November 21, 2014

Tudor Vendetta by C.W. Gortner

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

The Tudor Vendetta by C.W. Gortner
Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles #3
ISBN: 9780312658588
Trade Paperback

Synopsis: Winter, 1558: Elizabeth I has ascended the throne but the first days of her reign are already fraught with turmoil, the kingdom weakened by strife and her ability to rule uncertain.
Summoned from exile abroad at the new queen’s behest, Brendan Prescott arrives in London to face his shattered past. He soon finds himself pitted in deadly rivalry with his life-long foe, Robert Dudley, but when a poison attempt overshadows the queen’s coronation, Elizabeth privately dispatches Brendan on a far more dangerous assignation: to find her favored lady-in-waiting, Lady Parry, who has vanished in Yorkshire.
Upon his arrival at the crumbling sea-side manor that may hold the key to Lady Parry’s disappearance, he encounters a strange, impoverished family beset by grief, as well as mounting evidence that they hide a secret from him. The mystery surrounding Lady Parry deepens as Brendan begins to realize there is far more going on at the manor than meets the eye, but the closer he gets to the heart of the mystery, the more he becomes the quarry of an elusive stranger with a vendetta— one that could expose both his own buried identity and a long-hidden revelation that will bring about Elizabeth’s doom.
From the intrigue-laden passages of Whitehall to a foreboding Catholic manor and the prisons of the Tower, Brendan must risk everything to unravel a vendetta that strikes at the very core of his world, including his loyalty to his queen.
The Tudor Vendetta is the third book in Gortner’s Elizabeth I Spymaster Trilogy.
My review: I really enjoyed this book and all the suspense and mystery that weaved its way through the entire book. One thing I enjoyed was how the author told this story through Brendon's point of view instead of Elizabeth's. The character development for Brendon was done very well. I also like how the author wrote so you will feel as if you can become a part of the book. I was completely engrossed and did not want to put it down. Even if you have not read the first two in this series you will be fin reading this as a stand alone but I can almost bet you will end up going back and reading the first two. This was a fitting end to a fun series but I wish there was more to come. 

Be sure to check out Historical Fiction Virtual Booktours (click here) to see all the stops on the tour.

Praise for The Tudor Vendetta

“Fast paced and exciting, with a most engaging hero . . . So vivid, you feel are there!” – Diana Gabaldon, bestselling author of the Outlander series
“C.W. Gortner has done it again! Full of breathtaking action, dark twists and unexpected revelations, this is an unputdownable read.” – Michelle Moran, bestselling author of Madame Tussaud
“Suspense, intrigue, betrayal and deadly rivalry: What more can you ask for? A swashbuckling, perilous adventure.” – M.J. Rose, bestselling author of The Reincarnationist

Buy the Book

About the Author

C.W. GORTNER holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis in Renaissance Studies from the New College of California, as well as an AA from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco.
After an eleven year-long career in fashion, during which he worked as a vintage retail buyer, freelance publicist, and fashion show coordinator, C.W. devoted the next twelve years to the public health sector. In 2012, he became a full-time writer following the international success of his novels.
In his extensive travels to research his books, he has danced a galliard at Hampton Court, learned about organic gardening at Chenoceaux, and spent a chilly night in a ruined Spanish castle. His books have garnered widespread acclaim and been translated into twenty-one languages to date, with over 400,000 copies sold. A sought-after public speaker. C.W. has given keynote addresses at writer conferences in the US and abroad. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights, in particular companion animal rescue to reduce shelter overcrowding.
C.W. recently completed his fourth novel for Ballantine Books, about Lucrezia Borgia; the third novel in his Tudor Spymaster series for St Martin’s Press; and a new novel about the dramatic, glamorous life of Coco Chanel, scheduled for lead title publication by William Morrow, Harper Collins, in the spring of 2015.
Half-Spanish by birth and raised in southern Spain, C.W. now lives in Northern California with his partner and two very spoiled rescue cats.
For more information please visit C.W. Gortner’s website and blog. You can also connect with him on FacebookTwitterGoodreadsPinterest, and YouTube.

The Tudor Vendetta Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 20
Review at The Maiden’s Court
Guest Post at Mina’s Bookshelf
Tuesday, October 21
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Spotlight at Passages to the Past
Wednesday, October 22
Review at Back Porchervations
Review at Always With a Books
Thursday, October 23
Review at 100 Pages a Day – Stephanie’s Book Reviews
Friday, October 24
Review at Bibliophilia, Please
Interview at Back Porchervations
Monday, October 27
Review at JulzReads
Review at Queen of All She Reads
Tuesday, October 28
Review at Beth’s Book Reviews
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Wednesday, October 29
Review at Making My Mark
Review at Writing the Renaissance
Guest Post at Bookish
Thursday, October 30
Review & Guest Post at Drey’s Library
Review & Interview at The Copperfield Review & From Meredith Allard
Interview at Writing the Renaissance
Friday, October 31
Review at Book by Book
Monday, November 3
Review at Mari Reads
Review & Gues Post at JM Ledwell Writes
Tuesday, November 4
Review at A Bookish Affair
Wednesday, November 5
Review at One Book at a Time
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair
Thursday, November 6
Review at Booktalk & More
Friday, November 7
Review at Build a Bookshelf
Monday, November 10
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Tuesday, November 11
Review at A Book Geek
Review at The Lit Bitch
Wednesday, November 12
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, November 13
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Friday, November 14
Review at Book Nerd
Spotlight at Paranormal Book Club
Monday, November 17
Review at Broken Teepee
Review at The Never-Ending Book
Tuesday, November 18
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Guest Post at What is That Book About
Wednesday, November 19
Review at Kate Forsyth’s Blog
Thursday, November 20
Review & Interview at The Tudor Enthusiast
Friday, November 21
Review at Griperang’s Bookmarks
Monday, November 24
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at The True Book Addict
Tuesday, November 25
Review at Historical Tapestry
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection
Wednesday, November 26
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Friday, November 28
Review at Books in the Burbs
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story


To win a complete set of CW Gortner’s Spymaster Chronicles Trilogy please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open to US residents only.
Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on November 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on November 29th and notified via email.
Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

November 16, 2014

Thirty - One Review plus a Giveaway

I have bought quite a few things from Thirty-One recently and I have to say I love them all. There are so many things that I like that I do not know if I could pick a favorite. I am going to give you my opinion on a few of the things I have then be sure to enter the giveaway from Sandy at Thirty-One. 

If you want to check out Sandy's website and view the catalog you can click here.

 Be sure to contact Sandy as she offers many specials that are not in the catalog. You can email her at mnvikings84 (at) gmail (dot) com. 

Suite Skirt Purse

I have this purse and two of the skirts to go with it. It is perfect for a night out or an everyday purse. By purchasing the different skirts they have to go over this you can have a new purse anytime you want by just changing out the skirt. This purse holds more than you think it will. 

Deluxe utility with cinch topper

 I have to say when you are traveling this is a must have. When we went to Nebraska for seven days we used this as our suitcase and not only did it fit all of our clothes but we had room to spare. 

Everyday wristlet

 My daughter likes to use when we are going to town and you do not want to take your whole purse with you. 

Lunch break thermal

Thermal Tote

We have both of these at my house. Both can keep your lunch or drinks cold for some time. I drive an hour to work each and put my lunch in there and when I get to work my food is still cold. I love the pocket on the side as the thermal tote as well as it has come in handy. 

OH Snap Bin

This is my newest purchase. It is a fun little bag that can hold quite a few things as you will see in a minute. The unique thing about this bag is that the handle snaps and you can attach the bags together. I think this is the perfect bag to use to put gifts in instead of wrapping them. 

Now on to the giveaway - Sandy is giving away a spa in a bag for one lucky winner. You will receive an OH Snap bin along with - two face masks, soap, lotion, candle, two bath poof,  body spray, two kinds of chocolate, puzzle book, and an ink pen. Everything you need for a relaxing day. 

Here is a picture of the prize you will win

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Spotlight for Barbara Venkatarman - Plus a giveaway for two books

I am going to rerun this book spotlight as Barbara has graciously offered to giveaway one e-book and one audiobook of her's to two lucky winners. I will draw names at the end of the week (one for the e-book and one for the audiobook). The winner will get to choose which book of Barbara's they wish to have. Please enter the giveaway below. 

You can find Barbara and her books on Amazon (click here) Goodreads (click here) or Facebook (click here)

A Trip to the Hardware Store & Other Calamaties by Barbara Venkataraman
Audio book

Synopsis: Winner of the "Indie Book of the Day" award. At 8,000 words, this collection of humorous essays explores such quirky topics as: disastrous home repairs, ("A Trip to the Hardware Store"), an unfortunate dinner party ("Dinner is Served"), the truth about lazy people ("Lazy Bones"), the weird life of a debt collector ("Your Account is Past Due") and obsessions with gadgets ("Gadget Girl"). Other essays examine how surreal the aging process is ("Where Did the Time Go?"), why you shouldn't judge a person by their job ("Beyond Belief"), and how to complicate simple transactions ("High Finance"). Like the author's first work, "I'm Not Talking About You, Of Course...," these essays will give your spirit a lift and leave you smiling.

