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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Garden of Lamentations by Deborah Crombie

Good morning, everyone! Are you ready for Thanksgiving tomorrow? I know I am.

Today I'm a stop on the TLC blog tour for Deborah Crombie's Garden of Lamentations, the 17th installment in her Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series.

When a young girl is found dead in one of Notting Hill's private gardens, Gemma James isn't initially part of the investigation. She soon learns, though, that the girl was both a full time nanny and a part time babysitter and model for a good friend. At first, as a favor for her friend, she only accompanies her to offer condolences to the family. But soon, Gemma finds herself drawn into the case.

Meanwhile, Duncan has learned that his former boss is back in the office and is on the hunt for answers. Still reeling from the loss of a fellow officer, Duncan has never had an explanation about why he was transferred so suddenly out of his former position. It appears his suspicion of corruption at the Yard might be on point, cryptically confirmed by the very same old boss. But when that man is attacked just moments after meeting with Duncan, he realizes the issue is much deeper than he'd initially thought. And now he wonders if his family is at risk. 

I love this series! If you're looking for a fantastic set of mysteries with characters you can root for and a deep backlist to keep you busy, Deborah Crombie's series is it!

I've mentioned in past reviews of series installments that you can read these out of order, but (fair warning) each one does link directly to the one before. In this one, there are a lot of threads that tie back to To Dwell in Darkness. A lot! And of course by diving straight in here you do miss a lot of the backstory of these characters and their relationships.

And yet, I feel comfortable saying that the worst would be potential spoilers for the previous novel. The plotting and pacing of each new book is always stellar and Crombie pays ample attention in each new book to further developing her characters and their stories, so there is plenty to fall in love with even if you are new to the series. Enough to hook you and make you want to go back and read those earlier books!

If you want to start the series from the beginning, the series list is:

A Share in Death
All Shall Be Well
Leave the Grave Green
Mourn Not Your Dead
Dreaming of the Bones
Kissed a Sad Goodbye
A Finer End
And Justice There is None
Now You May Weep
In a Dark House
Water Like a Stone
Where Memories Lie
Necessary as Blood
No Mark Upon Her
The Sound of Broken Glass
To Dwell in Darkness
Garden of Lamentations

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Deborah Crombie and her work you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Guest Post by Christy Carlyle

Hi, readers! Today I have a special treat, I'm hosting author Christy Carlyle, author of How to Woo a Wallflower! Before I hand things over to Christy, here's a bit about the book from Goodreads:

An Unconventional Wallflower…

Clarissa Ruthven was born to be a proper lady, but she’s never wanted to live up to the expectations her late father set. Determined to use her inheritance to help the less fortunate women of London, she’s devastated to learn that she won’t be inheriting anything until she marries, a fate she has no interest in. Unwilling to let go of her plans, Clary works at Ruthven Publishing for Gabriel Adamson, a man who’s always hated her. She’s always returned the feeling, but as she begins to turn her family’s publishing company upside down, she finds herself unable to forget her handsome boss.

Never Follows the Rules…

Gabriel Adamson believes in order. He certainly doesn’t believe Clary should be sticking her nose in the publishing company, and she definitely has no business invading his every thought. But Gabe soon finds he can’t resist Clary’s sense of freedom or her passionate kisses and he starts to crave everything she’s willing to give him.

Especially When It Comes to Love…

When Gabe’s dark past comes back to haunt him, he’ll do anything to make sure that Clary isn’t hurt…even if it means giving up the only woman he’s ever loved.

The fact that this one involves a woman working in publishing, makes it all that much more appealing to me!

And now, over to Christy!

The Perks of Being a Wallflower in Historical Romance 
by Christy Carlyle 

I relate to wallflowers in fiction. Could be because, way back in the Stranger Things era, I kind of was one.

If you time traveled back to the 1980’s, you’d find me somewhere in the cluttered rush of a high school hallway. I wasn’t the cool girl or the super fashionable one. I was bookish and bespectacled, though I did have an elaborately decorated locker.

There weren’t any fancy balls in my life, no Empire gowns or chairs at the back of a room full of elegant dancers. I was just quirky. I didn’t fit in any of the cliques that existed at my high school. Maybe I was a bit of a loner. I certainly never got an invite to the prom.

Maybe that’s why I’ve never defined wallflowers as the shy unassuming girl, but the unique one. Sure, she might prefer books to most people, or be awkward when she means to be eloquent, but there’s more to every wallflower, and she’ll surprise you every time.

I think of wallflowers on a continuum that includes Molly Ringwald’s Andie in Pretty in Pink every bit as much as Anne Elliot in Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Take the time to notice an unappreciated young woman, and you might just find someone who’s fierce and clever and as interesting as any heroine ever written.

History—where the marriage plot rules and women who didn’t conform to society’s expectations were likely to be scorned or overlooked— isn’t the same as historical romance. Romance is the ideal place to celebrate the wallflower who no one expects to be fabulous. In historical romance being unusual isn’t a curse. It’s an opportunity to shine.

So, who are a couple of my favorite recent quirky, unconventional wallflowers in historical romance?

Lisa Kleypas gave us a perfect example in one of my favorite books this year, Devil in Spring. The story opens with Lady Pandora Ravenel sitting in a chair at a ball, bored out of her mind. Oh, so relatable. And we soon find that Pandora isn’t shy or meek. She’s loyal, stubborn, and bold. And once the hero actually takes the time to notice her—let’s just say, in an odd situation—he can’t stop noticing how unique and appealing she is. Pandora is the quintessential unconventional wallflower.

Lily Maxton’s recent The Rogue’s Conquest gave me a wallflower to love too. Eleanor Thompson is more interested in entomology than etiquette, and she’s bold enough to go and present her paper at a men’s scientific society—in disguise, of course. And, of course, former prize fighter James MacGregor notices her, including her faulty disguise, and does what a rogue should never do. He becomes bewitched by a wallflower.

In my latest book, How to Woo a Wallflower, I loved allowing my quirky heroine to revel in all of her uniqueness. Clary Ruthven was the girl in the back of the ballroom who nobody asked to dance, partly because she has no intention of conforming to society’s expectations. Despite being the daughter of an etiquette book writer, she’s a natural born rebel and never follows the rules, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. She’s not your typical Victorian lady, but she’s one of my favorite wallflowers.

Who are your favorite literary wallflowers? 

About the author: Fueled by Pacific Northwest coffee and inspired by multiple viewings of every British costume drama she can get her hands on, USA Today bestselling author Christy Carlyle writes sensual historical romance set in the Victorian era. She loves heroes who struggle against all odds and heroines who are ahead of their time. A former teacher with a degree in history, she finds there's nothing better than being able to combine her love of the past with a die-hard belief in happy endings.

Huge, huge thanks to Christy for being here today. And huge thanks to her fabulous publicist for setting this up!   

My own favorite literary wallflowers, the wife in Rebecca and Jane of Jane Eyre!

How to Woo a Wallflower is the third in the Romancing the Rules series and is out on shelves now.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

New Releases 11/21/17

It's slim pickings this week because of the holiday, but here goes. Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

Poison by Galt Niederhoffer

Winter of Ice and Iron by Rachel Neumeier

The Magic Misfits by Neil Patrick Harris

New on DVD:
The Hitman's Bodyguard
Birth of the Dragon
Valerian
Leap

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Pre Pub Book Buzz: Artificial Condition by Martha Wells

Say it with me now, Murderbot! Murderbot! Murderbot!

When I started Martha Wells's All Systems Red earlier this year, I really didn't know what I was in for. Yes, the description sounded fun but I was new to Martha Wells. Aside from the fact that I've loved just about every Tor.com novella thus far, I didn't really know what to expect.

Readers, it was oh, so freaking fabulous! And now, the second installment in Martha Wells's Murderbot Diaries is probably the sci fi title I'm most looking forward to at this very moment! Here's a bit about the book from Goodreads:

It has a dark past – one in which a number of humans were killed. A past that caused it to christen itself “Murderbot”.

But it has only vague memories of the massacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more.

Teaming up with a Research Transport vessel named ART (you don’t want to know what the “A” stands for), Murderbot heads to the mining facility where it went rogue.

What it discovers will forever change the way it thinks…

This one doesn't come out until May, but you can tide yourself over until then by reading the first one if you haven't yet. Trust me, you want to - you're in for a huge treat!

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Missing by C. L. Taylor

Good morning, everyone! Today I'm a stop on the TLC blog tour for C. L. Taylor's The Missing.

It's been six months since Billy went missing and not a day goes by that Claire doesn't try to find him. Her family is falling apart and the police seem to have given up, but she refuses. She knows, without a doubt, that he's out there somewhere. All she wants is for her family to be together again, the way they used to be.

The public are sure the family is involved. It's always the way, isn't it? But Claire is just as certain her family can't have had anything to do with Billy's going missing. But as more time goes by, Claire begins to realize her own family is full of dark secrets.

The Missing is a dark and twisty read. It clocks in at almost 500 pages, but it moves along at a super fast pace.

Of course part of the pacing is the mystery about Billy's disappearance. Claire drives the story along with her relentless search for answers, taking the reader right along with her as she attempts to comb through Billy's world. Any minute clue she can find leads her down another path, all in an attempt to find answers.

But Claire's having blackouts. The first happens not long into the story, just a day or so after the six month appeal on tv. She's with a friend, when the friend makes a comment about moving on and next thing she knows, she's waking up in a B&B her family used to visit when her sons were young.

Of course one black out would be worrisome, but then it happens again.

Meanwhile, her family is literally falling apart. Her nineteen-year-old son is drinking, his relationship with his live in girlfriend is rocky, and Claire finds out both he and her husband are keeping things from her.

The Missing kept me guessing right through to the end!

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on C. L. Taylor and her work you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Anne of Green Gables Deluxe Edition Giveaway

Happy Thursday, all! Today I have a special treat for all you "Anne with an e" fans. The good folks over at Penguin have just released a brand new, deluxe edition of the L.M. Montgomery classic and it is gorgeous!

Here's a little bit of info from the publisher:

If you’re anything like me, you grew up reading and loving Anne of Green Gables, the classic coming-of-age tale by L.M. Montgomery. For more than a century now, Anne has been a literary icon—clever, scrappy, and imaginative, a heroine for the ages whose journey continues to capture the hearts of readers everywhere.

This fall, Penguin Classics is excited to publish a brand new deluxe edition of Anne of Green Gables, featuring a foreword by the New York Times bestselling author J. Courtney Sullivan (Maine, Commencement, The Engagements) and an introduction by L.M. Montgomery scholar Benjamin Lefebvre. This new publication also features reviews and a selection of early writing by Montgomery about the process of creating the book, along with stunning cover art by Siobhán Gallagher, whose artwork has been featured in US Weekly, Lenny Letter, Bustle, and more.

Mark Twain once described Anne as “the dearest and most lovable child in fiction since the immortal Alice,” and The New York Times calls the novel, “a Canadian cultural export matched only by hockey and the Mounties.” Since its original publication in 1908, Anne of Green Gables has sold more than 50 million copies and has been translated into 36 languages. Anne’s tale is a celebration of fierce individualism, and the power of the families we create, rather than the ones we are born into.

In other words, if you're an Anne fan, you definitely want this book! 

Thanks to Penguin, I am offering up one copy of this new edition to one of you lucky readers. To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below before Monday, December 4. Open US only and no PO boxes please. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Sourdough by Robin Sloan

Lois Clary is a programmer. Her job is just one of many at General Dexterity, working to make robot arms as good as the real thing. But the long days and lonely nights have left Lois with a twisted up stomach and no real friends.

All of that changes when she finds the Clement Street Soup and Sourdough menu taped to her door. They serve two things: a spicy soup or a spicy sandwich, which you can order as a combo (double spicy) that comes with sourdough bread for dunking. And it's amazing! Life changing amazing! Lois orders so often the brothers who run Clement Street Soup and Sourdough call her their #1 eater.

But then the brothers announce that they're leaving, their visas have run out. Before they go, though, they gift Lois with their starter - a living, breathing thing that needs to be cared for an fed! It's the start of a new adventure for Lois, one that'll change her life in ways she couldn't imagine!

Lois, who's never baked and has barely managed to keep a cactus alive, has to take care of a sourdough starter. But it's not just any sourdough starter. This one has to be kept happy and fed like any other, but she's also been instructed to play it music. And the bread that results from this starter, when Lois tries her hand, has faces in it!

But it's a magnificent bread, one that Lois shares and eventually sells. But the bread, and the brothers who gave it to her, have an odd history. Chaimen and Beoreg call themselves Mazg, something Lois has never heard of and can't really find anything about online. In an age when everything is available online!

This is such a lovely book! There's really no better word to describe it, it's just absolutely delightful! And it's weird - the kind of book that doesn't really easily fit into a category. Annalee Newitz listed it on this Sci Fi and Fantasy list, so Imma go with it being sci fi. And it does certainly have elements of that, not least of which is the market that Lois eventually becomes part of, which is focused on new innovation in food. But again, genre aside, it's a feel good book that I'm certain will appeal to anyone looking for a read that'll give them the warm and fuzzies!

This was another audio book for me and I just adored it. The narrator, Therese Plummer, was fantastic - wry and charming and the perfect embodiment (through voice, obvs) of Lois. Not only that, but the audio includes the music of the Mazg.

Whichever way you choose to read it, print or audio, Sourdough is unique and fabulous. Definitely one I highly recommend!