Friday, August 17, 2018

Spotlight: A.B. Michaels' Golden City Series

The Art of Love (Golden City, Book 1) by A.B. Michaels

Publication Date: May 4, 2014
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
A Notable Indie Book of 2014 Silver Ippy Award New Apple Medalist Editor’s Choice – Idaho Book Awards

At the end of the Gilded Age, the “Golden City” of San Francisco offers everything a man could want—except the answers August Wolff desperately needs to find.

After digging a fortune in gold from the frozen fields of the Klondike, Gus heads south, hoping to start over and put the baffling disappearance of his wife and daughter behind him. The turn of the century brings him even more success, but the distractions of a city some call the new Sodom and Gomorrah can’t fill the gaping hole in his life.

Amelia Starling is a wildly talented artist caught in the straightjacket of Old New York society. Making a heart-breaking decision, she moves to San Francisco to further her career, all the while living with the pain of a sacrifice no woman should ever have to make.

 Brought together by the city’s flourishing art scene, Gus and Lia forge a rare connection. But the past, shrouded in mystery, prevents the two of them from moving forward as one. Unwilling to face society’s scorn, Lia leaves the city and vows to begin again in Europe.

Gus can’t bear to let her go, but unless he can set his ghosts to rest, he and Lia have no chance at all.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

The Depth of Beauty (Golden City, Book 2) by A.B. Michaels

Publication Date: January 6, 2016
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
A Notable Indie Book of 2016 2017 RITA Finalist – “Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance” Bookstores without Borders Lyra Award for Historical Fiction Chanticleer Book Reviews Goethe Award – First in Category: North American Turn of the Century

In 1903 San Francisco’s Chinatown, slavery, polygamy, and rampant prostitution are thriving— just blocks away from the city’s elite, progressive society.

Wealthy and well-connected, Will Firestone enters the mysterious enclave with an eye toward expanding his shipping business. What he finds there will astonish him. With the help of an exotic young widow and a gifted teenage orphan, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery, where lust, love and tragedy will change his life forever.

A stand-alone novel, The Depth of Beauty is the latest addition to the dual genre series, “Sinner’s Grove,” which chronicles the family and friends of a world-famous artists’ retreat on the northern California coast. The stories follow both historical and contemporary tracks and can be read separately or together for greater depth. Other titles in the series include the award-winning The Art of Love, Sinner’s Grove and The Lair.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

The Promise (Golden City, Book 3) by A.B. Michaels

Publication Date: June 24, 2016
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
April 18, 1906. A massive earthquake has decimated much of the Golden City, leaving thousands without food, water or shelter. Patrolling the streets to help those in need, Army corporal Ben Tilson meets a young woman named Charlotte who touches his heart, making him think of a future with her in it. In the heat of the moment he makes a promise to her little sister that even he realizes will be almost impossible to keep.

Because on the heels of the earthquake, a much worse disaster looms: a fire that threatens to consume everything and everyone in its path. It will take everything Ben’s got to make it back to Charlotte and her family—and even that may not be enough.

The Promise, a stand-alone novella, is the third offering in A.B. Michaels’ award-winning historical saga, “The Golden City,” which takes place in and around San Francisco at the turn of the twentieth century. Other books in the series include The Art of Love and The Depth of Beauty.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

The Price of Compassion (Golden City, Book 4) by A.B. Michaels

Publication Date: August 27, 2018
Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery
April 18, 1906. San Francisco has just been shattered by a massive earthquake and is in the throes of an even more deadly fire.

During the chaos, gifted surgeon Tom Justice makes a life-changing decision that wreaks havoc on his body, mind, and spirit.

Leaving the woman he loves, he embarks on a quest to regain his sanity and self-worth. Yet just when he finds some answers, he’s arrested for murder—a crime he may very well be guilty of. The facts of the case are troubling; they’ll have you asking the question: “Is he guilty?” Or even worse…”What would I have done?”

About the Author

A native of northern California, A.B. Michaels earned masters' degrees in history and broadcasting, and worked for many years in public relations and marketing. Now that she's an empty nester, she has time to write the kinds of stories she loves to read. Her historical series, "The Golden City," follows characters who make their way in turn of the twentieth century San Francisco. "I love creating flawed characters I can relate to, who have to make difficult choices, and who long for happiness like the rest of us. So much was happening in the early 1900's that help shape my novels. Once I tear myself away from the underlying research, they are fascinating stories to write."

Currently Ms. Michaels lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband and two furry creatures who are unclear on the concept that they are just dogs. In addition to writing, she loves to read and travel. A dabbler in fabric art, she also plays bocce in a summer league. Her latest stand-alone novel, "The Price of Compassion," is Book Four of the "Golden City" series. It's scheduled for release this summer and will be followed by Book Five, "Josephine's Daughter."

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, August 13 Passages to the Past Tuesday, August 14 Naomi Finley's Blog Wednesday, August 15 What Is That Book About Thursday, August 16 To Read, Or Not to Read Friday, August 17 CelticLady's Reviews Just One More Chapter Saturday, August 18 Broken Teepee Sunday, August 19 Maiden of the Pages Monday, August 20 Pursuing Stacie Clarissa Reads It All Tuesday, August 21 A Book Geek Wednesday, August 22 Creating Herstory The Book Junkie Reads Thursday, August 23 Katie's Book Cave Friday, August 24 The Book Review Donna's Book Blog

The Golden City Series is on Sale!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Audio Review: The Pirate Bride (Daughters of the Mayflower #2) by Kathleen Y'Barbo

A Former Privateer and a Desperate Heiress Join Forces to Find a Treasure Jump on board with a brand new series for fans of all things related to history, romance, adventure, faith, and family trees.

One hundred years after her mother's family came to the New World on the Mayflower, Maribel Cordova has landed in New Orleans to seek the man who holds the key to finding her father’s lost treasure. Attorney Jean-Luc Valmot has buried his past life so deep that no living person will ever find it—or so he hopes as he accepts a position on the governor’s staff. But the daughter of an infamous pirate threatens all he holds dear. Can Maribel and Jean-Luc compromise so they both can hold onto what they most desire?

Join the adventure as the Daughters of the Mayflower series continues with The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo.
More to come in the Daughters of the Mayflower series: The Mayflower Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse
– set 1620 Atlantic Ocean (coming February 2018) The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo
– set 1725 New Orleans (coming April 2018) The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep
– set 1760 during the French and Indian War (coming June 2018) The Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse
– set 1774 Philadelphia (coming August 2018)​ The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear
– set 1794 on the Wilderness Road (coming October 2018) The Liberty Bride by MaryLu Tyndall
– set 1814 Baltimore (coming December 2018)

 Paperback, 251 pages
Published April 1st 2018
by Barbour Books

Book 2 in the Daughters of the Mayflower series, The Pirate Bride was a relatively quick read - coming in at 251 pages . Maribel Córdoba is a precocious 10 year old in love with reading and pirates.

Her adventure on the high sea sets the course and concludes when she is a young woman in New Orleans. I won’t go into details about the in between time suffice to say her life takes a direction in the least expected way.

The Pirate Bride is a story of mystery, adventure, new beginnings and faith. This works well as a stand-alone with Mirabel being a descendant of the heroine in Book 1, The Mayflower Bride. The series continues with The Captive Bride (already released).

Kathleen Y’Barbo is a new author for me, I enjoyed her writing style, she captured the essence of the high sea and lifestyle of the era. Definitely a series I will continue to read.

My thanks to the publisher via Netgalley for an copy of this book, though due to personal issues I went the audio route (via Hoopla)

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Spotlight/Giveaway: Tiffany Blues by M.J. Rose

Tiffany Blues by M.J. Rose

Publication Date: August 7, 2018
Atria Books
Hardcover & eBook; 336 Pages
ISBN: 978-1501173592
Genre: Historical Fiction

New York, 1924.

Twenty‑four‑year‑old Jenny Bell is one of a dozen burgeoning artists invited to Louis Comfort Tiffany’s prestigious artists’ colony. Gifted and determined, Jenny vows to avoid distractions and romantic entanglements and take full advantage of the many wonders to be found at Laurelton Hall. But Jenny’s past has followed her to Long Island. Images of her beloved mother, her hard-hearted stepfather, waterfalls, and murder, and the dank hallways of Canada’s notorious Andrew Mercer Reformatory for Women overwhelm Jenny’s thoughts, even as she is inextricably drawn to Oliver, Tiffany’s charismatic grandson.

As the summer shimmers on, and the competition between the artists grows fierce as they vie for a spot at Tiffany’s New York gallery, a series of suspicious and disturbing occurrences suggest someone knows enough about Jenny’s childhood trauma to expose her.

Supported by her closest friend Minx Deering, a seemingly carefree socialite yet dedicated sculptor, and Oliver, Jenny pushes her demons aside. Between stolen kisses and stolen jewels, the champagne flows and the jazz plays on until one moonless night when Jenny’s past and present are thrown together in a desperate moment, that will threaten her promising future, her love, her friendships, and her very life.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound

Praise for Tiffany Blues

“A lush, romantic historical mystery with a unique setting. Tiffany Blues explores an interesting lost bit of American history and gives us a heroine to root for." Kristin Hannah, New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale

 “A fascinating novel about a young, struggling artist mentored by the celebrated jeweler and stained-glass creator Louis Comfort Tiffany. Tiffany Blues brings together an enchanting glimpse of Jazz Age New York and an inspired fictional story about Jenny Bell and the terrible secret she's hiding.” Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train and A Piece of the World

"The New York Times bestselling author of The Library of Light and Shadow crafts a dazzling Jazz Age jewel—a novel of ambition, betrayal, and passion about a young painter whose traumatic past threatens to derail her career at a prestigious summer artists’ colony run by Louis Comfort Tiffany of Tiffany & Co. fame. “[M.J. Rose] transports the reader into the past better than a time machine could accomplish” —The Associated Press

"M.J. Rose must have plunged her pen into a vale of tears, radiance, and crime to write this novel. Tiffany Blues melds a tragic mother-daughter relationship, the shimmer of Tiffany’s creations, the jolting life of artists and their shocking jealousy, in a captivating story that illuminates how far we'll go for love. MJ Rose broke this reader’s heart and then, as though using the ancient art of Kintsugi, healed me by sealing the future with golden veins of hope." —Randy Susan Meyers, International Bestselling Author

"Intriguing... [Rose's] best creation yet." —Publishers Weekly "Intricate plotting, sensuous descriptions... captivating. A lush, mesmerizing story." —Kirkus "Rose keeps readers spellbound... with a touch of Gatsby-esque flavor and opulence and a research-rich mix of facts and fiction." —Library Journal - Starred review

Rose's talent for delivering believable characters and plot shines in her latest novel...Readers are in for a treat and the jaw-dropping climax well have them enthralled." —RT Book Reviews "A stunning look at the Jazz Age, told in M.J. Rose's inimitable style." —PopSugar 25 Best Summer Books

About the Author

New York Times Bestseller, M.J. Rose grew up in New York City mostly in the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum, the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park and reading her mother's favorite books before she was allowed. She believes mystery and magic are all around us but we are too often too busy to notice... books that exaggerate mystery and magic draw attention to it and remind us to look for it and revel in it.

 Rose's work has appeared in many magazines including Oprah Magazine and she has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, WSJ, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio. Rose graduated from Syracuse University, spent the '80s in advertising, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors -

 Her most recent novel THE LIBRARY OF LIGHT AND SHADOW (Atria/S&S) was chosen as an Indie Next Pick. The television series PAST LIFE, was based on Rose's novels in the Reincarnationist series. She is one of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers. Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield.

 For more information, please visit her website and her blog, Museum of Mysteries.

You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a Louis Comfort Tiffany glass paperweight from the Metropolitan Museum of Artder!

To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

 Giveaway Rules
 – Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on September 7th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
 – Giveaway is open to US residents 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.

  Tiffany Blues

Spotlight/Giveaway: Island on Fire by Sophie Schiller

Island on Fire by Sophie Schiller

Publication Date: March 15, 2018
Paperback & eBook; 270 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1986210782
Genre: Fiction/Historical/Thriller

In the lush, tropical world of Martinique where slavery is a distant memory and voodoo holds sway, Emilie Dujon discovers that her fiancé, a rich sugar planter, has been unfaithful.

