Showing posts with label Joyce DiPastena. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Joyce DiPastena. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Review: With a Kiss: A Sweet Romance Anthology by Traci Hunter Abramson, Rachel Branton, Rachelle J. Christensen, Joyce DiPastena, Danyelle Ferguson, Donna Hatch, Heather B. Moore, Luisa Perkins, Janette Rallison, Heather Tullis


Heidi Reads... With a Kiss: A Sweet Romance Anthology by Traci Hunter Abramson, Rachel Branton, Rachelle J. Christensen, Joyce DiPastena, Danyelle Ferguson, Donna Hatch, Heather B. Moore, Luisa Perkins, Janette Rallison, Heather Tullis

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

**On sale for a limited time only!**

"ALL proceeds will go toward Robison Wells's family's medical expenses. All of the authors have donated new novellas + the editing + cover design were all donated as well. A true labor of love to help one of our own!" -Heather B. Moore

http://www.amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.comhttp://www.goodreads.com

Synopsis

A collection of 10 brand new sweet romance novellas by USA Today bestselling & award winning authors.
 

DANCING TO FREEDOM by Traci Hunter Abramson: A Russian ballerina. An American hockey player. A forbidden romance. Can Katrina follow her heart when freedom is the one thing she lacks? Or will the Cold War cost her the only man she has ever loved?

RYLEE’S MIX-UP by Rachel Branton: Rylee Williams didn’t want to be a bridesmaid at her estranged sister’s wedding, the sister who’d grown up with the family she was supposed to have. So why does she find herself in a dress two sizes too big and no date for the wedding? Maybe it’s time to give up on her family once and for all. But a greased pig contest and handsome cowboy Beck Seeger might just change her mind—both about sticking it out and taking a chance at love.

THE REFUGEE’S BILLIONAIRE by Rachelle J. Christensen: Shawn Halstrom has an assignment: travel to Atlanta, Georgia to investigate The Heart of Atlanta refugee center so that Burke Enterprises can make a donation. The job should take two weeks tops, but he wasn’t planning on falling for a Cuban refugee named Carolina Diaz. She’s a single mother who isn’t interested in dating, even if the guy might be a billionaire.

JUST THIS MOMENT by Joyce DiPastena: Alys’s late husband thought her useful only for spinning thread. Now a mysterious monk has come to take her to a nunnery. Can a sightless woman like Alys exert her independence to forge a future of her own choice? And will the monk, who stirs forbidden longings in her, help or hinder her?

ORIGAMI GIRL by Danyelle Ferguson: Josephine loved teaching crafts at the children's hospital until she was assigned to help Dr. Blake learn how to relate with his patients. As she helps the young doctor soften his sharp edges, relax his rigid folds, and open up to the people around him, she finds she can't help but love the man he's becoming.

SABRINA’S HERO by Donna Hatch: For weeks, Sabrina daydreams about a mysterious gentleman who frequents the lending library. Is he perchance an agent for the crown? A returning war hero? A highwayman? A fateful public assembly introduces her to the mystery man as well as an intriguing newcomer. Now she’s torn between a charming rake promising the adventure she craves, and a handsome barrister who offers security. Only one will stand by her when it matters most.

FALLING FOR LUCY by Heather B. Moore: Lucy Morley’s older sister is perfect, yet Lucy can’t even hold down a job, let alone stick with something like college. After another disastrous firing, she lands her dream job at a bookstore—and it doesn’t hurt that her new boss, Adam Parks, is pretty much her dream man. But if Lucy is good at one thing, it’s guarding herself from heartbreak. Adam has other plans in mind that include finding a way into Lucy’s heart.

MY DEAREST EMMA by Luisa Perkins: Since her husband died at 25, Johanna has worked at a busy hotel in the new railroad town of Danube, Minnesota, soothing her loneliness by writing home to her sister in Germany. When she meets August, a shy widower, her letters reveal a budding friendship. But Johanna soon begins to question whether their romance can survive a demanding employer, August’s jealous daughter, and the misgivings of two recently broken hearts.

