Wednesday, April 30, 2014

TLC Book Tours Book Review: On The Rocks

Author: Erin Duffy
Title: On The Rocks
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: April 22, 2014
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tours
Book Blurb: 
A heartwarming novel about friendship, family, and finding love in the Facebook Age—not to mention the perils, pitfalls, and dubious pleasures of being a modern young single woman—from Erin Duffy, the author of Bond Girl.

Six months ago, Abby's life fell apart for the entire world to see. Her longtime boyfriend-turned-fiancé, Ben, unceremoniously dumped her—on Facebook—while she was trying on dresses for the big day.

When the usual remedies—multiple pints of Ben & Jerry's, sweatpants, and a comfy couch—fail to work their magic, her best friend, Grace, devises a plan to get Abby back on her game. She and Abby are going to escape Boston and its reminders of Ben and head to Newport for the summer. There, in a quaint rented cottage by the sea, the girls will enjoy cool breezes, cocktails, and crowds of gorgeous men.

But no matter where they go, Abby and Grace discover that in this era of social media—when seemingly everyone is preserving every last detail of their lives online—there is no real escape. Dating has never been easy. But now that the rules are more blurred than ever, how will they find true love? And even if they do, can romance stand a chance when a girl's every word and move can go viral with a single click?

Review: This cover is a reminder that there are some books out there that you must go to a beach to read. This is one of them. I really wish I could have been sitting in the sand enjoying this book.

Its very modern chick lit. Can you imagine getting dumped on Facebook?

Ouch!

What kind of douche does that?

This is a story of love in the modern social media age, where everyone knows, or at least thinks they know, everyone's business.

Erin Duffy has a really breezy fun writing style that makes it easy to keep turning the pages.

Rating: 5 flowers




Great Escapes Book Tours Book Review: Burnout







Burnout (Pecan Bayou Series)
Cozy Mystery
E-Book File Size: 895 KB
Print Length: 202 pages
ASIN: B00ISDZK8S
Synopsis
It’s November in Pecan Bayou, Texas and while the town is getting ready for the Thanksgiving holiday a deadly fire breaks out at the newspaper office. When Rocky, the editor is nowhere to be found, Betsy refuses to believe he has perished in the fire. The entire town is coming down with the stomach flu and Betsy must deal with her husband’s new found celebrity as an on-air weatherman filling in for and under-the-weather Hurricane Hal . Leo loves all the attention he’s getting, especially from the sexy administrative assistant who works at the station. Is their new marriage in trouble already? Find out in the fifth book of the Pecan Bayou Mystery Series. All the characters you’ve come to know and love are back and you’ll find plenty of the Happy Hinter’s recipes and tips included at the end of the book.
ttrent
About The Author
Biography
Teresa Trent writes her Pecan Bayou Mystery Series from Houston, Texas. With a father in the army, her family moved often finally settling in Colorado. Living in Texas for the last 18 years she loves the people and even the weather. Teresa includes Danny, a character with Down Syndrome in her Pecan Bayou family and in real life is the mother of an adult son with Down Syndrome/PDD. Creating the character of Danny and all of the other inhabitants of Pecan Bayou has been a joy for her. Even though she lives in the big city, her writing is influenced by all of the interesting people she finds in small towns and the sense of family that seems to be woven through them all.

Author Links:
Twitter: @ttrent_cozymys
Purchase Links
AMAZON 
Book Excerpt
An hour later, Tyler and I walked into the Harvest Dance with our arms full of every baked item we could get our hands on from the grocery store. The tables were already covered in sparkling autumn colored table cloths with tasteful pumpkin and scarecrow centerpieces. It was stunning, and I hated to plop a box of Tasteeo Cupcakes on top of it all.
Phyllis, dressed in a mustard turtleneck with a maroon silk scarf tied around her neck approached. “What is this?” Her face turned white, and then was replaced with a complimentary fall color of scarlet red.
“Uh…” I stammered. “I had a little difficulty with the pumpkin squares, but you know kids. They’ll eat anything sweet, right?”
I waited for her to reassure me, but she seemed to be at a loss for words.
“You want me to open up these boxes, Betsy?” Tyler asked.
“Yes, if you would. I’m sure Mrs. Hamlin has lovely plates for us to put these on.”
Phyllis gritted her teeth and turned toward Tyler. “There are some paper plates over there.”
She turned back to me and took hold of my arm squeezing tightly on my bicep with her tastefully manicured nails.
“I specifically told you to make the pumpkin squares. If I wanted a hodge podge of junk food I would have simply stopped down at the Circle K Convenience store.”
Another mother stepped by with her freshly groomed son in tow. “Lovely tables Phyllis,” she said with a little wave.
“Thank you Shelley. We work very hard to make it a wonderful experience for our children.” Somehow I knew she wasn’t including me in that statement.
“I tried to make the pumpkin squares, but we’ve had flu at our house, and … I lost track of time, and they burnt.”
“Then why didn’t you just make another batch?”
“There’s not a can of pumpkin left in the entire town.”
“Yes, there is. I have four cans of pumpkin in my pantry. All you had to do was call me.”
The principal walked by. “Beautiful job, Mrs. Hamlin. Don’t know what we’d do without you.”

Review: Burnout is the next book in the Pecan Bayou series. I fell in love with Teresa Trent "s series awhile back and I wasn't disappointed in the latest offering.

There's a lot of fun in this quick cozy read. A missing member of her newspaper staff,who may or may ot have died in a fire, and her new hubby getting some attention from a co worker make for some fun reading.

What makes this book so good, is really Betsy and her family. There's so much going on with her kids and her husband. I felt so sorry for her son, who seemed to be getting forgotten at school because of Tyler.

The mystery is really unique, because you always have a feeling it isn't Rocky that was found in the burned out building, and when you did learn what happened, there was more than just him involved. (Oh and Rocky did have some secrets too)

I absolutely loved this mystery. Pecan Bayou is a place that's easy to revisit. You'll love the town and all of its inhabitants and you'll never guess whodunit!

Rating: 5 flowers



Tour Participants
April 14 – Traci Andrighetti’s Blog – Review
April 15 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review
April 16 – Kelly P’s Blog – Interview
April 17 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – Guest Post
April 18 – Books Are Life – Vita Libri - Review
April 19 – Books-n-Kisses – Review, Guest Post
April 20 – EASTER
April 21 – Michele Lynn Seigfried’s Blog – Guest Post
April 22 – Community Bookstop - Review
April 23 – readalot blog – Review
April 24 – Back Porchervations – Interview – Review
April 25 – rantin’ ravin’ and reading – Review, Guest Post
April 27 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Guest Post
April 28 – My Recent Favorite Books – Review
April 29 – Deal Sharing Aunt – Interview
April 30 – A Chick Who Reads – Review
May 1 – Brooke Blogs – Guest Post
May 2 – Little Whimsy Books – Guest Post
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

TLC Book Tours Book Review: The Last Original Wife

Author: The Last Original Wife
Title: Dorothea Benton Frank
Publisher: Willliam Morrow
Publish Date: April 1, 2014
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tour
Book Blurb: 
Experience the sultry Southern atmosphere of Atlanta and the magic of the Carolina Lowcountry in this funny and poignant tale of one audacious woman's quest to find the love she deserves

Leslie Anne Greene Carter is The Last Original Wife among her husband Wesley's wildly successful Atlanta social set. But if losing her friends to tanned and toned young Barbie brides isn't painful enough, a series of setbacks shake Les's world and push her to the edge. She's had enough of playing the good wife to a husband who thinks he's doing her a favor by keeping her around. She's going to take some time for herself—in the familiar comforts and stunning beauty of Charleston, her beloved hometown. And she's going to reclaim the carefree girl who spent lazy summers with her first love on Sullivans Island. Daring to listen to her inner voice, she will realize what she wants . . . and find the life of which she's always dreamed.

The Last Original Wife is an intoxicating tale of family, friendship, self-discovery, and love that is as salty as a Lowcountry breeze and as invigorating as a dip in Carolina waters on a sizzling summer day.



Review: The Last Original Wife is one of those books that you enjoy, but you aren't quite sure why you enjoy it. It is a light, fluffy beach read.

Leslie is the last of the "first wives" of all her husband's friends who have moved on to younger women, that she calls Barbies.

They are well to do but their marriage in shambles.

Leslie is more likable, but Wes is just a jerk, plain and simple. You couldn't like him at all. It would have been nice if he had at least one trait that would have justified her staying married to him all those years. And while we're talking about characters you have to hate, OMG their children are spoiled grown up brats!

So yeah, Les is a bit of a doormat, who finally tries to find her wings.

You get this story through flashbacks and through the present.

Could I relate to the characters?

No way. It would be nice if I had a husband that was a lawyer and could make gourmet dinners, drive a Benz, or take off for Charleston to visit family at the drop of a hat. I wish I could relate.

Did I like the book?

Yes, actually I did, because it wasn't about pretty big boobed young things that find their prince charming. It is about a women finding herself and finding love along the way.  Oh, and the Barbies did provide for some chuckles, especially at Molly's wedding.

I only wish, in the course of the journey, Wes could have changed a bit. Their children, Charlotte and Bertie did, and at the beginning of the story, you really had to think these two couldn't be redeemed.

Pop this book in your beach bag. It is definitely worth the read.

Rating: 4 flowers


Friday, April 25, 2014

Tasty Book Tours Book Review: The Right Side Of Mr. Wrong



The Right Side of Mr. Wrong
By: Jane Linfoot

Blurb
When determined singleton Shea Summers is persuaded to become the “wife” of the Lord of Edgerton Manor, the last thing she wants to do is play house with a stranger.

Brooding playboy Brando Marshall, is far from happy when Shea turns up at his sprawling estate with production crew in tow. Surely she’s just another woman after his wallet? And if she’s looking for Mr Right, she’s definitely hitting on the wrong guy. Then again, after catching an unscheduled glimpse of her knickers, perhaps Brando needs to teach this “gold-digger” a lesson!

She’s seizing the moment, he’s breaking the rules, and when bad boys can be so much fun, who can resist getting on the right side of Mr. Wrong...

Review: This was such a cute book.The premise involves a reality show and the Lord of the Manor, who is family thinks needs to find a wife. That's where Shea comes in. She's an organizer, but she is also there for the reality show that's turning Bachelor.

This was a fast paced read and full of fun and chemistry between Shea and Brando. (I have to admit Brando didn't seem a proper name for a Lord Of The Manor) I loved the way he was always rhyming Shea's name and the strange little expletives that were food related the came out of Shea's mouth.

What I loved was the blend of sensuality and heat that went between the characters without making the book too smutty. Not that I don't love me some smut, I just know there's a type of book for that sort of thing and this one wasn't it.

Both characters had issues with things in their past. When we learned what Shea's issue was, it was hard not to feel sorry for her. She went through quite a bit, very young, and it was easy to see then how that might make her a bit wary of marrying again or getting involved.


I really liked Brando because he was such a fun bad boy, that wasn't really bad at all.

That said, I really enjoyed this book and can't wait to see what Jane Linfoot might offer up next.

Rating: 5 flowers




Buy Links

Author Info
I write fun, flirty fiction, with feisty heroines and a bit of an edge. Writing romance is cool, because I get to wear pretty shoes instead of gumboots, and you'll notice this weakness for shoes comes through in my book covers! I live in a mountain kingdom in Derbyshire, England, where my family and pets are kind enough to ignore the domestic chaos – happily, we’re in walking distance of a supermarket. I love hearts, flowers, happy endings, all things vintage, most things french. When I’m not on facebook, and can’t find an excuse for shopping, I’ll be walking, or gardening. On days when I want to be really scared, I ride a tandem.
Author Links


twitter:   https://twitter.com/janelinfoot   @janelinfoot
Rafflecopter Giveaway (Ten Digital Copies of HOW TO WIN A GUY IN 10 DATES or $10.00 Amazon Gift Card)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

TLC Book Tours Book Review: The Idea Of Him

Author: Holly Peterson
Title: The Idea Of Him
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: April 1, 2014
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tours
Book Blurb: Allie Crawford has the life she always dreamed of—she’s number two at a high-profile P.R. firm; she has two kids she adores; and her husband is a blend of handsome and heroic. Wade is everything she thought a man was supposed to be—he’s running a successful newsmagazine and, best of all, he provides the stable yet exciting New York City life Allie believes she needs in order to feel secure and happy.

But when Allie finds Wade locked in their laundry room with a stunning blonde in snakeskin sandals, a scandal ensues that flips her life on its head. And when the woman wants to befriend Allie, an old flame calls, and a new guy gets a little too close for comfort, she starts to think her marriage is more of a facade than something real. Maybe she’s fallen in love not with Wade—but with the idea of him. Captivating and seductive, told in the whip-smart voice of a woman who is working hard to keep her parenting and career on track, The Idea of Him is a novel of conspiracy, intrigue, and intense passion—and discovering your greatest strength through your deepest fears.

Review:  The Idea Of Him was definitely not what I was expecting, and I mean that in a good way. Sure it was about a woman whose husband was less than faithful, but there was so much more to it than just a cheating spouse. There's intrigue, but not in a nail biting kind of way.

As I read this book, I found myself wishing it would be made into a movie. It has all the makings of a romantic comedy. I've already cast Jennifer Anniston as Allie, even though she's a bit too old for the part.

The plot is a bit far fetched, but its gripping and fun. The best part is the intrigue involving Allie's husband Wade, her boss Murray and an ex con Max. Toss in Jackie, who is trying to steer Allie in the right direction you have a book that is more than just a story about a relationship gone wrong.

But there's more to this story than Allie and her relationship with her husband, there's her issues with a guy from her past that she's still carrying a torch for. This relationship is almost as weird as her relationship with her husband. They just don't get it together quite right, and yet she can't let go of him.

I really loved the suspense that was the undercurrent here. This isn't your typical chicklit book. Even though relationships are part of what this story is about, there's much more too it, and that's what keeps you turning the pages.

The ending isn't mind blowing but it is a bit of an unsuspected twist in the story.

This is beach read material. Fun and fluffy!

Rating: 4 flowers


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

TLC Book Tours Book Review: Up At Butternut Lake

Author: Mary McNear
Title: Up At Butternut Lake
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: April 8, 2014
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tours 
Book Blurb: 
It's summer, and after ten years away, Allie Beckett has returned to her family's cabin beside tranquil Butternut Lake, where as a teenager she spent so many carefree days. She's promised her five-year-old son, Wyatt, they will be happy there. She's promised herself this is the place to begin again after her husband's death in Afghanistan. The cabin holds so many wonderful memories, but from the moment she crosses its threshold Allie is seized with doubts. Has she done the right thing uprooting her little boy from the only home he's ever known?

Allie and her son are embraced by the townsfolk, and her reunions with old acquaintances—her friend Jax, now a young mother of three with one more on the way, and Caroline, the owner of the local coffee shop—are joyous ones. And then there are newcomers like Walker Ford, who mostly keeps to himself—until he takes a shine to Wyatt . . . and to Allie.

Everyone knows that moving forward is never easy, and as the long, lazy days of summer take hold, Allie must learn to unlock the hidden longings of her heart, and to accept that in order to face the future she must also confront—and understand—what has come before.


Review:  There are some books that just scream, "Take me to the beach and read me!" This is definitely one of those books. (I wish I had a beach to go to with this book).

Mary McNear has created a wonderful town with Butternut Lake. Like Robyn Carr and Debbie Macomber, her small town draws you in and makes you want to stay there. As I read about Allie's cabin, I could easily visualize it. I wanted to get on a boat and sail. I wouldn't mind meeting the hunky Walker Ford. either.

There are so many great characters here, Allie's son Wyatt is one of them. He's so precious. You want to reach through the pages and squeeze him.

I liked how Allie's relationship with Walker develops slowly. Her grieving process over her husband is often a little hard to understand, not the why of it, but the way she is running away to grieve and really pushing away people that want to help.

Mary keeps things clean in this book. Yes, there's sex, but it isn't over the top between Allie and Walker and that fits with the type of story that's going on here. Spicy sex scenes wouldn't work here.

There are some other characters you meet here as well, Caroline who runs the coffee shop and Jax, an old school friend of Allie's that has a secret that's ready to come out.

Both women have unique pasts and you really want to get to know them as well as Allie, and you hope for the best with them too.

This is book that I simply couldn't put down, once I started it. I can't wait for the next book!

Rating: 5 flowers




Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Great Escapes Book Tours Book Review: Small Town Spin





Author: Lynn Dee Walker
Title: Small Town Spin
Publisher: Henery Press
Publish Date: April 8, 2014
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Great Escapes Book Tours & the author
Book Blurb: 
When a superstar athlete's son turns up dead in a tiny town on the Virginia coast, crime reporter Nichelle Clarke gets the inside scoop. But she quickly spies a gaping hole her inner Lois Lane cannot ignore.

Determined to unravel the mystery, Nichelle fights off paparazzi cameras and an unexpected rival. She uncovers an illegal moonshine operation, a string of copycat suicides, and a slew of closets stacked with more skeletons than slingbacks. Chasing a killer who’s a breath from getting away with murder, Nichelle realizes too late the culprit has her number—and it might be up


Review:  Small Town Spin is book 3 in the Headlines In High Heels Mystery series. I absolutely love this series so far. It is a little different from the average cozy because our heroine Nichelle Clarke is a crime reporter with a nose for news.

She gets the story when a local athlete's son turns up dead. They claim it is a suicide but something doesn't seem right. And then the boy's girlfriend ends up dead! Things are starting to look fishy, really fishy and Nichelle is determined to get to the bottom of it.

Her career puts her in a different class from other cozy mystery heroines. She's got a bit more know how than the amateur sleuth. And these two kids really had a lot to live for, and no signs that they'd want to commit suicide.

Lyn Dee Walker takes a hard hitting subject and while using it a cozy that will have you laughing while you turn the pages, it will also make you more aware.

Oh and did I mention Nichelle has two guys in her life? I love the love triangles! Joey and Kyle are great. I think by the time you finish this book you may be ready to pick teams. I'm team Joey all the way. I love me a bit of the bad boy.

There's a good mixture of hilarity in with the crime solving here. My favorite scenes involve a certain restaurant/strip club type place that has some uniquely named entrees, such as the C Cup!

The best part about this story is you will think you know who the killer is (and there are so many plot twists that give you more options on the whodunit end) but when you finally find out who it was, you will be shocked!

This is a totally fun series that you shouldn't miss if you love a good mystery.

Rating: 5 flowers





a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 21, 2014

TLC Book Tours Book Review: Outside In

Author: Doug Cooper
Title: Outside In
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press
Publish Date: Aug 13, 2013
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tours
Book Blurb: 
From Memorial Day until the student workers and tourists leave in the fall, the island community of Put-In-Bay, Ohio, thrives on alcohol, drugs, sexual experimentation, and any other means of forgetting responsibilities. To Brad Shepherd–recently forced out of his job as a junior high math teacher after the overdose death of a student–it’s exactly the kind of place he’s looking for.

Allured by the comfort and acceptance of the hedonistic atmosphere, Brad trades his academic responsibilities and sense of obligation for a bouncer’s flashlight and a pursuit of the endless summer. With Cinch Stevens, his new best friend and local drug dealer, at his side, Brad becomes lost in a haze of excess and instant gratification filled with romantic conquests, late-night excursions to special island hideaways, and a growing drug habit. Not even the hope from a blossoming relationship with Astrid, a bold and radiant Norwegian waitress, nor the mentoring from a mysterious mandolin player named Caldwell is enough to pull him out of his downward spiral. But as Labor Day approaches, the grim reality of his empty quest consumes him. With nowhere left to run or hide, Brad must accept that identity cannot be found or fabricated, but emerges from within when one has the courage to let go.

A look at one man’s belated coming of age that’s equally funny, earnest, romantic, and lamenting, Doug Cooper’s debut novel explores the modern search for responsibility and identity, showing through the eyes of Brad Shepherd how sometimes, we can only come to understand who we truly are by becoming the person we’re not.


Review:  Outside In is like so many coming of age stories I've read, with one exception, the main character is a guy. Brad Shepherd is a guy spiraling out of control after one of his students OD's on his watch.

I'm not really sure how I felt about the district forcing him out of his job from the start. I can see how it could happen, but I couldn't see any negligence on his part. Once this happens, he loses focus and himself and ends up in Put-In-Bay, OH.

Thanks Mr. Cooper, after Googling this lakeside town, I've decided that some day I must road trip there just to see Ohio's Perry Monument. I'm used to the one located in Presque Isle State Park, across the bay from where Perry's ship The Niagara is often docked.

This is the monument in Ohio



It is hard to believe such a normal guy can spiral down the wrong way so quickly. He takes a job as a bouncer and soon becomes caught up in drinking, drugs and more than a few sexual encounters.

I have to say, of the hookups Brad made in the course of the book, the only one that was really erotic was the one with Randy.

As things continue to go wrong Brad slowly starts to step away from the drugs. He did it a bit too easily in my opinion, especially after all the partying he did over the summer. I mean, this guy was drinking, smoking weed and snorting coke and yet he stops cold turkey.

The climax of the book ends with a death of one of the characters. It was more than a bit depressing, but not unexpected.

It was hard to like these characters. Not because they were bad, but because they were all so messed up in their own ways. You knew each one of them could be so much better that what they were. Haley was the one I felt the most sorry for. She grasped at relationships the wrong way. Astrid....well there was something about her that I just couldn't like. I wanted to smack her most of the time, along with Cinch.

Outside In, was a quick read, definitely different from the girlie books that I'm used to, but it was something that I enjoyed even as I stepped out of my comfort zone.

