Friday, May 26, 2017

Blog Tour: Refuge for Masterminds (Stranje House #3) by Kathleen Baldwin {Fun Fact + Excerpt + Giveaway}

I'm super excited to have the blog tour for Refuge for Masterminds, which is OUT NOW, stopping by today! I've only read the first book in this series so far, but it was such fun, and I'm definitely going to be catching up as soon as I can. Today I get to share a fun fact from Kathleen, an excerpt, and a giveaway! Read on, y'all! :)

About the book:

The stakes in this game of spies are life and death.
Lady Jane Moore has a secret. A secret that must be kept buried. If anyone discovered the truth, her life at Stranje House would crumble. And with Napoleon Bonaparte threatening to invade England, everyone at Stranje House is already in mortal danger.

There’s a traitor in the house. Someone is sneaking information to Napoleon’s spies, Lady Daneska and Ghost. Jane is determined to find out who it is before suspicions rip apart the bonds of friendship at Stranje House. Her desperate hunt for the traitor ensnares a brash young American inventor, Alexander Sinclair, Robert Fulton’s nephew, into an ambush that puts his life in danger. Sinclair is the most maddening young man in all of Christendom, a sharp-tongued rascal with boorish manners, but Lady Jane cannot bear the thought of the golden-haired genius being harmed.

Is Jane enough of a mastermind to save Alexander, her friends at Stranje House, and possibly England itself?

Fans of Gail Carriger, Patricia Wrede, and Caroline Stevermer will love this Regency-era alternate history filled with spunky heroines, handsome young lords, and dastardly villains.

Fun Fact #3

I am kind of a history nerd. I am crazy about doing research.

I know, I know, what kind of lunatic loves that? I mean no one enjoys doing research papers in school, do they? 

Oh, wait, yes, I do, I do! Waving hand. 

My little researcher’s heart goes absolutely crazy over authenticity. It’s an obsession. Nay, a sickness really. 

Anyway, to make certain I had the details of Ghost’s ship correct in REFUGE FOR MASTERMINDS, I needed to go aboard an honest to goodness ship from the Regency era. So, a friend and I went to a maritime museum in San Diego. We clambered down narrow stairwells into the cargo hold, the crew’s quarters (a bunch of hammocks in the hold), passenger berths, the captain’s quarters, the artillery deck, and even the kitchen.

I now know what it feels like to be aboard an old ship, and I’m grateful it was only for an hour. 

You guys, ships are so tiny! I have no idea how the sailors and passengers could live like that for months at a time. 

Super squishy.

Excerpt from
Chapter 15
Clocks and Cobras

(Wherein Alexander Sinclair, the boorish American Inventor, has come to Lady Jane for a dance lesson)

The Grand Salon at Haversmythe house is an elegant soft blue with lavish white moldings. Queen Anne chairs, upholstered in a matching blue velvet, are arranged along the walls. Two enormous chandeliers hang from the ceiling. One is lit for this evening, and it glitters with fifteen brightly glowing candles. The floor is smooth and waxed to a brilliant shine. But the most notable feature, is how perfectly this room sets off Mr. Sinclair’s features.

He is clad in his new Corinthian black coat and navy blue breeches. I will not remark on how his hair glows in the candlelight, nor how the blue walls are a perfect foil for his angelic features. The effect is somewhat marred by the fact that he is smiling at me like a roguish pickpocket.

He bows over my hand and one might almost think him a gentleman. I run through all the things I should like him to say.

I’m yours to command, Lady Jane.

You look perfectly stunning in that gown, my lady.

My dearest Jane, I’ve been counting each torturous minute until this moment.

To all these compliments, I plan to offer a ladylike laugh, and playfully scold him the way Lady Jersey would. I will say, mind your tongue Alexander Sinclair, and then smile coyly.

He rises from his bow, and I perform a slow languid curtsy.

“All right, Lady Jane, what are you up to?” He stares down his nose at me. Which, by the way, looks as if it was broken at one time or another. There is a decided knot in the fine lines of the bone. “I see cogs turning in that dangerous little head of yours.”

Dangerous. Not pretty. Of all the things he could’ve called my head, lovely, or even clever, he chooses to say dangerous. What’s worse, I am completely innocent of plotting at the moment. I was merely enjoying looking at him.

“I’m not up to anything.” I cross my arms. “Why should I be?”

“Because you always are.” He says this with a modicum of respect, as if it is not entirely an insult, even though it is. “Craftier than a mongoose chasing a cobra, you are. I never know what to expect.”

A mongoose?

Suddenly, I want to punch him. My fists are balled and I have half a mind to actually do the deed, except that would not be ladylike, and fortunately for him Captain Grey and Miss Stranje are approaching, otherwise I might fling caution to the wind and smack him properly, right there on his angelic cheek.

Mongoose, indeed.

Miss Stranje greets Mr. Sinclair, and says, “Lady Jane, we will leave you and the others to instruct Mr. Sinclair on the finer points of our English country dances. Mind you, the gentlemen have an early morning tomorrow. So, you only have an hour and a half before they must take their leave.”

Mr. Sinclair bows to her and holds out his arm to me. “I am ready for your instruction, my lady.”

“I’m surprised you would trust a mongoose.”

“With my life, your majesty.” He adds a jaunty smile. But his flippant remark, with my life, jolts me back to the cold cruel fact that his life may indeed rely on whether or not I can catch the cobra.
My fists uncurl.

Buy Refuge for Masterminds: Barnes & Noble | Amazon

Previous books in the series:

Buy A School for Unusual Girls: Barnes & Noble | Amazon
Buy Exile for Dreamers: Barnes & Noble | Amazon

About the author:

Kathleen Baldwin loves adventure in books and in real life. She taught rock climbing in the Rockies, survival camped in the desert, was stalked by a mountain lion, lost an argument with a rattlesnake, spent way too long in college, fell in love and married her very own hero.

A SCHOOL FOR UNUSUAL GIRLS, the first book in the alternate history series for teens, was awarded Spirit of Texas in 2016, is a Junior Library Guild selection, and Kansas NEA Reading Circle gave it a starred review in their 2016 “Best of the Best” for High Schools. Ian Bryce, producer of Spiderman, Saving Private Ryan, and other notable films optioned the series for film.

REFUGE FOR MASTERMINDS, Book 3 in the Stranje House series, releases May 23rd.

#1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot calls this romantic Regency adventure, "completely original and totally engrossing."
Find Kathleen online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

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