Friday, August 29, 2014

REVIEW: The Golden Widows by Isolde Martyn

BLURB

Two young women on opposing sides find their lives wrecked by battle...can they be restored by love?

As sister to Warwick the Kingmaker and cousin to the new young
King Edward IV, Kate Neville finds herself on the winning side of the latest bloody battle of the War of the Roses — and under pressure to marry again. Kate’s family want to ensure her new husband will be someone they control, such as the king’s handsome chamberlain, Lord William Hastings, but Kate is refusing. Hastings has a reputation as a womaniser and she wants a man who won’t betray her like her first husband did. But the debonair Hastings is determined to win her heart. Can she thwart her brother’s plans for her?

Elysabeth Woodville is a beautiful young woman, much adored by her husband, Sir John Grey. But when he is killed in battle on the losing side and named as a traitor, his estate is seized by the Yorkists and Elysabeth finds herself penniless and friendless. In her desperate struggle to restore her sons’ inheritance, she finds herself not only kneeling before her enemy but winning his heart. Is she is too proud to become his mistress? Or does the King of England love her enough to ignore his friends’ advice and make her his queen?

In the precarious peace of a bloody civil war, can love heal wounds and reunite families?



MY REVIEW

The Golden Widows by Isolde Martyn was a fantastic piece of historical fiction. Once I started I found it impossible to put down! I love historical fiction that gives me a new perspective on the lives of people I have read about previously. This novel let me look at what Elysabeth Woodville’s life might have been like BEFORE she met King Edward IV. All of the other novels that I have read that she has been a part of have been about her life when she first met the king or after she met him. They include the romantic way they met and married, and then the books are about her life as a queen, and about her children. It was interesting to read about what her life might have been like with her first husband, Sir John Grey. I had always wondered what her life was like before becoming queen, and I thought it was interesting to see Ms. Martyn’s idea of what her first marriage and life were like. It was also interesting to see what the great Earl of Warwick’s sister’s life was like. I had never read about Kate Neville before this book, but she definitely had an interesting life. Most novels focus on her brother, The Kingmakers life, so it was refreshing to see what another member of his family was doing at the time he was making kings and causing problems between King Edward and his brothers!

I am so glad that I came across this novel on Netgalley, and that they accepted my request to read and review it. I will definitely be looking forward to other novels by Isolde Martyn!


I give this novel a FIVE out of FIVE stars!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Isolde is a lady with an absolute passion for history and writing historical fiction is a wonderful way to share her enthusiasm.

Winning both a RITA-award (the romance equivalant of an Oscar) in the USA plus the mainstream 'Romantic Novel of the Year Award' in Australia for her debut novel The Maiden and the Unicorn was a tremendous thrill after years when 'Life' just got in the way of writing! Being married to a geologist, whose job took him away into the field a great deal, meant that for many years bringing up their two children always came first for her.

Isolde grew up in London and has a History Honours degree from the University of Exeter, UK, with a specialisation in Yorkist England, a lifelong passion. Falling into conversation with a post-graduate at a bus stop in Dorset, she somehow found herself moving to Perth, Western Australia, half a year later. She has since warned young women waiting at that particular bus stop that casual conversations can lead to a change of continents.

Since arriving in Australia, she has worked as a university history tutor, research assistant and archivist. Her other career has been editing and she was a Senior Book Editor with a major international publishing house before writing fiction full-time. She now divides her time between Sydney and the UK, and one of her delights is in being Vice-Chair of the Plantagent Society of Australia, which she co-founded with five other enthusiasts twelve years ago. And, by the way, Bus Stop Day is still an annual celebration!



Thursday, August 28, 2014

SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY, & EXCERPT: The Lady Quill Chronicles by D.D. Chant

Lady Quill Chronicles - Tour Banner
 

BOOK INFORMATION

TITLE – The Promise (book #1) The Vow (book #2) SERIES – The Lady Quill Chronicles AUTHOR – D.D. Chant GENRE – Historical Fiction/romance/adventure/mystery PUBLICATION DATE – 3rd March 2012 / 28th July 2014 LENGTH (Pages/# Words) – 95.620 words / 108.290 words PUBLISHER – Self-Publish COVER ARTIST – D.D. Chant

BOOK SYNOPSIS (The Promise & The Vow)

The Promise Cover

Dear Reader,

I wish to tell you a tale that began with a promise destined to change the lives of many.
When only a child, Lady Adele of Berron lost her family during a dreadful battle and was betrothed to a stranger.

Lord Rafe of Valrek, only a boy himself when the battle of Calis raged, grew to be a feared warrior and trusted advisor to his King. But sadness filled his past and Adele served only to remind him of all he had lost.
However the promise that bound these two together caused great anger to some. What, Dear Reader, happened in those days of treachery and darkness? Incline your ear that I may whisper the secrets that you so desire to hear......

Lady Quill


The Vow - Book Cover
 
Dear Reader,

My next story begins with Velrek, where Lord Rafe and Lady Adele's arrival was cause for much celebration and rejoicing.
However Finan of Gournay, Rafe's foster brother and the captain of Valreks army, could not help a lingering feeling of worry.
Were Rafe and Adele truly safe from Lord Kyule's hate?

Adding to Finan's problems was the unsettling presence of Rafe's sister, Lady Esme. Used to keeping his distance from the woman of Valrek, Finan found that he could no longer escape as before.
As danger and treachery enveloped Valrek, Finan and Esme found themselves drawn together to fight the shadowy assailant that threatened the lives of those they loved.
What secrets would they unearth in their search for the enemy that taunted them?
Would they find that their stories were more closely linked than either of them ever knew?
Allow me please to answer these questions...

Lady Quill


AvailableOnAmazonSmashwords
 

BUY & TBR LINKS





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EXCERPT (The Promise)

Rafe watched as Adele pushed a wisp of hair back from her cheek and tucked it behind her ear. She was unaware of his eyes upon her, all her attention was on the robin that hopped about on the frozen earth, pecking at the crumbs she had scattered for it. She must be tired, she had to be. Eda was even now asleep, curled up in the shelter of a fallen log. It was Eda who had begged for rest, for food, but never once had Adele demanded anything, no word of complaint had passed her lips. Still he was uneasy. Adele and Eda had talk in a desultory manner, but there had been silence between himself and her for too long. At first he had not noticed, his head was too full of plans and worries for him to spare a thought for conversation. But for a long while he had been conscious of the deafening silence between them and had been made uncomfortable by it. That was strange in itself because he had been used to long marches from an early age and had never found the quiet awkward before. Certainly he had never voluntarily conversed with any lady not related to him. He was surprised to find that the hush had become oppressive and longed for her to say something, however inconsequential, to show him that she was not upset by his having ignored her for so long. Maybe he should talk to her, but he could think of nothing to say. The robin, encouraged by Adele’s stillness and enticed by the crumbs, bravely moved a little nearer. Adele smiled breaking another piece of rye bread and crumbling it between her fingers before dropping them to the floor. The robin fluttered away nervously and Adele laughed. “’Tis only crumbs, you silly thing.” The robin cocked its head to one side, regarding her speculatively from one beady eye before hopping a little nearer. He was so close that Rafe could see with incredible clarity the overlapping feathers on his bright red chest and he realised that he had never really looked at a robin before, not really looked. “He’s a handsome fellow, isn’t he?” Rafe was startled to hear Adele’s warm and friendly voice. He looked up to find her regarding him from wide, clear eyes. “Welcome back to the land of the living, you were gone a long time you know.” She was still smiling, there was no reproach in her words. “I was thinking,” answered Rafe apologetically. “Forgive me, I have not been very good company for you.” “You are worried,” shrugged Adele. “I only hope that you have found some solution to the problem that vexes you so. It is not pleasant to be always troubled.” She scattered a few more crumbs for the waiting robin. “You know, this little fellow reminds me of a passage in the Bible.” Adele smiled again. “When Jesus was teaching upon the Mount of Olives and he said to take a lesson from the lilies of the field because they neither toil nor spin but even Solomon in all his glory was not comparable to one of them.” Her serene eyes drifted up to meet his gaze. “’Tis true; for I have never yet seen a fabric that could equal this little robin redbreast.” Rafe stared hard into her softly unfocused eyes for some moments. “You are a very unusual girl.” The words slipped from his mouth before he could check them. Adele’s eyes met his and, for the first time in the short while he had known her, he saw that they were clouded with uncertainty. It had been meant as a compliment, in his own mind it had been a praising description, although it was true that he never meant to speak the words out loud. It seemed that although she might well be unusual, she did have one thing in common with the rest of her sex. That was the belief that in a woman, unusual was not an epithet to aspire to. She had taken the comment to be little better than a slight and was embarrassed, he could tell. It was with some surprise that he discovered that he would have given a great deal to unsay those words, or to come into possession of others that would assure her of his meaning. But he had none. He knew not how to converse with women, although there were many who would have refuted that statement. Rafe was held as a favourite with ladies, they thought him charming, attentively courteous and yet still retaining that elusive air of reckless danger. Rafe had never been easy in their company, it had rendered him silent. Strangely enough this silence had the effect of inspiring admiration in female hearts and these ladies believed that his lack of words had betrayed a great depth of emotion and sympathy. Gradually he had learnt to suffer the discomfort he felt in their presence stoically. He had never found their conversation particularly interesting, but then again he had not found it to be fraught with as many difficulties as conversation with Adele so often was. Indeed these ladies would have said, had they been asked, that it was possible to converse with Lord Rafe in complete openness. Rafe was innately polite and had always listened to their prattle in well concealed boredom, leaving them with the impression that he was a wonderfully sensitive man, with whom a lady could always enjoy a deep and meaningful conversation in which the souls of the principals had been poured out with unrestrained and frank honesty. The fact that Lord Rafe rarely said a word, but listened in silence while the Lady in question divested herself of her opinions on every subject under the sun, completely escaped them. This left said Lady with the impression that Rafe were something of a fountain of wisdom. Thankfully there had never been the need to say very much, for it had often been his reflection that ladies were quite capable of holding a conversation without the participation of a second party. In fact they seemed vaguely put out when one interrupted them half way through their monologue. It was different with Adele, she required active participation. To her conversation was to learn about others, not discussing, at length and in great detail, her own feelings and needs. He should have found the change refreshing, and in a way he did, but he found it alarming too. Adele would have been greatly surprised to know that he had any interest in her at all and her opinion of this last remark was not well defined. She was conscious of a sinking feeling of disappointment, tangled up with hurt and embarrassment. It had never occurred to Adele that she might be different to other girls, for she had thought that the whole point of her training at the fort was that she might conform to the idea of a proper wife. It came as something of a shock to find that this was not so and she knew a sudden and uncomfortable fear that perhaps she would not please Lord Rafe, that he too would be disappointed. “Are you thirsty, Lady Adele?” Rafe didn’t know what she was thinking, but he misliked the look of perturbed concentration on her face. She looked up at him, not having heard what he had said but knowing that he had addressed her. Her large, troubled eyes met his and he felt as if the breath were knocked from his body, suddenly he heard himself speaking. “I did not mean that!” He registered the meaning of his words and began to stammer. “That is… ‘tis not that I didn’t mean it, ‘tis just… I just…” He broke off, unsure if his tangled explanations were making it worse. He was relieved to find that the worry had faded from her eyes and that they were filled with the beginnings of mirth. “You are funny when you become nervous.” “I’m not nervous!” Rafe looked vaguely revolted by this description. “It is only that I did not mean it like that.” Again he looked sheepish. “All I meant was, that to be different… ’tis good... that is, Lord Rafe will be pleased.” He broke off abruptly again. “You do not think Lord Rafe will mind?” asked Adele blushing. “You think he will like it, Finn?” “I… yes.” Rafe cleared his throat and stood, looking in the direction in which they had come. The conversation was becoming a little too complicated, too difficult. He even had a vague suspicion that the discussion should not have been taking place. As he looked through the trees, his eyes keen and searching, worry entered his face. Adele saw it, saw his mind change track and begin on lines wholly different to those of a few moments before. He was gone again, lost to her as a companion. Though his form was still there standing across from her, his mind was somewhere else, somewhere along the trail that they had traversed, restless, questing, searching for answers, for something that she did not know. “Finn?” Rafe turned at the sound of her voice, it was low, gently probing and for a few seconds he said nothing as he tried to recover his wondering thoughts. She didn’t speak again, did not question him, but sat looking up, her eyes placid, waiting for him to say something. He had the feeling that she was not requesting confidences, but merely seeking reassurance, the comfort of companionship with another person. “You look tired.” “So do you,” she replied. “In truth I think you must be more weary than I, for ‘tis you who must bear the responsibility of our journey.” She stole a look up at him from beneath lowered lashes. “And I think you are plagued by much worry, more even than befits the gravity of our situation.” Rafe was taken back, few were the people who could read his thoughts with such a degree of perspicacity, and rare was the person who could hold their curiosity in check, questioning not from whence these other worries came. For some reason her understanding unsettled him. “We have yet much ground to cover before we make camp tonight, it is best that we move along now.”
Facebook.LQC.

EXCERPT (The Vow)

The night was black as pitch, so dark that Finan could not make out anything in the room. He sat upright, wondering what could have woken him. He was by no means a light sleeper and during the evening’s festivities had indulged liberally in mead. It had not been enough to inebriate, but enough to relax him and give him an altogether more cheerful view of the world. So why was he sleepless now? Grinding a fist against his eye, it suddenly occurred to him that the room was too dark. The fire had gone out, leaving the air to take on the chill of the night. He shivered and grumbled irritably under his breath. He had managed to remove his tunic before falling in to bed, now with the woollen blanket and the furs covering the bed pooled at his waist, his skin was covered with gooseflesh. Vaguely he wondered if he could be bothered to relight the dead fire, or if it would be simpler to find another blanket. He was almost certain there was a spare at the foot of his bed. Yawning he flung back the covers, but his sleepiness made him clumsy and he cracked his knee against the table to one side of the bed. With an angry oath he lurched to rest against the wall, soothing his bruised appendage. He stood there for some considerable time, cursing with a fluency that would have alarmed Lady Ebba, if only she had heard him. He found a great many things to curse: the table, himself and whatever fool had thought to put the table there in the first place. Finally he straightened and sighed heavily. The flavour of smoke hung on the air and Finan frowned glancing to where his fire should have been burning merrily. There was enough of the scent of smoke to burn the back of his throat, yet no source for its abundance. The mists of sleep cleared sharply from his brain, replaced by an uncomfortable sensation that something somewhere was amiss. It was a feeling that he had learnt long ago not to ignore, a cold certainty that clawed in his stomach giving him no peace. Opening the door he stepped out into the hall beyond. The main house and great hall was used only during the day. One of the smaller secondary halls housed the bedchambers. It was a square structure with an apex roof, built with a secondary wall within a first and partitioned into private rooms. Finan had been given the first chamber on the left, as his duties called for him to be readily available for his men. The stench of smoke was stronger in the hall but the large fire toward the end of the room was nothing more than a few glowing embers. After a few moments investigation, Finan found the source of the smoke; it seeped under the door of Rafe’s bedchamber. Panic welled within him and he threw back the bedroom door. Smoke billowed out, causing him to recoil, with a shout for help he plunged into the room, almost blind with tears as the smoke laden air assaulted his eyes. He fought his way forward to the bottom of Rafe’s bed. He could just make out his friend’s form, unnaturally still beneath the covers, a twisted woollen blanket spreading flames over the furs. “Rafe!” Finan’s hoarse voice had no affect on the still form and he reached to pull the burning covers free from the bed. The walls on either side were aflame preventing Finan from stepping forward, and greedy flames licked at the frame of the bed. Finan made out Rafe’s heavy, fur lined cloak carelessly thrown over a nearby chair and used it to cover Rafe’s inert body. It would at least shield him from the flames long enough for Finan to get him out of the room. He sucked in a dry lungful of hot air that scorched his throat and wiped the sweat free of his eyes. There was no way past the flames that surrounded the bed, no way to reach Rafe but through the scorching heat. With sudden determination Finan plunged forwards, pain filling his mind as he felt the touch of fire on his hands and crawling along his forearms. This couldn’t happen again, he couldn’t lose another brother! Wrapping Rafe within the cloak, he hoisted him over his shoulder and staggered towards the door. The scorching burn against his shirtless skin was agonising but Rafe’s lax body in his arms frightened him more. Dimly he was aware of shouting as the rest of the house became aware that something was wrong. As soon as he made it into the hall, eager hands lifted Rafe away from him. “Don’t put him down in here.” Adele’s voice cut through the noise, her tone calm and confident. “Get him outside, he needs clean air, Finan too.” “I must help with the fire.” A firm grip fell on his shoulder and Finan grimaced shifting away from the touch. Esme released him immediately. “You have helped enough Finan, there are sufficient people to see the fire is put out.” Looking at the men staggering to and fro with buckets of water, he saw the truth of her statement. Worry for Rafe propelled him out into the cool night air. Too many was the time he had seen someone shut too long in a smoky room die. It didn’t seem to matter whether the flames had touched them or not, they fell into a sleep that no one could rouse them from. Adele directed the men to lay Rafe down some distance from the house. She was shrouded in a plain nightgown, without a cloak to offer her protection from the night air. She looked more childlike than ever with the voluminous white folds billowing about her and her hair plaited neatly down her back. Finan swayed, his vision blurring and nausea making his stomach roll. “Finan? What is it? What is wrong?” Lady Esme’s concerned face swam before his eyes and he shook his head attempting to bring her into focus. The nausea hit harder and Finan turned and vomited on to the grass. He’d never felt so weak before, his legs as unsteady as a newborn colt. Someone slid their arm around his waist, giving him much needed support as he discharged the rest of his evening meal on to the ground. His legs gave way and he dropped to his knees, despite the cold air his skin still seemed to burn. Esme watched his laboured breathing worriedly. His hands were fisted and pressed into the ground either side of his knees and his head was bent forward, eyes tightly closed. She could see the pain in the lines of his face and red burns stood out patchily against pale skin. Reaching forward she drew his head to rest against her shoulder, surprised that he didn’t pull away, but sagged tiredly against her. The new position gave a better view of his arms and hands. The blood drained from her face and she winced. Large blisters and red open wounds covered his skin from hand to elbow. Finan would bear a constant reminder of this night for the rest of his life. “Rafe?” Finan’s voice, rough and husky made her jump and she looked where Adele held Rafe’s limp form in her arms. Tears blinded her, closing her throat so she could hardly breathe. It didn’t seem possible that her energetic, vibrant brother could be lying so still and silent. Was it just a few hours ago that he had stood before them all with the tale of his adventures? Her gaze shifted to where her father clasped her sobbing mother tightly, a grey expression of horror drawing his features tight. Aisly stood to one side, immaculately elegant as ever, her long chestnut locks hanging around her slender frame, making her appear as some ethereal pagan goddess. There were tears standing in her eyes but Esme knew that Aisly would not let them fall. She clenched her hands into fists and stood stiff and defiant. Finan struggled upright on receiving no response and cast a worried look down into her face. Whatever he saw expressed upon her features caused him to pull away and drag himself to where Rafe lay pillowed in Adele’s embrace. Adele wasn’t crying but there was bleakness in her expression, pain in her eyes. “Is he…?” “Give him but a moment.” Adele’s soft voice was no more than a whisper and Finan felt that she was not exactly answering his question but reassuring herself. He gazed down at Rafe’s lifeless body and pale face. Bile rose in his throat as he recalled another white face and lax body laid out as if in sleep. His vision blurred between the two faces, both so dear to him. Once again it seemed as though he sat in Lord Brogan’s tent, a bloody battle field without and Evoric’s body laid within. His brother had looked so calm, so peaceful, as if he slept. Finan had felt that he had only to reach out and touch his shoulder and Evoric would rise from his slumber. He couldn’t recall how long he’d sat by his brother’s still form. It hadn’t seemed possible that Evoric was truly dead, Finan’s mind had recoiled from the idea, yet deep down he had known it to be the truth. It was why he could not bring himself to touch Evoric’s body and find it cold and lifeless. In the end he had sat beside his brother through the night, and when the soldiers came to bury him the next morning, Finan had exchanged his own dagger with Evoric’s. At least they would always have something of each other that way. “Rafe?” Finan jumped at Adele’s soft voice, she was stroking Rafe’s cheek with gentle fingers. “You must wake up now, you have to try, can you not do that for me?” Her voice trembled with the effort it took to hold back her tears, but still Rafe made no move. She bent her head to touch her lips to his brow. “I know how strong you are, your heart still beats with the might of a warrior.” Adele shifted to set a lingering kiss against Rafe’s mouth. Her next plea was so softly spoken Finan doubted anyone but he heard it. “Pease, Rafe, you cannot leave me all alone.”

