Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Virtual Tour + Review ~ You May Kiss the Bride - The Penhallow Dynasty by Lisa Berne

In an unforgettable debut, Lisa Berne introduces you to the 
Penhallow Dynasty—men destined to marry, but hesitant to love.

The Penhallow Dynasty #1
Lisa Berne
Releasing March 28, 2017
Avon Books

In an unforgettable debut, Lisa Berne introduces you to the Penhallow Dynasty—men destined to marry, but hesitant to love.

Wealthy and arrogant, Gabriel Penhallow knows it’s time to fulfill his dynastic duty. All he must do is follow “The Penhallow way”—find a biddable bride, produce an heir and a spare, and then live separate lives. It’s worked so well for generations, certainly one kiss with the delectable Livia Stuart isn’t going to change things. Society dictates he marry her, and one chit is as good as another as long as she’s from a decent family.

But Livia’s transformation from an original to a mundane diamond of the first water makes Gabriel realize he desperately wants the woman who somehow provoked him into that kiss. And for all the ladies who’ve thrown themselves at him, it’s the one who wants to flee whom he now wants. But how will he keep this independent miss from flying away?

She had been dismissed. Livia rose and after dipping the briefest of curtsies in Lady Glanville’s direction, went to the door with long strides, so angry that she felt she had to get out of there or explode. Behind her she heard Aunt Bella saying in a soft little bleat, “Livia! No word of gratitude! Pray come back!” Instead, she closed the door with exaggerated gentleness and leaned against it for a moment.

By the bannister stood a maidservant with an armful of gowns. With a muttered sentence of thanks Livia took them and hurried upstairs to her room where with savage satisfaction she flung the gowns against the wall, leaving them to lie in a crumpled heap on the floor. She paced back and forth, back and forth, until the red haze of rage subsided. Then she went to her bed and dropped full­length upon it with unladylike abandon, causing the old wood frame to creak alarmingly.

It was stupid of her, she knew, to react like that to the Orrs. But it was hard, so hard, when Cecily had every­ thing and she had so very little. No parents, no brothers or sisters; no money, no education, no prospects.

Your future must be thought of, too.

It was strange, now that she considered it, how little time she had spent thinking about her future. Possibly because there was no point to it. In her existence here she was like a great hoary tree, deeply, immovably, rooted into the earth.

She couldn’t even hang on to the morbid hope of inheriting anything from Uncle Charles when he died. He’d run through most of Aunt Bella’s money ages ago, and year by year everything had slowly declined, dwindled, faded away. Now there wasn’t much left; the estate barely brought in enough for Aunt Bella to pay for her cordial, and for Uncle Charles to spend his days hunting, drinking, and eating. Speaking of romantic marriages.

Well, it could be worse. At least she didn’t have a mother like that revolting Lady Glanville. Imagine having her breathing down one’s neck all day.

Still, this was only a small consolation. A very small consolation.

Livia thought about Cecily’s beautiful white gown and those elegant kid slippers with the dainty pink rosettes.

It was those rosettes that did it.

Envy, like a nasty little knife slipping easily into soft flesh, seemed to pierce her very soul.
Abruptly Livia twisted onto her side and stared at nothing.

She would not cry.

Crying never helped anything.

There came to her, suddenly, the memory of the first time she had met Cecily, some twelve years ago; they’d both been around six. Cecily and her mother had come to call. Livia, recently arrived from faraway India, desperately lonely, was so anxious to be friends with the lovely, beautifully dressed girl with the long shining curls. Shyly she had approached, trying to smile, and Cecily had responded by saying in a clear, carrying voice:
“Oh, you’re the little orfin girl. Your papa was sent away from here and he died. And your grandpapa was a runaway and he drownded. And your mama drownded, too. Why is your skin so brown? Are you dirty?” And she had backed away, to hide behind the skirts of her mother Lady Glanville, who had said to her, with that same cold smile that never reached her eyes, “Poor little Livia isn’t a native, my dear, she’s every bit as English as you and I. The sun shines quite fiercely in India, and she had no mama or papa to make sure she stayed under her parasol. Do you see?”

Livia had never forgotten the burning sense of shame from that day. Nor had Cecily made it any easier, for from time to time she would laughingly recall the occasion of their first meeting and how she had thought Livia to be unwashed, as if it was the funniest anecdote in all the world.

Livia did not like to remember, even if only hazily, how when she was four, the monsoon season struck Kanpur with devastating onslaughts of rain. Both her widowed mother and her grandfather had died in a great flood, and it was with grudging reluctance that Uncle Charles had sent money for his niece’s passage to England.

Upon arriving in Wiltshire, Livia was not so much welcomed into the home—if such the ancient, ram­ bling domicile known as Ealdor Abbey could be so termed—of Uncle Charles and Aunt Bella, as absorbed. Aside from grumbling within earshot about the expense of feeding her, Uncle Charles barely noticed her. Aunt Bella, childless, somnolent, always unwell, with interest in neither Society nor useful occupation, accepted Livia’s presence without a blink but also without care or concern for the little girl for whom she was, ostensibly, responsible.

Oh, you’re the little orfin girl.

Livia smiled without humor.

Yes indeed, Cecily certainly had a knack for getting to the heart of things. 

One of the most romantic, yet funniest reads of the year; this will keep you reading and laughing long into the night! A High 5 Stars for Lisa Berne's newest series: You May Kiss the Bride - The Penhallow Dynasty. This was my first book to read by Lisa Berne's and I must say I was really impressed. Her writing style is impeccable, she weaves a tale of such depth and adventure that you will not be able to put down. Truly a very talented author and I look forward to reading many more of her works.

First, we are met by Livia, her Aunt and Cecily (a very spoiled, self-righteous young lady) and her mother. They are discussing Cecily's plans for marriage to the very wealthy and good looking Gabriel Penhallow of The Penhallow Dynasty. Cecily is rather pompous in her responses and often looks down her nose at Livia. She has also brought Cecily some old dresses of hers as she is getting some new ones. Livia feels utterly mortified and humiliated as she always has in Cecily's presence. Often Cecily made fun of Livia, for Livia was an orphan and now resides with her aunt and uncle in an old shabby abbey and has really no hopes of getting a husband, at least not one who is an aristocrat.

Later, we see a family arriving; none other than the Penhallow's and the gorgeous Gabriel Penhallow. They've traveled for him to meet his betrothed; Miss Cecily Orr and prepare for his marriage and his rightful duty to the Dynasty. Well, while running about through the woods he gets lost and happens upon a young miss who he mistakes for a maid. It is none other than Livia and he rudely throws a couple of coins down at her and asks her for directions. All the while, he's mesmerized by her sparkling emerald green eyes. Taken a back by his behavior and quite hurt by it, Livia plays the part and talks in an unintelligent accent. Well after giving him directions and watching him dash off, she angrily rubs the coin into the mud and dashes back to the house. She drags out all of Cecily's gowns and makes a new one, planning to attend the ball after all. She'll not let them put her down anymore.

While at the ball, Gabriel sees her and notices she's the girl from the woods and he sees her with Tom Orr a rather rogue fellow. So he follows them after Tom departs her presence; Gabriel scolds her for being out with him so long in the garden. She begins to give him a piece of her mind, but Gabriel being so captivated by her, he leans down and kisses her to show her what can happen to her. Well, unbeknownst to them, her uncle and the Orr's, as well as Gabriel's grandmother, are approaching. Well they see them kissing and that Livia's dress has slipped down her shoulder. Well having caused one of the biggest scandals, now Gabriel is forced to marry Livia.

At first, Livia does not accept it and flees off to become a scullery maid in a local inns kitchens. However, Gabriel runs after her and brings her back. Livia is then taken to Bath to stay with his Grandmother and learn all about becoming a proper Lady. She soon endures long lessons and many a insult. Gabriel keeps pushing himself from her, but he can't help but feel captivated by her and she too begins to feel drawn more and more to him, even though she strives to resist it. Will these two from very different worlds awaken to the love that brews within and fall madly in love? Or will they end up as the Dynasty's history has always been; both living in two separate places?

Absolutely wonderful book, I loved it from cover to cover and I highly commend Ms. Berne on her talents. What a wonderful new series and I can't wait to read the next book.

Lisa Berne read her first Georgette Heyer book at fourteen, and was instantly captivated. Later, she was a graduate student, a grantwriter, and an investment banker, but is thrilled to be returning to her roots and writing her own historical-romance novels! She lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Update ~ Writing, Studying & Camp NaNoWriMo

Hi Friends,

Marie here. It's been quite a while since I've posted on my blog. Well, this past couple of months I've been dealing with some illness that has been keeping me quite fatigued and I have not been able to dedicate as much time to my studies and writing. However, I'm still forging ahead and working on my Wexford Sisters' Series. I'm still striving to get Isabelle and Richard's story out there, not only do I want to share this amazing story but I admit, our Hero is quite insistent that his story is told. Oh, how pushy these characters can be, but I love them!

So, I've decided with CampNaNoWriMo coming up in July (I'm not participating in the April one), that is the perfect time to dive into my rough draft and get their story told. I find the NaNoWriMo's a great time to write, because of the challenge it invokes for competing and the drive to win! In the meantime, I will be digging back into my studies of writing craft and honing my skills.

I have lots of writing tips coming ahead and will be keeping you updated on how Richard and Isabelle's story is progressing. I'll share a tidbit with you now, the story has taken a complete turn and I won't spill the beans, but one character who was supposed to die will now live and have quite a role in the story. I wonder who? We shall see! Also, I might be changing the last name of our dear Wexford sister's; as the name, although it came to me in a flash, but upon further research, it's of Irish descent and I'm not sure if that angle will fit into our story. So their name might be changing. Lots to come my dear friends and I can't wait for you to read Richard and Isabelle's tale!

This is my life for the next couple of months, studying and researching and I love it! Proud nerd!


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Virtual Tour & Review ~ My Fair Duchess - A Dukes Behaving Badly Novel by Megan Frampton

An unexpected duchess proves that behaving 
badly isn't exclusive to the Dukedom.

Dukes Behaving Badly #5
Megan Frampton
Releasing Feb 28, 2017
Avon Books

In Megan Frampton's most recent installment of The Dukes Behaving Badly series, an unexpected duchess proves that behaving badly isn't exclusive to the Dukedom.

The Unexpected Duchess

Archibald Salisbury, son of a viscount, war hero, and proficient in the proper ways of aristocratic society, has received orders for his most challenging mission: Genevieve, Duchess of Blakesley. How she inherited a duchy isn’t his problem. Turning her into a perfect duchess is. But how can he keep his mind on business when her beauty entices him toward pleasure?

It was impossible, unprecedented…and undeniably true. Genevieve is now a “duke”, or, rather, a duchess. So what is she to do when the ton eyes her every move, hoping she’ll make a mistake? Genevieve knows she has brains and has sometimes been told she has beauty, but, out of her depth, she calls on an expert. And what an expert, with shoulders broad enough to lean on, and a wit that matches her own. Archie is supposed to teach her to be a lady and run her estate, but what she really wants to do is unladylike—run into his arms.

1845, Lady Sophia’s Drawing Room

“There’s only one solution,” Lady Sophia said, passing the letter to Archie as he felt his stomach drop. And his carefully ordered life teeter on the verge of change. “You’ll have to go to London to sort my goddaughter out.” She embellished her point by squeezing her tiny dog Truffles, who emitted a squeak and glared at Archie. As if it was his fault.

He resisted the urge to crumple the paper in his hand. “But the festival is in a few weeks,” Archie said, hearing the desperate tone in his voice. He did not want to ever return to London. That was the purpose of taking a position out here in the country after leaving the Queen’s Own Hussars a year prior. His family was there, and his father, at least, had made it clear he never wanted to see him again. What’s more, he did not want to assist a helpless aristocrat in some sort of desperate attempt to bring order to their lives. Even though that was what he was doing in Lady Sophia’s employ. But working for her had come to have its own kind of satisfactory order, one he did not want to disrupt.

“There is work to be done,” Archie continued, hoping to appeal to his employer’s sensible side.

Although in the course of working for her he had come to realize his employer didn’t really have a sensible side, so what was he hoping to accomplish?

“Didn’t you tell me Mr. McCready could do everything you could?” Lady Sophia asked. “You pointed out that if you were to get ill, or busy with other matters, your assistant steward could handle things just as well as you.”

That was when I was trying to get one of my men work, Archie thought in frustration. To help him get back on his feet after the rigors of war. And Bob had proven himself to be a remarkably able assistant, allowing Archie to dive into Lady Sophia’s woefully neglected accounts and see into her investments, neither of which she paid any attention to.

Lady Sophia placed Truffles on the rug before lifting her head to look at Archie. Who knew, in that moment, that he was doomed. Doomed to return to London to help out a likely far-too- indulged female in the very difficult position of being a powerful and wealthy aristocrat.

Perhaps it would have been easier to just get shot on the battlefield. It certainly would have been quicker.

“It’s settled.” She punctuated her words with a nod of her head, sending a few gray curls flying in the air. “You will go see to the new duchess and take care of her as ably as you do me. Mr. Mc-Cready will assist me while you are away.”

Archie looked at the letter again. “This duchess is your relative?” he asked. That would explain the new duchess’s equally silly mode of communication. An “unexpected duchess,” indeed. What kind of idiot wouldn’t have foreseen this circumstance? And done something to prepare for it?

