Saturday, October 26, 2019

What I've Been Reading - October 2019


This month I was on holiday in Europe (which explains why I didn’t post in September—too busy doing a lot of work ahead of time). Once on vacation, I had much more time to read than usual, so I mined my Kindle for something new. There are always a number of books there that I haven’t read – some I’ve been waiting ages to read, others that sounded interesting or were a great deal. 

First up is a story by Julie Anne Long, who has a lovely, lyrical writing style that I can't help but admire.

I read all her Pennyroyal Green books, so when my Kindle-mining produced Lady Derring Takes a Lover, I dove right in. The first in her new series, The Palace of Rogues, it's a delightful tale of a near-destitute widow determined to make a life for herself, and a war hero of dubious beginnings who more than anything needs a home and family. There's plenty of action and suspense while these two gradually and inevitably come together. 

Ms. Long also sets up the sequel featuring one of the secondary characters – Angel in a Devil’s Arms, which releases in just a few days. Can’t wait!




Next up is Her Caprice by Keira Dominguez, a writer new to me. An intriguing beginning and excellent writing got me hooked, and then, to my surprise, there was a little bit of magic! 

I confess, I do love stories which have a small amount of magic in them -- one special ability, for example, and the impact it has on a character's life. Not that I dislike stories with lots of magic -- I like those, too -- but a little magic creates some distance from everyday life without feeling like pure fantasy.

Her Caprice features deep secrets, emotional trauma, a hopeless love, a truly vicious villain, and a hair-raising escape: all in all, it's a fabulous romance with that touch of magic to make it perfect.




Last of all is a story I’d been saving to read while on holiday: Murder in the Blood by Anne Cleeland. 

It’s the tenth police procedural mystery featuring Kathleen Doyle and her obsessive husband, Lord Acton. They are some of the most original and fascinating characters I’ve ever read about, and the series also has that touch of magic that I like so much -- in this case, Doyle’s unusual perceptive abilities. 

Murder in the Blood has plenty of twists and turns and complications, many relating to previous stories. I don’t usually care about reading series in order, but I think it’s wise in this case. 

Best of all was a bit of a shocker at the end which shouldn’t have been such a surprise, but it surely was. Well done once again, Ms. Cleeland. :)

Proof that I was in Europe: This is me in front of the Pantheon in Rome. :)




Saturday, August 17, 2019

What I've Been Reading - August 2019


Claws of the Cat is the first in the Shinobi Mysteries by Susan Spann.

The two main characters are Hiro, a shinobi (ninja) and Father Mateo, a Portuguese Jesuit priest. The mystery is excellent, with plenty of suspense and a lovely surprise ending. I guessed it -- and liked my guess so much that I didn't care whether I was right, because it would have made a good alternate solution. But as it happened, my guess was correct.

I loved reading about Japanese customs (particularly those relating to concepts of honor). The culture clashes between the shinobi and the priest were fun.

All in all, well worth the read. Fortunately, there are many more books in this series.


 

The Orphans of Raspay by Lois McMaster Bujold is the most recent novella in the series about Penric the sorcerer and his resident demon, Desdemona.

It’s exciting and suspenseful, and the characters are brilliant, but what I like best about this series, as well as the other series in this world (Curse of Chalion, etc.) is the novel concept of religion (five gods, one of whom is the Bastard!) and the snippets of wisdom Bujold treats us to.

Start with the first book and read them all (and everything else Bujold has written).







I don’t read a great deal of Regency romance, perhaps because I write it, but Louise Allen can always be counted on for a good story.

A Lady in Need of an Heir is particularly interesting because it deals with an injustice faced by women of the time. When a woman married, everything she owned automatically belonged to her husband. 

The heroine, Gabrielle Frost, owns a vineyard in Portugal dedicated to producing port. She cannot bear to put her beloved property into the hands of a man who might decide to sell it. Therefore, she doesn’t intend to marry—but she needs an heir.

How can she and the man she falls in love with, an English earl from Yorkshire, reach their HEA? It’s well worth reading this story to find out. :)


That's it for now!
Barbara


Tuesday, July 30, 2019

The Smuggler's Escape release tour with giveaway!


The
Smuggler's Escape

by
Barbara Monajem

Genre:
Historical Romance, Adventure 


After
escaping the guillotine, Noelle de Vallon takes refuge with her aunt
in England. Determined to make her own way, she joins the local
smugglers, but when their plans are uncovered, Richard, Lord Boltwood
steps out of the shadows to save her. Too bad he’s the last man on
earth she ever wanted to see again.


Years
ago, Richard Boltwood’s plan to marry Noelle was foiled when his
ruthless father shipped him to the Continent to work in espionage.
But with the old man at death’s door, Richard returns to England
with one final mission: to catch a spy. And Noelle is the prime
suspect.


Noelle
needs Richard’s help, but how can she ever trust the man who
abandoned her? And how can Richard catch the real culprit while
protecting the woman who stole his heart and won’t forgive him for
breaking hers?






Winner
of the Holt Medallion, Maggie, Daphne du Maurier, Reviewer’s Choice
and Epic awards, Barbara Monajem wrote her first story at eight years
old about apple tree gnomes. She published a middle-grade fantasy
when her children were young, then moved on to paranormal mysteries
and Regency romances with intrepid heroines and long-suffering heroes
(or vice versa). Regency mysteries are next on the agenda.


Barbara
loves to cook, especially soups. She used to have two items on her
bucket list: to make asparagus pudding (because it was too weird to
resist) and to succeed at knitting socks. She managed the first (it
was dreadful) but doubts she’ll ever accomplish the second. This is
not a bid for immortality but merely the dismal truth. She lives near
Atlanta,
Georgia
with an
ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.










Follow
the tour HERE
for exclusive content and a giveaway!

















Wednesday, July 24, 2019

The Smuggler's Escape -- Release Day!

Happy Book Birthday to Me! At last, about ten years after I wrote the first draft, The Smuggler's Escape is out! I'm so very happy that this story finally found its way. 


To escape the guillotine, Noelle de Vallon takes refuge with her aunt in England. Determined to make her own way, she joins the local smugglers, but when their plans are uncovered, Richard, Lord Boltwood steps out of the shadows to save her. Too bad he’s the last man on earth she ever wanted to see again.

Years ago, Richard Boltwood’s plan to marry Noelle was foiled when his ruthless father shipped him to the Continent to work in espionage. But with the old man at death’s door, Richard returns to England with one final mission: to catch a spy. And Noelle is the prime suspect.

Noelle needs Richard’s help, but how can she ever trust the man who abandoned her? And how can Richard catch the real culprit while protecting the woman who stole his heart and won’t forgive him for breaking hers?
 




Here are some tiny excerpts a talented young assistant made into ads for the book:








Happy reading!

Barbara