Friday, April 28, 2017

TLC Book Tours Book Review

About The Women in the Castle

• Hardcover: 368 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow (March 28, 2017)

Three women, haunted by the past and the secrets they hold

Set at the end of World War II, in a crumbling Bavarian castle that once played host to all of German high society, a powerful and propulsive story of three widows whose lives and fates become intertwined—an affecting, shocking, and ultimately redemptive novel from the author of the New York Times Notable Book The Hazards of Good Breeding.

Amid the ashes of Nazi Germany’s defeat, Marianne von Lingenfels returns to the once-grand castle of her husband’s ancestors, an imposing stone fortress now fallen into ruin following years of war. The widow of a resister murdered in the failed July 20, 1944, plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Marianne plans to uphold the promise she made to her husband’s brave conspirators: to find and protect their wives, her fellow resistance widows.

First Marianne rescues six-year-old Martin, the son of her dearest childhood friend, from a Nazi reeducation home. Together, they make their way across the smoldering wreckage of their homeland to Berlin, where Martin’s mother, the beautiful and naive Benita, has fallen into the hands of occupying Red Army soldiers. Then she locates Ania, another resister’s wife, and her two boys, now refugees languishing in one of the many camps that house the millions displaced by the war.

As Marianne assembles this makeshift family from the ruins of her husband’s resistance movement, she is certain their shared pain and circumstances will hold them together. But she quickly discovers that the black-and-white, highly principled world of her privileged past has become infinitely more complicated, filled with secrets and dark passions that threaten to tear them apart. Eventually, all three women must come to terms with the choices that have defined their lives before, during, and after the war—each with their own unique share of challenges.

Written with the devastating emotional power of The Nightingale, Sarah’s Key, and The Light Between Oceans, Jessica Shattuck’s evocative and utterly enthralling novel offers a fresh perspective on one of the most tumultuous periods in history. Combining piercing social insight and vivid historical atmosphere, The Women in the Castle is a dramatic yet nuanced portrait of war and its repercussions that explores what it means to survive, love, and, ultimately, to forgive in the wake of unimaginable hardship.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Review: In the last few years, I find myself drawn to books that take place in the times around and during the second world war. When I was younger, I read more about WWI.

This book is just stunning. Its about more than just the war, though of course that figures hugely into the story.

Its about friendships forged from the rubble.

I want to say so much about this book, but it really leaves me without anything that can truly convey how good it really was.

Rating: 5 flowers

About Jessica Shattuck

Jessica Shattuck is the award-winning author of The Hazards of Good Breeding, which was a New York Times Notable Book and finalist for the PEN/Winship Award, and Perfect Life. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, New Yorker, Glamour, Mother Jones, Wired, and The Believer, among other publications. A graduate of Harvard University, she received her MFA from Columbia University. She lives with her husband and three children in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Find out more about Jessica at her website and connect with her on Facebook.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Book Tour Book Review: Guardian

Author: Terri Reed
Title: Guardian
Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense
Publish Date: April 1, 2017
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: 

When a fellow FBI agent is kidnapped and a protected witness vanishes, Leo Gallagher will stop at nothing to find them both. So when he discovers a link between the case and a single mother in Wyoming, Leo and his trusty K-9 partner rush to question Alicia Duncan. Could she be the key to locating the missing persons? Not if a killer has anything to say about it. Someone is determined to keep Alicia from talking, so Leo and his chocolate Lab must keep her and her little boy safe on their family ranch. With danger lurking around every corner, Leo must work overtime to not lose another person who's important to him.

Review: Terri Reed writes exceptional suspense novels. I really wish she would step out of the inspirational genre though, because the references to God, don't have anything to do with the story, they just seem to be there, so that the book can fall into the genre.  Mostly asking the Lord for help. It works better when its Alicia, rather than a tough as nails FBI guy.

There's very little romance in Guardian. The story focuses on Alicia who witnessed a murderer tossing a body into a lake.

Enter Leo, a FBI agent who sees a link between this case and one he's working on. He's got a lot of issues. He feels responsible for the kidnapping of his partner and the death of his sister in his childhood. (I won't go into why..cos..well SPOILERS)

Alicia's, husband, who was a cop, died and she found he wasn't what he seemed. She is a mother of a young son, who is a good part of the story, without being too central to things.

Both lead characters are broken but tough and they feel an instant connection.

The HEA in this story that comes after the resolution of part of the case doesn't fit. There is no way that in a matter of days that true love blooms and a marriage is in the offing. For me that just doesn't work.

If the romance was taken out, this story works well. It is full of suspense and definitely a great read.

Rating: 3 flowers

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour Spotlight & Review: The Mourning Ring

The Mourning Ring

by Sarah Parke
Publication Date: October 10, 2016
eBook & Paperback; 350 Pages

Genre: Young Adult/Historical Fantasy


Sixteen-year-old Charlotte Bronte lives to tell stories. She longs to improve her fortunes through her writing. Charlotte’s father expects her to leave behind her childish fantasies in order to set an example for her three younger siblings.

But the Bronte children hold a secret in their veins—a smidgen of fairy blood that can bring their words to life.

