Tuesday, August 4, 2015



Lady Viola Hextall is bored - of the sea, her chaperones, and the woeful lack of available dukes on the ocean voyage from London to New York. Scrambling for any diversion short of jumping overboard, Viola strikes up a conversation with the ship's rough-hewn, blue-eyed surgeon - and discovers an immediate cure for what ails her...

To Nathaniel Shaw, Viola has the bearing of a lady and the spirit of an adventurer - an unlikely combination that he finds utterly irresistible. So he's hoping to convince Viola to leave the stifling ballrooms of London high society behind because there is a big, wide world just waiting for them to explore – together.

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“To make a good duchess.  No matter what you think, Mr. Shaw, I will be a duchess one day.  I deserve to be a duchess one day.”
Nate made a disparaging noise.  “And is this how you’ve decided to measure your value – your worth in life, Lady Viola?  By whether or not you become a duchess?”
“What else is there?” She put her hands on her hips.
Nate felt his own rush of resentment, along with another pang of scathing disappointment.  “This is exactly why I am leaving England,” he said.
“What? Why?” Viola looked puzzled.
“This antiquated viewpoint that some of us are better than others based not on merit or intelligence or courage, but based only on an accident of birth.”
“Do you know how they select officers for the army, Lady Viola?”
“I’m not sure if—”
“They are selected based on their titles and their purchase of a commission.”
“Well, of course—”
“Do you know what happens when officers are given command of men not because they are qualified in the art of war, but because their names were preceded by a title?”
She was looking up at him now, startled, no doubt, by the bitterness that even he could hear in his words.
“Surgeons like me deal with the casualties resulting from inexperience and incompetence.” He leaned forward.  “And it is such a shameful waste.”
“Why are you telling me this?” she demanded a little defensively.  
“What happens if the duke you choose is a simpleton?” he asked her.  “Or perhaps he is given to sloth, or drink, or another vice that might make him cruel.  To you or to others around him.  Will you disregard this to attain the title that marriage to such a man will give you?”
Viola blinked at him.
“I would have thought that a woman such as you would want a husband who would admire her.  Respect her.  Maybe even love her.”
“I do,” she said, a little uncertain now.
“But yet those things do not count if they don’t come with a title?”
“You can’t have everything, Mr. Shaw.”
“So that is what you would choose?  Title over happiness?  Title over love?” He was provoking her deliberately.
She was twisting the ribbons of her bonnet in her fingers now.  “You must choose what is more important, don’t you agree, Mr. Shaw?  And in my world, it isn’t a choice.”
“Then I suggest you consider leaving your world behind.”
“One cannot simply leave a titled position, Mr. Shaw.”
Perhaps it was the powerlessness Nate had felt on the battlefield, his inability to challenge or change such thinking.  Perhaps it was the catch of hesitation he heard in her answer.  Either way, an edgy recklessness gripped him, and he found himself closing the distance between them, catching her chin in his fingers and tipping her head up to meet his gaze. 
“And what would happen, Lady Viola, if you found a man who did not have a title, but a man who would worship the ground upon which you walked?” he asked, his voice barely a whisper.  “A man who would trade his life for yours without a second’s thought.  A man who would give anything he owned just for the opportunity to kiss you?  Would you turn away from such a man and live the rest of your life wondering how things might have been if you had chosen happiness and love?”
“I don’t know.”  Her breath was coming in shallow gasps, and her color was high. 
He had proven his point, he knew.  He had made her uncomfortable and had dared her to think.  He should step away from her now and leave her to consider his words, if she was wont to do so.  But he couldn’t. 
Aside from the recklessness that had clouded his judgment, there was a woman he had glimpsed within her, one who sat cross-legged and spoke of frogs and muck.  A woman who he feared he might like very much, should she ever be allowed to be completely free of the woman who spoke of dukes and parties.
His hand slid from her chin to the back of her neck, his fingers caressing the silk of her hair.  She was watching him now, her beautiful blue eyes wide.  But not afraid.  As if she was challenging him to do his worst.
So he kissed her.
About Kelly Bowen

