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Saturday, August 18, 2018

Dangerous by Minerva Spencer - Book Review, Interview & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

While Mia was born a lady, she is an outcast in society now. She was abducted when she was a teenager and was sold to a sultan to be part of his harem. The sultan died and Mia managed to escape the palace. After many years she's finally back in London. Her father wants her to find a husband as quickly as possible, but there aren't many appealing matches. The only man Mia likes the sight of is Adam. However, he has a reputation and many members of the ton call him the Murderous Marquess. Will Mia take her chances and marry the handsome man she instantly feels attracted to or will she listen to the stories and go for a safer option?

Adam was married twice, but still doesn't have an heir. He needs to marry again to secure the future of his estate. Because of his reputation it isn't easy to find a wife. He also isn't looking for a love match. His heart was broken and he isn't looking for a repeat experience. Mia seems to be the exact right candidate to become his wife. He knows she has a hidden agenda and this intrigues him. Their match would be mutually beneficial and he decides to give it a shot. While spending time with Mia he discovers the situation isn't as simple as he thought. When feelings become part of the equation they are facing plenty of trouble. Will Adam and Mia be able to make their arrangement work?

Dangerous is a fantastic sexy romantic story. I was immediately intrigued by the enigmatic Mia. She's confident, bold and smart. Marriage means a solution to a problem for her and that is why she likes the idea of becoming Adam's wife, which is a fabulous idea for a riveting story. I couldn't wait to find out what would happen when the gruff, but sweet and alluring, Adam would discover her secrets. They are evenly matched and their strong personalities either clash or attract like a magnet. Their relationship is a real challenge from the start and I loved how well suited they are. I liked that they have a hidden agenda and are both keeping secrets, finding out what they were kept me on the edge of my seat. Mia and Adam are brilliant main characters with many mysterious personality traits that mesmerized me from beginning to end.

Minerva Spencer has a wonderful warm writing style. She makes her story come to life in a terrific dynamic way. There's plenty of action, there are many surprising twists and turns and the story is filled with unexpected adventures. She combines this with amazing sparkling chemistry that works really well. It's easy to see why Mia and Adam can't stay away from each other. I loved their original backgrounds and their fascinating pasts are giving them a nice layer of depth. Dangerous is a delightful enchanting story that put a big smile on my face.


If you love sexy original historical romance you don't want to miss Dangerous.

About Minerva Spencer

I write Regency Era romance and the first four books in my Outcasts series will be published by Kensington Press. The first book, Dangerous, will debut in June 2018.

Before I began writing I spent time as a dock worker, a reader for the blind, a criminal prosecutor, and I taught American History on the college level for five years. My last job was running an 8-bedroom bed and breakfast, a subject I will never write about...

I like historical fiction because I enjoy escaping into the past when I relax. And I write romance because I love a happy ending and everything that happens along the way.

I came to writing late in life and I feel like I have to write fast to catch up! I work every day looking out over the Sangre de Cristo mountains and my free range birds and dogs!

When I'm not writing I'm playing with my animals, knitting, DIYing, crocheting, sewing, or watching old movies.


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1) Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself? 

I’ve done a lot of things--teacher, lawyer, and b&b owner--before I came to writing. I have to admit that writing books is the most enjoyable job I’ve ever had. I write all kinds of stuff but I really love writing Regency romance because there is almost a fantasy element when it comes to writing about the distant past.

2) How did you get the idea to write about outcasts?

I write about outcasts because I’ve felt like one more than once in my life. I’m from Canada and my father was a construction miner, so our family (a HUGE extended famiily of French Canadians) would chase the mines. From potash in Saskachewan to Uranium in New Mexico to Copper in Algeria. That meant we moved a lot-- 16 times before the 5th grade. Each time I had to go to a new school it was the same “outcast” experience of trying to find somewhere to fit in, dealing with the “stranger-danger” mentality, and making new friends.

And then we would move again…

Luckily we stopped moving when my parents bought their own business and I was able to spend several years in one place and see what fitting in felt like, too!

I think moving so much gave me a lifelong curiosity about other people and their lives. There are 7 billion people on the planet and everyone’s experience is so very different and precious to them. Writing is my way of trying to experience other lives.

3) Euphemia, the heroine of Dangerous, has an unusual background, what’s the inspiration behind her time in a harem?

I was interested in piracy and what happened to captives. She was a minor character in another story and I just became intrigued with her--as writers often do with their imaginary friends--and gave her a book of her own.

4) Can you describe the main characters of Dangerous in eight words each?

Mia: Pragmatic, loyal, resilient, affectionate, curious, optimistic, sensual, teasing.

Adam: Stoic, contained, sharp, remote, loving, private, jaded, passionate

5) Where does your love for historical romance come from?

I trace it back to Victoria Holt, who I still re-read every year.

6) You love a good happy ending, which key features should a successful happily ever after have?

I want my characters to find happiness with each other without either of them having to change or alter their core person in order to accommodate their lover. I guess I want them to love each other with their flaws and all. That doesn’t mean they don’t have to change some of their behaviors in order to be together. Finding that common ground is what I enjoy so much about building a romance novel.

7) You’ve done a lot of different things before becoming an author, how do your previous jobs influence your writing?

Most of my jobs have involved a LOT of social interaction and I love hearing about people’s lives. I really feel like doing so many different things has allowed me to get into characters heads more easily. I don’t put “whole” people into my books, but I certainly use bits and parts of the people I have met, even briefly. I hope that doesn’t make me sound like some kind of serial killer...

8) You live on a farm, can you tell a little about the animals?

I didn’t intend to start taking in unwanted animals, but the knowledge that nobody will want them kind of makes the decision for you.

We have 4 acres and several different structures and have had over 100 critters at our peak. Chickens are the animals I’m probably craziest about and for a few years we’d get lots of roosters abandoned in our front yard, which borders a road. That doesn’t happen very often as the craze for having chickens has slowed.

Because a lot of the animals we take in are old--chickens especially get abandoned when they no longer lay eggs-- there are a lot of pet losses, which means sad times. I try and console myself that I’ve given them the best possible life, no matter how short a time they spend with me.

We’ve been VERY lucking in finding a local vet who comes out and treats all the animals, from llamas to birds of all types to dogs. She is not an avian specialist but is always willing to learn and research treatment.

9) If you could travel back in time, which period would you like to see and where would you go?

I’d have to say really far back--maybe during the zenith of power of the Egyptian pharaohs.

10) You love DIY projects, how did you get the idea to combine your love for history with crafts?

I love reading about stuff in either historical romances or history books and seeing if I can reproduce it. Recently I made some quill pens. They are HARD to make and require something even sharper than an Xacto knife so people must have had some razor-sharp blades or awesome skills back in the 18th and 19th centuries. Anyhow, I finally ended up cheating and using metal nibs after carving a couple the “historical” way.

11) What are your plans for the future?

As far as leisure activities go, I hope to learn how to use a second-hand floor loom I purchased some time back and have yet to master. I’ve told myself I won’t buy anymore yarn until I’ve used up at least ¼ of my stash. Ha!

I plan to keep writing, in both historical romance and other genres, and maybe learn how to write a novella this year. My agent has recently asked me for a contemporary detective novel, so that has been one of the books I’m working on right now, along with a new Regency series.


Two very lucky readers of With Love for Books will reveice a signed paperback copy of Dangerous and a handmade bookmark from Minerva Spencer.

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The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

$40 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Enter this giveaway for a chance to win a $40 (or equivalent depending on the country the winner's from) Amazon gift card. Good luck!

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

Virgin Territory by Lia Riley - Book Review, Interview and Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Patch is a talented NHL goalie, but he's risking his position in the Hellions Angels team because he can't keep his temper under control. To make him feel calmer Patch's coach sends him to private yoga lessons. Patch doesn't like this idea at all, but he doesn't have much choice, if he wants to keep playing he has to give it a shot. Margot, his teacher, surprises him though. Will Patch and yoga appear to be a good match and can she help him to manage his anger?

Margot's love life only consists of disasters. The last man she dated doesn't want to accept she's done with their relationship and keeps bothering her. Margot is ready for a change in life, her friends have steady boyfriends and she wants someone to love and cherish and not feel miserable with for a change. She'd rather have no man at all than to go through that again. When she meets Patch there's an instant attraction. However, he's a client and she should remain professional. Will she listen to her heart and give the brooding man a chance and what will happen when she finds out his secrets?

Virgin Territory is a great sexy romance. Patch has a good heart, but he hides it behind sky high walls. He doesn't have many loved ones and it isn't easy for him to let people in. Margot finds a way to get past all of his defences and he shows her the real Patch, which was incredibly endearing. He's a sweet guy underneath the gruff exterior. Margot's free and sassy spirit perfectly complements his too serious character and they're a fabulous challenging match. I couldn't wait to find out if they'd have a chance at happiness and read their fascinating love story in one sitting.

Lia Riley's fast-paced descriptive writing style always manages to captivate me straight away. She skillfully gets to the bottom of the emotions her main characters are going through and that gives her stories the exact right amount of depth. I loved how she combines tough athletes, who are secretly quite vulnerable, with strong, capable women. It's a combination that works really well. Virgin Territory is another fantastic Hellions Angels story that I enjoyed reading very much. I highly recommend this amazing series. 


If you love reading romance with gorgeous athletic heroes and fierce heroines you should definitely read the Hellions Angels series. The books can easily be read as standalones.


1) Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

I’m a small-town girl who now lives on the edge of a big city (San Francisco). I’m lucky to live close to the beach and redwood forests, raise three kids that keep me on my toes and have recently rescued a Labrador Retriever who is equal parts crazy and loveable. I can’t live without coffee, libraries or my iPhone. 

2) What inspired you to write sports romance and why have you chosen hockey?

I like to take myself out of my comfort zone. In truth, I’m least athletic person ever so the idea of writing about sports gods felt like a fun challenge. As for hockey, love seems better on ice! 

3) Can you tell a bit more about the Hellions Angels?

I wanted to do a sports series that celebrated fandoms. I love when anyone, but especially women, get a chance to nerd out on a topic that brings them pure joy. So I decided to do a sports series from the perspective of hockey super fans. 

4) You love writing happy endings, what’s the best thing about them?

It’s 2018. If you don’t require happy endings then you might not have a heart. 

5) What does true love mean to you?

It means taking and treasuring a person as they are—for all their perfect imperfections. 

6) Your main characters always have original character traits, where do you find the inspiration for them?

I think I just like to write about women that I’d like to know and hang out with—which means they need to be self-deprecating, ambitious, loving and kind. As for the men, I like to write in a bit of damage that they need to overcome to earn the love of an awesome woman 

7) Are your hockey players based on real athletes? And which team are you a fan of yourself?

Nope! I whipped them up in the kitchen of my mind. And I like to cheer for the San Jose Sharks, the Minnesota Wild, and the Detroit Red Wings.

8) How did your writing journey start?

At the age of six when I wrote a poem about god (rhymes great with cherry cake) that got hung on the wall next to the coffee maker. I got hooked and never looked back. 

9) You mainly write series, how does this writing process work?

Ah series. The good, the bad, and the ugly! I love building a world that doesn’t disappear when the book finishes. Plus it’s fun to take peeks at other characters. But it also means that what you create in one book, you commit to in a future one. My process is lots of scrambled notes, coffee and occasional tears. 

10) What are your plans for the future?

Single title baby! I am currently working on an idea that is very different to anything I’ve done before. I’m taking my time—really needed this summer vacation—and hopefully I can share good news soon.

About Lia Riley

Lia Riley is a contemporary romance author. USA Today describes her as "refreshing" and RT Book Reviews calls her books "sizzling and heartfelt." She loves her husband, three kids, wandering redwood forests and a perfect pour over coffee. She is 25% sarcastic, 54% optimistic, and 122% bad at math (good thing she writes happy endings for a living). She and her family live mostly in Northern California.


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a signed foam print of Virgin Territory from Lia Riley.

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

Friday, August 17, 2018

What Makes My Heart Beat Faster by Lilac Mills - Guest Post & Giveaway

About Lilac Mills

Lilac spends all her time writing, or reading, or thinking about writing or reading, often to the detriment of her day job, her family, and the housework. She apologises to her employer and her loved ones, but the house will simply have to deal with it!

She calls Worcester home, though she would prefer to call somewhere hot and sunny home, somewhere with a beach and cocktails and endless opportunities for snoozing in the sun…

When she isn’t hunched over a computer or dreaming about foreign shores, she enjoys creating strange, inedible dishes in the kitchen, accusing her daughter of stealing (she meant to say “borrowing”) her clothes, and fighting with her husband over whose turn it is to empty the dishwasher.


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What makes my heart beat faster
Guest post by Lilac Mills

There are lots of things that make my heart beat faster – waking up in the early hours of Christmas morning, the first fall of snow, a glimpse of bluebells in the spring, the sound of waves on a windswept beach, reading a lovely review of one of my novels, my daughter’s laughter…

But what really makes my heart beat faster is my husband (aww…). From the little things, like bringing me a cup of tea in bed every morning (milk first, remember!) and putting surprises in the bag I take to work every day. To the big things, like being there to love and support me when my beloved father passed away, and not complaining when my mother comes to lunch most Sundays (he’s a real hero!).

Love isn’t just about those initial mad feelings when the relationship is new and exciting, when you can’t seem to get enough of each other, and when every minute spent apart feels like a week. It’s about the ‘happily ever after part’ – what happens after the wedding when the bouquet has wilted and the confetti has been swept away. It’s the living together and the loving together. It’s the feeling, after years spent together, that he is still the love of my life, my rock, my soulmate, my tur ‘other half’. Being one of two halves is a joy and a blessing, and something that needs to be cherished and nurtured, and never, ever taken for granted.

My hubby and I have been together for a long time, but every one of those years have been special. Yes, we’ve had our ups and downs (show me a couple who haven’t), and there are times when things have been tough. But we’ve lived through them and I think, I hope, we’ve come out the other side stronger than ever.

He might have a wrinkle or two (I’ve got my fair share of those, too), but to me he still looks as handsome as the man I married all those years ago, and he still makes my heart sing. Never a day goes by that he doesn’t tell me he loves me (even if it is through gritted teeth, on occasion) and never do I feel that he hasn’t got my back, and that I can’t rely on him.

Reading and writing romance brings all those feelings that I have for him to the fore, which is probably why I enjoy them so much. There is some part of him in all my main male characters, and the things that we do together are often reflected in my stories. Take ‘Love in the City by the Sea’, for instance – my husband’s hobby was the inspiration for the setting. We had been to Barcelona the year before I started writing the book because he was running the marathon. I saw the hard work, commitment and sheer determination that went into not only the race itself but the hours and hours of training beforehand, and the germ of an idea began to form…

The days we spent in Barcelona wasn’t just about the race though. Together we explored as much of the city as time would allow, and we shared so much fun and laughter (just don’t ask him about getting lost and having to walk for miles in the dark to come down off Montjuïc, because I’m not sure he’s actually forgiven me yet!), and some of these experiences were written into the story, because I wanted to share the romance and the mystery of the place with my readers.

My husband makes my heart beat faster, not only because he’s still the gorgeous man I married, but because he’s so much more than that. He’s the other half of me (he’ll claim to be the better half, but I beg to differ), and he supports me in everything I do. I particularly love

him for not resenting the amount of time I dedicate to my writing (believe me, it’s a lot), and I love that he’s so proud of me.

In fact, I’m writing this as I’m waiting for him to come home from work, but I’m not going to show it to him because his head will never fit through the front door again!

Books by Lilac Mills

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One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a digital copy of Love in the City by the Sea (which will be released on September 10th) by Lilac Mills

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The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor by Melanie Dobson - Book Review & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Heather is back in the United Kingdom after many years of living overseas. She's inherited her parents' cottage and has to sort out their belongings. Heather discovers her family had many secrets. The cottage is close to Ladenbrooke Manor, which was abandoned after a tragic death. Can Heather discover what happened in the past and get the answers she needs? While trying to find out the truth, she runs into her first love. Is there a chance they can at least be friends again? Will Heather only meet despair now that she's back home or will exposing the truth also have a liberating effect?

Libby isn't like the other children in the neighborhood. She isn't interested in school and prefers spending time outside in the gardens of Ladenbrooke Manor. She loves to dance, gives each butterfly a name and tries to set her spirit free whenever she can. This attracts the attention of the boy next door. He can't help falling in love with Libby's beautiful spirit, even though his parents have other plans for him. What will happen when they try to chase their dreams?

Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor is a fantastic compelling story. I loved reading about Heather's quest to find answers about her family. She's a strong and talented woman and deserves to know what happened all those years ago. I was intrigued by the secrets her family was keeping from her and equally enjoyed reading about the past and the present. The story begins just before Libby's birth. She's a gorgeous girl with many fantastic skills, but she's different and not everybody accepts that. I loved how Melanie Dobson portrays her, she's a very special main character with a fascinating history. Each chapter is equally amazing and well written and Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor kept me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end.

Melanie Dobson makes the English countryside come to life in a terrific way. I could easily imagine Libby's love for the extensive gardens she loves to dance, wander and play in. She describes them in a brilliant enchanting way. The scenery is an important part of the story and I liked how she skillfully gives it the emotional value it deserves. That makes the story extra fabulous. Each secret completely captivated me and I was incredibly curious to get to the bottom of Heather's family history. I loved every single page of Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor and highly recommend it.


If you love historical fiction about family secrets you don't want to miss Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor.

About Melanie Dobson

Writing fiction is a fun excuse for Melanie to explore ghost towns and old houses, travel to unusual places, and spend hours reading dusty books and journals. She writes both contemporary and historical fiction with threads of romance and suspense.

Melanie is the award-winning author of seventeen historical romance, time-slip, suspense, and contemporary novels including Catching the Wind, Beneath a Golden Veil, and The Silent Order. Three of her novels including Chateau of Secrets have won Carol Awards, and Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana won Best Novel of Indiana.

Melanie and her husband, Jon, have two daughters. After moving numerous times with Jon's work, the Dobsons have finally settled near Portland, Oregon, and they love to travel and hike in both the mountains and the cliffs above the Pacific. When Melanie isn't writing or researching, she enjoys line dancing, biking, and making up stories with her kids.


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One very Lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a paperback copy of Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor OR Hidden Among the Stars by Melanie Dobson (winner’s choice).

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The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.