Something to Marble At Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Something to Marble At Giveaway Hop, hosted by MamatheFox!

The name of this hop brings to mind all sorts of terrible puns, doesn’t it?

There’s marbled paper, like the background of the hop image. There are marble countertops. And there are marble statues. There are lots of marble statues. Then there’s marble cake. Ooh, that sounds yummy, doesn’t it?

And then there are good, old-fashioned marbles.

Last but not least, the marbles in your head. As in losing them. Occasionally finding them. Wondering if the cat is playing with them (one way or another). Or maybe that’s just my house. The kitten plays with everything!

What marbles are you thinking of? What kinds of things are you “marbling” at this season? Answer in the rafflecopter for your chance at Reading Reality’s usual blog hop prize.

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And for more “marbelous” prizes, be sure to visit the other stops on this hop!

MamatheFox and all participating blogs are not held responsible for sponsors who fail to fulfill their prize obligations.

Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop, hosted by BookHounds.

A slightly early “Happy Easter” to those of you that celebrate Easter. This is one of those years when Easter and Passover actually do coincide, so this is also a slightly early Happy Passover.

Easter weekend is also one of those days that marks an unofficial start of Spring, particularly for those who are in more northerly climes. By this time in Chicago, the flowers are out and the weather is warm. It’s also the point where the longer days really start to kick in.

In Anchorage, April is either “Breakup” or “Mud Season”, if not both. Breakup because the frozen waterways literally break up. And it’s very, very muddy.

In Atlanta, we had a very rainy weekend. After all, April Showers are another hallmark of the season.

I’m sure this wasn’t the first time, but we noticed that there are pre-colored Easter eggs available in the grocery store. This just feels like cheating to me. Even my mom helped me color Easter eggs, in spite of Easter not being our holiday! What is the world coming to? LOLOLOL

In closing, my annual peek into the strange phenomenon that is Peeps!

Jurassic Peeps!

Just in case you want to read a good book with your Peeps, take a chance in the Rafflecopter for your choice of a $10 Amazon Gift Card or a $10 Book from the Book Depository.

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For more “hoppy” prizes, be sure to visit the other stops on the hop!

Blogo-Birthday Celebration + Giveaway

It’s that time again – time for my annual Hobbit Birthday!

Today is the OMG EIGHTH anniversary of the very first post on Reading Reality, back when it was called “Escape Reality, Read Fiction!” I found that saying on a t-shirt, and the other day I found the t-shirt again. I’m not sure whether the shirt still fits, but the sentiment certainly does.

Tomorrow is my own birthday. I call these Hobbit birthdays because hobbits give presents on their birthdays instead of receiving them. That’s what I’m doing this week, giving presents away.

Monday and Tuesday were both blog hops. As part of yesterday’s review I’m giving away a copy of any book in one of my favorite long-running series. I’m calling it one series, although it mostly isn’t, but sort of is. The Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series of historical mysteries literally (and literarily) gave birth to the Daniel Pitt series, as Daniel is their son. Both series are still ongoing, and both are marvelous if you love historical mysteries.

Tomorrow’s review and giveaway will be for another much-loved and long-running series, the Leaphorn, Chee and Manuelito series begun by the late Tony Hillerman and continued marvelously by his daughter Anne Hillerman. Just like yesterday, the giveaway will be for any book in the entire run of the series.

I chose both of those series this year because they both have books coming out right around my birthday – it’s my party week and I’ll read what I want to! These are books I wanted to read because I love both series. AND, something I didn’t realize until after I set the calendar, both authors are named “Anne” with an “e”. My middle name is “Anne” with an “e”, so it seemed a bit like fate.

Or at least good reading karma!

But today is the celebration of the start of Reading Reality, eight years, four cities and eight residences ago. (We moved a LOT, but we think we’ve finally stopped for a while).

I always like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you, my readers and followers, for making this blog so much fun to do. If I wasn’t having a good time, I’d stop – and I don’t see that happening anytime soon. I hope that all of you are having a good time, and hopefully an informative one, reading the posts and reviews. Whenever someone comments that they picked up a book because I raved about it – or avoided one like the plague because I ranted – it absolutely makes my day.

As today is the actual anniversary, today’s giveaway is special. I’m giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card AND a book (or books!) up to $25 in value, shipped anywhere that the Book Depository ships. There are separate rafflecopters for each giveaway, so enter one or both!

It’s my way of saying thanks to all of you. I’m looking forward to spending many more years together, talking about even more books!

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Review: Triple Jeopardy by Anne Perry + Giveaway

Review: Triple Jeopardy by Anne Perry + GiveawayTriple Jeopardy (Daniel Pitt #2) by Anne Perry
Format: eARC
Source: publisher via Edelweiss
Formats available: hardcover, large print, paperback, ebook, audiobook
Genres: historical mystery
Series: Daniel Pitt #2
Pages: 320
Published by Ballantine Books on April 9, 2019
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboBook Depository
Goodreads

Young lawyer Daniel Pitt must defend a British diplomat accused of a theft that may cover up a deadly crime in this riveting novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Twenty-one Days.

Daniel Pitt, along with his parents, Charlotte and Thomas, is delighted that his sister, Jemima, and her family have returned to London from the States for a visit. But the Pitts soon learn of a harrowing incident: In Washington, D.C., one of Jemima's good friends has been assaulted and her treasured necklace stolen. The perpetrator appears to be a man named Philip Sidney, a British diplomat stationed in America's capital who, in a cowardly move, has fled to London, claiming diplomatic immunity. But that claim doesn't cover his other crimes. . . .

When Sidney winds up in court on a separate charge of embezzlement, it falls to Daniel to defend him. Daniel plans to provide only a competent enough defense to avoid a mistrial, allowing the prosecution to put his client away. But when word travels across the pond that an employee of the British embassy in Washington has been found dead, Daniel grows suspicious about Sidney's alleged crimes and puts on his detective hat to search for evidence in what has blown up into an international affair.

As the embezzlement scandal heats up, Daniel takes his questions to intrepid scientist Miriam fford Croft, who brilliantly uses the most up-to-date technologies to follow an entirely new path of investigation. Daniel and Miriam travel to the Channel Islands to chase a fresh lead, and what began with a stolen necklace turns out to have implications in three far greater crimes--a triple jeopardy, including possible murder.

Advance praise for Triple Jeopardy

"Readers may find themselves smitten with Daniel and with the dauntless Miriam fforde Croft, whose relationship with Daniel deepens in this episode. . . . Primarily identified for her authentic period sets and well-rendered characters, Perry writes in what she has called the 'Put Your Heart on the Page' method, with the focus placed squarely on what happens to people under the pressure of investigation. This book is an excellent example of her craft."--Booklist

"Veteran Perry dials back the period detail and the updates on the lives of the continuing characters to focus on one of her most teasing mysteries, this time with a courtroom finale that may be her strongest ever."--Kirkus Reviews

My Review:

In my review of the first Daniel Pitt story, Twenty-One Days, I said that Daniel, his cast of irregulars, and the methods they use to discover the truth reminded me more than a bit of the Canadian TV series Murdoch Mysteries.

That’s still very much true in Daniel’s second outing, along with more than a bit of Law and Order UK, perhaps as the early 20th century edition. Perhaps with a bit of the Bess Crawford mystery book series, or the early adventures of Maisie Dobbs.

While Daniel Pitt is a (very junior) practicing lawyer, the year is 1910, and the case he is involved in has ties to the police, both in America and in England. It is also ultimately connected to the war with Germany that can be seen on the darkening horizon by those who are willing to look.

Not that Daniel sees the larger picture at the beginning. The case starts out rather small – and rather close to home.

His older sister Jemima, along with her American husband Patrick and their two little girls, have come to London to visit the family. Along with a story to tell that is not exactly their own.

A friend of Jemima’s was assaulted in the middle of the night in her own bedroom in Washington D.C. A necklace of little financial value but great sentimental attachment was ripped from her neck. Her screams brought her parents down the hall, and they identified her attacker as a young man of their acquaintance. A man who served as a junior functionary at the British Embassy.

The man claimed diplomatic immunity and fled to his home shores, followed in short order by Jemima and her family, the victim and her family, and papers proving that the young man committed embezzlement during his posting at the Embassy.

It may not be possible to try him in America for his assault on the young women, but it is definitely possible for him to be tried for stealing money from the Crown – no matter how small the amounts.

Daniel Pitt finds himself in the case up to the neck – his own if not his client’s. At first he believes the man is guilty – if not of the embezzlement then certainly of the assault. But the more he digs into the case – and the better he gets to know his client – the more he realizes that nothing about the entire thing makes any sense at all.

Not the original assault, not the embezzlement, and not the murder of the poor clerk who discovered the financial irregularities. Unless there’s something hidden underneath it all. And that the “original” assault was not the originating event at all – but instead the first in a series of increasingly desperate cover ups.

Daniel will have to dig deeply in order to find the answer. Very deeply indeed – both into the past and under the ocean – in order to come at the truth.

Escape Rating A: Reminiscent of the first book in this series, Daniel comes to this case through a family connection. And much of his internal tension throughout his investigation revolves around that family.

Initially, everyone is sure that the accused is guilty, if not of the financial misappropriations, then of the much more serious assault – a charge that cannot be brought forward in law. At the same time, once Daniel takes the case, he has to defend his client to the best of his ability, both to prevent a mistrial and in order to be able to live with himself.

But he’s caught on the horns of a dilemma – his introduction to this mess is through his brother-in-law the American cop. He fears that Patrick may have had something to do with the evidence of embezzlement arriving almost out of nowhere, and he fears alienating his sister if he makes that accusation plain.

At the same time Jemima is having her own doubts, both about her husband’s involvement in the case as well as whether her friend should push for the circumstances to be made public. Even though nothing happened beyond the theft of the necklace, the rumors that will follow the young woman for the rest of her life over this will be vicious and will never go completely away.

What makes the story work so well is the character of Daniel himself. We know what he came from, his parents were the protagonists in this author’s long-running and much-beloved historical mystery series named for them, Charlotte and Thomas Pitt.

Their series begins with The Cater Street Hangman and follows the romance and eventual marriage between Thomas, police detective and gamekeeper’s son and Charlotte, a daughter of the aristocracy. During that series, Thomas rises from detective to his position in 1910, head of Special Branch, the police department that deals with terrorism and treason.

But Daniel Pitt is very young, both as a man and as a lawyer. He often finds himself in over his head, and feels constrained about asking his father for advice – at least partially because he is all too aware that he was initially taken on by his firm because his father requested a favor from the senior partner. Daniel does not want to feel any more beholden to his father’s connections than he already does.

So Daniel comes at his cases from a different angle altogether – although in this particular case that angle results in him calling his own father to the witness stand!

