Category Archives: Romance

Tumbleweeds by Leila Meacham




Tumbleweeds by Leila Meacham
A soap-opera style of a read, perfect for the summer reading list!

  Tumbleweeds by Leila Meacham
Grand Central Publishing/Hachette Book Group June 2012
General Fiction/Romance
Hardcover, 480 pages
Review copy provided by the publisher, thank you!
Burton Book Review Rating:4 stars

Recently orphaned, eleven-year-old Cathy Benson feels she has been dropped into a cultural and intellectual wasteland when she is forced to move from her academically privileged life in California to the small town of Kersey in the Texas Panhandle where the sport of football reigns supreme. She is quickly taken under the unlikely wings of up-and-coming gridiron stars and classmates John Caldwell and Trey Don Hall, orphans like herself, with whom she forms a friendship and eventual love triangle that will determine the course of the rest of their lives.
Taking the three friends through their growing up years until their high school graduations when several tragic events uproot and break them apart, the novel expands to follow their careers and futures until they reunite in Kersey at forty years of age. Told with all of Meacham’s signature drama, unforgettable characters, and plot twists, readers will be turning the pages, desperate to learn how it all plays out.

I must confess that I adore Leila Meacham since she is the very first author I had met during an event for her previous release, Roses. I had adored Roses as it had an epic/saga feel that was often generously compared to Gone With The Wind. Tumbleweeds has a lot to live up to after that release of Roses which was within my favorite genre of historical fiction, and Leila takes an entirely different turn with Tumbleweeds. It starts off in 1979 with young characters, a trio of twelve year olds and the story follows their lives as they grow to love each other as only true best friends can. And when they turn sixteen, of course the boys fall in love with the girl, and Cathy picks Trey as her lover, and John is okay with that.

Trey is the high school quarterback, John is his receiver, and Cathy dotes on them both. She can only pick one, and of course she seemingly picks the wrong one. One disaster after another follows the trio, just like huge tumbleweeds blocking them from happiness, and these events eventually force the friendship to scatter in the wind. The Friday night football scene comes into play as we witness the small town of Kersey place a lot of emphasis on the 1985 Championship team and the stellar quarterback. The coach, friends and neighbors make a great supporting cast for this story as they all watch and wait to see what happens to these promising youths, just as the reader does. What was once a promising future for the trio to be joined at the hip at the University of Miami, only one will make it there and the other two are left to pick up the pieces of broken promises and broken hearts.

What is left for the other two is the will and courage to survive, but not in the way the third one is mistakingly thinking they would. There is an entire miscommunication theme throughout, as stubbornness prevails and refusal to set aside pride threatens the happiness of Cathy, Trey, John and their families. We see everything crumbling around them, and there is little hope for them as time passes and they each move on, but we know that at some point the three will still have to come to grips with reality and have a super pow-wow. Even if it is years later, which is what made the novel such a page-turner.

This inevitable meeting of the three (which is alluded to in the opening scene) kept getting pushed aside and is what kept driving me to read on, as I really wanted Trey to open his eyes and stop being such a jerk of a jock. There was once an inseparable bond between the three friends and there was the hope that even with the passage of years there had to be a way to bring them back together. When the past finally catches up to the trio, worlds collide in more ways than one. Murder, mayhem and fatherhood all twist into a strange ending that is a bit over-the-top, but in spite of the crazy twists this is a captivating and emotionally rich story of friendship and (misplaced?) loyalty, laced with that soap opera feel.. which makes Tumbleweeds a perfect summer read.

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Filed under 2012 Releases, 2012 Review, Leila Meacham, Romance

>GIVEAWAY & GUEST AUTHOR: KATHRYNE KENNEDY, HISTORICAL ROMANCE

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My Unfair Lady by Kathryne Kennedy
Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages; Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (December 1, 2009)

Read my Review of My Unfair Lady. See below for giveaway details of this new title by Kathryne Kennedy.
Please welcome KATHRYNE KENNEDY, HISTORICAL ROMANCE AUTHOR:

Thank you so much for having me as your guest, Marie. As a lover of historicals, your blog is a treasure for me.

I want to discuss why I write historicals as opposed to another genre, and the answer is, of course, because I love history and all the pomp and beauty and sometimes downright wickedness of history. Medieval, Tudor, Victorian or Georgian, there’s something both elegant and mysterious about every era that draws me in.

Although my books are primarily romances and therefore much of the research I do doesn’t wind up in my books, I still have to really have a sense and a feel for the era. When I start researching I’m often drawn to new topics, and have to force myself to stick with the subject that I need an answer to, or I’d never finish my next book. And some of the information I find may be historically accurate, but if my readers aren’t familiar with the concept, or that particular development in technology, I don’t use it, although I do try to be as accurate as possible. There’s also a certain style when writing historicals that I adhere to. Whenever I run across a word that seems too modern, I check it as often as possible.

I admire historians because there’s so much conflicting information, even from one reference book to another. I often have to choose which fact seems more likely. In many instances it’s a matter of not enough information surviving for a historian to make a judgment on, and they’re forced to come up with the best theory. And it seems like the more research I do, the more I realize I don’t know.

There’s a particular research book I used for my upcoming Victorian romance, My Unfair Lady, that I think the readers of this blog might enjoy. Filled with gorgeous photos, it presents factual information in a lively and entertaining manner. It’s titled, To Marry an English Lord, by Gail MacColl and Carol McD. Wallace.

Although I’m currently writing a new fantasy series set in Georgian England, My Unfair Lady, takes place in the Victorian era. Inspired by Shaw’s Pygmalion, I wrote it in the same era, even though it’s an entirely different sort of story. The system of nobility makes for an even wider gulf between my hero and heroine. I set the story late in the Victorian era, when Mrs. Astor ruled New York society, and climbing the social ranks for the newly rich was near impossible. Not to be outdone, brave mama’s sent their daughters to London to marry a title, and England welcomed the new wealth they brought with them with open arms….except for the English ladies who found their marriage prospects rapidly reducing, and others like my hero, who abhorred the idea of purchasing titles.

In historicals you can have the uncertainty of an arranged marriage. Gentlemen were, for the most part, bound by morals and codes of conduct, a perfect recipe for dashing heroes. Ladies were raised to a certain standard of behavior, and women who rebelled or stepped out of this concept of what a woman should be make for an unusual heroine. Historicals provide the best setting for a Cinderella story (one of my favorite themes) where a poor woman can rise to the ranks of the rich. Or where, as in My Unfair Lady, a brash American woman can rise to the status of a lady.

And where else do you have such a plethora of nobility who make pleasure an art form? The balls, the fetes, the dinner parties. The elaborate clothing of silk and satin and gowns that transformed you into a princess. Tea and silver and crumpets and doilies. The horse races and garden parties and seaside resorts. Mansions glittering with gilt, marble floors, paintings of master artists, and sweeping staircases. There’s so such romance and elegance to the historical era that makes for great fantasy.

And when you’re writing what you love, and researching what fascinates you, it doesn’t feel like work.

So, why do you love reading historicals? I’ll be checking in all day for your comments, and look forward to your answers.

Wishing you all my very best,
Kathryne

My Unfair Lady by Kathryne Kennedy—in stores December 2009!
He created the perfect woman…
The impoverished Duke of Monchester despises the rich Americans who flock to London, seeking to buy their way into the ranks of the British peerage. So when railroad heiress Summer Wine Lee offers him a king’s ransom if he’ll teach her to become a proper lady, he’s prepared to rebuff her. But when he meets the petite beauty with the knife in her boot, it’s not her fortune he finds impossible to resist…

For the arms of another man
Frontier-bred Summer Wine Lee has no interest in winning over London society—it’s the New York bluebloods and her future mother-in-law she’s determined to impress. She knows the cost of smoothing her rough-and-tumble frontier edges will be high. But she never imagined it might cost her heart…

About the Author
Kathryne Kennedy is the author of the Relics of Merlin series, acclaimed for her world-building and best known for her historical paranormal romances. She has also written a fantasy romance and this Victorian historical romance. She has also published nearly a dozen short stories in the SFF/Romance genre, receiving Honorable Mention twice in the “Writers of the Future” contest. She has traveled a great deal and has lived in Guam, Okinawa, and several states in the U.S. She is a business owner and currently lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons. For more information, please visit http://www.kathrynekennedy.com/

Giveaway Details: Open to USA & Canada (no PO Boxes) Ends Friday PM, November 27, 2009

1. Follow this blog publicly via google friend connect.
2. Comment with your E-mail Address.
3. 1 extra entry each for a Twitter, Blog Post or Sidebar Graphic Link, or Facebook Share, please provide links.
4. For an extra bonus +2 entries, read and comment on my review post at this link, come back here & comment that you did so.

Thanks for entering, and I wish you luck!

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Filed under Author Post, FREE, Kathryne Kennedy, Romance

>Book Review: My Unfair Lady by Kathryne Kennedy

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My Unfair Lady by Kathryne Kennedy
Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (December 1, 2009)
Historical Romance
ISBN-10: 1402229909
Review copy from the publisher
The Burton Review Rating:3 stars

Synopsis:
A wild west heiress, Summer Wine Lee knows that she’s not an acceptable bride for her fiance’s knickerbocker family. She grew up in an Arizona mining town, cares more for critters than people, carries a knife under her skirts, and, worst of all, she has a highly improper secret from her past. But she also has high hopes that a real English Duke can teach her how to be a lady…
Were it not for his father’s gambling debts, the Duke of Monchester would never have stooped to civilize Summer. But the more time he spends with her, and the more social scrapes he has to rescue her from, the more he finds it impossible to change her into a proper lady. How could he, when he’s falling in love with her just the way she is?”

Remember that story “My Fair Lady” with Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins? This is the same concept with a blend of both America and England and a larger dash of a southern accent.This novel features Summer Wine Lee… a name that makes you blink.. as it did to the snooty English people she met. Immediately we are transported with her to England to fetch herself some manners, as I had no idea that Americans just didn’t have any in those days. Summer’s rich father was too busy to teach her any apparently, so she goes gallivanting to England to become the Duke of Monchester’s protege of sorts. The book’s cover features the mini blurb: “Who says a proper lady can’t carry a knife?” and it is with this southern attitude that Summer Lee intrigued me as a reader. The Duke is utterly disgusted and yet thrilled by her odd ways, and I was laughing to myself during certain outrageous scenes that were chock full of mirth, knives, chihuahuas, monkeys, and fox pups. Yes, you’ll find the word ‘critters’ more often then you would prefer to, but it added to the charm of Summer and her odd female companion as well.

Summer had her heart set on some old coot in New York, who in reality could care less if she returned to the States or not, and that was the frustration factor for me as a reader. Wake up, Summer! If that snobby Monte doesn’t want you, throw him to the curb! Yet throughout the novel she continues to hold him up on a pedestal and repeats to herself “Monte Monte Monte” so that she remembers the purpose of her travels in England. She is deeply attracted to her instructor, the Duke, but refuses to admit to herself that he could possibly feel the same way. She is not the smartest apple in the basket, but still manages to figure out that there are murderers in their midst before the Duke admits to it himself. There was a small dose of a mystery with the attempts on their life that the two frequently encountered, but the author did not overly dramatize that fact which made the read a bit more satisfying. Instead it just felt like another day in Summer’s world and I enjoyed learning more and more about her as the story progressed. Byron, aka the Duke, was also a pleasurable character and I knew from the start that he would fall in love with her just for the fact that she wasn’t after him. Apparently the Duke was the toast of the town and was tired of being a sought after Duke. But he was a sensitive guy underneath it all, and somewhat close to perfect except for being a bit shorter than one would expect a handsome guy to be.

This is another romance issue from Sourcebooks Casablanca that I enjoyed although perhaps a bit predictable as romances normally are. It was a quick read that didn’t have many sluggish moments and although you knew eventually the two main protagonists would come around and see the light (i.e. fall in love and live happily ever after) I had a lot of fun watching the charades. At 384 pages, I felt it was just the right length so that it wasn’t drawn out and it wasn’t just another stunted effort. I enjoyed the many events that occured along the way, and there were many.. I don’t want to add spoilers but I must say there was more sexual content than was expected, so I feel I must warn you this should have a NC-17 rating. Although I am not used to that much ‘imagination’, I still enjoyed this one and you need to come back later this week (11/18/2009) to the blog to read the author Kathryne Kennedy’s guest post titled “Why I write historical romance…or, why I love it!” and be entered for a giveaway of this new book.

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=theburrev-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&m=amazon&f=ifr&md=10FE9736YVPPT7A0FBG2&asins=1402229909

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Filed under Author Post, Kathryne Kennedy, Review, Romance

>Teaser Tuesday~ My Unfair Lady by Kathryne Kennedy

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TEASER TUESDAYS is hosted by ShouldBeReading and asks you to:
♠Grab your current read.
♠Let the book fall open to a random page.
♠Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page.
♠You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers!

My Unfair Lady by Kathryne Kennedy:

“He stalked Summer, grabbed her arm, and spun her around. Her golden eyes were glassy with horror, and instead of scolding her to let the men do the grisly job, as he’d thought to, he gathered her into his arms and let her soak the front of his shirt.”
~page 174

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=theburrev-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&m=amazon&f=ifr&md=10FE9736YVPPT7A0FBG2&asins=1402229909
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Filed under Kathryne Kennedy, Romance, Teaser Tuesdays

>Book Review: The Wildest Heart by Rosemary Rogers

>The Wildest Heart
The Wildest Heart by Rosemary Rogers
Original Publication 1974
Historical Romance
Sourcebooks Reissued October 2009 , $7.99
Review Copy from Sourcebooks
New York Times bestseller with over 3 million sold – the #1 bestselling book from mega-bestselling author.
The Burton Review Rating:3.5 Stars

Synopsis:

Heroine Rowena Dangerfield is sensual, headstrong, and scandalously independent, the granddaughter of the governor of an Indian province under the British empire. After his death, she travels to England and then to New Mexico, where she arrives in grand style to lay claim to her inheritance.
There she discovers an affinity with the wild and untamed frontier and meets Lucas Cord, a devastatingly handsome half-Apache renegade, whose reputation as a feared outlaw both attracts and repels her. When he encounters the beautiful stranger, unlike any woman he’s ever met before, he knows instantly that he’ll have to win her for his own, and not even the treachery of desperate enemies is going to stop him
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This book is an epic style saga that sweeps you into the plights of Rowena Dangerfield and her many suitors. Rowena was born to wealth, yet had a miserable childhood, and life doesn’t get much easier for her. We follow Rowena from India, to England and across the pond to accept the challenge an absent father bequeathed her in New Mexico. She is kidnapped, raped, kept hostage, and still manages to keep her wits about her. Or she attempts to show that she is unbreakable, but as a reader we wonder just how much more she can take.

There are so many backstories here behind her upbringing, her family, her stepfather, and all the way to the mysteries of the people her deceased father dealt with. To go into all of the events would spoil your delightful surprise of this book, but rest assured you will not be bored. As Rowena tries to sort out her father’s wishes for her, the reader is swept up in the wild west drama of New Mexico with Apache indians and renegade cowboys. And then there are always the men in Rowena’s life, as there are several, and although we shake our heads at Rowena’s ill-fated decisions we still crave more of the story. At 748 pages, you need to be prepared to engross yourself in this story, but it is definitely a fast moving plot with many events going on. Some may seem contrived and forced into the plot, but the overall drama of Rowena’s many struggles holds our attention.

She agrees to marry a man who holds the other half of the profitable ranch that her father bequeathed her, but this is swiftly averted when Rowena is kidnapped by Indians and she agrees to marry one of the same Indian brothers that is hated by her previous fiancee. This marriage is also averted because she falls in love with Lucas, the outlaw Indian brother that she had once hated on sight when she had found him lurking in her bedroom. Confused yet? Oh yes it is tricky keeping up with all the names and some of the twisted relationships we encounter, but this is truly the epitome of a Wild West Romance Saga and there must be plenty of romantic opportunities and many characters to develop some interesting storylines around. That is achieved here, as I found myself wishing Rowena would listen to logic and fall for the good guy for once. Rowena is not exactly a character you would feel empathy for, she seems to never know when to control her troublesome mouth, and even as she narrates in first person you get a little tired of her uppity attitude despite all the hardships she has endured.

I enjoyed the characters as they each held their own for their specific purpose in the book. The good guys turned bad, the bad guys were really good (in some ways)…The good guys against the bad guys, the have’s against the have-not’s. Rowena herself does some eye-rolling things which would really make me stop being her friend if I were one in the first place, but the overall story was a lot of western action fun. I didn’t like the way that from whatever clothes she decided to wear she was magically transformed. Dowdy clothes, everyone else saw dowdy and a frumpy muffin and sent her distasteful glances. Put her in a dress and the entire town knows who she is, a rich heiress. The heavy amount of foreshadowing gets aggravating after the fourth or fifth time. You understand there is a twist coming, and coming, and coming.. still working on it.. Aside from the cumbersome first person narrative and the fact it was subtly written in a memoir fashion, I couldn’t help imagining this as a good mini-series on the Lifetime network. (Catherine Zeta Jones would work well if any film makers are listening.)

With the multitude of events going on here (which there is no way I could attempt to elaborate on without this post being unending), I understand why this novel was 748 pages. But even as I wished it wasn’t 748 pages, I can’t think of a part to take out. So if you are ready to sit and read for a spell and get yourself caught up in a historical romance with all the tributes of a western, this is a great choice for you. The story stayed with me when I was not reading it, and the last half of the brick of a book seemed to move faster than the first half. If there was a sequel I would be interested in continuing the saga. As it is, I’ll still be on the lookout for some of her other titles. Be prepared to be consumed by some gun-slinging, hijacking fun with some captivating fire and rain romance thrown in! (You’ll see!!)

There are some wonderful ratings for this one on Amazon!
http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=theburrev-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&m=amazon&f=ifr&md=10FE9736YVPPT7A0FBG2&asins=1402222742Purchasing through this link adds 4% revenue to The Burton Review! Go ahead and do it, it was an entertaining book to keep you busy for more than a weekend!

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Filed under Review, Romance, Rosemary Rogers

>Teaser Tuesday ~ The Wildest Heart by Rosemary Rogers

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TEASER TUESDAYS is hosted by ShouldBeReading and asks you to:
♠Grab your current read.
♠Let the book fall open to a random page.
♠Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page.
♠You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers!

Yes this posted early and I tried to delete it, and reschedule it but it looks like Blogger is having issues again. SIGH.
OK I know you are like what is this thing you are reading Marie (a historical romance).. Guess what? 44 pages in I know I am going to like it. There’s a reason it was on the bestseller list in the 70’s and just in case several generations of wild hearts missed out, Sourcebooks is reissuing this 748 page chunky book for all to enjoy. At $7.99 you can’t go wrong.

The Wildest Heart by Rosemary Rogers

Brief Synopsis: “Heroine Rowena Dangerfield is sensual, headstrong, and scandalously independent, the granddaughter of the governor of an Indian province under the British empire. After his death, she travels to England and then to New Mexico, where she arrives in grand style to lay claim to her inheritance.”

The OLD version:

The new version:

So on page 44, right where my bookmark is that made me chuckle at lunch time:

“I found myself wondering where the servants were- hiding in door ways and broom closets no doubt, the better to enjoy such a juicy little scene! I wanted to flee from that ugly, sneering voice, but I would not let myself; I was a Dangerfield, and the likes of Tom Wilkinson with his loud, vulgar voice, were beneath my attention.”

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Filed under Meme, Romance, Rosemary Rogers, Teaser Tuesdays

>Book Review: "The Treasures of Venice" by Loucinda McGary

>The Treasures of Venice” by Loucinda McGary
Review Copy provided by Sourcebooks
Paperback 352 pages, 9781402226700
The Burton Review Rating:

“When American librarian Samantha Lewis and Irish rogue Keirnan Fitzgerald set off to find priceless jewels, they become embroiled in a 500-year-old love story that eerily prefigures their own… In 15th century Venice, beautiful and wealthy Serafina falls in love with Nino, a young Florentine sculptor. They decide to flee to Padua, and to fund the trip, Nino copies a set of jewels that then disappear. In modern-day Venice, Keirnan needs Samantha’s help to locate the jewels so he can pay his sister’s ransom. Samantha must decide whether the man she’s so drawn to is her soul mate from a previous life…or are they merely pawns in a relentless quest for a priceless treasure?”

I loved this novel by Loucinda McGary for its mixture of suspense, romance and historical fiction. There are two main stories happening throughout the novel as it switches back and forth between the 1485 characters and the present day characters both dealing with sinister forces amidst an all encompassing love. The novel opens up to the recently jilted Samantha Lewis trying to enjoy a much needed vacation in Venice, Italy when a gorgeous guy immediately involves her in a desperate chase against time and kidnappers. Their story is fun and well played as they learn about each other and the mystery of the Jewels of the Madonna, and we are transported back in time to 1485 and another clandestine love affair between Serafina Lombardo and a painter, Nino.

Serafina is supposed to marry her dead sister’s husband to fulfill the need for an heir, but Serafina is violently opposed to this fate as she is suddenly magnetically attracted to Nino, and they formulate a diabolical plan to help her escape the same predetermined destiny that took her sister. Fast forward to present day, Sam and her new friend, Kiernan, also share a magnetic attraction that could get them both killed as they try to unravel the mysterious past of Serafina and the mysterious legacy she left behind. There are killers on the loose, the pesky Interpol and other obstacles that still cannot hamper the love instantly shared between Sam and Kiernan. Their attractions are mirrored with Serafina’s and Nino’s, so there is more than a hint of reincarnation in the story. Even though the story jettisons back and forth frequently between the two time periods, it did not disturb the rhythm since all of the characters were intriguing.

Sam occasionally has flashes of visions which also leads one to rely on the reincarnate factor, and there are other similarities between the two sets of star-crossed lovers. Serafina and Samantha also seem to mirror the same hair coloring and complexion so much so that one of the bad guys even mistakes Sam for Serafina. Kiernan is one of those guys that seems perfect, totally loyal to his kidnapped sister and ever the sensitive one when it comes to Sam. As the mystery comes to a close, the romance question remains if Sam and Kiernan can function together outside of the intrigue and mayhem that first threw them together. This was an enjoyable well rounded and fast-paced story that had me eagerly turning the pages to see what would happen next, but I would have enjoyed it even more if the historical story was more developed. As a whole, the novel had a great plot and breezed through quickly most of the adventures so that there was not any room for slow points.

I enjoyed the mystery, the suspense, and the intrigue of this imaginative story line. Coupled with the strong romances and the hunt for the Jewels of the Madonna, this would also make an impressive film; a well-kept Matthew McConaughey would be an excellent actor as Kiernan, and Sandra Bullock would make an excellent Sam. The setting of Venice with its gondolas, old churches, cemeteries and palazzos are a magnificent setting for the story and you wouldn’t go wrong choosing this read to spend your weekend on.

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Filed under Loucinda McGary, New Release, Romance

>Author Post: Kendra Leigh Castle, author of Highland Magic Series

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I recently posted my review of Kendra Leigh Castle’s newest release, “Wild Highland Magic”, please go back here to read that if you missed it, then come back and visit with Kendra. She’s has a question for you guys so be sure to read to the end. And if you pay attention you will spot a giveaway from me to you.

I enjoyed the book so much I wanted to have a chance for you and I to learn more about the author. Thanks to Danielle at Sourcebooks we have this awesome Guest Post from Kendra herself:

A Chat With Author Kendra Leigh Castleby Kendra Leigh Castle:
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by things that go bump in the night. And by “fascinated by,” I mean, “in at least semi-lust with.” Vampires, werewolves, tortured spirits, and even the occasional wizard behaving VERY badly, make my heart go pitty-pat like nothing else. My barbies? Had shoebox coffins. Yeah, it goes that far back. Ken might have worn a shiny gold rocker suit (hey, it was the 80s), but to me, he always had a vampire’s heart. I mourned Keifer Sutherland when he got staked at the end of Lost Boys. I probably watched Monster Squad two hundred times just to stare at the yummy Count Dracula. And though I am technically a grown-up, I have a Slytherin tee-shirt. Um, and a scarf. Because Severus Snape, in all his nasty, tormented glory, is soooo my man.

In my not so humble opinion, a lot of the bad boys from monster cinema could have been redeemed if they’d just had the love of a good woman to set them straight. And fortunately, there’s a job that allows me to help them get the happily-ever-afters they deserve. It’s called “paranormal romance writer.” And oh, how I do love my job:-)

My new release, “Wild Highland Magic“, is the final book in my trilogy about a pack of Highland werewolves and their otherworldly counterparts, the Drakkyn. The series has been a dream for someone with my supernatural predilections: werewolves, dragon-shifters, and a tribe of blood-drinking demi-goddesses all appear in my pages, and I’ve loved every minute of it. Now, to finish off the trilogy, I’ve put together the only male ever born to that tribe of demi-goddesses with a beautiful werewolf who’s only just discovering her heritage.

Here’s the blurb:
Bastian an Morgaine has always been a man apart. The only male ever born into the Dyadd Morgaine, Tribe of the Goddess, his unusual powers and silent strength have kept him a mystery even to those closest to him. But Bastian hides a terrible secret, one that drives him to isolate himself on the remote Highland estate of the MacInnes Wolves: he carries a terrible curse, one he knows he must either find a way to remove, or make sure that it dies with him alone.
Catriona MacInnes, the daughter of the powerful Pack Alpha’s long-estranged brother, has only just begun to discover her family’s rich legacy. Worried about her father’s increasingly strange behavior, Cat hopes that Scotland might somehow hold the answers to all of her family’s problems. But upon Cat’s arrival, it’s the reclusive stranger with the face of a fallen angel who consumes her thoughts and fires her blood. Cat soon begins to suspect that her father isn’t the only one with secrets. If only her every instinct wasn’t telling her that Bastian must be hers alone, no matter the cost…
In the western Highlands, as the Wolves gather, an ancient evil watches, waiting to reach from the shadows and fulfill its dark destiny. A daemon’s curse has terrible power. But the love of a Wolf might just be stronger…and as Bastian and Cat are about to discover, the Highland moon has a magic all its own.


I’ve always loved a good Beauty and the Beast story, and in this case, both my hero and heroine are a bit of both. I hope, if you enjoy lots of sizzling attraction, plenty of wicked humor, and a little something different in your romances, that you’ll check out Wild Highland Magic!

Thanks so much for having me here today, and to everyone for stopping by. I’ll be around all day to chat.

And now, my question to all of you is: who or what is your favorite creature of the night?

Kendra Leigh Castle is the author of the MacInnes Werewolves trilogy, as well as the upcoming series The Fallen, coming from Harlequin Nocturne. She lives in Maryland with her husband, three kids, and menagerie of pets, and loves to be visited online at http://www.kendraleighcastle.com/

We are giving away TWO books.. one new ARC from me, and one from the Sourcebooks Casablanca. Giveaway ends May 30th. To enter in the drawing for your copy of “Wild Highland Magic” you need to do ALL of the following:

1. Follow Me/Subscribe to my blog

2. Comment with your answer to Kendra’s question.

3. Leave me your email address in a spam-blocking format.

4. Let me know which book you would prefer, the ARC or the New Release Version.

5. Have fun, be creative, and be open-minded about the Paranormal!

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Filed under Author Post, FREE, Kendra Castle, New Release, Paranormal, Review, Romance

>Review: "Wild Highland Magic" by Kendra Leigh Castle

>Wild Highland Magic” by Kendra Leigh Castle

Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (May 1, 2009)
ISBN-10: 1402218567
The Burton Review Rating = 3.75

“Wild Highland Magic” is actually the third book by Kendra Leigh Castle along these same lines of sexy shifters of werewolves and sorceresses. I see your raised eyebrows. Keep reading. I myself do not typically (have not ever) read paranormal romances. But I have broadened my horizons and I am glad I did. Featuring your predictable love story it is told with a unique setting and circumstances, obviously unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Instead of getting turned off by the fantasy worlds I was quite absorbed. First off let me explain that there is no gore, bloody stuff which some may think of when they hear of ‘paranormal’. There is nothing here to be afraid of.

This novel is focused on the romance that immediately occurs between Catriona, a woman who has the ability to shape into a werewolf, and Bastian, who is a sexy mysterious powerful mix of man and magician. He can jump worlds. (I just wanted to see myself write that phrase with all seriousness.) Oh and he can make water move. But Sexy Bastian is lugging around the Family Curse, aka a vicious shadow who swears to eat him up and whoever loves him as it has done to generations before him. Catriona’s family of werewolves get involved in trying to save Bastian and Catriona from dragons and evil shadows with a fight to the death. Their attraction is extreme and that’s where some of the ‘bodice-ripper’ stereotypical scenes come in, and it gets hot and heavy a few times. Mini sub-plots occur with Cat’s family members with love affairs and secrets, and the actual magic itself which were all entertaining. The main characters are appealing and the dialogue is modern and witty. I enjoyed the paranormal factors more then I expected I would, some of the magic described was wonderful to imagine. One drawback is the non-development of the character of Cat’s father. I kept expecting more to be said about him with insight into his secrets and personal life. And although this is set in Scotland, there isn’t a lot of “Scottish” characterizations except for kilts at a gathering… and then the other settings are indeed out of this world.

After getting halfway through the book is when I realized that were two books before that focused on some of the same characters, but knowing that did not detract from the current plot. I will just have to go hunting for those other two. On Kendra’s site there is a summary of the books and how they relate to one another. This is a great summer read, this came out May 1 in paperback for a great price, so you really can’t go wrong. I know some readers will balk at the phrase paranormal romance, as I have done myself, but I recommend this one for anyone who wants to let go of the typical romance and go for a ride on the other side where demons and love at first sight mixes into an uncommonly great story. I definitely believe that Paranormal Romance Readers will love it. Overall a good ride, and I enjoyed it.

Kendra Castle’s books: ‘Call of The Highland Moon’ released 5/2008, and ‘Dark Highland Fire’ released 10/2008, and the new one releases May 1st available here on Amazon.

Please stay tuned for Kendra’s Guest Post that she has graciously agreed to adorn my blog with, which occurs May 12th. I will then be hosting a giveaway for an unread copy of the ARC and a new copy of this release from the publisher! But you have to participate during the May 12th event 🙂

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Filed under Author Post, Kendra Castle, New Release, Paranormal, Review, Romance

>Review: "What Would Jane Austen Do?" by Laurie Brown

>What Would Jane Austen Do?” by Laurie Brown
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (May 1, 2009)
ISBN-10: 1402218311
Price: $6.99
The Burton Review Rating: 3 stars

Welcome to Regency England, Eleanor.. our heroine is having a bad day (despite the 12-pack on the cover) when she meets up with some ghosts during her stay at a hotel for a Jane Austen Conference. Sure, as a costume designer she wanted to learn all about the costumes and nuances of Jane Austen’s England but she had no idea that she was going to wake up in 1814 and be left to fend for herself while on a mission sent from two (ghosts!) sisters who need her help. Eleanor tries not to stick out like a sore thumb as she is socializing with Dierdre and Mina whom she had first met as ghosts. Their brother Teddy had died, and it is Eleanor who is sent to prevent his duel with Lord Shermont, who is an agent for the crown investigating Napoleon’s spies. Somehow in the middle of the romance and trying to conform to the mannerisms Eleanor needs to change history so that she can return to the present.

As luck would have it, Eleanor learns that she is being courted by Teddy, yet she immediately senses a strong attraction to the mysterious Lord Shermont, as of course all the ladies have.
Eleanor seems to enjoy herself in this fluffy romance and gets to meet Jane Austen and socializes with ladies and gents of the Regency Era.

I enjoyed discovering Regency England through Eleanor’s eyes; it was written with a Regency flair with not a lot of major events until the novel picked up the pace towards the end with an unexpected twist which was fortuitous. There was a nice wrap-up at the ending, although a bit contrived and roses and rainbows.. but I was glad that we learn the outcomes of the supporting characters. If you are looking for something new specifically on Jane Austen, this is not it although she is referred to numerous times. The Napoleon intrigue was not very developed, if it had been, it may have been a little less confusing and made me more interested in that historical aspect. The book gives the impression of having glazed over its topics for the sake of expediency. This is specifically about what Eleanor does during her time travel experience and how the ghost sisters wind up. The character of Eleanor is not very dimensional as she was strictly focused on her mission. So if you are ready for more of a no-brainer chick-lit romantic beach read without any major expectations, this is it for you. The author did her research as far as inventions and the types of things that Eleanor missed, such as medicine, bathing and the bathroom necessities of our day. The time travel aspect is a fun idea, and the costumes, dances and supporting characters helped round this book out. Perfect for a summer weekend read while watching the kids play!

The author, Laurie Brown, was once asked “If time travel were possible, would you go and whom would you want to meet?” and voila… we have this book, which is not her first time travel book. Mrs. Brown has cleverly blended time travel and historical romance in her second novel. This is full of romance, a hunky guy, and even some Jane Austen to boot, which I think Regency romance fans would enjoy.

For those of you who are interested more in Jane Austen, please see this Blog which has a lot of great posts about Jane Austen: Jane Austen’s World

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Filed under New Release, Regency, Review, Romance