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Live Life Deliciously With Tara Teaspoon

13 Jul, 2020 by in Uncategorized Leave a comment

Live Life Deliciously With Tara Teaspoon

Live Life Deliciously With Tara Teaspoon

on October 6, 2020
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Buy the Book
AS A FORMER FOOD EDITOR AND STYLIST with Martha Stewart and food director of Ladies' Home Journal magazine, Tara knows how to create and showcase gorgeously themed meals for every lifestyle and occasion.

In her first cookbook, she shares more than 120 delicious showstopping recipes that are designed to impress. From leisurely weekend brunches spent over burrata cheese with grilled peaches and orange zest chimichurri to easy weeknight rice bowls with carrot-ginger dressing to a mouthwatering Italian crostata baked tart, Tara explains how to put together and master several special go-to dishes from the culinary capitals of the world to add to your repertoire.

The book also features a section where she provides a basic recipe which can then be easily transformed into two or three new recipes to make meal planning a breeze during busy weeknight schedules.

Live Life Deliciously with Tara Teaspoon shows serious foodies how to present food as an interesting and beautiful culinary experience with dishes that taste as delicious as they look.

Reviews

“Tara’s passion for cooking and entertaining paired with her exceptional professional experience make for a cookbook adventure that no kitchen should be without. It’s the perfect companion for those essential, everyday recipes, while also an incredible cooking exploration of new pantry staples equally fit for special occasions or lazy weekends. Page after page, there’s not one recipe in this book I can’t wait to bring to life in my own kitchen again.”–Kelsey Nixon, author of Kitchen Confidence “Publishers Weekly”

“Bench aka Teaspoon, former food editor for Martha Stewart’s Living and Ladies Home Journal, debuts with a stylish cookbook aimed at cooks who ‘have a passion for feeding people.’…Innovative….showstopping…For Bench, preparation is key: she lists her go-to equipment and introduces ‘new pantry staples’. Throughout, Bench provides valuable serving and storage suggestions, swaps, and presentation ideas. These tempting, flexible recipes will go a long way in helping home cooks expand their repertoire.”–Susan Spungen, Author of Open Kitchen: Inspired Food for Casual Gatherings and founding food editor of Martha Stewart Living “Publishers Weekly”

“Live Life Deliciously brings Tara’s style of modern yet comfortingly familiar recipes right to your hands. Both serious and casual cooks will find success and cooking joy by following her simple but impressive takes on classics and flavorful creations.”
–Susan Spungen, Author of Open Kitchen: Inspired Food for Casual Gatherings and founding food editor of Martha Stewart Living

About the Author

Tara has spent more than twenty years in the food publishing industry creating recipes and articles, and food styling for various magazines, books, television and advertising.

Most recently she has been the food and entertaining director of Ladies Home Journal magazine. Prior to working at the Journal, Tara was a food editor at Martha Stewart Living, Kids, and Weddings magazines. She has appeared on the Martha Stewart television show, The Today Show, and on The Food Network as a show judge and contestant.

No Way Back Today Blog Tour and Giveaway

09 Jul, 2020 by in Uncategorized Leave a comment



I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the NO WAY BACK TODAY by Eric Shoars Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!
About the Book:
Title: NO WAY BACK TODAY
Authors: Eric Shoars
Pub. Date: November 22, 2019
Publisher: BookBaby
Formats:  Paperback, eBook
Pages: 336

Field of Dreams + This Is Spinal Tap = No Way Back Today. Midlife demands some reckoning and Eric realizes he can wait no longer. As Eric hurtles headlong toward the big 5-0, he realizes there is unfinished business and is determined to find his childhood friends, convince them to form their own rock and roll band, and to go on tour! He searches out Todd, Laurel, and Lorelei so he can fulfill that dream. The story of four Midwestern grown-ups and their childhood desires to create No Way Back Today in the face of improbable odds and middle age will have you both laughing and cheering as you recognize your own unfulfilled dreams. No Way Back Today is the incredible story of the improbable journey of a reunion tour for a band that never was!

Reviewed by Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers’ Favorite
No Way Back Today by Eric Shoars is a hilarious, bittersweet tale of childhooddreams and middle-age. It isn’t just a novel, it’s about not letting go of yourdreams, of taking second chances when you get them and of never lettingyourself down. The friendships between the four main characters were amazinglydeveloped, an inspiration to us all, and real people that we can all relate toin some way. This story will make you laugh and it will give you hope as itsteadily marches towards the end; you will be cheering them on, you will beholding your breath but, most of all, you will be compelled to read to the veryend and you will find yourself thinking back on your own dreams, especially theones that you never realized. Anything is possible if you just put your mind to it. A fun read!

Reviewed By Sherri Fulmer Moorer forReaders’ Favorite
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a compelling novel not only about secondchances and pursuing your dreams but about friendship and self-worth as youmove through different stages of life. I’m a bit younger than the protagonistsbut so much of what they felt resonated with me as I found myself wondering ifthere are any dreams from my youth that might be worth pursuing as I entermid-life myself. The evolution of the relationships with Eric, Todd, Laurel, andLorelei was amazing and inspiring and shows that friendship can remain nomatter how much life changes. It also seemed to me that they “bonded”and their relationships matured as they shared their experiences and as newopportunities arose for each of them as a result of pursuing this dream. No WayBack Today is an excellent novel of inspiring redemption and shows thatmid-life doesn’t have to be a crisis at all – in fact, it can rock! Great work,Eric Shoars! I loved this novel!

Book Trailer:


 




About Eric:

Eric Shoars is a serial storyteller who considers the English language his playground and who never met a pun he didn’t like. Eric is a modern day Walter Mitty with a serious twist. His writing style is best described as “fly on the wall” putting the reader in the shoes of the lead character experiencing what he does as he does. His heart’s desire is to have a personal narrator for his daily life. It works in comic books so why not in the real world?

No Way Back Today is Shoars’ first foray into fiction. His non-fiction works include Women Under Glass: The Secret Nature of Glass Ceilings and The Steps to Overcome Them and Evil Does Not Have The Last Word.



Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive a personalized, signed finished copy of NO WAY BACK TODAY, US Only.





Tour Schedule:
Week One:
6/29/2020
Interview
6/29/2020
Excerpt
6/30/2020
Interview
6/30/2020
Excerpt
7/1/2020
Guest Post
7/1/2020
Guest Post
7/2/2020
Excerpt
7/2/2020
Guest Post
7/3/2020
Instagram Post
7/3/2020
Guest Post

Week Two:
7/6/2020
Review
7/6/2020
Guest Post
7/7/2020
Review
7/7/2020
Review
7/8/2020
Review
7/8/2020
Review
7/9/2020
Review
7/9/2020
Review
7/10/2020
Review
7/10/2020
Instagram Post

Eleven Things You Probably Didn’t Know About the Book of Mormon Blog Tour and Giveaway

01 Jul, 2020 by in Uncategorized Leave a comment

Eleven Things You Probably Didn’t Know About the Book of Mormon Blog Tour and Giveaway

Eleven Things You Probably Didn't Know About the Book of Mormon

Format: eBook
Buy the Book
This is the beginning of a little series that I’ve been working on for a long time that I’m calling: “The Eleven Things” series. This is the first one called: Eleven Things You Probably Didn’t Know about the Book of Mormon. I’ve found over nearly 20 years of teaching adult and young adult institute that many miss the hidden gems in the scriptures. They miss the details and many of the “ah-ha moments” that are densely packed into Holy Writ.

You will love this book. It is a fun read. You'll have lots of ah-ha moments. It will excite you to learn even more about the incomparable Book of Mormon. You will learn things you've just never known before.

Generally, if you are purchasing this eBook, you’re a self-selected student of the scriptures and likely seasoned in the scriptures, or you’re a curious student of the gospel who just thirsts for learning and wants to know more, or you unabashedly have a high degree of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) so you want to be sure you are up to date on things you didn’t know.

Giveaway: 2 Free Copies of the ebook 

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Pillar of Light Blog Tour and Giveaway

25 Jun, 2020 by in Uncategorized Leave a comment

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

Pillar of Light

on March 27, 2020
Pages: 36
Format: eARC
four-half-stars
Buy the Book
In honor of the 200th anniversary of the First Vision, Andrew Knaupp and Sal Velluto, have created a graphic novel adaption of Joseph Smith’s First Vision. “Pillar of Light” teaches youth through a talented blend of imagery and words. Their goal is to inspire young readers to build their testimonies of the Prophet Joseph Smith and provide insights for receiving their own personal revelation. Details from all four wondrous accounts written by Joseph Smith as well as from those who heard him tell his firsthand experience are captivatingly blended together.

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This was historically accurate with beautiful illustrations and helpful information in the appendix. The author is well qualified to address the subject and offers much explanation to readers. We loved it in the form of a graphic novel.

Miracle Creek Christmas by Krista Jensen

24 Jun, 2020 by in Uncategorized Leave a comment

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

Miracle Creek Christmas by Krista Jensen

Miracle Creek Christmas

on September 8, 2020
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Buy the Book
Riley Madigan escapes to the sleepy mountain town of Miracle Creek after her relationship with an A-list actor ends badly. At least for a time, she hopes her new job as a high school art teacher will bring her the peace and quiet she is looking for. The last thing on her mind is love.

Mark Rivers was a firefighter until he got trapped in a wildfire and suffered third-degree burns on his face and body. After a year of recovering, Mark is trying to piece his life back together but struggles both emotionally and psychologically. He's been a recluse until he forces himself to attend his niece's school play and sees Riley, the school's art teacher. Immediately, Mark feels a connection to her. Maybe it's the kind way she greets his niece or the way the art she created for the school play is reminiscent of his late mom's artwork. Either way, Mark feels driven to get to know her, but first he'll need to build up the courage to talk to her.

