Thursday, March 5, 2015

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours Book Review: The Witch Of Painted

02_The Witch of Painted Sorrows CoverPublication Date: March 17, 2015
Atria Books
Formats: Hardcover, Ebook
Pages: 384

Genre: Historical Mystery

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READ AN EXCERPT.

Possession. Power. Passion. International bestselling novelist M.J. Rose creates her most provocative and magical spellbinder yet in this erotic, gothic novel set against the lavish spectacle of 1890s Belle Époque Paris.

Sandrine Salome runs away to her grandmother’s Parisian mansion to escape her dangerous husband, but what she finds is even more menacing. The house, famous for its lavish art collection and elegant salons, is mysteriously closed up. Although her grandmother insits it’s dangerous for Sandrine to visit, she defies her and meets Julien Duplessi, a mesmerizing young architect. Together they explore the hidden night world of Paris, the forbidden occult underground and Sandrine’s deepest desires.

Among the bohemians and the demi-monde, Sandrine discovers her erotic nature as a lover and painter. Then darker influences threaten – her cold and cruel husband is tracking her down and something sinister is taking hold, changing Sandrine, altering her. She’s become possessed by La Lune: A witch, a legend and a sixteenth-century courtesan, who opens up her life to a darkness that may become a gift or a curse.

This is Sandrine’s “wild night of the soul,” her odyssey in the magnificent city of Paris, of art, love and witchery.

Praise for the novels of M.J. Rose



The Witch of Painted Sorrows


“Rose's new series offers her specialty, a unique and captivating supernatural angle, set in an intriguing belle epoque Paris—a perfect match for the author's lush descriptions, intricate plot and mesmerizing storytelling. A cliffhanger ending will leave readers hungry for the next volume. Sensual, evocative, mysterious and haunting.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“A haunting tale of possession.” (Publishers Weekly)

The Collector of Dying Breaths


"Breathtaking...combines fascinating history, torrid romance and a compelling mystery into a marvelous package that will entice fans of Anne Rice and Diana Gabaldon.” (Associated Press)

"A page-turning, alluring concoction of fiction infused with fantastical yet actual history. Readers will be charmed by her well-drawn and memorable characters, and they will be mesmerized by her enchanting narrative, which takes them on a mystical and magical journey." (Library Journal (starred))

"A terrific piece of entertainment." (CT Post)

"Wondrously original... elegantly written. Rose manages to utterly suspend our disbelief in a book that leaves us, appropriately enough, breathless." (Providence Journal)

"Mysterious, magical, and mythical…what a joy to read!" (Sara Gruen, New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants)

Seduction


"Atmospherically romantic and perfectly toned. Classy and elegant literary seduction of the highest measure. As wondrously crafted as it is original." (Providence Journal)

"Readers will be enchanted by M.J. Rose's supernaturally charged novel Seduction, inspired by Victor Hugo's self-imposed exile on the British island of Jersey in the 1850s." (USA Today)

“Has just about everything a thriller fan could wish for.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)

“Full of well-researched history, the paranormal, and modern intrigue, this atmospheric tale of suspense is fully engrossing to those willing to suspend their disbelief.” (Library Journal (starred review))

The Book of Lost Fragrances


"A compelling page turner...Once you catch a whiff, you will be enchanted." (Associated Press)

"M.J. Rose is a bold, unflinching writer and her resolute honesty puts her in a class by herself." (Laura Lippman)

"The Book of Lost Fragrances resonates with spirit, blending myth with reality, tragedy with triumph, pain with joy. You'll find yourself questioning everything you believe--and wanting more." (Steve Berry)

“Provocative…a sweeping sense of romance [and] history.” (Cleveland Plain-Dealer)

Buy the Book



Review: I absolutely adore M.J. Rose's Reincarnationist series. This isn't one of those books, but there is a small mention of the famous fragrance makers in this book.

What I love about Rose's writing is the way you really feel like you are transported into the story, not to mention the sensuality of the story.

The story takes place in the 1890s in France. This story, like her others has a great sense of family as well as suspense and a bit of the paranormal.

Highly recommended!

Rating 5 flowers

 

03_M.J. Rose Author About the Author

M.J. Rose grew up in New York City mostly in the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum, the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park and reading her mother's favorite books before she was allowed.

She is the author of more than a dozen novels, the co-president and founding board member of International Thriller Writers and the founder of the first marketing company for authors: AuthorBuzz.com. She lives in Greenwich, Connecticut. Visit her online at MJRose.com.

Connect with M.J. Rose on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Goodreads.

Sign up for M.J. Rose's newsletter and get information about new releases, free book downloads, contests, excerpts and more.


TLC Book Tours Book Review: The Girls Of Mischief Bay

I was part of the excerpt tour for Susan's fun new book and I posted my review way early, so for those of you that missed it, here it is again!

Author: Susan Mallery
Title: The Girls Of Mischief Bay
Publisher: Mira
Publish Date: Feb 24, 2015
Buy: Amazon
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Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tours & the publisher
Book Blurb:  Nicole Lord wants to be a good wife, but there's a difference between being supportive and supporting her husband, who quit his job to write a screenplay she's never seen. He won't even help take care of their son, leaving Nicole to run the house and work full-time.

Sacrificing a personal life for her career is how Shannon Rigg .became VP at her firm, but she wonders now whether she made the right choice. An exciting new relationship with a great guy convinces her that it might not be too late—until he drops a bombshell that has her questioning whether she really can have it all.

Although Pam Eiland adores her husband, she feels restless now that the kids are grown. Finding sexy new ways to surprise him brings the heat and humor back to their marriage, but when unexpected change turns her life upside down, she'll have to redefine herself. Again.

Through romance and heartbreak, laughter and tears, the girls of Mischief Bay will discover that life is richer with friends at your side.


Review: This is one of the few books in the "women's fiction" genre that I've read in a long time. I love Susan Mallery. She creates characters that you really want to know. The friends in this book are the kind we all wish we had. They are lovable and flawed. Sometimes you love them and sometimes you want to shake them.

I think every person who reads this book will pick one of the friends to really like the best. For me, I loved Pam. She was the real "Mom" of the group. She had a good marriage and life and she wanted to stay appealing to her husband. She had a few moments of vanity when her daughter announced her pregnancy, but I could forgive her for that. Oh and if you don't get a few chuckles out of the weekend getaway she has with her hubby, well, you have no sense of humor!

She's also the character that goes through the most in her relationship. Let's just say, her unexpected change isn't a good one

As for the other two ladies, I liked Shannon next and then Nicole, though I'm not sure why. I would have liked to understand her booty call relationship with Quinn better. The guy she becomes involved with is pretty close to perfect, though there are a few things that cause tension between them as the story goes along.

Nicole and her husband annoyed the hell out of me. I couldn't believe that it took the whole novel for their relationship to play out. But this only proves that not everyone's story is a happy one. I just was hoping for something better for her. Plus Eric was a first class jerk.

This was a wonderful novel that I devoured in a little over a day. I loved immersing myself in Pam, Shannon and Nicole's lives.

Rating: 5 flowers

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Historical Ficition Virtual Tours Book Review: Mist Of Midnight

01_Mist of MidnightPublication Date: March 10, 2015
Howard Books
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Pages: 384
Series: Daughters of Hampshire
Genre: Historical/Christian/Romance

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In the first of a brand-new series set in Victorian England, a young woman returns home from India after the death of her family to discover her identity and inheritance are challenged by the man who holds her future in his hands.

Rebecca Ravenshaw, daughter of missionaries, spent most of her life in India. Following the death of her family in the Indian Mutiny, Rebecca returns to claim her family estate in Hampshire, England. Upon her return, people are surprised to see her...and highly suspicious. Less than a year earlier, an imposter had arrived with an Indian servant and assumed not only Rebecca's name, but her home and incomes.

That pretender died within months of her arrival; the servant fled to London as the young woman was hastily buried at midnight. The locals believe that perhaps she, Rebecca, is the real imposter. Her home and her father's investments reverted to a distant relative, the darkly charming Captain Luke Whitfield, who quickly took over. Against her best intentions, Rebecca begins to fall in love with Luke, but she is forced to question his motives—does he love her or does he just want Headbourne House? If Luke is simply after the property, as everyone suspects, will she suffer a similar fate as the first “Rebecca”?

A captivating Gothic love story set against a backdrop of intrigue and danger, Mist of Midnight will leave you breathless.

Praise for Mist of Midnight


"Intriguing secondary characters and lush scenery contribute to the often sinister, even creepy, moments readers will come to anticipate. Infusing her story with mystery, tension, and emotion, Byrd (To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn) strikes a fine balance between the darkness of a Gothic mystery and the sweetness of a captivating love story. Byrd—and Brontë—fans will enjoy this first of the new Daughters of Hampshire series." - Publishers Weekly



“A marvelous mingling of mystery and deeply moving family and romantic love, Mist of Midnight kept me guessing until the very end. A house on a cliff, a Victorian-Gothic atmosphere, a cast of suspicious characters including a dark, brooding hero and a strong heroine: shades (or mists) of Jane Eyre and Rebecca! I look forward to the next novel in this compelling new series.” (Karen Harper, New York Times bestselling author of Mistress of Mourning)


“Mist of Midnight is wonderfully atmospheric, with all the right elements for a true Gothic novel, from sounds that go bump in the night to characters who are not at all what they seem. The spiritual underpinning is solid, comforting, even as we're trapped in the author's finely spun web of mystery, romance, and a sense of foreboding that doesn't lift until the final page. Charlotte Brontë? Victoria Holt? Meet Sandra Byrd, the modern mistress of Gothic romance!” (Liz Curtis Higgs, New York Times bestselling author of Mine Is the Night)


“Among the many things I love about reading a Sandra Byrd novel is knowing that her words will transport me to another place and time, that she will win me over with intriguing and complex characters, and that I’ll savor every word. Mist of Midnight is no exception. I loved this book! Sandra Byrd could belong to the writing group of the Bronte sisters if they’d had one. Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre along with crumbling mansions, mysterious distant cousins, and one woman’s journey to prove who she really is are just few layers that ripple through the mists. Bravo, Sandra! Another winner.” (Jane Kirkpatrick, award-winning author of A Light in the Wilderness)


“Richly written and multi-layered, Mist of Midnight blends traditional England and exotic India in a historical feat worthy of Victoria Holt. Breathless danger, romance, and intrigue made this series opener by the ultra-talented Sandra Byrd a compelling must-read!” (Laura Frantz, author of Love’s Reckoning)


"Once again, Sandra Byrd delivers a richly layered story that will leave you eagerly awaiting the next book in this brand-new series. Mist of Midnight has it all: intriguing and memorable characters—including a central female protagonist who is both complex and inspiring—a plot chock-full of mystery and suspense, and a Victorian gothic setting, impeccably researched and artfully and evocatively relayed. Prepare to be transported!" (Karen Halvorsen Schreck, author of Sing For Me)


“Mist of Midnight is a beautiful, haunting tale. Sandra Byrd masterfully weaves together both romance and suspense among a cast of mysterious characters. I was immediately swept into the wonder of this story, and I loved unraveling all the secrets and discovering exactly what happened at the old Headbourne House.” (Melanie Dobson, author of Chateau of Secrets and The Courier of Caswell Hall)


“Sandra Byrd’s trademark attention to historical accuracy combines with an eerily building intrigue to envelope readers in a sense of dark foreboding that hinges precariously between hope and desperation. Mist of Midnight is a subtly haunting, beautifully atmospheric, and decadently romantic Victorian tale that will find a comfortable home among the best Gothic romances of days gone by.” (Serena Chase, author of The Ryn and contributor to USA Today’s Happy Ever After blog)


