September 2, 2020

Matchmaking Can Be Murder by Amanda Flower - Review


Book details
ISBN-10 : 1496724011
ISBN-13 : 978-1496724014
Mass Market Paperback : 336 pages
Publisher : Kensington (December 31, 2019)

Book description
When widowed Millie Fisher moves back to her childhood home of Harvest, Ohio, she notices one thing right away—the young Amish are bungling their courtships and marrying the wrong people! A quiltmaker by trade, Millie has nevertheless stitched together a few lives in her time, with truly romantic results. Her first mission? Her own niece, widowed gardener Edith Hochstetler, recently engaged to rude, greedy Zeke Miller. Anyone can see he’s not right for such a gentle young woman—except Edith herself.

Pleased when she convinces the bride-to-be to leave her betrothed before the wedding, Millie is later panicked to find Zeke in Edith’s greenhouse—as dead as a tulip in the middle of winter. To keep her niece out of prison—and to protect her own reputation—Millie will have to piece together a patchwork of clues to find a killer, before she becomes the next name on his list . . .

Meet the author - Amanda Flower
USA Today bestselling and Agatha Award–winning mystery author Amanda Flower started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. She also writes mysteries as USA Today bestselling author Isabella Alan. Amanda is a former librarian and lives in Northeast Ohio. Readers can visit her online at www.amandaflower.com.

My thoughts
This is the first book in Amanda's new series which is a spin off from the Amish Candy Shoppe series.  I like Millie and how she kind of does things her way.  If she feels she needs to look into something she is going to.  Her goats are a hoot as well. I love how they like to greet people and are kind of security for Millie.  I felt bad for Edith and all she want through and hope her future starts to get better.  Then you have Lois, I am not sure what to think of her yet. In real like I am not sure I would like her as she is just too outgoing for me, but she fits in this series and is a good friend to Millie.  I love how both Millie and Lois can stand up to the bishop's wife as she can be a tough one.  I also love Edith's kids especially Michah (I think that was his name), I loved how he questioned things. Towards the end I thought I had the killer figured out then I was not sure when an arrest was made, but I guess I was right.  I think this series has the potential to be just as good as the candy shoppe series. I am looking forward to the next one in December. 

Marshmallow Malice by Amanda Flower - Review


Book details
Mass Market Paperback : 336 pages
ISBN-10 : 1496722035
ISBN-13 : 978-1496722034
Publisher : Kensington (May 26, 2020)

Book description
With Juliet Brody and Reverend Brook tying the knot in Ohio’s Amish Country’s most anticipated nuptials of the year, Bailey King is determined to do everything in her power to make the event a sweet success. Except midsummer heat waves and outdoor ceremonies don’t mix, and an exasperated Bailey soon finds herself struggling to fulfill bridesmaid duties and keep her stunning marshmallow-frosted wedding cake from becoming a gooey disaster. Then much to everyone’s shock, the entire ceremony crumbles when a guest drops dead, and the cause isn’t sunstroke . . .

Turns out, the uninvited victim came equipped with lots of dirt on the devout reverend’s hidden past. As Reverend Brook tops the murder suspect list on what should have been the happiest day of his life, Bailey and her sheriff’s deputy boyfriend vow to clear his name. Can the duo boil down a series of baffling clues before Juliet considers her marriage a bad mistake—or the killer whips up another deadly surprise?

Meet the author - Amanda Flower
USA Today bestselling and Agatha Award–winning mystery author Amanda Flower started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. She also writes mysteries as USA Today bestselling author Isabella Alan. Amanda is a former librarian and lives in Northeast Ohio. Readers can visit her online at www.amandaflower.com.

My thoughts
I am now caught up with this series and am sad I have to wait for the next one.  This has quickly become one of my favorite series to read.  I love the small town feel and how you feel a part of the community as you are reading it.  I thought it was cute that Juliet and Reverend Brook are now married. They had quite the hiccup at the start but I think things will be good.  I am anxious to see what happens with Charolette in the upcoming books and what she decides to do.  Trying to solve the mystery before Bailey is always fun especially with the twists Amanda puts in there. A fun series. 

Toxic Toffee by Amanda Flower - Review


Book details
Mass Market Paperback : 304 pages
ISBN-10 : 1496722027
ISBN-13 : 978-1496722027
Publisher : Kensington (June 25, 2019)

Book description
Bailey King’s in New York wrapping up a six-week shoot on her first cable TV show, Bailey’s Amish Sweets, when she gets a call from her Ohio town’s resident busybody. With Easter around the corner, Bailey’s been recruited to create a giant toffee bunny for the weeklong springtime festival that will also feature live white rabbits. But back home in Harvest, death becomes the main attraction when Stephen Raber keels over from an apparent heart attack—with Bailey and Raber’s pet bunny as witnesses.
.
Except it wasn’t Raber’s heart that suddenly gave out—a lethal dose of lily of the valley was mixed into a tasty piece of toffee. Who’d want to poison a jovial rabbit farmer who reminded Bailey of an Amish Santa Claus? To solve the murder, she and her sheriff deputy boyfriend Aiden must uncover a twenty-year-old secret. She’ll need to pull a rabbit out of a hat to keep a healthy distance from toxic people, including one venomous killer.

