Historical Romance Hot New Release on Special! — Jerri Hines, Romance Author

To celebrate The Bastard Son’s release, I’m on a Book Blitz today. Join me in the celebration. The Bastard Son is only $.99 for a short time!! Enjoy! Sumner Meador walked in a world of wealth and privilege as part of Charles Town’s elite, but that was years ago. Now he fights in the Southern […]

via Historical Romance Hot New Release on Special! — Jerri Hines, Romance Author

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Just Released: THE IRON KNIGHT by Kathryn Le Veque ~ part of The De Russe Legacy

The Iron KnightTitle: The Iron Knight The De Russe Legacy, book 3
Author: Kathryn Le Veque
Genre: Historical Medieval Romance
Story Setting: Prologue: 1408, Yorkshire; Story in 1410, England
Pages:292
Published by: Dragonblade Publishing, 1 edition
Published Date: August 15, 2016
ASIN: B01HADWOJY

The De Russe Legacy Series:
The White Lord of Wellesbourne
The Dark One: Dark Knight
Beast
Lord of War: Black Angel
The Falls of Erith
The Iron Knight

 

Publisher’s Summary

1410 A.D. – Battle-hardened warrior and favored of the king, Sir Lucien de Russe is called the Iron Knight because of his indestructibility in battle. An older knight, Lucien is entering his fortieth year and has seen a good deal in his lifetime. But having sustained fairly serious wounds in the most recent rebellions against Henry IV, Lucien retires his sword and spurs, choosing to live out the rest of his life in peace. Physically, he is damaged goods and must heal. Mentally, however, he is already dead.

Having lost his wife many years ago, Lucien has two children – a son who barely acknowledges him and a daughter who refuses to leave him. Lucien finds no joy in life any longer, looking back upon an illustrious career, admired and loved by the fighting men of England, yet inside, he is hollow. It is this existence he has resigned himself to when the king, believing he is doing Lucien a great favor, pledges him to a very young heiress. When the petty, spoiled girl and her pompous father show up at Lucien’s home, he makes an escape.

Riding south to clear his head, Lucien runs right into a robbery in progress. A fine carriage has been set upon by bandits and Lucien knows he cannot turn away. Begrudgingly, the Iron Knight goes into action once more and saves the occupants of the carriage, a mother and her young daughter.

Lady Sophina de Gournay is a widow, returning home after a visit with her father. When the big, handsome knight with the long, dark hair saves her from the outlaws, a simple moment of gratitude turns into something that binds her to Lucien far more than either of them realize. It’s that brief and beautiful moment in time, that wonderful chance meeting, that sets off a chain of events that could destroy them both.

Join Lucien and Sophina in a romance of a lifetime, where second chances at love are something worth fighting for.

My Thoughts:  Whenever I start a book penned by Kathryn Le Veque, whether as an audiobook or reading, I know I’m in for a good time. Her world of knights brings with it a wealth of events and figures of historical significance.  As I finish the final paragraph of one of her books, whether in paper or audio, I feel enriched, sated, replete and awed.  How can she make these characters and events so real, so touchable and potent?  Her characters are always in dramatic living color; much like the woman herself.  Kathryn Le Veque is one kick-ass writer!

This read is about second chances. She has made it personal by these very words in her dedication:

Dedicated to all of you who have had, or needed, a second chance in life. Even in the darkest hour, there is always hope. Take it from me.

Our hero and heroine are both old.  He’s 40 while she’s 37.  In medieval times that was old, but nowadays we consider this prime, even on the young side. Our chances of a second chance and even a third are very good these days!

Sophina, intelligent and beautiful, is caught between a rock and hard place.  A place many women during this period in history find themselves.  Her father, Lord Andover, a widow and remarried, does not want to continue taking care of his adult daughter and grand-daughter. He wants free reign with a new wife, hence his great need to unburden himself.  St. Michael du Ponte was his choice, however, du Ponte was a man with his own agenda composed of greed.

Du Pointe has an unsavory reputation, unbeknownst to Sophina. She knew she wasn’t wanted at her father’s home. She prayed she wouldn’t be jumping from the frying pan into the fire with her betrothed. She also had her daughter Emmaline, sixteen years old, to consider.

Lucien had his own problems.  He had been gifted with a marriage proposal he didn’t want from a woman who could have been his child, she was so young.  He didn’t want to deal with it.  He also had depression because a warrior who doesn’t fight battles is no longer a warrior and he, Lucien, The Iron Knight, had lost his identity.  His oldest son won’t see or talk with him.  His young 10-year-old daughter, crippled from birth, is a monster, manipulating the situation by screaming and demanding attention. As a father he failed, as a husband, he failed by not protecting his wife from death, and failed as a warrior since his skills were no longer needed.

But life can change and did, quite suddenly for Lucien.  All it took was to feel needed again by saving two women from a watery death. To be seen as the hero he was, by a beautiful, highly desirable woman.

Lady Juno de Saix, the young heiress, chosen to marry Lucien, along with her cousin, Aricia, and Lady Juno’s father Earl of Holderness, all enrich the story, layering stories within the story. Each character carries their own secrets of shame.

Some scenes have slightly humorous events or situations which lighten the tone of the whole story.  For example, Lady Sophina is betrothed to someone she doesn’t know. Lucien is obliged to betroth a young woman because the king has requested it, but is interested in another. The young woman is in love with someone else.  This spaghetti tangle of who wants whom is very comical and highly entertaining.

Secondary characters include Oswald, a ferret who stole the show!

Kathryn Le Veque 1KATHRYN LE VEQUE is a USA TODAY Bestselling author, an Amazon All-Star author, and a #1 bestselling, award-winning, multi-published author in Medieval Historical Romance and Historical Fiction. She has been featured in the NEW YORK TIMES and on USA TODAY’s HEA blog. In March 2015, Kathryn was the featured cover story for the March issue of InD’Tale Magazine, the premier Indie author magazine. She is also quintuple nominee (a record!) for the prestigious RONE awards for 2016.

Kathryn’s Medieval Romance novels have been called ‘detailed’, ‘highly romantic’, and ‘character-rich’. She crafts great adventures of love, battles, passion, and romance in the High Middle Ages. More than that, she writes for both women AND men – an unusual crossover for a romance author – and Kathryn has many male readers who enjoy her stories because of the male perspective, the action, and the adventure.

On October 29, 2015, Amazon launched Kathryn’s Kindle Worlds Fan Fiction site WORLD OF DE WOLFE PACK. Please visit Kindle Worlds for Kathryn Le Veque’s World of de Wolfe Pack and find many action-packed adventures written by some of the top authors in their genre using Kathryn’s characters from the de Wolfe Pack series. As Kindle World’s FIRST Historical Romance fan fiction world, Kathryn Le Veque’s World of de Wolfe Pack will contain all of the great story-telling you have come to expect.

Kathryn loves to hear from her readers. Please find Kathryn on Facebook at Kathryn Le Veque, Author, or join her on Twitter @kathrynleveque, and don’t forget to visit her website at www.kathrynleveque.com.

 

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Audiobook Review: The Blood and the Vow by Saranna DeWylde ~ a paranormal romance

The Blood and the VowTitle: The Blood and the Vow  Order of Lazarus, book 1
Author: Saranna DeWylde
Genre: Paranormal
Pages: 290
Published by: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Published Date: January 3, 2013
ISBN-10: 1491284072
ISBN-13: 978-1491284070

Narrated by: Hollie Jackson
Length: 10 hours and 26 minutes
ASIN: B00IRI213G

Audiobook purchase link: The Blood and the Vow

Publisher’s Summary

With his dying breath, Samara Frank’s father bids her to find the Templar Krestien de Godfrey. Only he can protect her and the ancient Sumerian relic they unearthed in a Mayan burial chamber in Belize. It’s a piece of the mythical Adama Tablet and a prehistoric alien god with a cult following called the Covenites will use everything in their power to get the tablet – from the Ark of the Covenant and the Spear of Longinus to Samara’s own damaged sister, Sierra.

Krestien de Godfrey is a man haunted, the bastard son of Godfrey de Bouillon, Duke of Lorraine and Defender of the Sepulcher, he was born only to continue The Blood – an ancient line of divine kingship that goes back to Christ and Cain. A Saracen blade took his left eye and marred his face, but ambrosia from the Grail gave him everlasting life and he’s lived in service to his Order. He can never atone for all he’s done, but Krestien will settle for the quiet peace of eternal sleep after he secures the Adama Tablet. Samara is a woman of The Blood, the only thing for which this Templar may break his vow of chastity, but she’s the first to look on Krestien’s scarred face with desire. She was raised on tales of his greatness and finds him a hero in the flesh, all the more real for his demons. The Adama Tablet could make her career as an archeologist, but after she sees his suffering, Samara is determined to help Krestien find the peace he seeks.

The call of Blood to Blood is irresistible, but will it be enough to light a candle in the darkness and save them both?

©2011, 2012, 2013 Saranna DeWylde (P)2014 Saranna DeWylde

My Thoughts:  This is a story which brought to mind Dan Brown’s novel, The Da Vinci Code. It is a fascinating blend of mystery, paranormal,  historical figures, biblical myths and science fiction.  It had me completely enthralled.

I initially picked up this audiobook because of the narrator. She does a terrific job bringing to life every aspect of a good story. I cannot say enough about her ability to ‘act’ the part, as she did impeccably in this story.  Her mellow voice is very flexible and portrays emotion with perfection. In this story she used a range of nuances in dialogue: sass, humor, laughter, fear, anger, and erotic inflection .  A wonderful performance, indeed.

Krestien de Godfrey is a good man full of honor, and has vowed to uphold the code of the Knights Templar.  He is only what his order made him. He drank from the Grail, giving him eternal life.  But he is tired.  Tired of the wars he has battled in, and tired of life.  The horrors of all that killing haunts him. After one thousand years of life, he now requests Lazarus to put him to rest.  Lazarus has asked him to do more thing for him, for the Knights Templar.  He is to protect Samara, a woman of the Blood.

Samara, an archeologist as is her father, hadn’t known she was a woman of the Blood.  She is very intelligent, a genius, and deep thinker. She feels one can die within, even though physically alive, when the person stops learning.  She loves her work as an archeologist and aches to discover the past, but finds more than she bargains.

Her life changes when she meets Kristien.  How? It becomes dangerous.  Is she be up to the task?  Were her skills enough to stay alive?  Is Krestien de Godfrey’s protection enough? Would he even be willing to protect her since he’s eager to ‘rest’?

When Krestien tries to locate Samara, he finds two women fighting.  One is a Covenite, his enemy, the other is Samara. Samara is mortally wounded.  She’s going to die if he doesn’t save her with his special life-saving powers given to men of the Order of Lazarus.  He saves her. He has little choice. Just seeing her, he is drawn to her, a woman of the Blood.  Samara was much like a siren.

Krestien’s great flaw is his willingness not to fight for something he doesn’t feel he deserves. He belittles himself so much, hope can’t be born to change his life.

I particularly like Sierra, the Covenite, who attacks Samara.  There are many layers to who she is. Her past is complicated, manipulated by twisted minds.

Subplots are interesting and they set up future books in the series.  Such famous figures in history are interesting to be part of this story – Sir Galahad, Achilles and Joan of Arc.  Ms. DeWylde weaves a mystery, mixed with fantasy and the paranormal creating a fantastic fast-paced world.

Saranna DeWyldeAbout the Author: Saranna De Wylde has always been fascinated by things better left in the dark. She wrote her first story after watching The Exorcist at a slumber party. Since then, she’s published horror, romance and narrative nonfiction. Like all writers, Saranna has held a variety of jobs, from operations supervisor for an airline, to an assistant for a call girl, to a corrections officer. But like Hemingway said, “Once writing has become your major vice and greatest pleasure, only death can stop it.” So she traded in her cuffs for a full-time keyboard. She loves to hear from her readers. Keep up with releases, events and access to special content by signing up the Saranna DeWylde newsletter here: https://www.facebook.com/sarannadewylde/app_100265896690345

Hollie JacksonAbout the Narrator:  Hollie Jackson, H. R. Jackson Taking her own love of storytelling, not just for her own work, but that of others, Hollie (aka Narratrix) found her true calling in the vocal booth. With a range that goes from the innocent to the risqué, across all genres, Hollie’s voice brings characters of all types to vibrant, compelling life, letting you sit back and allow the words to wrap around you.

She grew up getting lost in the world of poetry and prose, and truly enjoys sharing that with others through spoken word. Stories are, after all, meant to be spread by any means necessary, right? Everyone has a story to tell…and Hollie loves to bring those stories to life, one word at a time.

You can find her online at http://www.hrjackson.com, on Twitter @hrjacksontnc, and on facebook at /authorhrjackson

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Just Released: THEY CALL ME AVENGED by Cyndi Lord ~ a thriller

Title: They Call Me Avenged Sandra Derringer Chronicles book 3
Author: Cyndi Lord
Genre: Thriller
Pages: 322
Published by: White Bird Publications
Published Date: August 9, 2016
ISBN-10: 1633631818
ISBN-13: 978-1633631816

Sandra Derringer Chronicles series:
They Call Me Murdered
They Call Me Missing
They Call Me Avenged
The Call Me Gone (coming soon)

About the Story: When a number of people go missing in a small Northeast Texas town, Sandra Derringer becomes involved to solve the case of missing twelve-year-old twin boys. She soon learns that two common denominators exist between the people who have gone missing; abused animals, and a local animal rescue owner, Loretta Bentley. Her deep devotion to animals is overshadowed by mental illness and her belief she is getting messages from God to deliver an-eye-for-an-eye justice to anyone who neglects or abuses animals. Many have thought this penalty deserved, but Loretta is insane enough to carry it out in her isolated, large ranch where no one can hear her victims’ screams.

My Thoughts:  I’ve read this series since the beginning.  Each book is unique.  Each is scary. Each has a message which make MY blood boil.  And each of them I loved!

Keep in mind Cyndi Lord has been a private investigator so she knows her stuff.  She volunteers considerable time trying to home rescue dogs and has seen the tremendous brutality people impose on animals by being irresponsible or in other cases, just plain cruel.  Thirdly, she has recently lost her best friend, her old friend, Zoom. She knows the unconditional love of a canine friend.

Truly, from the first page the author would not let me put the book down.  The scene was too unbelievable, yet so real, it made my skin crawl.  Yes, my skin crawled!

Each chapter is prefaced with a verse from the bible which, apparently, Loretta Bentley, takes to heart–a seemingly benign personality on some occasions, and on others quite the psychotic. Her bouts of psychosis are triggered by childhood events she relives through nightmares, in addition to her guilt of not saving her own little dog and her conviction God has chosen her as his instrument to exact punishment.

The author draws the reader along as she gives us a peek into the minds of the characters, particularly the twisted mind of Loretta.  Even though the woman is quite demonic, there is something in her which makes me feel sorry for her.  She is not responsible for making herself who she is.  Well, I should say she is to a certain extent, as her past with its horrors, provides the basis for who she is.

The rescue animals demonstrate the horrors of their young lives through timidity, shakes and hesitancy.  Loretta is able to provide them love, pulling them out of the abysmal fear they live in. Conversely, she easily doles out exacting punishment to people who abuse these creatures. I cringe remembering the gore of Loretta’s brutality . In fact, the author’s book has further convinced me people should be fined and animals taken from those who care poorly for them.

Here’s an excerpt from the story:

A bone-thin two-year-old, female lab crept slowly towards Loretta with her tail giving tentative wags. Poor baby’s still afraid after a month. She separated the fur growing in around the dog’s neck. Deep scarring and an open area several inches long revealed angry red flesh beginning to heal over and a hole where the veterinarian had placed a drainage tube. Loretta closed her eyes, sorrow and rage ignited raw fury. She opened them to tunnel vision. Blacky looked up into her face then lapped up the tears.

“No one will ever hurt you again or tie you up with binding wire. Never. I promise you that, and I’ll be sure you have a good home. He’s paying for what he did to you. If he’s still alive, he knows just what you went through.” She looked toward the tarp and fence. “

“You’re okay, beautiful lady. Come on. Come here and get some lovin’” She wiggled her fingers. Blacky’s tail wagged in overdrive. The dog lay her head on the woman’s lap. Loretta rubbed her boney face and wondered if she was the only person who’d ever been kind to Blacky.

Cyndi Lord is a master at painting a scene so potent with emotion and brutality, all my senses are drawn in.  If you are angered by animal cruelty or want to know anything about it, a fan of the thriller genre, you enjoy a good mystery and thriller,  you won’t want to miss this story where Sandra Derringer uses her investigative skills, her compassion for the down-trodden and wronged, along with gut instinct to solve this case.

Cyndi, your message was received.  It was an awesome read! Never, ever, will I forget this story.

Cyndi Lord courthouse - CopyAbout the Author: Cyndi Lord moved to North East Texas in 2005 where she lives on a ranch with her husband, two dogs, and two cats. An award winning author, she recently decided to go into semi-retirement from her career as a private investigator and research paralegal in order to write full time. Her novels incorporate her professional experience into the plots readers love to unravel along with the investigator. She is active in a ministry to the homeless and enjoys many aspects of philosophy. As an animal lover, she is a vegan, and strong voice against cruelty to animals. Cyndi and her husband have nine adult children, sixteen grandchildren and one great-grandchild. For tranquility she loves to work in the garden, and bake. Painting nature scenes is her favorite joy after writing.

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unbreakable banner

True Heroes Refuse to be Broken
Releases August 18, 2016

unbreakableAbout the Story: Nova started the fight against Fortune for simple revenge, but now it’s turned into something much bigger. Arcania’s criminals are at each other’s throats, putting the city right in the middle of a warzone. She’ll have to work with a few unlikely allies to end Fortune’s games once and for all. Nova thought she understood what it meant to be a superhero, but will she have to lose herself to truly defeat Fortune?
Fortune has given Cole a choice, one with unbearable consequences. When Cole takes matters into his own hands to save his sister Penelope, he realizes too late he’s another pawn in Fortune’s games. Fortune will use Cole’s gift against his enemies…including Nova. Cole will have to become the hero he always wanted to be if he’s going to protect the love of his life.

BUY IT ON AMAZON

Haven’t Started the Series Yet?

unbreakable triology

 

unbreakable liz longAbout the Author:  Liz Long is a proud graduate of Longwood University. Her inspiration comes from action and thriller genres and she spends entirely too much time watching superhero movies. Her day job includes writing for a magazine publisher in Roanoke, VA.

