Tuesday, August 22, 2017

TLC Book Tours Book Review: The Sworn Virgin

About The Sworn Virgin


• Paperback: 352 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (August 8, 2017)

Dukes's gripping historical novel tells the tale of a desperate Albanian woman who will do whatever it takes to keep her independence and seize control of her future...even if it means swearing to remain a virgin for her entire life.

When eighteen-year-old Eleanora’s father is shot dead on the cobblestone streets of 1910 Albania, Eleanora must abandon her dream of studying art in Italy as she struggles to survive in a remote mountain village with her stepmother Meria.

Nearing starvation, Meria secretly sells Eleanora into marriage with the cruel heir of a powerful clan. Intent on keeping her freedom, Eleanora takes an oath to remain a virgin for the rest of her life—a tradition that gives her the right to live as a man: she is now head of her household and can work for a living as well as carry a gun. Eleanora can also participate in the vengeful blood feuds that consume the mountain tribes, but she may not be killed—unless she forsakes her vow, which she has no intention of ever doing.

But when an injured stranger stumbles into her life, Eleanora nurses him back to health, saving his life—yet risking her own as she falls in love with him...

“It’s hard to believe that the culture Dukes describes was ever real, but the amount of research she put into this book definitely shines through. The story remains fascinating throughout; readers will definitely find it difficult to put this novel down.”—San Francisco Book Review

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Review: I read this book after reading a pretty amazing chicklit novel. Sure that one was light and fluffy and fun, so when I started this one it was like culture shock.

The Sworn Virgin is a book you have to give time to. Its an amazing story that really will give you pause.

Eleanora is a strong heroine, the kind that you don't often find in books. I loved learning about the "Sworn Virgins" of the area. It was a concept I hadn't heard of before and it was fascinating.

Rating 5 flowers


Kristopher Dukes was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She has been a nationally published writer since she was in high school. Her work has been featured in the bestselling book series Written in the Dirt and fashion bible WWD. She has been profiled in Vogue.fr, NY Times.com, Fast Company, Forbes.com, and WWD. The Sworn Virgin is her debut novel. She lives in Manhattan Beach, California, with her husband, Matt, and Doberman, Xena.

Connect with her on Facebook.

Monday, August 21, 2017

TLC Book Tours Book Review: The Awkward Path To Getting Lucky

About The Awkward Path to Getting Lucky

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: MIRA (July 25, 2017)
In thirty-four days, it will have been exactly two years to the day since I’ve had sex.  
Having sex wasn’t exactly high on Kat Carmichael’s priority list while her successful bakery was taking off, especially since things hadn’t been working very well in that department. And the last time she and her boyfriend, Ryan, even attempted the act, they found it to be physically impossible—resulting in pain and disappointment for Kat instead of sunshine and orgasms.
With just over a month until their four-year anniversary, Kat calls for a break in her relationship with Ryan, encouraging him to see other people while she throws herself into physical therapy. Yet even with the well-intentioned (but wildly inappropriate) attempts at help from her best friends, Kat quickly discovers that a solo mission may not be the best approach.
Fortunately, physical therapist Ben Cleary, the shop’s best (looking) customer, volunteers to help out—strictly as a friend, of course. But as the line between love and friendship begins to blur, Kat stands to lose much more than a functioning set of lady bits if she can’t figure out what to hang on to…and what to let go.

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble


Review:  If you are having a bad day. Read this book. If you like to laugh out loud when you read. Read this book. If you are just looking for a really good, fun read. Read this book

This book was so funny. Kat has vaginismus,which is a disease of the hoo ha that I have never heard of until I read this book. I had to look it up to make sure that this was a real thing. Then I immediately started to wonder why an author would want to write a story about a woman with a broken hoo ha, or as Kat comes to call hers, her "Special." (Which got me thinking that it could have been "My precious")

So poor Kat has a vagina that is broken and she hasn't been able to have sex in two years and she really hasn't done anything about it. (I can honestly understand that). She takes a break from her longtime boyfriend to fix herself.

This is where the real hilarity ensues. Getting Kat's "Special" working involves a lot of crazy stuff.

Enter, Ben, a physical therapist who quickly becomes something to Kat, though for awhile no one is sure what.

I don't think I've ever laughed so much during one book.  This book was wonderful and Kat's friendships are really what made this book so good. Everyone should have friends like Liz, Butter and Shannon. They keep things real when things get crazy and/or real, which is quite often.

I highly recommend this book!

Rating: 5 flowers


Friday, August 18, 2017

TLC Book Tours Sweetbriar Cottage

About Sweetbriar Cottage

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (June 13, 2017)
When Noah and Josephine Mitchell discover their divorce was never actually finalized, their lives are turned upside down.
Following his divorce, Noah gave up his dream job, settling at a remote horse ranch in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia, putting much-needed distance between himself and the former love of his life. But then Noah gets a letter from the IRS claiming he and Josephine are still married. When he confronts Josephine for the first time in months, they discover that she missed the final step in filing the paperwork and they are, in fact, still married.
Josephine is no happier about the news than Noah. Maybe the failed marriage—and okay, the botched divorce—was her fault, but her heart was shattered right alongside his, more than he would ever believe. The sooner they put this marriage behind them, the better for both of their sakes.
But when Josephine delivers the final paperwork to his ranch, the two become stranded in his cottage during the worst spring snowstorm in a decade. Being trapped with Josephine is a test of Noah’s endurance. He wrestles with resentment and an unmistakable pull to his wife—still beautiful, still brave, and still more intriguing than any woman he’s ever known.

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Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble


Review: I always find second chance romances to be some of the very best stories. I've heard wonderful things about Denise Hunter. I swore I read one of her books before, but I couldn't find any record of it in Goodreads, so I guess she was always an author I wanted to try.

The cover of this book is simply stunning and that alone would be enough to draw me to the book.

I like that the story of Josephine and Noah involved real life issues, because people, even good god-fearing Christians have bad things happen to them. They even do things that might not be considered Christian, because no one is perfect.

That's how I saw Josephine. Noah was more the character you felt sorry for.

This was a stunning read.

Rating: 5 flowers


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

TLC Book Tours Book Tours Book Review with Excerpt: The Innkeeper's Secret

About The Innkeeper’s Sister

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: HQN Books (July 25, 2017)
Welcome to Honey Ridge, Tennessee, where Southern hospitality and sweet peach tea beckon, and where long-buried secrets lead to some startling realizations… 
Grayson Blake always has a purpose—and never a moment to lose. He’s come home to Honey Ridge to convert a historic gristmill into a restaurant, but his plans crumble like Tennessee clay when the excavation of a skeleton unearths a Civil War mystery…and leads him back to a beautiful and familiar stranger.
Once a ballet dancer, now co-owner of the Peach Orchard Inn, Valery Carter harbors pain as deep as the secrets buried beneath the mill. A bright facade can’t erase her regrets any more than a glass of bourbon can restore what she’s lost. But spending time with Grayson offers Valery a chance to let go of her past and imagine a happier future. And with the discovery of hidden messages in aged sheet music, both their hearts begin to open. Bound by attraction, and compelled to resolve an old crime that links the inn and the mill, Grayson and Valery encounter a song of hurt, truth…and hope.
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Excerpt: Valery had always been a free spirit, maybe a little on the wild side, although that was the skewed view of a fifteen-year-old adolescent who’d seen her kissing a college boy at the July Fourth fireworks display. He’d been crushed.

He moved to the enormous stainless-steel fridge and found the cream, poured a dollop and leaned back against the gran­ite counter to sip. “Excellent brew.”

“Are you a coffee snob?”

“Not at all. You?”

She shook her head. “My sister is. Only the best for our guests, freshly ground and carefully brewed.”

He saluted with the cup. “This guest appreciates it.”

She treated him to a smile, soft around the edges. “Catch me up, Grayson. What have you been doing since I saw you last?”

“Nothing special. Went to college. Started a business. And here I am.”

She pulled open a cabinet and took out a large oblong cas­serole dish, then moved to the refrigerator for eggs, milk and ham. “I’m sure there’s more to the story than school and busi­ness.”

A few broken, insignificant relationships and membership in too many business organizations weren’t scintillating con­versation. “Sadly, no. What about you?”

She lifted a shoulder, focused on the casserole. “The usual small-town tale. Julia and I bought this house and became innkeepers.”

She didn’t sound all that thrilled about it either.

A memory of her niggled at the back of his brain, but he was too tired and hungry to bring it forward. Maybe later he’d remember what she was leaving out.

“The attention to detail in this renovation is exceptional. Do it yourself or hire it done?”

“Most of it on our own. The property is an ongoing project, but the inn itself is complete. The work was hard and time-consuming, but Julia’s better now, and that’s what mattered.”

Before he could ask what she meant, the blue-speckled dog ambled into the kitchen and looked up at Valery.

“What are you doing in here?” she asked and then to Grayson, “He must have come inside searching for Alex when Mama left. He’s lost without his boy.”

