Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Book Review: Call Nurse Millie

Author: Jean Fullerton
Title: Call Nurse Millie
Publisher: Orion
Publish Date: May 23, 2013
Buy: Book Depository
Review Copy Provided By: The Author & Writer Marketing Services
Book Blurb:It’s 1945 and, as the troops begin to return home, the inhabitants of London attempt to put their lives back together. For 25-year-old Millie, a qualified nurse and midwife, the jubilation at the end of the war is short-lived as she tends to the needs of the East End community around her. But while Millie witnesses tragedy and brutality in her job, she also finds strength and kindness. And when misfortune befalls her own family, it is the enduring spirit of the community that shows Millie that even the toughest of circumstances can be overcome.

Through Millie’s eyes, we see the harsh realities and unexpected joys in the lives of the patients she treats, as well as the camaraderie that is forged with the fellow nurses that she lives with. Filled with unforgettable characters and moving personal stories, this vividly brings to life the colourful world of a post-war East London.

An absorbing and richly detailed novel following the life and work of a young nurse in post-war East London – perfect for anyone who loved CALL THE MIDWIFE.


Review: This novel begins just as WWII ends. It definitely is a book for fans of Call The Midwife. The novel really paints a picture of what health care was like in the 40s and it is pretty scary.

These nurses really did everything and they got little respect, and the rules and regulations they followed to have a job will make modern women shake their head.

Millie is an exceptionally good nurse who seems to have the weight of the world on her shoulders. From the very start of the book, bad things seem to happen to her family and to her. But Millie is a tough girl and she soldiers on.

She's a character that you can really admire. She's smart, she's loyal and she genuinely cares about the patients. She goes above and beyond the call of duty in many cases.

I found myself on the edge with worry for her many times, and I cheered her on as well. Millie was a character I could identify with on many levels. She was a caring daughter, taking care of her mother and putting her life on hold until she recovered, even to the extent that it almost cost her her job.

It is hard being a caregiver while working in this day and age, in the 1940s it was even harder.

She did all of this and struggled with her own love life. She had to make sacrifices too. I felt so bad for her when it came to her love life. I was glad when she did find love, but I think she settled, though most would disagree.

Jean Fullerton has a wonderfully easy writing style. The book read almost like a memoir. So the flow was continuous, but it was enough that you never felt lost with what was going on in the story. She also created a wonderful cast of characters. I'd be hard pressed to say which among the other nurses and patients I liked best.

I often shook my head when I read the old Harlequin Romances from the late 60s and early 70s where many of the heroines were nurses, this book showed me that though those books may have been cheesy, the portrayals of nursing were accurate.

They certainly did much more work than the visiting nurses that we see today.

The book ended in such a way, it is open for a sequel, which I hope Ms. Fullerton writers

I highly recommend this book to those who like more contemporary historical fiction or people that love Call The Midwife.

Rating: 5 flowers




Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Guest Post: Jean Fullerton Author Of Call Nurse Mille

Hi there, I thought I would pop by and say hello. I was born and raised alongside the Thames in East End of London.  When I found my storytelling voice it was only natural that I set my tales in the vibrant, but poverty stricken streets in that part of London.  

Unlike many of my fellow authors I am a relative latecomer to writing. In fact, I didn't know I could write until eleven years ago when I was sent on an NHS stress management course- yes, fact can be stranger than fiction. 

I’m dyslexic and when I went to school, at about the time when the Beatles were tripping off to India, the condition wasn't recognized so English was always tortuous. 

As a teenager I consumed Historical fiction of all kinds and I’d thought over the years that one day I’d write a historical novel. To my utter amazement a story tumbled out and after three months I had a 90,000 word manuscript and another story screaming to be told.
After writing over a 1,000,000 words my eleventh book, No Cure for Love, won the Harry Bowling Prize in 2006.  I signed with my lovely agent, Laura and offered a two-book contract with Orion Publishing. 

My first four novels were set during the Victorian era but my latest Call Nurse Millie, jumps forward a hundred year and starts on VE day 1945.  

As the troops begin to return home, the inhabitants of London attempt to put their lives back together. For 25-year-old Millie, a qualified nurse and midwife, the jubilation at the end of the war is short-lived as she tends to the needs of the East End community around her. But while Millie witnesses tragedy and brutality in her job, she also finds strength and kindness. And when misfortune befalls her own family, it is the enduring spirit of the community that shows Millie that even the toughest of circumstances can be overcome.

Through Millie's eyes, we see the harsh realities and unexpected joys in the lives of the patients she treats, as well as the camaraderie that is forged with the fellow nurses that she lives with. Filled with unforgettable characters and moving personal stories, this vividly brings to life the colourful world of a post-war East London.

I still have to pinch myself sometimes to make sure I’m not actually dreaming but what makes me spend hours bent over the keyboard typing and lying awake at night running plot over in my mind is to tell my characters stories and have readers love them as much as I do. 

Just to give you a little flavour here’s an excerpt from the opening pages. 


