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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Review of Tracie Peterson's The Icecutter's Daughter

Cover Art  
As the lone female in a houseful of men, Merrill Krause dedicates her life to caring for her family and their business, as her dying mother asked. Besides, it suits her; she's never felt like she fits what most people expect in a girl--she'd rather work with her father’s horses and assist with the ice harvest. And though she’s been mostly content up to this point, a part of her wonders if there will ever be anyone who will notice her amid the bevy of brothers determined to protect her from any possible suitors.
When Rurik Jorgenson arrives in their small Minnesota town to join his uncle's carpentry business, he soon crosses paths with Merrill. But unlike other men, who are often frightened away by her older brothers, Rurik isn't intimidated by them or by Merrill's strength and lack of femininity. The attraction between them begins to build...until Rurik's former fiance shows up with wild claims that bring serious consequences to Rurik.
Can Rurik and Merrill learn to trust God--and each other--when scandal threatens their newfound love?

My Review:

I really enjoyed this book.  I have read some books by Tracie but not a lot, so I really can't compare it to her other books.  This is the story of Merrill, who is the Icecutter's Daughter, and Rurik.  Rurik came Waseca, MN from Kansas to help his uncle run his furniture business.  He was engaged to marry Svea through an arranged marriage by their fathers, but he only has brotherly feelings for her.  She gets mad that he is leaving and breaks the engagement, much to Rurik's relief.  Merrill is the only daughter to Bogart Krause and she feels it is her obligation to take care of him and her four brothers after her mother passed away.  She isn't a girly girl and feels more comfortable in men's clothing than in women's.  After she gets to know Rurik she develops feelings for him, but Svea and her brother Nils, who is Rurik's best friend show up  in Waseca unexpectedly.  Svea announces that the engagement is still on and she also has another secret.  What will Merrill do when she finds out.  Also Nils has some secrets of his own.  This is a very well written book.  I found myself not really liking Svea very much, but then we find out why she is doing what she is doing.  Tracie gave a very good glimpse of what it would have been like to live in Minnesota in those times.  She is a great writer.  Great job, I highly recommend this book. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.


Tracie Peterson's love for history and research fuel the bestselling stories she writes. She is the author of more than ninety novels and the recipient of the 2011 ACFW Lifetime Achievement Award. Tracie and her family live in Montana.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Peggy Webb Forever Friends, Bringing up Baxter

Join Peggy Webb, author of the romantic comedies, Can't Stop Loving You, Only His Touch, Bringing Up Baxter, and Angels on Zebras, as she tours the blogosphere June 3 - June 28, 2013 on her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

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CAN'T STOP LOVING YOUABOUT CAN'T STOP LOVING YOU







Brick and Helen Sullivan had been a team, onstage and off. When she walked out of their marriage without an explanation, he swore he’d never play another role with her, in the bedroom or otherwise. But Fate brings them together to reprise their roles in The Taming of the Shrew, and the sparks begin to fly. Laugh – and cry – as the famous and lively lovers try to untangle a web of misunderstanding and find their way back to the place where they belong. (Forever Friends, Book 1).























Only His Touch

ABOUT ONLY HIS TOUCH


Kathleen Shaw has lost everything – the only man she’ll ever love, the husband who had rescued and adored her, her career, and now her eyesight and hearing. She has even lost the Forever Friends because she’s too proud to call for their help. That she survived the boat explosion is a miracle. When Hunter La Farge returns to Jefferson Parish searching for her, is it too much to ask for another miracle? (Forever Friends, Book 2.)























Bringing Up Baxter

ABOUT BRINGING UP BAXTER


Attorney B. J. Corban’s fiancée is on their honeymoon – with another woman! When her zany sister packs her off to the mountains to get over being jilted at the altar, B. J. takes enough camping equipment to fight off mosquitoes, bears and famine. But she hadn’t counted on a heart-stealer on a Harley, appropriately called Crash. Nor had she counted on a little stray dog she calls Baxter. Crash lays claim to the dog – and her heart. She fights to keep both, but can Crash teach B. J. that to lose her heart is also to keep it?





















Angels on ZebrasABOUT ANGELS ON ZEBRAS


When her sister B.J. asks Maxie to be godmother to her son, the zany interior designer is happy to comply – until she learns she will be sharing god-parenthood with Mr. Perfect. Lawyer Joseph Beuregard is successful, drop-dead handsome and lethally sexy. There are only two problems: he’s the cause of Maxie’s Most Embarassing Moment and he’s B.J.’s brother-in-law. Maxie ruins every man she touches. She’s not about to follow her heart and in the process destroy her sister’s family. Besides, she and Joe can’t even see eye to eye on the christening party. How could they ever have a relationship? But Joe has other ideas. Can two people so totally opposite give their godson the best party in the world and find true love?






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ABOUT PEGGY WEBB


Peggy WebbPeggy Webb, author of 70 novels and 2 screenplays, lives in a cottage in Mississippi surrounded by gardens she designed and planted. A musician and actress as well as writer, she sings in her church choir and has sung in musicals at Tupelo Community Theater as well as played dramatic roles in Steel Magnolias and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. She started her career in 1985 with a romantic comedy that took the number one spot on romance bestseller lists. Romantic Times presented her with the prestigious Pioneer Award in recognition for her contribution to romantic comedy. Peggy is currently bringing the best of her romantic comedies back to fans as eBooks. In 2008 she turned her talents to mystery with the hilarious Southern Cousins series starring Elvis, the sleuthing basset hound who thinks he’s the King reincarnated. This multi-talented author also pens literary fiction as Anna Michaels and Elaine Hussey. Pat Conroy calls her literary work “astonishing” and former Disney exec Kathie Fong Yoneda calls it “brilliant.” The author composed the blues lyrics that appear throughout her literary novel, The Sweetest Hallelujah, Elaine Hussey, due in bookstores July 30, 2013.



To learn more about this bestselling, award-winning author, visit her websites at www.peggywebb.com and www.elainehussey.com.














The Forever Friends Virtual Book Publicity Tour Schedule


Monday, June 3 - Book featured and First chapter reveal at Faerotic Prose


Wednesday, June 5 - Book featured at Miki's Hope

Monday, June 10 - Book featured at Bookingly Yours

Monday, June 10 - Book reviewed at Rainy Day Reviews

Thursday, June 13 - Interviewed at Review From Here

Monday, June 17 - Book featured at Authors and Readers Book Corner

Monday, June 17 - Book reviewed at Books+Beach=Escape

Tuesday, June 18 - Interviewed at Herding Cats & Burning Soup

Wednesday, June 19 - Interviewed at Digital Journal

Friday, June 21 - Interviewed at Examiner

Monday, June 24 - Book featured at Confessions of a Reader

Tuesday, June 25 - Book reviewed at Janna Shay

Thursday, June 27 - Book featured at CelticLady's Reviews

Thursday, June 27 - Guest blogging and First chapter reveal at Queen of the Night Reviews

Friday, June 28 - Bringing Up Baxter reviewed and Guest blogging at Melina the Reader

Pump Up Your Book
 
 
 
 
 
My Review of Bringing Up Baxter:
 
This was a charming book written with wit and humor, just like all of Peggy's books.  She has a way with words that leaves you chuckling.  Great characters and a great plot.  Great job Peggy.
 
I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Review of Kate Lloyd's Pennsylvania Patchwork

About Pennsylvania Patchwork:

Seattle native Holly Fisher is smitten by Lancaster County, its simplicity and her long lost relatives. In the sequel to bestselling Leaving Lancaster, Holly embraces the Amish culture, learning to slow down to see what --- and who --- really matters.


Meeting the family that her mother had kept hidden from her, Holly comes face to face with her real life and blood legacy. She also falls for the charming Zach, a handsome Mennonite veterinarian who is everything she's ever wanted in a husband: confident, kind, successful, and authentic. And Zach proposes marriage. Is this too soon? Is this the right choice? Mother and Amish grandmother think she's rushing into too much of a lifestyle change. Holly is in love with Zach and that precludes everything. Until she meets an attractive Amish man. And an old suitor shows up.

Pennyslvania Patchwork is the moving, richly told story of one woman's heart, her faith and trust, and the choices she makes. Never easy, but one choice can change your destiny.

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/lG7GU

My Review:

This was a great Amish book, it didn't overwhelm you with the strictness of the Amish.  I liked this book better than the first book in the series, which was Leaving Lancaster.  Holly was more likable in this book than in the first.  The book was very well written, which made it flow really well.  Once I got into it, I didn't want to put it down and it kept me up pretty late, because I wanted to know how it ended.  Holly has three suitors, which one will she choose.  There was some mystery in it also; Nathaniel is summonsed to Ohio because his cousin thought that his deceased wife was living there, what will this mean for his and Esther's upcoming wedding.  Also, Esther receives a box from Samuel's old Army buddy, what is the deal with that.  And there is a little humor with Anna, she is a very heartwarming character.  We are also introduced to some new characters in this story.  Overall a great job Kate, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, looking forward to the next one, as some things were left unresolved.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

Meet Kate:

Author Kate Lloyd is a passionate observer of human relationships. A native of Baltimore, Kate spends time with family and friends in Lancaster County, PA, the inspiration for her novels. She is a member of the Lancaster County Mennonite Historical Society. Kate and her husband live in the Pacific Northwest. Kate studied painting and sculpture in college. She's worked a variety of jobs, including car salesman and restaurateur.

Learn more about Kate at http://www.katelloyd.net

Landing page: 
 
 

 
  
 



Kate Lloyd is celebrating the release of book two in her Legacy of Lancaster Trilogy, Pennsylvania Patchwork, by giving away an authentic Amish-made quilt!

PennsylvaniaPatchwork
 




One "grand" winner receive:


  • An authentic Amish-made Quilt
  • Pennsylvania Patchwork and Leaving Lancaster by Kate Lloyd
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 29th. Winner will be announced on July 1st at Kate's blog.

Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Review of Erika Chase's Read and Buried

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Read and Buried

About Read and Buried:

Hosting an award-winning novelist is quite a Christmas coup for the Ashton Corners Mystery Readers and Cheese Straw Society. But when he’s murdered in Lizzie Turner’s house, she’s got a holiday homicide on her hands …
For their very first guest author event, most of the book club members can’t wait to pull out all the stops in Southern hospitality. But for Lizzie, Derek Alton is nothing but trouble—from his massive ego to his smarmy moves. When he’s found murdered in her living room, it seems someone decided that this womanizing writer would be better off dead than read.
After suspicion falls on Lizzie’s friend, she and her fellow book club members discover that Derek wasn’t who he pretended to be. Cracking this case means going up against Lizzie’s boyfriend, police chief Mark Dreyfus, and unearthing a novel’s worth of nasty secrets. And as they get closer to uncovering Derek’s scandalous final manuscript, someone hiding in plain sight is out to write finis to Lizzie’s sleuthing for good…

My Review:

Well Erika has done it again; written a great cozy that leaves you guessing till the very end.  In Read and Buried we return the wonderful town of Ashton Corners.  Lizzie is at it again, this time the murder happens in her own living room.  The same great cast of characters from A Killer Read are right there to lend Lizzie a hand in solving this crime.  Lizzie is so great, she doesn't even give up finding the killer when she herself is shot at.  I really love visiting Ashton Corners.  This is fast becoming my favorite cozy series.  Great job Erika, please keep up the good work, I can't hardly wait till August to see what Lizzie and the crew are up to next.  I highly recommend this book, but I would suggest that if you haven't read the first book in the series that you do.  You probably wouldn't be lost if you started with this book, though. 

