Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Review and Giveaway of A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn


A secret past that she wasn't aware of puts Veronica Speedwell in danger after her aunt passed away. 

Veronica  Speedwell is now without family, and as an intruder enters her home and tries to harm her, a Baron saves her life just in time.  Even though Veronica seems to be able to take care of herself, the Baron insists that he be her protector.  The Baron and Veronica begin a journey to London to meet a friend the Baron believes can protect Veronica for him.  During their travel time, the Baron tells Veronica he knows secrets about her past that he can't tell her just yet but will.

Veronica isn't too happy with the arrangements of having to be protected, but being interested in what the Baron will tell her makes her stay with the Baron’s friend, Stoker.  Not even 24 hours after the Baron left Veronica in safe keeping with Stoker, the pair finds out that the Baron has been murdered.  With that news Stoker whisks himself and Veronica away where the murderer who most likely is still after Veronica can't find them.  Adventures and danger follow them.

A CURIOUS BEGINNING is the first book I have read by Ms. Raybourn and the character Miss Speedwell.  The book is interesting but odd with odd characters.  Miss Speedwell is very independent and Stoker is a taxidermist who once was with a traveling circus. The characters where Stoker and Veronica make their hiding place are all quite bizarre, but I guess when you are in a traveling circus, that is what you see.

A CURIOUS BEGINNING is adventure and murder investigations all rolled into one with some good twists.  It was also comical at times.

A CURIOUS BEGINNING was a bit different from what I expected, but I kept reading because I wanted to find out who the murderer was as well as to find out what Veronica's secret past was.   And....her past was an excellent revelation.

It wasn’t a favorite, but I did like Veronica, and the storyline picked up toward the end of the book.   In fact, the ending was quite  exciting and makes my rating go from my original 3/5 to 4/5.

Readers who like quirky characters, intrigue, mystery, and a bit of romance should enjoy A CURIOUS BEGINNING. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.
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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Giveaway of IF I KNEW YOU WERE GOING TO BE THIS BEAUTIFUL, I NEVER WOULD HAVE LET YOU GO by Judy Chicurel


THIS INFORMATION IS FROM THE PUBLISHER:


I’m so excited to share with you Judy Chicurel’s  IF I KNEW YOU WERE GOING TO BE THIS BEAUTIFUL, I NEVER WOULD HAVE LET YOU GO (Berkley Books; Publication Date: September 1, 2015). Chicurel’s critically-acclaimed collection of stories captures the generational tension of one run-down Long Island beach town, and the turmoil of its young people as they hold the greater world at bay for one last summer. Berkley’s paperback edition is out this week—just in time for those cherishing the last breath of summer.

“An emotionally resonant collection of coming-of-age stories . . . moving.”—The Wall Street Journal

“[A] hauntingly written debut . . . lovely.”—The Boston Globe

“. . . A beautiful and honest coming-of-age story. . . . A stunningly evocative portrait of a down-on-its-luck town and its people.”—Booklist, starred review

Incisive and compelling stories link together to form a keenly observed coming of age novel. Unfolding during the summer of 1972 in a down-on-its-heels Long Island beach town, this moving debut explores the friendships and connections of young people on the cusp of adulthood, trying to make sense of the changing world that surrounds them with a mixture of fear and bravado.

Observed through the perceptive eyes of Katie, life among the denizens of Elephant Beach comprises a blend of clinging to convention and yearning for something more. Working class, and more than a little run down, the community percolates with generational tension. For Katie and her friends, just graduating from high school, there are limited expectations, and even those are often cut short by unplanned pregnancies and hasty teenage marriages.


During this one memorable summer, Katie and her friends will experiment with sex and drugs, fall in love and have babies, all the while holding the greater world at bay as they try to figure out what to do with their lives. Longstanding relationships will change forever or solidify into something immutable. A new generation, uneasy and unsure, will take the first steps toward the indeterminate future.

YOU CAN BUY MS. CHICUREL'S BOOK AT THE FOLLOWING SITES:

 


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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Another Kate Morton book....looks amazing as always

ALL INFORMATION IS FROM THE PUBLISHER

FINAL LAKE HOUSE cover image

New York Times bestselling author Kate Morton is back on October 20th with THE LAKE HOUSE, a gorgeous and spellbinding tale of family secrets, intertwined destinies, and a lakeside estate in Cornwall, England. It’s an intricate and detailed novel, one that demands the right cover.
Lynn Buckley, a jacket designer, took on this challenge. Here’s what she had to say about creating the stunning, imagery-packed cover.

kate morton banner ad 545

Q: How did you come to work on this cover?

A: I was given the project by Albert Tang, the Art Director for Atria Books, whose work I have long admired; though I hadn’t yet had the opportunity to work with him. So I was excited about the book itself, but also was excited to work with Albert for the first time.

Q: Where did the inspiration come from?

A: I looked at the author’s previous covers in the US, and her previous covers in other countries. It’s interesting to see how other designers interpret the same book and author. Then I read the novel, and made note of the tone, and specifics, like what the house looked like and other visual elements in the novel. I also made note of any metaphors or aspects of the novel that might lead to a visual representation. I decided the cover might benefit from a female figure. The house was extremely important in the book. The protagonist is entwined with the house over many decades, and I wanted to convey that somehow.  Merging the two images of the woman and house came from that idea. The lake itself was also important, so I wanted to make sure water was also represented on the cover.

Q: How many design variations did you go through?

A: Quite a few—I tried a woman on her own, on a dock by a lake, without a house.  I also tried a few women in water–though they looked like they were drowning. Another variation included a drowned butterfly metaphor for the protagonist, who is age 14 at the start of the novel, and becomes somewhat stuck there due to events in her adolescence.

Q: What was the most difficult aspect of designing this cover?

A: Getting the basic design right was relatively easy, but getting the little details right was a bit more difficult. All the type on a cover has to be clearly readable, of course, and getting these images  to merge well with the type was a challenge.  Also, getting the house right was tricky. Though there are thorough descriptions in the book, everyone has a different picture in their head of what is in a novel. I had more of a castle-ish image in my head, but the house was more of an estate-house. So I had to keep getting rid of spires and towers!

THE LAKE HOUSE by Kate Morton
Atria Books | 512 pages | ISBN: 978-1-4516-4932-1 | October 20, 2015 | $28.00

About THE LAKE HOUSE

From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of The Secret Keeper and The Distant Hours, an intricately plotted, spellbinding new novel of heart-stopping suspense and uncovered secrets.

Living on her family’s idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, innocent, and precociously talented sixteen-year-old who loves to write stories. But the mysteries she pens are no match for the one her family is about to endure…

One midsummer’s eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest child, eleven-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace. What follows is a tragedy that tears the family apart in ways they never imagined.

Decades later, Alice is living in London, having enjoyed a long successful career as an author. Theo’s case has never been solved, though Alice still harbors a suspicion as to the culprit. Miles away, Sadie Sparrow, a young detective in the London police force, is staying at her grandfather’s house in Cornwall. While out walking one day, she stumbles upon the old estate—now crumbling and covered with vines, clearly abandoned long ago. Her curiosity is sparked, setting off a series of events that will bring her and Alice together and reveal shocking truths about a past long gone…yet more present than ever.

A lush, atmospheric tale of intertwined destinies, this latest novel from a masterful storyteller is an enthralling, thoroughly satisfying read.

About KATE MORTON
kate2015_park_tocamera_close_credit Davin Patterson

Kate Morton, a native Australian, holds degrees in dramatic art and English literature. She lives with her family in Brisbane, Australia.

The Last September by Nina De Gramont


Brett, Eli, Charlie, and Ladd....all connected and all a part of each other's ​lives and decisions.