Excerpt:

Chapter One
Millie Sullivan pushed an escaped curl of auburn hair from her eyes with the back of her hand. She wished she’d put on her cotton petticoat under her navy blue uniform instead of the rayon one.
    Although the milk float was only just rolling along the street, it was already sweltering hot.
    With a practised hand Millie wrapped the newborn infant in a warm towel. ‘There we go, young lady, say hello to your ma.’
    She handed the child to the woman propped up in the bed. Mo Driscoll, already mother to four lively boys, took the baby.
   ‘Thank you, Sister,’ she said, tucking her daughter into the crook of her arm and gazing down at the baby. ‘Isn’t she beautiful?’
   ‘She’s an angel,’ Mo’s mother, standing on the other side of the bed, replied. ‘And a welcome change.’ She looked at Millie. ‘I’ll clear up, Sister. You look done in.’
   ‘I am, but thankfully it’s my last night on call.’ Millie handed a parcel of newspaper containing soiled gauze to the older woman. ‘Could you pop these on the fire?’
   ‘To be sure.’ She took the packet and threw it in the zinc bucket alongside the dirty linen. ‘That superintendent works you nurses too hard. You should try and put your feet up when you get back.’
   Millie smiled.
   Chance would be a fine thing. She plopped her instruments into the small gallipot half-filled with Dettol, took off her gloves and glanced at her watch.
   Eight-thirty a.m.!
   Thank goodness.
   She’d be back by the time Miss Summers gave out the day’s work. Also, as Annie Fletcher, the trainee Queen’s Nurse student assigned to Millie, was laid up with tonsillitis, Millie had given a couple of Annie’s morning insulin injection visits to Gladys to do, and she wanted to make sure she’d done them.
   ‘Do you know what you’re going to call her?’ Millie asked Mo, washing her hands in the bowl balanced on the rickety bedside table.
   ‘Colleen, after me mum,’ she replied.
    Mother and daughter exchanged an affectionate look and Mille glanced at her watch again.
    She ought to get on, as she’d promised her own mum that she’d pop home in time for Churchill’s announcement at three p.m.
    Her parents, Doris and Arthur, only lived a short bus ride away in Bow but, as Millie had two newborns to check plus a handful of pregnant women to see before she swapped her midwifery bag for her district one for her afternoon visits, it would be a close-run thing.
    Millie packed the four small enamel dressing-bowls inside each other, then stowed them in her case between her scissors and the bottle of Dettol. She snapped the clasp shut.
    ‘I’ll call back tomorrow, but if there’s any problem just ring Munroe House to get the on-call nurse,’   Millie said, squeezing down the side of the bed towards the door.
    Like so many others in East London, the Driscolls’ home was just the two downstairs rooms in an old terraced house that Hitler’s bombs had somehow missed.
    Colleen took the manila envelope tucked into side of the dressing-table mirror and passed it to Millie.
     She opened it and taking out two crumpled ten-shilling notes, popped them into the side pocket of her bag. ‘I’ll write it in when I get back to the clinic.’


And connect to me on my website at www.jeanfullerton.com to find out about me, my previous books, and my East London heritage along with pictures of the actual East London locations where my stories are set.
You can also find me on Facebook as Jean Fullerton and follow me on Twitter as @EastLondonGirly  


Monday, May 27, 2013

Buy The Book Tours Book Blitz: Mail Order Man

Picture

About Mail Order Man

Mail Order Man by Heather Gray
Genre: Inspirational Historical Romance

  • Mail Order Man on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo Books

  • Publication Date: April 4, 2013

  • A well-meaning friend places an ad to find a mail order husband for Sarah, the proprietress of Larkspur’s stage and mail office. Sarah, who is generally quiet and reserved, doesn't know about the ad and has no idea what to do with all the people that are showing up in her community. Before long, the town is overrun with men and mail alike. Sarah is trying to avoid some men who have accosted her on the street when she stumbles into Samuel. Through long days spent together at the stage office, some very adventurous pots of coffee and a shared faith, the two become friends. 

    Sarah knows that Samuel is hiding something from her, something important, but that doesn't stop her heart from leaping wildly into love. Lacking the confidence to trust her heart, Sarah wars with herself over the feelings she can no longer deny. When some of the men who have come to town show their true intentions, a shootout follows. Sarah finally gets answers to many of the questions circling through her mind. One question remains, though. Where will her mail order man go when the dust settles?

    Excerpt

    Right then Claudio and Cesar came through the door. Both boys chimed a “Good morning!” in Sarah’s direction as they headed straight for the coffee on the stove. Sarah saw their intent and inwardly cringed. Not only was she not sure about how many scoops of grounds she’d put in, but the coffee had been percolating much longer than normal because she got distracted with the letters.

    Samuel had his back to the stove and did not see the boys as they each poured a cup of coffee. Sarah was about to warn them as Claudio, the middle boy at age sixteen, took a big swig of the hot brew while Cesar, the youngest, opted to blow on his first. Claudio’s eyes grew wide as he swallowed. “Miss Sarah, I do believe that’s the best coffee you've ever made. That’s the kind of coffee vaqueros drink!”


