Posts Categorized: TLC Book Tours

Book Tour Review – The Possessions by Sara Flannery Murphy

February 10, 2017 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2017, TLC Book Tours 10 Comments

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

Book Tour Review – The Possessions by Sara Flannery MurphyThe Possessions by Sara Flannery Murphy
Published by Harper on February 7th 2017
Pages: 368
Genres: Fantasy, Mystery
Format: eARC
Source: TLC Book Tours
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads


four-stars

In this electrifying literary debut, a young woman who channels the dead for a living crosses a dangerous line when she falls in love with one of her clients, whose wife died under mysterious circumstances

In an unnamed city, Eurydice works for the Elysian Society, a private service that allows grieving clients to reconnect with lost loved ones. She and her fellow workers, known as “bodies“, wear the discarded belongings of the dead and swallow pills called lotuses to summon their spirits—numbing their own minds and losing themselves in the process. Edie has been a body at the Elysian Society for five years, an unusual record. Her success is the result of careful detachment: she seeks refuge in the lotuses’ anesthetic effects and distances herself from making personal connections with her clients.

But when Edie channels Sylvia, the dead wife of recent widower Patrick Braddock, she becomes obsessed with the glamorous couple. Despite the murky circumstances surrounding Sylvia’s drowning, Edie breaks her own rules and pursues Patrick, moving deeper into his life and summoning Sylvia outside the Elysian Society’s walls.

After years of hiding beneath the lotuses’ dulling effect, Edie discovers that the lines between her own desires and those of Sylvia have begun to blur, and takes increasing risks to keep Patrick within her grasp. Suddenly, she finds her quiet life unraveling as she grapples not only with Sylvia’s growing influence and the questions surrounding her death, but with her own long-buried secrets.

A tale of desire and obsession, deceit and dark secrets that defies easy categorization, The Possessions is a seductive, absorbing page-turner that builds to a shattering, unforgettable conclusion.

About Sara Flannery Murphy

Sara Flannery Murphy grew up in Arkansas, where she divided her time between Little Rock and Eureka Springs, a small artists’ community in the Ozark Mountains. She received her MFA in creative writing at Washington University in St. Louis and studied library science in British Columbia. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband and son. The Possessions is her first novel.

‘The fear swirls out of my mind, the last dregs of water spinning and sliding down the drain.
I open my eyes and reach for the cup, swallow the lotus. It barely takes any time before I’m gone.’

Eurydice (Edie) has worked for the Elysian Society as a body for five years where she acts as a conduit connecting individuals with their deceased loved ones. By consuming a lotus pill, it allows the “body” to almost disconnect so as to allow the loved one to once again have a physical form. The physical aspects of the body never change, but their mind returns as if they were never gone. Many don’t survive in the job for long but Edie is well-suited for it, lacking any emotional connections and much preferring to relinquish her body for that brief respite from the past that haunts her. When Patrick Braddock enters the Elysian Society to reconnect with his wife Sylvia who died almost two years ago under puzzling circumstances, Edie develops an obsession in both Patrick and Sylvia. With each visit from Patrick, Edie retains pieces of Slyvia’s memory, helping her assemble the puzzle surrounding Sylvia’s death.

‘I’m overwhelmed by the thought of all the women who would pour out of me if I were cracked open: swarming like insects, bubbling up out of my mouth. The women who have collected inside me over the years, filling up my insides until there’s no room left for me.’

This debut novel is fascinating. Murphy combines a contemporary story with paranormal aspects to create something quite mesmerizing. The entire concept of the Elysian Society and the lotuses is written loosely and never delves into any scientific aspects to explain exactly how channeling is done, but the vagueness still makes it a credible concept. As readers, we don’t actually witness what occurs when the lotus is consumed until later in the story which certainly gets imaginations running wild at the idea of taking a pill and giving a spirit free reign of your body. The lotuses themselves and how it’s described is incredibly reminiscent of the Lotus-Eaters from Greek mythology and the Odyssey. “Those who ate the honey-sweet lotus fruit no longer wished to bring back word to us, or sail for home. They wanted to stay with the Lotus-eaters, eating the lotus, forgetting all thoughts of return.” (The Odyssey, BkIX:63-104) Obviously, this is absent any aspect of channeling the dead, but the notion of becoming mentally absent and “forgetting all thoughts” is rather comparable to the lotuses in The Possessions.

‘My reflection lies trapped in the darkening window. A tree branch cuts through my torso, the spidery limbs fanned like veins and arteries spreading outward from my heart.’

The strongest aspect of this story is by far the author’s skillful writing style. The elaborate and sumptuous style felt often at odds with the emotionally disconnected voice of the narrator. Edie comes across as a character shrouded in mystery that we’re told very little about but this never lessened the strength of her voice in driving the story nor any interest in discovering more about her. The weakest aspect was the parallel mystery that never coalesced quite as natural as it could have but I felt the story would have suffered if it simply hadn’t been included at all.

The Possessions was a story that lingered long after I read the final page. Love, loss, and tragedy play expected roles in this tale that leaves you contemplating if you’re ever truly able to leave your past behind. Sara Flannery Murphy’s debut novel shows incredible potential for brilliant stories to come.

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This post was a part of ‘The Possessions’ blog tour.
Check out the other tour stops below!

Tuesday, February 7th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, February 8th: Stranded in Chaos
Thursday, February 9th: Ms. Nose in a Book
Friday, February 10th: For the Love of Words
Monday, February 13th: Rebecca Radish
Tuesday, February 14th: Books and Bindings
Wednesday, February 15th: A Soccer Mom’s Book Blog
Thursday, February 16th: The Ludic Reader
Friday, February 17th: Leigh Kramer
Monday, February 20th: Art Books Coffee
Tuesday, February 21st: Tina Says…
Wednesday, February 22nd: Kahakai Kitchen
Thursday, February 23rd: Doing Dewey|
Friday, February 24th: Luxury Reading
Saturday, February 27th: Sweet Southern Home
Sunday, February 28th: Thoughts On This ‘n That
Tuesday, March 1st: Stacy’s Books
Wednesday, March 2nd: As I turn the pages

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Book Tour Review – Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

October 1, 2015 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Book Tour, Read in 2015, TLC Book Tours 5 Comments

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

Book Tour Review – Pretty Girls by Karin SlaughterPretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
Published by William Morrow on September 29th 2015
Pages: 416
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Format: Hardcover
Source: TLC Book Tours
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Blindsighted

three-half-stars

Sisters. Strangers. Survivors.

More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia’s teenaged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss—a devastating wound that’s cruelly ripped open when Claire’s husband is killed.

The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago . . . and uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it.

Powerful, poignant, and utterly gripping, packed with indelible characters and unforgettable twists, Pretty Girlsis a masterful thriller from one of the finest suspense writers working today.

About Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter is the New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of fifteen thrillers, including UNSEEN, CRIMINAL, FALLEN, BROKEN, UNDONE, FRACTURED, BEYOND REACH, TRIPTYCH, FAITHLESS, COP TOWN, and the e-original short stories “Snatched” and “Busted.”

Slaughter was born in a small southern Georgia community, and now resides in Atlanta. She is widely credited with first coining the term "investigoogling" in 2006.

‘You couldn’t turn on the TV without hearing about the missing teenage girl. Sixteen years old. White. Middle class. Very pretty. No one ever seemed quite as outraged when an ugly woman went missing.’

Twenty-four years ago, nineteen-year-old Julia Carroll was walking home one night and disappeared without a trace. The cops believed that she had joined a commune or had run off with a guy and that she’d turn up in a few months. She never did and no body was ever discovered. The Carroll’s have never quite recovered from the loss of Julia, most especially her father who took his own life years after continuing the investigation long after the police had stopped. Claire, Julia’s younger sister, found herself a quiet, comfortable life to rely upon, however, it’s tragically upset when she bears witness to the brutal murder of her husband. Following his death, she discovers a side of her husband that she wouldn’t have thought possible. This discovery sets in motion an inability to know who to trust, and when you don’t know who to trust, what can you do?

Most thrillers these days tend to involve the actual kidnapping, but rather in Pretty Girls, Slaughter hits fast-forward and focuses on the impact on the family left behind even decades later. Most heartbreaking are the snippets between chapters of the fathers journal, his passages written in the form of letters to his deceased daughter. It paints a tragic picture of his inability to give up hope. Their mother, we learn, has kept Julia’s room completely intact as if she’s still expecting her to walk through the front-door. The best characterization is given to Julia’s two estranged sisters, Claire and Lydia. Claire has found a way to have the most normal life possible, one where tragedy doesn’t unexpectedly occur. Lydia seems to have been the one to overcome the memories, yet they crop up when it comes to raising her teenage daughter to not be just another statistic. Claire turns to her sister to help her sort through the chaos that’s become her life, but what she managed to uncover was only the tip of the iceberg. The villain of the story, well, once clues started popping up it all became a bit predictable albeit still incredibly distressing to watch everything unfold.

Kidnapping statistics are pretty heartbreaking to review. Did you know, that according to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC), there are 84,924 active missing persons cases as of December 31, 2014? [Source] 74% of kidnapping victims that aren’t taken by a parent, are female. Also, 74% of victims who were ultimately killed had died within 3 hours of being taken. [Source] That’s the harsh reality of the world we live in and Karin Slaughter’s story of “pretty girls” being kidnapped is unfortunately far more common than I think any of us realize.

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This post was a part of the ‘Pretty Girls’ blog tour.
Check out the other tour stops below!

Tuesday, September 29th: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Wednesday, September 30th: Curling Up by the Fire
Wednesday, September 30th: Imaginary Reads
Thursday, October 1st: For the Love of Words
Friday, October 2nd: Mary’s Cup of Tea
Monday, October 5th: JulzReads
Tuesday, October 6th: The Book Bag
Wednesday, October 7th: A Bookworm’s World
Thursday, October 8th: Why Girls Are Weird
Friday, October 9th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Monday, October 12th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Tuesday, October 13th: Kahakai Kitchen
Wednesday, October 14th: Stephany Writes
Thursday, October 15th: I’m Shelf-ish
Thursday, October 15th: Book Hooked Blog

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Book Tour Review – Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans

August 21, 2015 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Book Tour, Read in 2015, TLC Book Tours 3 Comments

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

Book Tour Review – Crooked Heart by Lissa EvansCrooked Heart: A Novel by Lissa Evans
Published by Harper on July 28th 2015
Pages: 288
Genres: Historical Fiction, WWII
Format: ARC
Source: TLC Book Tours
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Old Baggage

four-half-stars

Paper Moon meets the Blitz in this original black comedy, set in World War II England, chronicling an unlikely alliance between a small time con artist and a young orphan evacuee.

When Noel Bostock—aged ten, no family—is evacuated from London to escape the Nazi bombardment, he lands in a suburb northwest of the city with Vera Sedge—a thirty-six-year old widow drowning in debts and dependents. Always desperate for money, she’s unscrupulous about how she gets it.

Noel’s mourning his godmother Mattie, a former suffragette. Wise beyond his years, raised with a disdain for authority and an eclectic attitude toward education, he has little in common with other children and even less with the impulsive Vee, who hurtles from one self-made crisis to the next. The war’s provided unprecedented opportunities for making money, but what Vee needs—and what she’s never had—is a cool head and the ability to make a plan.

On her own, she’s a disaster. With Noel, she’s a team.

Together, they cook up a scheme. Crisscrossing the bombed suburbs of London, Vee starts to make a profit and Noel begins to regain his interest in life. But there are plenty of other people making money out of the war—and some of them are dangerous. Noel may have been moved to safety, but he isn’t actually safe at all. . . .

Noel, a ten year old boy, has been raised by his eccentric, ex-suffragette godmother Mattie. In addition to his normal schooling, Mattie always took the time to give what she referred to as “proper schooling” which included discussions on the obscure and essay topics that gave you more reasons to think such as “What Is Freedom?” and “All Things are Difficult Before They Are Easy”. Mattie imbued in him her particular understanding of the world causing him to develop the most intriguing personality making him an immediate addition to my favorite quirky children in literature shelf. In addition to the impending war causing the residents of London and its outskirts to be constantly on their toes, Noel is attempting to handle the seriousness of Mattie’s decline into senile dementia. Instead of evacuating London with the rest of the children, he opts to stay with Mattie to take care of her knowing that soon she’s not going to be able to take care of him much longer let alone herself. The introduction of Noel and Mattie is fantastically succinct and encompasses the Prologue alone. It set an amazing tone and heightened expectations for the rest of the story. I’m so very pleased to say that it never disappointed and only continued to impress me.

‘The day after that, all the children disappeared, as if London had shrugged and the small people had fallen off the edge.’

