Wednesday, February 21, 2018

TLC Book Tours Book Review: Best Friends Forever

Author: Margot Hunt
Title: Best Friends Forever
Publisher: Mira
Publish Date: Jan 23, 2018
Book Blurb: Kat Grant and Alice Campbell have a friendship forged in shared confidences and long lunches lubricated by expensive wine. Though they’re very different women—the artsy socialite and the struggling suburbanite—they’re each other’s rocks. But even rocks crumble under pressure. Like when Kat’s financier husband, Howard, plunges to his death from the second-floor balcony of their South Florida mansion.

Howard was a jerk, a drunk, a bully and, police say, a murder victim. The questions begin piling up. Like why Kat has suddenly gone dark: no calls, no texts and no chance her wealthy family will let Alice see her. Why investigators are looking so hard in Alice’s direction. Who stands to get hurt next. And who is the cool liar—the masterful manipulator behind it all.


Review: Best Friends Forever is a fabulous thriller that reads a bit like women's fiction, which makes it a little different from most of the thrillers I've been reading lately.

It really is proof that you never really know someone. Kat and Alice are two friends from very different backgrounds. It is hard to believe that they could even become friends, that's how different they are.  Kat is uber rich, whereas Alice and her family are in that middle class trying to make ends meet arena.

The book is told from Alice's point of view and we see her life in the present as she's questioned about Howard's murder, (He was pushed from the balcony in his home) and we see the evolution of her friendship with Kat.

This friendship is definitely disturbing. Kat is not right in the head. There's a lot of focus on her husband, Howard being an alcoholic however no one talks about the fact that Kat is pretty much a huge lush.

Kat is definitely not a likable character, but as the murder investigation goes on and more things come to light about Alice, you start to feel less sorry for her.

This is definitely an unputdownable (I love this new not real word).

The ending =  mind blown. Definitely an "I did not see that coming moment.'

Even if thrillers aren't your genre of choice, this book will pull you in. The characters are just so well written and intriguing. This book is not to be missed.

Rating: 5 flowers


Saturday, February 17, 2018

Book Review: You and Me and Why We Are In Love

Author: Aurelia Alais
Title: You and Me and Why We Are In Love
Publisher: Penguin
Publish Date: January 2, 2018
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: A quirky collection of illustrated vignettes about love in its many forms

Like all great ideals, Love—the kind written with a capital letter—often seems elusive. So then maybe it's better, as Aurelia Alca├»s does, to talk about the kind written in lower case, the more intimate kind of love, the kind that intertwines with our lives and creeps into the cracks of the everyday.

With simple and elegant illustrations, You & Me & Why We Are in Love tells us about love in all its forms, not concerning itself with who or what you love, but above all, how you love. There's the requited love that Daisy has for nature, and then there's David who buys flowers for his wife of twenty years, not to mention Jean, the punk rocker who is secretly looking for a girl who is just like his grandmother.

Oddly charming and surprisingly sweet, You & Me & Why We Are in Love is the perfect impulse purchase for anyone engaged in matters of the heart.

Review: This is a cute little coffee table book of vignettes about love with some really quirky drawings.

The book is only 90 pages long.

The vignettes are really funny. The drawings are bizarre. Its the kind of book that you leaf through from time to time. It isn't necessary to read it all at once, though if you do, it won't take you very long.

I loved some of Aurelia's takes on different kinds of love were really funny, while some of them were definitely out there.

This is definitely a book to pass around when you have company, so you can share in its silliness.

Rating: 4 flowers


Friday, February 16, 2018

TLC Book Tours Book Review: The Woman In The Window

About The Woman in the Window


• Hardcover: 448 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow (January 2, 2018)

“Astounding. Thrilling. Amazing.” —Gillian Flynn

“Unputdownable.” —Stephen King

“A dark, twisty confection.” —Ruth Ware

“Absolutely gripping.” —Louise Penny

For readers of Gillian Flynn and Tana French comes one of the decade’s most anticipated debuts, to be published in thirty-six languages around the world and already in development as a major film from Fox: a twisty, powerful Hitchcockian thriller about an agoraphobic woman who believes she witnessed a crime in a neighboring house.

It isn’t paranoia if it’s really happening . . .

Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.

Twisty and powerful, ingenious and moving, The Woman in the Window is a smart, sophisticated novel of psychological suspense that recalls the best of Hitchcock.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Review: I'm not usually one that jumps on the bandwagon for the latest greatest books, but this one absolutely doesn't disappoint.  I have been hearing so much about this since the beginning of the year.

