Moonstone by Olivia Stocum

MoonstoneMoonstone by Olivia Stocum

Scotland 1607
After her parents are murdered English noblewoman, Rhiannon Hanover, becomes a spoil of war. She vows that she will trust no man. Until William MacAlastair challenges her captor for her life, and Rhiannon for her love . . .

William never could resist a damsel in distress, but Rhiannon is no ordinary woman, and when he comes to her rescue, he finds himself breaking alliances, facing an old enemy, and stealing her for his own.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the second book by this author that I have had the pleasure of reading. Once more, there is a lot to love in her work.

If you are looking for an historical adventure with a healthy dose of romance, this is a good place to start.

I really enjoyed the chemistry between the two main characters. The female lead is sassy and strong and the type of character that you want to root for. Although she is not portrayed as a helpless damsel in distress, she still has worries, fears and her range of emotions come through well in the writing, particularly in her struggle to get closer to her intended.

The plot moved along at a good pace and there were unexpected events to keep my interest.

This book has everything you could want in an historical romance. There is danger, a bit of mystery, romantic tension and a great resolution at the end.

I highly recommend this series. I’m looking forward to the next book from Olivia Stocum.

The House On blackberry Hill by Donna Alward

House on Blackberry Hill (Jewell Cove, #1)House on Blackberry Hill by Donna Alward

When a young woman inherits a rundown mansion, the last thing she expects to find is the key to her heart…

Abby Foster is a fish out of water in the Maine coastal town of Jewell Cove. The crumbling Foster estate, left to her by a relative she never even knew, has everyone’s eyes on her—an eerie reminder of the long-buried family secrets that have haunted her…forever. Single, stunning, and sometimes too strong-willed for her own good, Abby’s plan is to sell the house and hightail it back to Nova Scotia. But another part of her is intrigued by the idea of starting over somewhere new—and finally learning the truth about her heritage.

The House On Blackberry Hill

Enter Tom Arseneault. The best contractor in Jewell Cove, Tom is determined to restore the beauty and prestige of the Foster mansion—and maybe even work his charms on its beautiful new heir. The attraction between him and Abby is undeniable, and the more time Tom spends on the house the more he wants to be in it with her. But Abby’s not sure she can trust him—or anyone in Jewell Cove who seems to know more about her family history than she does. Home: Is it really where the heart is after all?

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“The House on Blackberry Hill” by Donna Alward is a lovely contemporary romance with historical ties and a strong feeling of roots and family connections.

I liked this book very much. Every once in a while I am lucky enough to find a book that has such wonderful atmosphere that it transports me from the world I know to the same place the characters are in. This is one of those books. The descriptions are perfect. I could smell the scent of blackberries in the air and feel the breeze upon my skin.

This is a very family and small town oriented story. The author did a superb job of introducing her characters. There was enough about their previous lives to make them interesting, but not so much time spent recounting the past that it got boring. Reading this book was like making new friends.

I enjoyed watching the mysteries about the old family home come to light. The understated paranormal in this story worked really well with the plot. I am really looking forward to the next book.

As the romance was more sweet and authentic and than hot and sexy and the love scenes were very mild, this would be an excellent choice for those who like love story based romances.

Overall, this was an intriguing book that satisfied my desire to escape reality for a bit. I’d definitely recommend it.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Missing You by Harlan Coben

Missing YouMissing You by Harlan Coben

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Coming off the heels of “Six Years,” Which I absolutely loved, I was really hoping that this thriller would be just as good.

Harlan Coben is a fantastic author, there is no doubt about that, so I had high expectations for this book. For the first third or so of the story, I wasn’t positive that I was going to love this. The story starts out well enough, but is so focused on the main character and her own wants and desires that it was hard for me to see how this was going to form into a complex thriller.

As the story progressed the plot thickened and there were multiple angles being worked at the same time. The characters were well written and each had a defined purpose in the story, even the ones that at first glance didn’t really seem to be important.

There were a few things I thought were a bit too convenient (everyone seemed to be a computer genius) but for the most part I found this story easily digestible. The last few chapters of the book were very edgy and tense and the kind of writing that makes you grip the book in terror for the heroes.

