Friday, August 30, 2013

Coming Soon: The Sheik Retold by Victoria Vane and E.M. Hull

Here's something to look forward to this September!

Victoria Vane is releasing The Sheik Retold, her retelling of the popular romance novel by E.M. Hull.

Victoria's retelling will be released on September 13, 2013.

For more information about Victoria Vane and her books, see below:
Twitter: @authorvictoriav

Btw, E.M. Hull's The Sheik is free on Amazon Kindle!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Blog Tour: Once Upon a Wallflower by Wendy Lyn Watson (Review + Giveaway!)

Love Saves the World welcomes Wendy Lyn Watson and her book, Once Upon a Wallflower!

Wendy has previously published contemporary mysteries and Once Upon a Wallflower is her debut historical romance so I am delighted to have her stop by my blog today.

There is a tour-wide giveaway for a $50 gift card to either Amazon or B&N. (Enter through the Rafflecopter below.) To visit Wendy's other stops, click here.

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About the book --

Once Upon a Wallflower by Wendy Lyn Watson

Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Date of Publication: 8-12-13
ISBN: 978-1-62266-235-7
Number of pages: 178


A Perennial Wallflower ...

When Mira Fitzhenry’s guardian arranges her engagement to one of the most scandalous lords to ever grace the peerage, all of society is abuzz. After all, the man has left a trio of dead young women in his wake, including his first fiancĂ©e. But Mira doesn’t see a killer in Nicholas’s moonlight eyes, and she resolves to find the real murderer before the wedding.

A Gothic Villain ...

Expecting to scare the chit away within five minutes of meeting him, scarred and brooding Nicholas, the Viscount Ashfield, is intrigued by Mira’s tenacious resolve to prove his innocence. She’s not put off by his imposing appearance, but his family’s dark secrets mean he cannot let her get close.

As the wedding approaches, Nicholas and Mira grow ever closer, yet so does the danger.Will the truth bring Nicholas and Mira together or tear their love apart?

Buy Links for the book:

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My Review --

The announcement in the newspapers was clear and straightforward: Miss Mirabelle Fitzhenry is engaged to Nicholas Ellerby, Viscount Ashfield in an alliance brokered by Nicholas's father and George Fitzhenry. What isn't clear is which Mirabelle Fitzhenry Nicholas is engaged to? There is Mira, George's niece, only daughter of his late brother, who is penniless and plain. And there is Bella, George's beautiful golden daughter, who had a successful season and is her family's golden ticket to a better life.

This is the type of confusion George Fitzhenry wants to capitalize on as he fobs off his niece to Nicholas and his father. Mira has no choice but to go along with her uncle's scheme to trick the Ellerbys in order to save Bella from having to marry a man rumored to have murdered his first fiancee. Mira is hoping her plainness and lack of wealth will push Nicholas to cry off and end their engagement.

And Nicholas is hoping his reputation scares off Miss Fitzhenry and ends their unwanted engagement.

What neither one expected was to like each other -- but, after their first meeting, Mira and Nicholas slowly change their mindset: this engagement might not best bad, after all. But the specter of past accusations shadows over Nicholas and Mira races to prove her fiance's innocence as the date of their wedding draws closer and closer.

This is Wendy Lyn Watson's first foray into writing a historical romance, but her experience writing contemporary mystery shines through as she mixes in a very intriguing mystery into Nicholas and Mira's story: three girls dead, all found near Blackwell Hall, with the third girl being engaged to Nicholas and found dead on the steps going up to his rooms.

Nicholas has never bothered to defend himself and no charges were ever made. In the beginning, Mira's motive for investigating was selfish: she wanted to make sure she wasn't marrying a murderer (or, if proven true, it would give Mira an excuse to end the engagement). But, as she gets to know Nicholas, and appreciate his kindness and gentleness, Mira is convinced he is innocent and wants to find the true killer to save Nicholas's reputation.

The bulk of the mystery is set at Nicholas's family's country estate in Cornwall -- and this is the most interesting part of Watson's story.

"Every summer, right near Midsummer's Eve in fact, for three years in a row, a young girl is killed within spitting distance of Blackwell Hall."
- p. 66

A country estate, three dead girls, and one name linked to all three -- Mira's efforts at investigating are a bit clumsy and amateurish (read Chapter 9), but she is also earnest and determined. When she convinces Nicholas to help her, they gain more ground and discover more clues on the deaths of Tegen Quick and Bridget Collins. But what about Olivia Linworth's death?

I love murder mysteries. I enjoy following the clues and making my own guess. That the murders happened in a small town and there is only a short list of suspects makes this even more exciting. Who murdered those girls? The author presents her suspects well and hints that each one has a motive. There was a point when I thought I knew who the real killer was -- but Watson is very good at keeping it a secret until the very end. (My guess was wrong, by the way.)

Romance readers who love a bit of mystery will enjoy Watson's Once Upon a Wallflower. The twist on the two Mirabelle's, the twist on the murder mystery coupled with likable protagonists makes for a very entertaining read.

I have one small question: How should we address Jeremy, who is the son of the Earl of Blackwell with his second wife? Nicholas assumed the title of Viscount as his father's heir so is Jeremy "Mr. Ellerby" or Lord Jeremy? (Both are used in the book.)

Disclosure: I received this book from the tour organizer as part of the book tour. Thank you to Bewitching Book Tours and to Wendy Lyn Watson for the opportunity. Yes, this is an honest review.

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About the author --

Wendy Lyn Watson writes mysteries of all types: contemporary, historical, and cozy. Whatever the time or the tone, her mysteries always feature a dose of humor and a dollop of romance. Her first cozy series, the Mysteries a la Mode, feature the owner of an ice cream parlor in a small Texas town.

Once Upon a Wallflower, due to be released in August of 2013, is a Regency-set romantic mystery. While Wendy does not commit (or solve) mysteries in real life, she can kill a pint of ice cream in nothing flat. She also enjoys 80s music, Asian horror films, quilting, and vegetarian cooking.

While she was born in Ohio and has called half a dozen states home, she currently lives in a college town in North Texas along with her husband and their three cats (Iphy, Squeak-a-Doodle, and Todd Baryshnikov).

She loves to hear from readers, so find her on Facebook at @wendylynwatsonauthor.

Author Links:


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There is a tour-wide giveaway for a $50 gift card to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble (Winner's choice). To visit Wendy's other stops, click here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ARC Review: The Governess Club: Claire by Ellie MacDonald

Click here to buy the book on Amazon

Claire, Sara, Bonnie, and Louisa have two things in common: their jobs as governesses and their dream of living independently. They formulated a plan: first, to regain Claire's childhood home, then save their wages for three years, and finally quit their jobs. They formed The Governess Club, meeting once a month during their afternoon off.

The arrival of Jacob Knightly, new tutor to the Aldgate boys causes an upheaval in Claire's carefully planned life and schedule. It does not help that Jacob's arrogance and his confidence grates at Claire, who sees that Jacob is new to the world of service and lacks the humility and obedience that goes with the territory -- and she isn't afraid to tell him so.

Only someone who has lived a privileged life and then fallen from it could understand and see Jacob so clearly and Jacob is intrigued by Claire and her story. Who was she in her formal life?

When the inevitable confrontation happens, Jacob is forced to reassess his behavior and asks for Claire's help and guidance. What begins as a partnership of teachers blossoms into something more as Jacob and Claire slowly fall in love.

But Jacob is keeping one secret very close to his heart -- his true identity as the notorious Earl of Rimmel -- and he wonders how his darling Claire will react when he finally tells her who he is.

Downton Abbey. Upstairs Downstairs. Gosford Park. We have always been fascinated by what goes on in the houses of kings, princes, and lords. How would such a household function and what sort of interesting stories can be found within these stately houses and grand castles?

The "country house" has often been utilized in fiction to highlight the differences (and similarities) between the lives of the lords of the manor and their servants. Very rarely has the spotlight been directed solely on the servants. And this is what Ellie MacDonald does. Ellie MacDonald's series focuses on the lives of governesses and she does so with such sympathetic observation and unreserved sincerity that she elevates and celebrates the working class.

From what I understand, governesses and companions are a very interesting class in the world of servants. Those who work in such capacaity are usually genteel ladies whose financial situations have taken a downturn. With no prospects of marriage, they apply as companions to older ladies or utilize their own education and work as governesses to the children of lords and ladies. Not quite meant for a life of servitude, but not living the life of privilege -- it is an odd place that they occupy.

"There's nothing wrong with being a governess," another chimed in.

"Of course not. Not if one disregards the fact that for women of our station it signifies a lowering of one's situation. We were not born to be in service."

"It's not quite service, per se ..."

"How is it anything else? We are being paid to render a service. Our lives are theirs to dictate, I cannot even count the number of times I have been called upon to even out the numbers at a dinner party. And they think they are bestowing some great honor upon me when they know full well I have attended more illustrious tables than theirs."
- Members of the Governess Club, loc 52 - 62

I loved Claire. MacDonald characterizes her so wonderfully: as both fragile and strong. She is still the young heartbroken girl who dreams of regaining her childhood home, which she was rudely booted out of, but she is also a mature woman who has worked as a governess for four years and is comfortable in her job.

