March 24, 2014

True Love by Jude Deveraux - Review and Giveaway

True Love by Jude Deveraux
Nantucket Brides #1
ISBN: 9780345541796

Synopsis: Jude Deveraux, the New York Times bestselling author of unforgettable romance, returns with a breathtaking first book in a fantastic new series—the Nantucket Brides trilogy. Set on the magical Massachusetts island,True Love introduces characters from a new generation of Montgomery-Taggerts, the beloved family from Deveraux’s classic novels.

Just as Alix Madsen is finishing up architectural school, Adelaide Kingsley dies and wills her, for one year, the use of a charming nineteenth-century Nantucket house. The elderly woman’s relationship to the Madsen family is a mystery to the spirited Alix—fresh from a romantic breakup—but for reasons of her own Alix accepts the quirky bequest, in part because it gives her time to plan her best friend’s storybook wedding.

But unseen forces move behind the scenes, creaking Kingsley House’s ancient floorboards. It seems that Adelaide Kingsley had a rather specific task for Alix: to solve the strange disappearance of one of the Kingsley women, Valentina, more than two hundred years ago. If that wasn’t troubling enough, Alix must deal with the arrogant (and extremely good-looking) architect Jared Montgomery, who is living in the property’s guesthouse.

Unbeknown to Alix, Jared has been charged with looking after her while she lives on the island—an easy task for him, considering the undeniable chemistry between the two. But Jared harbors secrets of his own, which, if revealed, may drive a wedge between the pair.

With a glorious Nantucket wedding on the horizon, sparks fly, and the ghosts of the past begin to reveal themselves—some of them literally. Finding their lives inextricably entwined with the turbulent fortunes of their ancestors, Alix and Jared discover that only by righting the wrongs of the past can they hope to be together.

My review: I enjoyed this book because it not only has romance it has a touch of mystery and ghosts which make the story that much better to me. Jude did a very good job with descriptions of not only the characters but the setting of the book. You felt as if you really knew the characters and could imagine yourself on Nantucket with them. I have only read one other book by Jude "The Knight in Shining Armor" and I really enjoyed it so when I saw the synopsis I thought it would be a good one for me to read. It did not disappoint and even though I have not read any of the other Montgomery-Taggart books I was not lost at all. I recommend this book if you are looking for  a fun couple of days of reading. 

Be sure to check out the rest of the stops on the tour - listed below:

The publisher is also giving away three paperback copies of this book to some lucky winners. Just enter below. This giveaway is for the US only - sorry. If you win I will send you an email and you will have 48 hours to respond, if you do not then I will unfortunately have to draw a new winner. Good Luck

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March 19, 2014

The Cottage on Juniper Ridge by Sheila Roberts

The Cottage on Juniper Ridge by Sheila Roberts
Life in Icicle Falls #4
ISBN: 9780778314547
Mass Market Paperback

Synopsis: Can a book change your life? Yes, when it's Simplicity, Muriel Sterling's guide to plain living. In fact, it inspires Jen Heath to leave her stressful, overcommitted life in Seattle and move to Icicle Falls, where she rents a lovely little cottage on Juniper Ridge. And where she can enjoy simple pleasures - like joining the local book club - and complicated ones, like falling in love with her sexy landlord, Garrett Armstrong.

Her sister Toni is ready for a change, too. She has a teenage daughter who's constantly texting her friends, a husband who's more involved with his computer than he is with her, and a son who's consumed by video games. Toni wants her family to grow closer - to return to a simpler way of life.

Other women in town, like Stacy Thomas, are also inspired to unload their excess stuff and some of the extra responsibilities they've taken on.

But as they all discover, sometimes life simply happens. It doesn't always happen simply!

My review: I can't not say enough good things about this book, I absolutely loved this book. This is the second book in this series that I have read and one of these days I will get the first two read as this is one of my most favorite series. Icicle Falls is a town you fall in love with and want to pack up and move to. Another part of this book I liked was watching each of the characters learn how to simplify their life. It was ice watching each of them transform and their relationships prosper. I highly recommend this book to everyone and I can't wait for the next one in the series.

March 17, 2014

Rhys Bowen - Author Interview and Book Spotlight

Please welcome Rhys Bowen to my blog. She writes some great cozy mysteries that I think you will enjoy. 

What made you decide to write cozy mysteries?
I write stories that I want to tell, books that I want to read and are not on the shelf. I really don't like the term "cozy" as I feel it makes traditional/non-violent mysteries seem smaller and less important than the dark and violent ones. My Royal Spyness series may be light but it is never slight. It always has a solid historical underpinnings. And Molly Murphy -- well, they are not so cozy!

