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Results 1 - 25 of 372
1. Guest Post and Giveaway: Amanda Forester, Author of A Winter Wedding

Please welcome Amanda Forester to the virtual offices this morning! She took a little break from her Labor Day festivities to share some info about her handsome duke, James Lockton, and she has a copy of A Winter Wedding up for grabs!

The Trials and Tribulations of an Unmarried Duke by Amanda Forester

Can one feel sorry for a duke? The Duke of Marchford is, after all, young, wealthy, attractive, and a duke. An unmarried duke, to be exact, and that is where the trouble starts. Let us spy a moment on how he is getting along at his London house in this excerpt from Winter Wedding.

James Lockton, the Duke of Marchford, was a marked man. He heard voices coming and pressed himself against the wall, edging slowly away, careful not to make a sound. One wrong move would seal his fate.

He had tried to escape his doom, hiding at his country estate like a craven coward. It was only the pressing needs of king and country, and the early opening of Parliament to deal with a severe crisis of governance, that drew him back to London. He had hoped December would find Town desolate of company, but with the return of the members of Parliament came their families, and with their families came…

“The Duke of Marchford is sooooo handsome,” cooed a young feminine voice.

“Better yet, he’s dreadfully rich,” said another young lady. “What I wouldn’t give to be duchess of this hall.”

“Do you think we should be wandering about, Mama?”

“No, of course not, but do you think we should come all this way without an introduction to the duke? Do you really think I care a whit about that spiteful old dowager? No!” exclaimed the baroness. They were growing nearer.

Marchford knew the baroness and her daughters were coming to visit his grandmother, but he hardly expected them to make a search of the house. He darted up a servants’ stairwell and into a long hallway of bedrooms. He walked quickly toward the main stairs but stopped short at the sound of their whining voices. The woman had the audacity to come up to the private rooms!

“We’ll flush out the duke,” crooned the baroness, her voice growing louder, “say we got turned around in the house and secure an introduction. I swear I’ll not set foot from this place until you both have been asked to dance at tonight’s ball.”

Nothing to do but run.

He spun and dashed down the hall on light feet. Taking a risk, he opened one of the doors and slipped inside, closing the door carefully to avoid the conspicuous click of the latch. Now if only the bedroom were empty, he could possibly survive the night.

A small, feminine shriek behind him laid waste to that grand hope.

“Your Grace!” demanded Penelope Rose. “What on earth are you doing in my bedchamber?”

Ah, the trials and tribulations of being an unmarried duke. Of course the Duke of Marchford is not only the biggest matrimonial prize in the known world, he is also obligated to assist the Foreign Office in flushing out traitors and spies who have infiltrated London society. This is 1810, after all, and we are at war with that wretchedly brilliant Napoleon.

Is it any wonder that Marchford may feel a bit piqued at times? So how does a duke relax after a hard day of avoiding marriage-minded females and international spies? Unfortunately, Marchford could learn more of the fine art of relaxation, but here are some of his favorites:

  1. Run off to the club and spend time with his friends, the Earl of Thornton and Mr. William Grant. Trouble is, they are both recently married and are focused on such odd things as spending time with their wives and the anticipation of tiny heirs.

  2. Hide in his study and look at maps. Marchford thought there was nothing he could like more than a good dependable map… until Penelope ended up on top of one.

  3. Convince his grandmother to adopt a stray cat by telling her it is a rare Peruvian jungle house cat. His grandmother, however, declares the animal is a dog.

  4. Tease Penelope Rose by taking her beloved Christmas traditions to their literal extreme, all for the joy of seeing the shocked expression on her face along with a twinkle of amusement in her eye.

  5. Take a long hot bath with…oh wait, you’re going to have to read the book to find out more about this!

To read more about the Duke of Marchford and his search for traitors, spies, and a suitable bride, read Winter Wedding now available. To get you started in the series, the first book in the trilogy, Wedding in Springtime is being offered FREE for a limited time and Midsummer Bride is currently only $1.99. I love to hear from readers so come visit me at my website, facebook, or twitter.

What is your favorite way to relax? Comment for a chance at winning a copy of Winter Wedding!

Amanda Forester holds a Ph.D. in psychology and worked for many years in academia before discovering that writing historical romance novels was decidedly more fun. Whether in the Highland hills or a Regency ballroom, Forester’s critically acclaimed novels offer fast-paced adventures filled with wit, intrigue, and romance. She lives with her supportive husband and naturally brilliant children in the Pacific Northwest.Visit her at www.amandaforester.com.

This adventurous duke…

The Duke of Marchford requires a suitable bride, but catching spies for the Foreign Office takes up most of his time. Not wanting to face another London season as an eligible man, he employs the notorious Madame X to find him a match.

Has met his match

Miss Penelope Rose knows the rules of marriage among members of the ton better than most. Her own unsuccessful attempts at matrimony did not stop her from becoming London’s most exclusive matchmaker. Marchford proves to be a difficult client, but as he draws on her social expertise to help him flush out a dangerous traitor, they find that falling in love may be the riskiest adventure of all.

Pre-Order Links:

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

Apple: http://bit.ly/1orV3bN

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

B&N: http://bit.ly/1qXa08Q

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

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Kobo: http://bit.ly/1vckp71

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The post Guest Post and Giveaway: Amanda Forester, Author of A Winter Wedding appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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2. Novella Review: Nightingale by Cathy Maxwell

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I am of two minds about Nightingale.  I enjoyed this novella, but I would have enjoyed it better if I liked the heroine a little more. While I was finally able to cut her some slack, most of her misery is of her own making, and while past events are always viewed with 20/20 vision, it’s that murky, uncertain future that needs a lot of trust and faith that things will work out for the best.  They didn’t for Jemma, and instead of a spoiled, willful girl, she’s now a desperate, improvised woman.  Manipulated by her parents since birth, and now willing to trade her soul to save her brother from his own folly, she is forced to turn to the man she rejected years ago with a plea to allow her brother to live.

Now, while I had some issues with Jemma, I loved Dane.  He is dark and broody, still smarting after losing the love of his life.  While he can look back on their childish promises with clearer head, he still aches for what he can’t have.  After Jemma married another man without a word to him when he was away at school, Dane was a shattered soul.  To finally seek some peace for himself, he sets off to make his fortune and to try to forget about the woman who rejected him for a title and all the wealth that accompanied it.  Dane does find his fortune, as well as adventure aplenty, but a part of himself that still belongs to Jemma continues to long for what might have been.

Imagine his twisted emotions when Jemma’s brother challenges him to a duel.  With his pride at stake, Dane accepts the challenge.  If he’s honest with himself, he would even admit that he pushed and prodded so that the insult was given and the duel would be proposed.  What better way to get back at the woman who broke his heart, but to break her heart in return?

I wish the story had been longer, because there is so much angst and so many feelings for both Jemma and Dane to work through.   Jemma realizes that she made a mistake, and after suffering through a loveless, passionless marriage, she wonders how differently things would have turned out if she hadn’t agreed to marry a older, wealthier man.  She soon found herself with nothing, as her husband was not a competent manager of his fortune, and after his death, his family gave her the cold shoulder.  So it’s with a great deal of trepidation that she approaches Dane with a bargain to save her brother from certain death on the point of Dana’s blade.  Now the tables have turned; Dane is one of the wealthiest men in London, he’s been knighted, and he’s has the respectably he lacked when he was younger. With this one duel, he thinks he will retain his pride and finally put Jemma out of his heart.

If you’re looking for a quick read between Labor Day weekend festivities, Nightingale will keep you entertained for an hour or so.  I just wish it had been a little longing, because I felt that the ending wrapped up to quickly, and left me a little nervous about a forever HEA for Dane and Jemma.

Grade:  B / B-

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

Fate has brought them together—again.

At one time, Jemma meant the world to Dane Pendleton, but then she betrayed their young love.

Now Time has turned the tables. Dane is wealthy, respected, and knighted, while Jemma has nothing but her pride.

His honor for hers …

Dane’s name is on the lips of every beauty in London. They whisper that he learned “tricks” while he was in the Orient. But has he forgotten Jemma and what they once meant to each other?

And will he accept her devil’s bargain?

In every woman’s life, there is that one flame who slipped away. The man who makes her wonder “what if?”

But is this a momentary madness or a chance to rekindle a love that could last a lifetime?

The post Novella Review: Nightingale by Cathy Maxwell appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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3. Guest Post and Giveaway: Shana Galen, Author of Love and Let Spy

Please welcome Shana Galen to the virtual offices this morning!  She’s here to share a Top 5 list with us, and then you can enter to win a copy of Love and Let Spy!

What’s in Your Spy Survival Kit? by Shana Galen

I love writing about spies. My spy characters have such fun. They’re always tackling bad guys, picking locks, or sneaking past guards. As for me, I can’t even sneak out of my daughter’s bedroom without her waking back up and asking for more water. I’d make a terrible spy. Fortunately, I’ve written about enough spies to know there are 5 items any successful spy needs.

1. A good cloak

In my latest release, Love and Let Spy, master spy Jane Bonde has to do a lot of sneaking around. When she doesn’t want to be spotted, she throws a cloak over her gown and pulls the hood over her blond hair. Voila! If she keeps her head down, no one notices her. Granted, someone wearing a cloak on the street in 2014 might attract a little bit more attention, but at least you’d look stylish.

2. An exploding quill

A spy never knows when he or she might need to blow something up. Jane Bonde knows the importance of having a seemingly innocuous item, like a feather pen, at the ready in case an explosion is called for. Of course, Jane’s pen is a bit unpredictable, but those are the risks you take when you’re a spy.

3. Horse treats

Everyone knows horses like apples or sugar, and when Jane finds herself tied in a stall with a hungry horse who insists on nibbling her cloak (see above for the importance of a cloak sans horse slobber), she wishes she’d stuck a few horse treats in said cloak. She won’t make that mistake again, and when you’re preparing your spy survival kit, you may want to stash a few sugar cubes or apple slices in there too. Just to be safe.

4. Clean linen bandages

Spying is dangerous work, and as a spy, you want to be prepared in the event something goes wrong. Make sure to supply your kit with some bandages in case of unexpected stabbing or shooting. They help to staunch the blood until you can get to a surgeon for treatment.

5. A partner

You can’t pack a partner in your spy survival kit, but as Jane learns in Love and Let Spy, someone who has your back is vital. Dominic Griffyn isn’t a spy and initially he seems like the last man on earth she can trust, but he ends up saving her in more ways than one.

And there you have it, the spy kit essentials. Of course, my bag would have lipstick, milkduds, and if the agency was buying, a killer pair of shoes. What would you have in your spy kit?

Her name is Bonde, Jane Bonde…

A beautiful and eligible member of the ton, Jane has more than a few secrets: she’s one of the Crown’s most elite agents. She may be deadly, but she doesn’t know a thing about fashion, flirtation, or love…until Dominic Griffyn shakes up her carefully stirred world and asks her to be his bride. He’s exactly the kind of man she’s not looking for. And he’s dangerous, because falling into his arms is so much more satisfying than saving England from her enemies.

