March 31, 2015

Recipe for Murder by Lisa Harris

Recipe for Murder by Lisa Harris
Cozy Crumb Mystery #1
ISBN: 9781597894845
Mass Market Paperback

Priscilla never expected to be involved in a real life mystery, but that's exactly where she finds herself when she joins her son at his hunting lodge in the beautiful Colorado mountains. A superb cook and articulate hostess, Priscilla plans an informal buffet for the guests at her son's hunting lodge. But the dinner party turns to chaos when a guest is found dead after sampling one of her salmon-filled tartlets.

My review: 
This was a nice quick book to read on a rainy day. It was the first book by this author that I have read and I enjoyed it. There was a twist so you actually did not know who actually committed the murder until the end of the book. Priscilla is a charming lady who just wants to find the good in people. Max was a cute older man that you fall in love with. You find yourself pulling for Nathan and Tricia through the whole book. This book is a  nice mystery book for all ages. 

Teresa of the New World by Sharman Apt Russell

Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Yucca Publishing/Skyhorse Publishing
Formats: Hardcover, Ebook
ISBN: 978-1631580420

Genre: Historical Fiction/Young Adult/Fantasy
From the bestselling author of An Obsession with Butterflies comes a magical story of America in the time of the conquistadors.
In 1528, the real-life conquistador Cabeza de Vaca shipwrecked in the New World where he lived for eight years as a slave, trader, and shaman. In this lyrical weaving of history and myth, the adventurer takes his young daughter Teresa from her home in Texas to walk westward into the setting sun, their travels accompanied by miracles–visions and prophecies. But when Teresa reaches the outposts of New Spain, life is not what her father had promised.
As a kitchen servant in the household of a Spanish official, Teresa grows up estranged from the magic she knew as a child, when she could speak to the earth and listen to animals. When a new epidemic of measles devastates the area, the sixteen-year-old sets off on her own journey, befriending a Mayan were-jaguar who cannot control his shape-shifting and a warhorse abandoned by his Spanish owner. Now Teresa moves through a land stalked by Plague: smallpox as well as measles, typhus, and scarlet fever.
Soon it becomes clear that Teresa and her friends are being manipulated and driven by forces they do not understand. To save herself and others, Teresa will find herself listening again to the earth, sinking underground, swimming through limestone and fossil, opening to the power of root and stone. As she searches for her place in the New World, she will travel farther and deeper than she had ever imagined.
Rich in historical detail and scope, Teresa of the New World takes you into the dreamscape of the sixteenth-century American Southwest.

Praise for Teresa of the New World

“Wow! The magical elements were a total thrill-ride, and what a satisfying ending. After finishing it I had that wonderful sensation I get from a great read—the mysterious feeling of having been somewhere, of dreams having risen up and carried me along on a wild journey.” – Sarah Johnson, Editor

Praise for Sharman Russell

Russell has written twelve previous books with numerous starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Booklist. The San Francisco Chronicle has said “Russell’s writing is luminous” and Kirkus Reviews wrote, “A deep reverence for nature shines throughout Russell’s rich, enjoyable text.” The Seattle Times described her An Obsession with Butterflies as a “masterpiece of story-telling” and the San Diego Union Tribune called it “A singular work of art, with its smooth, ethereal prose and series after cascading series of astonishing lore.” The New York Times and Discover Magazine both described her book on hunger as “elegant.”

Buy Teresa of the New World

About the Author

Sharman Apt Russell has lived in Southwestern deserts almost all her life and continues to be refreshed and amazed by the magic and beauty of this landscape. She has published over a dozen books translated into a dozen languages, including fiction and nonfiction. She teaches graduate writing classes at Western New Mexico University in Silver City, New Mexico and Antioch University in Los Angeles, California and has thrice served as the PEN West judge for their annual children’s literature award. Her own awards include a Rockefeller Fellowship, the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award, a Pushcart Prize, and the Henry Joseph Jackson Award.
For more information visit Sharman Russell’s website. You can also find her on Facebook and Goodreads.

