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Calendar Girls: Bookish OTP!

Hosted by Katie @ Never Not Reading and Darque Reader Reads, “Calendar Girls is a monthly blog event created by Melanie at MNBernard Books, and Flavia at Flavia the Bibliophile, and will now be hosted by Katie. It is designed to ignite bookish discussions among readers and was inspired by the 1961 Neil Sedaka song, Calendar Girl. Just like the song, each month has a different theme. Each blogger picks their favorite book from the theme, and on the first Monday of the month reveals their pick in a Calendar Girls post. Make sure to post back to the hostess’s post, and I will make a master list for the month. The master lists allow everyone to see the other Calendar Girls’ picks and to pop on over to their blogs. Thus, we all get to chat about books and even make some new friends!” — Katie

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The theme this month is our Bookish OTP! This, as always, was hard for me to choose. There are many couples in books that I really love. Lei and Wren from Girls of Paper and

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My pick for Audrey & Thomas. Ben Barnes & Nina Dobrev.

Fire, Audrey and Thomas from the Stalking Jack the Ripper series, Claire and Jaime from Outlander, Scarlett, and Rhett from Gone With the Wind. (hey, don’t rain on my parade, okay?) Lily and James Potter from the HP series, Harry and Hermione. (I will die on that mountain. Harry and Hermione were better suited for one another. I didn’t get the Ron/Mione thing in books and on screen.) I don’t believe we have to pick a canon couple, but I was good and I chose one.

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My choice comes from Me Before You!
Untitled-x1Ime-before-you really, honestly, and I’m sure I’ll get some grief, but I loved the hell out of Will and Louisa from Me Before You. I know the end of the book is devastating and there are many who feel that it was wrong to have Will die, but I think he wanted to go on his own terms. He wasn’t happy, he was suffering, and the woman he loved would never live a full life without him. Granted, I’d have done as Lou did, I’d have fought hard for him. If I loved someone that much, the idea of life without them would be impossible to fathom. Eventually, I’d accept it, but I think you all understand my meaning. Will Traynor was the spark that ignited a passion for life, for everything. Once she broke down those walls he had erected around himself, I loved Will too.

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Scarlett & Rhett.

Now, given Will deciding to end his life, and ultimately his suffering, I know people think it’s selfish. But I don’t. And I think Lou eventually saw that, given how she saw first hand how limited and miserable his life was. I think people have to make the decisions that will give them peace, ultimately. As with everything in this day and age, people find fault with everything, but I really love them and they will always be one of my favorites. (Scarlett and Rhett are my all time favorite, but I know people are sick of me talking Gone With The Wind, lol.)

 

Lou and Will complimented each other, despite their differences. And I think that’s an important thing people should realise that you can come from two entirely different backgrounds, and yet, still be entirely perfect for the other. Will, being in the situation that he was, made Lou see that there is an entire world out there and she shouldn’t be ‘maudlin’ and miss out. And yet, he never made her change her style, her quirkiness, any of it, despite it initially annoying him.

Rather, he embraced her for it. And though there were occasions Lou wanted to leave, she was head over heels for Will and she did her best to make his time pleasant.  Where he was quiet, she was chatty, where she was naive, he was experienced. There were so many ways that they complimented one another and I really, really loved that.

It was the film that alerted me to the existence of the book. I am not, as most of you know, a romance lover really. But taking Emilia Clarke and putting her in this role…and giving me Sam Claflin to look at, well, of course, I was going to be pulled in. I recently got the DVD, but I haven’t watched yet as I have no intention of bawling my eyes out. Having seen the movie, when I read the book finally, I could see them perfectly in the roles. I think it was a rare case of really brilliant casting.

I suppose I also love Lou so much because as I said in another post, I see myself in her. There is so much of her in me, that sometimes reading the book, I felt I knew what I would do and lo and behold, she did it. It isn’t often I connect with a character like that. Especially given that when asked what characters I think are like me, I say, Belle, Jo March, and Scarlett O’Hara. But yes…that’s one of my bookish OTP’s. I hope you enjoyed the read and that you sound off, telling me if you agree or not, who you would pick.

And be sure to visit the other Calendar Girls blogs to read who they pick. Be kind to one another, as Ellen DeGeneres says!

Over and out, bookworms! xx

PS: If you are in Europe and in the midst of the heatwave, please, please stay cool. Stay Hydrated, take cool showers/baths. If you like ice cream? Go for it. Sit with fans. Also, if you are an animal lover like I am, leave some water out for them. And be mindful of the hotness of concrete–it will burn the pads of your pet’s feet! Keep them cool too. xx

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Spotlight: The Highlander Who Protected Me.

The Highlander Who Protected Me
by Vanessa Kelly

Publication Date: October 30, 2018
Kensington Books
Paperback & eBook; 352 Pages

Series: Clan Kendrick, #1
Genre: Historical Romance/Scottish

 

 

READ AN EXCERPT.

Bestselling author Vanessa Kelly returns with an enthralling new series about the men of the Kendrick clan—and the women who claim their hearts…

Lady Ainsley Matthews, heiress and darling of the ton, was expected to make a magnificent match. Instead she’s hiding on a remote Scottish estate, terrified that her vicious former fiancé will use her pregnancy to force her into marriage. One man can help her—Royal Kendrick, son of a distinguished Highland clan. Though a mistake drove them apart long ago, Royal is the only person Ainsley trusts to protect her baby—even if that means agreeing to never see either of them again . . .

Scarred in body and soul by war, Royal suddenly has a purpose—caring for an innocent babe and thereby helping the woman he can’t stop loving. But when Ainsley ultimately returns to Scotland, determined to be a real mother to her child in spite of the risk, there’s only one solution: marriage. And only one likely outcome: surrendering to the desire that’s simmered between them for so long, no matter how dangerous it may be…

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | iBooks | Google Play | IndieBound | Kobo

About the Author

Vanessa Kelly is the award-winning and USA Today bestselling author of The Improper Princesses series, The Renegade Royals Series and The Stanton Family series, in addition to other historical romances. Named by Booklist as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance,” she is a Maggie Medallion winner and is well known for developing vibrant Regency settings, appealing characters, and witty storylines that captivate readers.

When she’s not dreaming up plots for her next Regency historical novel, Vanessa is writing USA Today Bestselling contemporary romance with her husband under the pen name of V.K. Sykes.

You can find Vanessa at vanessakellyauthor.com or at vksykes.com. For all of Vanessa’s latest news and contests–and to receive a free story–please sign up for her newsletter on her website.

Clan Kendrick Facebook Group | Facebook Author Page | Pinterest | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, October 30
Feature at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, October 31
Review at Bibliophile Reviews

Thursday, November 1
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Friday, November 2
Feature at Donna’s Book Blog
Excerpt at Clarissa Reads it All
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Monday, November 5
Review at Let Them Read Books

Tuesday, November 6
Feature at The Lit Bitch
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, November 7
Feature at Maiden of the Pages

Thursday, November 8
Review at A Bookish Affair

Friday, November 9
Excerpt at Bookfever
Interview at Passages to the Past

Monday, November 12
Feature at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Tuesday, November 13
Review at Pass Me That Book

Wednesday, November 14
Feature at The Book Review
Review at The Reading Woman

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a print copy of either Three Weeks with a Princess or The Highlander’s Princess Bride, plus a magnet, signed cover flats and a free digital download of the anthology, The Dukes of Vauxhall! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on November 14th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

The Highlander Who Protected Me

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Becoming Belle [Spotlight]

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How beautiful is this cover? I know one should never judge a book by its cover, but you do feast visually first, don’t you? At least, that’s what my high school creative writing teacher told me and it stuck with me. It’s such a lovely cover; the woman there who is meant to be Belle I would assume looks at us, the readers, almost as if entreating us silently with her gaze to read this book. 


Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Publish Date: 7th August 2018
Page Count: 384
Category: Historical Fiction | Romance | Literary Fiction

Becoming Belle is a witty and inherently feminist novel about passion and marriage, based on a true story of an unstoppable woman ahead of her time in Victorian London.
In 1887, Isabel Bilton is the eldest of three daughters of a middle-class military family, growing up in a small garrison town. By 1891 she is the Countess of Clancarty, dubbed “the peasant countess” by the press, and a member of the Irish aristocracy. Becoming Belle is the story of the four years in between, of Belle’s rapid ascent and the people that tried to tear her down.

With only her talent, charm, and determination, Isabel moves to London alone at age nineteen, changes her name to Belle, and takes the city by storm, facing unthinkable hardships as she rises to fame. A true bohemian and the star of a dancing double act she performs with her sister, she reigns over The Empire Theatre and The Corinthian Club, where only select society entertains. It is there she falls passionately in love with William, Viscount Dunlo, a young aristocrat. For Belle, her marriage to William is a dream come true, but his ruthless father makes clear he’ll stop at nothing to keep her in her place.

