Book Giveaway

#BlogTour | The Woman In The Green Dress by Tea Cooper #TheWomanInTheGreenDress #Review #HFVBTBlogTours @TeaCooper1 @HFVBT

Posted on Updated on

Hello, Sunshines! I have the massive pleasure to be today’s stop on this fabulous blog tour for; The Woman in the Green Dress by Tea Cooper. I am super excited to be sharing my review of this amazing book with you all, I hope you all love the sound of it as much as I do, plus if you are in the US there is a chance for you to win a copy of this brilliant book, do check it out!

The Woman in the Green Dress by Tea Cooper

Publication Date: June 16, 2020
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Format: Paperback, eBook, & AudioBook

Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery

 

 

A cursed opal, a gnarled family tree, and a sinister woman in a green dress emerge in the aftermath of World War I.

After a whirlwind romance, London teashop waitress Fleur Richards can’t wait for her new husband, Hugh, to return from the Great War. But when word of his death arrives on Armistice Day, Fleur learns he has left her a sizable family fortune. Refusing to accept the inheritance, she heads to his beloved home country of Australia in search of the relatives who deserve it more.

In spite of her reluctance, she soon finds herself the sole owner of a remote farm and a dilapidated curio shop full of long-forgotten artifacts, remarkable preserved creatures, and a mystery that began more than sixty-five years ago. With the help of Kip, a repatriated soldier dealing with the sobering aftereffects of war, Fleur finds herself unable to resist pulling on the threads of the past. What she finds is a shocking story surrounding an opal and a woman in a green dress. . . a story that, nevertheless, offers hope and healing for the future.

This romantic mystery from award-winning Australian novelist Tea Cooper will keep readers guessing until the astonishing conclusion.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound | Kobo

***

Praise

“Readers of Kate Morton and Beatriz Williams will be dazzled. The Woman in the Green Dress spins readers into an evocative world of mystery and romance in this deeply researched book by Tea Cooper. There is a Dickensian flair to Cooper’s carefully constructed world of lost inheritances and found treasures as two indomitable women stretched across centuries work to reconcile their pasts while reclaiming love, identity and belonging against two richly moving historical settings. As soon as you turn the last page you want to start again just to see how every last thread is sewn in anticipation of its thrilling conclusion. One of the most intelligent, visceral and vibrant historical reads I have had the privilege of visiting in an age.” —Rachel McMillan, author of The London Restoration

“Refreshing and unique, The Woman in the Green Dress sweeps you across the wild lands of Australia in a thrilling whirl of mystery, romance, and danger. This magical tale weaves together two storylines with a heart-pounding finish that is drop-dead gorgeous.” —J’nell Ciesielski, author of The Socialite

***

How much do I love this book??

Honestly, I can’t even put into words just how amazing this book is, everything that I love about historical fiction is here, ((she says pointing furiously at the book)) not only has it two of the most engaging, strong and defiant female characters, whose both stories will captivate and you will become fully absorbed into each of these two fine women’s worlds.

This is a beautiful, richly textured, atmospheric and mesmerizing story which not only has two amazing women who are traversing their way through uncertain times. I have always been a big fan of strong and detailed history and this does not disappoint, each and every scene is so vivid, the story entwines clear and passionate history with mystery and emotion, it swirls around the reader like a magical and easily some of the best I’ve read.

Opening in London 1918, that long and bloody war is over, Fleur is waiting for news on her husband; Hugh, but on Armistice Day she gets the worst news any person can receive. Her beloved Hugh is gone and she has been left a huge inheritance in his native Australia, Fleur doesn’t want it she only wants her husband, it’s heartbreaking to read at times. She diced to travel to Australia, find Hugh’s family and hand over the inheritance she believes that they deserve far more than her, but once there I think a little of her broken heart starts to breathe life again and she is soon in the midst of a huge mystery, a secret and a mysterious woman in a green dress…but who is she?

Moving side by side with Fleurs story is one set back in 1853 and revolves around Della a gusty woman who dips her toes into the world of Opal hunting and shop owning but there are odd things happening and Della must tread carefully. As much as I loved Della and how pioneering she is forging away in a man’s world, but I was more drawn to Fleur her story is sad and memorable and really grasped hold of my heart.

I haven’t read any of Tea Cooper’s work before, something which I am planning on remedying as soon as possible, I am in awe of her writing, her knowledge and passion for her native Australia, she has a real flare with words which really captures the readers imagination and attention. Tea Cooper is certainly a skilled and articulate writer with a great mind for knowing exactly what her readers want. The way she has flawlessly intertwined Fleur’s story in 1918 with Della’s story in 1853 is a stroke of genius and I just may be ruined me for all other duel timeline books now.

Overall, this is a cleverly written, beautiful and captivating book, I cannot recommend it more if you love your historical fiction which has drama, a little romance, strong female character’s, mystery and a intriguing plot then this is the book you need to read!

***

About the Author

Téa Cooper is an award-winning, bestselling author of Australian historical fiction. In a past life she was a teacher, a journalist and a farmer. These days she haunts museums and indulges her passion for storytelling.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

***

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, June 16
Review at Bitch Bookshelf

Wednesday, June 17
Review at McCombs on Main
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books
Interview at The Caffeinated Bibliophile

Thursday, June 18
Review at Passages to the Past

Friday, June 19
Review at The Lit Bitch
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Saturday, June 20
Feature at What Is That Book About

Monday, June 22
Review at Captivated Pages
Review at Books and Backroads

Tuesday, June 23
Interview at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, June 24
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Friday, June 26
Review at View from the Birdhouse
Review at Books, Writings, and More

Saturday, June 27
Review at A Darn Good Read

Sunday, June 28
Review at Rejoice in Reading

Monday, June 29
Feature at I’m All About Books
Review at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Tuesday, June 30
Interview at Jorie Loves A Story

***

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away 5 paperback copies of The Woman in the Green Dress! To enter, please use the Gleam form here – Woman in the Green Dress

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on June 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

 

#BookBlast | Out of Night by Kellie Butler #OutOfNight #TheLaurelHurstChronicles #HFVBTBlogTours @kellierbutler @HFVBT

Posted on

Hello, Sunshines! I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on the book blast tour for; Out of Night by Kellie Butler. This book looks fabulous, I am super excited to be sharing it with you all, plus there is a chance for you to win a signed copy, definitely not one to miss. I hope you love it as much as I do!

Out of Night by Kellie Butler

Publication Date: June 24, 2020
Publisher: Raleigh Hills Press
Format: Paperback & eBook; 328 pages

Series: The Laurelhurst Chronicles, Book 4
Genre: Historical Fiction

 

 

How long can you run from yourself?

1968. In the continuing bestselling Laurelhurst Chronicles family saga series comes a gripping, moving tale of separation, self-discovery, new beginnings, and reconciliation.

Kate. A mainstay on Swinging London’s party circuit for years, Kate is plunged into a sordid world when Lord Elliott Cutterworth kicks her out of her home and takes custody of their daughter, Violet after she relapses on her journey to sobriety. Separated from her family, she’s determined to get clean and regain custody of her daughter. On the run from Elliott and her old life, she finds assistance in her reluctant brother-in-law, Edward Cavert, who is running away from some secrets of his own. Can she reconcile her past and face down Elliott?

Lydie. When her youngest son, Cole, is institutionalized from intellectual impairments, it sends Lydie into a downward spiral, and her once loving marriage is in jeopardy.

After botched treatments leave her memory in tatters, her husband, Henry, sends Lydie to Kansas, and to the one psychiatric hospital that can help her restore her memory and her sanity. There, Lydie meets new friends while reconnecting with a childhood friend, Lord Christopher “Kit” Alderley. As she puts the pieces of her life back together, can she finally leave the haunting memories from her youth in Lancashire behind her and reconcile with her brother and her husband?

Available on Amazon


***

Giveaway

Win a copy of the book (paperback or eBook) and a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Click the photo below to enter.

Giveaway ends on June 29th.


***

About the Author

Kellie Butler is the author of Beneath a Moonless Sky, Before the Flood, and The Broken Tree, all part of the bestselling The Laurelhurst Chronicles series.

