Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Linkups: Death in a Dacron Sail














It's Friday linkup time!  I'm linking up with the Book Blogger Hop hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer, Book Beginnings of Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, and the Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice.

This Week's Book Blogger Hop Question:
Do you like blog headers that are bookish or blog headers that are simply attractive?

My Answer:
Blog headers don't influence me too much but I know I would like mine to be more bookish.  I do know that I love when a header suits the tone of the blog and the interests of the blogger.


This week's book is Death in a Dacron Sail by N.A. Granger.  I love mysteries, I love Maine settings and so far this has definitely been a fun read.  I'm hoping to have the review up Monday.

The Beginning:
"The lobster boat rocked violently against the pier as I backed down the ladder and extended my foot onto its heaving deck.  It was a typical February day on the Maine coast, bitter cold, biting wind and spitting snow, the type of day only a hardy lobsterman could love."

My thoughts:
Since a typical February day in Alabama makes me want to hide under a blanket I don't think I could handle a day like this in Maine!  Especially not anything that involves a lobster boat.

The 56:
"He looked from Sam to me and said quietly, "I guess you think I blew this assignment.""

My thoughts:
I'm not quite this far yet so I'm not quite sure what's going.  It does sound like something got seriously messed up so I'm really curious to find out more!

So what do you think?  Keep reading?  And are you one of those crazy people who likes cold or are you like me and are just holding on until summer?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Sinful Deception - Review + a Look at the Fashion of the Time with the Author


A Sinful Deception: The Breconridge Brothers #2 by Isabella Bradford

The Blurb:

(from Goodreads)
For fans of Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Sabrina Jeffries: the seductively charming second historical romance in Isabella Bradford's Breconridge Brothers trilogy. 

Lord Geoffrey Fitzroy leads a charmed existence. As the second son of the Duke of Breconridge, he has none of the responsibilities of his older brother and all of the advantages, leaving handsome Geoffrey free to enjoy his rakish pursuits. And pursue them he does, leaving hearts fluttering all over London. But one night, at a ball teeming with high society's most sought-after beauties, only one truly intrigues him: the regal, aloof, and mysterious Miss Serena Palmer.

Magnificently dressed and wearing jewels befitting a queen, the lady is considered the prize of the season, a noble-born heiress raised in India. But even as Geoffrey's fascination grows, Serena deftly deflects his curiosity—and with good reason: Serena's exotic past contains a perilous secret that could destroy her. Yet her plan to live in safe solitude is thwarted by her hungry heart, and soon Geoffrey's passionate seduction finds her blissfully bed—and wed. Will her deception destroy her chance at happiness as Geoffrey's wife? Or will the devotion of her new husband reveal the only truth worth embracing: her undying love?

My Review:

I'm running a little low on historical romance authors right now so when I see a new to me author it's hard to resist - especially when the cover is gorgeous (and the heroine is wearing a dress that actually appears in the book!) and the blurb compares the book to Julia Quinn, Sabrina Jeffires, and Eloisa James.  

This wasn't the fun romp that I normally associate with Quinn but I found the comparison to Jeffries and James to be spot on.  Serena is a serious young woman who has been through some incredibly traumatic events and has the weight of a very dangerous secret on her shoulders.  The attraction between Geoffrey and Serena feels real.  They share a common love of India as well as a deep connection to the country.  It feels natural that they would feel an immediate connection to each other because of that common ground.  Serena herself comes off as very real.  She's very conflicted between her growing affection and attraction to Geoffrey and knowing that she must keep away from him in order to keep her secret.

Now I'm not a big fan of secrets generally but Bradford does a good job with Serena's secret.  For one thing her secret is a serious secret.  This isn't one where you want to reach into the book, give the heroine a good shaking, and yell "Just tell him already!".  This is a real secret and even better a secret that you can understand her getting in the middle of and a secret that she really must keep. Also, the reader discovers what it is within the first 15% of the book.  

Geoffrey is a more typical character.  He's somewhat misunderstood by his father who sees him as irresponsible and selfish.  He has no intention of getting married even though he finds himself spending more and more time with Serena.  I really liked that his thoughts weren't just about bedding her.  There's a scene where he imagines her receiving roses he had sent her that is really sweet.  

Overall: This is an interesting romance with more heft to it than I usually expect and unusual characters.  If you enjoy Sabrina Jeffries I think you really must read Isabella Bradford.  
Rating: 4 Stars

Guest blog for
A SINFUL DECEPTION
By Isabella Bradford

Creating a Proper English Lady

I’m so excited for the release this week of my newest historical romance, A SINFUL DECEPTION. This is a story that’s been in my head for a long time, and I’ve always wanted to write a book that includes not just Georgian England, but the farthest corners of the British Empire. My heroine, Serena Carew, was born in India, the daughter of a English nobleman stationed there. While Society considers Serena to be English, her Indian heritage is impossible for her to forget – and it’s also one of the things that Lord Geoffrey Fitzroy comes to love most about her.

Orphaned as an adolescent, Serena was brought back to England to live with her grandfather, the Marquis of Allwyn. As heiress to her father’s considerable fortune, Serena needs to attract a suitable husband, and her aunt must conduct the ultimate makeover: transforming Serena into a proper English lady so a proper English gentleman will consider her as a wife.

It wouldn’t have been easy. Because Serena’s father had completely embraced Indian culture, she had been raised in a luxurious household with many servants and few rules. She had lived in women’s quarters, apart from any men beyond her father. She had had no governesses or tutors, and Hindi was her preferred language.

But perhaps her most difficult adjustment would have been to English fashion. The Indian clothing she had always worn was light-weight and wrapped gracefully around the body, freely accommodating a woman’s natural movements - much like most modern clothing.

An English lady in 1770, however, was bound by her clothing into a rigidly upright posture. Her motions were limited by tight sleeves, full skirts worn over cane hoops, and heeled shoes. Her most important garment would have been her stays (corset), an unyielding construction of whalebone and buckram that forced her body into the fashionable conical shape, like the stays shown here. 

Fortunately for Serena, while Lord Geoffrey admires her elegantly dressed, it’s the more natural, sensuous Serena that he desires – and ultimately loves.

I hope you’ll enjoy A SINFUL DECEPTION. For more about what inspires me, check out my website www.isabellabradford.com and on my Isabella Bradford Facebook page, plus my blog (written with writer BFF Loretta Chase) www.TwoNerdyHistoryGirls.com, Twitter @2nerdyhistgirls, and Pinterest: TwoNerdyHistoryGirls.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Under a Silent Moon - Blog Tour Review

Under a Silent MoonAbout Under a Silent Moon

Paperback: 400 pages Publisher: Harper Paperbacks; Reprint edition (February 24, 2015) Two women share a grisly fate in the first entry of this exciting new British crime series—a blend of literary suspense and page-turning thriller that introduces the formidable Detective Chief Inspector Louisa Smith—from the New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Haynes, "the most exciting thing to happen to crime fiction in a long time" (Sophie Hannah, author of Kind of Cruel). In the crisp, early hours of an autumn morning, the police are called to investigate two deaths. The first is a suspected murder at a farm on the outskirts of a small village. A beautiful young woman has been found dead, her cottage drenched with blood. The second is a reported suicide at a nearby quarry. A car with a woman's body inside has been found at the bottom of the pit. As DCI Louisa Smith and her team gather evidence over the course of the next six days, they discover a shocking link between the two cases and the two deaths—a bond that sealed these women's terrible fates one cold night, under a silent moon. In this compelling new detective series, Elizabeth Haynes interweaves fictional primary source materials—police reports, phone messages, interviews—and multiple character viewpoints to create a sexy, edgy, and compulsively readable tale of murder, mystery, and unsettling suspense. Add to Goodreads badge
Purchase Links

My Review:

This was my first book by Elizabeth Haynes but it definitely won't be my last.  From the first page I was pulled in and the pacing didn't let up.  I loved DCI Louisa "Lou" Smith.  She was tough but compassionate and capable but also very human.  Plus, anyone who exists primarily on KitKat bars and coffee is pretty great!  The mystery itself is intriguing and it was very easy to keep the large cast and all the different threads straight.  Haynes mixes in transcripts of reports and witness statements in the story itself which I hadn't come across before.  It took me a chapter or two to get used to it but once I did I really enjoyed it.  It was a quick way to get the information to the reader without having to have characters discuss it.  I also enjoyed that the chapters were divided by day and that the breaks within the chapter were headed with a time code.  It gave a sense of urgency to the reading and I really felt caught up within the investigation.  I didn't care for Andy Hamilton but I don't think I really was supposed too.  I didn't love the sex or romantic relationships between some of the characters where it wasn't related to the murder but that's purely personal.  This is the first in a new series and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing more of Lou.

About Elizabeth HaynesElizabeth Haynes

Elizabeth Haynes is a police intelligence analyst, a civilian role that involves determining patterns in offending and criminal behavior. Dark Tide is her second novel; rights to her first, Into the Darkest Corner, have been sold in twenty-five territories. Haynes lives in England in a village near Maidstone, Kent, with her husband and son. Visit her at elizabeth-haynes.com, connect with her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Favorite Heroines

Today's Top Ten Tuesday topic from The Broke and the Bookish is my Top Ten Favorite Heroines.

1.  Nancy Drew - Nancy is the best heroine ever.  She's always brave, she's always perfectly polite and her pumps always go with her dress.  Not to mention the fact that the girl is a walking encyclopedia and knows everything about everything.  She's also willing to go investigate despite that she or one of her friends gets kidnapped every time.  And despite  all the obstacles against her she always figures it out in the end.  I think Nancy was my first experience with binge reading!  Also, the covers are fantastic!

2. Rue from The Hunger Games - So Rue isn't technically the heroine of The Hunger Games but I loved her.  She had the most against her coming in - she was the smallest, the youngest and the most vulnerable - but she managed to keep a good attitude.  She was nice to Katniss when she sensed she needed a friend and tried to help her even knowing all the odds against them both.

3. Gemma James from Deborah Crombie's Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James mysteries - We meet Gemma when she's just starting out as a Sergeant and through the next 15 books (and hopefully many more) we watch her career and her relationship with Duncan grow.  But even from the beginning, Gemma is smart, logical, not afraid to speak up and with just the right amount of kindness and compassion.

4. Kate from The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn - This is one of my very favorite Bridgerton books and Kate is one of my favorite Quinn heroines.  She's smart and sarcastic and incredibly loyal both to her family and to her friends.

5.  Anne Shirley from the Anne of Green Gables Books by L.M.  Montgomery - We meet Anne as a little girl who makes the best of some pretty horrible circumstances, and we are by her side as she grows into the young woman who is pursuing her BA and then to the mother who sends her sons off to war.  She's tough enough to go through all that and still see the beauty in life.

6.  Lucy Pevensie from The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis - It's hard not to like Lucy! From the moment she steps through the wardrobe and into Narnia she pretty much rolls with it.  Not only is she okay with the whole other world in the wardrobe but she fights without hesitation to fix injustice.

7. Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - Scout is one of the few children in a book - particularly one considered a classic - that really comes off as a child.  She's nice and funny and brave but through it all she's a child seeing it all through a child's eyes.

8. Mary from The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett - I adore watching Mary grow up a bit in this book.  She goes from whiny little brat to interested and interesting.

9. Vera from And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie - Vera's past doesn't really make her a typical heroine but the fact that she doesn't have a complete and total breakdown by the 3rd murder while stuck on the island is truly impressive!

10. Evie from Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleyaps - I can't leave off Evie!  The shyest of the Wallflowers in the Kleypas series, Evie is smart enough to realize the situation that Sebastian is in and how they can help each other.  Not only that but she actually faces him and ignores his pretty obnoxious behavior to get what she wants.

So those are my top ten!  Who am I missing?  Who should I go check out ASAP?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Behind Every Great Man - Review

Behind Every Great Man: Women in the Shadows of History's Alpha Males by Marlene Wagman-Geller

Rating: 4 Stars
Source: NetGalley

Description:  Behind every great man there is a woman is the saying but unfortunately these women get lost in history.  In Behind Every Man, Marlene Wagman-Geller shines the light on these women and shows the personal sacrifice, patience, work and other qualities of these women.

Genre: NonFiction

Why I Picked This Book: Biographies always interest me and I love biographies about lesser know historical figures.

My Impression:
Pro: The length of the chapters was really perfect.  It was just long enough to give us a good understanding of where each woman came from, how she met her famous (or infamous) husband, and what her life was like as a married woman.  There was enough to get a sense of the woman without getting overly bogged down in detail.  I thought her choices of women was terrific as they were all the wives of people I was familiar with but almost all the names were new to me.  I know nothing about Einstein's first wife, or General MacArthur's wife and even less about Ghandi's wife.  And poor poor Mrs. Oscar Wilde.  The mix of women is fascinating.  Some are tragic, some are heartbreaking-ly patient, some are crazy (Gala Dali comes to mind), but they are all passionate women who sacrificed so much to support their husband.  Wagman-Geller's voice comes through and you get touches of her opinion on some of the men and dashes of humor which keep the book interesting but still a light read.

Con:
  If you're looking for an in-depth look on any of these women this isn't the book to go too.  Also, if you're expecting to read about more famous Women behind the Men (like Abigail Adams or Marie Antoinette) this isn't the book for that.  This is a book of women that truly were lost to history.  Neither of these were negatives for me at all though.

Overall:  The chapters in the book were addicting.  Each time I came to a new chapter I thought "well I want to learn about her.  I'll just read one more." I thoroughly enjoyed getting a look at the women behind (or propping up) the famous men!


Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Definitely!  I'll be looking for future books from her.

Would I Recommend this Book?:  Actually, I've already recommended it to several people and I keep telling my husband little tidbits I picked up!

Challenges Met? Alphabet Soup (B), 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

This Week in Reading - February 22

It's Sunday Post time!  This is hosted by the awesome Caffeinated Book Reviewer and gives us all a chance to recap our week!

What I Got:

A quieter week than the last two but not exactly silent!

Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman - This is a middle grade book involving 2 12 year olds and involves a game that centers around hidden books.  I'm very excited! Plus how could I pass up that cover? (NetGalley)

The Millionaire and the Bard: Henry Folger's Obsessive Hunt for Shakespeare's First Folio by Andrea Mays - The title prety much explains what the book is about and this one I'm very much looking forward too.  I love historical treasure hunts. (NetGalley)

Woman with a Secret by Sophie Hannah - While I liked Hannah's interpretation of Hercule Poirot in The Monogram Murders I'm really looking forward to seeing what she does with her own characters and in her own style. (Edelweiss)

Housekeeping vs. the Dirt by Nick Hornby - I read and enjoyed The Polysyllabic Spree a few years ago so I'm looking forward to seeing his thoughts on the books he's reading continue in this one (paperbackswap.com)

Currently:

Reading: A Sinful Deception by Isabella Bradford and Whose Body? by Dorothy Sayers

Listening:  Nothing.  We've been iced in on and off all week so I haven't had a chance to really listen to anything.

Watching: J and I watched The Mexican with Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt and that was pretty funny.  Other than I haven't been watching too much TV other than streaming Friends still.

Off the Blog:

North Alabama basically decided to turn into a block of ice this week especially on Friday.  The South gets a lot of flack because we shut down when it we get snow or ice but I don't think people realize how unprepared we are because we have no need to be prepared.  We don't have salt trucks or snow plows or anything like that and most county budgets don't stretch to have more than 1 or 2 per county if that.  We really only get snow/ice only once every few years so we have no experience driving in snow and only the major roads get cleared off.  Not to mention the fact that we really don't have the heating systems or clothing to deal with really low temperatures because we only need them for maybe a couple of days a year at most.  All this week the temperatures were in the 20s but by Saturday the high was 54 and for the most part the temperatures will stay in the 40s for the rest of the week and those are really the regular temperatures for us.  So rant over :)

All the bad weather has kept us inside this week and the Tornado has a serious case of cabin fever.  Luckily we had a birthday party this Saturday where he got a chance to get some energy out and play with his friends.  Which is good because I was going crazy!

I also got a nice lesson about walking on ice.  Turns out you can't - especially not in slippers.  Tuesday morning I hadn't realized the deck had turned into a slab of ice until I stepped on it and ended up on my back.  Luckily I came down at an angle and didn't break my tailbone but the bruising is spectacular and I'm not moving real fast right now.  I forget how important the whole back is until it's all bruised up!

On the Blog:

Reading Challenges:

For more information on my Reading Challenges this year go visit my Challenges Page
Since the last Sunday in January this is the progress I've made on my challenges -
1 new Foodie Reads which brings me up to 5/14
DHILMU, and V with the Alphabet Soup Challenge
I've visited CaliforniaMassachusettsMissouriNew York and Vermont for the Reading Road Trip
1 book for Library Challenge which brings me to 2/12
1 Historical Romance which brings me up to 1/12
I've also read 5 New to Me authors for the New to You! Challenge

What Happened:

Wednesday: Death and the Redheaded Woman - Review
Thursday: Ladle to the Grave - Review + Giveaway

What's Coming Up:

Monday: Behind Every Great Man - Nonfiction Review
Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Heroines
Wednesday: Under a Silent Moon - Mystery Review
Thursday: A Sinful Deception - Historical Romance Review
Friday: Friday linkups with excerpt from current read
Saturday: Whose Body? Review

Have a great week and happy reading!

I Mustache You a Question Tag


I was excited to see that Ashley over at Chronicles had tagged me in this fun post!  I'm in a big Poirot reading phase right now so I'm loving the mustache plus mustache puns make me giggle.  I originally meant to have this up on Tuesday but somehow that turned into Saturday!

Four names people call me other than my real name
1. Mom
2. Mrs. P
3. X's Mom (depending on which kid's friend it is)
4. Coach (I coached Emma's soccer team for years.  I'm not good at soccer but I'm seriously competitive)

Four Jobs I've Had
1. Gift Shop Worker at a local museum
2. Bookkeeper at the same museum
3. Runner for a legal firm
4. Systems Analyst for a defense contractor

Four Movies I Would/Have Watched More Than Once
1. Grosse Pointe Blank
2. Princess Bride
3. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
4. Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken (This was a Disney movie that came out in 91 about a girl who wanted to dive horses in a travelling act.  I watched this so many times that even though I haven't seen it in 20 years I can still quote it!)

Four Books I'd Recommend
1. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
2. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
3. The Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs
4. The Tastemakers by David Sax

Four Places I've Been
1. New Orleans
2. New York
3. Key West
4. Washington, D.C.

Four Places I'd Rather Be
1. Ireland (anywhere)
2. England (anywhere)
3. Key West (I'm cold)
4. The Chattanooga Aquarium where we've been meaning to take The Tornado.  I think he'd love it!

Four Things I Don't Eat
1.Goat Cheese (because I'm allergic and got badly allergic about 4 years ago.  I love the stuff but can't eat it)
2. Shrimp (ditto goat cheese)
3. Mushrooms (because they're squishy though I don't mind the actual flavor)
4. Olives (because they're yucky to borrow my 5 year old's terminology)

Four of my Favorite Foods:
1. Cheeseburgers
2. Cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
3. Butternut Squash Ravioli
4. Creme Brulee

Four TV Shows That I Watch
1. NCIS and all the off-shoots
2. Doctor Who
3. Stalker
4. The Big Bang Theory

Four Things I'm Looking Forward to This Year (2015)
1. Emma's graduation (though that makes me a little sad too)
2. Paul getting his driver's license so I'm officially done driving the older group around
3. Going to The Sing Off concert next month because I love the show and can't wait to see some of the acts in person
4. Switching bedrooms around which I think may give me more room for books!

Four Things I'm Always Saying
1. "Are you serious?"  Between the teenagers and the Tornado this comes up a lot!
2. "You don't have to say everything that comes into your head."  Ditto above
3.  "No part of me wants to know." This is normally said to teenagers
4.  "Text when you get there and be careful" pretty much anytime any of the teenagers leave the house.

Four People I Tag: