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Saturday, September 24, 2016

September Mini Musings


Among the Wicked-This is the eighth book in the Kate Burkholder series.  Once again, Linda Castillo writes a solid mystery/police procedural.  I haven't had anything bad to say about these books.  They're always a page turner with lots of twists and turns.



The Lynching: The Epic Courtroom Battle That Brought Down the Klan - I have been on a " true crime" kick lately.  I saw this on my library's new audiobook list and figured I'd check it out.  I thought it was informative and very interesting to read.  It is hard to believe this took place in the 80s. Highly recommend this one.

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean

Author" Sarah MacLean
Publisher: Avon
Date of publication: December 2016

The youngest of the infamous Talbot sisters scandalized society at the Liverpool Summer Soiree, striking her sister’s notoriously philandering husband and landing him backside-first in a goldfish pond. And we thought Sophie was the quiet one…

When she finds herself the target of very public aristocratic scorn, Sophie Talbot does what she must to escape the city and its judgment—she flees on the back of a carriage, vowing never to return to London…or to society. But the carriage isn’t saving her from ruin. It’s filled with it.

ROYAL ROGUE'S REIGN OF RAVISHMENT!

The Marquess of Eversley was espied descending a rose trellis—escaping an irate Earl and his once-future countess. No lady is safe from Eversley’s Engagement Ending Escapades!

Kingscote, the Marquess of Eversley, has never met a woman he couldn’t charm, a quality that results in a reputation far worse than the truth, a furious summons home, and a long, boring trip to the Scottish border. When King discovers stowaway Sophie, however, the trip becomes anything but boring.


When I am in the mood for a historical romance, The Rogue Not Taken is exactly the type of book that I want to read.  I really enjoyed Sophie and King.  Sophie is the youngest of 5 sisters who have a certain reputation among the ton.  They are considered "new wealth" with a title but not the blue blood.  After standing up for her sister at a party, she is scorned by the ton and decides to flee the party.  What she didn't plan on was ending up in a carriage going to wrong way.

I found this story to be full of witty banter between Sophie and King.  I loved watching them fall for each other.   I loved how King kept trying to get Sophie to stop putting herself down.  He really saw through to who she was inside.  I wanted to kick him often, though.  He was a little stubborn in not wanting to trust Sophie.  But I was rooting for them the whole book.

One of the neat things that I liked about the book was the gossip column like titles at the beginning of each chapter. They were cute and added a lot of humor to the story.  I highly recommend this one.  The next book, A Scot in the Dark, is out now and I can't wait to dive right in.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Throwback Thursday: The Tower Treasure by Franklin W. Dixon


Author: Franklin W. Dixon
First published in 1927 by Grosset and Dunlap

A dying criminal confesses that his loot has been secreted "in the tower." Both towers of the looted mansion are searched in vain. It remains for the Hardy boys to make an astonishing discovery that clears up the mystery.

I read a lot of these books when I was in middle school.  It was fun to try one out again.  This is the first in the series and was first published in 1927.  It was later updated and revised in 1942 with a little change to the plot.  The book introduces the Hardy brothers, Frank and Joe.  The end up solving their first big case involving missing jewels and a death bed confession. 

I found the brothers less "Mary sue Sunshine" than I did Nancy Drew.  The boys definitely care about their friends and family. But they seemed more real to me. I will admit that I kept picturing Sean Cassidy and Parker Stevenson while I was listening.  I was a fan of the TV show growing up and I couldn't help myself. 

The audiobook version I listened to had sound effects and music sprinkled through out.  It took a little getting used to, but ended up feeling like I  was listening to one of those old radio mystery shows.   This is a wonderful series that has aged well.  

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Security by Gina Wohlsdorf

Author: Gina Wohlsdorf
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Date of publication: June 2016

The terrible truth about Manderley is that someone is always watching.

Manderley Resort is a gleaming, new twenty-story hotel on the California coast. It’s about to open its doors, and the world--at least those with the means to afford it--will be welcomed into a palace of opulence and unparalleled security. But someone is determined that Manderley will never open. The staff has no idea that their every move is being watched, and over the next twelve hours they will be killed off, one by one.


I thought this book was actually kind of cool.  It's told through the eyes of an unknown watcher.  The watcher is seeing and hearing everything on security monitors that are scattered throughout the resort.   The way the story is relayed to the reader makes it feel as if you were sitting in the security office watching as well.  This concept worked really well in audio version.  The quick cutaways made the action move very quickly.

This book is pretty gory, so if that isn't your thing, you might not like it.  To me, it would make a good horror movie.  The staff at the Manderley Resort is getting ready for the grand opening.  Someone is killing them off one by one.  Who? or why? is never really answered, but the reason made sense.  Especially when the reader finds out who is watching.  I liked the ending as well.  It went along with how the tale was told and just made sense.

I'd recommend checking this one out.  It was a unique concept and one I thought was executed very well.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Interview with Denise Hunter, author of Just a Kiss

We are really excited to share an interview with author Denise Hunter.  She is promoting her latest book, Just a Kiss.  Make sure to pick up a copy today! Buy it at Amazon

Author: Denise Hunter
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Date of publication: September 2016

What Happens When You Fall In Love With Your Best Friend?

THE HAPPILY-EVER-AFTER, FEEL-GOOD FINAL STORY IN WIDELY BELOVED SUMMER HARBOR ROMANCE SERIES 

“Hunter balances the dark side of love and war with a winning combination: realistically exploring the role that faith plays in healing, deftly creating a potent romance, and giving significant space for the lively and lovable supporting cast of Summer Harbor friends. Fans will be sad to see the Callahans say goodbye, but this tale of recovery and bravery is a fine parting gift.” -- Publisher's Weekly, Review on 8/12\\

Welcome Denise!

Autumn & Kari: What inspired you to become a writer?

Denise: I’ve always been an avid reader. I wrote a bit throughout high school, poetry and such, but I didn’t start dreaming about writing a novel until I was in my early 20s. But I was married, taking college classes, and had young children so I thought it wasn’t the right season of my life. Time was so limited. 

But the sudden death of my grandfather inspired me to take my dream off the back burner. I didn’t want to finish life with regrets. So I started writing my first novel  during my boys’ nap time.

Autumn & Kari: Where do you come up with the ideas for your books?

Denise: Everywhere! Newspaper articles, songs, conversations, eavesdropping on conversations . . .  Hey, I work in a coffee shop—I hear things. :-)

Autumn & Kari:What exciting projects are waiting in the wings?

Denise: I have a stand alone novel coming out next June that I’m so excited about. It’s called Sweetbriar Cottage, and it’s a second chance story set in the North Georgia Mountains. Those characters came to me fully fleshed and practically breathing. Most of the story spilled out in note-form in a matter of days, and writing the novel felt almost like I was simply dictating someone’s story. I can’t wait to share it with readers!

Autumn & Kari: Who is your favorite literary character and why?

Denise: Wow, there are so many I love! I guess if I had to choose just one I’d pick Michael Hosea from Redeeming Love.

Autumn & Kari:Just for fun, if you could be any animal, what would it be and why?

Denise: Definitely a sea otter. They just seem so happy and relaxed. 

About the author:


Denise Hunter is the internationally-published bestselling author of over 25 books, including Dancing with Fireflies and Falling Like Snowflakes. Her novel The Convenient Groom premiered as a Hallmark Channel feature film in June 2016, and in December 2016, the Hallmark Channel will premiere another feature film based on Hunter’s work, A December Bride.

Denise Hunter’s Summer Harbor series has had contemporary romance readers across the globe swooning since the September 2015 release of the trilogy’s first installment, Falling Like Snowflakes. On September 6, 2016, with the release of the third and final Summer Harbor story, Just a Kiss [Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins], fans will at last find out whether Riley Callahan and Paige Warren – best friends and the most star-crossed of Summer Harbor’s sweethearts – get a happily-ever-after after all. Anyone who has ever secretly fallen in love with their best friend is all too familiar with the special kind of heartache it can bring.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Blog Tour: Finding Libbie by Deanna Lynn Sletten

Author: Deanna Lynn Sletten
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Date of publication: September 2016

Poring over a dusty hatbox of photographs in her grandmother’s closet, Emily Prentice is shocked to discover her father was married to his high school sweetheart before meeting her mother.

In the summer of 1968, Jack and Libbie fall in love under the spell of their small town, untouched by the chaos of the late sixties. Though Libbie’s well-to-do parents disapprove of Jack’s humble family and his aspiration to become a mechanic, she marries Jack a year after they graduate high school. But soon their happiness crumbles as Libbie’s mental state unravels and she is drawn to alcohol and drugs. Despite his efforts to help her, Jack loses the woman he loves and is forced to move on with his life.

Now that Emily’s mother has passed away, Jack is alone again, and Emily grows obsessed with the beautiful woman who had given her father such joy. Determined to find Libbie, Emily pieces together the couple’s fragmented past. But is it too late for happy endings?

Finding Libbie is a compelling and heartbreaking book that also manages to leave you with a feeling of hope in the end.  I ended up liking this book a lot more than I thought I would.  I'll admit that it was slow for me to start, but I ended up being drawn into the tragic love story of Jack and Libbie. Emily finds out that her father was married before he married her mother.  After hearing their story from her grandmother, she sets out to try to find Libbie.

As I said, I ended up really liking this one.  It's not an easy read because it's so sad at times.  I had to keep reminding myself that the majority of the tale takes place in the 60s and 70s when women's mental health was often swept under the rug or largely misdiagnosed.  It would be a much different story if Jack and Libbie's love story took place in present time  I wanted to scream at Libbie's family throughout the story.  Through her quest to find Libbie, Emily also figures out what she wants for her life.  I liked that part of the book as well.

My only wish for this book would have been to see more interaction between two of the characters toward the end.  It would have rounded out the story even more for me.  I do recommend this one.  It will break your heart and make you smile at the same time.


About Deanna Lynn Sletten


Deanna Lynn Sletten grew up on the sunny coast of Southern California before moving to northern Minnesota as a teenager. Her interest in writing novels was sparked in a college English class, and she has been writing in some form or another ever since. In 2011, Deanna self-published her first novel and has since published several more, both on her own and with Lake Union Publishing.
Deanna enjoys writing heartwarming women’s fiction and romance novels with unforgettable characters. She has also written one middle-grade novel that takes readers on the adventure of a lifetime. She believes in fate, destiny, love at first sight, soul mates, second chances, magic, and happily ever after—all of which are reflected in her novels.

Deanna is married and has two grown children. When not writing, she enjoys walking the wooded trails around her home with her beautiful Australian shepherd or relaxing on her boat in the summer.

Connect with Deanna

Purchase Links

Deanna Lynn Sletten’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Tuesday, September 6th: Bookchickdi
Thursday, September 8th: Reading Reality
Thursday, September 15th: Back Porchervations
Friday, September 16th: A Chick Who Reads
Monday, September 19th: Ms. Nose in a Book
Monday, September 19th: From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, September 21st: Mama Vicky Says
Monday, September 26th: All Roads Lead to the Kitchen
Tuesday, October 4th: Kahakai Kitchen
Wednesday, October 5th: Books and Bindings
Thursday, October 6th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Friday, October 7th: View from the Birdhouse
Monday, October 10th: Snowdrop Dreams of Books
Wednesday, October 12th: Write Read Life



Sunday, September 18, 2016

Die of Shame by Mark Billingham

Author: Mark Billingham
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
Date of publication: June 2016

Every Monday evening, six people gather in a smart North London house to talk about shame. A respected doctor, a well-heeled housewife, a young male prostitute . . . they could not be more different. All they have in common is a history of addiction. But when one of the group is murdered, it quickly becomes apparent that someone else in that circle is responsible. The investigation is hampered by the strict confidentiality that binds these individuals and their therapist together, which makes things difficult for Detective Inspector Nicola Tanner, a woman who can appreciate the desire to keep personal matters private. If she is to find the killer, she will need to use less obvious means. The question is: What could be shameful enough to cost someone their life? And how do you find the truth when secrets, lies, and denial are second nature to all of your suspects?

Die of Shame ended up being just an OK read for me.  It's told in two timelines, "then" and "now"  It's essentially about the murder of a woman who belonged to a therapy group for addicts.  The "then" gives us a glimpse into each erson in the group and their interactions with each other.  The Now deals with the police investigation.  

The reason ths was just OK was the pace.  There was a lot of things that were kind of unnecessary so it really dragged out the story.  I almost DNF'd it but I wanted to find out what happened to Heather.  There is a long list of suspects and all of them had motive.  I will say that I didn't figure it out until that end, so that almost made up for the slowness of the story.  I haven't read anything by this author before, so I'm not sure if it's the norm or not.  I have seen that he has a detective series out, so I might check that out at some point.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani

by:  Anton DiSclafani
published by:  Riverhead Books
publish date:  June 4, 2013

It is 1930, the midst of the Great Depression. After her mysterious role in a family tragedy, passionate, strong-willed Thea Atwell, age fifteen, has been cast out of her Florida home, exiled to an equestrienne boarding school for Southern debutantes. High in the Blue Ridge Mountains, with its complex social strata ordered by money, beauty, and girls’ friendships, the Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is a far remove from the free-roaming, dreamlike childhood Thea shared with her twin brother on their family’s citrus farm—a world now partially shattered. As Thea grapples with her responsibility for the events of the past year that led her here, she finds herself enmeshed in a new order, one that will change her sense of what is possible for herself, her family, her country.

This was an incredible book.  I was so surprised by how much I liked this.  It looks like Anton DiSclafani has a second book out this year called The After Party.  I will definitely be tracking that one down.

Thea Atwell has done something terrible and it has torn her family apart.  In response, her parents send her away to a fancy boarding school/riding camp.  It was basically a place for the wealthy to send their daughters to get them out of the way.   Thea spends her days riding horses and waiting for letters from home.  Until, she starts spending time with the headmaster.  She goes from one controversy to another.  

This book was told in an alternating fashion, telling Thea's story at school and then stringing out the tragedy that landed her at the boarding school.  There was a lot of sex and romance in this book, which really kind of surprised me, but I guess shouldn't have been because what else is on the mind of teenage girls?  Historical fiction/romance fans will like this one!


Friday, September 16, 2016

Petite Madeleine (Meadows Shore #3) by Eva Charles



Author: Eva Charles
Publisher: Quarry Road Publishing
Date of publicationSeptember 2016

The Claytons and Harringtons are back!

Drew Harrington loves baseball, drumming and Cassie Anteros, although not necessarily in that order. After his parents die, Drew finds comfort in all the wrong places, until Cassie discovers him passed out, facedown, in his own vomit. 

Cassie Anteros is a big-hearted, sheltered princess who Drew abandons when he leaves school to get himself together. After graduation, with an Ivy League degree in hand and years of grooming behind her, Cassie is well-positioned to take over her father's Wall Street firm, but a lump in her left breast sets her life on a different path.

Now eight years later, he's the very sexy general manager of the Boston Blues baseball team, and she's an award-winning baker in Baltimore. When the two come face-to-face, the earth trembles under their feet, threatening to swallow them whole. She still owns a piece of his soul, and he lives-on in her heart, but is that enough for Drew and Cassie to get a second chance at love, or has time and suffering already sealed their fate?

Petite Madeleine is a wonderful second chance romance that will leave you with a smile in the end.  This is Drew and Cassie's story.  They were a couple in college until the death of his parents sent Drew into a dark place.  Now 10 years later, they have had a chance meeting and Drew won't let her go again.

I really enjoyed this book.  I loved watching this couple find their way back to each other.  I thought the way they dealt with the issues of Cassie's breast cancer and on going treatment came across as very real.  The emotions of everyone involved rang very true for me, when it came to Drew's brother's.  As the author said in her introduction, every person's journey is different. I really enjoyed taking this journey with this couple.

This book is the third in the series. Each one does stand up well as a stand alone.  They are filled with a big loud and loving family and just a lot of fun to read.  I highly recommend this series and look forward to the next book!


Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31351372-petite-madeleine


Buy links:

Amazon (Kindle): http://amzn.to/2b0RRaw
About the Author: 

Eva Charles is the author of the multi-titled Meadows Shore Series that chronicles the lives and loves of the Clayton-Harrington family. She invites you to visit their beloved Meadows Shore nestled in the charming seaside town of Fair Harbor, where you will enjoy love, laughter, loyalty, and an abundance of mouth-watering food, Portuguese style.
After being a confirmed city-girl for more than thirty-five years, Eva moved to beautiful Western Massachusetts in 2014. There, she found herself living in the woods with no job, no friends (unless you count the turkeys, deer, and coyotes roaming the backyard), and no children underfoot, wondering what on earth she'd been thinking. But as it turned out, it was the perfect setting to take all those yarns spinning in her head and weave them into a romantic tale.
When she's not writing, trying to squeeze information out of her tight-lipped sons, or playing with the two cutest dogs you've ever seen, Eva's creating chapters in her own love story.

Website: http://www.evacharles.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/evacharles37
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eva-Charles/1645531855709489
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14223913.Eva_Charles
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Eva-Charles/e/B0140FZ442

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Golden Threads by Kay Hooper



Author: Kay Hooper
First published in 1989 by Loveswept. Re-issue on November 29, 2016

Imprisoned by fate -- and the FBI -- in a strange town with a new identity, Lara Mason longed to escape the painful memory of her father's murder. Playing Rapunzel in a local production would distract her, she hoped -- until broodingly sensual Devon Shane was chose as her prince in the play...and cast himself as her bodyguard when shadows from her past threatened her. Captured by his sapphire gaze and a voice that compelled her surrender, Lara had trusted no one with her secret, but Devon drove her wild with sensation, demanded and took what belonged to him. Furious at being a pawn in his dangerous game, Lara told Devon she wouldn't run anymore -- but could he keep her safe? Desperate to end the limbo that denied them a future, Lara was willing to gamble with her life ... but not his love. Devon had scaled her tower and won her, but now he had to set her free. Could she show him that taming his savage heart was the only happy ending she wanted?

I originally read this back in 2008 when I was on a Kay Hooper binge read.  I think I managed to track down every early work by her and devoured them in a span of a month.  Loveswept is re-issuing this one as well as other early releases in November, so I thought it might be fun to go back and re-read some.  


Golden Threads is the first in her "Once Upon a Time" series.  Each book has a mysterious match maker who manages to get the right boy with the right girl.  There is usually a bit of trouble along the way.  Re-reading Golden Threads reminded me of why I like older romances. They are sometimes a bit cheesy, but usually they are just plain fun.

The romance in this one is really fast.  I'm talking a week.  But I didn't mind.  There is also a mystery as well. Lara is in witness protection, but someone may have found her.  Devon seems to be someone she can trust, but who should she listen to, her head or her heart?  I say trust the cat, Ching. I do recommend this early one. Keep an eye out for it in November!