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Mailbox Monday #500

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what we received:

Pride and Proposals by Victoria Kincaid, narrated by Erin Evans-Walker, from Audible.

What if Mr. Darcy’s proposal was too late?

Darcy has been bewitched by Elizabeth Bennet since he met her in Hertfordshire. He can no longer fight this overwhelming attraction and must admit he is hopelessly in love. During Elizabeth’s visit to Kent, she has been forced to endure the company of the difficult and disapproving Mr. Darcy, but she has enjoyed making the acquaintance of his affable cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam.

Finally resolved, Darcy arrives at Hunsford Parsonage prepared to propose – only to discover that Elizabeth has just accepted a proposal from the colonel, Darcy’s dearest friend in the world. As he watches the couple prepare for a lifetime together, Darcy vows never to speak of what is in his heart.

Elizabeth has reason to dislike Darcy but finds that he haunts her thoughts and stirs her emotions in strange ways. Can Darcy and Elizabeth find their happily ever after?

In Good Conscience: The Final Adventure by Cat Gardiner, a paperback surprise gift from the author. Read my review here.

No man has loved a woman as much as Fitzwilliam “Iceman” Darcy loves his wife Elizabeth. His love is indestructible, insatiable, and his Achilles’ heel.

Since the whirlwind and dangerous adventure in Paris and Moscow in Without a Conscience, life at Pemberley has been a combination of idyllic repose and focused preparation and defense. Darcy’s enemy is still out there—a hair’s breadth from delivering revenge for his father’s assassination.

When the enemy strikes first, Iceman’s world comes crashing down kick starting a firestorm. How far will the gelid warrior go to protect all his loved ones? Just how much is the former Navy SEAL willing to sacrifice? Is his attritional warfare blind rage?—or are his extreme actions in good conscience?

This emotional, wild ride will take you on a breathless, white-knuckle international journey from heartbreak and revenge to survival and enduring bliss because …

No woman has loved a man like Elizabeth Darcy loves her husband Fitzwilliam. Her love is invulnerable, unyielding, and her strength.

What fell into your mailbox this week?

In Good Conscience by Cat Gardiner

Source: Purchased
eBook, 356 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

In Good Conscience: The Final Adventure by Cat Gardiner (READ THEM IN ORDER) is the last in one of my favorite series by this author, and while reading, I did not want to let these characters go. Danger is ever-present in the Darcy’s lives because of Iceman’s covert past, but in this one, the danger is front and center and threatens to take everything they have and obliterate it.

“‘I know. I know. You have every right to swear like a deranged sailor, sweetie. The world is upside down. …'”

Without spoiling the adventure for you, Liz and Iceman are both tested and tested again by the drug cartel and Morales — yes, that evil, evil man is back. Like all great spy thrillers, Gardiner ensures our heroine and hero are forced apart only to be reunited in the most unexpected ways. Iceman has been dormant for a long while as he shares a quiet life in Virginia with Liz, but when Morales comes calling, you can imagine that all bets are off and he’s back in business….contract killing business.

What’s fantastic about this story is that Liz becomes her own powerhouse. She’s heard from Darcy just how strong she is and that she can tackle anything, but when he’s not there, does she still believe that? How can she prove that to herself and own it for good? It will take her slaying a dragon and learning to travel on her own to get there, but the end game is the stuff of dreams. She a woman who has found her own strength with a little help from Dixon, a personal body guard Darcy insists she needs.

In Good Conscience: The Final Adventure by Cat Gardiner is the final installment in this series, and while I love these characters and didn’t want to let them go, they ended up in the right place. The conclusion of their story is just what you’d expect Jane Austen to have. Iceman will always be my favorite modern Darcy, even when he’s being ice cold.

***Be aware there is graphic sexual content and language***

RATING: Cinquain

Other Reviews:

About the Author:

Cat Gardiner loves romance and happy endings, history, comedy, and Jane Austen. A member of National League of American Pen Women, Romance Writers of America, and her local chapter TARA, she enjoys writing across the spectrum of Pride and Prejudice inspired romance novels. Austenesque, from the comedic Christmas, Chick Lits Lucky 13 and Villa Fortuna, to the bad boy biker Darcy in the sultry adventures Denial of Conscience, Guilty Conscience, and Without a Conscience, these contemporary novels will appeal to many Mr. Darcy lovers, who don’t mind a deviation away from canon and variations.

Cat’s love of 20th Century Historical fiction merges in her first Pride & Prejudice “alternate era,” set in a 1952 Noir, Undercover. Her most recent publications are time-travel WWII P&P short stories: A Vintage Valentine, A Vintage Victory, and A Vintage Halloween as part of the Memories of Old Antique Shop Series.

Her greatest love is writing Historical Fiction, WWII–era Romance. Her debut novel, A Moment Forever was named a Romance Finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. She is currently working on her second novel in the Liberty Victory Series.

Married 24 years to her best friend, they are the proud parents of the smartest honor student in the world—their orange tabby, Ollie and his sassy girlfriend, Kiki. Although they live in Florida, they will always be proud native New Yorkers.

Giveaway & Interview with Liz from In Good Conscience by Cat Gardiner

I’m gobbling up the final Cat Gardiner adventure with Iceman Fitzwilliam Darcy and his leading lady, Liz. You’ll have to wait for my review!

As part of her kick-off blog tour, I had a unique opportunity to interview Liz about her life and the adventure.

Don’t worry there’s an international giveaway for my readers, too.

Please give Liz a warm welcome.

I’m seated here with Liz Darcy, on her private balcony overlooking a magnificent estate. Imagine my surprise when, after only a few days following her dangerous trip to Europe, she consented to an exclusive interview just for my Savvy readers. There’s a certain twinkle to her eye, even a quirk to her lips like she’s holding onto a doozy of a secret beyond the private plane and the secrecy of our locale. She’s radiating an inner joy. Maybe its love or maybe it’s something else. Don’t worry, friends, I’ll find out!

Hi Liz, how are you today? I’m dying to ask how your life has changed for the good and bad since meeting Iceman?

Hi, Serena! I’m really honored that you’d want to get to know me and Fitzwilliam a little more. Most people want to know about the dangerous adventures we’ve taken, so this is refreshing. I’m sorry we had to blindfold you when you got off the Cessna, but I’m sure you understand—we’re still working out the security details having only just arrived ourselves.

I do understand you’ve been through a lot recently. It’s quite an estate!

It is gorgeous here—isn’t it? I don’t think I’ve ever been happier! *grins*. This setting—this place—I have goose pimples!

Albeit, there were a few months there where we’d been sort of hiding out following Paris and Moscow, and, of course danger wasn’t far behind, but that time secluded in Pemberley with Fitzwilliam was a blissful paradise. And if you can believe it, it’s already promising to be even better after the hell we’ve been through!

*Shrugs* Dark clouds messed up this past summer, but, now … I love it here with him, and honestly, there’s not much that I’d consider bad anymore—not even the fact that he still leaves the toilet seat up and that he hangs the t.p roll the wrong way. He’ll always adore his head-banging music and grunt his displeasure about something, and, of course, there’s his need to control certain things, but that’s not bad, per se. Heck, it’ll take some time before he completely shares everything he’s locked away in his mental Icebox, but those are all little things, things that’ll take time to work out. We’re not yet married a year, you know. As for the good: I feel soooo loved—and safe—and valued like I never have. It’s a different kind of “value,” different from the value in how my father viewed me.

My opinion matters; Fitzwilliam completely respects me and thinks of me as his equal. I’m one with him—but independent—if that makes sense. Gosh, last year’s adventure really taught us both some things and this year’s adventure took our relationship to a whole new level. Fitzwilliam lets me spread my wings to fly but I get that he needs to “coach” me on certain things. It’s his nature and it’s mine to rebel a bit. Any discord we work out either in a one-minute shouting match, tango-ing, or between the sheets.

How much have you learned from Darcy since the last book? And what are you most eager about in your life with him?

Goodness! I’ve learned so much. And I don’t just mean about self defense or weapon usage. We practice those things every day, particularly knife throwing—and, yes, he’s still trying to teach me to be a horsewoman, but I’ve learned so much about him, the man beneath Iceman. He has this patient, confidence-building manner about him. He helps me to feel impervious, skilled and self-assured in everything I do.

It’s that nurturing characteristic that answers your second question … I’m so looking forward to parenthood. We’d been trying to get pregnant after our trip to Santorini last year. I just know that Fitzwilliam Darcy (not Iceman) will make an incredible father one day. It’s our dream to have the family-life we were denied in our “before each other” meager existences. We hope to be the kind of parents that we missed out on in our own lives.

All the ladies are dying to know if he’s as sizzling hot in In Good Conscience as he was in the previous book. And are you still riding your bike?

*Blushing* I don’t kiss and tell, but … it’s—as you say—sizzling (giggles). The man is so damned hot that even when I’m angry—and I mean blazing angry enough to kill him—I can’t stay angry with him … if you know what I mean! That smoldering gaze of his defuses my time bomb! And then his touch gets me all worked up again. *Another blush*

I am definitely still riding and, given the incredible landscape of this area, we are looking forward to the exciting twisties—pushing the limits beside each other.

Do you feel like you’re ready to step into his darker world and adequately protect yourself and him?

His darker world is low light and bright … but if I had to go there again, I’d say: Absolutely. I think—after what we’ve been through over the last two months—Fitzwilliam has that same confidence in me. And although I don’t think we’ll find ourselves in a dangerous situation again, he does remind me to practice situational awareness and has honed into me that paranoia is the height of awareness. LOL If trouble does come, we have each other’s six. Protecting our family is paramount, above all things.

And right now, he’s not at his 100% physical best. So as we get settled here and until our full security team arrives, he’s truly dependent on me.

Give us a glimpse into your relationship with Iceman and his family.

*Snort* Let’s start with his aunt. On second thought, let’s not. She irritates me, so I never speak of her. The last time I saw her, I was at my worst and her facelift made it difficult for her to talk, which was fine by me since I could barely even form words myself.

Fitzwilliam’s family (apart from his aunt) is my family as much as his. And as much as I hate to admit it, they are Obsidian. It’s weird … we’re all broken in some way, yet made whole by our commitment to each other. It’s hard to explain.

Rick is more a brother than a cousin to both of us and that’s true of John Knightley as well. Both guys understand Fitzwilliam and I don’t know—maybe it’s also a military mindset—but where he (or I) go, they’d go, even if it meant to the death. And that holds true for how we feel about them. Charlie, what can I say of Charlie? He’s solid gold in every way and I’m glad my sister has finally wised up to that!

Even Caroline in some strange way is part of our family. She might be the evil step-sister, but she’ll always have our back if needed; she proved that this summer. Sarah, Rick’s girl is awesome and will be staying in America. I’m glad because they are perfect for each other.

We also have new family members who came to Pemberley as our security team. All former military. But, I tell ya’, I couldn’t have gotten through some of the things I have without one salty Marine named Dixon. He’s so much more than my personal bodyguard: good friend, confidant, uncle, brother. He’s awesome.

And then there’s Gigi and Justin my sister and brother-in-law. They are loving life in California. I hadn’t seen her since her wedding last year, but we reunited during the horrific circumstances over the summer, but now that the clouds have packed away, we’ll be getting together soon at an upcoming wedding. Even the Reynoldses will be in attendance!

So what is on the horizon for you two love birds?

Just living every day beside each other, appreciating even the smallest of things, remembering only the good things of the past, and forgetting about everything else. We live in the moment and all that matters is that we’re together, taking each day as it comes. It’s amazing, Serena–seven weeks changed our life, and we had to get through it to experience this absolute complete joy. As Fitzwilliam is always singing … “It’s a
new dawn … a new day … and he’s feelin’ good.” We both are!

Okay. Here’s my last question. Do you have secret to share because I sense you’re holding something back. You’re positively glowing.

*Giggles* You’ll have to read the book!

Thank you, Liz, for joining us today! What a wild ride it has been and here’s to a calmer future together for you and your husband.

Dear readers, here’s a picture of the swag Cat Gardiner is offering:

1 ebook for an international reader and 1 paperback for a U.S. reader.

Also an exclusive IGC mug, Bottle of Cabernet, a woman’s journal with inspirational quotes, series bookmark for a U.S. Winner.

Giveaway info:

Leave a comment here for Liz and Cat or ask a question.

Winner will be selected on Sept. 21, 11:59 PM EST.

Lucky 13: Matchmaking and Misunderstandings by Cat Gardiner

Source: Purchased
eBook; 294 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Lucky 13: Matchmaking and Misunderstandings by Cat Gardiner is a modern twist on Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice set during Christmas and Thanksgiving. Liz Bennett is a successful marketing executive but she considers herself unlucky in love and everything else dealing with her matchmaking and dissatisfied mother. She was born on a Friday the 13th, and she’s been considered unlucky by her family ever since. But she’s decided that this year would be different and that finding dates in every way possible in the modern age, she plans to find a Christmas dinner date and possibly someone to take her to her super model sister Jane’s wedding to Charles Bingley. She’s closed herself off to all else.

Enter hunky, part-time New York City firefighter Will Darcy, a man who smolders just standing still and captures her attention immediately only to open his mouth and ruin her first impression. Regardless, she finds that she can’t take her eyes or keep her hands off him when he’s selected as Mr. December for a holiday calendar to raise money for a charitable burn foundation.

“How did you know I’m from the East Side?”

“It’s in your swagger, the way you wear your Armani. I don’t know, maybe it’s the fact you get your nails manicured. Guys like you love to play on the wild sided behind closed doors.”

“So you think you know me, Charlotte?”

Charlotte teams up with her own hot bod, Will’s cousin, to help the star-crossed lovers realize they’re prefect for each other. But Liz is left mostly in the dark until it is too late. She has her work cut out for her on the dating seen and in some cases, she should be thanking Will for his observations and interventions in her dating life, even if he does infuriate her.

Gardiner has done it again with these characters, making them her own and creating steamy situations that will have readers blushing. Liz and Will continue to fight their feelings, but even when they give in, they both back away to guard their hearts. Readers will be cheering on Will as he tries to woo his lady until she finds that she’s the luckiest Bennet of them all in Lucky 13: Matchmaking and Misunderstandings.

RATING: Quatrain

Other Reviews:

About the Author:

Cat Gardiner loves romance and happy endings, history, comedy, and Jane Austen. A member of National League of American Pen Women, Romance Writers of America, and her local chapter TARA, she enjoys writing across the spectrum of Pride and Prejudice inspired romance novels. Austenesque, from the comedic Christmas, Chick Lits Lucky 13 and Villa Fortuna, to the bad boy biker Darcy in the sultry adventures Denial of Conscience, Guilty Conscience, and Without a Conscience, these contemporary novels will appeal to many Mr. Darcy lovers, who don’t mind a deviation away from canon and variations.

Cat’s love of 20th Century Historical fiction merges in her first Pride & Prejudice “alternate era,” set in a 1952 Noir, Undercover. Her most recent publications are time-travel WWII P&P short stories: A Vintage Valentine, A Vintage Victory, and A Vintage Halloween as part of the Memories of Old Antique Shop Series.

Her greatest love is writing Historical Fiction, WWII–era Romance. Her debut novel, A Moment Forever was named a Romance Finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. She is currently working on her second novel in the Liberty Victory Series.

Married 24 years to her best friend, they are the proud parents of the smartest honor student in the world—their orange tabby, Ollie and his sassy girlfriend, Kiki. Although they live in Florida, they will always be proud native New Yorkers.

Mailbox Monday #496

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what we received:

The Teahouse Fire by Ellis Avery purchased through Audible.

The fates of two women, one American, one Japanese, become entwined in this sweeping novel of 19th century Japan on the cusp of radical change and Westernization.

The Japanese tea ceremony, steeped in ritual, is at the heart of this story of an American girl adopted by Kyoto’s most important tea master and raised as attendant and surrogate younger sister to his privileged daughter, Yukako.

Unrelenting by Marion Kummerow, a Kindle freebie.

Berlin, Germany 1932.

In a time of political unrest and strife, one man finds the courage to fight back…

Dr. Wilhelm “Q” Quedlin, chemical engineer and inventor, lives for his science. A woman is not in his plans—nor is it to be accused of industrial espionage.

But things get worse from there.

Watching Hitler’s rise to power spurns his desire to avoid yet another war that will completely destroy his beloved country. Q makes the conscious decision to fight against what he knows is wrong, even if working against the Nazis could mean certain death for him— and anyone he loves.

Hilde Dremmer has vowed to never love again. But after encountering Q, she wants to give love a second chance.

When Q discloses his resistance plan, it’s up to Hilde to choose between her protected life without him or the constant threat of torture if she supports him in his fight against injustice.

She has witnessed enough of the Nazi government’s violent acts to be appalled by the new political power, but will this be enough for an ordinary girl to do the extraordinary and stand beside the man she loves in a time of total desolation?

This World War II spy story is based on the true events of one couple’s struggle for happiness while battling a war against their own leaders.

This book is a must-read for everyone wondering how an entire nation could slide from democracy to totalitarian dictatorship ultimately killing millions of “undesirables” whose only crime was having a different faith, skin color or political opinion.

In Good Conscience: The Final Adventure by Cat Gardiner, which I purchased.

The third and final adventure in The Conscience Series

No man has loved a woman as much as Fitzwilliam “Iceman” Darcy loves his wife Elizabeth. His love is indestructible, insatiable, and his Achilles’ heel.

Since the whirlwind and dangerous adventure in Paris and Moscow in Without a Conscience, life at Pemberley has been a combination of idyllic repose and focused preparation and defense. Darcy’s enemy is still out there—a hair’s breadth from delivering revenge for his father’s assassination.

When the enemy strikes first, Iceman’s world comes crashing down kick starting a firestorm. How far will the gelid warrior go to protect all his loved ones? Just how much is the former Navy SEAL willing to sacrifice? Is his attritional warfare blind rage?—or are his extreme actions in good conscience?

This emotional, wild ride will take you on a breathless, white-knuckle international journey from heartbreak and revenge to survival and enduring bliss because …

No woman has loved a man like Elizabeth Darcy loves her husband Fitzwilliam. Her love is invulnerable, unyielding, and her strength.

What did you receive?

Villa Fortuna by Cat Gardiner

Source: Purchased
EBook, 342 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Villa Fortuna by Cat Gardiner begins when three girls are read the will of their aunt in New York, a place Lizzy Clemente has not lived since the death of her father. They soon learn that they have inherited a prize piece of property in “Snobsville” but to keep it, they must go to confession at church and make other changes.

Her sisters, Gina and Nikki, are eager to open up their own salon in the building and start earning their own money, and Lizzy begrudgingly stays to help them. She’s got her work in Los Angeles as a podiatrist, and she’s hoping that she can return to that life soon before the Italian-American heritage she’s buried for so long sneaks up on her. But her flight back to LA has her thinking about the altar boy she glimpsed at the church when her sisters were making confession.

“Seven figures a year, a body like David with a face like Cary Grant and you resort to selling yourself like a used Mercedes in need of an overdue tune up.”

Little does Lizzy know that her dreamboat has a conniving grandmother who is after Villa Fortuna, which she claims is rightfully hers and stolen by the Clemente sisters’ long dead mob-tied relative. Stella De Luca is a grandmother no one wants meddling in their lives, and Dr. Mike Garin is no exception. Gardiner has a flare for the dramatic in this variation of Pride & Prejudice, which strays far from the original as it must given the modern setting. I loved the characters, particularly Toni(y) the cross-dressing salon receptionist with a heart of gold and Rusty (the rival hair stylist) at Halo. These characters are hilarious, as are the situations they find themselves in. But readers will love the heat between Dr. Garin and Dr. Clemente.

Villa Fortuna by Cat Gardiner is a modern love story with mobster vendettas, over-the-top drama, and salon gossip to get you in trouble if you believe it. Lizzy and Dr. Garin must use their heads to lead their hearts, but sometimes assumptions can lead to trouble, especially when there are Machiavellian strategies afoot.

RATING: Quatrain

Other Reviews:

About the Author:

Cat Gardiner loves romance and happy endings, history, comedy, and Jane Austen. A member of National League of American Pen Women, Romance Writers of America, and her local chapter TARA, she enjoys writing across the spectrum of Pride and Prejudice inspired romance novels. Austenesque, from the comedic Christmas, Chick Lits Lucky 13 and Villa Fortuna, to the bad boy biker Darcy in the sultry adventures Denial of Conscience, Guilty Conscience, and Without a Conscience, these contemporary novels will appeal to many Mr. Darcy lovers, who don’t mind a deviation away from canon and variations.

Cat’s love of 20th Century Historical fiction merges in her first Pride & Prejudice “alternate era,” set in a 1952 Noir, Undercover. Her most recent publications are time-travel WWII P&P short stories: A Vintage Valentine, A Vintage Victory, and A Vintage Halloween as part of the Memories of Old Antique Shop Series.

Her greatest love is writing Historical Fiction, WWII–era Romance. Her debut novel, A Moment Forever was named a Romance Finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. She is currently working on her second novel in the Liberty Victory Series.

Married 24 years to her best friend, they are the proud parents of the smartest honor student in the world—their orange tabby, Ollie and his sassy girlfriend, Kiki. Although they live in Florida, they will always be proud native New Yorkers.

A Vintage Halloween by Cat Gardiner

Source: Purchased
Ebook, 56 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

A Vintage Halloween (Memories of Old Antique Shop #3) by Cat Gardiner is delightful short story in which Elizabeth Bennet is trying her best to put on a brave face as she helps Jane with her wedding preparations to Charlie Bingley and navigating through her mother’s nerves. But what is really getting her down is the absence of her Darcy and the knowledge that he’s in a dangerous place and may not come home to make good on his promise to marry her. Gardiner knows these characters, even her modern versions, so well, that they shine on the pages.  Lizzy is tough, but she’s vulnerable, and Darcy is smart but dutiful.

“In Will’s absence, Fred Astaire wasn’t her hide-out any longer — at least not when she needed a break from her mother.”

Halloween is approaching and Lizzy may not feel like celebrating, but she’s made a promise to the Memories of Old shopkeeper, Doris. A romantic trip to 1944 is what Lizzy needs to recharge, but she’s not the only one missing her sweetie in this tale of ghouls and ghosts. Doris is being mysterious, and Mary joins Lizzy at the shop only to see things Lizzy cannot see.

A trip through a mirror and a masquerade ball may be just what the doctor ordered for Lizzy and Doris.  But who is behind those costumes and masks, and where are all those customers coming from and what are they looking for? Will Doris let Lizzy in on her secrets? Find out in A Vintage Halloween (Memories of Old Antique Shop #3) by Cat Gardiner.

RATING: Cinquain

About the Author:

Cat Gardiner loves romance and happy endings, history, comedy, and Jane Austen. A member of National League of American Pen Women, Romance Writers of America, and her local chapter TARA, she enjoys writing across the spectrum of Pride and Prejudice inspired romance novels. Austenesque, from the comedic Christmas, Chick Lits Lucky 13 and Villa Fortuna, to the bad boy biker Darcy in the sultry adventures Denial of Conscience, Guilty Conscience, and Without a Conscience, these contemporary novels will appeal to many Mr. Darcy lovers, who don’t mind a deviation away from canon and variations.

Cat’s love of 20th Century Historical fiction merges in her first Pride & Prejudice “alternate era,” set in a 1952 Noir, Undercover. Her most recent publications are time-travel WWII P&P short stories: A Vintage Valentine, A Vintage Victory, and A Vintage Halloween as part of the Memories of Old Antique Shop Series.

Her greatest love is writing Historical Fiction, WWII–era Romance. Her debut novel, A Moment Forever was named a Romance Finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. She is currently working on her second novel in the Liberty Victory Series.

Married 24 years to her best friend, they are the proud parents of the smartest honor student in the world—their orange tabby, Ollie and his sassy girlfriend, Kiki. Although they live in Florida, they will always be proud native New Yorkers.

Mailbox Monday #452

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog. To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Martha, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what my daughter received from her school book fair:

Owl Diaries: Eva’s Treetop Festival by Rebecca Elliott

This adorable early chapter book series is perfect for young girls who love friendship stories starring animal characters!This series is part of Scholastic’s early chapter book line called Branches, which is aimed at newly independent readers. With easy-to-read text, high-interest content, fast-paced plots, and illustrations on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and stamina. Branches books help readers grow!Eva Wingdale gets in over her head when she offers to organize a spring festival at school. Even with her best friend Lucy’s help, there is NO way she will get everything done in time. Will Eva have to ask Sue (a.k.a. Meanie McMeanerson) for help? Or will the festival have to be cancelled? This book is written as Eva’s diary.

Owl Diaries: Eva Sees a Ghost by Rebecca Elliott

Is there a ghost in Treetopolis? Eva sure thinks so!

This series is part of Scholastic’s early chapter book line called Branches, which is aimed at newly independent readers. With easy-to-read text, high-interest content, fast-paced plots, and illustrations on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and stamina. Branches books help readers grow!

In this second book in the series, Eva sees a ghost! Or at least, she thinks she does . . . With her friend Lucy by her side, Eva goes in search of the ghost. Eek!

Owl Diaries: A Woodland Wedding by Rebecca Elliott

This series is part of Scholastic’s early chapter book line called Branches, which is aimed at newly independent readers. With easy-to-read text, high-interest content, fast-paced plots, and illustrations on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and stamina. Branches books help readers grow!Eva’s teacher, Miss Featherbottom, is getting married. All of her students have been invited to the wedding. And Eva starts a Secret Wedding Planners Club! But before Miss Featherbottom walks down the aisle, her necklace goes missing. Eva wants to help! She quickly turns her Wedding Planners Club into a Detectives Club. Can Eva track down the missing necklace before Miss Featherbottom’s wedding is ruined?

Owl Diaries: Eva and the New Owl by Rebecca Elliott

Pick a book. Grow a Reader! This series is part of Scholastic’s early chapter book line Branches, aimed at newly independent readers. With easy-to-read text, high-interest content, fast-paced plots, and illustrations on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and stamina. Branches books help readers grow! In book #4, a new owl named Hailey starts in Eva’s class at school. Eva is always happy to meet new people, and she’s excited to make a new friend! But the new owl befriends Lucy instead of her. So Eva gets jealous. Lucy is Eva’s best friend! Will Eva lose her best friend? Or can Eva and Lucy BOTH make a new friend?

Pet Charms: Here, Kitty, Kitty by Amy Edgar, illustrated by Jomike Tejido

In this Level 2 reader series, a magic charm bracelet lets Molly speak to animals! In the third book, Molly’s bracelet is missing! Molly and her best friend, Lexie, look everywhere for it. Also, the girls notice that Molly’s pet cat, Stella, isn’t acting like herself. They are worried about her. But without Molly’s bracelet, Stella can’t tell Molly what’s wrong. Can Molly find the bracelet in time to help Stella? There is a cute, cuddly surprise in the end! *A real charm bracelet is packed with each book in this magical series!*

Runny Rabbit Returns by Shel Silverstein

Runny Babbit Returns, a collection of 41 never-before-published poems and drawings, features Runny and other woodland characters who speak a topsy-turvy language all their own.

This carefully compiled work from the Silverstein archives is filled with spoonerism poems that are both playful and poignant. With tongue-twisting word play and uproarious characters, the endearingly befuddled Runny Babbit and his friends embody Shel Silverstein’s singular style, the one we all know and love.

Fans of all ages won’t want to miss their chance to follow their favorite Runny in this book of laugh-out-loud adventures!

Creepy Pair of Underwear! by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Peter Brown

Jasper Rabbit is NOT a little bunny anymore. He’s not afraid of the dark, and he’s definitely not afraid of something as silly as underwear. But when the lights go out, suddenly his new big rabbit underwear glows in the dark. A ghoulish, greenish glow. If Jasper didn’t know any better he’d say his undies were a little, well, creepy. Jasper’s not scared obviously, he’s just done with creepy underwear. But after trying everything to get rid of them, they keep coming back!

What I received and reviewed — forgot to post in last MM:

A Vintage Victory: Memories of Old Antique Shop Book 2 by Cat Gardiner

** Book 2 in the Memories of Old Antique Shop Series **

A romantic, modern/20th Century Pride & Prejudice-inspired novelette honoring Memorial Day.

Charles Bingley is suffering from cold feet as his wedding day approaches. Can his new friend, Will Darcy help him to stay the course or will he dissuade him? Perhaps their trip to Memories of Old antique shop will help the young man find his missing spine. Perhaps Will may also come to learn a few things about love.

Travel back in time to WWII with Will and Charlie where love for their sweethearts, their friendship and their honor carry them through battle, making them the bravest of men.

What did you receive?

A Vintage Victory by Cat Gardiner

Source: Purchased
ebook, 54 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

A Vintage Victory: Memories of Old Antique Shop Book 2 by Cat Gardiner is a short story that takes us back to the time portals of the old antique shop in Meryton where not only Elizabeth and Jane Bennet have taken a trip back in time, but so too has Mr. Darcy.

Charles Bingley has cold feet about his wedding to Jane, but a trip back to WWII through the Memories of Old antique shop might just set him to rights. Gardiner’s short stories and this time portal antique shop always delight, even when the subject matter is the possible loss of lives during a harrowing WWII battle.

Charlie isn’t only experiencing cold feet, he’s also very different from Austen’s young beau in that he has a tough time making decisions and often just lives off his family’s money. Meanwhile, army ranger Darcy finds that the trip is not only the remedy his friend needs to cure his indecision, but also the push he needs to share his feelings with his love, Elizabeth. But can these two men return to the present without dying? You’ll have to read it to find out.

Gardiner is one of the best historical fiction authors I’ve read, and her Pride & Prejudice variations are unique and engaging. Antiques will often transport us to the past and memories we hold dear, but Gardiner takes that one step further in these short tales. Readers will be truly engaged with the present and past, and itching for their own trip into the Memories of Old antique shop. A Vintage Victory: Memories of Old Antique Shop Book 2 by Cat Gardiner is another strong installment in this short story series, and I cannot wait for the next one.

RATING: Cinquain

About the Author:

Cat Gardiner loves romance and happy endings, history, comedy, and Jane Austen. A member of National League of American Pen Women, Romance Writers of America, and her local chapter TARA, she enjoys writing across the spectrum of Pride and Prejudice inspired romance novels. Austenesque, from the comedic Christmas, Chick Lits Lucky 13 and Villa Fortuna, to the bad boy biker Darcy in the sultry adventures Denial of Conscience, Guilty Conscience, and Without a Conscience, these contemporary novels will appeal to many Mr. Darcy lovers, who don’t mind a deviation away from canon and variations.

Cat’s love of 20th Century Historical fiction merges in her first Pride & Prejudice “alternate era,” set in a 1952 Noir, Undercover. Her most recent publications are time-travel WWII P&P short stories: A Vintage Valentine, A Vintage Victory, and A Vintage Halloween as part of the Memories of Old Antique Shop Series.

Her greatest love is writing Historical Fiction, WWII–era Romance. Her debut novel, A Moment Forever was named a Romance Finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. She is currently working on her second novel in the Liberty Victory Series.

Married 24 years to her best friend, they are the proud parents of the smartest honor student in the world—their orange tabby, Ollie and his sassy girlfriend, Kiki. Although they live in Florida, they will always be proud native New Yorkers.

Mailbox Monday #451

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog. To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Martha, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

First Impressions: A Tale of Less Pride & Prejudice (Tales of Less Pride and Prejudice Book 1)  by Alexa Adams, a kindle freebie.

In Pride and Prejudice, Fitzwilliam Darcy begins his relationship with Elizabeth Bennet with the words: “She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me; I am in no humour at present togive consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men.” What would have happened if Mr. Darcy had never spoken so disdainfully? First Impressions explores how the events of Jane Austen’s beloved novel would have transpired if Darcy and Elizabeth had danced together at the Meryton Assembly. Jane and Bingley’s relationship blossoms unimpeded, Mary makes a most fortunate match, and Lydia never sets a foot in Brighton. Austen’s witty style is authentically invoked in this playful romp from Longbourn to Pemberley.

Second Glances: A Tale of Less Pride and Prejudice Continues (Tales of Less Pride and Prejudice Book 2)  by Alexa Adams, a kindle freebie

A year has passed since the conclusion of First Impressions, and the marriages made by the three eldest Bennet ladies are prospering. Expectations are high for the two youngest sisters to do equally well. Kitty, having excelled in school, receives an invitation to join Georgiana Darcy in her first London season, leaving Lydia to bear the burden of the classroom alone. Will the most forward Bennet tolerate such inequity?

Kitty arrives in London prepared to be happy, but her delight is marred when she finds a most unwelcome gentleman on intimate terms with her hosts. She has met the reckless Sir James Stratton before and would like nothing more than to never encounter him again, but his acquaintance she is forced to endure. Struggling for firm footing amidst the whirlwind of London society, will Kitty be allowed to follow her heart, or will her family force her hand? Join the reimagined cast of Pride and Prejudice as they pursue happiness amidst the ongoing obstacles of life, love, and interfering relations.

Holidays at Pemberley, or Third Encounters: A Tale of Less Pride and Prejudice Concludes (Tales of Less Pride and Prejudice Book 3) by Alexa Adams, a Kindle freebie

Both a Christmas celebration and conclusion to Tales of Less Pride & Prejudice, Holidays at Pemberley begins where First Impressions ends, with the marriage Fitzwilliam Darcy to Elizabeth Bennet, and spans the course of Second Glances to conclude their story. As the Darcys enjoy their first years of marriage, Charlotte Lucas is often invited to join them. Watching as the Bennet sisters, one by one, marry to both outrageous advantage and with great affection, her only ambition remains independence and respectability, stubbornly blind to the virtues of a love match. Miss Lucas thinks she has found an acceptable husband in David Westover, rector of Kympton and determined bachelor, but he remains oblivious to the implications of befriending a Miss Lucas. It may mean some heartbreak, but if Mrs. Darcy’s pragmatic friend will only surrender to Cupid, she may find wild fantasies do come true, even for ladies dangerously close to thirty.

Nachtstürm Castle: A Gothic Austen Novel by Emily C. A. Snyder, a kindle freebie

Moonlight! Castles! Ghosts! Storms! Secret trap doors! Suicide! Grave yards! Mistaken Identities! Carriage accidents! Gypsies! Hauntings! A kidnapping! Purloined letters! A duel! Swooning! Wild Pursuits! Demonic possession! A disputed inheritance! Three romances! A ransacking! Ancient curses! A stolen will and testament! Dank subterranean passageways!

Multi-talented Emily C. A. Snyder has managed to pack the above list (and more) into Nachtstürm Castle, a sophisticated Gothic fantasy sequel, taking up the further adventures of Henry and Catherine Tilney where our divine Miss Austen finished the last lines of Northanger Abbey.

Rumours & Recklessness: A Pride and Prejudice Variation by Nicole Clarkston

Fitzwilliam Darcy is desperate. Finally confronted with a woman who ignites all his hopes, he agonizes over the cruel trick of fate which placed her in a situation beneath his notice. The morning after the Netherfield ball, he resolves to put as much distance between himself and her as possible.

That very morning, however, Elizabeth’s future is jeopardized by her father’s untimely accident. With Mr Bennet unconscious and surrounded by concerned neighbors, Mr Collins presses his suit. Elizabeth’s mother frantically demands her acceptance to secure the family’s welfare. With so many witnesses to his proposal and everyone expecting her to make a practical choice, Elizabeth’s reputation hangs in the balance.

Without her father to defend her refusal of Mr Collins, there is no one to speak up for her… except the last man in the world she would ever marry.

A Thousand Letters by Staci Hart, a kindle freebie

Sometimes your life is split by a single decision.

I’ve spent every day of the last seven years regretting mine: he left, and I didn’t follow. A thousand letters went unanswered, my words like petals in the wind, spinning away into nothing, taking me with them.

But now he’s back.

I barely recognize the man he’s become, but I can still see a glimmer of the boy who asked me to be his forever, the boy I walked away from when I was young and afraid.

Maybe if he’d come home under better circumstances, he could speak to me without anger in his voice. Maybe if I’d said yes all those years ago, he’d look at me without the weight of rejection in his eyes. Maybe if things were different, we would have had a chance.

One regretted decision sent him away. One painful journey brought him back to me. I only wish I could keep him.

*A contemporary romance inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion*

Love Blooms at Pemberley: A Sweet Pride and Prejudice Variation by Cassandra Knightley, a kindle freebie.

In the aftermath of Elizabeth’s rejection of Mr Darcy, the worst possible outcome has befallen the Bennet family. Mr Bennet has died unexpectedly, leaving his widow and unmarried daughters at the mercy of Mr Collins.

In this time of hardship and sorrow, Mr Darcy shows his true nature through his kindness, generosity, and friendship. But will Darcy and Elizabeth be able to put aside their hurt pride and stubborn natures to find the Happilly Ever After they both seek?

A Darcy and Elizabeth P&P variation bubbling with spirit, humor, and romance. Pour yourself a cup of your favorite tea, find a comfy sofa, and settle in for an afternoon of love, laughs, and manners with Love Blooms at Pemberley.

Mr. Darcy’s Debt: A Pride & Prejudice Variation Novel by April Floyd, a kindle freebie.

Thomas Bennet has died and left his wife and five daughters during the visit of his cousin Mr. Collins who has come to offer marriage as an olive branch to soothe the way when he inherits their home, Longbourn. A deathbed promise from the past saves the ladies and Elizabeth Bennet becomes better acquainted with the wealthy, handsome Mr. Darcy, the man who insulted her at the assembly in Meryton. With the Bennets living at Somersal, a country estate that belongs to the Fitzwilliam family and is only a short distance from Pemberley, the home of Mr. Darcy, their mutual love of riding fosters a love neither Darcy nor Elizabeth can deny. After a terrible accident, Elizabeth believes she must race in the spring to secure her family’s future, much to Mr. Darcy’s dismay. His proposal, given to keep her from racing, is summarily refused as Elizabeth Bennet will not marry from necessity.

A Vintage Halloween by Cat Gardiner, purchased because I love her books.

Halloween is an exciting time at the Memories of Old antique shop, and William Darcy and Lizzy Bennet are about to discover why–yet again. The shop holds much more than trinkets from the past in the modern day. It holds the memories of those who once cherished them– maybe even their spirits.

Anxiously missing and waiting for her fiance’s return from military service, our dear heroine has a heavy heart and–a little envy–as she helps to arrange her sister’s wedding, putting off making wedding plans of her own. Perhaps a mysterious mirror in the shop and a little mischief-making on All Hallows’ Eve will help to fill that hole in her heart by working a little miracle back in 1944.

Join the fun and travel back in time with Lizzy Bennet to the WWII-era where she attends an exciting masquerade ball at Pemberley Manor, meeting a bevy of characters–one in particular–who will lift her spirits

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #435

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog. To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Martha, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

Devotion by Meg Kerr for review.

Georgiana Darcy at the age of fifteen had no equal for beauty, elegance and accomplishments, practised her music very constantly, and created beautiful little designs for tables. She also made secret plans to elope with the handsome, charming and immoral George Wickham. Will the real Georgiana Darcy please stand up? In Devotion, Georgiana, now twenty years of age and completely lovely, does just that. Taking centre stage in this sequel to Experience that sweeps the reader back into the world of Pride and Prejudice, she is prepared to shape her own destiny in a manner that perplexes and horrifies not only the Darcy-de Bourgh connexion but the whole of fashionable London. The arrival of a long-delayed letter, and a clandestine journey, bring Georgiana and her fortune into the arms of an utterly wicked young man whose attentions promise her ruin. At the same time, events in Meryton are creating much-needed occupation for Mrs. Bennet and an amorous quandary for Lydia Bennet’s girlhood companion Pen Harrington; and the former Caroline Bingley is given—perhaps—an opportunity to re-make some of her disastrous romantic choices. Meg Kerr writing effortlessly and wittily in the style of Jane Austen gives Pride and Prejudice fans the opportunity to visit the year 1816 to re-unite with favourite characters, and meet some intriguing new ones.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, purchased from Audible.

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Yours: A Moment Forever Wedding by Cat Gardiner, a surprise gift from the author.

This is a short sequel to A Moment Forever.  You can buy yours here.

What did you receive?

A Vintage Valentine by Cat Gardiner

Source: Vanity & Pride Press
E-story, 26 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

A Vintage Valentine by Cat Gardiner is a reimagined story of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet in which a portal sucks Lizzy into the 1940s when WWII is underway. Modern-day Lizzy, who is a dance instructor, bemoans the social media life that many of us lead and longs for a romance with a gentleman, but she has lost hope. Until her sister Jane convinces her to visit an antique shop in the older part of town, Lizzy has given up on love. Once in the antique shop she is drawn to a special broach.

Gardiner’s story is unique and marries a her two favorite things — Austen and 1940s America. Her take on Lizzy and Darcy in the past is charming and will win over readers quickly because Lizzy has a chance to remedy a situation that could separate these 1940s versions apart forever. That first impression Darcy makes by calling her not tolerable enough to tempt him in the original is similar here, but modern-day Lizzy is more forgiving — setting these two lovers on a path of romance and lasting affection before WWII takes him overseas.

Returning to the modern world, Lizzy has a semi-renewed sense of love and hope, and this propels her to think more openly about opportunities that could come her way in 2017. A Vintage Valentine by Cat Gardiner is too short, but it still has that satisfying happy ending all Austen readers enjoy. Gardiner’s grasp of the 1940s never disappoints, transporting her characters and readers into a believable world, even if they have to suspend disbelief about time portals and wormholes.

RATING: Quatrain

About the Author:

Cat Gardiner loves romance and happy endings, history, comedy and Jane Austen. A member of the esteemed National League of American Pen Women, Romance Writers of America and her local chapter Tampa Area Romance Authors (TARA,) she enjoys writing across the modern spectrum of “Pride and Prejudice” inspired novels.

Voted Austenesque Reviews’ Favorite Modern Adaptation for 2014, the comedic, Chick-Lit “Lucky 13” was released in October 2014. The romantic adventure “Denial of Conscience,” named Favorite “Pride and Prejudice” Modern for 2015 by Margie Must Reads and More Agreeably Engaged has set the sub-genre on fire since June of this year. In December 2015, another romantic comedy titled “Villa Fortuna” was voted Just Jane 1813’s Favorite Modern JAFF for 2015.

Her greatest love, however, is writing 20th Century Historical Fiction, WWII Romance. Her debut novel in that genre, “A Moment Forever” was released on May 30, 2016.

Married 23 years to her best friend, they are the proud parents of the smartest honor student in the world – their orange tabby, Ollie. Although they live in Florida, they will always be proud native New Yorkers.