#NGEW2019, RomCom, Tags and Challenges

The Wedding Planner by Eve Devon

Gloria, a rather sassy and bold gal with a habit of rubbing people the wrong way is determined to change her ways and get more people to like her, well… if not like her then at least not deliberately avoid her. So when her best friend asks her to help plan her wedding, Gloria immediately agrees. The drawback is her co-planner, Seth. Gloria and Seth create a tension while planning the wedding and it is all about to boil over. But is that tension anger or simmering romantic heat?

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The Wedding Planner is a light, enjoyable Rom-Com that is perfect for a summer read by the pool. While it is the third in a series of four books, the author – Eve Devon – has given us a handy character guide at the beginning so that we will know who is who, which is good because there are a lot of characters introduced and the story is told from multiple points of view.

Normally this is exactly the type of book that I enjoy as a palate cleanser between deep, dark, serious reads. However, something about the characters didn’t quite resonate with me. Even now I’m unsure if it was their personality or if it was the feeling of “been there, done that” once too often but I found myself doing quite a bit of skimming through this one and far too often for this to be a book that I would recommend to you. That said, if you really like this type of book, then maybe you can and will like these characters. It simply wasn’t for me.

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#NGEW2019, Murderous Mondays, Tags and Challenges, Thriller

MurderousMondays – The Night Before @WendyWalker

“Twelve hours earlier, she was…
Hopeful.
Excited.
Safe.   

Now she’s gone.

Murder monday with textcover147361-mediumLaura is no stranger to trauma. As a teenager she learned first hand that love stories can have very unhappy endings, endings that sometimes end in death. She has spent a lifetime trying to cope with that reality, of overcoming the thought of being “bad luck” or choosing the wrong kind of man. Now she has gone out on a date with someone she has chosen off of an online dating site and has vanished. Is she really “bad luck?” Or could she possibly be a murderer who sets the luck into motion?

I absolutely love psychological thrillers that can keep me guessing until the last page of the book and, if I figure out the who did it, the why has me stumped. Wendy Walker does this to me every single time! She always surprises me, not only with the ending but with multiple surprises throughout. The Night Before is the story not only of Laura, but of her sister, Rosie; Rosie’s husband Joe and their best friend since childhood. They were raised in a small town where they were constantly together, knew each other intimately, knew each other’s every secret – or so they thought. With Laura as a very unreliable narrator, we are left with the others to fill in the gaps and soon we learn that nothing, at all, is as it appears. So many secrets, half-truths and lies that will affect their lives forever. Who, if anyone, is telling the truth?

This is a creatively told story of relationships, friendships, small towns and abuse and how each of those things shapes us into who we ultimately become as adults. Nothing about The Night Before is predictable so be prepared to buckle up for a twisty, amazing and thrilling ride. This is one suspenseful tale that you will not want to miss! 

Thanks to @netgalley, @Wendy_Walker and @StMartinsPress for my copy of #TheNightBefore. It will be available on May 13, 2019.  

amazonWhat Marvelous Murderous books have you read lately? Tell us about it or link us up here so we can read your reviews. There is nothing quite like a good Murder on Monday! Have a great week book lovers! 

 

#NGEW2019, Book Reviews, Fab Fiction Fridays, Tags and Challenges, Women's Fiction-Interests

We Never Told #DianaAltman

There are stories relating to women that are as timeless as time itself. As advanced as society may become, there are issues that women and their children deal with that seem never to change. We Never Told is one such tale.

41646617amazonWe Never Told revolves around a Hollywood socialite, Violet, and her two daughters, Sonya and Joan. Violet lives the epitome of the luxurious lifestyle of the “rich and famous,” cycling through husbands, attending parties, living a life of style and glamour until Sonya is fourteen years old. That summer, her mother tells her two daughters that she has to go away for treatment of a tumor. She leaves the girls in the care of the housekeeper and makes them swear to tell no-one, not even their father who has visitation rights. Even after the housekeeper has a heart attack and leaves the girls alone, they tell no one for months on end. They simply endure and care for themselves. It becomes a secret that lives between them – thus the title for this book. They never told a soul. After their mother’s death years later, the daughter’s finally realize what had actually happened to their mother. We, of course, do not learn this until the end of the book – although I’m quite sure most astute readers can guess. It isn’t the end result that is important to the story,  it the is the story itself. And that is where the beauty lies with We Never Told.

