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1. Spotlight and Giveaway: What a Wallflower Wants by Maya Rodale

This morning I have a chance for you to win some books by Maya Rodale!  Check out the info about her latest release, What A Wallflower Wants, and then enter the giveaway below!

What a Wallflower Wants By: Maya Rodale

Bad Boys & Wallflowers # 3

Releasing September 30th, 2014

Avon

In the third novel in Maya Rodale’s charming Wallflower series, London’s Least Likely to Be Caught in a Compromising Position finds temptation in a devilishly handsome stranger . . .

Miss Prudence Merryweather Payton has a secret.

Everyone knows that she’s the only graduate from her finishing school to remain unwed on her fourth season-but no one knows why. With her romantic illusions shattered after being compromised against her will, Prudence accepts a proposal even though her betrothed is not exactly a knight in shining armor. When he cowardly pushes her out of their stagecoach to divert a highwayman, she vows never to trust another man again.

John Roark, Viscount Castleton, is nobody’s hero.

He’s a blue-eyed charmer with a mysterious past and ambitious plans for his future-that do not include a wife. When he finds himself stranded at a country inn with a captivating young woman, a delicate dance of seduction ensues. He knows he should keep his distance. And he definitely shouldn’t start falling in love with her.
When Prudence’s dark past comes back to haunt her, John must protect her-even though he risks revealing his own secrets that could destroy his future.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/08/what-wallflower-wants-bad-boys.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20705673-what-a-wallflower-wants

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/What-Wallflower-Wants-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00I7UY8VM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407066354&sr=8-1&keywords=what+a+wallflower+wants

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/what-a-wallflower-wants-maya-rodale/1118477567?ean=9780062231284

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/what-a-wallflower-wants

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/what-a-wallflower-wants/id814087124?mt=11

Author Info

Maya Rodale began reading romance novels in college at her mother’s insistence and it wasn’t long before she was writing her own. Maya is now the author of multiple Regency historical romances. She lives in New York City with her darling dog and a rogue of her own.

Author Social Links

Website: www.mayarodale.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mayarodale

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

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/377744.Maya_Rodale

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Print Set of Bad Boys & Wallflowers Series by Maya Rodale)

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The post Spotlight and Giveaway: What a Wallflower Wants by Maya Rodale appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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2. Spotlight: By Winter’s Light by Stephanie Laurens

by winters light

Title: By Winter’s Light

Author: Stephanie Laurens

Date of Publication: October 28, 2014

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THE PERFECT HOLIDAY ROMANCE TO CURL UP BY THE FIRE

BY WINTER’S LIGHT

#1 New York Times Bestselling Author Stephanie Laurens

Returns to Scotland and the Cynster Clan!

Combine romantic Scotland, the boisterous Cynster family, and a wintry storm, and you have the perfect recipe for a wonderful Christmas love story.

When all the members of the Cynster family gather together at Casphairn Manor for merriment and holiday tidings, they bring with them their faithful minders and teachers; including Daniel Crosbie, and Claire Meadows. Having met before, Daniel is determined this visit will allow him to show hesitant Claire that just because she is a widow, does not mean that love doesn’t strike twice.

Assisted by the younger generation of Cynsters, all aspiring matchmakers, together with the help of a wintry storm and unforeseen circumstances, BY WINTER’S LIGHT Claire begins to see Daniel for the worthy partner he would be.

Stephanie Laurens returns to her beloved Cynster clan with BY WINTER’S LIGHT. With all six families together for the holidays, she ushers in a new generation of Cynsters.

Combining love, holiday spirit, and a little bit of magic, Laurens once again weaves a tale that shows that true love can withstand anything life—or mother nature—throws at you.

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // iBooks

You state that BY WINTER’S LIGHT is an essential volume for the Cynster novels going forward. Why is that?

One of the critical features of a long-running series is readers’ feelings of returning to places and people they know – of seeing heros and heroines they have come to know as individuals go through the challenge of finding love and marrying the right man or woman for them. Knowing at least one of these characters beforehand – understanding what has made them as they are, what their strengths are, and even more importantly what weaknesses they hide – allows greater interest, empathy, and absorption for the reader. 

In the case of the Cynster Next Generation, the children of the Bar Cynster couples, readers know who they are, but have seen very little of them. And as we all know, actions speak much louder than words about the caliber of people, of who they really are beneath the outer glamor. In BY WINTER’S LIGHT, readers see Lucilla, Marcus, Sebastian, Michael, Prudence, and Christopher in action, responding to external pressures and threats, and also to each other, and separately readers also learn more about Louisa and her emerging character.

Readers have more recently seen Lucilla and Marcus act in VISCOUNT BRECKENRIDGE TO THE RESCUE, but now they are a decade older, and we – both the readers and me as author – need to see more of the adults they are shaping up to be, which are insights BY WINTER’S LIGHT affords us. Unsurprisingly, the first pair of Cynster Next Generation romances are those of Lucilla and Marcus, and as they are twins, the stories are tightly linked.

Subsequently, working off the base of their characters revealed in this book, we’ll follow Sebastian, Michael, and Louisa through their romances, and later learn about Prudence and Christopher’s romances, too.


So there’s lots more Cynster novels in the pipeline?

Indeed! Lucilla’s book, THE TEMPTING OF THOMAS CARRICK, is already written, and will be released at the end of February, 2015. It will be followed by Marcus’s story, A MATCH FOR MARCUS CYNSTER, in late May, 2015. Further Cynster novels are scheduled for release in 2017.

There’s an obvious tradition that isn’t included – that of a Christmas tree. Why is that missing?

Christmas trees – the erecting and decorating of them – while echoing the decorating of a house with fir and holly, was a German custom. In the early 1800s, the only major house in England that sported a Christmas Tree was the Duchess of Rutland’s household at Belvoir Castle, because the Duchess was German. Only much later, after the marriage of Victoria to Albert, who introduced the custom of Christmas trees to the royal household, did the custom of Christmas trees become more widely adopted in England.

Victoria married Albert in 1840, so in 1837 in Scotland, the custom of a Christmas had not yet arrived.


If there was one thing you could say to readers when they pick up BY WINTER’S LIGHT, what would it be?

Put your feet up, kick back and relax, and enjoy the holidays Cynsters-style!

Excerpt: CHAPTER 1

December 23, 1837 Casphairn Manor, the Vale of Casphairn, Scotland

Daniel Crosbie felt as if all his Christmases had come at once. Letting his gaze travel the Great Hall of Casphairn Manor, filled to overflowing with six Cynster families and various associated household members, he allowed himself a moment to savor both his unexpected good fortune and his consequent hope.

About him, the combined households were enjoying the hearty dinner provided to welcome them to the celebration planned for the next ten days—as Daniel understood it, a combination of Christmas, the more ancient Yuletide, and Hogmanay. Seated about the long refectory-like tables on benches rather than chairs, with eyes alight and smiles on their faces, the assembled throng was in ebullient mood. Conversation and laughter abounded; delight and expectation shone in most faces, illuminated by the warm glow of the candlelight cast from massive circular chandeliers depending from thick chains from the high-domed ceiling. The central room about which the manor was built, the Great Hall lived up to its name; the space within its thick walls of pale gray stone was large enough to accommodate the Cynster contingent, all told about sixty strong, as well as the families of the various retainers who worked in and around the manor, which functioned like a small village.

With no family of his own still alive, Daniel had spent his last ten Christmases with the Cynster family for whom he acted as tutor—the family of Mr. Alasdair Cynster and his wife, Phyllida—but this was the first time in that decade that the Cynsters had come north for Christmas. The six Cynster families present—the six families closest to the dukedom of St. Ives, those of Devil, Duke of St. Ives, his brother Richard, and his cousins Vane, Harry, Rupert, and Alasdair—invariably came together at Christmastime. They were often joined by other connected families not present on this occasion; the long journey to the Vale, in the western Lowlands of Scotland, to the home of Richard Cynster and his wife Catriona in a season that had turned icy and cold with snow on the ground much earlier than expected had discouraged all but the most determined.

Out of long-established habit, Daniel glanced at his charges—soon to be erstwhile charges—seated at the next table with their cousins and second cousins. Aidan, now sixteen years old, and Evan, fifteen, had passed out of Daniel’s immediate care when they’d gone up to Eton, yet Daniel still kept an eye on the pair when they were home—an action their parents appreciated and which the boys, at ease with him after all the years, bore with good grace. At that moment, both were talking animatedly with their male cousins in a fashion that instantly, at least in Daniel’s mind, raised the question of what the group was planning. He made a mental note to inquire later. Jason, the youngest son of the family and the last of Daniel’s true charges, was similarly occupied with the group of Cynster offspring nearer his age. Now eleven, later in the coming year, Jason, too, would start his formal schooling—a circumstance which had, for Daniel, raised the uncomfortable question of what he would do then.

Once Jason left for Eton and there were no more boys in Alasdair Cynster’s household in Colyton, in Devon, for Daniel to tutor, what would he do for a living?

The question had plagued him for several months, not least because if he was ever to have a chance at the sort of life he now knew he wanted, and, if at all possible, was determined to claim, he needed to have secure employment—a place, a position, with a steady salary or stipend.

He’d been wracking his brains, trying to think of his options, of what might be possible, when Mr. Cynster—Alasdair—had called him into the library and laid before him a proposal that, in a nutshell, was the answer to all his prayers.

On several occasions over the years, Daniel had assisted Alasdair with his interests in ancient and antique jewelry, with documenting finds and establishing provenances, and also with cataloguing and adding to the collection of rare books Alasdair had inherited from the previous owner of the manor. Alasdair, supported by Phyllida, had suggested that, once Jason had departed with his brothers for Eton, if Daniel was happy to remain in Colyton as a member of their household, they would be delighted to engage him as Alasdair’s personal secretary, an amanuensis to assist with Alasdair’s ever-expanding interests.

The suggested stipend was generous, the conditions all Daniel could have hoped for. Not only would the new position suit him, it would solve all his difficulties.

Most importantly, it cleared the way for him to offer for Claire Meadows’s hand.

He glanced along the board to his right. Clad in a soft woolen gown in a muted shade of blue, Claire—Mrs. Meadows—was sitting on the opposite side of the table, two places down. She was the governess in Rupert Cynster’s household; as Rupert and Alasdair were brothers, Claire and Daniel were often thrown together when the families gathered. It was customary in such circumstances that the attending tutors and governesses banded together, sharing responsibilities and each other’s company, as they were at present. The manor’s governess, Miss Melinda Spotswood, a comfortable matronly sort with a backbone of forged iron, was chatting to Claire. On Melinda’s other side, opposite Daniel, sat Oswald Raven, tutor at the manor; a few years older than Daniel, Raven projected a debonair façade, but he was hardworking and devoted to his charges. Raven was chatting to Mr. Samuel Morris, who was seated alongside Daniel and hailed from Vane Cynster’s household in Kent; the oldest of the group, Morris was slightly rotund and had an unfailingly genial air, yet he was a sound scholar and very capable of exerting a firm hand on his charges’ reins.

All five had met and shared duties on several occasions before; the rapport between them was comfortable and relaxed. Over the coming days, they would, between them, keep an eye on the combined flock of Cynster children—the younger ones, at least. The oldest group, the seventeen-year-olds led by eighteen-year-old Sebastian Cynster, Marquess of Earith and future head of the house, could be relied on to take care of themselves, along with the large group of sixteen- and fifteen-year-old males. But there were six boys thirteen years and under, and seven girls ranging from eight to fourteen years old, and over them the tutors and governesses would need to exert control sufficient to ensure they remained suitably occupied.

There was no telling what the engaging devils would get up to if left unsupervised.

Being governess or tutor to Cynster children was never dull or boring.

Daniel had managed to keep his gaze from Claire for all of ten minutes. Despite the color and vibrancy, the noise and distraction—despite the many handsome and outright stunningly beautiful faces around about—hers was the shining star in his firmament; regardless of where they were, regardless of competing sights and sounds, she effortlessly drew his gaze and transfixed his attention.

She’d done so from the moment he’d first seen her at one of the family’s Summer Celebrations in Cambridgeshire several years ago. They’d subsequently met on and off at various family functions, at weddings in London, at major family birthdays, and at seasonal celebrations like the current one.

With each exposure, his attraction to Claire, his focus on her, had only grown more definite, more acute, until the obvious conclusion had stared him in the face, impossible to resist, much less deny.

Utterly impossible to ignore.

“If the weather holds,” Raven said, commanding Daniel’s attention with his gaze, “and the older crew go riding as they’re planning, then we’ll need to invent some suitable pastimes to keep our charges amused.”

Seated with his back to the table at which the Cynster children were gathered, Raven had turned and asked what the animated talk had been about. Riding out to assess the position and state of the deer herds had been the answer.

Daniel nodded. “If at all possible, let’s get those left to our care out of doors.”

“Indeed,” Melinda said, turning from Claire to join the conversation. “We need to take advantage of any clear days. If it is fine enough tomorrow, I was saying to Claire that the fourteen-year-olds—the girls—might like to gather greenery to decorate the hall.” Melinda gestured to the stone walls hosting various fireplaces and archways, all presently devoid of any seasonal touches. “It’s customary to decorate them on the twenty-fourth, which is tomorrow.”

“I’d heard,” Morris said, “that there’s some tradition about the Yule log that’s followed hereabouts.” He looked to Raven for confirmation.

Raven, his hair as dark as his name would suggest, nodded. “Yes, that’s an inspired idea. Not only is it necessary to collect the right-sized logs, but the logs have to be carved. That should keep the boys amused for hours. I’ll speak to the staff about organizing whatever’s needed.”

Daniel nodded again, and his gaze drifted once more to Claire; she’d been following the conversation, her calm expression indicating her agreement with the suggestions. With her glossy mid-brown hair burnished by the candlelight, with her delicate features and milky-white skin, her lips of pale rose, lush and full, and her large hazel eyes set under finely arched brown brows, she was, to his eyes, the epitome of womanhood.

That she was a widow—had been widowed at a young age—was neither here nor there, yet the experience had, it seemed, imbued her with a certain gravitas, leaving her more reserved, more cautious, and with a more sober and serious demeanor than might be expected of a well-bred lady of twenty-seven summers.

Her station—gentry-born but fallen on hard times—was similar to, or perhaps a touch higher than, Daniel’s; he didn’t really know. Nor did he truly care. They were both as they were here and now, and what happened next … that was up to them.

He’d come to Scotland, to the Vale, determined to put his luck to the test—to seize the opportunity to speak with Claire and plead his case, to learn if she shared his hopes and if she could come to share his dreams.

A gust of laughter and conversation drew his gaze to the high table.

The six Cynster couples were seated about the table on the raised dais along one side of the room, a traditional positioning most likely dating from medieval times. In addition to those twelve—middle-aged, perhaps, yet still vibrantly handsome, articulate, active, and engaged—there were three of the older generation at one end of the board. Helena, Dowager Duchess of St. Ives, mother of Devil and Richard and elder matriarch of the clan, was seated at the end of the table closest to the hearth, and had chosen to summon Algaria, Catriona’s aging mentor, and McArdle, the ancient butler of the manor, now retired, to join her there. The three were much of an age and, judging by their glances and gestures, were busy sharing pithy observations on all others in the hall. Having met the dowager and been the object of her scrutiny on several occasions, Daniel didn’t like to think of how much she, let alone black-eyed Algaria, was seeing.

A comment in a deep voice, followed by laughter, drew Daniel’s gaze back to the twelve Cynsters of the generation that currently ruled. Their children might have been growing apace, might already have been showing signs of the forceful, powerful individuals they had the potential to become, yet the twelve seated about the high table still dominated their world.

Daniel had observed them—those six couples in particular—for the past ten years. All the males had been born to wealth, but what they’d made of it—the lives each had successfully wrought—hadn’t been based solely on inherited advantage. Each of the six possessed a certain strength—a nuanced blend of power, ability, and insight—that Daniel appreciated, admired, and aspired to. It had taken him some time to realize from where that particular strength derived—namely, from the ladies. From their marriages. From the connection—the link that was so deep, so strong, so anchoring—that each of the six males shared with his wife.

