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Monday, July 30, 2018

Books of Choice and Bookmarks Giveaway



Enter this giveaway for a chance to win books of choice worth $30 and surprise bookmarks via Etsy. The bookmarks in the photo are just an example, we'll ask for the winner's preferences before choosing the bookmarks. Good luck!


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

Forsworn Fate by Mia Pride - Book Review & Giveaway

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Review by Anniek

Ceara has been promised to Garreth, a future King, ever since she was a little girl. Garreth used to play with her all the time, pretending they were already of age and married, protecting her like a faithful knight. They grew apart when they got older and where Ceara has always wished to honor the arrangement, Garreth seems appalled by the idea to take her as his wife. The night Ceara decides that she's had enough is the same night Garreth notices for the first time how beautiful she has become. Is it too late for him to get together with the woman of his dreams?

Ceara doesn't know that she's part of an old prophecy that deals with magical powers and an indestructible force. Will Garreth be Ceara's husband, will they both be ready eventually to fulfill their destiny? Are Ceara and Garreth prepared to face their part of the prophecy as husband and wife?

Forsworn Fate is a fiery romantic story. Ceara is a fierce redhead and has been given the element of fire. She won't back down from an argument and holds her own against Garreth. She doesn't intend to give in, just because there's an agreement. It takes some time for Garreth to open his eyes and I loved knowing what he feels when he fully sees the woman Ceara has become. Reading about this strong couple put a big smile on my face.

Forsworn Fate is a magical story about old prophecies, mysteries and true love. I love to read stories about old times. Mia Pride uses some of the old celtic language and this transported me back in time while reading her story. The sparks between Ceara and Garreth are flying off the pages and I couldn't read quickly enough to find out if they'd find their happily ever after. I fell in love with the Sisters of Danu series ever since I read Forbidden Fate. When I started reading Forsworn Fate, Mia Pride pulled me in again from the very first lines. Forsworn Fate managed to captivate me from beginning to end.

Advice

If you love to read about true love combined with legends, mystery and magic Forsworn Fate is a story you shouldn't miss. Please note that Forsworn Fate is A Sisters of Danu prequel novella and if you want to know more about the sisters and the prophecy you have to read the other stories in the series as well.

About Mia Pride


Mia is a full-time wife and mother of two rowdy boys, residing in the SF Bay Area. As a child, she often wrote stories about fantastic places or magical things, always preferring to live in a world where the line between reality and fantasy didn’t exist.

In High school, she entered writing contests and had some stories published in small newspapers or school magazines. As life continued, so did her love of writing. So one day, she decided to end her cake decorating business, pull out her laptop and fulfill her dream of writing and publishing novels. And she did.

When Mia isn’t writing books or chasing her sweaty children around a park, she loves to drink coffee by the gallon, get lost in a good book, hike with her family and drink really big margaritas with her friends! Her happy place is the Renaissance Faire, where you can find her at the joust, rooting for the shirtless highlander in a kilt.

Links

Website // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

Giveaway

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads

One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive digital copies of the complete Sisters of Danu Series by Mia Pride:  Forsworn Fate, Forbidden Fate, Foretold Fate and Forgotten Fate.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Bookish Etsy Gift and Books of Choice Giveaway




Enter this giveaway for a chance to win a bookish Etsy gift worth $20 and books of choice worth $25. The Etsy gift will be a surprise, but we'll ask the winner for a list of likes and dislikes. Good luck!


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

Above All and His Hands by Rebecca Brooks - Book Reviews, Guest Post & Giveaway

Reviews by Suze

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads

Casey left New York with a broken heart. She found a safe haven in the small mountain town Bonnet. There she works at a lakeside campsite. She loves spending time outdoors and can’t get enough of painting the beautiful view. She lives a solitary life, but feels much less alone than with the author she used to live with. Casey isn’t looking for love, but when Ben and his friends visit the campsite, she’s tempted. He’s several years younger, but they do have a connection. Ben is on his way to become a successful chef and his life is in the city, will they even have a chance to get to know each other?

Ben has a demanding family. His parents have certain standards and he’s supposed to meet them. He isn’t free to do as he pleases, but he can’t stay away from Casey. Whenever he has time off he goes back to Bonnet. Their time together is limited, but they make sure every minute counts. Ben is almost ready to start his career and a lot is being asked of him. Where will he end up working and what will the next step in his life mean for his relationship with Casey? If he has to choose between expectations and love, what will it be?

Above All is a sexy emotional love story. Casey’s ex-boyfriend hurt her a lot and Bonnet offered her the fresh start she so desperately needed. She feels right at home and never wants to leave. She’s a talented and smart woman and she knows what she wants. She loves spending time in the mountains, she isn’t a city girl and enjoys each second of her outdoor life. I loved how Rebecca Brooks makes Casey's dreams and wishes come to life and I could easily picture her paintings. I loved how passionate she is. She has that in common with Ben. Casey is creative with paint and Ben is a prodigy in the kitchen. They share a terrific vibrancy and unique understanding of the world. Finding out if they’d be able to combine their wishes and dreams kept me glued to the pages.

