Sunday Post

Book arrivals:

Not one book in my mailbox last week. That’s ok. I have plenty on my stack to keep me reading for weeks years. I’m taking a Fall break from posting and will be back on Nov. 2. See you then!

One of the main reasons for taking two weeks off:

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Our new granddaughter, Harper.

She was born just before midnight Friday.

Last week on Bookfan:

the assassination of marg. thatcher (sept)  Mr. Miracle (Vine Oct7)  that summer (CD)

Currently reading:

I hope to catch up on some review books.

Happy reading!

That Summer by Lauren Willig (audiobook)

  • that summer (CD)Title:  That Summer
  • Author:  Lauren Willig
  • Narrator:  Nicola Barber
  • Genre:  Historical Fiction
  • Published:  June 2014 – Macmillan Audio
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  2009: When Julia Conley leads that she has inherited a house outside London from an unknown great-aunt, she assumes it’s a joke. When she arrives at Herne Hill to sort through the house she discovers a Pre-Raphaelite painting, hidden behind the false back of an old wardrobe, and a window onto the house’s shrouded history begins to open.

1849: Imogen Grantham has spent nearly a decade trapped in a loveless marriage to a much older man, Arthur. But everything changes when three young painters come to see Arthur’s collection of medieval artifacts. When Arthur hires one of the artists to paint her portrait, no one can guess the outcome of events that the hands of fate have set in motion.  (publisher)

My take:  Lauren Willig had me from the synopsis with the dual-storylines (1800s and 2009).  I’m a fan of historical fiction especially when it involves art. At first I wasn’t sure listening would be as good an experience, in terms of distinguishing between the two eras, as reading a print copy but it wasn’t a problem.

Although Julia is the one trying to solve the mystery of the painting it is the reader who comes to know most of the details from Imogen’s story. Lucky for Julia that she is introduced to Nick, a dealer in antiques and friend of Julia’s cousins. From the start Julia (as well as the reader) is not sure of his motivation so there’s a trust issue. Julia has trust issues with a lot of people in her life so that isn’t surprising. That conflict worked well with the plot.

Not only is Julia looking for answers about the painting but she’s also seeking answers about people in her immediate family. Living at Herne Hill brings past experiences to the forefront in her memory. She needs to figure out if the memories are true or not.

I enjoyed the flow of the story. The resolution was satisfying if not a little surprising in how it came about. If you enjoy historical fiction (with light romance) and dual-storylines having to do with art I recommend That Summer.

Nicola Barber’s narration is wonderful. Her voicing of both female and male voices was easy to listen to and I wouldn’t hesitate to select any book she’s narrated. My thanks to Macmillan Audio for providing the review copy.

Mr. Miracle by Debbie Macomber

  • Mr. Miracle (Vine Oct7)Title:  Mr. Miracle: A Christmas Novel
  • Author:  Debbie Macomber
  • Genre:  Christmas; Contemporary Romance
  • Published:  October 2014 – Ballantine Books
  • Source:  Publisher

My take:  With a nod to Dickens, Debbie Macomber’s new Christmas novel is about the possibilities of new beginnings. Harry Mills (an angel) gets his chance to help some humans going in the right direction. To nudge them along, if you will. He’s a teacher at the community college and chooses A Christmas Carol as the class novel.

First up is Addie who has moved home after being gone for six years. She’ll live at her mom’s house while taking the last class needed to get her GED. Then she’ll go to college. What Addie doesn’t expect is the boy next door still being next door. Circumstances have made it so Erich must be there over the holidays. He’s not happy about that and even less thrilled that Addie is going to be involved in his life. Both Addie and Erich have regrets but can they help each other learn from those regrets and move forward?

Others who will find themselves getting attention from Harry are Danny who is on parole and must take a class and Andrew, a veteran, and his service dog. Harry has his work cut out for him with his students and his fellow faculty and staff.

I thought this was a sweet Christmas story but it’s not my favorite by the author. At the end of the book there’s an excerpt from last year’s Christmas book. After you read Mr. Miracle I recommend you read Starry Night. I really liked that one! However, if all you want is a new and fast read (that can be important at this busy time of year) you should look for Mr. Miracle. I don’t think you can go wrong with Debbie Macomber.

The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher by Hilary Mantel

  • the assassination of marg. thatcher (sept)Title:  The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher
  • Author:  Hilary Mantel
  • Genre:  Short Stories
  • Published:  September 2014 – Henry Holt
  • Source:  Publisher

Publishers Description:  One of the most accomplished, acclaimed, and garlanded writers, Hilary Mantel delivers a brilliant collection of contemporary stories

In The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher, Hilary Mantel’s trademark gifts of penetrating characterization, unsparing eye, and rascally intelligence are once again fully on display.

Stories of dislocation and family fracture, of whimsical infidelities and sudden deaths with sinister causes, brilliantly unsettle the reader in that unmistakably Mantel way.

Cutting to the core of human experience, Mantel brutally and acutely writes about marriage, class, family, and sex. Unpredictable, diverse, and sometimes shocking, The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher displays a magnificent writer at the peak of her powers.

My brief take:  I want to begin with a disclaimer: I haven’t read any short story collections that wowed me so I tend to avoid reading them. Why did I accept a review copy of Hilary Mantel’s latest collection? Because I haven’t read her books and wanted to sample her writing. In hindsight, I probably should have read a chapter or two in one of her chunky historical fiction novels. I like historical fiction. At any rate, all of the stories in the collection are immensely readable. If pressed to name a favorite in this collection I’d say it was How Shall I Know You? in which an author honors a commitment to a book group despite being quite ill.

The title story was not included in my review copy (embargoed until publication date) so I can’t speak to that.

I think if you enjoy the author and short stories you’ll probably like this collection.

It is also available in audiobook from Macmillan Audio

 

When We Fall by Emily Liebert

  • when we fall (Sept2)Title:  When We Fall
  • Author:  Emily Liebert
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Published:  September 2014 – NAL
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  Ready for a fresh start, Allison Parker moves back to her hometown in the suburbs of New York. While she’d once savored the dynamic pace of city life, sadly, it lost its allure after her husband’s untimely death. Now, ready to focus on her art career accompanied by her ten-year-old son, Logan, Allison doesn’t anticipate that her past will resurface. When the wife of her husband’s best friend from summer camp takes her under her wing, things begin to spin out of control.

At one time, Charlotte Crane thought she had it all—a devoted husband, a beautiful little girl, and enough financial security to never have to worry. But behind her “perfect” facade lie a strained marriage and a fractured relationship with her sister. When “new girl” Allison arrives in Wincourt, Charlotte welcomes the chance to build a friendship. Before long, Charlotte begins to see her life through Allison’s eyes, and the cracks in her seemingly flawless existence become impossible to ignore.

As Allison heals from the loss of her husband—even wondering if she might be ready to date again—Charlotte feels more distant from her loved ones than ever before. The emerging friendship between the two women appears to be just the antidote both of them so desperately need…until everything falls apart.  (publisher)

My take:  Emily Liebert’s new novel is about the possibility of friendship – between women and women and men. It’s about forgiveness and having the courage to begin again. Overall, I enjoyed it. I certainly enjoyed how Liebert tells a story! There were times when the grown up “mean girls” got on my last nerve but that didn’t stop me from reading. I’ve heard stories about these mean school moms but I couldn’t relate.

What I liked most was Allison’s story. Her courage and sense of what is truly important in life made her stand apart from some of the women she met in Wincourt. She and Charlotte were so different from each other that I wondered if they’d be friends a year later. Charlotte wanted her husband to see that she could be friends with a quality person like Allison instead of her usual superficial friends. She was so insecure and knew she was losing her husband but couldn’t seem to stop herself from sabotaging her marriage. I also enjoyed the support characters of Elizabeth, Charlotte’s sister and Dempsey, a handsome guy from Allison’s past. They added a lot to the story.

When We Fall would be a perfect book to take on vacation. It’s a page-turner in that I didn’t want to stop reading because I had to see where things would go for Allison and Charlotte. I look forward to see what Emily Liebert writes next.

At the end of the novel there is a conversation with the author as well as discussion questions.

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast

  • can't we talk about something more pleasant?Title:  Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?:  A Memoir
  • Author:  Roz Chast
  • Genre:  Memoir; Graphic
  • Published:  May 2014 – Bloomsbury USA
  • Source:  Library

Synopsis:  #1 New York Times Bestseller; 2014 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD LONGLIST FOR NONFICTION

In her first memoir, Roz Chast brings her signature wit to the topic of aging parents. Spanning the last several years of their lives and told through four-color cartoons, family photos, and documents, and a narrative as rife with laughs as it is with tears, Chast’s memoir is both comfort and comic relief for anyone experiencing the life-altering loss of elderly parents.

When it came to her elderly mother and father, Roz held to the practices of denial, avoidance, and distraction. But when Elizabeth Chast climbed a ladder to locate an old souvenir from the “crazy closet”—with predictable results—the tools that had served Roz well through her parents’ seventies, eighties, and into their early nineties could no longer be deployed.

While the particulars are Chast-ian in their idiosyncrasies—an anxious father who had relied heavily on his wife for stability as he slipped into dementia and a former assistant principal mother whose overbearing personality had sidelined Roz for decades—the themes are universal: adult children accepting a parental role; aging and unstable parents leaving a family home for an institution; dealing with uncomfortable physical intimacies; managing logistics; and hiring strangers to provide the most personal care.

An amazing portrait of two lives at their end and an only child coping as best she can, Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant will show the full range of Roz Chast’s talent as cartoonist and storyteller.  (publisher)

My take:  Roz Chast’s memoir is a candid look into her life, her relationship with her parents, and their final days. An only child, the enormous lifelong responsibility was all hers. You may be familiar with Chast’s New Yorker cartoons which I’ve always found remarkable for portraying the human condition. Her illustrations in this memoir are equally remarkable.

At times uncomfortable, at times relatable I found Can’t We talk about Something More Pleasant? a compelling read and recommend it to fans of graphic memoirs, the author, and anyone who finds themselves in the position of caretaker of an elderly parent.

When the Snow Falls by Fern Michaels, Nancy Bush, Rosanna Chiofalo, Lin Stepp

  • When the Snow Falls (Oct7) KensingtonTitle:  When the Snow Falls
  • Authors:  Fern Michaels; Nancy Bush; Rosanna Chiofalo; Lin Stepp
  • Genre:  Christmas Anthology; Romance
  • Published:  September 2014 – Zebra
  • Source:  Kensington Books

Synopsis:  Something’s in the air this holiday season, and it could be the beginning of a wonderful Christmas romance…

“Candy Canes and Cupid” by Fern Michaels

All private investigator Hannah Ray wants for Christmas is a quiet day at her Florida beachfront condo. When her biggest client insists she join him on a Colorado ski trip, she has little choice—but what she finds on her arrival could melt the coldest heart…

“White Hot Christmas” by Nancy Bush

Aspiring PI Jane Kelly likes to pretend she’s a bah-humbug kind of girl, but she’s had mistletoe on the brain ever since she shared a kiss with her boss, Dwayne. Before she can hope for a repeat performance, Jane must solve a kidnapping that’s as twisted as a candy cane—and not nearly as sweet.

“Seven Days of Christmas” by Rosanna Chiofalo

Five years ago, Bianca Simone received a wonderful early Christmas gift from her boyfriend, Mark—a week amid the stunning Alpine scenery of Innsbruck, Austria. Now she’s back under very different circumstances, but Mark has one more special gift in mind…

“A Smoky Mountain Gift” by Lin Stepp

Veda Trent is back in Townsend to fill in as temporary manager of the Crafts Co-op, but she’s not planning to stay. Though the mountain town is small, it holds lots of unsettling memories. Yet the wind can change, bringing with it new opportunities—and the chance to create the kind of Christmas Veda has always longed for.

My take:  I think Christmas is the perfect time of year to read an anthology. When the Snow Falls includes 4 very different stories. The first involves an attractive pair brought together by a bit of matchmaking on the part of a mutual friend who happens to own a 5 star ski resort in Colorado. There’s a mystery to be solved at the resort too. I liked this story. The second is more mystery than romance. I thought it was ok but that’s how I feel about most mysteries. The third was a heartfelt story about a woman wondering if she can go on in life after a huge loss. Can’t say much more because of the spoiler possibilities. Most of it takes place in Europe and there’s a small paranormal aspect. The last story picked up where a novel I read a few months ago left off. I didn’t expect that. I enjoyed going back to the small mountain town and the people who live there. A young woman wonders if she should find out if you can go home again. I hope the author continues this novella in a future full length novel. This was my favorite of the four stories. That said, When the Snow Falls has a little something for every reader.

Stirring Up Trouble by Kimberly Kincaid

  • Stirring Up Trouble (Oct7) KensingtonTitle:  Stirring Up Trouble
  • Series:  Pine Mountain #3
  • Author:  Kimberly Kincaid
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Published:  October 2014 – Kensington Books; Zebra
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  Sloane Russo’s turned a decade of crazy jobs and whimsical travel into a career writing steamy novels set in exotic places. Trouble is, Sloane’s flat broke now–and she can’t channel sun-drenched beaches in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The only fast cash in town comes with some seriously distracting temptation: Gavin Carmichael, hot, handsome and oh-so-hard-headed.

Gavin isn’t the impulsive Don Juan of Sloane’s novels. He’s raising his thirteen-year-old half-sister, and he’s pretty sure he’s supposed to act like he’s never heard of fun. Sloane is way too sexy and irresponsible to be his idea of a good tutor for Bree, but the unpredictable anti-nanny may be irresistible as well. . .  (publisher)

My take:  This is the third book in the Pine Mountain series and even though it’s the first of the series that I’ve read I didn’t feel lost in the setting or with the characters. It can definitely stand alone.

I enjoyed Sloane and Gavin’s story except for a predictable part in the last third of the novel. It moved the plot so I get why it had to happen but still. I won’t spoil it for other readers. Could be it just bothers me and no one else :)  I liked the two characters and enjoyed Sloane trying to get the serious Gavin to loosen up a bit. In turn, Gavin encouraged Sloane to believe in herself and to trust her decisions.

I think my favorite part of the novel was the relationship between Sloane and Gavin’s young sister Bree. Bree is learning to live without her mother (who died about a year earlier from cancer) and is in desperate need of a mother figure who understands her and can help with the things girls her age experience. It was handled well, I thought, and covered things I’ve not come across in any other romance novel.

Stirring Up Trouble is the first book by Kimberly Kincaid I’ve read and I look forward to reading more. Recommended to fans of the Pine Mountain series and Contemporary Romance.

Guest Post by Clare F. Price: Such an Unlikely Place to Launch a Revolution – US Giveaway

Such an Unlikely Place to Launch a Revolution

By Clare F. Price
Author of WEB OF BETRAYAL

WebofBetrayalCover

The weathered old tavern, a relic from California’s Gold Rush days, is nestled in the
rolling hills of Portola Valley, CA. Called the Alpine Inn, it’s a most unlikely place to start a revolution. But a revolution was indeed launched there. On August 27, 1976 researchers from SRI International in Menlo Park chose the Alpine Inn (also known as Zot’s) for a special ceremony—the first transmission of what would become the Global Internet.

According to the Portola Valley blog, “The message was sent via a radio network from SRI and on through a second network, the ARPANET, to Boston. This event marked the beginning of the Internet Age.

“On November 22, 1977 the same radio-based mobile SRI van terminal demonstrated the first use of Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) to connect a terminal to a host through three dissimilar packet networks. The SRI van is now in the collection of the Computer History Museum.”

alpine_inn_and_bikes_thumbFrom that point forward the Alpine Inn—which looks more like a biker bar than a Silicon Valley mega spot —has lured some of the Valley’s best and brightest movers and shakers for conversations that ultimately have led to the funding of major software startups, innovative product launches, and corporate mega mergers.

The Alpine Inn is such a magnate that young startup wanna-bes have been known to leave their one-page laminated business plans on car windshields just in case one of the visitors enjoying a quick greasy bite is a venture capitalist.

As a frequent visitor to the Alpine Inn in the 1990s during my product marketing days at Sun Microsystems and later at the Gartner Group, I couldn’t resist using the infamous Alpine Inn as one of the settings for my new novel Web of Betrayal.

It is, as described in my book, “by no one’s measure an inn and even the term restaurant was a stretch. It was a good, old-fashioned counter service hamburger joint and bar with a rough-hewn character that had become increasingly endearing as the surrounding towns of Woodside and Portola Valley grew in affluence and pretension.”

In Web of Betrayal, the Alpine Inn is where my protagonist, reporter Peter Ellis, first learns about the development problems with David Lockwood’s new Internet product. Despite its notoriety, the Alpine Inn is a great place for private conversations.

Read about Zot’s historical role in the birth of the Internet here.


 

Clare 3a-1Clare Price is a former business journalist, technology reporter, Internet industry analyst and a VP of marketing for several software startups. She saw the birth of the commercial Internet firsthand as a research director with the Gartner Group, the global leader in information technology consulting. As a principal analyst in Gartner’s Internet Strategies Service, Clare assisted many of the world’s biggest technology companies (IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, HP, Sun Microsystems, Oracle) in their bid to make the internet a reality. In addition to her 5-book series, The 5 Easy Pages Essential Marketing System, Clare has written more than 700+ articles and is a frequent speaker in the areas of marketing, management, and technology.

For more information and to view the book trailer, visit:
Click here to enter a Giveaway of one copy of  WEB OF BETRAYAL.
WebofBetrayalCover
Giveaway has ended

Lucky Catch by Deborah Coonts

  • LuckyCatch_Final(5)Title:  Lucky Catch
  • Series:  Lucky O’Toole #5
  • Author:  Deborah Coonts
  • Published:  August 2014 – Cool Gus Publishing
  • Source:  Publicist

Synopsis:  Trouble always comes in threes. At least that’s what Lucky O’Toole, the VP of Customer Relations for Las Vegas’ primo Strip casino/hotel, the Babylon, has heard for years from her mother. So, tonight, when Teddie, her former lover shows up at her office unannounced and very unexpected, her father offers Teddie a job at the Babylon, she is called to deal with a pig in residence at one of the hotels most exclusive and opulent suites, and Lucky’s current lover, Jean-Charles Bouclet stops answering his phone leaving Lucky to handle his five-year-old son, Lucky figures she has tonight’s compliment of chaos covered.

As usual, she is a tad optimistic.

With a cadre of celebrity chefs with the maturity of teenagers in Vegas for a televised cook-off, a prized Alba truffle in the Babylon’s care, and her mother’s pregnancy racing toward the inevitable, what could go wrong?

When the truffle is stolen from the walk-in in Jean-Charles’ gourmet burger joint at the Babylon and a young chef apparently killed with a smoking gun is found in Jean-Charles’ food truck on the back lot, trouble takes a sinister turn.

And Jean-Charles still isn’t answering his phone.

Another body is discovered. This one stuffed in an oven at Jean-Charles’ eponymous restaurant and set to broil.

Desperate to put a lid on the body count and more than frantic over her AWOL lover, Lucky uses her Vegas contacts to search in places and in ways the police wouldn’t or couldn’t. Teddie insists on riding shotgun. Lucky hasn’t the time nor the resolve to say no. She’s never been able to resist Teddie … not really. With danger dogging their heels, Lucky finds herself falling once again under his spell as they traverse Vegas, being drawn deeper and deeper into the highly competitive world of high-end eateries and the battle for the very rare, most highly prized gourmet foodstuffs.

Would somebody really kill for a truffle?

In a heartbeat.

And when Lucky’s path crosses the killer’s… will her goose be cooked?  (publisher)

My take:  I was so happy to be given a chance to read the latest Lucky O’Toole mystery. Deborah Coonts is back  with a new Vegas mystery featuring our favorite amateur sleuth, Lucky O’Toole. This time Lucky ‘s current beau goes missing – and at the same time the prized truffle due to be used in a cooking competition at the resort seems to be lost.

And then two dead bodies found on the premises of The Babylon Resort need to be dealt with. Finding out whodunit is just one of the items on Lucky’s list of things to do. She also has to deal with a pig in one of the resort’s exclusive bungalows; some curious RFID tags; and people who are not whom they appear to be – and that’s just the top of the list.

As usual, I enjoyed my visit to Lucky O’Toole’s Las Vegas. The setting is mostly high-end and the characters are all sorts of people. Lucky is still questioning her relationship with her current man while maybe second-guessing her last one. The cast of regulars in her world make appearances in Lucky Catch and help to solve the mystery. I liked it all and look forward to the next book in the series. Recommended to fans of fun mysteries. Lucky Catch is part of a series. It can stand on its own. You don’t have to read the series in order but that’s what I’d recommend!

Sunday Post

Happy Autumn!  The news this week is my daughter and her fiancé welcomed Gordon into their home. He’s a very sweet West Highland Terrier. It’s nice to have another dog in the family (we said goodbye to our 15-year-old Bailey last winter).

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Book arrivals:  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

you were meant for me (Oct7)  venice in the moonlight (Oct2)

Last week on Bookfan:

the fortune hunter  a place called harmony

Currently reading:

that summer (CD)  Mr. Miracle (Vine Oct7)

Happy reading!

Blog tour/Review: A Place Called Harmony by Jodi Thomas

Today I’m pleased to welcome back author Jodi Thomas whose new book A PLACE CALLED HARMONY  will publish on Tuesday, October 7, 2014. (Click here to preorder)

a place called harmonyIn A PLACE CALLED HARMONY readers will be looking at Harmony for the first time.  I enjoyed writing about the three men who were brave enough to travel half of Texas to build a town.  All three men came to me full and strong as did the women who loved them.  From the opening I was running full gallop with a plot.  With my great-grandmother’s chest sitting in front of my desk, I felt like I was loading up the wagon and heading for a new life.

Patrick McAllen had grown up on the gulf coast of Texas.  He had to run away to avoid his father’s wrath and shy little Annie agreed to go with him. Captain Matheson didn’t even know his family was relocating to build a town where only a trading post stood.  When he got to his wife Daisy, he realized how much having him near meant to her and how dearly he needed his ever-growing family.

Clint Truman had been looking for a way to die since he’d lost his family.  Drunk and down on his luck, a sheriff offered him a choice.  Go to jail or head north to build a town.  Clint didn’t think much of the idea but when he met a woman half-dead from starvation and caring a newborn in her arms, he saw someone who needed him and he couldn’t turn away.

As they all moved toward the trading post, each found not only a direction in life, but true love.

Step into the beginning of a town called Harmony.  Ride along with me through the adventures and the love stories.

Thank you for reading,

Jodi Thomas

1028_jodibio

Jodi Thomas is the NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of 40 novels and 12 short story collections. A four-time RITA winner, Jodi currently serves as the Writer in Residence at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.

www.jodithomas.com

www.facebook.com/JodiThomasAuthor

www.twitter.com/jodithomas

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  • a place called harmonyTitle:  A Place Called Harmony
  • Series:  Harmony #8
  • Author:  Jodi Thomas
  • Genre:  Romance (Historical)
  • Published:  October 2014 – Berkley
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  Jodi Thomas has captivated America with her novels set in the small town of Harmony, Texas. Now she tells the story of the three hard-luck men who first settled the town, a place where last chances and long-awaited dreams collide…

Desperate to escape his overbearing father, Patrick McAllen disappears with his bride, heading north to build a new town— discovering strength, honor and true love along the way.

After drinking away the grief from his family’s death, Clint Truman avoids jail by taking a job in North Texas and settling down with a woman he vows to protect but never love—until her quiet compassion slowly breaks his hardened heart wide open…

All Gillian Matheson has ever known is Army life, leaving his true love to be a part-time spouse. But when a wounded Gillian returns home to find her desperately fighting to save their marriage, he’s determined to become the husband she deserves.

Amidst storms, outlaws, and unwelcome relatives, the three couples band together to build a town—and form a bond that breathes life into the place that will forever be called Harmony.  (publisher)

My take:  A Place Called Harmony is a must read for fans of Jodi Thomas and her Harmony series. I loved it. It was fun to see how the place where her modern-day series takes place got its start. The ancestors of the main characters of the Harmony series helped to build the town.

The Trumans, McAllens and the Mathesons meet after taking a man up on his offer to help build a town. We see them from the beginning and how they grow to be friends for life. Not only that, we see how each man meets his wife and begins a new journey together. I loved all three stories. These are good people who’ve survived tragedies and still trust that life can get better with the mates they’ve been fortunate enough to find.

A Place Called Harmony is a romantic adventure. It’s truly an American pioneer story and I recommend it. Included at the end is an excerpt from the next book in the Harmony series: One True Heart. It will be out in April 2015. I can’t wait to read it!

Wondrous Words Wednesday

wondrous2

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Kathy at Bermudaonion where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. Join in by writing a post and then add your link to Mr. Linky at Bermudaonion.


This week I’m reading WHEN THE SNOW FALLS. It’s a Christmas anthology including 4 stories/novellas by Fern Michaels, Nancy Bush, Rosanna Chiofalo, and Lin Stepp. I found two words that are new to me:

folderol – fol·de·rol –  Trivial or nonsensical fuss

“I’m not sure what I think about Christmas as a whole. I like some of it, but all the folderol can sometimes give me the heebie-jeebies. Actually, too much of anything can do that.”   (White Hot Christmas by Nancy Bush)

funicular – fu·nic·u·lar – A cable railroad, especially one on a mountainside, in which ascending and descending cars are counterbalanced.

“Not only are the views astounding from the summit but the funicular itself is an engineering feat.”   (Seven Days of Christmas by Rosanna Chiofalo)

When the Snow Falls (Oct7) Kensington

Definitions from the Oxford dictionaries (online) 

The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin

  • the fortune hunterTitle:  The Fortune Hunter: A Novel
  • Author:  Daisy Goodwin
  • Genre:  Historical Fiction
  • Published:  July 2014 – St. Martin’s Press
  • Source:   Publisher

Synopsis:   Empress Elizabeth of Austria, known as Sisi, is the Princess Diana of nineteenth-century Europe. Famously beautiful, as captured in a portrait with diamond stars in her hair, she is unfulfilled in her marriage to the older Emperor Franz Joseph. Sisi has spent years evading the stifling formality of royal life on her private train or yacht or, whenever she can, on the back of a horse.

Captain Bay Middleton is dashing, young, and the finest horseman in England. He is also impoverished, with no hope of buying the horse needed to win the Grand National—until he meets Charlotte Baird. A clever, plainspoken heiress whose money gives her a choice among suitors, Charlotte falls in love with Bay, the first man to really notice her, for his vulnerability as well as his glamour. When Sisi joins the legendary hunt organized by Earl Spencer in England, Bay is asked to guide her on the treacherous course. Their shared passion for riding leads to an infatuation that jeopardizes the growing bond between Bay and Charlotte, and threatens all of their futures.

The Fortune Hunter, a brilliant new novel by Daisy Goodwin, is a lush, irresistible story of the public lives and private longings of grand historical figures.  (publisher)

My take:  I’m a fan of historical fiction (especially the Victorian era) so when I was offered a copy of The Fortune Hunter I was happy to accept. I liked that one of the main characters was Austrian Empress Elizabeth (Sisi to family and friends) – someone I knew little about. She was an unusual and unhappy woman. Her husband Franz Joseph married her and then ignored her. She seemed to finally find happiness when she escaped her sheltered life in Austria and came to England to hunt.  Sisi was even happier when introduced to Captain Bay Middleton who would become her hunting pilot (guide) and possibly more.

At first my feelings toward Bay were mixed. He was all but promised to young heiress, Charlotte Baird, when he met the Empress. He appeared to genuinely love Charlotte but then was easily taken in by the Empress who wasted no time in drawing him into her world. He seemed to have no qualms about leaving his old world behind. In the end, I didn’t waste much sympathy on him.

I thought The Fortune Hunter was a rather quiet novel. The pace picked up in the second half and I enjoyed it but the first half was rather slow as the characters and their homes and hunts were laid out in great detail.

If you enjoy historical novels rich in detail you may want to read this book. I’m glad I did and will be interested to see what Daisy Goodwin writes about next.

Sunday Post

Book arrivals  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

make my wish come true (Nov3) A Quilt for Christmas (Oct14) school of fish (Sept30) that summer (CD)

Last week on Bookfan:

cancel the wedding (Aug5)  LuckyCatch_Final(5)

Currently reading:

When the Snow Falls (Oct7) Kensington

Happy reading!

Spotlight/Giveaway (eBook) Lucky Catch by Deborah Coonts

Lucky Catch
Author: Deborah Coonts
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Buy Link: http://amzn.to/1mZ6M12

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Trouble always comes in threes. At least that’s what Lucky O’Toole, the VP of Customer Relations for Las Vegas’ primo Strip casino/hotel, the Babylon, has heard for years from her mother. So, tonight, when Teddie, her former lover shows up at her office unannounced and very unexpected, her father offers Teddie a job at the Babylon, she is called to deal with a pig in residence at one of the hotels most exclusive and opulent suites, and Lucky’s current lover, Jean-Charles Bouclet stops answering his phone leaving Lucky to handle his five-year-old son, Lucky figures she has tonight’s compliment of chaos covered.

As usual, she is a tad optimistic.

With a cadre of celebrity chefs with the maturity of teenagers in Vegas for a televised cook-off, a prized Alba truffle in the Babylon’s care, and her mother’s pregnancy racing toward the inevitable, what could go wrong?

When the truffle is stolen from the walk-in in Jean-Charles’ gourmet burger joint at the Babylon and a young chef apparently killed with a smoking gun is found in Jean-Charles’ food truck on the back lot, trouble takes a sinister turn.

And Jean-Charles still isn’t answering his phone.

Another body is discovered. This one stuffed in an oven at Jean-Charles’ eponymous restaurant and set to broil.

Desperate to put a lid on the body count and more than frantic over her AWOL lover, Lucky uses her Vegas contacts to search in places and in ways the police wouldn’t or couldn’t. Teddie insists on riding shotgun. Lucky hasn’t the time nor the resolve to say no. She’s never been able to resist Teddie … not really. With danger dogging their heels, Lucky finds herself falling once again under his spell as they traverse Vegas, being drawn deeper and deeper into the highly competitive world of high-end eateries and the battle for the very rare, most highly prized gourmet foodstuffs.

Would somebody really kill for a truffle?

In a heartbeat.

And when Lucky’s path crosses the killer’s… will her goose be cooked?

 

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About the Author:
DebPlane1I am proof positive that sex sells…and persistence pays off. After fifteen years learning the craft of writing, I am now officially, an overnight success. And it’s been a long road to get here…

My mother tells me I was born in Texas a very long time ago, but I’m not so sure—my mother can’t be trusted. These things I do know: I was raised in Texas on barbeque, Mexican food and beer. I’ve lived in every time zone in the U.S.; the most memorable stint being the time spent in Las Vegas, where I currently reside and where family and friends tell me I can’t get into too much trouble…silly people.

The only constant in my life (besides my family, who deserves hazardous duty pay for sticking with me) has been change (my mother is still waiting for me to grow up). Silly woman.

But all of this career ADD made me incredibly unemployable. Hence the whole writing thing.

Actually, I’ve known from a young age that somehow stories would be a large part of my life, but my path to telling lies for a living (okay, not lies per se, but variations of the truth, for sure) has been circuitous. If someone had just told me when I was a kid that I could actually be paid to daydream for a living, life would have been soooo much easier. But they didn’t. And I never saw a ‘daydreaming’ booth at all those Career Days I attended.

So, initially discouraged when unable to locate anyone willing to pay me to read books, go to the movies, or attend the theatre, and in need of providing for the best child in the world, my son Tyler, I spent years being someone else—an accountant (blech), a business owner (pretty fun), a lawyer (loved law school, hated practicing law), a pilot (giddy and terrifying at the same time). But through it all, I wrote. Along the way I wrote the world’s worst novel, a slightly more well-crafted but equally as poorly plotted novel, several non-fiction feature articles (my first sales!), multiple humor columns for a national magazine (more sales!), and, finally, the novel that sold, Wanna Get Lucky?, the first in a series to be published by Forge Books. The series is a Sex and the City meets Elmore Leonard in Vegas kind of thing, if you can imagine that. Okay, have several glasses of wine, then think about it…makes imagining easier.

Anyway, the books are sexy, wry, romantic, and slightly naughty mixed with a little murder and mayhem—shaken, not stirred—then illuminated by the bright lights of Las Vegas—one of the truly magical cities in the world.
Many of my friends have asked me how in the world I came up with the Lucky series. The way they asked led me to believe they thought mind-altering substances might have been involved even though they knew the worst I do is a glass of fine Pinot-Noir. The answer to their question is actually very simple: let your fifteen-year-old male child pick where you live, follow his dream to Vegas, then keep your eyes open.

Hey, it worked for me!

Connect with Deborah Coonts:

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International Giveaway

of one eBook edition of Lucky Catch

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Click here and fill out the form

giveaway has ended

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Deborah Coonts Lucky Catch Blog Tour Stops

8/24/2014 The Literate Kitty Blog

8/25/2014 A_TiffyFit’s Reading Corner

8/25/2014 Deanna’s Tidbits

8/26/2014 The Book Bag

8/27/2014 Lesa’s Book Critiques

8/27/2014 Patti’s Pen and Picks

8/28/2014 Literary Nymphs

8/28/2014 Fallen Angel Reviews

8/29/2014 You Gotta Read Reviews

8/29/2014 Authors & Readers Book Corner

8/31/2014 Sizzling Hot Books

9/1/2014 An Avid Readers Haven

9/2/2014 Chick Lit Plus

9/3/2014 Stacy Alesi’s BookBitch

9/4/2014 Wicked Lil Pixie

9/5/2014 Socrates’ Book Reviews

9/9/2014 Ramblings of a Daydreamer

9/11/2014 Lisa’s World of Books

9/18/2014 Bookfan

9/19/2014 Bless Their Hearts Mom