Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Big BOOK OF LIFE Giveaway!!!

Check your e-mail!

Deborah Harkness Fans!  The final book in the ALL SOULS TRILOGY comes out on July 15! 

THE BOOK OF LIFE is almost here! 

My friends at Viking/Penguin were kind enough to allow me to do a very special giveaway in honor of this highly anticipated release!  One winner will receive:

1) A finished copy of THE BOOK OF LIFE
2) A commonplace book
3) A holographic button

If you haven't caught up the trilogy yet, there is still time to read A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES and SHADOW OF NIGHT before July 17!  These books make great beach/vacation reads.  Fans of Diana Gabaldon will find much to like here.


1. Leave a comment telling me your favorite character in the ALL SOULS TRILOGY. (Make sure I have a way of contacting you)

2. "Like" my Facebook page and come back and leave a comment telling me that you did. 

The winner will be randomly selected from entries received. 
The prize package will ship after the release date of the book.  
US entries only please.
Contest closes on Wednesday, July 2 at 5pm PST.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


There are so many highly-anticipated sequels coming out this Summer! I am racing through them as fast as I can in order to post some reviews.

First up, the last book in the LAST POLICEMAN TRILOGY:

Then we have the follow-up to ARCHETYPE:

The sequel to ROBOPOCALYPSE has finally arrived.  Rumors continue that these books will soon be made into a movie.

And probably the most highly anticipated book of the Summer:

If only we could get the last book in Cronin's PASSAGE trilogy!!!  Hurry up already!

While you are waiting for these releases, I will have a little giveaway for you tomorrow.  It's one you are not going to want to miss!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


(Link to book)

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.

I have read a lot of books about World War II over the years and I am always surprised that writers continue to find new things to say about it. This book intrigued me because it is about Paris in the year leading up to World War II. Readers are introduced to cross-dressers, lesbians, photographers, writers, and all the other bohemian types that flocked to Paris in the 1920s and 1930s.  This particular novel centers around an avant-garde club called the Chameleon Club. The proprietor will make you immediately think of Marlene Dietrich in "Morocco" and the club itself will make you think of "Cabaret." People flock to the Chameleon Club for its risque' shows and colorful characters. It is the heart and soul of the novel that connects all of the characters.

The story of the characters moves and back and forth from before the war to many years later. It focuses on photographer Gabor Tsenyi, writer Lionel Maine, patroness Lily de Rossignol, race car driver and Nazi interrogator Lou Villars and several others. They are all connected by their association with the Chameleon Club. The reader sees how the characters grow and change through from the 1920s and beyond. Lou Villars becomes the centerpiece as she goes from a young athlete to a scandalous cross-dressing lesbian race car driver to a villainous Nazi interrogator. There isn't a single character that is particularly likeable or that even inspires a great deal of compassion. However, they are all memorable and intriguing. We see exactly what drives these individuals and how they grow and develop as people. Paris itself becomes an important character in the book as we see how it changes during this turbulent time.

While I found the book intriguing and I enjoyed reading about Paris just prior to WWII, I didn't particularly like any of the characters and I often found the change of perspective jarring. The book was inspired in part by this photograph by this photo of a lesbian couple at The Monocle by Brassai:

I was charmed by the inspiration for the novel but less so by the execution.  Even though we are given the opportunity to know all of the characters quite well, many of them aren't interesting enough as individuals to merit the attention given to them. For some reason, most the characters fell flat for me. Prose is clearly a gifted writer who researched her book well and offers readers a wonderful portrait of Paris at a particular time.  However, this is not a story that is going to stay with me.

BOTTOM LINE:  Recommended for certain readers. If you like historical fiction, this could be a nice addition to your WWII reading. It is a wonderful snapshot of Paris before the war. However, the characters aren't interesting enough to stay with you.

Read more about this book on Amazon.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Books on the "Buy" List

I will admit that I am a sucker for parenting books and cookbooks.  I like to take my time with parenting books so they aren't really conducive to getting from the public library. Plus, I use many parenting books and cookbooks are reference items that I need to keep on my bookshelf.  There are few books coming out soon that I have been waiting for so that I can add them to my permanent bookshelf at home.


Brilliant blog. Sure to be a great reference book for me!


Another book by bloggers. I'm hoping this will give me inspiration this Summer.


I adore this blog! It gives me tons of inspiration for healthy, whole food eating.  It saved my life over the last year with school lunches!


This bakery is right here in my little town of Petaluma. Absolutely delicious!  I hope the breads are as easy to make as they are tasty!!!

You can purchase any of these books by clicking on the images above.

Can't wait to hear about books releasing this Fall!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Upcoming Reviews!

I am behind on reviews again but I promise some will be forthcoming very soon!

Watch for upcoming reviews on: 


TOMORROW AND TOMORROW by Thomas Sweterlitsch


BITTERSWEET by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

THE BEES by Laline Paull

Always so many good books to read!

Friday, June 06, 2014

Books Into Television: OUTLANDER

After waiting for YEARS and YEARS, fans of the OUTLANDER series will finally be able to view a theatrical production of the beloved books on television. For many years, everyone thought it would be made into a movie but I think television offers so many more possibilities. Especially on STARZ.  I am intrigued that they chose to go with relative unknowns in the cast. The casting looks pretty good except for the casting of Dougal and Colum which is ALL WRONG!!! In the first book, Dougal is 45 years old! The actors they cast are much too old. And although I like Tobia Menzies as an actor, I just don't buy him as a cruel sadistic psychopath. I still see him as Brutus from "Rome."

No one asked me to cast OUTLANDER. If they did, I would choose the following dream cast:

Claire Randall Fraser (Emily Blunt)
Claire needs to be smart as well as beautiful. And tough.  I used to think Kate Winslet would be brilliant in the role as well.

Jamie Fraser (Tom Hopper)
Jaime needs to be not only good-looking but he needs to be physically large. He also needs a sweetness and vulnerability that I think Hopper could bring. Especially after seeing him in "Black Sails."

Jonathan Randall (Jason Isaacs, Kevin McKidd or James Purefoy)
When I read the books, I always visualized Randall as looking like Jason Isaacs. Isaacs might be too old for the role now. But I think McKidd and Purefoy could have brought something special (and menacing) to the role.


Image Source

Dougal McKenzie(Iain Glenn or Clive Owen)

I think Glenn would be brilliant in this role. Dougal needs a certain amount of sexiness. He is a ladies' man in the book as well as a warrior.  Owen would also be great.


Colum McKenzie (Ray Stevenson)
I think Stevenson would bring the perfect gravitas to this part.

Catch up on OUTLANDER here and be sure and watch for the latest release  in the series coming out this month!!!

 Are you excited about OUTLANDER?  Who would you cast in the roles?

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Pinterest Update

I have a bunch of review coming your way. In the meantime, I have done the monthly update of my "Highly Anticipated Books" list on Pinterest. See what upcoming books are on my radar!

Go here to view.