Rustler’s Moon by Jodi Thomas

  • Rustler's Moon (1:26:16)Title:  Rustler’s Moon
  • Series:  Ransom Canyon #2
  • Author:  Jodi Thomas
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Pages:  384
  • Published:  January 2016 – HQN Books
  • Source:  Publisher/NetGalley

About:  On a dirt road marked by haunting secrets, three strangers caught at life’s crossroads must decide what to sacrifice to protect their own agendas…and what they’re each willing to risk for love. 
If there’s any place that can convince Angela Harold to stop running, it’s Ransom Canyon. And if there’s any man who can reveal desires more deeply hidden than her every fear, it’s Wilkes Wagner. Beneath the rancher’s honorable exterior is something that just might keep her safe…or unwittingly put her in danger’s path. 
With his dreams of leaving this small Texas town swallowed up by hard, dusty reality, all Wilkes has to show for his life is the Devil’s Fork Ranch. Though not one to let false hope seduce him, he can’t deny the quiet and cautious beauty who slips into his world and changes everything. 
Lauren Brigman finally has freedom at her fingertips. All she needs is Lucas Reyes’s attention—a look, a touch, some sign that she’s more to him than a girl he rescued one dangerous night. But now it’s her turn to rescue someone, and the life-altering decision may cost her more than a chance with Lucas.  (publisher)

My take:  Angela, Wilkes and Lauren may find themselves at a crossroads but so do a few other characters in Rustler’s Moon.

As usual, Jodi Thomas’ newest Ransom Canyon book is filled with drama, mystery and romance. Will Angela be able to escape her past and build a future she never dreamed would be hers? If so, how will Wilkes figure into it? Lauren is finally at college but why doesn’t freedom feel as good as she thought it would? And what’s the deal with: A) her roomie; B) her best friend; and C)Lucas, her love?

One of the things I love about a Jodi Thomas novel is the multi-generational aspect. In this book a man is trying to find a place in the canyon that has haunted him most of his 70+ years. A few friends join him in his search which had me laughing or feeling sad for him at different times.

I enjoyed all the storylines and look forward to seeing arcs continue in future books. I recommend Rustler’s Moon to fans of Jodi Thomas and contemporary/small town romance.

Sunday Post

Wishing everyone on the East Coast the best – including my little sis who is in NYC celebrating her birthday this weekend. Stay safe and warm, all!

Book arrivals:  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

Once a Rancher (3:29)  Britt-Marie Was Here (5:10)

Last week on Bookfan:

Midnight in St. Petersburg (1:19) spotlight   Cover.Final-2

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Winter Street (kindle)

 

The Lie And The Lady by Kate Noble

  • Cover.Final-2Title:  The Lie and the Lady
  • Author:  Kate Noble
  • Series:  Winner Takes All #2
  • Pages:  384
  • Published:  December 2015 – Pocket Books
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  John Turner thought only of winning a bet when he swapped identities with his friend the Earl of Ashby. He didn’t wager on winning the fiery Countess of Churzy’s heart with his lies, or on falling for her in return. Publicly humiliated when she learned of the betrayal, the impoverished countess fled, and John thought Leticia was lost to him forever…until fate brings her practically to his doorstep. Can he regain her trust—and her heart—this time as himself?

Determined to make a new life for herself, Letty knows she must avoid Turner—and his maddening kisses—in order to survive. But some things are too intoxicating to be denied. If she turns her back on her dashing rogue—again—will she lose her chance at love forever? (back of the book)

My take:  Lady Churzy was betrayed by Mr. Turner in a very public way that left her whispered about wherever she went. She couldn’t outrun the lie that scandalized the ton. That didn’t stop her from looking for a new life and security. When she met Sir Barty in Paris she thought she’d finally found the life she was looking for – the life she needed.

John Turner made a big mistake but he thought he could correct it so he kept looking for Letty (Lady Churzy). When he found her practically in his own back yard he couldn’t believe his good luck. But that feeling didn’t last long. Would he ever be able to convince her to trust him?