Rating: 4 flowers


Friday, April 18, 2014

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours Review: The Towers of Tuscany

Publication Date: January 23, 2014
New Arcadia Publishing
Formats: Paperback, Ebook
Genre: Historical Fiction
Set amid the twisting streets and sunlit piazzas of medieval Italy, the Towers of Tuscany tells the story of a woman who dares to follow her own path in the all-male domain of the painter’s workshop. Sofia Barducci is born into a world where a woman is only as good as the man who cares for her, but she still claims the right to make her own mistakes. Her first mistake is convincing her father to let her marry Giorgio Carelli, a wealthy saffron merchant in San Gimignano, the Tuscan city of towers. Trained in secret by her father to create the beautifully-crafted panels and altarpieces acclaimed today as masterpieces of late medieval art, Sofia’s desire for freedom from her father’s workshop leads her to betray her passion and sink into a life of loveless drudgery with a husband who comes to despise her when she does not produce a son.
In an attack motivated by vendetta, Sofia’s father is crushed by his own fresco, compelling Sofia to act or risk the death of her soul. The choice she makes takes her on a journey from misery to the heights of passion—both as a painter and as a woman. Sofia escapes to Siena where, disguised as a boy, she paints again. When her work attracts the notice of a nobleman who discovers the woman under the dirty smock, Sofia is faced with a choice that nearly destroys her.
The Towers of Tuscany unites a strong heroine with meticulously researched settings and compelling characters drawn from the rich tapestry of medieval Italy during one of Europe’s most turbulent centuries. The stylishly written plot is packed with enough twists and turns to keep readers up long past their bedtimes.

Praise for The Towers of Tuscany

“The Towers of Tuscany is a delightful escape to the Siena we all love. Carol Cram has crafted a delicious story about a strong woman torn between her secret past, her love of painting and the forbidden charms of her rich patron. Hard to resist and highly recommended!” – Anne Fortier, Author of The Lost Sisterhood and the New York Times bestseller, Juliet
“Carol Cram’s lush descriptions and intriguing characters bring this dramatic tale of medieval Tuscany to life. If you love Italian art, a feisty heroine, and a page-turning plot, you will adore this novel.” – Deborah Swift, Author of A Divided Inheritance
The Towers of Tuscany has all the elements of a wonderful historical novel―a talented, frustrated heroine, a treacherous, feckless husband, and a promise to a dying, much loved father who orders the heroine on a dangerous mission. Carol is a first rate storyteller. The research is well done. Every chapter displays a fine knowledge of painting technique of the 14th century, and customs and mores of the age. The details of dress, fabric, food, are flawless. The clever dialogue and fast pace make the novel zing along.” – Roberta Rich, Author of The Midwife of Venice and The Harem Midwife
“Sofia will set your heart racing as she attempts to find what we all, in our own ways, strive to seek: love, resolution, and artistic freedom. The legacy of this story will leave you yearning for more.” – Cathleen With, award-winning author of Having Faith in the Polar Girls’ Prison

Buy the Book

READ AN EXCERPT.

Review:  I wasn't sure what to expect when I started reading this book, but I do know that when I finished it I really loved it.

Sofia is a painter. She paints panels for her father who is a great artist in his own right. But no one really knows this because in this time period, women didn't do this kind of thing, and in Italy, women were forbidden to paint.

She's got an abusive husband who seems to be on the wrong side of things she takes matters into her own hands and flees.

This book was well written and well researched. The details of the time period come to life for the reader.

Definitely a must read for lovers of historical fiction with a touch of romance.

Rating: 5 flowers


About the AuthorCarol Cram

Carol M. Cram has enjoyed a great career as an educator, teaching at Capilano University in North Vancouver for over twenty years and authoring forty-plus bestselling textbooks on business communications and software applications. She holds an MA in Drama from the University of Toronto and an MBA from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. Carol is currently focusing as much of her attention as she can spare between walks in the woods on writing historical novels with an arts twist.
She and her husband, painter Gregg Simpson, share a life on beautiful Bowen Island near Vancouver, Canada.

Author Links

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, April 14
Review at Historical Novel Reviews
Tuesday, April 15
Review & Giveaway at Kinx’s Book Nook
Thursday, April 17
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Friday, April 18
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Guest Post & Giveaway at Just One More Chapter
Monday, April 21
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Excerpt & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Tuesday, April 22
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Guest Post at Kincavel Korner
Wednesday, April 23
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Thursday, April 24
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Friday, April 25
Review & Giveaway at Words and Peace

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Book Review: When The Cypress Whispers

Author: Yvette Manessis Corporon
Title: When The Cypress Whispers
Publisher: Harper
Publish Date: April 1, 2014
Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tours
Book Blurb: 
On a beautiful Greek island, myths, magic, and a colorful cast of mortals come together in a lushly atmospheric debut celebrating the powerful bond between an American woman and her Greek grandmother.

