Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

romancing the duke

  • Title:  Romancing the Duke
  • Series:  Castles Ever After, #1
  • Author:  Tessa Dare
  • Genre:  Historical Romance
  • Published:  January 2014 – Avon
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  (publisher) As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens. She never doubted romance would be in her future, too.  The storybooks offered endless possibilities.

And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off.  One by one by one.

  • Ugly duckling turned swan?
  • Abducted by handsome highwayman?
  • Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?

No, no, and… Heh.

Now Izzy’s given up yearning for romance. She’ll settle for a roof over her head.  What fairy tales are left over for an impoverished twenty-six year-old woman who’s never even been kissed?

This one.

My take:  When Izzy’s father died he left her penniless and, because his heir was a nephew, homeless. So when she receives word her godfather has died and bequeathed her a property she’s thrilled and relieved – until she sees said property. It’s a fixer upper of a castle inhabited by a man who had no idea someone else had taken over ownership.

The man who was under the impression the castle was his is none other than the Duke of Rothbury. Izzy finds out immediately he’s a force to be reckoned with. He’s tall, handsome, and blind. She’s always considered herself plain and at 26 years of age, probably on the shelf. For obvious reasons he can’t believe she’d be drawn to him and she’s not used to attention from a man. Their repartee throughout the book was entertaining.

A plot line about the books Izzy’s father wrote involves devoted fans who show up in costume at the castle. That eventually figures into the main plot (with a twist) and moves it toward a tidy conclusion.

Tessa Dare’s story is fun, funny and sometimes borders on silly. I enjoyed it all and would recommend it for when you need a light and fun read.

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Spotlight and Giveaway (US): The Comfort of Lies by Randy Susan Meyers

the comfort of lies

From the publisher:

Since the release of her debut The Murderer’s Daughters in 2010, international bestselling author Randy Susan Meyers has earned glowing critical praise, award nominations, and a devoted readership around the globe for her thought-provoking, emotionally-resonant novels.

Told in alternating points of view, THE COMFORT OF LIES reveals the darkest and most private thoughts of three very different women all connected to a five-year-old girl: Tia, the birth mother; Caroline, the adopted mother; and Juliette, the wife of the birth father. The year their lives collide, the women must confront their choices while discovering sobering truths about their relationships and most importantly, themselves.

Five years ago, Tia fell into obsessive love with a man she could never have. A married man and a father, Nathan was unavailable in every way. When she became pregnant, he disappeared and Tia gave the baby up for adoption. Five years later, she struggles with the decision and yearns to connect with her daughter—and her former lover.

Caroline, a dedicated pathologist, had always been a bit ambivalent about motherhood, much preferring the freedom of her childless, work-addicted lifestyle, but attempting to please her husband, she agreed to adopt, hoping her misgivings would disappear. However after five years, she’s questioning whether or not she’s really cut out for a domestic life.

Juliette thought she had it all—a loving husband, two healthy sons, and a successful business. Then she discovered Nathan’s affair. He promised he’d never stray again and she trusted him. Five years later, when Juliette intercepts a letter meant for Nathan containing photos of his daughter, her world crumbles, again. How could he keep this from her? What else is he hiding? Most importantly, how could he deny his daughter?

Desperate for the truth, Juliette goes in search of the little girl. Her quest leads her first to Caroline, then Tia, and before long, the women are on a collision course with consequences none of them could have predicted.

THE COMFORT OF LIES: A Novel

By Randy Susan Meyers

Washington Square Press/Atria Books || January 28, 2014 || $16.00 || Paperback

ISBN: 978-1-45-167302-9

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“Sharp and biting, and sometimes wickedly funny…Meyers writes beautifully about a formerly good marriage.” The Boston Globe

“Meyers’ complex characters feel familiar yet flawed, and this sharply woven tale demonstrates her uncanny ability to explore and illuminate the nuances of life’s most thorny dilemmas.” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle

“Meyers’ carefully told story is a satisfying examination of the imperfect paths we all walk.” BookPage

“The characters crackle with both intelligence and wit…Meyers’ women resonate as strong, complicated and conflicted, and the writing flows effortlessly in this sweet yet sassy novel about love, women and motherhood.” Kirkus Reviews

