April 11, 2014

Serpents in the Garden by Anna Belfrage

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

Serpents in the Garden by Anna Belfrage
The Graham Saga - Book 5
ISBN: 9781781321737

Synopsis: After years of hard work, Matthew and Alex Graham have created a thriving home in the Colony of Maryland. About time, in Alex’s opinion, after far too many adventures she is really looking forward to some well-deserved peace and quiet.  

A futile hope, as it turns out. Things start to heat up when Jacob, the third Graham son, absconds from his apprenticeship to see the world – especially as Jacob leaves behind a girl whom he has wed in a most irregular fashion. 

Then there’s the infected matter of the fellow time traveller Alex feels obliged to help – no matter the risk. Worst of all, one day Philip Burley and his brothers resurface after years of absence. As determined as ever to make Matthew pay for every perceived wrong – starting with the death of their youngest brother – the Burleys play out a complicated cat and mouse game, and Alex is thrown back into an existence where her heart is constantly in her mouth, convinced as she is that one day the Burleys will achieve their purpose. 

Will the Burleys succeed? And if they do, will the Graham family survive the exacted price?

Serpents in the Garden is the fifth book in Anna Belfrage’s time slip series featuring time traveller Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham.

My review: I enjoyed this current book in the Graham Saga. One thing I like about this series is the time traveling as well the historical aspect. I think the characters are very strong and interesting. The author did a good job with describing the settings and has a way to make you feel like you are a part of the book. I look forward to the next book in this series. 

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

About the Author

I was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result I’m multilingual and most of my reading is historical – both non-fiction and fiction.

I was always going to be a writer – or a historian, preferably both. Instead I ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for my most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career I raised my four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive … Nowadays I spend most of my spare time at my writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and I slip away into my imaginary world, with my imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in my life pops his head in to ensure I’m still there. I like that – just as I like how he makes me laugh so often I’ll probably live to well over a hundred.

I was always going to be a writer. Now I am – I have achieved my dream.

For more information, please visit Anna Belfrage’s website.  You can also find her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

April 5, 2014

A Killing Notion by Melissa Bourbon - Review and Giveaway

A Killing Notion by Melissa Bourbon
Magical Dressmaking Series #5
ISBN: 9780451417206
Mass Mark Paperback

Synopsis: Harlow is doing everything she can to expand her dressmaking business, Buttons & Bows—without letting clients know about her secret charm. When she has a chance to create homecoming dresses with a local charity and handmade mums for several high school girls—including Gracie, whose father, Will, has mended Harlow’s heart—she is ready to use her magical talents for a great cause.
But when Gracie’s date for the dance is accused of murder, Harlow knows things won’t be back on course until she helps Gracie clear the football player’s name. If Harlow can’t patch up this mess before the big game, her business and her love life might be permanently benched.

Review: I really enjoyed this book. The characters in this book are so nice and fun, they are just like your friends. I would love to live in this little down it is so cozy. I really like that Harlow was creating homecoming dresses for charity.  The mystery part of the book is fun for me, I never seem to figure out how did it until the end but that is the part that I like. I have enjoyed this series from the beginning and look forward to more. I hope you enjoy it as well. 

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April 4, 2014

Queen Elizabeth's Daughter by Anne Clinard Barnhill

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

Queen Elizabeth's Daughter by Anne Clinard Barnhill
A Novel of Elizabeth I
ISBN: 9780312662122
Trade Paperback

Synopsis: Mistress Mary Shelton is Queen Elizabeth’s favorite ward, enjoying every privilege the position affords. The queen loves Mary like a daughter, and, like any good mother, she wants her to make a powerful match. The most likely prospect: Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford. But while Oxford seems to be everything the queen admires: clever, polished and wealthy, Mary knows him to be lecherous, cruel, and full of treachery. No matter how hard the queen tries to push her into his arms, Mary refuses.

Instead, Mary falls in love with a man who is completely unsuitable. Sir John Skydemore is a minor knight with little money, a widower with five children. Worst of all, he’s a Catholic at a time when Catholic plots against Elizabeth are rampant. The queen forbids Mary to wed the man she loves. When the young woman, who is the queen’s own flesh and blood, defies her, the couple finds their very lives in danger as Elizabeth’s wrath knows no bounds.

