Monday, April 23, 2018

Love in Bloom - Brooke St. James with Giveaway


Excerpt: Summer of ’65 by Brooke St. James

I glanced at Alice who gave me a wide-eyed smile. I heard the noise of shifting gravel, and I looked up to find that Michael was getting off of his motorcycle.

“Ivy Lewis,” he said, closing the distance between us.

“Michael Bishop,” I returned.

“You came back to look for a hairpin,” he said as more of a statement than a question.

The other waiters came closer to help me look, which caused their shadows to block the light. “I think it was over here,” Alice said, redirecting them. She had, thank goodness, caught on to the fact that I might want to say a couple of words to Michael and was helping me out.

“I really liked that song,” he said.

He must have known I wasn’t really there to look for a hairpin, because he didn’t even bother looking down.

“When can I hear you play again?”

Summer of ’65
by Brooke St. James
- Romance, Christian
Amazon | Goodreads

Ivy Lewis went home to Memphis in the summer of 1965 unaware of the adventure that awaited her. She was content to go through the motions of her predictable routines back home while safeguarding a few little secrets about her life in Nashville. In her mind, the two worlds weren’t meant to intersect.

Then Michael Bishop entered the picture. He had just moved to Memphis from Detroit in hopes of expanding his motorcycle company. He appeared to be nothing more than an outlaw and a menace to the community. Any type of relationship between them was sure to be met with resistance from Ivy’s family and friends.

But Michael Bishop was too great of a temptation for Ivy.

The summer of 1965 would be one of first impressions, first dances, and forbidden love.


About the author:
Brooke St. James is an author of contemporary romance novels with Christian and inspirational themes and happy endings. She was born and raised in south Louisiana but has had the opportunity to travel and live throughout the U.S. An avid reader, writer, audio book addict, and fan of all things artistic, Brooke constantly has her hands in some creative activity. She’s currently back home in Louisiana enjoying life with her husband, children, and two lazy dogs.

Find out more about this book and author:
Amazon | Goodreads
Website | BookBub | Facebook
Instagram | Newsletter | Twitter

FREE EBOOK:


Other books by the author:


--~ Giveaway ~--

WIN $25 Amazon Gift Code or Paypal Cash

Ends 5/14/18

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal or gift codes via Amazon.com. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


~*~

* part of blog tour - see schedule (here)

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Lovely Books and Things - 4.21.18

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

Linking up with:
Stacking the Shelves (details)
Sunday Post (details)
Mailbox Monday (details)

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HAPPY THINGS:

1. Waking up to sunny days.

2. Empanadas - Argentina style, delicious!

3. Participating in an annual fundraiser event - Artseed Art-a-thon (details & donation)
I will be working on embroidery art pieces. A couple will be craftivism related for Badass Herstory (details)


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Review:

Perfectly Summer
by Robin Daniels
-Romance, YA
-courtesy of the author -Thanks!
Amazon | Goodreads

EXCITING! I just finished book 4 in this series, Perfectly Misunderstood and realized I had not yet read this one. The lovely author was wonderful to send this for my review :-)


Library:

I Am Not Here
by GG
-Graphic Novel, Literary, Canada
Amazon | Goodreads

GG's artwork and instagram got me curious to check this out along with other comics available online.

A Quiet Place
by Seicho Matsumoto
translated by Louise Heal Kawai
-Mystery, Crime, Thriller, Japan
Amazon | Goodreads

INCLUDING this in my Japanese pt 2 (creepy) binge read next month.


Author event:


THE Bindery hosted a Q&A with journalist, author, Åsne Seierstad, featuring the release of Two Sisters. Got the scoop on how this was written compared to the issues and controversy that arose from the previously published The Bookseller of Kabul.

Side note: The Bindery is a cool multi-purpose events space and bookstore and part of The Booksmith. An unusual and interesting collection is housed here - The Arcana Project: a deep, highly inclusive array of books—fiction and nonfiction, from all over the world—presented in chronological order, by the date they were written. (details)

Two Sisters:
A Father, His Daughters, and Their Journey into the Syrian Jihad
by Åsne Seierstad
translated by Seán Kinsella
-Politics, Islam
Amazon | Goodreads

Two Sisters, by the international bestselling author Åsne Seierstad, tells the unforgettable story of a family divided by faith. Sadiq and Sara, Somali immigrants raising a family in Norway, one day discover that their teenage daughters, Leila and Ayan, have vanished—and are en route to Syria to aid the Islamic State. Seierstad’s riveting account traces the sisters’ journey from secular, social democratic Norway to the front lines of the war in Syria, and follows Sadiq’s harrowing attempt to find them.

Employing the same mastery of narrative suspense she brought to The Bookseller of Kabul and One of Us, Seierstad puts the problem of radicalization into painfully human terms, using instant messages and other primary sources to reconstruct a family’s crisis from the inside. Eventually, she takes us into the hellscape of the Syrian civil war, as Sadiq risks his life in pursuit of his daughters, refusing to let them disappear into the maelstrom—even after they marry ISIS fighters. Two Sisters is a relentless thriller and a feat of reporting with profound lessons about belief, extremism, and the meaning of devotion.



AND watched: in theatre for the SF International Film Festival (details)

The Next Guardian (2018)
Director: Arun Bhattarai, Dorottya Zurbó
-Documentary, Bhutan | imdb | my rating: 5

The contrasting dreams of two generations clash within the microcosm of an ancient Buddhist monastery in Bhutan, when Gyembo an ordinary teenager is chosen as the next guardian of their family monastery by his father.

Loved the set location and introduction to this family although a sad story of the plight of the next guardian - struggles with the past and present ways of living.


Minding the Gap (2018)
Director: Bing Liu
-Documentary | imdb | my rating: 5

Three young men bond together to escape volatile families in their Rust-Belt hometown. As they face adult responsibilities, unexpected revelations threaten their decade-long friendship.

BEAUTIFUL story of friendships and growing up in their Rust Belt hometown.

This screening included a Q&A with the director and producer. Great to find out the current status of the people in the documentary.

The Sower (2017)
Le semeur (original title)
Director/Screenplay: Marine Francen
Screenplay: Jacques Fieschi, Jacqueline Surchat
Based on book by: Violette Ailhaud
Stars: Pauline Burlet, Géraldine Pailhas, Alban Lenoir
-Drama, France | imdb | my rating: 5

Violette is old enough to get married when her village in the Lower Alps is cruelly deprived of all its men by the repression that followed the republican uprising of December 1851. For the next two years, the village is completely cut off. The women swear an oath that if a man should come, he will become their shared husband, so that life may continue to flourish in each of their wombs.

DESIRE, lust and love are explored. Gorgeous countryside scenes.

This screening included a Q&A with the director. The emphasis on women's desire was her focus.

Angels Wear White (2017)
Jia nian hua (original title)
Director/Writer: Vivian Qu
Stars: Vicky Chen, Meijun Zhou, Ke Shi
-Drama, China | imdb | my rating: 5

In a small seaside town, two schoolgirls are sexually assaulted by a middle-aged man in a motel. Mia, a teenager who was working on reception that night, is the only witness. For fear of losing her job, she chooses to keep silence.

THE negative women's issues that are brought up in this film are inkeeping with the current frustrations experienced during the #metoo movement.


Shirkers (2018)
Director: Sandi Tan
Star: Jasmine Kin Kia Ng
-Documentary | imdb | my rating: 5

In 1992, teenager Sandi Tan and her friends Sophie and Jasmine shot Singapore's first indie-a road movie called "Shirkers"-with their enigmatic American mentor, Georges Cardona. Sandi wrote the script and played the lead, a killer named S. After shooting wrapped, Georges vanished with all the footage! 20 years later, the 16mm cans are recovered in New Orleans, sending Sandi-now a novelist in Los Angeles-on a new personal odyssey across two continents and many media: 16mm, digital, Hi8, Super8, slides, animation and handwritten letters. A kaleidoscopic punk rock ghost story!

DOCUMENTARY with a mystery and dashed hopes and dreams from the past. But the present and future look good.

The White Girl (2017)
Director/Writers: Jenny Suen, Christopher Doyle
Stars: Ranya Lee, Kin-Ping Leung, Michael Ning
-Drama, Hong Kong | imdb | my rating: 5

Living in a riverside shack in Hong Kong's last remaining fishing village, a teenager is told by her overprotective father that she must always protect herself from the sun. Believing that she is cursed, but buoyed by a curiosity that leads to friendships outside her immediate environment, she becomes a symbolic focal point for the filmmaker to dreamily explore Hong Kong's past, present, and future, aided by Christopher Doyle's intoxicating cinematography.

ARTSY feel with an aging historical site as a backdrop.

This screening included a Q&A with the director. The anxiety on Hong Kong's expiration date (in 2047) was a source of inspiration.


AND watched: on DVD

Cherry Blossoms (2008)
Kirschblüten - Hanami (original title)
-Drama, Romance, Germany, Japan | imdb | my rating: 5

After Rudi's wife Trudi suddenly dies, he travels to Japan to fulfill her dream of being a Butoh dancer.

