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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Interview with Celeste Bradley & Review of Wedded Bliss

I'm considering today a big "Win" because I get to ask one of my favorite authors, Celeste Bradley, a few questions! And she has the cutest dog too!

Adria: Hi Celeste! I’m a long time fan of yours (Big time Liars Club fan) so being able to ask you a few questions today is like a dream come true! 

How are things in your part of the world?

Celeste:You are so sweet! Go Liars!

I live in the desert mountains of New Mexico. Things are dry, drier and driest. But gorgeous! 

Adria: I actually lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico for around 12 years before moving back to El Paso, Texas.

Syd Vicious. So adorable!
Adria: Any furbabies you’d like to show off? I’m a big fan of furbabies. I’ve got four. Demons all of them I tell you. But they’re mine forever.

I have the world’s weirdest dog. He is named Syd Vicious (because he looks scary but isn’t) and is a Malamute/Wolfhound mix. With only three legs, severe claustrophobia and an obsession with popping bubble wrap (really, there should be a medical term for this!), it might be hard to see the heart of gold within. 

Then again, just look at those eyes!

Adria: For anyone who isn’t familiar with your work can you tell them a little about what Wedded Bliss is about?

Regency lady Bliss Worthington is one of the Worthington family, a gang I like to describe as “the Bennets meet the Weaseleys.” The Worthington siblings are a devil-may-care bunch of brilliant artists, inventors and scholars who dabble in minor crime and wild capers but hardly ever actually kill anyone. You might not want your brother or sister to marry one, but you still invite them to your parties!

Bliss is the misfit cousin to these madcap siblings, but she is loved and accepted all the same. Picture pretty but mundane Marilyn Munster! Unlike her wild clan, Bliss wants a settled life and she wants it now. She has her dream duke all picked out and has convinced him to wed her in a secret midnight ceremony, despite the objections of his family.

Little does she know that her duke’s bastard brother, ship captain Morgan Pryce, has replaced him at the altar and that it is all a trick to remove the gold-digging bride from the picture.
Morgan is about to learn that one thing you must never, EVER do is try to trick a Worthington!

Adria: The Worthington series is family oriented but I can honestly say that they stand out from almost every other family I’ve ever read about. What do you think makes them so special and irresistible?
I think the Worthingtons say the things we all wish we could say and do what we all wish we could do. They simply do not care what anyone thinks! I’ve always wanted to be one of those people, but I am not at all like that in real life.I fall into the “self-conscious doof” category.

Adria: Where did the idea for Morgan and Bliss’ story come from? Are they based on real people?

Morgan is definitely my fantasy sea captain (who bathes!), He is intelligent, adventurousand noble —but willing to bend the rules for a good cause!

Bliss is just Bliss. She came riding into With This Ring (Worthington Bk 3) in a pony cart and a pinstriped dress, with her hair “just so.” She is the only person on earth who can make fiery beauty Elektra Worthington feel inadequate. I just love her so much.

After writing 24 novels, I have come to the conclusion that I write about no one—but everyone. If you tell me a story about the time your cousin dated a taxidermist, it will probably end up in a book, all dressed up in Regency clothing!

Adria: Bliss comes from a very eccentric family that embraces things that others would find shameful or embarrassing, but Morgan comes from a very strict, proper, cold family so what is something he would be embarrassed for people to know about him?
I think it’s really sweet that he kept all of his mother’s things. It would be more macho to have his house done up in masculine colors and style, but he loved his mom and she loved that house. I think this is probably not the sort of thing he would share with the crew of his ship! 

Adria: Publishing a book is a little easier now than it was a few years ago, what were some of the challenges you faced when you were trying to get your first book published?
This is the part where other writers want to hunt me down with pitchforks and torches, but I didn’t really face any challenges. I wrote a book because I read one that I hated from the fifth page. It was just a bucket-list item. It didn’t even occur to me to send it anywhere but my friend loved it so much she insisted. It sold within a year.

That being said, I certainly did my time as a reader! I’ve always been a voracious reader of EVERYTHING. At the time I wrote my first book, my local library had a checkout limit of 30 books a week. I would finish them all with three days to spare and then twitch until the time was up. So I wrote myself a story to kill time. Reading is training for writing.

Adria: What made you want to become a romance author and what keeps motivating you to continue writing romance?
I think I started writing romance because that’s what I was binge-reading at the time. Amanda Quick changed my life. I started writing Regency because, well, Darcy!! In fawn breeches and a tailcoat!! Hello!

I know that every writer wants to write more than one thing, and sometimes I do, too. Now that my children are grown, I have a lot of time. Maybe I will branch out. But early on in my career someone told me, “Stay on the horse you rode in on.” They were right. I have readers who have followed my books for nearly two decades. I would never abandon them.

So while I may try other genres in the future, I will always be a romance writer.

Adria: What romance authors do you look up to?
Like I mentioned, Amanda Quick. Judith McNaught. Sharon Sala. Eloisa James. I think Elizabeth Essex is just brilliant, too. And there are writers in other genres that I love, who bring in a strong romantic element to their books. James A. Corey, Lois McMaster Bujold, CJ Cherryh come to mind.

Adria: Is there a sub-genre of romance that you'd like to try writing in?
I love to read urban fantasy and sci-fi. Since I live in the Southwest, I think it would be fun to write some Old West romance, should it ever come back into fashion.Old West urban fantasy romance? Is that a thing? We could definitely make it a thing.

Adria: What are you working on now?
I am finishing up a holiday novella, Sleepless in Staffordshire, for December 2017 release and plotting my next Wicked Worthingtons novel. I’m writing Lysander Worthington next because he’s so broken from the war and I just can’t stand leaving him that way any longer.

Adria: Celeste, I don't want to keep taking up your time so I want to thank you for answering my questions and congratulate you on Wedded Bliss. I really loved Morgan and Bliss' romance!
Thank you! That is so nice of you to say. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I loved writing it. Bliss seems like one of my dearest friends.

About Celeste:

Celeste Bradley is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty Regency romance novels, including the Wicked Worthingtons, Runaway Bride, Heiress Brides, Royal Four, and Liar’s Club series. She has twice been nominated for the RITA award by the Romance Writers of America.

Before becoming a writer in 1999, Celeste was an artist who specialized in pottery and ceramic sculpture.

Find Author:
Website l Blog

I’m SO glad I picked this one up because it is easily the best one in the entire series!

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: May 2, 2017

As a ship’s captain, highborn bastard Morgan Pryce has spent his life sailing away from England. The last thing he needs is a wife. But when he fears that his titled half brother, Neville, is about to be snared by a gold digger, Morgan aims to protect Neville by tricking the lovely crook into marrying him first. He knows he can't allow himself to believe a word she says. If only she weren’t so convincing....

Determined beauty Bliss Worthington is not terribly fond of finding another man waiting for her at the altar—after all, no one tricks a Worthington and gets away with it. Somehow she must persuade her dangerously handsome new husband to grant her an annulment, because her heart is set on his brother.

Soon the newlyweds must deal with a secret but mutual attraction. Morgan finds himself oddly devastated by her tenderness and braveness. When Neville shows up to rescue her from a loveless marriage, she will have to quickly decide which man is the right one for her....

What’s it About? Ship captain Morgan Pryce is close to his half brother, Neville, the Duke of Camberton. The two couldn’t be more different, Morgan is all alpha, rough, dangerous, and illegitimate but his loyalty to his brother knows no bounds. So when he is told that Neville is about to be tricked into marriage by a heartless fortune hunter, Morgan doesn’t hesitate to help, by tricking her into marrying him instead! Bliss Worthington isn’t actually a fortune hunter but she’s determined to marry Neville and she’s not thrilled when she finds out she’s married Morgan instead. Still, she’s sure she can convince him to give her an annulment but there’s a pesky mutual attraction between them that keeps getting in the way of things.

Describe the hero in five words: Alpha. Stubborn. Proud. Charming. Loyal.
Did you like him? Yes.
Why? Morgan may have had the wrong idea about Bliss but he loved his brother dearly. In the eyes of society Morgan and Neville should have hated each other but they didn’t and they were more like brothers than half-brothers. Even when Neville believed that Morgan had betrayed him, Morgan still loved his brother. Morgan’s loyalty and willingness to sacrifice himself said a lot about him. He had his moments of being mean towards Bliss, believing her to be some kind of heartless seducer of men even as he started doubting what he had been told about her. He was super stubborn too! Even when he was seeing proof of Bliss’ character he refused to even contemplate that he was wrong about her, much less that he was falling for her. He did always make sure that Bliss was well cared for in terms of a roof over her head, food, and clothing. Around the halfway point he was amusing the heck out of me as he tortured himself with his growing feelings for Bliss and the nagging doubt that he was wrong about her. I couldn’t help it, he was so freaking sure that Bliss was this horrible person that I wanted him to suffer just a bit. And he did!

Describe the heroine in five words: Calm. Pragmatic. Kind. Intelligent. Strong.
Did you like her? She’s BFF material.
Why? The Worthingtons can be a little… Out there as characters but Bliss was the opposite. I loved how she handled her situation when she found out she was marrying the wrong man. Bliss wasn’t a hysterical, crying, screaming, over the top dramatic woman. She had this quiet strength that was so subtle you couldn’t tell she was getting her way until she already had her way. That was funny in itself because it was clear Morgan didn’t stand a chance against her and that was obvious in the first chapter. It seemed the more Morgan railed against her, the more serene Bliss became. Her calm nature drove Morgan insane and yes, I did take delight in that. She didn’t take Morgan’s crap though, she just knew a different, less obvious way to deal with him and get her point across. I loved her. She had her reasons for wanting to marry Morgan’s brother that really made me feel for her as a character and those reasons lead to a surprise twist about Bliss’ parentage that I did NOT see coming.

How convincing were the main characters as a couple? As a couple Morgan and Bliss don’t seem to have much in common except an inconvenient attraction to one another that ends up growing into something passionate, sweet, and good for both of them. At the very end it is revealed that these two actually did have something big in common and Morgan feels even worse for ever assuming that Bliss was a scheming fortune hunter looking for a title to marry. The growth of the relationship was one of the best I’ve seen because these two aren’t burning up the sheets together because Bliss wants an annulment so she refuses to consummate the marriage. Morgan being a gentleman won’t force her but he won’t let her go either so the two were kind of locked in a battle of wills for most of the book but at the same time they were getting to know each other without sex clouding things. It was different in a good way and I was rooting for them the whole way through. They just had that chemistry that was too good to pass up.

Is there a “Scooby Gang” worth mentioning? I said this before but the Worthingtons are out there when it comes to personalities. They’re weird in a charming, scatter brained way, and some are slightly dangerous (Attie, the youngest Worthington has a fascination with weapons and has shot at least one of her siblings). Almost all of them make an appearance in Wedded Bliss as they’re a very close knit family. Whenever they were in a scene with Bliss the difference between her and the rest of the rambunctious family was more prevalent. I think the reason I liked Bliss so much was because she wasn’t exactly like the rest of her family. Those Worthingtons can be a bit much to handle. I liked them but in small doses. I also grew to like Morgan’s brother Neville. He was a man-child but by the end he started to grow up and even found someone he could fall in love with and she definitely brought out the man in Neville.

Overall reaction to the story? I was instantly swept away by the opening lines of Wedded Bliss and thoroughly charmed by Morgan and Bliss’ love story. The muted longing between the two characters was so addictive that I read this book in less than two days. It definitely reminded me why I fell in love with Celeste Bradley’s books to begin with, particularly the Liar’s Club series.

Click It or Skip It? Click It. Morgan and Bliss are unforgettable characters that charmed the hell out of me and those Worthingtons are madness personified.

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