Friday, August 29, 2014

Blog Tour: Secrets of a Heart by Samantha Garman (Interview + Giveaway)


Love Saves the World would like to welcome Samantha Garman, who is currently on a blog tour for her book, Secrets of a Heart.

For this tour, Samantha Garman is giving away to one randomly chosen winner via Rafflecopter a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card. (Enter via Rafflecopter below.) To check out the rest of the tour, click here.

* * *

Interview --

LStW: What is the first curse word that comes to mind? How often and why do you use it?
Samantha Garman: F*ck. I’ve lived in New York 7 years. It’s my salt, and I put it on everything.

LStW: How would you spend ten thousand bucks?
Samantha Garman: Europe

LStW: What are 5 things within touching distance?
Samantha Garman: iPhone, almost empty coffee cup, birthday card from grandparents, a small little Eiffel Tour statue, a box of tissues.


LStW: Do you have a crush on anyone?
Samantha Garman: Tyrion Lannister. He makes me twitterpated. I love his one liners.

LStW: What is your least favorite word?
Samantha Garman: Moist.

* * *

About the book --

Blurb:

London, 1815. At the age of nineteen, Blaine Whitmore loses everything dear to him in a brutal assault on his family line. Left with nothing, he finds himself aboard a merchant ship sailing far from home. Years pass as a boy becomes a man, and yet no amount of time or distance will help Blaine forget all that he has lost. After ten years sailing the high seas, he is finally ready to restore the Whitmore name.

Felicity Canton is as lovely as she is penniless, and has been left to care for her three sisters while attempting to maintain a crumbling estate. With no hope for escape from her predicament, she is resigned to a peasant’s fate. She never anticipates attracting the attention of her wealthy and mysterious new neighbor, nor does she expect him to be her savior.

As Blaine searches for truth and doles out vengeance, he becomes increasingly captivated and distracted by Felicity’s beauty and inner strength. Does he dare confide in her the secrets of his heart? Will his future be as bleak as his past, or will he finally have a chance at happiness?

Excerpt:

The sound of a snapping twig turned her attention, and the object of her thoughts stood a few feet from her, leaning against a huge tree with gnarled roots as if he had all the time in the world.

“I thought I managed to escape without anyone seeing me,” she said in lieu of formal greeting.

“I saw you leave just as my carriage was pulling into your driveway,” he explained. “Why are you here alone?”

“Mr. Fletcher is giving a grand tour of our home to strangers, in hopes that they buy it.” Her tone was acerbic.

His gaze softened, but she thrust out her chin, daring him to offer her sympathy. She changed the subject, unable to dwell on the idea that her childhood home, one that had been in the family for generations, would be sold. “To what do I owe the pleasure of your company?”

“So proper?” Gray asked, moving away from the tree and coming toward her.

“I feel out of sorts today.”

Gray reached out to touch her cheek. “I came to hand deliver an invitation to the masquerade.”

“Oh.” Her brown eyes dropped to his lips. Moving closer, he wrapped his arms around her. “Is this your way of trying to distract me from my woes?” she asked with a smile.

“Is it working?”

“Too soon to tell,” she replied wickedly.

Buy Links for this Book:

Amazon
BN.com

* * *

About the author --

Samantha Garman currently lives and writes in Brooklyn, NY. She loves Scotch, a great conversation with anyone willing to speak their mind and flannel pajamas. While yearning for a backyard and a dog, she's decided to stay busy working on her next book, Dandelion Dreams.

Twitter:@samgarman
For Facebook they can follow me personally (Samantha Garman Author) or visit my page here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Samantha-Garman-Author/223423047668564?ref=hl
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4859885.Samantha_Garman






* * *

Giveaway --

For this tour, Samantha Garman is giving away to one randomly chosen winner via Rafflecopter a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card. (Enter via Rafflecopter below.) To check out the rest of the tour, click here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thursday, August 28, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Historical Romance Edition #50

Thank you to Shabby Blogs (http://shabbyblogs.com/) 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.


A Dance Through Time by Lynn Kurland, published 1996

Blurb: 
Scotland, 1311. James MacLeod was the most respected -- and feared -- laird in all of Scotland. He loved his men like brothers and his land with a passion. And he allowed no women to cross the threshold of his keep ...

New York City, 1996. With an indifferent fiancé and a stalled writing career, Elizabeth Smith found passion and adventure only in the unpublished romance novels that she wrote. Until a Scottish hero began calling to her ...

Elizabeth longed for the man of her dreams. But she knew she was overworked when she began hearing his voice -- when she was awake. To clear her mind, she took a walk in Gramercy Park. She dozed off on a bench -- and woke up in a lush forest in fourteenth-century Scotland. A forest surrounding the castle of James MacLeod, an arrogant and handsome lord with a very familiar voice. Elizabeth would turn his ordered world upside-down and go where no woman had ever gone before: straight into his heart ...


Watching Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series on Starz has made me curious about the time-travel trope, and I can only recall reading 2 historical romance novels with a time-travelling hero/heroine (Jude Deveraux's A Knight in Shining Armor and Sweet Liar). Lynn Kurland's debut novel in 1996 featured an author who travels back to time. It's also the first book in a series that has spanned 12 books, with the latest book published in 2012.

To find out more about Lynn Kurland and her books, click below:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads

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.)





Tuesday, August 26, 2014

ARC Review: The Earl's Mistress by Liz Carlyle


Click here to buy the book on Amazon, release date: August 26, 2014
Click here to buy the paperback at The Book Depository


The blurb for The Earl's Mistress implies that Liz Carlyle has taken an interesting route when she wrote The Earl's Mistress. The words "darkest" and "most sensuous" are in the superlative, and one should anticipate the very steamy element that the author has added to her sex scenes. The themes of control and submission are highlighted early on -- which led me to think that this is Liz Carlyle writing as she has never written before.

Anthony, the Earl of Hepplewood, and Isabella Aldridge are both widowers, whose first marriages left their hearts wounded and wary. Neither one is looking for another marriage, or for another lasting relationship: Tony is looking for a governess for his young daughter, Lissie, and Isabella is looking for a way to support herself and her two sisters, and is applying for the position. But all good intentions fly out the window when Tony sees how beautiful and passionate Isabella is -- and impulsively offers her a different position: as his mistress. Isabella responds in the way ladies of gentle breeding do: with a rejection and a slap on the face. She leaves, thinking that was the end of it, but, for Tony, it is only the beginning.