I gave my honest review of this book for this blog tour.

Erika Chase - Author Photo



Erika writes the Ashton Corners Book Club mysteries for Penguin/Berkley Prime Crime. In a parallel life Erika Chase is also known as Linda Wiken. A former mystery bookstore owner (Prime Crime Books in Ottawa, ON, Canada), Linda is also a short story writer. She is a member of those dangerous dames, The Ladies’ Killing Circle.
Her short stories have appeared in the seven Ladies’ Killing Circle anthologies (three of which she co-edited), and in the magazines Mysterious Intent and Over My Dead Body. She has been short-listed for an Arthur Ellis Award, Best Short Story, from Crime Writers of Canada.
Before life in the world of mystery, she worked as an advertising copywriter, radio producer, journalist and community education worker. Besides writing and reading mysteries, her other passion is choral singing and she is a member of two choirs.
She shares her house with Keesha and Mojo, her two Siamese cats. Actually, they allow her to live there.

Purchase from Amazon.
Connect with Erika Chase: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Review of Erika Chase's A Killer Read

  Cover and synopsis from http://erikachase.com/books/


A Killer Read, is the first in the Ashton Corners Book Club mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime.

It's the first meeting of the Ashton Corners Mystery Readers and Cheese Straws Society and an intruder is later found dead in his car. When the owner of the mansion which is home to the book club meetings, Molly Mathews, becomes the prime suspect, Lizzie Turner, a reading specialist with the Ashton Corners, AL school board, and fellow book club members turn their talents to sleuthing.

Who knew the new police chief would be non other than Lizzie's old unrequited high school flame, Mark Dreyfus? Why is she finding chapters from an anonymous manuscript in her mailbox? And will cheese straws have to be served at every meeting from now on?

Lizzie is unrelenting in tracking down the killer, even to the point of putting herself in danger -- from the murderer and the oh-so-alluring police chief.


My Review:

Wow I really liked this book.  I really loved Lizzie Turner.  She loves books, and she is in the teaching profession as a reading specialist, right up my alley (I am studying early education in hopes to be in the teaching profession and I love books).  The whole cast of characters was pretty awesome.  The setting was great, who doesn't love a small southern town.  The story was realistic.  The best part was that Erika kept me guessing as to who the killer was the whole way through the book, it was someone I never even suspected.  This is the first in the Ashton Corner's Book Club mystery series, thankfully I read the next installment right after this one and didn't have to wait for more.  I highly recommend to series for any cozy fans and even if you aren't a fan of cozies, this was a great read, loved it.  If you are a cat lover, then this is also a great read for you as Lizzie is the owner of two Siamese cats, Edam and Brie.

About Erika:

Erika writes the Ashton Corners Book Club mysteries for Penguin/Berkley Prime Crime.  In a parallel life Erika Chase is also known as Linda Wiken. A former mystery bookstore owner (Prime Crime Books in Ottawa, ON, Canada), Linda is also a short story writer. She is a member of those dangerous dames, The Ladies' Killing Circle.

Her short stories have appeared in the seven Ladies’ Killing Circle anthologies (three of which she co-edited), and in the magazines Mysterious Intent and Over My Dead Body. She has been short-listed for an Arthur Ellis Award, Best Short Story, from Crime Writers of Canada.



Before life in the world of mystery, she worked as an advertising copywriter, radio producer, journalist and community education worker.  Besides writing and reading mysteries, her other passion is choral singing and she is a member of two choirs.

Okay, maybe one more passion -- chocolate!

She shares her house with Keesha and Mojo, her two Siamese cats. Actually, they allow her to live there.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Review of Tangerine Morning by Rita Garcia


Rita Garcia/ Tangerine Morning
ASIN: B00B9O2U86 | List Price: $2.99 for Kindle, $5.73 for Soft cover /  | Format: Kindle and Soft cover | Page Count: 202
Romance, mystery and family drama intertwine in the small town of Serenity Cove. 
The fictional town of Serenity Cove boasts of beautiful sunsets and roaring waves. Its characters are as varied as the stars that shine on its diamond crusted-sea. Shoreview Drive provides a scenic drive along the coast, although most residents simply call it the coastal road. Serenity Cove is a contemporary town where people are still good neighbors and family and friends are an important part of everyday life. Where life is a step back in time, blending the best of both worlds. Even a town as wonderful as Serenity Cove has its villains…
Slip into paradise with Rita’s Inspirational Romance: Tangerine Morning, Jezzica’s Story.
Book Two of the Serenity Cove Series.
Jezzica Leigh, a young widow, struggles in her relationship with Christ and with starting over. She moves to Serenity Cove and purchases the Sea Glass Bookshop on Main Street, in hopes of letting go of the past and moving forward with her life.
Detective Zack Johnston, the first man her heart reacts to since her husband’s death, also represents a world that failed to bring her husband’s murderers to justice. The same criminals that now seek to harm Jezzica.
Can Dr. Ellie Clarimonde help Jezzica find her way back to Christ and the freedom to love again?
“…but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” ~Isaiah 40:31


My Review:

