August 28, 2018

Tiffany Blues by MJ Rose - Spotlight


Book details
Tiffany Blues by M.J. Rose
Publication Date: August 7, 2018
Atria Books
Hardcover & eBook; 336 Pages
ISBN: 978-1501173592
Genre: Historical Fiction


Book description
New York, 1924. Twenty‑four‑year‑old Jenny Bell is one of a dozen burgeoning artists invited to Louis Comfort Tiffany’s prestigious artists’ colony. Gifted and determined, Jenny vows to avoid distractions and romantic entanglements and take full advantage of the many wonders to be found at Laurelton Hall. But Jenny’s past has followed her to Long Island. Images of her beloved mother, her hard-hearted stepfather, waterfalls, and murder, and the dank hallways of Canada’s notorious Andrew Mercer Reformatory for Women overwhelm Jenny’s thoughts, even as she is inextricably drawn to Oliver, Tiffany’s charismatic grandson. As the summer shimmers on, and the competition between the artists grows fierce as they vie for a spot at Tiffany’s New York gallery, a series of suspicious and disturbing occurrences suggest someone knows enough about Jenny’s childhood trauma to expose her. Supported by her closest friend Minx Deering, a seemingly carefree socialite yet dedicated sculptor, and Oliver, Jenny pushes her demons aside. Between stolen kisses and stolen jewels, the champagne flows and the jazz plays on until one moonless night when Jenny’s past and present are thrown together in a desperate moment, that will threaten her promising future, her love, her friendships, and her very life. 
Praise for Tiffany Blues
“A lush, romantic historical mystery with a unique setting. Tiffany Blues explores an interesting lost bit of American history and gives us a heroine to root for." —Kristin Hannah, New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale 

“A fascinating novel about a young, struggling artist mentored by the celebrated jeweler and stained-glass creator Louis Comfort Tiffany. Tiffany Blues brings together an enchanting glimpse of Jazz Age New York and an inspired fictional story about Jenny Bell and the terrible secret she's hiding.” —Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train and A Piece of the World 

"The New York Times bestselling author of The Library of Light and Shadow crafts a dazzling Jazz Age jewel—a novel of ambition, betrayal, and passion about a young painter whose traumatic past threatens to derail her career at a prestigious summer artists’ colony run by Louis Comfort Tiffany of Tiffany & Co. fame. “[M.J. Rose] transports the reader into the past better than a time machine could accomplish” —The Associated Press 

"M.J. Rose must have plunged her pen into a vale of tears, radiance, and crime to write this novel. Tiffany Blues melds a tragic mother-daughter relationship, the shimmer of Tiffany’s creations, the jolting life of artists and their shocking jealousy, in a captivating story that illuminates how far we'll go for love. MJ Rose broke this reader’s heart and then, as though using the ancient art of Kintsugi, healed me by sealing the future with golden veins of hope." —Randy Susan Meyers, International Bestselling Author 

"Intriguing... [Rose's] best creation yet." —Publishers Weekly 

"Intricate plotting, sensuous descriptions... captivating. A lush, mesmerizing story." —Kirkus 

"Rose keeps readers spellbound... with a touch of Gatsby-esque flavor and opulence and a research-rich mix of facts and fiction." —Library Journal - Starred review 

"Rose's talent for delivering believable characters and plot shines in her latest novel...Readers are in for a treat and the jaw-dropping climax well have them enthralled." —RT Book Reviews 

"A stunning look at the Jazz Age, told in M.J. Rose's inimitable style." —PopSugar 25 Best Summer Books

Meet the Author - M.J. Rose
New York Times Bestseller, M.J. Rose grew up in New York City mostly in the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum, the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park and reading her mother's favorite books before she was allowed. She believes mystery and magic are all around us but we are too often too busy to notice... books that exaggerate mystery and magic draw attention to it and remind us to look for it and revel in it. Rose's work has appeared in many magazines including Oprah Magazine and she has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, WSJ, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio. Rose graduated from Syracuse University, spent the '80s in advertising, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors - Authorbuzz.com Her most recent novel THE LIBRARY OF LIGHT AND SHADOW (Atria/S&S) was chosen as an Indie Next Pick. The television series PAST LIFE, was based on Rose's novels in the Reincarnationist series. She is one of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers. Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield. For more information, please visit her website and her blog, Museum of Mysteries. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a Louis Comfort Tiffany glass paperweight from the Metropolitan Museum of Artder! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below. Giveaway Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on September 7th. You must be 18 or older to enter. – Giveaway is open to US residents only. – Only one entry per household. – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion. – Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. Tiffany Blues

Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, August 6 Excerpt at Passages to the Past - Feature at Naomi Finley Tuesday, 
August 7 Feature at So Many Books, So Little Time
Wednesday, August 8 Review at A Bookish Affair
Thursday, August 9 Feature at Just One More Chapter
Friday, August 10 Review at Donna's Book Blog
Sunday, August 12 Review at Carole Rae's Random Ramblings
Monday, August 13 Review at A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, August 14 Feature at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Wednesday, August 15 Feature at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen
Thursday, August 16 Review at The Lit Bitch
Monday, August 20 Review at The Book Mind Review at 100 Pages a Day
Tuesday, August 21 Feature at Maiden of the Pages
Wednesday, August 22 Review at Pursuing Stacie
Friday, August 24 Feature at I'm Shelf-ish
Monday, August 27 Review at Broken Teepee
Tuesday, August 28 Feature at A Holland Reads
Wednesday, August 29 Review at Bookish Review at Library of Clean Reads T
hursday, August 30 Review at History From a Woman's Perspective
Friday, August 31 Interview at History From a Woman's Perspective
Saturday, September 1 Review at A Darn Good Read
Monday, September 3 Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Wednesday, September 5 Review at Laura's Interests
Thursday, September 6 Review & Interview at Clarissa Reads it All
Friday, September 7 Review at Bookramblings



Good Time Cowboy by Maisey Yates - Excerpt


Book details
Series: A Gold Valley Novel
Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: HQN; Original edition

Book description
In Gold Valley, Oregon, forbidden desire just might turn into the love of a lifetime…

When Lindy Parker lost her cheating husband, she gained a vineyard. She’ll do anything for Grassroots Winery, including teaming up with the hottest devil she knows, rancher Wyatt Dodge. Wyatt is her ex’s friend and has an ego as big as the bulls he rides. But in spite of that, disciplined Lindy has always wanted him…

Lightning struck Wyatt Dodge the first time he saw Lindy Parker. But there were two problems with that: she was married to his friend, and Wyatt doesn’t do strings. But now Lindy is free, and the two of them can finally explore the heat that’s burned between them for so long. But can Lindy make this good time cowboy decide on forever?


Meet the author - Missy Yates
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Maisey Yates lives in rural Oregon with her three children and her husband, whose chiseled jaw and arresting features continue to make her swoon. She feels the epic trek she takes several times a day from her office to her coffee maker is a true example of her pioneer spirit.

In 2009, at the age of twenty-three Maisey sold her first book. Since then it’s been a whirlwind of sexy alpha males and happily ever afters, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Maisey divides her writing time between dark, passionate category romances set just about everywhere on earth and light sexy contemporary romances set practically in her back yard. She believes that she clearly has the best job in the world.

Connect with Maisey
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Excerpt
“I’ve spent too many nights standing in groups of people who think that I’m beneath them. Who think I’m not as smart. Who think I don’t deserve to be standing in the spot I’m in. I want…better. I wish I didn’t care. But I can’t help it. I do.”

“It’s not a bad thing to care,” he said, taking a step toward her, close enough now that the slight breeze carried her floral perfume toward him, the impact of those flowers like a battering ram. “I wish I remembered how.” She appraised him closely, and he smiled. “Well, sometimes I wish I remembered how. A lot of times I’m happy I don’t.”

She was quiet for a breath. “You care,” she said, finally.

And for the first time, he was glad that she still had her sunglasses on. Because right about now he didn’t want to know what she saw.

It had never occurred to him until that moment that if he could read her, every movement, every minute expression, that she might be able to do the same thing with him.

“About the ranch. Remember, I’m nothing more than a bad cliché of a country song. My horse, my truck, my land.”

“Right. Don’t forget your beer.”

“And my woman?”

She stiffened. “Is there a woman?”

“In a manner of speaking,” he said, taking another step toward her, unable to help himself. “Right now, she’s not so impressed with me.”

“Well, it’s not hard to understand why.”

He appraised her for the space of three breaths. Watched as her breasts rose and fell with each one. Color stained her cheeks. She was blushing. And still, even with the sunglasses, he knew she was looking at him like she wanted him to turn to stone.

Well, hell, he was hard as stone. Had been from the moment he’d first seen her.

She’d always been there. In the back of his mind. Ever since that first moment.

Yes, he’d been with other women in the past five years. Of course he had. But the more he spent time with Lindy, the more she overtook his senses.

When she had been married to Damien it had been the gentlemanly thing to go off and sleep with other women, to do something to keep himself from fantasizing about his friend’s wife.

But, in the time since the divorce… That rationale had become a lot more difficult to maintain, seeing as she was no longer his friend’s wife. Or anyone’s wife.

Since her divorce… Yes, there had been other women.

In the past year…not so much.

And acting like it was a game. Light and funny banter… That was getting harder too. Along with the rest of his damned body.

He liked a game, he liked to flirt, but he was getting tired of this one not going anywhere. He was getting tired of her acting like it didn’t mean anything.

It did. She wanted him. He could see it. And he didn’t know what the hell her investment was in acting like she didn’t. They were grown-ass adults. She didn’t want to get married, neither did he. But damn he wanted to burn off some of this electricity that sparked between them every time he saw her.

Yeah, they were working together, but in his mind, that was only making it worse. Ignoring it, continuing to go on like it wasn’t happening… That wasn’t working. Not for him.

It wasn’t going away. It wasn’t getting better. It was only getting stronger. And he didn’t know what to do with that.

He didn’t know what to do with this beautiful, gorgeous brick wall standing in front of him. One that made him crazy, one that made his skin itch and his blood feel like it was on fire.

He didn’t know how to want and not have.


Review tour:
Monday, August 20th: Written Love Reviews – excerpt
Wednesday, August 22nd: Books a la Mode – excerpt
Monday, August 27th: Books and Blends – excerpt
Tuesday, August 28th: A Holland Reads – excerpt
Wednesday, August 29th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Thursday, August 30th: Jathan & Heather – review and excerpt
Friday, August 31st: @bookishwinterwitch
Monday, September 3rd: Moonlight Rendezvous
Tuesday, September 4th: Run Wright
Wednesday, September 5th: Books & Spoons
Thursday, September 6th: @dreaming_of_stories
Friday, September 7th: Evermore Books – excerpt
Monday, September 10th: Bewitched Bookworms
Wednesday, September 12th: Stranded in Chaos
Thursday, September 13th: Written Love Reviews
Friday, September 14th: Becky on Books
Monday, September 17th: From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, September 18th: A Night’s Dream of Books

August 23, 2018

Monticello: The Official Guide to Thomas Jefferson's World - Review


Book details
Hardcover: 144 pages
Publisher: National Geographic (March 1, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1426215061
ISBN-13: 978-1426215063

Book description
For the first time, Monticello has an official guidebook that reflects the unique statesman and inventor Thomas Jefferson, his home, and his world. Showcasing the recent restoration of the home and plantation, it features information about the slaves of Mulberry Row, as well as the state-of-the-art visitor and education center. Each of the guide's 144 pages is designed to showcase the topics in its five chapters: Thomas Jefferson, Before Your Visit, The House, The Plantation, and the Neighborhood. Photographs, art and cutaways, and maps accompany featured stories both iconic and little-known from Monticello's curators.

Meet the author
The THOMAS JEFFERSON FOUNDATION was incorporated in 1923 to “preserve Monticello as a memorial to Thomas Jefferson and his ideas.” As the owner and operator of the estate, the company has been dedicated to its dual mission of preservation and education for more than 90 years. It has painstakingly worked to restore the UNESCO World Heritage Site, seek out original furnishings, reacquire plantation lands, and expand educational programs.

My thoughts
I really enjoyed this book. For someone who is unable to go visit Monticello at this time but would love to it is a way to see inside the famous home of Thomas Jefferson. I liked how there was not only pictures but facts included. This book was also rich with history of Monticello, Thomas Jefferson and the lands. The pictures were well taken and were very crisp. I am glad that checked this book out as it was worth the time I took to read it. 

Prairie Fires by Caroline Fraser - Review


Book details
Hardcover: 640 pages
Publisher: Metropolitan Books; 1st Edition edition (November 21, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1627792767
ISBN-13: 978-1627792769

Book description
The first comprehensive historical biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the beloved author of the Little House on the Prairie books

One of The New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of the Year

Millions of readers of Little House on the Prairie believe they know Laura Ingalls—the pioneer girl who survived blizzards and near-starvation on the Great Plains, and the woman who wrote the famous autobiographical books. But the true saga of her life has never been fully told. Now, drawing on unpublished manuscripts, letters, diaries, and land and financial records, Caroline Fraser—the editor of the Library of America edition of the Little House series—masterfully fills in the gaps in Wilder’s biography. Revealing the grown-up story behind the most influential childhood epic of pioneer life, she also chronicles Wilder's tumultuous relationship with her journalist daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, setting the record straight regarding charges of ghostwriting that have swirled around the books.

The Little House books, for all the hardships they describe, are paeans to the pioneer spirit, portraying it as triumphant against all odds. But Wilder’s real life was harder and grittier than that, a story of relentless struggle, rootlessness, and poverty. It was only in her sixties, after losing nearly everything in the Great Depression, that she turned to children’s books, recasting her hardscrabble childhood as a celebratory vision of homesteading—and achieving fame and fortune in the process, in one of the most astonishing rags-to-riches episodes in American letters.

Spanning nearly a century of epochal change, from the Indian Wars to the Dust Bowl, Wilder’s dramatic life provides a unique perspective on American history and our national mythology of self-reliance. With fresh insights and new discoveries, Prairie Fires reveals the complex woman whose classic stories grip us to this day.

Meet the author - Caroline Fraser
Caroline Fraser is the author of Rewilding the World: Dispatches from the Conservation Revolution (Metropolitan, 2009) and God's Perfect Child: Living and Dying in the Christian Science Church (Metropolitan, 1999), which was selected as a New York Times Book Review Notable Book and a Los Angeles Times Book Review Best Book. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Review of Books, and Outside magazine, among others. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

My thoughts
When I started this book I really liked it. I enjoyed that it had even more details than other books I have read about Laura and I have always been a fan or shall we say obsessed with her and I have just about every book about her. The further I got into the book and read about Rose the more I was getting upset as this is not how Laura and Rose have been talked about before. While reading this book I visited the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Mansfield and talk to them about what I reading and how I felt. I found out I was not alone in my thought, in fact some of the volunteers of the  museum wanted to know where the author receive her facts from - one who had lived in Mansfield her entire life. One thing I asked the museum about was an argument that happened between Laura and Rose over a book that Rose wrote and according to the author was still talked about in Mansfield. I was told that this was not true - it is not talked about and there was no big argument that the town still mentions. They said both women were very strong and had their opinions as well as they did but heads at times. There is also a line in the book where the author says the people of Mansfield say "Rose was not well - liked here", I do not believe that especially after talking to people in the town just two weeks ago. I put this book down more than once saying I was not going to finish it but with only having 150 pages left I knew I had to finish. I was disappointed in this book when all was said and done. 

August 18, 2018

To Bead or Not to Bead by Janice Peacock - Spotlight and Giveaway

Book details
Cozy Mystery 4th in Series 
Vetrai Press (June 29, 2018) 
Print Length: 187 pages Digital 
ASIN: B07CZ4B5Q7
  

Book description
When a wealthy theater owner is killed by a falling art glass chandelier, glass beadmaker Jax O’Connell’s boyfriend, Detective Zachary Grant, quickly determines it was no accident. Jax and her friend Tessa try to carry on with a charity fashion gala at the theater, but with only a few days before the big event, they have to scramble to keep things from falling apart. The emcee quits, and to make matters worse, Tessa’s daughters are suspects in the murder. As the chaos unfolds, Jax discovers new suspects at every turn, including an edgy glass blower, an agoraphobic socialite, and a hunky former-cop-turned-actor. Can Jax piece together the clues to find the killer and uncover the dark secrets behind the victim’s family or will it be curtains for her?

Meet the author - Janice Peacock
Janice Peacock decided to write her first mystery novel after working in a glass studio full of colorful artists who didn’t always get along. They reminded her of the odd, and often humorous, characters in the murder mystery books she loved to read. Inspired by that experience, she combined her two passions and wrote High Strung: A Glass Bead Mystery, the first book in a new cozy mystery series featuring glass beadmaker Jax O’Connell.

When Janice Peacock isn’t writing about glass artists who are amateur detectives, she makes glass beads using a torch, designs one-of-a-kind jewelry and makes sculptures using hot glass. An award-winning artist, her work has been exhibited internationally and is in the permanent collections of several museums. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two cats, and seven chickens. She has a studio full of beads...lots and lots of beads. Author Links

Webpage – www.janicepeacock.com
Facebook – www.facebook.com/JanPeac
@JanPeac on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest

Purchase Link Amazon B&N 

Giveaway


TOUR PARTICIPANTS 
August 8 – Handcrafted Reviews – GUEST POST (RECIPE) 
August 8 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT 
August 9 – Book Babble – REVIEW 
August 9 – Socrates' Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT 
August 10 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT 
August 11 – Laura's Interests – REVIEW, GUEST POST 
August 12 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW 
August 13 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW 
August 13 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT 
August 14 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW 
August 14 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT 
August 15 – The Montana Bookaholic - GUEST POST 
August 15 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW 
August 16 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW 
August 17 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW 
August 17 – Cozy Up With Kathy – SPOTLIGHT 
August 18 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT 
August 18 – Varietats – REVIEW 
August 19 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

August 16, 2018

The Black Witch by Laurie Forest - Excerpt


Book details
Age Range: 12 - 18 years
Grade Level: 10 - 12
Series: The Black Witch Chronicles (Book 1)
Paperback: 672 pages
Publisher: Harlequin Teen; Original edition (August 7, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1335468862
ISBN-13: 978-1335468864

Book description
Powerful magic. A deadly legacy. A world at the edge of war.

Prepare to be spellbound by The Black Witch.

Evil looms on the horizon, and for Elloren Gardner, granddaughter of the last Black Witch, pressure to live up to her magical heritage is building. Elloren’s people, the Gardnerians, believe she will follow in her grandmother’s footsteps. But Elloren is utterly devoid of power—in a society that prizes magical ability above all else.

Granted the opportunity to study at the prestigious Verpax University, Elloren sets out to embrace a destiny of her own, free from the shadow of her grandmother’s legacy. But the university may be the most treacherous place of all for the granddaughter of the Black Witch, and Elloren soon realizes that the world she knows is not what it seems. If she is to survive the coming danger, she’ll have to free her mind from the assumptions she was raised with, and learn to trust the very people she’s been taught to hate and fear.



Purchase Links
Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Meet the author - Laurie Forest
Laurie Forest lives deep in the backwoods of Vermont, where she sits in front of a wood stove drinking strong tea and dreaming up tales full of dryads, dragons and wands. She is the author of The Black Witch Chronicles, including The Black Witch, The Iron Flower and the prequel e-novella Wandfasted. Enter her realm online at www.laurieannforest.com.

Connect with Laurie
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Excerpt
CHAPTER THREE 
Goodbye 

That night I’m in my quiet bedroom, softly illuminated by the gentle glow of the lantern on my desk. As I pack, my hand passes through a shadow, and I pause to look at it.

Like all Gardnerians, my skin shimmers faintly in the dark. It’s the mark of the First Children, set down on us by the Ancient One above, marking us as the rightful owners of Erthia.

At least, that’s what our holy book, The Book of the Ancients, tells us.

The traveling trunk Aunt Vyvian has brought for me lies open on the bed. It hits me that I’ve never been away from my uncle for more than a day, not since my brothers and I came to live with him when I was three, after my parents were killed in the Realm War.

It was a bloody conflict that raged for thirteen long years and ended with my grandmother’s death in battle. But it was a necessary war, my beleaguered country relentlessly attacked and ransacked at the beginning of it. By the time it ended, Gardneria was allied with the Alfsigr Elves, ten times its original size, and the new, major power in the region.

All thanks to my grandmother, The Black Witch.

My father, Vale, was a highly ranked Gardnerian soldier, and my mother, Tessla, was visiting him when Keltic forces struck. They died together, and my uncle took us in soon after.

My little white cat, Isabel, jumps into my trunk and tries to pull a string from my old patchwork quilt. It’s the quilt my mother made while pregnant with me, and it’s linked to the only vivid memory I have of her. When I wrap myself in it, I can hear, faintly, the sound of my mother’s voice singing me a lullaby, and almost feel her arms cradling me. No matter how bad a day I’ve had, just wrapping myself in this quilt can soothe me like nothing else.

It’s as if she sewed her love right into the soft fabric.

Next to my trunk stands my apothecary kit, vials neatly stacked inside, tools secured, the medicines meticulously prepared. I’ve inherited this affinity for medicinal plants and herbs from my mother. She was a gifted apothecary, well-known for several creative tonics and elixirs that she developed.

Beside my apothecary supplies lies my violin, case open, its amber, lacquered wood reflecting the lantern light. I run my fingers along the violin’s smooth surface.

I made this instrument, and there’s no way I can part with it. I’m not supposed to know how to make violins, since women aren’t allowed in the music crafter’s Guilds. My uncle hesitated to teach me, but as time went on, he became increasingly aware of my natural talent and relented.

I love everything about violin-making. My hands have always been drawn to wood, soothed by it, and I can tell just by touching it what type it is, whether or not the tree was healthy, what kind of sound it will support. I can lose myself for hours on end carving, sanding, coaxing the raw wood into the graceful shapes of violin parts.

Sometimes we play together, my uncle and I, especially during the winter evenings by the light of the hearth.

A polite knock on the door frame breaks my reverie, and I turn to see my uncle standing in the open doorway.

“Am I disturbing you?” My uncle’s face is gentle and softer than usual in the dim, warm light. His words, however, have a troubling edge of concern to them.

“No,” I reply tentatively. “I’m just finishing packing.”

“Can I come in?” he asks, hesitating. I nod and take a seat on my bed, which looks forlorn and foreign without its quilt. My uncle sits down next to me.

“I imagine you’re feeling quite confused,” he says. “Your aunt sent word a few months ago that she might be paying us a visit at some point, to discuss your future. So I started to make arrangements with the University. Just in case. I knew it was possible that she’d come for you someday, but I was hoping it wouldn’t be for a few more years at least.”

“Why?” I ask. I’m incredibly curious about why Aunt Vyvian has taken such a sudden interest in me—and why Uncle Edwin is so rattled by it.

My uncle wrings his clasped hands. “Because I do not believe what your aunt wants for your future is necessarily the best thing for you.” He pauses and sighs deeply. “You know I love you and your brothers as much as if you were my own children.”

I lean over onto his shoulder. His wool vest is scratchy. He puts his arm around me, and some of the stray hairs from his scraggly beard tickle my cheek.

“I’ve tried to shelter you, and protect you,” he continues, “and I hope that your parents, if they were here, would understand why I’ve made the decisions that I have.”

“I love you, too,” I say, my voice cracking, my eyes filling with tears.

I’ve wanted to venture out for so long, but it’s suddenly hitting me—I won’t see my uncle or my loving home for a long time. Maybe not until spring.

“Well, now, what’s this?” he asks, rubbing my shoulder to comfort me.

“It’s just all so fast.” I sniff back the tears. “I want to go, but… I’ll miss you. And Isabel, too.” Isabel, perhaps sensing my need for comfort, jumps onto my lap, purring and kneading me.

And I don’t want you to be lonely with me gone.

“Oh, there now,” my uncle says, as he hugs me tighter. “Don’t cry. I’ll take good care of Isabel, and you’ll see her soon enough. You’ll be back before you know it, with tales of all sorts of grand adventures.”

I wipe at my tears and pull away to look up at him. I don’t understand the urgency. He’s always been so reluctant to let me go anywhere, always wanting to keep me here at home. Why has he made such a quick decision to finally let me go?

Perhaps seeing the questions in my eyes, my uncle lets out a deep sigh. “Your aunt can’t force the issue of wandfasting as long as Rafe and I are here, but she can force the issue of schooling—unless I choose first. So I’m choosing. I’ve some contacts in the University’s apothecary school, so it was no trouble finding you a spot there.”

“Why don’t you want me to apprentice at the High Mage Council with Aunt Vyvian?”

“It doesn’t suit you,” he explains with a shake of his head. “I want you to pursue something…” He hesitates a moment. “Something more peaceful.”

He looks at me meaningfully, like he’s trying to convey a secret hope and perhaps an unspoken danger, then he reaches down to pet Isabel, who pushes her head against him, purring contentedly.

I stare at him, confused by his odd emphasis.

“If they ask you,” he says, focused in on the cat, “I’ve already wandtested you, and you have no magic.”

“I know, but… I don’t remember.”

“It’s not surprising,” he says, absently, as he continues to stroke the cat. “You were very young, and it wasn’t very memorable, as you have no magic.”

Only Trystan has magic, unlike most Gardnerians, who have no magic, or weak magic at best. Trystan has lots of magic. And he’s trained in weapon magic, which is particularly dangerous. But since my uncle won’t allow wands or grimoires in the house, Trystan’s never been able to show me what he can do.

Uncle Edwin’s eyes meet mine, his expression darkening. “I want you to promise me, Elloren,” he says, his tone uncharacteristically urgent. “Promise me that you won’t leave school to apprentice with the Mage Council, no matter how much your aunt pressures you.”

I don’t understand why he’s being so grave about this. I want to be an apothecary like my mother was, not apprenticed with our ruling council. I nod my head in agreement.

“And if something happens to me, you’ll wait to wandfast to someone. You’ll finish your education first.”

“But nothing’s going to happen to you.”

“No, no, it’s not,” he says, reassuringly. “But promise me anyway.”

A familiar worry mushrooms inside me. We all know that my uncle has been struggling with ill health for some time, prone to fatigue and problems with his joints and lungs. My brothers and I are loath to speak of this. He’s been a parent to us for so long—the only parent we can really remember. The thought of losing him is too awful to think of.

“Okay,” I say. “I promise. I’ll wait.”

Hearing these words, some of the tension leaves my uncle’s face. He pats my shoulder approvingly and gets up, joints cracking as he stands. He pauses and puts his hand affectionately on my head. “Go to University,” he says. “Learn the apothecary trade. Then come back to Halfix and practice your trade here.”

Some of the creeping worry withdraws its cold hands.

That sounds just fine. And perhaps I’ll meet a young man. I do want to be fasted, someday. Maybe, after I’m fasted, my fastmate and I could settle here in Halfix.

“All right,” I agree, bolstered.

This is all sudden and unexpected, but it’s exactly what I’ve wished for. Everything will work out for the best.

“Get some sleep,” he tells me. “You’ve a long ride ahead of you tomorrow.”

“Okay,” I say. “I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Good night. Sleep well.”

I watch him leave, his shy, friendly smile the last thing I see before he gently shuts the door.

Tour participants
Monday, August 13th: The Romance Dish
Tuesday, August 14th: From the TBR PIle
Wednesday, August 15th: Books a la Mode
Thursday, August 16th: A Holland Reads
Friday, August 17th: 100 Pages a Day
Monday, August 20th: Rockin’ & Reviewing
Tuesday, August 21st: Cheryl’s Book Nook
Wednesday, August 22nd: Books & Bindings
Thursday, August 23rd: Girls in Books
Friday, August 24th: A Dream Within a Dream
Monday, August 27th: Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday, August 28th: What is That Book About

Tiffany Blues by MJ Rose - Review

I received this book free from the publisher. All opinions are my own

Book details
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Atria Books (August 7, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1501173596
ISBN-13: 978-1501173592

Book description
The New York Times bestselling author of The Library of Light and Shadow crafts a dazzling Jazz Age jewel—a novel of ambition, betrayal, and passion about a young painter whose traumatic past threatens to derail her career at a prestigious summer artists’ colony run by Louis Comfort Tiffany of Tiffany & Co. fame. “[M.J. Rose] transports the reader into the past better than a time machine could accomplish” (The Associated Press).

New York, 1924. Twenty four year old Jenny Bell is one of a dozen burgeoning artists invited to Louis Comfort Tiffany’s prestigious artists’ colony. Gifted and determined, Jenny vows to avoid distractions and romantic entanglements and take full advantage of the many wonders to be found at Laurelton Hall.

But Jenny’s past has followed her to Long Island. Images of her beloved mother, her hard-hearted stepfather, waterfalls, and murder, and the dank hallways of Canada’s notorious Andrew Mercer Reformatory for Women overwhelm Jenny’s thoughts, even as she is inextricably drawn to Oliver, Tiffany’s charismatic grandson.

As the summer shimmers on, and the competition between the artists grows fierce as they vie for a spot at Tiffany’s New York gallery, a series of suspicious and disturbing occurrences suggest someone knows enough about Jenny’s childhood trauma to expose her.

Supported by her closest friend Minx Deering, a seemingly carefree socialite yet dedicated sculptor, and Oliver, Jenny pushes her demons aside. Between stolen kisses and stolen jewels, the champagne flows and the jazz plays on until one moonless night when Jenny’s past and present are thrown together in a desperate moment, that will threaten her promising future, her love, her friendships, and her very life.


Meet the author - MJ Rose
New York Times bestselling author M. J. Rose grew up in New York City exploring the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum and the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park. She is the author of more than a dozen novels, a founding board member of International Thriller Writers, and the founder of the first marketing company for authors, AuthorBuzz.com. She lives in Connecticut. Visit her online at MJRose.com.

Connect with M. J. Rose
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

My thoughts
The things I liked about the book is that it had some mystery and history mixed into the story with a little romance thrown in. For me I would have liked just a tab bit more history about Tiffany and the land thrown in. I also liked how the author was detailed in her descriptions of scenes and developing the characters. I have always enjoyed the authors writing style and this book was no exception. 

Tour participants
Wednesday, August 8th: Midwest Ladies Who Lit
Thursday, August 9th: Book Dilettante
Friday, August 10th: Read Love Blog
Monday, August 13th: Reading Reality
Monday, August 13th: @girlandherbooks
Tuesday, August 14th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Tuesday, August 14th: Jathan & Heather
Thursday, August 16th: Laura’s Reviews
Thursday, August 16th: A Holland Reads
Friday, August 17th: Literary Quicksand
Monday, August 20th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Tuesday, August 21st: Books & Bindings
Wednesday, August 22nd: From the TBR Pile
Thursday, August 23rd: Kritter’s Ramblings
Friday, August 24th – Moonlight Rendezvous
Monday, August 27th: Cheryl’s Book Nook
Wednesday, August 29th: Savvy Verse and Wit
Date TBD: (8/7): Of Pens and Pages

August 15, 2018

Pretty Mess by Erika Jayne - Review


Book details
Listening Length: 5 hours and 45 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Audible.com Release Date: March 20, 2018
Whispersync for Voice: Ready
Language: English
ASIN: B079MFRQYW

Book description
Without her alter-ego Erika Jayne, Erika Girardi says she'd just be "another rich bitch with a plane" - so get ready for the dishy, tell-all memoir from show-stopping performer, model, singer, and beloved star of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Erika Jayne.

Erika Jayne didn't make it this far by holding back. Now, in her first-ever memoir, the fan favorite star of Bravo's The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills bares her heart, mind, and soul.

In Pretty Mess, Erika spills on every aspect of her life: from her rise to fame as a daring and fiery pop/dance performer and singer; to her decision to accept a role on reality television; to the ups and downs of family life (including her marriage to famed lawyer Tom Girardi, 33 years her senior). There's much more to Erika Jayne than fans see on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Pretty Mess is her opportunity to dig deep and tell her many-layered, unique, and inspiring life story.

As fun and fearless as its author, this fascinating memoir proves once and for all why Erika Jayne is so beloved: she's strong, confident, genuine, and here to tell all!

Meet the author - Erika Jayne
Erika Girardi (known professionally as Erika Jayne) is an American singer, actress and television personality. Raised in Atlanta, Girardi came to prominence with the release of her debut single "Roller Coaster", which topped the US Billboard Dance Club Songs chart in 2007; it was included on her debut studio album Pretty Mess in 2009. Jayne has attained nine number-one songs on the Dance Club Songs chart as of 2016. In 2015, Girardi became a recurring cast member on the sixth season of the reality television series The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, followed by her role on Dancing with the Stars in 2017.

My thoughts
I am a fan of all the Real Housewives shows so I was interested in this book. When I heard a friend say how good it was and she has never watched the show then I thought why not give it a try. This is the first biography of one of the housewives that I have read. Another reason I decided to give this book a chance was I remember Erika talking about the book on the show. I am glad I listened to the audiobook as I think I liked it better than reading the book. Hearing Erika read it herself was listening to a new friend chat about her story. I can see hear emotions on her face in my mind as I listened to her. Even tough I watch her show I do not  know a lot about her past. Her life was interesting from not knowing her father to doing acting/dancing while in school and all the experiences she had growing up. Her many life experiences have made her into the person she is today. At times I like her and at times she drives me a little nuts but htat is all a part of what her her. An enjoyable book. 

Listful Thinking by Paula Rizzo - Review


Book details
Paperback: 228 pages
Publisher: Viva Editions (January 13, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1632280035
ISBN-13: 978-1632280039

Book description
What do Madonna, Martha Stewart, John Lennon, Ellen DeGeneres, Ben Franklin, Ronald Reagan, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, and Johnny Cash have in common? Each is (or was) a list maker. These successful people, along with CEOs and successful entrepreneurs, all use lists to keep track of their ideas, thoughts, and tasks. Finding enough hours in the day to get everything accomplished and allow for some downtime can be a struggle. It's no wonder so many of us are stressed, overextended, and exhausted. More than half of all American employees feel overwhelmed, according to a study by the nonprofit Family and Work Institute. For the 54 percent of us who feel like we’re chasing our own tails, Listful Thinking is here to prove that it doesn't have to be that way. You can still find time to relax, read a good book, and do the things you love. Listful Thinking is the book that will give readers their lives back with indispensible tips on saving time, getting organized, improving productivity, saving money, and reducing stress.

Meet the author - Paula Rizzo
Paula Rizzo is the senior health producer for FoxNews.com at Fox News Channel and is the founder of ListProducer.com. She's an Emmy Award winner and attributes much of her success to her compulsive list making. 

The native New Yorker makes lists for every task and event she takes on - from finding an apartment to buying the perfect bra. She started ListProducer.com, in April 2011, to help others become more organized, focused and efficient, while being less stressed. Paula inherited her list-making skills from her father, Louis.

She lives in Manhattan with her husband, Jay Berman.

My thoughts
Do you like to make lists? Are you looking for a way to organize your life? Then take a look at this book. For myself I enjoy making lists and am always looking for way to improve on this. I actually listened to the audio version of this book and it went rather quickly. You may want to have a pen handy to take a few notes as the author gives you some good resources. I have actually requested the book from the library as well so I can take a look at the apps and websites the author mentioned again. I am glad I took the time to listened to the book as it was enjoyable and informative. I have also start to follow the author on her blog. So if you are a list maker like me be sure to check this book out. I know I will probably be reading and using the tips over and over again. 

August 12, 2018

Death on the Menu by Lucy Burdette - Spotlight

Book details
Cozy Mystery 8th in Series 
Crooked Lane Books (August 7, 2018) 
Hardcover: 295 Pages 
ISBN-13: 978-1683317463 
Digital ASIN: B078MBKH95
  

Book description
When a killer strikes just before flan time, beloved food critic Hayley Snow is forced to sniff out the killer before someone else bites the dust.

Hayley Snow, fiery food critic for Key Zest magazine, has just landed a ticket to one of the most prestigious events in Key West: a high-brow three-day conference at the Harry Truman Little White House. Even though she’ll be working the event helping her mother’s fledgling catering business, there’s plenty of spicy gossip to go around. But just before her mother’s decadent flan is put to the test, Key West’s most prized possession, Hemingway’s Nobel prize gold medal for The Old Man and the Sea, is discovered stolen from its case.

Unsavory suspicions point to Gabriel, a family friend and one of the new busboys working the event, who mysteriously goes missing moments later. Anxious to clear his name, Gabriel’s family enlists Hayley to help find him, but right as they begin their search, his body is found stabbed to death in the storeroom.

Hayley has no shortage of suspects to interrogate and very little time before the killer adds another victim to the menu in national bestselling author Lucy Burdette’s delectable eighth Key West Food Critic mystery, Death on the Menu.

Meet the author - Lucy Burdette
Clinical psychologist Lucy Burdette (aka Roberta Isleib) has published 16 mysteries, including the latest in the Key West food critic series, DEATH ON THE MENU (Crooked Lane Books, August 2018.) Her books and stories have been short-listed for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. She's a member of Mystery Writers of America and a past president of Sisters in Crime. She blogs at Jungle Red Writers and shares her love for food with the culinary writers at Mystery Lovers Kitchen She lives in Madison CT and Key West FL. Read more at www.lucyburdette.com.

Author Links: Facebook: WWW.facebook.com/lucyburdette 

Purchase Links: Amazon B&N IndieBound BookBub Kobo

TOUR PARTICIPANTS 
August 1 - Books a Plenty Book Reviews - REVIEW 
August 2 – Mystery Lovers Kitchen – RECIPE 
August 2 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW 
August 2 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT 
August 3 – Killer Characters – CHARACTER GUEST POST 
August 3 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW 
August 4 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT 
August 4 – Laura's Interests – REVIEW 
August 5 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW 
August 6 – Map Your Mystery – INTERVIEW 
August 6 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW 
August 6 - Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT 
August 7 – Jungle Red Writers – GUEST POST 
August 7 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – RECIPE, REVIEW 
August 7 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT 
August 8 – The Conscious Cat – GUEST POST 
August 8 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW 
August 9 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book - REVIEW 
August 9 – Mystery Lovers Kitchen #2 – RECIPE 
August 10 – Wicked Cozy Authors - GUEST POST 
August 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW 
August 11 – Book Babble – REVIEW 
August 12 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT 
August 13 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW 
August 13 – Mallory Heart Reviews – REVIEW 
August 14 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW 
August 14 – Mysteries with Character - AUTHOR INTERVIEW 
August 15 – Fabulous Florida Writers – GUEST POST 
August 15 – Melina's Book Blog – REVIEW 
August 15 – Varietats – REVIEW

August 10, 2018

Knot My Sister's Keeper by Mary Marks - Spotlight and Giveaway

 

Book details
Cozy Mystery 6th in Series 
Kensington (July 31, 2018) 
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages 
ISBN-13: 978-1496701848
Digital ASIN: B0776GV62J
  

Book description
In tracing her ancestry, quilter Martha Rose discovers a ritzy half-sister, a stash of family secrets, and a decades-old mystery that only she can unravel . . . Martha Rose is shocked to find she has a half-sister, especially one so different from her. Giselle Cole is wealthy, widowed, and lives a glamorous life in West Los Angeles. At least her grandmother was a quilter! But Giselle can’t answer Martha’s many questions about their father—he disappeared when she was only a child and the few clues left behind indicate he may have been murdered. So Martha and Giselle team up on an investigation that weaves them through the streets of L.A., their father’s hidden love affairs, and into some mysterious unfinished Cole family business . . .

Meet the Author - Mary Marks
Born and raised in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, Mary Marks earned a B.A. in Anthropology from UCLA and an M.A. in Public Administration from the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. In 2004 she enrolled in the UCLA Extension Writers Program. Her first novel, Forget Me Knot, was a finalist in a national writing competition in 2011. She is currently a reviewer of cozy mysteries for The New York Journal of Books at www.nyjournalofbooks.com.

Readers can visit her at www.marymarksmysteries.com and https://www.facebook.com/mmarks2013 Purchase Links AmazonB&N Google Play kobo BookBub 

Giveaway


TOUR PARTICIPANTS 
July 31 - The Avid Reader – REVIEW 
July 31 - Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT 
August 1 - Ruff Drafts – GUEST POST 
August 2 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW 
August 2 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT 
August 3 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW 
August 3 – Handcrafted Reviews – SPOTLIGHT 
August 4 – The Power of Words – REVIEW 
August 4 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT 
August 5 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT 
August 6 – Sapphyria's Books – REVIEW 
August 6 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST 
August 7 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW 
August 8 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST 
August 9 – Laura's Interests – REVIEW 
August 9 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST 
August 10 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT 
August 11 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW 
August 12 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT 
August 13 – Maureen's Musings – REVIEW 
August 13 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW