Wednesday, June 13, 2018

What Are You Reading? ~ June 13, 2018

* * Post contains affiliate links. * *


What are you Reading?  Let me know what your current read is, what you recently finish reading, and what you plan on reading next! 

Here's my list:


I'm currently reading The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. I'm enjoying it better than I thought I would. It's a little all over the place, and I'm not sure where it's going, but it's good so far. I'm only a few chapters in though. 





I recently finished reading The Ones Who Got Away by Roni Loren. I really liked it! I found it interesting to see how Liv and Finn coped after the tragedy they lived through, and how even after not seeing each other for 12 years they were still very attracted to one another. It was sizzling! 


What's next? I think I'm going to read Son of a Preacher Man by Karen M. Cox. I'm looking forward to reading this! 







Disclaimer: Links to Amazon. I am an Amazon Associate. Should you purchase a copy of the book through the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thanks!  


I'm linking up with This Week In Books hosted by Lipsyy Lost & Found.


And with Sam @ Taking on a World of Words


So, tell me, what are you reading? 

Thursday, June 7, 2018

London Holiday Blog Tour ~ Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Hello, my friends! It's my pleasure to kick off Nicole Clarkston's London Holiday Blog Tour! WooHoo! I'm excited about this book! It looks like a fun read! I hope you enjoy the guest post from Nicole and the excerpt from chapter six of London Holiday.

Be sure to enter the giveaway! Details are at the bottom of the post.




What Defines a Romantic Comedy?

One does not need to look hard or long to discover that the hundreds of available JAFF works cover the gamut of scenarios and tones. They vary from sweet to dark, angsty to farcical, and all ranges in between. Some are plot driven, some are character studies. This wonderful variety of reading material only reflects back on the richness of the original source and the brilliance of Jane Austen’s pen.

My very first JAFF, Rumours & Recklessness, took a somewhat average tone; neither broody nor comical, but somewhere in the middle. My second, The Courtship of Edward Gardiner, was a sweet, gentle story, and my third, These Dreams, ladled on the angst. Writing something that was intentionally light and breezy was a treat for me, but I did not realize until I was nearly finished that I had written a story that fit classically into the category of a Romantic Comedy.

That phrase often triggers certain images for us as an audience; Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, melting ice cream and runaway puppies, dates gone bad and embarrassing situations that magically resolve themselves. We adore the formula of Boy-meets-girl, Boy-loses-girl, Girl-declares-she-will-never-dance-with-boy, Boy-tries-to-impress-girl-but-insults-her-instead… wait, that’s another book. It is a popular genre because we all want to believe in the kind of love that can withstand a little bit of life, but we also enjoy some escapism in the process.

What is a Romantic Comedy, specifically? Merriam Webster defines Romantic Comedy as “a light, comic movie or other work whose plot focuses on the development of a romantic relationship.” Wikipedia states “Romantic comedy (also known as the portmanteaus romedy or romcom) is a genre with light-hearted, humorous plotlines, centered on romantic ideals such as that true love is able to surmount most obstacles.”

Let’s take a look at some of the common devices and characteristics of a RomCom. One of the first dead giveaways is the “Meet-Cute.” You don’t see it every single time, but it’s so common that we all wait with bated breath for the fateful early clash to kick off our couple’s relationship. I love the Urban Dictionary’s definition: “Scenario in which two individuals are brought together in some unlikely, zany, destined-to-fall-in-love-and-be-together-forever sort of way (the more unusual, the better).” Doesn’t that sound like so many of your favourite P&P variations?

In many of these meet-cute scenarios, we see one or more of the following: 1)Embarrassing or highly unusual situation for one or both main characters; 2) Mistaken identity; 3)Misunderstood intentions; 4)Foot In Mouth syndrome. Without realizing it, I had written all these situations into Elizabeth and Darcy’s first meeting. We have Darcy, drugged and not thinking clearly, practically sleeping on the street; Elizabeth assuming he’s a footman; Darcy awakening with a zinger of a hangover and assuming the worst; Elizabeth insulting him afterwards.

That brings to mind another frequent device of the RomCom—a reversal of circumstances. Sometimes we see disguise (bingo), dressing or acting above or below your usual means (yep), and role reversals. One of the things I enjoyed playing with was flipping some of our couple’s expressions from canon and putting their words in each other’s mouths, such as a version of the infamous Assembly Insult that came from Elizabeth. Also, since this book was, in a way, a homage to Roman Holiday, it was fun to have our male lead as the one drugged and helpless, and our clever heroine as the one who rescues him.

