Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Kindle Unlimited Book Blast & Giveaway


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Monday, 5 June 2017

Book Spotlight: The Irish Tempest by Elizabeth J. Sparrow

Historical Fiction
Date Published: November 2016

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Ireland, 1911: After seven centuries of unyielding oppression, there is a tempest rising, a national yearning for Irish independence. It threatens to sweep away all that is precious to the very privileged O’Rourke and de la Roche families. Seismic changes are but a whisper away.  What begins as a squabbling friendship between the wastrel Courtland O’Rourke and the defiant, mischief-making Lacey de la Roche matures into a deeply passionate, tempestuous love, fraught with secrets of lethal consequences and sins of omission.
In this debut historical novel, The Irish Tempest beckons the reader into a world, where landowner and tenant farmer, the well-off and the working-class are chafing under the chokehold of British domination.
Pulled apart by personal and social conflicts, Court and Lacey experience the world from perspectives both transformative and destructive. Court, compelled to accept a commission in the British army, initiates a disastrous affair with rippling aftershocks. Lacey, fueled by the arrogance of adolescence, is beguiled by a charismatic but sociopathic horse trainer.
The Irish Tempest thrusts the reader into the anguish of the 1916 Easter Rising and beyond as Ireland seethes on the cusp of revolution.  Deftly paced with vividly drawn characters, The Irish Tempest embraces historical elements while preserving the essence of evocative storytelling.

Recent Praise for The Irish Tempest

"Once you start this novel, be prepared not to put it back down! I found The Irish Tempest to be a beautiful and well-written tale of friendship, revenge, love and betrayal. It's simply addictive and truly fascinating..." San Francisco Book Review

"Ms. Sparrow does a wonderful job of drawing you into this epic tapestry. It's a perfect example of its genre. I read it more as historical fiction than as a romance ... fans of both genres would enjoy..." Manhattan Book Review

"The Irish Tempest reveals author Elizabeth J. Sparrow as having a genuine flair for deftly creating memorable characters and a riveting storyline that fully engages the reader's rapt attention from beginning to end. Very highly recommended for community library Historical Fiction collections."  Midwest Book Review - Small Press Bookwatch, February 2017

"The fates of two families mesh with Ireland's struggle for independence in this debut novel. Using several historical events and a large socially diverse cast means that Sparrow must keep multiple plates spinning, and some plotlines and characters feel underdeveloped. Yet the author finds emotional resonance when her players intersect with history..." Kirkus Reviews


There is an inevitable forgetfulness that comes with inheriting a privileged albeit circumscribed life. When there is wealth and abundant resources to pass on to the next generation, one may forget that those ancestral woes—the devastation of blight and famine, the theft of birthright and property, the debasement of language and culture—still may claim a person, in the here and now of one’s very indulgent existence.

This particular life belongs to Courtland O’Rourke, a pretty young man of twenty-one, Irish Catholic in the truest sense with not a hint of Protestantism in his bloodline. The Norman and Scottish bits have been subsumed by the last one hundred years of vigorous Irish procreation. In the full bloom of youthful pomposity, he is returning to the provincialism of southern Ireland after a riotous month in London.

“Would you be good enough to leave them against the wall, out of harm’s way?” Court directed the sweating porter with a flourish of his walking stick, a fashionable affectation acquired in London. “My man seems to be delayed.”  He offered this with a resigned shrug, for after all, this was Ireland.

“To be sure, sir,” gasped the porter as the last trunk thudded against the peeling wall.

A few strides around the stationmaster’s bungalow confirmed to Court that Lafferty was nowhere in sight and that he was quite alone among the bursting daffodils and dusty sparrows of Cloonsheelin. This first warm day of April had cast an enervating spell over the normally peripatetic townsfolk. What a sorry homecoming after the exuberant din and vulgar delights of city life. Spirits lagging well behind him, he set off for Sully’s tavern, pausing to observe a panting mongrel have a go at McCarthy’s prized Irish terrier bitch.

“They’ll be a nice bit of fussing over this,” he called out to the writhing dogs.

Such hasty coupling kindled a wistful recollection of the women he had frolicked with in London. These sirens of wit and charm were so unlike the feckless girls he readily sported with in Cloonsheelin. The country rake, with gray eyes and unfashionably long black curls, immediately became the object of bold intentions after a discreet introduction by a conspiring acquaintance. Lured into escorting them to the races, tea parties, and shopping forays, he learned that daytime was the ideal time for romantic adventuring.

Distracted by this memory of scented bosoms and velvet thighs, Court wandered into a pack of jeering children, two of whom wrestled furiously in the dirt. His dismay turned to alarm when he saw thirteen-year-old Padraic Knox leaping with idiotic glee around the combatants. One wave of his walking stick scattered most of them into the shelter of the woods. Court seized the apparent victor by the scruff while sneering down upon the loser.

“What a sight you are to behold, Sholto Gallagher! Flat on your back—kicking like a squalling babe in a wet nappy! Be off before I give you a few more lumps to blubber about.”

The squirming victor attempted a final kick to Sholto’s fleeing backside but was deterred by Court’s grip.

“What’s this set-to about? And mind, none of your lies or you’ll be feeling the back of my hand.” Court demanded of the now subdued Padraic.

“Don’t be blaming Padraic! They started it!”

“Go on then.” He released his captive. “And I want the truth first time round. None of your shillyshallying.”

“We were off to Mrs. Conway’s for tea when they began ragging on us, for no reason at all.”

“You mean ragging on Paddy here! That godforsaken bunch doesn’t have the brass to mix it up with you. They’d not be wanting the bloody US cavalry on their backs!”

“But Court,” came the all-too-familiar whine, “they’re always ragging on him.”

“Don’t you think it’s a mighty queer thing to have this wisp of a girl do your fighting for you?” he asked Padraic with pitiless sarcasm.

“Oh, I don’t mind at all, Master Court. Lacey’s not afeared of anyone.”

“Isn’t she now? You know what I think, Padraic Knox? You’ve been smacked in the head a wee bit too often! As for you, miss…”

Both of her braids hung loose, and dirt and blood smeared her face, while the right sleeve of her shirt flapped in the breeze. It was Court’s shirt, a hand-me-down, as most of her wardrobe seemed to be these days. She was even wearing a pair of his old riding breeches with a strip of burlap to keep them from falling to her knees!

“You shameless savages are coming with me!” Court snatched their hands and Lacey struggled to keep up with his long legs. “You’ll be a lovely sight to greet your father with that black eye, my lamb!”

Perched on the table in Mrs. Conway’s kitchen, Lacey twitched under her ministrations while Padraic slurped tea and nibbled on a potato pancake.

“To think, during my entire stay in London, I did not witness a single display of brawling! Only to return and find you hammering away at a brute of a boy, like you were born to the underclass! How many times must you be told? Young ladies of breeding do not engage in fisticuffs with common thugs!”

“Pish! I’m not a lady. I’m only eleven.”

“Don’t be impertinent!” Court hovered by Mrs. Conway’s elbow. “Shouldn’t she be getting a stitch or two for that?” His finger brushed away a lock of auburn hair from the jagged cut above her left eye.

“Ah, don’t be fretting so, Master Court. This here looks worse than it ’tis. Not deep, just messy. Bridget, fetch me the iodine and a bit of plaster.”

Eighteen-year-old Bridget Knox slunk away but not before cuffing her brother and inspiring Lacey to make some mischief. She was familiar with the rumors about Court and his sporting ways with Bridget and her ilk.

“What did you bring me?” Lacey asked as her prying hands fished through his pockets.

He bent close with a teasing smile. “Not that you’re deserving of my consideration. But if you were, and I happened to remember, it would be a might too big for my pocket, lamb.”

“Then who is this for?” She waved a gold necklace for all to see.

“You’re a thieving brat in need of a good seat warming.”

Court saw the rapt look of curiosity on both women’s faces. “No mystery, ladies. Just a trinket for Aggie. She’s been stuck with grandfather all this time, and you know what a bear he can be.”

By six o’clock, Lafferty had collected Court’s trunks and tracked him down at Mrs. Conway’s.

“Will we be stopping at Durbin House, sir?”

“No. Go straight on to Torrey Castle. Miss Lacey is to be our guest.”

When she began to protest, he hissed, “You’re under lock and key till your father returns from Dublin.”

“How do you know where he is?”

“I happened to have had supper with the captain night before last. He made a point of asking me to check on you—with good cause, I might add.”

Lacey sank back, her despair and pain welling into a single sob.

“What’s this?”

“I want to go home! I’ll not get into any more trouble.”

“If I thought you’d be properly looked after, I would! Old McTeague is too worn out to muster the strength to leash you. Indeed, you should be packed off to boarding school and taught to behave.”

This was not what she wanted to hear, least of all from someone who had spent the better part of his adolescence in disgrace, thanks to a hefty number of transgressions. She moved to the opposite side of the carriage and curled into a tight ball of woe.

Court’s left cheek began to pulse as he squinted at her in exasperation. Was it always to be this way between them? From the first day they had met—she, a stalwart five-year-old eager to ride and he, the fifteen-year-old reluctant teacher—they had squabbled and sparred with precious few interludes of peace.

“Look here, if you behave yourself for the next few days, you may come with me to Queenstown and meet my latest investment.”

“You bought a horse?”