When Charlotte discovers that the characters from their childish stories exist in an alternate world called Glass Town, she jumps at the opportunity to be the heroine of her own tale.

The city of Angria teeters on the brink of civil war and Charlotte and her siblings must use their magic and their wits to save its people from a tyrant with magic abilities. But entering the fictional world means forfeiting control of their own creations. If they fail, the characters they have come to know and love will be destroyed.

Charlotte is determined to save the city and characters she loves, but when the line between creator and character becomes blurred, will she choose her fantasy or her family?

Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Paperback) | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

Review: What if the Bronte's were part fairy? That's what you get with The Mourning Ring. This is the kind of book that you want to devour. I wish I could have sat down with it and just read it straight through, but life didn't let me do that.

Its the story of young Charlotte and her siblings and the alternate world that she's created.

This is a young adult novel, but definitely one that fans of Bronte and just about anyone that loves a good story will enjoy, because its just that well written.

I love what the mourning ring actually is, as you will find out in the first pages of the book. (I always like when we know why an author chose a particular title...

The Glass Town all have root in Bronte history. I think that is really what makes this book so wonderful, the fantasy is there, but there's so much that was part of these people's lives.

I highly recommend this book.

Rating: 5 flowers

About the Author

Sarah Parke writes fantasy and historical fiction (sometimes at the same time) for young adult readers and those young at heart.

She has a MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine's Stonecoast MFA program. Her work has been published internationally, most recently in the July 2015 issue of The Writer magazine.

For more information, please visit Sarah Parke's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, April 19
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Thursday, April 20
Excerpt at What Is That Book About
Review, Excerpt & Interview at The Book Junkie Reads

Friday, April 21
Excerpt at The Lit Bitch
Review at Queen of All She Reads
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective
Review & Excerpt at Adventures Thru Wonderland

Saturday, April 22
Interview at T's Stuff
Review at A Book Drunkard

Sunday, April 23
Review, Excerpt, & Interview at Quitterstrip

Monday, April 24
Review & Excerpt at Rainy Day Reviews

Tuesday, April 25
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Wednesday, April 26
Review at Just One More Chapter
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Blog Tour Q & A: Brenda Novak

Do you write from experience?

Boy, do I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked that question! LOL It’s almost always said with a wink and a smile so that I understand the asker is talking about the sex scenes.

My response? Usually something along the lines of…“Since I write as much about murder as anything else, I hope not!” To me it’s only logical that if I can use my imagination to stalk and kill someone (fictionally, of course), I can use the same approach when it comes to a bedroom scene. But maybe the basis for this question is really more about the romance genre and some of the myths or out-dated stereotypes attached to it, such as:

  1. Romance novels are all about sex. This couldn’t be more wrong. Romance novels are no more about sex than mystery novels are about murder. In a mystery, it’s solving the puzzle that readers like. In a romance novel, it’s watching two people figure out a way to forge a lasting relationship despite all the obstacles keeping them apart. It’s about the HAPPILY EVER AFTER--not the sex.
  2. Romance novels are all the same. Romance novels are no more “the same” or “written according to a formula” than mystery novels or thriller novels. There are certain conventions readers expect in each genre, but it’s the journey to that happy ending that readers enjoy in romance, and every journey is different. Now that the romance genre has grown and developed to the point that authors are mixing genres, there is more variety than ever (i.e. paranormal romance, romantic suspense, comedy and thriller, erotica, inspirational, and—the most recent addition—urban fantasy).
  3. Reading romance novels is something to be ashamed of, a guilty pleasure. Why feel guilty about jumping into a good story when you need to relax or have to wait for hours at a doctor’s office? Some of the most touching fan mail I ever receive goes something like this: “I want to thank you for writing (whichever book they’ve been reading). Your characters enveloped me in their world when I needed it most. I’ve never been through a worse time than the past year. I’ve been (fill in the blank with--going through a divorce, watching my mother die, getting chemotherapy treatments, learning to walk again after a terrible accident), and it brought me joy when I needed it most. Please keep writing.” These people make me proud of what I do.
  4. Anyone can write a romance. Writing romance isn’t easy, especially in this crowded market. It is, however, the genre that sells the best by FAR. (According to Publisher’s Weekly in the latest article I could find, romance outsold every other genre by at least 30%.)
  5. The people who read romance lack healthy sex lives and thus must live vicariously through fictional characters. An Info Trends study commissioned by Romance Writers of America revealed the heart of the genre’s readership is women aged 31 – 49 who are currently in a romantic relationship.

I enjoy a lot of genres, have always been an eclectic reader, but romance will always be my favorite. Why? Because romance novels promote happiness and hope and act as a testament to the age-old theme that love conquers all. I believe the Beatles got it right when they sang, “Love is all you need.”

Check out my review for Finding Our Forever here

Book Review: The Magnate's Mail Order Bride

Author: Joanne Rock
Title: The Magate's Mail-Order Bride
Publisher: Harlequin Desire
Publish Date: April 4, 2017
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: 

A mix-and-match mock engagement?

Ballerina Sofia Koslov's career is on the line when she's accosted at the airport by a rich, reckless playboy who thinks she's his mail-order bride! But the playboy's levelheaded brother, Quinn McNeill, solves the media snafu with a switcheroo. He'll pretend to be her legitimate fiancĂ© to protect her reputation—and to protect his family's business deals from her father's wrath. Sofia's one condition: they'll share the spotlight as a loving couple but won't share a bed. But soon Quinn's gentlemanly ways strike a chord, and Sofia's dying to renege on that condition and have a real fling…

The Magnate's Mail-Order Bride is part of The McNeill Magnates series.

Review: I read Teri Wilson's "His Ballerina Bride" last year, and I loved it.  Getting to know more about the dance profession more is really what drew me to this book, plus JoAnne Rock is one of my favorite Desire authors.

This was a case of the fake fiance, which is a rather common plot, but one that really worked well in this story. Sofia's father wants her to get married, and Quinn's brother somehow picked her on an matchmaking site.

That's when things get going. Quinn (who is Cam's brother) offers to help her out of the mess by acting as her fiance until after her audition.

What makes their fake relationship so wonderful, is how it isn't fake. These two have such fabulous chemistry and they develop a friendship very quickly and though they don't seem to have much in common, these two really work well together.

When the fake relationship becomes real, you really root for them. They are one couple that really work together. I find a lot of romance relationships don't seem to show any common ground between the hero and heroine, but that really isn't the case.

Quinn respects Sofia's career and they show care about each other's personal lives. When an illness befalls a member of Quinn's family, Sofia shows support and Quinn goes to her. (I don't like to give away too much, but this really impressed me with the book)

This was one of the best Desire novels that I've read in a long time. Great characters and a great story. I can't wait for the next book!

Rating: 5 flowers

Friday, April 21, 2017

Harlequin Blog Tour Book Review: Once a Moretti Wife

Author: Michelle Smart
Title: Once a Moretti Wife
Publisher: Harlequin Presents
Publish Date: March 21, 2017
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: "I love having you at my mercy… And you love it, too."

The only desire billionaire Stefano Moretti has for his estranged wife, Anna, is revenge—she humiliatingly left him weeks ago. So when Anna returns to his life, with no memory of their tempestuous marriage, he's certain fate has dealt him a winning hand.

Stefano's plan is twofold: a private seduction that will reawaken Anna to their red-hot attraction, followed by a public humiliation to match the one she landed on him. Until Stefano realizes there's something he wants even more than vengeance—Anna, back in his bed, for good!

Review: Once a Moretti Wife is one of the first Harlequin Presents novels that really wowed me in a long time, which is odd, because the plot is one that would usually anger me.

Stefano's anger towards Anna is justified, but his desire for revenge is a little bit over the top. With Anna and her amnesia, you really don't know what went wrong in their relationship. Bits and pieces of their past are given as the story goes on, but the woman Stefano is ready to seek revenge on, doesn't seem like the girl in the story, and that is why you have to keep turning the pages.

I was so intrigued by Anna's missing memories.  I was almost tempted a few times to skip to the end to see what had happened, but I was a good girl and didn't.

On top of the memory loss, her older sister has gone to Australia to visit their estranged mother. There are some serious mommy issues here. They are kind of understandable ones too, maybe not for Stefano who had what could only be called a crappy childhood, but definitely understandable issues.

The mommy aspect is the only part of the book that didn't set well with me. What kind of a mother abandons her two children? Truthfully I could understand how Anna could be angry with her mother. I could see Melissa staying in England, but to leave a 14 year old girl with her sister as a caretaker. That's a pretty crappy mom.

I really enjoyed this book and will definitely read more of Michelle Smart in the future.

Rating: 5 flowers

TLC Book Tours Book Review: No Getting Over A Cowboy

Author: Delores Fossen
Title: No Getting Over A Cowboy
Publisher: HQN
Publish Date: March 28, 2017
Buy: Amazon 
Book Blurb:  The golden cowboy of Wrangler’s Creek returns home to Texas to discover some old flames never fizzle… There are plenty of things Garrett Granger hadn’t counted on losing—his child to miscarriage, his wife to another man and the family business thanks to a crooked CFO. He also hadn’t counted on moving back to the family ranch, where he’s met by another surprise—former flame Nicky Marlow, who is renting his grandmother’s old house.

Nicky’s been rebuilding her shattered life since her husband’s death two years ago. But Garrett’s timely arrival in Wrangler’s Creek doesn’t automatically make him the missing piece of the puzzle. Even if he does seem to adore her two-year-old daughter… Even if seeing him again stirs up old feelings Nicky would gladly keep buried, forcing her to wonder if moving forward has to mean leaving everything behind…

Review: Delores Fossen is one of my favorite romance writers these days. I wasn't usually a cowboy type of girl, until I read her books.

This is Garrett and Nicky's story. Delores does a wonderful job at mixing family and humor into a story that you won't be able to put down.

Sometimes I wish I could write a review that really brings across how good this book was without giving away spoilers or just plain gushing.

So just trust me on this one. Delores Fossen delivers every time!

Rating: 5 flowers

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