Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Witch of Painted Sorrows (The Daughters of La Lune #1) by M.J. Rose

Possession. Power. Passion. New York Times bestselling novelist M. J. Rose creates her most provocative and magical spellbinder yet in this gothic novel set against the lavish spectacle of 1890s Belle Époque Paris.

Sandrine Salome flees New York for her grandmother’s Paris mansion to escape her dangerous husband, but what she finds there is even more menacing. The house, famous for its lavish art collection and elegant salons, is mysteriously closed up. Although her grandmother insists it’s dangerous for Sandrine to visit, she defies her and meets Julien Duplessi, a mesmerizing young architect. Together they explore the hidden night world of Paris, the forbidden occult underground and Sandrine’s deepest desires.

Among the bohemians and the demi-monde, Sandrine discovers her erotic nature as a lover and painter. Then darker influences threaten—her cold and cruel husband is tracking her down and something sinister is taking hold, changing Sandrine, altering her. She’s become possessed by La Lune: A witch, a legend, and a sixteenth-century courtesan, who opens up her life to a darkness that may become a gift or a curse.

This is Sandrine’s “wild night of the soul,” her odyssey in the magnificent city of Paris, of art, love, and witchery.

My thoughts...Captivating. Absolutely captivating. I am a huge fan of M.J. Rose! Her books are absolutely perfect for fans of historic Gothic. Her writing is extraordinary. She doesn't just tell you a story she weaves together an atmospheric tale of the occult. Sandrine is running away from her brute of a husband after learning some of his dark secrets. She goes to her grandmother who is a famous courtesan in Paris. Her grandmother is hiding why they are not staying at her infamous mansion. Of course, Sandrine investigates what her grandmother is hiding. What she finds in an upstairs hidden room may just be the answer.

The Witch of Painted Sorrows is fabulous! It's dark, it's eerie you don't just read the story you are there with Sandrine as she becomes possessed. You watch her slowly change into someone she wasn't...I simply couldn't put this book down. The deeper I read into the story the faster my heart was racing. Suddenly, you are no longer reading Sandrine's story but also La Lune's. With every turn of the page the story became more and more intoxicating. My goodness this novel has everything! It's gothic, historic with a touch of sexy. I absolutely was spellbound. Highly recommending!


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About the Author

M.J. Rose grew up in New York City mostly in the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum, the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park and reading her mother’s favorite books before she was allowed.
She is the author of more than a dozen novels, the co-president and founding board member of International Thriller Writers and the founder of the first marketing company for authors: AuthorBuzz.com. She lives in Greenwich, Connecticut. Visit her online at MJRose.com.
Connect with M.J. Rose on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Goodreads.
Sign up for M.J. Rose’s newsletter and get information about new releases, free book downloads, contests, excerpts and more.

Praise for the novels of M.J. Rose

The Witch of Painted Sorrows

“Rose’s new series offers her specialty, a unique and captivating supernatural angle, set in an intriguing belle epoque Paris—a perfect match for the author’s lush descriptions, intricate plot and mesmerizing storytelling. A cliffhanger ending will leave readers hungry for the next volume. Sensual, evocative, mysterious and haunting.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“A haunting tale of possession.” (Publishers Weekly)

The Collector of Dying Breaths

“Breathtaking…combines fascinating history, torrid romance and a compelling mystery into a marvelous package that will entice fans of Anne Rice and Diana Gabaldon.” (Associated Press)
“A page-turning, alluring concoction of fiction infused with fantastical yet actual history. Readers will be charmed by her well-drawn and memorable characters, and they will be mesmerized by her enchanting narrative, which takes them on a mystical and magical journey.” (Library Journal (starred))
“A terrific piece of entertainment.” (CT Post)
“Wondrously original… elegantly written. Rose manages to utterly suspend our disbelief in a book that leaves us, appropriately enough, breathless.” (Providence Journal)
“Mysterious, magical, and mythical…what a joy to read!” (Sara Gruen, New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants)

Seduction

“Atmospherically romantic and perfectly toned. Classy and elegant literary seduction of the highest measure. As wondrously crafted as it is original.” (Providence Journal)
“Readers will be enchanted by M.J. Rose’s supernaturally charged novel Seduction, inspired by Victor Hugo’s self-imposed exile on the British island of Jersey in the 1850s.” (USA Today)
“Has just about everything a thriller fan could wish for.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)
“Full of well-researched history, the paranormal, and modern intrigue, this atmospheric tale of suspense is fully engrossing to those willing to suspend their disbelief.” (Library Journal (starred review))

The Book of Lost Fragrances

“A compelling page turner…Once you catch a whiff, you will be enchanted.” (Associated Press)
“M.J. Rose is a bold, unflinching writer and her resolute honesty puts her in a class by herself.” (Laura Lippman)
“The Book of Lost Fragrances resonates with spirit, blending myth with reality, tragedy with triumph, pain with joy. You’ll find yourself questioning everything you believe–and wanting more.” (Steve Berry)
“Provocative…a sweeping sense of romance [and] history.” (Cleveland Plain-Dealer)



As of December 1, 2009, According to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), product reviewers on blogs must disclose whether they received products for free or received payment for their review. The books I review on this site (A NOVEL REVIEW) are sent to me by publishers, authors or downloaded from Netgalley. This is a very common practice. I never take payments for these reviews and all the reviews on this site are my own thoughts and feelings and are not influenced.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A Kid's Guide to Keeping Chickens: Best Breeds, Creating a Home, Care and Handling, Outdoor Fun, Crafts and Treats by Melissa Caughey



Chickens make wonderful pets, and Melissa Caughey (author of the award-winning blog Tilly’s Nest) provides all the information kids need to raise healthy chickens and have tons of fun doing it! Caughey shares her advice in an engaging way so that kids understand what it means to keep chickens and what kind of housing, food, equipment, and care the chickens will need to thrive. She also suggests lots of creative activities sure to spark enthusiasm and imagination, such as speaking chicken, creating a veggie piñata for the flock, and making a chicken fort in the backyard. She even offers ten egg-centric recipes that kids will love to make and eat, including egg drop soup and Mexican egg pizza.



My thoughts...really enjoyed reading this with my almost eight year old son. I would say the book is more geared toward a slightly older audience (maybe 12), but a really great guide for anyone. Easy to read and so much information. Even though there is a lot of information it is put together in a really user friendly way. From how to set up a coop, ten best breeds for kids (and why), if your chicken gets sick, to even how to set up an incubator.

I loved the fun recipes for making treats for chickens, chicken crafts for kids and egg recipes! We've had chickens for a few years, but I found some great information. I'm excited about making a chicken fort for our backyard and seed rolls for the chickens! I am highly recommending A Kid's Guide to Keeping Chickens (for adults and or kids!).

my kiddos with their chickens.


As of December 1, 2009, According to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), product reviewers on blogs must disclose whether they received products for free or received payment for their review. The books I review on this site (A NOVEL REVIEW) are sent to me by publishers, authors or downloaded from Netgalley. This is a very common practice. I never take payments for these reviews and all the reviews on this site are my own thoughts and feelings and are not influenced.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen

In her stunning new novel, Gruen returns to the kind of storytelling she excelled at in Water for Elephants: a historical timeframe in an unusual setting with a moving love story. Think Scottish Downton Abbey.

After embarrassing themselves at the social event of the year in high society Philadelphia on New Year’s Eve of 1942, Maddie and Ellis Hyde are cut off financially by Ellis’s father, a former army Colonel who is already embarrassed by his son’s inability to serve in WWII due to his being colorblind. To Maddie’s horror, Ellis decides that the only way to regain his father’s favor is to succeed in a venture his father attempted and very publicly failed at: he will hunt the famous Loch Ness monster and when he finds it he will restore his father’s name and return to his father’s good graces (and pocketbook). Joined by their friend Hank, a wealthy socialite, the three make their way to Scotland in the midst of war. Each day the two men go off to hunt the monster, while another monster, Hitler, is devastating Europe. And Maddie, now alone in a foreign country, must begin to figure out who she is and what she wants. The novel tells of Maddie’s social awakening: to the harsh realities of life, to the beauties of nature, to a connection with forces larger than herself, to female friendship, and finally, to love.

My thoughts...Love, love, love, loved this book. From the top. Ellis and his wife Maddie, along with his bff, Hank are spoiled, rich and act like fools. Ellis and Hank were unable to serve during WWII dure to unseen 'issues'. Daddy cuts Ellis off, so Ellis decides to go off in search of real proof of Loch Ness monster in hopes of reconciling. I really didn't much care for Ellis from the get go. Hank seemed to have some sort of spark that kept him redeemable in my mind and Maddie...she was all right. I don't want to give too much of the story line away, because it is really interesting and different. I do want to say Maddie grew on me until I was rooting for her!

