Monday, July 27, 2015

Newport Blog Tour and Review

Newport (428x648)

Newport by Jill Morrow
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (July 7, 2015)
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours for an honest review

Description:
In a glamorous Newport mansion filled with secrets, a debonair lawyer must separate truth from deception. . . .

Spring 1921. The Great War is over, Prohibition is in full swing, the Great Depression is still years away. Wealthy families flock to the glittering "summer cottages" they built in Newport, Rhode Island.

Having sheltered in Newport during his misspent youth, attorney Adrian de la Noye is no stranger to the city. Though he'd prefer to forget the place, he returns to revise the will of a well-heeled client. Bennett Chapman's offspring have the usual concerns about their father's much-younger fiancée. But when they learn of the old widower's firm belief that his late first wife, who "communicates" via séance, has chosen the stunning Catharine Walsh for him, they're shocked. And for Adrian, encountering Catharine in the last place he saw her decades ago proves to be a far greater surprise.

Adrian is here to handle a will, and he intends to do so—just as soon as he unearths every last secret about the Chapmans, Catharine Walsh . . . and his own very fraught history.

Vividly bringing to life the glitzy era of the 1920s, Newport is a skillful alchemy of social satire, dark humor, and finely drawn characters.

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My Take:

Newport by Jill Morrow was such a pleasant surprise --- I loved the description of the book and the time period in which it takes place -- but I had no idea it would be so much fun! I read the book in a single day - and it was a day very well spent.

Newport is definitely one of those books that I don't want to give very much away because the discovery and the reveal are so much fun and I'd hate to ruin the fun for other readers. There is so much to like about Newport - there is a bit of paranormal activity - including some seances, there are a few mysteries to be unraveled, and some misspent youth type flashbacks just to name a few things. 

I really enjoyed the attention to the huge disparity between the very rich and those people who work for them.Without giving too much away, there is a great aspect to the story that deals with this issue and how it has long lasting repercussions on peoples' lives. 

I really liked Adrian and Jim and their friendship and working relationship. I was actually very curious to learn more about both of these men. I wasn't sure how I felt about Catherine through most of the book, but towards the end, I had a much better sense of what type of person she was. I won't spoil it though. I loved the ending of the book, but I do hope there will be more about these characters.

All I can say is: "Read Newport." I really enjoyed this book and will be strongly recommending it to my friends. I am hoping that Jill Morrow will write about the further adventures of Jim, Adrian and Catherine -- or more about their pasts. Either way, I would totally read it. 





Jill MorrowAbout Jill Morrow

Jill Morrow has enjoyed a wide spectrum of careers, from practicing law to singing with local bands. She holds a bachelor's degree in history from Towson University and a JD from the University of Baltimore School of Law. She lives in Baltimore.

Find out more about Jill at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.



Jill’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, July 7th: BookNAround
Wednesday, July 8th: A Chick Who Reads
Friday, July 10th: West Metro Mommy
Monday, July 13th: The many thoughts of a reader
Tuesday, July 14th: From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, July 15th: A Bookish Way of Life
Thursday, July 16th: Walking With Nora
Friday, July 17th: View from the Birdhouse
Saturday, July 18th: Luxury Reading
Monday, July 20th: The Book Binder’s Daughter
Tuesday, July 21st: Raven Haired Girl
Thursday, July 23rd: FictionZeal
Friday, July 24th: Staircase Wit
Monday, July 27th: A Book Geek




Friday, July 24, 2015

The Medici Boy Review

The Medici Boy by John L'Heureux
Publication date: April 1, 2014 by Astor + Blue
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Publisher for an honest review
Description:

The worlds of art, politics and passion collide in John L’Heureux’s masterful new novel, The Medici Boy. With rich composition, L’Heureux ingeniously transports the reader to Donatello’s Renaissance Italy—directly into his bottega, (workshop), as witnessed through the eyes of Luca Mattei, a devoted assistant. While creating his famous bronze of David and Goliath, Donatello’s passion for his enormously beautiful model and part time rent boy, Agnolo, ignites a dangerous jealousy that ultimately leads to Agnolo’s brutal murder. Luca, the complex and conflicted assistant, will sacrifice all to save the life of Donatello, even if it means the life of the master sculptor’s friend and great patron of art, Cosimo de’ Medici. John L’Heureux’s long-awaited novel delivers both a monumental and intimate narrative of the creative genius, Donatello, at the height of his powers. With incisive detail, L’Heureux beautifully renders the master sculptor’s forbidden homosexual passions, and the artistry that enthralled the powerful and highly competitive Medici and Albizzi families. The finished work is a sumptuously detailed historical novel that entertains while it delves deeply into both the sacred and the profane within one of the Italian Renaissance’s most consequential cities, fifteenth century Florence.

My Take:

The Medici Boy by John L'Heureux is an interesting book for a number of reasons. Despite the title, the boy referenced is not a Medici, but a particularly beautiful model that Donatello uses as inspiration for several of his artworks. He is also a foster brother of sorts to Donatello's assistant, Luca. The novel is told from Luca's point of view and provides the reader with his own opinions of the model Agnolo and his lifestyle as well as details about his own life and life in Florence.

The Medici Boy is a detailed look at the artistic scene and lifestyle in Florence during the Renaissance.  I was fascinated with the historical detail included in the novel. There is also a lot of attention paid to the sexual exploits of Agnolo and Donatello and the political atmosphere and how it played a role in the events in the story.  I was fascinated with the detailed explanations given about the production of the amazing pieces of art referenced in the novel and did a fair amount of Googling to look at photos of the pieces. 

The Medici Boy might be a good choice for those adult readers who enjoy historical fiction - particularly historical fiction about the Italian Renaissance and artists.











Thursday, July 23, 2015

Killing Secrets Blog Tour and Review

Killing Secrets by Dianne Emley
Publication date: July 21, 2015 by Alibi
Pages: 277
Format:Ebook
Genre: Mystery
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours for an honest review  (Netgalley)

Description:
For fans of Patricia Cornwell, Tana French, and Lisa Gardner comes a razor-sharp novel of suspense featuring Detective Nan Vining—a single mother whose worlds collide when her teenage daughter stumbles upon a grisly double homicide.
When she gets the call, Nan Vining responds as a mother first and a detective second. Her daughter, Emily, has made a gruesome discovery in a secluded section of a Pasadena park: a pretty, popular young teacher from Emily’s high school and a bright yet troubled transfer student—both dead and bloody in a copse of trees. But the crime scene isn’t the only thing that seems off to Detective Vining. There’s also the cocky classmate who was with Emily in the park—the boyfriend she never knew about. What else doesn’t she know about her daughter?
As she attempts to channel both her maternal and investigative instincts into one single point of focus, Vining’s superiors at the Pasadena Police Department are moving at lightning speed. Before the evidence has even been processed, the case is closed as a clear-cut murder/suicide: a disturbed teenager murders his teacher, then takes his own life. Vining doesn’t buy it. Now she’s chasing dangerous, powerful people with secrets they would kill for—and taking them down means risking her own flesh and blood.

My Take:

Unfortunately I haven't read any other books by Dianne Emley, and I am seriously wondering why that is the case. I will certainly be seeking out the other Nan Vining novels as soon as I can. Killing Secrets was a fast-paced, breath-holding mystery novel with an intelligent, independent heroine who doesn't need a man to rescue her or solve the case for her. 

Barely a full page into the novel, and I was hooked. I was immediately intrigued by several things - who killed the teacher and student, why where they killed and what was going on with Nan's daughter? As a parent to two teens and a twenty year old, I am always interested in how parent/teen relationships are portrayed in novels. I liked that there were family things that had to be addressed alongside the work that Nan does. I am also intrigued by the hints of her past and I am looking forward to reading the previous novels since she seems to have quite the interesting and difficult life.

Killing Secrets was a fast read -- the pacing is great and I couldn't put the book down until I had finished the last page.. There is a lot going on and I was fascinated at how Nan went about solving the case despite the fact that her superiors have quickly closed the case. I was happy to see that instead of the guy being the one prepared for anything and ready to take off at a moment's notice to follow through on the investigation, it was Nan who was the one with her bag packed and a plan in place.

I would strongly recommend Killing Secrets to anyone who likes a good mystery/crime novel - especially one with a strong, intelligent female lead character. I look forward to reading more Nan Vining novels in the near future.



Praise for the novels of Dianne Emley
The Night Visitor grabbed my attention on page one and never let up. It’s a creepy, crafty thrill ride, and I enjoyed every word. I’ll be looking for more of Dianne Emley’s books.”—Karen Robards
“A taut, gripping paranormal thriller from page one. You won’t be able to put this book down as Rory—a woman who has everything—fears all she believes is a lie. Excellent!”—Allison Brennan, on The Night Visitor
“Emley masterfully twists, turns, and shocks.”—Tess Gerritsen, on Love Kills

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble




68935About Dianne Emley

Dianne Emley is the bestselling author of The Night Visitor and the Nan Vining series: The First Cut, Cut to the Quick, The Deepest Cut, and Love Kills. A Los Angeles native, she lives in the Central California wine country with her husband, Charlie.

