Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Book Review: The Queen's Fool

Author:Phillipa Gregory
Title: The Queen's Fool
Publisher: Touchstone
Publish Date: February 3, 2004
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: A young woman caught in the rivalry between Queen Mary and her half sister, Elizabeth, must find her true destiny amid treason, poisonous rivalries, loss of faith, and unrequited love.

It is winter, 1553. Pursued by the Inquisition, Hannah Green, a fourteen-year-old Jewish girl, is forced to flee Spain with her father. But Hannah is no ordinary refugee. Her gift of "Sight," the ability to foresee the future, is priceless in the troubled times of the Tudor court. Hannah is adopted by the glamorous Robert Dudley, the charismatic son of King Edward's protector, who brings her to court as a "holy fool" for Queen Mary and, ultimately, Queen Elizabeth. Hired as a fool but working as a spy; promised in wedlock but in love with her master; endangered by the laws against heresy, treason, and witchcraft, Hannah must choose between the safe life of a commoner and the dangerous intrigues of the royal family that are inextricably bound up in her own yearnings and desires.

Teeming with vibrant period detail and peopled by characters seamlessly woven into the sweeping tapestry of history, The Queen's Fool is another rich and emotionally resonant gem from this wonderful storyteller.

Review: Phillipa Gregory is one of my go to's when it comes to historical fiction. I'm slowly working my way through the Tudor saga, albeit out of order. The Queen's Fool spans two monarchies, the reign of King Edward and the reign of Queen Mary, aka Bloody Mary.

The main players in this saga are a young Jewish girl, Hannah, who has to keep her faith hidden, Queen Mary and Robert Dudley. (You know, Dudley...the next Queen's favorite). I had a very hard time warming up to Hannah. There was something about her I just couldn't like. I'm not sure if it was the casual way she left her father and her betrothed, or her crush on Robert Dudley.

She became the King's fool when Dudley came into her father's shop and she saw an angel walking behind him. That moment sets the scene for the next several years of her life, which are spent as a Holy Fool for King  and then to the Catholic Queen Mary.

There's a lot I loved about this book and a lot that I didn't.


1. It was nice to see Queen Mary portrayed in a sympathetic fashion. I liked that there was a reasoning for her actions as her reign went on.

2. I liked getting a glimpse of the lives of some other major players in the Tudor era, like Dudley and John Dee.

3. I also liked that it was told from a different religious perspective. You had the Spanish Inquisition which Hannah and her family were fleeing to the issues of Catholicism and The Church Of England.

Things I didn't like so much:

1. The portrayal of the young Princess Elizabeth. I think Gregory doesn't like Queen Bess. She pretty much portrayed her as a scheming slut from the moment the book starts.

2. Hannah's relationship with Daniel. Does she or doesn't she want to be his wife. Their whole love just seems so off, like it had to be written so that she wouldn't change the course of history too much.

3. You never really figure out which Queen she favors. You get the impression she really loves Queen Mary, but at some times she leans toward Princess Elizabeth, and the way the characters are written, I think it would be terribly hard to serve them both.

Rating: 4 flowers

Monday, February 27, 2012

Historical Fiction Book Tours Review: The Book Of Lost Fragrances

65Author: M.J. Rose
Title: The Book Of Lost Fragrances
Publisher: Atria Books
Publish Date: March 13, 2012
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Historical Fiction Book Tours, Net Galley and the publisher
Book Blurb: A sweeping and suspenseful tale of secrets, intrigue, and lovers separated by time, all connected through the mystical qualities of a perfume created in the days of Cleopatra--and lost for 2,000 years.

Jac L'Etoile has always been haunted by the past, her memories infused with the exotic scents that she grew up surrounded by as the heir to a storied French perfume company. In order to flee the pain of those remembrances--and of her mother's suicide--she moved to America. Now, fourteen years later she and her brother have inherited the company along with it's financial problems. But when Robbie hints at an earth-shattering discovery in the family archives and then suddenly goes missing--leaving a dead body in his wake--Jac is plunged into a world she thought she'd left behind.

Back in Paris to investigate her brother's disappearance, Jac becomes haunted by the legend the House of L'Etoile has been espousing since 1799. Is there a scent that can unlock the mystery of reincarnation - or is it just another dream infused perfume?

The Book of Lost Fragrances fuses history, passion, and suspense, moving from Cleopatra's Egypt and the terrors of revolutionary France to Tibet's battle with China and the glamour of modern-day Paris. Jac's quest for the ancient perfume someone is willing to kill for becomes the key to understanding her own troubled past.

Review: I love M.J. Rose's Reincarnationist series, so I was excited to read this book. I really loved the story and mystery, but it at times it was a little hard to read. I felt there was a little too much going on at some points, but I also know that's M.J. Rose's writing style. I felt that way a few times during the other books.

The good thing about this story, is it felt a little bit removed from the other books. Maybe that's because the title grew from the simple two words of the previous books. This is definitely a book that someone who isn't familiar with the series can pick up.  It centers around one of the memory devices mentioned in the past books. The Book Of Lost Fragrances was mentioned several times in The Hypnotist.

For those that have read the previous books, it is interesting to see how Rose interweaves the characters and the Phoenix Foundation into the story.  It took about 60 pages in this book before you see some familiar names.

For me this wasn't light reading, but I enjoyed it, and will continue to read what Rose puts out. I wish at times there weren't so many stories within the story, because it would make the novel's flow to be a bit easier on the brain.

I actually think this is the best book in the series, as it really focuses on characters outside the Phoenix Foundation. I also love the concept of a fragrance triggering past life regressions.

Again this book isn't an easy read because M.J. Rose tells the story from many points of view, and that can be confusing at times, and it slows the progression of the story down, but it is still a great read.

Rating: 4 Flowers

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Bewitching Book Tours Guest Post: Stacey Kennedy

Big thanks to A Chick Who Reads for letting me stop in today! The character Tess Jennings in SUPERNATURALLY KISSED has the ability to see and talk with spirits. I’ve always been really fascinated with mediums and curious if they were real. I have two favorite mediums that I’ve grown to love and they’re both from the television show, Paranormal State.

The first is Chip Coffey. I don’t know what it is about that man that makes me believe him so much, but I swear he has some spooky connection to the beyond. I know we’ve all seen a lot of mediums that are as phony as they come, but Chip makes me pause. Every episode I’ve watched with him he always shocks me with what he knows. Now of course I have no idea if this is real or made up for TV, but I always had the sense to trust what he was saying. And the information that he gives, all the strange knowledge he delivers, and even how he can pinpoint the way the ghost died makes my jaw drop.