A Romantic Comedy should be both romantic and… well, a comedy. We meet two people who are obviously destined to be together because they are better together than they are apart. The world just does not make sense if they are not together! However, getting them there is never a walk in the park (oh, yes, you usually see parks or some other relaxing venue in a romcom, even if only briefly). Physical comedy is a common element. I’m sure you can think of some hilarious (and sometimes mortifying) examples from your favourite movies (Ben Stiller comes to mind).

In London Holiday, Darcy is challenged by ill-fitting attire, and we see him suffering the indignity of riding on the back of a coach like a footman. Elizabeth has a few discomfiting moments of her own. It seems that one of the distinguishing characteristics of a promising love affair is finding someone who will bear with your sufferings with patience (even if they are secretly squealing with laughter over them).

Usually, both our hero and heroine have extenuating circumstances and a lot of learning to do, and often they can be put into some awkward situations because of it. The conflict they each bring to the table heightens the conflicts they have with each other, until somehow, they finally clear the air and discover that together, they can surmount the odds. The entire love story then focuses on this point: they complete each other, and all the struggles they began with are either resolved or found to be not so terrible, after all.

You can’t have a Romantic Comedy without some banter. Jane Austen was the master of this, and you might say she almost invented the RomCom genre, but for the fact that her books were so much more. Here, we examine only a snippet of her genius and try to spin that chemistry into new situations. London Holiday is thick with dialogue between our couple. They have almost no one else to turn to and are forced to discover in one another someone that they can trust, can laugh with, and even speak of serious issues with. It is this intimate exposure that allows them to very quickly break down their reservations and doubts. They do not always agree, but they do learn to respect each other.

The emotional tone is vital to a successful story. By “successful,” I mean convincing the reader or viewer that it could happen, however unlikely, and establishing a sense of anticipation. The story should feel like a sunny day with scattered clouds, not a thunderstorm with hail. I have always loved the feel of a well-executed Romantic Comedy, because it is a microcosm of real life without quite so much of the grit and grime. It is a comforting place to escape to, even as I fret about whether our dear couple will really figure things out.

Nearly always we have some kind of climax, where the couple’s misunderstandings threaten to tear them apart. However, and happily for us, all that is good and noble and just in the world prevails, and somehow, they find each other again. Usually some grovelling is involved, but in the end, to paraphrase Mrs Bennet, we knew how it would be. Lessons are learned, annoying relatives are vanquished, hearts are changed, and the future looks bright and rosy.

Before you accuse me of pink sunglasses, let me clarify: I get it. Life is hard. Things don’t always work out, and problems keep cropping up after we thought we had them tackled. But isn’t that part of the fun of peeking into another world for a time, where we can walk away believing that true love really can prevail? We look at the person beside us and perhaps we smile more kindly, speak more gently, and look ahead of ourselves, at least for a time, a little more hopefully.

~NC


___________________________________________________________


References:
“Romantic Comedy.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/romantic%20comedy.

“Romantic Comedy.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 28 May 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romantic_comedy.

“Meet-Cute.” Urban Dictionary, www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=meet-cute.

Mernit, William. “Romantic Comedy Writing Secrets.” Connecting with Audiences Through Character Emotions, www.writersstore.com/romantic-comedy-writing-secrets/.


_______________________________________________________

Excerpt

At least the shoes were an improvement.

     Darcy had also traded his hat for one belonging to Fitzwilliam’s batman, hoping that the nondescript chapeau would lend him a bit more anonymity. He had no notion where he was to go or what he was to do, and Fitzwilliam had been blasted little help. Somehow, he must find a way of speaking to Wilson, and learn what could be said in his own defence. Surely there was some other who could testify to the conspiracy his aunt had brought to his own household. 

     But how to prove his location last evening? The only persons capable of vouching for him would be those who did not even know his name. Darcy shuddered. There were a great many things he would rather do than go back to that tradesman’s house, announce his identity, then beg for a witness to his presence. There were two single ladies living in that house, and he did not wish to become their prey any more than he wished to be shackled to his cousin.

     He marched aimlessly down the pavement, his mind focused on his walk only enough to be certain that he was not noticed by anyone who might recognise him, when a flash of inspiration dawned. Hertfordshire was only half a day’s ride, and he had more than enough pocket money with him to hire a mount. He could ride fast and hard to Bingley’s newly leased estate and establish himself as a guest there. He had been intending to journey there the following week anyway, and Bingley would be only too happy to have the house opened to him early.

     However… the notion passed when he realised that in the eyes of the ton, fleeing Town at this precise juncture would be as good as an admission of guilt. No, he must face his aunt to contradict her falsehoods, and he needed information. He dared not count upon his uncle’s assistance, either. 