    Samuel visibly perked up at the mention of coffee. Sarah was sure he couldn't know a vaquero was a Mexican cowboy and that they drink their camp coffee strong. If he understood what the boys were saying, he definitely wouldn't be in a hurry to get a cup of his own. Cesar finally took a drink of his coffee. Sarah could see him trying not to make a face as he swallowed the brew. “Vaquero coffee for sure, Miss Sarah. Papa would be proud.”


    Sarah had barely started to warn, “Uh, Samuel…” when he took a big gulp of the coffee Claudio had poured for him. She watched the shock on his face as he first paled and then grew red. His eyes flew wide as he tried desperately to swallow the coffee. He finally ran out the front door and spit the coffee out over the edge of the stage platform.


    The boys could not contain their howling laughter as Samuel walked back into the stage office, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.

    About Heather Gray

    Aside from her long-standing love affair with coffee, Heather’s greatest joys in life are her relationship with her Savior, her family, and writing. Years ago, she decided it would be better to laugh than yell. Heather carries that theme over into her writing where she strives to create characters that experience both the highs and lows of life and, through it all, find a way to love God, embrace each day, and laugh out loud right along with her.

    Heather's Website | Twitter | Facebook

    Sunday, May 26, 2013

    Book Review: Beyond Hope's Valley


    Author: Tricia Goyer
    Title: Beyond Hope's Valley
    Publisher: B & H Publishing
    Publish Date: Feb 28, 2012
    Buy: Amazon
    Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
    Book Blurb: After an extended stay in Montana, where Amish traditions are different than in her home state, Marianna Sommer returns to Indiana for two reasons, first to help her brother and his girlfriend prepare for a baby and their wedding. Second, to plan her own wedding to Aaron Zook -- a marriage she’s been dreaming about ever since childhood. And yet, although she had missed the idyllic farms and families of her upbringing, Marianna is surprised that Indiana is somehow making her long now for Montana.

    As months pass, secrets that were hidden in winter’s frozen grasp thaw and take on a life of their own. The truths about a child, about a past relationship, and about God’s plans are being revealed. Walking through a valley of questions, Marianna must hold on to hope as she decides where and with whom her heart truly belongs.



    Review: Tricia Goyer's Amish romances are a little bit different from the stories I'm used to reading. Tricia's books are more faith based than what I usually read.

    The story is told through several points of view; Marianna the Amish girl returning to her home state of Indiana to wed Aaron, her mother Ruth, who has had struggles in her younger days with her Amish faith and Ben, an Christian singer with a troubled past.

    The book read much like an Amish soap opera, if there were such a thing, with children out of wedlock, and paternity questions that are thought about, but not spoken of. It reminds the reader that though the Amish are plain folk that some may consider backwards, they have the same problems and struggles as the rest of us.

    There's a lot of drama between the characters, and a lot deals with the ways each Amish community view the church laws. Things in Montana, where Marianna  had spent the last year were more liberal than the Indiana community. That didn't make things easy for her when she returned home.

    I found from the very start, that I wasn't terribly fond of Aaron. It was hard not to feel confusion about his character, especially with some of the foreshadowing that Tricia gives to you as you read. By the time things come to a climax, you really want to take him out behind a barn and knock him around in a most un Christian-like manner.

    I really enjoyed this book. It was a unique Amish story, with a lot of twists and turns, and things that make you think. It was also a very sweet love story.

    I highly recommend this book and Tricia Goyer, in general, for those that like Amish/Christian fiction.

    Rating: 5 flowers




    Friday, May 24, 2013

    Book Review: An Invitation To Sin

    Author: Sarah Morgan
    Title: An Invitation To Sin
    Publisher: Harlequin Presents
    Publish Date: June 1, 2013
    Buy: Amazon
    Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley & the publisher
    Book Blurb: Snapped and seduced: there's nothing more dangerous than a restless Corretti…

    Taylor Carmichael holds one thing precious: the reputation she's spent years rebuilding. Then one encounter with Corretti lothario Luca, a bottle of chilled champagne and a skintight dress and the paparazzi have their shot.

    Cool, calm and irritatingly aloof, Luca couldn't care less. Splash his face over the papers—he has bigger fish to fry. But Taylor is fuming. Luca had the chance to halt the press and refused. Well, this time she'll make the headlines work for her:

    Stop the press—bad boy Luca Corretti to wed screen siren Taylor Carmichael!



    Review: I love Sarah Morgan, she's one of my absolute must read authors for the Presents line, so I was thrilled to see she had a new book out.

    Invitation to Sin, is not your usual Presents for many reasons...allow me to tell you about them.


    1. Luca is not the stereotypical alpha male. He's sexy, he's fun, but he's really not all about controlling. Luca was charming and even when he was running from relationships, he was just so fun and likable, most Presents heroes don't make you like them on the spot, Luca does.

    2. Taylor Carmichael...at first you think she might be the Harlequin version of Lindsey Lohan, but once you get to know her she has more substance. She's not really fighting Luca either, as much as she's fighting herself. And this poor girl has issues....lots of issues.

    3. Luca isn't a golden boy..at least not in the traditional way...he's too much of a bad boy. He doesn't have the respect of his family and what family he has is dysfunctional.