He’s an improper gentleman who needs a wife…

Talk, dark, and tortured, Dominic Griffyn is haunted by demons from his past. When his stepfather insists that he marry, Dominic allows himself to hope that the beautiful but mysterious Miss Bonde might help him forget his troubles. As they grow closer, it’s clear that there’s more to Jane than danger. She might be just what his neglected heart needs.

Shana Galen is the bestselling author of fast-paced adventurous Regency historicals. She taught English at the middle and high school level off and on for eleven years. Most of those years were spent working in Houston’s inner city. Now she writes full-time. She lives in Houston, Texas .

Order Love and Let Spy:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1r9gG4W

Apple: http://bit.ly/1nfku4t

BAM: http://bit.ly/US3mGI

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

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

IndieBound: http://bit.ly/Wne0GR

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1mgWs8Z

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4. Guest Post and Giveaway: Anna Campbell, Author of What a Duke Dares

Please welcome special guest Anna Campbell to the virtual offices!

Never Leave Home Without… by Anna Campbell

Hi Julie! Thank you so much for asking me to visit Manga Maniac Cafe to talk about my latest release (26th August), WHAT A DUKE DARES, book 3 in the Sons of Sin series.

The story opens with a proposal from my duke Camden Rothermere to his childhood friend Penelope Thorne. A proposal that goes so badly that Pen says no and runs off for the Continent to find refuge with an eccentric aunt.

So what should Pen take with her on her escape?

  1. Plenty of euros. She’s heading for Italy and I can tell you from experience, that’s an expensive destination. Oh, what’s that? This is pre-Euro? Well, what do you know? Actually the subject of Italian currency in the early 19th century when Italy was still a patchwork of different states is enough to give me a headache. Which brings me to…

  1. Given that a certain duke has given her a major headache, Pen will take lots of aspirin with her. What’s that? I’m too early for that too? Poor Pen, she really is missing out on the mod cons in her travels, isn’t she? In the 1820s, when Pen is embarking on her headlong dash, people used to smell aromatic vinegar to cure a headache or use a variety of herbal cures based on things like feverfew, valerian and lavender, some of which I suspect helped.

  1. Comfortable shoes. The half boots that Regency ladies wore were pretty practical and would stand up to the rigors of travel (and running away from marriage-minded aristocrats).

  1. Some good books. Good books never go astray, after all. And given how bad the Continental roads are, especially in the wild corners that Penelope explores with her scholarly aunt, something to read while she waits for the mud to dry or the snow to clear will be very welcome. Hmm, can I suggest the Sons of Sin series by Anna Campbell? Hours of entertainment there for a lady looking to pass the time stranded in villages outside Rome or Florence.

  1. A duke-defeating kit. Sadly, Pen left home before I could pass this invaluable piece of equipment to her, including anti-duke spray, a book of anti-etiquette and that informative pamphlet, How to Get Rid of Your Aristos: Start Your Own French Revolution Today. I have a dreadful feeling because Pen left without this, that the Duke of Sedgemoor may just show up again to disrupt her life. And without this kit, she’ll be doomed to all the adventures and passion in the rest of WHAT A DUKE DARES. What a terrible fate! Snerk.

So if you were running off to the Continent then or now, what would you take?

About WHAT A DUKE DARES

What woman in her right mind would say no to marrying the dashing Duke of Sedgemoor? Miss Penelope Thorne, that’s who. She’s known Camden Rothermere since they were children-and she also knows she’d bring nothing but scandal to his name.
Cam can hardly believe Penelope turned down his proposal. But if she wants to run off to the Continent and set the rumor mill ablaze, he can’t stop her. Then her brother’s dying request sends him to bring home the one woman he thought he’d finally gotten over.
The only way they’ll both get back to London without their reputations in tatters is to pretend they’re married during the journey. That means kissing like they mean it and even sharing a bed-until it becomes hard to tell where the game ends and true desire begins . . .

Amazon

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About Anna Campbell

Always a voracious reader, ANNA CAMPBELL decided when she was a child that she wanted to be a writer. Once she discovered the wonderful world of romance novels, she knew exactly what she wanted to write. Anna has won numerous awards for her Avon historical romances including Romantic TimesReviewers Choice, the Booksellers Best, the Golden Quill, the Heart of Excellence, the Aspen Gold and the Australian Romance Readers Association’s most popular historical romance (twice). Her books have twice been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA Award and twice for Australia’s Romantic Book of the Year.

When she’s not writing passionate, intense stories featuring gorgeous Regency heroes and the women who are their destiny, Anna loves to travel, especially in the United Kingdom, and listen to all kinds of music. She lives near the sea on the east coast of Australia, where she’s losing her battle with an overgrown subtropical garden.

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The post Guest Post and Giveaway: Anna Campbell, Author of What a Duke Dares appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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5. Guest Post and Giveaway: Finding Miss McFarland by Vivienne Lorret

Please give a warm welcome to Vivienne Lorret!  She’s here to answer a question and to share some information about her latest release, Finding Miss McFarland.  Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

 

How does Griffin relax after a hard day saving Delaney from herself?

Unfortunately, Griffin Croft doesn’t know how to relax. In the beginning, when Delaney frustrates him to insanity, he spends much of his time boxing at Gentleman Jackson’s. Some days, he’d love nothing more than to settle down into a wing-backed chair and indulge in a slice (or two) of gingerbread. Yet, even that plan goes awry when he discovers that Miss McFarland shares a fondness for the cake.

Of course, by the end of the story, I imagine he is perfectly capable of keeping both of them thoroughly occupied and sated. 

Finding Miss McFarland

Wallflower Weddings Book Three

By: Vivienne Lorret

Releasing August 5th, 2014

Avon Romance

Blurb

Fans of historical romance authors Lorraine Heath and Sophie Jordan will adore Vivienne Lorret’s latest Wallflower Wedding novel. 

Delaney McFarland is on the hunt for a husband—preferably one who needs her embarrassingly large dowry more than a dutiful wife. After the unspeakable incident at her debut, Delaney knows marrying for love is off the table, but a marriage of convenience—one that leaves her free to live the life she chooses—is the next best thing, never mind what that arrogant, devilishly handsome Mr. Croft thinks. Delaney plans to marry for money … or not at all.

Ever since the fiery redhead burst into his life—in a most memorable way—Griffin Croft hasn’t been able to get Miss McFarland out of his mind. Now, with the maddening woman determined to hand over her fortune to a rake, Griffin knows he must step in. He must help her. He must not kiss her. But when Griffin’s noble intentions flee in a moment of unexpected passion, his true course becomes clear: tame Delaney’s wild heart and save her from a fate worse than death … a life without love.

Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.blogspot.com/2014/06/now-booking-tasty-virtual-tour-for_6353.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18780732-finding-miss-mcfarland?from_search=true

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

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Finding-Miss-McFarland-Wallflower-Wedding-ebook/dp/B00GLS2I46

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/finding-miss-mcfarland-vivienne-lorret/1117657323?ean=9780062315786

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/finding-miss-mcfarland/id747479279?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

http://www.vivlorret.net/home

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

https://twitter.com/VivLorret

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

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6. Win In Bed with a Rogue by Samantha Grace

I have a special treat this morning! To celebrate the release of Samantha Grace’s In Bed with a Rogue, Sourcebooks is hosting a giveaway! You can win 6 (SIX!) of Samantha Grace’s novels!

In Bed with a Rogue By Samantha Grace

Soucebooks Casablanca

Historical Romance

September 2, 2014

ISBN: 9781402286612

$6.99/£4.99

Mass-Market Paperback

He’s the Talk of the Town

The whole town is tittering about Baron Sebastian Thorne having been jilted at the altar. Every move he makes ends up in the gossip columns. Tired of being the butt of everyone’s jokes, Sebastian vows to restore his family’s reputation no matter what it takes.

She’s the Toast of the Ton

Feted by the crème of society, the beautiful widow Lady Prestwick is a vision of all that is proper. But Helena is no angel, and when Sebastian uncovers her dark secret, he’s quick to press his advantage. In order to keep her hard-won good name, Helen will have to make a deal with the devil. But she’s got some tricks up her sleeves to keep this notorious rogue on his toes…

SAMANTHA GRACE

Historical romance author Samantha Grace discovered the appeal of a great love story when she was just a young girl, thanks to Disney’s Robin Hood. She didn’t care that Robin Hood and Maid Marian were cartoon animals. It was her first happily-ever-after experience and she didn’t want the warm fuzzies to end. Now Samantha enjoys creating her own happy-endings for characters that spring from her imagination. Publishers Weekly describes her stories as “fresh and romantic” with subtle humor and charm. Samantha describes romance writing as the best job ever.      

Website: http://www.samanthagraceauthor.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Samantha-Grace/264436686918343

Twitter: @SamGraceAuthor https://twitter.com/SamGraceAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4946067.Samantha_Grace

Buy: Amazon | B&N | BAM! | IndieBound | !ndigo | iTunes

Enter for a chance to win a 6 book bundle by Samantha Grace!

The six Samantha Grace books include:

· Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel

· Lady Amelia’s Mess and a Half

· Miss Lavigne’s Little White Lie

· Lady Vivian Defies a Duke

· One Rogue Too Many

· In Bed with a Rogue

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7. Revolution: Review Haiku

Freedom Summer as
you haven't seen it before.
Pair this with Delphine.

Revolution by Deborah Wiles. Scholastic, 2014, 544 pages.

0 Comments on Revolution: Review Haiku as of 8/20/2014 7:51:00 AM
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8. Novella Review: The Wager by Lily Maxton

 

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I was in the mood for a short, quick read, so I turned, once again, to the Entangled library to fulfill this need.  The Wager had me at “Novella.”  Yes, sometimes even I am easy to please.

Anne loves to make wagers with her sisters, and when she’s caught “borrowing” a scandalous novel from her host while attending a social function, she’s only somewhat taken aback.  When Michael, Earl of Thornhill, catches Anne red-handed stealing a naughty book, his interest is piqued.  After exchanging a series of letters, the first an apology from Anne that lacks conviction or finesse, their paths cross again, leading to a wager between Michael and Anne.  They’ll have a late night swim race, and if Michael wins, he’ll be reward with a kiss.  If she wins, he must answer a naughty question he dodged during their correspondence.

One wager leads to another, until the final stakes are both their hearts.  Who will win?

I really enjoyed the letters, which showed a believable progression of their affection for each other.  The main conflict in The Wager is Anne’s self-doubt.  A year earlier, Michael thought himself in love with Anne’s older sister, Elizabeth, but she rejected his suit because she was in love with someone else.  Anne now feels that she’s only second best, and refuses to take their flirtations seriously.  At times this made her come across as shallow and spoiled.  She can’t accept that feelings can change, and that Michael’s infatuation with Elizabeth was fleeting.  Her stubbornness almost costs her her happiness, because she’s so focused on the fact that Michael was attracted to her sister first.

This is a quick read with a fun, if somewhat over-indulged heroine, and a very sexy earl. The romance was a bit rushed, but I blame that on the length of the story.  I’m curious to read about Anne’s sisters now.

Grade:  B / B-

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

 

London, 1818

Anne Middleton never plays by the rules. She is willful when she should be obedient and unabashed when she should be decorous. Worse still, she can never resist a good wager… or a very naughty book. And Confessions of a Courtesan is about as sensational and risque as a book can be.

Michael Grey – Earl of Thornhill – had once courted Anne’s sweet and modest sister. But whilst Anne is certainly no lady of decorum, her bold impulsiveness slips through his armor, and propriety is forgotten. Now he too is immersed in the book of forbidden delights, where each page is an invitation to sin and a guide to pleasures unknown…

Roused by heady desire, Michael tempts Anne in a way she cannot resist – a wager. Thus begins a game of chance, where coins have been replaced by a currency that is far more illicit. And the stakes of seduction are dangerous indeed…

The post Novella Review: The Wager by Lily Maxton appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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9. West of the Moon: Review Haiku

Moody and odd, as
only Scandihoovians
can be. Quite a trip.

West of the Moon by Margi Preus. Amulet, 2014, 224 pages.

0 Comments on West of the Moon: Review Haiku as of 8/18/2014 7:13:00 AM
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10. Review: Falling for the Pirate by Amber Lin

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

After reading House of the Four Winds, I was in a pirate kind of a mood.  Good thing I had Falling for the Pirate locked and loaded on my Kindle.  I admit that I wasn’t charmed with the beginning, but after Juliana lost her memory, I was a convert.  I’m not sure why I felt that way, because she’s not annoying or a bad person.  Maybe her blind devotion to her missing father, and the risks she was willing to take to clear his name, didn’t work for me?  Or maybe I liked the person she became better when her circumstances better mirrored Nate’s previous meager life?  I’m totally baffled by my first response to her.  Maybe I just needed to get to know her better?

After Nate catches her sneaking around in his new building, a chase ensues, and Juliana is injured and almost drowns, but Nate saves her.  When she regains consciousness a few days later, she has no recollection of her past.  She can’t even remember her name.  Nate finds this all together too convenient;  first, she was sneaking around his property, snooping through the file room.  Second, he discovers that Juliana is the daughter of his greatest enemy.  Her father murdered his parents and destroyed his young life, all for his own greed.  Nate suspects that her father put her up to her midnight burglary.  I have to admit that all of these background details made me a little nervous.  How would Nate ever be able to trust Juliana and put his awful past behind him?  Could he?  How would she react when she regained her memory and learned of the horrible things her father did, and of Nate’s tireless quest for revenge?

Nate’s not really a pirate.  Though he was imprisoned during his youth, he’s an honest, caring man.  But because his hatred for the man who destroyed his family has driven him for the last ten years, he doesn’t allow himself to feel emotions. He lives for his revenge.  He dreams of it, and it’s the only thing that kept him alive during the most trying times in his life.  He’s gruff and abrupt with Juliana, though she slowly thaws his icy interior. Despite his desire to be perceived of as a harsh man, Nate simply isn’t.  His experiences have made a better man of him, and though he doesn’t realize it, he is incapable of being cruel.  Instead, he has a deep-seated need to protect the weak and the helpless from bullies.  I really liked Nate!

While Juliana may have lost her memory, she’s savvy enough to realize that she currently has nothing.  Regardless of her circumstances prior to falling under Nate’s protection, now she hasn’t two pence to rub together.  Everything she has is because of his good will, and she feels an obligation to pay him back.   While this gave him far too much power over her, he doesn’t take advantage of it.  Honestly,  all he wants is for her to exit his life so he can get on with his plans for revenge against her father, but since she has nowhere else to go, he’s kind of stuck with her.  And, yup, before he’s what’s hit him, he’s fallen head over heels for her.

Because this is an amnesia story, I had to leave certain things by the wayside – like a sense of reality.  Juliana’s forgotten memories are just a bit too convenient, but it didn’t bother me too much because I liked Nate so much.  This is a quick and entertaining read that will fill a void in your afternoon or evening.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

London, 1820

After the deaths of his parents and a dark, troubled childhood, Captain Nate Bowen vowed he would have his revenge. But he never expected to have the tool of his revenge dropped so neatly into his lap. Juliana Hargate is not only the daughter of his enemy, but is destitute, very much alone – and exquisitely desirable.

And now that Nate has saved her life, she’s at his complete mercy…

Captive. All Juliana wanted was to clear her father’s name. Instead, she’s been struck with amnesia – unable to recall even her name – and imprisoned by a tall, imposing, and entirely unscrupulous pirate. A pirate whose eyes seem to look past her skirts and many petticoats, and whose touch sends delicious ripples of desire through her. With every passing day, she finds herself tempted to give him the very thing he’s determined to take

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11. Guest Post and Giveaway: The Danger In Tempting An Earl by Sophie Barnes

Today Sophie Barnes dropped by the virtual offices to answer a question, and she brought along a special gift you can enter to win.  Check it out!

Reasons why the friends to lovers trope is so popular by Sophie Barnes

Some of the best ingredients in a romance novel are: a gradual buildup of sexual tension, coupled with doubt and uncertainty – that “does he/she feel the same way about me?” and “do I dare risk telling them how I feel?” When it comes to longtime friends where one begins developing romantic feelings toward the other, they risk not only embarrassment and heartache by declaring themselves, but the entire friendship. In other words, the stakes are higher, so the question then becomes, what’s more important? Preserving the friendship or risking it all for a chance at true love? And is the potential for failure acceptable when there is but a slight possibility for success?

In The Danger In Tempting An Earl, Lucien Marvaine has put a great deal of thought into the decision he is about to make. He’s known Katherine since she was born and has loved her since she was sixteen years old. He knows she views him as a brother figure and that he lost his opportunity to marry her once before. Now, after suffering a difficult loss, he’s decided to make her his, even at the risk of being rejected. The choice wasn’t an easy one to make, but in the end there’s only one life, and he is prepared to put his own heart on the line in the name of true love. In other words, it’s Katherine or no one at all.

Meanwhile, Katherine’s eyes are gradually opened toward Lucien. She’s older now than she was four years earlier when she last saw him, and she finds herself alarmingly aware of his masculinity. Although she struggles to resist the growing attraction between them, she’s eventually faced with similar fears as Lucien: “Do I dare to give in to desire at the risk of losing his friendship?” And because she’s emotionally scarred from her previous marriage, her lack of self-confidence serves to increase her resistance. In the end, I think that watching two people whose ties have been close for so long, change their regard for each other and take a leap of faith based on mutual trust when there’s every chance in the world that they’ll lose what they hold most dear in the process, is what makes the friends to lovers trope an entertaining and rewarding read.

The Danger In Tempting An Earl

At The Kingsborough Ball

By: Sophie Barnes

Releasing July 29th, 2014

Avon Romance

 

Blurb

Lucien Marvaine never thought he was good enough for Katherine. As the younger son of an earl, he didn’t have a title or prospects. Then fate steps in and gives him a second chance, and this new Earl of Roxbury is determined to make the beautiful Kate his own . . . one touch . . . one kiss at a time.

Katherine never thought of herself as a temptress, certainly not with Lucien. Why, she’s known him almost all her life! Yet as she waltzes in Lucien’s arms at the Kingsborough Ball, she can’t help but be drawn to him. Has he always been this hard and masculine? And where did those dimples come from? Kate is not looking for a husband . . . but how can she not surrender to Lucien’s charms when love is at stake?

Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.blogspot.com/2014/06/now-booking-tasty-virtual-tour-for_18.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18753716-the-danger-in-tempting-an-earl

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Danger-Tempting-Earl-Kingsborough-Ball-ebook/dp/B00GFZY0OG/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1388848559

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-danger-in-tempting-an-earl-sophie-barnes/1117322921?ean=9780062245113&itm=1&usri=the+danger+in+tempting+an+earl

Author Info

Born in Denmark, Sophie Barnes spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world. She’s lived in five different countries, on three different continents, and speaks Danish, English, French, Spanish, and Romanian. But, most impressive of all, she’s been married to the same man three times—in three different countries and in three different dresses.

When she’s not busy dreaming up her next romance novel, Sophie enjoys spending time with her family, swimming, cooking, gardening, watching romantic comedies and, of course, reading.

Author Links

http://www.sophiebarnes.com/

https://twitter.com/BarnesSophie

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSophieBarnes

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Book Trailer

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12. Guest Post and Giveaway: Brooklyn Ann, Author of One Bite Per Night

Please welcome Brooklyn Ann to the virtual offices this morning!  She has a fun Top 5 list to share, as well as a copy of One Bite Per Night up for grabs!

Top 5 complaints about Vincent, from his house staff (not that they would ever speak ill of their employer….)

First off, I gotta say that your site is one of my favorites to visit. You always ask the most fun questions!  (Thank you!)

1.) He sets dreadfully odd hours.

It’s dreadfully inconvenient having to wait until nightfall to be able to clean his lordship’s chambers.

2.)  It can be tedious working for someone who is rumored to be a madman.

One can’t go to the village for errands without being harangued by the locals about the “Mad Deveril” or “The Devil Earl.” Does he turn into a sea monster at night? Does he terrorize the chambermaids? Does he dance with the devil at the full moon? 

3.) He insists on constantly going on nighttime walks, no matter the weather.

Do you have any notion as to the hassle of pressing and drying His Lordship’s greatcoats twice a night? It is a wonder he hasn’t caught his death from cold!

4.) He rarely dines at home and when he does he eats like a bird.

No matter what cook prepares, it is never good enough. The earl constantly insists upon dining at the village inns like a common tradesman.

5.) Without any guests or parties, things can be quite dull.

Not that we aren’t grateful for our light duties, but we would enjoy looking after callers or organizing some sort of entertainment to break the monotony of being cooped up in a dreary castle for eternity.

 

One Bite Per Night

By Brooklyn Ann

Soucebooks Casablanca

Paranormal Historical Romance

August 5, 2014

ISBN: 9781492604914

$6.99/£4.99

Mass-Market Paperback

He wanted her off his hands…

Vincent Tremayne, the reclusive “Devil Earl,” has been manipulated into taking rambunctious Lydia Price as his ward. As Lord Vampire of Cornwall, Vincent has better things to do than bring out an unruly debutante.

Now he’ll do anything to hold on forever

American-born Lydia Price doesn’t care for the stuffy strictures of the ton, and is unimpressed with her foppish suitors. She dreams of studying with the talented but scandalous British portrait painter, Sir Thomas Lawrence. But just when it seems her dreams will come true, Lydia is plunged into Vincent’s dark world and finds herself caught between the life she’s known and a future she never could have imagined.

A lover of witty Regencies and dark paranormal romance, Brooklyn Ann combines the two in her new vampire series. The former mechanic turned author lives with her family in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho. She can be found online at http://brooklynann.blogspot.com

Website: http://brooklynann.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brooklyn.ann.7

Twitter: @Brooklyn__Ann https://twitter.com/Brooklyn__Ann

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6506571.Brooklyn_Ann

Buy: Amazon | Apple | B&N | BAM | IndieBound | Indigo

US addresses only please

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13. Guest Post and Giveaway: Mary Wine, Author of The Highlander’s Bride Trouble

Please welcome special guest Mary Wine to the virtual offices this morning!

Top 5 items a Highlander won’t leave home without? by Mary Wine

Hummm….Me?

LOL!

Well let’s see.

His kilt –Now some of us might like it if a few Highlanders left home without their kilts but I wouldn’t want those handsome hunks to catch cold. The kilt goes back for a long time, in fact, further than written records but there are some Roman accounts of a garment that is similar to the kilt being worn by the ‘savages’ that the Roman’s couldn’t control. Fabric was very expensive back then and this length of fabric was used as bedding, a cloak and for daily wear. One of the reasons it wasn’t cut and sewn.

His sword- Not just for protection. The sword, both long and short was what was used to survive. Hunting, cooking and probably lots of things I can’t think of because I’ve never had to survive in the Highlands.

Boots—I wouldn’t want to leave home without my shoes. Rocks, thorns, spiders….did I say spiders? Shiver. In times when there were few roads and no sort of sanitation…boots become a necessity.

His horse- In eras past, horses set you apart. They enabled you to travel and escape.

Confidence – Men in these era faced uncertainty on a level that I never have. Disease. Power hungry enemies and nature. They had to have back bones of steel or they never would have survived.

The Highlander’s Bride Trouble is the fourth book in my Sutherlands. I’ve been eager to write it since Sear and Nareen collided in the last book…How to Handle a Highlander. I hope you all enjoy it. Cheers.

  Excerpt:

He reached out and stroked her cheek. “’Tis a sad thing to see how hard yer feelings are. But there is naught more to fear, she’ll nae have the opportunity to inflict such ills again.”

Nareen jerked away from the contact. She even took a swipe at his hand, but he moved faster, withdrawing in time to avoid being struck. Someone chuckled from where his men clustered near the fires, but Saer was watching her from narrowed eyes.

“I am nae afraid of anything,” she assured him.

“Is that so?” Saer inquired in a silky-smooth tone.

Nareen nodded. Satisfaction began to fill her, but it was cut short as he reached out and stroked her face again. She jumped, completely unable to control her reaction.

“Ye are making sport of me in front of yer men, like a savage.”

His eyes glittered, but it wasn’t with the outrage Nareen had intended to provoke. Instead, there was an unmistakable pleased looked in those dark orbs.

“I am a savage, Nareen.” He stepped forward, placing himself within touching range again. “I do nae let words stand alone. If ye truly have no interest in me, there is no reason to avoid me touch. Stand steady and prove ye are nae moved. I have no taste for a frigid woman.”

She laughed at him but stepped back again. “Then it seems we have a common ground, for I crave no man’s touch.”

His lips thinned. “Now that is something ye shall have to prove as well.”

“I will nae. Me word should be enough on the matter, if ye truly are me brother’s friend.” She didn’t care to hide behind her brother’s name, but the circumstances offered her few alternatives.

“As ye noted, I am a savage, and I always demand proof before I believe.”

This time, she was ready when he reached for her cheek. She stepped aside, avoiding him. She was just beginning to smile with her victory when he closed his hand around her wrist. He really was huge. His fingers closed easily around her smaller wrist, clasping it in an iron grip. She braced herself for pain, but there was none, only a secure hold that defied her attempt to break it.

“Release me.” Her voice had risen, and she shut her mouth before revealing any more of her unsettled state.

“Prove ye are unmoved, lass, and I shall be content to accept yer dismissal.” His tone had deepened, becoming something hypnotic.

“I am irritated.” And remaining still was proving too difficult. She twisted her hand, trying to break his hold again.

“Aye, ye are that.” He lifted her hand to his face and pressed a kiss on the delicate skin of her inner wrist. She shuddered, the touch intensely intimate. She’d never realized her skin might be so sensitive. The simple touch of his lips unleashed a bolt of sensation that shook her all the way down to her toes. His eyes filled with satisfaction.

“But ye are also affected.”

He released her, and she stumbled back a pace because she’d been resisting his hold so greatly. Laughter erupted from his men. Saer stiffened, and he crossed his arms over his chest.

“What?” she said. “Are ye trying to impress me by controlling yerself now that ye see yer men are enjoying the sport ye are making of me?”

“Aye, I am,” he answered darkly. “I am nae the one who chose this setting for our meeting, Nareen. Ye should nae have refused to see me again at court. That left me no choice but to chase ye.”

The Highlander’s Bride Trouble

By Mary Wine

Sourcebooks Casablanca

Historical Romance

August 5, 2014

ISBN: 9781402264863

$6.99/£4.99

Mass-Market Paperback

Her clan is in chaos…

Raised by her father and brother, Nareen Grant is strong, confident, well-educated—and skilled with a bow and dagger. It’s a tumultuous time for Scotland, and events conspire against her. Betrayed by her family, she makes her way alone, until she lands in the lap of Saer MacLeod. But she wants no help from a savage man of the Isles.

And rivalries are deadlier than ever.

Raised on the rugged Scottish Isles, Saer MacLeod is considered fierce even by Highlander standards. He’s enchanted by the independent and headstrong Nareen. But when an old feud endangers her life, Saer’s fascination with her escalates into a ferocious desire to protect her… and claim her for himself.

Acclaimed author Mary Wine has written over 30 works of erotic fantasy, romantic suspense, and historical romance. An avid history-buff and historical costumer, she and her family enjoy participating in historical reenactments. Mary lives with her husband and two sons in Yorba Linda, California.

Website: http://www.marywine.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mary-Wine/133965836120?ref=ts

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/207379.Mary_Wine

Order Print: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | B-A-M | Book Depository | Indigo | IndieBound

Order Ebook: Kindle | Nook | Kobo | iBooks

US addresses only, please

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14. The Auschwitz Escape (2014)

The Auschwitz Escape. Joel C. Rosenberg. 2014. Tyndale. 468 pages. [Source: Library]

The Auschwitz Escape is a compelling historical novel starring two wonderful heroes. Readers meet Jean Luc Leclerc a pastor who follows his heart and sets out to rescue as many Jews as he can. He "rescues" them by providing for the needs of refugees. He takes Jews into his home and hides them, he encourages every one in his town to do so. His rescue work continues for several years before he is arrested by the Nazis and taken to Auschwitz. Readers also meet a young Jewish man named Jacob Weisz. He is part of the Resistance, Belgium Resistance, I believe? He is doing his all to help as well. He too is captured by the Nazis and sent to Auschwitz. However they don't learn his true name for many months. Both men learn the upsetting fate of most Jews upon arrival. Both realize that it is not a work camp, but, instead a death camp. Both men are chosen by others in the camp to be part of an underground resistance. Both are chosen to be part of an escape program. They feel very strongly that several teams of two-men need to escape from the camp and seek not only immediate refuge, but, to be messengers. They feel that if the outside world had even a small clue what was happening, they would act, they would do something, they couldn't not do something, right? So Luc and Jacob are the third or maybe fourth team over a year to attempt to escape. Will their escape succeed? Will they survive? Will they be able to find help? What will happen when they speak the truth?

The Auschwitz Escape is fiction. But there were men who did manage to escape who did carry messages and horrific proof about the camp with them to share with the outside world.

I would definitely recommend this one.

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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15. Graphic Novel Review: Vinland Saga Volume 3 by Makoto Yukimura

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I love this series, and I can’t figure out why.  It is violent and depressing, peopled with unlikeable characters.  These guys are unrepentant killers.  They cheerfully engage in murder and thievery, and most lack even the barest sense of honor.  I hate Askeladd, and was really hoping Thorkell would bash his head in with his mighty axe, but no!  The evil, self-serving marauder did not meet his end in the third volume of Vinland Saga.

This volume was over 400 pages of non-stop action.  My wrist is sore from the rapid page turning, and this massive book was literally glued to my hands.  Vinland Saga is one of the most exciting graphic novels that I’ve ever read, and the art is stunning in its brutality.  Fans of Berserk really need to read this, because the two series have a lot in common.  Tortured hero who lives by the blade.  Check.  Violent characters who don’t hesitate to make a deadly show of force.  Check.  One horrific bloodbath after another.  Check!  And worked into all of the glorious violence is the political wrangling for control of the Danish throne.  Which brings me to the only character I really like – young Prince Canute, who has been sent to war by his father King Sweyn, in hopes that he’ll be killed in battle. Like I said, there aren’t a lot of people to look up to in the series.  Everyone is out for their own gain, which makes everything they do suspect, even question a father’s love for his son.

The action gets thick and heavy when Thorkell discovers that Askeladd’s men are lying low in a small village after killing all of the inhabitants, save for the one woman who barely escaped with her life.  Suddenly the chase is on.  Can Thorkell catch Askeladd and reclaim the weak Canute for himself?  Askeladd’s men grow more desperate as the terrifying Thorkell and his men march ever closer to their position.  Askeladd’s men mutter darkly among themselves; Askeladd’s luck has turned, maybe it’s time to look to a new leader.  Oh, dear!  Will Askeladd keep control of his men, through the respect he’s earned with the blade of his sword?  Or will they turn on him like a pack of dogs?  More power to them, I wanted to yell.  Take that bastard down!  Not that any of the other warriors are much better, but wow!  Askeladd has done some horrible things in just three volumes!  Indiscriminate slaughter being just one of them.  These guys do like to kill, and they don’t care who gets caught on the end of their blade.

Thorfinn and Thorkell have a fierce battle.  The winner gets Askeladd.   Do you think Thorfinn is going to let an opportunity like that go by?  No freaking way!  Who cares that Thorkell is a giant, towering over his much smaller opponent.  What a great battle!  The art really shone here, with convincing movement and incredibly emotional facial expressions.  I’ll say it again – the illustrations are fantastic, driving the story forward at a frantic pace, catching your attention and refusing to let it go, or to give your poor eyes a break.  Weapons clash, blood spills, body parts fly off the pages.  It is so mind-numbingly intense!

While the battles were exhilarating, my favorite part of this volume was Canute.  He finally found his voice.  He found his resolve, and he found his power, and boy, oh, boy, his father had better watch out.  From a quiet, weak boy, to a proud, determined leader, all in the span of a few chapters.   Yes!  I want to know what kind of man he becomes, to see if he, too, is shaped into a cold, heartless leader like all of the men around him.

I enjoyed Vinland Saga Volume 3 so much that when I finished, I hopped onto Amazon to see when the next volume comes out.  Guess what!  It’s already out!  And at $5.49 for the Kindle, it is MINE!

Grade:  A

Review copy provided by my local library

From Amazon:

A BLOODY COMING OF AGE In a gambit to become the power behind the Danish and English thrones, Askeladd has taken the prince, Canute, and plunged deep into a winter storm behind enemy lines. Canute’s father, King Sweyn, gives him up for dead in his haste to suppress English resistance. But Askeladd’s small band can’t outrun the tenacious maniac Thorkell forever, and when the warriors finally clash, a storm of sweat and gore ensues that will turn a boy into a man and a hostage into a ruler of men!

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16. Spotlight and Giveaway: I Adored a Lord by Katharine Ashe

This morning I have a spotlight for Katharine Ashe’s latest release I Adored A Lord.  I love the dress and the colors on the cover!  Read about the book, and then enter the giveaway for a chance to win a copy of I Married A Duke.

I Adored a Lord

A Prince Catchers Novel

By: Katharine Ashe

Releasing July 29th, 2014

Avon Romance

She’s intended for his brother. He’s destined for adventure. Then a dangerous mystery throws them together, and all they want is each other.

All that clever, passionate Ravenna Caulfield wants is to stay far away from high society’s mean girls.

All that handsome, heroic Lord Vitor Courtenay wants is to dash from dangerous adventure to adventure.

Now, snowbound in a castle with a bevy of the ton’s scheming maidens all competing for a prince’s hand in marriage, Ravenna’s worst nightmare has come true. Now, playing babysitter to a spoiled prince and his potential brides, Vitor is champing at the bit to be gone.

When a stolen kiss in a stable leads to a corpse in a suit of armor, a canine kidnapping, and any number of scandalous liaisons, Ravenna and Vitor find themselves wrapped in a mystery they’re perfectly paired to solve. But as for the mysteries of love and sex, Vitor’s not about to let Ravenna escape until he’s gotten what he desires…

Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.blogspot.com/2014/06/now-booking-tasty-virtual-tour-for-i.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18755792-i-adored-a-lord?ac=1

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/I-Adored-Lord-Prince-Catchers-ebook/dp/B00GFZW4GM/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-1-catcorr&qid=1393436231

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/i-adored-a-lord-katharine-ashe/1117322990?ean=9780062229830

iBook: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/i-adored-a-lord/id738408889?mt=11

Author Info

Award-winning, best-selling author KATHARINE ASHE writes intensely lush historical romance, including How To Be a Proper Lady, among Amazon’s 10 Best Books of 2012 in Romance, and eight other acclaimed novels set in the era of the British Empire. With the publication of her debut novel in 2010, she earned a spot among the American Library Association’s “New Stars of Historical Romance.” She was a nominee for the 2013 Library of Virginia Literary Award in Fiction, and in 2011 she won the coveted Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Historical Romantic Adventure. Katharine is also a finalist for the 2014 RITA® Award, the highest honor in the romance fiction industry, for How To Marry A Highlander.

She lives in the wonderfully warm Southeast with her beloved husband, son, dog, and a garden she likes to call romantic rather than unkempt. A professor of European History at Duke University, Katharine writes fiction because she thinks modern readers deserve high adventure and breathtaking sensuality too. For more about her books, please visit her at www.KatharineAshe.com.

Author Links

https://twitter.com/KatharineAshe

http://www.katharineashe.com./

https://www.facebook.com/KatharineAsheAuthor

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3145688.Katharine_Ashe

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17. Pocket Star E-Releases Spotlight and Giveaway: Jumped and Knight of Love

 

I enjoyed Thrown, and I’m looking forward to reading Jumped.  It has horses – how could I pass this on up?  Enter below to win a digital copy!

JUMPED by Colette Auclair

SUMMARY:

A young woman in the equestrian fashion business finds herself head over heels for none other than her ex-husband in Colette Auclair’s steamy sequel to her 2012 Golden Heart finalist and “page-turning debut” (Library Journal), Thrown.
Thoroughly enjoying herself at a friend Amanda’s wedding, Beth finds herself in an unexpected state of shock when she realizes she’s been seated next to her ex-husband, Finn, at the reception. Determined to not let this fluster her, Beth strikes up a conversation only to learn Finn isn’t the same man she walked away from.
Relieved the reception is over, Beth is looking forward to a relaxing weekend against the beautiful backdrop of sunny Aspen at her best friend Amanda’s estate. Little does she know Finn will be partaking in the weekend activities too. But just as Beth decides to keep as much distance between her and Finn as possible, Finn has a terrible accident and Beth is stuck being his bedside nurse.
Over the course of the weekend, Beth and Finn discover that the wounds of their failed marriage are not all that’s left. There are sparks…and hope. But just as they decide to give their relationship another try, Finn confesses a huge secret that could destroy everything he’s fought to get back—Beth, their relationship, and another chance at love.
Will Beth turn away, or will she take a leap of faith and say “I do” once (again) and for all?

EXCERPT:

Around midnight, Bethany came into the cabin with Mingo padding after her and closed the door as gently as she could.

“Mmm,” Finn said from his bed. Mingo went straight for him, a brown cylindrical rocket.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you.”

“That’s fine.” He slept with his broken leg propped on a few pillows. He pet Mingo, who was beside himself with happiness, wagging his stubby breakfast-sausage tail as though the earth’s rotation relied on it.

“Do you need anything?” she asked as she turned on a lamp next to the sofa and came to his bedside. He was rumpled. Finn could pull off rumpled like Kardashians pulled off wedding rings. Beth’s mouth went a tad dry.

He shook his head. “No thanks.”

“Have you seen my phone?” She went into the bathroom.

“Uh . . . let me look,” he said.

She emerged and was surprised to find him in the kitchen, scanning the counter.

“You didn’t have to get up!” she said. “I wondered if you happened to see it. I’m not sure where I left it and thought it might be here.” She crossed to the coffee table in front of the couch and looked under an architecture magazine Grady had gotten for Finn.

Finn hobbled over. His expression was . . . unwelcoming. “You have a fruitful discussion with Jack?”

To anyone else, Finn’s question would have seemed benign. But Beth heard the edge. She lifted a cushion on the sofa and peered under it as she spoke.

“For the love of God, Finn. Yes. He was great. Thanks for asking.” She made sure to sound happy. Wow, but he could be annoying.

“Business? That’s all you two talked about?”

She rolled her eyes. “My business? Yes, for the most part. I also talked to Harris, Amanda, and Grady. What are you getting at?” She looked under another cushion, then at Finn.

He gave her a look. You know what I mean. “He must be a cheerful guy.”

“Why?”

“You two sure laughed a lot.”

“Do you know your leg will heal faster if you stop being an ass? Go back to bed.”

“Do you trust him? You think he knows what he’s talking about?”

“Jack? Yes.” She picked up each of the five magazines on the coffee table. No phone. “Grady wouldn’t have put me in touch with him if he wasn’t good at what he does. Did you question Grady about the orthopedist he sent you to?”

She needed to stand her ground, so she made a point to stand tall, facing him. Her pulse wasn’t exactly racing, but it wasn’t slow, either. She was letting Finn get to her. She had to Teflon up.

Finn asked, “He’s a good-looking guy, don’t you think?”

Oh, he wouldn’t dare. “Yeah,” she said. “Very good looking.”

She crossed to an armchair, speaking as she looked under its cushion. “Smokin’ hot. Broad shoulders.” She looked under the other chair’s cushion. “Beautiful eyes. Great ass. You bet he was good-looking. A complete and total hottie.” Take that.

“Did he hit on you?”

She faced him. “I think a better use of your time and energy would be to help me find my phone.”

His eyes were dark-denim blue. “Did he hit on you?”

“Oh my God, would you stop! What if he did? What business is it of yours? We’re not married anymore, remember?” Beth wiggled her left ring finger at him. Then she got on all fours and looked under the chair next to him.

Finn’s mouth was a hard seam that turned down at the ends. He looked like a rank stallion. He filled the space above her with his wide shoulders and anger.

She huffed out a breath. “No. It was business.” Before she spoke her next words, she rose and stood directly in front of him. “But if he had, I would’ve said yes and I would’ve liked it.”

If Finn wanted to be this way, fine. She would give it right back to him. She glared. Come on, Finn. You wanna dance? Let’s dance.

She was trying to guess what his next caveman accusation would be. Would he go overtly sexual? A classic character assassination? The dumb jock route, because Jack didn’t work for his business, but got lucky in sports?

Finn wedged the crutches beneath his arms and grabbed Beth’s biceps. She gasped. She hadn’t expected this. A brigade of tingles zoomed up her body from somewhere near her ovaries. Her pulse sprinted. Finn’s stare was unnerving, full of hunger and fury as he searched her face. She wasn’t sure what the hell he was going to say.

He was shaking. After a second he pulled her to him, slanted his lips to hers, and kissed her. More liked possessed her. He cupped the back of her neck with one hand and pressed her mouth to his. In a half heartbeat, she remembered exactly what his lips felt and tasted like. It was surreal, vivid, and hot. They were soft, but his kiss wasn’t gentle. His jealousy was so intense, it was almost a thing, like a flavor on his tongue.

Link continuing the excerpt to XOXOAfterDark:

http://xoxoafterdark.com/2014/07/21/pocket-star-e-night-jumped-colette-auclair/?mcd=z?140804_AuclairJump_PSEN

US residents only, please

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Master of Love was a fun read, so I’m hoping this one is, too! You can win a digital copy by entering below!

KNIGHT OF LOVE by Catherine LaRoche

SUMMARY:

In this saucy romance, an English lady turns the damsel-in-distress tale on its head as she escapes her malicious fiancé and fights for both her life and that of the lustful rebel that has become her protector.
Lady Lenora Trevelyan, a naïve yet stubborn young lady born to the highest noble houses of England and Germany, finds herself betrothed to the brutal Prince Kurt von Rotenburg-Gruselstadt. But after she is cruelly bruised and flogged by her fiancé, she decides to take the reins of her fate. In the midst of a German revolution, Lenora escapes Kurt’s iron fist and embarks home to England. She quickly finds herself in the hands of a rebel group and their robust, gentle, and handsome leader, Wolfram von Wolfsbach und Ravensworth, the English Earl of Ravensworth.
Lenora struggles to deny the passion she feels towards the frustratingly chivalrous Earl but her desire for him continues to bloom. Wolfram hungers nothing other than to fight for democracy and civil rights in uniting Germany and to protect what he assumes is his damsel in distress. Through nights of immeasurable pleasure, Lenora and Wolfram learn that their passion is no match for the revolutionary chaos that ensues. And when Lenora discovers that her protector’s life is threatened, she must risk everything to save her Knight of Love.

