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Thursday, February 23, 2017

[Review]* In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen




In Farleigh Field: A Novel of World War IIWorld War II comes to Farleigh Place, the ancestral home of Lord Westerham and his five daughters, when a soldier with a failed parachute falls to his death on the estate. After his uniform and possessions raise suspicions, MI5 operative and family friend Ben Cresswell is covertly tasked with determining if the man is a German spy. The assignment also offers Ben the chance to be near Lord Westerham’s middle daughter, Pamela, whom he furtively loves. But Pamela has her own secret: she has taken a job at Bletchley Park, the British code-breaking facility.
As Ben follows a trail of spies and traitors, which may include another member of Pamela’s family, he discovers that some within the realm have an appalling, history-altering agenda. Can he, with Pamela’s help, stop them before England falls?
Inspired by the events and people of World War II, writer Rhys Bowen crafts a sweeping and riveting saga of class, family, love, and betrayal.

Summary & Cover taken from Goodreads.com
Length: 396 pages (Paperback)
Source: Review Copy
Genre: Historical Fiction
Available Formats: Print/E-book/Audio
Buy Links: AMAZON US AMAZON CAN AMAZON UK
Expected Publication Date: March 1st 2017 Lake Union Publishing 


Just a warning I'm going to be intentionally vague in my review. but as there are various subplots in this novel I feel it's best to talk about what I loved about it and not give a full analysis and pick apart the story so as not to give away any of the secrets you're sure to uncover in In Farleigh Field.
I've been a fan of the whole Bletchley Circle type story since, well Bletchley Circle came out on BBC and I've been looking for some really good historical fiction to fill the void that the show left in me and this was everything I wanted.
I'm not the biggest fan of reading this era in history and this one actually has me wanting to read more of the era, which I'm planning to do so if you have any recommendations hand 'em over.
Anyways, back to the review.
Farleigh Field was one of those reads that swept me up in the feel of the era, The frantic, nervous energy that surrounded everyone, the feeling of being shrouded in fear and not knowing what was going to happen from one day to the next got me. That along with the great selection of characters and vivid story telling was amazing.
I loved the wide range of characters, the ages vary and so do their views on the war and what is going on. I thought that seeing the world through the eyes of several different characters helpful, and different. How often do we think of children in the war? How often do we think of the other side? This one made me think a lot about the world then and the comparisons that we can draw in our world today.
You could tell that the Rhys Bowen, did a tremendous amount of research to put this novel together. It isn't easy digging up facts about that era, as so many would believe with it still being withing living memory for many but bringing it back to life in such a way that I could be transported back was an amazing feat. I felt as though I could reach out and touch things in the scenes and made me fall in love with the characters, because they were so well put together.
Full of rich historical detail, amazing characters and an awesome plot this is one novel not to be missed and I recommend it for all historical fiction lovers and readers in general.



*Note I'd like to thank  the publisher for the opportunity to review this novel.

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Saturday, February 11, 2017

{Blog Tour Review]*A Ghostly Reunion (Ghostly Southern Mysteries #5) by Tonya Kappes




A Ghostly Reunion (Ghostly Southern Mystery, #5)Emma Lee Raines sees dead people

Proprietor of the Eternal Slumber Funeral Home, Emma Lee can see, hear, and talk to ghosts of murdered folks. And when her high school nemesis is found dead, Jade Lee Peel is the same old mean girl—trying to come between Emma Lee and her hot boyfriend, Sheriff Jack Henry Ross, all over again.

There’s only one way for Emma Lee to be free of the trash-talking ghost—solve the murder so the former prom queen can cross over.

But the last thing Jade Lee wants is to leave the town where she had her glory days. And the more Emma Lee investigates on her own, the more complicated Miss Popularity turns out to be. Now Emma Lee will have to work extra closely with her hunky lawman to get to the twisty truth.
 

Summary & Cover taken from Goodreads.com
Length: 352 pages (Paperback)
Source: Review Copy
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Ghostly Southern Mysteries
Available Formats: Print/E-book
Publication Date: December 27th 2016 by Witness
Buy Links: AMAZON BARNES & NOBLE
ADD TO GOODREADS

This was such a fun mystery to read. 