In the end, Daniel solves this case with more than a little help from his rather irregular friends. And that’s what makes it such a page-turner from beginning to end.

~~~~~~ GIVEAWAY ~~~~~~

As part of my Blogo-Birthday Celebration, I’m giving away something every day this week. Today’s giveaway is for the winner’s choice of any book in either the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series or the Daniel Pitt series, both by Anne Perry. Both series are absolutely wonderful, and will be a treat for any lover of historical mystery. So the winner can either start Daniel’s adventures with Twenty-One Days, or go all the way back to when his parents first met in The Cater Street Hangman, or anywhere in between, including this most recent (and terrific!) mystery.

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Rain Rain Go Away Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the 4th Annual Rain Rain Go Away! Giveaway Hop, hosted by The Kids Did It and The Mommy Island

It’s not supposed to rain today in Atlanta. But “climate is what you expect, weather is what you get” so who knows? It is supposed to rain over the weekend. Of course it is!

“Rain Rain Go Away! Come back another day!” Preferably a day when we all have to be indoors working anyway. Oh well, it could be worse. Depending on where you live, it could still be snow!

As part of the Rain Rain Go Away! Giveaway Hop, as well as part of my eighth annual Blogo-Birthday Giveaway Celebration, I’m giving away the winner’s choice of a $10 Amazon Gift Card or a $10 Book from the Book Depository. Yes, I gave the same thing away yesterday, but this is a completely separate giveaway. As will be Wednesday’s, Thursday’s and Friday’s giveaways. Plenty of chances to share my celebration and WIN!

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For more amazing prizes be sure to visit the other stops on the hop!

Worth Melting For Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Worth Melting For Giveaway Hop, hosted by Mama the Fox!

It should be Spring pretty much everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere by now – even Alaska! So there’s plenty of white stuff – more likely ugly gray stuff by now – melting everywhere that it hasn’t already.

In the words of the immortal Anonymous, there are two, well, at least two, verses about Spring with more than a bit of humor in them.

The spring is sprung, the grass is riz.
I wonder where the boidie is.
They say the boidie’s on the wing.
But that’s absoid. The wing is on the bird.

If that one doesn’t work for you, there’s always this one:

Spring is sprung,
Fall is fell,
Here comes Summer
and it’s hotter than
last year!

Not that both of the above verses don’t also have a sense of the absurd that also perfectly appropriate for today’s date, April 1 – better known as April Fools Day.

No fooling here today. Today is the start of the Eighth Annual Reading Reality Blogo-Birthday Celebration Week. I’m giving something away every day this week. Today it’s the winner’s choice of either a $10 Amazon Gift Card or a $10 Book from the Book Depository. Answer the question in the rafflecopter for your chance to win today’s prize.

Tune in tomorrow for another giveaway!

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For more fabulous prizes be sure to visit the other stops on the hop!

MamatheFox and all participating blogs are not held responsible for sponsors who fail to fulfill their prize obligations.

Review: The Infamous Duchess by Sophie Barnes + Giveaway

Review: The Infamous Duchess by Sophie Barnes + GiveawayThe Infamous Duchess (Diamonds in the Rough, #4) by Sophie Barnes
Format: eARC
Source: publisher via Edelweiss
Formats available: paperback, ebook, audiobook
Genres: historical romance, regency romance
Series: Diamonds in the Rough #4
Pages: 384
Published by Avon on March 26, 2019
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboBook Depository
Goodreads


A woman with a shocking past…

Branded a money-hungry con artist for marrying the elderly Duke of Tremaine days before his death, Viola Cartwright has found refuge in her work at St. Agatha’s Hospital. No one must know the painful reason behind her marriage. She steers clear of attachments—until Henry Lowell, heir to the Viscount Armswell, lands on her operating table after a duel. Charming and wickedly handsome, Lowell is one of London’s most inveterate scoundrels. Yet he may not be all that he appears.


And the man who can promise a future filled with love…

Posing as an unrepentant rake has helped Lowell avoid women pursuing him only for his title. But now that duty has finally called on him to marry, he finds himself entranced by the mysterious, independent-minded Viola. Then her late husband’s son returns from overseas, contesting Viola’s inheritance. Lowell longs to help her and sets out to convince Viola that a strategic union may be the best way to save all she holds dear. But can he also persuade her to take a chance on love…?

My Review:

The longer this series goes on, the more it reminds me of the Maiden Lane series by Elizabeth Hoyt. Considering how excellent and popular that series was, that’s a terrific thing!

What has made this series so interesting has been the way that either the hero, the heroine, or both, are definitely unconventional for their time while still seeming to be at least plausible. That unconventionality has made the characters more readily identifiable with for 21st readers while not feeling so far out of the realm of the possible as to whiplash the reader out of the story.

In the case of both Viola, Dowager Duchess of Tremaine and Henry Lowell, a viscount’s heir, there is plenty that draws them out of the ordinary while not shifting them into the impossible.

Viola has been a part of the series from relatively early on. Her business partner is Dr. Florian Lowell, an excellent physician AND the heir to a dukedom. Florian’s story was told in the previous book in the series, The Illegitimate Duke.

Viola was trained as a surgeon by her late father, and often works with Florian in the operating theater as well as running the hospital where they work. Viola’s late husband left her a small fortune, and she used that inheritance to start the hospital.

But her late husband was an elderly man when she married him, and society sees her as a conniving gold-digger. So she shuns society in return. Running the hospital is her work, her duty and her fulfillment. She doesn’t care about society – except in so far as she can use her notoriety to raise funds to further develop the hospital.

Henry Lowell is Florian’s brother. He’s also a rake of the first order and seems to find himself in more than his fair share of duels.

That’s how Viola and Henry meet – in the wake of yet another duel. Florian has to patch up his brother. One wonders if at least some of Florian’s original interest in medicine might have been born out of necessity – as Henry gets into more than his fair share of trouble.

But the near-brush with death has Henry re-examining his life. It’s time for him to settle down and start a family, to provide an heir for the title he hopes not to inherit for a long time. He obviously loves his grandparents very much and has no desire to inherit anytime soon.

Henry and Viola have a lot in common. They are both on the outs with society and they both have acquired undeserved and undesirable reputations. They are also both practical-minded people and both are in business for themselves and are successful at and responsible to those businesses.

And they have an intense chemistry that neither wants to deny, although perhaps they both should.

When Viola’s past returns to not merely haunt her, but to strive to take all she has earned away from her, it is her relationship with Henry that provides her with strength – along with even greater vulnerability.

But it is her unconventionality that finally saves the day.

Escape Rating B: Like all of the books in this series, The Infamous Duchess is a lot of frothy fun with just a bit of an unconventional bite to keep things interesting.

(It is not necessary to read the entire series to get into the action in this fourth entry, but they are delicious. Start with A Most Unlikely Duke to see exactly what I mean.

A couple of things about this story that I’m still thinking about.

One is that the portrayal of the cruelty and vindictiveness of Regency society does make one wonder what made it such a fruitful period for romance in general, and why anyone would aspire to be part of that society in particular. While there are some likeable individuals and even families, overall the ton seems petty and venal and just plain nasty. But then again, isn’t that just people?

While both the heroine and the hero of this story are, as is usual, extremely pretty and or handsome, they are both surprisingly deep characters in a lot of very unusual ways. Even more surprising is the way that their unconventionality dovetails together so neatly.

Part of what I enjoyed about Viola was the depth of her character, but also the unusual breadth of her experience. Like many of the protagonists in this series, Viola did not come from the upper classes. Her father was a physician, making her solidly a member of the small middle class. That her marriage raised her to the peerage is not surprising – and neither is the amount of gossip and downright disgust it engendered. That she’s made so very much good out of her circumstances shows a great deal of strength of character. And it is wonderful that it is that strength that draws the hero to her – as much as if not more so than her looks.

It’s also marvelous that he believes from the very beginning that she is the most beautiful woman in any room – even though she does not see herself that way and that objectively she probably would not have been considered a “diamond of the first water”.

Another part of her experience that is out of the ordinary is that while Viola’s marriage was never consummated because of her elderly husband’s illness, she is not a virgin. And the cause of that particular “lack” was the result of her being taken advantage of by her husband’s son – before she married. That the consequences of that act, while in their way shameful and heartbreaking did not lead to either pregnancy, poverty, prostitution or all of the above is refreshing.

And it leads to the dramatic tension of the story – but not in any of the ways that one might expect. It certainly made for a very interesting twist as well as a lingering sense of creeping menace.

There is (obviously as shown above) a villain in this piece, and he’s extremely villainous – almost to the point of caricature. A part of me wants to think of him as a “Snidely Whiplash”, complete with evil cackle, twirling mustache, and tying the heroine to the metaphorical tracks, but the disgusting pustule in this book is so horrible that even Snidely would be rightfully insulted to be considered as part of his company.

Evil does mostly get its just desserts, after a truly frightening climactic scene, but one of his henchmen manages to miss being properly punished, so that part of the story feels a bit unfinished. Perhaps in a later book in the series we’ll see him get his.

Speaking of later books, the series clearly continues. We watched the hero and heroine of the next story meet as The Infamous Duchess concluded, and their entry in the series looks like a real treat!

~~~~~~ TOURWIDE GIVEAWAY ~~~~~~

To celebrate the release of THE INFAMOUS DUCHESS by Sophie Barnes, we’re giving away a paperback set of the first three books in the series━A Most Unlikely Duke, The Duke of Her Desire, and The Illegitimate Duke!

Link:   http://bit.ly/2SXHs2Y

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback set of the first three books in the series━A Most Unlikely Duke, The Duke of Her Desire, and The Illegitimate Duke.  This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Books. Giveaway ends 4/5/2019 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address.  Duplicates will be deleted.

Review: The Cliff House by RaeAnne Thayne + Giveaway

Review: The Cliff House by RaeAnne Thayne + GiveawayThe Cliff House by RaeAnne Thayne
Format: eARC
Source: publisher via NetGalley
Formats available: hardcover, large print, paperback, ebook, audiobook
Genres: contemporary romance, women's fiction
Pages: 368
Published by Hqn on March 26, 2019
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboBook Depository
Goodreads

Three women—two sisters and their aunt—and the cliff house on the northern California coast that served as a beacon to them all…

After the death of their mother, sisters Daisy and Beatriz Davenport found a home with their aunt Stella in the beautiful and welcoming town of Cape Sanctuary. They never knew all the dreams that Stella sacrificed to ensure they had everything they’d ever need. Now, with Daisy and Bea grown, it’s time for Stella to reveal the secret she’s been keeping from them—a secret that will change their family forever.

Bea thought she’d sown all her wild oats when she got pregnant far too young. The marriage that followed was rocky and not destined to last, but it gave Bea her wonderful, mature, now eleven-year-old daughter, Marisol. But just as she’s beginning to pursue a new love with an old friend, Bea’s ex-husband resurfaces and turns their lives completely upside down.

Then there’s Daisy—sensible, rational, financially prudent Daisy. She’s never taken a risk in her life—until she meets a man who makes her question everything she thought she knew about life, love and the power of taking chances.

In this heartwarming story, Stella, Bea and Daisy will discover that the path to true happiness is filled with twists and turns, but love always leads them back home.

My Review:

I had kind of an interesting reaction to The Cliff House. First of all, RaeAnne Thayne is an author I usually enjoy, so I was expecting to be charmed by this story. And it is, like yesterday’s book, very charming.

In some ways, the story reminded me more than a bit of several of Susan Mallery’s standalone books. Just as in her recent California Girls, and particularly in her Daughters of the Bride, The Cliff House is the story of three closely related women. In today’s story, those women are sisters Daisy and Bea, and their aunt, Stella, who raised them after the death of their mother, Stella’s older sister Jewel.

In The Cliff House, each of the Davenport women finds love, fulfillment, and a closer relationship with the other two. But the road to getting there is rocky in many, many ways.

On the romantic front, those romances are very different. The man who Stella left behind in order to get custody of her nieces returns to her life with a pre-teen daughter in tow. His advent in Cape Sanctuary occurs just as Stella discovers that the “turkey baster” did the trick. She’s 40 and has just that moment learned that she is pregnant by artificial insemination with a baby she plans to raise on her own.

Bea finally figures out that she is in love with the man who has been her best friend since 5th grade. Her timing, however, is equally off, as her great revelation occurs just when her rock star ex-husband comes back to town. And while Bea is certain she is no longer in love with the man, he’s putting on a full-court press to get her back – and she can’t help but wonder if getting back together with the father of her pre-teen daughter might not be the best thing for Marisol – if not for herself.

