Monday, December 28, 2015

The Ice Queen: Book Two of Odd Tangle-Hair's Saga Blog Tour and Review

The Ice Queen: Book Two of Odd Tangle-Hair's Saga By Bruce Macbain

Publication Date: November 30, 2015
Publisher: Blank Slate Press
eBook & Paperback; 285 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Author/Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for an honest review

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The second volume of Odd Tangle-Hair’s Saga takes up Odd’s adventures as a skald (court poet) in the land of the Rus. Here he is drawn into a dangerous love affair with the passionate and cunning Princess Ingigerd of Novgorod, and is forced to break with his sworn lord, Harald the Ruthless. Along the way, Odd devises a stratagem to defeat the wild Pechenegs, nomadic warriors of the Russian steppe, and goes off on a doomed mission to explore the distant reaches of the Black Sea. The novel concludes with Odd sailing into the harbor of Constantinople, bent on a secret mission, which will almost certainly cost him his life.

 Eager, curious, quick-witted—and sometimes wrong-headed—Odd Tangle-Hair recounts his story with candor, insight, and always an ironic sense of humor.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOKS-A-MILLION | INDIEBOUND


My Take:

The Ice Queen is the second book in the Odd Tangle-Hair Saga -- and it is indeed a saga. Of course it is a Nordic tale and Odd - despite his young age - has many wild and dangerous adventures across vast expanses of the world. Now, Odd does make some questionable decisions which make some or many of his adventures less than enjoyable or pleasant, but his life wouldn't exactly be called boring.

Odd continues to be an engaging protagonist with a sense of humor - most of the time. Even though his youth certainly plays into some of his poor decisions, he is wily and tough -- he manages to get out of many close calls and come up with some pretty ingenious plans for survival. His main weakness seems to be for Princess Ingigerd - she is truly an ice queen - cold and calculating and able to seduce and scheme to get what she wants. 

Harald is exactly what we all expect - a good warrior, but a pretty awful person and not a friend in any sense of the word. Prince Yaroslav is an interesting character - he appears fairly weak and easily influenced at his palace, but seems to come into his own when he is away at war. There are several other memorable characters that wind through the narrative and have an influence on Odd - for good or ill.

As the saying goes: If it weren't for bad luck, Odd would have no luck at all. That pretty much sums up much of his adventures --- even though others make decisions as poor as his, Odd just doesn't get much of a break. He is betrayed over and over again -- and winds up in some abysmal situations. 

I am looking forward to reading the third installment in Odd's saga -- I can't wait to find out what happens to him in Constantinople. The Ice Queen is definitely a novel that I will recommend - it brings the period to life in a way that some of the histories just can't.  I think that the whole of Odd Tangle-Hair's Saga would be great assigned reading to go along with the biographies of Snorri Sturluson - and yes, the biographies are assigned reading for my teens in their homeschool curriculum. 

  



About the Author

03_Bruce MacbainFrom boyhood, Bruce Macbain spent his days in reading history and historical fiction. The Greeks and Romans have held a special fascination for him, and this led to earning a master’s degree in Classical Studies and a doctorate in Ancient History. Along the way, he also taught English as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Borneo. Later, he taught courses in Greek and Roman civilization at Boston University, and published a few dense monographs, read by very few. In recent years he has turned to writing fiction, a much more congenial pursuit, beginning with two historical mysteries set in ancient Rome (Roman Games and The Bull Slayer). Now, he has turned his attention to his other favorite folk, the Vikings. Odin's Child , the first novel of Odd Tangle-Hair’s Saga, was published in May, 2015 and is now followed the sequel, The Ice Queen. A concluding volume will follow next year.

Bruce spends his spare time in the kitchen, cooking spicy food.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOOGLE+ | GOODREADS


Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 1
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Tuesday, December 15
Interview & Giveaway at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Wednesday, December 16
Spotlight at Puddletown Reviews
Spotlight & Giveaway at Unshelfish

Thursday, December 17
Interview & Giveaway at Room With Books

Sunday, December 20
Spotlight at Layered Pages

Tuesday, December 22
Review at Book Nerd

Monday, December 28
Review at A Book Geek
Review at The Absurd Book Nerd

Tuesday, December 29
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews
Guest Post at The Absurd Book Nerd

Wednesday, December 30
Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews

Thursday, December 31
Review at Boom Baby Reviews

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Friday, December 18, 2015

Positive Blog Tour and Review


Title: Positive
Author: David Wellington
Release Date: April 21, 2015
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Format: Ebook/Hardcover/Paperback/Audible

In the bestselling vein of Guillermo Del Toro and Justin Cronin, the acclaimed author of Chimera and The Hydra Protocol delivers his spectacular breakout novel—an entertaining page-turning zombie epic that is sure to become a classic. Anyone can be positive . . .

The tattooed plus sign on Finnegan's hand marks him as a Positive. At any time, the zombie virus could explode in his body, turning him from a rational human into a ravenous monster. His only chance of a normal life is to survive the last two years of the potential incubation period. If he reaches his twenty-first birthday without an incident, he'll be cleared.

Until then, Finn must go to a special facility for positives, segregated from society to keep the healthy population safe. But when the military caravan transporting him is attacked, Finn becomes separated. To make it to safety, he must embark on a perilous cross-country journey across an America transformed—a dark and dangerous land populated with heroes, villains, madmen, and hordes of zombies. And though the zombies are everywhere, Finn discovers that the real danger may be his fellow humans.

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome meets World War Z and I Am Legend in this thrilling tale that has it all: a compelling story, great characters, and explosive action, making Positive the ultimate zombie novel of our time.


My Take:

Positive is not really your typical zombie book for a few reasons.  One of the biggest reasons is that it doesn't take place during the initial zombie outbreak - the novel begins as the second generation after the outbreak are growing into young adulthood.

Finn is our young protagonist and he is suddenly thrust into the violent and unknown world outside of New York City. The cities are relatively safe - but life isn't what it once was -- food is scarce, people don't move freely from place to place -- the cities are cut off from each other and news is limited. After Finn's mother suddenly goes zombie, he is marked as positive for the virus and forced to leave the city. He is destined for a medical camp where he will wait until he is twenty years old to see if he is truly infected or not. Unfortunately, Finn's escort to the camp is attacked by looters and he is alone in a wild and lawless land overrun by zombies, looters, and much worse.

In Positive, the zombies are actually less dangerous than the humans -- the land outside of the cities is terrorized by gangs of violent looters and a death cult. The zombies are a known danger, but humans adapt and plan and are a constant danger.

I think what I appreciated most about Positive is that instead of dealing with the outbreak, it deals with the issues of the aftermath -- it examines the medical camps and how the other "positives" are treated, the problems of trying to rebuild and trying to live according to certain ethics and fight back the lawlessness and inhumanity that have dominated since the zombie outbreak. It deals with many issues and shows the darker side of humanity.

I will definitely be  recommending Positive to friends and family. I think any reader who enjoys thought provoking novels with some thriller/suspense and horror/sci-fi thrown in will enjoy Positive. I know I am a little burned out on the stereotypical zombie book and found Positive to be just what I needed to read.




ORDER INFORMATION
Positive is available for order at  
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David Wellington was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where George Romero's classic zombie films were shot. He is the author of an online zombie serial, the Monster Island trilogy; Thirteen Bullets, a serialized vampire novel; and the Jim Chapel missions, including the digital shorts "Minotaur" and "Myrmidon," and the novels Chimera and The Hydra Protocol. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

For More Information
Visit David’s website.
Connect with David on Facebook and Twitter

 November 24
Book featured at 3 Partners in Shopping
Book featured at Bibliophile Mystery
Book featured at Around the World in Books
Book reviewed at Cheryl's Book Nook

November 25
Book reviewed at Read Love Blog
Book featured at My Book Fairy

November 26
Guest blogging at Bound 2 Escape

November 27
Book featured at Chosen By You Book Club
Book reviewed at Books, Food and Me

November 30
Book reviewed and Guest blogging at Romancing the Darkside
Book reviewed at Books that Hook
Book featured at Dawn's Reading Nook

December 1
Book featured at Harmonious Publicity

December 2
Book reviewed and Guest blogging at Working for the Mandroid

December 3
Book featured at Bent Over Bookwords

December 4
Book featured at Archaeolibrarian

December 7
Book featured at The Dark Phantom

December 8
Book featured at Voodoo Princess

December 9
Book reviewed at Deal Sharing Aunt

December 10
Book reviewed and Interviewed at The Cosy Dragon

December 11
Book reviewed at Bea's Book Nook

December 14
Guest blogging at Write and Take Flight

December 15
Book reviewed at Kristy Centeno

December 16
Book reviewed and Guest blogging at Natural Bri
Book reviewed at Bloody Bookish

December 17
Book reviewed at I'm Shelf-ish

December 18
Book featured at Teatime and Books
Book reviewed at A Book Geek
Book reviewed at Ashley's Bookshelf



Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Edge of Lost Book Blast

02_The Edge of LostThe Edge of Lost by Kristina McMorris

Publication Date: November 24, 2015 Kensington Books Trade Paperback, 340 pages Genre: Historical Fiction

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From New York Times bestselling author Kristina McMorris comes an ambitious and heartrending story of immigrants, deception, and second chances.

 On a cold night in October 1937, searchlights cut through the darkness around Alcatraz. A prison guard’s only daughter—one of the youngest civilians who lives on the island—has gone missing. Tending the warden’s greenhouse, convicted bank robber Tommy Capello waits anxiously. Only he knows the truth about the little girl’s whereabouts, and that both of their lives depend on the search’s outcome.

 Almost two decades earlier and thousands of miles away, a young boy named Shanley Keagan ekes out a living as an aspiring vaudevillian in Dublin pubs. Talented and shrewd, Shan dreams of shedding his dingy existence and finding his real father in America. The chance finally comes to cross the Atlantic, but when tragedy strikes, Shan must summon all his ingenuity to forge a new life in a volatile and foreign world.

 Skillfully weaving these two stories, Kristina McMorris delivers a compelling novel that moves from Ireland to New York to San Francisco Bay. As her finely crafted characters discover the true nature of loyalty, sacrifice, and betrayal, they are forced to confront the lies we tell—and believe—in order to survive.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOKS-A-MILLION | POWELL'S | INDIEBOUND



Advance Praise

“Kristina McMorris evokes such a strong sense of place that to open her books feels less like reading and more like traveling. Her absorbing new novel..[is an] epic, deeply felt tale of struggle and second chances… a transporting piece of historical fiction.” — BookPage

“McMorris’ gripping immigrant saga sweeps from Dublin to New York, through Prohibition and vaudeville, from New York to San Francisco and Alcatraz. It is a young man’s battle with hardship and tragedy, but it is also a portrait of America during a turbulent time and a quest that ends in triumph. Readers will be caught up in this well-told story.” — RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

“Compelling, resonant and deeply moving, The Edge of Lost is an absorbing tale of deceit and self-deception, survival and second chances, the ties that bind and the lure of the unknown.” — Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train

“The story will grab your heart on page one and won’t let go until the end—and if you’re like me, not even then. I absolutely love this book, and so will you.” — Sara Gruen, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants

“A beautifully told story about a young man’s journey through adversity and loss with an exhilarating ending that I couldn’t put down and stayed up well past my bedtime to finish.” — Charles Belfoure, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Architect

 “In The Edge of Lost Kristina McMorris takes us on a thrilling ride . . . I found myself thoroughly immersed in her richly evocative settings, just as I was captivated by the pure humanity of her characters as they struggled for redemption. This book is a wonderful read!” — David R. Gillham, New York Times bestselling author of City of Women

“The Edge of Lost takes readers on an enthralling journey . . . right up to a tense, edge-of-your-seat ending that left me breathless. An absorbing, addictive read.” — Beatriz Williams, New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Life of Violet Grant

 “With prose as lyrical as the music woven through its narrative, and boasting impeccably observed historical details, The Edge of Lost is a thoroughly mesmerizing novel. I adore everything that Kristina McMorris writes and this book is no exception.” — Jennifer Robson, international bestselling author of Somewhere in France

About the Author

03_Kristina McMorrisKristina McMorris is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author and the recipient of more than twenty national literary awards, as well as a nomination for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, RWA’s RITA® Award, and a Goodreads Choice Award for Best Historical Fiction. Inspired by true personal and historical accounts, her works of fiction have been published by Kensington Books, Penguin Random House, and HarperCollins. The Edge of Lost is her fourth novel, following the widely praised Letters from Home, Bridge of Scarlet Leaves, and The Pieces We Keep, in addition to her novellas in the anthologies A Winter Wonderland and Grand Central.

Prior to her writing career, Kristina hosted weekly TV shows since age nine, including an Emmy® Award-winning program, and has been named one of Portland's "40 Under 40" by The Business Journal. She lives with her husband and two sons in Oregon, where she is working on her next novel.

For more, visit www.KristinaMcMorris.com. You can also follow Kristina on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, December 14
The Maiden's Court
Passages to the Past

Tuesday, December 15
A Literary Vacation
CelticLady's Reviews
What Is That Book About

Wednesday, December 16
Reading Is My SuperPower
Svetlana's Reads and Views

Thursday, December 17
Unshelfish
A Book Geek
With Her Nose Stuck In A Book

Friday, December 18
The Lit Bitch
The Reading Queen

Saturday, December 19
Book Nerd
Beth's Book Nook Blog
So Many Books, So Little Time

Sunday, December 20
Let Them Read Books
Eclectic Ramblings of Author Heather Osborne

Monday, December 21
Boom Baby Reviews

Giveaway

To win a signed copy of The Edge of Lost by Kristina McMorris please enter the giveaway via the GLEAM form below. Rules – Giveaway starts at 12:01am EST on December 14th and ends at 11:59pm EST on December 21st. You must be 18 or older to enter. – Giveaway is open to residents in the US and Canada ONLY. – Only one entry per household. – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion – Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. The Edge of Lost Book Blast Giveaway 04_The Edge of Lost_Book Blast Banner_FINAL


Monday, December 14, 2015

Medicis Daughter Blog Tour and Review

Medicis Daughter by Sophie Perinot
Publication date: December 1, 2015 
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Hardcover & eBook; 384 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Publisher via HFVBT for an honest review
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 Winter, 1564. Beautiful young Princess Margot is summoned to the court of France, where nothing is what it seems and a wrong word can lead to ruin. Known across Europe as Madame la Serpente, Margot’s intimidating mother, Queen Catherine de Médicis, is a powerful force in a country devastated by religious war. Among the crafty nobility of the royal court, Margot learns the intriguing and unspoken rules she must live by to please her poisonous family.

 Eager to be an obedient daughter, Margot accepts her role as a marriage pawn, even as she is charmed by the powerful, charismatic Duc de Guise. Though Margot's heart belongs to Guise, her hand will be offered to Henri of Navarre, a Huguenot leader and a notorious heretic looking to seal a tenuous truce. But the promised peace is a mirage: her mother's schemes are endless, and her brothers plot vengeance in the streets of Paris. When Margot's wedding devolves into the bloodshed of the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, she will be forced to choose between her family and her soul.

 Médicis Daughter is historical fiction at its finest, weaving a unique coming-of-age story and a forbidden love with one of the most dramatic and violent events in French history.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | INDIEBOUND

My Take:

I found Medicis Daughter to be a riveting exploration of  the life of Marguerite De Valois, or Margot, as she is called in the book. Her mother, Catherine de Medici, is a power to be reckoned with. At first,  Margot is simply a political pawn in the elaborate and violent political strategies of her mother and brothers, King Charles and Henri, Duke of Anjou. But as the novel progresses, and as Margot grows up and starts to figure out what kind of person she wants to be, she grows as a human being and as a woman. I don't know if Margot really grew into the woman portrayed in the novel, but I hope she did. 

At first, I found Margot to be what I tend to think of as a typical young woman at court - concerned with the handsome young men and easily persuaded to behave in certain ways that may be advantageous to the powerful people around her. I didn't understand the appeal of Guise, except that he was a handsome face. However, Margot is smitten and much of her actions and loyalties concern him.  Growing into adulthood surrounded by the powerful and unscrupulous people at court and especially her own family certainly must have been difficult. 

I found the portrayal of Margot to by sympathetic and I enjoyed the details of life at court and the insights into Margot's thinking. I think Perinot did a nice job of providing enough background history for the volatile period in history. I have long been interested in the French Wars of Religion and Medicis Daughter fits nicely into the timeline. I love that Perinot chose to write a novel about Margot - I think she is an interesting historical character and isn't given much attention.

There are some interesting events that are conjecture on the part of the author -- but I think they work well within the historical record and in the plot line of the novel. I won't mention them, because at least one is a huge spoiler - but I thought it fit with the reputation of the family and the period. 

I would happily suggest Medicis Daughter to any readers who enjoy historical fiction, particularly those who enjoy historical fiction about France. This was definitely a worthwhile read and as with all good historical fiction, it inspired me to continue reading about the period and people.



Advance Praise

“This is Renaissance France meets Game of Thrones: dark, sumptuous historical fiction that coils religious strife, court intrigue, passionate love, family hatred, and betrayed innocence like a nest of poisonous snakes. Beautiful Princess Margot acts as our guide to the heart of her violent family, as she blossoms from naive court pawn to woman of conscience and renown. A highly recommended coming-of-age tale where the princess learns to slay her own dragons!” --Kate Quinn, Bestselling author of LADY OF THE ETERNAL CITY

 "The riveting story of a 16th century French princess caught in the throes of royal intrigue and religious war. From the arms of the charismatic Duke of Guise to the blood-soaked streets of Paris, Princess Marguerite runs a dangerous gauntlet, taking the reader with her. An absolutely gripping read!" --Michelle Moran, bestselling author of THE REBEL QUEEN

 "Rising above the chorus of historical drama is Perinot's epic tale of the fascinating, lascivious, ruthless House of Valois, as told through the eyes of the complicated and intelligent Princess Marguerite. Burdened by her unscrupulous family and desperate for meaningful relationships, Margot is forced to navigate her own path in sixteenth century France. Amid wars of nation and heart, Médicis Daughter brilliantly demonstrates how one unique woman beats staggering odds to find the strength and power that is her birthright." --Erika Robuck, bestselling author of HEMINGWAY'S GIRL


SP SmallAbout the Author

SOPHIE PERINOT is the author of The Sister Queens and one of six contributing authors of A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii. A former attorney, Perinot is now a full-time writer. She lives in Great Falls, Virginia with her three children, three cats, one dog and one husband.

 An active member of the Historical Novel Society, Sophie has attended all of the group’s North American Conferences and served as a panelist multiple times.

Find her among the literary twitterati as @Lit_gal or on Facebook.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 16
Review at The Mad Reviewer
Review at Peeking Between the Pages

Tuesday, November 17
Review at Just One More Chapter

Wednesday, November 18
Review at The Maiden's Court

Thursday, November 19
Review at The Eclectic Reader

Friday, November 20
Review at The True Book Addict

Monday, November 23
Review at Broken Teepee
Guest Post at A Literary Vacation

Tuesday, November 24
Review at Book Lovers Paradise

Wednesday, November 25
Review at A Literary Vacation

Friday, November 27
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection

Monday, November 30
Review at leeanna.me

Tuesday, December 1
Review at To Read, Or Not to Read

Wednesday, December 2
Review at Bibliophilia, Please

Thursday, December 3
Review at The Book Binder's Daughter

Friday, December 4
Guest Post at Bibliophilia, Please

Monday, December 7
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, December 8
Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, December 9
Review at Curling Up By the Fire

Thursday, December 10
Review at The Readers Hollow

Friday, December 11
Review at Reading Lark

Monday, December 14
Review at A Book Geek

Tuesday, December 15
Review at The Lit Bitch

Wednesday, December 16
Review at CelticLady's Reviews

Friday, December 18
Review & Interview at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Monday, December 21
Review at Bookish

Tuesday, December 22
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, December 23
Review & Guest Post at Historical Fiction Obsession

Monday, December 28
Review at Unshelfish

Tuesday, December 29
Interview at Unshelfish

  Thursday, December 31
Review at The Reading Queen


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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Without Light or Guide Blog Tour and Review

Without Light or Guide cover
 Without Light or Guide by T. Frohock
Print Length: 128 pages
Publisher: Harper Voyager Impulse (November 3, 2015)
Genre: Fantasy/Urban Fantasy
Source: Digital Galley from publisher for an honest review

Description:

 Always holding themselves aloft from the affairs of mortals, Los Nefilim have thrived for eons. But with the Spanish Civil War looming, their fragile independence is shaken by the machinations of angels and daimons ... and a half breed caught in between. 

Although Diago Alvarez has pledged his loyalty to Los Nefilim, there are many who don't trust his daimonic blood. And with the re-emergence of his father - a Nefil who sold his soul to a daimon - the fear is Diago will soon follow the same path. 

Yet even as Diago tries to prove his allegiance, events conspire that only fuel the other Nefilim's suspicions - including the fact that every mortal Diago has known in Barcelona is being brutally murdered.



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My Take:

I read Without Light or Guide having not read the first book in the series. I will admit that this fact put me at a disadvantage while reading. I wish I had been able to read the first book because I think it would have eliminated the frustration and confusion about who was who and what exactly was going on. Once I got the people, events and world somewhat figured out, I was able to read and enjoy the book.

There is a brief recap at the front of the book, but without the details of the first book, the recap or summary wasn't quite enough for me -- I did refer to it several times when I started reading and for those who have already the first book, it will be a useful memory refresher.

I found the world that Diego and the other characters inhabit to be interesting and pretty unique.  I am still working out some details, but the relationships between the angels and daimons to each other and the world at large is intriguing. 

This short novel - more of a novella, really - is fast paced and held my attention throughout. I liked the historical aspect to the story and I am curious how that will play into the story line as the series progresses. Overall, I would say that Without Light or Guide was a solid read and I have high expectations for the books to come in the series. 

Having read only the second book, I was still interested enough to add the first book to my TBR list and I am curious to see how things turn out for Diego, Miquel and Rafael. I am quite curious to find out more about the plans that the daimons have - there is something big in the works. 

I think that Without Light or Guide as well as the whole Los Nefilim series would appeal to those readers who enjoy Urban Fantasy or Historical fiction with fantasy.



About T. Frohock

T. Frohock has turned her love of dark fantasy and horror into tales of deliciously creepy fiction. She currently lives in North Carolina where she has long been accused of telling stories, which is a southern colloquialism for lying. Check out more of her works and news at www.tfrohock.com.



Tour Stops 

Tuesday, December 1st: You Can Read Me Anything 
Wednesday, December 2nd: Kahakai Kitchen 
Monday, December 7th: Bibliotica 
Tuesday, December 8th: Dreams, Etc. 
Wednesday, December 9th: A Book Geek 
Thursday, December 10th: A Dream Within a Dream 
Monday, December 14th: From the TBR Pile 
Tuesday, December 15th: Raven Haired Girl 
Wednesday, December 16th: Dwell in Possibility 
Thursday, December 17th: Curling Up by the Fire