Friday, July 12, 2019

First Line Fridays

Happy Friday friends!  I was looking at all the books on Amazon the other day, and I purchased a few new Kindle books--when they are $.99 you just have to!  At least, that is what makes sense to me.  :)  So today's book is one I ordered, and I'm excited to read it.  I don't think I have read anything by this author before--maybe in a novella collection--but I'm not sure.  Have you read any books by this author, and if so which stories?  Also, what periods of history do you most enjoy reading and learning about?  Let me know in the comments below.  As always, happy reading! 

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!

Today I am going to post a line from: 

  Give Me Thine Heart 
by Andrea Boeshaar

And the first line is...

"My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways." 
Proverbs 23:26 

Kingsley Manor 
Periwick, England 
July, 1814

"Ladies in pastel gowns of pink, green, and blue skipped by as the orchestra played a lively tune."  

Happy reading and happy Friday!   

        Let me know your first line in the comments & then head over to Hoarding Books to see                                                                  who else is participating!  

Friday, July 5, 2019

First Line Fridays

In lieu of the 4th of July, I wanted to highlight a seasonal book today.  Did anyone ever read the Berenstain Bears books?  They were always so good!  So here is a first line from one of their stories.  Happy reading friends!  

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!

Today I am going to post a line from: 

  God Bless Our Country 
by Mike Berenstain

And the first line is...

"It was a beautiful early summer afternoon in Bear Country.  Bees were busily buzzing in their hives and cowbells clunked over at Farmer Ben's farm as milking time drew near.  Brother, Sister, and Honey Bear were busy too.  School was out and the first big event of summer vacation was coming up--the Bear Country Fourth of July Parade."

Happy reading and happy Friday!   

        Let me know your first line in the comments & then head over to Hoarding Books to see                                                                  who else is participating!  

The Portrait - Spotlight Book Tour

The Portrait 

by Cassandra Austen

Publication Date: December 31, 2018
Apollo Grannus Books
eBook & Paperback; 340 Pages
Genre: Historical/Romance/Suspense

Lady Catherine, banished to the countryside as a useless girl with a lame leg, got her revenge by playing a dangerous game. And now it will ruin her.

When the old earl dies, his only child feels no sorrow. The earldom will now revert to the crown and Lady Catherine will continue to live life exactly as she pleases. But when she learns that she is the heir to a secret family title, everything changes.

Marriage had once seemed unnecessary and out of the question; now it is the only thing she wants. The two men in her life both need her influence and wealth. Whom shall she choose? The kind but secretive Captain Avebury? Or the notorious Sir Lyle, the handsome smuggler? Both men deal very differently with honor. And when Catherine's secret self-destructs, which man can be trusted to save her?

The Portrait is about a strong woman, foolish decisions, trust, and the definition of honor. Fans of Jane Austen's independent women will recognize in Catherine a voice which will not be silenced.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Cassandra Austen writes historical and contemporary fiction set in both old and New England. She is the author of The Portrait, a historical romance that takes place during the Regency period in England, and Coming Home to Greenleigh, a contemporary New England romance.

She lives and works in her 1700s farmhouse in northern New England, but you are welcome to visit her at her virtual home: You can also find Cassandra on Facebook, Instagram, and Goodreads.

“Your mother, Lady Catherine, was the Countess Delamare through her marriage to your father. But she was also the Countess St Clair, a title she held in her own right from her mother, the previous Countess St Clair.”
“But I have never heard of such a thing!” Catherine protested, a little alarmed. “Are you absolutely sure?”
“Most certainly. In fact, all of the staff here at Albrook knew her as the Countess St Clair before she married your father.” He paused. “After you were born, however …” His voice faltered, but his gaze held steady. “… after you were born, the staff were forbidden to mention your name, and certainly never to speak of you as the heiress to the St Clair title. In fact, he allowed people to assume that your mother had ceded it to him on their marriage. Nevertheless, you have been the Countess St Clair since your mother’s death.”
Catherine jerked back in her seat. Her voice trembled. “Who-who is responsible for keeping this from me?” she managed to choke out.
“Primarily, your mother,” Beaseley said. “She feared what would happen if it became known while you were still a child that you were both extravagantly wealthy and held your own title. She did not want evil people to manipulate you for their own gain. And she hoped that your father would come to love you as his own flesh and blood, without the constant reminder—”
“—that my mother had borne an heiress for her own line and left his bankrupt! Oh, how she misjudged him!” she cried. “My poor mother! She thought that her actions would protect me, but she underestimated the power of my father’s resentment!”
“And secondarily, of course, your father. As I said, he would not permit the name to be mentioned in this house, the servants could not address you as countess and, when he sent you to Wansdyke, he dismissed the old servants. No one knew your mother or could tell you anything about her.”
Catherine felt numbly in her pocket for a handkerchief. She wiped her eyes, but they filled again. She was unaccustomed to having her armour pierced. Venturing into the hotbed of gossip that was Bath after years spent alone at Wansdyke had taught her how to maintain her calm. It had not been easy to insinuate herself into society; it would have been far easier to remain in seclusion as her father had intended. Those difficult first excursions into the public eye – when she had been stared at, whispered about, and occasionally laughed at – had led her to believe she could endure anything.
But now she discovered she was not quite at that point. There was, apparently, some feeling in her yet.
“Shall I send for Clara, my lady?” Beaseley was looking concerned. She shook her head.
No.” She choked a little on the word, but raised her head. “No. I … there are things I need to know, questions …”
“Of course, my lady.” He bowed. For a moment, the silence hung thick between them.
Catherine spoke. Her voice rasped. “This is in writing?”
“Yes. That was the source of the disagreement when the marriage contract was drawn up. Your mother insisted that the St Clair properties were to be held in trust for future heirs to the title. They never entered your father’s hands. The documents are in my possession. Your mother passed them to me and required my oath of secrecy.” He looked deeply upset. “I am sorry that I felt I could not honour her request to the end. With your father so ill – and unsure as I am when I might see you next – it seemed impossible.”
Catherine shook her head. She was still confused. “My mother, and her mother before her – Countess St Clair. Does the title only pass through the female line?”
“No, my lady. It is an earldom.”
“An earldom!” For a moment, she couldn’t speak. Beaseley filled the silence for her.
“It is a very old title, much older than your father’s. It was originally meant to pass to heirs general – the heir might be male or female, at the pleasure of the Crown. But your grandmother was the only living heir of the last earl, and your mother was her only heir, so both became countess without challenge. Should you have a son, he would become the next Earl St Clair.”
A son! The thought had never entered Catherine’s mind. She had a fleeting image of a plump golden-haired child, laughing and toddling. A son who would become the next Earl St Clair. She shuddered and chided herself. It was a ridiculous, far-fetched thought.
She looked at Beaseley blankly.
“You have a castle in Wales,” he continued. “It is more or less in ruins, although there is a manor house on the site as well. It has not been lived in for a very long time, although it is the seat of the St Clairs – with the line passing through several females, maintaining even that has been a difficult task. The women married into other families,” Beaseley said apologetically. “And they … well, they made only token acknowledgement of the needs of the St Clair estates. But if … if there were a male heir, the family could thrive and grow once more.”
Catherine stared. This hardly seemed possible. A male heir? A St Clair earl?
She suddenly understood. This was why her father was so deeply angry. This was why he wanted her hidden away in Bath. Because, were she to one day bear a son, the St Clair dynasty would live to see another century but the Clavertons would be gone.

Monday, July 1 Feature at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots Tuesday, July 2 Feature at A Holland Reads Wednesday, July 3 Review & Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads Thursday, July 4 Interview at Passages to the Past Friday, July 5 Review at A Chick Who Reads Excerpt at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen Monday, July 8 Interview at Let Them Read Books Tuesday, July 9 Feature at CelticLady's Reviews Wednesday, July 10 Review at McCombs on Main Thursday, July 11 Feature at What Is That Book About Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit Friday, July 12 Review at Coffee and Ink Review at Book Reviews from Canada Monday, July 15 Review at My Vices and Weaknesses

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away two copies of The Portrait
To enter, please use the Gleam form below. 

Giveaway Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 15th. 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 suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion. – The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The Earl in Black Armor - Spotlight Book Tour

The Earl in Black Armor 

by Nancy Blanton

Publication Date: March 17, 2019
Ellys-Daughtrey Books
eBook, Paperback, Hardcover
Genre: Historical Fiction

Ireland, 1635. When the clan leader sends Faolán Burke to Dublin to spy on Thomas Wentworth, the ruthless Lord Deputy of Ireland, the future of his centuries-old clan rests upon his shoulders. Wentworth is plotting to acquire clan lands of Connacht for an English Protestant plantation. To stop him, Faolán must discover misdeeds that could force King Charles to recall Wentworth to England.

Leaving his young daughter Elvy in the care of his best friend Aengus, Faolán works as a porter in Dublin Castle, and aligns with the alluring Denisa, Wentworth’s personal assistant. She, too, spies on Wentworth, but for very personal reasons. While Faolán knows he should hate Wentworth, he admires his prosecution of pirates and corrupt nobles who prey on Irish merchants. Supremely arrogant and cruel to his enemies, Wentworth shows loyalty, warmth and compassion for family, friends and a few select others.

A common mission takes Faolán and Denisa from Dublin to London and Hampton Court; to York and Scotland; and to the highest levels of court intrigue and power. But secrets, fears, war and betrayal threaten their love—and even their lives. And as Wentworth’s power grows, so grow the deadly plans of his most treacherous and driven enemies.

"If you are looking for an adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat, then look no further! Get ready for court intrigue, roguish behavior, and of course, that little bit of romance... Well, then you have a book that is hard to put down." -- Rebecca Hill, Net Galley Reviewer

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Nancy Blanton writes award-winning novels based in 17th century Irish history. Her latest, The Earl in Black Armor, tells a relentless story of loyalty, honor and betrayal in the Stuart era prior to the great Irish Rebellion of 1641. The Prince of Glencurragh, her second novel, occurs in 1634 during the English Plantation of Ireland. Her first novel, Sharavogue, is set in Ireland and the West Indies during the time of Oliver Cromwell.

In non-fiction, Brand Yourself Royally in 8 Simple Steps is also a medalist, providing a valuable personal branding guide for authors, artists, and business consultants. Her blog, My Lady’s Closet, focuses on writing, books, historical fiction, research and travel.

Ms. Blanton is a member of the Historical Novel Society and is proud to be an occasional guest author on the award-winning UK blog, Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots. She has worked as a journalist, magazine editor, corporate communications leader and brand manager. Her books celebrate her love of history and her Irish and English heritage. She lives in Florida.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Monday, July 1 Review at Gwendalyn's Books Tuesday, July 2 Excerpt at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen Friday, July 5 Review at Jathan & Heather Saturday, July 6 Review at Passages to the Past Monday, July 8 Guest Post at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots Tuesday, July 9 Review at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals Wednesday, July 10 Review at The Writing Desk Thursday, July 11 Feature at Let Them Read Books Friday, July 12 Feature at Coffee and Ink Interview at Passages to the Past Tuesday, July 16 Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit Wednesday, July 17 Feature at What Is That Book About Friday, July 19 Interview at Jathan & Heather

During the Blog Tour, one winner will receive a signed hardcover copy of The Earl in Black Armor! To enter, please use the Gleam form below. 

Giveaway Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 19th. You must be 18 or older to enter. – Giveaway is open to the US & UK only. – Only one entry per household. – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion. – The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.