Tag Archives: Entangled Select

The Duke of Snow and Apples by Elizabeth Vail Weaves a Magical Blend of Historical Romance and Fantasy

2 Sep

The Duke of Snow and Apples by Elizabeth Vail (Entangled: Select, August 26, 2014) – The only think I didn’t like about this book was the cover – what is up with her hair?

I honestly did not know what to expect when approaching The Duke of Snow and Apples by debut author Elizabeth Vail. The reviews I had read were overwhelmingly positive on Goodreads, but some readers voiced criticisms over the heroine’s entitled behavior at the start of the novel or the intricate but unexplained fantasy elements of the magic of the noble class.

What novel were these people reading?

This is one of the best fantasy romances I’ve read in years, blending many familiar elements of historical romance (strict social class boundaries, etiquette conventions that cannot be broken without dire repercussions and delicious historical costumes) with seamless layers of magic as part and parcel of this world. Vail pulls off her world building with aplomb, doling out place names, magical social strata and even different time conventions effortlessly, never once info-dumping on the reader or having a character launch into a tedious explanation of history. Thank you!

Charlotte Erlwood is grateful for the chance to not only visit her estranged aunt but to escape the humiliation and betrayal that awaits her at home. Her beautiful older sister became engaged to the man courting Charlotte and the world is obnoxiously cheerful despite how awful Charlotte feels. When her relative sends a ridiculously handsome and serene footman, Charlotte’s wicked side can’t help but bean him with the apple that was supposed to be her snack. His mischievous reaction is the first time her heart lightens in days and the perfect start to her friendship with Freddy, who her aunt assigns to wait upon her during her stay.

Charlotte's shot of an apple to Freddy's head is like the blooming of color in a life he covered with frost. (Public domain image via Pixabay)

Charlotte’s shot of an apple to Freddy’s head is like the blooming of color in a life he covered with frost. (Public domain image via Pixabay)

Frederick is content in his position of footman in this noble house, having honed his serenity and aloofness after a decade of brutal practice. He fled his home and title as a teen after wreaking havoc with his magical gifts which can not only sense but leech emotion. He’s astonished that the lovely and animated Charlotte, whose sadness and bravery he can see emanating from her in a rainbow of color, becomes a stifled and boring miss in the company of others. Determined to help her fulfill her potential, he manipulates circumstances into revealing the vibrant woman he sees during the day. Yet as time goes on, his friendship with her becomes something much more, awakening all the emotions he’s suppressed, her magic bringing his own to the fore. When his past not only smacks him in the face with the arrival of his stepfather, but he witnesses friends and acquaintances beginning to become “gray” (their inner selves leached of emotion), Frederick must decide whether to face his past or leave everyone, including Charlotte, behind once more.

Charlotte melts the ice encasing Frederick's heart and mind, allowing them both to reach their potential as individuals, both emotionally and magically. (Public domain image via Pixabay)

Charlotte melts the ice encasing Frederick’s heart and mind, allowing them both to reach their potential as individuals, both emotionally and magically. (Public domain image via Pixabay)

Charlotte easily could be seen as spoiled and entitled, but the fact that Frederick sees her emotions allows him to see past her mannerisms to the true person underneath, a device which fleshes her out immediately as a three-dimensional and empathetic character. Charlotte didn’t love her suitor, it’s the perceived betrayal by her older sister that has her dreadfully hurt and bent on winning a proposal from someone just as good if not better. That she still is capable of seeing Freddy as a man and a person – and indeed from the first her magic mirrors his, allowing her to see his loneliness and pain – demonstrates her good qualities, as does Frederick’s need to bring her out of her shell and gain confidence. The layers of conflict – Frederick’s very serious struggle with his magic, the evil villain (who inspired my only frustration as I yelled at the book, “Think, Frederick, THINK about the magic!”), the sister tension, and naturally how the romance would someone resolve itself – made this a masterwork I’m going to reread just to figure out how Vail managed to pull it off.

The emotional roller-coaster is on tilt-a-whirl in this story, as Frederick’s refusal to return to his title prevents any future with Charlotte, yet they can’t keep away from one another. When his secret is outed the danger increases rather decreases, culminating in a rip-snorting ending that had me turning the pages and refusing to make dinner (thank you, my Chinese takeout was delicious). Vail’s ability to keep me on the edge of my seat reminded me a little of Kathryne Kennedy, but devoid of the bogged down detail Kennedy can descend into. Mary Robinette Kowal’s magical Glamourist Histories Regency novels or Patricia C. Wrede’s Cecilia & Kate books are probably close in tone although with less focus on the romance than The Duke of Snow and Apples. The best part is that this deliciously hefty volume is fantasy sized at 351 paged but priced currently at $.99 thanks to Entangled’s intro pricing.

Will there be other books set in this world? I cannot wait to read more of this author and encourage anyone who loves fantasy and romance to pick it up and enjoy the magic created by Elizabeth Vail.

Happy reading!

 

Need to Lay in a Supply of Beach Reading? Some Fun Books Out Today…

24 Jun

Whether you’re looking for a romance that makes you laugh, makes you ‘walk the plank’, keeps you guessing, or stars your favorite paranormal, look no further. Select books have the single-title stories you crave, and the longer length you need to really get ‘lost’ in a great book. To find out more about their titles, chat with authors, participate in special events, and to find out what books are coming next, visit the Entangled website, follow them on Twitter, and like their Facebook page.
Today I’m happy to be featuring Select’s June releases:

 

Queen of Wands by Katee Robert

Available in Print and Digital!

Never in Mac Flannery’s wildest dreams did he imagine Jenny O’Keirna would be the
one sent for him. He sees beyond the mad grin the sexy princess of Hansarda
presents to the world, and that combination of vulnerability and wicked humor is a
siren call he can’t resist. But Sanctify is after them. On the run—and unable to keep
their hands off each other—Jenny and Mac devise an insane plan: kidnap the leader
of Sanctify, and stop this war once and for all. Unfortunately, they’ve just played
right into his hands…

 

Giveaway

 

 

Crimson Hearts by Heather McCollum
Special $0.99 Introductory Price!
Highland warrior Searc Munro’s dark, killing magic must never be known. But when his father’s life is threatened, Searc’s secret is revealed. When Elena Seymour’s lineage as the illegitimate daughter of King Henry VIII is discovered, she runs for her life. Teaming up as exiles, Elena and Searc seek refuge in Edinburg. With a series of ritual killings haunting the city and a traitor attempting to assassinate Scotland’s regent, suspicion turns to Searc. Now the two must find a way to trust each other, despite their secrets, before it’s too late.

 

 

By Jove by Marissa Doyle
Special $0.99 Introductory Price!

 

Going back to graduate school to study ancient languages and mythology is a dream come true for Theodora Fairchild. Falling in love with Grant Proctor is an added bonus. But then Theo discovers that being chosen for the prestigious program has more to do with who she is than what she knows. When evil forces threaten Grant’s life in an effort to tear the two apart, Theo must rely on her wits and wisdom to save her true love and survive the semester.

 

Curse of the Phoenix Bundle by Rachel Firasek

 

Special $0.99 Introductory Price!

Book One: The Last Rising

Saving souls without any hope for her own redemption isn’t how Phoenix Ice imagined spending eternity. Fed up, she decides her next death will be her last. But when she sacrifices her own life for a sexy Texan in a catastrophic plane crash, she has no idea the consequences will be so great. When the mysterious Ice comes into Turner Alcott’s life, he knows she’s the one. If he wants to win her heart, Turner must teach Ice how to forgive herself, and prove that love is the ultimate sacrifice.
Book Two: The Last Awakening
Ex-soldier Greyson Meadows desperately wants to be freed from the nightmares and guilt that haunt him. Arabella’s been gifted her mortality and long-gone voodoo magic. She must save her next soul within a week without using magic, or she’ll lose her power forever. When Greyson is confronted by a waif of a woman who forces him to face the truth about his past, he runs fast and hard. Now one will have to give up everything so the other can have peace, but will love’s magic withstand the loss?
Book Three: The Last Beginning
Though she’s always hated being a phoenix, Sadie has to admit immortality has its advantages. She’s seen and done more in the last 150 years than she’d ever dreamed of, but she can’t get past the fact that Osiris has done nothing but manipulate her and her fellow phoenixes. Sun god Osiris is ashamed of his role as ruler of the Underworld, but unless he can figure out how to save Sadie, that’s exactly where she’s going to end up. Permanently. He’ll help her the only way he can—even if it means she’ll hate him forever.

 

Tonya Burrows’ Honor Reclaimed Gets Sexy New Cover

27 May

Honor ReclaimedTonya Burrows is one of those writers who doesn’t know how to write a bad book (thank heavens), so I was interested when Entangled announced that her terrific book, Honor Reclaimed, the second in her HORNET series about a motley group of mercenaries, was undergoing a redesign. The previous cover (designed to tantalize us into pre-ordering book #2 – mission accomplished) had plenty of chiseled ab goodness, so no one was complaining, but this cover is much better, largely due to the intense facial expression of the model.

The first book SEAL of Honor (which was AMAZING) was full of romantic suspense and some sex scenes that almost set my iPad on fire, so I’ve had Honor Reclaimed pre-ordered since November 2nd. Take a gander at my review of SEAL of Honor for an introduction to the series and some of the characters.

Here’s the blurb for Honor Reclaimed, and all military romance and romantic suspense fans will especially want to take note of this book (and series).

Former Marine scout sniper Seth Harlan is new to HORNET and anxious to prove he can still do his job despite an ongoing battle with PTSD. He remembers all too well what it’s like to sit inside an enemy camp, praying for rescue and waiting for death. So when a black ops soldier contacts HORNET to rescue a buddy who was left behind, all sorts of nasty memories strain his newfound stability.

When an interview with a runaway Afghan child bride leads photojournalist Phoebe Leighton to an arms deal involving a suitcase bomb powerful enough to wipe out a mid-sized town, she realizes this is one battle she can’t win on her own. Forming an unlikely alliance with a ragtag team of military and government delinquents, she meets Seth, a sniper carrying as many emotional scars as physical, who impresses her with his steely will and ignites passions within her she thought long dead.

Suddenly this mission is about a lot more than an abandoned soldier. Racing against the clock, Seth, Phoebe, and the rest of HORNET struggle to stop that bomb before it reaches it’s final destination: The United States.

Fabulous, yes? To celebrate the redesign and the publication of Honor Reclaimed, Entangled Select is having a Rafflecopter giveaway so be sure to check that out. Want to learn more about Tonya Burrows (and believe me, you do if you haven’t read anything by her yet!)? Here’s all the places you can find more about this terrific author.

Website: http://www.tonyaburrows.com/

Blog: http://www.tonya-burrows.blogspot.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tonyaburrows

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tonyaburrowsauthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/Tonya_Burrows

Newsletter: http://tonyaburrows.us6.list-manage2.com/subscribe?u=e03d7c5ec1a8fdc67db99bac3&id=3cafb9c112

Stay tuned for my review of Honor Reclaimed and happy reading!!

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