    This book really made me laugh at times, mostly due to something Luca did or said. I loved how his fake relationship with Taylor grew into something real without either of them knowing it.

    This was the most fun Presents I've read in ages. Kudos to Sarah Morgan for delivering something different to the imprint!

    Rating: 5 flowers



    Wednesday, May 22, 2013

    TLC Book Tours Book Review: The Perfume Collector

    Author: Kathleen Tessaro
    Title: The Perfume Collector
    Publisher: Harper
    Publish Date: May 14, 2013
    Buy: Amazon
    Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tours & the publisher
    Book Blurb: A remarkable novel about secrets, desire, memory, passion, and possibility. Newlywed Grace Monroe doesn’t fit anyone’s expectations of a successful 1950s London socialite, least of all her own. When she receives an unexpected inheritance from a complete stranger, Madame Eva d’Orsey, Grace is drawn to uncover the identity of her mysterious benefactor. Weaving through the decades, from 1920s New York to Monte Carlo, Paris, and London, the story Grace uncovers is that of an extraordinary women who inspired one of Paris’s greatest perfumers. Immortalized in three evocative perfumes, Eva d’Orsey’s history will transform Grace’s life forever, forcing her to choose between the woman she is expected to be and the person she really is. The Perfume Collector explores the complex and obsessive love between muse and artist, and the tremendous power of memory and scent.

    Review: If there is a novel that is a must read, this book is it. The writing style is beautiful and it is easy to get caught up in the lives of Grace and Eva. Both women will captivate you, most especially Eva who comes from the most humble upbringings.

    If you are a fan of M.J. Rose's last two novels, this book will definitely appeal to you, as you get a wonderful glimpse into the world of fragrances. This is something I really found fascinating, especially at one point where they captured the scent of snow and even more so when they found a formula that was looking for the scent of hair.

    The story weaved the lives of these two women perfectly. Eva's story is told as Grace continues to look for clues on Eva's life, as she essentially left her estate to her, and Grace had never met her once in her life. (OK, she thinks she hasn't, but to tell you more would be SPOILERS).

    I loved getting to know Eva, and while doing so, watch Grace become a different woman.

    I couldn't put this book down once I started it. I reminded me of several wonderful books that I have read in the past year, The Shoemaker's Wife, The Book Of Lost Fragrances and The Baker's Daughter.  There are certain aspects of this story that seemed similar to that of these three book, perhaps the writing style as well, though M.J. Rose's novel is much more complex a read. The Perfume Collector is  much lighter, but seeped in history, as these other books are.

    This book was easily one of the best I've read this year, engaging and wonderful, a page turner til the end.

    Rating: 5 flowers



    Tuesday, May 21, 2013

    Cozy Mystery Book Tours Book Review: Mr Tea & the Traveling Tea Cup




    About Mr Tea & the Travelling Tea Cup:
    After the death of their mother, sisters Terry and Karen Sutter, turn their childhood home into a teahouse. It’s a dream come true, but the dream begins to resemble a nightmare when teacups start crashing to the floor in the middle of the night. Could the teahouse be haunted? There’s a list of possible ghostly candidates: the prior owner who is rumored to have left behind a buried treasure, two spinster neighbors who disappeared without a trace over forty years ago, or perhaps it’s Terry and Karen’s own mother trying to communicate with them. Karen, the older sister, thinks running a haunted teahouse might be fun, until the sisters come home one night to find the attic stairs covered in a trail of what appears to be blood. Is it a ghost or a warning? The teahouse’s new mascot, a psychic macaw, may provide some unexpected clues, but the sisters will encounter many more surprises before they solve this mystery.


    Review: I'm always excited when I find a new cozy with a different twist to it. There are so many out there, so I was thrilled to be part of the tour for Mr. Tea and the Travelling Tea Cup.
    Why?
    First, a psychic macaw! (OK, he's really about as psychic  as Shawn Spencer from the tv show Psych, but you have to love this bird)
    Most cozies are full of cats and dogs etc, but a bird! And this bird has quite a personality.
    Then there are the teacups!
    I love the ghostly air to the story, it definitely makes things a little different and a whole lot more interesting.
    I also liked that their are two amateur sleuths here.  But they aren't really sleuths. But there is quite a mystery and it involves treasure. I also like the relationship between the two sisters. Terry and Karen are such fun, and I love Detective Greg, and how he's really working to find out what's going on in the Tea House!

    Another really unique thing about this story is that they solve a cold case in a round a bout way.

    This was a really fun cozy to read. The ending was a little to easy to figure out, but that didn't stop this from being a cute cozy. I look forward to seeing how this series turns out. I loved all the quirky characters in the story, especially Mr. Tea!