“She calls me aunt, but she is not my actual niece, you understand,” Lady Sophia explained. “She is my goddaughter; her mother married the duke, the duchess’s father. It is quite unusual for a woman to inherit the duchy.”

“Quite,” Archie echoed.

“But it happened, somehow, and since I don’t know anything about being a duchess . . .” Because I do? Archie wondered. But there wasn’t anybody else. She wouldn’t have asked Lady Sophia, of all people, unless there was nobody else.

Or if she was as flighty and confident as her faux-aunt. A scenario that seemed more and more likely.

“The only thing Mr. McCready can’t do is attract as much feminine interest as you do, Mr. Salisbury.” She sat back up and regarded him. “Which might make him more productive,” she added. She leaned over to offer Truffles the end of her biscuit.

Archie opened his mouth to object, but closed it when he realized she was right. He wasn’t vain, but he did recognize that ladies tended to find his appearance attractive. Lady Sophia received many more visitors, she’d told him in an irritated tone, now that he’d been hired.

Bob, damn his eyes, smirked knowingly every time Archie was summoned to Lady Sophia’s drawing room to answer yet another question about estate management posed by a lady who’d likely never had such a question in her life.

Archie responded by making Bob personally in charge of the fertilizer. It didn’t stop Bob’s smirking, but it did make Archie feel better.

“And you will return in a month’s time so you can be here for the festival.”

“Sooner if I can, my lady.” If this duchess needed more time than a month, there would be no hope for her anyway. Country life suited him; he liked its quiet and regularity. It was a vast change from life in battle, or even being just on duty, but it was far more interesting than being the third son from a viscount’s family. A viscount who disowned his third boy when said boy was determined to join the army.

Meanwhile, however, he had to pack to head off to a new kind of battle—that of preparing a completely unprepared woman, likely a woman as flighty and often confused as Lady Sophia, to hold a position that she was entirely unsuited for.

Very much like working with raw recruits, in fact.

A High Five Star's for Megan Frampton's My Fair Duchess. Truly one of the best reads of the year! We first meet Archibold Salisbury, a son's viscount and former war hero in Lady Sophia's drawing room. He's been summoned to tend to the new Duchess who is a relative of Lady Sophia. He's asked to take on the biggest mission of his life, help this young woman learn how to be a Duchess. Genevieve, Duchess of Blakesley has just inherited the duchy and she has no idea how to be one. Her mother died when she was young and her father has died recently, and she's the only remaining heir to the duchy. So Archibold Salisbury is sent to the rescue. She's expecting a harsh, perhaps overbearing bore of a man; however, what appears in Genevieve's doorway is a dashingly handsome man who is as broad as he is tall. Will Genevieve learn how to be a proper Duchess? or will she be the flop of the Ton? 

 A wonderful, romantic tale with splashes of humor throughout. The love and passion between the H and h will set the pages ablaze. The plot is well written and historically accurate.This series just gets better and better. You will want to add this to your library!

Megan Frampton writes historical romance under her own name and romantic women’s fiction as Megan Caldwell. She likes the color black, gin, dark-haired British men, and huge earrings, not in that order. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and son. You can visit her on her website@meganf, and at Facebook.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Book Sale Blitz - 99 cents For A Limited Time ~ Pretend it's Love - Behind the Bar #2 by Stefanie London

One fake relationship shaken not stirred…

Behind the Bar #2
Stefanie London
Entangled Lovestruck

Bar manager Paul Chapman is sick of his family’s traditional ideals. Marriage, babies, and a white picket fence? Not his gig. But now that his ‘golden child’ big brother is tying the knot, Paul’s screwed. His ex will be there…and she’s having his cousin’s baby. Unless he wants to show up to the wedding alone and face his family’s scrutiny, he needs a girl on his arm. Now.

Cocktail specialist Libby Harris has spent her life earning the nickname Little Miss Perfect, all to win the love of her wealthy, controlling father. But she deviated from his plan, and now her business is on shaky ground. If it fails, she might as well kiss his respect-and her dream-good-bye. Her only hope? Convince the hottest bar in town to take on her product.
Luckily for her, the owner’s brother is sexy as sin and in need of a perfect girlfriend…

A voracious reader, USA Today Bestselling author, Stefanie London has dreamed of being an author her whole life. After sneaking several English Lit subjects into her very practical Business degree, she got a job in corporate communications. But it wasn't long before she turned to romance fiction. She recently left her hometown of Melbourne to start a new adventure in Toronto and now spends her days writing contemporary romances with humour, heat and heart.