Death by Didgeridoo by Barbara Venkatarman
A Jaime Quinn Mystery
Audio book

Synopsis: Winner of the Indie Book of the Day award. Reluctant lawyer, Jamie Quinn, still reeling from the death of her mother, is pulled into a game of deception, jealousy, and vengeance when her cousin, Adam, is wrongfully accused of murder. It's up to Jamie to find the real murderer before it's too late. It doesn't help that the victim is a former rock star with more enemies than friends, or that Adam confessed to a murder he didn't commit.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

November 13, 2014

Dream in Color, Think in Black & White by Jonathan T.. Bissell - Review and Guest Post

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

Dream in Color, Think in Black & White by Jonathan T.K. Bissell
ISBN: 9780990647409
Trade Paperback

Synopsis: Admit it. You’re stuck. Somewhere along the way, you had a dream that you let go of. But it hasn’t let go of you. You're the reason this book was written. Because dreams matter. Dreams are powerful. And sometimes dreams just won’t go away – no matter how impractical, ill-timed or financially risky they are. This is a book about getting unstuck in your life or career. It’s about learning to Dream in Color and Think in Black & White. There are three parts to this book: Dreaming in Color, Thinking in Black & White, and Fulfilling Your Dreams. Each part contains practical “how to” steps and examples explaining how to get unstuck and move toward your dream. The rest is up to you. Let’s get started.

My review:  In this book you will learn how to dream again and move forward with your plans. This was a very quick read as the book was not long but it packed some useful information to help you along your new path in life. I think this would be a good book for anyone wanting to learn how to live out their dreams. 

Guest post by Jonathan Bissell:
Never Say “Someday” Again
What if you woke up tomorrow morning and your dream had become a reality?
What if you’d finally gone to culinary school and become a chef? What if you’d turned all those blog posts into the book you had always wanted to write? What if you’d quit that soul-crushing job you were stuck in and started doing the work you were destined to do? Or what if you’d taken the plunge and begun that new business you’d been talking about for years?
If you’re like most people, the thought of having your dream come true is exciting, but it also stirs up fears and doubts that you just don’t know how to deal with. Most likely, you barely had time to even entertain the thought of making your dream a reality before you shut it down with words like “can’t” and “should” and “someday.”
You don’t like saying no to yourself, but you’ve played the role of dream enforcer for so long that you’ve forgotten how to dream – and you’ve forgotten that the only one who can truly give you permission to dream is you.
In my new book, Dream in Color, Think in Black & White: How to Get Unstuck and Fulfill Your Dreams, I show you how to give yourself permission to fully dream – and how to turn your dreaming into doing until you become the chef, author, visionary leader, or new business owner you’ve always wanted to be.
The road to fulfilling your dream isn’t easy, but it’s waiting for you to walk on it. It’s waiting for you to come and take ownership of it and say, “This is my road. This is my dream. And I’m going to make it happen.”

So come along with me for the journey of your life. Because once you give yourself permission to dream, you’ll never have to say “someday” again.
Meet the author: Jonathan Bissell is a coach, author, speaker and teacher, as well as the CEO of High Performance Impact, LLC, an executive coaching firm helping proven and emerging leaders to identify and consistently leverage patterns of high performance. He helps dreamers do and leaders excel.

Born in Liberia, Africa and raised in Upstate New York, Jonathan has lived and worked in Japan, New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area. He has a Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Le Moyne College. Jonathan enjoys reading, long coffee breaks with his wife, co-creating children’s stories with his daughters, writing poetry, and supporting couples in ministry.

If you’d like to stay current with what Jonathan is writing and doing, or get advance notice on new books or events, sign up for his mailing list at Jonathan can also be contacted for coaching, training, teaching or speaking engagements.

For More Information

Quilted by Christmas by Jodie Bailey

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

Quilted by Christmas by Jodie Bailey
Quilts of Love Series
ISBN: 9781426773617
Trade Paperback

Synopsis: A grandmother’s last wish is to communicate God’s love through an Irish chain quilt.
Taryn McKenna believes she’s easy to forget. Abandoned by her parents and left behind when her high school sweetheart joined the army, she vows to never love again and throws herself into her love for the outdoors and the pursuit of a college degree—something no one else in her family has ever accomplished. Her goal, as a young teacher in the hills of North Carolina, is to leave a legacy in the lives of the middle‑schoolers she teaches.
When Taryn’s grandmother Jemma, the only other person who ever held her close, has a heart attack that reveals a fatal medical condition, Taryn is corralled into helping Grandma work on a final project—an Irish chain quilt that tells the story of her history and the love Jemma knows is out there for Taryn. As the pieces of the quilt come together, Taryn begins to see her value. Can she learn to believe that God will never leave her behind even though others have?

My review: This was such a good book to read,. It pulls at your heart strings which is part of why I enjoy all the quilts of loves series. I haven not read any other books by this author but I will now be looking for more books by her. She did a very good job with the character development - she had a way of making you feels as if you were a part of this story. This is one of those books that grabs you from page one and does not let you go until the very end. A very heartfelt story. 

Learn more about this book and the series at the Quilts of Love website.

About the Author: 

Jodie Bailey is Tarheel born and bred. After 15 years as a military spouse, she settled with her family back in North Carolina. She is the author of the military suspense novel Freefall and is a contributor to a devotional for military families, Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home. While not working on her next novel, she teaches middle-schoolers to love writing as much as she does.

Connect with Jodie: websiteFacebookTwitter

Don't forget to stop by Litefuse Group (click here) to see all the stops on the tour

Don’t miss the newest Quilts of Love book, Quilted by Christmas by Jodie Bailey. October’s QOL release is a warm Christmas tale of God's steadfast love.

Enter to win a Kindle HDX, and RSVP for the “Merry Quilted” Quilts of Love Facebook party on December 9th.
One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • Two copies of Quilted by Christmas by Jodie Bailey (One for you and one to give away as a gift!)
  • Hidden in the Stars by Robin Caroll
  • Swept Away by Laura V. Hilton and Cindy Loven
Enter today by clicking the button below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 16th. Winner will be announced November 17th at the Quilts of Love blog.

Wait! There's more! RSVP for the "Merry Quilted" Quilts of Love Christmas Book Chat Party on December 9th and connect with some of the Quilts of Love authors. Jodie Bailey, Laura V. Hilton, Cindy Loven, Cathy Elliott, and Gina Welborn will be hosting a "merry" evening of book chat, Christmas traditions, prizes, and more!


RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on December 9th!

November 11, 2014

The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson

The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson
ISBN: 9780310730989
Trade Paperback

Synopsis: Margaretha has always been a romantic, and hopes her newest suitor, Lord Claybrook, is destined to be her one true love. But then an injured man is brought to Hagenheim Castle, claiming to be an English lord who was attacked by Claybrook and left for dead. And only Margaretha—one of the few who speaks his language—understands the wild story.
Margaretha finds herself unable to pass Colin’s message along to her father, the duke, and convinces herself “Lord Colin” is just an addled stranger. Then Colin retrieves an heirloom she lost in a well, and asks her to spy on Claybrook as repayment. Margaretha knows she could never be a spy—not only is she unable to keep anything secret, she’s sure Colin is completely wrong about her potential betrothed. Though when Margaretha overhears Claybrook one day, she discovers her romantic notions may have been clouding her judgment about not only Colin but Claybrook as well. It is up to her to save her father and Hagenheim itself from Claybrook’s wicked plot.

My review:  This was a good book was every bit as good as Melanie's other books I have read. In this book we have everything a reader could ask for: action, romance, adventure and faith. A good book for readers of all ages. I did not realize this book was a young adult book when I picked it out to read but I have to say that did not stop me from reading it. Melanie did a good job of developing the characters. I felt as if they grew right before our eyes. After you read this book you will find yourself going back to find more books by this author. A fun weekend read. 

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
ISBN: 97800615833261
Trade Paperback

Synopsis: Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. "The days are long, but the years are short," she realized. "Time is passing, and I'm not focusing enough on the things that really matter." In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project.
In this lively and compelling account, Rubin chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. Among other things, she found that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that money can help buy happiness, when spent wisely; that outer order contributes to inner calm; and that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference.

My review: I started reading this book at the beginning of the year as I thought it would be fun to see what the Happiness Project was all about. The chapters of this book are broke down by months so you can do as I did and read one a month or read it all at once. I have to say that I enjoyed Gretchen's approach to how to find happiness. Each month she tells you what she used for her project. She goes into detail about each step and even shares some of the responses she has received on her blog regarding this. I have made a list of what she used and have tried some of them. She encourages you to make and start your own happiness project and do what makes you happy. There are some really good tips, quotes and references in this book that will help you with your own endeavor. You can also sign up for her newsletter and visit her blog for more tips by visiting her website  Gretchen Rubin's Blog (click here) I plan on next reading her book Happier at Home and am looking forward to her new book Better than Before as well. The way she writes the book just flows and reads very quickly. This is a book I am going read more than once so I can get the most out of it. I recommend this book to everyone.