Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Inspired by Grace Winner!!!

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Congratulations, Deborah C., on winning a copy of
Inspired by Grace!!!
Happy reading!
You will be receiving an email from me shortly to acquire your mailing address.
Thanks to everyone who participated and to
Jeanna Ellsworth, for hosting this giveaway!
 
Sincerely,

Monday, July 20, 2015

Five Days in Skye



Five Days in Skye by Carla Laureano
Reviewed by Alice, at Reading with Alice
Radiant Lit Blog Tours
Genre: Romance
Publisher: David C. Cook
Date: June 10, 2013

Hospitality consultant Andrea Sullivan has one last chance to snag a high-profile client or she'll have to kiss her dreams of promotion good-bye. When she's sent to meet Scottish celebrity chef James MacDonald on the Isle of Skye, she just wants to finish her work as efficiently as possible. Yet her client is not the opportunistic womanizer he portrays himself to be, and her attraction to him soon dredges up memories she'd rather leave buried. For James, renovating the family hotel is a fulfillment of his late father's dreams. When his hired consultant turns out to be beautiful, intelligent, and completely unimpressed by his public persona, he makes it his mission to win her over. He just never expects to fall under her spell.

Soon, both Andrea and James must face the reality that God may have a far different purpose for their lives—and that five days in Skye will forever change their outlook on life and love.

Delightfully captivating and utterly Scottish - Five Days in Skye is a heartwarming inspirational romance. A story of love, forgiveness, and growth. Unforgettable characters and a breathtaking backdrop will leave readers clamoring for books 2 and 3 of the MacDonald trilogy.
Laureano truly has an incredible way with words - my favorite aspect of this novel was (surprisingly) the narration. You feel what the characters feel, you hear what they hear, and -best of all- take a trip to Scotland and experience the sights, sounds and even the weather of the gorgeous Isle of Skye. I was much impressed. (And when you read about the hot chocolate, I dare you not to make some of your own.)
I did feel the story could have done with a few less kisses and not quite so much pondering about each other - but this is a romance so I can't complain or make a fuss over my preferences when it's not my normal genre. Just be aware that there are some mature themes (I would not recommend for younger readers).
Be further warned - this book will make you hungry. :)
 
Carla Laureano is the author of the RITA® award-winning romance Five Days in Skye as well as London Tides and the Celtic fantasy series The Song of Seare (as C. E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons.
Five Days in Skye is available for purchase through Amazon.com.

Note: I received this book as part of the Five Days in Skye  blog tour from Radiant Lit.  I received no compensation for this review and only received a copy of the book for review purposes.
 Review copy provided by the publisher.

Happy reading!





Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Inspired by Grace

Inspired by Grace
“She was never the demure lady who was afraid of getting her petticoat dirty. He was never the calm and collected lad who coddled her..."
 
This inspirational regency romance will make you laugh and cry throughout! Swiftly paced from start to finish, the story is well thought out and intriguing, while remaining sweet and lighthearted in traditional regency style.
Inspired by Grace possesses a charming cast of characters that Jeanna writes in such a way that you feel as if you've known forever. Both hero and heroine were remarkable! and remarkably human; which I always appreciate in a novel. It is so much harder to enjoy a book with surface and/or perfect characters that no one can relate to.
Ms. Ellsworth's style is so comfortable and she has such a way with the regency era that I sometimes wonder if time travel is real and we have an 1800's authoress  in our midst. (Perhaps a good friend of Jane Austen, herself.)
I loved that (even though this is not a Jane Austen fan fiction novel as some of the authors other stories are) one of Austen's stories was still incorporated into Inspired by Grace. It added a certain charm and air to the story that I can't quite explain. Read and see for yourself!
I always look forward to your new releases, my friend. (Even if they do cause me to lose sleep and to sometimes detach from reality. ^_^)
 
Sincerely,
 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Inspired by Grace (Blog tour: Jeanna Ellsworth)

Visiting today I have my lovely and talented friend, Jeanna Ellsworth, to share some fun insight and intrigue into her latest-published novel, Inspired by Grace (which I am currently devouring and assure you you.do.not.want.to.miss.out.on!)
Welcome, Jeanna!!! :D
 
Thanks Alice for having me on your blog to share with everyone Inspired by Grace, published in May.  I have chosen to have a theme to the blog tour and so for those of you who do not know what my theme is, I’ll tell you. But first, here is the back cover intrigue:
 
 

“She was never the demure lady who was afraid of getting her petticoat dirty. He was never the calm and collected lad who coddled her. What had started as friendship had evolved into something quite tangible . . .”
A lady always hopes that the man she falls in love with will sweep her off her feet in a dramatic and graceful way. Well, for Grace Iverson, at least it was dramatic. Her childhood best friend, Gavin Kingston—now His Grace, the Duke of Huntsman—is still just as clumsy as ever.
Despite their painful separation as children, a chance encounter has offered them a second opportunity for happiness. But after ten years apart, they both carry hidden scars. Trust takes time. And soon, forces from the past threaten to destroy the love they both have hoped for all of their lives.
Can Grace’s best friend break down her emotional fortress and prove his love before she disappears from his life a second time?
This lovely Regency romance started well before either of them knew what they wished for in a partner; but it will surely be one that stands the test of time.
 
As you can see, the book is not based off of Jane Austen’s writing but it would be dishonest to say that Austen did not inspire my writing.  One of the best things that Jane Austen is known for is her characterization and lovable characters.  In the TV world, there is a term for this. It is called TV tropes.  TV tropes are only called TV tropes because that is where it started but it correlates to writing, movies, and any other form of media. I bet if I said Phoebe, you would all think of the character from Friends who was a dumb blonde who would now be termed a hipster and new age wanderer. You could think of several people in your life that were just like her. You could probably put her into a certain scene or event and predict exactly how she would behave.  Phoebe is a very classic TV trope called Adorkable because she is na├»ve and ditzy and friendly.  She is also a Cloudcuckoolander who has no basis for logic and is a dreamer. She fits several other tropes but you get the point.  She fits a mold, if you will, where it is easy to imagine what she will say in a certain situation and you learn to love her quickly and bond with her because you associate her with these characteristics.

Well I am here to introduce you to a character in Inspired by Grace that fits the TV trope called “The Agent” which is basically a meddling parent. Meet Duchess Kingston, Gavin Kingston’s mother, who wants nothing more than to see her son get married.  She has opinions like Lady Catherine and never holds them back, but she is kinder when she delivers them. She will do anything to lovingly manipulate her son toward the course of marriage.  

So here is an excerpt for you where Duchess Kinston is at her finest. In this scene, she offers to sponsor Grace in the season and that included, of course, the chance to live under the same roof as her bachelor son, Gavin. It is broken up in two sections, the first is from Grace’s perspective and then it switches to Gavin’s. Here is the excerpt:


“And how is your family?” the duchess inquired. “Your mother and sisters?”
“I am sorry to say, Your Grace, that my mother passed away three years ago, just as I came of age.”
“Oh dear! I am so sorry. How terrible for you to be left to London society without a sponsor! Is that why your last name is still Iverson? Have you not found a match yet?”
The audacity of this woman! She had always been a little bold, but this was unbelievable. Although the duchess’s guess had been correct. Grace had left the season early when her mother passed and had been living very quietly with her sister and her sister’s husband in East Sussex for the last three years. She fumbled in her attempt to answer the duchess, “Your Grace . . . after my mother’s death, I . . .”
The older woman gently put her hand on hers. “I, too, have lost loved ones, my dear. My husband and Spencer have gone to the other side.” The pain in the woman’s eyes was fresh, unlike Grace’s own that was years old. The duchess was wearing all black, a detail that had escaped Grace’s notice until then. She chided herself for being so quick to judge. This woman had been like a second mother to her for years. She had known the Kingston family as well as her own back then.
“It is hard to lose those we love,” Grace said. “How long has it been?”
“Oh, let us not talk about that now. I remember one afternoon, years before your family left Suffolk, when your mother and I swore an oath. We said that if anything ever happened to one of us, then the survivor would step in and help the other’s children if they were ever in need. And from the quality of your muslin, dear, you are in need. I insist on sponsoring you this season! How splendid is that?”
Grace looked down uncomfortably and tried to think of an excuse, but she knew that if either of her sisters ever found out that she had refused such an offer from the duchess, she would never be forgiven. They had both found matches in their first season. Reluctantly she said, “I would like that very much. Although the duke may like it a bit less.”
“Oh, nonsense! When can you move in?”
A loud crash was heard outside the door, and a distinct male voice let out an oath that even Grace had never used. But then again, Grace enjoyed thinking up ridiculous words to shock people while maintaining her ladylike behavior. Standard, unimaginative curses weren’t really her style.


*****

Gavin placed a smile on his face, leaned his head into the parlor, and said, “The doctor is on his way. Mother, could I have a word?”
“Whatever happened? That was not my tea set, was it? Good gracious, Gavin! We just replaced it!”
“Mother, please, a word. You can chide me out here just as well as in there.”
“Very well.” His mother followed him out the door.
The servants had already started to clean up the spilled tea and broken china that lay scattered all over the foyer. Gavin guided his mother to a corner out of earshot. “My apologies, Mother. I took the tray from the servant and was just bringing in the tea when I thought I heard you invite Grace to stay here. Pray tell me you have not offered such a thing.”
“Whyever not?”
“Well . . . ,” he flustered, “as you are so fond of telling me, this is my home now. And I am a single gentleman.”
“Nonsense, I live here too. There is nothing improper about it. She will be my pupil, and I shall find her a husband by the time the season is up. Mark my word.”
Gavin felt his throat tighten ever so slightly with anxiety. “But,” he stammered, “we know so little about her. What if she has a past that would taint us by association?” He had his own reasons for hesitating, but he had no intention of discussing them with his mother.
“Really, Gavin, how much more can our names be tainted? There are already enough rumors floating around about Spencer and your father that we cannot go unnoticed.”
“Precisely. That is exactly why she cannot stay under my roof.”
His mother pressed her lips together and placed her hand on his face and said, “It is done. I cannot take back the invitation, nor will I.”
He groaned inwardly and prayed that at least Gigi had the sense to decline the offer.  


Hope you enjoyed learning about tropes and can imagine a mother just like Duchess  Kingston who has good intentions but will do anything to get her way. She has a big heart but, she can’t help but be “The Agent” in her son’s life.
 


I am giving away a copy of Inspired by Grace to a lucky commenter.  You can either choose an eBook (internationally) or a paperback (U.S. only) if you win.  Thanks again Alice for having me on your blog!

Thank you so much for stopping by today, Jeanna!