How do you come up with the names of the characters for your books?
Molly came into being because I wanted to write a strong, first person female who wasn't always wise and didn't always know when to shut up (maybe a little like me?). Lady Georgie was born when my editor wanted me to write big dark books and I knew I wanted a really fun series instead. I tried to think who was the most unlikely sleuth and decided royal but penniless would be a lot of fun. 

Who designs your covers? Do you get any influence on them?
The art department at my publishers design the covers. They run the sketches past me and I get considerable feed back. I have loved all of them. 

I know this question is asked a lot but where do you get your ideas for your books and how long does it take you to do your research?
The more you write, the more ideas pop into your head. Sometimes it is a snippet of news I hear, sometimes something I read about in the past, sometimes just thinking "wouldn't it be fun if..." I do lots of research, especially for the Molly books in early New York. I read, I look at photos, I walk the street of New York that Molly walked. For Lady Georgie I am in England a lot. I know people who own the sort of country houses where Georgie might stay. I list to older people talking. One of the advantages of marrying into an upper-class family!

What keeps you focused when you are writing?
That contract with the word "Deadline" in it. Knowing I have to complete a book in three months keeps my nose to the grindstone. 

Who is your favorite character and why? How about your least favorite character and why?
I am rather fond of Georgie's grandfather. He has no pretentions, but neither is he daunted by her high status. He's based on my own father. I'm also really fond of Sid and Gus in the Molly books. Of course I adore Darcy (who wouldn't?) And my least favorite is clearly Fig. I can't stand mean-spirited people. 

What can we expect from you in the future?
Great things, I hope! But seriously -- my next Molly book comes out on March 4th and is called City of Darkness and Light. A lot of fun to write as I take Molly to Paris and the post-Impressionist art world. And then in August is the next Royal Spyness book, called Queen of Hearts. Georgie crosses the Atlantic and finds herself in Hollywood. Obviously this is my year for traveling. 

What is a favorite book or author you like to read or would like to recommend to your readers?
The funny thing is that my favorite authors are also my close friends. Louise Penny, Deborah Crombie and Jacqueline Winspear all write fabulous books and are all dear dear friends. 

Who or what influenced your love of books?
My great aunt. She was a voracious reader and told e the stories of her favorite books long before I could read them. I grew up knowing Dickens by heart. 

Is there someone who encourages you most in your writing? Who is it and how do they influence you?
Yes, my fans. I am awed by letters I get from people who are battling cancer, coping with a loss, and say that my books have helped them trough a difficult time. 

When you are not writing what do you like to do?
I love to sing, to paint, to travel, to hike. I wish there were more hours in a day. 

List five random things about yourself.
I used to sing in an opera chorus
I love oysters and all seafood
I can beat my family at ping pong
I think family and friends are the best things in life
I'm addicted to Downton Abbey
Molly Murphy Series

You can purchase City of Darkness and Light at Amazon (click here)
Royal Spyness Series

Constable Evans Series
To read more about Rhys and her books you can check out her website (click here)

Here is a little more in depth bio of Rhys (taken from her website): Rhys Bowen was born in Bath, England, of a family that was half Welsh, half English. She was educated at London University and then began her career with the BBC, where she became a drama studio manager. She had made up stories all her life. While working on a boring play she decided to write a play of her own. With the bravado of a 22 year old she marched into the office of the head of BBC drama and handed him the script. Two days later he summoned her and told her that they were going to produce the play..  Rhys has never looked back. 
The British climate forced Rhys to escape to Australia where she worked for Australian Broadcasting before meeting her future husband, a fellow Brit who was on his way to California. So Rhys packed up again and found herself in San Francisco where she settled and has lived ever since, raising four children.
 Finding nothing like the BBC in San Francisco, Rhys turned to writing children’s books under her married name, Janet Quin-Harkin. Her first picture book was an immediate success and won several awards. More picture books followed, then her agent asked her to write a book for young adults. This was a turning point in Rhys’s career. Her first young adult novel was an instant hit. By her third she was selling half a million copies. Many more popular YA novels followed until Rhys decided she had said all she wanted to say about teenage love and angst, and she turned her real love—mysteries. 
The sort of books she loves to read are those with a great sense of time and place. So she considered where to set a series of her own and chose the mountains of North Wales, where she had spent many happy childhood vacations and used her grandfather’s name as her nom de plume. Constable Evan Evans was the hero of these novels that took place in a tiny fictitious village in Snowdonia. The series was well received from the start. The second book, Evan Help Us, was nominated for a Barry Award. Evan’s Gate achieved the ultimate success when it was nominated for the Edgar best novel—the highest prize in mysterydom. 
But it was a chance visit to Ellis Island that made Rhys start thinking in a new direction. The spunky and not always wise Molly Murphy came into her head, fleeing from Ireland and finding herself implicated in a murder on Ellis Island in the first book, MURPHY”S LAW. This book won the Agatha Best Novel award, plus three others. Every subsequent book in the series has received awards, nominations and glowing reviews.  Book eleven, HUSH NOW, DON’T YOU CRY, was published in March 2012 and went straight to the New York Times bestseller list. 
Never one to rest on her laurels Rhys reacted to the gloom and doom of real life by creating a second heroine—this one aimed to amuse. She is Lady Georgiana, 34th in line to the British throne but utterly penniless and struggling to make her own way in the cruel world of the Great Depression. Her Royal Spyness was a bestseller, nominated for many awards and instantly endeared readers to her heroine. The following books have all received award nominations. The 2011 book, Naughty in Nice started off with a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly and was then nominated for an Agatha, Bruce Alexander and RT Reviews award. The audio version is also nominated for an Audie. In April 2012 it won the Agatha Award for best historical mystery.
Rhys is listed in Who’s Who in America under her married name, Janet Quin-Harkin
As well as novels Rhys has written many short stories, including an Anthony winner. She is an ex chapter president of Mystery Writers of America. When not writing she loves to travel, sing, hike, paint, play her Celtic harp and spoil her grandchildren.

March 12, 2014

A Sky without Stars by Linda S. Clare - Giveaway included

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

A Sky without Stars by Linda S Clarke
Quilts of Love Series
ISBN: 9781426752797
Trade paperback

Synopsis: In 1951, Frankie Chasing Bear is a Lakota caught between cultures. She wants to raise her son Harold to revere his Lakota heritage, but she knows he will need to become as a white man to succeed. After his father's killed in a barroom brawl, Harold and Frankie move to Arizona, where she begins a Lakota Star pattern quilt for Harold with tribal wisdom sung, sewn and prayed into it.

She distrusts Christians, as her own parents were forced to convert at an Indian School, until she meets BIA agent Nick Vandergriff, a half-Lakota who's also caught between cultures. Nick must convince Frankie that white men and Christians aren't all bad as he tries to win her heart in order to put the stars back into her sky.

My review: I was drawn to this book because the characters are Native American and I enjoy reading books about them. This is the first book I have read by this author and I thought she did a good job in the telling of this story. It is so nice that this entire series has a quilt somewhere in the story. You can read this book as a standalone as each book is it's own story. Another part of this story that I really liked was that Frankie wanted to teach her son about his Lakota heritage and to respect it. I think that is very important. One thing I did not like was the way the Native American's were treated at this time, I know it was the way it was but I don't like it and it had to be told as it was a part of the story. The author did a nice job in the way she wrote the book so it was very easy to read as well as enjoyable. I recommend this book to fans of Christian fiction and fans of Native American Stories. 

Be sure to check out - Litefuse (click here) to see all the stops on the tour. 

About the Author: Linda S. Clare is an award-winning coauthor of three books, including Lost Boys and the Moms Who Love Them(with Melody Carlson and Heather Kopp), Revealed: Spiritual Reality in a Makeover World, and Making Peace with a Dangerous God (with Kristen Johnson Ingram). She is also the author of The Fence My Father Built. She has taught college-level creative writing classes for seven years, and edits and mentors writers. She also is a frequent writing conference presenter and church retreat leader. She and her husband of thirty-one years have four grown children, including a set of twins. They live in Eugene, Oregon, with their five wayward cats: Oliver, Xena the Warrior Kitty, Paladine, Melchior, and Mamma Mia!
Don't miss this month's Quilts of Love book, A Star Without Stars, by Linda S. Clare. Linda is celebrating the release with a Kindle HDX giveaway and joining her fellow Quilts of Love authors, Barbara Cameron and Joyce Magnin, for a Facebook "Spring Fling" party on April 1st.

  One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • Scraps of Evidence by Barbara Cameron
  • A Sky Without Stars by Linda S. Clare
  • Maybelle in Stitches by Joyce Magnin
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 1st. Winner will be announced at the "Spring Fling" Facebook Party on April 1st. RSVP today and connect with the authors from the Quilts of Love series, Barbara Cameron, Linda S. Clare, and Joyce Magnin, for an evening of book chat, quilt trivia, prizes, and an exclusive look at the next Quilts of Love book!

So grab your copies of Scraps of EvidenceA Sky Without Stars, and Maybelle in Stitches and join Barbara, Linda, and Joyce on the evening of April 1st for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the books, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN at the event page. Spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway and party via FACEBOOK or TWITTER. Hope to see you on April 1st!

March 9, 2014

The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte by Ruth Hull Chatlien

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte by Ruth Hull Chatlien
ISBN: 9781937484163
Trade Paperback

Synopsis: As a clever girl in stodgy, mercantile Baltimore, Betsy Patterson dreams of a marriage that will transport her to cultured Europe. When she falls in love with and marries Jerome Bonaparte, she believes her dream has come true—until Jerome’s older brother Napoleon becomes an implacable enemy.Based on a true story, The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte is a historical novel that portrays this woman’s tumultuous life. Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, known to history as Betsy Bonaparte, scandalized Washington with her daring French fashions; visited Niagara Falls when it was an unsettled wilderness; survived a shipwreck and run-ins with British and French warships; dined with presidents and danced with dukes; and lived through the 1814 Battle of Baltimore. Yet through it all, Betsy never lost sight of her primary goal—to win recognition of her marriage.[provided by the author]

My review: I thought this was a very good book and am glad I decided to read it. This is the first book written by Ruth and I will watch for others by her. The author did a good job with the historical detail of this book. This book will keep you engrossed and turning the pages as the author does a very good job of holding your attention. I did not even know about the Bonaparte so it was nice to read and learn about a new to me historical figure. Betsy was a strong woman and it really showed in the way this story was told. If you are a fan of historical fiction and/or strong women characters then this book is for you

Be sure to stop by the rest of the stops in the tour by checking out France Book Tours (click here).

Ruth Hull Chatlien has been a writer and editor of educational materials for twenty-five years. Her specialty is U.S. and world history. She is the author of Modern American Indian Leaders and has published several short stories and poems in literary magazines. The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte (2013) is her first published novel.
She lives in northeastern Illinois with her husband, Michael, and a very pampered dog named Smokey. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found gardening, knitting, drawing, painting, or watching football. You can find Ruth on Website | Twitter | Facebook 

March 7, 2014

Laura Childs - Author Interview and Book Spotlight

Please welcome Laura Childs to my blog. She is one of my favorite cozy mystery authors and the one who got me into reading cozies. 

What made you decide to write cozy mysteries?
I actually backed into writing cozies. My agent had initially presented a hard-edged thriller to Penguin. They passed on it but asked my agent if she had an author who knew anything about tea. My ears perked up at that and I quickly scribbled out three chapters and a ten-page outline for Death by Darjeeling, my very first Tea Shop Mystery. Now I'm hard at work on number sixteen!

How do you come up with the names of the characters for your books?
I keep a little notebook of interesting names. When I hear one - or see one in an obituary column - I note it for future use. 

Who designs your covers? Do you get any influence on them?
Penguin always holds a cover conference. I usually submit five or six ideas, then their wonderful designers go to work. Once I see the initial layout, I sometimes tweak it. But I think all my book covers are just gorgeous. Having spend twenty-five plus years in marketing I know the value of outstanding package goods design!

I know this question is asked a lot but where do you get your ideas for your books and how long does it take you to do your research?
My ideas basically come from my imagination - although sometimes they are ripped from the headlines events and plot twists. As far as research goes, I do it as I'm writing. If one of my characters attends an opera, I wait until I get to that particular scene, and then do my research. Unlike other authors, I probably spend hours versus weeks. But I don't want facts to overshadow character and a fast-paced plot. 

What keeps you focused when you are writing?
Fear. Fear of deadlines. Fear of coming up with yet another plot twist. Fear of not getting my books into readers' hands. 

Who is your favorite character and why? How about your least favorite character and why?
I really do love all of my characters. If I don't like one, it's not because they're nasty or difficult to write, it's because they're not contributing to the overall advancement of the story. So then they get dropped or killed off. 

What can we expect from you in the future?
Oh, lots more books! I just finished writing GOSSAMER GHOST (Scrapbook Mystery), SCORCHED EGGS (Cackleberry Club Mystery), and am starting on MING TEA MURDER (Tea Shop Mystery). I am also working on my new Hummingbird Inn Mystery series set in Carmel, CA, and am writing a hard-edged thriller series that was recently picked up. 

What is a favorite book or author you like to read or would like to recommend to your readers?
For pure reading pleasure, I think John Sandford is a terrific thriller writer. In his Prey series, the characters are nuanced and his plots are breathtaking. 

Who or what influenced your love of books?
My parents bought me books at an early age and my mom taught me how to read when I was three. When I finally got to first grade, I read my "reader" cover to cover on the very first day. Needless to say, I was not a hit with my teacher and thus learned to fake it in class - a skill that I still employ to this day!

Is there someone who encourages you most in your writing? Who is it and how do they influence you?
Not exactly. You see, I'm a slightly different breed of writer. I was a professional writer/producer for two decades, and then CEO of my own marketing firm. So I have always viewed writing and creativity-on-demand as a business. Yes, being an author is rewarding and exciting, but you can never lose sight of the fact that publishers give you a contract so they can make money. 

When you are not writing what do you like to do?
I generally work six days a week, so on the day I'm not writing I love to relax and read a book. But not mine!

List five random things about yourself.
I don't eat carbs. I'm a Chanel freak (which is why I don't eat carbs). I love to lay on a sunny beach and read. I enjoy mentoring young writers. I've written and produced a reality show.
Tea Shop Mystery Series

Scrapbooking Mystery Series

Cackleberry Club Mystery

To check out all of the books in Laura's series stop by her website (click here). All of the above books are now available for purchase at your local bookstore. Laura also has and anthology of the first three tea shop mysteries out so you can read the first three books combined in one book. 

Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. She is married to Dr. Bob, a professor of Chinese and Japanese art history, has two Shar-Pei dogs, and enjoys traveling to Asia. 

March 6, 2014

The Boleyn Bride by Brandy Purdy

This book was given to me in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Boleyn Bride by Brandy Purdy
ISBN: 0758273363
Trade Paperback

Synopsis: From carefree young woman to disillusioned bride, the dazzling lady who would become mother and grandmother to two of history’s most infamous queens, has a fascinating story all her own…
At sixteen, Elizabeth Howard envisions a glorious life for herself as lady-in-waiting to the future queen, Catherine of Aragon. But when she is forced to marry Thomas Boleyn, a wealthy commoner, Elizabeth is left to stagnate in the countryside while her detested husband pursues his ambitions. There, she raises golden girl Mary, moody George, and ugly duckling Anne–while staving off boredom with a string of admirers. Until Henry VIII takes the throne…
When Thomas finally brings his highborn wife to London, Elizabeth indulges in lavish diversions and dalliances–and catches the lusty king’s eye. But those who enjoy Henry’s fickle favor must also guard against his wrath. For while her husband’s machinations bring Elizabeth and her children to the pinnacle of power, the distance to the scaffold is but a short one–and the Boleyn family’s fortune may be turning.

My review: I enjoyed reading the story of Anne and Mary's mother as I did not know much about her. I like how this book told Anne's story from another point of view. Another thing that I enjoyed is the way the book was written. I liked how the author used historical facts and interwove them into the story. This book is full of strong characters which always makes for a good book. If you are a fan of Tudor books then you will enjoy this book.

Be sure to check out the rest of the stops by going to Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours (click here)

March 2, 2014

A Good American by Alex George

A Good American by Alex George
ISBN: 9780425253175
Trade Paperback

Synopsis: This is the story of the Meisenheimer family, told by James, a third-generation American living in Beatrice, Missouri. It’s where his German grandparents—Frederick and Jette—found themselves after journeying across the turbulent Atlantic, fording the flood-swollen Mississippi, and being brought to a sudden halt by the broken water of the pregnant Jette.    A Good American tells of Jette’s dogged determination to feed a town sauerkraut and soul food; the loves and losses of her children, Joseph and Rosa; and the precocious voices of James and his brothers, sometimes raised in discord…sometimes in perfect harmony.    But above all, A Good American is about the music in Frederick’s heart, a song that began as an aria, was jazzed by ragtime, and became an anthem of love for his adopted country that the family still hears to this day.

My review: I don't like to write bad reviews so my review will be short this time. I liked the concept of this book and the story did move along but I thought the book was very depressing. The characters focused on everything bad that happened instead of the good. It seemed as nothing ever went right for this family. Most of the time you could tell the story was being told by James (a character in the story) but other times it seemed as if it was being told by someone else It was not what I was expecting but I am glad that I read the book anyway.