Book Blitz, Review, & Giveaway: Yuletide Truce (Sandra Schwab)

Title: Yuletide Truce

Author: Sandra Schwab

Publisher:  Self-Published

Release Date (Print and e-book): September 22nd, 2017

Length: 18,000 words

Sub Genre: historical romance, Victorian romance, mm romance, holiday romance

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Book Blurb

London, 1845

It’s December, Alan “Aigee” Garmond’s favorite time of the year, when the window display of the small bookshop where he works fills up with crimson Christmas books and sprays of holly. Everything could be perfect — if it weren’t for handsome Christopher Foreman, the brilliant writer for the fashionable magazine About Town, who has taken an inexplicable and public dislike to Aigee’s book reviews.

But why would a man such as Foreman choose to target reviews published in a small bookshop’s magazine? Aigee is determined to find out. And not, he tells himself, just because he finds Foreman so intriguing.

Aigee’s quest leads him from smoke-filled ale-houses into the dark, dingy alleys of one of London’s most notorious rookeries. And then, finally, to Foreman. Will Aigee be able to wrangle a Yuletide truce from his nemesis?

 

What Sandra Schwab Said About the Book:

Yuletide Truce is a feel-good enemies-to-lovers holiday romance that takes you on a sweeping journey to Victorian London, to fog-filled streets and smoke-filled taverns, to Fleet Street, where news are made, and to Bethnal Green, where once a crime lord ruled as supreme master. Meet those who criticized a rich ruling class that clung to its old privileges, and those who eked out a meagre livelihood on the streets of the metropolis. Yuletide Truce not a story about rich people, but a story about two ordinary men — because everybody deserves a happily-ever-after, and I want to challenge the idea that it’s somehow only straight, white, rich people whose stories deserve to be told.

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 Excerpt

Foreman brushed a hand through his hair. “Does that mean I can no longer sharpen my pen on your reviews?”

Aigee’s lips twitched. Suddenly, he felt quite lighthearted, almost daring. As if anything might be possible.

As if this little room had been touched by some Christmas magic.

As if he might take the boldest chance of all…

“Oh, I’m sure you’ll have no difficulties in finding something else for sharpening your pen,” he said. “After all, the lashings of your pen and tongue are renowned.”

Foreman snorted. “It’s hardly my fault that people insist on being ludicrous.”

Aigee looked out of the window at the darkness that was only broken by the feeble glow of the a few lamps in the windows of the houses around this little yard. “Hm…” For a moment, he still hesitated. Then: “Did you also give a tongue-lashing to that fellow I saw you leading up the stairs at the Little Rose?” He turned, wondering if he had overshot his mark.

Rather pale, Foreman stared at him, which made Aigee realize that his remark could be misconstrued.

“I was rather jealous of the man,” he clarified.

Color came and went in Foreman’s face. With narrowed eyes, he looked Aigee up and down. “I see,” he said, nastily. “And you expect me to give you the same in gratitude for services rendered, is that it?”

Aigee felt a stab of exasperation as he shook his head. “What a nasty mind you have, Mr. Foreman.” He walked over to the bed, sat down, and boxed Foreman in with one arm, forcing him to fall back against the pillows as he leaned over him. “Actually, I was thinking more of giving you a tongue-lashing for being so stupid as to enter a well-known rookery all by yourself.”

They stared at each other.

“I’ve locked the door,” Aigee added helpfully.

Alan “Aigee” Garmond works at Munro’s Bookshop as both employee as well as reviewer for the bookshop’s own magazine, Munro’s Magazine (or MuMa, according the employer). Aigee loves the Yuletide season when the bookshop will have decorations on the windows. Of course everything will be perfect if not for Christopher Foreman, the Adonis of Fleet Street, a reviewer from About Town that seems to constantly rips apart Aigee’s reviews. Aigee doesn’t understand why Christopher seems to dislike him personally since the only interaction they have is one drinking game where Aigee beats Christopher. And he determines to find out why and sets the record straight…

Yuletide Truce is a cute historical holiday M/M romance with a dash of enemies-to-lovers theme, from new-to-me author Sandra Schwab. I immediately loved Aigee … the way that he loved the season and the bookshop where he worked were heartwarming. Aigee’s passion for the books that he reviewed was endearing.

But Aigee isn’t just a meek ordinary guy, no siree. As the story goes further, the readers will find out more about Aigee’s background. I don’t want to spoil much about what Aigee did but I thought it was really good and he totally kicked ass on the right moment. Take that, Christopher ‘Kit’ Foreman!! *lol*. Of course their truce led them to a different path, and you would get your sexy times 🙂

For a short story, I really liked it. It was cute and totally wrapped in all the goodness of holiday season.

RATING: 3.5 stars

Author Bio

 

Award-winning author Sandra Schwab started writing her first novel when she was seven years old. Thirty-odd years later, telling stories is still her greatest passion, even though by now, she has exchanged her pink fountain pen of old for a black computer keyboard. Since the release of her debut novel in 2005, she has enchanted readers worldwide with her unusual historical romances (some of which she now uses to shamelessly fangirl over Punch, her favorite Victorian magazine).

She holds a PhD in English literature, and in autumn 2015, she appeared on the BBC documentary Great Continental Railway Journeys to talk about another favorite topic of hers, the Grimms’ fairy tales (while walking through a rather muddy stretch of the Black Forest) (there were a lot of slugs, too).

She lives in Frankfurt am Main / Germany with a sketchbook, a sewing machine, and an ever-expanding library.

Connect with Sandra: Website | Newsletter | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

 

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ARC Review: An Unsuitable Heir (K.J. Charles)

Mark Braglewicz’s inquiry to look for the missing heir of previously deceased Lord Moreton brings him to Pen and Greta Starling from the Flying Starling trapeze act. Mark is fascinated with Pen — the artist with muscular shoulder and long hair is different compared to other men or women that Mark is involved before. But Mark has a job to do, there is a killer on the loose and dead set on killing people from discovering the Earl of Moreton; even if he has to break Pen’s heart to do it.

Pen Starling doesn’t want to be an earl … he doesn’t want to live as fake and behave as a man just like society dictates it. That is not who Pen is. Being a trapeze artist and lives in the world of performance gives Pen the freedom to be who he is as he chooses to be. But Mark tells him that people are being murdered and he is trapped with decision he doesn’t want to take. Of course, falling for the inquiry agent also brings complication…

We finally get to the final book of K.J. Charles “Sins of the Cities” series. First thing that I need to address: I would like to raise my (imaginary) hat to K.J. Charles for bringing me a genderfluid character in Pen, and his pansexual lover in Mark. I LOVED how Charles wrote these characters; it never felt forced. I loved reading about Pen’s perspectives about his sexual fluidity.

I don’t see why there’s only two choices, as if unless I behave like a man then I must want to be a woman. I’d hate to put on a satin dress every night and have everyone call me she almost as much as you would. Except some nights, now and again, it would be lovely. If I chose.

And Mark adored the hell out of Pen, which was so sweet!!

Aside from the romance, I also enjoyed the answer to all the violence that started with An Unseen Attraction. It was a satisfying conclusion to the mystery — as well as providing the perfect solution to Pen’s status as Earl and his relationship with Mark. The pace of this book seemed to be smoother than the rest. The suspense was added when the killer seemed to follow Pen and Greta as they were hiding at Crowmarsh while the matter of their title is being investigated, and made attempt to kill Pen.

Combined with my liking both Pen and Mark both as individuals and as a couple, all in all An Unsuitable Heir is my favorite book of the trilogy

RATING: 4 out of 5

 

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The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:

Title: An Unsuitable Heir
Author: K.J. Charles
Series: Sins of the Cities, #3
Genre: MM Historical Romance
Length: 246 pages
Publisher: Loveswept
Purchase at: Amazon US, Barnes & Noble US, iTunes, Kobo
Release Date: October 3, 2017

ARC Review: An Unnatural Vice (K.J. Charles)

An Unnatural Vice is the second book in K.J. Charles’ Sins of the Cities series; featuring Justin Lazarus, the Seer of London who is famous with his séances, and Nathaniel Roy, son of archbishop (he has left church though) who becomes a journalist. If I am not mistaken, the timeline starts almost at the time around the ending of An Unseen Attraction. Nathaniel himself is a friend of Clem, one of the main characters in book #1.

Nathaniel is dead-set in exposing Justin’s tricks and lies. He thinks that Justin is an amoral man, who makes fortune upon people’s griefs. However he can’t dismiss the attraction he feels for Justin, first time he feels that way for another man since the death of his partner five years previously.

I thought this book was slightly a bit lagging in the beginning with Charles setting up the background, confrontation, and burning attraction between Nathaniel and Justin. While Charles always EXCELS in writing enemies-to-lovers / people with different background — I found myself at times a bit bored with Nathaniel’s inner conflict of being attracted to Justin.

I did loved Justin though — what can I say, Charles’ morally ambiguous characters are always attractive for me *laugh*. Justin doesn’t regret his occupation. People who can afford his séances are not from poor class anyway.

The book picks up its pace when murder and mayhem happens, Justin finds himself in the path of a killer who takes no for an answer, and he seeks refugees at Nathaniel’s. This was when I started to feel fully engaged with the two as a couple.

I loved those times with the two of them conversed about their lives and expectations. My heart sometimes went over for Justin when his confidence was dwindling — when he questioned Nathaniel’s motive for helping him. Because Justin really did take advantages of people and he wondered why Nathaniel was able to look past that.

Aside from the romance, An Unnatural Vice also shapes up the mystery around the missing heir that will be fully concluded in book #3. I, for one, look forward to that one.

RATING: 3.5 out of 5

 

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The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:

Title: An Unnatural Vice
Author: K.J. Charles
Series: Sins of the Cities, #2
Genre: MM Historical Romance
Length: 250 pages
Publisher: Loveswept
Purchase at: Amazon US, Barnes & Noble US, iTunes, Kobo
Release Date: June 6, 2017

ARC Review: A Gathering Storm (Joanna Chambers)

It has been more than a year since I last read anything by Joanna Chambers … so when I saw this one being listed by Riptide at Netgalley, I requested it without any second thought.

Sir Edward “Ward” Fitzwilliam comes to Porthkennack to continue his work — to scientifically experiment and to prove how the plane of spirits can interact with the real world — after his reputation is shattered among fellow scientists in London. In order to do this, Ward needs subjects, and he hopes with his money people in Porthkennack will be willing to participate. Ward doesn’t count on how people distrust him since his work involves electricity.

Nicholas “Nick” Hearn is a land steward to the Roscarrock family. He is a half Romany Gypsy (from his mother’s side) and Ward thinks Nick is perfect for his experiment. At first Nick refuses. However, after a slight misunderstanding — Ward sees Nick with another man; Nick thinks Ward is going to blackmail him upon this knowledge — Nick agrees to become Ward’s subject for a limited time …

Oh how I adore this story. It reminded me again how much I miss Chambers’ writing, characters, and stories ♥. This is a classic opposites-attract, in my humble opinion.

Ward is a scientist but he also comes from privilege, so some things are easy for him (like purchaing the land for his experiments, or offering money to attract the locals). At the same time, he is also sheltered due to a grave illness so Ward is not the most sociable person. For me sometimes he is either too ‘nerdy with his passion towards science (though nothing wrong with that!) or unable to get social cues.

Nick, on the other hand, is a half Gypsy and a bastard. Some people never really let Nick forget about that. He has a complicated relationship with old Godfrey Roscarrock — his employer, landlord, and to an extent, his family after Nick’s father left and his mother died. Nick distrusts Ward on sight and he feels that he is roped into agreement due to blackmail.

But then Nick gets to know more about Ward and vice versa, and how I devoured the progress. I loved their sessions. I loved how they exchanged things about their lives. I loved them together, period.

I also loved reading about them individually, these two men with their different baggage. Ward is still dealing with grief and unable to let his twin brother go, even if he tries to hide it by working on his project. While Nick tries to find a place he calls home as he feels like he never truly belongs in Porthkennack. Even if he loves the land.

I did have slight problem with the pacing. Somewhere in between Ward and Nick building their tentative relationship, to knowing each other better, to acting up on their attractions, to realizing their true feelings for one another … I felt sometimes the pace was off. Especially during the part where they go to Truro to see the séance all the way to the ending. It felt rather rushed for that moment of love declaration.

Still, it ends in a lovely way that made my heart soared *smile*

I think fans of both Joanna Chambers and MM Historical Romance in general will not miss this one, for sure. Next time, Joanna, don’t stay away too long, please?

RATING: 4 out of 5
4stars

 

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The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:

Title: A Gathering Storm
Author: Joanna Chambers
Genre: MM Historical Romance
Word Count: 82,000 words
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: April 17, 2017

ARC Review: An Unseen Attraction (K.J. Charles)

First book of a new Victorian series from K.J. Charles … that introduction made me really, truly excited. It’s a fact that I find Charles’ books to be solid read and most of the times, I find them truly enjoyable.

An Unseen Attraction is both a romance and a mystery, set in London at early 1870’s. Personally, I thought Charles was able to balance it both pretty well. The book introduces us to lodging-house keeper Clem Talleyfer and preserver (or taxidermist, in modern term) Rowley Green – one of Clem’s lodgers.

I honestly thought Clem as a very interesting character. See, Clem first came to me as a little slow. He gets easily nervous with too many stimuli (which is why he avoids crowd). He is gentle, kind, and avoids confrontations with others. When Clem goes up against a ‘louder’ men, he easily stutters.

However, Clem seems to flourish when he is around his friends at the Jack and Knave (a club for men who likes other men). And when it comes to the bedroom … Clem is the more dominant compared to Rowley. Even if during their first kiss, Clem is the one who forget to breathe! But as their relationship goes further, Rowley is the one more submissive — and interestingly Rowley also seems to be the one with less experience.

So you see, Clem’s contradictory intrigued the hell out of me! I thought Clem has more layers compared to Rowley; whose job is probably is the most interesting part about him. Clem is more than meets the eyes …

As for the mystery part, it circles around the murder of another lodger with connection to Clem’s family members. The ending of this one is a bit of a cliffhanger; we find answers but it the mystery develops into something bigger, which is why I think it will be the arc of the whole trilogy (the title of the third book, most especially, is the biggest hint).

UNFORTUNATELY, Clem’s way of handling issues that comes to him, especially in regards to the murder and his bully of a brother frustrated the HELL out of me. This influenced my enjoyment of reading the book because most of the time I wanted to STRANGLE Clem for being too naive and trusting. He refuses to think that there might be something amiss happening. In this particular case, Clem is like a child who puts hands on his ears and refuses to listen while people tells him about his mistakes.

I also admit that I was getting uncomfortable reading about the details of Rowley’s job. The part where Charles wrote about the stuffing process, it creeped me out so much I had to put the book down and switched to another title for a while. I think if I watch the process with my own eyes, I will get nightmares for weeks!

So I have to settle with 3-stars this time. Nonetheless, rest assured, I WILL be there for the rest of the series!!

RATING: 3 out of 5
3-stars

 

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The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:

unseenTitle: An Unseen Attraction
Author: K.J. Charles
Series: Sins of the Cities, #1
Genre: MM Historical Romance
Length: 247 pages
Publisher: Loveswept
Purchase at: Amazon US, Barnes & Noble US
Release Date: February 21, 2017

ARC Review: The Wrong Kind of Angel (Ruby Moone)

Captain Charles Farrington has settled for the life of lonely man when a knock on his door on Christmas Eve brings a handsome young man running from trouble into his door. Harry Valentine knows that if he tells Charles about his secret, he will bring danger to his angel’s house and he’s not sure if there is a future in them afterwards.

I liked both men okay – Charles for opening his house to save a man in need, and Harry for getting into trouble because he also tries to save another young man. Both are noble in their own way. I would prefer for the resolution to be neater because I thought that the villain didn’t get what he deserved. But at least Harry finally gets his happy end with Charles.

Oh, and I really could do less with the numerous times Harry calling Charles “my angel”. Sorry, I’m not into too many occasions of endearments being used *shrugs*

While I wasn’t in favor for the short timeline for these two men to fall in love (I think it only happens within a day or two) but in the core of it The Wrong Kind of Angel is a sweet heartwarming story that fit the mold of holiday spirit.

RATING: 3 out of 5
3-stars

 

11613309

The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:


thewrongkindofangelTitle:
 The Wrong Kind of Angel
Author: Ruby Moone
Genre: MM Historical Romance
Word Count: 22,280 words
Publisher: JMS-Books
Purchase Link: Amazon US, All Romance Ebooks
Release Date: December 17, 2016

ARC Review: Wanted, A Gentleman (K.J. Charles)

First of all, I have to say BRAVO to Riptide Publishing, K.J. Charles, and anyone involved in making the blurb for Wanted, A Gentleman . Seriously, it is definitely one of the most creative blurbs I have ever seen!! I love the sub title, Or, Virtue Over-Rated; which kinds of giving a clue about what the story is all about, really.

The gist of the story is this: Martin St. Vincent ropes the help of Matrimonial Advertiser’s scribbler Theodore Swann in order to locate the daughter of Martin’s former master who is going to elope with a questionable gentleman. Then we have a rush of carriage pursuing the couple — and of course Martin and Theo getting attracted towards one another in between.

Since it was a novella length, I thought things happened pretty fast between both men. The relationship wasn’t as ‘deep‘ as I preferred it to be. There is a huge twist around 2/3rd of the book that I didn’t see coming. While in retrospect, after I finished reading, it sort of fit with the characters, I couldn’t help thinking that the twist made the story felt … well, less romantic for me.

Personally, I thought that the relationship felt like more like a business trade after that. I couldn’t help that maybe they getting together was pretty much helped by the pleasure of the flesh rather than attraction of minds and virtues.

But then again, maybe like the blurb says, virtue is over-rated

Charles’ writing is as delicious as ever; unfortunately Wanted, A Gentleman is not one of my top favorites from her. Even if it was still a quick entertaining read.

 

RATING: 3.5 out of 5
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11613309

 

 

The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:


Title:
Wanted, A Gentleman
Author: K.J. Charles
Genre: MM Historical Romance
Length: 157 pages
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: January 9th, 2017