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Upon Your Return by Marie Lavender

a new review on Romance Novels for the Beach Blog via Upon Your Return by Marie Lavender

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December 16, 2018 · 4:53 pm

Pre-order Release Feature: Lara’s Story by author Diane Merrill Wigginton

I am pleased to announce a great new release by Diane Merrill Wigginton, an author I met during my journey! Her young adult sweet historical romance, Lara’s Story, officially went up for pre-order and will be released on January 4th!

That’s awesome! Congrats on your new release!:)

When a new book comes out, it is always an exciting time for an author!

Diane is giving us a look at her sweet YA historical romance, Lara’s Story, today.Great cover!

This is the blurb for Lara’s Story:

SHATTERED BY HEARTBREAK
“When a heart breaks, it does not break evenly, cleaving in half exactly down the middle.”

Surrounded by her large, boisterous family in 1840s Ireland, Lara Flannigan has never known anything but love and belonging—until the day tragedy strikes, leaving her abandoned and forced into indentured servitude.

REMADE IN A NEW WORLD.

Just when all hope seems lost, Lara is discovered by a childless American couple, visiting Ireland to aid in the famine-relief effort. With barely a chance to look back, she’s swept away to a bustling new continent—and a dizzying new reality. One of petticoats, opulent townhouses, and the cold reaches of Philadelphia high society. Desperate for a future, Lara works tirelessly to fit into her new life… while still haunted by a past that won’t let her go.

Set in a fascinating historical period, Lara’s Story is a gripping young adult novel that explores the strength of the human spirit and the power of forgiveness to heal a broken heart.

And here is an excerpt to entice you with.

April 27, 1854

Philadelphia Wharf

 

EVERY QUESTION BEGINS WITH a quest for answers, and every testimony of what is true begins with a test of our resolve. I am reminded of this simple formula as I stand here on this boardwalk, looking out to sea. Each life is a journey, defined by turns we take or the roads we choose or those which fate chooses for us. Some of us move from one place to another, along a well-worn path or the path less taken; it really doesn’t matter much as long as it leads you home again.

Memories of my home involuntarily flash through my mind as Mama’s words come back to me like a sounding board that has followed me my entire life. She would often tell my sisters and me, “Don’t ever make yerself smaller to satisfy the needs of another.” Mama was always insightful and perceptive when it came to her children.

Oh, how I still miss her so, even to this day. I smile to myself, wishing my ears could hear that beautiful, rhythmic sound of Mama’s voice again, just one more time as a terrible memory of the last day I saw her alive flashes through my mind and I vigorously shake my head to dispel the thought.

When a heart breaks it does not break evenly – cleaving in half exactly down the middle. It breaks, jagged and rough, cutting one to the very core of their soul. And while things may appear perfectly normal to the naked eye, beneath the surface lies the real tragedy, fragmented and splintered beyond reconciliation. Heartbreak is not an innocuous pain, easily excused like a stomach ache. It is more insidious, spreading throughout ones’ system, like an infection. Merely closing my eyes to the pain does not eliminate it in the least.

Just breathe in, then breathe out and move forward, I remind myself. This simple little mantra is something I taught myself so many years ago, and it has gotten me through more than a few dire situations.

I was born Lara Flannigan, on the twenty-first day of April, in the year of our Lord, eighteen hundred and thirty-three. Mama liked to tell me it was a beautiful spring morn, the day I was born, which would have been an unusual occurrence for that time of year.

Mama also said, “I knew ye were special and destined for greatness the moment ye took yer first breath, don’t ye know. Cause the sun poked out from behind the clouds with yer first breath of life. Why twere’ like the Heavens above truly recognized that an angel had been born to me,” she teased.

If truth be told, I believe mama told this exact story to each of her six children. But I loved hearing it nonetheless.

I was the sixth child of the seven children born to Rory and Laurel Flannigan, and I was named for my Da’s mother. Our days were long and our lives were hard, but our nights belonged to us. I never knew life could be anything other than what I had experienced. My world was very small in those days, so I never missed the things I didn’t have.

I am an Irish immigrant and I came to America at the tender age of thirteen, a disillusioned child, harshly mistreated by the very people entrusted with my care. I tell you this not to solicit your sympathies but to impart knowledge and gain your understanding, for I was a pitiful, angry child who was unaware of how many things in my life were about to change. People meeting me today might say that I was more fortunate than most. Yet they would never have heard my story nor known that I suffered in silence. I did not wear my pain, like a badge of honor, but kept it deep inside of me, hidden away from the prying eyes of others.

Fear has made me keep my story to myself. I was afraid of the repercussions from the actions I took in the name of survival, when my whole world fell apart. Furthermore, I feared the behavior of peers, those who would use the circumstance of my birthplace and subsequent difficulties to hold me back or bludgeon me with my story like a weapon.

For many years I have pushed from my thoughts memories of home and all that happened there. And yet, every now and again I indulge myself with less painful memories of the past, that push their way to the surface, and I give myself permission to embrace them, loving, bold, nostalgic memories that are impossible to forget. This is especially true today as I find myself waiting, yet another day, for a ship to come in, one that I thought would never arrive upon these great American shores.

Oh, I have everything a person could ever desire. Enough food to ward off hunger for a lifetime. Good health, a beautiful home, fashionable clothes, and the love of my family. I truly have every comfort one could want at my disposal, yet still, I long to recover the missing pieces of myself torn from me the day I left my native land of Ireland. A loss that can still be keenly felt whenever I lay my head down upon my pillow at night. And even though I am far from familiar old haunts, I swear I hear the land beckoning to me in my dreams, calling from across the ocean, summoning me home to the cliffs of Dunmore Head on the westernmost shores of Ireland. Closing my eyes now, I can still recall the smell and taste of the breeze on my tongue and the tangy feel of her salty sea air as it mixes with the sweet scents of wildflowers growing on her craggy cliffs.

The memories grab hold of my soul, leaving me longing for home, even more this day.

“Ireland,” I whisper, as it all comes flooding back to me — the green grassy moors waving in the gentle breeze like waves on the ocean. I can still feel the way the grass tickled my bare feet when I walked upon it.

In my mind’s eye I can see the ancient moss-covered rocks and hills that seem to roll on forever, and the overwhelmingly familiar smells of home assault my senses and kindle even more longing inside me. Peat moss burning in the hearth, the earthy smells of fresh mud coming from our simple thatched roofed dwelling, built from wattle and daub that plastered the rocks and boulders in place to form walls. The rain that often leaked upon my head in the middle of the night whenever a storm blew in just right. The way the sweet earthy tones mingled with the bitter as they played across my tongue whenever I chewed on a blade of grass.

Vivid, sweet memories wash over me, transporting me back in time as I see myself as a little girl, sitting in the middle of a field of tall grass, watching with fascination as the wind blew the grass to-and-fro. Then I see myself laughing and playing among the cliffs again with my best friend, Jamie. There are so many precious and sweet memories that I had denied myself for so long.

I swallow hard to push down the lump that forms in my throat. I can recall every ridge, crag, twig, and moss-covered rock that littered our unyielding plot of land.

There were so many afternoons spent upon those cliffs, basking in the glorious sun after bathing in the ocean with Mama and my two sisters. Alana loved tickling me just to hear me laugh while I lay upon the warm cliffs, soaking up the last glorious rays of sunlight. A cool breeze would kick up, washing over my skin, and chilling my flesh with her gentle touch. Those were the days I thought would never end, and it is those same sweet memories that now make me mourn the loss of them all the more.

I shake my head quickly, dispelling any more memories of the past as I hold back more tears, attempting to keep them from escaping. Swiping at the unfortunate few that trickle down my cheeks, I feel anxious and frustrated all at the same time.

Please do not mistake my tears for weakness, for they convey more than mere words are able and can express so many different emotions.

One should never assume that there is only one reason to shed them. There are tears caused by overwhelming grief and pain and tears of contrition. There are tears of joy and love, or tears of annoyance caused by situations that are beyond your control. Yet my tears today are a culmination of so many different emotions that are simply hard for me to put into words.

Book Info:

Genre:  Historical Romance, Young Adult, Sweet Historical

Release Date:  January 4, 2019

Pre-order Purchase Link:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/bMQjzV

Wow! ♥♥♥ This looks like quite an emotional read!😉

The story should appeal to Christians, young adults, and any readers who enjoy sweet romance tales…

Thank you for telling us about your new book, Diane! I know we all can’t wait to read this YA romance! 🙂

 

Readers, don’t forget to pre-order a copy of this sweet historical tale!

Author Bio

Diane Merrill Wigginton was born in Riverside, California in 1963. Her family moved to San Diego near the end of 1970, where she grew up in the newly developed community of Mira Mesa. Spending portions of her summers each year in Burly, Idaho with her mother’s parents, Florence and Orval Merrill, Diane developed a love of animals and a respect for the land. It was during this time on the farm riding horses, herding cattle and taming wild kittens that Diane also developed a love of storytelling. She dreamed that one day she would become a published author and tell her stories to the world. Having spent her entire life in California, Diane and her husband made the move from Sacramento, California to Kalispell, Montana to retire in February 2018. Now she is able to pursue her passion of writing books full-time.

“I am thrilled and elated to be doing what I love.”

 

Thanks again, Diane! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Book Release, Books, coming soon, Event, Fiction, Historical, Historical Romance, new release, Readers, Romance, sweet romance, Young Adult

Unique and Romantic Date Ideas for those Crispy Winter Days: a guest post by Dating Connections

Unique and Romantic Date Ideas for Those Crispy Winter Days

 

Whether you and your beau have been going out for a long time or you’ve recently met through a BBW dating site, you should take the time to plan your dates and spend quality time together to deepen your intimacy and strengthen your bond. You might learn new things about each other, have fun in unexpected ways, and warm up together under a blanket when you get home from a night on the town.

Created by Freepik

Sure, you can skip the night on the town and go straight under the covers, but if you’d rather leave the house you’ll find our top winter date ideas guaranteed to offer you fun, silliness, and adventure.

Siyuanhua, Flickr

#1: Go Ice Skating

A winter-only activity, ice skating can be incredibly romantic because you can sort of dress up for the occasion and wear a pair of white or predominantly white wool mittens, a white pom-pom beanie hat, and huge scarf and a pair of skinny jeans in which your legs will look longer and leaner thanks to your skates!

Created by Freepic.diller – Freepik.com

You’ll look like a snow angel, your partner will be absolutely smitten with you, and you’ll finish the date off with a cup of warm tea or hot chocolate sprinkled with cinnamon – the most romantic winter spice ever!

Mint Owl, Unsplash

#2: A $20-Dollar Gift Challenge

You’ll probably have a few gift challenges this winter, such as Secret Santa at work or with your nieces, but how about you do a $20-dollar-gift challenge with your partner and exchange the gifts over a romantic dinner or when you get home from the ice skating rink? Either make him a present or think long and hard what kind of a funny, sweet or useful gift you could get him for less than 20 bucks, tax included.

Kari Shea, Unsplash

#3: See a Live Show

Another date idea usually associated with the holiday season and Christmas time, catching a live show can be relaxing and entertaining with just a touch of posh.

Peter Lewicki, Unsplash

See a musical that’s on all year long and has exceptional reviews, a famous Christmas ballet, like The Nutcracker, or head to Cirque du Soleil and have dinner or desserts afterward at a café nearby. You can even go Christmas shopping before the show, but try not to look like a bag lady at the theater when you walk in with 5+ shopping bags.

Created by Freepik

#4:  Check Out the Holiday Lights Together

Brave the cold together and go for a walk through the downtown area to check out all the holiday lights or cruise around in a warm car if it’s insanely cold outside. This is your fall walk-in-the-park-to-enjoy-the-colors equivalent that doesn’t have to take all evening but it can still warm your hearts before you head home to have a few cups of eggnog in front of the fireplace.

Rawpixel, Unsplash

#5: Date Plus Hot After-party

Let him plan your date for next weekend even if he’s not particularly good at it and can’t make it past a dinner and a movie, and you plan the after-party. Book a room at a posh downtown hotel, check in at the appropriate time, and come back to the room following your date, especially if the hotel hot tub is open until the wee hours!

Created by Freepik

#6: Book a Trip Somewhere South

You don’t ever get to appreciate the Dominican like you do in January or February, especially if you live in those areas where you don’t see +1 in the weather forecast for weeks on end. Swap your heavy parkas for bathing suits, dry winter indoor air for a summer breeze, and instead of driving through town actually step outside and take a long walk on the beach at sunset.

Syd Sujuaan, Unsplash

#7: Hit an Escape Room

Created by Rawpixel.com – Freepik.com

Do you and your beau work well as a team? Test your teamwork skills at a local escape room, and see how the two of you get out of a hairy situation together. You can make it even more interesting and hit that hot tub later but only if you make it out in time!

Sounds like quite a bit for us to do during the winter months!

Inna Lesyk, pexels.com

Created by Bristekjegor – Freepik.com

Thank you, Dating Connections, for such great tips! ♥♥♥

Guest Blogger Bio

Dating Connections is a site that offers the opportunity for you to explore a variety of dating tips, previous relationship experiences and interact with other people!

Links

Website:  http://datingconnections.org/

Blog:  http://datingconnections.org/category/blog/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/datingconnections/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/BoyanUlv

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/101423157749445118069

 

Thanks again! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

As always, happy reading, everyone! 😉 Have a great week!

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Filed under Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, Guest Writer, Holiday, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, travel

Why YOU Should Read at Least One Romance Novel in Your Lifetime: a guest post by Lady Silver

Why YOU Should Read at Least One Romance Novel in Your Lifetime

 

When people hear the term ‘romance novel’, usually they think of some cheesy story where true love triumphs at the end and it fulfills someone’s secret desires.

Created by Freepik

However, there is so much more to these stories than just “sappiness” and “smuttiness.” They deal with hard truths about the world and give those who are struggling to find the good in humanity hope. In fact, everyone should read a romance novel at least once in their lifetime because of the following reasons.

  1. Life Lessons

During the course of certain romances, characters have to undergo character development so that they can appreciate the love that they have found. On the way, they learn certain life lessons that can be applied to the real world. An example is in The Darkest Craving by Gena Showalter.

The main character has to deal with sexual abuse that caused him to feel worthless and “less-than.” On the way to recovery, he realizes that what happened to him isn’t his fault and that it’s okay to cry over the wrongs done to him. Even the female character has to overcome her own forms of abuse and by the end, they are stronger as individuals and as a couple.

Carly Rae Hobbins, Unsplash

There are other lessons that can be taught through these novels such as being compassionate, being loyal, never giving up, et cetera; all of which can be applied to the real-world.

  1. Relationship Advice

Obviously, there will be some relationship drama in a romance novel. However, the journey through the relationships can provide insight into real-life dramas. For example, if the main character finds out that they have a child by another woman in the midst of his current relationship (which happens in almost all of Pippa Grant’s books), then the story deals with how the love interest adapts to becoming a step-parent and how the main character adapts to becoming an actual parent. This scenario is played out countless times throughout the media and in real-life, so it’s good to see a book tackle how to approach this situation.

Guillaume de Germain, Unsplash

Also, everyday struggles like not knowing how to act in front of in-laws and sharing space are all struggles anyone in a serious relationship will deal with, and all are tackled within romance novels.

  1. Comic Relief

Some romance novels have an underlying humor to them. Just like movie goers flock to the cinema in order to see the new Kevin Hart movie, readers love romance novels for their comedy. Humor can bring a happy release at the end of a hard day, joy to a horrible situation, and can lighten a dark mood.

Vanessa Serpas, Unsplash

Romance novels have a lot of funny lines, such as, “I guess I’m the sole monolinguist. Which either means I know a single language, or I’m committed to eating one box” (The Master by Kresley Cole).

They also have hilarious situations like a Greek god popping out of a book naked to the surprise of a modern-day Louisiana woman (Dark Hunters by Sherrilyn Kenyon).

Either way, the comedic scenarios in these books help lighten their reader’s day. Also, they’re just plain entertaining.

  1. Ideas

Of course, there are plenty of steamy scenes within romance novels, and I would be lying if I said that readers just read them for the above reasons. There is satisfaction in reading a good sensual scene between fictional characters. Sometimes, it’s not the “sex” that makes these scenes enjoyable but the tension between the two that readers love. Not only does it give fuel to fantasies, it also gives ideas for real-life partners who want to “spice it up” in the bedroom. There’s a reason why Fifty Shades of Grey did so well, and it isn’t the plot.

Stokpic, pexels.com

Sure, these scenes bring in readers, but they aren’t the only reason for reading.

Yuri Efremov, Unsplash

Romance novels give real-world advice on how to handle love and life while still being entertaining and wholesome.

Created by Freepik

Too right!

Thank you, Lady Silver, for offering some great suggestions to non-romance readers, and reaffirming the fascination for loyal fans! ♥♥♥

Guest Blogger Bio

I am an anonymous blogger who explores how the romance genre impacts the real world while also deconstructing all elements of romance.

Links

Website/Blog:  www.ladysilverfeather.com

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/LadySilver9

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/103970957583905254546

 

Thanks again! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

As always, happy reading, everyone! 😉 Have a great weekend!

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Filed under Blogging, Books, Event, Faith, Fiction, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Stories

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Katherine McIntyre

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. In 2017 and 2018, I asked both authors and romance readers to come to me with their responses to this big question: “What Does Romance Mean to Me?”

I was genuinely interested in what made us all tick, what continued to draw us to the genre. Why do we love “love” so much? I wanted to dig deep into the heart of each person. And I’ve gotten some incredible feedback. Today is the next post in this series.

So, without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Katherine McIntyre, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

In real life, romance has meant different things to me at different times in my life. There’s the brand-new love sort of romance, that addicting thrill of hope and possibility that comes with initial attraction, or that flash of compatibility.

JD Mason, Unsplash

A lot of people get stuck in this cycle, as there’s an addiction to the intensity of the feelings, which can be hard to sustain for the other sorts of romance.

Then there’s the long-term sort of relationships, the goal for many of those early loves, the hope that they mature into something like this. Except one of the things I didn’t realize until I entered into one myself was the amount of work it takes to sustain those relationships. As the adrenaline rush from the beginning fades, then comes the real work. Life gets in the way, and time can dull that initial thrill, which is why I had to learn to continue to feed the romance, to schedule dates and make sure we spent quality time together.

Jelleke Vanooteghem, Unsplash

Created by Freepik

In finding that other sort of romance, the long-lasting kind, it’s not a flash in the pan, but instead a steady hearth stoked over time.

Except the thrill of early relationships, of finding ‘the one’ is seductive. There’s a giddiness that can’t be replicated, the feeling of stepping to the edge of a precipice and daring to jump.

Created by Freepik

Which is exactly what led me to reading and writing romance.

Ben White, Unsplash

Debby Hudson, Unsplash

Through the genre, I’ve experienced love through the eyes of thousands of different characters, which has led to a deeper understanding of why I fell for the genre in the first place.

Romance is this beautiful, healing thing. It’s hope. It’s a force of good, when there is so much sadness and pain in the world. In my Tribal Spirits series, I’ve written romances between a hero and heroine who are equally stubborn and had never managed to find commitment before, and a later book features a couple who both believe themselves too broken to ever find love.

The sheer amount of variability allows me to keep diving into the genre again and again, because as no two individuals are the same, every romance is unique.

What I adore about romance isn’t just the bringing of two people together, but how the relationships impact their individual communities, their families. When people unite, they can become something stronger than when alone, and seeing those individuals bolstered and supported often offers a glimpse of their best selves. Romance becomes a source of power, of strength, and of growth.

Bruce Mars, pexels.com

For me, romance has always meant hope.

Too right! ♥♥♥
Thanks for stopping by with your inspiring guest post, Katherine! Lovely to have you here! 😀
 
Guest Bio

Strong women. Strong words.

Katherine McIntyre is a feisty chick with a big attitude despite her short stature. She writes stories featuring snarky women, ragtag crews, and men with bad attitudes–high chance for a passionate speech thrown into the mix. As an eternal geek and tomboy who’s always stepped to her own beat, she’s made it her mission to write stories that represent the broad spectrum of people out there, from different cultures and races to all varieties of men and women. Easily distracted by cats and sugar.

Author Links

Website/Blog:  http://www.katherine-mcintyre.com

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/kmcintyreauthor

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1816179461992109/

Twitter:  https://www.twitter.com/pixierants

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B00J8U4VNU

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6473654.Katherine_McIntyre

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/103953984130384189045

Newsletter Sign-Up:  http://eepurl.com/duIScb

Publisher:  https://bit.ly/2B6QKGa

 

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

So, I put the question to you as a reader today as well. What does the word ‘romance’ really mean for you? Is ‘romance’ a driving force in your life? How have your beliefs about romantic relationships informed your own relationships? Perhaps seeing other couples (parents or friends) were some kind of influence. By reading romance novels, does that help to reaffirm things for you?

If you’d like to participate in this special feature, please contact me at marieannlavender@gmail.com and I’ll schedule a spot for you. As you can tell from the schedule on the right hand side of the page, we’re always booked fast, but don’t hesitate to join in! You do not need to be a writer or author. We want to hear from anyone. We’d love to get your take on how you feel about romance, and why you keep reading our books! ♥♥♥ 

Thanks again, Katherine, for giving us your take on what romance has come to mean to you. Lovely! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for a romance blog tour feature on November 27th! Yay! 🙂

Have a great week and Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! 🦃

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Event, Faith, family, Fiction, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Message, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Relationships, Romance, Writers, Writing

Top Historical Romance Books We Can’t Stop Reading: a guest post by Dating Connections

Top Historical Romance Books We Can’t Stop Reading

 

Whether you’re in a biker dating rut and need some way to keep things interesting, or are a bookworm that’ll read anything and everything, today we present a short yet comprehensive list of historical romance books that are a true hit with their readership!

Javier García, Flickr

Mostly set in England, these novels will keep you on your toes much like Pride & Prejudice – you know Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth have to get together in the end, but it’s all so complicated that it seems impossible! ♥

#1: Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon

The story of Claire Randall is set in the Scottish Highlands just after WWII. A combat nurse just back from the war, Claire is reunited with her husband, but soon finds herself as a Sassenach – an ‘outlander’ in a war-torn Scotland when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Claire discovers that her only chance to stay safe depends on Jamie Fraser, a handsome young soldier who steals her heart. She must find her way through the world of danger, passion, and violence as she is trying to reconcile two irreconcilable lives. One of the most popular historical romances (with a time travel slant) on Goodreads with a score of 4.22 out of 5 based on more than 665,000 ratings, Outlander is an explicit book that uses descriptive, energizing and highly engaging writing.

#2: Westcott Series by Mary Balogh (Someone to Love)

The death of Humphrey Westcott, Earl of Riverdale, leaves behind a fortune and a secret he had kept for so long – a daughter no one ever knew he had. Anna Snow, who grew up as an orphan, learns her father was the late Earl of Riverdale, and she stands to inherit a fortune, but her siblings want nothing to do with her. When the new Earl’s guardian becomes interested in Anna, he assists her with the transformation from an orphan to a lady, stepping in to rescue her only to find himself vulnerable to the feelings he has kept hidden for so long. Someone to Love is the 5th book in a series, but good as a stand-alone as well as evidenced by its rating of 3.8 on Good Reads and plenty of praise.#3: The Hathaways Series by Lisa Kleypas (Mine Till Midnight)

When Amelia Hathaway discovers she’s about to inherit a fortune and find herself in London society, she realizes that tending to her two younger siblings is far easier than navigating the ways of the aristocracy. Matters are further complicated when she falls for a tall, dark, and handsome Cam Rohan, who’s unfathomably rich and tired of society’s petty restrictions. He offers only friendship when Amelia reaches out to him for help, but both are soon tempted by the desire that blindsides them both. Mine Till Midnight scored 4.08 out of more than 50,000 ratings on Goodreads, and it’s perfect for anyone who can’t resist love at first sight!#4: The Brothers Sinister Series by Courtney Milan (The Duchess War)

Minerva Lane is a quiet, bespectacled girl who tries hard not to get anyone’s attention. The last time she was at the center of things she had to change her name to escape her scandalous past. Hence, when a handsome duke comes into town, the last thing she wants is to catch his eye, which is precisely what happens. But Robert Blaisdell, the Duke of Clermont, is no fool, and quickly realizes there is much more to Minnie than she lets on, and once things get heated he discovers that this little shy girl could prove to be more than he can handle. Beloved by its readership with a Goodreads rating of just under 4, The Duchess War is a must for anyone looking for steamy historical fiction.#5: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

No list on the most popular historical romance books would ever be complete without Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. One of the most popular novels in this genre, Pride and Prejudice tells a story of incredibly stubborn Elizabeth Bennett, one of five sisters who must marry rich to secure their status, who meets just as incredibly arrogant and rich beyond measure Mr. Darcy. Filled with humorous dialogue, this story of courtships draws readers in with inconceivable force, and delivers a very satisfying finale to the delight of all. With more than 2 million ratings on Goodreads, and a score of 4.25 out of 5, even its old English in which it is written can’t take away from the intrigue and the narrative that are absolutely breathtaking.

#6: The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

Although depicting some historical accuracy peppered with a little drama for good measure, Phillipa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl is a compelling historical novel about two sisters fighting for the affection of the same man, Henry the VIII. When Mary is set off to his court at a tender age of 14, she catches the eye of the powerful king and is soon swept off her feet thanks to his genuine infatuation with her. However, Mary soon realizes she’s a pawn in her family’s scheme to move up the social ladder, and as the king’s interest in her fades, she must step aside for her best friend and mighty rival – her sister Anne. With 4.05 out of 5 on Goodreads, The Other Boleyn Girl is highly praised by its readers for making history so much fun and addictive to read.

Yuri Efremov, Unsplash

Wow! What a great sampling of historical romance books!

Thank you, Dating Connections, for such great tips for our reading lists! ♥♥♥

Guest Blogger Bio

Dating Connections is a site that offers the opportunity for you to explore a variety of dating tips, previous relationship experiences and interact with other people!

Links

Website:  http://datingconnections.org/

Blog:  http://datingconnections.org/category/blog/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/datingconnections/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/BoyanUlv

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/101423157749445118069

 

Thanks again! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

As always, happy reading, everyone! 😉 Have a great weekend!

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Romantic Things to Do in Paris: a guest post by Erica Fleming

City of Love: Romantic Things to Do in Paris

 

Apart from being known for its quite severe history of liberation and revolutions, Paris is an everlasting inspiration for wanderers.

Cédric Klei, Unsplash

No matter how trivial it is, the City of Love has always been and will always be a place of romanticism drawing sweethearts from all over the world to taste the cheeses, hear an accordion playing some ballads and, of course, see the Eiffel Tower.

Louis Pellissier, Unsplash

 

Notwithstanding, Paris is not a one-sightseeing city since the possibilities of having a lovely weekend are vast there. For this, here is a list of top cherry-picks of what to do in Paris that will definitely turn a vacation into a fabulous journey.

Flickr, pexels.com

#1 Observation from the Tower

Even though it’s a heck of a difficulty to get to the top because of the myriads of tourists dashing from all over the globe, paying a visit to the famous Eiffel Tower is a must. The 324-meter beauty gazing upon the ville will give you the most memorable views of the whole trip.  It’s also nice to have a glass of cold sparkling wine in one of the floors’ bars. Furthermore, the peak of the tower is surely the most romantic place to propose or, simply, to take a selfie with almost 20 thousand lights in the background.

#2 Joy at the divine temple

The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, located in the district of Montmartre, is not only a church that welcomes thousands of worshipers annually but also a place of fabled romantics and outstanding beauty. The temple is situated on a hilltop unfolding its staircase alongside a funicular downwards to the city. White domes with their gracious ornaments and chapels outside and 18th-century frescos inside are sightseeing wonders.

Bui Anh, Unsplash

The district of Montmartre is known to have been a home to many artists and painters starting with the end of the 1700s. Here, one can find a museum established in a mention that centuries ago belonged to an impressionist Renoir and realist Valadon. In the backyard of the museum, there are installations of famous artists.

Then, head to the place des Abbesses where you can find a chart on how to say ‘I love you’ in more than 200 languages and is located on the Wall of Love decorated by modern Parisian artists Baron and Kito.

#3 Romanticism again

Follow a path of tourists a bit to the South, and you’ll find another museum, Museum of the Romantics. This ordinary house with green window shades and a spiral staircase exhibits works of G. Sand, A. Scheffer, L. Hersent, A. Clesinger and many other romanticists.

TripSavvy

Delacroix’s works can be found in his former studio and now an exhibition place, The National Museum of Eugene Delacroix, such as ‘Chios and Missolonghi’ or the ‘Death of Sardanapalus’.

Paris tourist office

If you’re a fan of Notre Dame then the mansion of Victor Hugo is definitely a place to visit for you as well. The place is easily reachable through Parisian narrow alleys and marketplaces where they sell antiques and curiosities.

#4 Secret trails

There are shops and curiosity stores on the right side of the Seine that will absorb you with the 1800s nostalgia.

Dan Novac, Unsplash

In Passage Verdeau one can find worn out by time book library and manuscripts, whereas in Passage Jouffroy there are miniatures and toys.

Passage des Panoramas is the first place in the district to have been given gaslight in the early 19th century. There, at this marketplace, there is a vast range of collectables and antiques (portraits, post stamps or cards, tokens of honor, fabrics, etc.) that will motivate a change of your heart and make you buy at least a wee thing.

Paris tourist office

Also, if you are willing to try a typical cuisine of the 19th century, then head to Le Grand Vefour, where such foods can be discovered.

#5 Following the path of thousands

Canal St-Martin is for sure one of the most impressive places in Paris. It penetrates the city’s main streets and is embroidered with dozens of metal and stone bridges built in the 19th century.

Expedia

You may enjoy the view of one of the bridges open upwards in order to let a ferryboat through, or you can take one of the boats and have a ride in the canal. There, you can either enjoy a traditional French meal or open up a bottle of Champagne as you pass by crowded by tourists streets.

Huy Phan, Unsplash

Or, if water is not an option for you, it’s always possible to get a few things to go in Pink Flamingo and gaze upon the ville on a bridge.

#6 Just the two of you          

In case, if a ferryboat is too crowded and you’re looking for some time to be alone, then it’s always possible to rent a two-person boat at Bateaux Parisiens. Moreover, it’s a fascinating experience to come by the famous garden of Jardin Shakespeare, which accommodates most of the greenery (trees and flowers) from the Bard’s works.

TripAdvisor

#7 The Dinner

It’s inexplicably difficult to find a decent food court in Paris since the majority of places are either fast-food or too fancy for just two tourists. Nonetheless, Les Ombres has an amazing view on the Tower and a beautiful angle for pictures; whereas La Tour d’Argent offers a spacious rooftop for hot nights out, where you can contemplate about your future plans.

Noblesse & Royautés

More romantic than a restaurant with a view on the Eiffel Tower or a rooftop with an open bar can be only a restaurant refurnished in the best fashion of the 17th century with a labyrinth of candles, Le Coupe-Chou. Also, it’s a must to visit Bouillon Racine as a destination of a lovely night out.

TripAdvisor

Or, Le Frank that is located next to the famous Art Centre set up by the Louis Vuitton Foundation.

All in all, Paris is not a one-sightseeing city, such as the Eiffel Tower, but of thousands of places that fable one’s heart, making them wonder if this day can last for good. So pack your bags and prepare for the most extraordinary journey of your entire life!

Pedro Lastra, Unsplash

Nice! These are wonderful tips for those who are thinking about taking a trip to the City of Love. I don’t think you can go wrong here!

Thank you, Erica, for such great advice! ♥♥♥

Guest Blogger Bio

My name is Erica Fleming. I support the effective adoption of new technologies or ways of working within writing by communicating complex information in an informative and inspiring way. My works you can find here. I’m fond of writing articles for students, helping with essays.

Links

Website:  http://sutree.com/

Blog:  http://freebooksummary.com/category/blog

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/EricaFl67487069

 

Thanks again! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

As always, happy reading, everyone! 😉 Have a great week!

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Twenty Romantic Fall Date Ideas: a guest post by Dating Connections

20 Romantic Fall Date Ideas

 

Although summer just technically ended and some days the heat is so unbearable that it feels like true fall will never come, it will, and soon enough! That’s why we’ve decided to compile a list of the best fall date ideas in case you find love online just in time for the most romantic season of all!

Kelly West Mars, Flickr

#1: A Walk through the Park

As obvious and cliché as this may seem, a walk through a nice park in the early fall before it starts to rain and gets too cold is incredibly romantic.

Leah Kelley, Pexels.com

If you’d rather go for something more creative, go get some dessert together afterwards.

Flavio Shibata, Unsplash

#2: Beer Tasting

In the spirit of Oktoberfest, fall is the season to go beer tasting. Lots of breweries out there offer this service as part of constantly improving patron experience, so pick one that you’ve heard nice things about, but keep in mind that nobody should really get drunk!

Elevate, Unsplash

#3: Camping

If you’ve got a weekend off, use it to go camping this fall and spend time with your date under the stars! Pick early fall dates to avoid the rain, bring a sweater or two, and enjoy each other’s company in the woods.

pxlpusher, Flickr

#4: Visit a Town Nearby

Make it a day trip or another weekend getaway, and go and enjoy the last bout of nice weather before the winter sets in. Take photos and soak up the stunning fall outdoors.

Created by Senivpetro – Freepik.com

#5: Go to a Sports Game

Most sports seasons start in the late summer or early fall, making it the perfect time to get a couple of tickets, and make a date out of cheering for your favorite team.

Andrew Gearhart, Unsplash

#6: Go Apple Picking

‘Tis the season for apple picking, and this is not only romantic but it’s highly helpful to the farmers nearby. Check out the orchards in the area, and go celebrate the arrival of the fall and its favorite fruit.

Carolyn V, Unsplash

#7: Make Apple Pie Together

Once you come back with loads of apples, bake an apple pie together!

Created by Freepik

#8: Take a Cooking Class

The fall is a great time to learn a new skill, and why not do it together! Master a few seasonal recipes, and work on improving your cooking with your partner.

Created by Rawpixel.com – Freepik.com

#9: Go Hiking

If there are scenic areas nearby, then fall is the perfect time to go check them out and make a date out of it! Breathe in the cooler air, and watch the seasons change before your eyes.

Roberto Nickson, Unsplash

#10: Brunch at a Local Pastry Shop

The smell of freshly baked dough in the fall is exhilarating, and it’s a perfect introduction to pumpkin and cinnamon season. Check out the new seasonal goodies with your partner on a Sunday morning.

Created by Freepik

#11: Picnic in the Countryside

Stock up on fresh bakery goodies, warm blankets, and a few hours of free time, and go have a romantic picnic with your loved one in the country. Or, you can always put your new cooking skills to use and prepare your own picnic food together.

Jelleke Vanooteghem, Unsplash

#12: Snuggle by the Fireplace

When the air gets crisp and the days get shorter, it’s time to turn on the fireplace and enjoy a romantic night in. Pick up a bottle of wine, put on your favorite wool socks, and chill by the fireplace until the wee hours of the night.

Created by Freepik

#13: Visit a Pumpkin Patch

Skip the grocery store this fall, and pick up your pumpkin directly from the source – a pumpkin patch! Make it a date to visit a pumpkin patch, and stock up on pumpkins to decorate.

Hide Obara, Unsplash

#14: Decorate Pumpkins

Decorating those fall pumpkins renews childhood memories, and it can bring you and your partner closer together as it evokes innocent feelings.

Bekir Dönmez, Unsplash

#15: Take a Long Drive around the Woods

Take a long drive with your partner in and around wooded areas and parks, and soak up the fall scenery as you snap photos and enjoy the silence, the smells, and the sights together.

Aaron Burden, Unsplash

#16: Visit a Haunted House

Robert Heiser, Unsplash

If you’re both into scary stuff, the fall and winter are the perfect seasons for visiting a local haunted house or taking a ghost tour, which plenty of cities offer, especially in old buildings or castles.

Cederic X, Unsplash

#17: Hit the Farmer’s Market

Fall is one of the richest seasons when it comes to fresh produce, and you should definitely take advantage. Shop till you drop one Saturday morning after breakfast with your sweetheart, and put your newly acquired cooking skills to the test.

Jordan Christian. Unsplash

#18: Watch a Scary Movie Together

Get into the Halloween spirit together by screening a few scary classics just in time for Halloween.

Created by Freepik

You might even get some costume ideas for this year’s party!

Tom Roberts, Unsplash

#19: Hit a Fall Festival

Every town gets rather festive in anticipation of the holiday season, and if there aren’t any fall festivities nearby, check out the area within a 100-mile radius to find a date-friendly event.

Dane Deaner, Unsplash

20: Go Horseback Riding

One of the last outdoorsy activities before the winter hits, horseback riding is not only romantic but it takes a certain level of stamina and an adventurous spirit. Plus it’s a perfect ‘excuse’ to wrap your arms around your partner.

Mohamed Hassan, Pixabay
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Nice! These are awesome tips for those who need some help thinking of cool activities for you and your loved one this season. I don’t think you can go wrong here!

Thank you, Dating Connections, for such great advice! ♥♥♥

Guest Blogger Bio

Dating Connections is a site that offers the opportunity for you to explore a variety of dating tips, previous relationship experiences and interact with other people!

Links

Website:  http://datingconnections.org/

Blog:  http://datingconnections.org/category/blog/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/datingconnections/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/BoyanUlv

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/101423157749445118069

 

Thanks again! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

As always, happy reading, everyone! 😉 Have a great week!

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Why Giving Flowers Shouldn’t Just Be for Holidays and Apologies: a guest post by Dating Connections

Why Giving Flowers Shouldn’t Just Be for Holidays and Apologies

 

According to tradition, pop culture and classic literature, women should expect to get flowers only when they’ve been wronged by their men. For example, if a guy unintentionally flirts with someone, or when he’s caught browsing through BBW dating sites.

On the other hand, it’s also expected that a woman gets flowers as a gift for certain events, like Mother’s Day, Women’s Day, birthdays, anniversary and so on.

Created by Pressfoto – Freepik.com

But what if we told you that this shouldn’t be the only occasion upon which a lady should receive flowers? Namely, getting a single flower or a whole bouquet doesn’t have to be conditioned by someone’s wrongdoing or exclusive to certain dates. Here are a couple of reasons why we shouldn’t be limited to presenting flowers to women only when we want to apologize or congratulate them on something, so make sure you keep reading.

Respecting Traditions

Before someone misunderstands our point here, let’s first explain something in regards to giving the gift of flowers to apologize for a mistake or to celebrate an anniversary. We’re not saying that this shouldn’t be done – on the contrary, a single flower or a whole bouquet is one of the best gifts a woman can receive for such things.

Created by V.ivash – Freepik.com

For example, you just can’t go wrong if you give flowers to your girl for Valentine’s day, possibly in a combination with another cute or romantic thing. Furthermore, it’s tradition to present a woman with flowers for Mother’s and Women’s Days, as well, while there’s nothing wrong with bestowing a small bouquet for a marriage anniversary, either.

The Unexpected Flower

Now, let’s talk about why men shouldn’t only think of giving flowers to their ladies when they’ve made an error or when they want to celebrate a certain date.

Thierry Hardoin, Flickr

Some people will say that this should be done approximately two to four times a year, while others won’t be reluctant to bring flowers to their woman constantly. There’s really no rule to this. However, there’s no arguing that your girl will appreciate you giving her flowers “just because.”

Flowers, by definition, are a symbol of beauty, affection, love, caring, and attention. Perhaps not everyone has realized this, but no woman can help but melt when presented with anything from a single beautiful flower to a bouquet of roses.

Being spontaneous about giving flowers to a woman won’t only show that you’re all about giving her your attention, but also that you’re a gentleman before all things. You want to be the perfect guy for your lady, right? Then, make sure that you don’t need a special occasion in order to be compelled to give her flowers.

Created by Freepik

Types and Meanings

Since we’ve cleared that up, let’s talk about what kind of flowers you should buy. Many men have a problem determining which type of flowers are suitable for which occasion, so here are a few examples as to which flower suits which situation.

Created by Freepik

For instance, both single roses and bouquets are among the most favorite choices around the world, and there’s no really wonder about it, especially given that a red rose usually stands for love and affection. Still, you should be aware that flower symbolism actually exists and that the color should play an important role when picking flowers, too. That’s right, different colors convey entirely different messages. For example, we suggest you forget all about getting a yellow rose as an anniversary gift, even if your girlfriend or a wife prefers the color because it signifies merely friendship and joy, and is therefore more suitable for your female best friend or a female coworker hosting a casual summer party.

Created by Freepik

On the other hand, if you want something that has a divine smell, looks really cute and can survive for quite a while in a vase, go for lilies. They vary in color and size as well, which means you’ll have a lot of options for your bouquet. Moreover, lilies are also capable of sending different messages to your lady, all depending on their color and subspecies.

Hannah Olinger, Unsplash

Finally, these exotic beauties will not only allow you to pay tribute to your lady’s beauty and coquetry (calla lily and day lily) but also to celebrate her pride and independent personality (tiger lily).

Alexandra Gorn, Unsplash

These are just a few examples but should be enough to give you a proper hint about the possibilities and wealth of the flower language. The language that should be spoken in every home throughout the entire year…

Created by Pressfoto – Freepik.com

Nice! These are some helpful tips for anyone with the gift of flowers in mind, or if you want to consider the ‘just because’ theory. Either way, I don’t think you can go wrong!

Thank you, Dating Connections, for such great advice! ♥♥♥

Guest Blogger Bio

Dating Connections is a site that offers the opportunity for you to explore a variety of dating tips, previous relationship experiences and interact with other people!

Links

Website:  http://datingconnections.org/

Blog:  http://datingconnections.org/category/blog/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/datingconnections/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/BoyanUlv

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/101423157749445118069

 

Thanks again! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

As always, happy reading, everyone! 😉 Have a great weekend!

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Filed under Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, Gifts, Guest Writer, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas

How Will Facebook’s Dating Service Work: a guest post by Dating Connections

How Will Facebook’s Dating Service Work?

 

Facebook, the biggest and most popular social network in the world, is launching a brand new dating service. This new feature will definitely attract new users while making current members seeking dates happy. Mark Zuckerberg announced this new feature at the F8, Facebook’s annual developer conference, and the idea was greeted with enthusiasm.

Beiins Nebs, Flickr

The Facebook owner is eager to compete with dating apps such as Tinder and Hinge but in a different way. Zuckerberg says that the Facebook dating app will aim to help its users explore scenes, such as senior dating niche for instance, and find real, long-term relationships. If you’re interested in this new feature, make sure to stick around and see how it will work.

Joining In Will Be Rather Easy

When Facebook first came out with this idea, a lot of users were worried that this new feature will complicate their overall Facebook experience. However, accessing your dating profile will be rather easy. All you’ll have to do is go to your profile page and click the heart-shaped icon in the top right corner of your screen.

Created by Freepik

This will automatically take you to your ‘dating home’, where you’ll be able to browse certain groups and look for other single users.

Dating Profile Will Be Separated From Your Original Account

Setting up a dating account won’t have anything to do with your existing Facebook profile. It will be completely hidden from your Facebook friends, so if you don’t want people to know that you’re using this feature, you will have nothing to worry about. Anything you do on your dating profile including photos, chats, and status updates, won’t appear on the news feed of your original account.

Farica Yang, Unsplash

Also, you’ll be able to choose which information you want to share with your potential dates.

How Will People Find Potential Matches?

First of all, your matches won’t necessarily be your Facebook friends. This new dating service will present its users with a number of events and groups that might interest them based on their likes and the information they entered in their profile. The matching algorithm will take your interests, passions, location, common interests, mutual friends, and similar dating preferences into account. You will be able to ‘unlock’ certain groups and events in your area which will make you visible to other event attendees and group members.

Jacob Postuma, Unsplash

Communication And Safety

Once you find someone you like, you will have the option to click/tap on the ‘interested’ icon which will be located in the bottom right corner of your screen. Also, the chat will be much different than the one on your Facebook profile.

A Woman Sitting on the Floor and Using Laptop

Users will only be able to send text messages and they will be limited to only one initial message. This will prevent scammers, perverts, and frauds from harassing other users with inappropriate content…such as nude photos, for example.

Created by Freepik

According to Mark Zuckerberg and developers, the safety of the users will be their number one priority.

When Will It Be Launched?

There is no specific date just yet, but Mark Zuckerberg is confident that the new feature will be launched by the end of this year. This gives you enough time to prepare and work on your online dating moves.

Created by Freepik

Great! What nice info for anyone willing to get into the new Facebook real dating experience…

Thank you, Dating Connections, for such a wonderful sneak peek! ♥♥♥

Guest Blogger Bio

Dating Connections is a site that offers the opportunity for you to explore a variety of dating tips, previous relationship experiences and interact with other people!

Links

Website:  http://datingconnections.org/

Blog:  http://datingconnections.org/category/blog/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/datingconnections/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/BoyanUlv

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/101423157749445118069

 

Thanks again! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

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