Friday, April 29, 2016

0 Review: Death Sits Down to Dinner

02_Death Sits Down to Dinner

Death Sits Down to Dinner (Lady Montfort Mystery #2)
by Tessa Arlen

Publication Date: March 29, 2016
Minotaur Books
Hardcover & Ebook; 320 Pages
Genre: Historical Mystery

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Filled with deceptions both real and imagined, Death Sits Down to Dinner is a delightful Edwardian mystery set in London.

Lady Montfort is thrilled to receive an invitation to a dinner party hosted by her close friend Hermione Kingsley, the patroness of England’s largest charity. Hermione has pulled together a select gathering to celebrate Winston Churchill’s 39th birthday. Some of the oldest families in the country have gathered to toast the dangerously ambitious and utterly charming First Lord of the Admiralty. But when the dinner ends, one of the gentlemen remains seated at the table, head down among the walnut shells littering the cloth and a knife between his ribs.

Summoned from Iyntwood, Mrs. Jackson helps her mistress trace the steps of suspects both upstairs and downstairs as Hermione’s household prepares to host a highly anticipated charity event. Determined to get to the bottom of things, Lady Montfort and Mrs. Jackson unravel the web of secrecy surrounding the bright whirlwind of London society, investigating the rich, well-connected and seeming do-gooders in a race against time to stop the murderer from striking again.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | INDIEBOUND | KOBO


My Thoughts

 My love for mysteries only goes back a few years. That is to say, I’m a newbie when it comes to this genre. I have Agatha Christie to thank for it. And really who better than the Queen of Mystery to introduce me to this genre. Agatha Christie is the gold standard that I’m sure many authors aspire to attain. However, reading her books has helped me understand what it is that makes a mystery a really great story. And for me, Death Sits Down to Dinner fits nicely in that category.

I had the good fortune last year to read Tessa Arlen’s first book in the Lady Montfrot Mystery series, Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman. I was immediately taken with the heroine of the novel, Lady Montfort and her housekeeper, Mrs. Jackson set in Edwardian England. So when the opportunity to read this second book came up, I jumped at it. As much as I liked the first book, I think this book is even better.

Lady Clementine Montfort attends a dinner party hosted by her friend Hermione Kingsley. The party is well attended by some of the who’s who of society—including Winston Churchill. However, after dinner a murder occurs, and, of course, Lady Montfort takes up the case. Everyone who attended the party or a member of the household staff is suspect. But Lady Montfort can’t solve this murder without the help of her reluctant housekeeper. Once she convinces Mrs. Jackson, it’s only a matter of time before the mystery starts to unravel.

“After the murder of her husband’s nephew last year, Clementine had come to the understanding that any human creature, no matter how well connected, well born, or utterly trustworthy, was capable of murder if he or she was put in a position where he believed he had no other choice.”

Try as I might, I didn’t guess the murderer until it was revealed at the end. It’s probably a good thing I’m not a detective. That’s what I really like about Tessa Arlen’s books. After all the red herrings and foreshadowing the answer was staring you in the face the whole time. The clues are so subtle that if you blink, you’ll miss them.

I really enjoyed this book: the setting, the stories, the characters. Tessa Arlen has a gift for mystery and I’m so glad she’s using it. I'm highly anticipating the third book in this series, which, unfortunately, doesn't come out until next year. 

Advance Praise

“Despite Clementine’s luxurious lifestyle, she’s got a head on her shoulders . . .and is as cagey as she is charming. A neatly crafted whodunit dripping with diamonds, titles and scandal . . .” -Kirkus Reviews

“The close, mutually respectful partnership between Clementine and Edith will remind Dorothy Sayers’s fans of the relationship between Lord Peter Wimsey and Bunter, his manservant. Arlen does a good job of depicting a period when class distinctions have become blurred by new money and more-relaxed manners. The plot, which includes a slew of red herrings, builds to a startling denouement.” -Publisher’s Weekly