My review: This is the first book I have read by this author and I really enjoyed it. Elizabeth I has interested me so for me I was really looking forward to this book. I for some reason did not realize Mary was her ward so it was nice to learn something as I was reading this book. The author did a very good job developing the characters and the setting of this book so that I felt as if I was right there. I highly recommend this book to fans of the Elizabethan time period especially if you are looking for a book that you will not be able to put down. I look forward to finding more books by this author. 

Buy the Book

About the Author

Anne Clinard Barnhill has been writing or dreaming of writing for most of her life. For the past twenty years, she has published articles, book and theater reviews, poetry, and short stories. Her first book, AT HOME IN THE LAND OF OZ, recalls what it was like growing up with an autistic sister. Her work has won various awards and grants. Barnhill holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Besides writing, Barnhill also enjoys teaching, conducting writing workshops, and facilitating seminars to enhance creativity. She loves spending time with her three grown sons and their families. For fun, she and her husband of thirty years, Frank, take long walks and play bridge. In rare moments, they dance.
For more information, please visit Anne Clinard Barnhill’s website. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, March 10
Review at Words and Peace
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Wednesday, March 12
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Thursday, March 13
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Friday, March 14
Review at The Lit Bitch
Monday, March 17
Review at The True Book Addict
Feature & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, March 18
Spotlight & Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, March 19
Review at One Book at a Time
Thursday, March 20
Review at Book-alicious Mama
Friday, March 21
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Monday, March 24
Review at Scandalous Women
Review at She is Too Fond of Books
Tuesday, March 25
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Wednesday, March 26
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Thursday, March 27
Review at Book of Secrets
Friday, March 28
Review at The Musings of ALMYBNENR
Monday, March 31
Review at HF Book Muse – News
Review & Giveaway at WTF Are You Reading?
Tuesday, April 1
Interview at HF Book Muse – News
Thursday, April 3
Review at Books in the Burbs
Friday, April 4
Review at Griperang’s Bookmarks
Monday, April 7
Review at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Tuesday, April 8
Review at A Bookish Affair
Wednesday, April 9
Interview & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Thursday, April 10
Review at The Most Happy Reader
Friday, April 11
Review at Silver’s Reviews

March 24, 2014

True Love by Jude Deveraux - Review and Giveaway

True Love by Jude Deveraux
Nantucket Brides #1
ISBN: 9780345541796

Synopsis: Jude Deveraux, the New York Times bestselling author of unforgettable romance, returns with a breathtaking first book in a fantastic new series—the Nantucket Brides trilogy. Set on the magical Massachusetts island,True Love introduces characters from a new generation of Montgomery-Taggerts, the beloved family from Deveraux’s classic novels.

Just as Alix Madsen is finishing up architectural school, Adelaide Kingsley dies and wills her, for one year, the use of a charming nineteenth-century Nantucket house. The elderly woman’s relationship to the Madsen family is a mystery to the spirited Alix—fresh from a romantic breakup—but for reasons of her own Alix accepts the quirky bequest, in part because it gives her time to plan her best friend’s storybook wedding.

But unseen forces move behind the scenes, creaking Kingsley House’s ancient floorboards. It seems that Adelaide Kingsley had a rather specific task for Alix: to solve the strange disappearance of one of the Kingsley women, Valentina, more than two hundred years ago. If that wasn’t troubling enough, Alix must deal with the arrogant (and extremely good-looking) architect Jared Montgomery, who is living in the property’s guesthouse.

Unbeknown to Alix, Jared has been charged with looking after her while she lives on the island—an easy task for him, considering the undeniable chemistry between the two. But Jared harbors secrets of his own, which, if revealed, may drive a wedge between the pair.

With a glorious Nantucket wedding on the horizon, sparks fly, and the ghosts of the past begin to reveal themselves—some of them literally. Finding their lives inextricably entwined with the turbulent fortunes of their ancestors, Alix and Jared discover that only by righting the wrongs of the past can they hope to be together.

My review: I enjoyed this book because it not only has romance it has a touch of mystery and ghosts which make the story that much better to me. Jude did a very good job with descriptions of not only the characters but the setting of the book. You felt as if you really knew the characters and could imagine yourself on Nantucket with them. I have only read one other book by Jude "The Knight in Shining Armor" and I really enjoyed it so when I saw the synopsis I thought it would be a good one for me to read. It did not disappoint and even though I have not read any of the other Montgomery-Taggart books I was not lost at all. I recommend this book if you are looking for  a fun couple of days of reading. 

Be sure to check out the rest of the stops on the tour - listed below:

The publisher is also giving away three paperback copies of this book to some lucky winners. Just enter below. This giveaway is for the US only - sorry. If you win I will send you an email and you will have 48 hours to respond, if you do not then I will unfortunately have to draw a new winner. Good Luck

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March 19, 2014

The Cottage on Juniper Ridge by Sheila Roberts

The Cottage on Juniper Ridge by Sheila Roberts
Life in Icicle Falls #4
ISBN: 9780778314547
Mass Market Paperback

Synopsis: Can a book change your life? Yes, when it's Simplicity, Muriel Sterling's guide to plain living. In fact, it inspires Jen Heath to leave her stressful, overcommitted life in Seattle and move to Icicle Falls, where she rents a lovely little cottage on Juniper Ridge. And where she can enjoy simple pleasures - like joining the local book club - and complicated ones, like falling in love with her sexy landlord, Garrett Armstrong.

Her sister Toni is ready for a change, too. She has a teenage daughter who's constantly texting her friends, a husband who's more involved with his computer than he is with her, and a son who's consumed by video games. Toni wants her family to grow closer - to return to a simpler way of life.

Other women in town, like Stacy Thomas, are also inspired to unload their excess stuff and some of the extra responsibilities they've taken on.

But as they all discover, sometimes life simply happens. It doesn't always happen simply!

My review: I can't not say enough good things about this book, I absolutely loved this book. This is the second book in this series that I have read and one of these days I will get the first two read as this is one of my most favorite series. Icicle Falls is a town you fall in love with and want to pack up and move to. Another part of this book I liked was watching each of the characters learn how to simplify their life. It was ice watching each of them transform and their relationships prosper. I highly recommend this book to everyone and I can't wait for the next one in the series.

March 17, 2014

Rhys Bowen - Author Interview and Book Spotlight

Please welcome Rhys Bowen to my blog. She writes some great cozy mysteries that I think you will enjoy. 

What made you decide to write cozy mysteries?
I write stories that I want to tell, books that I want to read and are not on the shelf. I really don't like the term "cozy" as I feel it makes traditional/non-violent mysteries seem smaller and less important than the dark and violent ones. My Royal Spyness series may be light but it is never slight. It always has a solid historical underpinnings. And Molly Murphy -- well, they are not so cozy!

How do you come up with the names of the characters for your books?
Molly came into being because I wanted to write a strong, first person female who wasn't always wise and didn't always know when to shut up (maybe a little like me?). Lady Georgie was born when my editor wanted me to write big dark books and I knew I wanted a really fun series instead. I tried to think who was the most unlikely sleuth and decided royal but penniless would be a lot of fun. 

Who designs your covers? Do you get any influence on them?
The art department at my publishers design the covers. They run the sketches past me and I get considerable feed back. I have loved all of them. 

I know this question is asked a lot but where do you get your ideas for your books and how long does it take you to do your research?
The more you write, the more ideas pop into your head. Sometimes it is a snippet of news I hear, sometimes something I read about in the past, sometimes just thinking "wouldn't it be fun if..." I do lots of research, especially for the Molly books in early New York. I read, I look at photos, I walk the street of New York that Molly walked. For Lady Georgie I am in England a lot. I know people who own the sort of country houses where Georgie might stay. I list to older people talking. One of the advantages of marrying into an upper-class family!

What keeps you focused when you are writing?
That contract with the word "Deadline" in it. Knowing I have to complete a book in three months keeps my nose to the grindstone. 