Last but not least, practical, sensible Daisy makes the mistake of falling for both a man and a dog whose presence in Cape Sanctuary is only ever going to be temporary. Daisy learned the lesson a long time ago not to ever depend on anyone because they might be taken away. It’s what’s happened to her before, with disastrous consequences. Why risk her heart when she is certain that it will all happen again?

And the heartbreak certain does come, but not in the way that any of them had imagined. And not in any way that can’t be gotten past if not over, but only if they each learn to rely on the people around them – and on each other.

Escape Rating B: As I said, I had an interesting reaction to this story. The town of Cape Sanctuary is a lovely place, and we get more than a glimpse of what draws people to the little town on the California coast.

The events of the story are wrapped around Cape Sanctuary’s annual Hearts and Arts Festival. The Festival benefits the non-profit association that Stella founded to raise awareness of the difficulties of finding Foster Parents and to provide financial support for some of the people willing to take on that necessary work.

Stella started the Foundation after raising not just her nieces, but after opening her home and her heart to other children in need of fostering. It’s a worthy cause and seems to be a terrific event.

All of the romantic and relationship entanglements are intertwined with the planning for the event and the execution of it, giving readers a chance to see the town work and see this family of women work so well together.

I really liked Daisy’s story and her romance with an award-winning documentary filmmaker. Who also happens to be the man who saved her ex-brother-in-law’s life after a knife attack by the jealous husband of one of his many, many groupies. But Daisy’s life is firmly tied to Cape Sanctuary and Gabe’s life and work are always on the road.

Daisy’s story was interesting to me in part because Daisy had so many interesting secrets that she kept so close. And keeping those secrets kept her from opening herself up, not just to romantic love but also to the love of her sister and her aunt. Daisy is the person who does the most growing as part of her arc of the story.

Daisy’s story was also the only one of the three that did not somehow revolve around motherhood. As someone who is childless by very definite choice, both Stella’s desire to become a mother at any cost and Bea’s unwillingness to tell her cheating ex to go fly a kite because it might be better for their daughter if they got back together didn’t work for me – although I fully recognize that most readers will have more understanding of Stella’s situation than I did.

Bea’s story drove me a bit batty, because her daughter would not be better off watching her father disrespect her mother by cheating on her over and over (and over) again. When they split she might have been too young for it to really register, but at 11 she’s more than old enough to understand, if not infidelity, at least that her father made her mother miserable and would be doing it again.

So, of the three romances, Daisy’s worked really well for me (and the secret she was keeping from everyone was absolutely delicious!). I recognize that Stella’s plight was well-written but just wasn’t my cuppa, and that I wanted Bea to get hit by a clue-by-four.