“VERDICT Real-life Edwardian personalities abound in this period historical, and the upstairs/downstairs focus delivers a clash of temperaments. This title is bound to appeal to fans of historicals set in this period and of such authors as Rhys Bowen and Ashley Weaver.” -Library Journal

02_Tessa ArlenAbout the Author

TESSA ARLEN, the daughter of a British diplomat, had lived in or visited her parents in Singapore, Cairo, Berlin, the Persian Gulf, Beijing, Delhi and Warsaw by the time she was sixteen. She came to the U.S. in 1980 and worked as an H.R. recruiter for the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee for the 1984 Olympic Games, where she interviewed her future husband for a job. DEATH OF A DISHONORABLE GENTLEMAN is Tessa’s first novel. She lives in Bainbridge Island, Washington.

For more information please visit Tessa Arlen's website. Read Tessa Arlen's blog at Redoubtable Edwardians. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Subscribe to Tessa Arlen's Newsletter.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, March 28
Interview at Books and Benches

Tuesday, March 29
Review at A Book Geek

Wednesday, March 30
Interview at AustenProse

Thursday, March 31
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Friday, April 1

Monday, April 4
Review at Reading the Past

Tuesday, April 5

Wednesday, April 6
Review at Luxury Reading

Thursday, April 7

Friday, April 8
Review at A Holland Reads

Monday, April 11

Tuesday, April 12
Interview at The Absurd Book Nerd

Wednesday, April 13
Review at Room With Books

Thursday, April 14
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Friday, April 15

Monday, April 18

Tuesday, April 19

Wednesday, April 20

Thursday, April 21
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Friday, April 22
Spotlight at Let Them Read Books

Monday, April 25
Review & Giveaway at Brooke Blogs

Tuesday, April 26
Review at Book Nerd

Wednesday, April 27

Friday, April 29

04_Death Sits Down to Dinner_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

Thursday, April 28, 2016

0 Invision: Chronicles of Nick Isn't Out Yet, But We've Got A Sneak Peek










About the Book

Think you have a lot of pressure on your shoulders? Nick Gautier was born to bring about the end of the world . . . it's not easy being the heir of a demon overlord.

But Nick is determined to thwart his destiny and get into a good college. To be more than his genetics and prophecy foretell. No one is ever going to tell this stubborn Cajun who and what he really is. Or how to live his life.

Not even the Fates of the Universe. But now that he and his team of ancient gods and demons have claimed the Eye of Ananke and he sees the missteps of the future, he has to battle the demons within that are far deadlier and more treacherous than any he's battled before. All the while his arch nemesis is back and determined to reclaim his place as the harbinger for Armageddon. Even if it means killing Nick and barbecuing everyone he loves to do so.






Excerpt 


Hanging his head, he pushed his chair back to face her. What do you want me to say, Kode? You saw what I did. Its hopeless. Im going to end this world. Whether its tomorrow or a thousand years from now. Im going to lose it all. Break bad and tear humanity apart. . . . Dont matter what we do. Whatever we try. We just delay the inevitable outcome. So Im going to sit here with my eats. And just . . . he let his voice trail off as the full horror of his future played through his mind for the five millionth time.
He was the end of everything.
Everyone.
All he loved.  
The entire world would one day fall to Nicks army of demons.
Yeah, there was something to put on his college applications. That ought to have schools lining up to accept him. Who wouldnt want that as their alumnus? We have graduated senators, presidents, movers-and-shakers, and the Malachai demon who ate the world whole
It was the one reality Nick wanted to deny and couldnt. Everything eventually came back to that one inescapable fact he wanted to runaway from and couldnt.
Im only sixteen. Too young to deal with this crap.
He was supposed to be worried about his grades. About keeping his girl happy. Staying out of trouble. His mom finding his friends porn magazines stashed in his room. Getting to work on time. Making curfew.
Not hellgates and demons coming for the throats of his family and friends.
Definitely not about the fact that his birthright was to bring on the destruction of all humanity.

