Release date - 13th January 2017
Book length - 222 pages
Book Depository - www.bookdepository.com
Amazon UK - Made Safe
Amazon US - www.amazon.com
"Francis Sparks' MADE SAFE is a gripping, fast-paced and hard hitting thriller. Sparks' depiction of the gritty underbelly of the heartland will grab you by the throat and not let go. Hold on tight for a wild ride." Heather Gudenkauf ~ NYT bestselling author of The Weight of Silence
For Private Investigator, Moses Winter, the job just got more complicated. His adultery case has taken a violent turn landing the subject of his investigation, Fred Dunsmore, in the hospital and Moses in jail. Moses is held for questioning along with his erratic client, Sharon Dunsmore, and Fred’s mistress, a Bosnian refugee who just happens to be related to the DCI agent investigating the case, Raif Rakić.
After Rakić secures their release, Fred goes missing, and Moses Winter finds himself compelled to find him. With the assistance of Rakic, Moses unravels Fred's ties to Des Moines's underworld and is forced to confront the most heinous crimes of his career.
Moses Winter is a Private Investigator that gets a lot more than he bargained for when he takes on what should be a straightforward adultery case, when the cheater in question, Fred Dunsmore, ends up in the hospital with a stab wound, while the wife and girlfriend battle it out between them. But when Fred goes missing, Moses will find himself in much murkier waters than he thought possible. Joining forces with DCI Raif Rakic, who has a personal interest in the case as Mr. Dunsmore girlfriend is his cousin, they are determined to uncover the truth. But as they dig deeper they will uncover darker crimes than they ever thought possible. With excellent characterisation, a swelteringly intense atmosphere, and elements of humour scattered throughout the plot MADE SAFE by Francis Sparks is a crime fiction novel with a difference, and well worth reading.
BOOK RATING - 📖📖📖📖 4
Francis Sparks grew up on a farm in Iowa where he spent his days avoiding bulls and other livestock as he created castles in the pasture with odds and ends from the machine shed and his imagination. In middle school, he fell in love with reading when he discovered TSR/Wizard of the Coast’s treasure trove of fantasy novels and he began to dream of one day becoming a writer.
Working as a librarian’s assistant in college, he stumbled upon The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler and quickly devoured all of his novels and Francis’s love of the mystery/detective story was born.
In his early thirties, Francis began chasing his dream of becoming an author and began writing seriously. That dream came true when his debut novel Made Safe was signed by Pandamoon Publishing in 2016. Francis Sparks currently lives in Des Moines, Iowa with his amazing wife, Kelly. If he’s not working on his next novel or short story, you can find him teaching his children about dragons. For more information:
Website - francissparks.com
Twitter - twitter.com/writingsparks
Facebook - www.facebook.com/francis.sparks
*I voluntarily reviewed this book from the author
Release date - 13th January 2017
Book length - 122 pages
Amazon UK - The Promotion
Amazon US - www.amazon.com
What if you got exactly what you wanted and it was the biggest mistake of your life?
It's 1965 in New York City as Arthur Chadwik climbs the corporate ladder, obsessed with landing the promotion of his life. One day, after an encounter with a vagabond gypsy, his dream finally seems to come true, but only by way of a curse. Soon after, Arthur confidently rules his company until the unexpected domino effect of her black magic begins to crumble before him. He is so shaken to see those around him placed in jeopardy as a result of his desires, that he must find a way to undo the curse before all of their lives are changed forever.
THE PROMOTION by Christopher K. Michael is a short, entertaining novella that asks the question - do we really know what we truly want? Arthur Chadwik has worked very hard to get where he is, and with a huge promotion on the horizon, he is satisfied that his life is about to change. But when the promotion doesn't pan out, he storms out into the city, whereupon helping an old gypsy woman, she grants him one wish. But when Arthur's wish is fulfilled and he finds himself in control of the company, it is not long before he realises that it comes at a cost. THE PROMOTION by Christopher K. Michael is a concise tale about discovering what is truly important in this world and is the right length for a lunch-break read.
BOOK RATING - 📖📖📖 3.5
Christopher is a part-time fiction author who loves great stories, hiking, and reading. He grew up in Upstate New York where he currently resides with his wife and son. For more information:
Website - www.chrismichaelbooks.com
Twitter - twitter.com/ckmichaelauthor
Facebook - www.facebook.com/ckmichaelauthor
*I voluntarily reviewed this book from the author.
Release date - 2nd March 2017
Book length - 304 pages
Book Depository - www.bookdepository.com
Amazon UK - Because I Was Lonely
Meet Rachel. She's trapped in a sleep-deprived world of misery and grief. She used to love being a wife and mum, but now life is a grown-up mess.
Meet Adam. He's trapped in a world of grief and confusion. It wasn't always like this, but since the accident, things have never been the same.
Rachel and Adam used to be friends, back in the days before marriage and babies… in the days before loneliness set in. Then along came Facebook. So when Rachel and Adam rekindle their online friendship, what starts as a little harmless flirtation soon becomes an obsession, and slowly the threads of their lives unravel before them.
Because I was Lonely traces the rollercoaster of actions and reactions experienced by a cast of credible, fallible, and ultimately human, characters. Hayley Mitchell carefully captures their emotions and handles the multiple viewpoints deftly, in this cleverly crafted, unputdownable debut novel.
Life and all of its complexities and complications are deftly and beautifully dealt with in this gripping novel about human emotions. We meet Rachel and Adam, who briefly knew each other when they were adolescents, who reconnect online at a pinnacle point in their adult lives. They are both suffering from deeply traumatic events in their lives, trying to recover some semblance of normality and control for the sake of their families and their own sanity - trying desperately to reach outside of the void of depression and loneliness, even though it is easier not to feel anything. And through messaging each other they find some aspect of who they used to be and who they want to be again, and they cling to their communication like a lifeboat in a stormy sea. But to be human is to make mistakes and as they justify their addiction to each other by letting us see themselves and their spouses in all of their chaos, the author also shows us what life is like for those in the background, by giving us a real insight to David and Julia, Rachel and Adam's other halves. But when does something relatively straight-forward like reconnecting with the past, step over the boundary into obsession? And what do you do when virtual reality and reality collide?
You know a book is a triumph when you neglect doing the housework for the day just so you can get to the ending, and when you get to the ending you're screaming - "Oh my God, I want more!!" BECAUSE I WAS LONELY by Hayley Mitchell is an unbelievably gripping read, that will drag every possible emotion from the reader, as you are compelled to find out what is happening between Rachel and Adam. I love the fact that the book is written from different points of view as it really lets you get to know Rachel and Adam, as well as David and Julia, who are so much more than just uncaring spouses. The characterisation, the plot, the pacing of the story, is all top notch, and I cannot wait to read more from Hayley Mitchell. BECAUSE I WAS LONELY is a must-read for 2017 and I am certain we are going to be hearing a lot about this stunning debut.
BOOK RATING - 📖📖📖📖📖 5**********************
Hayley Mitchell spends most of the time writing books in her head and was finally able to put finger to keyboard and capture some of the words in the form of her debut novel Because I Was Lonely. A Law graduate she has spent most of her life working with people and much of her career as an advice worker for charities. Always fascinated by people and their relationships she began to write fiction. She is very lucky to live in Wiltshire with her husband, whose support has been invaluable and their two children who amuse, inspire and exhaust her everyday. She now divides her time between her family, running a small business encouraging creativity in children and writing her second novel. For more information:
Twitter - twitter.com/HayleyMitchellc
Facebook - www.facebook.com/Becauseiwaslonely/?fref=ts
*I would like to thank Anna at Red Door Publishing, and Hayley Mitchell, for the wonderful opportunity to review this book, and be a part of this great Blog Tour!
Release date - 7th February 2017
Book length - 320 pages
BUY LINKS: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Macmillan | Books-A-Million | Indie Bound | Powells
A kiss to last a lifetime
Aiden Gallagher was only five years old when he appeared in a photograph on the Kissing Bridge. The town of Darling, Vermont, has used Aiden’s image on the famed bridge—local legend has it that a kiss there results in everlasting love—as part of its tourism campaign. Now, twenty years later, Aiden is asked to recreate the moment with the woman he once kissed: Laurel Stone.
Recently divorced, there’s nothing Laurel wants less than to pretend happily-ever-after with Aiden. As teenagers, their romance was no fairy tale—and Laurel has never quite forgiven Aiden for breaking her heart. But now that she is back in her hometown, and keeps bumping into police officer Aiden, Laurel can’t deny that there’s still a strong flicker between her and her old flame. Could it be that the Kissing Bridge is working its magic on Laurel and Aiden—and that all true love ever needed was a second chance?
I am delighted to have an excerpt to share with you all. Happy reading!!!
Every single terra-cotta pot was smashed.
Laurel Stone blinked quickly, annoyed at the sting at the back of her eyes as she stared at the mess. She was angry. Furious. Most people would rant or turn red in the face. But not Laurel. When she got mad, she angry-cried. And right now she was so infuriated that she could barely see through the hot tears.
She’d come in early to do some watering and deadheading before starting the weekly stock order, but discovered the gate hanging limply from its hinges, its lock busted. She immediately took out her cell and called the cops, working extra hard to keep her voice from shaking. Falling apart was not an option. She’d made it through a lot of life changes lately and had kept it together. This time was no different.
Now, as she waited for the police, she swiped at her face and bit down on her lip. It was only six thirty in the morning and she hadn’t even had her first coffee yet. The brew sat cooling, forgotten in her ladybug print travel mug.
Normally she hummed away to herself, unwinding the hose in the cool morning air. Not today. Today she had to deal with the fact that crime actually happened in quiet,
idyllic Darling, Vermont.
And that left her shaken.
The Ladybug Garden Center was her pride and joy, her foray into building a new life for herself. There’d been little incidents in her first few weeks of opening, but she hadn’t
thought much of them. The parking lot had been messed up a bit where someone had pulled doughnuts with their car. Two lilac bushes from the bed by the store sign had been stolen. She’d sighed at the incon ve nience, but chalked it up to simple mischief.
This time the intent was obvious. Deliberate. And it felt personal.
All the pottery was in shards on the floor. Six- packs of annuals had been pushed off their tables, spilling dirt and crushed blossoms. Hanging baskets had been carelessly dropped, so that the planters cracked and split. Tomato and pepper plants were strewn everywhere, broken and wilting. The lock on the little safe had been smashed, and they’d taken the small amount of money set aside for a float.
Laurel was sweeping shards of pottery into a dustpan when she heard the gritty crunch of tires on gravel. She stood up and braced her hand on her hip as the cruiser crept slowly up the drive and into the parking lot. Might as well get the report over with, and then get on with the cleanup and the call to the insurance agent.
The cruiser door opened.
Damn, damn, damn.
She’d forgotten, though she wasn’t quite sure how she could have since Darling was such a small town. Aiden Gallagher. One of Darling’s finest, complete with a crisp navy uniform, black shoes, and a belt on his hip that lent him a certain gravity and sexiness she wished she didn’t appreciate.
The last time she’d seen Aiden, she’d been home from school, barely twenty- one, and he’d flashed her a cocky take-a-good-look grin, all the while parading around the Suds and Spuds pub with some girl on his arm. Not that she’d expected any other sort of behavior from him. But still. Ugh.
Aiden approached the gate and she took a deep breath. He was a cop answering a call. Nothing more. And that was how she’d treat him. She definitely wouldn’t acknowledge that they’d known each other since they were five years old. Or that he’d once had her half- naked in the backseat of his car.
“Laurel,” he greeted, sliding through the gap in the fence. “Looks like you’ve had some trouble.”
She would do this. She would not cry again, especially not in front of Aiden. She had too much pride.
“A break-in last night.” She opened the gate a bit wider so he could get through. He passed close by her, his scent wafting in his wake. She swallowed. After all these years, he still wore the same cologne, and nostalgia hit her right in the solar plexus. He took off his cap and she saw his hair was still the same burnished copper, only shorter and without the natural waves, and his skin showed signs of freckles, but nowhere near as pronounced as they’d been. He wasn’t a boy any longer; he was a man.
He looked over his shoulder, his gray- blue eyes meeting hers.
Definitely a man.
“Wow.” He stopped and stared at the carnage. “They made a real mess. Was anything taken?”
She shrugged, focusing on the issue at hand once more.
“Inventory-wise, I won’t know until I get things cleaned up and do a count. But I doubt it. The float for the cash is gone, but that’s only a few hundred dollars. Mostly they just made a mess.”
Laurel bent over and righted a half-barrel of colorful begonias, purple lobelia, and million bells. Her gaze blurred as she noticed the crushed, fragile blossoms and pile of dirt left on the floor.
She clenched her teeth. If he saw her with tears in her eyes . . . today was upsetting enough without adding humiliation to the mix.
“Laurel,” he said, softer now. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine.” She bit out the words and pushed past him, going to the counter area. She could stand behind it and the counter would provide a barrier between them. “You don’t need to worry about me, or take that soothing-the-victim tone. What do you need for facts?”
She sensed his withdrawal as he straightened his shoulders, and she felt momentarily sheepish for taking such a sharp tone. But she was angry, dammit. Hell, she was angry most of the time, and starting to get tired of hiding it with a smile. This was truly the last thing she needed.
“Do you have a slip or anything with the amount of the float?” Now he was all business. It was a relief. She took a piece of paper from beneath the cash drawer in the register. “This is our rundown for what goes in the float each night. It’s put in a zip bag in the safe. Like a pencil case.”
He came around the counter, invading her space, and knelt down in front of the cupboard. “This is the safe?”
“I know. It’s not heavy- duty . . .”
“It looks like they just beat it open with a hammer.”
Great. Now she was feeling stupid, too. “It’s Darling. I didn’t expect something like this to happen here.”
He stood up and gave her a look that telegraphed “Are you serious?” before stepping back beyond the counter again. “Something like this happens everywhere, Laurel. What, you didn’t think crime happened in Darling?”
Well, no. Or at least, not until today. The fact that she’d already come to this disappointing conclusion, and then he’d repeated it, just made her angrier.
Coming home was supposed to be peaceful. Happy. The town was small, friendly, neighborly. Even after years away, many of her customers remembered her from her school years and recalled stories from those days. Darling even had a special “Kissing Bridge” in the park. There were several stories around how the bridge got the name, so no one really knew for sure. But the stone bridge and the quaint little legend to go with it brought tourists to the area and made Darling’s claim to fame a very romantic one. In a nutshell, those who stood on the bridge and sealed their love with a kiss would be together forever.
She should know all about it. Her picture— and Aiden’s— hung in the town offices to advertise the attraction. Just because they’d only been five years old at the time didn’t make it less of an embarrassment.
“I’m not naïve,” she replied sharply. “Is there anything else you need or can I get back to cleaning up?”
“Can you think of anyone who might want to give you trouble? Someone with a grudge or ax to grind?”
Other than you? she thought darkly. This was the first time they’d actually spoken since she’d poured vanilla milkshake over his head in the school cafeteria in their senior year. “No,” she replied. “I can’t imagine who’d want to do this.”
“I don’t suppose you have any video cameras installed.”
She shook her head, feeling inept and slightly stupid. Maybe she was a little naïve after all. She hadn’t lived in Darling since she was nineteen— nine years. Things had changed in her absence. New people, new businesses.
“I’ll have another look around. It looks like a case of vandalism more than anything. Probably some teen agers thinking it’s funny, or after the cash for booze or pot, and smashed some stuff for show.” His gaze touched hers.
“Kids can be really dumb at that age.”
Her cheeks heated. He hadn’t had to say the actual words for her to catch his meaning. “You never know. They might have been dared to do it. Or some sort of stupid bet.”
He held her gaze a few seconds longer, and she could tell by the look in his eyes that he acknowledged the hit.
He’d kissed her because of one of those bets . . . more than kissed her. They’d been parking in his car and he’d rounded second base and had been headed for third. And then she’d found out about the wager and lost her cool. Publicly. With the milkshake.
The only thing she regretted was saying yes to going on that drive in the first place.
“So you still haven’t forgiven me for that.”
Laurel lifted her chin. “To my recollection, you haven’t asked for forgiveness.”
Aiden frowned, his brows pulling together. “We were seventeen. Kids. That was years ago.”
Which didn’t sound much like an apology at all.
“Yes, it was. Now, I have a lot of mess to clean up. Is there any more information you need or are we done here?”
He stared at her for a long minute. Long enough that she started to squirm a bit at his continued attention. Finally, when she was so uncomfortable she thought she might burst, she turned away and retrieved the broom and dustpan from where she’d left them.
“Do you want some help with this?”
She didn’t want him to offer. The idea of spending more time with him was so unsettling that she immediately refused.
“No. Don’t you have to get back to work? Besides, I have someone coming in at eight. You go do what you need to do, Officer Gallagher.”
“Officer Galla . . . oh, for Crissakes, Laurel. Is that necessary?”
She pinned him with a glare. He was standing with his weight on one hip, accentuating his lean, muscular physique, one perfect eyebrow arched in response to her acid tone.
She wasn’t the kind to hold a grudge. Not generally. Heck, she’d forgiven Dan months ago, and that was for something far bigger than a silly teenage bet. Why did Aiden get under her skin so easily?
Maybe it was because he’d been so callous, even after the fact. If he’d shown any remorse at all . . . but he hadn’t. He’d taken the paper cup the milkshake had been in, and fired it across the cafeteria floor before charging out. And he’d never once spoken to her again. Until today. And despite the change in circumstances, she felt much the same as she had that night in the backseat of his car. Out of her depth, over her head, and at a distinct disadvantage.
She looked away. “Sorry. I just want to clean this up and get ready to open.”
She picked up the broom and began sweeping the little bits of broken pots and dirt into the dustpan. She saw his shoes first; big sturdy black ones that stopped in front of her. Then his hand, warm and reassuring, touched her shoulder. She’d been rude and brusque, and he was being kind. Damn him. Emotion threatened to overwhelm again. Couldn’t he see that gentle compassion was harder for her to handle than cool efficiency?
“Are you afraid to stay here alone this morning?” He throat tightened. “No, of course not.”
“I’m on duty until this afternoon. I can check in from time to time.”
“I’m fine.” She looked up at him and set her jaw. “I can take care of myself. I’m a big girl.”
He stepped back. “All right. But if you think of anything or anything else happens, call right away.”
She kept sweeping and listened to his footsteps walk away across the concrete floor. The building always smelled delicious thanks to the flowers, but this morning the scent was even more pungent because many had been crushed and mangled. She sighed and rested her weight on the broom handle. He was just doing his job. And she was pissed off—at the state of the garden center and the fact that the one person in Darling she didn’t really care to see was the one who’d been sent to help.
He turned when she called his name, but his expression was neutral. She wished she could be that way. Unfortunately she always seemed to wear her emotions all over her face.
“Thanks for your help this morning.”
He nodded. “Just doing my job.”
He walked to his cruiser and got in while Laurel stood there with a flaming- hot face. Once he’d turned to exit the driveway, she kicked a plastic bucket that had been abandoned in the middle of an aisle, sending it spinning away with a loud clatter. No sooner had she decided to extend an olive branch than he came back with a line that deflated any sort of possibility of amity. He was just doing his job, like he’d do for anyone else. She was no one special. Never had been. The knowledge shouldn’t have cut, but it did.
Anyway, the bigger issue was the prob lem at hand— getting the store ready to open in just a few hours. The Ladybug Garden Center was her baby now. She’d invested all of herself into it, and she was determined to see it succeed, not only this spring and summer but into the fall and winter. In order for that to happen she would have to take steps to ensure this sort of thing didn’t happen again.
Just as soon as she cleaned up the mess.
And stopped thinking about how Aiden hadn’t changed that much, either. In good ways and in bad.
Copyright © 2017 by Donna Alward and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Paperbacks.
Laurel Stone has returned home to Darling in Vermont to start a new life for herself since everything has gone wrong with her old one. Just when she thought her future had involved babies and a family home, her husband Dan told her he was gay and had fallen in love. Now divorced, Laurel is back in her childhood town, determined to make a go of her new business, The Ladybug Garden Center, and to forge ahead with her future, with the help of her parents and her old friend Willow. Now if she could only avoid Aiden Gallagher, the first boy to ever break her heart, everything would be great. For Laurel has learned the hard way that she cannot trust love or her own judgement and is better off on her own.