Grayson tilted his head in question.

“Alex, my sister’s stepson. He’s seven now and such a little sweetheart. That dog watches him as if he’s afraid he’ll dis­appear, too.”

“Too?”

She shot him a look, bit her full bottom lip. “Everyone in Honey Ridge knows, so I forget that guests don’t. Julia’s son was abducted nearly nine years ago and never found. Mikey.”

He lowered the coffee mug.

“Seriously? Abducted here in Honey Ridge?” The town where kids hung out in the park, rode bikes all over town and chased lightning bugs long after dark? Or they had when he was a boy.

“Unbelievable, isn’t it? We’ve never given up hope but…” Her voice drifted away, leaving the worst unsaid. Nine years was too long.

Grayson pushed off the counter and moved closer. “I’m re­ally sorry.”

“Thank you. It was horrible for all of us, but especially Julia.” She slathered butter on a stack of bread slices. “Still is, of course.”

“Not something you’d get over.”

“No. But she recently remarried and is finally happy again. Eli’s a good man.”

He sipped, held the cup close to his lips and watched her over the rim. “What about you? You’re still a Carter, and I don’t see a ring.”

She placed the bread into the pan in perfect rows, the way his grandmother had laid out quilting blocks. “Single and not looking.”

“I hear that.”


Review: Linda Goodnight is one of my favorite "Inspirational" writers. I have always loved her books from the Love Inspired line. This book is the third in the Honey Ridge series. I wish I would have found this series sooner. It is definitely one that can be read as a stand alone.

It's part mystery and part romance that mixes contemporary and historical elements. These are my favorite types of books too.

I loved Grayson and Valery's story. It was a slow growing love, which always works best in these types of books. Both characters have issues from their past that need to be resolved. Valery is a character who has things that need to be dealt with.

I have to admit I'm surprised at how "real" Linda made Valery. You don't see many heroines in Christian novels have drinking problems and Valery is drinking to take away her pain. The pain is part of her mystery. You get little snippets of what it might be, but it takes awhile to find out what happened.

I loved the historical aspect of the story as well. In fact I have to say I'm not sure which part I enjoyed more.

This is really a lovely read.

Rating: 4 flower

Book Review: Vangie Vale and the Murdered Macaron




Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Montana
Hummingbird Books (July 21, 2017)
Paperback: 362 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1548024437
E-Book ASIN: B073ZLKBZT





Book Blurb: Small towns and gossip go together like flaky crust and sweet pastry cream. Between the police scanners, social media, and the senior center, it’s like a zombie apocalypse where the undead consume people’s secrets instead of living flesh.
But Vangie Vale wants nothing more than to stay under the radar…especially the police radar.

So when her new bakery becomes linked to a murder investigation, nothing will stop the gossip mill from connecting her to the dead body. Can’t have that.

Forced into the role of investigator, this new-in-town bakery owner has to become the very thing she hates–a nosy, small-town gossip–in order to clear her good name, and keep her face off the front page. But when a dating debacle brings her face-to-face with the Sheriff, Vangie can’t ignore the fact that one of her macarons was involved in a murder. She has to find the who-dun-it.

Review: Vangie Vale quickly became one of my favorite cozy mystery heroines. Vangie is a pastor and a baker and just an all around fabulous character.  Oh and she's more than just a baker, she's a Matchbaker. She can match you with the kind of food you want to eat. She also loves Sherlock. (Yay, me, too)

I loved this book so much I've already pre-ordered book 2 Vangie Vale and the Corpseless Custard, and I don't often do that.

This book was smartly written and by that I mean, Vangie isn't one who falls into trouble, though she does manage to get herself knee...nah neck deep in it several times. She's a wonderfully kind woman, especially when it comes to some rather unkind people, especially Henry's agent, Scarlet, who really doesn't deserve any kindness. (She became a little more easy to handle as the story went on)

I particularly liked the primary murder suspect, Henry. (Somehow I kept picturing looking like Ioan Gruffudd, though I'm not sure why because he's not blonde) He was a man with secrets, but he was really a lovable guy.

It is through these two people that Vangie gets drawn into the murder of a former citizen of Saint Agnes who has lots of secrets of her own.

There are so many twists and turns in the plot that it really keeps you on your toes guessing who the killer was, all the while hoping that Vangie doesn't get into trouble thus resulting her losing her job as pastor. She had some past issues that resulted in her being assigned to this small Montana town. (I wish her back story was more developed, so we really knew why her job was on the line.)

This is a great start to a new series.

Rating: 5 flowers



Tasty Book Tours Release Blast: Once Upon A Lady


All it takes is Fate to entice him with the very thing he never wanted.


ONCE UPON A LADY
The Soul Mate Tree
Addie Jo Ryleigh
Releasing Aug 16, 2017
Soul Mate Publishing


Respectable Lady Katherine Baxton, striving to meet the requirements of her station, has become the ultimate dutiful daughter. And now, the Duke of Blackthorn’s betrothed. Far from a love match, Kate is nevertheless determined to do as expected and marry. That all changes the night she panics at her impending future and runs, stumbling upon a private grove, a mysterious tree. . . and a half-naked man.

The youngest son of a viscount widely thought to have purchased his title, Jackson Cooper demonstrates his disdain for the aristocracy by affording himself every luxury available—drinking, wenching, and gambling—while eschewing anything representing the ton. Jackson has little care for his reputation and no desire to marry. His escape from London is all but complete.

Until fate—in the form of a beautiful, mysterious lady—interrupts his plans, enticing him with the very thing he never wanted.




Addie Jo Ryleigh writes historical regency romances that feature rakish heroes and strong feisty heroines. 

Addie Jo has lived in the same cold-winter-hot-summer area of Minnesota her entire life. Sharing in the raising of her three extremely rambunctious boys is her very understanding husband who endured being dubbed “The Duke” by his co-workers. Keeping Addie Jo company while she writes (besides her wonderfully loud children) is her yorkipoo, Bella, who is never far from her side. And recently the newest addition to their family, a black lab named Max.

Addie Jo has always had a love and passion for romance books and became engrossed in historical romance (particularly Regency) soon after graduating from Lurlene McDaniel’s young adult books. Currently, she reads any genre that has a great emotional story that keeps her reading into the early hours of the morning.

Addie Jo has a bachelor degree in accounting and is a financial coordinator when not playing chauffeur for her hockey-playing boys, cuddled up with a good book, or writing her next story.



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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

TLC Book Tours Book Review: The Cottingley Secret

About The Cottingley Secret


• Hardcover: 416 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow (August 1, 2017)

“The Cottingley Secret tells the tale of two girls who somehow convince the world that magic exists. An artful weaving of old legends with new realities, this tale invites the reader to wonder: could it be true?” — Kate Alcott, New York Times bestselling author of The Dressmaker

One of BookBub's Most-Anticipated Books of Summer 2017!

The New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Came Home turns the clock back one hundred years to a time when two young girls from Cottingley, Yorkshire, convinced the world that they had done the impossible and photographed fairies in their garden. Now, in her newest novel, international bestseller Hazel Gaynor reimagines their story.

1917… It was inexplicable, impossible, but it had to be true—didn’t it? When two young cousins, Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright from Cottingley, England, claim to have photographed fairies at the bottom of the garden, their parents are astonished. But when one of the great novelists of the time, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, becomes convinced of the photographs’ authenticity, the girls become a national sensation, their discovery offering hope to those longing for something to believe in amid a world ravaged by war. Frances and Elsie will hide their secret for many decades. But Frances longs for the truth to be told.

One hundred years later… When Olivia Kavanagh finds an old manuscript in her late grandfather’s bookshop she becomes fascinated by the story it tells of two young girls who mystified the world. But it is the discovery of an old photograph that leads her to realize how the fairy girls’ lives intertwine with hers, connecting past to present, and blurring her understanding of what is real and what is imagined. As she begins to understand why a nation once believed in fairies, can Olivia find a way to believe in herself?

Purchase Links


HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Review: I remember reading A Memory of Violets a few years back and her short story from Fall of Poppies. Hazel Gaynor is an author on my must read list.

Her books also have the absolute best covers. (If you are the kind of person that needs a good cover...and I'm one of them.)

Based on The Cottingley Fairies...this book is just perfection. I really have no words.

Hazel Gaynor can truly do no wrong. Her writing brings the lives of Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright to life. These were real people and the story is really magical.

Rating: 5 flowers


About Hazel Gaynor


HAZEL GAYNOR is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of A Memory of Violets and The Girl Who Came Home, for which she received the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award. Her third novel The Girl from the Savoy was an Irish Times and Globe & Mail Canada bestseller, and was shortlisted for the BGE Irish Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year. The Cottingley Secret and Last Christmas in Paris will be published in 2017.

Hazel was selected by US Library Journal as one of ‘Ten Big Breakout Authors’ for 2015 and her work has been translated into several languages.

Originally from Yorkshire, England, Hazel now lives in Ireland.

Find out more about Hazel at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
 
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