Sunday, May 12, 2019

BLOG TOUR: The Mist of Her Memory by Suzan Lauder ~ Review + Giveaway

Today I am welcoming Suzan Lauder onto the blog with a review and excerpt from her newest book, The Mist of Her Memory.

Title: The Mist of Her Memory
Author: Suzan Lauder
Publisher: Meryton Press
Release Date: April 21st, 2019
Number of Pages: 272
Genre: Austenesque romantic suspense
Book Format: Kindle ebook

Book Blurb: What happened that fateful morning in Lambton? What brutal attacker caused her grievous, near-fatal injuries? Does she remain in danger? Elizabeth cannot remember!

Sequestered in her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner's London home, Elizabeth Bennet tries to recover from a devastating incident that stole her memories during their Derbyshire tour. She continues to suffer from strange, angry voices in her head and to recall events that people tell her never happened. Even those who love her refuse to believe her. Elizabeth can barely endure the confusion.

Fitzwilliam Darcy is desperate for any hint of his beloved's well-being, yet he lacks the information he seeks as her family forbids him contact with Elizabeth. His frustration mounts when he learns that her mental impairment incited taunting and torment in her home village of Meryton.

Which of Elizabeth's recollections bear the closest resemblance to the truth? And what is the result of her sister Lydia's elopement with Mr. Wickham? How is Mr. Darcy to rekindle his romance with Elizabeth when her aunt and uncle strictly shield her from him?

My Review: I admit as soon as I saw that Suzan Lauder had a new novel out I rushed to buy it as I remember reading Alias Thomes Bennet and loving it. I had no idea what this book was about when I bought it but that didn't halt my enjoyment of it. I remember not being able to put this down unless I went to work or had something else to do. It's that good of a book. I felt for Darcy and Elizabeth being kept from each other because of a misunderstanding. Even when Elizabeth forgot everybody and everything else she never forgot Mr. Darcy and I find that to be very sweet.

Lydia's fate could have been avoided had Wickham had acted as a gentleman should. Hell, everything in the book could have been avoided had Wickham acted with decency. But the person who was really responsible for Elizabeth's memory loss  I didn't see that one coming. I can see this person doing what they did though because of their jealousy.

This book is a satisfying ride from beginning to end and it's one that shouldn't be missed. If you enjoy a good Darcy and Lizzy with suspense thrown in read this book.

Rating: ★★★★☆

About the Author:
A lover of Jane Austen, Regency period research and costuming, cycling, yoga, blogging, and independent travel, cat mom Suzan Lauder is seldom idle.

Her first effort at a suspense novel, The Mist of her Memory is the fifth time Lauder has been published by Meryton Press. Her earlier works include a mature Regency romance with a mystery twist, Alias Thomas Bennet; a modern short romance Delivery Boy in the holiday anthology Then Comes Winter, the dramatic tension-filled Regency romance Letter from Ramsgate, and the Regency romantic comedy, A Most Handsome Gentleman.

She and Mr. Suze and two rescue cats split their time between a loft condo overlooking the Salish Sea and a 150 year old Spanish colonial home near the sea in Mexico.

Suzan’s lively prose is also available to her readers on her blog, road trips with the redhead, on her facebook author page, on Twitter @suzanlauder, and on Instagram as Suzan Lauder. She is a lifetime member of JASNA.

Author Links:

Meryton Press is offering eight eBooks copies of The Mist of Her Memory. Thank you for your support with these giveaways. The giveaway runs until midnight, May 19, 2019.

Terms and Conditions:

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or a review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. If an entrant does not do so, that entry will be disqualified.

One winner per contest. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Mist of Her Memory Blog Tour Schedule

May 7 / Just Romantic Suspense / Book Excerpt
May 8 / Austenesque Reviews / Vignette Post
May 9 / My Jane Austen Book Club / Book Excerpt
May 10 / From Pemberley to Milton / Guest Post
May 11 / More Agreeably Engaged / Guest Post
May 12 / Half Agony, Half Hope / Book Review
May 13 / Babblings of a Bookworm / Character Interview
May 14 / Just Jane 1813 / Author Interview
May 15 / My Vices and Weaknesses / Book Excerpt
May 16 / Diary of an Eccentric / Book Review

Sunday, May 05, 2019

REVIEW: Prince Darcy by Allison Smith

Title: Prince Darcy
Author: Allison Smith
Genre: Austenesque
Publisher: A Longbourn Lady
Release Date: April 30th, 2019
Number of Pages: 268
Book Format: ebook

Book Blurb: A midnight rescue. Prince Darcy in disguise. A magical gem that marks Elizabeth as a Pemberley bride...

