Monday, June 30, 2014

Book Review: All At Sea

Author: Heather Wardell
Title: All At Sea
Publisher: Createspace
Publish Date: Sept 6, 2012
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: 
Melissa and Owen met on New Years' Eve and he proposed on Valentine's Day. Now it's March, and they're about to set sail on a two-week Caribbean cruise - and get married on the last day at sea. Though their relationship's moving fast, Melissa's wanted to be married for years and she knows the smart stable Owen is a great catch so she's sure they'll be fine.

At least, she's sure until she meets his brothers on the cruise and discovers she's dated both of them: Austin, the fun-loving flirt whose kisses still haunt her dreams, and Nicholas, the sweet horror movie fan whose lack of ambition upset her in ways she still doesn't understand.

Melissa expected to spend tons of time onboard with her fiancé, but he instead spends nearly his every waking moment in the casino displaying a previously unseen love of gambling. This surprise, and the time she spends with Nicholas and with Austin, makes her question everything she thought she wanted.

Her relationship with Owen was just fine before, but suddenly 'just fine' doesn't seem good enough to keep a marriage alive for a lifetime. Melissa has two weeks to decide: stay with Owen or jump ship.

Review: I don't think there's a book by Heather Wardell that I don't love. This book is no exception. Owen and Melissa are about to be married on a family cruise, only Melissa didn't know Owen's family until she stepped on board the ship.

Big surprises! She's dated both of Owen's brothers.

More surprises! Owen spends more time in the ships casino than he does with her.

Melissa finds herself spending more time with her ex, Nicholas, than her soon to be hubby.

Uh oh!

I wanted Melissa to show some more spunk, with Owen. I think she let him off way too easily with his gambling.

I wanted to like Owen, but it was impossible not to love Nicholas and even Austin better. They both seemed to have more chemistry with Melissa.

It drove me crazy trying to figure out who she was going to chose in the end. (I'll admit, I had a favorite)

If you are a fan of great women's fiction, you have to give this book a try!

Rating: 5 flowers

Retro Reads Book Review: No Quarter Asked

Author: Janet Dailey
Title: No Quarter Asked
Publisher: Open Road
Publish Date: April 1, 2014
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb: 
Janet Dailey wrote her first novel, No Quarter Asked in 1974 after her husband, Bill, urged her to back up her claim that she could write a better romance novel than the ones she had read. The book was accepted by Harlequin, which made her the category romance giant's first American author. She eventually wrote a total of 57 novels for Harlequin, including one set in every state of the Union. These later became known as "The Janet Dailey Americana Series." The Daileys were instrumental in forming the Silhouette romance fiction line, for which Janet wrote 12 more titles before entering the mass market field in 1979 with Touch the Wind, which marked her debut on the New York Times best seller list.

No Quarter Asked is the first of the Cord & Stacy Series which includes No Quarter Asked (1974), Fiesta San Antonio (1977) and For Bitter or Worse (1978).

Review: Janet Dailey is one of those authors every romance reader has heard about and probably read. I know I've read one or two or ten of her books. She was always good with the cowboy romances.

No Quarter Asked is her very first book for the Presents line. It was originally published in 1974. This story is 40 years old! Yikes! And reading it, makes me wonder if women were as stupid as the heroine, Stacy back then? Surely not?

I couldn't wrap my head around a heroine who lets a guy bully her the way Cord does, and then decide she's in love with him.

Seriously, I was team Carter!

And she never really talked to Cord, she just let him, ride roughshod over her. (Pun intended)

I know the Presents line is all about the alpha male, but Cord takes things to extreme. He's nothing but a jerk, and that's the nicest thing you can say about him.

There really is no relationship between the two characters romantically. So the ending just doesn't fit. At least not for me.

I've read a lot of vintage Harlequins but none of them had characters this unlikeable for me.

Rating: 2 flowers (and that's pushing it)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Book Review: Twelfth Night

Author: Deanna Raybourn
Title: Twelfth Night
Publisher: Mira
Publish Date: June 1, 2014
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb: 
To mark the passing of another decade, the esteemed—and eccentric—March family have assembled at Bellmont Abbey to perform the Twelfth Night Revels for their sleepy English village. But before Lady Julia and her handsome, sleuthing husband, Nicolas Brisbane, can take to the stage, a ruckus in the stable yard demands their attention. An abandoned infant is found nestled in the steel helm of St. George. What's more, their only lead is the local legend of a haunted cottage and its ghastly inhabitant—who seems to have returned.

Once again, Lady Julia and Nicholas take up the challenge to investigate, and when the source of the mystery is revealed, they'll be faced with an impossible choice—one that will alter the course of their lives…forever.

Review: Twelfth Night is an in between Julia Gray novels short story/novella. It keeps the story moving while we wait for the next full length novel to arrive, and really they can't get here fast enough.

I love Lady Julia. She's always been a strong heroine, however this story isn't really about Lady Julia being strong. Its a holiday-ish novel, with her family doing the Twelfth Night Revels. But there is a baby that's found, and the possibility of some ghosts and witches, this short story moves along at a rather fast pace.

I loved the kids in this story, especially Perditia, who even Brisbane noted, was much like a young Julia.

The mystery of the baby and witch will leave you with a few tears, though nothing is totally certain about the mother's whereabouts when the story ends.

It definitely keeps the storyline going and brings new changes for this sleuthing couple.

It was a light, fun read with some of my favorite characters.

Rating: 5 flowers

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours Book Review:Roan Rose

Roan Rose

Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Books We Love, Ltd.
Formats: eBook, Paperback

Loyalty Binds Her.

More like a gangland war for turf and loot than chivalry, the War of Roses disrupted the life of the English commoners for hundreds of years. Roan Rose is the story of one of them, a girl born on the Yorkshire dales. When the Countess of Warwick decides to take sturdy, gentle Rose to Middleham Castle to be companion and bed-time poppet for her youngest daughter, Anne, her fate is changed forever. Rose bears intimate witness to the passions, betrayals, battles and all the reversals of fortune which will shape her lady’s life—and her own. Anne Neville will briefly become a Queen, and Richard, Rose’s secret love, will become a King, one whose name has become synonymous with evil. When her King is betrayed and slain at Bosworth Field, Rose returns to a peasant’s hard life. She has one final service to perform.

Book Trailer for Roan Rose:  

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Review: If you love historical fiction, you need to put Juliet Waldron's books on your reading list. This is the third book of hers that I've read and I have to say, she's now one of my favorite authors in this genre, she puts some of the more well known writers to shame with her attention to detail.

It is a novel of hardship and love and of The War Of The Roses. Like Juliet's other books, you need time to read this one. I get totally absorbed in the story, but I always find myself wanting to learn more.

This is a novel of Richard III a King that I've not read much about, so this was uncharted territory. He's the final Plantagenet king and he was only king for a brief period of time. History paints him as evil though Juliet paints him in a different light with just a foreshadowing of what he did to acquire the throne of England.

Rose is an interesting character whose life gets weaved in with Richard as well as with Anne Neville, the woman that would be his queen. Rose it truly a devoted servant that loves her mistress, perhaps a bit too much.  There were times when I really wanted to choke for her for her actions. Her treatment of her husband was horrid, yet she didn't marry him because she wanted to.

If you are a lover of historical fiction, this is a book you want to read. (As well as Juliet's others)

Rating: 5 flowers

About the Author

 "Not all who wander are lost." Juliet Waldron earned a B. A. in English, but has worked at jobs ranging from artist's model to brokerage. Thirty years ago, after the boys left home, she dropped out of 9-5 and began to write, hoping to create a genuine time travel experience for herself--and for her readers. She loves her grand-girls and her kitties, likes to take long hikes, and reads historical/archeological non-fiction as well as reviewing for the Historical Novel Society. For summer adventure, she rides behind her husband of 50 years on his "bucket list" (black, and ridiculously fast) Hyabusa motorcycle.

You can find more information at or connect with Juliet on Facebook. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Book Review: The Art Of Arranging Flowers

Author: Lynne Branard
Title: The Art Of Arranging Flowers
Publisher: Berkeley
Publish Date: June 3, 2014
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb: Ruby Jewell knows flowers. In her twenty years as a florist she has stood behind the counter at the Flower Shoppe with her faithful dog, Clementine, resting at her feet. A customer can walk in, and with just a glance or a few words, Ruby can throw together the perfect arrangement for any occasion.

Whether intended to rekindle a romance, mark a celebration, offer sympathy, or heal a broken heart, her expressive floral designs mark the moments and milestones in the lives of her neighbors. It’s as though she knows just what they want to say, just what they need.

Yet Ruby’s own heart’s desires have gone ignored since the death of her beloved sister. It will take an invitation from a man who’s flown to the moon, the arrival of a unique little boy, and concern from a charming veterinarian to reawaken her wounded spirit. Any life can be derailed, but the healing power of community can put it right again.

Review:  Ruby is the town florist who has never gotten over the death of her sister. She's closed off her heart to love, though through her flowers she has helped many of the people in her town find love or fix their relationships.

The story is told through Ruby's eyes and even though it may feel slightly disjointed, this is one of the most beautiful books that you can read.

Little things start to change in her life. A young boy comes into her life looking for a job, a retired astronaut asks her to a special dinner, and a handsome vet moves into town. Through these people, Ruby's life begins to change, with the help of her employees, Nora and Jimmy, and her customers.

This is a book that will give you an emotional workout. There are marriages and deaths, just as in life. Not everything is happy, but it is real.

At one point, her dog is attacked by a porcupine and Ruby actually hurts herself trying to save her dog. I cried my eyes out as I read this, sending out a silent prayer to the author, to keep Clementine alive.

Its the people in Ruby's life that make this story so wonderful and so heartbreaking. I loved Captain Dan. At times, I wished he could be her love interest, as it was his one regret in life to not have loved again.

But everything seems to happen for a reason, and through sorrow, Ruby finds joy. 

I can also guarantee that if you are prone to tears, you will cry through the epilogue.

This is one of 2014's best reads. Don't miss this book!

Rating: 5 flowers

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Reading Addiction Book Tours Book Review: The Gull Motel

Author: Amie Denman
Title: The Gull Motel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Date Published: June 2014
Review Copy Provided By: Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours
Book Blurb: Savvy Thorpe needs a vacation. Finally finished with college, she heads to her favorite shabby motel on Florida’s Gulf Coast where her aunt and uncle always save her room twenty-four. She quickly finds out, though, that The Gull Motel is not just her home away from home. It’s hers to manage while her aunt and uncle take an extended trip.

Skip McComber, The Gull’s former maintenance man, has been working on Savvy’s nuts and bolts for years. Now the new owner of the bar next door, his mission is to renovate a pirate bar while being a walking temptation for the girl he can’t get off his mind.

For Savvy, keeping her cool running a motel in Florida heat is one thing, but navigating the steamy waters of a former fling takes a whole other kind of savvy. In addition to the motel and the man next door, Savvy stumbles on a plot to swindle land from the residents of Barefoot Key. Devalued properties tumble like dominoes until Savvy musters her colorful crew from The Gull Motel to make the pillagers walk the plank.


Review:  The Gull Motel is one of those books you must read in the summer. It is such a fun read. It can easily be devoured in one sitting and will leave you feeling like you've had a rather interesting vacation.

Savvy Thorpe has The Gull Motel tossed in her lap when her aunt and uncle head north to care for her aunt's mother who suffers from dementia.

The quick trip becomes and extended visit and Savvy really becomes entrenched in the day to day life of Barefoot Key. Oh and then there's Skip, who bought the bar next door, who is kind of an old crush that she had a quick fling with over her last spring break

This story is part romance, part mystery and really a nice fast read. The characters that work at The Gull are really quirky. I love Rita. She was just full of it. (In a good way, of course)

Savvy and Skip really belonged together, and it was fun to read how they really became a sort of couple by the end of the book and how Savvy's dreams changed from the time she arrived in Barefoot Key, until the end of the story. The Gull was always part of her life, but it really becomes her life as the book progresses and The Key becomes home.

This was a great beach read! It is also the first book in the Barefoot series, and I can't wait to read more!

Rating: 5 flowers

Virtual Book Tour - June 22 - July 4

June 22 - Reading Addiction Blog Tours - Kick Off
June 24 - A Chick Who Reads
June 25 - Readsalot
June 29 -  Simplistic Reviews
June 30 -  Deluged With Books
July 2 - LibriAmoriMiei
July 4 - Texas Book Nook
July 4 - RABT Reviews - Wrap Up

Amie Denman

Amie Denman lives in a small town in her native Ohio with her husband and sons. Her two cats and large yellow labrador are kind enough to share a sunny office where she lets her imagination run wild. Reading books was her favorite escape as a child, and growing up four houses away from the community library encouraged her addiction. When she's not reading or writing, she enjoys walking and running outside. The helpless victim of a lifetime of curiosity, she's been known to chase fire trucks on her bicycle just to see what's going on. Amie believes that everything is fun: especially roller coasters, wedding cake, and falling in love. 

Amie is the author of five contemporary romance novels: 
The Gull Motel
Blue Bottle Beach
Her Lucky Catch
Her Lucky Prize
Will Work for Love
He’s on Her Trail

Please visit her at
On Facebook
On Twitter @amiedenman

Friday, June 20, 2014

TLC Book Tours Book Review: The Care And Management Of Lies

About The Care and Management of Lies

• Hardcover: 336 pages
• Publisher: Harper (July 1, 2014)
The New York Times bestselling author of the Maisie Dobbs series turns her prodigious talents to this World War I standalone novel, a lyrical drama of love struggling to survive in a damaged, fractured world.
By July 1914, the ties between Kezia Marchant and Thea Brissenden, friends since girlhood, have become strained—by Thea’s passionate embrace of women’s suffrage, and by the imminent marriage of Kezia to Thea’s brother, Tom, who runs the family farm. When Kezia and Tom wed just a month before war is declared between Britain and Germany, Thea’s gift to Kezia is a book on household management—a veiled criticism of the bride’s prosaic life to come. Yet when Tom enlists to fight for his country and Thea is drawn reluctantly onto the battlefield, the farm becomes Kezia’s responsibility. Each must find a way to endure the ensuing cataclysm and turmoil.
As Tom marches to the front lines, and Kezia battles to keep her ordered life from unraveling, they hide their despair in letters and cards filled with stories woven to bring comfort. Even Tom’s fellow soldiers in the trenches enter and find solace in the dream world of Kezia’s mouth-watering, albeit imaginary meals. But will well-intended lies and self-deception be of use when they come face to face with the enemy?
Published to coincide with the centennial of the Great War, The Care and Management of Lies paints a poignant picture of love and friendship strained by the pain of separation and the brutal chaos of battle. Ultimately, it raises profound questions about conflict, belief, and love that echo in our own time.
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Review:  I've read several of Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series, so when I saw she had a new book out that wasn't part of the series, I was intrigued. It takes place during The Great War, which is really one of my favorite periods of history.

She is one of the few authors that I've read that really seems to capture this horrific period in world history well, and she does it in such a way that you enjoy the reading without being too depressed at the subject matter.

I admit I love the Maisie Dobbs books better, but this is a great historical novel for anyone that loves WWI history

Rating: 5 flowers

About Jacqueline WinspearJacqueline Winspear

Jacqueline Winspear is the author of the New York Times bestselling novels featuring Maisie Dobbs, a former World War I nurse turned investigator. Originally from the United Kingdom, Winspear now lives in California. Find out more about Jacqueline at her website,, and find her on Facebook.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Cover Reveal: Fit To Be Dead


Nancy G. West  |  July 29, 2014

Aggie Mundeen, single and pushing forty, fears nothing but middle age. When she moves from Chicago to San Antonio, she decides she better shape up before anybody discovers she writes the column, “Stay Young with Aggie.” She takes Aspects of Aging at University of the Holy Trinity and plunges into exercise at Fit and Firm.
Rusty at flirting and mechanically inept, she irritates a slew of male exercisers, then stumbles into murder. She’d like to impress the attractive detective with her sleuthing skills. But when the killer comes after her, the health club evacuates semi-clad patrons, and the detective has to stall his investigation to save Aggie’s derriere. * A Lefty Award Finalist for Best Humorous Mystery *
$15.95 (msrp) Trade Paperback — ISBN-13: 9781940976372
$2.99 (msrp) ebook — ISBN-13: 9781940976389
Amazon Paperback     B&N Paperback

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Historical Fiction Virtual Tours Book Review: Mozart's Wife

Tour Hashtag: #JulietWaldronBlogTour 

Mozart’s Wife

Publication Date: January 11, 2014
Books We Love, Ltd.
Formats: eBook, Paperback

Buy the Book

Winner of the First Independent E-Book Award for Fiction Seventh Annual Virginia Festival of the Book
She Married the World’s First Superstar.
Mozart’s wife aroused strong feelings among her contemporaries. Her in-laws loathed her. Mozart’s friends, more than forty years after his death, remained eager to gossip about her “failures” as wife to the world’s first superstar. Maturing from child to wife to hard-headed widow, Konstanze paid her husband’s debts, provided for their children, and relentlessly marketed and mythologized Mozart. The composer’s letters attest to his affection for Konstanze as well as to their powerful sexual bond. Still, the question remains: Why did she never mark his grave?

Review: Nightingale was the first book by Juliette Waldron that I read, and I'm glad I did, because she brings her characters to life so well.

In Nightingale we caught a glimpse of Mozart, now we have a full book! This one feature's his wife and is told from her point of view. I absolutely devoured this book. 

Konstanze is quite a character and this book really made me want to learn more about Mozart. I found myself googling him more and more throughout the book. He was really quite the character, a rock star of his time.  He was a regular ladies man and he was terrible with his money. 

Their relationship was full of trials and tribulations, but whose marriage isn't? But that is what brought both characters to life for the reader.  You also so Mozart as a man. A man who loved his music but who loved women just as much. And you saw how that changed his marriage.

I felt sorry for Konstanze. She had all that to deal with and she had several children, nearly dying in childbirth more than once, and with most of her children dying in their childhood.

This is a fantastic book about Mozart and his family.

If you haven't read any of Juliet's books, this is a great one to start with.

Rating: 5 flowers

To read my review of Nightingale click here

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Book Review: Delectable

Author: Adrianne Lee
Title: Delectable
Publisher: Forever
Publish Date: May 27, 2014
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb: 
Montana real estate agent Quint McCoy will tell you that the most important thing is location, location, location. It's a lesson he learns all too well when he goes incommunicado for a four-week fishing trip to Alaska. While he's away, his mother Molly turns his office into the pie shop she has always dreamed of, Big Sky Pie. But that's not the only surprise in store for him.

On her way out of town, Callee McCoy only wants to say a fond farewell to her beloved mother-in-law. But Molly soon persuades Callee to stay and lend a hand at the new shop, even if it means heating up the kitchen with her soon-to-be ex. As Callee and Quint rediscover their recipe for love, they realize that some couples are so sinfully good together that one delectable taste is never enough.

Review: Delectable is a romance of second chances and pie. Lots and lots of pie. Quint and Callee's marriage falls apart when his father dies, but the near death of his mother brings them back together. Oh and so does pie!

The Big Sky Pie Shop is a place you'll want to return, so its a good thing that this is the first book in a new "yummy" series. All of the characters are pretty well developed and mostly easy to relate too. I could really understand the breakdown Quint had when his father died. His reactions made sense. However, it also made him a bit of a jerk. He ran off on a fishing trip with little care for his wife or his grieving mother.

I wasn't quite as sure about Callee, especially with her life plans. Who wants to be a chef when they don't know how to cook? That made no sense to me whatsoever, but I could understand her wariness of getting back with Quint when he really didn't seem like he was changing.

The chemistry between these two was electric, though. And you really wanted them together, even when things were't looking well for them. I loved uncovering Quint's dirty little secret, as well as the search for a pastry chef, while his mother, Molly recovers from bypass surgery.

I look forward to getting to know some of the other characters better in upcoming books, particularly Jane and Andrea. (Hey, gotta love a character that I share a first name with!)

The book has some steamy bits, some in the form of flashbacks and others in the present. Nothing too hot though, just enough to make you want a cold glass of milk to go with your pie!

Definitely a "delectable" summer read!

Rating: 5 flowers

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Book Review: Huckleberry Summer

Author: Jennifer Beckstrand
Title: Huckleberry Summer
Publisher: Kensington
Publish Date: June 3, 2014
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: 
With one of their grandchildren happily married, Anna and Felty Helmuth are ready for their next matchmaking success. Because there's nothing more rewarding than sparking unexpected love--and putting Huckleberry Hill, Wisconsin, on the map for romance. . .

Cautious to a fault, Lily Eicher strives to live up to her dat's high standards. She's certainly not the kind of proper Amish girl who would make time for someone as impetuous as the Helmuths' grandson, Aden--even if his lively spirit and caring ways are showing her just how wonderful following her heart can be. . .

Recklessly doing the right thing got Aden into big trouble. A fresh start at his grandparents' is just what he needs. And shy, pretty Lily is turning his world upside down and making him want to prove he can do good within the rules. But now both must find enough faith and understanding to risk pursuing their dreams--together. . .

Review:  I'm a sucker for Amish fiction, and I really love a great Amish romance, and Huckleberry Summer is just that.  It is a fun, light read that will have you running through all sorts of emotions before the last page is turned.

Lily is a daddy's girl. Which is fine, except she let's her dad control the way she thinks and how she lives her life. When Aden comes into her life, she starts to change, much to the chagrin of her father, who wants her to marry the bishop's son, Tyler.

Aden is not your typical Amish guy. He's an environmentalist and he fights for the rights of animals. Oh, and he's been arrested three times. This doesn't win him any points with Lily's father.

I wish I could have felt some sort of sympathy with Lily's dad, David, but even the backstory, that explains why he's the way he is, didn't make me like him. He comes across, almost as a villain.

Then there's Lily. She's a wimp, especially when it comes to her father. She's so afraid of the world and pleasing her father that she was letting life and love pass her by.

It was good to see her get some spunk at the end of the story, because she was so wimpy throughout the book.

The best character in the book is, by far, Aden's dog Pilot. He really steals the show when he's around.

All in all, a good sweet romance that will warm your heart on a nice summer day.

Rating: 5 flowers

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Great Escapes Book Tours Book Review: A Sense Of Entitlement

A Sense of Entitlement
(A Hattie Davish Mystery)

Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Kensington (June 24, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0758276389
ISBN-13: 978-0758276384
Traveling secretary and dilettante detective Hattie Davish is bringing her talents to a small New England town whose wealthy residents have more secrets than they do money. . .
When Hattie Davish’s job takes her to Newport, Rhode Island, she welcomes the opportunity for a semi-vacation, and perhaps even a summer romance. But her hopes for relaxation are dashed when she learns that members of the local labor unions are at odds with Newport’s gentry. Amidst flaring tensions, an explosion rocks the wharf. In the ensuing turmoil, Mr. Harland Whitwell, one of Newport’s most eminent citizens, is found stabbed to death, his hands clutching a strike pamphlet. All signs point to a vengeful union member bent on taking down the aristocracy, but Hattie starts digging and finds a few skeletons in the closets of the impeccable Whitwell mansion. As she strikes down the whispers spilling out of Newport’s rumor mill, she’ll uncover a truth more scandalous than anyone imagined–and a killer with a rapacious sense of entitlement. . .


Review:  I love historical mysteries, and the Hattie Davish series is looking to be become one of my favorites.This is the third installment of the series and I guarantee that you'll want to read the other two if you are just starting here. 

Hattie is a smart spunky girl. She's part secretary, part private investigator.

It takes place in Newport, land of the super rich, and Hattie is working for Mrs. Mayhew, because her employer has been called back to England on personal matters.

Life at Rose Mont occasionally feels like an episode of Downton Abbey (Only with American uber rich). I actually think some of the characters in Newport are snobbier (is that a word) than those on Downton! Mrs. Mayhew is really quite the character.

Hattie, is a real no nonsense girl. I love how she keeps lists of the questions she wants answered in the cases.

Oh and there's a touch of romance involved too. I loved Walter, but his mother not so much.

The mystery involves one of the prominent members of Newport society and the start of unionization. And just when you think the case is solved, something else happens. I have to say, I never wanted a character to be the murderer as much as I did in this book, and when it wasn't that character, I was slightly let down, but all in all the mystery was very satisfying.

If you are looking for a mystery and love historical fiction as well, this is definitely a series for you.

Rating: 5 flowers

About The Author
Loan_Wilsey_headshotHardin-Baylor, Texas A&M University-Commerce and most recently, Iowa State University, publishing in several scientific peer-reviewed journals. A Lack of Temperance, her first novel and first in the Hattie Davish Mysteries series, was the #1 bestselling historical mystery on She is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. A Sense of Entitlement, the third in the series, is due out in June. Anna lives in a Victorian farmhouse near Ames, Iowa with her inquisitive four year old, her old yellow dog and her very funny, very patient husband, where she is happily working on Hattie’s next adventure.
Author Links:

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Book Review: The Queen's Exiles

Author: Barbara Kyle
Title: The Queen's Exiles
Publisher: Kensington
Publish Date: May 27,2014
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb: 
1572. Europe is in turmoil. A vengeful faction of exiled English Catholics is scattered about the continent, plotting to overthrow Queen Elizabeth and install her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots on the throne. And in the Netherlands, the streets are red with the blood of those who dare to oppose the brutal Spanish occupation. But amid the unrest, one resourceful young woman has made a lucrative enterprise. . .