This was a very fast read, I was able to finish it in a few hours and that was in between taking care of my son and doing laundry.  It was pretty fast paced and filled with great characters that I would like to get to know.  We met Jezzica in Kaleidoscope Morning.  She came to Serenity Cove to get over the loss of her husband.  She buys the Sea Glass Book Shop from Samantha.  In the process she meets new detective to town, Zack.  When the thugs who killed her husband show up, Zack has to protect her.  Rita Garcia did a good job with this book.  Jezzica;s  struggle was so believable.  I enjoyed this story more than I did the first Serenity Cove Novel.  If you are looking for a quick, fast paced read that will keep your attention then this is the book for you.  I look forward to more Serenity Cove Novels and catching up on what the folks of Serenity Cove are doing.  It seems like a wonderful place that I would love to visit.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

  
Author Bio:
Dr. Rita Garcia writes Inspirational Hope-filled Fiction. Romance is a big part of her novels. Hope is an even larger element of the stories.
She is currently working on a series of contemporary novels set in the small town of Serenity Cove. Romance, mystery and family drama intertwine in the small town of Serenity Cove.
Rita resides in southern California with her husband, Joe Garcia. They have four adorable daughters and seven fantastic grandchildren who fill their lives with love, laughter, and never a dull moment.
Rita holds a Ph.D. in Psychology and is licensed by the National Christian Counselors Association, and trained in Biblical
Counseling by the American Association of Christian Counselors. She has a passion for helping others achieve their most important life goals.
To learn more about Rita or for more information about her books, visit her website: http://www.ritagarcia.com. Her blog: http://www.reflectionswithdrrita.com. She loves hearing from her readers.
Amazon Link
Purchase on Amazon or through Tate Publishing

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Review of Tess Thompson's Riverbend

"Tag. I found you."

Just as Annie Bell's reputation as one of the best chefs in the Pacific Northwest grows to new heights, she receives a threatening phone call from her abusive ex-boyfriend. Marco is out on parole and hungry for revenge, blaming her for his ten-year imprisonment. Fearing for her life and that of her young son, Annie reluctantly accepts help from Drake Webber, a cold and wealthy recluse hiding a dark history of his own. Supported by the gang of misfits from their restaurant Riversong, Annie forges ahead despite her growing terror that Marco will appear at any moment and make good on his threats.

Author Tess Thompson (formerly Tess Hardwick) reunites the colorful cast of endearing small-town characters from her bestselling novel Riversong and takes you on a journey that will renew your faith in love, friendship and the power of community - even in the face of seemingly insurmountable grief and fear. You'll find yourself once again cheering for the residents of River Valley, especially the big-hearted and compassionate Annie Bell.

Escape with a blend of love, laughter, friendship, suspense and gourmet food while remembering it's never too late for second chances.


My Review:

I really enjoyed this book.  I haven't read Riversong yet, but I wasn't a bit lost, Ms. Thompson told this story so well that I could enjoy it without having read her previous novel.  Annie never realized that her past would catch up with her, but it did and in the process she finds love.  She thought there wasn't anyone out there for her and Drake thought he could never love again.  I highly recommend this book.  I couldn't hardly put it down because I so wanted to know what Drake's secret was, why he was so sad, and why he wanted to become a recluse.  Tess Thompson is an exceptional writer and I can't wait to get the chance to read her other books, great job Ms. Thompson. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

Tess Thompson

Tess Thompson is a novelist and playwright with a BFA in Drama from the University of Southern California. In 2000 she wrote her first full-length play, My Lady's Hand which subsequently won the 2001 first place prize for new work at the Burien Theatre. Her first novel, "Riversong", became a bestselling ebook in 2012, reaching #1 on Nook and spending 35 days in Amazon's Top 100.

Like her main character in "Caramel and Magnolias", Tess is from a small town in Southern Oregon. She currently lives in near Seattle, Washington with her two young daughters, Emerson and Ella, and their puppy Patches. She is inspired daily by the view of the Cascade Mountains from her home office window.

Tess is working on her third novel and regularly blogs about her journey as a mother, author and friend at www.tesswrites.com.

Contact her at: tessthompsonwrites@gmail.com

Friday, June 14, 2013

Review of Denise Hunter's Barefoot Summer

About Barefoot Summer:
Madison's heart has been closed for years. But one summer can change everything.

In the years since her twin brother's tragic drowning, Madison has struggled with her ability to trust God--or anyone else, for that matter. It was her brother's dream to win the annual River Sail Regatta in their small harbor town of Chapel Springs, Indiana. And Madison's determined to honor his legacy by making his dream her own. Maybe then she can finally find closure.

But learning to sail means learning to swim. And her instructor is Beckett O'Reilly, a man who already has two strikes against him in Madison's eyes. Being on the water terrifies Madison. But Beckett's calming presence and unwavering confidence eases her fear. And as much as she'd like to deny it, the chemistry between them is electrifying.

As her feelings for him grow, a fledging faith begins to take root in her soul, as well. With Beckett, Madison feels alive for the first time in years--carefree and confident she can win the regatta, maybe even find love.

But Beckett harbors a secret that will test the limits of their love and the depth of Madison's faith. Will their love survive summer's challenge? And will achieving her brother's dream give Madison the peace she desperately seeks?

My Review:

This is the first book that I've read by Denise, and I enjoyed it.   Denise writes really well and I felt that I got to know the characters pretty good.  Madison was a very likable character and her struggles with her twin brother's death were heart wrenching.  Beckett had been the bad boy during high school but he has changed.  Madison thought that Beckett had broken her younger sister's heart, so she doesn't like him very much.  When she wins sailing lessons, she and Beckett are thrown together because the guy who was supposed to give the lessons has to work.  They grow to care for each other, and end up sailing in the regatta together.  But then Beckett has to reveal a secret about Madison's twin brother's death.  Will this secret come between Madison and Beckett?  I couldn't wait till the end of the book to find out.  Madison also has to work out some issues that she has with God over her brother's death.  Very good job Denise, I look forward to reading more in the Chapel Springs series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review. 




Meet Denise: 


Denise lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!

Learn more about Denise at http://www.denisehunterbooks.com

Landing page: 

Denise Hunter is celebrating her new Chapel Springs Romance series with a Summer Fun Giveaway. The first book, Barefoot Summer, is already a favorite with readers. “Hold-your-breath romance, heartache, and laugh-out-loud moments. It’s more than a good read. It’s a delight.” -- Lisa

BarefootSummer 

Summer: it’s all about sunny skies, star-gazing, swimming, spending time with loved ones, and living as if a small part of the weight of the world has been lifted off your shoulders.



Get ready for some serious summer fun with Denise’s 12-Day Summer Sun giveaway. From June 10-21, keep your computer near as you head to the lake or your friend’s barbecue because Denise will be giving away a summer essential each day!

Review of Joanna Campbell Slan's Death of a Dowager

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Death of a Dowager



In her classic tale, Charlotte Brontë introduced readers to the strong-willed and intelligent Jane Eyre. Picking up where Brontë left off, the year is now 1820, and Jane’s life has finally settled into a comfortable pattern. She and her beloved Edward Rochester have married and have a son. But Jane soon finds herself having to protect those she loves…

When the roof caves in at Ferndean, their country home, Jane and Edward accept an invitation from their friend Lucy Brayton to stay with her in London while repairs are being made. Jane is reluctant to abandon their peaceful life in the countryside, but Edward’s damaged vision has grown worse. She hopes that time in the capital will buoy his spirits and give him the chance to receive treatment from a renowned oculist.


Once in London, the Rochesters accompany Lucy to the Italian Opera House, where they encounter Dowager Lady Ingram, who had once hoped for Edward to wed her daughter, Blanche—and who’s still rankled by his subsequent marriage to Jane. In front of a group of society people, the aging dowager delivers a vicious social drubbing to Jane, enraging both Edward and Lucy. In an attempt to rebuild good will, Jane and Lucy decide to speak to the Dowager in private the next day. But the visit is cut short when the Dowager drops dead before their shocked eyes. Lucy is poised to take the blame—unless Jane can clear her friend’s name…

Joanne Campbell Slan

Joanna Campbell Slan was born in Jacksonville, Florida, but she grew up in a small town in Indiana. After graduating from Ball State University with a degree in journalism, she worked as a newspaper reporter, a newspaper ad salesperson, a television talk show host, a college teacher, a public relations professional, and a motivational speaker. In that capacity, she was named by Sharing Ideas Magazine as “one of the top 25 speakers in the world.”
When her son, Michael, got his driver’s license, Joanna was freed from carpool duty and finally able to pursue her dream of writing full time. She has since written eighteen books, eleven non-fiction and seven fiction. 
Joanna’s newest series—The Jane Eyre Chronicles—began with Death of a Schoolgirl(Berkley) and continues with the release of Death of a Dowager. The series features Charlotte Brontë’s classic heroine Jane Eyre as an amateur sleuth.

Purchase from Amazon.
Connect with Joanne Campbell Slan:
Website | Twitter | Facebook


My Review:

This book was good, but it started out kind of slow for me.  It picked up toward the middle when the murder took place.  Jane is a very charming and likable character.  This book gave a very good example of what it would have been like to live back in the times of Kind George the IV.  Dowager Lady Ingram and her daughter, Blanche, did not like Jane because they felt she had taken Rochester from Blanche.  When they meet in London at the Opera she tries to embarrass Jane and her best friend Lucy Brayton.  The dowager is staying with Lucy's very good friend, Lady Grainger.  Jane and Lucy are invited to tea, the next day.  After Blanche gives her mother some coffee, she falls dead.  Lady Grainger's little dog, Mags, also drinks some of the coffee and she is found dead also, this is how Waverly, a Bow Street Runner, knows that it is poison.  Jane is also in possession of a letter that King George the IV had written to Pansy Biltmore  telling of his "real" wife.  This letter gets Jane into a lot of trouble.  After she is injured by Pansy Biltmore, who wants her letter back, Jane finally realizes who killed the Dowager Lady Ingram.  This was a charming story that had a lot of characters in it.  I'll admit I have never read Jane Eyre, but after reading this I am going to surely check it out.  This book had great historical accuracy and there is an author's note telling of this accuracy of what the author has made up.  Great job Mrs. Slan. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review. 



Sunday, June 9, 2013

Feauture--Kate Carlisle's A Cookbook Conspiracy


Celebrity Chefs I Don’t Want to Murder

By Kate Carlisle, author of A COOKBOOK CONSPIRACY





Award winning author Kate Carlisle spent over twenty years working in television production as an Associate Director for game and variety shows, including The Midnight Special, Solid Gold and The Gong Show. She traveled the world as a Dating Game chaperone and performed strange acts of silliness on The Gong Show. She also studied acting and singing, toiled in vineyards, collected books, joined a commune, sold fried chicken, modeled spring fashions and worked for a cruise ship line, but it was the year she spent in law school that finally drove her to begin writing fiction. It seemed the safest way to kill off her professors. Those professors are breathing easier now that Kate spends most of her time writing near the beach in Southern California where she lives with her perfect husband.

 

A lifelong love of old books and an appreciation of the art of bookbinding led Kate to create the Bibliophile Mysteries, featuring rare book expert Brooklyn Wainwright, whose bookbinding and restoration skills invariably uncover old secrets, treachery and murder. Find Kate online at www.katecarlisle.com.
 
 

 

From what I can tell, there are two breeds of celebrity chef: those I fantasize about murdering, and those I don’t. (It’s okay, don’t call the cops. I’m a mystery writer. It’s my job to kill people.)

 

For instance, I would never want to murder the Barefoot Contessa. I want to be her best friend. I want to be invited for an elegant yet casual brunch in the garden of Ina Garten, where we’ll sip tea and softly trill with laughter over our rascal neighbor’s latest bon mot.

 

Jamie Oliver seems like a real bloke. The man is working his cute little tail off to promote a healthy school lunch program – in the U.S., which isn’t even his native country! How could I even think of murdering a chef who was trying to eradicate childhood obesity? He loves kids, ergo, I love him. He’s off the hit list.

 

Paula Deen is safe from me, y’all. She’s as sweet as banana cream pie, as homey as gingham draperies, as friendly as a three-legged dog at a barbecue. (Too far?)

 

 
Then there’s Baxter Cromwell, the obnoxious celebrity chef in A COOKBOOK CONSPIRACY, my latest Bibliophile Mystery. Baxter is one of those chefs who yells at everyone in his kitchen. He belittles others to make himself feel good. He’s bombastic and vain, and after years of offending others in kitchens around the world, he has more enemies than recipes.

 

And yet, somehow he parlayed that charming personality into a successful TV show and a string of restaurants.

 

He’s also Brooklyn Wainwright’s sister Savannah’s ex-boyfriend. Savannah has asked Brooklyn to restore a 230-year-old cookbook so she can give it to Baxter. Brooklyn, book lover that she is, can’t believe the priceless treasure is going to belong to such a cad. He is, as she puts it, “as endearing as a badger.”

 

Baxter has come to San Francisco to open a high-end restaurant, and he’s invited Savannah and some of their old Cordon Bleu classmates to serve as guest-chefs during the star-studded premiere week. While Savannah lives in the area, the others are flying in for a class reunion of sorts… but it soon becomes clear that one of them has more than reminiscing in mind.

 

Baxter is murdered on opening night – and Savannah is discovered hovering over his body with a bloody knife in her hand. Brooklyn knows her gentle sister would never kill anyone, even the man who did her wrong, but the only way to prove that to the police is to track down the real killer. Otherwise, Savannah might be forced to change from chef white to prison orange.

 

 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Review of S. Dionne Moore's A Heartbeat Away

About A Heartbeat Away:

When a band of runaway slaves brings Union-loyal Beth Bumgartner a wounded Confederate soldier named Joe, it is the catalyst that pushes her to defy her pacifist parents and become a nurse during the Battle of Antietam.

Her mother's mysterious goodbye gift is filled with quilt blocks that bring comfort to Beth during the hard days and lonely nights, but as she sews each block, she realizes there is a hidden message of faith within the pattern that encourages and sustains her. Reunited with Joe, Beth learns his secret and puts the quilt's message to its greatest test---but can betrayal be forgiven?

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/liQMG


My Review:

This was an okay book, I'll admit it wasn't the best that I have read lately, it was just okay.  I had a hard time keeping my attention on this book.  It had a lot of action in it because of being set during the Civil Was and revolving around the battle of Antietam.  It gave a good glimpse of what it would have been like to have lived during that time.  I think the author did a good job with the terror and emotion of the time.  Joe, a southern soldier, is brought, severely wounded, to Beth and her grandmother so they can nurse him.  While he is in their care, he and Beth figure out they have feelings for each other.  But Beth thinks that no man will ever want her because of her injury to her foot.  Joe is also there to help Beth get through a tragedy.  I felt that the quilt in this story didn't come into play till the end of the book.  Beth worked on the quilt throughout the book, but the quilt plays a part in how everything comes out in the end.  This was a
fast read only having 216 pages.  Good job!

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review. 


Meet Dionne:
Dionne Moore is a historical romance author who resides in South Central PA with her family, surrounded by the beautiful Cumberland Valley and lots of fun, historically rich locations. She is a weekly contributor to "The Borrowed Book", a blog for book-lovers and "Cozy Mystery Magazine", for all things cozy mystery.

Learn more about Dionne at http://www.sdionnemoore.com



Landing page: 
 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Peg Cochran's Steamed to Death--Review and Recipe

STEAMEDTODEATH-widget

Steamed to DeathAbout Steamed to Death:
Gourmet health food caterer Gigi Fitzgerald is used to helping dieters drop a dress size. But when her clients start dropping dead, she’s ready to switch her chef’s hat for a detective’s cap and track down a killer. . .
Aging soap star Felicity Davenport is looking to revamp her image, and she’s using Gigi’s Gourmet De-Lite to help her shed a few of those unwanted pounds. Having such a high-profile client is definitely good for business, but when Felicity is found murdered in her sauna, things start getting too hot for Gigi to handle.
The list of suspects is a mile long, and Gigi’s best friend, Sienna, is at the top. Refusing to let her friend get blamed for a crime she didn’t commit, Gigi is determined to hunt down the real killer. But, as the case reaches a boiling point, Gigi will have to be careful or she could be the next one getting burned.

My Review:

This was the first book that I have read by Peg Cochran, and it definitely will not be my last.  I am for sure going to be reading the first book in the Gourmet De-lite series.  But you don't have to read the first book in the series to enjoy this one.  It was a great cozy.  It has a lot of action and mystery.  It had a little humor.  Gigi is a great main character and she seems to be in the wrong place at the right time a lot, because she was great at solving this mystery, and she ends up capturing the attention of two men.  Gigi is also a great friend, because her best friend, Sienna, is the main suspect in this case.  I kind of had the killer figured out, but wasn't sure.  But this was still a great book that I highly recommend and I look forward to reading more from Peg Cochran.  Great job. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

Peg Cochran - author photoAbout Peg Cochran:
Peg grew up in a New Jersey suburb about 25 miles outside of New York City. After college, she moved to the city where she managed an art gallery owned by the son of the artist Henri Matisse. When her first daughter, Francesca, arrive, the new family moved back to the New Jersey suburbs where her second daughter, Annabelle, was born.
After her husband died, Peg remarried and her new husband took a job in Grand Rapids, Michigan where they now live (on exile from New Jersey, she likes to joke). Peg managed to segue from the art world to marketing and is now the manager of marketing communications for a company that provides services to seniors.
Her greatest love though as always been writing – particularly mysteries! She has two cozy mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime: The Gourmet De-Lite series set in Connecticut and featuring Gigi Fitzgerald, who provides gourmet diet meals to a select group of clients, and the Sweet Nothings Vintage Lingerie series, written as Meg London, set in Paris, Tennessee with Emma Taylor who finds murder and mayhem in this quiet country town.
As for pets – she has a schizophrenic cat (really!) named Frazzle and a Westhighland White Terrier, Reggie, who is desperately in need of losing a few pounds. But you know what they say: If your dog is overweight, it means YOU aren’t getting enough exercise!
When she’s not writing, Peg can usually be found cooking, which she loves. When asked to bring a dish to a potluck she invariably opts to bring dessert – partly because she loves making sweet dishes and partly because she and her husband always manage to be late so there’s no point in putting them in charge of appetizers!


Purchase Steamed to Death from Amazon.


 Connect with Peg Cochran: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Recipe:

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin De-Lite
 
Pork tenderloins, usually packaged in pairs, are very lean, rivaling even the chicken breast.  This stuffing provides enough for a pair of tenderloins, or around 2.5 pounds of meat.  Both pieces can be filled and cooked, or one can be frozen for future use.  Use 1 tablespoon of oil per tenderloin for browning.
 
1 package pork tenderloin, approximately 2.5 lbs. meat
5 ounce package of baby spinach
3 garlic cloves, pressed
Pinch nutmeg
1 cup crumbled fat-free feta cheese
1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil
 
Heat oven to 350°
Spray sauté pan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat.  Add pressed garlic cloves and sauté for a minute or two, stirring and making sure the garlic doesn’t burn.  Add spinach and a pinch of nutmeg and sauté until spinach is wilted but still bright green, approximately for 3 minutes.
Butterfly each tenderloin—using a very sharp knife, preferably with a long, thin blade, slice almost, but not quite, all the way through each tenderloin along its length.  Lay tenderloin open on cutting board.  Place half of the filling along its length on one side, spreading evenly.  Fold tenderloin pieces together and secure with toothpicks or kitchen twine.  Repeat with second tenderloin.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in sauté pan over medium to high heat.  Brown tenderloin on both sides—approximately 5 minutes per side.  (At this point you can remove first tenderloin, add additional 1 tablespoon of olive oil and brown second tenderloin, or you can wrap and freeze the second tenderloin for future use.)
If your pan is oven-safe, place pan and meat in oven (alternatively, transfer meat to an oven safe baking pan) and bake at 350° for 1 hour or until internal temperature reads 165 degrees on an instant read thermometer.
Allow meat to sit 5 minutes before slicing into 1 inch slices.
Serving suggestion:  Orzo tossed with olive oil, Parmesan cheese, lemon zest and parsley.

Review of Tricia Goyer's The Promise Box

About The Promise Box:
With her heart - and her loyalty - on the line, can she let true love in her life?

Every year, young Amish men descend on the cozy little town of West Kootenai, Montana, arriving in the spring to live there for six months and receive 'resident' status for the hunting season in the fall. They arrive as bachelors, but go home with brides! Lydia Wyse, a book editor from Seattle who grew up Amish, returns to the small community of West Kootenai, Montana to give comfort to her father after her mother's death.
She is drawn back to the familiar Amish ways after finding her mother's most precious possession, a Promise Box of prayers and scripture. What her publisher sees, though, is an opportunity for a sensational 'tell-all' book about the Amish. Lydia soon finds herself falling in love with Amish bachelor Gideon Hooley. She wants nothing more than to forget her past and look forward to a future as an Amish bride. 
Will the pain of her childhood-and her potential betrayal of her community-keep her from committing her whole heart?

Purchase your copy: http://ow.ly/l6QH1
 
My Review:
 
Tricia Goyer has done it again.  She has written and emotion packed book that gets right to the soul.  Her writing is so good, that I feel that I know the characters personally and I really felt their pain.  Lydia had left her Amish parents, who had adopted her, but they moved to the Amish village of West Kootenai, to be closer to her.  She returns when her mother passes on and meets Gideon, a bachelor who has come to West Kootenai to hunt, but he has secrets of his own and hunting isn't the only reason that he came to West Kootenai.  Lydia also has secrets.  She forges a relationship with GOD after reading scripture verses and letters that were in her mem's "promise box".  She then decides to become Amish.  Will their secrets keep Lydia and Gideon apart?  I really enjoyed this book, as I have all of Tricia's books that I have read.  I highly recommend this book, because it really reinforces GOD's forgiveness, promises and that he will never forsake us.  Great job Tricia.
 
I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.
 
Meet Tricia: 
Tricia Goyer is a busy mom of six, grandmother of one, and wife to John. Somewhere around the hustle and bustle of family life, she manages to find the time to write fictional tales delighting and entertaining readers and non-fiction titles offering encouragement and hope. A bestselling author, Tricia has published thirty-three books to date and has written more than 500 articles. She is a two-time Carol Award winner, as well as a Christy and ECPA Award Nominee. In 2010, she was selected as one of the Top 20 Moms to Follow on Twitter by SheKnows.com. Tricia is also on the blogging team at MomLifeToday.com, TheBetterMom.com and other homeschooling and Christian sites. In addition to her roles as mom, wife and author, Tricia volunteers around her community and mentors teen moms. She is the founder of Hope Pregnancy Ministries in Northwestern Montana, and she currently leads a Teen MOPS Group in Little Rock, AR. Tricia, along with a group of friends, recently launched NotQuiteAmishLiving.com, sharing ideas about simplifying life. She also hosts the weekly radio podcast, Living Inspired. 

Learn more about Tricia at www.triciagoyer.com.
 
 

 


Tricia Goyer is celebrating the release of her lastest novel, The Promise Box (Zondervan), by hosting an Amish Baking Box giveaway and connecting with readers during her June 12th Book Chat Party!

ThePromiseBox300


One "promising" winner will receive:


  • Apron, hot mitts, and kitchen towels
  • Amish baking items (rolling pin, pie plate, etc...)
  • Sherry Gore's Simply Delicious Amish Cooking
  • The Memory Jar and The Promise Box by Tricia Goyer 
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 11th. Winner will be announced at the "The Promise Box" Facebook Author Chat Party on June 12th. Connect with Tricia for an evening of Amish fun - book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Tricia will also share an exclusive look at the next book book in the Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series and give away books and other fun prizes throughout the evening.



So grab your copy of The Promise Box and join Tricia on the evening of June 12th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 12th!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Review of Shelley Shepard Gray's Ray of Light


About Ray of Sunlight:
Bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray brings inspirational romance to life in this sweet tale of love in the Amish community, Ray of Light, the second installment of her Days of Redemption series.

Roman Keim just wants a break from the family drama at his snowy Ohio home when he heads to an Amish snowbird community in Florida. There he meets Amanda Yoder and her daughter Regina who soon are warming his heart. But will Roman return to Ohio or will he stay and help the young widow embrace a second chance at love?
The author of the series Sisters of the Heart and Seasons of Sugarcreek, Shelley Shepard Gray delivers an honest, tender love story in Ray of Light, featuring the challenges of faith, family, and romance.

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/l5Xy7
 
My Review:
 
This is the second installment of the Days of Redemption series.  And it was just as good as the first book in the series.  More secrets of the Keim family are brought to light.  Viola goes to Belize to visit Ed before they are married, but is Belize really the place for her?  Roman goes on vacation to Florida and meets Amanda and her daughter Regina.  They come to visit when he goes back to Ohio, will they have a happy ending.  Peter gets out of rehab and then Marie has some problems.  Then there is Elsie, will she ever find her true love.  As with the last book, Shelley leaves you wanting more, and I can't wait for the next book in the series, which in entitled Eventide.  Shelley always writes with such feeling and make the characters so human.  Great job again Shelley.
 
I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.
 
 
Meet Shelley:Shelley Shepard Gray is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the "Sisters of the Heart", "Seasons of Sugarcreek", "Secrets of Crittenden County", and Families of Honor series. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.

Learn more at http://www.shelleyshepardgray.com.
 
 
 
 
 

Review of Shelley Shepard Gray's Daybreak


Synopsis:

Aaron and Lovinia Keim have been cornerstones of the community for years. They live in the Dawdi House and their middle son, Peter manages the farm and main house with his grown son, Roman, and twin daughters, Viola and Elsie.

Viola has recently started a job at the Mennonite retirement home. She strikes up an unlikely friendship with Atle Beachy, whose only living relative, a son, Ed, is off living as a missionary in Nicaragua. While Viola understands the importance of mission work, she can't imagine leaving her father in the hands of strangers. It's not the Amish way, and even though she doesn't know Ed, she doesn't like him for how he's abandoned his father. But when Ed surprises his father with a visit he falls for Viola and is determined to start courting her.

Even though Viola can't deny she feels the attraction too, she has no time to focus on her feelings. Her own family has begun to crumble. When the family is cleaning out the attic, they come across a photograph of her grandmother-as an Englisher! Viola's father Peter seems to be taking these newly uncovered secrets the hardest. As she turns to Ed for comfort, Viola realizes she has two choices: Marry Ed and go to wherever he is sent, or stay home and try to hold her family together.

My Review:

Well, Shelley Shepard Gray has done it again.  She has written a book full of wonderful characters who are human, who have made mistakes and have had those mistakes rear their ugly heads.  This is the first in a new series called the Days of Redemption series.  This series revolves around the Keim family, Lovina and Aaron, the grandparents, Peter and Marie, the parents, and Roman and twins Viola and Elsie.  Viola works at Daybreak, a nearby nursing facility.  There she helps take care of Atle Beachy and gets to hear him read her letters from his son Ed, who is a missionary.  Viola feels that Ed should be home taking care of his father and takes a disliking to him, but then he does come home and sparks fly.  Meanwhile, at home, Lovina and Aaron's secrets from the past are being found out and Peter has a secret of his own that is found out.  As with all of Shelley's books, you can't waitt wait to find out what happens next.  Great job.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.