Teresa of the New World Book Blast Schedule

Monday, March 23
100 Pages a Day
Wednesday, March 25
Passages to the Past
Saturday, March 28
Broken Teepee
Monday, March 30
Tuesday, March 31
Griperang’s Bookmarks
Wednesday, April 1
Just One More Chapter
Thursday, April 2
Oh, For the Hook of a Book
 photo aab0c220-7521-4066-8a2e-b5151b3d415f.png

March 28, 2015

Books Can Be Deceiving by Jenn McKinlay

Books Can Be Deceiving by Jenn McKinlay
A Library Lover's Mystery #1
ISBN: 9780425242186
Mass Market Paperback

Lindsey is getting into her groove as the director of the Briar Creek Public Library when a New York editor visits town, creating quite a buzz. Lindsey's friend Beth wants to sell the editor her children's book, but Beth's boyfriend, a famous author, gets in the way. When they go to confront him, he's found murdered-and Beth is the prime suspect. Lindsey has to act fast before they throw the book at the wrong person.

My review: 
Jenn McKinlay is one of my favorite cozy mystery authors. I was happy to see she wrote a new series with libraries as the back drop.. This book had me from the first page and I did not want to put it down. I stayed up late a couple of nights just so I could finish it faster and to see what was going to happen. The little town of Briar Creek is a quaint town that is surrounded by some islands. What fun it would be to go out and see the islands or to live on one. Lindsey and Beth are good friends that help each other out especially when Beth finds herself accused of murder. Captain Sully who sails the water taxi was another of my favorite characters so far. Ms. Cole on the other hand I did not like. She was a grouchy woman. I look forward to getting to know the rest of the members of the crafternoon club. 

Scent of Triumph by Jan Moran - Spotlight and Giveaway


Scent of Triumph by Jan Moran
ISBN: 9781250048905


Perfume is the essence of beauty, the heart of illusion, the soul of desire. It is my past, my present, my future. —from the journal of Danielle Bretancourt When French perfumer and aristocrat Danielle Bretancourt steps aboard a luxury ocean liner, leaving her son behind in Poland with his grandmother, she has no idea that her life is about to change forever. The year is 1939, and the declaration of war on the European continent soon threatens her beloved family, scattered across many countries. Traveling through London and Paris into occupied Poland, Danielle searches desperately for the remains of her family, relying on the strength of Jonathan Newell-Grey, a British shipping heir and Royal Navy officer. Finally, in the wake of unspeakable tragedy, she is forced to gather the fragments of her impoverished family and flee to America. There she vows to begin life anew, in 1940s Los Angeles. Amidst the glamour of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Danielle works her way up from meager jobs to perfumer and fashion designer. Still, personal happiness eludes her. Can her sheer force of will attract the elusive love she desires, or will it only come at the ultimate cost?


Scent of Triumph - Jan Moran
JAN MORAN is the author of Fabulous Fragrances I and II, which earned spots on the Rizzoli Bookstore bestseller list, and other contemporary novels, including Flawless, Beauty Mark, and Runway. A fragrance and beauty industry expert, she has been featured on CNN, Instyle, and O Magazine, and has spoken before prestigious organizations, including The American Society of Perfumers. She earned her MBA from Harvard Business School and attended the University of California at Los Angeles Extension Writers’ Program. Visit her website. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest Subscribe to her newsletter
Discover her Vintage Perfume Guide
Go deeper with her Reader’s Discussion Guide
Buy the book: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Apple iBooks IndieBound | Powell’s | Books A Million | Kobo | | GooglePlay *** You can enter the global giveaway here or on any other book blogs participating in this tour. Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook, they are listed in the entry form below.


Visit each blogger on the tour: tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time! [just follow the directions on the entry-form] Global giveaway open internationally: 1 winner will receive 1 print copy of Scent of Triumph * Scent of Triumph Vintage Perfumes
BONUS OFFERED BY THE AUTHOR – independently from this book tour – With every purchase of Scent of Triumph, she is offering a free ebook of Vintage Perfumes, a nonfiction guide to the finest classic perfumes, for epub and mobi.
Just email her some proof of your purchase (receipt, email receipt, photo of yourself with the book or ebook on your reader, etc.), and she will send you the free ebook of Vintage Perfumes.


Scent of Triumph banner


March 27, 2015

The School of Night: The William Shakespeare Detective Agency Book One by Colin Falconer

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

The School of Night by Colin Falconer
The William Shakespeare Detective Agency Book One
ISBN: 9781621252139

 "My name is William Shakespeare. No, not that Shakespeare; and no jests please, I’ve heard them all. I’m the other one, the ne’er do well cousin, the loafer, known to family and friends as the dunce, the one who could not recite Cicero or Horace, who could never be as good as his clever cuz, the one who has just come to Bishopsgate from Stratford with silly dreams in his head and a longing to make something more of himself than just a glover’s handyman.”

What he finds in London is Lady Elizabeth Talbot, who is willing to pass a few shillings to this blundering brawler if he will help her find her husband. Poor William does not realize the trail will lead to the truth behind the death of Shakespeare’s great rival, Christopher Marlowe - or to a lifelong love affair with a woman far above his station.

Each book tells the story of William’s adventures as England’s first gumshoe, set against turbulent Elizabethan politics; of his romantic pursuit of the impossible Elizabeth Talbot; while charting the career of his up and coming dramatist cousin, the bard of Stratford, but just Will to his family.

I just received this book yesterday so I just got started on reading it. I have to say that the first pages of this book are great. I can see that the author did a good job in developing the characters. I can't wait to see what happens with the rest of the book. I will be posting a full review at a later date. At this time though I would recommend this book to mystery fans as it is pulling me in. 

Buy the Book

About the Author

Colin Falconer

Born in London, Colin first trialed as a professional football player in England, and was eventually brought to Australia. He went to Sydney and worked in TV and radio and freelanced for many of Australia’s leading newspapers and magazines. He has published over twenty novels and his work has so far been translated into 23 languages.

He travels regularly to research his novels and his quest for authenticity has led him to run with the bulls in Pamplona, pursue tornadoes across Oklahoma and black witches across Mexico, go cage shark diving in South Africa and get tear gassed in a riot in La Paz.

He currently lives in Barcelona.

For more information please visit Colin Falconer’s website. You can also find him on Facebook or follow on Twitter.

 photo 25509bb4-f8eb-4a0a-bece-2bc902307bfa.png

The School of Night Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, March 16
Interview & Giveaway at View From the Birdhouse

Tuesday, March 17
Excerpt at I Heart Reading
Spotlight at Genre Queen

Wednesday, March 18
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Spotlight at Caroline Wilson Writes

Thursday, March 19
Interview at Becky on Books
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Friday, March 20
Spotlight at To Read, or Not to Read

Monday, March 23
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection

Tuesday, March 24
Review at It's a Mad, Mad World

Thursday, March 26
Review at Quirky Book Reviews

Friday, March 27
Review at Griperang's Bookmarks

Tuesday, March 31
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views

I could hear, I could even see a little, but I could not move. I lay face down in the Bishopsgate alleyway - and if you have seen a London street in those times, you will know that no one lies in one unless they utterly insensible. The other sense I had lost was my sense of smell, which was a mercy, as I could see the dogs chewing gristle and ordure from a rubbish pile a few feet away.
I imagined they would start on me next.
I tried several times to get up but found that I could not. My whole body was numb and my muscles would not obey me. It was even a labour to breathe. I coughed and spat out something. I hoped it wasn’t a part of me that I needed to live.
I did not know how long I had been lying there. I heard someone trudging towards me through the mud and I supposed someone had come to finish me off.
They knelt down and held a lantern to my face. Even that hurt.
‘It’s the oaf, my lady.’ The oaf. They had beaten me senseless, perhaps broken every bone in my body, and nothing hurt as much as them calling me that.
The oaf.
Why, because I do not have ink stains on my fingers? Because I cannot conjugate Latin? Prick me do I not squeal? Cut me do I not bleed? I attended the grammar school, I have read Ovid, you peasant.
The oaf.
‘Is he dead?’
‘No madam, he breathes. But I do not like the look of him.’
‘Well he was never the prettiest man I ever saw, I dare say it does not matter. Can you lift him?’
‘He is too heavy for me.’
I knew I was in a bad way for I could have sworn the woman’s voice belonged to Lady Elizabeth Talbot.
‘I believe he may be dead.’
‘Well, stick a clothes pin in him or something. See if he squeals.’
‘I do not have a clothes pin, my lady.’
‘Oh well, I’ll do it myself.’ She meant to do it, too. I managed a groan; not much of one, but the best I could manage and at least she put away the pin. She stared at me in the glow of the lamp and I saw her blanche. So, it must be bad. What's this, William? Some other tart been beating you up? For such a big man you really are hopeless in a fight, aren’t you?’
I wanted to tell her that there were two of them and that they had come up at me from behind. I wanted to tell her that it was not a fair fight. But even if I had possessed the power of speech I do not think she would have believed me.
My face lay in a pile of ordure a few inches from this gracious lady’s feet. Such lovely shoes, too. Calf leather. Grey. Expensive. I was afforded a glimpse of her ankles. I am not sure that you know this, but ankles were much prized in my day, more so than breasts. Oh every woman thrust them in your face back then, like puddings, here want to try mine?
But ankles!
A well turned ankle was a thing of joy, only God could craft such a fine achievement. And Elizabeth Talbot had the finest ankles I had ever seen in my life.
‘Look at you, William. What’s the point of such a fine physique if you can’t fight?’ She said it as if it was my fault, as if I had been negligent in my grooming. ‘Can you move him?’ she said to her man Peter.
‘He’s too big for me.’
Peter and two others - I assumed one was the ostler, the other must have been a hired man - tried to help, and I would have liked to assist them but I was completely insensible. And then, to my astonishment, the fine lady Talbot got down on her knees and helped them lift me to my feet. The fragrance of rosewater and patchouli in that stinking lane was utterly unexpected. I felt her hand touch my face.
‘My poor champion,’ she murmured and I smiled in pleasure and my lip started bleeding again.

When we got back to Saint Helen’s she had her woman put me in the bath while she supervised the process from the doorway. The girl had giggled when she stripped off my clothes for I have unusually large feet. Her ladyship slapped her around the head and told her if she continued to behave lewdly she would do the job herself.
By the time they eased me back into bed I had the filth of London washed off me and my clothes, on her command, burned in the stove. I lay there shuddering; whatever they had hit me with, it must have been a piling that anchored one of the Queen’s warships for I still could not feel much of my body, though I had thankfully recovered use of my legs. Elizabeth Talbot stood over the bed and drew the blanket up to my chin with a sigh.
Everything hurt. Even the breeze from the window hurt.
‘How did you know where I was?’ I said.
‘I had a man follow you.’
‘Really? What man?’
‘A fellow off the street. I paid him a few coins to follow you about.’
‘I didn’t trust you. I thought that I followed you, you would lead me to my husband.’
‘Your husband? I thought he was your brother.’
‘I lied.’
‘And you say that you don’t trust me?’
‘He saw you follow the lady when you left the inn.’
‘That was no lady.’
‘Did you intend commerce with her?’
‘She was a trollop.’
‘Most men like trollops.’
‘I am not most men.’
‘So it appears. Anyway, my man followed you. He saw you getting beaten. He saw it all, he said it was the girl’s mother that did it, an old lady with a cane.’
I was about to protest, then I saw that this was some kind of joke.
She poured some sweet red wine in a flask and she held it to my lips, then wiped the residue with a linen napkin. Really this was the life. Perhaps I should get beaten up more often.
‘Do you still think you cannot trust me?’
‘I don’t know. What were you doing back at the tavern?’
‘I wanted to know why the tapster said he had seen me with your husband or your brother or whatever he is. I noticed the girl’s expression when I mentioned his name and then she snuck out. So I decided to follow her.’
‘Did you find out who she was?’
‘I never had the chance. She turned up an alley and then gave a sort of whistle and the next thing I knew half a dozen ruffians set on me.’
She sat on the bed and put her hand on mine, a rather tender gesture I found oddly comforting. ‘I’m sorry I got you in so much trouble,’ she said.
She tucked me into the bed, like I was a sickly child, blew out the candle and slipped into bed beside me, naked. Well no, of course not. That was just my fevered brain.
What happened next was that I heard the door shut gently behind her.
I closed my eyes. I wondered if cousin Will had missed me or if he had just shrugged and forgotten about me. In the meantime I was disposed to make the most of clean linen sheets and a wide bed. It seemed some recompense for the bruises and trouble I had sustained on the good lady’s behalf.
I dozed pleasantly for a while until something woke me. It was dark, just a candle burning in the room and I guessed, from the pleasant smells and the rustling of skirts that it was her ladyship. I decided to keep my eyes shut and feign sleep. To my astonishment I felt her hair tickle my face and her lips lightly brush my forehead.

Then I heard her swish from the room. After that I did not sleep much. I felt movement beneath the sheets and with some relief I discovered that I was recovering the use of at least some of my parts much quicker than I had thought I would.

March 26, 2015

The Berenstain Bears Country Cookbook

I received this book from Book Look Bloggers for a fair and honest review

The Berestain Bears Country Cookbook
ISBN: 9780310747208

It’s The Berenstain Bears' Country Cookbook! Bear lovers everywhere are sure to find favorite recipes for fun food in this new kid-friendly, cookbook--ranging from Bear favorites that use honey and berries to pie, a delicious stew, and even some Berenstain favorites like Jan Berenstain’s famous green lasagna.
Featuring breakfast, lunch, main meal, and dessert recipes as well as kid-friendly cooking tips such as food and measurement conversions, this is sure to become a go-to cookbook for delicious and fun recipes kids can cook with an adult.
My Review:
This was a cute little book that is packed full of good recipes for kids to make with their parents. The illustrations a bright and colorful like all the Berenstain Bears books we have loved. There is a nice variety of recipes not just the ole standby recipes. Your child can learn to make crepes or even Scotch eggs. My 19 year even loved looking at the book and wanted to try some of the recipes. 

Unlocking the Mystery of You by D.L. Anderson

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

Unlocking the Mystery of You by D.L. Anderson
ISBN: 9781496931269

Do you know who the most important person in your life is? Just look in the mirror and you will see – it’s you. Whether you’re a college student, a housewife, a salesman, or the president of the United States of America, the most important person in your life is and will always be you.
That being said, your primary objective in life should be to know who you are so that you can position yourself to succeed in offices aligned with your purpose. After all, your purpose is the collective reasoning behind your existence. As one philosopher puts it, “Purpose is the only real reason you are here, for you exist because your purpose exists. Thus apart from purpose, you have no authentic motivation for living. You may very well exist, but when you’re gone, very few will ever know that you were here.”
Now for some of us discovering our purpose is simple. We understood it long before we ever became adults. For others it is not so easy, and for more reasons than I can gather. This is why the process of personal discovery is so critical; for not only does it allow you to discover your purpose. It also positions you to persistently follow the evolution of your purpose.
This is important because we are all changing every day. Consequently, our purpose will also change contingent to the season of life we are in. Still, in spite of this inevitable change and all the complexities which make understanding your purpose difficult, you will always be able to detect your purpose simply because it is the source of your fulfillment. So if you’re in a job, relationship, or any office which is persistently unfulfilling, odds are it is not aligned with your purpose – and unless you are willing to concede the awesome measures of fulfillment you would experience otherwise, you need to start thinking about making a change so that you can both enhance your life and have profound impacts in the various groups and societies you are in.
“Unlocking the Mystery of You” champions this cause focusing first and foremost on purpose and the crucial role it plays in achieving personal fulfillment and setting the stage for the individual to be a catalyst for group fulfillment. It accomplishes this goal by utilizing a purposeful roadmap designated as the Pinnacle of Purpose. The Pinnacle of Purpose is a progressive path illustrated by 7 ascending levels which, if followed sequentially, not only have the power to transform your life. It will provide you with the greatest measures of fulfillment and success life can offer. All you have to do is follow the crucial, yet simple order of purpose, beginning with confidence and concluding with peace. 
So if you’re ready for a change; if you’re ready to stop sleeping on your dreams and your truest passions; if you’re tired of the status quo and living a life which feels incomplete; if you’re tired of wishing your life was better and are now prepared to do something about it; if you’re finally ready to take that ever-difficult leap of faith, then this is a book you must read. Because in this book I show you how to take that leap of faith without falling, for when you leap towards your purpose, you will always land squarely on your feet.
This is true first and foremost because your purpose is what makes you unique to every other individual in the world today, a premise which thoroughly validates the existence of every man and women on the earth. The problem is that many don’t understand their purpose. Once upon a time I didn’t either. That is until I got serious about life. It was then that I realized what purpose is.

It is the collection of all your authentic desires; it is your passion. It is your North Star and your direction; it is your life-long teacher – and above all else, it is that which causes you to press through any form or measure of adversity until you unleash your maximum potential, for it gives you the strength to hold on when you have no strength left within you to hold on.
This was an interesting book to read. I liked how the author used his experience as a life trainer to help you find your own purpose. This book will help you to go down the path you want for your life. He uses graphs to help highlight his key points. This is a quick read but full of a lot of information. I recommend this book for anyone looking for some help in finding out who you are. 

About the author:
D. L. Anderson is a speaker and life trainer whose goals are centered on helping others live a life of purpose, excellence, and balance. Drawing on 15+ years of experience in various fields including information technology, consulting, and business management, D. L. Anderson is very excited to be able to effectively teach others the same principles which have made his life both fulfilling and successful.

His latest book is the self-help book, Unlocking the Mystery of You: The Pinnacle of Purpose.
For More Information

For More Information

  • Unlocking the Mystery of You is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Visit Life Pinnacles blog.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
Be sure to stop by Pump up your book (click here) to see all the stops on the tour. 

Sudentenland by George T. Chronis - Spotlight

Publication Date: September 30, 2014
Formats: eBook

Genre: Historical Fiction
Sudetenland is the premiere novel by author George T. Chronis. The book delivers suspenseful and sweeping historical fiction set against Central European intrigue during the late 1930s leading up to 1938’s Munich Conference. Having swallowed up Austria, Adolph Hitler now covets Czechoslovakian territory. Only France has the power to stand beside the government in Prague against Germany… but will she? The characters are the smart and sometimes wise-cracking men and women of this era – the foreign correspondents, intelligence officers, diplomats and career military – who are on the front lines of that decade’s most dangerous political crisis. If Czechoslovak president Edvard Beneš ignores the advice of French premier Édouard Daladier and refuses to give up Bohemian territory willingly, then Hitler orders that it be taken by force. The novel takes readers behind the scenes into the deliberations and high drama taking place within major European capitals such as Prague, Paris, Berlin, Vienna and London as the continent hurtles toward the crucible of a shooting war.

Praise for Sudetenland

“Chronis impresses with such a challenging and intriguing debut effort, well written, impeccably researched.” — Melinda, Unshelfish
“Anyone that is looking for a thorough and rewarding read will enjoy Sudetenland.” — Diana, BookNerd
“The plot moves quickly along keeping you intrigued with well defined characters and great imagery to help immerse yourself in the story… I adored the way George managed to weave together the tragedy of war, depression and politics with romance, love and hope.” — Jennifer, pirategrl1014

Buy the Book

About the author:
After years as a journalist and magazine editor, George T. Chronis decided to return to his lifelong passion, storytelling. A lover of both 1930s cinema and world history, Chronis is now devoted to bringing life to the mid-20th Century fictional narratives that have been in his thoughts for years. Sudetenland© is his first novel. Taking place during turbulent times in Central Europe during the 1930s, the book took eight years to research and write. The author is already hard at work on his second novel.
Chronis is married with two daughters, and lives with his wife in a Southern California mountain community.
For more information please visit the Sudetenland website or George T. Chronis’s website, or follow him onTumblr. Subscribe to George T. Chronis’s newsletter.

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

March 25, 2015

Mademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Gortner - Review/Giveaway/Interview

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

Mademoiselle Chanel by C. W. Gortner
ISBN: 9780062356406

For readers of “The Paris Wife” and “Z” comes this vivid novel full of drama, passion, tragedy, and beauty that stunningly imagines the life of iconic fashion designer Coco Chanel—the ambitious, gifted laundrywoman’s daughter who revolutionized fashion, built an international empire, and became one of the most influential and controversial figures of the twentieth century.
Born into rural poverty, Gabrielle Chanel and her siblings are sent to an orphanage after their mother’s death. The sisters nurture Gabrielle’s exceptional sewing skills, a talent that will propel the willful young woman into a life far removed from the drudgery of her childhood.
Transforming herself into Coco—a seamstress and sometime torch singer—the petite brunette burns with ambition, an incandescence that draws a wealthy gentleman who will become the love of her life. She immerses herself in his world of money and luxury, discovering a freedom that sparks her creativity. But it is only when her lover takes her to Paris that Coco discovers her destiny.
Rejecting the frilly, corseted silhouette of the past, her sleek, minimalist styles reflect the youthful ease and confidence of the 1920s modern woman. As Coco’s reputation spreads, her couturier business explodes, taking her into rarefied society circles and bohemian salons. But her fame and fortune cannot save her from heartbreak as the years pass. And when Paris falls to the Nazis, Coco is forced to make choices that will haunt her.
An enthralling novel of an extraordinary designer who created the life she desired, Mademoiselle Chanel explores the inner world of a woman of staggering ambition whose strength, passion and artistic vision would become her trademark. (provided by the author)

I have enjoyed other books by this author so when I saw that he was writing about Coco Chanel I was excited to read this book. I have enjoyed Coco's history and find she is a strong woman. She had to overcome her childhood to become who she eventually became. Mr. Gortner did a great job with his research as well as the way he wrote this book it just flowed. There is so much more to Coco than just the fashion designer and the author makes sure all that is told in his book. I recommend this book to you if you like biographies or books about strong women. I am happy that Mr. Gortner chose to write the story of Mademioselle Chanel for us. 

About the author:

C.W. Gortner is the international bestselling author of six historical novels,
translated in over twenty-five languages to date.
His new novel, “Mademoiselle Chanel”,
traces the tumultuous rise to fame of iconic fashion designer,
Coco Chanel.
In 2016, Random House will publish his eighth novel, “Vatican Princess”,
about Lucrezia Borgia.
Raised in Spain and a long-time resident of the Bay Area,
C.W. is also dedicated to companion animal rescue from overcrowded shelters.
Visit his website. Follow him on FacebookTwitter
Subscribe to his newsletter
Buy the bookHarperCollins  |  IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

Interview with Coco Chanel:

Who or what was your inspiration to start designing fashion?

I’d always been a competent seamstress but I started out making hats, after I saw my aunt’s hideous fruit-platter chapeaux and realized women couldn’t possibly function, let alone have any kind of life, while traipsing about in those dreadful concoctions. Less is always more, so I stripped the hats of their ribbons and artificial apples and endless flowers, substituting these with faux-gemstone pins on simple shapes. A hat should complement one’s face and keep the sun off our skin, not double as a serving tray. My hat store initiated my clothes; corsets were still being worn with bustles and – Mon Dieu! Who can move when layered in enough cloth to outfit an army? I began experimenting with polo pullovers made of this ingenious new fabric called jersey, which my beloved Boy brought back from England. I created loose coats and skirts as a separates than could be mixed and matched. A revolutionary concept at the time and not always popular, until the Great War. Suddenly, women needed comfort to help out during that catastrophe. The rest, as they say, is history.

When did you realize you made it "big"?

After the Great War. Oh, I’d made a lot of money and had three boutiques by then, but it wasn’t until the war ended that I woke up one day to realize I was famous. Women had served in the war as much as men; we might not have shot at the enemy but we set up hospitals at the front, drove ambulances, nursed the injured, cleaned wounds, and assisted in emergency operations. We had cut our hair because tresses are hardly conducive to disinfecting bedpans and we rolled up the sleeves – many of which were on my coats – to pack vials of morphine and rolls of gauze into our pockets. We had discovered a freedom we’d never had and we weren’t going back. Suddenly, we wanted to be comfortable, both in our lives and in our attire. I was the one to give us that. Someone had to.

As as a child growing up in a home for children did you ever think you would be a famous person that people looked up to?

Of course not. Fame is a foible. I wanted to create my own life because my life didn’t please me. But I never envisioned becoming a celebrity. I still don’t. Oh, I like the attention. Who wouldn’t, save a recluse? And I’m hardly that. But I came from nothing and worked very hard every day of my life to earn what I have. The fame is secondary. It’s the sideshow, not the goal, of my work.

What would you like to say to young girls to encourage them to follow their dreams?

A girl should be two things: who and what she wants. Work hard and don’t rely on anyone except yourself. Take help if you need it—there’s no reason to be ungrateful—but pay it all back. Don’t assume debts you cannot resolve. Learn from your mistakes but don’t be afraid of making more. Above all else, take risks and never listen to those who say you can’t. Can’t is not a word in my vocabulary. Instead of can’t, think: how.

Do you think you are a stronger person because of your childhood experiences?

