Friday, August 26, 2016

0 Review: Bravo and Elphie


Author: Hagit R. Oron  and Or Oron
Publisher: Oron
Published: July 24, 2016
Ebook, 18 pages
ASIN: B01I24M2J2
Genre: Children's Fiction/ Picture Book
Source: Author


Summary


Bravo, Elphie’s new pet, is stuck on top of the red slide.
Elphie never climbs the red slide. It's so high, its goes up all the way into the sky.
But now he needs to embrace himself and gather up his courage to rescue Bravo.
Good thing he never leaves the house without his cape!


My Thoughts


I first met Elphie in March earlier this year. The first book in the series, Elphie And Dad Go On An Epic Adventure, Elphie was able to make a mundane, everyday task into an epic adventure. Elphie continues his adventures in this latest book, Bravo and Elphie

In this book, Elphie has to try new things, like taking care of his new pet, Bravo, and climbing a tall, red slide. But Elphie is up to the task. After all, he does where a cape. 

Children will love to go on this new adventure with Elphie and his new pet, Bravo. Elphie will help show children it's okay to try new things that are sometimes scary. The illustrations are great and go perfectly with the story. It's a great book for kids ages three to six. 



Wednesday, August 24, 2016

0 Last Week In Review (21)


What I'm Currently Reading




Brooklyn, 1947: in the midst of a blizzard, in a two-family brownstone, two babies are born minutes apart to two women. They are sisters by marriage with an impenetrable bond forged before and during that dramatic night; but as the years progress, small cracks start to appear and their once deep friendship begins to unravel. No one knows why, and no one can stop it. One misguided choice; one moment of tragedy. Heartbreak wars with happiness and almost but not quite wins.

From debut novelist Lynda Cohen Loigman comes The Two-Family House, a moving family saga filled with heart, emotion, longing, love, and mystery.


What I Finished


I posted my review for The Dollhouse yesterday. Click here to read it.



Mr. Darcy's Pride and Joy is the third book in The Darcy Novels by Monica Fairview.


What I'm Watching

Last week was the last week of the Olympics in Rio. I really enjoyed watching it. I can hardly wait to watch in Winter Olympics in 2018. Until then, I'm on a hiatus of sports!


I took a small break from watching the Olympics to watch Away From Her. The tag line "The ultimate love story" is pretty accurate. It's based off the short story "The Bear Came Over the Mountain" and is directed by Sarah Polley. I loved it. It was so touching and moving. But be warned: watch with tissues close by. You might need them. 

Reading Challenge Update

Now that the Olympics are over, I might get a little more reading done. 

New Books




That's it for last week. I have a lot of reading to catch up on now that the Olympics are over. I hope last week was good for you. What are you currently reading? 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

1 Review: The Dollhouse


Author: Fiona Davis
Publisher: Dutton
Published: August 23, 2016
Paperback, ARC, 292 pages
ISBN: 978110198499
Genre: Contemporary/Historical Fiction
Source: Publisher 


Summary

"The Dollhouse. . . . That's what we boys like to call it. . . . The Barbizon Hotel for Women, packed to the rafters with pretty little dolls. Just like you." 

Fiona Davis's stunning debut novel pulls readers into the lush world of New York City's glamorous Barbizon Hotel for Women, where a generation of aspiring models, secretaries, and editors lived side-by-side while attempting to claw their way to fairy-tale success in the 1950s, and where a present-day journalist becomes consumed with uncovering a dark secret buried deep within the Barbizon's glitzy past.

When she arrives at the famed Barbizon Hotel in 1952, secretarial school enrollment in hand, Darby McLaughlin is everything her modeling agency hall mates aren't: plain, self-conscious, homesick, and utterly convinced she doesn't belong—a notion the models do nothing to disabuse. Yet when Darby befriends Esme, a Barbizon maid, she's introduced to an entirely new side of New York City: seedy downtown jazz clubs where the music is as addictive as the heroin that's used there, the startling sounds of bebop, and even the possibility of romance.

