Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Book Review: The Nightingale Girls

Author: Donna Douglas
Title: The Nightingale Girls
Publisher: Random House UK
Publish Date: Aug 16, 2012
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb: 
Three very different girls sign up as student nurses in 1936, while England is still mourning the death of George V. Dora is a tough East Ender, driven by ambition, but also desperate to escape her squalid, overcrowded home and her abusive stepfather. Helen is the quiet one, a mystery to her fellow nurses, avoiding fun, gossip and the limelight. In fact she is in the formidable shadow of her overbearing mother, who dominates every aspect of her life. Can a nursing career free Helen at last? The third of our heroines is naughty, rebellious Millie an aristocrat on the run from her conventional upper class life. She is doomed to clash over and over again with terrifying Sister Hyde and to get into scrape after scrape especially where men are concerned.

This utterly delightful novel brings a London pre-war hospital vividly to life.

Review: If you are a fan of Call The Midwife, then you will love The Nightingale Girls series. This is book one. In this book, you meet, Dora, Millie and Helen and a few others.

Each girl is very different but over the course of the novel, they all become friends. In this book, you will find yourself really liking all the girls.

Dora is the east end girl, who wouldn't usually have made it to The Nightingale, but Matron saw something special in her.

Millie is an aristocrat that wants to be more than just someone's wife, but she has a bad habit of screwing up or getting mixed up with the wrong men

Helen is a goody two shoes, who is living in fear of her mother, who is on the board of trustees for the hospital.

Their different personalities are what make the story so entertaining, and each girl has a lot of things going on besides the day to day duties and classes at the hospital.

Helen is the only one that doesn't have anything horrible happen to her. Her mother may  be controlling but that doesn't come near having a sexually abusive step father, like Dora, or the near fatal accident that Millie's dad suffers during this book.

Donna Douglas knows how to tug at your heartstrings too. When Blanche passes away during surgery, I admit, I crying like a baby. And when Helen found love with one of her former patients, I couldn't help but cheer for her.

This was a fantastic book and a great beginning to the series.

Rating: 5 flowers

Monday, October 27, 2014

TLC Book Tours Book Review: Memory Card Full

Author: Liz Weber
Title: Memory Card Full
Publisher: Greenpoint Press
Publish Date: Sept 15, 2014
Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tours & the author
Book Blurb: 
A book for anyone who has loved and lost and found the space in that loss to become the person they were meant to be.

When Rufus, Liz Weber’s oddly proportioned but adorable dog dies of old age, her life begins to unravel. She is forced to let go of the one constant in her life and move forward. Memory Card Full is a memoir of her life as a bartender, model and aspiring writer in Manhattan before and after Rufus. Without him, she is alone and broken-hearted and her life spirals downward while her friends and family struggle to understand what she is going through.

Prior to Rufus’s death, Liz Weber’s life was far from dull. Whether serving drinks to a gaggle of quirky regulars at a bar or walking around in her skivvies for extra cash as a lingerie model, she fought hard to remain a self-proclaimed “professional free spirit” and aspiring writer, even it meant enduring a lush for a manager or a cranky, Israeli-folk-music-loving boss. None of it really mattered as long as she had Rufus, who taught her about unconditional love in an untraditional way.

Memory Card Full is the story of Liz’s journey through grief, which leads to an unexpected encounter with the long unheard voice of the woman inside of her. On water skis at an adult sleepaway camp, Liz realizes that there are important things in life that Rufus’ love had caused her to avoid. Embracing her power and strength, she is finally able to accept that letting go of him is the best way to go on and find love for herself and others.

Frank, funny, and deeply moving, Memory Card Full is a memoir for anyone who has loved and lost and found the space in that loss to become the person they were meant to be.

Review:  This review was very very hard for me to write. I lost my little J.J. a little over a week prior to reading this. To say that I cried during some parts of this book would be an understatement. Losing a pet is heartbreaking, and that part of the story will do just that, break your heart into a million tiny little pieces.

I really enjoyed reading about Liz's life in part one, when Rufus was still alive. She has one of those crazy lives that I think we all secretly want for a day or so, not necessarily glamorous or anything that brings about wads of cash, but crazy in a way that makes you feel alive.

