Closing out 2013 with …

My 2013 Debut Authors are:

As the year ends I look back at the books I’ve read, some new ‘to me’  and some début authors I’ve enjoyed and today I’m giving you heads up on these because I think they’re the ones to watch out for in the years to come.

Please note that they come in no particular order. All are equally good and worthy of my esteem.

TP KWKate Worth and ‘The Promise’

BOOK BLURB: When pastry chef Jane Gray tries to sell her daughter’s locket, she becomes the unlikely subject of a massive police hunt and fodder for London’s tabloid press. Secrets unravel, lies are exposed, and the Duke of Rutledge demands custody of his niece.

Charming and handsome, the duke’s brother Finn spends his leisure time between the sheets of London’s most beautiful, wanton women. The seasoned rake is perplexed by his attraction to demure, virtuous Jane… definitely not his usual type. It soon becomes evident there is more to Jane than meets the eye and Finn longs to possess the passionate woman hidden beneath her modest facade.

When the publicity draws the attention of a madman from Jane’s past and Finn is forced to enter London’s dangerous underworld in a heart-stopping race to save her.

REVIEW: here.

AMAR EPEvelyn Pryce and ‘A Man Above Reproach’

BOOK BLURB: In 1830s London, scandalized whispers surround the pub known as The Sleeping Dove. A hidden bordello, the rumors say, catering to straying nobles eager to shed the trappings of their stations.

Josephine Grant knows the rumors are true–she plays piano at the Dove, known only as “The Bawdy Bluestocking” to the pub’s faithful. Tales swirl as to her real origin: some patrons claim that she was an orphan prodigy, others go so far as to name her concubine to the King.

The society ladies call the reluctant Duke of Lennox “The Uncatchable,” not that he cares for them or their nicknames. Elias Addison’s estate was thrust upon him when his father died and it has been little else but a burden. He spends his days mired in responsibilities and his nights pursued at endless balls by fortune-hunting debutantes. He is morose, serious, and tense.

When a friend brings him to the Sleeping Dove in an attempt to lighten his mood, the consequences of those good intentions are far greater. When the Duke of Lennox finds himself at the Bawdy Bluestocking’s piano, they begin to play a dangerous melody. Though Elias cannot resist courting Josie, she has a past to protect, a shaky future, and no time for frivolous nobility with soft hands. When the Duke uncovers the truth, will he wish he had never begun the tune?

REVIEW: here.

U ACAnna Cowen and ‘Untamed’

BOOK BLURB: Outspoken and opinionated, Katherine Sutherland is ill at ease amongst the fine ladies of Regency London. She is more familiar with farmers and her blunt opinions and rough manners offend polite society. Yet when she hears the scandalous rumours involving her sister and the seductive Duke of Darlington, the fiercely loyal Katherine vows to save her sister’s marriage – whatever the cost.

Intrigued by Katherine’s interference in his affairs, the manipulative Duke is soon fascinated. He engages in a daring deception and follows her back to her country home. Here, their intense connection shocks them both. But the Duke’s games have dangerous consequences, and the potential to throw both their lives into chaos…

REVIEW: here.

perf5.000x8.000.inddSandra Owens and ‘The Letter’

BOOK BLURB: THE LETTER is a story of a betrayal that wasn’t. Even so, it still tore two lovers apart for eleven years. Michael Jeffres, Earl of Daventry, found his betrothed, the woman who meant as much to him as the air he breathed, in bed with his cousin on the eve of their wedding.

Diana, the daughter of a marquess, remembers nothing of that night. All she knows is she was forced to marry Michael’s cousin, Leo, and then spent the next eleven years in hell.
When the two lovers are brought back together by a letter from Leo a year after his death, they must struggle through all the lies and secrets before they can find a love that far surpasses that of their youth.

REVIEW: here.

TSOLP EQElla Quinn and ‘The Seduction of Lady Phoebe’

BOOK BLURB: Polite society has its rules for marriage. But for Ella Quinn’s eligible bachelors, their brides will show them that rules are for the weak of heart…

Phoebe Stanhope is not a typical Lady. As feisty as she is quick witted, no one can catch her, especially when she is driving her dashing phaeton with its perfectly matched horses. And unlike her peers, experience has guarded her against a growing list of would-be suitors. But when she encounters Marcus Finley, what she fears most burns deep within his blue-eyed gaze…

For Lord Marcus, the spark of recognition is but a moment in the love he has held these many years. Now that he’s returned to England, all the happiness he desires rests on Lady Phoebe never finding out that he was the one who turned her heart so cold and distant. He must work fast to gain the advantage—to convince her what she wants is exactly what she denies—but in order to seduce her into his arms, he must be willing to give up more than he can control…

REVIEW: here.

TDL MCMáire Claremont and ‘The Dark Lady’

BOOK BLURB: Lord Ian Blake has returned from India a broken man. Years ago, he pledged to Lady Eva Carin—his childhood companion and first love—that he would bring her husband back alive. His failure haunts him. But even his jaded soul can’t anticipate the shocking sight of beautiful, independent Eva confined in a madhouse.

Locked in an asylum, forgotten by society, Eva is adrift in both body and mind. For Ian to break her free, they must cross a powerful enemy—and prove her sanity to England’s unforgiving aristocracy. But the biggest danger of all may come when the secrets of Eva’s tragic past are finally unlocked.

REVIEW: here.

The Illicit Love of a CourtesanJane Lark and ‘The Illicit Love of a Courtesan’

BOOK BLURB: Trapped under the reign of a cruel keeper, Ellen Harding longs to be free. Under his oppression, her soul and conscience have died while her body lives on, fulfilling his dissolute desires. She is empty––a vessel––deaf to the voice of morality and blind to shame.

When her eyes are drawn to a beautiful man for no other reason than his looks, she imagines what it would be like to escape her chains for a night by giving her body to him.

But Edward Marlow is kind and gentle when he touches her, and her subconscious whispers, this man could be her salvation. Yet how can he help her when she has secrets which prevent her freedom?

Edward is restless, lonely, and a little angry with his lot in life—it is his only excuse for being drawn to another man’s mistress.  The woman’s dark hair and pale eyes are striking, and he cannot take his gaze off her while she watches him over the top of a fan with an illicit intent in her eyes.

Once he’s known her, he cannot forget her, and once he’s seen the evidence of her supposed benefactor’s brutality, he wants to help her. But how can he when she will not run any more than she will speak of her past?

When a desperate Ellen finally relents and shocks Edward from his sleep, he doesn’t hesitate, he helps her flee He just doesn’t know he’s running headlong into the secrets of her past.

REVIEW: here.

ADI EMErica Monroe  and ‘A Dangerous Invitation’

BOOK BLURB: One fatal mistake cost Daniel O’Reilly the woman he loved, spiraling him toward drunken self-destruction. Now sober, he’ll have to prove he’s innocent of the murder he was accused of two years ago. But pistol-wielding Kate Morgan hasn’t forgiven his sins.

Torn from her privileged existence by her father’s death, Kate Morgan has carved out a new independent life in the Ratcliffe rookery as a fence for stolen goods. Daniel’s invitation to assist him jeopardizes her structured existence. Yet Kate can’t resist his touch, or the wicked desires he stirs within her.

As their renewed passions grow reckless, their investigation takes them through the darkest and most depraved areas of the City. To catch a killer, they’ll have to put secrets behind them and trust only their hearts.

REVIEW: here.

Those are some of the authors that have debuted this year, but I’ve discovered this year ‘new to me’ authors that have been around and they are: Victoria Vane; Sherry Thomas; Julianne Lee, Tracy Grant, Susan King, Elizabeth Chadwick…

There are so many more on my Kindle and still on my TBR so I need to get to them all…eventually.

How was your reading year and have you any recommendations for me?

Melanie

Spotlight on Anna Cowen and…

UNTAMED!

U ACBOOK BLURB: Outspoken and opinionated, Katherine Sutherland is ill at ease amongst the fine ladies of Regency London. She is more familiar with farmers and her blunt opinions and rough manners offend polite society. Yet when she hears the scandalous rumours involving her sister and the seductive Duke of Darlington, the fiercely loyal Katherine vows to save her sister’s marriage – whatever the cost.

