July 29, 2015

Second Street Station by Lawrence H. Levy


I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and honest review

Published: June 9, 2015
Number of pages: 336
Genre: Mystery
Mary Handley Mystery Series #1

Synopsis:
A historical mystery featuring the witty and wily Mary Handley, the first woman detective in Brooklyn, as she tries to prove herself in a man's world while solving a high profile murder.

Mary Handley is a not your typical late-nineteenth century lady. She's fiery, clever, daring—and she’s not about to conform to the gender norms of the day. Not long after being fired from her job at the hat factory for insubordinate behavior, Mary finds herself at the murder scene of Charles Goodrich, the brother of a prominent alderman and former bookkeeper of Thomas Edison. When Mary proves her acumen as a sleuth, she is hired by the Brooklyn police department—as the city’s first female policewoman—to solve the crime. The top brass of the department expect her to fail, but Mary has other plans. As she delves into the mystery, she finds herself questioning the likes of J. P. Morgan, Thomas Edison, and Nikola Tesla. Mary soon discovers the key to solving the case goes well beyond finding a murderer and depends on her ability to unearth the machinations of the city’s most prominent and respected public figures, men who will go to great lengths to protect their secrets.

Much like Mr. Churchill’s Secretary and Maisie Dobbs, Second Street Station presents a portrait of a world plunging into modernity through the eyes of a clever female sleuth. Mary Handley is an unforgettable protagonist whose wit, humor, and charm will delight readers from the very first page.

What I thought of this story:
One of the first things that drove me to want to read this book was that is was a mystery book with a historical setting. These are two of my favorite things to read about. I liked getting to know Mary and can't wait to see that else she gets involved in as this series progresses. She was a fun person to follow along with as she finds herself hired by the police to help solve this crime. I also liked how the author used the historical figures as a part of the story and the way he did so just seemed to fit together. There were plenty of twists and turns throughout this book to keep you guessing until the end. Another thing I enjoyed was the author's writing style. For me it was an easy to read book. This book in my opinion has a lot going for it and I look forward to the next book. 

What I thought of the cover:
I did like this cover. I liked how it showed us the main character as well as a glimpse of where the story was going to take place. 

About the author:
LAWRENCE H. LEVY is a highly regarded film and TV writer who is a Writers Guild Award winner and two-time Emmy nominee. He has written for various hit TV shows such as Family Ties, Saved by the Bell, Roseanne, and Seinfeld. Second Street Station is his first novel.



Berenstain Bears Harvest Festival by Mike Berenstain


I received this book from Book Look Bloggers in exchange for a fair and honest review

Published: August 4, 2015
Number of pages: 24
Genre: Children's 

Synopsis:
Autumn is a beautiful time of year, and the folks of Bear Country are looking forward to everything the season brings. So when the Chapel in the Woods holds its first ever Harvest Festival, people gather at Farmer Ben’s for a wonderful time of family, friends, fun, and praising God for his gifts.

What did I think of this story:
I thought this was a fun story for kids to read or for parents to read to their kids. I liked the harvest theme. This book also teaches kids how to be thankful for everything. I like how these stores are not only entertaining but have a meaning to them. They pictures are also very colorful and really draw your eye to the page. 

What I thought of the cover:
I love this cover it makes me want to attend their fall festival as it looks like they are all having fun. 

A Wedding on Primrose Street by Sheila Roberts


I received this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review

Published: July 28, 2015
Number of pages: 384
Genre: Romance/Fiction
Series: Life in Icicle Falls #7

Synopsis:
There's nothing like a wedding!

The joy, the fun, the memories—the stress. As a wedding planner, Anne Richardson has seen mothers of the bride turn into Momzillas, and she's determined not to do that when it's her daughter's turn to get married. But once Laney gets engaged, all bets are off. Anne becomes obsessed with giving Laney the perfect wedding she herself never had. And that wedding needs to be held in Icicle Falls at Primrose Haus, the perfect setting.

Roberta Gilbert, owner of Primrose Haus, has been hosting events at her charming Victorian for thirty years. She's an expert on weddings, but not on mother-daughter relations. When her daughter, Daphne, comes home and decides to help with the business, the receptions become truly memorable—and not in a good way. Then there's the added complication of Roberta's gardener, who seems more interested in Daphne than he is in planting primroses…

Tying the knot is a business that has everyone tied up in knots!

What I thought about the book:
It was so exciting to revisit Icicle Falls and hear what was happening in town with all of our friends. I felt connected with Daphne from the moment she came back to Icicle Falls and Roberta started talking to her. Hopefully in the next book we will see her find happiness. Anne and Laney were fun to get to know and watching Anne turn into a momzilla was kind of funny. But I know for Laney it was not so funny. In fact what I loved most about this book was the whole wedding theme. I enjoy reading and watching wedding planning shows and books. It is very true have the wedding you want so there will be no regrets. At the end of the book Sheila gives the memories of some of the residents of Icicle Falls and their weddings. I thought that was a nice way to end. Sheila's writing style helps you to become friends with each of the characters. You will want to visit this fun little town and meet all of the people who live there. Sheila's writing just flows. I am looking forward to the next book to come out. 

What I think about the cover:
I always like the covers of Sheila's books. They show part of the town and make you want to jump right in the book to visit. 

About the author:
Sheila Roberts lives on a lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her novels have been published in several languages. Her book, Angel Lane, was an Amazon Top Ten Romance pick for 2009. Her holiday perennial, On Strike for Christmas, was made into a movie for the Lifetime Movie Network and her novel, The Nine Lives of Christmas, was made into a movie for Hallmark . You can visit Sheila on Twitter and Facebook or at her website (http://www.sheilasplace.com).

Life in Icicle Falls Series
#1 Better Than Chocolate
#2 Merry Ex-mas
#3 What She Wants
#4 The Cottage on Juniper Street
#5 The Tea Shop on Lavender Lane
#6 The Lodge on Holly Road
#7 A Wedding on Primrose Street

July 26, 2015

Among the Fair Magnolias by Tamera Alexander, Shelley Gray, Dorothy Love and Elizabeth Musser - Review and Giveaway


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

Published: July 14, 2015
Number of pages: 384
Genre: Christian/Historical Fiction

Synopsis:
In the most turbulent decade of our nation’s history, four Southern women—destinies forged by birth, hearts steeled by war—face near impossible choices on their journeys in life . . . and in love.

