Thursday, July 24, 2014

Review: Charity's Heart by Sofia Diana Gabel

From the Publisher:
1888, London Charity Llewellyn, 19, looks forward to her wedding, but upon learning that her intended groom is Mathias Baptiste, the immoral son of a wealthy banker, she runs away from home to avoid the betrothal. Angry at her attempt, her father appoints a handsome and mysterious man, Alexander Sutton, as her constant chaperone. Furious, Charity plots an escape with help from her friend Lillian, although that leads to involvement in an unsolved 20-year old murder and a shallow burial of human bones. As she tries to unravel the secrets of the old murder, she meets a frightening man who could be Jack the Ripper. But that’s not her only obstacle. As she and Alexander grow closer, she learns a dark secret he’s been keeping and when Mathias finds them together, he’s overcome with rage and will stop at nothing to get her back, not even murder.

What is a nineteen year old young lady to do in the late 1800’s when her father is arranging a marriage that she does not want? Runaway, of course!
Meet Charity Llewellyn who was raised in the finest circles of London’s ton and never wanted for anything. Well almost nothing, except love and approval from her parents. Due to her aversion of her parents’ plan to wed her one Mr. Mathias Baptiste, she takes the chance to escape from her jeweled prison and sets out to see the real London and start a new life of her own free will.  However her plan is lacking a plan, she gets trapped by a less the sober sailor on the wrong side of the docks, but a strange gentleman comes to her rescue and Charity runs back to the safety of her home. Upon her returned home, her father is more than a little displeased. To Charity’s vexation, he hires a “chaperon” to escort her at all times and to her surprise it happens to be the same gentleman that recused her the previous night, Mr. Alexander Sutton. Startled with her father’s choice of “chaperon”, she tries in vain to dissuade her father’s latest attempts to rein her in, however, undaunted, Charity is still determined to escape her impending marriage, parents and most of all Mr. Sutton.
As Charity plans her next escape, she goes to the shops, her mother set up for her, to pick up her new dress and shoes for the upcoming garden party she will be attending all the while trying to get away from Mr. Sutton, but this man is hard to get away from. She is able to persuade her parents to allow her stay at her best friend’s home for the night as their home is closer to the garden party venue. With the help of her friend, Lillian Hollingberry, they collaborate a plan of action to have Charity’s make her escape during the garden party.
What could possibly go wrong with their well thought out plan? Everything! Charity stumbles upon an unsolved murder from twenty years ago that surprisingly has a lot to do with Mr. Sutton’s past. Charity’s own life is being threatened from not only her intended, Mr. Baptiste, but also a well-loved servant in the Hollinberry home. Now she must save Sutton from imprisonment and also her own life and those of her loved ones all the while not understanding her own true feelings towards Sutton. Can this man she claims to dislike really be the one man she cannot live without?  And what is truly going on with her father’s new shady business partner who happens to lurks around White Chapel where a series of murders are happening?
Although the beginning had a slow start, Charity’s story was riveting and intriguing to make me want to know what happens next. The touching scenes between Sutton and Charity are at times hilarious and at other times heartwarming. Ms. Gabel tells the story of self-discovery and following one’s own heart to find true happiness no matter what society dictates.

*Review written by Leatherbound Reviews contributor Liz Castillo
*Review copy provided by publicist 

While Leatherbound Reviews was offered a copy of Charity's Heart for review, the book is currently out of print. I just wanted to let readers know why they cannot find a buy link accompanying this post. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Review: Getting Out of Hand by Erin Nicholas

From the publisher:
Genius scientist Mason Riley can cure world hunger, impress the media and piss off the Vice President of the United States all before breakfast. But he’s not sure he can get through his high school class reunion.

Then he meets the new girl in town.

Adrianne Scott loves Sapphire Falls. The sleepy little town has been the perfect place to escape her fast-paced, high stress lifestyle. Her only plans now include opening her candy shop and living a quiet, drama-free life.

Until Mason Riley bids four hundred dollars just to dance with her.

Mason sure doesn’t look—or kiss—like a genius scientist geek. In fact, he makes Adrianne’s heart pound like nothing she’s ever experienced. Passion like this with a guy who travels the world and parties at the White House should probably be a red flag for a girl who wants a simple boring life.

Good thing no one falls in love in a weekend.


I geek nerds. I geek hot guys. And now thanks to author Erin Nicholas, I geek Mason Riley, socially awkward nerd turned hot guy.

After graduating high school at the age of sixteen, Mason Riley leaves Sapphire Falls, never looking back. Now eleven years later, Mason is a successful agricultural expert who has it all: money, smug confidence, killer looks and style, and a vast knowledge on how to please the ladies.

Having nothing but bad memories of his hometown, Mason Riley never thought he would ever step foot in those city limits again. When Mason’s former high school crush and mayor of Sapphire Falls, Hailey Conner, asks him to come back to his hometown for the annual town festival and to donate a vast sum to help develop a new shopping area, Mason wants to do anything except go. However, after much coaxing, Mason sees this as the perfect opportunity to show Sapphire Falls he is not the same nerdy boy he was when he left town.

Two years ago, after having a heart attack brought on by stress, long hours at work, and an unhealthy lifestyle, Adrianne Scott fled Chicago in search of a slow-paced lifestyle. Now Adrianne is enjoying her peaceful life in Sapphire Falls.

Paralyzed by fear of another heart attack, Adrianne plays it safe in her quaint little town. But when Mason storms in and sweeps Adrianne off her feet with just one dance, her heart is pounding in ways it never has. Will Adrianne be able to learn to live her life again, pushing aside her fears…fears of living, of loving, and of letting go? Has Mason Riley find something that could change his opinion of Sapphire Falls?

Author Erin Nicholas has a way with words. It was through Nicholas’s descriptions and imagery that I was able to lose myself in the story and easily imagine I was in Sapphire Falls with the rest of the characters. Sapphire Falls is such a cute little town, one I wish I could actually visit. I guess I will just have to settle for another sojourn through the eyes of a reader with her next book in the series, Getting Worked up.

While I live for realistic settings, I love realistic characters even more. Erin Nicholas gives her readers just that: perfectly flawed characters who have mounds of inner struggles to overcome. The reader is left wondering how our hero and heroine will conquer their insecurities and fears and how will they manage to break down those barriers that threaten to keep them apart.

Nicholas also knows how to bring the steam! Find the nearest fire hydrant, and get me a hose because this couple is on fire! The instant spark Mason and Adrianne feel on the dance floor quickly ignites and these two are about to combust with passion for one another. And it isn’t just the steamy passion I’m talking about. Mason and Adrianne’s understanding of each other makes their connection and the passion they feel even hotter. I found myself wanting to see how their story continued.

Getting Out of Hand is the first book by Erin Nicholas I have read, and let me say it will not be my last. I am looking forward to getting my hands on Nicholas’s other stories.

FTC Disclaimer: I purchased my own copy of Getting Out of Hand.

Getting Out of Hand is currently being sold as part of an anthology: Love, Laughter, and Happily Ever Afters

Connect with Erin Nicholas
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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Longbourn to London by Linda Beutler Blog Tour!

It's a new month and time for a new blog tour! This month I am so excited to announce that IPPY award-winning author of The Red Chrysanthemum, Linda Beutler, is publishing a her next novel with Meryton Press, Longbourn to London!! Linda Beutler is quickly becoming a JAFF favorite! 

Please join me August 18-30 for the Longbourn to London blog tour!

If you are a reviewer or blogger and interested in taking part in this blog tour, please fill out the form below, and I will contact you! 

A courtship is a journey of discovery, but what do we know of the official betrothal of Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet? We may assume there were awkward social events to navigate, tedious wedding arrangements to negotiate, and Bingley’s toplofty sisters to accommodate. How did Darcy and Elizabeth manage these travails, and each other?
     Longbourn to London is not a Pride and Prejudice “what if,” nor is it a sequel. Rather, it is an expansion of the betrothal of Jane Austen’s favorite couple. We follow Lizzy’s journey from spirited maiden scampering about the fields of Hertfordshire to nervous, blushing bride in Mayfair, where she learns the unexpected joys of marriage to a man as willing to be teased as she is to tease him.
Join us as IPPY award-winning author Linda Beutler (2013 Silver Medal, Independent Publishers Awards, for The Red Chrysanthemum) imagines the betrothal and early honeymoon of Jane Austen’s greatest couple.
Includes mature content.