Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Queen of the Tearling: A Novel by Erika Johansen

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

Magic, adventure, mystery, and romance combine in this epic debut in which a young princess must reclaim her dead mother’s throne, learn to be a ruler—and defeat the Red Queen, a powerful and malevolent sorceress determined to destroy her.

On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Plain and serious, a girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenseless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon—from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic—to prevent her from wearing the crown.

Despite her royal blood, Kelsea feels like nothing so much as an insecure girl, a child called upon to lead a people and a kingdom about which she knows almost nothing. But what she discovers in the capital will change everything, confronting her with horrors she never imagined. An act of singular daring will throw Kelsea’s kingdom into tumult, unleashing the vengeance of the tyrannical ruler of neighboring Mortmesne: the Red Queen, a sorceress possessed of the darkest magic. Now Kelsea will begin to discover whom among the servants, aristocracy, and her own guard she can trust.

But the quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun—a wondrous journey of self-discovery and a trial by fire that will make her a legend . . . if she can survive.

my thoughts:

Fantasy fiction is my new jam - whoa Nelly! I just finished reading the epic and excellent The Queen of the Tearling, the first book in the super popular trilogy by Erika Johansen.  I'd seen this book around and had heard nothing but awesome things about it, but for some reason I didn't pick it up.  Say what!? I know!  What was I thinking?!  Anyhow, I'm just glad that I finally read this amazing book, because I get why everyone was raving about it. Plus, I get to experience for myself.  I have The Invasion of the Tearling and The Fate of the Tearling to look forward to now - talk about perfect Fall reads!!  I can't wait!!

So, what did I love about this book?  Try, everything!  I'm serious.  The Queen of the Tearling is a fast-paced adventure filled with magic, political upheaval, and a captivating story.  Kelsea is nineteen.  She's heading home to take her rightful place at the throne after being kept hidden away for so long.  Following her mother's death, Kelsea's safety was imperative and thanks to two devoted servants she was raised to love books and learning.  But now, she must return to a home and place she has never really known.  She must assert her power over her kingdom and she must battle those who wish her gone.  It will be a dark and dangerous time for Kelsea, but with her intellect, quick wit, and inner strength she will succeed.  I just loved reading about this modest and bookish young lady turn into such a powerhouse.  It was awesome!

Johnasen has created a fantastic world in with these characters and the kingdom of Tear.  The writing is top notch and filled with such strong and vivid imagery.  She doesn't shy away from tackling heavy issues such as religion and politics within this world.  And the magical element of the story was fascinating and exciting. Talk about an unputdownable read! I can't wait to find out what happens next to Kelsea and the kingdom of Tear.

I would happily recommend The Queen of the Tearling to fans of fantasy fiction and anyone looking for their next great read(s) - you will LOVE this trilogy!!  I've only read the first book, but I just know I'm going to love the next two - they are that damn good. 

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: The Queen of the Tearling
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

GIVEAWAY: Dogs and Their People by BarkPost

Just in time for the holidays - Dogs and Their People!  Talk about the BEST gift for dog lovers everywhere.  An awesome book filled with photos and stories about pooches and the people they LOVE.  How cute and fun does that sound?  I know that I'm going to love gifting this tome to my loved ones who are obsessed with their sweet and loyal canine friends.  They are going to flip over Dogs and Their People: Photos and Stories of Life with a Four-Legged Love - "the first official BarkBook from the humans over at BarkPost."

Here's what you'll find in this super cool book: 

"A collection of community-sourced and never-before-told anecdotes, stories, photos, and intimate insights, Dogs and Their People captures the depth, spirit, and power of the extraordinary bond between humans and their pups and spotlights more than two hundred unique and remarkable dogs.  Some are celebri-dogs (oh hello, Tuna Melts My Heart and Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund) while others are just making their debut (like Putnam publicist Katie’s Newfoundland, Hank, on page 228!); some will make your heart ache while others will make it soar; and others simply look dapper in color.

But this book isn’t just about the dogs; it’s about celebrating the crazy, consuming, unconditional love we feel for them. It’s about the songs you’ve made up for them, the hugs you’ve given them on bad days, and all the outfits that—let’s be honest—you forced them into. It’s about the lightness they’ve brought to our lives just by being there—and having smushy faces. We hear you, dog people; this one is for you."

Talk about a must-read for dog lovers! Dogs and Their People is bow-WOW!  

Thanks to the publisher I'm allowed to giveaway one (1) copy of this awesome book! Just leave me a comment (don't forget to include your email address) and I'll throw your name in the hat.  Open to US residents only.  Last day to enter is 11/27/16.  Good Luck!!

Monday, November 21, 2016

GIVEAWAY & REVIEW of Beauty and Attention by Liz Rosenberg

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

The riveting story of one brave young woman’s struggle to free herself from a web of deceit.

For misfit Libby Archer, social expectations for young women in Rochester, New York, in the mid-1950s don’t work. Her father has died, leaving her without parents, and her well-meaning friends are pressuring her to do what any sensible single girl must do: marry a passionate, persistent hometown suitor with a promising future. Yet Libby boldly defies conventional wisdom and plans to delay marriage—to anyone—by departing for her uncle’s Belfast estate. In Ireland, Libby seeks not only the comfort of family but also greater opportunities than seem possible during the stifling McCarthy era at home.

Across the Atlantic, Libby finds common ground with her brilliant, invalid cousin, Lazarus, then puts her trust in a sophisticated older woman who seems to be everything she hopes to become. Fraught with betrayal and long-kept secrets, as well as sudden wealth and unexpected love, Libby’s journey toward independence takes turns she never could have predicted—and calls on courage and strength she never knew she had.

my thoughts:

Historical fiction at its best! I just loved Beauty and Attention by Liz Rosenberg.

Its the 1950s and women are taught that being wives and mothers is the only career choice on hand.  Except, its really not.  And Libby Archer knows this.  She wants to see the world and experience life, so she heads off to Ireland to stay with family.  She befriends her ailing cousin, Lazarus ( a charming man ), who seems to understand her desire for freedom and pursuing her dreams (whatever those may be).  Ireland seems like a good fit, until it isn't anymore - thanks to a falling out with Lazarus.  As a result, Libby gets bested and winds up married and living the life she was trying so hard to escape from.  Talk about moving backwards! And that is all I will write about the plot of the story.  If you want to find out whether or not Libby remains unhappily ever after, you will have to read this unputdownable story for yourself. 

Beauty and Attention is a captivating story that has you rooting for Libby.  You find yourself following her on this journey of self-discovery and cringing when things don't look so good for her.  And her friendships with Henry and Lazarus were the best - they were my favorite parts of the story.  Oh, and the twists and turns woven into Libby's life are so darn good. I really loved this book! I though that Rosenberg's writing was spot on.  Her rich, vivid, and in-depth details of the places Libby visited were superb - they made me feel like I was walking around Ireland and Italy with her.  I just really enjoyed this story so much. Rosenberg's book is terrific!

I would happily recommend Beauty and Attention to fans of Rosenberg's works, fans of historical fiction (with a romantic bent), and anyone looking for their next great read.

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: Beauty and Attention

GIVEAWAY:  Thanks to the publisher I am able to give away one (1) copy of this book! All you have to do to enter the giveaway is leave me a comment. Don't forget to include your email address - that way I can contact you, if you win the book.  Last date to enter is November 22nd.  US/Canada residents only.  Good luck!!

Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Grape, Olive, Pig: Deep Travels Through Spain's Food Culture by Matt Goulding

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

The author of Rice, Noodle, Fish now celebrates the delectable and sensuous culture and cuisine of Spain with this beautifully illustrated food-driven travel guide filled with masterful narration, insider advice, and nearly 200 full-color photos.

Grape, Olive, Pig is a deeply personal exploration of Spain, a country where eating and living are inextricably linked. Crafted in the “refreshing” (Associated Press), “inspirational” (Publishers Weekly) and “impeccably observed” (Eater.com) style of the acclaimed Rice, Noodle, Fish, and written with the same evocative voice of the award-winning magazine Roads & Kingdoms, this magnificent gastronomic travel companion takes you through the key regions of Spain as you’ve never seen them before.

Matt Goulding introduces you to the sprawling culinary and geographical landscape of his adoptive home, and offers an intimate portrait of this multifaceted country, its remarkable people, and its complex history. Fall in love with Barcelona’s tiny tapas bars and modernist culinary temples. Explore the movable feast of small plates and late nights in Madrid. Join the three-thousand-year-old hunt for Bluefin tuna off the coast of Cadiz, then continue your seafood journey north to meet three sisters who risk their lives foraging the gooseneck barnacle, one of Spain’s most treasured ingredients. Delight in some of the world’s most innovative and avant-garde edible creations in San Sebastian, and then wash them down with cider from neighboring Asturias. Sample the world’s finest acorn-fed ham in Salamanca, share in the traditions of cave-dwelling shepherds in the mountains beyond Granada, and debate what constitutes truly authentic paella in Valencia.

Grape, Olive, Pig reveals hidden gems and enduring delicacies from across this extraordinary country, contextualizing each meal with the stories behind the food in a cultural narrative complemented by stunning color photography. Whether you’ve visited Spain or have only dreamed of bellying up to its tapas bars, Grape, Olive, Pig will wake your imagination, rouse your hunger, and capture your heart.

my thoughts:

Foodie heaven!  Talk about a delectable book that literally makes your mouth water - oh, my!  I absolutely loved Grape, Olive, Pig: Deep Travels Through Spain's Food Culture by Matt Goulding.  It was just such a fun and fascinating read.

I've always wanted to visit Spain and now feel like I have thanks to Goulding's stories about food, culture, and the country.  He shares with us the famous hot spots and the real hot spots of this amazing country - those tourist-ridden places and the out of the way places that truly offer the most delicious Spanish cuisine.  I found myself enjoying Goulding's rich, vivid, and detailed descriptions of the food, the people, and the country.  I could easily imagine wandering around this country enjoying tapas and the local wine. Plus, the terrific photos helped me to see Spain through Goulding's eyes.

Grape, Olive, Pig is a combination of travel writing and food journal - talk about the perfect duo!  The stories are fun and entertaining, but also informative with their historical bent.  I loved reading about the sisters who hunt for barnacles - that was just so cool to learn about.  And I loved reading about some of my favorite foods - migas and paella.  YUM!  This was truly such a great book to dive into.

I would happily recommend Grape, Olive, Pig to fan's of Goulding's first book, Rice, Noodle, Fish - you are going to love this new one just as much (if not more); and fans of travel/foodie types of books - your mouth won't stop watering and you'll booking tickets to Spain in no time!

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: Grape, Olive, Pig
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

My Murakami TBR List

I just received my copy of Murakami's latest:
You know I'm going to enjoy reading it - how could I not!?! Its Murakami!!  Of course, I still have a few more of his books on my TBR list.  I'm pacing myself so I don't run out of his work to read.  Here are the books I still have to look forward to:

Not a bad bunch, eh?  The last one is by one of Murakami's translators and sounds like an interesting read. After all, Murakami does love his music, right?  He only owns tens of thousands of records and always mentions music in his stories and used to own a jazz club.  I'm thinking of reading a book of his short stories before the year ends, or maybe I'll kick off the new year with Murakami.  Hmm...who knows?  Either way, I'm just happy I still have some of his books to read.

And now, I'm off to continue reading Superficial by Andy Cohen.  Happy reading!!