Thursday, December 31, 2015

Dukes Prefer Blondes (The Dressmakers #4) by Loretta Chase


One of my all-time favorite historical romances was written by Loretta Chase, Lord of Scoundrels. I’ve read it countless times and never tire of it. Jessica and the Marquess of Dain are incomparable in my eyes. I absolutely loved them both and still after many years and readings, still love and am highly entertained by them. I’ve read other books by Chase and some have been a hit and others a miss.

When I saw “Dukes Prefer Blondes” I was intrigued because of the plot and the characters. Also, because it was written by Chase. This is the fourth in the “Dressmakers” series although I have not read the previous books. There were some elements of the story that I liked and some that either felt awkward or very drawn out for me. But overall this was an interesting read, even if not a fantastic one. Lady Clara Fairfax was a great heroine. I really enjoyed her. Even though she is beautiful and very highly sought after she wants more from her life than just to be someone’s wife. Clara wants to have a purpose and she is very highly committed to orphan and street children. Once she sets her mind to do something very little can dissuade her. But Clara has always been a free spirit and very independent, even as a young child. When is merely a girl she meets Oliver Radford. Radford is everything Clara is not. He is serious and a very determined and successful barrister. He was instantly impressed with Clara as a child and not much changes when he is reunited with her as an adult.

Clara seeks Oliver out to help her with a street child. She has given her word that she will help out a young boy and she searches for Oliver to help her. Oliver can’t be bothered because he doesn’t want to get involved and really doesn’t take Clara too seriously. Clara is determined to get the help she needs to fulfill her promise. Against his better judgement Oliver decides to help Clara but this leads to her becoming very sick with Typhus. He literally saves her life by nursing her back to health. Clara is very in love with Oliver but he considers himself beneath her and tries to not give into his feelings for her.

First, I loved Oliver and Clara together. I loved Clara as a heroine but I had a hard time with Oliver. I didn’t get him. He was awkward and hard to understand. I also felt that some of the scenes were awkward and the transition between scenes felt choppy and out of sync. Also, after Clara and Oliver are married I felt that the story dragged. I did however, love how their relationship continued to grow after they married. The adventure does not end when they marry and they go on many more investigations that Clara insists on being a part of. Characters from the previous books are mentioned and they give some insight into the series. Even though I did not love this book I still found it enjoyable and plan to read more books not only by this author but also in this series.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Becoming George Washington By Stephen Yoch Publication Date: September 1, 2015

02_Becoming George WashingtonBecoming George Washington
By Stephen Yoch

Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Wise Ink Creative Publishing
Paperback & Ebook; 382 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

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READ EXCERPTS.

George Washington, action hero . . .

Long before Washington was the old man on the dollar bill, he was a fatherless boy with few resources and even less education. So how did he become the most famous person in American history?

Becoming George Washington tells the story of a young man with boundless energy, bravery, and passion, who grew from a fatherless boy into a self-confident leader. At the same time, he struggled to suppress both an awful temper and his love for a married woman, Sally Fairfax. A courageous war hero, Washington rose to the pinnacle of Virginia politics. His experiences as a young man allowed him, decades later, to lead the Revolution.

This compelling historical novel reveals the person behind the famous face and how he grew to become America’s leading Founding Father.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | INDIEBOUND

My Review
Four Stars 
Copy received from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for an honest review
"Becoming George Washington" by Stephen Yoch was a great re-introduction to George Washington. Although I have heard of him and knew a little about the historical impact he has had on the US, it was very humanizing to see his earlier life.  I thought that Yoch really understood Washington and as a reader I thought he gave me some insight to him as a person.  His earlier relationships, with his brothers, mother and even Sally Fairfax were filled with the complexities of human relationships.  His temperament and his believes were very enlightening.  It was interesting to see how he conducted himself and how his determination at times got in his way and how he learned to steer himself in the right direction when he was off his course.  I also really enjoyed the tone that Yoch set for the book, it didn't read like a black and white biography, it was filled with little stories that really defined one of the nations founding fathers.  I really enjoyed this story and it was very easy to fall into this book and I really loved the journey that Yoch takes on with Washington. 

About the Author

Steve doesn't golf or fish and is a below average hunter, but his love of history and writing compelled him to pick up his pen and tell the little-known stories behind the men that made American history. After years of extensive research, Steve wrote his first book on young George Washington.

Steve lives in a suburb north of St. Paul, Minnesota with his supportive wife and two fantastic teenage sons. He graduated with honors from Boston College and the University of Minnesota Law School. He has enjoyed over two decades of practicing law in the Twin Cities, helping individuals and businesses solve complex problems.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK


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Guest Post & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

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Interview at Layered Pages
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Review at Bookish

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Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

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Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews
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Review at Book Nerd

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Review at Just One More Chapter
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Review at The Absurd Book Nerd
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Review at Luxury Reading
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Review at Jorie Loves a Story
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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Audiobook Review: Kiss of the Demon King by Kresley Cole, Narrated by Robert Petkoff

Usually I start off with a review first and then I comment on the narrator but I have to say that Robert Petkoff was A-mazing! This is a very lengthy audiobook, about 12 hours and I never tired of hear Petkoff’s voice. I also loved the voices he gave to the characters. At first when I heard his voice of Sabine it took me a while to get used to it and then I loved it. I was completely mesmerized by his storytelling.

Equally amazing was this story. This is the first time I experience anything by Kresley Cole and I have to say there was not one single moment that I was disappointed. This was a fantastic story. All the characters were interesting the pacing was fantastic. It varied from tensions between Sabine and her love interest/ hero –Rydstrom Woede. To say I loved Sabine is an understatement. She was so cunning and conniving, blood thirsty and ruthless-these are just some of her good qualities. As a sorceress her powers were fun and interesting, her wit was sharp and her humor had me laughing. Hands down she has to be one of my favorite heroines.