The Donovan Circus series has best been described as “X-Men meets the circus.” Adult horror story Witch Hearts tells the tale of a serial killer hunting witches for their powers. New Adult PNR A Reaper Made is about a teen Reaper who gets caught between falling in love or saving her sister’s soul. All titles are available for paperback or ebook on Amazon.
To learn more about Liz (including more information on her books, plus writing, marketing, and social media tips), visit her website: http://lizclong.com.

Want to Meet Liz?

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Posted in Fantasy, New Adult, New Book Release, New Book Release Tour, Young Adult | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Early Review — Releases in days!: FORBIDDEN LEGACY by Diana Cosby ~ A story of Knights Templar

28502854Title: Forbidden Legacy  The Forbidden Series
Author:  Diana Cosby
Genre: Historical Romance, Scottish
Story Setting: 1307, Scotland
Published by: Lyrical Press
Published Date: August 16, 2016
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
ASIN: B01AEQB4GI

Forbidden Legacy

About the Story:

“Diana Cosby is superbly talented.”—Cathy Maxwell, New York Times bestselling author A betrothal neither wants . . . a passion neither can resist.  

When the English murder Lady Katherine Calbraith’s family, she refuses their demands to wed an English noble to retain her home. Avalon Castle is her birthright, one she’s determined to keep.  After Katherine’s daring escape, she’s stunned when Scotland’s king agrees to allow her to return to Avalon, but under the protection of Sir Stephan MacQuistan . . . as the knight’s wife.  To reclaim her heritage, Katherine agrees. She accepts her married fate, certain that regardless of the caliber of the man, Stephan may earn her trust, but he’ll never win her love.  

One of the Knights Templar, Stephan desires no bride, only vengeance for a family lost and a legacy stolen. A profound twist of fate tears apart the Brotherhood he loves, but offers him an opportunity to reclaim his legacy—Avalon Castle. Except to procure his childhood home along with a place to store Templar treasures, he must wed the unsuspecting daughter of the man who killed his family. To settle old scores, Stephan agrees, aware Katherine is merely a means to an end.  

The passion that arises between them is as dangerous as it is unexpected. When mortal enemies find themselves locked in love’s embrace, Stephan and Katherine must reconsider their mission and everything they once thought to be true .

My Thoughts:  This is the beginning of a new series, her third, for author Diana Cosby.  Since I’ve read most of her books, I find her story lines always unique, and her stories are a real pleasure to experience.  It is my practice not to read the teaser of the next book in the series, usually following the story. However, in this case,  I could not stop myself! Her stories have engaging plots with awesome description.

Yes, dear reader, she’s a talented writer who writes in a genre I tend to read a lot.  She weaves history within the story in a non-contrived way, while her characters live in a believably thrilling world with complex and challenging obstacles to overcome.

I’ve read other books about the Knights Templar, their way of life, their vows and commitment to God.  However, this story starkly brought to life the desperate struggle for survival after King Philip betrayed them.  (Sigh) The greed of man has no bounds.

Sir Stephan MacQuiston is brought into the thick of it.  A dedicated Knight Templar since a young man, now lost his vocation. The General Master told the knights to disband.  But how can men change when they have devoted their existence to God and led a certain lifestyle?  Their Templar frame of mind continues even though they no longer officially exist..

I like how the author brings out the strength of this woman, whose parents she was forced to watch killed by the Earl of Preswick. She is placed in a dungeon because she refuses to marry the man. In addition, she has the wit and intelligence to escape the captivity, and has a compassionate nature which is most beneficial when dealing with her new husband.

Lady Katherine had a stubborn streak. She came to the king, her godfather, to help her regain her home, Avalon Castle. She would not let these Englishmen take her home. The king grants her wish to return to her home to regain it, on the condition she marries Sir Stephan.

Here is an excerpt where Lady Katherine questions why men become evil.

Why was there so much evil? How could people believe status or wealth would bring satisfaction? Dinna they realize that regardless of whether they achieved their goals, they couldna find warmth in a gold coin at night, nor would a castle or country conquered offer anything but duty.

Immersed in their need to keep their spoils from all who sought to claim their power or wealth, the vicious cycle would begin again. In the end, those who held riches earned naught but the burden of defenindg all they amassed.

A sad life indeed.

Each hold a secret, but there are other secrets neither of them are aware.  Sir Stephan’s is he’s a Templar Knight, and Earl of Dunsmore by birth right. Lady Katherine’s father was the man who killed his father and mother and caused the death of his sister.

Lady Katherine’s is she cannot bear a man’s touch.  She was raped as a young girl and the act haunts her to this day.

Their greatest flaw?  Both are burdened with past events which dictate their present happiness.

Truly a lovely read with rich characters you learn to care about and cheer them on their journey as they find mutual admiration, friendship and selfless love.  Challenging bumps and surprising twists add further interest creating a thoroughly engaging read.  I highly recommend Diana Cosby’s novels.

Diana Cosby picAbout the Author: A retired Navy Chief, Diana Cosby is an international bestselling author of Scottish medieval romantic suspense.  Her award-winning books are available in five languages.  Diana has appeared at Lady Jane’s Salon, in NYC, and in Woman’s Day, on USA Today’s romance blog, “Happily Ever After,” MSN.com, and in Texoma Living Magazine.

After retiring as a Navy Chief, AGC(AW), Diana dove into her passion – writing romance novels. With 34 moves behind her, she was anxious to create characters who reflected the amazing cultures and people she’s met throughout the world.

Her years of living in Europe inspired Diana to write in the medieval time frame.  After watching the movie Braveheart and with her passion for writing complex plots, the idea for the MacGruder brothers series was born.

Diana has many passions in life, but one that resonates in her life is that of giving. She firmly believe that each of us can make a positive difference in another person’s life.  Some of the charities she supports are listed below:

The National Trust for Scotland, which acts asntfslogoguardian of Scotland’s magnificent heritage of architectural, scenic and historic treasures.

Habitat For Humanity, which gives a deserving family more than a home, but a foundation upon which to build their dreams..

Semper Fi Fund , is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit to help with immediate financial support for injured and critically ill members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families.

Homes For Our Troops, assists severely injured Servicemen and Servicewomen and their immediate families through various venues to aid them in building a home that allows them live a more independent life.

The Navy SEAL Foundation, provides immediate and ongoing support and assistance to the Naval Special Warfare community and their families.

 

Posted in Book Reviews, Highland Romance, Highland Stories, Historical Romance, Medieval Romance, New Book Release, Romance | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Rakes and Rascals, along with Booktalk with Eileen, team up, sharing their thoughts on: Audiobook DEADLY ENGAGEMENT by Lucinda Brant; not to mention our Grand Canyon excursion!

pic 1Hey, Carol what do you think? It was hard getting down here, I know. My backside is so-o-o sore! These mules aren’t the easiest way to reach the bottom of the canyon, but just look at the view!  A – MA-A_A_A – ZING!!

Anyone coming to the states to see its vastness and beauty needs to make a trip here, don’t you think?. And since we’ve recently had a nice visit at the Pettigrew Tea Room in Wales, I thought you’d like a change of pace, that is roughing it, as many Americans like to do for vacations.  I wonder if it has anything to do with our frontier days and conquering the west?  Perhaps our DNA drives us to do it. Hmmmm.pic 4

Lucky, we’re in front of these guys.  At least our mules won’t slip on something, ah, newly made and take us over the side!

Carol: WOW, Eileen! You certainly know how to choose a heart-stopping adventure! It’s certainly a far cry from the gentility of the Pettigrew Tea Room but what spectacular views…just breathtaking. It’s worth suffering a sore backside to see such amazing scenery. I was apprehensive about riding a mule on such a narrow path but I’ve heard they are sure-footed and well-used to this type of terrain. So I’m putting on a brave face.pic 5

Eileen: Hey look!  Another mule train.  You see, not everyone takes a helicopter tour.

As a side note, did you know The Grand Canyon has some of the cleanest air in the U.S.?  So breathe in deeply, my friend.

 

It is no easy feat descending into the canyon, as well we know!  It’s elevation top to bottom is 2400 meters (8,000 feet).  That’s from the Colorado River in the basin of the canyon to the North Rim.

And as I’m spouting fascinating data, there are 38 mammal species who make the canyon their home.  Of those, eight of them are various kinds of bats and 18 are rodents.

 

Carol: Breathes in deeply. I didn’t realise just how deep the canyon is or the how much wildlife is to be found here. I hope we catch sight of some of the mammals as we descend.

Some time later…

Just look at the helicopter!  It is flying really low, lower than we are.  Ugh! Are we planning to go all the way down? pic 11

Eileen:  It won’t be long, I hope.  The sun will be setting in a couple of hours. The colors of the setting sun are exquisite against the rocks.

Carol: I have seen photographs of the sunsets but actually seeing it firsthand will be an unforgettable experience.

Eileen: We’ll be at the basin of the canyon very soon.  I thought we could have a nice relaxing dinner at The Phantom Ranch Canteen, discussing Deadly Engagement.  Will you be up to it?  I’m glad we’re staying overnight. Oh, my poor bum!

 

This beauty certainly takes my breath away! pic 2

 

Carol:   I’ll be relieved to get off this mule and a relaxing dinner before discussing Deadly Engagement sounds just perfect.

 

Eileen: Here check out the cabin, will you? Thrusts her cell phone above her head so  Carol can see. Lots of people actually camp out under the stars, but I’d prefer that adventure in a book! pic 6

Carol: I’m more interested in some food first!  I’m starving!

Eileen:  Me, too.  We’ll eat at the canteen.  Here’s another picture.  Can you see it? Not much of a choice, but I hear the fare is tasty.  (stomachs start to rumble)

pic 7

 

Carol:  Some good, wholesome, tasty food is exactly what I need and afterwards we can stroll back to the cabin, have some coffee, and settle down to discuss Lucinda Brant’s book. pic 8

Eileen: Agreed.

 Later after several mugs of hot coffee…

Carol: Deadly Engagement was a real departure for me because it is essentially a historical mystery with romantic elements rather than a historical romance. Having read/listened to several books in Lucinda Brant’s Roxton series, which I absolutely loved, it didn’t take much for my friends to persuade me that I should read this series.  What were your initial thoughts, Eileen?

Eileen: Initially?  I, once again, marveled at the suave, polished and refine voice Alex Wyndham uses to narrate. The use of his voice in its various nuances clues the listener into the internal conflicts of each of the characters. He propels the mysterious and suspenseful storyline forward with such vigor, a listener cannot stop listening.

Alec has quite a mix of emotions rolling inside himself.  He thinks he loves Emily. He thinks he’s gotten over Selina. He thinks he can handle the duplicity of his elder brother, Edward. He thinks he can unravel who killed his friend Jack, for he is sure he was set up.  He is confused, mystified and ultimately scared to death!  I totally get into a mystery, Carol.  It must come from all the Nancy Drew books I read as a young girl!

Carol: I totally agree with you about Alex Wyndham’s brilliant narration. I felt as if I was listening to a radio play performed by several actors instead of just one person and he gives each character a distinctive and easily identifiable voice. He seems to live and breathe every character and perfectly captures the personalities of each one. Listening to his superb performance definitely enhanced my enjoyment of the book.

Alec is a wonderful hero – handsome, intelligent and honourable. He had an unconventional upbringing with his rabble-rousing Uncle Plantagenet and, therefore has a very different outlook on life to his peers. What I really like about him is that he is his own man. He likes his life as it is and has no desire to be the Earl of Delvin. Whatever he achieves it is on his own merit.

I enjoyed the romantic elements simmering in the background and poor Alec certainly goes through the emotional wringer. I was happy to see him rekindling his feelings for Selina but was somewhat disappointed that matters between them remained unresolved. I’m hopeful of a happy ending later in the series.

Eileen: I’ve got to say it, pure and simple.  I so disliked Edward Delvin. He is quite the devil, although dressed in proper attire as Earl. The man is extremely astute—additionally, he’s a conniving creep! Talk about a man who will do anything to gain more prestige and status.  Ugh!  I particularly didn’t like his little trick of using people against each other and going out of his way to take as much happiness from Alec as possible.  He plays Lady Charlotte, getting her to do part of his dirty work.  Frankly, her idea of appearing so terribly proper is offensive.  Carol, do I make myself clear??!!

I’ve got to know what you think of Simon Tremarton and Lady Gervais.  What about Plantagenet Halsey?  This man was a balm to my nerves!  He supported women and truth.

Carol: We both agree about Edward Delvin. I thoroughly detested that self-serving man. I hated how he called Alec “second” in that sneering way and how he manipulated the scene in Selina’s bedroom knowing just what Alec would believe (I loved Selina’s method of revenge!).  Oh yes, Lady Charlotte. A real viper with an acid tongue!

I think Alec’s friend Sir Cosmo described Simon Tremarton perfectly – an opportunistic weasel and the polite word for the voluptuous Lady Gervais is promiscuous. What about that scene where Lady Gervais and her husband argue and then have anger-fueled sex?

Eileen: Nodding with complete agreement.

Carol: I love Plantagenet Halsey…such an outrageous character who is not afraid to voice exactly what he thinks. He obviously cares very much for his nephew and do I detect a potential romance between the old curmudgeon and The Duchess of Romney St. Neots?

Eileen Yes, Plantagenet had simply a hard outer surface, but sweet and sincere to his core.  I’m eager to see if The Duchess will find the honey within the lemon!

There were lots of characters in this story.  Usually, I have difficulty keeping them apart, but the author did a fabulous job giving them each their own distinctive personality.  In doing so, it also gives more depth to the mystery.  More characters, more possibilities of who is culpable.

Was there any one point you told yourself, you had figured out what was going on?  On my part, I kept hitting surprise after surprise in the many twists this story takes. Just when I think I have a pulse on the mystery another layer of intrigue is exposed.

Carol: I agree, despite there being a large number of characters, they were all so well-drawn, each with distinctive traits. They all added depth to the story and, as you say, provided a wide choice of potential suspects. I thought the mystery was so well-plotted and the twists and turns certainly kept me guessing as to the identity of the culprit and the motive. I also like how Ms Brant explored the darker side of Georgian society within the context of the story.