Rebecca Brooks has a wonderful descriptive writing style. She makes her gorgeous setting come to life very well. I loved Bonnet, it’s a stunning choice for a love story. I liked the complexity of the city versus mountains situation. It's a dilemma that gives the story a nice layer of depth. Rebecca Brooks clearly understands each phase her main characters are going through and skillfully works with tension. There’s plenty of chemistry and sparks fly off the pages. I loved the combination of an amazing setting, a terrific true love story, the wisdom of life, fabulous romance and mouthwatering food. I highly recommend Above All, it’s a hot, charming, moving and fascinating book.

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads 

Anna is a hardworking single mother. She’s a skilled baker and her blackberry pies are famous. Anna is living in a small town and meeting someone interesting isn’t a priority, she's too busy for love. When a wandering gardener starts working on the grounds surrounding the café she works at, Anna is immediately intrigued. Is there a chance Anna and Deegan can spend some lovely time together before he leaves again? 

Deegan is a free spirit. He’s a few years older than Anna and lives wherever he works, he travels around looking for available landscaping jobs. He loves his easy lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean he won’t make time for a special woman when she enters his life. Anna makes Deegan’s heart beat faster, can they create some magic while he’s there?

His Hands is a wonderful romantic story. Anna is a talented and kindhearted woman. She’s a skilled baker and a terrific mother, but she doesn’t have much of a private life. Deegan is exactly what she needs and sparks fly when they meet. They have a gorgeous connection and I couldn’t wait to find out if spending time together would bring them the happiness they both deserve. 

Rebecca Brooks knows how to write hot romance. She doesn’t need many words to describe a connection. She understands emotions and knows how to use them for her stories. I liked the combination of delicious pies and delightful chemistry and read His Hands in one sitting. It's sweet, sexy, entertaining and delicious.

Advice

If you love sexy romantic stories with beautiful settings the Heart of the Adirondacks stories would be a perfect choice. They can easily be read as standalones.

About Rebecca Brooks


Rebecca Brooks lives in New York City in an apartment filled with books. She received a PhD in English but decided it was more fun to write books than write about them.

She has backpacked alone through India and Brazil, traveled by cargo boat down the Amazon River, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, explored ice caves in Peru, trekked to the source of the Ganges, and sunbathed in Burma, but she always likes coming home to a cold beer and her hot husband in the Bronx.

She likes outdoorsy guys with both muscle and heart and independent women ready to try something new.

Feel free to contact me, or for more info and updates, check out the News page.

Links


Finding “Above All”
Guest post by Rebecca Books

My ideas for books always begin with the smallest kernel, and the one that launched Above All came from my dissertation. I know that sounds incredibly unsexy, but bear with me! As I got to the end, I struggled with what to say in the acknowledgements. How do you thank the people who have put so much into supporting you, without sounding like a total sap?

I tried to keep it short but sweet, especially when it came to thanking my husband, who I met when I was in graduate school and who had seen me through coursework, orals, and the dissertation itself; we got married when I was in the middle of writing the first draft. So he deserved more than just a casual thanks!

At the end of the acknowledgements, I wrote:

Above all, thanks to Robert for being my sounding board through every step of this project, and for providing me with books, articles, suggestions, encouragement, ideas, chocolate, and perspective. Thank you for not asking “What did you do today?” but rather, “What did you discover?”

I was worried it wasn’t enough. But as soon as he read it, he looked at me and said, “Am I really your above all?” Of course the answer was yes! I realized I didn’t need to write some big long thing about everything he’d done for me. Those two little words, thanking him “above all,” captured it all.

That could have been it, but his question got me thinking. I started imagining someone looking for their own “above all”—someone who’d be theirs above all else. I wondered who this heroine would be, why she was currently single, why she wanted a partner, who her ideal man would be...and what challenges they’d face on the way to happily ever after.

I also had to think about what would make her think about love in terms of those words: above all. Not surprisingly, the answer came in the form of reading the acknowledgements to a book. But because I’m a writer, I got to have fun changing things around from real life—and making the writer the evil ex!

In the novel, Casey reads the acknowledgements to her ex-boyfriend’s new hit novel and realizes that despite all the work she did to help him when they were together, he thanks another woman “above all.” It’s of course a change from the acknowledgements I wrote, but it spurs Casey to think about losing love, finding love, and living her best life on her terms.

Initially, Casey thinks the idea of an “above all” is bs. Who does her ex think he is?!? But as she and Ben fall for each other, she realizes there might be some truth to it. Not that Ben is flawless, or that their relationship is always going to be perfect. But that they belong together, above all.

Giveaway

One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a digital copy of His Hands: A Heart of the Adirondacks Novelette and a digital book of choice from Rebecca Brooks’s backlist.


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

Trina Bell's Humming Summer by Silke Stein - Book Review & Giveaway

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads Bookdepository


Review by Suze

Trina Bell misses her father. She’s twelve years old, but never spent much time with him. She constantly tries, but he’s hardly paying her any attention. He’s left her with an aunt and travels the world photographing wildlife. Trina longs to have an adventure herself and the idea of another boring summer in Brighton with her aunt's friends and nobody her own age fills her with dread. She does everything she can to convince her father to take her with him. That’s how she ends up on Vancouver Island. Will Trina finally have the wonderful summer she’s longed to have for years? 

Trina’s father might have agreed to take her with him, but he hasn’t changed and when they arrive in Canada he leaves his daughter alone, so he can go on his next mission. Trina still doesn’t get a chance to spend any time with him, instead she has to find something else to fill her days with. Her new friend Moss, a three-legged dog, introduces her to both people and animals in the area. They need her help and Trina gladly offers it. She's trying to solve their worrisome mystery, why are so many hummingbirds disappearing. Can she crack the case together with Moss? 

Trina Bell’s Humming Summer is a fabulous original story about a beautiful relationship between a girl and several animals. I loved that aspect of the story a lot. Both the animals and the humans in the story have interesting personalities. Silke Stein gives a lot of information about animal behavior and combines this with a gripping story about a positive girl. Trina is gentle, honest and sweet, she can also stand her ground and she’s independent for her age. She has to be, because she’s on her own and needs to take care of herself. Trina cares about animals a lot and will do anything to help the hummingbirds. I liked her mission and was really curious to see what happened to the gorgeous birds. Trina is a skilled detective with a good head on her shoulders and that gives the story a great thrilling vibe. 

Silke Stein writes about animals in a heartwarming way. I loved how she makes Vancouver Island and all the species that live there come to life. I was intrigued by the hummingbird population and admired the easy friendship Trina has with Moss. He's a brave talking dog, which is a fun element of the story. With Moss by her side Trina slowly starts to feel at home. They have quite a few adventures, so Trina's biggest wish is being fulfilled, even if it isn't by her constantly absent father. I couldn't wait to find out if her other dreams would come true as well. Trina Bell’s Humming Summer is a terrific entertaining story with plenty of amazing characters and a lot of beautiful energy.

Advice

Trina Bell's Humming Summer would be most suitable for skilled readers between 10 and 14 years old, but definitely could be enjoyed by anyone who loves a beautiful story about the friendship between humans and animals and standing up for what's right.

About Silke Stein


I'm a graphic designer and writer, currently living in Victoria, British Columbia, the wondrous place that has inspired my first novel, the middle-grade read Trina Bell's Humming Summer. Like my protagonist Trina, I enjoy roaming the city's parks and listening to the squeal of tiny sparkling birds. Yes, I speak to them and they answer ― but unfortunately, unlike Trina, I don't have a three-legged dog who translates for me.

Having lived landlocked in Germany for most of my life, I fell in love with the Pacific Ocean when I came to Canada. Combing beaches has become my favourite pastime, particularly looking for mermaids' tears. I cannot resist picking up those shiny, colourful pieces of sea glass and adding them to my ever-growing collection.

Early in 2014, I became a member of 'SeaglassLovers', a Facebook group comprised of people from all over the world who show each other their fabulous finds and daydream of being mermaids. There I learned about the places every sea glass aficionado has on her bucket list: Seaham in England, Davenport in the USA and, of course, Fort Bragg in Northern California ― home of the legendary 'Glass Beach', which is the enchanting setting of my upcoming women's fiction novel Foam On The Crest Of Waves.

And when I'm not at the beach, or writing, or helping my husband to playtest his latest board game invention, I design book covers for fellow authors.

Links


Giveaway

One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a signed paperback copy of Trina Bell's Humming Summer by Silke Stein. Ten runner ups will receive a digital copy.


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

Confetti & Confusion by Daisy James - Book Review, Interview & Giveaway

 
Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads


Review by Suze

Millie is in charge of the Paradise Cookery School. St. Lucia is her home for the time being and Millie loves working on a tropical island. There’s a lot of pressure to make the project succeed though. She’s stepping in for a famous chef and this is their one chance to make the business work, so Millie has to be at the top of her game. Millie is a Michelin-starred chef, but after a broken heart she had to start over and being at the Paradise Cookery School is the break she needs. Will her stay on St. Lucia give her her happiness back?

Millie’s taking care of a wedding party together with a talented local cook. They are teaching a group of women to prepare all kinds of delicious dishes with chocolate. Love is in the air, also for Millie, as she enjoys spending time with Zach, the property’s estate manager. However, not everything is going according to plan and this puts both Millie and the bride and her special day at risk. Can Millie save the day and give everyone the perfect time she wants them to have?

Confetti & Confusion is a wonderful festive story. It was fun to read about Millie, the star of Sunshine & Secrets, again. She’s a quirky and gifted chef and her creations made my mouth water. She also has a good head on her shoulders and she’s amazing in a crisis, Millie keeps solving problems and I admired her quick thinking. She’s a woman with a lovely personality and big heart. Millie’s doing everything she can to make others happy, but she deserves a great time herself as well and I couldn’t turn the pages quickly enough to find out if she’d find the joy, friendship and love she deserves. 

Daisy James has a fabulous heartwarming writing style. St. Lucia is a perfect setting for a feelgood story and I loved the way she makes the island and its inhabitants come to life. I enjoyed the vibrant setting and atmosphere in combination with a little suspense and plenty of intrigues. Confetti & Confusions is a fantastic fun story that put a big smile on my face. I loved the sunny vibe and enjoyed every single page of this wonderful book.

Advice

If you love heartwarming romantic stories with a great tropical setting you don't want to miss Confetti & Confusion. Keep in mind that this is the second book in The Paradise Cooking School series and the books should be read in their correct order.

About Daisy James


Daisy James is a Yorkshire girl transplanted to the north east of England. She loves writing stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plotlines. When not scribbling away in her peppermint-and-green summerhouse (garden shed), she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter. She loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something pink and fizzy or indulging in a spot of afternoon tea – china plates and teacups are a must.

Links


Interview

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

Hi there, can I just say a massive thank you for having me on your fabulous blog today! So, I’m Daisy James and I love writing stories about strong female characters with swift flowing plot-lines and a strong sense of place. My most recent books – Sunshine & Secrets and Confetti & Confusion - are all about the Paradise Cookery School which is set on the fabulously exotic island of St Lucia, overlooking the twin Pitons. I have to say, I really enjoyed the research! The cookery school is situated on a disused cocoa plantation and so there’s lots of fabulous chocolate-themed recipes throughout the novels as well as plenty of experimenting with the tropical produce the Caribbean is famous for.

2) How did you get the idea to write about a cookery school?

I love cooking! Well, baking to be precise. There’s nothing I like better than to plunge my hands into a bowl of flour or sprinkle icing sugar or edible glitter over a Victoria sponge or a batch of cupcakes. At the Paradise Cookery School, Millie and Ella are required to triple-test their recipes before paying guests arrive and I had great fun doing that – my family loved sampling the results too – although I’m not sure they enjoyed my first attempt at chocolate-and-chilli brownies when I misjudged the amount of chilli in the recipe.

3) You’ve chosen St Lucia as your setting, can you tell a bit more about this beautiful place and why you’ve chosen it for your story?

I love writing stories set in amazing places, and there’s nowhere better than the Caribbean. I was lucky enough to spend a week on St Lucia some years ago, soaking up the atmosphere, listening to the fabulous music, drinking amazing cocktails and eating the fabulous local food. Their use of the freshest of ingredients, mixing flavours and textures really appealed to me. Also, there’s so much more to the island than luxury hotels, swaying palm trees and white sandy beaches. One of the best days I spent there was exploring the local markets that were filled to bursting with hand-made crafts and home-made produce.

4) How do you make the delicious food you write about come to life for your readers?

I spent many an enjoyable afternoon slicing mangos, pineapples, guavas, passionfruit and generally baking up a storm. Cake pops feature in Confetti & Confusion and a friend and I had a great time making, or trying to make, those crazy things! Gosh, what a mess we made and none of the final cake pops were suitable for a photograph to appear on my Instagram feed! They tasted good though. However, I have to admit, the best bit was experimenting with the rum cocktails that are served at the Purple Parrot – the bar/restaurant in the books. The owner, Andrew, has a signature cocktail called Andy’s Blast – I wonder why!!

5) What’s your favourite Paradise Cookery School dish and which cocktail would you drink with it?

My favourite dish would have to be the grilled red snapper served with spring onion & mango chutney. I think a mojito would go very well with that, don’t you?

6) Which key ingredients should a good sunny summer story have?

For me, a good summer story has to have an exotic location, a hammock stretched between swaying palm trees, and a glistening pool overlooking a spectacular view – like the one from the Paradise Cookery School. The view of the Pitons from the hillside in Soufriere is absolutely breath-taking. There also has to be a bunch of fascinating and quirky characters on a journey of discovery. Oh, and lots of delicious food.

7) What does true romance mean to you?

It means different things to different people, doesn’t it? For me it means togetherness, compatibility, respect and fun.

8) How did your writing adventure start?

I’ve been writing since I was eight years old, scribbling short stories and illustrating them with felt pens. Over the years I expanded into longer stories and wrote my first full-length novel about ten years ago. It’s still in a shoe box on top of my wardrobe and will probably stay there! My first published novel is The Runaway Bridesmaid, a story set in New York – another place I had fun researching!

9) You love to bake, where does that love come from and what’s your favourite recipe?

I adore baking! That passion come from my grandma who used to stand me on a footstool at her side and let me help her to make pastry, mix scones and biscuits and beat butter and sugar together to make cakes and then sample the mixture afterwards! I still have a recipe book of hers and her favourite cake was sticky gingerbread made with treacle and lots of ginger, then iced with tart lemon icing! That recipe features in a couple of my stories as a way of paying homage to my gran.

10) What are your plans for the future?

I’m busy writing my next series. It’s set in Tuscany, so I’m really excited about getting my teeth stuck into the research of all-things Tuscan. Mmm, Crostata di Marmellata, Cantucci di Prato, cappuccino tiramisu….. where’s my mixing bowl!

Love Daisy

XX

Giveaway

 
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Three very lucky readers of With Love for Books will receive a digital copy of Sunshine & Secrets by Daisy James.


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

$35 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway


Enter this giveaway for a chance to win a $35 Amazon gift card. Good luck!


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

Talented Artist - Miranda Eastwood from Clockwork Dragon Shop - Interview & Giveaway

Clockwork Dragon Shop
About Miranda Eastwood


Hey there! My name is Miranda Eastwood, (I am also under the username LonLonLady on Etsy) and I love all things art! I also love the video game series The Legend of Zelda, and have a second shop dedicated to prints inspired by the games. Just look for my shop under "LonLonLady" and you might just find something you like!

