The winner of Vanessa Kelly’s; My Fair Princess is…
Congratulations Katrina, you will be contacted very soon so we can get your prize to you.
Fellow blogger Carol Cork from Rakes and Rascals has challenged me to do this Book Tag post.
You must be honest.
You must answer all the questions.
You must tag at least 4 people.
1. What book has been on your shelf the longest?
That’s a tough one as I have so many books gathering dust on my bookshelf, but I think one of the longest resident’s has got to be PS. I Love You by Celia Ahern. I got it about the same time the film came out, I watched the film but as yet I haven’t even opened the book.
2. What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?
The Madam of Blackstairs by Catherine Curzon.
An Unexpected Bride by Lara Temple.
Hard Hearted Highlander by Julia London.
3. What book did everyone like, but you hated?
Oh that is easy! Fifty Shades of Grey, I never even finished it.
4. What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?
I’m not actually sure! The first one that springs to mind is The Book Thief, again I have seen the film.
5. What book are you saving for retirement?
I don’t tend to think that far ahead, I usually just go with the flow.
6. Last page: read it first, or wait ’til the end?
Definitely wait! You miss out on so much If you just jump ahead.
7. Acknowledgement: waste of paper and ink, or interesting aside?
I think acknowledgements are really interesting, you get a sense of the authors thoughts at that time of their life.
8. Which book character would you switch places with?
Oh that is such a hard question! I’m not sure I would like to permanently switch places with a character I’m too much of a home girl. If I could do it for a day, I wouldn’t mind switching with Eden Farraday from His Wicked Kiss by Gaelen Foley. I would love to walk in her shoes, she is smart, adventurous, so much more courageous than your average heroine, who has also caught the eye of my favourite Knight brother, Jack.
9. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life? (Place, time, person?)
None specific, every book I read sort of cements itself into my life in someway.
10. Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.
I rescued a box full of mixed books from a skip once, my library was closing and they were dumping all the old and damaged books, so I saved them. Does that count?
11. Have you ever given a book away for a special reason to a special person?
Yes! To my dad, it was for a big birthday for him so I gave him a box set of Mario Puzo books.
12. Which book has been with you most places?
My notebook, I’m always jotting down bits and bobs.
13. Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later?
I didn’t go to highschool, so never had to do “required reading”.
14. Used or brand new?
15. Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?
Yes! I have read them all.
16. Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book?
Yes, The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks, great book but the film is so incredible.
17. Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks included?
I don’t usually get effected in that way from a book.
18. Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?
There is quite a few fellow reviewers/bloggers that I respect hugely, especially Rose Blue and Carol Cork, who are both incredibly honest and wise ladies.
19. Is there a book out of your comfort zone (e.g., outside your usual reading genre) that you ended up loving?
I think the book that spring be to mind is The Night Circus, I don’t usually go for magical themed books with timeslips so when I had this given to me I wasn’t sure. But it is hugely enjoyable, it keeps you gripped.
This was a lot of fun, Thank you for the tag Carol.
Nat : Reading Romances
Julie : Bookish Jottings
Rosie : Rosie Amber
l look forward to reading your answers, ladies.
Today I am so pleased to have Harlequin and Mills and Boon author Elisabeth Hobbes chatting with me, so take a seat and let’s get to know a bit more about Elisabeth.
You can find me hanging around The Unlaced Bookclub on Facebook along with other Harlequin Historical authors. I grew up in York where I spent most of my teenage years wandering around the city looking for a handsome Roman or Viking to sweep me off my feet. Sadly it never happened but I developed a love of the past and went on to read History and Art History at university before venturing into the world of teaching. I live in Cheshire with my husband, two young children and two cats with ridiculous names because the car broke down here in 1999 and I never left.
I love historical fiction and have a fondness for dark haired, bearded heroes. When I’m not writing, I spend a lot of my spare time reading and have become something of a pro at cooking one-handed while holding a book! I’m fond of ginger mojitos and Thai hot and sour soup, though not at the same time.
Reading Chick: Hi Elisabeth, Welcome to Chicks, Rogues and Scandals! Thank you for taking the time to chat with me today. Firstly what five words would you use to describe yourself?
Elisabeth : Hi, it’s lovely to be here. Only five words. Hmm….Mum, teacher, frazzled (owing mainly to the first two), creative, geeky.
Reading Chick : If you could live in any era and place, When and where would it be? And Why?
Elisabeth : Not the Middle Ages, despite writing about the period and being fascinated by it I wouldn’t want to pay it more than a quick visit! I couldn’t cope with the lack of plumbing and hygiene.
The Roaring Twenties and thirties in New York looked like an amazing time to be alive. The clothes, cocktails and music are all wonderful. I’d go hang around the Algonquin and try make friends with Dorothy Parker or pretend I was in a Jeeves and Wooster story.
Reading Chick : Ooh! I like it, Who was your childhood hero?
Elisabeth : Han Solo. He was so cool and I was a real tomboy so spent playtimes running around pretending to be on the Death Star. I first saw Star Wars when I was little, I don’t think I quite understood what I liked about him. Of course when I got a little older… Yum! That’s probably where I developed my love of rogues and heroes with slightly blurred moral codes and a dangerous twinkle. You never quite trusted he would do the right thing.
Reading Chick : Totally agree with about wayward rogues. What is your favourite time of the year?
Elisabeth : I love to be warm so summer (though I’m fond of winter because I love to ski). Teaching means I’m lucky enough to get a few weeks holiday travelling round France or Spain with my family and I love the light nights where I can sit outside with only a couple of layers on rather than bundled up to the eyebrows.
Reading Chick : Out of all your work, who is your favourite character and why?
Elisabeth : Oooh, difficult, I love all my children! Generally I’m fondest of whoever I have just written so in this case it’s Roger Danby, the roguish brother from The Blacksmith’s Wife who has now got his own story. If I have to choose a previous one I have a bit of a soft spot for Will, the hero of A Wager for the Widow. He’s flirty and cocky (there’s that Han Solo influence) and like me he prefers his oysters cooked to raw.
Reading Chick : Where does your inspiration for your books come from?
Elisabeth : Places play a huge part in my ideas. The Blacksmith’s Wife is set in York where I grew up and on the nearby moors that I love to visit, because I wanted to take a city girl and put her in the middle of nowhere. I fell in love with St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall and thought it was such a beautiful, isolated place for a character to withdraw from the world so I gave it to Eleanor in A Wager for the Widow. The Saxon Outlaw’s Revenge sprang from walking around the Cheshire countryside on a damp, misty day and imagining the execution of a group of unsuccessful rebels and needing to find out who they were. One day I’m going to set a story in Briancon, the lovely Medieval town I stay in when I go skiing.
Reading Chick : What a great answer, What three tips would you pass on to an aspiring author?
Elisabeth : Keep notebooks or paper everywhere because you never know when the perfect sentence or line of dialogue might pop into your head and there’s nothing worse than only half remembering it (deciphering my 3am pitch black scribbles is always fun).
Write something every day, even if it is only one sentence because they do build up and you can’t edit nothing.
Join some sort of writing group, whether online or in real life and be prepared to take criticism. Some people are brutal but mostly I’ve found other writers to be a supportive group are really happy to offer suggestions and advice.
Elisabeth : There would have to be other authors so I could pick their brains. Terry Pratchett and Jane Austen because they’re two of my all time favourites and I suspect they’d both enjoy talking about how they deal with class and convention. The third would be Tom Hiddleston so I could apologise for the cover of The Saxon Outlaw’s Revenge looking nothing like him (not that I don’t like the model I got)!
Reading Chick : Thank you, Elisabeth for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with me today, I have just one more cheeky question, just for fun . . . What is your all-time favourite naughty but nice food?
Elisabeth : My naughty treat is crisps. I’m a savoury rather than sweet girl (I’m sure many would agree) and I could eat my way through bag after bag if I wasn’t disciplined, especially if I had a glass of wine to hand.
It’s been a pleasure. Thank you for having me.
Thank you for chatting with me, it’s been a pleasure having you visit.
During both World Wars, women had to take over what was then classed as “Men’s Work”, even today certain parts of the work place is designated to men because the work is “far too dangerous, far too hard and far too dirty” to let women do it, and even when we do go into those areas of work, women are more often frowned upon, or not welcomed. As a woman who has been in various area’s of work, I have done all sort’s but yet at those times when I have worked in a primarily male environment I have been made to feel very out-of-place, or being the only woman on site, I have either been leered at or treated with kids gloves. After all these years of proving that we can do anything a man can do we, women are still delegated to looking pretty and making tea. This is why International Women’s Day is so important, we have celebrate just how brilliant we, women are and we have to remember all those amazing women before us that did just what men thought they couldn’t.
Today I am talking about the amazing women, who – during both wars – went into the mans world and they did a damn good job. My main focus today is about the those incredible women who went into what was by far one of the hardest and dangerous industries; The steelworks! Now my dad was a steel worker and I have seen what it did to him, the scars from where he was injured, the damaged hearing and other seen and unseen scar’s that all steelworkers carry with them. For me, this particular ‘A Little history ‘ post is very personal and one that I have been wanting to post for a long time.
During WW2, with all our men gone to fight the world-famous Sheffield Steelworks had to keep going, in fact it was critical for the war effort that it keep open, due to the fact that the Steelworks were making the very ammunition that our soldiers needed. But all the men were gone, who would man the Steelworks? There was only one for it. Women!
Sheffield women donned their overalls and walked in to that factory with their heads held high and they did the job. Like in every other Steelworks around the country, the women took over and they ruled. Usually when we think of heroes from WW2 we think of the Land Army Girls, The Wrens and the front line Nurse’s, but this band of extraordinary women slaved away, day in and day out in Sheffield’s Steelwork, it was highly dangerous work but highly important work, without them who knows what would have happened – the war could have ended very differently.
The work they were doing was so far removed from what they would have been used to, most were pulled from their own jobs in Retail and Hospitality while the majority of the women were housewives. It is said that they got very little training, if any at all and most this would have been their first ever taste of work. Can you imagine how that would have been? Being forced from what you know into that hot, dangerous and intimidating factory, where one false move could very well end your death, if your lucky you get basic training. In constant fear of the burners over heating and there being an explosion, of getting burnt daily. Then there are the long-term injuries such as back problems, hearing loss, eye sight problems. Shoulders, knees and hand problems where they would have been burnt and strained and in some cases psychological problems after experiencing accidents.
The work was hard, typical daily tasks would have included picking up the steel at one end while a colleague had held of the other end, they would then have to put the steel into the heat and hammer it. Another daily task was climbing 20ft ladders to use forklifts, so it was no good complaining about being scarred of heights, you just had to get on with it, and grin and bear it. The days long with only perhaps Sunday free, it was hard manual labour, if all that was bad enough then there was the ‘Canary Girls’ who worked with the chemicals inside the ammunition. Their skin would turn yellow because of being in constant exposure of chemicals, they would get ill and they were in constant fear that the chemicals they were handling daily could explode.
What is incredible though is that once the war was over and the men returned, they walked straight into the Steelworks, told the woman to go back to their own lives without so much as a Thanks or Well done. These women had gone above and beyond to keep the factory running and to keep those very men in ammunition and that was the thanks that they got. Go back home!
The men may not have given these incredible women the respect and recognition that they deserved but we do. In Sheffield City Centre there is the proud and iconic Steel Statue, that is quite fitting called; The Women of Steel, which is in tribute to those inspirational women who did so much for us.
If you want to learn more about The Women of Steel then follow the Link http://www.sheffieldnewsroom.co.uk/tag/women-of-steel/
Below is just a few of the many ways that women were taking on so-called men’s work during WW2.
In early 1941, the Government Minister for Labour declared that ‘One million wives were wanted for war work” December 1941 the National Service Act was passed in Parliament, which included that all unmarried women aged 20 -30 were to be conscripted for war work, (The age was extended later to 19 -43). They had to either join the Armed Forces, work in a factory or work the land with the Woman’s Land Army
ATS : The Auxiliary Territorial Service.
The ATS was a branch of the British Army during WW2, all women between 17 and 43 could join, although they were barred from serving in battle. They took on the roles such as cooks, storekeepers, orderlies, drivers and postal workers. Later in the war as there was becoming a shortage in men, the women in the ATS became radar operators and anti-aircraft gun crew members.
WRNS : The Women’s Royal Navy Service.
At the beginning of the war, the women’s branch of the Royal Navy was seen as a way of freeing men who were in non-combatant roles, such as cooking and driving to fight. “Join the Wrens’ today and free a man to join the fleet.” Which is what a recruitment poster urged women to do. The Wrens’ went on to do very important and varied work such as code-breaking at Bletchley Park and operating radar equipment.
HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY!
We are nearly into 2017, so for the first time I am holding my own Top Books of the Year, but with my own twist. I have five Categories Best Hero, Heroine, Plot, Series and Book of the Year. This isn’t an oficial chart it’s just my opinions on what I have read this year, I would love to know what your favorite books have been and equally what you are looking forward to reading in the new year, so let’s begin. . .
Best Hero :
Rhys Winterborne, Marrying Winterborne by Lisa Kleypas.
A ruthless tycoon. . .
Savage ambition has brought common-born Rhys Winterborne vast wealth and success. In business and beyond, Rhys gets exactly what he wants. And from the moment he meets the shy, aristocratic Lady Helen Ravenel, he is determined to possess her. If he must take her virtue to ensure she marries him, so much the better . . .
A sheltered beauty
Helen has had little contact with the glittering, cynical world of London society. Yet Rhys’s determined seduction awakens an intense mutual passion. Helen’s gentle upbringing belies a stubborn conviction that only she can tame her unruly husband. As Rhys’s enemies conspire against them, Helen must trust him with her darkest secret. The risks are unthinkable . . . the reward, a lifetime of incomparable bliss. And it all begins with . . .
Marrying Mr. Winterborne
This is exactly what I have come to expect from the very talented Ms Kleypas, Rhys is the best hero I have come across for a very long time and I love the fact that his isn’t aristocracy, he is a blunt, rough around the edges hard-working man who has pulled hisself out of the gutter and become a successful self-made man. he isn’t afraid of hard work and he appreciates what life is like to be below the bread line and that for me is very refreshing, I do love a good down to earth, ordinary hero who we can all relate to and with Rhys we have just that. and he is just so damn gorgeous to boot. ~ Chicks Rogues and Scandals
Best Heroine :
Amelia Mansfield, The Discerning Gentleman’s Guide by Virginia Heath.
Choosing a wife is not a task that should be undertaken lightly.
Bennett Montague, sixteenth Duke of Aveley, is seeking the perfect bride. He’s narrowed his search to five worthy “Potential”…until the arrival of his aunts companion unravels his carefully laid plan’s.
Having fought for everything she has, Amelia Mansfield is incensed by Bennett’s wife-selection method’s. But as she’s forced to spend time in his company, she begin’s to see another side to Bennett – and that man is infinitely more tantalizing and enticing…
Amelia, is the best heroine that I have come across for, ages, talk about rag’s to riches fairytale, well Cinderella has nothing on this girl. She know’s what’s it like to be not just on the bread line but miles below it, she is a tough cookie and from what she has had to go through in her short life so far it is not surprising, she went to hell and back and yet she still managers to be so sweet and lovely. but she doe’s have her flaws too she is so untrusting of the aristocracy, especially titled men, but that insecurity makes you warm to her the more, I just love the way she bring’s out the real Bennett, she shows him life from another perspective; something that he has never done in his life and because of her he does come in to his own ~ Chicks Rogues and Scandals.
Best Plot :
No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah McLean
A rogue ruined. . .
He is the Killer Duke, accused of murdering Mara Lowe on the eve of her wedding. With no memory of that fateful night. Temple has reigned over the darkest of London’s corners for twelve years, wealthy and powerful, but beyond redemption. Until one night, Mara resurfaces, offering the one thing he’s dreamed of. . .absolution.
A Lady returned. . .
Mara planned never to come back, but when her brother falls deep into dept at Temples exclusive casino, she has no choice but to offer Temple a trade: she will return to society and reveal the truth. . .that he is no killer.
A scandal revealed. . .
But the lady – and her past – are more than they seem. It will take every bit of Temple’s strength to resist the pull of this mysterious, maddening woman who seems willing to risk everything. . .even for true love.
Twelve years earlier the young William Harrow, heir to the Dukedom met a tantalizing and beautiful girl, a girl with magical odd eyes, he fell in love with her there and then. The next day he woke in his to be step mothers bed, with no memory and in a pool of blood and he was accused of murdering her. After fleeing to London he was rescued by an elusive person named Chase who ran a gambling hell called The Fallen Angel, where he changed from suspected murderer to the towering Temple. Now all those years later Mara Lowe the very women that he was supposed to have murdered turns up, completely and utterly alive and wanting help from the very man who was accused of murdering her all those years ago. ~ Chicks Rogues and Scandals.
Best Series :
Maiden Lane by Elizabeth Hoyt
There was really no other choice for this category, Maiden Lane is by far the best Series out there, Elizabeth Hoyt just keeps spittting out book after book which contain the most amazing plots and charactand. This is one series that I will never tire off.
The Maiden Lane Series is just breathtaking no matter which book or character is your favorite, no matter what a person usually read this series has something for all Historical Romance reader’s and by far the best thing that Elizabeth Hoyt has done, I can’t wait for the next one. . . ~ Chicks Rogues and Scandals.
Book of the Year :
The Saxon Outlaws Revenge by Elisabeth Hobbes.
This was by far the most difficult decision I had to make, I have read so many brilliant books this year, but this in particular did stick with me. The entirety of this book is just perfection.
At the mercy of her enemy!
Abducted by Saxon outlaws, Constance Arnaud comes face to face with Aelric, a Saxon boy she once loved. He’s now her enemy, but Constance must reach out to this rebel and persuade him to save her life as she once saved his. . .
Aelric is determined to seek vengeance on the Normans who destroyed his family. Believing Constance deserted him, he can never trust her again. Yet, as they are thrown together and their longing for each other reignites, will Aelric discover that love is stronger than revenge?
My goodness how much do I like this? I haven’t read a Historical Romance from this period before, for some reason I just never thought about trying a Medieval Romance, how wrong I was. This is just so unbelievably good. The story is incredible Constance and Aelric are on opposites sides Constance is a Norman and Aelric a Saxon, both are supposed to hate each other and yet deep down they are soul mates. This reminds me so much of Tristan and Isolde, which is one of the most romantic stories ever, two love bird’s stuck in the centre of two warring clan’s, separated by who and what they are. ~ Chicks Rogues and Scandals.
Before I started Chicks Rogues and Scandals, I never really understand just how important reviewers are to an author, or that they could have these great relationship’s all based on a common joy. Reading. I had just taken those quotes in the front of a book for granted and I was, I will admit it ignorant to all the hard work that an author goes through to get their work out there.
That’s sound’s pretty shameful doesn’t it? After all the book’s I read and I never saw the importance of a reviewer, even once I started blogging and I posted review’s of my own it still didn’t register how important honest reviewers are to an author, I had started Chicks Rogues and Scandals for the sole purpose of putting out my thoughts and opinions and to encourage more people to read. Then came the day when I was approached by my first author, asking if I wanted to exclusively read their work in return for an honest review. I was ecstatic, I couldn’t believe it that this brilliant person wanted me, a novice at all this reviewing lark to review their work. You cannot believe how thrilled I was, it felt like a real achievement and I will say that I was pretty giddy for days.
Well I did the review, I sent it back and I sat there on tenter hook’s wondering what they will think of what I have said about their work? Was I too opinionated? Did I put enough into my review? or was my review too long and drawn out? and then I got a reply and the author couldn’t have been more kind, they were thrilled by what I had written, but it wasn’t until I saw their promotional tweet’s and post’s that they had used a quote from my review.
My review was quoted and used as promotion for this great book, that was just an incredible moment for me and I will admit that I have started a scrapbook which, contains those promotions with my quotes. Is that odd? If it is I don’t care, I felt really proud of myself in that moment and I still do every time I get a request for another review.
For me it was in that moment, on that first requested review that it finally dawned on me just how important each is to the other. The author thrives on those honest thoughts and opinions from the reviewer, and the reviewer (In my opinion) is just doing what they love, which is reading. If I was an author, which obviously I’m not, I would respect the reviewer if they were totally honest and didn’t just write what they think I would want to hear, and wrote exactly what they thought about my work. So that is what I try to do, I always put exactly what I think in the review, if there is something that I don’t like then I will add it, as polite as I am I always try to do that as respectfully as possible because I just hate being rude about another person’s livelihood.
So there we have it, my “I have seen the light” moment, since that first author approached me and asked me to review their work, I have approached by so many wonderful people – it stills makes me giddy that these brilliant people ask me – it is so amazing and I have gained brilliant relationship’s with them all. Now finally I understand that special friendship between author and reviewer, having got first hand experience and I feel very honored that I can say I have it too.