Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Novel Glimpses (7)--The Time Machine, The Color Purple

Novel Glimpses is my feature for mini-reviews...really just a fancy name for them! The only difference than with my traditional mini-reviews is that I will include my Goodreads rating, something I do not do with my regular reviews. Feel free to participate...just credit me and link back if you do. (want to read a book description?  Clicking the book covers will take you to the book's page on Amazon).
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The Color Purple by Alice Walker
My Goodreads rating:  4 stars
One of my favorite films is The Color Purple.  I actually didn't realize it until recently, as I was reading the book and it just happened to come on cable.  I proceeded to watch it twice during the time of reading the book and I remembered how much I loved it.  Well, the film in no way prepared me for how wonderful the book is.  The film and the book are actually pretty close until it gets closer to the end.  The ending in the book blows the movie away.  The Color Purple is not just a story of a black woman who struggles with an abusive husband and missing a sister who she felt was the only person who ever loved her.  It's a story of a community of black people who try to exist in a world of the white man's disdain and oppression.  What makes the book so much better than the movie is that Walker allows the characters to grow in the end.  There is a feeling of redemption for all of the characters, not just Celie.  I liked it much better.  Once again, the book prevails over the movie.  Go figure. ;O)

Reading Challenges:
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
My Goodreads rating:  4 stars
This is a really short read, but no less impactful.  Wells really was ahead of his time in the prediction of man's future on earth.  Yes, certainly, what he predicted for our future has not happened...yet...and we will never know in our lifetimes (or our childrens' lifetimes) if it will happen this way.  But I believe the future of our world is bound to end up similarly, especially if mankind doesn't start changing its ways now.  And, of course, it's a question of evolution as well.  Wells was an expert craftsman in his depiction of the starkly different characters of the Eloi and the Morlocks.  Again, for a very short book, the story packs quite a punch.  I listened to it on audio and it was very easy book to listen to in this way.

Reading Challenges:


Book Tour: Guest Post--M.J. Rose, author of The Book of Lost Fragrances

M.J. Rose: I've been fascinated with lost fragrances since long before I started writing The Book of Lost Fragrances... since I found a bottle of perfume on my great grandmother's dresser that had belonged to her mother in Russia. Here is one of those lost fragrances that stirs the senses and the imagination... (reasearched and described with the help of the perfume writer Dimitrios Dimitriadis)

GUERLAIN - FLEUR DE FEU Glorious carnation rests at the heart of this extraordinarily rare perfume created in 1948 by French perfumers Guerlain. Fleur de Feu (or 'Fire Flower') was Guerlain's first fragrance released after WWII, and is a warm, radiant floral with crisp aldehydes in the opening. It boasts a sensual bouquet of carnation, jasmine, ylang ylang and iris, over a lip-smacking Guerlinade vanilla/tonka base. Now sadly a thing of the past, Fleur de Feu is a bright, shining star in the firmament of yesteryear.

M.J. Rose is the international best selling author of eleven novels and two non-fiction books on marketing. Her next novel THE BOOK OF LOST FRAGRANCES (Atria/S&S) will be published in March 2012. Her fiction and non-fiction has appeared in many magazines and reviews including Oprah Magazine. She has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio. Rose graduated from Syracuse University, spent the '80s in advertising, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors - The television series PAST LIFE, was based on Rose's novels in the Renincarnationist series. She is one of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers and runs the blog- Buzz, Balls & Hype. She is also the co-founder of and

Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield, and their very spoiled and often photographed dog, Winka.

For more information on M.J. Rose and her novels, please visit her WEBSITE. You can also find her on Facebook.

A sweeping and suspenseful tale of secrets, intrigue, and lovers separated by time, all connected through the mystical qualities of a perfume created in the days of Cleopatra--and lost for 2,000 years. 

Jac L'Etoile has always been haunted by the past, her memories infused with the exotic scents that she grew up surrounded by as the heir to a storied French perfume company. In order to flee the pain of those remembrances--and of her mother's suicide--she moved to America. Now, fourteen years later she and her brother have inherited the company along with it's financial problems. But when Robbie hints at an earth-shattering discovery in the family archives and then suddenly goes missing--leaving a dead body in his wake--Jac is plunged into a world she thought she'd left behind.

Back in Paris to investigate her brother's disappearance, Jac becomes haunted by the legend the House of L'Etoile has been espousing since 1799. Is there a scent that can unlock the mystery of reincarnation - or is it just another dream infused perfume?

The Book of Lost Fragrances fuses history, passion, and suspense, moving from Cleopatra's Egypt and the terrors of revolutionary France to Tibet's battle with China and the glamour of modern-day Paris. Jac's quest for the ancient perfume someone is willing to kill for becomes the key to understanding her own troubled past. 

