Tuesday, 28 January 2020

WILD, WILD RAKE by Janna MacGregor Intreview

Dear All, 

Its been a while and during my birthday celebrations, I decided to stop by to post the interview that I did with the wonderful Janna MacGregor. I wanted to ask questions you haven't heard her answer before and it turned out to be a good interview. 

About the book that brought her to our blog: 

WILD, WILD RAKE (St. Martin’s Paperbacks; February 25, 2020). It’s sweeping, emotional, witty, and sharp – everything you’ve come to expect from Janna MacGregor and more!

In WILD, WILD RAKE, the widowed Lady Avalon Warwyk is relieved to be on her own again, responsible only for her passion: helping fallen women become businesswomen. When Devan Farris, reputed rake, comes to town to keep tabs on Avalon and her son as the brother of the child’s guardian, he finds she’ll have nothing to do with him. Farris wants to show Avalon that he’s a good, true soul despite his wild reputation—can he prove that he truly wants to love and care for her for the rest of their days?


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Her first marriage was an epic fail.

Lady Avalon Warwyk never did love her husband. Arrogant, selfish, and cruel, it’s a blessing when she’s widowed and left to raise her son all by herself. Finally, Avalon can live freely and do the work she loves: helping fallen women become businesswomen. She’s lived these past ten years with no desire to remarry—that is, until Mr. Devan Farris comes to town.

Can he convince her to take another chance at happily ever after?

Devan Farris—charming vicar, reputed rake, and the brother of Avalon’s son’s guardian—is reluctantly sent to town to keep tabs on Avalon and her son. Devan wishes he didn’t have to meddle in her affairs; he’s not one to trod on a woman’s independent nature and keen sense of convictions. But she’ll have nothing to do with a vicar with a wild reputation—even though he’s never given his heart and body to another. If only he could find a way to show Avalon who he really is on the inside—a good, true soul looking for its other half. But how can prove that he wants to love and care for her. . .until death do they part?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Janna MacGregor was born and raised in the bootheel of Missouri. She is the author of the Cavensham Heiresses series, which begins with The Bad Luck Bride. Janna credits her darling mom for introducing her to the happily-ever-after world of romance novels. Janna writes stories where compelling and powerful heroines meet and fall in love with their equally matched heroes. She is the mother of triplets and lives in Kansas City with her very own dashing rogue, and two smug, but not surprisingly, perfect pugs.

Question time! 
  • What’s the easiest scene that came to you?

Let me start out by saying that a lot of this book wrote itself. What I mean is that the scenes were popping into my head so fast that I had to dictate them into my phone. But even so, I think the easiest scene is where Lady Avalon Warwyk is sitting in church not really listening to Mr. Devan Farris’s sermon. It reminds me of so many times when I should have listened but let my mind wander. When poor Avalon does this, she gets caught!


  • What’s the hardest?


Definitely, the prologue when Avalon has to face her abusive husband. It was painful to write that scene as there were so many emotions—determination, shock, fear, humiliation, then resolve. All had to be juggled then blended together to make that scene work.



  • Which would you say is the most emotional for you to write?


The scene after they consummate their marriage and Avalon gazes at an empty field and confides she wonders if that barren field is a harbinger of their marriage. She’s skittish about marriage, and Devan understands that. But his love for her is so great that he tells her to lean on him when things become too rough. He’ll carry the weight for both of them. I adore that scene, and I hope that readers will too. It’s so romantic. Everyone should have a Devan in their life…or at least, their book life!



  • Which character do you love the most?

I really find this a difficult question. I don’t love Devan over Avalon or vice-versa. To me, you have to love both of them, or their happily-ever-after won’t be convincing. Were there parts of the book where I felt more of a connection to one over the other? Yes, definitely. But I loved them both.



  • Dislike the most?

Of course, the villain, Renford! His evil is sprinkled throughout the story, and it gives a hint at the
climax.


  • What’s the most taxing part of being an author?

For me personally, it’s juggling two projects at the same time. When I write a story, I want to stick with it until I finish it, edits and all. Sometimes, that’s not always possible. But I do my best, and that’s all I can ask of myself.


Thank you so much for having me here today. It’s been a pleasure to discuss writing and the last in the Cavensham Series, Wild, Wild Rake.

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Madeline Martin Interview With Us Today

Hello All, 

Let's welcome someone that spoils us all with her romances. She is truly being added to my list of favourite authors. Who is the great woman well let's give a warm welcome from  Madeline Martin who is a USA Today Bestselling Author of Historical Romance and is heating up history.

Her new book is How To Tempt Duke, the blurb as at the end of the interview. 

In your book was there a light bulb scene? One that came to you and you just had to write it? 


In HOW TO TEMPT A DUKE, the original scene in my head that spun this whole story into existence was Eleanor at a ball, seeing the man she thought she would marry with the woman he chose over her. I could only imagine how awful it would be for her to be helplessly watching her life sweep by her in that moment. I wondered what a woman in her position might do and that’s when I thought of Lottie, a courtesan, instructing her and how truly shocking that would be. And how exciting!

Hardest thing you had to write about your characters? 


We want to know for our leading female and male. Sometimes, finding a balance for the characters is the most difficult part. With Eleanor, for example, I knew she had to be cold on the outside, but I had to still make her likeable. But if I made her too likeable, then the Ice Queen predicament wouldn’t feel realistic. Treading that line was difficult sometimes and resulted in a couple of rewritten scenes. The hardest thing about Charles was figuring out why he wouldn’t want to marry Eleanor. He was attracted to her and he was duke, why wouldn’t he marry? And if they married and happy too early, that makes for a boring book. So I had to spice up the choices made with some twists.

What has been the hardest moment as a writer for you? 