Once he’d seen and understood, Daniel had wanted the same for himself.

His gaze shifted again to Claire. Once he’d met her, he’d known whom he wanted to share just such a link with.

Now he stood on the cusp of reaching for it—of chancing his hand and hoping he could persuade her to form such a connection with him.

Whatever gaining her assent required, he would do.

Now Fate in the form of Alasdair Cynster had cleared his path, it was time to screw his courage to the sticking point and act.

Hope, anticipation, and trepidation churned in his gut.

But he was there and so was she, and he was determined to move forward. He knew how he felt about her, and he thought she felt similarly toward him. His first step, plainly, was to determine whether he was correct in believing that—and whether with encouragement, “like” could grow into something more.

About Stephanie Laurens:

stephanie laurens#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens began writing romances as an escape from the dry world of professional science. Her hobby quickly became a career when her first novel was accepted for publication, and with entirely becoming alacrity, she gave up writing about facts in favor of writing fiction.

Laurens’s novels are set in the time period of the British Regency, and her settings range from Scotland to India. Laurens has published fifty works of historical romance, including 29 New York Times bestsellers. All her works are continuously available in print and digital formats in English worldwide, and have been translated into many other languages. An international bestseller, among other accolades Laurens has received the Romance Writers of America prestigious RITA Award for Best Romance Novella 2008, for The Fall of Rogue Gerrard.

Her continuing novels featuring the Cynster family are widely regarded as classics of the genre. Other series include the Bastion Club Novels and the Black Cobra Quartet. For information on upcoming releases and updates on novels yet to come, visit Stephanie’s website.

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3. Guest Post and Giveaway: Anne Baron, Author of Scandalous Summer Nights

  Please welcome Anne Barton this morning!  She’s here to share Olivia’s top travel tips.

Olivia’s Top 5 Travel Tips

 

  1. Travel light. You don’t have to limit the number of pretty gowns or smart slippers in your portmanteau. If, however, you have an overbearing, protective brother whose goal in life is to curtail your freedom, I recommend leaving him at home. And if you can possibly manage it, forego your chaperone as well.

  2. Be willing to alter your itinerary. Plans sometimes go awry. If—or rather, when—the unexpected happens, a change of course is required. Try to be spontaneous and embrace it, even if you find yourself stranded and trapped in close quarters with a stubborn, impossible (and utterly irresistible) solicitor.

  3. Bring an emergency kit. A few medical supplies should suffice—headache powder, small bandages, and er, crutches. It never hurts to be prepared.

  4. Explore places off the beaten path. The most idyllic spots are often the ones that only the local villagers know about. Find a hill with a breathtaking view and have a picnic. Be a little daring and take a dip in the lake. (Swimsuit optional.)

  5. Choose a companion who makes your heart beat fast. Sometimes you choose your travel companion; sometimes he chooses you. But it helps if he’s smart, handsome, and a skilled boxer. And if he happens to be the man you’ve had a crush on for the last decade or so, even better… 

 

About SCANDALOUS SUMMER NIGHTS

Lady Olivia Sherbourne isn’t shy about speaking her mind, except when it comes to James Averill. For ten long years he has been her brother’s best friend and her heart’s only desire. But when Olivia hears James will soon set sail for an expedition to Egypt, she knows the time has come to make her move. It’s now or never . . . 

James has always found Olivia bewitchingly attractive, but what kind of gentleman takes up with his best friend’s sister? Not that he’s thinking particularly gentlemanly thoughts when she appears on his exploratory trip-three hundred miles from home!-and incites a tavern fight. No matter what the devil she’s doing there, it’s his duty to see her safely back to her family. But how safe will she be when every starlit night brings wicked temptation . . . ?

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About Anne Barton

Anne Barton began swiping romance novels off her mom’s bookshelf as a teenager, so when she had the chance to spend a semester in London-home to her favorite heroes-she packed her bags and promptly fell in love with the city, its history, and its pubs. She dreamed of writing romance, but somehow ended up a software analyst instead.
Fortunately, a few years and a few careers later, Anne found her way back to writing the stories she loves and in 2011 won the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® for Regency Historical Romance. She lives in Maryland with her husband (who, sadly, is not a peer of the realm-but a great guy nonetheless) and her three children, who try valiantly not to roll their eyes whenever she quotes Jane Austen. Her weaknesses include reality TV, cute-but-impractical shoes, and caffeinated beverages of all kinds.

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4. Guest Post and Giveaway: Elle Daniels, Author of He’s No Prince Charming

Please welcome Elle Daniels to the virtual offices!

5 Things You’ll Never Find In Marcus’ Bedchamber by Elle Daniels

Marcus Bradley, Marquis of Fleetwood, (The Beast), is the hero of Elle Daniel’s début novel HE’S NO PRINCE CHARMING. A scarred man with a past to match, Marcus has spent his life keeping his younger sister safe. When he discovers a marriage contract will saddle her with a murderous husband, he takes drastic action to safeguard her future, even at the expense of his own.

Bedrooms, like medicine cabinets, tell a lot about a person—personal touches make them homey and reveals a person’s inner self. What kinds of things would you never find inside Marcus’ bedchamber? Well…

A Woman—other than his heroine, of course!

The Beast struggles in the female department. It’s a shame since he’s wants to give away his heart.

Mirrors

Marcus hates looking at himself. Not only does he have scars, but he looks remarkable like his father. His face reminds him of things best forgotten.

Anything Glass

With a valet that’s a bit of a klutz, nothing breakable lasts long. It’s the reason why the man’s been fired twenty-two times. To this day, Marcus doesn’t understand how Weller has never actually makes it out the door.

Childhood Mementos

Even if any had lasted through his tumultuous childhood, Marcus wouldn’t keep them around. For the same reason mirrors never make into his bedroom, little reminders are things he could do without. The flashbacks are bad enough.

A Romance Novel

At first, he never touched one because it would tease him with he could never have. With Danni in his life, well, why the hell does he need a love story when he’s living one everyday?

About HE’S NO PRINCE CHARMING

A wounded beast . . .

It took Marcus Bradley forever to find a suitable bride. And then he lost her-all because some meddling matchmaker with a crazy notion about “true love” helped her elope with another man. Now, to save his sister from a terrible marriage alliance, he needs a replacement-an heiress to be exact . . . and he knows just the woman to help him find one.

A spirited beauty . . .

Danielle Strafford believes everyone deserves a fairytale ending-even the monstrously scarred and notoriously brooding Marquis of Fleetwood. Not that he’s left her a choice. If she doesn’t help him secure a wife-by any means necessary-he’ll reveal her scandalous secrets.

A passion that will consume them both

The more time Marcus spends with Danielle, the less interested he is in any other woman. But the Beast must do the impossible: keep from losing his heart to a Beauty he is destined to lose.

About Elle Daniels

Elle Daniels grew up in a quiet, suburban town in Central Massachusetts – a town so lacking in excitement she was forced to live vicariously through novels. One day, discontent with her reading options, she took the matter into her own hands. So began Elle’s journey into all things romantic and fantastical. Still in her early twenties, she remains in that same small town, tagging along with her heroes and heroines on their madcap adventures. 

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http://elledaniels.com

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Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1tduJcG

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Amazon: http://amzn.to/1tA3ieg

Excerpt:

He stiffened as bitter memories rushed forth. A breathy sigh escaped Danni, drawing his mind from the past. Her face was pale and the dark lashes caressed her cheek, which seemed to glow in the sun’s rays. Her exhaled breath rushed through the small gap in her lips, creating a soft snore. He smiled. Unbelievably, she looked as if being next to him was exactly where she wanted to be.

He wondered how she’d ended up here, in his arms. Could she have wished to comfort him? Obviously she had attempted to care for him. What secrets had he exposed? What had convinced her to stay with him in that state, rather than run through the night for help? She was a miracle indeed.

An unfamiliar feeling of tenderness washed over him. Biting back a moan from the stiffness in his movements, he dared to brush a length of hair from her jaw, enjoying the softness of her skin. She sleepily pressed her hips against his, and a slow simmer seeped through the depths of his abdomen. He gritted his teeth, determined to remain the gentleman. Sharing this moment with Danni was more than he ever thought possible. He would not to push his luck.

Her hips shifted again, rubbing against his length. His instinct to return the movement roared. Desires he’d forgotten existed screamed to life. The physical aches in his joints and muscles were defeated by the agonizing need for her body.

His hand settled at her waist, his fingers pressed her lower, pulling her plaint body impossibly closer. Her head angled sleepily towards him as if sensing his intent. The beast inside him screamed to take her, but the gentleman he was fought back.

At Danni’s sigh of contentment, the beast won. He’d take only one kiss. Just one. He deserved as much for having to put up with her. His eyes slipped closed. His mind surged with the countless faces of women who’d rejected him, and he envisioned Danni’s horror if he woke her. But he could not stop himself. Fantasies of Danni writhing in passion beneath him flooded his mind. His imagination traced the outline of her ribs, felt her mouth moving hotly over him.

Another mewl passed her lips. Just a kiss. Just one and he’d never touch her again. Dipping his head, he brushed his mouth over hers. The first contact stunned him. His lips tingled with the smooth, soft sensation. His tongue slipped over them, savoring their warmth, pressing against them, deepening his kiss, tenderly. He drew away, knowing he must be content with that one stolen touch.

Suddenly, Danni’s caramel eyes snapped open, searing into his. He froze, millimeters from her face. He’d been caught. Bloody hell. Marcus braced himself for the screams, the curses, even—God forbid—the fainting. But he should have known better. This was Danni. She never did the expected.

“Marcus… ,” she breathed, the air caressing his still tingling lips. For the barest moment she peered into his eyes, frozen with indecision, and then her gaze moved to stare at his lower lip, and with a curious hesitance she gently lifted her head and fused their mouths together. Shocked, he held still, his mind blank.

She was kissing him. Him.

Blood pounded in his ears as his mouth merged roughly with hers. Her arms linked around his neck, frantically fisting in his shirt, pulling him closer. Marcus didn’t have the strength to pull away, nor did he want to. With stunned disbelief, he cupped her neck, lacing his fingers through the tresses there, and held her head in place, terrified she would break free and run in terror at any second.

She continued to fascinate him the more time he spent with her. She was a puzzle he would gladly spend a lifetime trying to solve. She valued a marriage filled with love over the kind of status marriage that was so common in their times. She earned her living through trade, but often reminded him of a gentlewoman bred by the ton. Never afraid to share her opinion and outrage, she was vexing and downright stubborn. She also made him laugh and was a balm for his past. To her, he wasn’t the Beast, but a simple human being. He could not believe his luck at having found her.

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5. Guest Post and Giveaway: Robin Talley, Author of Lies We Tell Ourselves

 

Robin Talley hijacked the virtual dashboard this morning to chat about her research for Lies We Tell Ourselves.

Top 5 most surprising facts I learned while conducting research for Lies We Tell Ourselves:

I had to do a lot of research to write Lies We Tell Ourselves.

Since the story follows the relationship between a black girl and a white girl during the Virginia school integration crisis in 1959, I read memoirs, oral histories, and news articles about the desegregation process, trying to learn everything I could about what life was like for the students on the front lines of the battle.

But I also needed to know more run-of-the-mill facts about life for high school students in the late 1950s. So I spent a lot of time pouring over vintage yearbooks and reading up on day-to-day life at the time.

Here are a few eyebrow-raising tidbits about life in the 1950s:

1. You didn’t wash your hair every day.

Today’s routine of showering and shampooing daily would’ve sounded crazy in 1959. How often teenage girls actually washed their hair varied, but this vintage hair-care video suggests washing “with a mild soap” every two weeks:

By the way, in 1959, you basically had one hairstyle option if you were a teenage girl. Long hair and straight hair were both unthinkable. Your hair didn’t fall past your chin, and it was curly, and that was that. If your hair wasn’t naturally curly, you got a perm or you set it up in rollers every night. Presumably using the time you saved by only washing it every two weeks.

2. School dress codes were no joke.

No one ever wore jeans to school. Boys would wear khakis with belts and solid-colored Oxford shirts with socks to match. Girls, meanwhile, would never think of wearing pants to school at all. Everyone wore loafers, saddle shoes, or flats, since high heels were forbidden, except for dances. Skirts were long ? well below the knee ? and tights hadn’t been invented yet, so to stay warm in the winter, you either wore knee socks or you just shivered. This yearbook photo shows girls wearing thick coats over bare legs ? and somehow smiling in spite of it.

3. Relationships were no joke, either.

The rules for dating and romance were formal for high school students in the fifties. Boys asked girls on dates ? never the other way around, except for Sadie Hawkins dances ? and, after a sufficient number of outings to movies or football games, a boy might ask a girl to go steady. To do this, he’d give her something of his to wear ? an identity bracelet, a class ring, a football pin, a letter sweater ? and whatever it was, she’d wear that thing every day of her life until they broke up. Going-steady couples walked down the school hallways together with the boys carrying the girls’ books. My mother told me about a trend she remembered where girls would wear blouses that had loops of fabric at the back of the collar. She remembered one going-steady couple at her school who walked down the hall together with the boy’s finger looped through the fabric at the back of her blouse collar. It sounds like nothing short of a leash.

4. Double standards for girls were the norm.

As I mentioned up in #3, the decision of who dated whom and who went steady with whom was almost entirely up to boys ? they were the only ones who could suggest a date or a relationship. After that, though, it was up to girls to keep the boys in check. It was considered normal for boys to want to hook up, but girls were supposed to stop them, or else. Even if you were going steady, girls were still supposed to rein their boyfriends in when they got “carried away.” A girl who kissed on a first date was “easy.” So was a girl who wore a skirt that was deemed too tight. My aunt told me about one classmate she remembered who was known for routinely too far with boys ? meaning she and the boys she dated would engage in extended kissing sessions. The other girls at their school referred to this girl in whispered voices as a “make out.”

5. Air raid drills were part of life.

The 1950s were near the height of the Cold War. During classes, it was routine for a practice air-raid siren to go off. Students were expected to duck down under their desks or go out into the hallway and kneel against the wall with their arms over their heads. These tactics wouldn’t have helped in the slightest if there had been an actual nuclear attack, of course ? nuclear weapons do far too much damage for it to make a difference what position you’re in ? but they did a great job of freaking out the students who went through the drills, and of reminding them of the Communist threat that loomed over everyone’s heads.

About the book:

In 1959 Virginia, the lives of two girls on opposite sides of the battle for civil rights will be changed forever. 

Sarah Dunbar is one of the first black students to attend the previously all-white Jefferson High School. An honors student at her old school, she is put into remedial classes, spit on and tormented daily. 

Linda Hairston is the daughter of one of the town’s most vocal opponents of school integration. She has been taught all her life that the races should be kept “separate but equal.” 

Forced to work together on a school project, Sarah and Linda must confront harsh truths about race, power and how they really feel about one another. 

Boldly realistic and emotionally compelling, Lies We Tell Ourselves is a brave and stunning novel about finding truth amid the lies, and finding your voice even when others are determined to silence it.

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6. Spotlight and Giveaway: Black Raven’s Lady by Kathleen Harrington

 

Black Raven’s Lady
Highland Laird’s Trilogy # 3

By: Kathleen Harrington

Releasing October 21, 2014

Avon Romance

This exciting conclusion to the popular Highland Lairds Trilogy features a runaway lass and the laird who will do anything to protect her.

Feisty Lady Raine Cameron has been surrounded her whole life by gossip claiming she is not her father’s daughter. Determined to find her true heritage, the dark-haired beauty boards the Black Raven under false pretenses in search of the man who she believes is her father, a man who is also a traitor to Scotland. Only the Black Raven himself stands in her way…

Laird Keir MacNeil has a reputation for being a ruthless and powerful ship captain. On a mission to apprehend Scotland’s most wanted traitor, he never expected to see Raine on his ship. Keir vows to keep Raine out of harm’s way and return her to her family untarnished. But as his lust for her grows, he must choose between honor and the woman he never expected to desire.

