Friday, November 29, 2013

A Gift Guide for Book Bloggers

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Christmas is less than a month away and while I'm busy thinking of gifts for friends and family in real life, I'm allowing myself this small indulgence and posting a gift guide if you are shopping for a friend who blogs. ^_^

1. Moleskine Passions Notebook: Book Journal

When I started logging my thoughts about the books I read, this was the journal I chose. I love the Moleskine line of products and especially this one, tabbed and arranged alphabetically with stars that you can shade to rate the books. The format is excellent for taking down notes.

2. DoDo Pad Filofax-compatible 2014 Refill

A confession: I still use paper for planning and my planner has 2 calendars: 1 for my personal life and 1 for my blogging life. Bloggers need a way to schedule and track their posts and reviews and I've been using the Dodo Pad calendar for a year. I love the grids, I love the quirky drawings and little fun facts per week. It's a colourful way to make sure everything gets done when it needs to be.

3. Books!
Every book blogger needs books to blog about -- here are three of my favourite classic Christmas romance anthologies:

Simple Gifts by Jude Deveraux and Judith McNaught

A Gift of Love by Jude Deveraux, Judith McNaught, Kimberly Cates, Andrea Kane, and Judith O'Brien

A Holiday of Love by Judith McNaught, Jude Deveraux and Jill Barnett

4. And a tote to carry all those books!
What fans might not know is that Book Depository also carries other fun things like stationary and tote bags! Here are a couple that fits *ahem* me because I read historical romance. (The same company that makes this has other cute designs!)

5. Postcards
As a book blogger, one of the greatest perks is meeting fellow readers from all over the world! While e-mail is the way to go, there are still some opportunities to send handwritten notes. Why not write those notes on these lovely postcards?

Oh, all these goodies are linked to The Book Depository -- why? Three words: FREE. SHIPPING. Worldwide. Enjoy~
Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Book Bargains!

Happy Thanksgiving, Fellow Readers!

There are a lot of great coupon offers on books online:
First, Amazon is offering an extra 30% on books. Offer is good until December 1. Enter code BOOKDEAL at checkout.

Kobo has a 75% off coupon code: 75OFF and an 80% off coupon code: 80NVBR -- both are one-time use only. (If you still have books to get, there's also a 50% off coupon: 50NVBR)

Today is also the 25-hour promo from The Book Depository: 50 books, 50 offers. (Shipping is FREE Worldwide. ^_^) Offer ends November 29.

Here are some books for your holiday e-reading pleasure. ^_^

$3.99 on Amazon

This is number 1 in All About Romance's Top 100 Romance Novels for 2013. In fact, it's been on the number 1 spot for 5 of the 6 times that this poll was conducted. (It was #5 in 1998.)

FREE on Amazon

This is book 1 in Lauren Royal's Jewel Trilogy. (She's one of my favourite authors!)

FREE on Amazon

This is book 1 in Andrea Pickens's Lessons in Love series.

FREE on Amazon

This is a short novella by Tamara Gill. ^_^

$0.99 on Amazon

This is one of my favourite debut novels for 2013. (And Jennifer McQuiston is now on my auto-buy list. To read my review of What Happens in Scotland, click here. And, to read my review of Summer is for Lovers, click here.)

$2.99 on Amazon

Published in June 2013, this is a fairly new book at a really good price. It's Johanna Lindsey's 50th book and it's a Western! 158 reviews, average of 4 stars! (Did I mention it's Johanna Lindsey?)

$0.99 on Amazon ($2.99 for INT)

I love bundles! And this one looks like a very good deal on books by Catherine Kean.

$2.99 on Amazon

Not a historical romance, but I was alerted about this promo and it's a very good deal: 10 books for $2.99! (And who doesn't love a billionaire?)

All prices accurate as of the time of posting.  Enjoy!

I have giveaways ongoing as part of my Thank you, Authors! Thank you, Fellow Readers! feature. Click, read and join!^_^

Throwback Thursday: Historical Romance Edition #9

Thank you to Shabby Blogs ( for the free frame!

Happy Thursday, everyone! And welcome to a new feature on Buried Under Romance and Love Saves the World.

What is Throwback Thursday?
Traditionally, Throwback Thursday celebrates nostalgia, asking participants to post a personal photo or an image from their past -- usually from 5 to 10 years ago. There are a lot of book blogs that also do a book-related Throwback Thursday.

The Historical Romance Edition:
Since Mary of Buried Under Romance and I are unapologetic lovers of historical romances, we've decided to focus on our beloved genre.

Here are our rules:
1. It must be posted on a Thursday.
2. It must be a historical romance novel published before October 3, 2008.

Here's my pick for the week:

Almost Heaven by Judith McNaught, published 1992


Elizabeth Cameron
The Countess of Havenhurst possessed a rare gentleness and fierce courage to match her exquisite beauty. But her reputation is shattered when she is discovered in the arms of Ian Thornton, a notorious gambler and social outcast.

Ian Thornton
A dangerously handsome man of secret wealth and mysterious lineage, his voyage to Elizabeth's heart is fraught with intrigue, scandal, and a venomous revenge.
Destined for each other, yet wary of each other's motives, Elizabeth and Ian engage in a dance of suspicion and passion that tests the very soul of their star-crossed love. As a twisting path of secrets takes them from London's drawing rooms to the mysterious Scottish Highlands, Elizabeth must learn the truth: is Ian merely a ruthless fortune hunter at heart?

There might be a small chance that I will end up featuring all of Judith McNaught's books for Throwback Thursday because she is _that_ amazing. While this story is now 21 years old, it still retains the same power and magic that captivated me the first time I read it ... almost 21 years ago (Can you figure out how old I am? ^_^).

McNaught is a master at writing highly dramatic moments -- and I think I've cried through all of her books.

To find out more about Judith McNaught and her books, click below:

Head over to Mary @ Buried Under Romance and Ki Pha of Doing Some Reading for their picks for Throwback Thursday..^_^

Fellow historical romance readers are welcome to join us. Enter your link below so we can visit your TBT: HR Edition post for the week! (Then go here to copy the Link code to your blogs.)

ARC Review: Wicked Little Secrets by Susanna Ives

Click here to buy the book on Amazon
Click here to order a paperback copy from The Book Depository

Vivienne Taylor is breathing a sigh of relief: she has secured the much-needed proposal from John Vandergrift, which will save her father from financial ruin. All she needs to do is to behave like a perfect and virtuous lady until the wedding. This proves difficult because Vivienne isn't naturally mild and meek (it's an act) and becomes even more difficult when her neighbour, childhood friend and reluctant partner-in-crime, Lord Dashiell returns home from his expedition.

Lord Dashiell never looks for trouble, but trouble seems to follow him everywhere. On his first day home, he receives an unexpected visit from Vivienne, informing him that his uncle, the Earl, is running naked in her aunt's front garden -- said visit happens to coincide with a very loud confrontation between a French dancer and a Mrs. Harmon, who is throwing priceless artifacts at Lord Dashiell.

It's all the same but also strangely different, for Vivienne is no longer the young girl who sits and waits for Lord Dashiell to come home from his adventures -- she's grown up (quite beautifully) and is ready to have adventures of her own. And her first adventure is to discover who the man in the blue suit is and what he wants from her aunt. And Lord Dashiell is honor-bound (and blood-bound thanks to a childhood pact) to keep her safe.

The opening chapters of this book sets the tone: Aunt Gertrude's bible group, and a naked Earl streaking across the front lawn bordered on farcical but it also made an interesting commentary on religion and how it oppresses Vivienne.

In fact, it is a major theme in the story: Vivienne bears the burden of having to please so many people. She needs to help her father and sisters. She needs to please her Aunt, whom she lives with. She needs to please her fiancé, who will save her father and her family. What is sad about Vivienne is that, not once, does she consider pleasing herself.

Could the future wife of John Vandergrift excuse herself to the privy and escape? Would that be the action of a Biblically virtuous wife?
- loc 46

Lord Dashiell is the only freedom she experiences in her life. From childhood to now, she has allowed herself to pursue the things she really loves and it is Lord Dashiell who has encouraged her. So it comes as no surprise that Vivienne is in love with him.

While our heroine is free to dream, she is not free to do -- and she struggles with her feelings for Lord Dashiell with all the lessons in propriety that she has been taught her entire life. On top of her personal troubles, she has to contend with a mysterious man who is causing her Aunt Gertrude a lot of trouble. Vivienne does not expect that her "harmless" inquest will bring her into the dark and seedy parts of St. Giles and of the world of prostitutes. Vivienne is obviously out of her element and this experience is the acid test that will reveal Vivienne's strength of character and, at the same time, reveal the truth about the people around her, exposing the hypocrisy that existed within her small group and of society, as a whole.

Wicked Little Secrets highlights the very difficult demands society has on young ladies and the very clever and creative ways these young ladies will find to bend the rules.

I was a little uncomfortable with all the lies that Vivienne was telling -- and I didn't like how she was abasing herself to John but I thought Susanna Ives was able to convey her plan all along: to contrast between Vivienne's behaviour when she was with Lord Dashiell and when she was with John. Our heroine is a well-meaning, very earnest girl who is, admittedly, a little bit unsophisticated and naive -- but her heart is in the right place and she deserves her happiness. And that happiness is with Lord Dashiell.

Lord Dashiell's character and background isn't as complicated: he knows he's a rake and knows that rakes should stay away from innocent young ladies like Vivienne, but Vivienne is irresistible: she's beautiful, intelligent and she's Vivienne -- the one person who has made his stay in London bearable and worthwhile.

"If I really loved Vivienne, I wouldn't love Vivienne. She is the one female I care about whom I haven't hurt, and I'm keeping it that way."
- loc 470

He feels something for Vivienne but is trying to deny that it is love, even when it is very obvious to everyone (including his uncle). All throughout the novel, Lord Dashiell is fairly consistent in his internal conflict -- but there is one moment (Chapter 15) when he acts so out-of-character that I wanted to hit him over the head because of his boorishness. (Then I didn't like how he justified it with a "scarred by childhood memories" explanation. Sigh~)

The mystery of the man in the blue suit was a strong point in this story, though it got a bit complicated with all the personalities involved:
1. Lawrence James, the famous painter,
2. Aunt Gertrude and Vivienne's late uncle, Jeremiah,
3. Mr. Teakesbury,
4. Mrs. Angelica Fontaine,
5. Jenkinson,

The missing James's paintings, the blackmail, how everything directly affects Vivienne -- Susanna Ives created quite a tangled web of intrigue that has spanned over 20 years and it is being unraveled by our hero and heroine. I thought the author resolved this quite nicely and it was quite satisfying to see all the pieces fall into place at the end of the book.

I would have loved to read more of Lord Dashiell's uncle, the Earl of Baswiche -- and I thought his character could have been explored more: he served as the jester but he also made very accurate observations about the situation Vivienne and Lord Dashiell found themselves in.

Wicked Little Secrets by Susanna Ives will be released on December 3, 2013. To find out more about Susanna Ives and her books, click below:

Disclosure: I received this ARC copy through Netgalley. Thank you to Susanna Ives and Sourcebooks Casablanca for the opportunity. Yes, this is an honest review.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

An Exclusive Interview with Shana Galen + Giveaway + Free book (Thank you, Authors! Thank you, Fellow Readers!)

Shana Galen charmed me with the wonderful anecdotes she shares on Facebook and then completely won me over with her clear voice, wonderful storytelling and amazing characters.

When I read When You Give a Duke a Diamond, I really did experience that pure, pure joy of discovering something so awesome and it was exhilarating! Admittedly, I am a new fan and I have 7 years of Shana's backlist to read through -- but it is an exciting prospect for me and I look forward to that time in the near future when I can say that I have read all of Shana's books. (I plan to!)

My husband laughs when I preface stories about a romance author with "she's one of my favourite authors" because he thinks all the authors I read are part of that list anyway, (which is kinda true) -- but Shana truly is one of my favourites and today's feature is a distinct pleasure for me.

LStW: What was the inspiration behind True Spies, the latest book in
your Lord and Lady Spy series?
Shana Galen: Thanks so much for having me! What a fun idea for a post/interview!

When I wrote Lord and Lady Spy, I thought it would be a stand-alone or a series with recurring characters. It turned out that my publisher wanted another book with another couple but in the same world. Since Lord and Lady Spy was based on the movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith, I wanted the subsequent books based on spy movies too.

So the inspiration for True Spies was the Schwarzenegger movie True Lies. In the movie, and my book, the husband seems boring but he really has a secret spy identity his wife doesn’t know about. By the end of the movie, and the book, she’s involved in the spy operations too.

LStW: (Halloween) If you could dress up as any character, real or fictional, who would it be?
Shana: I’m one of the hosts for a party at the Romantic Times convention in May, and I have to dress up as a pirate. I’m actually looking forward to that. I’d love to write a book with a female pirate sort of like Marsha Canham’s The Wind and the Sea.

LStW: (Thanksgiving) As a writer, what are three things that you are most thankful for?
Shana: My readers! Oh, my gosh, my readers are so awesome, and I’m not just saying that. They’re so sweet and supportive -- even when they don’t like something. I feel so fortunate to have found a readership for the books I love to write.

LStW: (Christmas) Do you have a favorite thing to gift friends for Christmas?
Shana: I like to give books. If I know what authors a friend likes, I really enjoy buying their favorite author’s latest book, especially of I can get it signed. I also like to give books by authors my friends haven’t read, but who I think they’ll like.

LStW: (New Year) What's next for Shana Galen in 2014?
Shana: In 2014 I have two books scheduled so far. I March the third Jewels of the Ton book, Sapphires are an Earl’s Best Friend will be out and in August Love and Let Spy, the third Lord and Lady Spy book will be out. It will be a year for endings for me and then 2015 will be lots of new starts, including my daughter starting Kindergarten and a new series.

* * *

The Jewels of the Ton Series by Shana Galen

He had a perfectly ordered life ...

William, the sixth Duke of Pelham, enjoys his punctual. securely structured life. Orderly and predictable -- that's the way he likes it. But he's in the public eye, and the scandal sheets will make up anything to sell papers. When the gossips link him to Juliette, one of the most beautiful and celebrated courtesans in London, chaos doesn't begin to describe what happens next...

Until she came along ...

Juliette is nicknamed the Duchess of Dalliance, and has the cream of the nobility at her beck and call. It's seriously disruptive to have the duke who's the biggest catch on the Marriage Mart scaring her other suitors away. Then she discovers William's darkest secret and decides what he needs in his life is the kind of excitement only she can provide...

Her Mysterious Past is the Best Revenge ...

Fallon, the Marchioness of Mystery, is a celebrated courtesan with her finger on the pulse of high society. She's adored by men, hated by their wives. No one knows anything about her past, and she plans to keep it that way.

Only He Can Offer Her a Dazzling Future ...

Warrick Fitzhugh will do anything to protect his compatriots in the Foreign Office, including seduce Fallon, who he thinks can lead him to the deadliest crime lord in London. He knows he's putting his life on the line...

To Warrick's shock, Fallon is not who he thinks she is, and the secrets she's keeping are exactly what makes her his heart's desire ...

Careful, gentlemen -- there is more to this courtesan than meets the eye.

What better disguise for a secret agent than that of a courtesan? Lily Dawson, dubbed the Countess of Charm, is a spy working for the Crown to uncover a traitor. Andrew Booth-Payne, Earl of Darlington, wants to hate Lily for taking up with his father, but something about Lily intrigues him. When he discovers there is more to her flirtation than greed, he knows he must help her uncover a traitor. Even if that traitor is his own father ...

Lord and Lady Spy Series by Shana Galen

No man can outsmart him ...

Lord Adrian Smythe may appear a perfectly boring gentleman, but he leads a thrilling life as one of England's most preeminent spies, an identity so clandestine even his wife is unaware of it. But he isn't the only one with secrets ...

She's been outsmarting him for years ...

Now that the Napoleonic wars have come to an end, daring secret agent Lady Sophia Smythe can hardly bear the thought of returning home to her tedious husband. Until she discovers in the dark of night that he's not who she thinks he is after all ...

An enigmatic spy ...

Blue is the best of the best. A top agent for the elite Barbican group, he's on the trail of an assassin targeting his fellow spies. Blue's search leads him to Naples, Italy and the Teatro di San Carlo, where a string of suspicious events makes him believe he may have found his man. Unfortunately, he's also found a woman -- his long-neglected wife.

A brilliant opera singer ...

Helena Giles is beautiful, talented, and furious. She taught Blue how to be a master of disguise, and to thank her, he disappeared. When they married, he promised to give up his work for the Barbican group. He gave Helena up instead. Now Blue is back, and he wants a place in the theater and in her bed. Helena doesn't believe, as the rest of the theater's cast, that the murders have anything to do with a theater phantom, but she isn't ready to believe Blue's theories either.

A dangerous passion ...

It's soon clear the real object of the theater phantom is Blue. And when Helena catches a glimpse of the assassin called Reaper, she becomes a target herself. In Reaper, Blue is finally pitted against his match, and in Helena, he finds a passion he thought he thought impossible. But can this chameleon be true to himself when love is the most dangerous sport of all?

He's Getting Tired of Deception ...

Baron Winslow Keating is honor-bound to finish one last mission as an elite spy for the Barbican group even though he just wants to go home and be with his family. But after years of secrecy and absence, his daughters hardly know him and his wife has given up on him ...

She Wants to Try a Little Intrigue ...

Lady Elinor has had enough of domestic boredom. She contemplates an affair with a rakish spy, only to discover a world of intrigue and treachery that she never knew existed. Even more shocking, her neglectful husband is suddenly very attentive -- quite the jealous type -- and apparently there is much more to him than she ever knew ...

* * *

Shana Galen is the bestselling author of fast-paced adventurous Regency historicals, including the RT Reviewers’ Choice The Making of a Gentleman. Her books are published all over the world and have been featured in the Rhapsody and Doubleday Book Clubs. She taught English at the middle and high school level off and on for eleven years. Most of those years were spent working in Houston's inner city. Now she writes full time. She’s happily married and has a daughter who is most definitely a romance heroine in the making. Shana loves to hear from readers: visit her website or see what she’s up to daily on Facebook and Twitter.

To find out more about Shana Galen and her books, click below:

* * *

It's almost Thanksgiving and this is my way of saying "Thank you" to all the wonderful authors and to all the wonderful romance readers in the world.

Image from

As support for the authors, I'm hosting a giveaway for one copy of When You Give a Duke a Diamond. (Fellow readers, this is a book you'll enjoy. I promise! ^_^)

Shana Galen is giving away winner's choice of a paperback copy of any of her books (except Lord and Lady Spy).

*This giveaway is via Rafflecopter and is open to International Readers.
*This giveaway will run until December 4.
*One entry per household per IP.
*Rafflecopter will select 2 winners:
One winner will receive a When You Give a Duke a Diamond by Shana Galen from me (paperback via The Book Depository or ebook from Amazon Kindle or ARe)


One winner will receive a paperback copy of any of Shana Galen's books (except Lord and Lady Spy).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

* * *

Free Book!

Shana Galen is part of an amazing Christmas anthology -- and it's free!

A Grosvenor Square Christmas compiles 4 short stories written by Anna Campbell, Shana Galen, Vanessa Kelly and Kate Noble.

Get your copy now!

* * *

Drop by next Monday for the next interview and giveaway. ;-)


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