Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Woman From Paris by Santa Montefiore

Chance to win a copy Givaway Ends today, January 31st. Now is your last chance to enter.

Article first published as Book Review: The Woman From Paris by Santa Montefiore on Blogcritics.

Grief creates an emotional gulf that can travel in any direction. Often without thought, rage and jealousy come forth. Tenderness and feeling are pushed aside. Grief can tear a family apart, or build a stronger unit. The emotions create such a cavalcade of chaos; often that which is torn asunder never heals.

In The Woman from Paris by Santa Montefiore, we meet a young woman as she encounters members of the deceased’s family for the first time, during the reading of the will. In a place out of time, she finds there is something that draws her, making her want to connect in any way she can. They do not know her, and yet they open their arms, enfolding her in their grief and healing.

But she is a woman with a secret, a story that could tear apart the very foundations she has begun to build. Her own pain is beginning to lighten, and love seems to be available from an unexpected source. Yet what will happen when they find out the darkness of the truth she is hiding.

Invited into their circle she becomes as one of the family, but she knows that her house of cards could over balance at any time, tossing her into a maelstrom of heartache. Having survived one of the greatest tragedies of her young life, she is on the cusp of regaining what she had thought gone forever.

Greed and jealousy though are never far away, and just as it seems that she can finally trust her new family with the truth, blackmail sets the stage, slamming the door on everything she has gained. Cast adrift, she no longer knows where to go or what to do. Those that have severed the ties, feel the angst and heartache as well, suddenly something is missing, a glow, a simple feeling of living. Without the woman from Paris, life is bleak and drab. Can they learn to forgive and begin again?

Montefiore has given us a beautiful story of joy and heartache. The characters move through each of the facets of grief, including the anger. Phaedra, the young woman from Paris, is caught up in a series of events that create a divide, one that is carefully supported. If even one rope slips, she will lose the tenuous control she has gained. Each of the family is depicted in stark contrast, the good, the bad and the exceptional. The interaction drags you in, and the feeling holds you there. You feel both the joy and pain felt, when the truth becomes known.

The joy she infuses in her work shines throughout, a message of hope and love, of being open to change. Forgiveness and love come in strange packages, and we are treated to a wonderful rendition of courage.

If you enjoy contemporary novels, romance, and all the things that go with it, you will want to add this treasure to your library. It is a feel good story, full of exuberance and passion and threaded with hope. Score another winner for Santa Montefiore, this is an exceptional find.

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The Woman from Paris Book Summary:

When Lord Frampton dies in a skiing accident, a beautiful young woman named Phaedra appears at his funeral, claiming to be the Lord’s illegitimate daughter. In his will, Lord Frampton has left her the priceless Frampton suite of sapphires, confirming her claim and outraging his three adult sons and widow, Antoinette. Eventually, however, Phaedra’s sweet nature thaws the frosty relationships. She becomes the daughter that Antoinette never had and a wise and compassionate granddaughter to the formidable Dowager Lady Frampton. But an undeniable attraction grows between Phaedra and Frampton’s eldest son, David. It seems an impossible love—blocked by the fury of one family member determined to expose Phaedra as a fraud. Featuring the enchanting characters, scenery, and emotional complexity her fans adore, The Woman from Paris is a sweeping, sophisticated romance about family, forgiveness, and the surprising strength of love.

Santa Montefiore's Bio:

Santa Montefiore is the internationally bestselling author of several novels, including The French Gardener and The Last Voyage of the Valentina. She lives in London with her husband, historian Simon Sebag-Montefiore, and their two children.

Prices/Formats: $25.00 hardcover, $11.99 ebook
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781451676686
Pages: 400
Release: February 5, 2013

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Free Givaway for The Woman from Paris by Santa Montefiore

Please leave a comment for a chance to win a  free copy of The Woman from Paris, entries excepted until January 31st.  Please leave an email address, so I can get a address for the winner.
Tribute Books will be supplying the work.

This is a wonderful feel good story, full of fun, passion and hope. Good luck

U. S. address's only,

Monday, January 28, 2013

Orders From Berlin by Simon Tolkien

Article first published as Book Review: Orders from Berlin by Simon Tolkien on Blogcritics.

