Thursday, January 19, 2017

TLC Book Review: Sisters One, Two, Three

Nancy Star, author of SISTERS ONE, TWO, THREE, on tour January 2017

Posted By  on October 17, 2016

About Sisters One, Two, Three

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (January 1, 2017)
After a tragic accident on Martha’s Vineyard, keeping secrets becomes a way of life for the Tangle family. With memories locked away, the sisters take divergent paths. Callie disappears, Mimi keeps so busy she has no time to think, and Ginger develops a lifelong aversion to risk that threatens the relationships she holds most dear.
When a whispered comment overheard by her rebellious teenage daughter forces Ginger to reveal a long-held family secret, the Tangles’ carefully constructed web of lies begins to unravel. Upon the death of Glory, the family’s colorful matriarch, and the return of long-estranged Callie, Ginger resolves to return to Martha’s Vineyard and piece together what really happened on that calamitous day when a shadow fell over four sun-kissed siblings playing at the shore. Along with Ginger’s newfound understanding come the keys to reconciliation: with her mother, with her sisters, and with her daughter.
At turns heartbreaking, humorous, and hopeful, Sisters One, Two, Three explores not only the consequences of secrets—even secrets kept out of love—but also the courage it takes to speak the truth, to forgive, and to let go.

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Review:  I'm a sucker for family dramas. Wow was this one of them. The Tangle family are probably the most dysfunctional family I've read about (or even known).

Ginger and her family are messed up and their messed upness (Yup I'm making up words) is a result of an accident that happened a long time ago.


That's really all that you can say.

When you start going back through time in the story and see the family you really see that they were messed up even before the accident that claims one of them.

I wasn't a fan of Glory. I hate mothers that just are...well icky and unpleasant, and that pretty much sums up Glory, except in the present you feel sorry for her as dementia is taking her mind.

This story was powerful and a real page turner. I find that with all families that have "BIG" problems, I have to find out if things work out for them; if they can be fixed. The Tangle family definitely needs fixing. (Their last name is so appropriate)

Rating: 4 flowers

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Blog Tour Book Review: His Ballerina Bride


Debonair Artem Drake has had tongues wagging all over New York since he became surprise CEO of Drake Diamonds.

This playboy hopes to bring new life to the storied old business before those rumored bad investments sink the family ship.

He's even plucked an ambitious salesgirl out of the shadows to become the store's new star designer. But Ophelia Rose isn't the ingénue she seems.

The swanlike beauty's hiding a past that glimmers as bright as a Drake diamond—she once graced the stage as a professional ballerina, until she was forced to take her final curtsy and hide from the limelight. Now can Artem bring her back to center stage? Or will their glittering future together wither under the secrets of the past?

Review:  I am totally in love with this book. His Ballerina Bride is a book for your keeper shelf. I don't know which character that I loved more Ophelia or Artem. I adore Artem's name. It is so unusual.

Ophelia is a former ballerina working at Drake Diamonds because her career was cut short because of illness. It was really impressive to see how Teri Wilson worked Ophelia's MS into the story. The reader could understand her reasoning whether it was not to adopt the white kitten from the shelter she volunteered at to her feelings for Artem.

Artem is the CEO of Drake Diamonds. They had a chance meeting in the break room, while she's eating a petite four that they offer their engagement clients. In the course of things she shows him some designs she has done and the rest is romance history.

There's a wonderful twist that involves Ophelia's family and the Drake diamond that makes the possible sale of the jewel rather sad.

These two had awesome chemistry. I adored the way he cared for her, especially when her past came to light. He really did his best to protect her.

This was a beautiful romance and the way the ballet played a part in the story, from Ophelia's dancing to her designs just made it so visual. The dancing also played a part in Ophelia and Artem's first real romantic encounter.

The discovery at the end was a little predictable as is the fate of the Drake Diamond, but that didn't detract from a wonderful story.

Rating: 5 flowers

Tasty Book Tours Excerpt Reveal: Love Story

Over the course of one wild road trip, 
feuding childhood sweethearts get a second chance at love.

a Love Unexpectedly novel
Lauren Layne
Releasing February 14th, 2017

Over the course of one wild road trip, feuding childhood sweethearts get a second chance at love in this charming rom-com—a standalone novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Blurred Lines and Good Girl.

When Lucy Hawkins receives a job offer in San Francisco, she can’t wait to spread her wings and leave her small Virginia hometown behind. Her close-knit family supports her as best they can, by handing over the keys to a station wagon that’s seen better days. The catch? The cross-country trip comes with a traveling companion: her older brother’s best friend, aka the guy who took Lucy’s virginity hours before breaking her heart.

After spending the past four years and every last dime caring for his sick father, Reece Sullivan will do just about anything to break free of the painful memories—even if it means a two-week road trip with the one girl who’s ever made it past his carefully guarded exterior. But after long days of bickering in the car turn into steamy nights in secluded motel rooms, Reece learns that, when it comes to Lucy, their story is far from over. And this time, they just might have a shot at a happy ending.

Although listed as a title in the Love Unexpectedly Series, all books in the series stand alone.

“Spock, we’re giving you Horny!” my mom blurts out, apparently fed up with my denseness.

Her utterance is too much for my siblings to handle and they both burst out laughing, retreating into the kitchen to rejoin the party where there’s wine.

Oh what I wouldn’t give for wine right now.

“I, um . . . you’re giving me the car?” I ask.

“Because yours broke down,” my dad explains, walking forward to thump Horny’s dented hood.

“And this one’s . . . not broken down?” I ask skeptically.

Look, it’s not that I’m not grateful. My parents are trying to give me a car, I appreciate the sweetness of the gesture, it’s just . . .

Here’s the thing about Horny: he barely got us three kids through high school. I mean, Horny is the car that sputtered and shook making it the 3.2 miles to Jefferson High, no matter who was behind the wheel.

I’m even going to come all the way clean here and say that early on in my freshmen year, I was embarrassed showing up in Horny. Then I realized I was lucky to have a car at all, and well . . . I dunno, I guess Horny became a part of us Hawkins kids’ charm, because the station wagon was practically an institution from Craig’s high school reign all the way through Brandi’s.

But poor Horny quit working years ago. Much to Brandi’s chagrin, he gave up the ghost a mere two months before her high school graduation, and she spent the last bit of her senior year being picked up by my parents.

“He’s going to take you to California,” Dad says, giving the car another thump.

“Really?” I step forward and run a tentative finger along the familiar panel. He’s had a bath, so at least that’s something. “Because last I knew, he wouldn’t even make it out of the garage.”

“Yeah, well, we neglected him for a while, but he’s right as rain now,” Dad says, puffing out his chest as though Horny’s a fourth child.

“Like, as in he actually starts?”

“Purrs like a kitten,” my mom says with an emphatic nod, even though I know she doesn’t even like cats. “We didn’t believe it, but we took him to church on Sunday and there were no issues.”

I literally bite my tongue to keep from pointing out that this is hardly a feat. Sacred Presbyterian is 0.8 miles away from the house.

“You took Horny into a shop?” I ask, starting to warm to the idea of having a car again. I’m a little touched, actually. Money is tight for my parents. Dad’s a PE teacher, and Mom gives a mean winery tour, but the gig’s never paid much.

“Not exactly, it was more of a bartering situation,” Mom says.

“Yeah?” I say, going around to the driver’s seat, already giddy with the prospect of telling Oscar I’ll be able to come see him in Miami after all, even if I won’t exactly be riding in style.

“Reece agreed to fix him up.”

I’m lowering myself into the car as my dad says this, but I reverse so quickly I hit my head. My skull doesn’t even register the pain, because I’m too busy registering the hurt in my heart at the familiar name. “I’m sorry, what?”

“Reece,” my mom says, giving me a bemused look. “He’s always been handy with cars.”

“He fixed up the car in exchange for what?”

And then I feel—I actually feel—the air change around me as the side door to the garage opens, and a new presence sucks all the air out of the space.

I don’t turn around. I don’t move. But I feel his eyes on me. Over me.

“Reece is headed out to California too,” my oblivious mother chatters on. “It worked out perfectly actually. Now you two can ride together, and your dad and I don’t have to worry about you alone in the middle of nowhere with a twenty-something-year-old car.

They think the car is going to be the problem here? It’s not the car that’s toxic to me. It’s him.

Reece Sullivan. My brother’s best friend. My parents’ “other son.”

Slowly I force myself to turn, and even though I’m prepped, the force of that ice-blue gaze still does something dangerous to me.

He winks, quick and cocky, and I suck in a breath, and I have to wonder . . .

I wonder if my parents would feel differently about their little plan if they knew that their makeshift mechanic is the same guy that popped my cherry six years earlier under their very roof.

And then broke my heart twenty-four hours later.

Lauren Layne is the USA Today bestselling author of more than a dozen romantic comedies. She lives in New York City with her husband (who was her high school sweetheart--cute, right?!) and plus-sized Pomeranian.

In 2011, she ditched her corporate career in Seattle to pursue a full-time writing career in Manhattan, and never looked back.

In her ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.

For a list of all her works, please be sure to check out her official website!

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Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours Book Review: Beyond Derryane


Beyond Derrynane by Kevin O' Connell

Publication Date: July 7, 2016

Gortcullinane Press

eBook & Paperback; 348 Pages
Series: The Derrynane Saga, Volume 1

Genre: Historical Fiction

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Wed in an arranged marriage to a man nearly fifty years her senior, sixteen-year-old Eileen O'Connell goes from being one of five unmarried sisters to become the mistress of Ballyhar, the great estate of John O'Connor, one of the wealthiest and most influential men in Ireland.

When O'Connor dies suddenly seven months into their marriage, Eileen must decide whether she will fulfill her brother's strategic goals for her family by marrying her late husband's son.

Headstrong and outspoken, Eileen frustrates her brother's wishes, as, through the auspices of her uncle, General Moritz O'Connell of the Imperial Austrian Army, she, along with her ebullient elder sister, Abigail, spend the ensuing richly-dramatic and eventful years at the court of the Empress Maria Theresa in Vienna.The sisters learn to navigate the complex and frequently contradictory ways of the court--making a place for themselves in a world far different from remote Derrynane. Together with the general, they experience a complex life at the pinnacle of the Hapsburg Empire.

Beyond Derrynane - and the three books to follow in The Derrynane Saga - will present a sweeping chronicle, set against the larger drama of Europe in the early stages of significant change, dramatising the roles, which have never before been treated in fiction, played by a small number of expatriate Irish Catholics of the fallen "Gaelic Aristocracy" (of which the O'Connells were counted as being amongst its few basically still-intact families) at the courts of Catholic Europe, as well as relating their complex, at times dangerous, lives at home in Protestant Ascendancy-ruled Ireland.

In addition to Eileen's, the books trace the largely-fictional lives of several other O'Connells of Derrynane, it is the tantalisingly few facts that are historically documented about them which provide the basic threads around which the tale itself is woven, into which strategic additions of numerous historical and fictional personalities and events intertwine seamlessly.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

Review: This was such a wonderful novel. Its a family saga and the first in a series. It starts with Eileen's arranged marriage and then sweeps across Europe where they find themselves in the Hapsburg court.

The story is very captivating. I loved getting to know Eileen and Abby as they the waves of their life took them. The book was wonderfully researched and descriptive.  Its full of history and family drama. That's just what I love in historical fiction.

I really can't wait to see what happens next with the family.

Rating: 5 flowers

About the Author
03_kevin-oconnellKevin O'Connell is a native of New York City and a descendant of a young officer of what had—from 1690 to 1792—been the Irish Brigade of the French army, believed to have arrived in French Canada following the execution of Queen Marie Antoinette in October of 1793. At least one grandson subsequently returned to Ireland and Mr. O'Connell's own grandparents came to New York in the early twentieth century. He holds both Irish and American citizenship.

He is a graduate of Providence College and Georgetown University Law Centre.

For more than four decades, O'Connell has practiced international business transactional law, primarily involving direct-investment matters, throughout Asia (principally China), Europe, and the Middle East.