Connect with Dianne

Website | Facebook | Twitter


Dianne Emley’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, July 20th: I Wish I Lived in a Library
Tuesday, July 21st: Bell, Book & Candle
Wednesday, July 22nd: Buried Under Books
Thursday, July 23rd: A Book Geek
Thursday, July 23rd: Open Book Society
Monday, July 27th: Book Babe
Tuesday, July 28th: Kay’s Reading Life
Wednesday, July 29th: FictionZeal
Monday, August 3rd: From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, August 4th: Bewitched Bookworms
Thursday, August 6th: The Novel Life
Monday, August 10th: Peeking Between the Pages
Wednesday, August 12th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Thursday, August 13th: Bibliotica





Thursday, July 16, 2015

Alchemy's Daughter Blog Tour and Giveaway

Alchemy's Daughter by Mary A. Osborne
Publication date: May 15, 2015 by Lake Street Press
Genre: Historical Fiction/ Young Adult
Pages: 280
Source: Publisher via Italy Book Tours


Description:

Santina Pietra is seventeen and in medieval San Gimignano, daughters of merchants are expected to marry. But Santina 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, or 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.

The setting is 14th century Italy, yet in Santina contemporary readers will discover a strong-minded young woman whose search for meaning echoes their own. Alchemy’s Daughter is the author’s second novel.

My Take:


I love to read books about midwives and healers, so I was excited to read Alchemy's Daughter. I was unaware that there is another book by Mary A. Osborne, but I will be seeking it out in the near future.


At the beginning of the book, Santina is just lovesick  and can't really think of much beyond Calandrino. I was worried that this was going to be constant throughout the book, but after Calandrino leaves, she does turn her focus on the many things that Trotula is able to teach her.  Santina is an avid student and is a fast learner, but she lacks the patience that Trotula is trying to teach her. Santina is anxious to learn everything and will learn some hard lessons because of her lack of patience.


I really loved that there is so much attention given to the daily work, the details of daily life for Santina and Trotula and the other residents of the area. As with so many of these learned women, there are people who are suspicious and look for reasons to make accusations. I thought the author did a great job of showing the way people think and react to the unknown and what they can't explain. I also appreciated that the author set the story firmly in the historical period with plenty of historical detail which helped to make the story more authentic.


Santina works hard and tries to do what is right, but she does make mistakes - as we all do. Some of these mistakes or decisions have difficult repercussions, but Santina does her best to be strong and survive in a harsh world. 


I hate to give anything away because I really enjoyed this book and I want others to be able to come to it with no preconceived expectations. There is tragedy, heartbreak, love, support, so much learning and there are some really wonderful surprises as well. There were some plot twists that I was not expecting and I loved the way the book ended.  I will be handing Alchemy's Daughter to my daughters to read,  and that is pretty much the best recommendation I can give it.  







Author's Bio:

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




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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Maud's Line Blog Tour and Review

02_Maud's Line_CoverPlease join Margaret Verble as she tours with HF Virtual Book Tours for Maud's Line, from July 13-24. 


Publication Date: July 14, 2015 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 
Formats: eBook, Hardcover 
ISBN-10: 0544470192 
Pages: 304 
Genre: Historical Fiction


   

 A debut novel chronicling the life and loves of a headstrong, earthy, and magnetic heroine

Eastern Oklahoma, 1928. Eighteen-year-old Maud Nail lives with her rogue father and sensitive brother on one of the allotments parceled out by the U.S. Government to the Cherokees when their land was confiscated for Oklahoma's statehood. Maud's days are filled with hard work and simple pleasures, but often marked by violence and tragedy, a fact that she accepts with determined practicality. Her prospects for a better life are slim, but when a newcomer with good looks and books rides down her section line, she takes notice. Soon she finds herself facing a series of high-stakes decisions that will determine her future and those of her loved ones.

Maud's Line is accessible, sensuous, and vivid. It will sit on the bookshelf alongside novels by Jim Harrison, Louise Erdrich, Sherman Alexie, and other beloved chroniclers of the American West and its people.


My Take:

I was happy to read Maud's Line for a few reasons. I grew up in Oklahoma and my family has been there since before statehood so I was curious to read about life in rural Oklahoma in the 1920's. I found the descriptions of the land, weather, people and the way of life to be compelling and they seem to match stories I have heard from family members. 

I loved that Maud was an avid reader and could relate to her desire to get away from the home place and experience the bigger world outside of her family's land allotment. I really enjoyed the casual but dependable way her family moved in and out of each others homes and lives. They saw each other often and took care of each other, but they were still pretty well able to do their own thing without too much comment. I really enjoyed this aspect of the novel.

Maud's relationship with men, however, was much more troubling. She falls hard for a travelling peddler named Booker who is also a white man. But Billy, is part of the Cherokee nation like Maud, local and has serious ideas about what their relationship should be.  Maud's choice would have been easy if events hadn't occurred that forced her to make choices that could be detrimental to her relationship with Booker. I did like that despite the fact that her father brings much of the troubles on the family, Maud doesn't hesitate to take whatever action she feels is necessary to keep her family safe.

I thought that Verble did a good job of showing the difficulty and complexity of the Native Americans living on their allotments and the reality of politics and local law enforcement. She brings out the hard choices Maud is forced to make and how differently she and Booker view things. I don't know that Maud made all the right decisions, but she did the best she could in a difficult situation.

The thing that bothered me the most was that despite the effort her family put into keeping something safe for her and the strong and wise advice they gave her regarding it, she immediately went out and did exactly what they warned her against. I'm not sure she was wrong, but it just didn't sit well with me.

However, I did enjoy Maud's Line very much and would happily recommend it - especially to anyone interested in Oklahoma History.




PRAISE FOR MAUD'S LINE

"Maud is refreshingly open and honest about her own sexuality though conscious of her place as a woman in a sexist society, always careful not to insult the intelligence or manhood of her male friends and relations. Verble writes in a simple style that matches the hardscrabble setting and plainspoken characters. Verble, herself a member of the Cherokee Nation, tells a compelling story peopled with flawed yet sympathetic characters, sharing insights into Cherokee society on the parcels of land allotted to them after the Trail of Tears." -Kirkus

"Writing as though Daniel Woodrell nods over one shoulder and the spirit of Willa Cather over the other, Margaret Verble gives us Maud, a gun-toting, book-loving, dream-chasing young woman whose often agonizing dilemmas can only be countered by sheer strength of heart." - Malcolm Brooks, author of Painted Horses

"I want to live with Maud in a little farm in a little valley under the shadow of a mountain wall. Maud's Line is an absolutely wonderful novel and Margaret Verble can drop you from great heights and still easily pick you up. I will read anything she writes, with enthusiasm." -Jim Harrison, author of Dalva, Legends of the Fall, and The Big Seven

"Margaret Verble gives us a gorgeous window onto the Cherokee world in Oklahoma, 1927. Verble's voice is utterly authentic, tender and funny, vivid and smart, and she creates a living community - the Nail family, Maud herself, her father, Mustard, and brother, Lovely, and the brothers Blue and Early, the quiet, tender-mouthed mare Leaf, and the big landscape of the bottoms - the land given to the Cherokees after the Trail of Tears. Beyond the allotments, it opens up into the wild, which is more or less what Verble does with this narrative. A wonderful debut novel." - Roxana Robinson, author of Sparta

03_Margaret Verble


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

MARGARET VERBLE, an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, has set her novel on her family's allotment land. She currently lives in Lexington, Kentucky, and Old Windsor, England.



BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

Monday, July 13
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, July 14
Guest Post at Mina's Bookshelf
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Wednesday, July 15
Review at A Book Geek

Thursday, July 16
Review at Beth's Book Nook Blog

Friday, July 17
Excerpt & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Review Plus More

Saturday, July 18
Review at Queen of All She Reads

Monday, July 20
Review at Book Nerd

Tuesday, July 21
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter

Wednesday, July 22
Interview & Excerpt at The Old Shelter
Excerpt & Giveaway at CelticLady's Reviews

Thursday, July 23
Review & Giveaway at Unshelfish
Spotlight at Layered Pages

Friday, July 24
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past


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Monday, July 6, 2015

An Immortal Descent Release Day Blitz

02_An Immortal Descent

ABookGeek is very excited to participate in the Release Day Blitz for Kari Edgren's third book in the Goddess Born series, An Immortal Descent!




Publication Date: July 6, 2015 
Publisher: Carina Press 
eBook; ASIN: B00XCYM8XS 
Series: Goddess Born, Book Three 
Genre: Historical/Fantasy/Romance


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As a goddess-born healer, Selah Kilbrid wants nothing to do with the goddess of death and disease, nor any of her human progeny. But when the two people she loves most disappear - her dearest friend Nora Goodwin and her betrothed Lord Henry Fitzalan - Selah has no choice but to leave London in pursuit of Death's most powerful daughter.

Accompanied by a ragtag group of travelers, Selah follows a treacherous path across the Irish Sea to the long-forgotten prison of a witch who once nearly destroyed Ireland. Selah would face any danger to protect those she loves, but what if it means unleashing a greater evil on the human world? Could she risk the lives of many to save a few, or are some sacrifices too great?


An Immortal Descent Available at

Amazon 
Barnes & Noble 
iTunes


About the Author

03_Kari EdgrenKari Edgren is the author of the Goddess Born series. In 2010 and 2011 she was a semifinalist for the Amazon Break Through Novel Award. In 2013, she was a RWA Golden Heart finalist. Ms. Edgren enjoys writing both historical and contemporary fiction, so long as there's a paranormal twist. She resides on a mountain top in the Pacific Northwest where she spends a great deal of time dreaming about the sun and torturing her husband and children with strange food and random historical facts.

For more information please visit Kari Edgren's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Sign up for Kari Edgren's Newsletter.







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