“Not since Jane Eyre have I read a Gothic romance that has captured my heart so completely. From the exotic India to an English estate shrouded in mystery, Byrd’s eye for detail shines through on every page. Romance lovers are sure to devour the tale of Rebecca Ravenshaw and her search for the truth behind the mysteries of Headbourne House and the handsome young captain who lives on the estate.” (Renee Chaw, reviewer at Black ‘n Gold Girl’s Book Spot)


“From the first word to the last, Mist of Midnight is a completely absorbing romantic, and mysterious, novel. Ms. Byrd’s writing is splendid, and her characters are so complex and endearing that they leap off the pages. I couldn’t put it down. An absolutely irresistible read!” (Anne Girard, author of Madame Picasso)



Pre-Order/Buy the Book


Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Review: I'm a huge fan of Sandra Byrd. I've read her whole Tudor series, and it was fantastic, so when I had the chance to read this novel, I jumped on it.

I have to also add, I have always loved Gothic novels.

This is the first book in a new series called Daughters of Hampshire and it doesn't disappoint. Byrd's attention to detail can be found within these pages and that's what makes this such a wonderful read. It makes you feel like you are in the story, getting a wonderful picture of England with hints of India.

The mystery is fabulous, and I'm a lover of a good mystery, in fact, I've been devouring that genre more than anything lately. Identity theft in Victorian times makes for a great read. The romantic element of the story was perfect too.

Sandra keeps you guessing throughout.

Highly recommended, as is everything else she writes!!

Rating: 5 flowers


03_Sandra Byrd Author About the Author


After earning her first rejection at the age of thirteen, bestselling author Sandra Byrd has now published more than forty books. Her adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake, was a Christy Award finalist, as was her first historical novel, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn. To Die For was also named by Library Journal as a Best Books Pick for 2011 and The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr, was named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2012. Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I published in April, 2013.

Sandra has also published dozens of books for tweens and teens including the Secret Sisters Series, London Confidential Series and a devotional for tweens.

A former textbook acquisitions editor, Sandra has published many nonfiction articles and books. She is passionate about helping new writers develop their talent and their work toward traditional or self publication. As such, she has mentored and coached hundreds of new writers and continues to coach dozens to success each year.

Please visit www.sandrabyrd.com to learn more, or to invite Sandra to your bookclub via Skype. You can also connect with Sandra on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Mist of Midnight Blog Tour Schedule


Monday, March 2

Review & Giveaway at Unshelfish

Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Tuesday, March 3

Review at A Chick Who Reads

Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, March 4

Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Thursday, March 5

Review at Reading the Past

Review & Giveaway at A Literary Vacation

Review & Guest Post at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Friday, March 6

Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Monday, March 9

Review & Giveaway at Historical Readings & Views

Tuesday, March 10

Review at Just One More Chapter

Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Wednesday, March 11

Review & Giveaway at The Lit Bitch

Thursday, March 12

Review at Book Drunkard

Spotlight at Books and Benches

Friday, March 13

Review & Giveaway at Forever Ashley

Monday, March 16

Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, March 17

Review at Layered Pages

Wednesday, March 18

Review at The Eclectic Reader

Review at The Book Binder's Daughter

Thursday, March 19

Review at CelticLady's Reviews

Guest Post & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Friday, March 20

Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books








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Monday, March 2, 2015

TLC Book Tours Read A Long Book Review: Maisie Dobbs

MAISIE DOBBS


About Maisie Dobbs


Maisie Dobbs, Psychologist and Investigator, began her working life at the age of thirteen as a servant in a Belgravia mansion, only to be discovered reading in the library by her employer, Lady Rowan Compton. Fearing dismissal, Maisie is shocked when she discovers that her thirst for education is to be supported by Lady Rowan and a family friend, Dr. Maurice Blanche. But The Great War intervenes in Maisie's plans, and soon after commencement of her studies at Girton College, Cambridge, Maisie enlists for nursing service overseas. Years later, in 1929, having apprenticed to the renowned Maurice Blanche, a man revered for his work with Scotland Yard, Maisie sets up her own business. Her first assignment, a seemingly tedious inquiry involving a case of suspected infidelity, takes her not only on the trail of a killer, but back to the war she had tried so hard to forget.


