Aria’s Travelling Book Shop #BlogTour #RebeccaRaisin

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There really aren’t enough words to describe how excited I was to be asked to join the blog tour for Rebecca Raisin’s latest book, Aria’s Travelling Book Shop! Last year I read and reviewed about the hilarious and often perilous adventures of Rosie in Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop where we first were introduced to Rosie and Aria so, naturally, I was anxious to continue on the journey with these van-lifers. I’m thrilled that I did!

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Unlike Rosie, whose unspeakably awful husband walked out on her, which led to her joining the life of the van-lifers, Aria’s husband and the love of her life died three years old. Aria was devastated by the loss and swore that she never would love another soul again – outside of those found in her beloved books. But then she met Jonathan last year at the final festival of the season. Now he has shown up on the tour circuit again and, despite their attraction, Aria is determined to stay true to her oath. As the travelling vans wind their way through Paris, the city of love, will she be able to keep her feelings in the check or will Paris take over her heart and allow her a second chance at love?

There are very few romance authors who I truly love and enjoy reading and, let me tell you, Rebecca Raisin is right there at the top of my list of favorites! Her characters are realistically funny, heart-breaking and lovable, their humor is very much like my own and the story lines always are interesting and FUN! I find myself reading these books in one sitting because, once started, I cannot stop until I know how they end. This series is particularly interesting because I find the travelling vans so intriguing. I think this would be a lifestyle that I would enjoy and so reading about their triumphs as well as their pitfalls is very compelling. Obviously, I recommend Aria’s Travelling Book Shop to all, as well as the first in the series, Rosies Travelling Tea Shop. Read them both and enjoy!!

REBECCA RAISIN IS A TRUE BIBLIOPHILE….

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This love of books morphed into the desire to write them. She’s been widely published in short story anthologies, and in fiction magazines. And now she is focusing on writing romance.

Rebecca aims to write characters you can see yourself being friends with. People with big hearts who care about relationships and believe in true love.

Author Links:

Website: http://rebeccaraisin.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RebeccaRaisinAuthor

Twitter: http://twitter.com/jaxandwillsmum

You can find ARIA’S TRAVELLING BOOK SHOP AT THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS:

Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/Arias-Travelling-Book-Shop-uplifting-ebook/dp/B07XNNW1PW/ref=sr_1_12?keywords=rebecca+raisin&qid=1570436644&sr=8-12

Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07XNNW1PW?pf_rd_p=2d1ab404-3b11-4c97-b3db-48081e145e35&pf_rd_r=BPQPWBSEZQCEP4RJG4RB

 

The Sea Glass Cottage @RaeAnneThayne Harlequin Blog Tour

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I am so excited to be part of the Harlequin Blog Tour for The Sea Glass Cottage by RaeAnne Thayne. I’m a recent convert to Thayne’s books and I’m discovering how wonderful each and every one of them is.

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First let me say that this cover is stunning! The inviting feel that it evokes is exactly how I felt about the book. In fact, I loved the cover so much that I’m in the process of landscaping my back walkway to look just like this one! 🙂

If you are a fan of Thayne, then you will be familiar with some of the characters and certainly the community of Cape Sanctuary. Here we find Olivia, a serious and successful programmer who moved away from Cape Sanctuary years before. Her past there holds tragedy and painful memories but when her mother is hospitalized, she drops everything and rushes home to care for her mother. Here Olivia will encounter her past, reunite with her best friend and cope with her some-what obnoxious niece, the daughter of her sister whose life and death were tragic. Throughout the book we discover secrets held by Olivia, her mother, niece and even her sister. The Sea Glass Cottage is a book about healing, understanding, and forgiveness, as well as recognizing the strengths each of us hold within ourselves. The book, the story and the characters are beautifully written, engaging and entrancing from beginning to its satisfying conclusion. It is a story you will not want to miss. Yes, it is part of a series but, as someone who hasn’t read the rest of this series, I can assure you that it works very well as a stand-alone.

The Sea Glass Cottage was published earlier in March, 2020 and can be found at any of the links listed below.

Publisher: HQN Books

Buy Links: 

Harlequin 

Indiebound

Amazon

Barnes & Noble 

Books-A-Million

Target

Walmart

Google

iBooks

Kobo

Author photo_Raeanne Thayne

New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne finds inspiration in the beautiful northern Utah mountains where she lives with her family. Her books have won numerous honors, including six RITA Award nominations from Romance Writers of America and Career Achievement and Romance Pioneer awards from RT Book Reviews. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.raeannethayne.com.

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @RaeAnneThayne

Facebook: AuthorRaeAnneThayne

Instagram: @RaeAnneThayne

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/116118.RaeAnne_Thayne

Thank you to Samantha and Harlequin for my copy of this beautiful story!

 

The Girl With the Golden Scissors by Julia Drosten

I absolutely love historical fiction especially when it is written as eloquently as The Girl With the Golden Scissors.

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Franny was born in 1889 in Vienna only to be abandoned by her unwed mother. She is cared for, lovingly, at a foundling home where she grows into a precocious child and a talented young woman. Ultimately, she finds herself as an apprentice in one of the most prestigious fashion houses in Austria-Hungary. Isn’t it interesting how many of these young women end up in fashion houses? I can’t sew on a button so I’m always amazed at this. Just as her life appears to be stable, war breaks out across Europe testing the loyalties of her friendships, people she trusted and, worse, the monarchy itself. It does, however, afford her the opportunity to search for the truth about her parentage.

The Girl With the Golden Scissors is a beautifully written saga that sweeps across Europe during a time that few people alive today fully understand. Which country was loyal to whom, families stretched across the globe, divided by their current nationalities. It is within this scene-scape that we discover the truth about Franny and how that truth will alter her life forever. Wonderfully written by the duo known as Julia Drosten and perfectly translated from German to English, this is an historical novel from a very different perspective and one that will leave you breathless and wanting more. I’m not sure how I’ve missed this writing duo before now but I definitely am a fan now.

With much gratitude to #Netgalley and Amazon Crossing for my copy of this incredible book…

 

The Girls With No Names @serenaburdick

I finally understood what my fortune meant….I was bone and skin and earth and sky. Death was not literal, Time was infinite, my Existence..eternal.

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Set in the early 1900s, a time of great change and social reforms, The Girls With No Names is the story of young girls, some wealthy and other travelers or from among the working poor. It is a brilliant example of all that was wonderful and horrific about “the gilded age.”

Luella and Effie Tildon are children from a wealthier family. Their lives are spent in school, wandering the land around their home and obeying the strict rules set forth by their parents. They know that if they don’t obey these rules they will be sent to the House of Mercy, a work house wayward girls. The institution was meant to be home for young women without support or who were unmarried and pregnant. What it became was a place for men to send women and girls who didn’t conform to the “rules.” A house of horror, hunger, torture and worse, the House of Mercy was used as a cautionary reminder for all females to obey. When Luella discovers a secret her father is hiding, she begins to rebel against him to the point that, when she disappears, Effie immediately assumes Luella has been banished to the House of Mercy. Effie, who has a debilitating heart condition, decides she will find a way to get sent to the house so that Luella will not be alone. What transpires is a horror show for the young girl and for all of the girls held captive within those walls.

Serena Burdick has woven together a story of the rich and the poor, of the Suffragette movement, of work houses run by “the church”, of an age that glorified the male while subjugating women. The stories of these young women is one of friendship, love, bravery and hope. It is, by far, one of the most remarkable stories I have read and, sadly, it is based on the true stories of the House of Mercy in Innwood Park.

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The Girls With No Names is a cautionary reminder about how new and how fleeting our rights as women actually are or could be, a wake up call for women around the world.

#Netgalley, #Harlequin-ParkRow and @SerenaBurkick – thank you!

 

Chickenlandia: A Shady Hoosier Detective Agency Mystery by @DaisyPettles

Pawpaw County, Indiana is all a twitter with the annual chickenfest happening. That is, until Ma and Peepaw Horton’s prized rooster and hen go missing. RJ and Veenie are hired, however, to search for the missing Chicken BBQ queen instead. Things turn even darker when the local chicken dance king is run over by a car with out of state plates. Can things get any stranger or darker for the people of Pawpaw County!?

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First, allow me to say thank you for all of your thoughts and well wishes while my husband had by-pass surgery. He is home now and doing very well. They did some “extra work” while they were in there and soon he will be better than new. It’s great to be home and a little more settled, though. I thought I would read a million books during this time – I read none. <sigh> But, thank you all!

