Friday, August 30, 2013

TLC Book Tours Book Review: Dark Horizons

Author: Jenny T. Colgan
Title:Doctor Who: Dark Horizons
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: BBC Books (August 13, 2013)
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: “Now, you may or may not have noticed, but we appear to be on fire…” On a windswept northern shore, at the very tip of what will one day become Scotland, the islanders believe the worst they have to fear is a Viking attack. Then the burning comes. They cannot run from it. Water will not stop it. It consumes everything in its path – yet the burned still speak. The Doctor is just looking for a game on the famous Lewis chess set. Instead he encounters a people under attack from a power they cannot possibly understand. They have no weapons, no strategy and no protection against a fire sent to engulf them all. Add in some marauding Vikings with very bad timing, a kidnapped princess with a secret of her own and a TARDIS that seems to have developed an inexplicable fear of water, and they all have a battle on their hands. The islanders must take on a ruthless alien force in a world without technology; without communications; without tea that isn’t made out of bark. Still at least they have the Doctor on their side… Don’t they? A thrilling new adventure starring the Doctor, as played by Matt Smith in the acclaimed Doctor Who series from BBC Television.



Review: Wooo hee ooooo

Oh wait..just listen



You can't start any discussion of Doctor Who without the theme playing in your head.

So let the episode begin. Jenny Colgan has given us a companionless story, or at least companionless in the vein that the 11th Doctor doesn't have The Ponds or Clara (in any of her incarnations) with him on this adventure.

This book is perfect for those of us waiting for the next episode to air. (And it allows us to have some extra time with the 11th Doctor before he regenerates)

The writing seems geared for a younger audience, which can be distracting for older fans who are possibly expecting something more grown up.

The Doctor finds himself in Viking times. You get Viking warriors, island people that want no parts of them and a princess that would rather be on her way to Valhalla. Oh and don't forget a fire-like alien that is burning up animals and humans alike.

The Doctor Who geek in me was trying to figure out where in his timeline this story occurred, because the the TARDIS under water thing was dealt with in the episode Cold War in part two of series 7 with Clara as the companion...

But I'm not going to nit pick. Jenny really had Matt's Doctor spot on...and I loved one scene where he envisions his former self with K-9. Big sigh there. I also love his interaction with Luag. From the very beginning, 11 has had a way with children, and I loved that Jenny kept that up here.

The budding romance between Henrik and Freydis was a nice touch and something done well by Jenny who usually writes some awesome chicklit.

This is what Doctor Who is all about. I could easily envision this book as an episode. It was fun and fast paced and Jenny has Matt Smith's Doctor down perfectly. (I only wish Amy and Rory had been with him)

If you are a Who fan (like me) you'll gobble up the story and all the others too

Rating: 4 flowers


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Book Review: Aqua Blue

Author:  Marian L. Thomas
Title: Aqua Blue
Publisher: LB Publishing
Publish Date: July 1, 2013
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Reading Addiction Book Tours & the author
Book Blurb: 
In 1968 a child was born. Her father's eyes boast a beautiful green and her mother was born with hazel. Yet, AQUA BLUE was brought into the world with neither.

Haley wishes her parents would forget her. Her mother wants to control her, her father constantly beats on her and Haley, however, just wants to dance on Broadway. Will her dreams cost her more than she ever expected?

Jonathan Jacob Benjamin Brown is running from the memory of a mother he loved. His journey will thrust him into a world filled with secrets so shocking, he must determine whether he will forgive or walk away.

As they each step foot into the intoxicating city of New York, their dreams are standing before them with open arms. Yet, in order to embrace the possibilities, they must first learn to live, love, and breathe.



Review:  What to say about this book? At first I didn't know what to make of it. It was a little disjointed and listening to Haley and Aqua Blue talk was unnerving because Marian wrote their dialogue the way it should have been written for these two poor Southern girls.

There's so much crammed into these 200 pages that it is hard to believe that Marian has told such an emotional story, of not one...or two..or even three characters..but really five. This book chronicles the lives of both girls as well as Jonathan and then his aunt and mother in flashback form from the 60s.

And their stories don't involve fluffy family life. There's spousal abuse, child abuse, interracial marriage, bigotry. You name it, it seems to fit on these pages.

I still haven't figured out how such a short book, filled with such heavy themes managed to be so fulfilling.

Each character's story was well rounded even though they were told often side by side and skipping through time, with Jonathan's mother and aunt's story being told as part 2 of the book.

The ending is heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time.

This isn't your typical Southern novel...though you can't take the south of the characters, because their background plays such a huge part in defining who each of them are. It is more a novel of finding themselves, of coming of age, and starting to live.

I also love how she mentions two of her other books in the story as well.

Marian Thomas is definitely an author to watch!

Rating: 5 flowers


Cover Reveal: Forever In Bloom By Jennifer Domenico

Forever In Bloom - Cover Reveal

Jennifer Domenico

Contemporary Romance

Date to be Published: 9/16/2013

Synopsis:

A love strong enough to survive even the toughest challenge…or is it?

From the moment he told her, Ava never doubted Enzo’s love for her. How could she? He spent every day of his life making sure she felt it. Through every trial, the couple has only come out stronger for it. She was confident that no matter what challenge life had in store, she and Enzo’s love would endure.

Just as Ava’s dreams for the future fall into place something happens that she never imagined. Still, she knows with Enzo by her side, happiness is always just around the corner. What Ava doesn’t know is a threat she thought was long gone is back and will stop at nothing to take everything that is precious away from her.

A love, even as strong as theirs, can only be tested so much before it breaks. Can Enzo and Ava’s love survive their toughest challenge yet? Will Enzo’s love be enough to keep Ava safe or is she better off away from the only man she’s ever loved? Will they ever get the happily ever after they deserve?

Book three is the final installment of the Sunflower Trilogy.

EXCERPT

I close my eyes and try to calm my rattled nerves. I can’t believe the fucking nerve of this woman. I know I have to talk to Enzo and find out what he knows about this. I can’t imagine that he saw her and would keep that from me.

I dial his cell phone but my hands are shaky. I wait patiently for him to answer, knowing he had meetings at Girasole that morning, and wondering just what I’m going to say if he tells me he saw her.

“Ciao, amore,” Enzo answers, cheerfully.

“Enzo, Anna called me.” I don’t waste any time on pleasantries.

“What?!”

“Anna fucking called me and said she’s already been in contact with you. Tell me she’s lying.”

His sudden silence makes my heart sink. “Are you keeping secrets from me, Enzo?” I ask in utter disbelief.

“We need to talk about this when we both get home.”

“You saw her? You fucking saw her and didn’t tell me?!” I yell into the phone.

“Calm down, Ava.”

“Calm down?! Why the fuck haven’t I heard about it until now. Do you know how fucking humiliating this is to me to hear it from her?”

“Ava, stop swearing at me.”

“Don’t fucking tell me what to do!”

Enzo takes a deep breath. “Ava, this is something I wanted to discuss with you but I was waiting for the right time. I refuse to do this over the phone.”

“I can’t even begin to imagine how you’re going to explain this to me. She’s not even supposed to be anywhere near us. Why haven’t you had her arrested yet?”

