Saturday, July 29, 2017

Book Review: When You Give a Duke a Diamond by Shana Galen

Book Review for:  When You Give a Duke a Diamond
Written by: Shana Galen
Amazon ASIN: B008BWAD6U
Published by: Sourcebooks

5 Stars

I read: the ebook

Dazzling with Diamonds, Full of Heart

Galen crafts a romance filled with suspense, danger, and heart with “When You Give a Duke a Diamond.” Juliette, aka the “Duchess of Dalliance,” is a courtesan during the heyday of the ton. Christened  the “Duchess of Dalliance” by Prinny himself, the gossip around the ton is that she’s  having an affair with the Duke of Pelham, a man who is always on time and stanchly set in his ways. He’d never go to bed with a courtesan.

Pelham, aka “Will” and Juliette are thrown into each other’s path when Lucifer shoots at Juliette. Lucifer believes Juliette has his stolen diamonds. Pelham is forced to keep Juliette safe, and in doing so, discovers he wants to find out the mystery behind the missing jewels and why Lucifer would go after Juliette.

They escape to York to avoid danger and Juliette manages to bring out Will’s softer side. As the Duke begins to fall in love, will legitimate danger, or those pesky conventional norms of the ton keep him from publically admitting his love for Juliette?

Shana Galen is one of my favorite romance authors. Her writing style is enjoyable. Her characters are sharp, witty, and infused with heart. Pelham is rough around the edges and it’s endearing to watch Juliette soften him. The danger and suspense never let up, and I hated it when I had to put the story down. Juliette is a capable heroine, not afraid to confront conflict. She’s appeals to modern norms while retaining regency charm. The love scenes are mainstream and tasteful.

Overall, “When You Give a Duke a Diamond,” is a delicious escape to another time and place, full of nail-biting suspense and heartwarming moments. It’s a romance that will touch your heart and leave wanting to read the next book in the series.

Question:  What is your favorite genre of romance do you like to read? 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Camping at Lake Tahoe, CA

During my vaction in June, the family went to Lake Tahoe.  We'd never been and I was very excited. We camped at DL Bliss State Park.  This park is on the CA side. There are several camp sites on the CA side.  There's another State Park, "Emerald Bay" and severl US Forest Service parks. DL Bliss was closer to the southern side of the lake.  

Here's a picture of our campsite. It was kind of "compact" but there were enough trees where we didn't need an EZ up.  

Also at our site, was a camp stove.  I'd never seen a camp stove like this.  Brent tried to use it but it didn't get hot off. 

I was really impressed with just how blue Lake Tahoe is.  The color was striking.  Our area was woody and green and smelled wonderful.  I was so impressed with the scenery I went ahead and ordered a CA Tahoe state license plate.

Here is a waterfall.  We were at elevation, between 6500 - 7000 feet. Several of the surrounding mountains still had snow on them and it was still melting.  The waterfalls in "emerald bay" were very active. 

Here's the entrance to the Vikingsholm State Park.  It's a steep mile decent to the Vikingshom estate.  It was commissioned in 1928 and built in 1929 by Mrs. Josephine Knight.  She and her husband came from Chicago. 

Here is a view of Vikingsholm.  Mrs. Knight architect traveled to Scandinavia and studied how buildings were made.  His travels inspired the "vikings" house that was built. Mrs. Knight and her husband were known as major backers for Charles Linbergh's solo flight in 1927.  Mrs. Knight used Vikingsholm as a summer home. 

Here my son, Joey, is collecting water from Lake Tahoe as a souvenior.  This is on the CA side.  Sadly, we never got a chance to visit the NV side for him to get his NV souvenior. 

Here's me and my buddy, Grumpy Cat, as we take a cruise on Lake Tahoe.  In the background are the snow covered mountains.  

Enjoy this 99 cent summer romance:  "Journey of the Heart." 

Blurb: Set in Sonoma, CA in 1946, can James help Rachel save her winery or will he drift out of her life the same way he drifted in?

12, 5 Star Reviews on Amazon
The story was compelling and not boring, which is often a stereotype of sweet romances. I would recommend this short sweetie of a story. Good job, author. - Angel E

"Your case threatened to run away, so I bribed it." Her sweet expression was an arrow through his heart. 

"Really? What did you bribe it with?" He wiped the sweat off his brow with a handkerchief, caused from a combination of the summer heat and lifting the heavy cases. 