To Mend a Dream by Tamera Alexander
Savannah Darby would do almost anything to revisit her family home. So when new owner, Aidan Bedford, a Boston attorney and former Union soldier, seeks to redecorate the house for his fiancée, Savannah jumps at the opportunity. But the clock is ticking. Can she find the box her father supposedly hid there during the war before her assignment is completed? And before she sees yet another battle lost on the home front. This time, one of the heart.

An Outlaw’s Heart by Shelley Gray
When Russell Stark returns to Fort Worth, he’s determined to begin a new life. But when he arrives at his mother’s homestead, he discovers she’s very ill, and the woman he loved is still as beautiful and sweet as he remembered. With time running out, Russell must come to terms with both his future and his past.

A Heart So True by Dorothy Love
Abigail knows all too well what is expected of her: to marry her distant cousin Charles and take her place in society. But her heart belongs to another. A terrible incident forces Abby to choose between love and duty.

Love Beyond Limits by Elizabeth Musser
Emily has a secret: She’s in love with one of the freedmen on her family’s plantation. Meanwhile, another man declares his love for her. Emily realizes some things are not as they seem and secrets must be kept in order to keep those she loves safe.

Review:
I think reading these books where there are multiple stories in one book. Each of these stories are set in the 1800s which as we all know that is one of my favorite time periods to read about. Each of these stories have strong characters. These authors each did a good job of making you really get to know. I felt as if I could really see where they were talking about as if you could be a part of the stories. I highly recommend this series of books. Another nice thing is that the stories are a nice size so they read quickly. 

About the authors:
Tamera Alexander is the best-selling author of numerous books including "A Lasting Impression" and "The Inheritance." Tamera is a two-time Christy Award winner, two-time RITA winner, and a recipient of the prestigious Library Journal Award. A native of west Tennessee,

Dorothy Love makes her home in the Texas hill country with her husband and their golden retriever. An award-winning author of numerous young adult novels, Dorothy made her adult debut with the Hickory Ridge novels. 

Shelley Gray is the author of The Heart of a Hero series. Her Amish novel (written as Shelley Shepard Gray), "The Protector," recently made the New York Times best seller list. 

Elizabeth Musser, a native of Atlanta, Georgia now living in France, is a novelist who writes what she calls 'entertainment with a soul.' For over 25 years, Elizabeth and her husband, Paul, have been involved in mission work with International Teams.

Join the authors in celebrating the release of Among the Fair Magnolias by entering to win their Southern Hearts Kindle Fire Giveaway and RSVPing to their August 13th author chat party!

magnolias-400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HD 6
  • One copy of Among the Fair Magnolias
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 8/13. The winner will be announced at the Among the Fair Magnolias Facebook party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Tamera, Dorothy, Shelley, and Elizabeth, as well as for a chance to win some great prizes!

magnolias-enterbanner

RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 13th!

July 25, 2015

The Hero by Robyn Carr


Published: August 27, 2013
ISBN: 9780778314592
Number of pages: 384
Genre: Romance
Series: Thunder Point #3

Synopsis:
In a moment of desperation, Devon McAllister takes her daughter and flees a place where they should have been safe and secure. She has no idea what is around the next bend, but she is pretty certain it can't be worse than what they've left behind. Her plan is to escape to somewhere she can be invisible. Instead, an unexpected offer of assistance leads her to Thunder Point, a tiny Oregon town with a willingness to help someone in need.

As the widowed father of a vulnerable young boy, Spencer Lawson knows something about needing friendship. But he's not looking for anything else. Instead, he's thrown his energy into his new role as Thunder Point's high school football coach. Tough and demanding to his team, off the field he's gentle and kind...just the kind of man who could heal Devon's wounded heart.

Devon thought she wanted to hide from the world. But in Thunder Point, you find bravery where you least expect it...and sometimes, you find a hero.

What did I think about this book
Another hit by Robyn Carr. She has a way of making you fall in love with each of the characters in her books. Her writing style is such that I don't want to put the book down until I am done with it. This one touched on a cult religion and how a woman got out of it. Therefore there are two stories going on here. The stories of the townspeople and the story of the cult and what is happening there. I felt for Devon and wanted to help her out myself. This was a great addition to the series and I can't wait to get to the next one. I am sure there will be more adventures in store for us. This one had some action as well as the romance in it. A great series. 

What did I think of the cover
This cover fits with the theme of this entire series. Thunder Point is a town set on the ocean and this cover again gives us a glimpse of that area. 

About the author
Robyn Carr is a RITA® Award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author of almost fifty novels, including the critically acclaimed Virgin River series. Her highly anticipated new series, Thunder Point, will be released March 2013. Robyn and her husband live in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can visit Robyn Carr's website at www.RobynCarr.com.

Thunder Point Series
#1 The Wanderer
#2 The Newcomber
#3 The Hero
#4 The Chance
#5 The Promise
#6 The Homecoming
#7 One Wish
#8 A New Hope
#9 Wildest Dreams

July 24, 2015

Drape Expectations by Karen Rose Smith - Interview and Spotlight


Published: July 28, 2015
Number of pages: 352
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: A Caprice Deluca Mystery #4

Synopsis:
Caprice De Luca’s former client and now friend Ace Richland–an 80’s rock star–asks her for a favor. Can she quickly stage his girlfriend’s house to sell? Widow Alanna Goodwin, a transplanted Southern beauty, will be moving in with him! Immediately Caprice realizes Alanna’s southern charm can be turned on and off at will. Caprice agrees to stage Alanna’s Kismet antebellum-styled mansion for Ace’s sake. But she soon learns Alanna doesn’t have a genuine love for her cat Mirabelle and also uncovers a plot her new client is hatching to sabotage Ace’s comeback. However, before she can tell Ace, Alanna is murdered and Ace is the prime suspect.

