Friday, May 29, 2015

Review and Giveaway of The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams


A suitcase full of secrets?  A suitcase that opens up the proverbial can of worms which leads Vivian Schuyler to find out about her aunt who supposedly murdered her husband.

Once Vivian found out some juicy details about her aunt, she couldn't stop researching her life.  This could be her big break at the magazine with this story.

THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT goes back and forth between Vivian's life and Aunt Violet's life.  Are there parallels between their lives?  Vivian wants to know about her aunt and this mysterious suitcase's contents that started it all.

THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT is quite entertaining.  Aunt Violet is definitely something else.  I thoroughly enjoyed all of the characters....well most of them. ​ They range from Vivian's stuffy mother to her carefree self.

Vivian is also a "modern" woman with a mind of her own and a heart that was broken.​

Professor Grant, Violet's husband, is a bit too controlling if you ask me and a poor excuse for a husband.

Violet was a favorite.  She was a self-made woman that knew what she wanted, but she also was ​a bit submissive as women were in the early 1900's. ​

​THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT is thoroughly enjoyable and a book I couldn't put down because of the characters and because of the steps Vivian took to uncover the clues about her Aunt Violet.​ 

​I have no qualms about recommending THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT. You will be entertained by the characters and will love the secrets of the suitcase and of Aunt Violet.  Who would think a suitcase could cause all this excitement, intrigue, entertainment, and of course a fantastic story?

LOVED this book.  You will get caught up in all of ​Aunt Violet's and ​Vivian’s antics.​  ​

THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT is a truly ​delightful, witty read.​ ​The ending held a secret and surprise of its own. 

Ms. Williams is a marvelous storyteller.  THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT is going to be one of my favorite reads of this year.  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.

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May 29 - June 5 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Pam Jenoff

I chatted with Pam Jenoff today as she was passing by on her way to her book signing and I was standing in another author's signing line.

Ms. Jenoff was at the BEA signing copies of her newest book, THE LAST SUMMER AT CHELSEA BEACH.

Meeting her today made my BEA complete.  :)

She is the sweetest person, and I just love her books.

I have THE LAST SUMMER AT CHELSEA BEACH and am looking forward to reading it.

Under The Same Blue Sky by Pamela Schoenewaldt

Where did Hazel belong?  Did she belong in Dogwood, Pittsburgh, or somewhere else.

Hazel Renner's mother left her and left Dogwood, and Hazel's aunt and uncle lovingly raised her in Pittsburgh.  The smog of Pittsburgh and the effects of war upon the citizens also had an effect on Hazel.

Like her mother, Hazel wanted to leave and find where she really belonged.  She first tried teaching in Galway, but things happened there that necessitated her leaving and coming back home.  Hazel then tried Dogwood where her she was born to see if that would help her find her roots.

UNDER THE SAME BLUE SKY will pull you in because of the beautiful descriptions and wonderful characters.  ​You will love Hazel and her parents and feel sorry for her and all the problems she encounters.  ​Hazel's father was quite intense about his heritage and the war.  You could vividly feel his every concern and the emotions of every character because Ms. Schoenewaldt has ​a marvelous ​knack for words and for descriptions of characters and situations.​

UNDER THE SAME BLUE SKY was set during the first world war when German-Americans were under attack just as they were in Europe.  History and a beautiful story make up UNDER THE SAME BLUE SKY.

You will enjoy UNDER THE SAME BLUE SKY because of the nicely flowing storyline.  The only ​complaint I have is that I was really confused at the beginning.  The healing power of Hazel was a bit confusing too and not sure why it was in the story.

UNDER THE SAME BLUE SKY is worth reading because of the wonderful writing style of Ms. Schoenewaldt and her marvelous research of WWI.  She has a very descriptive and in-depth writing style.​

​Sadness and heaviness do prevail in UNDER THE SAME BLUE SKY as we read of worries about war, the Influenza Pandemic of 1918, and the aftermath of the effects the war had on its returning soldiers.  UNDER THE SAME BLUE SKY is a book you will want to read but a book that will pull at your heart strings.​

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and TLC book tours in return for an honest review.


About Pamela SchoenewaldtPamela

Pamela Schoenewaldt lived for ten years in a small town outside Naples, Italy. Her short stories have appeared in literary magazines in England, France, Italy, and the United States. She now lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, with her husband, Maurizio Conti, a physicist, and Jesse, their dog.
Find out more about Pamela at her website, keep up with her on her blog, and connect with her on Facebook.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Perfect Quote from Neil Gaiman and A Glimpse at Depot 87 Cafe & Books

My son is visiting Cafe Mill Valley, California, and stopped in Depot 87 Cafe & Books.