"A job."

He hooked his thumb toward his chest. "Are you offering me a job, Miss Santori?"


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

.99 Christmas in July Romance: Feast of Candles

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Grab this 99 cent Christmas romance before the end of July and indulge in Christmas a little early. 


Drake de Brettville is going to take the biggest risk of his life – because of a bottle of wine. When Drake's brother returns to their home in Denmark with a bottle of wine from the Marquand Winery, Drake finds himself compelled to discover who the wine maker is. Intrigued to learn that the owner is a young woman named Lily Marquand, Drake travels to Napa Valley, California, to meet her. 

When Drake finds Lily, the sparks fly. Lily is that rare woman who stimulates him like no other, but to win her love, Drake has to shatter the battlements that guard her heart and prove to her Christmas wishes do come true.


Collecting her purse, she walked into the lobby as Drake descended the stairs. He presented her with a manila envelope.

"I'll look it over and give it to my lawyers to examine."

"When might you make a decision?"

"Give me a week."

He escorted her to her car and paused near the door. Lily unlocked it with her remote and leaned over, placing her purse along with the folder in the passenger seat. When she stood back up, Drake was directly in front of her. He cupped her cheek, his hand warm and encouraging. "When can I see you again?"

Her abdomen ached for more as waves of desire washed over her. Lily craved closer contact, but she tried to think rationally. "I'm, ah, not sure of my schedule."


"Yes – tomorrow. Come to the winery after it closes."

His lips brushed against hers, then gently covered her mouth. Lily welcomed him, his spicy scent sending her senses reeling. She placed her hands on his chest and moaned when his lips left hers, blazing kisses over her jaw, and searing a path of pleasure over her neck. 





Saturday, July 22, 2017

Game of Thrones Musings #1 -- Tyrion Targaryen?

Just how many of those fire breathing Targaryens are there anyway?

References:  NOVEL:  "The World of Ice and Fire; The Untold History of Westeros and The Games Thrones," by George RR Martin, Elio M. Garcia, Jr., and Linda Antonsson, Bantam Books, ISBN: 978-0-553-80544-4, Year published: 2014.



My husband told me about Game of Thrones around the time it was announced the series had just started filming for HBO.   He said I would love it. It was "soap opera-y," (and I enjoyed a good soap opera when I was a young girl) and no topic was off limits.  There was incest, violence, and dragons.

I said okay and waited for S1 to come out. Curious, I turned on TV watched the 1st ever episode when it came out and sure enough, I was hooked. Since, I have read the 1st 3 books in the series, Game of Thrones, Clash of Kings, and Storm of Swords.

My favorite character in this series, without hesitation is Daenerys, and I knew right away we were on a journey with her. In Episode 1, we were seeing her at a point in her life when she was young and embarking on her destiny. What was going to come was to shape her life for better or worse.  And I wanted a to have a horse in Daenerys' khalasar.


Immediately what caught my attention was the "ice and fire" contrast.  Like "black and white," "ice and fire" in this story  represent good and evil.  And obviously, the Targaryens and their dragons represent "fire." Fire is light.  Light is white.  White is good. 

Mind you, not all Targaryens are good.  They're human with human flaws, (and I would say due to their incest) but they do have traits, if mastered, would make them harbingers of "fire."

So what do we know about the Targaryens?


According to "The World of Fire and Ice, and Untold History of Westros and Game of Thrones," (full reference is listed above) The Targaryens were just one of many dragonlord families who lived in Valyria on the western half of Essos.

The Valyrians established a westernmost outpost called "Dragonstone" 200 years before the "Doom."

The Targaryens were of pure Valyrian blood and possessed an ancient lineage. 12 years before the Doom, Aenar Targaryen sold his holdings and moved his family to Dragonstone. Thus, the Targaryens were the ONLY dragonlords to escape the "Doom."

 Page: 33 :  "It  had long been the custom amongst the dragonlords of Valyria to wed brother to sister to keep the bloodline pure." 

Per Game of Thrones Wiki: Generations of inbreeding have preserved  in the Targaryen    bloodline, the classic Valyarian features of silver white hair and pale, white skin. This inbreeding retained the ability to successfully bond and ride with the dragons. Targaryens are tolerant of extreme heat and high temperatures.

"Half the Targaryens went mad, didn't they? What's the saying? Every time a Targaryen is born, the gods flip a coin?" - Cersei Lannister.   (Side note:  And we've seen good and bad, the "mad" king Aerys, Viserys, the Begger King, Rhaegar, the noble older brother, and Daenerys.)

Jorah Mormont , in service to Daenerys once told her she was more like her brother "Rhaegar" (good Targaryen) then her brother, Viserys. (bad Targaryen)


This Targaryen is Daenerys' father. According to "The Untold History," Aerys inherited the Throne when he was 18.  His wife and sister, Rhaella, quickly had their first son, Rhaegar.

Upon coming to the throne, Aerys named Tywin Lannister his "Hand." Aerys and Tywin had known each other since they were children and were good friends.

As Aerys grew older and his reign longer, he grew increasingly "erratic." 

Tywin Lannister married his cousin, Joanna Lannister after being "Hand" for a year.  She served as a lady-in-waiting to Queen Rhaella. Tywin and Joanna knew each other since they were children. He adored her.

Page 225 of "The Untold History:"   "Sadly, the the marriage between Aerys Targaryen and his sister, Rhaella, was not as happy, and she turned a blind eye to most of the king's infidelities, though the queen did not approve of his "turning my ladies into his whores" (Joanna Lannister was not the first lady to be dismissed abruptly from Her Grace's service, nor was she the last).

Over the course of 13 years, the Queen, Rhaella, miscarried or had stillborn children.

Page 225 from "The Untold History:"  "It has been reliably reported, however, that King Aerys took unwonted liberties with Lady Joanna's person during her bedding ceremony, to Tywin's displeasure. "    Not long thereafter, she was dismissed from the Queen's service.

When Cersei and Jaime were 6 they visited the king's court at King's Landing. The King, "in his cups,"  asked if the twins had ruined her breasts.  Joanna was humiliated, Tywin, tried to give up his position as Hand. Aerys refused to accept it.   

In 272 AC, Aerys, Tywin, Joanna, and their families attended the Anniversary Tourney.  In 273 AC, Tyrion is born.

It is widely speculated that Tyrion is the product of an "affair" between Aerys and Joanna.   -- And Tywin suspected it.  Why else would he treat Tyrion so poorly?

According to "The Untold History," eventually Aerys gives up his mistresses and vows to be true to his Queen.  When he does this, Viserys and Daenerys are born to him and Rhaella. 


Without a doubt Daenerys is a Targaryen.  Jon Snow is Daenerys' nephew, the son of her older brother, Rhaegar, and Lyanna Stark, making him a Targaryen, comfirmed by HBO. (That's a whole other musing)  Tyrion Lannister just might be a Targaryen, born out of an "affair" between Aerys and Joanna Lannister.   

So let's hear your musings:  Is Tyrion really a Targaryen?

Check out this paranormal fiction: 


Who is Michael's Mother? 

WINNER: GOLD, 2012 Reader's Favorite Contest, Fiction: Supernatural


5 Stars, BTS Magazine, DEC 2013, Reviewer: Cassandra Graham, "It was a really good and suspenseful read.Pick up a copy. You'll definitely enjoy it."

Long and Short, 4.5 Stars: Nominated for Long & Short's Book of the Week, NOV 2011. The Wolf’s Torment is certainly more than a story about a werewolf. There is quite a bit of depth in this multifaceted story of a family’s struggle with life, love and loss.

Reader's Favorites, 5 Stars: "The Wolf’s Torment has it all, witches, werewolves, a vampire, princess and prince. This is paranormal romance at its finest.

BLURB: It's 1865 and Moldavia is a country nestled against the shores of the Black Sea. Lady Theresa travels from Austria to this country that's haunted by tales of vampires and werewolves. She's going to marry the Crown Prince, but she harbors her own unspoken secrets.

Prince Mihai has just returned to Moldavia to discover he's a witch. He's intent on being a good husband and modernizing his country, but he must find a balance with his supernatural heritage. His best friend, Viktor, accompanies Mihai and marries Mihai's sister. In an unfortunate twist of fate, a werewolf bites Viktor.
Viktor's transformation threatens everyone around him, including his wife's safety and Mihai's happiness, but he's especially dangerous when he's near Theresa. Can Mihai save his family from Viktor's lies and deceptions?