Friday, February 28, 2014

Book Blog Walkers: February Weekly Check-in Feb 28, 2014






 
Another month come and gone in 2014...this year is flying by and my 1/2 marathon is now 2 weeks away!!! While I'm very excited about it, I'm also a bit nervous! This weekend last year, I was down in Charleston, SC participating in the MS 50 mile, 3-day walk - what a great experience that was and as this year's event kicks off today, I wish all the walkers a fun, safe journey over the next 3 days! It was during that event last year that my mom and I decided we wanted to try walking a 1/2 marathon and here we are, a year later getting ready for our first one!

Here's how my week went:

Feb 22:  rest
Feb 23:  2.5 miles outside
Feb 24:  30 minutes outdoors/30 minutes indoors
Feb 25:  30 minutes indoor walking
Feb 26:  5k at gym (on treadmill) 
Feb 27: 30 minutes indoor walking
Feb 28:  1 hour indoor walking

How did your week go?


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Review: Honeymoon in Paris by Jojo Moyes

Title: Honeymoon in Paris: A Novella   
Author: Jojo Moyes 
Published: June 2013; Viking Adult
Format: E-book; 75 pages    
Source: Personal copy  

At the heart of Jojo Moyes' heartbreaking new novel, The Girl You Left Behind, are two haunting love stories—that of Sophie and Édouard Lefèvre in France during the First World War, and, nearly a century later, Liv Halston and her husband David.

Honeymoon in Paris takes place several years before the events to come in The Girl You Left Behind when both couples have just married. Sophie is swept up in the glamour of Belle Époque Paris but discovers that loving a celebrated artist like Édouard Lefèvre brings undreamt of complications. Following in Sophie's footsteps a hundred years later, Liv, after a whirlwind romance, finds her Parisian honeymoon is not quite the romantic getaway she had been hoping for. . . .

This enchanting self-contained story will have you falling in love with both young brides, and with Paris then and now, and it is the perfect appetizer for the The Girl You Left Behind, a spellbinding story of love, devotion, and passion in the hardest of times.

My thoughts: This novella is actually an introduction to the characters in Jojo Moyes' novel, The Girl You Left Behind. I didn't find out about this novella until after I had already read TGYLB, but I still felt the need to read this one and I'm glad I did. 

Having already read the novel, reading the prequel gave me some more insight into the characters that I already had come to love. Being set some years before the novel, we get details that are not given in the book, so  we can see how the characters have changed. As the title implies, both couples, though years apart, are on their honeymoons, but as they quickly find out, it is not all roses as they imagined it might be.

I'm actually glad I read this after reading the novel - I found that already knowing the full story and then reading this novella gave me a better appreciation for the characters earlier lives. If you've read both books, what do you think? Which would you have preferred to have read first?



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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Blog Tour & Review: Tea & Primroses by Tess Thompson

 
Title: Tea & Primroses    
Author: Tess Thompson    
Series: Legley Bay, #2     
Published: February 2014, Booktrope
Format: ARC e-book, 250 pages   
Source: CLP Blog Tours  


Nothing is as it seemed in calm, quaint Legley Bay.

Famous novelist Constance Mansfield lived a seemingly straightforward – if private – and somewhat predictable life. Friends, beloved daughter Sutton, a beautiful home, and all the success an author could wish for. A perfect life….but was it?

When a hit and run accident suddenly takes her mother’s life, Sutton finds hidden secrets with her heartbreak. Emotional walls she assumed Constance had built to protect her privacy may have been to protect something – or someone – else entirely. Family and friends return home for support, including her own lost-love, Declan. He’s the first thing she craves to help her cope with her loss and the questions she’s left with, but he’s also the last person she wants to see. Will he be able to put down roots at last?

Can the loss of true love be the making of a life, or is it destined to be the undoing of everything? When money, power and love combine across time, anything is possible.

My thoughts: This is the first book I've read by Tess Thompson, but it certainly won't be the last. And while it's the second in her Legley Bay series, I had no problems feeling as if I was missing anything by jumping in with this one.

Right from the first page, I was hooked on this story. I loved the characters and then the story just pulled me in. I'm always a sucker for the book-within-a-book theme and loved how Tess uses this to propel the story forward. While there is a mystery that needs to be solved - who killed Sutton's mother - once Sutton and Declan find Constance's manuscript and start reading it, the murder falls to the wayside and you become swept up in that story. 

Along the way, there are clues as to who might have killed Constance and while I had my suspicions early on, it in no way detracted from the overall enjoyment of this book. In fact, solving the murder is really a small part of this book. It's really about finding out what's in that manuscript that kept me glued to the pages of this book. There are major secrets revealed and at times, it becomes quite an emotional read. Plus, you get wrapped up in wondering whether Sutton and Declan will end up together or not???

I really enjoyed this book and the characters. I will definitely be going back and reading the first book in this series, Caramel and Magnolias, and hope that there will be more books set in Legley Bay...I would love to visit these characters again!


Books in this series:
  1. Caramel and Magnolias
  2. Tea and Primroses


About the author: Tess Thompson is a novelist and playwright with a BFA in Drama from the University of Southern California. In 2011 she released her first novel, Riversong, which subsequently became a best seller.
 
Like her main character in the River Valley collection, Tess is from a small town in Oregon. She currently lives in a suburb of Seattle, Washington with her two young daughters, Emerson and Ella, and their puppy Patches. She is inspired daily by the view of the Cascade Mountains from her home office window.

Tess is working on her next novel and regularly blogs about her journey as a mother, author and friend at www.tesswrites.com.

Authors Links: 
Website   |   Twitter   |   Facebook  |   Goodreads



Tea & Primroses by Tess Thompson is on tour with CLP Blog Tours. Be sure to check out the other tour stops to read more reviews, excerpts and guest posts by Tess Thompson.
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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Blog Tour & Review: Hearts at Play by Melissa Foster


Title: Hearts at Play   
Author: Melissa Foster 
Series: Love in Bloom: Snow Sisters & The Bradens #9; Love in Bloom: The Bradens #6   
Published: January 2014, World Literary Press   
Format: E-copy, 300 pages 
Source: Publicist  
  


Brianna Heart has a six-year old daughter and a twelve-year plan to keep her life as simple as possible until Layla turns eighteen. That means swearing off relationships and the drama that goes along with them, working two jobs, and being the best damn mother she can be.

The last thing Capital Series Grand Prix racer Hugh Braden wants after dating media-hungry leggy models and money-hungry fan girls is a blind date. But how could he turn down a favor to one of his best friends? Hugh expected the date to go poorly, but he didn’t expect to be intensely attracted to the beautiful brown-eyed bartender who completely blows him off—and steals his every thought thereafter.

When Brianna’s perfectly orchestrated life turns upside down, Hugh is there to help, softening the turmoil, and maybe even rescuing her heart from the lonely place where it has been hiding. Can a man who doesn’t believe in fate and a woman who doesn’t believe in true love find happiness in each other’s arms forever?

My thoughts: As I said in my review of the previous book in this series, I've really loved this series (the books I've read so far), but let me tell you - this one was hands down, my favorite! Maybe it's because as the series progresses, we really got to see a change in Hugh or maybe it's just the story itself, but this one is definitely a story that will give you goosebumps and have you reaching for the tissues quite a few times!

Hugh and Bree's story is a bit different from the ones we've seen so far in the fact that there's a child involved. And that child is Bree's whole world - she's the first thing on Bree's mind and so, in dating Bree, Hugh quickly learns and comes to appreciate how he must adapt to not only letting Bree into his life, but also a little girl. For Bree, she was fine with not dating until her daughter, now age 6, was 18, but after meeting Hugh, realizes, with the help of her friends and mother, that that's not only impractical but also not healthy.

I loved the whole theme of princess and prince woven throughout the book, especially when it came to the way Hugh treats both Bree and her daughter. This certainly is a fairy tale and there are so many times when Hugh go out of his way to show how he really is Bree's prince charming...times when those tears were flowing down my face!

Of course, this wouldn't be a Braden book without having the whole family make an appearance - and without giving anything away, it's a gathering filled with lots of joy and some big news, too!!! While I'm sad that this is the last of the Braden books (although I have to still go back and read book 1), I am happy to say that I heard that there will be another series of Bradens coming out this summer - cousins to these Bradens!!! Oh, this makes me so happy!!!


Books in the 14-book Love in Bloom series:

Snow Sisters                                
     1. Sisters in Love                       
     2. Sisters in Bloom                    
     3. Sisters in White                     
                                                               

The Bradens
     4. Lovers at Heart     
     5. Destined for Love
     6. Friendship on Fire
     7. Sea of Love
     8. Bursting With Love
     9. Hearts at Play

The Remingtons
   10. Game of Love
   11. Stroke of Love
   12. Flames of Love
   13. Slope of Love
   14. Read, Write Love                                                             
   
                                                        


*** Both Sisters in Love and Lovers at Heart are currently free on Amazon US.

More information about this series can be found here:


About the author: Melissa Foster is a New York Times USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes contemporary romance, new adult, contemporary women's fiction, suspense, and historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Her books have been recommended by USA Today's book blog, Hagerstown MagazineThe Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the Women’s Nest, a social and support community for women, and the World Literary Café. When she's not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on  Fostering Success. Melissa has been published in Calgary’s Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine. 

Melissa hosts an annual Aspiring Authors contest for children and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa lives in Maryland with her family.

Visit Melissa on The Women's NestFostering Success, or World Lit Cafe. Melissa enjoys discussing her books with book clubs and reader groups, and welcomes an invitation to your event.

Authors Links: 
Website   |   Twitter   |   Facebook  |   Pinterest   |   Goodreads

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Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Sunday Post #12 (2.23.14)

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.   

I've decided to try a new weekly meme - a place where I can do both a weekly wrap up and share what books I get all in one post, so I'm going to give The Sunday Post a try, and also link up with Sheila's It's Monday Post over at Book Journey.  

Another week come and gone.  While I loved watching the Olympics, I'm glad they're over - I need my reading time back!!! Now my focus is on training for the 1/2 marathon - 3 weeks and counting. Good thing for audio books!!! I just love putting on a good audio book and walking...which is what I'll be focusing on these last few weeks - getting some good distance walks in. 

Have a great week everyone - can't believe it's already the last week of February!

*****************************************************************************************
Last week on the Blog:  

* Book Spotlight: Cider Brook by Carla Neggers
* Review: Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan
* Book Excerpt: Cider Brook by Carla Neggers
* Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway: The Boleyn Bride by Brandy Purdy
* Blog Tour & Review: Bursting With Love by Melissa Foster
* Book Blog Walkers: February Weekly Check-in Feb 21, 2014

Books Read:
* Bursting With Love by Melissa Foster (review e- book)
* The Boleyn Bride by Brandy Purdy (review book)

* Hearts at Play by Melissa Foster (review e-book)
* Queen Elizabeth I: A Very Brief History by Mark Black (mine, e-book)  
 

Currently Reading:
* Tea & Primroses by Tess Thompson (review book)  
* Always Watching by Chevy Stevens (audio book)
* The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (audio book) 

Books Up Next:
* Cider Brook by Carla Neggers (review book)  
* The Chance by Robyn Carr (review book)

Current Giveaways:  
* The Boleyn Bride by Brandy Purdy...2 books up for grabs. US only. Ends 2.27.14

Coming Up on the Blog:
* Review: Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens
* Review: Hearts at Play by Melissa Foster
* Review: Honeymoon in Paris by Jojo Moyes
* Review: Tea & Primroses by Tess Thompson
* Month in Review: February 2014


Book Haul:   
Purchased:  
* Private L.A. by James Patterson

 
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Friday, February 21, 2014

Book Blog Walkers: February Weekly Check-in Feb 21, 2014


So, with the 1/2 marathon now only 3 weeks away, I've started to panic a bit due to the fact that I haven't really been able to get in many distance walks. With all the snow on the ground, it's a bit hard to do any walks outdoors, so I've resorted to walking at the mall. And you know what - it's not that bad!!! The mall by me is rather large and if I the perimeter of all four levels, it's just over 3 miles. I like to go early, when no one is there so I can zoom around at a rather quick pace, so Monday morning I got there at 5 am and it was just me and the cleaning crew and security. Unfortunately, do the a crazy week, I didn't make it back there, but hopefully, I'll get there this weekend.


Here's how my week went:

Feb 15:  5 miles (mall walking)
Feb 16:  rest
Feb 17:  6.5 miles (mall)
Feb 18:  30 minutes indoor walking + 1.5 hours shoveling
Feb 19:  rest  
Feb 20: 45minutes indoor walking
Feb 21:  1 hour indoor walking

How did your week go?


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Blog Tour & Review: Bursting With Love by Melissa Foster


Title: Bursting With Love   
Author: Melissa Foster 
Series: Love in Bloom: Snow Sisters & The Bradens #8; Love in Bloom: The Bradens #5   
Published: December 2013, World Literary Press   
Format: E-copy, 300 pages 
Source: Publicist  


After having her heart broken by a country music star, Savannah Braden has sworn off men. She takes a break from her fast-paced Manhattan lifestyle for a weekend at a survivor camp to rebuild her confidence and readjust her priorities. But when she meets the handsome guide, Jack Remington, she’s drawn to everything about him—from his powerful physique to his brooding stare—despite the big chip on his shoulder. Powerless to ignore the heated glances and mounting sexual tension, Savannah begins to reassess her hasty decision.

After losing his wife in a tragic accident, Jack Remington found solace in the mountains of Canada. This solitary existence allows him to wallow in his guilt and punish himself for having made a decision that he believes cost his wife her life. He never expected to want to return to the life he once knew—but then again, he never expected to meet gorgeous, stubborn, and competitive Savannah Braden.

One passionate kiss is all it takes to crack the walls the two have built to protect themselves, and allow love to slip in. While Jack fights his way through his guilt, and struggles to get back into the lives of those he left behind, Savannah is there to help him heal, and together they nurture hope that they’ve finally found their forever loves.

My thoughts: I feel like a broken record when it comes to my reviews of this series as I keep saying that each book is better than the last, but honestly, I really feel that it's true! Not that I didn't like all the previous books, but I just seem to fall more in love with the family and the subsequent love stories as I make my way through the series.

This time around we get Savannah's happily-ever-after. As the lone female in the Braden family, I've been quite curious about her story, knowing that whoever she ends up with would have to stand up to the scrutiny of not only Hal Braden, my favorite patriarch of all-time, but also the five Braden brothers. And I truly believe Jack Remington holds his own and then some! My goodness, just wait until you get to the end of the book - there's a scene where you will absolutely melt...I still get goosebumps just thinking about it!!!

I loved Savannah and Jack's story. It's filled with emotion - raw, gut-wrenching, passionate emotion that I don't think we've really experienced in this series so far. This truly is a story about second chance love and knowing when to let the past go. It's beautifully written and quite a few times I found myself tearing up, the emotion was so palpable.

This book also introduced us to Jack's family, who will be the focus of Melissa's next series, The Remingtons. I know I have some catching up to do with some of the earlier books that I missed, but then I will absolutely be reading the next series...I just can't get enough of these families that Melissa creates! Oh - and rest assured, you don't need to read this series in order. Each book can be read as a stand-alone.



Books in the 14-book Love in Bloom series:

Snow Sisters                                
     1. Sisters in Love                       
     2. Sisters in Bloom                    
     3. Sisters in White                     
                                                               

The Bradens
     4. Lovers at Heart     
     5. Destined for Love
     6. Friendship on Fire
     7. Sea of Love
     8. Bursting With Love
     9. Hearts at Play

The Remingtons
   10. Game of Love
   11. Stroke of Love
   12. Flames of Love
   13. Slope of Love
   14. Read, Write Love                                                             
   
                                                        

 
*** Both Sisters in Love and Lovers at Heart are currently free on Amazon US.

More information about this series can be found here:


About the author: Melissa Foster is a New York Times USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes contemporary romance, new adult, contemporary women's fiction, suspense, and historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Her books have been recommended by USA Today's book blog, Hagerstown MagazineThe Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the Women’s Nest, a social and support community for women, and the World Literary Café. When she's not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on  Fostering Success. Melissa has been published in Calgary’s Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine. 

Melissa hosts an annual Aspiring Authors contest for children and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa lives in Maryland with her family.

Visit Melissa on The Women's NestFostering Success, or World Lit Cafe. Melissa enjoys discussing her books with book clubs and reader groups, and welcomes an invitation to your event.

Authors Links: 
Website   |   Twitter   |   Facebook  |   Pinterest   |   Goodreads 
 
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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway: The Boleyn Bride by Brandy Purdy (CLOSED)


Title: The Boleyn Bride   
Author: Brandy Purdy     
Published: February 2014; Kensington Publishing 
Format: ARC Paperback; 272 pages   
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
   

From carefree young woman to disillusioned bride, the dazzling lady who would become mother and grandmother to two of history's most infamous queens, has a fascinating story all her own. . .

At sixteen, Elizabeth Howard envisions a glorious life for herself as lady-in-waiting to the future queen, Catherine of Aragon. But when she is forced to marry Thomas Boleyn, a wealthy commoner, Elizabeth is left to stagnate in the countryside while her detested husband pursues his ambitions. There, she raises golden girl Mary, moody George, and ugly duckling Anne—while staving off boredom with a string of admirers. Until Henry VIII takes the throne. . .

When Thomas finally brings his highborn wife to London, Elizabeth indulges in lavish diversions and dalliances—and catches the lusty king's eye. But those who enjoy Henry's fickle favor must also guard against his wrath. For while her husband's machinations bring Elizabeth and her children to the pinnacle of power, the distance to the scaffold is but a short one—and the Boleyn family's fortune may be turning. . .

My thoughts: I really enjoy reading about the Tudor England period and find that each book I read brings to light new information. What Brandy Purdy did here was essentially give us a memoir of sorts by Elizabeth Boleyn - Anne Boleyn's mother. Now I've read many books about Ann Boleyn and never really remember much being mentioned about her mother, so I was quite drawn to this book.

To say that Elizabeth Boleyn is an interesting person is, in my opinion, an understatement. She certainly would never win mother of the year, that's for sure! There's one section just a little bit more than halfway through the book that aptly sums this up:

The truth was, by the time my children grew up and became interesting to me, it was too late for me to play any real role in their lives; my attempts at mothering or befriending them were often awkward at best and disappointing, for all of us, at worst. They had grown accustomed to me not being there for them; they had learned not to need or depend on me, and to live without me, and were not inclined to fling the door wide in welcome now when I had been the one who had kept it closed all during their childhoods.

Elizabeth Boleyn believed she was destined for greatness herself and when she didn't get that, she basically looked for ways to spite her husband whenever she could. She basically abandoned her children. Later on in life, I believe she does regret her decisions, but, it was too late for her to apologize to Anne and George and she wasn't able to summon the courage to approach Mary. The only person who really knew the true Elizabeth Boleyn was her long-time lover Remi Jouet, a doll-maker she met as a young girl. 

Again, I have found that with all the books written about Tudor England, each author brings to light new information, bringing to the forefront lesser known characters that had an eagle's eye view of what was going on at the courts during this time. Elizabeth Boleyn, as mother to Queen Anne Boleyn and as mistress to the king himself as one point, certainly saw all!


The Boleyn Bride by Brandy Purdy is on tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. Be sure to check out the other tour stops to read more reviews, guest posts and some giveaway opportunities. Be sure to follow all the twitter activity, too at #BoleynBrideTour.


GIVEAWAY DETAILS - CLOSED (US only) 
Thanks to Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, I have two copies of The Boleyn Bride to offer to my readers.

 
To enter… 
  • Leave a comment below & be sure to include your email address.
  • Tweet, share on Facebook, or blog for 2 extra entries.
  • You MUST include email address or entry will be invalid.
  • I will contact winner at the conclusion of the giveaway & they will have 2 days to respond or I will pick a new winner.

This giveaway is open to US residents only and ends February 27th. 


Good luck!


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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Book Excerpt: Cider Brook by Carla Neggers

Title: Cider Brook    
Author: Carla Neggers   
Series: Swift River Valley, #3    
Published: January 2014, Harlequin MIRA    
Format: Paperback, 384 pages   
Source: Publicist   

Unlikely partners bound by circumstance…or by fate?

Being rescued by a good-looking, bad-boy firefighter isn't how Samantha Bennett expected to start her stay in Knights Bridge, Massachusetts. Now she has everyone's attention—especially that of Justin Sloan, her rescuer, who wants to know why she was camped out in an abandoned old New England cider mill.

Samantha is a treasure hunter who has returned to Knights Bridge to solve a 300-year-old mystery and salvage her good name. Justin remembers her well. He's the one who alerted her late mentor to her iffy past and got her fired. But just because he doesn't trust her doesn't mean he can resist her. Samantha is daring, determined, seized by wanderlust—everything that strong, stoic Justin never knew he wanted. Until now…

Excerpt:

Samantha Bennett slipped her grandfather's antique silver flask into an outer pocket of her khaki safari jacket. He'd claimed the flask was from an old pirate chest, but she'd discovered in the three years since his death at ninety-six that not everything he'd told her had been factual. Harry Bennett had been a grand spinner of the strategic tall tale. He'd probably been drinking run from the flask when he'd spun the pirate-chest story.

No rum for me, Samantha thought, glancing around her grandfather’s cluttered office on the second floor of the Bennett house in Boston’s Back Bay. She’d filled the flask with the smoky Scotch he had left in one of his crystal decanters. If she was going to hunt pirate’s treasure, she figured she ought to have whiskey with her.

Although what could go wrong in little Knights Bridge, Massachusetts?

Her grandfather smiled at her from a framed black-and-white photograph hanging on the wood-paneled wall behind his massive oak desk. At the time of the photo, he’d been forty-seven roguishly handsome wearing a jacket much like hers. He’d just arrived back in Boston after the Antarctic trip that had sealed his reputation as a world-class explorer and adventurer. It had almost killed him, too. Her couple of nights’ camping in an out-of-the-way New England town hardly compared to an expedition to Antarctica.

She buttoned the flap of her jacket pocket. There were endless pockets inside and out. She was already forgetting where she’d put things—her phone, compass, matches, map, the earth-tone lipstick she’d grabbed at the last second, in case she went out to dinner one night during her stay in Knights Bridge. 

Out to dinner? Where, with whom - and why?

If nothing else, a few days away from her grandfather’s clutter would do her good. He had been born on a struggling New England farm and had died a wealthy man, if also a hopeless pack rat. Samantha hadn’t realized just how much he’d collected in his long, active life until she’d been hired by his estate—meaning her father and her uncle—to go through his house and his Londom apartment. She swore she’d found fum wrappers from 1952. The man had saved everything.

The morning sun streamed through translucent panels that hung over bowfront windows framed by heavy charcoal velvet drapes. Her grandmother, who had died twenty-five years ago, when Samantha was four, had decorated the entire house herself, decreeing that gray and white were the perfect colors for this room, for when her husband was there, being contemplative and studious—which wasn’t often, even in his later years. He’d spent little time in his office, mostly just long enough to stack up his latest finds.

Samantha appreciated the effect of the filtered sunlight on the original oil painting that she'd unearthed from the office closet a few weeks ago. The painting was unsigned and clearly an amateur work, but it had captivated her from the moment she'd taken it out into the light. It depicted an idyllic red-painted New England cider mill, with apples in wooden crates, barrels of cider and a water wheel capturing the runoff from a small stone-and-earth dam on a woodland stream. She'd assumed it was untitled but two days ago had discovered neat, faded handwriting on the lower edge of the simple wood frame.

The Mill at Cider Brook.

Her surprise had been so complete that she'd dipped into the Scotch decanter. 

She didn’t know if the mill depicted in the painting was real, but there was a Cider Brook in Knights Bridge, barely two hours west of Boston.

Of all places. 

A quick internet search had produced a year-old notice that the town of Knights Bridge was selling an old cider mill in its possession. Had someone bought it? Was it still for sale?

Samantha had checked the closet for anything else her grandfather might have stuffed in there related to Cider Brook. Instead, she discovered a legal-size envelope containing about fifty yellowed, handwritten pages - the rough draft of a story called The Adventures of Captain Farraday and Lady Elizabeth

She suspected but had no way to prove that the story was by the same hand as the painting, but it didn't matter. It had sealed the deal, and now she had Harry Bennett's antique silver flask tucked in her jacket and her plans made for her return to Knights Bridge - a town she had expected, and hoped, she would never have to visit again. 

********************************************************************************


This is the 3rd book in Carla Neggers' Swift River Valley series, although the books can be read as stand-alone titles in any order.
  1. Secrets of the Lost Summer
  2. That Night on Thistle Lane
  3. Cider Brook

CIDER BROOK 
Carla Neggers
$7.99 U.S./$8.99 CAN. 
ISBN-13: 978-0-7783-1588-9


***Be sure to stop back on March 3rd when I review this book.
 
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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Review: Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan

Title: Sleigh Bells in the Snow   
Author: Sarah Morgan 
Series: O'Neil Brothers, #1 
Published: October 2013, Harlequin HQN  
Format: E-book; 384 pages 
Source: Netgalley  


USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan heats up the season with the O'Neil brothers in a brand-new holiday series!

Once upon a time, Christmas was Kayla Green's favorite time of year. Now all the workaholic wants for Christmas is for it to be over—as fast as possible! So when duty calls her to snowy Vermont to close a deal with a new client, Kayla is grateful for an excuse to avoid the holidays for another year.

Jackson O'Neil left a thriving business behind to return home and salvage his family's resort—it's in his blood, and he can't let it fail. Now that he's got marketing whiz Kayla Green working with him to put Snow Crystal on the map, success is on the horizon. The fact they strike enough sparks off each other to power all the Christmas lights in Vermont is just an added bonus.

Kayla might be an expert at her job, but she's out of her depth with Jackson—he makes her crave the happy-ever-after she once dreamed of, and it's terrifying. As the snowflakes continue to swirl, will the woman who doesn't believe in the magic of Christmas finally fall under its spell?

My thoughts: I just love finding new authors and new series - to me that's a home run and that's what this was for me!!! As someone who loves reading series, I love finding a series that I can connect with right off the bat - one that pulls me in with fun characters and a good story-line. That was this one and I am so glad I was able to get approval of this from Netgalley!

I loved the romance between Jackson and Kayla, but also loved how the story didn't just focus on them, but on Jackson's family as well. This book really set up the foundation for the series, so we were given introductions to all the characters, but I didn't feel this detracted from the main story at all. It really is all about Jackson and Kayla and how Kayla is going to help Jackson save his family's resort. 

The setting of this book and the time the story takes place - right around Christmas - just adds to the overall enjoyment of the book. I would so love to go to a place like Snow Crystal Resort and believe me, I'm not a huge outdoorsy, cold-weather person, but the way Sarah Morgan describes this place just makes you want to head up there to enjoy it all. Sitting by a warm fire while watching the snow fall; seeing frozen water falls; taking a walk and seeing everything frozen and quiet - it sounds like a winter wonderland!!!

As I mentioned before, we did get to meet the other characters and they were involved in some of the other story lines. Jackson's brother Tyler is learning how to be a full-time dad and that is not without it's own set of problems. Jackson's mother is still learning how to go on living a full-life after losing her husband.

I'm quite excited to read the rest of this series and hope that we continue to see all the characters we've met. There were some hints towards the end of the book as to who the focus might be on and I'm curious to see if I'm right. Do you like knowing what's coming next in an upcoming book in a series or do you prefer being surprised?


Books in this series:
  1. Sleigh Bells in the Snow
  2. Suddenly Last Summer - due out Jun 2014
  3. Maybe This Christmas - due out Oct 2014
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Monday, February 17, 2014

Book Spotlight: Cider Brook by Carla Neggers


Title: Cider Brook  
Author: Carla Neggers 
Series: Swift River Valley, #3  
Published: January 2014, Harlequin MIRA  
Format: Paperback, 384 pages 
Source: Publicist   


Unlikely partners bound by circumstance…or by fate?

Being rescued by a good-looking, bad-boy firefighter isn't how Samantha Bennett expected to start her stay in Knights Bridge, Massachusetts. Now she has everyone's attention—especially that of Justin Sloan, her rescuer, who wants to know why she was camped out in an abandoned old New England cider mill.

Samantha is a treasure hunter who has returned to Knights Bridge to solve a 300-year-old mystery and salvage her good name. Justin remembers her well. He's the one who alerted her late mentor to her iffy past and got her fired. But just because he doesn't trust her doesn't mean he can resist her. Samantha is daring, determined, seized by wanderlust—everything that strong, stoic Justin never knew he wanted. Until now…


About the author: Carla Neggers has been spinning stories ever since she climbed a tree with pad and pen at age 11. Now she has millions of copies of her books in print in more than 30 countries, and more than two dozen of her books have placed on the New York Times, USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. Cider Brook is the third novel in her acclaimed Swift River Valley romantic mystery series that launched with Secrets of the Lost Summer and That Night on Thistle Lane. Secrets of the Lost Summer spent four weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and garnered rave reviews, including a starred review from Booklist and a Top Pick from RT Book Reviews. Growing up in rural western Massachusetts with three brothers and three sisters, Carla developed an eye for detail and a love of a good story. Her imagination, curiosity and sense of adventure are key to creating the complex relationships, fast-paced plots and deep sense of place in her books.




CIDER BROOK 
Carla Neggers
$7.99 U.S./$8.99 CAN.
ISBN-13: 978-0-7783-1588-9


***Be sure to stop back on March 3rd when I review this book.
 
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