Tag: Joanna Chambers

Guest Author (+ a Giveaway): Joanna Chambers – Plausability

Posted January 31, 2013 by Holly in Giveaways, Promotions | 6 Comments

Today we have a Book Binge favorite author, Joanna Chambers, with us. Her latest release, Unforgivable,  is available now from Samhain Publishing.


The Challenge of Plausibility

As some of you may know, as well as being a romance author, I am a longtime romance reader with a great love of the genre that I used to blog about under my old online moniker of Tumperkin.

I love traditional romance tropes and I love to see them developed in a new ways, and given a fresh spin. I suppose that’s what I’ve tried to do with my writing.

In my debut novel, The Lady’s Secret, I tackled the tricky challenge of the cross-dressing heroine, a trope that’s often used and just as often criticised for lack of plausibility. I wanted to write a convincing cross-dressing heroine and quite a few readers were kind enough to say it worked for them.

In my new novel, Unforgivable, I set out to tackle another tricky trope, and in doing so, inadvertently set myself an even harder challenge. I wanted to write a wife-in-disguise story. I’ve always really liked the husband-who-doesn’t-recognise-his-own-wife scene. The deliciousness of it. The secret knowledge you get to have as the reader.

The wife-in-disguise is another romance component that often gets criticised for plausibility. And plausibility matters, you know? I know a lot of people out there like to think that we romance readers will swallow any old guff in the name of romance, but it’s not true. The higher the plausibility, the easier to suspend disbelief, the more carried away you can be, the more real and true and emotional the story. Does the writer make you believe? Does she make you feel? I think that’s the test for me. I want to feel and believe.

So, in my quest to make Unforgivable plausible, I put my poor heroine through hell. She starts the novel frail, having recently suffered a serious illness:

“I look awful,” Rose said flatly.

The girl in the looking glass was gaunt, her cheeks hollow. She still carried the red, angry marks of her recent illness on her face and body. She was a stranger, and Rose hated looking at her.

“You look fine,” Lottie said briskly, fastening the buttons at the back of Rose’s gown. “And in a few months, you will look lovely. Your hair will grow, and my cook will fatten you up again, cara.”

Rose eyed her tragically shorn hair, all cut off in the midst of raging fever. Lottie’s hairdresser had come yesterday afternoon and had done his best to style her short locks into something resembling a fashionable cap of curls, but she still looked like an early Christian martyr with her sad, shadowed eyes. Like Joan of Arc about to go to the stake.

Rose is persuaded into an arranged marriage with Gil, one that gets off on a bad footing and results in her being left at a remote estate for five long years. When she confronts Gil five years later, he doesn’t recognise her. But you know what? Funnily enough, that didn’t end up being the real challenge.

The real challenge became bringing the hero and heroine back together after that horrible history. And that led me into thoughts of forgiveness and what it means to be (actually be) sorry. And it made methink too about readers’ personal lenses and how those affect how a story is received (for example,many readers find infidelity a hot-button issue. It’s not for me, but for my part, I can’t warm to casual-killer-heroes even though they don’t bother lots of readers in the least).

At the end of it, when I’d finished the story, I knew that all I could do was put it in readers’ hands and let them decide what they thought. Hope I’d made them feel and believe.

But then, I suppose, that’s what every writer does, isn’t it?

Do you have a hot button issue or characteristic that you just can’t get past? Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Unforgivable.

Please note: you must include a valid email address with your comment to be eligible. Contest ends: Feb. 7, 2013 @ 11:59 pm.

This book is available from Samhain Publishing. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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Guest Review: Unforgivable by Joanna Chambers

Posted January 31, 2013 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Tracy’s review of Unforgivable by Joanna Chambers

Gil Truman has eyes only for the beautiful Tilly—until he is forced to marry plain, sickly Rose Davenport to reclaim the lands his father foolishly gambled away. After a disastrous wedding night tainted with his bitterness, he deposits Rose at his remote Northumbrian estate, soothing his guilt with the thought that she need never lay eyes on him again.

Five years after the mortifying wedding night that destroyed all her romantic fantasies, Rose is fed up with hearing second- and third-hand reports of Gil’s philandering ways. She is no longer the shy, homely girl he left behind, but a strong, confident woman who knows how to run an estate. And knows what she wants—her husband, back in their marriage bed.

Gil doesn’t recognize the bold, flirtatious woman he meets at a ball, with or without her mask. Yet he is bewitched and besotted, and their night together is the most passionate he has ever known.

But when he confesses his sins to the beautiful stranger, the truth rips open the old wounds of their blighted history. Threatening any hope of a future together.

Rose Davenport is just 17 and is only weeks into recovering from a bout of chickenpox that almost killed her. She’s thin to the point of bony, she’s got incredibly short hair as the doctors cut it to relieve her fever and she still has scars on her face that haven’t healed. When her father takes her calling to a man who may end up being her husband she’s not thrilled. She knows he won’t give up though so she agrees. The man she meets, Gilbert Truman, Viscount Waite, is a charming man. He’s just 22 and though his father and brother sit like stones in the parlor, Rose and Gilbert hit it off and Rose has a wonderful time. She agrees to the marriage.

Gilbert, after meeting Rose, is called into his father’s office and given the news. His father has gambled away all of the unentailed estates and since those estates are what keeps the entailed estates running Gilbert realizes the magnitude of his father’s screw up – they’re ruined. His father, the earl, tells Gilbert that Rose’s father is the one that won the estates and is willing to give them back to them as a dowry for Rose if Gilbert is willing to marry her. Gilbert is in love with someone else so he’s not happy about having to marry Rose but he knows there’s no alternative.

The couple get married and Rose soon realizes that Gilbert is not the charming man she thought she married. He’s cold and aloof and she sees that he’s disgusted with physical person. Her dreams of having a real marriage are soon squashed and after only a week or so of being married Rose is left in Northumbria while Gilbert takes off for London. Every year for 5 years Rose does her duty and invites Gilbert for Christmas and every year his secretary declines for him. Rose thought she’d be happy without her husband but she wants a real marriage. Now that she’s a healthy, beautiful woman again she heads to London to try and reconcile.

Rose’s father’s mistress talks her into attending a masked ball to try and feel out her reception by Gilbert. Gilbert is immediately taken with the woman he meets at the ball and finds her beyond beautiful. Rose is stunned that Gil doesn’t recognize her at all and when the time comes to give her name she lies and says she’s someone else. When Gil finds out months later that Rose lied his beyond mad. Between Rose’s deception and Gil’s public philandering can the couple make something of their marriage?

This is a difficult review for me to write for several different reasons. I “knew” the author as an online acquaintance via her blog and the DIK blog before she became published. Knowing how lovely she wrote when she gave us her blog posts I had no doubt that I would like her books. Her first book was wonderful and I couldn’t say enough about it (if you haven’t read it yet you’re missing out) so was anxious to read this book as well. Now comes the hard part…while I loved the writing, I didn’t love the story and that for me makes it difficult to write a review.

The ups and downs of this story had me both on the edge of my seat and frustrated. Gil was so very charming when we first met him but that charm left and it just never reappeared. He treated Rose horribly and even when he knew he was treating her horribly he couldn’t stop himself from digging the verbal knife deeper. When he finally fell in love with her it didn’t stop him from acting like an ass and frankly at the end when he was to be redeemed he fell very short, imho. He need to grovel a hell of a lot more and I can only pray that in that fictional world he’s still groveling.

Rose put up with a lot of crap from Gil and still held her ground. She was a strong and competent who yes, made a mistake when she told Gil she was someone else, but truly that was her biggest mistake (well, besides marrying the man in the first place). Though she could have definitely been more communicative with him and told him how she really felt earlier I could understand her reluctance to do so. Every time she tried to talk to him he practically turned it around to somehow make it her fault.