"Your eyes are wide, your lips damp and slightly parted. Your gaze -- and a moment ago, your hands -- were drifting in directions that, strictly speaking, a lady's do not."
- loc 1064

Upon her return to London, Isabella is forced to take stock of her life and resources and realises that there might be some merits to Lord Hepplewood's proposal, and seeks the help of her former employer, La Seductrice, who discreetly makes inquiries for gentlemen looking for a mistress.

What happens next takes this story off its original axis: Isabella travels to meet her new protector, a Mr. Mowbrey, but, when she arrives at her destination, it is actually Lord Hepplewood who is waiting. The account of domination, submission, and spanking are quite jarring and I felt it took away a lot from the love story. I honestly feel it wasn't necessary and there was such a rich backstory to Tony and Isabella that would have made for a better conflict ... but I understand what the author intended to do. It's to push boundaries: I think, first, as an author (as a personal challenge, maybe? to see how far/deep she can take her story?), and then second, to push the boundaries of her own characters. Isabella is hiding in a shell, she really doesn't do much for herself because she devotes so much time to her two younger sisters -- but, with Tony, Isabella is able to feel and express herself completely. With Tony, she is able to focus on herself and her needs.

"I do decide, my lord," she said vehemently. "I will please you -- yes, I will uphold my end of any bargain -- but I am not nothing. I will not be ground beneath your boot heel. And I do not give you permission to call me that."
- loc 1250

There was a point in my reading when I had to put this book down because I wasn't sure where this story was headed: if this is about the courtship of a mistress and her protector, I didn't see much of it. In fact, it came as a surprise when Isabella realised that she had fallen in love with Tony. At that point, they had only been with each other a total of less than 3 times.

...Because she was in love with the Earl of Hepplewood. The reality of it had been pressing in upon her for some days now.

It was utter folly, of course. His intensity overwhelmed her. His dark edges frightened her. And yet she was in love with him, and his threat to pursue her had allowed her to go on hoping -- though hoping for what, she scarcely knew.
- loc 2914 - 2926

If this is about Tony introducing Isabella to the "darker" aspects of sex a la Fifty Shades of Grey, then it was done well -- but, this cannot be the whole point of the novel and the introduction of the idyllic scenes in the country with Tony, his daughter, Isabella, her sisters, and Anne and her brood, just left me confused (Read Chapters 14 - 18). (There's even a dog!) It felt out of place in a "dark" story --

At the heart of the story are two issues: Tony's past and Isabella's problems with her cousin, the current Baron Tafford -- Tony's problem is worked out within the story, and the confessional to Isabella (about his late wife, Felicity and the mysterious Diana Jeffers) was a true breakthrough for him, but Isabella's issues were a bit more vague. Her cousin wants to marry her, but she has refused him because he has an unnatural fondness for children -- there is hints of threats of kidnapping ... of plans being put into place, but all of it happens in the background. The only hints of this is a line or two referring to Jervis, the man Tony has hired to investigate the matter. Beyond that, there is no clear explication of this particular part of the plot.

When this part is finally explained in the end, I felt it was too little too late. (And I felt bad for Isabella who was left out in the dark and was not even informed of the possibility of danger).

Truncated storylines, uneven tone and atmosphere -- these made this a very bewildering read.

The Earl's Mistress is Book 10 in the MacLachlan Family & Friends series by Liz Carlyle and will be released today, August 26, 2014. To find out more about Liz Carlyle and her books, click below:
Website
Facebook
Goodreads
Twitter

Disclosure: I received this ARC through Edelweiss. Thank you to Avon and Liz Carlyle for the opportunity. Yes, this is an honest review.
Monday, August 25, 2014

Blog Tour: The Last Letter by Pema Donyo (Guest Post + Review)


Love Saves the World welcomes Pema Donyo and her book, One Last Letter.

For her stop on my blog, Pema has chosen to share some love letters from famous people:

What do a dictator, president, country star, and founding feminist have in common? Love letters!

Oscar Wilde wrote, "I will not bare my soul to their shallow prying eyes. My heart shall never be put under their microscope." Yet there are many famous figures throughout history who have had no problem with such "baring their soul" through writing for others to see -- or rather, for their beloved to see. For many, professing passion through writing is much easier than admitting one's feelings out loud.

In my historical Western romance, One Last Letter, a rags-to-riches cowboy -- Jesse -- sends anonymous love letters to the hard-working plantation owner who once rebuffed him -- Evelyn. By way of his writing, Jesse captures the emotions he longs to verbalize to her in person. He isn't the only man who's expressed himself with eloquent words through love letters; read about the famous couples below who also left behind a letter legacy of their own!

Napoleon and Josephine Bonaparte
"I am going to bed with my heart full of your adorable image ... Kisses on your mouth, your eyes, your breast, everywhere, everywhere."
- Napoleon Bonaparte to Joséphine de Beauharnais
Napoleon's love for his wife Josephine is as heartbreaking as it is beautiful, considering the many stages of their relationship are well-documented through love letters. In fact, Napoleon left to command an army near Italy only a few days after his wedding, forcing their only communication to be through writing. This early period of letters marks the most passionate stage of his writing; he wrote often and in earnest to write how much he missed her.

Abigail and John Adams
"I have seen near a score of years roll over our heads with an affection heightened and improved by time ... the image of the dear untitled man to whom I gave my heart."
- Abigail Adams to John Adams 
Lots of traveling was required for John's political career, and thus an estimated 1,100 letters were exchanged between the two. It was also in one of these many love letters that Abigail is known for reminding him to "remember the ladies." The lively missives are filled with as much news about the children as they are with political debates.

Johnny and June Cash
"The fire and excitement may be gone now that we don't go out there and sing them anymore, but the ring of fire still burns around you and I, keeping our love hotter than a pepper sprout."
-  Johnny Cash to June Cash
Johnny Cash married June Carter in 1968 and they stayed together until her death (35 years later). While their relationship began in scandal (he was already married to someone else), he's credited her multiple times with helping him fight his battle with drug addiction. He added, "She has saved my life more than once. She's always been there with her love ..." Plus, they sang amazing duets together!

Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin
"I wish I may find you at home when I carry this letter to drop it in the box, -- that I may drop a kiss with it into your heart, to be embalmed, till me meet, closer."

