Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Chick Who Reads: Now On Twitter

Ok, I caved! I've got a twitter account for the blog. Now I'd like some followers that aren't trying to sell porn!

What is up with all the follows by people that are promoting the sex industry, btw? That was one of the reasons, I didn't bother keeping up my personal twitter account.

Dang!

But anyway give me a follow @AChickWhoReads!

The more the merrier, I always say! Oh and if you are on Networked Blogs...feel free to follow me there as well!

Today is all about shameless self promotion!

Cover Reveal: Mystically Bound

Tess Jennings' life is in chaos. Not only has her ghost lover, Kipp McGowen, crossed into the Netherworld, but she’s the newest member of a secret society. And they want her to start work immediately. Upon arriving at the Temple in New Orleans, she is presented with an offer she cannot refuse.
The Grand Master has been murdered and Tess must solve the crime by locating his ghost. The reward—a magical spell to save Kipp. But as Tess dives deeper into the case, the more danger surrounds her. Not everyone wants the murder solved, and she is caught in the crossfire.
Soon, Tess finds herself knee-deep in ancient magical rituals, a hunt for a spell, a race to locate a killer, and a journey to the beyond. Will Kipp finally take a living breath, or will Tess take her last?
~*~

Stacey Kennedy’s novels are lighthearted fantasy with heart-squeezing, thigh-clenching romance, and they even give you a good chuckle every now and again. But within the stories you’ll also find fast-paced action, life-threatening moments and a big bad villain who needs to be destroyed. Her urban fantasy/paranormal and erotic romance series have hit Amazon Kindle and All Romance eBooks bestseller lists.

Stacey welcomes comments from readers. You can find her at www.staceykennedy.com.


Book Review: Never Say Pie


Author: Carol Culver
Title Never Say Pie
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Publish Date: August 8, 2012
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb: ook two in the popular (and delicious!) Pie Shop Mystery series

It’s summertime in Crystal Cove, California, and sales are brisk at the outdoor Food Fair. There’s fresh bread, artisan cheese, gourmet cupcakes, plus Hanna’s delicious pies. When despised local food critic Heath Barr is found stabbed to death, no one is sorry to hear the news—except perhaps Hanna, the main suspect. It doesn’t help that Hanna’s high school crush is the police chief. Hanna must track down a killer while up to her elbows in pie dough.

Featuring scrumptious recipes, including Double Chocolate Cream Pie and Butterscotch Pecan Pie
Never Say Pie (A Pie Shop Mystery #2)


Review: I have to admit, I'm a sucker for cozy mysteries that involve food and this one is full of all kinds of yummy things. The main character and pie shop owner is Hanna who may remind some of you of Hannah Swensen and Sam a little like Mike.

This story is a quick read, as you meet all the people from Crystal Cove's Food Fair. Oh will the descriptions make you hungry! Cheeses! Sausage! Cupcakes! Yum!

When a food critic that was particularly unkind is found murdered, most everyone at the fair is suspect! Since Hanna was a recipient of one of the bad reviews and had tiff with Heath, she's a suspect and is working to clear her name.

Unlike the other "Hannah" The Upper Crust owner is more ditzy, which is why it is easy to understand Sam trying to keep her out of the investigation. I wish there was more of a spark between these two. Sam was Hanna's high school crush and they same to have a past that's more than just a crush. Sam seems clueless to Hanna's feelings. He's got secrets, but why keep them from someone who has been a friend for many years.

I hope things change between them, because Hanna needs someone in her life. This is a fairly new series, so maybe as it goes on, we'll see more friendships, etc, but right now it is just Hanna and her gram, who lives in a retirement village. I like their closeness, but again, Hanna needs to a have a friend to kind of tone her down. Her sleuthing is a bit crazy.

I look forward to seeing where Carol takes this series and I also can't wait to try one of the pie recipes!

Rating:  4 flowers

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Goddess Fish Promotions Book Review: The King Must Die

Author: N. Gemini Sasson
Title: The King Must Die
Publisher: Cader Idris Press
Publish Date: April 4, 2012
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: The Goddess Fish Promotions and the author
Book Blurb: England, 1326. Edward II has been dethroned. Queen Isabella and her lover, Sir Roger Mortimer, are at the pinnacle of their power.

Fated to rule, Isabella's son becomes King Edward III at the callow age of fourteen. Young Edward, however, must bide his time as the loyal son until he can break the shackles of his minority and dissolve the regency council which dictates his every action.

When the former king is found mysteriously dead in his cell, the truth becomes obscured and Isabella can no longer trust her own memory . . . or confide in those closest to her. Meanwhile, she struggles to keep her beloved Mortimer at her side and gain yet another crown-France's-for the son who no longer trusts her.

In the sequel to Isabeau, secrecy and treason, conspiracy and revenge once again overtake England. The future rests in the hands of a mother and son whose bonds have reached a breaking point.
The King Must Die


Review: I've always been a fan of books about royalty, no matter what the country. English kings and queens are my favorite. I have to say, I've not read much about Plantagenet line. I've read about the Tudors and the Stuarts mostly, so when I had the opportunity to be part of this tour, I jumped on it.

The start of the book is slow, because Edward II hadn't abdicated his throne. The story is told from both Edward's and Isabella's point of view. It gave the story good perspective, it also helped the readers to understand what Isabella and Roger Mortimer had been through prior to the events of this story. (You might want to read the first book Isabeau to learn more, I know I will be reading it soon)

What I found refreshing about this book was how Isabella was portrayed in a favorable light, but even still you weren't sure how you felt about her. You saw her, as well as her son, warts and all. You knew she was having an affair with Mortimer, and that her marriage to the king had been a loveless one. You see her love of her children and her thirst for power.