Over half a century later, the Barbizon's gone condo and most of its long-ago guests are forgotten. But rumors of Darby's involvement in a deadly skirmish with a hotel maid back in 1952 haunt the halls of the building as surely as the melancholy music that floats from the elderly woman's rent-controlled apartment. It's a combination too intoxicating for journalist Rose Lewin, Darby's upstairs neighbor, to resist—not to mention the perfect distraction from her own imploding personal life. Yet as Rose's obsession deepens, the ethics of her investigation become increasingly murky, and neither woman will remain unchanged when the shocking truth is finally revealed.
 

My Thoughts

Built in 1927, the Barbizon Hotel for Women is the star of Fiona Davis' debut novel, The Dollhouse.
Throughout its history the hotel housed several famous clientele such as Sylvia Plath and Grace KelleyThis hotel has had a bit part in modern pop culture as well. Peggy from Agent Carter stayed in something similar in season one. It was no doubt inspired by this famous hotel. It's also been mentioned in Mad Men. 

Up until the 1980's the Barbizon was an all-girl hotel. Not admitting men past the ground floor. It was a safe place for women who were choosing a career over what was considered a "traditional" lifeThe hotel was also know for it's strict decorum in "conduct and dress." It's located in Manhattan. And it's at this hotel that this story takes place. 

New York City, 2016, Rose Lewis is a journalist who is working at a job she doesn't particularly care for. Her relationship status would be filed under "it's complicated" and she's caring for her elderly father. She's living with her boyfriend in a condo in the renovated Barbizon Hotel. It's here where she meets an elderly woman with a veil covering her face. From the doorman she learns the woman was involved in a bit of a scandal back in the 1950s. The reporter in Rose is intrigued and can't let this go until she finds out every last detail about who the woman is and what happened to cause her to wear a veil. 

New York City, 1952, Darby McLaughlin just stepped off the train from Ohio. Enrolled in Katherine Gibbs, Darby plans on making a career as a secretary. She's naive and has poor self-esteem thanks to her mother. After an incident on her floor with some mean girls, Darby is ready to pack it all in when she meets Esme, a maid at the hotel. Through Esme, Darby starts to break out of her shell and try new experiences. She finally starts to feel at home in Manhattan. But Esme has a domineering influence over Darby that starts to take her down a dangerous path.

This was a hard to put down book for me. From the beginning I was just as hooked with Darby's story as Rose is. The story is told through both Darby and Rose's eyes, alternating between past and present. Though decades apart Rose and Darby have a lot in common. Both struggling with their careers, both struggling with relationships, both mourning the parent that understood them the most. The Dollhouse is an outstanding novel that you're not going to want to put down. This is Fiona Davis' first novel; I can't wait to see what she writes next. 








Monday, August 22, 2016

0 Madame Presidentess Spotlight and Giveaway

02_Madame Presidentess

Madame Presidentess
by Nicole Evelina

Publication Date: July 25, 2016
Lawson Gartner Publishing
eBook & Paperback; 400 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

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*Winner: U.S. Women’s History category – 2015 Chaucer Awards for Historical Fiction

Forty-eight years before women were granted the right to vote, one woman dared to run for President of the United States, yet her name has been virtually written out of the history books.

Rising from the shame of an abusive childhood, Victoria Woodhull, the daughter of a con-man and a religious zealot, vows to follow her destiny, one the spirits say will lead her out of poverty to “become ruler of her people.”

But the road to glory is far from easy. A nightmarish marriage teaches Victoria that women are stronger and deserve far more credit than society gives. Eschewing the conventions of her day, she strikes out on her own to improve herself and the lot of American women.

Over the next several years, she sets into motion plans that shatter the old boys club of Wall Street and defile even the sanctity of the halls of Congress. But it’s not just her ambition that threatens men of wealth and privilege; when she announces her candidacy for President in the 1872 election, they realize she may well usurp the power they’ve so long fought to protect.

Those who support her laud “Notorious Victoria” as a gifted spiritualist medium and healer, a talented financial mind, a fresh voice in the suffrage movement, and the radical idealist needed to move the nation forward. But those who dislike her see a dangerous force who is too willing to speak out when women are expected to be quiet. Ultimately, “Mrs. Satan’s” radical views on women’s rights, equality of the sexes, free love and the role of politics in private affairs collide with her tumultuous personal life to endanger all she has built and change how she is viewed by future generations.

