Monday, December 18, 2017

From My Family to Yours, Merry Christmas!


I would like to wish all of you a very happy holiday season filled with loved ones, laughter, and, of course, good books!

I'll be back in action on January 8, 2018 with a review of The Lost Season of Love and Snow by Jennifer Laam.

Until then, happy reading!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Holiday Review: Dashing All the Way

From the Back Cover:

Best-selling and critically acclaimed historical romance authors Celeste Bradley, Eva Devon, Elizabeth Essex and Heather Snow heat up this Christmas with four never-before-released novellas guaranteed to make your holiday season merry and bright.

“A Rake for Christmas” by Eva Devon
Lady Evangeline Pennyworth is done with being a wallflower and turns to London's most notorious rake, demanding he teach her how to be desirable. After witnessing the love of his parents devolve into pain and anger, Anthony Basingstoke has vowed never to be swept away by passion, even if he finds himself taken by this wallflower in a way he’s never been before. Only a Christmas miracle will make true love a gift that will last forever.

“Up on the Rooftops” by Elizabeth Essex
Mischievous widow Caledonia Bowmont longs for London’s Christmas cheer, but a string of jewel thefts has brought the festive season to a standstill—and Society accuses the Scottish Wraith, Tobias McTavish. Toby is determined to clear his name and reclaim the life he’s built, so with Cally’s help, he heads up on the rooftops to trap the thief. Will they stop the high-carat crime, or find the hidden gem of lasting love instead?

“The Very Debonair Lady Claire” by Heather Snow
When Claire Barton’s twin is murdered, she takes his place in the War Department to flush out his killer. Her ruse works perfectly—until the man who once broke her heart becomes her new spymaster. The worst mistake of Andrew Sedgewick’s life was walking away from Claire that Christmas six years ago. Now that he’s found her again, he doesn’t intend to let her go—if they both survive this holiday season.

“A Liar Under the Mistletoe” by Celeste Bradley
Fearless Amie Jackham doesn't attend balls to dance, she's there for the thrill of robbing the lockboxes of the unscrupulous. With the notorious Vixen still at large, Liar's Club spy Lord Elliot Hughes is taking the opportunity to clean out a few lockboxes for the good of Crown and Country—and leaving the Vixen's trademark lacy handkerchief behind. Thief and spy can’t resist each other in this sexy, catch-me-if-you-can Liar’s Club holiday novella. 

My Thoughts:

I'm loving these Christmas anthologies because I get to try a bunch of new-to-me authors, and with my reading time growing scarcer, I can manage a novella at a time while getting in the holiday spirit!

Dashing All the Way features four extremely well written and satisfying Regency novellas. I will offer my thoughts on each story and then on the collection as a whole.

A Rake for Christmas: Two people feeling the lack of that "something more" in their lives find it in each other when they least expect it.Could have used more room to explore their backgrounds since their experiences have played heavy tolls on them both, but they are both very likable leads, and this is a sweet and emotional love story that's also and nice and Christmassy. No sex scenes.

Up on the Rooftops: Sparks fly between a bored widow and a reformed thief in this tale that features wonderful banter, a playful relationship, and possibly the hottest carriage sex I've ever read! Though the climactic scene takes place during a masquerade ball, Christmas is only mentioned in passing with no depiction of traditions or holiday ambiance.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Holiday Review: Christmas in Kilts

From the Back Cover:

Tis the season to fall in love! These five bestselling authors bring you great tiding of highlanders and romances this holiday season!

A HIGHLANDER'S HOPE by Terri Brisbin
A village harlot who would never dream she could have a different life meets a Highlander visitor for the holidays who brings with him an offer and hope!

A HIGHLAND CHRISTMAS WAGER by Lecia Cornwall
When a snowstorm forces a charming lass hiding a broken heart to take shelter in a castle with three fine Highland lairds just days before Christmas, there’s a game afoot—who will be the first to win a kiss and maybe her heart.


A SCOT FOR CHRISTMAS by Bronwen Evans
She's ready to embrace her life and future as a spinster, he's trying to have one last hurrah before he gives into his family's wishes and proposes marriage to his neighbor, but fate has other ideas when the lady and the Scot meet at a holiday house party in the wilds of Scotland.

MISTLETOE by Lavinia Kent
What happens when a highlander finds himself stranded, maybe kidnapped, with an English lady around Christmas... maybe the mistletoe will help answer that question.

SWEET HOME HIGHLAND CHRISTMAS by May McGoldrick
A chance encounter between a ship's captain and a desperate aunt trying to keep custody of her young niece leads to a little magic during the holidays.

My Thoughts:

I like Christmas anthologies because the novellas tend to focus solely on the holiday rather than it just being a backdrop or only figuring into a few scenes in a full-length novel. Plus it gives me a chance to try out authors that are new to me, as all of these are. And five Christmas historical romances set in Scotland? Yes, please! Here we have five different stories in locations ranging from the Highlands to the Lowlands, and from the 14th century to the 19th. I'm giving you a brief rundown of my thoughts on each story along with my thoughts on the collection as a whole.

A Highlander's Hope: DNFed. I don't think a novella allows for enough time to have a satisfying arc for a heroine who is a courtesan. I just found the premise really unbelievable: An older soldier still grieving the death of his wife five years earlier, lonely, being pushed to remarry by his clan, suddenly decides that the perfect wife for him is the prostitute he visits once a year when he visits another clan? A prostitute who is still working? I just couldn't buy it. Added to that was choppy writing and a complicated backstory dump with too many people to keep straight from previous books in this author's series, and I just didn't have any interest in continuing past the second chapter.

A Highland Christmas Wager: At first I worried this was going the way of the first with an extremely unlikable male lead, but it turned out there were three different men in this tale, snowed in with an unwed beauty from a powerful clan, all vying for her physical attentions and her hand in marriage, but only one of them wants her heart. Some over-the-top moments and a silly misunderstanding, but the romance is sweet.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Q&A + Giveaway with Elizabeth Jane Corbett, Author of The Tides Between

Please join me in welcoming Elizabeth Jane Corbett to Let Them Read Books! Elizabeth is touring the blogosphere with her debut novel, The Tides Between, and I recently had the chance to ask her some questions about her inspiration for this novel, Welsh fairy tales, and writing historical fiction. Read on and enter to win a signed copy of The Tides Between!

She fancied herself part of a timeless chain without beginning or end, linked only by the silver strong words of its tellers.

In the year 1841, on the eve of her departure from London, Bridie’s mother demands she forget her dead father and prepare for a sensible, adult life in Port Phillip. Desperate to save her childhood, fifteen-year-old Bridie is determined to smuggle a notebook filled with her father’s fairytales to the far side of the world.

When Rhys Bevan, a soft-voiced young storyteller and fellow traveller realises Bridie is hiding something, a magical friendship is born. But Rhys has his own secrets and the words written in Bridie’s notebook carry a dark double meaning.

As they inch towards their destination, Rhys’s past returns to haunt him. Bridie grapples with the implications of her dad’s final message. The pair take refuge in fairytales, little expecting the trouble it will cause.

Odyssey Books | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo


Hi Elizabeth! Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by Let Them Read Books!

Thank you so much for hosting me and for creating such an interesting list of questions.

What a fascinating premise The Tides Between has! What inspired you to write this novel?

The process started with a mid-life crisis. I decided I’d better attempt the long-cherished dream of writing a novel before it was too late. My initial aim was to write an Aussie immigration saga spanning several decades (so I could have easy access to reference materials). As I researched Australia’s early immigration system, a young girl entered my mind. I called her Bridie. She’d lost her father in tragic circumstances. I envisaged my novel would start with Bridie’s voyage to Australia and follow her life in early Melbourne. Due to my mum’s heritage, I made the fateful decision of including a young Welsh couple in my mix of immigrants. I had this idea they would help Bridie come to terms with her loss. But how to make that happen? Some quick research told me Wales had a strong bardic heritage. Hmm…maybe my Welsh couple could be storytellers? I read the Mabinogion and host of other Welsh fairy tales. Wow! Like wow! These stories were my heritage and I hadn’t even known they existed.

I’d never written a novel before and frankly I found how-to-write-a-novel books overwhelming. I thought if I take into account everything I need to know before writing this novel, I’ll be too scared to start. I basically just gave myself permission to write. As my fictitious ship set sail, I realised my Welsh couple had secrets. Bridie faced conflict on a number of levels. I kept writing. Somewhere around the Bay of Biscay, I faced a decision. Do I follow this story where it is leading? Or pull back and write the saga I’d initially intended. I chose the latter. I still haven’t written the saga.

Reading all of those Welsh fairy tales as you wrote must have been fun. Which is your favorite?

Ooh! That is tricky. Perhaps, the Lady of the Lake? I am haunted by those three causeless. That is so like life, isn’t it? We don’t always realise the consequences of our actions until it is too late. I can’t count the times I’ve thought: I wish I hadn’t said/done that?

While researching The Tides Between, I spent seven months living in Wales. While there, I was fortunate enough to attend a number of lectures on the Mabinigion. I also went to a talk on Fairy Tales by a man who I suspect really was a fairy. In his version of the Lady of the Lake, the three causeless blows were made with a piece of iron. This caused a degree of panic. Had I got the whole thing wrong? Would I need to re-draft yet again? To my relief, I found there were a number of possible variations, as is often the case with folk tales.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Entangled Historical Romance Blog Tour

Get the scoop on five brand new historical romances and read an excerpt from each!


Lady Evelyn’s Highland Protector by Tara Kingston

About the Book:

A Highlander’s vow...Scottish spy Gerard MacMasters never expected to be playing bodyguard in his mission to catch a killer. Stunning English beauty, Lady Evelyn Hunt, has witnessed a merciless assassin’s escape—now, she’s in danger, and it’s up to him to keep her alive. Yet, he is drawn to the tempting woman. Passion flares, but he knows better than to fall for her. He’s already lost one woman he loved—never again will he put his heart on the line. 

She shields her heart...After a crushing betrayal at the altar, Lady Evelyn wants nothing to do with love. Kissing a gorgeous rogue is one thing, but surrendering her heart is another matter. When she stumbles upon a mysterious crime, nothing prepares her for the dashing Scot who charges into her life. The hot-blooded Highlander may be her hero—or her undoing.
     
Purchase Link:

https://entangledpublishing.com/lady-evelyn-s-highland-protector.html

About the Author:

Award-winning author Tara Kingston writes historical romance laced with intrigue, danger, and adventures of the heart. A Southern-belle-out-of-water in a quaint Pennsylvania town, she lives her own happily-ever-after in a cozy Victorian with her real-life hero and a pair of deceptively innocent-looking kitties. The mother of two sons, Tara’s a former librarian who first discovered her love of the romance genre when she sneaked more than a peek at her mother’s old-school romance paperbacks. When she’s not writing, reading, or burning dinner, Tara enjoys movie nights, traveling, cycling, hiking, DIY projects, quality time with her family, and cheering on her favorite football team.

Book Excerpt:

INVERNESS, SCOTLAND
JUNE, 1891

Truth be told, Lady Evelyn Hunt rather enjoyed being a fallen woman. While others might well wring their hands over such a dizzying tumble from grace, she’d discovered an unexpected benefit of scandal—the invisible scarlet letter she wore was the key to her independence. After all, with no good name to protect, she had nothing to lose.

As her traveling companions gushed over the wares in a milliner’s cramped and cluttered shop, she debated whether to put that freedom to good use and make her escape. She’d endured the noisy, pungent train ride from London to the Highlands with nary a whisper of complaint. After all, it wasn’t every day one embarks on a journey to stand as a bridesmaid while her dearest friend weds a dashing Scotsman. She would not have missed Sally’s wedding, not for all the quiet chambers in the world. But now, as the walls closed in and her friends’ voices blurred, she eyed the door with a keen longing.