There are times you love her and times you hate her. When she lost power, along with Roger, who also lost his life, you felt sorry for her. Not because of her rule, but because Roger was the love of her life. That love is portrayed beautifully in this book. You knew they loved each other, even though Roger had a wife and family. I think that's what made Mortimer's death more heartbreaking, because she truly lost him. She also does a great job showing the love between Edward and his Queen Phillipa.

This book made me curious about this period in English history. I found myself checking wiki pages to learn more about the characters. I definitely want to learn more about Edward III's reign.  The story was full of intrigues and other terribly bloody things. It is hard to believe how cruel the human race is.

If you are a fan of historical fiction, this book is definitely a must read!

Rating: 5 flowers

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Goddess Fish Promotions Interview: N. Gemini Sasson



1.  What do find the most fascinating about the time period of The King Must Die?

The complexities of the politics are intriguing when you peel away the layers. It had a lot to do with the clashing of personalities.  Alliances were constantly shifting and while blood ties were strongest, if your brother’s or father’s agendas compromised your own power, then it wasn’t unheard of to throw your support with the opposition. Edward II was not a popular king and his own brothers actually aided his wife Isabella in her invasion of England. Apparently, they thought he needed to step aside, too.

2.  How do you go about researching your books?

I collect a lot of non-fiction books. Then they get underlined in purple pen, dog-eared, and tagged with neon Post-It Notes. I try to read a broad spectrum of perspectives, because different historians often have different theories. Besides history books and biographies, I also have a small library with everything from the dress of the period, to foods, hawking and hunting, tournaments, armor and weaponry, castles and abbeys . . . It’s like building a house. The historical events are the framework, but you need all that additional information to flesh it out and set the story firmly in a different time from today. Research is both fun and exhausting. I can spend an hour digging for one tiny detail.

3. What is the hardest part of writing historical fiction.

Striking the balance between ‘story’ and ‘history’. Historical fiction is fiction in a past setting, sometimes based on historical events. When you’re writing epic biographical fiction, as I’ve done, there are a lot of facts to keep straight. Sometimes you err, whether unintentionally or intentionally in the interest of the story arc, and there are readers out there who will let you know about it. If, as a historical novelist, you focus on factual history for the sake of accuracy, you risk compromising your story. If you focus on story at the sake of accuracy, you compromise your credibility in some readers’ eyes. Talk about pressure!

People often shy away from history books because they’re too dry, verbose and have no relevance to their own lives. Most of us would rather read a novel, because it deals with characters and their fears, ambitions, motivations and emotions – things we can relate to. My aim is to bring to life some historical figures who haven’t been written about a lot in fiction. If my readers can learn something new that they didn’t know before, without feeling like they’re getting a history lecture, then I’ve done my job. It’s hard to find that balance between entertaining and informing.

 4. Which historical figure from your books would you have liked to know? Which would you have run away from? And why?

Can they be the same person? Okay, I confess I have a bad-boy crush on James Douglas, who’s one of the viewpoint characters in The Bruce Trilogy. I find him mysterious and recklessly brave. In my books, he comes across as a little shy with women, but when he loves, he gives his heart completely. I admire his loyalty to Robert the Bruce, his cleverness, his dedication to his cause – all at the peril of his own life. By the same token, though, I would not want to be the one he was out to get. He makes cameo appearances in Isabeau and The King Must Die, so you get to see his ruthless side, as well.

5. Who is your favorite royal?

Robert the Bruce! He persisted against constant odds and had a long-term vision, but he was also charismatic and a natural leader who knew how to inspire.

6. Your books are set in 14th and 15th century in the British Isles. Is there another time period you'd like to explore?

While I’ve grown comfortable in the 14th and 15th century, I do feel it’s time to explore other periods. I enjoy a good Tudor story, but there are plenty of Henry VIII stories to go around. Most likely, I’ll either hurtle forward to 19th or 20th century America or write a contemporary love story that involves past lives set in 16th or 17th century Scotland. But those are just nuggets of ideas, scribbled in a notebook. One thing at a time. Next up is a journey into 15th century Wales.

7. Can you share one thing that you learned that really surprised you about one of the historical figures in your books?

Without giving too much away, I’d probably say that following Queen Isabella and Sir Roger Mortimer’s invasion of England in 1326, it was a looong time before Mortimer returned to his Welsh estates and visited his wife of nearly twenty-five years, Joan Mortimer. (Yes, they married very young back then.) It’s surprising in that he didn’t make more of an effort to play the dutiful husband, if only to deflect rumors. And yet it isn’t surprising, considering how passionate his relationship with Isabella must have been. Obviously, he was sending Joan a message by avoiding her. There is every indication he and Joan had a strong marriage until he become involved with the queen. When he did finally see his wife again, it was with Isabella at his side. That had to be an awkward reunion!

BLURB:


What is done cannot be undone.

England, 1326. Edward II has been dethroned. Queen Isabella and her lover, Sir Roger Mortimer, are at the pinnacle of their power.

Fated to rule, Isabella’s son becomes King Edward III at the callow age of fourteen. Young Edward, however, must bide his time as the loyal son until he can break the shackles of his minority and dissolve the regency council which dictates his every action.

When the former king is found mysteriously dead in his cell, the truth becomes obscured and Isabella can no longer trust her own memory . . . or confide in those closest to her. Meanwhile, she struggles to keep her beloved Mortimer at her side and gain yet another crown—France’s—for the son who no longer trusts her.

