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Friday, August 2, 2013

Book Haul~I Was Holding Out...Sorry! GIVEAWAY, too

OMG, you're thinking.... What on earth has she been doing!  I know, I know...  I've had these books stacking up next to my chair for weeks, along with the ones I've reviewed in July.  There are sooo many good ones here that I have to share with you.  So, here goes.  I'm not going to give my usual in depth, honestly, it's just too much!  Basically, you can find these on Barnes & Noble, Indie and Amazon...other places like indie stores, too.  :]

"BURIAL RITES"  By Hannah Kent:  This is a stunning book!  The end papers are black! And, the cover leaks black ink over the sides...just fabulous.  I love it.  A beautifully rendered raven's feather is also on the side of the cover and the inside binding pages are dark purple.  I could eat this book already. 
Here's the summary:  In northern Iceland, 1829, Agnes Magnusdottir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of her lover...      Thanks to Picador Books!

"THE SHOGUN'S DAUGHER" By Laura Joh Rowland:   (Stunning Cover of the Shogun's daughter's eye! ) This is a novel of feudal Japan where the murder of the daughter has serious consequences for the regime and Sano Ichiro must find the culprit or risk the safety of his family.  Japan, 1704....a costume drama...mystery and excitement...         

From Minatour Books/Macmillan

"EQUAL OF THE SUN" By Anita AmirrezvaniSummary:  Iran in 1576 is a place of wealth and dazzling beauty.  But when the Shah dies without having named an heir, the court is thrown into tumult.  Princes Pari, the Shah's daughter and protégée, knows more about the inner workings of the state than almost anyone, but her maneuvers to instill order after her father's sudden death incite resentment and dissent.  Pari and her closest adviser, Javaher, a eunuch able to navigate the harem as well as the world beyond the palace walls, possess an incredible tapestry of secrets that explode in a power struggle of epic proportions...     

Thanks to Scribner of Simon & Schuster for this book

"THE IRRESISTIBLE BLUEBRRY BAKESHOP & CAFE" By Mary SimsesBooklist says "This charming, tender first novel emphasizes the power of simple pleasures, comfort food, and undeniable chemistry.  Fans of the leads in the movies "The Proposal" and "Sweet Home Alabama" will recognize a kindred spirit in high-strung, perfectionist Ellen, and the novel's small-town setting will appeal to loyal readers of Mary Kay Andrews, Elin Hilderbrand and Jan Karon.  Simses' story of emotional discoveries, shifting priorities, and new beginnings is a delightful beach read."   
                                       I'm grateful to Little, Brown & Co./Hachette Books for this one!

"ILLUMINATIONS~A Novel of Hildegard Von Bingen" BY Mary SharrattWhen this book came in the mail, I wanted to die.  I'm going to show you the cover below.  It's simply gorgeous.  But more than that, Hildegard von Bingen is a woman who has intrigued me forever.  She was a Benedictine abbess, visionary and polymath from the Middle Ages.  Originally, she was offered to the church as an eight year old where she was to serve in silence a masochistic and disturbed young nun.  When the nun died, Hildegard was able to break out of her constraints and become the phenomenal, charismatic woman she was of her generation...and of the times to come.    Cannot wait to read and review this one!                            

Thank you Houghton, Mifflin and Harcourt for this extraordinary book!


I interviewed Laura Willig about this book in July, but have to recommend it to you as a wonderful read.  I'm expecting to read it this summer and review it. 

Here's a quick summary: 

As a lawyer in a large Manhattan firm, just shy of making partner, Clementine Evans has finally achieved almost everything she’s been working towards—but now she’s not sure it’s enough. Her long hours have led to a broken engagement and, suddenly single at thirty-four, she feels her messy life crumbling around her. But when the family gathers for her grandmother Addie’s ninety-ninth birthday, a relative lets slip hints about a long-buried family secret, leading Clemmie on a journey into the past that could change everything. . . .

Growing up at Ashford Park in the early twentieth century, Addie has never quite belonged. When her parents passed away, she was taken into the grand English house by her aristocratic aunt and uncle, and raised side-by-side with her beautiful and outgoing cousin, Bea. Though they are as different as night and day, Addie and Bea are closer than sisters, through relationships and challenges, and a war that changes the face of Europe irrevocably. But what happens when something finally comes along that can’t be shared? When the love of sisterhood is tested by a bond that’s even stronger?

From the inner circles of British society to the skyscrapers of Manhattan and the red-dirt hills of Kenya, the never-told secrets of a woman and a family unfurl.

Thank you St. Martin's for the copy!

"THE WHITE PRINCESS~A Cousins War Novel" By Philippa Gregory:   Summary :  Princess from birth, Elizabeth falls in love with Richard III and expects to marry him, despite her arranged betrothal with pretender to the throne Henry Tudor.  When, against all odds, Henry defeats Richard at the battle of Bosworth, Elizabeth loses both a lover and the throne.  To forge an uneasy truce, she is forced to marry the man she views as Richard's murderer and create a new royal family with him and his ruthless mother, Margaret Beaufort..."  
                   The movie of "The White Queen" in this series premiers August 10th on STARZ!!!

I will be reading and reviewing this sequel after that series airs, sometime in the early fall.  Can't wait!                   Thanks so much to Simon and Schuster for the book and opportunity!!

                Here's a quick snap of the video on The White Princess from YouTube:


"THE AGE OF DESIRE" By Jennie FieldsEdith Wharton is a favorite author of mine having written "Age of Innocence" and other social commentaries of the early 1900's.  She's known to be "the mother of interior design" with her interest in interiors as part of her novels.  Just a wonderful writer.  So when this book came out, I was more than eager to get a copy to read and review
Here's a summary:  "It has been said that behind every great man is a great woman.  Behind Edith Wharton, there was Anna Bahlmann, her governess turned literary secretary and confidante.  At forty-five--despite her growing fame--Edith remains unfulfilled in a lonely, sexless marriage.  Against all the rules of Gilded Age society, Edith falls passionately in love with Morton Fullerton, a dashing young journalist.  Their scandalous affair awakens her senses, but threatens everything in her life--especially her abiding ties to Anna.  As Edith's marriage crumbles, the women must face the fragility at the heart of all friendships."              

So exciting!!!   I have Penguin to thank for this lovely copy!!

"JANUARY FIRST~A CHILD'S DESCENT INTO MADNESS AND HER FATHER'S STRUGGLE TO SAVE HER" By Michael Schofield:    Some years ago, I watched a television special on this amazing little girl and her father.  It's the story of a severe case of child-onset of schizophrenia.  It shocked and jarred my senses.  When BROADWAY PAPERBACKS of Random House offered to send me a copy to review, I was more than happy.   I'm very excited to delve into this book and recommend it to everyone.  It's a startling story of love and redemption....

"THE OCTOBER LIST" By Jeffrey DeaverOMG, just serve me up a dish of Jeffrey Deaver any old time and I'll smile happily!  Thanks to Grand Central for this volume which I know is not going to disappoint me.  Deaver never does!  This one says something like this on the back cover:

"Gabriela waits desperately for news of her abducted daughter.
At last, the door opens.
But it's not the negotiators.  It's not the FBI.
It's the kidnapper.  And he has a gun."

Look for my review of  this on early this fall.  :]

"THE GUESTBOOK~MADRONA ISLAND BED & BREAKFAST" By Andrea Hurst:  This is the story of a woman who is leaving her beautiful life that's now in wreckage and returning to her family island where happy memories abound around her grandmother's farmhouse, now converted to a bed & breakfast.  It's the proverbial story of finding mysteries, fabulous recipes and the man next door... 

Sent by the author, this is the first in a trilogy about Madrona Island and its inhabitants!

"VENUS IN WINTER~A NOVEL OF BESS OF HARDWICK" BY Gillian Bagwell:    The author of The September Queen explores Tudor England with the tale of Bess of Hardwick—the formidable four-time widowed Tudor dynasty who became one of the most powerful women in the history of England.

Another historical fiction that I'm dying to read and review for you.  Bess is known as one of the strongest feminists of history who survived the glittering and dangerous court of Henry VIII !!

A very heartfelt thanks to Penguin for this copy!

"THE HANGING OF SAMUEL ASH" By Sheldon Russell:  This is a book in a series of railway mysteries with Hook Runyon, a railroad bull, and his dog, Mixer, as the detectives.  In this episode a man is hung from a wigwag signal and Hook is called to investigate.  He finds a bronze star around the young man's neck indicating he's a WWII hero, so Hook refuses to bury him in a pauper's grave, and sets about to solve the mystery of his death and find his family.

This sounds like a great mystery in a new setting for me.  I'm looking forward to the read.

Thanks to Minotaur/St. Martin's for the opportunity to review it!

"THE GOOD DREAM" By Donna VanLiere:  A story that takes place in the 1950's about a spinster and a boy who desperately needs someone to save him.  A small town...community that's set in its ways and likes its secrets...and a story that will change all their lives.

I've read a couple of chapters of this book and find it so humorous and heart-warming.  I've laughed out loud on a couple of occasions.  Looking forward to finishing it.  I'm suspecting I'll be crying along the way...

Thanks to St. Martin's Griffin for this lovely book!

"CRIME OF PRIVILEGE" By Walter Walker:  I begged for this book!  Just let me quote some of what other great authors of this genre are saying about it:

"Walter Walker combines an experienced attorney's sense of our flawed criminal justice system with a natural storyteller's gift...a twisting, engrossing, irresistible detective story."  William Landy

"Crime of Privilege is not only a first-class legal thriller, it is an astute examination of our society and how we are corrupted by power and money.  The rich are indeed different; they get away with murder.  An absolutely engrossing read from beginning to end.  Not only is it a well told story of crime and punishment, but also a finely nuanced tale of sin and redemption."   Nelson Demille

"Walter Walker's Crime of Privilege is a terrifically entertaining race of a read that also effortlessly manages to be jam-packed with intelligence, insight, morality and heart. Top-notch and highly recommended!"   John Lescroart

THANK YOU to Ballantine Books for the copy!!!

"THE HEADMASTER'S WAGER" By Vincent Lam:  Summary:
Percival Chen is the headmaster of the most respected English academy in 1960s Saigon and is well accustomed to bribing a forever-changing list of government officials in order to maintain the elite status of his school. Fiercely proud of his Chinese heritage, he is quick to spot the business opportunities rife in a divided country, though he also harbors a weakness for gambling haunts and the women who frequent them. He devotedly ignores all news of the fighting that swirls around him, choosing instead to read the faces of his opponents at high-stakes mahjong tables. But when his only son gets in trouble with the Vietnamese authorities, Percival faces the limits of his connections and wealth and is forced to send him away. In the loneliness that follows, Percival finds solace in Jacqueline, a beautiful woman of mixed French and Vietnamese heritage whom he is able to confide in. But as the complexities of war encroach further into his world, he must confront the tragedy of all he has refused to see.

Sent by Hogarth/Random House.  I'm so appreciative to receive this very exotic book.  I've started reading it... Beautiful cover art.

"THE SLEEPING DICTIONARY" By Sujata Massey:  This is a very exotic book.  At least it seems so to me.  It follows a child through the last days of the Raj in 1930 when an ocean wave wipes out a Bengali village leaving only her as a survivor.  Then as she becomes a maidservant at a British boarding school and eventually travels to Kharagpur and Calcutta.  She grows up to become a woman of skill in secrets, languages and power who helps bring her Indian country back into its own freedom.  (All this culled from the back cover of the book!)  Evidently the author is a former newspaper journalist and author of ten award-winning mystery novels.  Her mother is from Germany and her father from an old Calcutta family.  Interesting!

I'm most appreciative to Simon & Schuster for this copy for review.

"CAROLINA RECKONING" By Lisa Carter:  "Alison wanted her husband gone, not dead..."  Awww, come on Alison, sometimes you can't have it both ways!!  LOL  Sorry.  I had to say it.  Summary says:  Alison finds hubby has been unfaithful, she wants to confront him, but he's found dead.  Enter gorgeous Cherokee homicide detective...      Sigh.  I'm going to love this novel.  I'm from just at the foot of the Blue Ridge and very near Cherokee.
Many thanks to Abingdon Press for this book!!
"LET ME GO" By Chelsea Cain:  I jump at every chance to read a book by Chelsea Cain.  That's all I can say.  She keeps me on the edge of my seat.  I don't know where she comes up with her material!  Gretchen Lowell is a horrifyingly brilliant serial killer...  Cain gets better with every new episode in her series.   Just pick up one and start reading, they're addictive!
St. Martin's I could kiss you for this one!
"SAVING PARADISE" By Mike Bond:  Summary:  "When a beautiful journalist drowns mysteriously off Waikiki, Special Forces veteran Pono Hawkins, now a well-known surfer and international correspondent for surfing magazines, soon gets embroiled in trying to find why she died.  What he learns quickly makes him a target for murder or life in prison as a cabal of powerful corporations, foreign killers and crooked politicians places the blame on him..."
This is a novel sent by Mandevilla Press.
I'm offering this one as a GIVEAWAY!!!! to anyone who will promise to read and review it in the month of September as a guest blogger for us. 
Please leave your name and email address if you're interested.  I will mail the book to you!  GIVEAWAY!!!  Ends in 2 weeks
So ends the line up of my July Book Haul, everyone!!  I hope you find something to pick up yourself based on the small reviews here.  I'm dying to get to read them...some already started.
Have a wonderful August of researching new books and keep reading.  I hope you'll be stopping in to see me....
I have to tell you, I have some awesome Netgalley books coming up for review as well.  Here are some of them:
Always Watching by Chevy Stevens
The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout
Havisham by Ronald Frame
My Lady Quicksilver by Bec McMaster
The Séance Society by Michael Nethercott
The Gravity of Birds by Tracy Guzeman
Guests on Earth by Lee Smith
In addition to my bookish things I'm busy.  I've been visiting a hypnotist.  New for me, and I'm getting a lot out of it.  Have any of you been hypnotized?  :]  So far I don't think I'm a duck and I haven't said any strange things out of turn...
Let me know how you're doing...





That is so funny what you said about the hypnotist! I have never been able to be hypnotized.. :( I've seen it done though.. really interesting.
What a great book haul! WOW~
I didn't know CHEVY STEVENS has a new book coming out! AWESOME! :)


Wowee! I've just started The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop and Cafe and so far it's great! No need to enter me in your giveaway.

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