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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Madame Picasso by Anne Girard

[ 4 ] September 2, 2014

MadamePicassoPlease join Anne Girard, author of Madame Picasso, as she tours the blogosphere with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours!

Enter to win a copy below – open to US residents only

Reviewed by Colleen Turner

Eva Gouel is ready to shed her shy, timid country-girl visage and the expectation that she must become a wife to a man she doesn’t love and resolves to find the freedom and adventure only a place like Paris can provide for her. She is determined to make it in this fast and fascinating city without the help of any man and she gets her chance when she secures a job as a seamstress at the scintillating Moulin Rouge. Then one night, while peering out into the audience from backstage, Eva sees Pablo Picasso and her feelings and future are forever sent down a path she could never have imagined.

Picasso, a fiery, young up-and-coming artist, is finding himself stifled and uninspired by his current muse, his long term mistress Fernande Olivier, a woman as tempestuous as the artist himself. When he sees Eva at an art show he cannot help but be attracted to this woman so unlike Fernande. After an unexpected night of passion, Picasso cannot get Eva out of his head and, once the two finally determine they cannot live without each other, both are forever changed. But as happy as the two are in each other’s arms, happily-ever-after does not come easy. They will have to fight against expectations, the negative opinions of those they love the most and a disastrous illness that threatens to separate them forever.

Madame Picasso perfectly brings to life the bright and fast-paced world of the Moulin Rouge’s backstage and the glittering opulence of the theater and its patrons in front, the disheveled yet pulsating energy of the artist’s studios, the vibrant intellectual stimulation of Gertrude Stein’s Saturday evening salons and the very streets and alleys of Paris itself, which becomes its own character. Sensuality and passion are always brimming and boiling over as would be expected in a city like Paris and in its inhabitants who want nothing more than to break away from conformity in their lives and in their art. But this colorful and vigorous imagery, which is so well developed and expansive, took a backseat to the wonderfully nonconforming characters that felt so tangible to me.

Eva is by far my favorite character, a woman of great determination and intelligence but also kindness and generosity. The reader is able to see her change Picasso’s very being and, by doing so, his art and thereby art history itself. Getting to see the inner workings of a man like Picasso, known for his eccentricities and womanizing, was inspiring and I so enjoyed finding a more fleshed-out, sympathetic and very human man within Madame Picasso’s pages. The rest of the characters – even the ones, such as Fernande, that I wasn’t a particular fan of – are just as well presented so that you cannot help but see them right in front of you, with all their foibles, fears and passions right at the surface. And the ending – oh, the ending – I don’t want to give anything away but just prepare yourself for tears!

Madame Picasso is top-notch historical fiction. I have never been a particular fan of Picasso’s work but the intricate story had me reexamining his painting and looking for any connections I could find online between the artist and Eva. That need to know more is always an indicator to me that a book is unforgettable. That is exactly what Madame Picasso is – unforgettable. Highly recommended to anyone who likes historical fiction.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Colleen lives in Tampa, Florida with her husband, son, their dog Oliver and their fish Finn. When not working or taking care of her family she has her nose stuck in a book (and, let’s face it, often when she is working or taking care of her family as well). Nothing excites her more than discovering a new author to obsess over or a hidden jewel of a book to worship.

Review and giveaway copies were provided by Harlequin MIRA. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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Win a Kindle Wi-Fi

[ 19 ] September 1, 2014

feature-shop._V388951064_To celebrate Labor Day, I have a Kindle to give away to a lucky reader! 

The giveaway will run thru September 30th and is open internationally.

Features

Less than 6 ounces – lighter than a paperback, fits in your pocket

Hand-tuned fonts for easier reading

Reads like paper with no glare, even in bright sunlight

Download books in 60 seconds with built-in Wi-Fi

Holds over 1,000 books – take your library wherever you go

Massive book selection. Lowest prices. Over a million titles less than $4.99

NEW—With Kindle Unlimited, read as much as you want, choosing from over 600,000 titles and thousands of audiobooks. Try Kindle Unlimited free for 30 days.

Hundreds of thousands of Kindle-exclusive titles that you won’t find anywhere else, including books by best-selling authors such as Kurt Vonnegut

Supports children’s books and includes parental controls

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Giveaway: Deadly Errors by Allen Wyler

[ 14 ] August 18, 2014

DeadlyErrorsTo celebrate the release of Allen Wyler’s Deadly Errors, I have a copy to give away!

Open to US residents only

About the book

A comatose man is given a fatal dose of insulin in the emergency room, even though he isn’t diabetic. An ulcer patient dies of shock after receiving a transfusion of the wrong blood type. A recovering heart patient receives a double dose of medication and suffers a fatal heart attack.

Brain surgeon Dr. Tyler Matthews suspects that something is seriously wrong with the hospital’s new Med-InDx computerized medical record system. But he doesn’t suspect that there’s something murderously wrong with it.

