Monday, March 23, 2020

Unwrapping a Guest Review by Connie Fischer of WILD, WILD RAKE, a Cavensham Heiress novel by Janna MacGregor

Greetings my darling readers, I know I’ve been remiss in providing you reviews of good reads this past year and I apologize. Life has a hold on me which does not allow me much reading time. I have tried to make up for that by publishing my own good reads for you and I hope you’ve given them a try. So to make up for my neglect, I will be offering up guest reviews for you enjoy. I hope to be back reviewing for you soon but in the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy my dear friend, Connie Fischer’s reviews to guide you to good reads. Enjoy and Happy Reading!

I present to you a guest review of WILD, WILD RAKE, a Cavensham Heiress novel by Janna MacGregor, published February 25, 2020.

Blurb for WILD, WILD RAKE:

Her first marriage was an epic failure.

Lady Avalon Warwyck never did love her husband. Arrogant, selfish, and cruel, it’s a blessing when she’s widowed and left to raise her son all by herself. Finally, Avalon can live freely and do the work she loves: helping fallen women become businesswomen. She’s lived these past ten years with no desire to remarry―that is, until Mr. Devan Farris comes to town.

Can he convince her to take another chance at happily ever after?

Devan Farris―charming vicar, reputed rake, and the brother of Avalon’s son’s guardian―is reluctantly sent to town to keep tabs on Avalon and her son. Devan wishes he didn’t have to meddle in her affairs; he’s not one to trod on a woman’s independent nature and keen sense of convictions. But she’ll have nothing to do with vicar with a wild reputation―even though he’s never given his heart and body to another. If only he could find a way to show Avalon who he really is on the inside―a good, true soul looking for its other half. But how can prove that he wants to love and care for her. . .until death do they part?


Connie’s Review:

London - 1805

Avalon, the Marchioness of Warwyk, is due to have a baby in a few months. Her marriage to her husband was pushed upon her and him by her parents. Thus, they cannot stand one another. He is very ugly, brutish, and demeaning to her. But when he dies, she is so relieved.


Avalon lives with her son, Thane Pearce, age 10, in the village of Thistledown. Gavin Farris, the Earl of Larkton, is the guardian and conservator of Avalon’s son, Thane, and the estate. Gavin thinks that Avalon may be using funds from the estate to help support her projects to build housing to rehabilitate prostitutes and their children. However, that is not the case as she is using her own funds. Therefore, Gavin decides to send his brother, Devan, a vicar, to become the new vicar of Thistledown. This does not set well with either Devan or Avalon as there as always been animosity between them. He calls her the Marquess of Warlock and she calls him the Vicar of Vermin. So, they start off on the wrong foot as she tries to thwart any authority he might have and he gives it right back to her. However, Thane proves to be the mediator between them as Devan helps to tutor the boy in Latin and teaches him to play chess. He wants to prepare him for Eton. Thane and Devan bond well and enjoy being together. But Avalon continues to resent him being there. What can be done especially when their animosity turns to attraction? Is there a way that these two opposites can come together?

An enemies to lovers book that is very sweet. Lots of chuckles as each of them learns to see the other for the really good person that they are. I truly enjoyed this book and Janna MacGregor has quickly become a favorite author of mine. Well done! Enjoy!

Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

WILD, WILD RAKE, a Cavensham Heiress novel by Janna MacGregor, Stm Martin’s Paperbacks, available now in ebook, print, and audiobook at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobobooks

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Unwrapping a Special Guest & Guest Post: Callie Carmen, author of the Risking Love series and the upcoming new novel, ANTHONY w/#excerpt

Coming April 1, 2020 - Pre-Order available now!

Today, I have a special guest visiting Unwrapping Romance. 
It’s been a long while since we’ve had a visitor so I’m most excited. 
Today’s guest is a fellow author, Callie Carmen. 
I hope everyone will join me in making her feel very welcome.

Welcome to Unwrapping Romance, Callie…

Callie: Thank you for having me as a guest on your wonderful blog today.

Unwrapping Romance: It’s a pleasure to have you here. I understand you have a new book coming out soon in your Risking Love series.

Callie: I do. This is an exciting time for me as a writer. My book Anthony (Risking Love Book Four) just became available for pre-order and the ebook is only 99¢ until the publication date, April 1. The paperback will be available soon if not already by the time this blog comes out. Here’s a little excerpt from Anthony and some information that I found helpful on show-don’t-tell. I hope you enjoy them.

By Callie Carmen


Late that afternoon, I entered the accounting firm. It was so quiet without James at the reception desk. I felt my racing pulse in my eardrums. This would be the first time I’d seen Tessa since I’d walked out on her at the wedding. My stomach was in knots. I looked down the hallway and saw that there was only one light on, and it was coming from her office.

God, if she was here alone I’d be tempted to pull her out of her chair, lift her into my arms, and kiss her until she couldn’t breathe. Then I’d lay her across the desk, lift her dress, take off her panties, and taste her.

I decided to skip warning her that I was there. I wanted to see her reaction when I entered her office.

Tessa hopped up from behind her desk as soon as I walked in. Her hands shook, and I could tell that she was as nervous as I was.

“H–hello, Tony, how are you?” Damn it, even her voice was shaky.

I shoved my hands in my pockets and felt a heaviness on my shoulders.

“Hey, Tessa. You’re looking beautiful as ever.” I looked her up and down as she put her hand across her desk for a business handshake, but her pupils were dilated and she looked full of hope or possibility. I wasn’t quite sure which, but I liked it. Maybe I could salvage the mess I’d made.

by Callie Carmen

As a writer, I’m committed to improving my craft daily. I find so many ways to do that with articles, books on the subject, and blogs that authors have written. My editor, Laurie Sanders, is a wealth of information. She even teaches classes on how to become a better writer. My publisher, Richard Savage of Black Velvet Seductions always has helpful ideas.

And then there’s Google. It sometimes feels like a close intimate friend. One that I can ask just about anything. And believe me I do. If I showed my Google research history to any of my friends, they’d think someone that looks like me had replaced me.

Today, I was working on JOSHUA (Risking Love Book Five). I wanted a new way to describe puppy-dog-eyes. So I Googled it. I was pleasantly surprised to find this facial cheat sheet blog with pictures put together by Nicholas C. Rossis. It didn’t give pleading as an example, but I found these seven emotions shown as show-don’t-tell helpful. I thought you might too.

Show-don’t-tell cheat sheet: facial expressions

Authors often struggle with depictions of emotions. We’re supposed to show them, describe them. For example, “she was surprised by this” is a big no-no, and considered lazy writing.  “Her eyes widened and her mouth slacked”, on the other hand, gives us the very image of surprise, without ever mentioning the word.
As you can imagine, this can be tough. But fear not, for thirty years ago, Paul Ekman did cross-cultural research and identified seven basic human emotions. He identified the seven basic emotions through facial expressions. No matter where in the world, what culture, class, race, gender, or lighting, these seven facial expressions were identified across the board:

Unwrapping Romance: Thank you so very much for the fun insight into expressions, Callie, and wishing you the best of luck with Anthony. Come back again, you're always welcome.

I hope everyone will check out Anthony as well as the other sexy men in the Risking Love series. 
Happy Reading Everyone!  

 Where to buy her books:

Where to follow Callie on Social Media:

Monday, March 9, 2020

Unwrapping a Guest Review by Connie Fischer of THE THIEF OF LANWYN MANOR, a Cornwall novel by Sarah E. Ladd

Greetings my darling readers, I know I’ve been remiss in providing you reviews of good reads this past year and I apologize. Life has a hold on me which does not allow me much reading time. I have tried to make up for that by publishing my own good reads for you and I hope you’ve given them a try. So to make up for my neglect, I will be offering up guest reviews for you enjoy. I hope to be back reviewing for you soon but in the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy my dear friend, Connie Fischer’s reviews to guide you to good reads. Enjoy and Happy Reading!

I present to you a guest review of THE THIEF OF LANWYN MANOR, a Cornwall novel by Sarah E. Ladd, published January 7, 2020.


In Regency England an advantageous match could set up a lady for life. Julia knows Matthew Blake, copper mine owner and very eligible bachelor, is the gentleman she should set her eyes upon. But why can’t she steal her gaze away from his younger brother, Isaac?

Cornwall, England, 1818
Julia Twethewey needs a diversion to mend her broken heart, so when her cousin invites her to Lanwyn Manor, Julia eagerly accepts. The manor is located at the heart of Cornwall’s mining industry, and as a guest Julia is swept into its intricate world. It’s not long, though, before she realizes something dark lurks within the home’s ancient halls.

As a respected mine owner’s younger son, Isaac Blake is determined to keep his late father’s legacy alive through the family business, despite his brother’s careless attitude. In order to save their livelihood—and that of the people around them—the brothers approach the master of Lanwyn Manor with plans to bolster the floundering local industry. Isaac can’t deny his attraction to the man’s charming niece, but his brother has made clear his intentions to court the lovely visitor. And Isaac knows his place.

When tragedy strikes, mysteries arise, and valuables go missing, Julia and Isaac find they are pulled together in a swirl of strange circumstances, but despite their best efforts to bow to social expectations, their hearts aren’t so keen to surrender.


Connie’s Review:

Tregarthen Hall, Cornwall - 1808

Isaac Blake’s twin brother, Matthew, is a few minutes older than he is and is set to inherit Tregarthen Hall and the family’s working mine. Isaac will inherit a small home and another mine that has been closed,

Cornwall - 1818

Julia Twethewey, age 19, and of Penwythe Hall, is on her way to be a companion to her cousin, Jane at Lanwyn Hall, when she is held up by outlaws at an inn. It is believed to be a result of the unrest among people of the area because her uncle, William Lambourne, has recently closed one of the mines which affect everyone in the area. Isaac Blake is there and steps in to protect her.

At the Hall, home of her uncle William and Beatrice Lambourne, Julia is happy to be with her cousin, Jane, who is having a difficult pregnancy. She also enjoys the company of her other cousin, Caroline. Julia is getting over a broken heart and hopes that being with Jane will help her heart to heal. She learns that there are supposed to be ghosts at the Hall and someone has been stealing items. In addition, there is a curse that no child born in the Hall has lived to grow up. There is rumored to be a treasure built into the stones of the house, but it has yet to be found.

Julia meets many of the townspeople and learns more about the mining business. Matthew shows her attention which is encouraged by her aunt and uncle, but it is Isaac to whom she is attracted. But mischief occurs and people are put in danger. Will Julia and Isaac be strong enough to find out who is causing this and perhaps find a road to a life together?

I liked this book but found that the beginning seemed to drag somewhat. However, I realized that it was to enable the author to introduce the characters so we could find empathy for the hardships the town has been experiencing. Sarah E. Ladd has long been a favorite author of mine and I hope that other readers will discover her sweet, clean romances.

Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

THE THIEF OF LANWYN MANOR, a Cornwall novel by Sarah E. Ladd, available now in ebook, print, and audiobook at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobobooks

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Unwrapping a New Release - A PIRATE'S ONE AND ONLY, a Seekers of the Past novel by Amy Valentini w/#excerpt

Book 5 of the Seekers of the Past series
Amy Valentini

Available now at Amazon
and Free to read at KindleUnlimited

Continue the Journey to Where the Past Meets the Present
and Love Lives Forever

Having survived a devastating fire that left her scarred and alone in the world, Gabrielle Hawkings seeks to make her own way. Suffering the horrible remarks and stares, and believing no man will ever love her, she is surprised when a handsome stranger not only shows her kindness but attention quite foreign to her.

Capitán Tomás Alvarez is by his own admission a pirate and a wanted man but is innocent of the crime for which the British seek him. Visiting Kingston is dangerous at best but he will risk it all to see the beautiful Gabrielle again. When the authorities use her as bait, he must do what is necessary to protect her so neither of them ends up at the end of a noose.

Join Emma and Sam as they search for the origin of the mystery gold. And thrill in the love that grows between two people who carry scars on their skin as well as their souls and heal each other in the process.

*** Each book in this series can be read as a standalone historical romance with the first and sixth books set in the present.



Tomás Alvarez deplored the manhandling of any woman so when he saw the drunken oaf clutching the young woman and slobbering all over her while she screamed for him to release her, he knew he had to halt the assault. Had he not been standing in the middle of the town and not wishing to draw attention to his presence, he would have snapped the man’s neck and left him lying in his own filth. Any man who assaults a woman was lower than low in his mind.
Now he was looking down into bright sky blue eyes in an angelic beautiful face surrounded by silky blonde hair the color of spun gold. A pert little nose, cherub mouth, and smooth skin rounded out the beauty of this little woman. Smoothing a strand of wayward hair from the side of her cheek, he noticed scarring on her neck. Who did this to her?
Before he could react in any fashion, she stiffened in his arms, her hand came up to push his hand away, and she demanded to be released. Not one to deny her, he assisted her to an upright position but when she pushed off his lap to stand, she wobbled as if her legs would not support her.
“Please, little one, let me,” he implored her as he scooted to the side and helped her take a seat alongside him.
“I am sorry. My scarf—”
He noticed how she tucked her chin and pulled her hair in close around her face. Suddenly, he understood. Her scars embarrassed her. This saddened him for she was a beautiful woman and her scars were nothing. He wanted to soothe her ego and tell her to hold her head high, to be proud but he knew how such a thing could plague one’s thoughts.
Glancing around, he saw a piece of brightly colored cloth lying on the ground nearby. He stood, moved to it, retrieving it then he shook it out and brought it to her.
“Tis yours?”
She glanced up at him, nodded then took the cloth, and looked away. Wrapping the scarf around her neck, he knew she wore it to cover her scars. It was then he noticed she wore long sleeves even though the temperatures were far too high to warrant them. Had she more scars?
“Thank you. You have been most kind…” She peeked out at him from under smoky dark lashes, the color of which fascinated him since her hair was like captured sunshine.
“Capitán Tomás Alvarez, at your service,” he said with a slight bow of his head then glanced around to make sure no one overheard him giving his name. “And who do I have the pleasure of addressing, mi linda?”
“Me—no, my name is not Linda,” she said, her delicate brows which matched the color of her lashes knitting together in confusion.
He laughed making her frown harder.
“No, no, mi linda means my pretty one,” he said smiling at her and receiving a chuckle and grin in return.
“Oh! My mistake…my name is Gabrielle,” she said once again averting her eyes and tucking her chin.
This time Tomás was not going to allow her to hide so he tucked two fingers under her chin and gently lifted until her eyes met his.
“My honor to meet you, Gabrielle and yes, you are very pretty…beautiful,” he said in a low voice as his gaze dropped to her lips and he wondered if they tasted as sweet as they looked.
Once more she reacted by pulling away. His hand dropped and his heart ached for her pain and desire to hide even as his mind pushed back fury at whomever or whatever caused it.
“Thank you, Captain. I appreciate your assistance,” she said looking around as if looking for something or someone.
“If you are looking for the beast who attacked you, he has been dealt with and is in the hands of the authorities,” he told her. “May I see you home safe, Gabrielle?”
As if he had just proposed something wholly inappropriate, she jumped to her feet with her hands fluttering around her scarf then tugging at her shawl to cover her further.
“That is quite all right, sir, I am here for shopping and wish not to return home yet. I shall be fine. Thank you again.” She turned to leave but he caught her hand, stilling her.
“Might I accompany you, in case you feel ill at ease on your feet again?” he asked still holding her hand and surprised she was allowing it.
Gabrielle slowly removed her hand, her fingers trailing along the tips of his and he swore the sensation traveled straight down his spine and ignited a fire in his loins which had him wishing he could sweep her off her feet, return to his ship and sail away before anyone stopped him. He did not know what it was about this innocent-looking young woman but she enchanted him the moment she opened her eyes.
“I suppose it would be all right,” she remarked looking around them. “As long as we are in full view of others, that is.”
He was about to comment on her not trusting him when she gave him a smile which told him she just might and was teasing him. Then it was gone and she tucked her chin once more. He wished he could explain she had no need to do so for he found nothing unattractive about her.
Standing, he gave her a quick bow and waved her to start. He joined her walking just one pace behind her and to the side to allow her to lead while he followed. His action must have surprised her for she kept peeking at him over her shoulder as if to see if he was still there. He grinned watching her. She was a delight.
When they reached a small shop with hats in the window, Gabrielle stopped and looked at the items then glanced at him.
“You shall probably not enjoy this shop,” she said.
“If you enjoy it, I shall,” he told her with a grin then opened the door and waved her inside.
The quiet chatter of women inside told him he was probably going to be quite a surprise to them. Tomás chuckled and stepped inside to the sound of a collective gasp.
Gabrielle did not know what to make of this handsome and charming man. There was a kind gentleness to him but somehow, she knew there was an underlying dangerous side as well. Perhaps it was his swagger, his commanding demeanor, or simply the small gold hoop earring he wore in his left ear. He made her nervous but not in a scared way. No, it was something she had never experienced before. It was something rather thrilling, which made her insides quiver when he touched her. Something which had her wishing her scars gone more than ever before and made her palms dampen as if in anticipation of something exciting.
She watched him enter the small shop filled with ladies’ items of clothing and accessories and grin when the women inside gasped as they turned to look at him. She had no doubt they had not noticed her.
“Greetings, sir, may I assist you,” one of the women exclaimed as she hurried over to him.
She was an older woman, probably the owner of the shop. Gabrielle nearly laughed aloud at the way she was fluttering her hands in front of her breasts and blushing like a schoolgirl.
“Not me, madam, but my lovely friend here,” Tomás remarked as he turned slightly, placing his hand on her elbow and drawing her forward. “I believe she requires your assistance in making a purchase.”
The woman’s gaze shifted to Gabrielle and as she did, her smile waned.
“Ah yes, welcome, madam,” she said, her gaze narrowing on where her scars peeked out from under her scarf near her jawline.
Under her scrutiny, she immediately wished to retreat and began to step backward but Tomás did not allow her. His grip tightened slightly on her elbow and he pulled her closer.
“Madam, you shall show my friend anything she wishes,” he said in that particular voice which held so much command Gabrielle thought even the King of England would do as he ordered.
“Of course, sir. Is there anything in particular you wish to see, my dear?”
She knew the woman was only turning her attention on her because of Tomás but she did not care. There was something about him, which gave her increasing confidence.
“Yes, please, there was a scarf in the window last week which I wish to purchase as a gift,” she told the woman turning to peruse the display. “It had colors of green and gold.”
“Ah yes, I have some, in the back here. If you will follow me,” the woman said indicating a table toward the back against the wall.
Gabrielle stepped up to follow her expecting Tomás to stay near the door but he surprised her by placing his hand near the middle of her back and walking along with her, pushing past tightly set displays including one of undergarments. She heard the other women giggle behind her when one of them remarked how she would not mind modeling anything at all for him. She smiled thinking how they must think she belongs with him. It was a powerful feeling having other women being jealous of her for a change.
Not wishing to dawdle or take up any more of the captain’s time than necessary, she quickly made her purchase, and foregoing a perusal for her own pleasure concluded her business, and headed for the door. Tomás caught up to her, holding the door and allowing her to precede him in exiting the shop while bidding the women good day.
“So where to next, Gabrielle,” he asked once they were outside on the street again.
“I have taken up quite enough of your time, Captain Alvarez—”
“Please, say not my name quite so loud,” he interrupted her in a low voice while glancing around them over her head. Since he stood over a head taller than she, it was not difficult for him to do.
“Why ever not?”
“Well…perhaps I shall just say the authorities here might not be pleased I am in port,” Tomás said with a sly grin and a naughty wink.
She gasped in response. Perhaps he was just as dangerous as she had thought…perhaps even one of the notorious pirates she had heard whispered sometimes frequent the port of Kingston.
“Ah, now I have worried you, Gabrielle. Please, trust me, I would never allow any harm to come to you because of me,” he said in a low voice near her cheek which sent a shiver over her.
Not a shiver of fear, however…no, it was something else she did not recognize. The sensation intrigued her. He intrigued her.
“I must finish up my shopping and return home now,” she said turning to head in the direction of the McGillicuddy’s home, but his hand on her arm halted her.
Turning to look at him, she looked up into dark eyes shaded by thick dark lashes beneath dark brows furled together.
“Do I frighten you, Gabrielle, for tis not my intention?”
Tucking her chin, she shook her head.
“No, Captain, I simply must return for I have duties and responsibilities,” she told him, not wanting to admit he made her nervous.
She knew not why he was so attentive but she was enjoying it very much. Most men ran from the sight of her scars yet he had called his pretty one. What did he want from her?
“Then I shall see you to your home,” Tomás announced standing tall and extending his arm for her to take as if they were about to walk a promenade.
A sudden nervous laugh erupted from her before she could stop it causing him to frown and drop his arm.
“You do not wish my company anymore, Gabrielle?” he asked looking dejected.
Before she had a chance to answer, a ragtag looking young man ran up to Captain Alvarez and whispered in his ear. Tomás looked around with sudden and obvious nervousness having descended on him. He looked down at her and gave her a quick smile.
“I fear I must take your leave, my beautiful Gabrielle,” he said taking her hand and lifting it toward his lips as he bent. “We shall meet again, my sweet. Tis a promise and I always keep my word.”
Tomás Alvarez pressed a kiss to the palm of her hand, which sent fire and ice over her skin while causing her insides to quiver with nervous energy so strong she gasped.
“Adios—for now,” he said and then he was gone.
Gabrielle stood there, her hand out as if he still held it, his lips caressing it even as he disappeared into the milling crowd. Had she only imagined him? Was the entirety of the afternoon simply a manifestation of the heat and attack by the drunken man? She had felt faint earlier. Perhaps she had only imagined the attentions of such a handsome and charming stranger.

Happy Reading and please, if you do read it, I’d greatly appreciate it if you could leave a review. xox