"No one can be lonely who has a book for company." ~ Nelle Reagan

Friday, March 29, 2013

Month of the Dragons

The end of March is a common fiscal year end for many businesses and so I thought what better a time to dedicate a month, April, to business and personal finance books.  I've been wanting to read all the books published by members of Canada's "The Dragon's Den" for some time and this is the perfect opportunity!!  Of the reviews I plan to post here will be books written by the members of Canada's "The Dragon's Den."  The first review will be the recent release, Cold Hard Truth On Men, Women and Money by Kevin O'Leary.  

"Getting a handle on finances can be challenging at any age. Whether you're a parent struggling to explain savings to your children, a newly engaged couple considering joint bank accounts, or a baby boomer entering retirement, Kevin O'Leary has advice to help you make and keep more money.

As a lead Dragon of CBC''s Dragons'' Den and ABC''s Shark Tank, Kevin''s success with money management and in business is legendary. But he's made mistakes along the way, too, and he's writing this book so others--like his son and daughter--can benefit from his experiences. Each chapter is geared to a specific age or stage in life. You'll find real-life examples of common money mistakes (and strategies for avoiding them), "Cold Hard Truth" quizzes and charts aimed at boosting your Wallet Wisdom, and tips and tricks for making more money and growing it faster to achieve financial freedom." (summary from Chapters.Indigo.ca)

Just to jazz things up a bit, I will throw in the odd "other subject" review too.  So, don't get bored on me now.  I am including a video here so you can see just what these "Dragons" are all about!

To see an episode:

Be sure to check back regularly for the Hot reviews are coming soon here!

What's the Buzz?

Just announced....

Goodreads is joining Amazon!  What does this mean for you, the reader?  

“Amazon and Goodreads share a passion for reinventing reading,” said Russ GrandinettiAmazon Vice President, Kindle Content. “Goodreads has helped change how we discover and discuss books and, with Kindle, Amazon has helped expand reading around the world. In addition, both Amazon and Goodreads have helped thousands of authors reach a wider audience and make a better living at their craft. Together we intend to build many new ways to delight readers and authors alike.”
“Books – and the stories and ideas captured inside them – are part of our social fabric,” said Otis Chandler, Goodreads CEO and co-founder. “People love to talk about ideas and share their passion for the stories they read. I’m incredibly excited about the opportunity to partner with Amazon and Kindle. We’re now going to be able to move faster in bringing the Goodreads experience to millions of readers around the world. We’re looking forward to inspiring greater literary discussion and helping more readers find great books, whether they read in print or digitally.”  (from the press release)

Check out the statement made on Goodreads by the founder:  Goodreads Joins Amazon Family.

Read the official press release here.

Monday, March 25, 2013

News & Updates in Books and Publishing

Is Barnes & Noble playing tough at the cost of business and at a loss for authors?

Barnes & Noble has laid down the gauntlet, so to speak.  Reducing orders from Simon & Schuster, denying primary sales locations in store, and demanding a larger cut of the sale may be costing a lot more than they bargained for.  Famous authors, Picoult and Genova, are feeling the weight of the situation and have had to step up their game to compensate for the lack of support from this retailer.  Despite all this, Picoult's newest novel, The Storyteller, is number one on the New York Times Bestseller list.  How?  Ms. Picoult has increased her personal appearances, among other measures, to compensate for the lack of support with Barnes & Noble.  But how is this affecting the lesser known authors?  How do customers feel about this turn of events?

Does Barnes & Noble really have that much monopoly in the States?  

Read the article above and share your opinion here.  I really want to know what the general public, customers and fellow bloggers have to say about Barnes & Noble's stand.  Do you agree with it?  Does it ultimately hurt more than help?  You be the judge.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Passing Bells, Circles of Time and A Future Arrived: A Trilogy (Grevilles of Abingdon Pryory) by Philip Rock (TLC Book Tour - book review)

The Passing Bells
Author:  Phillip Rock
Published:  December 2012
Publisher:  William Morrow Paperbacks (reissue edition)
Pages:  544

The guns of August are rumbling throughout Europe in the summer of 1914, but war has not yet touched Abingdon Pryory. Here, at the grand home of the Greville family, the parties, dances, and romances play on. Alexandra Greville embarks on her debutante season while brother Charles remains hopelessly in love with the beautiful, untitled Lydia Foxe, knowing that his father, the Earl of Stanmore, will never approve of the match. Downstairs the new servant, Ivy, struggles to adjust to the routines of the well-oiled household staff, as the arrival of American cousin Martin Rilke, a Chicago newspaperman, causes a stir.
But, ultimately, the Great War will not be denied, as what begins for the high-bred Grevilles as a glorious adventure soon takes its toll—shattering the household’s tranquillity, crumbling class barriers, and bringing its myriad horrors home.

Circles of Time
Author:  Phillip Rock
Published:  January 2013
Publisher:  William Morrow Paperbacks (reissue edition)
Pages: 448

A generation has been lost on the Western Front. The dead have been buried, a harsh peace forged, and the howl of shells replaced by the wail of saxophones as the Jazz Age begins. But ghosts linger—that long-ago golden summer of 1914 tugging at the memory of Martin Rilke and his British cousins, the Grevilles.
From the countess to the chauffeur, the inhabitants of Abingdon Pryory seek to forget the past and adjust their lives to a new era in which old values, social codes, and sexual mores have been irretrievably swept away. Martin Rilke throws himself into reporting, discovering unsettling political currents, as Fenton Wood-Lacy faces exile in faraway army outposts. Back at Abingdon, Charles Greville shows signs of recovery from shell shock and Alexandra is caught up in an unlikely romance.Circles of Time captures the age as these strongly drawn characters experience it, unfolding against England’s most gracious manor house, the steamy nightclubs of London’s Soho, and the despair of Germany caught in the nightmare of anarchy and inflation. Lives are renewed, new loves found, and a future of peace and happiness is glimpsed—for the moment.

A Future Arrived
Author:  Phillip Rock
Published: February 2013
Publisher:  William Morrow Paperbacks (reissue edition)
Pages: 480

The final installment of the saga of the Grevilles of Abingdon Pryory begins in the early 1930s, as the dizzy gaiety of the Jazz Age comes to a shattering end. What follows is a decade of change and uncertainty, as the younger generation, born during or just after the “war to end all wars,” comes of age.
American writer Martin Rilke has made his journalistic mark, earning worldwide fame with his radio broadcasts, and young Albert Thaxton seeks to follow in his footsteps as a foreign correspondent. Derek Ramsey, born only weeks after his father fell in France, and Colin Ross, a dashing Yankee, leave their schoolboy days behind and enter fighter pilot training as young men. The beautiful Wood-Lacy twins, Jennifer and Victoria, and their passionate younger sister, Kate, strive to forge independent paths, while learning to love—and to let go.
In their heady youth and bittersweet growth to adulthood, they are the future—but the shadows that touched the lives of the generation before are destined to reach out to their own.

My thoughts:

The trilogy:   Each book is lengthy with descriptive narrative that, if I were in the right state of mind, I would readily enjoy, but am finding it rather tedious.  The war scenes, which are at least one half of the first book, are interesting but go on far longer than I wanted to read of such. For me, the story on a whole is interesting and worth the read, but is has unenjoyable parts to it. The war, being the unenjoyable parts to the trilogy. 

Passing Bells is the first in the series and opens with a view of the British countryside, unspoiled and open ... beautiful.  We are introduced to the servants of the household, the proprietor and his family and a young cousin, a stranger in fact, who is welcomed to the family and society in Britain.  My favourite characters, the cousin Martin (the American journalist who comes to visit family but stays to cover the war) and Ivy (a young girl, the eldest in her family, working as a maid) are the most down to earth and most relatable.  The time spent on developing their characters, and their very personalities, endear them to the reader and we hope for a future for the two of them together.  When the war is announced and families separated as the young men head off to battle with Martin covering it from a journalist perspective, I found the story to be less people oriented and I began to lose interest as the lengthy battle consumed the pages.  (I guess I am just not so much of a reader of wars.)

Circle of Time presents the aftermath of World War I.  The carnage and debilitation of society in the wake of the war is evident as Philip Rock presents a birds eye view of a life post war, the tragic loss, the crushed soul of young Charles as he remains in an amnesiac state upon his return from the war.  There is so much loss and grief, particularly for Martin who, in the first chapter, bids a last farewell to Ivy, his deceased wife, and yet there is a hope.  Hope for a new beginning, for a return to life in a new land so to speak.  Not much remains the same, and it shouldn't.

A Future Arrived reminisces of the glory of Britain and society pre-war while recognizing an enormous change.  It is now the story of a new generation with a foreboding view of another war, perhaps the most tragic in history.  Adolf Hitler comes upon the scene and with him the knowledge that the war of the world of the previous generation may fail to compare with the plans for domination under a terrifying leader.  

For the lover of history, particularly war, these novels will breathe life into the very stories of old.  Of the fight for freedom, for land and man...this is evidenced herein as Philip Rock puts a face upon the era of the early 1900s-1940s.  While a comparison has been made between Downton Abbey and this trilogy, Philip Rock's novels share the perspective of the upper class while Downton Abbey shares the time period from the point of view of the "help."  We see an era where the lines of upper crust blur with the rest of society.  All suffer great loss and grief.  No man is untouched.  Herein lies a great truth.  We are all only people, we are born, we grieve, we have joy and we have loss.  Trials don't pick and choose.  Each one of us, to varying degrees, experiences love, joy, hope and sorrow.  This trilogy is such a story.