Intrigued by Katherine’s interference in his affairs, the manipulative Duke is soon fascinated. He engages in a daring deception and follows her back to her country home. Here, their intense connection shocks them both. But the Duke’s games have dangerous consequences, and the potential to throw both their lives into chaos…

EXCERPT: 

The Duke of Darlington was sitting in the bow window at Whites, when the Earl of BenRuin entered. The man was huge – almost ugly with it.

‘We’ll need another pot of coffee, after last night,’ Darlington said to Jewellyn, who sat beside him comparing three silk handkerchiefs.

‘Mother says the daffodil yellow makes me look consumptive, but the pale is just so joyless.’

‘Your mother knows best, darling.’ He took another sip of coffee, and didn’t look around. But he felt BenRuin’s eyes on him. He heard a hush follow the Earl through the room as he made his way over.

‘Darlington.’ BenRuin spat his name with a thick Scottish R.

He looked up and smiled sunnily. ‘What ho, old boy!’

BenRuin looked as though he wanted to crush Darlington’s throat and stop him from ever speaking again. Something woke, and shivered through Darlington, and he despaired because it was not fear.

He brushed a speck of lint from his cuff. ‘Coffee?’

BenRuin stared at him. ‘I am going to kill you,’ he said slowly, every word clear. Men looked up from their papers, frowning. BenRuin gripped the back of an empty chair, his hand a powerful, blunt instrument.

Darlington lowered his cup and wondered that his hands didn’t shake at all. He had been waiting so long for this. A month ago he had been given an old iron key that unlocked his father’s private papers with his father’s things. The key might as well have unlocked this sick, loose delight in him. It had brought him to this moment.

He screwed up his brow, and turned to Crispin, who sat at his feet on an ottoman. ‘Was I supposed to meet this man in a duel today?’

The boy looked back at Darlington with perfect trust, undiminished by the slight confusion on his face.

‘I don’t think so. No one’s come to see me about being your second. Unless—’ Crispin flushed and turned to Hopwell, across the table. ‘Hopwell, you rotter, you’ve not been approached, have you?’

Hopwell drew himself up. ‘And if I had? Are you the only one who could possibly represent him?’

‘But you know that I—’

BenRuin’s face clearly spoke his frustration – his disbelief that these boys, these butterflies would ignore him. His huge frame bunched and he threw the chair at the wall so hard it broke. Muted conversations broke off, and a footman’s half-sobbed apologies limped alone into the silence. Men rose from their seats, but left a wary space around BenRuin. Darlington couldn’t look away from BenRuin’s pale eyes.

He smiled as if his patience was wearing out. ‘Why do you suppose you want to kill me, old boy?’

‘You.’ BenRuin forced a couple of heavy breaths through his nose, like speaking the words was a feat of strength. ‘And my wife.’

‘Ah.’ Darlington let understanding dawn in his voice and spread his manicured hands out before him. At last. At last they had come to it. All this violence was his for the taking. ‘Look, she told me it was one of those marriages, you know. That you both found pleasure where you could.’

For a moment BenRuin couldn’t speak, like Darlington had cut his tongue out of his mouth. Then, ‘Stop talking,’ he said.

‘But I’m sure she…wait, so you’re back from your trip to South America, then? Did you collect any interesting new specimens?’

‘Stop talking,’ BenRuin said. ‘Stop.’

Crispin leapt up, relief clear in his smile, his voice. ‘You’re thinking of Lady Drysdale, Your Grace!’

‘Of course!’ The Duke placed slim fingers against his brow and made an apologetic face at BenRuin. At last. ‘All a misunderstanding, old boy!’

‘Call me old boy one more time,’ BenRuin said, his brogue making him almost unintelligible, ‘and I won’t wait to hear your explanation.’

‘Explanation?’ He had begun to shake with a kind of excitement. ‘Lady Drysdale and I had an understanding, and I don’t see that it’s any of your concern!’

‘And your carriage – in my driveway?’

He had forced a proud man to say this in front of other men. It was despicable. He would do it again in a heartbeat for what he wanted – needed.

‘Which driveway would that be, old – er.’ Darlington leaned down to Crispin and said, ‘Do you know who he is? I’m not sure what name to address him by.’

And then it came. So fast that for a moment his whole body felt the shock of not being ready. Of needing a moment to think.

BenRuin came at him, all muscle and murderous intent, his eyes fixed on Darlington’s face.

And Darlington was greedy, his whole being a gruesome invitation. Everything he normally hid flared to life within him.

BenRuin saw it. He faltered.

The men who had leapt into action had their arms about BenRuin, their hands gripping him wherever they found purchase. BenRuin’s knife never reached Darlington’s throat.

Darlington felt so bereft that for a moment he couldn’t breathe.

A man was hurrying through the room. Perhaps someone had sent a boy to find him, because he spoke in BenRuin’s ear and BenRuin listened. Tension leeched out of BenRuin’s huge body, and he began to shake, like a horse after a hard race.

He pointed a finger at Darlington. ‘I’ll not hang for the sake of seeing your pretty blood,’ he ground out. ‘This time. But the next time you trespass against me, you will know what I mean to do.’

BenRuin left, and Darlington fluttered his hands about his throat, and went into mild hysterics and allowed Crispin to fuss over him.

REVIEW: You’re either going to love it or hate it. I don’t think there’s a middle of the road for this novel. I more than loved it! I adored the hero, heroine, plot…oh and the prose is so good that it borders on poetic. It brings to mind Julie Anne Long’s and Grace Burrowes’ writing.

As soon as I was done with it, I had to Tweet the author. My Tweet was “I am in awe of it. It’s intriguing, clever & exciting; romantic & sensual; breathtakingly delightful!”

This was one of those stories that made you unknowingly hold your breath, and then slowly exhale as you go from page to page. At the end of it, it brought to mind two movies I am such a fan of: “Pretty Woman” and “An Interview with a Vampire”.

“Pretty Woman” because of its ending as the heroine ‘rescues’ the ‘hero’, and “An Interview with a Vampire” because for some reason the Duke reminded me of Lestat [no he wasn’t a Vampire, just the characterization].

Let me also say that if you’re a stickler for historical detail, you might have to suspend your disbelief and ignore a couple of things in it [notably reform of the Corn Laws and Parliament’s involvement in the divorce] to enjoy the rest of the story. I had no problem with it.

Story’s prose and especially characterization of the hero and heroine, was what engaged me emotionally.

It really was a breath of fresh air. For a change we have an author that gave us a cross-dressing hero instead of a heroine, and the result was entertaining, intriguing and engaging.

It was a risk, but I think it paid off big time!

I recommend it whole heartedly!

ARC courtesy of NetGalley.

You can buy Untamed at Amazon | Kobo | iTunes | Google | txtr | JB HiFi | Sainsbury’s | Destiny Romance (ePub)

Anna CowenAUTHOR IN HER OWN WORDS: I started writing when I was eight and my heroine thought the likeliest place to buy a horse was the pet shop.

I stopped writing when I was fifteen and my teen angst was too much, even for me. Also, boys.

Now I’m An Adult, and I’ve never wanted to work so hard at anything.

I live in a beautiful flat in the middle of Melbourne with special k – husband / coffee mogul / love of my life. We’ve started having weekly managers meetings where he says things like, “This is work, so there are no feelings, okay?” and I quake in my writerly boots. I couldn’t have done any of this without him.

This blog is where I think out loud about writing. I break down the things I watch and read – I try to figure out how they work, or don’t work. It tends to centre around love, romance, gender, feminism and writing.

I hope you enjoy the conversation!

You can catch Anna on: Tweeter / Website

PUSH-a-BOOK celebration kick-off with…ME!

No, no, no! I didn’t write the books I’m going to push, but I sure read them!

I know, I know! It’s not time yet, but I just can’t wait! Sabrina Jeffries will be here in couple of days to ‘officially’ kick the celebration off, but I just couldn’t contain my excitement and thought to try to tell you why I’d like to push these… yep, you heard me right! I want you to read THESE  books. I loved the whole damn series!

Reading any book series makes me feel like I am watching [read following/stalking] some great families and characters that these talented authors keep gifting me with. This year I’ve read a few and while I did get to review some of the books, there were some that I missed. Here are those books…

First, if you haven’t read Pamela Clare, than you need to start with this series…The MacKinnon’s Rangers Trilogy. The first one is ‘Surrender, then we have the second one Untamedand the third one was the one that actually made me buy the other two, ‘Defiant.

A few months ago I caught the making of the book trailer for ‘Defiant’ and it so reminded me of one of my all time favorite movies, ‘The Last Of the Mohicans’ with Daniel Day Lewis, that I was sure all three of these would satisfy my craving for a a story that would take me into the world of these men and the time of the French and Indian War here in the United States. Boy was I ever satisfied!

Pamela Clare did an outstanding job painting this time in history for me that it really felt like I was watching a movie. Each story was unique despite the common thread of the enemy who threatened all the brothers. Reading these stories I couldn’t help but notice the painstaking research that author did and I appreciated it as much as the work poured into creating these three men, each character finely drawn and three-dimensional. Every story is filled with heart stopping action, dialogue that at times will have you sigh and laugh all at once and because of the shear talent of the author, she manages to pace every story to perfection. Now, if you haven’t read them yet, get thee to your nearest book store, or better yet, just click on the covers and buy them from Amazon!

Here’s the overview of the series from the authors website:

The MacKinnon’s Rangers Trilogy is set during the conflict known in the United States as the French and Indian War — the war made famous by the film Last of the Mohicans, which starred Daniel Day Lewis. The rest of the world knows this conflict as the Seven Year’s War. As a writer, I’ve always been drawn to pre-Revolutionary American history because of the conflict inherent during this time — human beings against a vast, untamed wilderness, European cultures in conflict with each other and with Native inhabitants. Conflict is, after all, what gives rise to good stories.

The trilogy tells the stories of three brothers — Iain, Morgan and Connor MacKinnon — transplanted Highlanders who came to North America as boys when their father was exiled from Scotland. Raised on the frontier, they know several Indian tongues and count themselves kin to the Mahican Indians of Stockbridge. Having learned how to track, fight, and hunt from their Mahican friends, they’re at home in the wilderness. And this is where their troubles began…

When war breaks out, Lord William Wentworth, grandson of His Majesty King George II, coerces the brothers into fighting for the Crown not as Redcoats, but as Rangers – men whose style of fighting is modeled more after Indian than European warfare.

My research for this series of novels centered around Major Robert Rogers, who is credited with turning the Ranger Corps into one of the most successful military organizations in American history. These men, hardened by frontier life and capable of feats that would be difficult for modern soldiers to duplicate, were the Special Forces of their day. Rogers created the Rules of Ranging that are still, in updated form, utilized by U.S. Army Rangers, a testament to Major Rogers’ genius.

Rogers and his Rangers were stationed at Fort Edward on an island in the middle of the Hudson River south of the doomed Fort William Henry. In my books, Fort Edward and Rogers have been brushed aside and replaced with Fort Elizabeth and MacKinnon’s Rangers. Apart from that, I’ve done my best to be historically accurate to the smallest detail, from the items a Ranger carried in his tumpline pack to the rules that guided him in battle.

I’ve had the good fortune to visit Fort Edward and Rogers Island and to stand where the real Rangers stood. I’ve also visited Fort Ticonderoga, called Fort Carillon by the French, where Major Rogers’ powder horn, and many other Ranger artifacts, are on exhibit. Walking in their footsteps, and visiting the sites of real battles, has only further fueled my imagination.

Each book in the trilogy tells the story of one MacKinnon brother, with the characters repeating from book to book, including the Rangers themselves, a bunch of hearty Scots and stubborn Irish who’ve won my heart. As each brother struggles to win and protect the woman he loves, I explore the history of what is arguably the most significant war in American history, a war that has been called “The War the Made America.”

And now, here’s the reason for me starting to read Pamela Clare books……

For our giveaway today, I would love to know what you think of the book series? Do you like them or not? Why?

We’ll be giving away THREE copies [one each] to THREE of you!

Won’t you join our celebration by:

1) Telling us which ‘Book’ would you like to ‘Push’ and why…

2) Subscribing to our Blog…

3) ‘LIKE’ -ing us on our Facebook!

All three are required for a TRIPLE chance to win in the Grand Giveaway!

However, if you’re already a follower and our FB buddy, all you need do is…COMMENT on the upcoming posts and you’re all set to go.

*Clicking on the author’s name/pic will give you their contact info, website or bio. 

*Clicking on the cover of the book/s will take you to Amazon.