EXCERPT:

The German Confederation

February 1848

The first lash robbed her of breath.

The second granted her freedom.

If he’d go so far as to have her publicly flogged, she owed him no further loyalty. Any obligation remaining from their betrothal contact ended here, in this moment, with this lash.

Morally, she was free.

Now all she had to do was escape the bastard and make him pay.

As the second stroke landed, fire replaced the shock, and a hot slick of pain bloomed across her back. The coarse linen shift that a spying maid had forced her into provided no protection. It offered little modesty, either, from the uneasy crowd Kurt had gathered inside the castle gates to witness her punishment. She gritted her teeth and refused to cry out. A rough rope bound her wrists above her head to the flogging post. As her knees buckled, the  binding made her perversely glad; she doubted she could stand upright on her own.

Before arriving at this godforsaken pile of German stone, she—Lady Lenora Trevelyan, eldest child to the Duke and Duchess of Sherbrooke, third cousin to Queen Victoria’s German consort, His Royal Highness Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha—had never been struck in her life. Now, in her three months at Schloss  Rotenburg, she’d lost count of her bruises.

At first, before her parents had returned home to England, Kurt hadn’t hit her—or “corrected her,” as it pleased that smug worm to call his slaps and blows. He claimed it was for her own good, of course, to teach and prepare her for her life as his Prinzessin and mistress of Rotenburg.

She must carry out her duties perfectly, he’d hiss, tightening a grip on her arm until she knew she’d wear a band of purple bruises for a week. Or he’d strike out in sudden fury at some perceived failure of hers—she’d forgotten the name of one of his sainted ancestors in the castle’s gloomy portrait gallery, or made a minor grammatical mistake in her German, or not shown proper courtesy to a visiting Bürgermeister.

Tied now to the flogging post, she lost count after the third blow. She’d seen the long leather strap when the stable master, shamefaced, had bound her with muttered apologies and handed the lash to a muscled groom more accustomed to cracking it around stubborn horses than using it to beat highborn ladies. Now she could barely feel the individual strokes as they landed, only the waves of hot agony clenching her back and shoulders in a vise grip of pain.

Through the red haze blurring her vision, she saw Kurt standing nearby. Next to him, his sanctimonious toady minister prattled the Bible proverb of the virtuous wife whose price was far above rubies. The gleeful, twisted pleasure Kurt took in her pain radiated off his stork-like form like a sickening stench. She bit down on her lip and gathered her hatred of her fiancé like a babe to her breast.

It was all she had left to get her out of this hell.

When Kurt finally held up a hand to signal the groom to cease, her labored breath echoed in the silent crowd. She knew the townspeople didn’t approve of the public beating their prince had commanded for his foreign betrothed. No more than they believed his story that she’d agreed to a religious flagellation in humble preparation for becoming his pious and obedient wife. But Prince Kurt von Rotenburg-Gruselstadt ruled the castle and town with an iron fist. None would risk their lord’s wrath to stand up for her.

Kurt stepped to the front of the dais. “Lady Lenora bears her trial most nobly,” he announced to the crowd. “Her embrace of her suffering does honor to a bloodline that unites the highest noble houses of England and Germany.”

That bloodline, she knew well, was why he’d chosen her. The prig made no secret of his disdain for any born below the upper aristocracy. The Holy Roman emperor himself, Kurt often delighted to inform her, had conferred the title of Prinz upon the House of Rotenburg-Gruselstadt in the previous century. Her own background had led the matchmakers to judge them a perfect pair: her father’s ancient ducal title intermingled, like that of so many English peers these days, with noble blood from her Prussian princess mother.

No one had thought to mention that her fiancé had the temperament of a petulant demon on a bad day in hell.

As Kurt stalked toward her, she forced her knees to straighten. She was done being afraid of this man. He pulled back the torn linen shift to inspect her back. Despite her resolve not to cry out, she gasped as the frayed edges stuck to her skin.

“Beautiful work,” he murmured into her ear. “This is what a woman should look like. Chastised to a man’s authority, marked to her proper place.”

Link continuing the excerpt to XOXO After Dark:

http://xoxoafterdark.com/2014/07/21/pocket-star-e-nights-knight-love-catherine-laroche/?mcd=z_140804_LaRocheKnight_PSEN

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18. Guest Post and Giveaway: Grace Burrowes, Author of The Traitor

Please welcome special guest Grace Burrowes to the virtual offices this morning!  Grace has a guest post to share, and then you can enter for a chance to win The Traitor!

The Impossible Heroine by Grace Burrowes

The baroness used silver tongs to put a flaky golden croissant on a plate. “So you are a lady fallen on hard times?”

Milly was a lady who’d blundered, for the baroness shared with her nephew surgical skill with seemingly innocent question.

“My mother was a lady fallen on hard times. I am a poor relation who would make her own way rather than burden my cousins any further.”

“Kicked you out, did they?” Her ladyship’s tone suggested she did not approve of such cousins. “Or perhaps they realized that underneath all that red hair, you’re quite pretty, though brown eyes are not quite the rage. One hopes you aren’t delicate?”

She passed Milly the pastry and shifted the butter a few inches closer to Milly’s side of the table.

“I enjoy excellent health, thank you, your ladyship.” Excellent physical health, anyway. “I prefer to call my hair auburn.”

The baroness snorted at that gambit, then poured herself more tea. “Will these cousins come around to plague you?”

They would have to bother to find Milly first. “I doubt it.”

“You wouldn’t be married to one of them, would you?”

I set myself two significant challenges when I sat down to write The Traitor, though I’d only bargained for one. I knew that my hero, Sebastian St. Clair, had appeared in the predecessor story, The Captive, as a (mostly) bad guy. Redeeming Sebastian was great fun, for me, and for our heroine, Milly Danforth.

What I came to realize is that an unusual hero needs an unusual heroine. Milly Danforth wasn’t wealthy, titled, or remarkably pretty. She wasn’t brilliant, had no virtuosic artistic talent, and came from humble antecedents. Milly wasn’t even very well educated.

What was she doing in my book?

Sebastian liked her, that’s what. Milly had common sense to go with her common origins, and she’d learned far more in the school of hard knocks than many higher-born ladies learned in finishing school. Sebastian could understand and respect her, and even, though it took a lot of courage on both of their parts, trust her.

Then too, Milly shared with Sebastian a certain orphaned status. He was rejected by both his French mother’s and his English father’s societies, while Milly was literally orphaned, and treated poorly by the relations charged with taking care of her.
Both Sebastian and Milly were reduced to relying on their wits to navigate an untrustworthy world, and both, by the time the book opens are darned sick of having to be so self-sufficient.

Milly was also a joy to write, simply for herself. I could be less concerned with the ballrooms, conventions and fashions that typically characterize tales of the Beau Monde, and focus more closely with the love story—which, after all, the point of a romance.
I liked Milly, too. For her pragmatism, for her tenacity, for her courage.

The more I wrote, the more I could see that Milly was, in other words, perfect for a man tired of war and rejection, tired of being judged, and more than ready to be accepted, not as a villain or a hero, but simply as a man.

Milly was the right lady for that job, and all the more a heroine for winning Sebastian’s love without a lot of wealth, power, or external trappings of attractiveness.

***

Book Information

Title: The Traitor

Author: Grace Burrowes

Release Date: August 5, 2014

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Genre: Historical Romance

ISBN: 97881402294990

Summary:

As a young boy, British-born Sebastian St. Clair was abandoned in France and forced to join the French army to survive. Now that the war is over, he has returned to his beloved England and is determined to live a quiet life as a country gentleman. He’s struggling to make that wish come true when he falls for his elderly aunt’s practical and unpretentious companion, Miss Millicent Danforth. But an old enemy threatens this new love, and plots to destroy everything Sebastian holds dear. Sebastian will have to use all of his wits if he’s to hang on to his life, his honor…and Milly’s love.

Buy Links:

Amazon – http://amzn.to/1lG265E

Barnes & Noble – http://bit.ly/1prqVny

iTunes – http://bit.ly/1npkv6m

Author Biography

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes’ bestsellers include The Heir, The Soldier, Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish and Lady Eve’s Indiscretion. Her Regency romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Grace is branching out into short stories and Scotland-set Victorian romance with Sourcebooks. She is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland.

Social Media Links

Website: http://graceburrowes.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Grace-Burrowes/115039058572197

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GraceBurrowes

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4152482.Grace_Burrowes

I have 3 copies of The Traitor up for grabs! US addresses only, please

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19. Manga Review: Stepping on Roses Vol 9 (Final) by Rinko Ueda

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

Now that I have a nifty second-hand treadmill, I find myself reading more digital manga.  It’s just so easy to march along on the track, flipping pages every few seconds.  The workouts go by much faster, I’m getting caught up on some of the series I’ve been neglecting, and I’m getting healthier while I’m multi-tasking.  Who could ask for more?

Stepping on Roses has been my manga crack for a while, but the final volume has been moldering on my iPad for far too long.  I booted it up, clicked Start on the treadmill, and had the most entertaining 20 minutes in a while.  All of my gasping, eeewwwws, and ahhhhhs kept Poppy pretty entertained, too.  Every time something unexpected happened in the story, I couldn’t help but  make some weird sound, which kept disturbing her as she snoozed on the sofa.  Bumble couldn’t have cared less, but I don’t think Poppy enjoyed the last volume quite so much.

Sumi has been fending off Nozomu, telling him that they can’t be married until he’s legally divorced from Miu (I mean DUH!).  Soichiro is performing manual labor in his efforts to work his way back up the ladder so he can take back control of the family business again.  His luck is finally starting to take a turn for the better when he helps a foreign businessman by translating for him when he can’t make himself understood in a business negotiation.  With a new job interpreting for the foreigner, Soichiro and Sumi are pleasantly surprised that they are able to see each other again when Nozomu has business dealings with the man.  Nozomu, not so happy.  In fact, evil Nozomu makes a reappearance, and he tries, yet again, to force himself on Sumi.  You’d think this guy would learn, but no.  Instead, he chases Sumi away, straight into Soichiro’s waiting arms.

While I was happy that Sumi and Soichiro were finally able to be together for a passionate interlude, I wasn’t quite so happy with how rushed the story felt shortly after.  In a fit of jealousy, Nozomu confines Sumi to his house, and arranges to have their wedding in just two weeks.  That’s when things got really weird.  A trip to visit Nozomu’s father yields very unwelcome news for Nozomu, which would have made his marriage to Sumi socially unacceptable. (I’m trying not to spoil this!)  He disregards the revelation, determined to finally make Sumi his.  Ugh and eek!  Soichiro zooms in at the last second to save her, and Nozomu, from this disastrous union, and tra-la-la!  The story’s OVER!

While I was disappointed with the last two raced through chapters, overall, I loved Stepping on Roses.  It is a soap opera at it’s best, with one misfortune after another befalling the sweet, likeable Sumi.  The melodrama has been epic, and I have enjoyed both loving and hating on the characters, especially Nozomu and Eisuke.  Soichiro finally got a clue, but he almost got it too late to save his relationship with Sumi, and considering how messed up that was at the beginning, it’s a wonder that everyone managed to score a happily ever after, and I do mean everyone.  That at least was fun, but the big reveal of Sumi’s real family?  Not so much. 

Grade:  B/B-

B+ for series overall

From Amazon:

Poor Sumi Kitamura… Her irresponsible older brother Eisuke keeps bringing home orphans for her to take care of even though they can barely afford their own basic needs! Just when Sumi’s financial problems become dire, wealthy Soichiro Ashida enters her life with a bizarre proposition: he’ll provide her with the money she so desperately needs if she agrees to marry him. But can Sumi fool high society into thinking she’s a proper lady? Moreover, is it worth giving up everything for this sham of a marriage?

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20. Spotlight: July Scandalous Releases

The summer is getting hotter with four new releases from Scandalous this month. One is the latest Men of Fortune release, FALLING FOR THE PIRATE by Amber Lin, a tantalizing tale of a pirate’s vengeance. The second is a regency romance, FOR HER SPY ONLY by Robin DeHart, which gives a delicious story of a jilted woman and a withdrawn Marquess.  Third, is the second novel in The Worth Brothers series, LOVE’S JUSTICE by Joan Avery, featuring an independent heroine and the man who finds her fascinating. And fourth is TEMPTING HER RELUCTANT VISCOUNT by Catherine Hemmerling, part of the Lady Lancaster Garden Society series and a sizzling regency romance read.

 
 
About Falling for the Pirate:
 
Vengeance is a dish best served in bed…
 
London, 1820
 
After the deaths of his parents and a dark, troubled childhood, Captain Nate Bowen vowed he would have his revenge. But he never expected to have the tool of his revenge dropped so neatly into his lap. Juliana Hargate is not only the daughter of his enemy, but is destitute, very much alone – and exquisitely desirable. And now that Nate has saved her life, she’s at his complete mercy…
 
Captive. All Juliana wanted was to clear her father’s name. Instead, she’s been struck with amnesia – unable to recall even her name – and imprisoned by a tall, imposing, and entirely unscrupulous pirate. A pirate whose eyes seem to look past her skirts and many petticoats, and whose touch sends delicious ripples of desire through her. With every passing day, she finds herself tempted to give him the very thing he’s determined to take… 
 
 
Add it to Goodreads

Purchase your copy:
Entangled site: http://goo.gl/86M87x
 
 
About For Her Spy Only:
 
He’ll never forget her—but can he ever forgive her?
 
England, 1814
 
When Winifred is rescued from her snow-stranded carriage by the notorious and reclusive Alistair, Marquess of Coventry, she is instantly drawn to him. Jilted by her betrothed and socially ruined by untrue rumors, Winifred is tired of paying for crimes she didn’t commit and decides to play the seductress London society claims she is. Thinking a night of passion shouldn’t leave any lasting effects, she instead finds her heart marked forever.
 
Six years later, Alistair is working for the Regent as a spy. A search for Napoleon’s English supporters leads him to the beguiling Winifred, recently widowed with a young son. He hasn’t forgotten how the unconventional beauty warmed his bed, and the heat between them rekindles immediately. The spymaster is determined to uncover all of plucky Winifred’s secrets. Especially the one regarding her son…
 
 
Add it to Goodreads
 
Purchase your copy:
Entangled site: http://ow.ly/zcNyG

 
About Love’s Justice:
 
He holds her fate in his hands…
 
London, 1879
 
American heiress Victoria Wentworth has spent her life blithely ignoring her father’s wishes… until he enters her into an unwanted marriage contract with a despicable man. She has two choices: marry the bounder or fight the archaic English laws in court. Her only hope is Hugh Worth, the Earl Montgomery and Lord Chancellor of the Exchequer: her judge and jury. Society paints him as stern and subdued, yet fair. Society didn’t warn her that beneath his somber facade beats a passionate heart and soul.
 
Hugh finds himself irresistibly, inexplicably, drawn to the spirited American, despite himself and his better judgment. As the inconvenient heiress takes on the fight against the very foundation of his life and career, another battle wages in his once cold heart. Everything about her is inappropriate, illogical, and unexpected. Yet, she is a woman he could admire. A woman of intelligence and beliefs that challenge the existing world.
 
But she is forbidden.
 
 
Add it to Goodreads

Purchase your copy:
Entangled site: http://goo.gl/2J2eJp

 
About Tempting Her Reluctant Viscount:
 
A pretend courtship…a real scandal
 
London, 1814
 
Hope Stuckeley has lusted after the handsome and charismatic Michael Ashmore, the Viscount Lichfield, for ages – never mind that she’s never actually spoken to him. When the two join forces to investigate a London stock market scandal, pretending he is courting her gives her the chance to prove she’s more than the bookworm he takes her for.
 
After years of service as a soldier and newly titled as a viscount, actual marriage and settling down are the last things on confirmed bachelor Michael’s mind. But when their investigation puts the delectable Hope in danger, discovering the truth about the scandal could jeopardize the future he didn’t know he wanted.
 
 
Add it to Goodreads

Purchase your copy:
Entangled site: http://goo.gl/3CnVtj

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21. Interview with Jane Feather, Author of Trapped at the Altar and Giveaway!

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

[Jane Feather] Sometimes I sizzle, sometimes I fizzle

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Trapped at the Altar?

[Jane Feather] Childhood friends who grew up together in an outcast family of renegades are forced into marriage in their joint families’ interests. Ariadne is in love with another man and is fiercely resistant to the marriage, Ivor would be happy for the marriage if Ari were happy too. When she tells him she cannot love him as anything but a friend he has a tough time showing her that she’s wrong.

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

[Jane Feather] The scene where Ariadne seduces Ivor, employing strategically placed furs and emeralds as her props.

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

[Jane Feather] The dialogue between Ari and Ivor, the development of Ari’s character as she matures.

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

[Jane Feather] Something to read

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

[Jane Feather] An antique silver paper knife, a paper weight in the shape of a scrunched up IRS tax return, Roget’s Thesaurus.

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

[Jane Feather] A glass of red wine.

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

[Jane Feather] Hilary Clinton

[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?

[Jane Feather] Invisibility. I’d love to drop in on all sorts of people and events.

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

[Jane Feather] I recently reread Forever Amber, described as a “Rediscovered Classic.” I think it should probably have remained un-rediscovered. What was a sexy and daring historical read as a teenager seems rather tame and overblown now…very disappointing.

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

[Jane Feather] Email: janeplume@icloud.com

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

New York Times bestselling author Jane Feather introduces a sizzling new series that moves from the remote wilds of southwest England to the turbulent royal court, when a lovely young woman is forced into marriage in order to unite two families—and discovers a most unexpected passion. . .

Ariadne Carfax has vowed to be with the man she loves, Gabriel Fawcett. There’s just one obstacle. On his deathbed, Ari’s grandfather decrees that she marry her childhood friend Ivor Chalfont, thus forging a powerful alliance between the two warring families. Giving Ari no time to protest, the elders plan her wedding the next day, forcing her to follow through on the nuptials. Though she is fond of Ivor, Ari has no intention of consummating their marriage—until he kindles an intoxicating desire that she can’t ignore. Ivor has loved Ari for years, but he doesn’t want an unwilling wife. He wants Ari to ache with the same irresistible longing he feels. And if that’s the way to woo her into his bed and into their new life, he won’t rest until his new bride surrenders to true love.

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22. Novella Review: For Her Spy Only by Robyn DeHart

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I picked up For Her Spy Only because I was in the mood for a quick read.  I enjoyed this quite a bit, but thought the ending was very rushed.  Maybe I just liked the characters so much that I would have liked to get know them even better.  There’s some intrigue, adventure, and an unconventional hero, which was a refreshing change.  Alistair couldn’t be further from a smooth talking operator, and I enjoyed that Winifred accepted him for who he was, and the thought of changing him never crossed her mind. 

When Winifred is stranded in a disabled coach on Christmas Eve, her unlikely rescuer is none other than Alistair, Marquess of Coventry.  Rumors swirl about the reclusive man, claiming that Alistair murdered his young wife, but after meeting him, Winifred dismisses them as idle talk.  Alistair’s dark reputation, however, gets her pulse pounding, and she decides that an affair with him will spice up her life.  She is also the victim of unkind rumors, which began after she was jilted at the altar, so she feels, with her reputation already in tatters, that she has nothing to lose. 

Six years later, Winifred has an unwelcome visitor.  Alistair is standing on her door step, asking after her husband, who has recently passed away.  Alistair reveals that he’s a code-breaker, and in order to protect the Crown, he needs the help of her late husband’s maps to help decipher his latest assignment.  Unfortunately, the maps he needs have been stolen.  Winifred agrees to help him locate the maps, mainly to get him back out of her life.  She has a big secret she’s keeping from him, and she’s terrified that he’ll discover that she’s been hiding his son from him for all these years.

I didn’t blame Winifred one bit for hiding Oliver’s existence from Alistair.  He made it very clear that he never wanted children, and took precautions to prevent an unwanted pregnancy during their brief time together.  Obviously unsuccessful precautions.  Winifred decided to raise her son without telling Alistair, but now she’s terrified that he’ll discover that he has a son.  She’s not certain what his reaction will be, but she’s sure it will be dreadful.

The hero made this read for me.  Alistair is somewhere on the autism spectrum, and while he’s a whiz at cracking codes, social interactions are a trial for him.  He is painfully blunt and has no sense of humor.  Most people bore him with their mindless nattering.  Winifred intrigues him because she doesn’t pester him with small talk, and she accepts him for who he is.   Bullied as a child and shown only distain from his mother, he prefers to keep his own company.  That is, until he is unexpectedly reunited with Winifred and begins to develop feelings for her. Gasp!

As previously stated, I thought the ending was very rushed, but the unusual hero made up for that shortcoming.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

England, 1814

When Winifred is rescued from her snow-stranded carriage by the notorious and reclusive Alistair, Marquess of Coventry, she is instantly drawn to him. Jilted by her betrothed and socially ruined by untrue rumors, Winifred is tired of paying for crimes she didn’t commit and decides to play the seductress London society claims she is. Thinking a night of passion shouldn’t leave any lasting effects, she instead finds her heart marked forever.

Six years later, Alistair is working for the Regent as a spy. A search for Napoleon’s English supporters leads him to the beguiling Winifred, recently widowed with a young son. He hasn’t forgotten how the unconventional beauty warmed his bed, and the heat between them rekindles immediately. The spymaster is determined to uncover all of plucky Winifred’s secrets. Especially the one regarding her son…

The post Novella Review: For Her Spy Only by Robyn DeHart appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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23. China Dolls (2014)

China Dolls. Lisa See. 2014. Random House. 376 pages. [Source: Library]

China Dolls is historical fiction. The novel follows three women through the latter days of the 1930s through the 1940s. Three very different women I might add. The friendship between these three women is not quite pure or ideal. Grace, one of the heroines, is running away from an abusive father. Her dream is to sing and dance and to go into show business. Ruby, another heroine, is also a dancer and performer. Helen is the third heroine. Before a chance meeting with Ruby and Grace, Helen had no big dreams of show business. In fact, Helen could not even dance! Yet, a chance meeting one day led all three women to audition for an Oriental nightclub. (For the record, Oriental is the term used throughout China Dolls.) Talent is only half of what is required, they learn. Appearance is super important. It is more important to be beautiful and amazing and be somewhat teachable than to be incredibly talented. Helen and Grace are hired to be essentially part of a chorus. (They're called Ponies.) But Ruby remains a part of their lives. For better or worse.

While each woman is given a back story and/or a sob story, I had a hard time liking any of the characters. Helen, Grace, and Ruby may spend time together, but, that doesn't mean they like each other and want each other to succeed. Helen, Ruby, and Grace could be quite mean and awful to each other.

The history is interesting. The story is certainly full of drama. The characters are incredibly flawed and remain consistently selfish.

I liked it fine, but, I definitely did not love it.

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on China Dolls (2014) as of 7/29/2014 9:42:00 AM
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24. Excerpt and Giveaway: Love and Let Spy by Shana Galen

I’m excited to be part of Shana Galen’s pre-pub tour for Love and Let Spy.  I have an exclusive excerpt from the book, as well as two giveaways for you to enter.  Check out the other excerpts by following the entire tour!

Excerpt:

As soon as they stepped into the supper room, the noise from the ball dimmed. Jane’s head throbbed in relief. What she would not give for a night of quiet and a good book on ancient weapons or deadly poisons. Out of habit, Jane scanned the room, taking quick note of her surroundings. Several tables had been laid with delicacies of every sort—-cold meats and thick sauces, glossy fruits, savory breads, and sumptuous sweets. The hot dishes would be set out right before the call to supper, but Jane would have been quite happy with the cold dishes alone. She thought she’d eaten a piece of cheese at some point this afternoon, but that might have been yesterday. She’d spent the better part of the day at the Barbican’s offices, and there was never anything to eat there.

“Now, Jane,” her aunt turned to her and whispered hurriedly, looking back at the door as she did so. Who was she expecting? “I want you to be polite.”

“I am always polite.”

“Yes, but sometimes you are polite in such a way as to actually be insulting. The person to whom you are speaking might not notice, but I do.” Her aunt’s large hazel eyes fastened on Jane’s face and held. Jane did not look away. Instead, she studied her aunt’s handsome features—-her glossy auburn hair, her high forehead, her pointed nose, and her firm mouth. She was barely forty, several years younger than her husband, and she had obviously been a beauty in her day. She was still a beautiful woman, intelligent as well. Jane felt a little sorry for her, because like most women of her station, there was little for her to do but sip tea, gossip, and marry off her sons and daughters.

But Lord and Lady Melbourne had no sons or daughters. That was a shame, because her aunt would have been a wonderful mother. She had taken in the broken daughter of her husband’s brother and raised her with affection and kindness. And even though Jane had been young when she’d come to live with her aunt and uncle, she had never thought of them as mother and father. There was a distance between them, a formality.

Lady Melbourne peered at the door again, and Jane followed her gaze. “Who is it I am to meet?”

“A Mr. Dominic Griffyn. His mother is the Marchioness of Edgeberry.”

Edgeberry… Jane had an image of a passel of attractive young men, all with blond hair and brown eyes. They might have been her brothers for all the resemblance they shared.

Her name is Bonde, Jane Bonde…

A beautiful and eligible member of the ton, Jane has more than a few secrets: she’s one of the Crown’s most elite agents. She may be deadly, but she doesn’t know a thing about fashion, flirtation, or love…until Dominic Griffyn shakes up her carefully stirred world and asks her to be his bride. He’s exactly the kind of man she’s not looking for. And he’s dangerous, because falling into his arms is so much more satisfying than saving England from her enemies.

He’s an improper gentleman who needs a wife…

Tall, dark, and tortured, Dominic Griffyn is haunted by demons from his past. When his stepfather insists that he marry, Dominic allows himself to hope that the beautiful but mysterious Miss Bonde might help him forget his troubles. As they grow closer, it’s clear that there’s more to Jane than danger. She might be just what his neglected heart needs.

Pre-order Love and Let Spy:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1r9gG4W

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

Apple: http://bit.ly/1nfku4t

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1mgWs8Z

IndieBound: http://bit.ly/Wne0GR

BAM: http://bit.ly/Wnepcl

Indigo: http://bit.ly/1u08WqK

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I am giving away a copy of Lord and Lady Spy! US addresses only, please

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the rest of the stops on the tour to read all of the excerpts.

21-Jul

From the TBR Pile

http://fromthetbrpile.blogspot.com/

Excerpt One

22-Jul

SOS Aloha

http://sosaloha.blogspot.com/

Excerpt Two

23-Jul

Bookhounds

http://maryinhb.blogspot.com/

Excerpt Three

24-Jul

Urban Girl Reader

http://urbangirlreader.com/

Excerpt Four

25-Jul

Long and Short Reviews

http://www.longandshortreviews.com/

Excerpt Five

28-Jul

The Book Vixen

http://www.thebookvixen.com/

Excerpt Six

29-Jul

Cocktails and Books

http://www.cocktailsandbooks.com/

Excerpt Seven

30-Jul

Manga Maniac Café

http://www.mangamaniaccafe.com/

Excerpt Eight

31-Jul

The Reading Café

http://www.thereadingcafe.com/

Excerpt Nine

1-Aug

Broken Teepee

http://www.brokenteepee.com/

Excerpt Ten

The post Excerpt and Giveaway: Love and Let Spy by Shana Galen appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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25. Meet Andrew Clifton From Elizabeth Michels How to Lose a Lord in 10 Days or Less and Giveaway

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

[Andrew Clifton]  Good afternoon. I am Lord Amberstall, gentleman of the ton, horse breeder, and…out of words? Surely not. Well, I wouldn’t want to bend the rules of this fine establishment. It seems a nice place, although I believe the horse portrayed on that “button” just there should be seen to—she appears quite ill. As for describing myself I suppose I’ve done an adequate job of it. Lady Katie Moore called me, “Fastidious with old-maid tendencies,” only yesterday. I recall her words quite clearly, but you shouldn’t listen to a lady who wears breaches to tea with a duchess when discussing such a subject. She most likely thinks the same of the grooms in the stables who choose to wash before their dinner.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share a typical day in your life?

[Andrew Clifton]  Recently, my life has taken quite the turn from what I would call typical. You see, my horse was injured on the road south from Scotland. And now, I’m stranded here at Ormesby Place and in the company of the most unusual lady, Lady Katie Moore. My days of late have been spent cooling my heels as I wait for Shadow’s Light to heal enough for the journey home. I’ve busied myself with some much needed repairs on the estate while I wait. But, soon I must be on my way home where danger lurks—or so my mother claims.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words come to mind when you think of Katie?

[Andrew Clifton]  Maddening, intriguing…beautiful. I shouldn’t speak of her in such plain terms though. It isn’t proper.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s her most appealing quality?

[Andrew Clifton]  I know for a fact, her finest quality is not her artistic ability with pottery, nor her ability to play the bagpipes. She wears her hair in a wild braid, has the mouth of a sailor, and yet…Those are the very things that make her lovely. To her, a dungeon would be an ideal picnic location because it’s simply misunderstood. And, although I have no desire to dine in a dungeon, find the sentiment behind it quite refreshing.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What just drives you nuts about her?

[Andrew Clifton]  Katie has the worst manners I have ever encountered. You know she only owns one fork. The daughter of an earl, can you imagine? During our dinners together in her cottage, we do manage though. *grins and falls silent*

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could change one thing you’ve done in your life, what would it be?

[Andrew Clifton]  Inviting Devon Grey, the Mad Duke of Thornwood to my home two years ago and then having dinner with him two nights ago—both were dreadful occasions. Although, if I’m to be honest, the dinner was made bearable by Katie, even if she did find herself in a situation that required the entire dinner party to bounce between courses. Never mind that last part, it’s quite a long story.

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

[Andrew Clifton]  From this day forward, I will take more time when selecting my wardrobe for a journey. I arrived on this estate with only Shadow’s Light and the contents of my saddle bag. With my current borrowed ensemble resembling that of a pirate, I believe I have learned my lesson well. In the future, I shall pack more clothing.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share your dreams for the future in five words or less?

[Andrew Clifton]  I’ve been trying terribly not to think of life beyond my stay here. I know not what awaits me at home, or what I will strive for once there. I’ve spent my life working day and night toward a singular fate and now…I wonder if I’ve outgrown that fate like a pair of ill-fitting boots, binding my toes as I walk on through life. Therefore, in five small words, I’d like to choose happiness.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

[Andrew Clifton]  The pleasure is mine. *bows* I’ve had a very pleasant time here on Manga Maniac Café. I do hope we see one another again soon. Enjoy…what is the name of this book? Here it is, HOW TO LOSE A LORD IN 10 DAYS OR LESS. Lose a Lord? I’m not lost only stranded in the North Yorkshire moors, which is entirely Katie’s fault. Did Katie name this work? I shall go speak to her at once. Good day to you all.

“I want to know you, to understand anything at all about you, because you are the most maddening lady I have ever encountered.”

He’s the perfect gentleman…
After years hidden away from the mockery of the Ton, proud Andrew Clifton, Lord Amberstall, is finally ready to face Society again. But when his horse is injured on the road to London, Andrew finds himself literally thrown at the feet of the beautiful, infuriating, and undeniably eccentric Katie Moore.

…she’s anything but a lady.
Katie always preferred the stables to society, so when she was badly injured in a riding accident, she was more than happy to retreat to the countryside and give up the marriage mart for good. She never expected an infuriatingly proper lord to come tumbling into her life-and she certainly never expected to find herself wondering what it would be like to rejoin the world at his side. They couldn’t be more different, and soon Andrew and Katie find themselves at odds about everything but the growing passion between them…and a keen awareness of a threat that may end their unconventional romance before it has even begun.

Buy links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/VTHThF

BAM: http://bit.ly/1zu2l84

B&N: http://bit.ly/1qrD1cS

IndieBound: http://bit.ly/1kdVJ3L

Indigo: http://bit.ly/1qIDmMO

iTunes: http://bit.ly/1rehIwM

US addresses only, please

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Meet Andrew Clifton From Elizabeth Michels How to Lose a Lord in 10 Days or Less and Giveaway appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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