Wednesday, March 20, 2019

What Are You Reading? ~ March 20, 2019

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

Here's my list: 

Currently Reading:

I'm currently reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I am loving it! I've watched the movie, but this is the first time reading the book. It's so good! 




I'm also re-reading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen for book club. This is my favorite book of Jane's, but it is a slow read for me. Plus, I'm reading David M. Shapard's annotated version. There is so much interesting information in there!







Recently Finished:

Sadly, I didn't finish anything this week.


What's next? 

I'm not sure, but I might read Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp. It looks good! 









FTC 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!


So, tell me, what are you reading?



    Thursday, March 14, 2019

    New Audiobooks from Victoria Kincaid! ~ Excerpt & Giveaway!


    Hello, Friends! It's my pleasure to have Victoria Kincaid on the blog today! We are celebrating the release of two of her books that are now available on audiobook! Woohoo! President Darcy and The Unforgettable Mr. Darcy

    We are spotlighting President Darcy today, but Victoria is generously giveaway a copy of both audiobooks! Details are at the bottom of the page. 




    Hi Candy!  Thank you for having me back to visit!  December 2018 was a blur of activity in memory as I raced to release Darcy and Deception.  What got lost in the shuffle was the release of two new audiobooks.  President Darcy, narrated by Lucy Emerson, is my first modern Pride and Prejudice variation and the first with an American-accented narrator.  The Unforgettable Mr. Darcy is narrated by Stevie Zimmerman, who did a terrific job with The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth as well as many other JAFF books.  You can visit the links above to hear samples of the narration.


     FTC Disclaimer: Links above are 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!




    President Darcy
    by Victoria Kincaid

    President William Darcy has it all: wealth, intelligence, and the most powerful job in the country. Despite what his friends say, he is not lonely in the White House. He’s not. And he has vowed not to date while he’s in office. Nor is he interested in Elizabeth Bennet. She might be pretty and funny and smart, but her family is nouveau riche and unbearable. Unfortunately, he encounters her everywhere in Washington, D.C.—making her harder and harder to ignore. Why can’t he get her out of his mind?
 

    Elizabeth Bennet enjoys her job with the Red Cross and loves her family, despite their tendency to embarrass her. At a White House state dinner, they cause her to make an unfavorable impression on the president, who labels her unattractive and uninteresting. Those words are immediately broadcast on Twitter, so the whole world now knows the president insulted her. Elizabeth just wants to avoid the man—who, let’s admit it, is proud and difficult. For some reason he acts all friendly when they keep running into each other, but she knows he’s judging her. 
 

    Eventually, circumstances force Darcy and Elizabeth to confront their true feelings for each other, with explosive results. But even if they can find common ground, Mr. Darcy is still the president—with limited privacy and unlimited responsibilities—and his enemies won’t hesitate to use his feelings for Elizabeth against him. 
 

    Can President Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet find their way to happily ever after?


    Please enjoy the excerpt below from President Darcy:


         As the woman—Elizabeth Bennet— stepped out of the closet, brooms and mops went crashing to the floor.  She flinched, and Darcy tightened his grip on her hand, drawing her closer to him as if the cleaning implements represented a serious threat to her safety.  It was ridiculous and inappropriate, and Darcy had no idea why he did it.  

         The woman seemed to provoke unexpected reactions from him.  How else could he explain his unwarrantedly casual reaction the potential danger she might represent?

    As he double-checked to ensure she was unharmed, Darcy was struck by her eyes—a deep, mossy green he had never seen before on another human being.  With such a uniform color…they really were quite fine.  He couldn’t look away.  No, it would be more accurate to say he didn’t want to look away.  

         She was about average height for a woman, which meant that she peered up at Darcy, who came in at around six feet.  A sweet, heart-shaped face accentuated those marvelous eyes.  Lustrous, wavy dark hair tumbled over her shoulders and down her back.  And that dress—a floor-length black silk sheath that skimmed all her curves without revealing too much.  In fact, it revealed just the right amount of her creamy skin…

         Rather pointedly, she cast her eyes down at her hand.  Which he was still holding.  He noticed her fingers, delicate and tapered and so small, nestled in his grasp.

         The touch of her hand was the single most wonderful sensation he had ever felt.

         His fingers caressed her fingers.  

         Her hand trembled in his.

         He had no desire to release her. 

         The rest of his body also responded to her proximity.  Leaning toward her, he scented a vaguely floral fragrance…perfume or shampoo perhaps.   He flushed with a warmth that had nothing to do with the temperature in the hallway, moisture collecting on his forehead and the back of his neck.  His mouth was suddenly parched, and his tongue licked dry lips.  Her eyes followed the movement. She is staring at my mouth.    

         If only I could touch more than her hand.  Darcy’s hand rose, needing to learn if her hair was as soft as it appeared.  But then the (apparently very small) part of his brain that was still sane reminded him that the woman was a stranger, and he aborted the movement. 

         I should probably say something.  His lips were parted, ready to speak, but all his thoughts appeared to have melted away at her touch.  

         Bing cleared his throat.  “We should get to the dinner.” 

         The words worked their way through Darcy’s sluggish brain.  He understood their import, but the thought of releasing Elizabeth Bennet’s hand horrified him.  He desperately needed to touch more of her, not less.  

         “Just a second, Bing,” he snapped.  

         Elizabeth blinked, her eyelashes fluttering.  Is she as affected by the touch as I am?  “I-It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. President,” she said with a note of finality that suggested she preferred he return her hand.   Damn.  Could she guess he’d been thinking improper thoughts—when he knew literally nothing about her except her name?  It seriously had been too long since he’d had a date.  

         Dropping her hand as if it had burned him, he stepped backward, putting more distance between them and trying to collect thoughts that seemed to have been scattered by a powerful wind. 

         Why was he reacting this way to this woman?  She was pretty—well, more than pretty. Beautiful.  And that dress displayed a body he would certainly describe as “hot.”  But he saw beautiful, well-dressed women every day.  

         And she’d been hiding in a closet, he reminded himself.  It wasn’t normal behavior.  She also didn’t appear capable of assembling coherent sentences. It truly was a shame she wasn’t more …eloquent.  Lack of intelligence was always a deal-breaker for Darcy. 

         Although it was probably a good thing.  If she were smart, too, she’d be irresistible. 

         Bing cleared his throat loudly. 

         Finally, Darcy tore his eyes from her vivid, dark green ones, but he was still rubbed raw by her proximity.  He didn’t know why she affected him like this, but Darcy couldn’t let her—or anyone else—notice the results.

         Taking out his handkerchief, he blotted his brow and mopped the back of his neck before discreetly wiping his sweaty hands and returning the handkerchief to his pocket.  Elizabeth stared, likely marveling at how profusely the President of the United States could sweat.  Bing regarded Darcy warily; he knew how out-of-character this behavior was.

         He had embarrassed himself sufficiently; remaining any longer would only produce more shame and more perspiration.  It was past time to appear at the dinner and get away from the spacey woman with the lovely eyes.  

         Without another word, he turned on his heel and strode down the hallway.  Behind him, he heard Bing ask, “Will you join us at the dinner, Ms. Bennet?” 

         Damn!  I should have asked that.  She had me too flustered.  

         “Um…sure,” she said uncertainly. 

         No regrets, he told himself sternly.  The woman couldn’t string two sentences together.  Her beauty was nothing but a momentary distraction. 

         Darcy tugged his cuffs into place and straightened his bow tie.  Taking the service hallway was intended to help him make up time after his last meeting ran late, but the encounter with Ms. Bennet had further delayed his schedule.  Time to focus on the dinner and his political priorities for the evening. 




      About the Author


    Victoria Kincaid is the author of several popular Jane Austen variations, including The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth, Pride & ProposalsMr. Darcy to the Rescue, When Mary Met the Colonel, and Darcy vs. Bennet. All of her books have been listed in Amazon’s Top 20 Bestselling Regency Romances.  The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth was nominated for a Rone award and Pride and Proposals was recognized as a top Austenesque novel for 2015 by Austenesque Reviews.

    Victoria has a Ph.D. in English literature and has taught composition to unwilling college students. Today she teaches business writing to willing office professionals and tries to give voice to the demanding cast of characters in her head.


    She lives in Virginia with an overly affectionate cat, an excessively energetic dog, two children who love to read, and a husband who fortunately is not jealous of Mr. Darcy.  A lifelong Austen fan, Victoria has read more Jane Austen variations and sequels than she can count – and confesses to an extreme partiality for the Colin Firth miniseries version of Pride and Prejudice.


    Connect with Victoria



    * * * GIVEAWAY * * *

    It's giveaway time! Victoria is graciously giving away one audiobook of President Darcy and one audiobook of The Unforgettable Mr. Darcy to two of my lucky readers!

    Thank you, Victoria!




    • One person will win an audiobook copy of President Darcy.
    • One person will win an audiobook copy of The Unforgettable Mr. Darcy.
    • To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below.
    • Rafflecopter will randomly select the winner.
    • Open to US and UK residents only.
    • Last day to enter the giveaway is March 21, 2019, 11:59 PM Pacific Time.

    Good luck! 


    a Rafflecopter giveaway



    Many thanks to Victoria for visiting with us today and having this terrific giveaway with me!! 

    **I have to tell you, I've read and LOVED The Unforgettable Mr. Darcy!**

    So, friends, what do you think of President Darcy?

    Wednesday, March 13, 2019

    What Are You Reading? ~ Mar. 13, 2019

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

    Hey there! It's late Wednesday afternoon, and I'm finally sitting down to write my 'What Are You Reading?' post. Looking back it's been a month since my last Wednesday post. Wow! 

    To be honest, it's not surprising. My mother-in-law passed away in February. With traveling to her service, and other projects I had going on, I haven't read much lately. I've been plagued with headaches also. 

    But in the past week, I did manage to get some reading in! 😃 


    Currently Reading:


    I'm currently re-reading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen for my reading group. I love this story!







    Recently Finished (since my last post):

    I recently finished reading The Last Letter by Rebecca Yarrow. It was an emotional read, but also a great romance! I loved that the pacing of the romance was not rushed. Trust had to be built. I like that. 






    I also finished Inspiration: A Pride and Prejudice Variation by Maria Grace. This novella was a quick read. I need to write a review for this soon, but I'm so behind on everything!! 😱






    While traveling, I listened to London Holiday by Nicole Clarkston. What a fun read! I loved it.






    Since my last post, I also finished re-reading Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. I enjoyed it much more this time around. I didn't focus so much on the romances of the story but looked closer at the characters. Austen's characters are fascinating!






    What's next?

    I'm not sure! I'll let you know later. 😁

    FTC 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!


    So, tell me, what are you reading?

    Monday, March 11, 2019

    Inspiration Blog Tour ~ Guest Post, Excerpt, & Giveaway!

    Hello, my friends! I'm delighted to have Maria Grace on the blog today talking about her new novella, Inspiration! (I'm currently reading this and loving it!) 





    Thanks so much for having me, Candy. It’s great to get to visit with you again. I’m excited to share my new novella with you and your readers. Inspiration features Darcy as an artist tortured by his demanding muse. 

    As luck would have it, I did not know a great deal about art in the Regency period, so I had to go digging about and I learned some very interesting bits that found their way into the story.

    The Regency era upper classes as a whole were avid art collectors, sometimes having entire rooms devoted as private galleries to display their collections. The rooms usually had a northern exposure to provide even light while minimizing damaging exposure to sunlight. The windows and sometimes even the art itself would have curtains or shutters to protect the pieces from light exposure while not being viewed. Only on rare occasions would the art be viewed by candlelight. The smoke would damage the paintings, and the risk of fire from enough candles to properly light the pieces was high enough to discourage the practice. Mirrors were often used to make the most of the light available in a room.

    Red, followed by green, were the most popular wall colorings for an art gallery, though personal preference could play a big part in this choice. Public galleries often used every available inch of space, hanging paintings from floor to ceiling. Private galleries often left more space between paintings, probably because they had fewer to display.

    It was not unusual for a collector—usually a man—to have an additional private collection kept in a separate locked room or closet. This collection usually contained paintings of a more sensitive nature that were not appropriate for public display. The NSFW of the era, so to speak. Darcy has such a room in Pemberley, but the paintings there are private for a very different reason. You’ll have to read to find out though. (Yes, I know I’m being mean…)

    Here’s a peek into the world of Darcy and his muse to whet your appetite.



    ***

         The journey to Kent proved nothing like the ride to Hertfordshire. Nothing. And yet, the promise of a journey was all it took to send his muse thrumming, awakening every nerve with agonizing precision. 

         It was not possible, but still his ears ached for Miss Elizabeth’s musical voice, his eyes sought her out in every shadow, ever flash of sunlight, he longed for the scent of her—what sort of flower was it that she wore? All hunger, yet knowing no satisfaction awaited him at the end of this journey. That should have been enough to quell the longing, but no, somehow it only increased the anticipation.

         If only to make the disappointment when he saw Anne all the more acute.

         Realistically, that he should look forward to that. The sight of Anne was enough to chill his muse into silence. Usually. But not this time.

         Why not this time?

         Why could he not cease to hear Miss Elizabeth’s voice on the wind, see her face in fleeting shimmers of light? Why had he come here at all? Dreadful fool he was to think he could flee the relentless cur nipping at the heels of his soul.

