Scandal Wears Satin by Loretta Chase

Title:  Scandal Wears Satin (The Dressmakers #2)

Author:  Loretta Chase

Genre:  Historical Romance

Published:  June 2012 – Avon

My take:  Sophy Noirot runs the PR side of the Noirot sisters’ dressmaking business. She makes sure that the society column in the morning paper includes detailed descriptions of the dresses that come from their shop. They are still the new shop in town and must gain more business in order to survive. Their most important customer has just fled town after deciding she didn’t want to marry the man who’d compromised her. That means a lot of lost orders for the dressmakers but it could also mean the loss of a friend.

Sophy hatches a plan to find Lady Clara and help her save face while avoiding marriage to the cad. She’ll need help carrying out the plan and finds the best person to help is Lady Clara’s brother Lord Longmore. What she didn’t count on was the instant attraction to Longmore. Conveniently he feels the same about Sophy.
The strength of this second book in the dressmakers series lies in the give and take between Longmore and Sophy. They are on an even playing field when it comes to understanding each other. Longmore’s self-deprecating humor when talking to Sophy was endearing and made me laugh. Sophy is a truly decent and mostly innocent young woman who only wants what’s best for Longmore’s sister as well as what’s best for her sisters’ business.
The characters shine in Scandal Wears Satin.  As in the first book I enjoyed the dress descriptions. I look forward to seeing what Loretta Chase comes up with next in the series. Recommended to fans of Historical Romance and the Dressmakers series.

Source:  Avon via Edelweiss

Disclosure:  See sidebar. I was not compensated for my review.

Spotlight on THIEF OF SHADOWS by Elizabeth Hoyt (plus a giveaway)

Elizabeth Hoyt’s highly anticipated Historical Romance THIEF OF SHADOWS,

the latest in her nationally bestselling MAIDEN LANE series,

has just been published as a paperback and eBook original by Grand Central Publishing.

♦  ♦  ♦

In THIEF OF SHADOWS, Winter Makepeace’s days are spent as the headmaster of a home for foundling children, one that has recently been adopted by “The Ladies Syndicate,” a group of aristocratic women committed to the works of the home and its betterment.  Night, however, brings out the darker side of Winter.  As the moon rises so does the Ghost of St. Giles, the most notorious footpad in London.  Hidden behind a Harlequin’s mask, he is rumored by some to both rescue and defend, and by others to ravish and murder.  When Winter, as the Ghost, is beaten and wounded, he is rescued and cared for by a beautiful aristocrat. Now his two worlds are about to collide.

Lady Isabel Beckinhall enjoys nothing more than a challenge.  Yet when, as a member of the Ladies’ Syndicate, she is asked to tutor Winter so that he can move within Society for the benefit of the Home, she hesitates at the thought of teaching the dour manager the ways of society—flirtation, double-entendres, and scandalous liaisons.  Nonetheless, she does so and as their lessons progress she is repeatedly distracted as she wonders why his eyes seem so familiar and his lips so very tempting.

By day, Isabel and Winter engage in a battle of wills.  At night their passions are revealed.  Soon though, the Ghost is called to action.  Little girls are disappearing, their loss blamed on the “lassie snatchers,” who are plying their evil trade in St. Giles.  Winter must avenge them. To do so, he must risk losing everything—the Home, Isabel and quite possibly his life.

Once again, Elizabeth Hoyt brings a time, place and people alive to captivate readers with their emotion, hopes and passion.

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THIEF OF SHADOWS, Book Four in the Maiden Lane Series

Elizabeth Hoyt

A Grand Central Publishing Mass Market and E-book Original

Fiction/$7.99 ($8.99 Canada)

978-1-455-50832-7 • 1455508322

♦  ♦  ♦


I have one copy of THIEF OF SHADOWS to give away

to one lucky reader (US/Canada)

Please click here for entry form.

Giveaway is now closed

An Unmarked Grave by Charles Todd (audio)

Title:  An Unmarked Grave (Bess Crawford #4)

Author:  Charles Todd

Narrator:  Rosalyn Landor

Genre:  Mystery (series)

Published:  2012 – Harper Audio

8 hours 31 minutes

Synopsis (from publisher) In the spring of 1918, the Spanish flu epidemic spreads, killing millions of soldiers and civilians across the globe. Overwhelmed by the constant flow of wounded soldiers coming from the French front, battlefield nurse Bess Crawford must now contend with hundreds of influenza patients as well.

However, war and disease are not the only killers to strike. Bess discovers, concealed among the dead waiting for burial, the body of an officer who has been murdered. Though she is devoted to all her patients, this soldier’s death touches her deeply. Not only did the man serve in her father’s former regiment, he was also a family friend.

Before she can report the terrible news, Bess falls ill, the latest victim of the flu. By the time she recovers, the murdered officer has been buried, and the only other person who saw the body has hanged himself. Or did he?

Working her father’s connections in the military, Bess begins to piece together what little evidence she can find to unmask the elusive killer and see justice served. But she must be as vigilant as she is tenacious. With a determined killer on her heels, each move Bess makes could be her last.

My take:  I thought the 4th book in the Bess Crawford series had a different feel to it than the others. Yes, we read about Bess’ work as a nurse at the front and her unofficial detective work back in England while she’s on leave but there’s a menacing danger in this mystery. It’s one that threatens Bess, all of her loved ones, and some unsuspecting soldiers.

