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Archive for December, 2009

Promise Me Tonight

Sara Lindsey

Signet Eclipse-February, 2010

Pre-order Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Promise-Me-Tonight-Weston-Novel/dp/0451229371/

This Holiday season has been an incredibly busy one for me and has left me precious little time to enjoy the pleasure of reading, so it took me a bit longer to finish Sara Lindsey’s Promise Me Tonight than it might have if I’d waited until after the New Year to delve into its pages. But the Christmas season, a season of love and giving, seemed the perfect time to give myself the gift of reading a lovely romance, if only for a few stolen moments each day. 

For Isabella Weston, there has never been any doubt about what she wants in life — to become the wife of her older brother’s best friend, James. She spends her childhood adoring him in secret, cherishing her girlish fantasies of love and romance. On the night of her coming out ball, she decides the time is right to make her feelings known at last. But…

Tormented by the deaths of his mother and infant sister and his father’s subsequent suicide, James Sheffield vowed as a young boy never to give his heart away. Loving, he has learned, only leads to pain. His affection for “Izzie” is purely platonic, until the night of her coming out ball when he is forced to see her not as the adorable scamp he has known for years, but as the lovely and alluring young woman she has become. When stolen kisses in the library confirm his worst fears — that she is capable of stealing his heart, James flees the country, far from the temptation of Izzy’s kisses. But though they are separated by distance, he discovers Isabella is ever present in his thoughts.

When James returns home for the reading of his uncle’s will, Izzie puts a new plan in motion, a daring seduction that earns her his wedding ring, but seems to have cost her his love…

Though I found Isabella to be bright, headstrong and delightfully daring, her character seemed a bit shallow in the story’s early chapters, not fully developed apart from her obsession with James. She didn’t fully come alive for me until midway through the book, when a few well-placed and very touching scenes brought out her vulnerability. Much like James, I fell in love with her slowly, but once I did, there was no going back. The heartbreakingly handsome James was much more substantial and complex from the get go. Ms. Lindsey’s dialogue was spot on and she did a spectacular job of getting into the male psyche. I also enjoyed the secondary characters and particularly liked the relationship between Isabella and her younger sister, Olivia.

Promise Me Tonight is extremely well crafted, with a tightly woven plot that takes very few side trips from the romance at its heart. The story has a nice flow with just the right balance of ups and downs and plenty of sexual tension. Though the sex was a bit overdone for my taste, I enjoyed journeying with these characters as they overcame their fears and doubts and eventually found their “happily ever after.”

I feel privileged to have been given an early glimpse at this not yet released, first-in-a-series romance. I recommend Promise Me Tonight to any fan of sensual historical romance.

— Honeybee

https://workinggirlreviews.wordpress.com  

  

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Mud and Gold

Shayne Parkinson

Buy Link E-Book: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1187

Buy Link Print: http://stores.lulu.com/shaynep 

Picking up where Book I ended, Mud and Gold is the second in the trilogy, Promises to Keep. I purchased this book after reading the first in the series, Sentence of Marriage. The same excellent writing, characterization, and realism make Book II just as riveting.

Amy is persuaded by her stepmother to accept Charlie’s offer of marriage—believing this to be the only way to make things right and regain her respectability. Her new husband is a man old enough to be Amy’s father, both ill mannered and brutally abusive. Nothing Amy does pleases him and she’s often beaten with little or no provocation. The only time she’s spared is when Charlie knows she’s pregnant, fearing he’ll harm his unborn child.

Amy’s story is heart wrenching to say the least and although I could understand the reasons for her staying and putting up with her husband’s brutality, I kept waiting and hoping she’d finally have enough and stand up to him. After bearing Charlie two sons and suffering numerous miscarriages due his ill use of her, Amy discovers Charlie has been less than faithful, visiting the village whorehouse. She finally stands up to him and moves out of their bedroom. It’s a small step in the right direction and I almost cried with relief.

Then there’s Amy’s cousin and best friend, Lizzie. She marries Frank and their developing relationship is a true delight. I have to be honest and admit Lizzie is my favorite character. She’s full of spunk and knows exactly what she wants and how to get it—a woman ahead of her time, full of caring warmth and good cheer. You can’t help loving her. Frank is her direct opposite and the perfect match for her. Amy’s two older brothers also fall in love and marry. Their stories are just as captivating as Lizzie and Frank’s, keeping the main plot from being too maudlin.

Mud and Gold is the perfect blend of darkness and light. Ms. Parkinson has created quite a masterpiece with the Promises to Keep series, full of so many interesting characters and intriguing stories. If you love historical fiction, don’t miss these books.

 –Willow

https://workinggirlreviews.wordpress.com 

    

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The girls at WGR are thrilled to welcome author Carrie Lofty to our site today. Carrie, thanks so much for granting us an interview.

1.) Please tell us a little bit about your upcoming release, Scoundrel’s Kiss.

Scoundrel’s Kiss is the stand-alone sequel to my Robin Hood-themed debut, What a Scoundrel Wants. When last we saw Ada of Keyworth, she’d just been rescued from the Sheriff of Nottingham and had seriously burnt bridges with her family. She and a young admirer, Jacob ben Asher, head off to Spain together. But she’s haunted by the unlawful and sickening torture she endured and turns to opium for relief…

Gavriel de Marqueda is a warrior on the verge of taking his vows with the Order of Santiago. Before he can do so, he must pass one final test: save Ada from herself. He’s vowed obedience, nonviolence, and chastity, but Ada refuses to be held against her will, even for her own good, and vows to use every possible resource to thwart Gavriel’s offer of aid.

2.) Tell us, do you ever base your characters on real people?

My inspiration for the villainous characters is Scoundrel’s Kiss was Pedro Fernandez de Castro, a Leonese nobleman who, because of a grudge against his two royal cousins—both of whom were kings—sided with the Moors at a pivotal battle called Alarcos. He was exiled to North Africa and died there in 1214. But everyone else in this particular romance came from my own imagination!

3.) When writing a novel, what comes first for you, characters, setting, or plot?

I always begin with the setting. I get an idea of where I want the tale to take place—somewhere cold, warm, exotic, familiar. From there I learn my characters. Are the foreigners to this setting I’ve chosen? Raised there? Just passing through? Once I feel that I know them inside and out, the plot comes last. When I arrive at that stage in the process of telling the story, I’m a complete panster!

4.) What is the most challenging part of novel writing? The most rewarding part?

The most challenging part for me is the first draft. I have to get the characters and their romance out of my head and onto the page. The stamina required to trudge through the messy, hideous first attempt is immense. After that, it’s all about revisions and making it shiny and pretty. I love that part! Revisions are very rewarding because it’s the time when I really get to see—on the page—the story that’s been in my head for ages!

5.) Describe for us your favorite place to write.

It changes, actually. I wrote Scoundrel’s Kiss in a local coffee shop that has since closed. I’m also quite fond of my local library’s upstairs reading section, which overlooks a lovely park. And after a recent procedure on my foot, I’ve spent a great deal of time working from my couch. The only place I rarely sit down to write is my computer! Too many distractions!

6.) Say Scoundrel’s Kiss was scheduled to be made into a major motion picture. Who would play the parts of Ada and Gavriel?

I don’t know his name, but Gavriel has always been the model I used in my web trailer–and he sounds like Richard Armitage from “North and South”! Ada would definitely be played by Eva Green, who played Vespa Lind in Casino Royale. She’s smart, brittle, aggressive, sexy, and a little unhinged.

7.) What is your favorite season and why?

Winter. Absolutely. I love the days growing shorter, the holidays, and even the snow. That probably has something to do with the fact that I live in a condo and someone else shovels the snow!

8.) I noticed on your website that you have two small daughters. How do you balance motherhood and writing?

It was harder a few years ago when they were at home or in pre-school. Now that they’re both in school fulltime, I have a good 5-6 hours a day to work. Funny, though, that I still have trouble finding time for mopping…

9.) I also noticed you spent some time in England. What was that like?

I lived in England for roughly ten months, during my junior year of college. It was a fantastic, transformative experience. Not only did I get to really dig deep into English culture by spending so many months there, visiting everything from tourist attractions and historical landmarks to nightclubs and family-run pubs, but I met my husband too. His family took me in as one of their own, and now we return every other year with our daughters.

10.) Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?

I recently had some fantastic news. The trilogy of apocalyptic paranormal romances I’ve co-written with Ann Aguirre will be published by Penguin. We’re writing under the pseudonym Ellen Connor, and you can read more about our books here: http://ellenconnor.com

11.) Thanks again for joining us today, Carrie. Before we let you go, please tell our readers where they can find out all the latest CL news! 

Website: http://www.carrielofty.com

Blog: http://lovelysalome.blogspot.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/carrielofty

Unusual Historicals, the blog I founded in 2006 and managed: http://unusualhistoricals.blogspot.com

 

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