"Someone To Wed" Is The Book That Will Prove That Both Love And Beauty Are In The Heart Of The Beholder

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Title:  Someone To Wed
Series:  (Westcott #3)
Author: Mary Balogh
Length:  361 pages
Format:  Kindle
Publisher: Berkley
Rating:  5 Stars

A very practical marriage makes Alexander Westcott question his heart in the latest Regency romance from the New York Times bestselling author of Someone to Hold.

 When Alexander Westcott becomes the new Earl of Riverdale, he inherits a title he never wanted and a failing country estate he can’t afford. But he fully intends to do everything in his power to undo years of neglect and give the people who depend on him a better life. . . .

 A recluse for more than twenty years, Wren Heyden wants one thing out of life: marriage. With her vast fortune, she sets her sights on buying a husband. But when she makes the desperate—and oh-so-dashing—earl a startlingly unexpected proposal, Alex will only agree to a proper courtship, hoping for at least friendship and respect to develop between them. He is totally unprepared for the desire that overwhelms him when Wren finally lifts the veils that hide the secrets of her past. . . .








Her eyes fell to their hands, and she removed her own. “Well?” she said. “Did you notice today?”
That she was not wearing a veil? But then he realized what she meant–though I noticed the last time and  notice again now, I would be willing to wager that after seeing you a few more times I will not even see the blemish any longer. 
“Yes, I did,” he said. “But it is only the third time I have seen you. I have still not recoiled, however, or run screaming from the room.”
“Perhaps,” she said, “you are very desperate for my money.”
He drew a slow breath before allowing himself to reply. “And perhaps, Miss Heyden,” he said, “I will take my leave and allow you to start adding from the top of that column again.”
The color had flooded back into her cheek. “I beg your pardon,” she said. “I ought not to have said that.”
“Why did you?” he asked her. “Do you value yourself so little that you believe only your money gives you any worth at all?”
She was taking the question seriously, he could see. She was thinking about it. “Yes,” she said.
It was the moment at which he really out to have taken his leave. It was a devastating answer, and it had not even been given in haste. He could not possibly take on such brokenness, even if she had all the riches in the world to offer. Good God, all because of an unsightly birthmark?
“What happened to you?” he asked her, but he held up a staying hand even as he spoke the words. “No. I have no right to an answer. But I will not marry you for your money alone, Miss Heyden. If you truly believe you have no more to offer than that, and if you truly believe that I have nothing but marriage to offer in exchange for your money, then say so now, and we will put an end to this. I will take my leave and you need never see me again.”



My Thoughts
This has to be one of the most emotionally engrossing Historical Romances that this reviewer has had the pleasure of experiencing in quiet some time.
The story of successful business woman and recluse, Wren Heyden.  And her most practical approach to finding a husband.  In spite of the Port Wine Stain birthmark covering the left side of her face.

Believing herself to be unmarriageable in the traditional "marriage mart" sense.  The 29 year old glass works owner resorts to a tactic that has served the men of the ton for eons.  Putting her money where her heart should be.

The problem?
The one man that seems to show any interest in Wren, is in fact, the last man that she could ever want.
Or at least, the last man that Wren believes that could ever want her.
The impossibly perfect Alexander Westcott.  Newly minted Earl of Riverdale.

For Alexander...
Things couldn't be more up in the air if he had thrown them.  With the lines of legitimacy and succession in the Westcott family having been newly reset.  With Lady Anastasia Westcott, now Duchess of Netherby having been declared the sole and rightful heir to the Westcott legacy. Upon the death of her father; the former Earl of Riverdale. Thereby unseating her father's current family from their so long coveted lives and places in society.
Leaving Alex as the next in line to inherit all of the estate's entailed properties.  As well as the money woes that go with them.

And so it is that we find these two setting out to make what could be or both "the deal of a lifetime".
Alexander armed only with his charm, title, good looks, and a sense of duty to those depending on him.
And Wren, with her money and a yearning for home and family.  If not love.

Any modern woman will find a kindred spirit in Wren.  Who though she is a successful woman in her own right, and against all odds. Remains a prisoner of one imperfection.  Her looks.
We who are blessed to live in a time when all manner of enhancement and corrective options are available to us.  Are still slaves to "the ideal of beauty".

So, imagine if you will the pressure and problems that Wren faces.  When living at a time when a woman's beauty is touted as her "only relevant asset".  Being valued in most cases only less than the ability to bear children.
Adding to her insecurities:
A. A childhood of which Wren refuses to speak before the age of ten.
B. A very supportive surrogate family in the form of an aunt an uncle. Who shelter and coddle her to the point that she never learns to see herself as more than her flaw.
Leaving her completely unprepared for life in the outside world. 

Neither does it appear that she is prepared for Alexander and his ability to see the woman, and no the birthmark.
Alexander is looking for a woman of substance.  And by that, he doesn't just mean her money.  The more he comes to know her.  The more it becomes clear that Wren may just be that woman.

Seeing Wren come out of her shell in the myriad of ways that courting Alexander literally forces her to.  Is nothing short of brilliant.
This is a book that will tear at your heart and fortify your soul.

Reviewer's Note:  Someone To Wed is the 3rd book of this related series.  This may be read as a standalone or as part of its respective series.


 
About Mary
Mary BaloghMary Jenkins was born in 1944 in Swansea, Wales, UK. After graduating from university, moved to Saskatchewan, Canada, to teach high school English, on a two-year teaching contract in 1967. She married her Canadian husband, Robert Balogh, and had three children, Jacqueline, Christopher and Sian. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, music and knitting. She also enjoys watching tennis and curling.

Mary Balogh started writing in the evenings as a hobby. Her first book, a Regency love story, was published in 1985 as A Masked Deception under her married name. In 1988, she retired from teaching after 20 years to pursue her dream to write full-time. She has written more than seventy novels and almost thirty novellas since then, including the New York Times bestselling 'Slightly' sextet and 'Simply' quartet. She has won numerous awards, including Bestselling Historical of the Year from the Borders Group, and her novel Simply Magic was a finalist in the Quill Awards. She has won seven Waldenbooks Awards and two B. Dalton Awards for her bestselling novels, as well as a Romantic Times Lifetime Achievement Award.
Find Her:  Goodreads / Web



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InkSlinger PR Presents: A Rogue Of Her Own Release Day Blitz

Today we are celebrating the release of A ROGUE OF HER OWN by Dayna Quince. It is the seventh book in the Desperate and Daring series! There are 10 titles in this series and one will release per week till November 6th! The series is being published by Jack's House Publishing.

Check out the buy links for the book below, and links to an excerpt for each upcoming title.

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A ROGUE OF HER OWN (Desperate and Daring, #7)

Purchase in print Amazon | B&N | Books-a-Million | IndieBound | Booktopia AU

Synopsis:

Love is an adventure for only the bravest hearts… Left destitute by her father’s death, Rose Owens finds shelter and security as a companion to the eccentric Lady Belfrost. Rose once dreamed of getting married and having a family of her own, but now she knows she will likely live the rest of her life a spinster.

 Until Lady Belfrost’s nephew arrives. Though she tries to resist, Rose is drawn to him. The handsome rogue stirs to life emotions and secrets she’s desperate to forget. Mr. Gabriel Connor travels the world discovering new treasures and adventures, ignoring his great aunt’s urgings to settle down in England.

 But when he meets Miss Owens, his restless soul is stirred anew. There is more to the lovely Rose than she reveals and being trapped with her in a hunting lodge may be his greatest adventure yet. Yearning for the freedom of the far horizon, Gabriel must choose between destiny and duty…and his dreams of freedom. Even if the price of those dreams is love.  



My Thoughts
A Rogue Of Her Own is a sweet and oh-so-sexy love story.
That in so many ways starts of as anything but.
Masquerading as a mere a" down on her luck daughter of the ton, meets wildly roguish son of her employer" story.
The tale of what goes on between one Miss Rose Owens and one Mr. Gabriel Conner is anything but small and or complex.

While this may be authoress, Dayna Quince's 7th novel in this very expansive series.  and the characters indeed very far afield from the original core of the first four stories.
This tale of secrets, broken hearts, abused trust, commitment fears, and the need for a place and person to belong to; is written with a heart-wrending desperation that only these two souls and their sole circumstance could ever hope to rightfully convey.

As was mentioned before the love scenes.  Or better described sex scenes in this read are tantalizingly raw, and are used to very effectively punctuate  key progressions within the course of this very fiery relationship.
As for Lady Belfrost.  There has never been a smarter or more likable puppet-master.
She may seem the unassuming elder stateswoman.
But you know what they say about "assumptions".
Never play this woman short when it comes to the hearts of those she loves!
She is fierce.

As with the series.
A Rogue Of Her Own is a read not to be missed.
But be forewarned!
You will lose your heart to this passionate read!

Reviewer's Note:
This book is the 7th in a related series that can be read as standalones or in series order.




Add A ROGUE OF HER OWN to Goodreads

Check out the rest of the series (each book releases 1 week apart!)

DESPERATE FOR A DUKE (Desperate & Daring, #1) - available now!

BELLE OF THE BALL (Desperate and Daring, #2) - available now!
PURCHASE YOUR COPY NOW:
 
JUST ONE KISS (Desperate and Daring, #3) - available now!
PURCHASE YOUR COPY NOW:
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ANYTHING BUT INNOCENT (Desperate and Daring, #4)

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AN UNCONVENTIONAL INNOCENT (Desperate and Daring, #5)

PURCHASE YOUR COPY NOW:

MAD ABOUT YOU (Desperate and Daring, #6)

PURCHASE YOUR COPY NOW:

A ROGUE OF HER OWN (Desperate and Daring, #7)

Available Now - Check out the buy links and an excerpt from the book!

HERO OF HER HEART (Desperate and Daring, #8)

Coming October 23 - Check out the buy links and an excerpt from the book!

AN UNDESIRABLE DUKE (Desperate and Daring, #9)

Coming October 30 - Check out the buy links and an excerpt from the book!

DARE TO LOVE A SCOT (Desperate and Daring, #10)

Coming November 6 - Check out the buy links and an excerpt from the book!

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AUTHOR INFORMATION:

  Dayna Quince was only fourteen when she developed a serious addiction to romance novels. What began as an innocent desire to read became an all-out obsession with the romance genre. She gave book reports on romance novels, got in trouble for reading during lectures, and would rather spend her time reading than attending high school parties.

After all, high school boys could not compete with the likes of Stephanie Laurens Devil Cynster. After getting her first job, her addiction only got worse. She now had her own money to spend and a car to get to Barnes and Noble as frequently as she wanted. She managed to maintain a somewhat normal life, marrying her high school boyfriend who was aware he was competing with fictional men for her attention.
 Dayna soon began writing her own romance novels, inspired by her love for all things romance.

Dayna and her husband live in Southern California with their two children and three fur babies. Dayna is happiest at home where she can be with her family and write to her heart’s content. For more information about Dayna, please visit her website, “like” Dayna on Facebook and follow her on Twitter or Instagram. Sign up for Dayna’s newsletter to be notified about upcoming releases. She loves hearing from her readers. Email her directly at daynaquince@gmail.com. Look for Dayna’s Jack’s House releases from the Desperate and Daring Series.

CONTACT LINKS:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Newsletter

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Someone To Hold Is A Story Meant To Live In One's Heart Forever

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Title:  Someone To Hold
Series:  (Westcott #2)
Author:  Mary Balogh
Length:  400 pages
Publisher:  Jove
Rating:  5 Stars


Humphrey Wescott, Earl of Riverdale, has died, leaving behind a fortune and a scandalous secret that will forever alter the lives of his family—sending one daughter on a journey of self-discovery...

 With her parents’ marriage declared bigamous, Camille Westcott is now illegitimate and without a title. Looking to eschew the trappings of her old life, she leaves London to teach at the Bath orphanage where her newly discovered half-sister lived. But even as she settles in, she must sit for a portrait commissioned by her grandmother and endure an artist who riles her every nerve. An art teacher at the orphanage that was once his home, Joel Cunningham has been hired to paint the portrait of the haughty new teacher

. But as Camille poses for Joel, their mutual contempt soon turns to desire. And it is only the bond between them that will allow them to weather the rough storm that lies ahead...





Enjoy This Peek Inside
Someone To Hold


Someone to Hold
After several months of hiding away, wallowing in misery and denial, anger and shame, and any other negative emotion anyone cared to name, Camille Westcott finally took charge of her life on a sunny, blustery morning in July. At the grand age of twenty-two. She had not needed to take charge before the great catastrophe a few months before because she had been a lady, Lady Camille Westcott to be exact, eldest child of the Earl and Countess of Riverdale, and ladies did not have control over their own lives or need to. Other people had that instead: parents, maids, nurses, governesses, chaperons, husbands, society at large—especially society at large with its myriad rules and expectations, most of them unwritten but none the less real on that account.
But she needed to assert herself now. She was no longer a lady. She was now simply Miss Westcott, and she was not even sure about the name. Was a bastard entitled to her father’s name? Life yawned ahead of her as a frightening unknown. She had no idea what to expect of it. There were no more rules, no more expectations. There was no more society, no more place of belonging. If she did not take charge and dosomething, who would?
It was a rhetorical question, of course. She had not asked it aloud in anyone’s hearing, but no one would have had a satisfactory answer to give her even if she had. So she was doing something about it herself. It was either that or cower in a dark corner somewhere for the rest of her natural born days. She was no longer a lady, but she was, by God, a person. She was alive—she was breathing. She was someone.
Camille and Abigail, her younger sister, lived with their maternal grandmother in one of the imposing houses on the prestigious Royal Crescent in Bath. It stood atop a hill above the city, splendidly visible from miles around with its great sweeping inward curve of massive Georgian houses all joined into one, open parkland sloping downward before it. But the view worked both ways. From any front-facing window the inhabitants of the Crescent could gaze downward over the city and across the river to the buildings beyond and on out to the countryside and hills in the distance. It was surely one of the loveliest views in all England, and Camille had delighted in it as a child whenever her mother had brought her with her brother and sister on extended visits to their grandparents. It had lost much of its appeal, however, now that she was forced to live here in what felt very like exile and disgrace though neither she nor Abigail had done anything to deserve either fate.
She waited on that sunny morning until her grandmother and sister had gone out, as they often did, to the Pump Room down near Bath Abbey to join the promenade of the fashionable world. Not that the fashionable world was as impressive as it had once been in Bath’s heyday. A large number of the inhabitants now were seniors, who liked the quiet gentility of life here in stately surroundings. Even the visitors tended to be older people, who came to take the waters and imagine, rightly or wrongly, that their health was the better for imposing such a foul-tasting ordeal upon themselves. Some even submerged themselves to the neck in it, though that was now considered a little extreme and old-fashioned.
Abigail liked going to the Pump Room, for at the age of eighteen she craved outings and company, and apparently her exquisite, youthful beauty was much admired, though she did not receive many invitations to private parties or even to more public entertainments. She was not, after all, quite respectable despite the fact that Grandmama was eminently so. Camille had always steadfastly refused to accompany them anywhere they might meet other people in a social setting. On the rare occasions when she did step out, usually with Abby, she did so with stealth, a veil draped over the brim of her bonnet and pulled down over her face, for more than anything else she feared being recognized.
Not today, however. And, she vowed to herself, never again. She was done with the old life, and if anyone recognized her and chose to give her the cut direct, then she would give it right back. It was time for a new life and new acquaintances. And if there were a few bumps to traverse in moving from one world to the other, well then, she would deal with them.
After Grandmama and Abby had left, she dressed in one of the more severe and conservative of her walking dresses, donned a bonnet to match and comfortable shoes since the sort of dainty slippers she had always worn in the days when she traveled everywhere by carriage were useless now except to wear indoors, took up her gloves and reticule, and stepped out onto the cobbled street without waiting for a servant to open and hold the door for her and look askance at her lone state, perhaps even try to stop her or send a footman trailing after her. She stood outside for a few moments, assailed by a sudden terror bordering upon panic and wondering if perhaps after all she should scurry back inside to hide in darkness and safety. In her whole life she had rarely stepped beyond the confines of house or walled park unaccompanied by a family member or a servant, often both. But those days were over even though Grandmama would doubtless argue the point. Camille squared her shoulders, lifted her chin, and strode off downhill in the general direction of Bath Abbey.
Her actual destination, however, was a house on Northumberland Place, near the Guildhall and the market and the Pulteney Bridge, which spanned the River Avon with grandiose elegance. It was a building indistinguishable from many of the other Georgian edifices with which the city abounded, solid yet pleasing to the eye and three stories high, not counting the basement and the attic, except that this one was actually three houses that had been made into one in order to accommodate an institution.
An orphanage, to be precise.
It was where Anna Snow, more recently Lady Anastasia Westcott, now the Duchess of Netherby, had spent her childhood. It was where she had taught for several years after she grew up. It was from there that she had been summoned to London by a solicitor’s letter. And it was in London that their paths and their histories had converged, Camille’s and Anastasia’s, the one to be elevated to heights beyond her wildest imaginings, the other to be plunged to depths lower than her worst nightmares.
Anastasia, also a daughter of the Earl of Riverdale, had been consigned to the orphanage—by him—at a very young age on the death of her mother. She had grown up there, supported financially but quite ignorant of who she was. She had not even known her real name. She had been Anna Snow, Snow being her mother’s maiden name—though she had not realized that either. Camille, on the other hand, born three years after Anastasia, had been brought up to a life of privilege and wealth and entitlement with Harry and Abigail, her younger siblings. None of them had known of Anastasia’s existence. Well, Mama had, but she had always assumed that the child Papa secretly supported at an orphanage in Bath was the love child of a mistress. It was only after his death several months ago that the truth came out.
And what a catastrophic truth it was!
Alice Snow, Anastasia’s mother, had been Papa’s legitimate wife. They had married secretly in Bath though she had left him a year or so later when her health failed and returned to her parents’ home near Bristol, taking their child with her. She had died some time later of consumption, but not until four months after Papa married Mama in a bigamous marriage that had no legality. And because the marriage was null and void, all issue of that marriage was illegitimate. Harry had lost the title he had so recently inherited, Mama had lost all social status and had reverted to her maiden name—she now called herself Miss Kingsley and lived with her clergyman brother, Uncle Michael, at a country vicarage in Dorsetshire. Camille and Abigail were no longer Lady Camille and Lady Abigail. Everything that had been theirs had been stripped away. Cousin Alexander Westcott—he was actually a second cousin—had inherited the title and entailed property despite the fact that he had genuinely not wanted either, and Anastasia had inherited everything else. That everything else was the vast fortune Papa had amassed after his bigamous marriage to Mama. It also included Hinsbury Manor, the country home where they had always lived when they were not in London, and Westcott House, their London residence.
Camille, Harry, Abigail, and their mother had been left with nothing.
As a final crushing blow, Camille had lost her fiancé. Viscount Uxbury had called upon her the very day they heard the news. But instead of offering the expected sympathy and support, and instead of sweeping her off to the altar, a special license waving from one hand, he had suggested that she send a notice to the papers announcing the ending of their betrothal so that she would not have to suffer the added shame of being cast off. Yes, a crushing blow indeed though Camille never spoke of it. Just when it had seemed there could not possibly be any lower to sink or any greater pain to be borne, there could be and there was, but the pain at least was something she could keep to herself.
So here she and Abigail were, living in Bath of all places on the charity of their grandmother while Mama languished in Dorsetshire and Harry was in Portugal or Spain as a junior officer with the 95th Foot Regiment, also known as the Rifles, fighting the forces of Napoleon Bonaparte. He could not have afforded the commission on his own, of course. Avery, Duke of Netherby, their step-cousin and Harry’s guardian, had purchased it for him. Harry, to his credit, had refused to allow Avery to set him up in a more prestigious, and far more costly, cavalry regiment and had made it clear that he would not allow Avery to purchase any promotions for him either.
By what sort of irony had she ended up in the very place where Anastasia had grown up, Camille wondered, not for the first time, as she descended the hill. The orphanage had acted like a magnet ever since she came here, drawing her much against her will. She had walked past it a couple of times with Abigail and had finally—over Abby’s protests—gone inside to introduce herself to the matron, Miss Ford, who had given her a tour of the institution while Abby remained outside without a chaperon. It had been both an ordeal and a relief, actually seeing the place, walking the floor Anastasia must have walked a thousand times and more. It was not the sort of horror of an institution one sometimes heard about. The building was spacious and clean. The adults who ran it looked well-groomed and cheerful. The children she saw were decently clad and nicely behaved and appeared to be well fed. The majority of them, Miss Ford had explained, were adequately, even generously supported by a parent or family member even though most of those adults chose to remain anonymous. The others were supported by local benefactors.
One of those benefactors, Camille had been amazed to learn, though not of any specific child, was her own grandmother, who for some reason of her own had recently called there and agreed to equip the schoolroom with a large bookcase and books to fill it. Why she had felt the need to do so Camille did not know any more than she understood her own compulsion to see the building and actually step inside it. Grandmama could surely feel no more kindly disposed toward Anastasia than she, Camille, did. Less so, in fact. Anastasia was at least Camille’s half-sister, perish the thought, but she was nothing to Grandmama apart from being the visible evidence of a marriage that had deprived her own daughter of the very identity that had apparently been hers for longer than twenty years. Goodness, Mama had been Viola Westcott, Countess of Riverdale, for all those years, though in fact the only one of those names to which she had had any legal claim was Viola.
Today Camille was going back to the orphanage alone. Anna Snow had been replaced by another teacher, but Miss Ford had mentioned in passing during that earlier visit that Miss Nunce might not remain there long. Camille had hinted with an impulsiveness that had both puzzled and alarmed her that she might be interested in filling the post herself should the teacher resign. Perhaps Miss Ford had forgotten or not taken her seriously. Or perhaps she had judged Camille unsuited to the position. However, it was, she had not informed Camille when Miss Nunce did indeed leave. It was quite by chance that Grandmama had seen the notice for a new teacher in yesterday’s paper and had read it aloud to her granddaughters.
What on earth, Camille asked herself as she neared the bottom of the hill and turned in the direction of Northumberland Place, did she know about teaching? Specifically, what did she know about teaching a supposedly large group of children of all ages and abilities and both genders? She frowned, and a young couple approaching her along the pavement stepped smartly out of her way as though a fearful presence were bearing down upon them. Camille did not even notice.
Why on earth was she going to beg to be allowed to teach orphans in the very place where Anastasia had grown up and taught? She still disliked, resented, and—yes—even hated the former Anna Snow. It did not matter that she knew she was being unfair—after all, it was not Anastasia’s fault that Papa had behaved so despicably, and she had suffered the consequences for twenty-five years before discovering the truth about herself. It did not matter either that Anastasia had attempted to embrace her newly discovered siblings as family and had offered more than once to share everything she had inherited with them and to allow her two half-sisters to continue to live with their mama at Hinsbury Manor, which now belonged to her. In fact, her generosity merely made it harder to like her. How dared she offer them a portion of what had always been theirs by right as though she were doing them a great and gracious favor? Which in a sense she was.
It was a purely irrational hostility, of course, but raw emotions were not often reasonable. And Camille’s emotions were still as raw as open wounds that had not even begun to heal.
So why exactly was she coming here? She stood on the pavement outside the main doors of the orphanage for a couple of minutes, debating the question just as though she had not already done so all yesterday and through a night of fitful sleep and long wakeful periods. Was it just because she felt the need to do something with her life? But were there not other, more suitable things she could do instead? And if she must teach, were there not more respectable positions to which she might aspire? There were genteel girls’ schools in Bath, and there were always people in search of well-bred governesses for their daughters. But her need to come here today had nothing really to do with any desire to teach, did it? It was… Well, what was it?
The need to step into Anna Snow’s shoes to discover what they felt like? What an absolutely ghastly thought. But if she stood out here any longer, she would lose her courage and find herself trudging back uphill, lost and defeated and abject and every other horrid thing she could think of. Besides, standing here was decidedly uncomfortable. Though it was July and the sun was shining, it was still only morning and she was in the shade of the building. The street was acting as a type of funnel too for a briskish wind.
She stepped forward, lifted the heavy knocker away from the door, hesitated for only a moment, then let it fall. Perhaps she would be denied the employment. What a huge relief that would be.
© Mary Balogh



My Thoughts


Camille Westcott did not begin this book or the first as someone that one could ever envision oneself putting out if she were on fire. Let alone liking. If one were to judge her solely upon first impressions. (Her abhorrent behavior in Someone To Love being first and foremost of these.)
But the more that one comes to understand Camille in Someone To Hold.
The more one comes to understand that her behavior was and is merely a result of the fact that she doesn't understand herself.

It seems that in their efforts to produce the perfect lady, her parents, well meaning though they were. Forgot to nurture Camille as a person.
Leaving her only a set of prescribed rules and edicts by which to govern her existence.
When said existence was no longer an option however. Camille became nothing more than a puppet whose strings had been cut. With nothing and no one to guide and or ground her.
So it is more than fitting that she goes to the orphanage to get her bearings. Because in her mind, she is without home or country. In a manner of speaking.

The unconditional love that she receives from both her leading man and the children. As well as the much needed healing that results, are the things that make this book absolutely unputdownable. Seeing Camille bloom as a teacher, friend, sister, and mother. A sheer joy!

As with all of Mary's tales. This one is a slow burn passion wise. When reading this book. The story and characters will keep you in thrall much longer than any love scene. Although the ones in this book do seem more awkward than most. To say the least.
But they make the relationship between Joel and Camille all the more endearing. All the same.

Reviewer's Note: This novel is the second of a larger related series. Which may be read as standalones or as part of their respective series.



About Mary
Mary BaloghMary Jenkins was born in 1944 in Swansea, Wales, UK. After graduating from university, moved to Saskatchewan, Canada, to teach high school English, on a two-year teaching contract in 1967. She married her Canadian husband, Robert Balogh, and had three children, Jacqueline, Christopher and Sian. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, music and knitting. She also enjoys watching tennis and curling.

Mary Balogh started writing in the evenings as a hobby. Her first book, a Regency love story, was published in 1985 as A Masked Deception under her married name. In 1988, she retired from teaching after 20 years to pursue her dream to write full-time. She has written more than seventy novels and almost thirty novellas since then, including the New York Times bestselling 'Slightly' sextet and 'Simply' quartet. She has won numerous awards, including Bestselling Historical of the Year from the Borders Group, and her novel Simply Magic was a finalist in the Quill Awards. She has won seven Waldenbooks Awards and two B. Dalton Awards for her bestselling novels, as well as a Romantic Times Lifetime Achievement Award.
Find Her:  Goodreads / Web



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Pure Texuality PR Presents: Kill The Queen







Kill The Queenby Jennifer Estep
Series
Crown of Shards Book One
Genre
Adult
Romantic Fantasy
Publisher
Harper Voyager
Publication Date
October 2, 2018
Purchase Your Copy Today!
Amazon  |  Kobo  |  Barnes & Noble  |  iBooks


Gladiator meets Game of Thrones: a royal woman becomes a skilled warrior to destroy her murderous cousin, avenge her family, and save her kingdom in this first entry in a dazzling fantasy epic from the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Elemental Assassin series—an enthralling tale that combines magic, murder, intrigue, adventure, and a hint of romance.
In a realm where one’s magical power determines one’s worth, Lady Everleigh’s lack of obvious ability relegates her to the shadows of the royal court of Bellona, a kingdom steeped in gladiator tradition. Seventeenth in line for the throne, Evie is nothing more than a ceremonial fixture, overlooked and mostly forgotten.
But dark forces are at work inside the palace. When her cousin Vasilia, the crown princess, assassinates her mother the queen and takes the throne by force, Evie is also attacked, along with the rest of the royal family. Luckily for Evie, her secret immunity to magic helps her escape the massacre.
Forced into hiding to survive, she falls in with a gladiator troupe. Though they use their talents to entertain and amuse the masses, the gladiators are actually highly trained warriors skilled in the art of war, especially Lucas Sullivan, a powerful magier with secrets of his own. Uncertain of her future—or if she even has one—Evie begins training with the troupe until she can decide her next move.
But as the bloodthirsty Vasilia exerts her power, pushing Bellona to the brink of war, Evie’s fate becomes clear: she must become a fearsome gladiator herself . . . and kill the queen.



Read An Excerpt

The day of the royal massacre started out like any other.
With me doing something completely, utterly useless.
“Why do I have to make the pie?” I grumbled.
I stared at the flour, sugar, and butter lined up on the table, along with measuring cups and spoons, a paring knife, a rolling pin, and bowls full of honey cranberries and bloodcrisp apples.
Isobel waved her hand over everything. “It’s a sign of respect for a member of the royal family to make the traditional welcome pie for the Andvarian ambassador. Lord Hans requested cranberry-apple for today’s luncheon.”
“You’re the cook master, not me,” I grumbled again. “You should make the pie. Your magic will make it look and taste amazing.”
Masters were those whose magic let them work with specific objects or elements, like metal, glass, and wood, to create astounding things. Isobel’s power helped her craft amazing desserts out of ordinary flour, sugar, and butter, which was why she’d been the head baker at Seven Spire palace for more than twenty years.
She slapped her hands on her hips. “I might be a cook master, but the Andvarians have very finely tuned senses. They would know if I made the pie instead of you. They can sniff out the intentions of every single person who handles their food, even if it’s only the servant who pours their wine. It’s one of the reasons why they can’t be poisoned.”
I snorted. “That’s just an old fairy tale started by the Andvarians themselves to keep people from trying to poison them. They don’t have any better senses than anyone else. Only mutts like me have that sort of magic.” I tapped my nose. “I might have an enhanced sense of smell, but even I can’t always sniff out people’s intentions.”
Isobel frowned. “You know I don’t like that word, especially when it’s applied to you.”
Unlike masters, who were sought after and lauded for their impressive skills, mutts were not, simply because our magic didn’t let us create anything. Most mutts only had a small spark of power, a tiny flicker that enhanced something about themselves, like my supersensitive nose. Something that barely qualified as magic, especially when compared to the airy meringues, spun-sugar cakes, and other delicacies that Isobel whipped up. When it came to magic, mutts were considered far weaker and far, far inferior to masters, magiers, and morphs. Hence the term mutts.
I shrugged. “We both know that I am most definitely a mutt in every sense of the word.”
Isobel winced, but she didn’t disagree.
“Besides, Lord Hans has the constitution of a gargoyle. I’ve seen him eat pepper radishes like they were as sweet as those apples. Why, I could pour him a tall, frosty glass of wormroot poison, and it wouldn’t give him much more than a stomachache. And a small one at that.”
Isobel’s lips twitched, but she summoned up a stern look, trying to keep me in line. Always a losing battle. I was rather incorrigible that way.
“Regardless, you need to make the pie, Lady Everleigh. You were the only one who was, ah, available.”
“Oh, really?” I arched an eyebrow, and Isobel dropped her dark brown gaze from mine.

Available? Well, that was a nice way of saying that it was once again time for me to earn my keep as Lady Everleigh Saffira Winter Blair. A mouthful of fancy names that meant very little in the grand scheme of things, but they, and the lineage that went along with them, were good enough for my cousin Queen Cordelia Alexandra Summer Blair to have me trotted out like a trained monkey whenever a so-called royal presence was required. Like wasting a morning baking a pie for some foreign ambassador who probably wouldn’t eat a single bite of it.

My Thoughts

Kill The Queen is a very fast paced "last of her line" adventure.  Written in the style of almost every coming of age, YA, Fantasy, that every little girl from 3 to 30 has ever lost herself in.

Evie is a likable enough character.  Though a little less than remarkable, when left to stand on her own.  Thank goodness for a stellar cast of teachers, unlikely friends, dastardly villians, and mouth-dropping circumstances tailored to support our rather lack luster heroine and drive the plot.

Though it is quite clear that the general premise suffers from a most unfortunate case of "been there, read that".  The fact that the story is very well written is what serves to keep one reading.

 In short.
While this may be a story  equipped with a full map of the route from beginning to end.  The fun and adventure to be had along the way, are clearly variables that only the traveller can control.

About Jennifer Estep


JENNIFER ESTEP is a New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author, prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea. She is the author of the following series:
  • THE ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN SERIES
  • THE CROWN OF SHARDS SERIES
  • THE MYTHOS ACADEMY SPINOFF SERIES
  • THE MYTHOS ACADEMY SERIES
  • THE BIGTIME SERIES
  • THE BLACK BLADE SERIES
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Tour Wide Giveaway

To celebrate the release of KILL THE QUEEN by Jennifer Estep, we’re giving away a paperback copy of the book to one lucky winner!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open to internationally. One winner will receive a paperback copy of Kill the Queen by Jennifer Estep. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of HarperCollins Publishing. Giveaway ends 10/15/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Limit one entry per reader. Duplicates will be deleted.  CLICK HERE TO ENTER!