Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Looking Back at 2014

This year I've pretty much failed at all my challenges. I've only read 164 books this year.

I know, how is that failure?

I had hoped to read 200.

But life really threw me a curve ball this year.

My father's illness made reading very difficult this year and when he passed away last month,my life fell apart.

I'm hoping 2015 will be better, but I'm going to take it easy. I'm not doing any challenges in this new year because I want to get back to reading to relax.

I'll update my yearly reads post for this year over the weekend, but I'm not over taxing myself. I want my blog to be for the love of books and not work.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours Book Review: Libby Morgan: Reunion

03_Libby Morgan Reunion CoverPublication Date: September 7, 2014
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Pages: 283

Series: American Heritage Quilt Series
Genre: YA/Historical Fiction

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Coming from a long line of seamstresses, Libby has yet to sew anything more than the rudimentary button or hem, but on a visit to Connecticut she learns more than just how to sew patchwork. Set in 1855 New England and London, this tender story, Libby Morgan: Reunion, follows tenacious Elizabeth (Libby) Jane Morgan through her thirteenth summer of new adventures at home and abroad. She is given a birthday gift of sewing tools and fabric, as well as old family letters to use as templates for making her first quilt. Her decision to first read the letters results in questions that only her Grandmother Morgan’s stories can answer—stories of true love, horrible loss and family connections to London nobles. Her keen eye and inquisitive nature draws her family into a mysterious investigation that tests their faith, challenges their ability to forgive, and results in a resurrection and reunion of lost hearts.

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Review: To say that I fell in love with this book would be an understatement. I've always loved stories about quilts and have read most of Jennifer Chiaverini's series, as well as Wanda Brunstetter's quilting series too.

This is a young adult historical set in 1855 and Libby is a wonderful character. I've not read many historical novels with the main character being so young, but from the start I loved Libby. She acts older then her thirteen years, but occasionally will slip up and remind us, she's still not quite a grown woman.

This is more than just Libby's story, it's a family drama too, as she uses letters to create her first quilt, and those letters make up the most intriguing part of the story. They deal with Libby's grandmother Morgan's early life. The story in those letters is heartbreaking.

I loved how the events of the past came full circle in the story, giving Mother Morgan closure to past hurts. I felt sad that her husband, Edward didn't live to learn the truth.

This is a Christian YA historical. Religion isn't front and center here, but there are times when I felt the character's faith was a little bit much considering some of the things that had happened to the characters, but it didn't do anything to detract from the story.

This was a wonderfully well written story, and one that will draw readers in, especially if they have a love for quilts and quilt making.

Rating: 5 flowers

02_Leah Zieber AuthorAbout the Author

Leah A. Zieber is a quilt historian and quilt maker from Temecula, California, specializing in American quilt history and reproduction quilts from the nineteenth century. Her quilts have been exhibited across the country in quilt shows, museums and historical societies and were most recently published in Stars: A Study of 19th Century Star Quilts. Leah has worked closely with Southern California collectors, cataloging, managing, and independently researching their textile collections. Her own collection of antique quilts and related textile items spans one hundred and eighty five years, and she shares her knowledge of American quilt history using her collection in lectures and workshops. Libby Morgan: Reunion is her debut novel and the first in her American Heritage Quilt Series.

For more information please visit Leah Zieber's website and blog. You can also connect with her on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Libby Morgan: Reunion Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 1
Review at WV Stitcher

Tuesday, December 2
Spotlight at I'd Rather Be Reading

Thursday, December 4
Interview & Giveaway at Reading Lark

Friday, December 5
Review at Book Nerd

Saturday, December 6
Review at Mel's Shelves

Monday, December 8
Review at Forever Ashley

Tuesday, December 9
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Spotlight at Boom Baby Reviews

Wednesday, December 10
Review at Luxury Reading
Spotlight & Giveaway at Mina's Bookshelf

Friday, December 12
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Monday, December 15
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, December 16
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews

Wednesday, December 17
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, December 18
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry

Friday, December 19
Guest Post at Book Babe

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Historical Fiction Virtual Tours Book Review: Whither Thou Goest

Whither-Thou-Goest_Anna-Belfrage600pxby949pxPublication Date: November 1, 2014
SilverWood Books
Formats: eBook, Paperback

Genre: Historical Fiction/Time-Slip
Series: The Graham Saga

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Whither Thou Goest is the seventh book in Anna Belfrage’s series featuring time traveller Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham.

In their rural home in the Colony of Maryland, Matthew and Alex Graham are still recovering from the awful events of the previous years when Luke Graham, Matthew’s estranged brother, asks them for a favour.

Alex has no problems whatsoever ignoring Luke’s sad plea for help. In her opinion Matthew’s brother is an evil excuse of a man who deserves whatever nasty stuff fate throws at him. Except, as Matthew points out, Luke is begging them to save his son – his misled Charlie, one of the Monmouth rebels – and can Charlie Graham be held responsible for his father’s ill deeds?

So off they go on yet another adventure, this time to the West Indies to find a young man neither of them knows but who faces imminent death on a sugar plantation, condemned to slavery for treason. The journey is hazardous and along the way Alex comes face to face with a most disturbing ghost from her previous life, a man she would much have preferred never to have met.

Time is running out for Charlie Graham, Matthew is haunted by reawakened memories of his days as an indentured servant, and then there’s the eerie Mr Brown, Charlie’s new owner, who will do anything to keep his secrets safe, anything at all.

Will Matthew deliver his nephew from imminent death? And will they ever make it back home?

Graham Saga Titles

Book One: A Rip in the Veil
Book Two: Like Chaff in the Wind
Book Three: The Prodigal Son
Book Four: A Newfound Land
Book Five: Serpents in the Garden
Book Six: Revenge & Retribution
Book Seven: Whither Thou Goest
Book Eight: To Catch a Falling Star (March 2015)

Review: First let me say, I can't believe there's only one more book left in the Graham saga. I highly recommend this series, especially if you are a fan of the Outlander series.

Like I said, these books are part of a saga, so you really should read them in order, otherwise you will be a bit lost starting out. I know this because I jumped in at book five. However, you can read them as a stand alone book, but it may take you a bit to get used to what was going on.

Anna Belfrage really knows how to take her readers back in time. I love the settings of these novels and this one is no different. It is full of adventure and action and romance and a lot of drama.

This book reads like a historical soap opera. The kind you can't help but get involved in. I love following Alex and Matthew.

 I highly recommend this book as well as all the others in this series!

Rating: 5 flowers

Anna BelfrageAbout the Author

I was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result I’m multilingual and most of my reading is historical – both non-fiction and fiction.

I was always going to be a writer – or a historian, preferably both. Instead I ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for my most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career I raised my four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive … Nowadays I spend most of my spare time at my writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and I slip away into my imaginary world, with my imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in my life pops his head in to ensure I’m still there. I like that – just as I like how he makes me laugh so often I’ll probably live to well over a hundred.

I was always going to be a writer. Now I am – I have achieved my dream.

For more information, please visit Anna Belfrage’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Whither Thou Goest Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, December 2
Review at Broken Teepee
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Wednesday, December 3
Review at Just One More Chapter

Thursday, December 4
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Friday, December 5
Guest Post at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Monday, December 8
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Guest Post at What Is That Book About

Tuesday, December 9
Review at Book Nerd

Wednesday, December 10
Review at CelticLady's Reviews

Thursday, December 11
Review at Griperang's Bookmarks
Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews

Friday, December 12
Review at Dianne Ascroft's Blog

Monday, December 15
Review at Kincavel Korner
Review at Beth's Book Nook Blog

Tuesday, December 16
Review at Layered Pages
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, December 17
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Thursday, December 18
Interview at Flashlight Commentary

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Book Review: Mistletoe Wedding

Mistletoe Wedding
by Melissa McClone

Mistletoe Wedding

Event planner at the Bar V5 Dude Ranch, Meg Redstone is dreaming of a white Christmas with twinkling lights, sparkly decorations and strategically placed mistletoe. She loves making dreams come true for others, whether planning a holiday wedding or giving her young daughter the best Christmas ever.

Ranch foreman Tyler Murphy loves the holidays, but his newest employee has taken over his barn with her over-the-top decorations. He admires Meg’s desire to give her daughter the perfect Christmas while planning a winter wonderland wedding, but he wants to show her that a Montana Christmas is more than glitter and lights.

After raising his younger sister, an instant family is not on Ty's Christmas wish list. But he finds himself falling hard for the single mom and her little girl. Meg, however, is not interested in a romance with a cowboy like Ty, or any man. Getting her under the mistletoe is going to take a Christmas miracle . . . or a little help from Santa.


Buy links:

Mistletoe Magic


Mistletoe Magic is FREE on Smashwords:

Kiss Me, Cowboy

Mistletoe Wedding

Review: I'm always a sucker for holiday romances, and this was such a sweet story. Meg and Ty both fight their attraction for different reasons, but that attraction is definitely there. Then there's Meg's daughter, Brooklyn. She's absolutely adorable, and she steals all the scenes that she's in. At times she sounds much older than her 6 years, but she is precious.

I love the ranch setting especially for a holiday romance. Melissa really brings the setting to life. You can picture all the lights on the barns as you read. Any time I read a book like this, I want to be there and this story wasn't any different. Plus I probably could help Meg learn how to cook. Why are so many heroines so inept in the kitchen these days?

Stories like this always make me wish they were a little bit longer. I would have really would have liked to know more about Meg's first husband and how he came to be such a jerk about children and even more so I would have liked to sort out what really happened with Brooklyn at the end of the story.

This was a perfect Christmas story. It was festive, fun and made me long for more.

Rating: 5 flowers

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Book Review: Emma Blooms At Last

Emma Blooms at Last
by Naomi King


Romance is in the air during the fall wedding season in the Amish community of Cedar Creek. But while one loving couple prepares to tie the knot, Amanda and Wyman Brubaker’s large family faces a threat from outside their happy circle…and must learn to pull together.

Recently wed Amanda and Wyman Brubaker are thrilled that their children from previous marriages have blended together to form a strong family. But when the construction of Wyman’s new grain elevator is delayed, making the project more expensive than anticipated, Amanda’s determination to rally the kids into taking on work to improve the family’s finances comes into conflict with Wyman’s sense of responsibility as head of the household….

Meanwhile, as James Graber and Abby Lambright prepare for their long-awaited nuptials, folks gather from far and wide. Amanda’s nephew Jerome has long been smitten with James’s sister Emma and wants to seize this chance to woo her. But Emma’s been burned once and is twice shy of trusting the fun-loving, never-serious Jerome. As Emma and Jerome struggle to understand each other, and find the courage to make a leap of faith, the Brubakers face a bigger challenge than they first anticipated and begin to discover just what it means to fight…the Amish way.

 Review: First, let me say I love Amish fiction and Amish romance even more. This is the second book in the One Big Happy Family series. It is part of a series, but not to worry, this book can be read as a stand alone novel.

I have to say that Naomi is now one of my favorite writers in this genre. She brings the many characters to life in such a way that you feel you are watching through the window.

Its a novel of family, big family, and the hardships they face as well as their faith.  Amanda and Wyatt face some financial hardships, while Emma's family are dealing with a heartbreaking loss, while she is discovering love for the first time.

I was really drawn to the characters, all of them! I especially loved Emma's father Merle. He was a sweetie and he made me think of my own father quite a bit.

Jerome was lovable too and his courtship with Emma was sweet and heartwarming. (And not at all easy)

Through the two families, you see growth through change. Jerome and Emma brought out good things in each other and Amanda and Wyatt's family proved that a family that can work together can pull through just about anything.

This is the type of book that you curl up with on a lazy afternoon and you don't move until the last page is turned.

Rating: 5 flowers

x posted from The Certifiable Wenches blog

Monday, December 8, 2014

Great Escapes Book Tours Book Review: Spell Booked

Spell Booked
(Retired Witches Mysteries)

New Cozy Series
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley (December 2, 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-0425268254

Once upon a time in Wilmington, North Carolina, three witches ran a curio shop named Smuggler’s Arcane. But as the years passed, their magical powers started to fade—leaving them no choice but to conjure up a retirement package…  
Before they could blink their eyes or twitch their noses, Molly, Elsie, and Olivia somehow became eligible for AARP. But they can’t fly off to Boca Raton just yet. First they must give up their magic, recruit and train three new witches, and pass on their cherished spellbook.
They’ve barely begun to consider potential practitioners when Olivia winds up dead and their spellbook is stolen. To honor their friend and reclaim their spells, Molly and Elsie are about to go wand-to-wand with a dangerous young witch more powerful than the trio was in their prime. And this time they’re going to need more than magic up their sleeves…
Review: When it comes to cozy mysteries, you can never go wrong with Joyce and Jim Lavene. I adore their books and I was so excited to be part of the tour for the first book in their new series.

Witchy mysteries are always such fun and Spell Booked is all that and more. The three witches Molly, Elsie and Olivia find their powers waning, and they are hoping to retire, but not until they find new recruits.

But before they can even contemplate packing their bags one of their own ends up murdered and their spell book is stolen and they will need more than a velvet cloak and silver coin to get things put to rights.

This is probably my favorite books, by Joyce and Jim. Their books are always unique, but this series is a cut above the rest. I'm already looking forward to the next book!

Rating: 5 flowers

joyce and jim
About The Authors
Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family.
Author Links

Cover Reveal: Winter Kiss

Title: Winter Kiss
A Holiday Romance Collection
S.L. Dearing | Magen McMinimy | Rene Folsom
Release Date: December 15th, 2014
Cover Design by Phycel Design

When the chill of winter drives you under the covers, snuggle up with this romantic collection of three steamy holiday inspired stories about hope, love and passion.
One Wish: A North American Pack & Half-Blood Princess Christmas by Magen McMinimy
In a forgotten mining town, deep in the Bitterroot Valley, the Montana faction of the North American Pack of werewolves prepares for the holidays. When an innocent wish and a powerful spell is cast, vampires, witches, and weres are forced together for one unforgettable night, causing everyone involved to reevaluate what is truly important and what is needed to make them whole.
The Wager: A Game Changer Prequel by Rene Folsom
You'd think the masks would come off once the ball drops at the New Year’s masquerade, but tossing caution to the wind, Liam and Maci decide to have a bit of fun by continuing to keep their faces hidden from each other during a night full of games and passion.
Get to know these two game-playing lovers before they even know each other in The Wager, a prequel to the new novel in the Playing Games series, Game Changer.
The Gift by S.L. Dearing
It’s been eight months since Kate and Matt met, fell head over heels, and moved in together. Now that the holidays are upon them, can they combine their two celebrations and families into one, or will an unexpected problem tear them apart?
From the imaginations of the authors behind Rising Indies United come stories of romance that are bound to fill you with holiday spirit.
**This collection is intended for readers 18 and older.**
Stalk the Authors of Winter Kiss
Add Winter Kiss to your TBR on Goodreads!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Historical Fiction Book Tours Book Review: The Twelfth Night Wager

01_The Twelfth Night Wager Cover
Author: Regan Walker
Title: The Twelfth Night Wager
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
eBook; 134 pages
ISBN: 978-1-938876-83-7
Publish Date:
Book Blub: 

It was a dull day at White’s, the day he agreed to the wager: seduce bed and walk away from the lovely Lady Leisterfield, all by Twelfth Night. This holiday season, Christopher St. Ives, Viscount Eustace, planned to give himself a gift.


She was too proper by half—or so was the accusation of her friends, which was why her father had to find her a husband. But Lord Leisterfield was now gone a year, and Grace was at last shedding the drab colors of mourning. The house felt empty, more so during the coming Christmastide, and so tonight her coming out would begin with a scandalous piece of theater. The play would attract rogues, or so promised her friend the dowager countess. It would indeed. The night would bring about the greatest danger—and the greatest happiness—that Grace had ever known.

Buy the eBook


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Review: I love holiday regency romances. When I was a young girl, I used to get the Harlequin Historical Christmas anthology collections and the regency stories were always my favorite. The Twelfth Night Wager takes me back to those books.

Grace and Christopher's relationship reminds me a bit of Dangerous Liaisons, as Christopher was involved with a wager that involved seducing the young virtuous widow.

There's more to this novella than just the wager. Grace is also being blackmailed, or rather, her late husband was, and now she is becoming a victim too.    

For a novella, I found all the characters to be well developed, though I have to admit I wanted to know more about them, especially Christopher. I would have loved to have been able to see the events from his past that turned him into the Redheaded Rake.

The heat level is minimal, but I don't like a lot of heat in regency romance.

This was a wonderful short holiday read, perfect for a cozy winter afternoon.

Rating: 5 flowers

Friday, December 5, 2014

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour Author Interview: Regan Walker

Today I have a quick holiday inspired interview with author Regan Walker. Stop back later, when I review The Twelfth Night Wager

What is your favorite thing about Christmas?

I like that it's focused on faith and family. That's one of the reasons I love writing stories set in the past. In Regency England, one's faith was built into the celebration. And it was a simpler time. Unlike today where Christmas shopping takes center stage, in the early 19th century, it might only be a child that would receive a small toy. The emphasis was on getting together, having a wonderful meal, singing carols and enjoying the time with family. And those are my favorite things too.

What is your favorite Christmas memory?

When my son was little and just old enough to understand what we were celebrating, it was wonderful to read him the Christmas story and tell him about the greatest gift of all, God's gift to the world, and see the smile on his little face.

What is the most challenging thing about writing a holiday romance?
For me it's not much different than the challenge of incorporating real history into my historical romances...I must weave in the traditions of the season as one more thread in the love story never forgetting the historical setting. To keep my head in the time frame and the season, I write with Christmas carols playing in the background. In the case of both The Twelfth Night Wager and The Holly & The Thistle, it was the Clare College Choir. You can hear the choir's Christmas music on You Tube here:

Do you have a favorite holiday novel?
 I'm not sure I have a favorite holiday novel. I like Christmas romances that have the same meaty plots that other historical romances have, but they are hard to find. One I did like was a medieval by Michele Sinclair, The Christmas Knight. I thought Sinclair did a great job of weaving in the Christmas season's traditions that were being celebrated in the 12th century while drawing us into a true love between two people who have much to give.I also like Johanna Lindsey's The Present. It's a good one, especially for fans of her Malory series.

What is next for you?

I am currently writing the prequel to my Agents of the Crown trilogy, To Tame the Wind to be released in 2015. Think of a blond Errol Flynn capturing that which his enemy holds most dear. Claire Donet is the convent-raised daughter of a French pirate. Simon Powell is an English privateer who will hold her for ransom to regain his men and his ship. The waters between France and England will roil as Claire's father and her captor clash in the last year of the American Revolution and spies lurk in Paris. It's set in London and Paris and the waters of the English Channel in 1782. When I finish that, I'm going to write Rogue Knight, the second in my Medieval Warriors series. I just published book 1 in October, The Red Wolf's Prize, and my readers seemed to love it.


They rode into Hyde Park and soon were on the broad path of Rotten Row, the King’s Road. Ahead of them, the path was clear and the trees on either side shielded them from view. The bays picked up speed in response to Eustace’s commands. Grace observed how adroitly he handled the reins, expending little effort in controlling the powerful horses.
“You are very good at this. And the bays are performing wonderfully to your hand.”
He turned to look at her for only a moment. “Do you know something about horses, my lady?”
“A little. Well, actually, I should say I love to ride. When he was alive, my father Sir Richard kept a good stable at our estate in Oxfordshire. Young David, the new Lord Leisterfield, or Leister, as his school chums call him, loves to visit Ashdown.”
“Do I detect a fondness for the lad in your voice?”
“You might,” she admitted. “Though he is my stepson, I care deeply for him and he has honored me with his affection. He’s such a splendid young man, and with so much promise.” A promise Grace wanted to see fulfilled untainted by scandal. For a moment she was tempted to confide in the man sitting beside her. He might have a thought as to what she could do about Lord Pickard. But her spirit urged caution. She did not know Eustace well and was reluctant to bring them closer by such a confession when he had in mind to seduce her.
Eustace began to drive the horses like the wind, racing down the path as if straining to gain a lead on some unseen competitor. He was definitely in his element. The horses, as if sensing a master, responded to his touch. Grace watched his gloved hands on the reins, powerfully gripping the leather, and there was something very masculine about them so that she shivered at the thought of them touching her.
As Eustace let the pair have their heads, she braced herself with one hand on the side of the carriage and one on the seat beside her to keep from being jostled. He was laughing, and Grace found herself laughing with him. This was exhilarating and so unlike her life in the last few years. She felt more alive being with this dangerous man and his fast ways; she was once again the young girl she had been racing over the hills of Oxfordshire with her long hair streaming out behind her. What had happened to that girl?
After some time, he slowed the horses and guided the phaeton to the side of the path. Holding the reins in one hand, he turned to face her. His eyes seemed to glow in the dim light. “I never would have thought the serene Lady Leisterfield would be so stimulated by a ride in the park. You are flushed and your eyes bright. I do think you enjoyed our dash through the Row.”
“Yes, I quite liked it,” she said, breathless. “Though you must admit, the ride was more like a race.”
He looked at her lips and then her neck. “I can see your pulse jumping. Perhaps you like to race as much as I do.”
Grace wondered if he was still speaking of horses or something else. Her heart sped as he leaned toward her and brushed his lips across hers. After only a moment, she pulled back.
“Too soon?” he asked.
“That question implies such is inevitable, my lord. I can assure you it is not.”

Please join Regan Walker as she tours the blogosphere with HF Virtual Book Tours for The Twelfth Night Wager, from November 25-December 6, and enter to win a Twelve Days of Christmas Bracelet!

01_The Twelfth Night Wager CoverBoroughs Publishing Group
eBook; 134 pages
ISBN: 978-1-938876-83-7

Add to GR Button


It was a dull day at White’s, the day he agreed to the wager: seduce bed and walk away from the lovely Lady Leisterfield, all by Twelfth Night. This holiday season, Christopher St. Ives, Viscount Eustace, planned to give himself a gift.


She was too proper by half—or so was the accusation of her friends, which was why her father had to find her a husband. But Lord Leisterfield was now gone a year, and Grace was at last shedding the drab colors of mourning. The house felt empty, more so during the coming Christmastide, and so tonight her coming out would begin with a scandalous piece of theater. The play would attract rogues, or so promised her friend the dowager countess. It would indeed. The night would bring about the greatest danger—and the greatest happiness—that Grace had ever known.

Buy the eBook


03_Regan Walker About the Author

Bestselling author Regan Walker loved to write stories as a child, particularly those about adventure-loving girls, but by the time she got to college more serious pursuits took priority. One of her professors encouraged her to pursue the profession of law, which she did. Years of serving clients in private practice and several stints in high levels of government gave her a love of international travel and a feel for the demands of the “Crown” on its subjects. Hence her romance novels often involve a demanding sovereign who taps his subjects for “special assignments.” And in each of her novels, there is always real history and real historic figures. Regan lives in San Diego with her golden retriever, Link, whom she says inspires her every day to relax and smell the roses. For more information please visit Regan Walker’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

The Twelfth Night Wager Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, November 25
Review at Historical Romance Lover

Friday, November 28
Guest Post at Historical Romance Lover

Monday, December 1
Spotlight at Let Them Read Books
Guest Post at The Christmas Spirit

Tuesday, December 2
Review at Good Friends, Good Books, and a Sleepy Conscience
Review & Giveaway at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Wednesday, December 3
Review & Giveaway at The Christmas Spirit

Thursday, December 4
Guest Post at SOS Aloha

Friday, December 5
Review & Interview at A Chick Who Reads

Saturday, December 6
Guest Post at Romantic Historical Lovers


To enter to win a Twelve Days of Christmas Charm Bracelet, please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below.


– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on December 6th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents of the US only.
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– Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours Book Review: Die I Will Not

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Die I Will NotPublication Date: November 4, 2014
Poisoned Pen Press
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback

Series: John Chase Mystery Series
Genre: Historical Mystery/Regency

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Unhappy wife and young mother Penelope Wolfe fears scandal for her family and worse. A Tory newspaper editor has been stabbed while writing a reply to the latest round of letters penned by a firebrand calling himself Collatinus. Twenty years before, her father, the radical Eustace Sandford, wrote as Collatinus before he fled London just ahead of accusations of treason and murder. A mysterious beauty closely connected to Sandford and known only as N.D. had been brutally slain, her killer never punished. The seditious new Collatinus letters that attack the Prince Regent in the press also seek to avenge N.D.’s death and unmask her murderer. What did the journalist know that provoked his death?

Her artist husband Jeremy is no reliable ally, so Penelope turns anew to lawyer Edward Buckler and Bow Street Runner John Chase. As she battles public notoriety, Buckler and Chase put their careers at risk to stand behind her while pursuing various lines of inquiry aimed at N.D.’s murderer, a missing memoir, Royal scandal, and the dead editor’s missing wife. As they navigate the dark underbelly of Regency London among a cast driven by dirty politics and dark passions, as well as by decency and a desire for justice, past secrets and present criminals are exposed, upending Penelope’s life and the lives of others.

John Chase Mystery Series

Book One: The Rose in the Wheel
Book Two: Blood for Blood
Book Three: Die I Will Not

Buy the Book

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository


I absolutely love historical mysteries. Die I Will Not is book 3 in the John Chase mystery series. Don't worry, you don't need to read the other two books to jump into this one.

I loved Penelope. She was really the star of this novel.

I was drawn to the book when I read that the characters were navigating the dark underbelly of London. I love darker mysteries, and this one fits the bill. It definitely isn't a cozy. There's a murder, yes, but there's also political intrigue.

Definitely worth the read, if you like the regency setting as Ms Rizzolo puts a lot of attention to the details of the time period.

Rating: 4 flowers

SK RizzoloAbout the Author

S.K. Rizzolo is a longtime Anglophile and history enthusiast. Set in Regency England, The Rose in the Wheel and Blood for Blood are the first two novels in her series about a Bow Street Runner, an unconventional lady, and a melancholic barrister. An English teacher, Rizzolo has earned an M.A. in literature and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.

For more information please visit S.K. Rizzolo's website. You can also find her on Facebook and Goodreads.

Die I Will Not Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 17
Review at Back Porchervations

Tuesday, November 18
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, November 19
Interview at Back Porchervations
Spotlight at Flashlight Commentary

Thursday, November 20
Interview with Curling Up With a Good Book

Friday, November 21
Review at Book Nerd

Monday, November 24
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Tuesday, November 25
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Wednesday, November 26
Review at Buried Under Books
Review at Book Babe (The Rose in the Wheel)
Spotlight at Layered Pages

Friday, November 28
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter

Monday, December 1
Review at WTF Are You Reading?

Tuesday, December 2
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection

Wednesday, December 3
Interview at Caroline Wilson Writes

Thursday, December 4
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Friday, December 5
Review at The True Book Addict

Monday, December 8
Review at CelticLady's Reviews

Tuesday, December 9
Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews
Spotlight at Book Babe

Wednesday, December 10
Review at The Lit Bitch
Review at Griperang's Bookmarks

Thursday, December 11
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Friday, December 12
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Author Interview: Freda Lightfoot

I got the chance to interview author Freda Lightfoot for this tour. Stop back later today for my review of The Amber Keeper.

1.Who is your favorite author?

A difficult question to answer as it changes constantly. My passion for historicals was born through reading the entire collection of Anya Seton, Norah Lofts, Jean Plaidy and Mary Stewart, which are still on my shelves along with Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen. Currently I’m enjoying Susan Holloway Scott, Lucinda Riley and Rachel Hore. But next month it could be a different selection. My all time favourite is Daphne du Maurier for the beauty of her prose and strength of her characters.

2.When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

As a child I would tell stories to my friends, write little plays to perform for them, and spent endless happy hours writing stories in little red exercise books when really I should have been doing Math homework. They were alarmingly similar to whatever I’d recently read: Enid Blyton mysteries, Chalet School, and my all time favorite: The Secret Garden. I always wanted to be a writer but this was considered a rather exotic ambition and I needed a ‘proper job’, so I qualified as a teacher and it wasn’t until I was bored with the nappy routine that I took writing up as a hobby. I wrote short stories and articles in any spare moment I could find. Often while the TV was on, or while I was cooking. (Which can tend to mess up dinner somewhat). But after I opened a book shop writing again fell by the wayside as I was too busy running a business and bringing up my kids. After ten years of this I took a break and moved out onto the remote Lakeland fells. Here I became thoroughly involved in rural life, keeping sheep and hens, various orphaned cats and dogs, built drystone walls, planted a small wood and even learned how to make jam. It certainly wasn’t the quiet life I’d anticipated. But fortunately the weather was so bad I was able to stay indoors a good deal and write, finally selling over forty short stories and articles. Then after three rejections I sold a historical romance to Mills & Boon which gave me an enormous boost. I wrote five of those before moving on to write family sagas and women’s fiction.

3. If you could have dinner with any famous person, who would it be and what would you be eating?

Alan Bennett. I loved his Talking Heads on TV, and saw Forty Years On and Lady in the Van on stage in London, among other plays he’s written. He is a wonderful playwright with a great sense of humor. As he lives in Yorkshire we’d go to Betty’s where the waitresses dress in Victorian style costume with pretty white aprons, and we’d have afternoon tea with delicious cakes and scones served on a three tier cake tray.

4.What is your favorite way of relaxing?

I love to garden, go for long walks and do zumba in a hopeless effort to keep fit, but it’s fun dancing to music. My husband and I also love to travel and cruise, now we’ve reached that certain age. Holidays for me are a reward for all my hard work, as I have no intention of retiring. Of an evening I like to watch a good drama on TV, and read, read, read. There is never enough time in my day for all I want to read, which means I do tend read long into the night.

5.What is your favorite tv show?

Downton Abbey. I’ve also just enjoyed reading the true story of the Real Downton Abbey, or rather  Highclere Castle where the drama is set. It tells the story of Lady Catherine, the Earl of Carnarvon and his many mistresses. A fascinating tale written by the current Countess of Carnarvon.

The Amber Keeper

My snow-boots were worn through so that I walked on the ice that coated the rough mountain path, the soles of my feet numb with cold. Gasps of breath formed frozen crystals on those parts of my nose and cheeks not protected by scarf and fur hat. I had long since lost my small pony, the poor animal having bolted home in terror when the guns started, although whether she’d ever arrived is doubtful.

Home, if that is what you can call the house in which I had resided for so many years, no longer existed. It was but a shell of its former glory. I remembered how the darkness of the night seemed to press in upon me, almost as if I were back within those prison walls. I had closed my mind to the horrors I’d left behind, attempted to set aside my fears about those loved ones dear to my heart who had vanished from my life. Instead I’d fixed my weary gaze on the heels of my guide trudging ahead of me, knowing that if I was to survive, I must stay focused. This was my last chance to get out of Russia.

We walked for days, through ice, snow and blizzard, sustaining ourselves with hunks of none too clean stale bread, and with nothing to wet our palates but sucking on icicles. When, hours later, we staggered into a cave my knees gave way and I fell to the ground, weak with gratitude. I remember feeling a huge relief that at least I could rest for a while, thankful to be out of the bitter wind. The last two nights - or was it three -we’d slept in the open, not even daring to light a fire in case the Bolsheviks should spot it and come searching. Curling myself thankfully into a corner, rubbing my hands and feet in an effort to stave off frost-bite, I pulled up my collar, tucked my knapsack beside me and told myself firmly that I must not fall asleep. I was afraid I might never wake again, due to the fierce cold.

But despite my best efforts I must have fallen asleep instantly out of sheer exhaustion, for I knew nothing more till I was woken by a shaft of daylight filtering into the cave at dawn, and some strange sound that had alerted me. I sat up abruptly, looking around for my guide. He was nowhere to be seen. The man to whom I’d paid an exorbitant sum, every last kopek I possessed, had deserted me. I was quite alone. But as the sound of horses’ hooves clattering over rocks penetrated my befuddled brain, I realized I was about to experience some unwelcome company.
Set against the backdrop of revolutionary Russia, The Amber Keeper is a sweeping tale of jealousy and revenge, reconciliation and forgiveness.

English Lake District, 1960s: A young Abbie Myers returns home after learning of her mother’s death. Estranged from her turbulent family for many years, Abbie is heartbroken to hear that they blame her for the tragedy.

Determined to uncover her mother’s past, Abbie approaches her beloved grandmother, Millie, in search of answers. As the old woman recounts her own past, Abbie is transported back to the grandeur of the Russian Empire in 1911 with tales of her grandmother’s life as a governess and the revolution that exploded around her.

As Abbie struggles to reconcile with her family, and to support herself and her child, she realizes that those long-ago events created aftershocks that threaten to upset the fragile peace she longs to create.

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Author Biog:
Born in Lancashire, Freda Lightfoot has been a teacher and a bookseller, and in a mad moment even tried her hand at the 'good life'. Inspired by this tough life on the fells, memories of her Lancashire childhood, and her passion for history, she has published forty family sagas and historical novels including Daisy’s Secret and Watch for the Talleyman. Freda has lived in the Lake District and Cornwall, but now spends her winters in Spain and the rainy summers in the UK.

For more information about Freda, visit her website:

Twitter: @fredalightfoot


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