Monday, January 12, 2015

Book Review: Contract to Wed by Holly Bush

Hi all,

The very first book I read by author Holly Bush was Train Station Bride, and I just loved it. Since then, I've read every one of her novels and have enjoyed them all. I just recently had the honor of reviewing her upcoming novel, Contract to Wed, and I have to say, it is her absolute best novel to date. It is the second book in the Crawford Family series, but it could also be a stand-alone book as well. Believe me when I say – if you love historical romance, you will love this novel. Here is more about the book and my review.

Contract to Wed

Holly Bush
 
Book Description:

1891 . . . Jolene Crawford Crenshaw, heiress and Boston socialite, went from her family home directly to Landonmore upon her marriage, the mansion she shared with her handsome and charismatic husband. She’d never in her life worried in the slightest over anything as crass as the dollars required to maintain that home or the lifestyle she’d been born to. Her extensive yearly wardrobe, the stables and the prime horseflesh within it, even the solid silver forks and knifes that graced her table, were expected and required to maintain the social standing that she’d cultivated over the years. But suddenly she was a widow with little money and just her pride and her secrets to keep her upright.

Max Shelby made his fortune in oil wells and cattle but lost the love of his life the day his wife died. Now, his happy, carefree daughter needs instruction and guidance as she grows into a young lady and his dream of becoming a Senator from his adopted state of Texas seems out of reach with few political or social connections. The right wife would solve both problems. As it happens, his sister knows of a woman, a recent widow, charming, beautiful and socially astute, but in reduced circumstances, who may want to begin again. Max signed the wedding contract sight unseen.

Will Jolene be able to shed her sorrows, anger and fears to begin anew away from the censure and hidden tragedy that marred her life? Is her new husband, confident, strong and capable Max Shelby, the man, the only man, to see past her masks to find the woman beneath?

 
This novel will be out February 5, 2015

Pre-Order on:


 
My 5 Star Review:

Boston socialite Jolene Crawford Crenshaw's life changed completely when her husband died and left his considerable wealth to Jolene's niece. Unable to maintain her current lifestyle, she decides to take Texan cattleman Max Shelby's offer of marriage in return for her to teach social skills to his daughter as well as help him run for state senator. The last thing Jolene expects is to fall under the spell of the handsome Max, but she finds it difficult to resist his charms. But Jolene holds secrets in her heart that keep her from being close with anyone, and falling in love is luxury that she can't allow herself to do.

Holly Bush has outdone herself with Contract to Wed.  This extremely well-written story was impossible to put down. The descriptions were vivid, the characters jumped off the page, and the storyline was fascinating and heartwarming. You can picture Jolene's stiff back and unsmiling expression. You can see Max's strong build and handsome face. He is so adorable; you actually fall in love with him. You find yourself cheering these two opposites on, hoping they will connect. It is a beautiful story of love, heartache, loss, and family. As far as I'm concerned, this is Holly's best novel to date! This is a must read for all lovers of historical romance. I can't wait to read the next book in this series.

 
Check out these other reviews of novels by Holly Bush:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I hope you will pick up a copy of Contract to Wed. You will not be disappointed.

Cheers,

Deanna

Friday, January 9, 2015

Book Review: Miramont's Ghost by Elizabeth Hall

Hi all,

I just finished this novel that I couldn't put down. I purchased it through Amazon's First Read's program (Prime Members can download two free first reads a month), and I'm so happy that I did. If you enjoy well-written historical novels with a dark side - this one is for you. Here is more about the novel and my review.

Miramont's Ghost
Elizabeth Hall


Book Description:

Miramont Castle, built in 1897 and mysteriously abandoned three years later, is home to many secrets. Only one person knows the truth: Adrienne Beauvier, granddaughter of the Comte de Challembelles and cousin to the man who built the castle.

Clairvoyant from the time she could talk, Adrienne’s visions show her the secrets of those around her. When her visions begin to reveal dark mysteries of her own aristocratic French family, Adrienne is confronted by her formidable Aunt Marie, who is determined to keep the young woman silent at any cost. Marie wrenches Adrienne from her home in France and takes her to America, to Miramont Castle, where she keeps the girl isolated and imprisoned. Surrounded by eerie premonitions, Adrienne is locked in a life-or-death struggle to learn the truth and escape her torment.

Reminiscent of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, this hauntingly atmospheric tale is inspired by historical research into the real-life Miramont Castle in Manitou Springs, Colorado

 
Buy Miramont's Ghost:



(This novel is currently in pre-order.)

My 4-Star Review:

I love a good ghost story, especially set in the early 1900s, so this novel attracted me right away. Castles, ghosts, and damsels in distress—what more could you want? But I found that this novel was much more than I'd originally expected.

Miramont's Ghost is based on a true story and is a mixture of truth and fiction. I love it when an author takes a story or myth and creates a novel around it. Author Elizabeth Hall is definitely a talented writer whose words flow across the page. I love how she wrote this story with an old-style flair—like you'd read in novels such as Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights. There is plenty of flowery prose and description. While some today find that tiring, I actually enjoy it. She described the characters to perfection, so you could visualize them as if in a movie. She definitely hooked me in and kept me reading, even when the story began to turn darker and darker. I had to read to the end to see what happened.

Many reviewers have complained about the end of this novel, but I don't think they have taken into account that this is based on a true story—so it really did have to end the way it did. You can't conjure up a happily ever after if it isn't supposed to be that way. Therefore, even though I wasn't a fan on how the story progressed, I understood that it needed to conclude the way it did. And actually, I did like the ending. It was different—and sometimes different is much more interesting.

My only complaint about this novel is that there were too many point of views. Most novels are written in one, two, maybe three POVs. This one gave you the POV of practically every character, and often in the same paragraph. It is confusing to the reader because you have to keep track of who is talking or thinking. I believe this story could have been written entirely in the main character's, Adrienne's, POV. With a little creativity, we'd have still understood what the other characters were thinking by their reactions or conversations. Overall, though, I did enjoy this novel.
 
 
As of today, Miramont's Ghost is #1 on Amazon overall. I really enjoyed it - I hope you do, too.
 
Cheers,
Deanna

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Three Years of Self-Publishing and Still Going Strong!


 
Hi all,

Three years ago today, I self-published my first novel, Widow, Virgin, Whore. Although I had been writing novels for years, I had never had a platform to sell them on.  After numerous rejection slips from agents and publishers, I'd pretty much given up. And then I heard about self-publishing on Amazon, and that opened up a whole new world for me.

When I self-published my first novel, I really had no expectations. That first month, I sold two books. I was thrilled. At least two people would read my book. Later that month, I published my middle- grade novel Outlaw Heroes, and then in March of 2012 I published Memories.  Sales grew, and so did the income. At the time, I'd read that authors who self-published were lucky if they earned $500 a year from their books. In only three months, I'd already surpassed that amount. I ignored the naysayers and continued self-publishing.

Three years later, I've published nine books and I'm already working on my tenth. I've sold approximately 150,000 books over that three year span and that's just the ebooks. Sure, there are many authors earning a lot more than I am, but I'm happy that I've been able to do something I love and share it with readers. I've met so many nice people, including readers, reviewers, bloggers, and of course, all my author friends. It's been such a rewarding experience.

And the best news of all – This past month I was approached by a publisher who purchased Maggie's Turn and will be republishing it in the Summer of 2015. We will be working to polish Maggie up and get her ready for her big reveal. I'm so excited to start this new phase of my writing career. And of course, I'll still be writing and self-publishing other novels.

In 2015, I hope to self-publish at least three novels – maybe four if I make myself sit down and write! I know authors who write a book a month, but I can't even imagine that. Writing four books this year was enough for me – I need to have a life as well. J

My three years of self-publishing has been amazing and I look forward to many, many more. Thank you all for your support throughout my writing journey. I couldn't have done this without all the kind words from readers, my blogger friends, and my author friends. You are all amazing!

 
Cheers,

Deanna

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Happy Holiday Reader Appreciation Giveaway!

Happy Holidays!




I LOVE all my friends and readers! You have all been so wonderful and supportive of me over the past few years. 2014 has been an amazing year for me and I can't think of a better way to thank all of you than by giving away prizes. So, I'm giving away one $50 Amazon Gift Card and one $25 Amazon Gift Card.

I wish you all a wonderful holiday season. Be safe and enjoy family and friends! And I hope 2015 brings only good things to you all.


Enter to win with the Rafflecopter below. The contest will be open 12/10/14 to 12/20/14. The contest is open to US, Canadian, and UK citizens ONLY. (Sorry to all my friends in other countries.) The value of the gift cards are in US currency.

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also - Be sure to check out the two Goodreads' Giveaways on the sidebar - I'm giving away paperback copies of Kiss a Cowboy and Sara's Promise.

And don't forget to buy your copy of A KISS FOR COLT, the second book in the Kiss a Cowboy Series. It's NEW and available on Amazon Kindle and B&N Nook for only $1.99 for a limited time. Grab it before it goes back to full price!

Cheers,
Deanna

The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews