Thursday, June 8, 2017

Book Blast: Where Rainbows End by AnneMarie Brear

Where Rainbows End

by AnneMarie Brear


Publication Date: May 23, 2017
Publisher: Choc Lit
eBook; ASIN: B071P7KBH6
Genre: Fiction/Historical/Romance/Western


Can she hold on to her dreams...?

It’s 1850 and the Noble family have travelled to the other side of the world to start a new life after scandal drove them from their native England.

Pippa Noble is determined to reclaim their honour by making her father’s plan for an outback farm reality, although her ambition is frowned upon by a society that has very set ideas about a woman’s place...

Pippa learns the hard way about the unforgiving nature of the bush, sometimes with devastating consequences. And when unfortunate circumstance leads to Pippa tending the farm alone, it is the friendship of neighbouring estate owner Gil Ashford-Smith that helps her through.

Then an unexpected visitor from England arrives, putting Pippa's dreams in jeopardy. But she refuses to let go. She will hold onto her family's land, even if it means losing everything else...

"A compelling story of a headstrong woman who defies the traditional female role and forages a successful life through hard work and a strong vision. Excellent descriptions of the outback and the hardships of life in Australia in the 1850's." - Amazon Review

You can purchase Where Rainbows End in eBook via:


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Chapters | Google Play | iBooks | Kobo


About the Author:


AnneMarie has been a life-long reader and started writing in 1997 when her children were small. She has a love of history, of grand old English houses and a fascination of what might have happened beyond their walls. Her interests include reading, genealogy, watching movies, spending time with family and eating chocolate – not always in that order! AnneMarie grew up in Australia but now lives in the UK. For more information please visit AnneMarie Brear's website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Goodreads.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Blog Tour Excerpt + Giveaway:The Irish Milliner by Cynthia G. Neale

The Irish Milliner
by Cynthia G. Neale


On Sale June 2, 2017
Fireship Press
eBook; 276 Pages
Genre: Fiction/Historical/Romance

It is New York City and the Civil War is brewing. Norah McCabe, an Irish immigrant who escaped the Famine as a child, is now a young widow with a daughter. She is a milliner, struggling to survive in tumultuous times. Norah meets Abraham Lincoln, befriends the extraordinary African-American woman Elizabeth Jennings, and assists the Underground Railroad. She falls headlong in love with Edward M. Knox, son of the famous hat-maker Charles Knox, but he is lace curtain Irish and she is shanty Irish. Edward joins the 69th regiment and leaves for battle. Can their love endure through class differences and war?

This is a story of survival, intrigue, romance, as well as, exploring the conflict of Irish immigrants thrust into a war that threatened to destroy a nation. It is about an Irish-American woman who could be any immigrant today, any woman today, seeking to create beauty and make sense of her life.

“Suddenly the Civil War seems very relevant and Cynthia Neale does a great job of focusing on the role of the Irish in the conflict. And it's great fun to be in touch with her wonderful character, Norah McCabe, again!” ~Mary Pat Kelly, author of Galway Bay and Of Irish Blood

“This timely novel spans centuries to bring to our attention to a topic as old as yesterday, as expedient as tomorrow⎯emigration. Neale's work, written with love and insight, reminds us that our neighbor is all mankind.” ~Tim Pat Coogan, Irish broadcaster, journalist, writer and author of 1916 The Easter Rising, Michael Collins and The Famine Plot

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo


EXCERPT:

This is an excerpt taken from the scene when Norah goes with her black friend, Elizabeth Jennings, to visit some of the runaway slaves in the basement of the Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims in Brooklyn, NY. She has been making hats for the Underground Railroad women fleeing to Canada from the south:

Norah is silent and fearful of taking such a powerful charm from this woman. She has never intended to become this entwined with the Negro just because she is friends with Elizabeth Jennings. She wants to leave. She can't get enough air in her lungs and her heart is pacing in her chest like a frightened animal. She doesn't know how to tell Sarah she can't accept this lucky box. Sarah needs it more than she does and Norah doesn't believe in any luck that can double. The woman's own beaten husband made it for her. Why would she give it to her, she wonders. She wants to get back to Katie and Sean and go home for a strong cup of tea.

"Where are the hats that Norah made?" Elizabeth asks, interrupting the interchange between Sarah and Norah.

Sarah rushes to the corner of the room and pulls the bonnets out of a burlap bag. When the women put them on their heads, Norah sees them transformed into free, dignified women in the candlelight. They smile at her and then she carefully places the four-leaf clover charm inside her bodice and near her heart.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Excerpt Blitz: Duke with Benefits by Manda Collins

LADY + DUKE = TRUE LOVE?

Lady Daphne Forsyth is a brilliant mathematician with a burning passion for puzzles. When she learns that the library belonging to her benefactress houses the legendary Cameron Cipher—an encrypted message that, once solved, holds the key to great riches—Daphne is on the case. Unfortunately, her race to unlock the cipher’s code is continually thwarted by a deliciously handsome distraction she hadn’t counted on . . . and cannot resist.

Dalton Beauchamp, the Duke of Maitland, is curious as to why Daphne is spending so much time snooping around his aunt’s bookshelves. He’s even more intrigued by her bold yet calculating manner: She is unapologetic about her secret quest . . . and the fiery attraction that develops between them both. But how can they concentrate on solving a perplexing enigma once the prospect of true love enters the equation?

Duke with Benefits is the second in Manda Collins' Studies in Scandal series set in Regency England.


EXCERPT:

“There you are, my dear,” said the Earl of Forsyth with a beaming smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes.

Maitland saw at once that Daphne favored him. Her green eyes were the same shade as his, though there were lines of dissipation bracketing the earl’s. And though his expertly cropped blond hair was shot through with silver, what remained of its original color was the same shade as hers. But whereas Daphne’s gaze was focused off to the left of whomever she conversed with, like a bird hovering just over a branch, Forsyth’s speared one with cold calculation. As he did to Daphne now.

“You are looking well, Daphne,” the earl continued, stepping forward to embrace his daughter, who looked as uncomfortable with the contact as Maitland had ever seen her. “The sea air agrees with you. As I knew it would.”

“The sea is very beautiful,” Daphne replied woodenly. “Why are you here, Father?”

“Is that any way to greet your Papa?” the earl chided, stepping back from her and wandering farther into the room, standing to stare out at the gardens below through the window. “I’ve traveled all the way from London to see you. And this lovely estate. I must admit that when I first learned of your inheritance, I thought it was all some sort of trick. But you would have your own way and leave the loving bosom of your family no matter what I said. Now that I’m here, though, and see it in person, I must admit that it’s a lovely spot. And your chaperone, Lady Serena, is quite beautiful, isn’t she? A widow, I take it?”

His jaw clenched at the man’s mention of Serena, and Maitland thought perhaps it was time to announce himself. Daphne seemed not to realize he’d followed her in, and the earl was too busy waxing rhapsodic over the beauties of Beauchamp House.

“I don’t believe we’ve met, Forsyth,” he said forcefully, stepping up to stand side by side with Daphne. He gave a slight bow, perhaps not quite as deep as was warranted, but not caring. “The Duke of Maitland. I am a friend of your daughter’s, you might say.”

What he meant by that last, he could not say, but the man made every bit of protective instinct within him go on the alert. He was her father, but all the same Maitland knew that Daphne was no safer with him than she would have been with Sommersby if he still lived.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Review: The Sinner by Amanda Stevens

From the Back Cover:

I am a living ghost, a wanderer in search of my purpose and place…

I'm a cemetery restorer by trade, but my calling has evolved from that of ghost seer to death walker to detective of lost souls. I solve the riddles of the dead so the dead will leave me alone.

I've come to Seven Gates Cemetery nursing a broken heart, but peace is hard to come by…for the ghosts here and for me. When the body of a young woman is discovered in a caged grave, I know that I've been summoned for a reason. Only I can unmask her killer. I want to trust the detective assigned to the case for he is a ghost seer like me. But how can I put my faith in anyone when supernatural forces are manipulating my every thought? When reality is ever-changing? And when the one person I thought I could trust above all others has turned into a diabolical stranger?

My Thoughts:

She's baaack!

If you read my review of the previous book in this series, you know I was a little disappointed in it, especially after such a long hiatus between books. It was with trepidation that I went into this one, hoping for a return to the level of excellence set by the first three books. I am so happy to say that Amanda Stevens is back on top of her game! It's hard to review a mystery, let alone the fifth book in a series, without giving things away for those who have yet to discover the deliciousness that is the Graveyard Queen series, so my review will be brief and limited to my overall thoughts rather than a detailed plot recap.

While restoring another South Carolina cemetery, this one in a small, off-the-beaten path location, Amelia discovers a ring of caged graves outside hallowed ground, and there's a fresh body in one of them. When the ghost of the murdered young woman begins to haunt her, Amelia has no choice but to figure out who killed her and why if she ever wants any peace. And this brings a new man into Amelia's life, the sexy and mysterious investigator Lucien Kendrick, who seems to have a mystical connection to Amelia. Is he hiding the same secret she is, the ability to commune with spirits? Add to that the gruesome history of the house she's renting for the summer, mistrustful locals, and a horrifying darkness worse than any spirit Amelia has ever encountered before, not to mention that she's starting to have difficulty determining what's all in her head and what's real, who is manipulating her and who can she trust, and Amelia is in for one hell of a summer.

Plus Amelia is still missing John Devlin, whom she hasn't been with in over a year . . . or has she? She gets an emotional punch in the gut where he is concerned that I felt right along with Amelia. There are a lot of little clues dropped about Devlin here that I did not see coming, and if my suspicions are proved correct in the next book, I am going to be one happy camper, giving mad props to Amanda Stevens. But if they are not, I'm going to be one sad camper. Amelia deserves some happiness.