He sent me these photos that he knew I would love.  

The book store looks adorable, and this quote is too amazing to not share.

I don't read Neil Gaiman's books, but I do love his quote.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

All Souls Trilogy Board Game Giveaway

Penguin has created a gorgeous, limited-edition All Souls Trilogy Board Game (see pictures here, here, here, and here) and will be giving 10 board games away via their Twitter @PenguinPbks over the course of the next two weeks (among other great All Souls prizes). 

These will be random giveaways taking place on Tuesday 5/26 and Thursday 6/4

To enter, check the Penguin Twitter during the mornings (ET) on those days and be sure to re-tweet the giveaway post by 4:30 p.m. ET—Penguin will be randomly selecting winners around 5 p.m. from among the people who re-tweet.

Best of Luck!!  Looks like fun.

PLEASE let me know if you win!!  THANKS.

Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton

Catrin was once a wonderful mother, wife, and friend, but once her sons died she became a totally different person.

Catrin grieved as any mother would, but she never got over the death of her sons.  She had plans to take revenge against the person responsible for their deaths even though another child went missing on the island and it was swarming with authorities and islanders looking for this third missing child.

Were all the disappearances accidents or deliberate kidnappings? Were they all related and carried out by the same person?

LITTLE BLACK LIES has beautiful, descriptive writing that will pull you along and have you absorbed in the lives of the islanders and especially in the lives of Catri​n, Callum, and Rachel.  Could one of them be the one responsible for the disappearances and kidnappings? They always seemed to be involved in some way.

​LITTLE BLACK LIES has you questioning those three characters in your mind.  Subtle hints make you think you know the answer about who is responsible and then boom...something happens and you change your mind.​  Each character has some obsession that is more deadly than innocent.  The characters stay with you even when you are not reading, and they will still haunt you after you close the last page.

When one of the suspects is arrested for yet another disappearance, the tension builds and the story turns into one you won't want to put down.​

LITTLE BLACK LIES has serious situations, lies, secrets, and love all rolled into one gripping, pull-you-in plot.  Ms. Bolton's writing is riveting, and as she hints at what's happening, you can't help drawing yourself into the book's drama.  ​The ending is excellent.

​If I were to put LITTLE BLACK LIES into a category, I would put it in the category of a psychological thriller.

ENJOY!!  A marvelous read.  5/5​

​This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Sound of Glass by Karen White

Southern families and families with secrets.

After her husband died, Merritt le​ft their home in Maine and headed to South Carolina to Cal's grandmother's home​ that she ​had inherited​.  Little did ​Merritt know that ​her husband, Cal, never told anyone about her, and she didn't know anything about his family.

Grandmother Edith's home is a huge mansion where ​​she ​kept secrets locked up inside herself and in the attic.  The death of Edith's husband had an enormous impact on her life for more than one reason.  After his death, Edith raised her only son C. J. alone, and he had a temper just like his father.  C. J.'s son, Cal, married Merritt and took the temper with him to his marriage.

Merri​tt​ is a bit unlikeable because she just couldn't relax and trust anyone, but who would after she knew no one even knew she existed.  When her half brother​, Owen,​ and ​her step-mother, Loralee, unexpectedly arrive at the house and plan on staying, secrets come out, and the story heats up with the secrets of the house and of the characters as they find clues about the house and each other's lives.  Merritt became more likeable and caring as the book continued.

Loralee is a bit overbearing, but means well and is very loving.  ​She definitely has a secret and a reason for moving in with Merritt.  ​

Owen is precocious and a nerd, but very pleasant and sweet and tries to bring Merritt out of her shell.​

Gibbs, Cal's brother, was likable and helpful.  He knew secrets about his brother and the house their grandmother lived in.  The attic and its contents were the biggest secret his grandmother had and one that caused the most excitement and questions.  Would Merritt find out what was meant by what was left in the attic and why Cal’s grandmother did what she did up there?

Did the house hold the family secrets, did the characters hold the family secrets, or did both the house and the characters hold the secrets that had been kept under wraps for years?​ To me both the house and the characters were fragile just like Edith’s glass wind chimes.

THE SOUND OF GLASS is another remarkable, beautiful book by Karen White.  Her descriptions of the characters, the scenes, and the emotions of the characters are very real.  The book kept me wondering just what some of the female characters had to hide and why they were the way they were.

The characters will grow on you and grow on each other in a warm, inviting way.  You will need some tissues as this wonderful story wraps up. 

THE SOUND OF GLASS has suspense and mystery as well as addressing the issue of domestic violence. 

I truly enjoyed THE SOUND OF GLASS, and if you have ever read one of Ms. White’s books, you know you will be in for a marvelous read. ​

I hope you get to read the book and enjoy it too.​  It is oh so good.  LOVED IT.  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Spotlight and Giveaway of The Accidental Art Thief by

 Giveaway Link is below this post


JOHN - #16

Good Luck


All of this information is from the publisher. It is not my personal thoughts or a review.
For a quarter of a century forty-five-year-old Zinc has worked as a caretaker for a wealthy old man, living in a small casita on his ranch in New Mexico. She doesn't make much money, but she has the old man, her dogs, and gorgeous views of the mountains. She is basically a very content recluse who doesn't invest much time thinking about what she might do if her circumstances change. So when the old man dies suddenly, and his daughter all but throws her off the property, Zinc is forced to reinvent herself—and quickly.

With a touch of magical realism and a collection of offbeat characters, The Accidental Art Thief explores the thin line between life and death and the universal forces that connect all things.

What people are saying:

“Zinc is an engaging, quirky, and utterly unique heroine, instantly likeable, with a hefty mixture of strong intelligence and overwhelming naivety…. While the novel is realistic, there is subtle magic woven in nearly every line, as coincidence and confusion come together into what might be termed the wisdom of time, spirit, and love.” 
~ Magdelena Ball,, author of Sublime PlanetBlack Cow, and other titles

“Schweighardt populates her modern-day odyssey through the southwest with fascinating, quirky 
characters thrust into a complex (and hilarious) web of emotional turmoil, poignant misperceptions, and downright lies. As laugh-out-loud funny as it is thought provoking.” 
~ Julie Mars, author of the memoir A Month of Sundays: Searching for the Spirit and My Sister, and the novels Rust, Anybody Any Minute, and The Secret Keepers

 “A sensitive, gripping, artfully rendered novel that kept me reading from the first page to the last.” 
~ Faye Rapoport DesPres, author of the memoir-in-essays Message from a Blue Jay

Book Information:

Title: The Accidental Art Thief
Author: Joan Schweighardt
Author web site:
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
Genre: literary
*Print ISBN: 978-1-60619-070-8
    Format: 6x9 trade paperback; 232 pages; $17.95 USD
Distributors: Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Brodart, Follett, etc.
*eBook ISBN: 978-1-60619-069-2; $6.50 USD
    Format: ebook in pdf, ePub, Kindle, Mobi, PRC, etc.
Distributors: Amazon Kindle; Apple iBookstore; Nook; Kobo Books; OmniLit; etc

Release date: May 15, 2015 ebook; May 15, 2015 print
LCCN: 2015932115

Chapter excerpt:

Author Bio:

The Accidental Art Thief is Joan’s fifth novel. Her previous work includes three novels published with The Permanent Press and a historical novel published with Beagle Bay Books in 2003. The historical, called Gudrun’s Tapestry, won Foreword and IPPY awards and was translated into Italian and Russian. Joan is currently completely her sixth novel, another historical.

Enter here


Best of Luck


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Follow Friday Four Fill-In Fun

Feeling Beachie 

Love this meme....I hope you can join in the fun.  

Each week, Feeling Beachie lists four statements with a blank for you to fill in on your own blogs.  

The statements:
        1.  When I feel ___ I like to ____
        2.  ____ is my favorite ____
        3.  If I could add one thing to my house it would be ____
        4.  I would plant ___ in my garden but not ___
My Answers:

1.  When I feel anxious, I like to talk to my sisters.

2.  Reading is my favorite relaxing technique.

3.  If I could add one thing to my house, it would be hardwood floors in all the bedrooms then my house would be completely hardwood.

4.  I would plant basil in my garden but not rosemary.


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Lucinda Riley Discussing Her New Series

Seven Sisters_FC_US


The Challenges of Writing a Seven Book Series
by Lucinda Riley

Surprisingly I don’t feel overwhelmed by the prospect of writing an internationally based seven book series. If anything, I see it as a gift – because unlike when I normally finish a book and feel bereft that I have to leave my characters behind and then wonder what to write about next, I am excited by the thought that I will develop the same characters further and know exactly where the story is going for a number of years.

I simply see ‘The Seven Sisters’ as one huge 4500 page book (1.2m words..) split into seven books, each a stand-alone story in its own right.

Writing a book set in all kinds of locations around the world certainly isn’t an issue. I travel extensively to promote the books and the places I see and the experiences I have whilst travelling then ignite my passion to write about them. For example, I went to Rio in Brazil to promote ‘Orchid House’ in 2011, and there I met the great granddaughter of Heitor da Silva Costa, the creator of the ‘Christ the Redeemer’ statue that overlooks Rio. She told me the story of how the hands and head were sculpted in 1920’s Paris, and the mystery of which woman was supposedly the model for his elegant, long-fingered hands. This was the inspiration behind the first book of ‘The Seven Sisters’ series.

I have always written about exotic and fascinating locations – places my readers, and I, want to escape to, and the second book in the series, ‘The Storm Sister’, contrasts strongly with the heat and vibrancy of Rio – it is based in the frozen but beautiful Norway and also in Greece. Later I will be off to the Lake District and great country gardens of England, Ayres Rock in Australia and The Far East.
The actual process of writing and editing a series does provide a few challenges, but generally they are challenges that exhilarate and excite me. I have to weave the overall plot through each book and keep tabs on each sister and when and where they are. This gives me sleepless nights – I must make sure that as I write each book, I  think back to previous stories and forward to future ones to ensure I don’t contradict myself or find the plot line I wish to take is blocked by circumstances I had not foreseen.

Each sister’s story has to start concurrently and with the same line ‘I will always remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard that my father had died’. This all remains ‘on file’ in my head; I rarely write things down.

The astrological and mythological links add other dimensions to the series, and the use of anagrams makes it even more enjoyable for me. Despite its challenges, ‘The Seven Sisters’ actually feels like quite a selfish project because adding these elements is what I have always wanted to do.
There is also a hidden plot line going right through the series like an invisible thread, and I have to ensure the clues are suitably subtle and consistent across all books. I won’t say too much more but it surrounds the mysterious father that adopts the sisters from all across the globe. I am thrilled to see extensive social media speculation already on ‘who is Pa Salt’.

So, although I am enjoying the whole project immensely, the series has worried some others – I have an 80yr old fan from Norway who wrote to me concerned that she might not live to read all seven books. Also my publishers ask me ‘what happens if you die half way through the series, Lucinda?’ I say I have told the plot to my husband – but in reality I suspect that he has forgotten it all already!

THE SEVEN SISTERS by Lucinda Riley
Atria Books | 480 pages | 978-1-4767-5990-6 | May 5, 2015 | $24.99


Lucinda Riley_author photo

Lucinda Riley is the #1 internationally bestselling author of The Orchid House, The Girl on the Cliff, The Lavender Garden, and The Midnight Rose. She lives in London and the English countryside with her husband and four children. Visit her online at

I have read EVERY book Lucinda Riley has written and have loved them all.  My favorite was The Lavender Garden.

Second Chance Friends by Jennifer Scott

An accident, three women, and then four women to complete their circle.

Could the circle be completed, though, with the fourth woman?

Karen, Melinda, and Joanna met by chance the day a school bus ran into a car waiting at a red light as they helped save the children on the crashed bus but not the husband of the fourth woman, Maddie, in the car. 

All three women had personal issues, but as women are they all were there for each other.  They were even there for Maddie who really didn't want any part of the three women nor any part of her family or her life now that her husband was gone.  

SECOND CHANCE FRIENDS is a book about women and how we bond.  SECOND CHANCE FRIENDS is a very pleasant read with women you would want for friends along with sad as well as happy tears shed by the characters and you the reader. 

SECOND CHANCE FRIENDS will appeal to the reader who enjoys a lot of character interaction.  Karen was my favorite simply because she seemed innocent, naive, and lonely.  Joanna
wasn't happy about anything.  Melinda didn't realize what she had until it was too late.  Poor Maddie had it all and lost it all and didn't care. 

SECOND CHANCE FRIENDS will warm your heart and will have you looking at your friendships and at your family in a whole different light and appreciating what you have.  4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.


Spotlight and Giveaway of RE JANE by Patricia Park

The giveaway link is at the end of this post.


Giveaway Courtesy Of:

Andrea Lam of Penguin Random House 

All of this information is from the publisher.  It is not my personal thoughts or a review. 


For Jane, a half-Korean, half-American orphan, Flushing, Queens, is the place she’s been trying to escape from her whole life. Sardonic yet vulnerable, she toils, unappreciated, in her strict uncle’s grocery store and politely observes the traditional principle of nunchi (a combination of good manners, hierarchy, and obligation). Desperate for a new life, she’s thrilled to become the au pair for the Mazer-Farleys, two Brooklyn English professors and their adopted Chinese daughter. Inducted into the world of organic food co-ops, and nineteenth-century novels, Jane is the recipient of Beth Mazer’s feminist lectures and Ed Farley’s very male attention. But when a family death interrupts Jane and Ed’s blossoming affair, she flies off to Seoul, leaving New York far behind.

Reconnecting with family, and struggling to learn the ways of modern-day Korea, Jane begins to wonder if Ed Farley is really the man for her. Jane returns to Queens, where she must find a balance between two cultures and accept who she really is.

Perfect for readers of Ruth Ozeki, Chang-rae Lee, Allegra Goodman, and—of course—Charlotte Brontë, RE JANE is a bright, comic story of falling in love, finding strength, and living not just out of obligation to others, but for one’s self.


“Park’s debut is a cheeky, clever homage to Jane Eyre, interwoven with touching meditations on Korean-American identity…. Park’s clever one-liners make the story memorable, and her riffs on cultural identity will resonate with any reader who’s felt out of place.”
Publishers Weekly

“A sweet and savvy bildungsroman…. Park is a fine writer with an eye for the effects of class and ethnic identity, a sense of humor, and a compassionate view of human weakness who nevertheless doesn't make the rookie error of letting her characters off easy. An enjoyable book offering a portrait of a young woman struggling to come into her own in the increasingly complicated opening years of a new century.”
Kirkus Reviews

Re Jane swerves away from the original in really interesting ways, becoming an examination of family, prejudice, immigrant culture, youth, and individualism. This is both a must-read for Jane Eyre-ites and a wholly new, original thing that stands firmly on its own story-telling legs.”
Book Riot

Re Jane is a rich and engaging novel.  Besides being a love story, it is infused with contemporary subject matter, such as longing versus belonging, the immigrant experience.  Patricia Park writes with earnestness, honesty, and exuberance, which make the novel thoroughly enjoyable.”
Ha Jin, National Book Award-winning author of War Trash and Waiting

"The Korean Americans of Queens find a daring new voice in Patricia Park’s debut novel, as she takes a story we know and makes it into a story we’ve not seen before—a novel for the country we are still becoming.”
Alexander Chee, author of The Queen of the Night 

“Some nerve, to take Jane Eyre, reconfigure it, make the heroine an orphaned half-white Korean girl, all the while mixing new-fangled Jello shots, hipsterisms, and spicy fish stew with old-fashioned romance. Some nerve to bring it off with such energy, color, and emotional insight! Reader, you'll love it.”
Daniel Menaker, author of My Mistake

“Patricia Park's Re Jane is packed with authenticity, poignancy and humor. I was enchanted by this modern retelling of Jane Eyre as the tough yet vulnerable narrator captured my heart.”
Jean Kwok, bestselling author of Girl In Translation and Mambo in Chinatown

“Even with its appealing echoes of Jane Eyre, Patricia Park’s first novel is a true original—a smart, fresh, story of cultural complications that hasn’t yet been told in quite this way. The funny and shrewdly observant narrator won me over on the very first page.”
—Stephen McCauley, author of The Object of My Affection

“This is a richly imagined and engrossing novel, and also an important work that marks what it means to be American now.  Park’s writing is remarkable for its tenderness and honesty.”
—Sabina Murray, author of Tales from the New World and The Caprices

Re Jane is a contemporary retelling of Jane Eyre that’s also entirely its own exquisite story. Jane is a hilarious, sometimes muddled, and utterly beguiling heroine. Park’s surprising twists and razor-sharp writing and deep heart make the pages fly by. This story is all about what it’s like being young and learning from mistakes and figuring out who you are without fear.”
Margaret Dilloway, author of How to Be an American Housewife

“Patricia Park displays her keen observation skills, her penchant for finding le mot juste (be it in English or Korean) and her natural gift for story telling in her witty debut novel, Re Jane. Not only does this charming novel entertain, especially with spot-on descriptions of people, but it also opens a window into the Korean culture.  This may be Patricia Park’s first novel, but it won’t be her last.”
Firoozeh Dumas, bestselling author of Funny in Farsi

“What a pleasure, this journey from Queens to Brooklyn to Korea and back with such a smart, witty, observant insider.  And have I mentioned the writing? So many times I said to myself as I read a particularly delicious sentence or description in Re Jane, why can't do that? 
Elinor Lipman, author of The View from Penthouse B


PATRICIA PARK was born and raised in Queens and is a graduate of the Bronx High School of Science. She earned her BA in English from Swarthmore College and an MFA in Fiction from Boston University. A former Fulbright Scholar and Emerging Writer Fellow at the Center for Fiction, she has published essays in The New York Times, Slice, and the Guardian. She has taught writing at Boston University, CUNY Queens College, and Ewha Womans University in Seoul. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

A Winner Has Been Chosen
Bonnie - #4

May 5 - May 12

Best of Luck