Meet the author 
USA Today bestselling and Agatha Award–winning mystery author Amanda Flower started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. She also writes mysteries as USA Today bestselling author Isabella Alan. Amanda lives Northeast Ohio. Readers can visit her online at www.amandaflower.com.

My thoughts
I love this series and the longer it goes on the more I like it.  I enjoy how Bailey fits right in with the Amish community and they think of her as one of their own, or at least most of them do.  The way the bunny, pig and cat get along in this book made me smile.  The only I don't like is I really don't like that Bailey is doing an Amish cooking show and wish she did not feel like she needed that.  I love the hometown feel this series gives you as you read it. I was proud of myself for once I was able to figure out who the killer was, but don't get me wrong Amanda still gives you plenty of twists.  

Bound for the Promised Land by Kate Clifford Larson - Review


Book details
Paperback : 432 pages
ISBN-10 : 0345456289
ISBN-13 : 978-0345456281
Publisher : One World; 52830th Edition (December 28, 2004)

Book description
Harriet Tubman is one of the giants of American history—a fearless visionary who led scores of her fellow slaves to freedom and battled courageously behind enemy lines during the Civil War. Now, in this magnificent biography, historian Kate Clifford Larson gives us a powerful, intimate, meticulously detailed portrait of Tubman and her times. Drawing from a trove of new documents and sources as well as extensive genealogical data, Larson presents Harriet Tubman as a complete human being—brilliant, shrewd, deeply religious, and passionate in her pursuit of freedom. A true American hero, Tubman was also a woman who loved, suffered, and sacrificed.

Meet the author - Kate Clifford Larson
A New York Times Best Selling Author and Consultant for the *HARRIET* movie, Kate Clifford Larson specializes in 19th and 20th century U.S. Women's and African American History. With two degrees from Simmons University, an MBA from Northeastern University, and a Doctorate in American History from the University of New Hampshire, Larson has nurtured a passion for researching and writing about American women's lives. She enjoys the challenges of teasing out life stories from voices that have long been silenced. "I feel strongly that we must reconnect with the women who helped build and shape this country," Larson recently wrote, "and by putting women at the center of the story, the world looks very different - more complex, interesting, and colorful."

CBS Sunday Morning Show recently featured Larson talking about Harriet Tubman! See it here: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/tracing-the-remarkable-lifes-path-of-harriet-tubman/. Watch Kate Clifford Larson's interview about Rosemary Kennedy with Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Eileen McNamara at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library Forum on C-Span Book TV: http://www.c-span.org/video/?328843-1/kate-clifford-larson-rosemary. And check out her website at www.katecliffordlarson.com for more information about her books and upcoming events, and her special website dedicated to Harriet Tubman's biography at www.harriettubmanbiography.com

My thoughts
I can't say enough good things about this book.  What I did not realize about this author until just now when I was looking for her biography was that she was a consultant for the movie Harriet, which I loved so much I bought it and that is what lead me to looking for a book about Harriet so I could learn more about her.  This book did not disappoint in that matter.  I liked how the author not only told more about Harriet but she also told about her family and other families that lived around where she did that she helped.  This woman went through so much in her life but she always continued to help others before thinking of herself.  This book is a must read in my opinion. Well done. 

The Wisdom of the Native Americans Edited By Kent Nerburn - Review


Book details
Hardcover : 216 pages
ISBN-10 : 1577310799
ISBN-13 : 978-1577310792
Publisher : New World Library; 1st Edition (March 3, 1999)

Book description
These thought-provoking teachings from respected Native American leaders and thinkers provide a connection with the land, the environment, and the simple beauties of life. This collection of writings from revered Native Americans offers timeless, meaningful lessons on living and learning.

Meet the Edited by Kent Nerburn
My work has been a constant search, from various perspectives, for an authentic American spirituality, integrating our western Judeo-Christian tradition with the other traditions of the world, and especially the indigenous spirituality of the people who first inhabited this continent. Someone once called me a “guerilla theologian,” and I think that is fairly accurate.

I am deeply concerned with the human condition and our responsibility to the earth, the people on it, and the generations to come. I believe that we are, at heart, spiritual beings seeking spiritual meaning, and I try to honor this search in my work and my daily life.

If there is a quote I live by, it is the entreaty of the Lakota Chief, Sitting Bull, who said to the U.S. government that was trying to eradicate his people, "Come, let us put our minds together to see what kind of life we can create for our children."

Much more about me and my work can be found at my website, www.kentnerburn.com.

My thoughts
I have always been intrigued by the Native Americans. I think that comes from growing up in Nebraska and learning their history. I enjoyed this book as it not only has wisdom that has been handed down generation to generation but at the end it has some speeches by some elders which I found interesting to read.  I will keep this book in my collection and read it again. 

