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
WKoD.cover.kindle.preview

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

add to goodreads

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE WAY OF BEAUTY – Camille Di Maio Blog Tour/Giveaway/Guest Post

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THE WAY OF BEAUTY

by

Camille Di Maio

Genre: Historical Fiction / 20th Century / Literary

Publisher: Lake Union Press

Date of Publication: May 1, 2018

Number of Pages: 384

Scroll down for the giveaway!

 

Synopsis

cover HI RES The Way of Beauty_previewHearts and dreams evolve in the shadow of the once-magnificent Penn Station.
Vera Keller, the daughter of German immigrants in turn-of-the-century New York City, finds her life upended when the man she loves becomes engaged to another woman. But Angelo Bellavia has also inadvertently opened up Vera’s life to unexpected possibilities. Angelo’s new wife, Pearl, the wealthy daughter of a clothing manufacturer, has defied her family’s expectations by devoting herself to the suffrage movement. In Pearl, Vera finds an unexpected dear friend…and a stirring new cause of her own. But when Pearl’s selfless work pulls her farther from Angelo and their son, the life Vera craved is suddenly within her reach—if her conscience will allow her to take it. Her choice will define not only her future but also that of her daughter, Alice.

Vera and Alice—a generation and a world apart—are bound by the same passionate drive to fulfill their dreams. As first mother and then daughter come of age in a city that is changing as rapidly as its skyline, they’ll each discover that love is the only constant.

 

PRAISE FOR THE WAY OF BEAUTY:

“The Way of Beauty is a thing of beauty. The writing is gorgeous, the story is engaging, the characters are amazing. The amount of research that goes into historical fiction just astounds me. Add this to your TBR!”

“If you want to be swept away by a love story set in a fascinating and meticulously researched past, Camille Di Maio is the author for you. Don’t miss this one.”

“A captivating story of love and family that spans several generations.”

“The writing transports you to the time, not so long ago when women had to choose between love and their rights. Camille Di Maio’s dialogue, descriptions, and relationships create a complete picture of the era and struggles. Great book club book.”

CLICK TO ORDER

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CHECK OUT THE BOOK TRAILER!

 

GuestPost_preview

Inspiration for Writing The Way of Beauty
Guest Post by Author Camille Di Maio

It’s funny, for me at least, how a book starts and how it ends up.

The idea for The Way of Beauty came while I was sitting on my bed and my then-15yo daughter came to sit with me. She’s got a good creative head, so I asked her if she wanted to brainstorm with me.

We were all over the place. There was a secret diary, a father/daughter story thread, dual time periods, you name it.

But in the end, it was an image that came to my mind that became the foundation. I had this concept of a soldier kissing his girlfriend goodbye in a train station. He was in a WWII uniform and sunlight streamed through the cathedral-like windows making the dust look like sparkling diamonds.

The train station image stayed with me, so I began to do research. I knew I wanted to set it in New York, and as I was familiar with Penn Station, I started there.

I searched for pictures, and most of what came up was this beautiful, soaring structure. My first thought was, “I’ve been to Penn Station many times, but I must not have been upstairs. I’ve never seen this!”

What I did not know was this: it doesn’t exist anymore.

The gorgeous, marble, soaring, majestic train station I was seeing on the internet was torn down in the 1960s to build Madison Square Garden.

I dove into some research, my favorite part of writing historical fiction. And I learned that the station was the brainchild of Alexander Cassatt, the president of the Pennsylvania Railroad. And coincidentally, the brother of Mary Cassatt, the famous painter.

In 1900, Cassatt was frustrated that all train travel toward New York ended in New Jersey, where travelers would then take a ferry over crowded waters to Manhattan. So he began a project to build tunnels underneath the East and Hudson Rivers. He traveled to London and Paris to study some of the world’s greatest train stations and endeavored to make his bigger and better.

I researched the sandhogs – the men who dug those tunnels at great peril, and I read about the strangers Cassatt hired to secretly buy up buildings in the Tenderloin so that they could demolish them and build the station.

Penn Station was magnificent when it was completed in 1910 and it was expected to last centuries. But in the 1950s, as air and car travel increased, railroad companies fell into financial trouble. And Penn Station was sold.

The arc of the station – its creation, heyday, and destruction was fascinating, and I knew that this would be the backbone of my story. I created the characters of Vera, Angelo, Pearl, Emmett, Alice, and William and how their lives and loves paralleled the story.

All of this was planned out, the frailest of outlines laid out as a framework. But the joy of the writing – for me, at least – is putting meat on those bones.

The biggest surprise in my writing was how captivated I became by the suffrage movement. I vote in every election – midterms, local ones, presidential ones, you name it. So I wouldn’t say that I take the right for granted, and I appreciate those who’ve fought and died for that right. But that makes me think about the military. I hadn’t given significant thought to the women who championed that right a century ago. The character Pearl was a firecracker from the start, but her involvement in the suffrage movement became deeper and deeper and as I learned the extremities that some of the women went to – even going as far as having hunger strikes – and I knew that she needed to get that involved. Her storyline – initially meant to be somewhat secondary became much larger. A cornerstone of the story.

The book, then, evolved into the story of women and their emerging roles as the world changed around them. And I’m so happy that it did.

Life takes turns we don’t expect. And so does writing. But those surprises are often the sweetest bits. And I hope that as long as I have the privilege of doing this work, there will be many more discovers that wait to be illuminated.

 

AboutTheAuthor

~Romance Writers of America Honor Roll Inductee~

Camille recently left an award-winning real estate career in San Antonio to become a fuAuthor Pic DiMaio_previewll-time writer. Along with her husband of 19 years, she enjoys raising their four children. She has a bucket list that is never-ending and uses her adventures to inspire her writing. She’s lived in Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California, and spends enough time in Hawai’i to feel like a local. She’s traveled to four continents (so far) and met Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II. She just about fainted when she had a chance to meet her musical idol, Paul McCartney, too. Camille studied political science in college but found working on actual campaigns much more fun. She overdoses on goodies at farmer’s markets (justifying them by her support for local bakeries) and belts out Broadway tunes whenever the moment strikes. There’s almost nothing she wouldn’t try, so long as it doesn’t involve heights, roller skates, or anything illegal. The Memory of Us was Camille’s debut novel. Her second, Before the Rain Falls was released on May 16, 2017, and The Way of Beauty is her third novel.

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GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!

TWO SIGNED COPIES!

MAY 1-10, 2018

(US ONLY)

Giveaway The Way of Beauty_preview

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VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

5/1           Notable Quotable          Forgotten Winds

5/1           Notable Quotable          Books and Broomsticks

5/1           Notable Quotable          The Clueless Gent

5/2           Review                             Hall Ways Blog

5/3           Review                             Books in the Garden

5/4           Guest Post                       Carpe Diem Chronicles

5/4           Excerpt                            That’s What She’s Reading

5/5           Review                             Reading by Moonlight

5/5           Promo+                            Chapter Break Book Blog

5/6           Review                             Momma on the Rocks

5/7           Author Interview            The Page Unbound

5/7           Top Five                           Story Schmoozing Book Reviews

5/8           Review                              StoreyBook Reviews

5/9           Guest Post                         Missus Gonzo

5/9           Character Interview       The Librarian Talks

5/10         Review                               Tangled in Text

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Camp NaNo Winner Again!

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25,555 words. 100 pages. 20 days.

New York Engagement is the sequel to Boracay Vows. As I teased in the Author’s Note, Krista and Blake are in New York City to meet the Ryans, celebrate Blake’s birthday, and spend their first holidays as a couple. An unfortunate accident leads to secrets being revealed, leaving Krista with questions regarding her identity. I hope to publish this in May. Cover will be revealed here soon.

You’ve met Aidan Ryan in Boracay Vows. He’s here again in NYE being all autocratic. I’m excited to write about him and Maddie next for Singapore Fling. I’m targeting an August release for this one.

You’ll also meet Craig Ryan for the first time. He’s the hero of Samui Heat, Carpe Diem Chronicles 3. I was inspired by Jason Momoa when I started writing him. I wish I can write fast enough. I really want to share these stories with you.

There are more, but I won’t spoil you. Come back here next week for more details.

 

 

 

A BORROWED DREAM by Amanda Cabot – Blog Tour, Review, and Giveaway

BNR A Borrowed Dream JPG_preview

A BORROWED DREAM

The Cimarron Creek Trilogy, Book 2

by

Amanda Cabot

Genre: Historical Romance / Inspirational

Publisher: Revell

Date of Publication: March 20, 2018

Number of Pages: 352

Scroll down for the giveaway!

 

Synopsis

Catherine Whitfield is sureCover hi res A Borrowed Dream_preview that she will never again be able to trust anyone in the medical profession after the town doctor’s excessive bleeding treatments killed her mother. Despite her loneliness and her broken heart, she carries bravely on as
Cimarron Creek’s dutiful schoolteacher, resigned to a life without love or family, a life where dreams rarely come true.
Austin Goddard is a newcomer to Cimarron Creek. Posing as a rancher, he fled to Texas to protect his daughter from a dangerous criminal. He’s managed to keep his past as a surgeon a secret. But when Catherine Whitfield captures his heart, he wonders how long he will be able to keep up the charade.
With a deft hand, Amanda Cabot teases out the strands of love, deception, and redemption in this charming tale of dreams deferred and hopes becoming reality.

Click for book trailer on Animoto!

Review_preview

Amanda Cabot’s A Borrowed Dream is a departure from what I typically read and I like that. This inspirational small town historical fiction with romantic elements hits all the right spots when you want to take a break from the regency or contemporary books that dominate the marketplace today. It’s the second book in the series but the first I’ve ever read by this author, yet I did not feel lost in not having read A Stolen Heart first.

This book introduced a lot of characters (the children – Hanna and Seth – are my favorites), but Ms. Cabot was able to center her story around Catherine and Austin. I really liked that they’re fully formed characters with strengths and weaknesses, so well-developed that you can picture them in your head. By the time you get through reading the book, you’ll feel like these people actually lived in 1881, in the Hill Country of Texas.

There’s a lot to this book–romance, friendship, some suspense and mystery, medical history, small-town intrigues–but amidst it all there’s always the messages of forgiveness and faith. Although it’s an easy read, some themes Ms. Cabot touched on were quite heavy. Child abuse, rape, adoption, and murder were treated with sensitivity. Cruelty to children is something I cannot abide that’s why I really felt for Seth.

A Borrowed Dream is a well-written book by a talented author. I especially liked the Author’s Letter at the end with its surprising information about plastic surgery. I do love books that educate and inform as well as they entertain. I’ll now have to go back and pick up A Stolen Heart while waiting for A Tender Hope.

 

PRAISE FOR A BORROWED DREAM:

“Cabot’s sweet love story will appeal to readers of gentle romances. . .Although this title stands on its own, readers of A Stolen Heart (2017), the first in Cabot’s place-based trilogy, will be happy to revisit the folks of Cimarron Creek.” –Booklist

“The second book in Cabot’s Cimarron Creek trilogy is even better than the first, with a dash of suspense, an intriguing bit of medical history and a host of enjoyable characters.” –RT Book Reviews

PRAISE FOR A STOLEN HEART, BOOK ONE IN THE CIMARRON CREEK TRILOGY:

“Readers will enjoy the surprising ending as well as the romance always found in Cabot’s books.”—Publishers Weekly

“Moments of humor provide a nice balance to the heartwarming scenes and the mild suspense thread.”—RT Book Reviews

“Cabot’s nonpreachy inspirational romance features characters who genuinely try to live honorable lives, and their story has broad appeal for readers of gentle fiction and historical romance as well as for readers of Christian fiction.”—Booklist

CLICK TO ORDER ON:

Baker Book HouseAmazonBarnes & NobleChristianbook.comBooks-A-MillionKobo

 

AboutTheAuthor

Cabot_Amanda_previewAmanda Cabot is the bestselling author of A Stolen Heart, the first book of the Cimarron Creek trilogy, as well as the Texas Crossroads series, the Texas Dreams series, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards and the Booksellers’ Best. She lives in Wyoming.

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Click on picture for the Rafflecopter link:

Giveaway A Borrowed Dream_preview

THREE WINNERS

1ST: Copy of A Borrowed Dream, Novel Teas (25 count), Paddywax Library Collection Ralph Waldo Emerson Scented Soy Wax Candle, Cedar & Wild Fern (6.5oz)

2ND: Copy of A Borrowed Dream + $10 Barnes & Noble Gift Card

3RD: Copy of A Borrowed Dream + $10 Starbucks Gift Card

APRIL 12-21, 2018 (US ONLY)

 

VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

4/12/18          Excerpt 1                    Hall Ways Blog

4/12/18          Excerpt 2                    Book Fidelity

4/13/18          Review                        The Page Unbound

4/13/18          Author Interview      Chapter Break Book Blog

4/14/18          Excerpt 3                     Books in the Garden

4/14/18          Excerpt 4                     Books and Broomsticks

4/15/18          Review                         Missus Gonzo

4/16/18          Notable Quotable       Story Schmoozing Book Reviews

4/16/18          Notable Quotable        StoreyBook Reviews

4/17/18          Review                          That’s What She’s Reading

4/18/18          Guest Post                    Momma on the Rocks

4/19/18          Review                          The Love of a Bibliophile

4/20/18          Scrapbook Page           The Librarian Talks

4/21/18          Review                           Reading by Moonlight

4/21/18           Review                           Carpe Diem Chronicles

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