COVERTLY YOURS by Janette Rallison: Paisley Spencer never needed a knight in shining armor—until she finds herself surrounded by three gangsters in a bad part of Phoenix. A handsome stranger intervenes, rescuing her from certain disaster. The only catch? Now she has to pretend to be his girlfriend for the next hour. She finds it’s a job she doesn't want to end.

SUSPECT LOVE by Heather Tullis: description coming soon


My Review

What a collection! Such a variety of stories from some of my favorite authors, some I've read once or twice, and some I've only heard of. I love getting a taste of what an author's style is like in a novella, and also if the author branches out into a different genre! All of the stories were entertaining and there is a good mix of contemporary and historical, suspense and cozy. Some I enjoyed more than others, but I definitely think any reader who is a fan of clean romance would like most of the stories they find here if not all. Here are my brief thoughts on each novella...

The characters in Dancing to Freedom had a pretty swift start to their romance, but it was the intrigue and element of suspense that drove the plot. I liked learning more about the ballerinas while they toured Canada and the United States.

Rylee's Mixup was a fun story of mistaken identity with the charming cowboy and also had some deeper themes with her past of a dysfunctional family and foster homes. I enjoyed Rylee and Beck's banter and chemistry more than the family drama, but there was a good balance between the two.

I enjoyed the setting of a refugee center in Atlanta in The Refugee's Billionaire, where Carolina is an employee helping new refugees acclimate to their new country and its culture. Her innovative ideas and compassion attract Shawn and even though he's not really a billionaire, he is successful in his own right. They develop a sweet romance and work together to keep the center alive and growing.

Just This Moment is a medieval historical, and I'm always impressed by this author's ability to transport me to the time period and make it come to life. Deception and politics come into play as Alys must be torn from her daughter and ensconced in a nunnery while her daughter is raised in another household and betrothed to the leader's son. As Walter transcribes Alys's life memories to preserve for her daughter, he realizes the injustice of such a strong and clever woman being forced to submit to the will of others. I loved this story and am excited to read more about the characters in the author's upcoming works this fall!

Origami Girl is one of my favorites from this collection! It takes two completely opposite people and throws them into situations with some of the most vulnerable and strong individuals- children with cancer. Josephine's positive attitude in spite of her losses is admirable and she uses her talents to inspire and bring happiness to others. I enjoyed seeing her influence on Dr. Blake and understanding how his childhood influenced the person he became. His vulnerabilities reveal someone who needs love and light more than he realized. The children they interact with in the hospital make this story fun and full of heart.

I always love a good Regency romance, and this author is one of my must-reads in the genre. This story had hints of Austen about it which was fun to discover. Sabrina was definitely like Catherine Moreland from Northanger Abbey, imagining intrigue and secrets and dreaming of adventure. Her naivetĂ© was frustrating when it came to the gentlemen pursuing her, and there was a Wickham/Darcy dynamic with Mr. Wynn and Mr. Beauchamp. I appreciated the addition of an tragic historical event and the depth it brought to the story. 

Heather B. Moore is another must-read author for me, and the main reason I was interested in this collection. Her story did not disappoint! I loved the setting of a cozy bookstore, the characters that came alive with their personalities and mannerisms, and the fun romance that made me wish the story was longer. Definitely one of my favorites.

My Dearest Emma is a historical epistolary story, told through letters from Johanna to her sister and relating her struggles after her husband passed away and her experiences working for a hotel. While the friendship between Johanna and Herr Jentz is sweet, there is a significant age gap that makes them hesitate to deepen the relationship. I liked how that gap seemed to close as they grew closer and allowed their care for each other to overcome their concerns.  

Covertly Yours was a hoot! Paisley is totally out of her element but keeps trying to make the best of it so she can survive the night. One thing leads to another and by the end of a rather eventful night, her life has changed. I loved the chemistry between her and Ice, and the way the plot developed with its twists and turns. Another favorite!

