Monday, March 30, 2015

Book Review: An Amish Cradle

Author: Beth Wiseman, Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller & Vanetta Chapman
Title: An Amish Cradle
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publish Date: Feb 10, 2015
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb: 
In the Father's Arms by Beth Wiseman
Ruth Anne Zook is excited that she and her best friend are due with their children the same week. But when Ruth Anne's baby is born with Down Syndrome, she and her husband struggle to understand God's plan.

A Son for Always by Amy Clipston
Carolyn and her husband Joshua are thrilled to be pregnant with their first child. A teenager when she had her son Benjamin, Carolyn still feels obligated to work to secure Ben's future, even though Josh adopted Ben. She struggles to realize that Josh will love and protect both of their children equally.

A Heart Full of Love by Kathleen Fuller
Ellie's mother loves to meddle in her personal life-especially now that Ellie's pregnant. Since Ellie is blind, her mother worries that she won't be able to handle the baby. When Ellie gives birth to twins, her mother insists on moving in. Just as everyone reaches the breaking point, a miracle draws them closer to each other and to God.

An Unexpected Blessing by Vannetta Chapman

At 42, Etta thought her time of having children was over, but she's pregnant again. She goes into labor during a blizzard, and complications with the delivery raise fear. Etta struggles to accept Gotte's wille for the baby and her son, David, who moved away two years earlier in search of what he would do with his life.

Review: An Amish Cradle is a wonderful collection of stories of Amish couples becoming parents, some for the first time and others a welcome addition to the family

Each couple has some hardships that go along with the arrival of the boppoli (baby).

In The Father's Arms is the first novella, and it is my favorite of the four.  Ruth Anne and Levi have their first child and he has Down Syndrome. This story details a woman coming to terms with a child's disability as well as with a husband that his struggling with it. There are many times during their journey as new parents that you'll want to cry

A Son For Always is Amy Clipston's offering here, and it is a novella that is part of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series. Carolyn has found love with Joshua, and they are expecting their first child together, but she has doubts about him accepting her son Ben, that she had out of wedlock as a

I love that this story tackles an issue that you don't usually see in Amish fiction. It shows that the Amish have the same problem as the rest of the world

I did think that Carolyn's worries about Joshua were a bit excessive, but it also showed her deep love for her son.

This was an absolutely beautiful story that reminded me I have to get some more of Amy's books.

A Heart Full Of Love had my nerves on edge. I loved this story, but I wanted to reach into the pages and shake Ellie's mother most of the time. Ellie is blind and the mother of twins and Edna really steamrollers her after their birth with her over protectiveness.

There is a reason for her behavior and it will break your heart for her.

More than that, it shows what a strong, capable woman Ellie is.

The final story in the book is Vanetta Chapman's An Unexpected Blessing. I love Vanetta's books, and this was really a sweet story of a couple having a child later in life. Etta is 42 and her husband is 45, so there are challenges with her pregnancy.

I didn't quite feel that Mose should be acting as old as he was. OMG he was only 45!!!

There was more to this story than the new baby, there was also the return of their son, who was away on his rumspinga.

I liked the different family dynamic in this novella. I loved how the cradle was being passed back from Etta's son to his mother.

Four wonderful stories to warm your heart. Highly recommended to those of you that can't get enough Amish fiction

Rating: 5 flowers

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Book Review: Contract To Wed

Contract to Wed
by Holly Bush



1891 . . . Jolene Crawford Crenshaw, heiress and Boston socialite, went from her family home directly to Landonmore upon her marriage, the mansion she shared with her handsome and charismatic husband. She’d never in her life worried in the slightest over anything as crass as the dollars required to maintain that home or the lifestyle she’d been born to. Her extensive yearly wardrobe, the stables and the prime horseflesh within it, even the solid silver forks and knifes that graced her table, were expected and required to maintain the social standing that she’d cultivated over the years. But suddenly she was a widow with little money and just her pride and her secrets to keep her upright.

Max Shelby made his fortune in oil wells and cattle, but lost the love of his life the day his wife died. Now, his happy, carefree daughter needs instruction and guidance as she grows into a young lady and his dream of becoming a Senator from his adopted state of Texas seems out of reach with few political or social connections. The right wife would solve both problems. As it happens, his sister knows of a woman, a recent widow, charming, beautiful and socially astute, but in reduced circumstances, who may want to begin again. Max signed the wedding contract sight unseen.

Will Jolene be able to shed her sorrows, anger and fears to begin anew away from the censure and hidden tragedy that marred her life? Is her new husband, confident, strong and capable Max Shelby, the man, the only man, to see past her masks to find the woman beneath?

Review:  I'm a sucker for a good historical romance. Usually my setting of preference is Regency England, but I do love stories that involve marriages of convenience/mail order brides.

Jolene isn't a mail order bride, but her second marriage is a sort of arranged one. She's also not a character that you really like from the get go. She's stuck up and snobby and a little bit unpleasant. As the story progresses you see her change and grow.

Max is a widower with a daughter that needs refining and he has political aspirations. There really couldn't be a more perfect hero for a story like this.

The growth of their relationship will bring you smiles and maybe a few tears. Ok, a lot of tears near the end.

The focus of the book is on Jolene. There are a lot of issue with her and her family, as well as her first husband and his family. She inspires a lot of emotions from the reader, pity, anger and finally pride in the way she's changed. Considering the way she was treated by her family, it is amazing that she was able to change as much as she did.

This book is the second in the Crawford family series, and I can't wait to go back and read the first book.

Rating:  5 flowers

x-posted from The Certifiable Wenches 

Check out the original post to enter the contest for a $25 gift card for Amazon or B & N

Thursday, March 26, 2015

TLC Book Tours Book Review: A Reunion Of Ghosts

A Reunions of GhostsAbout A Reunion of Ghosts

• Print Length: 400 pages
• Publisher: Harper (March 24, 2015)
• Book Blurb:
Three wickedly funny sisters. One family's extraordinary legacy. A single suicide note that spans a century ... Meet the Alter sisters: Lady, Vee, and Delph. These three mordantly witty, complex women share their family's apartment on Manhattan's Upper West Side. They love each other fiercely, but being an Alter isn't easy. Bad luck is in their genes, passed down through the generations. Yet no matter what curves life throws at these siblings—and it's hurled plenty—they always have a wisecrack, and one another. In the waning days of 1999, the trio decides it's time to close the circle of the Alter curse. But first, as the world counts down to the dawn of a new millennium, Lady, Vee, and Delph must write the final chapter of a saga lifetimes in the making—one that is inexorably intertwined with that of the twentieth century itself. Unspooling threads of history, personal memory, and family lore, they weave a mesmerizing account of their lives that stretches back decades to their great-grandfather, a brilliant scientist whose professional triumph became the sinister legacy that defines them. Funny, heartbreaking, and utterly original, A Reunion of Ghosts is a magnificent novel about three unforgettable women bound to each other, and to their remarkable family, through the blessings and the burdens bestowed by blood.


 “What if the man who invented chemical weapons was also a grandfather, and what if his great-grandchildren grew up to be three hilarious, introverted, deeply-haunted sisters? And what if those sisters co-wrote a fascinating, funny, and deeply sad 350-page suicide note? Then you’d have A Reunion of Ghosts. This is a triumphant, beautiful, and devastating novel about coincidences, family, and the sins of our fathers.” — Anthony Doerr, New York Times bestselling author of All The Light We Cannot See
Add to Goodreads badge
Purchase Links

Review:  A Reunion of Ghosts is one of the most unique books I've read recently.  It wasn't an easy read, in fact, for awhile, I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to finish it. It took me quite a bit of time to warm to Lady, Vee and Delphie.

Three sisters, who come from an unusual family. Their great grandfather is is the father of chemical warfare. Not exactly something you want to brag about. His works seem to fuel a curse in the family. A curse that sees many of the family members committing suicide. The sister's plan to kill themselves on the last day of the year in 1999.

The sins of the fathers are visited upon the children to the 3rd and 4th generations. 

This is something that their mother Dahalia has said in regards to their family and it is so important that Delphine had it tattooed to her leg.

I found the first few chapters to be a bit confusing, but when the focus went to Lenz and Iris and the Einstein family, I was hooked. I read a great biography on Albert Einstein several years ago, and I like seeing how others see the genius.

The story alternates between events in the sister's lives and the past. I had a hard time dealing with the reasons the sister's wanted to commit suicide together. Ok, I could understand why Vee would want to. She has the worst luck of the three sisters, at least where her health is concerned.

It's Lady whose suicide attempts confused me the most. I didn't feel like there was a good reason for her wanting to take her life. (She has tried multiple times throughout the course the novel)

Just when they think they are going to do the deed, something happens. One of the family members that they thought was dead appears at their apartment and for a brief time, they see that maybe they aren't cursed.

