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Showing posts from August, 2018

#IVoted

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“If I climbed I could gather more gourds, and some fruit also.”
He looked at her sternly.
“There will be no climbing.”
Daphne stopped smiling and straightened her sore back, because she had been thinking about this all day.
“I am not sure I should have to always do what you tell me to do, or not to do, Dr. Murray. I know you are a natural philosopher and learned, but in America they let men vote equally, the stupid ones as well as the clever. Not that I am stupid, I am just not as learned as you are. While we are here on this island, just the two of us, we should be voting as equals, don’t you think?”
He looked at her in astonishment, setting down the gourd.
“I am amazed, Miss Farnham, that a properly brought-up Englishwoman would take the riff-raff in America as her model for appropriate behavior. No, this is not a situation calling for some anarchic form of democracy. Your vote is not equal to mine."
--CASTAWAY DREAMS

Be like Daphne! Get out there today and exercise your right to vote…

Happy #NationalDogDay!

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The pups were in the scullery and Mattie sat amidst them on the floor as they frolicked about her looking like animated snowballs. Their mother watched them closely, but Daphne came over and hummed to her, scratching her behind her ear, and the dog relaxed. Coquette’s coloring was more varied than Pompom’s, as she sported dark tan ears, a pattern carried over onto some of the pups.
Most of them left Mattie to mock-fight among themselves, but one, the smallest of the litter, ran at Mattie, pounced on her gown, then jumped off. He hunkered down on his chest with his bottom in the air, tail wagging as he yipped in joyful play.
Mattie scooped the little clown up and covered him in kisses as he squirmed in her hands and tried to lick and bite at her chin. She looked up at them then, her blue eyes wide over the dog’s head.
“Oh look, Papa! Look, Miss Burke! It is our puppy!”
Lydia leaned over and said in St. Armand’s ear, “I am not going to tell her she can’t have that puppy.”
--The Pirate's…

Review: A Compromised Lady

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A Compromised Lady by Elizabeth Rolls
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this novel very much. A young woman with a damaged past overcomes great obstacles to find her HEA. The hero is solid, dependable, my favorite kind.

What kept me from giving it five stars though was the abrupt POV shifts within a scene. There were even secondary characters whose POV would pop up in the middle of a scene. That kind of writing interrupts the flow of my reading, and I would have enjoyed this story even more if POV was consistent.

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1814--The Burning of the White House

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The next afternoon Captain Fletcher told Mr. Bryant to muster the crew and Charley joined them, standing apart from the ranks of seamen.
When they were all assembled, he looked out over the assortment of Yankee privateers and their British doctor and said, “Men, I have news from home.”
He waited for the murmurs to die down.
“I received correspondence on St. Martin that I wish to share with you. Last August, while we were at sea fighting for the rights of sailors and free Americans, the British burned our nation’s capital, Washington City.”
Now the mutters from the men were angry as they shifted their feet and looked at one another. The Americans had burned York in Canada, and Great Britain might be justified in saying it’s tit for tat to burn the Americans’ capital, but Charley just scratched her ear and wisely refrained from pointing that out.
Plus, Captain Fletcher was still speaking.
“But take heart, men, just as your countrymen did! America cannot be frightened into submission!” …

Review: A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder (A Countess of Harleigh Mystery, #1)

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A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder by Dianne Freeman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Delightful debut novel set amongst the upper class of Victorian England. A widowed countess lands in the middle of a mystery and discovers a talent for deduction. I look forward to more “Countess of Harleigh” mysteries.


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Review: A Princess in Theory

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A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A fabulous Cinderella story where the prince—really, he’s a prince—has to work hard for his HEA. It was a delightful story full of smile out loud lines and snappy writing. I’m looking forward to more stories of Reluctant Royals and their woes.

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Review: In Debt to the Earl

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In Debt to the Earl by Elizabeth Rolls
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very satisfying Regency, with many of the elements one seeks in these stories: Visits to Vauxhall, a society prizing manners over morality, Captain Sharps and gambling dens, and women who have to make tough life choices in a world dominated by men.

Elizabeth Rolls is writing the kind of Regency romance we don't see often enough these days.

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Happy #BookLoversDay!

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He returned with his copy of Captain Johnson and arranged himself on her bed while Lydia took the chair. She didn’t want to admit it to the two pirates, but she also was captivated by the tales of long ago miscreants and their adventures.
“As you know, Mattie, Edward Teach, or Blackbeard, was a commodore of pirates, commanding other captains beneath him. He was not a good man at all, but he was a very successful pirate, so successful that the governor of Virginia Colony offered a huge bounty on his head—one hundred pounds!”
Mattie’s eyes grew large as her father gave her an edited version of Blackbeard’s life, but even so she was frowning at the end.
“‘Here was an end of that courageous brute, who might have passed in the world for a hero had he been employed in a good cause; his destruction…was entirely owing to the conduct and bravery of Lieutenant Maynard and his men.’”
“Blackbeard did not treat his crew well, Papa. You are the better captain. I am glad Lieutenant Maynard stopped him…

Review: Evelyn, After

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Evelyn, After by Victoria Helen Stone
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I found this novel disturbing, but that's not a complaint. An ordinary--too ordinary--life upended by betrayal and secrets, and the before-and-after scenes encapsulate how many women lose their identities until they're only known as someone's wife or someone's mother.

Evelyn drifts through her days volunteering, taking care of her husband and son, cooking, running errands, but she's lost the part of herself that defined who she was until one night when it all changes. I won't go into more detail because I don't want to give away the story, but this novel will resonate with women of a certain age who put their own life plans on hold...and never seemed to grab them back.

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THE PIRATE'S SECRET BABY, Available again!

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I've been working on edits this morning for What the Parrot Saw, the story of grown-up Mattie St. Armand from award-winner The Pirate's Secret Baby. In the meantime, you can now purchase Secret Baby in print and ebook from the usual vendors.

When the rights for my books were returned to me I was anxious to republish and get them back out and about into the wild, and into the hands and ereaders of any who may have missed them the first time around. One of the real pleasures in this process has been to broaden the distribution of my novels, and to hear back from readers around the world who're able to access my historical romances.

If you haven't yet had the opportunity to read The Pirate's Secret Baby or any of my other work, I hope you'll give them a chance. And, as always, it's a kindness to your fellow readers and to authors too when you take the time to leave a rating or review. Just this week I saw a new review for Sea Change, and it recharged my writing…

Review: Jane Doe

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Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's said revenge is a dish best served cold, and "Jane Doe" is very cold indeed, making for a delicious tale of female empowerment and justice.

Jane works a perfectly ordinary job at a Minneapolis insurance company, being a little mouse in flowered frocks and forgettable looks. It's a ruse. The self-described sociopath is out for blood, stalking a self-important cad. The reasons why begin to unfold like an origami flower that leaves bleeding paper cuts, and will leave the reader satisfied and satiated at the conclusion.

As Victoria Dahl the author was on my autobuy list for romance. Now as Victoria Helen Stone the author's shift from romance to suspense makes her an autobuy for me in two categories, and that makes me one happy reader.

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Review: The Hunger Pains

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The Hunger Pains by Chelsea Field
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great summer refresher, full of snappy characters and sharp writing. I'm enjoying this series and appreciate a heroine who learns from her mistakes and doesn't make TSTL choices just to keep the narrative going. The mistakes she makes are often connected to her being the kind of person who cares about other people, and that's why she digs for answers when her clients are at risk.

I look forward to reading more of Ms. Fields' work.

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Happy #NationalWatermelonDay!

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“Watermelon!” Jack said. “I don’t believe I have had any yet this season.”
“What is it?” Sophia said, and the Reavers and Jack stared at her.
“You ain’t never had watermelon?” Tom piped up.
“No. It is a melon? But how do you eat it?” she said, eyeing the large chunks of fruit.
“Show the lady, Tom.” Martha laughed.
Tom grabbed a chunk off the middle of the plate and dived in headfirst, snapping off a sizable piece, chewing it with delight, and then spitting the seeds out the door.
“You are joking,” Sophia said to Jack.
“No, that’s how you eat watermelon. You learn this and soon you will be a real Floridian.”
He was grinning at her and reached for his own slice of melon, and never one to resist a challenge, Sophia wiped her hand on her table linen and picked up her own slice. The juice ran down her fingers but she managed to bring it up to her lips without too much trickling down her sleeve. She took a bite and there was an explosion of sugar in her mouth, and a cooling sensation from …

Review: Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge

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Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge by Lisa Jensen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An excellent and disturbing re-telling of "a tale as old as time". We're told the servants are turned into household objects when the prince is cursed, but what do we really know about them, the ordinary people who populate the Beast's domain?

Lucy is one such individual, a maidservant in the castle, sharing the curse. This is her story and it's intriguing, and horrifying, and shows us Beauty and the Beast in an entirely new way. I enjoyed it immensely, but the difficult subject matter of sexual assault and revenge will not sit well with some readers.

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