“Meyers has crafted an absorbing and layered drama that explores the complexities of infidelity, forgiveness, and family” Booklist

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About the author: Randy Susan Meyers is a founding member of Beyond The Margins, a multi-writer site dedicated to the craft of writing and the business of publishing. She is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and has recently co-authored the guide What To Do Before Your Book Launch with bestselling writer MJ Rose. She teaches writing at the Grub Street Writers Center in Boston. Meyers, the mother of two grown daughters, was born in Brooklyn, New York. She lives in Boston with her husband.  (photo by Jill Meyers)

For more information:    randysusanmeyers@gmail.com     *      randysusanmeyers.com 

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Book arrivals:

off the menu out to lunch come home to me the comfort of lies lost lake

Last week on Bookfan:

What I’m reading:

  • The All You Can Dream Buffet by Barbara O’Neal

Happy reading!

Spotlight and Giveaway (US): North of Boston by Elisabeth Elo

North of Boston

Like a ship barreling out of the dense North Atlantic fog, comes Elisabeth Elo—a darkly intoxicating, discordantly poetic, gutsy new voice in contemporary suspense fiction. Her novel, NORTH OF BOSTON, introduces Pirio Kasparov, a Boston-bred tough-talking girl, who, in a near brush with death, discovers her extraordinary ability to survive sub-freezing water. Elo’s gritty and gripping voice evokes the full palette of human emotion—it’s one that echoes the likes Peter Høeg, Laura Lippman, and even Dennis Lehane, but is indelibly her own.

Pirio is baiting lobster traps in Boston Harbor when out of the veil of mist comes a freighter, splitting the fishing boat she is on in half—the impact hurling her into the North Atlantic. Miraculously, she survives for hours in the nearly-frozen water before being rescued, though the boat’s owner, her friend, Ned, is not so lucky.

Though the tragedy leaves her deeply unnerved, Pirio is compelled to look after ten-year-old Noah, the son of the late Ned and her alcoholic prep school friend, Thomasina. But, Pirio can’t shake the lurking suspicion that the boat’s sinking was no accident—a suspicion seconded by her deeply cynical, autocratic Russian father, Milosa, who constantly reminds her nothing is ever what it seems.

With the help of a curious journalist, Pirio unravels a lethal plot taking her to the wilderness of the high north. To survive, she must not only overcome the icy water and a deadly betrayal, but she must confront her ultimate challenge: to trust herself.

This immersing, atmospheric page-turner, sweeps you from Boston Harbor to the Canadian Arctic, bringing the entire northern seaboard to life with beautifully haunting prose. But perhaps even more inspiring than the book’s setting, is its idiosyncratic heroine, whose unforgettable voice drives this adventure due north. Already working on a sequel featuring Pirio and the same ensemble cast, Elisabeth Elo is poised to become one of the suspense genre’s premiere female writers.

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NORTH OF BOSTON

A Novel

By Elisabeth Elo

Pamela Dorman Books/Viking; ISBN: 9780670015658; On-sale: January 27, 2014; $27.95

ALSO AVAILABLE AS AN E-BOOK

 “Pirio Kasparov is an alluring heroine. She’s sharp-witted, hell-bent on finding the truth, and her narrative voice is laced with surly sexiness. Pirio’s baldly honest, slightly melancholic reflections and Elo’s use of extreme natural settings will have strong appeal for Scandinavian crime fans. An impressive debut with surprising literary depth.” –Booklist (starred)

An utterly riveting debut thriller! Pirio Kasparov is one of the best protagonists I’ve read in years, tough, cynical, wry and compelling.  Her determination to discover the truth behind her friend’s murder will earn your admiration, while her growing desire to be a better daughter, friend, and person will win your heart.” —Lisa GardnerNew York Times bestselling author of Fear Nothing

As someone who has spent her life on the sea, I can tell you that Elisabeth Elo knows her stuff. Terrific fishing details, a fast-paced plot, and a heroine named Pirio Kasparov who steals the show. A great debut!” —Linda GreenlawNew York Times bestselling author of The Hungry Ocean and Lifesaving Lessons