Desperate to leave him, she elicits the aid of a voodoo witch doctor and is lured into a shadowy world of black magic and extortion. When the volcano known as Mount Pelée begins to rumble and spew ash, she joins a scientific committee sent to investigate the crater.

During the journey she meets Lt. Denis Rémy, an army officer with a mysterious past. At the summit, the explorers discover that a second crater has formed and the volcano appears to be on the verge of eruption. But when they try to warn the governor, he orders them to bury the evidence for fear of upsetting the upcoming election. As the pressure builds, a deadly mudslide inundates Emilie’s plantation and she disappears. With ash and cinders raining down, chaos ensues. Left with no choice, Lt. Rémy deserts his post and sets off on a desperate quest to rescue Emilie.

 But with all roads blocked, can they escape the doomed Pompeii of the Caribbean before it’s too late?

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Sophie Schiller was born in Paterson, NJ and grew up in the West Indies. She loves stories that carry the reader back in time to exotic and far-flung locations. Kirkus Reviews called her "an accomplished thriller and historical adventure writer”. Her latest novel is Island on Fire, a thriller about the worst volcanic disaster of the 20th century. She was educated at American University, Washington, DC and lives in Brooklyn, NY. 

For more information, please visit Sophie Schiller's website

You can also connect with her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a copy of Island on Fire to one lucky reader! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on August 14th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents 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.

  Island on Fire

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Audio Review: The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers

New York Times bestselling author Francine Rivers returns to her romance roots with this unexpected and redemptive love story, a probing tale that reminds us that mercy can shape even the most broken among us into an imperfect yet stunning masterpiece.

A successful LA artist, Roman Velasco appears to have everything he could possibly want―money, women, fame. Only Grace Moore, his reluctant, newly hired personal assistant, knows how little he truly has. The demons of Roman’s past seem to echo through the halls of his empty mansion and out across his breathtaking Topanga Canyon view. But Grace doesn’t know how her boss secretly wrestles with those demons: by tagging buildings as the Bird, a notorious but unidentified graffiti artist―an alter ego that could destroy his career and land him in prison.

Like Roman, Grace is wrestling with ghosts and secrets of her own. After a disastrous marriage threw her life completely off course, she vowed never to let love steal her dreams again. But as she gets to know the enigmatic man behind the reputation, it’s as if the jagged pieces of both of their pasts slowly begin to fit together . . . until something so unexpected happens that it changes the course of their relationship―and both their lives―forever.

Audiobook, 15 hours, 54 minutes
Published February 6th 2018
by Tyndale House Publisher

While I am not a big fan of romance novels there are some authors on my ‘auto read’ list no matter the genre. Francine Rivers is one such author, her Mark of the Lion Series is an all time favourite. Some of her other books that I’ve read many years ago (The Scarlet Thread, The Atonement Child and Redeeming Love) are ones that have never left me.

There are some books that work great in audio format and others not so much. The Masterpiece works great in audio, with 2 different readers (one male, one female - because who wants to listen to a female reading a male role?). It’s not a short book coming in at 15 plus hours so there was plenty of time for the author to develop the characters, get to know them and learn what makes them tick.

I loved the story, realistic and raw, heartbreaking and a true picture of those hurting. Both Roman and Grace have ghosts that haunt and secrets they keep to themselves.

The Masterpiece is a story of unfailing love, redemption, and healing. Mesmerizing in its telling that I’m not even sure it would have had the same impact if I read the book verse listening to the audio.

Francine Rivers is an author I have great respect for.  She crosses genres effortlessly, from historical fiction, to contemporary, dual time periods and romance without skipping a beat. Yes her books are faith based, and she doesn't hold back but tells it like it is.

Audiobook obtained via Scribd (and yea one day this book with grace my bookshelves with my other Francine River books).

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Review: Speechless by Jennifer Mook-Sang

 Jelly is as surprised as anyone when he decides that he’s going to win the annual sixth grade speech contest.

Just like that, Joe Alton Miles, better known as Jelly (because his initials are J.A.M. and his best friend’s are P.B.), is faced with overcoming not only his terror of being in the spotlight, but also the wrath of smart, popular Victoria, who believes that the prize (like all prizes) is rightfully hers. At first, Jelly only cares about winning the awesome prize (a new tablet), but as Victoria escalates her campaign against him, Jelly begins to realize that it’s not only the prize that’s at stake, but also his reputation, his self-respect and the friendship he values most. Jelly must dig deep inside himself to find out if he’s strong enough to stand up to Victoria and show everyone what he’s really capable of.

Hilariously funny and just as poignant, Speechless is about finding out who your friends are, giving back, standing up to bullying and finding your own unique voice

Paperback, 159 pages
Published September 1st 2015
 by Scholastic

I was introduced to this book and author during a writing class I was taking on Kid Lit. Though I have always been a lover of MG & YA Books, this was one I was unfamiliar with. It was great to meet the author and listen to her talk about her writing process and how Speechless came to be.

 Speechless was such a fun read. It was a funny, a quirky story about a boy named Jelly. It’s a clever situation that gets the story rolling and the momentum is solid throughout this book. Armed with ambition and determination Jelly grows and learns a lot as he strives to win this contest. From food bank education, stepping out of ones comfort zone and good old fashioned guts Jelly works towards his goal even with the stumbling blocks he encounters.

 Speechless is a story of bullying, friendship and discovering one self, presented in a way to keep middle grade kids attention and even entertaining for this adult.

 Paperback book from my personal library

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Spotlight/Giveaway: Last Dance in Kabul by Ken Czech

Last Dance in Kabul by Ken Czech

Publication Date: August 2, 2018
Fireship Press
Paperback & eBook; 306 Pages
Genre: Action & Adventure/Historical/Romance/War & Military

The Ultimate Dance Between Love and War When his superiors ignore his warnings of an impending Afghan insurrection in 1841, British army captain Reeve Waterton vows never to return to Kabul. But then he rescues strong-willed Sarah Kane from an ambush and his plans for civilian life and self-preservation unravel around him. At first Reeve dislikes Sarah as much as she loathes him. She's as impudent and disdainful of authority as he, plus she's betrothed to his bitterest rival.

It's only after Reeve's closest friend is brutally murdered and the Afghan tribes explode in revolt that he and Sarah discover their desperate need for each other. When the retreating British army is caught between the jaws of Afghanistan's blizzard-wracked mountain passes and hordes of vengeful tribesmen, Sarah and Reeve must rely on their skills, courage, and blossoming love just to survive.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Praise for Last Dance in Kabul

“Reeve Waterton, a dashing rogue, is a true hero who stands among the most valiant officers of British fiction. Sarah Kane is an assertive woman assured of her own mind yet vulnerable in her heart. Together they spark the blaze that energizes Last Dance in Kabul.” —Rex Griffin, historical writer

“You won't find two more compelling characters than Reeve Waterton and Sarah Kane. I love them. I rooted for them to survive and work things out from the third chapter until the exciting conclusion. Their story was so expertly woven between survival and romance that I found it difficult to pull myself away from it.” —Ray Simmons, for Reader's Favorite

 “Last Dance in Kabul is a war story; a story of life and death; a story of love and hate, and it is a very good read. I was pulled back to 1841 and dropped in the middle of the Afghan insurrection.” –Trudi LoPreto for Reader's Favorite

 “[The] character development is impeccable and the conflict gives the story its powerful depth and emotional intensity. Last Dance in Kabul is a captivating, well-plotted and beautifully paced novel.” —Christian Sia, for Reader's Favorite

About the Author

Dr. Ken Czech is a retired history professor and an internationally recognized authority on the historical literature of exploration and sport. His passion, however, has turned to writing fiction. He and his wife Mary live in Central Minnesota on an abandoned granite quarry. For more information, please visit Ken’s website. You can also find him on FacebookAmazon and Goodreads.


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a paperback copy of Last Dance in Kabul! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

  Giveaway Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on July 31st.
 – Giveaway is open to US residents only.
 Last Dance in Kabul
click on banner for more stops on this tour

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Audio Review: Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

Meredith and Nina Whitson are as different as sisters can be. One stayed at home to raise her children and manage the family business; the other followed a dream and traveled the world to become a famous photojournalist. But when their beloved father falls ill, these two estranged sisters will find themselves together again, standing alongside their disapproving mother, Anya, who even now offers no comfort to her daughters. On his deathbed, their father extracts a promise: Anya will tell her daughters a story; it is one she began years ago and never finished. This time she will tell it all the way to the end.

The tale their mother tells them is unlike anything they’ve heard before—a captivating, mysterious love story that spans more than sixty years and moves from frozen, war-torn Leningrad to modern-day Alaska. Nina’s obsession to uncover the truth will send them all on an unexpected journey into their mother’s past, where they will discover a secret so shocking, it shakes the foundation of their family and changes who they believe they are.

Mesmerizing from beginning to end, Winter Garden is that rarest of novels — at once an epic love story and an intimate portrait of women poised at the crossroads of their lives. Evocative, lyrically written, and ultimately uplifting, it will haunt the listener long after the last word is spoken.

Audible Audio, Unabridged
 Published January 14th 2010
by Brilliance Audio
 14 hours, 43 minutes

Peer pressure drove me to the Winter Garden. With so many raving about The Nightingale and The Great Alone, readers were also saying great things about this book. It must have been an audible special at one time and has been sitting patiently waiting in my library. I didn’t read the blurb just jumped in blind.

I didn’t know what to expect and as the story progressed I heard a hard time putting it down. The fairy tale aspect was a unique idea, even though I kinda sensed the direction where that was going.  With the POV's from 2 sisters and the fairy tale Winter Garden is a book of secrets, forgiveness and healing.  It's a part of Russian history I am unfamiliar with, showing with vivid descriptions what the citizens of Leningrad endured.

Whether I would have enjoyed this as much if I read (verses audio) it, it's a story that will stay with me.  Kristin Hannah has cemented herself into my 'read new book upon release' author.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Review: Beyond the Orchard by Anna Romer

A haunting story of yearning, love and betrayal from the bestselling author of Thornwood House

 Lucy Briar has arrived home in turmoil after years overseas. She’s met her fiancé in London and has her life mapped out, but something is holding her back.

 Hoping to ground herself and find answers, Lucy settles into once familiar routines. But old tortured feelings flood Lucy’s existence when her beloved father, Ron, is hospitalised and Morgan – the man who drove her away all those years ago – seeks her out. Worse, Ron implores Lucy to visit Bitterwood Estate, the crumbling historic family guesthouse now left to him. He needs Lucy to find something– an old photograph album, the very thing that drove Ron and his father apart.

 Lucy has her own painful memories of Bitterwood, darkness that has plagued her dreams since she was young. But as Lucy searches for the album, the house begins to give up its ghosts and she is driven to put them to rest.

 And there, held tightly between the house, the orchard and the soaring cliffs, Lucy uncovers a long-hidden secret that shattered a family’s bond and kept a frightened young girl in its thrall ... and Lucy discovers just how fierce the lonely heart can be.

 Paperback, 464 pages
Published November 1st 2016
 by Simon & Schuster

 I always cringe when an author is compared to Kate Morton, those are mighty fine boots to fill and to me it’s just a setup for disappointment. That being said Australian author Anna Romer did not disappoint, this is her third book and I've loved the previous two, The Thornwood House and Lyrebird Hill.

Beyond the Orchard is a dual time period book, with an Australian setting - one of my favourite places (and on my bucket list). With an old house set high on a cliff there is a mysterious ice house that sets the tone, the opening chapter was enough to suck me right in.

Weaving back and forth in time, from the 1930’s and current day, the different characters come to life. There are a number of characters and many layers here but they all work well together with no problem keep track of the story. If anything I was so engrossed that I didn’t realize this until I started writing this up.

Beyond the Orchard is a story of guilt, hidden secrets and family dynamics. It had that Gothic and fairy tale feel that I love. The story unfolded at a great pace it kept me captivated and curious with its twists and turns.

Definitely one of my favourite authors that I discovered when searching Australian settings.

Beyond the Orchard is from my personal library (hard to find in Canada but audible has Anna Romer in audio format) and part of my ‘reading my shelf challenge’

click on cover to take you to may review

Friday, July 20, 2018

Audio Review: The Daughters of Ireland (Deverill Chronicles #2) by Santa Montefiore

International sensation Santa Montefiore presents the second book in her romantic and unforgettable Deverill Chronicles trilogy, which follows three Irish women through the decades of the twentieth century—perfect for fans of Beatriz Williams and Kate Morton.

 Perched majestically atop the lush emerald hills of West Cork, Ireland, Castle Deverill has been the home to several generations of the Deverills. But when the castle fell prey to a devastating attack during the Irish revolt, the ancestral home’s survival was at stake—until Celia Mayberry and her husband buy the estate and vow to restore Castle Deverill to its former glory. For Celia, the castle holds many fond childhood memories when she ran through its vast halls with her cousin Kitty Deverill and their cherished friend Bridie Doyle.

 But not everyone is elated. Although Kitty is grateful to her cousin for purchasing the manor and ensuring it will remain in the family, she cannot help but be wistful for the days when she was the mistress of Castle Deverill. While she is content in her new life with her husband Robert and her adopted son JP, her heart still yearns for Jack O’Leary—the man she cannot have. As Kitty struggles with her choices, she must make a heartbreaking decision that could bring her the greatest joy, but hurt those closest to her.

 Now wealthy and the toast of the town in New York City, Bridie Doyle has come a long way since she was a young girl in Ireland and the daughter of one of the maids at Castle Deverill. But all her money cannot ease the pain over giving away her baby. When she finds love, she is tempted to return to her beloved homeland—even if it means she will have to face the woman she still longs to seek revenge against.

 As Celia wastes no time, or expense, in hiring workers to renovate Castle Deverill—even when the country soon finds itself in the midst of the Great Depression—she has no idea that her world is about to be shattered. Now everything that felt so certain is cast into doubt as this daughter of Ireland must find the inner strength to build a new future.

 “Nobody does epic romance like Santa Montefiore. Everything she writes, she writes from the heart.”—Jojo Moyes, New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You

 Audio Published August 15th 2017
 by HarperCollins (first published July 14th 2016)

Book 2 in Santa Montefiore’s Deverill Chronicles Series, this book is also known as Daughters of Castle Deverill.

I loved Songs of Love and War (The Girl in the Castle) and while it had a fitting conclusion there was enough hanging to make me jump right into this one. It picks up right where Songs left off.

Following the lives of Kitty, Bridie and Celia from Ireland, New York City and into Africa, where the past is set to collide with the present. They must be courageous, daring and find their own way.

As author Jojo Moyes states ‘nobody does epic romance like Santa Montifore. Everything she writes, she writes from the heart.” It’s so true, not being a fan of the romance genre she writes multi layered historical stories with a wide cast of characters that aren’t confusing to follow. The plots (yes more than one) are intricate and draws me right in.

Definitely a series I am anxious to continue with and an author that has ranked up there in my ‘must read’ pile.

click on cover to take you to my review

Though the publisher was gracious enough to send me an ARC (via Netgalley) due to personal issues I went the audio route via Audible.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Audio Review: Phoebe's Light (Nantucket Legacy #1) by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Phoebe Starbuck has always adjusted her sails and rudder to the whims of her father. Now, for the first time, she's doing what she wants to do: marrying Captain Phineas Foulger and sailing far away from Nantucket. As she leaves on her grand adventure, her father gives her two gifts, both of which Phoebe sees little need for. The first is an old sheepskin journal from Great Mary, her highly revered great-grandmother. The other is a "minder" on the whaling ship in the form of cooper Matthew Mitchell, a man whom she loathes.

Soon Phoebe discovers that life at sea is no easier than life on land. Lonely, seasick, and disillusioned, she turns the pages of Great Mary's journal and finds herself drawn into the life of this noble woman. To Phoebe's shock, her great-grandmother has left a secret behind that carries repercussions for everyone aboard the ship, especially her husband the captain and her shadow the cooper. This story within a story catapults Phoebe into seeing her life in an entirely new way--just in time.

In this brand-new series, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher brings her signature twists and turns to bear on a fascinating new faith community: the Quakers of colonial-era Nantucket Island.

Paperback, 345 pages
Published February 6th 2018
by Fleming H. Revell Company
Length: 9 hrs and 56 mins
Unabridged Audiobook

This is the first book in Suzanne Woods Fisher’s new Nantucket Legacy Series. This author had me with her Amish Beginnings Series, it’s rich detail, flawed and realistic characters plus an interesting story line kept my attention for all 3 books. Hence my eagerness to begin this one.

Again I was not disappointed. Phoebe Starbucks is a likable character living in a time when women were at the mercy of men around her. She takes control of her life (trying to help her father), and is lead on an adventure over land and sea.

It’s Phoebe’s ancestor, Great Mary's diary that rounds out the story nicely. With rich details of living in a time where surviving was what one woke up to every day. I love reading about the early settlers, those working the land with its many obstacles.

Phoebe’s Light is a story of forgiveness, survival and finding one’s Light. A great start to new series with book 2, Minding the Light hitting the bookshelves a few weeks ago (how did I miss that!)

Thank you to the publisher via Netgalley for an advance copy, due to personal issues I went the audio route on this on and it was as great!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Spotlight/Giveaway: The Romanov Empress by C.W. Gortner

Originally I was to post my review of C.W. Gortner's new book, but unfortunately life has gotten in the way.  So instead here is a spotlight and giveaway.

Publication Date: July 10, 2018
Ballantine Books
Hardcover; 448 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

Even from behind the throne, a woman can rule.

 Narrated by the mother of Russia’s last tsar, this vivid, historically authentic novel brings to life the courageous story of Maria Feodorovna, one of Imperial Russia’s most compelling women, who witnessed the splendor and tragic downfall of the Romanovs as she fought to save her dynasty in the final years of its long reign.

 Barely nineteen, Minnie knows that her station in life as a Danish princess is to leave her family and enter into a royal marriage—as her older sister Alix has done, moving to England to wed Queen Victoria’s eldest son. The winds of fortune bring Minnie to Russia, where she marries the Romanov heir and becomes empress once he ascends the throne. When resistance to her husband’s reign strikes at the heart of her family and the tsar sets out to crush all who oppose him, Minnie—now called Maria—must tread a perilous path of compromise in a country she has come to love.

 Her husband’s death leaves their son Nicholas II as the inexperienced ruler of a deeply divided and crumbling empire. Determined to guide him to reforms that will bring Russia into the modern age, Maria faces implacable opposition from Nicholas’s strong-willed wife, Alexandra, whose fervor has lead her into a disturbing relationship with a mystic named Rasputin. As the unstoppable wave of revolution rises anew to engulf Russia, Maria will face her most dangerous challenge and her greatest heartache.

 From the opulent palaces of St. Petersburg and the intrigue-laced salons of the aristocracy to the World War I battlefields and the bloodied countryside occupied by the Bolsheviks, C. W. Gortner sweeps us into the anarchic fall of an empire and the complex, bold heart of the woman who tried to save it.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

Praise for The Romanov Empress

"Gortner’s mesmerizing historical novel (following The Vatican Princess) depicts the remarkable life of the mother of the last Russian tsar. This insightful first-person account of the downfall of the Romanov rule will appeal to history buffs; at its core, it’s the powerful story of a mother trying to save her family and an aristocrat fighting to maintain rule in a country of rebellion, giving it an even broader appeal." —Publishers Weekly

 “A sweeping saga that takes us from the opulence and glamor of Tsarist Russia to the violent, tragic last days of the Romanovs. C. W. Gortner breaks new ground here, skillfully painting an intimate, compelling portrait of this fascinating empress and her family.” —Stephanie Dray, New York Times bestselling author of America’s First Daughter

 “The Romanov Empress has all the glitter and mystery of a Faberge egg, the outer decadence and beauty of Imperial Russia unfolding to reveal the mysteries and horrors within. The waning days of a doomed dynasty are recounted by the vivacious but tough Danish princess who would become one of Russia's most revered tsarinas, only to see her line end in war and revolution. Gortner pens a beautiful tribute to a lost world, weaving a tale sumptuous as a Russian sable.” —Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network

“A vivid, engaging tale of Tsarina Maria Feodorovna, the mother of Russia's last Tsar, her loves and her heartbreaks, bringing the troubled final decades of the Russian Empire to life.” —Eva Stachniak, author of The Winter Palace

About the Author

C. W. Gortner holds an MFA in writing, with an emphasis on historical studies, from the New College of California. He is the internationally acclaimed and bestselling author of Mademoiselle Chanel, The Queen’s Vow, The Confessions of Catherine de Medici, The Last Queen, The Vatican Princess, and Marlene, among other books. He divides his time between Northern California and Antigua, Guatemala.

 To learn more about his work and to schedule a book group chat with him, please visit his website.

You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, July 10
Review & Interview at Clarissa Reads it All
Feature at Passages to the Past
Wednesday, July 11
Review at Just One More Chapter
Thursday, July 12
Review at A Bookish Affair
Friday, July 13
Feature at Bookfever
Monday, July 16
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Tuesday, July 17
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Wednesday, July 18
Review at Creating Herstory
Feature at So Many Books, So Little Time
Thursday, July 19
Review at The Lit Bitch
Friday, July 20
Review at Bri's Book Nook
Monday, July 23
Review at Books and Glamour
Tuesday, July 24
Review at Dressed to Read
Wednesday, July 25
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective
Thursday, July 26
Review at Donna's Book Blog
Friday, July 27
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit
Monday, July 30
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Tuesday, July 31
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Wednesday, August 1
Feature at Let Them Read Books
Thursday, August 2
Review at Curling Up By the Fire
Friday, August 3
Review at Broken Teepee
Monday, August 6
Review at A Book Geek
Tuesday, August 7
Review at What Cathy Read Next
Thursday, August 9
Review at Caryn, the Book Whisperer
Friday, August 10
Review at Two Gals and a Book


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a copy of The Romanov Empress to one lucky reader! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below. Giveaway Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on August 10th. You must be 18 or older to enter. – Giveaway is open to US residents 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. Romanov Empress

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Excerpt: The Secret Life of Mrs. London by Rebecca Rosenberg

Today I am happy to share an excerpt from The Secret Life of Mrs. London by Rebecca Rosenberg (clicking on title will take you to my review)

 Beauty ranCh, Glen ellen, California SeptemBer 1915

For her I accomplished Odysseys, scaled mountains, crossed deserts; for her I led the hunt and was forward in battle; and for her and to her I sang my songs of the things I had done. All ecstasies of life and rhapsodies of delight have been mine because of her. And here, at the end, I can say that I have known no sweeter, deeper madness of being than to drown in the fragrant glory and forgetfulness of her hair.
                                                —Jack London, The Star Rover

 Nothing breathes vigor into a marriage like a boxing match. And it helps to have a stupefied audience to witness the fight. If I can get Jack boxing this morning, with his drinking buddies cheering him on, he’ll be revved up for a good writing session followed by a “grand lolly” that will linger in our loins for days. So I pull on muslin bloomers and leather boxing boots from my wardrobe, twist my hair into a topknot, daub on lavender oil for luck. Our fox terrier raises his head from my bed, ears perked. I stroke his chest and lift him down, his little heart beating in my palm. “Come on, Possum, he can’t say no to you.”

 Slinging boy-sized boxing gloves over my neck, I cross the hallway to Jack’s own sleeping porch, where he sleeps it off after our houseguests plied him with martinis at the Glen Ellen saloon until the wee hours. Possum romps at my heels. Jack still reeks of gin, and his snoring drowns out the jeering blue jays.

“Rise and shine.” I whisk off the plaid blanket, exposing fine muscled legs in red flannel shorts.

Jack’s not moving. So I lift Possum up and let him lick Jack’s face. “Time for our match.”

“Charmian, no. It can’t be morning.” He pulls a feather pillow over his head, and Possum nuzzles underneath.

 “Oh, but it is.” I throw the pillow to the floor, and Possum laps at his cheeks.

 “And a deal is a deal.” Jack groans and lifts up onto one elbow, holding the dog off with his other hand. “I can’t do this after last night.”

 “You can. I know you can.” I take Possum in my arms. Jack’s valet, Nakata, enters with a cup of coffee balanced on his upturned palm, dressed as usual in a haori jacket and skirted trousers. “Kishi kaisei, Mr. Jack.”

Jack sits up and takes the coffee. “My head’s too fuzzy for Japanese this morning.”

 Nakata smiles with teeth straight as piano keys. “Wake from death and return to life.”

Jack grimaces. “That supposed to make me feel better?” Nakata bows and leaves, Possum following him for breakfast. The Socialists criticize Jack for employing servants, but Nakata is essential to his well-being. He starts Jack’s day with platitudes and strong coffee, grants his wildest wishes, manages our household staff so we can focus on writing, and, in the evening, prepares Jack’s cot with philosophy books and farming journals, small and large writing pads, sharpened pencils, and a thermos of martinis (equal splashes of vermouth and olive juice). Together, Nakata and I handle Jack’s needs, and I pray he will never leave us.

I lace on Jack’s boxing boots while he slurps his coffee, his ankles swollen. Drinking always kicks up his gout. “I was kidding about the boxing,” he says. “A joke for the Crowd . . .” His nickname for the Bohemian-Socialist-literary folks who worship at his feet. Come to think of it, that’s exactly where I happen to be at the moment.

 “Oh no. You’re not getting away with it this time.” I knot his laces tighter. “‘Bring me the boxing gloves if I’m not up by eight,’ you said.

 ‘Best thing in the world for a hangover,’ you said. ‘We’ll do the drop-and-grind drill,’ you said.” Jack smirks. “I love it when you talk dirty.”

 “Come on, champ. Let’s give it a go. Our audience awaits.” I hoist his arm over my shoulders, staggering under the weight he’s gained of late.

He limps to the back door.

Nakata and some of the staff have gathered to watch on the back stoop between our separate sleeping porches, Jack’s remedy for my chronic insomnia and his late hours.

 In an apron and calico dress, Jack’s sister, Eliza, washes the windowpanes, doughy underarm flesh swinging with each swipe of her dish towel. “Boxing is no good for Jack.” She clucks her tongue at me. “Just brings out the poison in his system all over again.”

 “Better out than in,” I answer. Lawrence Godfrey-Smith, the Australian concert pianist turned eucalyptus broker, and George Sterling, poet king of the Bohemians, follow us out to the porch with coffee mugs.

“What’s all the ballyhoo?” Lawrence nudges me in the overfamiliar way he’s adopted since that time on the beach in Australia . . .

 I step down to the garden. “Don’t you remember Jack’s promise when you stumbled in last night? He wanted to box this morning to get his blood flowing for writing.”

“Who’s he going to wallop?”

I thrust up my gloved hand. “Me, of course.” Lawrence turns to Sterling. “Do all American couples fight?”

 “Of course,” Sterling says, stroking his goatee. “They just don’t usually wear gloves.”

 It’s nine o’clock already, and the sun just cleared the top of the redwoods, illuminating the garden like an arena. Our boots crush the creeping thyme, melding with the herbaceous smell of ripening chardonnay grapes.

 Jack bounces forward on his left foot, then weaves back, shifting his weight to the right, then back again. Red shorts hug his waist and skim his well-built thighs. He looks fitter than he is, from a past regimen of boxing, swimming, horseback riding. It’s not fair how men look better than us as they age. Not fair at all.

“Come on, pretty boy.” I hold my fists up in front of my face. “Let’s see what you’re made of.”

“The legs of a Roman goddess.” Sterling whistles.

 “Mind your p’s and q’s, Greek,” Jack says. “Those are my wife’s gams you’re looking at.” He throws the first punch, which lands square to my glove.

 “I’m talking about your legs, Wolf.” Sterling combs long fingernails through his goatee, making my skin crawl. The disheveled poet could use a comb and nail scissors . . . and a bath, come to think of it.

Jack camps a pose and spins his white satin boxing sash around like Jack Johnson at the world championship.

 After I take a playful poke at his ribs to get his attention, suddenly he’s jumping around me like Possum dancing for a scrap of meat.

 For a while, Jack and I practice our drill, throwing rhythmic punches, gaining confidence and speed. We must look hilarious with Jack so much taller and broader and me, his “small woman,” holding my own.

“Hey, Wolf,” Lawrence says. “If you win, I’ll take a hundred dollars off your eucalyptus starts.”

Jack thumbs his nose in jest, though I know it eats at him to owe Lawrence for the seedlings, with no way to pay yet. Our Aussie friend convinced Jack eucalyptus would make him a fortune, but the seedlings have only added to our growing debt.

A mighty punch whizzes past me. Jack huffs and rolls his eyes. “You’ve got the advantage today, Mate-Woman. I have the willies.”

“Excuses, excuses.” I make a right jab at his chest, and he takes it, his shoulder swinging back. Abdomen, chest, or shoulders are fair game, but anything below Jack’s belt isn’t allowed— his kidneys and liver have taken all the abuse they can handle.

Eliza shoos the staff inside. “Don’t you people have work to do this morning? The ranch doesn’t run itself.” Her nostrils flare at me. “Though some folks seem to think so.”

 Nine years married to her brother, and Eliza still sees me as a nuisance to endure.

 “Stay in the match or I’ll knock your block off.” Jack takes a swipe. We go at it for another quarter hour. Jack’s chest swells out, his breath labors. I prance and punch to give him a fight, but not too much to tire him out or bruise his ego.

 Lawrence watches my antics with palpable pleasure, which Jack pretends not to notice. Now for the tricky part, how to end this thing. In an effort to go down fighting, I swing in the air, but my glove catches his jaw. I lose my footing and fall on the flagstones, hitting my tailbone with a searing pain. Lawrence runs and lifts me up. “Are you all right?” Jack asks, blood trickling from his mouth onto his chin.

“You won. You won, Wolf.” Sterling claps long hands together in mockery. “You beat the stuffing out of the little lady.”

 “Did I hurt you, Lady-Boy?” Jack holds his jaw, jiggles it side to side.

Breaking free of Lawrence’s grasp, I run to wipe the blood from Jack’s chin with my shirttail. “Now if you’ll excuse us, gentlemen, we have a novel to write.” Jack’s golden rule: write a thousand words a day. And my job is to keep him to it.

I take Jack’s hand and pull him up the steps, feeling Lawrence’s eyes on my backside, tingling despite my good intentions. Damn eucalyptus. Damn blue-eyed, blond Aussies.

 “I feel like a new man.” Jack pats my rear and makes me jump. “You know just what I need, don’t you, Mate?”

“What you need is a shower.” I hold open the screen door. “After we finish the story, we’ll figure out what else you need.”

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J. Maas

Feyre's survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price ...

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre's presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

Paperback, 416 pages
 Published May 5th 2015
by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

This year I am challenging myself in many areas, with my reading I am stepping out of my comfort zone with genres I usually steer away from. YA fantasy is one such genre. When a reader friend raved about this series I knew it was where to start.

Feyre is a teen who supports her family or make that takes care of them, they fell from the high life and must fend for themselves. It’s a mistake that changes everything for Feyre. It’s a world divided between human and almost fairy talish (I think I made that word up). Some aspects reminded me of Beauty and the Beast.

I surprised myself by how much I enjoyed this book. The characters were likeable, though I didn’t always like them. The plot complex and intriguing. I was right in the setting with all the mystical and fantasy elements.

Yea I will continue with this series, maybe not right away, the next book A Court of Mist and Fury comes in at 626 pages (over 200 pages more then Thorns and Roses).

Book from my personal library and part of my Read TBR challenge.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Excerpt: The Last Rodeo by Delores Fossen

The most important two words for this Wrangler’s Creek rodeo cowboy? I do...

 Lucian Granger isn’t winning any Mr. Cowboy Congeniality awards. Known in his small Texas town as “Lucifer” thanks to his surly nature and knack for scaring people away from getting too close, the handsome rancher has no trouble ignoring the gossip. But when he’s in danger of losing the land he’s put his blood, sweat and tears into maintaining, Lucian sets out to prove he’s a changed man—by claiming he’s about to settle down with his invaluable assistant, Karlee O’Malley.

 Their pending nuptials may be just for show, but from the moment they kiss, the proverbial fireworks start going off in his head—and in his heart. Before long, the man who’s usually as emotional as a brick wall is tired of pretending and wants to share a real future with Karlee. With his world suddenly turned upside down, Lucian will risk losing the business and the ranch if it means holding on to the one woman worth becoming a better man for.

Kindle Edition, 400 pages
 Published June 26th 2018 
by HQN Books


All of his relationships soured.

Especially the one that had mattered most.

She examined his shoulder, and then looked up at him with those Irish-green eyes that could be either warm or cool depending on the situation. Right now, they were on the chillier end of the spectrum because she likely didn’t approve of the shoulder injury or how he was about to ask her to handle it.

“No hospital?” She didn’t wait for an answer because she knew it would be no. She huffed at his unspoken no. “This is risky, you know? Just because I did this for you once before and for my brothers too many times to count, it doesn’t mean it’s a smart thing. You need to see a doctor.”

“Just pop it back in,” Lucian growled.

Her eyes went from plain ordinary chill to an Arctic frost. Karlee frosted and frowned at him a few more seconds while she debated what to do.

“Hold him,” she said to Dylan, and Dylan hooked his arms around Lucian’s chest and waist. “What’s your safe word?” she asked, turning back to Lucian. “The one you use when you’re playing rough with your sweet things?”

What the hell did that have to do with this? But Lucian only managed to get out the “what” part of that before Karlee gave his arm a hard push, moving the shoulder back in place.

And causing him to curse every single word of pro­fanity in his entire vocabulary. He added some new ones, too, though they came out so garbled that it was like cuss stew.

Once he got past the eye-watering, excruciating pain, Lucian realized the reason Karlee had asked about the safe word was to distract him. It had worked, and his shoulder was already starting to feel a little better. The sharp stabbing was now more like a sharp toothache.

“All fixed up now?” Dylan asked him. “I think you just wanted to feel a woman’s touch.” He didn’t wait around for Lucian to glare at him for that bad joke. Dylan gave them a wave and headed for the barn where he’d likely been going when he saw Lucian take the throw from the gelding.

Lucian tried to put his shirt back on, but after a cou­ple of grunts from pain, Karlee helped with that, too, and then they started back toward the house. She also took hold of his wrist.

“No, I’m not giving you more of a woman’s touch. I’m checking your pulse in case what I just did ruptured a blood vessel,” she let him know. “If that happened, your pulse rate will change.”

Lucian figured she knew how to do that because she’d practically raised her three younger brothers. Being a big sister seemed to give her a special set of expertise like doctoring duties, ESP and a built-in lie de­tector. Those things were far superior to his big-brother talents.

As a big brother, he knew how to come up with bail money when needed. That was about it. Of course, being the oldest had also gotten him the title of head honcho/boss for Granger Enterprises after his parents had divorced and moved away from Wrangler’s Creek. That boss label included not only the ranch but the busi­nesses, as well.

So yeah, there was that.

Purchase Links 

USA Today bestselling author, Delores Fossen, has sold over 70 novels with millions of copies of her books in print worldwide. She’s received the Booksellers’ Best Award, the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award and was a finalist for the prestigious Rita ®. 

In addition, she’s had nearly a hundred short stories and articles published in national magazines.

 Connect with Delores 
Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Audio Review: The Outsider by Stephen King

An unspeakable crime. A confounding investigation. At a time when the King brand has never been stronger, he has delivered one of his most unsettling and compulsively readable stories. 

An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.

 As the investigation expands and horrifying answers begin to emerge, King’s propulsive story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can.

 Audiobook, unabridged/eAudiobook,
18 hours plus
 Published May 22nd 2018 by Simon Schuster Audio

I jumped at the chance to listen to this one in audio format when I realized Will Patton was the reader. He was also the reader for the Mr. Mercedes trilogy and he did a great job. I’ve heard other readers mention this so I will also remind anyone interested in this book that you should read the Mr Mercedes series first or if you have no intention of reading that series then jump right in (and that's all I'll say about it).

This book comes in at over 18 hours long, equivalent to about 561 pages. The blurb above does a great job outlining what this book is about. I found this to be a easy read even for the amount of pages, the chapters are short and to the point, the characters are authentic, the plot intriguing and the conclusion fitting - even if a little rushed.

Though I found the characters authentic there were a number of them and at times I found myself a little overwhelmed, but that could just be the audio version and my mind not paying close enough attention.

I am not a fan of horror and books that are heavy into supernatural stuff, so I’ve always shied away from Stephen King but I’ve found some of his books appeal to me these days, they have the mystery and suspense I enjoy.

Though I recommend The Outsider be warned that there are some graphic crime scene parts and hard to read.

Audiobook through Scribd