Blog Tour: With Malice by Eileen Cook + GIVEAWAY!!!With Malice by Eileen Cook
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
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A read about a teenage girl who wakes up in a hospital bed and cannot remember the last six weeks of her life, including the accident that killed her best friend--only what if the accident wasn't an accident?

Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital room, leg in a cast, stitches in her face and a big blank canvas where the last 6 weeks should be. She comes to discover she was involved in a fatal accident while on a school trip in Italy three days previous but was jetted home by her affluent father in order to receive quality care. Care that includes a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident...wasn't an accident. Wondering not just what happened but what she did, Jill tries to piece together the events of the past six weeks before she loses her thin hold on her once-perfect life.

WITH MALICE

A read about a teenage girl who wakes up in a hospital bed and cannot remember the last six weeks of her life, including the accident that killed her best friend– only what if the accident wasn’t an accident?

(REMEMBER TO SCROLL TO THE END FOR THE AWESOME GIVEAWAY! US ONLY.)

with malice_hres

About the Book

Title: WITH MALICE

Author: Eileen Cook

Pub. Date: June 7, 2016

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Format: Hardcover, eBook, & audiobook

Find it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Goodreads

Eighteen-year- old Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital room, leg in a cast, stitches in her face and a big blank canvas where the last 6 weeks should be. She comes to discover she was involved in a fatal accident while on a school trip in Italy three days previous but was jetted home by her affluent father in order to receive quality care. Care that includes a lawyer.  And a press team. Because maybe the accident…wasn’t an accident. Wondering not just what happened but what she did, Jill tries to piece together the events of the past six weeks before she loses her thin hold on her once-perfect life.

Montepulcian, Tuscany, Italia
Montepulciano, Tuscany, Italia

With Malice is the perfect beach/vacay/rum and coke night/in Broadchurch binge-watch withdrawals kind of read.

When I read the synopsis of this book, the first thing that popped into my head was the Amanda Knox murder trial. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s the REALLY SHORT VERSION: Amanda Knox, an American study abroad student, and her Italian boyfriend were convicted of murdering Amanda’s British roommate in a scandalous sexcapade gone wrong. Their conviction was later overturned after the incompetency of the Italian police was exposed and evidence was mishandled. I’m not one to get caught up into news stories, but man, oh man. This one pulled me in. With Malice hooked and reeled me in the same way.

With Malice had all the drama and spectacle of an Italian opera; a captivating psychological thriller that examines the most base of  human emotions and motivations. The author did an excellent job of working in a few relevant social issues and planting red herrings. The story did an excellent job of examining the influence the media and new technology of the last decade has on high-profile trials, and even puts social media on trial itself. All of this is executed in a masterful way, never moralizing or trite. The author pulls off these similar cultural/social questions as effortlessly as the writers of Broadchurch did.

Bellini’s opera, Norma, is all about love triangles and being stabbed in the back. I think Maria Callas’ 1955 rendition of Casta Diva, the most famous aria from Norma, would be the perfect soundtrack for a book trailer of With Malice. The scratchiness of the un-remastered recording gives it just the right amount of creepiness.

The story world moves back and forth between Italy and a hospital in the States. I really savored the scenes that played out in Italy because the author captures the UGH-ness of hospital life so well in the others.

I was on the fence about the main character, Jill, for the whole book. One minute I was thinking she was a cool, level-headed chick. The next minute I was thinking that she was a biatch, lol. But this was purposeful in order to build the ” I have no idea what to think” frustration-feels for the reader.

The pace of the story is a really slow burn, and I will be honest about the ending. It kind of pissed me off. I felt like stabbing something when all the pieces finally came together. That probably means the story did its job. 😉

Brava to the author for cooking up (sorry, I couldn’t resist) such a wonderfully frustrating and captivating thriller. This book hit the spot after a long and agonizing week of Broadchurch withdrawals I was experiencing. I can’t wait to read what Eileen Cook writes next. ENTER BELOW FOR A CHANCE TO WIN 1 OF 3 COPIES of WITH MALICE, US ONLY!

The below video will totally make sense after reading the book. One of my greatest fears about  visiting Italy is driving around on the psycho-roads. Oh, the video also has some pretty pics of towns and other Italian splendor. A vacation for the eyes. 🙂

 

EileenAbout Eileen:

Eileen Cook is a multi-published author with her novels appearing in eight different languages.

Her books have been optioned for film and TV.  She spent most of her teen years wishing she were someone else or somewhere else, which is great training for a writer. Her newest book, WITH MALICE, will be out in June 2016. She’s an instructor/mentor with the Simon Fraser University Writer’s Studio Program.

You can read more about Eileen, her books, and the things that strike her as funny

at www.eileencook.com. Eileen lives in Vancouver with her husband and two very naughty dogs and no longer wishes to be anyone or anywhere else.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Instagram

Tour Schedule

Week One:

5/30/2016- The Cover Contessa- Interview

5/31/2016- MEREADALOT- Review

6/1/2016- Such a Novel Idea- Guest Post

6/2/2016- A Gingerly Review- Review

6/3/2016- Twinning for Books- Interview

Week Two:

6/6/2016- Just Commonly- Review

6/7/2016- Novel Novice- Guest Post

6/8/2016- Wandering Bark Books- Review

6/9/2016- Literary Meanderings – Interview

6/10/2016- A Dream Within A Dream- Review

Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive finished copies of WITH MALICE, US Only.

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The Tsarina’s Legacy by Jennifer Laam

by Jennifer Laam
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on April 5, 2016
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
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Then...Grigory "Grisha" Potemkin has had a successful long association with the powerful Empress Catherine of Russia. But Catherine and Grisha are older now and face new threats, both from powers outside of Russia and from those close to them. Haunted by the horrors of his campaign against the Muslim Turks, Grisha hopes to construct a mosque in the heart of the empire. Unfortunately, Catherine's much younger new lover, the ambitious Platon Zubov, stands in his way. Grisha determines that to preserve Catherine's legacy he must save her from Zubov's dangerous influence and win back her heart.

Now...When she learns she is the lost heiress to the Romanov throne, Veronica Herrera's life turns upside down. Dmitry Potemkin, one of Grisha's descendants, invites Veronica to Russia to accept a ceremonial position as Russia's new tsarina. Seeking purpose, Veronica agrees to act as an advocate to free a Russian artist sentenced to prison for displaying paintings critical of the church and government. Veronica is both celebrated and chastised. As her political role comes under fire, Veronica is forced to decide between the glamorous perks of European royalty and staying true to herself.

In Jennifer Laam's The Tsarina's Legacy, unexpected connections between Grisha and Veronica are revealed as they struggle to make peace with the ghosts of their past and help secure a better future for themselves and the country they both love.

Check out my review of Jennifer Laam’s The Secret Daughter of the Tsar HERE.

catherine-the-great-1995

Catherine Zeta-Jones as Catherine the Great 1995

St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg

I enjoyed Laam’s debut, The Secret Daughter of the Tsar, and this follow up did not disappoint. Straddling the worlds of 18th century and 21st century Russia, the author bravely tackles some complex political and cultural issues that very much resonate with topics that are flooding American headlines today. It was absolutely genius how Laam weaved two narratives, three centuries apart, into a tapestry rich with cinematic appeal. Reading the book was like watching a Mission Impossible/Princess Diaries film in my mind. I loved it.

There were moments in where I was utterly frustrated with the two main romantic interests in both time periods, but a certain degree of romantic tension and indecision in a book only makes it better. The main character, Veronica, who goes to Russia to claim her title as a Romanov heir, is the perfect blend of bravery and intelligence, and incompetency and vulnerability, LOL. My favorite kind of character.

This novel is a heavier read than the first book and one that will make you ponder current affairs. Like the writing and subject matter, the pacing of the story was also cinematic. Laam does a great job of alternating between two worlds steeped in political unrest. This book casts a wide net as far as literary tastes go. Those who love historical novels, Russian history, and contemporary novels will enjoy The Tsarina’s Legacy.

Just For FUN: I loved how the novel name dropped Mozart and some of his most popular works during the chapters that cover the 18th century characters in Russia. It was a great way to set the intellectual and cultural mood for the times, especially in royal courts. It also plays nicely into the broader story line between all the main characters of the novel. Keep scrolling for a Cosi Fan Tutte soundtrack and link to the film Catherine the Great starring Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Cosi_fan_tutte_-_first_performance

 

 

Here is the movie of Catherine the Great starring Zeta-Jones FREE TO WATCH on YouTube:

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Blog Tour: The Secrets of Solace by Jaleigh JohnsonThe Secrets of Solace by Jaleigh Johnson
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on March 8, 2016
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
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From Jaleigh Johnson, the acclaimed author of The Mark of the Dragonfly, comes another thrilling adventure in the magical world of Solace.
Lina Winterbock lives in the mountain strongholds of Solace. She’s an apprentice to the archivists, the wise men and women whose lives are dedicated to cataloging, studying, and preserving the objects that mysteriously fall from the sky in the scrap towns.
Lina should be spending her days with books, but the Iron War has changed everything. The strongholds are now a refuge, and the people Lina once counted on no longer have time for her, so she spends her days exploring the hidden tunnels and passages of her home. The strongholds are vast and old, with twisting paths, forgotten rooms, and collapsed chambers, some of them containing objects that have been lost and forgotten even by the archivists.
And in one of the forgotten chambers, Lina discovers a secret.
Hidden deep in a cavern is a half-buried airship like nothing she has ever seen before. She’s determined to dig it out and restore it. But Lina needs help, and she doesn’t know anyone she can trust with her secret.
Then she meets Ozben, a mysterious boy who has a secret of his own—a secret that’s so dangerous it could change the course of the Iron War and the world of Solace forever.

A fantastic and fun middle-grade fantasy. The Secrets of Solace will inspire those who read it to observe the world around them with curious and magical minds. 

The Secrets of Solace Map

I wish I would have reviewed this book before Easter so I could have shared this piece of advice: This is the PERFECT book to add to your child’s or favorite friend’s Easter Basket. It’s such a fun book about finding cultural treasures and preserving them. It’s also about personal discovery and cultivating relationships and character. This book is a gift worth giving to the imaginative people in your life or to the ones who need a little inspired imagination of their own.

This may be the image that you pull from your brain catalog when you hear the word ”archives”, but the archives in The Secrets of Solace are not your typical dusty stacks. 

library archives

The Secrets of Solace is a wonderfully imaginative story filled with the universal themes of family, friendship, loss, love, and war. An archivist in training, Lina is a spirited, clever, and inspiring protagonist who isn’t afraid to mess up her hair or get her hands dirty for the sake of archiving.

The story unfolds amid the cavernous tunnels of the Archivist’s stronghold which is filled with strange natural and cultural wonders that have fallen from the cosmos. As an apprentice, Lina must follow strict protocol, but she has her own secret side-project that drives the story forward and adds a hint of mystery.

The story world is vividly executed and the supporting characters and story threads make for an exciting and poignant novel. This novel read like a fun mix of fantasy and science-fiction and was deeper in its subject matter than I was expecting, making for a completely engaging read. The Secrets of Solace was a joy to read and will be a go-to book on my book-giving gift list.

And JUST FOR FUN:

Here’s a little inspiration board inspired by the book.

The Secrets of Solace

 

The Secrets of Solace by clockbirdstar on Polyvore

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ARC REVIEW: Gonzo Girl by Cheryl Della Pietra

by Cheryl Della Pietra
Published by Touchstone Format: ARC
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Long after the last drink is poured and the final gunshot fired, Cheryl Della Pietra's novel inspired by her time as Hunter S. Thompson's assistant will linger in your mind.

Alley Russo is a recent college grad desperately trying to make it in the grueling world of New York publishing, but like so many who have come before her, she has no connections and has settled for an unpaid magazine internship while slinging drinks on Bleecker Street just to make ends meet. That's when she hears the infamous Walker Reade is looking for an assistant to replace the eight others who have recently quit. Hungry for a chance to get her manuscript onto the desk of an experienced editor, Alley jumps at the opportunity to help Reade finish his latest novel.

After surviving an absurd three-day trial period involving a .44 magnum, purple-pyramid acid, violent verbal outbursts, brushes with fame and the law, a bevy of peacocks, and a whole lot of cocaine, Alley is invited to stay at the compound where Reade works. For months Alley attempts to coax the novel out of Walker page-by-page, all while battling his endless procrastination, vampiric schedule, Herculean substance abuse, mounting debt, and casual gunplay. But as the job begins to take a toll on her psyche, Alley realizes she's alone in the Colorado Rockies at the mercy of a drug-addicted literary icon who may never produce another novel and her fate may already be sealed.

I went into this book with some Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas baggage. I was beyond bored and unimpressed with the film when I was in high-school and had to hide my true feelings about it so I could be cool and fit in with my friends. Every time so-and-so made a reference to the film, I just nodded in agreement about how cool it was or whatever. Kind of like in college when I pretended to know and understand all the kool kid references to The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Every time it came up in conversation at a party or study group gone rogue, I just nodded my head and was like, Oh, yeah. Of course I’ve read that! Who hasn’t?! In reality, I was like what the frug is everybody talking about?! Kool-Aid Acid whaaat? I finally looked up the author and synopsis and new in a heart beat that it wasn’t my type of lit. It was the same way I had felt about Fear and Loathing, so I was skeptical going into this fictionalized ”memoir” of a fresh-faced journalist’s live-in experience with Hunter S. Thompson.

Las Vegas

It’s good to know I’m not quite as dorky as I used to be. For the most part, I was able to read this book and understand most of the drug and pop culture references of the 90s. The author’s clever and cynical voice is where the gold is at. Honestly, I didn’t give a squirrel bum about the story line. But I was so drawn in by the author’s witty script that I couldn’t seem to put the book down…until the last fifty pages. I kind of blurred through the last fourth of the book because the scenarios were repetitive and predictable by then, and the wonderfully sarcastic style in which the narrator speaks wasn’t enough by then to keep me totally invested.

I LOLED hard at the scene below:

I make my way back to the blanket where Larry sits. “You look nice. Coming down that hill, the light behind you…”

“Yeah, like a tampon commercial for the American West.”

“You’re not one for ‘moments’, are you?”

“I am if you need someone to kill them.”

The author is marvelous at recreating the atmosphere of Hunter S. Thompson’s world in the late mid/late 90’s. There were times I thought Man, this chick is dumb while reading, but I liked the MC for the most part. I think Pietra genuinely captured the kind of feelings/thoughts/emotions that would be going through any young lady’s mind if they were thrown into Thompson’s world: Do I act cool and go along with this even if I’m scared shitless and my mother would die if she knew? 

I’m not gonna lie. Midway through the book, snorting a few lines before a breakfast of vodka tonic started to sound appealing. Hunter S. Thompson just has that effect on the junkie-life, I guess. He makes it look perfectly manageable. I will also say (as a warning to any Hunter S. Thompson idolize-rs out there) that this book fully reinforced in my mind that Thompson was an egoist, selfish, primadonna prick.

If you are a fan of Thompson’s writings and loved Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and The Rum Diary, then I highly recommend this book to you.

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Monarch Madness: A Royal Experiment by Janice HadlowA Royal Experiment by Janice Hadlow
Published by Henry Holt & Co. on November 18, 2014
Pages: 704
Format: Hardcover
Source: the Publisher
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The surprising, deliciously dramatic, and ultimately heartbreaking story of King George III’s radical pursuit of happiness in his private life with Queen Charlotte and their 15 children

In the U.S., Britain's George III, the protagonist of A Royal Experiment, is known as the king from whom Americans won their independence and as "the mad king," but in Janice Hadlow’s groundbreaking and entertaining new biography, he is another character altogether—compelling and relatable.

He was the first of Britain’s three Hanoverian kings to be born in England, the first to identify as native of the nation he ruled. But this was far from the only difference between him and his predecessors. Neither of the previous Georges was faithful to his wife, nor to his mistresses. Both hated their own sons. And, overall, their children were angry, jealous, and disaffected schemers, whose palace shenanigans kick off Hadlow's juicy narrative and also made their lives unhappy ones.