Earlier this year I released my first self-published full-length series (medieval romance about five sisters called the Borderland Ladies). I poured my soul into these books and managed to keep up advertising and excitement going for 8 months on through the release of the first book. Except that even though the book was uploaded before it was due, Amazon didn’t update the file and everyone got the dummy file instead. My release day of this incredible series I had been building in my head for years was a total flop. It was so disheartening.
Fortunately, it all got fixed and the rest of the series released without incident and has all been very successful!

What would you say is the craziest place you found yourself writing? 


I confess, I’m kind of a homebody writer. I make these crazy faces when I write sometimes. If the characters are mad, I found myself scowling at the computer, if they’re sad, I’m crying like a baby, if they’re irritated, I’ll scoff and roll my eyes. The last thing I want is someone at Starbucks thinking I’m a jerk because I’m rolling my eyes and glaring. LOL!!!
The most incredible place I’ve written so far has been Bali I was there on vacation earlier this year and stayed in an incredible resort with my family. Every morning, I woke up to work (yes, I even work on vacation LOL) and watched the sun come up over the rice fields as I listened to about a thousand roosters welcome the new day. It was an incredible experience.

What made this story addictive to write? 


I loved watching Eleanor’s layers slowly fall away as she began to allow herself to be vulnerable with people who mattered to her. I think a lot of us feel the need to put up guards sometimes. Watching her give herself permission to be exposed was like letting a piece of myself unfurl as well. I really enjoyed that aspect of writing this book.

Was there a moment where you felt like you became apart of your characters? Do you see bits of you in them? 


Honestly, there is something of me in every character I write because they are all a piece of my heart. They say to write what you know – and while I’ve never been a duke, or a mercenary or an heiress or any of those things, I have known loss, I’ve known hope and longing and disappointment. I love to write emotion into my book because I feel like it plays such a large part in life. I try to infuse that into my books and leave a little piece of me in everything I write.

What’s the hardest part of promoting your book? 
Time. I’m currently working a full time and balancing a writing career (I have written 7 books this year) and have two daughters under the age of 14 who are active with sports. Trying to squeeze in time for marketing between life and writing and work can be quite the juggeling act!

 Who have you penned that has taught you a lot? 


I think the first book that I published, Deception of a Highlander. When I was first writing that book, I had the heroine being an assassin. Later, I submitted the manuscript to a contest and a judge commented that she kept waiting to see that Mariel hadn’t actually killed anyone and was shocked that she had. It caused me to delve more into what makes characters likeable and relatable and, unfortunately, Mariel was not it. LOL I revamped her entire character and that was the book I signed my agent and first three book deal with. It was a very important lesson that was worth learning for sure!

What is the best moment or feeling for you in your book? 


When I get feedback from my beta readers to let me know what they think of it. I’ve been very fortunate to have my books very well received by readers. Except that this just makes me all the more insecure. LOL I am so worried that the next book I write will be a hot mess and I’ll disappoint people. I second guess myself the whole time I writing it and as soon as I hit send on my e-mail to beta readers, my stomach knots up. When I get the feedback from them saying they loved it, all that tension drains away and I feel a million times better. Until the next book. LOL


Blurb of How To Tempt A Duke: 
A lady’s lessons…

…in temptation!

When her almost fiancĂ© proposes to someone else, Lady Eleanor is suddenly the talk of the ton! With her family in financial dire straits, Eleanor must marry before the end of the Season. Secret lessons with Charles, the dashing, infuriating—and devastatingly charming—Duke of Somersville, should help Eleanor shake off her shameful Ice Queen moniker. But how can she tempt a prospective husband when it’s the duke who ignites her desire?
 

Follow her on one or all these links: 
Author website: www.MadelineMartin.com
Author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MadelineMartinAuthor
Author Twitter: @MadelineMMartin


Wednesday, 30 January 2019

NEW BOOK LAUNCH FROM ST.MARTINS PRESS

Hello All,

I am here to introduce a book that got me excited the other day. I wanted to share it with you and see what you all thought.

A lady with a love potion. A Duke who takes it by mistake. Romance and mischief ensues when plans go awry in NO OTHER DUKE BUT YOU (St. Martin’s Paperbacks, April 30, 2019, $7.99), the final delicious addition to the Playful Brides Series by bestselling author Valerie Bowman. Lady Delilah Montebank can’t believe she gave the potion to the wrong duke, her best friend, Lord Thomas Hobbs, Duke of Huntley. Then again, Delilah could do a lot worse than win the hand of her handsome best friend. Could it be that the right duke has been right before her eyes all along? Since her debut in 2012, Bowman’s books have received starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and Kirkus. Two of her books have been nominated for the Kirkus Prize for fiction and New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas calls them “too delightful to miss!” I would love to invite you to read and review her latest novel using the widget provided below.

Who's interest in this book? I know am going to be making sure I take a look at it more seriously. I am super surprised that ST Martins Press is doing these sorts of books. I am interested to see how it proceeds from here. 

That's all for now and I hope to see you back here very soon! 

Kristal 

Monday, 17 December 2018

Tower of Dawn By Sarah J Mass Book Review.

Dear All,

Let's take a wander back into the Throne of Glass series with Tower of Dawn.

Blurb: 

Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since the glass castle shattered, since his men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken.
His only shot at recovery lies with the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme in Antica--the stronghold of the southern continent's mighty empire. And with war looming over Dorian and Aelin back home, their survival might lie with Chaol and Nesryn convincing its rulers to ally with them.
But what they discover in Antica will change them both--and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined.

What I Expected: I thought that I was getting into a series that was going to have my heart pounding. My fingers itchy and desperate to the turn the page. I expected some more of Celena doing her thing. 
What I Got: Choel with a new character at his
side in a place that sounded a lot like Austraila in my head and what felt more political rather than action pack until I got further in. 
What I Thought: I wasn't a huge fan of this one. I just felt there was to much lost in this book and there was a lot more that could be done. I felt like it dragged its feet in places and sometimes too long in other places.

4/5 Stars 

Review: Interesting start with Choal and seeing how he is doing after the attack in book five of this series. I like how we are following the healers as its different. I think the emotions of Choal are well done. There is a nice build up for the healer and you MUST READ the SHORT STORIES to understand this book. Watching the struggle between professional and emotion is a very nice touch. 

Yrene's discovery of the vlag magic is done really well even if its forgotten at times during this book. The tension between Nysern and Choal I think was nicely put, more of what I expect out of Sarah now. Choal tries to spot vlag but can't from his chair, can't see through the curtains which surround him. Nysern being a guard seems to be playing on her mind a bit. 

Yrene gets freaked by a storm passing through, she takes books and scrolls, feels hunted. She is learning more about the Vlag. She is reminded of Aelin's words however she doesn't know its Aelin and this was never revealed. So its one of the points that annoyed me the most about this book. Through her rush to leave she finds a dead healer who looked like her. She is forced to leave her, she finds four young healers to whom she spurs to leave, they enclose around her and exit together. 

The alarm is raised. 

Yrene insists that he attends a self-defence class that was inspired by Aelin teaching her to defend herself but again Yrene doesn't know it's Aelin or Celena who told her so. Nesryn encourages him to ride with some help getting up and down. Some embarrassment by the young healers tearing him off the horse. Later on Yrene angry and inspired attacks, Chaol's wound with new vigour. Afterwards, she explains what he is in for. He refuses to talk about his past or open up to her. It takes her a bit of time to begin again. 

Meanwhile, Nesryn takes a ride with Prince Satajah. She is hoping that he has answers for her. Nesryn doesn't really learn anything. Instead, she enjoys the hunt of his bird. 

Yrene gets nowhere with her attempts to heal him. She can't forget what she went through and what she sees at Morath. An army of darkness, despite the visions she knows she is making little progress with Choal and its tied to his emotions. He raises questions within her. Yrene can't bring herself to eat with him. Yrene leaves and Choal wonders if Nesryn had a more successful night. 

When Nesryn arrives she puts Choal to bed. Nesryn and Prince Satajah talk. She reveals pieces of her past to him. 

Yrene struggles to understand Choal. She runs into Prince Kajah. He offers her clothes, affection, she rejects him tactfully. The following day Choal and Yrene have a verbal fight. Yrene realises the mistakes that she has made. Tells him the soldiers killed her mother, right in front of her. She begins this round of healing. Chaol in return opens up a little bit. He curls his toes, the action fascinates him. Nesryn goes to visit her family. 

Princess Hasar updates Yrene on the war back where Yrene comes from. The princess insists that she has spies and that Yrene leaving might be harder than she might think. The Princess urges her to attend her party and she reluctantly agrees. Yrene fails to meet Choal. Choal rides alone to the Torre. Yrene is ill in bed from their healing session the day before. He talks to the healer on high. Offers to accompany her to future classes. She accepts. 

The following morning Yrene's met by a concerned Choal with her mare trailing behind him. Choal asks her to ride for a while to clear his mind. They visit some of her patients. Yrene takes Choal on a tour of the city. She asks him if Fenharrow or Adalan can be so peaceful. The festival they attend thrown by the Princesses. Everyone is dressed up. Princess Hasar takes charge. Chaol and Yrene have more honesty between each other. 

Choal and Yrene create a plan. Choal feels guilty about what he feels with Yrene when he is still with Nesryn. Choal and Nesryn return to their suite. Nesryn asks to leave with Prince Satajah to check out the mountain's, the outposts, see what she can learn. Choal is reluctant and the pair falls asleep talking. 

In the morning Yrene walks in on Choal and Nesryn in bed together, there is an awkwardness about it. She fails to cover up its impact on her. Nesryn leaves. Yrene reveals what she knows about Kings and Vlag. Choal has her hid everything she took. She offers to take him into the Torre to show him a book that talks about Vlag, he agrees right away. They have a session first, but finding him in bed with Nesryn has rattled her. She says he needs to be sure the old king is really gone. This leads to a pleasant chat between Choal and Yrene. They have another session which leaves him able to move his ankles. He sees her in the garden, realises he passed out. 

The story of her mother wins more movement and Yrene recounts her journey to finish. She never reveals nor does he know its Aelin she talks about. It always stops when it comes to Aelin and this is never revealed in the book. Choal asks her to eat with him as he is concerned by her appearance.

Neseryn is down about the night before so she goes to the Parrot Pit. Prince Satajah asks her to leave with him. she says she must ask Lord Westfall. he tells her he must leave soon and the urgency rests within her. Nesryn decides to go for three weeks. Leaves a note for Choal, a note freeing him of all promises he has to her. Get's on board with Prince Satajah, there is flirting, they fly for some time then take a break. She learns there's a tale about her. Proves how good his spies are. She does not want to discuss her perfect shot, because of the memories tied to it.

Yrene takes Choal to the Torre tower library, shares everything with each other. The promises she has made. She goes through a turmoil with him and leaves after an argument. Princess fills her in, Yrene goes to the slums to leave people. That is where her heart lies.

Vlag stalks and hunts Yrene, she locks Choal and herself in the suite. It says her name over and over. Choal says they do this 'together'. Palace guards come to their aid just in time. They demand Kashin come and he does. They come out for only him. Kasin insists she returns to the Torre. She says she feels safer with Choal, this hurts the Prince Kashin. He searches out the head of the guards.

Choal starts to train with the castle guards, despite his limits. Numbness in his limbs washes away day by day. He finds a new fire is lit inside him at this development.

Neseryn regrets leaving with Prince Satajah, she can't understand the kindness the prince has. They arrive at the Prince's outpost where she meets his other family. His heathen mother and sister. Nesryn notes his sister Brote is to be watched. She meets a man to whom is a shifter like her friend back in Adalan. Brote shows Nesryn where the baths are. Nesryn joins Prince Satajah for dinner.

