Sunday, November 23, 2014

Mailbox Monday (34)

I'm linking up with Mailbox Monday again. Check it out here!

It's almost Thanksgiving! I'm so looking forward to the long weekend!  It is much needed right now.  We are just staying in town and going to my in-laws for Thanksgiving.  It will be nice to relax a bit.

 I got two new books this week, both look really good.  I swore I was going to stay away from NetGalley but I couldn't help myself!  

From NetGalley:



I hope all of my American followers have a happy Thanksgiving!!  What books did you get this week?  Any big plans for the holiday?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Review and Giveaway: "The Tudor Vendetta" by C.W. Gortner






Synopsis:  Winter, 1558: Elizabeth I has ascended the throne but the first days of her reign are already fraught with turmoil, the kingdom weakened by strife and her ability to rule uncertain.

Summoned from exile abroad at the new queen’s behest, Brendan Prescott arrives in London to face his shattered past. He soon finds himself pitted in deadly rivalry with his life-long foe, Robert Dudley, but when a poison attempt overshadows the queen’s coronation, Elizabeth privately dispatches Brendan on a far more dangerous assignation: to find her favored lady-in-waiting, Lady Parry, who has vanished in Yorkshire.

Upon his arrival at the crumbling sea-side manor that may hold the key to Lady Parry’s disappearance, he encounters a strange, impoverished family beset by grief, as well as mounting evidence that they hide a secret from him. The mystery surrounding Lady Parry deepens as Brendan begins to realize there is far more going on at the manor than meets the eye, but the closer he gets to the heart of the mystery, the more he becomes the quarry of an elusive stranger with a vendetta— one that could expose both his own buried identity and a long-hidden revelation that will bring about Elizabeth’s doom.

From the intrigue-laden passages of Whitehall to a foreboding Catholic manor and the prisons of the Tower, Brendan must risk everything to unravel a vendetta that strikes at the very core of his world, including his loyalty to his queen.

The Tudor Vendetta is the third book in Gortner’s Elizabeth I Spymaster Trilogy.

My Thoughts:   The Tudor Vendetta is a fantastic end to the Spymaster Trilogy.  It is an exquisite mystery filled with secrets and intrigue and is by far my favorite of the three.  I was hooked from the first two pages and could not put this book down.

Brendan is a much more mature and well-developed character in this book.  When the story begins, he has been away from England for several years and is finally able to return upon the death of Mary I.  He arrives in England just as Elizabeth is taking the throne and he is forced to deal with his old nemesis, Robert Dudley and I must say, Dudley is quite the twit in this book.  You can't help but hate him which makes him such a good villain.  I liked Elizabeth in this book; lately I've read a lot of books where I really just couldn't sympathize with her but I think Gortner does a great job of showing the precarious position she was in when she became queen and making her relatable.

The setting of this book was perfectly creepy; a small manor in the north of England where all kinds of strange things occur while Brendan is there investigating Lady Parry's disappearance.  The descriptions of both the surroundings of the manor and it's mysterious inhabitants kept me wondering what secrets the manor held.  And boy did it hold a big secret that changed the whole trajectory of the story.  While the reader thought Brendan was at the manor for one reason, it is revealed that he is there to deal with an entirely different situation.

The Tudor Vendetta is full of twists and turns and every time I thought I had it all figured out, I was wrong.  The story is action-packed and the ending is intense to say the least.  I loved every minute of it!  I highly recommend The Tudor Vendetta and the rest of the Spymaster Trilogy.  4 stars.

About the Author:

C.W. GORTNER holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis in Renaissance Studies from the New College of California, as well as an AA from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco.

After an eleven year-long career in fashion, during which he worked as a vintage retail buyer, freelance publicist, and fashion show coordinator, C.W. devoted the next twelve years to the public health sector. In 2012, he became a full-time writer following the international success of his novels.
In his extensive travels to research his books, he has danced a galliard at Hampton Court, learned about organic gardening at Chenoceaux, and spent a chilly night in a ruined Spanish castle. His books have garnered widespread acclaim and been translated into twenty-one languages to date, with over 400,000 copies sold. A sought-after public speaker. C.W. has given keynote addresses at writer conferences in the US and abroad. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights, in particular companion animal rescue to reduce shelter overcrowding.