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/10/black-ravens-lady-highland-lairds.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17331365-black-raven-s-lady?from_search=true

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Black-Ravens-Lady-Highland-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00BATKQNQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1413293401&sr=1-1&keywords=Black+Raven%27s+Lady%3A+Highland+Lairds

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/black-ravens-lady-kathleen-harrington/1120020438?ean=9780062226358

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/black-ravens-lady/id599879465?mt=11

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/black-raven-s-lady

Author Info

Kathleen Harrington, winner of the Colorado Romance Writers’ Award of Excellence, has touched the hearts of readers across the country with her sparkling tales of high adventure and unending love. Her historical romances have been finalists for Romance Writers of America’s RITA® Award, the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice, Virginia Romance Writers’ HOLT Medallion, and the Phoenix Desert Rose Golden Quill. Her fabulous heroes have garnered the K.I.S.S. (Knight in Shining Silver) Award. She lives in Southern California.

Author Links

Website: http://www.kathleenharringtonbooks.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kathleenharringtonbooks?ref=br_rs
Twitter: https://twitter.com/kathleensbooks
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/234108.Kathleen_Harrington

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Excerpt

PROLOGUE

June 1504

Archnacarry Manor

Western Highlands

“Come away with me tomorrow, Nina,” the dark-haired man implored. “Meet me here at daybreak, and we’ll flee together. If you love me, dearest, come with me.”

His deep brown eyes filled with tenderness, he drew the beautiful lass close and kissed her tenderly on the forehead, then used the edge of the yellow-and-black tartan pinned to his shoulder to wipe away her tears.

“My father has received an offer of marriage for me from Laird Cameron,” Nina replied, her voice shaking with fright. “Should I run away with you, Torcall, my parents might never forgive me. Perhaps, if we pleaded with them together, they would understand how much in love we are.”

“I can’t wait any longer, dearest,” Torcall said. “The king has pronounced my father a traitor and with him all our clan. I must go and help defend our home and our lands.”

Nina clutched his strong hand in both of hers and brought his fingers to her lips. Her hair, a stunning red-gold, gleamed in the forest’s dappled sunlight. “Oh, Torcall, I do love you so.”

“Don’t be afraid, darling lass,” he told her, his voice ringing with the optimism of youth. “We’ll go to Steòrnabhagh. My father’s castle on the Isle of Lewis is impregnable. We’ll be married there. One day I’ll be chief of Clan MacMurchaidh, Nina, and I will give you all the things I so long to give.”

She smiled, her blue eyes filling once more with tears. “Your love is all I need, my dear, and all I want.”

Torcall hugged her close, then bent his head to place a gentle kiss on her lips. “You’ll meet me here tomorrow, then?” he asked. “You’ll run away with me?”

Nina nodded, a smile curving her lips. “Aye, I’ll flee with you, Torcall. I’ll meet you here, right by this tall pine tree, when the sun rises tomorrow.”

In the faint light of the following morning, the glen where the couple had stood seemed to wait in hushed anticipation of the coming dawn . . .

Her heart pounding, Raine awoke with a start and stared at the bed’s canopy above her head. She’d first had the dream when she was fourteen years old. The year after her father, Gideon Cameron, had been murdered. Raine knew it wasn’t an ordinary dream. ’Twas a vision of her mother and Raine’s natural father.

~

CHAPTER ONE

“Then you’ve made up your mind,” Aunt Isabel said.

Raine looked up from her packing to see her aunt enter the bedchamber and quickly close the door behind her.

Isabel’s eyes twinkled mischievously. “I don’t suppose there’s anything I can do to prevent this foolhardy escapade?”

Raine returned to the task of shoving her journal, containing remedies for everything from gout to the relief of painful menses, into the leather satchel that held her herbal concoctions. “You won’t say anything until I’m gone?”

Isabel lifted her plump shoulders, but the smile curving her lips assured Raine of her intent to keep her own counsel. At least for the moment. “What exactly do you have planned, my dear?”

It was Raine’s turn to shrug. “All I know for certain is that I’m going to find my father.”

“Your father is buried in the kirk cemetery,” Isabel chided softly. “He was a brave and honest man.”

“Gideon Cameron was brave and honest and noble,” Raine agreed. “No one could have asked for a better father. But you and I both know, Aunt Isabel, that your older brother was not the man who sired me.” Raine knelt and reached under her bed to pull out a canvas bag.

“Have you tried asking your mother again?” Aunt Isabel suggested.

Raine gave a soft snort. Every time she’d touched on the subject, Lady Nina had reacted with swift admonishments, scolding Raine for even hinting that Gideon wasn’t her father. Though they loved each other dearly, the matter had caused a feeling of estrangement between mother and daughter.

“What should I say?” Raine asked. “Oh, by the by, Mama, I’m quite certain that you deceived the honorable man you married, and I was the by-blow of that traitorous liaison?”

“Don’t be too harsh in judging your mother, dearest,” Isabel admonished. “We mortals cannot choose with whom we fall in love. Why, even the faery folk show very limited willpower when it comes to their romantic proclivities.”

“Perhaps not. But we can resolve to act with honor and dignity. We’re not chained by our baser inclinations.”

Isabel sank down on the feather mattress, picked up a velvet gown, and started to fold it. Traces of oatmeal rested on her shoulders, sprinkled there to ward off the faeries. Bits and pieces fell on the smooth red velvet. “Where will you begin to look, Raine? Have you had another vision?”

Raine sat back on her heels and closed her eyes. “Not a vision, really. Well, sort of.” Bowing her head, she buried her face in her hands. “I’m not sure what I saw.” She looked up and met her aunt’s worried gaze. “But of one thing, I’m certain. If I don’t go now, ’twill be too late. I’ll never meet my father.”

Isabel nodded in understanding. “You could be heading into danger, child,” she cautioned. “Seeing what’s going to happen in a vision doesn’t mean you can prevent it. Quite the contrary.”

“I’ll be traveling with a group of Poor Clares who leave this morning from St. Margaret’s Nunnery. They’re to set up a hospital in Inverness dedicated to Saint Columba. They’ll carry the saint’s finger bone with them for protection.”

Relief washed over Isabel’s round features. “Still,” she said, “perhaps you should take a strong servant to guard you.”

“The nuns will have a retinue of servants with them,” Raine reassured her. “Should it become necessary, I can hire a bodyguard at Moray Firth, until I can board the ship. But where I’m going, there’s only one man who can protect me.”

Isabel nodded, her hazel eyes filled with compassion. “You speak of Keir MacNeil, of course.”

Raine swallowed painfully. The thought of having to ask the chief of Clan MacNeil for help nearly choked her. “Of course.”

“Well, darling of my heart, if you were a voluptuous female of questionable repute, MacNeil would most likely hasten to your assistance. At the very least, you’d have his complete attention for the space of an evening. But as it is . . .”

There was no need for Lady Isabel to point out the fact that Raine’s figure lacked the curves so admired by the opposite sex. Her aunt raised her brows in calm speculation. “Since the two of you have never gotten along, I have to wonder why you think he’ll agree to help you find the man who sired you.”

“Pooh,” Raine countered. She pursed her lips and scowled. “Who could get along with The MacNeil? He’s loud and rough and a a braggart. He’s totally unlike his half brothers, Rory and Lachlan. Besides, the stubborn dolt has no belief whatsoever in magic.”

Isabel chuckled. “Well, Keir’s certainly no beauty, I grant you that. He doesn’t come close to matching Lachlan MacRath’s astonishing good looks and courtly manners. Nor Rory MacLean’s regal attractiveness.”

Raine looked away in an attempt to hide her feelings from her astute aunt. Since the summer she’d turned seventeen, Raine had fought an inexplicable attraction to Keir MacNeil. ’Twas a purely physical attraction. One she was determined to squelch, for the notorious womanizer seduced and discarded mistresses the way other men tossed out their stained shirts.

She rose to her feet and tossed the canvas bag on the bed beside her aunt. “Don’t bother folding that fancy gown, Auntie,” she said with a rueful smile. She bit her lower lip and blinked back the sudden tears that pooled in her eyes. “There won’t be dancing where I’m going. A few plain dresses will have to do.”

“Still,” her aunt said with a loving smile, “a lady should always take a few pretty gowns with her whenever she travels.”

Raine nodded and stuffed the red velvet along with several others into her bag.

“Pray, don’t be afraid, sweetie,” Isabel said in a hushed tone. “I believe ’tis your destiny to discover the identity of your natural father and learn why he left your mother while she carried his bairn. Be brave, niece, and do not falter.”

Raine sat down beside Lady Isabel, who immediately put an arm around her shoulders. “Sometimes,” Raine said,” I think I’m foolish searching for him, when he’s never made any attempt to find me. Perhaps he doesn’t even know I exist. He may deny that I’m his daughter.”

“You will never know the truth,” Isabel said, “unless you’re brave enough to search for the answer.”

It was barely dawn. The faint morning light peeked through the partially drawn curtains. Raine intended to leave the manor grounds before sunrise on the pretense of an early-morning ride. A sinking feeling churned in the pit of her stomach. ’Twas a ride from which she might never return.

She’d be traveling into the center of a storm.

War had come to the Highlands.

Six months before, Donald Dubh, the illegitimate son of Alexander Macdonald, the last high chief of the Isles, had been rescued from imprisonment in the island fortress of Innischonaill. A band of Macdonald clansmen had made their way unobserved through the heart of Campbell country, rowed silently across Loch Awe, rushed the castle, and freed its nineteen-year-old prisoner. He was immediately proclaimed lord of the Isles. The whole of the Hebrides rallied to his cause. Nearly every Macdonald in the Highlands and Isles, and their allies with them, rose up in rebellion against James Stewart.

The king of Scotland had designated Laird Keir MacNeil master and commander of a squadron in the royal fleet. The king had commissioned him to help put down the rebellion. Keir’s stated goal was to capture the traitors and bring them to Edinburgh for trial and hanging. One of those traitors was the man Raine believed to be her natural father, Torcall MacMurchaidh.

She had to reach him before Keir.

“I have something to give you,” Aunt Isabel said with an encouraging smile. She placed a smooth stone which had been chiseled into the shape of a heart in Raine’s palm. Uncounted years before, the stone had been engraved in an ancient language, incomprehensible today to most people. Only those familiar with the riddles and enchantments of the Tuatha De Danann—the faery race—could discern its meaning.

Raine brushed her thumb across the strange symbols. “What does it say?”

“ ’Tis a rune for your safety, my dear. Keep it with you at all times.” Isabel reached down and lifted a richly embroidered purse, filled with coins, off the bedcovers. She pulled the cords loose and dropped a handful more into the bag. “Here’s a few more gold unicorns to take with you, dear heart.”

Raine nodded as she placed the rune carefully inside her purse and fastened it on her girdle. Drawing a deep, steadying breath, she rose from the bed and held out her hands. Her aunt took them in her firm grasp and moved to stand beside Raine.

“When you reach the Isle of Lewis,” her aunt said, “you must go to the stones of wonder at Calanais. I’ve told you much about them, but you should visit the temple to the Mother of the Universe yourself.” Isabel clasped Raine by the shoulders and kissed her forehead. “I, too, have had a vision, my dear. I believe you will remain safe as long as you stay with Keir. ’Twill be very important that you are not separated from him during your journey.”

Raine slowly shook her head. “I don’t think the chief of Clan MacNeil will be agreeable to my hanging on to him like a bawling halflin.”

The picture that came to mind made them both laugh.

Laird Keir MacNeil was the most formidable warrior in the whole of Scotland. And beyond.

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7. Spotlight: Spy Fall by Diana Quincy

I have a spotlight for Diana Quincy’s Spy Fall, which looks like a fun read.  The heroine jumps out of airplanes.    She’s got to be nuts!

Blurb:

When a fiery French parachutist lands on a drunken Lord Cosmo Dunsmore, he surmises she’s an angel sent from above. But is she a spy after something far more sinister than his debauched soul?

A fearless parachutist is out of her depth …

 

Mari Lamarre is gaining fame for her daring aeronautic endeavors, but her riskiest adventure begins when she collides with the darkly charismatic son of the Marquess of Aldridge. If her mission succeeds, Cosmo’s father will be ruined.
A rakehell falls for a dangerous woman …

Surrendering to a fierce passion, the two embark on a torrid affair, even as Cosmo vows to protect his family at all costs. But in doing so, will he risk losing the captivating beauty who’s swept into his life and made off with his heart?

Author Bio:

Diana Quincy is an award-winning former television journalist who decided she’d rather make up stories where a happy ending is always guaranteed. Diana’s reporting background is probably the reason many of her books are inspired by true-life events.

Growing up as a foreign service brat, Diana visited many countries and is now settled in Virginia with her husband and two sons. When not bent over her laptop or trying to keep up with laundry, she enjoys reading, spending time with her family and dreams of traveling much more than her current schedule (and budget) allows.

Social Media Links:

Website|Twitter|Facebook|Goodreads|Pinterest

Website: http://www.dianaquincy.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Diana_Quincy

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

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/dianaquincy/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7045151.Diana_Quincy

Buy Link: Amazon Exclusive for the first six months

Click cover for product page

Excerpt:

They reached the hot air balloon, where a stable groom stood waiting to assist her. She stooped to untie one of the thick cables tethering the contraption to the ground.

“What I have in mind will give you great pleasure,” she said quietly.

His inky eyes went alert. “Is that so?”

“Release that cable, if you please,” she called to the groom.

He tipped his cap. “Yes, miss.” And proceeded to do just that.

Gesturing toward the other cable, she said to Cosmo. “Untie that, will you?”

“Whatever for?” He glanced at it before frowning back in her direction. “If you completely untether it, the balloon will fly away, as you well know.”

“Exactly.” She leapt into the wicker boat. “Allons. Let us go.”

“Go where? You want me to go up in that?” He took a step back. “I most certainly will not.”

She leaned over the edge of the gondola. “Pour le plaisir, remember?”

Shaking his head, he backed away. Switching to French so the groom wouldn’t understand, he said, “This is most assuredly not the sort of pleasure I meant.”

“You can show me what you do have in mind,” she said in the same language, as she bent over to retrieve and throw sand-filled ballasts out of the gondola.

“Come away from there and I gladly will.”

“I prefer that you come in here.” She offered him the most wickedly sensual smile in her feminine arsenal.

He blinked. Then swallowed. “Angel, you will be the death of me.”

“Perhaps just a little death.”

He narrowed his eyes at her. La petite mort was the French term for the peak of sensual pleasure. “Is that a naughty French reference? Or are you teasing me?”

She laughed aloud, exhilarated at the thought of soaring into the clouds with him. “You shall have to fly with me to find out.”

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8. Giveaway: Win Kindle Fire from Kimberley Griffiths Little, Author of Forbidden

Here’s an awesome giveaway that I wanted to share. You can win a Kindle Fire, as well as a ton of other goodies!  Kimberley Griffiths Little is celebrating the release of her historical novel FORBIDDEN with a giveaway!  Check it out!

On November 4th, HarperCollins unveils Forbidden, a seductive YA debut from award-winning middle grade author Kimberley Griffiths Little. Forbidden transports readers back in time to the deadly deserts and sweltering heat of Ancient Mesopotamia for a tale of danger, duty, and forbidden love. Jayden is on the brink of womanhood and betrothed to her tribe’s prince, cold-hearted Horeb. But when tragedy strikes, Jayden meets Kadesh, a mysterious visitor from the south who makes Jayden doubt everything she knows. Torn between loyalty to her tribe and the chance to escape her fate, Jayden must make a choice that will change her life forever.

 

 

Kimberley is also offering a HUGE preorder giveaway from October 6th to November 4th (release day!) to celebrate. See below for full details on how to enter. TO ENTER:

  • You must preorder Forbidden through an online retailer or your local bookstore, then email a photo of your receipt to forbiddengiveaway@gmail.com.
  • Fill out the rafflecopter below
  • US/Canada Only
  • Ends at midnight EST on November 3, 2014
  • Optional entries: share the trailer on your own site or social media, follow Kimberley on twitter, and tweet about the giveaway (can be repeated daily for extra entries!)
  • Winners will be announced and contacted November 4th (release day!)
  • If the winner does not respond with their mailing address within one week, a new winner will be chosen.
PRIZES:

(1) GRAND PRIZE WINNER: 1. NEWLY RELEASED Kindle Fire HD6 Tablet with 6″ HD Display, Wi-Fi, Front and Rear Cameras, 8 GB — choose your color! (Black, Magenta, White, Citron, or Cobalt)

2. GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson

3. CHAOS OF STARS by Kiersten White

4. Satin Belly Dance Skirt

5. Belly Dance 150-Coin Hip Scarf

6. Red Silk Veil (not pictured)

7. Red Middle Eastern Earrings

8. Belly dance DVD: Sensual Belly Dance with Blanca, a professional dancer (technique, choreography, and performances)

9. “Will YOU risk it all?” button (not pictured)

10. Set of 10 Book Club Cards

11. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)

(1) SECOND PLACE WINNER:
1. GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson
2. Red Middle Eastern Earrings
3. Red Silk Veil (not pictured)
4. Belly dance DVD: Sensual Belly Dance with Blanca, a professional dancer (technique, choreography, and performances)
5. “Will YOU risk it all?” button (not pictured)
6. Set of 10 Book Club Cards
7. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)
(13) RUNNERS-UP WINNERS:
1. Red Middle Eastern Earrings
2. “Will YOU risk it all?” button (not pictured)
3. Set of 10 Book Club Cards
4. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)
Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
About Forbidden: In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden’s tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden’s turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe’s leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family’s position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden’s heart.
Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden’s heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb’s increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden’s every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying.
With a forbidden romance blossoming in her heart and her family’s survival on the line, Jayden must embark on a deadly journey to save the ones she loves—and find a true love for herself.
Set against the brilliant backdrop of the sprawling desert, the story of Jayden and Kadesh will leave readers absolutely breathless as they defy the odds and risk it all to be together.
Follow Kimberley:
About Kimberley: Award-winning author Kimberley Griffiths Little was born in San Francisco, but now lives in New Mexico on the banks of the Rio Grande with her husband and their three sons. Her middle-grade novels, When the Butterflies Came, The Last Snake Runner, The Healing Spell, and Circle of Secrets, have been praised as “fast-paced and dramatic,” with “beautifully realized settings.” Kimberley adores anything old and musty with a secret story to tell. She’s stayed in the haunted tower room at Borthwick Castle in Scotland; sailed the Seine in Paris; ridden a camel in Petra, Jordan; shopped the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul; and spent the night in an old Communist hotel in Bulgaria. You can visit her online at www.kimberleygriffithslittle.com.
Share your thoughts on the trailer in the comments!

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9. Guest Post and Giveaway: Elizabeth Hoyt, Author of Darling Beast

Please give a warm welcome to Elizabeth Hoyt!  She’s here to share a Top 5 list, as well as a giveaway you can enter!

Top 5 ways Apollo relaxes after a hard day toiling in the garden by Elizabeth Hoyt

  1. Reading a good book on tree-planting. In French.

  2. Bathing in the nude in the pond.

  3. Being stalked by a curious little boy and his silly Italian greyhound dog.

  4. Rescuing the above silly Italian greyhound dog from drowning.

  5. Meeting the little boy’s beautiful and vivacious mother.

A MAN CONDEMNED . . .
Falsely accused of murder and mute from a near-fatal beating, Apollo Greaves, Viscount Kilbourne has escaped from Bedlam. With the Crown’s soldiers at his heels, he finds refuge in the ruins of a pleasure garden, toiling as a simple gardener. But when a vivacious young woman moves in, he’s quickly driven to distraction . . .
A DESPERATE WOMAN . . .
London’s premier actress, Lily Stump, is down on her luck when she’s forced to move into a scorched theatre with her maid and small son. But she and her tiny family aren’t the only inhabitants-a silent, hulking beast of a man also calls the charred ruins home. Yet when she catches him reading her plays, Lily realizes there’s more to this man than meets the eye.
OUT OF ASH, DESIRE FLARES
Though scorching passion draws them together, Apollo knows that Lily is keeping secrets. When his past catches up with him, he’s forced to make a choice: his love for Lily . . . or the explosive truth that will set him free.

DARLING BEAST is available in paperback, ebook, and audio book formats wherever books are sold. 

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Excerpt:

He dropped his satchel and took up the shovel, sticking it into the base of one of the dead bushes, striking at the root mass. The blade only went halfway into the soil, so he jumped with both feet on the shoulders of the blade, driving it the rest of the way down. He could feel as the blade sliced through the roots and he grunted with satisfaction. He’d spent part of the previous night sharpening the shovel to do just that. Gingerly he began prying with the handle—too hard a movement and he’d snap it, or worse, the iron blade itself. He’d already lost two shovels this spring.

“You don’t mind if I continue?” he heard Miss Stump ask. “It’s just that I need to finish writing this soon—very soon.”

He glanced up curiously at that, wondering at the worried line between her brows as she stared down at her manuscript. Makepeace had said she couldn’t get acting work at the moment. Perhaps this was her only means of making money.

He shook his head in reply.

“I’m only in the third act,” she said absently. “My heroine has gambled away all her brother’s money because, well, she’s dressed as her brother.”

She glanced up in time to catch his raised eyebrows.

“It’s a comedy called A Wastrel Reform’d.” She shrugged. “A complicated comedy because right now no one knows who anyone is. There’s twins—a brother and sister—named Wastrel, and the brother has convinced his sister—her Christian name is Cecily—to pretend to be he so that he might seduce Lady Pamela’s maid, and he’s engaged to her—Lady Pamela, not her maid.”

She took a breath and Apollo slowly smiled, because against all odds, he’d understood everything she’d just said.

Miss Stump grinned back. “It’s silly, I know, but that’s what comedy is, really—a lot of silly things happening, one after another.” She glanced down at her play, running her finger down the page. “So Cecily, dressed as Adam—that’s the brother—has lost terribly at a hand of cards to Lord Pimberly. Oh! That’s Fanny—the maid’s—father, and Lady Pamela’s scorned suitor. Although of course no one knows that Pimberly is Fanny’s father, otherwise she wouldn’t be a lady’s maid, now would she?”

Apollo leaned on his shovel and cocked an eyebrow.

“Kidnapped at birth, naturally,” she replied. “But fortunately she has quite a distinctive birthmark. Right here.” She tapped the upper slope of her right breast.

Apollo defied any man not to follow the direction of her finger. She had quite a lovely breast, gently swelling above the severe square neckline of her dress and modestly covered by a filmy fichu.

“Yes, well.” Her husky voice made him raise his gaze. Her cheeks had pinkened, but that might’ve been the wind. “In any case, I’m writing a scene between Cecily and Lord Pimberly in which Pimberly demands his money and Cecily doesn’t have it. And naturally he’s begun to realize he’s attracted to her at the same time.”

She cleared her throat.

He nodded, messing a bit with his shovel to look as if he were still working. Actually, he was beginning to fear that the blade was stuck in the roots.

Miss Stump glanced at her manuscript and slipped back into what he now knew was Cecily—the sister dressed as her brother. “Do you judge a gentleman by his bits, my lord?”

She turned and placed her fists on her hips again, in the wide-legged stance. “Pardon me, but I said chits.”

Turn. Her hands dropped. “And yet, ’tis still your manly bits we discuss.” She glanced at him out of the corner of her eye. “No?”

He screwed his mouth to the side and reluctantly shook his head.

“Blast!” she exclaimed under her breath, bending to the paper. She scratched out something and then froze, obviously thinking.

He wasn’t even pretending to work anymore.

She gasped and then hunched over her manuscript, scribbling furiously before straightening, a gleam of triumph in her eye.

She tossed her head as Cecily. “Indeed, and would you know a chit should you see one?”

Now she was a baffled Pimberly. “Naturally.”

“Oh, my lord?” She turned her head and looked over her shoulder through lowered lashes at the imaginary Pimberly, all daring flirtation. “And how is that, may I ask?”

“How?”

“How does a gentleman of your unsurpassed perception differentiate a chit from a bit?”

And she batted her eyelashes.

The juxtaposition between the ribaldry of her words and the innocence of her expression was so silly, so utterly enchanting, that Apollo couldn’t help it: he threw back his head and laughed.

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10. Spotlight and Giveaway: If He’s Daring by Hannah Howell

 

If He’s Daring

Wherlocke # 6

By: Hannah Howell

Releasing October 7th, 2014

Zebra / Kensington

Blurb

In a dazzling new novel in the Wherlocke family saga, New York Times bestselling author Hannah Howell creates an unforgettable story of intrigue, jeopardy, and desire…

Stealing a stranger’s carriage is the second most reckless thing Lady Catryn Gryffin de Warrenne has ever done. The first is succumbing to her powerful attraction to the carriage’s owner. Catryn has heard the rumors about Sir Orion Wherlocke’s family and their otherworldly gifts. He’s the one person who can keep her son and his inheritance safe from her late husband’s ruthless brother. As for how to protect herself…it may be too late for that.

Orion is facing the worst danger a man of his ilk can find: a woman he can’t walk away from. Catryn is an intoxicating blend of innocence and sensuality, and for the first time, seduction is far more than a game. But her beauty and fortune have made her a target—one that will dare him to risk everything he’s known—in pursuit of everything he’s ever longed for…

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/08/if-hes-daring-wherlocke-6-by-hannah.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20257085-if-he-s-daring?from_search=true

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Hes-Daring-Wherlockes-Hannah-Howell/dp/142013499X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406831831&sr=8-1&keywords=9781420134995

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/if-hes-daring-hannah-howell/1117797558?ean=9781420134995

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/if-hes-daring/id847629981?mt=11

Publisher: http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/30163

Author Info

Hannah Howell is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than 30 Zebra historical romances. Howell, twice awarded the Golden Leaf Award, has been a Romance Writers of America RITA Finalist and received RT Book Reviews’ Career Achievement Award for Historical Storyteller of the Year. She lives West Newbury, Massachusetts with her family. Visit her website at hannahhowell.com.

Author Links

Website: http://www.hannahhowell.com/

Blog: http://hhowellauthor.blogspot.com/

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

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/97228.Hannah_Howell

 

 

Excerpt

England, Fall, 1790

The groan echoed through the small house, every note of it filled with pain and helpless fury. Catryn tossed her cloak on the hook near the front door and rushed toward the room she was certain the sound was coming from. Her heart pounded with fear for her family as she cursed herself for leaving them alone. She never should have given in to her friend Anne’s pleas to join her at the morning salon on the servants’ day off. She certainly should never have lingered there as long as she had.

She found her father on his knees in the library, one hand on the settee as he struggled to get to his feet. Catryn ran to his side to help him stand and then urged him to sit down on the settee. Blood stained his pale cheek as it seeped from on the side of his head, the red of it stark against the white of his hair. The knuckles on his right hand were scraped and his left eye was already swelling. A quick look around the room revealed a knocked-over table and a smashed vase. Who would attack her father? The man was just a quiet, somewhat reclusive scholar.

A demand to know what had happened burned her tongue with the need to be uttered, but she bit it back. Her father needed tending to first, the dazed look in his gray eyes telling her that he was not ready to answer all her questions, not even the one now screaming in her mind. Where is my son?

Catryn quickly dampened her handkerchief with a little of the spring water her father always brought to the city from their country home and kept in a decanter on his desk. Her heart still twisted with fear, she gently bathed the blood from his face. By the time she was finished, his wound did not look quite as bad as she had thought it was, and his eyes had cleared. The first words he spoke chilled her to the bone.

“He took Alwyn.”

“Who took him, Papa?” she asked, although she already had a very good idea of who would commit such a crime against her.

“Morris.” He took the damp handkerchief from her hand and held it against the small wound on the side of his head. “He and some hired brute came into this house, marched right into this room whilst I was reading a story to Alywn, and demanded that I give him the lad. Told the man he was a daft fool and to get out. Then we had us a tussle and I lost.”

“She could see how that shamed him and patted his knee. “It was two men against one, Papa. I know, with all my heart, that you did all you could do to stop him. Now I will do what I can.”

Lewys Gryffin looked at his daughter, his only child, and wished he had shot Sir Morris de Warrenne a long time ago. Since her husband, Henry, had died nearly two years ago, life had become one vicious, unending battle with the man’s younger brother over who should have control over the heir, her son and all the riches the little boy now had claim to. The months of strife had left them all weary and angry. It was clear to see that the fight over Alwyn had now turned dangerously and it hurt him to be of so little help to her when she needed him so badly.

“I should be the one to fight this,” he muttered. “’Tis my place as the man in this family, as the head of this house.”

“Ah, Papa,” she said as she sat down next to him and kissed him on the cheek. “You have been fighting and doing a fine job of it. Fighting since the moment Henry took his last breath. And as soon as I get Alwyn back home with us where he belongs, you will be fighting again. Now it is my turn to take up the fight. I will go after Morris and retrieve my child.”

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Three (3) Print Copies of IF HE’S DARING)

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11. Spotlight and Giveaway: Moonlight Raider by Amanda Scott

 

I have a giveaway for Amanda Scott’s latest release Moonlight Raider!  Please check out the excerpt and enter the giveaway below for your chance to win.  I love the cover!  It’s so pretty.

About MOONLIGHT RAIDER

A MAN OF HIS WORD

Border lord Walter Scott of Rankilburn, grief-stricken after burying his father, goes to the forest seeking solace. Instead he finds a half-naked young lady fleeing pursuit. Wat offers his protection, but honor demands that he return the golden-eyed beauty to her rightful husband-even though the last thing he wants is to see her in another man’s arms.

A RUNAWAY BRIDE

Molly Cockburn has fled her home, family, and the brutal scoundrel she was forced to wed. Her pursuers are closing in when the powerful new Lord of Rankilburn bravely intervenes, then promises to help prove her marriage unlawful. Though fiercely loyal to her family, Molly fears they might harm the man she is coming to love, and now she must decide whether to remain faithful to her blood . . . or to her heart.

About Amanda Scott

Amanda Scott is the author of over 61 romance novels and the recipient of the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA Award.  She lives in Folsom, California, outside of Sacramento.  She is a fourth-generation Californian. 

Amanda’s social media

http://www.amandascottauthor.com/

https://www.facebook.com/amandascottauthor?ref=ts&fref=ts

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/79142.Amanda_Scott?from_search=true

Buy Links

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/YlTUNw

Books-A-Million: http://bit.ly/1pwQDRH

IndieBound: http://bit.ly/1yur5PD

GooglePlay: http://bit.ly/1vbp1s1

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

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

EXCERPT

Without thinking, she put a hand to his arm, noting how hard his muscles were as she looked into his eyes said with deep sincerity, “I’m sorry I frightened you. I don’t think clearly when I’m angry. In troth, I fear that whenever my temper gets the better of me, I do try to get away, but only to try and calm myself. Losing my temper has often …”

She paused when his expression altered rather strangely.

“You should not look at a man like that unless you want him to kiss you,” he said softly.

“But I do,” she replied honestly and without hesitation. “No man has kissed me since my granddad died, and I think I would like you to, if you don’t mind.”

***

A voice deep within Wat shouted a warning of where such a kiss might lead, but he ignored it, cupping her chin again with one hand while he drew her closer with the other. Then, gently and ever so slowly, savoring the moment for himself, he lowered his mouth to hers and kissed her.

Her rosy lips were feather soft and warm against his own. Her slender body snuggled against his and seemed to fit there unusually well. When she moved her lips beneath his, kissing him back, he shifted the hand that had cupped her chin to cradle her head beneath her veil, marveling at the soft silkiness of her hair.

She moved her lips as if to taste different parts of his, and another part of his body stirred strongly in response.

The urge to take her then and there was nearly overpowered him, and as much to distract himself from that dangerous urge as to answer the invitation her lips were offering, he pressed his tongue between them and began to explore the intriguing, moist interior of her mouth.

She gave a gasp, then seemed to stop breathing. But when he continued his exploration undaunted, she inhaled with a moan and touched her tongue to his.

Her breath was whisper soft and clean, and her breasts pressed against him, tantalizing him and making his fingers itch to stroke them. That thought provided stronger warning than the voice in his head that he was treading dangerous ground.

Remembering his vow to protect her but wise enough not to break their embrace too abruptly, he eased his tongue from her mouth. Then he kissed her more lightly on the lips and again on her forehead.

“We must go back, lass. I should not have done that, but I’m not sorry I did.”

“We did it, sir,” she said, looking solemnly into his eyes. “Faith, I invited it.”

He shook his head at her. “Believe me, if my father were still alive, and I were to tell him exactly how it happened, he would have much to say to me, none of which I would want to hear. But I’d deserve every word.”

“Sadly, he is not here to scold you,” she said.

“Aye, but Westruther will give me an earful if he hears about it. You are an inexperienced maiden who was naturally curious, whilst I am …”

“… much experienced at such things?” she said for him when he paused.

“More experienced than you, I’d wager,” he said with a sudden grin. “But we are not going to discuss my experience, now or ever, my lass.”

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12. Interview with Frances Housden, Author of Chieftain by Command

[Magna Maniac Café] Good morning, Frances!  Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Frances Housden] Persistent.

[Magna Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about Chieftain by Command?

[Frances Housden] After the death of the Comlyn Clan Chieftain, Gavyn Farquhar is commanded by King Malcolm Canmore to take his place, but first he must wed Kathryn Comlyn. An unwilling bride, Kathryn feels perfectly capable of leading the clan in her father’s stead and she leaves her new husband in no doubt of her feelings. The truth is that her disinclination suits Gavyn. His survey of the Comlyn fortress, Dun Bhuird has revealed that the defenses require expensive structural work. To earn the wealth necessary to keep the fortress and the way south safe from the Norsemen of Caithness, as the King expects, Gavyn intends that he and his men will spend time in France as mercenaries, even if it means leaving his young unbedded wife in the care of trusted retainers. His only words to Kathryn as he departs are that on his return he had better find her as he left her—intact.

[Magna Maniac Café] Can you describe your favorite scene?

[Frances Housden] To describe the scene that brought me to tears would act as a spoiler, but another favorite is when Gavyn and his men return from France without warning his wife. Kathryn awaits him bow in hand, fortunately for Gavyn she misses and later claims it was done deliberately, the readers will have to make up their own minds about that.

[Magna Maniac Café] What did you most enjoy about writing this book?

[Frances Housden] Having just written my RITA nominated book—The Chieftain’s Curse— my first in the Chieftain trilogy, I loved revisiting a lot of my original characters, Rob, Nhaimeth and Jamie—who are all somewhat older in this book—as well as Gavyn and Kathryn who played smaller parts the first time around. To be able to make your characters grow as you sit at the keyboard is very satisfying, also the ability to explore a new setting is exciting as this time the story has moved to the Cairngorms and northwest to Caithness where the Norsemen rule.

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

[Frances Housden] A book, or my Kindle, loaded up with books. I’ve always felt that sitting down anywhere without a book in my hands is a waste of good reading time.

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

[Frances Housden] Bluetooth keyboard and touchpad, as well as a pile of history books that I frequently use for research.

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

[Frances Housden] Coffee is always on the go, but a cup-a-soup and crackers help fill me up.

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

[Frances Housden] I think my friend, Nalini Singh, her writing appears to come with an ease I feel I lack, and when she’s not at home writing she’s traveling. I love to travel.

[Magna Maniac Café] You have been granted a superpower for one week. Which power would you choose and what would you do with it.

[Frances Housden] The power of healing would come in handy. My husband has Parkinson’s disease and I’d love to relieve him of that burden, also my mother had dementia before she passed away. I think that is a terrible way to end what has been a good and productive life. That is something I would love to help cure.

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

[Frances Housden] Before I went to RWA 2014 I loaded some early Eloisa James onto my reader, her Pleasures trilogy. Now, Eloisa has a great way with fairytales I have never tried to emulate, not unless you are into the darker Brothers Grimm tales, but I do believe a writer has to stay true to the era they’re writing about and I always picture Cinderella in the beautiful Georgian dresses Eloisa describes.

[Magna Maniac Café] How can readers connect with you?

[Frances Housden] Readers can get in touch with me on Facebook, or on Twitter @HousdenFwriter, as well as my website www.franceshousden.com

Title: Chieftain by Command

Author: Frances Housden

Genre: Historical Scottish Medieval

Release Date: September 2014

Format: eBook

Pagination: 142

Blurb:

From the bestselling, RITA-nominated author Frances Housden comes the gripping, sensual, suspenseful follow-up to The Chieftain’s Curse…

Gavyn Farquhar’s marriage is forged with a double-edged blade. Along with the Comlyn clan’s lands, a reward from the King, he is blessed with an unwilling bride, Kathryn Comlyn, and an ancient fort with few defences that desperately needs to be fortified before it can act as a sufficient buffer between Scotland and the Norsemen on its northern borders.

Gavyn needs wealth to meet his king’s demands, and he knows of only one way to get it — with his sword. Leaving his prickly bride behind in the hands of trusted advisors, he makes his way to the battlegrounds of France and the money that can be made there.

Two years married and Kathryn is still a virgin. A resentful virgin, certain that, like her father before her, she is perfectly capable of leading the Comlyn clan. In her usurper husband’s absence, she meets the clan’s needs, advising and ruling as well as any man.

But she is an intelligent woman, and she knows the only respect and power she will ever hold will be through her husband. And to wield it, she needs to make him love her. An easy task to set, but impossible to complete, when said husband has been gone for two years, and there is no word of his return. But Kathryn is undeterred. After all, a faint heart never won a Chieftain.

About the Author:

Frances Housden has only recently discovered the delights of writing Mediaeval Scottish stories—part fantasy and part memories of her early life in Scotland. Now living in New Zealand, she happily writes at home and lives vicarious adventures with her heroes and heroines. Frances is married to the man she travelled to the ends of the earth for, and together they have two sons and four grandchildren who make sure life is never dull. 

The post Interview with Frances Housden, Author of Chieftain by Command appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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13. The Boleyn King

The Boleyn King. Laura Andersen. 2013. Ballantine. 358 pages. [Source: Library]

Alternate history. What if Anne Boleyn had given Henry VIII the son he so desperately wanted and needed? What if she survived her husband instead of being beheaded? What if Henry VIII had only had TWO wives? What if Elizabeth and her younger brother grew up with both parents, relatively happy? King William is that son. His father has died, and, he though under the age of 18, has been England's king. He faces challenges, every king does, and those challenges are what The Boleyn King is all about. The book has four narrators: William and Elizabeth (royal siblings) and Minuette and Dominic (close and trusted friends of both William and Elizabeth). Minuette seems to be the type of heroine that no male character can resist. Elizabeth somewhat secretly is in love with a married man, no surprises as to who that is. William is being pressured to marry well. Will his choice be a) Mary, Queen of Scots b) Jane Grey c) a French princess d) someone of his own choice that will upset his advisers and the court just as much as his father's decision to marry Anne Boleyn. This is the start of a trilogy...

The good news: It's a quick read. I read it in one day. It is also a premise-driven book. For readers who find the premise intriguing, this one is worth the read. Especially if one can get it from the library. Just in case. I liked seeing which characters avoided death and disaster. I don't know if these characters will continue to have happily ever afters, of, if they'll find themselves in troubles of a different sort. But. It was an interesting enough read.

The bad news: It's light on history. This one focuses more on fictional characters than on real people. And the characters based on real people aren't always that accurate. This makes some sense for some characters whose lives were very different in this alternate universe. But this may leave some readers disappointed that there isn't more substance and depth. If you're looking for a character-driven book, this one might disappoint. Also. It definitely is trying to appeal more to romance readers than historical readers. If that makes sense.

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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14. Miss Emily: Review Haiku

Yes, I totally
picked it up for the title,
AND WHAT OF IT, EH?

Miss Emily by Burleigh Muten. Candlewick, 2014, 144 pages.

0 Comments on Miss Emily: Review Haiku as of 9/24/2014 6:21:00 AM
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15. Interview with Kari Edgren, Author of Goddess Born

 photo d717e629-6016-48de-86cc-d2e76f83f691.png

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

[Kari Edgren] Determined, Extroverted Introvert, impatient, and a daydreamer.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Goddess Born?

[Kari Edgren] Goddess Born draws from a time when many of the Irish clans claimed kinship with the Tuatha Dé, or “tribe of the gods”. Eighteen-year-old Selah Kilbrid is a headstrong young woman, who upon her father’s death becomes one of the largest landholders in Colonial Pennsylvania. She is also the direct descendant of the Celtic goddess Brigid, with the power to heal and the charge to help those in need. As she navigates the many perils in a world dominated by men and superstition, she her must keep her identity hidden or risk being charged for a witch.

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

[Kari Edgren] When Selah takes her future by the horns at the docks and does something really brazen. Despite her unique ‘goddess’ ancestry, I see this scene as the first real leap of faith for the reader. In many ways it has more to do with Selah’s personal struggles as a woman in 1730 Pennsylvania than her unique powers. And I think it’s easy to relate to her impulsiveness as its something anyone could have done if pushed far enough.

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

[Kari Edgren] I loved writing Goddess Born. Every single part of it, which is odd since I usually detest writing description. Insert trees and shrubberies. Now let’s get back to the story… But not this time. For almost a year, I lived and breathed 1730 Pennsylvania. My behind may have been planted on the couch in present day Pacific NW, but the rest of me was far, far away, as my husband and kids can attest. The Colonial people in general, and Selah Kilbrid in specific, had become my reality. They fully absorbed me, from the months of research to the moment I typed the last word.

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

[Kari Edgren] I am obsessed with Burt’s Bees Lip Balm. I never leave the house without it, and even pack an extra tube if I’m staying somewhere overnight.

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

[Kari Edgren] Diet Coke, a homemade clay pencil holder that resembles Cyrano de Bergerac, and my writing notebook.

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

[Kari Edgren] Popcorn or Cheez-It. With Diet Coke of course.

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

[Kari Edgren] Eleanor of Aquitaine, just not while she was imprisoned.

[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?

[Kari Edgren] Does time travel count as a superpower? If so, I would go back to 18th century England before Victorianism took hold. Otherwise telekinesis, and I’m sure I would misuse it and cause all sorts of mayhem before the week was done.

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

[Kari Edgren] I just finished One Plus One by Jojo Moyes last night. What a beautiful testament to the power of strangers!

Blackmoore and Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson – her writing reminds me of a richly woven tapestry.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple, since I lived in the Seattle area for twenty years.

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

[Kari Edgren] I can be found on the web at kariedgren.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/KariEdgren

Thank you for hosting me today!

02_Goddess Born

Publication Date: May 29, 2014
Carina Press
eBook; ISBN: 9781426898365

Genre: Historical/Fantasy/Paranormal/New Adult

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2013 RWA Golden Heart© Finalist
2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist

The power to heal is her divine gift, the fear of discovery, her mortal curse.

Selah Kilbrid is caught between two worlds. A direct descendant of the Celtic goddess Brigid, she is bound by Tuatha Dé law to help those in need. Yet as a human, she must keep her unique abilities hidden or risk being charged for a witch. In 1730 Pennsylvania, the Quaker community of Hopewell has become a haven for religious freedom—and fanaticism—and there are those who would see her hanged if the truth were revealed.

For eighteen years, Selah safely navigates the narrow gap between duty and self-preservation, until the day a prominent minister uncovers her secret. Obsessed with her power, Nathan Crowley disregards her betrothal to a distant cousin from Ireland and demands marriage in exchange for his silence. Selah stalls for time, but when news reaches the Colonies of her cousin’s death, time has run out.

Rather than submit to Nathan, Selah coerces a stranger to pose as her husband. It’s a good plan—her only plan—even though Henry Alan harbors his own dark secrets. But when she returns to Hopewell a married woman, the real fight has just begun. As unseen forces move against her, Selah doesn’t know which poses the greater danger—a malignant shadow closing in from outside or the internal fire that threatens to consume her heart.

Book Two in the Goddess Born series will be published in November 2014 and Book Three in June 2015.

Buy the eBook


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Carina Press

About the Author03_Kari Edgren


Kari Edgren did not dream of becoming a writer. Instead, she dreamed of everything else and was often made to stay inside during kindergarten recess to practice her letters. Despite doting parents and a decent school system, Ms. Edgren managed to make it through elementary school having completed only one book cover to cover – The Box Car Children, which she read approximately forty-seven times. Things improved during high school, but not until she read Gabrielle Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude in college, did she truly understand the power of a book.

Ms. Edgren aspires to be a Vulcan, a world-acclaimed opera singer, and two inches taller. She resides in the Pacific NW where she spends a great deal of time torturing her husband and children with strange food and random historical facts. Ms. Edgren hasn’t stopped dreaming, but has finally mastered her letters enough to put the stories on paper.

For more information please visit Kari Edgren’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Sign Up for Kari Edgren’s Newsletter.

Goddess Born Blog Tour Schedule


Monday, September 22
Review at Peeking Between the Pages

Tuesday, September 23
Review at By the Book Reviews
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, September 24
Review at The Readers Hollow
Interview at Manga Maniac Cafe

Thursday, September 25
Review at Book Babe

Friday, September 26
Review at Curling Up With a Good Book

Sunday, September 28
Spotlight & Excerpt at Casual Readers

Monday, September 29
Review at Unabridged Chick
Review at The Mad Reviewer

Tuesday, September 30
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick

Wednesday, October 1
Review & Excerpt at Book Lovers Paradise

Thursday, October 2
Review at Books, Etc.
Review at 100 Pages a Day – Stephanie’s Book Reviews

Friday, October 3
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Monday, October 6
Review at Bookish
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Tuesday, October 7
Spotlight & Giveaway at The Flashlight Reader

Wednesday, October 8
Review at A Bookish Affair

Thursday, October 9
Review at The True Book Addict

Friday, October 10
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Monday, October 13
Review at Book Nerd
Interview at The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, October 14
Review at I’d So Rather Be Reading

Wednesday, October 15
Review at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, October 16
Review at A Book Geek
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry

Friday, October 17
Review at Historical Tapestry

The post Interview with Kari Edgren, Author of Goddess Born appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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16. The Late Scholar (2014)

The Late Scholar. Jill Paton Walsh. 2014. St. Martin's Press. 368 pages. [Source: Library]

I enjoyed The Late Scholar enough while reading it, for the most part, but the more I think about it, the more disappointed I am. I have liked or enjoyed Jill Paton Walsh's sequels to Dorothy Sayer's Lord Peter mysteries. The Late Scholar is set in the 1950s. (I'm not sure if it's early, mid, or late 50s. But Queen Elizabeth is on the throne, I believe.) The novel opens with the Duke of Denver (aka Lord Peter Wimsey) learning that he is a Visitor at Oxford. He is being called upon to settle a dispute among the fellows. The person--ultimately one of many suspects, I suppose--who initially requested his interference comes to regret it. Lord Peter is thorough. He doesn't want to just cast a vote on a controversial topic without any thought. He wants to study the situation, learn both sides, draw his own conclusions about what is best. The dispute is about selling a medieval book to get the money to buy land next door that has come up for sell. Is land more valuable to the college than one book in the library? Or is the ancient book more valuable to the college than a piece of real estate? It wouldn't be a mystery book if it didn't turn to violence and murder. Lord Peter, Harriet Vane, and Bunter must follow all the clues to catch a murderer or two.

There were a few things that felt a bit off, that kept this one from feeling like a genuine, authentic Lord Peter/Harriet Vane mystery. I allow some change would be natural enough. Two decades would change a person, would change a couple. But the changes in a way have a very surface feel to them. I'm not sure the characters have the depth that they need, they are very much reliant on familiarity with the original.

I have not reread the whole (original) series, but, Lord Peter seems changed and not always for the better. I could not show you a passage where Lord Peter reveals a personal faith in God. But I have a feeling I would have remembered if Lord Peter revealed a cold mockery for Christianity and/or stated openly and unashamedly that he did NOT believe in God. There were a few uncomfortable scenes in Late Scholar where Peter's atheism comes to light, I suppose. It was done in an almost ha, ha, don't be silly, of course I don't believe in God kind of way. It just struck me as wrong. I'm not saying that I consider Lord Peter evangelical. But. I always got the impression that he believed there was a God, that at the very least he was agnostic. The reason this strikes me as wrong is that Dorothy Sayers was a Christian, she wrote Christian books. I've read some of her theological essays and they are quite good. I just don't see HER Lord Peter being one to make light of or mock Christianity or the Bible or the fundamental belief that there is a God. Of course times have changed. Decades have passed since his creation, so maybe modern readers assume that naturally Lord Peter is "smart enough" to have outgrown any idea of God.

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on The Late Scholar (2014) as of 9/23/2014 1:14:00 PM
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17. Spotlight and Giveaway: The Rake’s Handbook (Including Field Guide) by Sally Orr

The Rake’s Handbook sounds like a cute read!  Check out the excerpt and enter the giveaway below!

The Rake’s Handbook (Including Field Guide) by Sally Orr (Historical Romance; The Rake’s Handbook, Book 1; ISBN: 9781492602118)

Summary:

The definitive guide to seduction…

The Rake’s Handbook was written on a dare, and soon took the ton by storm. Now its author, Ross Thornbury, is publicly reviled by the ladies—who are, of course, forbidden to read the handbook—but privately revered by the gentlemen. Unfortunately, Ross’s notoriety is working against him and he flees London painfully aware of the shortcomings of his own jaded heart.

Spirited young widow Elinor Colton lives next to Ross’s country estate. She’s appalled not only by his rakish reputation, but also by his progressive industrial plans. Elinor is sure she is immune to Ross’s seductive ways. But he keeps coming around…impressing her with his vision for England’s future and stunning her with his smiles.

How does one resist the man who wrote the manual on love?

About the Author:

Sally Orr worked for thirty years in medical research, specializing in the discovery of gene function. After joining an English history message board, she posted many, many examples of absolute tomfoolery. As a result, a cyber-friend challenged her to write a novel. Since she is a hopeless Anglophile, it’s not surprising that her first book is a Regency romance. Sally lives with her husband in San Diego, surrounded by too many nerdy books and not enough old English cars. 

Social Media:

Website | @OrrSally | Facebook | Goodreads

Pre-order:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BAM | !ndigo | IndieBound | iBooks

 

Excerpt:

“You really are a rake,” she whispered, the sight and feel of their joined hands warming her cheeks. “A proper gentleman would never hold a lady thus. I have been warned about your charms. Perhaps I too should write everything down. Pen a handbook to instruct my widowed sisters what to expect upon attempted seduction and how to fight it.”

“Factual or satirical?”

She bit her lower lip to stop an indelicate reply.

“I could write that handbook too.”

His boast made her smile. “I seem to have found another trait of a rake.”

“Humph. I’d be delighted to show you all of my traits. Perhaps start with chapter one?” The determination in his voice indicated he was quite willing to comply.

“Please do, sir,” she replied in a facetious tone, tugging her hand free. “But I can already tell that I’ll stop reading your book after the table of contents. You know, all of those funny pages in the front of the book numbered v and i.”

He chuckled softly, then stared at her until he captured her gaze. “My handbook starts with fine eyes.” He reached up and swept back a ringlet that had fallen over her eye and carefully tucked the curl under her bonnet.

Her heartbeat raced.

“The eyes are followed by a notable vee.” His gaze lowered to the upper edge of her bodice and lingered in the center.

“Oh my, if that’s the table of contents, I don’t dare read chapter one.”

“I’d be pleased to read you all of the chapters. There are a total of . . .” He glanced at her leisurely, from the top of her leghorn bonnet down to her sensible half boots. His focus returned up to her neck—almost. His chest broadened as he inhaled. “Ten.”

“Ten.”

He gave her a smoldering look from under heavy lashes. “Ten in volume one,” he continued in a silky baritone. “Let’s start with chapter one.” He leaned forward slowly, staring at her mouth, as if he might take liberties and kiss her. The distance between them shortened to inches. Close enough to feel his warm breath.

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Spotlight and Giveaway: The Rake’s Handbook (Including Field Guide) by Sally Orr appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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18. Novella Review: Meeting Her Match by Mary Connealy

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I really enjoyed Meeting Her Match.  This novella features an unconventional hero, and honestly, when we are first introduced to Marcus, all I could think was, “No!  He can’t be the hero!”  He is clumsy, he can’t look Hannah in the eye, and he’s completely tongue-tied in her presence.  Turns out our sweet hero has been in love with Hannah since he was a young lad, and he turns into a dithering clod whenever she is near. 

Hannah, who has spent many hours secretly finding matches for the eligible singles in town, has failed to find a match for herself.  She’s a busy gal, though, so it’s not surprising that she hasn’t found a man to get hitched to yet.  She’s the school teacher, she helps her sickly mother tend to her huge brood of siblings, and the timing never seems right for her.  Her fiancé was killed in a freak accident, and she’s been drifting through life ever since. 

When tragedy strikes her family, Hannah finds herself even more harried than before.  Then, when her father practically kicks her out of the house, she’s heartbroken.  She mopes about, feeling sorry for herself, not seeing the handsome, caring man that’s right in front of her.  Instead,  because of Marcus’ shy ways, she thinks that he doesn’t like her, even though nothing could be further from the truth.

With the meddling of the townsfolk, Hannah finally gets a clue.  This is a cute read, with likeable characters and a heroine who deserves a HEA.  The only glitch for me was that the ending took too long to wrap up.  Otherwise, this is a great time killer if you’ve got about an hour to fill.

Grade:  B

Review copy read on Scribd

From Amazon:

When the tables are turned and a tenderhearted meddler becomes the beneficiary of a matchmaking scheme, her world is turned upside down. As her entire life changes, will she finally be able to tell the banker’s son how much she cares for him?

The post Novella Review: Meeting Her Match by Mary Connealy appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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19. Guest Post and Giveaway: Samantha Grace, Author In Bed With a Rogue

Please welcome Samantha Grace back to the virtual offices!  She’s here to share some private facts about Sebastian, and be sure to enter the giveaway to win a copy of In Bed with a Rogue!

Hi, everyone! I’m Samantha Grace, historical romance author of the series Rival Rogues. It’s great to be back at Manga Maniac Café talking about my newest release, IN BED WITH A ROGUE. My favorite characters to write are always the males, whether it’s the hero or a secondary character, so I was very happy to see the title for today’s blog:

Top 5 things you’d never find in Sebastian’s bedchamber

I love this topic, but I needed a little help from my street team, The Social Graces, to come up with a list. Here’s what we decided…

1) A mess—You would never find anything out of place in Sebastian’s bedchamber, and not just because he has a staff of servants. Lady Helena Prestwick notices when she first has a chance to study him at the theater that everything about his appearance is intentional, from the starch of his collar to his carefree hair made to appear as if he’d crawled from bed looking like perfection, to his high-polished footwear. “A lot of effort went into his appearance, suggesting he cared a great deal how others viewed him.” And how right she is. Sebastian believes one can never be too fastidious. “People were judged on appearances, and he took pains to set himself apart from the disheveled mess his father had become in his last years.” Sebastian’s father suffered from PTDS after his military service, which started rumors of madness in Sebastian’s family. Now that he and his sister have both been jilted before their weddings, the rumors have resurfaced, and Sebastian refuses to give any more evidence to back-up the gossips’ claims.

2) A muddy pair of Hessian boots—Even if Sebastian wasn’t a bit of a neat freak, you wouldn’t find the boots in his room because he…uh…he lost them one evening when attackers jumped him outside a tavern in Whitechapel.

His assailants ripped the coat from his back while he tried to catch his breath.

Found it!”

Another kick to his kidney paralyzed him in a cloud of pain. Two men grabbed his legs and tugged at his boots.

Not the Hessians,” he mumbled.

They laughed and ran off, the splash of footsteps growing faint.

Bloody… hell…” he said between wheezing breaths. He would have given them his purse if they had asked nicely, but no gentleman should have to part with his boots.

He rolled to his back and cried out as his muscles wrenched. If he ever learned his attackers’ identities, they were in for a shocking introduction of his foot to their backsides.

Lucky for Sebastian, Helena wasn’t far away and came to his rescue when he called out for help, even though she risked having her secret discovered.

3) A Do Not Disturb sign—Sebastian would never take his conquests home for a night of fun. He has a mother and younger sister under his care, and he would never dream of exposing them to anything inappropriate. He would, however, like to bar his sister from his room, but Evie will have none of that after he is delivered to the front stoop battered, bruised, and unconscious. (I think she burned the Do Not Disturb sign.)

He was in his bedchamber. God only knew how he had gotten there.

He smacked his lips. His mouth was dry, like someone had shoved a wad of muslin in it. With eyes still closed, he fumbled for a glass of water on his side table without success. He cracked open an eye.

Faith!” He jumped, then sucked in a sharp breath as pain sliced through his ribs.

His younger sister pursed her lips. “What happened this time? Did an irate husband chase you out a window?”

I refuse to respond to such a ridiculous accusation.” Gingerly, he probed the bandage around his middle. How had that gotten there?

Eve slid from the edge of the bed and went to retrieve a porcelain pitcher from a tray sitting on a side table. “The doctor said you bruised your ribs and knocked your head. And don’t pretend I have insulted you. I smelled the lady’s perfume on you before your valet cleaned you up.” Despite her scolding tone, her brown eyes were sympathetic when she glanced over her shoulder. “I worry about you, Bastian. God only knows what you are doing that causes you to come home with bruises. And no coat or boots at that.”

Well, it’s not bedding married women, not that you should know about such goings-on.”

4) A Letter of Complaint—Helena learns Sebastian knows her secret when he approaches her at a ball, and she thinks he intends to blackmail her. She invites him back to her town house so they can discuss the terms in private, but he suggests they wait to leave the ball separately so no one connects their names. In the meantime, Helena takes refuge in the ladies’ retiring room to avoid running into him again at the ball. She has the misfortune of crossing paths with Lady Lovelace and receives a favorable recommendation of Sebastian’s skills, although the Widow Lovelace insults him in the process. (Perhaps there’s a little jealousy at play?)

I saw you dancing with Lord Thorne.” Lady Lovelace plopped onto the tufted stool and smoothed a hand over her hair. “If you’ve a rendezvous with Sebastian, you will not regret it.”

Helena’s breath hitched.

The widow’s eyes gleamed in the looking glass. “Just as I suspected. He is worth the risk, so long as no one else finds out. Most every lady desires him in her bed, but she would be mortified if others knew she’d been bedded by a Bedlamite.”

She twittered at her joke, but Helena didn’t find her amusing in the least.

Forgive me, my lady, but you are mistaken about Lord Thorne and me.” Helena headed for the retiring room door, brushing past the attendant who wasn’t even bothering to pretend she wasn’t eavesdropping. Her owl-like eyes blinked several times at Helena.

Oh?” The widow swiveled on the seat. “You haven’t succumbed to his charms yet? You would be the only woman whose skirts he has chased but failed to lift.”

5) An Attack Cat—One of my favorite scenes involves a stray cat Helena rescued on one of her late night excursions to Whitechapel. Sebastian isn’t likely to forget his introduction to Luna.

He swept the hair from her forehead. “I want to see where you lived. And Fergus promised to take me fishing. Perhaps you and Gracie would like to come along too. Fergus said you are quite the angler. And he said his mother, the best cook in Aberdeenshire, will bake a pie in my honor. I am not one to turn down a sweet.”

She rolled her eyes, laughing, knowing sweets were not his weakness. “When did you and Fergus become confidants?”

I’ll have you know Fergus and I are the best of friends now.” Sebastian tugged his trousers over his hips. “He invited me fishing when he offered his congratulations belowstairs earlier.” His eyes flew open and he jumped away from the bed. “Damnation!”

Helena gasped in surprise. Luna was clawing her way up his leg, clinging to his trousers as he hopped and tried to shake her loose. When she sank her teeth into his thigh, a string of curses poured from him.

Luna, no!” Helena scrambled off the bed to intervene, but Sebastian pried her from his leg before she reached them.

The cat hit the floor at a run, sprang onto the desk chair and desk, then slipped on the pile of post before she gained traction and dashed into Helena’s dressing room. Letters plopped to the floor.

Sebastian turned incredulous eyes on Helena. “Did you see that hellcat? He tried to unman me.”

A laugh burst from her. “He is a she, and Luna didn’t mean to hurt you. She was playing.”

His dark scowl brought about another peal of laughter.

I’m sorry,” she said, her voice muffled by her hand over her mouth. “Are you hurt?”

He lifted a brow. When his lips twitched, she knew he saw the humor too. “You could have warned me you had a guard under the bed.”

I hope y’all enjoyed the sneak peek into IN BED WITH A ROGUE. I’d like to thank Manga Maniac Café for having me here today! I look forward to chatting with all of you.

Should we play a fun game of “In Your Pants”? The idea originally came from a Harlequin post on Facebook, but let’s put our own spin on it. I’m assuming most of us have at least one book on our bedside tables. List the title and add “In Your Pants” at the end to create a new title. I’ll go first.

The Templars and Assassins in Your Pants (That’s quite the crusade!) Now it’s your turn!

To connect with Samantha…

Samantha Grace Author | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

Bio:

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. Publisher’s Weekly describes her stories as “fresh and romantic” with subtle humor and charm. Samantha describes romance writing as the best job ever.

Part-time hospice social worker, moonlighting author, and pilates nut, she enjoys a happy and hectic life with her real life hero and two kids in the Midwest.

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…

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 a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Guest Post and Giveaway: Samantha Grace, Author In Bed With a Rogue appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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20. Interview with Margaret Mallory, Author of Captured by a Laird

 

Good morning, Margaret! Tell us what inspired your new series, THE DOUGLAS LEGACY, and book 1, CAPTURED BY A LAIRD.

I first came across Archibald Douglas when I was doing research for THE GUARDIAN (THE RETURN OF THE HIGHLANDERS). I was intrigued by this handsome, young chieftain’s brazen power play in starting an affair with Scotland’s dowager queen, Margaret Tudor, so soon after the death of her husband, James IV. The affair led to lucrative appointments for his Douglas kin, and his eventual marriage to the queen put the Douglas chieftain in a position to vie for control of the young heir to the throne—and the country. For years, Archibald’s power rose and fell dramatically. He and his closest male relatives were forced to flee the country more than once to save their necks.

This series was born when I began to wonder what happened to the women of the Douglas family who were left behind when the men escaped. While information on Archie’s sisters is sparse, I found enough to suggest they were in serious danger at times. In fact, one sister was eventually burned at the stake in Edinburgh Castle by Archibald’s angry step-son James V.

Being a romance writer, I naturally wanted to give the Douglas lasses happy endings with men who would stand by them in tough times.

CAPTURED BY A LAIRD is a fictional story inspired by the real marriage between Archibald’s sister Alison and David Hume of Wedderburn. As is often the case with Scottish history going back five hundred years, history and legend are intertwined. That said, the real David Hume did capture Blackadder Castle and force Blackadder’s widow, Alison Douglas, to marry him in order to gain the Blackadder lands. I found no mention of David having any illegitimate children, and he and Alison had six children together. From that, I decided to write a story in which they fall in love after their forced marriage. I believe they did. ?

What draws readers to Scottish heroes?

Other than the kilt, the big sword, and the oh-so-sexy accent? ? The Highland warrior has a larger-than-life quality that makes him great hero material. In today’s world, I may not need—or want—a man who is as forceful and physical as the heroes in my books. But take me to 16th century Scotland in my imagination, and I want that alpha warrior!

A Scottish hero is usually fighting against terrible odds. To survive in his harsh and violent times, he has to be strong, resourceful, and ridiculously courageous. We love this hero for his unfailing courage in facing the powerful forces aligned against him and for his loyalty to his woman, his family, and his clan.

Another bonus is that the Scottish hero is surrounded by strong women who challenge and tease him. Despite how fierce and intimidating he seems to others, his mother and sisters and the old women of his clan all seem ready to set him straight when they think he needs it. And you can be sure that the heroine will have a spirit to match his.

Where to you get your inspiration for your stories?

I get a lot of inspiration from my historical research. Lucky for me, Scottish history is bursting with fascinating characters, murder, and mayhem!

Unfortunately, I can’t travel back in time, but I have been able to travel to Scotland to research my books. Every day I discovered a ruin or a legend I wanted to bring into my stories. For readers who love Scotland, I’ve posted a lot of my photos from my trips on Facebook and on the Videos & Such page of my website www.MargaretMallory.com.

As a historical romance writer, you must do a lot of research.

I’m always researching! Even though I do a lot of research before I started the first book in the series, I’m constantly looking things up while I’m writing. One thing often leads to another, and I’ll come across a legend about a historical character or a ghost story associated with a castle in my book. That’s always fun.

How much does real history play in your books?

Scottish romance readers care about history, but I think what’s more important than accurately reflecting every detail is to make them feel immersed in the time and place of your story. My readers want to be swept away to the Highlands!

I like to ground my stories in real places and historical events, though I feel free to make adjustments to suit the tale. I’ve also used bits of legends and ghost stories associated with castles and other sites that appear in my books. All that is fun for me.

I try to create characters who are true to their times and uniquely Scottish, such as seers, healers, pipers, and clan warriors. There are so many wild true-life characters in Scottish history that I usually include at least a couple of them in each book.

What drew you to Scottish historical romance?

I love history, and I have a serious weakness for stories involving castles and heroes who swing swords. ? I suspect I’m drawn to the British Isles, in particular, because of my Scottish-Irish-English heritage.

Why romance?

I love the Happily Ever After. I love that I can do justice and give a Happy-Ever-After to those who deserve it—of course, I make them suffer and earn it first. ? I’ve been married many years and am glad of it, but I enjoy writing about that intense, all-consuming, falling-in-love stage of love. Oh, to be young and in love!

What do you want readers to take away from your books?

I have an image in my mind of a woman putting her feet up after a long day and reading my book. The little time she has for herself is precious. My goal is to give her a riveting and emotionally satisfying story that she can get lost in for a few hours. I want to make her laugh, cry, and bite her nails. And when she comes to the end, I want to make her sigh because everything turned out exactly right.

Nothing makes me happier than to hear from readers who tell me they stayed up half the night or had to order pizza for dinner because they couldn’t put my book down.

What are your favorite scenes to write? What are the most difficult?

My favorite scenes to write are the ones that make me weep over my laptop. Seriously. If I’m making myself cry, I know it’s a good scene.

The hardest scenes are the first few in the book. I need to captivate my reader, immerse her in my story, and do it all very quickly. Adding to my troubles, I don’t know my characters as well as I will later in the book.

Which part of writing a book is the most challenging for you?

The first few chapters are always the hardest for me. Always. I need to capture the reader’s attention and immerse her in my story very quickly. I can’t bog things down with backstory, yet I must provide enough information about the characters, setting, and conflict so that the opening scenes are both understandable and compelling. Every word counts so much. I end up doing a lot of revising to make those first chapters work well and flow smoothly. Even deciding where to start is hard—a good book doesn’t start at the logical beginning, but at a high dramatic point when one or both main characters is on the cusp of change. Adding to my troubles, I don’t know my characters as well when I start as I will later in the book.

Every writer dreams of getting “the call.” What were you doing when yours came?

I was in a parking lot an hour and a half from home, and I had just come out of an exhausting, all-day workgroup meeting on high risk kids. Before starting my car, I saw that I had a call from my agent and called her back. She told me that Grand Central was offering me a two-book deal. I was dying to tell someone, but I couldn’t reach a soul. I left a screaming message for my husband, then I had to drive through terrible and seemingly endless road construction and rush hour traffic before I could talk to anyone. It was lucky I didn’t get into an accident!

What is the best writing advice you’ve been given?

In Stephen King’s book, On Writing, he recommends setting daily page or word-count goals. I’m a slow writer, but I am also extremely goal-oriented, so this was great advice for me. When I’m writing my first draft, I set daily, weekly, and monthly word-count goals.

Tell us a bit about your writing process.

I start with the characters and their conflict, and I usually have two or three pivotal scenes in my head. Before I write more than a scene or two, I make character sheets, and I try to have at least a sketchy outline of the plot. I figure out a lot of the plot as I go, but I write better when I know the basic direction I’m headed.

Deciding exactly where to start the story is hard—at least it is for me. A good book doesn’t start at the logical beginning, but at a high dramatic point, with one or both main characters on the cusp of change. The first few chapters are also challenging because I’m still getting to know my characters.

TITLE – Captured by a Laird

SERIES – The Douglas Legacy #1

AUTHOR – Margaret Mallory

GENRE – Historical Romance/ Highland Romance

PUBLICATION DATE – September 15, 2014

LENTH (Pages/# Words) – 319

THE DOUGLAS LEGACY
The Douglas sisters, beauties all, are valuable pawns in their family’s bitter struggle to control the Scottish Crown. But when powerful enemies threaten, each Douglas lass will find she must face them alone.
CAPTURED BY A LAIRD
Haunted by his father’s violent death, David Hume, the new laird of Wedderburn, sets out to make his name so feared that no one will dare harm his family again. The treacherous ally who played on his father’s weakness is dead and beyond David’s vengeance, but his castle and young widow are ripe for the taking. The moment David lays eyes on the dark-haired beauty defending her wee daughters, however, he knows this frail-looking lass is the one person who could bring him to his knees.
Wed at thirteen to a man who tried daily to break her spirit, Lady Alison Douglas is looking forward to a long widowhood. But when the fearsome warrior known as the Beast of Wedderburn storms her gates, she finds herself, once again, forced to wed a stranger. Alison is only a pawn to serve his vengeance, so why does this dark warrior arouse such fiery passion and an unwelcome longing in her heart?
With death and danger looming, these two wounded souls must learn to trust each other . . . for only love can save them.

BUY & TBR LINKS (Fill Out The Ones You Use)

BUY & TBR LINKS (Fill Out The Ones You Use)

AMAZON KINDLE US – http://www.amazon.com/CAPTURED-DOUGLAS-LEGACY-Margaret-Mallory-ebook/dp/B00N39NXHW/

AMAZON KINDLE CA – http://www.amazon.ca/CAPTURED-DOUGLAS-LEGACY-Margaret-Mallory-ebook/dp/B00N39NXHW

AMAZON KINDLE UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/CAPTURED-DOUGLAS-LEGACY-Margaret-Mallory-ebook/dp/B00N39NXHW/

Itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id917025270

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/captured-by-a-laird

GOODREADS –https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23121951-captured-by-a-laird

SHELFARI – http://www.shelfari.com/books/37933832/CAPTURED-BY-A-LAIRD-%28THE-DOUGLAS-LEGACY%29

EXCERPT (If You have a racy/erotica/steamy type book please provide 2 one for adults & one for under 18 blogs – thank you)

EXCERPT from CAPTURED BY A LAIRD © by Margaret Mallory 2014

David strode through the battle raging between his men and the castle defenders in the courtyard and headed straight for the keep, intent on his goal.

The castle would fall quickly. The defenders lacked leadership and were in disarray. His only concern was whether the castle had a secret tunnel for escape. During the siege, he had spread his men out through the fields surrounding the fortress to keep watch. But he had concentrated his forces for the attack and most were now inside the castle. If there was a tunnel, he must secure the widow and her daughters before they had a chance to escape. He did not relish the idea of having to chase them down through the fields with dogs.

The defenders had foolishly waited too long to withdraw to the keep, and most were caught in the courtyard when David’s men burst through the gate. He barely spared them a glance as he ran up the steps of the keep.

With several of his warriors at his back, he burst through the doors brandishing his sword. He paused inside the entrance to hall. Women and children were screaming, and the few Blackadder warriors who had made it inside were overturning tables in a useless attempt to set up a defense.

“If ye hope for mercy, drop your weapons,” David shouted, making his voice heard above the chaos.

He locked gazes with the men who hesitated to obey his order until every weapon clanked to the floor, then he swept his gaze over the women. Their clothing confirmed what he’d known the moment he entered the hall. Blackadder’s widow was not in the room.

“Where is she?” he demanded of the closest Blackadder man.

“Who, m’lord?” the man said, shifting his gaze to the side.

“Your mistress!” David picked him up by the front of his tunic and leaned in close. “Tell me now.”

“In her bedchamber,” the man squeaked, pointing to an arched doorway. “’Tis up the stairs.”

David caught a sudden whiff of urine and dropped the man to the floor in disgust. The wretch had wet himself.

“Take him to the dungeon,” he ordered. The coward had given up his mistress far too easily.

David started up the wheeled stairs to the upper floors with his sword at the ready. He expected to encounter Blackadder warriors, protecting the lady of the castle. But there were none on the stairs and none guarding the door on the first floor.

Damn it. She must have escaped. He gritted his teeth as he envisioned the lady’s guards leading her through the tunnel.

He was about to open the chamber door to make sure it was empty when Brian, one of his best men, came down the stairs.

“Laird, I checked all the chambers while ye were in the hall,” he said.

David’s jaw ached from clenching it.

“There’s one door on the floor just above us that wouldn’t open with the latch,” Brian said. “Shall I break it down?”

David waved him aside and pulled the ax from his belt as he raced up the stairs.

“Open it!” he shouted and pounded on the door.

He did not wait. She could be escaping through a secret door this very moment. Three hard whacks with his ax, and the door split. He kicked it until it swung open, then stepped through.

At his first sight of the woman, his feet became fixed to the floor. He felt strange, and his vision was distorted, as if as if he had swallowed a magical potion that narrowed his sight. He could see nothing in the room but her.

She was extraordinarily lovely, with violet eyes, pale skin, and shining black hair. But there was something about her, something beyond her beauty, that held him captive. She was young, much younger than he expected, and her features and form were delicate, in marked contrast to the violent emotion in her eyes.

David knew to the depths of his soul that a brute like him should not be the man to claim this fragile flower, even while the word mine beat in his head like a drum. He had no notion of how long he stood staring at her before he became aware that she held a sword. It was longer still before he noticed the two wee lasses peeking out from behind her like frightened kittens.

Anger boiled up in his chest. Every Blackadder man in the castle who could still draw breath should have been here, standing between him and their lady. Instead, she faced him alone with a sword she could barely lift with both hands.

It was a brave, but ridiculous gesture.

There was no defense against him.

AUTHOR BIO:

MARGARET MALLORY surprised her friends & family by abandoning her legal career to write tales of romance & adventure. At long last, she can satisfy her passion for justice by punishing the bad & rewarding the worthy–in the pages of her novels.
Margaret lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband, goofy dog & crabby cat. With her two children off to college, Margaret spends most of her time working on her next Scottish historical romance. Visit her website for Book Group Discussion Questions, photos of Scotland, excerpts, & other info. Margaret loves to hear from readers!

AUTHOR FOLLOW LINKS:

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE – http://www.amazon.com/Margaret-Mallory/e/B002QZQJ5M/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

WEBSITE / BLOG – http://margaretmallory.com/

FACEBOOK – https://www.facebook.com/margaretmallory.author

TWITTER – https://twitter.com/MargaretMallory

GOOGLE+ – https://plus.google.com/u/0/114714618099788790109/posts

GOODREADS – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2858606.Margaret_Mallory

SHELFARI – http://www.shelfari.com/authors/a2577761/Margaret-Mallory/

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21. Interview with Lecia Cornwall, Author of What a Lady Most Desires and Giveaway

Good morning, Lecia!  Describe yourself in five words of less

Mother, Writer, Shy, Perceptive, Sentimental.

Can you tell us a little about your book?

WHAT A LADY MOST DESIRES is the third book in the Temberlay series, which began with HOW TO DECIEVE A DUKE and THE SECRET LIFE OF LADY JULIA. This book is Stephen Ives’s story. He’s a dashing, charming, elegant gentleman with a brilliant career as a soldier and a diplomat, and he’s happy with his life just the way it is, without love to complicate it. He’s tried love, and failed, and he has no interest in trying again. Ever. And if he was ever to be tempted, the last lady on earth he’d choose would be Delphine St. James, the most ambitious, flirtatious, and annoying lady in London. When Delphine sets her cap for Stephen, he sets his with just as much determination to deny her.

But Delphine is not a lady who takes no for an answer. When she and Stephen meet again at a ball before the Battle of Waterloo, she renews their acquaintance. When the call to arms sounds in the middle of their dance, they share a passionate farewell kiss that surprises them both. The battle leaves Stephen blind, wounded, and accused of cowardice, but Delphine stays by his side. Afraid and in pain, he’s surly and rude, but she’s determined to help him heal, and to at least be his friend, even if she can never be more.

As Stephen comes to know Delphine through every sense but sight, he realizes she isn’t the flighty society miss he thought she was. She’s everything he’s ever wanted. But a blind and accused coward cannot aim so high.

As a diplomat, Stephen is a man who depends on his eyes to read his opponents. Without sight, he must come to know the world through touch, sound, scent, and taste. As he falls in love with the woman he once thought unsuitable, he cannot help but wonder if she is all he sees in his mind. As they are drawn apart by obligations and accusations, Stephen desperately tries to hold on to Delphine, and in doing so, betrays her trust. He becomes the pursuer, and must prove to Delphine that he’s exactly WHAT A LADY MOST DESIRES.

How did you come up with the concept and the characters in the story?

Opposites make the most interesting pairings, don’t they? I love watching each character bend, adapt and change to find true love with their prefect match. It’s not that the characteristics weren’t there all along—it’s just that love brings the best part of us into focus, and changes us forever.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I love creating situations that force each character to become more honest, authentic, and worth loving. That involves a lot of conflict before we finally get to happily ever after. Creating conflict for my characters is such wicked fun!

What gave you the most trouble with this story?

Understanding what it feels like to be blind. I am extremely nearsighted, and without contact lenses and glasses for reading or driving on top of those, I’m just a point or two from being legally blind. Without eyewear, I see colors and shapes, light and shadow, and I am very grateful that my vision is correctable. I love nature and art and photography, and I can’t imagine never seeing the faces of the ones I love again if I lost my sight. So creating a sense of fear in Stephen and showing him managing his dark world was a very challenging part of the book.

If you had a theme song, what would it be?

I think I’d choose Loreena McKennitt’s Never Ending Road. It tells of the endless journey of someone continually seeking her heart’s desire. I think that describes a writer’s life very well. You can listen to Loreena’s wonderful song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fv2kmFZTDeY

Name the one thing you won’t leave home without.

I never go anywhere without a notebook, just in case an idea wanders in, clouts me over the head, holds me at pencil-point and demands to be written down at once.

Name three things on your desk right now.

There’s Emma, one of my five cats, in a box lined with her favorite sweater. There’s a miniature bottle of Writer’s Tears whiskey I got in my stocking last Christmas (half full) which I use to toast reaching the end of each manuscript I write. And there’s a small container of soil from the battlefield of Waterloo, a gift my daughter brought back for me when she visited Belgium on a school trip a few years ago. I must admit my desk is a testament to creative disorganization. Actually, “creatively disorganized” should have been two of the five words used to describe me in the first question of this interview!