Take a look at the TOUR SCHEDULE to visit more stops on the tour

Twitter Hashtag: #LostFragrancesVirtualBookTour 

Watch for my review on Friday....


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

TuesBookTalk March Selection: House of Leaves

TuesBookTalk Read Alongs on Twitter (@tuesbooktalk  #tuesbooktalk) and on Goodreads chose fantasy (epic, steampunk, dystopian, fairy tales retold, etc.) for March's genre.  Our discussion starts Tuesday, March 6 on Twitter at 10:30pm ET/9:30pm CT.  You do not have to join us on Twitter.  Feel free to share your thoughts in the Goodreads group if you can't make the chat on Twitter.  Get the full reading schedule HERE.  This month we are reading:


Mailbox Monday

A quick Mailbox Monday post this week, as I have the flu and I barely have enough energy to do anything.  Damn it.  =O(

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia and is currently on tour. This month's host is Metroreader. (want to read a book description? Clicking the book covers will take you to the book's page on Amazon)
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The Queen's Pleasure by Brandy Purdy....tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Witch Child by Celia Rees

Vampire Haiku by Ryan Mecum


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Review Copy Cleanup

Okay, I'm probably going to regret this, but if you saw my review book pile (which you will soon), you would understand why I'm going to attempt this.  I had to put a halt on accepting review copies until I get these caught up (with the exception of some tours on which I'm a regular participant).  For me to pull this off is going to take a lot of organization on my part and I'm going to have to set deadlines throughout the month.  This event is being hosted by the lovely ladies at Nyx Book Reviews and Book, Biscuits and Tea.  Here are the details as outlined by them:

✦ This challenge runs from 1 to 31 March, 2012
✦ Sign-ups are open until 15 March 2012. After that the linky list will be closed and participation in the challenges and giveaways won't be possible for anyone who hasn't previously signed up.
✦ To sign up, just fill in the Mister Linky form below. Link to your sign up post directly, please!The Linky is the same for both our blogs, so you only have to sign up once.
✦ When you post your sign up post on your blog, either include the challenge button with your post or link it back to this article so that people know where to sign up. Thank you!
✦ Every book you received for review counts towards the challenge, both ebooks and hard copies, including all genres and lengths.
✦ You don't need to follow the two hosts in order to be able to sign up for the event (although it's appreciated), but you do have to follow us in order to be able to enter our giveaways. In order to be entered in the giveaway, simply complete the given challenge and add the link to your post in the linky list.
✦ Challenges will be posted every week on Fridays and will last throughout the week until Thursday the next week. Every challenge ends with a giveaway. To enter in the challenges and giveaways, simply add the link to your challenge post in the Linky list in the main challenge post. It will be posted on both blogs.
✦ At the end of the event we will host our Massive Giveaway. This contains tons of prizes donated by awesome authors. All you'll need to do in order to enter this giveaway is to fill in a Rafflecopter form - as simple as that. :)
✦ Most of our giveaways will be open INTERNATIONALLY but you'll find all the relevant info about each giveaway when we post the challenges.
✦ Feel free to use the #RCCleanup hashtag on Twitter for your RCC related tweets or join in the Twitter party at and meet lots of lovely bloggers :)

Challenge schedule:

✦ March 2 - Show Off Your Pile
✦ March 9 - Cuddle Up With a Book
✦ March 16 - Don't Be Such a Tease!
✦ March 23 - Mysterious Meet-up
✦ March 30 - Love Will Find a Way

Book Nooks (9)

Book Nooks 
*Every weekend* 
Founder: Sasha Soren (Random Magic
I'm hosting through April 2012.
Show us something pretty!

Commentary:  Okay, I totally freaking love this! I think this is my favorite nook of all time.  Look at the dark wood and the ornately carved ladder leading up to a cozy loft.  If I was reading in the nook and I felt sleepy, I would just climb up the ladder and take a nice nap in the loft.  And there's also a window! Really, what more could a reader want?  Just lovely.

Photo credit: via Steph on Pinterest
Source:  Sweep Tight


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cat Thursday

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

A very special Cat Thursday this week.  Here is Alice Anne on the eve of her birthday.  Yes, her birthday is tomorrow, February 24.  She'll be five years old.

In case you're wondering why I'm suddenly calling her Alice Anne.  Well, she has a middle name now! My husband's brother has been staying with us and he started calling her Alice Anne and since my middle name is Anne, I thought, why not!

"Am I really a year older tomorrow?"
"I'm not quite sure how I feel about that!"


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

TTBA Weekly News and Mailbox Monday

This feature was inspired by It's Monday! What are you reading? hosted by Sheila at Book Journey and by The Sunday Salon.

Hope everyone had a great week last week! I don't have much to report, except that my family and I got to stay at the Opryland Hotel over the weekend for a Dreamworks Family Fun Night, courtesy of Klout perks.  You can read all about it HERE.  It was great fun and didn't cost us a penny. =O)

Have you checked out my new history blog yet?  It's brand new so there's not much posted over there yet, but my introductory post is about William Wallace.  And the blog design is nice too. ;O)  Stop by and check it out if you get a chance.  The blog is called A Brave Heart.


Just a quick reminder:  Marie and I are hosting a read-a-long of Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor over at our blog, Historical Fiction Connection.  It runs from March 18 through April 14.  Head over to the blog and read this POST for all the details.  If you haven't signed up yet, we would love for you to join us!

What I'm reading:
The Color Purple by Alice Walker (for TuesBookTalk)
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (still trying to catch up for the read-a-long)
Macbeth by Shakespeare

The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau (REVIEW)
The Rebel Wife by Taylor M. Polites (REVIEW)

Starting soon:
Oleanna by Julie K. Rose
The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose (book tour/review on 2/29)

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia and is currently on tour. This month's host is Metroreader. (want to read a book description? Clicking the book covers will take you to the book's page on Amazon)

BookBox: embed book widget, share book list

The Forest Laird: A Tale of William Wallace by Jack Whyte (from publisher, Tor/Forge)

Twilight of Avalon: A Novel of Tristan and Isolde by Anne Elliott
Dark Moon of Avalon: A Novel of Tristan and Isolde (Book 2) by Anne Elliott

The Turquoise by Anya Seton
The Shangri-La Diet: The No Hunger Eat Anything Weight Loss Plan by Seth Roberts, Ph.D.
The Everything Guide to Writing a Novel by Joyce and Jim Lavene

Blue Bloods by Melissa De La Cruz
Treasury of Art Nouveau Design and Ornament (Dover Books)
Twelve Degas Dancers Bookmarks (Dover Books)
Keep Calm and Carry On bookmark


Monday, February 20, 2012

Book Tour: Book Review and {Give@way}--The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau

My thoughts:
It was a perilous time during the reign of Henry the VIII of England.  Women who caught his eye and who were 'lucky' enough to be made his wife would not feel so lucky for long.  At least, in the case of a few of them.  Loyal servants who served his will in one instance could next find themselves out of favor and facing execution for some failing, many times through no fault of their own.  And none felt the danger more than the faithful who served at the monasteries, at the priories and abbeys throughout England at the time.  These institutions were being suppressed and the nuns and monks turned out (with or without pensions, depending on the situation) to either find houses in foreign countries or to find new ways of life.  For many, a life outside of an religious order was unthinkable, but they were given no choice as Henry appointed himself the head of the Church and ushered in a new era of religious reform.

It is among this strife that this excellent novel is set.  Meticulously researched, The Crown is at once a historical novel that the reader will learn a lot from.  I am always pleasantly surprised when I learn something new from a historical novel and in this case, I learned of King Athelstan, a king that I had never heard of.  Just when you think you know pretty much everything about a particular country's history, something like this comes along to prove you wrong.  It happened to me here in a big way.  I can't wait to go off on my own and read more about him and the legends surrounding him.  One of these legends is about his crown which is what the book is about.  There is a desperate search for this crown and so we are also given an exciting and interesting mystery along with the excellent historical prose.  I'm not kidding when I say exciting.  I was literally on the edge of my seat during many parts of the book.

Add to what I've said above the seamless incorporation of historical figures, such as Mary Tudor, Katherine of Aragon, Anne and George Boleyn, Catherine Howard, Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, as well as compelling and heroic characters, and this book easily takes a place on my list of great works of historical fiction.  Joanna is a heroine I have a strong liking and admiration for and I look forward to the continuation of the series in the second book, The Chalice.

About the book:
An aristocratic young nun must find a legendary crown in order to save her father—and preserve the Catholic faith from Cromwell’s ruthless terror. The year is 1537...

Joanna Stafford, a Dominican nun, learns that her favorite cousin has been condemned by Henry VIII to be burned at the stake. Defying the sacred rule of enclosure, Joanna leaves the priory to stand at her cousin’s side. Arrested for interfering with the king’s justice, Joanna, along with her father, is sent to the Tower of London.

The ruthless Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, takes terrifying steps to force Joanna to agree to spy for him: to save her father’s life she must find an ancient relic—a crown so powerful, it may hold the ability to end the Reformation. Accompanied by two monks, Joanna returns home to Dartford Priory and searches in secret for this long-lost piece of history worn by the Saxon King Athelstan in 937 during the historic battle that first united Britain.

But Dartford Priory has become a dangerous place, and when more than one dead body is uncovered, Joanna departs with a sensitive young monk, Brother Edmund, to search elsewhere for the legendary crown. From royal castles with tapestry-filled rooms to Stonehenge to Malmesbury Abbey, the final resting place of King Athelstan, Joanna and Brother Edmund must hurry to find the crown if they want to keep Joanna’s father alive. At Malmesbury, secrets of the crown are revealed that bring to light the fates of the Black Prince, Richard the Lionhearted, and Katherine of Aragon’s first husband, Arthur. The crown’s intensity and strength are beyond the earthly realm and it must not fall into the wrong hands.

With Cromwell’s troops threatening to shutter her priory, bright and bold Joanna must now decide who she can trust with the secret of the crown so that she may save herself, her family, and her sacred way of life. This provocative story melds heart-stopping suspense with historical detail and brings to life the poignant dramas of women and men at a fascinating and critical moment in England’s past.

Nancy Bilyeau's Website
Nancy Bilyeau on Twitter: @TudorScribe

Tour Event Twitter Hashtag: #TheCrownVirtualBookTour

Check out Nancy's excellent guest post HERE
Open to U.S. entrants only (per publisher).  To win a copy of The Crown, leave a comment telling me who is your favorite Tudor historical figure.  Winner will be chosen randomly via  Giveaway ends on Monday, March 5, 2012 at 11:59pm CST.  Good luck!

Reading Challenges:


FTC Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the publisher in conjunction with a book tour for Historical Fiction Virtual Book tours and in exchange for an honest review.  I received no monetary compensation.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Bleak House Read-a-Long and Self-Imposed Read-a-Thon results

So, my self-imposed read-a-thon did not go as well as I'd hoped.  I did manage to read The Rebel Wife by Taylor M. Polites--294 pages--(REVIEW) and I made some progress in The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau.  Did not read any of Gone with the Wind, The Secret History, or Macbeth. =O(  We are going to stay at the Opryland Hotel today/tonight and I'm not taking my computer (you're shocked, I know) so I'm hoping I can get some reading done tonight after we go back to the room.

Bleak House Read-a-Long

March, April, May...hosted by Wallace at Unputdownables.  I have been wanting to read this one for a while now.  Really looking forward to it!


  • You do not have to be a book blogger to join.
  • We will be reading the book in March, April, & May (13 weeks), with the first discussion happening on Friday, March 2nd / the book is 817 pages (paperback, Barnes and Noble Classics edition) so that’s roughly 9 pages a day.
  • Don’t be intimidated. We will be going at a slow pace and discussing the book throughout our reading. The discussions are quite fun, and make the reading process very enjoyable!
Read more at Unputdownables....

Reading and Posting Schedule:

Beginning Friday, Febraury 24th and ending Friday, May 25th.


Week #/ dates :: Place in which to STOP

Week One/ February 24- March 1 :: Chapter 6
Week Two/ March 2-8 :: Chapter 10
Week Three/ March 9-15 ::Chapter 15
Week Four/ March 16-22 :: Chapter 20
Week Five/ March 23- 29 :: Chapter 24
Week Six/ March 30- April 5 :: Chapter 30
Week Seven/ April 6-12 :: Chapter 34
Week Eight/ April 13-19 :: Chapter 39
Week Nine/ April 20-26 :: Chapter 45
Week Ten/ April 27- May 3 :: Chapter 51
Week Eleven/ May 4- 10 :: Chapter 56
Week Twelve/ May 11-17 :: Chapter 61
Week Thirteen/ May 18-24 :: The End


Post #/ date post should be up on blog:

Start up Post/ Today!
Week One/ March 2nd
Week Two/ March 9th
Week Three/ March 16th
Week Four/ March 23rd
Week Five/ March 30th
Week Six/ April 6th
Week Seven/ April 13th
Week Eight/ April 20th
Week Nine/ April 27th
Week Ten/ May 4th
Week Eleven/ May 11th
Week Twelve/ May 18th
Week Thirteen/ May 25th (Final Review)

** Please don’t forget to come to this blog each Friday and share your thoughts in the comments section of the weekly Read-a-Long discussion (see below for more information).**

Further details on the process

Will you be joining us?


Book Nooks (8)

Book Nooks 
*Every weekend* 
Founder: Sasha Soren (Random Magic
I'm hosting through April 2012.
Show us something pretty!

Commentary:  Can you see the cozy window seat behind the ladder?  I absolutely love this one.  What a clever idea! I'm thinking this is either a loft type area or a small sitting area leading to the upper rooms of the house.  So awesome! And the red walls and wood of the bookshelves give it a cozy library feel.

Photo credit:  unknown
Join in: Add your own Book Nooks post 
- See more at: