October 19, 2014

Written in My Own Heart's Blood by Diana Gabaldon


Written in my Own Heart's Blood by Diana Gabaldon
Outlander #5
ISBN: 9780385344432
Hardback

Synopsis: In her now classic novel Outlander, Diana Gabaldon told the story of Claire Randall, an English ex-combat nurse who walks through a stone circle in the Scottish Highlands in 1946, and disappears . . . into 1743. The story unfolded from there in seven bestselling novels, and CNN has called it “a grand adventure written on a canvas that probes the heart, weighs the soul and measures the human spirit across [centuries].” Now the story continues in Written in My Own Heart’s Blood.
 
1778: France declares war on Great Britain, the British army leaves Philadelphia, and George Washington’s troops leave Valley Forge in pursuit. At this moment, Jamie Fraser returns from a presumed watery grave to discover that his best friend has married his wife, his illegitimate son has discovered (to his horror) who his father really is, and his beloved nephew, Ian, wants to marry a Quaker. Meanwhile, Jamie’s wife, Claire, and his sister, Jenny, are busy picking up the pieces.
 
The Frasers can only be thankful that their daughter Brianna and her family are safe in twentieth-century Scotland. Or not. In fact, Brianna is  searching for her own son, who was kidnapped by a man determined to learn her family’s secrets. Her husband, Roger, has ventured into the past in search of the missing boy . . . never suspecting that the object of his quest has not left the present. Now, with Roger out of the way, the kidnapper can focus on his true target: Brianna herself.
 
Written in My Own Heart’s Blood is the brilliant next chapter in a masterpiece of the imagination unlike any other.

My Review: I have been a fan of the Outlander series from the very first book. This book did not disappoint me even though it seemed to take me a little longer to read this one. There were times that Diana had me on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next with Roger and Brianna's family. It was nice to see Ian find someone he wants to be with. I always like the way the author intermingles history with her fictional characters. Can you imagine meeting Sam Adams, George Washington and many others. I think I would have been awe struck. Diana has a way of making you feel so connected with each of these characters. I can't wait to see what happens in the next book. 

To Everything a Season by Lauraine Snelling - Book Spotlight and a Sweepstakes


In bestselling author Lauraine Snelling's new novel, To Everything A Season, the tight-knit town of Blessing, North Dakota faces change and challenge at every turn.
In the middle of the maelstrom is young Trygve Knutson. He's devoted to his family and his community, but he sometimes dreams of other horizons--especially since meeting Miriam Hastings.
Miriam is in Blessing with one goal: to complete her training as a nurse, and get back to Chicago to support her siblings and her ailing mother.  But the town of Blessing has a way of drawing in the most reluctant visitor, and soon Miriam's attachment to Trygve and his family has her questioning her entire future.
To celebrate the release of this heart-warming novel, Bethany House and author Lauraine Snelling are pleased to present the SEASONS OF GRACE Sweepstakes. This sweepstakes features three special prizes, each closely connected to the book:  One prize to sweep you back into history, one prize to enable you to give to someone else, and one prize to help you celebrate a little of the story's romance, in your own home.

This giveaway starts October 14, 2014 and ends November 3, 2014 @ 11:59 pm (PST). Entry is open to US residents only, age 18 and over. Winners will be selected Tuesday November 4, 2014, and announced atlaurainesnelling.com.
   
GRAND PRIZE:
SEASONS OF GRACE Grand Prize
RED RIVER RAILWAY ADVENTURE
In To Everything A Season, new visitors, old friends, and important supplies are transported to town on these rails, and the arrival platform is a place of warm greetings and new beginnings.
Our Grand Prize winner will have the chance to experience some of the same warmth and excitement with an authentic taste of the golden age of railroad travel:
A $200 value Scenic Steam Train Ride for Two (Location and dates available nationwide and will be specific to the winner's state).
         
SECOND PRIZE:
SEASONS OF GRACE Second Prize
DINNER DELIVERY FROM INGEBORG
In the story, the inventive Ingeborg Bjorklund is well-known for her cooking, bread baking, and cheese making, and now she's pondering another new idea to help her hometown: a delivery service!
Like the hard-working people in Blessing, many of our friends and family members carry heavy workloads and health burdens, and could use a helping hand and a comforting meal.
While we may not be able to deliver Ingeborg's cooking, our Second Prize winner will win the next best thing, to be used for themselves, or as a gift to brighten the day of a friend facing chemo, a military spouse, a lonely senior citizen, or other worthy recipient:
$175 meal delivery gift card for MagicKitchen.com - Provide a full Thanksgiving meal for 6, or an extended selection of meals for 1 or 2. Gluten free, low sodium, and dialysis-friendly meals available.
       
THIRD PRIZE:
SEASONS OF GRACE Third Prize
STEAL AWAY DATE NIGHT PACK
The peaceful farming community of Blessing faces an unexpected threat when robbers target banks and businesses in towns nearby. As the town comes together to find a solution to the thieving problem, Ingeborg notices another kind of stealing going on: the new nurse in town, Miriam Hastings, has completely stolen the heart of her nephew, Trygve.
Soon Trygve and the dark-haired nurse with the sad eyes are regulars at the Blessing Soda Shop, sharing thoughts and dreams over Rebecca Valders' famous fizzy concoctions.
Our Third Prize winner can share their own thoughts and dreams, and enjoy a taste of Blessing's Soda Shop at home, with the Steal Away Date Night Pack.
This $100 value package includes: The UnGame Couples Edition, the Soda Stream Fountain Jet Home Soda Starter Kit, and the Homemade Soda Recipe Book.

           
How to Enter:
Go to http://www.laurainesnelling.com/html/giveaways.html and complete the entry box, anytime betweenOctober 14 and November 3.  


 To Everything A Season – by Lauraine Snelling
ISBN:0764211048

Book Summary:
Trygve Knutson is devoted to his family and his community. With his job on the construction crew, he is helping to build a future for the North Dakota town of Blessing. Though he loves his home, he sometimes dreams of other horizons--especially since meeting Miriam Hastings.
Miriam is in Blessing to get practical training to become an accredited nurse. She's been promised a position in the Chicago women's hospital that will enable her to support her siblings and her ailing mother. Although eager to return to her family, Miriam is surprised to find how much she enjoys the small town of Blessing. And her growing attachment to Trygve soon has her questioning a future she always considered set in stone.
When a family emergency calls Miriam home sooner than planned, will she find a way to return? If not, will it mean losing Trygve--and her chance at love--for good?

Book Info & Sample Chapter:
Can be found at http://www.laurainesnelling.com/html/songofblessing.html

October 17, 2014

The Sharp Hook of Love by Sherry Jones - Review and Giveaway


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

The Sharp Hook of Love by Sherry Jones
ISBN: 9781451684797
Trade Paperback

Synopsis: “To forbid the fruit only sweetens its flavor”
Among the young women of 12th century Paris, Heloise d’Argenteuil stands apart. Extraordinarily educated and quick-witted, she is being groomed by her uncle to become an abbess in the service of God.
But with one encounter, her destiny changes forever. Pierre Abelard, headmaster at the Nôtre Dame Cloister School, is acclaimed as one of the greatest philosophers in France. His controversial reputation only adds to his allure, yet despite the legions of women swooning over his poetry and dashing looks, he is captivated by the brilliant Heloise alone. As their relationship blossoms from a meeting of the minds to a forbidden love affair, both Heloise and Abelard must choose between love, duty, and ambition.
Sherry Jones weaves the lovers’ own words into an evocative account of desire and sacrifice. As intimate as it is erotic, as devastating as it is beautiful, The Sharp Hook of Love is a poignant, tender tribute to one of history’s greatest romances, and to love’s power to transform and endure.  [provided by the author]

My Review: This is the first book that I have read by this author and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. I have not heard Heloise and Abelard's story before so this was something new for me to read and learn about while while enjoying this book. This was the telling of a timeless love story. Sherry did a good job with her research with an added bonus of using the real letters between these two to make the book that much more interesting. I liked the way Sherry developed her characters and set the scenes. Once you start this book you will not want to put it down. I am going to look for more books by this author. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


SHERRY JONES is also the author of Four Sisters, All Queens;
The Sword of Medina;
and her controversial, internationally bestselling debut, The Jewel of Medina.
She lives in Spokane, Washington.
Visit her website. Follow her on FacebookTwitter , Google +Pinterest, and Linked In
Subscribe to her newsletter.  Send her an email: sherry [at] authorsherryjones [dott com
Buy the book:  S&S  |  Amazon  |  B&N  |  BAM  | IndieBound  | Kindle   | iBookstore  | Nook



October 15, 2014

Secrets of Sloane House by Shelley Gray


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

Secrets of Sloane House by Shelley Gray
Chicago's World Fair Mystery Series #1
ISBN: 9780310338529
Trade Paperback

Synopsis: One woman's search for the truth of her sister's disappearance leads her to deceit and danger in 1893 Chicago.

Rosalind Perry has left her family's rural farm in Wisconsin to work as a housemaid at Sloane House, one of the most elegant mansions in Gilded Age Chicago. However, Rosalind is not there just to earn a living and support her family-she's at Sloane House determined to discover the truth about her sister's mysterious disappearance.

Reid Armstrong is the handsome heir to a silver fortune. However, his family is on the periphery of Chicago's elite because their wealth comes from "new money" obtained from successful mining. Marriage to Veronica Sloane would secure his family's position in society-the lifelong dream of his ailing father.

When Reid begins to realize that Rosalind's life may be in danger, he stops thinking of marriage prospects and concentrates on helping Rosalind. Dark things are afoot in Chicago and, he fears, in Sloane House. If he's not vigilant, Rosalind could pay the price.

Set against the backdrop of Chicago's Gilded Age and the 1893 World's Fair, Secrets of Sloane House takes us on a whirlwind journey of romance and mystery.

My review: I have to say this was a good book. The 1800s is one of my favorite time periods to read about and to include the World's Fair intrigues me.  Shelley did a good job with the character development and the descriptions of where the book took place so you feel as if you are a part of the book. Rosalind was a strong woman in my opinion. Once she set her mind to something she got it. There were a few twists and turns in this book that kept me turning the pages long into the night. Another thing I enjoyed was the upstairs/downstairs aspect of the book - I enjoy books like this. I am looking forward to the rest of this series. 

October 14, 2014

Seven Letters from Paris by Samantha Verant - Review, Giveaway and Guest Post


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

Seven Letters from Paris by Samantha Verant
ISBN: 978-1402297229
Trade Paperback

Synopsis: Twenty years, seven letters, and one long-lost love of a lifetime
At age 40, Samantha Vérant’s life is falling apart-she’s jobless, in debt, and feeling stuck… until she stumbles upon seven old love letters from Jean-Luc, the sexy Frenchman she’d met in Paris when she was 19. With a quick Google search, she finds him, and both are quick to realize that the passion they felt 20 years prior hasn’t faded with time and distance.
Samantha knows that jetting off to France to reconnect with a man that she only knew for one sun-drenched, passion-filled day is crazy-but it’s the kind of crazy she’s been waiting for her whole life. [provided by the publisher]

My Review: I love reading books about Paris and this one was no exception. This was a book that I could not put down. I loved how Samantha told her story and that she had the courage to follow her heart after being so down. I don't know if I could have been as strong as she was to do this and start all over again, but it paid off for her. Reading Samantha's story will pull at your heart strings. You will laugh and cry as you go along. I also liked how the author described things like the buildings and food, so you would feel as if you are along on this journey with her. If you are looking for a book to prove that true happiness does exist then this book is for you. I think she did a great job with her first memoir and look forward to seeing more books by her. This is a good book for women of all ages to read. 

WATCH THIS GREAT BOOK TRAILER


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Samantha Vérant is a travel addict,
a self-professed oenophile,
and a determined, if occasionally unconventional, French chef.
Over the years, she’s visited many different countries,
lived in many places, and worked many jobs
— always on the search for the one thing that truly excited her.
Then, one day, she found everything she’s been looking for:
a passion for the written word and true love.
Writing not only enabled her to open her heart, it led her to southwestern France,
where she’s now married to a sexy French rocket scientist she met in 1989, but ignored for 20 years.

Visit her website. Follow her on FacebookTwitter , Pinterest
Buy the book:  Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Indiebound  | Book Depositery  |  Powells  |  BAM


Be sure to check out France Book Tours (click here) to see all the stops on the tour. 


Guest Post by Samantha Verant

It would be a disaster if we stop this passion between us. And I am a man who cannot live without passion. It’s the nerve of my being, the best we can do. I felt it that evening at the restaurant– an unspoken connection. I had to communicate with you, or I’d be disappointed in myself if I didn’t know the outcome. So, for this passion, I’m going to try my best to save it. I really want to live something exceptional with you. “
~ LETTER ONE, Paris, July 28th, 1989
Five years ago, I was on the cusp of turning forty...and a woman on the verge of a potential breakdown. The recent victim of a company wide lay-off, I owed over twenty thousand dollars on three different Visas with no hopes to pay it off. Anger and resentment had taken its toll on what started out as a happy marriage. For eight years, I’d been sharing the guest bedroom with my black Labrador retriever, Ike. I didn’t have actual kids, save for my furry replacement child. More importantly, I’d fallen out of love with myself.
Instead of spinning my wheels on the corner of misery and despair all alone, I met up with my best friend of twenty-something years, Tracey. Over a bottle of pinot noir, our conversation changed from my imminent divorce to happier times, specifically our 1989 trip to Paris. Tracey pitched me an idea: we were going to create a love blog using the seven old love letters I’d received from Jean-Luc, the sexy French rocket scientist I’d met at a café when I was nineteen.
Intrigued (and looking for an ounce of hope), I pulled Jean-Luc’s letters out of their plastic storage container that very same night. By the time I reached the sixth letter, regret set in. I began questioning things like: why didn’t I have children? Did I really have issues with men because my biological father deserted my mother and me? If Jean-Luc was so special, why did I dump him at a train platform and never answer even one of his seven heartfelt letters? And, more importantly, why did I hang on to his letters?
A realization hit: I’d been so afraid of falling in love I’d never truly done it.
I knew, in order for me to move on and live out the happy life I desperately wanted, I needed to deal with these questions from my past — one regret/problem at a time, starting with the easiest one first. Thanks to Google, it was easy to find Jean-Luc and I got off to a quick start.

When I sent off my two-decade-delayed apology, I thought I was only looking for forgiveness. I wound up getting a lot more than that. One email led to another, and I was able to do something I hadn’t been able to do in the past: I opened up my heart— online. I also found the courage to change everything in my life.

SEVEN LETTERS FROM PARIS is the true “second chance” story of how I restarted my life and rebooted my heart. And I’m thrilled to share it with you. 

Giveaway

October 9, 2014

A Crafty Christmas by Mollie Cox Bryan - Review and Giveaway


I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
A Crafty Christmas by Mollie Cox Bryan
ISBN: 978058293565
Mass Market Paperback

Synopsis: Christmas is just around the corner, and the ladies of the Cumberland Creek Scrapbook Crop are thrilled when Sheila wins the first place prize in a scrapbooking design contest: a ten-day scrapbook-themed cruise in the Caribbean. Vera and Paige decide to tag along, which should pose the perfect opportunity to learn some new techniques, mingle with fellow croppers, and get in some rest and relaxation before the chaos of Christmas. But when Sheila finds a famous crafter dead, and investigators determine she was poisoned, the luxury cruise veers toward disaster as Sheila becomes the number one suspect – or was she really the intended victim? Just as the croppers begin un-wrapping the truth, a storm strands them at sea, and they’ll find it’s harder than ever to survive the holidays with a killer on deck…

My review: This is a fun cozy mystery series to read and I was not disappointed with this latest installment. I enjoy Mollie's writing style and how she puts twists and turns throughout the entire book. She keeps me guessing all the way to the end. I think if I would trip over a dead body I would die right along with it. I love each of the characters in this series. I recommend this book to all who like mysteries or like books with scrapbooking as the subject. 

About This Author
Mollie Cox Bryan writes the Cumberland Creek Mysteries, published by Kensington. The first book, Scrapbook of Secrets, was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel of 2012; the next one Scrapped, was published in January 2013. Death of an Irish Diva is the third in the series. Plans for the series include two more novels and two novellas—the first one Scrappy Summer will be available in summer 2014. She writes, gardens, runs, and scrapbooks in Waynesboro, Va. with her husband and two daughters.
Author Links
Twitter: @molliecoxbryan

Be sure to stop by Escape with Dollycas (click here) to see the rest of the stops on the tour



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Music for My Soul by Lauren Linwood - Book Spotlight

02_Music For My Soul
Publication Date: May 15, 2013
Soul Mate Publishing
Formats: eBook, Paperback
# of Pages: 282

Genre: Historical Romance

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As the third wife of an abusive French vineyard owner, Madeleine Bouchard hasn’t produced the expected heir after three years of marriage. Fearing he plans to kill her, she flees during a trip to England. Unable to make her way home, she joins a troupe of traveling mummers and reinvents herself as the only woman troubadour in the land, captivating audiences with both song and story.

Nobleman Garrett Montayne’s fascination with Madeleine causes him to pay the troupe to bypass their next stop in order to journey to his estate. Though he suspects Madeleine of being a thief with dark secrets, love blossoms between them under the magical moon of summer solstice.

But Madeleine’s past is about to catch up with her, as her husband is set to arrive to conduct business with Garrett. Madeleine determines to free herself from her loveless marriage and make a new life with Garrett, no matter what the cost.

Buy the Book


Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository
IndieBound

Praise for Music For My Soul


"Told with humor, heartache, loveable characters and plenty of adventure, this is a story that grabs your attention from the first page and holds you captive until the very end. Much like real life, MUSIC FOR MY SOUL is a mixture of ups and downs along with a few surprises thrown in just to keep you on your toes." -Romance Junkies, Reviewer Chrissy Dionne

"This story takes a wonderful turn into the seldom explored topic of the life of traveling mummers and musicians. Placing the heroine between the line of aristocracy and commonality is also a stroke of creative genius that makes for a delightful breath of fresh reading air! The characters are created and developed with a fine touch, making the story both believable and enjoyable." -InD’tale Magazine, Reviewer Ruth Lynn Ritter

"This is a marvelous and intricate story of desperation, escape, finding love…also of forgiveness,mystery, danger, and righting old wrongs! The tale is incredibly well told with some humor as well as a building romance. The characters are loveable, some you can hate, and some are comic…a little bit of everything! Lauren Linwood is a wonderful writer with a fantastic imagination. I hope this is only the beginning of many wonderful tales. Believe me, it’s hard to put this one down. I found myself awake until the wee hours of the morning because I just had to know what was going to happen!" -The Reading Café, Reviewer Georgianna S

About the Author03_Lauren Linwood



Lauren Linwood became a teacher who wrote on the side to maintain her sanity in a sea of teenage hormones. Her romances use history as a backdrop to place her characters in extraordinary circumstances, where their intense desire and yearning for one another grow into the deep, tender, treasured gift of love.

Lauren, a native Texan, lives in a Dallas suburb with her family. An avid reader, moviegoer, and sports fan, she manages stress by alternating yoga with five mile walks. She is thinking about starting a support group for Pinterest and House Hunters addicts.

For more information please visit Lauren's website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Music for My Soul Blog Tour Schedule


Monday, October 6
Interview at Mythical Books

Tuesday, October 7
Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, October 8
Review at Book Nerd
Spotlight & Giveaway at Susan Heim on Writing

Thursday, October 9
Spotlight at Griperang's Bookmarks

Friday, October 10
Review at Tea and Inspiration

Tuesday, October 14
Spotlight & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection

Thursday, October 16
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews

Friday, October 17
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Saturday, October 18
Review at A Cup of Tea & A Big Book

Thursday, October 23
Review at The Lit Bitch
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter

Friday, October 24
Review at Devilishly Delicious Book Blog
Guest Post at Historical Romantic Lovers

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