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BIRDS OF A FEATHER


About Birds of a Feather


An eventful year has passed for Maisie Dobbs. Since starting a one-woman private investigation agency in 1929 London, she now has a professional office in Fitzroy Square and an assistant, the happy-go-lucky Billy Beale. She has proven herself as a psychologist and investigator, and has even won over Detective Inspector Stratton of Scotland Yard's Murder Squad—an admirable achievement for a woman who worked her way from servant to scholar to sleuth, and who also served as a battlefield nurse in the Great War.

It's now the early Spring of 1930. Stratton is investigating a murder case in Coulsden, while Maisie has been summoned to Dulwich to find a runaway heiress. The woman is the daughter of Joseph Waite, a wealthy self-made man who has lavished her with privilege but kept her in a gilded cage. His domineering ways have driven her off before, and now she's bolted again.


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PARDONABLE LIES


About Pardonable Lies


In the third novel of this unique and masterly crime series, a deathbed plea from his wife leads Sir Cecil Lawton, KC, to seek the aid of Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator. As Maisie soon learns, Agnes Lawton never accepted that her aviator son was killed in the Great War, a torment that led her not only to the edge of madness but also to the doors of those who practice the dark arts and commune with the spirit world. Determined to prove Ralph Lawton either dead or alive, Maisie is plunged into a case that tests her spiritual strength, as well as her regard for her mentor, Maurice Blanche. The mission will bring her to France and reunite her with her old friend Priscilla Evernden, who lost three brothers in the war, one of whom has an intriguing connection to the case.

Set against a finely drawn portrait of life between the World Wars, Pardonable Lies is "a thrilling mystery that will enthrall fans of Jacqueline Winspear's heroine and likely win her new ones" (Detroit Free Press).


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MESSENGER OF TRUTH


About Messenger of Truth


London, 1931. The night before an exhibition of his artwork opens at a famed Mayfair gallery, the controversial artist Nick Bassington-Hope falls to his death. The police rule it an accident, but Nick's twin sister, Georgina, a wartime journalist and a infamous figure in her own right, isn't convinced.

When the authorities refuse to consider her theory that Nick was murdered, Georgina seeks out a fellow graduate from Girton College, Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator, for help. Nick was a veteran of World War I, and before long the case leads Maisie to the desolate beaches of Dungeness in Kent, and into the sinister underbelly of the city's art world.


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AN INCOMPLETE REVENGE


About An Incomplete Revenge


With the country in the grip of economic malaise, Maisie Dobbs is relieved to accept an apparently straightforward assignment to investigate a potential land purchase. Her inquiries take her to a picturesque village in Kent during the hop-picking season, but beneath its pastoral surface she finds evidence that something is amiss. Mysterious fires erupt in the village with alarming regularity, and a series of petty crimes suggest a darker criminal element at work. A peculiar secrecy shrouds the village, and ultimately Maisie must draw on her finely-honed skills of detection to solve one of her most intriguing cases yet.


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AMONG THE MAD


About Among the Mad


Christmas Eve, 1931. On the way to see a client, Maisie Dobbs witnesses a man commit suicide on a busy London street. The following day, the Prime Minister's office receives a letter threatening a massive loss of life if certain demands are not met—and the writer mentions Maisie by name. Tapped by Scotland Yard's elite Special Branch to be a special adviser on the case, Maisie is soon involved in a race against time to find a man who proves he has the knowledge and will to inflict destruction on thousands of innocent people.

In Among the Mad, Jacqueline Winspear combines a heart-stopping story with a rich evocation of a fascinating period to create her most compelling and satisfying novel yet.


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THE MAPPING OF LOVE AND DEATH


About The Mapping of Love and Death


August 1914. As Michael Clifton is mapping land he has just purchased in California's beautiful Santa Ynez Valley, war is declared in Europe—and duty-bound to his father's native country, the young cartographer soon sets sail for England to serve in the British army. Three years later, he is listed as missing in action.

April 1932. After Michael's remains are unearthed in France, his parents retain London psychologist and investigator Maisie Dobbs, hoping she can find the unnamed nurse whose love letters were among their late son's belongings. It is a quest that leads Maisie back to her own bittersweet wartime love—and to the stunning discovery that Michael Clifton was murdered in his dugout. Suddenly an exposed web of intrigue and violence threatens to ensnare the dead soldier's family and even Maisie herself as she attempts to cope with the impending loss of her mentor and the unsettling awareness that she is once again falling in love.


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A LESSON IN SECRETS


About A Lesson in Secrets


In the summer of 1932, the career of psychologist and investigator Maisie Dobbs takes an exciting new turn when she accepts an undercover assignment from the British Secret Service. Sent to pose as a junior lecturer at a private college in Cambridge, she will monitor any activities “not in the interests of His Majesty’s government.”

When the college’s controversial pacifist founder, Greville Liddicote, is murdered, however, Maisie is directed to stand back as her colleagues in Scotland Yard spearhead the investigation. But she soon discovers that the circumstances of Liddicote’s death appear inextricably linked to the suspicious comings and goings of faculty members and students under her surveillance. To unravel this web, the investigator must overcome a reluctant Secret Service, discover shameful hidden truths about Britain’s conduct during the Great War, and face off against the rising power of the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei—the Nazi Party—as the storm clouds of World War II gather on the horizon.


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ELEGY FOR EDDIE



About Elegy for Eddie


Early April 1933. To the costermongers of Covent Garden—sellers of fruits and vegetables on the London streets—Eddie Pettit was a gentle soul with a near-magical gift for working with horses. So who would want to kill him . . . and why?

Maisie Dobbs's father, Frankie, had been a costermonger, and she remembers Eddie fondly. But it soon becomes clear that powerful political and financial forces are determined to prevent her from learning the truth behind Eddie's death. Maisie's search for answers on the working-class streets of Lambeth leads her to unexpected places and people: to a callous press baron; to a has been politician named Winston Churchill; and, most surprisingly, to Douglas Partridge, the husband of her dearest friend, Priscilla. As Maisie uncovers lies and manipulation on a national scale, she must decide whether to risk everything to see justice done.


Review: I am looking enough to be part of this read a long tour of Jacqueline Winspear's fabulous mystery series. I actually read Elegy For Eddie when it first came out for a TLC tour and I was really impressed with the writing and the mystery.

I consider myself lucky to get to review the first book in this series, Maisie Dobbs. Its a shorter read than Elegy for Eddie and it was interesting for me to go from her most recent novel in this series to the very first. It allowed me to get to know Maisie from the beginning and now I'm definitely going to follow through with the series and probably reread Elegy For Eddie.

Her first case looks like something you'd expect in your run of the mill detective story; a husband trying to determine if his wife is cheating, but it turns out to be anything but. However that case isn't really the mystery, but just a part of it.

This story is almost a story within a story, because her first case and her past intertwine.

I really enjoyed Maisie's back story and as always Ms Winspear does a fabulous job bringing the time period to life for her readers. My heart broke for Maisie, just as she was starting to come across as a typical woman of the time. 

Maisie isn't the typical quirky heroine of these types of series. She's almost too perfect; too smart, too good, too likable. Still, even when she's her most perfect, you can't help but like her.

I can't wait to dive into the rest of the series! Highly enjoyable for fans of historical mysteries.

Rating: 5 flowers

Friday, February 27, 2015

TLC Book Tours Book Review: The Camelot Kids

Author: Ben Zackheim
Title: The Camelot Kids
Publish Date: Aug 25, 2014
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tours
Book Blurb:What would you do if an odd girl in a hooded cloak said, "You know you're a descendant of King Arthur's knight, Lancelot, right?" You'd probably do the same thing 14-year-old orphan Simon Sharp does: back away nice and slow. The difference is Simon's Camelot-obsessed parents recently died under mysterious circumstances.

But he learns the truth about their fate and his heritage after he's kidnapped by a drunk troll, rescued by a 7-foot elderly man named Merlin, and thrown into training with 149 other heirs of the Knights of the Round Table. Can Simon survive a prophecy that predicts the world will be saved through its destruction? Can he do it while clues keep popping up that his parents are alive?

The Camelot Kids is about one boy's struggle to solve a mystery and make it to tomorrow in a world both real and fantastic.

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Review: If you have been waiting for a book that will take you back to the day when you first read Harry Potter, then your wait is over.

This is one of the first young adult/middle grade type books that I've read in a long time, but this book really pulled me in. It is also longer than most of my reads, topping in at nearly 500 pages. It also has some really fabulous illustrations. (though the cover isn't a good example)

The story is very fast paced and fun. You instantly love Simon and long for good things to happen to him.

I love the combination of magic and mystery.

Rating: 5 flowers

 


Great Escapes Book Tours Book Review: Flamenco, Flan & Fatalities







Flamenco, Flan, and Fatalities
(A Happy Hoofers Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Publisher: Kensington (February 24, 2015)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1617733611
E-Book ASIN: B00M4ASU8S
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Synopsis
Murder is nothing to tap at. . .
The high-kicking Happy Hoofers–Tina, Janice, Pat, Mary Louise, and Gini–have been booked to flaunt their fabulous flamenco footwork on a luxury train ride through northern Spain. But when a blowhard talk show host is found deader than four-day-old flan–with Gini as suspect numero uno–the feisty friends waste no time stepping into their sleuthing shoes to protect one of their own.

The dynamite dancers will have to step up their game before a clever killer brings the curtain down on one of them . . . for good!

Review: I think I've fallen in love with this series! No joke, how can you not love a cozy series with a group of dancers called the Happy Hoofers? Its impossible, I tell you. This is the second book in the series, so I only have to go back and read one book. Yay!

Oh and the cover is the cutest thing. (Just had to mention that)

I saw this story as a cozy modern spin on Murder On The Orient Express. It is a fast paced fun read, that you really won't want to miss! It is told from the point of view of Gini, a rather outspoken member of the troop.

I have to say, if you have conservative leanings, you might not enjoy this book as much. Bless her bleeding heart liberal heart. I found Shambless to remind me a bit of Newt Gingrich. He's the same kind of hateful blowhard.

I loved how Gini told him off at the restaurant, because he really was a vile pig.

The story really focused on Gini, Mary-Louise and Janice. The later two women had love interests o the trip, Janice kind of had two and the one really kept them in the thick of the investigation. Gini, really isn't quite suspect numero uno as the blurb would suggest though, but she sure helps the investigation move along.

I really enjoyed the story and the recipes included, though most are a bit too intricate for my cooking abilities.

Rating: 5 flowers

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours Book Review: The Witch Hunter's Tale




Publication date: January 6, 2015
St. Martin’s Press
Formats: eBook, Hardcover
Pages: 320

Series: Book Three, The Midwife Mysteries Series
Genre: Historical Mystery
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Sam Thomas takes readers back to Puritan England with midwife Bridget Hodgson, hailed by the Cleveland Plain Dealer as “one of the most fascinating detectives in contemporary mystery fiction.”
Winter has come to the city of York, and with it the threat of witchcraft. As women and children sicken and die, midwife Bridget Hodgson is pulled against her will into a full-scale witch-hunt that threatens to devour all in its path, guilty and innocent alike.
Bridget—accompanied once again by her deputy Martha Hawkins and her nephew Will Hodgson—finds herself playing a lethal game of cat and mouse against the most dangerous men in York, as well as her sworn enemy Rebecca Hooke. As the trials begin, and the noose begins to tighten around her neck, Bridget must answer the question: How far will she go to protect the people she loves?

Praise for the Midwife Mysteries Series

“Sam Thomas has created one of the most fascinating detectives in contemporary mystery fiction—a crime-solving, wealthy, widowed midwife in embattled 17th-century York, England. . . . Bridget is as fascinating, fun and fierce as ever.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer on The Harlot’s Tale”Besides making his heroine a plausible sleuth, Thomas conveys the challenges of midwifery without clumsy exposition.” —Publishers Weekly (starred) on The Harlot’s Tale
“As pleasurable as his mystery is, the true thrill here is Thomas’s lively portrait of 1644 York and his unique heroine.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer on The Midwife’s Tale
“A briskly plotted historical mystery starring a pair of brave, tenacious, intelligent women who take no prisoners and make no apologies.” —Lyndsay Faye, author of Gods of Gotham
“Thomas is a historian by profession and it shows in the wealth of detail with which he recreates the city of York amid the turmoil of the English civil war.” —Rhys Bowen, author of the bestselling Royal Spyness series
“A heart-stopping page-turner coupled with a gritty and realistic portrayal of two strong and contrasting woman characters vividly depicted against the backdrop of the besieged city of York.” —Cora Harrison, author of I Was Jane Austen’s Best Friend
“The gripping story, fascinating characters, and intriguing era make Thomas’s debut mystery a reader’s delight.” —Priscilla Royal, author of The Killing Season
“Thomas’s fiction debut is packed with fascinating information about a midwife’s skills and life during the English civil war. The ingenious, fast-paced mystery is a bonus.” —Kirkus Reviews on The Midwife’s Tale
“Everything rings true in historian Thomas’s superb first mystery. . . Authentic details of life in 17th-century York complement the whodunit’s intelligently concealed clues.” —Publishers Weekly (starred) on The Midwife’s Tale

Buy the Book

About the Author

Sam Thomas is an assistant professor of history at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He has received research grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Newberry Library, and the British Academy. He has published articles on topics ranging from early modern Britain to colonial Africa. Thomas lives in Alabama with his wife and two children.
For more information please visit Sam Thomas’s website. You can also find him on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

The Witch Hunter’s Tale Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 9
Review at With Her Nose Stuck In A Book
Spotlight at What Is that Book About
Tuesday, February 10
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Spotlight at The Lit Bitch
Wednesday, February 11
Review at Build a Bookshelf
Friday, February 13
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Monday, February 16
Review at Book Babe
Spotlight at Let Them Read Books
Tuesday, February 17
Review at The Emerald City Book Review
Wednesday, February 18
Review & Interview at Back Porchervations
Friday, February 20
Spotlight at Passages to the Past
Monday, February 23
Interview at Mina’s Bookshelf
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Obsession
Tuesday, February 24
Review at A Book Geek
Wednesday, February 25
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Thursday, February 26
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog
Spotlight at Brooke Blogs
Friday, February 27

Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Review: The beginning of the year seems to signal a new book in the Midwife Mystery series. This is a double edged sword, because it usually sets the standard for all of the other books I'll read this year. It sets the bar pretty high too.

The Witch Hunter's Tale is book three in the series and it is just as good as the first two. If you like historical mysteries, or books set in Puritan England. As you can guess from the title, the story deals with witch hunts and Bridget and Martha find themselves knee deep in it.

As always, Sam's attention to detail brings the period as well as the story to life.  The characters are very "human".  This isn't your cozy type of mystery. I think that's what I loved about Bridget from the first book. She's intelligent, maybe even more intelligent than most women are in this time period. So there's no bumbling here, and that's what makes you keep turning the pages.

A lot of this story deals with how far you'll go to protect those closest to you. Bridget definitely goes above and beyond what is necessary. (And I admire her more for it).

Another winner by Sam Thomas! I'm eagerly awaiting the next installment in this series!

Rating: 5 flowers



 
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