Friday, August 1, 2014

Blog Tour: Painting the Moon by Traci Borum

Author: Traci Borum
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing
Date of publication: June 2014

When Noelle Cooke inherits a quaint English cottage and an art gallery from her famous Aunt Joy, she welcomes a departure from her San Diego routine. But the lure of the Cotswolds, combined with a locked cottage room and a revealing journal, entice her to stay and discover more, including a way to save the gallery from financial ruin. And that means remaining in England. 

When her childhood sweetheart, Adam Spencer, begins work on a restoration project in Noelle’s village, their friendship blossoms. But as her feelings for Adam deepen, she struggles with memories of what might have been and yearns for a future once thought lost. Faced with a life-altering revelation Aunt Joy took to her grave and a wrenching choice regarding the man she loves, Noelle could lose far more than her heart.

I really enjoyed Painting the Moon.  It captured my attention from the first page and I didn't put it down until the end.  It is such a sweet story about finding home and love and getting a second chance. Noelle gets that when she goes to England to settle her great-aunt's estate.   Through the "surprises" that her aunt left her, she is able to work through her feelings on the past and figure out what she wants for her life.  I loved the way the village embraced her and accepted her as one of their own.

At the same time it is a bit heart wrenching.  Imagine reconnecting with your first love and finding him engaged to another woman.  I felt bad for Noelle in her struggle with her feelings for Adam and trying to find a balance to be just his friend. I was rooting for her the whole time and hoped things work would work out in her favor at the end.

I definitely recommend this one.  It would make a great beach read or one to cozy up with on a rainy day.  Reading it made me want to take a trip to England and visit the countryside!  I look forward to reading more from this author!

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About the author:

Traci Borum is a writing teacher and native Texan. She’s also an avid reader of women’s fiction, most especially Elin Hilderbrand and Rosamunde Pilcher novels. Since the age of 12, she’s written poetry, short stories, magazine articles, and novels.

Traci also adores all things British. She even owns a British dog (Corgi) and is completely addicted to Masterpiece Theater–must be all those dreamy accents! Aside from having big dreams of getting a book published, it’s the little things that make her the happiest: deep talks with friends, a strong cup of hot chocolate, a hearty game of fetch with her Corgi, and puffy white Texas clouds always reminding her to “look up, slow down, enjoy your life.”

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Blog Tour: The Bone Church by Victoria Dougherty

Author: Victoria Dougherty
Publication Date: April 15, 2014
Publisher: Pier’s Court Press

In the surreal and paranoid underworld of wartime Prague, fugitive lovers Felix Andel and Magdalena Ruza make some dubious alliances – with a mysterious Roman Catholic cardinal, a reckless sculptor intent on making a big political statement, and a gypsy with a risky sex life. As one by one their chances for fleeing the country collapse, the two join a plot to assassinate Hitler’s nefarious Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, Josef Goebbels.

But the assassination attempt goes wildly wrong, propelling the lovers in separate directions.

Felix’s destiny is sealed at the Bone Church, a mystical pilgrimage site on the outskirts of Prague, while Magdalena is thrust even deeper into the bowels of a city that betrayed her and a homeland soon to be swallowed by the Soviets. As they emerge from the shadowy fog of World War II, and stagger into the foul haze of the Cold War, Felix and Magdalena must confront the past, and a dangerous, uncertain future.

I have a love/hate relationship with historical romance.  I usually either love them or I hate them.  I loved the idea of The Bone Church, but I didn't care for the execution.  I really wanted to like this book, but I had the hardest time getting into the story.  I kept feeling like I had walked into the middle of a movie with no hint of back story to orient me.  I got to about 25% and decided the book 
just wasn't for me.  I felt like I was at a disadvantage since I don't know much about the history of the region in the book during WWII.  I wasn't invested enough to do my own research before finishing the book.  

I will say that I think lovers of this genre will devour this book.  Especially readers who love anything having to do with WWII.  It has gotten very favorable reviews all over Goodreads and the web.  So, please give it a try.  It just wasn't a good fit for me.

About the author:

Victoria Dougherty writes fiction, drama, and essays that often revolve around spies, killers, curses and destinies. Her work has been published or profiled in The New York Times, USA Today, International Herald Tribune and elsewhere. Earlier in her career, while living in Prague, she co-founded Black Box Theater, translating, producing and acting in several Czech plays. She lives with her husband and children in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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

Tour schedule:
Monday, June 16
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Interview at Mina’s Bookshelf
Tuesday, June 17
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, June 18
Excerpt at The Musings of ALMYBNENR
Thursday, June 19
Guest Post at I’d So Rather Be Reading
Thursday, June 26
Review at Bibliotica
Friday, June 27
Review at Back Porchervations
Monday, June 30
Review at Dianne Ascroft Blog
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Wednesday, July 2
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Thursday, July 3
Review at
Monday, July 7
Review at Library Educated
Thursday, July 10
Excerpt & Spotlight at Books and Benches
Monday, July 14
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Tuesday, July 15
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook
Thursday, July 17
Guest Post at Savvy Verse & Wit
Friday, July 18
Review at Curling Up By the Fire
Monday, July 21
Review at Book Nerd
Tuesday, July 22
Review at The Lit Bitch
Wednesday, July 23
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Thursday, July 24
Review at Mari Reads
Review at bookramblings
Friday, July 25
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Tuesday, July 29
Review at Historical Tapestry
Wednesday, July 30
Review at Luxury Reading
Review at Queen of All She Reads
Thursday, July 31
Review at From the TBR Pile

Throwback Thursday: Love Only Once by Johanna Lindsey

Author: Johanna Lindsey
First published in 1985 by Avon
The exquisite niece of Lord Edward and Lady Charlotte Malory, Regina Ashton is abducted by Nicholas Eden - an arrogant seducer hardened by a painful secret from his past.
Reggie has vowed to marry the golden-haired rogue who has besmirched her good name - and who arouses her womanly desires to an unendurable level. But her beauty only stirs Nicholas's passion - giving rise to dangerous misunderstandings. . .and a love that can live only once in a lifetime.
Love Only Once was a fairly enjoyable read.  For a romance written in the 80s, it's pretty typical.  The hero is a grade A jerk through most of the book and the heroine can't help but love him.  Had I not liked Regina so much, I might have hated this story.  I loved her readiness for adventure and her strength to go up against Nick.  She fought for what she wanted and wasn't afraid to walk away when she needed to.

For the most part, the storyline was a bit weak, because not much really happens..  I felt like the peripheral characters made the book more enjoyable.  I did like the "twist" at the end.  I will probably pick p the next book in the series to read more about Regina's uncle Tony..

Author Interview: DESIRED by Stacey Kennedy tour

We are excited to have author Stacey Kennedy with us for an interview today.  She is promoting her latest book, Desired: Club Sin (Book Three). Enjoy!

Make sure to check out the tour giveaway below!

Publisher: Loveswept
Date of publication: July 22, 2014

Readers of Fifty Shades of Grey are sure to love Desired, USA Today bestselling author Stacey Kennedy’s latest seductive, electrifying novel of Club Sin, where fantasy becomes reality.

Kyler Morgan, Master at the legendary Club Sin in Las Vegas, knows how to give women what they want—too well. He hasn’t had a real challenge in a long time. Then Ella Snow enters his life. Beautiful, inhibited, and innocent in the ways of submission and domination, Ella is the new blood he’s been lusting after. Soon, the thrill of training her to embrace his world brings forth desires Kyler cannot control.

After ending an abusive relationship, Ella makes a promise to herself to start living life to the fullest. It’s one of the reasons she seeks out Club Sin. Here, Kyler’s every touch is a lesson in liberation, stirring passions that have no bounds. But as she falls under Kyler’s command, Ella discovers that some secrets are so dark they must come to light. Submission alone may not be enough to save her, leaving her Master with only one question: How can he help Ella heal while unlocking the deep pleasures she craves?

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

Stacey: The easy answer: reading. I never had big dreams of becoming an author or even knew I could do it until my late twenties. After I had my daughter, I read and read and read. Then one day an idea came into my mind and I decided to start writing. When it was done, I realized I wasn’t horrible at it (lol), and then after sending the story out to some epublishers I became published. That story is Werewolves Be Damned. It truly was one of those spur-of-the-moment decisions that completely changed my life in a totally fabulous way!

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

Stacey: Honestly, my ideas come from the weirdest places ever. For example, I can see a really pretty tree and I might think how beautiful it is and how sweet a scene would be under that tree. Then from there, an idea slowly starts coming together. But for me, it’s usually something I see that stirs ideas.

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

Stacey: Once Club Sin wraps up, which will be with COMMANDED on July 7/15, I have a new spin-off series, THE DUNGEON’S KEY that will follow. It’s a brand new series that won’t involve any of the CLUB SIN characters, but we’ll meet the men from THE DUNGEON’S KEY in the Dmitri and Presley bonus story that’ll be in COMMANDED. To say I’m excited about this new series is an understatement. If you love the CLUB SIN Masters wait until you meet the men from THE DUNGEON’S KEY!!

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

Stacey: I’d be Cat from the Night Huntress Series, simply because I’d be married to Bones, and that would mean I get to spend every night cuddled up with that sexy vampire! I would be a very happy woman!!

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

Stacey: I’d be a cat. I could be snooty when I wanted to be, laze around the house, and simply meow at people to feed me – and it would all be totally acceptable because I’m cute! Yep, sounds like a great life to me. 

Thanks for joining us, Stacey!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author:

Stacey Kennedy is an urban fantasy lover at heart, but she also enjoys losing herself in dark and sensual
worlds. She lives in southwestern Ontario with her husband, who gave her a happily-ever-after. Together, they have two small children who can always make her smile, and who will never be allowed to read Mommy’s books. If she’s not plugging away at a new story, you’ll find her camping, curling up with the latest flick, or obsessing over Sons of Anarchy and Game of Thrones.

Connect with Stacey
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Connect with Loveswept
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Books We Did Not Finish July Edition

The Vessel-I love this series, you'd think I'd eat it right up.  Maybe it was burn out.  It was a novella too!  You'd think I could just suck it up and listen to a few hours, but I just really wasn't feeling this.  Hopefully, I'll be over it before the next book is out.

The Stonehenge Letters-I was really confused by this book.  I was expecting a book about Stonehenge.  A book about famous people and their theories about Stonehenge.  A fiction book.  This IS that.  However, it didn't read like that.  I felt like I was reading a non-fiction book the whole time.  Really, I felt like I was reading a text book.  I don't read non-fiction for a reason, it's like work...and this book was like work to understand.

The Blessed-I just don't get Tonya Hurley.  I tried the Ghostgirl books and didn't like them.  I decided to give Blessed a try.  I don't care for her style of writing at all.  It's just very disturbing.  For me, that's saying a lot.  It really really is.

Landline-I guess Rainbow Rowell was going to have to hit a speed bump eventually.  I loved her first 2 books, they were awesome.  I got about halfway through and the whole magic phone to the past was getting really weird.  I kept looking at all the other books I'd rather be reading and decided, I had enough and it was time to move on.

I loved the first book, The Paladin Prophecy, which is the first book in the series. I'm not sure what happened, but I just couldn't finish Alliance, the sequel.  I got about 30% in and was so bored.  Nothing was really happening and I'm not sure I really remembered enough from the first one to care.  I'm really disappointed.