Visit other book bloggers on tour here.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Dead White and Blue - new Carolyn Hart novel coming May 2013

The following is an excerpt from the Carolyn Hart newsletter I received today.  I am so excited for a new Death on Demand mystery!!!  Three new titles will be released this year and six early books will once again be in print.

the 23rd Death on Demand title, May 2013

Annie Darling looks forward being in Max's arms at a July 4th dance, but her pleasure in the evening is marred by obviously strained relations among some of the revelers. A hot young second wife taunts both her husband and the woman he dumped, dances with a middleaged man who looks terrified, toys with the affections of another woman's husband, talks to someone in a dark shadow as the fireworks begins. She is last seen walking into the pines.

Within a few days, a stepdaughter asks Max to help find her. Annie, too, begins to look and soon it is apparent that she hasn't been seen since the night of the dance. Did she sail away on a millionaire's yacht? Or did she never leave the island?

Annie and Max follow clues, unravel the odd incidents that plagued the country club the night of the dance, and finally believe they know who committed murder, but this killer may be too clever to catch.
Other New Releases

February 2013: Once again in print: THE DEVEREAUX LEGACY, romantic suspense,
March 2013:  A SETTLING OF ACCOUNTS, suspense thriller
June 2013: ESCAPE FROM PARIS, WWII novel
July 2013: NO EASY ANSWERS, suspense
August 2013: BRAVE HEARTS, WWII novel
September 2013: DANGER; HIGH EXPLOSIVES!, suspense
October 2013: GHOST GONE WILD, the 4th Bailey Ruth Ghost title
December 2013: CRY IN THE NIGHT, the first print edition of a never-before-published thriller. December
The thrillers and suspense novels are harder-edged and faster-paced and I think will introduce you to a Carolyn Hart you've never known.

There's more information about these and other books on my website:www.CarolynHart.com

All Carolyn Hart books are available from your favorite bookseller

The Truth About Love and Lightning by Susan McBride

The Truth About Love & Lightning
Author:  Susan McBride
Published:  February 2013 
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Pages: 336
Category:  General fiction
ISBN 9780062027283
Source:  A complimentary copy was provided by the publisher and TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

The Truth About Love and Lighting is a deliciously emotional story of family, forgiveness, love, and magic from Susan McBride.
A lie that Gretchen Brink told 40 years ago comes back to haunt her when a tornado brings together Sam, a mysterious man who can’t remember anything, and Abby, her newly pregnant daughter who is convinced Sam is her long-lost father. Though decades old, when Gretchen’s secrets are revealed, the ramifications will affect them all in ways they never could have imagined.
A mesmerizing study of family and love, The Truth About Love and Lightning is touching and observant, reminding us that we never know when our lives are on the precipice of change.
My review:
Forty years ago, Gretchen told a lie that saved face for her but which haunted her years later. The lie, she felt, was justified because, unlike her mother who believed in honesty at all cost no matter whom it hurt, she believed in twisting the truth if necessary to spare someone from pain. Her twisted tale, however, is one she has to face years later but she fears doing so may hurt those she loves and feels responsible to protect.

Susan McBride seamlessly travels back and forth in time, filling the gaps between the past and the present with a warmth relative to the heat of the storms conjured within.  Aptly named, The Truth About Love and Lightning  is a story about love, forgiveness, and the strength of family, and how, with a little magic, true love can find its way home again.  The Truth About Love and Lightning is a novel I would recommend for a quick read that'll make you smile.

About the author:

Susan McBride is the author of women’s fiction, including The Truth About Love and LightningLittle Black Dress, and The Cougar Club, as well as the award-winning Debutante Dropout Mysteries. She calls herself an “accidental cougar” after meeting a man nine years younger in 2005 when she was a St. Louis Magazine “top single.” They were married in February 2008 and live happily ever after in a suburb of St. Louis. She is a six-year breast cancer survivor and often speaks to women’s groups about her experience. In January 2012, she was named one of St. Louis’ “Most Dynamic People of the Year” by the Ladue News. In April 2012, she was given the “Survivor of the Year” Award by the St. Louis affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. In late June of 2012, Susan and her husband, Ed, had their first child, Emily. As Susan likes to say, “Life is never boring!”

Visit Susan at her website, susanmcbride.com.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Q & A With Author of Cosy Mystery "Trouble at the Manor", Ann Summerville

Trouble at the Manor

Q. Tell us about Trouble at the Manor
A. Trouble at the Manor is the fourth book in the Lowenna series and set in a fictional English coastal village. 

From the back cover:
In the quiet village of Lowenna on the west coast of England, a local police constable patrolling the harbor area finds a body covered in foam. Gia is the first to identify the victim who is from a small hamlet on a manor estate which is being pursued by investors. Gia has suspicions that the two events are connected, but while she investigates the murder, she also has deal with something more personal, something that may unhinge her marriage.

Q. Tell us about a favorite character from a book.
A. Rose is my favorite character. She is very loyal to her friends and doesn’t take any nonsense from anyone. She wears dresses with floral prints and her salt and pepper hair always looks like she’s come in from a wind storm. She’s not out to impress anyone.

Q. Where do you dream of traveling to and why?
A. Italy is my favorite country to visit and Venice especially. I haven’t been to Tuscany though and would love to plan a trip that incorporated a visit to that area.
Q. Who is your favorite author?
A. Richard Russo’s characters were wonderfully developed in Empire Falls. I also like Jan Karon’s Mitford series. 

Q. What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books?
A. How relaxing writing is. It’s something I love to do and is an escape for me.

Q. Do you hear from your readers? What kinds of questions do they ask?
A. I was invited to a book club recently. They  read the first book in the Lowenna series, A Graceful Death. They commented on how much they liked the descriptions of Lowenna and wanted to know if it was based on an actual village. It is actually a combination of several Cornish villages two of which are Perranporth and St. Agnes where I lived for several years.

Q. What are your favorite TV shows?
A. I like a lot of the British series that are on PBS. Of course, Downton Abbey is one of my favorites. I also liked Foyle’s War.

Q. Are you currently working on another cozy mystery?
A. I am finishing up Grandmother’s Flower Garden which should be available in the next few weeks. The series is called Pecan Valley and each book will be based on a quilt pattern.

Bea peeked through the blinds in her kitchen. They were still there, both of them. Two feet clad in mud-covered brown boots protruding, uninvited, from beneath the vines of her sunshine yellow squash or was it a cucumber vine? She couldn’t tell from the window. Regardless of which vegetable patch these boots were invading, she had no doubt that the owner was lifeless. After all, who lies beneath vegetation in someone’s well tended garden in the middle of a Texas summer?
This wasn’t what Bea had anticipated when she told her friends she was starting a new life, moving from the hustle and bustle of the city, moving to the country and she said  . . . . Bea paused for a moment, thinking of the words she had used.
“I’ll have a vegetable patch, grow raspberries. I’ll buy storage jars for the vegetables and make jam. Perhaps even pickles.”
But there in the middle of her prized squash . . . Bea lowered one of the blinds with her finger until it resembled a v-shape, scrunched her brow and considered looking for her glasses. No, the feet were definitely pointed toe up among the yellow flowered cucumbers. 
What was she to do? The garden club tour was in less than a week and having yellow tape and crime scene people traipsing around just simply wouldn’t do. But regardless which vegetable from the cucumber family had been invaded, this was the second death in as many weeks and she began to reconsider her life changing decision.

Author:  Ann Summerville
ISBN: 9781301453337

Available for purchase at:

Bestselling Author Rob Bell's Launch Event For "What We Talk About When We Talk About God."

                               Join New York Times bestselling author
Rob Bell for the launch of his new book,

Bell’s launch event will stream live from
the powerHouse Arena in Brooklyn

Tuesday, March 12, 2013
4pm PST / 7pm EST.

Rob Bell was named one of Time Magazine’s
100 most influential people of 2011.

Join the conversation via USTREAM, visit www.RobBellLive.com

To learn more about attending the powerHouse event
and purchasing tickets, click here.
(from ad by Harper Collins Publishing)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

This Week Only, beginning March 4/13, Download Diane Stringam Tolley's Book "Melissa" For Only 99 Cents!!

Get it here:  Melissa, an Ebook by Diane Stringam Tolleywww.smashwords.com


By Diane Stringam Tolley

Rating: Not yet rated. 
Published: May 23, 2011 
Words: 57,302 (approximate)
Language: English
ISBN: 9781458026699

Short description

Her young dreams of happiness shattered, Melissa struggles to find peace. But peace proves an elusive companion when Melissa becomes the target of a bitter and resourceful unknown enemy. Finally, Melissa is forced to seek help from the one person she has tried to avoid. The man who has spent the last four years hating her. Cain. 

Diane Stringam Tolley is also the author of Kris Kringle's Magic and Carving Angels.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Audio books you can download for free

Graphic/link removed at the request of Ambling Books due to penalties given by Google to sites with links like this.

Sorry for the inconvenience.


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