A strong finish to the collection was Suspect Love, where Regean, a phlebotomist, was hoping for a promotion but had to hide her disappointment when it was given to someone from outside the company. Titus is actually a professional clean-up guy, brought in to discover who is skimming from the register and stealing from the company. He wins Regan over with his down-to-earth friendliness and she takes a risk, even though she discovers his is a temporary assignment. The setting was interesting and the characters had great chemistry.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Book Tour & Giveaway: Courting Cassandry by Joyce DiPastena



On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Book Tour Grand Finale for
Courting Cassandry
By Joyce DiPastena

We hope you enjoyed going back to Medieval times, finding tokens of courtship from Gerolt to Cassandry, and their story at their chance for a rare second chance at love! If you have been gathering tokens for the giveaway, here is the eighth one (previously not posted):

If you missed any of the stops or tokens, go back and check them out now...

Launch - Author Q&A

What is your motivation behind Courting Cassandry? Why did you want to write it?

Courting Cassandry is the second book in my Hearts in Autumn Romance series. The couples in this series are older than couples in most romances, in their 40s and 50s. Now that I’m, oh, somewhere around those ages myself, I thought it would be interesting to explore how romances might develop between more mature couples, all based on the premise: “You’re never too old to fall in love!” Because really, don’t we all want to be loved regardless of our age?


The Written Adventure - What is a Hearts in Autumn Romance?

These are characters who have already lived rich lives, who have experienced depths of heartache and joy that my younger characters only stand on the threshold of. That gives my autumn couples layers of complexity that I can’t quite reach with younger characters. And I am finding that aspect exceptionally enjoyable!

Lampshade Reader - Interview

6. If you were presented with the opportunity to travel through time, which period would you choose and why?

My fascination with the Middle Ages began with King Henry II of England, who has played an offstage role in several of my books, so I suppose I would like to go back to the days when he was king and see what he was truly like. Not what his modern critics or supporters say he was like, but what he was really like.



Wishful Endings - Excerpt

Fire churned in her stomach. How dare you make me feel again? After you failed me so abysmally. You abandon me, then sweep back into my life as though you were never gone. But I will always be a child to you, your sparrow, when at this moment I want nothing more than to wipe away the taste of Sir Samson with your kiss on my lips.

Bookworm Lisa - Review

"The characters and story are well written. This is a clean romance that pulled me in from the beginning. I love reading Joyce's books and this book lived up to my expectations!"



deal sharing aunt - Excerpt

At the risk of another rebuff, Gerolt took her hand again, allowing some of the purple blossoms to scatter at their feet. How could she not feel his longing for her in his touch? His thumb swept lightly over her knuckles. “I cannot let you simply disappear again.”



I Am A Reader - Medieval Tokens

One event at which a lady might quite openly give a token to a man with few repercussions was at a tournament. These tokens were usually called “favors” and when worn by the knight, indicated that all his successes on the tournament field would be won on behalf of the lady whose token he wore.



Letters from Annie Douglass Lima - Medieval Rules of Inheritance

Sometimes well-meaning readers question the lines of inheritance in my medieval romances. More familiar with the popular and wide spread Regency romance, they assume that the strict rules of inheritance that basically disowned the rights of daughters during the Regency or even Victorian eras have always stood in England. This was not the case.

EskieMama Reads - Excerpt

“I hate seeing you in such distress.” The vehemence that shook his lowered voice made her turn her head to gaze at him. “As much as we love them, children can sometimes be the very devil. If you would like me to shake Egelina for you, I should be happy to oblige.”



Getting Your Read On - Review

"I loved the stories within stories. Each character in this book has a story to tell. They all weave together but shape each character separately. It was a gentle and slow unfolding and I feel like I became more personally acquainted with each character page by page."



underneath the covers - Medieval Entertainments, Part 1 – Dancing

The curious thing about medieval dancing is that no one knows how medieval couples actually danced. Written descriptions of dancing in Europe didn’t appear until the mid-1400s, during the Renaissance. Nevertheless, we know people did dance during the Middle Ages because there are references to dancing in medieval poetry, as well as glimpses of dancing in medieval paintings and illuminated manuscripts.

Singing Librarian Books - Review & Interview

"Readers will be captivated by the charming and beautiful love story, as well as the wonderfully developed characters. I would recommend this novel to readers that enjoy medieval romance novels."