This is the story of one woman who was ahead of her time – a woman who would make waves even in the 21st century – but who dared to speak out and challenge the conventions of post-Civil War America, setting a precedent that is still followed by female politicians today.

Amazon | iTunes | Kobo | Smashwords


03_Nicole EvelinaAbout the Author

Nicole Evelina is an award-winning historical fiction and romantic comedy writer. Her most recent novel, Been Searching for You, a romantic comedy, won the 2015 Romance Writers of America (RWA) Great Expectations and Golden Rose contests.

She also writes historical fiction. Her debut novel, Daughter of Destiny, the first book of an Arthurian legend trilogy that tells Guinevere’s life story from her point of view, was named Book of the Year by Chanticleer Reviews, took the Grand Prize in the 2015 Chatelaine Awards for Women’s Fiction/Romance, won a Gold Medal in the fantasy category in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards and was short-listed for the Chaucer Award for Historical Fiction. The sequel, Camelot’s Queen is out now.

Nicole is one of only six authors who completed a week-long writing intensive taught by #1 New York Times bestselling author Deborah Harkness. Nicole has traveled to England twice to research the Guinevere’s Tale trilogy, where she consulted with internationally acclaimed author and historian Geoffrey Ashe, as well as Arthurian/Glastonbury expert Jaime George, the man who helped Marion Zimmer Bradley research The Mists of Avalon.

Nicole is a member of and book reviewer for The Historical Novel Society, and Sirens (a group supporting female fantasy authors), as well as a member of the Historical Writers of America, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Romance Writers of America, the St. Louis Writer’s Guild, Women Writing the West, Broad Universe (promoting women in fantasy, science fiction and horror), Alliance of Independent Authors and the Independent Book Publishers Association.

Her website/blog is http://nicoleevelina.com and she can be found on Twitter as well as on Pinterest, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram and Tumblr.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, July 25
Tour Kick Off at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, July 26
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter

Wednesday, July 27
Spotlight at Broken Teepee

Thursday, July 28
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Friday, July 29
Spotlight at A Bookaholic Swede

Monday, August 1

Tuesday, August 2
Guest Post & Excerpt at The Silver Dagger Scriptorium

Wednesday, August 3

Thursday, August 4
Interview at The Maiden's Court

Monday, August 8
Review at The Book Connection (First Chapter Review)

Tuesday, August 9
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews

Saturday, August 13

Tuesday, August 16

Wednesday, August 17

Thursday, August 18
Guest Post at Creating Herstory

Friday, August 19

Monday, August 22
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Tuesday, August 23
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Wednesday, August 24
Review at Book Nerd
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, August 25
Review at Bookramblings

Friday, August 26
Review at A Bookish Affair

Giveaway

To enter the Madame Presidentess Giveaway for a paperback of the book and/or Victoria Woodhull Bumper Sticker, please see the GLEAM form below. 3 winners will receive a copy of the book and a bumper sticker. 7 winners will receive the Victoria Woodhull Bumper Sticker.

Victoria Woodhull Bumper Sticker
Rules



– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on August 26th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Madame Presidentess

04_Madame Presidentess_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

Thursday, August 18, 2016

0 Review: Rarity From the Hollow




Publisher: Dog Horn Publishing
Published: March 16, 2012
Ebook
Genre: Science Fiction
Source: Author



About the Book

Lacy Dawn's father relives the Gulf War, her mother's teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in The Hollow isn't great. But Lacy has one advantage -- she's been befriended by a semi-organic, semi-robot who works with her to cure her parents. He wants something in exchange, though. It's up to her to save the Universe.

Will Lacy Dawn's predisposition, education, and magic be enough for her to save the Universe, Earth, and, most importantly, protect her own family?

Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire. It is a children's story for adults, not for the prudish, faint of heart, or easily offended.
 

