Saturday, January 30, 2016

Book Review: The Photograph

Author: Beverly Lewis
Title: The Photograph
Publisher: Bethany House
Publish Date: Sept 8, 2015
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: 
Eva Esch and her sisters are in a predicament. With the passing of their widowed mother, Eva's older brother Menno plans to move his growing family into the Eden Valley farmhouse where they all grew up, leaving little room for his three single sisters. Surely, Menno reasons, at least one of them will marry this coming wedding season. Eva does hope to marry, but she isn't sure she wants to give up her sweet shop for the life of a farmer's wife, and she has no other prospects.

When younger sister, Lily, disappears in the night, leaving only a brief note, Eva fears she has been wooed away from the People by an outsider. And when Jed Stutzman, a young Amish buggy maker from Ohio, shows up in Lancaster with a photo of a Plain young woman, Eva's world begins to tilt. She feels powerfully drawn to the quietly charming stranger--but the woman in the forbidden photograph is no stranger at all. . . .

Review: I am a huge fan of Amish fiction. Beverly Lewis is one of the greats in this genre. I've always found her books to be like soap operas, especially when she wrote her sagas, that were usually 3 books.

Recently she's been writing stand alone novels and for the most part they have been fabulous, but for some reason The Photograph feels like she's phoned this one in. My high school creative writing teacher would call this one a pot boiler.

There was the usual drama going on, with Lily running off and the sister's brother wanting to take over the family farm, forcing the sisters to possibly find a new place to live as well as Eva losing out on the candy shop her father had built for her.

The trouble with this book was how flat the characters felt to me and I wished the story could have focused on Lily and her reasons for leaving. You get all the information on her at the end, but it just didn't feel fulfilling.

Menno was the story's villain, but even that didn't feel right to me. I mean, how could he not care for his three sisters, especially as they were all unmarried, and they all had recently lost their mother.

I did like Jed and Eva. There romance, though to be perfectly honest, there wasn't much of one in the story was sweet. I liked that he came to really know her through the writings on her copy of "Little Women."  The main conflict involves the photo that he finds in the book on the train to Lancaster. He mistakenly thinks the photo is of Eva.

Most books by Beverly Lewis are quick reads for me, but this one took me quite a while to finish because the story just didn't seem to go anywhere. It was like spinning wheels. It was a good enough book, but not one of Lewis' best.

Rating: 3 flowers

Friday, January 29, 2016

Historical Fiction Virtual Tours Book Reviews: The Secrets of Lizzie Borden

02_The Secrets of Lizzie BordenThe Secrets of Lizzie Borden

by Brandy Purdy
Publication Date: January 26, 2016
Kensington Books
eBook & Print; 384 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

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In her enthralling, richly imagined new novel, Brandy Purdy, author of The Ripper’s Wife, creates a compelling portrait of the real, complex woman behind an unthinkable crime.

Lizzie Borden should be one of the most fortunate young women in Fall River, Massachusetts. Her wealthy father could easily afford to provide his daughters with fashionable clothes, travel, and a rich, cultured life. Instead, haunted by the ghost of childhood poverty, he forces Lizzie and her sister, Emma, to live frugally, denying them the simplest modern conveniences. Suitors and socializing are discouraged, as her father views all gentleman callers as fortune hunters.

Lonely and deeply unhappy, Lizzie stifles her frustration, dreaming of the freedom that will come with her eventual inheritance. But soon, even that chance of future independence seems about to be ripped away. And on a stifling August day in 1892, Lizzie’s long-simmering anger finally explodes…

Vividly written and thought-provoking, The Secrets of Lizzie Borden explores the fascinating events behind a crime that continues to grip the public imagination—a story of how thwarted desires and desperate rage could turn a dutiful daughter into a notorious killer.


Review: Brandy Purdy is an author that never ever disappoints. I started reading her books about Turdor England. They were fabulous. Now she's taken a darker turn, writing about Jack the Ripper and now Lizzie Borden.

This book is told from Lizzie's perspective and it will make you feel sympathetic to her.  It gives you a good portrait of her life and just gives you a feeling of WOW! Purdy really delves into the life of woman that really went bad, but her story gives you the possible reasons why. Its hard to imagine a crime such as Lizzie's. What could really drive someone to do something like that? In some ways if her life were as Purdy paints it, and there are seeds of mental illness, heck if anyone lived like Lizzie did, there's a chance that you might end up mentally ill, well you could definitely come unhinged.