Eileen: I enjoyed the part of Tam, the young self-appointed valet to Alec.  For a young man, he has seen much cruelty of the world, yet has a compassion to help the weak.  He experiences the wickedness of those who connive and realizes noblemen who do wrong, very often go unpunished.

Sir Cosmo, a very good friend of Alec, is a very earnest and sincere young man.  A most likeable character. He’s speaks what we are all think. I love when he speaks of the physique of a male. “Who wouldn’t prefer a stallion to an ass!”,

Carol: I thought Tam was an interesting character with his apothecary skills. He’s honest and it infuriated me to see him suspected of a murder he didn’t commit simply because of who he is. Unfortunately, that’s how most of society treated their servants. So I enjoyed the scene where the reform-minded Plantagenet Halsey lambastes Lord Gervais who objects to seeing Tam drinking coffee in the same room. When we discover the identity of Tam’s father, it was quite a shock.

I very much liked the rather corpulent Sir Cosmo. As you say, he is a man who speaks plainly and provides some delightful humour with the things he says. At the same time, he is a good and decent man and a true friend to Alec even when it means telling Alec some hard truths where Selina is concerned.

Eileen:  So all in all, we both agree.  This story was superb.  I’m ready to listen to book 2 of the series.  I can’t possibly leave the threads hanging nor leave what Ms. Brant has in store for the characters.  She really knows how to gather her listeners and engage them.

It was a pleasure to have you come all this way to the U.S., Carol, mule and all, to discuss this book.  (Carol stretches, winces and yawns.)  What?  Do you think it’s time to hit the sack?  After all, we need to take the trail down in a couple of days.  While here, let’s enjoy nature and each other’s company. What say you, friend?

Carol: Yes, I think I’m ready to hit the sack but this has been such a spectacular place to discuss this excellently written, superbly narrated story and I’m eagerly looking forward to listening to the other books in this series. I agree, Ms Brant certainly knows how to keep you coming back for more!

A good friend and awe-inspiring scenery…the perfect combination. Her eyelids start drooping.

Eileen:  Goodnight, Carol.  I shall always remember this time we’ve shared.  This book shall be forever tied to this experience in my mind.  Flips the lights and crawls into bed. Within minutes both are softly snoring with lingering contented smiles.

deadly engagementTitle: Deadly Engagement A Georgian Historical Mystery (Alec Halsey Mystery), book 1
Author: Lucinda Brant
Genre: Historical Romance
Story Setting: London, 1763
Published by: Sprigleaf; 2 edition
Published Date: March 2, 2015
ISBN-10: 0987243055
ISBN-13: 978-0987243058

Narrated by: Alex Wyndam
Length: 9 hours, and 53 minutes
Release Date: January 5, 2015
Published by: Sprigleaf Pty Ltd

 

Publisher’s Summary:

It’s 1763. Career diplomat Alec Halsey returns to London and the shocking news his estranged elder brother, the Earl of Delvin, has not only killed his friend in a duel but become engaged to the woman he had hoped to marry.

When Alec reluctantly attends a weekend house party to celebrate his brother’s engagement, he gets more than he bargained for when a lady’s maid is murdered, the bride-to-be is attacked, and a guest is shot dead. Alec uncovers a connection between these sinister acts and his brother’s duel. He must also confront a cruel twist of fate that explains why his brother loathes him and will go to any lengths to discredit him in Polite Society.

Lucinda Brant©2011 Lucinda Brant (P)2014 Lucinda Brant

About the Author:   LUCINDA BRANT is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of award-winning Georgian historical romances and mysteries. Her novels have been described as from ‘the Golden Age of romance with a modern voice’ and ‘heart wrenching drama with a happily ever after’.

Lucinda has degrees in History and Political Science from the Australian National University and a post-graduate diploma in Education from Bond University, where she was the recipient of the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Education. Before becoming a full-time writer, Lucinda taught History and Geography at an exclusive boarding school for young ladies. She drinks too much coffee and is addicted to Pinterest. Come join her there in her 18th Century world: http://www.pinterest.com/lucindabrant/

 

alex wyndhamAbout the Narrator, Alex Wyndham: Alex Wyndham is an English actor best known for his roles in HBO’s ‘Rome’ (2007) and the BBC’s ‘Little Dorrit’ (2008) and ‘The Line of Beauty’ (2006).

He has a degree in History from Oxford University and went on to study at RADA, graduating in 2005.

His first job as a professional actor was playing Silvius in Kenneth Branagh’s ‘As You Like It’ (2006) while in his final year at drama school.

– IMDb Mini Biography By: The Artists Partnership

 

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