Y is for Yvette #AtoZChallenge

Yvette

Y is for Yvette by Guy de Maupassant

 

Yvette

From Goodreads: Henri Rene Albert Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893) was a popular 19th-century French writer. He is one of the fathers of the modern short story. As a protege of Flaubert, his short stories are characterized by their economy of style and their efficient effortless denouement. In 1880 he published his first masterpiece, Boule de Suif, which Flaubert characterized it as “a masterpiece that will endure. ” This was Maupassant’s first piece of short fiction and was followed by short stories such as Deux Amis (1882) and Mademoiselle Fifi (1882). He also wrote six short novels. A number of his stories often denote the futility of war and the innocent civilians who, caught, emerge changed – many are set during the Franco-Prussian War of the 1870s. In his novels, he concentrated all his observations scattered in his short stories. His second novel was Bel-Ami; or, The History of a Scoundrel, which came out in 1885. His other works include: La Maison Tellier (1881), Une Vie (1883), Miss Harriet (1884), Mont-Oriol (1887), Pierre et Jean (1888), Fort Comme la Mort (1889) and Notre Coeur (1890).

 

X is for Xenocide #AtoZChallenge

Xenocide

X is for Xenocide by Orson Scott Card

 

Xenocide

Blurb (from Goodreads): The war for survival of the planet Lusitania will be fought in the hearts of a child named Gloriously Bright.

On Lusitania, Ender found a world where humans and pequininos and the Hive Queen could all live together; where three very different intelligent species could find common ground at last. Or so he thought.

Lusitania also harbors the descolada, a virus that kills all humans it infects, but which the pequininos require in order to become adults. The Starways Congress so fears the effects of the descolada, should it escape from Lusitania, that they have ordered the destruction of the entire planet, and all who live there. The Fleet is on its way, and a second xenocide seems inevitable.

 

THE DREAM CATCHER by Marie Laval ~ DANCING FOR THE DEVIL TRILOGY – Book 1 #Excerpt #Guestpost

Dream Catcher

The Dream Catcher

by

Marie Laval

DANCING FOR THE DEVIL TRILOGY – Book 1

Dream Catcher

Genre: Historical Romance (mid nineteenth century)

Release Date: 28th Dec 2015

Publisher:  Áccent Press

Can her love heal his haunted heart? – Cape Wrath, Scotland, November 1847.

Bruce McGunn is a man as brutal and unforgiving as his land. Discharged from the army, he is haunted by the spectres of his fallen comrades and convinced he is going mad. And he is running out of time to save his estate from the machinations of Cameron McRae, heir to the McGunn’s ancestral enemies. When the clipper carrying McRae’s new bride is caught in a violent storm and docks at Wrath harbour, Bruce decides to revert to the old ways and hold the clipper and the woman to ransom. However, far from the spoilt heiress he expected, Rose is genuine, funny and vulnerable – a ray of sunshine in the long, harsh winter that has become his life.

Rose is determined to escape Wrath and its proud master – the man she calls McGlum.

Will she be reunited with Cameron McRae, the dazzlingly handsome aristocrat she married after a whirlwind romance in Algiers, or will she risk her heart and her honour to help Bruce discover the truth about his past and solve the brutal murders committed on his land?

 

THE DREAM CATCHER (BOOK 1) Excerpt

A giant stepped in front of her. Dressed in black riding boots, black breeches and riding coat, he was so tall and his shoulders so broad the already dark horizon darkened further.

‘Silence.’

His voice was deep and calm, the voice of a man used to be obeyed. The crowd hushed at once.

He bent down in front of her.

‘Well, well, who do we have here?’

Even though she could hardly see his face, she felt his eyes bore into hers, and it was enough to make her mind go blank.

‘Rose…Rose Saintclair.’

‘Where are the others, your servants, your maids?’

‘I… I don’t have any.’

‘Really? That’s a surprise. All right then, come up.’ He held both his hands out.

She hesitated a moment before placing her hands in his. He pulled her up and she flew straight into his arms, landing with a bump against his broad, hard chest. He was so tall she had to tilt her face all the way back to look at him. Her heart skipped a beat, then started bumping fast and loud.

His eyes were grey and framed by dark eyelashes, his nose straight and strong, his cheekbones high and sharp. Thick black stubble covered his cheeks and chin, and his hair flew around his face, the colour of a raven’s wing. There was something dangerous about him, something reminiscent of a brutal warrior from days long gone by.

She wriggled to free herself but he didn’t let go and his mouth curved into a mocking smile.

‘Well, Fàilte, my sweetheart. ‘I’ll say this for McRae. If there’s one thing the rascal can do, it’s pick his fancy women.’

His hand slid from her waist and he patted her bottom.

Her reaction was instinctive. She swung her arm and lifted her hand to slap him. She didn’t have the chance. Without batting an eyelid he caught her wrist.

‘Steady on, sweetheart. You have a nasty little temper.’

‘And you have no right to insult me in this way, you vile brute,’ she hissed. ‘I am not Lord McRae’s fancy woman, as you so elegantly put it, I’m his wife!’

She had expected at least a shocked response or a groveling apology but he merely smiled.

‘It’s all right, gràidheag, you don’t have to pretend.’

‘Pretend what?’

‘Pretend you’re married to the man. I don’t care if you’re McRae’s mistress or his laundry maid, if you scrub his back or his dirty shirts.’

‘I am telling the truth, you stubborn macaque,’ she shouted in frustration. ‘I married Lord McRae in Algiers four weeks ago.’

‘Please don’t scream quite so loud. I heard you the first time. I just don’t believe you.’

‘What?’

‘First you introduce yourself as Rose Saintclair, now you’re spinning me a tale about being married McRae. Make up your mind, sweetie.’

He glanced at her hand. ‘I don’t see any wedding band on your finger.’

‘That’s because Cameron wanted to keep the wedding a secret. Never mind, I don’t have to explain anything to you. Now let go of me.’

She wriggled to break free, but he was still holding her wrist, leaving her no choice but to kick him hard in the shin with the tip of her boot – the very pointy tip of the fashionable new boots she had made in Algiers.

‘Ouch. Steady on, sweetheart.’

‘Let go of me, you deranged baboon! And stop calling me sweetheart.’

She kicked him again, harder. He muttered something in a strange, guttural language she didn’t understand and let go of her so suddenly she staggered backward and fell on her bottom on the hard, wet cobbles.

Her breath caught in her throat, her heart beat hard, erratic. Tears blurred her vision as people sneered and clapped around her. She knew McRaes and McGunns were enemies, but she had nothing to do with their feud, so why did everybody here seem to hate her so much? And why was the big hairy brute intent on humiliating her and not believing a word she said?

He stepped closer and offered his hand.

‘Come on, now, sweetheart. Let’s start again. I think we got off on the wrong foot.’

He sounded contrite but she wasn’t ready to forgive to forgive him. Ignoring his hand, she scrambled to her feet, and straightened her back. Attack was the best defence, her brother often said, and Lucas knew what he was talking about. He was the best scout in the whole of the Barbary States – or Algeria as the French now called her country.

‘Take me to your master immediately,’ she started in a voice as cold and steady she could manage, ‘so I can ask him to have you whipped for your insolence.’

There was a collective gasp from the people around them. Not looking in the least impressed, the man crossed his arms on his broad chest and arched his eyebrows.

‘Really?’

She took another deep breath.

‘That’s what I do to disrespectful servants on my estate, and I can assure you they stop smirking after five lashes.’ That was an outrageous lie, of course, but no one here was to know.

‘If what you said earlier is true, then I see McRae chose his bride well.’ The man’s eyes were now hard as steel. ‘You and he are indeed a match made in heaven, or in hell. I’m sure you’ll be very happy together.’ He paused. ‘I’m sorry to disappoint you, sweetheart, but I don’t approve of whipping people, or beasts, for that matter.’

‘And I don’t care a fig if you approve or not. It is for your master to decide your punishment, and from what I’ve heard of Lord McGunn, he is neither a patient nor compassionate man.’

He arched his eyebrows. ‘I didn’t know I had such a bad reputation.’

Rose’s heart stopped. He wasn’t… he couldn’t be…

‘I realise I failed to introduce myself. I am Bruce McGunn.’ He bowed his head in a military salute.

‘You are?’ The words came out as a squeak.

His lips stretched into a tight smile that didn’t warm his eyes.

‘At your service, my lady. Now the introductions are over, shall we make our way to the Lodge?’

BUY LINKS

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

**********

FINDING TIME TO WRITE

by Marie Laval

How I fit writing in around family life and work.

I am by no mean the only writer who has to fit their writing around family and work, and I really don’t pretend that I know how to achieve the perfect balance – far from it! With three children (OK, two and one at university), and a full-time teaching job, it can be tricky, frustrating and stressful to find time to write. Some things have to go, like watching television or relaxing on the sofa with a cup of tea chatting about nothing in particular, or again going out with friends at the weekend. I know that most of my friends actually find my life incredibly boring, since the only travelling I do these days is on the internet or in my head!

And then there’s the guilt – the horrible mother’s guilt – because I don’t spend enough time with my children. Because I don’t always listen when they’re telling me about what happened at school or what’s going on in ‘The Next Step’ or ‘Wolf Blood’ – my daughter’s favourite programmes – or  I don’t take them on enough adventures. As a teacher, however, I know that I am incredibly lucky to have the school holidays to catch up with friends and plan days out with children.

So what do I do, or not, to fit my writing in my life?

I write, or to work on my novel every single day, even if it’s just for half an hour at 10pm and I fall asleep at the keyboard.

I hardly watch any television, and rarely for pure enjoyment (that’s how sad I am!). Having said that I recently watched the wonderful series about Prunella Scales’ and her husband Timothy West’ canal boat trips, and that was lovely!

Dream CatcherI take a notebook with me everywhere. It’s incredible how productive a few minutes sitting in the car waiting for the children to get out of school, or their gym, dance, football, rugby etc. training, can be.

I get up very, very early, at weekends and during the holidays, before the children are up and demand to be fed. It’s usually a great time to edit what I wrote the night before.

I have adopted a very relaxed approach to housework, one which I know my mother would totally disapprove of. I used to be obsessive with cleaning and tidying the house. It’s taken me several years and three children to admit defeat. Ironing? If I must, I only iron the front of the clothes. I do most of my shopping online too.

Dream CatcherI try and find some quiet time to think and dream. Since I do not have my own writing shed at the bottom of the garden – one of my dreams, but for that I will need a bigger garden! – I find that going for a walk on my own early in the morning works well. There is also listening to music when I have the house to myself, which is so rare it’s a lovely treat.

Everybody’s family and work commitments are different, so what works for me may not work at all for anybody else. And to be honest, it doesn’t really work all that well anyway. There are days when I am very, very, stressed and grumpy. Ask the man in my life!

ABOUT MARIE LAVAL

Dream Catcher

Originally from Lyon in France, Marie has lived in the beautiful Rossendale Valley, Lancashire, England, for the past few years and likes nothing more than dreaming up romance stories and handsome, brooding heroes. She writes historical and contemporary romance. Her contemporary romance A SPELL IN PROVENCE, as well as her historical romances, ANGEL HEART, together with the award-winning THE LION’S EMBRACE, and the DANCING FOR THE DEVIL Trilogy (which includes THE DREAM CATCHER, BLUE BONNETS and SWORD DANCE) are all published by Áccent Press.

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W is for Wedlocked #AtoZChallenge

Wedlocked

W is for Wedlocked by Bonnie Trachtenberg

 

wedlocked

Blurb (from Goodreads): On what should be the happiest day of her life, Rebecca Ross is panic-stricken. Rebecca has just wed Craig Jacobs, but she realizes she put more thought into choosing her florist than she did in choosing the man she’s just pledged to love for the rest of her life.

Before Craig, Rebecca, a talented Long Island girl, dreamed of following in her grandmother’s footsteps with an acting career. Unfortunately, she was cut down to size by years of disappointment, and by her first love-a Hollywood director. She returned to Long Island a lost and broken woman, and ended up in the last place she ever wanted to be: her old bedroom at her parents’ house.

But Rebecca’s mother, an overzealous convert to Judaism, has a long-held dream, too: marry off her three daughters to Jewish men. No one is more thrilled when Rebecca meets and marries bon vivant Craig Jacobs, the man who has won over the whole family. Too bad they’re all about to discover that underneath his charismatic shell, this Prince Charming is anything but!

Wedlocked is a funny, warm, and engaging story about life, love, marriage, and family. This page-turner is the perfect summer read!” -Wendy Walker, bestselling author of Social Lives

 

V is for Victoria and the Ghost #AtoZChallenge

Victoria and the Ghost

V is for Victoria and the Ghost by Janet K. Brown

 

ghost

Blurb (fromAmazon): When her mother leaves the family to become a Dallas trophy wife, Victoria’s dad moves her and her sister to a North Texas farm to herd cattle and raise chickens. Refusing to believe this is more than a temporary set-back, Victoria tries to make new friends which isn’t an easy task. The first one stabs her in the back with gossip and a sharp tongue. Meanwhile, her new stepsister takes Victoria’s place in her mother’s heart. Rejection and anger stalk Victoria like a rattlesnake in the cemetery. Good thing she makes friends with a ghost and through him, a good-looking teenaged cowboy.  

 

U is for Unsafe Acts #AtoZChallenge

Unsafe Acts

U is for Unsafe Acts by Bill Kirton

 

unsafe acts

Blurb (from Goodreads): An offshore platform in the turbulent North Sea is a dangerous place…

…there’s the isolation, the machinery and the constant battle with the whims of nature. For Ally Baxter, a safety officer on Falcon Alpha, those whims take a deadly turn. When his workmates decide he’s gay, an evening ashore turns ugly as they indulge in some drunken queer-bashing. Later his body is found along the route the group followed.

For DCI Jack Carston, the case seems simple enough until a second murder is discovered. This time it’s the prostitute Ally always visited—a young mother with a baby son. Complications mount as Carston, in addition to his investigations, has to deal with an inexperienced officer under his command and a disciplinary charge brought against Carston himself by a vindictive superior officer.

The obstacles keep piling up, but more is to come when he finds evidence of a plot to wreck the platform itself.

 

T is for Tall, Dark and Kilted #AtoZChallenge

Tall, Dark and Kilted

T is for Tall, Dark and Kilted by Lizzie Lamb

 

tall, dark and kilted

Blurb (from Goodreads): Notting Hill Meets Monarch of the Glen . . . Fliss Bagshawe longs for a passport out of Pimlico where she works as a holistic therapist. After attending a party in Notting Hill she loses her job and with it her dream of one day being her own boss. When she’s offered the chance to take over a failing therapy centre, she grabs it with both hands. But there’s a catch – the centre lies five hundred miles away – in Wester Ross, Scotland. Fliss’s romantic view of the highlands populated by hunky Men in Kilts is soon shattered when she has an up close and very personal encounter with the Laird of Kinloch Mara, Ruairi Urquhart. He’s determined to pull the plug on the business, bring his eccentric family to heel and eject undesirables from his estate – starting with Fliss. Faced with the dole queue once more, Fliss resolves to make sexy, infuriating Ruairi revise his unflattering opinion of her, turn the therapy centre around and sort out the dysfunctional Urquhart family. Will Fliss tame the Monarch of the Glen and find the happiness she deserves?

S is for 7 Years Bad Sex #AtoZChallenge

seven

S is for 7 Years Bad Sex by Nicky Wells

 

seven

Blurb (from Goodreads): One wedding. One curse? Disaster ever after…

A seven-years-bad-sex curse? Surely not! Yet something went wrong when rock singer Casey and drummer Alex got married on that beautiful yacht anchored off St Tropez in the south of France. Something went badly wrong. For even on their wedding night, the young couple discovers a complete and somewhat surprising inability to make love. Muddling through their honeymoon with a string of thin excuses for their predicament, the lovers defer finding a solution (and panicking) until the return to their home in London. After all, they married for life and to make rock music, not for the love of sex. Right?

But when they resume life as normal in London, all hell breaks loose. Increasingly frantic in their quest for release, the unhappy newlyweds embark on a string of hilarious and occasionally harmful antics that drives them, their band, and an assortment of random strangers to the brink of despair. But it ain’t over ‘til it’s over or, in this case… it ain’t over ‘til the newlyweds sing.

Other “S” books by the same author – Sophie’s Turn, Sophie’s Run, Sophie’s Encore, and Spirits of Christmas.

 

 

R is for (The) Rest of My Life #AtoZChallenge

Rest of my Life

R is for (The) Rest of my Life by Sheryl Browne

 

Rest of my Life

Blurb (from Goodreads): You can’t run away from commitment forever …

Adam Hamilton-Shaw has more reason than most to avoid commitment. Living on a houseboat in the Severn Valley, his dream is to sail into the sunset – preferably with a woman waiting in every port. But lately, his life looks more like a road to destruction than an idyllic boat ride…

Would-be screenplay writer Sienna Meadows realises that everything about Adam spells trouble – but she can’t ignore the feeling that there is more to him than just his bad reputation. Nor can she ignore the intense physical attraction that exists between them.

And it just so happens that Adam sees Sienna as the kind of woman he could commit to. But can he change his damaging behaviour – or is the road to destruction a one-way street?

The Chic Boutique on Baker Street by Rachel Dove #romance #Mills&Boon #giveaway

boutique

The Chic Boutique on Baker St.

by

Rachel Dove

 

boutique

Genre: romantic fiction

Release Date: 21st April 2016

Publisher:  Mills & Boon

The perfect escape to the country…

Recently single and tired of the London rat race Amanda is determined to make her dreams of setting up an idyllic countryside boutique come true, and the picturesque village of Westfield is the perfect place to
make a fresh start.

Local vet Ben is the golden boy of Westfield, especially to resident gossip Agatha Mayweather, who is determined to help Ben get his life back together after his wife left.

When a chance encounter outside the ‘chic boutique’ sets sparks flying between Amanda and Ben, Agatha is itching to set them up. But are Amanda and Ben really ready for romance?

The Chic Boutique on Baker Street is the debut novel from Rachel Dove, winner of The Prima Flirty Fiction Competition. You won’t be able to resist this heart-warming romantic story set in an idyllic Yorkshire village, full of lovable characters and laugh-out-loud moments…as Amanda finds her way to a second chance at life and love. This is the reading escape you’ve been looking for!

BUY LINKS

AMAZON UK

WH SMITH

WATERSTONES

ABOUT RACHEL DOVE

boutique

Rachel Louise Dove is a mum of two from Yorkshire. She has always loved writing and has a had previous success as a self-published author. Rachel is the winner of the Mills & Boon Flirty Fiction competition.

Her first novel, Crossing Life Lines is out now in Kindle and paperback format.

boutique

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My Scottish roots and writing by Melanie Robertson-King