Revenge is one thing. Indiscriminate killing is another.

from An Unmarked Grave by Charles Todd

I had no idea who the murderer was until the reveal. This mystery took turns that completely confused me! I can accept the solution but it wasn’t what I’d expected – even though I wasn’t sure what I expected 🙂

What I enjoyed about An Unmarked Grave was that we see more of Simon Brandon and Bess’ father in this book. It made me think that the series could continue after WWI. I would definitely read more about Bess solving crimes in post-war England. I also appreciated the descriptions of the front where Bess treated soldiers who’d been wounded, suffered the effects of gas, and  those who became ill with Spanish flu.

Rosalyn Landor’s performance was great. There’s a definite distinction between male and female voices that made me question more than once if there was a male narrator as well!

Source:  I bought it (Audible)

Note:  My thanks to Jennifer at Book Club Girl blog. If not for the Read-Along I may never have met Bess Crawford. I’m so glad I did!

Slimmer: The New Mediterranean Way To Lose Weight by Harry Papas

Title:  Slimmer: The New Mediterranean Way To Lose Weight

Author:  Harry Papas

Genre:  Health/Diets and Weight

Published:  2012 – Turner Publishing Company

About:  (from the book flap) In just one year, Harry Papas gained 110 pounds. Then he lost it all for life. Papas, a certified dietician in Greece, shed the pounds by creating a simple yet revolutionary nutrition plan: a delicious, low-fat Mediterranean diet coupled with the self-awareness he needed to combat the triggers that contributed to his weight gain.

My take:  Harry Papas’ diet plan is very readable and seems extremely easy to follow. It involves a 3 cycle plan with daily menus (and the option to switch out choices). Each cycle lasts twenty-one days and includes a few “free days” that allow one to “enjoy a favorite food at lunch or dinner that is not normally considered a diet choice”.

I’ve marked several recipes to try and have convinced the members of our household to give this plan a try. Papas explains all the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet and suggests baby steps in making changes. The food choices all look good to me. I’m a fan of greek yogurt, red wine, olive oil, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains. Toss in a few “free days” and I’m on board!

Papas stresses the need for moderate physical activity. Even a little each day will help with weight loss. He also addresses the  importance of using quality ingredients, eating few or no processed foods, and most importantly (in my opinion):

Remember that you’re human: at some point you may become side-tracked….When it comes to food, no one is ever perfect. You cannot be perfect everywhere and all the time. Just try the best you can.

p. 228 Slimmer

Papas included dozens of recipes. I highlighted one a few weeks ago:  Mediterranean Chickpea Salad. I think anyone interested in losing weight or just eating a healthier diet should look for this book. And I’m serious about giving the plan a try. I’ll update before the end of the year!

Read more about Slimmer here:

You can buy it at most book stores. I noticed yesterday (June 22) the Kindle and Nook editions are $2.99 but I don’t know how long that price will hold.

Source:  FSB Associates

Disclosure:  See sidebar. I was not compensated for my review.

Ocean Beach by Wendy Wax – Spotlight and Giveaway

Wendy Wax introduced Madeline Singer, Avery Lawford and Nicole Grant and their story of friendship, family and triumph in her book Ten Beach Road, which USA Today cited as one of “six that belong in your beach bag.” Now, these three head to Miami in OCEAN BEACH, on sale June 26. There they hope to use the skills they mastered renovating Bella Flora, a dilapidated historic home, to spin straw into gold once again, this time with the cameras rolling for the first season of their reality show, Do Over.

Wax, born and raised in St. Pete Beach, Florida is no stranger to Miami, but hadn’t visited there for years when she began researching OCEAN BEACH. Her first memories of it are from childhood. “When I was little, we stayed at the Fontainebleau Hotel and ate at Wolfie’s,” she says, admitting to a touch of nostalgia for the now closed landmark deli. Today, she knows much more about the city, especially South Beach’s legendary Art Deco structures, one of which inspired the home at the center of the novel.

The Millicent, a once fabulous Art Deco Streamline, and the reality show Do Over have Madeline, Avery and Nicole again donning their tool belts. Madeline’s daughter, Kyra, who created the pilot and sold the program, is at the helm for the first season, and she’s brought her six-month old, Dustin. Avery’s runaway mother, Deirdre, an interior designer, is there, too, as is The Millicent’s owner, show business legend and nonagenarian Max Golden.

Arriving in South Beach, they discover The Millicent in far worse shape than they expected and that the network has added a second camera crew with orders to film not just the renovation, but them, warts and all. With money running low, their private lives in limbo, and their only other source of income, Bella Flora, still unsold, no one is walking away—despite Do Over’s miniscule budget, their tiny salaries, saboteurs in their midst, and their concern that Max has much more riding on the project than reclaiming his home.

Then Dustin’s uber-celebrity father shows up, superstar wife, kids, body guards and entourage in tow and The Millicent becomes the focal point for paparazzi from around the world.

It’s make or break time for their careers—and possibly their friendship.  All in all, not the perfect circumstances for a major renovation.

As she has in the past, Wendy Wax focuses on women and relationships, telling a story of adversity, friendships, family ties, joy and heartbreak, sharing her distinctive voice and leavening the struggles of her protagonists with her trademark honesty, wit and tenderness.

♦  ♦  ♦


One lucky reader will win a copy of Ocean Beach

Open to US/Canada

Click here for details

Giveaway has ended