While they wait they head up to the archery range where Brote encourages her to take part. Brote promises to braid her next time. Nesryn is unsure how to take this. Nesryn's tour aboard a Ruk. She is shocked and impressed. How children as young as five are flying Ruks. Prince Satajah takes time to ask her about her father. He asks about Rifthold, she tells him very little. Neseryn excels at archery. A challenge she answers from Brote. Prince Satajah's mother returns with bad news. Ruk's are being stolen by a creature like a spider, who are apart of the Vlag army. Nesryn has dread and fear about this. She suggests that Prince Satajah and Nesryn goes to the tower to see what they can uncover.

The towers are outposts where the Fae had fought the Vlag. Nesryn knows that the spides are waiting for them, they can't stay at t he towers after day. The spides are watching the veil between worlds. No one has ever returned from checking out these towers.

Yrene and Choal continue their therapy. She tells him the answers to where the scrolls came from and that they came from the desert. Yrene tells Choal to talk to Noosha and they do. She tells them the answers to where might learn more. The oasis in the desert. Yrene tells Choal that only the Royals can go there, its their retreat. Yrene and Choal go to dinner with the Royals to put a plan in motion to get to go to the retreat. Choal returns to work with the castle guards the next day.

Neseryn and Prince Satajah arrive at the tower where they save each other's lives. Barely escape the traps set by the Fae. A spider attacks and they are trapped in the basement. A wolf appears and attacks it. They escape where the Ruk kills the chasing spider. The wolf turns out to be Falkan a shifter they met at the outpost. He's badly injured during his attempt to save Nesryn and Prince Satajah. They pack his wounds and return to the outpost where Nesryn tells Brote all that happened.

Prince Satajah confronts Nesryn in her rooms later. He demands to know who has the Widerkeys. Nesryn has not told him about the keys and comes clean. She turns it around showing him why they need him and his family to fight with them. There is two more towers south, this becomes the new mission set by Prince Satajah's other mother. Falken, Nesryn, Brote and Prince Satajah have to go together. They leave at dawn, she is uncomfortable as things are unresolved.

Yrene and Choal continue their work. Choal continues to reach healers how to defend themselves. Later on the Princess brings up the Skull Bay attack and Choal pretends that he knew they were there. Princesses take turns getting digs in, making claims that Choal has no idea if it could be true. Yrene struggles to say nothing. The Royal's openly pick apart Aelin's tactics. They want to know what is in it for them when Choal turns it around. King ends the discussion after Choal says Aelin's advisers have seen more war than they had or ever likely to see.

Kashin breaks into Chaol's room where he tells him his destiny is North. He will go if the king orders it.

Falkin takes a long time to heal. Nesryn's put to work in the meantime tending the Ruks, training the children. She ends up singing for them one night by the fire.

Nesryn, Prince Satajah, Falken and Brote visit the towers only there is nothing there. Yeran meets them mid-flight saying he's looking for baby Ruks. Yeran's rude interaction with Brote picks up Nesryn's attention. Brote is rude right back. Prince Satajah orders them back home. He tells Yeran that the spiders are back. The sense of dread spreads through his riders.

Choal oversteps with Kungan, banned from further meetings. He attempts to see the king but is denied. He tries to beg but can't get his words heard. He just finds out that he is banned from further meetings. Choal is teeming for a fight and it leads him going to far with Yrene. Declares his desire to die on the killing fields and they argue about all the hard work she has put into him to just go and die. Choal stands, its all apart of Yrene's plan to get him walking and he does. She is thinking about her plan to use the Princess the whole time. Plans to go to the Oasis for her birthday. She needs answers,

Yrene brings Choal up to speed on her scheme, knows that it will work. Choal surprised that it's her birthday. He promises to get her something. His progress as he starts to walk on sticks.

Nesryn questions Prince Satajah why he's not married. He explains how he has not found a wife that is right for him or Kadara (Ruk). Their arrival at the spiders terrority, Prince Sataha prepares fighting over the courts his normal brides want to be a part of. They scout the spider area from a distance, they see a baby Ruk. Kadara (Ruk) make a desperate bid for the baby Ruk, they get caught in a web sending them flying into a wall and down the side of the rocky mountain gorge.

Both injured Prince Satajah and Nesryn escape with Falkan in Nesryn's pocket. They are forced into the pass and must find a way up for Kadara to get them to safety, despite her injuries she can fly. The spiders give chase.

Yrene and Choal ride with the Royal's through the desert. The Royal's choosing to race at breakneck speeds ahead. Yrene and Choal end up racing each other for a kiss. They have fun on the ride together. Chaol feels the strain on his muscles as he rides and sorts of regrets this. When they arrive at a watering hole she heals him.

At the Oasis they go exploring together, they find a tribal burial ground. They believe the head of the Tore can read the scrolls that once only Aelin could read. They believe they will hold the answers they need. Depictions of Vlag and Fae fighting is everywhere.

Later at dinner Hasar goats Choal for information, war, Aelin's love life, her status. Hasar suggests Yrene be married as apart of an alliance. Choal says no. They must let her decide. Yrene sidesteps the taunts continue on though. Yrene pushes the Princess into the pool. They all laugh, the present from the other Royal's is her life. Choalr's ready to protect her all the same.

Choarl gives Yrene a locket. He tells her that he loves her. She's glad he does not love Aelin or Nesryn. They make love, she tells Choal about what Aelin did for her (still not knowing its Aelin). Choal is grateful for her.

Nesryn and Prince Satajah race through the passes looking for a way up. Prince Satajah is captured and Nesryn mourns. She comes up with a plan, Falkan is part of her plan. She allows herself to be captured.