- Mary Wollstonecraft to William Godwin
She was a social critic and strong advocate for women's rights; he was a radical reformer and anarchist. The intellectual couple bonded over their mutual hope for political reform and a strong belief in individual freedom. Yet the relationship met a tragic end when she died from complications of childbirth the same year she married him. Still, the love letters between the two remain a testament to their short-lived love story.

What other love letters do you think should be included in this list? Do you think handwritten love letters still hold a place in the digital age?

* * *

About the book:

Blurb:

A romantic hardened by reality ...
Evelyn Lancaster turned her back on her love for ranch hand Jesse Greenwood when she was sixteen to pursue a career and marry into wealth that could save her father’s struggling ranch. Now twenty-three, she works hard to keep the property afloat, but no suitor has stirred her heart the way Jesse did. After her father falls ill, she needs all the help she can get to keep the ranch running.

A cowboy returning to what he left behind ...
After making his fortune, a newly wealthy Jesse has returned home to see his younger sister married. Still smarting from Evelyn’s rejection, he finds the tables have turned, and now only his investment could save the ranch that he vowed to never step foot on again.

When he agrees to help her salvage her family legacy, they must overcome their pride and painful past to work together. As long-held emotions rekindle, Jesse pretends indifference, only to admit his true feelings in an unsigned letter left on Evelyn’s porch.

Evelyn finds the missive and writes back, beginning a furtive correspondence. She dares to hope her mystery admirer is Jesse, but then another man comes forward to claim the letters as his own. Will one last letter give them the courage to say yes to love on the wild Texas plains?

Excerpt:

Evelyn Lancaster wanted to run away as fast as possible.

It was a mistake. It was one colossal, gargantuan mistake. Worse than Athens ordering the death of Socrates. Worse than Persephone being kidnapped by Hades. What did she think she was going to do? Seconds ticked by as she found herself unable to say anything more. Her mouth felt dry. What was she supposed to say?

He’d changed, more than she would have ever imagined possible. The boyish frame was filled out, and extra years working on the ranch had defined the muscles in his arms under his coarse brown shirt. He’d even grown taller -- past six feet, she guessed. His shoulders were broader, and his cheekbones seemed more pronounced than before. His face carried even more of an aristocratic air, but his body seemed undeniably more masculine.

Yet the expression was the same. Jesse Greenwood’s same reticent, admiring expression hadn’t changed as he continued to stare at her like she was hand-blown glass. His brown hair still flopped lightly in front of his eyes, causing him to brush it away.

“Hey, Eve.”

She winced. She hadn’t heard that nickname since she’d left Hamilton, Texas, for the female seminary in Massachusetts. No one there ever called her Eve. During classes she’d been “Miss Evelyn” and “Miss Lancaster.”

She cleared her throat. She’d anticipated the awkwardness but not the simple difficulty in forming words. “I returned home a few hours ago. I thought I should stop by and say hello. Is Preston here? Are any of the other ranch hands here?”

Jesse blinked. He didn’t respond for a few seconds. The adoring expression morphed to one of disbelief. “Eve, did you get my letters?”

She bit her lip. “I did.” Evelyn resisted the urge to embrace him. Doing so would only make it harder to answer his questions with a lie. Instead, she stood rooted to the spot. She wouldn’t move a muscle; there was too much she could regret. “They were nice letters. Thank you. But I burned them.”

His eyes became cool steel, all traces of admiration in his eyes melting away. “Burned them? But you ...” His jaw was set. “Eve, why didn’t you write me back?”

“I was busy.” She tore her eyes away from Jesse’s searing gaze and tried to look behind his shoulder. The sinking feeling in her chest was surely no more than an echo of the past. She needed to leave before all rationality left her. “Just let all the other ranch hands know I stopped by.”

“Stop. Eve, I said stop.” Strong hands grabbed both of her shoulders, and she looked up in alarm toward his furrowed brow and confused expression. His voice was so much deeper than she’d remembered. “That’s all? You couldn’t once respond to me?”

She struggled to push against him, but he held her in place. His tone was rough. It increased in volume, rising with each word that tumbled out of his mouth.

“What about the promise I made to you? When you told me that you wanted to marry --”

“Enough!” Evelyn yanked herself out of his hold and glared. She breathed deeply, as if the extra air would give her the courage she couldn’t truly conjure up. “I remember what you are referring to. I did receive your letters. I thank you for them. But I did not respond to you because whatever we had before I left for school ...” She gulped. The polite tone of indifference faded. “This has to end.”

Buy Links:
Crimson Romance: http://www.crimsonromance.com/historical-romance-novels/one-last-letter/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MIMHQ0U
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/one-last-letter/id907378061?mt=11
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/one-last-letter-pema-donyo/1120082653?ean=9781440584480
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/one-last-letter

* * *

My Review:

What intrigued me about this book is the idea of letters being exchanged between Evelyn and Jesse, the daughter of the ranch owner and a ranch hand. Theirs is a relationship that crosses social boundaries and we see the toll this takes on our hero and heroine. Eve sacrifices her love for Jesse and pushes him away, for the sake of saving the ranch and making a more advantageous match, but, even after 2 years, her heart still pines for her childhood friend and love.

The letters they exchange are a revelation, expressing the confusion and hesitation of two people who have suffered the pain of a broken heart. I enjoyed reading the very honest admissions between the two. But this made me wonder: why couldn't they say it to each other? I felt as though Eve and Jesse were two different people: so reserved and distant during the day, and passionate and expressive by night. I kept waiting for the moment when these two halves of their selves would meld and resolve everything between them. Granted, the author really wanted to test our hero and heroine by prolonging their agony, but I wish their was more in terms of obstacle instead of just the inability to communicate.

I enjoyed the secondary love story between Loretta and Preston, and the author did a good job mirroring the two couples: I thought it was ironic that Jesse wasn't going to allow Loretta to marry Preston because he's a "mere cowboy," and Jesse wishes for Loretta to move up in the world. I thought Preston was a wonderful character and showed a lot of honour in how he dealt with Jesse's disapproval of him.

I don't read a lot of historical romances set in the American West, but the few I've read have been educational for me: it's a glimpse at a life and time and culture that is very distinctive. That said, I hope my fellow readers can clarify this for me: Was it really the case that, when a woman agrees to be courted, it automatically leads to marriage? It seemed to be the case when Eve finally allowed John Cooper to court her. (And Annie seemed to believe the same when Jesse asked her to accompany him to one event.)

Overall, a sweet and straightforward story.



* * *

Pema Donyo is a coffee-fueled college student by day and a creative writer by night. She currently lives in sunny Southern California, where people wear flip-flops instead of Stetsons and ride in cars instead of carriages. As a rising sophomore at Claremont McKenna, she’s still working on mastering that delicate balance between finishing homework, meeting publisher deadlines, and ... college. Black coffee, period dramas, faded book covers, and peanut butter continue to be the driving forces in her life.





Website: http://pemadonyo.wordpress.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/pemadonyo
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Pema-Donyo/e/B00L9OTVIS
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8337726.Pema_Donyo
Friday, August 22, 2014

Review: The Wicked Wallflower by Maya Rodale


Click here to buy the book on Amazon
Click here to buy the paperback at The Book Depository

There's Physics involved in the story of The Wicked Wallflower, specifically, of Newton's Third Law of Motion, the idea of action and reaction -- it's dazzling to see this brilliant theory at work, not just in theoretical objects, but in actual characters.

Action/Reaction #1: She's one of London's premier wallflower and he's London's most sought-after bachelors -- their paths would never have crossed, until a notice appears in the newspapers, announcing their engagement. It was written on a lark, one drunken night in which three lovely wallflowers were discussing their fates, and never should've seen the light of day -- but, now it's out there. Lady Emma Avery sees it as a scandal in the making, but, Blake Auden, the Duke of Ashbrooke, sees it as an opportunity to get the much-needed funds for his Difference Engine project.

He convinces Emma to join him in his Aunt Agatha's Annual Fortune Games. Emma is wary of Blake, but she needs to win the Fortune Games if she wants her dreams to come true: to marry her long-time love, Benedict, and to give her family some financial security. It's a few days of suffering Blake's company for a lifetime of (perceived) happiness, so Emma goes along with the charade. But the charade slowly stops being a charade, when Blake starts to see and appreciate Emma's quiet beauty and grace, and when Emma starts to see beyond Blake's arrogance and good looks -- and both decide that they want their pretend love story to be real -- but, can they make it so?

Action/Reaction #2: To the world, Blake seems to have everything going for him: he's a duke, he's reasonably wealthy and he's incredibly handsome -- so handsome, that the ladies have something they call "The Ashbrooke Effect" to describe his impact on people. But Blake is also an orphan, who lost his parents to a tragic mistake that could have been avoided. He's a man with numerous estates, but only considers one place home: his Aunt Agatha's house, and whose one constant anchor in life (Aunt Agatha) seems to have given up on him (by not writing or inviting him to the Fortune Games).

He was the Duke of Ashbrooke, which meant he was invited everywhere. Always. As a rule. Especially by his own aunt. Though all the facts dictated otherwise. He had been snubbed by the one person whose good opinion and favour mattered to him.
- Chapter 2

Blake knows he's led a really questionable life, but he's trying to change his ways and raise funds to build his Difference Engine, a machine that would solve human/mathematical errors. Unfortunately, no one want to bank on him because of his reputation. When the announcement appears in the papers, Blake sees it as a much-needed opening -- and he takes it.

While Blake tries very hard to impress Emma, she doesn't appear to be affected by his charm (outwardly, on the inside, however, is a different story) -- and it's a revelation for Blake. He realises that he cannot "finesse" his way through Emma's heart and really needs to work to get her to notice him, or to smile at him, or to accept him. It starts out as a novelty, but, our hero slowly realises he likes the person he is when he is with Emma.

I really loved Blake's character -- there's a surprising depth and humanity to his story and imagined him to still be a little lost boy at heart, and he needed a compass to find his way through life.

Blake said all of that, aware that no one heard him. People looked at him and saw duke or reckless scoundrel or notorious seducer. He supposed it was his fault; that was the version of himself he presented to the world. It was the version Emma -- and potential investors, and his peers -- had judged him on, before they even met.

In moments like these he began to regret all the brandy, women, and scandals.

When it really mattered, no one believed him.
- Chapter 7

There's a really wonderful scene towards the end, when Blake meets with his potential investors and he cites this particular law of Physics, and I was in awe of his eloquence and determination. This is Blake Arden, when he fully applies himself to doing something good.

"And I'm asking you to trust me," he said softly, the truth of it occurring to him as he spoke the words. "Every force possesses an equal and opposite reaction. My aunt didn't invite me to the games, for it was the most certain way to ensure my attendance. My previously outrageous behaviour rightfully caused you to withdraw your support from my project. true to the equation, I have responded with an equal and opposite reaction: I have reformed. Where I was once a drunken wastrel, I have become sober. Where I was once an unconscionable and unfaithful rogue, I have now become hopelessly infatuated with and devoted to my fiancee."
- Chapter 16

Action/Reaction #3: Emma is known is the "Buxom Bluestocking" and is London's Least Likely to Misbehave. In the beginning, she reacts to Blake the way all the other women do -- her knees weaken and her stomach turns into knots because of his physical appearance -- and it was easy for her to pretend not to be affected. But, as she discovers the Blake beyond the good looks, she experiences a very different variety of the "Ashbrooke Effect" -- and it's one that is a little harder to hide.

There's a love triangle in Emma, Benedict and Blake -- and, for once, I didn't mind that the scales were tipped heavily in Blake's favour: he isn't one to do things on a small scale, and really pours his whole self in every endeavour. I've seen grand declarations of love, but what Blake does is just amazing -- but, it's all grounded in sincerity and honesty.

"You'll just have faith, Emma, that my intentions are good and that I want you, and only you."
- Chapter 20

What this story captures perfectly is the exhilaration and the reward of taking the leap of faith -- Blake Auden was not the safest bet in the world, but I'm glad Emma chose him, because he won me over with his passion, resolve and clarity -- he was the only one to truly see how beautiful and worthy Emma was.

I will end this review with my favourite part of this book, and it's Aunt Agatha and the Fortune Games. Maya Rodale has a gift for making her secondary characters relevant. At The Fortune Games, we see a gamut of characters all vying for Aunt Agatha's money -- and they aren't cookie-cutter flat, but they all have very different stories. Aunt Agatha's story with her fourth (and favourite) husband was heartwarming, and Harriet Dawkins's story was a sobering look at what happened to women in those times who had little-to-no resources at their disposal.

Admittedly, this is not a story without flaws (the shifting POVs, and the too-modern language), but this is a story with so much joy and dynamism and fun. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will be following this series.

The Wicked Wallflower is the first book in Maya Rodale's Bad Boys & Wallflowers series. To find out more about Maya Rodale and her books, click below:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Thursday, August 21, 2014

Blog Tour: Nightingale by Cathy Maxwell (Review + Giveaway)


Love Saves the World welcomes Cathy Maxwell, who is currently on your for her e-novella, Nightingale.

Avon is hosting a Tour Wide Giveaway for Two Winners to receive a Digital Copy of Nightingale by Cathy Maxwell. (Enter via Rafflecopter below.) To follow the rest of Cathy's tour, click here.

* * *

About the book:

Nightingale
By: Cathy Maxwell
Releasing August 26th, 2014
Avon: Impulse


Blurb:

Fate has brought them together -- again.

At one time, Jemma had meant the world to Dane Pendleton, but then she betrayed their young love by marrying another for his title and fortune.

Now Time has turned the tables. Dane is wealthy, respected, knighted and the widowed Jemma has nothing but her pride.

His honor for hers ...

Dane’s name is on the lips of every beauty in London. They whisper he learned “tricks” while he was in the Orient. But has he forgotten Jemma, now Lady Mosby, and what they had once meant to each other? And will he accept her devil’s bargain?

In every woman’s life, there is that one love who slipped away. The man who makes her wonder “what if?”

But is this a momentary madness or a chance to rekindle a love that could last a lifetime?

Originally appeared in the print anthology The One That Got Away.

More information about the novella on Goodreads.

Buy Links:


* * *

My Review:

The first question that came to mind when I finished reading this e-novella was, "Why a Nightingale?" -- so I looked online to see what the bird symbolised in literature and art, and I also looked at the etymology of the word. The name of the bird translates to "night song" and the common thread in how it has been used in literature is sadness.

And there's a lot of sadness (and sacrifice) that happens in Jemma and Dane's story. They were young lovers with very simple dreams of being together, but family and (a lack of) fortune forces them apart -- Jemma chooses to marry a titled, wealthy man and Dane decides to forego his dreams of being a vicar and travels to India to seek his fortune.

The tale of star-crossed lovers is age-old, and often ends in tragedy -- our hero and heroine's story seems to be heading in that direction, with a duel looming between Dane and Jemma's brother. It is up to Jemma to change the course of their lives, but it would mean confronting Dane for the first time in ... years. It is a painful confrontation, where Dane and Jemma learn some truths about each other, and there is a silent sadness to their story and one question hanging between them: "What If...?"

She wondered if the many mistresses he was rumoured to keep found him as loving and adoring as she once had. She felt a stab of jealousy, coupled with the bile of regret.

He could have been hers.
- loc 105

The night she visits Dane is a critical point in her life, though she doesn't realise it at the beginning -- it took a lot of courage for Jemma to go to Dane, and Cathy Maxwell shows what she had to give up for the sake of her family: she gave up a chance at happiness with Dane, in exchange for security and a title. Here she is, given another chance and another choice -- I held my breath as Jemma considered her situation, and I wondered: will she take the chance and make the right choice this time?

I felt very sad for Dane's lost dreams -- he had wanted to be a vicar, marry Jemma and live quietly in the village, but, because he felt he needed to prove something to Jemma and himself, he traveled to India and has returned a rich man. Now what? Dane had accomplished what he had set out to do, but he still feels discontent, because he still doesn't have the one person that he wanted and loved. Dane is also standing at the precipice -- and Jemma is there challenging him to make a choice: life (and love) or death.

What I enjoyed most was how the author didn't allow her characters to regret their past choices, but gave them the realisation that all those choices, all those years, shaped them to be the people they are. While the poignancy of "what if" continues to linger, I think the excitement of the "what now" is the greater force. This is a very sweet and sentimental story about two people who are given a second chance.

Disclosure: I received this review copy for this event. Thank you to Avon Impulse, Cathy Maxwell, and Tasty Book Tours for the opportunity. Yes, this is an honest review.

* * *

Author Info:

Cathy Maxwell spends hours in front of her computer pondering the question, “Why do people fall in love?” It remains for her the great mystery of life and the secret to happiness. She lives in beautiful Virginia with children, horses, dogs, and cats.

Author Links:

* * *

Giveaway!

Avon is hosting a Tour Wide Giveaway for Two Winners to receive a Digital Copy of Nightingale by Cathy Maxwell. To follow the rest of Cathy's tour, click here.

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Throwback Thursday: Historical Romance Edition #49

Thank you to Shabby Blogs (http://shabbyblogs.com/) 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.


The Mistress Diaries by Julianne MacLean, published July 2008

Blurb: 
He told me he would treat my heart with great care. He was lying of course, for it was all a very clever, skillful seduction...

The night I met Lord Vincent Sinclair, son of the Duke of Pembroke, was the night I lost control. I never imagined that I, Cassandra Montrose, could engage in such wicked, wanton behavior with a man I hardly knew. But in that fateful moment, alone in his coach, the passion I felt for him was undeniable, even though I knew that after my surrender I was unlikely to ever see my lover again. Until a fateful secret brought me to his door...

I always believed my pride would prevent me from becoming any man's mistress -- especially a rogue like Vincent, who cares for nothing but his inheritance. Yet I have very good reason to remain in his life. If only he did not tempt me so..

*Blurb copied from author's website

What is so amazing about this book is the situation between Cassandra and Vincent. She's his mistress and he's promised to marry another woman. I love when authors put their characters in an impossible situation, but what I love even more is reading how the characters find their way out of it. It's always a celebration of man's determination and indefatigable spirit. Considering how tricky this was, Julianne MacLean was very careful and very thoughtful about how she portrayed her hero and heroine. This is one of her best-written stories, IMHO.

To find out more about Julianne MacLean and her books, click below:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads

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.)





Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Celebrate Romance! #ReadaRomanceMonth

*I wrote this essay and submitted it to last year's RARM essay contest. I reworked it a bit to fit this year's theme.

I am a proud reader of historical romance novels. I started reading romance novels when I was about 12 and lost myself in the words and worlds of Amanda Quick, Julie Garwood, Judith McNaught, Jude Deveraux and Johanna Lindsey. My reading of romances tapered a bit in college, and then post-graduate studies and required readings happened, and I slipped further away from reading romances. Nine years ago I rediscovered romance novels and, like an old friend, we picked up where we left off and now I am back to reading historical romance novels full-time.

While there is a distinction between Romance and romance, I'd like to believe we have a lot in common with our classical, albeit lofty, relation. The Romance writers, musicians, poets and painters sought to celebrate with exuberance: life and love (and all the other emotions); they sought to capture and magnify not reality but the imagination – aren't these what romance novels are also about?

The message in romance novels is always, always positive, that, in the end, love conquers all – it paints a world that can be saved and of problems (no matter how hopeless the situation is) that can be solved. Despite the risk of getting hurt, the hero and heroine of our novels slowly allow themselves to be vulnerable, to strip away armour and wariness and learn to trust the world again.

There is always hope – the certainty of a happy resolution at the story's end, and a “happily ever after” beyond the final page. In truth, this optimism should not be relegated to the pages of our books but be applied to our lives. Beyond the optimism, beyond the love, beyond the kisses and passionate embraces, there are more lessons, which I've learned from romance novels that I apply to my life:

On seemingly insurmountable challenges:

The priest thought she was jesting with him. “I fear you've set yourself an impossible goal,” he told her with a snort of enjoyment.

“How impossible, do you suppose?” she asked. “As impossible as eating a giant bear all by myself?”

“Aye, just as impossible.”

“I could do it.”

“How?” the priest asked, falling nicely into her trap.

“One bite at a time.”
- The Bride by Julie Garwood

One being one's self:

You must never ever say you are sorry ... you must never even feel sorry. If you act with deliberate intent, there is nothing to be sorry about. And if you act in ignorance, there is nothing to apologize for.
- A Secret Affair by Mary Balogh

In the 20 years that I've been reading romance novels, I have seen the growth and spread of the genre and now it encompasses many sub-genres from paranormal, to urban fantasy, to futuristic, to steampunk, etc. The time and setting might change, and the characters might not even be human – but the beauty of romance novels is that they are always about the exploration of relationships and a reflection on how we grow to love.

It makes me happy to see the number of romance novels published and sold each year and I imagine all the readers tucked in their beds, or cuddled in their armchairs enjoying a bit of respite from their lives and it fills me with a warm feeling knowing that, in other parts of the world, they are experiencing that indescribable tingle when they reach the end of the book – because love and romance are universal and it is the one experience that can be translated into all languages.

Recommendations:
For readers new to historical romance, I would recommend the following books:
Again the Magic by Lisa Kleypas
Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas
The Duchess War by Courtney Milan
How the Marquess Was Won by Julie Anne Long
Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare
Mistress by Marriage by Maggie Robinson
Forever a Lady by Delilah Marvelle
Ecstasy Wears Emeralds by Renee Bernard

And would recommend the following blogs for more historical romance goodness. We all do a Throwback Thursday: Historical Romance Edition and it's another great chance to discover more romance titles. ^_^
Buried Under Romance
Doing Some Reading
Addicted to Romance
Feminist Fairy Tales
I Heart Romance
Rika's Musings

* * *

Questions for the Blogger:
Describe the most daring, adventurous or inspiring thing you ever did.
Starting this blog took a lot of courage from me. I'm a very private person and originally wanted to keep this blog a secret (I only shared the link with my book buddy, F), but I realised I wanted to share my love for this genre and took a bold leap forward by opening my blog to other readers. It's been such a wonderful almost-three years of blogging and I've learned a lot in the process.

Tell us about your journey to becoming a blogger. (How did you decide to get started? Did you always know or was there a specific moment when you knew?)
In 2010, while I was doing my year-end review on my personal blog, I realised I couldn't remember a lot of the books I had read that year. I made the decision to start a reading journal -- to record my thoughts about what I read and give each book the proper attention they are due. Midway through the year, I ran out of space in my journal and was about to buy a new one when I realised I could just open a blog for free and use my money for books. ^_^

If you look through my earlier posts (don't! ^_^), you'll see that I was content with one-liners or with just saying "I liked this" and "I loved that" -- but, I wanted to grow as a reader and challenged myself to analyse the books more closely and started writing longer and more thorough reviews.

I'm still on the journey and I still have a lot of growing up to do in terms of blogging, but this post and participation in RARM is definitely a high point for me. (Thank you, Bobbi!)

Tell us about The (or A) Book That Changed Your Life. (Why?)
I read Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom on New Year's Eve every year. I think it's very insightful and inspiring and it's my way of ending the old year and starting the new one.

Possession: A Romance by AS Byatt was a book I read in a post-graduate class. I love how AS Byatt deliberately labeled her work as a romance, so it's a romance that has won the Booker Prize. I love how this novel displays the literary value of a love story.

Waking Up with the Duke by Lorraine Heath is the book responsible for this blog. I read it and went on a Lorraine Heath reading spree in Summer 2011, going through 13 of her books straight. I ran out of pages in "H" of my reading journal and had to spill over to "I" -- until I finally decided to just post everything on a blog. (For the record, I've also gone on a similar reading spree for Julie Anne Long's Pennyroyal Green series.)

* * *

About me:

In a previous life, I was a teacher. I taught in grade school and then moved on to teach Freshman English at my alma mater. In another life, I was an English Literature graduate student. Now, I'm a stay-at-home mom with two kids. I read historical romance and erotic historical romance almost full-time (I also love to read cookbooks and food magazines ^_^).

Other than reading, I also love playing board games (current family favourites are 7 Wonders, Catan Junior and Monopoly), watching movies (current favourite is Guardians of the Galaxy) and cooking shows on TV (Ina Garten and Nigella Lawson), and baking. I had been searching for a chocolate chip cookie recipe, and I think I've found "the one" -- now I'm looking for the perfect chewy, fudge brownie recipe.




* * *

Giveaway!

To Celebrate Romance, I'm giving away a $15 Amazon Gift Card! (Winner can also opt to get 1-2 books from The Book Depository, max value $15).

*This giveaway is via Rafflecopter and is open to International Readers.
*This giveaway will run until August 26.
*One entry per household per IP.
*Rafflecopter will select 1 winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour: A Traitorous Heart by Tammy Jo Burns (Excerpt + Giveaway)


Love Saves the World would like to welcome Tammy Jo Burns, who is currently on tour for her book, A Traitorous Heart, the first book in her The Reluctant Lords series.

Tammy Jo is giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card and 2 print copies of A Traitorous Heart. Enter via Rafflecopter below.