To say that I love (LOVE) this series is an understatement. I don’t know if it is because I’m from Indiana and know just how crazy the folks here can be or if it is the characters that Daisy Pettle’s creates or maybe a little of both! What I do know is that this cozy mystery series is a laugh out loud good time and fun reading.

Through the previous two books, we have come to love the chickens – and Rooster Dewey – at the Horton’s farm. The chicken houses are built to resemble famous buildings from all over the world, including the white house, so naturally we and the people of PawPaw County are very worried when something fowl happens there. Then, of course, there is the mysterious disappearances of the BBQ queen and more…..  What makes Chickenlandia and this series so wonderful are the senior sleuths who work at the Detective Agency. I’m not sure I ever have read about or related to fictional characters as much as I do RJ and Veenie. They are colorful, hilarious and always get their man with plenty of laughs, sarcasm and shenanigans along the way.  If you like cozy mysteries and if you love humor, then this is a book for you. You can read Chickenlandia as a stand alone, but the books are quick reads and I suggest you read them all.

Thank you to @Netgalley, #DaisyPettles and #BooksGoSocial for my copy of this delightful book.

The Little Engine That Could – NINETIETH Anniversary Edition

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Seriously! How is it possible that this delightful, inspirational tale is NINETY years old!?! Well, it is and to celebrate there is a brand new edition just waiting to be read and added to your library!

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Everyone knows the story of the little engine, right? I think I can…. I think I can…. and soon she absolutely could! By far this was my favorite story as a child. I was small and so often there were things I was told I was “too little” to do. This engine became my hero, her mantra became mine. When I was a Weight Watchers group leader the members in my group used it as their mantra as well. If you think you can, you will do!

The text in this updated version is the same heart felt prose we always adored but the illustrations are new and absolutely gorgeous. They will make you fall in love with them! Just look at the colors in this one:

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This anniversary edition features the original text, all-new re-imagined artwork and an introduction from Caldecott Medal-winner Dan Santat and a special letter from Dolly Parton, award-winning singer-songwriter and founder of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Every child and adult alike should have a copy of this inspiring tale on their shelves to read when self-doubt rears its head. It’s perfection.

 

(Thank you to #Edelweiss, #PenguinPublishingGroup, #Grossett&Dunlap for my copy of The Little Engine That Could)

It’s Valentine’s Day – what are you reading? #SundayPotluckClub/FirstComesLove

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I hope you’re having a love-ly Valentine’s Day and are sharing it with those you love and care about most. For me, that would be BOOKS! 

FIRST COMES LOVE by Camilla Isley

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First Comes Love by Camilla Isley includes three of her first books: Love Connection, I Have Never and A Christmas Date. Each of the stories can be read independently from one another but they do have a few crossovers. You can even find the books published separately if you choose.

Love Connection, the first story, was my favorite. Gemma is sitting in an airport with two tickets to two different destinations. One is for the wedding of her best friend; the other is to stop the wedding of her first real love. She ponders the outcome of each and then decides – but is it the right choice? Love Connection actually allows you, the reader, to see the outcome each way and to follow Gemma’s path of self-discovery. It it a thoughtful, well written and humorous story of love, choices and consequences.

The latter two, I Have Never and A Christmas Date, are both fairly typical ROMCOMs. They will make you laugh out loud, I promise you will, and perhaps even cry a little. Camilla Isley writes poignant love stories that are sure to touch each of you, especially on this day of love.  This is my first venture into her writing and I will be sure to watch for her future releases.

Sunday Potluck Club by Melissa Storm

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Love Love LOVED The Sunday Potluck Club. And, by the way, this review is about the entire book and not just an excerpt which was previously published.

Four very different women, with distinct personalities, forge a friendship with one another after meeting on a cancer ward. They are the survivors who, with one exception, have lost a loved one to cancer. Amy, who the story primarily revolves around; Bridget, whose mother has just died; Nicole, whose father is in remission and Hazel who lost her mother before the others. Each are grieving and coping with their loss, as well as survivor’s guilt, in their own unique way. Told from Amy’s point of view, we get to know each woman’s strength’s and their flaws as they encourage one another through difficult times. When Amy meets a man whose daughter is in her classroom and who also is coping with loss, she finally begins to see that there can be life after monumental loss.

The Sunday Potluck Club talks a lot about death, grief, and coping with loss but never in a heavy way. Yes, it is realistic to the point that you hurt for some of the women and there were times that I wanted to slap a few of them, but overall, it was a beautiful story of friendship and overcoming challenges. At its heart, it is a well crafted love story between friends as well as possible romantic interests. It’s a book about life, not death. It also is the first in a new series so each woman will have their story told. I cannot wait for the next one!

Thank you to #Netgalley, the authors, #KensingtonPublications and #PinkBloomPress for my copies of these wonderful books.

 

 

 

The Companions by Katie M. Flynn

A dystopian sci-fi novel that is far too close to reality for comfort….

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A pandemic sweeps through the US during which quarantines are mandated. Neither the living or the dead are allowed to leave. There are people trapped in towers who are both stir-crazy and lonely. Metis, a tech company, comes to the rescue with “companions.” Download the brain with all of its electrical currents, memories, and emotions, into a robotic body – some with skin for a more human like touch. These creations are pre-programmed not to harm or do violence and to operate only at the command of their human. One such “companion” – Lilac – goes off track when she learns that she is to be scrapped. Setting out on her own, she is in search of the person who murdered her human form.

Admittedly, this one of the strangest pieces of fiction that I’ve read in a long time. When I began reading I wasn’t sure if I liked it or would finish the book. But then I became invested in Lilac as she hops from body to body. We’re then introduced to more characters, some human and some are companions. Each of the stories seemed to be unrelated – until they weren’t. Going further into the book I realized that each of these “stories” was interconnected and relevant to the others. By the end of the book, I was all in and couldn’t believe how it ended, or possibly I knew how it would end before I even began reading.

What was so startling about The Companions is on this day, as I finished reading and am now writing this review, I’m listening on the news about quarantines being set up all over the world on the brink of what could be the early days of a Pandemic. In tandem, there is tech news about the first fully functioning AI who is frighteningly quite human. In light of those things, The Companions seemed more current events than “sci-fi.”

This is NOT a book for everyone. It is, however, one of the best dystopian tales that I’ve read in ages. It’s also a great sci-fi experience that does not involve other galaxies, fantasy or world building. If you do not like dystopian fiction or science fiction, then you will not enjoy this book. However, if you like new, different, quirky, dark reads then I can recommend The Companions 100%.

Thank you to @Netgalley, the author and #GalleryScoutPress for my ARC of The Companions.

Recent Reads and Rapid Reviews: Watch Over Me/ The Prized Girl/How Quickly She Disappears

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For various reasons, I’ve struggled with writing reviews for these three books. I enjoyed reading each of them but I felt as though I was saying the same thing over and over again. Rather than be redundant, I decided to go with shorter reviews for them. That doesn’t negate the fact that I truly did like all three and I hope you will as well.

THE PRIZED GIRL by Amy K Green

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Told from two distinct points of view, The Prized Girl is a slow burning mystery revolving around a murdered former beauty queen, Jenny, and her older sister’s quest for finding the truth. When Jenny is murdered, the police quickly arrest a developmentally challenged man who was obsessed with Jenny. Virginia, the sister, thinks there is more to the murder and begins seeking answers. The story is told in such a way that Jenny is reliving the events leading up to her death  while Virginia is dealing with past demons, lies and suspicions that not all of what she thought of as the truth was actually true.

This is a debut for the author, Amy K Green, and I think she did an incredible job with her story telling. The writing was suspenseful, fluid and the characters were very realistic and believable. My only concern was that I felt as though I had “been there, done that” with the story line itself. In a genre that is saturated, it is difficult to be unique and, while this was a very good, interesting read, it offered nothing new to the genre. If you like crime fiction, I think you would like The Prized Girl. Just don’t set your expectations too high.

How Quickly She Disappears by Raymond Fleischmann

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Set in the early 1940s in a sparsely populated area of Alaska, How Quickly She Disappears is an atmospheric, suspenseful tale that is dark, gritty and psychologically taut.

Twenty years ago, Elizabeth’s sister disappeared. It changed Elizabeth’s life irreparably. Not a day passes when she doesn’t think about Jacqueline and wonder if she is still alive and, if so, where she might be. Living in a remote area of Alaska, Elizabeth struggles with her loveless marriage and extremely brilliant daughter who she loves more than life itself and who reminds her of Jacqueline. When I strange man suddenly appears in their village, Elizabeth’s world is turned upside down when the man murders her friend and then, when in custody, proclaims that he knows where Jacqueline is. However, in return for the information, Elizabeth must do three things for this killer. How far is she willing to go to find answers?

Ironically enough, my family actually has had someone vanish into thin air. While she was no one’s favorite person, except her daughter’s, her disappearance left an unusual hole in the lives of all those who knew her. From that perspective I completely understood what Elizabeth have been feeling when this monster told her he had information about her sister. However, the plausibility of the remainder of the plot was filled with too many holes and inconsistencies.

How Quickly She Disappears was, at once, one of the best atmospheric books I’ve read in a long time and also one of the most unbelievable. This is where I have struggled with reviewing the book. I both loved it and disliked it. I wanted more than it was offering, while I also relished the beauty of the prose. I think this is a book that readers will either love or hate. Into which category will you fall?

Watch Over Me by Jane Renshaw

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Watch Over Me was a complete surprise. I was expecting a simple crime story and what I got instead was a dark, twisty, psychological thriller. Yes, I know, it says psychological thriller right there on the cover but we know that what we readers think of a “thriller” is not always what publisher’s consider “thrilling.” Let me tell you, Watch Over me was suspenseful, edgy, creepy and, yes, thrilling!

A child, Beckie, is being torn between families. One is educated and wealthy and desperately searching for a child they can love and call their own. The other is, well, there aren’t a lot of kind descriptors for this family. They are poverty stricken, unhealthy, morally bankrupt and Beckie’s mother is in jail for murder. It doesn’t sound like the ideal situation, does it? The government didn’t think so and they removed Beckie from the squalor and “gave” her to Flora, a mother with so much love to give. However, Beckie’s family loved her. Her grandmother, a foul-mouthed obese woman, really did love Beckie. So, when is it okay to take a child from one family and give it to another. That is the question at the heart of this book as Beckie’s biological family goes to amazing lengths to get Beckie back. Their actions had me wondering if they were truly as ignorant as they appeared.

BUT – and that is a huge but right there – BUT, the ending and the twist is what will leave you sitting in your seat with your mouth hanging open. I generally do not like twists at the end and only appreciate them when they are amazing. Let me tell you, IT IS. I highly recommend Watch Over Me which grip you tight from start to the startling conclusion.

(My thanks to Netgalley and Edelweiss for my copies of these three interesting reads)

 

Romantic Two for Tuesday: Husband Material and Been There, Married That

Happy Tuesday! I had hoped to bring you two delicious romances for the Tuesday of Valentine’s Week. Strangely enough, neither of these books were what I was expecting, one for the better and one, well… not so much.

Been There, Married That by Gigi Levangie, promised to be a humorous look at a celebrity marriage gone wrong. I truly thought it would be a funny take on a woman who was rebuilding her life after a celebrity marriage. What I got, instead, was a book about nothing. The characters were flat, there really wasn’t a plot other than a lot (a LOT) of attempts at humor. In fact, that appears to have been the goal of the author – to see how many laughs she could get, many of which fell very flat. I love a good Rom-Com but this was neither a Romance or a Comedy. It was like watching a really bad movie where there is one pratfall too many. Basically, I skimmed three-fourths of the book to finish. So, no romance or recommendation here for Been There, Married That.

On the flip side, I had small expectations for Husband Material. But then I read the first page, and the second, and found I couldn’t stop until I was completely finished with the book. I honestly don’t want to say too much about the plot because I want you to be as surprised as I was. The main character wants you to believe this is simply her search for the perfect husband. What we discover instead is that she is much less detached and aloof than she appears and her heart is in need of serious mending. Husband Material had me laughing, crying and cheering and then I wanted MORE. It is a wonderful book that is far more than a romance. It is wonderful story of resilience and strength. I highly recommend Husband Material for all who love an exceptionally written story.

Have you read either of these books? What did you think of them? Was I totally off the mark with Been There, Married That? Let me know….