This December I’m running a Readathon for those who would like to start writing book reviews.
Today’s review comes from Daisy, she blogs at http://daisybanks.wordpress.com/
Daisy chose to write her review of Shadows Of The Past By Carmen Stefanescu
Can Anne save her relationship and help Genevieve her eternal rest?
The twists and turns in this paranormal tale keep the reader guessing up to the end and weave themselves together into a quest to rekindle love.
Welcome to Day 18 of #RomancingSeptember
Our guest today is Daisy Banks with her book Christmas Carols
Where is your home town?
My home town at present is Penkridge in Staffordshire, England. It is a very pretty place, but my heart belongs to Bridgnorth in Shropshire. I am also very proud of my Black Country roots. The Black Country is an area with a massive industrial heritage. The old streets are still paved with blue bricks in places and the people have the strength of metal so many of their families worked with in the past.
How long have you been writing romance?
I’ve been learning to write, writing and continuing to learn for about eight years.
What is your favourite sub-genre of romance?
Tough question as I enjoy several genres. If I was pushed to answer I’d say fantasy tips the scales as my favourite. Fantasy allows my mind freedom and although fantasy has its own demands it is less specific than historical stories. The historical genre demands a lot of research to make the stories feel and sound authentic. Historical stories always take me a lot longer because of the amount of background reading and checking I do. However, when I get a historical story finished I am always thrilled at the sense of achievement.
When and where is your book set?
Christmas Carols is set in the Black Country in Victorian England, 1861. I don’t actually name which Black Country town it is, as it could have been anyone of them in this era.
Introduce us to Alice.
Alice is a widow. Her husband, Cyril, died from wounds sustained in the Crimean conflict. She nursed him at home for two years and since his death three and a half years ago she has lived the very isolated life of a widow with little acquaintance in the town. Alice is in her mid twenties and fearful of any kind of gossip regarding her. Every aspect of her life is tinged with the threat of tittle-tattle. The vicar of her local church has encouraged her to take on the duties of flower arranging at the church as she is skilled at working with flowers.
Tell us about Stephen.
Stephen is the organist at Holy Trinity Church. He is blind and a gifted musician. His compositions and recitals are growing in popularity. He is of independent means with a house not far from the church. He has a man servant who cares for his clothes and other household duties, and he also has a dog that helps him when he is out and about. Stephen is a Cambridge graduate but prefers not to use the title.
How does society restrict Alice?
A woman in deep mourning was not expected to socialise, to go out and pay calls or receive them from visitors. Alice didn’t have that option as she has little local acquaintance. Her only visitor and one other than her doctor, who would be allowed, is the local vicar. Alice’s visits to the church are considered respectable but her attendance at a music recital there is rather suspect to the local butcher’s wife, even though she points out that she has been a widow for three and half years. Such an existence stifled Alice’s spirit and crushed her, which is hardly surprising. As she says herself, “It is not permissible for a widow to sing except in Sunday service.”
The social rules for widows in the Victorian era were very strict. Women of all social classes followed them without challenge because if they broke the rules society could ostracize them. The disgrace they might suffer could also impact on the rest of their wider family. This could mean they may not be served in shops or by local trades people. An example of one of the rules was that widows were expected to wear full mourning garments for two years after their husband’s death. Some widows like Alice continued to wear full mourning after the first two years were up, others might wear a grey bodice with their black skirt and jacket, this introduction of another muted colour was called half mourning. As no gold or silver jewellery could be worn when in mourning, some women wore black jewellery. When Queen Victoria wore jet mourning jewellery after Prince Albert’s death its popularity soared. The mourning pieces were made of Whitby jet, a black stone that could be carved and decorated.
Stephen’s dog has an unusual name, what is it and why?
Stephen calls his dog blue. An unusual choice for a blind man to make, but Stephen see’s the world through texture and touch. To him blue means cool and smooth. Blue is a smooth haired Labrador and as his coat feels so fine Stephen chose the word blue for the dog’s name.