Pained by his childhood amid this cruel and feuding family, George came to the throne aspiring to be a new kind of king—a force for moral good. And to be that new kind of king, he had to be a new kind of man. Against his irresistibly awful family background—of brutal royal intrigue, infidelity, and betrayal—George fervently pursued a radical domestic dream: he would have a faithful marriage and raise loving, educated, and resilient children.

The struggle of King George—along with his wife, Queen Charlotte, and their 15 children—to pursue a passion for family will surprise history buffs and delight a broad swath of biography readers and royal watchers.

MEReadALOT's Monarch Madness Blog Hop

Such a wonderfully written and thoroughly explored family dynasty. This is one of my new favorite Royal Biographies. A Royal Experiment is as compelling and absorbing as a novel.

King George III
King George III

Most of us who dabble in Historical reading and Historical films might have a faint idea about who King George III is. Or maybe he sounds familiar from school days spent in American History class learning about the American Revolution. Those who live outside of America and studied European History or pursued History outside of high-school will be more familiar with him. Before reading A Royal Experiment, the only things I ” knew” about King George III were from the 1994 film The Madness of King George. (It’s a fun movie, and if you have Amazon Prime you can watch it for FREE here.) Looking back at the film after having read A Royal Experiment, it now seems like an unsympathetic caricature of King George III. Janice Hadlow does an exquisite job of exploring George the monarch and George the man in her Historical Biography, and shows how George III set out right from the start to rule England differently than his predecessors, King George I & II. A Royal Experiement kept me utterly captivated through 700+ pages of the Hanoverian dynasty and George the III’s life and rule.

Hadlow’s writing is refreshing and has a historical pop-culture edge to it that will make this book appealing to the King George scholar as well as the King George laymen. Some might say Hadlow’s writing is a paradox. A Royal Experiment reads with the historical vigor and detail of a text-book while being a wildly entertaining page turner. The historical world building and context of what was going on in and around England leading up to and during George III’s reign is captured in wonderful detail.

If Britain in 1760, was a volatile and sometimes intimidating place, it was also an increasingly wealthy one. Almost every visitor commented on the general air of comfortable prosperity that manifested itself in the clean and well-appointed private houses, the luxurious inns and, above all, in the quality of the roads […] From the moment of their arrival, travellers to Britain were struck by the sheer busyness of the place. They were astonished by the air of perpetual activity, not just the roads, but in the teeming streets; in the ports dominated by the masts of tightly packed ships; on the new canal systems, thronged with burdened barges; in the parks and pleasure gardens, where rich and poor mingled in huge numbers in pursuit of a good time.

 

I also enjoyed the insight into Queen Caroline’s character, George’s wife. Hadlow leaves no detail to the imagination, and she laid bare the kind of relationship George had with all of his family members and confidantes. The life and times of King George III reads like the best kind of fiction. Drama, romance, politics, gossip, betrayal, passion, and despair. A Royal Experiment would do well to be made into a BBC series. I had NEVER been interested in the House of Hanover until this book, and now I am completely fascinated with this period of British History. I was sad for A Royal Experiment to end, and I cannot wait to read the next book Janice Hadlow writes.

King George III and Family
King George III and Family

Here’s the trailer for The Madness of King George if you’re interested, but I wholly recommend reading Janice Hadlow’s A Royal Experiment for a more accurate and more entertaining window into King George’s life.

 

 

 

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Monarch Madness: The Queen’s Dwarf by Ella March Chase + GIVEAWAY!!!The Queen's Dwarf by Ella March Chase
Published by Thomas Dunne Books on January 21, 2014
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: the Publisher
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It's 1629, and King Charles I and his French queen Henrietta-Maria have reigned in England for less than three years. Young dwarf Jeffrey Hudson is swept away from a village shambles and plunged into the Stuart court when his father sells him to the most hated man in England--the Duke of Buckingham.

Buckingham trains Jeffrey to be his spy in the household of Charles' seventeen-year-old bride, hoping to gain intelligence that will help him undermine the vivacious queen's influence with the king. Desperately homesick in a country that hates her for her nationality and Catholic faith, Henrietta-Maria surrounds herself with her "Royal Menagerie of Freaks and Curiosities of Nature"--a "collection" consisting of a giant, two other dwarves, a rope dancer, an acrobat/animal trainer and now Jeffrey, who is dubbed "Lord Minimus."

Dropped into this family of misfits, Jeffrey must negotiate a labyrinth of court intrigue and his own increasingly divided loyalties. For not even the plotting of the Duke nor the dangers of a tumultuous kingdom can order the heart of a man. Though he is only eighteen inches tall, Jeffrey Hudson's love will reach far beyond his grasp--to the queen he has been sent to destroy.

Full of vibrant period detail and with shades of Gregory Maguire's Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister and Philippa Gregory's The Queen's Fool, The Queen's Dwarf is a rich, thrilling and evocative portrait of an intriguing era

 

monarch

The Queen’s Dwarf was a completely engrossing historical tale of turmoil and  intrigue from the perspective of the cherubic, 18 inch tall Jeffrey Hudson- a spy planted in the Queen’s Menagerie of freaks.

Jeffrey Hudson, The Queen’s Dwarf, and Queen Henrietta Maria

Jeffrey Dwarf and Queen Henrietta

 

I have not read much historical biography or fiction from the reign of King Charles I, and this book was such a great introduction to the time period. The Stuart era is lushly crafted, and the author moves her characters beyond the personas we usually associate with royalty. Ella March Chase gives her characters just the right amount of depth and development, and really grabbed me on the psychological level of each of the main players.

Was I like these people? Once I stepped through this door, I would be embracing the fact that I was a grotesque, repellent as the living corpse or the aged fool who seemed constructed of nothing but bile and gristle.

Still, what did it matter what outcasts such as these thought of me? I took a bold step into the room, trying to seem confident, though my breeches were bagging. […]

“Look at the shape of him!” I heard someone murmur.

“An angelic freak,” another marveled.

“This is Jeffrey Hudson.” Will said, interrupting. “His ears may be small, but they work just fine.”

Jeffrey’s character was endearing and hypnotic. It was somewhat heartbreaking- here was the complex reality of a young man who lived his life before the palace as someone who tried to blend in and navigate the world without being squashed to death. And then of a young man who is thrust into court life as a freakish marvel and is looked at as a ”pet” or possession. I loved how the author captured the sadness and frustration of Jeffrey as a man with desires and feelings the same as any normal size person but being prevented from expressing those feelings or embracing them wholly because of his dwarfism.  I couldn’t help but feel a protectiveness towards Jeffrey by the end of the novel. I loved being inside of his head and seeing him go through the very real, very troubling situations that tested his duties to Buckingham- the devilish duke that took him away from his family and employed him as his spy-and his loyalty to the French Queen. Loyalty that Jefferey could not help but feel towards the woman he was meant to destroy because he was so beguiled by her tenderness towards him and by her naivete.

Her luminous brown eyes sank a hook in my heart. I could feel them drawing me in. I bowed, flinging off Goodfellow’s cloak, baring my ridiculousness on purpose. Laughter rose from the ladies and even the queen herself.

King Charles I, Queen Henrietta Maria, Duke of Buckingham

King Charles I(c) The Bowes Museum; Supplied by The Public Catalogue FoundationDuke of Buckingham King Charles I

 

It was wonderful to be shown the perspective of a commoner and what Jeffrey thought about royalty and the monarchs while living beyond the palace walls, and then how that changed once he was in the midst of it all. It’s seems everyone, including Buckingham, was much more complex and tormented than one would assume. Despite the lavish parties, entertainment, and settings, every day in court seemed like a day playing Russian Roulette. I really enjoyed how the author meticulously represented all of this through her descriptive details that encompassed much more than lovely or -freakish- facades.

 

Greenwich Palace

Greenwhich Palace ceiling

 

The pacing of the story was just right, so as to fully develop every aspect of Jeffrey’s life and experiences and the Stuart era. There were many flashbacks throughout that help us understand Jeffrey as a character, and give insight to how he suspected his dwarfism came about. I can’t wait to read another book by Ella March Chase, and I recommend The Queen’s Dwarf to any Historical Fiction fan who is interested in reading about royalty from an un-royal and unique perspective. This book is also perfect for anyone interested in the Stuart era, or anyone who wants to be swept up in a lovely interpretation and depiction of real historical figures.

Many thanks to St.Martin’s Griffin for providing me with a copy for review of this novel, and for also providing a finished paperback copy for giveaway. The giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada residents only. Enter below for a chance TO WIN!

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I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review & Giveaway: Be Mine Forever by Marina AdairBe Mine Forever by Marina Adair
Series: St. Helena Vineyard #4
Published by Montlake Romance on January
Pages: 296
Format: eBook
Source: the Publisher
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Purchase Links: Amazon
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For Trey DeLuca, the idea of settling down was entirely unsettling. As VP of sales for his family's wine company, he's never in any one city ? or with any one woman ? for long, which is how he likes it. But when family obligations keep him temporarily grounded in his hometown, he finds the perfect distraction. She's sweet, gorgeous, and sexy as hell?only her life screams commitment. Between raising her son and struggling to keep her dance school afloat, Sara Reed has her hands full. Dance students she needs ? a steamy tangled sheets cha-cha with a self-admitted commitment-phobe? Not going to happen. But sparks fly as the town prepares for a big Valentine's Day gala, and Trey strikes a deal with Sara?he?ll ?manny-up? and watch her son in exchange for ballroom lessons. With love quickstepping ever closer, Sara needs to teach this playboy some new steps or risk losing him ? and her heart ? forever.

review

My thoughts…

The St. Helena Vineyard series is one of my favorites series. I’ve read all of the books in this series and love them all. I love the characters, the setting, and the overall feel of these stories. I love slipping into their world and spending time with them.

One of the things I love most of this series though is that it’s funny. The dialogue cracks me up every time I read one of these books. Ms Adair does a really good job of putting a funny spin on things.

The characters…

Heroine: Sara. She’s a strong, independent, widowed mother of Cooper aka Coop. Her husband went off to war and didn’t return home. Immediately I liked her character. She moved to St. Helena after her husband died so she and Coop could get a fresh start. She owns her own business and is an overall great person.

Hero: Trey DeLuca. First off he’s a DeLuca *swoon* He along with his three brothers are all sexy and strong male leads. I love them all.

Trey is the youngest brother of the DeLuca clan. He’s usual off overseas working for the family business. He’s not home much and he likes it that way.

He’s also sort of a player. He doesn’t stay around long after doing the deed with his one-night stands. With Sara though things are different from the beginning. She’s not really the one-night stand type of person and he finds himself wanting to spend time with her and Coop. Oh he fights it a little at first, but in the end he falls hook, line, and sinker for both of them.

Together: These two were great together. The attraction was strong for both of them and I enjoyed watching their relationship grow.

Smexy Times: The sexual content in this book is relative to adult mainstream. It’s not explicit in nature, but is enjoyable.

Overall:  I really enjoyed reading this one. Up next is Abby DeLuca’s story. I’m so excited about this one and can’t wait to read it. It’s due out May of this year. I can’t recommend this series enough. I’m totally in love with it.

series-list
Kissing Under the Mistletoe (St. Helena Vineyard #1)
My Review | Goodreads | Amazon

Summer in Napa (St. Helena Vineyard, #2) 
My Review | Goodreads | Amazon

Autumn in the Vineyard (St. Helena Vineyard, #3) 
My Review | Goodreads | Amazon

giveaway

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I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review: Remy by Katy EvansRemy by Katy Evans
Series: Real #3
Published by Gallery Books on November 26, 2013
Pages: 208
Format: eBook
Source: the Publisher
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Underground fighter Remington Tate is a mystery, even to himself. His mind is dark and light, complex and enlightening. At times his actions and moods are carefully measured, and at others, they spin out of control.

Through it all, there's been one constant: wanting, needing, loving, and protecting Brooke Dumas. This is his story; from the first moment he laid eyes on her and knew, without a doubt, she would be the realest thing he's ever had to fight for.

My thoughts…

Finally! We get to hear Remy’s side of the story. I love reading books from the heroes POV. I like being able to get into their head and experience things from their perspective. After having read the first two books in this series I know how the story goes. Having said that, in this story you can get a feel for Remy in a different light.

While the majority of this story highlights the high points in both Real and Mine, you also get a sense of what Remy’s feeling as they’re about to get married. It switches back and forth between the past and present.

I think Ms Evans did a great job writing this one. Even though I’ve read the two previous books and I know what happens, the story kept and held my attention until the very end. Speaking of the end… The final sexual scene is really hot. You’ll sure to be fanning yourself.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this one. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series which is entitled Ripped and will be Brooke’s friend, Pandora’s story.

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About Katy Evans

Katy Evans grew up with books and book-boyfriends until she found a real sexy boyfriend to love. They married and are now hard at work on their own happily ever after. Katy loves her family and friends, and she also loves reading, walking, baking, and being consumed by her characters until she reaches “The End.” Which is, hopefully, only the beginning

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Blog Tour, Giveaway & Review: Four Seconds to Lose by K.A. TuckerFour Seconds to Lose by K.A. Tucker
Series: Ten Tiny Breaths #3
Published by Atria on November 4, 2013
Pages: 256
Format: eBook
Source: the Publisher
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Purchase Links: Amazon
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When a gorgeous young dancer walks through his door, a strip club owner must decide whether to follow his rules or his heart in the third novel by the author of One Tiny Lie and Ten Tiny Breaths.

Owning a strip club isn’t the fantasy most guys expect it to be. With long hours, a staff with enough issues to keep a psych ward in business, and the police regularly on his case, twenty-nine-year-old Cain is starting to second guess his unspoken mission to save the women he employs. And then blond, brown-eyed Charlie Rourke walks through his door, and things get really complicated. Cain abides by a strict “no sleeping with the staff” rule. But being around Charlie challenges Cain’s self-control…and it’s been a long time since any woman has done that.

Twenty-two-year-old Charlie Rourke needs a lot of money, really fast, in order to vanish before it’s too late. Taking her clothes off for men makes her stomach curl but Charlie tells herself that at least she’s putting her acting and dancing skills to good use. And though her fellow dancers seem eager to nab their sexy, sophisticated, and genuinely caring boss, she’s not interested. After all, Charlie Rourke doesn’t really exist—and the girl pretending to be her can't get distracted by romance.

Unfortunately, Charlie soon discovers that developing feelings for Cain is inevitable, and that those feelings may not be unrequited—but losing him when he finds out what she’s involved with will be more painful than any other sentence awaiting her.

My thoughts…

I have been patiently err not so patiently waiting for this one!!!! I love this series so much!!! The plot is really good. I kept turning page after page because I had to know what was going to happen next. I literally couldn’t put this book down.

Although Charlie is a new character to this series Cain is not. He’s been in previous books and I couldn’t wait for his story so I could learn more about him. Speaking of Cain, he is hot, loyal, a fighter, and incredibly sexy. *swoon* He’s also highly attracted to Charlie. Even though he doesn’t get involved with his employees, he just can’t seem to help himself where she is concerned.

Charlie. I really liked her. She’s sucked into the role of being a drug trafficker via her step-father. She wants out, but first she needs to make enough money to start over and buy herself a new identity. One where her step-father has no way of finding her.

Together the chemistry these two share is electric. The sexual scenes were really HOT! I was sort of surprised about this because things didn’t get that hot in the first two books. Having said that I can sort of understand why these were hotter though. Since Cain does indeed own a strip club the scenes had to be hot otherwise I believe the reader would have been disappointed. I think Ms Tucker did a great job writing them.

Overall, I loved Four Seconds to Lose. In the acknowledgements Ms Tucker talks about struggling with this story. Even if that is the case I can totally say that I think she nailed it. I’m so happy with the way this story turned out. There isn’t anything that I didn’t like about it.

Up next is Ben’s story. It will be the last book in the Ten Tiny Breaths series and I cannot wait for it!!! It’s going to be so good! I’ve really liked Ben in previous books. I can’t wait for him to meet his match!

 

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About K.A. Tucker

K.A. Tucker is the USA Today bestselling author of 14 books, including Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water.

Born in small-town Ontario, K.A. Tucker published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She is a voracious reader, and currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.