Kelly Bowen grew up in Manitoba, Canada. She attended the University of Manitoba and earned a Master of Science degree in veterinary physiology and endocrinology. But it was Kelly's infatuation with history and a weakness for a good love story that led her down the path of historical romance. When she is not writing, she seizes every opportunity to explore ruins and battlefields. Currently, Kelly lives in Winnipeg with her husband and two boys, all of whom are wonderfully patient with the writing process. Except, that is, when they need a goalie for street hockey.

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Monday, August 3, 2015

Samantha and Sara's Scavenger Hunt

Join authors Samantha Chase and Sara Humphreys as they celebrate their new contemporary romance releases. Not only are both books part of brand new series--but they're also the beginnings of two of hot new family sagas! To show their appreciation to the readers--new and old alike--Sara and Samantha are holding a scavenger hunt on Facebook. It's easy to participate and there are winners every single day.

To play, simply join the event on Facebook.

It runs from August 3rd-September 1st.  Once a day during the hunt, pop in to see what the scavenger hunt "item" is for that day. Then go find it and post in the daily thread. Easy peasy!! Play every day or just a few times during the month. Some days there will be more than one prize and multiple winners! All you need to play is your computer and a competitive spirit.  The prizes range from gift cards (Value ranging from $5-$50), goody bags, swag, books, mugs, mouse pads, a kindle and more!  There are literally hundreds of dollars worth of prizes up for grabs!

So what are you waiting for? Hop on over and join the fun...you never what they may send you in search of :) 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Review: Old Man's War by John Scalzi

Old Man's War (Old Man's War, #1)Title: Old Man's War
Author: John Scalzi
Publisher/Publication Date: Tor Books, January 15, 2007
Genre: Science Fiction
Format/Source: Paperback, Purchased

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First he visited his wife's grave. Then he joined the army.

The good news is that humanity finally made it into interstellar space. The bad news is that planets fit to live on are scarce-- and alien races willing to fight us for them are common. So: we fight. To defend Earth, and to stake our own claim to planetary real estate. Far from Earth, the war has been going on for decades: brutal, bloody, unyielding.

Earth itself is a backwater. The bulk of humanity's resources are in the hands of the Colonial Defense Force. Everybody knows that when you reach retirement age, you can join the CDF. They don't want young people; they want people who carry the knowledge and skills of decades of living. You'll be taken off Earth and never allowed to return. You'll serve two years at the front. And if you survive, you'll be given a generous homestead stake of your own, on one of our hard-won colony planets.

John Perry is taking that deal. He has only the vaguest idea what to expect. Because the actual fight, light-years from home, is far, far harder than he can imagine--and what he will become is far stranger...

My Thoughts:

With Old Man’s War by John Scalzi I had really high expectations—I kept seeing the series come up in various places, so I decided to go ahead and just give it a try. And you know what I was pretty impressed by it. Everything from the concept to the characters, even the various (often time’s completely alien) places were interesting and what ultimately kept me reading. I was invested in the story and eager to see where the characters ended up by the end of the novel.

Old Man’s War was exactly my kind of book.

The story is basically told from the perspective of John Perry, and at the age of seventy-five he decides to join the army. Well, this wasn’t any old army, because it primarily dealt with conflicts in the far reaches of outer space. The beginning was solid and introduced the concept, and I especially liked the parts that explained what really happens when you join the Colonial Defense Forces (CDF). There were a lot of stipulations that came along with the numerous benefits, and it was interesting to see how it played out later on in the story. I can’t say much about the other characters, because it’s a spoiler
— or there wasn’t much about them. The focus of the story remained primarily on John and his experience in the CDF.

The technology—ships and weapons—were also cool. Other aspects that I enjoyed was the way that the CDF operated, and the numerous missions that the recruits had to do under their specific orders. I also liked being able to see some of the training they underwent. I think that this book worked because it blended science fiction elements with strategy and war. So on that note, I look forward to eventually getting more of Scalzi's novels.

Rating 5/5

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Release Day Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway: Taming Lily by Monica Murphy

We're celebrating the release of TAMING LILY by Monica Murphy! 

TAMING LILY (The Fowler Sisters #3) by Monica Murphy
Adult Contemporary Romance


I’m in trouble. Again. And instead of facing my problems head-on, I’ve run away. Far away this time, and no one can catch me—not my two younger sisters, Violet and Rose, not my father, my grandmother, or that witch Pilar who wants to take control of my family’s cosmetics company. Now I’m in Hawaii, enjoying the sun and sand and water, where nobody knows the hot mess known as Lily Fowler. And I’m loving every minute of it.

But someone is watching me. Following me. He’s gorgeous. Soon we’re talking, and against all my instincts, I reveal bits and pieces of myself to Max. It feels good, though I know he can’t be the man for me. These sudden feelings we share are way too complicated, too fraught, too intense.

Then everything explodes and I’m forced to return home. My intentions have always been true, but now everyone’s mad at me. I don’t know who to turn to anymore . . . except to Max. He’s the one I want to trust. But I’m not so sure I should. Maybe it’s worth the risk—what-ifs be damned. . . .


“Looks like Maui agreed with you.” Violet greets me as I walk toward her, practically falling into her welcoming hug. I squeeze her back, closing my eyes for the briefest moment as I absorb her love and warmth, so incredibly thankful to be with her again.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you in person,” I tell her before I withdraw, though I don’t let her go my hands still clasp her shoulders and she’s holding on to my arms.

“I know.” Violet’s smiling at me, looking gorgeous with all that dark hair falling down her back in luxurious waves, her dark eyes sparkling as bright as the giant diamond on her finger. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Violet look so genuinely happy.

I could almost get choked up, having her here in front of me. I didn’t realize I missed my sister so much until now. “Skype just doesn’t cut it, you know,” I say, my voice rough as I clear my throat past the emotional bubble clogging it.

Violet rolls her eyes and smiles. “I totally agree. But guess what? You’re stuck with me now. No more going back to Lon- don for us except to visit.”

I’m so grateful for her warm acceptance of me that I can feel the tight knot in my chest slowly unravel. I was scared to death this morning as I prepared to come into Fleur. Seeing Daddy, Grandma, Rose, and Violet . . . and worst of all, that evil witch Pilar . . . I wasn’t looking forward to it, and that’s the understatement of the year.

I was petrified really, afraid of what any of them might say. I’d rather pretend the fact that I ran away to Maui to escape my problems—especially a problem that neither I nor Pilar wants made public knowledge, I’m sure—was swept under the rug.

I don’t even want to talk about Maui and what happened there. The man I met. The man who somehow, some way, double-crossed me. Stole from me . . .

I have my suspicions about why Max did what he did. Nothing confirmed yet, but come on. I had jewelry in my suitcase— expensive jewelry. Cash in my wallet and stashed away in my travel bag. Yet he took my laptop and that’s it. The fucker stole from me.


Could he be working for Pilar?

No. It couldn’t be possible, just some weird coincidence.

Maybe he didn’t steal from me. Maybe one of the hotel employees snagged my Mac. I hadn’t checked on it in days. For all I know, it could have been missing since the day I stashed it up on the shelf in my closet.
That’s the problem. I don’t know what happened, when it was stolen or why. I can suspect Max all I want. It makes sense in a way. He held me close until I fell asleep and when I woke up in the morning, groggy and hung over, he was gone. Disappeared like he’d never existed in the first place. He didn’t even leave a note. I searched for him everywhere. By the pool, in the lobby, down by the beach, in the hotel restaurants, but he wasn’t there.

I went to his hotel room only to find the door cracked open and the maids inside, cleaning. His stuff was gone. The maids let me know he’d checked out that morning.

He didn’t even bother saying goodbye.

It hurts that he didn’t believe me worthy of a goodbye. Worse, 
he lied to me. Said that we would see each other again and then ditched me. I don’t get it.

What did I do wrong? That last night, when we had sex, I gave him everything I thought he wanted. I wanted to please him, wanted to be the submissive woman, not only to make him happy, but because it made me feel...good. I liked handing over the control to Max so I could get lost in the pleasure. It aroused me, his controlling ways, the words he said, the demands he made on my body. I wanted more. I wanted all of him . . .

And he didn’t want me at all. 



OWNING VIOLET (The Fowler Sisters #1) by Monica Murphy
Adult Contemporary Romance
Books a Million: http://bit.ly/YUMZLj

STEALING ROSE (The Fowler Sisters #2) by Monica Murphy
Adult Contemporary Romance
Books-a-Million: http://bit.ly/17yNfVe


New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author Monica Murphy is a native Californian who lives in the foothills below Yosemite with her husband and three children. She's a workaholic who loves her job. When she's not busy writing, she also loves to read and travel with her family. She writes new adult and contemporary romance and is published with Bantam and Avon. She also writes romance as USA Today bestselling author Karen Erickson.
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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

ARC Review: Put Up Your Duke by Megan Frampton

Put Up Your Duke (Dukes Behaving Badly, #2)
Title: Put Up Your Duke (Dukes Behaving Badly, #2)
Author: Megan Frampton
Publisher/Publication Date: Avon Books; June 30, 2015
Format/Source: E-ARC, Publisher/Edelweiss
Genre: Historical Fiction
ISBN: 9780062352224

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About the Book

He was once happily bedding and boxing, but in the newest Duke's Behaving Badly novel, Nicholas Smithfield has inherited a title and a bride . . .

To keep his estate afloat, the new Duke of Gage must honor an agreement to marry Lady Isabella Sawford. Stunningly beautiful, utterly tempting, she's also a bag of wedding night nerves, so Nicholas decides to wait to do his duty—even if it means heading to the boxing saloon every day to punch away his frustration.

Groomed her whole life to become the perfect duchess, Isabella longs for independence, a dream that is gone forever. As her husband, Nicholas can do whatever he likes—but, to Isabella's surprise, the notorious rake instead begins a gentle seduction that is melting every inch of her reserve, night by night . . .

To his utter shock, Nicholas discovers that no previous exploits were half as pleasurable as wooing his own wife. But has the realm's most disreputable duke found the one woman who can bring him to his knees— and leave him there?

My Thoughts

Put Up Your Duke by Megan Frampton is an absolutely intriguing historical romance novel.  Frampton does an excellent job of capturing some of the mannerisms and beliefs of the people from the 1800s. Even though Isabella was less than thrilled about her parents’ arrangement for her to marry the Duke of Gabe, she still tried to adhere to societal norms as she maintained her perfect composure and acted as a duchess should. I was glad that there was a slightly different spin on this historical romance novel. Instead of Isabella having to rebel to get what she wanted, Nicholas was the one encouraging her to be herself and speak what was on her mind. I loved how she became a more daring individual, because her behavior led to some unexpected and entertaining moments. Overall, Nicholas was depicted as being respectful and protective, and I love the way that he dealt with her overbearing parents who accepted nothing less than perfection. Needless to say, he was a swoonworthy character. Nicholas and Isabella did have some communication issues, which resulted in tension between them, but the path they traveled seemed realistic. I also enjoyed the portrayal of some of the secondary characters—especially her sister Margaret who was full of surprises. You simply won’t want to miss what Frampton has in store for readers in this second installment of Dukes Behaving Badly.

Rating 5/5

I received an e-arc of Put up Your Duke from the publisher/Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Author Info

Megan Frampton writes historical romance under her own name and romantic women's fiction as Megan Caldwell. She likes the color black, gin, dark-haired British men, and huge earrings, not in that order. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and son.

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