Excerpt: The Reluctant Countess by Wendy Vella

Thanks to Random House, I have an excerpt from Wendy Vella’s The Reluctant Countess to share. If you enjoy it, there’s a link to purchase after the excerpt.

The Reluctant Countess by Wendy Vella (Excerpt)

About the book:

From rising romance star Wendy Vella comes a Cinderella story of whirlwind passion between a dashing earl and a beautiful countess—and the secret that threatens to tear them apart.

Regal, poised, and elegant, Sophie, Countess of Monmouth, is everything that a highborn lady should be. But Sophie is hiding a past that is far from royal. When Patrick, Earl of Coulter, realizes that her story doesn’t add up, he resolves to find out the truth of what Sophie and her sister-in-law are concealing. Although Sophie has every reason to avoid him, the handsome and charismatic Patrick awakens something wicked deep within her soul . . . a powerful need that Sophie must stifle in order to protect her place in society.

Despite Sophie’s humble background, the raven-haired beauty has won Patrick’s heart. But what Sophie needs now is an ally. Viscount Myles Dumbly, the disgruntled former heir of Monmouth, is determined to expose Sophie as a fraud to recapture his lost inheritance. Soon Patrick is drawn into a fight for both their lives. Somehow he must find a way not only to rescue Sophie from poverty once and for all, but to keep her in his arms forever.

If you enjoyed the excerpt, you can purchase The Reluctant Countess from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the link below:

 

The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves

The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba of The Caffeinated Book Reviewer. This is a weekly meme where we can share news of the week and highlight new books received.

Yesterday we went and met the dogs we are going to adopt. 

This is our little girl. She is very reserved, but warms up to you once she gets to know you.

This is our butterball. He was left abandoned in a foreclosed house for 8 weeks with no food or water. He had wasted away to only 48 pounds when he was discovered. He is probably about 140 now, but he should probably shed about 10 pounds to avoid health issues as he gets older. He will be my workout buddy, because I need to lose 10 pounds, too.

 

Due to other commitments, we aren’t going to bring the dogs home until the end of the month.  I’ll share more photos as they get settled in.

Check out my current contests! See the Contest Widget on the Sidebar to enter!

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews to share new additions to our library. Click here to learn more about it.

New Arrivals at the Café:

The Lazarus Machine by Paul Crilley

The Holders by Julianna Scott

Soldier Dog by Sam Angus

Katie and the Puppy Next Door by John Himmelman

Frog Song by Brenda Z Guiberson and Gennady Spirin

Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? by Tanya Lee Stone and Marjorie Priceman

Witch World by Christopher Pike

Greta and the Goblin King by Chloe Jacobs

One Good Turn: Signet Regency Romance (InterMix) by Kelly, Carla

The Soldier’s Sweetheart by Soraya Lane

Cracking the Dating Code (Battle of the Sexes) by Hunter, Kelly

A great big thanks to the publishers for their continued support!

What did you get? Please leave links and share!

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Win Waltz With a Stranger by Pamela Sherwood!

Thanks to Sourcebooks, I have a copy of Pamela Sherwood’s Waltz with a Stranger to giveaway!  Check out the pretty cover!

   

About the book:

One dance would change her life forever…

A man who never expected to inherit. A woman who never expected to wed. A choice that pits their honor against their hearts.

Crippled after a riding accident, Aurelia Newbold shuns Society—until a dashing stranger draws her into a secret waltz and changes her life forever. After a year abroad, she returns home and discovers that the one man she’s been dreaming of is engaged to her beloved twin sister.

James Trelawney is not prepared for the vibrant woman who returns to London in the place of the wounded girl he took pity on—or his growing need for her. But forbidden love is not the only danger…a chilling secret reaches out from beyond the grave, threatening both Trelawney and the woman he loves.

 

You can learn more about Pamela by visiting her website HERE.

Entering is easy! Just fill out the widget below. Earn extra entries for following! US addresses only, please.

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Win a Custom Manicure Set and Ulta Gift Card from Sara Daniel, Author of Construction Beauty Queen!

Here’s a great giveaway, just in time for you to pamper yourself for the holidays!  Sara Daniel, author of Construction Beauty Queen, is giving away custom manicure set and a $20 Ulta Gift card!  All you have to fill out the widget below for your chance to win!

Make sure to hop over and visit Sara’s website

About the book:

pChicago socialite Veronica Jamison is determined to shake off her sheltered lifestyle and overbearing parents. She heads to her grandfather’s small town of Kortville, ready to roll up her sleeves and work for the family construction business. She’ll prove her worth, even if it means answering to the company’s ruggedly handsome co-owner, Matt.
Matt Shaw just wants to run his business, spend time with the niece he’s raising on his own, and give back to the townspeople who have stood by him. Managing a spoiled-rotten princess he knows he’ll never be good enough for? Not part of his plan. But as he gets to know Veronica, he learns there’s more to her than her beautiful looks and designer clothes. She’s got a heart as rich as her background.
With the quirky townspeople rallying against Veronica inheriting her grandfather’s business, it’s up to Matt to try to drive her out of town. But how can he, when instead she’s driving her way into his heart?

Ready to enter the giveaway?  Just enter below!

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Feed Your Kindle with Cheap Reads!

 

The Dream Slayer – 1.99

When your dreams come true, sometimes you get more than you bargained for…


In the young adult teen series Dream Slayer, Natalie Johnson has always dreamed she’s someone else; calm, beautiful, in control. A chosen warrior with a maniacal arch nemesis and a dreamy boyfriend, the type that can make your knees melt and your heart quiver.
Real life is much different. She’s tormented by a bully and endures the sharp tongue of her father, but finds solace in her dreams.
When her bully ends up dead, de ja vu from a dream hits her hard as everything around her begins to fall apart. Whatever killed Sarah in her dreams is now in reality, hunting her from the shadows. And it wants her dead.
Somehow as the lines between reality and nightmare blur, Natalie must discover hidden strength to pull her friends and family back from the brink of madness.

 

 

Heiress of Lies  – 2 .99

Blood never lies, but people do…

With the King of Altera on his deathbed, all eyes are on his only child, eighteen-year-old Angeline Robart. The crown princess is called from her studies to return to her father’s side, but is kidnapped en route by Connor, a mysterious rogue who has his own reasons for becoming involved in the high stakes game of political intrigue.

Facing the consequences of a freak accident that even Connor could not prevent, Angeline must travel a dangerous path to regain control of her fate and her kingdom. Her impossible choice forces her to rely on the man who epitomizes everything generations of her family tried to destroy.

As the last of the Robart bloodline, Angeline discovers that enemies she thought long conquered have been lying in wait for just such an opportunity as her father’s death to turn events to their advantage. Worse yet, by uncovering those secrets, Angeline is forced to confront the possibility that no one ever expected her to take the throne in anything but title alone.

But the more she learns about Connor, the more she realizes they have far more in common than she ever expected, and that could make him just the ally she needs.
Heiress of Lies (Bloodtruth #1) is the first book in the Bloodtruth series. The Queen’s Betrayal (Bloodtruth #2) is available now!

 

 

Death’s Hand – 2.99

Elise Kavanagh doesn’t want to hunt demons anymore. It’s been five years since she killed her last enemy, and life has been pretty good since then. She went to college. Got a job, and then lost it. Made a friend or two. Lived a normal life.

Now her former partner, a powerful witch named James Faulkner, wants Elise to fight one more time. The daughter of a coven member has been possessed, and Elise is the only exorcist nearby.

Doing the hero thing again would mean risking discovery by old enemies. But digging into the case reveals that it might already be too late–bodies are disappearing, demons slither through the night, and the cogs of apocalypse are beginning to turn. Some enemies aren’t willing to let the secrets of the past stay dead…

 

 

Dark Union – .99

Every fifty years, the most powerful ethereal and infernal beings convene on Earth to resolve conflicts with mediation by kopides–humans born to police relations between Heaven and Hell. They’re meeting in Elise Kavanagh’s territory this year, and she used to be the greatest kopis in the world. But she’s not invited.
An old friend, Lucas McIntyre, asks her to attend the summit in his place. But when she arrives, she discovers that a human faction called The Union has taken charge of the summit, and they’re not playing nice. Worse yet, someone has killed a prominent Union member, and now they’re demanding blood.
Elise has to bring justice to the summit in DARK UNION, a 33,000-word (120 page) urban fantasy novella featuring a decrepit ghost town, angry men with guns, and even angrier angels.


 

The Ghost in Me – 2.99

THE GHOST IN ME… where Freaky Friday and Ghost Adventures meet.
This is the kind of book I loved to read when I was a kid–lots of humor, lots of suspense, fun characters… just the right blend for kids that want a fun, exciting read.–Rick Walton, author of over 80 books for children
If you love The Ghost in Me, you also may like SK Wenger’s newest release: Reality Bites, Tales of a Half-Vampire.
OVERVIEW of The Ghost in Me
Myri Monaco has problems she doesn’t know how to deal with: a crush on her best friend’s boyfriend, a mother who’s dating her science teacher, and a "punishment" for a science project that lands her in auditions for the school play (the last place she wants to be). But most girls don’t have a ghost living at home who is willing to "trade places" whenever she’s needed. Will ghostly possession be an easy solution when problems collide? Or will Myri lose everything to a ghost wanting to fulfill her own desires?

Cover Shot! A Bride By Moonlight by Liz Carlyle

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

Wow, this is such a pretty cover.  I love that frothy dress and the glimpse of the night sky, and how colors work together to grab my attention.  So pretty!

In stores February 2013

 

Not available

Review: London Eye by Tim Lebbon

 

Title:  London Eyes

Book One in the Toxic City Series

Author:  Tim Lebbon

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

The Hunger Games meets the X-Men in an exciting postapocalyptic debut

Two years after London is struck by a devastating terrorist attack, it is cut off from the world, protected by a military force known as Choppers. The rest of Britain believes that the city is now a toxic, uninhabited wasteland.

But Jack and his friends—some of whom lost family on what has become known as Doomsday—know that the reality is very different. At great risk, they have been gathering evidence about what is really happening in London—and it is incredible.

Because the handful of London’s survivors are changing. Developing strange, fantastic powers. Evolving.

Upon discovering that his mother is still alive inside London, Jack, his sister, and their three friends sneak into a city in ruins. Vast swathes have been bombed flat. Choppers cruise the streets, looking for survivors to experiment upon. The toxic city is filled with wonders and dangers that will challenge Jack and his friends… and perhaps kill them. But Jack knows that the truth must be revealed to the outside world or every survivor will die.


Review:

I am a little torn about how I feel about this book.  It was slow to pick up, but once the action started, it didn’t let up.  Until that ever unpopular with me brick wall of an ending.  This one screeches to a halt, without even the slightest hint of resolution or completeness.  Even worse, the ending opens up multiple story threads that need to be explored in the next installment.  While I don’t mind series, I do not like all of these non-conclusions.  Nothing is wrapped up, and the story lurches to a stop just as things were getting really, really interesting.  It’s like waiting in line at Cedar Point to ride the Gatekeeper, getting to the front of the line, and being told that the ride has to close due to inclement weather.  Come back next year for your anticipated thrill ride.  I am so not a fan of these kinds of endings.

London Eye is being billed as Hunger Games meets the X-Men.   Once Jack and friends enter the forbidden, toxic city of London, they are met with one life-threatening misadventure after another, and Jack is willing to risk his own life to discover the fate of his parents.  They were in London during the terrorist attacks that left it an empty husk of itself.  The only people left alive, everyone is told, are horrible monsters. The city has been completely shut off, with no electricity or access to fresh food.  People can not travel in or out without being picked up by the Choppers.  When Rosemary, an old woman with healing abilities, offers to sneak Jack and his friends inside, he jumps at the chance.  He needs to know what happened to his parents, and he won’t rest until he finds out the truth.

Beside the ending, my biggest complaint with London Eye is the pacing.  It is much slower than I’ve become accustomed to in YA dystopian novels.  If I didn’t like Jack and his younger sister Emily so much, I don’t think I would have stuck it out.  The story doesn’t pick up until about mid-way, and it ratchets up to crazy sauce (in a good way), the last 25 pages.  Which made the non-ending even more of a let-down.  I am getting to the point that I don’t even want to start a series until most of the books are already out, due to my ever growing levels of impatience.  With the deluge of titles hitting store shelves every week, I sometimes feel that my reading needs would better served if I held off on series until they are complete.  I am still stinging over the increasingly long wait times between GRRM’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels. Yes, I am one of those entitled readers who expects closure from every book I read.  I like endings, and I need closure. 

Jack and his friends don’t believe the government’s spiel about what happened in London the day the terrorists attacked, releasing Evolve, a biological weapon that sickened and killed most of the city’s residents.  Those who survived were changed, turned into dangerous monsters.  Jack knows in his heart that his parents are still alive, and he just wants to find them and bring them home.  He has been struggling to raise his younger sister, and he knows that they both need their parents.  His friends Sparky and Lucy-Anne also want to discover the fates of their relatives who were in London during the attacks.  When Rosemary shows up, they throw caution to the wind and agree to make the dangerous, forbidden journey into London with her.

As far as the world-building goes, I found it a mixed bag.  I liked the idea of a deserted London, where enhanced humans hide from the vicious Choppers, a government body that captures and dissects the Irregulars in a vain attempt to discover what makes them tick.  As Jack and his small party infiltrated the empty streets, however, I didn’t get a sense that it was all that dangerous to sneak from safe house to safe house.  It wasn’t until the end, during a bloody encounter with the Choppers and the terrifying Superiors, that I felt invested in the danger of the story.   Prior to that, it seemed to me that if you just kept your head down and crept around like a mouse, you wouldn’t draw much attention to yourself and you could just lay low, so I didn’t buy into the hazards of being trapped in the ruins of London.

While I didn’t feel completely engaged in the plot until the end, I am invested enough now that I want to see what happens next.  A sense of urgency and a clear and present threat to Jack’s continued survival was finally, firmly, engaged at the end.  I wonder how he will save all those he cares for, and fend off the Choppers and the terrifyingly powerful Superiors.  I do feel, though, that this book and next could have been combined for a more complete and finished story.  Your mileage will more than likely vary.

Grade:  C+/B-

Review copy provided by publisher