July 23, 2013

The White Princess by Philippa Gregory (Cousin's War #5)

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The White Princess
by Philippa Gregory
ISBN:  978145162094
Published: July 23, 2013
5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis: The newest novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author and “queen of royal fiction” (USA TODAY) Philippa Gregory tells the passionate story of Elizabeth of York, daughter of the White Queen, who gets caught in the middle of a battle for the crown of England. The White Princess opens as the news of the battle of Bosworth is brought to Princess Elizabeth of York, who will learn not only which rival royal house has triumphed, Tudor or York, but also which suitor she must marry: Richard III her lover, or Henry Tudor her enemy.

A princess from birth, Elizabeth fell in love with Richard III, though her mother made an arranged betrothal for her with the pretender to the throne: Henry Tudor. When Henry defeats Richard against all odds, Elizabeth has to marry the man who murdered her lover in battle, and create a new royal family with him and his ambitious mother: Margaret Beaufort, The Red Queen. But, while the new monarchy can win, it cannot, it seems, hold power in an England which remembers the House of York with love.

The new king’s greatest fear is that somewhere, outside England, a prince from the House of York is waiting to invade and re-claim the throne for the house of York. Fearing that none of his new allies can be trusted, Henry turns to his wife to advise him, all the time knowing that her loyalties must be divided. When the young man who would be king finally leads his army and invades England, it is for Elizabeth to decide whether she recognizes him as her brother and a claimant to the throne, or denies him in favor of the husband she is coming to love…
My review: I think this is another great book by Philippa. I have enjoyed this entire series. You can read the books as a stand alone or as a series. I like how the writing of the book makes the characters come alive and you feel for Princess Elizabeth of York and get to know her better through this book. This book gives you a good idea of what it was like to grow up in the time of the war of the roses and to know that you are just a pawn to be used to bring your family to the top.

July 22, 2013

A Big Year for Lily by Suzanne Woods Fischer and Mary Ann Kinsinger

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

A Big Year for Lily
by Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher
ISBN: 9780800721343
Trade Paperback
Published: July 1, 2013
4 out 5 stars

Synopsis: Lily Lapp's family has settled into their new home in Pennsylvania, but life still holds big changes and big steps for Lily. Good changes, like once again living close to her beloved cousin and best friend, Hannah. Bad changes, like a mean girl who plays tricks on her. And no change at all where Lily would most want one-- Aaron Yoder sits near her in school and relentlessly teases her. Surprises are in store for Lily as she learns, with Mama and Papa's help, to manage the ups and downs of growing up Amish.
The third of four charming novels that chronicle the gentle way of the Amish through the eyes of a young girl. A Big Year for Lily gives children ages 8-12 a fascinating glimpse into the life of the Amish--and lots of fun and laughter along the way. It combines Mary Ann Kinsinger's real-life stories of growing up Amish and the bestselling writing of Amish fiction and nonfiction author Suzanne Woods Fisher. With charming line drawings in each book, this series captures the hearts of readers young and old.

My review: Even though this book is written for young adults I have to say that I enjoyed it. It was fun to read about the adventures of two young Amish girls. There are things in this book that I found interesting that maybe would not have been in a book written for an adult. It is nice that Lily has Hannah to help her with the trials of growing up. Aaron is a typical boy of that age picking on Lily and at first she does not like him but things change. I did not read the first two books in this series but will now have to go back and read them since I enjoyed this book. If you have every read the Little House books and loved them then you will love this series as well. Any young girl will enjoy getting this series of books as a gift.

To follow the rest of the tour please check out Litfuse at the link below for the schedule

Meet Suzanne: 

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of the Lancaster County Secrets series and the Stoney Ridge Seasons series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, includingAmish Peace. She is also the coauthor of a new Amish children's series, The Adventures of Lily Lapp. Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne is a Carol Award winner and a Christy Award finalist. She is a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazines. She lives in California. For more information, please visit suzannewoodsfisher.com and connect with her on Twitter @suzannewfisher. Get Amish proverbs delivered right to your iPhone or iPad! Download the Free App! http://bit.ly/134r55G

July 20, 2013

The Good, the Bad and the Witchy by Heather Blake (Wishcraft Mystery #3)

The Good, the Bad and the Witchy
By Heather Blake
ISBN: 9780451239693
Published April 2, 2013
Mass Market Paperback
5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis: When magical florist Harriette Harkette decides to throw a lavish eightieth birthday party for herself, she hires Darcy and her aunt Ve's personal concierge service. As You Wish, to plan the soiree. But turning eighty isn't all Harriette is celebrating - the Floracrafter has recently created the midnight black Witching Hour rose, the first rose of that color.
Darcy works hard on planning an extravagant celebration that will make Harriette feel like the belle of the ball. But when cake delivery boy Michael Healy - a former employee at Harriette's greenhouse - is found dead., the celebration takes a turn. Now Michael's ghost has imprinted on Darcy, meaning that they're bonded until she can untangle the thicket his murder - and what exactly it has to do with the Witching Hour rose...

My review: I enjoyed this book as much as I did the first two. Heather did a good job in adding another chapter to this story. It is was sad that Michael is the one who died and then he imprinted himself on Darcy so she could tell when he was upset and such. This was she is also able to ask him things about his murder to try to help solve it. There are a few little mysteries that take place as side notes and all have to do with the original mystery. Who would think that a black rose would be so popular that is caused so many mysteries. The only thing I did not like was Glinda sticking her nose in Darcy and Nick's relationship. I just don't like that girl. I can't wait for the next book to come out.

July 17, 2013

Win an iPad Adventure Pack from @SuzanneWFisher | A Big Year for Lily Giveaway Extravaganza!

Suzanne Woods Fisher is celebrating the release of A Big Year for Lilybook three in the beloved Adventures of Lily Lapp series, with a giveaway extravaganza!


  One winner will receive:
Twelve winners will receive:
  • Special prizes specially picked by Lily (something new each day)! Suzanne will announce the winners on July 29 on her blog!
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on July 27th. All winners will be announced July 29th at Suzanne's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit Suzanne's blog on the 29th to see if you won one of the fun prizes! (Or better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)

July 15, 2013

A Most Peculiar Circumstance by Jen Turano (Ladies of Distinction #2)

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

A Most Peculiar Circumstance
By Jen Turano
ISBN: 9780764210198
Published: June 1, 2013
Trade Paperback
4 out of 4 Stars

Synopsis: Miss Arabella Beckett has one driving passion: to help the downtrodden women of America. Naturally, she supports the women's suffrage movement and eagerly attends rallies and lectures across the country. On her travels, she makes a simple offer of assistance to a young woman in need that goes sadly awry and lands both ladies in more trouble than they can manage. An independent sort, Arabella is loath to admit she needs help and certainly doesn't need help from an arrogant, narrow-minded knight in shining armor.
Mr. Theodore Wilder, private investigator extraordinaire, is on a mission. A mission that began as a favor to his good friend Hamilton Beckett, but swiftly evolved into a merry chase across the country. By the time he finally tracks down Hamilton's sister, Arabella, he is in a less than pleasant mood. When the lady turns out to have radical ideas and a fiercely independent streak, he soon finds himself at his wit's end.
When they return home to New York, circumstances force their paths to continue to cross, but the most peculiar feelings growing between them certainly can't be love. When the trouble Arabella had accidentally stirred up seems to have followed her to New York and threatens her very life, the unlikely couple must face the possibility that they might have landed in the most peculiar circumstance of all: love.

My review: Just like in the first book in this series Jen does a great job of making the characters come alive. I enjoyed reading about Arabella and how she fought for women's rights throughout the book all the while being a nice kind person.  I also enjoyed Theodore even though he started out making you think he would not be a nice person, he turned out to be not so bad. This book will grab your attention from page one and you won't put it down until you are done. I recommend reading both books in this series. 

July 11, 2013

A Spear of Summer Grass by Deanna Raybourn

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

A Spear of Summer Grass
By: Deanna Raybourn
Published: May 2013
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780778314394
4 out of 5 stars

Synopsis: (sex and violence present but not graphic)
Paris, 1923
The daughter of a scandalous mother, Delilah Drummond is already notorious, even among Paris society. But her latest scandal is big enough to make even her oft-married mother blanch. Delilah is exiled to Kenya and her favorite stepfather's savanna manor house until gossip subsides.
Fairlight is the crumbling, sun-bleached skeleton of a faded African dream, a world where dissolute expats are bolstered by gin and jazz records, cigarettes and safaris. As mistress of this wasted estate, Delilah falls into the decadent pleasures of society.
Against the frivolity of her peers, Ryder White stands in sharp contrast. As foreign to Delilah as Africa, Ryder becomes her guide to the complex beauty of this unknown world. Giraffes, buffalo, lions and elephants roam the shores of Lake Wanyama amid swirls of red dust. Here, life is lush and teeming -- yet fleeting and often cheap.
Amidst the wonders -- and dangers -- of Africa, Delilah awakes to a land out of all proportion: extremes o heat, darkness, beauty and joy that cut to her very heart. Only when this sacred place is profaned by bloodshed does Delilah discover what is truly worth fighting for -- and what she can no longer live without. 

My Review: I think the author did a very good job with her descriptions. You can imagine yourself right there in Africa with Delilah. I still not sure if I liked Delilah or not, she seemed to be a spoiled rich "kid" type and very free spirited. Although she also had a kind side taking care of the villagers. I enjoyed the way Ryder and  Delilah's characters played off of each other in a manner of speaking. This book had the right blend of historical and romance with just a touch of mystery thrown in to make me enjoy reading it.  This was the first book of Deanna's I have read and even though it was not in a time period I would normally read I have to say I enjoyed it. I have Deanna's Lady Grey book on my shelf and can't wait to jump into it. 

Author bio

As a sixth-generation native Texan, I grew up in San Antonio, where I met my college sweetheart. I married him on graduation day and went on to teach high school English and history. During summer vacation when I was twenty-three, I wrote my first novel. After three years as a teacher, I left education to have a baby and pursue writing full-time.
Fourteen years and many, many rejections after my first novel, I signed two three-book deals with MIRA Books.
"Sex, lies and awesome clothing descriptions" is how one reader described my debut novel, Silent in the Grave, published in 2007. The first in the Silent series, the book follows Lady Julia Grey as she investigates the mysterious death of her husband with the help of the enigmatic private enquiry agent Nicholas Brisbane. From the drawing rooms of the aristocracy to a Gypsy camp on Hampstead Heath, Silent in the Grave was my love letter to Victorian London.
The series continues with the second book, Silent in the Sanctuary (2008), a classic English country house murder mystery with a few twists and turns for Brisbane and Lady Julia along the way, while the third book, Silent on the Moor (2009), is set in a grim manor house on the Yorkshire moors. My favorite part of writing Moor was getting to spend time in Yorkshire, one of the most wildly beautiful places I have ever been.
March 2010 saw a departure from the series with the release of The Dead Travel Fast, a mid-Victorian Gothic thriller that chronicles the adventures of novelist Theodora Lestrange as she leaves the safety and security of her Edinburgh home for the dark woods and haunted castles of Transylvania. I returned to Lady Julia and her companions with Dark Road to Darjeeling(October 2010), this time delving into my most exotic setting yet in the foothills of the Himalayas. The fifth series book, New York Times bestseller The Dark Enquiry (July 2011) saw Lady Julia back in her beloved London again, while a digital holiday novella, Silent Night (November 2012) highlighted the March family festivities at Bellmont Abbey.
But 2013 introduces a new setting to my work—1920s British East Africa. In A Spear of Summer Grass (May 2013), disgraced flapper Delilah Drummond is sent to Africa to weather the storm of her latest scandal. There she meets Ryder White, a local legend for more reasons than one—and the perfect man to teach her about the continent he loves. Ryder was introduced to readers in the digital prequel novella Far in the Wilds (March 2013).
 I am thrilled that 2014 will see another 1920s release, City of Jasmine (May 2014), and I am hard at work on my next project in my little pink study in Virginia with a doodle draped over my feet as I write.
You can find me blogging a few days a week at http://deannaraybourn.com/blog/. Be sure to sign up for my monthly newsletter, check out my contests and book trailer videos, and find me onTwitter and Facebook

July 2, 2013

Review of SoyLicious Products

Have you heard of Soylicious? Maybe not yet but I am going to tell you a little about them. They have melter pots, warmers, tarts, melter jems and a whole lot more and the best thing about their products is that they are  made with Soy products. I have had the pleasure of using their night lighter melter, melter gems and their tarts.

This is the plug in melter that I have and I must tell you that I love it. I like the fact that the whole thing glows and light comes from the whole thing not just the holes around the top. Which makes for a great night light.

Take a look at these melter gems. Each bag of gems comes with a ring which could be worth as much as $1000 or as little as $10 I have the green grass one and love the smell of it. The nice thing about the gems is the easy clean up. When you are all done with them you just throw them out, now waxy clean up. 

Here are the tarts. They have many different sized blocks you can choose from as well as many different scents. I like the variety of scents as well as the fact that they are soy products and they clean up nicely when you done with that scent. 

This is just a small sampling of the products they have to offer. SoyLicious also offers candles, spa therapy, soaps and so much more. I invite you to check out the website for my SoyLicious consultant Sandy. Click here to check out her website or here for her Facebook page. Just shoot her an email or contact her through Facebook with any questions you may have, to place an order or to have a party. Don't forget to like her on Facebook so you will hear about her specials going on. Just tell her Angela sent you. I hope you enjoy their products as much as I do. 

July 1, 2013

Down and Out in Beverly Heels by Kathryn Leigh Scott

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Down and Out in Beverly Heels
By Kathryn Leigh Scott
Published March 26, 2013
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9781611098860
3 out of 5 stars.

Synopsis: Meg Barnes, a beloved actress for her role as tv detective Jinx Fogarty, has it all but thanks to her newlywed con-man husband loses everything and ends up living on the streets of Tinsel Town in her Ritz-Volvo. This fun, light-hearted romance takes us into the Hollywood social swirl, but also delves into the gritty truth of what it is to be "homeless and hiding it" in one of the most glittering fashionable cities in the world. It's also a story of redemption with a "Thelma and Louise" twist as Meg, incorporating skills she learned as a tv detective, tracks down her fugitive husband and struggles to regain her reputation, career and friendships.

My review: This is the first book I have read by this author and I enjoyed the book. It had a little romance and a little mystery which I liked having a combination of the two. I think she did a good job in developing the characters, I am pretty sure she used her own experiences in coming up with them and that is what makes them seem so real. The book was quirky and funny but a bit to "Thelma and Louise" for me. Don't get me wrong I did enjoy the book and am glad I read it. It is a good book to take to the beach for a fun day of reading. Meg has to pull out all of her tricks to find her soon to be ex and uses her experience as a tv detective to find him. Take a chance and jump into this book and see if you can help Meg find Paul. The people that help her along the way are a batch of fun people to meet.

Excerpted from  Down and Out in Beverly Heels by Kathryn Leigh Scott, © Montlake Romance 2013
Actress Meg Barnes, homeless and living in her car, hopes to spend the night in a safer place than parked at the curb of a local park for the night. She needs a good night’s sleep because she’s got a job guest-starring in a TV pilot.
I park up the street in a cul de sac off the main road. Then, my overnight bag slung on my shoulder, I slip through a break in a boxwood hedge. In the shadow of a sycamore tree, I pause, listening to the sounds of the night. The lights are off in Marjorie Singleton’s house, my benefactor tucked in for the night. I don’t know Marjorie well, though whenever I voted,  it was in Marjorie’s clean, spacious garage, her Bentley parked on the street to make way for a bank of polling booths on election day. I’m sure Marjorie, if she knew, would be only too happy to extend a neighborly welcome to me.
It’s Wednesday: Marjorie’s son, who lives in Encino, is home with his family and won’t stop by again until Friday afternoon, when he’ll bring her Chinese takeaway. I know the rituals; I’ve watched Jake Singleton come and go. This is a safe night, and all is quiet.
I follow the flagstone walkway around the swimming pool, past the rose bed, and turn the knob on the side door to the garage. It’s unlocked, as usual. Inside, I slip quietly along the west wall to the workbench Marjorie’s long-dead husband built, and set down my carryall. I plug my laptop and cellphone into a wall outlet to top up, then move through the darkness to Marjorie’s Bentley. She rarely drives it anymore.
I toss my sleeping bag into the back seat. Tonight I can pack in a good six hours and be gone before the gardeners arrive. On those nights when I’ve had to spend the night in my own car, I remain fully clothed, doors locked, windows open no more than a finger-tip wide.
Usually I find a spot on the street around Holmby Park, the gates to Aaron Spelling’s mansion within spitting distance. Should his ghostly presence be hovering above his former abode, I can imagine his bemusement seeing me camping out a stone’s throw from his old bedroom window. I still get residuals from his shows, blessed checks from repeats of mindless fluff that pay my car insurance and buy me another month at the health club. But those nights parked on the street, hiding under spread newspapers, even with the tinted windows, are the tough ones, the only time it really hits me that I’m homeless.
More accurately, I am without a home. I am not actually a Homeless Person. I always manage to have a roof over my head, even if it comes with four wheels and a dashboard. I’m not a bag lady, a bum. I’m not a thief, though I suppose I’ve stolen a few pennies’ worth of kilowatt juice from Marjorie. But the back seat of an old lady’s car is only temporary accommodation, not Home, Sweet Home. I awaken too often in the night, dozing more often than sleeping.
I slide my legs deeper into my sleeping bag and hug my arms for warmth, trying to stop the rat-wheel of worry spinning in my head. I am far from complacent about the fix I’m in, yet I manage to drift off in welcome sleep.
 Moments later—or is it hours?—I’m fully awake and alert, every fiber of my being a listening device. What is it? What did I hear? My heart bangs in my ears as I strain to sort out the sounds. The irrigation system kicking in? A squirrel on the roof?
Hearing footsteps falling softly on the flagstone walk, I slide free of my sleeping bag. Who’s coming for me? Who in hell knows I’m here? My fingers close around a small can of pepper spray. I don’t even know that the aerosol works. The container is old and I’ve never had occasion to test it.
The garage door scrapes open. A beam of light arcs across the windshield. A male voice booms. “C’mon out. Now!”
 … It’s my Margot Kidder nightmare, a “caught-in-the-headlights” shot of myself disheveled, my arms clutching a sleeping bag, splashed on the cover of a supermarket tabloid: “Former ‘Holiday’ Star Down and Out in Beverly Hills!”
Tears sting my cheeks. Wouldn’t the paparazzi love this shot? Jinx, face puffy, mascara smudged, lurking in someone’s garage. I press my forehead into my sleeping bag, recalling poor Margot, missing her front teeth and in need of meds, cowering in someone’s backyard. What’s my excuse? If I’m busted now, it’s the end of my job next week, the end of pulling myself out of this confounding mess I’m in.

About the Author: 
Kathryn Leigh Scott is an actress, probably best known for creating the roles of Josette DuPres and Maggie Evans, the love interests of vampire Barnabas Collins in the cult classic TV show “Dark Shadows.” Down and Out in Beverly Heels is her second work of fiction. Scott wrote Dark Passages, a paranormal romance, with more than a passing nod to the ‘60s soap and she appeared in the Johnny Depp/Tim Burton film Dark Shadows last year.

Scott is currently at work on a sequel to Down and Out in Beverly Heels.

To learn more about Kathyrn, please visit www.kathrynleighscott.com .

To check out more reviews of Kathryn's book click here