Friday, September 19, 2014

TLC Book Tours Book Review: The Angel Of Losses

Author: Stephanie Feldman
Title: The Angel Of Losses
Publisher: Ecco
Publish Date: July 29, 2014
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tours
Book Blurb: 
When Eli Burke dies, he leaves behind a mysterious notebook full of stories about a magical figure named The White Rebbe, a miracle worker in league with the enigmatic Angel of Losses, protector of things gone astray, and guardian of the lost letter of the alphabet, which completes the secret name of God.

When his granddaughter, Marjorie, discovers Eli’s notebook, everything she thought she knew about her grandfather—and her family—comes undone. To find the truth about Eli’s origins and unlock the secrets he kept, she embarks on an odyssey that takes her deep into the past, from 18th century Europe to Nazi-occupied Lithuania, and back to the present, to New York City and her estranged sister Holly, whom she must save from the consequences of Eli’s past.

Interweaving history, theology, and both real and imagined Jewish folktales, The Angel of Losses is a family story of what lasts, and of what we can—and cannot—escape.


Review: I have to admit, the cover of this book is what drew me in at first. It has a very otherworldly feel to it, and that intrigued me.

When I started reading, I wasn't sure how I felt about the story. Marjorie and Holly aren't characters you can easily come to love, or even like.

I loved the Jewish folklore. I've always found myself drawn to stories of a religious nature, even though I'm not a devout practitioner of any faith.

I did feel that at times the story was disjointed, shifting between the folklore and reality, but overall, it was a good read that's part magical realism and part family saga.

Rating: 4 flowers


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours Book Review: Prisoner Of The Queen

02_Prisoner of the Queen 
Publication Date: July 2014 | Knight Media, LLC | Formats: eBook, Paperback
Series: Tales From the Tudor Court
Genre: Historical Fiction

Book Blurb: 

I have served three queens in my life. One was my sister, one was my savior, and one my bitterest enemy. Knowing she was seen as a threat to the Queen she served, Lady Katherine Grey, legitimate heir to the throne, longs only for the comfort of a loving marriage and a quiet life far from the intrigue of the Tudor court. After seeing her sister become the pawn of their parents and others seeking royal power and then lose their lives for it, she is determined to avoid the vicious struggles over power and religion that dominate Queen Elizabeth’s court. Until she finds love—then Kat is willing to risk it all, even life in prison.

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Tales From the Tudor Court Series

Book One: My Lady Viper
Book Two: Prisoner of the Queen

Review:  I love the Tudor period. It is hard to believe that anyone could write another book dealing with this royal dynasty that would still leave me feeling like I haven't read a half a million books on the subject, (ok, maybe not so many, but it feels that way sometimes) but E. Knight does.

So yes, the Tudor period is very overdone, in both historical fiction and romantic fiction, but, there's always something more, or someone more to learn about. In this case, Katherine Grey, who was the sister to Lady Jane Grey, the nine days queen.

I've read books that feature the Grey sisters but they focused mostly on Jane and Mary. This was the first one that I've read that put Katherine in the spotlight.

This is a tragic romance but one that really pulls you in. This is a woman of royal blood, whose life is really in the hands of the Queens, both Mary and Elizabeth, who see her as a threat. I felt terribly sorry for her. She seemed to want love rather than power, and she definitely didn't have the love of many people in her life. Her mother wasn't exactly the nicest woman, and the Queens that she served wouldn't trust or like or much, with good reason really, not that Katherine did anything to usurp the throne, but other members of her family did. That put her in constant suspicion.

E. Knight makes Katherine a very real person to her readers as well as Ned. There are things that happen in her life that will make you cry along with her. The loss of her pup, was one moment that really got to me. I always hate reading about the death of animals or when someone's pet wasn't allowed to make a journey with them to a new life.

I love the writing style and the obvious research that went into bringing this story to life. This book was a joy to read, even as the story breaks your heart.

Highly recommended

Rating:  5 flowers


About the Author

Eliza KnightE. Knight is a member of the Historical Novel Society, Romance Writers of America and several RWA affiliate writing chapters: Hearts Through History, Celtic Hearts, Maryland Romance Writers and Washington Romance Writers. Growing up playing in castle ruins and traipsing the halls of Versailles when visiting her grandparents during the summer, instilled in a love of history and royals at an early age. Feeding her love of history, she created the popular historical blog, History Undressed (www.historyundressed.com). Under the pseudonym Eliza Knight, she is a bestselling, award-winning, multi-published author of historical and erotic romance. For more information please visit E. Knight's website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.



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Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Book Review: Lost Legacy


Author: Annette Dashofy
Title: Lost Legacy
Publisher: Henery Press
Publish Date: Sept 16, 2014
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Great Escapes Book Tours & the author
Book Blurb: On a sultry summer afternoon, Paramedic Zoe Chambers responds to a call and finds a farmer’s body hanging from the rafters of his hay barn. What first appears to be a suicide quickly becomes something sinister when Zoe links the victim to a pair of deaths forty-five years earlier. Her attempts to wheedle information from her mother and stepfather hit a brick wall of deception, one that brings into question everything Zoe knows about her late father, who died in a car crash when she was eight. Or did he? Police Chief Pete Adams fears Zoe’s inquiries are setting her up for deeper heartbreak and putting her in danger. As Zoe and Pete inch closer to the truth, they discover that a missing gun links the crimes which span more than four decades. But the killer isn’t done. Two more Vance Township residents fall victim to the same gun, and when tragedy strikes too close to home, Zoe realizes her family is in the crosshairs



Review:  I spent the day reading this book. It is one that you won't want to put down until it's finished. I had a lot of reasons to do that.

First, the story is set in a fictional county in PA, which sounds a lot like Washington County, PA, where I live. There are a lot of references to Pittsburgh in the book, and that makes me squee with delight. I love having a feeling of connection with places in the books I read, and I definitely got that with Lost Legacy.

But wait there's more. The story starts out with what looks like a suicide, but spirals into several murders, all stemming back from another incident in the same barn over 40 years ago. There are so may suspects, som are even hitting a little close to home for Zoe. In fact, for awhile, I was kinda worried that the killer might be someone really close to Zoe.

I loved all the characters in the book, but none so much as Pete's dad, Harry, who has Alzheimer's. I wanted to hug him, he was just so sweet. I also enjoyed how Pete and Zoe really worked together to solve the crime and even when it came to finding out answers about her father's death 20 +  years ago.

Annette keeps you guessing on the killer to the very end, making this a really great read. The ending is very emotional and I have to say, this is the first time I found myself with a few tears at the end of a mystery!

Lost Legacy is the 2nd book in the Zoe Chambers series, and when you finish it you will be eagerly waiting for the next book!

Rating: 5 flowers


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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Cover Reveal: A Day Of Fire

I am excited to reveal the cover for “A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii"! This is a book for historical fiction TBR piles everywhere—six authors (look at that list!), one volume, the gripping story of Pompeii’s final days. And now you can pre-order your copy so that, come November 4th, you won’t have to wait.

It’s Cover Reveal Time . . .

Title: A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii Authors: Stephanie Dray, Ben Kane, E. Knight, Sophie Perinot, Kate Quinn and Vicky Alvear Shecter, with an introduction by Michelle Moran Genre: Historical Fiction Release Date: November 4, 2014
Pompeii was a lively resort flourishing in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius at the height of the Roman Empire. When Vesuvius erupted in an explosion of flame and ash, the entire town would be destroyed. Some of its citizens died in the chaos, some escaped the mountain's wrath . . .
01_A Day of Fire Cover
Six top historical novelists join forces to bring readers the stories of Pompeii’s residents—from patricians to prostitutes—as their world ended. You will meet: A boy who loses his innocence in Pompeii's flourishing streets; An heiress dreading her wedding day, not knowing it will be swallowed by fire; An ex-legionary who stakes his entire future on a gladiator bout destined never to be finished; A crippled senator welcoming death, until a tomboy on horseback comes to his rescue; A young mother facing an impossible choice for her unborn child as the ash falls; And a priestess and a whore seeking redemption and resurrection as the town is buried.

Pre-order today!

Amazon US | Amazon UK

About the Authors

STEPHANIE DRAY is a multi-published, award-winning author of historical women’s fiction and fantasy set in the ancient world. Her critically acclaimed historical Nile series about Cleopatra’s daughter has been translated into more than six different languages, was nominated for a RITA Award and won the Golden Leaf. Her focus on Ptolemaic Egypt and Augustan Age Rome has given her a unique perspective on the consequences of Egypt's ancient clash with Rome, both in terms of the still-extant tensions between East and West as well as the worldwide decline of female-oriented religion. Before she wrote novels, Stephanie was a lawyer, a game designer, and a teacher. Learn more at www.StephanieDray.com BEN KANE worked as a veterinarian for sixteen years, but his love of ancient history and historical fiction drew him to write fast-paced novels about Roman soldiers, generals and gladiators. Irish by nationality but UK-based, he is the author of seven books, the last five of which have been Sunday Times top ten bestsellers.Ben’s books have been translated into ten languages. In 2013, Ben walked the length of Hadrian’s Wall with two other authors, for charity; he did so in full Roman military kit, including hobnailed boots. He repeated the madness in 2014, over 130 miles in Italy. Over $50,000 has been raised with these two efforts. Learn more at http://www.benkane.net/ E. KNIGHT is an award-winning, indie national best-selling author historical fiction. Under the name, Eliza Knight she writes historical romance and time-travel. Her debut historical fiction novel, MY LADY VIPER, has received critical acclaim and was nominated for the Historical Novel Society 2015 Annual Indie Award. She regularly presents on writing panels and was named Romance Writer’s of America’s 2013 PRO Mentor of the Year. Eliza lives in Maryland atop a small mountain with a knight, three princesses and a very naughty puppy. For more information, visit Eliza at www.elizaknight.com. SOPHIE PERINOT is the author of the acclaimed debut, The Sister Queens, which weaves the story of medieval sisters Marguerite and Eleanor of Provence who became queens of France and England respectively. Perinot has both a BA in History and a law degree. A long-time member of the Historical Novel Society, she has attended all of the group’s North American Conferences, serving as a panelist at the most recent. When she is not visiting corners of the past, Sophie lives in Great Falls, VA. Learn more at www.SophiePerinot.com KATE QUINN is the national bestselling author of the Empress of Rome novels, which have been variously translated into thirteen different languages. She first got hooked on Roman history while watching "I, Claudius" at the age of seven, and wrote her first book during her freshman year in college, retreating from a Boston winter into ancient Rome. She and her husband now live in Maryland with an imperious black dog named Caesar. Learn more at http://www.katequinnauthor.com VICKY ALVEAR SHECTER is the award-winning author of the young adult novel, Cleopatra’s Moon (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, 2011), based on the life of Cleopatra's only daughter. She is also the author of two biographies for kids on Alexander the Great and Cleopatra. The LA Times called Cleopatra’s Moon--set in Rome and Egypt--"magical" and "impressive." Publisher’s Weekly said it was "fascinating" and "highly memorable." Her young adult novel of Pompeii, Curses and Smoke (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic), released in June 2014. She has two other upcoming books for younger readers, Anubis Speaks! and Hades Speaks! Vicky is a docent at the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Antiquities at Emory University in Atlanta. Learn more at http://www.vickyalvearshecter.com/main

Giveaway

To win a copy of A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii please complete the Rafflecopter form. There are two copies (Ebook or Paperback) up for grabs. Giveaway is open to US & UK residents only. Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on September 26th. You must be 18 or older to enter. Winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter on September 27th and notified via email. Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Book Review: Double Whammy

Author: Gretchen Archer
Title: Double Whammy
Publisher: Henery Press
Publish Date: May 14, 2014
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: The author in exchange for an honest review
Book Blurb: 
Davis Way thinks she’s hit the jackpot when she lands a job as the fifth wheel on an elite security team at the fabulous Bellissimo Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. But once there, she runs straight into her ex-ex husband, a rigged slot machine, her evil twin, and a trail of dead bodies. Davis learns the truth and it does not set her free—in fact, it lands her in the pokey.

Buried under a mistaken identity, unable to seek help from her family, her hot streak runs cold until her landlord Bradley Cole steps in. Make that her landlord, lawyer, and love interest. With his help, Davis must win this high stakes game before her luck runs out.


Review: It is hard to figure out where to start when it comes to Double Whammy, the first book in the David Way Casino Mystery series.

First, let's talk about the book cover. OMG isn't it adorable? It is absolutely perfect for the book too.

But back to the story, which is fantastic, especially if you like casinos, and I do. (Even though I'm not much of a gambler, I like the pretty lights).

In some ways you really feel like you are learning the workings of a big casino. The Bellissimo is a fancy one. Think The Bogata in Atlantic City or The Bellagio in Vegas.

Davis Way lands a job in the casino's security team, only it is not what it seems. There's a lot of bad bad stuff going on and some of it involves the owner's wife and her twice ex'd husband. (Davis' backstory is both funny and sad at the same time in regards to Eddie).

Davis is really a great character. She's smart and a bit goofy, so you can't help but like her. Her family is off the wall, and her ex's family is a little bit scary. (well more than a little bit)

I love the nicknames Davis gives to some of her co-workers (No Hair and Teeth). One of them is a good guy the other a baddie. I won't spoil it for you though.

Gretchen mixes humor with a great whodunit that keeps the pages turning. I can't wait to read Double Dip, book two in the series.


Rating: 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Book Review: Your Perfect Life

Author: Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke
Title: Your Perfect Life
Publisher: Atria Books
Publish Date: June 10, 2014
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb: 
Best friends since childhood, Casey and Rachel couldn’t lead more different lives. While workaholic Casey rubs elbows with celebrities daily as the host of Gossip TV and comes home nightly to an empty apartment, stay-at-home mom Rachel juggles an “oops” baby, two fiery teenagers, and a husband who barely seems the man she fell in love with two decades before. After an argument at their twentieth high school reunion, Casey and Rachel throw back shots to get the night back on track. Instead, they get a life-changing hangover.

Waking up in each other’s bodies the next morning, they must figure out how to navigate their altered realities. Rachel is forced to face the broadcasting dreams she gave up when she got pregnant in college, and Casey finally steps out of the spotlight to face the real reason why she’s alone. And they soon discover that they don’t know themselves—or their best friend—nearly as well as they thought they did.


Review: Your Perfect Life is a Freaky Friday/The Grass Is Always Greener scenario. Casey and Rachel are besties, but have very different lives, and they aren't even sure they like them.

Casey is a host of a TMZ type show called Gossip TV and Rachel is a stay at home mom. A little hocus pocus after their 20 year reunion and they've switched bodies.

Both of them have to get used to being the other, and that's not very easy.

Going in, I wasn't really thrilled with either character, but it was Casey, that I really loved as the story progressed. She really grew as a person becoming Rachel, plus she fixed a lot of things in Rachel's life, like her relationship with her daughters and her husband. Considering she was tv personality and not used to the whole family thing, her swap had to be harder to handle and adapt to.

It wasn't quite the same for Rachel, who got the hot body, nice house and fabulous clothes. But she also got the bad that came with it, in the form of backstabbing coworkers.

The switch brought out the best in both of them. It was funny and heartfelt and really a great read. If the whole body swap thing hadn't been done a bazillion times, it would make a fantastic movie.

Definitely a great weekend read!

Rating: 5 flowers


Friday, September 12, 2014

Tasty Book Tours Book Review: His Texas Forever Family




His Texas Forever Family
By: Amy Woods
Released August 19th, 2014
Harlequin


Blurb

“MR. CAMPBELL, PLEASE REPORT TO THE PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE…

Paige Graham only has room for one man in her life—her son, Owen. The little boy hasn’t spoken since his father died, but things change when he meets his new art teacher, Liam Campbell. Paige can’t help marveling at the progress Owen makes while working with his instructor—and Mr. Campbell isn’t exactly hard on the eyes, either!

New to Peach Leaf, Texas, Liam is captivated by his beautiful boss—who is none other than Paige! He can’t risk his job or his future by falling for his supervisor, but there is just something about her he can’t resist. Thanks to Liam’s lessons, Owen is on the road to recovery. Now if only Liam can show Paige that the best way to heal her heart is to open herself to love again….”




Buy Links

Review:
This was a very sweet romance. What I really loved about it was that the tables were turned on the hero, when the story starts. 
Usually, if some misfortune befalls one of the characters, it is the heroine, but here, Liam gets it. Not in a  bad way, but things don't work out perfectly for him in the beginning with Paige. He definitely doesn't make a good first impression on her.
I liked that Liam wasn't all alpha male and I loved that he truly seemed to care for Owen.
There are definitely some very sweet scenes between the boy and Liam that will melt your heart.
Owen really brings out Liam's great qualities.
The only thing that I wasn't thrilled about was how Paige went all 1950s at the end. She really was a great heroine and more than that, a great mother. But the ending took a little of the "Super Mom" away from her for me.
Other than that, this is a quick, fun read, with characters that are so easy to fall for.
Rating: 4 flowers


Author Info
Although she’s wanted to be a writer since learning to read, Amy Woods took the scenic route to her job as an author. She’s been a bookkeeper, a high school English teacher, a claims specialist, and a call-center worker, but now that she’s tried making up stories for a living, she’s never giving it up. She grew up in Austin, Texas and still lives there with her wonderfully goofy, supportive husband and a very spoiled rescue dog.

Author Links



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