‘The Lost Love of a Soldier’ by Jane Lark

jl tlloasSTORY: The stunning prequel to Kindle bestseller The Illicit Love of a Courtesan!
Life is for grasping and living…

Naïve and innocent, Lady Ellen Pembroke falls for a dashing young army officer. Captain Paul Harding has such an easy, enchanting smile and his blue eyes glow; vibrancy and warmth emanating from him. She is in love.

In turn, the Captain finds his attention captured by the beautiful young daughter of the Duke of Pembroke at a house party in the summer. Finding Ellen is like finding treasure on the battle field. His sanity clings to her – something beautiful to remind him that not all in the world is ugly.

Ellen is someone to fight for and someone to survive for when he is inevitably called to arms in the battle of Waterloo…

REVIEW: Let me preface this review with letting you all know how much I love reading this author’s work. I was left an emotional wreck each time I finished one of her books, and this one more so than the others and that is because this one is a prequel to Ellen’s romance with Edward in ‘The Illicit Love of a Courtesan’.

My advice, to all that have not read this author, is to read this story before you go on to ‘TILOAC’. Take my word for it. It will help you understand the heroine Ellen much better.

Having read ‘TILOAC’ first, I knew the outcome of this story and to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read it. I’m one of those that do not read the ending before I start the book. I can deal with the spoilers, but I can’t deal with someone letting me know what the ending is. It just ruins the story, don’t you think? Well, at least that’s what I think …thought, I should say. Because, in the end, my knowledge of this authors wonderful storytelling won me over and I went for it.

By the time the story was done, I felt sorrow, anger and a relief. That last one was only because I knew that Ellen’s story does not end with this book.

Ms. Jane Lark did an outstanding job at writing a heartbreaking ‘first love’ story of two young and disillusioned people. Both characters were well developed and the emotional turmoil and internal struggle they went through as they slowly came to terms with the choices they made in order to be together. The steady pace of the story helps a reader connect with and understand these two as they embark on the journey of discovery of each other and their environment. Especially the historical part and the era this takes place in. If you loved ‘War and Peace’ than you’ll appreciate the reality Ms. Lark gives to this story and its locations from Brussels at Lady Richmond’s ball, the Battle of Quatre-Bras and on to Waterloo. We are in awe as much as our teenaged bride is, of the life a soldier and his wife are forced to endure, from slow and muddy marches to making silent love in the cot among sleeping soldiers.

Even though I thought the story well written and plotted, I couldn’t help but wonder if I would have been better off not knowing Paul at all. I found myself questioning his choices and accusing him of selfishness while at the same time making allowances for them because of his age. He was so very young and all he wanted to do is love and be loved.

In the end I have concluded that if I’ve read this story before book one, my appreciation and understanding of what Ellen went through would have been ten times of what it really was.

Do I recommend it? Hell yes. The prose alone is worth the read, not to mention the historical detail included. Be warned though. The emotional rollercoaster of this story is ever present and doesn’t let go until the very end, or the next book, I should say.
If you’d like to read of Ellen’s son John Harding, the Duke of Pembroke, his story is in ‘The Scandalous Love of a Duke’.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author

TONITE is THE NITE!

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As an avid reader and self proclaimed bookworm, I have had the pleasure to read ‘Outlander’ by Diana Gabaldon as soon as the book came out in 1991 [I'm a proud owner of a First Edition/First Print], and consequently each book that followed.

photo trak @#I know that many, including the author, are offended by categorizing this piece of literature as a romance novel, and while personally I believe that this falls under multiple genres, if this book was placed in the Fantasy or Historical Fiction isle in 1991, I would have not stumbled into it. I, therefore, was lucky to find it in my favorite aisle of a book store: Romance Novel aisle.

To say that I’m a fan of the books is to put it mildly. My love for the world and characters that Diana Gabaldon created goes way deeper than that. I consider myself a passionate [do not EVER refer to me as a 'RABID fan'! I'm NOT a dog, and I do not bite!] lover of all things Outlander and try to follow and connect with like-minded people when I can. They give me an outlet to freely share my enthusiasm for the books, author and the characters that have become real to me.

Most of us can associate a certain world event with where we were when it Sam Heughanhappened, such as the first walk on the moon [I received my first real kiss that night, gazing at that moon], the assassination of JFK or the WTC attack on our country, and on July 13, 2013 as the casting of Sam Heughan as James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser was announced, I can remember exactly where I was and what my thoughts were. I sat at my desk and Diana’s FB feed came through with a picture of a guy pointing at his head. On a closer look, I realized that this young man was to play a role which fans of the books have prayed for over twenty years. The first thought entering my mind was, how cute! He is, and the second was how perfect for the part he was. And when they finally got around to casting Claire Randell, a starring role went to Caitriona Balfe, and no matter that I knew nothing of this woman, I knew she had the perfect look for that character. The reason for me believing so much in this series rests on only one man.

ustv-ronald-d-mooreMy fears and doubts about how good the adaptation of a much loved books would be, were gone as soon as I found out who the show runner is. All my tummy butterflies were gone the name Ron D. Moore was uttered. I knew without a doubt that he would take every care with casting the right people, finding the perfect locations, make sure that the piece was as authentic as he could possible make it and that’s when I relaxed and decided to just enjoy the ride he was offering. It helped to caitriona balfeknow that he was the man that brought to my husband and me a show that we could both love and watch together [Battlestar Galactica]. You may think that happens often, but it actually does not. My hubby loves Bad Santa and I hate it. I love Notebook and he hates that movie. Titanic is loved by us both, though, so there is still hope for both of us yet!

Tonight at 11 PM Central time, my year-long wait to see what I thought would never be, is over and the first episode of OUTLANDER series based on the book by the same name by Diana Gabaldon, titled appropriately ‘Sassenach’, will be broadcast for FREE on STARZ website, On Demand and on STARZ YouTube channel.

My emotions are all over the road today and none have to do with fear of ‘if the show can live up to my expectations’ because I have not set any for it. I adore the books and I have no doubt in my mind that the show will stand on its own feet and only enhance the books I love so much. No. My heart is so full of love toward the people associated with this project that physically I feel a bit ill with excitement, anticipation and gratitude. After all, I’ve followed, lurked and vociferously cheered every site, group, and contact of the show.

I keep telling my friends that are filled with fear that the series will not live up to the books they are in love with; that Jamie that they have in their head will not be what they envisioned; that the whole thing will be cheesy and cheapened by ‘all the gratuitous sex’ scenes, to relax, take a deep breath and let go of the books. Lock them in your heart for only 16 weeks and give this show a chance. If you don’t like it, guess what? It’s okay. For every one person that doesn’t like it, there will be HUNDREDS that do.

A fan of the books or not, I think you should give this show a try. It is for FREE so you really have nothing to lose, and so much to gain. Like I said, I’ve glimpsed a few scenes here and there, and for my bookworms that appreciate a good, solid story filled with three-dimensional characters and plenty of adventure set in historical Scotland [think men in kilts, LOTS OF MEN!], I highly recommend you tune in and give it a go! I will and I’ll make sure to let you know if my trust in Mr. Moore has paid off.

GIVEAWAY!

Outlander-TV-cover

‘Outlander’ by Diana Gabaldon [tie in copy]

1 Winner/US ONLY!

Happy New 2014!

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Here we are. The end of 2013 is nipping at our heels and I’m astounded that it went by so quickly.

I have to acknowledge my two cohorts that joined me this year, Connie & Leah, without whose help and support this blog would have been lost to me. I truly hope they stick around with me for a long time to come.

I also would like to acknowledge Evelyn Archer and Kristal Faith who were tremendous help to me in shaping the blog into what it is today. I miss them both very much along with their creative input, but life took us into different direction and I wish them much success in whatever endeavor they undertake.

This year I felt many times like that ‘engine that could’ and at the end of the year, it looks like it not just could, but it did.

There are many components that go into a blog, and one of them are many authors that despite their busy schedule, family problems and business issues, they stopped by to share with me and you, their life and work. I can only say that I’m humbled with every single author that graced us this year with their visit. Love you all…

And now I come to you, my subscribers and followers.

I could blog, post and have a million authors stop by, but without YOU coming over and joining in the conversation, there would be no b2b, and that is humbling and amazing. Makes my heart sing. Thank you.

Connie, Leah & I wish to lift a glass in your honor and wish you the best a year that is knocking at the door, can bring.

May it be healthy, prosperous and filled with love and joy…and many, many books? After all, what is a bookworm without a book to warm its heart?!

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HUGS!

‘A Notorious Countess Confesses’ by Julie Anne Long

STORY: She rose to spectacular heights . . .

From Covent Garden to courtesan to countess, beautiful, fearless, shamelessly ambitious Evie Duggan has riveted London in every role she plays. But the ton never could forgive her scandalous—if shockingly short—marriage, and when her star plummets amid gleefully vicious gossip, the countess escapes to the only legacy left to her: a manor house in Pennyroyal Green.

He never expected to fall so hard . . .

He has the face of a fallen angel and a smolder the devil would envy, but Vicar Adam Sylvaine walks a precarious line: resisting temptation . . . and the wild Eversea blood in his veins. Adam’s strength is tested when scandal, aka the countess, moves to Sussex. But when a woman who fiercely guards her heart and a man entrusted with the souls of an entire town surrender to a forbidden desire, will the sweetest sin lead them to heaven . . . or make outcasts of them forever?

REVIEW: Here comes book seven in Julie Ann Long’s Pennyroyal Greene series and while in this one we’re not following any of the Eversea’s or Redmond’s, even though our hero the Vicar is a cousin to Ian and Colin Eversea, it is still entertaining and character driven as the previous seven.

The story opens with Evie Duggan, or lately better known to the ton as  The Black Widow, as they all ran her out of London believing her capable of ‘doing her husband’ in.

As she escapes to the only place left to her, she meets a town full of women that are righteous, pious and many in awe and very protective of their young Vicar. Laying her eyes on him, she’s not surprised at their actions toward him and to have their friendship, she knows only one man can help her in that attempt, Adam Sylvaine.

Adam Sylvaine is young in age, but when it comes to his soul, the man has seen as much pain as happiness. He’s honest, loving and very protective of his parishioners. His love for them goes beyond his acceptance of their prejudices. It goes to the root of who he is.

Revisiting all the residents of Pennyroyal Greene was like coming to your home town! I loved finding myself among them once again, and as usual, Ms. Long has given me yet another clue to Lyon and Olivia’s story that I wonder if there ever will be a happily ever after for those two together.

Once I found out that this love story would involve a vicar and a courtesan, there was no way in Hell I was going to miss it! She created a Beta hero we can all fall in love with: honorable, caring and kind, and then paired him with a heroine that was flirtatious, smart and loyal; both were loving, courageous and very strong in their own right.

If anyone could pull this off, it was going to be JAL. I can tell you without a doubt, she has done an outstanding job with her writing, pace, plot and dialogue. She’s one of those rare authors that give their secondary characters time and space to grow on us to a point where we become protective of them as much as we do of our hero and heroine.

‘A Notorious Countess Confesses’ is one of those stories that will grab you from the moment our heroine falls asleep in the middle of our Vicar’s Sunday sermon, to the very end when all is revealed.

Julie Anne Long is not just a good story-teller; she’s a poet with her prose. With it, she leaves me light-headed and I promise it’ll do the same to you!

ARC provided by Edelweiss.