         He locked himself in his room with the curtains drawn against the sun. Perhaps he could sleep until it was time to depart this horrible place.

         Fitzwilliam insisted he drag himself to Holy Services on Sunday. While it was his habit to do so, the knowledge that the vicar was none other than Miss Elizabeth’s cousin made the entire affair unpalatable at best. But after Fitzwilliam’s years in the army, he could be a force to be reckoned with, and Darcy lacked the energy for the standoff. So, he went.

         Though the sun was bright and the air crisp and fresh, the walk to the stone parish church was flat and dull and grey. The birdsong seemed monotone and off key, even the sheep bleating rasped harsh against his beleaguered nerves. 

         The smell of cold, damp stone filled his nostrils as he settled into the family pew, trying to avoid eye contact. Yes, there were those with whom he shared an acquaintance, and he should deign to speak with them. He would fulfill all the obligations of etiquette at the first moment that civility was available to him. For now, it was not.

         A flash of blue caught his eye. His lungs seized and refused to breath.

         Wait. No, it could not be. That was simply not possible. There in the vicar’s family pew with a woman who must be Mrs. Collins. 

         Her.

         Darcy swallowed hard and blinked several times. Breathe, he must breathe.

         “Darcy? Darcy? Are you well? You look like you have seen the devil himself.” Fitzwilliam elbowed him sharply.

         Darcy jumped and shook his head. “Yes, yes, I am fine.”

         “You have noticed Mrs. Collins’ houseguests I see. Aunt Catherine was just telling me about them.”

         Them? Were there two? By Jove, yes there were two young ladies sitting with Mrs. Collins. The other must be her sister; they shared a very similar look. But the other—

         “… the other is Miss Elizabeth Bennet, I am told, a childhood friend of Mrs. Collins and cousin of Mr. Collins.”

         His heart swelled to fill all his chest and shut off any hope of breathing. It was her, it was her! Here in the middle of exactly where she had no reason, no hope of being, she was here. A strange sense overtook him. A foreign mix of peace and euphoria floated his limbs and left his head muzzy and light.


    ***

    I hope you enjoyed this peek. If you’d like more, you can find Inspiration at all major e-book sellers. If you’d like to catch up on the short stories I mentioned, you can find them at RandomBitsofFascination.com.

    Thanks!




    Inspiration: Pride and Prejudice Variation 
    (A Sweet Tea Novella, Bk 4)
    by Maria Grace

    Gentleman artist Fitzwilliam Darcy had never been able to express himself in words, but with his brushes and paints, he expressed what few men ever could. When his flighty muse abandons him, though, he finds himself staring at blank canvases in a world that has turned bland and cold and grey.  

    Worried for his friend, Charles Bingley invites Darcy to join him in Hertfordshire, in hopes the picturesque countryside might tempt Darcy's muse to return. The scheme works only too well. His muse returns, with a vengeance, fixated upon the one young woman in the county who utterly detests him.  

    Will his selfish disdain for the feelings of others drive her and his muse away or can he find a way to please this woman with the power to bring color and feeling back into his world? 

    Buy: Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon CAAll Other Sellers
    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


    Though Maria Grace has been writing fiction since she was ten years old, those early efforts happily reside in a file drawer and are unlikely to see the light of day again. After penning five file-drawer novels in high school, she took a break from writing to pursue college and earn her doctorate in Educational Psychology. After 16 years of university teaching, she returned to her first love, fiction writing. 

    She has one husband and one grandson, two graduate degrees and two black belts, three sons, four undergraduate majors, five nieces, is has blogged six years on Random Bits of Fascination, has built seven websites, attended eight English country dance balls, sewn nine Regency era costumes, and shared her life with ten cats.



    Connect with Maria Grace




    * * * GIVEAWAY * * *


    It's giveaway time! Maria Grace is generously giving away an e-copy of Inspiration to one of my lucky readers! For a chance to win, fill out the Rafflecopter below! 






    • One person will win an e-copy of Inspiration.
    • To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below.
    • Rafflecopter will randomly select the winner.
    • Open Internationally.
    • Last day to enter the giveaway is March 18, 2019, at 11:59 PM Pacific Time.

    Good luck!



    a Rafflecopter giveaway



    Many thanks to Maria Grace for visiting with us today and for offering one of my readers a chance to win a copy of Inspiration! 

    So, friends, what do you think of Darcy being an artist? I can totally see him as a tortured artist! 
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