C.W. recently completed his fourth novel for Ballantine Books, about Lucrezia Borgia; the third novel in his Tudor Spymaster series for St Martin’s Press; and a new novel about the dramatic, glamorous life of Coco Chanel, scheduled for lead title publication by William Morrow, Harper Collins, in the spring of 2015.

Half-Spanish by birth and raised in southern Spain, C.W. now lives in Northern California with his partner and two very spoiled rescue cats.

For more information please visit C.W. Gortner’s website and blog. You can also connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and YouTube.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



 
Check out other stops on the tour here!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Mailbox Monday (33)

 Mailbox Monday is a weekly meme started by Marcia at To Be Continued.  It's a great way to show off all the cool books you received during the week.  Check it out here!

I got some great books this week!  On Monday night, I went to an event at a library near Kansas City and got to see Maggie Stiefvater and the Merry Sisters of Fate.  They gave a great talk on writing and then signed books.  I picked up a copy of The Raven Boys got it signed.  It was so fun!  I also got a couple of review books that I'm so excited to read.

Purchased:


For Review (from HFVBT):



What books did you get this week?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Guest Post: Shanna Hatfield, author of the Hardman Holiday series



Shanna-Hatfield-Nov-Blog-Tour

Welcome to the

Blog Tour!

A kickoff of two new holiday romances by Shanna Hatfield
and a fundraiser for the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund

An Interview with the Men of Hardman Holidays

Three characters from Shanna Hatfield’s historical holiday series, Hardman Holidays join us today. Set in the western town of Hardman, Oregon, this series of sweet romances highlights determined women and the men who fall for them. Luke Granger, Blake Stratton, and Arlan Guthry talk about life in Hardman in the 1890s.

A warm welcome to you all. Tell us a little about how you met.

Luke: We all grew up in Hardman. Blake moved here with his parents from England just after my family arrived from New York when we were quite small. Arlan, your parents moved here before you were born, didn’t they? I was young enough I don’t remember.

Arlan: Yes, they did. My brother, Adam, was just a year old when they moved to Hardman. I was born two years later. Blake’s mother was a friend of my mother’s.

Blake: That’s right. When Mum and Dad returned to England, she mentioned how much she missed visiting with your mother, although she didn’t say the same about Luke’s.

Luke: (Grins) Dora Granger just takes a little getting used to. Besides, she’s completely changed for the better since I married Filly.

Blake: Rather like you, ol’ chum.



What type of work do you do?

Luke: I own the Hardman Bank and manage it with Arlan’s capable assistance. I also raise cattle, hold an interest in a lumber mill, and a partnership in a mine.

Blake: He doesn’t want to get bored. (Blake and Arlan chuckle). While Luke is running hither and yon to meetings and the like, I stay home and carve furniture or work with my horses.

Luke: The Viscount should mention his furniture is in high demand both in England and America under the Roxbury House name. He also breeds and trains some of the best horses in this part of the country.

Arlan: His stallion, Romeo, is quite an impressive beast.

Blake: Romeo’s feelings would be hurt to hear you refer to him as a beast.

Arlan: If the name fits… As Luke mentioned, I work at the bank as his assistant. When I’m not there, I play the trumpet in the community band, and participate in activities around town.

Luke: And I thought he just had a thing for the phantasmagorical wonders of the new magician who rolled into town.

(Arlan frowns at Luke while Blake laughs)

Arlan: You just like to say the word "phantasmagorical" and work it into nearly every conversation since Alex came to town. She is a very talented magician.

Blake: And very beautiful.

Luke: And single. Don't forget she is as free and unfettered as they come, should anyone be interested in courting her.

(Arlan glares at Blake and Luke)


Use  five words to describe the most wonderful thing in your life

Luke: Filly - my wife, my love.

