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Mailbox Monday #468

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 we received:

Accidentally Yours by Robin Helm, a Kindle freebie.

Two worlds . . .
Two centuries . . .
Two men who love the same woman . . .
Two prayers fervent enough to shift time . . .
Endless questions and possibilities . . .
What would a man give for a second chance at love?
What would he sacrifice to keep it?

What if the proud, arrogant Fitzwilliam Darcy of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice never changed after his disastrous proposal to Elizabeth Bennet at Hunsford? What if the humbled man who successfully courted her was not the same Mr. Darcy?

In Accidentally Yours, Book 1 of the Yours by Design Christian fantasy romance series, worlds collide and time shifts when two men fall in love with the same woman.

Reader Diana Oaks said, “Reading this is a bit like eating something that mixes sweet and bitter – like French Vanilla Ice Cream with a bitter Dark Chocolate topping. I’m enjoying both, but the intermingling of the two does interesting things in the palette of my mind.”

A Bag of Hands by Mather Schneider, which won the 2017 Rattle Chapbook Prize winner.

When Mather Schneider met Josie she was an illegal immigrant from Mexico working at McDonald’s in Tucson and he was a cab driver who went to McDonald’s to buy coffee each day. One day she poured his coffee, then placed a small piece of paper over his money and slid it back to him on the counter. With that gesture she gave him a reason to get up in the morning. She also gave him more trouble than he wanted, more bliss than he could have imagined, and a coupon for a free Egg McMuffin.

How to Love the Empty Air by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz for review in March from Wunderkind PR.

Vulnerable, beautiful and ultimately life-affirming, Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz’s work reaches new heights in her revelatory seventh collection of poetry. Continuing in her tradition of engaging autobiographical work, How to Love the Empty Air explores what happens when the impossible becomes real―for better and for worse. Aptowicz’s journey to find happiness and home in her ever-shifting world sees her struggling in cities throughout America. When her luck changes―in love and in life―she can’t help but “tell the sun / tell the fields / tell the huge Texas sky…. / tell myself again and again until I believe it.” However, the upward trajectory of this new life is rocked by the sudden death of the poet’s mother. In the year that follows, Aptowicz battles the silencing power of grief with intimate poems burnished by loss and a hard-won humor, capturing the dance that all newly grieving must do between everyday living and the desire “to elope with this grief, / who is not your enemy, / this grief who maybe now is your best friend. / This grief, who is your husband, / the thing you curl into every night, / falling asleep in its arms…” As in her award-winning The Year of No Mistakes, Aptowicz counts her losses and her blessings, knowing how despite it all, life “ripples boundless, like electricity, like joy / like… laughter, irresistible and bright, / an impossible thing to contain.”

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #455

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 we received:

The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen from NetGalley for review.

In 1944, British bomber pilot Hugo Langley parachuted from his stricken plane into the verdant fields of German-occupied Tuscany. Badly wounded, he found refuge in a ruined monastery and in the arms of Sofia Bartoli. But the love that kindled between them was shaken by an irreversible betrayal.

Nearly thirty years later, Hugo’s estranged daughter, Joanna, has returned home to the English countryside to arrange her father’s funeral. Among his personal effects is an unopened letter addressed to Sofia. In it is a startling revelation.

Still dealing with the emotional wounds of her own personal trauma, Joanna embarks on a healing journey to Tuscany to understand her father’s history—and maybe come to understand herself as well. Joanna soon discovers that some would prefer the past be left undisturbed, but she has come too far to let go of her father’s secrets now…

A Very Austen Christmas by Laura Hile, Wendy Sotis, Robin Helm, and Barbara Cornthwaite for review.

Four favorite authors, four heartwarming stories set in Jane Austen’s Regency world.

Robin Helm, Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis, and Barbara Cornthwaite revisit Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Mansfield Park to deliver the uplifting holiday storytelling you’re looking for.

Her Christmas Gift by Robin Helm
Elizabeth Bennet finds herself snowbound at Rosings with two rejected, but highly eligible, suitors. Does either man have a chance? Will her childhood friend, Meryton’s golden boy, win her affection, or will she accept the master of Pemberley? Perhaps she will refuse them both a second time. Her Christmas Gift deftly combines tension and emotion with humor and romance.

The Christmas Matchmaker by Laura Hile
It’s raining; it’s pouring – and what could be better than a little Christmas matchmaking? So says Emma Woodhouse who is unexpectedly stranded at Netherfield Park. Mr. Darcy disagrees, for she has someone else in mind for adorable Elizabeth Bennet. Amid meddling, misunderstanding, and an unwelcome proposal or two, will True Love find a way?

No Better Gift by Wendi Sotis
On his way to Derbyshire to spend Christmas with his family, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy plans to retrieve an item he left behind during his rushed escape from Netherfield—and the country miss who touched his heart. Finding Meryton practically deserted, he fears the worst. What fate could have fallen upon this once-thriving village in only three weeks? More importantly, was Miss Elizabeth Bennet in danger?

Mistletoe at Thornton Lacey by Barbara Cornthwaite
When Edmund Bertram realizes that Fanny is the perfect wife for him, he wants to propose without delay. What better time than at Christmas? Ah, but the course of true love never does run smooth …

As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner for review in February 2018.

In 1918, Philadelphia was a city teeming with promise. Even as its young men went off to fight in the Great War, there were opportunities for a fresh start on its cobblestone streets. Into this bustling town, came Pauline Bright and her husband, filled with hope that they could now give their three daughters–Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa–a chance at a better life.

But just months after they arrive, the Spanish Flu reaches the shores of America. As the pandemic claims more than twelve thousand victims in their adopted city, they find their lives left with a world that looks nothing like the one they knew. But even as they lose loved ones, they take in a baby orphaned by the disease who becomes their single source of hope. Amidst the tragedy and challenges, they learn what they cannot live without–and what they are willing to do about it.

Hiding Out by Tina Alexis Allen for review in February 2018.

Actress and playwright Tina Alexis Allen’s audacious memoir unravels her privileged suburban Catholic upbringing that was shaped by her formidable father—a man whose strict religious devotion and dedication to his large family hid his true nature and a life defined by deep secrets and dangerous lies.

The youngest of thirteen children in a devout Catholic family, Tina Alexis Allen grew up in 1980s suburban Maryland in a house ruled by her stern father, Sir John, an imposing, British-born authoritarian who had been knighted by the Pope. Sir John supported his large family running a successful travel agency that specialized in religious tours to the Holy Land and the Vatican for pious Catholics.

But his daughter, Tina, was no sweet and innocent Catholic girl. A smart-mouthed high school basketball prodigy, she harbored a painful secret: she liked girls. When Tina was eighteen her father discovered the truth about her sexuality. Instead of dragging her to the family priest and lecturing her with tearful sermons about sin and damnation, her father shocked her with his honest response. He, too, was gay.

The secret they shared about their sexuality brought father and daughter closer, and the two became trusted confidants and partners in a relationship that eventually spiraled out of control. Tina and Sir John spent nights dancing in gay clubs together, experimenting with drugs, and casual sex—all while keeping the rest of their family in the dark.

Outside of their wild clandestine escapades, Sir John made Tina his heir apparent at the travel agency. Drawn deeper into the business, Tina soon became suspicious of her father’s frequent business trips, his multiple passports and cache of documents, and the briefcases full of cash that mysteriously appeared and quickly vanished. Digging deeper, she uncovered a disturbing facet beyond the stunning double-life of the father she thought she knew.

A riveting and cinematic true tale stranger and twistier than fiction, Hiding Out is an astonishing story of self-discovery, family, secrets, and the power of the truth to set us free.

What did you receive?

Giveaway & Excerpt: A Very Austen Christmas

With the holidays approaching, I thought it would be appropriate to host an international giveaway for an e-book of A Very Austen Christmas by Laura Hile, Wendy Sotis, Barbara Cornthwaite, and Robin Helm.

Before we get to the giveaway, Laura Hile, author of Darcy By Any Other Name, wanted to share an excerpt from her story, The Matchmaker’s Christmas:

The library door banged closed, and Darcy found himself alone with Emma Woodhouse and Elizabeth Bennet. Miss Woodhouse was busy examining the bookshelves. “Mr. Darcy,” she said, “do you know whether Mr. Bingley has a copy of Debrett’s?”

She looked over her shoulder at Elizabeth “It is a guidebook for the peerage. Surely Miss Bingley has one,” she said, before Darcy could answer. “Depend upon it, she means to marry well. Aha! Here we are.”

Emma removed the book from its shelf and brought it to a table.

“Something Mr. Hurst said interests me.” She smiled at Elizabeth. “He is a funny one, is he not? The sort of person my brother-in-law would call a rum’un.”

“A what?” The words were out before Darcy could stop them. Hurst certainly was, but—Elizabeth’s eyes met his; she gave a gurgle of laughter.

Emma was untroubled. “He seems to be a most peculiar person. My brother-in- law will talk like that, because he is fond of jests and wordplay. I daresay it is also because he is a barrister. Mind, he is quite well-to- do, being a Knightley of Donwell Abbey. But such is the lot of a gentleman’s younger son. He must have a profession.”

“My Uncle Gardiner,” said Elizabeth, “is in the same situation. He is in trade.” She said this with a lift of her chin and a glance in Darcy’s direction, as if it were a challenge. What did she mean by it?

Emma continued to turn pages. “But who is Sir Thomas Bertram? That is the question. Because young Tom is not a younger son. And so his presence becomes, shall we say, interesting?”

Darcy did not care for her implication. “In what way?” he said.

Emma gave him an ingenious smile. “I specialize in matchmaking.”

She specialized in what? Somehow Darcy managed to keep his countenance.

“It is a most amusing occupation,” continued Emma. “My first was ever so successful—my former governess and old Mr. Weston. They are happily settled at Randalls now.”

“How nice for your governess,” said Elizabeth.

“She is the dearest creature and quite the gentlewoman—as the best governesses always are. I have another match in progress, between my friend Harriet and our vicar. I do worry, however, because I am away. Matches, you see, need helping along.”

“So I am given to understand,” said Darcy dryly. A matchmaker in their midst. What next?

Then again, why should he object? Because dinner—without Caroline’s repressive formality—was refreshingly agreeable. Charles sat in his place, and the others chose seats as they wished. Jane shyly slipped into the chair at Bingley’s right, with Mr. Bertram beside her.
Elizabeth sat at Bingley’s left. Darcy could not help himself; he claimed the chair next to Elizabeth’s. This meant that he had Miss Bates on his other side, but she was content to talk across the table to Mr. Bertram and Emma.

Darcy hid a smile. Miss Bates could carry a conversation on her own, without stopping to draw breath.

And the wind and rain continued to beat against the house.

This meant that the bridge was still out. Darcy, imprisoned at Netherfield against his will, was forced to endure lovely, intelligent Elizabeth Bennet as his dinner partner. It was all he could do to keep a
foolish smile from his lips.

This time—this time!—he would speak without stiffness or pretension. If Emma Woodhouse meant to match Elizabeth with Tom Bertram, she would have a fight on her hands!

Enter the Giveaway:

Comment about whether you’ve been a matchmaker or have made a match for someone else. Leave the comment by Dec. 5, 2017, 11:59 PM EST. The giveaway is open internationally for those who want 1 ebook.

Good luck!