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review 2017-07-29 09:35
Oh, I like to be beside the seaside. And I love this book!
The British Seaside (Images Of The Past) - Luci Gosling

My thanks to Pen & Sword for offering me a copy of this book that I freely (and gladly) chose to review.

I discovered Pen & Sword thanks to a writer I had met through blogging and I am regularly kept informed of their new books through their catalogues. Although I don’t have the time to read as many of them as I would like, when I saw this one, I could not resist.

I am not British but I have lived in the UK for almost twenty-five years now. As luck would have it, my first job in the UK was in Eastbourne, and I spent quite a few years in that part of the UK (working in Eastbourne, Hastings, and later studying at Sussex University and living in Brighton for a while). Although my experiences of the British seaside are fairly recent in comparison to the pictures in this book, I am fascinated by the peculiarities of the British seaside. And, over the years, I have listened to many conversations and stories of childhood holidays and memories of happy times spent at a seaside resort or other.  When I saw this book I thought it would be fun, and a perfect way to put images to the stories I had heard and to learn new ones.

Lucinda Gosling, the author, works for the Mary Evans Picture Library (check their website here) and she has done a fantastic job of curating a great variety of images, ranging from personal photographs to postcards and advertisements, from the very late XIX century to the 1960s and 70s. They are mostly in black and white (although there are the odd colour picture and some old hand-coloured ones, some in wonderful sepia, and some colour illustrations) and they go from the funny amateur pic  taken at an amusement fair to some truly beautiful professional pictures (like some by Roger Mayne or Shirley Baker).

There is little text, other than an introduction to each part of the book, which is divided thematically into six chapters, and brief notes to identify the pictures (and on some occasions, to add a bit of background).  Although concise, the writing is excellent, as it manages to be informative, entertaining, and at times truly humorous. There is a great picture of a man (probably in his early forties, in my opinion pretty formally dressed, although he’s not wearing a jacket, so it’s probably rather informal for the period, as it is dated 1911). The description of the picture is as follows:

A relaxed looking chap sitting outside a tent at the Lucas Holiday Camp in Norbreck, Blackpool, 1911. The camp was a ‘summer holiday camp for young men’ and the location of the holidays taken by the wholesome-sounding ‘Health and Strength League’. It was described as ‘a camp for young men of good moral character who are willing to observe a few simple rules necessary for good order’. (p. 102) Your guess is as good as mine. ;)

The chapters cover: the beach (the increase in popularity of first, sea water, later swimming, and even later, sunbathing and tanning), entertainment (once you had all these people there, you had to keep them entertained, and although some of those complexes have disappeared, we still have Blackpool!), crowds and solitude (the touristic and less touristic places), travel and accommodation (once the railway made travelling easier, people flocked to the coast, but there had always been ways to get there, and people who saw an opportunity to set up bed and breakfast, and, of course, the wonderful Victorian hotels that grace many seaside towns), piers & promenades (I love piers and it was sad to read about how many have disappeared, but a joy to recover pictures of some of  them and learn more about their architects), and water (with its fascinating images of the Victorian bathing machines, and the fabulous changes in swimwear).

I am not sure what I could highlight, as I adored (adore, and I’m keeping it for life if I can) this book from beginning to end. I love the pictures of the early seaside tourists, dressed to the nines because it was a day out and you were supposed to wear your best clothes. There is a fabulous pic of a lady riding a tricycle from 1886 (I think it’s the oldest picture in the book), I love the pics of young children, especially those wearing knitted swimming suits. There is also a very touching picture of two young girls holding hands and looking towards the beach, blocked by barb wire during World War II. There are some fabulous images of incredible rides (I’m sure Health and Safety would have a fit), some fascinating pics of beauty contests (oh, how much those vintage swimming suits would fetch today), and much to make think those interested in social history.

I’ve been carrying the book with me and pestering everybody I’ve met, showing them some of my favourite pictures. I even talked about it on the radio programme I host (I know, I know, pictures on the radio…) at a local radio station. Who would I recommend it to? Everybody! For some, it will bring memories, either of things they’ve experienced, or of things they’ve been told, and will help them tell their stories. For others, it will be a compelling slice of social history. If you like the seaside, you must check it out. If you’re interested in social history, you must check it out. If you love pictures and postcards, check it out. If you are intrigued by changes in fashion, transport, entertainment… check it out. If you love donkeys, check it out. Last but not least, if you want me to shut up about it, check it out.

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text 2014-11-13 16:05
Writer Heroes and Heroines in Paranormal Romance
Heart of the Highland Wolf - Terry Spear
Insatiable - Meg Cabot
The Sword and the Pen - Elysa Hendricks
Highland Knight - Cindy Miles
Angels Among Us - Jeanette Ward
Heart Fortune - Robin D. Owens
Single White Vampire - Lynsay Sands
Viking, go Home - Faith V. Smith
Any Man So Daring - Sarah A. Hoyt
The Open Water Swimmer - Sabrina Devonshire

Writers are sexy. I mean they are almost always in their pajamas-- ready for bed. :) 

 

Here are some wonderful Writer Heroes and Heroines in Paranormal Romance. My lists are never in any particular order. 

 

1. Heart of the Highland Wolf  by Terry Spear

 

Modern day werewolf laird Ian MacNeill reluctantly allows a film production company to use his castle, but he knows his secretive clan has a big problem when a beautiful red werewolf female who insists she's working on the film keeps showing up in the wrong places... and a matter of pleasure...

Julia Wildthorn is not who she says she is-she's sneaking into Argent Castle to steal an ancient relic for her grandfather and to do research for her next werewolf romance novel. When she catches a glimpse of Ian, she realizes he's the perfect hero...

 

2. Insatiable by Meg Cabot

 

TV writer Meena Harper creates fabulous plots for Insatiable, the second-highest–rated soap opera, thanks to her burdensome if lucrative psychic ability to see into the future and determine how people are going to die. And just as Insatiable is switching to a vampire theme to attract a younger demographic, a spate of chilling murders-by-exsanguination grips New York City. Enter Lucien Antonescu, a sexy, melancholic Romanian history professor/vampire who recognizes that the murders are the work of rogue vampires who have broken away from his order. (Lucien happens to be the son of Vlad the Impaler, whom Bram Stoker gave such a bad rep.) Lucien's opposition: Alaric Wulf, a sympathetic detective from the Palatine Guard, who hopes to use Meena and her prophetic gift to stop the murders and track down Lucien. Unfortunately for Alaric, Meena is a little in love with Lucien.

 

3. The Sword And The Pen by Elysa Hendricks

 

It was time. After penning ten popular sword-and-sorcery novels, Brandon Alexander Davis was ready to move on. Ready to stop hiding in his fictional world. Ready to start living a real life. There was just one problem: as he plotted the noble death of Serilda D'Lar, his fictional creation, complete with mile-long sword, skimpy leather outfit and badass attitude, appeared in his study.

Was she nothing more than a crazy fan, or had Brandon finally cracked?

This warrior woman whom he knew so well, so strong yet vulnerable, was both fantasy and reality. She was an invitation to rediscover all he once knew--that life is an incredible, magical journey and, for love, any man can be a hero.

 

4. Highland Knight by Cindy Miles

 

Top mystery novelist Abigail Landry is suffering from writer's block. Seeking inspiration, she heads to a 14th-century castle in Scotland and soon finds that it's haunted by Ethan Munro and his five relatives: not ghosts, but 14th-century Scotsmen trapped between their time and the present who corporealize for one hour a day. Ethan needs Abigail's help to solve the mystery surrounding his situation and clear him of the murder of his wife in the past. As Abigail and Ethan fall for each other, they must avoid a vengeful spirit bent on killing Abigail out of jealousy, and the threat of losing each other if the mystery is finally solved. Spunky Abigail and typically gruff but warmhearted Ethan (and his rough and tumble kin) are sweetly entertaining. 

 

5. Angels Among Us by Jeanette Ward

 

Devil or angel? When Braelynn Burke goes in search of the truth behind the angel myths sweeping the country, she never expects to find devilishly sexy Gabe Harding. Forced to accept the local mechanic's grudging hospitality when her car breaks down, she discovers a man who heats her blood quicker than the torrid Kansas summer. Antagonistic, bull-headed and sexy-as-sin, Gabe is everything Braelynn doesn't want in a man, but once in his home her thoughts are anything but angelic.For his part Gabe doesn't need a seductive temptress who tries both his resolve and self-control by living under his roof. Even though his deceased wife appeared in the past as an angel, promising new love and a mother for their daughter, he's pretty sure Braelynn doesn't fit the bill. Like Braelynn, he's tormented by survivor's guilt and is unsure whether to cling to his wife's gentle spirit or believe the sassy seraph tormenting him is the woman he was told to wait for.Will they discover the truth they seek has nothing to do with angels and everything to do with their own fears? That love is not in their pasts, but in their future?

 

6. Heart Fortune  by Robin D. Owens

 

Jace Bayrum has always been a loner. Concerned more with getting an adrenaline fix and making money to live on his own, Jace cares little for family ties or matters of the heart. On the other hand Glyssa Licorice, Jace’s former fling and true mate, is both loving and loyal. She is determined to track down her HeartMate and have him claim her.

After hearing that Jace has been involved in an accident, Glyssa sets out to find him, departing for the excavation site of the lost starship Lugh’s Spear. Though her goal is to help Jace and finesse him into recognizing her as his mate, the excavation itself draws her in…

Thrust by fate into working side-by-side, Jace and Glyssa’s electric connection from years before sparks once more. She intrigues him, and Jace begins to realize that a HeartMate can make a difference. And one as magnetic as Glyssa could be exactly what he has been searching for…

 

7. Single White Vampire by Lynsay Sands

 

Reclusive Lucern Argeneau, a family biographer who has been classified as a paranormal romance author, is stunned when Kate C. Leever, his new editor at Roundhouse Publishing (read: Dorchester), shows up on his doorstep demanding he make a public appearance to appease his fans. After some urging from the beguiling Kate, he agrees to go to the Romantic Times convention, little knowing that he'll have to contend with adoring fans and a week full of parties and signings

 

8. Viking, go Home by Faith V. Smith

 

ulgar Thorrason’s inability to keep his lust under control earns him the ire of a Faery Princess, who sends him forward in time to modern-day Michigan to learn the difference between lust and love. There he meets Raven Harrison, a romance author. The petite beauty piques his lust, but he sees red when she scoffs at his tale of being a time-traveling Viking.

Raven is blown over by the handsome and half-dressed man who comes out of nowhere. His sensuality sends a shiver of desire straight to her feminine core. However, his tale of being curse by a Faery leads her to believe he should be locked up for his own protection. Before she can suggest just that, someone begins shooting at them, and both she and the Viking are running for their lives.

A circumstance that brings them closer in more ways than one, until their unknown assailant threatens Wulf’s life. Now both must make decisions that could destroy their relationship before it gets off the ground—and before the Viking is snatched back to the past.

 

9. Any Man So Daring by Sarah A. Hoyt

 

William Shakespeare, successful playwright, receives word that his only son has died. Reality is far more complex. The young Hamnet is a hostage in fairyland, where a war rages, and where a young princess waits a Prince Charming who might never come.
Can an all too human playwright stop the magical war that threatens both worlds?

 

 

10. The Open Water Swimmer by Sabrina Devonshire

 

When children’s mystery writer Dana Thomas has recurring nightmares about a swimmer drowning during an open water race, she aims to change his fate. Dana’s plan to remain objective makes a serious splashdown when she meets her “mission,” a towering blue-eyed man with the best cut set of pectorals she’s ever seen. Going incognito as a feeding station volunteer for FINA World Cup series races, she travels to Greece, Portugal, Honduras, and Tunisia to protect him. When heat between the pair sizzles, she falls hopelessly in love with this man destined to die.

Elite swimmer and former Navy fighter pilot Jeff Dickson keeps dreaming he’s drowning. Recently dumped by long-time girlfriend who found him too competitive, Jeff believes his driven personality and international travel schedule can’t mix with love. When Jeff meets Dana, he’s instantly attracted to her voluptuous body and mysterious personality. When Jeff learns she’s been stalking him for weeks at swimming races, he decides she must be psycho.

A series of fateful events before the final race lead Dana to believe her nightmare is about to unfold. Anticipating a dive-in and rescue scenario, Dana is shocked to discover that’s only the beginning. Can she change the fate of the man she loves and survive?

 

Do you have any favorite writers in Paranormal, Science Fiction, and Fantasy Romance that didn't make the list? Let me know!

 

To vote for the best of the best, visit my Goodreads list: Writer Heroes and Heroines in Paranormal Romance. 

 

 

 

 

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review 2013-12-02 18:42
The Pen and the Sword by Jana Downs
The Pen and the Sword - Jana Downs

3 1/2 - 4 Hearts

 

Beast Games 02

 

Review written for MM Good Book Reviews 

 

This story is part of a series and must be read in order. Flavius is the gladiator master who doesn’t see his slaves as just beasts, he is trying to improve the lot of his slaves so they have more freedom but his own secret feelings for Corbin could lose them everything. Corbin, Flavius’ Lanista, wants nothing more than to be able to claim his mate but a relationship between a master and slave is forbidden, punishable by jail time for the master. Flavius fights his feelings for Corbin but Corbin won’t allow him to back off, then a deep dark secret about Flavius is discovered and Flavius’ household must pull together or lose everything.
 
Ah we finally get the story about Flavius and Corbin, we all saw the tension between them in Cat and Mouse but now we see the full struggle that they both faced and we discover just how hard it has been for both of them. Flavius is doing the best he can with his gladiator house, but keeping away from Corbin proves to be impossible. Corbin wishes he could claim the one meant for him and refuses to be pushed away, hoping to find a solution he pursues his master but things become more complicated. Both Flavius and Corbin are shocked when the truth comes out and they have to rely on each other for support and can only hope for the future.
 
This is a brilliant story in a setting where shifters are slaves and humans the masters, using the shifters natures as a guide to their placing in the human world and having clear guidelines on shifter laws. Both Corbin and Flavius are in a difficult position with their forbidden relationship, Flavius tries to deny what is between them because of the laws and Corbin is beginning to no longer care about the laws. At the gladiator games it comes to a head between them and they have to turn to their household gladiators for help. Flavius makes some surprising connections and Flavius’ slaves are about to get a freedom they have never had before.
 
This story feels very much like it continues on from Cat and Mouse and in a way it does because we got to see from the outside Corbin’s & Flavius’s relationship in Cat and Mouse so we knew there was something between them, it also carries on with the changing household situation for all the slaves with Flavius wanting fairer treatment for the slaves even before he learned the truth. The relationship between Corbin and Flavius is really well written with the conflicting emotions between following their hearts or following the law, dealing with the new discoveries and making surprising allies. They are a perfect couple in a very difficult situation.
 
 
I recommend this to those who love shifters in tight situations, a master trying to do the right thing, fighting the heart and losing, accepting fate, hot sex, a great storyline and a new beginning with hope for the future.
Source: mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com
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review 2011-06-01 00:00
The Sword and the Pen - Elysa Hendricks V. different.
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