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Review: Fleeting Chance by Sherban Young

[ 0 ] December 18, 2014

fleeting chance book coverReviewed by Nina Longfield

Sherban Young has crafted a witty and entertaining mystery within the pages of Fleeting Chance. Young’s characters are both familiar and original. The mystery begins on a luxury yacht during a high-stakes poker game. Someone falls overboard, someone dies, and the yacht experiences mechanical issues. On top of the events of the mystery, the narrator is at a loss as to how he could lose when he was holding a perfect poker hand. This is just the beginning of Sherban Young’s Fleeting Chance.

The narrator, John (Johnny) Hathaway, is not the detective. Johnny observes. He sees things as a regular person might see them, yet his interpretations hint at another way of seeing the same scene as he has learned from his mentor, Enescu Fleet. Johnny has a tendency to be long-winded in thought. He combs over the events leading to his situation. Each rumination tends to bring forth a bit more memory into the proceedings of the infamous night.

Enescu Fleet is a detective’s detective. He is sharp-eyed, insightful, cunning, resourceful, and rather quiet. Fleet has a way of showing up at the perfect time and many of those times are to Johnny’s benefit. The reader is in Johnny’s head from the start of the book to the end, but the rare glimpses into Fleet’s thoughts are golden.

This is my first Enescu Fleet Mystery Book though I did not feel lost within Fleet’s world. Sherban Young does a good job introducing his repeat characters, Fleet, Johnny and others, without going into too much detail. Young develops characters throughout the book showing each character’s strengths, weaknesses, and possible culpability to crime. Not being a card player, I found the poker references trying at times, but the overall mystery and subplots helped to alleviate the card playing digressions.

My interest in the novel was not only grabbed by the main mystery, but also by the subplots. I wanted to know more about what Fleet’s daughter, Ate, Johnny’s best friend, Hutton, and Johnny’s fiancé, Lesley, were up to, why were they being coy about their time in town while Johnny and Fleet went off to their yacht, and why were they being mysterious throughout the story. All in all, Fleeting Chance was a lively tale. I enjoyed Young’s novel as an entertaining escape into a witty mystery.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Nina Longfield is a writer living in Oregon’s fertile wine country. When she is not reading or writing in her spare time, Nina enjoys hiking in the hills surrounding her cabin.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Sherban Young. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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Giveaway: Butterfly Stitching by Shermin Kruse

[ 3 ] December 18, 2014

butterfly stitching book coverI have a copy of Butterfly Stitching by Shermin Kruse to give away!

Open to US residents only

About the book

Butterfly Stitching is an intriguing ethnic fictional tale that explores post-revolution Iran through mixing narrative and screenplay formats, as well as changing perspectives and time periods. The tale follows two remarkable women, a mother and daughter, who must overcome political horrors, encounters with secret police and a forbidden romance, all of which increase their determination to flee the country in a nail-biting thriller.

An Iranian-American , Kruse, known for her work as a lawyer at Barack Ferrazzano along with her regular advice column for Chicago Lawyer, is passionate about creating awareness of the oppression in Iran while shedding light on the hypocrisies of Iran in American culture.

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Giveaway: The Anatomy Lesson by Nina Siegal

[ 2 ] December 18, 2014

the anatomy lesson book coverI have 2 copies of The Anatomy Lesson by Nina Siegal to give away!

Open to US and Canada residents only

About the book

A single day in Amsterdam, 1632. The Surgeons’ Guild has commissioned a young artist named Rembrandt to paint Dr. Nicolaes Tulp as he performs a medical dissection. In the swirl of anticipation and intrigue surrounding the event, we meet an extraordinary constellation of men and women whose lives hinge, in some way, on Dr. Tulp’s anatomy lesson. There is Aris the Kid, the condemned coat thief whose body is to be used for the dissection; Flora, his pregnant lover; Jan Fetchet, the curio dealer who acquires corpses for the doctor’s work; the great René Descartes, who will attend the dissection in his quest to understand where the human soul resides; and the Dutch master himself, who feels a shade uneasy about this assignment.

As the story builds to its dramatic conclusion, circumstances conspire to produce a famous painting—and an immortal painter. Vividly rendered, masterfully written, The Anatomy Lesson is a story of mind and body, death and love—and redemptive power of art.

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Review: Claudine by Barbara Palmer

[ 1 ] December 17, 2014

claudine book coverReviewed by Lauren Cannavino

In order to help pay for her Yale graduate education, Maria Lantos chooses a career that is very profitable, but not respectable in society. Maria moonlights as a high profile, high class escort named Claudine. Claudine is well-known, talented, sexy, highly sought after and gorgeous. Her clients love her, reward her with huge sums of money, travel opportunities and spread the word of her charms. Maria is able to afford not only her Ivy League education, but also enjoys an affluent lifestyle complete with a full time assistant, Lillian, a luxury apartment in New York and personal bodyguard, Andrei. Living and working as Claudine has proven to be very successful for Maria over the years but her life soon takes a frightening turn after a young woman, who looks strikingly like her, is found brutally murdered.

The murder of the young prostitute reeks of warnings to Claudine (and Maria) yet Maria at first refuses to put her professional life on hold due to threats, even though they are very real and very dangerous. Against the urgings of Lillian and Andrei, Claudine will continue. When the threats begin to manifest on Claudine’s travels and hit close to home, Maria begins to question every client and connection. Maria’s horrific past, time spent in a Russian orphanage and her estranged relationship with her ice cold adoptive mother all seem to play a part, but she is unable to initially make the connection to her tormenter. Maria soon sees that she cannot keep her life as Claudine in the shadows anymore or remain untouchable as she once thought herself to be.

Claudine is an exciting adult novel; it is risqué, exotic and full of suspense and intrigue. Author Barbara Palmer, who writes under a pen name, spins a sexy, scandalous and engaging story. The relationships highlighted in the story, particularly between Maria and Andrei are relatable and intense; the conversations in the story flow just as well as the suspense. Fans of erotic fiction and suspense fans alike will be placed under Claudine’s spell like so many of her clients. The story will keep the reader guessing until the very end and the twists and turns will truly seduce throughout the novel.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Lauren Cannavino is a graduate student, freelance writer, wine lover, and avid reader. Random musings can be found over at www.goldiesays.com.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Penguin Group. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Little Things Long Remembered by Susan Newman

[ 0 ] December 17, 2014

little things long remembered book coverPlease join Susan Newman, author of Little Things Long Remembered: Making Your Children Feel Special Every Day, as she tours the blogosphere with iRead Book Tours

Make sure to enter the giveaway below!

Reviewed by Sarah McCubbin

As parents, our days with little children are often a montage of routine tasks. We cook meals, wash laundry, go to work and chauffeur our kids to their various activities. If we aren’t careful, the days slip into months, and before we know it, eighteen years have passed. No parent plans to be boring or mundane. In fact, it’s usually quite the opposite. We want the best for our families, but making those good things that we dream into reality takes more than good intentions.

Finding endless hours to spend doing memorable activities with our kids may be a challenge. However, in her book, Little Things Long Remembered, Susan Newman encourages us to make use of those little snippets of time that are often wasted. Most of these activities are 5-30 minutes long and are easily accomplished with a little planning or a decision to be intentional. The activities range from really simple things like making sure you hug your little ones all the way up to fun ways to make birthdays and holidays special.

As a homeschooling mom, I am with my kids 24/7. One would think that equals a lot of quality time. But, I have found that often times, my mind goes blank when trying to think of something to do. I love that this little book of ideas has simple things that require no planning as well as activities that can easily be done with just a little bit of forethought.

I did wish that the book was organized a little more specifically so I can find exactly what I’m looking for. Rather than have all the holidays clumped together, it would be great to have each holiday separately in the table of contents. It would also be helpful to have the activities broken out by age…preschool, elementary school, middle school etc. The way it is formatted with only a few chapters makes it hard to go back and find ideas that you may have read about earlier but want to use at a later date. All in all, I would recommend this book to parents and grandparents who are trying to intentionally make memories with their families.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Sarah McCubbin is a homeschooling and foster mom in NE Ohio where she resides with her husband and 7 children. In addition to reading great books, she enjoys gardening, traveling and blogging at Living Unboxed.

Review copy was provided by Iron Gate Press. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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Giveaway: Moth and Spark by Anne Leonard

[ 2 ] December 16, 2014

moth and spark book coverI have a copy of Moth and Spark by Anne Leonard to give away!

Open to US residents only

About the book

With stunningly panoramic prose, Anne Leonard’s debut novel, Moth and Spark, is simply an unforgettable tour de force. Set in the land of Caithen, a country on the brink of invasion by vicious Tyrekh, this breathtakingly imaginative fantasy packs every punch the genre requires—intrigue, war, sorcery and magic, dragons, and forbidden romance. For fans of the Game of Thrones series, Diana Gabaldon, and Anne McCaffrey, Moth and Spark is an elegant and compelling read.

Recruited by the Firekeepers, Prince Corin has been given an impossible task—to free the dragons from their bondage to the Empire, though no one, not even the dragons or their riders, understand the bonds that hold them. Given their power, but none of the knowledge to use it, Corin is torn between his new quest and his royal duty to defend his country from the Sarian invasion.

Before arriving in Caithen for Summer Court, Tam, the unassuming daughter of a well-respected doctor, has no idea she was born a Seer, someone gifted with visions. After a rainy afternoon leads Prince Corin and Tam to a chance encounter in the palace library, they meet for dinner where sparks fly, but it’s not all happily ever after. Never mind that the prince isn’t allowed to marry a commoner, Caithen is falling to the Sarians. When an attack on the capital forces the lovers to flee, Corin and Tam must figure out how to master their newly discovered powers in order to save Caithen and themselves. With the help from a village of secret wizards and a rogue dragon rider, they might just pull it off.

Leonard began Moth and Spark while attending the University of California-Hastings College of Law (where she graduated cum laude) eking out a few hours on weekends or a half hour on the bus, or wherever she had the chance. After 3 years, she had a draft, but ultimately decided to practice law first.  At last readers will be introduced to the deadly harsh steppe lands of Sarian, to the white-barked tree-lined streets of Caithenor.  Every last element of Leonard’s lush, extraordinary world carries the heft of cinematic detail with pitch-perfect vision.

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