I could not put this down for the last quarter of the book. I don't know where Amanda Stevens finds all of this stuff, but it is fascinating. Caged graves, witch doctors, a cult devoted to resurrection, a secret society devoted to stamping out the supernatural, and all of it taking place amid the old world charm and haunting, Gothic beauty of the Low Country. I don't do horror, but Amanda Stevens manages to craft spine-tingling, macabre thrillers without the gore, and I just can't get enough of them. But alas, the next book is the final book in the series. And it is with a heavy yet hopeful heart that I am about to embark on the last chapter in Amelia Gray's story.

My Rating:  4.5 Stars out of 5

*Please Note: This review references an advance digital copy received from the publisher via NetGalley, and therefore the final published copy may differ. Though I received this book from the publisher, my review is voluntary and these are my honest and unbiased thoughts. I was not compensated in any other way for reviewing this book.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Blog Tour Excerpt: A Stranger at Fellsworth by Sarah E. Ladd

A Stranger at Fellsworth
by Sarah E. Ladd

Series: A Treasures of Surrey Novel
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
On Sale: May 16, 2017

Could losing everything be the best thing to happen to Annabelle Thorley?

In the fallout of her deceased father’s financial ruin, Annabelle’s prospects are looking bleak. Her fiancĂ© has called off their betrothal, and now she remains at the mercy of her controlling and often cruel brother. Annabelle soon faces the fact that her only hope for a better life is to do the unthinkable and run away to Fellsworth, the home of her long-estranged aunt and uncle, where a teaching position awaits her. Working for a wage for the first time in her life forces Annabelle to adapt to often unpleasant situations as friendships and roles she’s taken for granted are called into question.

Owen Locke is unswerving in his commitments. As a widower and father, he is fiercely protective of his only daughter. As an industrious gamekeeper, he is intent on keeping poachers at bay even though his ambition has always been to eventually purchase land that he can call his own. When a chance encounter introduces him to the lovely Annabelle Thorley, his steady life is shaken. For the first time since his wife’s tragic death, Owen begins to dream of a second chance at love.

As Owen and Annabelle grow closer, ominous forces threaten the peace they thought they’d found. Poachers, mysterious strangers, and murderers converge at Fellsworth, forcing Annabelle and Owen to a test of fortitude and bravery to stop the shadow of the past from ruining their hopes for the future.


Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

EXCERPT:

How I dread this ball tonight.” Annabelle squinted in the bright early afternoon sunlight and groaned as she adjusted the red feather on her straw bonnet to keep it from bouncing against her face with each step.

Crosley, Annabelle’s lady’s maid, shifted the brown package in her arms and lengthened her stride to match her mistress’s. “Do not fret, miss. Tomorrow this time it will just be a memory. ’Twill be over soon enough.”

“That’s just it.” Annabelle lifted her lace handkerchief to her nose to avoid the unpleasant, pungent scents as they passed two vagabonds near an alley. “I don’t think it will be over anytime soon. Thomas is determined that I should marry Mr. Bartrell, and he’ll not soon forget it. I am determined that I should not marry him. You can see the predicament.”

Monday, May 8, 2017

Blog Tour Review + Giveaway: The Illusionist's Apprentice by Kristy Cambron

From the Back Cover:

Harry Houdini’s one-time apprentice holds fantastic secrets about the greatest illusionist in the world. But someone wants to claim them . . . or silence her before she can reveal them on her own.

Boston, 1926. Jenny “Wren” Lockhart is a bold eccentric—even for a female vaudevillian. As notorious for her inherited wealth and gentleman’s dress as she is for her unsavory upbringing in the back halls of a vaudeville theater, Wren lives in a world that challenges all manner of conventions.

In the months following Houdini’s death, Wren is drawn into a web of mystery surrounding a spiritualist by the name of Horace Stapleton, a man defamed by Houdini’s ardent debunking of fraudulent mystics in the years leading up to his death. But in a public illusion that goes terribly wrong, one man is dead and another stands charged with his murder. Though he’s known as one of her teacher’s greatest critics, Wren must decide to become the one thing she never wanted to be: Stapleton’s defender.

Forced to team up with the newly formed FBI, Wren races against time and an unknown enemy, all to prove the innocence of a hated man. In a world of illusion, of the vaudeville halls that showcase the flamboyant and the strange, Wren’s carefully constructed world threatens to collapse around her. Layered with mystery, illusion, and the artistry of the Jazz Age’s bygone vaudeville era, The Illusionist’s Apprentice is a journey through love and loss and the underpinnings of faith on each life’s stage.

My Thoughts:

I have long been wanting to read one of Kristy Cambron's novels, and I even have The Butterfly and the Violin on my tablet, I just haven't had time to catch up on the thousands of ebooks I've acquired. (Maybe because I keep acquiring more? But that's a topic for another post!) So I jumped at the chance to review The Illusionist's Apprentice. And I have very mixed feelings about it. I'm going to skip the plot recap since this is a mystery and I don't want to risk giving anything away. And the blurb does a good job of telling you what the story is about. So I'm just going to tell you what I think. And what I think is that this story had a lot of potential, but it just didn't take full advantage of all it had to offer.