GOT a load of cherry blossom visuals - beautiful. Butoh dancing plays a part in this story along with a visit to Mt. Fuji.


AND watched: in theatre (live)


FANTASTIC mashup of Shakespeare and The GoGo's with varied love themes in play. The Curran theatre usually creates a special button for the current show which I made sure to pick up as a souvenir.

Head Over Heels
Director: Michael Mayer
at the SF Curran Theatre
-Musical | website | my rating: 5

An inspired mash-up of posh and punk, HEAD OVER HEELS is an unpredictable Elizabethan romp about a royal family that must prevent an oracle’s prophecy of doom. In order to save their beloved kingdom, the family embarks on an extravagant journey where they are faced with mistaken identities, love triangles, sexual awakening and self-discovery.

Set to the iconic pop music of The Go-Go’s—including the hit songs “We Got The Beat,” “Our Lips Are Sealed,” “Vacation” and many more— HEAD OVER HEELS delivers an experience unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Go!


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* comment and TELL me what you have acquired for your shelves recently

Thanks for stopping by :-)

Friday, April 20, 2018

Love in Bloom - Donna Hatch with Giveaway


Excerpt: The Stranger She Married by Donna Hatch

As Cole looked down into Alicia Palmer’s face, he knew of a surety she was worth any risk. She touched him in a place he’d thought long dead.

A younger man wearing a saucy grin approached Miss Palmer. “Did you save me a dance, Lissie?”

Cole’s initial irritation for the man’s cheekiness faded to puzzlement. He knew him from somewhere. A vague unease arose.

When the young man’s gaze moved to Cole, he paled visibly. “You!”

Miss Palmer gasped. “Robert Palmer, where are your manners?”

Of course. Robert Palmer. From London. Cold dread trickled across his heart as he considered the ramifications.

Palmer pinned him with a dangerous glare. “Stay away from my cousin.”

“Your cousin?” Cole looked from him to the lovely Miss Palmer and understanding dawned. He cursed under his breath. He hadn’t been aware Armand Palmer had a sister. Not that he’d bothered to find out. The possible ramifications took a more serious turn.

Miss Palmer sent Cole a look of apology and turned to her cousin. “Robert, explain yourself.”

In a cold sweat, Cole waited for her condemning stare.

Palmer trembled in rage. He spoke quietly, but each word shot through Cole like bullets fired at close range. “He’s the scoundrel who shot your twin.”

The Stranger She Married
by Donna Hatch
-Romance, Historical, Christian
Amazon | Goodreads

When her parents and only brother die within weeks of each other, Alicia and her younger sister are left in the hands of an uncle who has brought them all to financial and social ruin. Desperate to save her family from debtor’s prison, Alicia vows to marry the first wealthy man to propose. She meets the dashing Lord Amesbury, and her heart whispers that this is the man she is destined to love, but his tainted past may forever stand in their way. Her choices in potential husbands narrow to either a scarred cripple with the heart of a poet, or a handsome rake with a deadly secret. Cole Amesbury is tormented by his own ghosts, and believes he is beyond redemption, yet he cannot deny his attraction for the girl whose genuine goodness touches the heart he’d thought long dead. He fears the scars in his soul cut so deeply that he may never be able to offer Alicia a love that is true. When yet another bizarre mishap threatens her life, Alicia suspects the seemingly unrelated accidents that have plagued her loved ones are actually a killer’s attempt to exterminate every member of her family. Despite the threat looming over her, learning to love the stranger she married may pose the greatest danger to her heart.


The Guise of a Gentleman
by Donna Hatch
-Romance, Historical, Christian
Amazon | Goodreads

Though her heart longs for adventure, Elise strives to be a perfect English lady within the stifling confines of society for the sake of her impressionable young son. Her quiet world is shattered when she meets the impulsive and scandalous Jared Amesbury. His roguish charm awakens her yearning for adventure. But his irrepressible grin and sea-green eyes hide a secret. A gentleman by day, a pirate by night, Jared must complete one last assignment for the Secret Service before he can be truly free. Elise gives him hope that he, too, can find love and belonging. His hopes are crushed when his best laid plans go awry and Elise is dragged into his world of violence and deceit. She may not survive the revelation of Jared’s past…or still love him when the truth is revealed. The Rogue Hearts Series: The Stranger She Married The Guise of a Gentleman A Perfect Secret The Suspect’s Daughter Praise for Donna Hatch: “Donna Hatch is one of the masters of clean romance with electric tension and smokin’ hot kisses.” Reading is My Super Power Reviews “Written with heart and depth, Donna Hatch’s books are absolute must-reads for any fan of swoon-worthy historical romance.” Sarah M. Eden, USA Today best-selling historical romance author Dance with a duke, outwit pirates, save a kingdom, and fall in love. Believe in happily ever after. Note from the Author: This romantic story of loss and betrayal, forgiveness and redemption, and strangers marrying, will leave you laughing, crying, and swooning. Sprinkled liberally with suspense, mystery, and heart-melting kisses, this is not your ordinary historical tale of an arranged marriage nor of redeeming the rakes. Fans of Victorian and Regency Eras as well as those seeking clean and wholesome romance with plenty of chemistry will love this story!

Excerpt:

“You are a woman of great courage to face those cutthroats alone.”

His fingers closed around hers as if she were a lifeline. Her late husband’s hands had always been smooth and soft, the hands of a gentleman, so unlike this man’s calluses which bespoke hard work. She marveled at the strength in those hands, not to mention the tingles that traveled up her arm.

A flush crept over her face and she struggled to retain her composure. “I saw a cruel act and felt compelled to intervene. I could do nothing less.”

His eyes darted over her face and he said in a stronger voice, “Those men might have turned on you.”

“I’m an excellent shot.”

“And did you not consider that you may have been in danger from me?”

She suspected many women found him a very great danger, but not for the reason he spoke.

Swallowing against a dry mouth, she lifted her chin. “You hardly looked dangerous at the time. And I daresay you lack the strength to offer any threat now.”

The barest hint of a smile twitched his lips and a wicked light glinted in his sea-green eyes.


A Perfect Secret
by Donna Hatch
-Romance, Historical, Christian
Amazon | Goodreads

Desperate to protect her father from trial and death, Genevieve breaks off her engagement with Christian Amesbury and marries a blackmailer. After a year of marriage, she flees her husband’s violent domination only to have fate bring her back to Christian. Just when she thinks she’s started a new life of safety and solitude, her husband tracks her down, stalks her, and threatens everyone she loves.

Still brokenhearted over Genevieve’s betrayal a year ago, Christian can’t believe she’s come back into his life–and worse, that she’s done it on the anniversary of his brother’s death, a death that haunts him. Though tempted to throw her back into the river where he found her, he can’t leave her at the mercy of the terrifying man she married.

When her husband torments Genevieve and puts the Amesbury family in danger, Christian will do anything to protect those he loves…anything except give Genevieve another chance to break his heart.


Excerpt:

“I’ll be right there with you,” he said huskily into her hair.

She buried her face into his shirtfront. “I know you will. I’m not afraid.”

Heaven help him, he loved this woman so much that it physically hurt. He drew back and held her at arm’s length. “Do you have your gun?”

She nodded. “It’s in my pocket.” She patted the front of her pelisse.

“And the dagger?”

She lifted her skirts to show her riding boots with the hilt peeping out from inside.

“If anything goes wrong, run.”

She nodded.

He gripped her shoulders. “I mean, it, Genevieve; don’t stay and play heroine.”


The Suspect's Daughter
by Donna Hatch
-Romance, Historical, Christian
Amazon | Goodreads

Determined to help her father with his political career, Jocelyn sets aside dreams of love. When she meets the handsome and mysterious Grant Amesbury, her dreams of true love reawaken. But his secrets put her family in peril.

Grant goes undercover to capture conspirators avowed to murder the prime minister, but his only suspect is the father of a courageous lady who is growing increasingly hard to ignore. He can’t allow Jocelyn to distract him from the case, nor will he taint her with his war-darkened soul. She seems to see past the barriers surrounding his heart, which makes her all the more dangerous to his vow of remaining forever alone.

Jocelyn will do anything to clear her father’s name, even if that means working with Grant. Time is running out. The future of England hangs in the balance…and so does their love.


Excerpt:

She smiled, that persistent sunshine returning like a ray spearing the clouds. He’d seen her frightened and sad, but always quickly recovering to a state of joy.

Grant bowed. “Good night, Miss Fairley.”

He turned to go, but she touched his arm, a light touch, no more than the feathering brush of a butterfly. Still, he stiffened at the contact and withdrew. She blinked down at the thwarted contact as if searching for the source of his abruptness.

“Yes?” he prompted.

She faltered but seemed to draw from that endless well of happiness, and managed a sincere smile. “I look forward to seeing you at our house party.”

If Miss Fairley knew her father was his prime suspect, she wouldn’t be treating him with such kindness and familiarity. Her devotion to her father was clear. She’d be devastated when he brought her father to justice for conspiring to murder and treason. That Grant might play a part in dimming that ray of sun felt a tragedy. But better that than allowing a group of radicals commit murder.


About the author:
Best-selling author, Donna Hatch, is a hopeless romantic and adventurer at heart, the force that drove her to write and publish more than twenty historical romance titles, including the award-winning “Rogue Hearts Series.” She is a multi-award winner, a sought-after workshop presenter, and juggles multiple volunteer positions as well as her six (yes, that is 6) children. Also a music lover, she sings and plays the harp, and loves to ballroom dance. Donna and her family recently transplanted from her native Arizona to the Pacific Northwest where she and her husband of over twenty years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.

Find out more about this book and author:
Amazon | Goodreads
Website | BookBub | Facebook
Newsletter | Twitter

--~ Giveaway ~--

WIN $25 Amazon Gift Code or Paypal Cash

Ends 5/12/18

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal or gift codes via Amazon.com. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


~*~

* part of blog tour - see schedule (here)

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Perfumed Sleeve by Laura Joh Rowland

The Perfumed Sleeve
by Laura Joh Rowland

Find out more about this book and author:
Amazon
Goodreads
BookExcerpt
Website
Facebook

Published: 2005
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Genre: Historical, Mystery, Japan
Hardback: 384
Rating: 5

Sano Ichiro series:
Shinju
Bundori
The Way of the Traitor
The Concubine's Tattoo
The Samurai's Wife
Black Lotus
The Pillow Book of Lady Wisteria
The Dragon King's Palace
The Perfumed Sleeve
The Assassin's Touch
Red Chrysanthemum
The Snow Empress
The Fire Kimono
The Cloud Pavilion
The Ronin's Mistress
The Incense Game
The Shogun's Daughter
The Iris Fan
book 19 - tba

First sentence(s):
News of trouble sent Sano Ichiro abroad in the city of Edo at midnight.

November 1694. The streets of Edo are erupting in violence as two factions struggle for control over the ruling Tokugawa regime. One is led by the shogun's cousin, Lord Matsudaira, and the other by the shogun's second-in-command, Chamberlain Yanagisawa. Each side pressures Sano Ichiro, the shogun's most honorable investigator, to join its ranks.

When one of the shogun's most trusted advisers is found dead, Sano is forced to honor a posthumous request for a murder investigation. Senior Elder Makino believed that his death would be the result of assassination rather than natural causes. Although he and Sano were bitter enemies, Makino knew that the incorruptible Sano would be duty-bound to oblige his final wish.

Under the watchful eyes and thinly veiled threats of both Lord Matsudaira and Chamberlain Yanagisawa, Sano moves with caution. Each is eager to implicate the other in Makino's death. Sano must discover whether the death was indeed murder, and if so, whether it was motivated by politics, love, or sex. The discovery of secret alliances, both romantic and military, further complicates matters. Sano's investigation has barely begun when violent death claims another of the shogun's favorites.

With his wife, Reiko, working undercover, Sano and his chief retainer, Hirata, must not only investigate multiple deaths, but stem the tide of an impending civil war, in Laura Joh Rowland's The Perfumed Sleeve.


My two-bits:

Although this is book 9 in the series it worked alright for me as a standalone mystery. Of course, I liked it well enough to want to explore the rest of the books in this series.

This story is set during the late 17th century in feudal Japan with plenty of wonderful descriptions of the time period, culture and local mores.

The mystery and investigation were handled in a methodical way despite obstacles. Sano's wife, Reiko, and her undercover work provided some nail biting moments.

Sexual practices and manly love are topics touched on.

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* part of World Reads challenge - Japan (here)

World Reads: Japan

World Reads
hosted by Stephanie Jane

World Reads blog series challenge is to encourage and promote the reading of global literature. On the 5th of each month Stephanie Jane highlights five books. Everyone is welcome to join in by reading one or more books from a different country each month, write a post about them and include the World Reads banner (more details).

My reading list:

A Tale for the Time Being
by Ruth Ozeki
-Historical, Contemporary, Magical Realism, Japan
Amazon | Goodreads | my review -tba

Ms. Ice Sandwich
by Mieko Kawakami
translated by Louise Heal Kawai
-Literary, Coming of Age, Novella, Japan
Amazon | Goodreads| my review -tba

The Perfumed Sleeve
by Laura Joh Rowland
-Historical, Mystery, Japan
Amazon | Goodreads | my review | my rating: 5

Tokyo Hearts
by Renae Lucas-Hall
-Romance, Japan
Amazon | Goodreads | my review -tba

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* part of World Reads challenge (here)

* More Japanese doings: Blog All About It: Favorite Scent (here)
 
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