Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Tour Review/Giveaway!! Her Dear and Loving Husband, by Meredith Allard



Welcome to the Blog Tour for
Her Dear and Loving Husband,
sponsored by
Bewitching Book Tours!!

For my stop, I'm featuring 
a book review!!
There's also a tour-sponsored giveaway!!



Her Dear and Loving Husband
(The Loving Husband Trilogy, Book 1)
Meredith Allard
Trade Paperback, 282 pages
Copperfield Press
March 26, 2012
Digital Edition, 289 pages
Copperfield Press
November 13, 2013
Cover Artist: LFD Designs 
Source: Barnes & Noble Bookstore
Historical Fiction, Paranormal Romance,
Mystery, Urban Fantasy


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11494770-her-dear-and-loving-husband




 How long would you wait for the one you loved?

Her Dear & Loving Husband, the new novel from Meredith Allard, is part literary fiction, part historical fiction, part romance, and part paranormal fantasy. With elements of Twilight and The Crucible, Her Dear & Loving Husband is a story for anyone who believes that true love never dies.

James Wentworth has a secret. He lives quietly in Salem, Massachusetts, making few ties anywhere. One night his private world is turned upside down when he meets Sarah Alexander, a dead ringer for his wife, Elizabeth. Though it has been years since Elizabeth's death, James cannot move on.

Sarah also has a secret. She is haunted by nightmares about the Salem Witch Trials, and every night she is awakened by visions of hangings, being arrested, and dying in jail. Despite the obstacles of their secrets, James and Sarah fall in love. As James comes to terms with his feelings for Sarah, he must dodge accusations from a reporter desperate to prove that James is not who, or what, he seems to be. With the help of their friends, witches Jennifer and Olivia, James and Sarah piece their stories together and discover a mystery that may bind them in ways they never imagined. Will James make the ultimate sacrifice to protect Sarah and prevent a new hunt from bringing hysteria to Salem again?




It was the cover that first made me notice this novel, in spite of the creepy vibes I got from it. I still thought it was stunning! So I picked up the book, and skimmed a few pages. This allowed me to see right away that this definitely is not a horror novel. Had it been one, I would have never bought it, as I certainly do not enjoy reading that genre. Instead of that, I found a very sweet, beautiful romance that totally totally enthralled me! Yes, there's a vampire in the story, but definitely NOT of "the Dracula type". There's also a mystery in the plot, but not of the type to be solved with a detective, or the typical amateur sleuthing.

The story begins in a rather casual manner, one that would lead the reader to believe that this is a contemporary romance novel, with absolutely no paranormal elements, although there's a Prologue that does hint at the existence of the mystery woven throughout the novel. 

Chapter One begins thus: "Sarah Alexander didn't know what was waiting for her in Salem, Massachusetts. She had moved there to escape the smog and the smugness of Los Angeles, craving the dulcet tones of a small town, seeking a less complicated life." What the author does not state, at this point, is that Sarah is also leaving behind a loveless marriage. Newly divorced, she feels lonely and vulnerable in a big city, and Salem seems to be the perfect place for her to start off a new life. In addition to this, she has an ancestor who perished during the Salem Witch Trials. Perhaps she can find out more about this person.

James Wentworth is a vampire, working as an English Literature Professor at the local university. This was, of course, music to my ears! I LOVE reading about characters who are involved with classic literature in some way, especially as teachers. So that made me like him right away! I also enjoyed reading about how caring he was with his students, and how he encouraged them to ponder the truths of life the classics have to offer. I sure wish I had had a Literature professor like him when I was a college student!

Professor Wentworth knows about the Salem Witch Trials through firsthand experience. His wife, though innocent (as most of the accused were), was arrested and thrown into prison, there to await trial. However, she died before she actually appeared before the sham of a court the accusers set up.

At the time of her death, Elizabeth Wentworth was pregnant with their first child.

James has somehow managed to exist as a vampire for over 300 years, but has never gotten over the loss of his beloved wife. He maintains no close ties with anyone, keeping mostly to himself. So it is with a shock that he realizes, upon first meeting Sarah, that she looks EXACTLY like his lost wife....

The story moves back and forth from the present day to the year of the witch executions -- 1692, which was also the year of Elizabeth's death, as well as James's transformation into a vampire, at the hands of a male vampire known only as "Geoffrey", who disappeared afterward. This type of story, with constant historically-related flashbacks, is a very intriguing one for me. With each flashback, we learn more and more about life in the Salem of the 17th century, and ultimately, what caused the witch hysteria that took so many innocent lives.

