Sunday, March 13, 2016

Cate Beauman

Principal Dancer Lyla Markovik-Avery is always on the go. Grueling practices and endless performances rule her busy days—and things are about to get more hectic. Russia is rolling out the red carpet for their beloved star, despite the string of violent terrorist attacks that have rocked the nation.
Bodyguard Collin Michaels’ life is falling apart. His long-time relationship recently ended. He’s trying to start over, but that’s easier said than done. Luckily, Collin has a new assignment on the horizon: keeping a beautiful ballerina safe for the next three weeks.
Collin finds comfort in Lyla’s easy friendship, but that all changes after a night out on the town. Simple feelings become complicated—something Collin can’t afford, especially when tragedy strikes and Collin realizes Lyla’s caught in the middle of a dangerous plot for revenge.
Collin and Lyla are forced to flee. They need to reach the border before it’s too late, but the odds are stacked against them in a country that wants them dead. With time running out, Collin formulates a risky plan that might be their only chance of making it out alive.

Cate Beauman has re-invented the fairy-tale.  She has taken it out of the realm of “Once upon a time” and brought it into the here and now and made it believable.  The knight in shining armor isn’t limited to the shelves and tomes of literature, the damsels in distress can be saved and swept off their feet and rescued to be loved and live happily ever-after, with their prince charming.
Finding Lyla is all about discovering that there really are princesses who hurt and who need to be rescued and loved very much.  It is about knights in shining armor whose armor is a bit scuffy and bent and worn, who suddenly discover that they just might truly be Prince Charming.  But in the midst of all this they fall in love with the very princess they are sworn to save from the fiery dragon and the black knights who swear vengeance on the realm.
But I love that the princess is actually a ballerina, daughter of a Russian prima ballerina, who has risen in the ranks on her own rights.  A young lady who loves others and has such a sweet young heart and thinks of others before herself, while her father serves his country a long way off,… in a cold, cold land.  Sound just like a fairy-tale, or a ballet.
My children, both female and male, grew up on the boards from the time they were three years old.  They studied under wonderful masters for years, some for about 6 years, and others for almost 20 years.  I worked behind the scenes many years helping to make the shows work, from helping with the young charges, to costuming and creating some of the wonderful creations that floated across the stage.  Ballet is a fantastic world of wonder that is a mesh of storytelling, music, dance, movement, and athleticism.  There are the artists, the prima-donnas, and the hard-working craftsmen who come together to  create a world of wonder that will mesmerize an audience for hours as they move and dance to the masterful music of the masters.  One of the masters once told my daughter that the true dancer was one who was one with the music.  When looking for the truly gifted, they watched to see how the dancer moved in the breaths of the music, for that told them that they were one with the music and not counting the steps.
Maybe it was because of this long history with the arts and with music and dance, but I found myself once again living backstage, sitting on the hard benches along the walls of the practice rooms, and breathing the music and movement of the dance again.  No, I don’t dance, never could, never will.  Lol.  But music runs deep in the well of my soul and I believe I have the heart and soul of a dancer.  If my feet could leave the earth, they would fly across the boards and though the wind, just as effortlessly as the most beautiful of the ballerinas I watch from the sidelines.
Cate was able to catch this same passion and essence of dance on the pages of Finding Lyla.  You find yourself flying across the pages and feel yourself floating through the air like you have always dreamed a dancer would feel, feeling the shear pain of injury as you land.  The agony of pain piercing up through your body as you force yourself to continue powering through, while you feel blood flowing down your toes.  Then feeling the agony of pain as you, out of pride, refuse to limp away at the end of the dance.  Been there, watched it as they hobbled off the stage and met them to attend to their needs.
I love this story, this modern day fairy-tale.  I love falling in love again, and again.  What a wonder way to curl my toes and escape for a long weekend read.  Cate does not disappoint!   I give this, her 10th book in the series a fantastic FIVE STAR rating for her story-telling abilities and the story craft she used to get the story across to us at a new level of AHHHhhhhhh.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR International bestselling author Cate Beauman is known for her full-length, action-packed romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County. Her novels have been nominated for the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, National Indie Excellence Award, Golden Quill Award, Writers Touch Award, and have been named Readers Favorite Five Star books. In 2015, JUSTICE FOR ABBY was selected as the Readers' Favorite International Book Award Gold Medalist, while SAVING SOPHIE took the Silver Medal. SAVING SOPHIE was also selected as the 2015 Readers Crown Award winner for Romantic Suspense and FALLING FOR SARAH received the silver medal for the 2014 Readers' Favorite Awards.   Cate makes her home in North Carolina with her husband, two boys, and their St. Bernards, Bear and Jack. Currently Cate is working on Deceiving Bella, the eleventh novel in her popular Bodyguards series.   SIGN UP FOR CATE’S NEWSLETTER TO BE NOTIFIED OF MONTHLY GIVEAWAY OFFERS!newsletter-sign-up/c9td Contact Cate Website I Facebook I Twitter I Goodreads I Amazon Author Page image007 a Rafflecopter giveaway                              

A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley - A Book Review

Susanna Kearsley

For nearly 300 years, the mysterious journal of Jacobite exile Mary Dundas has lain unread — its secrets safe from prying eyes. Now, amateur codebreaker Sara Thomas has been hired by a once-famous historian to crack the journal's cipher. But when she arrives in Paris, Sara finds herself besieged by complications from all sides: the journal's reclusive owner, her charming Parisian neighbor, and Mary, whose journal doesn't hold the secrets Sara expects.

It turns out that Mary Dundas wasn’t keeping a record of everyday life, but a first-hand account of her part in a dangerous intrigue. In the first wintry months of 1732, with a scandal gaining steam in London, driving many into bankruptcy and ruin, the man accused of being at its center is concealed among the Jacobites in Paris, with Mary posing as his sister to aid his disguise.

When their location is betrayed, they’re forced to put a desperate plan in action, heading south along the road to Rome, protected by the enigmatic Highlander Hugh MacPherson.

As Mary's tale grows more and more dire, Sara, too, must carefully choose which turning to take... to find the road that will lead her safely home

I love when I come across a novelist who is capable of giving the reader a book that makes them think, that makes them interact with the characters of the book and become involved with the multiple storylines they weave through the pages and chapters of their work. 
A Desperate Fortune did just that.  This work gave the reader a very delicate social and medical plot for the protagonist in the current age that she had to deal with.  Susanna enabled us to live with Aspergers and see the world through the eyes of Sarah.  She did a fantastic job of it.  At the same time, she wove a very gentle love interest plot through as a subplot, but it wasn’t just a romantic love interest, it was about learning to love.  It was beautiful and I found myself also falling in love with both gentlemen of the house, very deeply in love.
The second major plot and storyline took us to another time and place 300 years earlier.  This story and the ebb and flow of the characters were of a totally different feel.  It was almost as if it was two different books.  But this was not a bad thing.  The characters were totally different.  The times and the demands of what was happening within the diary that Sarah was translating dictated what the second storyline followed. 
I loved that Susanna did not leave us, the readers to the strict diary renderings as to what we discovered about what happened 300 years prior, but allowed us to see the world through the eyes of the young lady, Mary, who wrote the diary.  In doing so, we were able to better glimpse the strife and restrictions that living in the court of King James court in France and Rome. 
The time that Susanna took to develop the central characters in both settings brought the stories alive.  From the poignancy of the life of Sarah in modern France as she grew more self-assured and slowly fell in love to the wild and scary times of the 1700s in France, Spain, and Italy as Mary, the 1700’s protagonist discovered her strengths and self-reliance those many years ago in another place and time. 
With each turn of the page, I found myself wanting more and more from the characters and the story itself.  Susanna stepped up to the plate and delivered.  Each time she stepped from one time period to the other, I found myself devastated, I was so immersed into the story and characters of the period I was living and breathing.  I did not want to leave.  It was the same with the next time swap, I did not want to go back.  But as soon as the story picked up, I knew new information would come up, and it did that pulled me right into the timeline of the new time period I was in, along with the storyline that was swirling around the characters that were moving swiftly through the pages. 
This is not my first Susanna Kearsley book, nor will it be my last.  Each of her novels are unique and touch heart strings at their deepest levels.  This novel has earned my highest praises and will be one that I pull out to read and enjoy again.  I would give A Desparate Fortune a Five Star review for the telling of the story and for the story craft in the telling.

Susanna Kearsley Aka Emma Cole.

Susanna Kearsley studied politics and international development at university, and has worked as a museum curator.

Her first novel Mariana won the prestigious Catherine Cookson Literary Prize and launched her writing career. Susanna continued her mix of the historical and paranormal in novels The Splendour Falls, Named of the Dragon, Shadowy Horses and Season of Storms.

Susanna Kearsley also writes classic-style thrillers under the name of 
Emma Cole.
Contact the author at 
Where to buy A Desparate Fortune