     He rounded a corner and paused upon noting a familiar carriage just setting down its passenger on to the same street. Heaven forbid, it was Lord Wexley’s execrable wife! Darcy glanced about for a doorway into which he might slip, but every one of those would lead him into a shop where people could see his face even more closely.

     He turned about, glancing only once over his shoulder to see where the lady had moved after her carriage had set her down. Before he had fully turned back to his path, he collided headlong into a wall of parcels, seemingly all shrouded in a frothy array of cream satin and lace. 

     “I beg your pardon!” cried a sickeningly familiar voice. 

     His apology was automatic, and he was already reaching to pick up the boxes he had crashed into when he looked up at the faces of the young shoppers. If Fitzwilliam Darcy had ever wished to be swallowed up by the pavement or disappear into a nearby shrubbery, this was the moment.

     Dark brown eyes sparkled, and rosy lips twitched. “I see we are destined to encounter one another repeatedly today! Tell me, sir, shall I assume that you have caught up with us to enquire after a new position? I am afraid my uncle has no present need for a jester.”

     Confound the woman! Did she have to be so bleeding glib at every encounter? Darcy tipped his hat, biting firmly down on his tongue. “I beg your pardon, madam. It was quite accidental, I assure you.” He bent to collect the dented hat box and dusted a bit of imaginary dirt off the top. “I hope I have not damaged your purchase.”

“If you have,” the lady returned, “I would think it a poor performance on the part of the hat box. I am certain it has managed to serve its office.” She sighed very lightly, an expression of teasing exasperation, and held out her hand to receive the box.

     “Make way!” grumbled a sour voice behind him. Darcy started. He turned about and looked full into the face of Lady Wexley, who had apparently destined that very same millinery shop for her own custom.

     Darcy felt his stomach lurch, and his toes curled in dread. She could never fail to recognise him, particularly not after the way she had repeatedly thrown herself into his path last season before Lord Wexley had claimed her hand. He closed his eyes and prepared the explanation he knew would be demanded, but she only groused in the direction of the two young ladies. 

     “Have your footman stand back!” she hissed at them. The rest of her words were offered to the benefit of no one in particular, and everyone in general, so that all might appreciate her lament. “Abominably rude, these tradesmen’s daughters. Walking about town with a strapping footman in counterfeit colours and putting on airs as if they were gentlemen’s daughters! It seems that simply anyone may now shop in this part of town,” she sniffed.

     She passed on by Darcy as if she had not even noticed him, and he began to breathe… only very faintly. She had not recognised him! She would not even look at him, clad as he was! His heart began to beat a little more quickly. Oh, the possibilities! 

     The dark-haired minx before him did not seem at all put out by her abuse at the hands of Lady Wexley. She appeared, rather, to be struggling mightily against an outburst of laughter. Her eyes danced, and she was obliged to tip her face slightly away as a distinct snicker escaped her. 

     The younger girl, the one with the lighter hair, still seemed vexed. Hand on hip, she glared after the closing door. “Lizzy, did you hear what that odious woman said about us? I should tell our aunt, if it would not grieve her.”

     “Indeed, few could not have heard, Kitty,” chuckled the elder sister. She composed herself and extended her hand once more to Darcy. “May I have my bonnet? It seems my presence in this neighbourhood has distressed some of its residents, so I shall take my leave.”

     He gave her the parcel, realising only after she had taken it that he was puzzling curiously over her face. Was it the pert little nose, so unfashionable in the finer circles, or the faint crease in her fair skin where a wider smile lurked behind the demure one? Perhaps it was simply the shape of her cheekbones—high yet soft—contrasted with the sharp intensity of her dark eyes, which was so interesting to look upon.

     “Is something amiss with my appearance?”

     “No!” He cleared his throat and bowed. “Forgive me, madam.”

     One side of her mouth tipped upward. “I take it by your presence here that you are out upon another errand for your master or, perhaps, your mistress?”

     He opened his mouth to make a reply but could think of absolutely nothing to say. He abhorred disguise, and her presumptions, if he were to verify them, would be the worst trail of lies imaginable. But the truth—the truth was even more wretched! He settled instead for diversion. 

     “I have not yet made my way back. I… do not think I am expected.”

     “In that case,” the young lady smiled, “you have a holiday. I suggest you use it to best advantage, rather than lurking outside of milliners’ shops.” 

     “Indeed. If I may be so bold,” he looked about, “I cannot help but note that you are unescorted. Do you often walk out without protection?” 

     “Gracious, but you are impertinent! Perhaps I have been permitted too much freedom, but I am not alone. My sister is with me, as you see.” 

     Darcy glanced at the other girl, who was tapping her toe and pouting her impatience. “Of course. May I call for a chaise to take you back to your dwelling?” 

     “That will not be necessary, but I thank you. We are rather accustomed to walking and most fond of our liberties.”

     “As far as Gracechurch Street? Your… your uncle permits such?” 

     She stared at him with some incredulity, her brow furrowed and her head shaking faintly at his audacity. 

     Footman, you are a footman! “Forgive me, madam, I spoke out of turn. Your uncle seems a… a generous man.”

     “My uncle is among the kindest and most noble men alive,” she vowed, those eyes sparking in defence of her relation. “I will not have it said that he is remiss in his duties. Certainly, he would have insisted upon a carriage, had we informed him when we set out that our walk would become such an outing. And if you are, after all, seeking employment, you could do far worse than applying to Mr Edward Gardiner.”

     A thought pricked Darcy. “He is an… honest… employer?”

     The lady tipped her shoulders lightly. “I am perhaps biased, but I can testify that his staff are all exceedingly loyal and speak well of him.” 

     Darcy winced. That remark stung more than he cared to admit. He stifled the feeling, intending to dissect it later, and swept them a gracious bow. “In that case, madam, may I offer my escort to the ladies as they return to their residence? I would count it an honour to carry their parcels.”

     “Well,” the younger girl spoke up for the first time in some while, “he certainly knows how to be chivalrous when he wants to be, Lizzy.” To this, she added some mischievous grin, which remained a mystery to Darcy, but ‘Lizzy’ seemed to understand perfectly.


~


     “I am sorry, Lizzy, but your uncle has gone out. I understand there was some urgent message from the warehouse. I am in hopes that he shall have returned within the hour so that we might still take our outing, but perhaps it might be more serious than that. I do apologise, Lizzy!” 

     Elizabeth tried not to show her disappointment. Her aunt and uncle were the most gracious hosts, and she would not wish to seem ungrateful. “Thank you, Aunt, but it is no matter. I will wait to speak with him when he returns.” She stepped back toward the door, but her aunt’s voice stopped her. 

     “Was there something of import? Perhaps I might be able to advise you.” 

     “No, Aunt, it was nothing quite like that. I only wondered if Uncle might be seeking another household servant. I shall ask when he returns.” 

     Mrs Gardiner peered over her sewing with a knowing look. “You are not still bothering with that footman, are you? Lizzy, why ever should you trouble yourself? He was quite obviously intoxicated and probably justifiably turned out.”

     “I take no interest beyond the word I have given, which was merely to offer my opinion of my uncle’s generosity and fairness as an employer. If the man should choose to apply, and if my uncle should choose to receive him, it is certainly no business of mine.”

     Mrs Gardner thinned her lips sceptically, and she raised an eyebrow at her niece. “Lizzy, I have some duties to be about this morning. Would you mind very much taking your cousins out for air with their nurse? They may go alone, of course, but it is best if someone attends them, and I think you could do with the diversion.” 

     “Of course, Aunt.” Elizabeth reached down to give her youngest cousin a playful embrace and watched wistfully as her aunt rose to go speak with the nurse. 

     She sighed. Now, what was she to do with that footman who was waiting below stairs? And why was it that he had considered it such an insult when she had asked him to wait in the kitchens? He should have counted it a hopeful sign, but instead, had clearly struggled against a vocal protest that he was not invited to the drawing room. 

     Perhaps she was, indeed, wasting her time with him. After all, how often did a servant expect to speak directly with the master when he applied for employment, yet had she not attempted to secure him such an interview? He had not even a written character by his former employer! She was doing him a favour, offering to speak on his behalf on so little inducement. After all, what had he done for her, apart from knocking down her parcels? 

     Well… he had picked them up again. And carried them—badly, but his only complaint had been an entertaining assortment of grimaces and scowls. She tried to forget how gallantly he had shielded her from the dirtier parts of the street, or how he had suggested a safer route for her to walk home. He was only trying to impress her in hopes of employment, surely, but there had been about him an air of command which would suit his prospective post ill. He ought to be inquiring at the Army instead of a household, but perhaps he would like taking an officer’s orders even less than an employer’s.

     Elizabeth determined—again—to dismiss him from her thoughts and released her cousin back into the care of her nurse to make ready for her outing. “Kitty?” she called into the next room. She rounded the corner and found her sister seated near the fire. “Would you like to come for another walk? I am going out with our cousins.”

     Kitty, who had been fussing with her new bonnet, looked up to Elizabeth with a sneer of disdain. “You have already tired me sufficiently for one morning, Lizzy. If you do indeed insist on attending the Gardens this evening, I require some rest, or I shall begin to cough, and you know how that drives Uncle to distraction.” 

     “If we go, it will not be for many hours yet.”

     “Nevertheless, I am quite happy here for now. If only Aunt had some darker ribbon!”

     “Very well. Aunt has asked me to accompany the children, so I shall see you when I return.” 

     “Lizzy, what do you intend to do about your dashing new footman? Did Uncle speak with him?”

     Elizabeth shook her head nonchalantly. “Nothing at all, for he is not my footman. Uncle is away at present, and I have already exerted enough effort for that man. I am in no humour to give consequence to footmen who have been dismissed by other masters, and despite your teasing, he is not fine enough that I should be tempted to bother with him further.”

     Kitty cleared her throat and coughed, smirking all the while. 

     Elizabeth, filled with a sudden sense of foreboding, turned around. Her mysterious stranger had apparently broken the injunction to remain in the kitchens and had not only found her out but had heard every word.

     He looked to be darkly displeased, eyes piercing, and cultured tones clipped as he glared back at her. “You have long been wishing for my absence, I see. Very well, I shall trouble you no further. Good day, madam.” 

     Elizabeth blanched in mortification as he turned and marched away. Then, a sense of indignation welled up within her. “What was he thinking of, coming upstairs and surprising us like that?” she demanded of Kitty. “No one of decency would have done so, and least of all one who wishes to be employed at the house!” 

     Kitty offered no answer but a giggling snort, as she held her hand over her broadening grin and laughed riotously. “I don’t know Lizzy, but I have never seen anyone so thoroughly mortify you! He caught you fairly, whether you confess it or no.” 

     Elizabeth made a sour face and took up the reticule that she had set aside but minutes before. “Enjoy my moment of humiliation to its fullest, if you will, for it shall be the last. Never again will I exert myself for someone such as that!”

     “You would not have been so embarrassed if you had not spoken so ill,” Kitty pointed out—perhaps the most sensible observation she had uttered in the past six months. 

     This did nothing to improve her sister’s humour. “I will return in an hour or two, Kitty,” she grumbled. “Do try to finish laughing at my expense before I come back.”





Blurb: 

When the truth is harder to believe than disguise. 

Drugged and betrayed in his own household, Fitzwilliam Darcy makes his escape from a forged compromise that would see him unhappily wed. Dressed as a footman, he is welcomed into one of London’s unknown neighbourhoods by a young lady who is running out of time and running for her life. 

Deciding to hide in plain sight, Miss Elizabeth Bennet dodges the expectation to marry the man of her mother’s dreams. When the insolent footman she “found” refuses to leave her side until they can uncover a solution to their respective dilemmas, the two new acquaintances treat themselves to a holiday, experiencing the best of what Regency England has to offer. 

Based on Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, can two hard-headed characters with kind hearts discover the truth behind the disguise? Enjoy the banter, humour, and growing affection as Mr Darcy and Miss Elizabeth have the best day of their lives, and discover that they just might find love and romance while on a London Holiday. This book is appropriate for all ages.

Buy: Amazon US • Amazon UK - Also available through KindleUnlimited
Add to Goodreads.

FTC Disclaimer: Link to Amazon US. I am an Amazon Associate. Should you purchase a copy of the book through the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thanks!


About the Author


Nicole Clarkston is a book lover and a happily married mom of three. Originally from Idaho, she now lives in Oregon with her own romantic hero, several horses, and one very fat dog. She has loved crafting alternate stories and sequels since she was a child watching Disney’s Robin Hood, and she is never found sitting quietly without a book of some sort.

Nicole discovered Jane Austen rather by guilt in her early thirties―how does any bookworm really live that long without a little P&P? She has never looked back. A year or so later, during a major house renovation project, she discovered Elizabeth Gaskell and fell completely in love. Her need for more time with these characters led her to simultaneously write Rumours & Recklessness, a P&P inspired novel, and No Such Thing as Luck, a N&S inspired novel. The success she had with her first attempt at writing led her to write four other novels that are her pitiful homage to two authors who have so deeply inspired her.


Nicole contributes to Austenvariations.com, a group of talented authors in the Jane Austen Fiction genre. In addition to her work with the Austen Variations blog, Nicole can be reached through Facebook at http://fb.me/NicoleClarkstonAuthor, Twitter @N_Clarkston, her blog at Goodreads.com, or her personal blog and website, NicoleClarkson.com.


Connect with Nicole Clarkson




Blog Tour Schedule


June 7   So little time… / Guest Post, Excerpt, GA
June 8   Diary of an Eccentric / Guest Post, Excerpt, GA
June 9   Just Jane 1813 / Review, GA
June 10 My life journey / Review, GA
June 11 From Pemberley to Milton / Vignette, GA
June 12 My Jane Austen Book Club / Guest Post, Excerpt, GA
June 13 Half Agony, Half Hope / Review, Excerpt, GA
June 15 Austenesque Reviews / Guest Post, Excerpt, GA
June 16 My Love for Jane Austen / Vignette, GA
June 18 Obsessed with Mr. Darcy / Review, GA
June 19 My Vices and Weaknesses / Guest Post, Excerpt, GA


* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

It's giveaway time! For this blog tour, Nicole is generously giving away EIGHT eBooks of London Holiday to eight lucky winners! The giveaway is open internationally. To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below! 

Terms and Conditions:


  • Only one eBook of London Holiday per winner.
  • Eight readers will be picked.
  • Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter.
  • Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. Remember: Tweet and comment once daily to earn extra entries.
  • The giveaway is international.



Good luck!




a Rafflecopter giveaway


Many thanks to Nicole Clarkston for stopping by here today, and for her generous giveaway! I loved learning more about Romantic Comedies. 

Also, a big thanks to Janet Taylor @ More Agreeably Engaged for organizing this tour! 


Are you looking forward to reading London Holiday as much as I am? 

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

What Are You Reading? ~ June 6, 2018

* * Post contains affiliate links. * *


What are you Reading?  Let me know what your current read is, what you recently finish reading, and what you plan on reading next! 

Here's my list: 


I'm currently reading The Ones Who Got Away by Roni Loren. So far I'm enjoying it! Twelve years after a school shooting the survivors go back to the school to be part of a documentary. Liv and Finn haven't seen each other since that night.   

This is the first of a series, which I knew, but I didn't realize that each book would be from the POV of each of the girls. 


I finished reading The Heart of a Texas Cowboy by Linda Broday. It was pretty good. I love a good western romance, and I would definitely read another from Broday! 








What's next? I'm not sure. I might read something else, but there is a book I've never read, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger so I might read that one! :) Have you read it? 





Disclaimer: Links to Amazon. I am an Amazon Associate. Should you purchase a copy of the book through the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thanks!  



I'm linking up with This Week In Books hosted by Lipsyy Lost & Found.


And with Sam @ Taking on a World of Words


So, tell me, what are you reading? 

Friday, June 1, 2018

Catherine Blog Tour ~ Excerpt & #Giveaway!

Hello, my friends! I'm thrilled to be part of the Catherine Blog Tour! Sue Barr's Catherine is the second in her Pride and Prejudice Continued series. The excerpt below sounds delightful, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! 

Be sure to enter the giveaway! Details are at the bottom of this post! 




EXCERPT:

     Catherine Bennet, better known as Kitty to family and close friends, could barely eat, so consumed was she by nervousness. The multitude of Lords and Ladies gathered around the table made her feel as if they were in St. James Court instead of the formal dining hall at Pemberley

     Across from her sat Miss Georgiana Darcy, with whom she felt a real kinship, and to Miss Darcy’s left was Maxwell Kerr, the Fifth Duke of Adborough. Further down the table sat the Earl and Countess of Matlock, the Marquis of Dorchester, and a host of other nobility. Although the room fairly burst with members of the beau monde from London’s society, none of them filled her as much disquiet as the gentleman on her immediate right.

     Lord George Kerr.

     Never had she met someone who was so attractive. Not even Jane with all her serene beauty came close. Their Father in Heaven must have been feeling most generous when He formed this man. At that exact moment, to her utter dismay, Lord Kerr turned his attention from the Dowager Viscountess Dalrymple on his right side toward her. Unprepared for his direct attention, she froze. Almost against her will, her gaze zeroed in on his mouth which had begun to move.

     Oh, dear heaven. He said something, yet the blood rushing in and around her ears drowned out all sound. Then, that sensuous mouth curved into a slight smile revealing perfectly even, white teeth. She ducked her head and concentrated on her bowl of soup, hoping against hope her face hadn’t flared a crimson red, for then he would think she was a gauche child and not a young lady of eight and ten. When her composure returned, she risked another glance and caught him watching.

     Confound the man! Why must he still look her way? Was he not hungry? Did he have nothing better to do than discompose her so completely? With great care she dipped her spoon into the savory broth.

     “Did you enjoy the wedding ceremony, Miss Catherine?”

     Startled, she sloshed a bit of soup over the side of her spoon. Even his voice was heavenly, all deep and rumbly and flowed like rum sauce over one of Mama’s Christmas puddings. Counting to five, because that’s what Lizzy once told her to do when nervous, she willed her nerves to settle. All she had to do was maintain her composure and behave as though dining with near royalty was a common occurrence.

     “I did. I am very happy for my sister and Mr. Darcy.”
She turned her attention back to the soup and steadfastly ignored the rapid staccato of her heart. However, Lord Kerr continued to engage her in conversation, seemingly oblivious that she was nothing but a pile of nerves. A very hungry pile of nerves. In the mad rush to get Lizzy to the church on time, after a fit of vapors by Mama, she’d had nothing to eat all day.

     “As I only arrived yesterday in time for church, I had not the pleasure of being properly introduced to your sister. She and Darcy seem well suited.” He reached for his glass of wine. Unlike her, he had no problem eating and conversing.

     This would not do. At this rate she’d die of starvation. She almost sighed in relief when the footman whisked away her untouched soup and placed in front of her the second course.

     “Lizzy and Mr. Darcy are very well suited,” she replied. “They both have strong opinions and are not afraid to voice them. Some of their future breakfasts will be very interesting.”

     Lord Kerr barked out a laugh at her observation, causing more than one head to turn in their direction. She reached for a glass of water, grateful her trembling was not too visible and took a sip. Papa always said she was a silly girl and here she was, proving him right by embarrassing herself in front of important strangers.

     Lord Kerr picked up a knife and fork and sliced into the meat on his plate. Surreptitiously, she cut a sideways glance to see which cutlery he used. Why did there have to be so many forks and spoons and knives lining the perimeter of her place setting? Mama always put up such lovely dinners, but none of them compared to the pomp and ceremony here at Pemberley.

     Her stomach rumbled in protest. Lord Kerr turned slightly and smiled again.

     “You are famished. Why are you not eating?”

     Embarrassed, she stared the thick slices of ham on her dinner plate and tears threatened to trickle down her cheeks. Out of the corner of her eye she noticed him tapping one of his forks and when her left hand touched the proper fork he gave a slight nod.

     “Thank you,” she murmured.

     “You are welcome,” he whispered back.

     Less than two hours later, standing near the French doors which led out to a pretty terrace, Kitty surveyed the rolling grounds of Pemberley. After the hustle and bustle of the morning where her nerves had been stretched to near breaking, she was glad for this respite, away from the busy parlors where most of the guests still lingered.

     She blew out a small sigh.

     Other than the plethora of elevated guests, the wedding had been perfect. When saying their vows, Lizzy and Jane had positively glowed, and one couldn’t miss the soft looks of love that Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley bestowed on each of their brides.

     As happy as she was for her eldest sisters, she couldn’t wait for all the excitement to die down. Once Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, and Jane and Mr. Bingley exited for their wedding trip, she and Mary planned to escape to their rooms and talk about the day. She rested her head against the window frame and with eyes closed, willed her soul to quiet.

     “Miss Bennet, we did not get to finish our conversation in the dining room.”

     For the second time that day, she gave a small start. In the midst of her daydreaming, she hadn’t heard anyone enter the room.

     “Lord Kerr.”

     For such a large man he moved with stealth and grace. She turned and gave him a polite curtsy.

     “You may call me Lord George, if you like. Otherwise Nathan and sometimes even Maxwell will answer you as he is not accustomed to being called ‘Your Grace’,” Lord George teased. He stopped a few feet from where she stood.

     “Oh… of course. Thank you, Lord George.”

     The silence stretched long between them and she twisted her fingers together, determined to not clutch her skirt and wrinkle the fine material. She cast about for something to say. Anything to break the awkward silence.

     “Are you pleased—”

     “How long are you—” 

     Both of them spoke at the same time.

     “Pray, excuse me Miss Bennet. Please continue.” He gave her a quick nod.

     “I was going to ask you if you were pleased with your brother’s announcement, after Lizzy and Darcy’s banns were read the third and final time.”

     “You are speaking of his engagement to Miss Bingley?”

     “Yes, it came as quite the surprise to most of us.”

     “I must admit I have never met the lady, but then I only arrived the evening previous and have not had much time to converse with my younger brother.”

     “In some ways your brother will become part of our extended family.” At Lord George’s quizzical expression, she explained further. “Miss Bingley’s brother, Charles is now married to my sister Jane.”

     “Ah, the Angel of Hertfordshire he sighs about.”

     Kitty stifled a giggle. “Mr. Bingley is quite besotted, as is she.”

     “How long are you and your family staying at Pemberley?”

     “We leave this coming Thursday. With Lizzy and Mr. Darcy away on their wedding trip, Papa made the decision to return home, although I am sure he’d like to stay longer if only to enjoy the library.”

     “Pemberley does have a massive library. Generations of Darcy’s have contributed to the contents.” He gave her another one of his beatific smiles. “And you. Will you miss anything from Pemberley?”

