Sunday, March 30, 2014

Meeting A Favorite Author

I was so excited to be able to head  out to the Barnes and Noble @ South Hills Village today. I got to meet one of my favorite indie authors, Heather Wardell.

We had great fun, chatting about books and music and the time flew by so quickly!

This was the first time I was ever able to meet up with an author that I loved. Seriously, if you haven't read anything Heather's written, you should!

Check out her books on Goodreads!

It was definitely a wonderful day.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Book Review: Her Valentine Fantasy

Author: Nancy Warren
Title: Her Valentine Fantasy
Publisher: Harlequin Cosmo Red-Hot-Reads
Publish Date: Jan 14, 2014
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb: 
Tonight's sinful dessert special…Valentine's Fantasy

The tasty dish from Benedict restaurant is everything Jessica Lafayette could want… or crave. And it's not the dessert in front of her—it's her waiter. A guy with dark, intense eyes that suggest he wants to slowly lick whipped cream off her skin. A smile so wicked it makes her insides lava-cake gooey. And a too-hot-to-handle body that was meant to be tasted…

Yup, Sam The Waiter is better than chocolate.

But what Jessica doesn't know is that her one-night-waiter is actually Sam Benedict, Upscale Restaurateur. And that her little lie about being from out of town is going to turn into a Big Deal. Now Jessica is in deep hot chocolate… because her Valentine Fantasy is starting to look a lot like a red-hot reality!


Review:  This story is 90 pages of hot fun! Its a super quick read for Valentine's Day. (Yup, I'm a little late on this one)

Nancy Warren is one of my favorite writers for the Blaze line, so I was excited to see what one of this short novellas would be like and I wasn't disappointed.

Nancy treated us to a hot holiday read that was full of great sex and a touch of romance, topped off with a pleasant HEA that doesn't lead Jessica and Sam straight down the aisle. (Which fits the Cosmo theme better than love and marriage)

Jessica really had it bad, trying to have hot sex before Valentine's Day and getting the worst possible date ever and Sam was fabulous. I loved that they kept themselves mostly anonymous. It made their relationship hotter. I only wish, Sam really was what he appeared to be.

I secretly think it would be fabulous if a hero weren't always gorgeous and wealthy. (Cos we all know they aren't out there!)

I loved how Jessica and Sam got together, and it was made better knowing it was rooted in something that actually happened to Nancy! Oh and the dessert at Benedict made me so hungry!

Considering this was a novella, I found all the characters to be well developed and it was easy to connect with our hero and heroine.

A fantastic quick read!

Rating:  5 flowers




Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Book Blast: Dyed and Gone


Whether you’re looking for a romance that makes you laugh, makes you ‘walk the plank’, keeps you guessing, or stars your favorite paranormal, look no further. Select books have the single-title stories you crave, and the longer length you need to really get ‘lost’ in a great book. To find out more about their titles, chat with authors, participate in special events, and to find out what books are coming next, visit the Entangled website, follow them on Twitter, and like their Facebook page.


Today I'm happy to be featuring Select's March release:



Dyed and Gone by Beth Yarnell

Special $0.99 Introductory Price on the ebook version!

Hairstylist Azalea March is looking forward to a wild weekend in Las Vegas with her friends. Oh, sure, they’re supposed to be there on business, attending the biggest hair show on the west coast, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have a little fun. But fun quickly turns to drama. On the first morning of the show, Dhane, the biggest celeb of the hair-styling world, is found dead. As it urns out Azalea’s friend, Vivian, not only knew Dhane, but the tale she weaves of how they met is faker than a showgirl’s uh… assets. When Vivian confesses to the murder and is arrested, Azalea knows there’s no way she could have done it and suspects Vivian may be trying to protect someone. But who?

Azalea now has to convince Alex, the sexy detective from her past, to help her prove Vivian’s innocence and comb through clues more twisted than a spiral perm. But the truth is stranger than anything found on the Las Vegas Strip, and proving Vivian’s innocence turns out to be more difficult than transforming a brunette into a blonde.











Saturday, March 22, 2014

Book Review: The New Year's Quilt

Author: Jennifer Chiaverini
Title: The New Year's Quilt
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publish Date: Nov 13, 2007
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: 
As each holiday season approaches, some revel in welcoming the New Year ahead; others quietly mourn the passing of time gone by. "We can't hold on to the past," says Master Quilter Sylvia Compson, "but we can keep the best part of 'Auld Lang Syne' in our hearts and in our memories, and we can look forward to the future with hope and resolve." As Sylvia, a late-in-life newlywed, has discovered, love can enter our lives at any age. Yet before she can truly delight in her present happiness, she must face the sorrow hidden in her past -- her own role in the tragic circumstances that left her estranged from her sister, Claudia, until it was too late to make amends. Vowing not to repeat the mistake with her new daughter-in-law, Amy, who opposed Sylvia's marriage to her father, Andrew, Sylvia must convince Amy that family is more precious than pride. As Sylvia takes up a quilt for the season, begun and abandoned over six years, she recalls the New Year's Eve festivities of her youth at Elm Creek Manor as a member of the Bergstrom family. She titles the quilt "New Year's Reflections," after her belief that year-end reflections precede resolutions. The quilt blocks she chooses commemorate the wisdom that no one can ever be truly alone if she keeps the memory of those she loved and those who loved her alive in her heart. The New Year's Quilt is a novel to enjoy today and to treasure anew each holiday season.

Review: I have to admit, I'm addicted to this series. I absolutely love visiting with Sylvia and looking back on her life.

Sylvia has married again, late in life, and her new husband's family doesn't approve of the match. At first, I thought this story was going to revolve around Andrew's family, particularly the daughter that isn't all for the match, but it wasn't. That conflict really only happened in the last 30 pages.

What this story really chronicled were the years after the death of Sylvia's first husband, as well as parts of her life when she was a girl.

In this book, we learned a bit more about Sylvia's mother, who died when she was a young girl. I really love the scenes from Sylvia's past in these books. She is such a remarkable character, wonderful and full of flaws, just like everyone. She's stubborn but sweet, full of love and regrets.

As we get to know Sylvia, we also get to know her sister Claudia. With each book, I long for Jennifer to write a book from Claudia's point of view. I'd love to learn her side of the story.

Like all the other Elm Creek novels, this book is a bit fluffy, but it is good fluff, the kind of fluff that makes you feel good.

I highly recommend this series to anyone that likes family sagas and heartwarming stories.

Rating: 5 flowers


Friday, March 21, 2014

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour Book Review: The Debt of Tamar



Tour Hashtag: #DebtofTamarVirtualTour

Publication Date: February 4, 2013
Devon House Press
Paperback; 332p
ISBN-10: 061558361X During the second half of the 16th century, a wealthy widow by the name of Doña Antonia Nissim is arrested and charged with being a secret Jew. The punishment? Death by burning. Enter Suleiman the Magnificent, an Ottoman “Schindler,” and the most celebrated sultan in all of Turkish history. With the help of the Sultan, the widow and her children manage their escape to Istanbul. Life is seemingly idyllic for the family in their new home, that is, until the Sultan’s son meets and falls in love with Tamar, Doña Antonia’s beautiful and free-spirited granddaughter. A quiet love affair ensues until one day, the girl vanishes.
Over four centuries later, thirty-two year old Selim Osman, a playboy prince with a thriving real estate empire, is suddenly diagnosed with a life-threatening condition. Abandoning the mother of his unborn child, he vanishes from Istanbul without an explanation. In a Manhattan hospital, he meets Hannah, a talented artist and the daughter of a French Holocaust survivor. As their story intertwines with that of their ancestors, readers are taken back to Nazi-occupied Paris, and to a sea-side village in the Holy Land where a world of secrets is illuminated.
Theirs is a love that has been dormant for centuries, spanning continents, generations, oceans, and religions. Bound by a debt that has lingered through time, they must right the wrongs of the past if they’re ever to break the shackles of their future.

Buy the Book

Amazon (eBook)
Amazon (Paperback)
Barnes & Noble
iTunes

Review:  The Debt Of Tamar is a the kind of story I love. It is full of history, but it really spans the years starting in the mid-1500s and taking the reader right through to the present.

I think the first thing that really drew me in to this story was the cover. Yeah, I'm that kinda reader sometimes. But really, the cover is absolutely stunning and does seem to bring the past and the present together in that one image.

I love how romance is wound through this tale along with mystery. Really what is Dona Antonia's secret? This is the type of book you read when you have a lot of time, because once you start it you won't want to put it down.

I looked at this story as one that is told in parts. The first part tells how the debt came to be. This is the part of the story that takes place in the past. It is rich in historical detail, about how life was for the Jewish during the time of The Spanish Inquisition.

The next part of the story flashes forward to WWII and the time shortly after. And then to the present. All of the lives you learn about are intertwined in the original story.

At first I found the length of this novel a bit daunting. It is nearly 500 pages long, but as I got involved in the characters and their lives, the pages just flew on by. The ending left me breathless and in tears. It is a happy yet not so happy ending to the story. (That's all I'll say without spoiling it.)

This is a book not to be missed.



Rating:  5 flowers


About the Author

Nicole Dweck is a writer whose work has appeared in newspapers and magazines across the country.
As a descendant of Sephardic (Spanish) refugees who escaped the Inquisition and settled on Ottoman territory, Dweck has always been interested in Sephardic history and the plight of refugees during the Spanish Inquisition. The Debt of Tamar, her debut novel, was a two-time finalist in the UK’s Cinnamon Press Novel Award Competition. It has also received an honorable award mention in the category of Mainstream/Literary Fiction from Writers Digest and was the highest rated book for two weeks running on the Harper Collin’s “Authonomy” website. It has claimed a #1 Bestseller spot in the Amazon Kindle Middle East Fiction category, a #1 Bestseller spot in Amazon Kindle Jewish Fiction category, and has been included as one of the “Hot 100″ Kindle bestsellers in the category of Historical Fiction.
Dweck holds a BA in Journalism and a Masters Degree in Global Studies with a focus on Middle East Affairs (NYU) . Her non-fiction articles have appeared in several magazines and newspapers including The New York Observer and Haute Living Magazine.
She lives in New York City with her husband and son.
For more information visit Nicole’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, February 24
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, February 25
Interview & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, February 26
Review at Unabridged Chick
Thursday, February 27
Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick
Friday, February 28
Review at History Undressed
Monday, March 3
Review at The Written World
Review at The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader
Review & Giveaway at Historical Tapestry
Tuesday, March 4
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Wednesday, March 5
Review at Just One More Chapter
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Thursday, March 6
Review at Stephanie Thornton Website
Friday, March 7
Review at The Maiden’s Court
Tuesday, March 11
Review at One Book at a Time
Review & Giveaway at The Eclectic Reader
Wednesday, March 12
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Thursday, March 13
Review at Kelsey’s Book Corner
Friday, March 14
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Monday, March 17
Review & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Tuesday, March 18
Review at Chick With Books
Wednesday, March 19
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Thursday, March 20
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Friday, March 21
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Monday, March 24
Review at Confessions of an Avid Reader
Tuesday, March 25
Review at The Novel Life
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Wednesday, March 26
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Thursday, March 27
Review at Kincavel Korner
Friday, March 28
Review at The True Book Addict
Review & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Interview at Kincavel Korner

Thursday, March 20, 2014

TLC Book Tours Book Review: Real Happy Family

Author: Caeli Wolfson Widger
Title: Real Happy Family
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Lake Union/New Harvest
Publish Date: March 4, 2014
Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tours 
Buy: Amazon

Book Blurb: 
Part-time actress, full-time party girl Lorelei Branch isn’t famous yet, but she’s perfected a Hollywood lifestyle full of clubbing, fashion, and the latest juice cleanse. When Robin, her sister-in-law and agent, throws a plum job her way, Lorelei jumps at the chance and auditions to be the new girl on television’s hottest reality show, Flo’s Studio.

Enter Colleen, Lorelei’s pill-popping mother, who wants nothing more than to see her daughter win the fame and glory she never had a chance to pursue herself. But Lorelei’s dream of becoming the next reality star is dashed when she loses the spot on Flo’s Studio to a stunning African woman. In an attempt to defend her daughter against what she calls a rigged contest, Colleen goes ballistic and delivers a racist rant on live television, sparking a national media frenzy. Lorelei flees the limelight, humiliated and broke, with her slacker boyfriend Don and heads for Reno where she begins to self-destruct.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Branch family starts to come apart at the seams. Colleen and her husband, Carl, are quietly drifting apart. Darren, Lorelei’s older half-brother, is stuck in Florida working on a contentious film set while his wife, Robin, continues the tedious regimen of fertility drugs meant to help them conceive a child. Desperate to bring the family together again and make things right, Colleen hatches a plan to stage an intervention for Lorelei on the reality show Real Happy Family. Soon the entire Branch family is entangled in a mission to bring the prodigal daughter back into the fold.

Will Lorelei ever forgive Colleen? Will Real Happy Family air their most sensational intervention yet? All roads lead to a seedy Reno hotel room, where a reality TV crew is waiting.


Review:  Usually when I read stories about Hollywood I go for the Jackie Collins, sexy, glamorous stuff. Real Happy Family is far from that.

Everyone in this book is messed up. Ok, not messed up, f-d up, some in bigger ways than others. I think that's why, at first, I thought I wasn't going to like the book so much, but as I went on, I found the pages flying, one after another, until I was finished.

You get this story from 3 sides, Lorelei, who is on the run from her stage mom mother, Colleen, that crazy mom, and her agent and aunt, Robin.

Of all the characters, Robin is the most normal and most likable. Colleen is probably the least likable, yet you can't help but feel sorry for her. The only one you really don't feel sorry for is Lorelei. She's a brat. Granted she was raised to be a brat, but she's a brat nonetheless. I have to admit I was rooting for them all to step away from the Hollywood lifestyle and become more  "normal." Not to worry though, that couldn't happen.

I liked how the author wove together the three stories. And the ending, well, I have to say, it wasn't quite what I expected, because not all the pieces were really picked up.

This was a fast paced, fun read, that you will really love, especially or maybe in-spite of it involving reality tv.

Rating: 5 flowers



About Caeli Wolfson Widger

Caeli Wolfson Widger received her MFA in poetry from the University of Montana. Her work has appeared in Another Chicago Magazine and The Madison Review.

