Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Painted Lady by Richard Masefield - #review


From her luxurious mansion in St James’s, London, Milady looks back through the years – to hear the church bells ringing in celebration of Wellington’s great victory at Waterloo, at the time when she left clacking tongues behind her in the Sussex village of Alfriston for adventure and employment in fashionable Brighton, the ‘second capital of England’. There as the seventeen-year-old Sary Snudden, with her reputation already ruined, she becomes a prostitute, the ‘Painted Lady’ of the title. Yet even Regency conventions are to prove too narrow for a girl of Sary’s flamboyant character. Caught up in a passionate affair with young David Stanville, heir to Lord Southbourne’s great estate of Hadderton, she and her lover cross the Alps on a perilous journey by coach and sled to the excitement of a popular revolution in Turin and an erotically charged idyll in the Italian lakes. But the question of how she’ll cross the greater gulf, which lies between her humble origins and the noble status David seeks for her, remains the central problem of Milady’s life. Moving from the great military encampments of Napoleonic Sussex to the pleasure grounds of nineteenth century Europe, from the practical routines of a well-run brothel, to the elegant manners of St James’s, Painted Lady spans a colourful half-century of European history. A delightful, romping adventure, the novel introduces an unforgettable new heroine to historical fiction.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Finding Fontainebleau by Todd Carhart - #review


FINDING FONTAINEBLEAU (On-sale: May 17, 2016; $27.00; ISBN: 978-0-525-42880-0) recounts the adventures of Carhart and his family—his NATO officer father, his mother, four siblings, and their dog—in the provincial town of Fontainebleau, France, in the 1950s. Dominating life in the town is the beautiful Château of Fontainebleau. Begun in 1137, fifty years before the Louvre and more than five hundred before Versailles, the Château was a home for Marie-Antoinette, François I, and the two Napoleons, among others, all of whom added to its splendors without appreciably destroying the work of their predecessors.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Murder on the Mother Road by Glenn Nilson - #bookblast


Bobby Navarro rides his Harley into another adventure when he discovers the body of a young woman in the trunk of a parked car in Williams, Arizona, on old Route 66.

Who would leave a car, with a body in it, parked on the main street of town? And, who told the police Bobby had been the driver of the car, because they soon take him to the police station to conduct an “interview”.

Then, to make matters worse, Bobby realizes one of the police officers is a woman he had a crush on in high school. And, that’s just his first night in town. Next morning, Bobby has breakfast at a local diner, where everyone is talking about the murder and the arrest of one of the diner’s cooks. The staff don’t think the suspect is guilty of the crime, and one of the locals, Daryl King, lets slip to Bobby that he knows who the guilty party really is. Trouble is, Daryl won’t tell the police whatever it is he knows. In fact, Daryl has trouble talking with anyone. The fact that he made an exception in Bobby’s case, leads to Bobby agreeing to work with the police to find out if Daryl does know who the killer is. Bobby’s part in the investigation takes him to the Holiness Pentecostal Church of the Brethren, a church run by an ex-biker and two of his former gang members. There, he discovers a host of suspects, leaving Bobby to wonder whether he will have to “get religion” in order to help solve this Murder on the Mother Road.

Planted by C. T. Collier - #review


Planted is book one of the new mystery series, The Penningtons Investigate, from award-winning author C. T. Collier. The Penningtons, Lyssa and Kyle, are both PhD’s, and when their clever minds start asking questions, clever killers can’t hide.

It’s Monday of spring break when Professor Lyssa Pennington’s backyard garden project unearths a loaded revolver. With no record of violence at their address and no related cold case, the Tompkins Falls police have no interest. But the Penningtons and a friend with the State Police believe there a body somewhere. Whose? Where? And who pulled the trigger?

The Penningtons’ canvass of their quiet neighborhood turns up disturbing secrets about the family who lived in their house for decades and another ill-fated family a few doors away. No one seems to know how to contact the only sons of either family. The few facts they have about them don’t add up and, since the gun was buried about the time both young men disappeared from Tompkins Falls, the Penningtons feel compelled to find them and make sure all is well.

Lyssa follows the money story and finds twenty million dollars, a neighbor who’s not what he seems, and a long-buried rivalry. Kyle goes after homicide data in six states and finds a body. Their next surprise is a murderer who will go to any length to conceal the crime.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Address to Die For by Mary Feliz - #review #giveaway


For professional organizer Maggie McDonald, moving her family into a new home should be the perfect organizational challenge. But murder was definitely not on the to-do list . . .

Maggie McDonald has a penchant for order that isn’t confined to her clients’ closets, kitchens, and sock drawers. As she lays out her plan to transfer her family to the hundred-year-old house her husband, Max, has inherited in the hills above Silicon Valley, she has every expectation for their new life to fall neatly into place. But as the family bounces up the driveway of their new home, she’s shocked to discover the house’s dilapidated condition. When her husband finds the caretaker face-down in their new basement, it’s the detectives who end up moving in. What a mess! While the investigation unravels and the family camps out in a barn, a killer remains at large—exactly the sort of loose end Maggie can’t help but clean up . . .

Remember My Beauties by Lynne Hugo - #review


Imagine a hawk’s view of the magnificent bluegrass pastures of Kentucky horse country. Circle around the remnants of a breeding farm, four beautiful horses grazing just beyond the paddock. Inside the ramshackle house, a family is falling apart.

Hack, the patriarch breeder and trainer, is aged and blind, and his wife, Louetta, is confined by rheumatoid arthritis. Their daughter, Jewel, struggles to care for them and the horses while dealing with her own home and job—not to mention her lackluster second husband, Eddie, and Carley, her drug-addicted daughter. Many days, Jewel is only sure she loves the horses. But she holds it all together. Until her brother, Cal, shows up again. Jewel already has reason to hate Cal, and when he meets up with Carley, he throws the family into crisis—and gives Jewel reason to pick up a gun.

Every family has heartbreaks, failures, a black sheep or two. And some families end in tatters. But some stumble on the secret of survival: if the leader breaks down, others step up and step in. In this lyrical novel, when the inept, the addict, and the ex-con join to weave the family story back together, either the barn will burn to the ground or something bigger than any of them will emerge, shining with hope. Remember My Beauties grows large and wide as it reveals what may save us.

For more information on this and other Switchgrass titles, be sure to visit their website HERE.

Chalkhill Blue by Richard Masefield - #review


Chalkhill Blue is an award-winning novel of the First World War, and of so much else besides. A grand romance in the English narrative tradition, it spans more than two decades, from the Edwardian heyday through the cataclysm of the ‘war to end wars’ to the uncertain new world of the 1920s. As a study of deception and self-deception, it traces the lives of two women who have dared to flout the rules of their society, and those of the men who love them; the double strands of a remarkable love story which concludes with a heart-stopping double-twist that makes it literally unforgettable. But far more than a romance, this is also a descriptive novel of tremendous scope, transporting the reader from the parched drove-trails of Queensland to the horse-drawn congestion of Edwardian London; from the snow-capped cordilleras of the Andes to a truly astonishing underground city deep in the chalk of Artois. The timeless downland landscapes of Sussex and the little blue butterfly that haunts them are horrifyingly contrasted with the man-made desolation of their notorious counterparts across the Channel at Arras and on the Somme. Based on a true story, Chalkhill Blue is compulsory reading for anyone with a taste for the authentic and the unusual.