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1. Book Review-A Little in Love by Susan Fletcher

 
Title:  A Little in Love
Author:  Susan Fletcher
Series:   N/A
Published:  October 2014 by Chicken House Books
Length:  288  pages
Source:  Cheezyfeet Books
Summary :  As a young child Eponine never knew kindness, except once from her family's kitchen slave, Cosette. When at sixteen the girls' paths cross again and their circumstances are reversed, Eponine must decide what that friendship is worth, even though they've both fallen for the same boy. In the end, Eponine will sacrifice everything to keep true love alive.

Review: Eponine Thenadier lies in a Parisian street, seventeen years old, dying.  As she does so, she remembers how her life progressed in such a way from a spoilt childhood and years of cheating and stealing to taking a bullet for the boy she loves.
I wanted to read this because I have a love for the musical  of Les Miserables and an appreciation for the book (see here for my review). Eponine is one of my favourite characters because she has to stand up for herself and no one fights for her, and I was looking forwards to seeing a backstory for her.
It's interesting seeing the formative years through the eyes of Eponine. We know that her parents were abusive towards Cosette, but the extent they are to Eponine and sister Azelma in their treatment isn't one you think about when seeing or reading Les Mis.
I liked the fact that in little ways, Eponine attempts to redeem herself. Her development is very thorough and wonderful to watch. Sadly, I don't think any of the other characters got the same treatment, which would have been interesting to see.
I didn't like the fact that it randomly slips into French for a couple of words at a time. I don't mean where we need words like sou or Les Halles for nouns or specifically French things. it's just occasional phrases.  Oui. Excuzez-moi, mon pere. C'est un joli matin. It's just one of my little pet hates, if it's not a language that is foreign to the focaliser and the thing that is being said has a perfectly good English equivalent (yes, excuse me, father, it’s a pretty morning). We understand that Eponine is speaking and thinking in French, and the little random changes are noticable and get on my nerves.
The plot progresses gently.  It fills in the gaps of Hugo’s novel where the focus is on Cosette and Les Amis. At times, it drags, but my interest levels did stay up enough for me to not give up.
However,  my heart for Eponine. Fletcher does very well in making you empathise with her, and  Especially with the little quote from The Brick at the start, in both French and English- j'etais un peu amoureuse de vous . Please excuse me while I go cry.


Overall:  Stregth 3 tea. I really liked the idea and Eponine's development, but it lacked depth in other areas.





0 Comments on Book Review-A Little in Love by Susan Fletcher as of 1/31/2015 10:05:00 AM
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2. Guest Post and Giveaway: Lily Dalton, Author of Never Surrender to a Scoundrel

Lily Dalton is celebrating the release of Never Surrender to a Scoundrel!  She stopped by the virtual offices to share a guest post, as well as an excerpt from her latest book.  There is also a giveaway you can enter!

Five Things Dominick, the Spy, Doesn’t Leave Home Without by Lily Dalton

  1. A silver cheroot case, which contains not only his favorite Burmese cheroots but a small set of specialized tools useful for all manner of circumstances, such as prying open locked boxes filled with secrets, and enabling one to make a fast escape when imprisoned against one’s will.

  2. A fashionable cane sword walking stick–which with a flick of his wrist, converts into a deadly dagger.

  3. An onyx ring that conceals within its hinged lid, the Secret Service intaglio he uses to certify his clandestine reports before they are delivered to the Home Office.

  4. His scars. Concealed by his clothing, they accompany him everywhere, reminders of past missions, and proof of his loyalty to his monarch and country. However, as a spy, he will never discuss the circumstances by which those painful badges of honor were earned.

  5. A Rundell, Bridge and Rundell pocket watch, recently given to him by the Prince Regent, in recognition of his heroism and bravery.

 

About NEVER SURRENDER TO A SCOUNDREL:

A Reckless Desire . . .

Lady Clarissa Bevington is in trouble. A reckless indiscretion has left her with two choices: ruin her family with the scandal of the Season, or marry Mr. Kincraig, the notorious scoundrel mistaken as her lover. Desperate and disgraced, Clarissa vows to love and cherish a veritable stranger, a man whose eyes smolder with danger-and undeniable desire . . . 

An Unexpected Arrangement

As an agent for the Crown, Lord Donovan Blackmer has spent the last two years guarding Clarissa’s grandfather from an unknown assassin while disguised as the rakehell Kincraig. His mission may now be over, but his duty has just begun. Salvaging his beautiful, impetuous wife’s virtue will cost him his fortune and his position as an officer-but it might save him from the ghosts that haunt his own past. When their marriage “in name only” leads to exquisite seduction, Donovan must risk the only thing he has left to lose . . . his heart.

About Lily Dalton:

Lily Dalton grew up as an Army brat, moving from place to place. Her first stop after relocating was always the local library, where she could hang out with familiar friends: Books! Lily has an English degree from Texas A & M University and after graduation worked as a legal assistant in the fields of accident reconstruction and litigation. She now lives in Houston, Texas, with her family. When she isn’t at work on her next manuscript, she spends her time trying out new recipes, cheering on her favorite Texas football teams and collecting old dishes, vintage linens and other fine “junque” from thrift stores and flea markets.


Lily’s SM:

@LilyDalton

http://www.lilydalton.com

http://facebook.com/LilyDaltonAuthor

Buy Links:

Amazon – http://amzn.to/1u0GMan

BAM – http://bit.ly/1ycV8Za

B&N – http://bit.ly/1ImG8wa

IndieBound – http://bit.ly/1DQU4fi

GooglePlay – http://bit.ly/1xVJiDW

iTunes – http://bit.ly/1y69D2o

Kobo – http://bit.ly/1C0fftP

Excerpt:

He set the nightshirt back on the bed, and spoke over his shoulder.

“I think it’s time you returned to your room.”

He spoke the words without passion. She could only assume he’d had enough talking and wanted her to leave. The night air chilled her skin, and she wrapped her arms around her waist for warmth. She felt rebuffed by him. Stung. Her husband, the man with whom she would spend the rest of her days, did not have the slightest interest in spending a moment more in her company.

She knew she ought to calmly say ‘Very well then, I bid you good night,’ and quit the room, but she feared with a certainty that if she opened her mouth and attempted to utter a single syllable, her voice would falter and reveal the confused tumult of her emotions.

Not because she cared for him. Of course she didn’t. Clearly he did not care for her.

They’d been thrown together, and no amount of wishful thinking or good intentions would create a spark between them, when such a spark was never intended to be. She blinked away tears. Foolish tears! As if he had hurt her, but he hadn’t.

It had just been a long day, and a long night before that, and she’d made a terrible mess of everything, and she hated Quinn. And perhaps still loved him. And she was lonely. So very lonely and frightened of what the future held.

So instead she nodded jerkily, her chin outthrust, and turned on her slippered foot to escape into the dark dressing closet, taking care to close the first and the second door firmly behind her. Miss Randolph reclined in her sleeping gown and robe on the chaise with her book open and steepled across her forehead, snoring, which was just as well because Clarissa could not face the woman’s questions or her pity.

She doused the lamps and, in darkness, with only the scant light from behind the fire grate to see, crawled into bed and lay on unfamiliar sheets, her mind tangled with thoughts of… Mr. Blackmer.

Suddenly, the door swung open, and a shadow moved toward her, stealthily and swift, with only the faint white swath across his hips visible in the night. She recognized Blackmer instantly and desire ignited inside her. He crouched above her, breathing hard, his skin still damp and the tight flex of muscles in his shoulders darkly illuminated. The scent of the soap from his bath filled her nostrils. Her pulse raced, her heart near exploding.

“You,” he growled deep in his throat. “Are my preference.”

A second later, he kissed her hard, pressing his thumb against the side of her jaw, commanding her lips to part while his tongue boldly entered and teased. She gasped for breath, stunned into half-senselessness…and surrendered, her mouth opening fully to accept each deep, possessing stroke.

He gave a husky groan. His large hands caught hers by the wrists, pinning her to the mattress. She squirmed beneath him—but with no intent to escape.

Moments before he had dismissed her coldly, and made her feel invisible and unwanted and yet in this moment, he revealed his true feelings, ones he’d tried to conceal. She knew without a doubt that her husband desired her. Something about that made her weak, and—

His mouth moved to her cheek…her neck, leaving her skin hot and awakened wherever his lips touched. Sensations she’d never experienced spiraled up from inside her, delicious and achingly sweet, awakening a need in her body and rendering her unexpectedly wild.

God help her, she didn’t understand, but she wanted him as well. The moment he released her hands she moaned and seized his shoulders, sliding her hands upward over his neck, finding unexpected appreciation in the powerful contraction and flux of his muscles beneath her palms. He exhaled, filling her mouth with his breath, and sucked her bottom lip—

Only to groan and twist away.

No. She reached, her hands trailing over his shoulders and his arms, desperately wanting more. More of his kiss, and his warm, firm skin. And yes, for him to ravish her so she would forget—

Then nothing.

The bed creaked, relieved of his weight. She heard his sharp exhalation of breath–a laugh, perhaps?

“Good night then, Mrs. Blackmer,” he murmured.

Silence filled the room.

“Good night,” she answered breathlessly.

He crossed the room, disappearing into the dressing closet, gone the way he had come. She heard the door close.

After a long moment of silence, Miss Randolph’s voice came from the direction of the chaise. “Well that was rather thrilling.”

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The post Guest Post and Giveaway: Lily Dalton, Author of Never Surrender to a Scoundrel appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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3. Review and Giveaway: Her Highland Fling by Jennifer McQuiston

 

This morning I have a review of Jennifer McQuiston’s novella, Her Highland Fling, as well as an excerpt and an awesome giveaway.  Enjoy!

My Thoughts:

I am always game to read a novella.  Their compact length makes them perfect to squeeze into an overloaded reading schedule, and for authors I haven’t read previously, it gives me a good idea whether or not I want to make the time commitment for a longer book.  When I saw Her Highland Fling, I was intrigued.  I’ve picked up a couple of Jennifer McQuiston’s other works, but I haven’t gotten around to actually loading them on my Kindle yet, so I was more than happy to download this and start reading.

William McKenzie is stressing about the financial health of his village, so he organizes the Highland Games, hoping to lure Londoners and their wallets to his humble hometown.  He even foots the bill to refurb a room at the local inn, all to impress the reporter he’s arranged to visit Moraig.  The joke’s on WIlliam, though.  Instead of the reporter he’s expecting – one of the male persuasion – a beautiful woman descends from the coach and immediately turns his life on end.

Poor William!  He’s so devoted to improving the fortunes of the villagers that his usual sense of humor has fled.  Worse, he can’t seem to form a coherent sentence when Penelope is around.  He comes off like the village idiot, and that was my only sticking point with the story.  Pen has a stutter, and was bullied mercifully because of it.  I was disappointed when she constantly referred to William in less than flattering terms.  Yes, they got off on the wrong foot, and yes, she misjudged him terribly, but for someone who was made fun of and didn’t care for it, I expected a little more tolerance from her. It made me not like her at first, probably because I felt that I knew William so well, and how can you not like a guy willing to don his plaids in the middle of the afternoon on a hot summer day, all to secure the future of his beloved home?