When Mark asks Riley to work on a special nativity, he finds himself falling for her, particularly because Riley doesn't seem bothered by his scars. Is her affection for him real or is she simply overcompensating, pretending he's not different. One thing's for certain, in a small town that views Mark as a fragile hero, it's hard to pursue a relationship without everyone in his business. And although Riley has sincere feelings for Mark, is she really ready to risk her heart?

Broken hearts and lives are mended as the town of Miracle Creek comes together to celebrate a Christmas to remember.

About the Author

Krista Jensen grew up in Washington State, lived in Oregon for many years, and now lives in northwestern Wyoming with her husband and four children. Krista began writing seriously after her youngest child started school. She places her characters in the settings she loves and challenges them to dig deeper and fight for what they want most.

What the Other Three Don’t Know

23 Jun, 2020 by in Uncategorized Leave a comment

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

What the Other Three Don’t Know

What the Other Three Don't Know

on March 3, 2020
Pages: 240
Format: ARC
Buy the Book
Will I still be loved if I show people who I really am? Four high school seniors. Four secrets about to be told.

"This novel is The Breakfast Club meets 127 Hours. Recommended." --School Library Journal

If Indie had it her way, she would never choose to river raft with three other high school seniors, mostly strangers to each other, from her journalism class.

A loner, a jock, an outsider, an Instagram influencer. At first they can t see anything that they have in common. As the trip unfolds, the unpredictable river forces them to rely on each other. Social masks start to fall as, one-by-one, each teen reveals a deep secret the other three don t know.

One is harboring immense grief and unwilling to forgive after the death of a loved one. One is dealing with a new disability and an uncertain future. One is fearful of the repercussions of coming out. One is hiding behind a carefully curated perfect image on Instagram.

Before they get to the end of Hells Canyon, they ll know the truth about each other and, more importantly, learn something new about themselves.

What the Other Three Don't Know is a poignant and gripping YA novel about the unlikely friends who accept you for who you really are and the power of self-acceptance.

About the Author

Spencer Hyde spent three years of his high school experience visiting Johns Hopkins for severe OCD. He feels particularly suited to write this novel because he’s lived through his protagonists’ obsessions. Spencer worked at a therapeutic boarding school before earning his MFA and his PhD specializing in fiction. He wrote Waiting for Fitz while working as a Teaching Fellow in Denton, Texas. He is currently an assistant professor of English at Brigham Young University. Stories have a way of changing lives–Spencer learned that the first time he picked up a Tom Stoppard play and realized that words can nudge the world and build bridges to hope. Spencer and his wife, Brittany, are the parents of four children.

The Divine Gift of Forgiveness

22 Jun, 2020 by in Uncategorized Leave a comment

Paperback: 304 pages

Publisher: Deseret Book Co

December 30, 2019

Amazon (ad)

“As surely as the sun will rise tomorrow,” Elder Neil L. Andersen promises, “the Savior’s divine gifts of repentance and of forgiveness, offered in the beauty of His encompassing love, are certain for those who come unto Him with full purpose of heart.”

In this new book, Elder Andersen writes especially to those who are “awakening” unto God—those who are just beginning to discover or who seek the divine gifts and power of repentance and forgiveness in their lives. The Divine Gift of Forgiveness is organized in such a way that readers can choose the section or chapter that applies most to them and study it without having to have read from cover to cover. Leaders can similarly recommend specific chapters to those with whom they work.

Filled with powerful doctrine along with stories and experiences, this book will help all readers become more devoted disciples of the Savior.

About the Author

Elder Neil L. Andersen was sustained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 4, 2009. He was called as a General Authority Seventy in April 1993 at the age of forty-one. He served as a stake president in Tampa, Florida, and as the president of the France Bordeaux Mission. He served as a young missionary in the Paris France Mission. Elder Andersen has lived twelve years in Europe and South America as a missionary, mission president, and General Authority. He received his undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University and an MBA from Harvard University. He was the president and owner of an advertising agency in Florida and partnered in real estate development. After his service as a mission president, he became a vice president for a large healthcare system. He and his wife, Kathy, are the parents of four children and have seventeen grandchildren.

A Guarded Love Blog Tour and Giveaway

06 Jun, 2020 by in Uncategorized 1 comment

Everyone automatically wins a free eBook prize when they join the VIP Club at  www.AdeliaBurke.com

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3chzSe6

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53468060-a-guarded-love—book-one?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=ZtGXaq2z53&rank=3

Giveaway

You can win more prizes by leaving a comment on your blog or by visiting Adelia Burke’s Facebook group.  Prizes include free online courses and eBooks. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour Schedule

June 1

www.crossroadreviews.com

June 2

http://www.communitybookstop.blogspot.com

June 3

http://www.confessionsofbethany.com/

June 4

www.BiblioLeviosa.home.blog

June 5

www.bonnieharris.blogspot.com

June 6

http://fireandicereads.com/

June 7

www.cedarforthauthors.blogspot.com

June 8

www.mybookaday.blogspot.com  

June 9

www.baronessbooktrove.com

June 10

www.MovieReviewMom.com

June 11

www.kameomonson.comb/blog

June 12

June 13

https://www.instagram.com/book.amour/

June 14

www.thephantomparagrapher.blogspot.com

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Nocturne Blog Tour and Giveaway

05 Jun, 2020 by in Uncategorized 1 comment



I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the NOCTURNE by Cheryl Mahoney Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!