The plight of an unmarried woman without means at that time was at the forefront of the novel and I had sympathy for Letty for that reason. But to accomplish her goal she had to be calculating so she risked hurting people very close to her. I just knew that wouldn’t end well for most of them. I wasn’t sure how Letty and John would find their HEA but I soon knew the author would get them there.

The character that charmed me the most was Lady Margaret, the nineteen year old daughter of Sir Barty. She was quite introverted and chose to spend the majority of her time in the gardens and greenhouse. Margaret was beginning to evolve in the late pages of the novel and I hope we’ll see more of her at another time.

The Lie and the Lady was entertaining, a bit melodramatic, and, in some spots, laugh out loud funny. I enjoyed the main characters and the supporting ones – townspeople, servants, and such. Noble’s descriptions made it easy to envision the various settings and characters. This is the first of her books I’ve had the chance to read and I look forward to more in the future.

Recommended to fans of Kate Noble and Historical Romance.

Spotlight/US Giveaway: Midnight in St. Petersburg by Vanora Bennett

Midnight in St. Petersburg (1:19) spotlight

About the book:  Faberge jewels, the mysterious Rasputin, and a priceless violin: Each plays a part in one young woman’s fight for survival, and for love, in revolutionary Russia.

St. Petersburg, 1911. Inna Feldman has fled the pogroms of the south to take refuge with distant relatives in Russia’s capital. Welcomed by the flamboyant Leman family, she is apprenticed into their violin-making workshop. She feels instantly at home in their bohemian circle, but revolution is in the air, and as society begins to fracture, she is forced to choose between her heart and her head.

She loves her brooding cousin, Yasha, but he is wild, destructive, and devoted to revolution. Horace Wallick, an Englishman who makes precious Faberge creations, is older and promises security and respectability. And, like many others, she is drawn to the mysterious, charismatic figure beginning to make a name for himself in the city: Rasputin.

As the rebellion descends into anarchy and bloodshed, a commission to repair a priceless Stadivarius violin offers Inna a means of escape. But what man will she choose to take with her? And is it already too late?

A magical and passionate story steeped in history and intrigue, Midnight in St. Petersburg is an extraordinary novel of music, politics, and the toll that revolution exacts on the human heart.


About the author:  Vanora Bennett studied Russian at Oxford University and in the USSR. She began her career as a journalist at Reuters and went on to serve as the Moscow correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, winning a U.S. Overseas Press Club award for her writing on Russia. She now lives in Britain and has won the Orwell Prize for political writing for her work at The Times. She is the author of four novels, including Portrait of an Unknown Woman, and two books of non-fiction.


Praise for Midnight in St. Petersburg:

“Compelling, heartbreaking, passionate.” – Simon Sebag Montefiore

“A tale of thundering passions set in the Russian Revolution…Historical fiction at its best.” – Kate Saunders, The Times

“A rich gorgeous broth of passion and danger…I was swept away by the meticulous set-dressing, epic plot and unashamed romanticism.” – Saga Magazine

“Bennett’s sophisticated grasp of historical realities and psychological complexity gives power and depth to what might easily have been a clichéd romance.” – Sunday Times


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Midnight in St. Petersburg (1:19) spotlight

Giveaway ends: January 27, 2016


 

 

 

Spotlight/US Giveaway: The Forgotten Room

the forgotten room

About THE FORGOTTEN ROOM:

Set in New York City in alternating time periods, THE FORGOTTEN ROOM is a compelling web of secrets waiting to be untangled. This beautifully wrought story is told from the perspectives of three generations of women—Olive Van Alan (1892), Lucy Young (1920), and Dr. Kate Schuyler (1944)—connected to one extraordinary room in a Gilded Age mansion on Manhattan’s 69th Street.

As the stunning connections between the women unfold, readers will race through the pages to discover the threads that tie them together.  Why does the woman in Captain Ravenel’s portrait miniature from the 1890s look so much like Kate?  And why is she wearing the ruby pendant handed down to Kate by her mother?  In her search for answers, Kate finds herself drawn into the turbulent stories of Gilded Age Olive Van Alan, driven from riches to rags, working as a servant in the very house her father designed; and Jazz Age Lucy Young, who came from Brooklyn to Manhattan in pursuit of the father she never knew.


About the Authors:

Karen White is the New York Times bestselling author of The Sound of GlassA Long Time Gone, and The Time Between, among other novels.

Beatriz Williams is the New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Life of Violet Grant, A Hundred Summers, and Overseas.

Lauren Willig is the New York Times bestselling author of The Lure of the MoonflowerThat Summer, and The Other Daughter, among other novels.

All 3 authors photo


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The Expatriates by Janice Y.K. Lee

  • the expatriates (1:2016)Title:  The Expatriates
  • Author:  Janice Y.K. Lee
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Pages:  336
  • Pub. date:  January 12, 2016 – Viking
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  Janice Y. K. Lee’s blockbuster hit debut novel The Piano Teacher was called “immensely satisfying” by People, “intensely readable” by O, The Oprah Magazine, and “a rare and exquisite story” by Elizabeth Gilbert. And now, in her long-awaited follow-up, Lee explores with devastating poignancy the emotions, identities, and relationships of three very different American women living in the same small expat community in Hong Kong.

Mercy is adrift. A recent Columbia graduate without a safety net, she can’t hold down a job—or a man. Hilary, a wealthy housewife, is haunted by her inability to conceive a child she believes could save her floundering marriage. Meanwhile, Margaret, ostensibly a happily married mother of three, questions her maternal identity in the wake of a shattering loss. As each woman struggles with her own demons, their lives crash into one another in ways that could have devastating consequences for them all. Moving, atmospheric, and utterly compelling, The Expatriates confirms Lee as an exceptional talent and one of our keenest observers of women’s inner lives.  (publisher)

My take:  The Expatriates is the story of three women who find themselves living in Hong Kong and connected to each other in unimaginable ways. The synopsis explains it all. What I found compelling was Lee’s way of getting to the core of each woman. They share a similarity or two but each is unique in her circumstances. As they come to understand each other they gain perspective on their own lives.

I found myself relating the most to Margaret. I could understand her reaction to the horrible loss. My heart ached for her as I wondered how I would go on after such adversity.

Lee’s portrait of Hong Kong’s expatriate community drew me in. In a way, it was like any community here or abroad with people trying to fit in or trying to maintain a sense of where they came from.

I liked this novel but thought it wrapped up a bit too civilly. Then again, perhaps that just shows the growth experienced by the women.

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

Carolina Dreaming (2:2) Berkley  TheRamblers_BookCover  Cover.Final-2  Lies and Other Acts of Love (4:5:16)  Home on Apple Blossom Rd. (3:22016)

Last week on Bookfan:

Angels Burning (Jan. 2016)  a taste of heaven (short novel)  carolina man - audio

Currently reading:

Shine On by Claire Cook

Mini Takes

a taste of heaven (short novel)Synopsis: “Create one perfect bite.”
Good little widow Sophia Brown always follows the rules. When the producer of a cooking competition requests an amuse-bouche, the chefs stick with proteins. Sauces. A savory concoction. She has only one shot to impress the judges on A Taste of Heaven. But in a moment of defiance, she creates an extraordinary dessert, one that combines both the bitter and the sweet, just like her own life.
That one bite changes everything.
After a year grieving for her dead husband, forty-seven-year-old Sophia is finally ready to break out of her shell. Unfortunately, there is a large, angry obstacle standing in her way. Scottish chef Elliott Adamson has a chip on his shoulder the size of Loch Ness, and he’s blocking her path to victory.
Spurred by her daughters, she embarks on a poignant adventure that takes her from the wildflower fields of Vermont to the wind-swept vista of North Berwick, Scotland. Fear, courage, and inspiration from unlikely places will mark this journey, and Sophia is determined to persevere until the very end.
A TASTE OF HEAVEN is a 57,000 word short novel that includes a foodie romance, second chances, and a wee bit of haggis.