I loved Rydstrom as well and respected his honorable intentions and I loved that the author made him just as quick and intelligent as Sabine. They were so perfectly matched. Where Sabine will lie and cheat to get anything she wants, Rydstrom is all truth and good intentions despite his being a demon. They were both a force to be reckoned with. Even though I jumped into the series with this book, the 7th , I was not lost at all. The author was able to keep me up to date on all that had transpired in the previous books and even though I’m sure it would be better to read/hear the entire series it did not hamper my enjoyment of this book in any way. Between the steamy tension between Sabine and Rydstrom, there is the ever present danger of her evil brother trying to dominate Sabine and finally make her his.

Once I started hearing this story I was instantly hooked and captivated by the characters and the story. Usually when a book is this long inevitably my attention wonders but I could not put this story down! I wanted to know what would happen next, I wanted to know would Rydstrom finally get his kingdom back… Completely intriguing and beguiling, I loved this 

The Wager by Rachel Van Dyken


I’ve heard so many great things about Rachel Van Dyken that I jumped at the chance to review “ The Wager the second book in “The Bet” series. This was my first experience by Van Dyken.

The story immediately caught my attention. It begins with Char Lynn meeting up with her crush Jake Titus on an airplane. Char has been in love with Jake for many years and even though they shared one night together, nothing became of it. Char and Jake use to be best friends in eighth grade until hormones and miscommunication interfered. Now years later Jake’s brother is getting married and him and Char are the best man and woman.

Char and Jake were both excellent characters and they really evolved from the beginning of the story until the end. Jake was really a very immature and shallow jerk. He has had a pretty easy and golden life and hasn’t had to really worry about anyone except himself. Char’s childhood was less than ideal and has always felt second to her sister.

Char and Jake spend a lot of time bickering and it’s only through the successful interference of his hysterical grandma that Jake and Char are forced to spend some time together and work past all their differences.

I found this audiobook to be so hysterical. It was part narrator and part story that made it so successful. I found myself laughing-out-loud and really enjoying all the obstacles that Char and Jake had to overcome to finally find their way together and as individuals. I have to confess that my only hang up was that I felt that there were parts where the story dragged and I found my attention wondering. But other than that, this book is filled with fun antics by a feisty grandma, some very sweet and tender moments, all successfully brought to life by Tanya Eby. Eby was a fantastic narrator, she really understood the individual personalities of all the characters and made this story that much more enjoyable.

ARC Review: Rebel Bride by Elizabeth Moss

I’ve been wanting to read Elizabeth Moss since I heard of the first book in this series “Wolf Bride.” Although I didn’t get around to reading the first book, I saw wonderful reviews for it and also for “Rebel Bride.” This was my first time reading Elizabeth Moss so I was not sure what to expect but since I enjoy historical romances I was looking forward to this story.

I have to say that the story fell short for me. I really wanted to like and it seemed to me that the story sounded great. Susannah Tyrell sounded like the perfect heroine. She wanted to live by her own rules and did not want an arranged marriage. Hugh Beaufort also sounded interesting. He seemed the perfect opposite to Susannah’s impulsive nature. Where Hugh was dedicated to his duties Susannah made her own rules and wanted to be in charge of her future. Also, the historical back drop during the reign of Henry VIII sounded fascinating. The author included some fun and action filled scenes that made for perfect knight in shining armor scenario.

Unfortunately, the story did not work for me. Although the Tudor court is one of my favorite topics and it did affect Susannah’s relationship with Hugh because he is fiercely loyal to the king and his responsibilities. He, however, can’t deny what he feels for Susannah which proves to be a struggle for him. He is attracted to Susannah but he tries to be noble and respect the marriage that has already been arranged for her. One aspect of the story that I did not care for was the heroine. I didn’t like her and she seemed so flighty instead of strong and determined. She seemed to be all over the place. It seemed that every time she made a decision it landed her in situations where she needed rescuing. Also, although she kept rejecting Hugh’s marriage proposal for altruistic reasons I wasn’t really buying her story. Hugh was ok but he seemed as wishy washy as Susannah. He was supposed to be a strong and noble knight but he kept flipping back and forth he tells her if she doesn’t accept his marriage proposal he is gone for good-then he returns. Finally, I didn’t think they had great chemistry. I think that the author threw them together too quickly and I wasn’t overly invested in their story even though they did have huge hurdles to overcome. I know that a big theme of this story is the sex but even that seemed boring and not enough to keep me invested in the story. In truth I found it overly dramatic and the main characters not developed enough to make their struggles and their love story memorable, I felt very detached and at times bored.

Audiobook Review: Ryker by Sawyer Bennett, Narrated by Cris Dukehart, Graham Halstead


Wow. I want to scream with joy, what an amazing story. I read romance novels all the time but Sawyer Bennett can tell a fantastic, feel-good, pull-out- all -the -feels –love- story. The more I heard the story the more I fell in love with Gray, Ryker and their story. In the market of bad boys, which I admit I enjoy also, Ryker is a fantastic, all or nothing, good man. He is a huge WOW! Ryker is what book boyfriends are made of. Just coming off a broken marriage he is a devoted father and his daughters were too cute. Ryker is also not only a great father but he doesn’t do flings and he dives head in with his feelings for Grey. He champions her positions as GM of the South Caroline Furies. I loved that Grey had such a powerful position.

Typically when I read a romance story I like for the hero and heroine to take their time and not rush into their feelings. Bennett did not take any time with Grey or Ryker but I loved it! The more I learned about their relationship the more I loved them as a couple and the more invested I became in their story. Also, I have to say that the hero and heroine were so mature and grounded I can honestly say I have read characters like these. Bennett also created a tough-as- nails heroine. There is a classic scene when Grey is sitting in her office and Ryker’s soon-to-be ex-wife is in her office trying to convince her to step aside and Grey’s response was beautiful I wanted to stay up and cheer. Loved her “lady balls.” As a testament to Bennett’s storytelling I actually enjoyed learning about hockey. I know nothing of it but when it was discussed in the story I didn’t feel bored or uninterested.

Finally the narrators were fantastic, Cris Dukehart was Grey and Graham Halstead was Ryker. I thought that they really understood the characters and their relationship. After this story I ran to my audio collection and was ecstatic to see Alex one of the previous stories.

Audiobook Review: Legal Heat by Sarah Castille, Narrated by Charlotte Kane

Sarah Castille is one of those authors that I always keep meaning to read. I finally had a chance to read one of her motorcycle books and it fell a little short for me. However, when I began listening to “Legal Heat” I was instantly interested in the story and the characters. I loved the seductive setting that the author began with and the suspense that carried throughout the story.

I really enjoyed this audiobook and it came at a perfect time. I wanted something light, fun and interesting and this story “Legal Heat” really covered all those areas. I also really enjoyed the hero and the heroine. The heroine, Katy Sinclair, is at a “pleasure” club solely on business but it quickly turns to a lot more. Right at the entrance of the pleasure club she meets Mark Richards. Both Katy and Mark are attorneys and they will eventually end up on opposite sides of the courtroom. But before that, Mark thinks that Katy is at the club for pleasure, he moonlights there as a bartender with his partners. They are attorneys by day and they work at the club by night until business picks up for them. As luck would have it Mark’s biggest client needs representation. His clients are a big pharmaceutical company and Katy’s client is suing them because they unjustly fired her. There is a lot more happening than just employment law issues. It quickly turns into a scene with dead bodies and threats are made. Despite their big attraction to one another neither Katy nor Mark can afford to drop their clients.

Aside from the suspense of element of this story, and I have to say that the author had a lot of surprises along the way, Katy and Mark can’t fight their attraction to one another but this presents a legal issue of “conflict.” Both love their careers and neither want to jeopardize their case but neither can avoid their feelings. Katy and Mark had excellent chemistry. They really got the best out of each other and they were perfectly matched. I also personally liked how Castille evolved Katy’s character. At the beginning she was very insecure and worried about not only her career but also her personal life- her ex-husband was a key player and Castille really had a lot of surprises in store for him. Not to be outdone with suspense and excellent lead characters Castille had equally fascinating secondary characters in James, the cop, and Lana the private investigator I loved every single scene they were in and I even ended up buying the book because I just have to know what happens between those two.

Finally, there was so much going on that I was interested from beginning to end. I could not wait to see how Katy and Mark would resolve their relationship, the villains were so deliciously bad and there were surprises at every turn. The narrator Charlotte Kane was great and her voice fit with the story perfectly. This was a fun, intense and exciting story!

Melting Point (Hot in Chicago, #1.5) by Kate Meader

I'm convinced Kate Meader can write the yellow pages and make it sound interesting. "Melting Point" was my first m/m.  I was hooked on Gage and Brady Smith in "Flirting with Fire."  I loved that they were complete opposites and that they had such great chemistry.  Although I expected some hot tension between Cage and Brady I really love how Meader dug deeper into their relationship and helped them each face their vulnerabilities.  Kate Meader can make the pages sizzle.  She knows how to add just the right amount of push and pull to keep a reader hooked.  I personally cannot wait to read more or really anything by her!  Cage and Brady did not disappoint! 
Melting Point (Hot in Chicago, #1.5)

Review: This Heart of Mine by Brenda Novak



A-MAZING
original post at: http://ramblingsfromthischick.blogspot.com/2015/11/review-this-heart-of-mine-by-brenda.html
 wish I could give this book ten stars it was so AMAZING. I started listening to this book on audio and I was so interested in the characters and the plot that I jumped for joy when I saw I had an e-galley of it. Needless to say it was so incredibly beautiful. I cried the first 20% of the book. When I started reading it I was so exhausted and when I realized the time it was 1 AM!!

I’ve read Brenda Novak before so I kind of expect her heroine to be a certain way. Her heroines are usually outcasts of society and women down on their luck. This was Phoenix all the way. But I absolutely loved her. She was the kindest and most loving person. I could not help crying for her and her struggle. Unjustly accused of the death of one of her classmates, Phoenix spends seventeen years in prison. Not only that but she finds out she is pregnant and never gets a chance to see her son after he is born. Instead of making her angry and bitter, Phoenix comes out determined to prove herself, and if he is willing, become a part of her son’s life-Jacob.

I have to confess that the hero-Riley Fuller took me longer to like. I get that they were both young when two big things happened 1) they found out they were having a baby and 2) she was sent to prison. But I really wanted to inflict some harm on Riley. He was the golden boy who had everything handed to him on a silver spoon. He had so many prejudices against Phoenix all because of what people around him thought. Phoenix’s life was very far from ideal. She grew up with a mother that did not take care of her and had her own physiological issues. I also understand that his parents pressured him to break up with Phoenix when they were still only 18 but in the 17 years she was in prison he never took their son to see her. He also kept letters from him that Phoenix wrote to Jacob. It broke my heart. This book was just one big open wound for me. But I LOVED IT! I loved Phoenix and her determination to make a life for herself. She was so careful not to push her son and was always walking on egg shells so she wouldn’t cause any problems for the people she loved. This is one of my favorite stories. I will re-read this book and I already have recommended it to my friends and anyone that will speak to me.

Even though I didn’t think Riley deserved Phoenix and I wanted Novak to make him suffer a little, I loved Riley and Phoenix together. I was so happy with when they finally got their much deserved happily-ever-after. I loved their chemistry and I loved the pacing of the story. I also like that Riley finally does so much overdue “manning” up. The characters from the previous books appear and add to the warm and inviting feel of Whiskey Creek. I also really loved Jacob. I thought he was such a sweet kid and loved the banter he shared with his father. Now that I have some time off to look forward to, I might just sit and binge on all the “Whiskey Creek” books. So far, I have not read one that I did not enjoy.

ARC Review: Falling Into Bed with a Duke by Lorraine Heath


Three Stars


Lorraine Heath kicks off a new series with “Falling Into Bed with a Duke.” This new series is labeled “The Hellions of Havisham” which include The Duke of Ashebury and one of his best friends- Edward. In true Lorraine Heath many characters from other books make their appearance here such as Grace from the “Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James “ series, which I loved and most notably Jack Dodger from “Scoundrels of St. James” series. I loved that Heath is able to continue their stories interlacing them with new characters.

Minerva Dodger is Jack’s daughter. She is very outspoken but not very pretty. She has been out for six seasons but the only offers of marriage have come about because of her very large dowry. Because of her large dowry she often gets marriage proposals but it’s very obvious that they want her money and not her. Minerva is tired of sitting back and letting life pass her by, she is ready to take matters into her own hands. She decides that she will visit a place that is top secret but is specifically where people go and derive pleasure. Her very good friend Grace finds out the location and Minerva disguises herself and names herself Lady V. In this place of pleasure she immediately draws the attention of Ashe. Ashe is no stranger to living a wild life. After he was left orphaned when his parents died he lived under the care of a guardian but has pretty much done what he wants. Ashe has traveled all over the world and has had many adventures. He is very popular in London society and very charming with women. Minerva is shocked when she draws his attention.

As Ashe and Minerva get to know each other they do so in society and anonymous at the famous house of pleasure. Ashe instantly suspects that Minerva is Lady V but both are pushing the limits of their relationship in and out of society. Ashe and Minerva are very different people. She has a very good head for business and he has a great passion for photography. Ashe knows that if he wants to win Minerva’s heart he has to first win her respect. As the story unfolds and Minerva lets her guard down around Ashe she is heartbroken to discover that she might not have protected her heart enough.

I love Lorraine Heath and have read many of her books. She is a fantastic writer and has amazing storylines. I have to confess that I’m in a bit of a reading slump. I drift form book to book and none really capture my attention for long periods of time. I thought that “Falling into Bed with a Duke” would help me with my slump but it really didn’t. Although I liked both the hero and heroine I didn’t think that they had great chemistry. Ashe was charming but I didn’t get a strong sense of him being a “rogue” or heartbreaker. Minerva was interesting but I didn’t love her as much as I would have loved to. Nonetheless I’m still going to anticipate the next book in the series and I’m hoping that Edward and Julia will play a part in the future books. I can say with certainty that Lorraine Heath fans will enjoy reading this first book in the new “The Hellions of Havisham” series.

ARC Review: Take Me All the Way by Toni Blake

Five Stars
original post at: http://ramblingsfromthischick.blogspot.com/2015/12/arc-review-take-me-all-way-by-toni-blake.html

I wish I could give “Take Me All the Way” by Toni Blake a million stars. What a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful book! I’ve read Toni Blake before and after reading this story I now know that I need to read everything she writes. Even if she writes on a napkin, I want to read it. Needless to say I LOVED this book.

Where to start? First, any author that speaks about the effects on soldiers of war so eloquently and with such compassion has a gold start with me. Post-traumatic stress disorder ( PTSO) is very common in soldiers and Jeremy Sheridan is one of those soldiers. After having served in Afghanistan he still has a lot of guilt and remorse about not only the war but his actions and how they affected those around him. Jeremy is “shell shocked”, not to use the term loosely. He is drifting along and not really sure what to do with his life. He is homeless, jobless and aimless. When his close friend finally tells him he should find some stability he decides to travel to Coral Cove. When Jeremy arrives his life is pretty much the same until he meets Tamra Day.

Tamra was a fantastic heroine with a fantastic hero. Except, of course, they both hate each other, can’t figure each other out, are rude and sarcastic to each other, oh! And did I mention they work together. I absolutely loved their chemistry. They were so perfectly awful together and when they were around one another. Yet, they made perfect sense. Although Tamra isn’t a veteran she is also good at keep people at arm’s length and making sure she stays within her comfort zone. When Jeremy pushes her limits she does what she knows how to do best-she runs. Ironically, later on as the story progresses, Jeremy does some running of his own.

If I could physically place this book in everyone’s reader I would. Tamra and Jeremy are such sweet and wounded souls. They both recognize each other’s pain but can only heal when they are ready. Mixed with some beautiful chemistry, the secondary characters are a beautiful backdrop to previously told stories and the beautiful friendships that bind the characters together. It’s hard to pick one outstanding character, but I have a special place for Jeremy’s cat, especially since he is more of a dog person. Beautiful and heartwarming story! I will be reading more Toni Blake in my very near future!

Review: Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas


Five Stars
original review: http://ramblingsfromthischick.blogspot.com/2015/12/review-cold-hearted-rake-by-lisa-kleypas.html
I’m going to try to write this as a review for “Cold-Hearted Rake” by Lisa Kleypass and focus on the book instead of my undying love for the author. Seriously, wow. Can anyone write a historical romance better than her? Years ago I gave up reading romance novels until I stumbled across Keypass’ “Suddenly You” which is a standalone. I was so enamored with her writing and storytelling I checked out anything and everything I could at the library by her. I even read her contemporary and hands down she is just amazing. “Devil in Winter” is one of my all-time favorite historical romances. I’ve read it numerous times and will re-read again in the future.

After nearly five years, yes! Five years! She has finally written a new story” Cold-Hearted Rake” and it is a part of a series, to which I am incredibly grateful because I could not get enough of the characters in the story. All of them. I just loved them. I think one of the reasons that Kleypass always impacts me with her writing is that she just strips away all the emotions from her characters and they just become so vulnerable that it is impossible not to love them and cheer for them as they struggle to find their way.

“Cold-Hearted Rake” is the first book in the Ravenel’s series. I feel giddy just thinking about what she has instore for West, Devon’s brother. What she has in store for the twins and finally the next book in the series, “Marrying Winterborne” the story of Rhys Winterborne and the painfully shy and virtuous Lady Helen Ravenel.

But first our hero, Devon Ravenel has just inherited an earldom with an estate that is crumbling around his ears. His first inclination is to sell. He doesn’t want any of it, that is until he meets Kathleen. Lady Trenear is his cousin’s widow. To say that they dislike each other is an understatement. But Kathleen is tough and she is not shy about standing up to Devon or his brother West. She is prepared to take her sister-in-laws under her protection and take care of them. Devon for all his best efforts can’t resist the pull that he feels not only to his inherited estate but also to Kathleen. Kleypass never has an easy road planned for her characters and Devon and Kathleen are no exception. They face it all from derailed trains to failing estates and they do it with the romantic melodrama that only she can create.

Obviously, I really loved the book. I read it once and then re-read it. I lost sleep but I didn’t care. I was fascinated and intrigued with the characters and their witty-laugh-out-loud quips back and forth. In order to preserve my sanity, I’m not even going to think about the next book but for me it can’t come fast enough. If anyone has never read Kleypass before, this is a perfect introduction. The only other I would recommend is Devil in Winter. No one does antiheros like Kleypass. Simply amazing.

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Ice Queen: Book Two of Odd Tangle-Hair's Saga By Bruce Macbain

The Ice Queen: Book Two of Odd Tangle-Hair's Saga
By Bruce Macbain

Publication Date: November 30, 2015
Blank Slate Press
eBook & Paperback; 285 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

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The second volume of Odd Tangle-Hair’s Saga takes up Odd’s adventures as a skald (court poet) in the land of the Rus. Here he is drawn into a dangerous love affair with the passionate and cunning Princess Ingigerd of Novgorod, and is forced to break with his sworn lord, Harald the Ruthless. Along the way, Odd devises a stratagem to defeat the wild Pechenegs, nomadic warriors of the Russian steppe, and goes off on a doomed mission to explore the distant reaches of the Black Sea. The novel concludes with Odd sailing into the harbor of Constantinople, bent on a secret mission, which will almost certainly cost him his life.

Eager, curious, quick-witted—and sometimes wrong-headed—Odd Tangle-Hair recounts his story with candor, insight, and always an ironic sense of humor.
My Review
Four Stars
Copy received from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for an honest review
"The Ice Queen" was a great follow-up to the first book in this series "Odin's Child."  One of the many wonderful things about writing reviews is that I am exposed to many more books than I would normally know about and at times be interested in reading.  I usually stay away from fantasy stories because it's a genre that I'm not usually as interested in but Macbain has such an engaging way of grabbing my attention that I feel pulled into the story immediately.  Aside from the engaging manner that Macbain tells this and the previous story, I personally love witty commentary from characters.  It makes the story more enjoyable and Macbain definitely accomplishes this. Finally, I really like Pablo Coehlo and I couldn't help but feel like Macbain is similar in his storytelling. There always seems more than meets the eye with his dialogues and with the different things that occur throughout the story. Great dialouge, adventure and romance, there was no way I could not enjoy this great story.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOKS-A-MILLION | INDIEBOUND


About the Author03_Bruce Macbain

From boyhood, Bruce Macbain spent his days in reading history and historical fiction. The Greeks and Romans have held a special fascination for him, and this led to earning a master’s degree in Classical Studies and a doctorate in Ancient History. Along the way, he also taught English as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Borneo. Later, he taught courses in Greek and Roman civilization at Boston University, and published a few dense monographs, read by very few. In recent years he has turned to writing fiction, a much more congenial pursuit, beginning with two historical mysteries set in ancient Rome (Roman Games and The Bull Slayer). Now, he has turned his attention to his other favorite folk, the Vikings. Odin's Child , the first novel of Odd Tangle-Hair’s Saga, was published in May, 2015 and is now followed the sequel, The Ice Queen. A concluding volume will follow next year.

Bruce spends his spare time in the kitchen, cooking spicy food.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 14
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Tuesday, December 15
Interview & Giveaway at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Wednesday, December 16
Spotlight at Puddletown Reviews
Spotlight & Giveaway at Unshelfish

Thursday, December 17
Interview & Giveaway at Room With Books

Sunday, December 20
Spotlight at Layered Pages

Tuesday, December 22
Review at Book Nerd

Monday, December 28
Review at A Book Geek
Review at The Absurd Book Nerd

Tuesday, December 29
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews
Guest Post at The Absurd Book Nerd

Wednesday, December 30
Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews

Thursday, December 31
Review at Boom Baby Reviews

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Harvest Moon by Sharon Struth


Enter to Win a
$10.00 Amazon eGift Card



HARVEST MOON
A Blue Moon Lake Romance #2
Sharon Struth
Releasing Dec 22nd, 2015
Lyrical Shine



Getting
past the librarian’s guard…



Trent
Jamieson isn’t one for virtual romance, but there’s something about the
intriguing woman he meets on the Internet he can’t resist. Then the small town
bachelor discovers the mystery woman who shares her secrets with him online is
the laced-up librarian in his self-defense class! Veronica Sussingham may just
be his toughest student yet. Because how can he show the vulnerable beauty that
some men areworth letting your guard down for?

Veronica
returned to her hometown seeking shelter for her shattered spirit. The last
thing she needs is a blue-eyed charmer who wants to show her how to live—and
love—again. Then she discovers Trent is not just another admirer, but a man who
knows her deepest secrets. Now Veronica must choose between running from her
past—or finding future happiness with the kind of man she swore she’d never
fall for….

BUY NOW





a Rafflecopter giveaway







"Heart-tugging
small town romance with real emotion. Struth is an author to watch!"
—Laura Drake, author of RITA-award winning The Sweet Spot

Sharon Struth is an award-winning author who believes it’s
never too late for a second chance in love or life. When she’s not writing, she
and her husband happily sip their way through the scenic towns of the
Connecticut Wine Trail. Sharon writes from the small town of Bethel,
Connecticut, the friendliest place she’s ever lived. For more information,
including where to find her other novels and published essays, please visit her
website.


Tales of Byzantium: A Selection of Short Stories by Eileen Stephenson

02_Tales of ByzantiumTales of Byzantium: A Selection of Short Stories
by Eileen Stephenson

Publication Date: May 2, 2015
Paperback & eBook; 152 Pages

Genre: History

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A young empress defies her powerful father for love and her rightful place on the throne.

A charismatic commander takes the gamble of a lifetime to save the lives of thousands of innocents.

An exiled princess finds a new sense of purpose and creates a legacy that will stand through the ages.

These stories provide a glimpse of the dynamic and proud Byzantines who lived during the height of the empire's splendor.

"Through elegantly described details, sharply observed characters, and especially crisp, modern-sounding dialogue, Stephenson takes these vignettes from the thousand years of Byzantine history, mixes them liberally with such excellent modern narrative histories as John Julius Norwich's A Short History of Byzantium, and manages to create three very intriguing windows into a part of history largely unknown to many readers." -Anne McNulty, Historical Novel Society Indie Reviews

AMAZON


About the Author03_Eileen Stephenson

Eileen Stephenson was born in Fort Worth, Texas but spent most of her life in the Washington, DC area. She has degrees from both Georgetown University and George Washington University (neither involving the Byzantines) and is married with three daughters. Her interest in Byzantine history all started one fateful day when every other book in the library looked boring except for John Julius Norwich's A Short History of Byzantium.

WEBSITE | BLOG | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS

My Review:
Copy Received from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for an honest review
Four Stars
I'm usually not a fan of short stories and try to stay clear of them but with the hustle and bustle of the holidays "Tales of Byzantium" was the perfect read. I thought that the short stories were all very well developed and fulfilling.  I tend to think that it's difficult to adequately develop attachment to a story if there is not enough information but this book was an exception.  I also thought that the author was able to balance the pacing and the unfolding of the story very well.  Since I know very little about the Byzantine period I enjoyed the tidbits that I learned but at the same time I did not feel to overwhelmed with a time period I knew little about.  I enjoyed the first two stories the most but the third was also fun to read. Overall, this is a great collection of short stories especially during this time of year when life becomes a little more hectic.  

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 14
Review at Library Educated
Interview at Let Them Read Books

Tuesday, December 15
Review at The Maiden's Court

Wednesday, December 16
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair

Thursday, December 17
Review at The Eclectic Ramblings of Author Heather Osborne
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Friday, December 18
Interview at Dianne Ascroft Blog
Spotlight at The Writing Desk

Saturday, December 19
Spotlight at Teatime and Books
Spotlight at To Read, Or Not to Read

Sunday, December 20
Review at Seize the Words: Books in Review

Monday, December 21
Review at Book Nerd
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views
Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, December 22
Review at Luxury Reading
Review & Giveaway at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Giveaway

To win a Paperback copy of Tales of Byzantium by Eileen Stephenson please enter the giveaway via the GLEAM form below.

Rules

– Giveaway starts at 12:01am EST on December 14th and ends at 11:59pm EST on December 22nd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open internationally.
– 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 has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Tales of Byzantium


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Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Edge of Lost by Kristina McMorris

02_The Edge of LostThe Edge of Lost
by Kristina McMorris

Publication Date: November 24, 2015
Kensington Books
Trade Paperback, 340 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

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From New York Times bestselling author Kristina McMorris comes an ambitious and heartrending story of immigrants, deception, and second chances.

On a cold night in October 1937, searchlights cut through the darkness around Alcatraz. A prison guard’s only daughter—one of the youngest civilians who lives on the island—has gone missing. Tending the warden’s greenhouse, convicted bank robber Tommy Capello waits anxiously. Only he knows the truth about the little girl’s whereabouts, and that both of their lives depend on the search’s outcome.

Almost two decades earlier and thousands of miles away, a young boy named Shanley Keagan ekes out a living as an aspiring vaudevillian in Dublin pubs. Talented and shrewd, Shan dreams of shedding his dingy existence and finding his real father in America. The chance finally comes to cross the Atlantic, but when tragedy strikes, Shan must summon all his ingenuity to forge a new life in a volatile and foreign world.

Skillfully weaving these two stories, Kristina McMorris delivers a compelling novel that moves from Ireland to New York to San Francisco Bay. As her finely crafted characters discover the true nature of loyalty, sacrifice, and betrayal, they are forced to confront the lies we tell—and believe—in order to survive.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOKS-A-MILLION | POWELL'S | INDIEBOUND


Advance Praise

“Kristina McMorris evokes such a strong sense of place that to open her books feels less like reading and more like traveling. Her absorbing new novel..[is an] epic, deeply felt tale of struggle and second chances… a transporting piece of historical fiction.” — BookPage

“McMorris’ gripping immigrant saga sweeps from Dublin to New York, through Prohibition and vaudeville, from New York to San Francisco and Alcatraz. It is a young man’s battle with hardship and tragedy, but it is also a portrait of America during a turbulent time and a quest that ends in triumph. Readers will be caught up in this well-told story.” — RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

“Compelling, resonant and deeply moving, The Edge of Lost is an absorbing tale of deceit and self-deception, survival and second chances, the ties that bind and the lure of the unknown.” — Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train

“The story will grab your heart on page one and won’t let go until the end—and if you’re like me, not even then. I absolutely love this book, and so will you.” — Sara Gruen, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants

“A beautifully told story about a young man’s journey through adversity and loss with an exhilarating ending that I couldn’t put down and stayed up well past my bedtime to finish.” — Charles Belfoure, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Architect

“In The Edge of Lost Kristina McMorris takes us on a thrilling ride . . . I found myself thoroughly immersed in her richly evocative settings, just as I was captivated by the pure humanity of her characters as they struggled for redemption. This book is a wonderful read!” — David R. Gillham, New York Times bestselling author of City of Women

“The Edge of Lost takes readers on an enthralling journey . . . right up to a tense, edge-of-your-seat ending that left me breathless. An absorbing, addictive read.” — Beatriz Williams, New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Life of Violet Grant

“With prose as lyrical as the music woven through its narrative, and boasting impeccably observed historical details, The Edge of Lost is a thoroughly mesmerizing novel. I adore everything that Kristina McMorris writes and this book is no exception.” — Jennifer Robson, international bestselling author of Somewhere in France

About the Author03_Kristina McMorris

Kristina McMorris is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author and the recipient of more than twenty national literary awards, as well as a nomination for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, RWA’s RITA® Award, and a Goodreads Choice Award for Best Historical Fiction. Inspired by true personal and historical accounts, her works of fiction have been published by Kensington Books, Penguin Random House, and HarperCollins. The Edge of Lost is her fourth novel, following the widely praised Letters from Home, Bridge of Scarlet Leaves, and The Pieces We Keep, in addition to her novellas in the anthologies A Winter Wonderland and Grand Central.

Prior to her writing career, Kristina hosted weekly TV shows since age nine, including an Emmy® Award-winning program, and has been named one of Portland's "40 Under 40" by The Business Journal. She lives with her husband and two sons in Oregon, where she is working on her next novel. For more, visit www.KristinaMcMorris.com. You can also follow Kristina on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, December 14
The Maiden's Court
Passages to the Past

Tuesday, December 15
A Literary Vacation
CelticLady's Reviews
What Is That Book About

Wednesday, December 16
Reading Is My SuperPower
Svetlana's Reads and Views

Thursday, December 17
Unshelfish
A Book Geek
With Her Nose Stuck In A Book

Friday, December 18
The Lit Bitch
The Reading Queen

Saturday, December 19
Book Nerd
Beth's Book Nook Blog
So Many Books, So Little Time

Sunday, December 20
Let Them Read Books
Eclectic Ramblings of Author Heather Osborne

Monday, December 21
Boom Baby Reviews

Giveaway

To win a signed copy of The Edge of Lost by Kristina McMorris please enter the giveaway via the GLEAM form below.

Rules

– Giveaway starts at 12:01am EST on December 14th and ends at 11:59pm EST on December 21st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US and Canada ONLY.
– 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 has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

The Edge of Lost Book Blast Giveaway


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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Last Wife of Attila the Hun by Joan Schweighardt

02_The Last Wife of Attila the HunThe Last Wife of Attila the Hun
by Joan Schweighardt

Publication Date: October 13, 2015
Booktrope Editions
Paperback; eBook; 272 Pages

Genre: Literary/Historical Fiction

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Two threads are flawlessly woven together in this sweeping historical novel. In one, Gudrun, a Burgundian noblewoman, dares to enter the City of Attila to give its ruler what she hopes is a cursed sword; the second reveals the unimaginable events that have driven her to this mission.

Based in part on the true history of the times and in part on the same Nordic legends that inspired Wagner’s Ring Cycle and other great works of art, The Last Wife of Attila the Hun offers readers a thrilling story of love, betrayal, passion and revenge, all set against an ancient backdrop itself gushing with intrigue. Lovers of history and fantasy alike will find realism and legend at work in Joan Schweighardt’s latest offering.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | ITUNES

Four Stars
Copy received from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for an honest review
After I finished reading Stephanie Thorntons' " The Wife of the Conqueror" "The Last Wife of Attila the Hun" was a perfect book to follow. I really knew nothing about Attila the Hun, I have heard of him in my history classes but no personal details stand out. I really liked the historical information that Schweighardt included and I really learned a lot and it gave me a great perspective of the time period. Gudrun was a fascinating character. Her love story with Sigurd was touching and sweet. The sequence of times was well done and I was quickly thrown into Gudrun's earlier life and it gave me a glimpse into what shaped her.  I really enjoyed this story, found it to be original and compelling. 

Praise

"The hero-tales of the Germanic peoples form a glowing thread in the tapestry of European literature. The Last Wife of Attila the Hun presents one of the greatest of those legends from a woman’s perspective, with emotion as well as action, bringing new meaning to an ancient tale." – Diana L. Paxson, author of the Wodan’s Children trilogy, and co-author of the New York Times bestseller Priestess of Avalon

"Richly woven, yet simply told, The Last Wife of Attila the Hun is an epic delivered in lucid and lyric verse. Schweighardt creates a mesmerizing story deserving to be read aloud and celebrated like all the world’s best tales." – Julie Shigekuni, author of A Bridge Between Us, Invisible Gardens and Unending Nova.

About the Author03_Joan Schweighardt

Joan Schweighardt is the author of five novels. A former independent publisher, she makes her living editing, writing and ghostwriting for private and corporate clients.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER


Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 14
Spotlight at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, December 15
Spotlight at Unshelfish

Wednesday, December 16
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective

Thursday, December 17
Review at Book Nerd

Friday, December 18
Review at Beth's Book Nook Blog
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews

Saturday, December 19
Spotlight at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Sunday, December 20
Review at Carole's Ramblings
Review at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Monday, December 21
Review at Let Them Read Books
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Giveaway

To win a Paperback copy of The Last Wife of Attila the Hun please enter the giveaway via the GLEAM form below.

Rules

– Giveaway starts at 12:01am EST on December 14th and ends at 11:59pm EST on December 21st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open internationally.
– 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 has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

The Last Wife of Attila the Hun


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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Conqueror's Wife: A Novel of Alexander the Great by Stephanie Thornton

02_The Conqueror's Wife

The Conqueror's Wife: A Novel of Alexander the Great by Stephanie Thornton

Publication Date: December 1, 2015
NAL/Penguin Group LLC.
eBook, Paperback; 496 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

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A novel from the acclaimed author of The Tiger Queens, for readers looking for “strong and determined female protagonists” (Historical Novel Society) and “a sprawling historical saga” (Renee Rosen)...

We are the women who loved Alexander the Great. We were lovers and murderers, innocents and soldiers.
And without us, Alexander would have been only a man.
Instead he was a god.

330s, B.C.E., Greece: Alexander, a handsome young warrior of Macedon, begins his quest to conquer the ancient world. But he cannot ascend to power, and keep it, without the women who help to shape his destiny.

His spirited younger half-sister, Thessalonike, yearns to join her brother and see the world. Instead, it is Alexander's boyhood companion who rides with him into war while Thessalonike remains behind. Far away, crafty princess Drypetis will not stand idly by as Alexander topples her father from Persia's throne. And after Alexander conquers her tiny kingdom, Roxana, the beautiful and cunning daughter of a minor noble, wins Alexander’s heart…and will commit any crime to secure her place at his side.

Within a few short years, Alexander controls an empire more vast than the civilized world has ever known. But his victories are tarnished by losses on the battlefield and treachery among his inner circle. And long after Alexander is gone, the women who are his champions, wives, and enemies will fight to claim his legacy…
Five Stars
Copy from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for an honest review

I’m going to try not to fan girl too much but I think Stephanie Thornton is a great author! She seems to have a real passion for history and when she focuses on one aspect or figure she really dissects and gives that time period her all. "The Conqueror's Wife" was a thorough depiction of Alexander the Great. Thornton gives different perspectives with different narrators. Although my knowledge of Alexander is limited I felt like Thornton presented a very thorough Alexander, the story instantly drew me in. I love the "behind every successful man lies one woman (or in this case women). Hephaestion is someone I knew nothing about and found him to be fascinating and his relationship with Alexander had so many levels to it.  It's impossible not to notice the importance of Drypetis and Roxana.  Their roles in this story added to the emotional but also historical importance of Alexander’s accomplishments. 

For any readers that have not read Thornton, I can highly recommend " The Tiger Queens" and "Daughter of the Gods."  They were both fantastic novels and also very refreshing historical reads.  I personally really enjoy that she focuses on women and their importance and I hope that she continues to do this.  


About the Author

03_Stephanie ThorntonStephanie Thornton is a writer and history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from ancient history since she was twelve. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alaska, where she is at work on her next novel.

"The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora," "Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt," and "The Tiger Queens: The Women of Genghis Khan" are available now. "The Conqueror's Wife: A Novel of Alexander the Great" will hit the shelves in December 2015.

For more information please visit Stephanie Thornton’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 23
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, November 24
Review at Layered Pages
Interview & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Spotlight & Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, November 25
Review at A Bookish Affair
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Thursday, November 26
Review at Historical Readings & Reviews

Friday, November 27
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Monday, November 30
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Review & Giveaway at 100 Pages a Day

Tuesday, December 1
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Guest Post at Book Lovers Paradise

Wednesday, December 2
Review at leeanna.me
Review & Giveaway at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, December 3
Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway at Just One More Chapter
Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway at Unshelfish
Excerpt at A Literary Vacation
Spotlight at The Reading Queen

Friday, December 4
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict

Monday, December 7
Review at The Maiden's Court

Tuesday, December 8
Review at Reading the Past
Review at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, December 9
Review at CelticLady's Reviews

Thursday, December 10
Review at The Lit Bitch
Interview & Giveaway at Reading Lark
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Friday, December 11
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Saturday, December 12
Review & Giveaway at Genre Queen

Monday, December 14
Review at Book Babe
Reivew, Excerpt, & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick

Tuesday, December 15
Review at Bookramblings

Wednesday, December 16
Review at Book Nerd

Thursday, December 17
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Friday, December 18
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective
Interview at Flashlight Commentary

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