The contrast between that long-ago time and the present day is a fascinating one, as we now have Wicca, which is the religion of modern-day witches, recognized as a legitimate religion, in the US, as well as in the UK. In fact, the two main secondary characters, Jennifer Mandel and Olivia Phillips, are Wiccans. They are also mother and daughter (Jennifer is the daughter), and run a metaphysical bookstore, "The Witches' Lair", together.

Jennifer is also the head librarian at the local university, and thus, Sarah's boss. Before leaving LA, Sarah had applied for work at the library, and was subsequently hired. This, too, was something I totally loved! Novels featuring books and libraries will ALWAYS pull me right into them!

This novel deals primarily with the romance of Sarah and James. Every other plot ingredient, including the history involved in the Salem Witch Trials, revolves around that. It's a gently flowing tale, with no sudden twists and turns, and not that much action. Some readers might feel put off by this, but I wasn't. I simply allowed myself to go along with the flow of the story, totally mesmerized by its gradual development.

As I stated above, there is a mystery included in this poignant story of a man who lost the love of his life. And this mystery is of the supernatural variety. Jennifer and Olivia thus play a very important part in helping to solve it, along with a friend of theirs, Martha, who specializes in solving just the type of mystery that needs to be solved here. 

There are hints about this mystery sprinkled throughout the novel, and I did figure it out long before the author finally revealed just what it was. I didn't mind, though, as I had actually been hoping that things would lead to the conclusion I had been wanting to find. That might not seem to make much sense, but I can't reveal more without giving out spoilers, which I certainly don't want to do. Suffice it to say that the solution of this mystery is a very satisfactory one, romantically speaking. Therefore, it's the type of solution that would have romantic folks like me wishing that they could have the same thing happen in their lives..... Sigh....

I am not that familiar with the Salem Witch Trials, and am not sure that I'd like to be. They were a horrible example of the extremes religious bigotry and fanaticism can lead to. We all know about the horrors of the Inquisition, which was instituted by the Catholic Church. But the Salem Witch Trials were the work of Protestants -- in the form of a branch or denomination, known as "Puritans". The same fanaticism and rigid thinking was present at these trials, too. Allard deals with the events of the trials in a very objective manner, however. I really liked that James's father was not the type of Christian to go along with the rigid opinions of his neighbors. Instead, he condemned them. He was an example of true, Christ-like behavior at a time when everyone around him was all too ready and willing to "cast the first stone". With his son, too, he was a model of unconditional love, accepting James totally when the latter revealed what he (James) had become. Thus, the author totally avoided the blanket condemnation and stereotyping of Christians I have seen in other novels of the paranormal romance and urban fantasy genres. Kudos to her!!

There is some conflict in the novel, in the form of a reporter who keeps digging into the details of James's life, determined to expose him, as well as others in Salem, as vampires. Fearing the outbreak of a modern mass hysteria, James does his utmost to convince this man that he is totally wrong. The way he goes about this is very poignant, and threatens to tear him and Sarah apart.

Throughout the novel, Sarah knows she can count on Jennifer and Olivia for support. Indeed, they are wonderful secondary characters, and become good friends with James as well as Sarah. Through them, I learned a bit more about Wicca than I already knew. Far from a being a devil-worshipping religion, Wicca is instead a nature-based belief system. Although I don't like its polytheism, it's not what most people believe it is -- black magic.

This was a very believable story, and that's due mainly to Allard's thorough, meticulous research. The scenes dealing with the late 17th century were very real, very compelling.

I also LOVED the reference to Ann Bradstreet, the 17th century New England poet who penned the immortal poem, "To My Dear and Loving Husband", which is part of the inspiration for this novel, as well as for the title itself. The last two lines of this poem are especially moving, and so appropriate for this story! Allard quotes them toward the end:

"Then while we live, in love let's so persever,
That when we live no more, we may live ever."

I am not at all ashamed to confess to tearing up when reading these beautiful, simple, and yet, so profound lines.

The characters in this novel were all so very real, so very believable. I felt their emotions and thoughts right along with them, and knew that they did what they had to do, in order to protect and nurture the fragile romantic relationship of two people who had clearly always been destined for each other. 

Far from being a horror novel, this is a novel about what makes life worthwhile for all human beings -- love. It's poignant, enchanting, and a well-written portrait of a love story as eternal as that of the young lovers of Verona, but with a happy ending. Needless to say, this is the type of story that will always pull me in, holding me until the last page is turned. Then I will inevitably want it to continue!

Happily, this is a trilogy, so I will definitely be reading the next two books, Her Loving Husband's Curse, and Her Loving Husband's Return!

MY RATING:

    


Be sure to check out the 
next two installments in this 
wonderful series!



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13742103-her-loving-husband-s-curse




https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18126401-her-loving-husband-s-return





 

Purchase Links




a Rafflecopter giveaway




  
 Meredith Allard is the author of the bestselling paranormal historical novels, The Loving Husband Trilogy, a great read for fans of Outlander and A Discovery of Witches. Fans of Downton Abbey will love her newest release, When It Rained at Hembry Castle. She is currently writing Down Salem Way, the prequel to Her Dear and Loving Husband
She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.





To access the complete tour schedule, just click on the button below!

https://bewitchingbooktours.blogspot.com/2017/10/now-on-tour-her-dear-and-loving-husband.html





Saturday, October 28, 2017

Shelf Candy Saturday No. 228: Wizard Girl, by Rick Just



Welcome to Shelf Candy Saturday!



This is my weekly feature
showcasing beautiful covers!
It also provides information, 
if available, on their 
very talented creators!



Here's my choice for this week!



Wizard Girl
(The Wizards Trilogy, Book 2)
Rick Just
Trade Paperback, 364 pages
Cedar Creek Press
January, 2017
   Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36489844-wizard-girl




My Thoughts About This Cover

This is such a STUNNING cover! All the cover elements are typical of high fantasy novels -- the ancient arch, through which a mighty castle can be seen, the circular emblem of a rather mysterious-looking  mythological creature that might very well be a winged lion.  Then there's the bold, classic Roman font that beautifully complements the images. And, increasing  this cover's visual appeal for me, there's all that BLUE!!

The combination of what looks like ancient Greek and Roman architecture, and a castle that looks very medieval, is a really intriguing one! 

You might have guessed it already -- this is indeed another BRILLIANT cover by those very talented artists at Deranged Doctor Design! These people are just AMAZING!!     

As I mentioned in my previous two SCS posts, Deranged Doctor Design is the name of a group of cover artists who create covers for self-published authors.

As with the two previous covers, I did not find any attribution for this one. So I have no idea who this artist might be. Unfortunately, these people seem to be very modest, as they don't give proper credit to each cover creator! Lol.

Be sure to check out the links below for more samples of the work of these AMAZING cover artists! They are already on my list of favorite cover illustrators and designers, of course! And, I will be featuring more of their great covers in future "Shelf Candy Saturday" posts!!



What do you think of 
this week's cover?
Please leave a comment
and let me know!








Friday, October 27, 2017

Book Review: Runaway Vampire, by Lynsay Sands


Runaway Vampire
(Argeneau, Book 23)
Lynsay Sands
Trade Paperback, 384 pages
Gollancz, February 25, 2016
Humor, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Source: Book Depository

Synopsis: The latest entry in the sizzling paranormal vampire series featuring the Argeneau family - no one does wickedly funny and irresistibly steamy like Lynsay Sands!

Dante Notte has heard it said that love hurts. He just wasn't expecting it to run him over in an RV. Still, a punctured lung and broken ribs are nothing compared to the full-body shock he feels whenever he's near the vehicle's driver, Mary Winslow. He needs to keep her safe from their pursuers while he rescues his brother. Most challenging of all, he needs to claim this smart, stubborn woman as his life mate.

The naked, injured, insanely gorgeous younger man who clambered into her RV insists they belong together. If Mary wasn't feeling their incredible connection in every inch of her being, she wouldn't believe it. But now that the men who took Dante's twin are after her too, trusting her gut means risking her life for an immortal who's the very definition of a perfect stranger.


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28255103-runaway-vampire






I have long been a fan of the Argeneau series, as it has a very unusual take on vampires -- a funny one. In case anyone does a double take on reading these words, believe me, they're true. Sands actually writes humorous vampire romance novels that also contain some mystery and suspense. But the humor is her trademark. I detest Dracula-type vampires, so I much prefer these!

Another writer who specializes in funny vampire romance novels is Kerrelyn Sparks, whose books I have also enjoyed. So both Sands and Sparks are my go-to authors when the Halloween season rolls around! Bring on the paranormal laughs!

Unfortunately, I can't say that Runaway Vampire is one of my favorites in this great series. It just didn't live up to the usual Argeneau standards, to coin a phrase.

For starters, there wasn't much action in this book. Usually the plots in these novels are full of fast and furious action. Not the case here at all. Instead, there were quite a few flashbacks to the female MC's troubled marriage. Although some of these were interesting, as they involved some psychological analysis, I did think they were too detailed, and detracted from the overall story. They made the pacing too slow.

Mary Wilson is the female protagonist. Now a widow, she's taking her first lone RV trip, and happens to have the rather unsettling experience of unintentionally running over a man with her RV. That man is vampire Dante Notte, and yes, he is buck naked when she discovers him, weak and bleeding, in her vehicle's bedroom....

There are indeed some funny moments when Dante, having recovered through vampire means, insists on trying to drive the RV. And oh, yes, some bad guys are pursuing them. And yes, he's still not wearing any clothes..... This part of the novel had me in stitches (pun intended), as the dialogue between Mary and Dante was hilarious.

It wasn't all fun and laughs, of course. There were some dark secrets in Mary's past, which were part of the flashbacks mentioned above. The bad thing is that some of these reflect pretty poorly on Mary's character, and, from then on, I just couldn't relate to her anymore. 

Dante was as sweet as could be, as well as everything that Mary's deceased husband wasn't, at the beginning of their marriage. Still, I do think his personality was a bit too good to be true. I mean, the guy was just too naive and gullible at times. And he frequently acted more like a randy teenage boy than a grown man, although he was supposedly centuries old (although, being a vampire, he appeared to be about 25).

I did like the romance between Dante and Mary in spite of the fact that I couldn't quite like her, after the revelations about her past. But I could have done without so many graphically detailed love scenes. I feel they took away from the overall plot, which included a kidnapping and sinister scientific experiments. And Dante's brother, Tomasso, was still in the hands of the bad guys when Dante met and began courting Mary.

Another pretty big turnoff was the fact that there were some rather detailed bathroom scenes. Yes, that's right -- bathroom scenes. I don't like to read books in which characters "need to pee", and then proceed to go to the bathroom, reach for the toilet paper, etc. UGH. I don't recall ever seeing anything like this in other books in this series. Well, I haven't read that many, to be quite honest -- maybe two or three. 

Other reviewers have complained about Mary's age at the beginning of the story. She's 62. It looks like she's cradle-robbing. Lol. However, I never saw this as a problem, because of course Dante was going to turn her. She was his life mate, after all. And when that happened, she was then transformed into a twenty-something. Besides, paradoxically, Dante was MUCH older than her, although he looked so young.

There were two secondary characters who were actually a male gay couple.  I did like them, but felt that they were just there for political correctness, and not much else. They didn't contribute that much to the plot.

The end did not result in a resolution to this story. Instead, the book left me with a mild cliffhanger feeling, and it's obvious that there will be more to come in a future installment. At least, I certainly hope so! This seems to be something new for Sands; she usually ties up all plot threads nicely by the end of each book. 

In short, I was somewhat disappointed with this novel. There were some aspects of it that I really enjoyed, but overall, I was left wanting more.

One of the things I didn't get, and would have LOVED to have gotten: I would have appreciated witnessing Mary and Dante's wedding. Oh, well....perhaps that will also be part of the sequel to this book. My fingers are crossed!

This rather lackluster reading experience won't stop me from continuing to read the Argeneau series, though. I love the whole concept, the characters, the humor, too much to ever stop. I just hope I'll find some better installments in the series! I do need to read the older books. I also think that Sands has by no means burned out. She's a bestselling author. Things like this just happen at times. I will give her the benefit of the doubt, since she has made me laugh my head off on many occasions! Besides, I have seen reviews by other readers that praise this book. It's probably simply a matter of taste.

Sands has also led me on these wonderful, mad, wacky chases with her characters. So I will never stop reading about the Argeneaus!


MY RATING:      







Lynsay Sands is the nationally bestselling author who is known for her hysterical historicals as well as the popular Argeneau/Rogue Hunter vampire series. With her witty and charming personality, Sands describes books as, “Waking dreams or stories, tales to amuse, entertain and distract us from everyday life.” She’s been writing stories since grade school and considers herself incredibly lucky to be able to make a career out of it. Her hope is that readers can get away from their everyday stress through her stories, and if there are occasional uncontrollable fits of laughter, that’s just a big bonus. 









Thursday, October 26, 2017

SEVENTH BLOGOVERSARY GIVEAWAY WINNER!!





***WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT***
for the Seventh
Blogoversary Giveaway Celebration
for
A Night's Dream of Books!!!



This giveaway started at midnight on
Sept. 23rd, 2017, and ended
at midnight on Oct. 24th, 2017!!



And the winner is......

Antonela R.!!!!
You can find her on Twitter!!

She has already claimed her prize!!


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24039426-the-jungle-book


a Rafflecopter giveaway


I would like to thank everyone who participated, and left such WONDERFUL comments!! Please stay tuned, as I have giveaways going on ALL THE TIME!!  They are either hosted by myself, book tour companies, or through blog hops!! 

Here are my UPCOMING blog hop giveaways!!! Just click on each image to get more information!!


http://www.bookhounds.net/2017/10/sign-ups-now-open-gratitude-giveaway-hop-11-15-30.html


http://www.bookhounds.net/2017/10/sign-ups-now-open-midwinters-eve-giveaway-hop-12-21-31.html




Happy October Reading!!!




Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday No. 38: Unearthed, by Annie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner





Welcome to "Can't Wait Wednesday"!
   
This is a weekly event hosted by
Tressa @ Wishful Endings, and inspired by "Waiting On Wednesday", which used to be hosted by
 Jill @ Breaking the Spine.

For more information, please click HERE.

As in the previous meme, this one showcases future releases  we book  bloggers 
are eagerly anticipating!!
There's also a Linky widget, so participating blogs can link up!



Here's my choice for this week!



 Unearthed
(Unearthed, Book 1)
Annie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Hardcover,  336 pages
Disney-Hyperion
January 9, 2018   
Romance, Science Fiction, 
Young Adult Fiction


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32941343-unearthed






When Earth intercepts a message from a long-extinct alien race, it seems like the solution the planet has been waiting for. The Undying's advanced technology has the potential to undo environmental damage and turn lives around, and Gaia, their former home planet, is a treasure trove waiting to be uncovered.

For Jules Addison and his fellow scholars, the discovery of an alien culture offers unprecedented opportunity for study... as long as scavengers like Amelia Radcliffe don't loot everything first. Mia and Jules' different reasons for smuggling themselves onto Gaia put them immediately at odds, but after escaping a dangerous confrontation with other scavvers, they form a fragile alliance.

In order to penetrate the Undying temple and reach the tech and information hidden within, the two must decode the ancient race's secrets and survive their traps. But the more they learn about the Undying, the more their presence in the temple seems to be part of a grand design that could spell the end of the human race...



Why I can't wait for this one!

This sure looks like AWESOME science fiction!!  I LOVE the whole premise of the book, as well as the fact that there's obviously some romance going on, although perhaps not right away. 
The thing about ancient alien civilizations is DEFINITELY fascinating! Heck, I'd like to go along with these characters in their exploration of that mysterious temple!!








Amie Kaufman is the New York Times bestselling co-author of Illuminae (with Jay Kristoff) and These Broken Stars, This Shattered World, and Their Fractured Light (with Meagan Spooner.) She writes science fiction and fantasy for teens, and her favorite procrastination techniques involve chocolate, baking, sailing, excellent books and TV, plotting and executing overseas travel, and napping.

She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband, their rescue dog, and her considerable library. She is represented by Tracey Adams of Adams Literary.








New York Times bestselling author Meagan Spooner grew up reading and writing every spare moment of the day, while dreaming about life as an archaeologist, a marine biologist, an astronaut. She graduated from Hamilton College in New York with a degree in playwriting, and has spent several years since then living in Australia. She's traveled with her family all over the world to places like Egypt, South Africa, the Arctic, Greece, Antarctica, and the Galapagos, and there's a bit of every trip in every story she writes.

She currently lives and writes in Asheville, North Carolina, but the siren call of travel is hard to resist, and there's no telling how long she'll stay there. She's the author of the award-winning Starbound trilogy: These Broken Stars, This Shattered World, Their Fractured Light, and the Skylark Trilogy: Skylark, Shadowlark, Lark Ascending, as well as the upcoming Beauty and the Beast retelling, Hunted.

In her spare time she plays guitar, plays video games, plays with her cat, and reads.






What do you think of my choice?
Leave your link below, so I can
come check out your pick(s)!