Who is your favorite character and why? How about your least favorite character and why?
I am rather fond of Georgie's grandfather. He has no pretentions, but neither is he daunted by her high status. He's based on my own father. I'm also really fond of Sid and Gus in the Molly books. Of course I adore Darcy (who wouldn't?) And my least favorite is clearly Fig. I can't stand mean-spirited people. 

What can we expect from you in the future?
Great things, I hope! But seriously -- my next Molly book comes out on March 4th and is called City of Darkness and Light. A lot of fun to write as I take Molly to Paris and the post-Impressionist art world. And then in August is the next Royal Spyness book, called Queen of Hearts. Georgie crosses the Atlantic and finds herself in Hollywood. Obviously this is my year for traveling. 

What is a favorite book or author you like to read or would like to recommend to your readers?
The funny thing is that my favorite authors are also my close friends. Louise Penny, Deborah Crombie and Jacqueline Winspear all write fabulous books and are all dear dear friends. 

Who or what influenced your love of books?
My great aunt. She was a voracious reader and told e the stories of her favorite books long before I could read them. I grew up knowing Dickens by heart. 

Is there someone who encourages you most in your writing? Who is it and how do they influence you?
Yes, my fans. I am awed by letters I get from people who are battling cancer, coping with a loss, and say that my books have helped them trough a difficult time. 

When you are not writing what do you like to do?
I love to sing, to paint, to travel, to hike. I wish there were more hours in a day. 

List five random things about yourself.
I used to sing in an opera chorus
I love oysters and all seafood
I can beat my family at ping pong
I think family and friends are the best things in life
I'm addicted to Downton Abbey
Molly Murphy Series

You can purchase City of Darkness and Light at Amazon (click here)
Royal Spyness Series

Constable Evans Series
To read more about Rhys and her books you can check out her website (click here)

Here is a little more in depth bio of Rhys (taken from her website): Rhys Bowen was born in Bath, England, of a family that was half Welsh, half English. She was educated at London University and then began her career with the BBC, where she became a drama studio manager. She had made up stories all her life. While working on a boring play she decided to write a play of her own. With the bravado of a 22 year old she marched into the office of the head of BBC drama and handed him the script. Two days later he summoned her and told her that they were going to produce the play..  Rhys has never looked back. 
The British climate forced Rhys to escape to Australia where she worked for Australian Broadcasting before meeting her future husband, a fellow Brit who was on his way to California. So Rhys packed up again and found herself in San Francisco where she settled and has lived ever since, raising four children.
 Finding nothing like the BBC in San Francisco, Rhys turned to writing children’s books under her married name, Janet Quin-Harkin. Her first picture book was an immediate success and won several awards. More picture books followed, then her agent asked her to write a book for young adults. This was a turning point in Rhys’s career. Her first young adult novel was an instant hit. By her third she was selling half a million copies. Many more popular YA novels followed until Rhys decided she had said all she wanted to say about teenage love and angst, and she turned her real love—mysteries. 
The sort of books she loves to read are those with a great sense of time and place. So she considered where to set a series of her own and chose the mountains of North Wales, where she had spent many happy childhood vacations and used her grandfather’s name as her nom de plume. Constable Evan Evans was the hero of these novels that took place in a tiny fictitious village in Snowdonia. The series was well received from the start. The second book, Evan Help Us, was nominated for a Barry Award. Evan’s Gate achieved the ultimate success when it was nominated for the Edgar best novel—the highest prize in mysterydom. 
But it was a chance visit to Ellis Island that made Rhys start thinking in a new direction. The spunky and not always wise Molly Murphy came into her head, fleeing from Ireland and finding herself implicated in a murder on Ellis Island in the first book, MURPHY”S LAW. This book won the Agatha Best Novel award, plus three others. Every subsequent book in the series has received awards, nominations and glowing reviews.  Book eleven, HUSH NOW, DON’T YOU CRY, was published in March 2012 and went straight to the New York Times bestseller list. 
Never one to rest on her laurels Rhys reacted to the gloom and doom of real life by creating a second heroine—this one aimed to amuse. She is Lady Georgiana, 34th in line to the British throne but utterly penniless and struggling to make her own way in the cruel world of the Great Depression. Her Royal Spyness was a bestseller, nominated for many awards and instantly endeared readers to her heroine. The following books have all received award nominations. The 2011 book, Naughty in Nice started off with a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly and was then nominated for an Agatha, Bruce Alexander and RT Reviews award. The audio version is also nominated for an Audie. In April 2012 it won the Agatha Award for best historical mystery.
Rhys is listed in Who’s Who in America under her married name, Janet Quin-Harkin
As well as novels Rhys has written many short stories, including an Anthony winner. She is an ex chapter president of Mystery Writers of America. When not writing she loves to travel, sing, hike, paint, play her Celtic harp and spoil her grandchildren.

March 12, 2014

A Sky without Stars by Linda S. Clare - Giveaway included

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

A Sky without Stars by Linda S Clarke
Quilts of Love Series
ISBN: 9781426752797
Trade paperback

Synopsis: In 1951, Frankie Chasing Bear is a Lakota caught between cultures. She wants to raise her son Harold to revere his Lakota heritage, but she knows he will need to become as a white man to succeed. After his father's killed in a barroom brawl, Harold and Frankie move to Arizona, where she begins a Lakota Star pattern quilt for Harold with tribal wisdom sung, sewn and prayed into it.

She distrusts Christians, as her own parents were forced to convert at an Indian School, until she meets BIA agent Nick Vandergriff, a half-Lakota who's also caught between cultures. Nick must convince Frankie that white men and Christians aren't all bad as he tries to win her heart in order to put the stars back into her sky.

My review: I was drawn to this book because the characters are Native American and I enjoy reading books about them. This is the first book I have read by this author and I thought she did a good job in the telling of this story. It is so nice that this entire series has a quilt somewhere in the story. You can read this book as a standalone as each book is it's own story. Another part of this story that I really liked was that Frankie wanted to teach her son about his Lakota heritage and to respect it. I think that is very important. One thing I did not like was the way the Native American's were treated at this time, I know it was the way it was but I don't like it and it had to be told as it was a part of the story. The author did a nice job in the way she wrote the book so it was very easy to read as well as enjoyable. I recommend this book to fans of Christian fiction and fans of Native American Stories. 

Be sure to check out - Litefuse (click here) to see all the stops on the tour. 

About the Author: Linda S. Clare is an award-winning coauthor of three books, including Lost Boys and the Moms Who Love Them(with Melody Carlson and Heather Kopp), Revealed: Spiritual Reality in a Makeover World, and Making Peace with a Dangerous God (with Kristen Johnson Ingram). She is also the author of The Fence My Father Built. She has taught college-level creative writing classes for seven years, and edits and mentors writers. She also is a frequent writing conference presenter and church retreat leader. She and her husband of thirty-one years have four grown children, including a set of twins. They live in Eugene, Oregon, with their five wayward cats: Oliver, Xena the Warrior Kitty, Paladine, Melchior, and Mamma Mia!
Don't miss this month's Quilts of Love book, A Star Without Stars, by Linda S. Clare. Linda is celebrating the release with a Kindle HDX giveaway and joining her fellow Quilts of Love authors, Barbara Cameron and Joyce Magnin, for a Facebook "Spring Fling" party on April 1st.

  One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • Scraps of Evidence by Barbara Cameron
  • A Sky Without Stars by Linda S. Clare
  • Maybelle in Stitches by Joyce Magnin
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 1st. Winner will be announced at the "Spring Fling" Facebook Party on April 1st. RSVP today and connect with the authors from the Quilts of Love series, Barbara Cameron, Linda S. Clare, and Joyce Magnin, for an evening of book chat, quilt trivia, prizes, and an exclusive look at the next Quilts of Love book!

So grab your copies of Scraps of EvidenceA Sky Without Stars, and Maybelle in Stitches and join Barbara, Linda, and Joyce on the evening of April 1st for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the books, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN at the event page. Spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway and party via FACEBOOK or TWITTER. Hope to see you on April 1st!