It doesn’t matter where families live, in New York, California or Mississippi. It doesn’t matter if it is 1790, 1990, or 2019, there still are things that certain things that families keep secret, certain actions that are not talked about from teenage pregnancy to drug use to mental illness. If you scratch past the surface in every family, you will find a secret that family is hiding. Families also are a sum total of all of their parts, no child is raised in a vacuum – from parents to grandparents. aunts, cousins, school teachers or coaches – we all are a result of the influences of those around us. That is the beautiful lesson of We Never Told. Altman weaves together an incredible story of women, children, families, care-takers, the world in the late 20th century and that of today and makes each aspect of her story completely relevant to now. While of the book takes place in the 20th century, it isn’t historical fiction, but a timely read for today’s generation. It is one that I highly recommend.

Thank you to #Edelweiss, #SheWritesPress and #DianaAltman for my advanced copy of #WeNeverTold. It will be on sale June 11, 2019.

Book Reviews, Domestic Noir/Thriller, Fiction, Women's Fiction-Interests

Cold Waters: Normal Alabama 1 #DebbieHerbert

Wow! To say that I like Southern Noir is an understatement and when it done well, it knocks my socks off. Cold Waters, my Amazon First Reads selection for March knocked it out of the park and into the parking lot beyond. This is one amazing chilling, twisty, dark book!
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amazonWhen Violet was 14 years old, tragedy struck in the town of Normal, Alabama and the town blamed Violet for its loss. A young girl vanished without a trace, the last person to see her was Violet, who was found wandering in the forest where the two often explored and went skinny dipping in the murky lake that ran through town. After being declared psychologically unwell, in a fugue state, Violet was sent to the state mental hospital. Now she has returned to Normal, in more ways than one, to claim her meager inheritance left to her by her mother, and to help her sister care for her father. But the town has not forgotten that fateful day and nothing in Normal is quite normal at all.

As Violet attempts to recall the tragic events surrounding the night that her best friend died, it appears that someone is making sure she is unable to do so even it means she loses what little hold she has on her fragile thread of sanity. The characters that surround Violet, generally, are the most vile characters I’ve run across in literature in a long while; but, they are as realistic as I have encountered as well. I felt as if I knew each and every one of them. They are the people who border on sociopathy, and some who are outright psychopaths, who go out of their way to ensure that others fail, whose only goal is make sure that they come out on top. And then there are those who think they are doing the “right” thing when, in fact, everything they do worsens Violet’s situation more. It is a sad thing to think that the state mental hospital might have been safest place for Violet to spend a decade of her life but with friends and family like hers, it is the truth.

I honestly thought that this was going to be a paranormal book when I selected it. The confusion with any book set in the “deep south,” is that it often is difficult to separate the south’s folk tales, folklore and superstition from magical realism. What they believe in is so culturally engrained into the fabric of their existence that it is who they are without question, without their realization. The superstition in Cold Waters felt like home to me. It created a darker and more believable atmosphere for the book and for me, as a reader, because it is what I know and what I lived for the majority of my life. While this is a book about murder and solving a historic crime, ultimately it is about this poor young woman finally having the opportunity to gain strength and opportunity to stand on her own two feet with the realization that she is not any less normal than the rest of us. Cold Waters is a book I highly recommend for those who enjoy multiple genres from suspense and mystery to women’s literature to noir and southern fiction.

 

 

#historical fiction, Blog Tours, Book Reviews, Fiction, Passages to the Past Historical Challenge

A Guardian of Slaves #NaomiFinley #HFVBTPartner #BlogTour #Giveaway

04_A Guardian of Slaves_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL[731]I am so excited to be part of the fabulous blog tour for Naomi Finley’s A Guardian of Slaves.

We were first introduced to Willow Hendricks in book one of this saga, A Slave of the Shadows. Willow Hendricks is now the Lady of Livingston, a plantation she manages with her father and best friend Whitney Barry. The two women continue her parents’ secret abolitionist mission. They use the family’s ships and estates to transport escaped slaves along the channels to freedom. Willow’s love for Bowden Armstrong is as strong as ever, but she is not ready to marry and have a family because of her attention to these noble pursuits. Torn by her love for him, can their bond survive his reluctance to support her efforts with the Underground Railroad?
Meanwhile, whispers among the quarters sing praises of a mysterious man in the swamps helping slaves escape. He is called the Guardian. They believe he will save them from brutal slave catchers and deliver them to the promised land. Masked bandits roam the countryside, but the Guardian and the criminals evade capture. A series of accidents and mysterious disappearances raise alarm throughout the region. Who can Willow and Whitney trust? One false move or slip could endanger the lives of everyone they love and bring ruin to the Livingston Plantation.

A Guardian of Slaves is an interesting and entertaining historical fiction tale of an era when African Americans were treated at chattel. The slaves would do anything, including risking their lives, to escape from this human bondage and the physical and mental suffering that accompanied it. There were a few white people in the south, more in the north, who helped these slaves move through secret trails, houses, caves euphemistically called “the underground railroad.” In A Guardian of Slaves, Willow and her friend, Whitney, are helping to move the slaves using her family’s cargo ships at a peril to her own safety and the safety of business as well.

My university degree is in US history with an emphasis on the south so I tend to read these books differently than most people. A Guardian of Slaves is an enjoyable read, it’s very light on historical fact, heavy on the romantic ideas of the era and doesn’t lend a lot to anyone’s historical perspective about the time or place during this time period. That does not mean that it’s not a good book. If you like historical fiction that is more of a well written story set in a romanticized era rather than a historical novel that will give you a new perspective, then it will be perfect for you – and there are many people who do enjoy these types of books. It is a very nice, charming piece of fiction with a little lite romance thrown in as well.

A Guardian of Slaves is on sale now at AMAZON  BARNES AND NOBLE  and ITUNES

03_Naomi Finley[730]Naomi Finley lives in Alberta, Canada. Her love for travel means her suitcase always is on standby while she awaits her next plane ticket and adventure. Her love for history and the Deep South is driven by the several years she spent as a child living in a Tennessee plantation house. She comes from a family of six sisters. She married her high school sweetheart and has two teenage children and two dogs named Ginger and Snaps.
Creativity and passion are the focus of her life. Apart from writing fiction, her interests include interior design, cooking new recipes, throwing lavish dinner parties, movies, health, and fitness.

JOIN EACH STOP ON THE BLOG TOUR:

Friday, February 15
Review at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, February 19
Feature at Maiden of the Pages
Wednesday, February 20
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Feature at Christine’s Book Corner
Thursday, February 21
Feature at Just One More Chapter
Friday, February 22
Excerpt at Random Things Through My Letterbox
Monday, February 25
Review at Macsbooks
Tuesday, February 26
Excerpt at Among the Reads
Wednesday, February 27
Feature at Cover To Cover Cafe
Thursday, February 28
Feature at The Caffeinated Bibliophile
Monday, March 4
Feature at The Book Junkie Reads
Wednesday, March 6
Feature at Old Timey Books
Thursday, March 7
Feature at What Is That Book About
Friday, March 8
Review at Coffee and Ink

GIVEAWAY:

During the Blog Tour we will be giving a paperback copy of A Guardian of Slaves! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on March 8th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US 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.

ENTER HERE

Many thanks to Amy at @hfvbt and @FinleyAuthor for my copy of this delightful book.

#historical fiction, Blog Tours, Book Reviews, Fiction, Passages to the Past Historical Challenge

Innocence Lost #SherilynDecter #HFVBT #HFVBTBlogTours #BookGivaway

Innocence Lost is the first book in a thrilling new series, The Bootleggers’ Chronicles, a historical mystery set during the Prohibition Era when bootleggers and speakeasies were common and crime was everywhere you turned.

50094227_292740241593203_5348341448779497472_nIn a city of bootleggers and crime, one woman must rely on a long-dead lawman to hunt down justice…

Philadelphia, 1924. Maggie Barnes doesn’t have much left. After the death of her husband, she finds herself all alone to care for her young son and look after their rundown house. As if that weren’t bad enough, Prohibition has turned her neighborhood into a bootlegger’s playground. To keep the shoddy roof over their heads, she has no choice but to take on boarders with questionable ties…

When her son’s friend disappears, Maggie suspects the worst. And local politicians and police don’t seem to have any interest in an investigation. With a child’s life on the line, Maggie takes the case and risks angering the enemy living right under her nose. Maggie’s one advantage may be her new found friend: the ghost of a Victorian-era cop. With his help, can she find justice in a lawless city?

It’s no secret that this era is my favorite in history. The Roaring 20s, the gangsters and bootleggers who were romanticized more than feared, rum-running and moonshiners in the cities and the hills combine to create a magical backdrop to an ever-changing landscape. However, in reality all of those things we love most were highly illegal and it led to many streets and cities being quite dangerous. This is the life that our heroine, Maggie, finds herself living in after the “great war.” She’s trying to make a home for her son in a run-down house in a city that is filled with crime. When her son’s friend goes missing, it appears that the two of them are the only ones who are willing to search for the boy – along with one very unusual policeman.

Decter has created an intriguing mystery that combines the best of the historical mystery genre with the gothic eeriness of paranormal. Because of the time period, it doesn’t really seem all that strange that the copper who helps Maggie is, well, a ghost. It just fits. And while there are those who shy away from magical realism or paranormal, this book marries these genres together so seamlessly that the storyline never once falters. The believability remains present throughout. It takes a good writer to do that and Decter accomplishes that feat. Innocence Lost is a well written, entertaining historical read; one that I highly recommend.

Innocence Lost is Available Now at AMAZON
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03_Sherilyn Decter[718]Sherilyn Decter is a writer, researcher, and lover of historical fiction. Her work is set in the Roaring Twenties and if you like feisty and determined heroines, complex cover-ups, Prohibition stories about criminal underworlds, police and political corruption, then you’re going to love Sherilyn’s grand gangster tales.

For more information, please visit Sherilyn Decter’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads and Pinterest.

Thank you to Amy at @HFVBT, @HFVBTPartner for my copy of #Innocence Lost and to @SheriDecter for this incredible book. Please be sure to enter the FABULOUS GIVEAWAY BELOW and check out all of the stops along the amazing BLOG TOUR!

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away two prize packs of a copy of the book, a set of Paper Dolls, and a Jazz Age Fashion Coloring Book! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 22nd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open internationally.
– 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.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

04_Innocence Lost Banner[719]

 

 

 

#historical fiction, #NGEW2019, Book Reviews, Fiction, Passages to the Past Historical Challenge, Tags and Challenges

The Familiars @Stacey_Halls

There are times when I get absolutely giddy over a book that I’ve just finished, so much so that I start babbling to my neighbors, call up family members, talk about it to strangers in stores despite their strange looks as though I’ve lost my mind. That is exactly what I have found myself doing with Stacey Halls new book, The Familiars.

39835415Are you familiar with familiars? Yes, I know. I’m part Scottish so these things are embedded into my DNA but for many, I now realize, they are not. A familiar is an animal that is close to a witch who does certain things for the witch. They can act as protectors, spies, a type of servant or, most often, a close companion. If you see one, you most often will see the other because they rarely are separated. 12187815_10153804022438755_392989809902135028_nYou know, kind of like this photo. 😉  Okay fine.

Fleetwood Shuttleworth is the 17 years old mistress at Gawthorpe Hall. The year is 1612, and she pregnant for the fourth time. The problem, however, is that she has yet to bring a child to term, something both she and her husband are concerned about, each for very different reasons. By chance, Fleetwood encounters a woman in the forest on her property. This woman, Alice Gray, claims to be a midwife and promises Fleetwood that she can help her give birth to a healthy child. They agree on terms and Alice is brought into Gawthorpe Hall where Fleetwood almost at once begins to feel better. There are problems, however. King James, as we all should know, is on a witch hunt and his minions who wish to stay in his favor will do whatever necessary to stay in the king’s good graces, including accusing innocent women of witchcraft. Fleetwood has the misfortune of living near Pendle Hill and one of her husband’s dearest friends and benefactor’s is just the sort of man to gather up innocents to appease the king – and that is exactly what he does – including Alice Gray.

I live in a town named Pendleton settled by men originally from Pendle Hill. We actually have a place called Pendle Hill in our tiny town so I have a strange, slightly bizarre fascination with the Pendle witches of Lancashire. When I first read about The Familiars, I was led to believe that it was a witch story and somewhat cutesy. That is far from the truth. This is a story of the women in the surrounding village who eventually were charged with murder and witchcraft at Pendle Hill, specifically, Alice Gray. It is the story of Alice’s friendship with Fleetwood and the extreme measures that Fleetwood took in order to save her friend. It is a beautifully told story of women, devotion, love, motherhood, history and so much more but it is very much rooted in historically accurate research. At the heart of the tale is Fleetwood and her desire to bring her child into the world safely and alive. In order to do so, she truly believes she must have Alice by her side. It isn’t about magic or witchcraft, it is about herbs and knowledge passed down from one generation of women to the next. As we learn, these women were being rounded up far too often because of men who merely wanted them gone for reasons of cheating, anger, because the women were more knowledgeable, not unlike what is happening today when intelligent women are mocked in the public arena. They were also being hanged because their religion no longer aligned with that of King James. Then, as now, religion was a source of war. Isn’t it amazing how absolutely nothing has changed after all of this time? How we have learned nothing from the past?

I absolutely loved the transformation of Fleetwood from silly, frivolous socialite to the mature woman willing to fight for her child and her friend. Women will do that when they have the right influences to guide them and it was beautiful to see how Alice, so quiet and unassuming, could give the much needed confidence to Fleetwood, not with magic but through friendship and care. In the end, this is a novel of historical fiction and it stays true to the story. Twelve women were charged with witchcraft, some were hanged, one landed in stocks for a fortnight and one is released. This is a wonderful imagining of their story, one that I highly recommend!

Thank you to #Netgalley, #Harlequin-Mira and #StacyHalls for my advanced copy of #TheFamiliars.

I’ve included this book toward the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge at Passages to the Past. Won’t you join us as we read our way through history?
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