#BookReview: Earl of St. Seville (3/5)

In a nutshell, Earl of St. Seville was fine. The basic premise includes a misfit, activist heroine and a brawny, goodhearted hero who is trying to save his estate. The story follows the earl as he gets involved in some of the seedier establishments in London and include quite a bit of prizefighting. It also shows Patience, the heroine, in her crusade to end the dangerous practice of prizefighting.

On the whole, the writing was inoffensive. It was not captivating nor did it ever make me feel the urge to actually finish the book. At times, I felt reading it was more of a chore than anything else. For reference, it took me about three weeks to finish this book. This past week alone I’ve started and finished four books.

The romance itself was rather lackluster and the attraction between the main characters did not seem remotely believable until about three quarters of the way through the book. The first interaction between the two reads as a clinical description of bodily appearance rather than a lust filled first encounter.

Initially I wondered if my apathy towards the title might be because I’m not generally drawn towards stories with the prizefighter bent, and yet I picked up a different Regency in that sub genre and found it far more enjoyable.

This book is one in a larger series and I think that was to its detriment. There were characters who showed up with larger backstories that were never expanded on and there were frequent references to events and history that didn’t make much sense.

Perhaps I would be more favorable towards this novel had I not read it as a standalone. That being said, they author’s writing style is not nearly captivating enough for me to find the energy to read the rest of the books.

All in all, give it a try but don’t be surprised if you don’t ever finish it.


I was provided a copy of the book by the publisher through NetGalley. This was done in exchange for an unbiased review posted to Amazon and my personal blog. 

#BookReview: Once Upon a Moonlit Path (4/5)

I’ve just finished reading Once Upon a Moonlit Path by Ava Stone. The story is a paranormal Regency romance, so get ready for some ghostly encounters!

On the whole, I enjoyed the story. The attraction between Cassandra (Cassy) and Jack is believable and fiery! Cassy’s little brother, Toby, humanizes Jack and provides us the opportunity to see the rake in a more caring role (never a bad thing!)

The story is set in a haunted castle with the reading of a will as the motivation that throws our characters together. We learn quickly that Jack has had his eye on Cassy for quite a while. The lead up makes it easy to believe his attraction to her, but her own attraction to him seems a bit more tenuous.

In keeping with the paranormal tag, ghostly hijinks ensue and between assignations around the castle, Cassy sees ghosts walking the halls of the house. Eventually, after facing down ghosts and unromantic parents, Cassy and Jack get their happily ever after.

In terms of romance, I found this book pretty satisfying. The romance was hot and the story moved at an appropriate pace. The paranormal tag seems a bit more of a stretch to me. There’s not nearly enough backstory for me to understand Cassy’s history of seeing ghosts and instead it comes off as a gimmicky way for Cassy to be seen as an ostracized member of the assembled characters.

Speaking of assembled characters, the book at times reads like a biographical listing. The characters and tangential side characters get an inordinate amount of screen time, perhaps appropriate given that this is the first of the series. I would have liked to have seen some paring down of characters. By the time the parents arrived on the scene, I had forgotten that I already knew them! A most disconcerting experience, indeed.

In addition, there’s a whole secondary plot point with gypsies that seems rushed and unnecessary.

You will enjoy this book if you are here for the romance and the romance alone. Do not expect this to be a larger paranormal adventure. Other than a few ghostly sightings, there’s no exploration of the implications of Cassy’s ability to see ghosts or any sign that these ghosts and her ability exist outside of their function as a plot point.

You will not enjoy this book if you’re looking for a paranormal/gothic novel. You just won’t. I think that labeling this story as a paranormal romance might be a bit of an overstatement.

It’s a quick read and low commitment. I most likely will not continuing reading the rest of the series. It’s well written and fine for a slow afternoon at work.


I was provided a copy of the book by the publisher through NetGalley. This was done in exchange for an unbiased review posted to Amazon and my personal blog. 

On letting your characters lead

Oh boy oh boy oh boy. My characters have a mind of their own. A dear friend advised that I let Alex and Grace tell their own story and that has resulted in some pretty interesting results.

Basically, they’re much more interested in hooking up than I thought they were. And Grace is quite bold in how far she’ll go to bed the duke. Alex is a bit of an exhibitionist. Really not at all what I had in mind when I was first planning the story!

I guess it goes to show you that an author is merely the vessel through which a story is told.

The Duke’s Dilemma (Sneak Peek #4)

Another excerpt for my lovely readers! If you want to catch up on other parts of The Duke’s Dilemma please check out my other excerpts. This one is a bit saucy, so I’ve placed it below the break. Nothing too scandalous, that’ll come later, but a little something to whet the palate.

Continue reading The Duke’s Dilemma (Sneak Peek #4)

When the breakthrough comes

Let me tell you friends, walking down that strange new path got me finally writing again. I finished the new beginning, found a place to put it and reworked everything after it into a seamless story. Or at least what I hope to be a seamless story.

And boy oh boy was it some risque new content. One of my dear friends advised me to let the characters write themselves. This pair of characters have quite the naughty mind!

I’ve just passed the 25k marking which is a strange feeling. This is my first time past that bench mark since I first tried my hand at writing a novel nearly six years ago.

Stay tuned, because an excerpt of The Duke’s Dilemma will be going up today! I’m so excited to share what I have with you.

 

CONTEST: Create a character

Hey everyone!

As you’re probably aware, I’m just starting out here. Although I’ve written in the past for my own enjoyment, it’s not something I ever really shared with the world.

And yet, here we are. I want to share my writing with you! In order to help me build my audience, I’m proposing a bit of a contest. The rules are as follows.

I will post an excerpt from The Duke’s Dilemma tonight. It will be PG, maybe PG-13. You have until 11:59 pm (EDT) on Wednesday, July 5th, to do any of the following.

  • If you like the post you will be entered once into a raffle.
  • If you share the post on your own blog, you will be entered twice.
  • If you write a little blurb promoting the post, my book, or my blog, you’ll be entered three times as a base plus and an additional entry for every 50 words you write (ie a 100 word piece would be equal to 5 entries).

The prize? A character you design. I have a character sheet that you’ll be able to fill out. You can choose to base the character off yourself or create the character from the depths of your imagination. The sheet will include basics (name, age, appearance) as well as more in depth descriptions (scent, motivation, aspirations).

Some fine print: The character must be compliant with the time period of this historical novel. As such, I may have to work with you to ensure that the character is seamlessly integrated. I can only guarantee that the character has a scene in the story, I cannot promise that the character ends up any more important than that. If I choose to do this sort of contest again, previous winners WILL be allowed to enter.

Good luck!

On the value of handwritten notes

Plot bunnies are determined little things. I’ve had a bunny bouncing around my head for about two weeks now and found that its existence was a detrimental distraction from my writing. When I should have been focusing on the budding romance, I was instead fleshing out the bunny.

So, today I decided to do something about it. I wrote my bunny down. But that wasn’t enough. So I took out my bullet journal and started a word vomit page. I let my bunny free onto the page and added whatever details came to my mind. This lead to other bunnies and pretty soon I had a whole pile of fun plot twists to liven up the story.

When you read The Duke’s Dilemma, look out for my bunnies and be sure to say “hi!”

 

Shocking events rock small town Ohio (or why it’s hard to write with a murderer on the loose)

Apparently when there’s a murder only a few minutes walk from your house and the suspect isn’t caught, it’s a bit hard to write romance. For whatever reason, locking all your doors and windows and keeping a giant kitchen knife on your bedside table doesn’t exactly conjure to mind seduction and bodice ripping.

When I sat down to write last night, safely ensconced in my locked bedroom, my characters developed a disturbing proclivity for adventure. All of a sudden, Grace wanted to climb the outsides of castles and Alex mounted up to fight Napoleon. Pausing, I realized this was not the turn I wanted to take while acquiring a first pony for Eliza so I put my work down and just went to bed. It was a weird feeling to just not write. I know I talked about slacking off last week, but that felt okay because I knew I had Friday to make it up.This week, however, I have family coming to visit and Columbus Pride so I know every bit of writing I can do ahead of time can help me stay on track.

I’m hoping to pass 20,000 words today (and am about 600 away so it’ll definitely happen before bed) which marks the 25% point of my writing. This is kind of crazy to think about since I still have two months left until my self imposed deadline. Hopefully this means I’ll be able to do a first round of edits before my mind becomes consumed by college again.

If you’d be interested in reading The Duke’s Dilemma as it’s written, please let me know! I’d love to share it with you. And if you have any advice on how to stop your characters from tearing off on ill fated adventures, please be in touch. I’ll take all the tips and tricks I can get!

The Duke’s Dilemma (Sneak Peek #3)

As lovely as it had been to imagine the taste and feel of Miss Grace Claridon, Alexander knew it had to stop. He knew that she was a respectable woman who deserved to be thought of honorably.

He moved towards her, his long steps eating up the distance that had existed between them. Taking her hands in his, he looked her in the eyes and said “I have overstepped the bounds of our agreement and I apologize for my transgression. Could you find it in your heart to forgive me, Miss Claridon?”

Shocked, Grace stammered before granting him forgiveness. “I suppose I can forgive you, Your Grace. As long as you ensure that this will not happen again.” With the duke in close proximity to her, Grace was treated to the woodsy scent, tinged with undertones of sandalwood, that enveloped him. She also spied the smattering of dark hair visible where his shirt was unbuttoned. His hands were large and callused in hers. His nails were neat and clean but his palms told a story of work done for love of land and not for profit. “Yes,” Grace said once more, “I forgive you.”

“Thank you, Miss Claridon.” He slowly raised her hands, giving her every opportunity to pull away, before brushing lips over first one hand and then the other.

Her breath caught as she watched his mouth pass over her hands and in the silence that followed, she could hear her heart pounding in her ears. Regaining her senses, she pulled her hands out of his and raced back to the house without another word.

Alex was left standing alone in the stables, stunned.

Writing Update: June 7th

Hello everyone!

I’m hard at work on The Duke’s Dilemma. I’ve just passed the 15,000 word mark! I consider it a mildly impressive feat considering it took me only a week and I am working hard (and trying not to write) during my nine-to-five job.

Our heroes are feeling the first sparks of attraction. The duke is rather enamored of the governess and trying his hardest not to dishonor her. Grace, for her part, is completely oblivious all around.

Stay tuned for more sneak peeks heading your way!