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Results 1 - 25 of 314
1. Graphic Novel Review: Vinland Saga 2 by Makoto Yukimura

May Contain Spoilers


Wowzers!  Akseladd is just a prick!  Just when I start liking the guy, he goes and does something so cold-blooded and heartless that I have to immediately dislike him again.  He’s cunning, crafty, and greedy, and he wants to maximize profits for his warriors, even at the expense of what would be considered his allies.  Start a raging forest fire to smoke out the kidnapped Prince Canute?  Not a problem.  Strike down other rescuers so that he can keep all of the reward money for himself?  Certainly not a problem!  This is one guy that you don’t want on your bad side.  Or anywhere near you at all, especially if he or any of his men have projectile weapons!

While  I love the action, and there is plenty of that, I also find the historical details fascinating.  I don’t know much about Vikings, or Medieval Europe for that matter, but Makoto Yukimura is sprinkling the text with interesting facts about the time period.  It’s a chaotic time, with constant conflict between the European groups of the day.  Everyone wants a piece of the pie, and they will do anything to get it.  Murder, pillage, mayhem – it’s the coin of the times.  Trusting anyone seems like a very dangerous proposition, as many of the characters have found out, much to their dismay.  Askeladd’s betrayal of Thors has twisted and reshaped Thorfinn into a killing machine with one goal – to kill the man who killed his father.  I keep wondering what kind of a man Thorfinn would have grown into if he hadn’t stowed away on his father’s boat.  Would he be so consumed by hatred, if he hadn’t witnessed his death?

The main story arc for this volume centered around the rescue of Canute, the teenaged son of Sweyn, Kind of Denmark.  He’s been captured by Thorkell, a Dane who has chosen to help defend London against the Vikings threatening to overwhelm it.  He comes across as sort of a simple guy, whose first love is fighting and testing his strength against other warriors.  Thorfinn has brief, violent run-in with him. He manages to escape from the larger man, and gains some respect from him at the same time, all while proving that he has a lot to learn when it comes to making friends.  Everybody hates Thorfinn, but who can blame them? He acts like a sullen little prick, and seeing the interaction between him and Canute is like watching two different species trying to communicate.  So, while he excels at slaughter, he really needs to work on his people skills.

After two volumes, I am totally hooked on Vinland Saga.  I love the history, the action, and the sheer brutality of the characters.  It’s probably a good thing these Vikings don’t pack mirrors in their gear; I don’t understand how they could stand to look at themselves and not feel one shred of remorse for their behavior.  Then again, in a time when it’s kill or be killed, they all fit right in.

Volume 3 comes out April 29, and I can hardly wait!

Grade: B+

Review copy provided by my local library

From Amazon:

ENGLAND AT WAR The foolish King Ethelred has fled, and Askeladd’s band is one of hundreds plundering the English countryside. Yet victory brings no peace to the elderly Danish King Sweyn, who worries that his untested, sensitive son Canute will never be ready to take the throne. The king’s attempt to force his son to become a man places the young prince within the grasp of the gleeful killer Thorkell! Whoever holds Canute holds the key to the thrones of England and Denmark – and Askeladd has his own reasons for joining the fray! “With its rich visual details, emotional pull and strong characters, this historical epic is an instant winner.” – Anime News Network Winner of the Japan Media Arts Awards Grand Prize for Manga and the Kodansha Manga Award From the acclaimed author of Planetes

The post Graphic Novel Review: Vinland Saga 2 by Makoto Yukimura appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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2. Wanderville: Review Haiku

Sweetly old-fashioned,
like a Mickey Rooney/
Judy Garland movie.

Wanderville by Wendy McClure. Razorbill, 2014, 211 pages.

0 Comments on Wanderville: Review Haiku as of 4/11/2014 6:09:00 AM
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3. Interview with Julie Ann Long, Author of Between the Devil and Ian Eversea and Giveaway


Please give a warm welcome to Julie Ann Long this morning!  I am so excited to have her visiting the virtual offices that I stayed up all night cleaning the dashboard in anticipation of her visit. 

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

[Julie Ann Long] Curious. Intense. Eclectic. Amused. Observant.

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

[Julie Ann Long] Inveterate rogue Ian Eversea finally meets his match in orphaned American Heiress Titania “Tansy” Danforth. And irony of ironies, the one woman who finally has him thinking about forever is the one woman he can never have—she’s the Duke of Falconbridge’s ward, and he has the last say in who she marries. And if you’ve read WHAT I DID FOR A DUKE, you’ll understand why.

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

[Julie Ann Long] Readers have been eager for Ian Eversea’s story since he first upended the Duke of Falconbridge’s world in WHAT I DID FOR A DUKE (and really inadvertently, and in a roundabout way, helped the duke find his true love). And I knew it was time to tell Ian’s story and resolve his rather, er, tense standoff with the Duke of Falconbridge.

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

[Julie Ann Long] Writing the perfect heroine for Ian Eversea—Ian and Tansy’s dialogue, banter, and growing relationship was just a pleasure to write, and the scenes between the two of them crackled as I wrote them—it felt so natural. I also loved setting up the ultimate confrontation between Ian and the Duke of Falconbridge. They legendarily, er, crossed swords in WHAT I DID FOR A DUKE. I’m very happy with how it concludes! I hope readers will be, too.

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

[Julie Ann Long] You mean, the theme song they play when I stroll out onto the Tonight Show stage, that sort of thing? ;) Brick House, by the Commodores. Ha! Maybe “Glad Girls” by Guided by Voices? “Moby Dick” by Led Zeppelin? Too many choices!

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

[Julie Ann Long] My house keys!! (not after that one time, anyway…)

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

[Julie Ann Long] My cat. A cup of green tea. The number “11” in a tiny ornate frame.

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

[Julie Ann Long] Hmmm…I think my cat. I wouldn’t have to cook—my meals would magically appear before me!—and I love back rubs and head scratches. And I’ve always wondered what it would be like to sleep in a nice pile of warm laundry.

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

[Julie Ann Long] The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty, Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson were both brilliant reads. I’m also going through a strange little phase where I’m reading a lot of Faith Baldwin romances written in the 30′s and 40′s. She was the first Nora Roberts, if you will, and she’s a delightful writer.

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

[Julie Ann Long] Reading! Naturally, right? I read a LOT. I love hiking/walking, great live music of all kinds, amazing food, museums, art shows, lectures, the ballet, just hanging out with good friends and laughing until it hurts.

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

[Julie Ann Long] Readers can find me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJulieAnneLong, Twitter at @JulieAnneLong, and on my website, http://www.julieannelong.com. I look forward to hearing from everybody!


Between the Devil and Ian Eversea

Pennyroyal Green Series #9

By: Julie Ann Long

Releasing March 25th, 2014


She might look like an angel…
The moment orphaned American heiress Titania “Tansy” Danforth arrives on English shores she cuts a swath through Sussex, enslaving hearts and stealing beaux. She knows she’s destined for a spectacular titled marriage—but the only man who fascinates her couldn’t be more infamous…or less interested.
…but it takes a devil to know one…
A hardened veteran of war, inveterate rogue Ian Eversea keeps women enthralled, his heart guarded and his options open: why should he succumb to the shackles of marriage when devastating good looks and Eversea charm make seduction so easy?
…and Heaven has never been hotter.
When Ian is forced to call her on her game, he never dreams the unmasked Tansy—vulnerable, brave, achingly sensual—will tempt him beyond endurance. And fight as he will, this notorious bachelor who stood down enemies on a battlefield might finally surrender his heart…and be brought to his knees by love.

Link to Pennyroyal Green Series at Goodreads, https://www.goodreads.com/series/45155-pennyroyal-green

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DKZAVPG/ref=cm_sw_su_dp?tag=avonromancehc-20

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/between-the-devil-and-ian-eversea-julie-anne-long/1115558939?cm_mmc=affiliates-_-linkshare-_-mdxm68jzjz8-_-10%3a1&ean=9780062118134&isbn=9780062118134&r=1

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/between-devil-ian-eversea/id666055417?mt=11

Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.blogspot.com/2014/01/now-booking-tasty-virtual-tour-for_292.html

Author Info

The author of five popular novels from Warner and eight from Avon, Julie Anne Long lives in California with a fat orange cat (little known fact: they issue you a cat the moment you become a romance novelist).

Author Links

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20987.Julie_Anne_Long

Website: http://www.julieannelong.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JulieAnneLong

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

Giveaway (A Print Copy of Pennyroyal Green Series Book #8, IT HAPPENED ONE MIDNIGHT)

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4. Graphic Novel Review: Vinland Saga V 1 by Makoto Yukimura

May Contain Spoilers


I have been interested in Vinland Saga since the license was announced for US publication.  When it came out, however, I balked at the sticker price.  $19.99 per volume!  Instead, I requested the first two books from the library, and once I received them, I understood the price point.  These are hardcovers, and they are 2 in 1 omnibus releases, clocking in at over 450 pages.  After sitting down with the first volume, I find the price completely reasonable; the end product is beautiful, the pages are nice, thick paper, and the binding is rock solid.  The translation rocks, too!  All in all, Vinland Saga Book One is worth every penny!

This series will appeal to fans of Berserk, A Bride’s Story, and Claymore.  The art is lush and breathtaking, with a realistic style.  The actions panels are incredibly rendered, and all of the action, bloodshed, and flying  body parts are easy to follow.  Every single illustration is highly detailed from the ships to the weapons, and if you like knowing exactly what the characters are feeling, you’re in good hands here.  Every nuanced emotion is clearly conveyed, from Thorfinn’s fierce determination to Thors’ reluctant reservation to put his people at risk in battle.

On the surface, Vinland Saga is an action tale about Vikings.  It’s also the story of a man’s love for his family, and the ruin it brings him, and the rage burning in a young boy’s heart.  After his father is murdered, Thorfinn vows vengeance for his death, and his every action from that moment is to make himself stronger so he can claim his revenge.  This is A Game of Thrones set on the cold seas, in little boats that are skillfully navigated from one battle to the next.  The politics are brutal, the sakes are high, and dying a warrior’s death, on the field of battle, bathed in the blood of your enemies, is the name of the game. 

Book one sets the groundwork for Thorfinn’s quest for revenge.  He’s six when he witnesses the treachery of men without honor, and it changes him forever.  Raised by a kind and just man, he learns that his father was a Jomsviking deserter.   Thorfinn enjoyed a carefree childhood, but after he learns the truth about his father, he wants nothing more than to be a fierce warrior, too.  Little does he know that he will get his wish, only with consequences far greater than he could have ever anticipated.  When we first meet him, he is surly and belligerent.  He is also a killing machine, who fearlessly leaps (literally) into battle with his twin blades flying.  He must earn his duels with Askeladd, the man responsible for his father’s death, by completing missions during the Viking clan’s frays.

I loved this book, and I’m excited to discover new manga series because of it.  I haven’t been reading many graphic novels lately because I am burned out on the episodic publishing schedule (especially when I am invested in a series and it gets CANCELED!), but this series is presented in a nicely sized chunk so that didn’t bother me so much.  Now I want to start catching up on some the series that I have allowed myself to fall behind in, and I can hardly wait to read more Vinland Saga!

Grade:  A

Review copy provided by my local library

From Amazon:

The Viking invasion of London has reached a fever pitch, and Askeladd and Thorfinn rush to take part in the carnage! Their goal is the capture of Cnut, the son of King Sweyn Forkbeard and heir to the throne of Scandanavia and the Danelaw. But standing in their way is Thorkell, one of the Viking world’s most daring warriors. The defeat of a living legend will be a formidable test of Askeladd’s cunning and Thorfinn’s ruthlessness, and of their ability to set aside personal grudges and fell a common enemy!

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5. Spotlight and Giveaway–A Promise of More by Bronwen Evans

A PROMISE OF MORE: The Disgraced Lords Series

A Loveswept Historical Romance

Written by Bronwen Evans

April 15, 2014


In the second novel in Bronwen Evans’s sexy new Disgraced Lords series, two very independent souls find themselves fighting to resist a deepening passion.

When Beatrice Hennessey sets out to confront Lord Coldhurst, the notorious rogue who killed her brother in a duel, her intent is to save her family from destitution. She’s determined to blackmail the man into a loveless marriage. She’ll make the wealthy Lord Coldhurst pay for the rest of his life. But while greeting his ship, Beatrice takes a tumble into the Thames—only to be fished out by a pair of strong masculine arms that tempt her to stay locked in their heated embrace forever. That is, until she realizes those arms belong to Sebastian Hawkestone, Lord Coldhurst himself.

The little drowned mermaid has an interesting proposition indeed; one that Sebastian is surprised to find quite agreeable. Although he’s had women more beautiful, she is pleasing to the eye, and besides, it’s time he fathered an heir. Beatrice promises to be the ideal wife; a woman who hates him with an all-consuming passion is far too sensible to expect romance. However, it isn’t long before Sebastian’s plan for a marriage of convenience unravels, and he’s caught up in the exhilarating undertow of seduction.

