Tag Archives: Orphan

Blitz: The Hope of Azure Springs by Rachel Fordham

THE HOPE OF
AZURE SPRINGS 
by
RACHEL FORDHAM
Genre: Inspirational Historical Romance 
Date of Publication: July 3, 2018
Publisher: Revell

Number of Pages: 336

ABOUT THE BOOK: Seven years ago, orphaned and alone, Em finally arrived at a new home in Iowa after riding the orphan train. But secrets from her past haunt her, and her new life in the Western wilderness is a rough one. When her guardian is shot and killed, Em, now nineteen, finally has the chance to search for her long-lost sister, but she won’t be able to do it alone.

For Azure Springs Sheriff Caleb Reynolds, securing justice for the waifish and injured Em is just part of his job. He’s determined to solve every case put before him in order to impress his parents and make a name for himself. Caleb expects to succeed. What he doesn’t expect is the hold this strange young woman will have on his heart.
Welcome to the charming town of Azure Springs, Iowa, where people care deeply for one another and, sometimes, even fall in love.
 
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PRAISE FOR THE HOPE OF AZURE SPRINGS: “In her promising first novel, Fordham assembles an endearing cast of characters in the rugged Midwest plains for a tale about surviving and thriving. . . .Fordham depicts heartbreaking emotional and physical suffering, while beautifully illustrating the power in simple acts of kindness to foster healing, hope, and happiness.”
Booklist

EXCERPT: PROLOGUE
FROM THE HOPE OF AZURE SPRINGS

Iowa, 1881

     She dead?”
     Em heard a man’s voice from somewhere above her. A strange thumping pulsed through her with each word he spoke. Her throat burned, screaming for water, but she could not cry out.
     “There’s life in her. Not much of it though,” a second, raspier voice answered. She felt a hand press against her throat and then move over her body, gently probing. “She’s bleeding pretty bad.”
     “Gunshot?” the first voice asked.
     If only her eyes would open, and she could see them. Straining, she struggled to pull her heavy eyelids open. Finally, bits of light darted in front of her eyes, but she could not focus. The faces above her were fuzzy and indiscernible.
     Fear swept through her, suddenly waking her battered body. Afraid the men from before had returned, she opened her eyes wide, finding strength that only moments before she had lacked. With thrashing arms, she flailed at the men. Her arms flopped about but offered little defense—she was too weak from blood loss. And then they moved no longer, subdued by large, strong hands.
     “Easy, girl. We aren’t going to hurt you. We just want to help. Take you into town, that’s all. There’s a good doctor there.” The man’s deep voice sounded gentle, but still she did not trust him. Voices could be deceiving. Arms could hurt as well as help. She knew these things well.
     Soon she felt her body being raised above the ground, and moments later the hard planks of a wagon became the resting place for her injured frame. Too weak to move, she lay looking at the sky, wishing there were a way to end the agony, but knowing that for Lucy she would fight on.
     Once the wagon lurched forward, she lost track of everything again. The wheels bouncing over ruts made her pain so intense that everything closed around her and then faded to black.
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rachel Fordham started writing when her children began begging her for stories at night. She’d pull a book from the shelf, but they’d insist she make one up. She hasn’t stopped since. She lives with her husband and children on an island in the state of Washington.

 
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Excerpt 4 & Giveaway: Beyond Scandal and Desire by Lorraine Heath

BEYOND SCANDAL
AND DESIRE
Sins for All Seasons, Book 1
by
LORRAINE HEATH
  
Genre: Historical / Regency Romance
Publisher: Avon
Date of Publication: January 30, 2018
Number of Pages: 320

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At birth, Mick Trewlove, the illegitimate son of a duke, was handed over to a commoner. Despite his lowly upbringing, Mick has become a successful businessman, but all his wealth hasn’t satisfied his need for revenge against the man who still won’t acknowledge him. What else can Mick do but destroy the duke’s legitimate son—and woo the heir’s betrothed into his own unloving arms . . .

Orphaned and sheltered, Lady Aslyn Hastings longs for a bit of adventure. With her intended often preoccupied, Aslyn finds herself drawn to a darkly handsome entrepreneur who seems to understand her so well. Surely a lady of her station should avoid Mick Trewlove. If only he weren’t so irresistible . . . 

As secrets are about to be exposed, Mick must decide if his plan for vengeance is worth risking what his heart truly desires.

PRAISE FOR BEYOND SCANDAL AND DESIRE:
“Heath builds a community of fascinating, intertwined characters that readers will be eager to get to know as they cheer for the driven hero and the spunky, smart heroine.” — Publishers Weekly
“RITA Award–winner Heath’s new Sins for All Seasons series is off to an impressive start with an unforgettable, emotionally charged love story that will dazzle and delight readers with its exquisitely crafted characters, deliciously sensual romance, and impeccably rendered historical setting.” — Booklist/ *STARRED* Review
“For the first book in the Sins for All Seasons series, Heath returns to the world of dark London — a world she understands as well as Dickens. Heath illuminates the city’s underbelly with a powerful romance of healing and redemption. Her talents for drawing readers into the era with her well-drawn, three dimensional characters and realistic dialogue sets her novels apart. The unexpected twists and turns of the plot guarantees it will be placed on your keeper shelf.” — RT Book Reviews/ “Top Pick” Review


Excerpt from Beyond Scandal and Desire

by Lorraine Heath

“Why would someone think I was worth robbing?”

 

“Because you’re dressed in finery like a lady who might be silly enough to walk around London with a thousand quid stuffed in her—” He waved his hand at her as though he thought she might have stashed it in an unmentionable area.

 

“My reticule.”

 

“Well, he’d have not stopped with the taking of it. He’d have given you a thorough search—”

 

She didn’t care to hear where he might have searched. “As I said, I did not walk. Well, except up your steps, and then there was your man to look out for me.”

 

The fury seemed to deflate out of him. “There are men around here who would kill for a thousand quid.”

 

“I suspect there are some who would cheat for it, as well. Did your bricklayer cheat while playing cards with Kipwick?”

 

“No. My people know I don’t tolerate cheating. I’d have let him go. A man who cheats at cards might cheat elsewhere, including in the work he gives me. Besides, my brothers were watching. The problem, Lady Aslyn, is that your fiancé bends his elbow as much as he holds the cards. Guzzling too much drink hampers a man’s judgment, his ability to calculate

the odds of winning.”

 

She feared drinking wasn’t the only problem Kip had. “Since he lost fair and square then, and you’ve offered to sell the items to me, tell me how much I owe you.”

 

“I told you. A pound.”

 

“I don’t believe you.”

 

He arched a dark brow over one of those beautiful blue eyes. “Are you calling me a liar?”

 

She angled up her chin. “Yes. I quite believe I am.”

 

His laughter, deep and masculine, circled around her, sent the calming butterflies back into flight. “No one has ever dared call me a liar—at least not to my face.”

Lorraine Heath always dreamed of being a writer. After graduating from the University of Texas, she wrote training manuals, press releases, articles, and computer code, but something was always missing. When she read a romance novel, she not only became hooked on the genre, but quickly realized what her writing lacked: rebels, scoundrels, and rogues. She’s been writing about them ever since. Her work has been recognized with numerous industry awards, including RWA’s prestigious RITA. Her novels have appeared on the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists.

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Review & Giveaway: Holding the Fort by Regina Jennings

HOLDING THE FORT
The Fort Reno Series, Book 1
by
REGINA JENNINGS
  Genre: Historical Western Christian Romance
Date of Publication: December 5, 2017
Number of Pages: 353

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With Miss Bell as the Teacher, Everyone’s Bound to Learn an Interesting Lesson

Dance hall singer Louisa Bell has always lived one step from destitution. When she loses her job at the Cat-Eye Saloon, she has nowhere else to go but to her brother, a cavalry soldier stationed in Indian Territory. But he’s run afoul of his commanding officer. Unsure what she can do to help him and desperate for a job, she doesn’t protest when she’s mistaken for a governess at the fort. How hard can teaching really be?


Major Daniel Adams has his hands full at Fort Reno, especially raising two adolescent daughters alone. If this new governess doesn’t work out, his mother-in-law insists she’ll raise the girls herself–far away from the fort. Miss Bell bears little resemblance to Daniel’s notion of a governess–they’re not supposed to be so blamed pretty–but he finds himself turning a blind eye to her unconventional methods. Louisa has never faced so important a performance. Can she keep her act together long enough to help her brother and to secure the respectable future she’s sought for so long?

PRAISE FOR HOLDING THE FORT & THE FORT RENO SERIES:
“The first book in Jennings’ new Fort Reno series is a delightful read that helps solidify what a wonderful and imaginative writer Jennings is. She manages to create unique stories with interesting and well-developed characters while combining humor, mystery and a sprinkle of faith.”
–RT Book Reviews

“In this character-driven series launch, Jennings offers a powerful lesson on the freedom of truth and forgiveness wrapped in a delightful story of love against the odds.”
Publishers Weekly

“This series launch is a charming historical romance set in 1880s Fort Reno, OK. . . . Jennings kicks off a new series with a light and enjoyable tale that will delight her fans as well as lovers of historical romance.”
Library Journal

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Ok, I’ll admit it. I begged to review this book because of the cover. I could tell it was a period piece based on the backdrop and wardrobe. But it was the cute blonde in a pink dress with an armful of books that sold it to me.
It wouldn’t take much more to endear this book to me, but the main character, Louisa Bell, stole my heart. Anything could have happened and I would still love this book. A strong, independent woman who taught herself to sing beautifully, be still my heart. She could have easily settled by marrying or by taking on the oldest occupation, but she didn’t. No matter the hardships she has faced, she is still kind (but not a pushover!) and holds tight to people who are important to her.
We meet pretty much every character that existed in the West during Louisa’s journey: Native Americans, cowboys (more drunk than not), farmers, shopkeepers, religious folk, children, and military men. It’s great to see how she adapts to each situation. And while she never outright lies about anything, her talent for deception (or improvisation) finds her a comfortable living situation.
Only one situation in the novel felt heavy, as it was a political one. But it gave a nice inside look at the sort of dealings that took place during this time period. The atmosphere gets tense for a bit, but you never doubt that things will work out for the best. The same could be said for the romantic storyline as well. While Louisa is hiding very big secrets from the Major, you have a feeling that things will sort themselves out.
And that’s the only critique I have of this book. I would have liked something to knock me off balance and kept me flailing around for a bit. Other than that, I admire Jennings clean writing style and descriptions. The dialogue is delivered effortlessly and the characters are interesting and believable. I look forward to reading the next installment. I hope to see more of Caroline and Daisy in the coming books.
Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a minor in history. She’s the winner of the National Readers’ Choice Award, a two-time Golden Quill finalist and a finalist for the Oklahoma Book of the Year Award. Regina has worked at the Mustang News and at First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She lives outside of Oklahoma City with her husband and four children.
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Author Interview: A Wife of Noble Character by Yvonne Georgina Puig

A WIFE OF NOBLE CHARACTER
by

Yvonne Georgina Puig

Genre: Women‘s Contemporary Fiction
Date of Publication: August 2, 2016
Number of Pages: 320

 

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Thirty-year-old Vivienne Cally is wealthy in name only. Orphaned as a child and raised by a cold but regal aunt, Vivienne was taught to rely on her beauty and Texas tradition, and is expected to marry a wealthy and respectable man who will honor the Cally name. Friends with Houston’s richest and most prominent families, she’s a beloved fixture at the social events big and small, and suffers no shortage of access to some of the city’s most eligible bachelors. Preston Duffin has known Vivienne and her set since childhood.  He’s never shared their social aspirations or their status but is liked and respected for his sharp wit and intelligence. About to graduate from a prestigious architecture program, he is both fascinated and repelled by this group of friends he sits on the cusp of. He’s long admired Vivienne’s beauty and grace, but isn’t sure he holds any place in such a traditional life. Intrigued by Preston’s ambitions and the extent to which he challenges the only way of life she’s ever known, Vivienne both courts Preston’s attention, and rebuffs his critiques of her predictable and antiquated priorities and values. 
Inspired by Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth, Yvonne Georgina Puig’s A Wife of Noble Character shares the original novel’s astute social commentary at the same time that it illuminates the trappings and rewards of coming of age that are wholly unique to the twenty-first century. Charming and shrewd at once, this Texas love story takes readers from Houston to Paris and Switzerland and back again, and will speak to both fans of Wharton and anyone who has every struggled to find their way in life.


Praise for A Wife of Noble Character

“A fun take on Edith Wharton’s classic.”—Marie Claire
A Wife of Noble Character is equal parts wry social commentary and heart-fluttering romance — an insightful journey for both the head and the heart.” —Refinery29
“This sharply drawn novel about Houston’s oil-money elite strikes a beautiful balance—rollicking at times while deeply felt at others.”—Elle.com
“A compelling and complicated love story…The characters hearken back to Wharton’s while still not feeling like archetypes, and the interior narration matches the introspective style of Wharton’s writing.”—Book Riot
A Wife of Noble Character possesses something that is intrinsically Houstonian: a sense of humor. . . Apparently, no matter how far you move, Houston sticks with you; Puig has the local milieu down cold.”—Texas Monthly
“In this vivid, socially acute novel of manners set in oil-money Houston society, Yvonne Puig charms us with prose and braces us with insight—a masterful, sharp-eyed and eloquent debut.” —Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander and Paint it Black
“A fresh, funny look at what it means to be an adult in the 21st century and a juicy Texan comedy of manners, at its heart, A Wife of Noble Character is a good old fashioned love story.” —Sarah Bird, author of Above the East China Sea
A Wife of Noble Character is a wildly unique creation: A social novel that is simultaneously classic and utterly modern. I found it sharply insightful, lyrically written, and often laugh-out-loud funny; and could barely put it down until the last page. Puig is a talented satirist and a breathtakingly astute observer of character.”—Janelle Brown, author of All We Ever Wanted Was Everything

 

AuthorInterview

Author Interview 1 – Yvonne Georgina Puig

How has being a Texan influenced your writing?

I think growing up in Texas made me a writer. For better or worse, Texas really is outrageous, and I love that about it. You grow up hearing stories, and meeting larger-than-life people from all currents of life—I believe growing up in Texas attuned me to story. Also, my dad, who grew up in Houston, is a great storyteller.

Where did your love of all things bookish come from?

It seems to me it came from many places—from where I grew up certainly, but also from my parents and grandparents, who all love/loved to read. Books and stories were an escape for me. I didn’t much feel like I fit in at school, and so I learned to be an observer. And writing comes out of observation. I also feel I was born loving words – I can’t explain it, but even before I learned how to write, I was filling journals with pretend writing (I remember making little make-believe cursive lines from right to left in a spiral notebook).

How long have you been writing?

As long as I can remember—filling those spiral notebooks with pretend writing before I knew how to write. I didn’t think of it as writing back then. I don’t remember what I thought. I just loved to put pen to paper.

What kind(s) of writing do you do?

Poetry, essays, fiction, and more recently trying to see how I do with screenplays. We’ll see how it goes!

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

I’m curious to hear this question answered from a reader’s perspective. It seems to me writers are too close to their own writing to be able to see it clearly – I just hope that to readers my writing is somehow true or familiar to an experience of their own hearts.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

It was hardest to make the love story feel true and real, and not too sappy. I hope I succeeded. It was also challenging to take the themes of The House of Mirth and apply them to modern-day Texas. I believe the questions that Wharton poses in The House of Mirth are still relevant today. But on the other hand, things really have changed for women since her time. It was difficult but wonderful to write over that tightrope and let both those things be true at once.

What did you find most useful and/or most destructive in learning to write?

Aiming for perfection is destructive. Comparison is destructive. I think comparison is hardest- when you read something so incredible you just think to yourself, I’ll never be able to do that. And maybe you won’t –but you will be able to something else! And it will be your own.

What is your intention in reimagining The House of Mirth?

I’d like to answer this question because I’ve noticed that people wonder if I thought I could somehow do the The House of Mirth better than or even equal to Wharton. That is not the case. No one can match Wharton. I wanted to write a story that jumped off the premise of House of Mirth and asked similar questions about women, and the extent to which women are free today. What does it mean to be a wife today?

 

 

 


Yvonne Georgina Puig’s fiction and essays have appeared in Salon, Variety, Los Angeles Magazine, and The Texas Observer, among others. She holds a Masters in Professional Writing from USC. She lives in Santa Monica with her husband. 

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