Liz seems like a really fun person, but as I read about her recovery from the loss of her dog I did learn one thing about her. She loved Rufus, but I'm not sure she is an animal lover. There were times when I felt that she blamed Rufus for holding her back from finding love. And she was definitely the kind of pet owner that doesn't jump on the band wagon to get a new animal afterwards. But I guess some people aren't meant to open their hearts to more than one animal in their lifetime. The loss is too hard. So I can forgive her that.

This was a really fun memoir to read. It is full of crazy and of course, sad, but overall it was nice to see Liz finding herself and doing what she wanted to do.

However, no vacation would cause me to delete any photos of a beloved pet..but I am a crazy animal lady.

Rating: 4 flowers

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Chick Ponders Bookish Things: Book Boyfriends

There's a cute little feature over at Romance At Random to find your next book boyfriend....click here to give it a try.

Sadly, I'll never have a book boyfriend, because my ideal type of guy just isn't written about in romance novels, or really in any kind of novels.

See, I don't like big, buff military men, or cowboys, or the next billionaire or sheikh of some made up country. I like the geeky guys, or someone dashing. Heck, I think Peter Capaldi is a pretty hot guy. That's not your typical romantic hero, if you know what I mean. And really, most women seem to love Benedict Cumberbatch, but I wouldn't call him your typical romantic hero...same goes for Tom Hiddleston and Ioan Gruffudd. I personally think all of them are hotties.

But the feature is really cute and it will point you to some fabulous reads. (And really, who doesn't need more books!)

So what do you look for in a book boyfriend?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Book Review: A Voice In The Dark

Author: Isla Grey
Title: A Voice In The Dark
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Publish Date: Aug 19, 2014
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Goddess Fish Promotions & the author
Abigail Farmer knows one thing, the funeral home business...

By day, she works at her family's funeral home. By night, she lives alone on its upper floor. With her stepfather, Sam, about to retire, Abigail is convinced there is only one person who can run the business effectively, her.

However, her life at the funeral home changes when Hasten Holmes arrives.

Ready for his first day on the job Hasten is met by a reluctant Abigail who hopes Sam sends him packing after they exchange unpleasantries.

Reluctant to get too close to anyone, especially someone who's associated with Stu--Sam's lowlife friend and wannabe business partner--Abigail deliberately keeps things strictly professional between them.

Then something unexpected happens...

Abigail's plans to take charge of the family business take a drastic turn when she finds the mutilated body of one of their clients, and it becomes apparent that there's more going on in the funeral home as a sinister plot begins to reveal itself.


A Voice In The Dark is a wonderful novella that will appeal to lovers of thrillers and romantic suspense.

The story revolves around the goings on at Abigail Farmer's family funeral home. Her stepfather is getting ready to turn the business over to her, but there are some strange things going on, and some pretty shady people working at the funeral home.

Stu is a real "creeper" and you have to wonder how he keeps his job with the way he acts. He's downright "icky."

Then things start happening around some of the bodies coming in. (Not so nice things) 

I liked Abigail. She's a tough cookie. especially as there were things that happened in her past that might make her otherwise. Hasten makes an interesting friend/boyfriend for her.

The story moved along at a fast pace, but it didn't feel rushed. Isla unveils things in the funeral home just fast enough, and it keeps the reader on the edge of their seat waiting for more.

My only gripe is that this is a novella, and I really would have loved at least another 100 pages so I could get to know a few of the characters a bit better.

This book is part of the Dark Plots series, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that that means there will be more of Abigal and Hasten in the future.

Rating: 4 flowers

x-posted from The Certifiable Wenches

Friday, October 17, 2014

Historical Fiction Virtual Tours Book Review: The Secrets Of Casanova

Please join author Greg Michaels as he tours with HF Virtual Book Tours for The Secrets of Casanova, from October 13-24.

02_The Secrets of Casanova
Publication Date: October 21, 2013 | Booktrope Editions | Formats: eBook Paperback; 334p
Genre: Historical Fiction


2014 Nancy Pearl Award Winner for Fiction.

Loosely based on the life of Jacques Casanova, The Secrets of Casanova is a rich, lush novel of love, sex, family, ambition, intrigue, and adventure. Set in Paris of 1755, Casanova's luck is fading and his past is shoving up against his present with potentially disastrous consequences. What price must he pay to uncover a treasure of inestimable value? What hearts must he break along the way? Casanova's will and destiny collide again and again in this riveting historical fiction that brings to light a man of great passion and not a few secrets.

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Praise for The Secrets of Casanova

“A Shakespearean actor with a flair for the dramatic and a superb ear for dialogue, Michaels's debut novel puts a brilliantly original spin on an historical figure whose very name is a cliché. This Casanova must wrestle not only with falling hopelessly and passionately in love, but embarking on a mysterious quest that is as much a spiritual awakening as a swashbuckling adventure. The Secrets of Casanova is so erotic and so sensitively written, I found it difficult to believe its author was a man.” -Robin Maxwell, national best-selling author of The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn

Buy the Book
Barnes & Noble

Review:  First, I have to say when I think about Casanova, I think of this guy

But all thoughts of David Tennant aside, Greg Michaels gives you Casanova better than most movies can. Plus reading this novel kinda took away some of that feeling that Casanova was just a great ladies man.

This book was an adventure. It definitely takes away a lot of the preconceived notions that you might have about Casanova. Some of them are there, but Michael's brings a bit more depths to this man's character. That is something that makes him stand out as more than just a ladies man.

Before reading this Casanova was someone I equated with Valmont from Dangerous Liaisons, now I know that this is not the case.

Rating: 4 flowers

About the Author
03_Greg MichaelsAfter receiving his B.A. in anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin, a chance experience thrust Greg into a career as a professional actor and fight director. To date he's acted in over fifty theater productions, more than forty television shows, and choreographed dozens of swordfights for stage and screen. In THE SECRETS OF CASANOVA, Greg again proves his skill at telling a theatrical story. He lives with his wife, two sons, and Andy the hamster.

For more information please visit Greg Michaels's website.   Like The Secrets of Casanova Facebook Page. Follow Greg Michaels on Twitter.

The Secrets of Casanova Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 13
Review at Bookish

Tuesday, October 14
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Review at With Her Nose Stick in a Book
Spotlight & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Wednesday, October 15
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Obsession

Thursday, October 16
Review & Interview at Carpe Librum
Spotlight at Historical Tapestry

Friday, October 17
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Monday, October 20
Review at A Book Geek
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, October 21
Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews
Spotlight & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, October 22
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Review at Good Friends, Good Books and a Sleepy Conscience
Guest Post at Mina's Bookshelf

Thursday, October 23
Review at Beth's Book Reviews
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Friday, October 24
Review at Book Nerd
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours Book Review: Bitter Greens

02_Bitter Greens 
Publication Date: September 23, 2014 | Thomas Dunne Books | Hardcover; 496p | ISBN-10: 1250047536
Genre: Historical/Fantasy/Fairy-Tale Retellings
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The amazing power and truth of the Rapunzel fairy tale comes alive for the first time in this breathtaking tale of desire, black magic and the redemptive power of love French novelist Charlotte-Rose de la Force has been banished from the court of Versailles by the Sun King, Louis XIV, after a series of scandalous love affairs. At the convent, she is comforted by an old nun, Sœur Seraphina, who tells her the tale of a young girl who, a hundred years earlier, is sold by her parents for a handful of bitter greens... After Margherita’s father steals parsley from the walled garden of the courtesan Selena Leonelli, he is threatened with having both hands cut off, unless he and his wife relinquish their precious little girl. Selena is the famous red-haired muse of the artist Tiziano, first painted by him in 1512 and still inspiring him at the time of his death. She is at the center of Renaissance life in Venice, a world of beauty and danger, seduction and betrayal, love and superstition. Locked away in a tower, Margherita sings in the hope that someone will hear her. One day, a young man does. Award-winning author Kate Forsyth braids together the stories of Margherita, Selena, and Charlotte-Rose, the woman who penned Rapunzel as we now know it, to create what is a sumptuous historical novel, an enchanting fairy tale retelling, and a loving tribute to the imagination of one remarkable woman.

Praise for Bitter Greens

“Kate Forsyth’s Bitter Greens is an enthralling concoction of history and magic, an absorbing, richly detailed, and heart-wrenching reimagining of a timeless fairytale.” —Jennifer Chiaverini, New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival “See how three vividly drawn women cope with injustice, loneliness, fear, longing. See how they survive—or perpetrate—treachery. Surrender yourself to a master storyteller, to delicious detail and spunky heroines. Bitter Greens is a complex, dazzling achievement.” —Susan Vreeland, New York Times bestselling author of Clara and Mr. Tiffany and Girl in Hyacinth Blue “A magical blend of myth and history, truth and legend, Bitter Greens is one of those rare books that keeps you reading long after the lights have gone out, that carries you effortlessly to another place and time, that makes you weep and laugh and wish you could flip forward to make sure it all ends happily ever after—but for the fact that if you did so, you might miss a line, and no line of this book should be missed.” —Lauren Willig, New York Times bestselling author of The Ashford Affair “Kate Forsyth wields her pen with all the grace and finesse of a master swordsman. In Bitter Greens she conjures a lyrical fairytale that is by turns breathtaking, inspiring, poetic, and heartbreakingly lovely. Set like a jewel within the events of history, it is pure, peerless enchantment.”—New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn “Bitter Greens is pure enchantment–gripping and lyrical. From the high convent walls where a 17th century noblewoman is exiled, to a hidden tower which imprisons an innocent girl with very long hair, to the bitter deeds of a beautiful witch who cannot grow old–Kate Forsyth weaves an engrossing, gorgeously written tale of three women in search of love and freedom. A truly original writer, Forsyth has crafted an often terrifying but ultimately redemptive dark fairy tale of the heart.”—Stephanie Cowell, American Book Award-winning author of Claude & Camille “Kate Forsyth’s Bitter Greens is not only a magnificent achievement that would make any novelist jealous, it’s one of the most beautiful paeans to the magic of storytelling that I’ve ever read.”—C.W. Gortner, author of The Queen’s Vow and The Confessions of Catherine de Medici "Threads of history and folklore are richly intertwined to form this spellbinding story. Kate Forsyth has excelled herself with Bitter Greens. Compulsively unputtdownable."—Juliet Marillier, national bestselling author of Flame of Sevenwaters and Heart’s Blood

Buy the Book

Amazon US Barnes & Noble IndieBound

Review: You might not want to start this book when you only have a short time to read, because once you start it, you'll be drawn in, and it is a long one, but oh is it so worth your time.

This is a wonderful retelling of Rapunzel mixed with the historical fiction of the Sun King court.


I've read a lot of fairytale reimaginings, but this one is definitely one of the best.

Rating: 5 flowers

Kate Forsyth 1 About the Author

Kate Forsyth wrote her first novel at the age of seven, and is now the internationally bestselling & award-winning author of thirty books, ranging from picture books to poetry to novels for both adults and children. She was recently voted one of Australia's Favourite 20 Novelists, and has been called 'one of the finest writers of this generation. She is also an accredited master storyteller with the Australian Guild of Storytellers, and has told stories to both children and adults all over the world. Her most recent book for adults is a historical novel called 'The Wild Girl', which tells the true, untold love story of Wilhelm Grimm and Dortchen Wild, the young woman who told him many of the world's most famous fairy tales. Set during the Napoleonic Wars, 'The Wild Girl' is a story of love, war, heartbreak, and the redemptive power of storytelling, and was named the Most Memorable Love Story of 2013. She is probably most famous for 'Bitter Greens', a retelling of the Rapunzel fairy tale interwoven with the dramatic life story of the woman who first told the tale, the 17th century French writer, Charlotte-Rose de la Force. 'Bitter Greens' has been called 'the best fairy tale retelling since Angela Carter', and has been nominated for a Norma K. Hemming Award, the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Fiction, and a Ditmar Award. Her most recent book for children is 'Grumpy Grandpa', a charming picture book that shows people are not always what they seem. Since 'The Witches of Eileanan' was named a Best First Novel of 1998 by Locus Magazine, Kate has won or been nominated for numerous awards, including a CYBIL Award in the US. She's also the only author to win five Aurealis awards in a single year, for her Chain of Charms series – beginning with 'The Gypsy Crown' - which tells of the adventures of two Romany children in the time of the English Civil War. Book 5 of the series, 'The Lightning Bolt', was also a CBCA Notable Book. Kate's books have been published in 14 countries around the world, including the UK, the US, Russia, Germany, Japan, Turkey, Spain, Italy, Poland and Slovenia. She is currently undertaking a doctorate in fairytale retellings at the University of Technology, having already completed a BA in Literature and a MA in Creative Writing. Kate is a direct descendant of Charlotte Waring, the author of the first book for children ever published in Australia, 'A Mother's Offering to her Children'. She lives by the sea in Sydney, Australia, with her husband, three children, and many thousands of books. For more information please visit Kate Forsyth's website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Bitter Greens Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 15

Guest Post & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, September 16

Review at Kinx's Book Nook

Review & Giveaway at Bookish

Wednesday, September 17

Review & Giveaway at Literary, etc

Review & Giveaway at Book Drunkard

Thursday, September 18

Review & Giveaway at Build a Bookshelf

Review & Giveaway at The Eclectic Reader

Friday, September 19

Review at The Maiden's Court

Review & Giveaway at Icey Books

Monday, September 22

Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading

Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway at A Dream Within a Dream

Spotlight at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, September 23

Review at Book Dilettante

Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway at SurLaLune

Wednesday, September 24

Review at Caroline Wilson Writes

Review, Interview, and Giveaway at Ink Gypsy

Review, Interview, and Giveaway at The Lit Bitch

Thursday, September 25

Review & Giveaway at No BS Book Reviews

Interview & Giveaway at Just One More Chapter

Friday, September 26

Review at The Gilmore Guide to Books

Review at Must Read Faster

Monday, September 29

Review at Book Lovers Paradise

Review & Giveaway at Bookworm Blues

Tuesday, September 30

Review at The Life & Times of a Book Addict

Review & Excerpt at Books-n-Kisses

Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, October 1

Review at One Book at a Time

Review at Book-alicious Mama

Review & Giveaway at Mina's Bookshelf

Review & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, October 2

Interview at Layered Pages

Review & Giveaway at Oh Magic Hour

Friday, October 3

Review at Bibliophilia, Please

Review & Giveaway at Gone Pecan

Sunday, October 5

Review at Carole's Ramblings

Monday, October 6 Review at Book Babe

Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews

Interview, Excerpt, & Giveaway at Harlequin Junkie

Tuesday, October 7 Review at A Chick Who Reads

Review & Giveaway at The Pretty Good Gatsby

Wednesday, October 8 Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Review & Giveaway at My Friends Are Fiction

Thursday, October 9

Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Friday, October 10 Review at Mel's Shelves

Review & Giveaway at No More Grumpy Bookseller

Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Monday, October 13

Review at 100 Pages a Day - Stephanie's Book Reviews

Review & Giveaway at Layers of Thought

Tuesday, October 14

Review & Giveaway at Words and Peace

Review & Giveaway at Beth's Book Reviews

Wednesday, October 15

Review at Crossroad Review

Review at My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews

Thursday, October 16

Review at Cheryl's Book Nook

Review at CelticLady's Reviews

Friday, October 17

Review at Mary Gramlich

Review at She Reads Novels

Monday, October 20

Interview & Giveaway at The Reading Frenzy

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Monday, October 13, 2014

TLC Book Tour: How To Bake A Man

Author: Jessica Barksdale Inclan
Title: How To Bake A Man
Publisher: Ghostwoods Books
Publish Date: Oct 24, 2014
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tours
Book Blurb: 
When Becca Muchmore drops out of grad school, all she has left to fall back on is her baking. Ignoring her mother's usual barrage of disapproval and disappointment, she decides to start a small business hand-delivering her wares. A friend introduces her to an office of hungry lawyers, who agree to give her a try. Her lizard-booted neighbor Sal is happy to help out when he can, and almost before she knows it, Becca's Best is up and running.

Before she can settle into a routine, things get complicated. The office ogress could easily be Becca's sister and has absolutely no patience with cookies or other frivolities. Even worse, her boyfriend is the man of Becca's dreams--kind, funny, successful, and brain-meltingly gorgeous. As the dark undercurrents threaten to pull her down, Becca swiftly finds herself neck-deep in office politics, clandestine romance, and flour. Saving her business (and finding true love) is going to take everything she's got, and more.

Review: This is chicklit, pure and simple. That's not a put down, that's a good thing. Becca's story could very well be described as Bridget Jones meets the Cupcake Cafe. Becca is more neurotic over things that Bridget Jones ever was, but she's lovable.

There are several reasons to read this book.

1. It is a super cute romance. It makes you feel good.

2. It's a foodie romance too, which is awesome.

3. One word, recipes! You can't go wrong with a cute story and good recipes.

4. The descriptions of the baked goods that start each new chapter. Its impossible not to want sweets while reading this book.

5. The hero isn't quite who you think he is. (I'll say no more, as it might be a spoiler)

I think those are enough reasons. If not, you need to take some happy pills and then give the book a try. Life needs some light fluffy fun things to make the days go by faster, and this is one of those things.

I rate this book Y for Yummy!

Rating: 5 flowers

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