The ending is bittersweet, and after meeting their aunt Violet and her son, I expected something different, but I still enjoyed the book even though things didn't end on a happy note.

Judith Claire MitchellAbout Judith Claire Mitchell

Judith Claire Mitchell, author of the novel The Last Day of the War, is an English professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where she directs the MFA program in creative writing. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Judy has received fellowships from the James A. Michener/Copernicus Society, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, the Wisconsin Arts Board, and elsewhere. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with her husband, the artist Don Friedlich. Find out more about Judith at her website, and connect with her on Facebook.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bewitching BookTours Cover Reveal: Two Princes

Two Princes: The Biker and The Billionaire
Sons of Sanctuary
Book 1
Victoria Danann

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: 7th House Publishing,
Imprint of Andromeda LLC

Date of Publication: June 16, 2015

Number of pages: 300
Word Count: 90,000

Cover Artist: Victoria Danann

Book Description:

Brigid Roan is a graduate student at the University of Texas. She had no trouble getting her thesis approved, but finding a Hill Country motorcycle club willing to give her access to their lifestyle had started to seem impossible. Then she got a lead. A friend of a friend had a cousin with ties to The Sons of Sanctuary.

What she wanted was information to prove a proposition. What she didn’t want was to fall for one of the members of the club. Especially since she had set out to prove that motorcycle clubs are organized according to the same structure as primitive tribal society.

Brash Fornight was standing in line at the H.E.B. Market when his world tipped on its axis. While waiting his turn to check out, his gaze had wandered to the magazine display and settled on the new issue of “NOW”. The image on the cover, although GQ’d up in an insanely urbane way, was… him.

After reading the article, Brash threw some stuff in a duffle and left his club, The Sons of Sanctuary, with a vague explanation about needing a couple of days away. He left his Jeep at the Austin airport and caught a plane for New York, on a mission to find the guy who was walking around with his face.

Two brothers, one a player, one a playboy, are on a collision course with destiny and a woman who thought she won a prize when she was allowed a look inside the Sons of Sanctuary MC.


“Sir?” Brash Fornight gradually became aware that someone behind him in the grocery checkout line was trying to get his attention. “Sir?” He refocused and glanced behind him. The woman leaning on a cart overflowing with chip bags and cookie boxes nodded toward the cashier indicating that it was his turn to move forward. Brash looked her in the eye and had to give her props. Most people wouldn’t have the balls to try to herd a guy wearing Sons of Sanctuary MC leather.
The club employed a woman who cooked and did grocery shopping several times a week as part of her job description, but Brash didn’t like to explain his relentless craving for peanuts and he liked being teased about it even less. He didn’t know whether it was the Vitamin B or the fat or just because he liked the taste, but he couldn’t imagine going a day without them.
That’s how he came to be standing statue still In the grocery checkout line, being prompted by some woman with more nerve than sense. While he was waiting, his eyes drifted over the magazine display and settled on the cover of “NOW”, on the Most Eligible Bachelor edition no less. The debonair figure staring back was wearing Brash’s own face and body. He looked different with short hair and a four thousand dollar suit with the shirt fashionably open at the neckline, but the similarity was inescapable.
On impulse he grabbed the magazine and tossed it onto the conveyor belt with his week’s stash of peanuts.
He stuffed the bags into the saddlebags of his bike and roared toward home, nervously tapping his fingers on handlebars at red lights, riding on shoulders to keep from slowing down. He was anxious to get to the privacy of his own room and read about Branach St. Germaine.
Two beers, one jar of peanuts, and one “NOW” article later, Brash was sitting on the edge of his bed looking at the wall, seeing nothing but his own heavy thoughts. He pulled out his phone, looked up a website, and waited on hold for ten minutes to hear the time of the next flight from Austin to New York.

There was a flight to Newark in a little over three hours. He looked at his watch and calculated the time it would take to drive from Dripping Springs at that time of day. As he booked the flight, he stood up, walked to the small closet, grabbed a duffel bag, and began shoving stuff into it. Ten minutes later, he closed his door and locked it, threw the duffel over his shoulder, and headed straight for the office downstairs. He dropped the duffel on the hallway floor beside the closed door and knocked.
“Yeah?” Brash looked inside, glad that his dad was by himself, and stepped in. “What’s up?”
“I’m takin’ personal time, Pop. Gonna be gone for a couple of days.”
“What the hell is ‘personal time’?”
The gruffness made Brash smile. “It means I’m not gonna be here if you call and I’m not tellin’ you why.”
The Sons of Sanctuary President looked up at Brash, over the top of his readers, and narrowed his eyes. “You got a secret?”
“Everybody’s got secrets.”
Brandon Fornight studied his son for a minute. “True enough. Is it the kind of secret that could affect this club?”
Brash shook his head. “Don’t see how.”
“Well, then. See you… When did you say you’d be back?”
“I didn’t.”
“Bein’ purposefully vague, are you?”
Brash grinned. “That’s why they call it personal time. But I expect to be back Friday.”
“You gonna have your phone with you?” When Brash nodded, Bran looked back down at his ledger in a deliberately dismissive gesture. “Well, get outta here then.”
Brash parked his bike in the airplane hangar. The structure had already been on the property when the club had bought it and turned it into a compound twenty years earlier. They used part of it for vehicle maintenance and repair and part for parking.
Some of the guys who were working looked over and shot curious glances his way when Brash threw his duffel into his pickup and started it up, but it wasn’t their way to ask questions. The Sons figured that if somebody wanted you to know something, they’d tell you.
Brash took a cab to a midtown hotel, wondering all the way why human beings would choose to live in such a place. As he slid his credit card across the hotel counter to the agent on duty, he glanced at the name, Brandon Fornight. It seemed unlikely that it was a coincidence that that the mysterious look-alike’s first name began with the same four letters. He ordered room service and pulled out his laptop.
Getting intel on the guy didn’t take advanced ops. Within an hour Brash knew where Brannach St. Germaine worked, what kind of car he drove, what kind of women he dated, who his tailor was, and where he liked to dine. There was no shortage of photos online, but the one that grabbed his attention wasn’t one of the many with starlets or debutantes on his arm. It was the one taken with his arm around his mother as they were arriving together for some red carpet fundraiser. Brash had an almost irresistible compulsion to reach up and touch her face on the screen in front of him.
The knock on the door signaled that room service had arrived. It cost a fortune, but looked and tasted like shit. So he closed the computer and went out for a walk to clear his head and find something edible.

About the Author:

USA Today Bestselling Author, Victoria Danann, is making her debut into Contemporary Romance with releases in May and June 2015, after taking the world of PNR by storm.

Her Knights of Black Swan series won Best Paranormal Romance Two years in a Row (2013, 2014). ~Reviewers Choice Awards, The Paranormal Romance Guild.

Victoria’s paranormal romances come with uniquely fresh perspectives on “imaginary” creatures, characters, and themes. She adds a dash of scifi, a flourish of fantasy, enough humor to make you laugh out loud, and enough steam to make you squirm in your chair. Her heroines are independent femmes with flaws and minds of their own whether they are aliens, witches, demonologists, psychics, past life therapists, or financial analysts from Dallas. Her heroes are hot and hunky, but they also have brains, character, and good manners – usually – whether they be elves, demons, berserkers, werewolves, or vampires.

The first book of the Knights of Black Swan Paranormal Romance Series, My Familiar Stranger, was nominated for Best Paranormal Romance of 2012 by both Reviewers’ Choice and Readers’ Choice Awards. All of her books have opened on the Amazon Best Sellers list and earned Night Owl Reviews Top Pick awards.

Many have appeared on Listopia Book of the Month as #1 across all genres.

For books published in 2013, Black Swan won three awards.

1. Best Paranormal Romance Series
2. Best Paranormal Romance Novel – A SUMMONER’S TALE

3. Best Vampire~Shifter Novel – MOONLIGHT.

In 2014, Solomon’s Sieve won Best Vampire Novel.

Photo- If you’re interested in me personally, I am also a classically trained musician who defected to Classic Rock and that’s my first love. Yeah. Even more than writing.

This is Roadhouse, the very best in Classic Rock, taken near The Last Concert Cafe, Houston Texas, 2011. I was the utility player which means I played rhythm guitar, keyboards, sang backups and a few leads.


Tour giveaway

NOTE: This is the celebrity featured on the cover of TWO PRINCES.

Embed code

Display link

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Book Review: A Seal's Pleasure

Author: Tawny Weber
Title: A SEAL's Pleasure
Publisher: Harlequin Blaze
Publish Date: April 21, 2015
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb: 
Subject: Navy SEAL Gabriel Thorne

Mission: Initiate Operation: Romance…and prove that one night isn't enough!

Explosives expert and Navy SEAL Gabriel "Romeo" Thorne makes his living tempting fate. Pushing the limits. So far, he's never lost—especially when it comes to women. That is, until his best friend's wedding, where Gabriel is suddenly face-to-face—and deliciously body-to-body—with the one woman hot enough to detonate his self-control.

Tessa Monroe is used to being in control with men. Gabriel, on the other hand, is pretty much her sex kryptonite. Hard, gorgeous, dark-eyed kryptonite. Even as her defenses whisper "danger," lust demands she take her pleasure with him and then run. Now they're skirting the edge of an explosive attraction…where one wrong move could mean disaster.

Review: If you read A SEAL's Secret you have to red A SEAL's Pleasure. This book is part of Tawny Weber's awesome, Uniformly Hot! series. It picks up where  A SEAL's Secret left off, with Livy and Mitch getting ready to walk down the aisle.

This story focuses on Romeo and Tessa, Mitch and Livy's bffs respectively. Romeo, or rather Gabriel, and Tessa are two peas in a pod when it comes to their sexuality and their views on marriage and relationships. I actually love Gabriel's nickname. It suits him.

As they both plan their seduction of the other, we find that Tawny can write sexy without the character having sex.  Romeo and Tessa don't really get it together until about halfway through the book, but there's a lot more going on that will leave most readers wanting a cold shower. Those scenes have more impact than the actual sex scenes.  They are smoking hot! Romeo teaches Tessa that sometimes it's better to wait than go in for the action right away.

There's more going on than just their hot relationship. One of Tessa's partners at her magazine is keeping secrets and for Romeo there's a SEAL teammate that isn't really a team player.

I really loved the continuity of this book, because I loved everyone in  A SEAL's Secret. It was great to see them again while getting to know Tessa and Romeo better.

A fabulous read. I can't wait for the next installment.

Rating: 5 flowers

Monday, March 23, 2015

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours Book Review: The Countess' Captive

Please join Author Andrea Cefalo as she tours with HF Virtual Book Tours for The Countess' Captive Blog Tour, from March 23-April 16. Take The Countess' Captive Playbuzz quiz and enter to win a Fairytale Keeper Clutch Purse & $25 Amazon Gift Card!

03_The Countess' Captive_CoverPublication Date: February 14, 2015
Scarlet Primrose Press
Formats: eBook; Paperback
Pages: 232

Series: Book Two, Fairytale Keeper Series
Genre: Young Adult/Historical/Fairytale Retelling

Add to GR Button

During March of 1248, Adelaide Schumacher-affectionately called Snow White-has lost so much: her mother, her possessions, and now her home.

Adelaide hates abandoning her home city, her family’s legacy, and her first love?Ivo. More than anything, she hates her father growing closer to her mother’s cousin?Galadriel. Adelaide plots to end their tryst before her fate is sealed, and she never sets foot in Cologne again.

But good and pious can only get Galadriel so far. Never again will she be destitute. Never again will she be known by the cruel moniker?Cinderella. Never again will someone take what is rightfully hers. No matter what it takes.

The Countess’ Captive is the much anticipated follow-up to The Fairytale Keeper and is book two in The Fairytale Keeper series. The novel combines Grimm’s fairytale characters with real historical settings and events to create a tale that leaves the reader wondering where fact ends and fiction begins.

Praise for The Fairytale Keeper Series

“A…resonant tale set late in the 13th century… with unexpected plot twists. An engaging story of revenge.” –Publisher’s Weekly

“Great historical fiction. Strong emotion injected into almost every page.” –Amazon Vine Reviewer

“…a unique twist on the Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Part fairy tale retelling, part historical fiction… The Fairytale Keeper is a story of corruption.” -Copperfield Historical Fiction Review

“The story that Cefalo weaves is intriguing and leaves you hanging on, wanting more.” -Hooked to Books Book Review Blog

“…it doesn’t feel like any retelling. Because it’s not. The Fairytale Keeper is its own unique story…very entertaining, containing a strong female role, a sweet romance, and much more.” -Lulu The Bookworm Book Review Blog

Buy the eBook

Barnes and Noble

Review: I read The Fairytale Keeper last year and I loved it. I wish I had a chance to re-read it before jumping into The Countess' Captaive, because it took me awhile to get back into the story.

So for anyone that might be considering this one, you definitely should read The Fairytale Keeper first. It will make your reading experience much easier.

It was good to see growth in the characters. Adelaide is really becoming a strong woman and you really come to love her in this book, butt you will probably want to throttle her too, as much as you will want to throttle Galadriel. Galadriel is her mother's cousin, who is now involved with Adelaide's father.

Some of the tales passed on were pretty gruesome particularly The Three Army Surgeons, which is one I wasn't familiar with. Adelaide grows as a storyteller in this novel as well. One of the stories she passes on takes a nice little shot at Galadriel, and that is Cinderella. Adelaide's continued story here almost puts her as "Cinderella," with Galadriel as the wicked step mother, though  I didn't really feel Galadriel was all that wicked, a little scheming, yes, wicked no.

The only thing I really missed in this story was Ivo. I wish he would have played a bigger part in this novel, because his presence might have taken the edge off Adelaide's whining.

Once again, Ms Cefalo blends fairytales with history in a way that will keep you turning the pages.  I can't wait for the next book.

Rating: 4 flowers

01_Andrea Cefalo_Author About the Author

Andrea Cefalo is an award-winning author and blogger on Medieval Europe. The next three novels in The Fairytale Keeper series will debut in 2015 and 2016. She resides in Greenville, South Carolina with her husband and their two border collies. For more information please visit Andrea Cefalo's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

The Countess' Captive Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, March 23
Review at Library Educated
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Tuesday, March 24
Guest Post at What Is That Book About
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Wednesday, March 25
Review at Back Porchervations
Spotlight at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Thursday, March 26
Review at Cheryl's Book Nook

Friday, March 27
Review at Bibliotica
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Saturday, March 28
Spotlight at Romantic Historical Fiction Lovers

Monday, March 30
Review at 100 Pages a Day - Stephanie's Book Reviews

Tuesday, March 31
Review at Bookish

Wednesday, April 1
Review at Shelf Full of Books

Thursday, April 2
Guest Post at The Lit Bitch

Friday, April 3
Spotlight at Caroline Wilson Writes

Monday, April 6
Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews

Tuesday, April 7
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective

Friday, April 10
Review at Boom Baby Reviews

Monday, April 13
Review at Brooke Blogs

Tuesday, April 14
Review at A Leisure Moment

Wednesday, April 15
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Thursday, April 16
Spotlight at Books and Benches

Friday, April 17
Review at A Book Drunkard


To enter to win a Fairytale Keeper Clutch Purse & $25 Amazon Gift Card please complete the giveaway form below.

Clutch Purse Giveaway

* Giveaway is open to US residents only.
* Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on April 17th.
* You must be 18 or older to enter.
* Only one entry per household.
* All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and  entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
* Winner will be chosen via GLEAM on April 18th and notified via email. Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
* Please email Amy @ with any questions.

The Countess' Captive

 photo d510c0be-0751-408d-92cc-d955605f8222.png

Friday, March 20, 2015

TLC Book Tours Book Review: The Reluctant Midwife

The Reluctant MidwifeAbout The Reluctant Midwife

Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
• Publish Date:  March 3, 2015
• Book Blurb:
The USA Today bestselling author of The Midwife of Hope River returns with a heartfelt sequel, a novel teeming with life and full of humor and warmth, one that celebrates the human spirit. The Great Depression has hit West Virginia hard. Men are out of work; women struggle to feed hungry children. Luckily, Nurse Becky Myers has returned to care for them. While she can handle most situations, Becky is still uneasy helping women deliver their babies. For these mothers-to-be, she relies on an experienced midwife, her dear friend Patience Murphy. Though she is happy to be back in Hope River, time and experience have tempered Becky’s cheerfulness-as tragedy has destroyed the vibrant spirit of her former employer Dr Isaac Blum, who has accompanied her. Patience too has changed. Married and expecting a baby herself, she is relying on Becky to keep the mothers of Hope River safe. But becoming a midwife and ushering precious new life into the world is not Becky’s only challenge. Her skills and courage will be tested when a calamitous forest fire blazes through a Civilian Conservation Corps camp. And she must find a way to bring Isaac back to life and rediscover the hope they both need to go on. Full of humor and compassion, The Reluctant Midwife is a moving tribute to the power of optimism and love to overcome the most trying circumstances and times, and is sure to please fans of the poignant Call the Midwife series.

  Add to Goodreads badge
Purchase Links

Review: I didn't realize when I picked up this book that it was part of a series, but not to worry you didn't need to read The Midwife Of Hope River.

This story takes place during the Great Depression in a small town in West Virginia. I've read a lot of books that take place during this time period, but West Virginia really was hit hard by the depression. As you see how hard the people worked and struggled to get by.

It really is hard to imagine how they lived on so very little, and my heart ached for so many of them.

Nurse Becky isn't quite the woman I expected her to be. She's a compassionate nurse, caring for her former boss because no one else will, including his family. She is a registered nurse, but she doesn't like delivering babies. That kind of struck me as odd, but it definitely allows her to fit the title of the book.

I loved her relationship with Dr. Blum, which is really just odd,

The story is told through snippets of patients or events, but not quite like a diary, except when Becky starts midwife duties, and then she sums up the deliveries. More important than those entries are the ones that Dr. Blum makes as he begins his recovery.

These books have recommended to people that like the Call The Midwife series, and I definitely can say that is a good rec. It also lets you see how midwifes worked in the US.

Most of all, this is a book that will really get your emotions in a twist. You will laugh and cry many times over while reading this book.

This was a really well written novel that I read in one day.

Rating: 5 flowers

39473About Patricia Harman

Patricia Harman, CNM, got her start as a lay midwife on rural communes and went on to become a nurse-midwife on the faculty of Ohio State University, Case Western Reserve University, and West Virginia University. She lives near Morgantown, West Virginia; has three sons; and is the author of two acclaimed memoirs. Find out more about Patricia at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Book Review Mademoiselle Chanel

Mademoiselle ChanelAbout Mademoiselle Chanel

Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (March 17, 2015)
Book Blurb:
She revolutionized fashion and built an international empire . . . all on her own terms

Born into rural poverty, Gabrielle Chanel and her sisters are sent to a convent orphanage after their mother's death. The nuns of the order nurture Gabrielle's exceptional sewing skills, a talent that would propel the willful young woman into a life far removed from the drudgery of her childhood.

Burning with ambition, the petite brunette transforms herself into Coco, by day a hard-working seamstress and by night a singer in a nightclub, where her incandescence draws in a wealthy gentleman who becomes the love of her life. She immerses herself in his world of money and luxury, discovering a freedom that sparks her creativity. But it is only when her lover takes her to Paris that Coco discovers her destiny.

Rejecting the frilly, corseted silhouette of the past, Coco's sleek, minimalist styles reflect the youthful ease and confidence of the 1920s modern woman. As her reputation spreads, her couture business explodes, taking her into rarefied circles of society and bohemian salons. But her fame and fortune cannot save her from heartbreak as the years pass. And when Paris falls to the Nazis, Coco is forced to make choices that will haunt her always.

An enthralling novel about an entirely self-made woman, Mademoiselle Chanel tells the true story of Coco Chanel's extraordinary ambition, passion, and artistic vision.

Add to Goodreads badge
Purchase Links

Review:  I've read several of C.W. Gortner's books before, and usually they deal with royalty, but Coco Chanel is royalty, fashion royalty.

Gortner treated her in the same way he treats the other royalty he writes about.

I don't know much about Chanel, except that for a brief period of time in my younger life, I spent way too much on the cosmetics that have the same name. (Yet, I never shelled out the cash or a bottle of perfume...go figure)

I loved getting to know Coco. She was definitely a woman ahead of her time. She's also a woman that you have mixed feelings about. I think to get where she did, you simply couldn't be "nice."

Gortner has a way of captivating his readers with the subject matter, and this book did that. From the very start you become immersed in Coco's life; her humble upbringing to her rise in the fashion world and everything in between.

If you've read any of his other novels, you won't be disappointed by this one, and if you are just starting here, be prepared to be impressed.

Rating: 5 flowers

CW GortnerAbout C. W. Gortner

A former fashion executive, C. W. Gortner is a lifelong admirer of Coco Chanel. His passion for writing led him to give up fashion, and his many historical novels have been bestsellers, published in more than twenty countries. He lives in San Francisco. Find out more about C.W. Gortner at his website and connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

TLC Book Tours Book Review: A Dangerous Place

About A Dangerous Place

• Hardcover: 320 pages
• Publisher: Harper (March 17, 2015)
• Book Blurb: Maisie Dobbs returns in a powerful story of political intrigue and personal tragedy: a brutal murder in the British garrison town of Gibraltar leads the investigator into a web of lies, deceit, and danger.

Spring 1937. In the four years since she left England, Maisie Dobbs has experienced love, contentment, stability—and the deepest tragedy a woman can endure. Now, all she wants is the peace she believes she might find by returning to India. But her sojourn in the hills of Darjeeling is cut short when her stepmother summons her home to England: her aging father, Frankie Dobbs, is not getting any younger. On a ship bound for England, Maisie realizes she isn't ready to return. Against the wishes of the captain who warns her, "You will be alone in a most dangerous place," she disembarks in Gibraltar. Though she is on her own, Maisie is far from alone: the British garrison town is teeming with refugees fleeing a brutal civil war across the border in Spain. And the danger is very real. Days after Maisie's arrival, a photographer and member of Gibraltar's Sephardic Jewish community, Sebastian Babayoff, is murdered, and Maisie becomes entangled in the case, drawing the attention of the British Secret Service. Under the suspicious eye of a British agent, Maisie is pulled deeper into political intrigue on "the Rock"—arguably Britain's most important strategic territory—and renews an uneasy acquaintance in the process. At a crossroads between her past and her future, Maisie must choose a direction, knowing that England is, for her, an equally dangerous place, but in quite a different way.

  Add to Goodreads badge
Purchase Links
Amazon | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble

Review:  I've read the first book in the series and a few of the later ones. A Dangerous Place is the most recent Maisie Dobbs book. I love Maisie, but after reading the first chapter, I really wonder how much Jacqueline likes her.

I don't want to spoil anything, but I'll just say, a well liked character is killed off and it just left me gutted. So gutted that it was hard to continue reading the book. It really made me wonder what Jacqueline is planning for poor Maisie in the future, or if her world is winding down.

I enjoyed the story, but it felt different from her other novels, of course, Maisie is dealing with some devastating personal issues, but her mystery is now leaning towards spying, which is really a switcheroo from her usual sleuthing. 

It seems like Maisie might be going the route of Maggie Hope, which may or may not be a good thing.

I still enjoyed the novel even though Maisie was a bit of downer in this book.

Rating: 4 flowers

About Jacqueline Winspear

Jacqueline Winspear is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Leaving Everything Most LovedElegy for EddieA Lesson in SecretsThe Mapping of Love and Death, Among the Mad, and An Incomplete Revenge, as well as four other national bestselling Maisie Dobbs novels. Her standalone novel, The Care and Management of Lies, was also a New York Times bestseller. She has won numerous awards for her work, including the Agatha, Alex, and Macavity awards for the first book in the series, Maisie Dobbs, which was also nominated for the Edgar Award for Best Novel and was a New York Times Notable Book. Find out more about Jacqueline at her website,, and find her on Facebook.

Great Escapes Book Tours Book Review: Sea Change

Sea Change
(The Nina Bannister Mysteries Book 1)

Paperback: 286 pages
Publisher: Cozy Cat Press (May 14, 2013)
ISBN-13: 978-1939816085

Bay St. Lucy is a sleepy little Gulf Coast community––and that’s the way its residents like it. Most of them generally ignore the monstrous old Robinson mansion that sits in the center of town, until one day, insane old man Robinson dies and leaves the house and its accompanying fortune to the town. The residents are ecstatic and begin planning improved schools and cultural centers. Local retired school teacher and village elder Nina Bannister is sent to the man’s funeral in New Orleans and to represent Bay St. Lucy at the reading of his will. However, Nina returns from her trip saddened to report that a long lost Robinson relative has appeared to claim the entire inheritance. Almost immediately, the new owner––flamboyant Eve Ivory––arrives and announces her own plans to turn Bay St. Lucy into a extravagant vacation resort, not plans that anyone in this small town like at all and ones that will quickly lead to murder.

Review: I love quirky mystery series, and the Nina Bannister novels definitely fit the bill, if book 1 is any indication. This book was a bit slow going, but it really set the tone of life in Bay St. Lucy as well as letting you see what type of person, Nina Bannister is. She's a retired school teacher. The town is odd, in that it is "owned" by a mobster.

When he dies, the town thinks they are going to inherit everything and make vast improvements.

That doesn't happen when a long lost relative in the form of Eve Ivory turns up. And Eve, gorgeous as she is, is not a nice lady.

Hence her turning up dead.

I really took to this book, because Nina is the type of lady that tells it like it is, and seeing some of the stuff she's thinking but doesn't say will have you laughing out load.

I really enjoyed this read, and hope to finish book 6 in the coming days

Rating: 4 flowers

Other Books In This Series 

March 17 – The Gal in the Blue Mask – Review, Interview
March 18 – Tea and A Book – Review, Interview, Giveaway
March 19 – A Chick Who Reads – Review
March 20 – Babs Book Bistro – Guest Post, Giveaway
March 21 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
March 22 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Spotlight
March 23 – Back Porchervations – Review
Blog Design by Use Your Imagination Designs using images from the Tea Time kit and the Saturday Night kit by MK-Designs