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Friday, June 2, 2017

Contemporary Romance Challenge – May 2017

Posted by Irish in Misc0 Comments

Hello Internet

I’m only participating on one official challenge this year and that’s the Contemporary Reading challenge hosted by my friend, Andi at AndiABCs. Here’s what I’ve read, contemporary wise, this past month:

LEVELS:

  • 1st Base: read 1 – 5 books <– Level unlocked
  • 2nd Base: read 6 – 10 books <– Level unlocked
  • 3rd Base: read 11 – 15 books <– Level unlocked
  • Home Run: read 16 – 20 books <– Level unlocked
  • Grand Slam: read 21+ books <– Level unlocked

Current Number of Contemporary Books Read = 30

READ IN MAY

 

25. Title: Illegal Contact 
Author: Santino Hassell

26. Title: Pretty Face
Author: Lucy Parker

27. Title: Afraid to Fly
Author: L.A. Witt

28. Title: Waiting for Prince Harry
Author: Aven Ellis

29. Title: One Night with Rhodes
Author: Eden Finley

30. Title: Once and For All 
Author: Sarah Dessen

CURRENTLY READING

Title: The Upside of Unrequited
Author: Becky Albertalli

Title: And We’re Off
Author: Dana Schwartz

Title: There’s Someone in Your House
Author: Stephanie Perkins

ON MY RADAR

These are the books that I hope to get to next month or so, we’ll see how well I do as I’m terrible at sticking to a reading schedule! As I read books on the list I’ll replace with other books on my radar. 🙂 Have you read any of these? Any I should bump up on my list to read? What books should be on my radar?

Title: Coming Up for Air
Author: Miranda Kenneally

Title: Bad Romance
Author: Heather Demetrios

Title: Royally Matched
Author: Emma Chase

Title: Twist
Author: Kylie Scott

Title: Keeping His Commandments
Author: Elle Keating

Title: Girl Out of Water
Author: Laura Silverman

Title: The Last Thing You Said
Author: Tiffany Pitcock

Title: Isla and the Happily Every After (Re-Read)
Author: Stephanie Perkins

Title: The Names They Gave Us
Author: Emery Lord

Title: Noteworthy
Author: Riley Redgate

READ IN JANUARY

 

READ IN FEBRUARY

READ IN MARCH

 

READ IN APRIL

 

 

 

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Monday, May 1, 2017

Contemporary Romance Challenge – April 2017

Posted by Irish in Challenge2 Comments

Hello Internet

I’m only participating on one official challenge this year and that’s the Contemporary Reading challenge hosted by my friend, Andi at AndiABCs. Here’s what I’ve read, contemporary wise, this past month:

LEVELS:

  • 1st Base: read 1 – 5 books <– Level unlocked
  • 2nd Base: read 6 – 10 books <– Level unlocked
  • 3rd Base: read 11 – 15 books <– Level unlocked
  • Home Run: read 16 – 20 books <– Level unlocked
  • Grand Slam: read 21+ books <– Level unlocked

Current Number of Contemporary Books Read = 24

READ IN MARCH

 

19. Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon

20. Title: First & Then (reread)
Author: Emma Mills

21. Title: Good Boy
Author: Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen

22. Title: The Anatomical Shape of a Heart
Author: Jenn Bennett

23. Title: Winning Bracket
Author: Annabeth Albert

24. Title: Unconventional
Author: Maggie Harcourt

CURRENTLY READING

Title: The Upside of Unrequited
Author: Becky Albertalli

Title: And We’re Off
Author: Dana Schwartz

ON MY RADAR

These are the books that I hope to get to next month or so, we’ll see how well I do as I’m terrible at sticking to a reading schedule! As I read books on the list I’ll replace with other books on my radar. 🙂 Have you read any of these? Any I should bump up on my list to read? What books should be on my radar?

Title: Coming Up for Air
Author: Miranda Kenneally

Title: Bad Romance
Author: Heather Demetrios

Title: Royally Matched
Author: Emma Chase

Title: Twist
Author: Kylie Scott

Title: Flat-Out Love
Author: Jessica Park

Title: Girl Out of Water
Author: Laura Silverman

Title: The Last Thing You Said
Author: Tiffany Pitcock

Title: Isla and the Happily Every After (Re-Read)
Author: Stephanie Perkins

Title: The Names They Gave Us
Author: Emery Lord

Title: Noteworthy
Author: Riley Redgate

READ IN JANUARY

 

READ IN FEBRUARY

READ IN MARCH

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Things That Will Make Me Instantly Want To Read A Book

Posted by Irish in Top Ten Tuesday1 Comment

Graphic made by David at From My Bookshelf

Graphic made by David at From My Bookshelf

 

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish this weeks topic is about the words and phrases that make me instantly want to read a book. This one was a pretty easy one for me and while this post is pretty bare bones (sorry!!) that’s only because I tossed it together real quick over my lunch break. 🙂

1. Letters from unknown senders

This is one of my most favorite tropes and one that will instantly get me to pick up a book. I love the letter/email exchange and the not knowing who is sending. Just makes me swoon every time.

Notable reads: Letters to the Lost by Bridgid Kemmerer, Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum, PS I Like You by Kasie West, and Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett.

2. Second Chance at Love

Another favorite trope! I love a good redemption story!

Notable read: Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean

3. Quickie Marriage/Vegas Wedding

Don’t know what it is about this one but I do adore the vegas wedding style book. Its fun watching two people who never thought the other would be their match come together, which leads me into my next favorite surefire thing to make me pick up a book.

Notable reads: Accidentally Married on Purpose by Rachel Harris // Lick by Kylie Scott

4. Opposites attract 

Can you say TENSION!!! Oh I just love the push and pull when two people who are so opposite from each other meet up in a story.

5. Friend of a sibling

Oh that forbidden sort of love is just oh so sweet. Where the main characters try to stay away because of a promise made to sibling or because they really should fall for their BFFs little sister but yet can’t help doing so.

6. Road Trip!!!

This one pretty much goes without saying if you know anything about me. I love to travel and when I can’t travel myself then the next best thing is to travel in a book. And one super fun way to do that is with a road trip!!

Ok…so right now I can only think of six sure fire things that will make me immediately pick up a book. I am sure that there are some others that I’ll be kicking myself on later and if I think of one I’ll come back and update. But for now, if you know of any books that fit any of these categories (or any combination of them) them PLEASE FOR THAT IS HOLY LET ME KNOW!!!!!

irishdarkblue

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Behind the Blogger: Tackling the Review Backlog

Posted by Irish in Behind the Blogger1 Comment

 

Hello Readers!

How are you on this fine and glorious day…or at least I hope that its fine and glorious…up until a few days ago its been rainy and dreary here in Massachusetts but the sun (and Spring!) seem to be making an appearance! With Spring I’ll be trying to do a little Spring Cleaning here on the blog, cleaning up tags and updating post format on my pre-wordpress posts. But first I want to try and tackle my review backlog because let me tell you, I am drowning!

The trouble with taking an unexpected blog hiatus is that those reviews start to pile up as I most certainly did not stop reading! And now I have all these books that I want to talk about but feel completely overwhelmed when I sit down at my laptop to write them. This leads me to closing my laptop and picking up a book and so the cycle perpetuates.

During my hiatus, I’ve tried to come up with a new way to review books and while I’m still pondering that I would like to start tackling the backlog and get back into the blogging grove. I currently have 66 books that I can review. I may not review all of those books formally but there are many that I would like to talk about in some form. So, I was thinking of doing a series of Fast Five mini-review posts (providing I can figure out how to review multiple books in UBB) in order to start whittling this number down.

Anywho….this is the plan. Lets see how well I am able to stick with the plan. Until I get caught up I do plan to keep pondering review post ideas, maybe use more gifs and/or incorporate youtube videos, or something…just need something to make it all see fresh again. Ten years of blogging is a long time and the fatigue its weighs down on me. With luck though, if I can do 3 Fast Five posts a week then I should be all caught up in just over a month. Which will hopefully be enough time to figure out a new review format.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Hello? Is this thing on?

Posted by Irish in Misc3 Comments

 

Greetings and salutations dearest readers!

Some of you may have been wondering where I’ve been, at least when it comes to this corner of mine of the internet.

Yes, I’ve been on Twitter, Facebook, Litsy (Irisheyz77) and Instagram but lately it may have seemed like I’ve forgotten that I have a book blog.

