“One cannot live by Chocolate alone, right?!” by Ella Quinn

Stitched Panorama

Bolzano / Adige Valley

Thank you Melanie for having me back on your blog!! I’m really excited to be here to talk about Desiring Lady Caro!

I always have food in my books, but this one has dishes from Italy, Austria, and France. Huntley, the hero, discovered that Caro has a weakness for chocolate, and he’s bound and determined to woo her with it. But, of course, one cannot live by chocolate alone, and since Huntley is something of a foodie, each day when they stop for the evening, he consults with the hotel’s chief, ensuring that Caro not only has chocolate, but other food as well.

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Terme di Brennero

Here are two recipes, modernized. One is for chocolate cake with ground nuts from Italy, and the other is Schlutzkrapfen (ravioli with spinach and ricotta filling). Add a salad, some good rustic bread, and red wine, and you can pretend to be in the mountains of northern Italy.

SchlutzkrapfenSchlutzkrapfen

Ingredients:

400 g (4 cups) rye flour

100 g (1 cup) spinach

100 g (1 cup) wheat flour

200 g ricotta (a scant 1 cup)

1 egg

salt, pepper

salt

nutmeg, chives

3 dspn oil (6 tsp)

2 dspn parmesan cheese (4 tsp)

lukewarm water as required

1 boiled potato

Filling:

preparation

Combine the chopped, boiled spinach with the ricotta, mashed potato, parmesan cheese, chives and herbs. Knead the flour, egg, salt, oil and lukewarm water to form a smooth dough. Leave to rest for 30 minutes. Roll the dough out thinly and cut out pieces with a round cutter before placing the spinach filling on top and closing the pieces, pressing the sides together. Then cook in boiling water and serve with butter and parmesan cheese.

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Torta CapreseTorta Caprese has been around for centuries, and, although its origins have been lost, the island of Capri claims it came from there, but by 1816 it was found all over. I like this recipe because it has the measurements in American and grams.

Yield: Serves 8

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 50 mins

Ingredients:

200g (7 Ounces) Dark Chocolate

4 Large Eggs, Separated

250g (1 1/4 Cups) Granulated Sugar

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

250g (1 1/4 Cups) Ground Almonds

200g (7 Ounces) Butter, Melted & Cooled

Topping:

Powdered Sugar or Cocoa Powder

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F. and lightly grease a 9 inch spring form pan.
In a food processor, process the chocolate until fine.
Beat the egg yolks with the sugar and vanilla extract until pale and thick.
Fold the chocolate, butter and almonds into the egg yolk mixture.
Use a clean bowl to beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks, then fold these into the chocolate almond mixture.

Pour the batter into your prepared pan, and bake for about 50 minutes or until set.
Cool 20 minutes, then remove from the tin.
Allow to cool to room temperature, then dust the top with powdered sugar or cocoa.

What do you like to eat when traveling?

GIVEAWAY: 1 eCopy/1Winner

eq dlcSTORY: Haunted by her past, Lady Caroline Martindale fled England for the solace of her godmother’s palazzo in Venice. But if Caro was hoping to escape the charms of marriage-minded men, she’s come to the wrong place. And she’ll resort to extreme measures to spurn the advances of a dangerously determined Venetian marquis…

Though most of his friends have married off, Gervais, Earl of Huntley, remains bent on eluding the parson’s mousetrap. But his convictions begin to falter when he arrives in Venice and meets his match in the alluring Lady Caro. What began as a hastily concocted lie to save her from the marquis may become a chance for them both to relinquish their fear - and embrace what they can no longer deny…

EXCERPT: here

Ella QuinnAUTHOR BIO: Ella Quinn lived all over the United States, the Pacific, Canada, England and Europe before finally discovering the Caribbean. She lives in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands with her wonderful husband, three bossy cats and a lovable great Dane.

Ella loves when friends connect with her on Facebook andTweeter.

Represented by the lovely Elizabeth Pomada, Larsen-Pomada Literary Agency and published by Kensington. Ella’s début novel is now available on Amazon / B&N.

Anne Gracie stops by b2b!

 

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Happy April 1st to you all — Happy Birthday to Melanie, and happy launch day for my book ‘The Winter Bride’. I won’t hog all the celebrations, but I’ll try to entice you with a few snippets from ‘The Winter Bride’.

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Buy Links: Amazon / B&NIndieBound  / The Book DepositoryUK

The story:  To get his parents and marriage-minded muffins off his back, charming bad-boy rake Freddy Monkton-Coombes pays marriage-shy Damaris Chance to enter into a false engagement. It’s all for show; falling in love was never in the plan . . .

The Cast:

1) The hero and heroine:

          Freddy: He wasn’t contemplating marriage, dammit! Not with anything other than horror.

Damaris: “I have an abhorrence of marriage.” There was a short, shocked silence.

2) Damaris’s ‘aunt’ on Freddy:

Lady Beatrice poked him with her elegant ebony stick. “Been out on the tiles again, young tomcat?”

Freddy gave her a cool, dignified look.

Lady Beatrice grinned. “Thought so. You have that look about you.”

3) Damaris’s employer on Freddy:

          “A tomcat in gentleman’s clothing, that’s what ’e is—a rake through and through. . . Bless you, my dove, you’re too young to recognize a Wicked Seducer when you see one, and I grant you that one is an ’andsome devil, and charmin’ as an oiled snake, I have no doubt!”

She fixed Damaris with a gimlet eye. “But it don’t do for a girl like you to catch the eye of a gentleman, take it from me. He’ll soften you up with sweet words and little gifts and . . . and poetry, and you’ll think ’e’s ever such a nice fellow, then in the twinklin’ of an eye, he’ll ’ave your skirts over your ’ead, and there you’ll be, rooned forever!”

“But Mrs. Jenkins—”

“Rooned forever!” Mrs. Jenkins repeated firmly.

4) Freddy’s mother on Damaris:

          Lady Breckenridge’s pale blue eyes glittered. “Instead, here you are, a girl I’ve never met before, some connection of Lady Beatrice’s but otherwise entirely unknown to English society. And half Italian.” As if Damaris were some mongrel puppy.

5) Freddy’s father on Damaris’s suitability:

          His father hunched over his wine, and after a moment muttered, “Almeria Armthwaite is English and a bruisin’ rider to hounds. You could have had her.”

Freddy smiled. “Anyone can, I believe, as long as they enjoy the whip.”

Anne Gracie again:

I loved writing this book. Freddy is funny and charming, a lighthearted bad-boy rake. He calls Pride and Prejudice a horror story — it’s all about girls finding husbands, you see — and he’s pursued by “muffins” — ie. marriage-minded women. But he slowly reveals himself to be “an utterly to-die-for hero” (so said Mary Jo Putney.) Damaris is serious and quiet, and the secrets of her past make her vulnerable, but underneath her cool exterior she’s really something special — watch her stand up to Freddy’s b*tch of a mother, and I think you’ll love her as much as I do.

poodleCakesHappy Birthday, Melanie and thanks for letting me share it with you.

Dear Bookworms, I’ll give a copy of ‘The Winter Bride’ to someone who leaves a comment: since today is Mel’s birthday, what do you think we should serve at her party? I’m sending these little cup-cakes.

Melanie here:

Anne, I’m so happy you’re here with us today! Thanks for stopping by and helping me celebrate my 57th Birthday. I tell you, it is true, the saying ‘Time flies when you’re having fun.’  I look back on my life and wonder at all the Blessings, and thank the good Lord for each of them.

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Now, let’s party! Here’s the place we’re all at, but we need some drinks, food and how about some of my favorite ‘book boyfriends’ coming over and lending a hand in the festivities? Too bad James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie can’t travel through stones…but maybe you could send me one of your ‘book boyfriends’? Who will it be?!

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Commenter that sends me the one I choose will get a print or eCopy of one of my all time favorite stories from Anne Gracie, and it’s ‘The Virtuous Widow’ in an anthology titled ‘Gifts of the Season’ with Miranda Jarrett and Lyn Stone.

agAUTHOR INFO: For Anne’s Bio, click on her pick. You’ll love it!

Places to find Anne Gracie:

Website / Blog / Facebook / Tweeter

 

2013 RITA finalists are here!

Congrats[1]

March 26th was a big day for romance authors. On that day some of them got a phone call that rivaled the one big movie stars get right before their big Oscar nomination.  RITA Awards are HUGE in the romance publishing industry and we as readers are always happy when our favorite authors and their books get nominated but especially when they win this prestigious award.

gb dI can’t tell you how thrilled, honored and humbled I was to get a message from one of my favorite authors giving me the news about her book being nominated AND telling me that she thinks I “… deserve to be among the first to post this…” news. ME?! ME?!

And to think I refused to buy her first book because it was all over the blogs with too many five stars to ‘be any good’. I did relent almost a year after ‘The Heir’ came out and thought, if this thing is still getting rave reviews after a year, it possibly is THAT good.

Guess what?! From that point on, Grace Burrowes gained a new fan for ever and ever. I’m thrilled for her, for ‘Darius’ and for the Historical Romance genre [that's mostly what I read], and this year that list is H.U.G.E. and reads as who’s who of Romance Landia!

Check it out!

HISTORICAL ROMANCE

Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare

The Autumn Bride by Anne Gracie

The Chieftain’s Curse by Frances Housden

The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan

Darius by Grace Burrowes

Dark Angel: A Gothic Fairy Tale by T J Bennett

Duke of Midnight by Elizabeth Hoyt

The Lady and the Laird by Nicola Cornick

Love and Other Scandals by Caroline Linden

The Luckiest Lady in London by Sherry Thomas

Never Desire a Duke by Lily Dalton

No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah MacLean

Plaid Tidings by Mia Marlowe

A Rake’s Midnight Kiss by Anna Campbell

The Rogue’s Proposal by Jennifer Haymore

Sins of a Ruthless Rogue by Anna Randol

Sonata for a Scoundrel by Anthea Lawson

The highlighted books and authors are one of my favorites and keepers all the way [oh and I read all of those too]. It looks like I need to read only four books from this list and I better get on it!