I don't usually read non-fiction books.  I usually get bored and end up skimming
them.  Little Demon in the City of Light: A True Story of Murder and Mesmerism in Belle Epoque Paris was no exception.  Apparently, there was a murder in Paris in the late 1800s.  The woman who participated in the murder claimed she was hypnotized at the time.  But, the book just couldn't hold my interest enough to see how it all worked out.  I would have been better off going on to one of those true crime websites and reading a short summary of the case.
I was really excited to read Bellman & Black.  I loved The Thirteenth Tale, so I was hoping that this one would be just as good.  I was really sad when I decided to stop reading.  I got about 1/3 of the way through and I was so bored. The story seemed to have no real direction with really dull characters. I just couldn't finish the book. Maybe The Thirteenth Tale was a one hit wonder for this author?

I got about 1/4 of the way into The Bookstore and I had to turn it off. In the first few chapters, Mitchell, Esme's boyfriend berates and degrades Esme and is basically a major douchbag.  I couldn't see why anyone would want to date him at all. Esme is a PhD student from England who starts dating the guy and finds out she is pregnant. Well, at first she thinks she is either pregnant or really horny and just wants to get pregnant.  She can't decide which.  After reading about her getting off by using her toothbrush (um, ew), I just wasn't interested in going any further.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

by:  Mary Kubica
published by:  Harlequin Mira
publish date:  July 29, 2014

Born to a prominent Chicago judge and his stifled socialite wife, Mia Dennett moves against the grain as a young inner-city art teacher. One night, Mia enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn't show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. With his smooth moves and modest wit, at first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia's life. 

This book is going to be one of the big hyped books of the summer.  It's supposed to be the next Gone Girl and be a major psychological thriller.  That's what all the buzz about this book has been so far.  I'll grant that it was pretty good.  It wasn't Gillian Flynn good though, so all these critics and publicists need to stop hyping everyone in comparison to the big GF, because it ain't happenin'.  I read The Good Girl all the way through, thought it was well written and when I got to the big reveal I was still somewhat surprised.

The Good:  I liked the overall plot line.  It was an interesting story, however I didn't completely understand Mia's behavior.  The story is told in current and past tense.  Her current behavior doesn't really add up, even after the reveal, I didn't quite understand why she was acting the way that she was.  I like a story that makes me think.  I like the cover, the minimalism is quite nice.

Things I didn't like:  There's something about the cover that disturbs me, which contradicts what I last said, but there it is.  I like it, but it's also unsettling.  I understand things like Stockholm Syndrome exists, but it seems like in this case, it's something entirely different.  Without divulging any of the details of the book, it seems like Mia's problems would be a little different than Stockholm.  The motivations in this book seemed to be a bit murky at best.

This would be a great book for book groups, they could pick apart all these details and figure out these things.  I would definitely recommend it to the psychological thriller fans.  If you've read it, let me know what you think.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Blog Tour: What Strange Creatures by Emily Arsenault

Author: Emily Arsenault
Publisher: William Morrow
Date of publication: July 2014

The Battle siblings are used to disappointment. Seven years after starting her PhD program—one marriage, one divorce, three cats and a dog later—Theresa Battle still hasn't finished her dissertation. Instead of a degree, she’s got a houseful of adoring pets and a dead-end copy-writing job for a local candle company.
Jeff, her so-called genius older brother, doesn't have it together, either. Creative and loyal, he’s also aimless, in both work and love. But his new girlfriend, Kim, a pretty waitress in her twenties, appears smitten. When Theresa agrees to dog-sit Kim’s puggle for a weekend, she has no idea it will be the beginning of a terrifying nightmare that will shatter her quiet academic world.

Soon Kim’s body is found in the woods, and Jeff becomes the prime suspect.

Though the evidence is overwhelming, Theresa knows that her brother is not a murderer. As she investigates Kim’s past, she uncovers a treacherous secret involving politics, murder, and scandal—and becomes entangled in a potentially dangerous romance. But the deeper she falls into this troubling case, the more it becomes clear that, in trying to save her brother’s life, she may be sacrificing her own.