Revolutionary Mothers by Carol Berkin - Review

 


Book details
Paperback : 224 pages
ISBN-10 : 1400075327
ISBN-13 : 978-1400075324
Publisher : Vintage; Reprint Edition (February 14, 2006)

Book description
The American Revolution was a home-front war that brought scarcity, bloodshed, and danger into the life of every American, and Carol Berkin shows us that women played a vital role throughout the struggle.

Berkin takes us into the ordinary moments of extraordinary lives. We see women boycotting British goods in the years before independence, writing propaganda that radicalized their neighbors, raising funds for the army, and helping finance the fledgling government. We see how they managed farms, plantations, and businesses while their men went into battle, and how they served as nurses and cooks in the army camps, risked their lives seeking personal freedom from slavery, and served as spies, saboteurs, and warriors.

She introduces us to 16-year-old Sybil Ludington, who sped through the night to rouse the militiamen needed to defend Danbury, Connecticut; to Phillis Wheatley, literary prodigy and Boston slave who voiced the hopes of African Americans in poems; to Margaret Corbin, crippled for life when she took her husband's place beside a cannon at Fort Monmouth; to the women who gathered firewood, cooked, cleaned for the troops, nursed the wounded, and risked their lives carrying intelligence and participating in reconnaissance missions. Here, too, are Abigail Adams, Deborah Franklin, Lucy Knox, and Martha Washington, who lived with the daily knowledge that their husbands would be hanged as traitors if the revolution did not succeed.

Meet the author - Carol Berkin
Carol Berkin received her A.B. from Barnard College and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia University. She taught at Baruch College from 1972 to 2008 and has taught at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York since 1983. She is currently Baruch Presidential Professor of History. Berkin is the author ofRevolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for America’s Independence, A Brilliant Solution: Inventing the American Constitution, Jonathan Sewall: Odyssey of an American Loyalist, First Generations: Women in Colonial America, and numerous articles and reviews. She lives in New York City and Guilford, Connecticut.

My thoughts
I thought this was a good book and I liked how this story was told from the women's side of things.  What people did not realize is that women were more involved in this war than they thought. I thought this was a very interesting book. 

American Duchess by Karen Harper - Review


Book details
Paperback : 368 pages
ISBN-10 : 0062748335
ISBN-13 : 978-0062748331
Publisher : William Morrow Paperbacks; Illustrated Edition (February 26, 2019)

Book description
Karen Harper tells the tale of Consuelo Vanderbilt, her “The Wedding of the Century” to the Duke of Marlborough, and her quest to find meaning behind “the glitter and the gold.”

On a cold November day in 1895, a carriage approaches St Thomas Episcopal Church on New York City’s Fifth Avenue. Massive crowds surge forward, awaiting their glimpse of heiress Consuelo Vanderbilt. Just 18, the beautiful bride has not only arrived late, but in tears, yet her marriage to the aloof Duke of Marlborough proceeds. Bullied into the wedding by her indomitable mother, Alva, Consuelo loves another. But a deal was made, trading some of the vast Vanderbilt wealth for a title and prestige, and Consuelo, bred to obey, realizes she must make the best of things.

At Blenheim Palace, Consuelo is confronted with an overwhelming list of duties, including producing an “heir and a spare,” but her relationship with the duke quickly disintegrates. Consuelo finds an inner strength, charming everyone from debutantes to diplomats including Winston Churchill, as she fights for women’s suffrage. And when she takes a scandalous leap, can she hope to attain love at last…?

From the dawning of the opulent Gilded Age, to the battles of the Second World War, American Duchess is a riveting tale of one woman’s quest to attain independence—at any price.

Meet the author - Karen Harper
Karen Harper is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of romantic suspense and historical novels. A native Ohioan, Karen is a former high school English teacher and English-and-writing instructor at the Ohio State University. (Go Bucks!) The Harpers are avid Ohio State football fans, but they have a serious side too. They were on the 10-year committee which revamped the main library on campus. The Ohio State Library houses her author collection in Rare Books and Manuscripts.

The Harpers love to travel, and Karen often uses her favorite places as settings for her novels. She's recently written books set in Edwardian England and South Florida, the latter where she lived for 30 winters. Her latest trilogy is THE SOUTH SHORES NOVELS, with forensic psychologist Claire Britten and criminal lawyer Nick Markwood. Her most recent historical is THE IT GIRLS.
These bring her published books to over 70 in a 35-year writing career.

Karen belongs to several writer's organizations, including International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime and The Historical Novel Society.

My thoughts
I loved this book.  It gave me a chance to meet someone in history that I really did not know about.  I also liked how I was able to learn a little about Winston Churchill's personal side.  I felt bad for Consuelo for having to marry someone who she did not want to marry or love. I know things were done that way a lot in the past to keep your social standing but I dod not agree.  In the end though she stands up for herself and finds true love and happiness. 