“Aye, she’s a lovely little thing. Blacker than the devil’s brow with a sweet and steady gait. Grandfather will have a fit, but she was worth every shilling.”

“When can I ride her?”

“We’ll see,” he said, lifting his arm as she eased into the curve of his side. There was something seductive about these rare moments of harmony that made him susceptible to her manipulations.

“Will you unpack my present first, please?” She yawned in his face.

Clasping her mouth closed, he murmured, “Greedy little lamb.”  


About the Author

Elizabeth J. Sparrow is a native New Yorker and a graduate of Hunter College and New York University. She is working diligently on the sequel to The Irish Tempest.

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Sunday, 4 June 2017

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: The Corner Office by Katerina Baker

Contemporary Romance
Date Published: June 23, 2017

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Tara Johnson's sacrifices are about to pay off: a senior executive at thirty-five at a Fortune 500 company, she's one of the two finalists in line for a Managing Director position. Unfortunately, her rival of fifteen years, the charming, infuriating Richard Boyd, is just as qualified, and unlike her, he's willing to cross pretty much every line to get what he wants.

Of all the things Tara stored in the attic to make it to the top, it's her personal life she misses the most. That is, until she starts a steamy affair with sex god Aidan, her direct report. Interoffice relationships with a subordinate can mean the end of a career, and when Richard finds out, it's the perfect opportunity to take his high-heeled nemesis out, especially since he's still nursing a grudge against Tara for rejecting him years ago.

But Tara's increasingly domineering lover has his own dark secrets, endangering more than just her career. As her liaison spirals out of control, salvation will come from the man she always thought she hated, and perhaps the only one to truly understand her.


I sauntered to the elevator with my well-practiced “confident” walk, stretched my arm to push the button—
And my high-heeled sandal slipped.
My knee gave in, and I grabbed onto the first thing I could reach to prevent me from the total embarrassment of ending up on the floor in front of everyone. I turned to thank the helpful soul…and came face-to-face with Richard and a lazy twist of his lips settled in the corner of his mouth. I continued to squeeze his arm and my chest brushed his side. But it was more than that; he placed his other arm on my lower back to support me, and I felt a slight tug. The bastard pulled me closer to him in front of everyone watching and my space was suddenly invaded by the scent of his cologne. By Richard.
My insides tightened, and my lips pained as I was still trying to keep them in a semblance of a smile in front of everyone.
“You okay there?” he asked, his expression no less mocking than it was earlier. “You seem flustered. I understand. You finally get to see my place.”
The following moment was the testament to the long road that got me to that point in my career. All the brutal hours I’d slaved in the office, the hard work, missing friends’ events because of last-minute urgent assignments, working through my own birthdays—it all came down to that. My self-control to not kill Richard when every inch of my body believed spending the next twenty years in prison would be well worth it.
I smiled into his snake-green eyes, pushed his arm away and stepped into the elevator. Just as the doors closed separating us, as he thankfully decided to stay with the next group, I managed to think of an appropriate response. But it was too late.

About the Author

Katerina Baker is a lucky gal who still attempts to have it all: full-time project management job that she enjoys, crazy family of four (with the ongoing threats of getting a pet to upset the family equilibrium) and writing.

Although on some days she is much more successful at managing her life than on the others, she still claims that she doesn’t want it any other way.

Katerina is represented by Sharon Belcastro from Belcastro Agency, and has a contract with Lachesis Publishing, who will be publishing her Romantic Suspense novel Under the Scrubs.

Contact Links

Twitter: @KaterinaBaker

$10 Amazon gift card. 
To enter, readers need to add The Corner Office to their Goodreads TBR list and comment on the Facebook post HERE

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Friday, 2 June 2017

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Guardians of the Crown by Alison Stuart

Historical Romance
Date Published: 25 May 2017
Publisher: Escape Publishing

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From award-winning author Alison Stuart comes a stirring historical trilogy about soldiers, spies, and the strong women that love them.

By The Sword (Amazon Rating 4.5)

England 1650. In the aftermath of the execution of the King, England totters once more on the brink of civil war.

Kate Ashley finds her loyalty to the Parliamentary cause tested when she inherits responsibility for the estate of the Royalist Thornton family.

Jonathan Thornton, exiled and hunted for his loyalty to the King’s cause now returns to England to garner support for the young King. Finding Kate in his family home, he sees in her a chance at a life he doesn’t deserve.

But love is fragile in the face of history. What hope can one soldier and one woman hold in times like these?

(Winner of the 2008 Epic Award for Best Historical Romance)

For more information click HERE

The King's Man (Amazon Rating 4.7)

London 1654: Kit Lovell is a disillusioned Royalist who passes his time cheating at cards, living off his wealthy and attractive mistress and plotting the death of Oliver Cromwell.