What Strange Creatures is a well-written and engaging book. When Teresa's brother is accused of murdering his girlfriend, she makes it her mission to figure out what really happened.  This sets her on an unexpected journey where many secrets are discovered.   I did enjoy the mystery. There were many twists and possible reasons for Kim's murder.  It definitely kept me guessing.  

What I liked even more was Theresa.  She is such an unlikely detective, yet she made sense to me.  Maybe it was her research background that gave her credibility.  I liked how she went about trying to help her brother out. I loved her relationship with her brother and how they took care of each other. The game that they played all the time was really cute.

I do recommend this one.  The story flows fairly quickly and is a great one for a rainy afternoon curled up with a cup of tea.

About the author:

Emily Arsenault is the critically acclaimed author of The Broken Teaglass, a New York Times Notable Mystery, and In Search of the Rose Notes. She lives in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, with her husband and daughter.

Find out more about Emily at her website and connect with her on Facebook.

Purchase Links

Emily’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, July 22nd: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, July 23rd: Booksie’s Blog
Thursday, July 24th: Kritters Ramblings
Monday, July 28th: From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, July 29th: BoundbyWords
Wednesday, July 30th: Book-alicious Mama
Thursday, July 31st: cupcake’s book cupboard
Monday, August 4th: bookchickdi
Wednesday, August 6th: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Thursday, August 7th: Book of Secrets

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Hard As you Can by Laura Kaye

Author: Laura Kaye
Publisher: Avon
Date of publication: February 2014

Ever since hard-bodied, drop-dead-charming Shane McCallan strolled into the dance club where Crystal Dean works, he’s shown a knack for getting beneath her defenses. For her little sister’s sake, Crystal can’t get too close. Until her job and Shane’s mission intersect, and he reveals talents that go deeper than she could have guessed. 

Shane would never turn his back on a friend in need, especially a former Special Forces teammate running a dangerous, off-the-books operation. Nor can he walk away from Crystal. The gorgeous waitress is hiding secrets she doesn't want him to uncover. Too bad. He’s exactly the man she needs to protect her sister, her life, and her heart. All he has to do is convince her that when something feels this good, you hold on as hard as you can—and never let go.

Hard as You Can picks up pretty much where Hard as it Gets left off. I really liked the first one, but I have to say I was a bit disappointed in this second one.  I felt like this book was a little longer than it needed to be.  After the length of this book, I was disappointed that they team had not really gotten any further along in clearing their names and bringing down the bad guys.  I was hoping for more progress.  The upside was that the camaraderie between the men began to get back to what it once was especially between Nick and Shane.  Their conversation at the end was wonderful.

As for the romance between Shane and Crystal it was a bit fast and a bit forced.  I had a hard time buying the "I love You" so fast since they didn't actually spend a lot of time together.  I could see the infatuation, caring and lust, but for me the love was too quick. I also felt like Crystal had too much baggage after what she went through and really needed to do a lot of work before she could commit to anything or anyone.  

So, in the end it was just an OK read for me.  I will probably continue with the series because I like the characters.  Hard to Come By is Marz's story and comes out later this fall.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Better When He's Bad by Jay Crownover

Author: Jay Crownover
Publsiher: William Morrow
Date of publication: June 2014

Sexy, dark, and dangerous, Bax isn’t just from the wrong side of the tracks, he is the wrong side of the tracks. A criminal, a thug, and a brawler, he’s the master of bad choices, until one such choice landed him in prison for five years. Now Bax is out and looking for answers, and he doesn’t care what he has to do or who he has to hurt to get them. But there’s a new player in the game, and she’s much too innocent, much too soft…and standing directly in his way.

Dovie Pryce knows all about living a hard life and the tough choices that come with it. She’s always tried to be good, tried to help others, and tried not to let the darkness pull her down. But the streets are fighting back, things have gone from bad to worse, and the only person who can help her is the scariest, sexiest, most complicated ex-con The Point has ever produced.

I have really enjoyed the Marked Men series by this author.  So when I saw a new series starting by her, I was excited to dive right in.  While I enjoyed the book, I didn't love it as much.  To start, this series is a bit darker than the other one.  In the foreword, the author says she wanted to create a truly "bad boy".  Being an ex-con, Shane is a bad boy.  Recently released from prison, he finds out his best friend has gone missing.  With the help of Race's younger sister, he tries to track him down to reconcile what happened the night he was arrested.

I liked the mystery part of the book.  The hunt for Race and the truth of what happened 5 years before was well written and intriguing.  I liked the little twist about the bad guy at the end.  I also thought that the last scene was pretty intense and made me hold my breath.  

What I didn't like too much was the chemistry between Dovie and Shane.  It never really went beyond lust for me.  I also got tired of Dovie always talking about Shane vs. Bax.  By the end, I think I got that he could act like two different guys.  It got a little old. The epilogue did go a long way toward making me buy into the relationship a lot more.

So, if you are going into this series expecting the boys and vibe that you get in the Marked Men series, you won't find it here.  I think fans will like this book.  I'll check out the next one. I was a bit disappointed in end with Race's decisions.   I'm just hoping that he has a change of heart in the next book. I'm not sure how I will like a truly bad boy who can't turn himself around.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Blog tour: The Curiosity by Stephen P. Kiernan

Author: Stephen P. Kiernan
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks;
Date of publication:  Reprint edition (July 1, 2014)

What if the love of your life died decades before you were born?

When Dr. Kate Philo and her scientific exploration team discover the body of a man buried deep in the Arctic ice, her egocentric and paranoid boss, Erastus Carthage, orders the frozen man to be brought to his lab in Boston and reanimated. The endeavor is named The Lazarus Project, and as the man, Jeremiah Rice, begins to regain his memories, the last thing he recalls is falling overboard into the Arctic Ocean in 1906. When news of the project breaks, it ignites a media firestorm and protests by religious fundamentalists.

Thrown together by fate, Kate and Jeremiah grow closer. But the clock is ticking and Jeremiah’s new life is slipping away. With Carthage planning to exploit Jeremiah while he can, Kate must decide how far she is willing to go to protect the man she has come to love. A gripping, poignant, and thoroughly original thriller, The Curiosity raises disturbing questions about the very nature of life and humanity.

When I saw the synopsis for The Curiosity, I was intrigued enough to sign up for the tour.  What could be more exciting than a man brought back to life after almost 100 years in a block of ice?  Sadly, the book never got exciting for me.  I think I am in the minority for this book.  It has received very good reviews.  While I thought it was well written, I just found myself not being able to get into it.  I kept putting it down in favor of other books and finally gave up after about 25%.  I think it really is a case of just not connecting with a set of characters and story-line.  I'll chalk it up to not being for me, but I say still give it a shot.  Maybe you will like it.  Check out what others on the tour are saying below.

About the author:

Stephen P. Kiernan is a journalist with an M.A. from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and an M.F.A. in fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He is the author of two works of nonfiction, Last Rights and Authentic Patriotism, and has been awarded the Brechner Center’s Freedom of Information Award, the Scripps Howard Award for Distinguished Service to the First Amendment, and the George Polk Award. He lives in Vermont with his two sons. The Curiosity is his first novel.

Find out more about Stephen at his website and connect with him on Facebook.
Stephen is taking over the @harpercollins Twitter account on Thursday July 17th from 2-4pm ET! Please swing by and keep him busy with your questions!

Purchase Links

Stephen’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, July 1st: Booksie’s Blog
Wednesday, July 2nd: Book Loving Hippo
Monday, July 7th: More Than Just Magic
Tuesday, July 8th: Book Hooked Blog
Thursday, July 10th: Ace and Hoser Blook
Wednesday, July 16th: Literary Feline
Monday, July 21st: Bookshelf Fantasies
Friday, July 25th: From the TBR Pile
Thursday, July 31st: Books à la Mode