I loved the southern charm that oozed from the pages of this one. Despite the fact that Emma owns and runs a funeral home I thought she was a sparkplug. She see dead people but this lady is full of piss and vinegar. Pardon my french.
I came into this one having not read the previous books in the series (hoping to rectify that soon!) but apart from the odd time here or there I would say that A Ghostly Reunion was easy to follow along with. 
I loved the idea of Emma seeing dead people. What can I say? It's one of my favourite themes in books so the fact that this was mixed with a cozy little southern mystery I was all set to enjoy it, and enjoy it I did.
I liked the cute banter between Emma and her boyfriend Jack who just happens to be the sheriff. I thought they were adorable together and they seemed really right for each other so I was so on Emma's side when her dead frenemy from high school tried to sink her ghostly claws into Jack I wasn't having it.
I loved the mix of murder mystery mixed with the small town setting and thought that the characters were really well developed. I liked their relationship and I like how it was tested a bit. The way the she came to find out who killed Jade was one that I didn't see coming and enjoyed seeing how it all came to a conclusion.
I'd recommend this one to fans of the cozy genre with the right amount of southern sass, some ghosts and laughs. I can't wait to go back to the beginning of the series and seeing how Emma's adventures all started.

Author Bio:

Tonya KappesTonya Kappes has written more than fifteen novels and four novellas, all of which have graced numerous bestseller lists including USA Today. Best known for stories charged with emotion and humor and filled with flawed characters, her novels have garnered reader praise and glowing critical reviews. She lives with her husband, two very spoiled schnauzers, and one ex-stray cat in northern Kentucky. Now that her boys are teenagers, Tonya writes full-time but can be found at all of her guys’ high school games with a pencil and paper in hand.


Author Links:


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Saturday Snapshot #24

West Metro Mommy Reads

To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky on West Metro Mommy Reads' Blog. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.

Last weekend we celebrated Spartan's one year adoptaversary! So here are some photos of him that I took this week. Isn't he photogenic?






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Friday, February 10, 2017

[Blog Tour Review & Giveaway]* The Queen's Maid of Honour (The French Orphan #4) by Michael Stolle




The Queen's Maid of Honour (The French Orphan Book 4)

The year is 1643. The scheming Cardinal Mazarin is now Prime Minister of France, but on the other side of the Channel, unrest in England grows daily, as civil war is erupting. As the political situation in England deteriorates, the royal court flees London for Oxford, and King Charles is desperate to secure both funding and troops to come to his aid.

Mazarin, every bit as devious as his predecessor, Richelieu, engages the services of François de Toucy to save the Queen of England, a former royal princess of France. François and his friends will set sail for England, in a quest to ensure the safety of the queen.

Whilst François is walking a diplomatic tightrope across the political cauldron of the royal court, his friend Armand falls desperately in love with the Queen’s Maid of Honour, a lady as beautiful as she is cunning.

Soon the friends find themselves deeply entangled in a deadly combination of cut-throat politics, disasters on the battlefield and bitter machinations at court over love and war and the struggle between Protestants and Catholics that threaten to spell only death and disaster.
 

Summary & Cover taken from Goodreads.com
Length: 425 pages (Paperback)
Source: Review Copy
Genre: Historical Fiction
Available Formats: Print/E-book
Publication Date: March 30th 2016
ADD TO GOODREADS 
Buy Links:  AMAZON US AMAZON CAN AMAZON UK AMAZON AUS/NZ

What an ending to a great series.
I just finished this one today and I'm still taking in the ending, so bear with me, this is a really short review.
I really enjoyed seeing Fancois grow in this novel with the help of his friends. Both France and England are in the midst of major political upheaval in this one and there's a whole lot of out with the old and in with the new in terms of people coming to power and people being ousted (some none to gently or well...alive that is).
There was a lot going on in The Queen's Maid of Honour. I was expecting the pace of the story to perhaps slow down what with this being the final book in the French Orphan series but to my surprise it kept the frantic (in a great way) pace up right until the very end which I truly appreciated. I think that if the novel had gone at a slower pace the sense of urgency that prevailed for many of the scenarios in the story would have suffered.
I feel like Michael Stolle pulled out all the stops in this volume. The writing was crisp, edgy and very well detailed. The characters were well thought out and I felt that they were very well developed, we saw the final results of all that they'd been working towards whether that end be good or bad but things wrapped up very well for me.
Again, I'm still trying to formulate more comprehensive thoughts on this one so stay tuned for an updated review with extra notes. If this sounds like a series you would like to try check out my reviews for the other 3 books in this series which are linked in the sidebar and don't forget to enter the giveaway for a copy of book one.

Author Bio:


Born and educated in Europe, Michael has always been intrigued by the historical setting and the fact that what makes us human was as true in the 17th century as it is now.



He has been reading and writing about history for longer than he cares to recall...

Author Links: 


Giveaway:

To win a paperback copy of The French Orphan (Book One) by Michael Stolle, please enter via the Gleam form below. Three copies are up for grabs!

Rules:

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 11th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US, UK, and CANADA only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.


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Feature & Follow #33


The Feature & Follow is a Friday meme hosted by Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. The idea is very simple as it name explains it itself, is about to follow and meet new bloggers. Follow for Follow and comments for comments.

This week's topic is:

What 2017 film adaptation are you most looking forward to?

THE BOOK

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon
 A grand mystery reaching back centuries. A sensational disappearance that made headlines around the world. A quest for truth that leads to death, madness or disappearance for those who seek to solve it. The Lost City of Z is a blockbuster adventure narrative about what lies beneath the impenetrable jungle canopy of the Amazon.

After stumbling upon a hidden trove of diaries, New Yorker writer David Grann set out to solve "the greatest exploration mystery of the 20th century": What happened to the British explorer Percy Fawcett & his quest for the Lost City of Z?
In 1925 Fawcett ventured into the Amazon to find an ancient civilization, hoping to make one of the most important discoveries in history. For centuries Europeans believed the world's largest jungle concealed the glittering kingdom of El Dorado. Thousands had died looking for it, leaving many scientists convinced that the Amazon was truly inimical to humans. But Fawcett, whose daring expeditions inspired Conan Doyle's The Lost World, had spent years building his scientific case. Captivating the imagination of millions round the globe, Fawcett embarked with his 21-year-old son, determined to prove that this ancient civilisation--which he dubbed Z--existed. Then his expedition vanished. Fawcett's fate, & the tantalizing clues he left behind about Z, became an obsession for hundreds who followed him into the uncharted wilderness. For decades scientists & adventurers have searched for evidence of Fawcett's party & the lost City of Z. Countless have perished, been captured by tribes or gone mad. As Grann delved ever deeper into the mystery surrounding Fawcett's quest, & the greater mystery of what lies within the Amazon, he found himself, like the generations who preceded him, being irresistibly drawn into the jungle's green hell. His quest for the truth & discoveries about Fawcett's fate & Z form the heart of this complexly enthralling narrative. 
Summary & Cover taken from Goodreads.com
Length: 351 pages (Hardcover)
Publication Date: February 24th 2009 by Doubleday/Random House (NY) 

The Trailer:


I haven't read this one yet but I am determined to finally get to it next month. I'm a big fan of Charlie Hunnam (Percy Fawcett) and I am always up for a grand old tale of adventure in books or film.

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[Cover Reveal]* Lady Be Good by Heather Hiestand




LADY BE GOOD 
by Heather Hiestand

Genre: Historical Romance

Pub Date: 9/5/2017


When exiled royalty and espionage combine, expect a romance as bold as the 1920s . . .
Olga Novikov is a princess without a throne. Her fiancé and her family slain in the revolution, she flees Russia and finds herself working as the head of housekeeping at London’s luxurious Grand Russe Hotel. It’s a far cry from the glamour of her former life, but she’s grateful for the job—until a guest forces her to question where her loyalty lies. The charming nobleman challenges her at every turn—and arouses dreams of romance she thought she’d abandoned forever . . .
Douglas “Glass” Childers is living a double life. On the surface, he’s the indolent Viscount Walling, but in truth he’s an intelligence agent searching for a Bolshevik weapons master. The coolly beautiful and headstrong housekeeper is a distraction he doesn’t need—unless she’s the key piece in the puzzle he must solve. Trusting her could be dangerous—but loving her is an undeniable temptation . . .



Heather Hiestand was born in Illinois but her family migrated west before she started school. Since then she has claimed Washington State as home, except for a few years in California. She wrote her first story at age seven and went on to major in creative writing at the University of Washington. Her first published fiction was a mystery short story, but since then it has been all about the many flavors of romance. Heather’s first published romance short story was set in the Victorian period and she continues to return, fascinated by the rapid changes of the nineteenth century. The author of many novels, novellas and short stories, she makes her home in a small town with her husband and son and supposedly works out of her tiny office, though she mostly writes in her easy chair in the living room.

Author Links:

You can find her on Facebook Pinterest and Twitter.


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Thursday, February 9, 2017

[Blog Tour Review & Giveaway]* Under the Spell of The Serenissima (The French Orphan #3)by Michael Stolle





Under the Spell of The Serenissima (The French Orphan, #3)

The third in the French Orphan series follows the exploits of Pierre, former penniless orphan who discovers he is heir to the de Beauvoir inheritance.


So far, Pierre has found friends in unexpected places, been surprised by love, learned the true meaning of friendship, discovered the extent of human cunning and depravity and dodged numerous attempts by his closest family member to despatch him to the next world.

In Under the Spell of the Serenissima Pierre’s search for the third Templar ring continues, but as ever, his path is not a smooth one. Pierre and Armand, along with Jean and Edoardo, are making for Venice, unaware that others too are racing towards the beautiful city, some intending to help, others with far more sinister motives.

As the various characters are drawn inexorably towards Venice, a conclusion will be played out that must decide Pierre’s fate, one way or another…

Summary & Cover taken from Goodreads.com
Length: 302 pages (Paperback)
Source: Review Copy
Genre: Historical Fiction
Available Formats: Print/E-Book
Publication Date: December 15th 2013 by CreateSpace


You don't have any idea how much I've enjoyed my trips back in time in Michael Stolle's French Orphan series. 
In Under the Spell of the Serenissima, we see things really begin to heat up politically and personally for Pierre, and his best friend Armand. We see both of them really grow into men in this installment and earnestly try to leave their youthful fancies behind. We see where the furture may come to lead these two and it made me wonder if they had a future supporting each other and made me want to bash their heads together more than once over some disagreements. However, I did enjoy that there was a bit more conflict between our two lads in this one because they are best friends we also see how each of them is being pulled in so many directions that I found it dizzying. 
That being said, the book wasn't chaotic don't get me wrong there was a lot going on but I by the time I finished it I could begin to see where it was all headed and what might just be the outcome. One thing I think was a great push for this installment was that I saw that not just the main characters grown and evolve but many of the main supporting cast like Marie, Jean and Nicholas as well. We begin to see what everyone elses motivations are and I thought it was refreshing that they came more to the forefront in this volume since they play such a large part in the story.
We also see the treacherous political machinations begin to reach a head, and there was plenty of heart pounding moments in which I thought the jig might be up but I was pleasantly surprised to see how our young hero Pierre bounced back in the face of adversity.
This was a welcome edition in this series and I'm glad to say that the momentum has not let up. This one truly lives up to the standard that the first two books put in place. If you haven't checked this series out (my reviews for books one and two are located in the sidebar), than I highly suggest doing so if you want a book that's a mixture of historical fiction, political thriller and adventure novel.
Stay tuned for tomorrow's review of the final book in this series!


Author Bio:


Born and educated in Europe, Michael has always been intrigued by the historical setting and the fact that what makes us human was as true in the 17th century as it is now.



He has been reading and writing about history for longer than he cares to recall...

Author Links: 


Giveaway:

To win a paperback copy of The French Orphan (Book One) by Michael Stolle, please enter via the Gleam form below. Three copies are up for grabs!

Rules:

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 11th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US, UK, and CANADA only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.


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[Cover Reveal]* A Reference To Murder by Kym Roberts




A REFERENCE TO MURDER 
by Kym Roberts

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Pub Date: 5/16/2017


SOMETIMES YOU GET WHAT YOU NEED . . .

Charli Rae Warren is back home in Hazel Rock, Texas, spending her time reading, collecting, and selling books—at least, the ones that don’t get eaten first by her father’s pet armadillo. Running the family bookstore is a demanding job, but solving murders on the side can be flat out dangerous...
The Book Barn is more than just a shop, it’s a part of the community—and Charli is keeping busy with a fundraising auction and the big rodeo event that’s come to town. That includes dealing with the Texas-sized egos of some celebrity cowboys, including Dalton Hibbs, a blond, blue-eyed bull rider who gets overly rowdy one night with the local hairdresser . . . and soon afterward, disappears into thin air.
Dalton’s brother also vanished seven years ago—and Charli is thrown about whether Dalton is a villain or a victim. After a close call with an assailant wielding a branding iron (that plays havoc with her hair), and some strange vandalism on her property, she’s going to have to team up with the sheriff to untangle this mystery, before she gets gored . . .



Three career paths resonated for Kym Roberts during her early childhood: detective, investigative reporter, and . . .nun. Being a nun, however, dropped by the wayside when she became aware of boys—they were the spice of life she couldn't deny. In high school her path was forged when she took her first job at a dry cleaners and met every cop in town, especially the lone female police officer in patrol. From that point on there was no stopping Kym's pursuit of a career in law enforcement. Kym followed her dream and became a detective who fulfilled her desire to be an investigative reporter, with one extra perk—a badge. Promoted to sergeant, Kym spent the majority of her career in SVU. She retired from the job reluctantly when her husband dragged her kicking and screaming to another state, but writing continued to call her name, at least in her head. Visit her on the web at kymroberts.com.




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