Another one I loved off that show is Lorraine Warren. Every time she came on Paranormal State I was utterly glued to the screen. I’m not sure what makes her so believable, but I never doubted a word she said. She was just spot on with her readings that it always gave me the shivers. I found her especially captivating when they were dealing with an evil spirit. Whenever she said things like, “Oh, there is a dark, dark spirit here”, I always believed her and was only too glad I wasn’t in that house.

I truly hope that it’s not all a lie and they didn’t have any information to help them with their readings, but at the same time if it is real I’d be the first one to hide under a blanket because I’m a total chicken when it comes to spooky stuff like that. Even though it frightens me, I’d love to sit down with Chip or Lorraine to have a firsthand experience with them to finally have my answers settled.
I’d love to hear what you think—do you think mediums are real or is it totally fake?
In thanks for stopping by and chatting today, I’m offering up one ebook from my backlist (international). Leave your email address with your comment to be entered. Don’t forget to come find me on Facebook and Twitter. I love to chat!!

Ghosts harass and annoy Tess Jennings to save their souls. Sometimes she helps them. Other times she ignores them. But one ghost will give her no choice.
Kipp McGowen, a cop with the Memphis Police Department, will stop at nothing to gain her help, including using his ghostly charms to seduce her.
Tess must help solve the five year old cold case of Hannah Reid, because solving the case will save Kipp. But a bigger problem presents itself. Tess is falling in love with a ghost. Now she must decide. Keep Kipp forever or find the killer…
Copyright © STACEY KENNEDY, 2011
All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.
An icy wisp of air swept in behind me, causing my heel to twist as I stumbled. To the other pedestrians striding along the downtown Memphis street, the sensation would be brushed off as a cold breeze.
They were wrong. A spirit lingered here.
“Can you hear me?”
From the intrigue rolling in his voice, he hadn’t expected me to acknowledge him. Shit! I’d already given myself away. A mistake I’d rectify.
Without hesitation, I righted my stance and strode forward with purpose, forcing myself to remain deaf to the voice. If I ignored ghosts long enough, they moved on and searched out someone else who held the same irritating ability, whom I had yet to meet.
Much to my annoyance, the ghost stayed right on my heels and his presence remained strong behind me. The cold air at my back remained a contrast to the warm morning air in front of me. Every hair on my neck stood up and goose bumps pimpled a trail along my skin. If only I could rub them away, but I didn’t dare. Ignoring him would make him go away.
“You can hear me, can’t you?” the ghost asked again.
Spirits were typically harmless, but annoying. I’m dead, what’s going on, why am I a ghost—yada, yada, yada. I quickened my steps and made my way down Peabody Place in hopes he’d leave me alone.
He sounded desperate, which meant a big headache for me. If I hadn’t worn my damn slingbacks, I would’ve tried to run and hide. But the three-inch Manolos and the tight, tailored gray skirt restrained my movements.
I passed Miss Polly’s Soul Food Café, and the delicious aroma of bacon and eggs drifted along the air. My empty stomach complained. My only thought after I woke had been caffeine. Now I wished I’d grabbed a muffin with my latté at Starbucks. With ten minutes to get to my desk, I couldn’t worry about such things.
My boss, Event Manager Dylan Cobb, would hand me my ass if I stepped into the office a minute late. Sadly, there’d never been a day I didn’t cater to his every need.
I approached Beale Street and sighed in relief, relishing the warmth surrounding me. Not only from the sun above—the spirit’s cold presence at my back had vanished. Pleased my dodge of him had worked, I took a sip of my energy in a cup and smiled. Coffee’s fantastic, the ghost is gone—life is good.
Another block passed under my heels before I reached the historical red-brick building. Randall Marketing, written in black block letters, decorated the striped green-and-white awning.
I opened the door to the office and strode in, greeted by a bubbly voice. “Good morning, Tess.”
“Give me a moment here.” Doris shuffled paperwork around her desk, her auburn curls bouncing on her shoulders. The receptionist had always been messy, yet somehow organized. “There were a few messages on the voicemail for you.” She raised her head and held out the pink slips of paper. “A lovely day today, is it not?”
“Sure is.” So I lied. The ghost hadn’t kicked off my day on a high note. Not as if I’d tell her about my interaction with spirits. My ability to converse with spirits remained on a need-to-know basis, and as far as it concerned me, no one needed to know. I grabbed the messages from her hand. “Did your weekend treat you good?”
“I spent the entire weekend knee-deep in my garden.” Her cocoa-colored eyes lit up. “My best year ever, I’m hoping. You’ll have to come out and have a look-see.”
“I’d love to.” Doris treasured her gardens, so I tried to appear interested, even though my green thumb looked black.
Her smile brightened, but when the phone rang, she waved a goodbye and answered the call. “It’s another beautiful day here at Randall Marketing, how may I direct your call?”
Leaving her behind, I strode down the hall toward my office and sipped my coffee. The warmth slid down my throat and provided an immediate rush to my energy levels. At the third door on the right, I entered my bleak workspace with its pale-blue walls, closed the door behind me and approached the desk. I dropped down into the black leather chair and flipped through the messages. None were urgent enough to worry about now.
I powered up my computer, but a knock at the door had me glancing up. Before I got a word out, the door swished open and I cringed, fully aware of the looming trouble.
Caley, the officer manager and my best friend since the age of four, looked like a typical Barbie. Perfect skin, long flowing blonde hair and a body men drooled over. I might have been jealous of her perfection since I couldn’t pull off her looks even with a makeover—so maybe a little envious—but her appearance had always been a front. She was the devil in disguise.
She scowled, shutting the door behind her with a slam. “Do you mind explaining where you were all weekend?”
“At home.” I batted my lashes. “Why? Did you try to call me?”
She pointed her finger, narrowing her eyes at me. “Don’t you try that shit on me. I called you all weekend and your phone went straight to voicemail.”
“Hmm…” I pretended to ponder. “The battery must have died.” She had enough gall to just come over, but the little hint had been a subtle way of telling Caley to leave me alone.
“Liar.” She plopped down in the seat across from my desk. “Where were you? I wanted to go out.”
“Nowhere. Honestly, I vegged on the couch.”
Caley snorted. “You lead such an exciting life.”
My mouth parted to offer a snappy retort, but a cold wisp of air brushed across my skin, causing my lips to snap shut. Damn! I thought I’d got rid of him.
“Hello.” Caley snapped her fingers in front of my face. “Leave the aliens behind and return to Mother Earth.”
I blinked, trying to force my attention back to her, yet failing. The ghost knelt right beside Caley—not kneeling, of course; more like floating, since ghosts were never able to obtain physical contact with the world around them—and my focus held strong on him, unable to stop myself from ogling. He stared intently, with one crystal-blue eye, while the other was a chocolate color. His strong jaw, the muscles clenching along his cheeks, all spoke of power. But as he ran his hand through his untidy sandy-colored hair, his expression showed playfulness. His black tank top left his arms exposed and muscles upon muscles layered those arms.
“Anyways,” she said, dragging my gaze back to her. “I had to go out with Susanne because you left me high and dry.”
I laughed. Caley’s horny, twenty-year-old stepsister had the body that men chased after. “You did have the option to stay home, you know.”
Her eyes widened. “On a Saturday night?”
“Yeah, you know, get some popcorn, watch a movie and relax.”
She frowned. “If you don’t stop your grandma behavior, your va-jay-jay is going to shrivel up and die.”
The ghost chuckled.
His smooth laugh hit me like a cup of warm cocoa, causing my insides to melt. Nothing amused me. First off, Caley had been so wrong—maybe a little right—but I’d never admit to her accuracy aloud. Second, reacting in such a heated way to a ghost definitely didn’t hit my to-do list today.
“Excuse me.” I spoke not only to Caley, but also to the irritating ghost. “My va-jay-jay is just fine.”
“Well, I’m glad to hear you’ve still got some spunk.” She stood and placed her hands on her hips. “Because we’ve got a double date tonight.”
“A what?” Dear God!
She grinned from ear to ear. “Yes, my dearest Grammy, we’re going out.”
“With who?”
“Two guys I met on Saturday night. You’re coming with me, either willingly or unwillingly, so suck up your hesitations, babe, because saying no isn’t an option.”
“But it’s a Monday night.” Not saying a date didn’t sound like fun. A month had passed since my last attempt at dating—which failed miserably—but a man Caley chose while drunk? No thanks. My sex life might have been as dead as the sexy ghost in front of me, but I’d still search for a way out. “I have to work tomorrow.”
She wagged her finger in classic Caley fashion. “You’re a grandma.”
Most times, I respected her persistent personality. She never backed down, always dreamed big and went for the gold, but her grit hadn’t been all rays of sunshine. Her determination made her annoyingly tenacious. I had to agree or she’d never give up, and getting her out of my office sounded all too good. “Fine. I’ll go with you.”
“Oh, stop looking so pissy. We’ll have fun. Promise. I’ll come to your place at eight.” She opened the door, glanced over her shoulder and winked. “Leave the granny panties at home.”
Stacey Kennedy’s novels are lighthearted fantasy with heart squeezing, thigh-clenching romance, and even give a good chuckle every now and again. But within the stories you’ll find fast paced action, life threatening moments and a big bad villain that needs to be destroyed. Her urban fantasy/paranormal and erotic romance series have hit Amazon Kindle and All Romance Ebooks Bestseller lists. If she isn’t plugging away at her next novel, tending to her two little ones, she’s got her nose deep in a good book. She lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband.
Be sure to drop her a line at www.staceykennedy.com, she loves to hear from her readers.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Book Review: Carrot Cake Murder

Author: Joanne Fluke
Title: Carrot Cake Murder
Publisher: Kensington
Publish Date: March 2008
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: Between baking up a storm for The Cookie Jar and unravelling the mystery of her cat Moishe's recent strange behaviour, Hannah Swensen has a lot on her plate. But she'll always make time for her business partner, Lisa, who's in the midst of preparing for a big family reunion. Everyone is delighted when Lisa's long-lost uncle makes a surprise appearance. No one has heard from Gus in twenty-five years. Uncle Gus is immediately the hit of the reunion. He's almost as popular as Hannah's scrumptious carrot cake, which is also Gus' favourite dessert. But the next morning, as the whole family gathers for the group photo, one person is missing. Hannah offers to track down Uncle Gus, but her search leads to a shocking find. Over by the bar at the pavilion, she spots two slices of her infamous carrot cake, frosting-side down on the floor - and Gus' corpse with an ice pick jutting out of his chest!Now Hannah's got to sift through a long list of suspects to find a killer - even if it could mean a recipe for her own demise...
Review: I'm in love with this series. It doesn't matter which book, they are really fun reads, and if you like cooking, there are some great recipes included.

Carrot Cake Murder is book 10 in the series. I'd say of the three that I've read, this one was definitely one of the best.

Here are the reasons this book is so great.

1. Not a lot with the love triangle in this one. Its hard to deal with the whole Hannah, Mike and Norman thing, and in this book it wasn't such a huge issue.

2. The mystery was really intriguing. The victim, as usual, is someone that deserves to be dead, but you still want to find out how he ended up that way. There were a lot of twists and turns at finding out who did it.

3. Awesome recipes that make you want to run to the kitchen to try them. OMG Red Velvet Cookies!!!

3. Moishe! I absolutely adore Hannah's cat, and he had a big part in this book.

4. Lisa's dad, Jack, who has Alzheimer's. He plays a big part in all of the Hannah mysteries, but he actually was a suspect in this one. He's truly a lovable character, one of my favorites in this series.

Now for the cons,

1. Hannah's mom, is just too much sometimes. I'd like her to be more accepting of her daughter.

2. Andrea. I love when characters share my name, but I hate when they are ditzy, can't cook to save herself..etc. Do my name some justice!

3. Mike and Norman. Ah the love triangle. Like I said, this book isn't as much about Hannah and the two guys, but I still can't help but wonder why she'd want either of them.

If you haven't tried a Hannah Swensen cozy yet, you should. They are quick fun reads that make a quiet afternoon go buy so much faster.

Rating: 5 flowers

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

TLC Book Tour & Review: The Flight Of Gemma Hardy

Author: Margot Livesly
Title: The Flight Of Gemma Hardy
Publisher: Harper
Publish Date: Jan 24, 2012
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tours and the publisher
Book Blurb: When her widower father drowns at sea, Gemma Hardy is taken from her native Iceland to Scotland to live with her kind uncle and his family. But the death of her doting guardian leaves Gemma under the care of her resentful aunt, and it soon becomes clear that she is nothing more than an unwelcome guest at Yew House. When she receives a scholarship to a private school, ten-year-old Gemma believes she's found the perfect solution and eagerly sets out again to a new home. However, at Claypoole she finds herself treated as an unpaid servant.
To Gemma's delight, the school goes bankrupt, and she takes a job as an au pair on the Orkney Islands. The remote Blackbird Hall belongs to Mr. Sinclair, a London businessman; his eight-year-old niece is Gemma's charge. Even before their first meeting, Gemma is, like everyone on the island, intrigued by Mr. Sinclair. Rich (by Gemma's standards), single, flying in from London when he pleases, Hugh Sinclair fills the house with life. An unlikely couple, the two are drawn to each other, but Gemma's biggest trial is about to begin: a journey of passion and betrayal, redemption and discovery, that will lead her to a life of which she's never dreamed.

Set in Scotland and Iceland in the 1950s and '60s, The Flight of Gemma Hardy—a captivating homage to Charlotte BrontË's Jane Eyre—is a sweeping saga that resurrects the timeless themes of the original but is destined to become a classic all its own.

Review:  This story is a re-imagining of Jane Eyre. I haven't read the classic in years. When I was asked to review the book, I received a copy of the classic as well and I'm looking forward to drawing my comparisons on the two, but I want this review to be about Gemma Hardy and not Jane Eyre.

I will say that Gemma's early days did remind me of the book I read long ago, but that's all I'll say. The story is set in the 50s and 60s at a time when the world was really changing. You feel instant sympathy for the young Gemma who is not liked by her remaining family. The way her aunt and cousins treated was appalling.

Claypoole, the school she was sent to was even worse. You will definitely feel pity for this child. The things she went through before the age of 12 were just so sad.

Nothing went right for Gemma.

Her flight is perhaps what puzzled me the most about this story. She parallels Jane Eyre quite a bit in Gemma's early years, that is obvious to anyone familiar with the story, but the separation of Gemma and Mr. Sinclair is totally different from that of Jane and Mr. Rochester.

I absolutely loved Gemma's time with the Sinclairs, especially Nell. I really loved when Nell named the calves Herman and Petula, after Herman's Hermits and Petula Clark.

I loved Margot's writing style. I didn't want to put this book down. It followed me whereever I went. At times I felt like the story was trapped in that long ago time period. It is hard to believe that children were treated as little more than slaves in the 1950s.

There is so much more I could say about this book, but the only thing that matters, is that if you are looking for an emotional read that will touch your heart and soul, this is the book to pick up. I'll be reading Jane Eyre again soon, so I can make a good comparison.

Rating: 5 flowers

About Margot Livesey

Margot Livesey is the acclaimed author of the novelsThe House on Fortune Street, Banishing Verona, Eva Moves the Furniture, The Missing World, Criminals, andHomework. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Vogue, and The Atlantic, and she is the recipient of grants from both the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. The House on Fortune Street won the 2009 L. L. Winship/PEN New England Award. Livesey was born in Scotland and grew up on the edge of the Highlands. She lives in the Boston area and is a distinguished Writer-in-Residence at Emerson College.

Margo’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, January 30th: Just Joanna *
Wednesday, February 1st: Book Reviews by Molly *
Thursday, February 2nd: A Library of My Own
Tuesday, February 14th: Much Madness is Divine Sense
Wednesday, February 15th: Into the Hall of Books
Thursday, February 16th: Chaotic Compendiums *
Tuesday, February 21st: Coffee and A Book Chick
Tuesday, February 21st: The Whimsical Cottage
Wednesday, February 22nd: A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, February 23rd: Book Nook Club
Friday, February 24th: Luxury Reading
Tuesday, February 28th: It’s a Crazy, Beautiful Life
Wednesday, February 29th: ooldes of books
Thursday, March 1st: Book Clutter
Monday, March 5th: Book Journey
Tuesday, March 6th: Drey’s Library
Wednesday, March 7th: Book-a-rama
Thursday, March 8th: Unabridged Chick *

* also reading Jane Eyre

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Book Review: Murderous Glaze

Author: Melissa Glazer
Title:Murderous Glaze
Publisher: Berkley
Publish Date: Nov 6, 2007
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: A new series takes shape-the debut of the Clay and Crime mysteries. 

Includes directions for a pottery project!

In Maple Ridge, Vermont, Carolyn Emerson planned to ease into her golden years running her paint-your-own-pottery shop, Fire at Will. She never expected to uncover a dead body in the shop, and she certainly didn't plan on a drop in live clientele.

Now it's up to Carolyn and her shop's pottery club, The Firing Squad, to help clear her name. But can she find a killer and more customers without her own brush with death?

Review: This is the first book in the Clay and Crime series and I found it really delightful. I love how cozy mysteries seem to take shape around arts/crafts/baking these days.

Carolyn Emerson is a middle aged lady who runs a pottery shop. Who would have thought she's find a body in that shop one night! Oh and who would have thought she'd be the prime suspect!

Carolyn is super spunky and on occasion a little bit obnoxious, but in a good way, especially since she has to get her name cleared, or her business, Fire At Will, will be in the crapper! She's a little bit brash and not afraid to tell it like it is. Sometimes I felt a little sorry for her husband, Bill, who seemed to be steamrollered by her sometimes.

Things I liked about the story:

1. I loved learning a bit more about making pottery. If I were going to throw a pot..well, you'd hear a loud crash!

2. Carolyn wasn't the best sleuth and clues didn't fall into her lap.

3. Never guessed who did it.

4. A fun and funny cast of characters. I really enjoyed the different personalities both of the Firing Squad and the shop owners.

Things I wasn't so thrilled with:

1. Carolyn was a bit obnoxious. It took awhile to warm up to her character.

2. I was kind of surprised that since she was a prime suspect, she was never thoroughly questioned, and there was never any other suspects mentioned by the police.

All in all, this was a cute read. There are a few more in this series that I'm going to have to get, just so I can see how the characters are coming along.

Rating: 4 flowers

Monday, February 20, 2012

Bewitching Book Tours Book Review: Her Man Flint

Author: Jerri Drennen
Title: Her Man Flint
Publish Date: Nov 25, 2011
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: If James Bond and Cleopatra Jones had a daughter, Adriana Kent would kick her ass.

Everything Adriana knows about being a top-notch, undercover agent she's learned from her partner, Flint Morgan, in and out of the sheets. That is, until he's caught between those same bed linens with another woman. Heartbroken, Adriana refuses to forgive him. But when 'the other woman' is found dead in Flint's apartment, she steps up to prove his innocence--he might be a womanizer, but he's no killer.

As Adriana closes in on a suspect, she's kidnapped and sent overseas to a sadistic prince who collects women like priceless pieces of art. Now this tough as nails agent finds herself playing the helpless courtesan to a man hell-bent on breaking her spirit. Flint arrives in the nick of time, dressed as a harem girl, fighting off randy guards and surly camels to rescue Adriana so they can fly back to the states to find a way to exonerate him for murder.

Review: This was a very fast paced novella. The three characters that you see throughout the story are Adriana, who is a total badass DNS agent, Flint, her ex that she wishes wasn't her ex, and Robert her ex's uncle.

This story is part James Bond and part Austin Powers, only without the 60s, groovy babies! The action keeps you on the edge of your seat and the pages turning. The humor is what makes it even better. One of the best parts of the story was Flint dressed in drag to rescue Adriana from the harem she had been given to. That was too darn funny.

This is the kind of book that is pure fun to read. The characters all kick butt. There's no shrinking violets here. Each character can dish it out and take it. And the sex? Super hot, but not to the point of being too much. Considering that this book is just slightly over 100 pages long, everything is tied together well. The characters are well rounded and you don't feel like you are missing parts of their lives.

This is a series I'll definitely want to continue reading.

Rating: 4 flowers

Bewitching Book Tours Promo: Jerri Drennen - Her Man Flint

I'm Jerri Drennen, and I have to say, I was nervous about this post since I hate talking about myself. I knew when I was a teenager I was an introvert and that being in a room full of people caused discomfort for me. I've always been this way, probably because of my upbringing.
I was raised on a farm in Minnesota, and me, my four sisters and two brother's hardly ever went anywhere besides school. My mother seemed content with that. Even now, I feel more comfortable in my house. I do miss out on a lot of things but I have adventures through my writing. I create strong female character who aren't afraid of anything. I think that's why I gravitated toward the romantic suspense genre as well. It's exciting and fast-paced, so unlike my own life.
In Her Man Flint, Adriana is everything I wished I could be. Strong, kiss-ass, someone who can hold her own in a job slated for a man. She takes no crap from her partner at the Department of National Security, Flint, my hero in the book, a man she loves, but thinks she was betrayed by.

Website: http://www.jerridrennen.com/

Blurb: If James Bond and Cleopatra Jones had a daughter, Adriana Kent would kick her ass.
Everything Adriana knows about being a top-notch, undercover agent she's learned from her partner, Flint Morgan, in and out of the sheets. That is, until he's caught between those same bed linens with another woman. Heartbroken, Adriana refuses to forgive him. But when 'the other woman' is found dead in Flint's apartment, she steps up to prove his innocence--he might be a womanizer, but he's no killer.
As Adriana closes in on a suspect, she's kidnapped and sent overseas to a sadistic prince who collects women like priceless pieces of art. Now this tough as nails agent finds herself playing the helpless courtesan to a man hell-bent on breaking her spirit. Flint arrives in the nick of time, dressed as a harem girl, fighting off randy guards and surly camels to rescue Adriana so they can fly back to the states to find a way to exonerate him for murder.


“Who has a right to know? And what?” Flint asked from the doorway.
Adriana’s gaze flew to him, now leaning against the open door in a pair of cut to fit blue jeans, and a black sweater that clung to every muscle and contour of his chest and shoulders. He looked incredible.
She caught herself before she audibly sighed.
Memories of his naked, wonderfully toned chest against hers stirred her senses.
For a year and a half she’d gotten used to having Flint around—a year and a half spent cohabiting. And in that time, she’d fallen in love, even when most of the time he’d been a conceited horse’s ass. Now she desperately wished she hadn’t lost her heart to him because it hadn’t mended the way she’d hoped it would.
It had been six months since he moved out. Long, agonizing weeks of missing his toothbrush in the cup next to hers, his dirty socks scattered on the floor, or waking to his latest baritone rendition of some Barry White tune he knew. She missed that most of all. Hell, she missed everything about the man, including his inflated ego, and at times it hurt so bad she couldn’t even look at him. But their relationship was over, and she had to move on.
“The doctor told me you took quite a blow to the head. I’d say you’re lucky. We both know how hard it is.” Flint’s words brought her attention back to him.
“So what happened?” He looked to Billy for the answer.
“She ran off the road.”
“You ran off the road? Where you putting on make-up again? I told you, you should never do that while you’re driving.”
“I know. I wasn’t thinking.” Adriana turned away. She couldn’t look him in the eye and lie. He’d always been too good at reading her.
“How’s the Porsche?” Flint asked.
“Leave it to you to ask about my car before asking how I’m doing.” Adriana snorted, then looked at Billy, her eyes thanking him for not telling Flint the truth.
Flint’s eyes sparkled with amusement. “You know how much I love that car.”
Adriana’s stomach tightened. Right. He’d loved her car, but never her.
“What do you want, Flint? Did you come here to see if I’d died so you could have my baby? If so, I’m sorry to disappoint you. Wait, I thought you were in D.C.”
“I was. I flew back when I heard you were in an accident.”
She frowned. “Why? I should warn you now that I’m leaving the Porsche to Billy.”
She gently fingered the huge bump on her forehead. What she wouldn’t give for a mirror. She was sure she must look a mess, and with Flint standing just inches away, looking like he’d stepped off the cover of GQ, she felt a little self-conscious.
“Billy wouldn’t know the first thing about handling a car like that and you know it. He’d kill himself.” Flint stepped over to the bed and tucked a strand of blonde hair behind her ear.
“Thanks.” Billy glared at Flint.
“Hey, just trying to keep you alive.”
Adriana pushed Flint’s hand away. “Right. You’re just itching to get your hands on my car, but let me tell you this, Flint Morgan, I’m not going anywhere for a long time. So you needn’t worry about the Porsche.”
“Calm down. I don’t want your damn car.”
“How’s the patient?” a handsome, dark-haired man in a white lab coat asked, as he made his way into the room.
“I’m fine.” Adriana smiled demurely at him. “Can I go home now?”
He smiled down at her. “That depends on whether you’re planning to rest or not. If you’re not, then no, if yes, then we’ll see what we can do about getting you discharged.”
Adriana’s heart skipped at beat. The man definitely had a winning smile, with his straight white teeth and deep inset dimples on either side of his mouth.
“Thank you, Dr–?”
“Terrell. Mike Terrell.”
“Nice to meet you, Mike. So, will you let me go home if I promise to stay in bed?” She batted her lashes at him. “You’re welcome to come over and check on me if you’d like.”
His smile widened. “Is that an invitation?”
Beside her Flint snorted.
Adriana scowled at him, then returned her attention to the doctor.
“That depends.”
“On,” Mike asked.
“If you’re married or not?” She glanced at Flint and caught him rolling his eyes.
“No, not married, or dating anyone right now.”
“Really?” Adriana’s gaze held the doctor’s for what seemed like minutes. “How nice for me.”
Flint cleared his throat. “Before the two of you go down on each other right here, I gotta go.” He turned and bolted out the door, leaving everyone in the room looking dumbstruck.
“What’s with him?” Dr. Terrell asked, obviously confused by Flint’s outburst.
Adriana shrugged. “He’s just mad I didn’t die and leave him my Porsche.”

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Chick Ponders Bookish Things

What to read next.

I often find myself wishing that was a decision that is entirely up to me.

I keep telling myself that I'll cut back on the tours that I'm taking part in, but then I get the requests and invites and the books look so good...ARGH!

I really want to try to set up one month that is just "for me" reading. You know, where I can see if I can shrink my massive tbr pile, or just enjoy a few library books of my choosing.

So many books, so little time to read them. Much like today. My father is in the hospital again, and I thought that since he was having a stress test, I'd be able to catch up on some reading while I was in the waiting room.


I ended up sitting with him through the whole  3.5 hour test.

Not fun.

