February 26, 2015

Betting on Hope by Debra Clopton

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

Betting on Hope by Debra Clopton
Four of Hearts Romance #1
ISBN: 9781401690496
Trade Paperback

Synopsis: A bet gone wrong. A small town's meddling. And a cowboy intent on saving his ranch.

Maggie Hope is an advice columnist whose background leaves her with little advice to give . . . and it's beginning to show. When Maggie fills in at an interview with champion horse trainer Tru Monahan, the on-camera chemistry between them is undeniable. Maggie's bosses know this is the opportunity she's been looking for to launch her career---and their bank accounts. In order to save her column, Maggie takes Tru up on the bet that he can teach her to ride a quick-stepping cutting horse like any cowgirl, despite the fact that she has never been on a horse. And in the meantime, she can get the scoop on the man under the cowboy hat.

Tru has been on the competition circuit for longer than he'd like, but he knows it's the only way he can afford to keep the Four of Hearts Ranch that means so much to his ailing grandfather. So when his sponsors see the opportunity for Tru's fans to get to know the star on a more intimate level, he knows he must oblige. To his dismay, Maggie not only invades his small town of Wishing Springs, but she also invades his heart, and that is something he cannot let any woman do-for her own good.

In Wishing Springs, Maggie finds what she has always been looking for: a community and a home. But when her past catches up to her, it threatens everything, even the tender hope that this town holds all of her heart's desires.
Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/1Lv6bBc  

My review: This a nice romance book without the romance overtaking the story. The characters in this book were easy to get to know and fall in love with. I also liked that there was some humor in this story as well as a few plot twists along the way. I think the settings were very well described as well, I felt as if I was there on the ranch. I have mostly lived in the country and love all things country so this book appealed to me. There are a couple of very real topics used in this story as well one is teen pregnancy and the other is dementia. I have dealt with dementia in my family so this hit home for me. This is the first book by this author that I have read and I will be looking for me. She grabbed my attention on page one and kept it all the way to the end. If you are looking for a nice clean romance than this is the book for you. 

About the author:

Debra Clopton
 is a multi-award winning novelist and has written more than 22 novels. Along with writing, Debra helps her husband teach the youth at their local Cowboy Church. Debra's goal is to shine a light toward God while she entertains readers with her words.

Find Debra online: websiteFacebookTwitter

Be sure to stop by Litfuse (click here) to see all the stops on the tour. 

Flamenco, Flan and Fatalies by Mary McHugh - Spotlight and Giveaway

Flamenco, Flan and Fatalities by Mary McHugh
A Happy Hoofers Mystery # 2
ISBN: 9781617733611

Synopsis: The high-kicking Happy Hoofers–Tina, Janice, Pat, Mary Louise, and Gini–have been booked to flaunt their fabulous flamenco footwork on a luxury train ride through northern Spain. But when a blowhard talk show host is found deader than four-day-old flan–with Gini as suspect numero uno–the feisty friends waste no time stepping into their sleuthing shoes to protect one of their own.

The dynamite dancers will have to step up their game before a clever killer brings the curtain down on one of them . . . for good!

Includes Photo Tips And Tasty Recipes

About the author: Mary McHugh graduated from Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, with a B.A. in English Literature and studied at the Sorbonne in Paris. She is the author of nineteen nonfiction books and two novels. She was a contributing editor for Cosmopolitan, an articles editor at Woman’s World, Travel Holiday, and Bridal Guide, and has written articles for The New York Times, Good Housekeeping and Family Circle.

She loves to tap dance and to travel -two passions that inspired her to write the Happy Hoofers series.

She lives in the New York area. Visit her at http://marymchugh.org/index.html

Author Links
WebPage: http://marymchugh.org/index.html

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mary.mchugh.77

To see all the stops on the tour be sure to stop by Escape with Dollycas (click here)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

February 25, 2015

Read Across America Day

March 2 is the annual Read Across America Day in celebration of the great Dr. Seuss. Originally intended as a day to celebrate reading with and to children, we at More Than A Review believe you don't have to be a child to celebrate Read Across America Day or to love Dr. Seuss.
Seuss books are filled with wisdom for both adults and children from quotes about being yourself to treating others with respect.
"Adults are just outdated children" ~ Dr. Seuss
If we're being honest, most of Seuss' books are a fun read but the Oh The Places You'll Go is especially poignant for graduates as they cross over into the world of young adulthood.
But get this, in 1939 Seuss wrote a book designed entirely for adults titled The Seven Ladies of Godiva: The True Facts Concerning History's Barest Family. It's about seven sisters who never wear clothing so we're not sure how it would rate on the MTAR reviews!
How do you plan to celebrate reading in March?

February 24, 2015

An Amish Cradle by Beth Wiseman, Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller and Vannetta Chapman

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

An Amish Cradle by Beth Wiseman, Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller, and Vannetta Chapman
ISBN: 9780529118677
Trade Paperback

Synopsis: Tiny fingers, Tiny toes, And lives that will never be the same. Journey with four families as their lives are about to change forever.

In His Father’s Arms by Beth Wiseman
Ruth Anne has been dreaming about motherhood her entire life. Now she is doubly excited that she and her best friend are due with their children the same week. But when Ruth Anne’s baby is born with Down syndrome, she and her husband struggle to understand God’s plan.
A Son for Always by Amy Clipston
Carolyn and Joshua are thrilled to be pregnant with their first child together. Carolyn was just a teenager when she had her son, Benjamin, and she still feels solely responsible to secure his future. As Joshua watches Carolyn struggle to accept his support, he knows he has to find some way to convince her that she—and Ben—will always be taken care of.
A Heart Full of Love by Kathleen Fuller
Ellie’s mother hasn’t stopped meddling in her personal life since Ellie lost her sight—and she’s taken it up a notch now that Ellie’s pregnant. When Ellie gives birth to twins, her mother insists on moving in to care for them. But when her mother’s behavior becomes unbearable, Ellie is forced to take a stand . . . and finally find out why Mamm can’t let go.
An Unexpected Blessing by Vannetta Chapman
At 42, Etta thought she was finished having children, but she’s pregnant again. After a frightening labor, Etta finally gives birth, but her constant worry over her estranged grown son, David, haunts her still. As a new mother again, Etta must hold tightly to the promise that God will watch over her children—and that one day David will return.

My review: I am a fan of Amish fiction books so I had to pick up this book. Each of these stories are very touching and deal with some hard issues. You could take any of these stories and make them into a book by themselves because each of these stories left me wanting to hear more about the families. Since these stories are written as novellas they each read very quickly. All of the characters were great to get to know. I enjoyed the baby/cradle theme that was carried through each of the stories. 

In His Father's Arms - This was an interesting story to read how an Amish family handles having a down syndrome baby and all the struggles that go along with that. 

A Son for Always - This was a good story to see how they blend families. It was very touching how Joshua treats Ben as his own. 

A Heart Full of Love - Ellie is such a strong person now if only her mom would see how strong she is without her sight. 

An Unexpected Blessing - Etta is a stronger person than me. I can't imagine what she was going through when she found out she was having a baby and she already has grandkids. 

February 22, 2015

An Affair Downstairs by Sherri Browning

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

An Affair Downstairs by Sherri Browning
Thornbrook Park #2
ISBN: 9781402286827
Mass Market Paperback

Synopsis: The attraction of the forbidden cannot be suppressed...
Lady Alice Emerson is entirely unsatisfied with the endless stream of boring suitors her family finds appropriate. She wants something more. Something daring. Something real. Each tiresome new suitor only serves to further inflame Lady Alice's combustible attraction to Thornbrook Park's rugged, manly estate manager, Logan Winthrop. Despite Logan's stubborn attempts to avoid her, Lady Alice is irresistible, and so is the forbidden desire exploding between them...
If you're a fan of Downton Abbey, don't miss the fascinating Edwardian world of Thornbrook Park.
My review: Sherri has done it again with An Affair Downstairs. She had me from the first page. I love Aunt Agatha she never seizes to amaze me with what she says. She reminds me of the Dowager Countess in Downton Abbey. Then in this book we get to know Alice a lot more. I really like her as she is independent and knows what she wants and will not give up until she gets it. Logan is also someone we get to know and another person who I fell in love with. Lord Ralston is someone I could not stand. He was night right and very rude if you ask me. I would get so mad while reading this book because just when you thought things were going Alice's way something would happen to stop them. Sophia is someone who I would also get frustrated with. I love how Sherri develops her characters and make them strong and easy to get to know. She also does a very good job with descriptions of the settings so much so that you feel as if you are really right there at Thornbrook Park. I can't wait to read the third one in this series later this year. I recommend this book to fans of Downton Abbey type stories and anyone looking for a nice romance with a few twists in the story. 

February 20, 2015

The Accident by Christ Pavone

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

The Accident by Chris Pavone
ISBN: 9780385348478
Trade Paperback

Synopsis: As dawn approaches in New York, literary agent Isabel Reed is turning the final pages of a mysterious, anonymous manuscript, racing through the explosive revelations about powerful people, as well as long-hidden secrets about her own past. In Copenhagen, veteran CIA operative Hayden Gray, determined that this sweeping story be buried, is suddenly staring down the barrel of an unexpected gun. And in Zurich, the author himself is hiding in a shadowy expat life, trying to atone for a lifetime’s worth of lies and betrayals with publication of The Accident, while always looking over his shoulder.

Over the course of one long, desperate, increasingly perilous day, these lives collide as the book begins its dangerous march toward publication, toward saving or ruining careers and companies, placing everything at risk—and everyone in mortal peril.  The rich cast of characters—in publishing and film, politics and espionage—are all forced to confront the consequences of their ambitions, the schisms between their ideal selves and the people they actually became.

The action rockets around Europe and across America, with an intricate web of duplicities stretching back a quarter-century to a dark winding road in upstate New York, where the shocking truth about the accident itself is buried. 

My review: This is the second book I have read by this author. I have to say I liked this one every bit as much as the first one if not more even. The mystery of this story keeps you turning the pages because you don't know what is going to happen next. I liked how the story kind of went back and forth between time periods. It made it read a little quicker that way. I enjoyed the cast of characters in this book and how they each played a role in the story. If you are looking for a book with twists and turns then this is the book for you. 

February 18, 2015

An Uncertain Choice by Jody Hedlund

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

An Uncertain Choice by Jody Hedlund
ISBN: 9780310749196
Trade Paperback

Synopsis: Due to her parents' promise at her birth, Lady Rosemarie has been prepared to become a nun on the day she turns eighteen. Then, a month before her birthday, a friend of her father's enters the kingdom and proclaims her parents' will left a second choice--if Rosemarie can marry before the eve of her eighteenth year, she will be exempt from the ancient vow.

Before long, Rosemarie is presented with the three most handsome and brave knights in the land. But when the competition for her heart seemingly results in a knight playing foul, she begins to wonder if the convent is the best place after all. If only one of the knights--the one who appears the most guilty--had not already captured her heart.

My review: This was a nice quick story. Jody did a good job with the characters in this book. Lady Rosemarie is a very strong girl. This was written as a young adult book but is also enjoyable for adults. One of the things I liked about this book is that it has both mystery and romance in the story. Now just so you know the romance is not overwhelming so it is fitting for all ages. The mystery part of the story kept me turning the pages. The author also did a very good job with the historical aspect of the story, which I enjoyed being a historical fiction fan. There is a prequel to this book called "The Vow" now I have not read that yet but will be going back to read it. I have heard that you should read it first as it gives a little more information. All in all this was an enjoyable book. I recommend it for young teens and adults alike. 

February 17, 2015

Night is the Hunter by Steven Gore

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

Night is the Hunter by Steven Gore
A Harlan Donnally Novel
ISBN:: 9780062025098
Trade Paperback

Synopsis: They call it pulling the trigger. Not by a killer in the night, but by a judge on the bench. 
Twenty years ago, Judge Ray McMullin proved to the people of San Francisco he could pull that trigger by sentencing Israel Dominguez to death for a gangland murder. But it meant suppressing his own doubts about whether the punishment really did fit the crime. 

As the execution date nears, the conscience-wracked judge confesses his unease to former homicide detective Harlan Donnally on a riverbank in far Northern California. And after immersing himself in the Norteño and Sureño gang wars that left trails of bullets and blood crisscrossing the state and in the betrayals of both cops and crooks alike, Donnally is forced to question not only whether the penalty was undeserved, but the conviction itself. 

Soon those doubts and questions double back, for in the aging judge's panic, in his lapses of memory and in his confusions, Donnally begins to wonder whether he's chasing facts of the case or just phantoms of a failing mind. But there's no turning back, for the edge of night is fast closing in on Dominguez, on McMullin, and on Donnally himself.

My review; This is the first book I have read by this author and I thought it was a good book. The character development was very good in this book. Donnally is not sure if he is really following facts or not as the Judge is starting to lose his memory but he keeps on looking. This is a deep mystery that will keep you turning the pages. There are a lot of details in this book to keep you wondering what is going to happen next. I recommend this book for someone looking for a thriller/mystery book. 

February 15, 2015

Outlaw Takes a Bride by Susan Page Davis

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

The Outlaw Takes a Bride by Susan Page Davis
ISBN: 9781630582593
Trade Paperback
Due out March 1st

Synopsis: Johnny Paynter flees Denver to escape being hanged for a murder he didn’t commit. At his brother’s ranch in Texas, where he thought he could take refuge, he finds his brother, Mark—dead. Taking advantage of his strong resemblance to his brother, Johnny assumes Mark’s identity. Soon Johnny discovers that Mark had been corresponding with a widow named Sally in St. Louis, and she’s en route to be a mail-order bride to Mark. Seeing no other option, Johnny makes a fateful decision to go through with the wedding, posing as his brother. But Sally has secrets she's hiding, too. How will a marriage survive with so much deception?

My review: I thought I would try a new author to me so when I saw that Susan was looking for people to review her book I jumped at the chance. This was an enjoyable book for me. I liked the time period it was set in and the author did a good job with the descriptions of the settings. You could see what she was talking about. The author also did a very good job with the character development. You have to feel for Johnny - first he was accused of a murder he did not commit then he finds his brother is dead. Now he did pull a fast one pretending to be his brother but I guess he felt it was the right thing to do. Then we have Sally a poor widow. I felt as if Effie was a bit harsh with her, I know it can be hard living together but sometimes you have to make it work. Effie just seems all around mean. It seems as if Sally has found a way out with Mark, but what Sally does not know when she heads to Texas is Johnny is playing Mark but then she has secrets too. It was fun to read how the whole story played out and how the relationship between Johnny aka Mark and Sally played out. This is a nice clean romance and I recommend it to anyone who likes romance stories. 

February 13, 2015

A Ghostly Undertaking and A Ghostly Grave by Tonya Kappes

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

A Ghostly Undertaking 
A Ghostly Southern Mystery #1
 ISBN: 9780062374646
Mass Market Paperback
Coming out February 24th

Synopsis: A funeral, a ghost, a murder . . . It's all in a day's work for emma lee raines . . .
Bopped on the head from a falling plastic Santa, local undertaker Emma Lee Raines is told she's suffering from “funeral trauma.”   It's trauma all right, because the not-so-dearly departed keep talking to her. Take Ruthie Sue Payne—innkeeper, gossip queen, and arch-nemesis of Emma Lee's granny—she's adamant that she didn't just fall down those stairs. She was pushed.
Ruthie has no idea who wanted her pushing up daisies. All she knows is that she can't cross over until the matter is laid to eternal rest. In the land of the living, Emma Lee's high-school crush, Sheriff Jack Henry Ross, isn't ready to rule out foul play. Granny Raines, the widow of Ruthie's ex-husband and co-owner of the Sleepy Hollow Inn, is the prime suspect. Now Emma Lee is stuck playing detective or risk being haunted forever. 

My review: What a fun new cozy mystery series this is. I liked how the ghost spoke to Emma and told her they were murdered. Then she felt as if she needed to find out what really happened. The writing of this story was very good and made the book read quickly. I really liked Emma but don't get me wrong there were a lot of fun characters. I also love the small town - these are always appealing to me in a cozy mystery. Tonya did a good job of keeping you guessing right up until the end as there were multiple suspects. If you like mysteries and ghosts and are looking for a fun fast read then I recommend this book for you. 

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

A Ghostly Grave by Tonya Kappes
A Ghostly Southern Mystery #2
ISBN: 9780062374813
Mass Market Paperback
Coming out March 31st

Synopsis: There's a ghost on the loose—and a fox in the henhouse.
Four years ago, the Eternal Slumber Funeral Home put Chicken Teater in the ground. Now undertaker Emma Lee Raines is digging him back up. The whole scene is bad for business, especially with her granny running for mayor and a big festival setting up in town. But ever since Emma Lee started seeing ghosts, Chicken's been pestering her to figure out who killed him.
With her handsome boyfriend, Sheriff Jack Henry Ross, busy getting new forensics on the old corpse, Emma Lee has time to look into her first suspect. Chicken's widow may be a former Miss Kentucky, but the love of his life was another beauty queen: Lady Cluckington, his prize-winning hen. Was Mrs. Teater the jealous type? Chicken seems to think so. Something's definitely rotten in Sleepy Hollow—and Emma Lee just prays it's not her luck.

My review: This is the second book in Tonya's new cozy mystery series. I am so glad I had this book to read right after the first one as I have enjoyed this one just as much as the first one. You have to love the name Chicken Teater which is the ghost who wants Emma to find out who killed him. Jack, Emma's boyfriend is write there to help her out with solving this cold case. As with the first book in this series the author keeps you guessing right up until the very end. To me this one kept me smiling just because of the whole chicken references in the names. This book reads quickly and is a good book for a rainy day. I can't wait for the third book to come out. This will be one series that I follow with each new book that comes out. 

February 12, 2015

Return to Exile by Lynne Gentry

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

Return to Exile by Lynne Gentry
The Carthage Chronicles #2
ISBN: 9781476746364
Trade Paperback

Synopsis: How far would you go to save the ones you love?

Six years ago, impossible circumstances forced Dr. Lisbeth Hastings to leave behind the love of her life, not just in another country, but in another time. Her work as a top-notch epidemiologist and parenting her little girl helps alleviate the pain, but at night when her exhausted head hits the pillow, images of her beloved Cyprian haunt her sleep.

Cyprian Thascius returns from political exile a broken man. He's lost his faith, the love of his life, and his purpose. He attempts to move on, to face the danger that is looming over Carthage, but when Cyprian's true love suddenly reappears, his heart becomes as imperiled as the fledgling church he seeks to save.

Have the years that kept Lisbeth and Cyprian apart created too wide a chasm to bridge? In the midst of a new epidemic and rising oppression, will their love be the most costly fatality? Filled with gripping action and raw emotion, this spell-binding adventure of star-crossed lovers captivates with every turn of the page in this electric continuation of The Carthage Chronicles.
Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/1wSugdd   

My review: This being the first book I have read by Lynne I have to say I really enjoyed it. I did not read the first one in this series and did just fine with this book, but I will now be purchasing the first one to read. One of the things that drew me to this book was that it was a time travel book and a historical fiction book all rolled into one. I love both types of books. Lynne did a good job with the character development as well as the descriptions for the settings. I felt as if I was a part of this story. She also did a good job with the medical aspect of this book, you can tell she did her research. I felt bad for Lisbeth having to make a choice between helping her sick daughter by going back to the future or staying with the man she loves. There is romance, drama, adventure and a few plot twists which help keep the story moving along. I look forward to more books by Lynne. I recommend this books to anyone who likes historical fiction, time travel, Christian fiction or romance books. 

About the author: 

Lynne Gentry
 has written for numerous publications. She is a professional acting coach, theater director, and playwright. Lynne is an inspirational speaker and dramatic performer who loves spending time with her family and medical therapy dog.

Find Lynne online: websiteFacebookTwitter

Be sure to stop by Litfuse (click here) to learn more about the book and to see more great reviews. 

February 11, 2015

The Bracelet by Dorothy Love

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

The Bracelet by Dorothy Love
ISBN: 9781401687601
Trade Paperback

Synopsis: “There are no secrets that time does not reveal.” 
Savannah, Georgia – 1858
Celia Browning dreams of the day when her childhood sweetheart Sutton Mackay comes home to Savannah after two years in Jamaica managing his family's shipping interests. Sutton has all but proposed, and their marriage will unite two of the city's most prominent families. But just as Sutton returns, a newspaper reporter arrives in town, determined to pry into twin tragedies that took place at the Browning mansion on Madison Square when Celia was a child.
While the journalist pursues his story, someone is trying to frighten Celia. When she receives a series of anonymous notes, and a bracelet imbued with a chilling message, Celia realizes that her family’s past has the power to destroy her future.
As the clouds of war gather over Savannah, and her beloved father’s health worsens, Celia determines to uncover the truth about what really happened all those years ago.
Inspired by actual events in one of Savannah’s most prominent 19th-century families, The Bracelet is the story of a young southern woman whose dreams fracture under the weight of her family’s tragic past.
My review: This was a very enjoyable book. I enjoy books that are set in the 1800s they are one of my favorite eras to read about. The author did a great job with the character development. You can also tell that she did a good job with her research as she was very accurate with the historical details. The story line kept me turning the pages almost faster than I could read them as I found myself wanting to find out what was going to happen next in the story. It was nice how there was a little suspense mixed into the story. If you are looking for a good book with history and suspense all rolled into one than this is the book for you. 

The Expats by Chris Pavone

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review

The Expats by Chris Pavone
ISBN: 9780770435721
Trade Paperback

Synopsis: Can we ever escape our secrets?
In the cobblestoned streets of Luxembourg, Kate Moore's days are filled with playdates and coffee mornings, her weekends spent in Paris and skiing in the Alps. But Kate is also guarding a tremendous, life-defining secret—one that's become so unbearable that it begins to unravel her newly established expat life. She suspects that another American couple are not who they claim to be; her husband is acting suspiciously; and as she travels around Europe, she finds herself looking over her shoulder, increasingly terrified that her own past is catching up with her. As Kate begins to dig, to uncover the secrets of the people around her, she finds herself buried in layers of deceit so thick they threaten her family, her marriage, and her life.   

Stylish and sophisticated, fiercely intelligent, and expertly crafted, The Expats proves Chris Pavone to be a writer of tremendous talent.

My review: This is the first book I have read by this author. I chose to read this book because it sounded like it was full of suspense and action. After reading the book I have to say that yes it was full of suspense. In my opinion the author did a good job on the character development - he created some very strong characters to carry this story. Another thing that made this a good book for me was that it kept me guessing right up until the end. It is one that is hard to put down. I will be looking into getting The Accident which is the next book by this author. 

About the author: 

CHRIS PAVONE is the author of the New York Times-bestselling The Expats, winner of the Edgar Award. He was a book editor for nearly two decades and lives in New York City with his family.

Venice a Travel Guide - book spotlight and giveaway

Every traveler to Venice wants to go home with a special souvenir--a carnival mask, a piece of Murano glass, a handcrafted piece of lace. But selecting which mask or which goblet to buy can be an intimidating experience. How do you know if you're buying something authentic, something made in Venice, something made in a traditional way? How do you gauge how much you should pay, and how do you know if you're being ripped off? How do you determine if you have fallen prey to one of the city's many tourist traps?

Laura Morelli, an art historian and trusted guide in the world of cultural travel and authentic shopping, leads you to the best of the city's most traditional arts: Murano glass, carnival masks, gondolas, lace, paper, and more. This indispensable guide includes practical tips for locating the most authentic goods in one of the busiest tourist destinations in the world. Packed with useful information on pricing, quality, and value, and with a comprehensive resource guide, Laura Morelli's Authentic Arts: Venice is the perfect guide for anyone wanting to bring home the unique traditions of Venice.

Artisans of Venice is the companion to Laura Morelli's Authentic Arts: Venice, A Travel Guide to Murano Glass, Carnival Masks, Gondolas, Lace, Paper, & More. Put both books together and you'll be the most knowledgeable traveler in Venice!

Going to Venice? Don't buy anything in Venice until you read this book!

Buyer Beware: Venice is full of tourist traps and mass-produced souvenirs passed off as authentic. Do you know how to tell the treasures from the trash?

In Venice, it's not easy to tell the treasures from the trash. This is true now more than ever before, as increasing numbers of carnival masks, glass, and other souvenirs flood into Venice, imported from overseas and passed off as authentic. There is no substitute for an educated buyer. Laura Morelli helps you locate the city's most authentic artisans--those practicing centuries-old trades of mask making, glass blowing, wood turning, silk spinning, and other traditions. Wouldn't you rather support authentic Venetian master artisans than importers looking to turn a quick profit without any connection to Venice at all?

Venice boasts some of the most accomplished master artisans in the world. Here's how you can find them.

Laura Morelli leads you beyond the souvenir shops for an immersive cultural experience that you won't find in any other guidebook. Artisans of Venice brings you inside the workshops of the most accomplished makers of Venetian fabrics, Murano glass and millefiori, carnival masks and masquerade costumes, gondolas, Burano lace, mirrors, marbleized paper, hand-carved frames, and other treasures. This book leads you to the multi-generational studios of some 75 authentic master artisans. If you're reading on your Kindle device, tablet, or smartphone, you can click directly on their street addresses for an interactive map, and link to their web sites and email addresses directly from the guide. A cross-referenced resource guide also offers listings by neighborhood.

Laura Morelli, an art historian and trusted guide in the world of cultural travel and authentic shopping, leads you to the best of Venice's most traditional arts. Laura Morelli's Authentic Arts series is the only travel guide series on the market that takes you beyond the museums and tourist traps to make you an educated buyer--maybe even a connoisseur--of Florentine leather, ceramics of the Amalfi Coast, Parisian hats, Venetian glass, the handmade quilts of Provence, and more treasures.

Bring Laura Morelli's guides to Venice with you, and you'll be sure to come home with the best of Venice in your suitcase.

About the author

Laura Morelli holds a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University, where she was a Bass Writing Fellow and Mellon Doctoral Fellow. She authored a column for National Geographic Traveler called “The Genuine Article” and contributes pieces about authentic travel to national magazines and newspapers. Laura has been featured on CNN Radio, Travel Today with Peter Greenberg, The Frommers Travel Show, and in USATODAY, Departures, House & Garden Magazine, Traditional Home, the Denver Post, Miami Herald, The Chicago Tribune, and other media. Recently her art history lesson, “What’s the difference between art and craft?” was produced and distributed by TED-Ed.

Laura has taught college-level art history at Trinity College in Rome, as well as at Northeastern University, Merrimack College, St. Joseph College, and the College of Coastal Georgia. Laura has lived in five countries, including four years in Italy and four years in France.

Laura Morelli is the author of the guidebook series that includes Made in Italy, Made in France, and Made in the Southwest, all published by Rizzoli / Universe. The Gondola Maker, a historical coming-of-age story about the heir to a gondola boatyard in 16th-century Venice, is her first work of fiction.

Connect with Laura: Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  about.me

Where to buy the book:
Amazon: Venice Travel Guide
Amazon: Artisans of Venice

Interview with Laura Morelli

1. How did you start writing?
Even though I had dreamt of writing a novel for as long as I can remember, a love of history and the visual arts led me to pursue a career in academia. After all, art history is the most fascinating topic in the world! As an art historian, I had the pleasure to teach, research, and write about subjects for which I have a passion. What a job! I relished the hours in the library and loved sharing new material with my students, both in the classroom and in writing.

2. How did you start writing travel guides?
My first foray into non-academic writing came in the form of a specialty travel guide series I published with Rizzoli. With my books Made in ItalyMade in France, and Made in the Southwest, my mission is to lead travelers beyond the tourist traps to discover authentic local traditions and artists, and come home with great treasures in their suitcases. My focus is cultural immersion through a greater appreciation of art objects and the people who make them.

3. Where do you write?
A few years ago I started using a treadmill desk set up across the room from a gigantic monitor. Sometimes I end up walking all day long, even if it’s at a slow pace, which helps keep my brain engaged. I typically have way too many documents open on my giant screen and I need frequent technical support!

4. What do you like to read?
I have always enjoyed historical fiction. I love it when an author can bring the past to life through sights, smells, sounds, and sensations. Some of my favorite authors are Umberto Eco, Abraham Verghese, and Ken Follett. When I was a teenager I consumed horror and paranormal books by the dozens. There is something universally compelling about the macabre.

5. You’ve also written a historical novel. How did that come about?
The story of The Gondola Maker developed while I was working on another book called Made in Italy. The living artisans I interviewed, whether makers of gondolas, carnival masks, or Murano glass, told me how important it was to them to pass on the torch of tradition to the next generation. After hearing that story over and over, I began to wonder what would happen if the successor were not able or willing to take on the duty of passing on his father’s trade. As I interviewed the last remaining gondola makers of Venice, the story of The Gondola Maker, my first work of fiction, germinated inside my head. I wondered about the strict social codes that had once bound boatmakers together in pre-industrial Venice, and what might happen if someone went against the grain.

Be sure to stop by Italy Book Tours (click here) to see all the stops on the tour. 

Feb 2 - Working Mommy Journal - book spotlight
Feb 2 - Library of Clean Reads - book spotlight
Feb 2 - A Blue Million Books - book spotlight / author interview
Feb 2 - Bookroom Reviews - book spotlight / guest post
Feb 2 - FLY HIGH! - book spotlight / guest post
Feb 3 - Il Mio Tesoro - book spotlight / guest post
Feb 3 - View From the Birdhouse - book spotlight / guest post
Feb 3 - Girl With Camera - book spotlight
Feb 3 - Essentially Italian... - book spotlight
Feb 4 - Italophilia - book spotlight / author interview
Feb 4 - Lavish Bookshelf - book spotlight
Feb 5 - Monica Cesarato - book spotlight / author interview
Feb 5 - Studentessa Matta - book spotlight / author interview
Feb 6 - Green and Glassie - book spotlight / author interview
Feb 6 - Reading, Writing, Working, Playing - book spotlight
Feb 6 - 2 Kids and Tired Books - book spotlight
Feb 9 - Like a Bump on a Blog - book spotlight / guest post
Feb 9 - The World As I See It - book spotlight 
Feb 10 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - book spotlight
Feb 10 - Hello, My Name is Alice - book spotlight / author interview
Feb 11 - Griperang's Bookmarks - book spotlight / author interview
Feb 11 - Vic's Media Room - book spotlight / author interview
Feb 11 - Deal Sharing Aunt - book spotlight / guest post
Feb 12 - Book Stop Corner - book spotlight / author interview 
Feb 12 - A Mama's Corner of the World - book spotlight / guest post
Feb 12 - Celticlady's Reviews - book spotlight / guest post
Feb 13 - Young in Rome - book spotlight
Feb 13 - Bluerose's Heart - book spotlight / author interview
The author is giving away a set of these books along with two authentic Carnival masks (one male Bauta style and one female Colombina style). You can enter using the rafflecopter link below. 

The baùta or baùtta
The baùta is the quintessential Venetian mask, worn historically not only at Carnival time but any time a Venetian citizen wished to remain anonymous, such as when he may have been involved in important law-making or political processes in the city. The simplest of the traditional Venetian mask types, the baùta is a stark faceplate traditionally paired with a full-length black or red hooded cloak called a tabàro (or tabàrro), and a tricorn hat, as depicted in paintings and prints by the Venetian artist Pietro Longhi. Most baùte were made of waxed papier-mâché and covered most of the face. The most prominent feature is a distinctive aquiline nose and no mouth. The lower part of the mask protruded outward to allow the mask wearer to breathe, talk, and eat while remaining disguised.

In the Commedia dell’Arte, Colombina played the role of maidservant. The Colombina is a half-mask that covers the forehead down to the cheeks, but leaves the mouth revealed. Originally, it would have been held up to the face by a baton in the hand. The Colombina is often decorated with more feminine flourishes, from gilding to gems and feathers, but both men and women may wear it.

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