In My Mailbox (for once)

Today a lovely red package arrived at my door, which was a completely new and exciting experience for me. The package itself was not the surprise. The surprise was that it did not contain books I had ordered, but a book that one of my favorite authors had promised to send me to read and review. 
That author is Carla Capshaw, who has written The Gladiator, The Protector, and The Duke's Redemption and the package included TWO books instead of the one promised, both signed by the author, a sweet card addressed to me, and a cute "Little Inspy Trading Card".

So, here are the books.

The Protector by Carla Capshaw
 Book 2 in The Roman Series 

Quintus Ambustus is a slave--Adiona Leonia is a wealthy socialite. He fights for his life in the gladiator's ring--she plays cutthroat politics in Rome's high society. He's sacrificed everything for his Christian faith--she believes in nothing and no one. But when Adiona's life is threatened, Quintus is chosen as her bodyguard, and their fascination with one another shocks them both. Neither thought to find joy in a match society would condemn...but their feelings cannot be denied. Have they lost too much to believe in happiness? Or will their growing love let them leave the past behind--and build a new future together?

The Champion by Carla Capshaw
Book 3 in The Roman Series
Release Date: 21 August 2011

Triumphs in the Coliseum-and society bedchambers-made gladiator Alexius of Iolcos famous for his brutal skill and womanizing ways. Yet the only woman who intrigues him is Tiberia the Younger, who now needs his help. Protecting Tiberia places Alexius in the greatest danger he has ever known-from her vengeful father and his own heart.
Becoming a temple priestess may be an honor, but Tibi can't bear to surrender her freedom or her newfound faith. Alexius's solution stuns her. a gladiator! Scorned by her noble family, Tibi always felt unworthy. But with her champion by her side, can she accept-and give-a love strong enough to vanquish their enemies?

In case you were wondering, the first book in the series which I have already read and reviewed (and loved) is

The Gladiator by Carla Capshaw
Book 1 in The Roman Series

He won his fame--and his freedom--in the gory pits of Rome's Colosseum. Yet the greatest challenge for once-legendary gladiator Caros Viriathos comes to him through a slave. His slave, the beautiful and mysterious Pelonia Valeria. Her secret brings danger to his household but offers Caros a love like he's never known....
Should anyone learn she is a Christian, Pelonia will be executed. Her faith threatens not only herself, but her master. Can she convince a man who found fame through unforgiving brutality to show mercy? And when she's ultimately given the choice, will Pelonia choose freedom or the love of a gladiator?

I just want to say here that this book is everything one would want in historical fiction, romance and action and I would even recommend it to someone who doesn't read christian fiction, because  it is not at all preachy. It is a rather deep book, however, and one that makes you think, whether you are a christian and agree with the characters' beliefs or not. 
Hopefully, I will review the rest soon, I'm looking forward to savoring them.

Sorry for blowing up the covers, I just love them so much, I couldn't help it.

I am not going to feel foolish for memorizing the card, or for taking the books with me and putting them on my nightstand when I took a nap this afternoon, or for showing them to my husband about a million times, or for taking my copy of The Champion off its shelf so that it can 'hang out' with the next two books in The Roman Series. I am not, because this is the first time someone has sent me anything for review, and I plan to enjoy it to the fullest. After all, if I am going to be realistic, it's not very probable that anyone else will take the trouble of sending a book all the way to Greece so that I will post a review about it in my tiny little blog....
But Carla did it, and I thank her for giving me the opportunity to feel the excitement that I see many other book bloggers taking for granted.

P.S. My husband looked at the card in awe when I first gave it to him. Then he said, 
"Do you realize, someone on the other side of the planet actually wrote these words, with their hand, in another language, and now you are holding them in your hand and reading them."
I nodded, speechless at the amazingness of it myself.
He gave the card back to me and I held it reverently. A few minutes later I showed it to him again. 
"Look what came in the mail for me!" I said, as though we were reenacting the whole scene.
And my husband, in true man-form, creased his eyebrows and asked,
"Haven't I seen this card somewhere before?"
And no, I don't think he was joking. 
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