If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

Anyone, present or past, real or fictional, just ONE? Remember the old TV show Quantum Leap, where the hero was part of a time travel experiment gone wrong? He ended up in a new body in a different era every episode while trying to get back to his own life. I’d try that—a new character every day. I’d be Catherine The Great one day, or Anne Boleyn (not THAT day!), or Eleanor of Aquitaine, or Wellington, or Napoleon, or Cleopatra, or Boudicca, or Jacqueline Kennedy. So many wonderful lives and adventures!

What are some of the books you’ve enjoyed recently?

Books are my worst/best addiction! I’m always reading three or four at a time (no, it’s not ADD, just the bad habit of a writer who wants to read EVERYTHING!). I just finished re-reading an old favorite, Edith Pargeter’s Eighth Champion of Christendom. Her brilliant descriptions stay with you forever. I also recently read Mary Balogh’s latest book, The Escape, and I’ve just started Larkswood, by Valerie Mendes.

What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

I love to cook with my family (Moroccan cuisine is our latest favorite), and to garden—though my plants must endure good intentions, benign neglect, and Calgary’s harsh growing conditions if they want to live here. I also hook rugs when I have the time, including buying old wool sweaters at thrift shops, shrinking them down, cutting them into strips, and designing the patterns.

How can readers connect with you?

I love hearing from readers and I answer every single e-mail and Facebook comment! You can drop me a line at leciacornwall@shaw.ca, visit my website at www.leciacornwall.com for excerpts, blogs, and news, or visit my Facebook page at

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lecia-Cornwall/147981455226519?ref=hl

For a visual look at each of my books, check out my Pinterest pages. You can find the one for WHAT A LADY MOST DESIRES here: http://www.pinterest.com/leciacornwall/what-a-lady-most-desires/

Or, you can leave a comment or question right here! I’ll be dropping by throughout the day to chat.

What a Lady Most Desires

The Temberlay Series # 3

By: Lecia Cornwall

Releasing August 26th, 2014

Avon Romance

Blurb

On the night before the final battle against Napoleon, Lady Delphine St. James finds herself dancing with the one man she has always wanted, Major Lord Stephen Ives. He makes it clear he has no time for a lady he sees as flirtatious and silly, but as the call to arms sounds, she bids him farewell with a kiss that stirs them both. When he returns gravely injured, she is intent on caring for him, even if his surly behavior tests her patience.
After the battle, Stephen is not only wounded and blind, but falsely accused of cowardice and theft. The only light in his dark world is Delphine, the one woman he never imagined he could desire. But she deserves more than he can give her.
As their feelings deepen and hidden enemies conspire to force them to part forever, can their love survive the cruelest test of all? 

Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/07/what-lady-most-desires-temberlay-3-by.html

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18518676-what-a-lady-most-desires?from_search=true

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/What-Lady-Desires-Lecia-Cornwall-ebook/dp/B00H1UMOFQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406664108&sr=8-1&keywords=what+a+lady+most+desires

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/what-a-lady-most-desires-lecia-cornwall/1117542226?ean=9780062332400

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/what-a-lady-most-desires

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/what-a-lady-most-%20desires/id771731765?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Author Info

Lecia Cornwall is a PRO member of the Romance Writers of America’s Seattle and Calgary Chapters. Her background includes all facets of writing, including running a successful freelance writing business specializing in direct marketing and advertising. Both history and writing have been lifelong passions. Lecia currently lives and writes in Calgary, Alberta, the heart of the Canadian West.

Author Links

Website: http://www.leciacornwall.com/

Blog: http://leciacornwall.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lecia-Cornwall/147981455226519?sk=app_7146470109

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Leciacornwall

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4441913.Lecia_Cornwall

GIVEAWAY!

Leave a comment to enter for a chance to this awesome bracelet (worth $59), from Victorian Trading Company.

 

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Print Copy of THE SECRET LIFE OF LADY JULIA)

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22. Death of a Schoolgirl (2012)

Death of a Schoolgirl (Jane Eyre Chronicles #1) Joanna Campbell Slan. 2012. Berkley Trade. 340 pages. [Source: Library]

My expectations were low, so I was quite pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable this Jane Eyre mystery was. It may not be perfectly perfect from start to finish. There might be a paragraph or two here and there that bothered me. (For example, I didn't understand why Mrs. Fairfax was pushing Jane Eyre to take the family diamonds with her on her visit to Adele's school. Here she was going to check on the child's welfare, and Mrs. Fairfax is urging her to take jewels so she can dress up for her hosts in London?! I don't know if part of me thought it was foreshadowing--for better or worse--but when she put them in her reticule, I wanted to shout WHY are you traveling with expensive jewelry?!?! Why?! And sure enough--predictably enough--Jane Eyre gets robbed on her way to London. See! I told you not to take the family jewels!) But for the most part, I found the book to be an entertaining read.

Mrs. Rochester (aka Jane Eyre) is a new mother. She loves, loves, loves her new baby boy. But. When she receives a short letter from Adele with a French message included asking--begging--for help, she decides to leave her husband and son behind to check on Adele at her boarding school. If all is well, if it is just Adele being Adele, being childish and wanting her own way, then she may leave her at the school. If the school is less than ideal, if she does not like what she sees--how she sees the children being treated, if she thinks Adele's misery is justifiable, then she may take her out of the school. Because Jane Eyre was beaten up by the thief, because she doesn't particularly look RICH and IMPORTANT, she is initially mistaken as the new German teacher who was supposed to arrive several weeks earlier. That first day Jane Eyre is a bit flabbergasted and too overwhelmed to correct anyone. She has just learned that one of Adele's classmates was murdered. Eventually, one of the teachers convinces Jane that she should continue the deception, that she should resume her teaching duties temporarily and watch over the students herself. She debates what is best. Should she take Adele immediately to safety and let others solve the crime? Or should she become an amateur detective herself and work as a team with others to help solve the case?

Is Jane Eyre the best detective ever? Not really. But to me that almost doesn't matter. I liked spending time in her company. The setting intrigued me. I had never placed Jane Eyre in the Regency time period. But here we have the sequel set during the reign of George IV, and Queen Caroline, the scandalous Queen Caroline has not died yet. This places the book within a specific time frame. The sprinkling of historical details may not speak to all readers. Little details can be easily dismissed or ignored. But to me it's the little things that help ground a book. The book does deal with prejudices and judgments: how the lower classes feel about the upper classes, how the poor feel about the rich, how the rich feel about the poor, do they see them as human, are they compassionate and kind, or, haughty or cruel. One of the characters is VERY prejudiced against French people. Again and again we see characters making judgments or being judged. Sometimes the people that are being judged in certain situations are making judgments about others just a chapter or two later.

There were places I loved this one. There were places I merely liked it. But at times it just felt RIGHT. Maybe it didn't feel RIGHT cover to cover. But I read it quickly and enjoyed it very much.
© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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23. Novella Review: No Match for Love by Carol Cox

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I enjoyed Cowboy Unmatched, another A Match Made in Texas novella, so when I was browsing around on Scribd, I was delighted to see other stories from the same anthology on the site.  I quickly added No Match for Love to my library and read it Sunday night.  This is a cute story and now I want to read the all of A Match Made in Texas novellas.

Lucy’s father left her penniless after his death, and she’s relying on the charity of her friend’s family to keep a roof over her head.  Overindulged by her father, she has never learned useful skills; she can’t even make a pot of tea, let alone find employment to give her some independence.  Her only option is to marry Walter, a man who makes her uneasy and who she doubts she could ever develop feelings for.  Her friend is marrying soon, however, and she knows that she can’t live with her parents forever, so Lucy is desperate for any opportunity to present itself.

When she’s offered a job far away from Dry Gulch, she jumps at the chance to escape Walter and being a burden to her benefactors.  All she has to do is care for Andrew Simms’ elderly aunt.  Martha refuses to sell her ranch, the Diamond S, but Andrew has concerns about her mental health.  She firmly believes she saw a cow leaping over the moon, in addition to other impossibly odd occurrences at the ranch, and now Andrew is worried about her living by herself.

Lucy expects to find a doddering old woman, but instead she is introduced to an intelligent, capable woman.  One who doesn’t want a stranger living with her on her ranch.  Andrew convinces Martha that she’ll enjoy the company, and a thankful Lucy has a place to stay, at least for a while.

I enjoyed the friendship that develops between the women.  Lucy is hopeless in the kitchen, and she doesn’t know the first thing about running a household.  Gruff Martha teaches her all she knows, and the two become friends.  The only sticky point? Every full moon, something weird does happen at the ranch.  With Martha hollering into the night, brandishing her shotgun, Lucy fears for the woman’s sanity, too.  It quickly becomes clear that something, or someone, is responsible for the disturbances plaguing the ranch, and Lucy is determined to discover the reason behind them.

I thought that the romance was secondary to the mystery.  The mystery was solved a little too easily, too, but I still enjoyed the interactions between the characters, especially between Lucy and Martha.  This is a quick, satisfying read with a very sweet romance, so if you’re looking to fill a short period of time, No Match for Love is an entertaining choice.

Grade:  B

Review copy read on Scribd

From Amazon:

Andrew can’t fathom how refined Lucy ended up as the caretaker to his dotty aunt, and somehow her arrival has prompted even more bizarre occurrences around the ranch. When they join forces to unearth the truth, will the attraction between Andrew and Lucy develop into more?

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24. The Meaning of Maggie: Review Haiku

You'll catch on before
Maggie does, but you'll love her
for her ignorance.

The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern. Chronicle, 2014, 220 pages.

0 Comments on The Meaning of Maggie: Review Haiku as of 9/17/2014 8:34:00 AM
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25. Interview with Lynna Banning, Author of The Lone Sheriff and Giveaway

 

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

[Lynna Banning] Shy, smart, determined, and hard-working

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Lone Sheriff?

[Lynna Banning] I am partial to “wounded warriors,” and was drawn to an orphan of undetermined heritage (maybe part Indian, maybe part Mexican, but he doesn’t really know) who pulled himself up by his bootstraps and in adulthood worked his way up to being sheriff. I saddled him with a privileged back-East girl whom he sees as a “piece of rich fluff” but who earns his respect, then his admiration, and then his love based on her wit and strength of character.

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

[Lynna Banning] My favorite scene is the opening one, where Jericho meets the train from Chicago, expecting a male Pinkerton agent, and instead finds himself looking at Madison O’Donnell, who turns out to be a very beautiful lady Pinkerton detective with a feathered hat and a mint-green parasol.

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

[Lynna Banning] Working out the push-pull dialogue and interaction between Jericho and Maddie, with his stubborn streak and her very smart one-ups-manship capabilities.

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

[Lynna Banning] A book, whatever I’m reading at the moment.

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

[Lynna Banning] A photograph of my husband; a straw-basket bed for my cat; and a fluffy feather duster for my computer keyboard.

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

[Lynna Banning] Anything chocolate. Sometimes if I’m out of peanut butter cups I pour out a handful of chocolate chips and nibble on those.

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

[Lynna Banning] A reporter on 60 Minutes, interviewing women historical romance writers.

[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?

[Lynna Banning] My superpower would be the ability to bring clarity of thinking and humanitarian regard to people who are abusing other people, whether in the home, the community, or the nation—any nation.

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

[Lynna Banning] Tracy Chevalier’s “The Last Runaway”; Christina Dodd’s “Candle in the Window”; “Duty” by Robert Gates; and my annual re-reading of “Anne of Green Gables,” by Lucy Montgomery.

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

[Lynna Banning] I love to hear from readers! Write me at P.O. Box 324, Felton, California 95018. Email me at carowoolston@att.net. My web page is www.lynnabanning.net.

THE LONE SHERIFF

LYNNA BANNING

Harlequin Western historical ~ 75k words

As if tracking down train robbers isn’t enough, now Sheriff Jericho Silver’s backup detective is a gun-toting, head-turning beauty who sure spells trouble.

Madison O’Donnell had the perfect life—a beautiful home and all the ladies

luncheons she could stomach—but it left her bored to tears. Now the determined widow fills her days with daring deeds and wild adventures, including working with Jericho. But he insists on her returning to the city where she belongs and finds she is one lady who refuses to take no for an answer.

Buy links: Amazon B&N Harlequin Romance

Excerpt:

None of them looked remotely like a Pinkerton man. A Pinkerton agent would no doubt be wearing a proper suit. But the only male who looked the least bit citified was Ike Bruhn, home from his honeymoon with his new bride.

Sandy jiggled at his side. “Ya see ’im?”

“Nope,” Jerico grunted.

“Maybe he missed the train,” his deputy suggested.

“Naw, must be here somewhere. Look for a gent in a gray suit.” Pinkerton men always wore grey to blend in with crowds. He scanned the thronged station platform again.

“Check inside, Sandy. Maybe he slipped past me.”

His deputy jogged off and Jericho perused the crowd a third time. Nothing. Maybe Mr. Detective had chickened out at the prospect of fingering an elusive outlaw gang that was robbing trains. He narrowed his eyes and turned to check the station once more when someone stumbled smack into him.

“Oh, I am terribly sorry.” An extremely pretty young woman carrying a green-striped parasol gazed up at him. Her voice sounded like rich whiskey sliding over smooth river stones and for a moment Jericho forgot what he’d come for. She only came up to his shoulder and on her dark, piled-up hair sat the most ridiculous concoction of feathers and stuffed birds he’d ever laid eyes on.

He sucked in a breath to apologize, then wished he hadn’t. Goddam she smelled good. Soap and something flowery.

Made his head swim.

He stepped back. “’Scuse me, ma’am.”

She waved a gloved hand and peered at his chest. “Oh, you are the sheriff.”

“Yeah, I am.”

She smiled and his mouth went dry. “You are just the man I want to see.”

Jericho swallowed. “You have a problem?”

“Oh, no.” She twirled her parasol. “You have the problem. I have come to help.” She waited, an expectant look on her face.

“Help?” Jerico echoed.

“Of course.” The whiskey in her voice was now sliding over some pointy rocks. “I am Madison O’Donnell. The Smoke River Bank hired me to help catch the gang robbing their gold shipments.”

Jericho stared at her.

“I believe you were expecting me?”

He snapped his jaw shut. He sure as hell wasn’t expecting her. The last thing he’d expected was this frilly-looking female with her ridiculous hat. In her green-striped dress and twirling her parasol like that she made him think of a dish of cool mint ice cream.

“Whatever is the matter, Sheriff? You have gone quite pale? Are you ill?”

He jerked at the question. Not ill, just gutshot. “Uh, yeah. I mean No, I’m not ill. Just . . . surprised.”

She lowered her voice. “Most Pinkerton clients are surprised when they meet me. It will pass.”

Hell no, it won’t.

Madison O’Donnell picked up her travel bag. “Shall we go?”

Not on your life. “Uh, my deputy’s inside the station house. ’Scuse me, ma’am.” He strode past her without looking back. Inside, he found Sandy talking to the ticket seller.

“Charlie says nobody’s come in except the two Weatherby women. You want me to hang around and – ?”

Biography for Lynna Banning:

Lynna Banning combines a lifelong love of history and literature into a satisfying career as a writer. Born in Oregon, she has lived in Northern California most of her life. After graduating from Scripps College she embarked on a career as an editor and technical writer, and later as a high school English teacher.

An amateur pianist and harpsichordist, Lynna performs on psaltery and harp in a medieval music ensemble, and she also plays cortholt, recorders, and tar (drum). She enjoys hearing from her readers. You may write to her directly at P.O. Box 324, Felton, CA 95018, USA, or at carowoolston@att.net. Visit Lynna’s website at www.lynnabanning.net.

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Giveaway: Seven(7) copies of The Lone Sheriff…Seven(7) lucky winners

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The post Interview with Lynna Banning, Author of The Lone Sheriff and Giveaway appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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