Tour: A Traitorous Heart by Tammy Jo Burns
A Traitorous Heart
by Tammy Jo Burns
The Reluctant Lords #1
Publication Date: June 2013 
Genres: HistoricalRomance 
Purchase from: Amazon • Nook • Kobo • iBooks • 
Add to Goodreads.

Synopsis: She thought she had lost everyone during an early attack by Napoleon’s forces. Then upon returning to England she loses even more…

He lost his new wife in a brutal attack six months ago during one of the first battle surges by Le Grande Armée. Left with an injury to remind him of that time he reluctantly takes up his mantle as a Peer of the Realm and uses his skills with numbers and letters to help the War Office as a code specialist.

Nothing could surprise him more than walking into a government safe house to question a suspected traitor and find his supposedly dead wife lying injured with no memory of their time together. Is she a traitor? Where has she been all this time? And is their love strong enough to survive or will the truth tear them apart forever?

Excerpt:

CHAPTER TWO

“Good evening, my lord,” Lieutenant Harding greeted Derek as he arrived at the safe house well past midnight.

“Lieutenant,” Derek nodded curtly. Harding held Goliath while Derek lowered himself to the ground. Derek untied the cane and removed the two pistols. “The prisoner?”

“Upstairs, my lord. She’s a right fetchin’ lass.” Derek nodded and paused giving Harding a look that had the man looking sheepish. “Pardon me, my lord.” Derek prominently limped as he moved toward the stairs, leaning heavily on his cane. His leg was beginning to throb and become thoroughly uncomfortable. He silently reprimanded himself for not taking a carriage.

“Has the physician arrived yet?” “No, my lord.”

“Show him up as soon as he arrives.”

“Yes, my lord.” Derek climbed the short entrance stairs and saw the guards standing at the far end of the hall. He gave a short nod before entering the chamber where the prisoner was held. The guard opened the door for him and closed it firmly after he entered. There was a slight figure lying on the bed in the shadows. The fire burned cheerfully in the grate belying the seriousness of the situation. Derek stopped in front of the fire and removed his coat, waistcoat, and cravat. He knew from experience it would be a long evening and decided to get as comfortable as
possible. He wished for a draught for his leg, but needed all his wits for questioning the prisoner.

Derek lit a candle from the fire. The glow showed the cracks in the ceiling and the stained walls. If this were not more of a prison, it would be a slum. He moved towards the bed and noticed the prisoner was dressed as if she resided here. She looked more like a street urchin than a woman with traitor’s secrets.

Her feet and good arm were manacled to the thick bedposts by long chains. Her other arm lay at a slightly odd angle from the shoulder, and her skin looked pasty and was beaded with sweat. Her auburn curls caressed her sunken cheeks. She looked to be in desperate need of food. A light blanket covered her, but her teeth were still chattering. He attributed the action to shock.

Derek lowered the candle to get a look at the woman’s face. There was something familiar about her. He studied her more intently, trying to see past the grime that covered her. His heart picked up an unsteady rhythm. His hands shook and he tried to calm himself, placing the candle on the side table with a thud before he dropped it and caught the whole bloody house on fire.

She turned her eyes away from the candlelight, and a moan escaped her lips. Her hair was matted at the base of her skull and when he lightly touched the area there was a huge lump and his fingers came away covered in her blood.

He took out his handkerchief and wiped at the red staining his hand, unable to remove it completely. He lectured himself about look-a-likes and imposters. She could not have survived. No one had survived. He had been assured over and over. Derek grasped her pointed little chin in his hand and turned her face towards him once more. She cried out at the movement. He focused on the freckles scattered across her upturned nose and the lush bow shape of her lips. Her brow was furrowed in pain, and her eyes squeezed tightly shut.

There was a small crescent-shaped scar under her right eye that she had received as a child. Auburn hair, a crescent scar, and that familiar spattering of freckles -- it could not be, yet the evidence said otherwise. He fell heavily onto the ladder-back chair that sat next to the bed. His heart thundered until he thought it would leave the confines of his chest at any moment. He grasped the hand of her uninjured right arm, not noticing the blood that covered it. He chaffed it gently between his own.

“Open your eyes,” he commanded.

***

She heard the commanding voice and moaned as the pain filtered into her unconsciousness. She heard the command again. I’m trying, she thought. She fought her way out of the darkness to hear the voice she thought was forever lost to her. The pounding in her head was so great it almost caused her to give up. She tried to move her hands to her head, hoping to ease the pain. One was stuck and she cried out at the pain that radiated from her right shoulder. Oh please, just let me die, she thought as the throbbing intensified. No, she would not give into death, not when so many others had been taken from her.

The voice called to her again. Perhaps he was her angel, come to take her to heaven. She had always thought it would be her mum to do that, but as long as she was with him again, she didn’t care. Her eyes fluttered open, but the light from the fire and small candle on the bedside table were too much for her to bear, so she quickly closed them again. She was almost certain she was going to be sick.

“No, open your eyes now,” the voice demanded again. Sometimes he could be so high-handed. Nevertheless, she obeyed this one final time and opened her eyes. She knew either he would not really be there or she was dead. She had dreamed of him so many times and woken up certain he would be with her, but there had been no one. So, she decided, she must be dead, but she hurt too badly.

Derek watched intently as her emerald eyes shown brightly from behind fluttering lids. They had a fevered look to them. Her face was so dear to him. He brought her manacled hand up to his lips and brushed a kiss over the knuckles covered in dry blood.

“Contessa,” he whispered softly.

“I must be in Heaven,” she said hoarsely, “but it feels like Hell.” And with those words uttered, the ragamuffin prisoner smiled at her jailer and then let the darkness carry her away once more.

Derek stared dumbfounded at the limp hand that he held in his. In his earlier inspection he had missed the signet ring that encircled her ring finger. He gently caressed it. She looked malnourished. What had happened to her in these last six months? How could Gabe think that she was a traitor? What possible causes did he have to even consider it?

He stood painfully and leaned over her letting his lips lightly caress hers. Derek stood watching her and raked his hands through his golden brown hair giving it a decidedly rakish appearance. He paced the room like a caged animal forgetting about his throbbing leg. The Earl of Blackburn alternated between thanking God that He had seen fit to bring her back to him, and cursing the circumstances all in the same breath. He limped to the door and jerked it open. The guard jumped to attention.

“Have you heard from the physician yet?”

“Yes, my lord. He sent the lad back with word ten minutes ago. He will be at least another half hour.”

“Damn,” he paused and rested his head against the hand tightly gripping the door. “Send the lad for Lord Hawkescliffe. Tell him it is an emergency,” Derek barked the order. “Give me the keys to the manacles,” he held out his hand and his tone brooked no argument. The guard handed over the keys reluctantly and Derek slammed the door in his face. He knew the man was only doing his job, but he had to take his frustration out on someone.

He limped back over to the bed and released the prisoner from her restraints. The chains dropped to the floor with a loud metallic clank. He sat and stared at her, his thoughts chasing each other. How could it be? Everyone was supposed to have perished, except the handful that had been severely wounded. Nearly an entire village had been wiped out. There was a disturbance outside the door before it flew open.

“All right Blackburn, what was so damned important that it could not wait until morning?” Hawkescliffe demanded as he strode into the room. Derek was at a loss as to how much time had passed while he watched her and thought. The doctor had not arrived yet, so surely not much time had passed. Derek shushed Hawkescliffe when the woman winced. “Did you just ‘shush’ me?” he asked incredulously.

“As my friend, shut the hell up,” Derek whispered. “Follow me,” he led Gabe to the fireplace.

“Well, what is it? What is so important that I had to leave my conference with the Prime Minister?”

“This woman is not a traitor,” Derek spoke with conviction.

“What makes you so certain? Tell me you have not let an attractive woman turn your head. You are a better man than that. This woman was found with incriminating evidence on her person. Of course she is a traitor.”

“I swear to you she’s not.”

“Have you questioned her? Did she give you reason to believe that she isn’t?”

“No, I have not had the opportunity to question her.”

“Then give me one good reason why she is not, and,” he cut him off before he spoke, “I assure you it had better be one bloody good reason.”

“Because she’s my wife, dammit!”

About Tammy Jo Burns

20130630_192426-225x300
From a young age I could always be found carrying around books to read while watching my grandmother's soap operas with her. I read anything and everything I could get my hands on and even made up skits and stories for my friends and me to act out. Once I outgrew the children's and YA books, my mom introduced me to an entirely new world - contemporary romance. Upon discovering I had a love for history I began devouring historical romances. One day, sitting in a college British History class, something the professor said made me think, I wonder. I quickly called mom (also a writer) and ran the idea by her. After being told, "Of course you can do it, you're my daughter," the rest, as they say, is history. I currently share my love of reading with the next generation as a high school librarian, and share my personal life with my demanding dog trapped in a cat's body, Ajax.



Tammy Jo is giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card and 2 print copies of A Traitorous Heart. Enter via Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


To follow the rest of the tour, click here:
August 18 – Book Binge, Review
August 19 – BookSkater, Excerpt / Spotlight
August 19 – Love Saves the World, Excerpt
August 20 – Historical Romance Lover, Review
August 20 – This Girl Loves Books, Excerpt
August 21 – Romance Novel Giveaways, Excerpt / Spotlight
August 22 – For the Love of Books, Excerpt / Spotlight

August 25 – Imagine a World, Review
August 26 – Monlatable Book Reviews, Excerpt / Spotlight
August 27 – Dalene’s Book Reviews, Review / Excerpt
August 28 - Elizabeth McKenna Romance Author, Spotlight

August 29 – Pretty Girls Read Books, Excerpt / Spotlight


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Monday, August 18, 2014

A new #wouldyourather question and Winners from the giveaway!

Thank you to everyone who joined the first "Would You Rather..." discussion -- I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the question and it's been a challenge coming up with another one, which is why I'm thinking of making this a monthly feature. I'll post a question at the start of every month and it'll always have a giveaway attached to it. ^_^

Here's one I came up with last week, and I know I should wait until September 1 to post it, but I'm too excited. It's inspired by the idea of the serialised novel. Eloisa James tried this format out when she serialised With This Kiss and released it in 2 separate instalments, one every week. I've also seen other authors release their books this way, and I have to say the cliffhangers and anticipation for the next chapter/installment are part of the fun of following a serialised novel.

I wanted to do a theme so I'm comparing it to novels in a series. There are authors who release books close to each other: the books in Grace Burrowes's Captive Hearts trilogy were released July, August and September 2014 -- and there are authors who only release one book a year, and then there are authors whose release dates for books in the same series are very far apart from each other (the third book in Maya Banks's The Montgomerys and Armstrong series will be coming out in 2015, the book prior to this was released in 2013).

So, here's the "would you rather" question --


And here's the giveaway for this:

*This giveaway is via Rafflecopter and is open to International Readers.
*This giveaway will run until August 25.
*One entry per household per IP.
*Rafflecopter will select 1 winner.
*Up for grabs is a copy of The Captive by Grace Burrowes (digital copy via Kindle or paperback via The Book Depository)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


And here are the three winners of the first "Would You Rather" discussion:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


All winners have been contacted and prizes have been distributed. ^_^

*Next "Would You Rather..." question will be on September 1. See you then! ^_^
Sunday, August 17, 2014

Free and Discounted Historical Romance Novels

Hi, all!

We're midway through August and still celebrating #ReadaRomanceMonth! Drop by the website for the daily essay features from our beloved romance authors. ^_^


Here are this week's featured free and discounted historical romances found on Amazon:

First, the first three books in Vivienne Lorret's The Wallflower Wedding series are all on sale at $1.99 each:



This is Book 1 in the Montana Romance series by Merry Farmer.


This is Book 1 in the Assassins Guild series by CJ Archer.



This is Book 1 in the Highland Mist series by Kate Wingo.


This is Book 1 in May McGoldrick's Highland Treasure series.


This is Book 1 in the Lessons in Love series by Andrea Pickens (currently writing as Cara Elliott).


$0.99 for a boxed set of 4 books is a very good deal. ^_^


This is Book 1 in the Highland Rogues series by Lois Greiman.


This is the first book in the Lost Lords series by Mary Jo Putney. I follow and love this series very, very much. ^_^


This is the first book in Maya Rodale's Wallflower Trilogy, and I'm currently reading this! The YA world have their Hunger Games and the Historical Romance world has Aunt Agatha's The Fortune Games. ^_^


These books are out-of-print and the cheapest paperback copies are still $4 on Amazon ($0.01 + $3.99 shipping) -- to get all three books for $1.99 is a steal. ^_^

Happy Reading and have a great week ahead!

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