The spider encharges of Prince Satajah and her tells the true tale of Maeve. She is the Vlag queen hiding in plain sight. Not a fae as people are told she is. Falkan works to free Nesryn, A injured Nesryn and Prince Satajah get free and make a run for it. They are chased up onto a narrow stone pillar with what looks like no way out. Falkan makes Nesryn promise to make his niece safe, to get his riches and protect her. He jumps into a fight with the spiders, offering his soul up for theirs.

Kadara comes to the rescue, it's not just Kadara. Brote and Yeran's men have arrived with plently of Ruks. They manage to rescue Falkan who's badly injured. Kadara picks up Prince Satajah and Nesryn in her claws. Brote signals the army to help, they do. They burn the mountain and the spiders on it.

Yrene and Choal rush back, the rooms raided, theres one scroll that remains. Choal distances himself. Yrene talks to Hara about the locked up books, hoping to take them to Aelin. Hasar is not sure if this is such a good idea. She thinks Yrene might be onto something though. She finds her ancestors bell where the answer comes to her, that will allow her to heal Choal completely. How to defeat the Vlag, goes to Choal where she finally restores him. She tells him how to render it forever useless. He must forgive himself though.

Yrene finds herself when she heals Choal. They grow even closer sharing each other's memories.

Nesryn, Prince Satajah, Falkan, Brote and Yeran arrive back at his outpost. There is a breakthrough with Nesryn and Prince Satajah. She tells Falkan that she may know who his niece is and where she is. Nesryn gets a letter from Choal, needing her to return as fast as she can. They rush back.

Choal and Yrene talk where they lay all their cards on the table. They work out the Torre connections, Yrene thinks she can save Vlag hosts. She is unsure though. Hasar enters Choal's apartment, there is a conversation. They go to Torre to speak with the Healer on High, but she isn't there, she's missing. They search the Torre where they find her in the tunnels with Vlag host Princess Duva, there is a fight Choal dies.

Yerne spares the Princess, she rushes to heal Choal and is willing to pay any price to save him. He's saved. The prices is they are tethered together forever. If one dies they both do. Choal can only walk when Yrene's at full strength. Nesryn appears with Prince Satajah. He thanks her for sparing his sister. They all go before the King. They tells him everything. Yrene's last test is to save the Princess Duva and her baby. She begins, Yerne after a fashion vanquishes the Vlage princess.

Prince Satajah and Nesryn share there news. Choal shares his. They have a thousand Ruk's ready to fly for Aelin. As many ships as Hazar can bring. Yrene thanks them all. Prince Satajah meets Nesryn's family. Yrene's sadness about leaving. Two rough weeks for Choal, they set off. A lead into Aelin's story.

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Thank you all for stopping by.

Kristal 

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Forever My Jewel By Jenny Snow Review

Dear all, 

So we are diving into a Firefly and Wisp Publishing book where am going to give you my honest opinion so here we go. 

THIS IS A 20 PAGE STORY!

Blurb:

When a young man's world suddenly ends with the death of his girlfriend, he is asked to give the eulogy and he speaks from his heart as he tells the story of their love and life together.
This story is heartbreaking, beautiful and real. It's a story of love and grief.

This is a short story by Jenny Snow.


Rating 3/5

What I Was Expecting: I was expecting a short, detailed story, one that might have an uplifting edge to it. I expected romance. I was excited by the detail I thought was going to be in this book. I should have reminded myself it was 20 pages. 

What I Got: A very telling story, it's done by the lead character telling us how they met, their first kiss, their love, there need to be with each other. 

My Thoughts: I think this is the end to a much bigger story, it could be truly wonderful if it was detailed out and has the feel of someone like Jamie McGuire's books. I plead with the author to make it more detailed, show us the story and don't just tell us what happened. 

Review: We are at the funeral for Jewel who's passed away after a battle with Leukaemia. There is a young man who is there and doing a detailed history and good bye speech. There is a great deal of emotion in this story and you can feel it from the very beginning. We learn through him telling us that he was her date for graduation dance, that she had a run-in with a bully Mel and broke his foot. That scared him and lightens the mood. We learn of how she was meant to be a PJ party but instead was at a beach party, thank goodness he was there to save her from really bad drunk boys.  He does this in a form of an apology. 

He's sorry that he's not keeping her secret, he tells us about how he went to her house and they talked on the veranda, on the bench in the park. How when he found out about what she was ill with he ran away and had to beg, grand romantic gesture to get back in her life. He was there from then to the end. The speech is done to her body in the casket. 

There first kiss and how she was the one that started it, he never wanted them to stop. At the end, he has to go outside and his mother comforts him. After the wake, he finds himself on the bench where he is comforted by her mother. They wait for a sign to see where she is now and gets one. A star streaks across the sky and breaks up, leaving a star behind. That is to make where she is now. They are moved and the story comes to a close. 

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Sunday, 7 October 2018

Silence Of The Girls By Pat Barker Book Review

Dear all, 

I got this arc from the publisher and wasn't sure about it but will share thoughts below: 

WARNING THIS CONTAINS TRIGGERS FOR SEXUAL ABUSE SURVIVORS!

The Silence of The Girls

'A very good, very raw rendition of the Trojan war from the point of view of the women' Kate Atkinson
There was a woman at the heart of the Trojan war whose voice has been silent - till now.

Briseis was a queen until her city was destroyed. Now she is slave to Achilles, the man who butchered her husband and brothers. Trapped in a world defined by men, can she survive to become the author of her own story?


Discover the greatest Greek myth of all - retold by the witness history forgot.
'Make[s] you reflect on the cultural underpinnings of misogyny, the women throughout history who have been told by men to forget their trauma... You are in the hands of a writer at the height of her powersEvening Standard
Praise for Pat Barker:
'Barker delves unflinchingly into the enduring mysteries of human motivationSunday Telegraph
'She is not only a fine chronicler of war but of human nature' Independent
'Barker is a writer of crispness and clarity and an unflinching seeker of the germ of what it means to be human' Herald
'You go to her for plain truths, a driving storyline and a clear eye, steadily facing the history of our worldGuardian


Rating: 4/5

What I thought: I thought this might be a great historical fiction with elements of Roman ideas, (later realising that its Troy and Greek). 

What I expected: I expected more sort of romance to the story, I'm not sure why I thought that but I did. I thought it might be the alternative viewpoint. 

What I got: Was very different and worth enduring to get to the gooey centre. 

Review: What we get to meet Briesie through her eyes as she introduces us to Ritsa. Her marriage to the king and what she needs to do as the queen. She is being invaded in her city and she is scared witnessed. She is unable to conceive a child and she longs for one badly. There cities going to be raided by the Greeks on the warpath to Troy. During the fighting and waiting they get a little sleep. The cities breached by the greeks, where the King, men, male children and pregnant women are murdered. Most of the women have to witness the death of the children. Some jump from the citadel to ensure they aren't attacked. 

The women have herded away, they set fire to the city, the fire engulfs the place. The women are forced into ships where they are taken away. They are fed and watered but treated like slaves. They are forced into two huts where they are going to be inspected in the morning. Briseis is the woman we are witnessing this through the eyes of. 

Briseis is the queen and she is the one who's first inspected by the men and given to Achilles. She is his prize. He states that she will do to her face. She's taken to his hut where she is given food and wine. She can't eat so she drinks the wine. She is taken to Achilles bed. The first chance she gets she goes to the beach and washes him out of her. She feels very suicidal. She sees, hears odd behaviour from Achilles. Returns to the hut after finding a sharp piece of glass in order to protect herself with. She has cut her foot but doesn't care.  

Irphis takes care of her, Briseis struggles with camp life and her place in it. Her new responsibilities. She goes for a swim nightly before her duties begin. The smell of salt water drives Achilles mad with passion. His nightly retire of forced sex becomes more hurtful and distasteful. 

Briseis talks with other 'prize women' about what the normal is. They tell her to bear a son or become cast aside. They have their own horrors they are dealing with. This this is now their life. She continues to watch Achilles carefully. She longs for change, even prays for it. She can't understand how Iphris loves her captor. 

Chrysis father comes for her, he's a priest and she was meant to be a priestess. He offers to pay her ransom to get her back. He's refused, on the beach, he prays for the plague and Briseis prays with him. She notices how Chrysis suffers. How the young had always dreamed of being a priestess, how she was struggling with how that is gone. Briseis can't tell the other women that she has noticed the rats dying, scared to give them hope. 

At dinner one of the men discusses the ransom, how they are shocked it was denied. Briseis continues to pray for the plague while serving the men. She prays more after seeing her father's tunic on one of the men at the table. She hates this man deeply. Later on that night Patroclus talks with Briseis, explains how he ended up with Achilles. He killed his friend and that is how he ended up with Achilles as his friend, was sent to be with him. Patroclus uses the beach to be with Achilles. Through the conversation, he explains the reason Achilles is connected with the sea. Its where his mother lives and she is the goddess of the sea. 

They share a private moment that raises questions. The situation with the rats getting worse until Myron who wears Briseis father's tunic takes ill. Patroclus tries to reassure the men that nothing bad is going to happen. Myron dies and Briseis is part of the group of women who attend to his body being washed and burned. There is a flicker of tenderness from Achilles that surprises her. The women have fun preparing Myron's body. 

Briseis talks with Patroclus about Achilles trying to understand him more. How she reminded Achilles of his mother. He suggests that he can make Achilles marry her. The mixed emotions that are raised inside her. 

There is a meeting called about the plague. Chrysis is going back to her father and she refuses to believe it. Says that Agemonnon tricks everyone and its a trap. Briseis is going to Agamemnon instead of her. Achilles doesn't fight for her, this hurts her in a way she doesn't understand. Promises she believes are forgotten at this moment. Nestor and Achilles talk deeply about this. Agamemnon sends his men. Patroclus comes to get her. She asks him 'if he'll still marry her?' Achilles cries openly when she leaves, this confuses her more. 

We move into Achilles point of view. We watch him trying to be okay with Briseis being taken from him. He's got a wounded pride and something more that he doesn't understand. We learn more of the history with Patroclus and him. How he faired after his mother left. 

Briere's first night with Agamemnon, where he spits into her mother. Briseis flees to the women's huts at the first chance she gets. She feels worse than when she was with Achilles, almost misses him. Knowing that Agamemnon hasn't picked her as his favourite raises fears inside her that she will be cast aside. The women try to reassure her. 

Ritsa tries to help her best she can adapt to her new position in the camp. The fact she no longer gets to go down to the beach or really leave the loom room. Causlities from the war start to creep up and men start to pay her more attention when she is working in the hospital. She loses herself in her memories in an attempt to cope. She thinks of her time in Troy, a better time and place, Helen of Troy and how they were friends. Slowly she comes to accept her new life, yet finds herself missing Patroclus and Achilles. 

Back in Achilles point of view, we see him inspecting the battlefield from his ships. His take on the mistakes they are making, dangers they are bound to face and the fact they are making this move on a floodplain. He worries what this might mean for him and his men. He refuses to help and makes it clear that this is over Briseis. 

Briseis gets moved to work full time in the hospital and from the men coming in she knows they are losing the war. She has torn feelings about it. Achilles names whispered among the men as the reason why. Some of the men are pleading over and over again for him to fight. Briseis is struggling with how she is feeling yet knows that she loves her work. It masks her feel worth something in a time when she is treated as if she were nothing. There is another wave of injured that comes in, some of these higher up men boost morale. The patients and she can hear the battle is closer. 

