Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Unwrapping an Interview with Annabel Allan, author of RIGGED, a Goode Pain novel with #excerpt



Hi everyone! I’m so glad you’re with us today because I’ve got a special guest visiting - Annabel Allan, author of the Goode Pain series from Black Velvet Seductions. 

She has a new release coming soon, RIGGED, book 3 of the Goode Pain series, an erotic romance. RIGGED is releasing August 13, 2020.

Available for pre-order at Amazon

You can find other vendors at Books2Read

Blurb for RIGGED:

Ava Goode’s life is getting into a normal groove, entering the spring and over a month after her run in with the mob. She’s ready to throw away the past and embrace the future, which seems to come with the mysterious, albeit sexy, Gideon Shaw, a known rigger and Rope Bunny’s dream man. Little does she know that he has more in store for her than just tying her up and making her submit to him, a blackmailer entering the picture—who is Gideon Shaw, really?

Today also happens to be Annabel’s birthday so feel free to wish her a Happy Birthday. Now, without too much fanfare, please join me in welcoming Annabel Allan, author of RIGGED, to Unwrapping Romance …  

Unwrapping Romance: Welcome Annabel, it's an absolute delight to have you here with us today, and I'd like to thank you for taking time out of your busy day to join us. 

Annabel Allan: Thank you so much! I’m so happy to be here. I appreciate it when blogs take the time to interview me. 

Unwrapping Romance: We love having authors visit us. Perhaps you'd like to tell us a little bit about yourself for those who don't know you yet. 

Annabel Allan: Sure! I’m a full-time indie author under a few pen names—Annabel Allan, R. M. Draven, and my birth name of Stephanie Douglas. Annabel Allan writes my sexy romances, starting in vanilla with the Smoke Chaser series and branching into BDSM when I got into the lifestyle with Goode Pain and the first book, EDGEPLAY. 

Unwrapping Romance: How wonderful! So, my lovely readers, there is a lot to choose from this amazing author. Here at Unwrapping Romance, authors are rock stars, which is why I can get kind of nosy when I get a chance to talk to them. I’m always interested in what lures someone to be a writer. You have been writing for many years, but was there someone or something that inspired you to write and why did you choose romance, especially erotic romance?

Annabel Allan: I would say what lured me into writing was my going to film school. I wanted to get into directing, but I found out by my fourth term that I just wasn’t very good at it. I knew I enjoyed writing and got into writing my first novel on a stormy July day. For some reason, romance came easily to me; I just knew I wanted to write love stories. The erotica came later, when I wanted to try writing something that would appeal to publishers and readers—cause sex sells, you know? I just ended up really enjoying writing it!
 

Unwrapping Romance: You’re very right, Annabel, sex does sell – in books as well as movies. Directing is creative but nothing beats creating the world for someone else to direct. RIGGED is book 3 of the series, did you have all the books planned out from the start and how many do you see the series having when complete? 

Annabel Allan: I knew there would definitely be a series, but I didn’t have them planned out until I finished writing HARD LIMITS. I kind of knew where I wanted to go with it after that and then planned out the remaining installments. Of course, in regards to how many installments there will be, I don’t know. I’m hoping for an Anita Blake (by Laurell K. Hamilton) type of deal; just keep going as long as a good story is there. 

Unwrapping Romance: Totally understand that, Annabel. Sometimes we have to do what our characters tell us to do. Speaking of your characters, what was your inspiration for the Goode Pain series, and where do your character inspirations come from? 

Annabel Allan: In the beginning, EDGEPLAY was actually titled The Wilder Side & was a male Dominant and female submissive. I submitted it to Black Velvet Seductions, but it really wasn’t very good, and I was rejected. I was going to abandon the project, but a friend of mine wanted me to write short stories for his BDSM business and I had just gotten into the lifestyle. I was asked to write about a Domme. So, I sat down and thought about what I could possibly do as a story. Then the song “Thrills In The Night” by KISS came on. It asks, “Do they really know her?” and it just made my head spin with an idea of a Dominatrix that was working in an office by day. So, all that put together conceived EDGEPLAY to what it is now. A series just seemed to make sense because I wanted to see more of Ava and what trouble she’d get into! 