About The Book:
Title: NOCTURNE (The Guardian of the Opera #1)
Author: Cheryl Mahoney
Pub. Date: June 5, 2020
Publisher: Stonehenge Circle Press
Pages: 300
Formats:  Paperback, eBook
Find it: Goodreads, Amazon

Set against the backdrop of 1880s Paris and the stunning Opera Garnier, The Guardian of the Opera: Nocturne brings you the familiar tale from a different direction. Meg Giry met the Phantom once when she was twelve years old, a new ballet dancer lost in the Opera’s maze. Years later, when an Angel of Music offers singing lessons to her best friend Christine Daaé, Meg is sure she knows what’s actually happening. But as strange events unfold and the pieces stop adding up, Meg has to wonder if she truly understands the Phantom—or Christine.

Erik is a man of many talents and many masks, and the one covering his face may be the least concealing. The opera house is his kingdom and his refuge, where he stalks through the shadows as the Phantom of the Opera, watching over all that occurs. He never intended to fall in love; when he does, it launches him into a new symphony he’s certain can only end in heartbreak.


About Cheryl:

Cheryl Mahoney lives in California and dreams of other worlds. She is the author of the Beyond the Tales quartet, retelling familiar fairy tales, but subverting expectations with different points of view and new twists to the tales. She is also a co-author of The Servants and the Beast, and its companion piece, After the Sparkles Settled. Cheryl loves exploring new worlds in the past, the future or fairyland, and builds her stories around characters finding their way through those worlds–especially characters overlooked or underestimated by the people around them.

She has been blogging since 2010 at Tales of the Marvelous (http://marveloustales.com). Her weekly Writing Wednesday posts provide updates about her current writing, including excerpts. She also posts regularly with book and movie reviews, and reflections on reading. She has been a member of Stonehenge Writers since 2012, and has completed NaNoWriMo seven times.

Cheryl has looked for faeries in Kensington Gardens in London and for the Phantom at the Opera Garnier in Paris. She considers Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness Quartet to be life-changing and Terry Pratchett books to be the best cure for gloomy days.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Giveaway Details:
3 winners will win a finished copy of NOCTURNE, US Only.



Tour Schedule:
Week One:
6/1/2020
Guest Post
6/1/2020
Guest Post
6/2/2020
Guest Post
6/2/2020
Guest Post
6/3/2020
Interview
6/3/2020
Review
6/4/2020
Excerpt
6/4/2020
Excerpt
6/5/2020
Excerpt
6/5/2020
Instagram Post

Week Two:
6/8/2020
History from a Woman’s Perspective
Review
6/8/2020
Lifestyle of Me
Review
6/9/2020
Locks, Hooks and Books
Review
6/9/2020
She Just Loves Books
Review
6/10/2020
Jaime’s World
Excerpt
6/10/2020
Reese’s Reviews
Review
6/11/2020
The Phantom Paragrapher
Review
6/11/2020
A Dream Within A Dream
Guest Post
6/12/2020
Popthebutterfly Reads
Review
6/12/2020
A Gingerly Review
Review

Excerpt


Sometimes I believe the course of my life was set because I got lost one day when I was twelve years old. I got lost often that year, but only once that mattered.
I had first come to the Opera Garnier only three days before, and I defy anyone to learn that labyrinth of rooms and passages so quickly. It didn’t help being a girl from a small village, come to Paris with my mother just a week earlier. The city was bewildering, unimaginably bigger than my little village of Leclair. And the Opera was the heart and center of Paris, stranger and wilder and even more confusing.
I was supposed to be on my way to ballet practice. I was a petit rat, the lowest tier of society among the Opera’s performers. Madame Thibault the ballet mistress presided over us, and she did not tolerate tardiness. I didn’t want to be late. I desperately wanted to be at ballet practice—but I was lost.
Some wrong turn mixed me up somewhere, and from there I could only fly through the maze like a small ghost, unable to find the way back to my intended path. The Opera held too many similar corridors, with their polished marble floors, gilt paneled walls, and long arrays of mirrors. No space in the Opera was plain or generic, until the dizzying amount of detail, the carvings and the gold designs and the patterned grates overwhelmed me, so that I couldn’t pick out one familiar note in the crashing, thundering symphony of it all.
It felt equally impossible to ask for directions from anyone I passed, the looming scenechangers with gap-toothed grins or the elegant sopranos with their noses in the air. By the time I might have built up enough reckless courage to speak to someone, no one was left. I had got below ground level, probably not very far, but low enough for the halls to be deserted, low enough for it to feel cool despite the summer warmth above. I’d left behind the human smells of the upper corridors, the grease paint, perfume and cigar smoke. Down here the air smelled damp, reminding me of the fabled lake said to be even farther down. In stark and jarring contrast, these walls were plain, white-washed stone, unevenly lit by flickering gas lamps.
When I came to a bleak and empty dead-end, I gave up. I slid down to sit against the cold stone wall, one arm around my ankles and forehead against my knees. With my other hand I held tightly onto my small gold necklace, the barest of comforts in the desolation. My hair fell forward like a golden curtain around my face, blocking out the dismal, silent, baffling corridor. I half-believed that I would never get out, that I would die lost in the depths of the Opera.
Part of me found that the preferable option. To stumble in late to ballet practice would mean facing the ballet mistress’ mocking disapproval. She would hate me, the other girls would laugh at me, and my entire life, not to mention dancing career, would be over forever. I’d never earn any money to help Mother afford to stay in Paris, and we’d have to go back to Leclair where nothing would ever happen to me ever again.
So I sat in that dead-end corridor and cried.
“It can’t be as bad as all that.”
The voice that broke the silence was the most beautiful I had ever heard. Perhaps that was a strange adjective for a male voice, but it was a true one. It was a melodic voice, every syllable flowing smoothly into the next while the pronunciation stayed crisply clear. And it was a kind voice as well, sympathetic with a bracing amount of levity. It was a voice I would have had the courage to ask directions from, just a little earlier.
By now, the situation felt too far gone to be salvaged. Ballet practice would start within minutes; I couldn’t imagine getting there in time now even if I knew the way. So I just sobbed out, “I can’t find my way to practice and the ballet mistress is going to kill me.”
Only then did I lift my head to push my hair back, wipe my eyes and look at the man who had spoken. And then—sob catching in my suddenly tightening throat—then I got scared.
The other ballet girls had already taken great delight in telling me about Le Fantôme, the Phantom of the Opera, the specter who stalked the corridors, harbinger of death and disaster. I froze, staring at this strange figure so tall above me.
He was wearing the formal, all-black evening clothes the stories had promised. The legend also mentioned hands covered in blood, which his weren’t. His eyes weren’t the glowing yellow of the tales, but he did wear a molded white mask over the right side of his face in a more mysterious touch, while a broad-brimmed hat cast another layer of shadow.
A mask and evening clothes in the morning were unusual, but we were in an opera house. My instinct that he was the Phantom came from clues harder to define than a mask: a shroud of mystery surrounded him, from the swirling black cloak to the inexplicable way he seemed as much shadow as man, indistinct in the dim light, as though he was so used to blending in that he forgot to stop.
Somehow I thought of the Phantom at once, before he even had time to say, “In that case, I understand why you’re upset. There are many people I would rather cross than the ballet mistress.”
It was a sympathetic remark, made in that perfect voice, with a faint smile as well. However, my mother had warned me often enough not to trust strange men just because they smiled, and this one was stranger than most. “Who are you?” I gasped out, though I felt horribly sure that I already knew.
He fingered the brim of his hat, and I read thoughtfulness in his stance. “I am a sort of…guardian of the Opera,” he said at last, which only confirmed my worst fears. “You seem unfamiliar. Are you new?”
I could think of no answer that felt safe, so I chose the truth and said, “Yes.” In a way, everyone was new. The Opera Garnier had opened in January, and this was only June; I couldn’t imagine learning every face in six years, let alone a mere six months.
“I see. Old hands have no business getting lost, but when new it is difficult to avoid. I will help you.” And he extended one black-gloved hand.
My heart pounded in my chest so loudly he must have heard it, and my fingers tightened, wrapped around my legs. I stared at his hand, unmoving, for so long that he took it back again and said, “Not too new, I see, to have heard of the Phantom.”
So it was true, and only more terrifying that he admitted it. I looked up at his green eyes, at that mask, and squeaked, “Are you going to kill me?”
He crouched down, bringing his face nearly to my level, black cloak pooling around him. Closer now, I could see his eyes through the shadows, greener than anyone’s I had ever seen. “I will tell you a secret, but you mustn’t tell anyone else because it would ruin my reputation. I do not eat girls’ hearts. I have never drenched any walls in blood, at least not in this country. I cannot read minds or send nightmares, and—brace yourself, this one will be shocking—I am not actually a skeleton with glowing yellow eyes.”
He said it with such perfect solemnity that a giggle escaped me in spite of myself. It may have been slightly hysterical.
He nodded once. “I swear on Mozart, Beethoven, and Stradivari that if you come with me, you will reach ballet practice unharmed.”
When he extended his hand again, I took it. Even though I knew it was probably just a trick of voice, I was obscurely reassured by the vow—and I was also acutely conscious that he could kill me whether I went voluntarily or not.
His fingers closed around mine and he rose to his feet, drawing me up. For a supposed ghost, he had a warm and solid hand.
“One story that is true—I walk through walls.” He reached out to the wall behind me, and I turned my head in time to see a panel pivot out, revealing a dark space behind it. How many doors like that existed in the Opera, if one had happened to be right next to me all along?
He waved his hand through the air, a candle appearing between his thumb and forefinger. He lifted the candle and blew lightly over it. I was still noticing that he was a ghost who could breathe when the candle crackled to life with flame.
“How did you do that?” I asked, eyes widening.
His half-smile broadened. “Magic.” He stepped through the opening, candle illuminating a narrow tunnel of bare stones and wooden cross beams, more a space between walls than a proper passage.
Following him was either the bravest or most foolish thing I had ever done.
The Phantom guided me through endless turns and up a multitude of tight curved steps, the candle seeming to cast as much shadow as light. At first I walked stiffly, spine tingling with terrors, but slowly my breathing began to steady and my heartbeat to settle down, as we kept walking and he kept up a pleasant, if mostly one-sided, conversation.
He told me that the ballet mistress, though fearsome, had never actually murdered anyone. He advised me to stay away from the cellars, and if I got lost in the future I should keep going upstairs, never down. Some time when I wasn’t lost, I should go up to the roof to see the excellent view. He also told me I was not to worry if the ballet girls weren’t friendly at first, and I was never to feel that their opinion defined who I was, a statement that at the time seemed absurd and yet became remarkably comforting in later days.
I peeked at him when I dared, though with the shadows around us, the shadows cast by his hat, it was hard to see even his unmasked features. I thought he maintained a friendly expression throughout, rarely looking at me, focusing instead on the path ahead. I couldn’t hazard much of a guess at his age. No gray hair or stooped shoulders, definitely not an old man—but also definitely belonging to the foreign realm of mature adults that any people at least ten years older than me seemed to inhabit.
I had little time to contemplate. That dark walk didn’t last more than five minutes, though I would spend far more time remembering it. That day, he was soon reaching out to another wall. A movement of his fingers and a panel slid to the left. Beyond it, I could see a brightly-lit hallway, empty of people, full of the Opera’s characteristic decorations.
“Turn left, go right at the first intersection, and you should be just in time for ballet practice,” he said, handing me over the threshold.
I stepped out into the light, flexing my newly-released fingers. For feeling so reluctant to follow, I now felt strangely adrift to be sent back on my own. I hesitated, looked back at him in the shadows. “Thank you.” It felt inadequate.
He touched the brim of his hat in acknowledgement, stepped back a pace and vanished into the darkness. The wall slid shut, looking no different from every other panel in the corridor, as if it had never existed. As if he had never existed.
I tentatively reached out and touched the wall, patterned in pale blue with generous gold molding. Nothing moved, and I couldn’t even see a seam amidst the intricate design. I drew my hand back and shook my head, fuzzy, as though I’d just woken out of a remarkably vivid and extraordinary dream.
Here in the waking world, I still had to get to ballet practice, with no minutes to spare. At that thought I dashed off down the hall, spun right at the intersection, and arrived breathless at the mirrored practice room just ahead of my time.
The ballet mistress looked down her narrow nose at me as I came in the door. “Do save some breath for dancing, Mademoiselle Giry.”
But that was nothing; that was harmless. I was on time to take my position at the barre and she wasn’t angry with me, and besides—I had met the Phantom of the Opera and lived to tell the tale. In the afterglow of that, even Madame Thibault didn’t seem so terrifying.

He waited until the rapid beat of her footsteps faded around the corner, then turned to make his way through the narrow passage towards the nearest descending staircase.
He didn’t often intervene so directly. It wasn’t safe. But he found it hard to consider a crying little girl dangerous. She was small and alone. Before she lifted her head, he had thought she was even younger than she was. Helping her had seemed harmless enough—even amusing, to show off that candle trick. Mere sleight-of-hand, but enough to impress a Persian Sultana, and certainly good enough for a little ballet girl.
Nothing was ever unmixed though, and for all he had found the encounter pleasant, it hadn’t been without a pang. He hadn’t liked hearing the fear in her voice. Surprising, when it was exactly what he wanted, what he had spent these past months carefully composing.
He needed the fear. He needed the Opera Company to think that he was the dangerous one, so it wouldn’t occur to them that they, with their numbers and their confidence and their ability to cooperate, were the true dangers, the ones capable of hounding and harrying and hunting down the outcast in their midst.
He ran his fingertips along the rough wall of the passage, mere inches from the busy life on the other side.
Any attack would be more complicated than a raging mob with pikes; France was a civilized country, outside of her sporadic revolutions. But the result would be the same. The guillotine, or even worse—a cage. He was guilty of the crime of being different, the world had convicted him at birth, and he had ample precedent to suggest how they would sentence him.
But not while he possessed the Opera Garnier. Not while he was the Phantom of the Opera, stalking as ruler through its hidden passages, shadowed vaults and lofty catwalks. They would never catch him. They would never cage him.
Not again.
He would do whatever was necessary to ensure that. For all their melodramatic complaints, the Opera Company was happy enough to be occupying a haunted theatre—a high-quality ghost lent a certain prestige—and if Monsieur Poligny the manager was not so happy about paying a salary to a ghost, well…the man should have chosen more wisely than to marry a woman with his wife’s background. The Opera Ghost had recently obtained some very interesting information, and a little judicious blackmail should resolve any further issues with the management.
As for the little blonde girl, likely it would turn out for the best with her in the end. The ballet dancers and chorus girls loved telling tales about the Ghost, and they much preferred blood-curdling horror stories to ones about a helpful specter. She would be absorbed back into the anonymous crowd of little dancers, all much alike. It had been merely an educated guess that she was new—he didn’t really know every face, at least not yet. By the time she was telling the adventure to a dozen giggling friends, it would be about how the terrifying Phantom had nearly abducted her and she’d barely escaped with her life. He wouldn’t waste his time watching that conversation. He knew that was how it would go.
And it was better that way.

Rakes and Roses by Josi S. Kilpack Blog Tour

07 May, 2020 by in Uncategorized Leave a comment

  • Title: Rakes and Roses: A Mayfield Family Romance (Book 3)
  • Proper Romance series
  • Author: Josi S. Kilpack
  • Tour Dates: May 4 – May 22, 2020
  • Genre: Historical Romance, Regency Romance, Inspirational Fiction
  • Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing (May 5, 2020)
  • Length (320) pages
  • Trade paperback ISBN: 978-1629727356
  • eBook ASIN: B085FSQNGV
  • Audiobook ASIN: B0844W7ZQM

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

A standalone novel in the Mayfield Family series with an unusual premise and an uplifting ending.

Lady Sabrina endured an abusive marriage, a miscarriage, and early widowhood to emerge as a smart, successful, confident woman who found a way to make her mark in a man’s world. She has friends and purpose, but cannot hide from the emptiness she feels when the parties are over and the friends have gone home to families she will never have.

Harry Stillman may be charming and handsome, but he’s a gambler and a rake who has made a mockery of his privileges. He turns to the mysterious Lord Damion for financial relief from his debts, but still ends up beaten nearly senseless by thugs and left in an alley.

When Lady Sabrina comes upon Harry after the attack, she remembers the kindness Harry once showed to her six years ago and brings him to her estate to heal. Though their relationship begins on rocky footing, it soon mellows into friendship, then trust. But Lady Sabrina needs to keep Harry at a distance, even if he is becoming the kind of man worthy of her heart. After all, she is keeping a secret that, if exposed, could destroy everything she’s so carefully built.

PURCHASE LINKS:

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | DESERET BOOK | BOOK DEPOSITORY INDIEBOUND | AUDIBLE | GOODREADS

ADVANCE PRAISE:

“Uplifting…Kilpack flips the typical Regency romance script, with the heroine rescuing the hero. Kilpack’s strong, upright heroine who finds a way to claim her power in Regency society sets this love story apart. This magnetic tale will appeal to fans of emotional romance.”—Publisher’s Weekly 

 “Kilpack takes traditional regency roles and challenges them. She shows how one person can make an impact in the world. I found the story and premise unique.”—Heather Gardner, Fire and Ice

“This is a story of redemption above all else…the ending was perfect.”— Lucinda Whitney, author of Rescuing the Prince

AUTHOR BIO:

Josi S. Kilpack is the bestselling author of several Proper Romance and Proper Romance Historical series and a Cozy Culinary Mystery series. Her books, A Heart Revealed and Lord Fenton’s Folly; were Publishers Weekly Best Romance Books of the Year. She and her husband, Lee, are the parents of four children.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

EXCERPT

Another round started as Ward returned with another drink. Harry ignored this one, his stomach burning and his head pounding. The smoke in the room was thick enough to choke on.

“Can we call it a night, Stillman? It’s nearly three o’clock in the morning.”

“Not yet.”

Ward leaned in and lowered his voice. “Every round is a new risk. You’re further ahead than you’ve been in months.”

“Bad luck!” Harry turned to scowl at his friend. One never talked about losing when at the tables. It was almost as bad as having a woman stand on your left side. Thankfully, the group of light-skirts who ran pretty fingers down a man’s arm and laughed at jokes that were not funny had thinned out considerably after one o’clock in the morning. However, women had not served as a distraction for him for months now.

Harry ran a hand through his hair, which felt as grimy as his skin, willing his heart to slow. He began to swirl the cup—his main was nine this round, so he needed to swirl the cup eight times counterclockwise—eight was his universally lucky number—and nine times clockwise.

“. . . Stillman’s got a fortune waiting if he’d just find himself a wife.”

“Shut your mouth!” Harry yelled, snapping his head toward Ward, who sat backward in his chair, elbows propped on the table.

Ward raised his eyebrows. “I was just telling these blokes that I don’t know why you spend so much time here when you’ve a fortune just waiting to be—”

“Stop!” Harry barked as his heart sped up even more. It had been a mistake to tell Ward about Uncle Elliott’s gracious offer—an inheritance if Harry married a genteel bride—but Harry had been too drunk to be wise the night it had come out. Harry was too drunk to be wise most nights. He was not too drunk tonight, however, to keep Ward from revealing private information.

“Why should I not tell your friends?” Ward challenged, his eyes bleary with drink but also anger. He wanted to leave.

If only Harry could.

“Afraid the rest of us will be jealous of your opportunity?” Ward pressed. He was trying to pick a fight, likely thinking it would force Harry out of the hall, but he did not understand that Harry needed to stay. Ward was as much a gambler as Harry was, but he had better income and more understanding parents. Harry’s parents were dead, Uncle Elliott had cut him off more than a year ago, and he’d burned through his quarterly profits—such as they were—within weeks of the last payment.

“I shall ask you to keep my business private, Mr. Ward,” Harry said through his teeth.

Harry tried to focus his attention on the game, but his thoughts had been jumbled by Ward’s reminder of the world outside this club. There was no doubt in Harry’s mind that Uncle Elliott’s “bribe” that he settled upon his nieces and nephews when they made a good marriage had mostly been directed at Harry—Uncle Elliott had never liked Harry very much. Two of Harry’s cousins—Peter and Timothy—had already saddled themselves with wives, but Harry had no plans to do the same. Harry had inherited his father’s estate, which meant he could

make his own way. However, Uncle Elliott was no longer paying Harry’s debts now that he’d presented an opportunity that he believed would turn Harry into a respectable gentleman.

Harry had seen his uncle only once since his explanation and presentation of the “marriage inheritance” plan almost a year ago. Harry had lost nearly five hundred pounds the night before and had been in the depths of misery, so many of the details had been lost on him.

He’d been able to sell fifty acres of his land soon after meeting with Uncle Elliott, however, which paid off his debts and allowed him to live well through the fall and winter off the remaining profits and improved luck at the tables.

In January, he’d received his profits for the last quarter of the previous year and been surprised at the decreased revenue. The fields had not produced well, his solicitor had explained, and there were concerns about the old steward’s ability to manage. Two tenants had moved to a neighboring estate due to unfinished repairs Harry had neglected for three years. The solicitor had suggested Harry spend some time at the estate setting things right and improving profitability, but Harry had been sure that the faster way to make up for the lost profits was at the tables.

Chapter One Pages 12-14

Bestselling author Josi S. Kilpack tours the blogosphere May 4 through May 22, 2020 to share her third novel in the Mayfield Family series, Rakes and Roses. Forty popular book bloggers specializing in historical romance, inspirational fiction, and Austenesque fiction will feature guest blogs, interviews, exclusive excerpts, and book reviews of this acclaimed Regency romance.

RAKES AND ROSES BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE:

May 04         My Jane Austen Book Club (Guest Blog)

May 04         Historical Fiction with Spirit (Review)

May 04         Austenprose—A Jane Austen Blog (Review)

May 04         All About Romance (Guest Blog)

May 05         Timeless Novels (Review)

May 05         Literary Time Out (Review)

May 06         For Where Your Treasure Is (Review)

May 06         Courtney Reads Romance (Review)

May 07         Fire and Ice (Excerpt)

May 07         Gwendalyn’s Books (Review)

May 08         History Lizzie (Review)

May 08         Wishful Endings (Review)

May 09         Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen (Spotlight)

May 09         Relz Reviewz (Character spotlight)

May 10         Book Confessions of an Ex-Ballerina (Review)

May 10         Delighted Reader (Excerpt)

May 11         Frolic Media (Guest Blog)

May 11         A Bookish Way of Life (Review)

May 11         Bringing Up Books (Review)

May 12         Lu Reviews Books (Review)

May 13         English Historical Fiction Authors (Guest Blog)

May 13         Adventure. Romance. Suspense (Review)

May 14         Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals (Interview)

May 14         So Little Time…So Much to Read (Spotlight)

May 15         Storybook Reviews (Excerpt)

May 16         The Book Diva’s Reads (Review)

May 16         The Fiction Aficionado (Review)

May 17         Inkwell Inspirations (Spotlight)

May 17         Half Agony, Half Hope (Review)

May 18         Romance Junkies (Guest Blog)

May 18         Christian Chick’s Thoughts (Review)

May 18         The Lit Bitch (Review)

May 19         The Caffeinated Bibliophile (Interview)

May 19         Heidi Reads (Review)

May 19         Bookworm Lisa (Excerpt)

May 19         Laura’s Reviews (Review)

May 19         Katie’s Clean Book Collection (Review)

May 20         The Silver Petticoat Review (Excerpt)

May 20         Joy of Reading (Review)

May 20         Austenesque Reviews (Review)

May 21         The Calico Critic (Spotlight)

May 21         Getting Your Read On (Review)  

May 21         From Pemberley to Milton (Excerpt)

May 22         Wishful Endings (Interview)