April 29, 2017

The Noble Servant by Melanie Dickerson - Review

I received this book free from the publisher. 

Book Details:
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (May 9, 2017)
ISBN-13: 978-0718026608

About the book:
She lost everything to the scheme of an evil servant.

But she might just gain what she’s always wanted . . .

if she makes it in time.

The impossible was happening. She, Magdalen of Mallin, was to marry the Duke of Wolfberg. Magdalen had dreamed about receiving a proposal ever since she met the duke two years ago. Such a marriage was the only way she could save her people from starvation. But why would a handsome, wealthy duke want to marry her, a poor baron’s daughter? It seemed too good to be true.

On the journey to Wolfberg Castle, Magdalen’s servant forces her to trade places and become her servant, threatening not only Magdalen’s life, but the lives of those she holds dear. Stripped of her identity and title in Wolfberg, where no one knows her, Magdalen is sentenced to tend geese while she watches her former handmaiden gain all Magdalen had ever dreamed of.

When a handsome shepherd befriends her, Magdalen begins to suspect he carries secrets of his own. Together, Magdalen and the shepherd uncover a sinister plot against Wolfberg and the duke. But with no resources, will they be able to find the answers, the hiding places, and the forces they need in time to save both Mallin and Wolfberg?

New York Times bestselling author Melanie Dickerson beautifully re-imagines The Goose Girl by the Brothers Grimm into a medieval tale of adventure, loss, and love.

Meet the author - Melanie Dickerson: 
Melanie Dickerson is the New York Times bestselling author whose two favorite time periods are Medieval, which she has combined with her love of fairy tales, and Regency England, which stems from her love of Jane Austen. She is a 2-time Christy Award finalist, a 2-time Maggie Award winner, winner of The National Reader's Choice Award for 2010's Best First Book, and winner of the 2012 Carol Award in Young Adult fiction. She earned her bachelor's degree in special education from The University of Alabama and has taught children with special needs in Georgia and Tennessee, and English to adults in Germany and Ukraine. Now she spends her time writing, hanging out on facebook, and being with her husband, two daughters, and two guinea pigs near Huntsville, Alabama. Visit her on the web at http://www.MelanieDickerson.com.

My thoughts:
I was very excited to get the chance to read this book. It is the third book in the Medieval Fairy Tale Series but you are able to read them as a stand alone book as well. This actual story was based on the fairy tale of the prince and the pauper as well as I have heard that this is also a telling of the story "The Goose Girl", I have not heard of this story so I will have to check it out. I was so mad at Magdalen's servant - who does she think she is making Magdalen pretend she is the servant and taking Magdalen's title. It was nice that Magdalen and the rightful Duke worked together to both get their titles back. There was romance, danger and a few twists in this story which made it that much better to read. I loved the setting of this book and the author's description of it made me able to feel as if I was there. The author's writing style makes this book move right along at a steady pace. I am looking forward to see what fairy tale this author rewrites next. 

Beyond Justice by Cara Putnam - Review

I received this book free from the publisher.

Book details:
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (April 4, 2017)
ISBN-13: 978-0718083472

About the book:
Hayden is on track to become the youngest partner in her prestigious DC law firm . . .

If the case she’s just been handed doesn’t destroy her first.

Hayden McCarthy knows firsthand the pain that follows when justice is not served. It’s why she became an attorney and why she’s so driven in her career. When she’s assigned a wrongful death case against the government, she isn’t sure if it’s the lucky break she needs to secure a partnership—or an attempt to make sure she never gets there.

Further complicating matters is Andrew Wesley, her roommate’s distractingly attractive cousin. But Andrew’s father is a congressman, and Hayden’s currently taking on the government. Could the timing be any worse?

The longer she keeps the case active, the higher the stakes become. Unknown enemies seem determined to kill the case—or her. Logic and self-preservation indicate she should close the case. But how can she, when justice is still just beyond her reach?

Meet the author - Cara Putnam:
Since the time I could read Nancy Drew, I have wanted to write mysteries. In 2005 I attended a book signing at my local Christian bookstore. The rest, as they say, is history. There I met Colleen Coble. With prompting from my husband, I shared my dream with Colleen. Since those infamous words, I've been writing award-winning books with the count currently at 25.

In addition to writing, I am a homeschooling mom of four, attorney, lecturer at a Big Ten university, active in women's ministry, and all around crazy woman. Crazy about God, my husband, and my kids. I graduated with honors from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Go Huskers!), George Mason Law School, and Purdue University's MBA program. You can learn more about my books at http://www.caraputman.com. And if you'd like a copy of my legal suspense novella, Dying for Love, simply connect with me here (http://www.caraputman.com/contact/) , and I'll send you the link.

My thoughts:
I do not know why I have not read any books by this author before but I am glad I did now. This book was full of suspense and get me reading long into the night. It was fast paced which made for better reading. I also liked that this was a legal suspense book. Having worked in the legal field for many years I liked to read books with this theme sometimes. It was not good that the further Hayden got into the case the more people turned up dead. It made you wonder what exactly was going on. Don't worry it all comes together in the end. I thought Hayden was a good strong main character and look forward to reading more books about her and the cases she takes on. I also liked how we got a taste of Hayden and Andrew's relationship. Oh and the author did a good job of describing scenes and how certain things worked like the juvenile detention center. I am looking forward to the next book in this series. 

City of Grit and Gold by Maud Macrory Powell - Review

I received this book free from the publisher

Book Details:
Age Range: 8 - 12 years
Grade Level: 3 - 7
Paperback: 164 pages
Publisher: Allium Press of Chicago (April 25, 2017)
ISBN-13: 978-0996755856

About the book:
The streets of Chicago in 1886 are full of turmoil. Striking workers clash with police…illness and injury lurk around every corner…and twelve-year-old Addie must find her way through it all. Torn between her gruff Papa—who owns a hat shop and thinks the workers should be content with their American lives—and her beloved Uncle Chaim—who is active in the protests for the eight-hour day—Addie struggles to understand her topsy-turvy world, while keeping her family intact. Set in a Jewish neighborhood of Chicago during the days surrounding the Haymarket Affair, this novel vividly portrays one immigrant family’s experience, while also eloquently depicting the timeless conflict between the haves and the have-nots.

Meet the author - Maud Macrory Powell:
Maud Macrory Powell comes from a family of writers. She was born and raised in Washington, DC. She studied comparative religion in college and environmental studies in graduate school. She now lives in rural Oregon with her family, where they run an organic farm and she teaches at Oregon State University. Her essay “The Fruits of My Labor” was published in the anthology Greenhorns: The Next Generation of American Farmers. This is her debut novel.

My thoughts:
I really enjoyed reading about Addie. For me this was a quick but very informative book. The author did a good job of capturing the time and place of this story. Even though this book was meant for young adults it was a good book for adults as well. I enjoyed reading about how the family understood each other's feelings but at the same time had different feelings about the issues at hand. A good for by a new author. 

April 27, 2017

Historically Dead by Greta McKenna - Cover Reveal

by Greta McKennan
Genre: Cozy Mystery

Pub Date: 12/19/2017

Seamstress Daria Dembrowski must find a historically-minded killer before the fabric of her peaceful town rips wide open . . .

When the reality show My House in History comes to Laurel Springs, Pennsylvania, savvy seamstress Daria Dembrowski sees a business opportunity. The show follows two elderly sisters’ quest to restore their colonial mansion, and that means a heap of work for a seamstress who specializes in historical textiles. Although one of the old women is a bit of a grump, Daria loves the job—until she discovers one of the researchers dead, and the whole project threatens to unwind.

As a series of historical crimes pile up, from a stolen Paul Revere platter to a chilling incident of arson, Daria must find the killer quickly, for her life is hanging by a thread.

Greta McKennan is a wife, mother, and first-time author, living her dream in the boreal rainforest of Juneau, Alaska. She enjoys a long walk in the woods on that rare sunny day, reading cozy mysteries when it rains, and sewing the Christmas jammies on her antique Singer sewing machine. She is hard at work on the next novel in her Stitch in Time Mystery series featuring seamstress Daria Dembrowski. Visit her on the web at gretamckennan.com.

April 26, 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted here to spotlight and talk about the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released as well. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine. Find out more here.

Being a fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder I found a new book coming out about her. I am always looking for new books about her, based on her or from people who love discussing her. One day I dream of writing my own book about her. The book I am speaking of is Pioneer Girl Perspectives by Nancy Tystad Koupal. 

Book details:
Hardcover: 277 pages
Publisher: South Dakota Historical Society Press; annotated edition edition (May 1, 2017)
ISBN-13: 978-1941813089

About the book:
Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867 1957) finished her autobiography, Pioneer Girl, in 1930 when she was sixty-three years old. Throughout the 1930s and into the early 1940s, she drew upon her original manuscript to write a successful series of books for young readers. Wilder's vision of life on the American frontier in the last half of the nineteenth century continues to draw new generations of readers to her Little House books. Editor Nancy Tystad Koupal has collected essays from noted scholars of Wilder s life and work that explore the themes and genesis of Wilder s writings. Pioneer Girl Perspectives sheds new light on the story behind Wilder's original manuscript and examines the ways in which the author and her daughter and editor, Rose Wilder Lane, worked to develop a marketable narrative. The essay contributors delve into the myths and realities of Wilder's work to discover the real lives of frontier children, the influence of time and place on both Wilder and Lane, and the role of folklore in the Little House novels. Together, the essays give readers a deeper understanding of how Wilder built and managed her story. Published over eighty years after its inception, Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography edited by Pamela Smith Hill gave readers new insight into the truth behind Wilder's fiction. Pioneer Girl Perspectives further demonstrates the importance of Wilder as an influential American author whose stories of growing up on the frontier remain relevant today.

Getting Down to Business by Allison B. Hanson - Cover Reveal

by Alison B. Hanson
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Pub Date: 12/12/2017

Some jobs come with unexpected benefits . . .

Alyssa runs her personal life just like her professional one: smoothly and efficiently. She learned in the worst way possible that investing her heart in a relationship only leads to disaster, and she won’t take that risk again. Pleasure is still on the table though—as long as there are no feelings involved. Until a one-night stand leaves a lasting impression.

When after-work drinks lead to an after-hours hookup, Grayson finds himself playing by Alyssa’s rules—but she leaves him wanting more. Even when they discover they work for the same company, Alyssa is all business—on the outside, at least. As far as she’s concerned, keeping Grayson at a safe distance is now part of her job description, even if it’s her most challenging task. But when her living situation falls apart, Grayson makes her an offer she can’t refuse . . .

The terms of their new merger are strict: roommates only; hands off. But every contract can be broken—and every heart can be melted—if the deal is sweet enough . . .

Allison B. Hanson lives near Hershey, Pennsylvania. Her novels include women’s fiction, paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy, and mystery suspense. She enjoys candy immensely, as well as long motorcycle rides and reading. Visit her at allisonbhanson.com.

Assassination at Bayou Sauvage by D.J. Donaldson - Spotlight

Assassination at Bayou Sauvage
by D.J. Donaldson
Genre: Crime Mystery

Andy Broussard, the plump and proud medical examiner for the City of New Orleans, is sitting almost in the kill zone of a too-close-for comfort and ‘in living color’ murder of his Uncle Joe Broussard at a family picnic in Bayou Sauvage - the largest urban wetlands park in the USA. Surprisingly, the murderer then immediately commits suicide. After easily determining the killer’s identity from the driver’s license in his pocket, the only remaining task for Broussard and the police is to uncover the motive for such a heinous act. But suddenly, everything about the case takes a bizarre turn.
Caught short handed because of an NOPD work slow-down, and needing someone to find out what happened to a young woman who has just been reported missing, Homicide Detective Phil Gatlin deputizes Broussard’s beautiful death investigator, Dr. Kit Franklyn, and assigns her to that case. Shockingly, Kit’s efforts soon lead back to the murder of Uncle Joe. Sensing a plot of horrendous magnitude, Broussard directs his colleagues and friends in a race to uncover the truth behind the most audacious Andy and Kit mystery of the entire series.
D. J. Donaldson’s fans can rejoice once again, knowing that Kit, Andy, Phil, Bubba, Grandma O, and Teddy are back in a terrific new story that pushes their abilities to the limit.

Don Donaldson, who also writes as D. J. Donaldson, holds a Ph.D. in human anatomy. In his professional career, he has taught microscopic anatomy to over 5,000 medical and dental students and published dozens of research papers on wound healing. He is also the author of eight published forensic mysteries and five medical thrillers. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee with his wife and two West Highland terriers. 

April 25, 2017

The Chameleon by Michele Hauf - Cover Reveal

by Michele Hauf
Genre: Romantic Suspense

Pub Date: 12/12/2017

The Elite Crimes Unit is a covert team within Interpol that specializes in taking down the world’s top criminals—and then offering them a deal. Because sometimes a history of bad behavior can be a very good thing . . .

Jack Angelo is clearly off his game. First his wallet gets lifted—by a pregnant woman, no less—on the ferry to Finland. At his hotel, he’s seduced by a sexy redhead who takes him for a ride, too. And when he finally starts casing the bank he’s supposed to rob, yet another female fouls things up. All he wants is to complete this assignment for the ECU to save himself and his family. Little does he know that the women who keep interfering are actually one woman—who’s about to show him just how outmatched he really is . . .

Known as “The Chameleon” Saskia Petrovik is a mistress of disguise tasked with watching the new recruit as he meets up with his high-level crew of thieves. She has no problem getting under the covers to pull off an undercover job—especially with the man known as Gentleman Jack. But multiple identities can cause multiple problems, and in these dangerous circles, the temptation to show her true self could change a deceptive affair into a deadly one . . .

Michele Hauf has been writing romance, action-adventure and fantasy stories for over twenty years. Her first published novel was Dark Rapture (Zebra). France, musketeers, vampires and faeries populate her stories. And if she followed the adage “write what you know,” all her stories would have snow in them. Fortunately, she steps beyond her comfort zone and writes about countries she has never visited and of creatures she has never seen.

April 24, 2017

And Death Goes To ... by Laura Bradford - Cover Reveal

by Laura Bradford
Genre: Cozy Mystery

Pub Date: 12/5/2017

The Tobias Ad Agency is in the running for the coveted Golden Storyboard, and Tobi couldn't be more thrilled—until she discovers it's literally an award to die for.

It’s an honor just to be nominated. But, let's get real, Tobi wants to win. The St. Louis Advertising Awards are like the Oscars for her field, and Tobi' is up for its most prestigious prize, Best Overall Ad Campaign. The competition is always fierce, but this year it’s killer . . .

Despite her high hopes, Tobi isn't exactly shocked when she doesn’t win. But she is shocked when the winner, Deidre Ryan, takes the stage only to plummet to her death as a platform suddenly gives way. After the police discover foul play, Tobi's Grandpa Stu wastes no time in nominating suspects. But was Deidre the intended victim—or was someone else meant to take the fatal fall? Now it’s a race to catch a killer in the spotlight, before another nominee gets the booby prize and Tobi gets trapped in a no-win situation.

Laura Bradford is also the author of the Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries, including Silence of the Flans and Éclair and Present Danger, and the national bestselling Amish Mysteries, including A Churn for the Worse and Suspendered Sentence. Under the pen name, Elizabeth Lynn Casey, she writes the Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries, including Wedding Duress and Taken In. She lives in Yorktown Heights, New York, with her husband and their blended brood. Visit her website at laurabradford.com.

April 23, 2017

The Hideaway by Lauren K. Denton - Review

I received this book free from the publisher:

Book details:
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (April 11, 2017)
ISBN-13: 978-0718084226

About this book:
When her grandmother’s will wrenches Sara back home from New Orleans, she learns more about Margaret Van Buren in the wake of her death than she ever did in life.

After her last remaining family member dies, Sara Jenkins goes home to The Hideaway, her grandmother Mags's ramshackle B&B in Sweet Bay, Alabama. She intends to quickly tie up loose ends then return to her busy life and thriving antique shop in New Orleans. Instead, she learns Mags has willed her The Hideaway and charged her with renovating it—no small task considering Mags’s best friends, a motley crew of senior citizens, still live there.

Rather than hurrying back to New Orleans, Sara stays in Sweet Bay and begins the biggest house-rehabbing project of her career. Amid Sheetrock dust, old memories, and a charming contractor, she discovers that slipping back into life at The Hideaway is easier than she expected.

Then she discovers a box Mags left in the attic with clues to a life Sara never imagined for her grandmother. With help from Mags’s friends, Sara begins to piece together the mysterious life of bravery, passion, and choices that changed Mags’s destiny in both marvelous and devastating ways.

When an opportunistic land developer threatens to seize The Hideaway, Sara is forced to make a choice—stay in Sweet Bay and fight for the house and the people she’s grown to love or leave again and return to her successful but solitary life in New Orleans.

Meet the author:
Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Lauren K. Denton now lives with her husband and two daughters in Homewood, just outside Birmingham. In addition to her fiction, she writes a monthly newspaper column about life, faith, and how funny (and hard) it is to be a parent. On any given day, she’d rather be at the beach with her family and a stack of books. The Hideaway is her first novel. Website: laurenkdenton.com Twitter: @LaurenKDenton

My thoughts:
When I read what this book was going to be about it drew me in. I thought it sounded like an interesting book that was going to have a twist or two in the story. Needless to say I was not disappointed. The author did a good job of describing the settings. I can see myself at the bed and breakfast with this nice cast of characters enjoying a good meal and company. I also like how the author went back and forth between Sara's story and her grandmother Mag's story. This was a touching book but at the same time it had a light-hearted feel to it. There was also a touch of romance in it but not over powering. A great book to take to the beach with you or sit under the shade tree. I am glad I gave this new to me author a try and look forward to more books by her. 

The Naturalist: Theodore Roosevelt by Darrin Lunde - Review

I received this book free from the publisher

Book Details:
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (April 11, 2017)
ISBN-13: 978-0307464316

About the book:
The surprising story of intrepid naturalist Theodore Roosevelt and how his lifelong passion for the natural world set the stage for America's wildlife conservation movement.

Perhaps no American president is more associated with nature and wildlife than Theodore Roosevelt, a prodigious hunter and adventurer and an ardent conservationist. We think of Roosevelt as an original, yet in The Naturalist, Darrin Lunde shows how from his earliest days Roosevelt actively modeled himself in the proud tradition of museum naturalists—the men who pioneered a key branch of American biology through their desire to collect animal specimens and develop a taxonomy of the natural world. The influence these men would have on Roosevelt would shape not just his personality but his career, informing his work as a politician and statesman and ultimately affecting generations of Americans' relationship to this country's wilderness. Pulling from Roosevelt's diaries and expedition journals, Lunde constructs a brilliantly researched, singularly insightful history that reveals the roots of Roosevelt’s enduring naturalist legacy through the group little-known men whose work and lives defined his own.

About the author:
DARRIN LUNDE is a Supervisory Museum Specialist in the Division of Mammals at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. Previously, he worked at the American Museum of Natural History, where he led field expeditions throughout the world. Lunde has named more than a dozen new species of mammals and provided valuable scientific insights on hundreds of others. He lives in Maryland.
My thoughts:
I have never read anything about Theodore Roosevelt and do not know much about him other than he loved to hunt and helped established the national park system. So when I saw this book I thought it would be a good addition to my library and a good way to learn more about him. One of my favorite quotes from the book by him is: "The country is the place for children, and if not the country, a city small enough so that one can get out into the country." One thing I found interesting is that his wife Kermit went on many hunts with him and helped to contribute to the exhibits in the museum. This book does not focus on his time as a president although it is mentioned. This book focuses on the rest of his live and his love of nature. It was kind of funny how he in a lived a contradictory life. While he wanted to protect nature he as the same time was an avid hunter and collect animals so we would know more about them. I thought the book very interesting and was happy to learn about one side of this great man. 

April 21, 2017

Hard-Hearted Highlander by Julia London - Review and Giveaway

I received this book free from the publisher

Book Details:
Series: The Highland Grooms (Book 3)
Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: HQN Books (April 25, 2017)

An indomitable governess…a brooding Highlander…a forbidden affair…

An ill-fated elopement cost English-born governess Bernadette Holly her reputation, her unsuitable lover and any chance of a future match. She has nothing left to fear—not even the bitter, dangerously handsome Scot due to marry her young charge. Naive wallflower Avaline is terrified to wed Rabbie Mackenzie, but if he sends her home, she will be ruined. Bernadette’s solution: convince Rabbie to get Avaline to cry off…while ignoring her own traitorous attraction to him.

A forced engagement to an Englishwoman is a hard pill for any Scot to swallow. It’s even worse when the fiancée in question is a delicate, foolish young miss—unlike her spirited, quick-witted governess. Sparring with Bernadette brings passion and light back to Rabbie’s life after the failed Jacobite uprising. His clan’s future depends upon his match to another, but how can any Highlander forsake a love that stirs his heart and soul?

About the author:
Julia London is the New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author of more than thirty novels, including the popular Secrets of Hadley Green historical romance series, the Cabot Sisters historical romance series, and the Homecoming Ranch contemporary romance series. She is a six time finalist for the presitigous RITA Award for excellence in romantic fiction, and RT Bookclub award recipient for Best Historical Romance for Dangerous Gentleman. She lives in Austin, Texas.
Connect with Julia
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

My thoughts:
I enjoyed this addition to a fun series. I felt so bad for Rabbie for losing so much and then he gets tied to an English woman. From reading other books I know how hard it is for Scots to be tied with English people during that time. But underneath his tough exterior there is a soft and gentle side that I liked to see. One of the things I really enjoyed was all the bantering back and forth between the characters. It added another dimension to the story for me. Another character I felt bad for was Bernadette. What her dad did to her was just not right. Sometimes you wonder why people do what they do. I enjoyed going alone with Avaline on her life's journey. I have enjoyed this whole series and will continue to read books by Julia.


Julia London’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, April 17th: Luxury Reading
Tuesday, April 18th: A Chick Who Reads
Wednesday, April 19th: A Night’s Dream of Books
Thursday, April 20th: Booked on a Feeling
Friday, April 21st: A Holland Reads
Monday, April 24th: The Romance Dish
Tuesday, April 25th: BookNAround
Friday, April 28th: The Maiden’s Court
Monday, May 1st: Books that Hook
Wednesday, May 3rd: From the TBR Pile
Friday, May 5th: Back Porchervations
Monday, May 8th: Stranded in Chaos
Wednesday, May 10th: Buried Under Romance – review & excerpt
Monday, May 15th: Becca the Bibliophile – excerpt
Wednesday, May 17th: The Sassy Bookster – excerpt
Friday, May 19th: The Reading Wench

April 20, 2017

Merrily In Love by Melissa West - Spotlight

by Melissa West
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Pub Date: 11/7/2017

The Littleton brothers are as much a part of Crestler’s Key as the sun and surf, living the single life without a care. But love has a way of changing even the most determined bachelor’s mind.

Brady Littleton has left his reckless youth behind to become a man his brothers can count on. When the family dive shop needs to expand, he’s got the answer: buy the Christmas shop next door. Except the retiring owner’s goddaughter, Kylie Waters, has come back to town. She was Brady’s first kiss—his first everything—and she doesn’t want to sell. He’s got a solution to that too. Whoever makes the most sales by Christmas Day can take over the shop, fair and square.

Kylie resolved to put the youngest, wildest Littleton brother out of her head when he abruptly ended their relationship years ago. But the steady, gorgeous man he’s become is impossible to ignore. Especially once reminiscing leads to a kiss as hot and heady as mulled wine. Their deal means that one of them is going to lose out on a dream…unless Christmas Day brings the gift of a sweet, surprising second chance.

Melissa West writes heartfelt Southern romance and teen sci-fi romance, all with lots of kissing. Because who doesn't like kissing? She lives outside of Atlanta, GA, with her husband and two daughters and spends most of her time writing, reading, or fueling her coffee addiction.

April 19, 2017

The Illusionist's Apprentice by Kristy Cambron - Spotlight and Interview

Book Details:
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (March 7, 2017)

About  the book:
Prepare to be amazed by THE ILLUSIONIST’S APPRENTICE. Wren Lockhart, the talented magician at the heart of Kristy Cambron’s spellbinding tale of Jazz Age Boston, is the fierce, brilliant, guarded headliner you’ve been waiting for. This novel will have your pulse pounding and your mind racing to keep up with reversals, betrayals and surprises from the first page to the last. Like her characters, Cambron works magic so compelling and persuasive, she deserves a standing ovation. –Greer Macallister, bestselling author of THE MAGICIAN’S LIE and GIRL IN DISGUISE.

Harry Houdini’s one-time apprentice holds fantastic secrets about the greatest illusionist in the world. But someone wants to claim them . . . or silence her before she can reveal them on her own.

Boston, 1926. Jenny “Wren” Lockhart is a bold eccentric—even for a female vaudevillian. As notorious for her inherited wealth and gentleman’s dress as she is for her unsavory upbringing in the back halls of a vaudeville theater, Wren lives in a world that challenges all manner of conventions.

In the months following Houdini’s death, Wren is drawn into a web of mystery surrounding a spiritualist by the name of Horace Stapleton, a man defamed by Houdini’s ardent debunking of fraudulent mystics in the years leading up to his death. But in a public illusion that goes terribly wrong, one man is dead and another stands charged with his murder. Though he’s known as one of her teacher’s greatest critics, Wren must decide to become the one thing she never wanted to be: Stapleton’s defender.

Forced to team up with the newly formed FBI, Wren races against time and an unknown enemy, all to prove the innocence of a hated man. In a world of illusion, of the vaudeville halls that showcase the flamboyant and the strange, Wren’s carefully constructed world threatens to collapse around her. Layered with mystery, illusion, and the artistry of the Jazz Age’s bygone vaudeville era, The Illusionist’s Apprentice is a journey through love and loss and the underpinnings of faith on each life’s stage.

‘Cambron takes readers on an amazing journey into the world of vaudeville illusionists during the Roaring Twenties. This novel includes an intriguing mystery that adds adventure and suspense to the intricately detailed historical drama . . . The romance is wonderfully portrayed as well, rounding out the story with tenderness.’ (RT Book Reviews – 4 1/2 stars TOP PICK)

“Cambron’s lithe prose pulls together past and present and her attention to historical detail grounds the narrative to the last breathtaking moments.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

Purchase Links
Amazon | Apple/iBooks |
Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

About the author:
Kristy Cambron fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. Her debut novel, The Butterfly and the Violin, was named to Library Journal’s Best Books of 2014 and nominated for RT Book Reviews’ Choice Awards Best Inspirational Novel of 2014 and for the 2015 INSPY Awards for Best Debut Novel. Her second novel, A Sparrow in Terezin, was named Library Journal’s Pick of the Month (Christian Fiction) for February 2015 and a Top Pick for RT Book Reviews. Kristy holds a degree in Art History from Indiana University. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three young sons.

You can connect with Kristy at: KristyCambron.com
Facebook: Kristy Cambron | Twitter: @KCambronAuthor | Instagram: kristycambron
Pinterest: KCambronAuthor 

Author Interview:
How did you pick this subject to write about?
I love this question so much, because I get to tell the story about how my publishing family brought the idea of a Jazz Age series to my attention… but this had already been on my heart, and the books just met it in the middle of it.

Thanks to my Mom’s influence, I’ve had a love for classic films since early childhood. One of our favorites to watch together was the 1952 classic, THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH – a behind-the-scenes extravaganza of Hollywood stars, drama, and dazzling performances in the Ringling Bros.’ Big Top world. I’d always wanted to pen stories set in the nostalgia of the Roaring ‘20s, and the idea of a Jazz Age Entertainers series came out of it. What better inspiration is there than the worlds of vintage circus and the vaudeville stage entertainers – such a Harry Houdini – in a visually stunning Jazz Age world? The Ringmaster’s Wife (2016) and The Illusionist’s Apprentice (2017) became the stories-of-my-heart from that era.

The Illusionist’s Apprentice was also my first opportunity to try a flavor of mystery/suspense writing combined in the vintage-inspired historical fiction space I love so much. Combining historical fact in the lives and STORIES of the generations that have come before continually inspire me, and drive the questions about faith and redemption that I try to tackle in each book.

Who or what is your biggest influence in writing?
The transformative power of grace, and the redemptive message of Jesus Christ is the heartbeat of everything I write. Whether the books include a bold faith thread (such as in the Hidden Masterpiece series, on the art of the Holocaust), Bible studies (coming 2018) or an undercurrent of faith , such as in this book, THE ILLUSIONIST’S APPRENTICE, He is present in every story.

If you could meet any author dead or alive who would it be and why?
The answer to this question changes with what I happen to pull inspiration from at the time. I’ve had the honor to meet (and even sign books with!) the fiction author who most inspired me in the start of my career– Francine Rivers. She’s as warm and kind in person as you’d expect from reading the exquisite books she writes.

I also find that the depth of research required to write about historical characters really makes you want to meet them. With Harry Houdini’s incredible life and work–he was an author too–the research for this vaudeville story makes me wish I could tag along on one of his incredible adventures on the stage. Writing about him was close to it, but it would have been fascinating to sit down and ask him every question we’d like answers to.

Kristy Cambron’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Friday, February 24th: BookBub Blog – New Historical Books for Book Clubs
Monday, April 3rd: Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, April 5th: Black ‘n Gold Girl’s Book Spot
Monday, April 10th: Books ‘n Tea
Wednesday, April 12th: Books a la Mode – guest post
Monday, April 17th: Suzy Approved
Wednesday, April 19th: A. Holland Reads – spotlight
Friday, April 21st: Just Commonly
Monday, April 24th: I Brought a Book
Wednesday, April 26th: From the TBR Pile
Monday, May 1st: Reading Reality
Wednesday, May 3rd: Just One More Chapter
Friday, May 5th: Books Without Any Pictures
Monday, May 8th: Let Them Read Books
Wednesday, May 10th: A Chick Who Reads
Monday, May 15th: Broken Teepee
Wednesday, May 17th: Kritter’s Ramblings

April 18, 2017

Any Day Now by Robyn Carr - Review

I received this book free from the publisher

Book Details:
Series: Sullivan's Crossing (Book 2)
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: MIRA (April 18, 2017)
ISBN-13: 978-0778319917

About the book:
The highly anticipated sequel to #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr's What We Find transports readers back to Sullivan's Crossing. The rustic campground at the crossroads of the Colorado and Continental Divide trails welcomes everyone—whether you're looking for a relaxing weekend getaway or a whole new lease on life. It's a wonderful place where good people face their challenges with humor, strength and love.

For Sierra Jones, Sullivan's Crossing is meant to be a brief stopover. She's put her troubled past behind her but the path forward isn't yet clear. A visit with her big brother Cal and his new bride, Maggie, seems to be the best option to help her get back on her feet.

Not wanting to burden or depend on anyone, Sierra is surprised to find the Crossing offers so much more than a place to rest her head. Cal and Maggie welcome her into their busy lives and she quickly finds herself bonding with Sully, the quirky campground owner who is the father figure she's always wanted. But when her past catches up with her, it's a special man and an adorable puppy who give her the strength to face the truth and fight for a brighter future. In Sullivan's Crossing Sierra learns to cherish the family you are given and the family you choose.

About the author:
Robyn Carr is a RITA® Award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author of almost fifty novels, including the critically acclaimed Virgin River series. Her highly anticipated new series, Thunder Point, will be released March 2013. Robyn and her husband live in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can visit Robyn Carr's website at www.RobynCarr.com.

My thoughts on the book:
I enjoyed this book and this series is growing on me. Of course for me nothing will ever compare to Virgin River but this is a close second. This installment in this series has a few more emotions than the first one. It deals with issues of abuse and date rape. I am still not sure if I like Sierra or now. She is not a bad person but there is something about her that I just do not care for. Although I still love Maggie. I also liked to get to know Connie better and yes I do like him. One thing I did like about Sierra is that she was quick to protect Molly (a dog) - for me that means a lot. You do have to feel bad for Sierra and I found myself wanting the best for her and for good things to happen for her. The ending of this book was really good. I am looking forward to the next book in this series. I am looking forward to the next book in this series. 

April 17, 2017

The Memory of You by Catherine West - Review

I received this book free from the publisher:

Book Details:
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (March 28, 2017)
ISBN-13: 978-0718078768

Thirteen years ago, Natalie lost a part of herself when her twin sister died. Will traveling back to the family winery finally put the memory to rest, or will it completely destroy her?

When Natalie Mitchell learns her beloved grandfather has had a heart attack, she’s forced to return to their family-owned winery in Sonoma, something she never intended to do. She’s avoided her grandparents’ sprawling home and all its memories since the summer her sister died—the awful summer Natalie’s nightmares began. But the winery is failing, and Natalie’s father wants her to shut it down. As the majority shareholder, she has the power to do so.

And Natalie never says no to her father.

Tanner Collins, the vintner on Maoilios, is trying to salvage a bad season and put the Mitchell family’s winery back in business. When Natalie Mitchell shows up, Tanner sees his future about to be crushed. Natalie intends to close the gates, unless he can convince her otherwise. But the Natalie he remembers from childhood is long gone, and he’s not so sure he likes the woman she’s become. Still, the haunted look she wears hints at secrets he wants to unearth. He soon discovers that on the night her sister died, the real Natalie died too. And Tanner must do whatever it takes to resurrect her.

But finding freedom from the past means facing it.

About the author:
Catherine West is an award-winning author writing stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. Educated in Bermuda, England and Canada, Catherine holds a degree in English from the University of Toronto. When she's not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or tending to her roses and orchids. She and her husband have two grown children. Catherine is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America, and is represented by Rachelle Gardner of Books & Such Literary Management.
Having previously published three popular romance and women's fiction titles, Catherine will publish her first novel through Harper Collins Christian Publishing this summer. The Things We Knew, a family drama set on Nantucket, released July 12th, 2016.
Catherine loves to connect with her readers and can be reached at Catherine@catherinejwest.com

My thoughts:
This is the first book I have read by this author and her writing impressed me. I loved the setting of this book. Also I really enjoyed this author's writing style. She has a way of making you feel as if you are really a part of this story. For example she goes through the whole wine making process which I thought was very interesting. I felt so bad for Natalie. She has to go back home to a place she has been dreading since her sister passed. I can only imagine all of the emotions that were going through her head. Her grandfather was not doing well and she was very close to him. I enjoyed the bit of romance in this story as well. As Tanner learns more about Natalie the more he likes her. I will be looking forward to more books by this author.