This author is good at creating tense situations for his characters and making the reader want to keep turning pages. This book was no exception. I enjoyed getting to know Kat and trying to anticipate what her next move would be. Although there were times during the latter half of this book that I wondered about the things she did (would an officer really do that?)she was a character that I formed a bond with and wanted to see prevail in the end.

Even in the last few pages, the story was still taking unexpected turns. If you are a fan of Harlan Coben or just a good mystery/thriller, this is a book you will not want to miss out on.

Family of the Tri-Rune Blog Tour

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Legends of Windemere: Family of the Tri-Rune has Arrived!!!

Buy it Here for $2.99!

Book Blurb:

The magical adventure continues after Luke Callindor and his friends recover from their battles in Haven.

Nyx still has nightmares about casting the genocide spell in Hero’s Gate. Every night her heart is gripped by the sensation of hundreds of goblins dying by her magic. By the request of Lord Highrider and Duke Solomon, she is returning to fix the damage she caused. With Luke Callindor and Sari by her side, Nyx is ready to face the vengeful goblins and opportunistic thieves that plague Hero’s Gate. Yet, there is a darker threat that was born from her violated magic: The Krypters.

It is another action-packed, character driven story that will reveal one of our heroes has been lied to for their entire life.

Wondering what you’re in for? Check out the praise earned by the first three installments of this high fantasy series.

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Review Excerpts for Legends of Windemere: Beginning of a Hero:

“I greatly enjoyed the vivid characters, the gripping plot, and the refreshingly unique writing style (present tense). ” – kdillmanjones

“One of the things that won me over was the bouts of humor. Especially in the beginning. “This is not possible! I am a Paladin!” I thought I was going to die with delight.” – C.N. Faust

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Review Excerpts for Legends of Windemere: Prodigy of Rainbow Tower:

“Nyx is such a strong personality. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her and more of the other characters, new and already known, with the rich tapestry of Windemere unfolding in between intense actions scenes and moments of kindness and budding friendships.” – Danielle Taylor

“Almost like the Harry Potter series. The books start out so young and innocent, but by the last book – watch out!” — Momto4Booklover

Cover by Jason Pedersen

Cover by Jason Pedersen

Review Excerpts for Legends of Windemere: Allure of the Gypsies:

“One of the things I love most about this series are all the characters! They are developed so well that I feel like I know them personally. Even the newly introduced characters fit in immediately.” – BarbBookWorm

“Let’s talk about action. The author creates interesting action sequences with believable use of fantasy elements. He is very creative. There are also good sections where the characters stretch out and we get to know them better.” – Donald L. Mitchell “Music Lover”

Charles author photo B&WAuthor Biography:

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Contact:

Blog- www.legendsofwindemere.com

Twitter- @cyallowitz

Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/CharlesYallowitz

An interview and opportunity to win a signed copy from Francis Guenette

The Light Never Lies - ebook cover - Francis L. GuenetteFrancis Guenette - author photo

 Synopsis:

As circumstances spiral out of control, Lisa-Marie is desperate to return to Crater Lake. The young girl’s resolve is strengthened when she learns that Justin Roberts is headed there for a summer job at the local sawmill. Her sudden appearance causes turmoil. The mere sight of Lisa-Marie upsets the relationship Liam Collins has with trauma counsellor, Izzy Montgomery. All he wants to do is love Izzy, putter in the garden and mind the chickens. Bethany struggles with her own issues as Beulah hits a brick wall in her efforts to keep the organic bakery and her own life running smoothly. A native elder and a young boy who possesses a rare gift show up seeking family. A mystery writer arrives to rent the guest cabin and a former client returns looking for Izzy’s help. Life is never dull for those who live on the secluded shores of Crater Lake. Set against the backdrop of Northern Vancouver Island, The Light Never Lies is a story of heartbreaking need and desperate measures. People grapple with the loss of cherished ideals to discover that love comes through the unique family ties they create as they go.

 

Author Bio:

Francis Guenette has spent most of her life on the west coast of British Columbia. She lives with her husband and finds inspiration for writing in the beauty and drama of their lakeshore cabin and garden. She has a graduate degree in Counselling Psychology from the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. She has worked as an educator, trauma counsellor and researcher. The Light Never Lies is her second novel. Francis blogs over at http://disappearinginplainsight.com and maintains a Facebook author page. Please stop by and say hello.

Read on after the interview to find out more about how you can win a signed copy of this book.

 

Tell us a little about you and your writing projects.

I live on the shores of an isolated lake on Northern Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. If you’ve read my books, that will sound familiar. I’ve used this setting as my fictional jumping off spot for the first two novels of The Crater Lake Series – Disappearing in Plain Sight and The Light Never Lies. I’m currently working on the third in the series that is tentatively titled, Chasing Down the Night.

I’ve worked in various areas of education most of my life – lately as a trauma counsellor, earlier with challenged young people. Many of these themes come out in my writing. Because I’ve always had a good sense of humour, even though my books cover some hard-hitting topics, the reader will find more than a few laughs amid the tears.

What first made you decide to become an author? Was there a specific genre you knew you would write in or did it just happen when you began writing?

My way into writing fiction was through a round-about route. I spent a lot of time honing my writing skills in very different arena – academia. Then one day, I ran up against a brick wall. I came home to the lake and wandered the trails for days on end trying to clear my thoughts and figure out why my ability to get on with my current project was so blocked. I found no answer to that question, but in those days of being near the lake and walking, the characters for my first novel popped into my head. The idea of these people and the unique situations they found themselves in took over my thoughts and resulted in an absolute shift from one type of writing to another – from one career to another. I didn’t think at all about genre – I just knew I had to tell the story my characters were clamouring to have told.

Who are some of your literary heroes?

I have always been a big fan of Hemingway – mostly his short stories. To be able to say so much with so few words tends to make a writer heroic, at least in my mind.

If you could have a conversation with any author, alive or passed on, who would it be and why?

I would love to sit down and have a chat with J.R. Rowlings about what it was like to start out the way she did and end up where she has gone. How did she find the courage, especially in the beginning, to stay with the writing? Was there a moment when she saw the fame coming? How did she feel? Did the popularity of the first books shape her writing of the last ones? Her rise to fame as a writer fascinates me.

What advice do you have for new authors about publishing and marketing?

Hands down, marketing is the most difficult part of the entire writing process. I chose self-publishing and that has its picky, hair-pulling moments, for sure. The learning curve is steep, but that is nothing compared to the grind that marketing can be. There are so many voices (blogs, books, those who have made it big) telling the new author what to do and it is very difficult to make a wise choice. Advice from those who made it big is almost always out-of-date – things are changing so fast in the realm of self-published book promotion. It seems as though every click on the social media network reveals new sites offering services that will bring one’s book to prominence. Rarely are there any statistics to relate these services to actual sales. It is a buyer-beware market. Okay, lest I sound all doom and gloom here, I do have three small pieces of advice. Hunker down for the long haul, limit time spent on social media, and write your next book.

Anything else you would like the audience to know?

Self-publishing has thrown the gates wide open for all the people who always thought they had a story in them. Now they can tell that story and get it out in the world. This reality is a double-edged sword. For every author who rewrites so many times they’ve lost count, has the money to spend for a discerning editor, good cover design and formatting, there are a dozen others who didn’t think rewrites, or editing, or cover design and formatting are all that important. Or maybe they couldn’t afford such luxury. Either way, if you read widely across the self-publishing spectrum you will definitely find a mixed bag of lemons and gems.

This need not discourage anyone. Quality will always rise – it just takes time. More gatekeepers are not the answer. Readers will decide. They’ll find the books they like and then they’ll come back for more. We writers must produce the most professional product we can and then we just have to be patient. In the words of W.B. Kinsella in his wonderful novel, Shoeless Joe (that became the basis for the movie, Field of Dreams) “If you build it they will come.”

Where can we find you on the various social media outlets?

I blog over on WordPress: http://disappearinginplainsight.com

I have an author Facebook page that I keep up-to-date and topical: https://www.facebook.com/pages/francisguenetteauthor/377139735716267

You can also find me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/FrancisGuenette

And over at Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6978213.Francis_L_Guenette

 

*Want to win a signed copy of this great book? All you have to do is comment to be entered in the drawing. One random commenter from this blog tour  will win a copy signed by Francis. Give it a shot, it could be you!

Spice up your April with Harlequin :) A lovely giveaway

If you live in North America and you are interested in a bit of romance and fun for April, take a moment to check out this post.

Here’s what you gotta do to win:

 

Give me the title and author of your very favourite Harlequin book of all time, then tweet, reblog or share this post to your favourite social media outlet! One random winner will be chosen on Thursday, the 17th of April. Please remember that this giveaway is only for those in NORTH AMERICA :)

April is Billionaires month at Harlequin!

 

rev-04_April

 

 

 

 

 

And here is what you can win–I want one too!

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Here are some of the exciting things you can find at Harlequin.com

0514-9780373755219-bigw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1404_hp_fourFriends_mainSo go give the site a look and see if something tickles your fancy.

And here is a calendar of themes for the coming months.

hqn

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Doctor Sleep (The Shining, #2)Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.

On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”

Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of devoted readers of The Shining and satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think many of us went into reading Doctor Sleep with some form of trepidation. When the central focus of the original book is a hotel–and that hotel is nonexistent at the end of the book, how does one pick up where they left off and write a second book based on that original?

Well…apparently what you do in this case is build a new story off of scant memories and fill in the rest with very imaginative and yet ultimately pretty pointless paranormal characters.

Did I love this book? No!

Why?

For so many reasons. Here are a few:

The Shining scared the Hell clean out of me. I’m not going to get into the Kubrick Vs. King debate here as far as the movies go and the possible hidden meanings (think Room 237,) but I will say that the thing I loved about the original book, was that there was a fine balance of psychological terror and paranormal terror. I didn’t get that from Doctor Sleep. Really, the only time I felt like the book bordered on any kind of reality I could accept was when Dan was remembering the events of the Overlook and his childhood.

Rose the Hat. My, oh my. One of my pet peeves is when an author spends an entire book building up an evil character and then they die a pointless, silly death that never showcases all of the talents they have for being bad. I won’t include a spoiler here to say how or exactly why I feel as I do, but I definitely thought this was a case of “ran out of good ideas,” when it came to the end of her story.

Abra was a spoiled, self-appreciative brat. I want to love the main characters in the books I read, I think we all do. I loved Dan, but I suppose much of that probably came from the already established feelings I had for him. (He was such a little slugger in the first book.) Abra did not impress me much. She was supposed to be such a powerful kid, and yet most of the time she was featured hugging a cuddly toy and taking the advice of others. Had this been a movie, it would have been a situation where the audience members kept saying, “how dumb is this kid?” for getting herself into the situations she did.

I could go on, but I want this review to be balanced, so I will move on to the things I liked.

If I wasn’t looking at this as “The Shining part Two,” I might have felt differently about it. Still, it was an interesting book with a lot of very captivating ideas. I liked that Dan still had some psychic abilities even after he got older and that he was putting them to use in a helpful way.

Azreel the cat was a nice addition to this story and worked well with Dan’s talents.

Whilst I expected there to be more reference to the events in the original story, and was somewhat dismayed that there wasn’t, I appreciated that the grounds where the Overlook stood were used as an important part of this book. I never would have guessed how they were going to be reinvented, and I liked how Rose could sense the evil that lie there, beneath the surface.

The relationships Dan built throughout the course of Doctor Sleep reminded me that he was human and gave me a sense of nostalgia, particularly at the end, when he sees a certain specter.

Typical of Stephen King works, there is a healthy amount of telepathic ability between the characters. Although I found the paranormal aspects of this book more over the top than in the original novel, I also felt the “King vibe” that has been absent in some of the more recent works. His sense of humour and use of irony was ever-present in this book, and that was nice to see.

My overall opinion of Doctor sleep is this: If you are a big fan of Mr. King and in particular of the Shining, you will want to read this to satisfy your curiosity about what happened after the Overlook. You may love it or hate it or, like me, find yourself somewhere in between, but either way you should check it out.

As a standalone novel this might have earned a higher rating from me, but as a book in any way connected to one of the finest horror works in history (my opinion of course,) this did not in any way compare. The feeling of claustrophobic, psychological terror that made the Shining so frightening was absent in this book.

While there may have been 237 reasons to love this book, there were at least 217 reasons not to. It wasn’t the worst book ever, nor the best. 3 stars is my final opinion.

The Inheritance by Elaine Jeremiah

The InheritanceThe Inheritance by Elaine Jeremiah

When Emma uses blackmail to force her father into giving her the inheritance owing to her early, it sets in motion a chain of events that will change the lives of her and her elder sister Kate forever. Although Emma and Kate have grown up on their father’s farm together, they each want two very different things. Emma is fed up with her boring, suffocating lifestyle and longs to break free. Kate by contrast is happy living and working for her father on the farm and can’t understand her sister’s urgency to leave.

With her inheritance, Emma is soon off to London with her wealthy friend Natalie. She begins to live a life of luxury whilst her sister Kate is left hard at work on the farm. But things are not all they seem. Before long Emma is finding that London life is not all roses, whilst Kate is forced to re-evaluate what it is she wants from life. And even though Kate and her father are living in the middle of nowhere, she discovers that a past relationship may pose a present danger to her.

ebook, 156 pages
Published August 27th
2013 by Elaine Jeremiah
The Inheritance
ASIN
B00ESLWOW4
edition language
English

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Score one for setting in this lovely book by Elaine Jeremiah. She did a beautiful job with her descriptions, making this book an easy one to fall into and not leave until the last page was read.

I enjoyed Kate’s story and the mystery that surrounded it, but I have to admit that my heart lie in Emma’s portion of this tale. The author did a brilliant job of blending the various story lines together and making this novel a joy to read. I particularly found myself fascinated by the story of Stephen. I could never quite figure out exactly what was happening with that part of the book until all was resolved. I like it when I can’t guess right.

This story begins after some startling and important events have already happened and offers the reader a chance to know well established characters that are both interesting and fully formed.

The dialogue is written well and the story has a nice pace that is not too rushed, yet not too slow either.

Overall this was an enjoyable book with a lot of excellent qualities to make me comfortable with recommending it. If you are looking for a charming book by a new author, this is one you should consider.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the author, all opinions are my own.

Lincoln’s Boy’s by Joshua Zeitz

Lincoln's Boys: John Hay, John Nicolay, and the War for Lincoln's ImageLincoln’s Boys: John Hay, John Nicolay, and the War for Lincoln’s Image by Joshua Zeitz

 

A timely and intimate look into Abraham Lincoln’s White House through the lives of his two closest aides and confidants

Lincoln’s official secretaries John Hay and John Nicolay enjoyed more access, witnessed more history, and knew Lincoln better than anyone outside of the president’s immediate family. Hay and Nicolay were the gatekeepers of the Lincoln legacy. They read poetry and attendeded the theater with the president, commiserated with him over Union army setbacks, and plotted electoral strategy. They were present at every seminal event, from the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation to Lincoln’s delivery of the Gettysburg Address—and they wrote about it after his death.

In their biography of Lincoln, Hay and Nicolay fought to establish Lincoln’s heroic legacy and to preserve a narrative that saw slavery—not states’ rights—as the sole cause of the Civil War. As Joshua Zeitz shows, the image of a humble man with uncommon intellect who rose from obscurity to become a storied wartime leader and emancipator is very much their creation.

Drawing on letters, diaries, and memoirs, Lincoln’s Boys is part political drama and part coming-of-age tale—a fascinating story of friendship, politics, war, and the contest over history and remembrance.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have great respect for this book, having just finished it and now feeling as though I understand things about the former president and those closest to him that I did not before.

It is not a secret that I am somewhat of a Lincoln freak, so when I saw this book I knew I had to read it. I expected this book to be well organised and interesting. What I didn’t expect was the level of careful detail the author included about the lives of John Nicolay and John Hay. He was meticulous in his research and recounting of their lives, and yet this book was not just a string of boring facts.

Looking back into the past through the author’s words was an experience that I shall not soon forget. If you are a fan of historical non-fiction, his book will definitely be one you will want to add to your shelves.

It was fascinating to see where these two men came from and what happened before the careers that they became synonymous with. This book reminds you that even the most powerful and memorable people came from somewhere besides fame.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from Netgalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.

View all my reviews