Posts Categorized: Romance

Book Review: A Promise at Bluebell Hill by Emma Cane

26 Feb, 2014 by in adult, avon, HarperCollins, Romance 2 comments

I received this book for free from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: A Promise at Bluebell Hill by Emma Cane

A Promise at Bluebell Hill

by Emma Cane
Series: Valentine Valley #4
Published by Avon, HarperCollins on February 25th, 2014
Genres: Adult, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
four-stars
Source: HarperCollins
Buy the BookGoodreads
Welcome to Valentine Valley, where romance blooms and love captivates even the most guarded of hearts . . .

From the moment Secret Service agent Travis Beaumont strides into the town and through the door of Monica Shaw's flower shop, she feels a sizzle of attraction. After years of putting everyone else's needs first, Monica is ready to grab hold of life. If she can just persuade the ultimate protector to let his own walls down for once . . .

The President's son is getting married in Valentine Valley, and Travis should be avoiding all distractions . . . not fantasizing about a forthright, sexy-as-hell florist. Especially when she's keeping secrets that could jeopardize his assignment. But just this once, Travis is tempted to put down the rulebook and follow his heart—right to Monica's door.

Roses are red, violets are blue, and in Valentine Valley, love will always find you.

This is the first book I’ve read in the Valentine Valley series, but it is actually #4 in sequence. A Promise at Bluebell Hill can be read as a standalone, but ultimately I think readers will enjoy getting to know the back story behind this small town group of activists, shop owners and close friends.

I loved:

The small town setting. Valentine Valley, Colorado has a homey feel. Its a timeless community where everyone knows each other.

The loyalty between the characters and the depth of relationships between family and friends. This is a feel good about women book.

That the two main characters were willing to settle down and commit to one another, putting high push careers and political differences aside. They recognized the importance of marriage and family.

The scenic backdrop of bluebell fields and mountains. It’s a romantic place we would all want to visit.

The exploration and resolution of marital problems between Monica’s parents. There is a good plot arc as we see empty nesters work out how to enjoy each other without being directly involved in each others hobbies.

The trade market price. A paperback for $5.

I Struggled With:

The heavy and descriptive romance scenes. I admit, I typically do not read adult romance unless it leaves details to the imagination. This one was a little too fast moving and TMI for me. It’s definitely an adult romance, not for children or teens.

The push at political agenda and correctness. It felt forced to have an activist group against big development and preservation of fossils, flag burning protests, a female President of the US all rolled into one small town novel.

Overall, for me as a reader, the good outweighed the bad and I would read the rest of the series. But it would mean skipping right over the pages with detailed love scenes. I prefer a clean read with tension instead of having it all spelled out.

I loved the writing and the well developed characters and I am glad to have found out such a place as Valentine Valley really exists! You can learn more on the author’s site. Thanks so much to HarperCollins for a fun Valentine’s read!

heather

About the AuthorEmma Cane

Emma Cane was born in Erie, a small Pennsylvania town on beautiful Lake Erie, where the sunsets are some of the best in the world. Though Emma enjoyed figure skating and skiing (good sports in the northeast), she brought a book everywhere she went, usually science fiction and fantasy. Yes, Emma was a Trekkie. Early in her teen years, she decided maybe she could be a writer, and wrote passionate stories of teenagers in space, first by hand until her fingers cramped, and then on her dad’s manual typewriter, which she still can’t bear to give away. In high school she discovered historical romances, starting with Kathleen Woodiwiss’s Shanna, and Emma never looked back. The first romance she ever tried to write was a historical Western, but now she’s changed to the 21st century, where cowboys can ride pickup trucks as well as horses. Emma fell in love with small-town, heartwarming stories, and created the fictional town Valentine Valley, a small ranching community in the Colorado Rockies, where she sets her novels. A Town Called Valentine was the first in her new series. A Promise at Bluebell Hill is the fourth book, and there’ve also been two novellas.

Emma always wanted a career. She determined she wouldn’t be good at the family business, funeral directing, mainly because a funeral director is a social creature, out in society, joining lots of committees and being involved in the community. She likes to pick and choose her committees (she’s served in almost every capacity in her local writers’ group) She especially enjoys being at home in the evenings, her face buried in a book. When she went to college, Emma figured it might be difficult to earn a living writing, so she tried many different jobs. After majoring in aerospace engineering and taking all her electives in English, she realized writing was her future. While she learned her craft and raised her children, she worked several jobs, from fitness training to programming computer-controlled machines. She joined her local chapter of Romance Writers of America, found her best friends, and with their help, sold her manuscript to Avon Books. At last, writing has become her full-time career.

Now that her three children are grown, Emma loves spending time crocheting and singing (although not necessarily at the same time), and hiking and snowshoeing alongside her husband Jim and two rambunctious dogs Apollo and Uma.

Emma also writes as USA Today Bestselling historical romance author Gayle Callen.

Find out more at HarperCollins * Author’s website

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Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare~ Excerpt and Giveaway

28 Jan, 2014 by in avon, excerpt, giftcard, giveaway, Romance, tessa dare 2 comments

Fire and Ice is happy to highlight

Romancing the Duke
Castles Ever After #1
by Tessa Dare
Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Expected publication: January 28th 2014
by Avon
ISBN 0062240196

“A sweet, fun nod to literary fandom, and two main characters who are perfect for each other yet never would have met if they weren’t each at a nadir in life’s journey.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Dare’s first Castles Ever After historical provides a unique twist to a fairy tale, complete with an ancient castle, a damsel in distress, and a wounded hero […].”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“[A] wickedly funny and soul-satisfyingly romantic novel, the perfect launch to Dare’s new Castles Ever After series.”
–Booklist (starred review)

In the first in Tessa Dare’s captivating Castles Ever After series, a mysterious fortress is the setting for an unlikely love . . .

As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens. She never doubted romance would be in her future, too. The storybooks offered endless possibilities.

And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off. One by one by one.
Ugly duckling turned swan?
Abducted by handsome highwayman?
Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?
No, no, and… Heh.

Now Izzy’s given up yearning for romance. She’ll settle for a roof over her head. What fairy tales are left over for an impoverished twenty-six year-old woman who’s never even been kissed?

This one.

A sneak peek of ROMANCING THE DUKE

The driver pocketed her offering and touched his cap. “What was yer name again, miss?”
“Goodnight. Miss Izzy Goodnight.”
She waited to see if he would recognize it. Most of the literate people in England would, and a great many of their domestic servants, besides.
The driver only grunted. “Jes’ wanted to know it, in case someone comes around asking. If you’re never heard from again.”
Izzy laughed. She waited for him to laugh, too.
He didn’t.
Soon driver, team, and carriage were nothing more than the fading crunch of wheels on the road.
Izzy picked up her valise and walked through the barbican. A stone bridge carried her over what once had been a moat but now was only a slimy green trickle.
She’d done a bit of research in advance of her journey. There wasn’t much to read. Only that Gostley Castle had once been the seat of the Rothbury dukedom, in Norman times.
It didn’t look inhabited now. There was no glass in many of the windows. No lights in them, either. There should have been a portcullis that dropped to bar the entrance—but there was nothing there. No door, no gate.
She walked through the archway and into the central, open courtyard.
“Lord Archer?” Her voice died in the air. She tried again. “Lord Archer, are you here?” This time, her call got a respectable echo off the flagstones. But no answer.
She was alone.
Dizzied from her strange surroundings and weak with hunger, Izzy closed her eyes. She coerced air into her lungs.
You cannot faint. Only ninnies and consumptive ladies swoon, and you are neither.
It started to rain. Fat, heavy drops of summer rain—the kind that always struck her as vaguely lewd and debauched. Little potbellied drunkards, those summer raindrops, chortling on their way to earth and crashing open with glee.
She was getting wet, but the alternative—seeking shelter inside one of the darkened arches—was less appealing by far.
A rustling sound made her jump and wheel. Just a raven taking wing. She watched it fly over the castle wall and away.
She laughed a little. Really. It was too much. A vast, uninhabited castle, rain, and now ravens, too? Someone was playing her a cruel trick.
Then she glimpsed a man across the courtyard, standing in a darkened archway.
And if he was a trick, he wasn’t a cruel one.
There were things in nature that took their beauty from delicate structure and intricate symmetry. Flowers. Seashells. Butterfly wings. And then there were things that were beautiful for their wild power and their refusal to be tamed. Snowcapped mountains. Churning thunderclouds. Shaggy, sharp-toothed lions.
This man silhouetted before her? He belonged, quite solidly, in the latter category.
So did the wolf sitting at his heel.
It couldn’t be a wolf, she told herself. It had to be some sort of dog. Wolves had long been hunted to extinction. The last one in England died ages ago.
But then . . . she would have thought they’d stopped making men like this, too.
He shifted his weight, and a slant of weak light revealed the bottom half of his face. She glimpsed a wide, sensual slash of a mouth. A squared jaw, dark with whiskers. Overlong hair brushed his collar. Or it would have, if he had a collar. He wore only an open-necked linen shirt beneath his coat. Buckskin breeches hugged him from slim hips to muscled thighs . . . and from there, his legs disappeared into a pair of weathered, dusty Hessians.
Oh, dear. She did have such a weakness for a pair of well-traveled boots. They made her desperate to know everywhere they’d been.
Her heart beat faster. This didn’t help with her lightheadedness problem.
“Are you Lord Archer?” she asked.
“No.” The word was low, unforgiving.
The beast at his heel growled.
“Oh. I-is Lord Archer here?”
“No.”
“Are you the caretaker?” she asked. “Are you expecting him soon?”
“No. And no.”
Was that amusement in his voice?
She swallowed hard. “I received a letter. From Lord Archer. He asked me to meet him here on this date regarding some business with the late Earl of Lynforth’s estate. Apparently he left me some sort of bequest.” She extended the letter with a shaking hand. “Here. Would you care to read it for yourself?”
That wide mouth quirked at one corner. “No.”
Izzy retracted the letter as calmly as she could manage and replaced it in her pocket.
He leaned one shoulder against the archway. “Aren’t we going to continue?”
“Continue what?”
“This game.” His voice was so low it seemed to crawl to her over the flagstones, then shiver up through the soles of her feet. “Am I a Russian prince? No. Is my favorite color yellow? No. Would I object if you were to come inside and remove every stitch of your damp clothing?” His voice did the impossible. It sank lower. “No.”
He was just making sport of her now.
Izzy clutched her valise to her chest. She didn’t want Snowdrop getting wet. “Do you treat all your visitors this way?”
Idiot. She cursed herself and braced for another low, mocking “no.”
He said, “Only the pretty ones.”
Oh, Lord. She ought to have guessed it earlier. The fatigue and hunger had done something to her brain. She could almost believe the castle, the ravens, the sudden appearance of a tall, dark, handsome man. But now he was flirting with her?
She had to be hallucinating.
The rain beat down, impatient to get from the clouds to the earth. Izzy watched drops pinging off the flagstones. Each one seemed to chisel a bit more strength from her knees.
The castle walls began to spin. Her vision went dark at the edges.
“I . . . Forgive me, I . . .”
Her valise dropped to the ground.
The beast snarled at it.
The man moved out from the shadows.
And Izzy fainted dead away.

The Giveaway

Could your “castle” use a pick-me-up? Enter to win a $50.00 BED BATH & BEYOND gift card below for a home improvement happy-ever-after of your own!
(US entries only please)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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YA Review- My Butterfly by Laura Miller

25 Jun, 2013 by in My Butterfly, Romance, YA contemporary Leave a comment

My Butterfly 
by Laura Miller
Paperback 355 pages
Published June 11, 2013
by Createspace 
ISBN 1481089854
Series: Butterfly Weends #2
Genre: YA
Contemporary, Romance
Book Source: author
4.5 stars

Summary from Goodreads: From the national bestselling novel Butterfly Weeds comes the other side of the story…
About the man behind the song.

Will Stephens doesn’t chase dreams outside of his small, Missouri town. He’s perfectly happy with his high school sweetheart in his arms, his guitar and his quiet, summer nights. But life for Will is about to change. He’s about to find out what it’s like to chase a dream—one he has loved since he first laid eyes on her.

A firefighter by day and a musician by night, Will balances his dangerous career with his weekend gigs, but his mind is never far from Julia Lang. They said their goodbyes years ago, but Will now hopes a song from their past will help Julia stop and remember a life they once shared together. His only fear is that he’s waited too long to get his song to her ears.


Review: Every once in a while a good old fashioned small town romance comes along and reminds you of the slow burning love of country life. Having not read book one in this series, Butterfly Weeds, I wasn’t sure of the other side of this story but I loved and understood every bit of book two.  Julia ad Will are childhood friends, playing in front of the local store and trying to steal rides on a tractor, but they lose track of each other until she waltzes back in to his High School and takes his heart back by storm. She’s the daughter of money, a track star and a future law student who wants to fulfill her career aspirations. Will on the other hand, is a small town boy with his roots deep in the Missouri soil. He’s not in a hurry to leave or to change his career choice as a fireman just because Julia thinks it’s too dangerous. He has the voice of an angel and a persistence that finally catches his butterfly. But she has a mind of her own and wings to fly away. Will’s life is now haunted by her face, her tough and so many memories they’ve wound together. Can Julia ever find her way back home, back to him?

My Butterfly tugged at my heart and made me long for a simpler time and place. It is a sweet, down to earth tale of love lost and the efforts to rekindle it. I enjoyed the slow, steady pace and the home spun characters that could very well be someone you know. I am definitely going to check out book one now that I’ve had a feel for Laura Miller’s writing. You’ll want to keep some tissues close at hand for the epilogue!

Content: Clean, no sex or violence, a few minor swear words.




Marc-Mayes Photography

About the author: Laura Miller was born in the Missouri River Bottoms in Berger, Mo., but grew up in New Haven, Mo., and attended the University of Missouri-Columbia (Mizzou). While in college, Laura was a 400-meter and 600-yard runner on the University’s track and field team. She later graduated from Mizzou with a degree in newsprint journalism and spent years as a newspaper reporter, covering government and business news, before starting to write fiction.

Laura spent some time in San Diego, Calif., and Charleston, S.C., before moving back to the Midwest in 2011. She now lives in Columbia, Mo., with her husband, a TV meteorologist and former Mizzou 800-meter runner.
Laura’s debut novel, Butterfly Weeds, hit the Amazon Best-Seller’s List in October 2012, while her latest novel, My Butterfly released in June 2013. When she’s not working on her next book, Laura can be found chasing after her latest obsession, her one-year-old nephew, or lost in a good book.

Learn more on the website/ facebook/ twitter/ goodreads/ YouTube

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