Prince Darcy of Pemberley did not expect to battle wits and join forces with Miss Elizabeth Bennet of Longbourn. But after a midnight encounter with the mysterious, fiery-eyed beauty leaves him intrigued and desiring to know her better, Darcy almost forgets why he has come in secret to Meryton.

But Elizabeth is far more than an alluring face and sharp mind. She may be the key to retrieving from a villainous thief the stolen Darcy sapphire—without the ring, Darcy cannot fulfill his duty to wed, or his promise to love.

A duty and promise he desires to keep, now more than ever. Especially when the consequences of their bargain sealed in blood places Elizabeth in ruin.

A daring rescue, a midnight ball, a mad dash through the forest from a dark enchantress... Prince Darcy is a sweet Pride & Prejudice variation with a Cinderella fairy tale twist. For readers who enjoy the verbal dance between Elizabeth and Darcy as well as an angst—but not adventure!—free romance. This is a standalone HEA and will be the first in a series of retellings.

My Review: This novel was not that charming but there was something about Mary that I don't like and I want to know what she is up too. Lizzy seemed out of character to me. I don't see her as this confidant-less woman that she was portrayed as in this book. Jane was just an even more weak character in this novel. This story was sort of lackluster for me and I'm not sure if I'm going to read the rest of the books in the series.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

*I received a copy of the book from the author. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, May 04, 2019

BLOG TOUR: Unexpected Friend & Relations by Jayne Bamber ~ Q&A + Excerpt & Giveaway

Today I have Jayne Bamber on the blog with a Q&A and an excerpt from her new book Unexpected Friends & Relations. So without further ado here we go.

How did you come up with the fan favorite character of Lady Rebecca? 

Lady Rebecca is pretty similar in nature to myself – short, spicy, loyal to her friends but will cut you if you get on her bad side. After Lizzy’s rupture with Jane in Book 1, I knew Lizzy needed a friend, and I decided to have it be someone in Darcy’s family, so Lady Rebecca started off as a strategic creation, someone who could meet Lizzy in London and then reappear again at Rosings. She was intended to be a smaller character, but since I was posting weekly on AHA, I was able to work off of all the positive feedback about her, and give her a larger role in the story.

How long on average does it take you to write a book? 

Book 1 and Book 2 were very different experiences for me. I wrote the first book over the course of six months, and Book 2 was written in 52 days. 

As of this moment do you have any plans to write any more books in this series?

Yes! I will finish up the series with a third book, which will come out this fall.

Out of both of your books what was the hardest scene you've had to write so far?

Definitely the potato scene in Book 1! There were so many people in that scene, everyone was talking all at once, and the whole time I was writing that scene I was just thinking ‘oh God this is so preposterous!’

What is your favorite scene that you have written, in either book?
The potato scene is still one of my favorites, but I think my all-time favorites are the theatrical scenes in Book 2. That idea is one of the first ones I had, when wanting to write my own JAFF. I really loved that part of Mansfield Park, and I had been wanting to do something like that in an adaptation of my own, but I didn’t initially plan on working it in to Book 2, but I think it fits so well into the Rosings storyline, with Henry Crawford and Mr. Rushworth both being there, and all the play-related scenes were so much fun to write.

The excerpt below shows how the idea of the Rosings theatrical is conceived. Find out how it plays out in Unexpected Friends and Relations, available on Amazon/Kindle!

Despite Mr. Crawford’s being so affably disposed toward everybody, and eager to address the whole party with equal amiability, Mr. Rushworth was often inexplicably displeased with him, and determined to contradict him, though in such an awkward and agitated manner that he was often scarcely intelligible at all.

Seeming really determined to show Mr. Rushworth the full capacity of his sociability, as they were all idling in the Rosings drawing room watching the rain resume once more, Mr. Crawford addressed him thus, “Rushworth, my good man, we are all in want of some indoor occupation, to be sure, and it puts me in mind of a little scheme we once had when we were at Mansfield Park – we never got our theatrical, and I am sure I have never recovered from the loss.”

“Theatrical,” Kate cried, her interest instantly captured, and she applied to Mrs. Crawford for some explanation.