     Kitty paused and thought for few moments. “I shall miss the grounds. I do not walk as often as Lizzy, but I enjoy a ramble every now and then and the gardens are beautiful.”

     “That they are. I am staying with my brother Nathan for a few days—”

     “Kitty!” Mrs. Bennet called from the doorway, unmindful that she was in conversation with Lord George. For the first time in her young life Kitty became aware of her mother’s coarse behavior and felt exposed in front of him. “Come quickly. Lizzy and Mr. Darcy are leaving.”

     “I must go, sir.” Cheeks flaming, Kitty gave Lord George a quick curtsy and turned to follow her mother, faltering only slightly in her progress when she thought she heard him say.


     “I hope to see you again, Miss Bennet.”





Book Description: 

Some secrets are not meant to be shared.
Catherine Bennet, known as Kitty to close friends and family, knows this better than anyone. She also knows that she will never marry and it never bothered her before she met Lord George Kerr at Elizabeth and Darcy’s wedding. He’s determined to breach the walls of defense she’d carefully constructed around her heart, and she’s just as determined to stay the course.



Some secrets cannot be shared
Lord George Kerr knows this better than anyone. For five years, as a spy for His Majesty the King, he played the part of a Rake, concealing his espionage activities beneath a blanket of brothels, drink and loose women. Even though he’s forced to resume his regular life within London’s finest society, he still must keep some things hidden.

One thing he does not hide is his attraction to Miss Catherine Bennet of Longbourn. Enraptured by her beauty and warmth of character, he plunges headlong into winning her heart, only to find it carefully guarded and she’s unwilling to give him even a small pinch of hope.



Some things are beyond your control

When circumstances bring Kitty’s secret into the open, she fears the tenuous bonds of friendship she’s forged with Lord George will be lost forever along with whatever love he proclaims to have for her. With the very lives of England’s vast network of spies working undercover in Bonaparte’s France hanging in the balance, she’s forced to face her worst nightmare.



Her secret is laid bare, can he love her enough to overcome what he learns?

Buy: Amazon - Also available through KindleUnlimited
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FTC Disclaimer: Link to Amazon. I am an Amazon Associate. Should you purchase a copy of the book through the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thanks!

About the Author

Sue Barr resides in beautiful Southwestern Ontario with her retired Air Force hubby, two sons and their families. She’s also an indentured servant to three cats and has been known to rescue a kitten or two, or three…in an attempt to keep her ‘cat-lady-in-training’ status current. Although, she has deviated from appointed path and rescued a few dogs as well.

Sue is a member of Romance Writers of America and their affiliate chapter, Love, Hope and Faith as well as American Christian Fiction Writers.



From there you can follow her on Facebook or Twitter or hop on over to her blog and find out how boring her life really is…. While there, don’t forget to sign up for her announcement only newsletter. No spam. Pinky promise.


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Blog Tour Schedule

May 28 / My Jane Austen Book Club/ Launch Post & Giveaway 
May 29 / From Pemberley to Milton/ Excerpt Post & Giveaway
May 30 / Just Jane 1813/ Guest Post & Giveaway
May 31 / More Agreeably Engaged/ Author Spotlight & Giveaway
June 1 /  So Little Time… / Excerpt Post & Giveaway
June 2 / Liz’s Reading Life / Book Review & Giveaway 
June 4 / Diary of an Eccentric /Book Review & Giveaway
June 5 / My Vices and Weaknesses / Book Review & Giveaway
June 6 / Savvy Verse & Wit / Guest Post & Giveaway 
June 7 / Margie’s Must Reads/Book Review Post & Giveaway
June 8 /  Obsessed with Mr. Darcy / Book Review & Giveaway
June 9 / My Love for Jane Austen / Excerpt Post & Giveaway 
June 10 /  Babblings of a Bookworm / Excerpt Post & Giveaway 
June 11 /  Austenesque Reviews/ Guest Post & Giveaway


* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

It's giveaway time! Sue Barr is generously giving away three copies of her new book! Woohoo! To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below! 

  • One winner will receive a signed paperback of Catherine
  • Two winners will receive an e-copy of Catherine
  • Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once each day and by commenting daily on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached to this tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented.
  • All giveaways are open to international winners. 

Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Many thanks to Sue Barr for visiting here today with a lovely excerpt and for her generous giveaway!

Also, a big thanks to Claudine @ Just Jane 1813 for organizing this tour and including me! :) 

So, what did you think of the excerpt? I'm intrigued with Lord Kerr! And I would like to see Kitty mature into the beautiful woman she can be without the bad influences of Lydia - at least that's my hope! Enough from me! I would love to hear your thoughts! 
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