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Promise-More-Disgraced-Loveswept-Historical-ebook/dp/B00GQAEUCM

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-promise-of-more-bronwen-evans/1117444883?ean=9780345547293

BAM: http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Promise-More-Disgraced-Lords-Series/Evans-Bronwen/Q310297277?id=5944268683128

Author Info

Bronwen Evans grew up loving books. She has always indulged her love of storytelling and is constantly gobbling up movies, books, and theater. Is it any wonder she’s a proud romance writer? Evans is a two-time winner of the RomCon Readers’ Crown and has been nominated for an RT Reviewers’ Choice Award. She lives in Wellington, New Zealand.

Connect with Bronwen Evans: Facebook | Twitter | Website

Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.blogspot.com/2014/02/now-booking-tasty-virtual-tour-for.html

Giveaway (Grand Prize – $25 egiftcard and a copy of A KISS OF LIES ebook retailer of choice and 3 First Prize bundles – A KISS OF LIES and A PROMISE OF MORE from your ebook retailer of choice)

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6. Spotlight and Giveaway-The Scandalous Love of a Duke by Jane Lark


Title: The Scandalous Love of a Duke (Marlow Intrigues #3) Author: Jane Lark Genre: Regency Romance (Historical) Publish Date: April 3, 2014 Publisher: HarperImpulse Event Organized By: Literati Author Services, Inc.


Book three in Jane Lark’s Kindle best-selling Regency romance series!

Isolated by life and choice, John Harding, the Duke of Pembroke, sees an angel in a pale mauve dress across a room and is drawn closer as lust grips firm and hard in his stomach.  The wheat-blonde hair escaping her dull dove-grey bonnet and caressing her neck lures his eyes to a spot he’d like to kiss.  She speaks with animation her hands moving. Then as if she senses his gaze the stranger turns and looks at him.

A rush of pain and longing spilled from Katherine’s heart into her limbs. It was so long since she’d seen John but her reaction was the same as it had been more than half-a-dozen years before. She loved him, secretly, without hope, but a chasm of years and status stood
between them.

Add to Goodreads

Purchase Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA


A glass of red wine balanced in one hand, the stem dangling between his fingers, he joined another group of guests, fulfilling his duty. He trusted no one here.

God, this was his life now, duty and falsehood. He missed Egypt, he missed adventure and peace and simplicity. He was already bored with people’s endless supplication. Everyone seemed to want something from him. They sought to attach themselves to either his wealth or his power.

His grandfather had warned of this.

John had had enough. He was seeking his family to escape it for a little while, and looking for Mary particularly. He knew his vibrant sister would bring him back from the cold darkness crowding in on him.

He’d passed his mother and Edward in the hall, they’d been speaking with Richard and Penny, they’d directed him in here.

His gaze swept about the room then stopped.

There was a young woman standing amidst his family, like a blonde beacon of light amongst his dark-haired black-clad cousins. She was an angel in a pale mauve dress.

Lust gripped had and firm in his stomach, an intense physical attraction. He’d never experienced anything so instant before. But it was a long time since he’d bedded a woman – far too long.

Her figure was a sublime balance of curves and narrow waist. Her spine had a beautiful arch as it curved into the point where her dress opened onto a full skirt.

Wheat-blonde hair escaped a dull dove-grey bonnet, caressing her neck and drawing his eyes to a place he’d like to kiss.

She was speaking with animation her hands moving.

He moved closer and as if she sensed his gaze the stranger turned and looked at him. In answer a lightning need struck his groin, a sharp sudden pain. She was an English Rose among orchids, the sort of woman he had seen nothing of abroad. Her skin was pale, with roses blooming in her cheeks, and her eyes were a vivid beautiful blue, like the bluebells which bloomed in spring, in the woods at Pembroke Place.

She was what he had longed for abroad and not even known he’d been lacking.

His attention wholly captured, desire slipped into his blood as his groin grew heavy with hunger.

This was what came from abstinence he supposed. He’d never had a fancy for fair, fay women before. He did now.

She did not look the sort for a fling though, certainly not the she-wolf type who stalked the foreign fields. His mind began rattling through his guest list, but no name fit her, and her dull grey bonnet and shawl did not speak of affluence. Who was she?

He smiled as he grew nearer, then realised he was staring and shifted his gaze to the others in the group. It was then he noticed Phillip as they turned to towards him. “My God.”

“Your Grace.”

“Phillip.” Lord, John hoped Phillip had not come here with a motive. John did not wish to hear oily grovelling from an old friend. His heart thumped in cold anger, not gladness. Then he looked at the blonde and his breath caught as recognition whispered in his head. Kate.

About the Author

Jane is a writer of authentic, passionate and emotional Historical and New Adult Romance, and a Kindle top 25 bestselling author.

She began her first historical novel at sixteen, but a life full of adversity derailed her as she lives with the restrictions of Ankylosing Spondylitis.

When she finally completed a novel it was because she was determined not to reach forty still saying, I want to write.

Now Jane is writing a Regency series and contemporary, new adult, stories and she is thrilled to be giving her characters life in others’ imaginations at last.

You might think that Jane was inspired to write by Jane Austen, especially as she lives near Bath in the United Kingdom, but you would be wrong. Jane’s favourite author is Anya Seton, and the book which drew her into the bliss of falling into historical imagination was ‘Katherine’ a story crafted from reality.

Jane has drawn on this inspiration to discover other real-life love stories, reading memoirs and letters to capture elements of the past, and she uses them to create more realistic plots.

‘Basically I love history and I am sucker for a love story. I love the feeling of falling in love; it’s wonderful being able to do it time and time again in fiction.’

Jane is also a Chartered Member of the Institute of Personnel and Development in the United Kingdom, and uses this specialist understanding of people to bring her characters to life.

Connect with the Author: Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Website | Goodreads

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7. Review: Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare


May Contain Spoilers


I haven’t read many historical romances lately, so after a seeing a lot of positive buzz for Romancing the Duke, I decided it was time to read Tessa Dare’s latest release.  I have read a couple of her books, and have enjoyed each one.  I found this one utterly charming, just like the feisty protagonist, Izzy.  I raced through, and was sorry when I reached the last page.  I really need to hit up more of Tessa Dare’s backlist.

Izzy is desperate and impoverished, which prompted her to hire a coach and head off to the remote Gostley Castle after receiving a letter that one of her father’s benefactors has left her an inheritance.  Since her father’s death, she has been barely getting by.  He died suddenly, and Izzy learns, much to her dismay, that he never bothered to update his will, so all of his possessions have been willed to her cousin.  They have hated each other since childhood, and he’s absolutely crowing that she has been left with nothing.

Rather bitter that her life’s work has been for naught, she’s angry that her father neglected to see to her welfare.  She gave up everything to assist him with the serial he wrote for the newspaper, using her as the main character.  The Goodnight Tales garnered quite a following, even after his death, and Izzy is constantly asked about them by her father’s fans.  I loved this premise-she is even followed by cos-players who are so enchanted with the story that they dress up like their favorite characters and have formed clubs to celebrate The Goodnight Tales.  If it wasn’t for their popularity, she would probably have fared even worse after her father’s demise.

After arriving at the castle, she meets grouchy Ransom, the Duke of Rothbury.  He isn’t in the mood for visitors, and he promptly attempts to chase her away from his moldering castle.  Injured in a duel, he is suffering from a disfiguring scar, as well as blindness, from the misguided fight.  He isn’t happy to have a woman in his home, and he’s even less amused when he discovers that he no longer owns his family’s estate, and that Izzy has just inherited it.  Refusing to believe it, because he would never sell Gostley Castle, they come to an agreement.  While he was licking his wounds in private, he ignored his business correspondence.  Izzy agrees to help him go through the massive pile of letters, for a fee, to see how the castle was sold.  She needs the money to fix up the pile of crumbling stone, and he needs to discover who has been cheating him out of his money and property.

I found it difficult to sympathize with Ransom at first because he brought about his own misfortune; but Izzy – Izzy!  She is the victim of an unfortunate set of circumstances that left her with nothing but the few dresses in her travel bag.  Her father was a miserable caretaker for not ensuring that she was left with the means to provide for herself after his death.  Now that she has a roof over her head, she is going to fight tooth and nail to keep it.  I loved Izzy and her attitude, and how she refused to be cowed by the gruff, angry duke who refuses to give in gracefully and accept that Izzy is now the owner of the castle.

The secondary characters are also a treat, from the cos-playing fans of The Goodnight Tales, to Izzy’s new acquaintances at the castle.  Romancing the Duke made me laugh, held me spellbound, and even made me gasp with dismay when Izzy reads a fan letter to Ransom, and discovers that The Goodnight Tales is partly responsible for his turn of poor luck.  I hated to have the book come to an end, and I am now eagerly awaiting the next book in the series,  Say Yes to the Marquess.  In the meanwhile, I will have to revisit Spindle Cove; I have a few sitting unread on my Kindle!

Grade:  A-

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

n the first in Tessa Dare’s captivating Castles Ever After series, a mysterious fortress is the setting for an unlikely love . . .

As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens. She never doubted romance would be in her future, too. The storybooks offered endless possibilities.

And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off. One by one by one.

Ugly duckling turned swan?
Abducted by handsome highwayman?
Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?

No, no, and… Heh.

Now Izzy’s given up yearning for romance. She’ll settle for a roof over her head. What fairy tales are left over for an impoverished twenty-six year-old woman who’s never even been kissed?

This one.

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8. Spotlight and Giveaway-One Night with an Earl by Jennifer Haymore!

ONE NIGHT WITH AN EARL by Jennifer Haymore (April 1, 2014; Forever Yours E-Novella; $1.99)

Beatrice Reece, Lady Fenwick, has retired from polite society. Everyone knows her late husband treated her abominably, and she simply cannot bear the whispers of the ton. But it’s the night of London’s premier masquerade ball-and Beatrice’s one chance to revel in anonymity. She hopes no one will recognize her beneath her mask, not even the sinfully sexy stranger across the room who holds her captive in his gaze . . .

Andrew Sinclair would know beautiful Beatrice anywhere from the gentle sway of her hips, the richness of her hair, and the lushness of her body. When he asks her to dance, the attraction is instant and all-consuming. The only woman he’s ever truly wanted is finally in his arms. But when the clock strikes twelve, will this one reckless night fade into the morning light?

Buy Links:





About Jennifer Haymore:

As a child, Jennifer Haymore traveled the South Pacific with her family on their homebuilt sailboat. The months spent on the sometimes quiet, sometimes raging seas sparked her love of adventure and grand romance. Since then, she’s earned degrees in computer science and education and held various jobs ranging from bookselling to teaching inner-city children to acting, but she’s never stopped writing.
You can find Jennifer in Southern California trying to talk her husband into yet another trip to England, helping her three children with homework while brainstorming a new five-minute dinner menu, or crouched in a corner of the local bookstore writing her next novel. 

Social Media Links:





Excerpt –

He reached down and took her right hand in his own. He raised their hands as he slipped his other arm around her waist. She pressed her palm against the back of his shoulder and suppressed a shudder. They were so very close, in such an intimate position. She wanted more, wished she could press herself even closer to him. “I haven’t danced a waltz in a very long time,” she breathed.

In fact, though she had learned how to waltz, she had never officially danced one during her Season because waltzes were considered highly improper for young ladies.

“The waltz is my favorite dance,” he told her.

“Why is that?” she asked, thinking that if he was to keep holding her like this the whole way through, it might just become her favorite dance, too.

“I do not enjoy touching a great many people,” he said quietly, his glittering blue eyes locked on hers. His arm tightened around her. “I prefer to have my hands on just one woman at a time. And that woman happens to be you.”

It felt like the air in the room—already thin and difficult to breathe—was sucked away. For a moment, she felt light-headed, unable to speak. Then she managed, “But don’t you dance the other dances as well?”

“Yes, when it is necessary for me to do so.”

“Why, if you don’t like them?”

“Because it is expected. I have made a study of societal expectations. The study has allowed me to become quite skilled at meeting them, Persephone.”

And with that, the waltz began. It was a lively dance, and Mr. Bull took full advantage, his steps bold, his turns wide, causing her pleats to stretch open and her skirt to billow around her.

She held on tight and let him take her on the ride. She didn’t think about the steps—she didn’t need to. She learned quickly that she must allow her feet to move as they would, and as long as she did so, they fell into a natural, perfect synchronicity.

He took her into a wide, spinning arc, and she couldn’t help it. She laughed in delight. She couldn’t remember ever feeling so free.

He squeezed her hand very tight for a moment. “You have the sweetest laugh I’ve ever heard,” he said, gazing down at her.

Still smiling, she looked into his eyes as he spun her around yet again. “Thank you.”

“I believe you enjoy waltzing with me, Persephone.”

“I have not enjoyed anything so much in a very long time,” she admitted. “I wish…”They danced around a group of couples, steering clear of a flurry of colorful skirts.

“What do you wish?” he asked, his voice low.

“I fear this might be our only opportunity to dance a waltz,” she said. “And I wish that wasn’t the case.”

“I hope it isn’t the case,” he said.

“But it must be. Because I fear Persephone’s time here is limited.”

Soon enough, she’d need to leave the colorful rebirth of spring and return to the underworld. But it was true—something about being with this man felt like she was blossoming after a very, very long time spent underground. She loved that feeling…and she didn’t want it to end.

“My time is limited.” She gazed at him straight on. “But I intend to enjoy every second while it lasts.”

This time, his lips were easier to read, his smile slow and seductive, and his eyes narrowing the slightest bit through the sockets of the mask.

“And I intend to enjoy every moment with you.”

She felt so free. Spinning, turning, waltzing, a handsome man holding her as if she were his most cherished possession, her dress a cloud of blue linen around her, her heart soaring. Tonight, after living so long a prisoner, she was breaking free of the cage Fenwicke had built around her.

For the first time since long before his death two years ago, she felt free.

And until a person has been a prisoner, they never understand how truly sweet freedom can be.


Don’t miss Jennifer’s May release!

THE SCOUNDREL’S SEDUCTION by Jennifer Haymore (May 27, 2014; Forever Mass Market; $8.00)

Undercover agent Sam Hawkins has devoted his life to protecting king and country. So when he receives orders to assassinate a ruthless traitor, he doesn’t question his mission. But Sam didn’t know his deed had a witness–the beautiful and mysterious betrayer’s wife. Now he has no choice but to take her as his prisoner-one he can neither trust . . . nor resist.
Élise, Lady Dunthorpe, will do anything to escape her powerful captor–including seducing him senseless. She didn’t know of her miserable husband’s crimes, but she has secrets of her own, secrets that threaten everything she holds dear. With his piercing dark eyes and gentle touch, Sam inflames Élise’s deepest desires, but how could she ever trust a man who won’t let her go? Caught between the crown he’s sworn to serve and the woman he’s come to love, Sam will risk his heart–and his very life–to keep her safe.

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9. The Great Scots Blog Tour and Giveaway!


This morning I have a fun post featuring recent releases with Highlanders.  I have an excerpt from Paula Quinn’s latest book, as well as an interview with Sue-Ellen Welfonder.  Please enjoy, and be sure to enter the awesome giveaway!



Edmund MacGregor will do anything to save Scotland from English rule-even kidnap Lady Amelia Bell for ransom. As the daughter of a duke and the chancellor’s betrothed, she’s the perfect pawn in this game. But from the moment he first lays eyes on his spirited captive, he can’t resist stealing a kiss.

Lady Amelia’s duty is to marry well, but that hasn’t stopped her from fantasizing about true love. So when a sexy Scot appears in her home, she’s beguiled. When he kidnaps her, she’s furious. Yet as Edmund introduces her to a world of passion beyond her wildest dreams, can she leave her family behind for this handsome Highlander? And will Edmund risk the only true home he’s ever known to capture the heart of this lovely lass?


What was left? Everything! Why was she saying all the wrong things today? Why were the two people she cared about forbidden? When he moved to turn away and leave her as Sarah had, she stopped him, taking hold of his arm. Forbidden had never stopped her before. She wouldn’t let it now.

He turned and she looked up into his despairing gaze. Did he care for her?

She reached her hand up to his face and watched his lids close as she touched him.

“There is something between us, Edmund. It draws me to ye even when every thought in my head is shouting to keep my distance fer our hearts’ sake. It tempts me to beg God that if this is a dream and I am still asleep at David’s feet in my uncle’s garden, never let me wake. I don’t want to contemplate

my life. I want to live it.”

She spread her thumb over his enticing mouth and inched closer toward it. “And all the pleasures of it. With ye. I know none of them and I want to learn with ye.”

He pulled her in the rest of the way and covered her mouth with a hot, hungry kiss. She answered, rising up on the tips of her toes and plunging her fingers into his locks, then pulling him down to answer her passion. She felt engulfed in flames. Her nipples burned, as did the crux between her legs. Her lungs, too, so she didn’t waste any breath speaking, except to say, “Take me inside.”




About Paula Quinn

New York Times bestselling author Paula Quinn lives in New York with her three beautiful children, three over-protective chihuahuas, and a loud umbrella cockatoo. She loves to read romance and science fiction and has been writing since she was eleven.  She loves all things medieval, but it is her love for Scotland that pulls at her heartstrings.

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[SEW] Thanks so much for hosting the tour today, Julie! It’s great to be here and you asked some clever questions. I love that, so thanks! (also loved seeing you’re a fellow animal lover)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you for taking the time to drop by and answer my questions!   Describe yourself in five words or less.

[SEW] Loves Scotland, animals, books, quiet.

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

[SEW] Water. (I live in most-times sunny and broiling southwest Florida)

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

[SEW]  Scottish rocks, an empty tea cup, and a framed picture of my beloved Jack Russell terrier, Em. (he’s sharing my desk chair, sleeping soundly behind me, snoring his little dog snores)

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

[SEW] Anyone who lives in the wildest, most empty and remote corner of Scotland.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] You are lost in the mountains after a hiking trip gone terribly awry. Who do you want to rescue you?

[SEW] Grim Mackintosh, hero of ONCE UPON A HIGHLAND CHRISTMAS, Scandalous Scots 0.5. Grim also had a strong role in my Highland Warriors trilogy and makes continuing appearances throughout my new Scandalous Scots series. Here’s his description…

Tough and battle-hardened, Grim is a fearsome warrior. He’s formidable with both a sword and a Norse war ax, which he prefers. He’s also fierce-looking, being a big, powerfully-muscled man with smoke-gray eyes, wild black hair and his beard rings. For all his ferocity in battle, Grim is great-hearted and a good man. He is loyal, a staunch friend, and he loves animals.

I’d trust my life to Grim and I’m convinced he exists out there somewhere, just the other side of a swirl of Highland mist.

Julie, thank you again for hosting the tour. And thanks to all readers looking in today. Your participation makes these tours so much fun. Good luck in the drawing! I hope you’ll enjoy TO LOVE A HIGHLANDER.

Visit me online at:


Newsletter: http://welfonder.com/mailing-list/

SE’s Book Info Only Blog: http://tartaninkafterhours.wordpress.com

FB: facebook.com/SueEllenWelfonderAuthor

Twitter: @se_welfonder

Amazon Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/author/sueellenwelfonder


As one of the bastards born to the Stirling court, Sorley the Hawk has never known his mother or father. It’s a burning quest he has devoted himself to uncovering at any cost. But as a roguish warrior who serves at the pleasure of the King, his prowess-both on the battlefield and in his bedchamber-is legendary. So when a flame-haired Highland lass sneaks into his quarters with a tantalizing proposition, he can’t resist taking her up on her offer .

Lady Mirabelle MacLaren will do anything to keep from marrying her odious suitor, even sully her own good name. And who better to despoil her than his sworn enemy, the one they call “Hawk?” As they set about the enjoyable task of ruining her reputation, Hawk and Mirabelle soon learn that rebellion never tasted so sweet.





About Sue-Ellen Welfonder

Sue-Ellen Welfonder is a Scotophile whose burning wish to make frequent trips to the land of her dreams led her to a twenty-year career with the airlines.
Now a full-time writer, she’s quick to admit that she much prefers wielding a pen to pushing tea and coffee. She makes annual visits to Scotland, insisting they are a necessity, as each trip gives her inspiration for new books.
Proud of her own Hebridean ancestry, she belongs to two clan societies: the MacFie Clan Society and the Clan MacAlpine Society. In addition to Scotland, her greatest passions are medieval history, the paranormal, and dogs. She never watches television, loves haggis, and writes at a 450-year-old desk that once stood in a Bavarian castle.
Sue-Ellen is married and currently resides with her husband and Jack Russell terrier in Florida.
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10. Nonfiction Research

One of the challenges is deciding how much of your research gets into the book and how much remains for research only.


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11. Historical Fiction

Authors of historical fiction give reasons why it's important.


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12. Mini-reviews- Reaper's Novice and Peregrine Harker

Title: Reaper’s Novice
 Author: Cecelia Roberts
 Series:  N/A
Warnings: non consensual kissing
Source: netgalley
Review: Anna is normal. she’s got a boyfriend, she’s doing well at school and  she’s looking forwards to a brilliant musical education. Then her family dies in a car crash, but she makes a deal with Ernst, aka Grim, aka Death. Her family gets to live, he gets her soul, and she gets to work, collecting souls for eternity. She gets used to this, but then she finds out other things about where Ernst comes from...and where she does.
I read this because I saw it on Netgalley and a book like that, with that title, pretty colours, and a girl with a violin, I couldn’t resist.
It starts off quickly. the car crash and meeting Ernst happens within the first few chapters. There’s a bit of mystery that comes up. Other things like the story to Ana’s background and the mythology of the world, which comes in later.
I really liked Ana. She’s cool. She’s a really good violinist (musical  talent always makes me love characters) and then it becomes plot relavent and this is where audiobooks come in handy. She also seems like a really good friend.
I didn’t like Zig. He’s creepy and full of himself. Ernst was cool. Rolf was kind of mediocre until about halfway through, then we get a big reveal and he becomes a lot more interesting.
The plot was good, but near the second half, the plot became quite confusing.  The writing was ok in places, good in others. The more descriptive parts were better written, such as the end bit with the violin, and  Ana seeing her first reaping of an old woman in a hospital, which was the most beautiful part in the book.
Overall:  Strength 3.5, just more a 3, tea to a fantasy novel with good writing.

Title: Peregrine Harker and the Black Death
 Author: Luke Hollands
Series:  N/A
Published:  3 June 2013 by Sparkling Books
Warnings: non consensual kissing
Source: netgalley
Review: Ever since Peregrine’s parents died, he’s worked for the Evening Enquirer. As a result of his behaviour and habit of writing stories of spies and thieves and espionage into his work which is meant to be factual, he is told to write a story about rising tea prices. Begrudgingly, he sets out to do this, and unexpectedly finds himself in amongst secret organisations, smuggling, and assassinations.
The first chapter takes place on a train, the epic conclusions of a match between Doctor Crick and Peregrine. The second chapter reveals that this was just a daydream of Peregrine’s, and that he is actually being told off by his editor and commissioned to write the tea article.
The plot moves along quickly, the investigation taking us many places, such as docks, posh hotels, backstreets of London and to France.
I liked Peregrine. He’s a great investigator, likable, and smart- like a less sad version of Gavroche (from Les Mis). I really like his enthusiasm for his job-and the fact it picks up when a dead body turns up.
I quite like Louisa too-the first time we meet her, she’s got a pistol and her governess is telling her not to fire that infernal thing indoors. Fun!
The pacing is good. There’s always something new happening and you’re kept intrigued throughout. The atmosphere of adventure is ever present-through London and Paris.
 arker. The

Overall:  Strength 3.5, just more a 3, tea to a younger historical mystery that’s a lot of fun.

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13. Death Comes To the Village

Death Comes to the Village. Catherine Lloyd. 2013. Kensington. 304 pages. [Source: Library]

Death Comes To The Village was a very enjoyable--quite pleasant--mystery set in Regency England. Major Robert Kurland, our hero, is an invalid soldier. He's recovering from his injuries, but, no one can begin to predict if he'll make a complete recovery. The mystery opens with his frustration at its highest. He is unable to sleep because the curtains have not been closed. He--for better or worse--decides to try to take care of it himself. Of course, he isn't able to walk properly. And it's amazing he even makes it all the way to the window before collapsing in a heap on the floor. But before he falls oh-so-dramatically, he witnesses something through the window. A man carrying a large-bulky-heavy-something. Is he a burglar or a murderer? Is there a reasonable explanation? He's not sure. He feels something happened, and he tells the rector's daughter, our heroine, Lucy Harrington. He shares with her his notion that a crime may have happened--not mentioning murder--and he wants her to keep her ears open. Did anyone else hear anything? see anything? Were any homes robbed? Anyone gone missing? Any strange behavior? Soon these two have teamed up and are working hard to solve a mystery...

There HAVE been thefts in the area. Many homes are missing small objects, it appears there is plenty of reason to suspect a burglar...

But two maids have also vanished...and Miss Lucy Harrington fears the worst...

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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14. Passionate, Enticing, Reckless Blog Tour with Cara Elliott, Lily Dalton, and Vicky Dreiling


This morning I have excerpts and a giveaway for three wonderful historical romances!  Check out excerpts from the latest releases by Cara Elliott, Lily Dalton, and Vicky Dreilling, and then enter to win their books!

PASSIONATELY YOURS by Cara Elliott (March 4, 2014; Forever E-Book; $7.99)

The youngest of the Hellions of High Street, Caro Sloane has watched her two sisters have exhilarating encounters with dashing heroes, and now she is longing for some excitement of her own. After all, how can she write truly passionate poetry until she has experienced a Grand Adventure? But that seems unlikely to happen as she’ll be spending the next few weeks in the quiet spa town of Bath, where nothing grand or adventurous ever happens . . . until she and her new friend Isobel are nearly abducted while walking on a quiet country road-only to be rescued by Alec McClellan, the moody and mysterious Scottish lord she met at Dunbar Castle.
Alec has come to England to deal with a treacherous betrayal and fears that his half-sister Isobel is in peril from an old enemy. Does he dare share his secrets with Caro? The bold and brave beauty leaves him no choice, and together they are quickly caught up in a swirl of dangerous intrigue . . . where fiery desire between them may ignite into the greatest danger of all.

About the author:

Cara Elliott started writing Westerns at age five but moved on to Regency romance after reading Pride and Prejudice. (Clearly she has a thing for Men in Boots!) A graduate of Yale University, she lives and works in New York City.

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“One would almost think you were going out of your way to avoid speaking to me.”

“We’re speaking now,” he pointed out.

“I would call it verbal sparring.” Caro edged around impatiently, forcing him to look her in the face. “But now that I have you alone, I’d rather not keep trading thrusts and parries. I would rather discuss far more important matters—such as whether you have learned anything new about the attack on your sister?”

Pursing his lips, Alec shifted his stance just enough to allow him to return to his perusal of the lettering on the column. “Not really.”

“Ye gods.” She restrained the urge to take hold of his arm and give him a hard shake. “What sort of answer is that?”

“The only one I intend to give,” he replied calmly.

“Fine.” Caro watched the breeze ruffle his long hair, causing a tangle of red-gold strands to curl around his ear and dance down the freshly shaven line of his jaw. The faint scent of bay rum tickled at her nostrils.

“Fine,” she repeated, after forcing herself to exhale. “Then I’ll just have to do a little poking around on my own.”

That got his attention. He looked around abruptly, his gaze narrowing to a slitted stare. The movement was quick, but not quick enough to hide the sudden darkening of his eyes.

“That wouldn’t be wise,” he growled. “The only thing I will add for now is that you should stay well away from Edward Thayer.”


“Because…” He let out an exasperated grunt. “Must you always plague me with questions?”

“I wouldn’t have to if you would stop treating me like a feather-headed wigeon.”

Alec’s scowl became more pronounced.

“Haven’t I proved myself trustworthy and capable?”

A small muscle on his jaw twitched. “I am not at liberty to give you any more details right now. All I can say is that…” As he drew in a breath, he seemed to change his mind about what to say. “Thayer is a charming fellow. No doubt his smooth words are more to your liking.”

Deciding Alec deserved a bit of teasing, Caro pretended not to notice the roughness edging his voice. “Yes, he’s exceedingly charming.”

If his storm-blue stare squeezed any tighter, it would be sharper than a razor’s edge.

“And scrupulously polite,” she added.

Alec was becoming more flustered. Small sounds were beginning to rumble in his throat, like the growling of a bear. “I do not have Thayer’s gift of making myself agreeable. He has a honeyed tongue, which seems to appeal to all the ladies.”

“Honey is, after all, a great deal more palatable than vinegar,” Caro pointed out.

He now looked utterly nonplussed.

Caro let him stew for a moment longer before huffing an exasperated sigh. “Oh, for heaven’s sake, give me some credit for having a brain, Lord Strathcona! Of course I don’t find Thayer appealing. When honey drips that freely, it ought to catch naught but flies.”

The growls ceased.

Caro waited for him to speak.

Ever so slowly, Alec shifted his feet, stirring tiny puffs of pale dust beneath his boots.

The flicker of dark leather caused a momentary spasm of doubt as she recalled her chilling encounter in the churchyard.

Alec as evil? She couldn’t explain how, but she knew with a certainty that resonated right down to her very heartbeat that it couldn’t be true.

“Are you saying you would trust my word over his?”

“Yes, you big lummox! I don’t know why I should, but I prefer your snaps and growls.”

A dappling of sunlight seemed to catch on the curl of his lashes, gilding them to a gleaming gold.

“You are forthright, you are honorable in your own maddening way,” she went on. Oh, no man ought to have such beautiful eyes.

She found herself staring, and at that moment, all rational thought seemed to dance away in the breeze. His face was utterly intriguing—a mix of chiseled planes and well-defined features that hinted at hidden secrets.

“And… well, you are quite the most interesting man I have ever met.” Her legs suddenly seemed a little unsteady, so Caro reached out and caught hold of his lapels.

Looking up, she found his mouth was only inches from hers.

“Oh, bosh—I shall probably regret this…” Standing on tiptoes, Caro kissed him. Not a mere feathering of flesh against flesh, but a hard, hungry embrace that she let go on for far, far longer than any proper young lady should dare.

“There, I have no doubt shocked you.”

The tip of his tongue traced along the swell of his lower lip.

“I imagine you think me a wanton hellion, and I suppose I am. It must be my eccentric upbringing. I don’t care very much for rules.”

Caro knew she was babbling but she couldn’t seem to stop. “You may consign me to the Devil. But at least I shall dance a merry jig on my way to perdition.”

Was that finally a hint of smile?

She finally dared pause to take a breath. A long, shuddering breath. Now was the time to flee, before she made an even bigger fool of herself.

But Alec suddenly shifted again, blocking her way.

“I, too, shall probably regret this,” he said as he slowly circled his arms around her and pulled her close.

She opened her mouth. To protest?

Before she could make any sense of what she had set in motion, their lips met again, setting off a fierce jolt of fire.

NEVER ENTICE AN EARL by Lily Dalton (April 29, 2014; Forever Mass Market; $8.00)

Lady Daphne Bevington would do anything for her maid Kate-including masquerading as Kate and sneaking around the wrong side of London to settle the poor girl’s debt. Yet her innocent ruse takes a scandalous turn when “Kate” runs into a handsome gentleman on a secret quest of his own. A moment of passion could cost Daphne her reputation, but how can she ignore the stranger’s searing kiss?

An Arrangement Most Wicked

Lord Cormack Northmore is determined to find the immoral peer who ruined his sister. So when he learns that the irresistible woman he knows as “Kate” is the Season’s most sought-after debutante, Cormack plans to use her connections to help him set a trap. Now, the closer Cormack gets to uncovering the villain who haunts the ton‘s ballrooms, the more he realizes that the lovely lady is in danger herself. Will he abandon his quest for revenge-or risk losing his one chance at love?

About the author:

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

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The heat in his gaze intensified. He leaned toward her, his handsome face commanding her full attention. “So tell me, Kate, in addition to being a dancer to pay off this debt, and not a very talented one at that, did you also entertain patrons?”

“Entertain?” She blinked, flustered by his proximity, and his overwhelming maleness. Had he truly said she was not a good dancer? And wait… he had said patrons. She frowned. “I beg your pardon?”

Certainly he did not believe…well, she supposed he might, given the sordid circumstances in which he’d found her.

One dark eyebrow lifted. “The Blue Swan is a brothel.”

“Never,” she blurted, heat rising to scald her cheeks. “This was my first night ever to go to that place, and it was not at all what I’d expected.” She spoke the truth now. Not all her words were lies. “All I had was the address on a scrap of paper, and instructions that I would be a model in the tableaux.”

A sudden fear came over her, a dreadful worry that in her naivety she’d misjudged the stranger beside, that he wasn’t a gentleman, but instead just like the others who had crowded against the stage, mindless with lust. He could easily overpower her, and satisfy whatever male urges he wished.

But he did not. He instead eased back into the seat until shadows obscured his countenance, all but his sensual lips, which pursed and frowned. She sighed with relief

“Good.” He nodded. Below his breath, he muttered, “Yes, good…I suppose.”

He conveyed a mixed message, one of approval but also disappointment. What if she’d answered yes? Would he have sought to make use of her services? All the wicked things Sophia had described came to her in a vivid rush. Her mind entertained a fleeting fantasy, one of tangled sheets, muscled limbs and bare skin.

The very idea of being intimate with a stranger, with this stranger—

She exhaled, bemused.

–was not as appalling as it ought to be.

Perhaps it was the graveness in his eyes, above lips that she suspected always carried some semblance of a smile that made her heart contract and her blood run hot.

He really was nonpareil. No man in her social circle compared, but that was because he obviously wasn’t a nobleman. No nobleman would travel about London in a shabby, half-destroyed carriage nor converse on such familiar terms with their driver.

“Who are you, Cormack?” she asked.

“Just…a man.”

“Are you a newspaperman? A store owner, or a sea captain? Please tell me, I want to know.”

“I…er, a merchant actually. Saltpeter.”

That answered her question. After tonight, she most certainly would never see him again. A merchant would never be allowed into the ballrooms of the haute ton. Even if he was deliriously rich, which he obviously wasn’t, given the condition of his equipage, the upper echelon of the beau monde, to which she had been born, simply did not intermingle with men of trade.

Her adventurous nature awakened. No, she didn’t intend to ever marry, but…what would be wrong with kissing a handsome, intriguing stranger she’d never see again?

Everything inside her soared and spiraled and exploded into sparkly stars at wondering. Again, her gaze settled on his mouth, which slowly, as if it read her mind, turned up at the corners, making her catch her breath.

At that moment, the carriage made a sudden turn and tilted steeply. Daphne toppled, the whole of her weight crushing into Cormack. His arms came round her, seizing her in place against his chest. The carriage bounced down again, and continued on, to the sound of Jackson cursing at another driver, but Cormack didn’t release her. How she wished she wasn’t wearing the coat, which smelled of damp wool. He, on the other hand, smelled delicious, like rainwater and soap.

“How unexpected,” he murmured, his mouth so close his breath feathered across her lips. “But not unwelcome.”

“No,” she whispered. “Not…unwelcome.”

Just then the carriage jerked to a stop and a hard rap sounded against the roof.

A low, bruxy growl emitted from Cormack’s throat. “What a pity.”

WHAT A RECKLESS ROGUE NEEDS by Vicky Dreiling (March 25, 2014; Forever Mass Market; $8.00)

Colin Brockhurst, Earl of Ravenshire, has no desire to wed, this season or any other. So when his father demands he give up his wild ways and take a wife, Colin refuses. But his father raises the stakes and threatens to sell the ancestral home if Colin doesn’t comply. Now Colin has no choice but to find a wife. Unfortunately, the only woman he wants is the one whose heart he broke years ago.
Regardless of the ton‘s whispers, Lady Angeline Brenham won’t settle for anything less than true love. After rejecting more than her share of suitable suitors, spinsterhood looms before her-until the devilishly handsome Colin reappears in her life with a proposition. Angeline vows to keep her feet on the ground and her heart in check. That is, until one searing kiss melts her resolve and reignites a burning desire for more . . .

About the author:

Vicky Dreiling is a confirmed historical romance junkie and Anglophile. Frequent business trips to the United Kingdom allowed her to indulge her passion for all things Regency England. Bath, Stonehenge, and Spencer House are among her favorite places. She is, however, truly sorry for accidentally setting off a security alarm in Windsor Castle. That unfortunate incident led her British colleagues to nickname her Trouble.
When she’s not writing, Vicky enjoys reading, films, concerts, and, most of all, long lunches with friends. A native Texan, she holds degrees in English literature and marketing. 

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“Come with me,” she said, opening the door to the bedchamber that she assumed had belonged to his father years ago.

“Angeline, what are you about?”

“There is no need to worry. I’ve no intention of seducing you.”

He sighed theatrically. “What a pity.”

“You will have to look elsewhere for sympathy.” She took him over to the shaving stand. “Have a look in the glass.”

“My hair is even more of a disheveled, curly mess than usual.” He met her gaze in the mirror. “When I was a lad, I used to spit in my hands and try to wet down the curls.”

She laughed. “Eww.”

“I’m tempted now.”

“For whose benefit? I do not care if your hair is standing on end.” Liar.

He turned and clutched his hands to his heart. “Woe is me.”

She would never tell him that his unruly curls only added to his masculine appeal.

A slow smile tugged at his mouth. It was a kneeweakening, toe-curling rake’s smile meant to disarm a lady. She was, of course, impervious to him. Well, maybe not completely.

“You’re a bit disheveled, too,” he said.

“What?” She walked over to the shaving mirror.

“Got you,” he said, laughing.

She spun around. “You’re as horrid as a little boy.”

“I may be horrid, but I’m no boy.”

“You’re in luck. I find you mildly tolerable today.”

“Lucky me,” he said, beginning to close the distance between them.

She tried to ignore the husky note in his voice, but the deep sound hummed inside her. Tension hung in the air, and unbidden, she recalled the way his muscles had strained while he’d wielded that ax. She dared not let him know how he’d affected her.

“I have a confession to make,” he said.

Now she couldn’t breathe, because he was too close and the scent of him swirled all around her.

“I find you charming today.”

She took a step back and lifted her chin. “It will wear off quickly.”

He took another step. There was a languorous expression in his eyes. She might have noticed the amber hues in them, but only because she was perceptive by nature. Drat it all. Why couldn’t he have a long nose, pointed chin, and no muscles at all? And why after all these years did she find him irresistible?

He advanced again. Now his boots were inches away from the toes of her slippers.

She took two more steps back and bumped against the mattress.

He closed his big hand around the bedpost and his gaze flickered briefly to her décolletage. Her breasts felt heavier, and her nipples tightened. The sound of his breath was faster and a little rough. She was drawn to his full lower lip. Something inside of her gave way to desire. She wanted to be closer to him.

As if he could read her thoughts, he closed the scant distance between them. He angled his head and looked into her eyes. “Is this surrender?”

The sensual haze cleared, and she glared at him. Outrageous man. How dare he look at her bosom? Angeline straightened her spine. “Do you think I am intimidated by you?”

“Not at all.” He wagged his brows. “Those two steps back were merely dance steps. Am I correct?”

She closed the distance between them in an effort to assert herself, but she realized the disadvantage immediately. While she was tall for a lady, he was easily halfa head taller and much too close. He filled her senses and belatedly she realized she’d invited a rake into a bedchamber. Had she lost her wits?

“You are a shameless libertine.”

His chest shook with laughter. “Not entirely shameless. I’ve had one or two guilt-ridden moments, but fortunately they dissipated quickly.” His gaze slid over her body. “I suspect you’ve been told many times how very beautiful you are.”

She knew it was a rake’s trick to murmur sweet words and tempt a lady to loosen her morals, but he looked at her with intent. Without thinking, she wet her lips, and that drew his attention. She’d inadvertently signaled she wanted a kiss, but of course she would rather kiss a snake.

Tension vibrated between them. Now was the moment to step away, but she stood rooted to the spot as if her feet were mired in a bog.

He reached for her nape, just as the knocker downstairs rapped repeatedly.

She gasped, and they sprang apart.

Rake that he was, he winked and said, “Saved by the knocker.”


One winner will receive a copy of each book— Passionately Yours will be a digital copy and the other two will be print. The giveaway is open to residents of US/Canada.

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15. Meet Penelope Clayton from The Duke’s Quandary by Callie Hutton

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

[Penelope Clayton] Shy


Passionate (about science)



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

[Penelope Clayton] I am a botanist, and love the field so much. Shortly after breakfast in the morning, I don my work clothes, which consists of men’s trousers (yes, I know—rather scandalous) my old boots and my father’s worn greatcoat. Then I do my research in the garden and woods behind my house. That takes up a great deal of my day. My housekeeper, Mrs. Porter is always fussing at me to put away my ‘digging in the dirt’ as she puts it, and get married. But I’m not interested in a husband. Which is why I’m not happy to have to go to London for a Season.

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

[Penelope Clayton] Frightening



[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you find most exasperating about him?

[Penelope Clayton] How little he thinks of my work as a scientist. Like most men, he thinks a woman, even if he admits she has a brain, shouldn’t use it. Unless it’s to perform duties on his behalf. Very frustrating.

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

[Penelope Clayton] I probably would have paid closer attention to my dance master when Father hired him years before I ended up dancing with Drake. What a muddle I made of things.

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

[Penelope Clayton] My spectacles. They help me see, even though my aunt insists young ladies won’t get offers if they appear to be a bluestocking. Of course, I proved her wrong, though, didn’t I?

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

[Penelope Clayton] Happy husband, happy wife, children.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

  About the book:

(affiliate link)


Author: Callie Hutton

EBook: 285 pages

Release Date: March 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-1622664641

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

London 1814…
Drake, Duke of Manchester is searching the Marriage Mart for a perfect bride. He wants a woman who is poised, sophisticated, and worthy of the title Duchess. But most of all, he wants a woman who does not want the useless emotion of love.

Socially awkward Miss Penelope Clayton isn’t meant for marriage. A serious botanist, she has no desire to wed, so being forced by her guardian to participate in the Season to find a husband is torture. She’ll never fit in with the ton, especially if they discover she’s been pretending to be a man within the scientific community.

As Drake’s family makes over Penelope, turning her from naive bluestocking to enchanting debutante, he is put upon to introduce her to society and eligible bachelors. Despite dance lessons and new gowns, Penelope is the opposite of poised and sophisticated as she stumbles from one mishap to the next. Why then, does he find it so hard to resist her?

About Callie:

Callie Hutton always knew those stories she made up in her head would be written down one day. There was nowhere else for them to go. After years of writing articles and interviews for magazines and company newsletters, she decided to tackle writing a book. That was back in 2010. Now with twelve books under her belt, and seven more contracted, the relief at having somewhere to tell those stories is wonderful. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband, adult children and three dogs.

Website /Twitter/Facebook/Goodreads

Giveaway Details:

1 necklace and a pair of earrings US Only (attach photo)

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Tour Schedule

Week One:

3/10/2014- Books, Movies, Reviews. Oh my!- Review

3/10/2014- book’s blog- Guest Post

3/11/2014- Bitten by Romance- Review

3/11/2014- Dawn’s Reading Nook- Interview

3/12/2014- Margay Leah Justice – Review

3/12/2014- Ex Libris- Guest Post

3/13/2014- Dear Brighton- Review

3/13/2014- Rookie Romance- Interview

3/14/2014- Talking Books Blog- Review

3/14/2014- Living Between Books- Review

Week Two:

3/17/2014- Fade Into Fantasy- Interview

3/18/2014- Romantic Reads and Such- Interview

3/18/2014- Suzi Love- Review

3/19/2014- Toot’s Book Reviews- Guest Post

3/19/2014- Cocktails and Books- Interview

3/20/2014- The La La Land of Books- Review

3/20/2014- Becky on Books- Review

3/20/2014- Ramblings From This Chick- Guest Post

3/21/2014- First Page to the Last- Review

3/21/2014- Manga Maniac Café- Interview

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16. Interview with Jennifer McQuiston, Author of Moonlight on my Mind and Giveaway


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

[Jennifer McQuiston] Multi-tasking creative scientist. With migraines.

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

[Jennifer McQuiston] I am really glad I don’t have to do this in five words or less! Moonlight on My Mind is the third and final book in my debut series, and I am describing it as a “marriage of inconvenience.”

Briefly, the book’s hero, Patrick Channing, marries the heroine, Julianne Baxter, to keep her from testifying against him. Eleven months ago, Julianne’s statement to the authorities wrongly implicated Patrick, the new Earl of Haversham, in his older brother’s death. When she appears out of nowhere in the wilds of Scotland, insisting that he return home to face a murder charge and save his family from ruin, Patrick wants nothing to do with her. But a clandestine wedding may be the only way to save her reputation—and his neck from the hangman’s noose.

Julianne Baxter has spread her share of gossip, but none she has regretted as much as the debacle with Channing. When Patrick suggests marriage as a solution to their problems, she has no objection to the match. More and more she’s convinced of Patrick’s innocence, though when it comes to igniting her passions, the man is all too guilty. And if they can only clear his name, a marriage made in haste could bring about the most extraordinary pleasure…

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

[Jennifer McQuiston] In my first book, What Happens in Scotland, Patrick Channing is a secondary character who is hinted to be hiding in the isolated Scottish town of Moraig and being very tight-lipped about his recent past. In my second book, Summer is for Lovers, I introduce readers to a feisty Society miss named Julianne Baxter, who on the surface appears to be something of a manipulative “mean girl.” In Moonlight on My Mind, I bring these two questionable characters together and have them battle it out for a “happy ever after”.

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

[Jennifer McQuiston] In Summer is for Lovers, Julianne is a bit of an enigma. She stirs up trouble, and serves as an antagonist toward the heroine. But I love the idea of taking a character who is superficially unlikable, finding a quality that will redeem them, and then showing them as heroic in their own right. At her core, Julianne is defined by loyalty. Crafting Julianne properly, in a way that you could appreciate both her attributes and her flaws, was the challenge I enjoyed most about this book.

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

[Jennifer McQuiston] The plot of this book involves a rather complicated murder mystery, and I would love to say that it gave me the most trouble (given that I had never written anything like that before).

But alas… it was actually the love story!

One of the problems was that I had created two characters at such odds with each other, I had to build some big bridges toward reconciliation. Another issue was that in the first draft, I was far too focused on wrapping the murder mystery up, and my poor beleaguered editor (the amazing Tessa Woodward) had to point out that while I had done a good job with the mystery, I needed to go back and show these characters falling more effectively in love.

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

[Jennifer McQuiston] I am not sure I would be the sort of person to have a theme song, but I have one for Julianne and Patrick. ?

Julianne’s is How to Be a Heartbreaker by Marina and the Diamonds (and I predict you will hit replay on this one, if you’re anything like me!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKNcuTWzTVw

Patrick’s is Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye, by country artist Luke Bryan, because the words capture the pain of feeling a strong attraction for someone, even as you dislike the person you think they are. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5M_rT89kxY

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

[Jennifer McQuiston] Definitely my Nook. I snatch moments to read whenever and wherever I can find them!

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

[Jennifer McQuiston] Tea Bags (4 of them, Lipton, because I drink hot tea when I’m writing).

Donna Thorland’s Advance Reader Copy of “The Rebel Pirate” (soooooo good, I am interviewing her for an upcoming blog post)

And around 15-20 post it notes and scattered memos (because I am a list maker, through and through).

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

[Jennifer McQuiston] I would love to trade places with Angelina Jolie for a day. Preferably on a day she a) wins another Oscar, b) visits a refugee camp in her role with the United Nations, or c) has mind-blowing relations with Brad Pitt. I think she is a pretty amazing role model, even with the controversy and drama that so often follows her, but I think a single day would be *just* enough.

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

[Jennifer McQuiston] I mentioned I had just read the ARC for The Rebel Pirate, by Donna Thorland, and I highly recommend it. It is sexy historical fiction, based in the Revolutionary War era.

I am currently reading The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, and it is making me laugh out loud (probably because I work with about 10 scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who totally fit the profile of the main character).

And though I should probably be slapped for admitting such a delinquency (especially as I wrote a book about Scotland), I have recently been sucked into the Outlander series by Diana Galbaldon, and have a serious crush on one Jamie Frazier now. In fact, I am cyber-stalking Sam Heughan, the delicious Scot who is playing him in the upcoming STARZ series on YouTube. Yeee-um. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOR_8tLUMTo

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

[Jennifer McQuiston] Anyone who’s followed my writing story knows that I promised my kids a pony with my first book deal, and delivered on that promise. But what they may not know is I am completely in love with our family’s horse myself… I would spend every free moment I have at the barn, riding with my kids, if I thought I could get away with it.

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

[Jennifer McQuiston] I love hearing from readers, and engage with followers on Facebook (www.facebook.com/jennifermcquistonauthor), Twitter (@jenmcqwrites), and via my website (www.jenmcquiston.com). Readers who want regular updates (and special sneak peeks for upcoming books) can subscribe to my newsletter, at http://eepurl.com/LgUkT.

About the book:

Moonlight on My Mind

By: Jennifer McQuiston

Releasing March 25th, 2014


To ruin a man’s life once takes a regrettable mistake.
To do so twice takes a woman like Julianne Baxter.
Eleven months ago, Julianne’s statement to the authorities wrongly implicated Patrick, the new Earl of Haversham, in his older brother’s death. The chit is as much trouble as her red hair suggests, and just as captivating. Now she has impetuously tracked him to the wilds of Scotland, insisting that he return home to face a murder charge and save his family from ruin. A clandestine wedding may be the only way to save her reputation—and his neck from the hangman’s noose.
Julianne has no objection to the match. More and more she’s convinced of Patrick’s innocence, though when it comes to igniting her passions, the man is all too guilty. And if they can only clear his name, a marriage made in haste could bring about the most extraordinary pleasure…

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DB369D0/ref=cm_sw_su_dp?tag=avonromancehc-20

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/moonlight-on-my-mind-jennifer-mcquiston/1115554699?cm_mmc=affiliates-_-linkshare-_-mdxm68jzjz8-_-10%3a1&ean=9780062231307&isbn=9780062231307&r=1

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/books/moonlight-on-my-mind/rG0xO8l9wEaOCyTpHUhSMw?MixID=rG0xO8l9wEaOCyTpHUhSMw&PageNumber=1&utm_source=linkshare_us&utm_medium=Affiliate&utm_campaign=linkshare_us&siteID=MdXm68JZJz8-ZYw5pcAPK3AGICuNQU.geA

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/moonlight-on-my-mind/id660510976?mt=11

Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.blogspot.com/2014/01/now-booking-tasty-virtual-tour-for_9612.html

Author Info

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

Author Links





(Paperback Copy of WHAT HAPPENS IN SCOTLAND & SUMMER IS FOR LOVERS, Pack of Mother Mae’s Chocolate Chip Scottish Shortbread Mix and Delightful Ceramic Shortbread Pan)

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17. 5 Things to Never Do on a Pirate Ship and Giveaway!

Sharon Cullen’s Pleasing the Pirate is a swashbuckling romp with, you guessed it, a sexy pirate.  To help celebrate the release of Pleasing the Pirate, I asked heroine Mairi McFadden to give us some tips should we ever find ourselves on a pirate ship.


5 Things Never To Do On A Pirate Ship

by: Mairi McFadden, the intrepid heroine of Pleasing the Pirate

While on my journey from my homeland of Scotland to my enemy territory of England, I’ve learned a few things—especially about pirates. If you are ever to find yourself in the predicament of relying on a pirate to get you someplace, please heed this advice:

  1. Never stowaway on a pirate ship. The pirate gets a wee bit testy when he finds an unwelcome and unannounced female on his ship.

  1. Women are considered bad luck on a pirate ship. You would think a ship full of men would appreciate a woman in their midst. Not so. Apparently women are considered “bad luck”.

  1. If you have never sailed before—as was the case for me—be certain that you are capable of sailing. In other words, don’t spew all over the captain’s boots because the swaying of the ship makes you sick. That is considered bad form, especially if he is partial to those particular pair of boots.

  1. If the captain tells you to stay put in his cabin during a nasty storm, stay put. As much as you may not like his domineering attitude, he knows what he is talking about. Going out on deck during a storm and nearly being swept overboard is, again, bad form. And the captain does not have the time to save a damsel in distress. Especially if said damsel is a stowaway he was not counting on.

  1. Be prepared to see nakedness. Apparently a pirate captain does not feel the need to wear a shirt like any other respectable man, and has no issue with stripping bare in front of a lady. You will spend half your time covering your eyes—and mayhap peeking through your fingers.

If you would like to know more of my adventures with Phin Lockwood, gentleman pirate, you may read about them in Sharon Cullen’s latest release, Pleasing the Pirate.


Two hearts are wrenched between love and duty in Sharon Cullen’s tale of a ruthless pirate and the Scottish lass who fills him with desire for something greater than plunder.

With her clan’s crops burned and their property confiscated, Mairi McFadden is desperate to free her brother from imprisonment so that he can take his rightful place as chief. Her only hope is the fierce English pirate Phin Lockwood, but the buccaneer laughs at her meager funds. His roving eyes, however, tell Mairi there’s something else he’ll take in exchange for her brother’s rescue. Though she burns with hatred for the English, she’ll do anything to save her clan.

The crown has made it clear that Phin has two choices: bring in a certain Scottish traitor or hang. And he’s not about to let a tiny, whiskey-eyed woman get in his way, even if she is pointing a gun at him. When Phin learns that Mairi’s brother is the very man he seeks, he’s more than willing to use the lass as bait. But as the moment of capture draws near, Phin is surprised by his feelings for the courageous beauty who has him considering risking his life—for someone besides himself.

About Sharon:

Sharon Cullen is the author of the historical romances, The Notorious Lady Anne, Loving the Earl and Pleasing the Pirate. She’s also published in romantic suspense, paranormal romance and contemporary romance.

Her other job descriptions include chauffer, laundress, cook and mediator to her three very busy kids, her husband and two dogs. She lives in southwest Ohio with her brood although her dream is to someday retire to St. Maarten and live on the beach.

If you’d like to find out more about Sharon and her books, you can visit her website. She’s addicted to social networking so you can find her on Facebook and Twitter. Friend her! Like her! Follow her! She’d love to hang out with you and talk about her passion—books.

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00EX48V3C?ie=UTF8&tag=randohouseinc-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B00EX48V3C

Barnes and Noble: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?ISBSRC=Y&ISBN=9780345549723&cm_mmc=Random%20House-_-Pleasing+the+Pirate-RandomHouse-9780345549723-_-Pleasing+the+Pirate-RandomHouse-9780345549723-_-Pleasing+the+Pirate-RandomHouse-9780345549723

Random House: http://www.randomhouse.com/book/233800/pleasing-the-pirate-by-sharon-cullen#abouttheauthor


US addresses only, please

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18. Reread #9 Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. 2008. Random House. 274 pages. [Source: Library]

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is one of those rare, rare books where you could almost open it up to ANY page and find something to smile about. And that, of course, is something to be treasured and applauded because it makes for a completely satisfying read from start to finish. This novel is told completely through letters. Readers get to know characters in their own words, for better or worse. Readers can try to read between the lines and make connections perhaps. They might attempt to play "Miss Marple" like one of the minor characters and spy out what is really going on...

The heroine of the novel is a young author named Juliet Ashton. During the war, she wrote a regular column under the name of Izzy Bickerstaff. Now that the war is over (finally!!!), her columns have been published together in book form. She's happy. Of course she's happy. Why wouldn't she be happy. The war is over. Her book is being received positively. Sure, she feels the need to move on, to write a book under her own name, to write a very different book. And true, she's a bit in doubt as to what that next book will be and if that book will live up to the success of the first one, but...

So most of her letters are to her publisher, Sidney, or to her best friend, Sophie. But. One letter she receives changes her life. And it wasn't an obvious change-of-life letter. It was a friendly, down-to-earth letter from a complete stranger. He'd read "her" book. No, not the book she'd written. But a book that had been in her library, a book with her name and address in it. It was a book by Charles Lamb. This used book found and read during the war, really, really effected him. He connected with Charles Lamb, and he thought she might have book recommendations and such.

So. Juliet discovers almost by accident several things. First, that Guernsey was occupied during the war. (If she'd known during the war, it had slipped her mind because it didn't really impact her--not because she was selfish, but just because when your own world is a big tumbling-down uncertain mess, you don't really think of the island of Guernsey in the big-scheme-of-things.) Second, that a group had come together through desperation and lust (for a pig dinner!!!) to form the "Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society". Though for the record, the Potato Peel Pie part came later! Of course, she HAS to know more, and she wants all the details. She NEEDS more. She wants to hear more from men and women in this "literary society." She wants their stories--about books and reading, about the Nazi occupation, about the war, about their hardships (hunger, separation from children, etc), about their joys and sorrows. Of course, all this will take time and trust...

And that is what makes this one so great, in my opinion. I loved the getting-to-know experience. I loved the relationship building. I loved seeing friendships form. I especially, especially loved the bond that formed between Juliet and Kit (a war orphan). There were so many giddy-making moments in this book!

I would definitely recommend this one! It is so wonderful, so charming, so perfect!!!!  

I first reviewed this one in August 2009.  

Favorite quotes:
I don't want to be married just to be married. I can't think of anything lonelier than spending the rest of my life with someone I can't talk to, or worse, someone I can't be silent with.
That's what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you to another book, and another bit there will lead you onto a third book. It's geometrically progressive - all with no end in sight, and for no other reason than sheer enjoyment.
Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books.
Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers. How delightful if that were true.
I love seeing the bookshops and meeting the booksellers-- booksellers really are a special breed. No one in their right mind would take up clerking in a bookstore for the salary, and no one in his right mind would want to own one-- the margin of profit is too small. So, it has to be a love of readers and reading that makes them do it-- along with first dibs on the new books.
Isola doesn't approve of small talk and believes in breaking the ice by stomping on it.

It was amazing to me then, and still is, that so many people who wander into bookshops don't really know what they're after--they only want to look around and hope to see a book that will strike their fancy. And then, being bright enough not to trust the publisher's blurb, they will ask the book clerk the three questions: (1) What is it about? (2) Have you read it? (3) Was it any good?
Will Thisbee gave me The Beginner's Cook-Book for Girl Guides. It was just the thing; the writer assumes you know nothing about cookery and writes useful hints - "When adding eggs, break the shells first.”
“What on earth did you say to Isola? She stopped in on her way to pick up Pride and Prejudice and to berate me for never telling her about Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. Why hadn't she known there were better love stories around? Stories not riddled with ill-adjusted men, anguish, death and graveyards!”
The first rule of snooping is to come at it sideways--when you began writing me dizzy letters about Alexander, I didn't ask if you were in love with him, I asked what his favorite animal was. And your answer told me everything I needed to know about him--how many men would admit that they loved ducks?

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 Comments on Reread #9 Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society as of 2/28/2014 11:14:00 AM
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19. Spotlight and Giveaway–Pleasing the Pirate by Sharon Cullen


Pleasing the Pirate By Sharon Cullen

Loveswept Historical Romance

On sale February 25, 2014


Two hearts are wrenched between love and duty in Sharon Cullen’s tale of a ruthless pirate and the Scottish lass who fills him with desire for something greater than plunder.

With her clan’s crops burned and their property confiscated, Mairi McFadden is desperate to free her brother from imprisonment so that he can take his rightful place as chief. Her only hope is the fierce English pirate Phin Lockwood, but the buccaneer laughs at her meager funds. His roving eyes, however, tell Mairi there’s something else he’ll take in exchange for her brother’s rescue. Though she burns with hatred for the English, she’ll do anything to save her clan.

The crown has made it clear that Phin has two choices: bring in a certain Scottish traitor or hang. And he’s not about to let a tiny, whiskey-eyed woman get in his way, even if she is pointing a gun at him. When Phin learns that Mairi’s brother is the very man he seeks, he’s more than willing to use the lass as bait. But as the moment of capture draws near, Phin is surprised by his feelings for the courageous beauty who has him considering risking his life—for someone besides himself.


Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Pleasing-Pirate-Loveswept-Historical-Romance-ebook/dp/B00EX48V3C/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1392839382&sr=1-2

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/pleasing-the-pirate-sharon-cullen/1116813729?ean=9780345549723

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/pleasing-the-pirate/id720745388?mt=11

BAM: http://www.booksamillion.com/search?query=9780345549723&AID=1099289&PID=2665379&SID=Pleasing+the+Pirate-RandomHouse-9780345549723&where=eBooks


After earning a degree in journalism from Ohio University, Sharon found the stories inside her head were more interesting than what was going on in the world around her. Yet, it wasn’t until years later that she decided to pursue her secret dream of writing a romance novel. Since then she’s been published in romantic suspense, paranormal romance, contemporary romance and historical romance.

The Notorious Lady Anne is Sharon Cullen’s first historical and her debut novel with Loveswept. Look for The Infamous Lord Blythe coming in 2013.

Sharon’s other job descriptions include chauffeur, laundress, cook and mediator to her three very busy kids, her husband and two dogs. She lives in southwest Ohio with her brood although her dream is to someday retire to St. Maarten and live on the beach.

If you’d like to find out more about Sharon and her books, you can visit her at her blog or her website. She’s addicted to social networking so you can find her on Facebook and Twitter. Friend her! Like her! Follow her! She’d love to hang out with you and talk about her passion—books.

Website: http://sharoncullen.net/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SharonCullen

Giveaway! <?P>

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20. Spotlight and Giveaway-A Night with the Bride by Kate McKinley

Today I have a spotlight and giveaway for the By Invitation Only series by Kate McKinley!  You can enter to win a special bound galley of all three novellas in the series!

A DUCHESS IN THE DARK (Forever Yours E-Novella; $0.99)

Miss Daphne Hayward is on the hunt for a safe, honorable husband and she has set her sights on the perfect target. She plans a full-scale seduction that will bring him to his knees, and have him begging for her hand in marriage. But when she mistakenly slips into another man’s bed, the passions that quickly ignite threaten to send her well-laid plans up in smoke.

Ashton Fitzgerald, Duke of Claymore has never been for want of a willing woman in his bed and his rakish ways have become legend in boudoirs and dark corners all across London. But not even Ashton can account for the powerful desire that surges through him when a mysterious woman pays him a clandestine midnight visit. As dawn breaks, his goddess flees before he can learn her identity. Now Ashton will stop at nothing to unmask the identity of the woman who bewitched him body and soul and make her his . . . Forever.

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A COUNTESS BY CHANCE (Forever Yours E-Novella; $0.99)

A gambler’s daughter, Sophia Weatherby knows her way around a deck of cards. So when her family estate becomes threatened, she has no choice but to use her skills at the gaming tables to save herself from ruin. A lavish house party affords her the perfect opportunity-until the newly minted Earl of Huntington arrives. Adam Greyson has never forgotten the day Sophia rejected his proposal. Now to even the score, he challenges her to a shocking wager-his two thousand pounds against the one valuable commodity she has left: her virtue.

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A NIGHT WITH THE BRIDE (Forever Yours E-Novella; $0.99)

While at a lavish house party, Gabriella Weatherfield confidently bets her friends that she can convince the “unseducable” Duke of Somerset to kiss her. But Gabriella’s innocent wager turns wicked when faced with the duke’s intense blue eyes and talented hands. Nicholas Montgomery usually strives to stay away from society, yet there’s no denying Gabriella’s wild beauty or the way she makes him want to lose control for once. Will the fire between them burn out when Gabriella uncovers the inner demons haunting Nicholas? 

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About Kate McKinley: KATE MCKINLEY writes Regency and Fantasy Romance. When she’s not staring at her screen, dreaming up delicious heroes, she’s a wife, mother and part-time assistant.

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Excerpts from the BY INVITATION ONLY series by Kate McKinley


The memory of their first meeting was still vivid in his mind, and it swirled to life more often than he cared to admit. He could still remember the emerald gown she’d worn to James’s wedding, the delicate, slightly breathless look about her when James had introduced them. She was beautiful, with wide blue eyes and fiery red curls, and a smile that had stricken him silent. If she were any other woman, he’d have pursued her relentlessly, but her innocence and her connection as James’s sister-in-law had placed her far beyond his reach.

Until now.

“You can’t possibly mean that.” She scrunched her face in disbelief. “Now let me go before someone catches us.”

“The door is locked. We are quite safe. Unless you wish for someone to happen upon us.” He flashed her a wicked smile.

“Of course not!” Shock looked rather fetching on her. Cheeks flushed, eyes brightened, she was a prime article indeed. Marrying her might not be quite the trial he’d feared. In fact, he rather liked the idea her filling the role as Duchess of Claymore. More than that, he liked the idea of claiming her in every way imaginable.

“Then I’d advise you to lower your voice. The whole house is liable to hear you.”

She pressed her lips together and glared.

“Now,” he said, “where were we?”

He’d had enough women to know what desire looked like and Daphne had it written all over her pretty face—she was just too afraid to admit it. The way she trembled, the way her gaze licked him from head to toe, the way her breath hitched when he drew in close. Oh yes, she was hungry for him indeed.

“I don’t believe you are unaffected by me.” He had her pressed against the bed, so she scrambled atop the mattress and faced him on her knees. “Perhaps I shall prove just how affected you are.”

“Completely unnecessary, Ashton, I assure you,” she said. “I’m perfectly willing to admit you have a certain…appeal, but it’s Edward I intend to…” Her words trailed off as he reached out and brushed a silky tendril of hair off her shoulder, exposing the mark on her neck again. His mark.

“Do you want me to leave? Say the word and I’ll go.”

Boldly, her gaze raked down his bare chest, down to his straining erection. He needed to be inside her, filling her, taking her to the very edge of ecstasy. She licked her lips and shook her head, just a slight movement, but it was all he needed. Triumph shot through him. She wanted him; she was just too frightened to admit it.

“What do you need, Daphne? Tell me.” He needed to ease her into this, seduce her with his words, his tongue, and then perhaps she’d be willing to admit the truth.

Their eyes met and held, before her gaze suddenly flicked away. “I don’t know.”

He advanced, pushing her back against the pillows. Her lips were red, plump, ripe for his kiss. He itched to tear at the fabric of her nightgown and push into her tight, welcoming heat. To bury himself inside her so deeply he’d be a part of her forever.

“Let me show you.”


“Why on earth would you consent to such an outing when you clearly have no talent for riding? You would have done better to stay home.”

She stiffened, indignant. “I ride exceptionally well, thank you kindly.”

He smiled, flashing that damnable dimple in the side of his cheek. “I think we both know you can ride only marginally well. I wouldn’t even venture to call your

skills on a horse sufficient. Certainly not well enough to be traipsing through muddy fields alone.”

Her cheeks heated. How dare he! The truth of his statement was of little consequence. Her pride flared, and before she could think better of it, she said, “My skills can hardly be measured while riding such an impossible creature. This horse is unnaturally ornery. I venture to say that even you, my lord, couldn’t command her.”

“You are wrong about that, Miss Dewhurst. I can be quite persuasive when the mood strikes.” His hot gaze raked down her body, briefly stopping at her breasts, then meandering down to the V between her thighs. His lips twisted into a delicious, knowing smile. “Or don’t you remember?”

Heat surged through her like a cresting wave. Of course she remembered. One didn’t easily forget passion so potent, so unyieldingly intense.

Swallowing, she glanced away. “You seem quite sure of yourself.”

He shrugged. “I’m capable enough.”

She licked her lips. “In that case, how about a little friendly wager?”

Her father, a retired gambler, had taught his only child a great many things. First among them, strike quickly when you have the advantage. Huntington would be fortunate to get Chocolate to move, let alone run.

His lips twisted into that arrogant smirk that had never failed to annoy her. “That all depends on the prize, Miss Dewhurst.”

“Two hundred pounds says you cannot outrun me with this horse.”

With his sleek gelding, she was sure to win. And two hundred pounds would be enough to pay for her father’s medicine, and a little extra besides. She smiled sweetly.

He leaned in, his big, imposing body impossibly close. “Two thousand.”

Her breath caught. She had no hope of paying him two hundred pounds if she lost, let alone two thousand. “You know I don’t have two thousand pounds.”

It was no secret. While she and her father struggled to conceal the true desperation

of their situation, all of England knew the money—everything—was gone. Only the family estate remained, derelict and neglected, but untouched by creditors.

Boldly, he reached out and traced her lips with the tip of his finger, a barely there touch that sent shivers of awareness skipping down her spine. She should push him away. It was the proper thing to do. Instead, her eyelids fluttered closed as she absorbed his touch. It took every drop of self-control not to reach out and pull him into a deep, delicious kiss. She still remembered the feel of his lips against hers, the fierce, unrelenting need that followed in the wake of his touch.

“As it happens, you do have something I want.” His voice was low, seductive, and it reminded her of the warm afternoons they’d spent together, talking, laughing, kissing…

His hand fell away and she opened her eyes, blinking. That she had something he wanted seemed impossible. She was destitute, on the brink of ruin. She had nothing.

He leaned in closer, his warm breath brushing over her cheek, and whispered in her ear. “Two thousand pounds if you win.”

She swallowed. “And if I lose?”

“I get you.”


“There is rumor that you are looking for a wife. Is that true?”

His gaze turned wicked. “Indeed, I am. Are you volunteering, Miss Weatherfield?”

Oh! Is that what he thought—that she had designs to become his wife? “No, no,” she said quickly. “No.” She shook her head. “I am most certainly not volunteering. No.”

He lifted a brow. “You follow me out onto the terrace, alone, your gown enticingly tight, and ask me if I am in the market for a wife.”

She glanced down at her gown and frowned. It was perhaps a little tight, but not improperly so. She looked up at him. “I am not in want of a husband, I can assure you—”

“Then what is it you want?”

She stepped forward, her gaze fixed on his mouth, mesmerized by the perfection of his lips. “A kiss.” The words slipped out, a whisper, and she blinked.

Oh, dear God, she’d said that out loud. She hadn’t meant to blurt it out so abruptly.

“Young women don’t make such admissions, and certainly not to men they’ve just met.” He laughed and the rich, heady sound made her heart flutter wildly. “Miss Weatherfield, you are playing a dangerous game.”

She swallowed. “You’re a duke of the realm and trustworthy, by all accounts.” Rumored to be mad as well, but it seemed unwise to mention that just now. “Surely I have nothing to fear from you.”

Again, not entirely true, but she was perfectly safe on a terrace, outside a house

that was filled to the brim with people. No harm would come to her, she was sure of it.

“You seem so certain, yet you know nothing of my character.” With every word, he inched closer. She took a step back, then another, until she was pressed up against the granite banister with nowhere to go. “Do you?”

She swallowed. He was so close she could smell the mint leaf on his breath, feel the intense heat of his body. “I have nothing to fear from you,” she repeated, infusing her tone with confidence she didn’t feel.

Something dark flickered in his eyes, and she felt a moment of apprehension. His gaze was intent, predatory, and her body hummed with anticipation.

He brushed a gloved finger down her bare arm, causing tingles to spread in its wake. “Don’t you?”

Yes, perhaps she did. This man was quite dangerous, in all the most tantalizing ways. Those intense blue eyes, that smooth, enigmatic charm, did things to her—wicked, delicious things.

With one step closer, he pressed against her intimately, his lower half pinning her to the banister. He stretched an arm out on either side of her, caging her in. He was all warmth and decadence, all powerful male virility.

In that moment, she realized what had been missing with all those other gentlemen—why she’d never felt compelled to accept their proposals. It was this. Unlike the other men, Somerset made her feel vibrant, unrestrained. He made her feel alive.

“If you want a kiss, Miss Weatherfield, you’ll have to earn it.”


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21. Interview with Philippa Ballantine, Author of Weather Child and Giveaway!


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

[Philippa Ballantine] Optimistic, determined, sociable, happy traveller.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Weather Child?

[Philippa Ballantine] Weather Child is a historical fantasy, set in New Zealand of the 1920s and 30s. It is the story of a pair of people, who are one of the magicians in New Zealand. It takes in many years, as Faith and Jack must discover a grand conspiracy to use the magicians. 

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

[Philippa Ballantine] My favorite scene is where Faith, the Weather Child, summons the storm, and accidentally targets the wrong person. It is the moment she meets Jack, and she makes quite the impression.

Turning his head, Jack saw that the darkness was gone, and that the far end of the room once more was visible. Obviously his unwelcome guest had chosen flight in those moments before bedlam.

Staggering to his feet, fighting all the time against the wind, Jack saw something that certainly didn’t happen in the city every day. Hanging in the swirling centre of the mini tornado, only ten feet away in mid-air two stories up, was a girl. In an instant he had summed her up; not beautiful, but striking, with strong cheekbones, and full determined lips. Her hair was long, brown angry curls, and her dress was in danger of being ripped apart by the force of the powers she commanded.

He had no doubt that she was holding the reins of this tumult. Even as Waingaio told him that, Jack had confirmation; the young woman’s eyes were clear orbs of gold. It was the one sure sign that the human was no longer in control, but had surrendered to the leech.

Those terrifying eyes flickered over the scene; taking in the tied forms, the dropped heads, and the man standing in the midst of it all with a bared blade.

“Oh dammit…” Jack said, realising the instant her eyes turned back to him exactly what this looked like. This was one woman that he didn’t want to have angry with him. A pity he comprehended that a moment too late.

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

[Philippa Ballantine] Writing the story wasn’t the hard part. Finding someone to publish it was. My agent pitched it to New York houses, but time and time again she was told ‘Americans don’t want to read stories set in NZ’. Being the determined type I set out to prove them wrong by publishing it myself.

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

[Philippa Ballantine] My cellphone! I need it for writing down sudden ideas, communicating with my family back in New Zealand, or just searching for answers to those tricky questions about movies my husband always tends to ask me.

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

[Philippa Ballantine] A Jaeger toy from Pacific Rim, a microphone for podcasting moments, and a giant fluffy cat.

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

[Philippa Ballantine] I would love to swap places with Sir Patrick Stewart, just so I could hang out with Sir Ian McKellan…he looks like a lot of fun.

[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?

[Philippa Ballantine] Much like Faith, I would love to control the Weather. I am pretty sick of snow right now! It would also be nice to able to guarantee the weather you get for any events. I could certainly make money securing the right weather conditions for brides!

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

[Philippa Ballantine] I love Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Lock Lamora, and I just finished Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

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

[Philippa Ballantine] Oh so many ways. You can find my webpage pjballantine.com. I am on Twitter as PhilippaJane and we have a Facebook page for our steampunk series https://www.facebook.com/TheMinistryOfPeculiarOccurrences

About the book: 

Weather Child

The Awakened Epoch

Book One

Philippa Ballantine

Genre: Historical Fantasy

Publisher: Imagine That! Studios

Date of Publication: 1st March 2014

ISBN: 978-0615953489


Word Count: 105,000

Cover Artist: Alex White

Book Description:

Never alone. Never apart.

They are the Awakened, a unique breed of people in a remote corner of the world. Faith is one of these gifted carriers of the Seraphim; and in return of her unconditional love, her Seraphim grants her powers of incredible potential.

But not all carriers embrace their blessing.

Jack loathes being an Awakened. He never asked for it, his Seraphim keeping him alive even in spite of his desire to die. Not even a great war could rid him of this curse.

Now a magician of incredible ability and a walking dead man must find a way to work together to save the Seraphim. Someone covets the power of the Awakened, and will not stop until that power belongs to him.

About the Author:

New Zealand born fantasy writer and podcaster Philippa (Pip) Ballantine is the author of the Books of the Order and the Shifted World series. She is also the co-author with her husband Tee Morris of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences novels. Her awards include an Airship, a Parsec, the Steampunk Chronicle Reader’s Choice, and a Sir Julius Vogel. She currently resides in Manassas, Virginia with her husband, daughter, and a furry clowder of cats.

Twitter: @PhilippaJane

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

Website: http://www.pjballantine.com/


The train squealed as they landed on the narrow walkway between the final car and the coal wagon. Faith managed to catch herself before rolling off, but her hat came loose and was lost into the dust.

Scrambling up, they could see over the pile of coal the pale and astonished face of the engineer. He was taking in the fire and the creature that he could obviously see. He disappeared back again. The train sped up and Wirimu and Faith were forced back into the ruined carriage by the swaying of the train.

“He’s not going to risk stopping in Paraparaumu,” Wirimu yelled over the screaming of the wheels. “He’ll push on to Shorecliff where there is a police presence.”

It made sense, and Faith was thankful for the quick thinking of government employees. Glancing behind her, Faith knew they couldn’t be far from the tunnel.

“You go unhook the back carriages from this one,” she instructed Wirimu. “I can’t risk an all-out battle with so many civilians. I’ll hold her off. Quick, there’s a tunnel.” Mid sentence she had already delved into her magic, Hoa leaping to aid her. The wind began to scream even louder than the train. It filled her with satisfaction and completeness just as always. When it was in her, she was more than just human; she was the living, breathing embodiment of nature’s might.

Seeing the oncoming darkness and feeling the wind begin to batter at the sides of the train, Wirimu didn’t ask any further questions. He dashed back along the now pitted and ruined first class carriage, just as the train plunged into the darkness of the tunnel.

Time slowed. It wasn’t a trick of Faith’s perception or magic; she sensed that immediately. The train was slowly shuddering, where as mere moments before it had been bucking like a wily rodeo horse. Only two remaining lights at the far end of the carriage gave any illumination, but it was enough.

Not even a small woman could have stood atop the roof of the train as it passed into the tunnel, so when the creature appeared in the window to one side of Faith, she was not surprised. The claws that had been twisted from the girl’s once charming little hands were locked around the melding of the window without any apparent difficulty. The golden eyes peered in at Faith with burning fury, but she had the real impression it was not staring at her, so much as through her to the seraph within.

The moment, trapped in amber, passed. Faith heard an almighty clank as the back end of the train fell away. The engine, stoked to full capacity, leapt forward eagerly, but like the well-seasoned traveller she was, Faith managed to keep her feet.

While her attacker shot a glance back, distracted perhaps by losing its audience, she threw the wind at it. The glass exploded and the walls of the carriage bulged as the might of a Wellington southerly wind confined in a small space smashed at that which Hoa found hateful. It pummelled the creature with broken glass, and then, with the full force of a gale. The glaring gold eyes flared wide, but whatever dwelt inside was still beholden to the demands of the real world. The claws scrambled on the side, but couldn’t hold forever.

The long dead girl’s voice howled in anger, before the wind picked up the creature and smashed it against the last few feet of the tunnel.

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22. Meet Clare Greenough from The Bride Insists by Jane Ashford and Giveaway!


[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Clare!  Please describe yourself in five words or less.

[Clare] intelligent capable loving trustworthy passionate

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share a typical day in the life of Clare Greenough?