YOU TUBE TRAILER & PLAYLIST

My sister is a musician and she wrote two custom pieces for both books.
The Promise [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsFh7KI6i5U]
The Vow: [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8XJp1Ezcwo]


     

AUTHOR BIO

Lady Quill Chronicles - Author PhotoHi everyone! My name is Dee Dee, I’m twenty six and I live in a beautiful part of Devon, England with my family. I have a younger sister, Amy who is a brilliant guitar player, some chickens, duck, geese, pheasants, a cat (that adopted us when we moved in!!!) and some Koi.
Broken City is actually my second novel. My first, as my Aunt so delicately put it, was crazy but in my defence I was only sixteen at the time. On the plus side I learnt a lot (or so I hope) and two years later ‘Broken City’ was finished.
I really hope you enjoy reading my books as much as I enjoy writing them.
I love reading and have a kindle: I read almost anything with adventure and romance in it! I also like to cook and wear impractical high heels!!! And as you might have noticed I have a horrible addiction to exclamation marks!!!

AUTHOR FOLLOW LINKS

 

GIVEAWAY PRIZES

1 Set of the Lady Quill Chronicle Books (The Promise & The Vow) via smashwords

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Monday, August 25, 2014

SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: The Captive Queen by Danny Saunders

02_The Captive Queen

Publication Date: April 24, 2014
CreateSpace Independent Publishing
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction

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Political schemes, religious partisanship and unbridled love shake the Royal Court of Scotland at the end of the Stuart dynasty.

Witness to sordid murders, spy for Her Majesty among the Protestants of the infamous preacher John Knox, forced to give up her one true love, thrown out onto the streets then ruthlessly attacked by a drunkard, Charlotte Gray will do everything in her power to remain the sovereign’s lady-in-waiting.

As for the Queen of Scots, she faces turmoil of a completely different kind: prisoner in a castle under the command of her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I of England, Mary Stuart learns that she is the victim of a vast conspiracy and that her English counterpart has ordered her imminent execution.

Despite their hardships, Mary and Charlotte will keep their dignity throughout the storm. The two women will finally find serenity, one in the arms of a man and the other in the arms of God.

Interwoven with historical facts of the era, the thrilling The Captive Queen saga is worthy of the greatest royal intrigues that still fascinate us several centuries later.

Watch the Book Trailer




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About the Author



03_Danny Saunders AuthorDanny Saunders is a true European history enthusiast. He has always been keenly interested in royalty. Danny holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and also pursued communication studies at the university level. He has worked as a journalist for various written and electronic media. Of Scottish descent, Danny takes genuine pride in his British roots. The Captive Queen: A Novel of Mary Stuart is his first historical novel.

To find out more about the author Danny Saunders, you can visit his website at www.dannysaunders.com. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

The Captive Queen: A Novel of Mary Stuart Blog Tour Schedule


Monday, August 25
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, August 26
Spotlight & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Obsession

Wednesday, August 27
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Thursday, August 28
Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Friday, August 29
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Monday, September 1
Review at JulzReads

Tuesday, September 2
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, September 3
Interview at To Read or Not To Read

Friday, September 5
Review & Giveaway at Book Lovers Paradise

Monday, September 8
Review at CelticLady's Reviews
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

Tuesday, September 9
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Wednesday, September 10
Excerpt & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time

Friday, September 12
Review at Princess of Eboli

 photo ea60b941-93ed-4c0c-b72b-fef1ac5e8b21.png


Giving away ONE copy of The Captive Queen by Danny Saunders!

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY: The Earl's Mistress by Liz Carlyle

The Earl’s Mistress
MacLachlan Family and Friends # 10
By: Liz Carlyle
Releasing August 26th, 2014
Avon Romance


Blurb:

Women rarely refuse the wicked Earl of Hepplewood, whose sensual skills are the stuff of legend. But when his new governess answers his proposition with a slap to his face, then stalks out with references in hand, Hepplewood finds more than his face is left burning . . .

Isabella Aldridge has brains, bravado, and beauty-but the latter is no use to a servant. With orphaned sisters to feed, eviction nearing, and Hepplewood’s words ringing in her ears, Isabella realizes she must barter her most marketable asset . . .

But when fate unknowingly sends Isabella back into Hepplewood’s arms, the earl must make an impossible choice-draw Isabella down into his sensual darkness, or behave with honor for the first time in his life.


Goodreads Link: 
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20457104-the-earl-s-mistress?from_search=true

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Author Info
A lifelong anglophile, Liz Carlyle cut her teeth reading gothic novels under the bedcovers by flashlight. She is the author of sixteen historical romances, including several New York Times bestsellers. Liz travels incessantly, ever in search of the perfect setting for her next book. Along with her genuine romance-hero husband and four very fine felines, she makes her home in North Carolina. You can contact her via her website at www.lizcarlyle.com.


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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY: Guardians: The Girl by Lola StVil

Guardians

Guardians: The Girl by Lola StVil

******OVER 450 FIVE STAR REVIEWS!*******

Sitting there in the car, a part of me bitterly resented what she was doing to me. I knew it wasn’t her fault. But does she have to be so... alluring? I need to focus on something else besides the spot between her earlobe and neck. It looked so soft. Her lips were slightly parted as she looked out the window. I wanted to part them further with mine. I put both my hands on the steering wheel. I could not allow myself to let go until she was out of the car. Suddenly she leaned in and kissed me. It was far better than I could even begin to explain to you. I've fought and died a slow and painful death on earth. And nothing, NOTHING can compare to how hard it was for me to pull away from her lips. I don't think any angel could to do it twice in a lifetime...



Excerpts:

 “Your courage is in your tears. Every time you cry, you lose a little bit more of it. That’s why you’re so breakable. Not because you’re human, because you’re always shedding courage from your eyes.”  
~~~
Marcus, choose me. Choose the path that is perilous and leads to certain annihilation because it’s also the path that leads to me. They can’t understand that we are powerless to stop what we have for each other. But we know. We know that if we don’t bend to the will of this love, it will break us.
~~~
“I heard this guy say once that he thought if he said ‘no’ to doing drugs then the fight was over. But it turns out he had to say ‘no’ each and every day. I didn’t get it until I met you. When I first fell for you, I said ‘no’ to it. Then the next day the feeling came back. Now every single day, I have to say ‘no’ to being with you.”


    


  Praise:

"This book shows a whole other side of angels the good, the bad, and the ugly. Each character has their own story or "core" . This is only the beginning. Where can I find the second book?" ~Maya Twitty "Could not put it down!!" ~Misty "I didn't actually chose this book on purpose but I got it because it was free. After reading the first chapter I was hooked...and devastated. How could you let that happen Lola? I definitely recommend that you read this book...with a box of tissues." ~Amazon Review  


  add to goodreads Lola S

Author Lola StVil: 

 Lola was seven when she first came to this country from Port-au-Prince, Haiti. She attended Columbia College in Chicago, where her main focus was creative writing. In addition to plays, she also writes screenplays and short stories. She has been commissioned to write for ABC, CBS and Princeton University. She won the NAACP award for her play "The Bones of Lesser Men". In addition to being nominated for LA Weekly awards. Her work has also received positive reviews from The LA Times, Variety and LA Weekly. This is her first novel.




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 Book Blast Giveaway: 

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 9/7/14
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded.
No purchase necessary.
You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you.
The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.
This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified.
The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author.
VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Monday, August 18, 2014

BLOG TOUR, GIVEAWAY, & REVIEW: Betraying Mercy by Amber Lin

Please join Amber Lin as she tours the blogosphere with HF Virtual Book Tours for her dark historical
romance novel Betraying Mercy from August 4-22.

  02_Betraying Mercy

Publication Date: August 4, 2014
Harlequin E eBook; ASIN: B00JTPU42G
Genre: Historical Romance

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Blurb:

 Can she be more than a mistress? With a tarnished reputation, Mercy Lyndhurst expected to become the Earl of Rochford’s mistress, not his wife. Immediately abandoned by her husband after their wedding, Mercy transformed herself from commoner to countess, vowing to protect the lands and people her husband was forced to leave. Over the past six years, William has restored the family fortune all the while tortured by his memories of Mercy…and the dark night he killed a man. When a threat draws him home, William learns just how much has changed—including his wife. While the passion still flares between them, he fears he has wounded her too badly to regain her trust. But as the danger grows they must unite to save the estate…and possibly their marriage.


My Review:

Betraying Mercy by Amber Lin definitely had my attention from the start, even though the beginning was a little confusing for me. It seemed like so much was happening at once, and it was a little hard to keep up. However, once I got past the beginning, I really got into this book! I really liked Mercy’s character in the beginning. She was sweet and na├»ve and you wanted to see her protected. After William left for several years, she seemed to become harder, and it definitely changed her character. William is the perfect romance rogue. He’s strong, gorgeous, and troubled. You want him to find love and to put his dark past behind him. I like that this book keeps you wondering throughout. You’re never sure what’s going to happen, but you keep hoping for the best for Mercy and William. The only thing that I would have liked to see more of, would be Mercy and William’s lives when they were younger. In the book it’s made obvious to the reader that they share some type of history from when they were younger, so it would have been cool to see a little bit of their past. Altogether I really enjoyed this novel, and I would recommend it to any lover of historical romance.


I give this book a FOUR out of FIVE stars.


Praise for Amber Lin’s Books

"Amber Lin shows us that romance isn’t just for the rich and shiny. Love can find its way even into the dark corners of the most damaged hearts." - Tiffany Reisz, bestselling author

“Amber’s work cuts deeper than that of anybody else I can think of—her prose is beautiful, the dark emotions are darker, the sex is sexier.” - Ruthie Knox, New York Times Bestselling Author

“She has a beautiful, atmospheric writing style and you’re not going to find sentimental love here, nor are you going to find hearts and flowers. This is taut, compelling, thoughtful and also gritty, earthy and unembellished.” - Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews

“Oh and as for Amber Lin, well she was already on my shelf as a favourite Author of mine and yet again she proved just why. Her writing style is beautiful, flawless and so evocative you live and breathe her stories.” -TotallyBooked Blog

“Amber Lin has created an incredible story that is a captivating mix of redemption, love, and psychological suspense that I thoroughly enjoyed, and I highly recommend it to more adventurous readers!” - The Autumn Review

“Since the release of Giving It Up, the first book in her Lost Girls series, I have been a die-hard fan of this author and have been singing her praises to everyone who wants to listen. Four full-length novels later and it is evident that Amber Lin’s talent is not restricted to dark romances, she also writes wonderful steamy and sweet contemporaries.” - Swept Away by Romance



Buy the Book

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iBooks

About the Author

03_Amber LinAmber Lin writes erotic romance with damaged souls and deep emotion. Her debut novel, Giving It Up, received The Romance Review’s Top Pick, Night Owl Top Pick, and 5 Blue Ribbons from Romance Junkies. RT Book Reviews gave it 4.5 stars, calling it “truly extraordinary.” She has been published by Loose Id, Carina Press, and Entangled. Amber married her high school sweetheart, birthed a kid who’s smarter than she is, and spends her nights writing down her dirty thoughts. In other words, life is good.
 For more information on Amber Lin and her novels please visit her website and blog. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads. Sign up for Amber Lin's Newsletter.



Betraying Mercy Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 4
Review at Reviews by Molly
Tuesday, August 5
Spotlight & Excerpt at Romantic Historical Reviews
Wednesday, August 6
Review at The Librarian Fatale
Thursday, August 7
Review at From the TBR Pile
Interview & Giveaway at Girl Meets Books
Friday, August 8
Facebook Launch Party, 7:00-9:00pm EST
Saturday, August 9
Spotlight at I Heart Reading
Monday, August 11
Review at Pure Textuality
Tuesday, August 12
Review at Book of Secrets
Wednesday, August 13
Spotlight & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Thursday, August 14
Spotlight & Giveaway at SOS Aloha
Monday, August 18
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, August 19
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Friday, August 22
Interview at Curling Up by the Fire

Giveaway

To enter to win a signed copy of Amber Lin's FALLING FOR THE PIRATE, please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. 
Giveaway is open internationally.
Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on August 22nd.
You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on August 23rd and notified via email.
Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.