Amidst a maelstrom of shifting loyalties, accusations of murder propel England to the brink of civil war.

In the sequel to Isabeau, secrecy and treason, conspiracy and revenge once again overtake England. The future rests in the hands of a mother and son whose bonds have reached a breaking point.


The Wedding of Edward III and Philippa of Hainault
Edward III – York, January 1328


While a howling wind lashed the snow into knee-high drifts, we proceeded to the castle. Philippa and I rode abreast of one another, our horses caparisoned in heraldic silks, the silver bells attached to their bridles and reins tinkling gaily amid the clamor. It may well have been the coldest and snowiest day in years, but it did nothing to dampen the spirits of England’s people. We dismounted before the steps to the great hall, the bells of York’s churches pealing in celebration. She slipped her hand from beneath the warmth of her miniver-edged cloak. I grasped her fingers and pulled her closer.

“I regret to say,” I whispered rapidly, before anyone could close in and overhear, “that my mother has raised objection to our wedding night being so close to Lent. She thinks we should forego, ah, a certain ‘rite’ in the hopes of receiving God’s blessing upon our union.”

Philippa clasped her other hand over my forearm. “I had not thought of that. Will we not ...?”

Casting a glance around, I guided her up the steps. A pair of porters opened the great doors before us. I shrugged. “Do you want to?”

“I do.” Lowering her chin, she shrank inside her hood to conceal her blushing. “That is, if it would not trouble your conscience.”

“Mine? No.” I scoffed. “Christ himself could not keep me from you tonight.”

AUTHOR Bio and Links:


N. Gemini Sasson is also the author of The Crown in the Heather (The Bruce Trilogy: Book I), Worth Dying For (The Bruce Trilogy: Book II), The Honor Due a King (The Bruce Trilogy: Book III) and Isabeau, A Novel of Queen Isabella and Sir Roger Mortimer (2011 IPPY Silver Medalist for Historical Fiction). She holds a M.S. in Biology from Wright State University where she ran cross country on athletic scholarship. She has worked as an aquatic toxicologist, an environmental engineer, a teacher and a track and cross country coach. A longtime breeder and judge of Australian Shepherds, her articles on bobtail genetics have been translated into seven languages.

Links:
Web site: http://www.ngeminisasson.com
Blog: http://ngeminisasson.blogspot.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NGeminiSasson
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/NGeminiSasson

Monday, May 28, 2012

Reading Addiction Blog Tours Book Review & Excerpt: Gold Coast Wives

Reading Addiction Blog Tours




Author:Bernadette Walsh

Title: Gold Coast Wives
Publisher: Lyrical Press, Inc
Publish Date:Nov 2011
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Reading Addiction Blog Tours and the author
Book Blurb:Three skinny socialites should be a pushover after the rough and tumble world of Wall Street. Right?

Kate Ryan may be au fait with making high-powered legal decisions, but she's about to submit to the rules of reality TV, where nothing is what it seems. Who'd have thought a few days with the cameras rolling for a low-rent cable show would be so challenging, or that the claws of a former homecoming queen, a washed-up soap star and a whiny cat-lover would be so sharp?

Author Bio

I have always been a bookworm and had always meant to write a novel “someday.” You know, when I won the lottery and could live in beach house and look out onto the water and feel inspired. Four years ago I decided to stop waiting for my winning lottery ticket and sat down and started writing in between work and family obligations. I piled the words on top of each other until they formed sentences, paragraphs, chapters and eventually a book.  The House on Prospect is my second novel. My first, a contemporary romance,Gold Coast Wives, was published in November 2011. The first book of my paranormal trilogy, Devil’s Mountain -- Book One of the Devlin Legacy, is due to be published in June 2012. While I’ve hopped around genres, all of my books to date have a common theme: strong women handling what life throws at them the best way they can.

Website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter:  @BWalshWrite
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Highlight: At the jewelry launch party I sat next to Annabella, sharing her enormous plate of fried calamari and chatting about her recent divorce. She assured me that the brave new world of online dating was a treasure trove of men who couldn’t wait to meet overweight forty- somethings like us. Sure, some of them had prison records, but who wasn’t entitled to a mistake or two? Annabella’s owl earrings shook with optimism as she offered to set me up on a double date with her most recent felon’s--oh, I’m sorry, boyfriend’s--brother. I was noncommittal as I continued to inhale the calamari.

“If it isn’t my favorite lawyer!”

“Paul,” I said, turning around to face him. “What are you doing here?”

“And it’s nice to see you too, Ms. Ryan.”

Annabella winked at me and made a hasty retreat to the raw bar serving station. Behind Paul’s back, she gave me a thumbs up. Way to stay classy, Annabella. Paul was kind of cute with his deep brown eyes and crooked smile. If my husband’sabsence became permanent, Paul wouldn’t be a bad transition man. He’d certainly be more acceptable and less scary than Annabella’s ex-cons.

Review: Gold Coast Wives is like a snap shot of those "Real Housewives" reality shows. I'd never watch them, but I had to read the book.

Why?

After reading Bernadette's A House On Prospect, I was interested in seeing.

She writes Gold Coast Wives just the way you'd expect this kind of reality show to play out. There's petty bickering, jealousy and backstabbing. None of it is Kate though. She's getting the bad end of the stick in this case.

If I had to put up with some of the things she had to for the show, I would have broken my contract and left! But that's what makes the book so fun! It almost makes me wish it were a show, so I could watch it! Actually, it could be a sitcom about a reality show!

This is the perfect beach read! Light, fluffy and fun! Bernadette Walsh is officially one of my new favorite authors! Pull up a chair and a fruity drink and this is a recipe for a great afternoon!

Rating: 5 flowers


*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Reading Addiction Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Reading Addiction Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorcements and Testimonials in Advertising*

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Chick Ponders Bookish Things: Facebook




I'm not a huge fan of Facebook. I use it to waste time. I play mindless games, like Cafe World and Zoo World. I have liked a few book blogs and authors on FB, but guess what? Since I play games, any posts by these groups kinda fall by the wayside.

Truthfully, I don't know if my blog is popular enough to warrant it having it's own page. I'm also pretty sure I'm too lazy to keep it up.

Is it really necessary? I don't want my blog to feel like work. I want it to be fun! I want people to like to read my reviews. I'm not trying to be the most popular. (My reading taste will attest to that. I'm not into the whole paranormal thing much. Over hyped books usually don't make it to my TBR pile. 

So is it worth it to put A Chick Who Reads on Facebook? Let me know what you think!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Guest Post: Marie Astor w/Giveaway


Twenty-eight-year-old Claire Chatfield has everything a girl could possibly wish for: looks, a promising career at New York’s top architectural firm, and an engagement ring from one of New York’s most eligible heir-bachelors! Life should be a dream, but when Alec Brunell, a sexy tango dancer, moves into the apartment one floor above from Claire’s, he unwittingly awakens Claire’s old insecurities, making her question her life choices. Will Claire brave her fears and allow herself to take a chance on Alec, or will she continue to play it safe?

In order to secure his place as his father’s successor, thirty-three-year-old David Lawson must settle down with a wife befitting the future head of Lawson Enterprises - and who could fit the prerequisite better than the stunningly beautiful and incredibly bright Claire Chatfield? There is just one glitch – David Lawson is in love with another woman – a Hollywood Legend Claudia Block.

A successful tango instructor, Alec Brunell has never lacked for women’s attention, but he finds himself at a loss when faced with his downstairs neighbor, Claire Chatfield. Upon hearing of his occupation, most women swoon with desire, but Claire runs for the door. Still, her iciness only adds fuel to his fire, as Alec is determined to change Claire’s view of him.

Claudia Block has been basking in the limelight of Hollywood for more years than she cares to admit. While she still has her looks, she would much rather not mention her age, which makes her unconventional affair with young and handsome David Lawson that much more difficult for her to give up.

Dance Me to the Stars is a love story about finding one’s perfect match - sometimes following one’s heart is as convoluted as learning the steps of tango.

Dance Me to the Stars, has been selected in the first round of entries in the General Fiction category in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest this year.

Book Excerpt
“By the way, I missed you at the Metro opening.” Lindsay remarked after the waitress had taken their orders.
“Yeah, sorry about that – David wanted to leave early.”
“Too bad – it would have been nice to get a picture of the two of you and maybe a couple of quotes from David Lawson.” When pronouncing David’s name, Lindsay titled back her head and pushed up her nose.
“Knock it off – David is not like that at all.”
“Fine, maybe he’s not, but I wouldn’t know since Mr. Lawson never seems to have time for your friends.”
Claire shrugged. “He’s been working so much lately – he really wants to prove himself at the office.”
“Oh, please! Give me a break – he is the owner’s son. I’d say he’s got the way pretty much paved for him.”
“David wants everyone to know that he’d earned his position.” Claire sighed. “You don’t really like David, do you?”
“It’s irrelevant whether I like him or not – I’m not the one dating him.”
“But you’re my best friend – your opinion is important to me.”
“Mine, not Amber’s?”
“You’re both my best friends.” Claire sighed with exasperation – ever since middle school, they had been an inseparable trio: Amber, Lindsay and Claire, and the silent rivalry between Amber and Lindsay dated equally far back. Amber was outgoing and bossy, Lindsay was witty and practical, and Claire was thoughtful and caring - the balance between the two. It was hard to say just what exactly united the three friends: maybe it was that each had the qualities the other one lacked, but suffice it to say, their friendship had taken them through childhood, adolescence and college to the world of adulthood.
“Yeah, I know. I just don’t trust Amber’s choice of men for you, that’s all. After all, she’s the one who set you up with David, right?”
“She introduced us, yes. David is her client.”
“Exactly, and Amber could make one believe that the devil is a saint if she were his PR agent.”
“David is not a devil – he is sweet and charming.”
“Hey, I’m not the one you need to convince of your boyfriend’s virtues. Like I said, if you’re happy, I’m happy for you. But something is telling me there’s trouble in paradise.”



BUY LINK

Amazon Kindle:
http://www.amazon.com/Dance-Me-Stars-Contemporary-ebook/dp/B0078IPNCW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1333508381&sr=8-1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Marie Astor is the author of contemporary romance novels Dance Me to the Stars, On the Rim of Love, and Lucky Charm. Marie Astor has also authored a collection of short stories A Chance Encounter and Other Stories.

Marie’s latest contemporary romance novel, Dance Me to the Stars, has been selected in the first round of entries in the General Fiction category in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest this year.

Currently, Marie is working on her next novel – a first installment in her romantic suspense series.

Author Website: www.marieastor.com
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Marie-Astor/e/B004EBDX9Q/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/marieastorcollection
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4665230.Marie_Astor
Twitter: @marieastor



Books by Marie Astor:

Dance Me to the Stars – a contemporary romance about finding one’s perfect match.
http://www.amazon.com/Dance-Me-Stars-Contemporary-ebook/dp/B0078IPNCW/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1334533879&sr=8-3

On the Rim of Love – a contemporary romance about the unexpected power of love.
http://www.amazon.com/Rim-Love-Contemporary-Romance-ebook/dp/B005TOWI7K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1322449445&sr=8-1

Lucky Charm – a humorous contemporary romance about love, luck and friendship.
http://www.amazon.com/Lucky-Charm-Contemporary-Romance-ebook/dp/B005BZL3L4/ref=pd_sim_kinc_2?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2

A Chance Encounter and Other Stories – a short story collection about love and everyday life.
http://www.amazon.com/Chance-Encounter-Other-Stories-ebook/dp/B004E112TO/ref=pd_sim_kinc_2?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2


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Friday, May 25, 2012

Book Review: Yesterday's News

Author: Kajsa Ingemarsson
Title: Yesterday's News
Publisher: Stockholm Text Publishing AB
Publish Date: May 15,2012
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: Agnes has most things in life: a family who is always there for her, a good job at a fancy restaurant, a boyfriend who loves her, and a best friend whom she knows inside out. Or does she?

All of a sudden things begin to crumble, one by one, and soon nothing is as it was. Her boyfriend Tobias leaves her for a big busted singer, and she is fired by GĂ©rard, the sexist and abusive owner of the restaurant where she works.

She gambles everything she has on the success of a newly opened restaurant, but the road to the glowing review which will open the door to fame and fortune has, to say the least, unexpected twists and turns.

In Yesterday’s News Kajsa Ingemarsson’s comic talent comes into its own. Juicy and satisfying, Yesterday’s News is a story about daring and winning and about faith in yourself, a feelgood novel sure to please any romance lover looking for the perfect summer read.

Review: I was surprised at how much I actually enjoyed this book. Not because it was a great romance or because I identified with Agnes, but because she was real, and because her life was such a train wreck.

I couldn't grasp two things about her, why she didn't report the boss that sexually harassed her and then fired her and why she clung to Tobias. However, fear makes even the smartest women do stupid things, so I could try to see why she behaved the way she did.

The secondary characters were what made the book so enjoyable. The problem for me reading it was trying to figure out some of the Swedish names, but once I got over that, it was smooth sailing.

Another thing I loved about this book was the glimpse inside the creation of a restaurant, and how hard it is to stay afloat. That time in the book is a bit of downer, plus Agnes lost her mother then too. That was probably the most emotional part of the book.

I really felt Kajsa did a great job writing about Maud's death, especially as she had been such an upbeat character.

Some things in the book were a little predictable. If you don't guess who the restaurant critic is long before it is revealed, you aren't paying enough attention.

It is a short summer read. Perfect for a day in the sun or by a hotel pool Relax and enjoy a good story.

Rating 4 flowers

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Book Review: The Wedding Dress

Author: Rachel Hauck
Title: The Wedding Dress
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publish Date: April 3, 2012
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb:
Four brides. One Dress.
A tale of faith, redemption, and timeless love.
Charlotte owns a chic Birmingham bridal boutique. Dressing brides for their big day is her gift . . . and her passion. But with her own wedding day approaching, why can't she find the perfect dress…or feel certain she should marry Tim? Then Charlotte discovers a vintage dress in a battered trunk at an estate sale. It looks brand-new-shimmering with pearls and satin, hand-stitched and  timeless in its design. But where did it come from? Who wore it? Who welded the lock shut and tucked the dog tags in that little sachet? Who left it in the basement for a ten-year-old girl? And what about the mysterious man in the purple vest who insists the dress had been "redeemed."
Charlotte's search for the gown's history-and its new bride-begins as a distraction from her sputtering love life. But it takes on a life of its own as she comes to know the women who have worn the dress. Emily from 1912. Mary Grace from 1939. Hillary from 1968. Each with her own story of promise, pain, and destiny. And each with something unique to share. For woven within the threads of the beautiful hundred-year-old gown is the truth about Charlotte's heritage, the power of courage and faith, and the timeless beauty of finding true love.
      The Wedding Dress
Review: This is a tale of 4 brides and one very special wedding dress. Their stories woven together like the threads that keep the gown together. This is a book that really kept me turning the pages, even when I should have been doing other things, though I have to admit, I was more interested in what happened to the previous brides than what was happening to Charlotte and Tim.

The main focus of the book is on Emily, the first bride. Emily is a character that I have mixed feelings about. I admired her courage at times, but other times I felt she was a total coward, letting too many people dictate what she was doing. I realize that in 1912 that is what happens, but sometimes I felt Emily was being a bit daft.

This book paints the picture of life after the civil war and before WWI in Birmingham, AL.  Tensions are high between the whites and the coloreds. Rachel really shines in writing about this period. She brings things to life, even if they are things that might make you angry. I hated how Emily easily went with Phillip, even though her heart belonged to Daniel, and later when she realized that Phillip was involved with another woman. It really made me wonder how she managed to hold out so long before abandoning him.

The other two brides stories were shorter but no less important. Mary Grace is the second recipient of the gown and when Charlotte finds her, through Hillary, the third wearer of the gown, Mary and her husband have been married over 70 years. Hillary's husband was killed 6 months after their marriage in Vietnam. What they do with the dress is what's important. Hillary was my favorite of the brides. She is the first one Charlotte finds. The dress doesn't bring happy memories for her. I think Rachel balances out each bride's experiences well. Mary is the only one that really had a happy tale. Emily had to struggle for the dress and with herself in choosing the man to marry. Charlotte and Tim breakup before the wedding and somehow manage to pull together in the end.

I had a hard time dealing with that relationship too. But if they stayed together and happy, the end result wouldn't be so sweet and the dress wouldn't be so important.

So many different stories and they all weave together beautifully and the dress is more than that..it is part of Charlotte's heritage, which is something she learns as a result of Tim's sleuthing.

This was one of the most beautiful stories I've read. It's more a tale of lives than romance. If you love the novels of Debbie Macomber, then you'll want to check this one out! This is one of my favorite reads of the year.

Rating: 5 flowers


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

TLC Book Tour & Review: The Secrets Of Mary Bowser


Author: Lois Leveen
Title: The Secrets Of Mary Bowser
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: May 15, 2012
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tours and the publisher
Book Blurb: Based on a remarkable true story, The Secrets of Mary Bowser is an inspiring tale of one daring woman's willingness to sacrifice her own freedom to change the course of history

All her life, Mary has been a slave to the wealthy Van Lew family of Richmond, Virginia. But when Bet, the willful Van Lew daughter, decides to send Mary to Philadelphia to be educated, she must leave her family to seize her freedom.

Life in the North brings new friendships, a courtship, and a far different education than Mary ever expected, one that leads her into the heart of the abolition movement. With the nation edging toward war, she defies Virginia law by returning to Richmond to care for her ailing father—and to fight for emancipation. Posing as a slave in the Confederate White House in order to spy on President Jefferson Davis, Mary deceives even those who are closest to her to aid the Union command.

Just when it seems that all her courageous gambles to end slavery will pay off, Mary discovers that everything comes at a cost—even freedom.

Review: There are some books that you can't help but be drawn into. The Secrets of Mary Bowser is one of those books. Once you pick it up, you will be drawn into Mary's life, and you won't be able to put it down. When you read this book you are taken back in time to the pre-Civil war era.

Not a pretty time for our country.

The story is based on real people and events. I actually started looking things up when I was reading this book. I wanted to know more. See Mary Bowser was more than just a freed slave. She became educated and during the war she was a spy in the Confederate White House!

You grow up with Mary, you watch as her passions for abolition ignite.

You also see things that aren't in many novels about the era, what life was liked for people of color in the North. It wasn't necessarily pretty there either. That's illustrated quite a bit, when young Mary comes to Philadelphia for her education, thanks to Bet.

What I loved about this book, besides how wonderfully written and visual it is, are the extras at the end, especially the part about the world of Mary Bowser. It was really nice to see the evidence of the research that went into this book.

I can't recommend this book more, especially if you have a love of history.

Rating: 5 flowers






About Lois Leveen

Award-winning author Lois Leveen’s work has appeared in the New York Times, on NPR, and in literary journals and anthologies. A former faculty member at UCLA and Reed College, she lives in Portland, Oregon.

Website | Twitter | Facebook



Tour Schedule

Tuesday, May 15th: Bookworm’s Dinner
Wednesday, May 16th: Man of La Book
Thursday, May 17th: A Cozy Reader’s Corner
Monday, May 21st: Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, May 23rd: A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, May 24th: Life In Review
Friday, May 25th: “That’s Swell!”
Monday, May 28th: Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, May 29th: Just Joanna
Wednesday, May 30th: Book Journey

Monday, May 21, 2012

Reading Addiction Blog Tours Book Review: Chasing McCree

Reading Addiction Blog Tours

Author: J.C. Isabella
Title: Chasing McCree
Publish Date: April 14, 2012
Author Bio:  J.C. Isabella is the author of The Unofficial Zack Warren Fan Club and a romance novel junkie. Ever since she discovered the genera in high school, she has been a self-proclaimed fan. This led to penning her first YA romance. When she isn't thinking up new recipes for the cookbook she hopes to one day write, she is brainstorming a new novel and listening to country music. She lives in the tropics of Florida, with her big fat Italian family, and ornery feline companion.  Website

LINKS TO BUY:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble - Author Page
Synopsis:Briar Thompson had it all. The right clothes, the right friends, the right car. Being popular was all that mattered. Her parents were rich and treated like royalty throughout the community. She thought her senior year of high school was going perfectly, until the night her drink was spiked at a party by one of her so called friends.

That was the night she met Chase McCree.

Chase wanted to go back to Montana. To the ranch and the wild, wide blue sky that went on forever. He wanted nothing to do with flashy cars or spoiled rich kids. But he found himself head over boots for the quirky cheerleader who turned her back on her social status. She befriended him when no one else would.
Shunned and hurt by the people who were once her friends, Briar flees with Chase to his family ranch in Montana. There she discovers another world, and apart of herself she never knew.The cowboy wasn’t like anyone she’d ever met. The cheerleader wasn’t like anyone he’d ever met. Apart their lives didn’t seem to make sense, but together, they were chasing forever.

Review: I wanted to take part in this tour because I had heard some buzz on a Livejournal community about this book and I wanted to see what it was all about. It has a super cute plot. Cowboy and a rich girl cheerleader. Sure it sounds like something that has been done before, but the story is such a fun read, that it doesn't matter, especially with the cast of characters that she creates.

You love Briar from the minute that she meets Chase, drunk and thinking she has 4 legs! And then there's her grandma! OMG! Briar's gram joins the ranks of cool old ladies, like Grandma Mazur!

This book reminded me of the YA books I read when I was in high school. Not that there's anything old fashioned, but because it was a sweet love story, complete with all the proper twists and turns necessary to keep you turning the pages. This is definitely a YA I can recommend! Plus no vampires, witches etc...which I really think are getting old. Its nice to see a normal contemporary romance for the YA crowd, and J.C. Isabella delivers that nicely!



More info on the tour: Reading Addiction Blog Tours

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Reading Addiction Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Reading Addiction Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorcements and Testimonials in Advertising*

Cover Reveal: Kinley Baker - Denied

DENIED
SHADOWED LOVE, BOOK TWO
By Kinley Baker
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Publisher: Crescent Moon Press


When invaders brutally massacred the women and children of the Varner, Caleb witnessed loss and destruction on a scale few can comprehend. As the leader of a race on the brink of extinction, his only hope for survival is gaining acceptance into the Shadow Shifter Kingdom. Struggling with new customs, he meets Tabitha, a woman who challenges his limits.

Refused the right to join the king’s guard because of her gender, Tabitha must be stronger than the men to prove she deserves to be the first accepted female Warrior in the kingdom. She believes Caleb will help improve her abilities, until she learns her goals conflict with the foundation of his culture.

When the realm is attacked, Tabitha and Caleb must come together not only to fight, but to find the strength to win against an evil with the potential to destroy everything they revere most--including each other.

Add DENIED as To-Read on GoodReads!


http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13646204-denied

RUINED: Shadowed Love Book One
By Kinley Baker
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Publisher: Crescent Moon Press


BLURB:

Jessa is one healing away from death. Under the thrall of her gift, the Court's Senior Healer risks giving her life in exchange for her patient's.

Vale is a rebel ruler. When his brother is killed, he's given the throne and the decree from the Court to produce an heir or lose his family's hold on the land--and his deceiving advisors aren't afraid to use murder as a weapon if their directive to stay away from the Senior Healer goes unheeded.

But Vale burns to possess Jessa. The heat between them leaves a wake of smoke, and even the powerful forces above want to bind them in a union that lasts forever. Vale taking another would be a betrayal neither could survive.

Their enemies fear a child born of such a powerful Healer and Warrior, but the true threat lies in the bond forged in shadows and fused in fire.

Barnes and Noble Kindle Amazon Paperback
book trailer on YouTube: http://youtu.be/aG2oSaUZeJM


EXCERPT RUINED:

"You." Fury burned hot under Jessa's skin as she glared at Vale. "Who do you think you are, demanding I come live in this castle? You can't just order your guards to enter a woman's home and pack up her things."

"Well, I did." Vale came around the desk and propped one hip against it, more of a threatening than casual movement.

"Someone tried to kill me. It makes sense that I have my Healer close by."

She released a pent-up breath. "Why couldn't you have explained that instead of mandating?" Silly. Her imagination had run away with her. The king needed his Healer. But the realization he didn't want her made her angrier.

"Because I didn't want to give you the option of saying no."

She most definitely would have said no.

"If you would have explained your reasoning, I would have complied. Your safety and health come first, even if I-"

"Even if you what?"

"Loathe you." She bunched her fingers into two fists, seriously tempted to hit him. For all the nonexistent pain it would inflict upon him.

"Do you?" His tone deadened with calm. "Because I can't stop thinking about you."

"That's normal." She brushed off the claim. "I saved your life."

He moved in a blur. A true Shadow Shifter. One second he stood near his desk, the next he had her in his arms, one locked around her waist and one hand tangled in her hair. Their lips almost brushed.

"I can't stop thinking about you." His murmur played down her spine, leaving a tingling trail. His scent invaded her. His voice embraced her like bare skin against satin sheets.

Her heart beat fast, her pulse jumped.

She disliked him, but didn't want him to let her go.

"Have you been thinking about me?" His soft tone feathered over her flesh.

"Only how much I dislike you." Lust pulsed in her belly.

He pulled her head back gently by her hair, so they looked straight into each other's eyes. Their bodies pressed tightly together. "Liar."



About the Author:

Kinley Baker is the author of the fantasy romance novel, Ruined. She read her first romance at the age of thirteen and immediately fell in love with the hero and the genre. She lives with her husband and her dog, Joker, in the Pacific Northwest. As a firm supporter of all supernatural lifestyles, she writes fantasy romance, paranormal romance, and urban fantasy.

You can find Kinley at www.kinleybaker.com

http://authorkinleybaker.blogspot.com
www.twitter.com/kinleybaker
www.facebook.com/kinleybaker
http://www.goodreads.com/kinleybaker
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kinley-Baker/196649877015210

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Book Review: The Peach Keeper

Author: Sarah Addison Allen
Title: The Peach Keeper
Publisher: Bantam
Publish Date: March 22, 2011
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: Walls of Water, North Carolina, where the secrets are thicker than the fog from the town’s famous waterfalls, and the stuff of superstition is just as real as you want it to be.

It’s the dubious distinction of thirty-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam—built by Willa’s great-great-grandfather during Walls of Water’s heyday, and once the town’s grandest home—has stood for years as a lonely monument to misfortune and scandal. And Willa herself has long strived to build a life beyond the brooding Jackson family shadow. No easy task in a town shaped by years of tradition and the well-marked boundaries of the haves and have-nots.

But Willa has lately learned that an old classmate—socialite do-gooder Paxton Osgood—of the very prominent Osgood family, has restored the Blue Ridge Madam to her former glory, with plans to open a top-flight inn. Maybe, at last, the troubled past can be laid to rest while something new and wonderful rises from its ashes. But what rises instead is a skeleton, found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, and certain to drag up dire consequences along with it.

For the bones—those of charismatic traveling salesman Tucker Devlin, who worked his dark charms on Walls of Water seventy-five years ago—are not all that lay hidden out of sight and mind. Long-kept secrets surrounding the troubling remains have also come to light, seemingly heralded by a spate of sudden strange occurrences throughout the town.

Now, thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the dangerous passions and tragic betrayals that once bound their families—and uncover truths of the long-dead that have transcended time and defied the grave to touch the hearts and souls of the living.

Resonant with insight into the deep and lasting power of friendship, love, and tradition, The Peach Keeper is a portrait of the unshakable bonds that—in good times and bad, from one generation to the next—endure forever.
The Peach Keeper




Review: The Peach Keeper is one of the strangest books I've read in a long time. It was a short read, less then 300 pages, and yet I never seemed to find time to read it. I'm not sure why this was, because whenever I picked it up it was engrossing.

I loved Willa and Paxton, and how as different as they both were, their lives were very much entwined, not just because of growing up together, but because of the friendship of their grandmothers.

The body that is found under a peach tree at the Blue Ridge Madam is really what pulls these two together. It gets them looking into the past and asking questions of those still around. Through all the hunting for answers, these two women find love, new friendship and new beginnings.

I loved the mystery in this story, though you couldn't quite classify this as a mystery or a romance for that matter. This book is more than that and you learn that through the friendship of Georgie and Agatha.

It was refreshing to read a story that was about friendship that didn't involve giggling girls, or talks about affairs over coffee or wine. This book felt real and cozy.

Oh and what is up with me reading all these Southern novels, lately?

Rating: 4 flowers

Books To Movies: - Stephanie Plum


Blurb: A film based on the incredibly popular Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich, One for the Money reveals an unexpectedly versatile Katherine Heigl. This model-turned-actress is best known for her role as Dr. Izzie Stevens on Grey's Anatomy and for starring in various lighthearted romantic comedies, but here Heigl takes on the meaty role of Plum, a laid-off lingerie buyer who turns bondswoman in a desperate attempt to pay the rent and put food on the table. Heigl is surprisingly believable as a blue-collar working girl who thinks fast on her feet and is not afraid to throw herself into the middle of even the most dangerous situation--especially if it means getting what she wants. Of course, Stephanie's impulsiveness manages to get her into all sorts of awkward and potentially life-threatening situations. Throw in her desire for payback against an old boyfriend, a sleazy cousin, a gang of ruthless criminals, a couple of most unexpected allies, and a quirky family who can think of little more than setting her up with a good husband, and you've got an enticing blend of drama, action, and comedy.

Review: I was actually quite surprised to find that I liked the movie adaptation of the first Stephanie Plum novel. Sure there were some things that were totally off, for me the casting of Ranger, but most of the other characters worked. The main problem with this film is that it was a hilarious, action packed read and they had to condense it down to an hour and a half of film time.

A lot got lost in translation. The underutilized a lot of characters that really made the book, like Grandma Mazur and Lula. As much as I wasn't sure about the casting, it kinda worked for these two, and it was a shame they didn't get to shine, especially Grandma!

The one character that really took me by surprise was Morelli, played by Jason O'Marra. Yeah...Irish guy cast as a tough Italian cop. For me, he worked. Mostly because I've been in lust with O'Mara since Life On Mars. God is he gorgeous! Since he played a cop in Life On Mars (A NY cop at that) he worked pretty well here. Plus his chemistry with Heigl was pretty good. It is pretty easy to see them together in the future, if they attempt the next book.

What I really liked was how much screen time they gave to Rex, the hamster. I didn't think that would happen.

I'm probably one of the few fans that liked that movie. Sure it wasn't accurate, not many movies are, but it did its best to capture Stephanie Plum and the crazy characters that surround her. I just wish they could have found someone sexier for Ranger. He just didn't do it for me, plus...is it me or did he talk too much?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Book Review: Sofie Metropolis

Author: Tori Carrington
Title: Sofie Metropolis
Publisher: Tor Books
Publish Date: April 4, 2006
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: Sofie Metropolis should be married. But when she caught her groom and her maid of honor carrying on with each other in the church, Sofie canceled the wedding. She took the honeymoon by herself, and she kept all the presents, including a small apartment building filled with just the sort of quirky tenants you'd expect in an old Queens neighborhood like Astoria.

Sofie should be waiting tables--her father and grandfather have competing restaurants on opposite corners. Instead, she's a junior--very junior--private investigator at her Uncle Spyros's detective agency. Which means she finds missing pets and takes photos of people's spouses doing things they shouldn't.

Sofie's life takes another unexpected turn when her latest cheating spouse case turns into attempted murder--of Sofie--and she's rescued by a dashing Australian bounty hunter. And there's a missing "vampire" to find, not to mention Sofie's mother's best friend's lost dog . . . .

Sofie Metropolis (Sofie Metropolis, #1)



Review: This is a hard book to review, especially if you are a fan of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series, which I am. It is even harder, when the author is someone that I usually love. Tori Carrington (which is a husband and wife team) writes a lot for Harlequin Blaze, and I've loved every book they've done for that line.

Which brings me to Sofie Metropolis, the Greek, New York, Stephanie Plum. The only thing about Sofie, is she lacks some of the oomph that Stephanie has. If you've read any of the Plum novels it will be hard not to draw comparisons.

PI v/s Bounty Hunter
Grandpa v/s Grandma
Uncle Spyros v/s Cousin Vinnie

You see where I'm going here?

Lots of parallels.

It even has some laughing moments, but not enough to totally wow me. And with Sofie, it is hard to figure out what the mystery actually is in the story.

I've heard the series gets better, so I'm going to try the other books, because this one was fun, but too much like Plum for my liking.

Rating 3 flowers

 
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