I've usually been left disappointed by thrillers that get a lot of hype. Gone Girl's ending made me scream.

When I started The Woman In The Window, I wasn't sure what I was getting into. It doesn't really read like your average thriller, at least not right away, but when the story takes off, it really does.

I don't have words for how good this book was. Grab a bottle of wine..and start this book, and you won't put it down until its finished because Anna's story is that fabulous, especially if you want to be on the edge of you seat!

This is really Anna's story and though the interaction with the neighbors plays a huge part in this story, its Anna and her Agoraphobia that propel the story along. It takes quite a while for the reader to learn all of Anna's story which leaves you with a lot of pity and sadness for this character.

I loved the twists and turns that keep the reader from knowing what is really going on with Anna and her neighbors and even more so with the situation with her husband and daughter.

My heart broke for Anna and her frustrations. I wanted to help her and get her back into the world. In fact, more than the mystery, I wanted her healed.

This is one of those books that will stick with you throughout the year and will leave you breathless when the last page has turned.


Rating: 5 flowers



About A. J. Finn


A. J. Finn has written for numerous publications, including the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and the Times Literary Supplement (UK). A native of New York, Finn lived in England for ten years before returning to New York City.

Follow Finn on Twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Book Review: The Proving

Author: Beverly Lewis
Title: The Proving
Publisher: Bethany House
Publish Date: Sept 5, 2017
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: Amanda Dienner hasn't seen her Old Order family in five years when she receives word that her mother has passed away and left her Lancaster County's most popular Amish bed-and-breakfast. Now an Englisher, Mandy is shocked: Her twin sister should have been the obvious choice! What's more, the inheritance comes with a catch: The farmhouse inn will only truly be hers if she is able to successfully run it for twelve consecutive months.

Mandy accepts the challenge even though it means returning to Gordonville and the painful memories she left behind at eighteen. Still, she's determined to prove she is more than capable of running the bed-and-breakfast, no matter that its loyal clientele are expecting an Amish hostess!

The inn isn't Mandy's sole test, however. Rubbing shoulders with her married twin sister reopens wounds that Mandy isn't ready to forgive. And an Englisher guest with a difficult past of her own just complicates matters.

Can Mandy fulfill the terms of her inheritance? Or will this year in Amish country prove a dreadful mistake?

Review: I've been a fan of Beverly Lewis for a long time, but more so now that she's started writing more stand alone novels. I wasn't a big fan of her cliffhangers when she wrote trilogies.

The Proving is really a lovely story of forgiveness and coming back home for Amanda Dienner. Its a story of starting over for the Englischer, Trina Sutton.

Both characters have their own problems. I found Trina to be hard to deal with with at times. She was a bit of a perfectionist which can be aggravating at times and when it comes to her patients she was very caring, maybe even too much so, if that's possible.

Then there's Mandy. I struggled with her too. I could understand her feeling of betrayal, but how things got to the point that they were was something I struggled with, especially to the point she took it too and then keeping all her feelings of hurt and anger inside. That's not to say that I couldn't understand why she was hurt, who wouldn't be? It is just the age of the characters that made it hard for me to understand their motives.

I think if we would have had more interaction with Mandy's twin, Arie, throughout the book, that her part of the story would have had more depth. Instead, their relationship, which we are assured was once very close, is shrouded in mystery.

Mandy struggles with the Inn that she's inherited from her mother, but when Trina enters the picture things start to change. Trina is gutsy and well, she opens her mouth and her words aren't always the kindest things, but somehow you know she means well.

I love the romance that blossoms with Trina and one of the other guests at the inn, Gavin. This relationship softens her and helps her heal from the death of her fiance.  It also helps her help Mandy find a way to move forward.

I like that Mandy finds someone in a roundabout way. Karl and his son Yonnie are wonderful.

I expected a little more drama with this book, because that's such a characteristic of a Beverly Lewis novel. This had a more cozy feel to it. The plot ambled along slowly and left me feeling as if there should have been a little something more, especially at the end. Yes, things were tied up and resolved but part of me felt like so much time was wasted over so little, for Mandy and Arie.

Rating: 3 flowers




Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Excerpt Tour: Web Of Frost


Web of Frost by Lindsay Smith


A too-young queen must learn to control her powers in order to save her empire, but can she trust the man who’s taught her to use her gift?

Grab your copy of WEB OF FROST and add it to your TBR pile on Goodreads! Then keep reading to get an EXCLUSIVE sneak peek at WEB OF FROST!



Title: Web of Frost
Author: Lindsay Smith
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: February 13, 2018
Publisher: Eventide Press
Series: The Saints of Russalka
Page Count: 402 pages
Format: Digitial
ASIN: B078X1K8VP
ISBN-13: 9781370549054



Synopsis:

The saints of Russalka work their blessings in mysterious ways, allowing the royal family to perform miracles for their people. But the young princess Katza fears her powers. She’s seen grave visions of her bloodied hands destroying her family’s empire. When her older brother succumbs to illness, leaving her next in line for the throne, Katza turns to a young rebellious prophet named Ravin who promises to teach her how to control her gift. As unrest grows in Russalka and a foreign monarchy threatens, Ravin understands Katza's fears and helps her find confidence in her gift, and her own heart. Under Ravin’s unorthodox training, Katza learns to hear the saints once more—until revolutionaries claim her father’s life.

Reeling and desperate, Katza draws upon darker and darker powers to stop the revolutionaries, the foreign invaders, and the members of her own court who would see her fail. But the more Ravin whispers in her ear, the more Katza questions whether he—and the saints—have her best interests at heart. She must choose between her love of Ravin and her love of Russalka itself—and decide whether her empire might not be better off without her.

Available at:  


Enter to win a $50 Gift Card from Lindsay Smith
or 3 runners up will receive 1 ebook from Lindsay Smith’s backlist (winner’s choice)!


Format embed code



Web of Frost Excerpt
Copyright © 2018 Lindsay Smith
She sank to her knees on the prayer cushion. Scanning the rows of icons, her gaze slid past Saint Marya and her bloody crown, and she searched, trying to settle on which saint to beseech. But none seemed to embody the nameless feeling inside her. Regret, but then again not. Hatred, maybe, of the world that had made such acts necessary. Of the agitators who threatened order, growing lies from seeds of truth.

Perhaps, as Ravin and his old order said, it was best sometimes to commune with Boj directly.

Is this the way to make Russalka safe, o Boj? Katza’s lips moved in time with her prayer. These shows of might. The fear that settles like frost on the streets. Is this what you want from me?

Dark whispers spun around Katza like smoke. She shivered, expecting a vision to wash over her. The hairs raised on the back of her neck and arms. But no proper vision coalesced. All she felt was a faint fluttering, like the visions were too afraid to approach her.

It felt like a warning. Like she was only just keeping her vision of bloodied hands at bay.

And then she saw the figure. Solid black, drinking up the light in the sanctuary doorway. The altar candles guttered, and briefly their light flickered over him, illuminating that elegant nose, sharp cheekbones, plush youthful lips.

Ravin.

Katza trembled, feeling tears threaten the corners of her eyes. His jaw tightened, as if he was nervous too, and he stepped toward her.

“You are afraid,” he said.

Katza swallowed. “I’m not certain what it is I feel.”

His tilted his head to one side.

Katza sank back onto her heels and tucked her hands into her lap. “I thought the blessings would help us spread order through the city, but instead it only seems to have brought fear. And then—then I believed I was showing strength, but perhaps it was merely cruelty.”

“Your father’s agents are rooting out the agitators,” Ravin said.

“I thought they were. But it sounds as if they’re only sweeping up children. Misguided commonfolk, desperate for change. This fear they feel—it isn’t any way to bring them around.”

“They chose to follow the agitators,” Ravin said. “And some of the agitators, too, have been stopped.”

Katza supposed that was true. But it did not forgive what she had done.

“You love your people,” Ravin said gently. “It’s why you strive to be more for them. Why you beseech the saints, though the priests would try to stop you. You know the blessings can be used for good.”

“But also for ill,” Katza said. “I didn’t mean to cause any harm.”

“And now you have learned. Haven’t you?” he asked.

Katza studied him for a moment, but her eyes were still adjusting to the dark. “I suppose so.”

“You must stay on course, tsarika.” Katza craned her neck up to look at him as he approached. “There is always a pain that comes with great change. It will chafe at you like uncut stone if you let it, but the pain will guide you onward. It will see you through the storm. And you will be all the better for it.”

Ravin paused before her. He wore simple black peasant’s boots and loose black trousers to match; his tunic was rough wool of dark gray, as was the sash at his waist. His hands clasped before him like crows at rest, ready to flutter away if startled. And that face, those dark eyes that pulled her into his void and refused to release her—

Katza swallowed and forced herself to look away.

“What are you?” she whispered. For he was no prophet—his order had cast him out. Temnost. The word lodged stubbornly in her throat. If he was forsaken, then surely she, in her desperation, was too.

Ravin let one of his hands hover over her shoulder—a question. Katza nodded and his palm pressed down. With a gasp, her heavy heart lifted. She felt cleansed. His touch was as cool as the clear mountain spring behind their summer palace in Zolotov.

“Change is painful but inevitable,” Ravin said. “Once you harness the saints’ blessings, truly master them, then you can return order to Russalka. You must endure this temporary discomfort, tsarika, for the good of your people.”

“Temporary,” Katza repeated.

He turned his palm upward and slid his hand beneath her chin. Her lips parted. The coolness of his touch soothed her, calmed her. “Yes. Temporary.”

Katza sank into his touch, relieved. He was right. She’d done no lasting harm. And if the protesters learned to respect the Silovs—if they learned to respect her—and she in turn learned the proper boundaries for her gifts—

He smiled at her. “Once you’ve realized your power,” Ravin said, “your work can truly begin.”


Other Books by Lindsay Smith

DREAM STRIDER  http://amzn.to/2EEox6y

Author Bio:
Lindsay is the author of the young adult novels SekretDreamstrider, and A Darkly Beating Heart, and is the showrunner and lead writer for Serial Box's The Witch Who Came In From the Cold. Her work has appeared on Tor.com and in the anthologies A Tyranny of Petticoats, Strange Romance Vol. 3, and Toil & Trouble, and she has written for Green Ronin Publishing's RPG properties. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband and dog.

​Follow Lindsay:
Website | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads 


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Book Review: The Promise Between Us


About The Promise Between Us

• Paperback
• Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (January 16, 2018)
From the bestselling author of The Perfect Son comes a hopeful tale of redemption, renewal, and the promise of love.
Metal artist Katie Mack is living a lie. Nine years ago she ran away from her family in Raleigh, North Carolina, consumed by the irrational fear that she would harm Maisie, her newborn daughter. Over time she’s come to grips with the mental illness that nearly destroyed her, and now funnels her pain into her art. Despite longing for Maisie, Katie honors an agreement with the husband she left behind—to change her name and never return.
But when she and Maisie accidentally reunite, Katie can’t ignore the familiarity of her child’s compulsive behavior. Worse, Maisie worries obsessively about bad things happening to her pregnant stepmom. Katie has the power to help, but can she reconnect with the family she abandoned?
To protect Maisie, Katie must face the fears that drove her from home, accept the possibility of love, and risk exposing her heart-wrenching secret.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Review: Have you ever read a book that made you uncomfortable? This is one of those books and I don't mean that in a bad way either.

If you don't know anything about OCD, and I admit that I don't, seeing the behavior Katie displays is unsettling. She has visions of harming her child. These visions get so bad she abandon's her family.

As the story plays out Katie reconnects with her former family and discovers her daughter has OCD as well. Maisie, who is called 'Mazing Maisey by her family, is a sweet girl, probably the most lovable child, I've read about in a book. You want everything to go right for her. You want to fix her.

I found I wanted to do the same for Katie as well. She really came across as broken and she needed some glue to put her pieces back together again. I loved how they worked together to overcome their illness. Katie proved herself to be a good mother, tackling her own demons to help her child.

At first glance, Callum seems like the best dad on the planet. I really started out liking him. By the end of the book I had run a gamut of emotions when it came to him. I think I tolerated him at the end, mostly because of his past.

Lilah is the character I wanted to like but I absolutely couldn't. She was a good woman and a good mother, even though the odds were stacked against her.

I loved how against all odds (cue the Phil Collins song) everyone came together for the best of Maisie and they became one strange family.

I also loved that Katie was able to find her own second chance with Ben.

Barbara's writing really resonates with the reader, and at times I feel like she's a friend, and because sometimes the things the characters said sounded an awful lot like me, especially when Lilah described herself as a Heffalump.  I also liked that Callum, was a Whovian and both he and Maisie were Trekkies. I love me some fictional geeks. 

This book is utterly phenomenal and one that will stick with you long after you've finished it. This book is a must read.