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 photo f3d4985f-882d-42ae-9246-eebefc6c780c.jpg

GUEST POST: The Governess and the Stalker by Mark Morey

The Governess and the Stalker Research and Inspiration

The late Victorian period is not often used as a setting for novels, despite the massive hypocrisies of the time.  This is why I chose to write the Governess and the Stalker and set it in 1879, and I challenged myself to write a gothic mystery within this setting.  By the time of this novel the Industrial Revolution has been underway for nearly a century, and that, along with the expansion of the British Empire, meant that England was awash with wealth.  Despite this wealth the working classes had never been poorer, and life was tough with long hours, poor pay, squalid accommodation and the threat of financial disaster which could arise from illness or accident.  And if financial disaster struck, even if it was entirely out a person’s making such as the character in my story Constance West, then the poor were consigned to the workhouse and literally blamed for falling destitute.  Part of my inspiration for writing the Governess and the Stalker was the message that we should not erode the many gains of the past century and a half.  There are times when I feel that some in our society would like that to happen, because with low wages and low taxes business can make more profit.  There is more to a just society than ever-increasing profit for business.

The collapse of the bridge over the Firth of Tay in December 1879 has fascinated me for some time.  It was an engineering masterpiece, the longest bridge in the world at the time, and six months after it opened it was blown down in a storm.  It was blown down because the designer miscalculated the wind stresses on the structure.  The Victorians placed great emphasis on personal responsibility, so one man could make one mistake and it could result in a disaster such as this one.  We have learned a lot since then.

I started work on this story five years ago by writing the storm sequence and the collapse of the Tay Bridge.  I read a book on railway disasters and I also visited some websites on the Tay Bridge disaster which gave me more information.  When I commenced writing the story proper I bought the book ‘Victorian London’ by Liza Pickard, for general background to life in that city at the time.  I supplanted this with online research, and came across a particular gem which was a newspaper article describing the Old Nichol slum.  I used those words written at the time because I couldn’t do better myself, so the gaunt family making boot uppers actually existed.  I find that chilling.  The Old Nichol slum was demolished a few years later at the prompting of journalist William Stead, but this wasn’t a good thing.  Instead the former inhabitants of Old Nichol were forced to crowd into other East End slums because that was all they could afford, and this overcrowding made life worse rather than better.

For the haunted house sequence I discovered a website which covered an actual, haunted house, so my story has real ghosts.  Like the Old Nichol description, using reality in historical fiction makes a story seem more real.

A major part of this story comes out of me being an Australian author, and having been to Britain many times I realise that my country’s past, our culture and even our sense of humour is very much like Britain.  It was quite easy to transplant my personal heritage to another place and time, and the Governess and the Stalker and its sequel, Maidens in the Night, are the end results of this.

I hope that readers enjoy the mystery I have written, and I also hope they enjoy their journeys through the streets of London in 1879.



The Governess And The Stalker
By Mark Morey
Genre: Historical Crime / Mystery

Book Synopsis

It is the first of June 1879 and twenty-year old former governess Michelle Blissett has just wed her master James Devine.  Tragically James dies on their wedding night.  Jesse West, recently discharged from the workhouse, is proud that he killed his father and is looking forward to killing Michelle and her step-children.
Michelle Devine relocates her household to London.  Michelle’s brother-in-law Luke then runs up gambling debts which Michelle settles by travelling to Edinburgh to pay the enigmatic Brian Finlay.  Michelle narrowly escapes death when the bridge over the Firth of Tay collapses while a train is crossing, and she returns to London for a new start to her life.  She forms a friendship with handsome young Paul Lawrence before a ragged stranger threatens her.  Michelle and her step-children move to Paul Lawrence’s manor in the Cotswolds before Jesse West tracks them down.  Paul Lawrence injures Jesse badly but Jesse slips away to recover.
The sins we do come back to haunt us.

Author Biography

I am part-time in the workforce and a part-time author, and writing technical documentation and advertising material formed a large part of my career for many decades. Writing a novel didn’t cross my mind until relatively recently, where the combination of too many years writing dry, technical documents and a visit to the local library where I couldn’t find a book that interested me led me consider a new pastime. Write a book. That book may never be published, but I felt my follow-up cross-cultural crime with romance hybrid set in Russia had more potential. So much so that I wrote a sequel that took those characters on a journey to a very dark place.

The Red Sun Will Come and Souls in Darkness were published by Club Lighthouse in mid-2012.  My next novel, The Governess and The Stalker will be published by Wings ePress in July 2014.  A sequel Maidens in the Night is due to be published later this year, and at the moment I am working on a historical fiction manuscript set in Italy during the 1930s.