Sure, I’ve put up the odd posts here and there but now real reviews and you may have wondered why because overall my posts have been few and far between.  I have been doing this blogging thing for almost ten years now and I’ve grown weary. There is so much drama in the blogging world and I haven’t had the energy to deal with that. Work has also been super hectic so when I get home, rather than turn on my laptop to blog, I open a book and read. I have been neglecting my baby and for that I am sorry.

I will do better. I have a plan. I may not be posting 5 days a week as I was before. And until I get caught up I may not be posting full reviews of all the books I’ve been reading. Because I have still been reading and I do miss sharing my thoughts on what I’ve been reading with all of you. So, I am here to say that I’m dusting off the old keyboard and that I will be back to posting more regularly.

I have missed you.

And I hope that you have missed me.

I will do better. Please bear with me. Life has been hectic and it hasn’t left me with much energy to word. But I will figure out a better balance.

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Saturday, April 1, 2017

Contemporary Romance Challenge – March 2017

Posted by Irish in Challenge, Misc0 Comments

Hello Internet

I’m only participating on one official challenge this year and that’s the Contemporary Reading challenge hosted by my friend, Andi at AndiABCs. Here’s what I’ve read, contemporary wise, this past month:

LEVELS:

  • 1st Base: read 1 – 5 books <– Level unlocked
  • 2nd Base: read 6 – 10 books <– Level unlocked
  • 3rd Base: read 11 – 15 books <– Level unlocked
  • Home Run: read 16 – 20 books <– Level unlocked
  • Grand Slam: read 21+ books

Current Number of Contemporary Books Read = 18

READ IN MARCH

 

Title: On Point
Author: Annabeth Albert
Diversity: POC, MM Romance

Title: Seven Days of You
Author: Cecilia Vinesse
Diversity: Setting

Title: In a Perfect World <– Many swoons & glorious setting!
Author: Trish Doller
Diversity: POC, Religion, Setting

Title: Letters to the Lost <– LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!
Author: Bridgid Kemmerer

Title: We Are Okay
Author: Nina LaCouer
Diversity: FF Romance, POC

Title: Alex, Approximately <– happy feels!!!
Author: Jenn Bennett

Title: City of Saints and Thieves
Author: Natalie C. Anderson
Diversity: POC, Setting

Title: What to Say Next
Author: Julie Buxbaum

CURRENTLY READING

Title: First & Then (reread)
Author: Emma Mills

Title: The Upside of Unrequited
Author: Becky Albertalli

ON MY RADAR

These are the books that I hope to get to next month or so, we’ll see how well I do as I’m terrible at sticking to a reading schedule! Have you read any of these? Any I should bump up on my list to read? What books should be on my radar?

Title: Coming Up for Air
Author: Miranda Kenneally

Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon

Title: Bad Romance
Author: Heather Demetrios

Title: Royally Matched
Author: Emma Chase

Title: Twist
Author: Kylie Scott

Title: Girl Out of Water
Author: Laura Silverman

Title: The Last Thing You Said
Author: Tiffany Pitcock

Title: Isla and the Happily Every After (Re-Read)
Author: Stephanie Perkins

Title: The Names They Gave Us
Author: Emery Lord

Title: There’s Something About Nik
Author: Sara Hantz

 

READ IN JANUARY

 

READ IN FEBRUARY

 

 

 

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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Contemporary Romance Challenge – February

Posted by Irish in Challenge, Misc1 Comment

Hello Internet

I’m only participating on one official challenge this year and that’s the Contemporary Reading challenge hosted by my friend, Andi at AndiABCs. January was a good reading month for me though I seemed to focus more on fantasy reads than contemporary, you can read more about those books in my Monthly Update post which should go live in a few days.

LEVELS:

  • 1st Base: read 1 – 5 books <– Level unlocked
  • 2nd Base: read 6 – 10 books <– Level unlocked
  • 3rd Base: read 11 – 15 books
  • Home Run: read 16 – 20 books
  • Grand Slam: read 21+ books

Current Contemps Read = 10

READ IN JANUARY

 

Title: Love & Gelato
Author: Jenna Evans Welch
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult

Title: At Attention
Author: Annabeth Albert
Genre: MM Romance, Adult

Title: Hard Wired
Author: Megan Ericsson and Santino Hassell
Genre: MM Romance, Adult

Title: Knit Quick
Author: Annabeth Albert
Genre: MM Romance, Adult

Title: Something Like Normal (reread)
Author: Trish Doller
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult

CURRENTLY READING

I’ve been on a big paranormal romance kick recently so haven’t started a new contemporary book since finishing my last one.

 

 

ON MY RADAR

These are the books that I hope to get to next month, we’ll see how well I do as I’m terrible at sticking to a reading schedule!

 

Title: Coming Up for Air
Author: Miranda Kenneally

Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon

Title: Seven Days of You
Author: Cecilia Vinesse

Title: Alex, Approximately
Author: Jenn Bennett

Title: In a Perfect World
Author: Trish Doller

Title: Letters to the Lost
Author: Bridgid Kemmerer

Title: Girl Out of Water
Author: Laura Silverman

Title: The Last Thing You Said
Author: Tiffany Pitcock

Title: Isla and the Happily Every After (Re-Read)
Author: Stephanie Perkins

Title: First & Then (reread)
Author: Emma Mills

READ IN JANUARY

Title: The Sweetest Goodbye 
Author: Christina Lee
Genre: MM Romance, New Adult

Title: Danced Close
Author: Annabeth Albert
Genre: MM Romance, Adult

Title: Goodbye Days
Author: Jeff Zentner
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Special Note: This one is a tear jerker so have tissues nearby!

Title: Last Seen Leaving
Author: Caleb Roehrig
Genre: Mystery, Young Adult

Title: All in Pieces
Author: Suzanne Young
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult

 

 

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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Excerpt: Riveted by Jay Crownover

Posted by Irish in Blog Tour, Excerpt1 Comment

RIVETED - header banner

 

 

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Marked Men books comes the next installment in the Saints of Denver series.

 

 

Riveted - cover

Everyone else in Dixie Carmichael’s life has made falling in love look easy, and now she is ready for her own chance at some of that happily ever after. Which means she’s done pining for the moody, silent former soldier who works with her at the bar that’s become her home away from home. Nope. No more chasing the hot as heck thundercloud of a man and no more waiting for Mr. Right to find her; she’s going hunting for him…even if she knows her heart is stuck on its stupid infatuation with Dash Churchill.

Denver has always been just a pit stop for Church on his way back to rural Mississippi. It was supposed to be simple, uneventful, but nothing could have prepared him for the bubbly, bouncy redhead with doe eyes and endless curves. Now he knows it’s time to get out of Denver, fast. For a man used to living in the shadows, the idea of spending his days in the sun is nothing short of terrifying.

When Dixie and Church find themselves caught up in a homecoming overshadowed with lies and danger, Dixie realizes that while falling in love is easy, loving takes a whole lot more work…especially when Mr. Right thinks he’s all wrong for you.

CHAPTER ONE EXCERPT 

I shifted my weight on my feet and bit back a sigh. I should have known she was going to be persistent, but I was done playing nice for her when it was clear her son was so beaten down that he was too scared to make a move or even speak for himself. She was a tyrant and I wasn’t going to subject myself to her vile company anymore. As soon as I slipped inside my apartment I was going to delete all the dating apps I had on my phone.

“I have a dog and she’s leery around strangers.” That was partly true. I did have a dog, a massive blue pit bull that I rescued from a shelter just days before she was supposed to be put down. Dolly looked like a brute, but she was a sweetheart and had never met a human she didn’t want tummy scratches and love from. We were kind of kindred spirits in that way. I mean I didn’t need my ears scratched or my belly rubbed, but I was afflicted with the same pressing need to be liked and accepted by pretty much everyone I came in contact with. It was ingrained in me to at least try to make everyone a friend, and if they didn’t reciprocate my kindness it only forced me to try harder. Sometimes I hated that about myself, and sometimes it was my favorite personality trait because the men and women in my life weren’t the easiest nuts to crack. They all loved me and let me in because I’d refused to let them shut me out.

Well, all except for one man.

I couldn’t hold back my flinch when he crossed my mind because he had warned me about online dating from the get-go, and I hated that he was right about it. I also hated that he was the reason I was desperate to find a man . . . a man who wasn’t him . . . in the first place.

Mommie Dearest shook her head and clicked her tongue at me. “Joseph is allergic to dogs. Your pet will have to go as things progress between the two of you.”

I felt my eyes pop wide and the forced smile I had plastered on my face for the entire evening finally slipped away. I already knew she had a few screws loose, but she was taking her crazy to another level if she thought she could tell me to get rid of my dog or what to do with anything in my life.

I straightened my shoulders and tilted my chin up. It was a look that worked on the drunks and unruly college kids that I hustled out of the bar where I worked every night.

“That’s not going to be a problem because things are not progressing beyond my front door. Thank you both for dinner, but if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go inside and cuddle my dog and erase every online dating app there is.”

The woman narrowed her eyes and stepped around her son. The young man made a noise low in his throat and his eyes widened. I thought he was scared of his mom, but the closer I looked at him the more obvious it became that he was scared for me as the woman advanced. He reached out a hand to grab his mother’s elbow, but it fell away before making contact like he knew the repercussions for intervening would be severe and drastic.

“Listen here, you little . . .” I lifted my hand before she could throw at me whatever insulting word she was going to label me with. I don’t think the woman was used to anyone standing their ground with her because she gasped and fell back a step.

“Stop. I thought I was talking to Joseph. I thought he was a nice guy, maybe a little sheltered and awkward . . . but a nice guy. Obviously it wasn’t him running his dating profile and there was some other agenda here from the start. I’m well past the age where I need a mother’s approval or permission to date her son, so I’m going to go into my apartment and end this date before either side gets nasty.” I looked at the shell-shocked young man hovering behind his mother and mouthed good luck before turning my back on both of them and inserting my key into the door. Dolly barked loud and deep from the other side, which was both comforting and reassuring.

I turned the knob on the door and pushed into the apartment without looking back. Once the door was shut and my dog was happily rubbing against my legs, I tossed my head back and let out a sigh that felt like it was tied to my soul. I was tired, so tired.

Want to read all of Chapter One from RIVETED? Follow along with the tour here!

Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play

 

ADD RIVETED TO YOUR GOODREADS

 

 

Want to read all of Chapter One from RIVETED? Follow along with the tour here!

February 6th

Julalicious Book Paradise

Musings of the Modern Belle

Mustreadbooksordie

NallaReads

Two Book Pushers

BookWorm221

Whoo Gives A Hoot

Les ChroniquesAléatoires

The Silver Dagger Scriptorium

Books,Dreams,Life

Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

KT Book Reviews

BFF Book Blog

Waiting For Wentworth

February 7th

Reading and funny

Nose Stuck in a Book

Little Red’s Reviews

Smut Book Junkie Reviews

BFD Book Blog

Barbara’s Book Reviews

Books n Wine

Ticket to Anywhere

Bewitching Bibliophile

Movies, Shows, & Books

My Reading Obsession Reviews

Book Angel Booktopia

Vera is Reading

All Things Dark & Dirty

February 8th

Brittany’s Book Blog

Crazii Bitches Book Blog

Renee Entress’s Blog

Greyland Reviews

Jack of All Trades, Master of None

Literary Misfit

Lea’s Book Blog

Friends Till The End Book Blog

SnoopyDoo’s Book Reviews

Fantasticandosuilibri

Quesarasera Book Blog

Pardon My Blurb

Reese’s Reviews

4 the Love of Reading

PBC

February 9th

What Is That Book About

A Literary Perusal

KatyaRath

Red Cheeks Reads

Cocktails and Books

books and the big screen

Books, Coffee & Passion

February 10th

My Girlfriend’s Couch

Queenzany

The Cover Contessa

Romanticamente Fantasy Sito

The Readdicts

G & T’s Indie Café

Shelf_Life

Abibliophobia Anonymous Book Reviews

Reading Between the Wines Book Club

we stole your book boyfriend

 

 

And read Chapter Two of RIVETED here!

 

 

RIVETED - Preorder graphic

Jay Crownover continues her Saints of Denver series with Riveted, available February 14th, 2017

Give yourself a Valentine’s Day gift in advance…Preorder and fill out the form here: https://a.pgtb.me/t0JkQX

Pre-order Riveted today and on February 14th, you’ll also receive a glossy Saints of Denver poster and an exclusive first-look at Chapters 1 and 2 of Avenged, her forthcoming Mackenzie Family novella.

Avenged combines the grit of Saints of Denver series with the all-out heat of The Point series with a mind-blowing, mystery, yet-to-be-revealed, couple combining both of these worlds. Be one of the first to find out who it is, pre-order Riveted today.

Posters will be mailed the week of February 14th and Avenged chapters will arrive via email.

 

 

Jay Crownover - headshotAbout Jay Crownover:

Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men, The Point, and the Saints of Denver series. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she’ll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.

 

 

 

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

 

InkSlinger Blogger banner

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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Contemporary Romance Challenge – January Update

Posted by Irish in Challenge, Misc0 Comments

Hello Internet

I’m only participating on one official challenge this year and that’s the Contemporary Reading challenge hosted by my friend, Andi at AndiABCs. January was a good reading month for me though I seemed to focus more on fantasy reads than contemporary, you can read more about those books in my Monthly Update post which should go live in a few days.

LEVELS:

  • 1st Base: read 1 – 5 books <– Level unlocked
  • 2nd Base: read 6 – 10 books
  • 3rd Base: read 11 – 15 books
  • Home Run: read 16 – 20 books
  • Grand Slam: read 21+ books

Current Contemps Read = 5

READ IN JANUARY

Title: The Sweetest Goodbye 
Author: Christina Lee
Genre: MM Romance, New Adult

Title: Danced Close
Author: Annabeth Albert
Genre: MM Romance, Adult

Title: Goodbye Days
Author: Jeff Zentner
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Special Note: This one is a tear jerker so have tissues nearby!

 

Title: Last Seen Leaving
Author: Caleb Roehrig
Genre: Mystery, Young Adult

Title: All in Pieces
Author: Suzanne Young
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult

CURRENTLY READING

Title: Good Boy
Author: Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Title: In a Perfect World
Author: Trish Doller

Title: Love & Gelato
Author: Jenna Evans Welch

ON MY RADAR

These are the books that I hope to get to next month, we’ll see how well I do as I’m terrible at sticking to a reading schedule!

 

Title: Coming Up for Air
Author: Miranda Kenneally

Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon

Title: Seven Days of You
Author: Cecilia Vinesse

Title: Alex, Approximately
Author: Jenn Bennett

Title: Letters to the Lost
Author: Bridgid Kemmerer

Title: Girl Out of Water
Author: Laura Silverman

Title: The Last Thing You Said
Author: Tiffany Pitcock

Title: Isla and the Happily Every After (Re-Read)
Author: Stephanie Perkins

 

 

 

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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Blog Tour: Excerpt from The Lawrence Browne Affair by Cat Sebastian

Posted by Irish in Blog Tour, Contest1 Comment

 
Can they find forever in the wreckage of their lives? 

THE LAWRENCE BROWNE AFFAIR
Cat Sebastian
Releasing Feb 7th, 2017
Avon Impulse

 

An earl hiding from his future . . . 

 Lawrence Browne, the Earl of Radnor, is mad. At least, that’s what he and most of the village believes. A brilliant scientist, he hides himself away in his family’s crumbling estate, unwilling to venture into the outside world. When an annoyingly handsome man arrives at Penkellis, claiming to be Lawrence’s new secretary, his carefully planned world is turned upside down.

A swindler haunted by his past . . . 

Georgie Turner has made his life pretending to be anyone but himself. A swindler and con man, he can slip into an identity faster than he can change clothes. But when his long-dead conscience resurrects and a dangerous associate is out for blood, Georgie escapes to the wilds of Cornwall. Pretending to be a secretary should be easy, but he doesn’t expect that the only madness he finds is the one he has for the gorgeous earl.

Can they find forever in the wreckage of their lives? 

Challenging each other at every turn, the two men soon give into the desire that threatens to overwhelm them. But with one man convinced he is at the very brink of madness and the other hiding his real identity, only true love can make this an affair to remember. 

Cornwall, 1816

CHAPTER ONE

All this fuss about a couple of small explosions. As far as Lawrence cared, the explosions were entirely beside the point. He had finished experimenting with fuses weeks ago. More importantly, this was his house to burn to the ground if that’s what he wanted to do with it. Hell, if he blew the godforsaken place up, and himself right along with it, the only person who would even be surprised was the man sitting before him.

“Five servants quit,” Halliday said, tapping Lawrence’s desk in emphasis. Dust puffed up in tiny clouds around the vicar’s fingertips. “Five. And you were woefully understaffed even before then.”

Five fewer servants? So that was why the house had been so pleasantly quiet, why his work had been so blissfully undisturbed.

“There was no danger to the servants. You know I keep them away from my work.” That was something Lawrence insisted on even when he wasn’t exploding things. The very idea of chattering maids underfoot was enough to discompose his mind even further. “And I conducted most of the actual explosions out of doors.” Now was probably not the time to mention that he had blown the roof off the conservatory.

“All I’m suggesting is a sort of secretary.” Halliday was dangerously unaware of how close he was to witnessing an explosion of the metaphorical variety. “Somebody to keep records of what you’ve mixed together and whether it’s likely to”—he puffed his cheeks out and made a strange noise and an expansive gesture that Lawrence took to represent explosion—“ignite.”

The Reverend Arthur Halliday did not know what was good for him. If he did, he would have fled the room as soon as he saw Lawrence reach for the inkwell. Lawrence’s fingers closed around the object, preparing to hurl it at the wall behind the vicar’s head. Sod the man for even suggesting Lawrence didn’t know how to cause an explosion. He hadn’t invented Browne’s Improved Black Powder or even that bloody safety fuse through blind luck, for God’s sake.

“Besides,” Halliday went on, “you said you need an extra set of hands for this new device you’re working on.”

Oh, damn and blast. Lawrence knew he shouldn’t have told the vicar. But he had hoped Halliday might volunteer to help with the device himself, not badger Lawrence into hiring some stranger. The vicar was convenient enough, and when he wasn’t dead set on sticking his nose where it didn’t belong, he wasn’t entirely unpleasant company.

“I’ve had secretaries,” Lawrence said from between gritted teeth. “It ends badly.”

“Well, obviously, but that’s because you go out of your way to terrify them.” Halliday glanced pointedly at the inkwell Lawrence still held.

And there again was Halliday missing the point entirely. Lawrence didn’t need to go out of his way to frighten anyone. All he had to do was simply exist. Everyone with any sense kept a safe distance from the Mad Earl of Radnor, as surely as they stayed away from rabid dogs and coiled asps. And explosive devices, for that matter.

Except for the vicar, who came to Penkellis Castle three times a week. He likely also called on bedridden old ladies and visited the workhouse. Maybe his other charity cases were grateful, but the notion that he was the vicar’s good deed made Lawrence’s fingers curl grimly around the inkwell as he plotted its trajectory through the air.

“I’ll take care of the details,” Halliday was saying. “I’ll write the advertisement and handle the inquiries. A good secretary might even be able to manage the household a bit,” the vicar said with the air of a man warming to his topic, “get it into a fit condition for the child—”

“No.” Lawrence didn’t raise his voice, but he slammed his fist onto the desk, causing ink to splatter all over the blotter and the cuff of his already-inky shirt. A stack of papers slid from the desk onto the floor, leaving a single dustless patch of wood where they had been piled. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a spider scurry out from under the papers.

“True,” Halliday continued, undaunted. “A housekeeper would be more appropriate, but—”

“No.” Lawrence felt the already fraying edges of his composure unraveling fast. “Simon is not coming here.”

“You can’t keep him off forever, you know, now that he’s back in England. It’s his home, and he’ll own it one day.”

When Lawrence was safely dead and buried, Simon was welcome to come here and do what he pleased. “I don’t want him here.” Penkellis was no place for a child, madmen were not fit guardians, and nobody knew those facts better than Lawrence himself, who had been raised under precisely those conditions.

Halliday sighed. “Even so, Radnor, you have to do something about this.” He gestured around the room, which Lawrence thought looked much the same as ever. One hardly even noticed the scorch marks unless one knew where to look. “It can’t be safe to live in such a way.”

Safety was not a priority, but even Lawrence wasn’t mad enough to try to explain that to the vicar.

“Villagers won’t even walk past the garden wall anymore. And the stories they invent…” The vicar wrung his hands. “A secretary. Please. It would ease my mind to know you had someone up here with you.”

A keeper, then. Even worse.

But Lawrence did need another set of hands to work on the communication device. If Halliday wouldn’t help, then Lawrence had no other options. God knew Halliday had been right about the local people not wanting anything to do with him.

“Fine,” he conceded. “You write the advertisement and tell me when to expect the man.” He’d say what he needed to in order to end this tiresome conversation and send the vicar on his way.

It wasn’t as if this secretary would last more than a week or two anyway. Lawrence would see to that.

 

Cat Sebastian lives in a swampy part of the South with her husband, three kids, and two dogs. Before her kids were born, she practiced law and taught high school and college writing. When she isn’t reading or writing, she’s doing crossword puzzles, bird watching, and wondering where she put her coffee cup.

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