Mrs. Crawford gave a diffident laugh – she was ever prone to affably dismissing the whims of her high-spirited husband. “Good Heavens, that again! I hardly think a rendition of Lovers’ Vows would please anybody!”

“Perhaps not,” Mr. Crawford agreed. “Indeed, it was very wrong of us to choose such a shocking script. Sir Thomas Bertram was well within his rights to be dismayed by such a scheme. However, I am not convinced that some manner of theatrical would not suit us very well indeed. I am certain Mr. Rushworth here was really most eager to give his two-and-forty speeches, were you not, sir?”

His hands behind his back, Mr. Rushworth gave a little bow and nod of his head by way of agreement, and he stepped a little nearer the group, willing at last to hear Mr. Crawford out.

“You see, Fanny,” Mr. Crawford declared. “Poor Mr. Rushworth has not made two-and-forty speeches in the whole course of his stay here in Kent, I am quite sure of it. He must have his moment – so must we all!”

“Only there are so very many of us,” she observed. “If we were to perform a little theatrical here, we must make certain that it be such a one as to provide everybody their share in it.”

A great many suggestions were put forth, and all equally refuted by one or another amongst them. Mrs. Crawford, and indeed most of the married ladies, began to declare that they should not wish to play-act, or if they must, they should only want a small part, a very small part indeed.

“And of course we cannot all be acting,” Mr. Crawford said. “To whom, then, should we perform? We are all of us wanting an audience sometimes, I think.”

Kate and Robert, being master and mistress of the house, agreed that they could not dislike the idea – they thought it a perfectly suitable occupation, should the weather persist in disobliging them from any other pursuit. Kate even ventured that she might be of assistance by way of creating some manner of scenery for them. “I am sure I could create a very suitable backdrop – I have my paint things here, and you know any old tapestry might be made up as a sort of backdrop, so long as the right sort of play is selected – perhaps one in a more natural setting? I am certain I could paint a very grand landscape in very little time – as long as it might take you to rehearse, I am sure.”

Mr. Willoughby, who had already insisted that he would act in Shakespeare or nothing at all, quickly brought forth the winning idea – A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

“It is just the thing for us, I am sure,” he declared, standing up to strike a commanding, dramatic pose. “Do you not all quite long for summer – or at least the return of sunshine? There is a sufficient amount of parts – just enough that anyone who wishes to act might do so, with enough people excluded to make up a sufficient audience, containing parts both romantic in nature and otherwise, and in exactly the sort of natural setting Mrs. Fitzwilliam might be able to create a backdrop for. The costumes might be easily arranged, for any old garments might be made up new in a trice, and it is such a familiar play to us all, I am sure – for I know I am not the only lover of Shakespeare amongst us – that the lines might be learned in so reasonable an amount of time as we might make a performance within a fortnight.”

To such sensible arguments as these, there could be no acceptable rebuttal, and it was decided. They were just upon the point of dividing the parts amongst themselves – a copy of the book had been retrieved from the library, a list of principal roles quickly written out, and a system devised by which each part might be assigned randomly so as to forestall any arguments – when Lady Catherine and Sir Gerald returned to the assembled party.

Sir Gerald was delighted with the scheme; Lady Catherine was dismayed. The young people were all in uproar – all the same arguments made over again, and betwixt all these, and Sir Gerald’s own considerable influence over his wife, Lady Catherine was brought around to the idea, gently reminded that she was no longer mistress of the house herself, and made to acknowledge that so long as this scheme extended no further than the confines of those already present, she should be perfectly satisfied. That Harriet should participate was another concern. Lady Catherine would not wish her to do anything so indecorous, was willing only to allow Harriet to be relegated to a member of the audience. Harriet’s disappointment was nearly complete, when all her friends and relations took up her cause so eagerly that she was not obliged to argue with her parents directly.

Sir Gerald was the first to be brought around to the idea. “I am sure it will be an innocent diversion for her, provided she not take on any romantic part.” To a small role Harriet was relegated – to one of the fairies, whose only part might be to follow Queen Titania around, and share no lines with any gentlemen. She would have faerie wings and flowers in her hair – Harriet was satisfied with this concession. She was marked down as Mustardseed, for Mr. Willoughby had most ardently taken up Mr. Crawford’s cause, and might now be seen as the very author of the whole plan; he began to oversee the assignment of every other part, and transcribed every detail of it into a small notebook he produced from his coat pocket.

There were some roles more desirable than others, a great demand to play the principal characters, particularly those of a romantic nature, and several minutes of cheerful, noisy chaos ensued before Mr. Crawford and Mr. Willoughby could call them all to order – Lady Catherine observed that she felt as though she were at the theatre already.

Paper and pen were produced, names thrown into a hat, and selected at random as each character was called out. The results were considered, and after a few amicable adjustments made, and several trades refused, Mr. Willoughby transcribed the final casting in a very elegant hand:

HelenaL. Bennet
HermiaG. Darcy
DemetriusH. Audley
LysanderJ. Willoughby
OberonF. Wentworth
TitaniaC. Sutton
PuckH. Crawford
Duke TheseusH. Tilney
Bottom, the AssJ. Rushworth

Harriet felt no little sympathy for poor Mr. Rushworth, who was much dismayed at playing the Ass, and could not convince any of the other gentlemen to exchange characters with him. Sam, Mr. Middleton, and Mr. Fitzwilliam agreed to assist him in the play within the play, as their wives likewise agreed to join Harriet in playing the fairies.

It was resolved that Mr. Willoughby and Mr. Crawford would ride to Rochester on the morrow, braving every possibility of rain, and procure sufficient copies of the play as to allow them to properly rehearse, and their performance should be made a fortnight hence. Kate declared she would begin the painting of an enchanted forest backdrop at once, and Sam volunteered the services of his wife, who had stayed home at Cranbrook, to engage in a thorough searching of their attics as to locate some old gowns and pantaloons that might be converted into proper costumes, if the same might be embarked upon at Rosings, an endeavor that was instantly to be undertaken with no little amusement, and consumed the remainder of their day.

Thanks for joining me on the next stop of my blog tour! I will be giving away 7 copies of the e-book free on May 20th – click here to enter. See the full schedule for the blog tour below, and click here to follow me on Facebook for updates on the final installment of the Friends & Relations Series, coming soon!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

REVIEW: The Mysteries of Pemberley by Amy D'Orazio

Title: The Mysteries of Pemberley
Author: Amy D'Orazio
Publisher: Quills & Quartos
Release Date: 2018
Number of Pages: 408
Book Format: ebook

Book Blurb: Written in the Gothic style popular in Austen’s day, The Mysteries of Pemberley unwinds in 1816, the year without a summer. The skies are gloomy, the land is barren, and Fitzwilliam Darcy is unknown to the people of Hertfordshire. His arrival is less than welcome by one young lady.

My Review: This book starts off with Elizabeth making a promise to Jane to take care of her son Charles after her death. Four years later Mr. Darcy shows up to take Charles to Pemberley to raise him as per Bingley's will.  Lizzy comes to Pemberley with them as she can't stand to be separated from baby Charles. Once she's there she uncovers some of the secrets of the great house. Misperceptions and miscommunication arise from the members of the household and the neighborhood. All of the mystery surrounding Pemberley reaches a sweet and satisfying conclusion with the return of a beloved family member.

This novel did drag for me until I reached about 35% into it and then I couldn't put it down. I definitely recommend reading this book. I can't wait to see what other great books Quills and Quartos puts out in the future.

Rating: 4½ stars out of 5

You can get a copy of this book for free just for signing up with Quills and Quartos. You can sign up here.  Just scroll down to the bottom of the page.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

REVIEW: House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A Craig

Title: House of Salt and Sorrows
Author: Erin A Craig
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: YA Mystery/ Retelling
Release Date: August 6th, 2019
Number of Pages: 416

Book Blurb: In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls' lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn't sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh's involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it's a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.

My Review: When I saw this book on NetGalley I was intrigued enough by the synopsis to request it and I'm glad that I got approved to read it. Normally I'm not a fan of mystery novels but this one actually got me invested. I loved the world building and the characters. I was sad when some of the characters died, and believe me they were dropping off left and right. I really did not see that ending coming. I can't believe all the stuff that happened in this book because of one women's misguided love for someone she could never have. Like she straight up murdered his wife to have him but the ending did seem like it was rushed.

I definitely recommend reading this book if you love fairytale retellings and mystery novels.  I can't wait to see what other stories Erin A. Craig brings to us in the future.

Rating: 4½ stars out of 5

* I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley. All opinions are my own.