Tell us what you are working on at the moment.
I have two short stories to complete for the end of September for the Sexy to Go compilations and the Halloween special set. I am also working on a Regency romance which is a lot of fun. I am fleshing out the final book in the To Eternity series, Out of Time, which I hope to have finished by early next year.
Where can readers find out more about you?
All my links are below
Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/1NWh8gi
Find out more from Daisy in just a few hours from Stephanie’s post http://stephanie-hurt.com/
Day 14 of the April A to Z Challenge and my theme is characters from books I’ve read, plus some audience participation.
Letter N is for Nin from Marked for Magic by Daisy Banks
Marked for Magic is an adult fantasy. It does contain sensual sexual encounters. Nin has been thrown out of her village because she has the mark of a witch. The villagers have sent her to a Mage called Thabit to be trained as his apprentice. At first he doesn’t want an apprentice, but he is soon attracted to her and finds she does have magical skills. He would rather her be trained at the castle of Lord Farel by the Lord’s sister Cassandra.
A book title and cover picture can often make or break a book sale. Is a book cover eye-catching? Does the book title appeal to the reader?
Have fun creating book titles from my own pictures, you might even think about a genre they could fit.
Here are some randomly chosen links to other challenge bloggers for you to visit today.
During the tour we are asking readers to leave comments on blog posts, thank you.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
To Eternity is a sequel to Timeless. Like the first book it contains content which is highly sensual with intense sexual encounters. Sian Armstrong is finishing off footage for a video shoot using the stately home of Magnus Johansson near Darnwell, England. In the first book Magnus has met Sian in her dreams and tempted her with great sexual delights. Now she has discovered his true identity, he’s a werewolf and she has seen him transform with the full moon.
Eager for the filming to end so that they can get on with a life together, Sian wants Magnus to turn her into a werewolf too. She is keen for immortality and can’t get enough of Magnus and his love making. But Magnus has a rival for her affections. Franklyn Gorsewell, Sian’s boss fantasises about what he will do with Sian when he gets hold of her. He too finds her in her dreams, but his plans take a darker turn.
I’ve not read the first book in this series, so I didn’t pick up on Sian’s strong character. This book won’t be for everyone, I found the sexual content well written but it overpowered the storyline.
View all my reviews Goodreads
Welcome to my second Year of Good Deeds, a challenge I set myself during April 2013. I decided to do at least one Good Deed a day for a whole year, now I am into my second year.
January 11th – Finished reading a very good psychological thriller called Just Two Weeks by Amanda Sinton – Williams ready for a book tour slot with Brook Cottage Books later in February. Helped my Mum out with some forms on her computer.
January 12th – My morning at school, passed on some books for others to read and hand delivered some Thank-you notes.
January 13th – I’m reading I Listened To My Heart by Rosemary Gallagher and really enjoying it, from the cover I thought it was just another romance, but it is so much more. If you love Angels and are interested in fate, it’s a really good read. Picked up litter on my walk.
January 14th – It’s windy and there is plenty of litter to pick up on my daily walks.
January 15th – Today I’m reading a Melissa Foster romance, a book I won, Bursting With Love Another walk and more litter picking.
January 16th – Posted my review for To Eternity by Daisy Banks, a book I read a while ago ready for it’s recent launch, my post goes out on Monday for it. Changed my route for my daily walk and found plenty of litter to pick up. Today I’m reading Motherlove by Thorne Moore which is due out in February.
January 17th – Picked up more litter on my daily walk. I’m reading Mind Over Murder a Jake Roberts thriller by Cary Allen Stone
Welcome to my second Year of Good Deeds, a challenge I set myself during April 2013. I decided to do at least one Good Deed a day for a whole year, now I am into my second year.
December 21st – Visiting relatives today, took lots of goodies, Christmas presents and helped out with washing up etc.
December 22nd – Dropping off more Christmas gifts. Am reading Feeling Lucky by Kathy Bryson.
December 23rd – Read a very good YA fantasy novel today called Deceived by L.A Starkey
December 24th – Today I’ve read and reviewed 2 books for Hilary Hawkes, they are books for English Primary aged children about kindness and friendship. Stories for feelings for Children and The Friendship Adventure programme from Strawberry Jam Books.
December 25th – I’m cooking lunch for 8 today so that no-one gets left out. Reading Secrets of the Heart by Adrienne Vaughan, the 3rd book in the Heartfelt series set on an island off the west coast of Ireland.
December 26th – Trying to get as many books read from my list while it’s the holidays, plus aiming for my highest year on the Goodreads challenge. So today I’m reading Eyes Of The Enemy by Kelly Hess, a middle grade reading book.
December 27th – Read Unexpected Partners by Sterna Kruger today and wrote my review.
December 28th – January issues of Fleet Life and Elvetham Heath Directory are being delivered to approximately 8000 homes today which feature my book reviews. The on-line version will be available around January 1st. I’m reading Stable Mates by Zara Stonely
December 29th – Reading To Eternity by Daisy Banks, which is due for release mid January.
December 30th – Marked For Magic by Daisy Banks is my book today, this will be released in April.
December 31st – Read S.C.A.R.S by Julia Ibbotson today, a children’s adventure book. My final book for the year was To Fall In Love Again by David Burnett. Phew! Clocked up 181 books in this years challenge. Had a lovely surprise in the post a book from Melisa Foster which I’d won and some promotional material from Sophia Grey for more of her books.
January 1st – Online versions of Fleet Life and Elvetham Heath Directory are now out featuring my book reviews, I have drafted my post and will post as we return after the break. Off out for tea later and taking cakes. Helped move some cattle before out tea.
January 2nd – Today I shared an article from The Daily Telegraph about VAT increases on e-books amongst the writing community. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/businessclub/11320318/Controversial-VAT-change-means-e-books-are-about-to-get-more-expensive.html
January 3rd – Drafted and sent my February book reviews for the magazines I write for, ten more books and authors get some extra free publicity for their writing.
January 4th – Had a lovely shout-out for the blog today from Terry Tyler’s article at Uk Arts Directory http://ukartsdirectory.com/terry-tylers-literary-blog-34/. Decided to post my book reviews in Fleet Life and EHD January issue article today making use of Terry’s publicity of the blog and using the popular #SundayBlogShare to get the books and authors some extra publicity.
January 5th – Back to school this morning, with my voluntary work. A copy of Sea Witch by Helen Hollick arrived in the post today, my competition win.
January 6th – Got a lift into town this afternoon and enjoyed a brisk walk back through the park, picked up litter on my way.
January 7th – Feel the need to get outside for fresh air an exercise after the Christmas break so took my self off for a lunch-time walk, picked up litter. Received a copy of Alison Morton’s second book Perfiditas in the post after winning a copy. Really looking forward to it as I loved the first book in the Roma Nova series.
January 8th – Rained hard all morning, but when the sun came out at lunch, nipped out to make the most of it, picked up litter on my way.
January 9th – Really into this walking and getting fit lark. Needed to go to town for one or two things and a quick browse in my favourite bargain book store. Bought two books which begged to me at 20 pence each, strolled home picking up litter.
January 10th – Reading Just Two Weeks by Amanda Sington-Williams ready for a Brook Cottage Book promotion in February, it’s a psychological thriller set in Sri Lanka. My reading review list has toppled over the 20 book mark again.
Welcome to “Rosie’s Good read Collections”, I’ve put together the books I’ve read into subject headings that I think the books belong to, for you to browse.
As part of my year of Good Deeds Challenge I’m encouraging readers to take part during the season of Goodwill. Today I’d like you to bake a cake to share with others.
With a tight budget and two months, Eva Delacroix has to turn six dilapidated cottages on Lake Huron into a shabby chic tourist destination. Fulfilling her father’s renovation dreams and her own needs for family, Blue Heaven is Eva’s last resort. Daniel Bryman will do anything in his power to stop city girl Eva from destroying the integrity of the historic structures his ancestor built. But as they work together to rebuild the main cabin, Eva’s determination makes him question his own life choices.
Despite their opposing views, they do agree on what to do with the attraction between them. When everything they’ve built threatens to crash down around them, will love be enough to save Blue Heaven? Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, My Review: http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-2Zt
Strange things are happening in Port Grace, Florida. Doug Monroe and Rebecca Carlyle are young and in love. He met her when he saved her life, but now he may need to save her again. Someone, or something, wants her and there is no place to hide, and no safe haven from the memories of her troubled past.
Before the summer ends, the past and present will meet. Will Doug be able to save the woman he loves one last time? Or will an evil from long ago take her from him forever? Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, My Review: http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-2SQ
In the harsh Scottish highlands of 1565, superstition and treachery threaten a truce between rival clans. It’s a weak truce at first, bound only by an arranged engagement between Anne MacGregor and Niall Campbell-the heirs of the feuding families. While Niall wrestles with his suspicions about a traitor in his clan, Anne’s actions do not go unnoticed. And as accusations of witchcraft abound, the strong and sometimes callous Campbell heir must fight for Anne’s safety among disconcerted clan members. Meanwhile his own safety in threatened with the ever-present threat of someone who wants him dead. Will Niall discover the traitor’s identity in time? Can Anne find a way to fit into her new surroundings? Will the two learn to love each other despite the conflict? With a perfect mix of a burgeoning romance and thrilling suspense, this book is historical fiction at its best. Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, Free for Kindle at the time of publication. My Review: http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-jd
Reginald Aiken, Duke of Warwick is dead and his young widow is not grieving…until the will is read. Isobel Kennilworth Aiken, Duchess of Warwick spent 6 years of her young life in a loveless marriage. Now, at the age of 24, Isobel is a widow. As Isobel awaits the reading of her late husband’s last will and testament, she feels no grief, but in fact is quite hopeful. She is eager to start her life anew. But, as the droning of the solicitor’s voice washes over her detailing the bequests to various servants and family members, a shock awaits her. The “other woman” was not his mistress, but his lawfully wedded wife and together they had a son. Six year old Reggie was now the Duke of Warwick, displacing Reginald’s brother Charles. There is a collective gasp as the revelation is made that instantly displaces Isobel and Charles and dashes their hopes for the future. Isobel must indeed start anew, but not as a titled, influential and wealthy widow, but as plain Miss Kennilworth, tainted by scandal. Can she get past the disgrace and humiliation she has endured and fight her way back into society? Will she find love again with her childhood sweetheart, Andrew Stafford, former vicar, now Lord Saybrooke? Or perhaps she will rekindle the flame with Jeremy Ingles, Lord Westcott, who had caught her fancy at her come out six years earlier, but had not been ready to be leg shackled. But before Isobel can find true love, she must come to grips with her past mistakes and the people she has hurt along the way. She must discover who she is without the title of duchess to her name. Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, My Review: http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-2Nf
Scientist Maryse Robicheaux thought that a lot of her problems had gone away with her mother-in-law’s death. The woman was rude, pushy, manipulative and used her considerable wealth to run herd over the entire town of Mudbug, Louisiana. Unfortunately, death doesn’t slow down Helena one bit.
DEA Agent Luc LeJeune is wondering what his undercover assignment investigating the sexy scientist has gotten him into – especially as it seems someone wants her dead. Keeping his secrets while protecting Maryse proves to be easier than fighting his attraction for the brainy beauty. Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, My Review: http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-4Q
Love, betrayal, and hope for happiness may turn this marriage of convenience into something more. Daisy Banks weaves a wonderful tale of bargains made and promises broken in A Gentleman’s Folly. Katherine Bescell, courtesan and member of a secret order, thinks the offer of a marriage in name only to Charles Leverret, heir to a large fortune, will solve all her woes. Charles Leverret believes his hired wife will ensure his inheritance. He might even enjoy her company if she’ll let him anywhere near her. Charmed by his bride, Charles breaks their original bargain and falls in love. Betrayed by a trusted lawyer who withholds Katherine’s promised fee, Charles struggles against evil chance to persuade Katherine his love is real. Lust and love, truth and trust, each makes demands on them both, but though Charles has captured her heart, Katherine can’t bring herself to admit they belong together. Masked and robed in the rites in the West Wycombe Caves where only truth is told, Charles makes his stand to claim the woman he adores. Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, My review: http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-2LQ
To her surprise, Stacy Cauthen, an accountant from Atlanta wins a contest, she didn’t even enter, to spend a romantic weekend in the Colorado mountains with Slade Collins, the movie star. What happens when they get to the chalet is both funny and romantic. What will they do when a blizzard hits and the power goes out forcing them to sleep in front of the fire together? Will love find its way in or will they say goodbye on Monday? Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, My Review: http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-2QW Stephanie has written many books all with a romantic theme often with Cowboys thrown in.
Ellie has a traumatic and terrifying experience whilst living in England so moves to American t live with her Uncle and Cousin. Whilst working in a hotel Ellie meets Trey Thomas who is a hot movie star. Trey is attracted to Ellie and this is the story of Ellie’s insecurities and Trey’s emotional story of angst, romance, and mystery. The sequel Desire to Love out 1st June 2013.***Rated 18+ due to sexual content and explicit language used*** Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, My Review: http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-2hn
Newenham, Alaska, is a long way from the big-city comforts of Anchorage, where Sergeant Liam Campbell was an up-and-coming state trooper with everything going his way. But that was before his life unraveled. Transferred in disgrace to this rough-and-tumble fishing town on the shores of Bristol Bay, Liam knows Newenham is the end of the line. It’s also his last shot at getting his life back.. He’s about to come in for a very rough landing. Stepping onto the airstrip at Newenham, Liam walks into a crime scene: a body torn apart by the propeller of a Piper Super Cub. As if that isn’t enough of a welcome, the woman bending over the corpse is Wyanet Chouinard, the only woman Liam ever truly loved – and soon to be his prime suspect. Next, a man is held hostage in the town’s only decent burger joint–held for shooting out a jukebox that was playing Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville. And Liam still doesn’t have his uniform on. Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, Free at the time of publication. My Review: http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-4Y
Catherine enjoys her life as a successful single woman and, if her career sometimes fails to fulfil her, her social life more than makes up for it. Life for Catherine is about having fun and she is not looking for anything more meaningful or permanent than that. Everything changes, however, when she is forced to face the consequences of a decision she made eighteen years earlier. Events conspire to bring her first love, Bill Myers, back into her life and they struggle to establish a new adult relationship. As everything familiar seems to be imploding around her, it leads Catherine to question every aspect of her life. Can she find the courage to embrace a new life or is she doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past. Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, My Review: http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-2mJ
After several decades of looking for true love and never finding it, aging model and lingerie designer, Alexa Ranger, has finally given up the search. A couple years ago, she got tired of the game completely and just stopped dating. Now friends and family keep her mostly content, so it’s shocking at 50 yrs old to find herself suddenly wanting a sex life again. It’s even more shocking to be attracted to a much younger man this time. She definitely thinks Casey Carter is sexy, but not handling her own age well, Alexa just can’t get passed their twelve year age difference to even consider a fling. Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, My Review: http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-6s
Was it his gaze from across the blackjack table? The little nick on his chin that she wanted to kiss and make better? The way his bright blue eyes seemed to see to the heart of her? Whatever it was, Laura Todd was pulled in by Fox Thornton. A whirlwind Las Vegas romance followed, but things heat up again in Miami, in all the wrong ways. Embezzlement, ambition, and erotic romance aren’t the perfect match, but that’s all they have. Will it be enough? Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, My review: http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-3j0