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Archive for June, 2014

EDWARDIAN ELEGANCE

I thought I would share a few more beautiful Edwardian dresses with you and the odd hat or two.


Lace Tea Gown, c. 1908

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Evening dress made of lame and silk, 1908

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 Afternoon Dress, c.1910

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 Dinner Dress, 1910

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 Ecru silk wedding gown, 1912

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Assorted hats

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“Well, you missed out on some important protocol, Ella. You can’t stand between a Texan and his power tools. We like them. Big ones that drain the national grid. We also like truck-stop breakfasts, large moving objects, Monday night football, and the missionary position. We don’t drink light beer, drive Smart cars, or admit to knowing the names of more than about five or six colors. And we don’t wax our chests, ever.” 

(Jack Travis)

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(The Westruthers, # 2)

Genre:Historical Romance

Cover Blurb

Passion to last a lifetime…

The Sweetest Scandal

Beautiful, exuberant, and stubborn Georgiana Black has more spirit than sense—which she learns when an ultimatum to the Earl of Beckenham ends their engagement. Six years later, Georgie is less concerned with impending spinsterhood than with making sure her young sister doesn’t make the same mistakes she did. But soon Georgie stumbles into a scandalous encounter with none other than her former fiancé. Beckenham is still breathtakingly desirable.

The Truest Temptation

Beckenham’s brief engagement to Georgie taught him one thing: when it comes to a wife, he wants a woman who will do her duty and cause no trouble. When the fiery Georgie falls unexpectedly into his arms, Beckenham remembers just how lushly delectable she is. Suddenly, the idea of actually marrying Georgie is irresistible. In a battle of wills, can passion conquer pride?

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The Westruthers series is a spin off from Ms Brooke’s popular Ministry of Marriage series and features four cousins, Jonathon, Earl of Davenport, Marcus, Earl of Beckenham, Xavier, Marquis of Steyne and Andrew, Viscount Lydgate, all intent on avoiding the parson’s noose. Jonathon succumbed to cupid’s dart in London’s Last True Scoundrel and now it’s Marcus’s turn.

How I imagine Marcus

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“Beckenham’s a dark horse, mark my words. It’s the quiet ones you have to watch.”

How true these words spoken by Jonathon Westruther in London’s Last True Scoundrel turned out to be. Marcus, the eldest of the four cousins, has always been the level-headed, dependable one but, in the previous book, we get a hint of just how devastated he was when Georgie broke off their engagement. In his cousin Cecily’s words…

“…you must know he’s still eating his heart out for that dreadful creature.”

Marcus knows it’s his duty to marry and produce an heir but he wants a countess who will perform her duties without any fuss, leaving him in peace. Someone, totally unlike his former fiancée, the impetuous Georgiana Black.  He decides to seek Xavier’s advice on suitable candidates but arrives to discover one of his cousin’s notorious parties in progress. When Xavier tells him that an unknown woman has claimed his protection, he finds himself involved in a scandalous encounter with none other than his former fiancée.

How I imagine Georgie…
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Six years ago, Georgie’s beauty and vivacity drew men to her like bees to nectar and she enjoyed playing the femme fatale and relished the power it gave her. Only Marcus refused to play her little games and she lost the only man she ever wanted. Her parents were furious when they heard she had jilted Marcus and her father punished her by changing his will leaving all his un-entailed property in Gloucester to Georgie’s half-sister, Violet.

Georgie had refused all subsequent offers of marriage, subduing her impetuousness and devoting herself to seeing Violet settled and happy. Then she intended to set up her own household with the monies left in trust to her by her father. When she discovers that Violet is attending a masquerade party at the Marquis of Steyne’s house, she knows that her sister risks ruining her reputation. Whilst searching for Violet, she finds herself at the mercy of the notorious marquis and insists she is under the protection of the Earl of Beckenham. Locked in one of the empty bedrooms, she is desperately searching for a weapon to protect herself when the door opens…but it not the marquis standing there but her former fiance, Marcus Westruther, Earl of Beckenham.

I loved the romance between Marcus and Georgie…so full of heady sexual tension, passion, wit and charm. I’m sharing a few memorable moments.

In a London ballroom, she was as exotic as a bird of paradise among a gaggle of geese.

~~~~

Her mouth dried as he reached up a hand to loosen his cravat, flick it open, and pull the long strip of linen from around his throat. Then he walked over to the washstand, where a pitcher of water and a basin stood as if ready for guests.
“Take your clothes off,” he said to her over his shoulder. “I’ll be with you in a moment.”

~~~~

He couldn’t be in the same county as Georgiana Black and resist her siren’s lure.

~~~~

How could the strength and warmth of him feel so utterly perfect, when everything else was all wrong?

~~~~

His whole spirit lifted, soared high and bright. Filled with an extraordinary sense of rightness, even as the flame of his passion for her burned ever brighter.

~~~~

That kiss was incendiary, lascivious, thoroughly consuming, everything he’d dreamed.

~~~~

I enjoyed seeing the more playful and seductive Marcus emerge when he is with Georgie while she is now free to be true to her passionate, sensuous nature.  I liked that they were both willing to acknowledge the mistakes of their youth and I love Marcus for appreciating the real Georgie behind her beauty and cherishing her.

There are some lovely funny moments in this book like the amusing scene where Marcus and Georgie have to rescue his rather inebriated group of prospective brides from the grotto or Lydgate’s humorous comment when Marcus is going through the list of potential bride candidates.

Beckenham glanced up from the list. “Doesn’t madness run in the Maxwell family?”
Lydgate ran the feather of his quill between his fingers. “Eccentricity, yes. Madness, no. Never fear. Miss Jennifer Maxwell doesn’t seem to have a tendency to wear a flowerpot on her head instead of a hat or anything like that
.”

I do love the scenes between Marcus, Xavier and Andrew…the witty banter and the obvious familial affection. You know that they have each other’s backs covered

This was a delightful ‘second chance at love’ romance and there is an excerpt from The Wickedest Lord Alive which definitely makes me want to read Xavier’s story. Not long to wait because it is released on July 1st.

REVIEW RATING:  4.5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read June 2014


The Westruthers series so far (click on the book cover for more details):

London's Last True Scoundrel (The Westruthers, #1) by Christina Brooke The Greatest Lover Ever (The Westruthers, #2) by Christina Brooke The Wickedest Lord Alive (The Westruthers, #3) by Christina Brooke– July 1st 2014

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I am spotlighting BLIND REDEMPTION, the third book in Violetta’s Rand’s exciting Viking Blind series, which is released today.


ABOUT THE BOOK

 (Blind series, #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Viking – 11th Century)

Cover Blurb…

The past is something he’d sooner forget…

Aaron McNally hates his past. Banished for betrayal, he trades his tartan for a Norwegian title and sword to win back his honor.

She has a warrior’s heart…

It’s difficult for Kara Dalgaard to act like a lady, even when her father demands it. After the handsome Jarl Aaron McNally arrives at her home recruiting for the king’s army, she’s forced to participate in a cruel deception to humiliate him. She quickly regrets what she’s done.

However, duty comes before happiness.

Aaron wants a second chance at life—and Kara is everything he’s dreamed of. But the past always has a way of catching up.

Will Kara trust or condemn him to a life of loneliness?

Buy Links:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.ca

 

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 EXCERPT

 No voice had ever sounded so enchanting, so potent. Could this be a walking dream? The spirit-woman turned. Christ’s blood … the last person he wished to see again … Erik’s daughter. Bright blue eyes pierced him the same way they had in the hall.

Here in the moonlight, dressed in little more than a shift, she resembled a goddess. Their gazes met. Fire fueled fire. Although he wanted to touch her, he feared what would happen. He’d never be able to stop.

“Why are you here?” she asked.

Her words pulled him out of his dark thoughts. “I have no answer,” he admitted. “Something tempted me to swim across that lake. Or someone…” For a moment the world spun slowly around Aaron. Everything he wanted stared him in the face. The peace of nightfall, trees, water, and a fiery temptress who didn’t know when to shut up.

“Tempted?” she scoffed. “Perhaps my father outwitted you again and you came here to lick your wounds in private.”

What he’d give to be able to crawl back into that lake and swim out of Kara’s life forever. There was a better chance of Odin splitting his skull in half. “Who have you been talking to, lass? The tides have turned—your father no longer opposes me. And this chance meeting has nothing to do with your sire.”

“Oh?” She looked sharply at him. “Do you think I’ve been waiting for you?”

He shook his head. “The thought never crossed my mind,” he said. “Were you?”

“No. I come here to pray.”

“It’s a beautiful spot.”

“Aye,” she agreed. “Frequented by my mother, and now me.”

“You weren’t praying when I arrived.”

“No,” she said. “I enjoy the stars almost as much as the gods.”

“Odin’s universe is vast.”

“Odin’s?” she asked. “Don’t you mean God’s?”

“Whoever created the heavens,” he quickly corrected himself. “I often find myself mystified by its beauty.”

“What else interests you, milord? War? Politics?”

“Peace.”

She cocked her head. “Are you a negotiator for the king or a soldier?”

“My responsibilities require many skills.”

“Including intimidating my father?”

He scooted closer. “Unfortunately, milady, your father threatened me first. I am a principled man, slow to temper, but protective of my honor.”

“Why does my sire mistrust you?”

“Who am I to know your father’s mind?” She asked too many questions. Questions he wasn’t ready to answer. Maybe someday.

 “Why does your father dress you in armor and train you to fight?”

She laughed. “For the same reason you held a dagger to my brother’s throat last night. For the sake of honor.”

He looked at her more closely. Endless beauty met his gaze, but there was something different about her. A quiet confidence. And her eyes…

Warm excitement flowed through him. He gazed heavenward again. “Look.”

“A shooting star,” she said excitedly.

“An omen.”

“From your prophets or Allfather?”

Aaron rested his right hand on her arm. “Why credit anyone?”

“You prefer mystery?”

“I prefer you,” he said.

She closed her eyes and placed her tiny hand over his. “I can’t stop thinking about you.”

 It took a moment for her words to sink in. By Odin, she’d declared her feelings. Only he wished she hadn’t. Every inch of his body screamed to get closer. “I’m trying very hard to control myself.”

A smile lifted the corners of her mouth, she opened her eyes. “What if I don’t want you to?”

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Violetta Rand holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Policy and a master’s degree in Environmental Management. Serving as an environmental scientist in the state of Alaska for over seven years, she enjoys the privilege of traveling to remote places few people have the opportunity to see.

Violetta has been “in love” with writing since childhood. Struck with an entrepreneurial spirit at a young age, at five, she wrote short stories illustrated by her best friend and sold them in her neighborhood. The only thing she loves more than writing is her wonderful relationship with her husband, Jeff. She enjoys outdoor activities, reading whatever she can get her hands on, music, and losing herself in the ancient worlds she enjoys bringing to life in the pages of her stories.

You can connect with Violetta on:

Facebook

Goodreads

Twitter

 

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THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

 

Violetta is kindly giving away TWO Kindle copies of BLIND REDEMPTION and you will need to have an Amazon account.  To be eligible for the Giveaway just leave a comment together with your email address.

The Giveaway will run from June 25 – July 2.

 

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MY REVIEW

This is the third book in Violetta Rand’s Blind series and Aaron McNally’s story. I admit that when I started reading this book, I had serious doubts that Ms Rand could adequately redeem Aaron in my eyes. I don’t want to spoil Blind Mercy for those who haven’t read it, but I’ll just say that Aaron’s acts of betrayal did seem unforgivable. Well, it’s confession time, because by the end of the book, Ms Rand not only redeemed Aaron but he became my favourite hero of the series.

Believe only in those things that draw you to his breast: strength, ferocity, magnitude, bravery, loyalty, victory, honesty, passion, and love.”

Aaron’s decision to renounce Christianity and follow Odin’s laws seems to symbolise a cleansing of his soul enabling him to turn his life around.  I began to see many redemptive qualities in him…his loyalty to King Olaf; his firm but fair treatment of his men; the way he rushes to aid Kara regardless of the danger; working on the improvements to his home; wanting to honour tradition and present himself to Kara’s father as a formal suitor. Aaron fears he will always be judged by his past sins when he faces the hostility and distrust of Kara’s father, Eric the Bold.

Erik’s eyes flashed. “I’ve worked side-by-side with just about every sort of man, Jarl McNally. Criminals and saints. Pagans and Christians. Do you know what kind of man I have no tolerance for? An outcast who betrays his kinsman out of jealously and hate. Do you understand?”

Kara has the strength, determination and heart of a true Viking warrior. I could just see her wielding that sword. It’s easy to see why she resents her lack of freedom and the need to conform to her father’s expectations. Her desire for independence and adventure sometimes causes her to act recklessly…

Tomorrow? What if Erling killed her today? Kara stared heavenward. Where was the man she truly wanted? Please Odin. Send Aaron McNally to rescue me…

I enjoyed how the romance develops allowing for some heated exchanges, a moonlight kiss, a touch of jealousy, a woodland tryst, bitter condemnations, a declaration of love, a romantic poem and a special wedding.

Tyr and Rachelle (Blind Mercy) play an important role in this story and I was pleased to see the rift between Aaron and his cousin, Tyr, finally healed.  The idea of a fierce warrior like Tyr playing matchmaker made me smile and the friendship between Kara and Rachelle was a nice touch too.

Once again, Ms Rand provides fascinating glimpses of the Viking world. I loved the reference to the Norse names for the constellations and the story of how earth was created. I was also fascinated by the details of the Norse wedding.

The plot had enough intrigue and action to keep my interest…kidnapping, betrayal, a dramatic rescue, a merciless villain and a revelation about one of the characters that I definitely didn’t see coming.

BLIND REDEMPTION is another worthy and enjoyable addition to this exciting series.


REVIEW RATING: 4.5 /5 Stars

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT
The Blind series so far (click on book covers for more details):

Blind Allegiance by Violetta Rand Blind Mercy (Blind, #2) by Violetta Rand Blind Redemption (Blind Series Book 3) by Violetta Rand


I would like to thank Violetta Rand for kindly providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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Today sees the release of the first book in the Black Rose Trilogy, an exciting new historical series from the incomparable Renee Bernard.

 

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(Black Rose Trilogy, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb

Raven Wells is no ordinary girl. Plucked from an orphanage by a scheming earl, she has been raised like a thoroughbred, groomed for one purpose: Revenge. Unfortunately, the Earl of Trent never let her in on the plan, so when she meets the man of her dreams, Sir Phillip Warrick, she has no idea that every lesson, every tutor and every impulsive inch of her was crafted for his seduction and destruction. What she does know is that love is the prize she wants most and that nothing should stand in a woman’s way to getting what she wants.

Phillip Warrick is simply trying to recover his friendship with the earl, unaware that the man has spent years laying the foundation for destroying Phillip’s peace of mind. What he does know is that the earl’s ward, Raven Wells, is mesmerizing, fascinating and apparently without reserve. Witty, beautiful, impulsive and impossible—she is like a siren beckoning him to forget the rules and seize only the pleasures of the moment.

Together, their love will set in motion a series of events that no one can foresee. Revenge creates more than one victim, but also more than one winner. Raven Wells will be transformed into a force of nature the likes of which Victorian London has never experienced before. LADY FALLS is the birth of the Black Rose and the end of innocence.

**

From acclaimed USA Today bestselling author, Renee Bernard, comes a new trilogy of gothic power and twisted sensuality. Here’s a slice of historical romance not generally found in the mainstream—so pull up a chair, settle in for a good read and hang on!

Buy Links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon Canada

Smashwords

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This is the delayed and regrettably final book in Loretta Chase’s sparkling Dressmakers series. I’m sure Leonie’s story will be well worth the wait!

 

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(The Dressmakers, #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb

From the Diary of Leonie Noirot: The perfect corset should invite its undoing . . .

Lethally charming Simon Fairfax, Marquess of Lisburne, has reluctantly returned to London for one reason only: a family obligation. Still, he might make time for the seduction of a certain redheaded dressmaker—but Leonie Noirot hasn’t time for him. She’s obsessed with transforming his cousin, the dowdy Lady Gladys, into a swan.

Leonie’s skills can coax curves—and profits—from thin air, but his criminally handsome lordship is too busy trying to seduce her to appreciate her genius. He badly needs to learn a lesson, and the wager she provokes ought to teach him, once and for all.

A great plan, in theory—but Lisburne’s become a serious distraction, and Leonie’s usual logic is in danger of slipping away as easily as a silk chemise. Could the Season’s greatest transformation be her own?

Buy Links:

Amazon US

B&N

iBooks

Amazon UK

 

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I love this post from Dot at La Deeta Reads. Who doesn’t love a man in a cravat!

La Deetda Reads

Austen Men real_men_wear_cravats_by_mybeckett-d37qbsa

(I swear I spent at least one former life in Regency England.)

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