At The Water's Edge is a novel where you can't be sure where it is going to go, I mean they are chasing a monster while a war is going on all around them! They are in a foreign land they don't know a soul. The story really is a poor little rich girl who for the first time seeing the world from a different station where she suddenly finds herself. I'd love to gush about a few different parts of the novel, but if I do I would ruin the story for you and I hate when people spoil a review with too much detail. Let me say this was fantastic novel, I was completely transported to Scotland! I highly recommend. Definitely my favorite book I've read this year. Seriously, loved this book!


Buy At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen

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At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen is an Indie Next Pick and a Top LibraryReads Pick for April



Maddie Hyde is a Sara Gruen heroine. She's bold, she's warm, and she's been cast out of Philadelphia polite society — in this case the family of her husband Ellis, who is 4F in the middle of World War II. To avoid the glares and scowls, and to earn their own way in the world after being cut off from a family fortune, they cross the Atlantic during a high tide of submarine warfare to try to burnish their family name by hunting down an older kind of monster in a Scottish village.” —NPR Weekend Edition

“Bestselling author Sara Gruen returns with the breathtaking tale of a young Philadelphia socialite who reluctantly follows her husband to a remote town in Scotland in search of the Loch Ness Monster. At the same time another monster, Hitler, threatens to tear their world apart. At The Water's Edge is a daring story of adventure, friendship, and love in the shadow of WWII.” —Harper’s Bazaar
“Monster romance…super steamy love story.” —Good Housekeeping (GH Read of the month)
“A page-turner of a novel that rollicks along with crisp historical detail, waves of deep emotions and a dash of Scottish mystical mythology.”—Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“Riveting...Gruen’s beautiful setting and deeply sympathetic characters ensure a memorable read for new and returning fans alike.” —Publishers Weekly
At The Water’s Edge returns to the kind of storytelling Gruen excelled at in Water for Elephants…a moving love story: think Scottish Downton Abbey.”Publishers Weekly (pre-pub alert)
"[Gruen's] narrative description is often sublime . . . A natural for the book-club set.—Booklist

“Gruen skillfully weaves in historical reference points, making Maddie’s story seem larger than that individual focus. The author conveys the lure of the Scottish Highlands, and its storied lore and mystery help create her novel’s riveting, ethereal atmosphere. Maddie’s growing self-awareness is presented in stark—and welcome—contrast to her husband’s spiral into conceit and self-deception. At the Water’s Edge captivates with its drama, intrigue and glimpses of both the dark and light of humanity. As Jane Austen once wrote, ‘with due exceptions, woman feels for woman very promptly and compassionately.’ For all her faults, Maddie’s tragic history and her courage in the face of her present predicament will win readers to her side.”—BookPage, Fiction Top Pick





As of December 1, 2009, According to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), product reviewers on blogs must disclose whether they received products for free or received payment for their review. The books I review on this site (A NOVEL REVIEW) are sent to me by publishers, authors or downloaded from Netgalley. This is a very common practice. I never take payments for these reviews and all the reviews on this site are my own thoughts and feelings and are not influenced.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Precious One by Marisa de los Santos

From the New York Times bestselling author of Belong to Me, Love Walked In, and Falling Together comes a captivating novel about friendship, family, second chances, and the redemptive power of love.

In all her life, Eustacia “Taisy” Cleary has given her heart to only three men: her first love, Ben Ransom; her twin brother, Marcus; and Wilson Cleary—professor, inventor, philanderer, self-made millionaire, brilliant man, breathtaking jerk: her father.

Seventeen years ago, Wilson ditched his first family for Caroline, a beautiful young sculptor. In all that time, Taisy’s family has seen Wilson, Caroline, and their daughter, Willow, only once.

Why then, is Wilson calling Taisy now, inviting her for an extended visit, encouraging her to meet her pretty sister—a teenager who views her with jealousy, mistrust, and grudging admiration? Why, now, does Wilson want Taisy to help him write his memoir?

Told in alternating voices—Taisy’s strong, unsparing observations and Willow’s naive, heartbreakingly earnest yearnings—The Precious One is an unforgettable novel of family secrets, lost love, and dangerous obsession, a captivating tale with the deep characterization, piercing emotional resonance, and heartfelt insight that are the hallmarks of Marisa de los Santos’s beloved works.

My thoughts...I'll be honest I did have an issue with one aspect of the novel. The issue with the younger sister, Willow. She has been homeschooled and is suddenly thrust into high school. She is extremely naive. So my honest reaction to the homeschooled girl being sent into the real world and struggles coming off as very socially awkward, put me off.  I homeschool my younger two children and I know lots of homeschool children in many age ranges. Sadly there is a strong social bias against homeschoolers. Sure there are always some kids who may be akward, but you see that in traditional schools. I honestly have found most homeschool students are very self confident and have a fairly large social group. I realize the way Willow was homeschooled and by her father doesn't make her fit the status quo of homeschoolers.

I didn't mean to go on so much! I don't believe it held me back from enjoying the book, but I felt I should disclose it did bother me. Hope that makes sense.

The Precious One is narrated by the two sisters, Taisy and Willow. Taisy has been estranged from her father for years, while Willow has been raised with her father (he was also the one who homeschooled her). The two sisters after so many years are finally getting to know one another. Their father, Wilson has had a medical scare and now wishes to have Taisy write his academic memoir. Taisy sees it as a way to deal with her own issues of his abandonment. Taisy takes the opportunity to investigate her fathers past, which explains him a bit--but doesn't make his behavior acceptable. It is through some very serious issues we watch Taisy and Willow become sisters.  There were a number of family and romantic story lines that made me want to see how everything ends. I very much enjoyed de los Santos writing style and loved reading the two sisters finally becoming a family. I overall enjoyed it.

 Purchase Links: Amazon | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble



Tuesday, March 24th: The Discerning Reader
Wednesday, March 25th: Kahakai Kitchen
Thursday, March 26th: The Book Bag
Friday, March 27th: Kritters Ramblings
Monday, March 30th: Vox Libris
Tuesday, March 31st: My Book Retreat
Wednesday, April 1st: BookNAround
Thursday, April 2nd: A Novel Review
Monday, April 6th: Write Meg
Tuesday, April 7th: A Bookish Way of Life
Wednesday, April 8th: Time 2 Read

About Marisa de los Santos

Marisa de los Santos has published three New York Times bestselling novels for adults, Love Walked In and Belong to Me, while David Teague is the author of the picture books Franklin's Big Dreams and Billy HightowerSaving Lucas Biggs is their first joint venture. Married for over twenty years, Marisa and David live with their two children, Charles and Annabel, and their Yorkies, Finn and Huxley, in Wilmington, Delaware.

Connect with Marisa on Facebook and Twitter.


As of December 1, 2009, According to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), product reviewers on blogs must disclose whether they received products for free or received payment for their review. The books I review on this site (A NOVEL REVIEW) are sent to me by publishers, authors or downloaded from Netgalley. This is a very common practice. I never take payments for these reviews and all the reviews on this site are my own thoughts and feelings and are not influenced.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Ella written by Mallory Kasdan and illustrated by Marcos Chin






This is ELLA. She is six years old. She lives at the Local Hotel. She has a nanny called Manny. He has tattoos for sleeves and he might go in with some guys to buy a grilled cheese truck. Sometimes Ella weaves purses out of Ziploc bags and reclaimed twine. (She is artsy of course.) She has a dog named Stacie and a fish named Rasta and a scooter which is important for getting everywhere she needs to be. Altogether she has been to 62 events including that Hillary Clinton fundraiser. She is NEVER bored. If Ella and Kay Thompson’s Eloise got together for a play date, they would have a very good time indeed






My thoughts... Let me begin with the amazing illustrations. Loved them. They really are fantastic and really gave the book the urban flavor. The story itself is a modern day Eloise. A little girl left behind for a nanny (or in this case manny) and hotel staff to take care of. She sees a grown-up world with groupies and beer drinking. Ella is  cute little girl and not nearly as bratty as maybe Eloise, but the story is again sad. Her mom is not there, she is in a sense alone in a grown-up world.

I read the book to my children. Even though we are suburbanites and the urban lifestyle is very different my kids enjoyed the book. They thought Ella was funny, at the end they felt sad for Ella even though she got to do all this running around. I enjoyed being able to share with them the difference in lifestyles in our world. My five year old loves to sit and look at the pictures.

If you are familiar with the Eloise stories you can really appreciate how Ella is an urban parody. Like I said, my kids enjoyed the story, but I think it will resonate more with adults. Some people will love it and others may not, but I think the same is true for Eloise.

Buy your copy!













As of December 1, 2009, According to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), product reviewers on blogs must disclose whether they received products for free or received payment for their review. The books I review on this site (A NOVEL REVIEW) are sent to me by publishers, authors or downloaded from Netgalley. This is a very common practice. I never take payments for these reviews and all the reviews on this site are my own thoughts and feelings and are not influenced.
FTC Disclaimer
As of December 1, 2009, According to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), product reviewers on blogs must disclose whether they received products for free or received payment for their review.

The books we review on this site (A NOVEL REVIEW) are sent to us by publishers, authors or downloaded from Netgalley. This is a very common practice. We never take payments for these reviews and all the reviews on this site are our own thoughts and feelings and are not influenced.