The angst in this book is about 9 on the Richter scale. I do wish that the couple could have started to reconcile sooner as they spent most of the book at odds with each other. As I said – Gil needed to grovel a whole hell of a lot more for me to think he had been redeemed.

Now the writing in this story was really great. It drew me in from page one and I literally didn’t put the book down until I was done with it (that includes staying up late on a work night to finish it!). The writing was compelling and I got completely emotionally involved in the story. The marriage was a hot mess but the way it was written made me want to read more and more. I loved that about the book.

In the end it was a hard book for me to rate.
I give it a 3.5 out of 5. 
3 for the story and 4 for the writing

You can read more from Tracy at Tracy’s Place

This book is available from Samhain Publishing. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

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What I Read Last Week

Posted January 21, 2013 by Tracy in Features | 3 Comments

Good Morning! 
How are you all on this fine Martin Luther King, Jr. Day? I’m happily off of work today and and I wish I could say it’s wonderful but my youngest got the flu so I’m having an….interesting day. 🙂 Hopefully this won’t be one of the really bad cases that has been going around cross fingers. We’ll be spending the day watching movies which will be great – ok laundry and house cleaning will be stuck in there too but I’m trying to ignore those aspects of the day. Lol 

I hope you all had a great week. Did anyone do anything super fun this past weekend? 

Did any of you try to get one of Anne Tenino’s cock sculptures? She’s notifying winners today so if any of you win you need to let me know – maybe take a picture with your new cock when you get it. 🙂 

Oh and stop on Wednesday when I’ll be hosting LA Witt and she’s got a great giveaway as well. 🙂
Ok – On to what I read last week: 

First up was Anne Tenino‘s Too Stupid To Live. I really liked this book for a lot of different reasons. I have to say that I didn’t read The Fix (yet) so I didn’t get to see what an ass Ian was before I opened TSTL (I’ve heard he was a jerk in The Fix). Anyway, you can read all of my thoughts on TSTL here in my review. 4.25 out of 5 
Next up was A Breath of Scandal by Elizabeth Essex. This was the story of a Antigone whose mother tries to engage her to a man twice her age. Antigone refuses but the mother says that they’ll just have an “agreement” for a few month and that Antigone doesn’t have to actually go through with the marriage. Antigone is not your typical heroine and when she meets Will Jellicoe he’s more than happy to show her how to misbehave. Unfortunately she really IS engage to another man so Will and Antigone can’t be together. This was a good yet sometimes frustrating book. I liked Will a lot but sometimes Antigone was just too over the top for my liking. The mother in this book was a complete hag and I disliked her intensely. 3 out of 5 (read for Book Binge) 
Star Crossed by Kele Moon is the second book in the Battered Hearts series. This is about a lawyer named Juliet who meets a cage fighter named Romeo and you got it, they fall in love. There are a ton of things that should keep them apart but Jules and Romeo won’t let anything stand in their way of being together. You can read my full review here. 4 out of 5 
My next read was Something New Under the Sun by LA Witt. This is the second book in the Falling Sky series and continues the story of Daniel and Liam and their fight against Daniel’s father. They work to get the prototypes for a mod that will kill vampires (of which Liam is one) so that they can stop Daniel’s father in his tracks. My review will post tomorrow so you can read more of my thoughts then. 4 out of 5 
Unforgivable by Joanna Chambers was next up. The story is about a woman who marries a man who she thinks wants to marry her. Unfortunately he HAS to marry her in order to get the lands back that his father gambled away. She has been sick and is thin and still has scarring. He is disgusted. He takes her to the country and leaves her there for five years before she decides she’s had enough. She now is a beautiful woman but can she forgive him for his desertion and can he forgive her for a lie she told as well? I really liked the writing in this book A LOT, I really did. Unfortunately I didn’t love the story all that much and the angst made me a bit nuts. I wanted the hubby to grovel so much more than he did and I was bit mad at the heroine that she accepted him so easily. This was read for The Book Binge so I’ll let you know when the review posts. 3.5 out of 5 
Mutegi’s Sweet One by Charlie Richards is book 1 in the Kontra’s Menagerie series. From what Tam told me it’s a spin off from a previous series. All the men in the bike club are gay and they are all various types of shifters. Mutegi is a warthog shifter (snort) and he meets his mate on the side of the road when Ben and his sister and niece’s car breaks down. The bike club help not only with the car but with the evil ex husband of the sister. Ben and Mutegi fall in love pretty fast and there wasn’t a whole lot of depth to the story but it was cute anyway. 2.5 out of 5 
Last for the week was Big Bad Bite by Jessie Lane. This story is about a shifter hybrid who’s half wolf and half demon – the only known hybrid of this sort that’s known to exist. She’s been secluded her whole life but now she’s on a SWAT team and meeting all sorts of various shifters and demons. Her and her new friends are trying to find out information about an Eastern European shifter pack and what they’re up to. In the meantime the Alpha of the nearest pack to her new home, Adam, wants Jenna for his mate but she’s not sure that’s what she wants. I liked the premise of this story but I didn’t care for the writing style. There was a lot of inner thought and introspection, lengthy descriptions and info dumps that really threw me out of the story and frankly bored me. If the authors tighten things up and get rid of excess it would have been a good book. 2 out of 5 

My Book Binge reviews that posted last week: 

Happy Reading! 

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Review: The Lady’s Secret by Joanna Chambers

Posted November 11, 2011 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

London, 1810

Former actress Georgiana Knight always believed she and her brother were illegitimate—until they learn their parents were married, making them heirs to a great estate. To prove their claim, Georgy needs to find evidence of their union by infiltrating a ton house party as valet to Lord Nathaniel Harland. Though masquerading as a boy is a challenge, it pales in comparison to sharing such intimate quarters with the handsome, beguiling nobleman.

Nathan is also unsettled by Georgy’s presence. First intrigued by his unusual valet, he’s even more captivated when he discovers Georgy’s charade. The desire the marriage-shy earl feels for his enigmatic employee has him hoping for much more than a master-servant relationship…

But will Nathan still want Georgy when he learns who she truly is? Or will their future be destroyed by someone who would do anything to prevent Georgy from uncovering the truth?

Georgy and her brother, Harry, are trying to find proof of their parents’ marriage. If they find proof of said marriage her brother will then be the Earl of Dunsmore. But there are many obstacles standing in their way, not the least of the “acting” Earl of Dunsmore. Harry finally finds information that sends him off to Yorkshire to find the church where the marriage was supposedly performed. Georgy’s friend Lily then overhears two very important points of information. Number one is that Dunsmore is having a house party for the Christmas holiday. The other is that Lord Harland, who has been invited to the Dunsmore gathering, is looking for a valet. Lily then talks Georgy into posing not only as a man but as a valet for Harland.

Much to Georgys’ surprise she is hired on the spot and given a month’s probation. She ends up proving herself as more than competent as a valet. But she still needs to infiltrate Dunsmore’s family home during Christmas! But what happens when Harland not only finds out about Georgy’s secret but finds her trying to break into Dunsmore’s private office! Will he turn her over and if not, what will her consequences be?

I think I have a think for characters posing as others. I’m always attracted to this kind of story but it doesn’t always work out well for me. Well this book definitely worked for me in a number of different ways.

Georgy in this story was just wonderful. She played her part as a man to perfection but still we saw the feminine side of her. She grew up in the theatre so seeing men in the altogether really didn’t effect her all that much – until she saw Nathan. He was just oh so nice to look at she couldn’t help herself from staring at times. Since Harland was like any other aristocrat he really paid no attention to the servants and therefore that left Georgy plenty of time to look him over. I loved that Georgy got to see Harland in almost all parts of his life. She saw him at his worst and his best and though they didn’t talk hardly at all until later in the book she saw him for who he really was.

Nathan was such a great hero. He started out as a stuffy aristo but really, that’s how he had been raised. When it came down to life in the ton and love he chose love and how could I not love that about him?