The tone of the story is light, and it clicks quickly along.  I loved William, and slowly warmed up to Penelope.  Once she sets her sights on William, he has no chance against her onslaught.  Determined to finally have a fling and get some first hand knowledge of the opposite sex, Penelope quickly determines that the Highlander is perfect for her research, even if he isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer.  William is just so tongue tied around this fiercely independent woman that he can’t get out an intelligent thought, which makes him perfect for Pen’s plans to love him and leave him behind.  

Her Highland Fling is a fun story, and I enjoyed my visit to Moraig.  It’s a very fast read with plenty of humor and one very determined spinster ready for her walk on the wild side.  Did I mention the water fairies?   

 

 

Her Highland Fling
Second Sons #2.5

By: Jennifer McQuiston

Releasing January 27th, 2015

Avon Impulse

Blurb

Let the Games Begin…

William MacKenzie has always been protective of his Scottish village. When Moraig’s economy falters, he has the perfect solution to lure wealthy Londoners to this tiny hamlet: resurrect the ancient Highland Games! But for this to work, William knows he needs a reporter to showcase the town in just the right light.

A female journalist might be a tolerated oddity in Brighton, but newly minted reporter Penelope Tolbertson is discovering that finding respect in London is a far more difficult prospect. After receiving an invitation to cover Moraig’s Highland Games, Penelope is determined to prove to her London editors just how valuable she can be.

Penelope instantly captures William’s heart, but she is none too impressed with the gruff, broody Highlander. However as she begins to understand his plans, Penelope discovers she may want more from him than just a story. She’s only got a few days…but maybe a few days is all they need.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/12/her-highland-fling-novella-by-jennifer.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22836685-her-highland-fling

Buy Links Amazon | Barnes | iTunes | Kobo

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Her-Highland-Fling-Jennifer-McQuiston-ebook/dp/B00M719Z1K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1418837254&sr=8-1&keywords=Her+Highland+Fling+by+Jennifer+McQuiston

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/her-highland-fling-jennifer-mcquiston/1120159653?ean=9780062387226

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/her-highland-fling/id904016482?mt=11

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/books/her-highland-fling/AzKXHXcFjUu4ftwXCWhiNw?MixID=AzKXHXcFjUu4ftwXCWhiNw&PageNumber=1

Author Info

A veterinarian and infectious disease researcher by training, Jennifer McQuiston has always preferred reading romance to scientific textbooks. She resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, their two girls, and an odd assortment of pets, including the pony she promised her children if mommy ever got a book deal. Jennifer can be reached via her website at www.jenmcquiston.com or followed on Twitter @jenmcqwrites

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Website: http://www.jenmcquiston.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jennifermcquistonauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jenmcqwrites

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6163186.Jennifer_McQuiston

Excerpt

Fling (n.): “Vigorous dance” (associated with the Scottish Highlands), from 1806.

Period of indulgence on the eve of responsibilities,” first attested 1827.

From the Online Etymology Dictionary

Chapter One

Moraig, Scotland, 1843{/H1}

All the world hated a hypocrite, and William MacKenzie was no exception.

But today that trouser-clad hypocrite was his brother, James, which made it a little hard for William to hate him like he ought.

As James sauntered to a stop beneath the awning of Moraig’s posting house, his laughing gaze dropped to William’s bare knees and then climbed northward again. “If you’re trying to make a memorable impression,” he sniggered, “all that’s missing is a good breeze.”

“You are late.” William crossed his arms and tried to look menacing. “And I thought we agreed last night we would share this indignity.”

“No, you agreed.” James shoved his hands in the pockets of his trousers and offered up a shite-eating grin. “I listened and wisely withheld a formal opinion.”

William bit back a growl of frustration. For Christ’s sake, he knew well enough he looked like a fool, standing in the thick heat of early August, draped in the MacKenzie plaid. And there was no doubt he would be teasing James unmercifully if the reverse were true.

But today they were both supposed to look like fools.

And James had a far better set of legs.

As though summoned by his brother’s fateful words, a ghost of a breeze stirred the wool that clung to William’s sweat-moistened skin. He clapped a hand down over his sporran, ensuring the most important parts remained hidden. “You live in Moraig, just as I do,” he pointed out to his errant brother. “You owe it to the town to help me make a proper impression for the reporter from the London Times.”

“Oh, aye, and I will. I had thought to say something properly memorable, such as ‘Welcome to Moraig.’ ” James raised a dark, mocking brow. “And we shouldn’t need to put on airs. The town has its own charm.”

“Well, the tourists haven’t exactly been flocking here,” William retorted, gesturing to the town’s nearly empty streets. Hidden in the farthest reaches of Scotland—far enough, even, that the Atlantic coast lapped at its heels—the little town of Moraig might indeed be charming, but attempts to attract London tourists had fallen somewhat short. If William had anything to say about it, that was going to change, starting today.

The only problem was he should have said it a half hour ago.

He took off his Balmoral cap and pulled his hand through hair already damp with sweat. While he was willing to tolerate looking like a fool in order to prove Moraig was the perfect holiday destination for Londoners seeking an authentic Highland experience, he still objected to having to look like one alone. “We’ve an opportunity to get a proper story printed in the Times, highlighting all Moraig has to offer.” He settled the cap back on his head. “If you have an issue with the plaid, you could have at least bestirred yourself to put on a small kilt.”

James burst out laughing. “And draw attention away from your bonny knees?”

As if in agreement, a series of catcalls rang out from a group of men who had crowded onto the sidewalk outside the Blue Gander, Moraig’s inn and public house.

One of them held up his pint. “Lovely legs, MacKenzie!”

“Now show us your arse!”

William scowled in their direction. On another day, he might have joined them in raising a pint, but not today. Moraig’s future was at stake. The town’s economy was hardly prospering, and its weathered residents couldn’t depend on fishing and gossip to sustain them forever. They needed a new direction, and as the Earl of Kilmartie’s heir, he felt obligated to sort out a solution. He’d spent months organizing the upcoming Highland Games. It was a calculated risk that, if properly orchestrated, would ensure the betterment of every life in town. When David Cameron, the town’s magistrate, had offered to invite a reporter up from London, it had seemed a brilliant opportunity to reach those very tourists they were aiming to attract.

But with the sweat now pooling in places best left unmentioned and the minutes ticking slowly by, that brilliance was beginning to tarnish.

William peered down the road that led into town, imagining he could see a cloud of dust implying the arrival of the afternoon coach. The very late afternoon coach. But all he saw was the delicate shimmer of heat, reflecting the nature of the devilishly hot day.

“Bugger it all,” he muttered. “How late can a coach be? There’s only one route from Inverness.” He plucked at the damp collar of his shirt, wondering where the coachman could be. “Mr. Jeffers knew the importance of being on time today. We need to make a ripping first impression with this reporter.”

James’s gaze dropped once more to William’s bare legs. “Oh, I don’t think there’s any doubt of it.” He leaned against the posting house wall and crossed his arms. “If I might beg the question . . . Why turn it into such a circus? Why these games, instead of, say, a well-placed rumor of a beastie living in Loch Moraig? You’ve got the entire town in an uproar preparing for it.”

William snorted. “Sunday dinners are enough to put this town in an uproar. And you know as well as I that the games are for their own good.”

Though, God forbid his nolly-cocked, newly married brother lift a hand in the planning.

Or be bothered to put on a kilt, as it were.

William could allow that James was perhaps a bit distracted by his pretty wife and new baby—and understandably so. But given that his brother was raising his bairns here, shouldn’t he want to ensure Moraig’s future success more than anyone?

James looked up suddenly, shading his eyes with a hand. “Well, best get those knees polished to a shine. There’s your coach now. Half hour late, as per usual.”

With a near groan of relief, William stood at attention on the posting house steps as the mail coach roared up in a choking cloud of dust and hot wind. Scrawny chickens and stray dogs scuttled to dubious safety before the coach’s barreling path, and he eyed the animals with a moment’s concern, wondering if perhaps he ought to have tried to corral them into some hidden corner, safely out of sight.

But it was too late now.

A half hour off schedule. Perhaps it wasn’t the tragedy he’d feared. They could skip the initial stroll down Main Street he’d planned and head straight to the inn. He could point out some of the pertinent sights later, when he showed the man the competition field that had been prepared on the east side of town.

“And dinna tell the reporter I’m the heir,” William warned as an afterthought. “We want him to think of Moraig as a charming and rustic retreat from London.” If the town was to have a future, it needed to be seen as a welcome escape from titles and peers and such, and he did not want this turning into a circus where he stood at the center of the ring.

As the coach groaned to a stop, James clapped William on the shoulder with mock sympathy. “Don’t worry. With those bare legs, I suspect your reporter will have enough to write about without nosing about the details of your inheritance.”

The coachman secured the reins and jumped down from his perch. A smile of amusement broke across Mr. Jeffers’s broad features. “Wore the plaid today, did we?”

Bloody hell. Not Jeffers, too.

“You’re late.” William scowled. “Were there any problems fetching the chap from Inverness?” He was anxious to greet the reporter, get the man properly situated in the Blue Gander, and then go home to change into something less . . . Scottish. And, God, knew he could also use a pint or three, though preferably ones not raised at his expense.

Mr. Jeffers pushed the brim of his hat up an inch and scratched his head. “Well, see, here’s the thing. I dinna exactly fetch a chap, as it were.”

This time, William couldn’t suppress the growl that erupted from his throat. “Mr. Jeffers, don’t tell me you left him there!” It would be a nightmare if he had. The entire thing had been carefully orchestrated, down to a reservation for the best room the Blue Gander had to offer. The goal had been to install the reporter safely in Moraig and show him a taste of the town’s charms before the games commenced on Saturday.

“Well, I . . . that is . . .” Mr. Jeffers’s gaze swung between the brothers, and he finally shrugged. “Well, I suppose you’ll see well enough for yourself.”

He turned the handle and then swung the coach door open.

A gloved hand clasped Mr. Jeffers’s palm, and then a high, elegant boot flashed into sight.

“What in the blazes—” William choked on his surprise as a blond head tipped into view. A body soon followed, stepping down in a froth of blue skirts. She dropped Jeffers’s hand and looked around with bright interest.

“Your chap’s a lass,” explained a bemused Mr. Jeffers.

“A lass?” echoed William stupidly.

And not only a lass . . . a very pretty lass.

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Print copy of WHAT HAPPENS IN SCOTLAND + $25 eGift Card to choice Book Seller)

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The post Review and Giveaway: Her Highland Fling by Jennifer McQuiston appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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4. Interview and Giveaway: Karen Ranney, Author of In Your Wildest Scottish Dreams

 [Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Karen! Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Karen Ranney] She never gave up.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about your book?

[Karen Ranney] In Your Wildest Scottish Dreams is the story of a woman who had always loved a man, but allowed her pride to get in the way. Once she returned home, older, wiser, and a little damaged, she realized that her past was a huge barrier to happiness. Lennox must never know what she’d done.

 

Lennox, on the other hand, had never stopped loving Glynis. The only problem now was to figure out who the woman who’d returned to Scotland really was: the girl he’d loved or a creature with secrets.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Karen Ranney] My books always start with the characters. I read something fascinating about Mississippi paddle wheelers being built in Scotland. That led to the story of an enterprising ship builder and Lennox popped into my mind fully formed. Immediately after he was born, Glynis scampered up, dressed in a soiled pinafore and scowling at me. She was only seven at the time and had already claimed Lennox as her own.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

[Karen Ranney] The sense of connection I felt. I knew what the next book would be, and the third. It’s as if they were jigsaw pieces all laid out in front of me. I love when that happens.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with this story?

[Karen Ranney] Being correct about shipbuilding and iron hulled ships. Jeepers, I had to read lots of books. Just like any research, you have to learn enough to know what to write, but not too much that it bores the reader. I dislike info dumps and try not to do it.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had a theme song, what would it be?

[Karen Ranney] My Way

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing you won’t leave home without.

[Karen Ranney] My sunglasses

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Karen Ranney] My coffee cup, my dog’s kibble egg, and my DayRunner.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Karen Ranney] This is going to sound odd, but no one. It’s taken years for me to feel comfy in my own skin. I don’t want to screw that up by being anyone else for a day.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Karen Ranney] Burn for Me: A Hidden Legacy Novel by Ilona Andrews

Black Water: a Jane Yellowrock Collection by Faith Hunter

How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend by the New Skete Monks

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Karen Ranney] I’m reading or exercising or being Flash the Wonder Pooch’s companion in crime. I don’t feel right saying owner, because I’m sure he feels like he owns me.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Karen Ranney] The Warm Fuzzies Newsletter: http://karenranney.com/subscribe-warm-fuzzies-newsletter/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WriterKarenRanney
Website: http://karenranney.com
Email: karen@karenranney.com

In Your Wildest Scottish Dreams
The MacIain Trilogy #1

By: Karen Ranney

Releasing January 27th, 2015

Avon Romance

Blurb

New York Times bestselling author Karen Ranney’s first novel in a brand-new series spins the intriguing story of a beautiful widow and a devilishly handsome shipbuilder…

Seven years have passed since Glynis MacIain made the foolish mistake of declaring her love to Lennox Cameron, only to have him stare at her dumbfounded. Heartbroken, she accepted the proposal of a diplomat and moved to America, where she played the role of a dutiful wife among Washington’s elite. Now a widow, Glynis is back in Scotland. Though Lennox can still unravel her with just one glance, Glynis is no longer the naïve girl Lennox knew and vows to resist him.

With the American Civil War raging, shipbuilder Lennox Cameron must complete a sleek new blockade runner for the Confederate Navy. He cannot afford any distractions, especially the one woman he’s always loved. Glynis’s cool demeanor tempts him to prove to her what a terrible mistake she made seven years ago.

As the war casts its long shadow across the ocean, will a secret from Glynis’s past destroy any chance for a future between the two star-crossed lovers?

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/11/in-your-widest-scottish-dreams-by-karen.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22046610-in-your-wildest-scottish-dreams?from_search=true

Buy Links: Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00K53D3HE?tag=karerann-20

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/in-your-wildest-scottish-dreams-karen-ranney/1119565608?ean=9780062337474

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/in-your-wildest-scottish-dreams/id874639413?mt=11

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/in-your-wild-scottish-dreams/yVJcJ_1O4EuKbDR8vd7wZQ

Author Info

Karen Ranney began writing when she was five. Her first published work was The Maple Leaf, read over the school intercom when she was in the first grade. In addition to wanting to be a violinist (her parents had a special violin crafted for her when she was seven), she wanted to be a lawyer, a teacher, and, most of all, a writer. Though the violin was discarded early, she still admits to a fascination with the law, and she volunteers as a teacher whenever needed. Writing, however, has remained the overwhelming love of her life.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Website: https://www.facebook.com/WriterKarenRanney

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WriterKarenRanney

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Karen_Ranney

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/68758.Karen_Ranney

Rafflecopter Giveaway ($50.00 eGift Card to Choice Retailer)

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Excerpt

“You’ve come home,” Lennox said.

Glynis wanted to pull away but stood still. Precipitous gestures could be misunderstood. Better to allow him to hold her hand than cause a scene, especially when whispers swirled around them.

“It’s the MacIain girl, home after all these years.”

“Wasn’t there some scandal about her?” 

“Is this the first time she’s been seen in public?”  

Were people recalling those times she followed after Lennox as a child? At five years old she marked him as hers. As a young woman she was prepared to tell him she adored him.  

Foolish Glynis.  

He must not affect her. She wouldn’t allow it. She was no longer nineteen and desperately in love.  

“Why didn’t you come home sooner?” he asked now, still holding her hand. 

Instead of answering, she only smiled. The diplomatic ranks did not value honesty and so she became adroit at sidestepping it. 

He still smelled of wood and the ocean. Whenever anyone said the word “ship” or she tasted a brine filled breeze, he would appear in her memory with a twinkle in his eye.  

The hint of beard showing on this important occasion wasn’t due to any sloth on his part. He had to shave more than once a day to eliminate a shadow appearing on his cheeks and chin. 

“I think God wants me to have facial hair,” he said to her. “But God and I are going to disagree.” 

He was a foot taller than she was, dressed in black evening wear accentuating his shoulders and height. All his life he’d worked hard and it showed in the breadth of his chest and muscled legs. Something about him, though, hinted at power and always had. In a crowded room people sought him out the way they looked to leaders and confident men.   

Lennox Cameron resembled a prince and a devastating Highlander and he’d been the hero of most of her childish dreams. 

No longer, however. Too much had happened in the intervening years. 

The post Interview and Giveaway: Karen Ranney, Author of In Your Wildest Scottish Dreams appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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5. Historical Novels

How much history should you put in your book to keep it a novel and not a textbook?

http://scotteagan.blogspot.com/2014/12/how-much-history-in-your-historical.html

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6. Spotlight and Giveaway: The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy by Julia Quinn

This morning I have an excerpt and giveaway from one of my favorite authors, Julia Quinn.  Enjoy!

Pleinsworth House

London

Spring 1825

To quote that book his sister had read two dozen times, it was a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

Sir Richard Kenworthy was not in possession of a fortune, but he was single. As for the wife …

Well, that was complicated.

“Want” wasn’t the right word. Who wanted a wife? Men in love, he supposed, but he wasn’t in love, had never been in love, and he didn’t anticipate falling in such anytime soon.

Not that he was fundamentally opposed to the idea. He just didn’t have time for it.

The wife, on the other hand …

He shifted uncomfortably in his seat, glancing down at the program in his hand.

You are Cordially Welcomed to
the 19
th Annual Smythe-Smith Musicale

featuring a well-trained quartet of violin, violin, cello, and pianoforte

He had a bad feeling about this.

“Thank you, again, for accompanying me,” Winston Bevelstoke said to him.

Richard regarded his good friend with a skeptical expression. “I find it unsettling,” he remarked, “how often you’ve thanked me.”

“I’m known for my impeccable manners,” Winston said with a shrug. He’d always been a shrugger. In fact, most of Richard’s memories of him involved some sort of what-can-I-say shoulder motion.

“It doesn’t really matter if I forget to take my Latin exam. I’m a second son.” Shrug.

“The rowboat was already capsized by the time I arrived on the bank.” Shrug.

“As with all things in life, the best option is to blame my sister.” Shrug. (Also, evil grin.)

Richard had once been as unserious as Winston. In fact, he would very much like to be that unserious again.

But, as mentioned, he hadn’t time for that. He had two weeks. Three, he supposed. Four was the absolute limit.

“Do you know any of them?” he asked Winston.

“Any of who?”

Richard held up the program. “The musicians.”

Winston cleared his throat, his eyes sliding guiltily away. “I hesitate to call them musicians …”

Richard looked toward the performance area that had been set up in the Pleinsworth ballroom. “Do you know them?” he repeated. “Have you been introduced?” It was all well and good for Winston to make his customary cryptic comments, but Richard was here for a reason.

“The Smythe-Smith girls?” Winston shrugged. “Most of them. Let me see, who’s playing this year?” He looked down at his program. “Lady Sarah Prentice at the pianoforte—that’s odd, she’s married.”

Damn.

“It’s usually just the single ladies,” Winston explained. “They trot them out every year to perform. Once they’re married, they get to retire.”

Richard was aware of this. In fact, it was the primary reason he had agreed to attend. Not that anyone would have found this surprising. When an unmarried gentleman of twenty-seven reappeared in London after a three-year absence … One did not need to be a matchmaking mama to know what that meant.

He just hadn’t expected to be so rushed.Frowning, he let his eyes fall on the pianoforte. It looked well-made. Expensive. Definitely nicer than the one he had back at Maycliffe Park.

“Who else?” Winston murmured, reading the elegantly printed names in the program. “Miss Daisy Smythe-Smith on violin. Oh, yes, I’ve met her. She’s dreadful.”

Double damn. “What’s wrong with her?” Richard asked.

“No sense of humor. Which wouldn’t be such a bad thing, it’s not as if everyone else is a barrel of laughs. It’s just that she’s so … obvious about it.”

“How is one obvious about a lack of humor?”

“I have no idea,” Winston admitted. “But she is. Very pretty, though. All blond bouncy curls and such.” He made a blond bouncy motion near his ear, which led Richard to wonder how it was possible that Winston’s hand movements were so clearly not brunette.

“Lady Harriet Pleinsworth, also on violin,” Winston continued. “I don’t believe we have been introduced. She must be Lady Sarah’s younger sister. Barely out of the schoolroom, if my memory serves. Can’t be much more than sixteen.”

Triple damn. Perhaps Richard should just leave now.

“And on the cello …” Winston slid his finger along the heavy stock of the program until he found the correct spot. “Miss Iris Smythe-Smith.”

“What’s wrong with her?” Richard asked. Because it seemed unlikely that there wouldn’t be something.

Winston shrugged. “Nothing. That I know of.”

Which meant that she probably yodeled in her spare time. When she wasn’t practicing taxidermy.

On crocodiles.

Richard used to be a lucky fellow. Really.

“She’s very pale,” Winston said.

Richard looked over at him. “Is that a flaw?”

“Of course not. It’s just …” Winston paused, his brow coming together in a little furrow of concentration. “Well, to be honest, that’s pretty much all I recall of her.”

Richard nodded slowly, his eyes settling on the cello, resting against its stand. It also looked expensive, although it wasn’t as if he knew anything about the manufacture of cellos.

“Why such curiosity?” Winston asked. “I know you’re keen to marry, but surely you can do better than a Smythe-Smith.”

Two weeks ago that might have been true.

The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy
Smythe-Smith Quartet # 4

By: Julia Quinn

Releasing January 27th, 2015

Avon Romance

Blurb

Sir Richard Kenworthy has less than a month to find a bride. He knows he can’t be too picky, but when he sees Iris Smythe-Smith hiding behind her cello at her family’s infamous musicale, he thinks he might have struck gold. She’s the type of girl you don’t notice until the second-or third-look, but there’s something about her, something simmering under the surface, and he knows she’s the one.

Iris Smythe-Smith is used to being underestimated. With her pale hair and quiet, sly wit she tends to blend into the background, and she likes it that way. So when Richard Kenworthy demands an introduction, she is suspicious. He flirts, he charms, he gives every impression of a man falling in love, but she can’t quite believe it’s all true. And when his proposal of marriage turns into a compromising position that forces the issue, she can’t help thinking that he’s hiding something…even as her heart tells her to say yes.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/12/the-secrets-of-sir-richard-kenworthy.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22046656-the-secrets-of-sir-richard-kenworthy?from_search=true

Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/51153-smythe-smith-quartet

Buy Links Amazon | Barnes | Kobo | iTunes

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Sir-Richard-Kenworthy/dp/0062072943/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1418170614&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Secrets+of+Sir+Richard+Kenworthy

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-secrets-of-sir-richard-kenworthy-julia-quinn/1119440260?ean=9780062072948

iTunes: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-secrets-of-sir-richard-kenworthy

Kobo: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/secrets-sir-richard-kenworthy/id894883740?mt=11

Author Info

JULIA QUINN started writing her first book one month after finishing college and has been tapping away at her keyboard ever since. The New York Times bestselling author of twenty-four novels for Avon Books, she is a graduate of Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges and is one of only fifteen authors ever to be inducted in the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Goodreads

Website: http://juliaquinn.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJuliaQuinn

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/63898.Julia_Quinn

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The post Spotlight and Giveaway: The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy by Julia Quinn appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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7. Guest Post and Giveaway: Miranda Neville, Author of The Duke of Dark Desires

Miranda Neville dropped by the virtual offices to share a special guest post.  Don’t forget to enter for your chance to win a copy of her book, too!

Top 5 complaints from Julian’s household staff)

Before Julian Fortescue unexpectedly inherited the title of Duke of Denford, he had a single manservant who doesn’t appear in any of my books but whose name is Cumberbatch. (And if you wonder why I just picked that name you are right.) Once he came into both title and money he had to hire a lot more staff for Fortescue House in London and they aren’t all happy.

Monsieur Albert, the French chef

Oo la la dites donc, Monsieur le duc does not appreciate the genius of Albert. The keetchen she is filthy like a peeg sty and the other servants are idiots.

Note: Monsieur Albert quickly departs after a brief appearance in The Duke of Dark Desires. The kitchen becomes more hygienic.

Fortescue Blackett, secretary

As the younger son of a younger son of a duke’s daughter, I needed a job and the new duke needed a secretary. His Grace makes me a little nervous. For a start he’s about a foot taller than me and I never know if means what he says. He shows no interest in making speeches in the House of Lords but that’s probably just as well: he might expect me to write them. He also shows an inappropriate level of interest in the governess but it wouldn’t be proper for me to comment.

Jemmy, stable lad

‘is Grace give me sixpence for holding ‘is ‘orse one time. You’ll get no complaints out o’ me.

Francis Hillthorpe, keeper of the Denford muniments

The new duke says the family portraits are all the work of third rate artists. It’s true that the second duke overspent on gold leaf for the state rooms and couldn’t afford Van Dyck’s fees. Nevertheless he looks perfectly distinguished and I barely notice that one arm is longer than the other. As for Her Grace, anyone could miscount the number of chins possessed by a noble lady. I’m sure the new duke will eventually come to appreciate the illustrious history of his line and restore the 2nd Duke and Duchess to positions of prominence.

Nurse Bride

Master Julian was always the sweetest …. snore.

The Duke of Dark Desires
The Wild Quartet # 4

By: Miranda Neville

Releasing December 30th, 2014

Avon

Blurb

Wanted: Governess able to keep all hours…

Rebellious Julian Fortescue never expected to inherit a dukedom, nor to find himself guardian to three young half-sisters. Now in the market for a governess, he lays eyes on Jane Grey and knows immediately she is qualified-to become his mistress. Yet the alluring woman appears impervious to him. Somehow Julian must find a way to make her succumb to temptation … without losing his heart and revealing the haunting mistakes of his past.

Desired: Duke skilled in the seductive art of conversation…

Lady Jeanne de Falleron didn’t seek a position as a governess simply to fall into bed with the Duke of Denford. Under the alias of Jane Grey, she must learn which of the duke’s relatives is responsible for the death of her family-and take her revenge. She certainly can’t afford the distraction of her darkly irresistible employer, or the smoldering desire he ignites within her.

But as Jane discovers more clues about the villain she seeks, she’s faced with a possibility more disturbing than her growing feelings for Julian: What will she do if the man she loves is also the man she’s sworn to kill?

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/10/the-duke-of-dark-desires-wild-quartet-4.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21857130-the-duke-of-dark-desires?from_search=true

Buy Links Amazon | Barnes | iBooks | Kobo

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Duke-Dark-Desires-Miranda-Neville/dp/0062243349/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412955277&sr=8-1&keywords=9780062243348

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-duke-of-dark-desires-miranda-neville/1119128258?ean=9780062243348&itm=1&usri=9780062243348

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/nz/book/the-duke-of-dark-desires/id857945298?mt=11

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-duke-of-dark-desires

Author Info

MIRANDA NEVILLE grew up in England before moving to New York City to work in Sotheby’s rare books department. After many years as a journalist and editor, she decided writing fiction was more fun. She lives in Vermont. She loves hearing from readers and may be reached through her website.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Website: http://www.mirandaneville.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MirandaNevilleAuthor
Twitter: http://twitter.com/miranda_neville
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2740425.Miranda_Neville

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8. Interview and Giveaway: An Affair Downstairs by Sherri Browning

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Sherri!  Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Sherri Browning] Curious, Creative, Witty, Determined, Indulgent.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about An Affair Downstairs?

[Sherri Browning] In Edwardian England, times are changing. Women have a little more freedom to make their own choices, and Lady Alice Emerson doesn’t want to bow to convention and get married. She develops an attraction to her sister’s estate agent and decides that she should have an affair. But despite his dark past, Logan Winthrop is a man of honor and Alice has a difficult time convincing him to go along with her plan.

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Can you share your favorite scene?

[Sherri Browning] My favorite scene isn’t actually between Alice and Logan. It’s when Alice turns to her Aunt Agatha for advice after creating a bit of a scandal with Logan, and Agatha’s own romantic history comes up. Aunt Agatha is one of my favorite scene-stealing characters, and one of her former suitors might surprise a few readers.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

[Sherri Browning] What I enjoyed most might have been expanding on the relationship between sisters Sophia and Alice, and examining what sisters mean to us, how they can build us up, and how we manage to live with them sometimes.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Sherri Browning] My credit cards. I love a little impulsive shopping, especially at bookstores.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Sherri Browning] My zebra striped coffee mug, a framed picture of me with best friends Kathleen Givens and Julia London, and Poppie, a doll I’ve had since childhood. She’s the Pillsbury Doughboy’s girlfriend and was a character in commercials with him back in the 70s.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s your favorite snack when you’re working on a deadline?

[Sherri Browning] When I write, I don’t snack. When I edit, I snack like a fiend. I love gummy bears and jelly beans, or carrots with hummus if I’m being healthy.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Sherri Browning] I think I would be JK Rowling, just to know what it’s like to be that bestselling and adored. I would do interviews to recommend Sherri Browning’s books to all of her readers, and then call up Emma Watson and try to fix her up with my son. They would make such a cute couple.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week.  Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?

[Sherri Browning] Time travel. I would go back in time and try to save the life of a friend. If I succeeded or not, I could spend more time with that friend for the week. I really miss her.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Sherri Browning] I love Julia London’s Cabot Sisters series. I’ve been enjoying Liane Moriarty’s books, too. I’m reading The Last Anniversary now.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Sherri Browning] Readers are always welcome to comment at my website, www.sherribrowningerwin.com, or email me at sherri@sherribrowningerwin.com. Also, I’m on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/SherriBrowningErwin and Twitter @sherrierwin.

Title: An Affair Downstairs

Author: Sherri Browning

Series: Thornbrook Park

ISBN: 978-1-4022-8682-7

Pubdate: 1/6/2015

The attraction of the forbidden cannot be suppressed…

Lady Alice Emerson is entirely unsatisfied with the endless stream of boring suitors her family finds appropriate. She wants something more. Something daring. Something real. Each tiresome new suitor only serves to further inflame Lady Alice’s combustible attraction to Thornbrook Park’s rugged, manly estate manager, Logan Winthrop. Despite Logan’s stubborn attempts to avoid her, Lady Alice is irresistible, and so is the forbidden desire exploding between them…

If you’re a fan of Downton Abbey, don’t miss the fascinating Edwardian world of Thornbrook Park.

Sherri Browning writes historical and contemporary romance fiction, sometimes with a paranormal twist. She is the author of critically acclaimed classic mash-ups Jane Slayre and Grave Expectations. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, Sherri has lived in western Massachusetts and Greater Detroit Michigan, but is now settled with her family in Simsbury, Connecticut. Find her online at www.sherribrowningerwin.com.

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1t8sd3F

Apple: http://bit.ly/1yuHHT8

BAM: http://bit.ly/1uEa5Bz

B&N: http://bit.ly/1HreAq1

Chapters: http://bit.ly/1x5Uyc8

Indiebound: http://bit.ly/1uEbg42

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9. The Queen of the Tearling: Review

Have you read The Queen of the Tearling yet? If not: stop what you are doing immediately; do not pass Go; do not collect $200. Just go read The Queen of the Tearling. You will not regret it. I’m really bummed that I didn’t read it sooner. (And didn’t read it soon enough to count it among my 2014 favorites, because it definitely is, you guys.) It’s the sort of novel I’m predisposed to like because it features all of the following: lost princesses, a kingdom in turmoil, a tiny bit of romance, and ladies being badasses. And the underlying message is “this is why books are important, you guys.” So, this is all to say: if you like any of all of these things, please go read The Queen of the Tearling, and then join me in biting my nails, squealing like a ten year-old, and making grabby hands for... Read more »

The post The Queen of the Tearling: Review appeared first on The Midnight Garden.

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10. Interview and Giveaway: Jessica Peterson, Author of The Millionaire Rogue

 

This morning Jessica Peterson stopped by for a chat, and she brought along a copy of her latest release for you to win!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Jessica!  Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Jessica Peterson] Books, country music, romance, wine.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Millionaire Rogue?

[Jessica Peterson] Sure!  This book was so much fun to write.  A couple of years ago I was researching the Hope Diamond and discovered it appeared, mysteriously, in 1812 London.  This was the spark for my HOPE DIAMOND TRILOGY.  How fun to set a trio of romances amidst the intrigue of a cursed diamond with a checkered past?  I couldn’t resist!

THE MILLIONAIRE ROGUE follows banker Thomas Hope and debutante Sophia Blaise as they try – and fail! – to resist each other following the theft of a fifty-carat diamond from Hope’s ballroom.  I remember brainstorming an outline for MILLIONAIRE and being overwhelmed by how quickly – and strongly – the first few scenes came to me.  As a writer who often struggles with plot, it was such a thrill to have the pieces of Thomas and Sophia’s puzzle fall together like they did.  No book is easy to write, but writing these two characters, detailing their adventures, was really a joy.

I’d like to think Thomas is a somewhat quiet – but intense – hero.  I found him to be charming, adorable, and, like Sophia, irresistible.  He’s got a shady past (who doesn’t?), but there is something endearing about him – he always tries to do right by those he loves.

Sophia is a heroine after my own heart.  I think we all, at some point in our lives, struggle with disconnect between who we think we should be – what we should want, who we should be with – and who we really are.  Sophia is no exception; while she thinks she wants to marry a man with a title and castle, the man who really makes her happy has neither of those things.  I loved exploring this internal conflict

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Can you share your favorite scene?

[Jessica Peterson] It’s no secret that I love – LOVE! – writing kissing scenes.  There are a few of them in THE MILLIONAIRE ROGUE; I’d have to say my favorite is the first kissing scene, when Thomas and Sophia are forced to kiss – only to discover that they like kissing each other very much.  They share another smooch later that night in the rain.  That scene is definitely a close second.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

[Jessica Peterson] The characters.  I really liked writing a softer hero this time around – he’s like the nice guy who also happens to be very handsome and very rich.  And Sophia was such a joy to visit with everyday.  They are so witty and so real to me; and they had quite a lot of fun together themselves.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Jessica Peterson] Yikes, that’s a good question.  My husband makes fun of me for having a car full of empty water bottles.  I have a phobia of being thirsty, I guess, because I take water with me EVERYWHERE.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Jessica Peterson] You’re in luck.  I just organized my office, so there’s nothing here to scare you.  I’ve got my planner, a cup of iced coffee, and a notebook filled to the brim with notes on book 3!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Jessica Peterson] Love this question.  I just got back from a trip to England, where my husband and I did a good bit of sightseeing in London.  Of all the things I saw, the thing that struck me most was a neck ruffle from the Elizabethan period.  I’d trade places with Queen Elizabeth I, just so I could see that neck ruffle in action.  I’m so curious what life was like back then – what people looked like, how bad their teeth were.  I’d love to meet Shakespeare and Kit Marlowe.  And I’d like to know if the food they ate was really as weird tasting as we think it is.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week.  Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?

[Jessica Peterson] I’d choose the power of being able to live in movies and TV shows.  Then I’d go live in THE HOLIDAY for a few days, followed by PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (the Keira Knightley version) and then, because I love Benedict Cumberbatch, SHERLOCK.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Jessica Peterson] I just finished Tessa Dare’s ANY DUCHESS WILL DO.  It was unbelievably good.  I also loved ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins, LONGBOURN by Jo Baker, THE HOOK UP by Kristen Callihan, and Julie Anne Long’s IT HAPPENED ONE MIDNIGHT (can you tell I love romance?!).  All amazing reads.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Jessica Peterson] I love to interact with readers, whether it’s via Goodreads, my Facebook page, my Twitter feed, or my blog.  Drop a line and say hello!  

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8108644.Jessica_Peterson

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/jessicapetersonauthor

Twitter: @JessicaPAuthor

Blog: http://jessicapeterson.com/blog/

Thanks, Julie, for having me!

About the book:

In an age of stately decorum, the Hope Diamond was a source of delicious intrigue—and a font of unimaginable adventure…
Though not of noble birth, Thomas Hope has a skill in banking that’s made him one of the richest, most trusted men in London. Still, he keeps his dubious past hidden. So when an old acquaintance calls on Hope to help acquire the infamous French Blue Diamond, he’s desperate to be discreet. He never expects that his biggest concern shouldn’t be losing his reputation, but his heart…
Sophia Blaise is determined to make a brilliant match with this season’s most eligible, most titled bachelor, but her true passion has been ignited by the incredible stories she hears while secretly transcribing the memoirs of a notorious Madam. After a night of clandestine writing ends with Sophia caught up in a scandalous adventure of her own—with an alluring banker—she begins to question whether she’s suited to the proper life she’s always known…
Caught up in a thrilling exploit and unexpected romance, Sophia must make a choice between what her head knows is safe and what her heart desperately desires, before both slip from her grasp forever…

About the Author:

Jessica Peterson began reading romance to escape the decidedly unromantic awkwardness of her teenage years. Having found solace in the likes of Rhett Butler and Mr. Darcy, it wasn’t long before she began creating tall, dark, and handsome heroes of her own.

A graduate of Duke University, Jessica worked at an investment bank before leaving to pursue her writerly dreams. She lives with her husband, the tall, dark, and handsome Mr. Peterson, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

US and Canadian addresses only, please.

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The post Interview and Giveaway: Jessica Peterson, Author of The Millionaire Rogue appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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11. Spotlight and Giveaway: How to Plan a Wedding for a Royal Spy by Vanessa Kelly

I have an excerpt and giveaway for Vanessa Kelly’s latest release, How to Plan a Wedding for a Royal Spy.  Enjoy! 

How to Plan a Wedding for a Royal Spy

Renegade Royals # 3

By: Vanessa Kelly

Releasing January 6th, 2014

Zebra / Kensington

Blurb

Whether as spies or lovers, the Renegade Royals—illegitimate sons of England’s Royal Princes—are bold, skillful, and a force to be reckoned with…

A war hero returned from Waterloo should be able to indulge in a bit of bad behavior. Instead, Captain William Endicott is summoned by his father, the Duke of York, to investigate an assassination plot. The unlikely suspect: William’s former sweetheart. Will can’t believe that innocent Evie Whitney could be mixed up in anything so nefarious. Then again, almost everything about Evie has changed—except for his body’s instinctive response to hers…

Just as Evie’s life is finally coming together, Will saunters back into it. Should she slap him—or seduce him? Even as she tries to decide, scandal pushes her toward marriage with a man she can neither trust nor resist—and into the heart of a deadly conspiracy…

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/08/how-to-plan-wedding-for-royal-spy.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21535290-how-to-plan-a-wedding-for-a-royal-spy?from_search=true

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes | iTunes | Kobo

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1osh1P9

B&N: http://bit.ly/1o55dzl

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/books/How-Plan-Wedding-Royal-Spy/LdpzSQL3f0upseUTInTZmA?MixID=LdpzSQL3f0upseUTInTZmA&PageNumber=1

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/how-to-plan-wedding-for-royal/id883292201?mt=11

Author Info

Vanessa Kelly is an award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.” Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated for awards in a number of contests, and her second book, Sex and The Single Earl, won the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance. Her current series, The Renegade Royals is a national bestseller. Vanessa also writes USA Today bestselling contemporary romance with her husband, under the pen name of VK Sykes.

Author Links: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Website: www.vanessakellyauthor.com

Blog: http://www.vanessakellyauthor.com/vanessa-blog/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vanessakellyauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/VanessaKellyAut

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1vCc1Zs

Excerpt:

Will and his fellow spy, Alec Gilbride, must find a way to speak with Evie and her suitor, Michael Beaumont, who they suspect of treason:

Will didn’t much enjoy approaching Evie like he would an enemy, but he nodded his agreement. Alec wandered off at an angle, as if heading to speak to Lord Reese, before casually strolling around to come up behind Evie. Will, meanwhile, made a head-on approach.

When he was still several feet away, he could see Evie’s shoulders go up around her ears as if she sensed him nearing, even in the midst of a serious conversation with Beaumont. She turned her head, snagging Will’s gaze. Behind the glint of reflected candlelight on her spectacle lenses, her eyes widened with dismay.

Damn.

Aside from her evident distrust making his job more difficult, he hated the idea that she wasn’t comfortable around him. He supposed it was inevitable given the years apart and the way he’d disappointed her, but he didn’t share her unease. From the first moment he’d seen her today, he’d been overcome by a sense of familiarity so strong it had robbed him of breath. Was it merely a reactive instinct to returning to his childhood haunts? He’d not felt that way when visiting with Aunt Rebecca only a few weeks ago, but perhaps the sorrow over his uncle’s death had mitigated the cheer of that particular homecoming.

Beaumont, noticing Evie’s distraction, had broken off and turned to face Will with a puzzled look on his features. When their gazes met, Beaumont’s head jerked back as if he had just sighted the enemy. He moved a step closer to Evie, one hand disappearing behind her back, and Will had little doubt that Beaumont’s hand now rested protectively on her waist. Obviously, the man had good instincts where his almost-fiancée was concerned—a useful if unwelcome bit of knowledge.

“Wolf . . . Will . . . good evening,” Evie stammered. “It’s . . . it’s nice to see you again.”

Evie’s awkwardness in company was nothing new. But awkwardness with him was. Will gave her a slight bow and the warmest smile in his arsenal.

Her smooth complexion pinked up with a pretty blush and her generous bosom rose and fell on a quick exhalation of breath, the plump mounds straining against her bodice. It took a great deal of willpower on his part to resist the temptation to take a longer glance down.

“I’m glad I accepted Matt’s invitation,” he said. “It’s been like coming home, seeing Maywood Manor and all my old friends.”

Her full mouth thinned into a narrow line as she transformed from flustered to annoyed in the space of one breath. “One could wonder that you didn’t make the trip sooner, but never mind. I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself. Certainly my mother seems happy to see you.”

Ah, now that was a tidy detail. She obviously thought her mother was up to something too.

Beaumont glanced at Evie and cleared his throat in a pointed fashion. Her shoulders jerked even higher and her cheeks went from pink to red.

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Grand Prize of a $20 Amazon or Barnes Gift Card and 4 Runners Up will receive print copies of SECRETS FOR SEDUCING A ROYAL BODYGUARD and MY FAVORITE COUNTESS.)

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The post Spotlight and Giveaway: How to Plan a Wedding for a Royal Spy by Vanessa Kelly appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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12. The Ghosts of Heaven: visual tour + giveaway

There are a handful of authors who have an open invitation to come do anything they like here at The Midnight Garden, and today’s guest is one of them. I don’t think of the word “genius” much in conjunction with novelists, but it pops into my head often when I read Marcus Sedgwick’s books. He is the 2014 Printz-winning author of the glorious, bloody Midwinterblood and a favorite guest of ours. His newest book features 4 stories, which can be read in order or not, as the reader chooses. All are linked by spirals that appear again and again. What does it all mean? We’re pleased to be kicking off the official The Ghosts of Heaven blog tour with a visual tour of places that inspired portions of his newest book! Though really, don’t be surprised if you drop in one of these days  and Marcus is just casually strumming... Read more »

The post The Ghosts of Heaven: visual tour + giveaway appeared first on The Midnight Garden.

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13. Spotlight and Giveaway: Return to Clan Sinclair by Karen Ranney

This morning I have an excerpt and giveaway for Return to Clan Sinclair by Karen Ranney!

Return to Clan Sinclair
Clan Sinclair #3.5

By: Karen Ranney

Releasing December 23rd

Avon Romance

Blurb

The stunning follow-up novella in New York Times bestselling author Karen Ranney’s beloved Clan Sinclair series.

It’s true love in the Scottish highlands. When Ceana Sinclair Mead married the youngest son of an Irish duke, she never dreamed that seven years later her beloved Peter would die. Her three brothers-in-law thought she should be grateful to remain a proper widow. After three years of this, she’s ready to scream. She escapes to Scotland, only to discover she’s so much more than just the Widow Mead.

In Scotland, Ceana crosses paths with Bruce Preston, an American tasked with a dangerous mission by her brother, Macrath. Bruce is too attractive for her peace of mind, but she still finds him fascinating. Their one night together is more wonderful than Ceana could have imagined and she has never felt more alive.

But when the past reaches out in the form of an old foe, Ceana’s life is in danger. Now Bruce fights to become her savior-and more-if she’ll let him.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/11/return-to-clan-sinclair-clan-sinclair.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22836639-return-to-clan-sinclair

Buy Links: Amazon | B&N | iTunes

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00M714K9W?tag=karerann-20

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/return-to-clan-sinclair-karen-ranney/1120356999?ean=9780062337450&isbn=9780062337450

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/return-to-clan-sinclair/id904028245?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4at%253D1l3vpsn

Author Info

Karen Ranney began writing when she was five. Her first published work was The Maple Leaf, read over the school intercom when she was in the first grade. In addition to wanting to be a violinist (her parents had a special violin crafted for her when she was seven), she wanted to be a lawyer, a teacher, and, most of all, a writer. Though the violin was discarded early, she still admits to a fascination with the law, and she volunteers as a teacher whenever needed. Writing, however, has remained the overwhelming love of her life.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Website: http://karenranney.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WriterKarenRanney

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Karen_Ranney

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/68758.Karen_Ranney


Excerpt

July, 1880

Drumvagen, Scotland

Her driver slowed to a halt, no doubt getting an eyeful of Drumvagen and the Scottish coast. Ceana would wager a goodly sum that by the time the week was out, he would have posted a report of everything to her brothers-in-law. The same intransigent, annoying, and beloved brothers-in-law who were trying to render her as dead as her poor husband, Peter.

She’d been a widow for three years now, during which they’d been her guardians. She couldn’t escape them. Wherever she went, one of the three brothers was there.

“Do you need anything, Ceana?”

“Can I fetch anything from town for you?”

“Shall we order something from London?”

“You’re looking a little peaked, would you like to take the sun with me?”

They’d offered their arms, their interest, their help, and their eternal interference.

So she had done what any self-respecting Scot would do when faced with three Irish brothers-in-law: she’d run away from home.

She dismounted from the carriage, standing there staring in awe.

Granted, Iverclaire was a lovely place, an enchanted castle in Ireland, quite a forbidding yet beautiful structure. But Drumvagen, this had been created by her own brother.

They’d been so poor once upon a time, but Macrath had taken his dream and made it come true. Because of him, she’d had a season in London and had married the son of a duke.

Yet she always thought she had something to do with his happiness as well. Her friendship with Virginia had led them to be introduced at numerous events. When Virginia and Macrath were finally married after her first husband died, she wasn’t the least surprised.

Nor was she the least surprised when Alistair, Virginia’s first child, looked just like Macrath.

The seabirds called a greeting to her, swooping down on air currents blowing the scent of the sea to her.

For days, she’d been alone in the carriage, encased in a bubble of silence. Other than speaking to the driver first thing in the morning and when they stopped for a meal, she hadn’t talked to another person.

At first she’d missed her daughters terribly. Then she realized the time was her own, to think, to mull, to remember. When she went home, she’d be a better mother to Darina and Nessa.

She stood at the base of the steps, staring upward. Virginia had told her about Drumvagen, but even her description failed to convey just how impressive the house was.

Built of gray brick sparkling in the sunlight, it was four stories tall with rows of windows reflecting both the sun and the sea to her right. But most impressive of all was the twin staircase beginning at the broad front doors and curving down and around like arms reaching out to enfold her.

She took the right staircase and, with her left hand gripping her skirt, placed her right on the broad stone banister, slowly ascending the steps.

At the top, she stopped and turned and looked at the ocean. Far off in the distance was the North Sea. Drumvagen and its neighboring village, Kinloch, was the perfect place for Macrath to live. From here he could simply sail away to anyplace in the world he wished to be.

She glanced down at the carriage and her driver, standing at the head of the horses with his cap in his hand. Thomas was a good man, but he was a toady to all the Meads. He was going to tell them everything they wanted to know, which was a pity. The man had a good memory, and she’d no doubt already erred in some manner.

Her lips twitched at the brass knocker on one of the big broad doors. Macrath had evidently had the refrigeration machine’s likeness made especially for Drumvagen. She picked it up and let it drop, hearing the echo in the foyer.

A moment later the door was flung open. A body slammed into her, arms gripping her waist, pulling so tightly on her dress her train almost toppled in a flurry of fabric. She found herself falling, only righting herself by gripping the door frame.

“Save me! Please! Don’t let her get me!”

Ceana stared down at her niece. The poor girl was trembling and she had splotchy color on her cheeks.

“Fiona?” She reached down, enfolding the girl in a hug. “What’s wrong?”

“It’s Brianag, I’ve done something terrible and she made the sign of evil over me just like a witch. I’m going to get sick and die, I know it.”

Who was this Brianag who was tormenting the poor child?

“Aunt Ceana.”

She looked up at the sound of the composed voice, blinking at her nephew. Alistair was only fourteen but already had the height of his father, not to mention his demeanor.

As she stood on the doorstep, he extended his hand to her.

“How nice to see you again Aunt Ceana,” he said. He glanced down at his sister dismissively. “You must pardon Fiona. She’s a silly little thing.”

“I am not silly. I’ll tell Brianag you broke her jar of spices.”

To Ceana’s great surprise, Alistair paled.

“That wouldn’t be well done of you, Fiona. You know as well as I do it was your carelessness that made the jar fall. Father always says we have to deal with the consequences of our actions.”

“Where are your parents?” Ceana asked. “Where are Macrath and Virginia?”

“They’ve gone to Edinburgh, they have,” a voice said. “Leaving me to deal with their spawn.”

She looked up past Alistair and—God help her!—took a step back toward the steep stairs.

Fiona was more correct than she had assumed.

Drumvagen did have a witch.

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The post Spotlight and Giveaway: Return to Clan Sinclair by Karen Ranney appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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14. Over Easy: Review Haiku

Eggs, bacon, cocaine --
just your average 1970s
diner fare.

Over Easy by Mimi Pond. Drawn & Quarterly, 2014, 272 pages.

0 Comments on Over Easy: Review Haiku as of 12/26/2014 2:54:00 AM
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15. Guest Post and Giveaway: Sharon Cullen, Author of His Saving Grace

Please welcome Sharon Cullen to the virtual offices!  She’s here to share a guest post, and she has a giveaway for you to enter, too!

I love this topic! While I try very hard never to take my deadline down to the wire (I’ve never been a procrastinator), there are times when it occasionally happens. And, hey, I’m always up for a snack!

 

Chocolate anything is good for me. I mean that literally. I’ve been known to eat directly out of the bag of chocolate chips if need be.

But my favorite is M&Ms. Plain or peanut (although peanut will make me love you forever).

I’ve also discovered these chocolate…thingies. I’m not sure what to call them but they’re made by Brookside and they’re called Dark Chocolate Acai Berries. It’s made of dark chocolate (obviously) with a blueberry taste. Soooo good. And the best part is that they’re fairly low in calories and while I’m not sure what the health benefits of acai are, I do know there are some. Right?

I’m also a prodigious baker. There’s always some baked good sitting on our counters. Lately I’ve been going through my Pinterest recipes and trying new things at least once a week.

Ack! This makes it seem like all I do is eat. I promise you, that’s not the case.

Unless there are M&Ms in the house.

His Saving Grace
Secrets & Seduction # 4

By: Sharon Cullen

Releasing December 23rd, 2014

Loveswept

Blurb

Perfect for fans of Mary Balogh, Sharon Cullen’s captivating novel tells the deeply emotional tale of two devoted lovers facing the ravages of war.

For months now, Lady Grace Ashworth has mourned the death of her beloved husband—until the day a very-much-alive Michael arrives at her front door. It’s nothing less than a miracle. However, Grace soon realizes that this Michael isn’t the same man who left for the Crimean War. She’s stunned to learn that he has suffered a devastating head injury. Putting all her own desires aside, Grace resolves to devote herself to Michael’s recovery and to love him no matter what troubles may come.

Convinced that his wife is wasting her time on a broken man, Michael attempts to shield Grace from a life of inconvenience by driving her away. But Grace will have none of that. Despite every obstacle Michael throws in her path, she stubbornly soldiers on, fighting not only for their marriage but for the love they once shared. In the end, will her determination alone be enough to save Michael from the darkness that threatens to consume him?

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/09/his-saving-grace-secrets-seduction-4-by_27.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22707764-his-saving-grace?from_search=true

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes | iTunes | Kobo

 

 

Author Info

Sharon Cullen is the author of the historical romances The Notorious Lady Anne, Loving the Earl, and Pleasing the Pirate, as well as many novels of romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance. If you’d like to find out more about the author and her books, you can visit her blog or her website. She is addicted to social networking so you can find her on Facebook and Twitter. Friend her! Like her! Follow her! She’d love to hang out with you and talk about her passion: books.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Website: http://www.sharoncullen.net/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sharon-Cullen-Author/243329341691

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SharonCullen

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1806419.Sharon_Cullen

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The post Guest Post and Giveaway: Sharon Cullen, Author of His Saving Grace appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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16. A Quilt for Christmas (2014)

A Quilt for Christmas. Sandra Dallas. 2014. St. Martin's Press. 256 pages. [Source: Library]

For readers who love to read about quilters or quilts, this one may prove satisfying. Also, this one would be a good match for those who like to read about the Civil War. This one is set in Kansas during the last year of the Civil War. I liked Sandra Dallas' A Quilt for Christmas even though I don't consider myself fitting into the ideal audience. (I don't particularly seek out books about quilts. I don't seek out historical fiction set during the Civil War.)

Eliza Spooner is the heroine. She loves, loves, loves to quilt. She loves to get together with other women in the community. The war has had an effect on the community. Many husbands (and brothers, fathers, sons, etc.) are gone, away fighting for one side or the other. Eliza's husband, Will, is fighting for the Union. The novel opens with Eliza finishing a quilt she's made for her husband. She'll be sending the quilt along with a soldier who is returning to her husband's unit from leave. Her love for her husband is obvious, and, not just because she's spent all this time making a quilt. There are dozens of flashbacks. These flashbacks give readers a chance to get to know the couple. However, I must admit that these flashbacks are confusing at times. They are not really set apart in the text, and the transition from present-day to the past can be sloppy at times.

Readers meet Eliza and her son and daughter. Readers meet men and women of the small community as well. Mainly, readers get to know Missouri Ann and her daughter. When Missouri Ann's husband dies, she takes the opportunity to flee from her abusive in-laws. Eliza opens her home to the pair, and this isn't without some risk. Missouri Ann's in-laws are probably without a doubt the meanest and cruelest in the county--if not the state. But not everyone in the community is as immediately open to including Missouri Ann in their group. Her in-laws have tainted her, a bit, no one wants to get close to someone who would marry into that family.

At one point, at a quilting party of sorts, the discussion of slavery and runaway slaves comes up. Opinions are mixed. Prejudices are voiced. Even though most of the women are for the Union--for the Yankees--most if not all have very strong views about blacks.

Eliza's own views will be tested when she's asked to hide a runaway slave: a woman who murdered her mistress. Will she welcome her home to this slave and put her own life and the lives of her children at risk?

A Quilt for Christmas is an odd book at times. It seems to have a handful of plots and stories, any one could be the MAIN one, but really not one seems to stand out as being the one it's all about. It's definitely NOT a plot-driven book. It's mainly about the lives of women in a particular community during the fall of 1864 and throughout 1865.

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on A Quilt for Christmas (2014) as of 12/16/2014 11:04:00 AM
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17. The Alfred G. Graebner Memorial High School Handbook of Rules and Regulations: Review Haiku

Some parts haven't aged
well, but overall, as awesome
as I recall.

The Alfred G. Graebner Memorial High School Handbook of Rules and Regulations by Ellen Conford. Little Brown, 1976, 220 pages.

(Ignore the "TWO PAWS UP BOOKS" in that image. Jackets of OP books are hard to find . . . )

0 Comments on The Alfred G. Graebner Memorial High School Handbook of Rules and Regulations: Review Haiku as of 12/12/2014 8:38:00 AM
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18. Davy Crockett In Winter

Cover Illustration for
Davy Crockett: Frontier Hero
Watercolor on Arches hot press paper
Steven James Petruccio

0 Comments on Davy Crockett In Winter as of 12/11/2014 12:48:00 AM
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19. Guest Post and Giveaway: Megan Frampton, Author of The Dukes Guide to Correct Behavior

Please welcome Megan Frampton to the virtual offices this morning!  Check out what she has to say about her latest release The Duke’s Guide to Correct Behavior, and then enter the awesome giveaway!

Thank you to the Manga Maniac Café for inviting me to guest at their site today. I am a fan of both manga and cafes, although I am not certain about maniacs. I guess it depends on what type of maniac you are. I am maniacal about IPAs, peanut butter, and black sweaters, myself. Not to mention tall, dark-haired British men (see: Most of my heroes).

My new release, The Duke’s Guide to Correct Behavior, pairs an incorrect duke with an improper governess. Both the hero and heroine have a lot to learn about their respective positions in life, and of course they make a muddle of it as they (spoiler!) fall in love with one another.

Marcus, the Duke of Rutherford, is particularly ill-equipped to be a duke, since he never expected to inherit such a lofty title, and has really only wasted time with trivial pursuits prior to this. But just as he’s inherited the title he also gets another responsibility—the care of a child he knew about, but hadn’t had to worry about before.

So Marcus has to hire a governess and take his place in society, which means dressing for the part. But unfortunately, Marcus is usually improperly dressed, which causes his valet some consternation.

Marcus’s valet, Miller, has a few complaints he would like to air here in this safe forum.

  1. The duke cannot seem to keep his cravat on. Each time after he’s met with his daughter’s governess his cravat is nowhere close to his neck.

  2. The duke does not care about whether or not he is appropriately garbed for a ball. He would be just as happy—perhaps moreso—if he could just wear trousers and a shirt.

  3. The duke’s hair seldom needs any kind of styling. I would not admit this to His Grace, but it looks best just after he’s run his hand through it, which he does when he is thinking about something.

  4. The duke is far too tall to fit into most men’s clothing. This requires his wardrobe to be specially ordered, which would be fine if His Grace actually cared about he was wearing. He does not.

  5. Have I mentioned his cravats? Because they are to be found scattered about the house, often with jam on them, and never on His Grace’s throat.

 

The Duke’s Guide to Correct Behavior
Dukes Behaving Badly # 1

By: Megan Frampton

Releasing November 25th, 2014

Avon

Blurb

All of London knows the Duke of Rutherford has position and wealth. They also whisper that he’s dissolute, devilish, and determinedly unwed. So why, everyone is asking, has he hired a governess?

When Miss Lily Russell crosses the threshold of the Duke of Rutherford’s stylish townhouse, she knows she has come face to face with sensual danger. For this is no doting papa. Rather, his behavior is scandalous, and his reputation rightly earned. And his pursuit of her is nearly irresistible—but resist she must for the sake of her pupil.

As for the duke himself, it was bad enough when his unknown child landed on his doorstep. Now Lily, with her unassuming beauty, has aroused his most wicked fantasies—and, shockingly, his desire to change his wanton ways. He’s determined to become worthy of her, and so he asks for her help in correcting his behavior.

But Lily has a secret, one that, if it becomes known, could change everything . . .

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/09/the-dukes-guide-to-correct-behavior.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20957414-the-duke-s-guide-to-correct-behavior?ac=1

Buy Links : Amazon | Barnes | iTunes | Kobo

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dukes-Guide-Correct-Behavior-Behaving-ebook/dp/B00IRCZCRY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1409072698&sr=1-1&keywords=duke%27s+guide+to+correct+behavior

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-dukes-guide-to-correct-behavior-megan-frampton/1120020579

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dukes-guide-to-correct-behavior/id833988081

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-duke-s-guide-to-correct-behavior

Author Info

Megan Frampton writes historical romance under her own name and romantic women’s fiction as Megan Caldwell. She likes the color black, gin, dark-haired British men, and huge earrings, not in that order. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband and son.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Website: http://meganframpton.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/meganframptonbooks
Twitter: https://twitter.com/meganf
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/686916.Megan_Frampton?from_search=true

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The post Guest Post and Giveaway: Megan Frampton, Author of The Dukes Guide to Correct Behavior appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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20. Review: Twice Tempted by Eileen Dreyer

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I was in the mood for a historical romance, so I fired up my Kindle and started reading Twice Tempted.  I was hooked from the first page.  I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, but a sweet romance, sprinkled with spicy interludes and a light spy thriller wasn’t it.  I enjoyed as the mystery slowly revealed itself, as well as the secondary characters helping Alex and Fiona solve it.  They actually made the read for me, because Chuffy and Mairead were so unique and their eccentricities were delightfully surprising.

Fiona isn’t having a good day.  The man she has obsessed over for the last four years has just delivered the heartbreaking news that her older brother Ian has been killed.  Worse, her cranky grandfather promptly throws Fiona and her twin sister Mairead out on the streets, because the honorable old man can’t abide the thought of Ian’s scandal rubbing off on his good name.  His granddaughters were only tolerated because Ian was his heir.  He can’t forgive them for the stain of growing up in the slums, and he can’t wait to be rid of them.

Alex, Ian’s friend, is dismayed to find Fiona and Mairead gone when he returns to inform the girls that Ian is still alive and the news of his demise was premature, as was the outrage he was accused of.  Now Alex truly is a man of honor, and he is consumed with guilt for not being there to protect the girls.  Four years ago he delivered Fiona to her grandfather’s estate, and after stealing a kiss from her, he thought that she was in good hands.  Little did he know that Fiona was verbally abused by the marquess, and constantly made to feel unwelcome in her new home.  Alex had only known love and support from his own family, so the thought that Fiona and Mairead would be treated so poorly never occurred to him.  Now he’s determined to find her and give her the life she deserves.

When Alex locates the young women, they are not interested in his plans for their future.  Both Fiona and Mairead are consumed with their intellectual pursuits, and they have no intention of giving up their mathematics and astronomy for a life of luxury.  Fiona has serious trust issues stemming from her childhood in the slums, and she doesn’t believe Alex is capable of delivering on his promises.  She fought to keep her and Mairead safe and fed, and it wasn’t always easy.  I have to say that I don’t understand where Ian was during this time; after their mother died, why didn’t Ian do anything to see the girls in a safer environment?  There was no excuse for him to have left them alone and defenseless for so long, regardless of his circumstances. Ugh.

I had a hard time putting Twice Tempted down, especially as Alex and Fiona became more enmeshed in the plot that threatened to destroy both of them.  They both have trust issues due to their pasts, and secrets they are keeping from each other.  I enjoyed the action, the romance, and how the diverse characters interacted, gaining strength and confidence from their new friendships.  This was a fun read!

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

Fiona Ferguson’s troubles began with a kiss . . .

It feels like a lifetime ago that Alex Knight saved Fiona from certain doom . . . and stole a soul-shattering kiss for good measure. Wanting nothing more than to keep her safe, he left her in the care of her grandfather, the Marquess of Dourne.
But Fiona was hardly safe. As soon as he could, the marquess cast her and her sister out on the streets with only her wits to keep them alive.

Alex has never forgotten that long-ago kiss. Now the dashing spy is desperate to make up for failing his duty once before. This time he will protect Fiona once and for all, from a deadly foe bent on taking revenge on the Ferguson line-and anyone who stands in the way . . .

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21. Interview and Giveaway: Jennifer Delamere, Author of A Bride for the Season

Please welcome Jennifer Delamere to the virtual offices this morning!

[Manga Maniac Café] Describe yourself in five words or less.   

[Jennifer Delamere] Travel-loving history geek

[Manga Maniac Café] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?      

[Jennifer Delamere] My CamelBak water bottle. I’m a big believer in the benefits of drinking lots of water.

[Manga Maniac Café] Name three things on your desk right now.   

[Jennifer Delamere] My RITA® finalist pin (taped to my computer);

a coffee cup filled with bookmarks from my favorite authors;

an engraved silver bookmark with the George Eliot quote: “It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

[Manga Maniac Café] You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week.  Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?    

[Jennifer Delamere] I’d stop time long enough to catch up on my writing and all my home projects!

[Manga Maniac Café] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Jennifer Delamere] “The Anatomist’s Wife” by Anna Lee Huber; “The Girl Who Came Home,” by Hazel Gaynor; “Sailing Out of Darkness,” by Normandie Fischer

About A BRIDE FOR THE SEASON

London’s most scandalous bachelor has finally gone too far. Caught in a situation that was innocent but too compromising, James Simpson is forced to admit that he must do the honorable thing and marry the lady. Unfortunately, marriage alone will not be enough to appease her father. He won’t agree to a dowry unless James can find a suitable husband for the lady’s elder sister-the shy and awkward Lucinda Cardington.
Lucinda doesn’t care that she is close to being “on the shelf”; she has more serious pursuits in mind. She enjoys the friendship she and James share over their love of photography, but she leaves dreams of romance to silly young ladies like her sister. James does manage to find a match for Lucinda, and his efforts to get them together are about to succeed…until James comes to the distressing realization that he doesn’t want Lucinda in anyone’s arms but his own.

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About Jennifer Delamere

The youngest child of a Navy pilot and a journalist, Jennifer acquired a love of adventure and an excitement for learning that continues to this day. She’s lived in three countries and traveled throughout theU.S. An avid reader of classics and historical fiction, she also enjoys biographies and histories, which she mines for the vivid details to bring to life the characters and places in her books. She resides with her husband in North Carolina–where, when not writing or dreaming up romantic adventures for her characters, she can be found fantasizing about her next ski trip or European vacation.

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22. Classic MG Readalong: Farmer Boy

Hello, friends! Welcome to this month’s classics readalong discussion, where we’ll be gleefully chatting about Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder. For those new to the series, this is a standalone historical fiction novel based on true people and events, written by the author about her husband’s boyhood on his family’s farm in the late 1800s. A reminder: You have ONE MONTH left to finish your classics readalong challenge for this year! Have you read and reviewed 8 books yet? Are you going to be able to? A little more on that below, plus info on the December/January books. We have so much pie to eat talk about, though, that we should just get started on our discussion! Wendy: I wanted to do this one for our readalong because it’s a nice standalone–plus it’s my favorite of the series! (Followed by The Long Winter, but for very different reasons–this one’s... Read more »

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23. Spotlight and Giveaway: Tempting Mr Weatherstone by Vivienne Lorret

 

Tempting Mr. Weatherstone

Wallflower Weddings Book #0.5

By: Vivienne Lorret

On Sale Nov 25th, 2014

 

Avon Romance

Penelope Rutledge longs for passion, but only with the man of her dreams: the brilliant, dashing Ethan Weatherstone. If only her longtime neighbor would open his eyes and realize how much she loves him. If only they weren’t best friends with so much at stake. Penelope knows her future – and their friendship – is in her hands, but is she willing to take the biggest risk of all on the man she loves?

If it were up to Ethan, life and love would be as predictable as the figures in his ledgers – certainly nothing like the adventures Penelope longs for. Yet his childhood friend has grown into a beautiful, feisty woman blissfully unaware of the danger she causes when near. Ethan knows he must save Penelope-and her reputation…but can he save himself from the temptation of her lips?

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/11/tempting-mr-weatherstone-by-vivienne.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22836686-tempting-mr-weatherstone

Series Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/115423-wallflower-weddings

Buy Links: Amazon | B&N | iTunes

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Tempting-Mr-Weatherstone-Wallflower-book-ebook/dp/B00M719Z3S

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tempting-mr-weatherstone-vivienne-lorret/1120323588?ean=9780062387257

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/tempting-mr.-weatherstone/id904017053?mt=11

Author Info

I fell in love with fairy tales and the romance behind happily ever after at a very young age. Like a lot of you, I tweaked the fables bit by bit in my imagination until they suited me perfectly. By the time I was eleven, a teacher encouraged me to start writing.

Throughout the years that followed, my teachers remained my most fervent supporters, giving me the tools I needed to continue my journey as a writer.

My husband and I have two teenage boys, who are heroes in their own right. For now, we live in a small Midwestern town near Lake Michigan…until a time in the future when a new adventure calls us to other shores.

I am currently working on my next novel, but I always enjoy hearing from my readers. Feel free to email me at vivienne@vivlorret.net

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

http://www.vivlorret.net/home

https://www.facebook.com/vivienne.lorret

https://twitter.com/VivLorret

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1806374.Vivienne_Lorret

 

Excerpt

Ethan Weatherstone was due for a piece of her mind. It was about time he understood that he had no right to interfere with her life.

Mind made up, she took one last look at the mail coach and shook her head. She reached down for her satchel and stormed over to Ethan’s carriage.

Penelope threw open the door and climbed inside, seething as she sat across from him. He didn’t even have the courtesy to look at her. Instead, he sat back against the squabs, his head turned to the window. The only reason she knew he was aware of her presence was from the way he clenched his jaw, a muscle twitching just beneath the surface of his skin.

“Were you waiting to humiliate me? Waiting until I was already seated before you dragged me away from the mail coach? Or perhaps you planned to follow me all the way to Portsmouth?”

He refused to respond or even so much as look at her. If she hadn’t been angry before she entered the carriage, then she certainly was fuming now.

“Truly, Ethan, for someone who cannot live outside the lines of your carefully crafted order, your sameness that covers you like a shroud, this is quite surprising behavior,” she hissed, baiting him. “I only wish your concern for my happiness were as great as your concern for my reputation.”

At that, he glared at her sharply. Ah, so she’d struck a chord.

Good. Yet still, he did not say anything.

There he sat, perfectly groomed, his cravat perfectly pleated, his temper perfectly managed. She wished just once he’d lose some of that control. Because here she sat, with her eyes, most likely puffy and red from having cried most of the night instead of sleeping. She was certainly not perfectly groomed, since she could feel a soggy tendril of hair plastered to her cheek. Her cloak was damp from rain. Her nose was cold and likely red as well.

“How can you be so . . . so unaffected all the time?” Her voice rose with her accusation. “Haven’t you ever dreamed for something outside the realm of possibility? Or are you content with each day so long as your cravat is perfectly pleated?”

She glared at the offending garment, struck by a ridiculous notion to crumple it. No sooner had the idea formed that she gave in to the impulse and moved forward on her seat, her arm reaching forward.

Ethan stopped her, taking hold of her wrist. His eyes flared. Before she could react, he yanked, propelling her forward to land clumsily on his lap.

“How dare—”

His mouth covered hers, silencing her outrage. Her head spun, reeling from the sudden scorching heat of his kiss.

This was a kiss, wasn’t it? Yet, it was nothing like her dreams, where his rehearsed request was followed by carefully controlled actions. No, this was no gentle dream. This was hard and demanding. His tongue didn’t request entrance but swept in and plundered.

His arms were not gentle either. In fact, he held her so tightly she couldn’t move, and grasped her wrist so she couldn’t touch him or push him away.

But she’d never push him away.

Instead, she wanted to cling to him. Her anger evaporated in a rush of steam. Her mind cried out for more of this glorious punishment. She wanted his kiss to burn her, through and through. This was the first time she’d been warm in months.

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24. Review and Giveaway: Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover by Sarah MacLean

This is the my first Sarah MacLean, and I have to admit that I was attracted by the cover first and foremost.  While I thought things got off to a slow start, I become wrapped up in the plot and had a hard time putting it down.  I really enjoyed the protagonists, and found that they complemented each other perfectly.  Both of them have secrets to protect, and they will  do anything to ensure that their skeletons remain locked in a closet, out of sight.   Duncan, while wealthy beyond his dreams and the owner of several influential newspapers, is being blackmailed by the one person who knows of his past.  Georgiana, ruined at 16 and now the single mother of a precocious 9 year old, burns with rage at the society that shunned her, and how dismisses her daughter Caroline as so much trash. 

I didn’t completely buy into the admission fee for Georgiana’s gaming club.  I couldn’t see how anyone would be compelled to turn over their deepest, darkest secrets in order to gain entrance to the gaming tables, but maybe the thought of imminent disclosure was titillating in and of itself.  The fact that Chase, Georgiana’s male alter ego, never hesitated to bring ruin to those she felt deserved it, made me question the common sense of all of these wealthy men.  It’s not like Chase was known to be a kind-hearted guy who loved kiddies, puppies, and his fellow man.  No, he was out to get those that slighted him, and he didn’t make it a secret that he would divulge the dirt on his customers at any time.  This did drive me to distraction at the beginning of the book, making it difficult to me to engage in the plot.

When one of Duncan’s papers, a gossip rag, prints a particularly damaging cartoon about Georgiana and her daughter, she’s driven to do the one thing she’s avoided since she was a young girl.  She fears that Caroline’s future will be bleak, and that her scandal will rub off on her, so she’s determined to marry man with a title to protect Caroline.  She believes that the title will insulate both of them from the past, and open the door of opportunity for Caroline.  But it’s Duncan who turns her head.  It’s Duncan who she feels a blinding attraction to and can’t get the thought of him out of her head.  Despite her feelings for him, she knows that they have no future together because he don’t have that all important title to save her daughter’s future.

For his part, Duncan has some incriminating secrets of his own.  Even though he’s drawn to Georgiana, he knows that a future with her is impossible.  He has lived in fear for years, terrified that his deepest, darkest, most damning secrets would be revealed, and that he would eventually hang for them.  He could never subject another person to that gnawing fear. But that doesn’t stop him for longing for something that he can never have, and he longs for Georgiana.  He believes that she needs to be rescued from the elusive, villainous Chase, and he is driven to distraction trying to learn what hold he has over her.  This did get slightly tiring, and I wished Georgiana would just fess up and get that elephant out of the room.  Chase’s hidden identity nearly destroys Duncan and Georgiana when he unwisely enlists assistance in flushing the shadowy scoundrel from his hiding place.

I liked that Georgiana was a strong, stubborn woman who refused to allow the opinions of others destroy her.  Instead, she found strength in her wrath against society, becoming an extremely powerful figure who could destroy the lives of others at a whim.  She also refused to give up the name  of Caroline’s father, causing her brother to gnash his teeth in frustration. It’s hard to defend the honor of the women under your protection when they don’t cooperate with you!  I never got the sense that Georgiana needed protection from anyone, and that’s what I liked best about her.  She is not a simpering miss, even when she’s attempting to gain the good opinion of the society that distains her.

I really enjoyed Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover, and I’m looking forward to exploring the author’s backlist.  I would like to get to know the supporting characters better, especially Pippa, who also seems like a quirky, interesting lead.

Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover
The Rules of Scoundrels # 4

By: Sarah MacLean

Releasing November 25th, 2014

Avon Romance

Blurb

By day, she is Lady Georgiana, sister to a duke, ruined before her first season in the worst kind of scandal. But the truth is far more shocking-in London’s darkest corners, she is Chase, the mysterious, unknown founder of the city’s most legendary gaming hell. For years, her double identity has gone undiscovered…until now.

Brilliant, driven, handsome-as-sin Duncan West is intrigued by the beautiful, ruined woman who is somehow connected to a world of darkness and sin. He knows she is more than she seems and he vows to uncover all of Georgiana’s secrets, laying bare her past, threatening her present, and risking all she holds dear…including her heart.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/09/never-judge-lady-by-her-cover-rule-of.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17828895-never-judge-a-lady-by-her-cover?ac=1

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes | iTunes | Kobo

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Never-Judge-Lady-Her-Cover-ebook/dp/B00IRC8ATQ/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/never-judge-a-lady-by-her-cover-sarah-maclean/1120522016?cm_mmc=affiliates-_-linkshare-_-mdxm68jzjz8-_-10%3a1&ean=9780062068514&isbn=9780062068514&r=1

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/never-judge-a-lady-by-her-cover/id833843816?mt=11

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/never-judge-a-lady-by-her-cover-1

Author Info

Sarah MacLean grew up in Rhode Island, obsessed with historical romance and bemoaning the fact that she was born far too late for her own season. Her love of all things historical helped to earn her degrees from Smith College and Harvard University before she finally set pen to paper and wrote her first book.
Sarah now lives in New York City with her husband, baby daughter, their dog, and a ridiculously large collection of romance novels. She loves to hear from readers. Please visit her at www.macleanspace.com

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Website: http://www.sarahmaclean.net/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sarahmaclean
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sarahmaclean
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1598076.Sarah_MacLean


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25. Mortal Heart: review + giveaway

Assassin nuns! Who doesn’t love assassin nuns? (All of the people who get assassinated by them, probably.) If you aren’t a threat to 15th-century Brittany, though, you’re probably safe. That said, if you haven’t read any of the books in the His Fair Assassin Trilogy by Robin LaFevers, GO READ THEM NOW. That is an order. The second book, Dark Triumph, is one of the best books I’ve read in the past year, and I think the series as a whole is pretty awesomesauce. The premise is as follows: the books follow the adventures (murder adventures) of three initiates – Ismae, Sybella, and Annith – of the Convent of Saint Mortain, the god of Death. All of the convent’s novitiates are also supposed to be the daughters of Mortain and have the creepy birth stories to prove it (with the exception of Annith whose birth is mysterious and unknown). They have all... Read more »

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