Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Medieval Halloween Traditions

Many Halloween traditions which are practised in the present day, have their roots in medieval times.  Halloween celebrations during the Middle Ages included bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes, all of which are believed to have been intended to confuse and frighten any spirits wandering the area.

In pagan times, soul cakes were left outside on the night of Halloween to feed the spirits. The medieval church changed this to the practice of people taking cakes around to neighbors, which they offered in exchange for their neighbors' prayers for the dead.

No church undertaking could eradicate centuries of ancient beliefs.  The Samhain feast and its associated beliefs and legends in the walking dead were too strong to be entirely replaced by another festival. 

However devoted people were to the Christian religion throughout the year, many could not resist the pull of ancient superstitions and traditions on Halloween night.

Courtesy of Life in Medieval Times by Marjorie Rowling.
Sunday, October 21, 2012

Cover Swoon Sunday: The Sinning Hour

There are a lot of lovely historical romance covers that make me swoon. The Sinning Hour, the upcoming book in Elise Rome's Victorian Unmasked series, is a perfect example.

The color, the font, the pose, the pearls, and the cascade of dark hair, all work together to create one swoon-worthy cover.  It makes me want to read this book.  And that, my friends, is exactly what a book cover should do.
Thursday, October 18, 2012


The muff was a classic accessory of the seventeenth century.  

 Silk French Muff, 1680

 Marie Antoinette (2006)

It was worn by both men and women, not only for warmth, but also as a pocket.

Madame de Pompadour

 Keira Knightley in The Duchess (2008)

A man's fur muff -- made from beaver, otter, or even panther -- hung from his belt.  As it was the custom to comb one's hair in public, you can bet a comb was tucked inside.

By the 1700's, cloth muffs, festooned with ribbons, were worn throughout Europe. 

Hood and Muff, 1780
Silk Muff, 1780

But in the middle of the century, in an effort to give his business a boost, a Parisian furrier whipped up a velvet muff and presented it to the local hangman.  No one was allowed to wear what the hangman wore so cloth muffs were instantly taboo.  Now everyone flocked to their furriers to buy muffs.

In the 1770's muffs took a beating in Frederick the Great's German court.  Finding a large muff belonging to his enemy, Herr von Kameke, Freddy flung it into the fire -- thus dampening the fashion for muffs in Germany.

Silk Muff, France, 19th Century

Hat & Muff, 1890

In the 1900's Pioret gave the muff a comeback, and smartly dressed women were seen carrying muffs that matched their fur stoles, providing an elegant look for promenading and prettily posed Currier & Ives ice skating prints. 

 Edwardian Era

Isa Miranda in Hotel Imperial, 1939


Marilyn Monroe

Over time, as the agile-fingered glove won out, the fashion was muffed.

Courtesy of Let There Be Clothes by Lunn Schnurnberger
Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: The Warrior

It's Teaser Tuesday time!  
Here's how to play:

1) Grab your current read.
2) Open to a random page.
3) Share two (2) "teaser" sentences (or more, if you like) from somewhere on that page.
4) BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!  (Make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away!  You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
5) Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teaser.


"Duncan was looking at her as if he were dying of thirst and she was the last drop of water on God's earth.  If ever there was a man who could tempt her, it was Duncan MacDonald."

~ page 102 of The Warrior  by Margaret Mallory. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cover Swoon Sunday: An Affair with Mr. Kennedy

I recently downloaded An Affair with Mr. Kennedy to my Kindle.  This debut by Jillian Stone is the first book in her Gentlemen of Scotland Yard Victorian series.  I am so in love with this cover, I wish I'd bought the print version.  Mr. Kennedy is sooooooo swoon-worthy.  Seriously.  Just look at his smoldering eyes, his sexy chin scruff, and the tailored elegance of his coat.

 Pretty darn hot!

I also like the pink gown against the dark, fog-drenched background.  It really pops.
What do you think?  Is this cover swoon worthy to you?
Friday, October 12, 2012

First Line Friday: Temptation in a Kilt

I teased you earlier this week with a snippet of Temptation in a Kilt by Victoria Roberts.  Today I'm going to give you another sneak peek at this romance, the first book in the Bad Boys of the Highlands series.

As you may or may not know, I love first lines.  A first line can make or break a novel for me.  That said, I do continue to read on even if I don't like the first line.  I'm not a total first line snob.  However, a great first line always excites me and makes me want to read more.

When I cracked open Temptation in a Kilt and read the first line, I was hooked.

"Sometimes being a Highland laird was a royal pain in the arse."

This first line does a nice job of setting up the story.  It tells me who the hero is and that there is some conflict to come.  The moment I read this line, I wanted to know what was happening.

What do you think?  Do you like this hook?  Does the first line make you want to read more of the story?         
Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: Temptation in a Kilt

I realized the other day that it's been months since my last Teaser Tuesday post.  Shame on me!  I think it's high time I tease you.  ;)  Shall we play?

It's Teaser Tuesday time!  
Here's how to play:

1) Grab your current read.
2) Open to a random page.
3) Share two (2) "teaser" sentences (or more, if you like) from somewhere on that page.
4) BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!  (Make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away!  You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
5) Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teaser.


"Her breathing calmed and her tears finally stopped, but he continued to hold her well into the night.  Although he was reluctant to admit it, Rosalia felt damn good in his arms."

~ page 61 of Temptation in a Kilt by Victoria Roberts. 
Monday, October 8, 2012

In My Mailbox (31)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren, and is a way for everyone to show their new books for the week, including those bought, swapped, won or received for review.


Paula Quinn
Historical EBook Novella

Amazon price, just 99 cents!  It's sure to get me in the holiday mood.   
I love this author and the cover.

Robyn DeHart
Historical Romance Novella

Also just 99 cents on Amazon.  Sounds like a great Regency short.

White Rabbit Chronicles, Book One
Gena Showlater
Young Adult

I picked this up on Saturday during my first ever visit to Powell's Books in Portland.
What a cool bookstore!  This novel is sure to be a fun read.


Historical Romance

Courtesy of Vanessa Kelly

 I'm looking forward to reading this Christmas-themed romance!

Historical Romance Ebook

Courtesy of Literary Escapism

I'm a big fan of Carrie Lofty and WWII era stories, so I know this one is going to be a great read.

Bad Boys of the Highlands, Book One
Historical Romance

Courtesy of  Casablanca Authors

As you know, I ♥ Highlanders. =)

The Return of the Highlanders, Book Three
Historical Romance

ARC courtesy of The Season For Romance 

More Highlanders.  Yay!

Susanna Kearsley
Romantic Suspense

Courtesy of Sourcebooks

I'm not a big reader of romantic suspense.  That said, I'm intrigued by the premise of this story.  I love that it's set in the Scottish Highlands!  So I'm looking forward to reading this new-to-me author. 
Sunday, October 7, 2012

Cover Swoon Sunday: The Light Tamer

There are two reasons I think The Light Tamer by Devyn Dawson is a swoon-worthy cover.  
Can you guess why?

1) Purple is my favorite color.
2) That knit beanie is to-die-for-gorgeous!  I want one.  Now.
Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday: Edge of Dawn

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and is a way to show off the books you can't wait to be released.  This week I choose...

Author - Lara Adrian
Genre - Paranormal Romance
Publisher - Delacorte Press
Release Date - January 22, 2013


Twenty years after the terror of First Dawn - when mankind learned that vampires lived secretly among them - the threat of violence reigns as the two species struggle to coexist.  The only group preserving the fragile harmony is the Order, an elite cadre of Breed warriors dedicated to protecting humans and vampires alike.  And in this precarious world of torn loyalties and shattered trust, Mira, a fiery squad captain, finds that every fight bears an intensely personal cost.

Raised among the Order, Mira has always believed in the warrior's code of swift - and even lethal - justice.  But the one thing she desires more than the Order's hard-won acceptance is Kellan Archer, a sexy but troubled Breed fighter.  In love with him since childhood, Mira once broke through his tough exterior during an unexpected night of rapture, but the next day he mysteriously disappeared, never to return.

Kellen didn't think he would ever see Mira again - or have to confront the truth of why he left.  After abandoning the Order years ago, he now leads a band of human rebels intent on carrying out their own vigilante rule of law.  Yet a high-profile kidnapping assignment brings him face-to-face with the past he sought to avoid, and the striking woman he has tried desperately to forget.  And as tensions mount and the bloodshed grows, Kellan and Mira must take sides - between the competing missions that dominate their lives, and the electrifying passion that claims their hearts.

 OMG, I cannot wait to read this book!!!  Lara Adrian writes the best vampire romance novels.  I'm so excited for the next chapter in her Midnight Breed series!

~ Book blurb from Lara Adrian's website ~
Monday, October 1, 2012

October Releases

Time for carved pumpkins and candy corn, sunset-colored leaves and mugs of hot apple cider.  Let's not forget a new month also brings plenty of new book releases.  Yay! 

Here are the books I'm interested in this month:


 Beauty and the Bounty Hunter by Lori Austin - October 2
The Trouble with Highlanders by Mary Wine - October 1

I don't normally read western romances - I'm not sure why exactly.  I do love a good western movie.  This one by Lori Austin (aka Lori Handeland) sounds terrific.

Mary Wine writes sexy alpha Highlanders.  I'll definitely be reading TTWH!


 Venom by Fiona Paul - October 30
Eve & Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate - October 2 
Poison Princess by Kresley Cole - October 2

Love, lust and secret societies in Renaissance Venice.  OMG!  I cannot wait to read Venom (Secrets of the Eternal Rose #1), the debut by Fiona Paul.

I discovered Eve & Adam (written by this husband-wife team) while browsing books on Goodreads.  I like the idea of smart teens pitted against high-tech evildoers.

Kresley Cole is a fabulous writer.  I'm looking forward to reading her first YA novel, Poison Princess.

What's on your must-read list this month?