I’d like to take this opportunity on behalf of b2b and congratulate all the finalists and wish them luck at this years RWA’s national conference in San Antonio in July as the winners will be announced then. For all the nominees in all the categories, please go here, you may spot one of your favorites :)

I really, really am glad not to have to choose only ONE of these because every one is deserving of the honor to win this award [or at least the ones I've read already!], so judges, good luck! I so do not envy you this task!

Have you read any of these nominated authors and their titles? Which one and what did you think? Are you rooting for specific one? Which one?

b2b would like to celebrate this wonderful group of amazing authors by giving away a signed copy of ‘DARIUS’ by GRACE BURROWES!

Also, here’s a sneak-peak of TRENTON: Lord of Loss. [out on April 1, 2014 just in time for my Birthday!]

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BOOK BLURB: After a short, troubled marriage Trenton Lindsey, heir to the Wilton earldom, finds himself a widower with three small children. His year of mourning leaves him adrift, until his brother Darius forces him to take a repairing lease in Surrey.

Social conventions require Trent to call on his recently widowed neighbor, Elegy Hampton, Lady Rammel, and as friendship develops, consolation of an intimate sort tempts them both.

Just as Trent acknowledges the joy and pleasure to be shared with Ellie, an unseen enemy threatens him and Ellie, too. Can he reach for the love Ellie offers, when someone else is trying to take his life?

EXCERPT: here.

2011-RWA-GraceBurrowes[1]Grace in her own words: I am the sixth out of seven children and was raised in the rural surrounds of central Pennsylvania. Early in life I spent a lot of time reading romance novels and riding a chubby buckskin gelding named—unimaginatively if eponymously—Buck. I also spent a lot of time practicing the piano. My first career was as a technical writer and editor, a busy profession that nonetheless left enough time to read many, many romance novels.

It also left time to grab a law degree through an evening program, produce Beloved Offspring (only one, but she is a lion), and eventually move to the lovely Maryland countryside.

While reading yet still more romance novels (there is a trend here) I opened my own law practice, acquired a master’s degree in Conflict Management (I had a teenage daughter by then) and started thinking about writing…. romance novels. This aim was realized when Beloved Offspring struck out into the Big World a few years ago. (“Mom, why doesn’t anybody tell you being a grown-up is hard?”)

I eventually got up the courage to start pitching manuscripts to agents and editors. The query letter that resulted in “the call” started out: “I am the buffoon in the bar at the RWA retreat who could not keep her heroines straight, could not look you in the eye, and could not stop blushing—and if that doesn’t narrow down the possibilities, your job is even harder than I thought.” (The dear lady bought the book anyway.)

Please feel free to contact me. I love reader mail!

Máire Claremont’s Five Fun Facts behind …

‘The Dark Affair’

mc tda

Chris HemsworthFact 1: The very sexy Viscount Powers is real to me. Shhhhh. Don’t tell Mr. Claremont. Helk ffts snarks and raises a disdainful brow in our conversations to hide his pain. He can’t fool me! I see that that gorgeous man needs an awesome HEA.

Fact 2: My very favorite heroes are wounded with exceptionally dry senses of humor, In fact, James Mallory from Johanna Lindsay’s Gentle Rogue and  the Duke of Jerveaux from Laura Kinsale’s Flowers From the Storm are my favorite heroes after Viscount Powers, of course!

Romola GaraiFact 3: Even though I am Irish, I was nervous having an Irish heroine! I wanted to get her “right”.  She’s a handful and she insisted she was a match for James. Luckily,jl gr I listened. No one else could have survived that man let alone fallen in love with him. She needs his passion like he needs her good sense.

Fact 4: Anorexia  was prevalent in the Victorian period but not for the reason one might think. A woman who had a “healthy” appetite was a woman who likely had sexual passion and to Victorian prudish upper middle class and proper high society this was a very bad thing. Women would starve themselves to ensure those around them thought they were pure.

Fact 5: I listened to Go Ask Alice soo many times whilst writing the Mad Passions books its a miracle I didn’t fall down a rabbit hole or start talking to door knobs!

 

 

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BOOK BLURB: Lady Margaret Cassidy left a life of nobility behind in Ireland, forsaking her grieving homeland to aid war-ravaged men in England. Still, she never expected a cruel turn of fate to lock her into an unwanted betrothal with one of her English patients—much less one as broken and dangerous as Viscount Powers.

Wrecked by his tragic past, Powers’ opiate-addled sanity hangs precariously in the balance, leaving him poised to destroy anyone who dares to utter the names of the wife and child he still so deeply mourns. So when he is forced to marry Margaret in exchange for freedom, he is shocked by the desire to earn her trust, her body, and—most alarming of all—her heart….

EXCERPT: here.

Buy Links: Amazon / B&N

 GIVEAWAY: 1 e or print copy/1 Winner

Maire ClaremontAUTHOR BIO: 2011 Golden Heart winner Máire Claremont first fell in love with Mr. Rochester, not Mr. Darcy. Drawn to his dark snark, she longed to find a tortured hero of her own… until she realized the ramifications of Mr. Rochester locking his first wife up in his attic.

Discovering the errors of her ways, Máire now looks for a real-life Darcy and creates deliciously dark heroes on the page. Oh, and she wants everyone to know her name is pronounced Moira. Her parents just had to give her an Irish Gaelic name.

Social Media Links: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Blog

 

 

Happy New 2014!

hny 2014

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!

Here come the Lonely Lords…

D GBDarius

Lord of Pleasures/Book 1 of Lonely Lords Series

Though there are lines he will not cross, Darius Lindsey has become the favored plaything of bored, titled society ladies. He contracts one final engagement with the pretty, sweet, Lady Vivian Longstreet, hoping that meeting his obligations to Vivian will free him from the financial constraints making his life hell. Darius finds instead that the bargain he thought would cost him the last of his self-respect instead resurrects both his honor and his heart.

MINI REVIEW: This story was a gamble for sure. The hero is not what is expected in the romance-land, and you’ll either love him or hate him, but one thing’s for sure, you won’t find this lonely, cynical, self-deprecating and remote man boring.

There’s a lot to enjoy in this first book of the series, and least of it is the sexual escapades of the hero. I think I said this before, and it bears repeating if you haven’t heard it from me, that I really like the writing ‘voice’ of this author. She has a penchant of creating characters that ‘feel’ like real, flesh and blood people facing some real hard choices in their lives.

Ms. Burrowes’ books have a steady pace, although to some it might appear slow, yet to me it is just perfect as it gives me time to acquaint myself with the characters, their surroundings.

Another thing in this story I liked was the dialogue, which was exactly as it should have been between two strangers: awkward, slow and probing at times as these two started to get to know each other and grow to like one another after they’ve already had sex together.

I found both characters and their story compelling and highly recommended to anyone that’s ready for a grown-up, sensual and at times heart breaking tale.

Read an excerpt »

April 2013

N GBNicholas

Lord of Secrets/Book 2 of Lonely Lords Series

Heir to the Bellefonte earldom, Nick Haddonfield has made a promise to his dying father that he’ll marry before the Season’s over. When Nick meets Lady Leah Lindsey, he realizes he’s found not only a damsel lady in need of rescuing, but also a perfect countess of convenience. Then he spoils everything by falling in love with his wife…the one woman he can never, ever have.

MINI REVIEW: I liked this second book in Lonely Lords series, and Nicholas’ story tugged at my heartstrings as well.

Ms. Burrowes does it again by creating another couple that is compelling, nurturing and loving.

As they slowly question if the union between them might work, we get a glimpse of their lives and are convinced that it would be the best thing that happened to them.

This author can sure write hurt, broken and disillusioned characters that are faced with insurmountable obstacles.

Recommend it to all Grace Burrowes fans, but if you’ve never read this author before, I think you might want to start of with THE HEIR before you get to the these lonely men.

May 2013

Read an excerpt »

E GBEthan 

Lord of Scandals/Book 3 of Lonely Lords Series

At the age of fourteen, Ethan Grey was banished by his titled father into a hell his legitimate siblings never learned of. Now that the old earl is dead, and Ethan is a widower with two children to raise, he finds himself attracted to Alice Portman, the boys scholarly, reserved governess. Alice also has a shadowed past, and she and Ethan must face the demon haunting them both if they’re to win their chance for a happily ever after.

MINI REVIEW: With Ethan, Grace Burrowes continues her Lonely Lords series and I must say, if you’re not into complex and complicated, emotionally, sexually and physically abused characters, this one will not be for you. However, I love reading about those kinds of characters as they strive to overcome the hardships they were put through. I think I’d rather read dysfunctional family then belong to one, although come to think on it, I think most of us do.

Again, Ms. Burrowes does something in this book that not many authors feel comfortable writing about and readers reading about and that’s the male friendships. For the life of me I can’t believe that it doesn’t occur to many of you out there that male friendships in Regency and Victorian times are actually more accepted and cultivated.

This one is so far my favorite Lonely Lords book.

I do recommend this book to all her fans, but if you’re not familiar with this author, please get acquainted with her through some of her novellas, before you tackle this one.

June 2013

Read an excerpt »

B GBBeckman

Lord of Sins/Book 4 of Lonely Lords Series

Beckman Haddonfield has always solved his problems by moving on. When he’s given the job of restoring a family estate, he finds in Sara Hunt the one woman who makes him want to put down roots—if he can convince her not to abandon him when she seeks to run from her past.

MINI REVIEW: We are now well vested in these lonely men and here comes Beckman who’s a fourth hero of Grace Burrowes’ Lonely Lords series.

Beckman is another widower with personal issues and secrets. As in previous books from this series, both characters are plenty flawed and are dealing with a lot of emotional baggage that needs to be resolved before they can let go and love each other fully.

I should mention another thing I appreciate from this author and that’s her writing of family relationships, be it brothers and sisters, Aunts, cousins, fathers and sons, or even children in her books. She literally breathes life into them all that ‘feel’s real and potent. It’s like they’re right there in my room. When I read Grace Burrowes books, I ‘hear’ a totally different ‘voice’ in my head than any other voice before.

Please pay close attention to two secondary characters in this book, Gabriel and Polly, who are a sister and a steward of the heroine, Sara and will have a book of their own.

Again, highly recommending it, but if you’re new to her, here are some books you may want to start off before you read the Lonely Lords.

The Heir (The Duke’s Obsession)The Soldier (The Duke’s Obsession)The Virtuoso (The Duke’s Obsession)Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal.

July 2013

Read an excerpt »

G GBGabriel

Lord of Regrets/Book 5 of Lonely Lords Series

After years in hiding, when Gabriel Wendover leaves behind the woman he loves to resume his place as Marquis of Hesketh, he finds the lady herself already ensconced his household, and the mysterious danger still stalking him. Gabriel loves Polonaise Hunt (Polly) and is both upset and thrilled to find that she’s been hired by his brother to paint the family portraits. He must keep himself, his brother and Polly safe, but there’s nothing he can do to safeguard his own heart…

MINI REVIEW: We met the fifth lonely man of Grace Burrowes’ series Lonely Lords in Beckman’s story and he was an enigma to our heroine Polly.

This book is no surprise to me as I continue to thoroughly enjoy this author  and her writing style and voice.

If you’re looking for one of those saccharin tales, these books are not for you. Grace Burrowes writes characters that are unconventional, complex and maybe just too close for comfort to many of us as we in one way or another can relate to them and their problems.

She also can write sensual scenes to make you want to take a cold shower!

As series go, this one is very well written, researched and plotted. The pace of it might be a tad slow for some, but to those of us that appreciate character development, is just right.

Now I’m eagerly awaiting the other four lonely men and pondering who will make them happy.

Read an excerpt

September 2013

And these are only five to start us off… another four are to follow, leading with Gareth, Lord of Rakes, in November, Andrew in December, Douglas in January and David in April, just to wish me a Happy Birthday!

To all of them I say, let the Lonely Lords descent! I’ll be here to make sure they’re not lonely for long!

Melanie for b2b

*Books provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Kellie & Derek-poetry in motion!

Season 16 WinnersSeason 16 of Dancing With the Stars promised to be a bore with some of the celebrities that were slated to appear on it [I'm not going to even name them, sorry], but my all time favorite pro, ‘little’ man Derek Hough, was still on it, and I only tuned in to watch him and his new partner, Kellie Pickler.

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From week one, she took off like a rocket! I loved watching them and they made this season worth watching. They kicked off Week 1 with a cha-cha; Week 2 was a jazz routine; Week 3 was a prom-themed night; Week 4 Rumba; Week 5 foxtrot; Week 6 Stevie Wonder-themed quickstep; Week 7 Latin night samba; Week 8 trio paso doble with Tristan MacManus was amazing and one of the most controversial dances of the season (I could have fallen off my couch when Len had a major meltdown over its content and rated it a 7!);  Week 9 had them do Argentine tango and it was to die for; Week 9 arrived and semi-finals had them do flamenco; and  finally the Finals came and nothing, NOTHING prepared me for their free-style. Their Week 10 free-style overshadowed everything the other finalists have done. While they went all out with the ‘production’ of the free-style, Derek choreographed an amazing dance. It made you jump out and take notice. There was not a dry eye in the house.

Free Style DK

I think they deserved the trophy and then some! Both did the best to entertain their audience from day one and I sure appreciate their efforts. Just an aside, did you know why she cut her beautiful long locks?  Her pixie haircut had people talking and a lot of chicks will now want her hair cut! Apparently, she shaved her head to support cancer awareness and support a friend who was battling the disease. Such a sweetheart!

Fan or no of DWTS, please take a minute to watch their free-style. Everything worked in it, from the music [just listen to the words!] to the choreography, to the raw emotions of the dancers! WOW!

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Are you a fan of the show? Have you watched it this season? Who was your favorite couple on it?

‘Love’s Promise’ Scavenger Hunt Blog Tour!

LP CHBOOK BLURB: New York Times bestselling author, CHERYL HOLT, will sweep readers away with the first novel in her new and breathtaking ‘Lord Trent’ trilogy…

With the death of his older brother, Michael Wainwright, Viscount Henley, has become heir to his father, Duke of Clarendon.  The Wainwright men are renowned cads, and as his brother’s will is read, it’s discovered that he sired an illegitimate son and has left the eight-year-old boy his entire fortune.  Michael decides to bring the boy to London so he can be showered with all the wealth and status guaranteed by his inheritance.  But first, he has to gain custody from the boy’s aunt, who is determined to keep her nephew away from Michael’s dissolute family.

Frances “Fanny” Carrington has always lived in a small village in the country.  As a newborn, she was left in a basket on the church steps and raised by the vicar and his wife.  But they’ve died, and Fanny is in dire straits, struggling to raise her nephew, to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads.  When she begins to receive correspondence from Michael, asking for custody, she can’t help but be suspicious.  For years, the Wainwrights have refused to claim her nephew or provide financial assistance to him.  She’s alarmed by their sudden interest.  What can it mean?

As Michael finally meets Fanny, their attraction is swift, blatant, and dangerous.  He can’t fight the need to have her at any cost, and gradually, he lures her into his decadent life of affluence and privilege.  But she’s never possessed the callous nature required to thrive in the cut-throat world of the aristocracy, so she can never understand the peril she faces from those who would do anything to keep them apart…

“…a master writer…”

Fallen Angel reviews

“Best storyteller of the year…”

Romantic Times Magazine

BUY LINKS: AMAZON / BARNES & NOBLES

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EXCERPT 7: 

Fanny spun around, smiling.

Thomas was an amazingly sweet and winsome child, and it was impossible to understand how he’d sprung from such an unpleasant mother.  Luckily, he was nothing like her.

While Camilla was blond and blue-eyed, her face wasn’t flattering.  Her eyes were too narrow, her nose too large, her chin too square.  Previously, she’d been plump with good health, but her figure had gone to flab, and her forehead was creased with frown lines that were evidence of her dour temperament.

In contrast, with his rosy cheeks and pert nose, Thomas’s features were so appealing that he resembled a cherub painted on a church ceiling.  His hair wasn’t blond, though, as an angel’s might be, but a dark brown that was almost black, and his eyes were very blue, traits that Camilla claimed made him the spitting image of his aristocratic father, John Wainwright.

“No, darling,” Fanny said, “you can’t come.  You have to finish your school work.”

“But I’ve been at it for an hour already.”

“Yes, and you need to do another two hours before you’re through.  Don’t you want to grow up big and smart like your father and grandfather?”

“No.  I want to be a dangerous pirate like Captain Westmoreland.”

Westmoreland was currently the scourge of the Seven Seas, and boys all over England were enthralled by tales of his violence, daring and bravery.

“The Captain attended school, too,” she maintained, having no idea if the vicious criminal had or not.

“He did?”

“Yes.  He can read and write better than anyone.”

Thomas digested this lie, then swallowed it.

“All right,” he ultimately grumbled, “but once you’re back, may we walk by the river?”

“Yes, we may.”  She nodded to the cottage.  “You go on now.  Keep your mother company until I return.”

At the suggestion, he scowled, his distaste obvious, but he didn’t remark.  He whipped away and went inside.

He was so obedient and clever, and he was astute enough to realize that his mother detested him.  They both knew it; they occasionally skirted the edge of the issue, but there was no way Fanny could justify Camilla’s behavior.

At age sixteen, Camilla had accompanied their neighbors to London for the social season, but she had been poorly chaperoned.  She’d thrived on the parties and gaiety, on the wickedness and immoral conduct.  She’d fallen in with a bad crowd, had come home pregnant and in disgrace.

The scandal had ruined their family.  Their father had been forced to surrender his position as parish vicar, which had cost them their income and house and status.  If that weren’t punishment enough, Camilla had refused to exhibit any remorse, which had shocked rural sensibilities, so they’d been shunned.

Even after the shame had killed their parents, Camilla still wasn’t sorry for the catastrophe she’d wrought.  She’d loved John Wainwright and had relished her indecent life as his paramour.  All these years later, she could talk of nothing but London, and if she’d had any notion of how to manage it, she’d move to the city and resume her decadent habits.

Thomas represented all that Camilla had lost.  Not her parents.  Not her home.  Not her reputation.  She wasn’t concerned about any of those things.  No, she mourned the loss of the whirlwind that was London, and Thomas was living proof of how she’d failed to retain what she craved.

Fanny sighed, wishing she had the temerity to leave Camilla to stew in her own juice, but she never would.

They had been reared as sisters, but they weren’t blood relations.  Fanny’s own birth mother had been a young girl, much like Camilla, who’d been seduced by a great lord.  As a tiny baby, Fanny had been left in a basket on the church steps, with a note requesting that she be placed with a good family.

The vicar and his wife had kept Fanny and raised her as their own daughter, so when her mother had begged Fanny—on her deathbed, no less—to watch over Camilla, it was a charge Fanny wouldn’t shirk.

She hurried on, wondering if there would be another letter in the morning post from pompous, horrid Michael Wainwright, which was the real reason she was walking to the village.  His threats were aggravating in the extreme, and she often entertained herself by conjuring visions of the ugly, vile ogre he must be.

His last missive had imperiously informed her that they had begun legal proceedings to take Thomas, and Fanny was determined that they would never have him, although she hadn’t breathed a word of the situation to Camilla.  She didn’t trust Camilla’s decisions regarding Thomas, and she was quite sure if the Wainwrights demanded custody, Camilla would be so flattered that she’d hand him over without batting an eye.

“Over my dead body,” Fanny muttered to herself, trudging on, murmuring oaths and prayers that she hoped would keep the Wainwrights at bay.

She approached the village, and her chores were swiftly completed.  There was no new letter, and the vicar’s wife was out and had left her no money, so she wasn’t able to buy any food.  Irked and disheartened, she started home, taking a shortcut through the woods.

At the stile in the fence, she climbed over and slid down the opposite side to follow the narrow trail that led back to the road.  It was criss-crossed with blackberry brambles, and after a half-dozen strides, her skirt snagged on the thorns, snaring her as tightly as a rabbit in a trap.

GIVEAWAY

Cheryl Holt is giving away ten (10) print copies of the first release in her historical romance Trent Trilogy, LOVE’S PROMISE.

 The giveaway is open to US, Can, and INTNL Readers

Cheryl HoltAUTHOR BIO: Cheryl Holt is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thirty-one novels.

She’s also a lawyer and mom, and at age 40, with two babies at home, she started a new career as a commercial fiction writer. She’d hoped to be a suspense novelist, but couldn’t sell any of her manuscripts, so she ended up taking a detour into romance, where she was stunned to discover that she has an incredible knack for writing some of the world’s greatest love stories.

Her books have been released to wide acclaim, and she has won or been nominated for many national awards. She is particularly proud to have been named “Best Storyteller of the Year,” by the trade magazine, Romantic Times BOOK Reviews.

Her hot, sexy, dramatic stories of passion and illicit love have captivated fans around the world, and she’s celebrated as the Queen of Erotic Romance, which is currently the fastest selling subgenre of women’s fiction. Due to the ferociousness of some of her characters, she’s also known as the International Queen of Villains.

She received degrees in music, languages, and education, from South Dakota State University, and her juris doctorate was obtained at the University of Wyoming. Her colorful and chaotic employment history includes such variety as public school teacher, cook, bartender, lobbyist, and political activist. She also did brief stints in metro-Denver as a deputy district attorney and administrative law judge.

Cheryl lives and writes in Hollywood, California.

Connect: Website / TwitterFacebook /

Blog Tour Schedule

5/13:   Rambling from this Chic: excerpt 1 only/giveaway

5/14:    Harlie’s Book Reviews: review and excerpt 2/giveaway

5/15:    Romancing Rakes for the Love of Romance: review and excerpt 3/giveaway

5/16:    Confession of a Romaholics: review and excerpt 4/giveaway

5/17     Romancing the Book Reviews: review and excerpt 5/giveaway

5/20:    Susana’s Parlour: review and excerpt 6/giveaway

5/21:    bookworm2bookworm: review and excerpt 7/giveaway

5/22:    Rockn’ the Muses: excerpt 8/giveaway

5/23:    Saucy & Sinful Reviews: excerpt 9/giveaway

5/24:  Romantic Crush Junkies Reviews eZine Blog: review and excerpt 10/giveaway

Riding with the Harley Dogs: One Author’s Adventure by Angie Fox

DS AFI’d always known writing would be an adventure, but I never predicted my writing would put me on the back of a coal black Harley Davidson, with an Irish Setter in tow. I’d set out to write a paranormal about a straight-laced preschool teacher turned demon slayer who has to run off with a gang of geriatric biker witches. But my heroine has a smart-mouthed dog that, thanks to her new powers, can talk…and talk…and talk. And I really loved that dog. What’s a writer toATOTDS AF do? Well, I went online and learned that there is a nationwide club of Harley bikers who ride with their dogs. So my heroine could have her pink Harley, and her Jack Russell Terrier too.

And of course I had to meet these Harley riding dog lovers. I called up a few of the members of a Biker Dogs Motorcycle Club and the adventure began. They invited me into their homes, introduced me to their dogs and, like my heroine, the bikers hoisted me up on the back of a Harley, with a dog in tow.

Things I learned right off the bat:

  • After an hour on a Harley, you’ll walk like John Wayne for a week
  • Helmets hurt when they are worn backwards
  • Dogs love riding motorcycles

Harley boyStone, the biker who spent the most time making sure I didn’t fall off his hog, showed me how to ride, invited me to some biker rallies (note to self: don’t wear pink next time), and helped make The Accidental Demon Slayer as real as it can be (for a book about a somewhat sheltered preschool biker dogteacher turned demon slayer).

So just when I thought I was writing fiction, it seemed my made-up characters from The Accidental Demon Slayer weren’t so imaginary after all. One of the bikers I met even has a wife who is a biker witch. I’m wondering if she, like my heroine’s biker witch grandma, wears a “kiss my asphalt” t-shirt and carries a carpet bag full of Smuckers jars filled with magic. Maybe I’ll find out on my next adventure.

*And if you want to read The Accidental Demon Slayer, it’s available free for e-readers.

AmazonNookKobo

Angie FoxAUTHORS BIO: Angie Fox is the New York Times bestselling author of several books about vampires, werewolves and things that go bump in the night.

She claims that researching her stories can be just as much fun as writing them. In the name of fact-finding, Angie has ridden with Harley biker gangs, explored the tunnels underneath Hoover Dam and found an interesting recipe for Mamma Coalpot’s Southern Skunk Surprise (she’s still trying to get her courage up to try it).

Angie earned a Journalism degree from the University of Missouri. She worked in television news and then in advertising before beginning her career as an author. Angie enjoys making up fun quizzes and thinks you should take one right now.

What’s Your Biker Witch Name?

Downton Abbey Bummer…

cast of DA

…before I even begin with this post, be warned, there will be spoilers so if you haven’t watched the show at all or haven’t seen the ending of the third season, you may want to skip my post altogether…BUT, if you’ve seen all three seasons of it, I would love it if you’d put your two cents in and possibly walk me off the ledge?

I am an avid PBS supporter and my guilty pleasure has always been Masterpiece Theater, even way back when Alistair Cook was the host. I loved watching The Six Wives of Henry VIIIElizabeth RPoldarkI, ClaudiusUpstairs, Downstairs and The Forsyte Saga. For someone who loves history, PBS was a gold mine and I spent hours watching, absorbing and enjoying those shows and many, many more.

Downton Abbey Family

Couple of years ago they started broadcasting a new series called Downton Abbey and I was hooked! What’s not to like?! There’s aristocracy, domestic help, love, intrigue, passion, humor…and tragedy.

Here is a great video from PBS that tells the two first seasons of Downton Abbey in five minutes. If you’ve never seen it, I think this will hook you good…oh, and no spoilers…yet…

*Do NOT continue unless you like the spoilers*

This past Sunday we’ve come to the end of the third season and after three days, I’m still grieving…

I’ve yet to get over the shock of Sybil’s passing, for crying out loud [literally, crying out LOUD!]. Every time I see little Syb and Tom, I get all choked up. I honestly didn’t see that one coming! Watching her parents cope with her sudden death was heart wrenching. Both were left blaming Robert, until the good doctor stepped in with an honest assessment of the situation. And that wouldn’t have happened without the Old Bird’s [the Dowager] interference.

Speaking of, I always loved Maggie Smith [and not only because she’s the mother of one of the best actors to walk the Earth, Toby Stephens] because she not just acts…she embodies the characters she plays to such a degree that you don’t see an actress in a role, but a character that is real, flesh and blood and bone. Someone that reaches out to you and makes you a part of whatever she becomes. Every scene she’s in, it becomes a living, breathing entity that pulls you deeper and deeper into the spell…

The scene in which she grieves her youngest granddaughters death is heart breaking because she’s trying so hard to stay strong for her son and her daughter in law. Priceless, I tell you!

Anyways, I digress. On top of dealing with one loss, now I had to gird my loins for another. That of a beloved main character and a hero…Damn but it hurt to see him like this!

Matthew dies in a car crash

Yes, I knew it was coming because I read even before the season began what its creator Julian Fellowes said about the actor’s abrupt exit, it’s just that I didn’t know how the end would be brought about…and then my last glimpse of  him was just shocking… I just broke down and cried…

Matthew dies

Just when all was going well for this couple… just when they reached that point in their lives when their dream comes true, he gets killed in a car crash! THE END! My last glimpse of him was very disturbing. It will take me a while to get over it and accept his death [I’ve already come to terms of Dan Stevens’ departure and truly wish him the best], but not seeing his smile… his deep, blue eyes… [sigh]…

Dan S Blue eyes

The theme song “Did I Make the Most of Loving You?” is so right after the ending of this season… so haunting…tells the love story of Mary and Mathew…just listen to the words…

The fourth season will open six months after the tragedy and I wonder how Lady Mary is going to deal with his death…I keep picturing her keeping it all in, postponing her grief for the sake of their little boy, which is yet to be named. Or, maybe she has a complete personality change and is trying to embrace everything life has to offer by partying too hard? Or will she take over the Downton project that Mathew never had a chance to finish and see his vision through for their son’s sake?

Oh, and the next suitor for her affections better be someone I approve of!