The daughter of Greek immigrants, Daphne has been brought up to believe in the American dream. When her husband dies in a car accident, leaving her with an inconsolable baby and stacks of bills, she channels everything she has into opening her own Greek restaurant. Now an acclaimed chef and restaurateur, she has also found a second chance at love with her wealthy, handsome fiancé.

Although American by birth, Daphne spent many blissful childhood summers on the magical Greek island of Erikousa, which her grandmother still calls home. At her Yia-yia’s side, she discovered her passion for cooking and absorbed the vibrant rhythms of island life, infused with ancient myths and legends lovingly passed down through generations. Somehow her beloved grandmother could always read her deepest thoughts, and despite the miles between them Daphne knows Yia-yia is the one person who can look beyond Daphne’s storybook life of seeming perfection to help her stay grounded. With her wedding day fast approaching, Daphne returns to Erikousa and to Yia-yia’s embrace.

The past and the present beautifully entwine in this glorious, heartfelt story about a woman trapped between the siren call of old-world traditions and the demands of a modern career and relationship. When Daphne arrives on Erikousa with her daughter, Evie, in tow, nothing is the way she recalls it, and she worries that her elderly Yia-yia is losing her grip on reality. But as the two of them spend time together on the magical island once again, her grandmother opens up to share remarkable memories of her life there—including moving stories of bravery and loyalty in the face of death during World War II—and Daphne remembers why she returned. Yia-yia has more than one lesson to teach her: that security is not the same as love, that her life can be filled with meaning again, and that the most important magic to believe in is the magic of herself.



Review:  When The Cypress Whispers is truly one of the most beautiful and beautifully written works of women's fiction that I've read in quite a long time.

Yvette brings the Greek island, Erikousa and all its inhabitants to life. This is possibly the most vivid novel that I've read. I really felt like this book was a feast for all of the senses. Everything just came to life for me as I read.

I loved Yia-yia. She was the kind of grandmother that we all dream of having. Her relationships with Daphne and her daughter, Evie help to make this novel such a wonderful read.

The story is about relationships and dreams and how sometimes the dreams we have have aren't necessarily the one's that are right for us. When Daphne comes back to the island she learns that the money she thinks is so important, really isn't.

We get wonderful snapshots of Daphne's life growing up, both on the island and in New York. You get to see her relationships with the men in her life, her first husband, Alex, her fiance, Stephen and her grandmother's young friend Yianni.

I felt bad for Stephen for part of the book, knowing early on that it wasn't likely that he would end up marrying Daphne, but then there was a scene where they were discussing Yia Yia and a nursing home, and I knew right then and there, that I hated him,

This was a wonderful read that left me with tears in my eyes towards the end. A lot of tears.  The actual ending came as quite a surprise. It definitely wasn't what I was expecting.

Definitely one of this year's must read books, perfect for the summer reading season.

Rating: 5 flowers



AUTHOR LINKS:

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Book Review: The Chase

Author: Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg
Title: The Chase
Publisher: Bantam
Publish Date: Feb 25, 2014
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: 
Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg, New York Times bestselling authors of The Heist, return in this action-packed, exciting adventure featuring master con artist Nicolas Fox and die-hard FBI agent Kate O’Hare. And this time around, things go from hot to nuclear when government secrets are on the line. Internationally renowned thief and con artist Nicolas Fox is famous for running elaborate and daring scams. His greatest con of all: convincing the FBI to team him up with the only person who has ever caught him, and the only woman to ever capture his attention, Special Agent Kate O’Hare. Together they’ll go undercover to swindle and catch the world’s most wanted—and untouchable—criminals. Their newest target is Carter Grove, a former White House chief of staff and the ruthless leader of a private security agency. Grove has stolen a rare Chinese artifact from the Smithsonian, a crime that will torpedo U.S. relations with China if it ever becomes public. Nick and Kate must work under the radar—and against the clock—to devise a plan to steal the piece back. Confronting Grove’s elite assassins, Nick and Kate rely on the skills f their ragtag crew, including a flamboyant actor, a Geek Squad techie, and a band of AARP-card-carrying mercenaries led by none other than Kate’s dad. A daring heist and a deadly chase lead Nick and Kate from Washington, D.C., to Shanghai, from the highlands of Scotland to the underbelly of Montreal. But it’ll take more than death threats, trained henchmen, sleepless nights, and the fate of a dynasty’s priceless heirloom to outsmart Fox and O’Hare.

Review:  The Fox & O'Hare series is a bit different from what I'm used to reading by Janet Evanovich, but it does leave me feeling like I'm having a case of deja vu. When you toss Lee Goldberg into the mix, Evanovich's crazy style ends up looking like a cross between several USA Network dramadies (Covert Affairs, Psych and White Collar)

Nick Fox is so much like Neil Caffrey that it is hard to believe I'm not reading a White Collar tie in book (except they don't write those ..at least I think they don't write those)

I think the highlight of the book is Boyd, the actor they hire to help with the cons. He's hysterical. He has that wacky crazy that you get in the Plum novels, kinda like Lula!

The book was full of action and Kate is definitely a kick butt kind of girl. More so, than any of Evanovich's other characters.

There's a lot of chemistry between Kate and Neil, but I can't picture them ever together, which is in a way kind of cool. There are too many love triangles in these books, and the way this series is written, I don't think romance between Kate and Neil would really work.

As for the con? It felt like it was going on and on and on. I knew when they completed the first part quickly that things were going to go wrong, and did they ever.

I'm going to file this series under guilty pleasure reading, even though I have no guilt about it. It was light fluffy fun.

Rating: 4 flowers



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Book Review: Explosive Eighteen

Author: Janet Evanovich
Title: Explosive Eighteen
Publisher: Bantam
Publish Date: Nov 22, 2011
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: 
Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum’s life is set to blow sky high when international murder hits dangerously close to home, in this dynamite novel by Janet Evanovich.

Before Stephanie can even step foot off Flight 127 Hawaii to Newark, she’s knee deep in trouble. Her dream vacation turned into a nightmare, and she’s flying back to New Jersey solo. Worse still, her seatmate never returned to the plane after the L.A. layover. Now he’s dead—and a ragtag collection of thugs and psychos, not to mention the FBI, are all looking for a photograph he was supposed to be carrying.

Only one person has seen the missing photo: Stephanie Plum. Now she’s the target. An FBI sketch artist helps Stephanie re-create the person in the photo, but Stephanie’s descriptive skills are lacking. Until she can improve them, she’ll need to watch her back.

Over at the bail bonds agency things are going from bad to worse. Vinnie’s temporary HQ has gone up in smoke. Stephanie’s wheelman, Lula, falls for their largest skip yet. Lifetime arch nemesis Joyce Barnhardt moves into Stephanie’s apartment. And everyone wants to know what happened in Hawaii?

Morelli, Trenton’s hottest cop, isn’t talking about Hawaii. Ranger, the man of mystery, isn’t talking about Hawaii. And all Stephanie is willing to say about her Hawaiian vacation is . . . It’s complicated.


Review: Every so often I have to visit my old pal Stephanie Plum. I have to admit, 18 books have taken the sparkle off of Steph and the gang, but that doesn't mean I don't smile through the books.

It's been awhile since I visited Trenton, NJ, but I'm glad I took the time to read Explosive Eighteen. It was fun and funny and oddly, I don't think Stephanie had any cars blown up. When did that stop? OK, nothing gets blown up, but one of their skips...who Lula ends up hooking up with, sure likes to steal them, from her!

Not to worry, she still has a hard time doing her job, but what fun would it be if she actually could catch most of her skips? She also still hasn't decided between Morelli and Ranger, and to tell you the truth, I don't think I could decide either. I like the extra tension in this one that is a result of her Hawaiian vacation that went terribly wrong and leaves her with a tan line where a wedding ring used to be.

La La La...no spoilers...but the reason for that tan line is a little less satisfying than I was hoping, especially as things are a bit chilly from one of her two guys.

Then there's the matter of this photo that's getting her chased by lots of thugs and the FBI as well as an issue with Joyce. And of course there's a funeral or two. This book is a little light on Grandma Mazur and the rest of Steph's family, which is a little disappointing, because they really bring on the laughs, but when Grandma appears she always steals the show, especially with her friend Annie who makes love potions. (Lula and the love potion = hilarity!)

There's lots going on in this book, maybe too much, but it was still a good time and it has put me in the mood for more Plum.

Rating: 4 flowers




 
Blog Design by Use Your Imagination Designs using images from the Tea Time kit and the Saturday Night kit by MK-Designs