The Diary of Adam and Eve by Mark Twain - Review


Book details
Paperback : 112 pages
ISBN-10 : 1843910055
ISBN-13 : 978-1843910053
Publisher : Hesperus Press; Revised ed. Edition (July 1, 2002)

Book description
Written in diary form, The Diary of Adam and Eve is an ingenious, witty, and ultimately delightful retelling of the dawn of human creation with many a grain of truth for today's gender disputes. Master storyteller Mark Twain hilariously recreates the very first days, portraying Adam as something of a recluse, and a man who is ill prepared for the arrival of Eve, a talkative, emotional, and highly charged female. Yet in time, and after many moments of conflict, they begin to learn to live together and come to realize that men and women can, in fact, exist in harmony.

Meet the author - Mark Twain
Mark Twain (1835-1910) was an American humorist, satirist, social critic, lecturer and novelist. He is mostly remembered for his classic novels The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

My thoughts
I thought this book was ok. I think back in the day it was written it might have been considered humorist, but I did not find it funny.  I did think that Adam's diary read like how a typical man would think and Eve's was like a typical woman.  It was different from his Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer books that he is famous for but not a horrible book, just ok for me. 

The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston - Reivew


Book details
ISBN-13 : 978-1250229502
Paperback : 416 pages
Publisher : Griffin; Reprint Edition (October 1, 2019)

Book description
An antique shop haunted by a ghost.
A silver treasure with an injustice in its story.
An adventure to the past she’ll never forget.

Xanthe and her mother Flora leave London behind for a fresh start, taking over an antique shop in the historic town of Marlborough. Xanthe has always had an affinity with some of the antiques she finds. When she touches them, she can sense something of the past they come from and the stories they hold. When she has an intense connection to a beautiful silver chatelaine, she has to know more.

It is while she’s examining the chatelaine that she’s transported back to the seventeenth century, where she discovers an injustice in its history. The spirit that inhabits her new home confronts her and charges her with saving her daughter’s life, threatening to take Flora’s if she fails.

While Xanthe fights to save the girl in 1605, she meets architect Samuel Appleby. He may be the person who can help her succeed. He may also be the reason she can’t bring herself to leave.

With its rich historical detail, strong mother-daughter relationship, and picturesque English village, The Little Shop of Found Things delivers a heartfelt page-turner.

Meet the author - Paula Brackston
Paula Brackston lives in the historic city of Hereford on the Welsh border. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University, and has been a Visiting Lecturer for the University of Wales, Newport. Before becoming a writer, Paula tried her hand at various career paths, with mixed success. These included working as a groom on a racing yard, a travel agent, a secretary, an English teacher, a script reader, and a goat herd. Everyone involved (particularly the goats) is very relieved that she has now found a job she is actually able to do properly.

In 2007 Paula was shortlisted in the Creme de la Crime search for new writers. In 2010 her book 'Nutters' (writing as PJ Davy) was shortlisted for the Mind Book Award. The following year she was selected by the BBC under their New Welsh Writers scheme. 'The Witch's Daughter' became a New York Times bestseller. Her books are translated into five languages and sold around the world.

My thoughts
I really enjoyed this book and could not put it down.  The time travel part was one part I really enjoyed and how Xanthe was able to go back and forth. I also like how she cares so much for her mother and their bond.  I am anxious to see what she is up to in the next book and if she gets to somehow see Samuel again. 

The British are Coming by Rick Atkinson - Review

 The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777 (The Revolution Trilogy, Book 1)

Book details
Hardcover : 800 pages
ISBN-10 : 1627790438
ISBN-13 : 978-1627790437
Publisher : Henry Holt and Co.; Illustrated Edition (May 14, 2019)

Book description
Rick Atkinson, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning An Army at Dawn and two other superb books about World War II, has long been admired for his deeply researched, stunningly vivid narrative histories. Now he turns his attention to a new war, and in the initial volume of the Revolution Trilogy he recounts the first twenty-one months of America’s violent war for independence.

From the battles at Lexington and Concord in spring 1775 to those at Trenton and Princeton in winter 1777, American militiamen and then the ragged Continental Army take on the world’s most formidable fighting force. It is a gripping saga alive with astonishing characters: Henry Knox, the former bookseller with an uncanny understanding of artillery; Nathanael Greene, the blue-eyed bumpkin who becomes a brilliant battle captain; Benjamin Franklin, the self-made man who proves to be the wiliest of diplomats; George Washington, the commander in chief who learns the difficult art of leadership when the war seems all but lost. The story is also told from the British perspective, making the mortal conflict between the redcoats and the rebels all the more compelling.

Full of riveting details and untold stories, The British Are Coming is a tale of heroes and knaves, of sacrifice and blunder, of redemption and profound suffering. Rick Atkinson has given stirring new life to the first act of our country’s creation drama.

Meet the author - Rick Atkinson
Rick Atkinson is the bestselling author of the Liberation Trilogy―An Army at Dawn (winner of the Pulitzer Prize for History), The Day of Battle, and The Guns at Last Light―as well as The Long Gray Line and other books. His many additional awards include a Pulitzer Prize in journalism, a George Polk Award, and the Pritzker Military Library Literature Award. A former staff writer and senior editor at The Washington Post, he lives in Washington, D.C.

My thoughts
I enjoyed listening to this book and liked the details that he provided.  I liked that he included some day to day things that sometimes get left out of history books. I look forward to the second book. 

August 24, 2020

Timeless Falcon by Phillipa Vincent-Connolly - Review

 Timeless Falcon: A Novel of Anne Boleyn, Volume One

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

Book details
Listening Length 11 hours and 39 minutes
Narrator Claire Howes
Audible.com Release Date June 26, 2020
Program Type Audiobook
Version Unabridged
Language English
ASIN B08BJ98573

Book description
Beth, an enthusiast history student gets the shock of her life, when her professor's gold cypher ring opens up a mysterious portal that takes her to Tudor England and Hever Castle, where she becomes an integral part of Anne Boleyn's life.

She's been warned not to meddle or risk changing history, but can she allow her dear friend to go on to become the second wife of King Henry VIII and to end up in the Tower of London to meet a horrific death? Can Beth save herself from the machinations of the Tudor Court, or will she meet the same fate as the queen to be? Only the ring has the answer.

My thoughts
I enjoyed listening to this book and thought it was a nice version of a Tudor story. I did like Elizabeth and how she accepted that she went back in time and became friends with Anne Boleyn. I am not sure I could have stayed in the past as she did no matter how much I love history. The only part I did not care for was the inclusion of the virus in the story. For me it did not fit and I felt like it was an after thought that was just thrown in to make it a part of the story. I would like to see how things are in the future for Elizabeth. I thank the author for the opportunity to get to listen to this book.

July 21, 2020

Say Yes to What's Next by Lori Allen - Review

    


                                         

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

Book details
Audio CD
Publisher: Thomas Nelson on Brilliance Audio; Unabridged edition (July 14, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1713504871
ISBN-13: 978-1713504870

Book description
From the star of Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta, now filming its eleventh season for TLC, comes a book and a life-makeover movement for women approaching fifty and beyond.

Move over, girlfriend, Lori Allen is here to help you say yes to what’s next! Star of Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta, Lori Allen uses her confidence, wisdom, and signature humor not only to help young brides on their most important day ever but also to model to them and their mothers how to live out the coming years as the best of their lives.

Lori Allen is owner/operator of one of the biggest and busiest bridal mega-salons in the country, Atlanta’s Bridals by Lori. But she’s also a wife, mother, grandmother, and breast cancer survivor.

Whether you’re feeling invisible, disappearing into the fabric of your couch a little more every year, or simply being indecisive about what’s next, Lori offers herself as the poster child of what to do, not do, and how to see your way through the unexpected.

In Say Yes to What’s Next she addresses essential issues, such as
*don’t let yourself go,
*marriage is awesome, but it’s no fairytale,
*keep your mouth shut and your heart open to your kids (and they’ll bring you grandkids),
*make time to parent your parents,
*maintain a close circle of girlfriends,
*get off the couch and live your passion,
*take charge of your money, and
*what to do when life gives you a faceplant.

Say Yes to What’s Next is a life makeover and therapy session from a relatable you-can-and-you-should-do-this straight-shooter as Lori helps women shape their own futures with confidence, style, and sass.

Meet the author - Lori Allen
Lori Allen opened Bridals by Lori just two weeks after graduating from the all-female Columbia College in South Carolina. Four decades later, she is one of the world’s foremost experts on bridal couture and the central figure of TLC’s reality show Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta, filmed on site at Lori’s bridal salon and shown in more than 120 countries.

Lori’s role as a bridal expert, successful female business entrepreneur, TV personality, and breast cancer survivor has led her to interviews by top-tier media outlets, including CNN, ABC’s Good Morning America, NBC’s Today, and the Wall Street Journal. She currently resides in Atlanta with her husband, Eddie, and, thankfully, not far from their son and his wife, daughter and her husband, and granddaughters.

My thoughts
When I saw this book was available for me to listen to I had to jump on it. I enjoy watching Lori on Say Yes to the Dress and thought her book had to be good. I was not disappointed.  Lori shares some of her toughest times with her reader and how it was for her to go through those times.  She gives some good ideas on how to get through life and how to say yes to the next phase of your life. If you listen to her and take her advice things may seem just a little more bearable. She reminds us to be happy and to take life as it comes. 

July 14, 2020

The Women of Chateau Lafayette by Stephanie Dray - Spotlight, Interview and Giveaway

July 14th marks Bastille Day, a pivotal turning point in the French Revolution, now celebrated as France’s national independence day.

Book Details

THE WOMEN OF CHATEAU LAFAYETTE by New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Dray 
(Berkley hardcover; on-sale March 30, 2021)
A pre-order link à https://bit.ly/3iLkURa
Add to your Goodreads list à https://bit.ly/320tkya
Sign up for Stephanie’s newsletter à https://www.stephaniedray.com/fun/newsletter/

About the book
An epic saga from New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Dray based on the true story of an extraordinary castle in the heart of France and the remarkable women bound by its legacy in three of humanity's darkest hours.

Most castles are protected by powerful men. This one by women...

A founding mother...
1774. Gently-bred noblewoman Adrienne Lafayette becomes her husband's political partner in the fight for American independence. But when their idealism sparks revolution in France and the guillotine threatens everything she holds dear, Adrienne must choose to renounce the complicated man she loves, or risk her life for a legacy that will inspire generations to come.

A daring visionary...
1914. Glittering New York socialite Beatrice Astor Chanler is a force of nature, daunted by nothing--not her humble beginnings, her crumbling marriage, or the outbreak of war. But after witnessing the devastation in France and delivering war-relief over dangerous seas, Beatrice takes on the challenge of a lifetime: convincing America to fight for what's right.

A reluctant resistor...
1940. French school-teacher and aspiring artist Marthe Simone has an orphan's self-reliance and wants nothing to do with war. But as the realities of Nazi occupation transform her life in the isolated castle where she came of age, she makes a discovery that calls into question who she is, and more importantly, who she is willing to become.

Intricately woven and beautifully told, The Women of Chateau Lafayette is a sweeping novel about duty and hope, love and courage, and the strength we find from standing together in honor of those who came before us.

Q&A WITH STEPHANIE DRAY

What made you fall in love with Adrienne Lafayette and why do you think readers will fall for her as you did?

Thanks to a popular musical, the Marquis de Lafayette is known to a new generation as "America's Favorite Fighting Frenchman"--and there's good reason for that. He's easily the most lovable of our Founding Fathers, and his wife, whom he called his dear heart, is just as lovable if not more so. Adrienne was our French Founding Mother, so right up my alley as a heroine, but at first I worried she was too sweet, devoted, and forgiving. In short, too gentle for a novel. Little did I realize that more than any other historical heroine I've ever written, Adrienne fought and sacrificed for her principles, courageously threw herself into danger, confronted tyrants, and endured trials that would have broken lesser mortals. She truly humbles me, and when I talk about the Lafayette legacy, I think of it as every bit as much hers as it is his.

How long did it take you to write this book? Did the story evolve as you researched, or did you always know you wanted to take on the lives of these particular women?

I was always interested in Lafayette--an interest that grew as Laura Kamoie and I co-authored America's First Daughter and My Dear Hamilton. I think I had the germ of the idea for a Lafayette novel at least seven years ago, but I had other projects in the way. And I was always in search of an angle that would be fresh and unique. That came to me when I discovered that Lafayette's castle in Auvergne, which had been purchased and renovated by Americans, served to shelter Jewish children from the Nazis. Knowing how deeply the Lafayettes both felt about religious freedom, I knew this would have pleased them, and it touched me. I was then determined to know which Americans had purchased the chateau, and when I found out, yet another glorious chapter in the Lafayette legacy was born. That's when the story took shape for me about one special place on this earth where, generation after generation, faith has been kept with principles of liberty and humanity. I find that very inspirational, now more than ever.

The book is centered around Lafayette’s castle, the Château de Chavaniac, and the pivotal role it played during three of history’s darkest hours—the French Revolution and both World Wars. If you could have dinner with any three people (dead or alive) at Chavaniac, who would you choose and why?

Believe it or not, this is actually a difficult choice because so many incredible men and women passed through those doors. I'd have to start with the Lafayettes--though I hope they would not serve me pigeons, which were a favorite at their wedding banquet. To join us for dinner, I'd choose the colorful stage-star of the Belle Epoque, Beatrice Chanler, because she was a force of nature without whom Chavaniac might not still be standing. Actress, artist, philanthropist, decorated war-relief worker and so-called Queen of the Social Register, she was as mysterious as she was wonderful, and even after all the startling discoveries I made researching her larger-than-life existence, I have a million questions about the early life she tried so hard to hide. I can't wait for readers to meet her!

Giveaway
Enter to win an advance reading copy using this sweepstakes link - https://bit.ly/SDCoverSweeps

July 12, 2020

Paris is Always a Good Idea by Jenn McKinlay - Review

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

Book details
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Berkley (July 21, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0593101359
ISBN-13: 978-0593101353

Book description
A thirty-year-old woman retraces her gap year through Ireland, France, and Italy to find love—and herself—in this hilarious and heartfelt novel.

It's been seven years since Chelsea Martin embarked on her yearlong postcollege European adventure. Since then, she's lost her mother to cancer and watched her sister marry twice, while Chelsea's thrown herself into work, becoming one of the most talented fundraisers for the American Cancer Coalition, and with the exception of one annoyingly competent coworker, Jason Knightley, her status as most successful moneymaker is unquestioned.

When her introverted mathematician father announces he's getting remarried, Chelsea is forced to acknowledge that her life stopped after her mother died and that the last time she can remember being happy, in love, or enjoying her life was on her year abroad. Inspired to retrace her steps—to find Colin in Ireland, Jean Claude in France, and Marcelino in Italy—Chelsea hopes that one of these three men who stole her heart so many years ago can help her find it again.

From the start of her journey nothing goes as planned, but as Chelsea reconnects with her old self, she also finds love in the very last place she expected.

Meet the author - Jenn McKinlay
Jenn McKinlay is the award winning, New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher's Weekly
bestselling author of several mystery and romance series. Her work has been translated
into multiple languages in countries all over the world. She lives in sunny Arizona in a
house that is overrun with kids, pets, and her husband's guitars.

My thoughts
I loved this book. I have been a fan of Jenn's cupcake mysteries for a long time so I was happy to be able to read a new genre from her.  Chelsea and Jason played well off of each other and made the story interesting.  It was also fun to travel along with Chelsea as she tries to "find" herself in Europe. This book as a quick easy read but did not lack in substance. I am looking forward to Jenn's next book. 

July 3, 2020

Sunrise on Half Moon Bay by Robyn Carr - Review

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

Book details
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: MIRA; Original edition (April 14, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0778309487
ISBN-13: 978-0778309482

Book description
Sometimes the happiness we’re looking for has been there all along…

Adele and Justine have never been close. Born twenty years apart, Justine was already an adult when Addie was born. The sisters love each other but they don’t really know each other.

When Addie dropped out of university to care for their ailing parents, Justine, a successful lawyer, covered the expenses. It was the best arrangement at the time but now that their parents are gone, the future has changed dramatically for both women.

Addie had great plans for her life but has been worn down by the pressures of being a caregiver and doesn’t know how to live for herself. And Justine’s success has come at a price. Her marriage is falling apart despite her best efforts.

Neither woman knows how to start life over but both realize they can and must support each other the way only sisters can. Together they find the strength to accept their failures and overcome their challenges. Happiness is within reach, if only they have the courage to fight for it.

Set in the stunning coastal town of Half Moon Bay, California, Robyn Carr’s new novel examines the joys of sisterhood and the importance of embracing change.

Meet the author - Robyn Carr
Robyn Carr is an award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than sixty novels, including highly praised women's fiction such as Four Friends and The View From Alameda Island and the critically acclaimed Virgin River, Thunder Point and Sullivan's Crossing series. Virgin River is now a Netflix Original series. Robyn lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. Visit her website at www.RobynCarr.com.

My thoughts
Robyn has hit is out of the park again with this book. The setting of this book is great, who would not want to go to Half Moon Bay to recharge.  I liked how Addie and Justine learned that they could help each other out when they most needed it. Sometimes it takes awhile or something happening for the sister bond to show. It does take just a little while for Addie and Justine to grow on you but by the end you end up loving them. I enjoyed this book from the beginning to the end.  I look forward to the next hit by Robyn. 

A Sprinkling of Murder by Daryl Wood Gerber - Spotlight and Giveaway


Book details
Cozy Mystery 1st in Series 
Publisher: Kensington (June 30, 2020) 
Paperback: 304 pages 
ISBN-10: 1496726340 
ISBN-13: 978-1496726346 
Kindle ASIN: B07W8Y4D6R
  


Book description
Fairy garden store owner Courtney Kelly believes in inviting magic into your life. But when uninvited trouble enters her shop, she’ll need more than a sprinkling of her imagination to solve a murder . . .

Since childhood, Courtney has loved fairies. After her mother died when she was ten, she lost touch with that feeling of magic. A year ago, at age twenty-nine, she rediscovered it when she left her father's landscaping business to spread her wings and start a fairy garden business and teashop in beautiful Carmel, California. At Open Your Imagination, she teaches garden design and sells everything from fairy figurines to tinkling wind chimes and trickling fountains. Now she's starting a book club tea.

But the light of the magical world she's created inside her shop is darkened one night when she discovers neighboring dog-grooming business owner Mick Watkins dead beside a fountain. To make matters worse, the police suspect Courtney of the crime. To clear her name and find the real killer, Courtney will have to wing it. But she’s about to get a little help from an unexpected new friend . . .

Meet the author - Daryl Wood Gerber 
Agatha Award-winning author Daryl Wood Gerber writes the nationally bestselling Cookbook Nook Mysteries as well as the French Bistro Mysteries. In June 2020, her new series, the Fairy Garden Mysteries debuts. As Avery Aames, she pens the popular Cheese Shop Mysteries. Daryl also writes the Aspen Adams novels of suspense as well as stand-alone suspense. Fun tidbit: as an actress, Daryl appeared in “Murder, She Wrote.” She loves to cook, garden, and read, and she has a frisky Goldendoodle named Sparky who keeps her in line!

Author Links 

Purchase Links - Amazon - B&N

Giveaway


TOUR PARTICIPANTS 
June 29 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT 
June 29 – The Cozy Pages – REVIEW 
June 29 – Angel's Guilty Pleasures – SPOTLIGHT 
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June 30 - Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW 
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July 2 – The Book's the Thing – REVIEW 
July 3 – Sapphyria's Books – REVIEW 
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July 3 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW 
July 3 – The Self-Rescue Princess – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

June 10, 2020

Booked for Death by Victoria Gilbert - Review and Giveaway

 

Book details
Cozy Mystery 1st in Series 
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (August 11, 2020) 
Hardcover: 320 pages 
ISBN-10: 1643853074 
ISBN-13: 978-1643853079 
Digital ASIN: B07XX7PHTV 

Book description
From the critically acclaimed author of SIBA Okra Pick A Murder for the Books, Victoria Gilbert embarks with a new series for perfect for fans of Kate Carlisle and Juliet Blackwell.

A book lover's B&B in an idyllic waterfront village becomes the scene of a grisly murder--and a ruthless battle between treachery and the truth.

Nestled in the historic waterfront town of Beaufort, North Carolina, Chapters Bed-and-Breakfast is a reader's paradise. Built in 1770, the newly renovated inn hosts a roster of special events celebrating books, genres, and authors. It's the perfect literary retreat--until a rare book dealer turns up dead in the carriage house during a celebration of Golden Age mystery author Josephine Tey.

The victim's daughter points the finger at forty-two-year-old widow and former schoolteacher Charlotte Reed, who inherited the B&B from her great-aunt Isabella. Charlotte is shocked to discover that the book dealer suspected Isabella of being a thief who founded Chapters on her ill-gotten gains. Charlotte has successfully learned the B&B business in a year, but nothing has prepared her to handle a death on the premises.

Armed with intelligence and courage and assisted by her vibrant older neighbor, a visiting author, and members of a local book club, Charlotte is determined to prove her innocence and to clear her great-aunt's name. But the murderer is still at large, and equally determined to silence anyone who might discover the truth behind the book dealer's death. Now, Charlotte must outwit an unknown killer--or end up writing her own final chapter.

Meet the author - Victoria Gilbert
Victoria Gilbert, raised in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, turned her early obsession with reading into a dual career as an author and librarian. Victoria has worked as a reference librarian, research librarian, and library director. When not writing or reading, she likes to spend her time watching films, gardening, or traveling. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers and lives in North Carolina. This is her fourth Blue Ridge Library mystery.

Author Links: Website/blog: http://victoriagilbertmysteries.com/ 
Purchase Links: Amazon B&N Kobo Indie Bound 

My thoughts
I enjoyed this first book in the new series by Victoria. The book lover's bed and breakfast sounds like a nice getaway as long as you don't stumble upon a murder victim. The author did a good job of keeping me guessing.  I liked the characters and am looking forward to getting to know them better as the series goes on. I also thought it was neat how the week long stay at the bed and breakfast was themed around an author.  I am hoping we don't have to wait too long for the next in this series. 

Giveaway



TOUR PARTICIPANTS 
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une 8 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT 
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May 8, 2020

Mousse and Murder by Elizabeth Logan - Spotlight and Giveaway



Book details
Mousse and Murder (An Alaskan Diner Mystery) 
Cozy Mystery 1st in Series 
Publisher: Berkley (May 5, 2020) 
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages 
ISBN-10: 0593100441 
ISBN-13: 978-0593100448 
Kindle ASIN: B07WCZPZY7
 

Book description
A young chef might bite off more than she can chew when she returns to her Alaskan hometown to take over her parents' diner in this charming first installment in a new cozy mystery series set in an Alaskan tourist town.

When Chef Charlie Cooke is offered the chance to leave San Francisco and return home to Elkview, Alaska, to take over her mother's diner, she doesn't even consider saying no. After all--her love life has recently become a Love Life Crumble, and a chance to reconnect with her roots may be just what she needs.

Determined to bring fresh life and flavors to the Bear Claw Diner, Charlie starts planning changes to the menu, which has grown stale over the years. But her plans are fried when her head cook Oliver turns up dead after a bitter and public fight over Charlie's ideas--leaving Charlie as the only suspect in the case.

With her career, freedom, and life all on thin ice, Charlie must find out who the real killer is, before it's too late.

Meet the author Elizabeth Logan
Camille Minichino is turning every aspect of her life into a mystery series. A retired physicist, she’s the author of 28 mystery novels in 5 series, with different pen names. Her next book is “Mousse and Murder,” May 2020, by Elizabeth Logan. She's also written many short stories and articles. She teaches science at Golden Gate U. in San Francisco and writing workshops around the SF Bay Area. Details are at www.minichino.com.

Author Links Website - http://www.minichino.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/camille.minichino
GoodReads - https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/160580.Camille_Minichino

Purchase Links - Amazon - B&N - IndieBound 

Giveaway


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