Naturally. A childhood like mine can only kill you or make you stronger. I learned early in life that I was responsible for whatever happened to me. No one was going to help me unless I helped myself. It’s not ideal, what I endured, but it did forge my character. Some would say I’m harsh because of it, not stronger; that I’m incapable of love because I never felt it in my childhood. I say, nonsense. I can love. I just don’t do it easily. And why should I? Love is not a hat. You can’t wear it and discard it when it ceases to serve your purpose. Too many people say they love when what they really do is need or want. When I love, I give myself. But never without expecting the same in return.

What is your most favorite design you have made?

All of them. Every one. My dresses are my children. But I have a special fondness for my little black dress because everyone hated it when I first showed it. They said it was funereal.  Severe. That no one wore black willingly unless it was an evening gown, a school uniform, a nun’s habit or mourning garment. But American Vogue rallied to my black dress; they declared it would become as “ubiquitous as the Ford motorcar.” And indeed it did. It still is. Black is the color that wipes out everything. When a woman wears black, we see only her. And that is how it should be.

Tell us 5 interesting facts about yourself.
I am a Leo.
I believe fashion is not fashion until women on the streets adopt it.
I smoke constantly.
I have never married.
I think the most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.

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


March 24, 2015

No More Excuses Diet by Maria Kang

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

No More Excuses Diet by Maria Kang
ISBN: 9780553419672

Don’t let excuses stop you from having a body and a life that you love!   
            We all know that we should exercise and eat right, so why is it so hard to follow through? We make excuses for why we aren't taking better care of ourselves, saying things like, "I'm too tired," "I don't have time," or "I'm just not built to look that way." But Maria Kang, the mother of three behind the viral "What's Your Excuse?" mom photos, is here to say that the excuses stop now. 
      The No More Excuses Diet combines short term goals with healthy habit-forming behaviors to create permanent lifestyle changes. Using a specially designed transformation calendar, readers set clear, personal goals and make an easy-to-follow plan for each day.  The program uses a balanced diet of 30% carbs, 30% protein, 30% fats, and includes a 10% flexible portion that can be customized depending on your goals— whether it’s extra protein for building muscles, or a sugary treat at the end of the day. The No More Excuses Diet also provides a completely customizable workout guide, with over 50 illustrated exercises designed to build strength, flexibility, endurance, and to shed fat. The program also includes 7 weeks of worth of exercise programs that can be done at home with no extra equipment. Packed with meal plans, grocery lists, lots of encouragement and a clear plan of action,The No More Excuses Diet is a must-read book for anyone who is ready to bust through the excuses the hold them back and take their health and fitness to the next level.

My review:
This book is a helpful way to start a new journey on becoming healthy. It was easy to read and understand. I liked how this book did not make you feel bad about the things you do but rather makes you feel good about yourself through this journey. It is nice that there are pictures to help you understand the exercises that you can refer back to as needed. I can't wait to put into practice what I have read.

Doc Holliday by Matt Bruan

Doc Holliday by Matt Braun
ISBN: 9780312962708
Mass Market Paperback

He came from the American South, a gentleman by breeding, a dentist by training, a gambler by vocation. But as Dr. John H. Holliday, a man fleeing his tragic past, drifted across the West, living among some of the roughest men on the frontier, word spread quickly he never walked away from a fight, and he never drew too late.

Now, from Dodge City to Denver and Cheyenne, from boomtown to sinkholes, "Doc" Holliday was driven by the demons of his past, a skilled gambler and a seasoned mankiller--his name was known and feared long before the O.K. Corral. The story of a man who spoke softly and carried a lightning gun, Doc Holliday is Matt Braun's extraordinary chronicle of the West's most complex and legendary figure.

My review:
I have been a fan of Doc Holliday ever since I have seen the movie Tombstone and Val Kilmer played him. When I saw this book I just had to have so I could learn more about the infamous gunslinger. I am glad I bought it and finally picked it up to read. This was a very good telling of his life story. There was not a lot I knew about him other than his part in Tombstone and that he used to be a dentist. Matt Braun had a way of writing this story so you felt as if you really knew the man behind the legend. After reading this book I actually felt bad for Doc and all that life dealt him. Even though he was a gunslinger I have a lot of respect for him. He never killed a man who did not try to kill him first, he did not like cheaters and would call you out if he thought you were cheating. I recommend this book to historical fiction fans.