Born in the deep south and educated at Mississippi State University and Louisiana State University, she has travelled and lived around the globe. Besides writing books, she enjoys knitting, yoga, cooking, hiking, classical film, her MSU Bulldogs, and her dog, Chippy. She lives in Arizona with her family.

She enjoys hearing from readers. To connect with her, visit her website www.kellierbutler.com to join her newsletter, connect with her on social media, and receive updated news on signings and events.

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

***

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, June 22
Passages to the Past

Tuesday, June 23
Reading is My Remedy

Wednesday, June 24
SplendeurCaisse
Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Thursday, June 25
Pursuing Stacie

Friday, June 26
Donna’s Book Blog

Saturday, June 27
CelticLady’s Reviews

Sunday, June 28
History From a Woman’s Perspective

Monday, June 29
The Book Junkie Reads

 

#Review | The Rebel Heiress And The Knight by Melissa Oliver #TheRebelHeiressAndTheknight #BookGiveaway @melissaoauthor @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks

Posted on

Hello, Sunshines, I have the massive pleasure to be sharing my review of this amazing book with you all today; the Rebel Heiress and the Knight by Melissa Oliver, plus I have an exclusive two-book giveaway which I hope everyone will enter and share. For all of you medieval romance lovers out there, I know you will love this one as much as I do.

The Rebel Heiress and the Knight by Melissa Oliver

Genre: Historical, Medieval Romance / Publisher: Mills and Boon, Harlequin / Release: 1st July 2020

She must marry the knight

By order of the king!

Widow Eleanor of Tallany Castle knows her people are broken by the taxes demanded by King John. So when she’s ordered to marry Hugh de Villiers, a knight loyal to the king, she’s furious—even if he is handsome!

As gallant Hugh begins to heal the scars of Eleanor’s abusive first marriage, she’s even more determined to keep her secret: she is the outlaw the king wants to send to the gallows!

Goodreads / Amazon 

***

I have been so excited about this book, from the moment I saw the beautiful cover I knew that this was a book which I not only need to read but one which I would love and happily re-read for many years to come. Yes, I did get all that from the cover, which just goes to show that the old adage of ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ isn’t always correct!

This is one of my whole time favourite tropes; Enemies to Lovers, and easily right up there with the best, if you love the greatness of Elisabeth Hobbes and Nicole Locke, then this is the book you absolutely need to read. Eleanor and Hugh are an amazing couple, there is a lot of animosity between them in the beginning, especially from Eleanor, but once you get to know her and her past you totally understand her feelings toward the other sex, especially when she is forced to marry them – no matter how disarmingly charming and charismatic he may be. Our Eleanor has been through the mill with her previous marriage, she has suffered and had her own trauma’s but when she was widowed she had the freedom to actually be able to live and be happy.

Eleanor is a proud, feisty, caring and loyal woman who sees what is happening within the country and she doesn’t like it, she has this pretty ruthless side that will do all in her power to help – even if the one she has sided with isn’t that of the King…and her new husband!

So when a whole troop of the King’s fiercest Knights, led by the bravest, hardest of them all, turn up with a missive that will change her life, she is not happy, but she is stubborn and resilient enough to give as good as she gets. She has a viperous intelligent tongue and she is not afraid to use it when necessary, even if it does get her in trouble at times for talking before thinking and for judging harshly before knowing a person, but there

Hugh would rather be with a sword in hand, with his men fighting a bloody and dangerous battle, than having to sweet talk a fire breathing woman to open the gates so he can deliver a message from his King. What he didn’t expect was to be forced to marry the very woman who looks at him as though he were the very devil, a woman he soon learns has far more secrets then he could expect. But no matter the circumstances of their union, or who she is and where her alliances lay he can’ help but feel the stirrings of lust, want and

How much do I love Hugh?

Oh, boy it feels as though this gallant, proud, stubborn, passionate, funny, clever and sexy as hell, green-eyed man, was written for me. For those who follow the blog will know that I go crazy for a green-eyed hero, and this gorgeous heartthrob and pin me with that emerald gaze then throw me over his huge shoulders anytime he wants…Gawd, he is fabulous, heroic, brave, strong, determined, handsome, gruff, brooding, sensual and yet he has a slight vulnerability in the fact he doesn’t trust women too much yet oddly enough for the times he does respect them…he really is wonderful…sigh, those green, green eyes!! Definitely an appropriate time for a #DoubleSwoon

This book is exquisite, there really is no other words for it. The story is a good old fashioned enemies to lovers with an edge, the story is original, the characters are brilliantly created with real depth which makes them memorable and hugely likeable. I love the attention to detail, even though this is very much character-driven each scene really showcases the era. I love Eleanor and Hugh, they really are the shining stars, their battle of wills, their wit and humour, their banter and their falling into passionate love is addictive and engaging.

This is one of the finest debuts I have read! Melissa Oliver is a rare jewel, her writing is a breath of fresh air she is a gift to the historical romance genre, I can guarantee that we are going to be witness to some great things from this wonderful lady.

The story takes the reader on a heart-stopping, passionate, exciting and at times mysterious journey, the writing is flawless; I cannot say one single negative thing about this; everything from the cover to the beautiful and mesmerizing words within is perfection.

Overall, a brilliant debut from an author who I know will have a long shining career!

This was an Arc copy via the author, which I voluntarily reviewed, thank you, Melissa. X

***

About the Author

Growing up in Richmond-upon- Thames, Melissa Oliver used to walk past the Harlequin Mills and Boon offices as a teen and wistfully sigh that one day her dream of writing for them would come true. Amazingly, it finally has and now she can bring all those stories onto the pages of her books. Melissa lives in south-west London with her gorgeous husband and equally gorgeous daughters, who share her passion for castles, palaces and all things historical.

You can keep up to date with Melissa on Twitter @melissaoauthor and Facebook @melissaoliverauthor

***

Giveaway

So you have read all about this amazing book, how would you like to win a copy for yourself?

We have two copies of The Rebel Heiress and the Knight up for grab’s, to be in for a chance to winning just answer the question below.

Who is your favourite Knight?

(This can be from Film, TV, Book or even real life, it’s entirely down to you)

You have four ways to enter; either comment below, on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. You are more than welcome to comment on all which would be four entries and don’t forget to share the social media posts which would count as extra entries.

Terms and Conditions.

  1. Open Internationally.
  2. Only comments on the specified posts will be counted.
  3. Giveaway closes 28th June 2020, 10pm GMT.
  4. You must be 18 years, or older to enter.
  5. Two winners will be drawn, one book each, winner’s will have 48 hours to claim the prize or a new winner will be chosen.

#BlogTour | Of Darkness And Light (Soli Hansen Mysteries #1) by Heidi Eljarbo #OfDarknessAndLight #Review #HFVBTBlogTours @HeidiEljarbo @hfvbt

Posted on

Hello, Sunshines, I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this amazing blog tour for; Of Darkness and Light by Heidi Eljarbo, and I am super excited to be sharing my review of this brilliant book with you all. I hope you love it as much as I do!

Of Darkness and Light by Heidi Eljarbo

Publication Date: May 12, 2020

Series: Soli Hansen Mysteries, #1
Genre: Historical Mystery

 

 

In this first book of a new historical mystery series, a young art historian faces a tough choice in German-occupied Norway.

“Artful prose and at a pace that makes for a can’t-put-down, first-class literary voyage.”–Melissa Dalton-Bradford, bestselling author of Global Mom

Oslo, 1944. Soli Hansen’s passion for art history is and always has been a way of life for her. While she spends her days working in an art shop, WWII is taking its toll on everyone. Apprehensive of the consequences, Soli avoids becoming entangled in the war resistance efforts. She closes her eyes in hopes the enemy will retreat and leave her beautiful country for good.

But when a woman is found dead in the alley alongside the art shop and a painting from the last auction goes missing, Soli is thrown into the thickest of the fray involving both Nazi art theft and the Norwegian resistance.

Once Soli finds her courage, there’s no turning back. Her personal life is turned upside-down with danger, lies, spying, and an incredible discovery.

In this dual timeline novel, Heidi Eljarbo paints a vivid picture of what people are willing to do in desperate times. With unforgettable characters and rich historical details, Of Darkness and Light will keep the reader mesmerized until the last satisfying page.

Perfect for fans of Kate Morton, Lucinda Riley, Katherine Neville, and Kate Mosse.

Available on Amazon

***

Praise for Of Darkness and Light

“Interspersing love, hope, and courage, the participants are drawn together in mysterious paths.“Pauline Isaksen, bestselling author of Dying for Justice

“Of Darkness and Light will reel you in and keep you hooked until the end.“ Mette Barfelt, bestselling author of The Solvik Series

***

Full confession time, before reading this I had never read any of Heidi Eljarbo’s work before, even though I have read some really great things, this is the first and I am so pleased that I got the opportunity to be introduced to this hugely talented author’s work, through this incredible book, plus start a whole new series in the process. I can’t wait to read more from Heidi and judging by this beauty this series is going to be a corker!

I loved the sound of this book from the start, I was completely hooked and intrigued by the back blurb and the fact it was likened to one of my whole time favourite historical fiction/timeslip authors; Kate Mosse and I knew that I needed to read this book, and I am so happy to say that I was no disappointed.

I am a big fan of the ww2 era, I think everyone knows about how the Nazi’s used to steal precious art as they moved around and I am fascinated by the people who were trying to stop that from happening and by the people who were trying to retrieve the stolen art and return it. Once you start reading more about that aspect it is hugely fascinating and it is apart of history that still is relevant today as there are thousands upon thousands of stolen pieces of art that were never recovered. But what I wasn’t aware of was Norway’s involvement in the war and its history, and this book really captures all of that and makes the reader want to learn more about Norway’s long and intriguing past.

This is a split timeline novel, the majority is set during 1944, Norway and then at times we jump even further back with a glimpse into Malta; 1600. I am a fan of the split/dual timeline and this is brilliantly crafted. Each timeline is vivid and rich in detail and history, the story doesn’t jump and leap about making it difficult to follow but it flows smoothly, the move from 1944 to 1600 and back again is flawlessly done. My particular favourite part has to be the part set in 1944, there is just something about that era and that aspect of the story that really captures the attention.

Heidi Eljarbo has a brilliant way with words, her writing is engaging and illuminating, every scene leaps out at you and you become full drawn into the story.

I loved that this isn’t your stereotypical WW2 novel, yes there is danger, secrets, lies and the resistance hiding in the shadows, but with the addition of a murder mystery and brief leap back in time to the 1600s then this becomes a real feast for the senses.

Overall a brilliant introduction into this fine authors work, I loved it and I cannot wait to see what comes next in this brilliant new series.

***

About the Author

Heidi Eljarbo is the bestselling author of Catching a Witch. She grew up in a home filled with books and artwork and she never truly imagined she would do anything other than write and paint. She studied art, languages, and history, all of which have come in handy when working as an author, magazine journalist, and painter.

After living in Canada, six US states, Japan, Switzerland, and Austria, Heidi now calls Norway home. She and her husband have a total of nine children, thirteen grandchildren–so far–in addition to a bouncy Wheaten Terrier.

Their favourite retreat is a mountain cabin, where they hike in the summertime and ski the vast, white terrain during winter. Heidi’s favourites are family, God’s beautiful nature, and the word whimsical.

If you would like to know more, please visit Heidi’s website. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

***

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, May 12
Review at Passages to the Past

Thursday, May 14
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Friday, May 15
Feature at What Is That Book About

Monday, May 18
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Tuesday, May 19
Feature at Reading is My Remedy

Thursday, May 21
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Friday, May 22
Feature at Hopewell’s Public Library of Life

Monday, May 25
Review at Foals, Fiction, and Filligree

Tuesday, May 26
Feature at Books and Backroads

Thursday, May 28
Feature at Bookworlder

Monday, June 1
Review at History + Fiction + Adirondack Spirit

Tuesday, June 2
Interview at Jorie Loves A Story

Wednesday, June 3
Review at Jessica Belmont
Review at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

***

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away one copy of Of Darkness and Light in paperback! To enter, please use the Gleam form here – Of Darkness and Light

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on June 3rd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

 

#BlogTour | the Night Is Done by Sheila Myers #TheNightIsDone #GuestPost #Giveaway #HFVBTBlogTours @hfvbt

Posted on

Hello Sunshines, I hope you are all safe and well?! I have an epic post for you all today, I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this amazing blog tour for: The Night Is Done by Sheila Myers. Not only will I be sharing this gorgeous book with you all, but I have a wonderful guest post by Sheila which is a brilliant read, and there is a chance to win a copy of The Night is Done. As always grab that cuppa and enjoy!

The Night is Done by Sheila Myers

Publication Date: August 11, 2017
Format: eBook & Paperback; 260 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: Durant Family Saga, Book Three

 

 

William and Ella Durant, heirs to a bygone fortune, are recounting the events that led to the Durant family downfall during the Gilded Age. In 1931 William returns to visit the estate he once possessed in the Adirondacks to speak with the current owner, copper magnate Harold Hochschild, who is writing a history of the region and wants to include a biography of William. Simultaneously, Ella is visiting with an old family friend and former lover, Poultney Bigelow, journalist with Harpers Magazine, who talks her into telling her own story. William recounts the height of his glory, after his father’s death in 1885 when he takes control of the Adirondack railroad assets, travels the world in his yacht and dines with future kings. However, his fortune takes a turn during the Financial Panic of 1893 and amid accusations of adultery and cruelty. Ella’s tale begins when she returned from living abroad to launch a lawsuit against her brother for her fair share of the Durant inheritance. The court provides a stage for the siblings to tear each other’s reputation apart: William for his devious business practices and failure to steward the Durant land holdings, and Ella for her unconventional lifestyle. Based on actual events, and historic figures, The Night is Done is a tale about the life-altering power of revenge, greed and passion.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound | Draft2Digital

***

Praise

“Myers writes with skill and has chosen well in deeply researching the Durant saga, which remarkably parallels Greek tragedy. It’s a truly engrossing story, and Myers does it justice.” – Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

“Myers satisfyingly concludes her historical trilogy set in the Gilded Age by presenting the detailed downfall of ruthless real estate mogul William West Durant; his exasperated wife, Janet; and his estranged sister, Ella. In 1931, the penniless Durant recounts his tragic life. After inheriting his father’s vast wealth and interest in the Adirondack Railroad, William immediately begins to make bad investments. He squanders money on yachts, panders to princes, and builds mansions he can’t afford to run, all while hiding assets from Ella. She sues him for her rightful inheritance and tries to overcome discrimination to become a novelist. Meanwhile, Janet, verbally abused and infantilized by William, begins an affair with her doctor. Myers expertly depicts a precarious era soaked in vicious gossip, stained reputations, and ostentatiousness. Readers will enjoy the historical details that bring this Gilded Age soap opera to life.” – Publishers Weekly

“While the covers of Myers’s trilogy are done in subdued pastels, the pages inside flash with forbidden romance and a family torn apart by greed.” – Betsy Keepes, The Adirondack Explorer

“The trilogy of the Durant family is capped by the fascinating final volume, The Night is Done. In a vein of nostalgia, the story ends in William West Durant’s last years and closes out a saga of tragic proportions as the vast Durant wealth and privilege is reduced to impoverished circumstances.” – Harvey H. Kaiser, author, Great Camps of the Adirondacks

“The builders of the first “Great Camps,” the Durant family defined the Adirondack experience during the Gilded Age. Sheila Myer’s trilogy of novels chronicling their saga combines great historical research with compelling writing. The Night is Done is the capstone novel of the saga and takes the story to the end of the Durant fortune where bankruptcy and retribution dominate the family’s relations. The book is a great read for those interested in American history or the Durants.” – Garet D. Livermore, Exec Director, Sagamore Institute of the Adirondacks

***

Guest Post

Doc Durant and Hell from Hell on Wheels by Sheila Myers

Doctor Thomas C. Durant (Doc Durant)

Doctor Thomas C. Durant (Doc Durant), one of the men who forged the Transcontinental Railroad in the 1860s, is a colorful historical figure. Newspaper accounts and diaries left behind by men who knew him describe him as ferocious looking, tall, dark, and patrician. Although he had trained as a doctor, he eventually turned to business. His specialty, like many tycoons of the time, was in trade and rail. It is no wonder that AMC made a television series about these men called Hell on Wheels.

Durant was a complex man who had many admirers and just as many who both feared and loathed him. He had frequent run-ins with the workers on the Union Pacific, mostly Irish immigrants, who often threatened to strike if they were not paid on time. He was reviled by colleagues, some of whom left the company in protest, others who got him kicked off the Union Pacific Board after the line was finished in 1869. And he made enemies of his rivals, especially Collis P. Huntington, who was head of the Central Pacific Railroad. Both men were competing for government funds based on the miles of track laid.

Collis P. Huntington,

Like Huntington, Doc Durant knew how to influence people that mattered, persuading members of Congress and others to invest in the Transcontinental and Union Pacific. In 1866 he orchestrated a large gathering of dignitaries and newsmen at the 100th Meridian in Nebraska to showcase the accomplishments of the Union Pacific. In his grand style, Doc Durant managed to pull off an enormous publicity stunt. The guests were brought in by rail, set up in encampments on the plains, fed and entertained. Durant paid the Pawnee Indians to put on a mock show of attacking the railroad and fighting the Sioux.

His lavish spending back home in New York was also legendary. A biographical piece in the New York Tribune in 1869 reports he frequently entertained people on his yacht Idler at the New York Yacht Club.

I have seen him entertain a party of ladies and gentlemen upon it, for the entire forenoon as if he had not a care in the world beyond the comfort of his guests. And at one o’clock say nonchalantly: “Well good-bye, I must go ashore. I have a million dollars to pay before three o’clock. Have your sail out and don’t return until you are ready.”  

The Tribune had other flattering things to say about Doc Durant, including that he worked as hard as a galley slave.

 There were times he could not have told whether the next turn of the wheel would make him or lose him a million dollars but the great work never flagged. 

When the Transcontinental Railroad was officially complete with the joining of Central Pacific and Union Pacific lines at Promontory Summit, Utah in 1869, Durant turned his attention east where he owned a substantial amount of land. In the 1860s forests cut over and abandoned by lumber companies in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State were being sold off at tax sales for a mere five cents an acre. Durant instructed his lawyers to attend the sales and managed to accumulate over ½ million acres. The land was tax free as long as Durant promised to build a railroad and make infrastructure improvements. But by the financial panic of 1873, an economic depression left Durant land rich and cash poor, and he was having a hard time finding investors.

He had other problems as well. In 1872 it came to light that while building the Transcontinental, Durant had set up a contracting firm called Crédit Mobilier to handle the construction, putting himself and his cronies in charge. Government investigators claimed that his company had over-charged the U.S. Government millions of dollars for building the Transcontinental. He somehow escaped prosecution but his reputation was severely tarnished.

William and Thomas Durant, Circa 1884

When he finally called his family home from England to attend to business in the States, his son, William, who had never had to deal with his father’s tyranny growing up, was suddenly in his shadow. William recalls his father as autocratic and hard to work for, as the two attempted to build a railroad empire that would take people from New York City into the Adirondack interior and on to Canada.

They were successful in bringing a line from Saratoga to North Creek, NY but never to Canada and when Doc Durant died in 1885 he left his family without a will and creditors looking for their pay-out. There were several lawsuits against Doc Durant from former investors in both the Transcontinental and Adirondack Railway Company. William was left to unravel his father’s unscrupulous and tangled financial dealings as well as a railroad company in disrepair and major debt.

What the Adirondack Railway Company did have however was land, and lots of it. It was around this time that Collis P. Huntington, befriended his old enemy’s son, becoming a board member of the Adirondack Railway Company. His business acumen and advice must have been welcomed by William who never questioned Huntington’s motives. Using questionable business practices that would have made his father proud, William managed to sell off the Railway Company but keep most of the land. Ironically, Huntington’s influence over William may have led to his undoing. But in the end, it was William’s sister Ella who sued William for an accounting of the family fortune and brought to public light the family legacy of unscrupulous business dealings.

Find out more about the fictional lives of the Durants in the Durant Family Saga by Sheila Myers.

***

About the Author

Sheila Myers is a Professor in Upstate New York and an award-winning author of four novels. When she’s not teaching, she spends her spare time writing and enjoying the outdoors. Her essays and short stories have appeared in the Adirondack Life Magazine, History News Network, Crossing Genres, and Women Writers Women’s Books blog.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

***

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, April 20
Review at Passages to the Past

Thursday, April 23
Feature at I’m Into Books

Monday, April 27
Guest Post at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Wednesday, April 29
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Friday, May 1
Review at History + Fiction + Adirondack Spirit

Monday, May 4
Interview at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, May 6
Review at Books and Zebras

***

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away 6 signed copies of The Night is Done! To enter, please use the Gleam form here – The Night is Done

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on May 6th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to the US & UK only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

 

#BlogTour | Josephine: Singer Soldier Dancer Spy by Eilidh McGinness #JosephineSingerSoldierDancerSpy #Feature #HFVBTBlogTours @eilidhmcginness @hfvbt

Posted on Updated on

Hello Sunshines! I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this brilliant blog tour, for Josephine: Singer Soldier Dancer Spy by Eilidh McGinness. Not only will I be telling you all about this wonderful book, but there is a chance for you all to win a copy too, as always sit back grab that cuppa and enjoy.

Josephine: Singer Soldier Dancer Spy by Eilidh McGinness

Publication Date: December 1, 2019
Format: eBook & Paperback

Genre: Historical Fiction

 

 

Josephine Baker is born into poverty in racially segregated America. Desperate to escape she flees to France where she embraces the hedonistic lifestyle on offer for those who dare, in the Paris of the Roaring Twenties.

Hitler’s rise to power in Germany forces her to face her true self. Determined to protect the Liberty Equality and Fraternity she has found in France, she becomes an ‘honorable correspondent’ for the French Secret Service. So, beginning a journey which will take her from the Red Cross Shelters in Paris to the cruel deserts of North Africa. She will find love and enduring friendship but she must also face dangers which will threaten not only her life but all she holds dear…..Can she find the courage to fight for what she believes in….no matter what the cost?

Available on Amazon

***

About the Author

Eilidh was born and brought up in the Highlands of Scotland. She studied law at Aberdeen University. She practiced as a lawyer for twelve years, latterly specializing in criminal defense. Eilidh then moved to South West France with her then husband and four children. She established an independent estate agency business which she ran for twelve years before concentrating on writing- a long held dream. Eilidh has always been fascinated by history and ordinary people who achieve extraordinary things.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

***

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 30
Review at Books and Zebras

Thursday, January 2
Review at Liberty’s Literary Loves

Friday, January 3
Feature at Comet Readings

Monday, January 6
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Tuesday, January 7
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Wednesday, January 8
Review at Reader then Blogger

Thursday, January 9
Feature at Just One More Chapter

Saturday, January 11
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, January 13
Feature at I’m All About Books

Tuesday, January 14
Feature at BookNook 2020

Wednesday, January 15
Review at Passages to the Past

Thursday, January 16
Interview at Passages to the Past

Friday, January 17
Feature at View from the Birdhouse

Saturday, January 18
Feature at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Sunday, January 19
Review at YA, It’s Lit

Monday, January 20
Review at Nursebookie

***

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of Josephine: Singer Soldier Dancer Spy! To enter, please use the Gleam form here – Josephine

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on January 20th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.


#GuestPost and #Review | Her Dark Knight’s Redemption (Lovers and Legends #8) by Nicole Locke #HerDarkKnightsRedemption #LoversandLegends #Giveaway @NicoleLockeNews @MillsandBoons @HarlequinBooks

Posted on

Hello Sunshines! Have I got an amazing, epic post for you all today, not only am I sharing my review of the brilliant Her Dark Knight’s Redemption (be prepared for waffle), but I also have an exclusive guest post by Nicole where she will be introducing us all to that brutishly handsome Knight himself, not only that but I have teamed up with Nicole to bring you the most amazing giveaway – really it’s a doozy and not to be missed! Honestly, I’m sure it’s not healthy to be this excited…So settle back, grab that cuppa and enjoy!

‘This man was shadow and night…
He was Darkness.’
Homeless Aliette is saved from punishment for stealing by a mysterious knight. This stranger informs her that to stay alive she must claim his child as her own. She should fear the knight’s power, and yet it’s clear there’s more good to this man than he’s prepared to show. Can she break down the barriers of the tortured knight she calls Darkness…?


Oh, my! Oh, my! Oh, my! Nicole Locke, you have out completely outdone yourself!! You have well and truly cemented yourself as the best Medieval Romance Author!! This is – well, I honestly don’t have the words to fully describe the wealth of emotion that is swimming through me at the moment. There are words that I could brandish about to describe just how extraordinarily good this book is; such as amazing, flawless, stunning, inspiring, beautiful, dark, delicious, deadly, gorgeous, sexy – Hmmm, I may have just described the delectable hero there! – but honestly, this is just too damn good, that my little brain can’t handle it. I am a wreck, I am a simmering cauldron of emotion!

I love how different this is from the other books in the series, it is far darker then what I have read before from Nicole, and the sexual chemistry between Aliette and Reynold is like sparks shooting from a blazing fire, it’s sizzlingly hot, there may not be a lot of bedroom action but the attraction between our couple is instant, the air crackles like thunder and lightening around them as they both are consumed with lust for the other. Every scene is full of heated glances and a tingling tension that even the reader can feel running down their backs and then there is this beautiful sweetness between them, times where he is human his love of reading and teaching her to read made me not only swoon but fall in love with him that little bit more.

Reynold – those who have been following this series may remember him from ‘The Knights Scarred Maiden’ and if you’re like me then you would have been avidly awaiting his story and oh my!! I cannot begin to express how much I adore this dangerously dark and deadly man, you know me I do love a bad boy especially one who not only needs to learn to love and trust but needs love to unfreeze his frozen heart…Sigh! Honestly, this lone wolf is a menace, how am I ever to look at another hero again? I am ruined, who wants a clean-shaven goody-two-shoes when there is a dark knight with a nice backside lurking in the shadows?

Hmmm, it seems my waffling and lurid thoughts have well and truly taken over this review, I have just realised that I haven’t actually said anything about the book…stop perving on Reynold and get on with the review!!!

Reynold is wealthy, powerful, manipulative, dangerous with a hunger for vengeance and blood, in some way another he has been playing deadly games with his enemies for as long as he can remember, a game that continues and one that he is determined to win whatever the costs – that is until a little surprise lands in his lap, in the form of a scrawny little girl by the name of Grace who the strange women who arrive with her claims is his, being the super cynical and menacing creature that he is, he has to stop himself from killing the old woman on the spot as he doesn’t trust or believe a word she says. But he soon learns the truth, and little Grace finds herself in the care of her broodingly handsome predator of a father. In the care of a man who has a hardened fragile heart and too many secrets and shadows.

Now he has Grace in his care, what is he going to do with her? His lifestyle of devilment and games isn’t the place for a baby, plus he knows that the moment anyone of his enemies finds out about her, she will be in huge danger – something that our cunning plotter will not hear of – especially if his family learn how quickly she has become his Achilles heel.

Oh, I have to mention that scene when Aliette meets him and he is holding Grace close to his well-formed chest…sigh that could melt any heart!

Our heroine Aliette is currently homeless, she is a really good young woman, she is resilient and a survivor. She has taken under her wing an elderly couple who have found themselves in difficulty and a young thief; Gabriel, the four of them have become a little family. Being abandoned by her birth family many years ago, Aliette knows more than most the importance of sticking together to survive. It is because of young Gabriel that puts Aliette into the sphere of our brutally gorgeous mastermind, she is taken from the street and thrust into the calculating gaze of Reynold. She is the answer to his problem of what to do with Grace, and he will damn well make sure that Aliette complies with his scheme.

Aliette can’t trust the seething cauldron of danger that is standing looking at her as though she were a piece of meat, she is unnerved by him and incredibly attune to her primal womanly feelings for him, she is instantly attracted to him but not enough to tell him who she is or anything about herself of her life, and especially not about her little family who depends on her. No matter how much she demands he release her he refuses instead offers her a pretty odd position in his household.

I won’t say too much, but throughout the book, we are kept on this constant dizzying will they open up to each other or won’t they, it is mesmerising and ….well too damn good!

As it says in the authors note, this is a turning in direction to the Lovers and Legends series, and I am really loving where this is going, and cannot wait for more especially mesmerizing mercenary Knight; Louvre, now he is a man that I really can’t wait to get to know – you know me I have a one-track mind and you all know that I was drawn to the rougher and rugged heroes, which explains why I was so taken with Reynold. But Louve, I feel will be different, he has that ferocious and dangerous side, But I think there is something else simmering beneath the surface.

I love the really dark and brooding feel of this book, like the hero it has a really different feel to it then the other’s in the series, it is a lot edgier then Nicole’s other work and I utterly love the new direction her writing and this series is going in. Anyone who knows me knows that more Gothic feel romances are my Achilles heel I love the brooding and the dangerous feeling that you really can only get from a well written Gothic, historical romance and this is easily the finest I have read. From that first chapter when we meet the darkness himself you know you are going to be in for a real deadly threat. Every page is like walking along a spiders web to get to the finale, to your Knight but along the way you are unsure if at any moment you are going to either fall to your doom or be captured by the spider in search of her dinner.

This will probably sound a wee bit odd, but at times I was so wrapped up in the story that I forgot I was reading a romance. Usually, you know that the characters are going to have their happily ever after, and all will be well once they have got past their own issues, but here the question of whether or not they would actually allow the other in was constant, it kept me glued. I was completely taken in with them, I loved getting to know Aliette and Reynold as individuals and as a couple, they are fabulous!

I think you may be able to guess how much I loved this book, I could keep whittling on and on about how amazing, seductive, tantalizing this book is, but I really don’t want to sound like a broken record, I’ll just finish with – Read This Book!!!

This was an Arc copy via the author, which I voluntarily reviewed, thank you, Nicole, massive apologies for how late this review is.

Her Dark Knight’s Redemption is available now, do go and grab a copy!

***

Link

***

Exclusive Guest Post

Top Ten Things About Reynold of Warstone by Nicole Locke

  1. He’s hot, and the writer who wrote about him couldn’t put it in the story often enough for her liking.
  2. He’s actually in three of the Lovers and Legends series, and she’s writing about him in her current novel as well…just to prove her point she thinks he’s hot.
  3. He’s a villain in pretty much all the stories whether the reader knows it or not. The entire series of #LoversandLegends has been a game to him. However, in Her Dark Knight, he gets to be a lover and a legend (lol).
  4. Reynold knows torture. Not only can he dish it out, but he’s got this really evil mother who likes her sons to prove their loyalty to her by holding their left hand over an open flame. This scar in his hand is why the heroine, Helissent, in The Knight’s Scarred Maiden thought she could talk some sense into him to not be so villainy (he’s scarred, she’s scarred…they could share). Of course, he wouldn’t bond with some gentle baker who lusted after his enemy, but can’t blame a woman for trying.
  5. He’s got three brothers. He’s glad one of them was killed (saved him the mess and made him wealthier). He’s making plans to kill the other two. After all, it’s them again him…and he’s far too arrogant to think anyone else deserves to live more than him.
  6. He speaks several languages and loves to read anything he can get his hands on. If he can’t find something, he has books commissioned for him. His favourite book is Tales of Odysseus. If asked, he’ll tell you he likes the adventures, but in truth, the part that intrigues him is Odysseus’ need to return to Penelope and Penelope’s devotion to Odysseus. His parents would kill each other if given the chance, but something of this tale makes him long for something other than the games he plays.
  7. He waits in shadows and darkness. It’s all part of his game so he can observe his next prey without being observed. It often surprises and unnerves people, but the writer thinks the habit is part of his charm.
  8. He’s really rich. He’s inherited a ton, stolen even more and he’s stashed the money all over England and France. Some of his cache is in Mei Solis, the home of Nicholas and Matilda from Reclaimed by the Knight. He spreads his coins around so that he’s never without in case his brothers’ back him in a corner.
  9. There truly was only ever going to be one heroine for a man like him: Aliette. She’s uneducated (but loves stories). Doesn’t have a family (so she’s adopted people..a little tidbit she keeps as a secret). Doesn’t have coin or food or truly any proper clothing. In fact, she lives on the streets. And one thing she cannot stand is waiting. Who has time for dilly dallying or games?
  10. So when Reynold captures Aliette and blackmails her to play his game? He doesn’t stand a chance of winning. Good thing he’s so cute.

***

About the Author

Nicole discovered her first romance novel in a closet, where her grandmother, the godmother in the romance black market, was hiding hundreds. Knowing her grandmother wouldn’t approve, Nicole hid in the closet to read them. It was only a matter of time before she was found out and given an offer she couldn’t refuse: enjoy them, but out in the living room please. Oh, and if she could go to the store and get a few more…. A few more? Nicole got two jobs.

Inexplicably, Nicole stopped reading romances (she blames her handsome university English professor, who she was trying and failing to impress). So she didn’t discover them again until, at work, where another black market book swap occurred. Instead of swapping for another forgettable book, Nicole chose a romance (which she still reads).

Needless to say, she didn’t return to work (good thing it was after 5:00 pm) and she didn’t immediately return home either. At that moment, she insists Etta James was singing “At Last”. It was only natural she’d start writing romances as well.

Currently, she lives in Seattle with her two completely opposite children, who if not for their birth certificates and their red hair, she’d argue they weren’t related, and her husband, who if not for his red hair, would have returned them.

Website / Twitter / Instagram / Goodreads / Facebook

***

Giveaway

I have the most amazing Giveaway for your all, Nicole has so generously donated a print copy of Her Dark Knights Redemption and a pair of Odyssey Book Earrings – which, I have a pair of these earrings and they are absolutely gorgeous – for one lucky winner!

How to Enter?

To be in for a chance of winning this amazing prize, then just tell me who your favourite Badboy/Lovable Rogue is (This can be from a book, tv or film) Mine is below, to some, it isn’t a surprise, as always pictures and gifs are welcome!

The giveaway is not only open here, but across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook too, same rules apply; just like the giveaway post and comment with your answer. (Each post you comment on is a separate entry, eg; If you comment here and on all the social media posts then that is four entries) Sharing is also hugely appreciated, but not mandatory.

Finally, Good Luck my Sunshines!

*T&C’s – Closing date is Wednesday 15th January at 9pm GMT, the winner will be chosen at random and will be announced shortly after, the winner will be contacted directly by myself whether that be by email or DM via Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. This Giveaway belongs to Chicks, Rogues and Scandals and it is not sponsored or endorsed. Giveaway Open Internationally.

#BlogTour : Listen To The Wind (The Orphans of Tolosa #1) by @Susanne_Dunlop #Review & #GuestPost #ListenToTheWind #TheOrphansOfTolosa @HFVTB

Posted on

Hello everyone! I have the great pleasure to be todays stop on this wonderful blog tour for; Listen To The Wind by Susanne Dunlap. Let me tell you that I have a mammoth post for you all today; Not only will I be sharing my review of this splendid book, I also have an exclusive guest post by Susanne for you all – and it is an amazing post and there is a chance to win a cop of Listen To The Wind. So without further ado, sit back and enjoy.

Listen to the Wind by Susanne Dunlap

Publication Date: April 22, 2019
Publisher: Bellastoria Press
Format: eBook & Paperback; 388 Pages

Series: The Orphans of Tolosa, Book 1
Genre: Historical Fiction/Medieval

 

 

Sent away from their families for their own protection when they were very young, Azemar and Azalaïs become separated when they are forced to flee from the band of outlaws who served as their supposed protectors. Armed only with scraps of memories and the wits and intelligence that have helped them survive brutal conditions, they struggle to find each other again and discover the mysterious past that links them across distance and time. Who are they? And do they hold the secret of the legendary Cathar treasure? All they know is that knights and monks spell danger, and they must find a way to survive at all costs if they are to fulfill their destiny—and preserve their vanishing culture.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound | Kobo

***

Guest Post by Susanne Dunlap

One of the best things about being a historical novelist is having the opportunity to delve deeply into a period and imagine the world as it was at that time. Perhaps that’s why, in order to put in the months (or years) of researching and writing a historical novel I have to become completely passionate about my subject and my characters—real or invented.

Most of my novels have taken place in the modern world, from the 17th-20th centuries. But something about the world of thirteenth-century Languedoc caught me and simply wouldn’t let me go.

It all started in grad school. I was studying music history at Yale University, working toward a PhD, and loving every minute of the research and writing. When in the medieval seminar I found out about the women troubadours (trobairitz) of Languedoc in the 12th and 13th centuries, I was utterly intrigued. Apparently all 20 of the trobairitz historians know of came from one small region of what is now southern France, but was then its own patchwork of political entities and its own culture. They didn’t even speak French, but spoke what is now referred to as Old Occitan, and was then sometimes referred to as Lemozin.

The troubadours and trobairitz wrote courtly poetry in very complex metrical forms. The subjects were love, of course, but in the case of the trobairitz, the love was decidedly earthly. They spoke of disappointments, of unrequited love, of friendship, and passion—where the men tended to go in a more esoteric direction, making the object of their love poetry the idea of a lady rather than an actual living, breathing, woman.

So, I thought, these women who weren’t afraid to be honest must have been strong, intelligent, educated, and imaginative. What’s not to like?

Very little is known about the real lives of the trobairitz, so I found myself creating characters and a story that integrated the poetry and music, and captured the volatility of the period. Because trobairitz came from the educated upper classes, Jordane de la Moux d’Aniort, daughter of a baron, is the trobairitiz in Listen to the Wind.

The Orphans of Tolosa trilogy (of which Listen to the Wind is book one) takes place as the culture of the region is being crushed by the inquisition, which not only sought to eradicate the Cathar heretics, but to impose the legal systems of northern France and subsume the region into the territories ruled by the King of France.

Although the region is now fully part of France, a modern version of the language is still spoken, and the descendants of those fiercely independent people cling to their cultural heritage. In recognition of this heritage, what used to be known as Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrenees is (as of 2016) now referred to as Occitanie, and if you visit there, you’ll see many street signs in both French and Occitan.

It is my hope that readers will not only be drawn into the adventures of the characters in Listen to the Wind, but also appreciate the culture that inspired the story.

More historical tidbits and a glossary of Old Occitan terms featured in the book is at https://orphansoftolosa.com.

***

Well, what can I say about this book? Thrilling, engaging, illuminating and brilliantly entwined with history and a wonderfully complex story. It takes you on a real adventure through 13th Centaury France, the colourful writing makes every scene so beautifully detailed and vivid you can see it playout like a film in your mind.

I haven’t read any of Susanne Dunlap’s work before, but after reading this – or should that be; devoured – I will definitely be reading more, her writing is so imaginative and atmospheric that you become completely lost in the story and before you know it you have whiled away a full afternoon.

The story opens with siblings; Azalais and Azemar who are living in a orphanage in Tolosa, they live a happy simple life roaming around the woods and surrounding area, making up games with the other orphans abuts knights in shining armour and damsels in distress. Everything in their life is good, that is until a illness spreads throughout the area and the people who were supposed to be protecting them soon turn on them and the other orphans, thinking it them that has caused all this illness and death. The children flee for their lives and in the melee Azalais and Azemar become separated, promising to meet up.

But, all doesn’t go to plan and what should have been a simple meet each other again in the next town turns into years of uncertainty and adventure for our two youngsters. What at first appears to be a very simple story of these two young people trying to forge their way through such hardships and attempting to find one and other again, you soon realise that this is far more then that. There is a ethereal and magical quality to the story, that is both surprising and addictive reading. We soon see that there is more to these two then meets the eyes, they have secrets buried within them that even they don’t know and even though once they have separated and when they try to find their feet they are more intricately entwined to one and other then originally thought.

So when they meet again years later, which is an amazing and gorgeous scene their shared past and destined future soon becomes clear.

This is an intriguing and complex story with lots of secrets and lies interwoven within the characters personal stories, it is charming, exciting and mesmerising. Ms Dunlap’s writing is wonderfully immersive and brilliantly atmospheric, there is a real starlight quality to this book which will grab any readers attention.

Definitely a must read, I cannot wait to see what comes next in this series.

This was a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review as apart of this blog tour, thank you Susanne and Amy.

***

About the Author

Susanne Dunlap is the author of six works of historical fiction. Two are for adults (Emilie’s Voice and Liszt’s Kiss, both published by Touchstone books of Simon & Schuster). Four are for young adults (The Musician’s Daughter, Anastasia’s Secret, In the Shadow of the Lamp, and The Academie, published by Bloomsbury). A graduate of Smith College with a PhD in Music History from Yale University, Susanne grew up in Buffalo, New York and has lived in London, Brooklyn and Northampton, MA. She now lives in Northampton with her long-time partner, Charles, has two grown daughters, three granddaughters, a grandson, a stepson and a stepdaughter, four step-grandsons and one step-granddaughter—that’s a total of four children and nine grandchildren!

In her spare time she cycles in the beautiful Pioneer Valley.

For more information, please visit The Orphans of Tolosa website. You can follow author Susanne Dunlap on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Instagram, Pinterest, and BookBub.

***

Blog Tour Schedule

Make sure you go back through the blog tour and check out all the blogs which have participated.

Monday, May 13
Review at Bibliophile Reviews

Tuesday, May 14
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Wednesday, May 15
Interview at Passages to the Past

Thursday, May 16
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Friday, May 17
Review at Bookish Sarah
Review at Comet Readings
Feature at What Is That Book About

Monday, May 20
Review & Guest Post at Clarissa Reads it All
Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

Tuesday, May 21
Feature at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Wednesday, May 22
Feature at Just One More Chapter

Thursday, May 23
Interview at Donna’s Book Blog

Friday, May 24
Review at Passages to the Past

Monday, May 27
Review at Macsbooks
Feature at The Lit Bitch

Tuesday, May 28
Review at Coffee and Ink
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews
Review & Guest Post at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

***

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away one copy of Listen to the Wind by Susanne Dunlap! To enter, please use the Gleam form here – Listen to the Wind

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on May 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Release Day Blitz of Lord Stanton’s Last Mistress by Lara Temple; Exclusive Interview & Giveaway

Posted on Updated on

I have the greatest pleasure of welcoming Historical Romance author; Lara Temple back to Chicks Rogues and Scandal’s for a very special release day post. I have a very insightful chat with lovely Lara, plus an exclusive giveaway.

About Lara

When I was fifteen I found a very grubby copy of Georgette Heyer’s Faro’s Daughter in an equally grubby book store. Several blissful hours later I emerged, blinking, into the light of day completely in love with Max Ravenscar and with Regency Romance.

But the love remained one-sided as I progressed through various fascinating but completely unrelated careers in finance and high tech until my mother gave me a firm shove by entering one my many drawer-directed novels into Harlequin’s annual writing contest. To my shocked surprise I not only made it to the top ten but Harlequin commissioned me to write five Regency romances.

I write strong, sexy, and suspenseful regency romances about complex individuals who give no quarter but deliver plenty of passion.

Like every (or most) writers, I would love to hear from you about books (not only mine) and history and whatever you find that makes you love this period and genre.

I live with my  husband and two children who are very good about my taking over the kitchen table for my writing (so I can look out over the garden and dream). I love to travel (especially to places steeped in history) and hike and read as many books as possible (which just about sums up my dream vacation). 

I recently went back to look for that grubby crowded little bookstore but couldn’t quite remember around what corner it was…hopefully it is still there and another girl is in the corner by the window, reading and dreaming…

Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads / Amazon

***

About the Book

Now he can’t resist her!

A Wild Lords and Innocent Ladies story: Lord Stanton’s stay on the island of Illiakos is shrouded in memories of fever and his mysterious nurse. Years later, an Illiakan royal visit to Stanton Hall reveals the princess’s chaperon Christina James is the woman who saved his life! Alexander is a master of control, but Christina makes him long to unleash the sinful side he’s buried…and unlock her passionate nature too!

Lord Stanton’s Last Mistress can be found at Amazon

***

Interview

Frankie Hi Lara, Welcome back to Chicks, Rogues and Scandals! It’s so good to have you visit again.

Lara Hi Frankie, it is lovely to be here again, thanks so much for inviting me!

Frankie For those that don’t know you, can you tell us a little about yourself and your work?

Lara I’m Lara Temple and I write strong and sexy Regency romances for Harlequin/Mills & Boon. I’ve written stories for as long as I can remember but I never thought I’d actually become a published author and I’m still pretty new to the romance writing world. I was so lucky – I entered the Harlequin SYTYCW contest and was shocked to discover I not only reached the finals but I was offered a contract! It was an amazing experience and the beginning of a real romance with writing…

Frankie When you first sit-down to start a new book, do you work from a well drafted plan, or do you just go with the flow and hope for the best?

Lara I’m a definite panster with a hint of plotter. Part of what I love about writing is not quite knowing what my characters will to do next – some of my best scenes (I think) were a complete surprise to me, and sometimes I wonder where they came from! It’s like I sometimes look at my kids and am a little dumbfounded at how amazing they are (when they aren’t driving me up a wall, of course) and I wonder – could they possibly have come from me? But now that I write professionally there is always a point in my writing when I stop and take stock – when the story and characters are strong enough already to stand up to criticism and then I sit down and write an outline and begin to see what is working and what isn’t and then I go back to some more (now informed) pantsing.

Frankie As you’re a Historical Romance writer, I have to ask this crucial question; Who is your all time favourite Hero and Heroine?

Lara I always cringe when I have to choose just one story – I feel I’m cheating on all my other loves! But at the moment I have to say John Thornton and Margaret Hale from North and South. I’m writing about a dark and serious Highland Duke and John Thornton keeps buzzing around in my brain. I loved the book and the series almost equally – they both brought together romance, history, and social commentary in a beautiful and vivid way. Both the hero and heroine went through a full emotional journey and they truly earned their HEAs. I adore them.

Frankie Totally agree, I love their story. *Swoon* How do you decide which characters will take centre stage and which will be more background extras?

Lara That’s an interesting question! I love writing secondary characters even through there is not much room for them in 75,000 words. Often they shove their way onto the stage as I’m writing and I have to rein them in so they don’t take up too much space. But they are so important to give depth not just to the story, but also to the hero and heroine. For example, in my latest book, Lord Stanton’s Last Mistress, Alex’s aunt and Christina’s adoptive family help me show just how loyal and warm my damaged hero and heroine are. They are part of who Alex and Christina. I can’t imagine telling the story without them? The same goes for the animals that often find their way into the stories and even some inanimate objects or scenery. For example, Alex finds calm and expresses himself through wood carvings – they can be found throughout the house and Christina unknowingly connects to Alex through them. So they’re in the background, but also an integral part of the my hero and heroine…

Frankie That is so very fascinating, and I do love that side of Stanton. Do you have a favourite book, that you can read and re-read over and over again?

Lara I have a few but probably I am most faithful to my collection of Georgette Heyers – I’ve had them since I was a teenager and somehow they have managed to survive all my moves and travels. I particularly adore Sylvester and The Grand Sophy – two utterly different heroines but like all Heyer heroines they are unique and powerful characters and so worthy of being loved. Sometimes I think I might not have become a romance writer if I hadn’t come across Heyer’s books.

Frankie Which do you enjoy writing most, a series or a one off/standalone?

Lara I love series because they allow me to develop different nuances in characters. They are like a kaleidoscope – in each consecutive book I get to see a different aspect of the other characters and so when I reach their turn, they are more complex (which means more challenging but also much more rewarding for me). Right now I’m working on two series – one is my one and is called the Sinful Sinclairs (if you’ve read Lord Stanton you know his scandalous mother’s family is called Sinclair and this is about siblings, love letters, and uncovering the value of family).

The other series I am writing with three other Harlequin Mills&Boon authors (Janice Preston, Elizabeth Hobbes, and Nicole Locke) and it is a Highland romance series that goes back through time following two families. I’m writing the Regency book and absolutely loving it – I adore the setting (my first Highlander) but mostly I love collaborating with these amazing, talented ladies!

Frankie Oh, wow! Loving the sound of all this, I can’t wait to meet the Sinclairs and your Highland collaboration sounds so good. I have a last question, that’s just for fun.

If you won the lottery what is the first thing you would do with your winnings?

Lara Oh, I’m boring. I’d probably first help my mother and brothers and put money way for my kids. But THEN I would take my kids and husband on a long leisurely trip around Italy and probably eat far too much pasta and ice cream but come up with marvellous ideas for more books. I’d also forget about my other job and spend more time writing – that would be marvellous!

 

Frankie That sounds marvellous! Before, I let you go, I have something a little different. If you could ask your readers one question what would it be? And I will try and answer it.

Lara This is hard. Although I read romance, I would really like to get into the mind of more readers’ heads and ask what are the three key things they find make a perfect historical romance (so I can see if I’m heading in the right direction).

Frankie I will do my best to answer, the three key things that I find make a perfect historical romance are:

  • Atmosphere! – I love it when reading historical romances where the story is charged with feeling and you become so absorbed into the mood and tone of the era that it feels very real. Which includes the environment, and surroundings it all adds to the overall feel of the story.
  • Realism! – The best thing about reading historical romance has got to be getting to know the characters as people, understanding their actions and getting to know their history. By knowing them, you can connect with them and I love that.
  • Dialogue! – The key to a great romance is the to-ing and fro-ing between the hero and heroine, whether they start out as enemies and do nothing but argue or have been friends for life and are always teasing. For me there needs to be great bantering between them, everything from witty, fun and playful to snippy, naughty and gruff.

Frankie Thank you so much, Lara for chatting with me again, its always pleasure.

Lara It’s always a pleasure chatting with you, Frankie. Thanks so much for having me on your blog and I’m looking forward to reading more about your own amazing writing project based on your family’s history!

Frankie Thank you, so kind of you to say.

***

Giveaway

I have the most amazing giveaway, Lara has very generously donated signed copies of the brilliant Wild Lords and Innocent Ladies series to be given away to one very lucky winner. That is THREE SIGNED BOOKS!!!

!!!This series is amazing, by the way!!!

All you have to do is answer the very simple question, as Lara and myself have been chatting about heroes and heroines, the question is;

Who is your favourite Hero and Heroine?

This can be TV or Books or both, Lara has shared hers, mine is Heathcliffe and Cathy, so what yours?

Comment below, or on Twitter and Facebook

*Giveaway if open Internationally, closing date is 6th June 9pm GMT. Giveaway is open on here, Facebook and Twitter. Winner will be contacted by myself.

A Chat With…Author Regan Walker; Spotlight and Giveaway

Posted on Updated on

Today I have the great pleasure of having award-winning, bestselling author of Regency, Georgian and Medieval romances; Regan Walker visit Chicks, Rogue’s and Scandals. As well as chatting about her work Regan is very generously giving away two copies of her book; The Holly and the Thistle.

But, firstly lets get to know Regan.

A former lawyer turned writer, Regan Walker is an award-winning, bestselling author of Regency, Georgian and Medieval romances. Her novels weave history and historical figures into fictional stories with political intrigue, a bit of mystery and love. She lives in San Diego and loves to take long walks looking out at the ocean.

I write novels with real history and real historic figures and a wonderful happy ever after ending. I want my readers to experience real historical events as well as adventure and love. For each of my novels, I do hundreds of hours of research to “get it right”.

“Through my prior work, I have come to love international travel and meeting new people. I also have a feel for the demands of the “Crown” on its subjects. Hence, when I turned to writing historical novels, it seemed only natural that my novels and stories would feature a demanding sovereign who thinks of his subjects as his private talent pool—and so was born the Agents of the Crown series, and then came the Medieval Warriors.” ~ Regan Walker

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Blog / Goodreads / Amazon / Pinterest

💜💜💜

Interview

Frankie Hi Regan, Welcome to Chicks, Rogues and Scandals! Thank you for taking the time to chat with me today. Firstly what five word’s would you use to describe yourself?

Regan Oooo, hard question. The words my friends have told me describe my character would be “independent, courageous, loyal, honest (to a fault) and compassionate.” But in fairness, I am also sensitive to criticism, demanding (of myself and others) and a perfectionist.

Frankie If you could live in any era and place, when and where would it be? And Why?

Regan Well, I’ve travelled to 40 countries and while there are some I love and want to return to (Scotland comes to mind), I wouldn’t want to call any place home but America. I am very proud to be an American and I love my country.

I think if I were to live in another era, it would be America after the Revolutionary War in Williamsburg, Virginia when the country was in its youth and excited about what lay ahead. Exploring the West in the late 19th century also appeals. But if I were to live in modern times, my preference would be for the Pacific Coast, as I love the ocean and the sea breeze.

Frankie Who was your childhood hero?

Regan I grew up without a father and it wasn’t until I was in high school that I discovered my other hero, Winston Churchill. For most of my life, and to this day, my hero has always been God.

Frankie What is your favourite time of the year?

Regan It depends on where I am, but generally it’s autumn. October is nice the world over. Spring is a close second. And if we’re talking the Rockies or the Pacific Northwest, it has to be summer.

Frankie Out of all your work, who is your favourite character and why?

Regan Not until I wrote Echo in the Wind could I answer that question. Now I know it’s Jean Donet, comte de Saintonge, former pirate, privateer, smuggler and spy. A widower who never thought to love again. He is introduced in To Tame the Wind, but he doesn’t find his soul mate until Echo in the Wind.

Frankie Where does your inspiration for your books come from?

Regan The characters (mostly). A character pops into my mind and then I go looking for history in which to set him/her. Sometimes the history leads me, but generally I begin with a character. In my new novel, A Secret Scottish Christmas, it was Aileen Stephen, the only daughter of an Aberdeen shipbuilding family who, as a child, developed a passion to design ships. If you were to ask her if she would ever fall for an Englishman she would have showed you the door.

Frankie What three tips would you pass on to an aspiring author?

Regan Read what you love, write what you love and finish the book.

Frankie If you were hosting a dinner party what three people would you invite?

Regan J.R.R. Tolkien, Abraham Lincoln and Margaret, Queen of Scots (11th century). I admire them all. My tastes in people are pretty eclectic. Now, if you’d given me 20 names, I could really have a party.

 

Frankie Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with me today, Regan. I have just one more cheeky question, just for fun . . . What is your all-time favourite naughty but nice food?

Regan Flourless chocolate cake with whipped cream and a glass of Rosa Regale (the wine made for chocolate). It’s my Valentine’s Day default dessert.

That sound’s delicious, thank you so much.

💜💜💜

About the Book

Spies and Scots and Shipmasters, oh my!

Scotland 1819

Twin brothers Nash and Robbie Powell of Powell & Sons Shipping, London, sail with their fellow Agents of the Crown to Scotland for a secret celebration of Christmastide, a holiday long frowned upon by the Scottish Kirk. But more than Christmas is being kept secret. The two brothers have accepted an assignment from the Home Secretary Lord Sidmouth to ferret out a fugitive fomenting rebellion among the Scots.

Aileen Stephen, the only daughter of an Aberdeen shipbuilder, had to be clever, devious and determined to gain her place in the family business. She succeeded to become a designer of highly coveted ships. One night, a man’s handsome face appears to her in a dream. When two men having that same face arrive on a ship full of Londoners, Ailie wonders what her second sight is telling her. Is the face she saw a portender of the future, a harbinger of danger, or both? And which of the two Englishmen is the one in her dream?

Older than Nash by a mere five minutes, Robbie has always been protective of his twin. When he realizes Nash is attracted to the sister of their Scottish host, he thinks to help matters along. But Nash wants no help from his brother, not where Ailie Stephen is concerned because Robbie is attracted to the girl himself!

Two brothers vie for the affection of the Scottish lass but only one stirs her passion. Which one will it be? And what will she do when she learns they are spies?

On Amazon See the Pinterest Story Board!

 If you like a bit of a love triangle, handsome spies and artistic heroines, secrets, traditions and romance all wrapped up with a big Christmas bow, then this is the book you need to read. Seasonally enchanting and romantically perfect! ~ Chick’s Rogues and Scandals

💜💜💜

Giveaway

Regan is so very generously giving away two copies of her Seasonal story; The Holly and the Thistle.

London, December 1818

A chance meeting at Berry’s wine shop, a misunderstanding and Christmastide all come together to allow the most handsome Scot in London to give Lady Emily Picton the best Christmas gift ever: a marriage not of convenience, but of love.

To be in for a chance of winning a copy of this great book then just leave a comment on this post or on the Giveaway Post on my Facebook page HERE.

That’s it simple!

*Open internationally, all comments from this post and Facebook will be combined and two winners will be drawn at random. Giveaway closes on 20th November at Midnight GMT. Winners will be announced shortly after.