5. What inspired the idea for your Courting Cassandry or Hearts in Autumn Series?

A couple of years ago, a writers group I was in challenged us each to try to write an autumn-themed story. While I was trying to come up with an autumn theme, the thought came to me, “What if I wrote a story about falling in love during the characters’ ‘autumn years?’” So I wrote a romance about an older couple and enjoyed it so much, I decided to turn it into a series called “Hearts in Autumn.” Courting Cassandry is the second title in the series. (The first was Loving Lucianna.)



Zerina Blossom's Books - Medieval Entertainment, Part II - Chess

Chess was a hugely popular game among the nobility of Europe during the Middle Ages. The game is believed to have originated in India in the 6th century and made its way to Europe somewhere around the year 1000. The rules were somewhat different than the modern game and the names of some of the pieces changed, translated into more familiar European concepts.

Courting Cassandry
(Hearts in Autumn #2)
by Joyce DePastena
Adult Historical Romance
ebook, 348 pages
February 17th 2016

Is it too late for second chances when the girl you loved in your youth comes back into your life?

Gerolt de Warenne became guardian to a child-heiress named Cassandry when he was only nineteen-years old. As he watched her grow into a lovely young woman, he found himself falling in love with her, but Cassandry viewed him as an older brother. So, burying his feelings, he gave permission for her to marry another.

Twenty-four years later Gerolt and Cassandry meet again. With the loss of their respective spouses, Gerolt hopes to finally court Cassandry, but she desires to remain a widow. Instead, they agree to a betrothal of their children.

Matters become complicated as their friendship begins to evolve into the romance Gerolt has always wanted. But by the law of the medieval Church, Cassandry and Gerolt can’t marry if their children do. Can they find a way to be together? Or must they sacrifice their future for the love of their children?

"Courting Cassandry" is a “Hearts in Autumn” romance, medieval romances revolving around heroes and heroines “in the autumn of their years.” Because love isn’t only for the young!

The First Book in the Series

Loving Lucianna (A Hearts in Autumn Romance, #1)Loving Lucianna
(Hearts in Autumn #1)
by Joyce DePastena
Adult Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 220 pages
October 11th 2014

Sir Balduin de Soler gave up long ago on love. He never had the means to support a wife until an unexpected advancement in his fifties allows him to reassess his future just as the lovely Lucianna enters his life. 

Lucianna Fabio harbors a secret, painful memory from her past that has kept her unwed, as well. Now in her forties, she thought herself too old to marry until she meets Sir Balduin. Now suddenly their lonely autumn lives feel very much like spring again . . . until Lucianna’s brother appears without warning and threatens to revive the secret that will destroy Lucianna’s second chance at love. 

"Loving Lucianna" is the first in Joyce DiPastena’s new "Hearts in Autumn" romance series, medieval romances revolving around heroes and heroines “in the autumn of their years.” Because you’re never too old to fall in love!

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Joyce DiPastena dreamed of green medieval forests while growing up in the dusty copper mining town of Kearny, Arizona. She filled her medieval hunger by reading the books of Thomas B. Costain (where she fell in love with King Henry II of England), and later by attending the University of Arizona where she graduated with a degree in history, specializing in the Middle Ages. The university was also where she completed her first full-length novel…set, of course, in medieval England. Later, her fascination with Henry II led her to expand her research horizons to the far reaches of his “Angevin Empire” in France, which became the setting of her first published novel, Loyalty’s Web (a 2007 Whitney Award Finalist).

When she’s not writing, Joyce loves to read, play the piano, and spend time with her sister and friends. A highlight of her year is attending the annual Arizona Renaissance Festival .

Joyce is a multi-published, multi-award winning author who specializes in sweet medieval romances heavily spiced with mystery and adventure. She lives with her two cats, Clio and Glinka Rimsky-Korsokov, in Mesa, Arizona.


Tour Giveaway

$20 See's Candies Gift Certificate (if US) or $20 PayPal Cash (if international)
Copies of Loving Lucianna and Courting Cassandry (signed print if US, ebook if international)
Ends March 12th

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