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Sherrilyn Kenyon is a regular in the #1 spot. This extraordinary bestseller continues to top every genre in which she writes. With more than 40 million copies of her books in print in more than one hundred countries, her current series include The Dark-Hunters, The League, and Chronicles of Nick. Her Chronicles of Nick and Dark-Hunter series are soon to be major motion pictures.



Tuesday, April 26, 2016

0 Inspiration for the Duke of Harland in HOW THE DUKE WAS WON

 

It’s important for fiction writers to be able to visualize their characters. At least that’s what I tell my husband when he side-eyes me while I stare at pics of hot guys on google. A romance writer needs her inspiration, now doesn’t she? When I was writing my debut novel I knew I wanted a dark, brooding hero. Also I knew I wanted him to have a beard. But I can hear you saying “No, Lenora. You can’t do that! It’s the Regency, yo!” Yeah, I know, I know. But dear reader, I GAVE HIM THAT BEARD! At least for a few pages. In the second chapter his valet shaves it off J

Anyway, I have a thing for bearded guys. And my latest obsession is Michiel Huisman. I’ve been stalking him following his career since I discovered him on the fabulous show Orphan Black. He’s the inspiration for James, Duke of Harland, the bad boy pirate duke hero of HOW THE DUKE WAS WON. I’ve spent countless hours googling him. For research purposes, of course!

And here’s why…


Source:  http://tvline.com/2014/05/03/orphan-black-season-2-spoilers-cal-is-kiras-father/orphan-black-season-2-spoilers2-2/

Mmhhh. Bearded. Brooding. Broad shoulders. Smoldering eyes.

Source: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/04/22/game-of-thrones-new-hunk-michiel-huisman-on-the-revamped-daario-naharis.html

He brings ladies flowers. Because if he doesn’t their dragons will incinerate him. No, just kidding. He’s the alpha male with the heart of gold. He’s the bad boy hottie who you don’t even introduce to your friends...yet. Because you want to keep him all for yourself. Preferably in your bed. For weeks J

And ladies? He READS!

Source: http://www.mrporter.com/journal/journal_issue170/1#1

And he plays guitar!!!

Source: https://www.yahoo.com/style/manic-mondays-michiel-huisman-c1430172382887/photo-he-plays-guitar-hot-photo-1430172316099.html 


And so does my duke! And lest you say, “but Lenora, this is the Regency!” let me tell you that the Spanish guitar craze in Regency England was a thing. It really was.
So there you have it. The smoldering, bearded inspiration for my very first historical romance hero. I’m so excited to be debuting with Avon! It’s such a dream come true. Hope to meet you all soon!

                                                                              xxoo,
                                                                                Lenora


But…wait, I hear you say. Is that all? Seriously? The shirt stays on? What kind of crap is that?
OK, OK. Here you go.

You’re welcome.





HOW THE DUKE WAS WON, by Lenora Bell




HarperCollins: http://bit.ly/1TMcEzP



ABOUT HOW THE DUKE WAS WON:
The pleasure of your company is requested at Warbury Park. Four lovely ladies will arrive… but only one can become a duchess.
James, the scandalously uncivilized Duke of Harland, requires a bride with a spotless reputation for a strictly business arrangement. Lust is prohibited and love is out of the question.
Four ladies. Three days. What could go wrong?
She is not like the others…
Charlene Beckett, the unacknowledged daughter of an earl and a courtesan, has just been offered a life-altering fortune to pose as her half-sister, Lady Dorothea, and win the duke’s proposal. All she must do is:
* Be the perfect English rose [Ha!]
* Breathe, smile, and curtsy in impossibly tight gowns [blast Lady Dorothea’s sylph-like figure]
* Charm and seduce a wild duke [without appearing to try]
* Keep said duke far, far from her heart [no matter how tempting]
When secrets are revealed and passion overwhelms, James must decide if the last lady he should want is really everything he needs. And Charlene must decide if the promise of a new life is worth risking everything . . . including her heart.




Monday, April 25, 2016

0 Review: When It Rained At Hembry Castle

02_When It Rained at Hembry Castle

When It Rained at Hembry Castle (The Hembry Castle Chronicles, Book 1) by Meredith Allard

Publication Date: January 28, 2016
Copperfield Press
Paperback & eBook; 465 Pages

Series: The Hembry Castle Chronicles
Genre: Historical Fiction/Literary

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From Meredith Allard, author of the bestselling Loving Husband Trilogy, comes When It Rained at Hembry Castle, a lush historical novel set in Victorian England. Perfect for fans of Downton Abbey, it's the story of an aristocratic family, a mysterious death, secrets that dare not be told, and the wonder of falling in love.

When the 8th Earl of Staton dies, his eldest son, the unreliable Richard, inherits the title and the family’s home—Hembry Castle. The Earl's niece, the American-born Daphne, is intrigued by Edward Ellis, a rising author with a first-hand knowledge of Hembry Castle—from the servants’ hall. And Edward, though captivated by the lovely Daphne, has his own hurdles he must overcome. Can Richard come to terms with his title before bringing ruin on his family? Will Edward and Daphne find their way to each other despite the obstacles of life at Hembry Castle?

When It Rained at Hembry Castle is a page-turning, romantic novel with vivid characters and an engrossing story that will keep you guessing until the end.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo



My Thoughts

When It Rained at Hembry Castle was a long time in the making for novelist Meredith Allard. Twenty years to be precise. But it wasn't until the last few years that she had an opportunity to work on it. She was also inspired by the television show she, and practically everyone else, loves--Downton Abbey

When It Rained at Hembry Castle is set in the Victorian era. It begins with the funeral of the eighth Earl of Staton, who was much loved by not only his family but the entire town. The author also introduces the readers to the entire family and their personalities: Richard, the new earl, is reluctant to inherit his position. Fredrick and his daughter, Daphne, have come across from America, where they are eager to return. The grandmother, who is all decorum and responsibility. There are a few other that color the pages of this novel.

Here's what I liked about the novel: Allard's description of the countryside of England was beautiful. For the most part, I really liked the story line. I think the mystery angle could have played up a bit more. More red herrings, more intrigue. My favorite characters are Edward Ellis and Agatha, the Countess of Staton. These two characters were the most believable and they felt authentic to the time period.

Here's what I didn't like: At times it seemed the dialog between the characters was too modernized. It startled me out of the dream that was this novel. I didn't really care for Daphne's character because she was too good, without a flaw. She didn't seem to have any depth to her and was a bit flat for my liking. I saw a small spark of defiance in her toward the end of the novel. So maybe there is hope for her yet. The last, but not least, thing is Charles Dickens. I really like Dickens, and so does the author, but he is mentioned a lot, and it distracts from the novel.

I know I've given some criticisms as well as some praise, but overall it's not a bad read. I really encourage you to look at some of the other reviews on this tour or Goodreads and Amazon to get different opinions. I really appreciate the opportunity to read this book and share it with you.


03_Meredith AllardAbout the Author

Meredith Allard is the author of the bestselling novels The Loving Husband Trilogy, That You Are Here, Victory Garden, Woman of Stones, and My Brother's Battle. Her newest release, the historical novel When It Rained at Hembry Castle, is a great read for fans of Downton Abbey.

Visit Meredith online at www.meredithallard.com. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Goodreads.



Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday, April 14
Interview at Books and Benches

Friday, April 15
Excerpt at The Lit Bitch
Interview at The Book Connection

Monday, April 18
Review at Book Nerd

Tuesday, April 19
Excerpt & Giveaway at CelticLady's Review

Wednesday, April 20
Review & Giveaway at A Holland Reads

Friday, April 22

Saturday, April 23
Guest Post & Giveaway at Brooke Blogs

Sunday, April 24

Monday, April 25
Review at Luxury Reading
Excerpt & Giveaway at A Literary Vacation

04_WIRAHC_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

Thursday, April 21, 2016

1 Feature and Giveaway: Day's Journey by Cheree Alsop




When Liora’s brother is kidnapped as thinly-veiled trap, she follows with the intent of springing it on her own terms. But her plans fall away when she finds that the danger has a greater reach than she could have imagined. Waylaid and nearly dead, Liora finds herself fighting for not only her life, but for mortalkind. If she succeeds, she could thwart the paramount threat to the Macrocosm and those she loves; if she fails, mortalkind will fall at her side. Yet the price of survival may be far greater than Liora is willing to pay.


“How far will you go to protect your human? How many lives will you take to save the one you love?”


Liora spoke the truth she saw in the Cherum’s gaze. “All of them.”





Cheree Alsop is an award-winning, best-selling author and the mother of a beautiful, talented daughter and amazing twin sons who fill every day with joy and laughter. She is married to her best friend, Michael, the light of her life and her soulmate who shares her dreams and inspires her by reading the first drafts of each book. Cheree is a fulltime author and mother, which is much more fun than work! She enjoys reading, riding her motorcycle on warm nights, and playing with her twins while planning her next book. She is also a bass player for their rock band, Alien Landslide.

Cheree and Michael live in Utah where they rock out, enjoy the outdoors, plan great adventures, and never stop dreaming.




Thanks to Cheree, I have 3 ebook copies of Girl from the Stars Book 4: Day’s Journey to give away to a few of our lucky readers. To enter, please fill out the rafflecopter form below. 



Wednesday, April 20, 2016

0 Review: Why Not Me?


Title: Why Not Me
Author: Mindy  Kaling
Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing
Published: September 15, 2015
MP3, 4 hours, 57 minutes
ISBN13: 9780553551778
Genre: Nonfiction, Humor
Source; Bought

Summary

In Why Not Me?, Kaling shares her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life, whether it's falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever, or most important, believing that you have a place in Hollywood when you're constantly reminded that no one looks like you. Mindy turns the anxieties, the glamour, and the celebrations of her second coming-of-age into a laugh-out-loud funny collection of essays that anyone who's ever been at a turning point in their life or career can relate to. And those who've never been at a turning point can skip to the parts where she talks about meeting Bradley Cooper.


My Thoughts

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling is the first book I listened to after my mother-in-law passed away from cancer. During that time I found it difficult to read anything. Books have always been an escape for me, but this was one time where I couldn't find solace. In a conversation with a twitter friend, she suggested that I listen to an audio book instead. I took her up on her advice and decided to peruse my audible bookshelf. I knew I wanted something upbeat and light. And when I came across Why Not Me? I knew I had found exactly what I was looking for.

Why Not Me? is a collection of essays written and read by Mindy Kaling. I read her previous book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, and had some laugh out loud moments. I wish I would have listened to it on audio, because there's something so fantastic about listening to an author read their own work. So when this book came out, I immediately bought it on audible. Which is fantastic, in case you were wondering.

In this book, Mindy talks about everything from her college days to her life in Hollywood. I admire her honesty and candid humor. She truly has a gift for entertaining. I must admit I watched her since The Office and I'm also a fan of The Mindy Project.  For me, she falls in the ranks with Amy Smart and Tina Fey. These are women who work so hard but make it look so easy and make people laugh while doing it. And after all, laughter is the best medicine. So, if you're looking for something to read or listen to to brighten your day, I recommend Why Not Me?

Rating:


Monday, April 18, 2016

0 Last Week In Review (7)

What I'm Reading


Death Sits Down to Dinner by Tessa Arlen. I read the first book in the series, Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman, last year. I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to read this book as well.


The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder
I'm only about 50 pages in. It's really enjoyable so far.


What I Finished Reading


When It Rained at Hembry Castle by Meredith Allard. 
My review will be up soon.



Julian Fellows (Downton Abbey) has a new series of books coming out. These are short novellas in the style of Dickens. You can read the first one for free. I also bought the audio. It wasn't free, but it was less than a dollar, so I still consider it a steal.


What I'm Watching


Still watching Gilmore Girls. Still on season two. Still loving it!


Netflix released season 2 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt! I managed to sneak in a few episodes over the  weekend. Loving it so far.


New Books



These are the books from the last two weeks that I've either bought or received in exchange for an honest review. The gnome's name is Olaf, in case you were wondering.

Reading Challenge Update

I'm still pathetically behind in all things reading challenge related. Maybe this is the week to make progress? We'll see.

What are you reading?


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

0 Review: Wonder Woman at Super Hero High


Author Lisa Yee
Publisher: Random House Kids
Published: March 1, 2016
Hardcover, 240 pages
ISBN: 9781101940594
Genre: Children's Fiction
Source: Publisher

Summary:

This groundbreaking new middle grade series follows DC Comics' most iconic female Super Heroes and Super-Villains . . . as high schoolers. At Super Hero High, the galaxy's most powerful teens nurture their powers and master the fundamentals of what it means to be a hero.

My Thoughts:

Lisa Yee has a pretty extensive literary career, including writing some of the popular America Girl books. I was thrilled to learn about the new DC Superhero Girls book series. Especially since I have a daughter who happens to like superheros. It's great to see some of the female characters brought to the forefront. Personally, I grew up watching reruns of Linda Carter playing Wonder Woman, and I loved it. 

In this book Wonder Woman, or as her friends affectionately nickname her: Wondy, longs to go to a school where she can socialize with other kids. Her mother is reluctant to let her go so far from the island of where she grew up, but when Wondy receives an invitation to go to Super Hero High, her mother can't say no to Wondy's request. But it's hard, even for superheros, to fit in at a new school. But with some help from some of her new friends and some growing pains, Wondy begins to fit in and eventually find her place.  

With the rise of superhero movies and television shows, it's great to see a series dedicated especially to fans of the superhero women. It's especially nice to see them in their formative years having the same struggles as regular girls of their age would have. My own complaint about this book is that I wish it would have some graphic novel images in it. I think to not have it, undervalues what some girls would really like or the chance to expose them to a new type of media. Overall, though, the story is really good, and I think superhero-loving girls will really enjoy this series. I know mine will. 

Rating


0 Last Week In Review (6)

What I'm Reading



I'm reading this for an upcoming book tour. Here's a quick blurb: When the 8th Earl of Staton dies, his eldest son, the unreliable Richard, inherits the title and the family’s home—Hembry Castle. The Earl's niece, the American-born Daphne, is intrigued by Edward Ellis, a rising author with a first-hand knowledge of Hembry Castle—from the servants’ hall. And Edward, though captivated by the lovely Daphne, has his own hurdles he must overcome. Can Richard come to terms with his title before bringing ruin on his family? Will Edward and Daphne find their way to each other despite the obstacles of life at Hembry Castle?

Very Downton Abbeyish! 



I grew up watching reruns of Little House on the Prairie, so I'm so excited to read this!


What I Finished Reading


Lost Among the Living by Simone St. James


What I'm Watching


I'm on season two of Gilmore Girls. I'm so excited to learn that Melissa McCarthy is joining the revival. 

I also have some movies in my to-watch list that I hope to get to this week.

New Books

I did receive some new books last week, but I didn't have time to photograph them. I'll make sure to do it next week. 

Challenge Update

I'm still working on this as well. It was a week where I didn't get much done-reading challenge-wise. Hopefully, I'll have more info on it next week.


But I Did Do Something Really Cool 

I went to a Mumford and Sons Concert!!!! It was really great. This was the first time I've seen them play live and they put on an excellent show. I highly recommend it. In addition to that, my husband and I stayed at a really cool bed and breakfast.


This was our bedroom: 


I really liked our stay here. I think if it is at all possible we'll stay in a B&B when we travel, instead of a hotel. 

I hope you had a great week. Let me know what you're reading!

Monday, April 11, 2016

0 Review: Lost Among The Living by Simone St. James


Publisher: NAL
Published: April 5, 2016
Paperback, 337 pages
ISBN: 9780451476197
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Publisher

Summary:


England, 1921. Three years after her husband, Alex, disappeared, shot down over Germany, Jo Manders still mourns his loss. Working as a paid companion to Alex's wealthy, condescending aunt, Dottie Forsyth, Jo travels to the family’s estate in the Sussex countryside. But there is much she never knew about her husband’s origins…and the revelation of a mysterious death in the Forsyths’ past is just the beginning…

All is not well at Wych Elm House. Dottie's husband is distant, and her son was grievously injured in the war. Footsteps follow Jo down empty halls, and items in her bedroom are eerily rearranged. The locals say the family is cursed, and that a ghost in the woods has never rested. And when Jo discovers her husband’s darkest secrets, she wonders if she ever really knew him. Isolated in a place of deception and grief, she must find the truth or lose herself forever.

And then a familiar stranger arrives at Wych Elm House…
 

My Thoughts:

Simone St. James, where have you been all my life? You write the kinda books that I love. How have I not come across your books before now? These are the questions I asked myself after I started reading Lost Among the Living. The first night I started reading this my intention was to read a few chapters. I bet you can guess the rest. If I didn't have responsibilities that I HAD to do the next day, I probably would have finished this book in one sitting. 

St. James has written a handful of historical fiction books that are full of supernatural elements. Think Northanger Abbey and Jane Eyre, only this book is set a few years after World War I. Jo Manders lost her husband in the war. His plane went down over Germany, but his body was never found. Jo lives in sort of a limbo: she's not a widow, but she's not married either. When her missing husband's aunt offers her a position as her paid companion, Jo has no other option but to accept. 

Jo follows her aunt-in-law, Dottie, across the continent and then back to England. It's only when they embark back to Dottie's home, Wych Elm House, that the mystery really begins. Jo is forced into an uncomfortable, tense situation. Immediately Jo begins to see things that make her think she's going mad. There's also secrets that affect the house. And the more she learns about her husband, the more she suspects that she didn't really know him like she thought she did. Eager to find out the truth, Jo sets out to discover what really happened to Dottie's daughter. She suspects sinister forces are at work. 

This book had everything that I love: historical fiction--check, romance--check, Gothic elements--check, mystery--check. Yep, it's all there. I gobbled this book up and I can't wait to read more by Simone St. James. I have a feeling this is going to be the start of a beautiful friendship! 



Friday, April 8, 2016

0 Five Children's Classics That Shaped My Childhood #ChatClassics


As part of the 2016 Classics Challenge, this month's twitter discussion is on children's classics. This chat will take place Saturday 9th April 2016 at 8pm GMT under the hashtag  #ChatClassics. There's still time to sign up if you haven't already. In the meantime, I thought I'd list some of my favorite books from this genre.


The Secret Garden by Frances Hogson Burnett 
This book made me wish that I had a secret garden or just a private place to go as a child . . . and also as an adult.


Charlotte's Web by E.B. White 
My mother gave me this book as an Easter present when I was a child, and I loved it. My sister received Trumpet of the Swan, and when we finished reading our books, we swapped and continued to do so for many years. I also like Stuart Little.


The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
I bought my first copy of this book at my school book fair. I fell instantly in love with this story. In fact, every time I see a wardrobe, I can't help stepping into it--hoping to find the door to Narnia. 


Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Oh, how I love Anne. I loved the whole Anne series. I wanted to be Anne. Gilbert Blythe was my first book crush. This series brings back so many of my childhood memories. I'm going to have to re-read this book again very soon. 


The Witches by Roald Dahl
I can't remember what grade I was in (2nd maybe?) or the name of the teacher's aide that read this to the class every day after lunch, but I loved it. The Witches was my first introduction to Roald Dahl, and it opened up a whole new world for me. So thank you to the woman who brought this book with her to share with the class. 


There are so many more books I could share with you, so many classics that I didn't even read until I was an adult. So many books, so little time. Do you have a favorite childhood book?  
 

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