Winston Churchill was a man of many secrets and mystery. Known throughout the world, he was recognized as a great leader, and one of the kingpins that helped bring down Hitler.
In Orders from Berlin by Simon Tolkien, we are taken back to a place in time where the world was at war, and strategy had to do with both what and who you knew, and how well you could dupe the enemy. While Hitler did not want a war with England, Churchill knew that he had to stop him at all costs, even that of his own homeland being bombed. The fear of his aggression and the depth of his atrocities were not something to take lightly.
As Hitler finally realizes that they are not ever going to be allies, he manufactures a plan to have Churchill Assassinated. A mole deep within the government, a double agent, is set to create the diversion and eliminate the great leader of the English people.
As one murder occurs, to set the stage, there is one officer who is not convinced they have dug in deep enough. Scotland Yard Detective Trave feels like there is more afoot. The clues scatter in too many different directions, and the crime is solved too quickly. The death of a high placed member of the M16s offers more confusion than clues. When he tries to find answers he runs into a brick wall. His hands are tied.
Can he find the mole hidden so deeply, there are none who believe the evidence? Will he be in time to save Winston Churchill, and stop the deadly forward move of the 3rd Reich?  
Tolkien takes you back in history to a time where England is under attack. He brings stark relief to the rubble and danger inherent in the bombing of the countryside, and the death and dying of those in London as the attacks continue. The blackouts and bomb shelters create and eerie settings, making you feel the fear of those involved. He does an amazing job of taking you into the streets, with the continued air raid sirens trying to outpace the sirens of ambulances and fire trucks. You find yourself visualizing the war torn rubble.
His ability to put you in the mind of the politics of the day is a direct reflection of his ability to engross you in the conversations and action. This is an abject lesson in history, riddled with mystery and danger.
This would be an excellent book for the library of the history, or mystery buff. It is a thriller in the best of ways. The undertones of the book drag you in and hold you there. This would be an excellent reading club book, creating a depth of discussion.  Simon Tolkien is a first rate author, the grandson of J.R.R. Tolkien, he carries the torch of persuasion and excitement to the next generation.
Rating 4/5

This book was received from the authors publicist. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Moon is not for Sale by Wallace Provost

The race to the moon has been a topic of interest for many years. Is it habitable and if so how do we address the concerns with the actual colonizing of such a place?
In The Moon is not for Sale by Wallace Provost, we are taken into the future where not only has the moon begun to fill up with inhabitants, it becomes a place of natural resources necessary to keep Earth afloat, but also a dream for some of finding a different home. What begins with Helium spreads out into gold and other precious metals.
Beginning with an accident that throws together two young people, we are taken on a journey into the very beginning of an interesting colonization, and the family that has made it happen.  Annie is only there with a group a students, but the accident strands her on Clint’s family farm until another shuttle can get her back to Earth. Living on the surface of the moon is impossible, and the farm is underground in a tunnel that keeps the family free of all the damages that occur on the surface. With gravity being so different from Earth, there is only a short time span that one can spend on the moon before they must leave, or stay to become a resident. Those that stay are known as Luneys.
Annie has no intention of staying regardless of her developing feelings for Clint. She is on her way to becoming an attorney, and she is bound and determined to follow it through. It is with sadness and internal pain that she finds the hiatus over and she is on her way back to Earth to continue with her own plans.
Little does she know that as she pursues her own destiny, it will swing in a fashion unintended from the beginning? This change will bring her back to the moon and the man she now understands that she loves. Will she be able to follow her dreams and reap the rewards from both ends?
Provost has written a gem of science, littered it with fiction, and twisted the two together to make a story of hardship and love. Alternating between storytelling and scientific fact, as well as a bit of fiction, you are on a journey into the unknown. Somewhat like the pull of the gold rush, the availability of finding a home on the moon, or just becoming a miner, makes the moon a place of interest. When it is declared that  homesteading and mining are allowed but that the moon is not for sale, there are those that will do whatever it takes to change that law.
If you enjoy science fiction, and stories of adventure you will find this work to be interesting. For me the back and forth between fiction and science was a bit difficult, and some things I found to be tedious, but often science seems that way.
Provost has an interesting voice, new to the writing world. The Moon is Not for Sale is an interesting take on politics and greed, which often leads to disaster. But he has found a way through, keeping the moon pristine for generations to come.
Rating 3/5
This book was received from the author. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Book Review and Givaway-The Tartan Shroud by Ken Dalton

Article first published as Book Review: The Tartan Shroud by Ken Dalton on Blogcritics.

When murder happens the police are quick to respond. But what happens if for some reason they seem unwilling to pursue the case. Is there someone they can call to delve into the matters that they are unable to legitimize?
In The Tartan Shroud by Ken Dalton, we follow the exploits of Pinky and Bear, a notable but oddly nicknamed pair of investigators who are drawn into this strange set of circumstances by Pinky’s ex-wife Willow. Off to Scotland to meet and work with Fergus Murray, the top crime officer in Toyside, they find that something quite odd is going on. Fergus seems unwilling to pursue the case, but wants the help of this odd duo.
The pair is full of comedy and at pains to show the other up, but through it all they are held in check by Flo and Ettamae who agree to go along, as well as the winsome ex-wife, Willow. She is certainly one who can get Pinky to do her bidding, and Bear knows that without his own input, Pinky would be lost. Can they find the murderer and stop him before he kills again. What is in store when even Police’s finest is holding information that cannot be shared?
Dalton has given us a fun suspense filled mystery with the trappings of a dynamic duo full of comedic errors and delays.  He treats the entire sequence as a jolly mystery, and along the way his investigators are treated to the delicacies of the place, as well as the differing expressions and occasional bad weather. Utilizing the differences of the Scottish as compared to the American backgrounds, learning about haggis, mutton pie and a wonky eye, they are at wits end when they finally get the information they need to solve the case.
If you enjoy a good suspense full of odd and absurd red herrings you will find this to be an enchanting find. IF you love good comedic wit and the interplay among comical pundits, each with the understanding they are more intelligent than the other, you will love Pinky and Bear. Bear is a great hearted man, gruff but kind, enamored of his family. Pinky is the quintessential lothario, in love with the idea of love, and remains friends with all his erstwhile conquests, including ex-wives.
This is a fast paces and funny work, you will find yourself laughing at the exploits and surprised at the mystery. Entertaining and full of charm, you will find the story as well as the combatants to be a work of art. Dalton is an author to be watching for.
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The Tartan Shroud Book Summary:
A bulldozer unearths a young girl’s body on a golf course in Scotland but for some reason, Fergus Murray, the top crime officer in Tayside seems unwilling to pursue the case. Fergus contacts Willow Stone, his American cousin and pleads for help. Willow, Pinky’s favorite ex-wife, calls in all her chips and convinces Pinky, Bear, Flo, and Ettamae to go to the small Scottish town of Pitlochry to help her cousin find the killer. Along the way the American’s come across a forester with a wonky eye—haggis—the occasional bad weather spring day—various Scottish policeman all named McSomething—mutton pie—a near new, sixty-year-old Austin Taxi—a bathroom that could double for a freezer—the nearly indecipherable Scottish accent—many glasses of whiskey and beer—ancient records—a broadsword—and a real Duke! Ride with Bear, Flo, and Henry during their final mad dash across Scotland to try to stop the murderer before he kills again inside the hallowed halls of Blair Castle.

Ken Dalton's Bio:
Ken Dalton was born in 1938 at Hollywood Hospital. He grew up with his parents, his older sister, Pat, and younger brother, Richard in Los Angeles. The year 1938 informs the quick reader that Ken’s older than a lot of people, but younger than some.

In a turn of bad luck, the dreaded Polio virus found Ken.

At the end of World War ll, Ken’s family moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming for a year where he learned how to live through snow blizzards, avoid walking through the large pile of coal in the basement, and how to survive life as an Army Officer’s brat on a base called Fort Warren.