On a particularly typical yet cold Winter night, Mattie decides to take a walk and doesn’t come back home. Noel is now forced into evacuating and he’s rounded up with several other children hoping to find families willing to take in another mouth to feed. Noel comes across as a shy, silent child but is actually in very deep mourning for the one person on this earth he truly loved.

‘Reading felt effortful. It was odd to think that for years he had sucked up print without thinking. Since leaving Mattie’s house, he hadn’t finished a book. He couldn’t follow a plot any more, the meaning seemed to bypass his brain, or else stuck to it briefly and then fell off when he turned the page, like an inadequately licked stamp.’

He finds himself taken in by a middle-aged woman named Vee, for the sole reason of the money she’s able to collect for taking him into her care. Right off the bat, her intentions aren’t honorable, but considering Noel is never mistreated or anything of the like, she’s easily forgiven. Vee’s son Donny has a heart problem and is unable to contribute financially and her mother is unable to speak following an incident where she collapsed and hit her head after Vee first told her she was pregnant (and un-wed). Drastic times call for drastic measures and Vee begins grasping for any possible way to earn enough money to help her household survive. This is how she comes up with the idea of going door to door for donations, except there is no charity awaiting her collected coin; it’s going straight into her own pocket. Noel, wrapped in the comfort of his mourning, regains a spark of life when he recognizes Vee’s actions for what they are subsequently intriguing him enough to offer to help. He comes up with a better plan and together, the unlikeliest of duos use the War as an opportunity to survive.

 I really paced myself with this one, knowing early on it was going to be hard to say goodbye to this vibrant and original cast of characters. For a book that I picked up simply because it was related to World War II, it had surprisingly little to do with the actual war. It was rather a behind the scenes type look on what you would expect to encounter during wartime but never quite earns its own story. I loved how the story delves into what’s morally right after the duo uncover a crime occurring where people’s belongings are being stolen after they are forced to evacuate. Even though they are collecting for a charity that doesn’t actually exist, these people are still giving willingly. Crooked Heart asks the question: is it better to take under false pretenses or to steal without their knowledge? Is one legally wrong and the other simply morally wrong?

Crooked Heart, while also delving into the seriousness of war without going as far as to take us to the battle lines, is also instilled with a dark humor that I feel is most appropriate for that day and age. Because even though there is sadness that is saturated into every nook and cranny and hangs over the city like a pall, there’s still some humor to be found and Evans characters use it as a coping mechanism to get through these trying times. Wonderful, wonderful novel, I’m so very glad I took the chance on this obscure little gem of a read.

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This post was a part of ‘Crooked Heart’ blog tour.
Check out the other tour stops below!

Tuesday, July 28th: 100 Pages a Day … Stephanie’s Book Reviews
Wednesday, July 29th: BookNAround
Thursday, July 30th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Friday, July 31st: From the TBR Pile
Monday, August 3rd: Raven Haired Girl
Tuesday, August 4th: Savvy Verse & Wit
Wednesday, August 5th: A Bookworm’s World
Thursday, August 6th: Dwell in Possibility
Monday, August 10th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Wednesday, August 12th: Cold Read
Tuesday, August 18th: Kissin Blue Karen
Wednesday, August 19th: FictionZeal
Wednesday, August 19th: The Book Binder’s Daughter
Thursday, August 20th: Bilbiophiliac
Friday, August 21st: For the Love of Words
Monday, August 24th: Doing Dewey

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Book Tour Review – Love May Fail by Matthew Quick

July 8, 2015 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Book Tour, Read in 2015, TLC Book Tours 2 Comments

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

Book Tour Review – Love May Fail by Matthew QuickLove May Fail by Matthew Quick
Published by Harper on June 16th 2015
Pages: 416
Genres: Contemporary
Format: ARC
Source: TLC Book Tours
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads


two-half-stars

Portia Kane is having a meltdown. After escaping her ritzy Florida life and her cheating pornographer husband, she finds herself back in South Jersey, a place that remains largely unchanged from the years of her unhappy youth. Lost and alone, looking for the goodness she believes still exists in the world, Portia sets off on a quest to save the one man who always believed in her—and in all of his students: her beloved high school English teacher, Mr. Vernon, who has retired broken and alone after a traumatic classroom incident.

Will a sassy nun, an ex-heroin addict, a metalhead little boy, and her hoarder mother help or hurt Portia’s chances on this quest to resurrect a good man and find renewed hope in the human race? Love May Fail is a story of the great highs and lows of existence: the heartache and daring choices it takes to become the person you know (deep down) you are meant to be.

Portia Kane is a woman who used to have big dreams of being a published author but is currently experiencing something akin to a mid-life crisis. We’re first introduced to her character as she hides drunk in her bedroom closet with a handgun watching her porn-producer husband cheat on her with a much, much younger woman. As sad as it sounds, Quick made this introduction memorable and hilarious, as unlikely as that seems. Deciding that going to jail for shooting her husband and his lover she dubs “Khaleesi” just isn’t worth it so she hops on a plane to head back home to her simple-minded hoarder of a mother. She has a coincidental run-in with a nun she’s seated next to on the plane at which point Portia, still drunk, spills her guts to her even going so far as to describe just how endowed her soon to be ex-husband isn’t. Coincidentally the nun is actually the mother of her favorite English teacher that changed her whole outlook on life, who just so happens to be going through his own mid-life crisis as well.

Honestly, I could continue on with the various plots and coincidences (there are many of both in this tale). There are also several different POV changes: Portia of course, her English teacher Mr. Vernon, Chuck Bass (another individual left changed by Mr. Vernon and someone who has harbored a crush on Portia for the better part of two decades), and even a brief interlude to Mr. Vernon’s mother who we’re made informed by the letters she sent to her son. Portia, regardless of her protestations that “it wasn’t about the money” doesn’t ever come across as anything but a rich, privileged whiner. The flashbacks to her past and her childhood dreams should have been enough to make her a bit more tolerable, but unfortunately, she never did dredge up any sympathy from me. And her showing up at her favorite English teacher’s house was more creepy than gracious. I have a favorite teacher that I recall with absolute adoration, however, I still can’t say I would ever get the urge to show up at his house unannounced declaring that I was there to “save him”. Mr. Vernon’s character was the POV most explored and was the most interesting to read about. His mother’s POV could have been left out entirely, which would have left this book minus the two dozen or so mentions of “my husband, God” which made my eye twitch just about every time. There is also a very strange and intense focus on negative reviews (it specifically mentions a bad review a published book received via Kirkus) and ultimately the impact they have on an author. Not sure what Quick was trying to say with that little tirade but I find it more than a bit funny that Kirkus didn’t actually care for Love May Fail very much.

I’ve heard this is a common trend in Quick’s novels (this is my first Quick novel so I can’t speak for the rest), but faith and the belief that there’s always something to live for is the theme with this one. It’s about finding that spark in life that spurs you up over the next hurdle that life will inevitably throw your way. The idea was there with this one but the execution and the abundant coincidences left me feeling far from inspired.

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This post was a part of ‘Love May Fail’ blog tour.
Check out the other tour stops below!

Tuesday, June 16th: Book Hooked Blog
Wednesday, June 17th: Novel Escapes
Thursday, June 18th: 5 Minutes For Books
Friday, June 19th: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Monday, June 22nd: Raven Haired Girl
Tuesday, June 23rd: A Bookworm’s World
Wednesday, June 24th: Bibliophiliac
Thursday, June 25th: Chronicles …
Monday, June 29th: she treads softly
Tuesday, June 30th: bookchickdi
Wednesday, July 1st: Into the Hall of Books
Thursday, July 2nd: Many Hats
Monday, July 6th: Bibliotica
Tuesday, July 7th: Becca Rowan
Wednesday, July 8th: For the Love of Words
Thursday, July 9th: Ageless Pages Reviews
Friday, July 10th: Snowdrop Dreams of Books

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Book Tour Review – Little Beach Street Bakery (Little Beach Street Bakery #1) by Jenny Colgan

April 9, 2015 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Book Tour, Read in 2015, TLC Book Tours 6 Comments

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

Book Tour Review – Little Beach Street Bakery (Little Beach Street Bakery #1) by Jenny ColganLittle Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan
Series: Little Beach Street Bakery #1
Published by William Morrow on March 31st 2015
Pages: 448
Genres: Chick-Lit, Foodie Fiction
Format: ARC
Source: TLC Book Tours
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads


three-stars

In the bestselling tradition of Jojo Moyes and Jennifer Weiner, Jenny Colgan's moving, funny, and unforgettable novel tells the story of a heartbroken young woman who turns a new page in her life . . . by becoming a baker in the town of Cornwall

A quiet seaside resort. An abandoned shop. A small flat. This is what awaits Polly Waterford when she arrives at the Cornish coast, fleeing a ruined relationship.

To keep her mind off her troubles, Polly throws herself into her favorite hobby: making bread. But her relaxing weekend diversion quickly develops into a passion. As she pours her emotions into kneading and pounding the dough, each loaf becomes better than the last. Soon, Polly is working her magic with nuts and seeds, chocolate and sugar, and the local honey—courtesy of a handsome beekeeper. Packed with laughter and emotion, Little Beach Street Bakery is the story of how one woman discovered bright new life where she least expected—a heartwarming, mouthwatering modern-day Chocolat that has already become a massive international bestseller.

About Jenny Colgan

Jenny Colgan is Scottish born and bred, born in Ayrshire in 1972, but currently lives and works in London. After graduating from Edinburgh University, Jenny worked for six years in the health service whist moonlighting as a cartoonist and doing stand-up in the outer fringes of London’s comedy circuit.

When Polly’s long-term relationship comes crashing down and with it the business they’ve built together, she’s left to start over completely from scratch. With so few options available to her, she agrees to rent a run-down flat with a leaky roof on the island of Polbearne. She finds solace in utilizing her baking skills and filling the air of the island with the enticing smell of freshly baked bread.

St Michael's Mount.jpg
St. Michael’s Mount
Source

Polbearne, a quaint seaside village off the coast of England, is based off the actual island St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall. Colgan’s descriptions of the village were thorough, detailing not only the people and their way of life but of the town itself and the sole causeway being the only way to come and go on the island. While the people in the village weren’t always the most friendly (since they saw Polly as an outsider), the village itself sounded like a such a lovely place to reside with its small shops on cobbled streets and a ruined yet still charming castle on the top of a hill overlooking the island.

Polly’s ever-constant baking was also given much detail and constantly left you craving delicious breads. After one particularly tasty sounding chapter I became determined to also become a master bread maker. Long story short, I failed miserably. Bread is FAR harder to bake than Polly makes it sound like just so you know! I didn’t actually attempt any of the recipes included in the story (Cheese Straws, Sweetcorn Fritters, Cinnamon Rolls, Focaccia, and my favorite: Shortbread) but I’m determined to try again. Someday.

This fun little foodie novel is not without its fill of drama though. Polly immediately begins butting heads with her landlord who is the sole baker on the island and Polly’s freshly baked bread is hampering her sales. Her landlord has her own personal history that ends up being told as a side-story. Polly also gets involved in some romantic complications that ends up being something akin to a love square. While I’m not a fan of love triangles and especially squares in general, what really disappointed me with this one in particular was the lack of chemistry between Polly and any of the men. What I loved most about Polly was her empowering story of hitting rock bottom and finding the strength to not only make a living but to find out who she is while being on her own again. The romance element wasn’t completely necessary in my opinion and especially not that many romances. It made it all avoidably messy and I would have appreciated a much more simplistic story in that regard.

I don’t know how I’ve failed to mention the best part of the story this far into my review! When Polly moves to Polbearne she unintentionally takes on a new pet which she names Neil. Neil, the puffin.

Neil was by far the cutest addition to the story even though he was unrealistically tame, but whatever! Now I want a pet puffin.

Little Beach Street Bakery is a sweet, entertaining tale about learning to navigate the harsh realities of life and finding what you’re passionate about. It’s the perfect read for foodie fiction fans and readers simply looking for a light-hearted read.

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This post was a part of ‘Little Beach Street Bakery‘ blog tour.
Check out the other tour stops below!

Tuesday, March 31st: Bibliotica
Wednesday, April 1st: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, April 2nd: A Chick Who Reads
Friday, April 3rd: Kritters Ramblings
Tuesday, April 7th: Drey’s Library
Wednesday, April 8th: Kahakai Kitchen
Thursday, April 9th: For the Love of Words
Friday, April 10th: 2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews
Tuesday, April 14th: A Bookish Way of Life
Thursday, April 16th: Walking With Nora

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Book Tour Review – Fiercombe Manor by Kate Riordan

March 19, 2015 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Book Tour, Read in 2015, TLC Book Tours 1 Comment

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

Book Tour Review – Fiercombe Manor by Kate RiordanFiercombe Manor by Kate Riordan
Published by Harper on February 17th 2015
Pages: 416
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: ARC
Source: TLC Book Tours
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads


three-stars

In this haunting and richly imagined dual-narrative tale that echoes the eerie mystery of Rebecca and The Little Stranger, two women of very different eras are united by the secrets hidden within the walls of an English manor house

In 1933, naive twenty-two year-old Alice—pregnant and unmarried—is in disgrace. Her mother banishes her from London to secluded Fiercombe Manor in rural Gloucestershire, where she can hide under the watchful eye of her mother’s old friend, the housekeeper Mrs. Jelphs. The manor’s owners, the Stantons, live abroad, and with her cover story of a recently-deceased husband Alice can have her baby there before giving it up for adoption and returning home. But as Alice endures the long, hot summer at Fiercombe awaiting the baby’s birth, she senses that something is amiss with the house and its absentee owners.

Thirty years earlier, pregnant Lady Elizabeth Stanton desperately hopes for the heir her husband desires. Tormented by the memory of what happened after the birth of her first child, a daughter, she grows increasingly terrified that history will repeat itself, with devastating consequences.

After meeting Tom, the young scion of the Stanton family, Alice becomes determined to uncover the clan’s tragic past and exorcise the ghosts of this idyllic, isolated house. But nothing can prepare Alice for what she uncovers. Soon it is her turn to fear: can she escape the tragic fate of the other women who have lived in the Fiercombe valley . . .

About Kate Riordan

Kate Riordan is a British writer and journalist who worked for the Guardian and Time Out London. She is also the author of Birdcage Walk and is already at work on her third novel. Born in London, she now lives in the Gloucestershire countryside.

‘Fiercombe is a place of secrets. They fret among the uppermost branches of the beech trees and brood at the cold bottom of the stream that cleaves the valley in two. The past has seeped into the soil here like spilt blood.’

In 1932, twenty-two-year-old Alice Eveleigh finds herself pregnant by a man she thought she loved but is already married to another. In an attempt to spare the family scandal, her mother sends her to stay with an old friend, Mrs. Jelphs, at Fiercombe Manor in the English countryside until the baby is born and they can give it up for adoption. With nothing to do to keep her occupied, Alice gets drawn into the curious history of the Stanton family and the previous residents of Fiercombe that seemingly disappeared without a trace. Discovering a diary kept by Elizabeth Stanton which details her pregnancy only increases her curiosity and the more she finds out about her, the more she fears she’s destined for the same fate.

‘Elizabeth. That was the first time I saw her name. What did I think, if anything? I’m sure I traced the letters with my finger; perhaps I even whispered it under my breath, the hiss of the second syllable, the sigh of the last. But that was all. My interest in her and the estate’s history was fleeting then – a faint glimmer of intrigue that glowed and then dimmed again, though not before it had lodged itself at the back of my mind, ready to be brought out later.’

This book had everything going for it: Gothic setting in the English countryside, the dual-narratives/timelines that inevitably collide with one another in the end, and even a creepy Rebecca-esque housekeeper. It was everything I should have loved, and I did, for the most part. The issue I have with most dual narratives is the fact that one is most generally always more interesting than the other, as is the case with Fiercombe. Elizabeth’s narrative set in the late 1800s centered around the common affliction that was terribly misunderstood of puerperal insanity, a form of postpartum depression. It’s always difficult reading about medical issues being misconstrued in the past resulting in far worse instances than should have occurred. But Elizabeth’s narrative was not only terribly sad but it was gripping and truly haunting. Alice’s narrative involved her trying to uncover information about Elizabeth, having formed something of a mental kinship to her from her diary since most of Elizabeth’s writings were during the time when she too was pregnant. The attempt to join the two narratives together wasn’t exactly convincing, and Alice’s fears were tame in comparison to Elizabeth’s genuine ones, although my interest in finding out what happened to both women never seemed to wane.

Fiercombe Manor kept me fully invested to the very end with atmospheric writing and a haunting past revealed piece by piece.

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton {PurchaseMy Review}
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier {Purchase}
The Last Camellia by Sarah Jio {PurchaseMy Review}

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Book Tour Review – The Girls of Mischief Bay (Mischief Bay #1) by Susan Mallery

February 26, 2015 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Book Tour, Read in 2015, TLC Book Tours 1 Comment

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

Book Tour Review – The Girls of Mischief Bay (Mischief Bay #1) by Susan MalleryThe Girls of Mischief Bay by Susan Mallery
Series: Mischief Bay #1
Published by Mira on February 24th 2015
Pages: 416
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Format: eARC
Source: TLC Book Tours
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads


four-stars

Susan Mallery, the New York Times bestselling author of Three Sisters, is world renowned for her "insightful, funny, and poignant" stories (Booklist). With her brand-new Mischief Bay series, she brings vivid color to the story of three friends on the brink of a new life. 

Nicole Lord wants to be a good wife, but there's a difference between being supportive and supporting her husband, who quit his job to write a screenplay she's never seen. He won't even help take care of their son, leaving Nicole to run the house and work full-time.

Sacrificing a personal life for her career is how Shannon Rigg became VP at her firm, but she wonders now whether she made the right choice. An exciting new relationship with a great guy convinces her that it might not be too late—until he drops a bombshell that has her questioning whether she really can have it all.

Although Pam Eiland adores her husband, she feels restless now that the kids are grown. Finding sexy new ways to surprise him brings the heat and humor back to their marriage, but when unexpected change turns her life upside down, she'll have to redefine herself. Again.

Through romance and heartbreak, laughter and tears, the girls of Mischief Bay will discover that life is richer with friends at your side.

About Susan Mallery

New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery has won the hearts of millions of readers around the world with books described as “immensely entertaining, intensely emotional” (RT Book Reviews), “hilarious” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram), and “heartwarming” (Publishers Weekly). One major retailer recently described her as “the queen of romantic fiction.” While she deeply appreciates the accolades of critics and booksellers, Mallery is even more honored by the enthusiasm of her readers and the word-of-mouth that catapults her toward the top of the bestsellers lists time and again.

Mallery lives in not-so-sunny Seattle with her husband and a toy poodle who makes her laugh every day and who’s not even a little bit impressed by her growing fame.

Nicole, Shannon, and Pam are three friends that are thrown some unexpected curve balls in life with only their friendship to help keep them afloat. Nicole’s husband has quit his job unexpectedly to pursue his dream of being a screenwriter leaving her to care for their child, the household and still maintain her full-time job. Shannon has dedicated her life to her career, sacrificing anything and everything especially romance, but when she goes on a blind date she finds herself rethinking her priorities. Pam has quite the perfect life but thinks her marriage could benefit from a little excitement, unfortunately, her perfect life is thrown into an emotional upheaval when she’s forced to experience true loss.

This is my first Susan Mallery book but I was most pleased with this heartwarming story. I don’t often read contemporary stories because I typically like to escape to a world unlike my own, but sometimes it’s comforting to read stories that you can truly understand and appreciate on a personal level. This was certainly one of those types. All three women managed to possess a certain characteristic that I could relate to despite the variation in ages among them. Nicole’s amount of responsibilities becoming a stressful burden on her, Shannon’s desire to connect with her new boyfriends family and the difficulty of being a step-parent and Pam’s struggle to stay strong in the face of adversity. It was at times a sad tale but in the end managed to become a truly inspiring story of perseverance and the true power of friendship.

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This post was a part of ‘The Girls from Mischief Bay‘ blog tour.
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Exclusive Excerpt + Giveaway! The Girls of Mischief Bay (Mischief Bay #1) by Susan Mallery

January 29, 2015 Bonnie Book Tour, Excerpt, Giveaways, TLC Book Tours 65 Comments

Exclusive Excerpt + Giveaway! The Girls of Mischief Bay (Mischief Bay #1) by Susan MalleryThe Girls of Mischief Bay by Susan Mallery
Series: Mischief Bay #1
Published by Mira on February 24th 2015
Pages: 416
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Girls of Mischief Bay

Susan Mallery, the New York Times bestselling author of Three Sisters, is world renowned for her "insightful, funny, and poignant" stories (Booklist). With her brand-new Mischief Bay series, she brings vivid color to the story of three friends on the brink of a new life. 

Nicole Lord wants to be a good wife, but there's a difference between being supportive and supporting her husband, who quit his job to write a screenplay she's never seen. He won't even help take care of their son, leaving Nicole to run the house and work full-time.

Sacrificing a personal life for her career is how Shannon Rigg became VP at her firm, but she wonders now whether she made the right choice. An exciting new relationship with a great guy convinces her that it might not be too late—until he drops a bombshell that has her questioning whether she really can have it all.

Although Pam Eiland adores her husband, she feels restless now that the kids are grown. Finding sexy new ways to surprise him brings the heat and humor back to their marriage, but when unexpected change turns her life upside down, she'll have to redefine herself. Again.

Through romance and heartbreak, laughter and tears, the girls of Mischief Bay will discover that life is richer with friends at your side.

About Susan Mallery

New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery has won the hearts of millions of readers around the world with books described as “immensely entertaining, intensely emotional” (RT Book Reviews), “hilarious” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram), and “heartwarming” (Publishers Weekly). One major retailer recently described her as “the queen of romantic fiction.” While she deeply appreciates the accolades of critics and booksellers, Mallery is even more honored by the enthusiasm of her readers and the word-of-mouth that catapults her toward the top of the bestsellers lists time and again.

Mallery lives in not-so-sunny Seattle with her husband and a toy poodle who makes her laugh every day and who’s not even a little bit impressed by her growing fame.

I’m thrilled to be a part of the Exclusive Excerpt tour for Susan Mallery’s new book and series, The Girls of Mischief Bay. Be sure to check out the full tour list below as all excerpts are in sequential order and each stop has a separate giveaway opportunity for you to win the fabulous prize pack!

The Girls of Mischief Bay Excerpt Tour:

Monday, January 26th: Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday, January 27th: Luxury Reading
Wednesday, January 28th: A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, January 29thFor the Love of Words
Friday, January 30thThe Romance Dish
Monday, February 2ndRead – Love – Blog
Tuesday, February 3rdPeeking Between the Pages
Wednesday, February 4thBook Mama Blog
Thursday, February 5thBook Reviews and More by Kathy
Monday, February 9thBooks a la Mode
Tuesday, February 10thSatisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Wednesday, February 11thAlways with a Book
Thursday, February 12thAs the Pages Turn
Monday, February 16thA Bookish Escape
Wednesday, February 18thWhy Girls are Weird 
Friday, February 20thFrom the TBR Pile

 

Chapter Two

Pam walked through from the garage to the main house, Lulu keeping pace with her. In the mudroom they both paused. Pam fished her small handbag out of the tote, then hung the larger bag on a hook.

The open area served as a catchall for things that otherwise didn’t have a home. There was a built-in storage unit with plenty of hooks, shelves and drawers. The latter were mostly filled with Lulu’s various clothes.

Now Pam eyed the lightweight sweater her pet wore and decided it would keep the dog warm enough until bedtime. Like the rest of the family, Lulu wore PJs to bed. Pam didn’t care if anyone laughed at her for that. She was the one Lulu cuddled next to under the covers and she wanted her dog wearing something soft when that happened.

They continued through the house to the kitchen. Pam pulled her cell out of her purse and stuck it on the side table by the hall, then checked on the Crock-Pot she’d left on that morning. A quick peek and stir confirmed the beef burgundy was coming along. She added the vegetables she’d already prepared and stirred again, then went out the front door to collect the mail.

The day had warmed up nicely. February in the rest of the country could mean snow and ice. In Southern California there was every chance it would be sunny and seventy. Today was no exception, although she would guess it was closer to sixty-five. Hardly reason to complain, she told herself as she pulled the mail out of the box and started back toward the house.

Mischief Bay was a coastal community. Tucked between Redondo Beach and Hermosa Beach, it had a small pier, plenty of restaurants, a boardwalk and lots of tourists. The ocean regulated the temperatures and the steady light breeze made sure there wasn’t much in the way of smog.

She and John had bought their sprawling ranch-style home ages ago. Jennifer, their oldest, had been what? Three? Pam tried to remember. If Jennifer had been three, then Steven had been a year and she’d been pregnant with Brandon.

Oh, yeah. She had been pregnant all right. There’d been the charming moment when she’d thrown up in front of the movers. Brandon had been a difficult pregnancy and she’d been nauseous a lot. Something she brought up every so often—when her son needed a little humbling. As all children did, now and then.

She paused to wait for Lulu to do her business by the bushes and studied the front of the house. They’d redone much of both yards a few years ago, when they’d had the house painted. She liked the new plants that edged the circular drive. Her gaze rose to the roof. That had been replaced, as well. One of the advantages of having a husband in construction—he always knew the best people.

Lulu trotted back to her side.

“Ready to go in, sweet pea?” Pam asked.

Lulu wagged her feathered tail and led the way. Pam glanced down at the mail as she walked. Bills, a letter from an insurance agent she’d never heard of—no doubt an ad—along with two car magazines for John and a postcard from the local high school.

Pam frowned at the postcard and turned it over. What on earth could they…?

Lulu walked into the house. Pam followed and automatically closed the door. She stood in the spacious foyer, afternoon light spilling onto the tile floor.

But she didn’t see any of that. She didn’t see anything but the stark words printed on the postcard.

Class of 2005. Fellow Cougars—save the date!! Your 10-year high school reunion is this August.

There was more, but the letters got blurry as Pam tried to make sense of the notice. A ten-year high school reunion? Sure, Jennifer had graduated in 2005, but there was no way it had been ten years, had it? Because if Jen was attending her ten-year reunion, that meant Pam was the mother of a woman attending her ten-year high school reunion.

“When did I get old?” Pam asked, her voice a whisper.

Involuntarily, she turned to stare at the mirror over the entry table. The person staring back at her looked familiar and yet totally wrong. Sure the shoulder-length dark hair was fine and the irises were still hazel-green. But everything else was different. No, not different. Less…firm.

There were lines around her eyes and a distinct softness to her jaw. Her mouth wasn’t as full as it had been. Ironically, just last November she’d turned fifty and had been so damned proud of herself for not freaking out. Because these days fifty was the new thirty-five. Big deal, right?

John had thrown a huge party. She’d laughed over the gag gifts and had prided herself for achieving the big 5-0 with grace and style. Not to mention a pretty decent ass, thanks to the three-times-a-week classes she took at Nicole’s studio. She hadn’t felt…old. But that was before she had a daughter who had just been invited to her ten-year high school reunion.

Sure, she’d had kids young. She’d married John at nineteen and had Jen when she’d turned twenty-two. But that was what she’d always wanted.

She and John had met at Mischief Bay High School. He’d been tall and sexy, a star player on the football team. His family had a local plumbing company. One that worked in new construction rather than fixing stopped-up toilets.

John’s plans had been set. He was going to get his AA in business from Mischief Bay Community College, then work in the family firm full-time. He would start at the bottom, earn his way to the top and buy out his parents by the time he was forty.

Pam had liked how he’d known what he wanted and went after it. When he turned his blue eyes on her and decided she was the one to share the journey, well, she’d been all in.

Now as she studied her oddly familiar and unfamiliar reflection, she wondered how the time had gone by so quickly. One second she’d been an in-love teenager and now she was the mother of a twenty-eight-year-old.

“No,” she said aloud, turning away from the mirror. She wasn’t going to freak out over something as ridiculous as age. She had an amazing life. A wonderful husband and terrific kids and a strange little dog. They were all healthy—except for Lulu’s ongoing issues—and successful and, best of all, happy. She’d been blessed a thousand times over. She was going to remember that and stay grateful. So what if she wasn’t firm? Beauty only went skin deep. She had wisdom and that was worth more.

Text Copyright © 2015 by Susan Macias Redmond
Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A.

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One lucky reader will receive the California Dreamin’ Prize Package which includes the following prizes:

A Pacific blue beach towel
Pure Paradise body cream
Luxury moisturizing bath bar from the San Francisco soap company
An autographed copy of EVENING STARS by Susan Mallery (the first book with a character from Mischief Bay)
Flip-flop tea candle holder
Map of Mischief Bay
THE GIRLS OF MISCHIEF BAY Post-It book
THE GIRLS OF MISCHIEF BAY bookmark
Handy bath mini-tote
Susan Mallery lip gloss
Susan Mallery 3D luggage tag
Susan Mallery pen

To enter, use the Rafflecopter widget below.
Open to U.S. and Canada residents only
Giveaway ends February 12th, 2015

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Book Tour Review – Moriarty (Sherlock Holmes #2) by Anthony Horowitz

December 19, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Book Tour, Read in 2014, TLC Book Tours 2 Comments

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

Book Tour Review – Moriarty (Sherlock Holmes #2) by Anthony HorowitzMoriarty by Anthony Horowitz
Series: Sherlock Holmes #2
Published by Harper on December 9th 2014
Pages: 304
Genres: Detective, Mystery
Format: ARC
Source: TLC Book Tours
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel

three-stars

The game is once again afoot in this thrilling mystery from the bestselling author of The House of Silk, sanctioned by the Conan Doyle estate, which explores what really happened when Sherlock Holmes and his arch nemesis Professor Moriarty tumbled to their doom at the Reichenbach Falls.

Internationally bestselling author Anthony Horowitz's nail-biting new novel plunges us back into the dark and complex world of detective Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty--dubbed the Napoleon of crime" by Holmes--in the aftermath of their fateful struggle at the Reichenbach Falls.

Days after the encounter at the Swiss waterfall, Pinkerton detective agent Frederick Chase arrives in Europe from New York. Moriarty's death has left an immediate, poisonous vacuum in the criminal underworld, and there is no shortage of candidates to take his place--including one particularly fiendish criminal mastermind.

Chase and Scotland Yard Inspector Athelney Jones, a devoted student of Holmes's methods of investigation and deduction originally introduced by Conan Doyle in "The Sign of Four," must forge a path through the darkest corners of England's capital--from the elegant squares of Mayfair to the shadowy wharfs and alleyways of the London Docks--in pursuit of this sinister figure, a man much feared but seldom seen, who is determined to stake his claim as Moriarty's successor.

A riveting, deeply atmospheric tale of murder and menace from the only writer to earn the seal of approval from Conan Doyle's estate, Moriarty breathes life into Holmes's dark and fascinating world.

Sherlock Holmes Series

The House of Silk (Sherlock Holmes #1) by Anthony Horowitz {Purchase – My Review}

About Anthony Horowitz

Anthony Horowitz is the author of the international bestseller The House of Silk and the New York Times number one bestselling Alex Rider series for Young Adults. As a television screenwriter he created both Midsomer Murders and the BAFTA-winning Foyle’s War, both of which were featured on PBS’s Masterpiece Mystery. He regularly contributes to a wide variety of national newspapers and magazines, and in January 2014 was awarded an OBE for his services to literature. He lives in London.

“But the man had hereditary tendencies of the most diabolical kind. A criminal strain ran in his blood.”

Professor Moriarty is a criminal mastermind and nemesis of the brilliant detective Sherlock Holmes. Moriarty brings to life occurrences following the disappearance of the duo after they vanished into the mist of Reichenbach Falls, Switzerland. Picking up the narrative of this story is Pinkerton agent Frederick Chase who has traveled to Europe intent on following the trail of an American criminal by the name of Clarence Devereux who supposedly intends on taking over Moriarty’s criminal activity now that he’s gone. When the trail leads Chase to Reichenbach Falls where Inspector Athelney Jones of Scotland Yard is investigating the incident, the two inevitably team up to assist one another.

Leaving Switzerland, Chase and Jones travel back to London intent on determining the identity of Devereux but shortly into their investigation, the brutality begins. Their first key witness is brutally murdered as well as his entire household with no apparent reasoning behind the extravagant violence. Unfortunately, this ends up being only a sneak peak as to what’s in store for the rest of their investigation.  Dark and dangerous, the longer the search continues the more mysterious things begin to appear. The mystery felt very jerky and was missing a cohesive flow in comparison to Silk. The evidence that Jones would find which inevitably took them to the next location to search for more clues felt like they were being pulled out of thin air rather than when Holmes would discover evidence and would then rationalize how he came to that conclusion it always led to an a-ha! moment that lacked perfect sense once explained. Jones modeled his life and habits after Holmes and made a decent attempt at learning his tricks of the trade and while he might have transformed himself into a clever copy he was still highly identifiable as far from the real thing.

Watson played narrator in Silk and did a superb job, but in Moriarty, we’re given Frederick Chase and suffice it to say I definitely missed Watson. It’s easy enough to compare the two books (Silk definitely comes out on top) however, the two are so vastly different in several regards that it’s a disservice to do so. When comparing Moriarty to the original canon, it’s bound to disappoint, however, judging on its own merits it’s a fairly solid mystery with an incredibly shocking twist that makes you rethink everything that came before. I had my suspicions that all was not as it appeared, and I was right, but my guesses were still far from the truth.

It’s not necessary to enjoy this story even if you haven’t read all of the Holmes classics, however, I would definitely recommend you’re at least familiar with The Sign of the Four and especially the short story The Final Problem. Moriarty definitely felt less authentic as a pastiche than Silk did but for Holmes fans looking for anything to scratch that itch, this will satisfy it albeit temporarily.

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Book Tour Review – Christmas at Tiffany’s by Karen Swan

November 20, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Book Tour, Read in 2014, TLC Book Tours 6 Comments

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

Book Tour Review – Christmas at Tiffany’s by Karen SwanChristmas at Tiffany's by Karen Swan
Published by William Morrow on October 28th 2014
Pages: 592
Genres: Chick-Lit, Holiday - Christmas, Romance
Format: ARC
Source: TLC Book Tours
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Perfect Present

five-stars

In the wake of a heartbreaking betrayal, a young woman leaves the Scottish countryside to find her destiny in three of the most exciting cities in the world—New York, Paris, and London—in this funny and triumphant tale of fulfillment, friendship, and love.

Ten years ago, a young and naïve Cassie married her first serious boyfriend, believing he would be with her forever. Now, her marriage is in tatters and Cassie has no career or home of her own. Though she feels betrayed and confused, Cassie isn’t giving up. She’s going to take control of her life. But first she has to find out where she belongs . . . and who she wants to be.

Over the course of one year, Cassie leaves her sheltered life in rural Scotland to stay with her best friends living in the most glamorous cities in the world: New York, Paris, and London. Exchanging comfort food and mousy hair for a low-carb diet and a gorgeous new look, Cassie tries each city on for size as she searches for the life she’s meant to have . . . and the man she’s meant to love.

About Karen Swan

Karen Swan began her career in fashion journalism before giving it all up to raise her three children and an ADHD puppy, and to pursue her ambition of becoming a writer. She lives in the forest in Sussex, writing her books in a treehouse overlooking the Downs. Her first novel, Players, was published in 2010, followed by Prima Donna and Christmas at Tiffany’s in 2011.

Cassie married at an incredibly young age, at only twenty years old, to an older man and her first love. She never got to experience life or travel the world but she was content and satisfied with her life despite all that. After discovering that Gil, her husband of ten years, had betrayed her, Cassie leaves immediately and doesn’t look back. She devotes the next year of her life to doing what she never did before: discovering who she is and what she wants out of this life to make her truly happy.

I could go into some serious detail about this book but it’s all Spoiler-ville and it’s one of those stories that you definitely need to experience firsthand. And what a wonderful experience it was. I’ve been in dire need of satisfying this deep-seated craving for a fluffy read for months now (especially after the 13 horror novels in a row I read for October). Suffice it to say, Christmas at Tiffany’s satisfied my craving completely leaving me with the goofiest grin on my face, all sorts of feels and looking incredibly similar to Sally:

Christmas at Tiffany’s is primarily about Cassie and the dissolution of her marriage, however, even though she’s the main focus there was still the most amazing cast of characters with their own stories as well. Between her trips to New York, Paris and finally London she meets all sorts of new people that color her life and make her realize how much she’s been missing all this time. Cassie was my absolute favorite though and her story was one of heartbreak and I so loved to see her transform and overcome it all.

Don’t let its massive size put you off because this is one story you will not want to have end. Any book that can keep me completely wrapped up and absorbed for 580 pages, STILL leave me wanting more and even make me want to start it all over as soon as I read the final page is certainly impressive. Also, sure, it’s chicklit or contemporary romance or whatever you want to call it, so it was slightly predictable and cliché. (I mean seriously, I wish I had fancy rich friends I was just able to crash with for 4 months at a time in different glamorous cities around the world.) You know pretty much from the get-go who she’s going to end up with but the pages in-between that happening were far from being mere filler. This wasn’t just a story about finding love again, it was about living life and learning from your experiences. It was about finding new passions, about truly opening your eyes to everything and exploring this wonderful world we live in. It was all the things. *sigh* And I’ve just decided this gets the full 5 star rating from me. This was such an incredibly feel-good book that has left such a lasting impression on me I can’t seem to think of anything else. If you’re a fan of the genre, this is an absolute must read. I can’t recommend this one enough.

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