My Thoughts

Rarity From the Hollow by Robert Eggleton was an interesting yet sometimes hard to stomach story. I thought he did an excellent job of character development. Beginning with the eleven-year-old protagonist of the story, Lacy Dawn and her android protector, adviser, and boyfriend, DotCom, all the way to the inner thoughts of the family dog, Brownie, the characters are all given a story and very unique personality of their own. As the story begins, Lacy Dawn and her mother, Jenny live in constant fear of Dewayne (Lacy Dawn’s father). He suffers from PTSD arising from his time in the Gulf War and is physically, mentally, and sexually (with Jenny) abusive. DotCom says he can “fix” her parents through the same “plug-in” at the base of their skulls that he uses to teach Lacy Dawn. This “plug-in” sort of reprograms their brains so that Dewayne isn’t abusive and is able to work and Jenny regains some of her confidence and the willpower to stand up for herself. He does this for Lacy Dawn after she agrees to fulfill her destiny and save the universe. 

This book does address many problems that face the less fortunate peoples of “the hollow” such as drug and alcohol addiction, child abuse and molestation, domestic violence, and rape. The characters speak openly about these issues, including pre-teen Lacy Dawn quite often talking about showing DotCom her panties and DotCom, an android that “matures” to the point that he grows a penis and the references to erections that he has. Therefore the author is correct in saying a children’s story for adults.

This is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea but the story has some very strong writing and wonderful characters. There is a good bit of humor along with a sci-fi take that I’ve not really encountered before. I don’t want to say too much about the story for fear of giving away some key surprises. If you are open to something new and intriguing, Rarity From the Hollow is for you.




Wednesday, August 17, 2016

0 Last Week In Review (20)

Currently Reading


I just started this debut novel by Fiona Davis. So far, so good.


What? Shut up. Yes, I'm still listening to Britt-Marie


What I Finished Reading





What I'm Watching



I have been watching the Olympics pretty much non-stop when I have the chance. Of course I have to sleep and work and stuff, but when I'm not doing that, I'm watching.


Reading Challenge Update


The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder will go towards my Nonfiction Challenge!


New Books




That's it for last week. How was your week? 

Monday, August 15, 2016

0 Review: Hitched by Kendall Ryan


Title: Hitched (Imperfect Love Volume 1)
Author: Kendall Ryan
Publisher: Everafter Romance
Published: July 5, 2016
Paperback, 255 pages
ISBN: 9781533384223
Genre: Romance
Source: Publisher


Summary

Marry the girl I’ve had a crush on my whole life? Check.

Inherit a hundred-billion-dollar company? Check.

Produce an heir… Wait, what?

I have ninety days to knock up my brand-new fake wife. There’s only one problem—she hates my guts.

And in the fine print of the contract? The requirement that we produce an heir.

She can’t stand to be in the same room with me. Says she’ll never be in my bed.

But I’ve never backed down from a challenge and I’m not about to start now.

Mark my words—I’ll have her begging for me, and it won’t take ninety days.

On the heels of her smash hit and New York Times bestselling SCREWED series, Kendall Ryan brings you HITCHED, a romantic comedy that delivers heart and heat. A NYC playboy turned business mogul has ninety days to win over the woman he's always desired in order to save his father's company. One tiny problem: She hates his guts.



My Thoughts

Kendall Ryan is known for her steamy-hot romances. She seems to know what her readers want and her latest novel, Hitched, is like a modern-day sexy fairy tale guaranteed to leave her readers wanting more. 

This book is told through duel points of view: Noah and Olivia. Noah is a cocky, self-assured man. He's ready to take over his father's company, but there's just one problem. His father left a clause in his will. Noah and Olivia have to get married and produce a child in order for him to inherit his company. 

Olivia is a confident workaholic. She doesn't have time for Noah or his playboy ways, but her dream has always been to run the company that her father and Noah's father had built together.

When these two character get together they can't deny the fireworks that they feel. However, Olivia has series doubts about Noah. Can Noah convince Olivia that he's the real deal in time to save their company?

It's hot this summer, and it's about to get hotter. Ryan's new series will leave you panting and in need of hydration. This book was a little predictable, but while reading you may experience increased daydreaming, character envy, and dissatisfaction until you can get your hands on volume two because it has a huge . . . cliffhanger. Read at your own risk.