Mr. O’Connell has been a serious student of selected (especially the Eighteenth Century) periods of the history of Ireland for virtually all of his life; one significant aspect of this has been a continuing scholarly as well as personal interest in the extended O’Connell family at Derrynane, many even distant and long-ago members of which, especially the characters about whom he writes, he has “known” intimately since childhood.

The father of five children and grandfather of ten, he and his wife, Laurette, live with their golden retriever, Katie, near Annapolis, Maryland.

Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, January 16
Kick Off at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, January 17
Review at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, January 18
Review at Luxury Reading
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, January 19
Review at Books, Dreams, Life

Friday, January 20
Review at The Book Junkie Reads

Sunday, January 22
Review at Carole's Ramblings

Monday, January 23
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Tuesday, January 24
Review at Kinx's Book Nook

Wednesday, January 25
Review at A Bookaholic Swede
Excerpt at A Literary Vacation

Friday, January 27
Review at CelticLady's Reviews
Interview at Dianne Ascroft's Blog

Monday, January 30
Review at Beth's Book Nook Blog

Tuesday, January 31
Review at Book Nerd


Monday, January 16, 2017

TLC Book Tours Book Review : Fudge and Jury

About Fudge and Jury

Series: A Bakeshop Mystery (Book 5)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks (January 3, 2017)
Welcome to Torte–a friendly, small-town family bakery where the pastries are delicious…and, now, suspicious.
It’s almost spring in Ashland, Oregon, and the town is preparing for the Shakespeare and the annual Chocolate Festival. Business is cookin’ at Torte, and the store is expanding as Jules’ team whips up crèpes filled with mascarpone cheese and dark chocolate. Torte stands a chance of being this year’s confectionery belle of the ball! Life couldn’t be sweeterunless murder taints the batter.
Evan Rowe, of Confections Couture, makes a chocolate fountain that would put Willy Wonka to shame, and his truffles are to die forliterally? Yes, the world-renowned chocolatier has just turned up dead…right after sampling a slice of Jules’ decadent four-layer chocolate cake. Now all eyes are on Jules as she tries to find the mysterious ingredient in her own recipe. Can she sift out the truth before another contestant bites the buttercream?

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Review: Ah cozy mysteries. This is probably my favorite genre right now. I really wish I could have jumped into this series from the start because that's how much I loved this book.

What makes it so good, you ask?

1. Chocolate chocolate chocolate

2. Great foodie details

3. Fun characters

4. A cozy town that you really want to live in.

5. The mystery that keeps you turning the pages.

This book is perfect for those that really love foodie fic and mysteries.

Rating: 5 flowers

Great Escapes Book Tours Book Review: River City Dead


river-city-deadRiver City Dead by Nancy G. West

Henery Press (January 17, 2017)

Paperback: 224 pages

ISBN-13: 978-1635111330


Aggie Mundeen, who advises readers in her column, “Stay Young with Aggie,” is pushing forty and determined to postpone a precipitous descent into middle-age. She plans to rendezvous with SAPD Detective Sam Vanderhoven at a hotel on the San Antonio River Walk…a vacation from crime and reset for their tumultuous relationship. In the midst of River City during Fiesta Week, what could go wrong?
Aggie’s new friends, the Fabulous Femmes, are holding their convention at the hotel. When hotel guests are murdered, Aggie discovers her friends have disturbing backgrounds. Evil surfaces at Fiesta events, and Aggie’s dancing debut at a Fiesta performance at Arneson River Theater is fraught with danger. Even in idyllic River City, crime complicates relationships. Books in the Aggie Mundeen Humorous Mystery Series:


Review: River City Dead sees Aggie Mundeen and her beau, Sam,  SAPD detective attempting to have a romantic get away.

The only problem is that when Sam gets to the hotel there's a dead body there and all hopes for getting their relationship off to a romantic start are pretty much put to an end to that.

When the dead girl happens to be someone Aggie knows she has to help with the investigation. Aggie is getting really smart in her investigation.

She really finds some great ways to get information on Monica Peters while still trying to have a good weekend. I really enjoyed learning about Fiesta and the customs surrounding this holiday.

Monica was definitely a character/victim that you actually feel sorry for. A good percent of the time the victims in cozy mysteries, deserve their fate. Monica wasn't really all that bad and definitely didn't deserve what happened to her. She was just a young woman that was really looking for a good time and someone to love her.

I loved the Fabulous Femmes and the subgroups and clicks and all the drama this group of women create. The ladies Aggie met were definitely quirky and fun and they really carried the story along.

The only thing that drives me absolutely nuts about Aggie, is her obsession with age. She's not even 40 yet and she acts like she has one foot in the grave. As a woman that is 42, I almost find her attitude insulting.

Aggie is getting smarter in her sleuthing. I'm surprised at how Sam does let her help investigate. She still tries to do things on her own, that usually puts her in harms way. I was happy that her relationship with Sam has survived her actions this time round.

This is a fabulous series that any mystery lover will enjoy.

Rating: 4 flowers

Nancy West About This Author
I’ve been writing since age seven: poems back and forth with my mom. I had a real poem published in the Library Journal, Pegasus, at age fifteen. At eighteen, I wanted to study journalism and English literature, but friends who chose that college route were making minimum wage or selling lingerie. Being practical, I earned a business degree. After marriage and two children, I decided I HAD to study literature and write. I wrote non-fiction articles, a biography, and a suspense novel in 2004. That’s when whimsical Aggie Mundeen cut through the suspense, popped into my head and demanded her own series. The Aggie Mundeen mystery capers were born. Aggie must have been right: FIT TO BE DEAD is a LEFTY FINALIST 2013 for best humorous mystery, nominated by Left Coast Crime.


Chat with Aggie and Nancy on their blog: Author’s Webpage:

Author Page at Henery Press:


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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Book Review: Tell Me, Pretty Maiden

Author: Rhys Bowen
Title: Tell Me, Pretty Maiden
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publish Date: March 2008
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: It’s wintertime in New York, and for the first time since Irish immigrant Molly Murphy started her early-twentieth-century detective agency, she is completely snowed in with work. While she’s proving to be quite the entrepreneur and is very much in demand by some of Broadway’s brightest stars and Fifth Avenue’s richest families, she has to grudgingly admit that if she’s going to work more than one case at a time, then she’s going to need some help. Molly’s beau, the recently and wrongly suspended police captain Daniel Sullivan, would make an ideal associate, but before they can agree on the terms of his employment, they stumble upon a young woman lying unconscious in the middle of a snow-covered Central Park. When the woman wakes up she is disorientated and has and lost her ability to speak, the authorities are about to pack her off to an insane asylum when Molly can’t help but step in and take on yet another case.

Review: I am a huge fan of Rhys Bowen's 'Her Royal Spyness' series. My library doesn't have the first books in this series, so I'm starting at book 7.

I can safely say you can read these out of order. There is enough back story given so that you won't feel lost.

There is a lot going on in this story. Molly is a very busy private detective. She has at least three cases going on including the young woman that she finds in the snow drift in Central Park. It is Ms. Bowen's ability to have all these things going one without confusing her reader or let the story suffer, but that never happens here. Even the more insignificant case is important and oddly all of them tie together, and that's really what makes this an excellent read.

If you aren't familiar with the series, Molly Murphy is a young Irish private detective. She's very independent for a young woman in the early 1900s. Daniel is her beau. He's more old fashioned and definitely one that isn't fond of women working. There are times when his attitude is a little hard to take when combined with Molly.

When her caseload gets to be a bit much, Daniel takes on watching over a young gentleman to see if he is worthy of the young woman that desires to marry him, that way she's free to work for Blanche Lovejoy and her haunted theater. This case reminds me a bit of "Phantom of the Opera" or at least Phantom of the Musical.  It is through this case that she gets information on the young man she was investigating.

Then she's looking to clear the name of a young Yale student who is accused of stealing from a friend and killing the butler.

I loved how the piecing together of this mystery helps uncover the identity of the girl from the snow drift.

I really liked Molly. Her beau, Daniel not so much.

I'm looking forward to continuing this series to see how their relationship progresses.

Rating: 4 flowers

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