My take: If you enjoy cooking competition shows and contemporary sexy romances you’ll probably like A Taste of Heaven. I found the novel to be entertaining and light and I wasn’t ready for it to end. I’d read a sequel!

Purchased.


carolina man - audioSynopsis: Marine Luke Fletcher is determined to do his duty—first to his country and now to his ten-year-old daughter, the unexpected legacy of a high school girlfriend. But his homecoming to Dare Island in North Carolina’s Outer Banks challenges his plans for the future and forces him to face everything that’s missing in his life. He wasn’t prepared to lose his heart to this child he never knew. Or to fall hard for coolly reserved small town lawyer Kate Dolan.
Former military brat Kate knows Marines can make lousy fathers…and she’s got the scars to prove it. Giving her heart to a man who’s bent on leaving seems one sure way to have it broken.
Now, no matter what it takes, Luke must prove to Kate and to his daughter that Semper Fi is more than a motto—and to himself that there’s more than one way to be a hero.

My take: The third book in the Dare Island series, Carolina Man is my favorite so far. It’s an emotional addition to the contemporary romance series addressing issues such as the death of a young girl’s parent, abuse, and the importance of unconditional love from family. I liked Sophie Eastlake’s narration and look forward to listening to the next in the series.

Purchased.

Spotlight/US Giveaway: Angels Burning by Tawni O’Dell

Angels Burning (Jan. 2016)

About:

From Tawni O’Dell, author of the New York Times bestselling novel and Oprah Book Club selection Back Roads, comes ANGELS BURNING (Gallery Books; January 5, 2016; Trade Paperback Original; $16.00), a fast-paced literary thriller about a small town police chief who is forced to dig into her own shadowy past as she investigates the murder of a teenage girl.

When a girl’s body is found in a  fiery sinkhole in an abandoned coal town, Chief Dove Carnahan—a true trailblazer who would do anything to protect the rural countryside where she has lived all fifty of her years—is faced with solving the worst crime of her career. Dove identifies the girl as a daughter of the Truly family, a notorious dynasty of redneck irascibility and petty criminals.  But when the man convicted of killing Dove’s mother years earlier is released from prison—still proclaiming his innocence—his startling accusation will force Dove to face the parallels between her own family’s trauma and that of the Trulys.

With countless accolades to her credit, Tawni O’Dell writes with the “fearless insights” (New York Times Book Review) she brought to the page in Back Roads and One of Us.  In this masterfully told psychological thriller, the past and present collide to reveal the extent some will go to escape their fate, and in turn, the crimes committed to push them back to where they began.


Praise for Angels Burning:

“O’Dell does a stellar job of depicting the despair of those who live in a blighted rural community, while providing a complex study of the human soul and the fragile line that’s crossed when someone chooses to end another person’s life.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review

 

“Compelling, fast-paced…O’Dell’s latest is character-driven fiction at its best. –Library Journal, starred review

 

“A darkly compelling look into how the past colors the present, this psychological thriller will linger with readers.” –RT Book Reviews, four stars

 

“O’Dell returns with a captivating mystery… Filled with surprising twists and turns, this whodunit in a sullen town is a page-turner.” –Kirkus

 

“A dramatic, climactic end. The twists in this plot will keep the reader guessing as author O’Dell, yet again, shows why she is among the bestsellers. Her magic is powerful.”  –Suspense Magazine

 

“A no-holds-barred, page-turning, perfectly crafted thriller that kept me reading long into the night.” –Heather Gudenkauf, author of The Weight of Silence 

 

“A feast of a story, O’Dell handles family, friendships and toxic love with a ferocity reminiscent of Pat Conroy.” –Stella Cameron, New York Times bestselling author


DSC-Tawni-resizedAbout the author:

Tawni O’Dell is the New York Times bestselling author of six novels, including Back Roads, which was an Oprah’s Book Club pick and a Book-of-the-Month Club Main Selection. She is also a contributor to several anthologies, including Becoming Myself: Reflections on Growing Up Female. Her works have been published in more than forty countries. (publisher)

 


 

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Angels Burning (Jan. 2016)

 

 

First Book of 2016

2016 First Book

I decided to make Jodi Thomas’ new Ransom Canyon series book my First Book of the year. She’s one of my favorite authors and I knew I couldn’t go wrong starting 2016 with her book. Thanks to Sheila for hosting this meme. Click the link and check out other readers’ first books.

IMG_4963

Description: On a dirt road marked by haunting secrets, three strangers caught at life’s crossroads must decide what to sacrifice to protect their own agendas…and what they’re each willing to risk for love.

If there’s any place that can convince Angela Harold to stop running, it’s Ransom Canyon. And if there’s any man who can reveal desires more deeply hidden than her every fear, it’s Wilkes Wagner. Beneath the rancher’s honorable exterior is something that just might keep her safe…or unwittingly put her in danger’s path.

With his dreams of leaving this small Texas town swallowed up by hard, dusty reality, all Wilkes has to show for his life is the Devil’s Fork Ranch. Though not one to let false hope seduce him, he can’t deny the quiet and cautious beauty who slips into his world and changes everything.

Lauren Brigman finally has freedom at her fingertips. All she needs is Lucas Reyes’s attention—a look, a touch, some sign that she’s more to him than a girl he rescued one dangerous night. But now it’s her turn to rescue someone, and the life-altering decision may cost her more than a chance with Lucas.

Rustler's Moon (1:26:16)

I plan to finish reading Rustler’s Moon later today and look forward to author Jodi Thomas’ guest post early next month. Happy New Year!

Spotlight on: The Lie And The Lady by Kate Noble plus a giveaway of Book #1

Cover.Final-2

Truth be told, The Lie and the Lady “is nothing less than brilliant” (Starred Booklist)

 

  • THE LIE AND THE LADY
  • Kate Noble
  • 2nd in the Winner Takes All series
  • Pocket Books
  • December 29, 2015
  • ISBN: 9781476749396
  • $7.99

“With her usual witty writing and exquisite flair for characterization, Noble offers readers the second, splendid book in her Winner Takes All series. The effortless manner in which she wrote The Lie and the Lady as a separate love story while at the same time gracefully connecting it to The Game and the Governess (2014) and cleverly hinting at what is to come in the series is nothing less than brilliant.”

Booklist Starred Review


Cover.Final-2

John Turner thought only of winning a bet when he swapped identities with his friend the Earl of Ashby. He didn’t wager on winning the fiery Countess of Churzy’s heart with his lies, or on falling for her in return. Publicly humiliated when she learned of the betrayal, the impoverished countess fled, and John thought Leticia was lost to him forever…until fate brings her practically to his doorstep. Can he regain her trust—and her heart—this time as himself?

Determined to make a new life for herself, Letty knows she must avoid Turner—and his maddening kisses—in order to survive. But some things are too intoxicating to be denied. If she turns her back on her dashing rogue—again—will she lose her chance at love forever?

The Game and the Governess was dubbed a “winning novel, complete with rich characters and a multi-dimensional plotline” by Publishers Weekly (starred review), a “delicious treat” by Bookpage, “Immensely entertaining and eminently satisfying” by Booklist (starred review), and RT Reviews (four star HOT) promised “charming characters will sweep readers away into the story”.  Second in the captivating Winner Takes All series, THE LIE AND THE LADY is “nothing less than brilliant” (Booklist starred review) and will reward readers as the perfect literary escape.

 


AuthorPhoto

Kate Noble is the national bestselling author of The Game and the Governess and the critically acclaimed, RITA Award-nominated Blue Raven series. Under the name Kate Rorick, she writes for television, as well as novels based on the Emmy Award-winning web series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, for which she is also a writer and producer. She lives in Los Angeles. Visit katenoble.com@NobleRorickfacebook.com/katenoblewriter.


Buy Buttons for THE LIE AND THE LADY:

http://books.simonandschuster.com/The-Lie-and-the-Lady/Kate-Noble/Winner-Takes-All/9781476749396


 

US Giveaway

One copy of Book #1 in the series

the game and the governess (giveaway)

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Sunday Post

I received a couple of books in my mailbox last week amid all the Christmas festivities. I hope you all had a good week and (perhaps) received books or bookstore gift cards. My family no longer tries to guess if I’ve read a book or not so it’s not an issue. I love to receive gift cards though:)

A relative loaned me her copy of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Honestly, I’ve read so many reviews for it that I feel like I’ve read it. I’ll give it a try to see if I can come up with some good hints for simplifying. We’ve been working on our basement for the past few months.

Book arrivals:  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

a taste of heaven (short novel)  What We Find (4:5:16)

Last week on Bookfan:

Currently reading:

A Kristan Higgins book seemed like a great way to wind up the year:

waiting on you (audio)

Sunday Post

I’m looking forward to enjoying the next two weeks celebrating Christmas with family and friends. Look for my 2015 Favorite Books post on Tuesday. If I receive any books this week I’ll write a Sunday Post. Otherwise, I’ll be back on January 1st with my First Book of 2016. I wish a Merry Christmas to all who celebrate.

Book arrivals:  

No new books last week.

Last week on Bookfan:

  • Review:  Patterns of Change by Terri DuLong
  • Review:  The Last Chance Christmas Ball (anthology)

patterns of change (11:24 Lyrical Press)   the last chance Christmas ball (9:29)

Currently reading:

With my review commitments caught up I’m reading a book that’s been on my Kindle for a while.

moonlight on butternut lake #3

The Last Chance Christmas Ball

  • the last chance Christmas ball (9:29)Title:  The Last Chance Christmas Ball
  • Authors:  Mary Jo Putney, Jo Beverley, Joanna Bourne, Patricia Rice, Anne Gracie, Susan King, Cara Elliott, Nicola Cornick
  • Genre:  Christmas Anthology
  • Pages:  320
  • Published:  September 2015 – Kensington
  • Source:  Publisher/NetGalley

Description:  Christmas 1815. Upstairs and downstairs, Holbourne Hall is abuzz with preparations for a grand ball to celebrate the year’s most festive—and romantic—holiday. For at the top of each guest’s wish list is a last chance to find true love before the New Year…

A chance meeting beneath the mistletoe, a stolen glance across the dance floor—amid the sumptuous delicacies, glittering decorations, and swell of the orchestra, every duchess and debutante, lord and lackey has a hopeful heart. There’s the headstrong heiress who must win back her beloved by midnight—or be wed to another….the spinster whose fateful choice to relinquish love may hold one more surprise for her…a widow yearning to glimpse her long-lost love for even one sweet, fleeting interlude …a charming rake who finds far more than he bargained for. And many other dazzling, romantic tales in this star-studded collection that will fill your heart and spice up your holidays…

My take:  In my opinion this is the perfect kind of book to read during the busy holiday season – especially if you enjoy historical romances and anthologies. I enjoyed each story (although some more than others). The nice thing about an anthology is that it gives me a chance to sample authors I haven’t read before. That was the case for almost every author in this book.

I liked the premise of celebrating the 50th Christmas Ball hosted by the Dowager Countess of Holbourne Hall. She’s invited many of her godchildren who seem to be in need of a match (even though they don’t think so). I especially enjoyed the stories involving the Dowager’s grandchildren.

If you’re looking for a book to cozy up to the fire with this month I’d suggest you grab a copy of The Last Chance Christmas Ball. I’m glad I had a chance to read it.