Reimagined by a novelist at the height of her powers, Belle is an unforgettable woman. Set against an absorbing portrait of Victorian London, hers is a timeless rags-to-riches story a la Becky Sharpe.


AMAZON || BARNES & NOBLE || INDIE BOUND || BOOKS-A-MILLION

The author made this little video about it…

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Budapest Romance {Review}

So, since it’s Valentine’s Day, I thought it’d be fun to do a review of a romantic book for ya’ll. As I’m single and live at home with my parents. I’m here just writing while everyone else is out doing whatever ya’ll do today. Haha. There’ll be no chocolates or chick flicks for me; nor will there be any Fifty Shades. (Not a fan…another post for another time. Let’s just say I made this face for what I did read of that “book”. )  However, I can safely say that I did very much enjoy Ms. Gaston’s book and I think you will too. Read on, bookworms!

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Title: Budapest Romance

Author: Rozsa Gaston
Publisher: Rozsa Gaston
Pages: 266
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback/Kindle/Audible

Synopsis: When Kati Dunai travels to Budapest to settle her father’s estate, the last thing on her mind is the pursuit of pleasure. She’s a busy international conference planner, her life rooted in Manhattan.

But from the moment she sets foot in the city of her father’s youth, it’s pleasure that pursues her. At the thermal bath spa hotel where she’s staying, she meets a Dutchman who reminds her of Béla Dunai, her Hungarian refugee father, who fled his homeland shortly after its 1956 revolution.

Jan Klassen is in Budapest to mend from a motorcycle accident. His scars have healed on the outside, but inside, he cannot forgive himself for the consequences his son now lives with forever.

Jan has never met a woman like Kati before. Her blend of New England restraint with gypsy spirit captivates him. While Jan introduces Kati to Budapest’s leisurely pace of life, Kati introduces Jan to her own leisurely pace of sensual exploration as their attraction to each other grows over six magical days.

When Kati returns to New York, their relationship continues. But it’s not just an ocean that separates them. Kati’s corporate job with frequent travel is the antithesis of the slow-paced pleasures she enjoyed in her father’s favorite city, one of Europe’s crown jewels.

Which will Kati put first—her new career or her new love; a man who reminds her of the father she never fully understood? And is it the Hungarian pleasure-loving side of herself that she really needs to understand before she can offer her heart to the man who has awakened her to who she truly is?

Happy-Holidays-Valentine-hearts-and-flower-clip-art-borders-to-say-Happy-Valentines-Day-to-the-Sandwich-Generation-dealing-with-the-issues-of-caring-for-the-elderly-parents-and-babysitting-grandchildren

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    Rozsa Gaston writes playful books on serious matters. Women getting what they want out of life is one of them. She studied European intellectual history at Yale, and then received her master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia. In between, she worked as a singer/pianist all over the world. She lives in Bronxville, NY with her family.

    Her books include Budapest Romance, The Ava Series: ParisAdieu, Part I and Black is Not a Color, Part II, Running from Love, Dog Sitters and Lyric. Her upcoming novel is Sense of Touch, a fictionalized story of Anne of Brittany and Queen of France.
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    I went into this book with hesitation because I’m not a romance lover and I don’t usually read ‘chick lit’. The premise was fascinating to me and I decided, “why not?” I’m glad that I took the proverbial plunge and delved into this book. The main character, Kati, is mourning the loss of her father while Jan is there to recover from a motorcycle accident. Both of them have been dealt rough hands in life and are hesitant to open up to one another; especially since they are from two entirely different worlds. She is an American and Jan is Dutch; Budapest is just where they happen to meet. It’s fun to see the innocent flirtation of a chance meeting where both notice one another and look away when the other looks.

    It’s something that all of us have or may feel someday, that “first look”, the curiosity, the fear of opening up to someone new and taking chances; as it is so relatable, it’s certainly easy to put yourself in Kati’s place…or even Jan’s.

    It’s a wonderful story and I have to say, I’m quite delighted that I took a chance. I’m looking forward to her next book, Sense of Touch which is more in my wheelhouse as people say, as it is about Anne of Brittany and Queen of France.

    I give this a four out of five; I would have liked more description about Budapest and been enveloped fully into their world. Regardless of that slight error; I enjoyed the book greatly.