Friday, August 12, 2016

0 Review: The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder


Published: March 8, 2016
Published by: Harper
Hardcover, 432 pages
ISBN: 9780062419682
Genre: Nonfiction
Source: Publisher

About the Book

Available for the first time and collected in one volume, the letters of one of America’s most beloved authors, Laura Ingalls Wilder—a treasure trove that offers new and unexpected understanding of her life and work.

The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder is a vibrant, deeply personal portrait of this revered American author, illuminating her thoughts, travels, philosophies, writing career, and dealings with family, friends, and fans as never before.

This is a fresh look at the adult life of the author in her own words. Gathered from museums and archives and personal collections, the letters span over sixty years of Wilder’s life, from 1894–1956 and shed new light on Wilder’s day-to-day life. Here we see her as a businesswoman and author—including her beloved Little House books, her legendary editor, Ursula Nordstrom, and her readers—as a wife, and as a friend. In her letters, Wilder shares her philosophies, political opinions, and reminiscences of life as a frontier child. Also included are letters to her daughter, writer Rose Wilder Lane, who filled a silent role as editor and collaborator while the famous Little House books were being written.

Wilder biographer William Anderson collected and researched references throughout these letters and the result is an invaluable historical collection, tracing Wilder’s life through the final days of covered wagon travel, her life as a farm woman, a country journalist, Depression-era author, and years of fame as the writer of the Little House books. This collection is a sequel to her beloved books, and a snapshot into twentieth-century living.



My Thoughts


I have a confession: I didn't read the Little House books as a child. I did, however, watch reruns of the television series Little House on the Prairie starring Michael Landon and Melissa Gilbert. I fell in love with the characters of the series, especially Laura. I couldn't stand the insufferable Nellie. I loved watching the family through their good times and bad. It wasn't until I was a little older that I realized the television series was based on books. It wasn't until I had children of my own that I finally read Little House in the Big Woods.

I wanted to kick myself for not reading these books sooner. Not only are they wildly entertaining, they are also autobiographical. First published in 1932, the Little House books became an instant success among children across the world. Laura's childhood growing up in a pioneer family has entertained kids for decades.

The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder edited by William Anderson came out in March of 2016 and I couldn't wait to read it. For me, this wasn't a book to devour in one sitting. Instead, it was a book that I read a little at a time. Savoring it like a glass of wine. And I'm glad I did. 

The letters in this book start in 1894 and span until 1956. They are addressed to her husband, daughter, publisher, and fans. Some letters tell day-to-day activities while others refer to the creating of Wilder's beloved series. A few of my favorite letters to read were written as Laura and her daughter traveled across the United States when the highways of America were still being built. It's hard for me to imagine that because in my lifetime they've always existed. 

This is a book I highly recommend for fans of Little House, book or television series. It gives you a behind the scenes look at the publishing of her books and a glimpse inside the personal life of a literary icon. Not to mention, a fantastic glimpse into history. Do yourself a favor and read this book.









Wednesday, August 10, 2016

0 It's Time To Signup For September's New Books on the Block



Hi there. We have a feature on To Read, or Not To Read. It's called New Books on the Block. It's a feature where we highlight new and new-ish books that come out every month. It doesn't matter if it's self-published, indie, or traditional. So if you have a book that fits this category, and you'd like it to appear on this feature, then fill out the form below. We post this the first Friday of every month. September's NBOTB will post on September 2. Click here for a direct link to the form.






Monday, August 8, 2016

0 Last Week In Review (19)

What I'm Currently Reading



I made little progress with Britt-Marie this week. I was able to listen to only two chapters. I am still enjoying it, though.


I started reading this book for the #DashnerDash Binge Read. Unfortunately, I was unable to finish this book due to life getting in the way of my reading time. I hope to finish it this week.

I've read and reviewed the fourth book in this series, A Little Knowledge. I'm really enjoying this series. I've since bought books two and three. 


What I Finished Reading









What I'm Watching



I'm not much of a fan of sports, but I love the Olympics! I really should have cleared my schedule for the next two weeks because all I want to do is watch. I love swimming, track, and gymnastics. Go Team USA!


Reading Challenge Update


Not much progress here.

New Books




What are your favorite Olympic sports?  
 

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