Showing posts with label historical. Show all posts
Showing posts with label historical. Show all posts

Thursday, December 13, 2018

12 Days of Clean Romance featuring Donna Hatch

EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
Christmas Secrets
by Donna Hatch

Christmas Secrets by Donna Hatch

During the month of December, we will be featuring 12 authors who write clean romance. Today we feature Donna Hatch with Christmas Secrets, ON SALE for $0.99 for one day only (15 December - please note change of date).


This book blast and giveaway is hosted by I Am A Reader and Clean Wholesome Romance.


Description
A stolen Christmas kiss leaves them bewildered and breathless.
A charming rogue-turned-vicar, Will wants to prove that he left his rakish days behind him, but an accidental kiss changes all his plans. His secret could bring them together … or divide them forever.
Holly has two Christmas wishes this year; finally earn her mother’s approval by gaining the notice of a handsome earl, and learn the identity of the stranger who gave her a heart-shattering kiss … even if that stranger is the resident Christmas ghost.

Excerpt
This scene takes place when everyone on Christmas Day takes a turn kissing their spouse or sweetheart underneath the mistletoe ball. Now the group turn to Will and Holly, who have only known each other a few days, and start goading them into sharing a mistletoe kiss …
“Come now, don’t be shy,” her sister called. “It’s tradition.”
The others called out encouragements.
Apology edged into Will’s uncertain expression. “Do you mind?”
Holly’s palms grew sweaty inside her gloves, and her smile probably came out wobbly. “Who are we to go against tradition?” Did she sound desperate in her desire to kiss him?
Will held out a hand. She placed hers in it and walked at his side to the kissing ball. They stood, hand in hand, facing each other. His neck cloth shifted as he swallowed. He leaned in. Her heart stumbled and her knees shook. She closed her eyes. Aching, she lifted her face. His cinnamon-spiced breath warmed her mouth.
He kissed her cheek.
Stunned, she opened her eyes. The watching guests groaned and some chuckled.
“No, no, that won’t do at all,” Joseph’s voice rang out. “Give her a proper kiss.”
Will froze. That intensity she occasionally saw in him returned. “Holly.” He swallowed again but instead of nervousness, a hunger that sent a flurry of shivers through her overtook his expression. “May I?”
She nodded. It didn’t matter if he saw how much she wanted this, wanted him. Let him know. Let the whole world know.
He touched her chin, lifted it, and leaned in. Again, she closed her eyes. This time his lips touched hers, pliant and unbelievably gentle. Heat exploded at the contact and shot through her all the way down to her tingling toes. Different from her mystery kiss, this one sang of affection and respect and a deep longing to be accepted. Sweeter, more chaste, more filled with caring, Will’s kiss brought her a level of joy she’d never known. All the world faded away leaving Will and the power of his affection, his touch, his kiss. Every moment of her life seemed to have been designed to bring her to this single, perfect moment of bliss and wholeness.
“Ahem.” Father cleared his throat conspicuously.
Will pulled away all too quickly. A tiny sound of distress caught in Holly’s throat. It was over too soon. But oh, what a glorious kiss!
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
“I can always count on Donna Hatch to weave a delightful tale with vivid characters and swoony kisses. Christmas Secrets does not disappoint.” ~ Reading is my Super Power
“Filled with delightful holiday traditions, growing attraction between Holly and one of the guests, a mother set on a desirable match for her daughter, and a few heart-melting kisses, this novella is the perfect book to cuddle up with this holiday season.” ~ Remembrancy Book Reviews
“It’s been some time since an author made me believe their characters like this, but Donna Hatch writes it so beautifully I was quickly drawn into the idyllic past.” ~ Silver Wood Sketches Book Reviews

About the Author
Donna Hatch
Donna Hatch is the award-winning author of the best-selling Rogue Hearts Series and is published in sweet Regency romance and fantasy. Her professional memberships include Romance Writers of America (RWA)and American Night Writers Association (ANWA). A sought-after workshop presenter, she juggles freelance editing, multiple volunteer positions, not to mention her six children (seven, counting her husband), and still manages to make time to write. A native of Arizona who recently relocated to the Pacific Northwest, she and her husband of over twenty years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.


Also by Donna Hatch:


Giveaway
Enter the blast-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash.


Links

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

12 Days of Clean Romance featuring Rebecca Connolly


EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
The Spinster and I
(The Spinster Chronicles Book 2)
by Rebecca Connolly

The Spinster and I (The Spinster Chronicles Book 2) by Rebecca Connolly

During the month of December, we will be featuring 12 authors who write clean romance. Today we feature Rebecca Connolly with The Spinster and IAlso available in The Spinster Chronicles series: The Merry Lives of Spinsters.

The Merry Lives of Spinsters by Rebecca Connolly

This book blast and giveaway is hosted by I Am A Reader and Clean Wholesome Romance.


Description
Poor, unfortunate Spinster …
Prudence Westfall, spinster, has unexpectedly had the greatest misfortune of all: she has inherited a fortune, and is now an heiress. But as a Spinster, and a stammering shy one, nothing could be worse than having a bevy of suitors pay her attention. Opportunity strikes at a house party when the most unlikely person offers the perfect solution.
Camden Vale is no gentleman, and he’s not prone to saving anyone, but something about Prue changes all that. When his offer to befriend her extends beyond the house party, and his feelings extend beyond expectation, no one is more surprised than he. Except, perhaps, for the other Spinsters, and they have much to say on the subject.


Excerpt
“Didn’t you hear how they flattered me? You said yourself, men lie through their teeth.”
He hissed, and she looked over at him only to see him shaking his head. “Prue, I didn’t mean… Sometimes we are sincere. Sometimes we do mean everything we say. And you should like it and take it as a compliment.”
Prue smiled a very tight, thin smile. “They never have before, so I have no taste for it.” She exhaled and looked back into the ballroom, clasping her hands before her. “I just wish to be left alone.”
“Well,” he sighed, “then we have another problem.”
She looked up at him wryly. “And that is?”
He shrugged, something new in his dark eyes. “I don’t think I can leave you alone.” He stared at her for a long moment, his hand stilled on her back, and added, “I know I can’t.”
Her head tilted in a question. “Why not?”
“Because I see you,” he admitted with a rawness she did not anticipate. “And I like what I see.”
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
“You know we say ‘a good clean book’ to indicate, yes there is no sex, no obscenities and very little kissing but a good read nonetheless? There is no ‘nonetheless’ here. It is a good book without qualification. Nothing was missing. Prue was a character who faced serious debilitating problems communicating with others and villainous family members and Cam, who fought his own demons, helped her as she helped him. Her blossoming was realistic and touching. The writing was good and the treatment of characters and flaws sensitive and well developed. A good read.” ~ Amazon Customer
“Rebecca Connolly creates vivid characters who want to fight for, to laugh and cry with. Sweet and breathtakingly romantic. I read this book in kindle unlimited, but now I’m going back to purchase it. I really like Ms. Connolly’s books!” ~ Susie
“I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Prue and Cam. They appear to be complete opposites but they truly are wonderful for each other. I especially love how they helped each other heal without even trying or realizing. And of course, I love both Prue and Cam’s friends. So much loyalty. A wonderful clean read for a hopeless romantic like myself. The next book can’t come soon enough! Thank you for another enjoyable read Rebecca Connolly, I needed this escape!” ~ Jasmyn Johnston
“I loved the wit, and the strong women. There are so many characters in this series that I can’t wait to see more of!” ~ Jessie C
“Touching and well written, with excellent dialogue and character development. This is a story that will resonate with anyone who has dealt with shyness and social anxiety.” ~ LucyB

About the Author
Rebecca Connolly
Rebecca Connolly writes romances, both period and contemporary, because she absolutely loves a good love story. She has been creating stories since childhood, and there are home videos to prove it! She started writing them down in elementary school and has never looked back. She currently lives in the Midwest, spends every spare moment away from her day job absorbed in her writing, and is a hot cocoa addict.





Also by Rebecca Connolly:

Giveaway
Enter the blast-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash.


Links

Monday, December 10, 2018

"For the Love of Laura Beth" by Aubrey Wynne


EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
For the Love of Laura Beth
(A Chicago Christmas Book 4)
by Aubrey Wynne

For the Love of Laura Beth (A Chicago Christmas Book 4) by Aubrey Wynne

For the Love of Laura Beth is the fourth book in the Chicago Christmas series by Aubrey Wynne. Also available: Paper Love, Merry Christmas, Henry, and Dante’s Gift.

A Chicago Christmas series by Aubrey Wynne

This book blast and giveaway is hosted by I Am A Reader.


Description
The Korean War destroyed their plans, but the battle at home may shatter their hearts…
Laura Beth Walters fell in love with Joe McCall when she was six years old. Now she is counting the days until Joey graduates from college so they can marry and begin their life together. But the Korean War rips their neatly laid plans to shreds. Instead of a college fraternity, Joey joins a platoon. Laura Beth trades a traditional wedding for a quick trip to the courthouse.
The couple endure the hardship of separation, but the true battle is faced when Joey returns from the war. Their marriage is soon tested beyond endurance. Laura must find a way to accept the tragedy thrown in their path or lose the love that has kept them anchored for so long. With a determination that only comes from the heart, Joe relentlessly fights an invisible enemy … for the love of Laura Beth.

Excerpt
“Son, you’ve got some mail.”
The tone of his father’s voice sent a chill through Joey. He looked over his shoulder, straightened up, and smacked his head on the hood of the Crosley station wagon. Rubbing his scalp then wiping oily hands on his overalls, he took the envelope with an official-looking seal in the corner.
Joe held it as if it were poison.
“Do you want me to open it, son?”
He shook his head, the pulse beating rapidly in his neck. With trembling fingers, he tore at the paper. The words blurred as he sunk onto the bumper of the pickup. “It’s a conscription notice,” he whispered, looking into his father’s terrified eyes. “I’m being drafted.”
“It’s my fault.” Max let out a moan and lowered himself onto the bumper. “If I hadn’t spent your college tuition, you’d be in school right now.”
“It’s nobody’s fault, Pa. You served your time, and now it’s my turn.” He waved the letter in the air. “Maybe we’ll end up with matching limps.” It was a bad attempt at humor, and he wanted to take the words back as soon as they left his mouth. Unlike many of his friends, Joe did not have any romantic ideas about soldiering. His father had been straight up with him about the horrors of war.
“I just pray you come back, boy, and you don’t have to live through what I did.” The lines on his father’s face seemed to have deepened in the last five minutes. He swiped his palms at his eyes and squeezed Joe’s arm. “When do you go?”
“It says I report for my physical January 2 at ten o’clock.” Maybe he wouldn’t see active combat. He wasn’t chicken, but his father still screamed at night once in awhile. His mother had said they were night terrors left over from WWII. “I do have a skill, Pa. I’m sure they need mechanics.”
“That’s true, son. Maybe they’ll have you keep those jeeps running for the generals.” He forced a chuckle. “Go on and get out of here now. It’s Friday night and you’ve got a purty little gal to take to the movie.”
An awkward silence ensued as both men stared at the floor. Laura Beth. How would he tell her? It was bad enough they had to postpone their wedding, but now this? It was just plain bad luck. And they’d all had enough of that for one year. The thought of the tears welling up in those clear, blue eyes made his blood cold. She’d been their pillar these past months, and now he would break her heart.
“I’ll get cleaned up, I guess.” Joe headed to the door then stopped. Without turning around he said, “She’s really gonna flip, Pa. I think telling her might be as hard as going.”
In a thick voice, Max tried to offer some comfort. “The only thing worse than war was losing your mother, but Laura Beth is a strong young woman and loyal as they come. She won’t give up on you, and it wouldn’t be fair not to let her know right away. So go on now and get ‘er done.”
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
“Ms. Wynne has given us a book that is a well-written, smooth read. It'll also take you for a ride on an emotional rollercoaster.” ~ Deb D
“Aubrey Wynne's historical romance, For the Love of Laura Beth, is a beautiful tale of the power of deep enduring love even through some of our darkest hours. It is the story of Laura Beth and Joe and their love for each other and for their families. It is the story of grace and sacrifice. Wynne has once again managed to skillfully weave in elements of truth into a work of fiction that both breaks and heals the hearts of her readers.” ~ Kishan Paul
“Warmth, compassion, heartache, faithfulness and more are emotions you will experience as you read this. I was completely immersed in this Korean War era tale, the historical details making the story come alive.” ~ C
“Aubrey Wynne did an awesome job with this Historical book. Thank you Aubrey Wynne for a very beautifully written story!!” ~ NASCAR ROCKS!!
“An emotional read about the life, fears, and love during the Korean War! Aubrey Wynne begins each chapter with a thought-provoking quote. As a Midwesterner, who often visited Chicago in the 1950s, this romance includes well-researched historical details about Chicago, the era, and journalism. Aubrey Wynne blends history with a nicely paced full of family dynamics love story.” ~ Deutsche OMA

About the Author
Aubrey Wynne
Bestselling and award-winning author Aubrey Wynne resides in the Midwest with her husband, dogs, horses, mule and barn cats. She is an elementary teacher by trade, champion of children and animals by conscience, and author by night. Obsessions include history, travel, trail riding and all things Christmas.
Her short stories, Merry Christmas, Henry and Pete’s Mighty Purty Privies have won Readers Choice Awards. Dante’s Gift and Paper Love received the 2016 Golden Quill, Aspen Gold, Heart of Excellence and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence.
In addition to her Chicago Christmas novellas, Aubrey will release two more Regency romances in 2019. Once Upon A Widow series will officially launch in March 2019. The Wicked Earls’ Club will release again just in time for the holidays.

Giveaway
Enter the blast-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash.

Links

Thursday, December 6, 2018

"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje


REVIEW and EXCERPT
Warlight
by Michael Ondaatje

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

I’ve just joined a book club! Each month, I’ll post my review and the opinions of my fellow book clubbers. This month, we read Warlight by Michael Ondaatje, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2018.
Next pick is Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak. Why not read along with us? Our next book club meeting is on 31 January, and I will post shortly after that.

Description
From the internationally acclaimed, best-selling author of The English Patient: a mesmerizing new novel that tells a dramatic story set in the decade after World War II through the lives of a small group of unexpected characters and two teenagers whose lives are indelibly shaped by their unwitting involvement.
In a narrative as beguiling and mysterious as memory itself - shadowed and luminous at once - we read the story of fourteen-year-old Nathaniel, and his older sister, Rachel. In 1945, just after World War II, they stay behind in London when their parents move to Singapore, leaving them in the care of a mysterious figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and they grow both more convinced and less concerned as they come to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women joined by a shared history of unspecified service during the war, all of whom seem, in some way, determined now to protect, and educate (in rather unusual ways) Rachel and Nathaniel.
But are they really what and who they claim to be? And what does it mean when the siblings' mother returns after months of silence without their father, explaining nothing, excusing nothing? A dozen years later, Nathaniel begins to uncover all that he didn't know and understand in that time, and it is this journey - through facts, recollection, and imagination - that he narrates in this masterwork from one of the great writers of our time.

Excerpt
In 1945 our parents went away and left us in the care of two men who may have been criminals. We were living on a street in London called Ruvigny Gardens, and one morning either our mother or our father suggested that after breakfast the family have a talk, and they told us that they would be leaving us and going to Singapore for a year. Not too long, they said, but it would not be a brief trip either. We would of course be well cared for in their absence. I remember our father was sitting on one of those uncomfortable iron garden chairs as he broke the news, while our mother, in a summer dress just behind his shoulder, watched how we responded. After a while she took my sister Rachel’s hand and held it against her waist, as if she could give it warmth.
Neither Rachel nor I said a word. We stared at our father, who was expanding on the details of their flight on the new Avro Tudor I, a descendant of the Lancaster bomber, which could cruise at more than three hundred miles an hour. They would have to land and change planes at least twice before arriving at their destination. He explained he had been promoted to take over the Unilever office in Asia, a step up in his career. It would be good for us all. He spoke seriously and our mother turned away at some point to look at her August garden. After my father had finished talking, seeing that I was confused, she came over to me and ran her fingers like a comb through my hair.
I was fourteen at the time, and Rachel nearly sixteen, and they told us we would be looked after in the holidays by a guardian, as our mother called him. They referred to him as a colleague. We had already met him—we used to call him “The Moth,” a name we had invented. Ours was a family with a habit for nicknames, which meant it was also a family of disguises. Rachel had already told me she suspected he worked as a criminal.
The arrangement appeared strange, but life still was haphazard and confusing during that period after the war; so what had been suggested did not feel unusual. We accepted the decision, as children do, and The Moth, who had recently become our third-floor lodger, a humble man, large but moth-like in his shy movements, was to be the solution. Our parents must have assumed he was reliable. As to whether The Moth’s criminality was evident to them, we were not sure.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
“Our book of the year – and maybe of Ondaatje's career” ~ Daily Telegraph Books of the Year
“A novel of shadowy brilliance.” ~ The Times
“Fiction as rich, as beautiful, as melancholy as life itself, written in the visionary language of memory.” ~ Observer
“Ondaatje brilliantly threads the mysteries and disguises and tangled loyalties and personal yearnings of the secret world ... and has constructed something of real emotional and psychological heft, delicate melancholy and yet, frequently, page-turning plottiness. I haven’t read a better novel this year.” ~ Telegraph
“[A] haunting, brilliant novel from Ondaatje … Mesmerizing from the first sentence, rife with poignant insights and satisfying subplots, this novel about secrets and loss may be Ondaatje’s best work yet.” ~ Publishers Weekly
“A lyrical mystery that plays out in the shadow of World War II … Ondaatje’s shrewd character study plays out in a smart, sophisticated drama, one worth the long wait for fans of wartime intrigue.” ~ Kirkus

Book Clubbers’ Thoughts
“We’re so lucky we didn’t live through any of that. My parents are both English and I’ve heard stories of what they went through. My grandmother had to ‘go away’ during the war and didn’t come back until ten years later. When she died, we found assorted passports and other interesting things. She may have played a role similar to Nathaniel and Rachel’s mother.” ~ Denise
“I thought the greyhound trading and low-level criminality was an interesting aspect.” ~ Jan
“It would make a great movie. It’s an engaging book because it makes you think. It was a really interesting way of telling the story. Nathaniel had to infer what happened to his mother. You never really find out what happened to everyone.” ~ Kerrie
“I liked the historical aspect of the story and learning about the difficulties the characters endured.” ~ Kerry
“I read Nancy Wake’s biography and was interested to compare it to this book. In both books, everyone only knew the part they had to play in the war effort. There was no sharing of information. Warlight is a sad book with many layers. To Nathaniel and Rachel, their mother leaving them was worse than if she had died.” ~ Marie-Louise
“I didn’t really get into it. I thought it lacked emotional depth.” ~ Maryann
Conclusion: generally positive reviews.

My Review
I got this book on loan from the library.


By Lynda Dickson
In 1945, just after World War II, fourteen-year-old Nathaniel and his sixteen-year-old sister Rachel are left in the care of their mysterious boarder when their parents move to Singapore for their father’s new job. In their parents’ absence, Nathaniel and Rachel live a seemingly idyllic life, full of eccentric characters, illicit adventures, and secret romances. But all is not as it seems, and danger is lurking just around the corner. Later, as an adult, Nathaniel takes a job with the Foreign Office, where he tries to uncover the secrets of his mother’s wartime past and learns more than he bargained for.
The novel begins with a great opening line:
“In 1945 our parents went away and left us in the care of two men who may have been criminals.”
What follows is a series of vignettes describing the incidents that shape Nathaniel’s life. His childhood stories are recounted by an adult Nathaniel in the manner of a memoir, complete with lapses of memory and the inability to recall certain details.
“You return to that earlier time armed with the present, and no matter how dark that world was, you do not leave it unlit. You take your adult self with you. It is not to be a reliving, but a rewitnessing.”
When he later attempts to piece together the puzzle which is his mother’s life, it’s interesting to see how he interprets these events differently with the benefit of hindsight. Seemingly insignificant incidents from his childhood - such as the radio program his mother listens to, or the route he travels on through the city – take on a whole new meaning when new information comes to light.
“We order our lives with barely held stories. As if we have been lost in a confusing landscape, gathering what was invisible and unspoken […] sewing it all together in order to survive, incomplete …”
Nathaniel also tells us stories about his mother and the people she was involved with – things that he could not possibly know.
“I had not been told anything, but […] I know how to fill in a story from a grain of sand or a fragment of discovered truth. In retrospect the grains of sand had always been there …”
Throughout the book, the author reveals the depth of his research, giving us a fascinating insight into the day-to-day life of the working class, as well as glimpses into the secret world of wartime espionage. This charming coming-of-age story morphs into a spy mystery and an ode to those unsung heroes of the war.
“There were so many like her, who were content in the modesty of their wartime skills.”
It is also a poignant reflection on how our lives are determined by the things that happen to us in our youth. Nathaniel is very much a product of his unorthodox upbringing.
“What I am now was formed by whatever happened to me then, not by what I have achieved, but by how I got here.”
I just wish we had learned more about Rachel and the impact that these same events had on her life.
Warnings: sexual references, coarse language, sex scenes.

Some of My Favorite Lines
“Nothing lasts. Not even literary or artistic fame protects worldly things around us.”
“I sat silent on the floor, listening to this fairness of sharing I already knew existed nowhere else in the world, which could occur only in dreams.”
“In youth we are not so much embarrassed by the reality of our situation as fearful others might discover and judge it.”
“We passed industrial buildings, their lights muted, faint as stars, as if we were in a time capsule of the war years when blackouts and curfews had been in effect, when there was just warlight and only blind barges were allowed to move along this stretch of river.”
“I think it was becoming clear that it was not just my mother’s past that had become buried and anonymous. I felt I too had disappeared. I had lost my youth.”
“She was unchanged, still constantly new.”
“He’d been an adventurer, and now I stood there, claustrophobic within his life.”
“We lived through a time when events that appeared far-flung were neighbours.”

About the Author
Michael Ondaatje
Michael Ondaatje is the author of six previous novels, a memoir, a nonfiction book on film, and several books of poetry. The English Patient won the Booker Prize; Anil's Ghost won the Irish Times International Fiction Prize, the Giller Prize, and the Prix Médicis. Born in Sri Lanka, Michael Ondaatje now lives in Toronto.







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