Tuesday Teaser

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

“Are you out of your mind? Are you quite insane?”

“Bring that blasted animal under control, woman, damn it.” Pg. 21 from The Escape by Mary Balogh.

escape

Note: click on cover to go to site.

Eagerly waiting for…

There are a few books I’m desperately anticipating for the summer.

Mary Balogh’s The Escape is coming…I can’t say enough good things about Mary Balogh except she’s on my automatic-buy list for very, very good reason. If you like historical romance, she’s amazing.

(credit:goodreads.com)

(credit:goodreads.com)

(Note: click on the cover to go to the author’s website.)

Jill Shalvis’ Then Came You is also coming out this summer. It involves two things I love, romance and puppies. Absolutely the best! Can’t wait.

(credit:goodreads.com)

(credit:goodreads.com)

(note: click on image to go to author’s site)

Now these are only two I’m really looking forward to. There are tons of books coming out. Check out this post by All About Romance with their list of upcoming books.

Do you have any books you’re excited about? Any you’re looking forward to for the summer? Share them with me! I’m always looking for new books–especially if they’re romance! 😀

Review: Secrets of Surrender

This is a book to be savoured. An absolutely priceless gem. I’d say easily my favourite from Madeline Hunter.

Each word is carefully placed, not an excess to be found. Each sentence captures the meaning and delivers the message powerfully. The writing is exquisite without being flowery.

Hints aren’t repeated or shouted, they’re small, secretive and delicious. The characters are so rich and fully formed, the reader can actually hear their different voices and see their unique gestures.

It is a book rich with amazing characters and I only want more. I want to know more about Lord Easterbrook, about Roselyn’s sister and about her friends. I want the book to continue.

The scenery and speech is exactly right for a historical yet it doesn’t take away from the dialogue. Instead in enriches it until I want to go back in time and say those expressions, have those discussions, take those walks down the countryside.

The heroine is caught and rescued by a gallant man but she’s no crying victim. She’s brutally honest with herself, determined and resourceful without being willful or nasty. He’s powerful and honourable, a perfect hero who still has his faults but rises above them.

There are issues that the couple needs to work out and they do, logically and slowly through the book. The story of how they go from acquaintances to lovers moved me. I not only believed it, I loved reading each and every word.

I could go on and on but I’ll leave you with this. Take your time with this one. Let the words drip across your tongue and enjoy. It’s like rich, dark chocolate, meant to be savoured. It’s historical romance at its finest.

(credit: madelinehunter.com)

(credit: madelinehunter.com)

Review: The Accidental Duchess

The Accidental Duchess starts off with a bang. Lydia is blackmailed and she has to figure a way to keep the contents of a manuscript she wrote from leaking out. Desperate, she agrees with to an old bet with the Duke of Penthurst. She’s willing to wage her innocence over cards. If he loses he has to give her the sum the blackmailer wants, ten thousand pounds–a vast amount back then.

Of course, trying to solve her problems, Lydia seems to get even more tangled into a mess. During this process, she raises the curiosity of the Duke, who then becomes an ally.

I loved the dialogue of the book. I could not only believe it was British but that it was historical. There were no slips, no modern words and yet nothing sounded stilted or awkward. It wasn’t just the dialogue that’s worthy of praise, Madeline has a great way of sliding delicious, little hints along with her descriptions adding hugely to the plot. They’re like little succulent crumbs and I ate them up wondering where they were leading. Nothing was stated over and over until it became nauseating. On the contrary, if anything we were left wanting more which made me turn those pages faster and faster.

A powerful, strong alpha hero and an intelligent heroine that has come upon tough times always draws my interest and this one was no exception. This is a great book for those who like historical romance and anyone looking for a great summer read.

Tuesday Teaser

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

“…Twice now you have spoken too quickly on my account. I would think that the last time cost you dearly enough.” Pg. 89 from Secrets of Surrender.

(credit: madelinehunter.com)

(credit: madelinehunter.com)

Note: click on the cover to go to the author’s page.

Tuesday Teaser

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

“Panic swelled. Lydia stared at the door after the duke left, and wondered if she should try to move a heavy chair against it.” Pg. 180 from ‘The Accidental Duchess’ by Madeline Hunter.

(credit:dearauthor.com)

(credit:dearauthor.com)

(click on the cover for more information on the book)

Romance book, just how real are you?

Let’s be honest, some times romance doesn’t exactly hit the reality mark.

I’ve read books where the hero will inherit a fortune if only he marries the heroine first and, no, it wasn’t a historical romance. Or another book where the heroine finally found her soulmate but stayed away, in spite of their ardent attraction for each other, because…well, there actually wasn’t even a reason mentioned. Or books where the hero had a perfect body, face, personality, teeth, hair, nails even toes…and none of these were damaged by the fact that he was a SEAL. Hm…

Libido is off the charts in romance novels. The hero never has any physical issues or is shy or incapacitated or has PTSD from the war he has just returned from.

Like Winter Bayne says in her fantastic post, “It may be escapism, but the readers do like a little bit of real life thrown in there. Ideal situations and characters are not looked upon as favorably in reviews as stories with more reality.”

Sometimes, romance is so off the mark, its simply ridiculous. And we don’t buy it. Like AAR Blythe says in her great post, “You have to have a reason you’re not sharing your Big Secret, a reason you became a prostitute, and probably a convincing villain for your Big Misunderstanding. We’re not going to buy it if you just use romance novel shorthand and depend on the hard work of better writers who have gone before.”

I love what AAR Blythe suggests.

“You can go one of two routes. The first is to go big or go home, a la Swiss Family. If you are going to have a beat a bunch of armed pirates, you should probably have them do it with a nine year old on an elephant, a log booby trap, and…wasn’t there a zebra? Or have your twenty-seven year old, Fifty Shades of Fucked Up anti-hero make more money than Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, because your whole story is already silly anyway.

Second route: Sell it. Have a reason your villain is taking Joseph out of the Christmas story, or your heroine is stealing documents, or your dashing, rich hero refuses to marry. A reason that makes sense and holds up to scrutiny. There are no shortcuts with this, and your reason can’t be “Because Romance Novel”.  Believe me, we’ll know.”

What do you think? Does reality fit in romance? Or should we just embrace escapism and give up any and all pretence?

A final note of thanks to both Winter Bayne and AAR Blythe for their amazing posts on the subject. Thanks ladies! What inspirational work!

Meredith Duran

Amazing author. She writes historical romance and she does it with class. I love her books because they’re not just your typical historical romance. They always have something extra; either they take place overseas or there’s an unusual twist to the characters, something’s different. And they’re sweet but not sugary–if that makes any sense.

She’s only written a few books–she’s not like Mary Balogh who’s written hundreds–but they all manage to stand out and her characters are not to be missed. And the love story is heart-wrenchingly good. Sigh.

On the plus side, she also has a book coming out soon: Fool me Twice. Comes out the 25th of March. Here’s a little blurb:

“All Olivia wants is the chance to make a home for herself. When she realizes that the infamous Duke of Marwick might hold the key to her freedom, she boldly disguises herself as the newest and bravest in a long line of the temperamental duke’s housekeepers. Little does she know that the wickedly handsome Alastair de Grey has very different plans for her. . . .”

“Alastair de Grey has suffered a betrayal so deep that he will use whatever means necessary to destroy his enemies — even his brazen and beautiful housekeeper. But his vengeful plan fails to account for his single weakness: an irresistible and growing passion for the enigmatic Olivia…”

Here’s the cover (click on it to find her website).

One of my favourite books

“That Scandalous Evening” By Christina Dodd. It’s a historical romance and simply beautiful.

It tells the story of Miss Jane Higgenbothem who makes a sculpture of a man (Lord Blackburn) and is discovered. Her faux-pas sends her to back to the country in disgrace. She comes back, ten years later, as a chaperone to her niece. Nothing but respectable, proper and keeping her distance from the tempting Lord Blackburn. Then, under the contemptuous eye of the ton, love happens.

It’s a story about the ugly duckling becoming a swan and simply lovely. I think there’s a bit of that story in all of us, at least there was in me because I connected with Jane right away. Coming back to show off those who belittled her is just such a delicious premise. At the same time, there are some simply delicious characters in the book and Christina Dodd is a master at the craft.

This one is not to be missed.

Olivia’s Choice is free…on Smashwords

I’m still in depths of formatting…well, let’s call it Formatting Inferno. It honestly seems to be one step forward and three back. I won’t mention the issue with the font right now because it’s just going to set me off and I’ll be rambling about it for hours. Let’s just say that whenever someone who’s techy calls a process ‘easy’ and that their guide is ‘step by step’, they mean if you have a PhD in the subject.

Still, there’s a point to this post and I’m getting to it. Olivia’s Choice is free on Smashwords. Here’s the link:

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/384695

It has all sorts of available downloads, from epub to mobi to doc to anything in between. There’s also a nifty interview by yours truly (me). I’ve also added the link to the page on this blog for easy access.

I’m still formatting because my goal is to get Olivia’s Choice free on Amazon and the formatting Inferno I’m in is one step towards that goal. Let’s hope the formatting gods are kinder today than they were yesterday. Wish me luck.