If you're more of a fan of fantasy in general, I hope you look to my other shop, Clockwork Dragon, to find something that might pique your interest. The shop is full of my original art pieces and fun prints, and serves as a creative outlet for all my pent-up inspiration.

Links

Website

Interview

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

To sum it all up, I’m a part-time artist, part-time writer, and full-time student from a small town in Eastern Canada. I moved to the city a while ago in order to be closer to school, but when I’m not tied down by classes, I’m often on the move, looking for inspiration for my Etsy shop, as well as my other projects.


2) What’s the inspiration behind your work?

I think the driving force behind my work comes down to stories. I see stories, I read them, I hear about them through music, and designs begin to take shape. Although, admittedly, I often put pencil to paper without any real plan in mind, taking anything around me as inspiration.


3) Where did you learn how to design?

I taught myself how to design, from the ground up. I knew early on that I wanted to get involved with digital art, so I bought myself a cheap drawing tablet and learned to design through trial-and-error. I’ve since upgraded to better hardware and software, though I know now that there’s no replacing pencil and paper when inspiration strikes!


4) What does your work place look like?

That really depends on the day. As I mentioned before, I’m constantly moving around. Sometimes I have my wonderful drafting table to work on (where I develop designs and brainstorm), other times I have just enough room to prop up my laptop as I work on the more technical aspects.


5) How did you fall in love with Steampunk?

I fell in love with Steampunk before I even knew what it was. Books, games, even music that I liked seem to have this quirky, mechanical edge that I couldn’t get enough of! Eventually I discovered that there was a term for this kind of style, and since then I’m always on the lookout for inspiration that appeals to my Steampunk side.


6) You also make bookish items, where does your love for books come from?

I’ve always been an avid reader. I go through books faster than cookies! And of course, as I mentioned before, I’m quite attached to stories. I’ve recently published a book of my own, with a second one on the way, in addition to posting weekly pages of a graphic novel online, so I feel very close to the subject of books and stories.


7) What's your favorite fairy tale and why?

Would "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland" be considered a fairy tale? I’ve read both books multiple times, and a large part of my inspiration for my own writing has come from Wonderland’s nonsensical universe. As for the more classic fairy tales, I have volumes both from the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson, so it’s hard to choose one over the others. Not to mention stories like "Peter Pan" or poems like "The Goblin Market," both of which have also provided me with considerable creative fuel.


8) Can you tell a bit more about how you started your store?

I was always artistic, but not always technologically savvy. I actually started out making clay charms and figurines, back when I was still in high school. It was only a few years later that I partnered up with a print shop in order to get my hand-drawn designs onto some t-shirts, and since then, I’ve expanded along with that same shop to produce pillows, mugs, phone cases, posters, and more recently, backpacks!



9) What do you like the most about having your own shop?

Creative freedom. And I’m not just talking about the design process itself. I set my own schedule, fit hours in where I can, and all the while I’m not really tied down to one location at a time. It takes enormous self-discipline at times (something I still have to work on), and of course, much of the responsibility of running a shop, if not all of it, falls on my shoulders. But having a flexible job has allowed me to continue my studies while working, in addition to pursuing my other passions. I think the trade-off is worth it.


10) What are your plans for the future?

I’ve got two immediate plans that I’m especially excited about! I’ve just started releasing backpacks, for a start. I’ve really been looking forward to these, and a lot of time and energy has been focused on bringing them into my shop in time for the back-to-school season, so I hope they’ll be a hit! Meanwhile, before the month is out, I’m planning to release a line of products centered around a specific theme: Alice in Wonderland! (I’m really looking forward to it, in case you haven’t guessed!)

As for the more distant future, I’m planning on incorporating some designs inspired by my own work into my shop as sort of side project, or even a guilty pleasure. But that, of course, would still be a few months away, at the very least. I’ve got some other Steampunk and fairy tale themes to focus on for the holiday season, with new listings popping up every week!

Giveaway
Pillow
One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive an All I need is a Good Book and a Cup of Tea 18x18 inch pillow from Miranda Eastwood.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Beguiled by the Forbidden Knight by Elisabeth Hobbes - Book Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads Bookdepository

Review by Suze

It's 1071 and the war between the English and the French has been brutal. Because the French are dominating the English, several nobleman have traveled to England to claim land and marry English ladies. Lady Sigrun and her companion Aelfhild are staying in a convent for safety, but Sigrun has been promised to a French nobleman. Gilbert gets an offer he can't refuse and decides he'd rather hunt than go on a dangerous trip. The man doesn't fancy the journey to fetch his wife in the least and sends his best friend Gui instead. Gui is supposed to tell Sigrun he's Gilbert and bring back his friend's bride, but ends up with two ladies instead of one. Aelfhild pretends to be Sigrun, so Sigrun can escape the clutches of the man she's been promised to, will this trick actually work?

Gui hasn't come out of the last battle he fought unscathed. He's scarred and misses a hand. He's positive he will scare the ladies, but can't resist spending time with Aelfhild. Her fiery spirit intrigues him and he feels drawn to the woman who's destined to be his friend's wife. What will happen when they fall in love? Can this charade end well or will it turn into a huge disaster with grave consequences and broken hearts?

Beguiled by the Forbidden Knight is a fascinating romantic story. Aelfhild has a fierce personality. She speaks her mind, can stand up for herself, isn't afraid to fight and doesn't stay away from confrontation. Sigrun is shy and easily scared, so it's up to Aelfhild to protect them both. She comes up with a plan to make Sigrun's future husband believe she's his intended bride and the gentle and damaged Gui falls for the lie. He's lying himself as well, so they're both not of noble blood and free to marry whomever they want. However, there are so many misunderstandings between them and that makes the situation pretty impossible. I couldn't turn the pages quickly enough to find out where that would lead.

Elisabeth Hobbes has a fantastic compelling writing style. She's chosen an original time frame for her story and makes the eleventh century come to life in an amazing captivating way. Her writing is dynamic and fitting and therefore the story is absolutely delightful. I was spellbound by Aelfhild's adventures and loved her story from beginning to end. There's plenty of chemistry between the main characters and their impossible situation gives the story a fabulous entertaining quality. Beguiled by the Forbidden Knight is a gorgeous love story that melted my heart. I highly recommend this true gem of a book.

Advice

If you love original historical romance you don't want to miss Beguiled by the Forbidden Knight.

About Elisabeth Hobbes



I grew up in York where I spent most of my teenage years wandering around the city looking for a handsome Roman or Viking to sweep me off my feet. Sadly it never happened but I developed a love of the past and went on to read History and Art History at university before venturing into the world of teaching. These days I hold down jobs as a teacher and mum. I live in Cheshire with my husband, two young children and two cats with ridiculous names.

I love historical fiction and have a fondness for dark haired, bearded heroes. When I'm not writing, I spend a lot of my spare time reading and have become something of a pro at cooking one-handed while holding a book!

Links

Website // Facebook // Twitter // Amazon

Excerpt

‘You’re mistaken,’ Aelfhild laughed. ‘I’m not Lady Sigrun.’

‘Do you think I’m stupid?’ the man growled. ‘I’m not going to let you go just because you deny who you are. How many women do you think escaped from the priory and are running around the countryside this morning? Besides, your prioress told me who you are.’

‘That’s what she told you?’

The man ground his teeth. ‘Yes. She told me she purposefully sent my bride to me last night and when I mentioned York last night I saw how you reacted. So, you will excuse me if I choose to disbelieve your denials, Lady Sigrun.’

‘But I’m—’ She stopped abruptly. The reason for his error struck Aelfhild in a flash. Hilde had sent Sigrun to him, but Aelfhild had gone in her mistress’s place. What else was the man supposed to think?

‘With such evidence as you have laid out, who else could I be?’ she agreed.

His full lips twisted into a smile.

‘Now, are you going to be sensible and come with me willingly or do I have to take you by force?’ He gave her a stern look. ‘I’ll bundle you over my shoulder and take you like that if I have to.’

He could do it, she knew. He had strength that she was unable to match. Aelfhild sat back on to her heels, ready to spring to her feet and run if the opportunity presented itself. She glanced towards the hut where Sigrun had taken refuge. If Aelfhild could lead her captor back to the priory it would give Sigrun time to keep running, though she expected Sigrun would stay there rather than taking the time to escape.

‘What do you intend to do now you have found me? Am I to be taken back to Byland to receive my punishment and suffer Hilde’s disapproval?’ She allowed her lips to tremble plaintively.

‘I’d rather not,’ he said, ‘and I doubt you’re really eager to return to face a whipping.’

‘So you’ll let us leave?’ Aelfhild asked hopefully. Their eyes met. She reached a hand out in supplication and laid it on his broad chest. She had intended the gesture to stir his heart, so was unprepared for the jolt of desire that raced through her body at the feel of his firm muscles beneath her palm. His eyes widened in surprise, then he blinked and shook his head as if waking from a sleep.

‘Absolutely not! I’m certainly not going to let you out of my sight now I’ve found you!’ His expression hardened. ‘And while we’re on that matter, how stupid are you to be running in the middle of the night with no one to protect you! You’re lucky it was me who found you rather than someone intent on causing you ill.’

‘No one is causing me ill except you by trying to take me back against my will.’

‘Is that what you think? Shall I show you otherwise?’ He seized her by the upper arm and tried to pull her after him. When she resisted he bent and lifted her off her feet, hefting her over his broad shoulder with ease. He marched back along the riverbank, ignoring her protests, and set her on her feet.

‘See for yourself, my lady,’ he commanded. ‘You thought you were alone, but you were far from it.’

A man lay twisted in the grass. At first Aelfhild feared he was dead, but he gave a rasping breath and she realised he was merely unconscious. Aelfhild hugged herself. She had not been aware that anyone was watching them at all. The Breton pulled a seax from his belt, the blade rusted and the handle wound round with twine, and held it in front of her eyes. ‘I’ll leave it to you to decide how he might have used this on you.’

Aelfhild recoiled instinctively then reached out and took hold of the weapon. She was annoyed to see how her hand trembled, causing the weapon to quiver. She tightened her fist around it and slipped it into her belt.

‘What are you doing?’ The Breton’s voice was sharp. ‘I didn’t mean for you to keep it.’

‘I need something in case I need to defend myself.’

The Breton reached out and deftly removed it from her belt before she could prevent his theft. His hand brushed against her waist, causing her stomach to contract where his glove skimmed across her belly. His eyes never left hers. ‘If you have a weapon it can be used against you, especially one so easy to steal. If you need defending, I’ll be the one to do it.’

Giveaway


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a signed paperback copy of Beguiled by the Forbidden Knight by Elisabeth Hobbes.

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

Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Mistress of Pennington's by Rachel Brimble - Book Review & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

It’s 1910 and Elizabeth Pennington would love to take over the reigns of her father’s department store. Pennington’s is the market leader in Bath and the fancy shop carries a large range of luxurious products. Elizabeth’s father Edward is old fashioned and stubborn, he doesn’t have anything good to say about women and he treats them with disrespect, but Elizabeth doesn’t let her father win. She wants to inherit the store and will do anything she can to improve what she sees as rightfully hers. She’s smart and understands how the business works, but can she convince her father to follow her ideas and give her more responsibility? 

Joseph Carter is a master glove-maker. He wants Pennington to carry his designs and has ideas that will bring guaranteed success, both for his own products and for the lady’s department of Pennington’s. Elizabeth is running this part of the shop and he has to convince her to give him a chance. Will she listen to his ideas and can they secure a prosperous future for Pennington’s together? Edward will surely be against a collaboration between Joseph and his daughter. What will he do when they don’t only click on a business level, but also are a great personal match? Will he ruin things for them before they’ve properly started?

The Mistress of Pennington’s is a brilliant story about independence and following your heart. I loved how passionate Elizabeth and Joseph are about their work. They share an exceptional drive and this is what instantly binds them. They have a lot in common and I loved their easy friendship and close connection. It’s clear from the start that they have something special, but they have many obstacles on their way and the biggest one is Edward Pennington. Elizabeth’s father wants to control his daughter’s life and doesn’t want her to take her own decisions. She has to fight hard for each small win, but she never gives up and always stands her ground. I loved her spirit and with Joseph’s support Elizabeth becomes truly formidable, which is something I really enjoyed witnessing. 

Rachel Brimble has a fantastic engaging writing style. I loved how she makes Pennington’s come to life. I could effortlessly picture the department store itself, the products, the staff and the strategies to make it even more successful. I enjoyed every single description. The Mistress of Pennington’s is dynamic and filled with energy, spirit and hope. I liked the romance a lot and was fascinated by each part of the process of running such a big business. Rachel Brimble paints a clear picture of the time she’s writing about, which makes the story feel authentic and natural. I really loved The Mistress of Pennington’s, it’s a beautiful must-read filled with passion, fierceness and strength.

Advice

If you love historical fiction you don't want to miss The Mistress of Pennington's.

About Rachel Brimble


Rachel Brimble is the author of the popular Harlequin Templeton Cove series which consists of eight books that are a combination of either mainstream romance or romantic suspense stories. With a cast of over 30 characters, The Templeton Cove Stories is a romantic, sexy and compelling series that has her readers constantly coming back for more.

Her four historical novels are published by eKensington and set in Bath, England.

Her upcoming projects include a new Edwardian series and a contemporary trilogy. Watch this space!

When Rachel isn't working she likes to read, knit, watch TV and walk the English countryside with her family and beloved chocolate Labrador, Tyler.

Links


Giveaway

One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a £20 (or equivalent) Amazon gift card from Rachel Brimble.


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

All or Nothing at All by Jennifer Probst - Book Review, Interview & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

For Tristan being part of the Pierce family business and living in a small town used to be a nightmare, that's why he left and built a name for himself in New York. After the death of his father he inherited a share of the company and came back to run it together with his brothers. After a year he's still not used to one aspect of his current situation, spending time again with Sydney, the woman he’s always loved, but never let in. She’s aiming for a job as CFO of their company, which makes him realize she’s no longer the little girl he grew up with. Sydney is a successful single mother, a force to be reckoned with, does Tristan stand a chance to win back the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with?

Tristan broke Sydney’s heart many years ago. His distant and cold attitude made it hard for her to get through to him when she needed him the most and she had to make some difficult decisions by herself. This means there are many unresolved issues between them and there’s a lot Sydney hasn’t told Tristan. Now that he’s showing an interest again her heart want nothing more than to say yes to the man she’s always loved with her entire soul, but is it possible to make a fresh start after everything that happened in the past?

All or Nothing at All is a terrific sexy love story. Tristan is the one for Sydney and she’s known ever since their first meeting. He has trust issues and doesn’t easily let people in. Sydney has never been able to completely break down his walls. Every time she makes a little progress Tristan withdraws. He shows her plenty of passion, but isn't always kind and I couldn’t turn the pages quickly enough to find out if he’d eventually be able to open his heart. Sydney is a wonderful generous person. She usually has claws, but whenTristan asks something of her, she can’t say no. There are many unresolved issues between them and discovering if they’d be able to overcome their problems kept me glued to the pages. 

Jennifer Probst has an amazing dynamic writing style. Her story is fast-paced and filled with energy and emotion. I loved that her main characters aren’t perfect, their flaws make them interesting and very enjoyable to read about. She thoroughly explores each feeling and every obstacle and the result is a fantastic complex love story. There’s plenty of chemistry, sparks are flying off the pages, and each interaction between the main characters is intense and meaningful. I love it when a romantic story is so powerful and highly recommend All or Nothing at All.

Advice

If you love passionate love stories you don't want to miss All or Nothing at All. It's the third book in the Billionaire Builders series, but can also be read as a standalone.

About Jennifer Probst


I’ve always wanted to be a writer. At twelve, I took a pen in hand and wrote my first love story. I haven’t stopped since. Those heroines taught me valuable lessons that served me well. I learned to keep my head up high and surge forward when I was afraid; I learned to demand respect in a relationship; I learned about compromise and dreams and independence. Those are the stories I want to write, and I can only hope I give back some of the joy I received over the years.

I live in the beautiful Hudson Valley in upstate New York. I’ve traveled to many places but always seem to be drawn back to the mountains. I graduated with a proper business degree, received a masters in English Literature, and am humbled to now spend my days dedicated to my family and my characters. I’ve pursued many career paths such as travel agent, yoga teacher, dating coordinator, and insurance salesperson. I’ve wanted to be an airline pilot, a dancer, an archaeologist, and a vineyard owner. I have been all of the above through romance novels, and intend to explore many more.

One of my turning points in my career was when I joined Romance Writers of America and met the wonderful people in my local chapter, The Hudson Valley RWA. Through supportive critique sessions, I learned how to develop my raw skills to get a publishable manuscript. My overnight success was twenty years in the making, and I don’t regret a minute. It was that time polishing craft, learning, growing, and working hard that made the difference.

My “leisure time” is spent reading, traveling to meet my amazing readers, watching shameful reality television, and raising two active boys. I believe animals are the other children in this world, and enjoy spending time at the local animal shelter, where I got my first “baby” Bella, a shepherd hound mix who made Marley look like a saint. I rescued my second dog from an abusive home, a beagle, basset hound who was the peacemaker in the household and now resides at Rainbow Bridge, missed every day.

I met the love of my life when I had finally given up on my own romantic journey. The first time he asked me out he promised to buy my book if he could buy me dinner. We had dinner and fell in love over sushi and haven’t been apart since. We married and settled into domestic bliss. That’s when I learned it wasn’t about happy endings. It was about happy beginnings.

Links


Interview

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

I’ve been writing romance since I was twelve years old! I wrote my first young adult romance longhand, bound it in a folder, and took it to school to read to all my friends. I haven’t stopped writing since! I live in upstate New York with my two boys, rescue dog, and husband. I adore reading, trashy reality tv, HGTV, food, wine, Scrabble, betting on horses, and volunteering at the local dog shelter.

2) What’s the inspiration behind the Pierce brothers?

I’m addicted to HGTV – especially the Property Brothers. I decided it would be fun to create my own brothers for a series and have each one of them own a special talent, such as construction, wood working, and design/real estate flipping. Then I added an architect lol! It’s been so much fun to create my own book series revolved around my favorite shows!

3) Can you describe the main characters of All or Nothing at All in eight words each?

Tristan is a determined, stubborn alpha who needed to carve his own way in the world. He regrets losing the only woman he ever loved.

Sydney made Tristan her entire world, and when he left, she was shattered. She holds a secret that will change everything for both of them.

Sydney is loyal, loving, nurturing, feisty, and focused.

4) What’s so beautiful about second chances in love?

The do-over. Don’t’ we all love a do-over? It shows that there is forgiveness in love and gives us hope. Sometimes, the timing isn’t right and I love to explore that concept in a second chance romance.

5) What does true love mean to you?

Acceptance of the person as he/she truly is. Kindness. Respect. Humor. Sticking with it through good and bad days. Showing up. Compromise. All the beautiful things in life that make love special.

6) Your main characters have strong personalities, what’s the most fascinating part of creating them?

There is nothing I like more than a kick ass heroine who challenges an alpha male hero. Strong personalities and characters interest me and leap off the page. I love to dig deep and find allt he hidden pain and vulnerabilities each one is working through, and then pair them with a soul-mate who is meant to heal.

7) For you a happy ending actually means a happy beginning, when did you realize this and how does it influence the endings you give your main characters?

Yes, that’s my motto. Love doesn’t end at a kiss, or marriage, or I love you. It’s a day to day of showing up and being present. This always influences all my endings because I think ahead to what will happen to the couple as they grow together and change. It’s another reason I love writing short stories and revisiting my characters years later.

8) Which characteristics should a great romantic hero have?

I love a hero who’s sometimes a bit of an asshole LOL!!! Then I can redeem him and show how he grew and changed. But his heart must always be pure. He must be passionate, loyal, protective, kind, and have a great sense of humor.

9) You love giving your main characters interesting professions, which profession do you still dream of writing about?

I always dreamed of being a dancer on Broadway even though I have no ability LOL! One day, I’m gong to write about it!

10) What are your plans for the future?

Many more books! The Start of Something Good just released and is the first in my brand new STAY series. The Charm of You is a Romcom releasing this August, and A Brand New Ending is the second book in the STAY series in October

Giveaway

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One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a signed paperback copy of Everywhere and Every Way by Jennifer Probst.


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