BREATHLESS by Celeste Bradley and Susan Donovan – Review and Giveaway

 

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SUMMARY

In Breathless, bestselling authors Celeste Bradley and Susan Donovan will sweep you away—across continents and centuries, combining the best of all worlds in one unforgettable romantic saga.

She was “the Swan.” London’s premiere courtesan. Men want to be with her. Women loathe her success and yet admire her beauty, her riches, her independence. But when the jealous wife of her lover moves to have the Swan banished from her home on the high seas, she winds up crashed against Spain’s rocky coast with no shoes, no clothes—and no name. Taken in by a tortured, sensuous man known as The Artist, the Swan comes to know the woman she wants to be—her artist’s siren.

When Art Professor Brenna Anderson is in danger of losing her post at Harvard, the rule-following, prim professor is at a loss of how to salvage the shreds of her life. But when a new painting in the mysterious Siren collection is discovered in a dusty old house in France, Brenna does the unthinkable—hops on a plane to uncover the identity of the beautiful, enigmatic woman who is the subject of the paintings.

There’s just one hitch—the frustrating, irritating, bold and beautiful art hunter Fitch Wilder is also looking for the Siren. He’s been a thorn in Brenna’s professional side for years, but when their individual quests lead them to team up despite being enemies, a whole new sumptuous world of art and culture opens up for the two of them. And with it, they enter a realm of passion and love…

Info:
St. Martin’s Griffin
Pub date: 06/12/2018
ISBN: 9781250008060
384 Pages

Buy Links:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books-a-Million
IndieBound
Powells

 

REVIEW

A mix of contemporary romance and historical fiction, Breathless is an incredibly well-written book. The jumps between present and past are done seamlessly. Clever use of varying POVs (dual 3rd person for present and singular first person for the past) to make one time period distinct from the other.

The characterization and growth of The Swan/Siren and Fitch and Brenna were excellent. As was the keen sense of place. I was transported to every place in the book: to Paris, Boston, London, the ship, Castell de la Cala, and especially to Barcelona. The authors’ use of different languages was particularly well done. They added to the authenticity of the setting.

Enemies-to-lovers is my favorite trope and the contemporary part delivered on this. I loved Fitch and Brenna’s electric chemistry and I enjoyed their reluctant fall into love. Here’s one of my favorite quotes:

“You’re brilliant and funny. You never give up. You’re a hot mess of complexity with a dab of crazy and that intrigues me.”

There’s humor and pathos, heartbreak and triumph, mystery and adventure. Breathless is really an entertaining book. Even if I weren’t given an ARC by SMP through NetGalley, I’d buy it for myself. And buy the book before this too: Unbound.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Celeste Bradley

CELESTE BRADLEY is the New York Times bestselling author of the Runaway Brides, Heiress Brides, Liar’s Club, and Royal Four series. Her novel Fallen was nominated for a RITA in 2002. “When you are overendowed with imagination and underendowed with punctuality, become a writer.” Years of dreaming on the job paid off when Celeste Bradley quit the mainstream in 1999 and started writing historical romance. “Handsome heroes beat out cranky customers every time!” Bradley lives in New Mexico with her family, her desert garden and so many pets the house sometimes feels like an ark.

Social Links:
Celeste Bradley Author Website
Twitter: @CelesteBradley_

 

susan donovanSUSAN DONOVAN’s novels have won accolades for being witty, sexy, and entertaining. A former newspaper reporter with journalism degrees from Northwestern University, Susan is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller whose novels have been translated into dozens of languages. Susan is a two-time RITA Award finalist, and her novel Take a Chance on Me was named Best Contemporary Romance of 2003 by RT Book Reviews Magazine. She lives in New Mexico with her family and assorted dogs.

Social Links:
Susan Donovan Author Website
Twitter: @SDonovanAuthor
Facebook: @SusanDonovanFanPage

 

GIVEAWAY

I’m giving away a paperback copy of BREATHLESS to one of my US readers. For chances to win:

  1. Like my Facebook author page Maida Malby, this post, and comment (4 points)
  2. Follow @maida_malby on Twitter and Like my tweet about this review and giveaway (1 point)
  3. Follow me on BookBub (2 points)
  4. Follow me on Goodreads (1 point)
  5. Follow Carpe Diem Chronicles on Instagram (1 point)
  6. Follow me on Amazon (1 point)

 

AN AMERICAN LADY By Emma Brady – Happy Book Birthday

An American Lady

Emma Brady

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Blurb

She knows how to handle a man in business and in love.

Sinclair Brown lost so much to the flames that destroyed Chicago in 1871. She only had two things left, her father’s business and English grandparents she had never met. With her friend and servant, Frederick, Sinclair travels to London to meet the duke and duchess. She tries to fit into society, but they will never accept her as a businesswoman. That means she must resort to a little deception.

Lucas Sutton, the Earl of Westmore, has been a long-time family friend of Sinclair’s grandparents and owes them a great deal. During the season he will be trying to help his own sister make a good match, so he agrees to escort Sinclair as well. Sinclair surprises him with her boldness and independence, pulling her into mischief. She is far too clever and beautiful for her own good, but she needs to learn to act more like a proper English lady. To further complicate matters, her mysterious American business partner might become his company’s competition.

The two of them can’t stop their battle of wits, nor deny the pull of attraction between them. If neither of them is willing to give a little, how can they ever discover the similarities they share? They are dangerously close to being perfectly matched.

On sale for $1.99 from 06/01 to 06/03. One click on Amazon.

 

About Emma

new years eve 2017

I am a person who loves to read, write, and cook. My dog is my deepest love and my nephews are my shining light. Romance has always been my passion, especially historical romance novels. I am a sucker for a dark and brooding hero. Heathcliff is my main man.

Follow Emma on Facebook: hotbooklover2

WHAT KIND OF DAY by Mina V. Esguerra – Happy Book Birthday

WHAT KIND OF DAY

Mina V. Esguerra
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It’s a bad day for Ben. After years of earnest work, he’s been fired from his job as a speechwriter for a Philippine senator. Name tarnished and bridges burned, he steps into what he thinks is a shuttle ride home, and accidentally joins a tour of his own city.

It was supposed to be a good day for Naya. Her passion is traveling, her hobby is discovering cool things to see and do, and taking people on tours of Metro Manila is her only job right now. An extra person at the last minute isn’t ideal, especially if the person is a former colleague and the subject of the day’s hottest political trash fire. But work is work, and she decides to let him stay in the tour.

She’s hoping she won’t regret it. He’s hoping his day turns around. What kind of day could it be? Maybe the best kind.

 

Now Available from:

Amazon: bit.ly/six32central1
Apple iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/what-kind-of-day/id1382820491?mt=11
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ph/en/ebook/what-kind-of-day
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/825644
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/what-kind-of-day-mina-v-esguerra/1128633588?ean=2940155248453
Gumroad: gum.co/six32central1
Print order form (Philippines): bit.ly/mvebooks

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REVIEW

I’ve had a couple of Mina’s books for a while now, but I’ve kept them on my TBR still unread. This May, in celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, I decided to prioritize romance novels written by authors from the Pacific region and/or set there. When the opportunity to receive an ARC of Mina’s latest book came, I took it right away.

I had been expecting New Adult characters and storyline and was pleasantly surprised by the maturity of the themes in What Kind of Day. I didn’t think I was going to be able to relate to Naya and Ben at all. I was happy to be proven wrong. It helped that I have family and friends in the Philippines who are in politics. The situation that Ben found himself in sounded true to me. Same with Naya floating around with her hobby. Yep. Been there, done that at the same age.

Now, for the romance. The speed of the physical hook-up was unexpected. Yes, there was a proper build-up of mutual attraction, but I didn’t think they’d act on it so quickly. It worked for the story, however. It gave them a bond that would not have been there if they just went their separate ways that first day. It reminded me of Before Sunrise in some ways, which I love.

A final note – I haven’t lived in the Philippines for fifteen years so I appreciate the “See This Manila” tour. If it exists in real life, I’d do it when I go back in July.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mina authorMina V. Esguerra writes contemporary romance novellas. Visit her website minavesguerra.com for more about her books, talks, and events.

When not writing romance, she is president of communications firm Bronze Age Media, a development communication consultant, and a publisher. She created the workshop series “Author at Once” for writers and publishers, and #romanceclass for aspiring romance writers. Her young adult/fantasy trilogy Interim Goddess of Love is a college love story featuring gods from Philippine mythology. Her contemporary romance novellas won the Filipino Readers’ Choice awards for Chick Lit in 2012 (Fairy Tale Fail) and 2013 (That Kind of Guy).

Twitter/Instagram: @minavesguerra
FB: facebook.com/minavesguerra

MAKING UP by Lucy Parker – Happy Book Birthday!

Author of Act Like It and Pretty Face Lucy Parker returns readers to the West End, where it’s fireworks onstage and off in a sexy enemies-to-lovers showdown.

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SYNOPSIS

Once upon a time, circus artist Trix Lane was the best around. Her spark vanished with her confidence, though, and reclaiming either has proved…difficult. So when the star of The Festival of Masks is nixed and Trix is unexpectedly thrust into the spotlight, it’s exactly the push she needs. But the joy over her sudden elevation in status is cut short by a new hire on the makeup team.

Leo Magasiva: disgraced wizard of special effects. He of the beautiful voice and impressive beard. Complete dickhead and—in an unexpected twist—an enragingly good kisser.

To Leo, something about Trix is…different. Lovely. Beautiful, even though the pint-size, pink-haired former bane of his existence still spends most of her waking hours working to annoy him. They’ve barely been able to spend two minutes together for years, and now he can’t get enough of her. On stage. At home. In his bed.

When it comes to commitment, Trix has been there, done that, never wants to do it again. Leo’s this close to the job of a lifetime, which would take him away from London—and from Trix. Their past is a constant barrier between them.

It seems hopeless.

Utterly impossible.

And yet…

 

Buy Making Up here:

Amazon US: https://goo.gl/CTLJJd
Amazon UK: https://goo.gl/EgCUHC
B & N: https://goo.gl/KmWz8p
Kobo: https://goo.gl/KeXKig

 

REVIEW

I lovedlovedloved Making Up. I read it so fast, now I want to read it again. Well, after I read Pretty Face first. I’ve had that book for ages. Planned to read it after Act Like It while I was in England, but I never got around to it. I’m not sure if my opinion of Trix will change. We shall see.

For now, I love her. She’s feisty and vulnerable at the same time. Her confidence was shaken by a manipulative ex but she got past the insecurities, by herself and also with Leo’s support. I adore that she’s fiercely protective of Leo and had the hero moment with the saboteur. Also with Cat, the biatch sister.

And, Leo? I adore him. He’s everything a romantic hero should be. He’s had many bad things happen to him, but he did not turn bitter. He’s talented, witty, and oh-so-kind. His lines are swoon worthy.

Happiness. She was, still unbelievably, happiness.
“You make me happy. It’s as simple as that. And I make you happy. Whether you’re ready to acknowledge that or not.”
“Fight for me, too.”

Waaah, he made me cry. And laugh. Both of them did. Their banter was zingy and their sci-fi fandom is so endearingly geeky.

What I adored above all is Lucy’s writing. It’s so visual. She described the acrobatics, the makeup, the actions, the feelings so incredibly well that the scenes played like a movie in my mind. What a great talent. Another big plus is the fascinating secondary characters. They’re diverse and added so much color to the story without taking center stage.

If I have to look for something to complain about it has to be the numerous villains (Trix’s ex, the show’s stage manager, Leo’s saboteur, and especially Cat). I just loved the romance between Leo and Trix so much to the point that it overpowered my objections over the antagonists completely.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lucy Parker - Author PhotoLucy Parker lives in the gorgeous Central Otago region of New Zealand, where she feels lucky every day to look out at mountains, lakes, and vineyards. She has a degree in Art History, loves museums and art galleries, and doodles unrecognizable flowers when she has writer’s block.

When she’s not writing, working or sleeping, she happily tackles the towering pile of to-be-read books that never gets any smaller. Thankfully, there’s always another story waiting.

Her interest in romantic fiction began with a pre-teen viewing of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (Firth-style), which prompted her to read the book as well. A family friend introduced her to Georgette Heyer, and the rest was history.

Happy Book Birthday – NEW YORK ENGAGEMENT

NYE e-book FINAL

Love takes you to unexpected places
Krista Lopez has traveled from the white sands of Boracay Island to the bright lights of New York City for love. Once again out of her element, Krista embraces Carpe diem as a motto. With her boyfriend by her side, she has confidence to take on The Big Apple and the prospect of …

Meeting the Parents
Blake Ryan won the approval of his girlfriend’s conservative family when they met in the Philippines. Now, he’s eager to introduce the woman he loves to his Irish-American clan. To share his past with her as he prepares to ask her to be part of his future. But an urgent call in the middle of the night reminds him that things can change …

In a New York Minute
A terrible crime and his family’s mixed reception of Krista conspire to derail their plans for a stress-free vacation. Will the circumstances cool Krista and Blake’s romance? Or will they seize the day and strengthen their bond?

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Now available from your favorite etailers:

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

To my husband, B, and our son, Stevie, for always inspiring and supporting me.

To my editor, Linda Hill, for giving me proper guidance. This could have gone so differently if you didn’t show me the way.

To Trish Smith, for brainstorming the plot with me.

To my high school kabarkada, Dr. Love Mariano and Grace Soriano, for the expert medical consult.

To my Beta Readers: Milly Bellegris, Gena Gilliam, Sue Schober, and Violet Olivo, for your invaluable input. They improved my story tremendously.

To my cover artist, Lucy Rhodes, for finding Krista in New York. I adore working with you. You’re so spot on and we’re super in-sync. I always look forward to our working chats.

To Tessa Dare, for giving me the idea for Krista’s back story.

Thank you all. Marami’ng salamat.

 

 

BORACAY VOWS Trailer

BORACAY VOWS Tours Boracay

I’m thrilled to present to you my very first trailer for BORACAY VOWS. I’m proud to have created this with the help of my sister Myrtle and her fiancé RG and improved by my friend Michael O’Connor.

These are scenes taken from the book.

  • Carpe Diem Chronicles  is the series title
  • Boracay Vows cover on paperback and smartphone
  • The grotto of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a famous landmark in Boracay
  • Kubo – The cottages at Perlas are modern adaptations of the indigenous dwelling
  • Pork adobo – Blake’s lunch
  • Ripe mango shake – Blake’s drink during their first meal together
  • Sinigang – Krista ordered the pork version for lunch
  • Buko – Krista had this coconut milk drink
  •  Jeepney – the most popular means of transportation in the Philippines
  • D’Mall – Boracay’s main commercial district. Krista and Blake spent Sunday here
  • Duyan – hammock. Chapter Eight’s setting
  • Hilot – therapeutic massage. In Chapter Twelve, they had a couples massage
  • Krista visited a tattoo parlor
  • On the beach
  • In the sea at sunset
  • Boracay Vows on ereader

Thanks again to those who’ve already enjoyed BORACAY VOWS. For those who haven’t read it yet, it’s available from your favorite etailers. books2read.com/Boracay-Vows

Credits: Google Photos Movie Assistant, The Clueless Gent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEW YORK ENGAGEMENT – Cover Story

Carpe Diem Chronicles 1 and 1.5

Krista Lopez, with her American boyfriend Blake Ryan, goes from the white sands and blue waters of Boracay Island to the bright lights and majestic skyscrapers of New York City.

From white bikini to red winter coat.

From sun to snow.

It’s important for me to show that NEW YORK ENGAGEMENT is a continuation of Krista and Blake’s romance and I believe the cover delivers completely. It certainly looks like the same girl on the cover. The hat and the way she holds it is an excellent identifier. The fonts, the colors, and the composition are all in sync with my Carpe Diem Chronicles brand.

Like the grotto in Boracay, The Empire State building is easily recognizable as a symbol of New York City. There was never any question that it would be on the cover of any book I write that is set in The Big Apple.

Many thanks to Render Compose for finding Krista once again and for being so easy to work with. This cover was done in only a couple of days – another quick turnaround considering my designer is in Australia and I’m in the USA. Thanks, Lucy.

I hope y’all like the cover of NEW YORK ENGAGEMENT as much as I do and grab a copy for yourself. .