Friday, November 21, 2014

Under These Restless Skies by Lissa Bryan

It came! My very own copy of Lissa Bryan's 

Under These Restless Skies

Under These Restless Skies

by Lissa Bryan

Will Somers has always thought himself unlovable. When he encounters a creature of myth and magic, he seizes the chance to finally have a wife and family of his own. Emma is a selkie—one of the immortal fae-folk of the sea—bound to Will by the magic of her kind, and eager to learn about life on land. She has to learn to adapt quickly to human customs, because Will is headed for the court of Henry VIII, to serve as the king’s fool. It’s a glittering, dangerous world, where a careless word can lead to the scaffold and the smallest of gestures is loaded with political implications. Anne Boleyn is charmed by Emma’s naïveté and soothing selkie magic and wants Emma for her own fool. Can Will protect his newfound love from the dangers that lurk in every shadow? Circa regna tonat: around the throne, the thunder rolls.

Why can't all history be this interesting? Yes, I realize Under These Restless Skies by Lissa Bryan is fiction, but she's filled it with historical facts, and she's made it highly readable! She's done her research, and it shows.

Will Somers is taking a few minutes to walk on the beach, to think about how his life is changing as he heads off to the Court of Henry VIII to, hopefully, become his fool. Will juggles, jokes, and is made fun of because of his hunched back. He doesn't have a choice and it's a rather scary endeavor. Kings can say things like "off with his head" and it then happens. While he's thinking on his future, Will meets a Selkie. His grandmother had told him that they can make wonderful wives and mothers. Like any other man, Will wants that, but because of his deformity, he never thought it was possible. Then the possibility is right there...she's so beautiful and she likes and accepts him, deformity and all. Quite the heady event for young Mr. Somers. Emma had wanted to learn about "land men" and she chooses Will to show her everything.

This is their journey as they learn about each other, as they learn to avoid the undertow that is Court, and they find out what friendship, love, and family really means.

Ms. Bryan puts us right in the middle of Court. Henry is working to annul his marriage to Katharine, his wife of twenty years, so that he can marry Anne Boleyn. The intrigues, the pomp, the circumstance, the back stabbing, the hate...and the love that is Court comes alive here. 

I am sincerely grateful that I live in the present time. What Henry, and others in positions of power, did was appalling. I am not ashamed to say that I cried buckets at some points while reading. I was always rooting for Emma, with her calming Selkie powers, as she discovered what land men were really like. I was grateful that she and Will had each other to find comfort with. They also had Jack, a little monkey, to brighten their days. He had some great scenes.

While those that know about this time frame will anticipate the historical events, I think they will also enjoy how this "it could have been" is expertly interwoven with the historical facts.

I loved this, and I'm starting a campaign to have MORE of Will and Emma. There are few places Ms. Bryan could take us if she wishes to write more. I sincerely hope she does!

*Thank you, NetGalley and TWCS, for the opportunity to read Under These Restless Skies

If you are intrigued, please add Under These Restless Skies your Goodreads' Shelves:

Under These Restless Skies

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Lissa Bryan is an astronaut, renowned Kabuki actress, Olympic pole vault gold medalist, Iron Chef champion, and scientist who recently discovered the cure for athlete's foot ... though only in her head. Real life isn't so interesting, which is why she spends most of her time writing.

Her first novel, Ghostwriter, is available through The Writer's Coffee Shop (which is the least expensive option), AmazoniTunes, and Kobo. Her second novel, The End of All Things, was released on January 24, 2013, and is available through TWCSAmazon, and iTunes.
She also has a short story in the Romantic Interludes anthology, available from TWCSAmazon and iTunes.
Her third novel, Under These Restless Skies, is scheduled for release in spring of 2014. See the trailer here.

Author Links
Website Facebook ♥ Twitter ♥ TWCS (Publisher) ♥ Amazon♥ Barnes & Noble ♥ iTunes ♥ Youtube book trailers

A July Bride by Beth Wiseman

A July Bride 

A Year of Weddings 1 #8

A year's worth of novellas from twelve inspirational romance authors. Happily ever after guaranteed.
Can she forgive the man who left her at the altar?

Alyssa Pennington dated Brendan Myers for three years before she accepted his proposal. For almost a year, Alyssa's friends and family helped her plan a lovely wedding to take place in the church she'd grown up in. It was the happiest day of her life when she walked down the aisle to be united with the man of her dreams. But when Brendan left her at the altar, Alyssa was consumed by humiliation, embarrassment, and a broken heart that wouldn't allow her to trust anyone. Especially Brendan.

Brendan Myers knows he will spend the rest of his life regretting what he did to Alyssa, the only woman he's ever loved. Without her, his life is empty. In one fateful moment, he'd panicked, destroyed their future, and ruined everything. Now he plans to win her back.

But winning back his bride might prove much more difficult than he can imagine. And even if he does get her to the altar again, will she think turnabout is fair play?

Kathie's Review:

I really wanted to like this book. There's a wedding planned for my own home in the next couple weeks, and I really like weddings! 

There may be spoilers in this review.

Bad choices are made by many of these characters and the reasons don't seem to be real, at least to me. Brendan ran when his bride to be reaches him at the altar. We don't find out the reason until close to the end of the book. I thought his reason wasn't that great. 

Near the end, we also find out that Alyssa had pressured him to get married. But he was the one that asked her, so they both needed to communicate better.

After jilting her, Brendan starts making grand gestures almost immediately to try and win her back. Alyssa is having none of that, for which I don't blame her. What I do blame her for is jumping into a relationship quite quickly. Not that I thought she should pine forever, but she was engaged less than six months later. And she really wasn't happy about it. 

