“Where Dreams Merge” by Maureen Driscoll

I’m so glad that this story is out. I loved it and highly recommend it. It will make you laugh out loud and warm your heart. Grab it now!

Melanie

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Where Dreams Merge cover

“Where Dreams Merge (Jasmine Cottage #2)”

Author: Maureen Driscoll

Genre: Historical Romance/Victorian/Gothic

Release Date: July 20, 2017

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The second book in the Jasmine Cottage Victorian Romance series follows Grace Moore as she matches wits with writer Carter Beckett, the Earl of Wainwright.

Grace Moore has avidly followed the career of Carter Beckett, who pens pieces for a London newspaper. Never shy to contradict him, she has sent him several letters about his work. What she didn’t expect was for the man himself to visit the country not far from where she lives, even more handsome in real life than his pen and ink picture in the paper.

Carter Beckett is restless. He is attempting to write a novel, but the words simply will not come. However, once he meets the lady who has been his most outspoken critic, he realizes he has finally found his muse. Once the two begin…

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Spotlight on Ashtyn Newbold and ‘Lies and Letters’

Blal anOOK BLURB: Charlotte Lyons has ambitions, and she won’t let anything or anyone come in her way. When her first Season in London failed to make her a suitable match, and she failed to win the heir to Willowbourne the following summer, she is desperate to find a titled and wealthy husband, if only to appease her mother. But when her family is struck with financial ruin, the stakes are raised even higher.

Sent to the cold, wintery northern tip of the English coast with her sister, Clara, Charlotte faces an uncertain future. Although she is expected to pursue the wealthy Earl of the town, Charlotte finds her heart and attention captured elsewhere–by a kind, mysterious man below her station. Between hardship and sorrow, she finds more than she bargained for, forced to choose between the life she once wanted and a new love she never imagined.

BUY LINKS: Amazon / B&N /

TEASER:

Clara stopped trying to reach the book, but melted into tears. “Stop! Stop!” She wrapped her arms around herself and leaned over, hiding her face from me.

I pulled out and crumpled another fistful of the pages. “You will thank me,” I said. When I finished, I dropped the binding to the dirt and laughed.

“How can you be so awful?” She spit the words at me and tears fell slowly down her cheeks. “I hope you fall in love someday, Charlotte. And I hope he breaks your heart.”

I shook my head with my hands on my hips. “Impossible.”

She stooped over the bench, gathering up the remaining pages and organizing them in a neat stack. Amid her movements, she glanced up at me, eyes like stone. “You’re right. I don’t believe you even have a heart.”

I kicked the crumpled pages away from her reach before turning to leave. Before I moved, I said, in a voice just as hard, “That is because a woman is much better off without one.”

REVIEW: There’s a lot to like in this well written tale.

What I liked the best was the plot, as well as the character development of all the protagonists. It is the character of Charlotte that I had a very hard time liking. Throughout the story she comes off as very selfish and narcissistic. It’s true that she grows with every hardship she encounters, but for some reason it was very hard for me to warm up to her, meaning that at the very end I did, but boy was it hard.

On the other hand, I loved James, a man who was a perfect match for Charlotte, except that she was too stubborn to see, and Clara, Charlotte’s sister that was everything I wanted Charlotte to be.

Let me close this review by saying that I also found prose to be uplifting and poetic at times. Seriously, if you’re in a mood for a quick read with a clean romance, I think you’ll find this story enjoyable.

Melanie for b2b

Gift copy provided by the publisher for an honest review.

Ashtyn-Newbold_author-182x320AUTHOR BIO: Ashtyn Newbold discovered a love of writing early in high school. Inspired by regency period romance, she wrote her first novel at the age of sixteen. Because she can’t vacation in her favorite historical time periods, she writes about them instead.

When not crafting handsome historical heroes, she enjoys baking, sewing, music, and spoiling her dog. She dreams of traveling to England and Ireland. Ashtyn is currently studying English and creative writing at Utah Valley University. She lives in Lehi, Utah with her family.

