#BookReview: “City of Ladies” by Sarah Kennedy

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Summary:

It’s midwinter in 1539, and former nun, Catherine Havens Overton, has just given birth to her second child, a daughter. The convent in which she was raised is now part of her husband’s lands, lands that once belonged to Catherine’s family. With a son, Robert, and her new daughter, Veronica, her life as the mistress of a great household should be complete. But Henry VIII’s England has not been kind to many of the evicted members of religious houses. And in order to protect her old companions from the hostilities, Catherine has gathered about her a group of former nuns in hopes of providing them a chance to serve in the village of Havenston, her City of Ladies. Catherine’s past haunts her. Her husband begins to suspect that Robert is not his child. Then the women of Overton House begin to disappear and one of them is found brutally murdered nearby. Seizing the moment, under the pretense of ensuring her safety, William forces Catherine to enter service at Hatfield House where the young Elizabeth Tudor lives. Reluctantly, Catherine obeys, only to find herself serving not only the Protestant Elizabeth but also the shamed Catholic Mary Tudor. As the murders in Yorkshire continue to mount and her loyalty to the Tudor sisters grows more complicated, Catherine must uncover the secret of the killer and save her City of Ladies.

Review:

I loved this cover. It looks fabulous on my book shelf.

This was my second book by Sarah Kennedy, and it is book two in the “Cross and The Crown” Series. When I finished I was looking forward to getting to the third book. This is a series that I will never forget and they stand out as originals, as I never read books about this time in history. Sarah Kennedy writes such knowledge of historical facts that you feel like she was right there, walking among the women.

The book “City of Ladies”, is about the women from her first book. It is 1539, and Catherine Havens Overton gathers the women that she lived with in the Convent with her when they were removed by the king’s men. She has them all working at the Overton House, to have them remain together.

But, the women start disappearing. They are being murdered. Catherine is determined to find the killer and save the women in her “City of Ladies”

This book is an amazing tale of mystery and intrigue. You will be spellbound.

5 Stars

 

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#BookReview: “The Magic Phone” by Gary Welch

The Magic Phone

Summary:

The Magic Phone is a story of a young girl “Abigail” who lives in a quaint little town on the south shore of Long Island. She’s given a phone with powers that you’ve never imagined from a device that so many of us use everyday. This story will take you on a journey that has many subjects that children, teens, and adults will find very exciting. The novel includes adventure, fantasy, historical events, humor, mystery, science fiction, and suspense. The Magic Phone will take Abigail and you through time, both in the past and the future. The Magic Phone gives you the power to teleport anywhere around the world, defy physics as we know it, allowing her to fly, move, lift, or throw objects that weigh thousands of pounds, manipulate the weather, heal the sick, and so much more. Take an amazing journey with Abigail, the adventures are endless with the magic phone.

Review:

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

“The Magic Phone” is the first book that I have reviewed that is recommended for children ages 8-12, and I have to say that it was a truly entertaining and ingenious romp!

I had fun reading about ten-year-old Abby and her family! I trust that any child would enjoy this story. I have asked my niece, Sarah to review it…So, we will be back to post that review once she finishes.

Gary Welch writes with true inspiration and creativity! I am in awe that this book was inspired by a dream that his daughter had.

I was really into the story as Abby learned how to use the phone, and what she decided to use it for.  Pete, the inventor of the phone was too cool! And, the adventures were wonderful!

I recommend this book to anyone that has a young reader in their life. I have loved reading since I was a child, so I know that I would have liked to have had this book on my book shelf back then.

I look forward to more books by Gary Welch!!

5 Stars.

#SPOTLIGHT: “Promises to Keep” by Patricia Sands

Promises to KeepSUMMARY:

The painful memories from her life back in Toronto will never be distant enough, but Katherine Price finds peace under the autumn sky in the South of France…and a deepening, dizzying love with Philippe. Together, they savor the delicacies and splendor of life, toasting to a future filled with happiness and hope—a life far away from the heartache they both knew so well.

But during a trip to the medieval village of Entrevaux, a strange note turns into a dangerous car chase. Philippe reveals he has a troubling secret—and the couple’s new life together threatens to crumble before it can begin. Now that Katherine has everything she’s ever wanted, is she about to lose it all?

Promises to Keep is the heartfelt second addition to award-winning author Patricia Sands’s Love in Provence trilogy—and a stirring reminder that it’s never too late to be joyfully surprised by love, life, or even yourself.

Want to know more about this author, be sure to check back all week, as we get to know her better. 

#BookReview: “Little Woman in Blue” by Jeannine Atkins

Little Woman in BlueSummary:

May Alcott spends her days sewing blue shirts for Union soldiers, but she dreams of painting a masterpiece—which many say is impossible for a woman—and of finding love, too. When she reads her sister’s wildly popular novel, Little Women, she is stung by Louisa’s portrayal of her as “Amy,” the youngest of four sisters who trades her desire to succeed as an artist for the joys of hearth and home. Determined to prove her talent, May makes plans to move far from Massachusetts and make a life for herself with room for both watercolors and a wedding dress. Can she succeed? And if she does, what price will she have to pay?

Based on May Alcott’s letters and diaries, as well as memoirs written by her neighbors, Little Woman in Blue puts May at the center of the story she might have told about sisterhood and rivalry in an extraordinary family.

Review:

I was given a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Jeannine Atkins brought back to life a wonderful memories, and I learned so much!  I am glad I had the chance to learn more about the Alcott’s lives.  This book is one I will always treasure.  It is already up on my bookshelf next to Louisa May Alcott’s books.  Jeannine was a genius to write this book!

I devoured this book from beginning to end.  It was like reliving my youth.  I was meeting new characters, but, they already felt like “home”.  I never knew that “Little Women” was loosely based on Louisa May Alcott’s family.  Needless to say, I will be going back to read that book again!

I have so much to learn about Louisa May Alcott.  Her book, “Little Women” is one of my all-time favorite novels.  It was the first book I read as a young lady that made me realize that I really wanted to read, and possibly write.  As influential as this book was to me, I knew I had to read, “Little Woman in Blue” once I laid my eyes on it.

Jeannine Atkins brought us back to the same family referenced in Louisa May Alcott’s book and it was such a joy to read.  Her writing is nothing short of brilliant.

Amy March was not the most likable character in “Little Women”, but this book will help you see that was just an embellished story, by an older sister…..that may have been a little jealous of her youngest sister.  Louisa May Alcott based Amy on her real sister, May Alcott.

This story is all about May Alcott and her love of life.  She had goals of being an Artist.  One that would be featured in Museums, and sought after. She wanted to be married, and she wanted to be a mother.  The question is: Is this too much to ask for?

I highly recommend this book, as I am off to do research on the Alcott’s and see if Jeannine Atkins has any other books…because I will certainly be more than pleased to read them.

Fantastic. Inspiring. Brilliant.

5 Stars.

#BookReview: “Once Lost” by Ber Carroll

Once LostI was given a copy of this book from Chick Lit Plus in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

Are some things better left unfound?

Best friends Louise and Emma grew up next door to each other in a grim inner-city suburb of Dublin.

Now Louise, an art conservator, is thousands of miles away in Sydney, restoring a beautiful old painting. She meets Dan, whose family welcome her as one of their own, but she will always feel lost until she finds her mother who walked out when she was just eight years old.

Back in Dublin, Emma is stuck in a job where she is under-appreciated and underpaid, but her biggest worry is her ex-partner, Jamie. Emma has lost so much because of Jamie: her innocence, her reputation, almost her life. Now she is at risk of losing Isla, her young daughter.

So where is Louise’s mother? Will Emma ever be free of her ex? Both women frantically search for answers, but when the truth finally emerges it is more shattering than they had ever expected.

Review:

“Once Lost” had me at hello!  Now, I need to read all of Ber Carroll’s books!!!

Ber delivers a wonderful literary menu: Best Friends. Dublin, Ireland. Women’s Fiction. Women’s Dilemma’s. Turmoil from the past. Friendships. Motherhood. Romance. Travel.

It had everything I love and more.  An intricately written story that will have you flipping the pages until you are finished.