Another thing that rather bugged me is that Alyssa asks God for a sign. When she steps into her rose filled home, she thinks the roses are from her ex, and she's thrilled. This is the sign that God has sent. But when she realizes the flowers are from the new guy, her heart breaks a bit. Um, wouldn't that be sign that she's with the WRONG guy? Did she really want a telegram from God? I don't know, but the entire way through the engagement, she's just not devoted to the new guy.

The new guy...ugh...he mentions at one point that he had cheated on his ex. And he can't wait to sleep with the new girl, before they are even in a committed relationship. He pressures her for sex after they are engaged. She only mentions this once, something about having to make rules. You know the guy had to be pressuring her the entire time. That's the way this type of guy is. I didn't feel this was addressed nearly enough.

The end of the book felt like several paragraphs were left out. It was rather like "Wham, Bam, HEA." This could have been a lot better. I am giving it a THREE...because my OCD tendencies mean I have to read the whole series and some reviews I've read have really loved this one. So you may enjoy it much more than I did. Not every book is written for every reader.

Thank you, NetGalley and Zondervan, for the opportunity to read this book.

Connect with Beth Wiseman:

Website * Goodreads * Facebook * Twitter @BethWiseman

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Prima Donna Mug from Laura Drewry

I love getting goodies in the mail. Recently I received the mug I won at Laura Drewry's Release Day Party on Facebook for her book Prima Donna:

It's got pride of place on my bookshelf and I'm going to use it to hold all the lovely bookmarks I've received over the past couple years.

Thank you, Laura Drewry!

Prima Donna 
by Laura Drewry

September 23, 2014

In a witty, sizzling, and tender romance for readers of Jill Shalvis and Susan Mallery, a woman who can’t slow down discovers that the perfect guy is in hot pursuit.

Even when her hair salon goes under and she’s on the brink of breaking, Regan Burke keeps her “I’m just fine” attitude. She’s had a tough life, coping with a difficult family and keeping her act together . . . barely. Right now, she just needs a job, any job, so she can pay her mother’s medical bills. It’s the exact wrong time for Carter Scott to come into her life—and to be so damn sexy, so distracting, and so determined to get close.

Carter isn’t looking for anything serious—his heart belongs to the kids who depend on his pediatric practice—but something about Regan makes him reconsider. Maybe it’s the scars she hides so well, the secrets she can’t share. Carter knows all about that kind of pain, and he wants to help. But offering Regan a job in his office only makes things worse, even if their chemistry is off the charts. Lucky for them both, Carter isn’t about to let go of love without a fight.

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

Kathie's Review:

I stayed up until 2 a.m. reading this book. It was that good. I'm incredibly impressed that this is Ms. Drewry's second book. Just like I was impressed with her first book, Plain Jayne. This author has a smooth style that's elegant and holds your attention. For an author with just a couple books on her shelf, her writing style is right up there with all the best authors. Well done!

One of the first things to appeal to me in Prima Donna was the Han Solo quotes at the beginning of the chapters. Made me smile! And I can certainly see the way Han and Carter are alike. Both are scoundrels, but sweet...and cute...and hot. The geek in me loved this. 

We met both Regan and Carter in the first book, and it was great that they got their chance to find happiness here. They both deserve some, for sure. When we begin, Regan is having a really bad day, after having a hard time for years. Her salon is now closed, she needs a paying gig to keep her mother in a medical facility, and it's just like the last straw when Carter walks in with his hair a total mess. She thinks it looks like he cut the locks with a knife and fork! It really offends her inner stylist.  There's a scene later that explains his "cut" that will bring tears to your eyes. 

Regan thinks she knows least she knows that he's a player. But sometimes a player is really what one needs, right? Just a few minutes (or hours!) of heaven...because that's all it can be. And good golly it sure is. There's a kiss--just a kiss--that about melted my kindle. Wowza...

The flow of this story, as truths come to light, hearts are softened, friends are cherished, and a relationship blossoms, held me enthralled. It reads real. That takes talent, and I appreciated it very much.

One of the best things about this book, besides Carter, is the fact that there are several more women in Regan and Jayne's merry little band. We need to see them all get their HEAs. Soon, please?

By the way, Ms. Drewry is having a Facebook Party TODAY. Head over there to chat with her and win prizes:

*Thank you, NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Loveswept, for the opportunity to read Prima Donna

Connect with Laura Drewry:

Love's Legacy by Joan Avery

by Joan Avery
Release date: 11/10/14
Grenada, British West Indies, 1875
English plantation owner Geoffrey Worth has misgivings about hiring an American widow as a governess. But while Geoffrey longs to forget the past—and the daughter who reminds him of it daily—there is still duty to consider. And Bellefleur, his plantation. This is his life now. Warmth, family, love; these things only bring pain. And scars he'll carry forever...
Elizabeth Malfonte is certainly not the aged widow he had anticipated. She's young and beautiful, with a determination that wakes something deep within Geoffrey. Yet Elizabeth hides her own secret―the babe within her womb. And despite Geoffrey's handsome―yet scarred face―her new employer has a cold and unforgiving nature that unsettles her, even as Elizabeth's wariness slowly heats to desire.
But the bright beauty of this land is no match for the dark, ominous clouds of the past...
Buy Links:

About the Author:  Joan Avery was an award-winning writer/producer at a major national advertising agency for over fifteen years before she retired to raise a family and write. Joan has been blessed with a daughter, two sons and two stepsons. She and her husband now have five grandchildren. Although she has lived in the Detroit area her entire life she has traveled extensively for both work and leisure. She and her husband, an attorney, have visited many fascinating parts of the world. Joan feels her travels enrich her writing. THE WORTH BROTHERS TRILOGY takes place in three of her favorite places.