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Releases tomorrow, beginning of a new series, Heart of the Corsairs by Elizabeth Ellen Carter. Book one, CAPTIVE OF THE CORSAIRS

Bookworms!
I’ve never read this author, but this book sounds very intriguing, therefore on my TBR it went!

I also thought you might be interested in it and the wonderful post as well 🙂

Melanie

BOOKTALK WITH EILEEN

35432549Title:Captive of the CorsairsHeart of the Corsairs, Book 1
Author:Elizabeth Ellen Carter
Genre: Historical Romance, Regency
Story Setting: 1814-1815
Pages: 335
Published by: Dragonblade Publishing, Inc., 1 edition
Published Date: July 21, 2017
ASIN: B0721NSPJ6

  

Publisher’s Summary:

Bluestocking Sophia Green’s future is uncertain. Orphaned as a child and raised by the wealthy Cappleman family, she has become the companion to her attractive younger cousin, Laura, while harboring to her breast an unrequited love for Laura’s diffident brother.

Sea captain Kit Hardacre’s past is a mystery – even to him. Kidnapped by Barbary Coast pirates at the age of 10, he does not remember his parents or even his real name. All he recalls are things he would rather forget.

When Laura’s reputation is threatened by a scandal, Sophia suggests weathering the storm in Sicily with their elderly uncle, a prominent archaeologist.

Their passage to Palermo…

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‘A Diamond for a Duke’ by Collette Cameron

adfad ccSTORY: A dour duke and a wistful wallflower—an impossible match until fate intervenes one enchanted night.

A dour duke.
Jules, the Sixth Duke of Dandridge disdains Society and all its trappings, preferring the country’s solitude and peace. Already jaded and cynical since the woman he loved died years ago, he’s become even more so since unexpectedly inheriting a dukedom’s responsibilities and finding himself the target of every husband-hunting vixen in London.

A wistful wallflower.
Forever in her stunning sister’s shadow, Jemmah Dament has adored Jules from afar for years—since as children they were the best of friends. She daren’t dream she can win a duke’s heart any more than she hopes to escape the life of servitude imposed on her by an uncaring mother. Jemmah knows full well, Jules is too far above her station. Besides, his family has already selected his perfect duchess: a poised, polished, exquisite blueblood.

But one enchanted night.
A chance encounter reunites Jules and Jemmah, resulting in a passionate interlude neither can forget. Jules realizes he wants more—much more—than Jemmah’s sweet kisses or her warming his bed. He must somehow convince her to gamble on a dour duke. But can Jemmah trust a rogue promised to another? One who’s sworn never to love again?

REVIEW: Apparently this story is a retelling of Charles Perrault’s classic tale “Toads and Diamonds”, which I’ve never heard of and therefore can’t compare the two. I can tell you that Collette Cameron’s story is heartwarming, poignant and endlessly funny.

I adored Jules and Jemmah and couldn’t wait to see them happy. They both had it hard and definitely deserved their happy ending.

If you love fairy tales and friends to lovers stories, you can’t miss this one. It’s a fast and delightful read with plenty of heart and humor.

Melanie for b2b

Gift copy provided by the author for an honest review

‘The Duchess’ by Danielle Steel

td dsSTORY: Angelique Latham has grown up at magnificent Belgrave Castle under the loving tutelage of her father, the Duke of Westerfield, after the death of her aristocratic French mother. At eighteen she is her father’s closest, most trusted child, schooled in managing their grand estate. But when he dies, her half-brothers brutally turn her out, denying her very existence. Angelique has a keen mind, remarkable beauty, and an envelope of money her father pressed upon her. To survive, she will need all her resources–and one bold stroke of fortune.

Unable to secure employment without references or connections, Angelique desperately makes her way to Paris, where she rescues a young woman fleeing an abusive madam–and suddenly sees a possibility: Open an elegant house of pleasure that will protect its women and serve only the best clients. With her upper-class breeding, her impeccable style, and her father’s bequest, Angelique creates Le Boudoir, soon a sensational establishment where powerful men, secret desires, and beautiful, sophisticated women come together. But living on the edge of scandal, can she ever make a life of her own–or regain her rightful place in the world?

From England to Paris to New York, Danielle Steel captures an age of upheaval and the struggles of women in a male-ruled society–and paints a captivating portrait of a woman of unquenchable spirit, who in houses great or humble is every ounce a duchess.

REVIEW: Lets start this review by admitting that I’ve never been a huge fan of Ms. Steele, but I did read a few of her books which I liked. I’ll not go so far as to say that this story wasn’t written by the author, as some other reviewers have suggested, but for an accomplished author as Ms. Steele, this book is unacceptable.

Now, let me tell you what didn’t work for me in this book.

I believe if the story was told only from the heroine’s POV, it would have resonated better, but the thin plot made this story not just improbable, but totally unbelievable and most of the story, especially the ending, predictable. It annoyed me to no end that the story was told from everyone’s POV. But what was most annoying was that the whole book read more as a movie script and not as a novel.

As for romance? Well, there wasn’t much of it throughout the story and when finally our heroine falls in love, the story is rushed through and I felt absolutely no connection between the two. If I was the editor of this story, I would have made the author rewrite the ending. Huge disappointment there!

There are only two things that I thought were done well, and that’s the heroine’s character development and growth. I liked watching her grow into a woman of principle and strength, however improbable her journey was. The second thing was Gideon Emery’s narration.

In the end, I do not recommend this read. I’m truly disappointment in it.

Melanie for b2b

Spotlight on Darcy Burke and ‘The Duke of Defiance’

 

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The Duke of Defiance CoverBOOK BLURB: Difficult and defiant as a child, Bran Crowther, Earl of Knighton left England as a young man to pursue independence and adventure. He never expected to inherit the title and when duty calls him home, he still finds Society’s codes constricting and others’ expectations oppressive. Nevertheless, he needs a wife to be a mother to his young daughter, preferably a woman of intelligence and warmth who is, above all, immune to his idiosyncrasies—and to falling in love.

Widow Joanna Shaw isn’t interested in a second marriage, not after the loveless, passionless union she endured. She’d much rather dote on her young niece and nephew since they will likely be the only children in her life…until she meets a precocious girl, in desperate need of a mother. But her father, the so-called Duke of Defiance, is as peculiar as he is handsome, and Jo won’t take another risk with her heart. Their rules, however, are made to be broken, even when the consequences could destroy them both.

BUY LINKS: Amazon / B&N / Kobo / iTunes /

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EXCERPT:

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She sank into a curtsey. “Good morning, my lord. My sister wishes to convey her deepest apologies, but her son is ill, so she asked me to come in her stead.”

Bran registered the tidy upsweep of her dark brown hair and the green-brown of her earnest eyes as well as the simplicity of her modest slate-gray gown. She was rather monochromatic, except for that hint of green in her eyes, and the tiny gold flecks that danced near the pupil. He recalled that she was widowed, which perhaps explained her somewhat dour appearance. Or maybe it was just that he was used to warmth and vibrancy and colors that defied possibility in England. Barbados seemed like an imaginary world now.

“I see. Do you have children of your own?” he asked.

Pale swaths of pink highlighted her cheeks. It was the barest bit of color, but he caught it. How could he not against the dull palette she provided?

Dull?

No, that wasn’t an apt description. Her attire was dull, her hair a bit too severe, but she possessed an attractive, feminine form. Indeed, her breasts were perhaps spectacular. And she was pretty, with long, dark lashes framing her eyes and rose-colored lips that were just a bit too full. Not too full, he amended.

“I do not,” she said, drawing his attention back to his question about whether she had children.

“Then how can you be qualified to help me with this endeavor?”

“My sister sent a list of characteristics and requirements you should seek.” She straightened her shoulders and looked him in the eye. “She also sent me with her express confidence.”

He liked her fortitude. “Well then, I suppose you will suffice. Come along.”

Her nostrils flared slightly, and her eyes widened just the tiniest bit, the gold flecks seeming to brighten. As he turned to lead her to his office, he considered that he might have just offended her again. He had called her abilities into question, but why wouldn’t he?

He strode toward the back corner of the house, where his office was located. It was a large chamber with a wall of bookshelves and windows that looked out to the garden. He moved behind the desk and indicated for her to take a chair on the opposite side.

She slowly sat, her gaze wary and her mouth tight.

He frowned. “My apologies if I insulted you.”

“If you’d rather I didn’t stay, you have only to say so.” There was a steely set to her shoulders and a clipped edge to her tone as she spoke. “Nora wanted to help you, but I’ll understand if you decide I won’t suffice.”

He dropped into his chair. She had cheek to go with her fortitude. He liked that too. He’d been prepared to deal with milksops and featherbrains when he’d returned to England—people like his mother and brothers. Not that they really were milksops or featherbrains, but they liked to put on as if they were, thinking it was somehow attractive. He supposed it wasn’t fair to assume an entire population shared the same characteristics as his family.

“I’m afraid I must also apologize for the other day. I meant no offense. Sometimes… I speak without realizing how my words might sound.”

One of her dark, slender brows arched. “Forgive me for saying so, but I’ve found that’s a trait shared by most men.”

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Darcy BurkeAUTHOR BIO: Darcy Burke is the USA Today Bestselling Author of hot, action-packed historical and sexy, emotional contemporary romance.

A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids who seem to have inherited the writing gene, and three Bengal cats.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Site / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads /

‘Romeo and Juliet: A Novel’ by David Hewson

rajan dh raSTORY: It’s a story you think you know: the age-old tale of “star-cross’d lovers”; two families at war; a romance, so pure and absolute, fated for a tragic end. It’s a story so thoroughly embedded in our culture, and so frequently retold. Yet, nothing captures the spark, the possibility, and the surprise of Shakespeare’s work quite like this….

In Romeo and Juliet: A Novel, author David Hewson reworks and expands on the classic story so that it becomes something richer, something new and entirely its own. Much more than a simple love story, it is a brilliant examination of young versus old, hope against despair, and, for Juliet, the search for individual identity at a time when women were regarded as little more than chattel.

An original production commissioned by Audible, Romeo and Juliet: A Novel marks the second pairing of David Hewson and actor Richard Armitage, whose previous partnership resulted in Audible’s 2014 Audiobook of the Year, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Novel. Hewson’s talent for writing for audio is undeniable, and he finds his perfect vocal foil in Armitage, an actor of immense range and absorbing intensity. Together, they bring you a familiar story told in a surprising way – with an ending you might not expect.

Exclusively written for Audible, only available in audio

Bonus: Audiobook includes an afterword written and narrated by David Hewson.

REVIEW: First, I must say that I’ve never really read the “original”, but I’ve seen many, many performances and reimagining’s of it, and liked most of them.

Since this was exclusively offered to us through Audible only, and narrated by one of my all time favorite actors [I still say RA stole every scene in Robin Hood the series and overshadowed the main character] Richard Armitage, I just had to have it.

That’s why I am loathe to say how disappointed I was with the narration. I was conflicted between the retelling and narration. One I liked and the other not so much. And here’s why.

I liked the way all the characters were written. They all had a personality and were fun to get to know. The feel of the novel was fresh, yet old and familiar. And the ending came as a surprise and pleasant at that.

That said, Richard Armitage’s narration wasn’t bad, but for some reason most of the characters sounded the same, old and decrepit. That bothered me to no end! His voice is deep and memorable while conveying the story, but as soon as he goes into the dialogue, I just cringed.

Do I recommend it? You bet! It had enough humor that I’ll forgive RA for his less than stellar performance 😉

Melanie for b2b