Blake: Beautiful Ginny - wife, friend, lover.

Arlan: That’s a tough one. Maybe you can come back to me on that.

Luke: (Slaps Arlan on the back) It’s just us. Go on, Arlan, fess up.

Arlan: (Frowning at Luke while fidgeting with his pocket watch.) Look at the time, we really must be going.



Before you leave, tell us what’s the best part of Christmas in Hardman?

Arlan: The sounds of carols, the crunch of snow beneath my boots, and the decorations. There is a feeling of kinship and welcome all around town.

Blake: (Snorts and shakes his head) Don’t forget the food, Arlan. You’re about to neglect a very important part of the holidays.

Luke: Like Filly’s cakes, tarts, and candies. There are the sweet breads and rolls, jams and pies, and the best cookies.

Blake: (Glances at Luke) Did she make those chocolate meringue things again?

Arlan: I had the rash idea Filly and Ginny were the best part of the holiday season for you two. It will be my pleasure to let them know you much prefer cookies and bread to their love and devotion. (Smirks at his friends)



Thank you for joining us. Any parting words for our readers?

Luke: Thank you for hosting us today. If you enjoy sweet holiday romances set in the past, I hope you’ll consider reading our stories in The Christmas Bargain, The Christmas Token, and The Christmas Calamity.


Where to Find The Books

Travel back to a different time with the historic Hardman Holiday Series,
christmas bargain coverbeginning with The Christmas Bargain

Now through Dec. 24, Shanna will donate 10 percent of the net proceeds from all her book sales to the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund. JCCF logoThe JCCF is a non-profit organization that assists rodeo athletes who’ve sustained catastrophic injuries and are unable to work for an extended period.


You’re Invited to PARTY!

You’re invited to join in the online Cowboys & Christmas Facebook Party Thursday, Nov. 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (PST). Drop in anytime during those four hours to enter to win great prizes, chat with guest authors, and more! Here’s the link to the party: http://tinyurl.com/cowboychristmasparty

The third book in the Hardman Holidays sweet Victorian romance series releases that day! The Christmas Calamity takes readers back to Hardman just in time for the holiday season. Preorders are available now for just $1.99 on Kindle. You can reserve your copy here:   http://amzn.com/B00OGOO994

In addition, the first book in the Hardman Holidays series, The Christmas Bargain, will be available free that day, as well!

Prize Basket

Enter to Win Prizes!

To enter the drawing for an Amazon gift card, autographed books, chocolates, original western artwork, and more fun goodies, fill out this form.

About Shanna Hatfield

Shanna Hatfield 2A hopeless romantic with a bit of sarcasm thrown in for good measure, Shanna Hatfield is a bestselling author of sweet romantic fiction written with a healthy dose of humor. In addition to blogging and eating too much chocolate, she is completely smitten with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller.

Shanna creates character-driven romances with realistic heroes and heroines. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.”

She is a member of Western Writers of America, Women Writing the West, and Romance Writers of America.

Find Shanna’s books at:


Shanna loves to hear from readers! Follow her online:

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Mailbox Monday (32)

Mailbox Monday is a great way to share the books you get each week!  Check it out here!

I haven't received any books for a few weeks and then in the past week, I got quite a few!  I'm still really busy with school and work but the semester will be over in a month and then I can get back to more reading.  Thank goodness!

For Review (from HFVBT):


The Loyalist's Luck by Elaine Cougler

Borrowed from a friend:


On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder

From the Library (ebook):


The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

What books did you get this week?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Book Blast: "A Home for Christmas" by MK McClintock

01_A Home for Christmas CoverPublication Date: November 5, 2014

Trappers Peak Publishing

eBook; 74 pages

ASIN: B00NE43C0O



Settings: 19th Century Montana, Wyoming, & Colorado

Genre: Christmas Short Stories/Western/Sweet Romance



Add to GR Button

Includes three historical fiction short stories to delight and entertain this holiday season.



CHRISTMAS MOUNTAIN
In search of family she barely knows and adventure she's always wanted, Katherine Donahue is saved from freezing on a winter night in the mountains of Montana by August Hollister. Neither of them expected that what one woman had in mind was a new beginning for them both.



TETON CHRISTMAS
Heartache and a thirst for adventure lead McKensie Stewart and her sister to Wyoming after the death of their parents. With the help of a widowed aunt and a charming horse breeder, McKensie discovers that hope is a cherished promise, and there is no greater gift than love.



LILY'S CHRISTMAS WISH
Lily Malone has never had a real family or a real Christmas. This holiday season, she might get both. From an orphanage in New York City to the rugged mountains of Colorado, Lily sends out only one wish. But when the time comes, can she give it up so someone else's wish can come true?



Watch the Book Trailer


[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3ok78fKCJA?feature=player_embedded]



Praise for A Home for Christmas


“5 stars! I have just finished reading three short stories written by M.K. McClintock, part of her collection A HOME FOR CHRISTMAS. I really enjoyed these charming historical fictions CHRISTMAS MOUNTAIN, TETON CHRISTMAS and LILY’S CHRISTMAS WISH!” – Nicole Laverdure

"Heart-warming and inspiring." - Kat Cambron

"A delightful collection of stories sure to warm any reader's heart." - Elizabeth Loftus



Pre-Order the eBook





About the Author


02_MK McClintock AuthorMK McClintock is the author bestselling historical western romance and award-nominated historical romantic mystery. She spins tales of romance and adventure inspired by the heather-covered hills of Scotland and the majestic mountains of home. With her heart deeply rooted in the past and her mind always on adventure, she lives and writes in Montana.



Learn more about MK by visiting her website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.



A Home for Christmas Book Blast Schedule




Monday, November 3

Literary Chanteuse

Tuesday, November 4

Unshelfish

Wednesday, November 5

Book Nerd

The True Book Addict

Thursday, November 6

So Many Books, So Little Time


Monday, November 10

Susan Heim on Writing

Tuesday, November 11

What Is That Book About

Wednesday, November 12

Historical Fiction Connection

Friday, November 14

Passages to the Past



Giveaway


To enter to win the following prizes, please complete the form below. Giveaway ends on November 14th at 11:59pm EST. One winner per giveaway item.

- PB Trilogy of the Montana Gallagher Series + Woolrich Rough Rider Throw (Open to US residents only)
- Ebook Trilogy of the Montana Gallagher Series (International)



Gallagher-Woolrich-Giveaway






 photo b86e1bf8-b2d9-4505-ad74-1924b14a0abb.png

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Quick Review: "The Case for the Only Child" by Susan Newman

From Goodreads: 
Although parenting approaches change, attitudes about only children remain stuck in the past. The negative stereotypes lonely, selfish, bossy, spoiled, socially maladjusted make parents think their child will be at a disadvantage when compared to those who grow up with siblings.

The Case for the Only Child debunks the myths, taking into account the many chang-es the nuclear family has experienced in the face of two-family incomes, women who have children later, and the economic reality of raising children in our modern world. Combining often-surprising findings with real-life stories, compassionate in-sight, and thought-provoking questions, Dr. Susan Newman provides a guide to help you decide for yourself how to best plan your family and raise a single child.


My Thoughts: I saw this book on a blog a few years ago before I had Julia and thought it sounded intriguing.  Since the hubs and I are considering being 'one and done', I thought it might be a good time to pick this one up.

I liked and disliked this book.  I thought the author made a lot of good points as to why there is nothing wrong with only having one child and how research has disproven some of the old myths of the spoiled, bratty only child.  She brought up a lot of different, valid reasons that people have for choosing to not have more than one child and I found those sections to be the most interesting.

However, the author seemed very defensive and almost disparaging of people who do have more than one child. I understand that it is hard to deal with a lot of the rude comments some people make when you say you are only having one, but the author acted like she had a major chip on her shoulder.  It felt like she went off on tangents which made the book drag on and bore me. 

Overall, I think there was some useful information in the book but it would probably be one to skim rather than read cover to cover. 3 stars.
 
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