I really thought I was going to get to finish a few books today, but that wasn't to be. Maybe tomorrow. At least I know what books I'll be reading; Her Man Flint and The Flight of Gemma Hardy.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Book Review: Her Royal Spyness

Author: Rhys Bowen
Title: Her Royal Spyness
Publisher: Berkley
Publish Date: 2007
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: Her ridiculously long name is Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, daughter to the Duke of Atholt and Rannoch. And she is flat broke. As the thirty-fourth in line for the throne, she has been taught only a few things, among them, the perfect curtsey. But when her brother cuts off her allowance, she leaves Scotland, and her fiancŽ Fish-Face, for London, where she has:

a) worked behind a cosmetics counter-and gotten sacked after five hours
b) started to fall for a quite unsuitable minor royal
c) made some money housekeeping (incognita, of course), and
d) been summoned by the Queen to spy on her playboy son.

Then an arrogant Frenchman, who wants her family's 800-year-old estate for himself, winds up dead in her bathtub. Now her most important job is to clear her very long family name.

Review: This is book one of the Royal Spyness series. I highly recommend this series if you are a lover of cozy mysteries and historical fiction.

Lady Georgiana is our spy. She's a member of the royal family; 34th in line to the throne. The story takes place in the 30s, when Edward was the Prince of Wales and Wallis Simpson was still married to her second husband.

I absolutely love this book. I read Naughty in Nice for a book tour last autumn and I knew I had to go back and read the books from start to finish. It was great fun to meet Georgiana, Binky, Fig and Queen Mary. I really liked the attention to detail in this book.

The mystery, doesn't really revolve around Georgie spying, so much as finding the person that killed the man in the bathtub of her family's London home. What it does do, is set up the rest of the series, by letting us see her relationship with Queen Mary as well as all the characters that will be showing up in books to come.

The mystery in this one is a bit light, but it kept me guessing until the end. I also love Darcy, Georgie's kinda sorta love interest.

I highly recommend this series. They are quick, fun reads and they take you back in time to a period that isn't super popular, so that is rather unique. Very enjoyable!

Rating 4 flowers

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Bewitching Book Tours Promo: Darcy Flynn - Keeper Of My Heart

Keeper of My Heart
By Darcy Flynn


Katie McCullough doesn’t know it, but Max Sawyer, the over confident, irritatingly handsome hotel developer who outbid her for the lighthouse property, is none other, than her mystery lighthouse sailor. The one man who captured her heart five years earlier, the one man who has since been the plum line for every other unsuspecting male who has crossed her path. Unfortunately for Max, he doesn’t measure up either.

Still reeling from losing the property she’d planned to call home, sparks fly when Katie assumes Max is turning her beloved lighthouse compound into one of his ‘Serenity Spa Resorts.” Outraged, Katie sets out on a mission to dismantle the property…and his plans.

Except Max’s plans have absolutely nothing to do with hotels and everything to do with winning Katie’s heart.


Bits of oyster shell spewed out from under the tires of Katie’s Jeep as it screeched to a halt. Without knocking, she stomped into the keeper’s house to find Max working on an open windowsill on the bottom floor.

“So you’re in the hotel business.” Katie threw the sheaf of papers down on the table near where he was working.

“Yes and good afternoon to you, too.” Max stopped for a brief moment then continued to sand the windowsill. “I see you’ve been doing some research.” His firm lips twitched.

“If you think you are going to turn this,” she said, waving her arms through the air, “into one of your…Serenity Spa Inns, then you are dreaming Mister.”

“Is that so?” Max straightened and his eyes locked with hers.

“You bet. I’ll never let that happen.”

His tawny eyes gave her a once over. “And you think you’re big enough to stop me?”

“Yes,” she spat out, “Don’t think I can’t. I’ll rally the entire town if I have to. This is not what the council agreed to when they accepted your bid.”

Max’s brown eyes turned glacial. “Careful Angel. That sounds like a threat. If it is, you’ll come off the worse for it.”

Katie inhaled sharply. “You may have been master of all you commanded but you won’t master me.”

Max stopped working and turned toward her. Even in her anger, Katie noticed his shirt, unbuttoned and clinging to his muscular form with the sweat of his labor, his forearms glistening with perspiration mingled with tiny particles of wood shavings.

“Maybe we should put that to the test?” he drawled.

“There’s no maybe about it.” Inhaling sharply, Katie gathered up her papers and stormed out of the house.

BIO-Darcy Flynn

Darcy was born into the rich culture of New Orleans, La. As a city filled with colorful historical intrigue and broad creative energy, her natural bent to the arts coupled with her love for one of the most romantic cities in the world has been the inspiration and anchor of her artistic multi-dimension endeavors. Darcy was always compelled by the need to express herself and like her mother’s famous gumbo, her previous expressions included a little bit of everything - art, music, acting and dance.

Although, published in music, art and the Christian non-fiction market under another identity, it was the empty nest that turned Darcy to writing romantic fiction. A lover of lighthouses, Darcy’s first novel, Keeper Of My Heart, unfolds in a small Maryland fishing village on the Chesapeake Bay.

Darcy, a former Mrs. Tennessee, continues to be surrounded by all things creative in Music City and when not in writing in her London flat, lives on a beautiful horse farm in historic- Franklin, Tennessee with her husband, son, two English Setters and a calico cat. Darcy enjoys stargazing, raising rare breed chickens and gardening.

Visit Darcy at www.darcyflynnromances.com

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Book Review: Wish Upon A Star

Author: Sarah Morgan
Title: Wish Upon A Star
Publisher: Mills and Boon
Publish Date: Oct 7, 2011
Book Blurb: Love is in the air this Christmas! Christy was hoping to skip Christmas this year. Her kids have other ideas - they've put their dad's name at number one on their Christmas list. So it looks as if Christy will be hightailing it up to the Lake District to play happy families with her ex!  Snow-capped mountains and roaring log fires - Alessandro's home is like walking into a Christmas card. Is it really safe for her to spend Christmas with her dreamy, funny - no! - entirely infuriating ex-hubby? Miranda has completely the opposite problem. Being single and pregnant at Christmas was certainly not her wish come true. She doesn't believe in miracles, but then resident hunk Jake sweeps her off her snow-covered shoes. Come Boxing Day dare she dream that Mr Sex-on-Legs might be for more than just Christmas?  ‘A picturesque and charming tale' Star magazine on Angels in the Snow

Review: Wish Upon A Star is a compilation of two of Sarah Morgan's Christmas books from 2006. Both are set in Lake District. Christy's story originally titled Christmas Marriage Rescue is the first and it is truly a good example of a Harlequin Presents (the line that Ms Morgan primarily writes for) Alessandro is a true Harlequin/Mills and Boon alpha male. He's arrogant, rich and a little bit clueless when it comes to his lady. However, the reason I adore Sarah's books is that her alpha males may be arrogant, but they aren't heartless.

This story was about a married couple that were losing each other and how they found their way back into love. (As that song from Music and Lyrics goes) Christy and Alessandro's kids are the real stars of this show. Katy is mature beyond her years, but is so spot on, and little Ben is adorable.  These kids make the story. It is easy to cheer when you reach the end of this one.

Miranda's story The Midwife's Christmas Miracle  is more a medical romance. Jake was introduced in Christy's story and now he finds his love with pregnant midwife, Miranda. I learned more than I wanted to about child birthing while reading this. This was a totally sweet love story. Jake is the kind of hero we all want to find for ourselves. There was only one thing in this story that bothered me. A young girl left her baby in an alley. She didn't get in trouble? WTF? That would not happen. The child would have been taken in by the authorities and the mom would have been sent to jail.

Rating: 4 flowers

Bewitching Book Tours Guest Post: Nikki Jefford

The Most Rushed Wedding EVER by Nikki Jefford

In tribute to the month of Valentine’s, and my 12 year anniversary next month, I’m going to publicly share – for the first time ever – the story of the world’s most rushed wedding ever.

The Year: 2000.

I was an independent young woman, 22, working as a teaching assistant in Amiens, France. I absolutely did NOT plan on falling in love – especially not with a Frenchman.
Enter: Sébastien.

One smile and we morphed from jaded commitment-phobes to starry eyed fools who couldn’t live without one another. We had a whirlwind romance and all was well until my work visa ended. So we shrugged (I kid you not – no on bended knee in this story) and were like, okay, so I guess we should get married.
If I wanted an American wedding, it would delay Seb’s departure by 3-6 months, whereas in the case of a French wedding, we could get the visa going tout de suite.

I’d sooner cut off my left arm than be without Seb for three months so we asked town hall to book us asap. Seb’s mom wanted us to get hitched in the town she lived in at the time: Meaux – pronounced “moe” as in: eeny, meeny, miny, moe, catch a Frenchman by the toe!

We had no idea what the date was going to be until finally, a week before the big event, we were told we’d be married on Monday, March 27th. Seb worked Saturdays and most shops in France are closed Sundays. We ended up with one hour till closing on Saturday to pick out rings at a jeweler’s. I remember Seb saying he hoped we found ones we liked because we had no choice. (And that they fit or could be sized on the spot.)
I was a bit of out of it the week leading in because I had chicken pox for the SECOND time in my life. (Must have been a French strain.) My period also started during the ceremony and it rained. (But those are side notes.)

I didn’t understand a word during the ceremony. When prompted, I answered, “oui” at the end.
It may have been rushed, but the important thing is 1) I married my true love; 2) My mom booked a last minute flight to attend; and 3) We re-enacted the entire thing back home in Alaska three months later with the dress, cake, photographer, music, friends, family – the whole shebang!

Nikki Jefford’s novella Spellbound appears in the anthology Death By Chocolate, released this week. She is a third generation Alaskan who found paradise on a not-so-tropical island in the San Juans (WA) where she and her husband live with a very spoiled Westie named Cosmo.


A Resurrection Spell Gone Wrong
Two months after dying, Graylee Perez wakes up in her identical twin sister, Charlene’s body.
As the daughter of a witch, can anyone blame her mother for attempting to bring her back to life? Only now Gray’s stuck sharing her sister’s body 50/50 in 24 hour shifts.
The race is on for Gray to find a way back inside her body before Charlene purges her from existence.
Warlock Raj McKenna is rumored to meddle in the black arts, not to mention he’s after Gray’s invisibility spell and worse – her heart. But Raj might be the only one powerful enough to save Gray from fading away forever.

Death by Chocolate- The paranormal young adult anthology with a cocoa twist.

Authors Suz Korb, Cheryl Carvajal, Nikki Jefford, Kira Saito, Stacey Wallace Benefiel, and Lucy Swing

Back in Time by Stacey Wallace Benefiel

Nothing in Aurelia Lemon's life is turning out how she'd planned. She's unemployed, unattached, and her family bakery is on the verge of closing. To make matters worse, the guy she dumped in high school is doing well and getting rich off of one of her departed mother's recipes. It would take a miracle to right everything she's done wrong. Or maybe just a phone call and the chance to go Back in Time.

Sweet Witchery by Cheryl J. Carvajal

Catalena is only one of many dreamers in a small medieval town in Romania. When the witch Ramnusia opens her chocolate shoppe, suddenly dreams turn into reality. The chocolates are divine, but their power is greater than their sweetness. Miracles abound, dreams come true, and Ramnusia's magic confections become the talk of the town. But if these chocolates can make dreams come true, will they win for Catalena the deepest dream of her heart?

Spellbound by Nikki Jefford

Two months after dying, Graylee Perez wakes up in her identical twin sister, Charlene’s body.

As the daughter of a witch, can anyone blame her mother for attempting to bring her back to life? Only now Gray’s stuck sharing her sister’s body 50/50 in 24 hour shifts.

The race is on for Gray to find a way back into her body before Charlene purges her from existence.

Warlock Raj McKenna is rumored to meddle in the black arts, not to mention he’s after Gray’s invisibility spell and worse – her heart. But Raj might be the only one powerful enough to save Gray from fading away forever.

Bloody Valentine by Lucy Swing

One by one the girls of Hollow High disappear and when Bailey receives a heart-shaped box filled with chocolates she might be next.

Sweet Torture by Kira Saito

Sixteen year old Claudia Bernstein is obsessed with two things: chocolate and Dante Torres. However, being an invisible minion to Upper East Side princess Beatrice Wildenbert isn't helping her get anywhere with her dream guy.

Everything changes over Christmas break when Dante actually starts noticing her.

But are Dante's intentions as pure as they seem? When Claudia finds herself in the middle of a cruel prank, she decides to take revenge. But is revenge enough? Or will she finally realize that her own worst enemy is herself?

The Girl with Three Heads by Suz Korb

Kate wakes up on the morning of the Death by Chocolate fundraiser event to discover she has two extra heads resting upon each of her shoulders. She is not pleased about this. She's even more displeased when she discovers the head on her right shoulder (which looks like Santa Claus, complete with fluffy white beard) is actually Zeus, lord of lightning, or something like that. The head on her left shoulder? Yeah, it's the head of Hera; goddess-of-looking-like-a-blonde-bombshell and getting on Kate's nerves by shouting in her ear all the time.

Will Kate ever rid herself of these two extra heads? Will she ever get to experience an actual kiss from a boy without extra-head-situation interruptions? Join Kate as she struggles to survive being flung into the Underworld, as well as eventually landing upon Mount Olympus.

Just because she's got two extra craniums doesn't mean either head is an extra set of useful brains.

Author Bios

Stacey Wallace Benefiel is the author of the Zellie Wells trilogy, the Day of Sacrifice series and The Toilet Business, a collection of essays. She lives in an orange house in Beaverton, OR with her husband and their two young children. For more information about Stacey and her other works, please visit her website: http://staceywallacebenefiel.com

Cheryl Carvajal goes by the name Shakespeare at her two blogs: http://creativeartsanonymous.blogspot.com/ and http://notwritinganythinganymore.blogspot.com/ You can also contact her by email at shakespeare824@hotmail.com Over the last decade she has ventured into YA writing. She has three degrees in English, teaches Zumba and works on her writing with help from her husband who is president of Bainbridge College, Georgia.

Nikki Jefford is a third generation Alaskan now residing in the not-so-tropical San Juan Islands with her husband, Sébastien, and their Westie, Cosmo. She is the author of Entangled. Visit Nikki at www.nikkijefford.blogspot.com

Lucy Swing is a mother of two and a wife to a Firefighter/Paramedic. She is the author of the upcoming paranormal YA romance novel "Feathermore". She is a Goodreads author and you can find out more about her writing endeavours on her website http://www.LucySwing.com

Kira is a magic junkie and loves writing YA paranormal romances. Some of her heroes include: Jack the Pumpkin King, Willy Wonka, Larry David, Princess Jasmine, the vampire Lestat, Andy and her Maltese Costanza. You can email her at kirakatwritingservices@gmail.com and you can find out more about Kira on her website http://kirasaito.blogspot.com/

Suz Korb loves comedy. She also loves magic. She loves, loves to inject these key elements into her paranormal stories. She also loves, loves, loves cereal and eats way too much of it whilst novel writing. She’s an expat of the USA now living in England, a mother of two and the author of The Bedeviled Trilogy. To find out more about Suz Korb’s books visit her website at www.suzkorb.com

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Book Review: Blood Orange Brewing

Author:Laura Childs
Title: Blood Orange Brewing
Publisher: Berkley
Publish Date: March 6, 2007
Book Blurb: When social darling Delaine Dish throws a lavish benefit for the restoration of a run-down Victorian home, Theodosia Browning donates tea and treats from her Indigo Tea Shop. But the grand unveiling of Theo's spread proves a gruesome scene when a beloved local politico falls dead with a jagged piece of metal in his neck. Anyone at the event could be the culprit, but the police have few leads-and no suspects. Try as she might, Theodosia can't help but wonder who the murderer is. But her investigation will lead her into places darker than the blackest tea ...

Review: This is book 7 in the tea shop mysteries series. It was cute but it was a little slow for my tastes. I don't like my cozy mysteries to drag, and this one felt that way to me. It was almost like the mystery took a back burner to the descriptions of food and tea. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Most of the time Theo is having a hard time finding clues and by the time she thinks she knows who might have done it, well, the book is nearly finished. Then there was the matter of another body turning up and Earl Grey disappearing. Earl Grey is Theo's dog, for those not familiar with the series.

Everything ties together well, though I have to say, if they were going to kill off a second character in this book I wish it would have been Delaine. God is she obnoxious!

I've heard a lot of good things about this series, so I'm going to give the series another chance, Theo, Drayton and Haley were fun characters, and I loved reading about the teas and food, though I have to say, I'd never use any of the recipes in this series. (I'm a simple girl when it comes to food. I leave the gourmet stuff up to chefs!)

Rating: 3 flowers

Monday, February 13, 2012

TLC Book Tour & Review: First You Try Everything

Author: Jane McCafferty
Title: First You Try Everything
Publisher: Harper
Publish Date: Jan 17, 2011
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tours and the publisher
Book Blurb: An engrossing tale of a marriage that’s falling apart and a wife who will stop at nothing to keep it together.

From their early days in college, Evvie and Ben were drawn to each other by feelings of isolation stemming from their wounded childhoods, passionate idealism, and zeal for music. Sheltered by their love, they weathered the challenges and trials of the imperfect world around them. But as the years passed, they grew apart. Now Ben has his sights set on a completely different kind of future—alone, or with someone else.

Convinced that Ben cannot live without her, Evvie begins to unravel, as she obsessively devises ways to reclaim the love that she cannot let go of. She gambles on a spectacularly dangerous scheme, one that may ultimately have devastating consequences.

Review: I'm on the fence about this book. I think fans of David Nicholls' One Day will probably love it. There's something about Ben and Evvie that reminds me of Dex and Emma. Maybe it is the not quite a love story, love story. Or maybe it is because one character is so totally unhinged.

Either way, I have similar feelings for this book. I thought I'd love it, but it didn't click for me. I think it was because there was an absence of a "Happily Ever After" that left me down. I wanted something good for Evvie. She deserved it. She was so out in her own little world most of the time, fighting the good fight for some cause or something.

The book starts out with her being a bit off her rocker. I actually found it cruel of Ben to leave her. I wish there would have been more backstory, something that showed how Evvie reached that point and even what really made Ben look elsewhere for love.

All in all, I just felt really sorry for Evvie and I really hated Ben. The climax of the story just left me feeling more sad. Which was pretty much the same way I felt when reading One Day. However if you liked Nicholls' book, I think you'll love this one. Sadly, it was not for me.

What I did love was where the story was set, Pittsburgh! Hey, I'm a 'Burgh girl, or at least a suburb of the 'Burgh! The author really used the city well in the story. When she mentioned certain places I was so excited to see them in print, especially the PPG building, which is one of the most beautiful buildings anywhere.

Rating: 3 flowers

About Jane McCafferty

Jane McCafferty is the author of the novel One Heart and two collections of stories, Thank You for the Music and Director of the World and Other Stories, which won the Drue Heinz Literature Prize. She is the recipient of an NEA award, the Great Lakes Colleges Association’s New Writers Award, and two Pushcart Prizes. She lives and works in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Jane’s Tour Stops

Wednesday, February 1st: It’s a Crazy, Beautiful Life
Thursday, February 2nd: Bookstack
Friday, February 3rd: oodles of books
Monday, February 6th: Walking With Nora
Tuesday, February 7th: Literature and a Lens
Thursday, February 9th: The Blog of Lit Wits
Friday, February 10th: For Such a Time as This
Monday, February 13th: A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, February 14th: Drey’s Library
Thursday, February 16th: No Model Lady
Friday, February 17th: so much shouting, so much laughter
Monday, February 20th: Indie Reader Houston
Tuesday, February 21st: Books in the City
Wednesday, February 22nd: From L.A. to LA
Thursday, February 23rd: The Book Garden
Monday, February 27th: Kritters Ramblings
Tuesday, February 28th: Reading on a Rainy Day
Wednesday, February 29th: West Metro Mommy
Blog Design by Use Your Imagination Designs using images from the Tea Time kit and the Saturday Night kit by MK-Designs