Scottish-born Fenella Doorn salvages crippled vessels. It is on one of these ships that she meets wealthy Baron Adam Thornleigh. Secretly drawn to him, Fenella can't refuse when Adam enlists her to join him in war-torn Brussels to help find his traitorous wife, Frances--and the children she's taken from him. But Adam and Fenella will put their lives in peril as they attempt to rescue his young ones, defend the crown, and restore the peace that few can remember.

With eloquent and enthralling finesse, Barbara Kyle illuminates one of history's grimmest chapters. The Queen's Exiles breathes new life into an extraordinary age where love and freedom could only be won with unmitigated courage.

Review: This is a book that can leave you with only one word on your lips and that word is wow! This novel is set in the 1570s, about 14 years into Queen Elizabeth's reign. It is a time of turmoil throughout Europe.

At first I thought that this book was going to be about Elizabeth I, but it didn't take long to realize that it was so much more than that, and it definitely isn't a full on historical romance. Its really an adventure story that happens to have some romance in it.

Barbara Kyle's writing style is perfect. She allows you to get into each character's head, be it Fernella, Adam, Carlos, Isabella or even Frances. You know what's going one with each of them and you feel their frustrations.

The story is full of ups and downs. It really is an emotional roller coaster from start to finish, as the Fernella makes some discoveries about people in her life and as she gets more and more involved with Adam and his story.

Fernella is not your average heroine. To say she is strong and loyal would be doing her a disservice. She's so much more than that. The best way to describe Fernella is to say, she's the kind of person you want on your side.

What can I say about Adam? He's a man fighting for Queen and country and he's a family man. I wept for him many times during his quest to regain his children.

There isn't a character that you don't feel some emotion for, that's how well developed they are. Barbara Kaye is a fantastic storyteller. She takes you into the time period and sweeps you away.

The ending is perfect and while not exactly what fans of "happily ever after" might approve of, it does suit the story and makes everything feel more real.

Highly recommended reading!

Rating: 5 flowers

Monday, June 9, 2014

Historical Fiction Virtual Tours Book Review: The Lost Duchess

Please join author Jenny Barden as she tours the blogopsphere for The Lost Duchess from May 26-June 20.

The Lost DuchessPaperback Publication Date: June 5, 2014
Ebury Press
Paperback; 448p

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An epic Elizabethan adventure with a thriller pace and a high tension love story that moves from the palaces of England to the savage wilderness of the New World.

Emme Fifield has fallen about as far as a gentlewoman can.

Once a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth, her only hope of surviving the scandal that threatens to engulf her is to escape England for a fresh start in the new America where nobody has ever heard of the Duchess of Somerset.

Emme joins Kit Doonan's rag-tag band of idealists, desperados and misfits bound for Virginia. But such a voyage will be far from easy and Emme finds her attraction to the mysterious Doonan inconvenient to say the least.

As for Kit, the handsome mariner has spent years imprisoned by the Spanish, and living as an outlaw with a band of escaped slaves; he has his own inner demons to confront, and his own dark secrets to keep...

Ever since Sir Walter Raleigh's settlement in Virginia was abandoned in 1587 its fate has remained a mystery; 'The Lost Duchess' explores what might have happened to the ill-starred 'Lost Colony' of Roanoke.

Buy the Book

Amazon (AUS)
Amazon (UK)
Book Depository

About the Author

I've had a love of history and adventure ever since an encounter in infancy with a suit of armour at Tamworth Castle. Training as an artist, followed by a career as a city Jenny (Portrait 2)solicitor, did little to help displace my early dream of becoming a knight. A fascination with the Age of Discovery led to travels in South and Central America, and much of the inspiration for my debut came from retracing the footsteps of Francis Drake in Panama. The sequel centres on the first Elizabethan 'lost colony' of early Virginia. I am currently working on an epic adventure during the threat of invasion by the Spanish Armada.

My work has appeared in short story collections and anthologies and I've written for non-fiction publications including the Historical Novels Review. I am active in many organisations, having run the 'Get Writing' conferences for several years, and undertaken the co-ordination of the Historical Novel Society?s London Conference 2012. I am a member of that organisation as well as the Historical Writers' Association, the Romantic Nevelists' Association and the Society of Authors. I'll be co-ordinating the RNA's annual conference in 2014.

I have four children and now live on a farm in Dorset with my long suffering husband and an ever increasing assortment of animals.

I love travelling, art, reading and scrambling up hills and mountains (though I'm not so keen on coming down!).

Author Links

Jenny Barden's Blog
English Historical Fiction Authors Blog

Review:  The first thing I have to say about this book is that the cover is just stunning. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it. It definitely makes you want to jump right into the book.

I loved that this book dealt not only with Queen Elizabeth I's court as well as settling in the New World. It made this book more than just another Tudor novel. (Which would be fine by me, but I always like something different too)

Emme starts out as a Lady In Waiting to the Queen but scandal causes her to make changes in her life, and that involves traveling across the sea to the new world.

Then there's Kit. I really loved him, he's a hero we all want in our lives.

This is a book that is part romance and part adventure and one that is difficult to put down.

Rating: 4 flowers

Also by Jenny Barden

Mistress of the SeaPublication Date: June 20, 2013
Ebury Press
Formats: Paperback, Ebook

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Mistress Cooksley may be a wealthy merchant's daughter, but she blushes at my words and meets my eyes look for look. Yet I cannot hope to court her without fortune, and a dalliance with a pretty maid will not hinder me from my path.

Captain Drake's endeavour might bring me gold, but I, Will Doonan, will have my revenge.

The Spaniards captured my brother and have likely tortured and killed him. For God and St George, we'll strike at the dogs and see justice done.

I thought I'd left Mistress Cooksley behind to gamble everything and follow Drake, and here she is playing the boy at the ends of the world. She's a fool with a heart as brave as any man's. Yet her presence here could be the ruin of us all...

Virtual Tour & Book Blast Schedule

Monday, May 26
Book Blast at Reading the Ages
Book Blast at Literary Chanteuse
Book Blast at Bibliophilia, Please

Tuesday, May 27
Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews
Book Blast at Flashlight Commentary
Book Blast at To Read or Not to Read

Wednesday, May 28
Review at Carole's Ramblings and Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell

Thursday, May 29
Book Blast at The Maiden's Court
Book Blast at Cheryl's Book Nook
Book Blast at Book Reviews & More by Kathy

Friday, May 30
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Book Blast at The Mad Reviewer
Book Blast at Curling Up by the Fire

Saturday, May 31
Book Blast at From L.A. to LA
Book Blast at Gobs and Gobs of Books

Sunday, June 1
Book Blast at Lily Pond Reads
Book Blast at So Many Books, So Little Time

Monday, June 2
Review & Giveaway at The Tudor Enthusiast
Book Blast at The Bookworm
Book Blast at CelticLady's Reviews

Tuesday, June 3
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Book Blast at West Metro Mommy
Book Blast at bookworm2bookworm's Blog

Wednesday, June 4
Review at The Wormhole
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Book Blast at Kelsey's Book Corner

Thursday, June 5
Book Blast at Books and Benches
Book Blast at Book Lovers Paradise

Friday, June 6
Interview at Dianne Ascroft Blog
Book Blast at Kincavel Korner
Book Blast at Caroline Wilson Writes

Saturday, June 7
Book Blast at Royal Reviews
Book Blast at History Undressed

Sunday, June 8
Book Blast at Book Nerd

Monday, June 9
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Book Blast at The Musings of a Book Junkie

Tuesday, June 10
Review at She Reads Novels
Book Blast at Just One More Chapter
Book Blast at History From a Woman's Perspective

Wednesday, June 11
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Book Blast at Books in the Burbs

Thursday, June 12
Book Blast at Big Book, Little Book
Book Blast at Historical Fiction Notebook

Friday, June 13
Review at Susan Heim on Writing
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Saturday, June 14
Book Blast at Hardcover Feedback
Book Blast at One Book at a Time

Sunday, June 15
Book Blast at Passages to the Past

Monday, June 16
Review at Layered Pages
Review at Starting Fresh
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Tuesday, June 17
Review at The Lit Bitch
Book Blast at Griperang's Bookmarks

Wednesday, June 18
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading
Book Blast at Princess of Eboli

Thursday, June 19
Review at A Bookish Affair
Review at Little Reader Library
Book Blast at Girl Lost in a Book

Friday, June 20
Review at Broken Teepee
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at The Musings of ALMYBNENR
Guest Post & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

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