Sunday, May 14, 2017

THE MEASURE OF THE MOON Review & Giveaway


 Lisa Preston uses her experience to brilliantly channel human drama and suspense into THE MEASURE OF THE MOON (Thomas & Mercer; April 18, 2017).  New York Times bestselling author, Lisa Scottoline calls it “a powerful follow-up to Orchids and Stone, Lisa Preston’s The Measure of the Moon is a beautifully rendered story - in fact, two stories - which weave together the certainty  of how our actions and choices affect one another with far-reaching consequences.”
When eight-year-old Greer Donner falls off his horse in the Washington wilderness, he braces himself to face the long hike home alone. But screams pierce the darkness, and he stumbles upon a dead-end road where a man is beating a woman—nearly to death. In a moment of courage, he stops the assault, but he’s left to face the man, who turns his wrath into an ominous threat: if the boy ever reveals what he has seen, his family will pay the ultimate price. The secret Greer now carries begins his emotional unraveling.
Meanwhile, in Seattle, Gillian Trett is a photographer with a troubled marriage and a childhood she’s trying to forget. Domestic tension mounts when her husband’s stepsister arrives. Desperate for a distraction, and a way to advance her career, Gillian throws herself into uncovering the history behind an old man’s Holocaust photo of boys in a forest. The mysterious children and the truth behind the scene haunt her—she can’t let go of the image, or of her own shadowed past.
Then a horrifying revelation entangles Gillian’s path with young Greer’s. The boy and the woman, separated by a generation and a hundred miles, each confront the terrible power of harbored secrets—not only to eclipse the truth but also to illuminate the dark, unknown dimensions of their loved ones and themselves.

My thoughts....3 stars

THE MEASURE OF THE MOON starts off strong but devolves into convoluted (and for me unnecessary) subplots with an almost bewildering array of characters.
It feels as if  multiple book plots have been crammed into one. Greer and his tale are all but lost in the other characters and their stories. It borders on being too busy to enjoy what the book is supposed to be about. My interest was rekindled about midway through, waxing and waning to the end.  There’s a good story there, unfortunately you have to wade through the clutter to get to it.



How do you feel about "busy" books. Some people prefer them. Let me know in the comments below (don't forget your email for contact if you win) and you'll be entered to win.

Visit Lisa

Thursday, April 20, 2017

What y'all been doing?

It's been busy in this corner of the world. Work is busy. Oldest & HRH are living w/ us temporarily....Downsized a bit early maybe? We're making it work.
Along w/ all that I've been sewing & crocheting. Here's a few of the things I've made recently. This giraffe blankie was for a friends 1st grand & I've about finished Elena's. She's my newest grand, born Tuesday. 
This matelasse afghan was sent to a friend for Christmas.


& these are the latest additions to HRH's wardrobe...


Might get a table at the craft sale this year.  What y'all been up to? Do tell....

Sunday, April 9, 2017

LONDON CALLING Review


 In the years following World War II, former Secret Service employee Mirabelle Bevan has found a refuge in the quiet coastal town of Brighton. But she can’t seem to resist an attraction to danger and a thirst for justice . . .

1952: Eighteen-year-old debutante Rose Bellamy Gore was last seen outside a Soho jazz club in the company of a saxophone player named Lindon Claremont. Now her mysterious disappearance is front-page news in the London tabloids.

When Lindon turns up the next day in Brighton, desperately seeking help, Mirabelle counsels him to cooperate with the authorities. After the local police take the musician into custody and ship him off to Scotland Yard, Mirabelle and her best friend, Vesta Churchill, hop a train to London in search of the truth.

As they scour smoky jazz clubs searching for clues to the deb’s disappearance, they descend into a sinister underworld where the price of admission can be one’s life. Mirabelle will need to draw on her espionage skills to improvise her way out of a disappearing act of her own . . .(synopsis from Amazon)

3.5 stars
Mirabelle Bevan and Vesta Churchill are an unlikely investigative duo in England the years after WWII. It’s 1952, the war is over, Mirabelle’s lover has been dead for 3 years, she’s taken over McGuigan and McGuigan Debt Recovery, and hired Vesta as her assistant.

In the war, Mirabelle worked in intelligence. What she didn’t glean from her position was taught to her by her lover, Jack. This mini education has borne fruit in Mirabelle and Vesta’s adventures so far.

Jazz is taking England’s youth and youthful minded by storm. The clubs that feature the music are described as dives and the musicians aren’t thought much better of than the venues they play.

Lindon Claremont, sax player and childhood friend of Vesta, turns up at the Brighton office on the run from London. Rose Bellamy Gore has been kidnapped and the police suspect Lindon. After hearing of Vesta’s previous crime solving, he comes to her seeking help.

LONDON CALLING takes Mirabelle and Vesta away from Brighton to London. From the tony neighborhood of Belgravia to the slums of the East End, they seek Rose and answers about the who and why of her disappearance.

Mirabelle and Vesta, despite the odds and danger, are determined to get justice for all involved, one way or another. For Vesta, this one’s personal.

Mirabelle, always dignified and elegant; Vesta, bright, lively, and highly observant. These two are perfect foils. They manage to keep their cool and their class, not always easy.

Their “cases” are always deep and twisted, keeping readers guessing.

The addition of a new character and a spaniel pup show promise.

The era has never been an especial favorite, but I’m becoming quite fond of it when Mirabelle and Vesta inhabit it.

Looking forward to book 3.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Jill Mansell's MEET ME AT BEACHCOMBER BAY excerpt w/ giveaway!

Title: Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay
Author: Jill Mansell
Pub Date: May 2, 2017

International bestseller Jill Mansell weaves a heartwarming tale of love, family and friendship in her latest novel

1. A brief encounter that could have become so much more…if only everything were different
2. Step-sisters, bitter rivals in every area except one—by unbreakable pact neither will ever steal a man from the other
3. A love triangle that starts out as a mess of secrets and mix-ups, and only gets worse from there

Plus!
Friendship, family ties, crossed wires and self-discovery, second chances and first impressions

Welcome to Jill Mansell’s blustery seaside world. Once you step inside, you’ll never want to leave!

With over 10 million copies sold, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Mansell writes irresistible and funny, poignant and romantic tales for women in the tradition of Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella and Jojo Moyes. She lives with her partner and their children in Bristol, England.


GIVEAWAY a Rafflecopter giveaway
Jill Mansell book bundle and a British summer tumbler

EXCERPT
Will you be my boyfriend?”
Ronan looked at Clemency. To be honest, they weren’t the words he’d been expecting to hear. “Excuse me?”
Paula and Gavin had gone home; it was just the two of them in the office. Clemency was sitting on her desk with her bare legs swinging, because she’d just painted her toenails with scarlet polish and was encouraging them to dry.
OK, not my real boyfriend.” She waved her hand dismissively. “But, you know, if you could bear to fake it for a week or two, I’d really owe you one. And it’s not as if you’re seeing anyone at the moment, so it wouldn’t be putting you out.”
Ronan frowned. “What’s brought this on? Is someone pestering you?”
No, just driving me nuts.” Rubbing her face, Clemency said, “Seriously, Belle’s doing my head in. She’s so smug, I just can’t bear it any more. It’s all ‘Oh look, here’s me with my perfect gorgeous boyfriend and then there’s poor you with nobody at all.’ She won’t stop showing off about it and making out I’m some sad, lonely spinster. I swear to God, it feels like we’re fifteen again and all I want to do is stuff her head down the loo or wait until she’s asleep and chop off all her hair.”
Did you ever stuff her head down the loo when you were fifteen?”
Well, no, but the urge was pretty strong. And now it’s back. But I know I’m not allowed to actually do it, so I thought maybe it’s easier to just get myself a boyfriend instead.”
And you’ve chosen me to be the one. Can I hazard a guess why?”
Because if I pick someone boring and average looking, that’ll just make her more smug. And because she’s always had a thing about you, which means…OK, she’s got Sam now, but she’ll still be a little bit jealous.”
And?” Ronan prompted when she paused and waggled her toes. He knew Clemency too well, could read her like a book.
Well, I did kind of happen to mention to Sam that you and I were seeing each other.”
Ah.”
I didn’t mean to,” Clemency protested. “But like I said, Belle has been really unbearable, and I said it on the spur of the moment. It just popped out.”
Oh dear.” Ronan nodded sympathetically. “So you’re going to look pretty silly if I say no now.”
I am. I will. I’ll look like one of those desperate old spinsters who fantasize about men they know they’ll never have a chance with. Word will get out and I’ll be the laughing stock of St. Carys.”
The whole of Cornwall, probably.”
So will you do it?”
Not sure. What’s in it for me?”
Wild sex, obviously.” Clemency raised an eyebrow at him. “That was a joke.”
Thank goodness for that. I don’t have sex with desperate old spinsters.”
OK, so are you going to be my fake boyfriend, or do I have to find someone else?”
As she had undoubtedly known he would, Ronan said, “Go on then, we’ll give it a whirl. Might be fun.”
And it’ll definitely annoy my sister.” Clemency did a triumphant fist bump. “Thanks.”
Ronan shrugged. “Hey, it’s not as if anyone’s going to be surprised, is it?” For the last two years, as long as they’d been colleagues, people had been asking when he and Clemency were going to get together. It was a standing joke among their friends. They were the perfect match, was the general consensus, and everyone wondered why it hadn’t happened yet.
Well, that’s true enough. We’d better tell your mum, though. It wouldn’t be fair to let her get her hopes up—you know she’s always wanted us to get together.” Clemency had been tentatively prodding the nail polish on her toes. “Yay, all dry. We can go now.” Jumping down from the desk, she slid her feet into silver flip-flops. “We’ll start tomorrow, OK? Try not to go out and fall in love with someone else tonight.” She waved her keys at him. “Just remember, I’m your girlfriend now.”
What was she like? Amused, Ronan said, “How could I forget?”

Sunday, March 26, 2017

SINGLE MALT MURDER Review

Abigail Logan never expected to inherit a whisky distillery in the Scottish Highlands. But in the first novel of an engaging new series blending fine spirits with chilling mystery, Abi finds that there are secrets lurking in the misty glens that some will go to any lengths to protect . . . even murder. (synopsis from Amazon)

4 Stars
In no shape, form or fashion is it evident that SINGLE MALT MURDER is Melinda Mullet’s first book. A setting that makes you wish you could live there, a solid well-constructed mystery, complex characters, and the chance to learn about a topic that isn’t one you encounter every day.

Abi and Grant both start off on the prickly side but warm up nicely. Their attraction simmers in the background, never dominating. Personally speaking, that’s a good thing.

Balfour, the Haven, and Abby Glen all made me long to hop a plan and relocate.

Abby Glen is a distillery for single malt whisky, and as such there are details about the process and a few historical tidbits. Interesting, but if you’ll have to discover the difference between whiskey and whisky on your own.

Whoduunit and why kept me on my mental toes and kudos to those who figure out every detail. I certainly didn’t, but that’s half the fun, isn’t it?

Ms. Mullet has set the bar high for her follow up. If SINGLE MALT MURDER is anything to judge by, she should meet the challenge handily.
Looking forward to my next trip to Balfour.


Friday, March 17, 2017

WHAT HAPPENS AT THE AIRPORT





Melly Woodruff has the worst luck with men. Every time another relationship fails, she jumps on a flight to visit a friend and take her mind off her lack of love. On another broken-hearted trip, a fellow passenger gets out of hand and Wes Truitt, the on-board air marshal steps in. It doesn’t take Melly long to remember they’d met before. Because what happens in the airport doesn’t always stay at the airport…


Amazon





My thoughts
3.5 Stars
Is a sweet “was that first encounter really that special” romance. Wes and Melly met on a flight and connected. Melly waited for a call from Wes, one that never came. Two years and another failed relationship for Melly later their paths cross again on, you guessed it, an airplane.
WHAT HAPPENS AT THE AIRPORT is a quick romantic read incorporating several aspects of modern culture from air marshals on flights to social media and viral videos. Wes, Melly, and their romance are believable and sweet without being twee.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

ELEMENTARY, SHE READ by Vicki Delany Review


Core characters are Gemma Doyle, distant relative of the esteemed author, co-owner of the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium, and partner in the adjoining Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room.  Gemma, like Holmes, has almost freakish powers of observation and deduction, but unlike Holmes, often is too clever for her own good. Though she has an eye for detail and what appears to be a photographic memory, she’s oblivious in many ways.  There were times I found Gemma to be grating.
Gemma’s Great Uncle Arthur, world traveler and bookstore Co-owner and tearoom partner. I look forward to more of Uncle Arthur, his character sound fascinating.
Mrs. Hudson Tea Room partner, Jayne, Gemma’s best friend.
Ryan Ashburton, West London (Cape Cod) police detective and Gemma’s former lover.
Det. Estrada, Ryan’s partner.  Det. Estrada’s immediate dislike of Gemma and her single-minded determination to focus on her was irritating. She wanted so badly for Gemma to be guilty. There doesn’t appear to be a reason other than her disbelief of Gemma’s “ability”.
Moriarty, the bookstore cat. He’s not a fan of Gemma.
Violet, the loving cocker spaniel who waits patiently at home. What a sweetie…
When Gemma finds what appears to be a rare, therefore expensive, magazine hidden in her bookstore, tracking down the author leads to a body; leading to Gemma and Jayne as prime suspects in a murder. For habitual, astute mystery readers the difficulty level will be low, but the writing combined with the appeal of the setting and characters should make up for that.  ELEMENTARY, SHE READ shows real promise. There are a few things that would make the series a definite go to for me.
1.      Less contradiction and a trifle more humility in Gemma.
2.      An explanation for Det. Estrada’s hostility. She had it out for Gemma from the get go. Difficulty believing in Gemma’s “ability” doesn’t cut it by the end of the book.
3.      More Uncle Arthur.
Speaking personally, these changes would certainly make Gemma and crew my newest gotta read cozy series.
3.5 Stars

Friday, March 3, 2017

Harold Hardscrabble is a sympathetic novel filled with philosophical musings on the state of society and our place within it. It captures the feelings of frustration and helplessness that many of us experience in our daily lives. These sentiments are embodied in the story’s contemplative, quietly charming protagonist, Harold, who, like Walter Mitty, lives largely in his own world of thoughts and dreams. We follow Harold’s transformation from a dreamer to a man of action as he struggles to discover how to live a meaningful life in a materialistic world.

A contemporary novel that recounts the journey of its ordinary, quietly charming protagonist Harold, whose search for self-realization goes extraordinarily wrong. It is today’s American tragedy.

Harold remains resilient in the face of the many disasters and injustices that assail him along the way; but, finally overcome by despondency, he feels forced to take matters into his own hands to attain justice for all the misfortunes he has been made to suffer. The story of his quest for self-realization unfolds slowly as it builds to its ineluctable, explosive climax.




"Harold Hardscrabble is a thoughtful and well-written observation of the human condition. Dess pushes members of the modern world to question many things and consider that maybe even something unlikely could come to be true." Red City Review

“Harold Hardscrabble is smartly written, informed by the philosophies and ideas of various documents and writers, including Karl Marx, David Foster Wallace and Noam Chomsky.”Blue Ink Review  

Amazon     Goodreads

G.D. Dess is the author of the novel His Vision of Her (Harper & Row). His critical reviews and essays appear in the Los Angeles Review of Books and Goodreads. Mr. Dess was born in Michigan and has lived in six states and ten cities throughout the country. For several years, he lived in Paris, France, where he taught English and worked as a translator. Currently he lives on the east coast with his Wheaton Terrier, Beckett.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Bridesmaids Revisited Review

Have you ever read Dorothy Cannell? If not,  you should really add her to your list of must reads. She's never failed to entertain me and make me laugh.

In this “entertaining gothic tale” (Chicago Sun-Times) that “reads like Wuthering Heights on steroids” (Publishers Weekly), amateur sleuth Ellie Haskell gets caught up in the drama of a trio of ancient spinsters—and the ghosts of murder past.

 
“Rosemary, Thora, and Jane lived at the end of the lane, one was thin, one was fat, and one was very plain.” This is how Ellie Haskell remembers her grandmother’s three childhood friends, known collectively as “the bridesmaids.” Ellie once asked her mother where the nickname came from and her mother replied, “It’s a long story, best forgotten.” After all, every family has its secrets.

Now, thirty years later, a letter from the bridesmaids arrives informing Ellie that her grandmother, Sophia, wishes to make contact. This might have been heartwarming news but for one small detail: Sophia is dead. Ellie sets out to visit the bridesmaids, expecting to set the record straight. What she gets is a life-changing journey into the unknown, from a séance and a hidden diary to a mysterious death that took place more than fifty years ago. (Synopsis from Amazon)


I discovered Dorothy Cannell and her creation, Ellie Haskell, years ago with The Thin Woman and was immediately hooked. Quirky characters, a touch of Ellie’s favorite gothic novels, humor, wit, and splendid puzzles rank them right at the top of my list beside Amelia Peabody. Simply reading the titles makes me smile.
In BRIDESMAIDS REVISITED (ha J), Ellie and Ms. Malloy are on their lonesome at Merlin’s Court. Ben has thoughtfully taken the children to a new type of family vacation resort, Memory Lane. They’re springing up all over and this was the brainchild of their vicar’s wife. Ellie, during her time alone, is meant to be decorating little Rose’s room.  She doesn’t even get into the room before she receives a letter from the past. Friends of her long gone grandmother, Sophia, have written to Ellie asking her to come visit the Old Rectory. Ellie remembers these older ladies from a childhood visit with her mother, Mina, who referred to them as The Bridesmaids. Despite her misgivings, Ellie heads off with Ms. Malloy aka Roxy, who’s on the run from Leonard, a husband who went out for stew beef and never returned. He’s turned up all these years later like a bad penny, and Ms. Malloy fears she’ll be too weak to resist his charms should she be left alone.

What a hoot. In these days of dark leaning reads, regardless of genre, Ellie and crew are just the ticket to lighten up your day, and reading. With nods to past gothic classics Ellie and Ms. Malloy are off and running in their new adventure. While readers may figure out who, there’re always many layers to Ellie’s mysteries that often defy the reader to identify each and every one. That’s part of the charm of Ellie, Ben, Ms. Malloy, and Freddy. While it may seem simple on the surface, it never really is. BRIDESMAIDS REVISITED is no exception. Long on clues, misdirection’s, idiosyncratic characters, and the icy fingers of a past mystery that reaches into the future, I wasn’t disappointed. I laughed and puzzled my way along with Ellie to try and prevent more death and havoc. With a devilish twist at the end, BRIDESMAIDS REVISITED was all I’d hoped and then some.
Full of hijinks, eccentric characters, and inventive plots that dovetail sweetly at the end, the Ellie Haskell books are bound to become favorites you’ll turn to time and again.

4.5 stars


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Parker Sinclair featuring EVE OF THE EXCEPTIONALS

As promised, EVE OF THE EXCEPTIONALS, a stand-alone YA Epic Fantasy novel.

When fate brings the young Prince Ryzyn and the rover girl Gem together, not only do their lives become forever entwined, their meeting also ignites the power within an ancient object—the Heart of Cyan.

With the mystical Heart discovered, the wielder must prepare for an epic battle against a vicious, pervasive darkness that threatens all of Parlethis. Magical forces unite for the good of the land, but will that be enough to stop the Shadowland creatures from destroying them all?

Join the incredible journey full of magical beings, terrifying and majestic creatures, and the two young hearts destined to save a kingdom.

One lucky commenter will win a digital copy of EVE OF THE EXCEPTIONALS.  Just tell me why you think most fantasy has a medieval feel/look. Good luck!

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Parker Sinclair gives credit to the development of her imagination and passion for writing to multiple childhood destinations lacking indoor plumbing. While attending college, Ms. Sinclair studied biological sciences and psychology, specifically animal behavior, but her love has forever been to write. Since 2007, Ms. Sinclair has called Virginia Beach home where she is a licensed professional school counselor and a full-time writer, and finds time to write late into the night after her kiddos and in many cases, her husband are fast asleep.