Thursday, November 15, 2018

Spotlight: Bound to Morocco by Leslie Hachtel

Bound to Morocco
Book One in the Morocco Series
by Leslie Hachtel
June 13, 2018
Historical Romance
ebook, print; 276 pages


What if your family sold you to a Sultan's Harem? 

Drugged and kidnapped, Shera finds herself on a ship to Morocco to serve the Sultan. Abandoned and alone, Shera must find a way to escape and confront the people who betrayed her. She gets help from an unlikely source: the man who kidnapped her. But, he has his own secrets. And, when their partnership turns to love, the two must face constant danger to endure. But will they ever be free? 


Grab the ebook edition for only 99-cents!

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Excerpt:

Spring, 1713

The throbbing was relentless. Shera, Lady Edgerton, squinted and reluctantly peeked out from beneath her eyelids. She immediately regretted it. A thousand needles of light stabbed her with brutal fury and she quickly closed her eyes again to ease the misery. She drew in a deep breath, trying to quell the pounding in her head. Mindful of the pain, she very slowly opened her eyes again, fighting the agony of vicious brightness that assailed her. Sunlight pierced the room through a narrow slit in the wall high up in the small space and pooled about her. Nausea threatened but she swallowed hard and stiffened her spine.

Gathering her senses and forcing herself to focus, she looked around. Where was she? A small room made of wood? The walls were bare except for four sets of chains attached to the wood by rings hanging a few inches from the floor. Was this an area used to confine prisoners?  But that did not answer why she was here. She was an innocent. Her being here must be a terrible mistake.

She heaved in a deep breath and listened carefully. Naught but a kind of creaking. Raising herself gently, she sat up. Her head spun and she took in a few shallow breaths to ease the dizziness. The space around her gradually took shape. She was indeed in a small room with walls of horizontal planked wood. Beneath her, the floor swayed gently back and forth. And the smell? It was the scent of despair. Someone had been held here before her. Or many someones. And there was also the unmistakable odor of the sea. I am aboard a ship? How is that possible? A slither of terror crawled up her back. Had she been kidnapped? Was her life at risk? Who did this and what did they want? The lack of answers was tormenting.

Shera soothed herself by inhaling and exhaling slowly, then took an inventory of her body. Her back ached and her arms and legs felt heavy. She was most likely bruised, but overall, she was intact. She was still dressed in her beautiful crimson velvet ball gown from the night before, but now it was dirty and the skirt was torn at the hem and along the seams. Her bracelets were missing, as were her rings. But, when she felt for her necklace, she realized it had slipped down into her bodice. She lifted it out and breathed some relief. Set with diamonds and rubies, it was worth a small fortune. She replaced it between her breasts and patted her chest. It could certainly be used as a bribe, but to whom? If she revealed it under the wrong circumstances, it could be taken from her. No, she must be careful to conceal it until the time was right.

She felt her earlobes. The left earring was gone, but the one on the right had become tangled in her hair. It, too, was set with rubies and diamonds and worth much. She extracted it and slipped it into her bodice with the other piece. Just knowing she had some wealth gave her options and more chances, perhaps, to resolve this situation, whatever it was. The possibilities went from the ridiculous to the unthinkable. It could be this was a simple prank, but the clawing in her stomach told her it was no such thing. But, she must control the terror that threatened to confound her thinking.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Q&A with Adrienne Morris, Author of The Tenafly Road Series

Please join me in welcoming Adrienne Morris to Let Them Read Books! Adrienne is celebrating the release of The Grand Union, the newest book in her Tenafly Road series, and I recently had the chance to ask her a few questions about her inspiration, her characters, and the rewards of writing a series. Read on and grab the first book in the series, The House on Tenafly Road, for free!

When Gilded Age banker Buck Crenshaw’s career plans are ruined on the eve of his honeymoon in 1887 Saratoga Springs, he must learn how to love his new wife while hustling for clients to secure their future. A faith healer arrives on the scene shaking Buck’s confidence yet again, but this time he has a wife who refuses to let him fail. Will his eyes be opened to the gifts before him or will he turn in bitterness away from all that is good?


Books in the historical family saga:
The House on Tenafly Road
Weary of Running
The Dew That Goes Early Away
Forget Me Not
The One My Heart Loves
The Grand Union



Hi Adrienne! Welcome to Let Them Read Books!

What inspired you to write The Tenafly Road Series?

Originally I wanted to write a miserable story about a Christian missionary from New Jersey who travels West to “save” the Native Americans while abandoning her own family. I realized as I researched post-Civil War America that the “Indian question” and the motives behind the assimilation movement were a lot more complex -- and a lot more humanitarian in some cases than I had imagined. I discovered that corruption and greed existed not only among the U.S. government but also within the Indian tribes. The first book became an exploration of human frailty (as a universal thing) in the face of a world more complex than most of us can fathom and how, within this world, small acts of kindness and forgiveness can sometimes lead to redemption.

This redemption plays out in a more personal way in the relationship between Sergeant John Weldon and his wife’s family as he struggles to hide his addiction, save his marriage and keep his place in the military. His mother’s Delaware Indian roots only add more complexity to his desire to “fit in.”

Your stories take place during a tumultuous time in American history and feature some dark themes such as addiction and racial and gender inequality. What kind of research do you do to bring your characters and their surroundings to life?

Without fully realizing it, Civil War veteran John Weldon’s addiction to opiates was inspired by the sadness I felt for my first love (a boy also named John) who joined the military hoping to escape his addiction. It didn’t work.

Post-Civil War America is a study in contradictions, especially within the military. Union soldiers who had been hailed as heroes for freeing the slaves were now vilified for mistreating Native Americans. West Point cadets who had abolitionist parents sometimes still carried prejudices into the academy, making life difficult for the first Black cadets. Women, despite not having the vote (and many did not particularly want it), were stronger and braver than they were sometimes given credit for. Following their husbands into the military while trying to raise families in remote and hostile environments took guts.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Blog Tour Guest Post + Giveaway: The Tory & The Traitor by T.J. London


Please join me in welcoming T.J. London to Let Them Read Books! T.J. is touring the blogosphere with the first two books in the Rebels and Redcoats Saga, and I'm thrilled to have her here today with a guest post about why we need more Revolutionary War fiction. And let me tell you she is a girl after my own heart. I continue to be amazed at what our ancestors achieved (including my fifth great-grandfather, John Payne, 2nd Virginia), and I'll take a man in a tricorn and breeches any day! Read on and enter for your shot at a set of books or an Amazon gift card!

THE TORY BY T.J. LONDON
Publication Date: April 11, 2018
Peperback & eBook; 517 Pages

Series: The Rebels and Redcoats Saga, Book #1
Genre: Historical Fiction



It is the winter of 1776, and Captain John Carlisle, one of His Majesty’s not-so-finest, has gone back to the scene of the crime to right a wrong so dark it left a permanent stain on what was once an illustrious career and left a man broken, defeated, in search of justice…

In an effort to win back his commission, he must discover the true nature of the relationship between the Six Nations of the Iroquois and the Colonial Army. Undercover as a war profiteer, John travels to the treacherous Mohawk River Valley and infiltrates local society, making friends with those he’s come to betray.

But a chance meeting with a beautiful half Oneida innkeeper, whose tragic history is integrally linked to his own, will provide him with the intelligence he needs to complete his mission—and devastate her people.

Now, as the flames of war threaten to consume the Mohawk Valley, John has the chance to not only serve King and country, but to clear his name. When the truth he uncovers ties his own secrets to those in the highest positions of the British military and threatens the very life of the woman he’s come to love, he will be forced to make a choice…

“The pages fly as you immerse yourself in this fantastic adventure.” – RT Book Reviews

AVAILABLE ON AMAZON


THE TRAITOR BY T.J. LONDON
Publication Date: October 26, 2018
eBook; 574 pages

Series: The Rebels and Redcoats Saga, Book #2
Genre: Historical Fiction



Spy. Liar. Scoundrel. Redcoat.

Provocateur and spy for His Majesty, Captain John Carlisle returns to Fort Niagara with the secrets he stole in the arms of the beautiful Oneida innkeeper, Dellis McKesson. Determined to complete his mission and clear his name, he’ll see justice done—and damn the consequences. Now, he finds himself drawn into political intrigue as the British prepare to launch a three-pronged attack that will bring the Rebels and the Mohawk River Valley to its knees.

A dangerous revelation finds Dellis as whispers of intrigue insinuate her beloved is not all that he seems. Unwilling to wait for her lover’s return, she sets out in search of the truth as the Onieda begin negotiations with the Rebels, breaking the neutrality agreement with the crown. A bold move that will stoke a fire between the brother tribes and lead to a bloody inter-confederacy war—one Dellis predicted, and one John incited.

While war between the colonies and the King smolders, the punishing winter of 1777 allows the perfect opportunity for old enemies to settle scores, lying in wait, ready to exploit John’s one weakness—his heart. John is not an innocent man. The truth he’s long tried to hide from can no longer be ignored, the ghosts of the past seeking justice, and karma wanting payment for sins so dark they cannot be forgiven.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Blog Tour Q&A + Giveaway: The Highlander Who Protected Me by Vanessa Kelly

Please join me in welcoming Vanessa Kelly to Let Them Read Books! Vanessa is touring the blogosphere with the first novel in her brand new Clan Kendrick series, The Highlander Who Protected Me. I recently had the chance to ask Vanessa a few questions about reading and writing romance and, of course, Highlanders! Read on and enter to win a fantastic swag pack!

Bestselling author Vanessa Kelly returns with an enthralling new series about the men of the Kendrick clan—and the women who claim their hearts…

Lady Ainsley Matthews, heiress and darling of the ton, was expected to make a magnificent match. Instead she’s hiding on a remote Scottish estate, terrified that her vicious former fiancĂ© will use her pregnancy to force her into marriage. One man can help her—Royal Kendrick, son of a distinguished Highland clan. Though a mistake drove them apart long ago, Royal is the only person Ainsley trusts to protect her baby—even if that means agreeing to never see either of them again . . .

Scarred in body and soul by war, Royal suddenly has a purpose—caring for an innocent babe and thereby helping the woman he can’t stop loving. But when Ainsley ultimately returns to Scotland, determined to be a real mother to her child in spite of the risk, there’s only one solution: marriage. And only one likely outcome: surrendering to the desire that’s simmered between them for so long, no matter how dangerous it may be…


AMAZON | BARNES AND NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | IBOOKS | GOOGLE PLAY | INDIEBOUND | KOBO


Hi Vanessa! Thanks so much for stopping by Let Them Read Books!

What is it about Highlanders that makes them such popular subjects for romance novels?

I recently asked my readers this very question. The number one answer was this: loyalty. These romances are popular because the heroes are fiercely loyal to clan and family, and to the women they love. Highlanders fight for family and honour, often against superior forces and technology. The British eventually conquered the country and outlawed many elements of the traditional culture, but they could never conquer the true soul of Scotland. There’s an incredible degree of romance and grandeur evoked in that kind of courage and dedication, even if one is sometimes on the losing end of the equation. Add in the beauty of the Highlands and the mysticism of the Celtic culture, and you have a winning combination.

Plus, let’s face it, Highlanders are manly men. And they wear kilts. I’m a big fan of the kilts.

What was your favorite scene to write in The Highlander Who Protected Me?

Just about any scene that involved Ainsley, my heroine, and Angus, the curmudgeonly grandfather of my hero. Angus is a classic, old-fashioned Highlander, and Ainsley is a wealthy English aristocrat. They get along like chalk and cheese and have some rip-roaring and pretty hilarious arguments. It’s Scotland vs. England, country vs. town, in miniature.

Do your characters pop into your head fully formed, or do you discover them as you write?

I am definitely what you call a discovery writer. I write a LOT of words before my characters finally coalesce to my satisfaction. I also do quite a bit of pre-work, such as writing biographies, slotting my characters into personality grids, defining their primary character types…that sort of thing. Sadly, nothing pops into this head fully formed when it comes to writing my books. I will often get a snippet or piece of a scene drifting through, but that’s when the real work begins.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Blog Tour Spotlight: Lady of a Thousand Treasures by Sandra Byrd

Lady of a Thousand Treasures by Sandra Byrd

Publication Date: October 9, 2018
Tyndale House Publishers
Hardcover, Paperback, & eBook; 480 Pages
Series: The Victorian Ladies Series, #1
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance



Miss Eleanor Sheffield is a talented evaluator of antiquities, trained to know the difference between a genuine artifact and a fraud. But with her father’s passing and her uncle’s decline into dementia, the family business is at risk. In the Victorian era, unmarried Eleanor cannot run Sheffield Brothers alone.

The death of a longtime client, Baron Lydney, offers an unexpected complication when Eleanor is appointed the temporary trustee of the baron’s legendary collection. She must choose whether to donate the priceless treasures to a museum or allow them to pass to the baron’s only living son, Harry—the man who broke Eleanor’s heart.

Eleanor distrusts the baron’s motives and her own ability to be unbiased regarding Harry’s future. Harry claims to still love her and Eleanor yearns to believe him, but his mysterious comments and actions fuel her doubts. When she learns an Italian beauty accompanied him on his return to England, her lingering hope for a future with Harry dims.

With the threat of debtor’s prison closing in, Eleanor knows that donating the baron’s collection would win her favor among potential clients, saving Sheffield Brothers. But the more time she spends with Harry, the more her faith in him grows. Might Harry be worthy of his inheritance, and her heart, after all? As pressures mount and time runs out, Eleanor must decide whom she can trust—who in her life is false or true, brass or gold—and what is meant to be treasured.


Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Praise for Lady of a Thousand Treasures:


"Sandra Byrd’s amazing cast of characters and Victorian settings pull the reader right into the story. I became happily lost in this compelling, lovely book." -Karen Harper, NYT bestselling author of The Royal Nanny

"Lady of a Thousand Treasures delivers mystery, romance, and suspense in a well-researched Victorian setting." -Julie Klassen, bestselling author

"I’m always swept away by a Sandra Byrd novel, and Lady of a Thousand Treasures will be long remembered as one of Sandra’s best." -Jane Kirkpatrick, NYT bestselling author of All She Left Behind

"Sandra Byrd is the rare writer whose evocative, prose grabs hold and doesn’t let go. The Victorian Ladies Series is off to a stunning start!" -Laura Frantz, author of The Lacemaker

"With stunning characters and impeccable research, Sandra Byrd has woven together an exquisite treasure hunt with an ending that will leave you breathless." -Melanie Dobson, award-winning author of Catching the Wind

"Sandra Byrd’s writing is an absolute piece of art! If I had to sum up this story all in one word, it would be satisfying." -Michelle Griep, award-winning author of the Once Upon a Dickens Christmas series

About the Author:


Bestselling author Sandra Byrd has published more than fifty books over her editing and writing career. Her traditionally published books include titles by Tyndale House Publishers, Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster, WaterBrook Press, a Penguin Random House imprint, and Bethany House. She’s also an independent author.

Sandra’s series of historically sound Gothic romances launched with the best-selling Mist of Midnight, which earned a coveted Editor’s Choice award from the Historical Novel Society. The second book, Bride of a Distant Isle, has been selected by Romantic Times as a Top Pick. The third in the series, A Lady in Disguise, published in 2017 and was named by the American Library Association’s Booklist as one of the Top Ten Inspirational Fiction books of the year.

Her contemporary adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake, which was a Christy Award finalist, as was her first historical novel, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn. To Die For was also named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2011, and The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr was named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2012.

Please visit www.sandrabyrd.com to learn more or to invite Sandra to your book club via Skype. You can also connect with Sandra on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.