Agamemnon refuses to bow to the pressures of his men, this is causing unrest. Odysseus comes in injured and there is a lot of people who take notice. Agamemnon finally breaks and gives back Briesies back to Achilles. She is dressed up for her return and she is scared of what this means for her. She sits down on the stops outside of Achilles hut and waits to see what her fate will be. She allows her mind to distract her back to the times when her mother prepares for a feast. How pretty she was and how she shaped Briese. 

We go back in Achilles point of view to see his meeting with Achille hears the offers from Agamemnon, Briseis is brought in. Achilles rejects her and the offer very crudely. Patroclus whisks Brieseis back to the room she was in her first night there. They share wine together. He tries to reassure her but is she is returned. Back in Agamemnon, she starts to mull over that she might be in love with Achilles. The intimate tone that is shared between her and Patroclus. 

Patroclus reprimands Achilles over how he treated Briseis, he takes Achilles on a long walk trying to get him to see sense. He shows him the front lines like he hasn't been watching. When they are out there they see the doctor McMahon get hurt and Patroclus is sent to check on the man. Nestor catches a hold of Patroclus where he sparks some ideas in the young man. Patroclus runs into a cousin who has come in injured. He takes him to the hospital tent where he treats him because there is an overcrowding issue. He runs into Briesies where he promises her that things will change. They work together until Briseis sees him off. 

Patroclus almost strangles Achilles when an argument gets out of hand. When the men are calmer Patroclus gets Achilles to agree to Nestor's plan. He hopes that this will change the way the battle is going. Achilles put terms and conditions on it. Achilles sees Patroclus off in his armour. He runs into Briseis where she flees him. Patroclus fights and dies. Achilles goes into the yard of his compound and lets out a war cry. He grieves openly. 

Briese's wants to go to Achilles but can't. His mother shows up out of the ocean and everyone retreats from her. News of Troy and greeks fight over Patroclus body. Achillie's roars allow the greeks to recover Patroclus's body. Tetis delivers Achilles armour so he can kill Hector. The women prepare Patroclus for burial. Achilles receives all he is promised to rejoin the fight. Achilles blames Briesei's for the death of his friend and the reason it all happened. Briese's grieves and wars with herself over it. She tries to understand but can't. 

She lost a dear friend. 

Achilles gory and gruesome progress across the battlefield.  The Troy loses and the women of the city suffer. The blood that is shed. Achilles continues to fight, he visits Patroclus every night and day. Achillie's finally kills Hector yet this doesn't help him at all. The celebration of the war being over. Briesies sneaks out and covers Hector's face as his body lays in the stable yard. 

Achilles gets a visit from Patroclus wher he pleads with him to bury his body. Achilles discovers Hector's covered body and losing his mind. He's outraged and is heard all over the compound. Achillie's has the funeral, the games. He gives Iphris away and this Briesei's hurt by losing her friend. Achillie's calls for Briesei's who is tormented by what is happening around her. He fails to have sex. She leaves fearing that she is headed towards the slave traders. 

Achilles continues to grieve. His desire to both fight and die. Briesei's view on Achillie's ever-growing grief. There intimate response and Priam appears leaving her worried about what this means. The king of Troy recognises her and it almost makes it worse for her.

Hector's body is taken to be washed and wrapped. Briesies and Achilles do it so as to keep Priam's suspicions away from it being disrespected. Hector is loaded into the cart with love. After cleaning the body she joins them for a drink, spends the rest of the night with Achilles and enjoys staying with him. 

The book allows us to see Priam's point of view, how he walked into the camp without anyone stopping him or noticing. Its a really good edge to the book. During his time there we see his effects on Briesies. She thinkings of fleeing with Priam, he refuses to take her with him. She sneaks into his cart with Hector's body then decides she doesn't want to flee. Priam during his time trying to get his son back always insists to see him. He's taken care of well by her. She sneaks back to his hut and Achilles want to know why she came back and she has no answer for him. 

Achilles has to be there for Ajax who is struggling with his own problems. Ghosts and demons of what he has done are tormenting him. Ajax's wife/slave tells Briesie how bad it has gotten. Catches Brieseis being sick and asks if she is carrying a baby and she is. She finally tells Achilles when he catches her. He makes preparation for when he dies. He finally finishes his song with her being there. He forces her to marry Alcimus. Achilles dies. 

Pyrrhus (Achilles son) joins them. He has come to fight alongside his father and is angry when he learns she has died. He is also in a state of shock. He butches Priam for his father's death. Briesies has to help with Achillie's offering to get back to their home safely. She tries to bear witness to Pryzena end. It makes her ill. Alcum does a kind thing for her mother, the former queen Hecuba. Burries Hector's son in his shield by his father. Briesis finds a sliver of freedom and peace with Alcum.

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Thank you so much for stopping by and hoping you will be back to see what else I have been reading. 

Kristal McKerrington  

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

The First Earl I See Tonight By Anna Bennett Review

Hello all,

So let's dive into an arch that has a lot to offer us.

The First Earl I See Tonight

She needed a husband of convenience. She got her one true love instead. Miss Fiona Hartley's huge dowry should have ensured that finding a husband would be quick. True, she's a tad older than the average debutante, and spends too much time sketching brutally honest character portraits. She desperately needs a husband so she can access her dowry, lest the man blackmailing her reveals a secret that would ruin her family. So desperate in fact, that she's willing to do the unthinkable - propose marriage to the most surly, irritable gentleman in town. As a matter of principle, David Gray, the Earl of Somerdale, avoids two types of women: those who are obviously desperate, and those who are stark-raving mad. And it soundly appears Miss Fiona Hartley is both. Yet David can't help but be drawn to her, and gives her a test - if she can spend one week in his dilapidated estate - the same one that caused his previous fiancee to jilt him - then he'll consider her proposal. But as the week goes on, Fiona's refreshing wit find a way into his heart. What started out as a marriage of convenience has turned into love but will Fiona have him for the rest of her days?

Review 
Rating: 4/5 Stars 
What I expected: Overall I expected something like as well crafted as a Karen Marie Moning or Lesley Pearse. 
What I got: I got something I would expect from the Mills and Boon publisher. It felt like it wasn't in the right place, but I truly loved the story. I would be highly interested in seeing how the author develops the storyline.

10 pages in are gripping. 
50 pages in are enthralling. 
100 pages are easy to read. 
150 pages are so far really fun to read. 
200 pages in I feel amused. 
250 pages have a great twist in the pilot here. 
300 pages I fell in love. 
372 pages in, I just fell for this ending. 



Review with SPOILERS:

Fiona writes a proposal to Gray (Lord Ravenport) asking to marry him. In hopes of protecting her sister from the scandal, they are expecting. She doesn't feel that she can turn to anyone. She meets with Ravenport She finds herself begging for a minute of his time. They get rained out of the park and take shelter in his carriage. He dares her to kiss him and its an awkward kiss. She is desperate for him to consider the proposal and will do almost anything to get him to just think about the arrangement. 

Gray invites Fiona to the Fortress in hopes of putting her off or finding someone else for her to latch onto. Lord Ravenport stops by to invite them personally. Fiona sends flowers to herself along with poetry that has the women swooning. Lily thanks him for the flowers on her sister's behalf. During this part were learn about Lily's history with the family. The scandalous secret that Fiona is protecting. This takes place after they have been getting their dresses fittings. 

We learn more about Ravenport from his point of view. Fiona takes him aside where she apologises for bringing him in on the lie. Ravenport plots how to rid himself of her. The blackmailer sends another note before she leaves for the Fortress. 

Arriving at the Fortress, Lily tells Fiona how she isn't impressed by her surroundings or having to share a room with Fiona. Keeping the blackmail a secret becomes harder for Fiona so she decides to sketch in the garden. Gray has an explosive reaction to finding her drawing in the garden. She helps to see the beauty of his mermaid fountain.  This leads to their first proper passionate kiss. She loses the blackmailers note and must wait till morning to try to find it. She is a wreck with fear. 

Dinner becomes a mess. Mumma can't get by the flaws of the house. Fiona can't relax about the note. She excuses herself to search for the note. Ravenport stumbles upon her and helps her to look for what she tells him is an earring. He gets them a lantern. Fiona waits on a bench for him but falls asleep. She is awoken by Lord Pentcham. He asks her to go on a country drive with him, he says he would like to give her his lantern. Fiona's tired but acts otherwise. 

Fiona gives Ravenport a hard time at archery. He promises to make it up to her. A secret meeting in the library. He's eager for her to start sketching him. He's jealous about her spending time with the other Lords and Earl.  Fiona tries to seduce Gray and does. 

She has a conversation with his grandmother. Ravenport becomes withdrawn during their time there. Fiona goes to the village on an excursion where Mr Kirby pulls her aside. He gives her the note that he found and offers her his support. Gray miss reads the conversation and it leads him to feel new emotions. Fiona and Gray meet again in secret. They come to terms and secretly engaged. 

Sketching turns passionate, she loves her virginity. Fiona worries that he might have changed his mind. Learns of the arrival of Fiona's father. Learns of the ball that is to be held at the end of their stay. 

Fiona goes on a picnic where she climbs a rock to sketch. Lord Pentcham helps her carry her utensils up with her. Mr Kirby talks to her about the note and it's the last thing she wants to talk about. She is climbing back down when Gray arrives. Fiona falls due to his distraction. He helps her through the shock of the fall. He takes her back to the manor on horseback. Fiona shows her sketch to him. He's touched it's for his grandmother. Fears her wiggling her way into his heart and his grandmothers. Gray and Fiona make plans to go to the river. Sophia, Lily and other guests join them. Fiona fears Sophia's match with Sophia. She fears her marrying the wrong man. 

Grays Grandmother encourages her to talk to him about his past. He wants to be with her always. They go to the river together. Gray arrange some alone time with Fiona. She reveals her blackmail problem to Gray. They share and enjoy some intimate time together  Shows Fiona his rope swing, where he used to escape too. He shares his family history with her, his own scandalous secret. His trust issues. 

Fiona finishes the sketch and during her day getting ready for the ball discovers who her blackmailer is. None other than Gray's best friend Kirby. She is given her mothers necklace and it makes her feel like her mother is there. Mr Kirby threats to expose Lily and Gray's secret to the world. She has to leave Gray and sell her necklace in order to save them. Fiona is rattled by Lady Helene. She tries to call it off with Gray but they interrupted. They make love. All hell breaks loose in the ballroom. 

Lightning has nearly destroyed the ballroom with a fallen tree. Everyone is okay though. Lady Helene tries to steal the engagement announcement but Gray stops her. Fiona's father storms out of the room. He arranges for Fiona and him to leave in the middle of the night. When Gray re-bucks Lady Helene she lashes out at him. The ball comes to a rapid close. He makes Lily deliver a message to Fiona who still leaves. 

Lily leaves with Sophie and her stepmother in the morning. She tells him that he has to give Fiona time. He knows that she doesn't have time. Fiona tries to ask her mother for the money but is turned down when she can't tell him what its for. She tries to get her sketch and journal back from Gray's house. Gray discovers the note. He follows Kirby not able to believe what he was seeing. Gray ends up confronting Mr Kirby. 

Gray makes a public plea for Fiona in the paper by publishing her sketch of their hands with a poem. It sways her. He has proven he can love and be romantic. They get publically engaged. HearSay asks for Fiona's sketches weekly with a line or two of poem. She agrees. 

At the rope swing, she takes a leap of faith and it works out. His grandmothers touched by her sketch. They have a truly happy ending. 

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Thank you for stopping by and hope you come back soon. 

Kristal McKerrington