“In NORTH OF BOSTON, Elisabeth Elo has written a modern, sophisticated, and compelling thriller. Her plot is original, her details deft, and her heroine utterly remarkable.” —Ivy Pochoda, author of Visitation Street

“Tough and smart, Pirio Kasparov comes alive in this fast-paced novel of unconventional plot twists and damaged relationships.” —Audrey Schulman, author of Three Weeks in December

“I wish I had a friend like Pirio Kasparov—intelligent, loyal, brave, and funny. From the opening pages of North of Boston I was enthralled and deeply committed to following Pirio wherever her brilliant author decided to send her next. What a terrific novel.” —Margot LiveseyNew York Times bestselling author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy

“Set on the gritty Boston waterfront, Elisabeth Elo’s novel starts off as a murder mystery and slowly builds into something larger and more disturbing. NORTH OF BOSTON is a gripping and unorthodox thriller, packed with intriguing characters and unexpected twists.” —Tom PerrottaNew York Times bestselling author of Nine Inches and The Leftovers

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About the author:  Elo grew up in Boston and went to Brown University.  She worked as an editor, an advertising copywriter, a high-tech project manager, and a halfway house counselor before getting a PhD in American Literature at Brandeis University.  Since then, she’s taught writing at Harvard, Tufts, and the evening school of Boston College.  She is already hard at work on the second book starring the NORTH OF BOSTON ensemble cast.

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Sunday Post

Book arrivals:

Little Bitty Lies that autumn in edinburgh the all you can  dream buffet Vine- Still Life With Bread Crumbs the memory child 

Last week on Bookfan:

What I’m reading:

  • Still Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen

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Bailey0035

We said goodbye to Bailey last Monday. She was a sweet dog and part of our family for over 15 years. We know Murphy (below, left) was there to meet her at the Rainbow Bridge.

photo

Nora Roberts Land by Ava Miles

Nora Roberts Land

  • Title:  Nora Roberts Land
  • Series:  Dare Valley, #1
  • Author:  Ava Miles
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance; Suspense
  • Published:  June 2013 – CreateSpace
  • Source:  Purchased

Synopsis:  Journalist Meredith Hale’s ex-husband claimed her Nora Roberts addiction gave her unrealistic expectations about marriage, and she believed him. All dreams of happily ever after—or Nora Roberts Land as her mother calls it—went up in smoke. But when her family asks her to temporarily help their Dare Valley, Colorado newspaper, she decides it’s time to change her life and prove her ex wrong. She’s determined to find her own small-town Nora Roberts hero, prove that true love exists, and publish a story about her quest.
War correspondent Tanner McBride has just returned stateside to work for a major newspaper, and the last thing he expects is blackmail. Yet, before he can even unpack, he’s headed to Colorado. His assignment? Make his boss’s ex-wife fall for him and then break her heart. Her article about discovering love à la Nora might air dirty laundry about her marriage to the media mogul, threatening his senate run. The mogul wants Meredith stopped, and he makes sure Tanner has no choice in the matter. . .  (publisher)

My take:  Nora Roberts Land is the first book in the Dare Valley series. I read the second, French Roastlast year and really enjoyed it. Book three is already published and I can’t wait to read it.

Meredith Hale is still recovering from her divorce. Her ex-husband  made her feel the failure of their marriage was her fault. When she leaves New York and her old life for Colorado and a chance to help at her family’s newspaper she decides to see if a happily ever after can be found – just like in Nora Roberts’ novels. When her ex hears about her plans he worries her article will make him look bad in his run for political office. He decides to send Tanner, a reporter, (under threat of blackmail) to pretend to fall in love with her and then break up – all to disprove her story so she won’t publish it. What he didn’t plan on was the reporter and Meredith actually falling in love.

There’s also a mystery to be solved. College kids are ending up in the ER or dead after partying. Alcohol and pot are involved but test results aren’t proving conclusive. Tanner and Meredith investigate and soon become involved in the story they’re investigating. There’s an exciting denouement that kept me turning the pages right through the epilogue.

Ava Miles’ small town series is one I’m enjoying. The setting is great and I like the main characters as well as the supporting ones. Like I said, I look forward to reading the third book, The Grand Opening, soon.