“I said we’ll discuss it in person.”

“Well then you better stop whatever you are doing right now and meet me at the house.”

I slam down the phone, the only time I’ve ever hung up on my husband. My blood is fucking boiling right now. I know in my heart that I am not going to like what I hear. Suddenly his secretive behavior is starting to make a lot more sense.


Jennifer Domenico

Author Bio

Jennifer Domenico is the author of The Sunflower Trilogy: Turn Towards the Sun, Turn Towards the Sun: After the Rain, and Turn Towards the Sun: Forever in Bloom. She is also the author of Have my Heart- A Novella, and Beautifully Twisted. When not writing her next novel, she spends her time devouring the words of other great authors, watching home improvement shows or talent competitions, and sleeping whenever possible.

She lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with her very Italian husband who provides her with endless material for her next Italian stallion character. She loves connecting with readers so stop by and say hello to her.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

TLC Book Tours Book Review: The Arrangement



Author:  Mary Balogh
About The Arrangement
Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Dell (August 27, 2013)
Buy: Amazon
Blurb: A mesmerizing story of passionate awakening and redemption, Mary Balogh’s new novel unites a war hero consigned to darkness with a remarkable woman who finds her own salvation by showing him the light of love.

Desperate to escape his mother’s matchmaking, Vincent Hunt, Viscount Darleigh, flees to a remote country village. But even there, another marital trap is sprung. So when Miss Sophia Fry’s intervention on his behalf finds her unceremoniously booted from her guardian’s home, Vincent is compelled to act. He may have been blinded in battle, but he can see a solution to both their problems: marriage.

At first, quiet, unassuming Sophia rejects Vincent’s proposal. But when such a gloriously handsome man persuades her that he needs a wife of his own choosing as much as she needs protection from destitution, she agrees. Her alternative is too dreadful to contemplate. But how can an all-consuming fire burn from such a cold arrangement? As friendship and camaraderie lead to sweet seduction and erotic pleasure, dare they believe a bargain born of desperation might lead them both to a love destined to be?



Review: The Arrangement is Book 2 in the Survivor's series, but not to worry, like most historical romance series, this book is a stand alone novel, with tie in characters.

From the very start of the novel you find yourself loving Vincent. He is quite simply "so darn sweet." So is Sophia, though as you learn about her drawings, there is a bit of impishness to her personality.

I was surprised at the lack of conflict between these two characters that are thrown together because of an incident that would have resulted in Vincent being forced to wed Sophia's cousin Henrietta.

Sophia gets along well with Vincent and his friends and family and they embrace her as one of their own, even though they thought she might be after his fortune.

These two are definitely meant to be together.

The only thing I had trouble dealing with were Sophia's relations, The Marches and her uncle's stepson, Sebastian Maycock. I don't think I've ever encountered such nasty, unpleasant characters. It was actually nice that the disappeared from the story for quiet awhile, only to return in the last 50 pages. They create the only conflict of the book, in making Sophia feel bad about herself.

Mary Balogh is a master of regency romance. The Arrangement is an enjoyable read, though a bit considering the plot. At times the novel seemed to drag, with mundane things about Sophia and Vincent.

I loved that Mary has created a series around flawed characters...Vincent is blind and though she drives that point home a lot, it is nice to see a hero that isn't 100% perfect.

I also loved how their relationship grew, I especially loved how Vincent gave Sebastian a little what for, for his lousy treatment of Sophia. I also was pleased that her uncle became part of the family.

The book was a little long, considering their wasn't any real conflict between Sophia and Vincent, but it was a beautiful romance that just about anyone could enjoy.

Rating: 5 flowers

Read my Q & A with Mary here

TLC Book Tours Author Interview: Mary Balogh

1.  What book are you currently reading?

A DEAD BORE by Sheri Cobb South. She writes lovely gentle, beautifully written Regency romances, most notably THE WEAVER TAKES A WIFE, which is among my favorite books. But A DEAD BORE is Book 2 of the John Pickett mysteries. They are Regency-set mysteries, in which the lead man is a young Bow Street Runner and the lead lady, at least in these books, is a widowed viscountess. I enjoyed Book 1 and am enjoying this.

2. Who is your favorite author?

Oh, that's a tough one. Almost impossible to answer, in fact. In romance, if I absolutely must answer, I would have to go with Georgette Heyer. The fact that I have all her books in both paper and e-book form would probably bear that out! In mystery, which I probably read more than any other genre, I love Louise Penny and Donna Leon, Lee Child and Michael Connolly, Agatha Christie and Patricia Wentworth and a whole host of others. But perhaps my favorite author of all at the moment is Susanna Kearsley. I get drawn deeply into her books and love everything about them—the plots, the characters, the atmosphere, the sense of place and history, the style. She has never yet let me down.

3. What do you like the most about Regency England

I think the sense of honor and style, the good manners. And there are the fashions, extremely sexy for both men and women, the carriages, the stately country homes and parks, the London Season with its balls and parties and concerts and drives and walks in Hyde Park and… Well, I love everything about it! It represents everything that is most romantic. I always feel an enormous nostalgia for the era, as if I must have lived there very happily once upon a time.

4. Who is your favorite hero from one of you novels


That is another toughie. I love them all, and they span the range of male types—alphas and betas, wounded heroes and perfect, confident types whose insecurities have been pushed deep, handsome men and ordinary men. I love them all because every one of them ultimately faces his demons and works them out because he has been bowled over by love. All learn to love unconditionally and to allow themselves to be loved. All right, I'll name one! Wulfric Bedwyn, Duke of Bewcastle, the cold, powerful, arrogant loner at the head of the Bedwyn family in the SLIGHTLY books. I had a chance to develop him gradually through A SUMMER TO REMEMBER, where he made his first appearance with his siblings, and then through five of the SLIGHTLY books, in which he always comes to the rescue of his brothers and sisters and obviously loves them, though he rarely shows it openly. By the time I came to his own story in SLIGHTLY DANGEROUS, I was as eager to know him better and to watch him succumb to love as any of my readers! And I was already deeply in love with him. It is necessary, by the way, to be in love with one's heroes.


About The Arrangement
Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Dell (August 27, 2013)
A mesmerizing story of passionate awakening and redemption, Mary Balogh’s new novel unites a war hero consigned to darkness with a remarkable woman who finds her own salvation by showing him the light of love.

Desperate to escape his mother’s matchmaking, Vincent Hunt, Viscount Darleigh, flees to a remote country village. But even there, another marital trap is sprung. So when Miss Sophia Fry’s intervention on his behalf finds her unceremoniously booted from her guardian’s home, Vincent is compelled to act. He may have been blinded in battle, but he can see a solution to both their problems: marriage.

At first, quiet, unassuming Sophia rejects Vincent’s proposal. But when such a gloriously handsome man persuades her that he needs a wife of his own choosing as much as she needs protection from destitution, she agrees. Her alternative is too dreadful to contemplate. But how can an all-consuming fire burn from such a cold arrangement? As friendship and camaraderie lead to sweet seduction and erotic pleasure, dare they believe a bargain born of desperation might lead them both to a love destined to be?



Stop by later today for my review of The Arrangement

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Buy The Book Tours Book Blitz: Linda Conrad - Last Chance Reunion

 



Last Chance Reunion by Linda Conrad
Genre: Harlequin Romantic Suspense

  • Linda’s  Website | Twitter  | Facebook | Goodreads
  • Last Chance Reunion on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Harlequin
  • Publication Date: August 6, 2013
  • Published by Harlequin Romance


  • About Linda Conrad Author Picture - Linda ConradBest selling author Linda Conrad writes for Harlequin-Silhouette Books. Her novels have been translated into sixteen languages and are sold in over twenty-two countries!
    Linda’s sensual characters and passionate stories have brought her numerous awards and raves! Over the years her workshops for RWA chapters and conferences have helped many writers learn new skills and techniques.
    Growing up in south Florida, Linda made up stories and read everything she could get her hands on. After college, she taught first grade in Miami and tried to give the children as much love for the written word as she’d always felt. When her own true-life hero came along and whisked her away to five cities in seven years, Linda became a sales assistant, a quality control supervisor, a ninety-unit apartment manager and finally a stockbroker and Certified Financial Planner in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.
    When her mother suffered a disabling stroke, Linda moved to southern California to be close. “Mom couldn’t focus well enough to read anymore. So I began reading to her,” Linda recalls. “Eventually, my sister and I started making up stories to keep her entertained. Mom remembered my high school writing attempts. Before her death, she asked me to stick with story telling.”
    Today Linda is back in south Florida, living with her husband by the sea and telling the stories in her heart.

    About Last Chance Reunion

    Last Chance ReunionTwo Lone Star stories from bestselling author Linda Conrad!
    TEXAS COLD CASE
    Determined to solve the cold case of his mother’s murder,  Colt Chance returns home to Texas. Turns out the new deputy sheriff is the woman who broke his heart. But when someone targets Lacie, Colt’ll have to decide between the vengeance  he seeks and protecting the one he still loves….
    TEXAS LOST AND FOUND
    After witnessing a murder, firefighter Nina Martinez finds an ally  in medic Josh White. On the run, they discover that Nina is the long-missing Chance sister, Cami. Will Cami embrace the love  from Josh and her real family before it’s too late?

    The Excerpt

    Fire exploded up the forty-foot cedar, snapping and cracking like a whip as it raced to chew off every living thing in its path.
    Hotshot fire-fighter Nina Martinez struggled with the urge to hold still and ogle the magnificent flames—a   firefighter’s worst nightmare.  Dropping your guard during a blaze, for any reason, could get you killed.
    A little while ago she’d gotten caught behind the fire-lines while stamping out hot spots on orders from her superintendent.  But when they’d first arrived on site in Texas, her super gave his crew the coordinates to safety zones and added tricks to finding natural escape routes.  No need for her to be overly concerned yet.
    Tearing past dry cactus and mesquite not yet aflame but heating fast, she had to shift direction to miss a huge rattler in her path.  After that scare, she hesitated at the top of a mesa, checking coordinates for the best course for rejoining her crew.  But as she gazed to the east, she spotted a ranch house directly below her that lay in the current route of the now reigniting blaze.
    Giving the house a thorough once-over with her binoculars, she tried to determine if the place had been evacuated.  Thankfully it looked deserted.  But as she slowly swiveled her head to find a different heading, two people standing close to a barn came into view.  The male and female appeared to be having an argument and not paying any attention to the spreading smoke and flames.
    Keeping them in her sights, she started downhill, prepared to give them a lecture about evacuating when told to do so.  When she reached their position, there wouldn’t be a lot of time left to move them out of harm’s way.
    She used her radio to raise her team, asking for ground evacuation support for the civilians.  Her super was not happy about her situation and said to keep moving, in and out of those coordinates as fast as possible.  The fire was spreading from the west toward her position.  But he agreed to spare someone to help with the evacuation if it came soon.  The fire was moving fast.
    Crackling fire echoed at her back, while swirling winds showered her with stinging embers.  It was difficult not pausing to dig at hot spots.  Her training wanted to overrule her conscious mind.  But the two civilians had to be first priority.
    She closed in while continuing to keep watch on the couple, but all of a sudden a shovel appeared in the man’s hand.  Before Nina could yell, he used it to bash at the woman’s head.  The female dropped to her knees.
    “Hey!” Nina screamed at the top of her lungs.  “Stop.”
    Ignoring the steep decline, she picked up her speed and raced toward the couple.  “Put it down!”
    The man hit the woman once again and the force of his blow laid her out on the ground.  Only then did he look up toward the noises Nina was making.  By that time she’d closed the distance to where he stood to a few yards.  His gaze locked with hers and the deep anger in the man’s eyes nearly caused her steps to falter.
    But concern for the woman kept her going.  Without pausing, Nina reached into her pack for a fusee, preparing to use it if necessary in her own defense against the man. But after she fisted her hand and took a few more steps in his direction, he finally turned and disappeared around the side of the barn.
    Closing in on where the woman lay, still and unmoving, it was apparent to Nina that the female was already beyond help.  The pool of blood surrounding her head seemed like more than any human could lose and still survive.
    Nina’s stomach rolled as she swiveled and made an effort to chase the man down.  After turning the corner of the barn, she expected to see a car or truck pulling away.  Instead, she found an open field full of boulders and mesquite.
    She spent a moment wondering what direction the murderer had gone when a bellowing roar, sounding just like a freight train, captured her attention.  The winds howled, switching direction, and at that moment a sight she’d only heard about greeted her disbelieving eyes.
    fire tornado developed within half a mile of her current position and headed straight at her.
    Too late to get out of its way.  Within seconds the whirl was fifty feet tall and moving fast.
    After dragging her face shroud across her nose and mouth, she grabbed her portable fire shelter by its handles and shook it out.  Protecting her lungs and airways was the most important lesson to remember.  Another lesson that could keep her alive was to strip off her pack.  She pitched her gear as far away as possible, relying on years of training to do things by rote.
    She tried to put as much distance between herself and the fire devil as possible in the few seconds remaining. How she prayed to find a good spot to hunker down as she leapt a few more yards away from the barn and into the boulder field.  But the intensive heat soon became unbearable.  No time left.
    Diving for an indentation next to a huge boulder, Nina pulled the shelter over her body and curled up in a fetal position inside it.  Face down, she buried her nose and mouth in the air pocket at the base of the rock.
    The ferocious shriek from above roared in her ears as the whole world narrowed down to her tiny space between the shelter’s walls.  The tiny space that might just save her life.
    She should have known something like this would happen in Texas.  For years she’d stayed away, only thinking about the God-forsaken place in her nightmares.  If her team hadn’t been called in to give the Texas firefighters added backup during the worst firestorms in the state’s history, she never would have set foot inside the Texas state lines.
    But wherever the team was sent, she went too.
    Mind pictures of the little bit she remembered of Texas from her early childhood came unbidden as she closed her ears to the wailing firestorm outside her shelter.  Horses and saddles.  The smell of hay.  Kind eyes and soft hands. A woman calling her “Cami, love.”  A male voice cooing: “Easy, little girl.
    That was always as far into the dream as she ever got before the memories disintegrated and turned to ash.  Warm eyes turned cold as ice.  Soft hands turned hard as steel.
    Pulling herself out of that particular pit of depression, she tried turning her thoughts to something far more pleasant.  Her Hotshot unit team.  The only reason she’d agreed to this temporary deployment in Texas in the first place.
    Her crew: Superintendent Ralston, the strongest man she’d ever met; her fellow firefighters Mad Mike; Geek; and Alabama.  And Doc, real name Josh White, the crew’s medic with the sensual bedroom eyes.
    As the walls of her shelter overheated, she allowed herself the luxury of concentrating on mind pictures of Doc and his sexy eyes—something she usually wanted to stop.   Lustful thoughts of him had already invaded far too many of her daydreams during fire season.  But she would never have let him get an inkling of how often she thought of him.
    Simply picturing those eyes, green as spring grass and so full of expression, could make her melt with unfulfilled longing.  Even in the middle of heavy training.  Luckily, thoughts of his rip-cord lean body, all muscle and strength, usually came into her mind during slow times and instead of the nightmares, despite the fact that their relationship was nothing more than a nodding acquaintance.
    Her imaginative thoughts now brought a frisson of awareness shooting through her.  Being in the middle of a fire tornado was anything but normal, but those feelings for Josh were as familiar as breathing.  She gave up trying to get him out of her mind now and focused on the memory of his eyes, ignoring as best she could the extreme heat and gas-filled haze filtering in through her fire shelter’s walls.
    Tightening her grip on the shelter’s handles, she refused to consider her situation dire. Don’t think about it.  Thoughts of the sexy doctor Josh White were as good a way as any to spend her last seconds on earth. a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Monday, August 26, 2013

    Goddess Fish Promotions Guest Post & Book Review: Something's Cooking




    Relationships- Mothers and Daughters


    In my new book, “Something’s Cooking,” from Entangled Indulgence, a number of readers have commented on the realistic relationships between the Tess Banyon and her mother, Clarie, and sister, Marla, I’ve been told the loving and squabbling relationships they all share as Tess prepares to shoot her first tv show, and Clarie and Marla work behind the scenes reminds many women of their relationship with their mother or sister(s). 

    I am so delighted to hear these comments as this is what I want readers to feel.  Naturally the romance between Tess Banyon and Josh Faraday is the heart of the book, but I’ve also tried to show a realistic relationship between the three women in the story.  I think it adds a great deal to the understanding and enjoyment of Tess Banyon’s character.  I’m so happy to hear many of you agree. 

    In the story when Tess starts her show, she calls on her Mom and Sister to work with her, believing with all her heart that they are the ones to help her bring her creative ideas to fruition. They are a key part of Tess’s team. Clarie is the kitchen genius and Marla is the crafty expert, while Tess thinks up the ideas and presents them in such as way that her fans cheer.  They are essential to Tess’s success.   
    Their relationship is loving and giving, but at the same time they squabble, joke, annoy, exasperate and champion each other.  Tess, Clarie and Marla can disagree, and often do, but when the chips are down they are always there with support, lending a helping hand, or even a witty comment to break the tension.
    I wanted to show a loving, friendly and comfortable relationship between these three different women. 
    Tess is the overly ambitious one, as evidenced by the ‘Tess Banyon Living’ Network she is building with her cooking, craft and lifestyle ideas.  Her sister, Marla, on the other hand is perfectly content with her marriage and her two daughters.  This is the same type of role her mother, Clarie, had fulfilled when the two sisters were growing up.  Both of these women chose to make a home and family their first priority and could afford to so—not an option for many women.  Most of all, I wanted the three of them to respect each other and respect their individual choices.

    I understand this relationship because it mirrors my own experiences. I have three daughters, all grown now, but the three of them are actually my best friends.  That’s not to say we were always that way.  OMG-No! When my youngest daughter was thirteen she patted my shoulder and said:  “Don’t worry, Mom, it’s just a phase. I’ll grow out of it.” I told her she’d better hurry up or I’d have to freeze her until she was twenty-one.  Obviously she figured that having two sisters before her left me at the end of my rope.  LOL

    Raising three daughters with minds of their own wasn’t always easy.  I had to remind myself that  I was the parent and it was my (and my husband’s ) responsibility to raise them and not be their ‘bestie,’ when it would have been easier to give in.  I made tons of mistakes, and so did they. But the end result for my  daughters and myself is a mirror of my relationship and friendship with my own mother, Ruth, who is no longer with me, and whom I miss every day.

    My three daughters have become people I can be very proud of…they are funny, mouthy, independent, creative, thoughtful, and caring.  At times they are also single-minded, critical and volatile—not any different from their  mother, now that I think about it. 

    More importantly my daughters have grown into people I respect, can talk and laugh with, disagree with, and in short—they’ve become women I like to be around.  If that is how people feel when they read about Tess and her Mom and Sister, then I’m absolutely thrilled. 
    So please tell me about your relationships. 

    Meg


     Something’s Cooking
    by Meg Lacey

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    BLURB:

    "Something’s cooking in more than the kitchen…

    Tess Banyon is a ‘Martha Stewart’ type of homemaker-guru-marketing-entrepreneur-extraordinaire.  Investigative journalist, Josh Farraday is determined to convince the women of America that Tess is too good to be true.

    He’s right. 

    Tess is a marvelous marketer with tons of ideas, but she can’t really cook and has been known to attach herself to a grapevine wreath with her glue gun.  Now she’s doing her own TV show, and Josh has been assigned to do a behind-the-scenes story."

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Excerpt:

    Josh dragged two dining room chairs over to the fireplace, spreading their clothes over them. He could feel her eyes boring a hole through him and wondered what she was thinking. Was she thinking of the heat between them? Or was she trying to distance herself from him again?

    He twisted around to face her and his mouth went dry. Her blanket had slipped to reveal a tantalizing glimpse of smooth creamy skin. His eyes widened and he could swear he was starting to salivate. Before he could stop himself, he reached to touch her. Her skin was soft as a newborn baby. He wanted to see more, to feel more, he wanted…Tess. He inched closer to her. She turned to look at him and he was lost.

    He put both arms around her as she tried to keep her blanket in place. He gently pulled her against him, knowing it was insane, a total mistake, but doing it anyway.

    “Tess,” he said, quietly. “I’m not sure what to say. I want you, that goes without saying, but it’s more than that. When I’m with you…”

    “You feel different?” Tess whispered, her breath sighing against him.

    “Yeah, I guess you could say that. All I know is with you I can relax. I don’t have to always have my guard up, try to be something I’m not. I don’t know, I can’t explain it.”

    “You don’t have to,” Tess whispered. “I understand. I feel the same. I shouldn’t. I know I shouldn’t. It can make everything too complicated. Sex. Having sex makes it simple, but making love…
    Love makes it complicated.”



    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~





    Review: This book has everything I really love in a romance novel, spice, great characters and a little bit of laughs.

    Tess Banyon is part Racael Ray, part Sandra Lee and part Martha Stewart. The only problem is she's a dud in the kitchen. Her persona would be nothing without her mom and sister who bring her ideas together.