It is a lovely, well-written story, and one or more of the romances, as well as the deep, abiding love between the three women, is bound to appeal to lots of readers. Hopefully you!

~~~~~~ GIVEAWAY ~~~~~~

I’m giving away a copy of The Cliff House to one lucky US commenter on this tour!

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Review: The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick + Giveaway

Review: The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick + GiveawayThe Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick
Format: eARC
Source: publisher via NetGalley
Formats available: hardcover, large print, paperback, ebook, audiobook
Genres: women's fiction
Pages: 352
Published by Park Row on March 26, 2019
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboBook Depository
Goodreads

A librarian’s discovery of a mysterious book sparks the journey of a lifetime in the delightful new novel from the international bestselling author of
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper

Librarian Martha Storm has always found it easier to connect with books than people—though not for lack of trying. She keeps careful lists of how to help others in her superhero-themed notebook. And yet, sometimes it feels like she’s invisible.

All of that changes when a book of fairy tales arrives on her doorstep. Inside, Martha finds a dedication written to her by her best friend—her grandmother Zelda—who died under mysterious circumstances years earlier. When Martha discovers a clue within the book that her grandmother may still be alive, she becomes determined to discover the truth. As she delves deeper into Zelda’s past, she unwittingly reveals a family secret that will change her life forever.

Filled with Phaedra Patrick’s signature charm and vivid characters, The Library of Lost and Found is a heartwarming and poignant tale of how one woman must take control of her destiny to write her own happy ending.

My Review:

What is lost and finally found at this library is the heart and spirit of volunteer library worker Martha Storm. The story of how she was “lost”, is told in flashbacks, but the story of what she found and how she found it is part of the present.

And it’s completely charming.

I found myself caught up in Martha’s initially self-restricted life and eventual flowering almost in spite of myself. To the point where I started and finished the book in a single day.

Not a lot happens in this story. There aren’t any great adventures or major events. Well, not exactly. Except that there are – mostly in the sense of a journey of the spirit, with signposts provided by the events of her life along the way.

Martha Storm volunteers at her local public library in tiny little Sandshift – a small town on the coast of England. She’s the person who does everything for everybody, always going above and beyond on every side, with no hope of compensation and nary a word of thanks.

She’s a woman who seems constitutionally incapable of saying “No” to anyone. And no one seems to appreciate her for it – not her boss, not her co-workers, not the villagers she helps and certainly not her sister. Not until she finally, suddenly, almost inexplicably manages to say that one word – and both her world and that world’s view of her, begins to shift.

So does she. And as Martha starts to find herself, she also finds what she lost long ago – her grandmother.

Escape Rating B+: This is a story about family secrets, their power to harm, and their power to destroy. And it’s about the freedom that comes with setting those secrets free.

In my own family, there was a secret. At my grandfather’s funeral my aunt revealed that my grandmother was not her mother – that my grandfather had been married before. It wasn’t a big secret – nor was it destructive in the way that the secrets in this story were. But it told me a vital piece of information that explained a great deal about my childhood – I was my grandmother’s only grandchild. She was already deceased, so it had no effect on my relationship with her – but it colored my memories of her differently.

The secrets that have been kept from Martha Storm all of her life, while they don’t change the past, definitely put it into a much different light. A light that illuminates so many events and relationships that defined her – and not always for her benefit.

When she was in her early teens, her parents told her that her charismatic, beloved grandmother Zelda was dead. They refused to let her go to the funeral, and she never found the grave.

When a local bookseller gives her a worn-out copy of a book, written by her grandmother, made up of stories that Martha wrote and told to her grandmother and stories that her grandmother wrote and told to her, she’s flabbergasted. When she reads the dedication at the front of the book, a dedication to her, written three years after her grandmother’s “death”, Martha’s world starts to unravel.

But what unravels are all the accretions and protections, all the shoulds and don’ts, all the negging that her uber-controlling father wrapped around Martha, her mother, and her sister. All the things that kept Martha from venturing out into the world, and letting the world venture into her.

All the things that would have challenged her father’s control of her. Like her grandmother.

In her search for her grandmother, Martha rediscovers herself and her childhood joy of the world around her.

She gets a second chance at life. At love. And with her beloved Zelda. The truth sets her free to be her best self.

And it makes an absolutely charming story.

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Snow Much Fun Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Snow Much Fun Giveaway Hop, hosted by Mama the Fox!

Is snow much fun for you? It isn’t for me, so I’m grateful to live someplace where we don’t get much of it. I’m rather fond of saying that winter only deals a glancing blow around here. We occasionally get a dusting, but whenever they start predicting a snowpocalypse the whole city shuts down until it passes – or melts.

It’s raining here now. Actually, Spring has pretty much sprung around here. The summers, on that dreadful other hand, are rather beastly. But that’s why iced tea was invented.

Meanwhile, snow. If you haven’t seen the last snowfall of the season in your area by now, you will sometime this month. Even Anchorage generally slid into mud season by April Fools’ Day. And slid, and slipped, and slid some more. And squelched a bit. There are LOTS of things I miss about living there, but winter and breakup are not any of them.

How much snow is too much for you?

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