    Rating: 4 flowers




    About Leslie Matthews Stansfield:
    LESLIE MATTHEWS STANSFIELD is the author of MR. TEA AND THE TRAVELING TEACUP, the first book in the Madeline’s Teahouse series. She is the author of a previous book, Windsor Locks, on the town she lives in. She grew up in Delmar, New York, and credits her friends with developing her imagination. Leslie is a graduate of University of Hartford and recently received her Masters’ degree from the University of Phoenix in Educational Leadership. She is a math tutor in a public school as well as the Christian Education Director of her church. She is currently working on her second book in the Madeline’s Teahouse series. She has four children and eight grandchildren and lives in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.
    Purchase from Amazon.
    Connect with Leslie Matthews Stansfield: Website | Twitter | Facebook

    Monday, May 20, 2013

    Book Review: Back To The Good Fortune Diner


    Author: Vicki Essex
    Title: Back To The Good Fortune Diner
    Publisher: Harlequin Superromance
    Publish Date: Jan 2, 2013
    Buy: Amazon
    Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
    Book Blurb: Everville, New York — it's the town where Tiffany Cheung grew up, and the last place she wants to be. But after losing her job in Manhattan, that's exactly where she finds herself. Worse, she's working at her family's Chinese diner and feeling like the outsider she once was. The only bright side is that Chris Jamieson, the boy she used to tutor, is still around. Her high school crush is hotter than ever, and he needs her help… again. Tutoring Chris's son is the perfect temporary job. Except, Chris finally seems interested in her — and is hinting about a less temporary arrangement. Talk about bad timing! Because Tiffany's not staying and nothing will stop her from getting back to her real life. But maybe what's real is about to change….




    Review: I love when Harlequin's change it up. I was instantly drawn to this book with the non-Caucasian heroine. It was something different from the usual fare.

    I wish I could say that Tiffany was a fantastic heroine, because she wasn't. What she was, was a character with a lot of growing up to do. That's why I found I couldn't just love Tiffany. She had that 20 something's view of the world. I must follow a career path, I must get out of my home town, I must live in a big city etc.

    I think most small town girls at one time want what Tiffany wanted. Most of us don't get it, and well..Tiff didn't really have it either. So she's back home to her dysfunctional family.

    I think it was the craziness of her family that brought the story to life. Her crazy family reminded me a bit of Sofie Metropolis' family. (Anyone read those fantastic books? You should) I liked getting the feeling of being part of the restaurant's day to day operations, however mundane. Vicki painted a great picture of a close knit family run restaurant. (Oh and I got really hungry for chicken balls, which after much searching turns out to be the chicken in sweet and sour chicken)

    Then there's our hero, Chris. First off, can I say the guy on the cover is gorgeous and definitely a perfect Chris. He was a great dad, trying hard to raise a son on his own. His own father is quite a piece of work. Mr. Jamieson could best be described as a good hearted racist, if such a think could exist.

    Simon was a great teenager, full of moodiness and angst. His character really pulls everyone together. Tiff is tutoring him so he could get his grades up for college. He proves to be quite a challenge!

    There's also a subplot with Tiff's brother Daniel and his girlfriend Selena. I would have liked to see more go on with that couple, but I was pleased with how everything worked out in the end for both siblings and their significant others.

    There was a lot more to this story than romance but it was a great read for a quiet afternoon.

    Rating: 4 flowers


    Friday, May 17, 2013

    Reading Addiction Blog Tours: Jane Lark - Illict Love

    Reading Addiction Blog Tours

    In the beginning – where my story inspiration starts

    My stories always begin with a single image in my head. I see a picture, and then as I see that picture I feel the emotion of the scene.
    Illicit Love is inspired by the memoirs of a real 19th Century courtesan. When I read her story, I think it was the emotion expressed in her words which presented a picture in my mind’s eye.
    I saw a woman, looking across at a young man, I felt how she was physically drawn to him, his looks attracted her, and she felt a hot, burning longing suddenly, yet there was pain inside her too, and a dead feeling. Edward’s and Ellen’s story unraveled from there.
    The image above isn’t even in Harriette Wilson’s memoirs, so it isn’t her story, but then anything can stir the images in my head which go on to become a new plot for a book. The opening image of the book I’ve just begun working on was inspired by a Lady Gaga song. She was even singing about the opposite sex to the image her song suddenly threw into my mind.
    Authors all have different inspirations, but I know there are other people who start a story with a single image.
    Several years ago, when I’d first begun writing with a determination that one day I would have a novel published, I visited Lyme Regis in the UK. There’s a small museum there, commemorating the author, John Fowles, who wrote, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, and of course, this story was spun from the image he had of a woman standing at the end of the old harbor wall, as the skirt of her dress and her shawl blew sideward on the harsh sea breeze. From that picture, he crafted the story which had led her there.
    Oh, I could share with you so many images hanging in my mind’s eyes, just waiting for their story to be written, but I shan’t because that would spoil the surprise when these books come out ;)
    In the words of Harriette Wilson, the real 19th Century courtesan, who inspired Illicit Love, and then - and then - and then…

    If you read, Illicit Love, I value feedback, so please leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads, or any other site you like. You can also let other readers know what you think on the Illicit Love Book Club page I hope you enjoy it.