Unwrapping Romance: Love it when inspiration comes out of the blue! What do you have planned next beyond the Goode Pain series? 

Annabel Allan: I have several installments that are within the Goode Pain universe, but Ava will not make an appearance. It’s secondary characters that I found too interesting to let go unnoticed and wanted to tell their stories. I’m also writing a standalone D/s story on Wattpad, titled Submissive Tendencies. It's my first that’s exploring a female submissive with a male Dominant. 

Unwrapping Romance: Wonderful. I agree that secondary characters sometimes endear themselves to both the author and the readers so much that they just need to have their stories told too.
Readers, if you’d like to check out Annabel’s story at Wattpad, SUBMISSIVE TENDENCIES, you can find it by clicking HERE.
 

Annabel, if you're like every other writer (myself included), I have no doubt you're also a prolific reader. Who are your favorite authors and have any inspired your writing? 

Annabel Allan: I’m a BIG Anne Rice fan—anything she writes, I read. I actually started out in paranormal romance and that’s what R. M. Draven writes. But I do love reading the steamier stuff too! Shayla Black is a favourite, her Wicked Lovers series. I cannot put those books down! I’m also becoming a huge fan of fellow BVS author, Patricia Elliot! Her writing is so relatable and makes me actually laugh out loud. I’m starting on Her Lovers Face this weekend. 

Unwrapping Romance: Love paranormal! I will definitely have to check out your books under R.M. Draven as I’m sure my paranormal readers will do too. My last question for you, and my personal favorite – if you could be ANY character in ANY book, not necessarily your own - who would it be and why?

Annabel Allan: I think if I could be any character, I would probably choose Sookie Stackhouse from Charlene Harris’ Southern Vampires. I relate to her so much and she has those sexy men! And vampires, of course, vampires are kinda my thing!
 

Unwrapping Romance: Love it! Just think of the adventures to be had. Wink! Wink!

Thank you again for joining us today, Annabel, and I hope your new release brings you much success. You’re always welcome back at Unwrapping Romance. 
Reminder, readers, RIGGED is releasing on August 13th but is available for pre-order now at Amazon and also today is Annabel’s birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Excerpt from RIGGED: 

  I strutted over to the spot where the demo was held, all the submissives and their Dominants, as well as a few solos, started to scatter. I walked up, seeing Gideon’s girl for the evening, Ruby, packing up his stuff.
  I was confused, a gruff sexy voice coming from behind me. “You missed it tonight.”
  I turned, seeing Gideon, who was clean shaven, like usual. The grey spots in his short-clipped hair was a little more obvious in the lighting, but it was a sexy grey. I knew he was forty, but that seemed a little young for grey hair. It didn’t matter. It made me think of him as an animal, a wolf; he was definitely wild and unknown to me.
  “Oh,” I said, trying to keep my cool, though I could feel the warmth spreading in my thighs as I thought of being his willing submissive. “I guess there’s always next week.”
  “I could do a private show for you,” he said with a shrug.
  “Oh, that would be nice, but I don’t think I could afford you,” I said with a laugh. It wasn’t true, I could afford it. I just didn’t want that private show…well, not true, I wanted it pretty bad.
  “Free of charge,” he said.
  “Oh…”
  He eyed me with his smoky blue eyes. “Can’t think of a way out of that one, huh?”
  I frowned. “Gideon—”
  “Why not give me a chance to show you your submissive side, Ava?” he asked.
  “Because I don’t have one,” I said.
“Bullshit,” he said. “You know it as well as I do. It’s there, under the surface. Let me awaken you.”
  He walked closer to me, his cologne circling around me. I could feel my heart pick up speed, my breathing intensifying, the smell of his cologne making me feel dizzy. It was woodsy, strong, and pure male. He was so close, but he hadn’t touched me, though my body craved him. It was intense, the heat from the closeness of his body making my knees weak.
  “I’ll admit I’m curious, but I don’t think I can handle it,” I said, pushing him back gently.
  “Let me try,” he said, taking my hand, our first real touch. It was electric, making me almost swoon. “You’ll have a safe word. I honor your safe word.”
  “I have a boyfriend though,” I said, pulling my hand away as I realized the affect he had on me.
 “But also a secondary slave,” he said. “Your boyfriend obviously has no problem with him. You’re making excuses. What are you afraid of?”
  I thought about it, getting angry, but it melted away when I looked into his soft blue eyes. “I guess losing myself,” I said, finding myself being incredibly honest.
  “Or maybe you’re more frightened of what you’ll find,” he said.
  “Maybe,” I said with a nod. I took a deep breath. “I can’t. It’s not me.”
 “You don’t know that,” he said passionately. “You could be so much more. Don’t you want to experience subspace? I know you haven’t experienced the euphoria of Dominating someone.”
  My brow furrowed. “How would you know?”
  “Because you do your job well, Ava, but you’re missing a piece of yourself. I promise that if you let me train you, let me be your Dom, I can bring you both to subspace and top space.”
  I pursed my lips together, unsure of what to say or do. I shook my head. “I’ll…I’ll think about it.”
  He nodded. “That’s all I can ask.”

About the Author: 

Annabel Allan is the pen name of author Stephanie Douglas. 

Her SMOKE CHASER series is now available through Headline Accent! 

Her GOODE PAIN series, books one & two (EDGEPLAY and HARD LIMITS) are also now available from Black Velvet Seductions!

Don’t forget to check out the other books in this series, and if you’d like to learn more about Annabel and her books, feel free to visit her at: 




 

Monday, July 27, 2020

Unwrapping a Cover Reveal for BAND OF SISTERS by Lauren Willig


BAND OF SISTERS
by
New York Times Bestselling Author
Lauren Willig

Releasing March 2, 2021 from William Morrow
Pre-order your hardback copy now!


A group of young women from Smith College risk their lives in France at the height of World War I in this sweeping novel based on a true story—a skillful blend of Call the Midwife and The Alice Network—from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Willig.

A scholarship girl from Brooklyn, Kate Moran thought she found a place among Smith’s Mayflower descendants, only to have her illusions dashed the summer after graduation. When charismatic alumna Betsy Rutherford delivers a rousing speech at the Smith College Club in April of 1917, looking for volunteers to help French civilians decimated by the German war machine, Kate is too busy earning her living to even think of taking up the call. But when her former best friend Emmeline Van Alden reaches out and begs her to take the place of a girl who had to drop out, Kate reluctantly agrees to join the new Smith College Relief Unit.

Four months later, Kate and seventeen other Smithies, including two trailblazing female doctors, set sail for France. The volunteers are armed with money, supplies, and good intentions—all of which immediately go astray. The chateau that was to be their headquarters is a half-burnt ruin. The villagers they meet are in desperate straits: women and children huddling in damp cellars, their crops destroyed and their wells poisoned.

Despite constant shelling from the Germans, French bureaucracy, and the threat of being ousted by the British army, the Smith volunteers bring welcome aid—and hope—to the region. But can they survive their own differences? As they cope with the hardships and terrors of the war, Kate and her colleagues find themselves navigating old rivalries and new betrayals which threaten the very existence of the Unit.

With the Germans threatening to break through the lines, can the Smith Unit pull together and be truly a band of sisters? 


About the Author:

Lauren Willig is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty novels, including The Summer Country, The Ashford Affair, and The English Wife, as well as the RITA Award-winning Pink Carnation series. An alumna of Yale University, she has a graduate degree in history from Harvard and a JD from Harvard Law School. She lives in New York City with her husband, kindergartner, toddler, and vast quantities of coffee.


Friday, July 17, 2020

Unwrapping an Interview with Debut Author, Estelle Pettersen plus an #Excerpt from LESSONS ON SEDUCTION

Hi Everyone! I’m so glad you’re with us today because I’ve got a special guest visiting, Estelle Pettersen, debut author of LESSONS ON SEDUCTION, a soon to be released erotic romance novel, published by Black Velvet Seductions. Release date is set for July 30, 2020 and it’s available now for pre-order at Amazon.

Blurb for LESSONS ON SEDUCTION:

When college student Sapphire Blake finds herself fresh out of a breakup, she is ready to embark on a new journey in her life. A dark, sensual journey.

Freeing herself from the expectations set by her family, friends, and church, an innocent and unworldly Sapphire begins experimenting with her new casual lover, Vera Richland.

Vera’s brother, Julian, is ridiculously handsome, smart, and intimidating. This university professor finds himself enthralled in a sensual relationship with a woman willing to pay top money for his time in the bedroom. To pay off his debts and continue leading his lavish lifestyle, Julian discovers the world filled with sex, drugs, and lies may not be for him as he first thought.  With his contract almost up, Julian has his sights set on a new endeavor.

When Vera introduces Sapphire to Julian, sparks are ignited as Julian sees past the conservative stigma Sapphire believes the world has placed on her. Instead, he sees a sexy vixen– and he can’t help but admit he wants her.

As the couple begins a dangerous, passionate relationship, secrets become exposed and lives are threatened. Will Julian be able to save his relationship with Sapphire and rekindle the fiery flame they share? Or, will fate have another ending in store?

So without too much fanfare, please join me in welcoming Estelle Pettersen, debut author of LESSONS ON SEDUCTION, to Unwrapping Romance … 

Unwrapping Romance: Welcome Estelle, it's an absolute delight to have you with us today, and I'd like to thank you for taking time out of your busy day to join us. 

Estelle Pettersen:  Thank you so much for having me. I’m delighted to have the opportunity to be here!

Unwrapping Romance: I adore talking with debut authors. You’re experiencing a first that rivals most any other you experience over your lifetime. Perhaps you'd like to tell us a little bit about yourself for those who don't know you yet.

Estelle Pettersen: I’m Estelle Pettersen and I’m an Australian married to a Norwegian and living in Norway. I love the simple things in life, such as coffee and going for walks in nature. I’m an animal lover and I feel at home when I’m near the ocean. I started my passion for reading and writing at a young age, and I’ve been an avid romance reader since I was fifteen.
I tested my fiction writing on a writers’ platform called Wattpad in 2019 and found my voice there, thanks to the support of other readers and writers. I plucked up the courage to submit the manuscript of my erotic romance novel, LESSONS ON SEDUCTION, to Black Velvet Seductions, and was thrilled when they accepted my work.

Unwrapping Romance: Estelle, congratulations on being signed by Black Velvet Seductions. Wattpad is a wonderful writer’s platform for getting feedback and encouragement. Here at Unwrapping Romance, authors are rock stars, which is why I can get kind of nosy. I’m always interested in what lures someone to be a writer. What, or who, inspired you and why did you choose the romance genre and in particular, erotic romance?

Estelle Pettersen: My mother and my high school English teacher are two people who inspired me to become a writer. My mum was incredibly tough with grammar and spelling when I was in school, and tested me if I understood the stories I read. Being an introvert, I spent many lunch breaks in the library to get away from the ‘noise’ and escape to the world of books—I remember my friends finding me there and pulling me away from the books. My English teacher encouraged me to pursue a career in writing, which was why I studied journalism later on.
I chose the romance genre because I’m a big romantic at heart. I adore love stories, especially when the protagonist has a strong voice. As for erotic romances, a few people challenged me to write something on the steamy side, so I dared and pushed the boundaries with my writing.

Unwrapping Romance: As a former English teacher, I’m delighted to hear yours had such encouragement for you. I had an English teacher who did the same for me and I’m so grateful to her. It’s extra nice to have your mom in your corner. J Your friends are obviously very supportive and you’re awesome for taking such a challenge.
What was your inspiration for LESSONS ON SEDUCTION, and where does inspiration come from for your characters?

Estelle Pettersen: I wanted to read a steamy romance novel where the protagonist dared to step away from her comfort zone and project her strong voice. At the same time, I wanted the protagonist’s lover to be smart and sexy, yet strong and masculine. I was tired of reading stories about a possessive alpha male character and submissive female character, which I didn’t think portrayed healthy relationships, so I wrote LESSONS ON SEDUCTION.
The protagonist, Sapphire breaks away from societal expectations to find her strength, and to have courage both in and out of the bedroom. Her lover, Julian gives her both independence and empowerment, and their relationship is a balanced one. All in all, I was inspired by the concepts of freedom, equality, and empowerment; both Sapphire and Julian personify that in their own ways.

Unwrapping Romance: They sound like a wonderful couple and have the type of relationship I think we all seek, especially in romance stories. What do you have planned next?

Estelle Pettersen: I’m working on a short story, an Australian cowboy romance for Black Velvet Seductions. After that, I’ll continue working on book two in the Seduction series, which is Julian’s sister Vera’s story. She is also Sapphire’s best friend (and love interest early on) in LESSONS ON SEDUCTION. My beta readers cheered for her, asking if I could write her story, so I decided to do it. She’s sassy, daring, and more outspoken than her brother, Julian, who is an introvert.

Unwrapping Romance: Sounds like fun. We love sassy heroines. An Australian cowboy sounds especially intriguing. Estelle, if you're like every other writer (myself included), I have no doubt then that you're also a prolific reader. Who are your favorite authors and have any inspired your writing?

Estelle Pettersen: I love literature, especially the classics. One of my favorite books is Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë; in my teen years, I had a crush on Heathcliff, who gave me some inspiration for my male character Julian in LESSONS ON SEDUCTION. I’m a fan of the poets W.B. Yeats and Sylvia Plath—I love poetry and experiment with literary tropes such as metaphors and allegories in my writing. My taste varies: one day I could be reading The Twelve Caesars by Suetonius and another day it would be Violin by Anne Rice.
I’ve just finished reading Mystic Desire, an anthology of supernatural romance stories published by Black Velvet Seductions. I’m a big fan of the authors at Black Velvet Seductions, who have been my rock of support. As a romance reader, I was already familiar with some of the authors’ previous work.

Unwrapping Romance: Ahh…the classics…I totally understand your love for them. Your eclectic taste in reading makes me a huge fan. I believe we can learn so much from both past and present authors. Storytelling has been happening since the caveman and I hope it will continue far into the future. Books are our greatest means for time travel.
My last question for you and my personal favorite – this is one I ask every author when I get the chance. If you could be ANY character in ANY book, not necessarily your own but any book at all - who would it be and why? 

Estelle Pettersen: I would love to be in Nick Carraway’s shoes just for one night in The Great Gatsby; to be at one of Jay’s decadent parties. Plus, I like Nick—he comes across as relatable and intelligent.

Unwrapping Romance: What a wonderful answer, Estelle. I think you might be the first to choose a male character and such an interesting one too. That would be a fun night indeed. Thank you so very much for spending some time with us. I am very excited about your upcoming release, LESSONS ON SEDUCTION, as well as your future projects. I wish you great success and a long career writing wonderful stories.

If you’d like to sample a steamy bit of LESSONS ON SEDUCTION, Estelle has graciously shared an excerpt from her upcoming erotic romance. I hope you’ll enjoy it and pre-order your own copy which is available at Amazon.


Excerpt from LESSONS ON SEDUCTION by Estelle Pettersen:

I turned left, headed toward the direction of bedrooms, and stopped when I reached the main en suite bedroom. This must be Julian’s room. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it wouldn’t get the better of me, so I dared.
I dropped my bag on the floor and walked into the master suite, which featured two dimly lit lamps and a king-size bed with a charcoal duvet and matching pillows. The unmade bed was the only untidy element in this otherwise clean home, indicative of either his most recent sexual activity or his forgetfulness to make the bed up. I doubted that it was the latter. As I walked past the bed, I noticed leather handcuffs on the crumpled duvet. The soothing sound of water running in the shower caught my attention, enticing me to take a sneak peek in the bathroom.
The bathroom door was left open at a forty-five-degree angle, and the pull of temptation gravitated me toward it. I was curious. I usually did not pry into the privacy of others, but I had never seen a naked man in real life, and I was ready to find out.
Oh, my lord! There he was in the shower, a beautiful man in all his splendor and glory. Julian was wet and naked, reminding me of the marble statue of the biblical, nude David by Michelangelo. Droplets of water ran down his hard, taut, body, all the way to the curve of his muscular back and firm buttocks, then along his sturdy legs. He rinsed the soap off his broad shoulders, chest and slim waist. His body tapered down like a perfect V, and delicate veins ran along his muscular forearms. His penis was thick and admirable, even in its relaxed state, and his testicles hung below. Eyes closed, he lifted his head to absorb the streaming water, and ran his long fingers through his hair, washing out the remaining shampoo foam, which flowed downward.
The heavenly sight of Julian in his nakedness, together with the fresh scent of the citrus body wash, triggered my nipples to harden and the inner walls of my vagina to clench, eliciting a wetness that coated my labia.
Julian’s eyes opened and fluttered rapidly, making direct contact with mine. “OH, FUCK!”
“Oh shit, I’m so sorry! I was looking for a spare toothbrush and didn’t realize you were here!” I babbled in a flustered state. I was a bad liar.
He turned off the shower faucet, grabbed a towel, and started to dry himself slowly.
“Did you enjoy the show, Sapphire?” Julian smiled smugly, emphasizing my name when he spoke.
“I, uh, I’m staying over with Vera tonight, as we’re heading out for a girls’ night. I hope that’s okay with y-you,” I stammered.
“Oh, it’s more than okay with me, love. However, you haven’t answered my question.” Julian’s mischievous eyes dangerously twinkled with devilish delight.
“I like what I see,” I admitted, gazing at the towel, which he now wrapped neatly around his firm torso.
“Good. Now, come here, baby. Touch me.”
I took one step closer to Julian and stroked the blade of his left shoulder with my right hand. My fingers traveled down his chest and stomach, drawing him to release a groan of pleasure.
“That’s it. Lower.”
“Lower?” I gasped.
“Yes. Further down south, if you get my drift.”
My fingers traveled below his navel and down to where the towel met his skin.
“Stop.”
“Stop?” I raised my eyebrows.
“Yes, stop,” he commanded.
Julian’s hands swiftly reached around my neck and untied my halterneck top, exposing my bare breasts to him.
“You’re exquisite.” His long, dark lashes lowered as he gazed at my topless body. I sucked in the citrus-flavored air as he began rubbing my nipples in circular motions with his rough thumbs.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Estelle Pettersen is an Australian author and former journalist whose romance stories explore empowerment, freedom, and finding one’s strength. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Journalism and Psychology, from the University of Queensland, Australia. Her second degree is an MBA from Queensland University of Technology, Australia. She is a member of Romance Writers of Australia and is passionate about history, languages, cultures, traveling, food, and wine. She is happily married and living in Norway these days.

If you’d like to learn more about Estelle and her debut romance, feel free to visit her at the following:





Monday, July 6, 2020

Unwrapping a Guest Review by Connie Fischer of ABOVE THE BAY OF ANGELS by Rhys Bowen

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 ABOVE THE BAY OF ANGELS by Rhys Bowen, published February 11, 2020.

Blurb for ABOVE THE BAY OF ANGELS:

A single twist of fate puts a servant girl to work in Queen Victoria’s royal kitchen, setting off a suspenseful, historical mystery by the New York Times bestselling author of The Tuscan Child and The Victory Garden.

Isabella Waverly only means to comfort the woman felled on a London street. In her final dying moments, she thrusts a letter into Bella’s hand. It’s an offer of employment in the kitchens of Buckingham Palace, and everything the budding young chef desperately wants: an escape from the constrictions of her life as a lowly servant. In the stranger’s stead, Bella can spread her wings.

Arriving as Helen Barton from Yorkshire, she pursues her passion for creating culinary delights, served to the delighted Queen Victoria herself. Best of all, she’s been chosen to accompany the queen to Nice. What fortune! Until the threat of blackmail shadows Bella to the Riviera, and a member of the queen’s retinue falls ill and dies.

Having prepared the royal guest’s last meal, Bella is suspected of the poisonous crime. An investigation is sure to follow. Her charade will be over. And her new life will come crashing down—if it doesn’t send her to the gallows.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Connie’s Review:

London - 1896

Bella's father is a congenial man and worked for years at the Savoy until he took a liking to drink. This well-paying job enabled Bella and her sister, Louisa, to have a good education. Eventually though, her father’s drinking led to him losing his job, leaving him an embittered man. So, at age 15, Bella is forced to take a job as a servant in a large house. While her employers have some wealth, they are crude and ostentatious. As Bella has always loved food, she enjoys helping the cook and serving as assistant cook.

When an opportunity opens up for her to grab a better job, she takes it. She is now a cook in the kitchens of Queen Victoria’s, Buckingham Palace and goes by the name of Helen Barton.

As she strives hard to learn everything she can, including reading and studying cookbooks, she soon excels at her craft. So when Queen Victoria decides to spend the winter in the south of France, Helen becomes part of the kitchen crew that will accompany the Queen.

In France, Helen is fascinated with different French foods and their preparation. Some of her dishes catch the Queen’s eye and she is the only one to prepare them for the woman. However, life is not without intrigue and a thirst for power that Helen fights to stay away from but with great difficulty.

This book was written for me! So many wonderful things here. I am a huge foodie, and love to cook. I lived in France for many years and am familiar with French foods and the preparation thereof. The gorgeous vistas of southern France are beautifully described here which took me back to this exquisite area. Rhys Bowen has long been a favorite of mine and I have read nearly all of her books. I loved this book from the first page to the last. What a treat! Don’t miss it!!

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

ABOVE THE BAY OF ANGELS by Rhys Bowen, Lake Union Publishing, available now in ebook, print, audiobook, and available on Kindle Unlimited at Amazon.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Unwrapping a Guest Review by Connie Fischer of THE BRIDGE TO BELLE ISLAND by Julie Klassen

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 BRIDGE TO BELLE ISLAND by Julie Klassen, published December 3, 2019.


Blurb for THE BRIDGE TO BELLE ISLAND:

After a humiliating mistake, lawyer Benjamin Booker resolves to never again trust a beautiful woman. When an old friend is killed, the senior partner isn't satisfied with Bow Street's efforts and asks Benjamin to investigate. Eager to leave London for a while, Benjamin agrees. Evidence takes him to a remote island on the Thames, a world unto itself, shrouded in mist and mystery. Soon he finds himself falling for the main suspect—a woman who claims not to have left the island in ten years. But should he trust her?

On Belle Island, Isabelle feels safe and leads a productive life, but fear keeps her trapped there. When Mr. Booker arrives with news of her trustee's murder in London, Isabelle is stunned. She has not left the island, yet she has a recurring dream about the man's death. Or is it a memory? She had been furious with him, but she never intended...this.

When a second person dies, and evidence shockingly points to her, Isabelle doesn't know who to trust: the attractive lawyer or the admirer and friends who assemble on the island, each with grudges against the victim. Can she even trust her own mind? While they search for the truth, secrets come to light and danger comes calling.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Connie’s Review:

1819 - London

Benjamin Booker, age 31, and an attorney. is humiliated at having lost a case when he was taken in by a beautiful woman. He had believed her story and now finds she had lied to him. Afterward, he and the head of his firm learn of the murder of an old firm member who has been acting as the trustee of the Wilder family and living at their home in London. The man was not liked by the family nor the servants. He was tight fisted with the family money and a drunkard. Benjamin is then asked by the head of the firm to visit the Wilder family’s home in Berkshire called Belle Island.

Upon arrival, Benjamin meets Isabelle Wilder, age 30, who along with her niece Rose, age 19, are the two heirs to the Wilder money. Rose is preparing to be married soon. Isabelle is a lovely woman who has not left the island in many years. Having lost many family members who had left the island, some feel it is cursed and she feels safer staying there.

As Benjamin gets to know Isabelle, he realizes she is a very strong woman and admires everything that she does to keep the local people employed and cared for. The members of her family and other people in the area are well described as they each fit into her world. But there is murder and mystery afoot which tends to point right at Isabelle. Benjamin knows this lovely woman could not be guilty of such, but then again, he has been fooled before by a beautiful woman. Will it happen again?

A really good book written by a favorite author of mine and I believe it is her best one to date. I highly recommend it to all readers. Nice and clean too. Don’t miss it.

Copy provided by Goodreads and the publisher, Bethany House, in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The BRIDGE TO BELLE ISLAND by Julie Klassen, Bethany House, available now in ebook, print, and audiobook at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobobooks.