seeing Virginia Kantra writer of the “Dare Island” series was another joy, her books feel like coming home.

Jennifer Delamere just back from Moonlight and Magnolias was so excited to share her experience assisting new writers perfect their pitch. It is this kind of excitement that I’ve experienced as a member of HCRW, people aren’t just willing to help, they are excited to share their experience and knowledge.
Maya Rodale Workshop 2014 013

Posted in Book Review

Maya Rodale’s Bad Boy Billionaire Series and The Wicked Wall Flower

Maya Rodale is a marketing genius, not to mention that her books are amazing but wow, what a fabulous idea to link her Bad Boy Billionaire (contemporary) Series with her Wall Flower (historical) Series. I’ve just read two installments of the Bad Boy Billionaire: Wicked Arrangement and Girl Gone Wild and the first of the Wall Flowers, The Wicked Wall Flower and I’m hooked. I will definitely be buying the rest of this series and will be looking for more books by Maya. These are fun, funny and sexy reads.
The contemporary Jane Sparks, mild mannered librarian is terminal good girl, she’s boring herself to death. A chance meeting with a sexy stranger and suddenly, she has a fake engagement. Even though she keeps telling herself its not real, her feelings for bad boy Duke Austen are complicated. An invitation to her class reunion, an important project, a billion dollars and a historical novel that mirrors real life, can Jane’s life get anymore complicated? How about her ex-boyfriend, a second novel and oh yeah, her best friend/ roommate?
The Wicked Wall Flower is the story of one of three Wall Flowers, Emma who is afraid she will be the only unwed debutante from her former school. Her friends in an attempt to cheer her, write a letter announcing her betrothal but in their jesting, they decide her long term beau is not suitable and if they are going to draft the letter they ought to reach a little higher, why not the most eligible bachelor of the ton? When the letter reaches the newspaper and the Duke of Ashbrooke decides the fake betrothal works for his needs. He convinces Emma to go along with the ruse. A house party, his eccentric aunt, mean girls, competing for inheritance, torn between what might be and what could be. Emma is afraid to believe that she is worthy of the risk but unless she’s willing to take it, she’ll live to regret it.