Penniless and friendless, Thamsine Granville has lost everything. Terrified, in pain and alone, she hurls a piece of brick at the coach of Oliver Cromwell and earns herself an immediate death sentence. Only the quick thinking of a stranger saves her.

Far from the bored, benevolent rescuer that he seems, Kit plunges Thamsine into his world of espionage and betrayal – a world that has no room for falling in love.

Torn between Thamsine and loyalty to his King, Kit’s carefully constructed web of lies begins to unravel. He must make one last desperate gamble – the cost of which might be his life.

For more information click HERE

Exile's Return (Amazon Rating 4.8)

England, 1659: Following the death of Cromwell, a new king is poised to ascend the throne of England.

Imprisoned, exiled and tortured, fugitive Daniel Lovell returns to England, determined to kill the man who murdered his father. But his plans for revenge must wait, as the King has one last mission for him.

Agnes Fletcher’s lover is dead, and when his two orphaned children are torn from her care by their scheming guardian, she embarks on a perilous journey to save them. She didn’t plan on meeting the infamous Daniel Lovell.

Thrown together with separate quests – and competing obligations – Daniel and Agnes make their way from London to the English countryside, danger at every turn. Will they find the peace they crave, or will their fledgling love be a final casualty of war?

For more information click HERE


Kate nodded, a faint colour rising in her cheeks. ‘I had a good dowry and Richard fair prospects.’ She looked up at him, holding his eyes with her clear gaze. ‘And we loved each other.’

Dear God, this bloody war, Jonathan thought. 

‘And if it were not for the war, you would be living in wedded bliss in Barton Manor, surrounded by a brood of children,’ he said.

Kate looked away and he knew his observation had hit home. He reached for her hand and when she tried to pull away he tightened his grip, forcing her to look up at him.

‘I’m sorry, Kate, that was a thoughtless remark. I’m the last person who has any right to do that.’ He released her hand. ‘From what I knew of Richard, he did not have the heart of a soldier.’

He knew more about Richard Ashley than he was prepared to reveal. A scholar, not a soldier. Richard should be at home at Barton Manor with this woman and their children. Not dead in the ground at the age of twenty-two.

Kate looked up at him, her brow creased in puzzlement, and he cursed himself for revealing too much.

‘What could you possibly have known of him? The Thorntons have been estranged from the Ashleys for over thirty years.’ This time he bit his tongue and when he didn’t reply she continued.  ‘To answer your question, Richard may not have gone willingly to the war but he fought bravely against the terrible odds in the North. He followed Sir Thomas Fairfax into hell during those early years.’

Jonathan nodded. ‘Fairfax’s men had it hard in those early years.’ He paused. ‘Was he with Fairfax that day at Marston Moor?’

‘Of course,’ Kate replied. ‘Were you there? Is it possible you faced Richard?’

Of course Jonathan had been there with Prince Rupert’s cavalry. It had been a bloodbath.  Marston Moor had put in train a series of tragic events in his own life that had nothing to do with the battle.

He swallowed and gave a barely perceptible nod. ‘I was on the other flank with Rupert.’

‘What did it matter?’ A rare flash of anger rose in Kate. ‘You wouldn’t have known Richard if you had met on the battlefield.’

Yes I would, he thought.

‘That is the tragedy of a civil war, Kate.’

She didn’t seem to notice that he had used her given name. Her eyes blazed with anger and misery. ‘They brought him home to die. It was a horrible death.’ Her voice cracked.

She lowered her head and took several deep shuddering breaths that wracked her body.

Without thinking, Jonathan lifted his hand to her face, tilting her chin so she looked at him. Her eyes swam with unshed tears. Tears he had caused.

‘So many deaths. Too many, Kate. Believe me, it’s not always easy to be the survivor. I may not be dead but I have lost all that is important to me. It’s a hollow victory over death.’

So many deaths...Marston Moor and afterwards, Oxford. He had run at life, stumbled into the path of innocent people, and he had survived while they had died.

About the Author

Award winning Australian author, Alison Stuart learned her passion for history from her father. She has been writing stories since her teenage years but it was not until 2007 that her first full length novel was published. Alison has now published eight full length historical romances and a collection of her short stories.  Her disposition for writing about soldier heroes may come from her varied career as a lawyer in the military and fire services. These days when she is not writing she is travelling and routinely drags her long suffering husband around battlefields and castles.
To keep up to date with Alison’s news and for access to exclusive content subscribe to her Readers’ List. Just click HERE

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Guardians of the Crown is available from all reputable online stores:


If you would like to explore this fascinating period in history, Alison is offering a copy of her time travel romance SECRETS IN TIME to any readers who wish to sign up to her newsletter. The offer remains open until 30 June.

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