Fanning herself with one hand, she pulled in a gulp of air, deep as her corset allowed. Drat, she should’ve loosened the stays. A fashionable silhouette was desirable, but then again, so was the ability to inhale.

Her pulse hammered a defiant beat against her eardrums. What harm would there be in leaving this little shop, if only for a few minutes? It wasn’t as if she required a chaperone. With her reputation damaged well beyond repair, she was free to explore the city without benefit of an escort. On the other hand, her dignity would suffer a devastating blow if she collapsed in an incoherent heap on the milliner’s floor.

Edging past the hatmaker’s dour-faced assistant, Evelyn slipped out the door. Relief rushed in. Fresh calm filled her. Free of the crush and the relentless chatter, she could once again focus her thoughts. She could breathe.

A shadow fell over her.

Strong, warm hands settled over her shoulders.

She gasped.

A stranger towered over her. A handsome man, dark-haired and broad-shouldered.

“Unhand me, sir.”

His hands fell away. A hint of a smile danced on his full mouth. “Is the devil nippin’ at yer heels, lass?”

Good heavens. In her rush to take her leave of the shop, she’d nearly collided with the fellow, hadn’t she? So much for avoiding damage to her dignity.

She was tall, too long-limbed to fit the feminine ideal, but she had to cock her chin to meet his intent golden-brown eyes. “My apologies.”

“’Tis no harm done.” A lock of dark hair dipped over his forehead, and he shoved it away. “Do take care. The next man ye run into might take advantage of the opportunity to find a lovely lass in his arms.”

The man certainly had cheek, didn’t he? A reply sprang to her lips, hovering there unspoken as his hint of a smile gave way to a ridiculously appealing grin.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Book Blast! Sown in Tears and Where Do I Go by Beverly Magid

Sown in Tears by Beverly Magid

Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Paperback & eBook; 194 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1478104575
Genre: Fiction/Historical/Jewish


Russia, 1905: The Jews are restricted to the area called thePale of the Settlement and the target of anti-semitism fomented by the government and exacerbated by the laws and the economy. After an attack on the village of Kortitz, Leah Peretz must find a way to survive and protect her young children. Her life is complicated by the unexpected attentions of the Russian officer, Captain Vaselik. Can she trust him? Should she join the burgeoning worker movement? Suddenly her path to self-discovery has become one of drama, revolution and courage.

"I read this story in ONE day. I could not put the book down!" - Impressions In Ink Book Blog

"Sown in Tearswill have you gripped from the first sentence. This exciting, fast-paced novel takes all the elements of romance, family love, friendship and loyalty and places them into the fascinating setting of a small Jewish settlement in Russia in 1905. Magid creates a wonderful atmosphere of stifling terror and poverty in the Jewish community and the courage and survival instincts of Leah or so expertly created that you are willing her on, even when her actions could have serious consequences for her family. This novel truly stands out in the ‘chick lit’ category as a brave and exciting choice of subject matter written with real heart and finesse." - BestChickLit.com

Available in Paperback and eBook on Amazon


Where Do I Go? by Beverly Magid

Publication Date: October 9, 2017
BeWrite Press
Paperback & eBook; 138 Pages
Genre: Fiction/Historical/Jewish


It's 1908 and Leah and her boys have immigrated to New York's Lower East Side to live with her brothers after surviving a pogrom in their Russian village. She is determined to find a home in America but the conditions are harsher than she expected. The garment sweat shops are brutal to work in and it's essential that her son Benny works after school to help with expenses. Unbeknownst to her he runs errands for the local bookie/gangster. Life isn't what Leah hoped for, but she's a fighter and not willing to accept the awful conditions at Wollowitz's Factory. She's on a journey to find her own voice, to find a place for herself and her sons, to find a little beauty and romance in her life.

Available in Paperback and eBook on Amazon