When she lectures Jacob about submissiveness and subservience, I don't hear a proud woman who is lording her superiority and seniority over the new staff -- but I hear a helpless young lady, who was forced to do the same because she didn't have any other choice.

"My next piece of advice: don't belittle the choices of others. This one is universal, not just limited to how to survive as a servant. You have no concept of what their dreams or ambitions are."
- Claire to Jacob, loc 342 - 355

While Claire and Jacob start off as adversaries, there is an underlying sense of kinship and recognition of the parallelisms in their lives that draws them to one another. Who could relate to Claire's situation but Jacob? And vice versa.

Love transforms Jacob from a dissolute Earl hiding from his debtors to a man with a direction and a goal: to make Claire happy, to make Claire his. (Read about the toasties and the conversation they have in Chapter 4.)

Claire looked up at him, her eyes clouded with uncertainty. It struck Jacob that he had been very mistaken about her eyes. They weren't a mossy green, but rather grassy, emeraldy, a combination of all three. The different shades played together harmoniously, each allowing the others moments to shine. When she laughed, the emeralds twinkled with delight; when angered, the grass snapped; when content, the moss softened. This look, this confused uncertainty, blended all three into a shade he had never seen before, yet the impact thudded in his gut and echoed throughout his veins. At this moment in time, he would do whatever it took to banish that look from her eyes forever but had no idea how to accomplish it. God help him, he never wanted her to feel this again. He never wanted to feel this again.
- loc 602 - 615

What makes Jacob a wonderful hero is how he respects Claire and how he gave Claire the power to choose their future. Would it be a future together? Or a future apart? Jacob at the beginning of the book had no sense of equality and tossed the word around carelessly -- but Jacob at the end of the book is a changed man, a better man.

You know when you've read a good book because it fills you with a sense of elation and giddiness -- this book did that. I couldn't put it down and, when I'd finished it, I couldn't let it go. I wanted more of Ellie MacDonald's governesses. (And I'm glad there is! Bonnie's story is next! Yay!)

The Governess Club: Claire is the stunning debut of Ellie MacDonald. It will be released on September 17 by Avon Impulse. The Governess Club: Bonnie will be released on October 1, 2013. To find out more about Ellie MacDonald, click below:


Final note: I'm not certain if you can categorize these as novellas or as short novels. They are 192 pages long.

Disclosure: I received the ARC through Edelweiss. (Thank you to Ellie MacDonald and to Avon Impulse for accepting my request.) Yes, this is an honest review.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Winner! Lovestruck Giveaway Hop!

Thank you to everyone who dropped by and joined the giveaway on my stop of the Lovestruck Giveaway Hop. Many thanks to Under the Covers Book Blog for hosting the hop.

Congratulations to:

Winner has been notified and confirmed. ^_^

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Debut Historical Romance Novels Out Now!

I had fun compiling yesterday's list so I decided to look back to January up to now and made a list of all the debut novels that are out right now. I've read 3 of the 6 and I actually have copies of 2 of the 3 that I haven't read.

These are from the major publishers and I compiled this list using FictionDB.

Book Released: January 2013

Book Released: May 2013

Authors, if you had your debut novel release this year, please let me know?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Debut Historical Romance Novels to Look Out For (from August to December 2013)

I love debut authors and I love reading their debut novels. Earlier today, a friend and I were talking about books we were looking forward to from now until the end of 2013 and I mentioned some debut authors to her and she asked for more recommendations.

There's a really great list of 2013 debut romance novels for all genres over at Goodreads so I'll highlight the debut historical romance releases:

Book release: September 24, 2013

Book release: September 19, 2013

Book release: September 3, 2013
(Watch out for my ARC review of this very soon!)

The second part of The Governess Club: Bonnie will be released on September 17, 2013.

Book Release: November 5, 2013

Book Release: January 7, 2014

Book Release: December 31, 2013

Prior to her solo release, Alison DeLaine is releasing a book with Stephanie Laurens: The Trouble with Virtue by Stephanie Laurens and Alison DeLaine on November 26, 2013.

Book Release: December 3, 2013

Not really her debut, which was published in 2010 -- but I'm curious, so I'm putting her on the list. ^_^

Book Release: September 24, 2013

... This is as far as my Google-fu and browsing through Book Depository powers could take me. Did I miss anyone? Please leave me a comment so I can feature them ^_^


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