The Secret Life of Lady Julia by Lecia Cornwall

the secret life of lady julia

  • Title:  The Secret Life of Lady Julia
  • Author:  Lecia Cornwall
  • Genre:  Historical Romance
  • Published:  May 28, 2013 – Avon
  • Source:  Publisher

My take:  Julia Leighton was told on her eighth birthday she would marry the Duke of Temberlay (aka Dull Duke David) when she was grown. Fast forward several years and Lady Julia was at her betrothal ball wishing the Duke would at least compliment her on her gown or ask her to dance. He was more interested in playing cards with his friends so when a charming gentleman (Thomas Merritt) waltzed Julia out of the ballroom for a romantic tryst she didn’t say no. When those actions made apparent she was a compromised woman she was  disowned by her family and refused by her fiancé. Several months after her son was born she became a lady’s companion to the sister of a British diplomat on their way to Vienna for peace talks.

Julia is not only beautiful but she’s also quite smart. When the British diplomats find out she speaks 3 or 4 languages they ask her to be their eyes and ears around the palace they’re staying at in Vienna. No one expects her, being a lowly Lady’s companion, to be able to understand what’s being said in her presence. She earns the respect of the diplomats and one in particular has feelings for her.

As fate would have it, Thomas Merritt and Julia’s paths cross in Vienna. Even before he met Julia he’d been (unjustly) disowned by his family so he became a jewel thief. He would woo the ladies of the ton and relieve them of a jewel or two. He stole the jewels and his valet would fence them thereby providing food and housing for the two. They show up in Vienna to strike it rich by relieving  wealthy royalty of their jewelry. As luck would have it they run into problems. Could it be that Thomas and Julia could help each other? Will Julia risk Thomas learning her secret? And what will happen if he does?

The Secret Life of Lady Julia held my interest to the last page. I liked the political aspects – diplomatic and social – and I enjoyed Thomas and Julia’s relationship. They were honorable and had strength of character which dictated they take responsibility for their decisions. They were a good match on all levels. This is the first of Lecia Cornwall’s books I’ve read and I look forward to reading others in the future.

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lecia cornwall

Lecia Cornwall is a PRO member of the Romance Writers of America’s Seattle and Calgary Chapters. Her background includes all facets of writing, including running a successful freelance writing business specializing in direct marketing and advertising. Both history and writing have been lifelong passions. Lecia currently lives and writes in Calgary, Alberta, the heart of the Canadian West.

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Sunday Post

Book arrivals: (If you click the titles below the covers you’ll arrive at the Goodreads synopses)

and the mountains echoed  instructions for a heatwave  the great escape

Last week on Bookfan:

  • Spotlight on: Elizabeth The First Wife by Lian Dolan
  • Review:  Looking For Me by Beth Hoffman

Books I read last week:

  • The Widow Waltz by Sally Koslow
  • How To Lose A Bride In One Night by Sophie Jordan 

Happy reading!

Looking For Me by Beth Hoffman

looking for me

  • Title:  Looking For Me
  • Author:  Beth Hoffman
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  May 28, 2013 – Pamela Dorman Books
  • Source:  Review copy from the author

Synopsis (publisher):  Teddi Overman found her life’s passion for furniture in a broken-down chair left on the side of the road in rural Kentucky. She learns to turn other people’s castoffs into beautifully restored antiques, and eventually finds a way to open her own shop in Charleston. There, Teddi builds a life for herself as unexpected and quirky as the customers who visit her shop.  Though Teddi is surrounded by remarkable friends and finds love in the most surprising way, nothing can alleviate the haunting uncertainty she’s felt in the years since her brother Josh’s mysterious disappearance. When signs emerge that Josh might still be alive, Teddi is drawn home to Kentucky.  It’s a journey that could help her come to terms with her shattered family—and to find herself at last. But first she must decide what to let go of and what to keep.

My take:  Looking for Me is the story of Teddi Overman, a woman who found her talent for restoring furniture as a young teen and made it her life’s work. With love and great care she gives cast aside pieces a second chance.  That theme repeats in the lives of a few characters – most notably Teddi’s best friend, her brother Josh and a man who reminds her of Josh, Gabe. Whether furniture, old books, or animals, they repair the broken down for another chance at life. The novel is filled with great characters – Teddi’s coworkers, friends, and relatives. I enjoyed each one.

What I loved most about Teddi was her kindness and compassion for pretty much anything or anyone. She had such a pure heart and optimistic spirit and saw the good in everyone. And yet she was human – she had her limits when people pushed her. I’d want to be her friend. The goodness she sent out to people in her world came back to her time and again.