Aiden Gallagher, now the local cop, is shocked by his reaction to seeing Laurel again. He had wanted her all those years ago but let immaturity destroy any chance he had. But now here she is and she still sets his blood on fire. When she needs his help with some vandalism, Aiden is more than happy to accommodate. But the more time they spend together the more sexual tension simmers between them. And when the town council wants them to recreate a kiss from when they were children on The Kissing Bridge, will this be the push they both need to take a chance?
With passion, family, friendship, and a community that I would love to live in, SOMEBODY LIKE YOU by Donna Alward is the perfect start to this mesmerising new series. All of the characters make Darling such a compelling place and I cannot wait to see whose story is next (I'm hoping for Willow's!). Laurel and Aiden are great characters because they are so real, with real problems, real insecurities, and real emotions and fears. The novel is perfectly paced - never lagging or dull - and I literally could not put this book down until it was finished (I blamed Donna Alward when the ironing wasn't done 😃) SOMEBODY LIKE YOU by Donna Alward is just one of those books that swallow you up heart and soul, and gives you all of the feelings. A fantastic read!!!
BOOK RATING - 📖📖📖📖📖 5+++
While bestselling author Donna Alward was busy studying Austen, Eliot and Shakespeare, she was also losing herself in the breathtaking stories created by romance novelists like LaVyrle Spencer, Judith McNaught, and Nora Roberts. Several years after completing her degree she decided to write a romance of her own and it was true love! Five years and ten manuscripts later she sold her first book and launched a new career. While her heartwarming stories of love, hope, and homecoming have been translated into several languages, hit bestseller lists and won awards, her very favorite thing is when she hears from happy readers!
Donna lives on Canada’s east coast with her family which includes a husband, a couple of kids, a senior dog and two crazy cats. When she’s not writing she enjoys reading (of course!), knitting, gardening, cooking…and is a Masterpiece Theater addict. For more information:
Website - www.donnaalward.com
Twitter - twitter.com/DonnaAlward
Facebook - www.facebook.com/DonnaAlwardAuthor
Goodreads - www.goodreads.com/author/show/570576.Donna_Alward
*I would like to thank Justine at St. Martin's Press and Donna Alward, for the opportunity to review and be a part of this fantastic blog tour ❤️
Release date - 14th February 2017
Book length - 222 pages
Book Depository - www.bookdepository.com
Amazon UK - The Scoundrel's Pleasure: The MacNeil Legacy - Book Two
Amazon US - www.amazon.com
Bestselling author Jane Bonander enchants readers the world over with her heartfelt historical romances set in Scotland and perfect for the readership of Monica McCarty and Julie Garwood.
Duncan MacNeil voyages over the sea to make his fortune in America. Shortly before his departure, he has a single tryst near the village fair with lovely Isobel Dunbar. Their romp leads to a pregnancy, and while he is across the ocean, Isobel gives birth to a spirited boy she names Ian. To protect her reputation and to prevent Duncan's wealthy family from taking Ian away from her, Isobel concocts a story that her neighbors believe--she claims Ian's father married her and then died in a shipwreck, leaving her a poor widow. The truth, she hopes, will never be discovered, and her son will never meet his father.
When Duncan returns, weary of the New World and ready to take charge of his family's business, his first plan is to buy a run-down former brothel and convert it to a cannery. Only this is where Isobel now calls home. He can't understand why she refuses to sell, and he certainly cannot understand why she harbors such resentment towards him. Then he realizes who this beautiful woman once was to him. Can Duncan grow from an irresponsible boy into a man who takes responsibility for his past carelessness? And can Isobel ever trust this stranger, when keeping Ian's parentage a secret is the only way she knows to keep her beloved son close?
One careless night of passion and rebellion and Isobel Dunbar's life is changed forever. With Duncan MacNeil, the father of her child, gone to sea never to return, Isobel fears that the MacNeil's will try to take her precious child away from her if they were to learn of his existence. So she concocts a story and makes herself a widow, and begins a new life where she can raise her son. But when Duncan returns and is determined to buy the building where she has made her home, Isobel is determined to resist him...in every way possible. For the scoundrel still has the power to set her blood on fire. But with so many secrets and insecurities between them, could Isobel ever trust Duncan with her heart and their beloved son? THE SCOUNDREL'S PLEASURE by Jane Bonander is an entertaining, historical romance with plenty of ups and downs to hold your interest throughout. Isobel is my favourite character as she is such a strong-willed, resourceful heroine. THE SCOUNDREL'S PLEASURE by Jane Bonander is the second book of The MacNeil Legacy but can easily be read on its own.
BOOK RATING - 📖📖📖📖 4
Jane Bonander has always had a flare for the dramatic. Just ask her mother. When she was five, she ran home from kindergarten and scrambled under her parents’ bed, hiding there until her mother came looking for her which was longer than Jane had anticipated, for she fell asleep. When her mother woke her, she told her that a big, hairy monster had chased her home. Since over an hour had passed, the drama of the moment was gone. She sold her first novel, SECRETS OF A MIDNIGHT MOON, to St. Martin’s Press in 1990. Since then she has published twelve more novels and novellas.
Although Jane lived in California for nearly twenty years and wrote most of her novels there, she returned to her roots in Minnesota in 1997, where she makes her home in St. Paul. For more information:
Website - www.janebonander.com
Facebook - www.facebook.com/Jane-Bonander-914942311887071/?fref=ts
*I voluntarily reviewed this book from Netgalley.com
Today I am delighted to welcome the very talented Rachel Brimble to my blog. I discovered Rachel's books on an Amazon Kindle deal a few years ago, and she soon became a firm favourite of mine. Rachel has kindly written a piece on the Victorian era for you all to enjoy, and I have included my review of THE SEDUCTION OF EMILY, which is one of my absolute favourites. Happy Reading!!!
Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. Since 2013, she has had six books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and recently signed a contract for two more. She also has four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical Press.
Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.
She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!
Links: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Facebook Street Team - Rachel's Readers
Victorian Bath & Me
I am lucky enough to write Victorian romances for eKensington/Lyrical press as well as contemporary romance for Harlequin Superromance. People often ask me if I prefer one to the other and I can honestly say, I love both sub-genres equally. More than that, I love that I get to alternate between them!
So far, I have written four Victorian romances, The Seduction of Emily, The Temptation of Laura, What A Woman Desires & Her One True Love. Each book is set in and around Bath, England.
Bath is steeped in history and a great source of inspiration and information. I read voraciously about the Victorian era for research, but to have access to buildings that are from the Victorian age and beyond is an opportunity too good to waste. I live very close! So far I have used the fabulous Royal Crescent, The Pump Rooms, Pulteney Bridge and The Theatre Royal, but there are many, many other famous attractions in Bath that I intend to use in the future.
Setting books in real places adds so much fun to the whole process––largely because I get to do a lot of walking and visiting in the name of research. I really hope you gain a good sense of Bath if you are nice enough to try one of my Victorian romances.
As for my next book, which is being shopped out by my agent as we speak, I return once more to Bath. More often than not, my books aren’t about the dances and balls, but instead, focus on the lower classes way of life and ensuring the hero and heroine their ultimate happy ever after. The main difference with this next book is I have leapfrogged into the Edwardian era. A first for me ☺
I loved researching a new era and steeping myself in the wonderful clothes and hats of the early 1900s more than anything. I am very excited about this project and really hope it finds a home with a good publisher who loved historical romance as much as I do.
Book length - 226 pages
Available from: Amazon US
Barnes & Noble
Seduction is a wicked game, and no one plays it better than the devilish Will Samson in Rachel Brimble's captivating new novel. . .
Since girlhood, Emily Darson has accepted that she will marry Nicholas, the son of her father's trusted business partner. The marriage contract safeguards her family legacy, Emily's fortune, and everything she values--except her independence. Only when a sinfully handsome scoundrel enters her life does Emily realize quite how much a loveless match will cost her.
Will Samson has advanced from expert pickpocket to confidence trickster of the highest caliber. Now he has come to Bath to exact vengeance on the man who destroyed his mother--the man Emily will soon marry. But from his first glimpse of the enemy's bewitching, spirited fiancée, Will's plan changes.
Amid the ballrooms and salons of elegant society, heated glances explode into scandalous kisses. Revenge is sweet, but surrender will be irresistible. . .
THE SEDUCTION OF EMILY by Rachel Brimble is a feisty, exciting, and entertaining historical romance that you will not want to put down. Emily Darson is a heroine to be admired. Strong, intelligent, and loyal beyond all measure, she is willing to sacrifice her own chance at love, to bring peace of mind to her dying father, and preserve freedom of choice for whatever children she may have in the future, by marrying Nicholas. Nicholas chills her blood and yet he used to be her friend when they were children. But somewhere along the way he changed and has a dangerous aura surrounding him. When Will enters her life, he is everything she ever wanted in a partner - handsome, caring, passionate, and he looks on her as an equal. But their passion can never come to pass no matter how much she wants him. But Will is on a personal mission of his own - to destroy Nicholas for the horrific things he has done and continues to do, and nothing will stop Will from having his revenge. Victorian London in all of its glory, and darkness comes alive in THE SEDUCTION OF EMILY by Rachel Brimble and this is one Regency romance that you will not want to miss.
BOOK RATING - 📖📖📖📖📖 5++++++++++++++++
I want to thank Rachel for taking part in this guest post and I cannot wait to see what treasures she has in store for us for 2017!!
Release date - 9th February 2017
Book length - 368 pages
Book Depository - www.bookdepository.com
Amazon UK - Turn Towards the Sun
Amazon US - www.amazon.com
Lizzie wants nothing more than to start over and put the past behind her. So when she is offered the chance to live and work at Rowan Hill, a beautiful country estate and bustling community of artists, it feels like a dream come true.
But soon after her arrival a series of accidents and misunderstandings begins to threaten the happiness and livelihoods of everyone at Rowan Hill. And when suspicion quickly falls on Lizzie, she discovers that the past is not so easily forgotten.
To keep the life she has just begun to build, Lizzie will have to race to uncover the truth before there are disastrous repercussions for everyone involved. In this heartwarming story of friendship, loss and love, the stakes are high but so are the rewards. If Lizzie can find a way to stay true to herself, she might have a chance at something she has always wanted: a place to call home.
TURN TOWARDS THE SUN by Emma Davies is a beautifully poignant tale of love, family, and what is most important in this world. Lizzie has only ever known hardship in her life but she has always strived for more. So when she lands the job of general assistant at Rowan Hill, she will do everything she can to make it work. Always doubting herself, Lizzie tries really hard to do everything right, because at Rowan Hill she finally feels at peace. But when everything starts to fall apart at the seams and all roads seem to be leading back to Lizzie, it is as if the very soul of Rowan Hill is disintegrating. As Lizzie struggles to uncover the truth, will she be able to find the strength and self-confidence that she will need to help Ellie, Will, and all of those who have become like family to her? TURN TOWARDS THE SUN by Emma Davies brings the picturesque community to life, and you will instantly take the characters into your heart. With many bumps along the way, the story never loses its pace, and I particularly loved Lizzie who is refreshingly blunt and sweet. TURN TOWARDS THE SUN is a wonderfully entertaining contemporary story and I highly recommend it.
BOOK RATING - 📖📖📖📖📖5+++
Hello, a little bit about me ......
Before we go any further there are two things you need to know: One - I love singing loudly in the car, and Two - I have a passion for Pringles.
If you're happy with both these things then please feel free to read on ....
Once upon a time I worked in a design agency where I was asked to write an amusing caption to go beside my details on their website. I wrote 'I am a best selling novelist currently masquerading as a thirty something mother of three.'
Well I'm now a forty something mother of three and am currently working on the rest. I'm a member of The Romantic Novelists' Association, and live with my husband, children, mother in law and two guinea pigs in rural Shropshire. I write in the gaps between real life. For more information:
Website - www.emmadaviesauthor.com
Twitter - twitter.com/Emdavies68
Facebook - www.facebook.com/emmadaviesauthor/?fref=ts
*I voluntarily reviewed this book from Netgalley.com
Release date - 7th February 2017
Book length - 320 pages
BUY LINKS: AMAZON | B&N | INDIEBOUND | IBOOKS | KOBO
The best journeys take us home….
When Tessa Alexander came to Sanctuary Island, she left behind a marriage to a man who didn’t love her the way she loved him. When she finally found the strength to set them both free, she discovered friendship and self-acceptance in her adopted hometown. Now she’s settled into a quiet life on her own—never expecting to see her husband again.
Johnny spent almost two years deep undercover, unable to let his wife into his cold, dangerous world. He’s shaken to the core when he comes home to find her gone. It’s painfully clear that Tessa is no longer the timid young woman he married—she’s become a force of nature, a brave and determined beauty. Johnny can’t let her go without a fight so he sets out to seduce his own wife. But will passion alone be enough to convince Tessa that her new life should include a second chance at happiness with a man who must learn to believe in love?
I am lucky enough to have a wonderful excerpt to share with you all. Happy reading!
Physical awareness flickered to life between them. Johnny felt the heavy beat of his blood, the sudden tightness in his jeans. Turning her hand under his, he stroked his thumb over the thin, tender skin at the in- side of her wrist where her pulse fluttered. She filled his mind, his entire consciousness. There was noth- ing but Tessa.
“You want more, honey? All you have to do is ask.”
She shivered, her eyes darkening as desire blew her pupils wide. Lips parting, Tessa stretched up on her toes over the horse’s back and Johnny didn’t care about the thousand-pound animal between them—he had to get his mouth on her, right now.
Spearing his hands into the short wisps of hair at the back of her neck, Johnny leaned in and kissed her.
The rest of the world fell away, leaving nothing behind but Tessa’s sugar-sweet mouth, the high, sur- prised noises she made in the back of her throat, the clutch of her fingers in the collar of his jacket as she pulled him closer.
He hadn’t kissed her since that first day. He hadn’t wanted to push her, or to make her think all he was interested in was sex.
That was a mistake. He should have been kissing her every day. Every minute.
Clover took a step forward, jolting them out of their embrace. The horse looked curiously over his shoul- der as Tessa started to laugh. It was the laugh Johnny had seen for the first time through the bakery window, full throated and joyous, with Tessa’s head thrown back in abandon.
Overcome with the need to seize this moment, Johnny grabbed the currycomb and threw it in the bucket before rounding the horse to snag his wife by the hand. Tessa looked up at him, breath coming in fast pants and eyes glazed, pliantly following where he led. It was all Johnny could do not to take her down to the sawdust-covered floor and hope Clover was smart enough not to step on them.
No. Tessa was untouched. She’d been waiting for this for a long time—and her first time wasn’t going to be a literal roll in the hay. But that didn’t mean either of them could stand to wait until they found a bed.
He reached for enough patience to get out of the stall and latch the door behind them. Dumping the bucket of grooming tools by the stall door, Johnny tugged Tessa by the wrist down the barn corridor to an empty stall he’d noticed earlier. It was unoccupied, completely clear of hay except for a few pieces strewn here and there, and Johnny backed Tessa into it for a little privacy. She went willingly enough, although he could see her brain starting to come back online, awareness of what they were doing starting to show in her eyes.
If he were a good man, he’d back off and let the sexual tension clear from the air between them. Tessa, who’d had so few choices in her life, deserved to make a real choice about this, one not clouded by overwhelming sensations. Johnny was at least a good enough man to vow not to take her here and now. He was relieved to find that he still had limits.
But that didn’t mean he could stop himself from providing Tessa with a damn good argument for why she should choose him.
Why she should choose them.
One smooth step forward had Tessa pressed up against the rough wood of the wall, his hand coming up to cup the back of her head and keep her from hurt- ing herself. He never wanted her to feel a moment’s pain, not if he could help it.
A soft smile pulled at her mouth. She turned her head far enough to nuzzle his arm, her gaze steady on his even as her cheeks flushed deep pink. She was irresistible. Johnny dipped his head, sipping kisses from her lips, small and sweet and playful to make her sigh. Her neck stretched, so vulnerably naked with- out the covering of her long, brown hair. The fingers of his free hand had to pet down the pale, slender length of it.
Tessa sighed into his lips, a breath with a hint of moan underneath—enough to vibrate through her throat against the sensitive tips of his fingers and reverberate through Johnny’s own chest. Hunger throbbed and ached between his legs, heavily undeni- able, but he ignored it for the moment. This was about Tessa. Tessa’s pleasure, Tessa’s awakening, Tessa’s beautiful, beloved, familiar-but-new body.
With a last swipe of his tongue across her plush lower lip, Johnny dragged his mouth from hers to nip his way down her throat to the juncture of her shoulder. He paused there to suckle at the soft skin, pulling up a mark that sent a heated pulse of posses- sion through him. Satisfaction rumbled in his chest as he trailed his hand from her neck to follow the path of his mouth lower, and then lower still. She shuddered when he reached the full roundness of her breasts.
Hungry for more but unwilling to expose her in this semipublic place, Johnny’s fingers shaped her through her thin sweater. He loved the way she shivered and peaked up, tightening into a bud he could feel . . . and needed to taste.
Johnny contented himself with wetting the fabric over the hard tip of her breasts, rubbing the knit weave of her sweater over the sensitive skin before enclos- ing her in warmth and pulling strongly enough to make her moan. High-pitched and shocked, the sounds Tessa let loose made Johnny groan with the need to restrain himself.
He knelt on the hard-packed dirt floor in front of her, forehead pressed to her softly rounded belly as he panted and worked to get control of the passion that wanted to run away with them both.
“Don’t stop,” she begged in a heated whisper he felt in every fiber of his body.
Johnny tilted his head up to meet her stare. Red- cheeked and wide-eyed, Tessa stared down at him. She looked nervous, excited, turned on—but she didn’t look as if she were too overwhelmed to make a real choice. Her eyes were clear.
He still didn’t want her first time to be in a barn. She deserved better than that. But there were many firsts for Tessa to enjoy, and Johnny could give her one right here.
Copyright © 2017 by Lily Everett and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press.
CLOSE TO HOME by Lily Everett is the perfect combination of romance, desire, and suspense. Johnny Alexander has dedicated his life to protecting those that need him, from his job working undercover at the ATF, to his unusual marriage to Terri. Ever since the day he found her hiding on his family farm, he has done everything he can to make her happy. Well, everything except touch her and make their marriage real in every way possible. Terri is so pure and good that she deserves the best, and Johnny knows the darkness that lies within himself. But when he finishes an undercover operation of almost two years, to find that she has left him and set up a new life for herself on Sanctuary Island, he cannot let her walk away from him. But Terri is not the same quiet, scared girl anymore. Calling herself Tessa, she has finally moved on from her childhood and is determined to build an independent and happy life for herself. Completely in love with Johnny, she has released him to let him find love and happiness, but when he shows up on her island, Tessa doesn't know what to think. As they begin to really get to know each other, their desire for each other cannot be denied. But danger has followed them from the past, and as they struggle to understand each other, can they find a way to trust in what is growing between them before it is too late? With beautiful characters that will burrow into your heart and the community of Sanctuary Island which is idyllic, CLOSE TO HOME by Lily Everett is a book that must be devoured! Although easily read as a standalone, I highly recommend the series, and I eagerly await more from Sanctuary Island.
BOOK RATING - 📖📖📖📖📖 5++++
LILY EVERETT is the author of the Sanctuary Island series for St. Martin's Press. She grew up in a small town in the foothills of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains and now resides in Austin, Texas, where she writes full-time. For more information:
Website - www.lilyeverett.com
Twitter - twitter.com/LouisaEdwards
Facebook - www.facebook.com/lilyeverettreaderpage
*I would like to thank Meghan at St. Martin's Press, and Lily Everett, for the opportunity to read and review this amazing book, and for allowing me to be a part of this blog tour!
Hi fellow bookworms. My name is Linda and I'm a reviewer & blogger, wife & mother who loves all things books!
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