[Clare] I prefer to rise early. There is still a great deal of work to be done at Trehearth House after so many years of neglect. I also like to stay a step ahead of the twins, and make certain they do some lessons, at least. I lure them along with topics they enjoy and the promise of a ride on their ponies afterward. In the afternoons, I sometimes visit neighbors, ride or walk. Over dinner, we talk as a family about our day. I love to hear the progress Jamie has made around the estate. Tamson and Tegan often have…fascinating exploits to share as well. Then the twins are off to bed. And since marrying, I have discovered that nights have a magic all their own.

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

[Clare] alluring infuriating beloved

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you find most exasperating about him?

[Clare] His failure to pay attention to his sisters.

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

[Clare] I wish that during my mother’s last illness, I had fought even harder against my cousin Simon’s refusal to help.

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

[Clare] My self-possession.

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

[Clare] I can see that you place great value on economy in language. I will do my best. True partnership with Jamie; a happy family.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

[Clare] It was indeed kind of you to invite me for a visit.


She Thinks She’s Bought a Compliant Husband

Although Clare Greenough has inherited an unexpected fortune, her money is in the hands of a trustee until she marries—everyone knows a woman is incapable of managing funds. What she needs is an easygoing husband, right away…

They’re Both in for a Shock

She makes a deal with impetuous young James Boleigh, seventh Baron Trehearth: they will marry, Clare will get control of her money, and Jamie will get the funds he desperately needs to restore his lands. To stave off ruin, Jamie agrees, believing Clare will soon become a proper, submissive wife. But to expect a serene, passionless marriage was only their first mistake…

Praise for The Bride Insists

“Perfectly delightful Regency romance… Remarkably executed.” —Publishers Weekly

“Ashford captures the reader’s interest with her keen knowledge of the era and her deft writing. … a charming plot and just the right amount of sensuality.” —RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars


Jane Ashford discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was captivated by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England. That delight was part of what led her to study English literature and travel widely in Britain and Europe. She has written historical and contemporary romances, and her books have been published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, the Czech Republic, and Spain, as well as the U.S. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. Born in Ohio, she now lives in LA. For more information, please visit http://janeashford.com/.

To purchase The Bride Insists:


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23. Interview with Robyn DeHart, Author of No Ordinary Mistress

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

[Robyn DeHart] Loyal, sassy, emotional, bossy and funny.

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

[Robyn DeHart] Of course. It’s the first in my Masquerading Mistresses series, a Regency-set series which will consist of three novellas about elite spies in the organization called the Seven. In this first one, No Ordinary Mistress, you’ll read Remy and Emma’s story – it’s a reunion story, of sorts, and once together the sparks fly.

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

[Robyn DeHart] Too hard to pick a favorite scene, but here’s a little snippet from one of them…

“You will still be on assignment searching for the link between Comfry and the other traitors, not to mention his killer. By working with Remy, he can get you into places that you cannot go yourself.”

“Of all the men in the Seven, why must I work with him?” She didn’t want to be paired up with any man, least of all Remy, who tempted her so and muddled her thoughts and made her wish for all the things she could never have.

“Did you not tell her any of this?” Remy asked.

“No, I thought I’d wait until we were all here together.”

“Coward,” Remy said with another grin.

“Tell me what, precisely?”

“You’ll be posing as my mistress, sweetheart,” Remy said with a lecherous wink.

Emma came to her feet. “I shall do no such thing.” She turned to Harrison. Working with Remy would be bad enough, but pretending to be his mistress? It was intolerable! “There must be another way.”

“We need to make certain you’re protected while we investigate the murder. We can’t afford to pull you from the assignment altogether. You know Comfry’s circumstances and habits better than anyone else. We cannot know if the killer saw you or knew you were there,” Harrison said. “Remy is a qualified spy, Emma. He will take good care of you.”

Her training had taught her how to slow her breathing, gentle her pounding heart, so she could appear in command of her faculties. Inside, though, she stewed in turmoil.

“Indeed.” Remy leaned forward, bracing his elbows on his knees. “And I’ve been needing a new mistress.”

Emma rolled her eyes. “You are a pig.” Her fate was sealed.

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

[Robyn DeHart] Initially the hero did. Originally his name was Grant and things just weren’t working. I decided to rename him and went with Remington AKA Remy and once I did that, he came to life for me. Strange how things like that happen sometimes. 

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

[Robyn DeHart] Probably my phone. 

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

[Robyn DeHart] My planner (I’m addicted!), post-it notes and pens.

[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?

[Robyn DeHart] I’m not sure it’s a superpower, but it seems like one to me. I wish I were one of those people who could survive on like 5 hours of sleep at night. It seems like I could get so much more done if I could sleep less. 

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

[Robyn DeHart] Most recently I read The DUFF by Kody Klepinger, it’s a YA, which I don’t read a lot of b/c I find so much of it un-relatable. But this one really resonated with me and it was just so good. I loved it!

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

[Robyn DeHart] So many ways! I’m online a lot so readers can find me on Facebook and Twitter. And I’m a total Pinterest junkie. I also love to send special stuff to my newsletter subscribers so that’s a good thing to sign up for. Here are all my links.

website – http://www.robyndehart.com

twitter – https://twitter.com/RobynDeHart

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/robyndehart?ref=profile

author Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Robyn-DeHart-Historical-Romance-Author/221241264564538?ref=hl

series Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/littlebitwicked?ref=hl

goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/288853.Robyn_DeHart

newsletter – http://www.robyndehart.com/newsletter/

Thanks so much for having me!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

Title: No Ordinary Mistress
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Robyn DeHart
Publisher: Entangled Scandalous
Language: English
Format: Ebook

London, 1814

Remington Hawthorne, Earl of Latham, has spent his life protecting the Crown. When he’s assigned to play the part of lover to Emma Masterson, one of the few female spies in England and the one woman he can’t forget, he’ll have to risk his heart as well as his life.

It isn’t easy being an independent woman, much less a spy. Perpetually tasked with proving she is as valuable as any man in her profession, the last thing Emma needs is to be reunited with the one man who makes her want to forget her duties and get lost in passion.

Pretending to be his mistress isn’t difficult—remembering that it is all a charade is the challenge. With every glance, every touch, every kiss, she is drawn deeper under his spell and pulled further from her goals. She refused him once, but it will take every ounce of strength to not give in to the passion that still burns strong…


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24. Interview with Joan Avery, Author of Love’s Revenge


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

[Joan Avery] Wife, mother, writer, brutally honest (don’t ask about the last one. lol)

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

[Joan Avery] I ran across the term Remittance Man while traveling in the American west and became fascinated by the concept.  What would cause a second or third son of British aristocracy to be banished from his own country and forced to live on an eldest brother’s ‘remittance’ checks?  I also wanted the book to include a theme that today’s readers might identify with.  Certainly child custody is as relevant today as ever. The laws in 1880 did not automatically favor women. The thought that a child you consider your son might be ripped from your arms is heart-stopping.  These two concepts were the driving force behind “Love’s Revenge.”  There’s a wonderful excerpt on Entangled’s website Entangledpublishing.com. 

By the way this is the first of a series which includes the hero and two of his brothers all of whom are English peers who meet and marry American women in three different parts of the world.

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

[Joan Avery] That’s a hard one.  I have several. They all involve Kate and Stephen coming to the realization that the stereotypes which they have clung to must be discarded.  Whether it’s Kate facing Stephen, a Remittance Man, or being challenged by the Native Americans she meets, or Stephen overcoming the resentment he feels toward Kate.  Of course, there’s also a great climactic love scene! 

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

[Joan Avery] Portraying the Native Americans in the book in an honest and three dimensional way.  I felt it was a heavy obligation.

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

[Joan Avery] My Lactaid pills.  For those of you who are lactose intolerant, no explanation needed.  For anyone else, trust me on this, you don’t want to be around me after I eat dairy unless I have these magical little pills.

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

[Joan Avery] A “Minion” from the movie Despicable Me.  He has his hands raised.  I’m not sure if it represents frustration or elation. 

A “Women Who Work Too Much” calendar. There are days when this saves my mental health. 

And, of course, my laptop.  

[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?

[Joan Avery] Great Question!  Sorry, got to get serious here.  I think it would be the power to enable people to understand and make room in their heads and hearts for people who hold different beliefs and cultural backgrounds. Traveling the world has made me very sensitive to this. (I remember a moment when my husband and I were sitting in a Mosque in Cairo Egypt and our guide asked if our marriage was a “love match.”  I explained that it was.  I then asked him about a man in the mosque who appeared to have two wives and several children with him.  The guide carefully explained the requirements under Muslim law for a man who wishes to take a second wife.  It was a wonderful exchange.)

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

[Joan Avery] I read general fiction as a break from Historical Romances.  I found “Room” by Emma Donoghue riveting, and thought provoking.  “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd is the kind of Historical fiction I love.  Kate Atkinson’s “Life After Life” was challenging to read but thought-provoking in a ‘what if’ kind of way.

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

[Joan Avery] I’d love to have people find me on my web page joanavery.com.  Leave a post on facebook https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJoanAvery or

goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1574046.Joan_Avery

Or on my Amazon page http://www.amazon.com/Joan-Avery/e/B001KI7ZBS/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1393014840&sr=8-1

I would love to hear what people think of the book. 

Thanks so much for the opportunity to share with you.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

About the book:

Title: Love’s Revenge
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Joan Avery
Publisher: Entangled Scandalous
Language: English
Pages: 266
Format: Ebook

St. Louis, Missouri, 1879

Heiress Kate Barker thought she’d met the man of her dreams the night the mysterious English viscount swept her off her feet at the masquerade. Until his real identity is revealed – the cold, calculating scoundrel is really there to rip her world apart.

The only things that have kept widower Stephen Worth alive for the past two years are the promise of revenge against the man who framed him for murder and the love for Andy, his son, who was taken by the beautiful but vexing sister of his dead wife. He didn’t know what to expect when he met Kate, but it wasn’t undeniable desire.

Torn by attraction, driven by hatred, tempered by their love for a child, Stephen and Kate fight their growing feelings across the country to the wilds of Colorado. If he cannot convince Kate to trust him before she learns the truth about his past, he could lose Andy – but his demons are all the ammunition she needs to keep the boy for good.


Joan Avery has spent over thirty five years in advertising and advertising related businesses including over fifteen as a producer of Radio and Television commercials for companies as diverse as Cadillac and Whirlpool.

She discovered the joy of writing after switching from full-time to part-time employment with the birth of the first of her three children. They joined her two older stepsons to make a fairly large family. She lives with her husband in a Detroit suburb and enjoys traveling.

She believes that nothing opens your eyes like seeing a whole new culture with different tastes and values. The only thing that remains the same is love.
It is a universal language.

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25. Guest Post and Giveaway-Monica McCarty, Author of The Raider!

Recently, I asked Monica McCarty to share 5 things a Highlander would never be without (other than his kilt).  Check out her responses, and enter to win a copy of The Raider!

Five items a Highlander is never without (other than his kilt) by Monica McCarty:

1. His mighty clan fortress (aka his castle, preferably on a windswept more or rocky coastline)

2. A dark and sexy burr

3. His sporran (it is not a man-purse!)

4. His strength, toughness, and tenacity (and maybe just a tad bit of stubbornness :)

5. His very big claymore (I mean his sword, of course!)

I also asked Monica to share her favorite line from The Raider –

Monica: The most memorable to me is what Robbie says to Rosalin as he’s leaving her in the tent after they arrive at camp in the forest. It’s what follows, “To celebrate a successful raid.” He’s furious with her and it’s a little crude, so I’ll have to leave it at that.

About the book:

After consolidating his gains against the enemy English, King Robert the Bruce of Scotland sends his best soldiers to fortify the lawless borders. These legendary warriors of the Highland Guard let nothing come before king and country—except the calling of their heart.

Of all Bruce’s elite warriors, Robert “Raider” Boyd is the most formidable. A true patriot whose bare hands are a deadly weapon, Robbie is the fierce enforcer of the Guard, and his hatred of the English has been honed to a razor-sharp edge. But vengeance proves bittersweet when his enemy’s beautiful sister falls into his hands and he finds himself fighting temptation—a battle he badly wants to lose.

Lady Rosalin Clifford barely recognizes the rebel prisoner she saved from execution six years ago. Though her girlish ideals for fairness have matured into a passion for justice, Rosalin believes she betrayed her brother when she helped this dangerous man escape.  Now her traitorous act has come back to haunt her. But she can’t deny the longing this tormented warrior ignites in her, or deny the passion that turns sworn enemies into lovers. Is the gentle love of a true English Rose enough to free Scotland’s most brutal warrior from a path of vengeance—before it’s too late?

About the author:

Monica McCarty is the bestselling author of The Hunter, The Recruit, The Saint, The Viper, The Ranger, The Hawk, and The Chief, the first seven books in the Highland Guard series, the Highlander trilogy Highlander Untamed, Highlander Unmasked, and Highlander Unchained, and the Campbell trilogy Highland Warrior, Highland Outlaw, and Highland Scoundrel. Her interest in the Scottish clan system began in the most unlikely of places: a comparative legal history course at Stanford Law School. After a short but enjoyable stint as an attorney, she realized that her career as a lawyer set against her husband’s transitory life as a professional baseball player was not exactly a match made in heaven. So she traded in her legal briefs for Scottish historical romances with sexy alpha heroes. Monica McCarty lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and their two children.

Win a print copy of The Raider! US addresses only, please

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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