I had such a good feeling while reading Looking For Me that I didn’t want to say goodbye to Teddi and her world. It’s a story filled with heartbreak, friendship, love, mystery and so much more. It is one of those books I know I’ll read again and I rarely do that. I hope you’ll read it soon.

Spotlight on: Elizabeth The First Wife by Lian Dolan

Elizabeth the 1st wife

  • Title:  Elizabeth The First Wife
  • Author:  Lian Dolan
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  May 2013 – Prospect Park Books

About Elizabeth the First Wife:  Elizabeth Lancaster, an English professor at Pasadena City College, finds her perfectly dull but perfectly orchestrated life upended one summer by three men: her movie-star ex-husband, a charming political operative, and William Shakespeare. Until now, she’d been content living in the shadow of her high-profile and highly accomplished family. Then her college boyfriend and one-time husband of seventeen months, A-list action star FX Fahey, shows up with a job offer that she can’t resist, and Elizabeth’s life suddenly gets a whole lot more interesting. She’s off to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for the summer to make sure FX doesn’t humiliate himself in an avant-garde production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Meanwhile, Elizabeth’s house sitter back in Pasadena is her Congressman brother-in-law’s dreamy chief of staff, whose calls regarding how to work the washing machine and stovetop slowly cross the line into much more personal territory.

About the author:  Lian Dolan is a writer, producer, talk show host, podcast pioneer and social media consultant. She writes Author Photo_Lian Dolanthe blog and produces the weekly podcast “The Chaos Chronicles,” a humorous look at modern motherhood. She writes for Oprah.com as a parenting expert. A decade ago, Lian created Satellite Sisters, an award-winning talk show, blog and website, with her four real sisters. Her writing has appeared in many national magazines, including regular columns in O, The Oprah Magazine and Working Mother and essays in such anthologies as Chicken Soup for the Sister’s Soul. TV appearances have included The Today Show, CBS Sunday Morning, and The Oprah Winfrey Show. She is a popular speaker for groups and corporations, always using humor as hook.  Her previous books include Helen of Pasadena and The Satellite Sisters’ Uncommon Senses.

Spotlight on: Defiant Heart by Marty Steere

Layout 1Description of Defiant Heart by Marty Steere: 

  •  Publisher: Penfield Press (April 15, 2013)
  • Category: Historical Fiction, WWII, General Fiction, Literary Fiction, Love Story, Romance
  • Tour Dates: April-Mid May, 2013
  • Available in: eBook, 385

Set against the backdrop of small town America on the eve of World War II, Defiant Heart features two extraordinary characters and one unforgettable love story.

In the spring of 1941, young Jon Meyer’s family dies in a tragic accident, and he is sent to live in a small Indiana town.  He arrives to find himself unwanted and shunned.

Mary Dahlgren is the daughter of the town’s mayor.  A pretty girl, she could have the pick of the boys in town, including Vernon King, the star of the vaunted high school basketball team.  To the chagrin of her friends, though, Mary has always been more interested in books than boys.  That is, until she meets Jon.

But Jon and Mary are kept apart by an insidious campaign orchestrated by Mary’s father, who perceives their relationship a threat to his political aspirations, and Vernon, to whom Jon is a rival for Mary’s affections.  For months Jon is subjected to a painful ostracism.  Then, just when the young man’s earnestness and perseverance begin to win over many of the townsfolk and it appears that love may conquer all, tragedy strikes.

As the country is caught up in war, so too are the young lovers swept up in events beyond their control, leaving both fighting for their very lives.  If, against the odds, they are to be together, each will need to find the strength, the courage and the resourcefulness that beat only in a defiant heart.

Praise for Marty Steere’s Award Winning Book, Sea of Crises:

“Steere’s high-octane suspense tale takes off with all the intrigue and honor of the best space-age Westerns and political thrillers.”-Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Steere’s assured prose is compelling, and the book’s intriguing plot will keep readers turning pages until the very end.”-Publisher’s Weekly

“Author Marty Steere is brilliant!… The action is non-stop and fast-paced and is mixed with just the right amount of mystery to make a perfect thriller…. [The] plot is plausible, the characters are realistic, and the writing is superb…so stunning a read that you will be unable to stop reading until the very end.“-Readers Favorite

“Sea of Crises is a mystery set amongst exploration, very highly recommended.”-The Midwest Book Review

“Marty Steere’s Sea of Crises drew me in, held me at the edge, and gave my hand a comforting squeeze when I couldn’t stand to see what happened next. This is a thriller with heart that will leave its readers satisfied they followed the Cartwright boys into a dangerous adventure.“-BookIdeas.com

“[P]ulse-pounding…. I highly recommend you check out Marty Steere’s novel Sea of Crises!”-BestsellersWorld.com

About Marty Steere:

The son of a career air force officer, Marty Steere grew up on or near military installations across the country and overseas before settling in Southern California, where, when he’s not writing, he practices law.  His debut novel, Sea of Crises, was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best of 2012.