I’m not sure I’m reviewing this job very well but the book was so good and had so many parts and pieces to it I can’t possibly tell you all about it in a review without telling the whole book.

The story is quite lovely as is the writing. This being Chambers first I know it certainly won’t be her last. It’s a fantastic story and one definitely worth reading.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Joanna Chambers
Carina Press

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What I Read Last Week

Posted November 7, 2011 by Tracy in Features | 6 Comments

It’s Monday again! Woohoo! Or…boo! Whichever you prefer. lol

So it was an interesting week in Tracyland to say the least. The first part of the week was fine and then we got to Thursday. In the morning I did something I’ve been doing for 10 years with no trouble and that’s putting the 5 gallon water jug onto the cooler at work. I’ve never had an issue. Well Thursday I was having trouble getting the bottle positioned right so went to put the jug on the floor to get a better grip on it and apparently twisted the wrong way. Yep, I wrenched my back and have been in pain ever since. It’s getting better but no, the troubles didn’t stop there.

I happened to be looking something up on my bank’s website the same day as I put my back out and noticed a strange charge on the activity report. My hubby normally takes care of that so I haven’t been on the site for a while. Well a little more investigation showed me that someone had gotten the number to my husband’s debit card and had charged about $1200.00! They were pretty sly with it so it wasn’t blatantly obvious (since my hubby didn’t even notice) but damn! Aggressive little shits, weren’t they? The bank has been wonderful and will put the money back into our account quickly.

I also had to attend a funeral for a dear friend this past week. Patsy was 80 years old.  She had a heart condition and alzheimers and had been pretty confused for a while. I know that her death was expected as the heart condition was terminal but it was still hard to let her go. She was a sweet, charming, loving woman who will be missed.

OMG I almost forgot to show you this!  My oldest decided that she wanted her hair trimmed.  Well, it got more than trimmed.  By the time we got to the appointment she’d decided to chop most of it off.  She’s beautiful (if I do say so myself) so I think she looks good all the time but the haircut she got is wonderful! Anyway, just thought I’d share…

The week did end on a good note (or began on a good note if you look at it differently) as yesterday was my wedding anniversary. Yes, the hubster and I have now been married for 18 looooong, arduous, painful years. lol Actually they’ve been pretty damned good years and I certainly hope they continue to be!:)

So on to what I read this past week:

I started the week with Too Wicked to Wed by Cara Elliott. This was a good historical and the start of a new trilogy for Ms. Elliott. I liked the writing style. The book ebbed and flowed for me but overall I it was good. You can read more of my thoughts in my review here. 3.75 out of 5

After that it was Lawe’s Justice by Lora Leigh. This is book 25 in the Breed series (seriously? That many?) and is Lawe Justice’s book. This has him and his mate at odds (how odd) because Lawe wants her to be protected and she’s a warrior and wants to be who and what she is – which is understandable. It was a good book but I think I might be getting sick of the angst between the mates. I liked the overall story arc and the other parts of it, I think, better than the romance – although that was good too. 4 out of 5 (comes out 12/6 – read for The Book Binge)

The Zero Knot by KZ Snow was next and I really liked this book. It was the story of 2 18 year olds from a small town who are trying to find who they are and what they want in life. I’ll be posting my review in a couple of days so watch for that.

Next was The Lady’s Secret by Joanna Chambers. I’ve been waiting for this one! Did you know that Joanna Chambers is our own Tumperkin from Isn’t It Romance? The book comes out today and I’m so excited for Tump I can hardly stand it! The book was a great historical romance and had so many great parts to it! I’ll be posting my review later this week so watch for that as well.

And…that was it! With everything going on this past week reading had to take the old back seat but hopefully I’ll get more reading done this week. I’ll be working at the polls tomorrow on election day and since there are only 2 measures on the ballot and those are both school board measures I’m thinking I’ll have most of the day to read! lol

My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:
The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne
Archangel’s Blade by Nalini Singh
A Bride Unveiled by Jillian Hunter

Happy Reading!

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