As Caprice investigates, she learns Alanna had more secrets than pie safes. With her Cocker Spaniel Lady by her side, she tracks down clues and adopts Alanna’s cat. In the midst of some of her own family upheaval–her uncle has moved in with her parents–she finds herself with a dilemma. Grant Weatherford, her brother’s law partner, advises Ace and reveals more of his past to her. Seth Randolph, the doctor she dates, wants her to meet his family. She must choose between them.

Danger stalks Caprice. Will her refresher self-defense course save her life? Only if she keeps her wits about her and Lady by her side.

Caprice Deluce Mystery Series
#1 Staged to Death
#2 Deadly Decor
#3 Gilt by Association
#4 Drape Expectations
#5 Silence of the Lamps - March 2016

About the author:
Award winning and best-selling author, Karen Rose Smith’s plots are all about emotion. She began writing in her early teens when she listened to music and created stories to accompany the songs. An only child, she spent a lot of time in her imagination and with books–Nancy Drew, Zane Gray, The Black Stallion and Anne of Green Gables. She dreamed of brothers and sisters and a big family like her mother and father came from. This is the root of her plotlines that include small communities and family relationships as part of everyday living. Residing in Pennsylvania with her husband and four rescued cats, she welcomes interaction with readers on social media.

Author Links:
Webpage: http://karenrosesmithmysteries.com/

Blog: http://karenrosesmith.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KarenRoseSmithBooks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/karenrosesmith

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21863.Karen_Rose_Smith

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/karosm/

Purchase Links:
Amazon B&N
Interview:
1.      Who or what inspired you to start writing? 
I read voraciously as a child.  I became an English teacher and often wrote poetry or essays and had even started a book in college.  When back pain and then surgery interrupted my lifestyle, I turned to writing for a creative and emotional outlet.

2.      What do you do to help you get over writer's block? 
I don't believe in writer's block per se as something that happens often.  I plot my books well, so I always have a road map.  Each day when I sit down to write, I know what I'm going to write and having a point-by-point synopsis leads me where I want to go, even if the muse isn't with me.  That said, I have gone through grief when loved ones passed.  I simply couldn't write for a few weeks.  I don't consider that writer's block.  That was time I needed to heal before my subconscious and conscious mind could mesh.  I knew when it was time to start writing again.  If I get stuck, that's because I need to change point of view or sequencing, and I pay attention to that inner editor.

3.      Do you have scheduled writing time or a certain amount of words you write each day? 
I have personal deadlines, as opposed to contract deadlines.  I know how much of the book I need to finish in a week, and I adjust my time schedules according to that.  If something comes up to interfere with my writing schedule, then I'm up late writing…or very early in the morning.

4.      Where do you get your ideas for your books? 
I pull ideas from everywhere—from news stories, TV programs, real life, childhood and personal interactions I overhear at McDonalds!

5.      When you are not writing what do you like to do? 
I have four rescued cats, as well as a stray or two, who keep me busy.  Cooking, gardening and photography are also pastimes.

6.      What one piece of advice would you like to give to aspiring writers? 
To become a better writer, you need to write.  The more often, the better.  Keeping a journal is a great tool.  Writing essays about what is important in your life is worthwhile as well as jotting down descriptions of anything you want to remember.  Learn to use your five senses and describe what you taste, see, touch, feel and smell.  Good writing often comes down to details and how well you can convey descriptions and emotions.  Persistence is the most important quality of all.

7.      Who is your favorite author or book that you would like to recommend to your readers? 
My favorite author by far is Harlan Coben.  I snatch up any of his books as soon as they are released.  His most recent novel, THE STRANGER, is one of my favorites.

8.      If you could meet any famous person dead or alive who would it be and why? 
I would love to meet Dean Koontz and listen to his views on quantum physics.
  
9.      If you could visit anywhere in the world where would you like to visit? 
My two favorite places on the planet are the Grand Canyon and Sedona.  If I could travel anyplace I haven't been, I would choose Florence and Tuscany.

1.   5 interesting facts about yourself: 
·         I was an only child who always longed for a sister.
·         Last summer my husband and I took in a stray pregnant cat and helped deliver her kittens.  I'm a crazy cat lady!
·         I attended the Beatles concert at Dodger Stadium.
·         I wrote for six years and finished 13 manuscripts before I sold two books in one week to two different publishers.
·         I love 60's fashion.




Tour Participants
July 23 – Babs Book Bistro – Review
July 24 – Griperang’s Bookmarks – Interview
July 25 – Laura’s Interests – Review
July 27 – Shelley’s Bookcase – Review
July 28 – Brooke Blogs – Interview
July 29 – readalot – Review
July 30 – Moonlight Rendezvous – Review
July 31 – Community Bookstop – Review
August 1 – LibriAmoriMiei – Review
August 2 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – Review
August 3 – Queen of All She Reads – Review
August 4 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review 
August 5 – Book Splurge



July 23, 2015

Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Beth K. Voght


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

Published: June 30 , 2015
Number of pages: 368
Genre: Christian Fiction/Romance
Series: Destination Wedding #1

Synopsis:
Wedding bells and storm clouds collide in the first engaging novel in a brand-new series about destination weddings, the power of love, and the possible mishaps and missteps that happen on a couple’s journey down the aisle to “I do.”

Paramedic Vanessa Hollister has put her adolescence behind her, including the unwanted label of being the new kid in town over and over again, thanks to her father’s military career. She’s overcome what her mother called “the biggest mistake of her life” and is planning an elegant destination wedding in Destin, Florida with her new fiancé. But will the reappearance of her first husband from her what-were-you-thinking teenage elopement disrupt her dream of an idyllic beach wedding?

As a professional storm chaser, Logan Hollister is used to taking risks. However, a reckless decision during the last tornado season has him questioning the future of his team, the Stormmeisters. Coming face to face with his ex-wife eight years after their divorce compels him to confront his greatest regret: losing Vanessa. Does their past give him the right to interfere with her future?

A fast-moving, powerful hurricane throws Vanessa and Logan together as they evacuate to a storm shelter along with other residents of the Florida Gulf Coast. Forced to spend time together, the pair battles unexpected renewed feelings for each other.

Vanessa and Logan are faced with a choice: Should they accept, once and for all, their teenage marital mistake? Or is God offering them a second chance at happily ever after?

Review:
This was a fun book to read. It is always fun to read about weddings and the happily ever after. I enjoy books that include wedding planning and this book takes place just down the road from where I live which makes it even more interesting to me. The characters could have been your next door neighbor so it made it easy to connect with them. This was a fast paced book and a good one to take along to the beach. I felt for Vanessa trying to figure out what was going to happen with her life, stay with her fiance or re-connect with her ex-husband. Another thing that I liked was how the author included quotes at the beginning of each chapter. I am looking forward to the next book in this series. 

About the author:
Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” A 2015 RITA® Finalist and a 2014 Carol Award finalist, Beth is a contemporary romance novelist with Howard Books. Her 2014 novel, "Somebody Like You," was one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Books of 2014. In 2015 she introduced her destination wedding series with both an e-novella, "Can’t Buy Me Love," (May) and a novel, "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" (June)

Alchemy's Daughter by Mary Osborne - Review/Interview/Giveaway


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

Published: May 14, 2015
Number of pages: 288
Genre: Fiction

Synopsis:
In medieval San Gimignano, Italy, daughters of merchants are expected to marry. But Santina Pietra cares only for Calandrino, a brilliant young scholar who is preoccupied with his ancient alchemical texts.

Soon Santina meets Trotula, the village midwife, who might or might not be a "strega," a witch. Trotula challenges her to forget Calandrino and become the woman she is meant to be. Some say she is a victim of the midwife’s spell, but Santina is determined to follow in Trotula’s footsteps even as calamities strike.


Review:
This is the first book I have read by this author and after reading it now I am going to go back and read her other book. I really enjoyed this book and could not seem to put it down. I love to read books set in Italy as it gives me a chance to travel to another place without leaving home and this had an added bonus of being a historical fiction book which are one of my favorite types to read. The characters seem to just jump off the pages at you. The author did a good job with all her details with the historical aspect, character development and scene descriptions. There is a little something in this book for everyone - history, romance and adventure. This would be a good book for young adults as well. 

About the author:
Mary A. Osborne is the multiple award-winning author of Alchemy's Daughter and Nonna’s Book of Mysteries. A graduate of Rush University and Knox College, where she was mentored in the Creative Writing Program, Ms. Osborne is a registered nurse and holds degrees in chemistry and nursing. Her freelance work has appeared in publications such as Hektoen International, Newcity, and the Examiner.com. Ms. Osborne lives in Chicago.
Connect with Mary: Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter


Interview:
Q:  Your new book, Alchemy’s Daughter, is about a young woman who wants to be a midwife in medieval San Gimignano, Italy. The book is classified as fantasy as well as historical fiction.  How can it be both genres?
A: Alchemy’s Daughter is carefully researched historical fiction, but the book also contains subtle elements of fantasy that were inspired by the superstitions of the time period. In medieval Italy, people believed in malocchio, the evil eye, which is a curse that can be cast merely by thinking jealous thoughts about someone. People also believed in love charms and witchcraft. In Alchemy’s Daughter, these magical beliefs become part of the reality, much as they were in the 14th century when the book takes place.

Q: Would you like to have lived in 14th century Italy like your heroine, Santina Pietra?
A:  I love that the world was still shrouded in mystery at this time.  Science hadn’t yet explained away the mechanics of the physical world, and people had a deep sense of invisible forces at work. While I’m fascinated by the time period and love Italy, I’d take the creature comforts of the 21st century any day! 

Q:  How did you begin the process of writing and researching Alchemy’s Daughter?
A: The book began with my interest in the subject of alchemy and, in particular, Carl Jung’s book entitled, Psychology and Alchemy. I discovered that alchemy—which is the science of turning lead into gold—is a metaphor for personal transformation. At first I started slipping bits about alchemy into my contemporary stories. Over time, the combination morphed into a historical novel. 

Q:  You are a registered nurse by training.  As a nurse who has cared for sick patients, did you draw from your own experiences when writing about the midwives in your book?
A:  Years ago, I worked as a home health nurse and made visits throughout the city of Chicago. My 20th century nurse’s training differed, or course, from the education received by medieval midwives, but there is surely similarity of experience among all those who tend to the physical needs of others. It’s also true that during the Middle Ages, many midwives not only delivered babies, but also treated a variety of illnesses, as do home health nurses.

Q:  How do you balance writing and working as a registered nurse?

A: It’s always been a juggling act, although I work fewer hours as an RN care manager these days. The key is setting firm boundaries and keeping writing time sacred. Authors sometimes prefer staying home to write on a Saturday night to seeing a movie. We’re peculiar like that. 

Giveaway:
Giving away 5 print copies of Alchemy’s Daughter (Open to USA & Canada) and 3 X $15 Amazon gift cards (open internationally) Ends Aug 8



Tour Schedule:
July 13 - Studentessa Matta - review
July 13 - Babs Book Bistro - review / author interview / giveaway
July 14 - Working Mommy Journal - review / giveaway
July 14 - Dreams Come True Through Reading - review
July 15 - Confessions of a Reader - review / author interview
July 15 - Il Mio Tesoro - review / author interview
July 16 - ABookGeek - review / giveaway
July 16 - Girl With Camera - review / giveaway
July 17 - Unshelfish - review / guest post / giveaway
July 20 - T's Stuff - review / guest post / giveaway
July 21 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review / guest post / giveaway
July 21 - In This World of Books - review / giveaway
July 22 - A Simple Life, really!? - review
July 22 - Jayne's Books - review
July 23 - Griperang's Bookmarks - review / author interview / giveaway
July 23 - Essentially Italian - review / author interview / giveaway
July 24 - Vic's Media Room - review /
July 27 - The Autistic Gamer - review
July 27 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review
July 28 - Just One More Chapter - review / giveaway
July 29 - Pure Jonel - review / guest post / giveaway
July 30 - Jorie Loves a Story - review
July 31 - Library of Clean Reads - review / giveaway

July 22, 2015

To Capture Her Heart by Rebecca DeMarino - Review and Giveaway


I received this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. 
Published: July 7, 2015
Number of pages: 352
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: Southold Chronicles 

Synopsis:
In an uncertain time, Heather Flower faces a choice that will change her life forever

It is 1653 and Heather Flower, a princess of the Montaukett tribe, is celebrating her wedding feast when a rival tribe attacks, killing the groom and kidnapping her. Though her ransom is paid by an Englishman, she is bound by her captors and left to die—until she finds herself rescued by handsome Dutch Lieutenant Dirk Van Buren.


Still tender from her loss, Heather Flower begins to heal in the home of the Hortons, English friends of her people. Torn between her affection for Dirk and her longtime friendship with Ben Horton, Heather Flower must make a difficult choice—stay true to her friend or follow her heart.
Review:
I have enjoyed reading this book just as much as I did the first one. Rebecca has a way of making you feel as if you are a part of this story. I would have loved to meet Mary and all the other ladies of Southold and to sit down with them at the Wednesday meetings. They are all so caring and loving. I felt bad for Heather Flower and all she had to go through and then to have to overcome her sadness to find love again. I was pulling for Heather to love Ben as I did not care for Dirk. There was just something about him that I just did not care for. I am not going to tell you who she picks you will have to read this book for yourself to find out. This is the second book in this series and I suggest reading them in order as you will more out of the story that way. I am looking forward to the third book in this series. 

Southold Chronicles Series
#1 A Place in His Heart
#2 To Capture Her Heart

About the author:
Rebecca DeMarino writes love, legends and lore as a historical romance author and lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She inherited her love of baking and gardening from her mother, a love of horses, reading and writing from her dad, and the wanderlust gene from both parents. Her travels have taken her from Alaska to Nebraska and Florida, from Long Island to England and Italy, and from Washington DC to Texas, California and Guam. But usually you can find her at home, enjoying her grandchildren and baking crisp little ginger cakes. From Publisher’s Weekly ~ DeMarino's … strong suit is recreating history and relating it to readers. You can also find her at www.RebeccaDeMarino.com, @RebeccaDeMarino, on Facebook and Pinterest.

Recipe from Rebecca:
My mom loved her apple trees and could bake a scrumptious apple pie! In my research for The Southold Chronicles, I enjoyed learning how the English were dismayed by the small, sour apples they found growing in the wilds of New England in the early 1600’s.

Based on stories she undoubtedly heard before making her voyage, Mary Horton most likely brought her own apple seeds. Mayhap her papa packaged one of his own little pippin saplings with love and sent it to her on a later voyage. Most assuredly he knew she would miss her English apples! 

Grandmother Horton’s Pippin Pie 

Pie Crust:
2/3 C lard or 2/3 C + 2T shortening 2 C flour 1 t salt 4-5 T water

Cut lard into flour and salt until combined to the size of peas. Sprinkle in water, one tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork until pastry leaves sides of bowl. Hint: use ice water. Gather into ball, divide in two and roll into two pastry rounds on floured board.

Filling:
¾ C sugar ¼ C flour ½ t cinnamon ½ t ginger pinch of salt
6 medium Newtown Pippin Apples or any tart baking apple 2T butter

Heat oven to 425 degrees

Mix together the dry ingredients in large bowl. Mince apples or slice thin. (Should equal 6 cups) Stir apples into flour mixture to coat. Hint: put apples and flour mixture into a large zip-lock bag and massage until coated. Line a 9” pie pan or plate (Hint: spray with canola oil) with pastry round. Pile apple mixture into pie plate, dot with chunks of butter. Cover with second pastry round, crimp edges to seal. Cut slits in top. Bake 40 – 50 minutes, until top is browned and juice bubbles from slits. Halfway through baking, brush cover (top crust) with rosewater and sprinkle with sugar. Hint: Cover edges with foil last 15 minutes of baking. 

Heather Flower ~ Legend, Lore or Literal? 

As a historical fiction author, I love when my research turns up a gold nugget of information like Heather Flower - was she legend, lore or did she literally exist? She may be all three. Without a doubt her existence is controversial.

I first discovered the story of Heather Flower while researching A Place in His Heart, my debut novel about my English ancestors, the Hortons. My first book covers a time period between 1630 - 1640, so when I read an account that Englishman Lion Gardiner paid a ransom for the daughter of Montauk's Grand Sachem Wyandanch I was intrigued, and looked at all different angles to include the story, but the time frame did not fit.

I did have my heroine, however, for book two of The Southold Chronicles! Further research revealed there are three or four theories regarding Heather Flower. I chose to blend those theories in my work of fiction.

Four theories that surround Heather Flower:
She was Quashawam, the daughter of Grand Sachem Wyandanch and Heather Flower was her nickname. Historically, records exist showing Quashawam became Grand Sachem of the Montauk when her parents and brother died.
She was Cantoneras, a Long Island native from Eaton's Neck who married the Dutchman Cornelius Van Texel or Tassle, whose granddaughter, Katrina, is of Washington Irving's Legend of Sleepy Hollow fame.
Wyandanch had two daughters, Quashawam and Heather Flower.
Heather Flower is a fabrication, as well as the story of the kidnapping of Wyandanch's daughter. Although Lion Gardiner's personal papers include an account of paying a ransom to the Narragansetts for the release of Wyandanch's daughter, the lack of a Montaukett written history clouds the matter. Some have alleged Gardiner may have written the story only to support the colonial's political motives.

As I read of the controversies and theories, I read too, about the beautiful and proud Montaukett people. Their legacy is one of loss and perseverance. Though many died from diseases not known to them before the white man came, there were others who survived, like my fictional character Abbey, and I believe live on through their descendants today.

To me, Heather Flower is truly a legend and a fascinating heroine! Leg·end: lejənd/ noun 1. a traditional story sometimes popularly regarded as historical but unauthenticated.

What do you think? Legend? Lore? Real?

Rebecca DeMarino writes love, legends and lore as a historical romance author and lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. From Publisher’s Weekly ~ DeMarino's … strong suit is recreating history and relating it to readers.



Giveaway:


To Capture Her Heart Book Launch

July 21, 2015

The Newcomber by Robyn Carr


Published: June 25, 2013
Number of pages: 368
Genre: Romance
Series: Thunder Point #2

Synopsis:
Single dad and Thunder Point's deputy sheriff "Mac" McCain has worked hard to keep everyone safe and happy. Now he's found his own happiness with Gina James. The longtime friends have always shared the challenges and rewards of raising their adolescent daughters. With an unexpected romance growing between them, they're feeling like teenagers themselves-suddenly they can't get enough of one another.

And just when things are really taking off, their lives are suddenly thrown into chaos. When Mac's long-lost-and not missed-ex-wife shows up in town, drama takes on a whole new meaning. They're wondering if their new feelings for each other can withstand the pressure...but they are not going down without a fight.

Step into the world of Thunder Point, a little town on the Oregon coast where newcomers are welcomed, hearts are broken and mended, and the dramas of everyday life keep the locals laughing, crying and falling in love.

What I thought about this book:
I really enjoyed this book as much as I did the first one in the series. I liked that this one dealt with some common issues that teenagers deal with. The author did a good job of writing about these issues as well as other common issues of normal people. Single parenthood, death of a loved one, breakups, past love showing up, etc. Robyn Carr has a way of writing stories about towns that you would love to pick up and move to. Her writing style also flows so that her books read very fast for me. I am really getting into this series and can't wait to see what happens next. There were a few people in this book I did not like - Downy and Cee Jay but we met some new characters who I liked Spencer, Austin and Frank. 

What do I think of the cover:
I like the cover of Robyn's books as they are simple but inviting. I love the she includes the ocean on her covers. 

About the author:
Robyn Carr is a RITA® Award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author of almost fifty novels, including the critically acclaimed Virgin River series. Her highly anticipated new series, Thunder Point, will be released March 2013. Robyn and her husband live in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can visit Robyn Carr's website at www.RobynCarr.com.

Thunder Point Series
#1 The Wanderer
#2 The Newcomber
#3 The Hero
#4 The Chance
#5 The Promise
#6 The Homecoming
#7 One Wish
#8 A New Hope
#9 Wildest Dreams

Blade of the Samurai by Susan Spann


I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review
Published: July 15, 2014
Number of Pages: 304
Genre: Mystery
Series: Shinobi Mystery #2

Synopsis:
June, 1565: Master ninja Hiro Hattori receives a pre-dawn visit from Kazu, a fellow shinobi working undercover at the shogunate. Hours before, the shogun''s cousin, Saburo, was stabbed to death in the shogun's palace. The murder weapon: Kazu's personal dagger. Kazu says he's innocent, and begs for Hiro's help, but his story gives Hiro reason to doubt the young shinobi's claims.

When the shogun summons Hiro and Father Mateo, the Portuguese Jesuit priest under Hiro's protection, to find the killer, Hiro finds himself forced to choose between friendship and personal honor.

The investigation reveals a plot to assassinate the shogun and overthrow the ruling Ashikaga clan. With Lord Oda's enemy forces approaching Kyoto, and the murderer poised to strike again, Hiro must use his assassin's skills to reveal the killer's identity and protect the shogun at any cost. Kazu, now trapped in the city, still refuses to explain his whereabouts at the time of the murder. But a suspicious shogunate maid, Saburo's wife, and the shogun's stable master also had reasons to want Saburo dead. With the shogun demanding the murderer's head before Lord Oda reaches the city, Hiro and Father Mateo must produce the killer in time . . . or die in his place.

Susan Spann's Blade of the Samurai is a complex mystery that will transport readers to a thrilling and unforgettable adventure in sixteenth-century Japan.

Review:
Just like the first book in this series this book is full of twists and turns that will have you guessing right up until the end of the book. I also like the historical aspect of this book and am learning a little more about Japan with each of this author's books that I am reading. This is the second book in this series and you will need to read them in order to keep up with the characters. The author does a good job with the vivid descriptions and characters that are very well developed. This is the type of book that will keep you turning the pages so you can see what is going to happen next. I am looking forward to the next book in this series. 

About the author:
Susan Spann began reading precociously and voraciously from her preschool days in Santa Monica, California, and as a child read everything from National Geographic to Agatha Christie. In high school, she once turned a short-story assignment into a full-length fantasy novel (which, fortunately, will never see the light of day).

A yearning to experience different cultures sent Susan to Tufts University in Boston, where she immersed herself in the history and culture of China and Japan. After earning an undergraduate degree in Asian Studies, Susan diverted to law school. She returned to California to practice law, where her continuing love of books has led her to specialize in intellectual property, business and publishing contracts.

Susan's interest in Japanese history, martial arts, and mystery inspired her to write the Shinobi Mystery series featuring Hiro Hattori, a sixteenth-century ninja who brings murderers to justice with the help of Father Mateo, a Portuguese Jesuit priest. The first novel, Claws of the Cat, releases July 16, 2013.

When not writing or representing clients, Susan enjoys traditional archery, martial arts, horseback riding, online gaming, and raising seahorses and rare corals in her marine aquarium. She still consumes books - almost as avidly spicy Thai dinners. Susan lives outside Sacramento with her husband, son, three cats, one bird, and a multitude of assorted aquatic creatures.

She is President of the Northern California chapter of Mystery Writers of America, and a member of Sisters in Crime, the Historical Novel Society, and the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers' Association. Susan is represented by Sandra Bond of Bond Literary Agency.

You can find her at her website (http://www.susanspann.com), on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/SusanSpannAuthor) and also on Twitter (@SusanSpann). Please stop by and say hello!

Shinobi Series
#1 Claws of the Cat
#2 Blade of the Samurai
#3 Flask of the Drunken Master

July 20, 2015

A First Date With Death by DianeOrgain


I received this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review
Published: March 3, 2015
Number of pages: 304
Genre: Cozy mystery
Series: A Love or Money Mystery #1

Synopsis:
Reality TV meets murder in the first in a new mystery series from the author of the Maternal Instincts Mysteries and co-author the New York Times bestselling Scrapbooking Mysteries.

When brokenhearted Georgia Thornton goes looking for romance on reality TV, she has nothing to lose—apart from a good man, a cash prize, and maybe her life…

What was Georgia thinking? Sure, some cad ditched her at the altar, but can she really find love on TV? Her best friend—and producer of the reality show Love or Money—thinks so. Ten men. Ten adventure-filled dates. What can go wrong? For starters, a faulty bungee cord that hurls Georgia’s first date into a tragic spiral off the Golden Gate Bridge.

He’s replaced by Paul Sanders, Georgia’s former fiancé. But the cop isn’t looking for a TV gig. Suspecting that the lover’s leap was no accident, Paul’s going undercover. When another bachelor gets a fatal kiss-off, the reality is that someone has killer new plans for the show—and for Georgia herself. Now, under the threat of permanent cancellation, Georgia fears that the only man on the set she can trust is the one man she just can’t count on…

What did I think of the book:
This was a fun new cozy mystery series to start. I thought it was fun that a reality show was used as the backdrop for the story. The author did a good job of making this book flow. It is a book that you will not want to put down as you are not only wanting to figure out who is doing the murdering but who will Georgia pick for love. In this book we have mystery, romance and humor all things to make a cozy mystery a fun book. I will be reading the next one in this series when it comes out. 

What do I think of the cover:
I thought the cover was cute and liked how the mansion was included on it. Then the lone broken stemmed rose in the driveway gives you a sense of something bad happened. Very inviting. 

About the author:
Diana Orgain is the author of the Maternal Instincts Mysteries and coauthor of Gilt Trip with Laura Childs in the New York Times bestselling Scrapbooking Mysteries. She holds an MFA and BA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University with a minor in Acting. Diana’s plays have been produced at San Francisco State University, GreenHouses Productions, and PlayGround in San Francisco. She lives in the city with her husband and their children.

Mailbox Monday - July 20


Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share what came in their mailbox. This meme has a permanent home at Mailbox Monday and was created by Marcia at To Be Continued I am linking up to Mailbox Monday  It has been a few weeks since I have shared my books so here goes:



To be reviewed:
A First Date With Death by Diana Orgain - A Love or Money Mystery #1
A Wedding on Primrose Street by Sheila Roberts - Life in Icicle Falls Series # 7
Fudging the Books by Daryl Wood Gerber - A Cookbook Nook Mystery #4
Three Days to Forever by Lauren Carr - Mac Faraday Mystery #9
Second Street Station by Lawrence H. Levy - Mary Handley Mystery #1
A Heart's Promise by Colleen Coble - Journey of the Heart #5
A Heart's Home by Colleen Coble - Journey of the Heart #6
Counting on a Cowboy by Debra Cloption - Four of Hearts Ranch Romance #2
Flask of the Drunken Master by Susan Spann - Shinobi Mystery #3

Bought:
The Longest Road by Philip Caputo
Tales of a Female Nomad by Rita Goeden Gelman
The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner
Bread Alone by Judith Ryan Hendricks

To Capture Her Heart by Rebecca DeMarino - Spotlight and Giveaway


Published: July 7, 2015
Number of pages: 352
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: Southold Chronicles #2

Synopsis:
In an uncertain time, Heather Flower faces a choice that will change her life forever

It is 1653 and Heather Flower, a princess of the Montaukett tribe, is celebrating her wedding feast when a rival tribe attacks, killing the groom and kidnapping her. Though her ransom is paid by an Englishman, she is bound by her captors and left to die—until she finds herself rescued by handsome Dutch Lieutenant Dirk Van Buren.

Still tender from her loss, Heather Flower begins to heal in the home of the Hortons, English friends of her people. Torn between her affection for Dirk and her longtime friendship with Ben Horton, Heather Flower must make a difficult choice—stay true to her friend or follow her heart.

About the author:
Rebecca DeMarino writes love, legends and lore as a historical romance author and lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She inherited her love of baking and gardening from her mother, a love of horses, reading and writing from her dad, and the wanderlust gene from both parents. Her travels have taken her from Alaska to Nebraska and Florida, from Long Island to England and Italy, and from Washington DC to Texas, California and Guam. But usually you can find her at home, enjoying her grandchildren and baking crisp little ginger cakes. From Publisher’s Weekly ~ DeMarino's … strong suit is recreating history and relating it to readers. You can also find her at www.RebeccaDeMarino.com, @RebeccaDeMarino, on Facebook and Pinterest.

Excerpt: 
He settled himself atop his own bedding, tucking his musket close to his side. The ground was hard and the night alive with cricket chirps. Somewhere an owl hooted. He propped his hands beneath his head and stared at the heavens. The night was warm and the ink sky a dance of thousands of winking stars. An astral display fell as if the sky had parted. Some Indians believed it to be a sign of travel heroes and he glanced over to the still form of Heather Flower and hoped she’d seen it. He asked God for travel mercies as sleep claimed him.

****

Heather Flower was awake before the sun rose. The crescent moon had set hours ago, but the crisp stars still illuminated the sky. She crept toward the glow of the fire and sat. She clutched the comb Dirk had given her the day before and began to pull it through the tangles in her hair. Strand by strand the snarls came undone. As the men began to stir around her, she finished a long braid over her shoulder. Cook came out to refresh the

Recipe:
Growing up, I always knew Christmas would soon be here when the ginger cookies baked by Grandmother Horton arrived by mail, carefully wrapped in a green Frederick and Nelson’s shirt box! She baked them for us each year and when she could not, my mother continued the tradition. I have tried to do the same, baking them each December for my three daughters and grandchildren. My 9th great-grandfather, Barnabas Horton was a baker from Mowsley, England, and I like to think the cookie genes came from him! The following recipe is Grandmother’s original. I use canola oil instead of the Mazola. These are delicious with a glass of icy cold milk, but I enjoy them with a steaming cup of coffee or tea, too!

Grandmother Horton’s Ginger Cookies 
Combine 1 cup sugar, 3/4 cup Mazola oil, 1 egg, 4 T. molasses, 2 cups flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. cloves, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 2 level tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. ginger.

Mix well, roll into small balls. Dip in sugar. Place on greased cookie sheet. Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove to rack and cool.

I hope you love this recipe as much as I do!

Interview:

How do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling? 
This aspect just amazes me. I always thought I would write contemporary suspense with a touch of romance and a Christian worldview. But when I sat down to write my first novel, it was a historical about my Puritan ancestors! Talk about getting into the thick of things. So while I think there is definitely a message that comes out in my writing, I write to entertain through story and To Capture Her Heart, like book one of The Southold Chronicles, is a love story I hope my readers enjoy. The spiritual thread that touched my heart as I researched the book is that we are all God’s children, no matter who we are or where we came from. 

What do you consider the greatest moment of your writing/publishing career? 
It was when I watched my dad, Howard Worley, type “The End” for his novel, The Stagecoach Murders. He began writing that book at age 87, because I was writing a novel. He would send me each chapter in a priority envelope as he finished them, and he was amazing me. Then when he was almost finished he required open-heart surgery to replace his aortic valve. Two days later he had a major stroke. His recovery is a whole other story, but I was able to help him type the last four chapters while he dictated, and then we published it through Create Space. Watching him autograph a copy for me was my second greatest moment, followed closely by his book signing at his 90th birthday party. He’s 92 now!

Who/What spurs you to write? Where do your story and character ideas come from? 
I grew up listening to my mom’s stories about Barnabas Horton, my ninth great-grandfather and how he came across the pond from England on a ship called The Swallow, in the 1600’s. When my brother became interested in genealogy, we discovered there was a lighthouse named after Barnabas, located on Long Island. I asked my mom if she’d like to go there, and off we went. There was a lot of interesting information about Barnabas. He was a baker and a very recent widower with two young sons when he met my ninth great-grandmother, Mary, in Mowsley, England. But I could find very little about her, and I began to wonder about what dreams and motivation she had, and courage she must have possessed when she married and then left her family behind for the wilds of Long Island. A few years later, I began writing my first novel in a quest to give her a voice. While researching that book, A Place in His Heart, I uncovered a nugget of information about a Montaukett woman called Heather Flower. She is said to be the daughter of Grand Sachem Wyandanch, and I wanted to use the tidbit in book one. But the decade did not fit. So I took book two, To Capture Her Heart, up a decade and she became my heroine! The Hortons and Southold provide the backdrop of the story and sweet Ben Horton is all grown up. It was such a fun book to research and write!

What was the greatest challenge in writing this book? 
After time management (isn’t that a problem for us all?) the greatest challenge is also something I enjoy the most – the research! Though some documents exist such as Barnabas’s will, and some that pertain to his landholdings and tenure as a magistrate, I didn’t have any diaries or letters. And I found many controversies of “facts”. Heather Flower’s existence is an example. Some believe her to be a myth, others say she existed but was not Quashawam. Though that could be frustrating at times, it also afforded some leeway which is nice when you are writing fiction!

Share a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in? 
I was born in a car and have been on the move ever since. My dad delivered me, and my sisters can still remember standing in the picture window of our house with the babysitter and Dad holding me up so they could get a glimpse. He was a career Navy pilot and my husband a career officer in the Air Force. I retired as a service director from United Airlines in 2008 and settled in the Pacific Northwest. I’m blessed with three beautiful daughters, eight beautiful grandchildren, and when I married my sweet husband in 2006, he added a charming son and a beautiful daughter and three more beautiful grandchildren to the count. I should say we are empty nesters, with all of those kids happily settled with their own spouses, which give me time to be a fulltime writer!

What’s next for you? 
I just turned in the manuscript for the third book in The Southold Chronicles. It moves up another decade—to 1664—and Patience Terry, the young girl who sailed with the Hortons on The Swallow is my heroine. My working title was Pure Patience and I love her story! And I love the editing phase of a book, so I’m looking forward to that. To Follow Her Heart release next July! 


A fun fact from Rebecca:
Two Heroes, Two Sovereigns, One Island

A fun fact I discovered, and perfect for a story with two heroes, was that in the seventeenth century, Long Island was an island divided in half with two sovereigns: the Dutch on the West end and the English on the East End.

In 1621 the Dutch laid claim to Long Island, but by the end of the 1630’s the English challenged their possession with an attempt to settle Cow Bay (present-day Manhasset) on the West End. Construction of homes was barely underway when the Dutch arrested six of their company for trespassing.

The English’s nonviolent tactic of peopling and planting a settlement was not new to the Dutch. In 1635 they expressed concern that the Bay Colony should “so little care about their Netherland neighbors of the same religious profession, should so little respect their anterior possession.” The Dutch officials recognized the Cow Bay settlement as a first step to take over the entire island.

The Dutch could not afford a war in the colonies and released the six after they signed a pledge to disperse from Cow Bay. The pesky English did not tarry and left for the East End, far from the scrutiny of the Dutch. They commenced to remove the Dutch signs claiming “token of possession” and began colonization.

For years the two sovereigns bickered with each other, but in 1650 Dutch governor Petrus Stuyvesant signed a treaty in Hartford and traded Connecticut land claims for a clear border on Long Island. The line ran north to south, just west of Oyster Bay. And though Holland accepted the terms, England rejected all Dutch claims in the New World as illegal.

All the same, the boundary held (though frequently tested) until 1664 when the English warships came up the sound and took over New Amsterdam. Not a shot was fired and many of the Dutch inhabitants elected to remain peacefully under English rule, including Governor Stuyvesant.

The division of Nassau County to the west and Suffolk County to the east reflects the boundary even today. King Charles II gave New Amsterdam to his brother, the Duke of York, and renamed the fledgling city New York.

And the native people who inhabited the island thousands of years before the Europeans arrived? They were a kind and friendly people who without their expertise in farming, fishing and survival in the wilds of Long Island, the immigrants might not have survived. They traded with the Dutch and were loyal to the English.

It proved a perfect setting for To Capture Her Heart, book two of The Southold Chronicles. Two heroes, two sovereigns, one island: the home of Heather Flower, the princess of Montauk.

Giveaway:


 
To Capture Her Heart Book Launch