Season of Storms by Susanna Kearsley – Excerpt/Spotlight & Giveaway (US only)

August 6th, 2014

Happy Wednesday everyone!  Sourcebooks is releasing Susanna Kearsley’s novel Season of Storms this September and today I’ve got an excerpt from that novel to share with you all.  There is also a giveaway at the end of the post so make sure not to miss a chance to win a copy for yourself.  I’ve read a few of Susanna Kearsley’s books and I always love them so I’m looking forward to reading this one too.

 

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EXCERPT

“Why do the rich always build their houses miles from the road?” Den wanted to know. “All they need is a little front yard and a driveway, but no… they have to put in all these columns and
fountains and—”

“Dennis,” Rupert cut in, puffing nearly as much as I was, “if you didn’t waste all your breath complaining, you’d find it easier to walk.”

“Oh, I’ve got plenty of breath,” Den assured him. “That isn’t a problem.” I couldn’t help smiling, even in the midst of my exertions. I couldn’t think of any situation in which Den would cease to talk. Perhaps in sleep, but even then he most likely muttered and tossed in his bed, restless. He was not a quiet man.

I, on the other hand, couldn’t have spoken a word if I’d wanted to. My body needed every bit of oxygen to keep my muscles moving, propelling me up the long drive like an automaton… left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot, each step crunching on the gravel. I kept my head purposely down, focusing not on the way ahead but on the patch of gravel just in front of my feet—a much more attainable goal.

I knew, from my limited, low-angled view of the flowering shrubs and ornate column bases I was passing, that we were walking through a place of beauty. Now and then I saw the feet of a statue resting in the trailing greenery and was tempted to look higher, but I didn’t dare for fear I’d lose my footing. I’d be living here for several months, I told myself. Plenty of time to admire the scenery later. For now, all I wanted was to get up to the house and climb into a bath.

Behind me, Den stopped walking and swore.

I lifted my head then to look, and wished that I hadn’t. I sagged at the sight of the steps—a seemingly endless flight of them, ten feet wide and gleaming white, that angled steeply upwards, barring our way to the house like some cruel architectural joke. Even the lions that stood at its entrance appeared to be laughing.

It might have been the heat, or simple tiredness, but I nearly broke down at that point. And I might have disgraced myself entirely by dissolving in tears at the foot of the steps if I hadn’t just then heard the sure, certain sound of someone coming down to meet us. Looking
up through blurring eyes I saw the outline of a man, a young man, lean and dark and moving swiftly, with an athlete’s grace. Halfway down he waved and called out, “Thought you might need help with those. It’s a bloody long way up.” An English voice, precise and very RADA.

I blinked away my unshed tears and watched with curiosity as Nicholas Rutherford came closer. I’d seen photographs, of course, but never the man in person. He was not as tall as I’d expected, but I didn’t imagine most women would notice his height—it was his face that so entranced them, with its cleanly cut features and laugh lines and soul-searching eyes. And whereas we looked hot and straggly and were on the point of collapse, he looked cool and crisply pressed and managed the final few steps without apparent effort, smoking a cigarette.

“What happened to you lot?” He looked us up and down, amused. “Did Giancarlo make you get out and push, or something?”

“We walked,” said Den.

“Walked? From where?”

“From town. Giancarlo, if that’s who was supposed to meet our train at Desenzano, never showed. We had to take a bus.” Rupert pointed out that we had rung the house. “But apparently your phones aren’t working.”

“It wouldn’t surprise me,” said Nicholas, smoothing his hair with one hand in what I would learn was an habitual gesture of his. “It’s a bit of a madhouse around here today. Here, let me take that.” Putting the cigarette in his mouth he held out a hand for my suitcase. “You’ve only a little bit farther to go and we’ll get you set up with a drink.”

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

In 1921, infamous Italian poet Galeazzo D’Ascanio wrote his last and greatest play, inspired by his muse and mistress, actress Celia Sands. On the eve of opening night, Celia vanished, and the play was never performed.
Now, two generations later, Alessandro D’Ascanio plans to stage his grandfather’s masterpiece and has offered the lead to a promising young English actress, also named Celia Sands—at the whim of her actress mother, or so she has always thought. When Celia arrives at D’Ascanio’s magnificent, isolated Italian villa, she is drawn to the mystery of her namesake’s disappearance—and to the compelling, enigmatic Alessandro.
But the closer Celia gets to learning the first Celia’s fate, the more she is drawn into a web of murder, passion, and the obsession of genius. Though she knows she should let go of the past, in the dark, in her dreams, it comes back…

Preorder at Amazon

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

susannaNew York Times and USA Today bestselling author Susanna Kearsley is known for her meticulous research and exotic settings from Russia to Italy to Cornwall, which not only entertain her readers but give her a great reason to travel. Her lush writing has been compared to Mary Stewart, Daphne Du Maurier, and Diana Gabaldon. She hit the bestseller lists in the U.S. with The Firebird, a RITA winner (2014), as well as The Winter Sea and The Rose Garden, both RITA finalists and winners of RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards. Other honors include finaling for the UK’s Romantic Novel of the Year Award, National Readers’ Choice Awards, and the prestigious Catherine Cookson Fiction Prize. Her popular and critically-acclaimed books are available in translation in more than 20 countries and as audio books. She lives in Canada, near the shores of Lake Ontario.

Author Links: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest

 

GIVEAWAY – US RESIDENTS ONLY

1 copy of Season of Storms by Susanna Kearsley

*CLICK HERE* and fill out the form to enter

Draw Date August 23/14

Good luck!

(comments are much welcomed but do not count as an entry)

 

Source:  Giveaway copy provided by the publisher.  No compensation was received for this post.

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The Typewriter Girl by Alison Atlee (Audiobook)

August 4th, 2014

typeI’m pleased today to kick of Alison Atlee’s debut novel The Typewriter Girl with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. The Typewriter Girl is a journey back in time to the seaside resort of Idensea and into the life of Betsey Dobson. Betsey is a woman who longed for an independent life but living in a man’s world has made that difficult. After being fired from her job as a typewriter girl and having her reputation completely sullied Betsey decides to travel to Idensea where she was previously offered a job and she can only pray it was a true offer. Upon arriving she is thankfully given a job by John Jones managing excursions for the Idensea Pier and Seaside Pleasure Building Company.

Betsey enjoys her new job so much more than that of a typewriter girl. Even though being a typewriter girl was considered the ultimate job for a woman of her time it wasn’t enough for Betsey. Now with this job Betsey can show that she has the ability to do well in business even though she is a woman. Adding a little turmoil to her life is her attraction to John Jones who is seeing a wealthy woman who has much more to offer than Betsey. Yet once again Betsey is a woman not afraid to take what she wants and it isn’t long before sparks are flying between the two. One thing for sure is that John has never met a woman like Betsey and it intrigues him a great deal. Is it enough to bring the two together in love?

This novel is a love story and a pretty good one in that it’s complicated by the personalities of the two main characters of Betsey and John. They can be quite funny in their dealings with each other and I enjoyed the banter between the two. I also really liked Betsey with her independence and strength of character. It’s always a pleasure to read about women who were strong and didn’t want to settle for what it was believed all they were capable of.

All in all I enjoyed The Typewriter Girl. I found it a bit slow in places but still very enjoyable. I listened to the audio version which is narrated by Rosalyn Landor who I love. She is a fabulous narrator who brings so much to the telling of a story. She brought the time and place alive in my mind and she portrayed Betsey’s character perfectly. I don’t know if I would have enjoyed this novel as much in print as I did in audio because of Rosalyn Landor’s beautiful narration of it.

Recommended for fans of historical fiction with a splash of romance. 

 

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Source: Audiobook copy was provided for review by the author. No compensation was received for this post and all opinions are that of the blog owner.

The 3-Day Reset by Pooja Mottl

July 28th, 2014

ResetWe live in a generation where we’re always looking for the next great diet trick that will help us shed those last few pounds but do you ever think that losing weight and feeling good may be as easy as just eating right. The 3-Day Reset by Pooja Mottl takes us through a sensible and fairly easy way to change our bad cravings and instead begin to crave eating healthy foods that are delicious and actually good for us too.

There are ten resets that include: sugar, wheat, salt, chocolate, yogurt, chicken, beverages, breakfast, salad, and takeout and each reset takes 3 days. Now I had every intention of trying one of these out – I already don’t eat salt, sugar, takeout, or chocolate (migraines) and I never touch beverages like sodas or specialty drinks. However I could do with changing my breakfast eating as well as wheat and yogurt. I’ve had a sick pup for the last few weeks so I didn’t get a chance to tackle breakfast but I plan to and I’ll make sure to post my results for everyone. In the meantime I want to give a brief overview of each reset and what I found interesting about it:

Sugar – an average person eats about 22 teaspoons of sugar a day. This works out to about 13% of our daily calories. It’s no wonder we feel tired and sluggish. Sugar is only a pick me up for a very brief time before you tumble from that high. Even scarier is that sugar is in so many things we casually eat without even thinking like ketchup, waffles, and bread.

Wheat – this is a tough one for me because I truly love my white bread and pasta but I fully intend to see if I can change that in the future. What amazes me about wheat is the processes and additives that go into taking the wheat and making it into our breads and pastas, etc. That alone had the ability to make me anxious about putting all those additives in my body. Not to mention that eating whole grain wheat flour instead of refined can lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Salt – this is one that I have done after finding out I had high blood pressure. I went cold turkey but what’s astonishing is just what foods you can find salt in and one that I found most surprising was eggs. This is a difficult reset to tackle because as Pooja says our tastebuds have become so accustomed to salt but you know after you do it for a while and become used to not using salt it’s next to impossible to eat something salty again.

Chocolate – Not an issue for me as I haven’t eaten chocolate in years but I found it interesting to read about the history of chocolate that Pooja writes of. Chocolate is yet another thing that our modern world has over processed.

Yogurt – I had read about my yogurt being fake long before Pooja related the same thing in her book. Once again it was interesting to read the history of yogurt and how different it is from the over processed stuff we eat today. I don’t eat any of the fancy yogurts they make today with all kinds of things added in – I eat boring old vanilla but I do want to try this reset and some of the recipes that Pooja has included just to see what I think. Just maybe I can leave my fake yogurt behind.

Chicken – once again it’s a matter of how different we do things now from back in the past. It used to be that people prepared whole chickens yet now it’s chicken pieces or breasts. Even more disturbing is the chicken lunchmeat or nuggets that may come across as being healthy but really aren’t. In our house we still use whole chickens although not all the time but we do make stock and soups and I still say there’s nothing better than a homemade chicken soup.

Beverages – this one speaks for itself. We are a nation that drinks a lot of soda pop and those fancy drinks. I’m not one of them but I do drink way more coffee than is healthy. I’m not sure people always stop to think of how much sugar and calories is in a can of pop or an iced coffee for example. It’s a little scary when you find that you could have had a meal for that iced coffee.

Breakfast – I am a bad breakfast eater so this reset is on my radar. So many breakfast foods are so full of sugar and if you’re eating a take out breakfast that’s even worse. If you start your day that way how can you expect to feel good throughout the rest of it.

Salad – normally we think a salad is good for us but stop – did you put salad dressing on it? That just made it unhealthy unless you’re using a homemade salad dressing. Pooja makes salad making something to take pleasure in. I used to make wonderful salads and dressing but somehow strayed away from that and I’d like to get back to eating simple but delicious salads so I’ll be revisiting this reset.

Takeout – the last reset and maybe one of the most difficult for some. I haven’t eaten takeout in years because I have this thing about knowing what’s gone into my food and I know that takeout has a ton of salt which I won’t eat. Pooja also mentions these things as well as saying that you can usually take your favorite take out meal and make a much healthier version of it at home.

I found the 3-Day Reset a very interesting book to go through. What I enjoyed most was the conversational tone to it and all the extra information like the history of these resets. I liked the tips & tools that are great to helping you succeed on your 3-day reset and the grocery lists, pantry swaps, and especially the recipes included at the end of each chapter are awesome.

Recommended for those who are really interested in making a commitment to follow a better lifestyle where their eating is concerned. I do believe that when you try these resets you will notice a change in the way you taste food and the way you feel as I did with the few of the resets I’ve already done. If you want to get healthy and feel good The 3-Day Reset may be a great first step for you!

 

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Source: Review copy provided by the author. No compensation was received for this review and all thoughts and opinions are that of the blog owner.

That Night by Chevy Stevens (Audiobook)

July 24th, 2014

That-NightThat Night by Chevy Stevens is the She Reads Book Club Selection for July and what a fantastic pick! It is a psychological thriller that highlights the devastating effects of bullying. Weaving from the past to the present That Night grabbed my attention from the first page and didn’t let go.

Toni is your typical teenager … until she isn’t. At home Toni struggles in her relationships with her mom and sister. Her sister is the golden child and definitely the one their mother favours. Things at school were fine until a misunderstanding pits one of the popular girls against Toni making her life hell. If not for her boyfriend Ryan Toni isn’t sure she’d make it through any of it. As the bullying escalates the unimaginable happens and Toni’s sister is murdered. Worse yet Toni and Ryan are accused and sent to prison for the brutal murder.

Years later thirty-four year old Toni is finally out on parole. She goes back to her hometown despite having no contact even with her parents for years and especially knowing that her mother doesn’t want anything to do with her. Ryan also makes the decision to return despite knowing he and Toni can have no contact. Ryan tries to convince Toni to help him find out the truth of what happened and clear their names. Once again things escalate as they get closer to the truth. This time though Toni isn’t the same girl she used to be before going to prison. This Toni came out hardened and tough and she isn’t going down without a fight this time.

I listened to the audiobook of That Night. It is narrated by Jorjeana Marie and I thought she did a great job of portraying all of the characters and the pace of the story. She definitely kept me listening any chance I got! Highly recommended!

 

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*CLICK HERE* AND HEAD OVER TO SHE READS FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN ONE OF FIVE COPIES OF THAT NIGHT BY CHEVY STEVENS

 

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Source: Digital review copy was provided by the publisher however audiobook is from my personal library. No compensation was received for this review and all thoughts and opinions are that of the blog owner.
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