    Thank you for this chance to speak about how my stories begin.
    Best wishes

    Jane   





    Historical Romance
    Date Published-  5/2/13

    Synopsis: 
    Ellen Harding longs to be free of the life she is trapped in - her husband died at the battle of Waterloo 
    and her family disowned her and now she lives under the reign of a cruel protector. When her eyes are 
    drawn to a beautiful man for no other reason than his looks, she imagines escaping her chains for a 
    night by giving her body to him – to a man of her choosing – even if only to infuriate her captor. 
    But Edward Marlow is kind and gentle when he touches her and her subconscious whispers that this 
    man could save her. Yet how can he help her when she has secrets which prevent her ever being free. 
    She has too many battles to fight. 
    Edward is restless, lonely and a little angry with his lot in life – it is his only excuse for being drawn to 
    another man’s mistress. The woman’s dark hair and pale eyes are striking and he cannot take his gaze 
    off of her while she watches him over the top of a fan with an illicit intent in her eyes. But once he’s 
    known her he cannot forget her - and once he’s seen how brutal her protector is, how can leave her 
    with the man? But she will not run anymore than she will speak of her past, so how can he help her…

    Reading Addiction Book Tours Book Review: Illicit Love






    Historical Romance
    Date Published-  5/2/13

    Synopsis: 
    Ellen Harding longs to be free of the life she is trapped in - her husband died at the battle of Waterloo 
    and her family disowned her and now she lives under the reign of a cruel protector. When her eyes are 
    drawn to a beautiful man for no other reason than his looks, she imagines escaping her chains for a 
    night by giving her body to him – to a man of her choosing – even if only to infuriate her captor. 
    But Edward Marlow is kind and gentle when he touches her and her subconscious whispers that this 
    man could save her. Yet how can he help her when she has secrets which prevent her ever being free. 
    She has too many battles to fight. 
    Edward is restless, lonely and a little angry with his lot in life – it is his only excuse for being drawn to 
    another man’s mistress. The woman’s dark hair and pale eyes are striking and he cannot take his gaze 
    off of her while she watches him over the top of a fan with an illicit intent in her eyes. But once he’s 
    known her he cannot forget her - and once he’s seen how brutal her protector is, how can leave her 
    with the man? But she will not run anymore than she will speak of her past, so how can he help her…

    Review: This is a unique historical. It isn't often you get the story from the eyes of women who is someone's mistress. However in this cast her protector isn't much of one.

    So right from the start this is a book that is different.

    Jane has created characters that you really feel for. Ellen has had a rough life to end up where she is right now, and you have to be rooting for her. You want her to have just a little bit of happiness in her life and Edward....ah...Edward. He is truly one of the best heroes I've read about in a long time. Any conflict between Edward and Ellen has more to do with him trying to help her than him being an alpha male. Can I just say, I'm not a huge fan of alpha males.

    This is another book that had me on the edge of me seat with nerves because of an abusive man. I didn't realize how many historical romances out there were dealing with an issue like this. I loved Edward for helping Ellen, because the life she was living wasn't one she deserved. Her history made me think of Fantine from Les Miz. I mean, every man in her life, up until Edward let her down...well, except her first husband, but it was her first marriage that started her on the downward spiral, though her first husband was not to blame...well except that he died.

    I really couldn't tear myself from this book once I started reading it. I had to find out how everything was resolved and what happened to that nasty (insert expletive here) protector of hers.

    Rating: 5 flowers







    Jane Lark

    Author Bio
    Jane is qualified to the equivalent of a Masters Degree in People Management and is fascinated by the things which craft people's personalities, so she has great fun exploring these through characters. She lives in the United Kingdom near the Regency City of Bath and has just bought her 400 year old dream home. History has always tempted her imagination and she loves researching and also exploring ruins and houses to get ideas. She equally loves a love story.

    Jane has always aspired to writing a historical novel so when she was thirty she put it on her ‘to do before I am forty’ list. She completed her first novel ten years ago, never sent it anywhere then started the next. She’s not stopped writing since, and escaping into a mental world of fiction is a great painkiller to help fight off her Ankylosing Spondylitis.

    Jane is a member of RWA, RNA, and the Historical Novel Society.

    Website- http://www.janelark.co.uk/
    Twitter- www.twitter.com/janelark
    Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/jane.lark.3?fref=ts


    Thursday, May 16, 2013

    Bewitching Book Tours Book Reviews: Tessa Dare Spindle Cove w/Giveaway




    Beauty and the Blacksmith  
    Tessa Dare

    On Sale Date: April 30, 2013

    ISBN: 9780062238849,
    ISBN: 0062238841

    Genre: Fiction / Romance


    Description:

    Take a trip to Spindle Cove in New York Times bestselling author Tessa Dare’s gorgeous and sexy Regency romance.

    Beautiful and elegant, Miss Diana Highwood is destined to marry a wealthy, well-placed nobleman. At least that’s what her mother has loudly declared to everyone in Spindle Cove.

    But Diana’s not excited by dukes and lords. The only man who makes her heart pound is the village blacksmith, Aaron Dawes. By birth and fortune, they couldn’t be more wrong for each other ... but during stolen, steamy moments in the smithy, his strong hands feel so right.

    Is their love forged strong enough to last, or are they just playing with fire?




    Excerpt: How could she help staring? The man had wrists as thick as her ankle.
    As always, he wore his sleeves rolled to the elbow, exposing forearms roped with muscle. He pumped the bellows, commanding the flames to dance.
    Broad shoulders stretched his homespun shirt, and a leather apron hung low on his hips. As he removed the glowing bit of metal from the fire and placed it on his anvil, his open collar gaped.
    Diana averted her gaze—but not fast enough. She caught a moment’s glimpse of pure, superheated virility. Sculpted chest muscles, bronzed skin, dark hair...
    “Behave yourself,” he said.
    The words startled her breathless.
    He knows. He knows. He’s realized that refined, perfect gently bred Miss Highwood comes to the smithy to gawp at his brute manliness. Behave yourself, indeed.
    She felt ridiculous. Ashamed. Exposed.
    And then—suddenly—relieved.
    He wasn’t speaking to her. He was speaking to his work.
    “That’s it.” Perspiration glistened on his brow. With a steady hand and a low, rich baritone, he finessed the broken clasp. “Be good for me now.”
    Diana turned her gaze downward, focusing on the floor. Neatly swept and fitted stones paved her half of the smithy, where visitors waited for their work. The ground around the forge was packed with black, smudgy cinders. And the border between the two could not have been more stark, or more meaningful.
    Here was the division between customer and smith. The line between the world of a gentlewoman and a working man’s domain.
    “There we are,” he said. “That’s the way.”
    Oh, goodness. She could look away from this thick forearms and his muscled chest. But that voice.


    Review: This is the most fantastic novella I've read in ages. Yes, it is a short 100 pages, but the story is different and romantic and wonderful.

    How many historical romances have you read where the heroine falls in love with someone beneath her station, and by beneath her station, I don't mean in the military or a swashbuckling sexy pirate.

    Not many I bet.

    In this novella, Diane, who is in Spindle Cove with her mother to find a husband, a rich one, too. At least that's what mom wants. Diane, however has other ideas. She's totally smitten with Aaron, the local blacksmith, who is sweet, kind and noble.

    OMG! A historical hero who isn't an alpha male!

    I am so in love with Aaron Dawes!

    I loved the plot twist with the stolen items too, that brought things out in the open for everyone too.

    This is probably the best novella I've read. Tessa Dare is an absolute dream with historical romance. This is a story not to be missed.

    Oh and you get to meet Pauline Simms too, however briefly, who is the heroine of Any Duchess Will Do.

    Rating: 5 flowers






    Any Duchess Will Do  
    Tessa Dare

    On Sale Date: May 28, 2013

    ISBN: 9780062240125
    ISBN: 0062240129

    Genre: Fiction / Romance

    Publisher: Avon

    384 pages


    Today Pauline is just a serving girl in Spindle Cove but tomorrow... she'll be a Duchess?! It's a Spindle Cove Pygmalion story as only New York Times Bestselling author Tessa Dare can tell it.

    What's a duke to do, when the girl who's perfectly wrong becomes the woman he can't live without?

    Griffin York, the Duke of Halford, has no desire to wed this season-or any season-but his diabolical mother abducts him to "Spinster Cove" and insists he select a bride from the ladies in residence. Griff decides to teach her a lesson that will end the marriage debate forever. He chooses the serving girl.

    Overworked and struggling, Pauline Simms doesn't dream about dukes. All she wants is to hang up her barmaid apron and open a bookshop. That dream becomes a possibility when an arrogant, sinfully attractive duke offers her a small fortune for a week's employment. Her duties are simple: submit to his mother's "duchess training"… and fail miserably.

    But in London, Pauline isn't a miserable failure. She's a brave, quick-witted, beguiling failure-a woman who ignites Griff's desire and soothes the darkness in his soul. Keeping Pauline by his side won't be easy. Even if Society could accept a serving girl duchess-can a roguish duke convince a serving girl to trust him with her heart?



    Excerpt: “I thought you didn’t have noble impulses.”
    “Believe me.” He stared into her eyes and spoke the words without lewdness or irony. “I don’t.”
    If he possessed a single grain of decency, he would have set her down long moments ago. Wicked as it made him, he loved the way she was clinging to his neck. As though the world around them were a vast, frozen waste and sharing the heat of his body was her only chance to survive. It was so easy to believe, for this moment, that she needed him. Needed his touch, his mouth, his heated breath. His bared, feverish skin all over hers.
    Amazing, what acrobatic contortions the lusting male mind could achieve. He’d almost convinced himself that kissing her lush, sweet lips was the noble thing to do.
    Almost. But not quite.
    “I’ll put you down now,” he said.
    She nodded.
    And then she pressed her lips to his.
    Praise and curses be heaped. The girl kissed him.

    Review: I am officially in love with Tessa Dare and  the Spindle Cove series. I have to go back and buy all the books now to see who fell in love with who before.

    There's something about Tessa's writing that makes a story that seems as old as time, as the song goes, seem fresh and new.

    In this story, the Duke of Halford, plukes serving girl, Pauline from her duties to make her his duchess, more in hopes of getting his mother to stop matchmaking.

    The problem is, Pauline may be of the lower class, but she is beautiful, spunky and full of trouble! 

    I can't begin to say how much I loved this regency twist on Pygmalion. 

    Pauline is perfect, and I loved her attachment to her sister. And then there's the Duke's mother! You want to dislike her for what she's trying to do, but you can't! And she's just what you expect a dowager duchess to be! She turns out to be really sweet.

    All I can say is the "knitting" is what will totally win you over.

    I loved the scene in the library after she kissed him when he told her if it had been a real kiss she'd be "beset by flutterings."

    Flutterings is my new word! 

    Love it!

    Pauline is the type of character with spunk and intelligence, probably more so than some of the aristocracy. She's a delight to read about and so is Griff, especially when you learn the secret to his locked room. (I'm not telling, you have to read it...) Your heart will break for him.

    Wonderful book!

    Tessa Dare again delivers a winner!

    Rating: 5 flowers


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    Wednesday, May 15, 2013

    Book Review: The Seduction Of Emily

    Author:  Rachel Brimble
    Title: The Seduction Of Emily
    Publisher: eKensington
    Publish Date: April 4, 2013
    Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley 
    Buy: Amazon
    Book Blurb: Seduction is a wicked game, and no one plays it better than the devilish Will Samson in Rachel Brimble’s captivating new novel… Since girlhood, Emily Darson has accepted that she will marry Nicholas, the son of her father’s trusted business partner. The marriage contract safeguards her family legacy, Emily’s fortune, and everything she values—except her independence. Only when a sinfully handsome scoundrel enters her life does Emily realize quite how much a loveless match will cost her.

    Will Samson has advanced from expert pickpocket to confidence trickster of the highest caliber. Now he has come to Bath to exact vengeance on the man who destroyed his mother—the man Emily will soon marry. But from his first glimpse of the enemy’s bewitching, spirited fiancĂ©e, Will’s plan changes.

    Amid the ballrooms and salons of elegant society, heated glances explode into scandalous kisses. Revenge is sweet, but surrender will be irresistible…




    Review:  This is the first historical romance by Rachel Brimble that I've read. Earlier this year I read her novel for Harlequin Superromance, Finding Justice and loved it. I have to say that though The Seduction of Emily made me very nervous at times, while reading it, I enjoyed it just as much.

    Now why was I nervous.

    Nicholas Milne was such a nasty character that I really thought something terrible might befall Emily. He was an abusive, nasty, evil, no good, jerk of a man. You have to hate him. You also have to wonder what made him that way, since Emily repeatedly said that as children they were friends. I wish there had been some back story to his character that let the readers see how he turned into such a bad seed.

    The Seduction Of Emily is very different from most regency romances.

    How so?

    Emily, Nicholas and Will are all common. Not a single one of them are a member of the ton. In fact, because of the tobacco business that is the forefront of the marriage contract between Emily and Nicholas, we know that they are member of "The Trade!" Will is even more common that that!

    I liked that Emily did her best to stand up for herself, but I also wish she opened her eyes a bit more to Nicholas' bad behavior. Her father who is dying of lung disease knew better than she did, about Nicholas and his character, or lack thereof.

    There was a lot of romantic tension between Emily and Will from the very start. I liked that it was kept at bay throughout most of the novel, yet you know that something is there between them.

    This is the one of 3 historical romances that I've read recently dealing with domestic abuse. I thought everything was handled well in the story and I was really glad, Nicholas ended up where he belonged for the time being.

    The subject matter is very touchy, when you are using it in a romance, and I felt Rachel handled things really well. She showed Nicholas for the predator he was, without making the story too graphic.

    I definitely will be reading more of Rachel's historical romances.

    Rating: 4 flowers




    Tuesday, May 14, 2013

    Book Review: Buried By Buttercups


    Author: Jim & Joyce Lavene
    Title: Buried By Buttercups
    Publish Date: Sept 29, 2012
    Buy: Amazon
    Review Copy Provided By: The author in exchange for an honest review
    Book Blurb: 
    Peggy Lee, owner of The Potting Shed garden shop, is involved in another murder investigation. After two years of being on the ‘outs’ with the Charlotte Police, new homicide Lieutenant Al McDonald, asks for her help. The choice of weapon for the killer is flower poison, starting with angel’s trumpet. No one knows botanical poisons as well as Peggy.

    The investigation turns personal for her when she realizes the killer has used poison to draw her out. Two men with her dead husband’s name have already died. Is the killer working toward getting rid of Peggy too?





    Review: This is the novella that comes before A Thyme To Die which I reviewed here. I highly recommend reading this short Peggy Lee mystery before going for the full length because there are some things that happen in this story that you need to know in the next book. I won't tell you what, but just do it.

    I have to say I was really impressed with the mystery in this novella. It is under 70 pages and wraps everything up nicely without feeling hurried, which I thought was really amazing.

    Again, I found myself thinking another character did it and I was totally surprised to find out that I was wrong. That's always a pleasant surprise when it comes to mysteries.

    The nature of the murders was unique too. Killing with poison from plants in alphabetical order!

    Oh and I have to say, I love the grumpy neighbor, he was an absolute hoot! The picture of the perfect curmudgeon!

    If you haven't read any of the previous books, this is a good place to start and then pick up the new one!

    Rating: 5 flowers


     
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