THE LAST SEPTEMBER starts out in present day and heads back to the ​past when all four friends met and events began to unfold.​

Brett was the main character.  We find out about her involvement in all three of the men's lives ​both ​past and present.  The murder of Charlie​, ​how Charlie affected many lives, and the mental illness of his brother​ ​are ​the main focus​.​
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The background of each character and their lives is marvelously detailed by Ms. De Gramont, and has you wondering if one of them murdered Charlie for personal reasons since Charlie hurt each one of them in some way.

THE LAST SEPTEMBER is a deep​, emotional​ read about decisions made, promises made, promises broken​, mental illness, and love​​.​

​Ms. De Gramont has an exquisite writing style​ ​that has the reader sharing every emotion the characters are experiencing.

THE LAST SEPTEMBER is not an uplifting book, but one that is gripping simply because of the way Ms. De Gramont tells the story.  It is a mystery about life as well as a mystery about finding the person who murdered Charlie.

THE LAST SEPTEMBER pulls the reader in because of how deeply involved and connected Ms. De Gramont has you become with each character.

THE LAST SEPTEMBER is a book that needs to be savored and ​one that you will think about even after the last page is turned because it won't easily leave you.  4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Stones In The Road by E. B. Moore


Joshua's mother, Miriam, was forced into taking over decision making for the family after her husband, Abraham, was hurt in an accident​.  This was totally out of character for a woman who was Plain.

Joshua endured his father's abuse just because that was the right thing to do when you were Plain.  He completely feared his father, but had no recourse but to run away to avoid more abuse since he knew his father would blame him for the accident.

Joshua ran away to California and had to deal with and live with the English.  Joshua found some good English as well as bad.  


Miriam had to deal with and live with the reality that her son was gone even though she knew he was not dead, but out there somewhere even though everyone said he couldn't have survived the accident that had maimed his father. 

In my opinion, Joshua endured more hardships than he had at home and more than Miriam endured even though losing a child is the worst thing in the world.

We follow Joshua as he finds work and families to live with.  He was a sweet character, but felt guilty about not letting his mother know he was alive.  He couldn't let her know for fear of having to face his father's wrath because he would send someone to find him​.  Miriam was a dedicated wife and mother even though she lived with the hope her son was alive, but presumed dead.  Abraham was a character that I did not like at all.

STONES IN THE ROAD takes us into homes and the way of living in the 1800's whether it was a Plain home or an English home. The book dragged a bit, but it was very interesting to see the different, difficult life style of both homes in the 1800's.

STONES IN THE ROAD was about family, about hardships, about survival, about choices, and about God's influence in your life.

I enjoyed the book for the historical aspect.  Ms. Moore's writing style was beautiful along with wonderful description.

I would recommend STONES IN THE ROAD to those folks who want to know more about the customs of Plain people as well as see first-hand the hardships they had every day as well as the hardships of traveling across the country in a wagon train.  4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.




Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Paris Key by Juliet Blackwell


Paris, memories, keys, and family secrets.

Genevieve needed to go back to Paris to her uncle's shop not only to get away from her soon-to-be ex-husband, but to take over Uncle Dave's lock and key shop​ that she had loved as a child​.  Little did she know that she would find family secrets as well.

Both her mother and uncle had passed, but the city held wonderful memories for Genevieve as well as for her mother as we go back and forth in time seeing Angela, Genevieve's mother, in Paris and her uncle who fell in love in Paris and stayed after the war.

Her uncle taught her a locksmith's tricks of the trade when she was twelve, and she wanted to try her hand at it again.  As her uncle told her all the time, "Locksmiths Laugh At Love and Love Has Its Own Set of Burglar Keys."  Genevieve wanted to re-live her times in his shop and to experience Paris as an adult as her mother had done.

When Genevieve explores a house where she is fixing locks and finds secret passages from WWII that have a connection to her mother's time in Paris, you will become totally absorbed in the storyline.

​THE PARIS KEY ​​has you falling in love with the City of Lights as Ms. Blackwell describes the bakeries, the wine, the cheese, and the people. Ms. Blackwell’s writing style is so intriguing that you feel as though you are right there. 

And…we can’t have a book about Paris without love. Love that held secrets about her mother and love for Genevieve.

I enjoyed THE PARIS KEY and the marvelous way Ms. Blackwell pulls you in with her descriptions and authenticity of the city.  

If you have never been to Paris, THE PARIS KEY will make you want to get on the next plane.  :) 

ENJOY!!! I certainly did.  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

House of Thieves by Charles Belfoure

 
Gambling debts, robbery rings, and high society​ and​​ ​thugs​ blending together​ for a marvelous read.  

HOUSE OF THIEVES takes us back to the late 1800's when women needed escorts and ​when ​men were their protectors.  The men definitely​ protected their wives and families and​ kept secrets from them as they carried out their days.

The secret John Cross kept from his wife​, though,​ was one he couldn't keep for long.  When he returned home one evening with bruises and cuts, John had to tell his wife about his "deal" with Kent.  The secret he kept was that their son, George, had racked up a gambling debt that he couldn't pay, and Kent came to John with ​a ​deal John wasn't able to pass up.

John wasn't able to pass it up because it was a good deal. John wasn't able to pass it up because ​it was a deal that he had to ​accept to ​keep his family safe.  If he didn't go along with Kent, John saw what​ Kent was capable of.

The deal took every waking minute of John's time and was something he would never dream of doing or being a part of.​  If he got caught, he would ruin his family, but better to be ruined than dead.

The characters ​seemed quite authentic.  John Cross made me afraid for him, Kent was despicable and ruthless, George made me angry that he would continue to ​do what he did to ​put his family​ in this situation even​ after his father told him he knew​ of his dangerous obsession​.​  Kent seemed as if he were just playing John Cross and his son's debt would never be settled, but John Cross had to keep finding homes and banks to rob so his family was safe.

You will get pulled into the time period and the storyline as you wonder how someone could be as evil and cunning as Kent and ​as your ​fear for John Cross​ and his family mounts.​
        .​
Mr. Belfoure has authored another intriguing, well-​written, captivating​ book.  Mr. Belfoure​ pulls you in with his marvelous research and storyline about the life styles of the wealthy as well as the poor during this era.

​If you enjoy being treated to history, an alluring storyline, and an "oh my goodness" ending, HOUSE OF THIEVES will take you there.

One chapter after another keeps you mesmerized as unbelievable, possible events happen.  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review. ​

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Giveaway of The Murder Road by Stephen Booth


 

The Fifteenth Book In The Cooper & Fry Series

THE MURDER ROAD
By Stephen Booth

On-Sale September 8

You Can Enter the Giveaway below

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From the Publisher:

For fans of Broadchurch, Louise Penny, and Peter Robinson comes a spellbinding new novel from internationally bestselling author Stephen Booth.

Welcome to the picturesque English village of Shawhead, where there’s one road in and one road out. And on that road this morning is an abandoned vehicle... with an ominous bloodstain inside. 




It’s a mystery. It could be a murder. Where -- and who -- is the driver? Whose blood has been discovered? Why are the people of Shawhead so hostile towards Detective Ben Cooper, sent in to take charge of the investigation?


As Cooper peels back layers of lies and exposes dark secrets to the light, he draws ever closer to a killer hiding in plain sight. Packed with atmosphere, suspense, and surprises, The Murder Road (On-Sale: September 8, 2015; Witness Impulse; E-Book; $2.99; ISBN: 9780062439239) is Stephen Booth’s most unforgettable novel yet.



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About the Author:

STEPHEN BOOTH’s fourteen novels featuring Cooper and Fry, all to be published by WITNESS, have sold over half a million copies around the world.



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Friday, September 11, 2015

Book Blogger Hop - 9/11 - 9/17

 Question of the Week:

What is most rewarding about being a book blogger?
My Answer:

The most rewarding thing about being a book blogger is meeting all the other amazing book bloggers.

Book bloggers are the most helpful, kind, and passionate people I know.

They are there if you have a problem, and go out of their way to help you solve it.

The support I received when I first started my blog and the support I receive now as a veteran is simply wonderful.

Book Bloggers ROCK!! 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Summer At Hideaway Key by Barbara Davis

An inherited beach cottage with memories of its own, a beach cottage filled with journals about the life of an unknown aunt, a job as a fashion designer in Milan, and decisions, decisions, decisions.

Lily St. Claire had no idea that her father had left her a beach cottage that once belonged to her estranged aunt or why he left it to her especially with all the secrets between her mother and her mother's sister.  Lily needed to see the cottage for herself and was curious enough to head to Florida to Sand Pearl Cottage to find out what it was all about.

What Lily found was definitely not what she expected.  Lily found boxes everywhere that held her aunt's possessions as well as the story about her life that no one was aware of and one that her mother would never talk about.

Lily needed to decide if she wanted to stay to uncover all she could find about her aunt or just leave the cottage and head to Milan for her dream job.

SUMMER AT HIDEAWAY KEY had a storyline that any women's fiction fan will not want to put down.  

We meet a number of interesting characters, find secrets that had never been revealed, get a glimpse into her aunt's life, see the decisions Lily must make in her personal life, and see how Lily desperately tries to get her mother to shed some light on why her mother and her aunt never talked for over 30 years.

SUMMER AT HIDEAWAY KEY is another marvelous book by Ms. Davis.  The characters, the setting, the atmosphere, and the storyline will keep you turning the pages and still want more.  It was a glorious read up until the very last word.

Ms. Davis has a way of pulling you in and not letting go.  There is always something lurking that you "must" know along with a touch of romance.

The journals made for an absolutely wonderful read....terrific book.  

I always enjoy journals.  When you read about journals in a book, do you ever ask yourself why you didn't do something like that or if you did leave journals what folks would think after they read them?
5/5

This book was given to me free of charge by the publisher and without compensation in return for an honest review.
 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Gilded Hour Giveaway - 9/1 to 9/8


What a gorgeous cover!!!

Complete the form below the publisher's book description for a chance to win THE GILDED HOUR.

THIS INFORMATION IS FROM THE PUBLISHER:

The international bestselling author of Into the Wilderness makes her highly anticipated return with a remarkable epic about two female doctors in nineteenth-century New York and the transcendent power of courage and love…

The year is 1883, and in New York City, it’s a time of dizzying splendor, crushing poverty, and tremendous change. With the gravity-defying Brooklyn Bridge nearly complete and New York in the grips of anti-vice crusader Anthony Comstock, Anna Savard and her cousin Sophie—both graduates of the Woman’s Medical School—treat the city’s most vulnerable, even if doing so may put everything they’ve strived for in jeopardy.

Anna’s work has placed her in the path of four children who have lost everything, just as she herself once had. Faced with their helplessness, Anna must make an unexpected choice between holding on to the pain of her past and letting love into her life.

For Sophie, an obstetrician and the orphaned daughter of free people of color, helping a desperate young mother forces her to grapple with the oath she took as a doctor—and thrusts her and Anna into the orbit of Anthony Comstock, a dangerous man who considers himself the enemy of everything indecent and of anyone who dares to defy him.

With its vivid depictions of old New York and its enormously appealing characters, The Gilded Hour is a captivating, emotionally gripping novel that proves Sara Donati is an author at the height of her powers.

Praise
 
Praise for The Gilded Hour:

“Page-turning and atmospheric.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Compelling…This satisfying read, rich in interpersonal relationships of many kinds, is part romance, part mystery, and part serial-killer thriller.”—Booklist (starred review)

Praise for the novels of Sara Donati:

“Each time you open a book, you hope to discover a story that will make your spirit of adventure and romance sing. This book delivers on that promise.”—Amanda Quick

“A powerful adventure story…Gorgeous, vividly described.”—People

“Lushly written…Exemplary historical fiction, boasting a heroine with a real and tangible presence.”—Kirkus Reviews

“From page one, the action is non-stop. The more you read, the better it gets.”—Tulsa World

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