Book Review: The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott

LONJust in time for the centennial anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic comes a vivid, romantic, and relentlessly compelling historical novel about a spirited young woman who survives the disaster only to find herself embroiled in the media frenzy left in the wake of the tragedy.

Tess, an aspiring seamstress, thinks she’s had an incredibly lucky break when she is hired by famous designer Lady Lucile Duff Gordon to be a personal maid on the Titanic’s doomed voyage. Once on board, Tess catches the eye of two men, one a roughly-hewn but kind sailor and the other an enigmatic Chicago millionaire. But on the fourth night, disaster strikes.

Amidst the chaos and desperate urging of two very different suitors, Tess is one of the last people allowed on a lifeboat. Tess’s sailor also manages to survive unharmed, witness to Lady Duff Gordon’s questionable actions during the tragedy. Others—including the gallant Midwestern tycoon—are not so lucky.

On dry land, rumors about the survivors begin to circulate, and Lady Duff Gordon quickly becomes the subject of media scorn and later, the hearings on the Titanic. Set against a historical tragedy but told from a completely fresh angle, The Dressmaker is an atmospheric delight filled with all the period’s glitz and glamour, all the raw feelings of a national tragedy and all the contradictory emotions of young love

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Book Review: Peace Talks (The Dresden Files #16) by Jim Butcher

LONHARRY DRESDEN IS BACK AND READY FOR ACTION, in the new entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling Dresden Files.

When the Supernatural nations of the world meet up to negotiate an end to ongoing hostilities, Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard, joins the White Council’s security team to make sure the talks stay civil. But can he succeed, when dark political manipulations threaten the very existence of Chicago–and all he holds dear?

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Book Review: Lover Reborn by JR Ward

LONEver since the death of his shellan, Tohrment has been unrecognizable from the vampire leader he once was. Physically emaciated and heartbroken beyond despair, he has been brought back to the Brotherhood by a self-serving fallen angel. Now, fighting once again with ruthless vengeance, he is unprepared to face a new kind of tragedy.

When Tohr begins to see his beloved in his dreams—trapped in a cold, isolated netherworld far from the peace and tranquillity of the Fade—he turns to the angel in hopes of saving the one he has lost. But because Lassiter tells him he must learn to love another to free his former mate, Tohr knows they are all doomed….

Except then a female with a shadowed history begins to get through to him. Against the backdrop of the raging war with the lessers, and with a new clan of vampires vying for the Blind King’s throne, Tohr struggles between the buried past and a very hot, passion-filled future…but can his heart let go and set all of them free?

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Book Review: Royal Mistress by Anne Easter Smith

LONFrom the author of A Rose for the Crown and Daughter of York comes another engrossing historical novel of the York family in the Wars of the Roses, telling the fascinating story of the rise and fall of the final and favorite mistress of Edward IV.

Jane Lambert, the quick-witted and alluring daughter of a silk merchant, is twenty-two and still unmarried. When Jane’s father finally finds her a match, she’s married off to the dull, older silk merchant William Shore—but her heart belongs to another. Marriage doesn’t stop Jane Shore from flirtation, however, and when the king’s chamberlain and friend, Will Hastings, comes to her husband’s shop, Will knows his King will find her irresistible.

Edward IV has everything: power, majestic bearing, superior military leadership, a sensual nature, and charisma. And with Jane as his mistress, he also finds true happiness. But when his hedonistic tendencies get in the way of being the strong leader England needs, his life, as well as that of Jane Shore and Will Hastings, hang in the balance.

This dramatic tale has been an inspiration to poets and playwrights for 500 years, and told through the unique perspective of a woman plucked from obscurity and thrust into a life of notoriety, Royal Mistress is sure to enthrall today’s historical fiction lovers as well.

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Book Review: Lover Unleashed (Black Dagger Brotherhood #9) by J.R. Ward

LONNumber-one New York Times best-selling author J.R. Ward’s thrilling new novel in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.

Payne, twin sister of Vishous, is cut from the same dark, seductive cloth as her brother. Imprisoned for eons by their mother, the Scribe Virgin, she finally frees herself – only to face a devastating injury.

Manuel Manello, M.D., is drafted by the Brotherhood to save her as only he can – but when the human surgeon and the vampire warrior meet, their two worlds collide in the face of their undeniable passion. With so much working against them, can love prove stronger than the birthright and the biology that separates them?

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Book Review: The Boleyn Deceit (The Boleyn Trilogy #2)

LONPerfect for fans of Philippa Gregory, Alison Weir, and Showtime’s The TudorsThe Boleyn Deceit is the captivating new novel set in the imagined Tudor court of King Henry IX. Son of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, who must navigate a terrain rife with palace intrigue, impending war, and unbridled passions.

The regency period is over and William Tudor, now King Henry IX, sits alone on the throne. But England must still contend with those who doubt his legitimacy, both in faraway lands and within his own family. To diffuse tensions and appease the Catholics, William is betrothed to a young princess from France, but still he has eyes for only his childhood friend Minuette, and court tongues are wagging.

Even more scandalous—and dangerous, if discovered—is that Minuette’s heart and soul belong to Dominic, William’s best friend and trusted advisor. Minuette must walk a delicate balance between her two suitors. Unable to confide in anyone, not even her friend Elizabeth, William’s sister, who must contend with her own cleaved heart. In this irresistible tale, the secrets that everyone keeps are enough to change the course of an empire.

 

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Book Review: Yarn to Go (Yarn Retreat Mystery #1) by Betty Hechtman

LONDessert chef Casey Feldstein doesn’t know a knitting needle from a crochet hook. But after her aunt dies unexpectedly, leaving Casey to run her yarn retreat business, the sweets baker finds herself rising to the occasion—and trying to unravel a murder mystery…

When Casey finds out that her late aunt’s business, Yarn2Go, has one more yarn retreat scheduled, she decides to go ahead and host the event, despite her complete lack of experience as a knitter. At least the retreat is on the beautiful Monterey Peninsula.

But the idyllic setting is soured when a retreat regular is found murdered in her hotel room. Feeling a sense of responsibility, Casey begins to weave the clues together and detects a pattern which may shed light on her aunt’s suspicious death. Despite the danger, the last thing Casey plans to do is retreat. She’ll catch this killer…or dye trying.

Includes a knitting pattern and a recipe!

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Book Review: India Black and the Widow of Windsor (Madam of Espionage #2) by Carol K. Carr

LONIndia Black is back! Her Majesty’s favorite spy is off to Scotland! In this new adventure to ensure the Queen doesn’t end up getting killed.

When Queen Victoria attends a séance, the spirit of her departed husband, Prince Albert, insists she spend Christmas at their Scottish home in Balmoral. Prime Minister Disraeli suspects the Scottish nationalists plan to assassinate the Queen. So he sends the ever resourceful India and the handsome British spy, French, to the Scottish highlands.

French will take the high road, looking for a traitor among the guests-and India will take the low road. She is disguised as a servant in case an assassin is hiding among the household staff. India is certain that someone at Balmoral is determined to make this Her Majesty’s last Christmas…

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Book Review: Micah (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #13) by Laurell K. Hamilton

 

LON“RAISING THE DEAD IS EASY. LOVE IS HARD…”

There are lots of reasons to raise the dead-some private, some public. In this case, the feds have a witness who died before he could speak on the record. They want him raised so his testimony can be taken. So here I am, on a plane to Philadelphia, flying off to do my job.

But I’m not alone. Micah is with me. Micah, head of the St. Louis wereleopard pard. King to my Queen. The only one of my lovers who can stir my blood with just a glance from his chartreuse cat’s eyes. I was happy to have him at my side.

Until he mentioned that this will be our first time alone together. No Master Vampire. No Alpha Werewolf. Just me and Micah. And all my fears and doubts…

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Book Review: Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman

LONUnorthodox: The instant New York Times bestselling memoir of a young Jewish woman’s escape from a religious sect, in the tradition of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Infidel and Carolyn Jessop’s Escape, featuring a new epilogue by the author.

As a member of the strictly religious Satmar sect of Hasidic Judaism, Deborah Feldman grew up under a code of relentlessly enforced customs governing everything from what she could wear and to whom she could speak to what she was allowed to read. It was stolen moments spent with the empowered literary characters of Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott that helped her to imagine an alternative way of life. Trapped as a teenager in a sexually and emotionally dysfunctional marriage to a man she barely knew, the tension between Deborah’s desires and her responsibilities as a good Satmar girl grew more explosive until she gave birth at nineteen and realized that, for the sake of herself and her son, she had to escape.

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