Tasty Virtual Book Tours Book Review: Safe In The Tycoon's Arms






Safe in the Tycoon’s Arms
By: Jennifer Faye
Releasing March 1st, 2014

Blurb
The man behind the headlines…
 When billionaire Lucas Carrington returns to his New York mansion, he never expects to find beautiful stranger Kate Whitley making herself at home. Invited by his aunt to stay, he soon discovers she's a woman in need. She's raising funds for her sick daughter, so he agrees to let her stay—temporarily! 
Kate may not belong in Lucas's high-society world, but she sees there is more to this tycoon than the headlines suggest. Yet with so much at stake, can she trust herself and her heart with New York's most sought-after bachelor?

Buy Links

Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.blogspot.com/2013/12/now-booking-tasty-virtual-book-tour-for_19.html



Review:  Safe In The Tycoon's Arms is a wonderfully sweet romance in the way you can only find at Harlequin. Kate is a mother in need of help. She's got a daughter that is terribly ill and she needs the funds to cover an experimental surgery.

Enter, Lucas Carrington, a wealthy man who just happens to own the house she's staying in.

Ahhh

When the two of them meet, it is just hilarious, because there is a lot of confusion as to why she's staying in his mansion.

Sparks fly and there's lots of chemistry...so much so that things should explode in this book. Jennifer Faye has created two characters that you really love and want to root for. Kate is the perfect mother. She'll go down fighting for her daughter. Lucas is a dad, but he has problems with his ex that are keeping him from his daughter.

The two of them really were a perfect fit and I loved Kate's passion for design. The descriptions of Lucas' house made me want to see it, especially the Prohibition Tunnel. I would have been thrilled to attend the  Fundraiser for Molly...20's Flapper style has always been my thing.

I felt bad for Lucas. I also wanted to deliver a swift kick to his backside, because anyone who could run a business as successful as his, could take on a rather witchy ex-wife. But I liked how Jennifer took Kate's relationship with her own father and mingled it with Lucas' problems. It provided for some good conflict in a story that really didn't have much. (Honestly, I though their would be trouble with Kate's ex at some point)

Definitely worth reading! I look forward to reading more by Jennifer Faye soon!

Rating: 5 flowers





Author Info
Jennifer Faye is a two-time RT Book Reviews Reviewers' Choice Best Book Award nominee. Maybe that’s partly due to the fact that she has spent most of her life with her nose in one book or another. It was only natural that she would go on to spin tales of her own. Now living her dream, she resides in Pennsylvania with her patient husband, one amazing daughter (the other remarkable daughter has flown the coop to chase her own dreams) and two spoiled cats. She’d love to hear from you via her website.
 Author Links

Rafflecopter Giveaway ((1) $25.00 Amazon Gift Card, (2) Signed Copies and Swag, (3) Digital Copies of SAFE IN THE TYCOONS ARMS)




Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Historical Fiction Book Tours Book Blast: The Chalice

The new novel The Chalice, by Nancy Bilyeau, sends readers on a page-turning historical quest. Set in Henry VIII's England, the story is driven by plot twists, deceptions, spiritual searching and romantic tension. Readers fall in love with protagonist Joanna Stafford, a Catholic novice forced to leave her priory and find her answers.  "She is strong and determined and very likable," says one blogger. "Exhilarating," says Good Housekeeping, and "The novel is riveting and provides fascinating insight into into the lives of displaced nuns and priests, with fully realized characters," says RT Book Reviews. Launching in paperback on March 18 and available in ebook too.

The ChaliceThe Chalice
by Nancy Bilyeau

Publication Date: March 18, 2014
Touchstone Publishing
Paperback; 496p
ISBN-10: 1476708665

Series: Joanna Stafford, Book Two
Genre: Historical Mystery

READ AN EXCERPT.

Between the crown and the cross stands one woman...

IN 1538, ENGLAND is in the midst of bloody power struggles that threaten to tear the country apart. Aristocrat-turned-novice Joanna Stafford knows what lies inside the king’s torture rooms and risks imprisonment when she is caught up in an international plot targeting the king. As the power plays turn vicious, Joanna understands she may have to assume her role in a prophecy foretold by three different seers.

Joanna realizes the life of Henry VIII, as well as the future of Christendom, are in her hands—hands that must someday hold the chalice that lies at the center of these deadly prophecies...

Praise for The Chalice


"A brilliant and gripping page-turner…A fascinating blend of politics, religion, mysticism and personal turmoil. Well-researched and filled with sumptuous detail, it follows Joanna’s early life from Bilyeau’s début novel, The Crown, but this book easily stands on its own. Bilyeau fills in the blanks from her earlier work while leaving the reader both wanting to read the first book and eagerly awaiting the next. This is a must-read for lovers of historical fiction." – Free Lance-Star

"English history buffs and mystery fans alike will revel in Nancy Bilyeau's richly detailed sequel to The Crown." – Parade

"The novel is riveting, and provides fascinating insight into the lives of displaced nuns and priests during the tumultuous Tudor period. Bilyeau creates fully realized characters, with complex actions and emotions, driving the machinations of these historic personages." – RT Book Reviews, (Top Pick)

"The human and political battles of Henry VIII's reformation are brought to exhilarating life in The Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau." – Good Housekeeping UK, April 2014

"Bilyeau sends her plucky former novice back into the intrigue-laden court of Henry VIII." – Entertainment Weekly

"Bilyeau continues from her first novel the subtle, complex development of Joanna’s character and combines that with a fast-paced, unexpected plot to hold the reader’s interest on every page . . . history and supernatural mysticism combine in this compelling thriller." – Historical Novel Society

"Joanna Stafford is a young novice caught up in power struggles familiar to readers of Hilary Mantel and C.J. Sansom, but with elements of magic that echo the historical thrillers of Kate Mosse." – S.J. Parris, author of 'Heresy,' 'Prophecy' and 'Sacrilege'

"[A] layered book of historical suspense." – Kirkus Reviews

"The Chalice is an engrossing mix of the complicated politics of the Reformation with the magical elements of the Dominican order, and Joanna--fiery, passionate, determined to honor what she thinks God wants her to do--is a fascinating character. Fans of historical mysteries, Tudor politics and supernatural fiction will all be pleased by the broad scope, quick-moving plot and historical integrity of Bilyeau's second novel." – Shelf Awareness

Watch the Book Trailer


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Buy the Book


Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books-a-Million
IndieBound
Simon & Schuster

About the Author
Nancy Bilyeau


Nancy Bilyeau has worked on the staffs of InStyle, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Ladies Home Journal. She is currently the executive editor of DuJour magazine. Her screenplays have placed in several prominent industry competitions. Two scripts reached the semi-finalist round of the Nicholl Fellowships of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Her screenplay "Zenobia" placed with the American Zoetrope competition, and "Loving Marys" reached the finalist stage of Scriptapalooza. A native of the Midwest, she earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan. THE CROWN, her first novel, was published in 2012; the sequel, THE CHALICE, followed in 2013.

Some earlier milestones: In 1661, Nancy's ancestor, Pierre Billiou, emigrated from France to what was then New Amsterdam when he and his family sailed on the St. Jean de Baptiste to escape persecution for their Protestant beliefs. Pierre built the first stone house on Staten Island and is considered the borough's founder. His little white house is on the national register of historic homes and is still standing to this day.

Nancy lives in New York City with her husband and two children.

Author Links


Website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Goodreads

Sign up for Nancy Bilyeau's Newsletter.

Nancy Bilyeau Gives an Inside Peek Behind THE CHALICE



Book Blast Schedule


Monday, March 17
Bibliophilia, Please
Book-alicious Mama
HF Book Muse-News
Flashlight Commentary
Confessions of an Avid Reader
So Many Books, So Little Time


Tuesday, March 18
A Book Geek
Kinx's Book Nook
Passages to the Past
Book Lovers Paradise
To Read or Not to Read
Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Historical Fiction Obsession


Wednesday, March 19
Closed the Cover
A Chick Who Reads
The True Book Addict
A Dream within a Dream


Thursday, March 20
CelticLady's Reviews
Ageless Pages Reviews
She is Too Fond of Books
Peeking Between the Pages


Friday, March 21
A Bookish Affair
The Maiden's Court
Let Them Read Books
Historical Fiction Connection

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/3522df83/" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway



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Monday, March 17, 2014

Book Review: Raising Steam

Author: Terry Pratchett
Title: Raising Steam
Publisher: Doubleday
Publish Date: March 18, 2014
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Edelweiss
Book Blurb: 
Steam is rising over Discworld, driven by Mister Simnel, the man with a flat cap and a sliding rule. He has produced a great clanging monster of a machine that harnesses the power of all of the elements-earth, air, fire, and water-and it's soon drawing astonished crowds.

To the consternation of Ankh-Morpork's formidable Patrician, Lord Vetinari, no one is in charge of this new invention. This needs to be rectified, and who better than the man he has already appointed master of the Post Office, the Mint, and the Royal Bank: Moist von Lipwig. Moist is not a man who enjoys hard work-unless it is dependent on words, which are not very heavy and don't always need greasing. He does enjoy being alive, however, which makes a new job offer from Vetinari hard to refuse. Moist will have to grapple with gallons of grease, goblins, a fat controller with a history of throwing employees down the stairs, and some very angry dwarfs if he's going to stop it all from going off the rails…

Review: It is hard to believe that Raising Steam is Pratchett's 40th Discworld novel.  This novel stars one of my favorite characters from this series, Moist Von Lipwig.

Thanks to the tv movie for Going Postal, I've a perfect picture of Moist and his wife


This novel shows Discworld coming into a more modern age, with the steam engine build by Mister Simnel. This book doesn't have quite the laughs that Pratchett's earlier works have, but we must remember that there are forcing beyond his control that affect his writing.

However that doesn't stop this from being a powerful novel about how new technology affects people, whether embracing the new ideas or being fearful of them. Pratchett does a wonderful job bringing those emotions to life.

I love that Moist is the character he chose to help this story along. I love this guy and it was great to see his relationship with Adora Belle. Oh and when Moist saves the kids from the train tracks! Splendid.

If you haven't ventured to Discworld, you'll want to start further back, because there are so many people you need to meet before you get here, but if these characters are old friends, you'll enjoy the ride with this one.

Rating: 4 flowers


Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours Book Blast: Deborah Swift

HF Virtual Book Tours is delighted to introduce you to historical novelist Deborah Swift! Deborah’s acclaimed novels are set in turbulent seventeenth century England and have been described as “brilliant” and “a must for all readers looking for something out of the ordinary but grippingly alive”. Her previous life as a scenographer and costume designer shine through as the settings are beautifully evoked, immersing the reader in the sights and smells of the time.

Deborah’s multi-layered and engrossing historical adventures will make perfect picks for reading groups. Reading Group Guides can be conveniently found in the back of each book and on her website.

Find more information on Deborah's novels below and enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card (£15 UK)!

The Lady's Slipper

The Lady's SlipperPublication Date: June 3, 2011
Pan MacMillan
Formats: Ebook, Paperback

England, 1660.

The King is back, but memories of the English Civil War still rankle. In rural Westmorland, artist Alice Ibbetson has become captivated by the rare Lady’s Slipper orchid. She is determined to capture it’s unique beauty for posterity, even if it means stealing the flower from the land of the recently converted Quaker, Richard Wheeler. Fired by his newfound faith, the former soldier Wheeler feels bound to track down the missing orchid. Meanwhile, others are eager to lay hands on the flower, and have their own powerful motives.

Margaret Poulter, a local medicine woman, is seduced by the orchid’s mysterious herbal powers, while Geoffrey Fisk, Alice’s patron and former comrade-in-arms of Wheeler, sees the valuable plant as a way to repair his ailing fortunes and cure his own agonizing illness. Fearing that Wheeler and his friends are planning revolution, Fisk sends his son Stephen to spy on the Quakers, only for the young man to find his loyalties divided as he befriends the group he has been sent to investigate.

Then, when Alice Ibbetson is implicated in a brutal murder, she is imprisoned along with the suspected anti-royalist Wheeler. As Fisk’s sanity grows ever more precarious, and Wheeler and Alice plot their escape, a storm begins to brew, from which no party will escape unscathed. Vivid, gripping and intensely atmospheric, The Lady’s Slipper is a novel about beauty, faith and loyalty.

Praise for The Lady's Slipper

"The novel grips from the opening lines and carries the interest throughout. The several plot-lines are seamlessly blended and come together in a wholly satisfying conclusion. Her characters are so real that they linger in the mind long after the book is back on the shelf. Highly recommended." - Historical Novels Review Magazine

"Recommended for fans of Philippa Gregory and Rose Tremain, as well as students of the English Civil War." - Library Journal

“The intertwined stories of the orchid’s fate, the mounting problems between the Quakers and the King’s men, and Alice’s murder trial and its aftermath make for a riveting narrative.” - For the Love of Books Blog

The Gilded Lily

The Gilded Lily UK CoverPublication Date: September 13, 2012
Pan MacMillan
Formats: Ebook, Paperback

Westmorland, 1660.

Sadie Appleby has lived all her life in her small village. One night she is rudely awoken by her older and bolder sister, Ella, who has robbed her employer and is on the run. The girls flee their rural home of Westmorland to head for London, hoping to lose themselves in the teeming city. But the dead man’s relatives are in hot pursuit, and soon a game of cat and mouse begins.

Ella becomes obsessed with the glitter and glamour of city life and sets her sights on the flamboyant man-about-town, Jay Whitgift. But nothing is what it seems – even Jay Whitgift.

Can Sadie survive a fugitive’s life in the big city? But even more pressing, can she survive life with her older sister Ella?

Set in London’s atmospheric coffee houses, the rich mansions of Whitehall, and the pawnshops, slums and rookeries hidden from rich men’s view, The Gilded Lily is about beauty and desire, about the stories we tell ourselves, and about how sisterhood can be both a burden and a saving grace.

Praise for The Gilded Lily

"There is no greater compliment than ‘Give me more!’ A delight." - Susanna Gregory

"The Gilded Lily is impeccably written historical fiction. The detail is superb and life in London is so vividly depicted that the city seems to take on its own persona and become a lurking character in the story." - Let Them Read Books

"A heart-rending story of two sisters on the run, searching for a better life. Beautifully written and meticulously researched, the novel drew me straight into the teeming streets of Restoration London. An addictive, page-turning read." - Mary Sharratt


"Superb dialogue, steeped in contemporary language, adds credibility and atmosphere to this compelling tale which examines the ties that bind together siblings, the consequences of greed and ambition, the fickleness of fate and women’s constant battle to survive in a man’s world. The Gilded Lily is also a fast-paced adventure peopled with ruthless villains and feisty heroines whose exploits grab the imagination and add suspense and excitement to a historical gem." - Lancashire Evening Post

The Gilded Lily Book Trailer




A Divided Inheritance

A Divided InheritanceUK Publication Date: October 24, 2013
Pan MacMillan
Formats: Ebook, Paperback

London, 1609.

Elspet Leviston’s greatest ambition is to continue the success of her father Nathaniel’s lace business. But her simple dreams are thrown into turmoil with the arrival of her mysterious cousin Zachary Deane – who has his own designs on Leviston’s Lace. Zachary is a dedicated swordsman with a secret past that seems to invite trouble. So Nathaniel sends him on a Grand Tour, away from the distractions of Jacobean London. Elspet believes herself to be free of her hot-headed relation but when Nathaniel dies her fortunes change dramatically. She is forced to leave her beloved home and go in search of Zachary – determined to claim the inheritance that is rightfully hers.

In the searing heat of Seville, Elspet and Zachary become locked in a battle of wills. But these are dangerous times and they are soon embroiled in the roar and sweep of something far more threatening, sending them both on an unexpected journey of discovery and finally unlocking the true meaning of family.

Praise for A Divided Inheritance

"a true gem. It has a pacy storyline, the characters are complex, intriguing and often unexpected – and it is packed with fascinating historical fact" - Gabrielle Kimm, author of His Last Duchess

"Elegantly written, A Divided Inheritance brings the uncertainty of the seventeenth century gloriously to life in an engaging tale of determination, tenacity and family loyalty." - Flashlight Commentary Blog

"a multifaceted tale about the consequences of religious intolerance, the expiation of guilt, the importance of family, and the appearance of unexpected love. And swordplay! The action sequences are as sharp and dazzling as Zachary’s hand-forged blade." - Sarah Johnson, Reading the Past

Buy the Books

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository
Books-a-Million
Hive.co.uk
Waterstones

Deborah Swift About the Author

Deborah Swift used to work in the theatre and at the BBC as a set and costume designer, before studying for an MA in Creative Writing in 2007. She lives in a beautiful area of Lancashire near the Lake District National Park. She is the author of The Lady’s Slipper and is a member of the Historical Writers Association, the Historical Novel Society, and the Romantic Novelists Association.

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
The Riddle of Writing Blog
Royalty Free Fiction Blog
English History Authors Blog

Book Blast Schedule

Sunday, March 16
Lily Pond Reads
Kincavel Korner
Bibliophilia, Please
Passages to the Past
The True Book Addict

Monday, March 17
Mari Reads
Turning the Pages
A Chick Who Reads
Historical Fiction Connection
History from a Woman's Perspective

Tuesday, March 18
Just One More Chapter
Susan Heim on Writing
Caroline Wilson Writes
Historical Fiction Obsession
Historical Readings & Reviews

Wednesday, March 19
Book Nerd
Broken Teepee
Literary Chanteuse
Historical Tapestry

Thursday, March 20
Book Drunkard
Mina's Bookshelf
Curling Up By the Fire
To Read or Not to Read
Svetlana's Reads and Views

Friday, March 21
Closed the Cover
CelticLady's Reviews
The Little Reader Library
Books by the Willow Tree

Giveaway

To enter to win a $20 (£15 UK) Amazon Gift Card please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form.

Giveaway will run from March 16-21. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on March 22 and notifiied via email.
Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours: Pilgrim Footprints On The Sands Of Time




Publication Date: December 2, 2013
LightEye Editions
Paperback; 396p
ISBN-10: 2917183349
A few months after Richard FitzUrse and his fellow knights murder Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral, Lord Robert and Lady FitzUrse are instructed by King Henry to make a penitential pilgrimage to the tomb of Saint James the Greater in Spain in order to earn redemption for his disgraced family.
William Beaumont has made a promise to his dead mother and younger sister to go on a pilgrimage to save their souls. William is secretly in love with Alicia Bearham, niece of Lord Robert. He is overjoyed when he is asked to accompany the family and their servants on their three-month pilgrimage.
They face many adversities, dangers, and an attempted murder on the long and hazardous journey across England, France and Spain. Who is trying to kill Sir Robert and Alicia? What does the gypsy woman they meet in Paris mean when she predicts that Alicia and William are destined to be soul mates, but only when the eleventh flaming star returns to the skies and the water carrier rises over the horizon? One fateful night, a shocking event changes their lives forever.

BUY THE BOOK


Review

I have to admit, I was drawn to this book because of the title and the cover. It is just so beautiful.  

The story was a little hard for me though, even though I enjoyed it. I've always had a problem with stories about pilgrimages, but this one had a wonderful love story to go with it. This story involves the knights that were told to take a pilgrimage as a result of the murder of Thomas Becket.

Sylvia has a wonderful knowledge of the time period and brings her characters to life for you. I've always wondered why these stories feel so long to me, and then I recall, they are walking across Europe, you don't do that quickly and without struggle or intrigue.

I think the only issue I had with the book was some of the dialogue was a bit off for the time period. Other than that, it was a beautiful read that kept me turning the pages

Rating: 4 flowers





ABOUT THE AUTHORSylvia Nilsen Author

Sylvia Nilsen, well known in the Camino world for her ‘amaWalker blog’ is a South African freelance writer who has been published in numerous local and international publications.
She has worked as a research agent and editor for a UK-based travel guide publisher and produced several African city and country guides.
Sylvia has walked over 5,000 km of pilgrimage trails in Europe including Paris to Spain, the Camino Frances from St Jean Pied de Port and Roncesvalles to Santiago, from Lourdes to Pamplona, el Ferrol to Santiago, Santiago to Finisterre and from Switzerland to Rome on the Via Francigena. She also walked from Durban to Cape Town as part of the ‘Breaking Free’ team in aid of abused women and children. Sylvia has served as a volunteer hospitalero in Spain and is a Spanish accredited hospitalero trainer having trained over 40 people to serve as volunteers in Spain. She was the Regional Co-ordinator for the Confraternity of St James in South Africa from 2003 to 2010.
In 2009 she started amaWalkers Camino (Pty) Ltd and takes small groups of pilgrims on three weeks walks of the Camino Frances in Spain.
For more information on Sylvia Nilsen please visit her website.  You can also find her on Facebook.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Historical Fiction Virtual Tours Book Review: Queen Elizabeth's Daughter




Publication Date: March 18, 2014
St. Martin’s Griffin
Paperback; 320p
ISBN-10: 0312662122

Mistress Mary Shelton is Queen Elizabeth’s favorite ward, enjoying every privilege the position affords. The queen loves Mary like a daughter, and, like any good mother, she wants her to make a powerful match. The most likely prospect: Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford. But while Oxford seems to be everything the queen admires: clever, polished and wealthy, Mary knows him to be lecherous, cruel, and full of treachery. No matter how hard the queen tries to push her into his arms, Mary refuses.
Instead, Mary falls in love with a man who is completely unsuitable. Sir John Skydemore is a minor knight with little money, a widower with five children. Worst of all, he’s a Catholic at a time when Catholic plots against Elizabeth are rampant. The queen forbids Mary to wed the man she loves. When the young woman, who is the queen’s own flesh and blood, defies her, the couple finds their very lives in danger as Elizabeth’s wrath knows no bounds.

Buy the Book

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Barnes & Noble Book Depository Books-a-million


Review:

If you love the Tudor period, Queen Elizabeth's Daughter should be on your reading list. This book provides a very different view of Elizabeth's reign, through the eyes of her ward, Mary Shelton. (though part of the story is told from the Queen's viewpoint too)
 
Mary is a character you will love because she is very much a teenager as the book starts out. She's spoiled and a little rebellious and she wants to do her own thing, but you do watch her grow as a woman. But for me, the real star of this book is Elizabeth I. 

Queen Bess was always my favorite of the Tudors. I loved Anne Clinard Barnhill's portrayal of her in this book. She is shown with her flaws. This woman was very paranoid, but after having Henry VIII for a dad, who wouldn't be?

I liked the maternal side we see here. It makes Elizabeth more human and easier to like, even though she's wasn't a woman that you could really warm up to.

Queen Bess is one that so many author's paint as a hard woman. Wouldn't she have to be to hold her thrown? This book gives her softer side, showing her as a woman who loves her Robin and her "Fawn," but also a ruler with a bit of her father's temperament.

Mary brought out the good in her. I really came to love her and Lord Skydemore and their relationship. I felt terrible that because of the Queen they were never together enough for them to  have a family of their own. (John had 5 children from his first marriage)

If you love Tudor fiction, this is a great book and a must read.

Rating: 5 flowers





About the Author

Anne Clinard Barnhill has been writing or dreaming of writing for most of her life. For the past twenty years, she has published articles, book and theater reviews, poetry, and short stories. Her first book, AT HOME IN THE LAND OF OZ, recalls what it was like growing up with an autistic sister. Her work has won various awards and grants. Barnhill holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Besides writing, Barnhill also enjoys teaching, conducting writing workshops, and facilitating seminars to enhance creativity. She loves spending time with her three grown sons and their families. For fun, she and her husband of thirty years, Frank, take long walks and play bridge. In rare moments, they dance.

For more information, please visit Anne Clinard Barnhill’s website. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.
 
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