This was definitely a darker tale, but then again, how could a book about Lizzie Borden be anything but.

Highly recommended!

Rating: 5 flowers

About the Author

Brandy Purdy (Emily Purdy in the UK) is the author of the historical novels THE CONFESSION OF PIERS GAVESTON, THE BOLEYN WIFE (THE TUDOR WIFE), THE TUDOR THRONE (MARY & ELIZABETH), THE QUEEN'S PLEASURE (A COURT AFFAIR), THE QUEEN'S RIVALS (THE FALLEN QUEEN), THE BOLEYN BRIDE, and THE RIPPER'S WIFE. An ardent book lover since early childhood, she first became interested in history at the age of nine or ten years old when she read a book of ghost stories which contained a chapter about Anne Boleyn haunting the Tower of London. Visit her website at, you can also follow her on Facebook as Brandy Purdy aka Emily Purdy.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, January 26
Review at Julz Reads
Review at Unshelfish

Wednesday, January 27
Review at Time 2 Read
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Thursday, January 28
Review at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Friday, January 29
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Interview at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Monday, February 1
Review at A Bookish Affair

Tuesday, February 2
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Wednesday, February 3
Review at Broken Teepee

Thursday, February 4
Review at Book Lovers Paradise

Friday, February 5
Review at The True Book Addict

Monday, February 08
Review at Brooke Blogs

Tuesday, February 09
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Interview at Brooke Blogs

Wednesday, February 10
Review at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, February 11
Review A Book Geek

Friday, February 12
Review at History From a Women's Perspective

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Great Escapes Book Tours Book Reviews: Plain Dead

PLAIN DEAD large banner640

plain dead
Plain Dead

by Emma Miller
(An Amish Mystery)

3rd in Series
Cozy Mysteries
Publisher: Kensington (December 29, 2015)
Paperback: 272 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758291769



When a newspaperman is murdered in the Amish community of Stone Mill, Pennsylvania, Rachel Mast digs up the dirt to find out who wanted to bury the lead…
Although she left her Old Order Amish ways in her youth, Rachel discovered corporate life in the English world to be complicated and unfulfilling. Having returned to Stone Mill, she’s happy to be running her own B&B. But she’s also learning—in more ways than one—that the past is not always so easily left behind.
After local newspaperman Bill Billingsly is found gagged and tied to his front porch, left to freeze overnight in a snowstorm, Detective Evan Parks—Rachel’s beau—uncovers a file of scandalous information Billingsly intended to publish, including a record of Rachel pleading no contest to charges of corporate misconduct. Though Evan is certain of her innocence, it’s up to Rachel to find the real killer. A closer examination of the victim’s unpublished report leads Rachel to believe the Amish community is far from sinless. But if she’s not careful her obituary might be the next to appear in print…

Review: I love Amish fiction and mysteries involving the Amish always intrigue me, especially when one of my favorite authors is involved. Emma Miller has written many wonderful novels for Love Inspired and I've read many of them.

Plain Dead is the third book her Amish Mystery series and it can be read as a stand alone. In fact, this is one of the few series books that I didn't feel like I was missing out by not having read the other two books.

I loved the interactions between Rachel and the townspeople as well as her Amish family. She's truly living in two worlds, and you can definitely see the Amish in her even though she has lived the English life for many years.

I found the pacing of this story to be a little slow at times. I like my cozies to move along quickly. I did love the scenes around the Winter Frolic.

Her relationship with Evan is a bit hard for me to deal with, but that has a lot to do with her Amish background. The murder really puts a strain on their engagement that they haven't told anyone about. (Although most seem to know about it already)

There are plenty of people who have reasons to want Billingsly dead, and Rachel sets out to find out who the killer is, because she's also a person of interest, having had an argument with him the day before he was found, and he had information on her past that he was threatening to expose.

As she starts to eliminate suspects, she's the only one left standing. Then a young Amish boy ends up dead, and the circumstances just don't sit well with her.

When the killer is found it really shocked me. It was the last person that I expected.

This was a wonderfully well written mystery. So glad Emma is writing in this genre, because that means more books for me to read.

Rating: 4 flowers

About The Author

Emma Miller is the author of Redeeming Grace and Anna's Gift.  She lives with her family in Kent County, Delaware

Purchase Links

Tour Participants

January 20 – Back Porchervations – Review

January 21 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – Review

January 22 – Mallory Heart's Cozies – Review

January 23 – Island Confidential – Spotlight

January 24 – Brooke Blogs – Spotlight

January 25 – Melina's Book Blog – Review

January 26 – Queen of All She Reads – Review

January 27 – View from the Birdhouse - Spotlight

January 28 – A Chick Who Reads – Review

January 28 – Christa Reads and Writes – Spotlight

January 29 – Laura's Interests – Review

January 29 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Review

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

TLC Book Tours Book Review: Beside Myself

Author: Ann Morgan
Title: Beside Myself
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publish Date: Jan 12, 2016
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tours
Book Blurb: 
Six-year-old Helen and Ellie are identical twins, but Helen is smarter, more popular, and their mother's favorite. Ellie, on the other hand, requires special instruction at school, is friendless, and is punished at every turn.

Until they decide to swap places--just for fun, and just for one day--and Ellie refuses to switch back. Everything of Helen's, from her toys to her friends to her identity, now belongs to her sister. With those around her oblivious to her plight, the girl who used to be Helen loses her sense of self and withdraws into a spiral of behavioral problems, delinquency, and mental illness. In time, she's not even sure of her memory of the switch.

Twenty-five years later, she receives a call that threatens to pull her back into her sister's dangerous orbit. Will she take this chance to face her past?

Review: This is one of those books that you have to digest. It reminds me of Gone Girl, not in the plot but in how I felt about the characters.

The Helen/Ellie characters are both really intensely unlikable, but none of the characters more so than the girls' mother. The whole time I was reading the book, I found her to be truly nasty and without any regard for the life of her other daughter.

I couldn't understand why they never tried to do anything to help Ellie, long before she was the trouble maker that was out of control. I mean what kind of mother is like that!!! And to thing it all started with a day when two twins switched places. That's pretty common place in books.

I felt sorry for her, because her family was just awful. Actually, Helen was pretty awful to Ellie before the switch and their Mother was really terrible period. What I didn't quite get was how easily the two sisters took on the other sister's life. That didn't make much sense to me if the real Ellie was a little developmentally challenged. How did she suddenly excel while Helen began to do poorly?

I wish this story would have been more two sided thouga. I wanted to know more of the real Ellie. We only get Helen's side. When stories are dark, like this one, I like to get to know the villain if you could, in fact call either girl that.

When you find out a family secret at the end, you'll really hate the mother. The one thing you could take away from this book, was that the entire family was messed up.

This is the kind of book you can't put down because you want to know what the outcome is going to be.

Rating: 4 flowers

Monday, January 25, 2016

Great Escaptes Book Tours: Molly's Misadventures

Romantic Comedy

Self Published

Release Date: January 11, 2016
Print Length: 225 pages

I’m having the suckiest day ever. First, my father, aka Mr. Grumpy Pants, calls to say his nurse just walked out on him. Likely story. I rush home to pack only to walk in on my husband getting it on with his younger, skanky secretary. Unfortunately, my quick weekend trip home to fix Dad’s problems turns into a stay of a few weeks. Luckily, I’ve got Danny, the neighbor boy I had a crush on when I was a dorky, braces-wearing, nose-buried-in-a-book teenager, and a brand-spanking new blog to keep my mind off things. Before I know it, I’m writing product reviews of vibrators and getting questioned by a store rent-a-cop at the world’s worst date ever. All while trying to figure out how to take things with Danny to the next level. Not to complicate things or anything but my boss decides to give me an ultimatum – come back in four weeks or don’t come back at all. How in the world did my life get so complicated?

Review: This is a book that requires at least a few OMGs in the review? Why? Because OMG it was so funny. No, not funny, FUNNY in all caps because it is laugh out loud funny in some places.

This is kinda chick lit but with a slightly more mature heroine. After all, chicklit is about twentysomethings and Molly is more a thirtysomething.

Molly is the kind of heroine that you will love and feel sorry for. I mean she walks in on her hubby doing the nasty with his secretary on her couch.


Then there's her dad. Again, OMG! Her dad will have you laughing too. He's kind of like Archie Bunker. He can't keep a nurse because he is well...totally uncensored. The only issue I had with dad was a bit of a research issue. My dad had COPD and was on oxygen. To the best of my knowledge most people that are on O2 24/7 do not have tanks that need to be changed. They have a compressor. So technically her dad didn't need a nurse that came every day. But I'll ignore that, because I really loved the story so much.

Danny, her crush/love interest was perfect. Loved him. Best hero ever. He was just a fun guy and I loved his daughter too. Maybe he was too perfect and accepting, but this is fiction and I want a guy like him.

Then there are the ladies at the blogging class. OMG! (really the OMGs are all necessary) So funny. Again, we all need people like them in our lives. I think the world would be a much happier place.

The best part of this book are Molly's blog posts. They are hilarious. (As are her adventures in dating)

This is  book that will make you feel great after reading it.

Rating: 5 flowers

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Book Blast: Pistol Fanny's - Hank & Delilah

¸.•*¨)**Pistol Fanny’s – Hank & Delilah¸.•*¨)**
FREE - FIVE DAYS ONLY (1/21 - 1/25)

Never fall in love with a bank robber.

Especially if she’s the one who robbed your bank, took you hostage, and dumped you unconscious at the local convenience store. And definitely not if you are the assistant district attorney of Tupelo, Mississippi.

This is the advice Hank Huckleberry Rivers would have given himself, back when he was a man who vowed to always walk on the right side of the law. The same law that had seemed sacrosanct ever since the day he and his friends watched as two men were murdered right below their tree house.

Falling in love with a dangerous criminal can have life-altering consequences, though. And when the past and the present meet head-on, Hank finds himself in more trouble than he ever bargained for. He must run to save his life, daring to find answers to the questions threatening his safety and his heart, as the killer below the tree house comes after Hank—and his pistol-wielding bank robber.

It’s a simple case of love in the first degree. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Book Review: Size 12 and Ready To Rock

Author: Meg Cabot
Title: Size 12 and Ready To Rock
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: July 10, 2012
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: 
Summer break . . . and the livin' ain't easy!

Just because the students at New York College have flown the coop doesn't mean assistant residence hall director Heather Wells can relax. Fischer Hall is busier than ever, filled with squealing thirteen- and fourteen-year-old girls attending the first ever Tania Trace Teen Rock Camp, hosted by pop sensation Tania Trace herself—who just happens to be newly married to Heather's ex-boyfriend, heartthrob Jordan Cartwright. But the real headache begins when the producer of a reality TV show starring Tania winds up dead . . . and it's clear that the star was the intended victim.

Grant Cartwright, head of Cartwright Records, wants to keep his daughter-in-law (and his highest-earning performer) alive. So he hires his oldest son, black sheep of the family and private investigator Cooper Cartwright—who just happens to be Heather's new fiancĂ©. Heather should leave the detecting to Cooper. But with a dorm full of hysterical mini-divas-in-training, she can't help but get involved. And after Tania shares a really shocking secret with her, this reality suddenly becomes more dangerously real than anyone ever anticipated.

Review: Size 12 and Ready to Rock is a hoot. Heather and her friends and the rest of crew at Fischer Hall aka "The Death Dorm" always make for good reading. If you haven't read any of the Heather Wells Mystery series, I suggest you start soon. This series is one part chick lit and another part mystery.

In this book Heather is trying to keep her relationship with her hunky PI landload/boss/ex boyfriend's brother a secret. Things aren't going well there. They aren't going well in Death Dorm either, because her ex boyfriend's wife has her reality show/contest being filmed at New York College. There are 50 wanna be Diva's moving in.

It doesn't help matters that a member of the production team ends up dead and from there you see a connection to Tania. Tania is a character you don't want to like, but as her back story starts to unfold, you really start to feel sorry for her and even like her. Jordan on the other hand is still a bit of a douche bag and not a smart one, case in point, he thinks Heather's relationship with his brother is incestuous. Erm....yeah.

The book is a little silly at times but that is how this series is. Its fun and lighthearted even when there are dead bodies piling up.

My favorite thing about the books are the lyrics at the beginning of each chapter. I really would like to hear someone singing them. Hey Hallmark, want to make these books into films? Those could be fun.

Meg's writing style is very visual and full of humor. The girls from Tania's Rock Camp her real doozies. There's one preteen that's really a bitch with a capital "B."

This book let you get to know other characters in the series a little better and it introduced a few new characters. I loved the new residence hall  director. she was really a fab character.

I've finally read all the books in the series. I hope The Bride Wore Size 12 isn't the last book in the series, as I've really loved all of them.

Rating: 5 flowers

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Book Review: The Mistletoe Inn

Author: Richard Paul Evans
Title:  The Mistletoe Inn
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publish Date: November 17, 2015
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: 

The second holiday love story in New York Times bestselling author Richard Paul Evans' Mistletoe Collection.

At thirty-two Kimberly Rossetti, a finance officer at a Lexus car dealership, has had her heart broken more times than she wants to remember. With two failed engagements, a divorce and again alone with no prospects, she hardly seems the type to dream of being a published romance author. Dreading another holiday alone, she signs up for The Mistletoe Retreat, a nine-day writing retreat in Savannah, Georgia. Deep inside Kimberly knows she's at a junction in her life and it's time to either fulfill her dream or let it go. The other reason she decides to attend the conference is because famed romance writer, H.T. Cowell, once the best selling romance writer in America, and the author whose books instilled in her the desire to be a writer, will be speaking in public for the first time in more than a decade.

In one of her breakout sessions Kimberly meets another aspiring writer, and one of the few men at the conference, Zeke, an intelligent man with a wry wit who seems as interested in Kimberly as he is in the retreat. As Kimberly begins to open up to him about her stories and dreams, she inadvertently reveals her own troubled past. As Zeke helps her to discover why her books fail to live up to their potential she begins to wonder if he's really talking more about her life than her literature. But as she grows closer to him, she realizes that Zeke has his own darkness, a past he's unwilling to talk about.

The theme of The Mistletoe Inn is that like literature, relationships must be lived with passion and vulnerability to succeed.

Review: I have loved Richard Paul Evans for a very long time. His books make my holidays. His first books were tear-jerkers and though I'm not usually a fan of books designed to make you cry, when it comes to RPE I always enjoy them. Some like Nicholas Sparks, I like Richard Paul Evans.

This book was more of a sweet romance, which really isn't quite RPE's thing, at least not in the whole Harlequin romance kind of way, and that's how this book was written. (Only most Harlequin holiday novels are a little more believable)

There are things I could find fault with in this book and I will, but I will tell you that even though there were things that made me crazy, such as how the author seemed to dismiss self published authors and the glamorous lives of published authors. I'm sure there are some very wealthy authors but that's not really the way of things anymore.

Of the characters in this story I liked Kimberly's father the most. He was the most real, where Kimberly was a little to woe is me. I also liked her writing convention buddy, Samantha. Then there's Zeke. Ah, of course you love him instantly, but it doesn't take too long to figure out who he really is. The book is all kinds of predictable, but that doesn't make it bad.

Kimberly is an aspiring writer who is attending a conference in Vermont to see the writer that she loves and is inspired by, H.T. Cowell. Zeke is an aspiring writer that she meets there. They hit it off instantly, but when he critiques her book things go south for awhile. Being the type of book this is, things will get fixed and all will be well in the world.      

This book is the type of story you read when you need a pick me up. RPE always finds something good in something bad.

I always feel better after reading one of his books and look forward to his offerings each year.

Rating: 4 flowers

Friday, January 15, 2016

Tasty Book Tours Book Review and Excerpt: The Rogue Not Taken

About the Book

Lady Sophie’s Society Splash

When Sophie, the least interesting of the Talbot sisters, lands her philandering brother-in-law backside-first in a goldfish pond in front of all society, she becomes the target of very public aristocratic scorn. Her only choice is to flee London, vowing to start a new life far from the aristocracy. Unfortunately, the carriage in which she stows away isn’t saving her from ruin . . . it’s filled with it.

Rogue’s Reign of Ravishment!
Kingscote, “King,” the Marquess of Eversley, has never met a woman he couldn’t charm, resulting in a reputation far worse than the truth, a general sense that he’s more pretty face than proper gentleman, and an irate summons home to the Scottish border. When King discovers stowaway Sophie, however, the journey becomes anything but boring.

War? Or More?

He thinks she’s trying to trick him into marriage. She wouldn’t have him if he were the last man on earth. But carriages bring close quarters, dark secrets, and unbearable temptation, making opposites altogether too attractive . . .

432 Pgs. |Heat Level: 3| Purchase: Amazon | B & N | Google Play | iTunes |Kobo

Review: If you are looking for a historical romance  Sarah MacLean is an author that is synonymous with this genre. Rogue Not Taken is a fabulous way to introduce you to this author. If you already read Ms. MacLean, well, you know what you are in for.

First, I absolutely adored Sophie who is part of the Dangerous "Talbot" Daughters. Her father was a miner who ended up with a title and they are totally disliked by the ton. Sophie is the reason to read this book. She's smart and sassy and just a really great character that always seems to get herself into some kind of trouble. I hate when they write heroines that are supposedly plain when they are obviously not.

Then there's King. He's our hero, sort of. I wish I could say he's the kind of hero you instantly fall in love with because he's all a hero should be, but he's not. He's actually kind of a jerk. (I use that word rather than say how I really feel about him). Most of the time I wanted to choke him, though once you get to know him, you'll actually feel sorry for him. He's not as bad as he seems.

The banter between Sophie and King is what makes the book, there is some great dialogue between the two. Actually, Sophie has some great dialogue period, which is why I liked her so much. She was really sweet.

Then there was her family, when they reappear at the end of the book I really hated a good many of them. What Sophie did at the beginning of the novel really shows her love of her family, even though it was impulsive.

This was an enjoyable read for fans of regency era romance.

Rating: 4 flowers

Author Info

Sarah MacLean grew up in Rhode Island, obsessed with historical romance and 

bemoaning the fact that she was born far too late for her own season. Her love of all 

things historical helped to earn her degrees from Smith College and Harvard University 

before she finally set pen to paper and wrote her first book.

Sarah now lives in New York City with her husband, baby daughter, their dog, and a 

ridiculously large collection of romance novels. She loves to hear from readers. Please 

visit her at

Author Links: Website

Intro from Sarah MacLean

Being shot on the Great North Road isn't exactly a thing people expect to happen, and 

Lady Sophie Talbot finds herself in the rooms above The Warbling Wren pub, under the 

welcome care of a rather mad doctor and the watchful eye of the rather infuriating (and 

infuriatingly handsome) Kingscote, Marquess of Eversley. There are worse things, she 

supposes. Or are there? Not for King.)


“If you want a bath, you’ll have to accept my help,” he said.

She pursed her lips at that, her gaze settling longingly on the steaming bath. “You mustn’t look.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it.” It might have been the most obvious lie he’d ever told.

Somehow, she believed it, nodding and throwing back the coverlet to step out of the bed. She 

came to her feet, the top of her head at his chin, and he resisted the urge to help her across the 

room. “How do you feel?” he asked, hearing the gravel in his words. He cleared his throat.

“As though I’ve been shot, I’d imagine.”

He raised a brow. “Clever. There's food when you’ve bathed." The words summoned a low 

growl from her, and her hands flew to her stomach. Her cheeks turned red, and he smiled. “I 

take it you are hungry.”

“It seems so,” she said.

“Food after the bath. And then sleep.”

She met his gaze. “You’re very domineering.”

“It’s a particular talent.”

“What with you being called King.”

“Name is destiny.”

She moved past him to the high copper bathtub. He resumed his place against the wall, arms 

crossed, watching her carefully as she reached down, her long fingers trailing in the hot water 

as she sighed her anticipation. The sound was like gunfire in the room—pure, unadulterated 

pleasure. It was delicious.

King stiffened. He was not interested in the lady’s pleasure.

If only someone would tell his body that.

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Thursday, January 14, 2016

TLC Book Tours Book Review: The Restaurant Critic's Wife

Author: Elizabeth La Bar
Title: The Restaurant Critic's Wife
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publish Date: Jan 5, 2016
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tours
Book Blurb: Lila Soto has a master’s degree that’s gathering dust, a work-obsessed husband, two kids, and lots of questions about how exactly she ended up here.

In their new city of Philadelphia, Lila’s husband, Sam, takes his job as a restaurant critic a little too seriously. To protect his professional credibility, he’s determined to remain anonymous. Soon his preoccupation with anonymity takes over their lives as he tries to limit the family’s contact with anyone who might have ties to the foodie world. Meanwhile, Lila craves adult conversation and some relief from the constraints of her homemaker role. With her patience wearing thin, she begins to question everything: her decision to get pregnant again, her break from her career, her marriage—even if leaving her ex-boyfriend was the right thing to do. As Sam becomes more and more fixated on keeping his identity secret, Lila begins to wonder if her own identity has completely disappeared—and what it will take to get it back.

Review:  Four words: I loved this book. I read a book about a restaurant critic awhile ago and I loved it. I love foodie books. This one was fabulous.

Lila is a character that you love and feel sorry for. Throughout most of the book I wanted to reach out and give her a hug and then slap her husband upside the head. I was really waiting for her to leave Sam. I think if he were my husband, no amount of love would make me stay with him with some of the stuff he expected of her.

I found Sam's character to be quite controlling. His obsession with anonymity was very extreme and maybe just a touch psycho since he went so far as to try to dictate Lila's friendships and her work life. That is the one part of the story that didn't sit well with me, because if Lila was really such a career oriented woman that the story makes her out to be that there is no way she would put up with the rules he was handing down.

I mean this guy didn't want her to have friends because they might be in the restaurant business.

That is just not right that he dictated her friendships and whether or not she could go back to work. Living with Sam would make any woman go berserk.

I read this book in about a day. I wanted to know what would happen next, and I have to admit the scenes at the restaurants were always hilarious, especially with some of the disguises that Sam came up with. The rock star one was really insane. Oh and Sam, having a review dinner the night before his wife was going to have a C-section was so not cool, but then again he took a detour when they were bringing the new baby home at a sandwich shop.

If you are looking for a quick, fun read, this should be your next book.

Rating: 5 flowers

Monday, January 11, 2016

Book Review: Doctor Who: Death Riders

Author: Justin Richards
Title: Doctor Who Death Riders
Publisher: BBC Children's Books
Publish Date: Nov 19, 2015
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb: 
The Galactic Fair has arrived on the mining asteroid of Stanalan and anticipation is building around the construction of the fair's most popular attraction - the Death Ride! But there is something sinister going on behind all the fun of the fair; people are mysteriously dying in the Off-Limits tunnels. Join the Eleventh Doctor, Amy and Rory as they investigate . . .

Review: Doctor Who stories fall into two categories, great and not so great. For me this one was not so great. I love Eleventh Doctor adventures with Amy and Rory but this one didn't do it for me.

I rate these stories on how much I wish that they would have been episodes. This one felt like it was a rip off of Nightmare In Silver, one of the Neil Gaiman's episodes from the Matt Smith era of the show.

Maybe it was the setting of both. "Silver" was set in an abandoned amusement park and Death Riders is set at a Galatic Fair on a mining asteroid this is not quite what it seems. In fact for the most part it seems like a pretty simple story, until people start dying and there's no reason for the deaths.

The Doctor has to figure out what's up with that as well as the off-limits tunnels. Its actually Amy that discovers the alien in a round about sort of way. The Drexxon are a pretty nasty bunch, but they just didn't do it for me, just as the super roller coaster angle wasn't all that exciting.

I did like the references to Doctor Who cannon, such as his being able to play the spoons. I think most of the books keep up with cannon better than the series writers.  I give the writer props for that.

Its a quicky read and fun when you are suffering from Who withdrawal.

Rating: 3 flowers

Friday, January 8, 2016

TLC Book Tours Book Review: The Lady's Command

About The Lady’s Command

  • Series: The Adventurers Quartet (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Mira (December 29, 2015)
#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens brings you THE ADVENTURERS QUARTET, a riveting blend of Regency-era high seas adventure, intrigue and romance
His to cherish
Declan Frobisher chose Lady Edwina Delbraith as his wife. Scion of a bold, seafaring dynasty, he’s accustomed to getting his way—Edwina would be the woman who graced his arm, warmed his bed and remained safely at home when he returned to sea. But once the knot is tied, Declan discovers Edwina is unconventional and strong-willed, and his marriage promises to be as tempestuous as the high seas.
Hers to command
Edwina’s fairy-princess beauty hides a spine of steel. Born into the aristocracy—born to rule—and with Declan’s ring gracing her finger, she expects to forge a marriage by his side. Then bare weeks into their honeymoon, Declan is recruited to sail on a secret mission. Edwina—naturally—declares she must accompany him.
Theirs to conquer
Facing unforeseen perils and unexpected enemies while battling to expose a dastardly scheme, Declan and Edwina discover that their unusual marriage demands something they both possess—bold and adventurous hearts.
JOIN THE ADVENTURERS—four couples whose passionate voyages will transport you. Start the journey here and follow the adventures, the mysteries and the romances to the cataclysmic end!
“The narrative smoothly transitions between high society’s sophisticated yet superficial pleasantries and the romance of stolen glances and tender intimacy between Edwina and Declan…. Edwina and Declan share the narration, and their sweet, humorous thoughts give readers pleasant guidance on this romantic journey.” –Publishers Weekly
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Review: Stephanie Laurens is one of my favorite Regency author. I loved her Cynster series. I am totally thrilled with this series as well. Its a little less romance than you'd expect but it is heavier on other elements.