By the age of sixteen, after eleven years of operations, therapy, and braces, Ken’s luck changed dramatically when he met the girl of his dreams at a party. A few years later they married, produced three wonderful children, and settled into a happy life in Southern California.

In 1966, Ken, who worked as a technician for Pacific Bell, and his family left Southern California for the green hills of Sonoma County where they bought a home in Sebastopol surrounded with apple trees. A few years later, Ken and Arlene built a new home on three and a half acres. They raised cows, pigs, and learned how to build outstanding fences. While their children grew, they hosted two exchange students, Eva Reimers from Sweden, and Tanja Wuttke from Germany, both of whom are still loved members of the Dalton clan. Also during those years, Ken was promoted to management at Pacific Bell. He eventually ended up responsible for all the central offices, sixty-three, in an area that covered five counties.

In 1977, Ken, Arlene, Bob Wiltermood, and his wife Norma, designed, built, and operated a 2000 case winery named Pommeraie Vineyards. They produced award winning Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. However, after Bob died, the winery was sold. Ken and Arlene moved to a hilltop in Healdsburg.

With the winery gone, and time on their hands, Ken and Arlene started to perform with the Camp Rose Players. Twenty years and forty productions later, both are still acting and singing.

Life was good. All Ken had to do was learn some lines and bow when the audience applauded.

Then, ten years ago, Ken started to write. His first article was published in Golf Illustrated in August 1996. More golf articles followed in national and regional magazines including Golf Magazine and Fairways and Greens.

After a two-year stint on the County Grand Jury, Ken felt the need to begin his first novel.

Now, after a decade of struggle to learn the craft of writing, Ken has become the publishing world’s latest overnight sensation.

Prices/Formats: $14.95 paperback, $4.99 ebook
Pages: 320
ISBN: 9780578113258
Publisher: Different Drummer Press
Release: October 1, 2012

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Monday, January 7, 2013

Desperate Sons: Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, Hohn Hancock, and the Secret Bands of Radicals Who Led the Colonies to War by Les Standiford

Article first published as Book Review:Desperate Sons: Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, John Hancock, and the Secret Bands of Radicals Who Led the Colonies to War by Les Standiford on Blogcritics.

The History of our past and the beginnings of our liberty and freedom are a constant reminder of what it takes to make a strong America. Schools teach us the history in the fashion it has been taught for hundreds of years, yet there must be more. Who were these entrepreneurial men, ready to put their lives at stake in the pursuit of liberty?
In Desperate Sons by Les Standiford, we are accorded a history of the radicals known as the Sons of Liberty, those who put their lives on the line in an effort to give the colonies the right to be a part of their own rule, and if that failed, find a way to gain their liberty from a nation that was intent on using them to build their coffers. The intrigues and ideal of this secret group of young men, begin as a few muttered concerns, but bring about the Revolution and the freedom and liberty of America as we know it.
Some of the names are known for numerous reasons and often are accorded their place in history, Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, and John Hancock to name a few, but there was more to the depth of the accounts that stirred up the hornets’ nest that became a revolution. With both sides taking a strong stance, ego was a powerful weapon. When peace was a possibility it would take only the fire of incredulity to fan the breezes. Many of the actions and happenings are documented, other are just told from bits and pieces passed down through generations, but there is no doubt that the men between these pages had an incendiary part of the happenings of the fate of all those in the colonies during the time before revolution raised its head.
Standiford has taken us on a journey into the past, into the very lives of the men we find most interesting. The organization and building of such a strong radical force took time and strong conviction, and Samuel Adams was full of both. With his other compatriots they set the stage for fairness, freedom and liberty. Unlike the histories from our early school years, Desperate Sons draws you in to the insidiousness of trade and taxation, and how it affected the early settlers. The consequences of such actions could not have been foretold as they came to happen.
If you enjoy history and politics this is a must have for your library. Many of the concepts and ideas are well charted and organized. This would be an excellent book for a reading or discussion group. Be prepared to bring your arguments.
This is a fascinating read, taking you to the depths of flame that still flickers to this day. The actions set in motion a finely crafted set of events the progressively lead to the American Revolution.
Rating 4/5
This book was received free through the publicist. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.