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A two-sentence horror story

Goodreads asked, and I answered. Read on if you dare!Graphic: "Can you tell us a two-sentence horror story?" Question via Goodreads, answer via Lisa Berne

To see more of my Goodreads Q&As, and to follow me there, click here.

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A first look!

I’m very happy to report that The Laird Takes a Bride was selected as a Heroes and Heartbreakers “First Look” title. Here’s the lovely, thoughtful review, which makes me even happier. :)

Lisa Berne’s second novel, The Laird Takes a Bride, is a marriage-of-convenience that pairs two older protagonists (for 1811 Scotland) in a most inconvenient way.

At his 35th birthday feast, Alasdair Penhallow is presented with an obscure clan law, one that forces him to marry an eligible young woman from one of eight clans within 35 days. At this “advanced” age, Alasdair is quite set in his bachelor lifestyle and, naturally, has no desire to take a bride. Fiona Douglass, the oldest and only unmarried daughter in her family is, at 27, determined that she will stay on at her family’s home to manage things as she’s been doing.

The book opens with Fiona attending yet another family wedding, her 71st by her count. She’s an utterly sensible woman, concerned with the wellbeing of her family and the families on their lands. She makes lists, editing them as she accomplishes tasks, propelling herself through her days with an efficiency that is sufficiently distracting . . . or so she thinks. Early in the story, we see a glimpse of the emotion Fiona works to suppress. Her younger sister, who married Fiona’s own beau some time prior, is pregnant, and Fiona is rather crushed, feeling the keen loss of a life that could have been hers. (Logan is a cad and she’s well rid of him.) None of this, however, prevents her from turning down the abusive, awful men who offer for her.Image: cover for The Laird Takes a Bride by Lisa Berne (Avon Books)

Having given us two moderately unhappy people living lives they’ve talked themselves into wanting, Berne tosses a wrench into the works:

In a disbelieving voice Fiona read out loud: “The consequence for failing to abide by sacred clan law is death. Said female to be weighted with stones and flung into the nearest loch known to have a depth greater than twenty feet. Bagpipe accompaniment optional.”

“How romantic!” put in Cousin Isobel, wreathed in smiles. ”Fiona, dear, what a wonderful opportunity for you!”

Fiona’s father is thrilled, and sends Isobel and Fiona off. I was convinced that the rest of the novel would be something similar to The Bachelor: Regency Scotland, and was so relieved that it wasn’t. The four women “competing” for Alasdair’s hand are tragically whittled down to just Fiona, and both hero and heroine grudgingly do their duty, both having established upon meeting that they would not suit.

What follows is a sometimes humorous, sometimes eerie, sometimes dangerous courtship . . . after marriage. If marriage-of-convenience is your catnip, you’ll enjoy this one. I appreciated that Alasdair, who doesn’t want a family after having lost his in a boating accident 15 years prior, was thoroughly miserable in a loveless arrangement. If you like to yell “you idiots, you obviously love each other!” at a book, this is your chance! A secondary romance between two middle-aged characters, Alasdair’s uncle and Fiona’s cousin, is also satisfying. The two of them are flawed but fit so well with each other than you can’t help but root for them.

Most of all, I was grateful for the portrayal of Fiona, a heroine who isn’t particularly sweet or obliging. She’s headstrong in a practical sort of way, the sort of woman who removes the frills from the small drawing room and refuses to apologize for it. This is not to say that knick-knacks and ornate furniture aren’t perfectly lovely, but rather that Fiona is her own person and doesn’t compromise the sensible, helpful parts of her nature in order to put on airs. She manages all of this without being cruel, snobbish, or resentful. She simply makes her lists, puts her head down, and carries on. Once Alasdair and his clan realize this, they love her for it. And isn’t that what a good romance is? To be loved for who one is, rather than for what someone expects one to be? 

For more about The Laird Takes a Bride, including ordering info, a special gift with purchase, and a first-chapter excerpt, click here.



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Reality, or . . .

. . . anything else? Happy weekend. :)Comic by the Awkward Yeti: Reality/Anything Else

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“. . . where would you be?”

It’s Thursday, which means it’s Getting To Know You Day on my Facebook page! I love this question which Goodreads recently shared. Graphic: "If you were transported to the setting of the book you're currently reading, where would you be?" Via Goodreads

Would you like to join us? Do stop by. :)

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A Sophie Jordan giveaway!

Okay, so I’m not giving away the brilliant Sophie Jordan herself. Obviously. But I’m a big fan of hers and I want to share the love! Hop on over to my Facebook page for a chance to win an advance reader’s copy of Beautiful Lawman (which doesn’t release until December 26th) as well as a print copy of While the Duke Was Sleeping which is one of my all-time favorites by Sophie. It was inspired by While You Were Sleeping, one of my favorite movies, so that’s like icing on the cake. :)Graphic: Lisa Berne is giving away copies of Sophie Jordan's Beautiful Lawman and While the Duke Was Sleeping

For more about Sophie, click here.

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Thinking big!

I’ve heard it said that Texans think big, and recently I’ve learned of one awesome way they do: elaborate homecoming corsages! Check ’em out:

via the Wall Street Journal

via the Wall Street Journal

via NPR

via Jezebel

This is inspiring me to think big this week. Happy Monday. :)

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A signed, print copy of You May Kiss the Bride, Booklist Top 10 Romance Debut, is up for grabs on Goodreads! To enter, click here.

Graphic: "It was time to take action," a quote from You May Kiss the Bride by Lisa Berne (Avon Books)

This giveaway runs through October 23, 2017.

To learn more about You May Kiss the Bride — ordering options, to see some of the other nice things people are saying about it, and to read Chapter 1 — click here.

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Currently reading . . .

I’m loving Solace Island, a recently published debut novel of romantic suspense, by new-to-me author Sara Flynn. It’s beautifully written, with pitch-perfect dialogue, vivid characterizations, and a crackling storyline. And I’m not the only one to think so — it’s gotten glowing reviews, and check out all these stars on Amazon!Photo: Solace Island by Sara FlynnSara Flynn also happens to be the pseudonym of Golden Globe-winning actress Meg Tilly. More about Sara and Solace Island here on her site. And for a great article in USA Today‘s Happy Ever After blog, detailing Meg/Sara’s journey toward becoming a romance author, click here.

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Isn’t this a beautiful photo Smart Bitches Trashy Books posted on their Twitter feed?

Photo by Smart Bitches Trashy Novels featuring The Laird Takes a Bride by Lisa Berne (Avon Books)

“Books are an important part of #selfcaresaturday.”



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The joy of socks

This image recently crossed my Twitter feed and I was instantly charmed. I’m not sure exactly what makes these socks specifically engineered for reading, but somehow I just love the idea of it. :)Photo: Reading Socks by Indigo

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