Tuesday, November 24, 2015

TLC Book Tours Book Review: Charlotte's Story

Charlotte's Story COVERAbout Charlotte's Story

• Hardcover: 320 pages
• Publisher: Pegasus (October 15, 2015)

The fall of 1957 was a seemingly idyllic, even prosperous, time down in southern Virginia. A young housewife, Charlotte Bliss, lives with her husband, “Press” Bliss, and their two young children, Eva Grace and Michael, in the gorgeous Bliss family home. On the surface, theirs seems a calm, picturesque life, but soon tragedy befalls them: four deaths, with seemingly simple explanations.

But nothing is simple if Bliss House is involved.

Charlotte, nearly crippled with grief, feels more and more isolated from everyone around her. The only thing that brings her solace is going through the old photos and curiosities left behind by her mother-in-law. Then she makes a startling discovery that points not to tragedy, but to murder. How far will Charlotte go to discover the truth? And how far will she get without knowing who her real enemy is?

Not for the faint of heart, or those disturbed by sexual situations and violence, Charlotte's Story injects new levels of horror into the classic Southern gothic.

Praise for Charlotte's Story
“Expertly paced revelations help build a sense of encroaching horror. A satisfyingly creepy tale for a rainy night.”—Publishers Weekly

“An evocative, frightening and flawless gothic, Charlotte’s Story is guaranteed to send a delicious chill down your spine. Nobody does more for the modern southern gothic than Laura Benedict.” —J.T. Ellison, New York Times bestselling author of What Lies Behind

“Laura Benedict spins an ever-shifting web of shadow and light. A thrilling read. Benedict writes with passion and authority. Charlotte's Story is not to be missed.” —Carolyn Haines, author of the Sarah Booth Delaney mysteries, and The Seeker

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Review: Charlotte's Story is a book that you shouldn't judge by its cover. At first glance you might think this is a family saga, perhaps some light reading. If you go by the blurb, you still might not get the whole gist of this story. It is anything but light reading.

Charlotte loses her mother in law and then her daughter and then two other people that were friends of her best friend Rachel. There's a lot of depressing stuff here, but that's what makes it a great gothic style read, especially as there are a lot of ghostly things going on involving Charlotte's mother in law and her daughter and also some darkness surrounding her husband, Press.

This is really a psychological thriller. It is also a book that is hard to review, because to go into more detail would give away too much of the plot and that would be SPOILERS and this book is too good to ruin for anyone else that wants to go on Charlotte's journey with her.

If you are a fan of gothic novels and thrillers this is definitely the book for you.

Rating: 5 flowers

Laura Benedict APLaura Benedict

Laura Benedict is the author of Charlotte's Story and Bliss House, the first two novels in the Bliss House trilogy, as well as several other novels of dark suspense. Her work has appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and numerous anthologies. She lives with her family in Southern Illinois. Visit laurabenedict.com.

Connect with Laura on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours: Castles, Customs and Kings

02_by Castles, Customs, & Kings (Vol II)

Castles, Customs, and Kings: True Tales by English Historical Fiction Authors (Volume 2)
Publication Date: September 30, 2015
Madison Street Publishing
Hardcover, Paperback, eBook; 598 Pages

Genre: History

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An anthology of essays from the second year of the English Historical Fiction Authors blog, this book transports the reader across the centuries from prehistoric to twentieth century Britain. Nearly fifty different authors share the stories, incidents, and insights discovered while doing research for their own historical novels.

From medieval law and literature to Tudor queens and courtiers, from Stuart royals and rebels to Regency soldiers and social calls, experience the panorama of Britain’s yesteryear. Explore the history behind the fiction, and discover the true tales surrounding Britain's castles, customs, and kings.

Visit the English Historical Fiction Authors blog & Facebook page.

"Thoroughly enjoyable and diverse...leisure reading for any history fan." - Elizabeth Chadwick, on Castles, Customs, and Kings (Volume 1)

Review:  I am currently still making my way through this book. What is wonderful about it, is that since it is essays that you can come and go as you please and skip around.

I have to say I automatically went for the Tudor period as I'm a total Tudor junky, but I did read the first early essays before I started jumping around. The contributors are some of my favorite authors, such as Sandra Byrd, Anna Belfrage, Nancy Bilyeau and Susanna Calkins. There are more contributions than these ladies.

If you are the type of person that wants to know more when reading your historical fiction, this is a great read for you.

Highly recommended for history buffs and historical fiction lovers

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 16
Spotlight at Unshelfish

Tuesday, November 17
Review at Kinx's Book Nook

Wednesday, November 18

Thursday, November 19
Review at Unabridged Chick

Friday, November 20

Saturday, November 21
Spotlight at The Reading Queen

Monday, November 23
Spotlight at HF Connection

Tuesday, November 24

Wednesday, November 25
Review at Broken Teepee

Thursday, November 26
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Friday, November 27
Review at Bookish
Spotlight at Let Them Read Books

Saturday, November 28
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Monday, November 30

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Friday, November 20, 2015

TLC Book Tours Book Review: Whistling Women

About Whistling Women

Paperback: 414 pages
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (November 17, 2015)
A buried secret keeps two sisters apart.
Life went terribly wrong for Addie Bates in San Diego, and she’s been running from those memories ever since. For fifteen years, the Sleepy Valley Nudist Colony has provided a safe haven for Addie to hide from the crime she committed. But when the residents pack up to go on exhibit at the 1935 world’s fair in San Diego, Addie returns and must face the thrilling yet terrifying prospect of reuniting with her estranged sister, Wavey.
Addie isn’t the only one interested in a reunion. When her niece, Rumor, discovers she has an aunt, Rumor is determined to bring her family together. But it’s not so easy when the women are forced to confront family secrets, past and present.
Set against the backdrop of the 1935 world’s fair, Whistling Women explores the complex relationships between sisters, the sacrifices required to protect family, and the lasting consequences of a single impulsive act.

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Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Review: Whistling Women was a really engaging read. I really loved the uniqueness of this story. Addie is a nudist who ran away from events in her past. Rumor is her sister's daughter. There are a lot of family secrets. The big one was a bit easy to predict early on, but it was interesting to see how the forgiveness was found between the sisters and the relationship that grew between aunt and niece.

I loved the World's Fair setting as well as how the story blended between 1918 and 1935. The nudist colony as setting was really interesting, and there was quite a bit of drama with the characters that lived there, particularly Addie's friend Daisy and her son Sal, who befriend's Addie's niece.

This was a fantastic read and one I won't soon forget!

Rating: 5 flowers

UnknownAbout Kelly Romo

Kelly A. Romo currently lives in Oregon with her three children where she teaches writing, literature, and social studies. She loves the outdoors; hiking, kayaking, and camping. Kelly grew up in California running around with all her thrill-seeking cousins and siblings; jumping off cliffs into the Colorado River, exploring caves on the beaches of Mexico, riding dirt bikes, water skiing, and snow skiing.

Connect with Kelly

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Book Review: Big Boned

Author: Meg Cabot
Title: Big Boned
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: Nov 20, 2007
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: 
Life is reasonably rosy for plus-size ex-pop star turned Assistant Dormitory Director and sometime sleuth Heather Wells. Her freeloading ex-con dad is finally moving out. She still yearns for her hot landlord, Cooper Cartwright, but her relationship with "rebound beau," vigorous vegan math professor Tad Tocco, is more than satisfactory. Best of all, nobody has died lately in "Death Dorm," the aptly nicknamed student residence that Heather assistant-directs. Of course every silver lining ultimately has some black cloud attached. And when the latest murdered corpse to clutter up her jurisdiction turns out to be her exceedingly unlovable boss, Heather finds herself on the shortlist of prime suspects—along with the rabble-rousing boyfriend of her high-strung student assistant and an indecently handsome young campus minister who's been accused of taking liberties with certain girls' choir members.

With fame beckoning her back into show business (as the star of a new kids' show!) it's a really bad time to get wrapped up in another homicide. Plus Tad's been working himself up to ask her a Big Question, which Heather's not sure she has an answer for . . .

Review: Big Boned is book 3 in the Heather Wells Mystery. This series is so funny. Heather is the administrative assistant in "Death Dorm" aka Fischer Hall. 

 Seriously, how many people can die in one dorm?

As Heather finds out, at least one more. This time it is her new boss, Owen and with a bullet to the head, at close range. Owen wasn't well liked and there are a lot of suspects one is a friend of her grad assistant Sarah, who is fighting with the President for rights for the student workers.

Another murder to deal with and a new boyfriend that she doesn't have much in common with while she's still got the hots for her flatmate, Cooper\ the brother of her ex. Oh and her dad has a strange new job prospect.

This one is a little light on the mystery, but it is no less fun than the other book in the series, and Heather is really just pure fun, and so are all the members of her Dorm/Residence Hall. I love Magda and Pete, and who could not love Tom, her former boss who is acting as her interim boss.

There's also a campus minister that isn't quite as godly as he seems ad some of his actions put him on Heather's suspect list. He ties in with the story on a couple different levels.

This book was a quick easy read. I love the craziness of this series and the fact that all the characters are so lovable. I was also glad to see that Gavin, who has a huge crush on Heather may have found himself a hook up. He's one of the fun students that's bad, but in a good, lovable way.

This series could easily make a cute rom com/mystery flick. If they did, I'd definitely watch it. They consider this an adult novel, but its a clean enough read that some of Meg's older tween readers could enjoy it too.

I have one more book to read in this series to be caught up.

Rating: 5 flowers

Historical Fiction Virtual Tours Book Blast: Decorum

Decorum: A Novel by Kaaren Christopherson

Publication Date: March 31, 2015

Kensington Publishing Corp.

Foramts: eBook, Paperback, Audio

Pages: 425

Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance

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Kaaren Christopherson's brilliantly observed novel captures the glamour and grit of one of the world's most dazzling cities during one of its most tumultuous eras--as seen through the eyes of a singularly captivating heroine...

In 1890s New York, beautiful, wealthy Francesca Lund is an intriguing prospect for worthy suitors and fortune hunters alike. Recently orphaned, she copes by working with the poor in the city's settlement movement. But a young woman of means can't shun society for long, and Francesca's long-standing acquaintance with dashing Edmund Tracey eventually leads to engagement. Yet her sheltered upbringing doesn't blind her to the indiscretions of the well-to-do...

Among the fashionable circle that gathers around her there are mistresses, scandals, and gentlemen of ruthless ambition. And there is Connor O'Casey--an entirely new kind of New Yorker. A self-made millionaire of Irish stock, Connor wants more than riches. He wants to create a legacy in the form of a luxury Madison Avenue hotel--and he wants Francesca by his side as he does it. In a quest that will take her from impeccable Manhattan salons to the wild Canadian Rockies, Francesca must choose not only between two vastly different men, but between convention and her own emerging self-reliance.

Rules Of Decorum
A gentleman should not be presented to a lady without her permission being previously asked and granted. This formality is not necessary between men alone; but, still, you should not present any one, even at his own request, to another, unless you are quite well assured that the acquaintance will be agreeable to the latter.

If you wish to avoid the company of any one that has been properly introduced, satisfy your own mind that your reasons are correct; and then let no inducement cause you to shrink from treating him with respect, at the same time shunning his company. No gentleman will thus be able either to blame or mistake you.

The mode in which the avowal of love should be made, must of course, depend upon circumstances. It would be impossible to indicate the style in which the matter should be told... Let it, however, be taken as a rule that an interview is best; but let it be remembered that all rules have exceptions...


“A story of discovery, entitlement and love.” – Northern Virginia Magazine

“Remarkable in its similarities to the work of Edith Wharton. The reader feels drawn into a world of glamour, glitz, and supreme hypocrisy. Everything is permissible as long as one does not get caught. It is a drama of manners and the stakes are high—one misstep could mean social oblivion…[Decorum] will appeal to a wide range of readers, particularly those who enjoy period novels such as Age of Innocence and The Portrait of a Lady.” – The Historical Novel Society

“Beautiful heiress Francesca Lund must figure out how to assert her ideas within the confines of 1890’s New York high society.” – Library Journal

“Reminiscent of Washington Square but with a more modern heroine, Decorum illuminates the dark world beneath New York society. Christopherson incorporates a clever mystery and populates the novel with a large cast of characters.” - RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

About the Author
03_Kaaren ChristophersonKaaren Christopherson is the author of Decorum—a novel about Gilded Age New York—that began taking form in 1999 during a course on writing historical fiction. From that moment, Connor O’Casey (who had been rattling around in her brain for months) finally appeared one night and said, “All right, woman. Here I am. What are you going to do about my story?” So she began to put his words on paper, and he hasn’t kept quiet since. Soon Francesca, Blanche, Tracey, Vinnie, and the rest of the characters began arguing, gossiping, loving, and forming themselves into Kaaren’s first novel.

Kaaren has had a professional career writing and editing for over 30 years and is a senior editor for an international development nonprofit organization in Washington, DC.

She has written fiction since her school days, story poems, children’s books, historical fiction, and time travel, and continues to be active in writer’s groups and writing workshops. In addition to her career as a writer, Kaaren was the owner of a decorative painting business. She loves to travel and prowl through historical sites, galleries, and museums. She is active in several churches in DC and in her local Northern Virginia community, where she shares her home with feline brothers, Archie and Sammy.

A Michigan native, Kaaren received her BA in history and art and her MA in educational administration from Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.

For more information visit Kaaren Christopherson's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

To win a Paperback or AudioBook of Decorum please enter the giveaway via the GLEAM form below.


– Giveaway starts at 12:01am EST on November 15th and ends at 11:59pm EST on December 18th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Decorum Book Blast

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Book Review: Doctor Who: Heart Of Stone

Author: Trevor Baxendale
Title: Heart Of Stone
Publisher: Random House UK
Publish Date: Nov 19, 2015
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb: 
The Eleventh Doctor, Amy and Rory are surprised to discover lumps of moon rock scattered around a farm. But things get even stranger when they find out where the moon rock is coming from - a Rock Man is turning everything he touches to stone! Can the Doctor and his friends find out what the creature wants before it's too late?
Review: This was quite possibly one of the best Doctor Who books that I've read. Trevor Baxendale really brought 11, Amy and Rory to life again. Doctor Who books should always leave you wishing that it was an actual episode. This is definitely one of those books.

The Doctor and the Ponds land in a pigsty on a farm where a rock monster is wrecking havoc. I loved the Conway family, especially the loyalty between daughter and father. Then there's Jess' boyfriend Chris. He works for a research facility and it takes awhile to figure out if he's a good guy or a villain.

The story's monster is The Rock Man, who is made from something in moon rock, and everything he touches turns to stone, including a few of the stories characters. The Doctor has to make sure that the Earth doesn't turn into a big old moon rock.

I have a soft spot for the Eleventh Doctor and an even softer spot the Ponds. I totally loved it. It is a breezy read. One that you can get through in about the same time it takes to watch the 50th Anniversary Special.

If you are a fan of Matt Smith's Doctor, this is definitely one of the stories you must read!!!

Rating: 5 flowers

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Book Review: Doctor Who; System Wipe

Author: Oli Smith
Title: Doctor Who: System Wipe
Publisher: Random House UK
Publish Date: Nov 19, 2015
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb: 

The Doctor finds himself trapped in the virtual world of Parallife. As he tries to save the inhabitants from being destroyed by a deadly virus, Amy and Rory must fight to keep the Doctor's body in the real world safe from the mysterious entity known as Legacy . . .

Review: System Wipe is a unique Doctor Who short story. I usually prefer the full length novels, but this one was fast paced and unique, so that the shorter format seemed to work.

If they could have done this story as an episode it really would have been one to watch. Amy and Rory and the Doctor land on Earth in the future, and the earth is being reconstructed and while that's happening the online world of Parallife is also being destroyed.

The Doctor ends up in the game with the help of Blondie (I found myself wondering if she might be Rose) while Amy and Rory were on the outside world/real world with the robot Daryl, who is more than what he seems.

I liked the idea of the virtual world that came to life even though the players were gone and how the characters really grew, especially the Chief Architect.

Rating: 4 flowers

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