Louise moves from her home; Dublin, Ireland and travels the world for her business, which is conserving art work.  As a Conservator she can spend months, even years working on one piece of art work.  Louise has to “go to the art”, so she has spent time in places like New York and London, to name a few.  At the beginning of this story she is searching for a place to call home in Sydney, Australia…thousands of miles from her home in Dublin, Ireland…and her Best Friend, Emma.

I loved getting to know Louise. She was just an awesome character.  Her mother abandoned her when she was 8 years old.  All she had was her Step-Father, and her best friend, Emma next door.

Emma is still in Dublin and she is missing Louise something fierce. Emma has a daughter named Isla, from a previous relationship with a man named Jamie.   He is a terrible father figure, but the courts say that Isla must see her father.  Emma spends most of her time worrying about Jamie, and trying to take proper care of her child.  She now lives with Eddie, and he is a fabulous character in this book, as well.

I loved bouncing back between characters and countries.  I loved being in Dublin most, but I am biased as I lived there when I was younger.

This is a marvelous work of woman’s fiction.  Ber Carroll’s books are going to be added to the bookshelves in my Library. (My version of my husband’s Man Cave)

5 Stars.

You can purchase “Once Lost” here:

http://www.amazon.com/Once-Lost-Ber-Carroll-ebook/dp/B00VSIRCI6/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1442562548&sr=1-1&keywords=once+lost+ber+carroll

#BookReview: Speak Now: or Forever Hold Your Peace by Becky Monson

Speak now or forever hold your peaceBecky Monson delivers a delightful chick lit novel.  “Speak Now: or Forever Hold Your Peace” was definitely fun to read, and I am sure I would enjoy her other books.  (going to add them to my Good Reads to-read shelf right after I post this review)

I was in love with the main character, Bridgette Reynolds!  I would have been friends with her.  I love a book where you feel that much for a character.  It takes a great writer for you to make that connection.

This story began at a runners pace, and took you right into the sheer madness of Bridgette’s love life.  I was laughing out loud within the first few pages.  And, this pace lasted throughout the entire book.  I would have been happier if the ending was a bit longer, I wanted to revel in it a bit.

The array of characters in this story are marvelous…Bridgette’s best friends, Ashley and Justin are a wonderful addition to the drama that unfolds in Bridgette’s life.  To quote Becky Monson. “I do love that even if she hates my choices, Ashley has my back. That is a true best friend right there”.  This book is about friendship just as much as it is about Bridgette’s love life…or lack thereof.

Bridgette’s love interests, Adam and Ian are the ideal relationships to give this story a great back bone.  I bet a lot of us have “the one that got away” story…

Even Adam’s mother, Carla is hysterical. She really is awesome!!  If you have ever broken up with someone and felt the loss of losing their family, as well…this book will really hit home for you.

I need to add:  Bridgette’s grandmother’s (Gram’s) and her Bridge Club needs their own book.  Her Grams was so hysterical, and perfect.  She reminded me of my grandmother, only instead of watching “Young and the Restless” together, we watched “Jeopardy” and “Wheel of Fortune”.  My grandmother was also in her 80’s and just as funny, and spry!  Everything that involved Grams always made me smile.

This book was very reminiscent of Helen Fielding’s, “Bridget Jones’s Diary”…so much, that I can see this as a movie.  I would really like to know what these characters look like. 🙂  I imagine Ryan Gosling playing Ian….ok, yes, that did make this book even better!!!

5 Stars

You can grab the book here:

http://www.amazon.com/Speak-Now-Forever-Hold-Peace-ebook/dp/B00VWJ72OK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1442065421&sr=1-1&keywords=speak+now+or+forever+hold+your+peace

#INTERVIEW & #GIVEAWAY ~ Award Winning Author, Bette Lee Crosby answers a few questions, and she is offering an eBook copy of “The Memory House” to one lucky winner!! You must enter, this is one of my favorite stories!

For a chance to win an eCopy of “The Memory House”, please leave a comment below.  Winner to be announced on Monday, September 14th, 2015, after 5pm. 

I can honestly say that most of my friends and family will ADORE this book, and get on board with all of Bette Lee Crosby’s writing after reading this! She is stunning!

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DIRECTLY FROM THE DESK OF BETTE LEE CROSBY!!  AN INSIDERS LOOK!!

Q:  When did you realize you were a novelist?

About a year after I finished 4 years of college studying to be an artist. Haha. I started out as a packaging designer and when one of the salesmen asked me to make up some copy to fill the empty space on the back of a pantyhose package I got hooked on words. It is a form of painting – but instead of a brush you use letters.

red brushstroke

Annie: This explains why your writing is so “fluid”, like a brushstroke.  I love getting to ask these questions.  I learn so much about the author, and it explains a lot.

Q:  With “The Loft” being released on September 15th, 2015, have you started your next big story?

I am getting very close to completing Book 3 in the Memory House Series – which will be called “Flawed Memories” – and I must say I am loving this series. It is sort of a mix of mystery, magic and a bit of romance. A bit different than some of my other books – more contemporary and with a magical realism sort of twist.

Annie:  So excited for your next book! I was drawn in by “The Memory House”, I need to catch up! As a book reviewer, it is hard to find the time to read all of the books that you want to…but, I have purchase ALL of your books, and plan to read them while on vacation next month.  I get a lot of books in exchange for an honest review, but I have to say that I just had to have your books in my library!!!!

Q:  As you gear up for a Book Release, what is the most exciting part(s) for you?

By far it is hearing the comments from early readers and reviewers.  I spend all this time writing a book and worry right up to the very last minute of release day wondering whether or not readers will like it. When someone writes to me and says something like “I fell in love with this look, Annie is so like me…etc.” My heart melts. Reader acceptance, this is what it is all about. When readers enjoy my books, I do a happy dance.Happy Dance

Annie:  I did a happy dance too! As a reviewer, it is always great to read a book that you love, and I surely devoured yours!    My tagline is “Devour Books”, so that is awesome!!

Here is a Link to my review of “The Memory House” THE GIVEAWAY BOOK:

https://thewritereview.com/2015/06/02/may-book-club-choice-memory-house-by-bette-lee-crosby/

 

Q:  I always enjoy your book covers, especially the one for your new book!  Are they hard to choose, design? The Loft

Some are very difficult, some are easier. The key is finding the right image to portray what you want people to see in the story. It is always a bit more difficult when you have a story set in the 1940’s or 50’s because a lot of the images are too contemporary for that time frame.  I was extremely pleased with the job the designer did on Passing through Perfect.  That cover is perfect for the story and it was one of the first ones he did.  However on The Loft, the final cover was the 12th design submitted.  Having come from an art background I am probably way too nit-picky, but I want my readers to feel the same magic I feel when I finally see the right cover.

Annie: I love a great cover, and you certainly offer several!  I love looking at your authors page on Amazon and Goodreads.

 

Q: When do you typically write?  Where do you write? Set the scene for us….

I am by nature a night owl, but the funny thing is my best writing time is in the early part of the day. That is mostly because I think about my story before I go to sleep, often include it in my dreams and wake up anxious to get back to it.  I try not to get online until late afternoon because once I start that, I go back to being me and lose the personality of the character I am writing about. I have an office in the front of our house. It is a very serene spot that looks out onto the lawn and a HUGE oak tree. My office has double doors and when they are closed hubby knows not to disturb me.  My writing buddy is Sugar. She sits in my lap a good part of the day and when she isn’t in my lap she is under my desk. Her toy basket is in my office and if she gets bored, she rummages through the basket and hauls out a toy for me to throw. We play for five minutes, then it is back to work.

Annie: Sounds like me with my dog, Simon!! Aren’t they the best!  He is always with me when I read and write the reviews.



HERE IS BETTE WITH HER DOG, SUGAR!

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Q:  May I ask who your favorite authors are?  Or, Books?

Favorite books more than authors, and my taste is somewhat eclectic. To kill a Mockingbird is one of my all time favorites; s fairly new favorite is The Night Circus and an even more recent favorite is The Nightingale. All of these are very different. I loved Mockingbird for the strength and authenticity of the characters, I loved Night Circus for the beauty of its prose and I loved The Nightingale for the way it captured the heartache of a war-torn country.

Annie:  Ok, Now I know I must check out Nightingale, are you speaking of the book by Kristin Hannah? I have heard great things about this book! 

Let me add, “You are one of my favorite authors, Bette Lee Crosby!” I can see how you have earned so many awards and being on best sellers lists!

I am lucky to know you!  You are not only a great author, but a wonderful person!

Lastly, Book or eBook?

E-books. I love the instant gratification of hearing someone talk about a great book or seeing it online and then having it in my hot little hands in less than a minute. Also, as an author I am very appreciative of the fact that e-readers enable me to offer my books to readers for far less than I would pay if I had to pay for paper, printing, storage, and distribution. Is it sad to see less print books in circulation? Yes, perhaps it is, but I believe the good far outweighs the bad.

Annie: Great take on this.  I love having the book in hand and being able to share the book with others.  But, while traveling, eBooks are certainly wonderful.

Thank you for taking the time to let me interview you…My mission is to inspire others to read, and your books are definitely inspiring!  I love spreading the word!!

To purchase Bette Lee Crosby Books, please go here:

http://www.amazon.com/Bette-Lee-Crosby/e/B005TLT1PK/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1441912463&sr=1-2-ent

#Spotlight: Award Winning book, Spare Change by Bette Lee Crosby

Stay Tuned for my Interview with Bette Lee Crosby and Giveaway on Friday!!

A Memory House Collection Novel and five-time literary award winner. Awards include the Reviewer’s Choice Award, The Royal Palm Literary Award, The FPA President’s Book Award Silver Medal.

Spare ChangeFROM A USA TODAY AUTHOR OF WOMEN’S FICTION BEST SELLERS comes an Award-Winning 20th Century Historical Mystery!

In a family saga now available on Kindle, Spare Change has been compared to John Grisham’s The Client. Eleven year-old Ethan Allen Doyle has witnessed a brutal murder and now the boy is running for his life. In the time-tested tradition of Southern Fiction novels, Crosby unveils the darkest side of human nature and then rewards her readers with this beautiful tale of love, loss and unexpected gifts.

Olivia Westerly is the only person Ethan Allen can trust, and he’s not too sure he can trust her. She’s got no love of children and a truckload of superstitions—one of them is the belief that eleven is the unluckiest number on earth.

Psychological fiction that will keep you turning the pages.

#SPOTLIGHT: “The Loft” By Bette Lee Crosby (A Favorite Author of mine)

The Loft50 YEARS OF MEMORIES ARE HIDDEN IN THE WALLS OF THE LOFT…

Annie only needs to find one… the one that will save Oliver’s life.

On the day of their wedding, Annie saw nothing but happiness ahead, but when an accident calls her back to Memory House, her world is changed forever. Ophelia Browne, the woman who taught Annie to find the memories in a forgotten object, is leaving the house and she’s leaving all those powerful memories behind.

After only three nights in the loft, Annie must now find the single most meaningful memory in Oliver’s mind. If she finds it in time, she can save his life, if she doesn’t…well that’s something she can’t afford to think about.

Readers will welcome back the much-loved characters from Memory House and enjoy a few new friends!

#SPOTLIGHT – “Trail of Broken Wings” by Sejal Badani

Trail of Broken WingsMy Interview with Sejal Badani this Friday!! Right here!

When her father falls into a coma, Indian American photographer Sonya reluctantly returns to the family she’d fled years before. Since she left home, Sonya has lived on the run, free of any ties, while her soft-spoken sister, Trisha, has created a perfect suburban life, and her ambitious sister, Marin, has built her own successful career. But as these women come together, their various methods of coping with a terrifying history can no longer hold their memories at bay.

Buried secrets rise to the surface as their father—the victim of humiliating racism and perpetrator of horrible violence—remains unconscious. As his condition worsens, the daughters and their mother wrestle with private hopes for his survival or death, as well as their own demons and buried secrets.

Told with forceful honesty, Trail of Broken Wings reveals the burden of shame and secrets, the toxicity of cruelty and aggression, and the exquisite, liberating power of speaking and owning truth.