Rating: 5 flowers


About Barbara Claypole White

Bestselling author Barbara Claypole White creates hopeful family drama with a healthy dose of mental illness. Originally from England, she writes and gardens in the forests of North Carolina where she lives with her beloved OCD family. Her novels include The Unfinished Garden, The In-Between Hour, The Perfect Son, andEchoes of Family. The Promise Between Us, a story of redemption, sacrifice, and OCD, has a publication date of January 16th, 2018. She is also an OCD Advocate for the A2A Alliance, a nonprofit group that promotes advocacy over adversity. To connect with Barbara, please visit www.barbaraclaypolewhite.com, or follow her on Facebook. She’s always on Facebook.

Book Review: The Lost Quilter

Author: Jennifer Chiaverini
Title: The Lost Quilter
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publish Date: March  2009
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: Master Quilter Sylvia Bergstrom Compson treasures an antique quilt called by three names -- Birds in the Air, after its pattern; the Runaway Quilt, after the woman who sewed it; and the Elm Creek Quilt, after the place to which its maker longed to return. That quilter was Joanna, a fugitive slave who traveled by the Underground Railroad to reach safe haven in 1859 at Elm Creek Farm.

Though Joanna's freedom proved short-lived -- she was forcibly returned by slave catchers to Josiah Chester's plantation in Virginia -- she left the Bergstrom family a most precious gift, her son. Hans and Anneke Bergstrom, along with maiden aunt Gerda, raised the boy as their own, and the secret of his identity died with their generation. Now it falls to Sylvia -- drawing upon Gerda's diary and Joanna's quilt -- to connect Joanna's past to present-day Elm Creek Manor.

Just as Joanna could not have foreseen that, generations later, her quilt would become the subject of so much speculation and wonder, Sylvia and her friends never could have imagined the events Joanna witnessed in her lifetime. Punished for her escape by being sold off to her master's brother in Edisto Island, South Carolina, Joanna grieves over the loss of her son and resolves to run again, to reunite with him someday in the free North. Farther south than she has ever been, she nevertheless finds allies, friends, and even love in the slave quarter of Oak Grove, a cotton plantation where her skill with needle and thread soon becomes highly prized.

Through hardship and deprivation, Joanna dreams of freedom and returning to Elm Creek Farm. Determined to remember each landmark on the route north, Joanna pieces a quilt of scraps left over from the household sewing, concealing clues within the meticulous stitches. Later, in service as a seamstress to the new bride of a Confederate officer, Joanna moves on to Charleston, where secrets she keeps will affect the fate of a nation, and her abilities and courage enable her to aid the country and the people she loves most.

The knowledge that scraps can be pieced and sewn into simple lines -- beautiful both in and of themselves and also for what they represent and what they can accomplish -- carries Joanna through dark days. Sustaining herself and her family through ingenuity and art during the Civil War and into Reconstruction, Joanna leaves behind a remarkable artistic legacy that, at last, allows Sylvia to discover the fate of the long-lost quilter.




Review: I love the Elm Creek Quilters series. I've now read 6 of the 20 books in this series, and they are all top notch reads for me, The Lost Quilter was no different. An old desk with a locked draw uncovers old letters that detail a woman's search for a man. These letters unearth the story of Joanna North

This is the story of a runaway slave and her quest for freedom.

Joanna's story is heartbreaking and moving as we see her as she tries to escape to the north but ends up being caught and returned to her cruel owner.

Most of the Elm Creek novels that I've read are more lighthearted. This book is far from that, though it doesn't go as far as sugarcoating slavery. The reader will witness the cruelty of each of Joanna's masters, as they separate her from those she loves at every turn.

There was a point when Miss Evangaline and her husband are talking about Joanna's unwillingness to go to Charleston with them and her husband says "Negroes don't feel love or sadness the way we do. They may give the appearance of true feeling, but they understand these sensations only in a brute, rudimentary way, such as a dog or horse might." If that doesn't leave you feeling disturbed, then you you have no feeling.

Joanna faces so many hardships, but she manages to rise above it all. She's the strongest character I've read about in ages. She loses so much in her life, while doing so much. I wanted to hug her and take her and her family away.

I found tears in my eyes many times as the story progressed.

Ms. Chiaverini takes a subject that is uncomfortable to read about, and makes it palatable for the masses.

Rating: 5 flowers




 
Blog Design by Use Your Imagination Designs using images from the Tea Time kit and the Saturday Night kit by MK-Designs