    Josh Faraday is a columnist that wants to expose her as a fraud. (Even before he knew she was a fraud).

    There first meeting is absolutely hysterical and priceless and one of the book's stand out moments. Let's face it, it is always fun when the hero gets food tossed all over him. Bigger props because it was an accident.

    I loved the fun flirty nature of the book and it had just the right amount of sex to make a great romance. It is more of a sweet romance than a blazing hot one, but Tess and Josh have such chemistry that they heat up the pages all the time.

    The other thing that is really fabulous about this book is Tess' family. I love how Claire and Marla make a real unit together. They aren't perfect, they fight and they are real and you have to love them for how they stick together, each completing the team.

    This book is full of romance and laughter, something that we all can't have enough of.

    Rating:  4 flowers



    AUTHOR Bio and Links:

    Meg has a BFA and MA in theatre, acting and directing, and a minor in Fine Arts and Promotion.  Over the years, Meg has been an actress, director, producer, creative director, CEO, copywriter, creative dramatics teacher, mime, mom, college instructor, and a school bus driver.  She’s established two creative marketing/media companies, working as a V.P. and as CEO, creating projects in all media: network cable programming to corporate initiatives; to video, games and interactive websites. Meg is published with Harlequin, Imajinn Books, Samhain Publishing and now Entangled Publishing. Learn more about Meg and her books on her website or at any online bookstore.  Look for her new books, Something’s Cooking from Entangled Publishing, 8/13; The Sparrow and the Hawk, out now.  The Sparrow and the Vixens Three, 11/13, and Million Dollar Mistake, 9/13.

    Website: www.meglacey.com

    Email:  meg@meglacey.com


    Twitter: @MegLaceyBooks

    Good Reads:  http://www.goodreads.com/meglacey


    Meg will be awarding a Jamberry Nails set (with a watermelon motif) and a colorful watermelon knife to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

    Follow the tour: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2013/07/virtual-nbtm-tour-somethings-cooking-by.html

    Sunday, August 25, 2013

    Book Review: A Hopeful Heart

    Author: Amy Clipston
    Title: A Hopeful Heart
    Publisher: Zondervan
    Publish Date: June 7, 2013
    Buy: Amazon
    Review Copy Provided By: Booksneeze
    Book Blurb:

    In A Hopeful Heart, the first novel of the new Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series from best-selling author Amy Clipston, Hannah finds herself at a crossroads in her life. Her community offers her love and support after the untimely death of her husband, but an Englisher offers her the chance of a new life after her unexpected tragedy. Wealthy businessman Trey Peterson is surprised by his attraction to the gentle Amish woman who works as a housekeeper in the Lancaster Grand Hotel. They share a common bond of loss and are able to offer each other comfort and support as they journey through their grief.

    Joshua Glick wants nothing more than to offer his friendship and love to Hannah and her family. Not only is he her late husband’s brother and business partner, he has always been in love with Hannah.

    A Hopeful Heart is filled with surprising twists as Hannah tries to balance her life in the Amish community and her growing love for an outsider.


    Review: Hannah Glick is a widow who finds two men vying for her love, a handsome Englischer  widower and her late husband's brother.

    This was definitely a story that turned out to be different from what I expected. Most Amish stories I've read deal with finding love in the Amish community or the youth finding love and deciding whether or not to stay with the faith.

    Hannah is not the typical Amish heroine, she's older and she's questioning her community.

    While I loved the story there were several things that bothered me that could have been rectified if the book were a little bit longer. Her relationship with Trey Peterson developed into a marriage proposal without much of a courtship...and her decision regarding that proposal left me a little shocked.

    I know romance novels require a happily ever after, but somehow this one didn't quite work for me. I think it had to do with how intensely unlikable Josh was, as well as her mother-in-law Barbie, who seemed downright evil and not at all Christian in her treatment of Hannah.

    I commend Amy Clipston for going against the norm with her resolution, I just wish we could have seen more of why they were falling in love. It was hard for me to fathom how losing a spouse could be the basis for a loving relationship.

    But like all good Amish novels there are more characters involved then just the hero and heroine. I loved Hannah's daughters, Amanda and Lillian. These girls are twins but polar opposites, especially in their beliefs. I hope we get to see what becomes of them in later books, especially Lillian, whose relationship with her mother is strained because of Trey Peterson. Her young son Andrew is sweet too.

    This was a good introduction to a new series, yet it was also somewhat unsatisfying.

    Rating: 3 flowers



    Saturday, August 24, 2013

    Book Review: Conveniently His Princess

    Author: Olivia Gates
    Title: Conveniently His Princess
    Publisher: Harlequin Desire
    Publish Date: Sept 3, 2013
    Buy: Amazon
    Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley & Harlequin Books
    Book Blurb: 
    USA TODAY bestselling author Olivia Gates introduces the first marriage-of-convenience novel in her Married by Royal Decree series. Only one thing stands between Aram Nazaryan and the high-powered position he craves: the proper wife. Although this billionaire would do anything to return to Zohayd, the desert kingdom he considers home, marrying Princess Kanza Aal Ajmaan is too high a price to pay. Or so he thinks—until he meets Kanza…and she turns his world upside down.

    After claiming Kanza as his princess, everything falls into place. But then she learns the truth. She may have married for love, but his vows are tainted by ambition. Will doubt, betrayal and mistrust end this too-convenient union?


    Review: When it comes to the Desire line, you usually can't go wrong with one of Olivia Gates' books. She is one of the lines best writers, and she really writes great male characters from the middle east. Aram isn't a sheikh but he is a wealthy gorgeous man.

    The problem with this book is that the characters aren't very convincing. Aram and Kanza knew each other previously. Aram dated her step sister and when that relationship went south, Kanza held a grudge.

    Thanks to his sister and his best friend (who are husband and wife) he is thrown together with Kanza, who used to be an obnoxious goth girl, now she's anything but.

    The plot is ok, but Aram and Kanza just don't click for me the way I'd like them too. Kanza is high strung, stubborn and at times down right mean. I'm not always fond of alpha males, but Aram could have been a little more alpha at times.

    It really seemed like everything fell too neatly into place for them. They got to know each other and they fell in love? There didn't seem to be a reason why they were in love, at least not a real good one.

    The other disappointment for me was the lack of spice in this novel. It took more than halfway through the novel before they had sex! This is a Desire! I want some hot scenes before page 120. Sure they made up for it after that, but it seemed more like sex for the sake of having sex...honeymoon sex etc...

    Aram and Kanza's wedding was very over the top too. Too much so. He sang to her, for crying out loud!

    I really love Olivia's other books, but this one was a dud for me. Here's hoping this is just a one time thing.

    Rating:  3 flowers




    Thursday, August 22, 2013

    Book Review: Dark Secrets

    Author: Shona Husk
    Title: Dark Secrets
    Publisher: Carina Press
    Publish Date: Feb 18, 2013
    Buy: Amazon
    Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley & Carina Press in exchange for an honest review
    Book Blurb: Six years ago, Haidyn Mast left his home and his betrothed Anisa to follow his magical calling. Too weak to join the Arcane Guild and too ashamed to return home, he has made a life as a prostitute—to all outward appearances. In truth, he sells his mind but not his body, using magic to let his clients experience their most secret fantasies while his hands stay clean. Even the Lawman, the arbiter of justice in Reseda, is one of his clients, but Haidyn would rather not know the extent of that man's depravity.

    Though successful, Haidyn is shunned as a whore and his lack of formal training is causing his power to grow out of control. He's ready to retire and leave the city, but when he sees his Anisa standing at the Lawman's side, he knows he must rescue her from the abusive enforcer. Risking his life and his sanity, he devises a plan, knowing that failure will mean death for him, and a lifetime of torment for her…

    For more Arcane stories, download Dark Vow today.


    Review: I have to admit, the cover of this book is what really made me want to read it. I'm not usually influenced by covers in that way, but along with the blurb, I thought that this might make an interesting read, and I wasn't disappointed.

    I love a book told from the man's point of view. Since I read a lot of romance that doesn't happen often. Now don't let that comment make you think that this is a romance novella, because it really isn't. Haidyn is the owner of a pleasure palace or lust house, so to speak. He's a prostitute, but he doesn't actually have sex with his clients, he uses magic and his mind to make them think he does.

    Freaky, right?

    Not many 90 page novellas can boast the action and character development that Shona Husk has done with Dark Secrets.

    Haidyn was such an interesting hero. He did what he had to do in order to survive and he did it well, even though he had regrets.

    I only wish we could have gotten to know Anisa a bit better, but in a novella, you can't go into the lives of all the characters, even though she's Haidyn's love interest.

    Haidyn really took initiative when I saw that his former love is now married to the Lawmaker, who is not such a nice guy. (He has some nasty sexual proclivities)

    If you go by the book's blurb you may think that this is going to be an erotic fantasy novella, but it really isn't. There's not a lot of sex here at all, just a pretty great story. I look forward to trying more of this series.

    Rating: 4 flowers


    Wednesday, August 21, 2013

    A Chick Ponders Bookish Things: The 3 Star Review



    There's a lot of talk about how reviewers rate books. I had a hard time trying to decide how to rate the books I read, or if I even wanted to, but eventually I did decide on the 1-5 scale that most people use.

    Why then is there such a stigma on the 3 star/flower reviews.

    For me that means a book is good. I enjoyed it. It was worth the time I spent reading it. It may not have bowled me over, but it was a good read. (Hence the rating)

    Even if a book doesn't wow me, I try my best to focus on the positive aspects of the story as much as I can.

    3 star reviews shouldn't offend the author, at least the way I see it.

    For the most part I like most books I read. The 3 star/flower review is saying good job. This is a good book. The wow factor is what kicks things up a notch.

    If I didn't finish or struggled to finish a book is what takes things down.

    Honestly there are very few books that I don't finish and very few books that I rate less than 3 flowers. I appreciate the time and effort that authors take in their work and I think I'm safe to say that most book bloggers feel the same.

    I don't want to write negative reviews, but I also believe in honesty, since I review everything that I read.

    3 star reviews...not so bad really...

    What do you think?

    Tuesday, August 20, 2013

    Goddess Fish Virtual Book Tours Book Review: A Good Man Gone



    A Good Man Gone, A Mercy Watts Mystery
    by A.W. Hartoin

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    BLURB:

    It’s summer in St. Louis and Mercy Watts is on vacation from her parents. The great detective and his nosy wife are on a cruise and Mercy thinks she’s off the hook for doing any investigating for them. But when a family friend has a fatal heart attack, Dad has one of his famous feelings and orders Mercy to look into it. Mercy tries not to get sucked in. She really does, but she’s her father’s daughter. Soon Gavin’s death leads to a more grisly one, the death of a bride on her wedding day. Can the two be connected? Was Gavin murdered? Now Mercy can’t stop. You do for family. That’s all there is to it.




    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Excerpt:

    Dr. Grace held Gavin’s body for two days and then called me down from orthopedics for a talk, as he put it. I arrived at ten in the morning, and the morgue was hopping. There were no less than five detectives, a police photographer, and a couple of beat cops standing around drinking coffee. One of the detectives was my cousin, Chuck Watts.

    Chuck saw me and, before I could react, walked over with his patent self-assurance that that never failed to irritate me. He looked good as he always did. He once told me that only ten percent of the world’s population is attractive. He definitely considers himself in the top ten percent, maybe top five. I hated to admit it, but he was right. Chuck was a pleasure to view with his sinewy muscles, broad shoulders, and hooded blue eyes. Still, Chuck couldn’t be considered conventionally handsome. He had thinning hair and pockmarks on his cheeks, but those flaws added to his allure. Dad said it was lucky he had them or he would’ve gotten nowhere on the force. It doesn’t pay to be too good-looking in a job like Chuck’s.

    “Hey, Mercy,” he said and gave me a hug that lasted a couple of seconds too long. No one else seemed to notice.

    “Back off, you stink,” I said.

    “Is that any way to greet your favorite cousin?”

    “You’re not my favorite cousin. We’re not even blood-related.”

    “Even better.” Chuck smiled the smile that melted the hearts of every single one of my friends, including my best friend Ellen. She took him to our prom. I haven’t quite forgiven her for that one.


    Review: Don't judge this book by its cover. This is a fabulous mystery and Mercy Watts is the kind of heroine you have to love. She's a sexier, smarter version of Stephanie Plum. (And well, her cars don't get blown up)

    Her dad's a former cop and a PI and she is a nurse/assistant that's dating a doctor.

    For a reasonably short novel (a little over 200 pages) the mystery is pretty complex. In fact, there are two murders to be solved, a bride killed on her wedding day and Gavin, the family friend whose seemingly normal death turns out to be murder.

    There are so many ideas of who might be the killer, but even as you approach the last 30 pages, you don't have an idea of whodunit! That to me makes for a great mystery.

    I love all the quirky characters, especially uncle Morty and Aaron.

    This is a fast paced book that's full of madness, mayhem and hilarity. Its it the first full length Mercy Watts story, there have been a few short stories prior to this. I can't wait to read them, and I hope there will be more Mercy stories in the future, she's a character you really fall in love with.

    Rating: 5 flowers




    AUTHOR Bio and Links:

    A.W. Hartoin is the author of the Mercy Watts mystery series and the Away From Whipplethorn fantasy series. She lives in Colorado with her husband, two children, and six bad chickens.

    https://www.facebook.com/anne.hartoin

    www.awhartoin.com

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D1CPG5I

    https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/322959


    A.W. will be awarding a backlist ebook on each stop, It Started with Whisper, to a randomly drawn commenter, and a $30.00 Gift Card to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

    Follow the tour here and comment often for better chances of winning!

    Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Book Review: Buzz Kill





    Genre: Cozy Mystery
    4th in the Pecan Bayou Series
    Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (July 13, 2013)
    Paperback: 342 pages
    ISBN-13: 978-1490942919
    E-Book File Size: 338 KB
    ASIN: B00DSU1S8W

    Synopsis
    Betsy Livingston is planning a wedding so what could go wrong? After publishing a recipe for homemade calamine lotion in the newspaper, the ladies in the community church make a large batch. Everyone loves the stuff until someone in Pecan Bayou is found dead after using it. The town points to Betsy and she starts rethinking her whole career as a helpful hints columnist. Now she must clear her own name in between dress-fitting, cake-tasting, and all those things that turn a bride into a bridezilla. Is Betsy at fault or could there be something else that leads her down the aisle to murder?





    Review: Buzzkill is the 4th installment of the Pecan Bayou Series and like all good cozies, it is one that new readers to the series can jump in with without a problem.

    This book really captures that small town feel and adds a touch of southern charm. The murder doesn't happen until about half way through the book, so the story spends more time focused on Betsy and Leo and the preparations for their wedding.

    The hilarity that ensues while Betsy tries to get organized and then gets a wedding planner is truly priceless. It definitely made me wonder why anyone goes through all the hassle or in this case why they'd want to get married on Valentine's Day. (Oh yeah..so their hubby won't forget!) The whole wedding planning process is full of issues thanks to another couple getting married on the same day and one half of the wedding party is the mayor's son.

    Toss in the murder of the man Betsy planned to use for her wedding flowers and some other people suffering reactions from a calamine recipe she printed in her news column and Betsy has a very full plate.

    There's a great mix of personal issues and well as the mystery to fill this novel. Betsy's whole family dynamic is about to change. She has a lot of decisions to make, one has to do with where she will live with new hubby, Leo.

    As for the mystery, though that part is a bit slow in coming, Teresa tricks you into thinking the killer is one person, but when the crime is solved it is someone totally different.

    This is the kind of book that will appeal to lovers of mystery as well as those that like the small town stories that focus on family

    Teresa has created a wonderful setting for her series, and that will keep everyone coming back for more

    Rating: 5 flowers







    About Teresa Trent
    ttrentTeresa Trent lives in Texas and loves writing about small town life. She first got the idea to create Pecan Bayou after visiting the Texas Hill Country to view the millions of springtime flowers alongside the roads and highways. The town of Pecan Bayou does not exist in Texas, but there is a body of water in the state with the name. Pecan Bayou does exist in Teresa’s imagination and heart. Buzzkill is the fourth book in the Pecan Bayou series featuring all of the crazy characters who live in this cozy little town in Texas.
    Connect With Teresa
    Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/teresatrentmysterywriter
    Twitter- @ttrent_cozymys
    Goodreadshttp://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5219581.Teresa_Trent
    Buzzkill Excerpt
    “Okay now, let’s see.” Mr. Andre lowered his head, revealing the roots of his mousse-spiked, bleached hair. He wore a dark maroon suit with a matching jewel-toned silk shirt unbuttoned midway, showing sparse hair on his skinny chest. “Do you have a photographer?”
    “Yes,” I ventured.
    “No,” Aunt Maggie cut in. “She has some guy who shoots kiddie team pictures.”
    “Oh my.” Andre circled something on his clipboard. “No photographer.”
    “And you’ve gone for a wedding cake tasting?”
    “A tasting? I think I already know what vanilla and chocolate tastes like by now.”
    Andre shook his head as if I were a child. “No, my dear. You will be pleased to find out there are other flavors like white amaretto, champagne – girl, you can even get peanut butter if that’s what floats your boat. So I take it you haven’t had a cake-tasting session?”
    “You would be correct,” I replied.
    “I see.” He circled another line. “And your flowers?”
    “She’s using Lenny Stokes, and she’s already put a deposit down,” Aunt Maggie said.
    Andre grimaced.
    “I see. I’ll need his number and address so I can get in contact with him to put him on my approved vendors list.” He circled another line. “And what is the venue?”
    “We are going to have the ceremony at the community church.”
    Andre’s eyebrows raised as he nodded and smiled. I had finally done something right.
    “Do you have any kind of documentation on this?” he asked.
    “Not officially, no,” I said. “I have talked to the pastor about it, though and he says it’s open. We live in a small town, Andre. Documentation isn’t always required.”
    “Mr. Andre,” he corrected.
    “We just don’t have the same kinds of waiting lists like there are in the big city.”
    He clutched his hand to his chest. “Well, that’s a relief.”
    “And your invitations?”
    “We weren’t going to send those out until mid-January. We were afraid people would lose them. I have them ordered.” Mr. Andre’s eyes slanted toward me. “Well, they’re not exactly ordered, but I do have them picked out.”
    A pause hung in the air as Mr. Andre summoned up the strength to go on. “Are you sure we’re planning a wedding and not some kind of country barbecue where they cook a pig over a spit?” He clasped his hands together in front of him to emphasize his point. “You are in crisis mode, Madame Happy Hinter.”
    I gulped. So maybe, just maybe, I hadn’t nailed down enough of the details. I felt a tear escape onto my cheek. Andre, used to overwhelmed brides, reached over to a satin-covered tissue box and slapped it down on the table in front of me.
    “Dry your eyes, sweetie. We’ve got work to do,” he said. “You should know what a lucky girl you are. I just removed myself from a wedding on the same day. No one – I repeat, no one – does a wedding like Mr. Andre, but even I have my limits on troublesome brides and monster mothers. As fate would have it, I’m yours.”
    He walked over to a filing cabinet and pulled out a large white leather binder. Mr. Andre’s picture was on the front, and underneath that, “Weddings Exclusively by Mr. Andre” was embossed in gold lettering.
    “I don’t care what religion you are,” he said. “This, lovey, is your new bible. Carry this with you everywhere and fill it with notes, questions, business cards, quotes and everything – I mean everything – that has to do with your wedding. Is that clear?”
    “Yes, sir,” I said and saluted before I could stop myself. Aunt Maggie broke out into a laugh, but Mr. Andre turned quickly, fixing his eyes on her. She quickly stifled her reaction and stood up a little straighter, becoming just another draftee in the world of white satin.

    Purchase Link
    Amazon



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    Monday, August 19, 2013

    Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour: The Queen's Gambit




    Describe your research process for Queen's Gambit

    Most of my research is reading – letters and primary sources like state papers, historical biographies, and social history as well as Early Modern literature such as etiquette books and herbals, which were manuals on cures, and even recipe books. When my nose is not between the covers of a book I am often to be found wandering about old houses like Hampton Court and Penshurst Place waiting for the muse to alight. Museums are an invaluable research resource as objects really help bring a sense of reality to the past that cannot be found in texts. I find portraiture helpful too and I take courses, the most recent was a course on Tudor and Stuart clothing, which helped me understand the construction of the very complicated clothing of the period but also the way clothing held symbolic values.

    I make copious and detailed notes but once I begin writing I set them aside, relying on memory, because I don’t want my writing to lose its immediacy or be labored with factual detail. I then go back and fact-check later.

    What is the most interesting thing you learned in your research for Queen's Gambit?

    I learned so much that was fascinating but in particular the practices of execution in the period intrigued and horrified me. In 1532 Henry VIII brought in a new way to punish poisoners: boiling alive and we all know of the way traitors were hung, drawn and quartered; a barbaric practice. It took some people as long as two hours to die when burned at the stake and it was quite common practice for a bag of saltpeter (or gunpowder) to be quietly handed to the condemned soul by a well-wisher to speed up the process. For me these punishments highlight the violence of the era and the fear in which people lived.

    Why do you think Henry VIII's wives have such an appeal to readers?

    The mythology surrounding a man like Henry VIII and the way he treated his wives is intriguing in itself and the exploration of the lives of the women who lived in his shadow helps us to understand something of the cultural misogyny that colored all women’s lives at the time. But beyond that the mid-sixteenth century was a time in which some noble women, and certainly at least three of Henry’s wives, had access to the same education as their brothers. It was a time of great change and women were beginning to find their own individual voices. For example Katherine Parr published two books.

    Who is your favorite of Henry's wives?

    Of course I favor Katherine Parr who out-foxed her adversaries, published her own books, survived marriage to Henry VIII and was instrumental in educating the young Elizabeth Tudor. Having said that though all the wives’ stories are of interest to me.

    What do you find the most interesting about the Tudor period?

    The Reformation in the mid-sixteenth century was a time of great upheaval and I find those moments of change in history the most interesting. During the Tudor period we see the beginnings of our own culture in the rise of the merchant classes marking the end of the feudal system, the rise of painting and poetry culminating in the great Elizabethan playwrights whose work still resonates with us today. We also see the first women to reign in their own right in Mary and Elizabeth Tudor.

    What is next for you?

    My next novel, SISTERS OF TREASON, is out in the spring. Set about six years on from QUEEN’S GAMBIT it tells the story of the two younger sisters of Lady Jane Grey who were dangerously close to the throne and fell foul of Elizabeth I. I interweave their stories with that of miniaturist Levina Teerlinc who helps the girls negotiate the perils of the Tudor court. In the background we see the return to Catholicism, and all the horrors that entailed, with Mary I and the rise of Elizabeth into a supremely powerful yet flawed monarch.


    I am working on the third book in the trilogy now, which will be about Penelope Devereaux and her brother the Earl of Essex and will explore late Elizabethan court politics through their stories. Penelope is a fascinating character who refused to be limited by the expectations of the time and even lived openly with her lover whilst her husband was still alive. I will also explore the story of Aemelia Lanyer a poet who was part of Shakespeare’s circle and thought to have been the ‘dark lady’ of his sonnets.


     About QUEEN'S GAMBIT

    Publication Date: August 6, 2013
    Simon & Schuster
    Hardcover; 432p
    ISBN-10: 147670306X

    Widowed for the second time at age thirty-one Katherine Parr falls deeply for the dashing courtier Thomas Seymour and hopes at last to marry for love. However, obliged to return to court, she attracts the attentions of the ailing, egotistical, and dangerously powerful Henry VIII, who dispatches his love rival, Seymour, to the Continent. No one is in a position to refuse a royal proposal so, haunted by the fates of his previous wives—two executions, two annulments, one death in childbirth—Katherine must wed Henry and become his sixth queen.

    Katherine has to employ all her instincts to navigate the treachery of the court, drawing a tight circle of women around her, including her stepdaughter, Meg, traumatized by events from their past that are shrouded in secrecy, and their loyal servant Dot, who knows and sees more than she understands. With the Catholic faction on the rise once more, reformers being burned for heresy, and those close to the king vying for position, Katherine’s survival seems unlikely. Yet as she treads the razor’s edge of court intrigue, she never quite gives up on love.

    View the Official Book Trailer: http://videos.simonandschuster.com/video/2472116122001

    Praise for Queen’s Gambit

    "This is a superbly written novel... Fremantle is surely a major new voice in historical fiction and this book is the answer to the question about what Hilary Mantel fans should read while waiting for the final part of her trilogy." - The Bookseller

    “Wildly entertaining…lively, gamey, gripped with tension…one of the best historical novels I’ve read.” - Liz Smith

    "Elizabeth Fremantle's rich narrative breathes vibrant life into Henry VIII's most intriguing, intelligent and least known wife, Katherine Parr." - Anne Easter Smith author of A Rose for the Crown and Royal Mistress

    "Queen's Gambit is an earthy, vivid portrait of Tudor England seen through the eyes of Henry VIII's last wife Katherine Parr and her loyal maid servant. Elizabeth Fremantle has added a richly written and engrossing novel to the endlessly fascinating story of the Tudors." - Stephanie Cowell author of Claude and Camille: A Novel of Monet

    "Queen's Gambit is a lovely, sensual, subtle read, telling the story of Katherine Parr with both rich imagination and scrupulous attention to factual detail. After reading this historical novel, you truly comprehend what it would mean to be the sixth wife of a dangerous man wielding absolute power. Katherine is no selfless nurse here, nor religious fanatic, but a complex and compelling person who both men and women were drawn to. This is a very impressive novel." - Nancy Bilyeau author of The Crown

    "Beautifully written and finely observed, this suspenseful tale of Henry the Eighth's last wife expertly conveys all the dangerous intensity and passion of the Tudor court." - Rachel Hore, author of A Place of Secrets

    "With a painter’s eye for detail, Fremantle brings the dazzling, dangerous Tudor court to life and sheds an intriguing new light on Katherine Parr, one of history’s great survivors. An enthralling tale of power and passion, loyalty and betrayal." - Elizabeth Wilhide, author of Ashenden

    "Fremantle...navigates Tudor terrain with aplomb." - Publishers Weekly

    "Sins, secrets and guilt dominate the landscape of British writer Fremantle’s debut...[her] emphasis is on intrigue, character portraits and the texture of mid-16th-century life. Solid and sympathetic." - Kirkus Reviews

    “Intrigue, romance, and treachery abound in Fremantle’s debut novel . . . . This compulsively readable fictional biography of the ultimate survivor is infused with the type of meticulous attention to historical detailing that discerning fans of Alison Weir and Philippa Gregory have come to expect in the Tudor canon.” - Booklist


    Review: Katherine Parr is not one of Henry's Queens that you usually read about. Most of the attention gets focused on Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. 

    Elizabeth paints a picture of a woman who had already lost two husbands and was now facing the attentions of the King Henry, even though she doesn't particularly want them.

    It is hard to imagine someone not wanting to be Queen of England, but when faced with the past wives of Henry, it is easier to understand. Wives cast aside or killed...such were the ways of King Henry's court.

    This story brings Henry's last wife to light. She's survived marriage to him.  Elizabeth Fremantle shows us the strong, intelligent woman that Katherine Parr was.

    This book is an intimate portrait of a Queen that doesn't get her share of time in the spotlight. She's a footnote in books about Elizabeth because of the rumors about an affair with Thomas Seymour and the young princess.

    Definitely a must read for Tudor fans.

    Rating:  5 flowers

    About the Author

    Elizabeth Fremantle holds a first class degree in English and an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck College London. She has contributed as a fashion editor to various publications including Vogue, Elle and The Sunday Times. QUEEN'S GAMBIT is her debut novel and is the first in a Tudor trilogy. The second novel, SISTERS OF TREASON, will be released in 2014. She lives in London.

    For more about Elizabeth and her future projects see www.elizabethfremantle.com.  You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

     
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