As Matthews begins to peel back the layers of deception that cover the deadly errors, he crosses powerful corporate interests who aren?t about to let their multi-billion dollar medical record profits evaporate. Now a target, Matthews finds himself trapped in a maze of deadly conspiracy, with his career, his marriage, and his very life on the line.

Once again, Wyler blends his unparalleled expertise as a world class surgeon with his uncanny knack for suspense to create a true best-of-breed medical thriller. Deadly Errors is a lightning-quick action procedural that is destined to win new fans to the medical thriller genre.

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Giveaway: Good Chinese Wife by Susan Blumberg-Kason

[ 15 ] August 11, 2014

Good-Chinese-Wife-CoverI have a copy of Good Chinese Wife by Susan Blumberg-Kason to give away!

Open to US residents only

About the book

The clash between an American woman’s ideals and her struggle to the perfect, traditional Chinese wife is at the center of a riveting new memoir, Good Chinese Wife: A Love Affair with China Gone Wrong.

When Susan Blumberg-Kason met Cai during grad school in Hong Kong, she thought she had found the man of her dreams. Long enchanted with Chinese culture, Blumberg-Kason believed her intercultural marriage would play out like an exotic fairy tale.

Instead, it quickly turned into a nightmare.

Good Chinese Wife examines the values of marriage and family in contemporary China and America, and highlights one women’s journey of reclaiming her identity for the sake of her son’s future.

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Giveaway: Bed, Bath and Beyond Gift Card

[ 5 ] August 11, 2014

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In honor of her July debut, Find My Way Home, Michele Summers is channeling her interior designing main character, Bertie Anderson, and giving away one $25 Bed, Bath and Beyond gift card to a lucky fan!

About the book

She’s just the kind of drama

Interior designer Bertie Anderson has big dreams for her career, and they don’t include being stuck in her hometown of Harmony, North Carolina. One last client, and Bertie is packing up her high heels and heading for her dream job in Atlanta. But her plans are derailed by the gorgeous new owner of that big old Victorian she’s always wanted to renovate…

He’s vowed to avoid

For retired tennis pro Keith Morgan, Harmony is a far cry from fast-paced Miami—which is exactly the point. Keith is starting a new life for himself and his daughter Maddie, and he’s left the bright lights and hot women far behind. Bertie’s exactly the kind of curvaceous temptation he doesn’t need, and Keith refuses to let their sizzling attraction distract him from his goals. Keith and Bertie both have to learn that there’s more than one kind of escape, and it takes more than wallpaper to turn a house into a home.

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Tempesta’s Dream by Vincent B. LoCoco

[ 8 ] July 21, 2014

Tempesta's DreamPlease join Vincent B. “Chip” LoCoco, author of Tempesta’s Dream, as he tours the blogosphere with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours!

Enter to win a copy below – open to US and Canada residents only

Reviewed by Lauren Cannavino

In the city of Milan, opera is life to twenty-five year old Giovanni Tempesta. Born to poor, Sicilian parents, Giovanni does not have the financial means nor the formal musical training to extend his love of the opera to much beyond singing part-time at Angelo’s, a local restaurant, that is close to the famous opera house La Scala. Giovanni’s love of music, his vast knowledge of the operatic greats and even his striking tenor singing voice, were all passed down from his beloved father Franco who died in a car accident. With a passionate wish to honor his father, as well as his own dreams, Giovanni dreams of one day singing himself at the historic La Scala. As friends, family, potential benefactors and music teachers continue to shoot down his dreams; Giovanni soon feels he will never fulfill his passion.

One Saturday night singing at Angelo’s, Giovanni soon finds his attention drawn to a beautiful young lady in the audience. Isabella is the eighteen-year old daughter of a prominent, wealthy judge, who forbids his daughter to speak to or see Giovanni due to his social rank. As Isabella and Giovanni realize their connection, he soon also realizes that he must do anything that he can to make his dreams a reality in order to be accepted by Isabella’s family and win her love. After entering the local retirement home Casa di Riposo that is exclusively for musicians and performers, Giovanni meets Signor Alfredo del Monte who agrees to teach and coach him in exchange for only his company and to share their love of opera. Alfredo also asks Giovanni to place him front row at La Scala when he makes it as an opera singer. Giovanni’s progress and failures rise and fall as his adulthood progresses and throughout it all, he continues to grow. There is an unspoken theme of the importance of relationships and the lessons that can be learned from every interaction. The love and hardships that Giovanni endures with Isabella, his family, himself and opera all manage to strike a chord on an emotional level that makes the reader want nothing more than for him to be happy and successful.

The use of operatic arias, essentially the lyrics, throughout the story and blended into the dialogue is a powerful creative tool used by Vincent B. LoCoco. These passages are used to share his love and knowledge of opera and add a higher level of dimension to the conversations in the story. LoCoco’s Giovanni is a careful, dedicated dreamer, a character that faces the odds stacked against him and yet still manages to keep his head up, remain noble and follow his heart. Tempesta’s Dream is a joyous story of art, opera, dedication and love.

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 and giveaway copies were provided by Vincent B. LoCoco. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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