A RUMORED FORTUNE by Joanna Davidson Politano – Book Blog Tour Review/Giveaway

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A RUMORED FORTUNE

BY

JOANNA DAVIDSON POLITANO

Genre: Historical Romance / Christian
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: July 31, 2018
Number of Pages: 416

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Synopsis
MyDDDxMQWelcome to Trevelyan Castle, home of the poorest heiress in Victorian England. Tressa Harlowe’s father kept his vast fortune hidden somewhere on his estate in the south of England and died suddenly, without telling anyone where he had concealed it.

Now Tressa and her ailing mother are left with a mansion and an immense vineyard and no money to run it. It doesn’t take long for a bevy of opportunists to flock to the estate under the guise of offering condolences. Tressa knows what they’re really up to. She’ll have to work with the rough and rusticated vineyard manager to keep the laborers content without pay and discover the key to finding her father’s fortune—before someone else finds it first.

 
Review_preview

I don’t normally read Christian Romance, finding some of them too forceful in preaching, but I made an exception for A Rumored Fortune and I did not regret it. Joanna Davidson Politano’s faith and the faith of her main characters Tressa Harlowe and Donegan Vance shone throughout the book and is essential to the growth of the hero and heroine and the development of the story.

Almost allegorical in its story-telling, A Rumored Fortune is a fascinating novel. The descriptions of the settings and characters, the dialogues, the conflicts, and the narration take the reader in a journey of intricate family relationships, class warfare, historical societal norms, viticulture, mystery, and romance.

I appreciate the deft way Ms. Politano drew her characters. They’re real and relatable. Tressa is kind, intelligent, and artistic but she has prejudices too. Donegan is forthright, but is also deceptive. Even the secondary characters are rounded out: Lucy, Tressa’s mother, Andrew, Margaret, Dr. Caine, Neville and Ellen, Mr. Prescott. They’re not caricatures and have reasons for their behaviors.

With its unpredictable twists and turns and affecting lessons in the practice of trust and acts of charity and sacrifice to demonstrate faith and love, A Rumored Fortune is a highly engaging read.  I give it four stars. ✩✩✩✩

 

PRAISE FOR A RUMORED FORTUNE:

7ZN2R6-w“Everyone loves a treasure hunt—pair it with a heroine you can’t help but love, a hero you can’t help but swoon over, and a family mystery that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat, and you end up with A Rumored Fortune. This book is a treasure in itself and one you won’t be able to put down!”—Roseanna M. White, bestselling author of the Ladies of the Manor series and Shadows Over England series

“Politano combines romance and mystery with great skill to create plot twists that will keep readers captivated until the very end.”—Publishers Weekly

“The author has done a great job, offering up a plot filled with wit, charm, action, and a lot of female strength.”—Suspense Magazine

 

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AboutTheAuthor

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Joanna Davidson Politano is the award-winning author of Lady Jayne Disappears. She freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and shares stories that move her.

WEBSITE     FACEBOOK     TWITTER

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE     GOODREADS

 

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GRAND PRIZE: Copy of A Rumored Fortune + Novel Teas (box of 25 tea bags) + $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
2ND PRIZE: Copy of A Rumored Fortune+ $10 Starbucks Gift Card
3RD PRIZE: Copy of A Rumored Fortune+ $10 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
(US ONLY)
September 11-20, 2018

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CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

9/11/18		Notable Quotable	Story Schmoozing Book Reviews
9/12/18		Review			Momma on the Rocks
9/13/18		Author Interview	The Clueless Gent
9/14/18		Excerpt			That's What She's Reading
9/15/18		Review			StoreyBook Reviews
9/16/18		Notable Quotable	All the Ups and Downs
9/17/18		Character Interview	Missus Gonzo
9/18/18		Review			Tangled in Text
9/19/18		Author Top Five		Kelly Well Read
9/20/18		Review			Carpe Diem Chronicles

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WHISPERS ON THE WIND by Dana Wayne – Book Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

 

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WHISPERS ON THE WIND

by

DANA WAYNE

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Book Lift Off
Date of Publication: March 7, 2018
Number of Pages: 277

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Synopsis

yNictRNgYou didn’t stop him. He killed her.

Dire warnings from a voice only he can hear makes Sheriff Cooper Delaney doubt his sanity. When a body is found matching one from a recent nightmare, he believes he’s gone off the deep end. The dead do not talk to the living. Or do they? One body becomes two. Are there more?

Heart broken by betrayal, Dr. Samantha Fowler finds herself starting over at thirty-three. When she meets the local sheriff, the attraction is instant and fierce, threatening to crumble the defensive walls around her heart. Once burned, twice shy, she vows to stay far away from him for the duration of her stay at the quaint B & B they share. But when she finds one body, then another, avoiding the handsome Texan is impossible.

He’s not done.

Quarry in site, he watches and waits. “I am the master. I cannot be stopped. ”The clock is ticking…

Review_preview

 

Dana Wayne is a new-to-me author, but based on Whispers on the Wind, I’ll be reading more of her work from now on. She managed to infuse this book with the right blend of suspense, paranormal, romance, and humor.

I quite enjoyed this book. It’s engaging with likable and relatable characters, plausible plotline, and swoon-worthy love story. I also like that although there are many secondary characters, they didn’t detract from the leads and they demonstrate the reality of small town living. There’s a balance among “good” and “bad” characters and that always receives high marks in my opinion.

I really like that Delaney and Sam are mature characters who act their age. There’s honesty in their instant attraction with one another. Even though it’s fast, their relationship developed naturally from friends to lovers.

I also appreciate the different facets of love in this book – love of pets (I adore Jack), of friends, and of family. The subplots regarding Jason and Eva enhanced the story even more.

All these things ensure that Whispers on the Wind get a stellar rating from me, but what makes this a keeper is the recipes. I’m really glad I have a paperback copy because those bonus pages are dog-eared. Dana, thank you so much for sharing Chocolate Candy Cake and Pecan Pie Muffins with your readers. Can’t wait for your next book to find more of those gifts.

 

PRAISE FOR WHISPERS ON THE WIND:

“Smooth pace and lovable characters drew me in almost instantly.”

“If you love romantic suspense, you are in for a treat!”

“Masterpiece! Dana’s ability to paint a picture with words is incredible.”

“Hard to stop reading once I started.”

“It has been a long time since I enjoyed a book as much as I did this one.”

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AboutTheAuthor

MLBbGe2wAwarding winning author Dana Wayne is a sixth generation Texan and resides in the Piney Woods with her husband, (and biggest fan), a Calico cat named Katie, three children and four grandchildren. She routinely speaks at book clubs, writer organizations and other groups about writing and self-publishing.

Her debut novel, Secrets of The Heart, was awarded First Place – Contemporary Romance, 2017 by Texas Association of Authors, was a finalist for the 2017 Scéal Award for Contemporary Romance, Reviewers Top Pick and included on the Top 10 Books to Read This Winter from Books & Benches online magazine.

Her next two novels, Mail Order Groom, released in April, 2017, and Whispers On The Wind, released in April 2018, both received 5 Star Reviews from Readers Favorite among others. She was recently included in the Top 50 Indie Authors You Should Read by calebandlindapirtle.com, an international book blog site.

Affiliations include Romance Writers of America, Texas Association of Authors, Writers League of Texas, East Texas Writers Guild, Northeast Texas Writers Organization, and East Texas Writers Association.

 WEBSITE   FACEBOOK  TWITTER   INSTAGRAM   PINTEREST   GOODREADS

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FIRST PRIZE: Signed Copy of Whispers on the Wind + Floral Fan + $10 Amazon Gift Card
TWO RUNNERS-UP: eBook Copies of Whispers on the Wind
(Open Internationally)

September 4-13, 2018

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CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

9/4/18	Guest Post			That's What She's Reading
9/5/18	Review				Forgotten Winds
9/6/18	Excerpt				Chapter Break Book Blog
9/6/18	BONUS Review			Hall Ways Blog
9/7/18	Guest Post			All the Ups and Downs
9/8/18	Review				Carpe Diem Chronicles
9/9/18	Scrapbook Page & BONUS Review 	StoreyBook Reviews
9/10/18	Guest Post & BONUS Review 	The Clueless Gent
9/11/18	Review				Reading by Moonlight
9/12/18	Author Interview		Books and Broomsticks
9/13/18	Review				Book Fidelity

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THE DUKE WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO by Kerrigan Byrne – Release Day Review and Giveaway

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THE DUKE WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO

(Victorian Rebels Vol 6)

by

KERRIGAN BYRNE

 

Duke with dragon Tattoo coverSUMMARY:

The bravest of heroes. The brashest of rebels. The boldest of lovers. These are the men who risk their hearts and their souls—for the passionate women who dare to love them…

He is known only as The Rook. A man with no name, no past, no memories. He awakens in a mass grave, a magnificent dragon tattoo on his muscled forearm the sole clue to his mysterious origins. His only hope for survival—and salvation—lies in the deep, fiery eyes of the beautiful stranger who finds him. Who nurses him back to health. And who calms the restless demons in his soul…

A LEGENDARY LOVE

Lorelei will never forget the night she rescued the broken dark angel in the woods, a devilishly handsome man who haunts her dreams to this day. Crippled as a child, she devoted herself to healing the poor tortured man. And when he left, he took a piece of her heart with him. Now, after all these years, The Rook has returned. Like a phantom, he sweeps back into her life and avenges those who wronged her. But can she trust a man who’s been branded a rebel, a thief, and a killer? And can she trust herself to resist him when he takes her in his arms?

Buy Links:

Amazon
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Books-a-Million
IndieBound
Powells

 

REVIEW:

I love Kerrigan Byrne’s Victorian Rebels series. I’ve only ever complained about the title of the last book (should have just been The Scot period), but the stories have all been compelling, the writing outstanding.

My favorite had always been The Highwayman. The first book, it set the bar high. Dougan and his Fairy are ❤️❤️❤️. Now, The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo’s The Rook and his Lorelai are seriously competing for the title of the series’ best couple. There’s just something about them falling in love as teens and staying true after twenty years that tugs at my heart. It’s the ideal of the “one true love” in fairy tales that’s the basis for most romance novels and it works for both The Highwayman and The Duke With the Dragon Tattoo.

“Lorelai, there are only two indisputable facts in this world: The sun will set in the west, and I’ll come for you. Always.”

The lines in this book are so memorable, my Kindle is filled with highlights and bookmarks. Amazingly, most of them are uttered by the hero. That the hero is a pirate/murderer/kidnapper/smuggler/bad, bad, bad boy makes it even more incredibly romantic.

If I write as if the characters are real people, it’s because Kerrigan fleshed them out so expertly, they come alive in my mind. The characters, both main and secondary, are nuanced. They’re flawed, damaged, human.

I always start Kerrigan Byrne’s books at five stars and would adjust at the end for things that didn’t work for me. With TDWTDT, everything worked–the storytelling, the sexytimes, the reunion, the treasure hunt, the revelations in the end. That’s why I’m giving it the full five stars.

 

GIVEAWAY:

Duke_with_the_Dragon_Tattoo_FB_Cover_v2I’m giving away a paperback of The Duke With the Dragon Tattoo to one US reader. To enter:

  1. Like and Follow this blog Carpe Diem Chronicles by Maida Malby. Comment below. (2 points)
  2. Like and Follow my author page Maida Malby on Facebook and comment on this post there. (1 point)
  3. Follow me on Twitter @maida_malby and reply to this post there. (1 point)
  4. Follow me on BookBub. (1 point)

I will draw the winner on Monday, September 3 at 12 midnight CDT.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kerrigan ByrneWhether she’s writing about Celtic Druids, Victorian bad boys, or brash Irish FBI Agents, Kerrigan Byrne uses her borderline-obsessive passion for history, her extensive Celtic ancestry, and her love of Shakespeare in every book. She now lives at the Pacific Coast, fulfilling a lifelong dream. Her Victorian Rebels novels include The Highwayman and The Highlander.

Social Links:
Author Website: http://www.kerriganbyrne.com/
Twitter: @Kerrigan_Byrne
Facebook: @KerriganByrneAuthor
Instagram: @KerriganByrne

THAT ONE MOMENT by Patty Wiseman – Book Blog Tour/Character Interview/Giveaway

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THAT ONE MOMENT

by

PATTY WISEMAN

Genre: Fiction / Romantic Suspense
Date of Publication: May 8, 2017
Number of Pages: 258

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Synopsis

Cover hi res That One MomentRicki Sheridan traveled a long way to seek refuge at Wolf Den’s Lodge high in the mountains after a devastating betrayal. Heartbroken, she signed up for a survivalist backpacking trip to live off the land and forget.
An injury on the first day puts her in the capable hands of the handsome trail boss, Kory Littleton. The attraction is instant, mutual, and terrifying. She trusted her emotions once and vowed never to make the same mistake again. Kory’s heart, trampled and bruised, is unprepared to ever love again, until his unexpected reaction to Ricki reveals some things are worth taking a chance on. When evil finds its way back into Ricki’s world, their fragile bond is tested, forcing them to face their greatest fear: can a wounded heart ever trust anew? Betrayal. Desire. Revenge. Which one prevails?

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Praise for That One Moment:

Patty Wiseman, as well as anyone and better than most, sure knows how to write the three basic ingredients of a page-turning and unforgettable novel: mystery, suspense, and romance. — Caleb & Linda Pirtle ~ Here Comes a Mystery

“It was pure perfection!” — Jessa, Amazon Reviewer

“Author Patty Wiseman does a good job of injecting so much action into just the first two pages that I had high expectations for this story. And That One Moment does not disappoint.” — Natasha Jackson for Readers’ Favorite

 

character interview

AN INTERVIEW WITH THE VILLAIN OF THAT ONE MOMENT

By Patty Wiseman

So…they told me to interview the antagonist of this novel. That’s why I’m here. Your name is Russ Desmond, correct?

You already knew that, or you wouldn’t be here.

Sorry Mr. Desmond, just trying to find a starting point here. You were a detective in Dallas before all the crazy happened. Is that right?

That’s right. And a darn good one.

How did you end up in this situation, Russ? May I call you Russ?

You can call me Detective. As far as how I got here, well, it’s Ricki’s fault.

I don’t quite understand, Detective. You stalked her. And if memory serves, you cheated on her. She was through with you.

I don’t call what happened cheating. Men stray occasionally. It’s their nature. I loved Ricki. Nothing was gonna change that. She’s my woman.

But, Detective, Ricki didn’t feel that way. She went to great lengths to rid herself of you.

Ricki misinterpreted what she saw. If she’d just given me time to explain, it wouldn’t have ended this way.

In my notes, it says, the woman was Ricki’s best friend. That’s kind of low isn’t it, Mr. Desmond?

Look, Leila’s a good kid, but nothing I am interested in. Ricki, well, she’s intelligent, beautiful, exciting. I wanted some information from Leila. That was the easiest way to get it. She couldn’t resist.

You believe your good looks and status give you the right to take what you want? Didn’t you realize it would devastate Ricki?

I didn’t plan on getting caught. But Ricki wouldn’t give me time to explain. And then she ran off. I wasn’t about to leave it that way. Ricki is mine.

I’m sorry, Russ, but my time is up. I must say, you don’t seem very remorseful over what happened.

Why should I be? It was innocent. I’ll get her back. Just you wait and see.

 

AboutTheAuthor

Patty's head shotAward Winning Author Patty Wiseman is a native of the Seattle, Washington area and attended The Wesleyan College in Bartlesville Oklahoma. Northeast Texas is home now, along with her husband Ron. She is the president of East Texas Writer’s Association, a Lifetime Member of the Worldwide Who’s Who for Professional Women (and named VIP for 2013), and a member of the Northeast Texas Writer’s Organization, East Texas Writer’s Guild, and Texas Association of Authors.

WEBSITE   FACEBOOK   TWITTER   GOODREADS   INSTAGRAM   PINTEREST   GOOGLE+

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TWO SIGNED PRINT COPIES, TWO eBOOK COPIES
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August 14-23, 2018

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CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

8/14/18		Book Trailer		Texas Book Lover
8/14/18		Excerpt			The Clueless Gent
8/15/18		Review			Reading by Moonlight
8/16/18		Character Interview	The Page Unbound
8/16/18		Author Interview	Margie's Must Reads
8/17/18		Review			StoreyBook Reviews
8/18/18		Review			That's What She's Reading
8/18/18		Excerpt			All the Ups and Downs
8/19/18		BONUS Review		Hall Ways Blog
8/19/18		Author Interview	Books and Broomsticks
8/20/18		Review			A Page Before Bedtime
8/20/18		Review			Chapter Break Book Blog
8/21/18		Scrapbook Page		Story Schmoozing Book Reviews
8/22/18		Review			Dressed to Read
8/23/18		Character Interview	Carpe Diem Chronicles
8/23/18		Review			The Love of a Bibliophile

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TO CATCH A TEXAS STAR by Linda Broday Book Blog Tour – Review and Giveaway

texas star blog tour

TO CATCH A TEXAS STAR

Texas Heroes, Book 3

by

LINDA BRODAY

Genre: Western / Historical / Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date of Publication: July 3, 2018
Number of Pages: 352

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Synopsis

to catch a texas starOn her way to town early one morning, Marley Rose McClain finds a man unconscious and bleeding at the side of the road. She loads him in the wagon and takes him to her family ranch.
Drifter Roan Penny fights for his life, his one goal eating at him—to find the ones who murdered his best friend. As he recovers, he finds himself falling in love with Marley. She’s everything he wants and dreams of making her his wife even as he knows it’s impossible. A terrifying stranger appears and a long-kept secret shakes Marley to the core. Roan helps her through very frightening times and they pledge their love for each other. As Roan hunts down the hooded men who killed his friend and grows closer to learning the truth of the stranger’s identity, he finds both himself and Marley being stalked.Shocking events unfold, secrets come to light, and a love refuses to be denied in this cat and mouse game where danger lurks around every corner. Will Roan and Marley survive to see the future they plan?

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Review_preview

To Catch a Texas Star is the third book in the Texas Heroes series, but the first one I’ve read. It’s actually the first book by Linda Broday that I’ve ever read. I like it. I like her writing style. This book stands well on its own, but reading the two that came before it would probably enhance the enjoyment.

Texas Star is fast-paced and action-packed, featuring well-drawn characters you’d root for and the wild West as the exciting setting. At the center of everything is a sweet romance between Marley, a strong, caring young woman, and Roan, a determined, honorable drifter. Their story happens amidst grave danger and life-altering secrets.

This book captured my attention from the beginning with its dramatic first chapter. It kept getting better as the characters are introduced (Duel, Jessie, Matt, Granny Jack, etc.) and as the attraction between Marley and Roan grew. I liked that both of them have strengths and faults. I appreciate that they saved each other’s lives. Often in Westerns, the heroine is a damsel in distress, just waiting for the hero to rescue her. This one is not like that. Marley had her low moments, especially when she was scared for her family, but she had amazing highs like when she rescued herself and when she acted to make it easy for the good guys to win in the end.

This book follows in the classic Western formula of heroes being amazingly good (and seemingly indestructible) while the villains are incredibly bad. You can easily visualize this as a movie for Ms. Broday described the action and fight scenes well.

As a Texas resident, I like the feeling of being “at home” when I read a book set here. But, even those not from here will enjoy To Catch a Texas Star as it tackles universal themes of family, justice, loyalty, and deep-abiding love.

 

Praise for To Catch a Texas Star
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“Fans of the previous books will enjoy returning to the McClain clan, and new readers will appreciate the story’s layered mysteries, emotional depth, and believable scenes of attraction.” — Publisher’s Weekly

“I loved the twists and turns that this story takes. It is pretty interesting seeing this romance blossom and how much their relationship strengthens as they face danger and the truth together.”–Addicted to Romance

“Marley Rose has one of the most gentle and winsome souls; her affection and compassion for others and delightful creativity pour off the pages and you can’t help but adore her.”–Michelle (Goodreads)

AboutTheAuthor

linda brodayLinda is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of full length historical western romance novels and novellas. She’s published over twenty books and short stories and resides in the Texas Panhandle on land the American Indian and Comancheros once roamed. On a quiet day, she can often hear their voices whispering in the wind. The love of this state and its people runs bone deep and she instills that into each book she writes. She sets all her stories in Texas because of the rich history and interesting people. A mother, grandmother, and soon to be a great grandmother, Linda finds research fascinating and always looks for little known tidbits to add realism to her stories. When she’s not writing, she collects old coins and confesses to being a rock hound in addition to making herself a nuisance at museums, libraries, and historical places which inspire her.

WEBSITE  FACEBOOK  PINTEREST  TWITTER  GOODREADS  LINKEDIN  BOOKBUB

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Grand Prize: Signed Copies of Full Texas Heroes Series
Five Runners-Up: Signed Copies of To Catch a Texas Star
(US ONLY)
July 3-12, 2018

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7/3/18		Excerpt			That's What She's Reading
7/3/18		Bonus Series Spotlight	Hall Ways Blog
7/4/18		Review			Chapter Break Book Blog
7/5/18		Guest Post		StoreyBook Reviews
7/6/18		Review			Carpe Diem Chronicles
7/7/18		Character Interview	The Librarian Talks
7/8/18		Review			Reading by Moonlight
7/9/18		Playlist		Tangled in Text
7/10/18		Review			Books and Broomsticks
7/11/18		Author Interview	Dressed to Read
7/12/18		Review			Margie's Must Reads

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BREATHLESS by Celeste Bradley and Susan Donovan – Review and Giveaway

 

Breathless_ Cover.jpg

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)

 

OPENED UP by Eva Moore – Review and Giveaway

Opened Up banner

Title: Opened Up
Series: Exposed Dreams #1
Author: Eva Moore
Genre: Sexy Contemporary Romance 18+
Release Date: May 2, 2018
Cover Designer: Render Compose
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39854198-opened-up

Blurb:

Payroll
Purchase Orders
Peanut Butter Cups

Not necessarily in that order…

Sofia Valenti dreams of a life spent designing beautiful homes for the family business. But as her to-do list can attest, that dream is still far away. Stuck doing office work for Valenti Brothers Construction and stress eating her weight in chocolate, she wants more than hand-me-down responsibilities. When her father, Dom, signs up the whole family for a reality TV show, Sofia sees a chance to grab the spotlight for her dream. What she doesn’t count on is the sexy head contractor knocking down her ideas and her barriers like it’s demo day.

Adrian Villanueva has spent his life on the outside looking in. When Dom talks retirement, Adrian sees his chance to finally buy his way into the company he helped build. He’s certainly not going to let the inexperienced designer daughter with expensive taste and mouthwatering curves stand in his way. Ignoring his old crush on Sofia the girl will be easy. He’s had a decade of practice. It’s the appeal of Sofia the woman that threatens to bring him to his knees.

When hidden attraction flares into open desire, they must decide if a chance at love is worth giving up on a lifetime of dreams.

blog_review

Intense and real

There’s a lot to unpack. First, I like the fact that the characters are deeply rooted in reality, that you can easily identify a friend, a family member, even yourself in place of Sofia, Adrian, Dom, Jo, the Shahs, etcetera. Eva has infused her characters with their unique sets of talents and insecurities in a way that is relatable to the readers. She has always been able to that with her books. Her heroines are often women who are besieged by self-doubt, even as they strive to gather strength to overcome them on their own. Sofia is one such heroine with her issues about her body image and her desire to have more control over her position in the family business.

Adrian as the hero is a good foil for Sofia. He is consistently on her side even as he has his own ambitions he wanted fulfilled. He is a great son, a supportive boss, and a considerate lover. What I like is that he is not without fault. His machismo sometimes comes out to play to the frustration of Sofia as she gets that from her father already.
I like the main characters in this book. I also like the inclusion of diverse supporting characters. My heart goes out to Adrian’s mom and her fears. I’m glad that was resolved in the end. On the other hand, I am not enamored of Sofia’s parents. Maybe they will be redeemed in the upcoming books, but right now, I am not simpatico with Dom and Jo.

Lastly, the “reality show” backdrop is fantastic and all the construction discussions and terminologies are fascinating. I don’t know anything about home renovation, I don’t watch it, but Eva made it easy to keep up with the narrative.

A good read, Opened Up deserves its place in your TBR.

Teasers:

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Author Bio:

Headshot long.jpg
Winner of Cherry Adair’s Finish The Damn Book Contest 2017, Eva Moore writes sweet and sexy contemporary romance, after leaving a career in the classroom to raise her daughters. Opened Up is the first book in her new Exposed Dreams series, set in the world of home renovation reality TV. Eva now lives in Silicon Valley, after moving around the world and back, with her college sweetheart, her three gorgeous girls, and a Shih Tzu who thinks he’s a cat. She can be found most nights hiding in her closet/office, scribbling away, and loves to hear from the outside world. You can find her at www.4evamoore.com.

 

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Excerpt:

“Well, babe, I gotta say, more money always sounds good to me.”
Ugh. It’s like he does it without even thinking. She passed him the paperwork and pointed to the pertinent sections.
“I just started going through this. Give it a read-through, and tell me if you see any red flags. I’m going to refill my coffee.”
She needed a minute to calm her swirling thoughts, and sitting in a small room with a man who simultaneously generated a low-level buzz of attraction while also making her want to punch him in the stomach was not helping. His proposal had stunned her, and she’d not responded well. She pulled down another mug out of force of habit and filled it before topping hers off as well. She added one sugar and a healthy dollop of cream to his, fake sugar and cream to her own.
All done, but nowhere near ready to return, she braced her hands on the peacock granite countertop, stretched her arms long and dropped her head between them. She lengthened her spine and took a deep breath, aiming for some of the peace she’d felt when she’d dropped into a yoga class with Brandy.
Change itself was nothing to fear. So what if most of the changes in her life had been awful? That didn’t mean these changes were going to be bad, too. She could handle whatever needed handling. She’d managed before, and she could do it again. And she was absolutely full of crap. She was three seconds from panicking, and her deep-breathing exercises were getting trapped in her clenching throat.
“Hey, are you okay?” Adrian’s deep, husky voice skittered up her spine, leaving a trail of goose bumps that didn’t subside when she jumped and squealed.
Why did this man have the power to make her feel like a twelve-year-old girl? She spun to face him, only to find that he’d invaded the space she’d cleared and was reaching for her shoulder, as if to steady her. She backed away swiftly, bumping into the counter and rattling the cups. Remembering why she’d come to the kitchen in the first place, she handed him the coffee she’d made him, being careful not to scald herself with a brush of his fingertips. She could pick apart the ridiculousness of her response later.
“Yeah, I’m fine.” She retreated into a sip of her own fortifying mug.
He mirrored her sip and stepped back as well. Message finally freaking received. Good.
“You know how I take my coffee?” He grinned as if this detail somehow meant something special.
“I know everyone’s coffee order. Have you not noticed who keeps the lists for meeting coffee runs? Or who is constantly being charged with stocking the kitchen? Or did you just think a magical caffeine fairy came in at night and brought lattes to all the good little boys?” She tried once again to take him down a peg while setting him straight. She couldn’t have him thinking that she’d been watching him, paying attention to his personal preferences. Even if she had.
Once again, her sarcasm flew right over his head. He raised the contract in his hand and held it out to her.
“Listen, I tried to read through this, but it might as well be written in Latin. Can you walk me through the specifics?”
“I just got it myself. Give me a day or two to really pick it apart, and I’ll fill you in.”
“Thanks, angel. That sounds good.” He tossed the contract on the break room table, supremely confident, coffee in hand.
She’d wager he hadn’t even heard the “Sure thing” she’d managed through clenched teeth. How could she be so attracted to someone who pissed her off so royally?
Good thing he didn’t know, or he’d be insufferable.

 

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