Friday, April 24, 2015

Review: Courtesan Duchess by Joanna Shupe

22494733Courtesan Duchess by Joanna Shupe

How to seduce an estranged husband—and banish debt!—in four wickedly improper, shockingly pleasurable steps...

1. Learn the most intimate secrets of London’s leading courtesan.
2. Pretend to be a courtesan yourself, using the name Juliet Leighton.
3. Travel to Venice and locate said husband.
4. Seduce husband, conceive an heir, and voilà, your future is secure!

For Julia, the Duchess of Colton, such a ruse promises to be foolproof. After all, her husband has not bothered to lay eyes on her in eight years, since their hasty wedding day when she was only sixteen. But what begins as a tempestuous flirtation escalates into full-blown passion—and the feeling is mutual. Could the man the Courtesan Duchess married actually turn out to be the love of her life?



Rating:
4 stars

Review:
This book was amazing. One of my all-time favorite genres to read happens to be historical fiction with a little bit of romance (or a lot). Joanna Shupe did a fantastic job of writing these wonderful characters. I loved Julia, and her attitude. I really liked Nick also, but he had his moments where I just sat on bed, shaking my head at him. I really loved how Julia and Nick obviously belonged together. They were probably one of my top ten favorite couples in a book.

I just overall loved the style of the book, and the ending, and cannot wait until I read the next two books in the series.

*I received this book free from Tasty Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Blog Tour + Review: Courtesan Duchess by Joanna Shupe



The Courtesan Duchess
Wicked Deceptions # 1
By: Joanna Shupe
Releasing March 31, 2015
Zebra

Blurb

Can a bold-faced lie lead to everlasting love? One by one, the impetuous heroines in the Wicked Deceptions series intend to find out, each in her unique way…

How to seduce an estranged husband—and banish debt!—in four wickedly improper, shockingly pleasurable steps... 

1. Learn the most intimate secrets of London’s leading courtesan.
2. Pretend to be a courtesan yourself, using the name Juliet Leighton.
3. Travel to Venice and locate said husband. 
4. Seduce husband, conceive an heir, and voila, your future is secure! 

For Julia, the Duchess of Colton, such a ruse promises to be foolproof. After all, her husband has not bothered to lay eyes on her in eight years, since their hasty wedding day when she was only sixteen. But what begins as a tempestuous flirtation escalates into full-blown passion—and the feeling is mutual! 

Could the man the Courtesan Duchess married actually turn out to be the love of her life?

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Author Info
Award-winning author JOANNA SHUPE has always loved history, ever since she saw her first Schoolhouse Rock cartoon. While in college, Joanna read every romance she could get her hands on and soon started crafting her own racy historical novels. She now lives in New Jersey with her two spirited daughters and dashing husband.



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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Blog Tour + Review, Excerpt, Giveaway, and Teasers: Untrue Colors by Veronica Forand

 

Untrue Colors
By: Veronica Forand
Releasing March 9th, 2015
Entangled Publishing

Blurb

She’s on the run…

Brilliant art appraiser Alex Northrop’s ex used stolen art to fund his nefarious activities. Now he wants her dead. But it isn’t just herself she’s worried about – if he discovers who she really is, he’ll kill her family.

Professor Henry Chilton is shocked to find a beautiful stranger passed out in his bed, and even more so when she reveals a priceless painting is a forgery – the painting he’d planned to use to fund a woman’s shelter. She’s mysterious and frightened, and he is determined to discover why.

Alex's knowledge of art is undeniable—just as Henry’s attraction to her is irresistible. But in order to help him recover the real painting, Alex isn't just risking exposure...she's risking her life.



Excerpt
Alex grieved as she looked toward the Louvre for possibly the last time. She had no choice but to leave Paris and the sublime treasures forming its artistic soul. Overhearing Luc’s plan to celebrate their four-month anniversary by murdering her set off her own plan of running as far away from him as possible. 

What began as a fairytale romance had morphed into a traumatic descent into hell. Luc had no problem stealing fine art and artifacts and using Alex’s expertise in appraisals to dupe art collectors and even small countries of their valuable assets. She had huge problems with those things. 

While his main henchman, Pascal, drove them through Paris, Luc held her hand in the back of the Mercedes like they were still lovers. They appeared perfect for each other, a rich art collector and the young art appraiser who had fallen head over heels for him. Rugged good looks combined with an enormous amount of wealth made him an ideal catch for a woman who didn’t mind being beaten into submission. Alex minded.

Dressed in a thousand dollar suit and wearing a sophisticated five o’clock shadow across his chiseled features, Luc seemed headed out for a night at the theater, not on the way to eliminate his girlfriend. Alex leaned away from him. She needed to get away. His free hand caressed her arm, rubbed her shoulder, and pulled her back toward him. Moving slowly, seductively, he wrapped his fingers around her neck and started to squeeze. He stared at her, his eyes neither narrowing nor widening, only observing her reaction. 

“I promise I won’t tell anyone. I swear it.” She pleaded for her life, speaking French, the only language they’d ever spoken to each other. As his hand tightened with her words, she gasped and struggled for breath.

Luc pulled her face closer to his. His lips pinched together, causing the muscles in his neck to tense. “Liar.”

The more she struggled to pull away, the more his grip tightened. No longer able to inhale, her eyes watered and her life began to fade. With nothing left to lose, she struck out at his face. He released her, but slapped her ear so hard, her head flew into the door. The pain ricocheted through her skull, leaving her numb for a moment.

She glanced out the window and saw salvation. As Pascal slowed for a turn, she opened the door and jumped. Her Chanel suit acted as her only protection when she hit the ground and bounced onto the road. Asphalt scraped her skin with each rotation until she slammed into the curb. Pain rebelled in ribs not yet healed from her fall down Luc’s marble stairway. Car brakes screeched nearby. In seconds, they would be on her. She hobbled to her feet, sucking in huge breaths.

Alex merged into the manic crowd entering the Gare du Nord at rush hour. She dodged men and women in suits, groups of school children, and what felt like hundreds of tourists. With her passports tucked in a travel belt under her skirt and several hundred euros in her possession, she boarded the high-speed train for London and prayed he wouldn’t follow her.

Author Info
A Bostonian by birth, Veronica Forand regrettably lost her Boston accent while moving from state to state and country to country. Cleveland probably had the most profound effect on her ability to pronounce the “r” in the word “park.”

She does try to return now and then to visit family and eat long neck clams and lobster. Summers on Cape Cod are also high on the priority list.

Her experience in crime involves time as a court appointed attorney. Eventually, she switched fields to where bigger crimes take place, corporate tax. The allure of spending mornings in her pajamas homeschooling her children and writing fascinating fiction caused her to change careers again. Now that the kids are out of the house (in school), she writes romantic thrillers by day and is the perfect wife and mother at night.

Her experience in romance is limited to one man. Luckily, he’s still finding ways to charm her by taking her on vacations to the south of France, Fiji, and the Green Mountains when time is short. Avid travelers, they love to roam with their kids across continents in pursuit of skiing, scuba diving, and the perfect piece of chocolate.

She’s lived in London, Paris, Geneva, Washington D.C., and the accent destroying city of Cleveland. She currently resides near Philadelphia.


Giveaway

Review: Untrue Colors by Veronica Forand

Untrue Colors by Veronica Forand

She’s on the run…

Brilliant art appraiser Alex Northrop’s ex used stolen art to fund his nefarious activities. Now he wants her dead. But it isn’t just herself she’s worried about – if he discovers who she really is, he’ll kill her family.

Professor Henry Chilton is shocked to find a beautiful stranger passed out in his bed, and even more so when she reveals a priceless painting is a forgery – the painting he’d planned to use to fund a woman’s shelter. She’s mysterious and frightened, and he is determined to discover why.

Alex's knowledge of art is undeniable—just as Henry’s attraction to her is irresistible. But in order to help him recover the real painting, Alex isn't just risking exposure...she's risking her life.


Rating:
4 stars

Review
*I recevied this book free to read in exchange for an honest review.

This book was really interesting and very well-written. I have never read a book by Veronica Forand, but based on this book alone, I would definitely read another book by her. The book was fast-paced, and kept you on the edge of your seat just waiting to see what would happen next. It is from both perspetives of Alex and Henry.

You can definitely tell there is chemistry between the two of the them, and they fit so perfectly together. Henry was really loyal to Alex, and you could tell that she meant a lot to him. His brother was amazing too!

This book has the perfect blend of romance and action, and amazing characters that you love from beginning to end.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Blog Tour + Excerpt, Giveaway, and Review: By the Sword by Alison Stuart



Guardians of the Crown # 1
By: Alison Stuart
Releasing March 22nd, 2015
Escape Publishing

Blurb
England 1650: In the aftermath of the execution of the King, England totters once more on the brink of civil war. The country will be divided and lives lost as Charles II makes a last bid to regain his throne.

Kate Ashley finds her loyalty to the Parliamentary cause tested when she inherits responsibility for the estate of the Royalist Thornton family. To protect the people she cares about, she will need all her wits to restore its fortunes and fend off the ever-present threat of greedy neighbours.

Jonathan Thornton, exiled and hunted for his loyalty to the King's cause now returns to England to garner support for the cause of the young King. Haunted by the demons of his past, Jonathan risks death at every turn and brings danger to those who love him.

Finding Kate in his family home, he sees in her the hope for his future, and a chance at a life he doesn’t deserve.

In the aftermath of the Battle of Worcester, Jonathan must face his nemesis, and in turn, learn the secret that will change his life forever. But love is fragile in the face of history, and their lives are manipulated by events out of their control. What hope can one soldier and one woman hold in times like these?




Author Info
Alison Stuart fell in love with the English Civil War when her father read her The King’s General by Daphne Du Maurier. She has been writing stories set in this period since her teenage years but it was not until 2007 that the first edition of BY THE SWORD was published. It went on to win the 2008 EPIC Award for Best Historical Romance. Alison has now published 6 full length novels and a collection of her short stories.  When she is not writing she is travelling and has dragged her family around the sites of every major battle of the English Civil War. 

Alison lives in Melbourne, Australia. She is a lapsed lawyer who has worked in the military and fire service, with an obvious obsession for men in uniform, which may explain a predisposition to soldier heroes. 


Rafflecopter Giveaway ($25.00 Amazon Gift Card)
  

Excerpt

(Excerpt Context: Kate and Jonathon are discussing Kate's husband, the parliamentarian, Richard Ashley) 

Kate nodded, a faint colour rising in her cheeks. ‘I had a good dowry and Richard fair prospects.’ She looked up at him, holding his eyes with her clear gaze. ‘And we loved each other.’

Dear God, this bloody war, Jonathan thought. ‘And if it were not for the war, you would be living in wedded bliss in Barton Manor, surrounded by a brood of children,’ he said.

Kate looked away and he knew his observation had hit home. He reached for her hand and when she tried to pull away he tightened his grip, forcing her to look up at him.

‘I’m sorry, Kate, that was a thoughtless remark. I’m the last person who has any right to do that.’ He released her hand. ‘From what I knew of Richard, he did not have the heart of a soldier.’

He knew more about Richard Ashley than he was prepared to reveal. A scholar, not a soldier. Richard should be at home at Barton Manor with this woman and their children. Not dead in the ground at the age of twenty-two.

Kate looked up at him, her brow creased in puzzlement, and he cursed himself for revealing too much.

‘What could you possibly have known of him? The Thorntons have been estranged from the Ashleys for over thirty years.’ This time he bit his tongue and when he didn’t reply she continued.  ‘To answer your question, Richard may not have gone willingly to the war but he fought bravely against the terrible odds in the North. He followed Sir

Thomas Fairfax into hell during those early years.’Jonathan nodded. ‘Fairfax’s men had it hard in those early years.’ He paused. ‘Was he with Fairfax that day at Marston Moor?’

‘Of course,’ Kate replied. ‘Were you there? Is it possible you faced Richard?’

Of course Jonathan had been there with Prince Rupert’s cavalry. It had been a bloodbath.  Marston Moor had put in train a series of tragic events in his own life that had nothing to do with the battle.

He swallowed and gave a barely perceptible nod. ‘I was on the other flank with Rupert.’

‘What did it matter?’ A rare flash of anger rose in Kate. ‘You wouldn’t have known Richard if you had met on the battlefield.’

Yes I would, he thought. ‘That is the tragedy of a civil war, Kate.’

She didn’t seem to notice that he had used her given name. Her eyes blazed with anger and misery. ‘They brought him home to die. It was a horrible death.’ Her voice cracked.

She lowered her head and took several deep shuddering breaths that wracked her body.

Without thinking, Jonathan lifted his hand to her face, tilting her chin so she looked at him. Her eyes swam with unshed tears. Tears he had caused.

‘So many deaths. Too many, Kate. Believe me, it’s not always easy to be the survivor. I may not be dead but I have lost all that is important to me. It’s a hollow victory over death.’

So many deaths...Marston Moor and afterwards, Oxford. He had run at life, stumbled into the path of innocent people, and he had survived while they had died. 


Review: By the Sword by Alison Stuart

24983214By the Sword by Alison Stuart

England 1650. In the aftermath of the execution of the King, England totters once more on the brink of civil war. The country will be divided and lives lost as Charles II makes a last bid to regain his throne.

Kate Ashley finds her loyalty to the Parliamentary cause tested when she inherits responsibility for the estate of the Royalist Thornton family. To protect the people she cares about, she will need all her wits to restore its fortunes and fend off the ever-present threat of greedy neighbours.

Jonathan Thornton, exiled and hunted for his loyalty to the King's cause now returns to England to garner support for the cause of the young King. Haunted by the demons of his past, Jonathan risks death at every turn and brings danger to those who love him. Finding Kate in his family home, he sees in her the hope for his future, and a chance at a life he doesn’t deserve.

In the aftermath of the Battle of Worcester, Jonathan must face his nemesis, and in turn, learn the secret that will change his life forever. But love is fragile in the face of history, and their lives are manipulated by events out of their control. What hope can one soldier and one woman hold in times like these?

(Please note: The Escape Publishing Edition is only available in digital format)


Review:
I don't usually read books that involve widows because I love first loves (not that there is anything wrong with falling in love again or anything, I just don't usually pick up books like that). But, I was really intrigued because I love historical fiction, and the cover and blurb were fantastic. I love the historical part of this book because one I have never read a book set in 1650 as of yet. So, this was my first book in this specific time period. The romance was interesting in this book because it's not simple. It's not I love you and you love me, so let's just be together kind of love. It's we love each other, but there are things that we have to consider too. The characters were very well-written, a strong hero and a strong heroine. Stuart wrote a wonderful, exciting story, with beautiful descriptions that was easy to become hooked in. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series.

I received this book free from Tasty Book Tours and Alison Stuart in exchange for an honest review.