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Follow the Tour:

So Many Precious Books April 5 Review & Giveaway
Books, Books & More Books April 8 Review
Books, Books & More Books April 9 Guest Post
Dr Bill’s Book Bazaar April 10 Review
Cuzinlogic April 12 Review
Literary Addicts April 12 Interview
Raging Bibliomania April 15 Review
Joy Story April 17 Review
Bookworm Brandee April  23 Review
Bookworm Brandee April  24 Guest Post
Green Mountain Couple April 25 Review
Broken Teepee April 26  Excerpt
Every Free Chance May  2 Review & Giveaway
Book Lover’s Library May 3 Review
Book Lover’s Library May 3 Interview
My Devotional Thoughts May 6 Review & Giveaway
Bookalicious  May 7 Review
Recent Reads May 8 Review
No Wasted Ink May 8  Interview
Bass Giraffe May 9 Review & Giveaway
Romance & Inspriation May 10 Review
Book Mark Blog May 13 Review
The Self Taught Cook May 14 Review & Giveaway
Teena in Toronto May 15 Review
BookFan May 17 Spotlight
Books Complete Me May 20 Review

Buy Defiant Heat on Amazon

Lucky Bastard by Deborah Coonts

Lucky Bastard

  • Title:  Lucky Bastard
  • Author:  Deborah Coonts
  • Genre:  Mystery series
  • Published:  May 2013 – Forge Books
  • Source:   Review copy from publisher via NetGalley

Synopsis (publisher)Lucky O’Toole may have been promoted to Vice President of Customer Relations for the Babylon, Las Vegas’ primo Strip property, but nothing has changed. When Paxton Dane, a former member of the Babylon’s Security detail turned Private Investigator, discovers a young woman dead, sprawled across the hood of a new, bright red Ferrari California in the Babylon’s dealership, a Jimmy Choo stiletto stuck in her carotid, he calls Lucky to handle the problem.

Lucky’s life is already in precarious balance. Her mother, Mona, is pregnant, hormonal, bored, and looking for ways to fill her days. Teddie, Lucky’s former lover, has hit the road on his quest to find international stardom. But, realizing he’s made a mistake, he writes a song for Lucky, then hits the talk shows, pleading his case. Lucky is less than amused with the national spotlight on her personal life. She’s having enough trouble as it is fending off the amorous attentions of Chef Jean-Charles Bouclet, the Babylon’s tasty new dish. Lucky feels mixing business and pleasure with the chef is a sure-fire recipe for disaster.

And the timing could not be worse. The Smack-Down Poker tournament with all the media attention the second-largest poker tournament in the world attracts is holding it’s final table at the Babylon. Hookers, thieves, players, cheaters, media, and hangers-on all descend looking to win or to score.

When one of the major players turns up dead, Lucky starts putting the pieces together with the help of Cole Weston, a hearing-impaired professional poker player. They chase clues and suspects through Vegas to the storm drains underneath the city—where the runoff from a summer monsoonal shower turns deadly.

After a revelation by someone close to her sends her world reeling even further, Lucky struggles to keep her life in balance, and a murderer from killing again as bodies pile up.

Then, just when she’s losing control… life deals another major complication to her personal life….and it’s not going to be pretty.

My take:  Lucky O’Toole is the new VP of Customer Relations at The Babylon resort in Las Vegas. She’s a trouble shooter who seems to be constantly stalked by trouble. This time it finds her in the form of a dead body sprawled on top of a Ferrari in the dealership housed within the resort. You’d think one dead body would be enough but a few more are discovered within hours of each other. To make matters worse it seems someone close to Lucky is a prime suspect.

While trying to figure out why a friend is under suspicion of murder she also has to balance her love life. Things are heating up with the resort’s French chef and her ex continues to beg for forgiveness. When does this girl sleep?

I’ve never been to Las Vegas but I love my visits via the Lucky O’Toole series. On the surface its fun and glamorous but we also glimpse the seedy underside of the city. Lucky is a lovable character who has a knack for attracting trouble and then finds a way to help the LVPD solve the crime.

I find this series thoroughly entertaining and can’t wait to see what happens to Lucky next – in life and love.

For More Information, Please Visit DeborahCoonts.com

LuckyBastardVBT