I liked that Lady Edwina and Declan were already married at the start of this book. It made things interesting as most books usually are about courtship. Declan does some secret work for the Crown. I don't know what it is about historical novels but there always seems to be some secret society that handsome aristocrats belong to. They always do something dangerous and the heroine always gets herself mixed up with him.

That sort of happens here too, when Edwinda stows away on her husband's ship.

This book was really different in the terms of what I usually expect when I read historical romance. There's very little romance here. Its more about a book about a marriage.  Edwina and Declan work well together.  To me, Declan was little easy going when it came to finding his wife on board. I think any man that had any love for his wife would have been fearful about taking her on the type of mission he was on.

I liked that Edwina was pretty much Declan's equal, while not over powering him. That was something I really liked. I also liked that Declan remained protective of her.

The mystery they were working on was one that kept me interested and I look forward to seeing how things play out through the Quartet.

A wonderful start to a new series
Rating; 4 flowers

70882E03EA4908355F24FEFCD51EC79FAbout Stephanie Laurens

New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens originally began writing as an escape from the dry world of professional science. Her hobby quickly became a career; she has been writing historical romance novels for more than 20 years. Currently living outside Melbourne, Australia with her husband and two cats, she spends most of her days writing new stories in her signature ‘Errol Flynn meets Jane Austen” style.

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Great Escapes Book Tours Book Review: Cinnamon Toasted

Cinnamon Toasted: A Spice Shop Mystery
(Spice Shop Mystery Series)

Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Minotaur Books (December 15, 2015)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1250011060
E-Book ASIN: B00Y7S5222
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Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Case in point: Piper Prescott’s former mother-in-law Melly. Beneath her twin sets and pearls beats the heart of a geek—a geek whose programming changes for the point-of-sale software in Piper’s shop have the owners of the program ready to make her an offer she can’t refuse. “Trusty” Rusty Tulley and Chip Balboa swing by Brandywine Creek—just in time for the town’s annual Oktoberfest, which has cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom flying off Piper’s shelves in record numbers. News spreads faster than a text message, and Melly is the toast of the town.
But it isn’t long before Melly’s status changes to public enemy number one when Chip’s body is found at the foot of her basement stairs. Questions start to pile up when handsome police chief Wyatt McBride arrives on the scene and the coroner sets the time of death for the previous evening. McBride wants to know why it took Melly so long to report the incident—especially after she admits to arguing with Chip about the contract he wanted her to sign. Piper knows Melly would never hurt a fly, so she enlists the help of her BFF Reba Mae to clear her name—but can they find the real killer before Melly gets sent away for good? A mouth-watering entry in Gail Oust’s delicious Spice Shop series, Cinnamon Toasted is sure to delight cozy fans of all stripes.

Review:  I read the first book in the Spice Shop Myster series and absolutely loved it. Somehow I missed book two, so I'm going to have to go back and catch up. Gail Oust has really created a fun cozy Southern Mystery series. As a Northerner, I always find books set in the South to be great, its like a different world to me.

This book is such fun. I really love Brandywine Creek. Oktoberfest is happening and a local theater group is putting on Steel Magnolias. Piper's friend Reba Mae has a part too. Reba cracks me up. The antics they get up to while trying to help clear Melly's name are a hoot. There's a scene in a flea bag motel towards the end of the book that will have you rolling on the floor laughing.

Melly is Piper's ex mom-in-law and it seems she's adapted a software program that could make her loads of money. The only problem is one of the software owners ends up dead in her house, making Melly the prime suspect. Especially when she hadn't signed the contract they were bringing her.

I liked the unusual relationship Piper has with Melly. They like each other well enough, even though the relationship that brought them together is no more.

Now as for Piper's ex, CJ and his new wife Amber, they are really obnoxious. Amber is the totally typical trophy wife, that's much younger and a bit Barbie doll-esque.

Then there's Lindsey, who is still having issues dealing with the divorce and is trying to sabotage her new relationship.

There's a lot going on in this book, and the mystery is one that keeps you turning the pages. I mean there are several people that you think had motive to kill Chip, but when the big reveal really is a surprise. I know I was.

If you like mysteries with recipes and a lot of laughs, you can't go wrong here.

Rating: 5 flowers

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