Ebook Sale!

Feeling a little chilly in Northern climes? Preparing for the weekend storm or frigid temps? Consider a warming romance book! I am reposting a message from an author which we have recommended, to help boost sales, but also as sales today will support a worthy charity “Dress for Success”. Consider purchasing a book today. Stay warm!!
(10 of my friends have received a copy today as I wanted to support both the author and the charity!)

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From the author!
Question: WHAT CAN YOU GET FOR .99 Cents?
A A cup of coffee
B A bottle of nail polish
C A cupcake
D None of the above
And the Answer is: D None of the above.
HOWEVER, starting today through March 6th you can get 359 pages of sizzling romance for just .99 cents and support a great charity all in one fell swoop!
So, if you have the hard copy please consider buying the e-book for your e-reader.
OR you can gift it to a friend or family member. It’s easy. On Amazon, you just click on the bubble on the right hand side that says “Give as a Gift”. That will take you to a screen where you write in the email of the recipient. You can even add a note.
And this is the best part. If you buy the book(s) today I will donate 100% of my profit (up to $200.00) to the charity Dress for Success! I would love to get a boost on Amazon, B&N and iTunes today. A big sales number really make these Etail sites sit up and take notice.
Thank you so much for your support! Let’s spread some LOVE!
xo,
Jess

Dreaming Spires

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Oxford and Japan
Russell complements Sherlock-
The game is a foot!

Title: Dreaming Spies by Laurie R. King
Publisher: Bantam Press, Random House
352 pp
Genre: mystery, Sherlock Holmes, adventure, series, crime, historical thriller
4.5 Stars ****
Author:
Laurie R King is a best selling author of the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series, SanFran Homicide Inspector Kate Martinelli series, as well as stand alone suspense novels. She has been nominated for and won many awards for her writing, (including a Nero for A Monstrous Regiment of Women, (Russell/Sherlock) and a MacCavity for Touchstone, one of my favourite mysteries). The first Russell/Sherlock is The Beekeeper’s Apprentice (1994). But don’t miss Beekeeping for Beginners (2011), a novella written from Sherlock’s perspective. King has also written a number of short stories, which are all worth collecting. She is co-editor with Leslie Klinger (master authority on Sherlock!) of A Study in Sherlock and In the Company of Sherlock Holmes.
Visit her website at http://laurierking.com: enjoy her blog posts and facebook!
Story line:
This is the 14th Mary Russell (aka Mrs Sherlock Holmes) mystery, narrated again by Mary as an older woman recalling her adventures with Sherlock. As such they are very much historical novels, period pieces with intriguing mysteries. This book takes place after The Game and before Locked Rooms, in 1924 and 1925 (although 4 other novels are also before the ending). Mary is a strong female protagonist, intellectually formidable, equal with Holmes but with a subtle personal relationship that I find perceptive. She is one of my favourite bluestockings. This story also introduces Haruki Sato, a deceptive, memorable character, a respected shinobi. I would love to meet her again.
Part of this story is a flashback to their voyage to Japan aboard the Thomas Carlyle where Holmes spies a blackmailer /English clubman, whom he would like nothing more than to apprehend. There are memorable descriptions of this voyage and their exposure to the customs and traditions of Japan. A variety of mysteries and tests complete that adventure, but then Ms Sato appears in Oxford nearly a year later. We are back in The Bodleian to recover and replace forgeries of an ancient Japanese haiku poet Matsuo Basho.
It is an interesting puzzle, a fascinating travelogue, with intriguing layered characters, and detailed backgrounds, all making for a very satisfying read. I will no doubt buy a hard copy, and continue to recommend her earlier novels. You can read this independent of the others but why? Start with the first: The Beekeeper’s Apprentice and enjoy the character development and progression (and adventures!) They often follow directly on from the previous book.
Read on:
If you like Sherlock Holmes you will enjoy this series. Make note of the authors with membership in The Irregulars, or books sanctioned by the Conan Doyle Estate. Read the short stories by various authors in A Study in Sherlock and In the Company of Sherlock Holmes.
Caleb Carr The Italian Secretary
Alan Bradley Flavia DeLuce novels
Leslie Klinger The Annotated Sherlock Holmes
Larry Millett Sherlock Holmes and the Red demon, the ice palace, the rune stones, the secret alliance (for Sherlock in Minnesota)
Anthony Horowitz The House of Silk, Moriarity, and short story The Three Monarchs
Quotes:
That sweet city with her dreaming spires,
She needs not June for beauty’s heightening. Mathew Arnold

What is it about Oxford that puts one in a poetical state of mind?
The house was silent, weighty with the comfort of a thousand books.
This was far from the first time I had stood on the terrace with a cup of tea, appreciating not being elsewhere.
(It was just a pub) Heaven lay within, an ancient gathering space that could only be in England, every breath testifying to its centuries of smoke and beer, damp dogs and the sweat of working men.
We watched Bombay recede, then went below to arrange our possessions, and our bribes.
Twenty four and a half days Bombay to Yokohama. Five hundred eighty six hours pressed about by humanity, one hundred eighty hours spent sweating amongst the bedsheets; eighty-four hours in the dining room; nineteen and a half hours of language tutorials with Miss Sato; ten hours reading Shakespeare aloud with an extremely mixed group of amateurs; and seventeen hour- long afternoon salons on topics from tea to theatre; … Some forty hours spent pacing the decks to keep from leaping off them, twenty or so hours on the cycling and rowing machines…
The face he lifted to me held that bright optimism I have learned to dread.
Allowing the world to think I am a character in some stories is the only way to obtain a degree of freedom.
We slept in hard cotton mattresses laid on the floors, our heads perched on pillows stuffed, apparently, with gravel.

Read as an ARC from NetGalley

You need books!!!

I have seen the forecast….

When the weather outside is frightful, you want to be indoors reading! So head to the library, go into the Friends’ Bookstore (remember all proceeds benefit the library!) and get a stash, or start reading that bag of books you got in the Winterfest Booksale! (And thanks again for supporting the library!)
I was going to be writing a series of book reviews this week (5 are half written) to entice you into the bookstore and library, BUT:
I just received a long awaited sequel from a favourite author and am about to lose myself and a few days.
So, instead, I thought you might like a heads up on a previous author and post. First because of the weather and the flu/cold season, I love this post from Vignette a la Mode that included a copy of The Dressmaker’s Duke tucked into a lovely gift basket!

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This gift basket with tea and other get well or comfort foods, would also work nicely for Valentines!
Second, the library does have a copy of Jess Gibbon’s The Dressmaker’s Duke, although you might have to reserve it as it has been circulating, OR wait til the 20th February when it will go on sale! 99cents February 20th-March 3rd. It has remained a bestseller in historical romance.
And remember if you read it, or purchase it, give the author a heads up and review it (at either or both Amazon or GoodReads). This helps future books sales- and note she is already working on her second novel Mad for the Marquis!
Third, this is a multitalented author and you should check out her website
http://jessrussellromance.com
Each month she does a “trash to treasure” transformation: don’t miss this month’s taking a 70’s bridal gown and reinventing it into a new 2015 evening gown, from Wedding to Wearable!

http://jessrussellromance.com

Mistletoe and Second Chances

Title: A Matchmaker’s Christmas by Donna Lea Simpson
Publisher: Beyond the Page, Amazon digital services (December 2014)
230 pp
Genre: regency romance, classic romance
3 Stars ***
Author:
Donna Lea Simpson is a Canadian bestselling author. She writes romance and mystery novels, some with a paranormal twist (the Awaiting series looks intriguing). This romance was a delightful read, evocative of the rural English countryside in Regency times. I found a few modern attitudes, actions and language but enjoyed the gentle, poignant and satisfying romances.
Story line:
Lady Bournaud, an elderly widow, hosts a Holiday party, resolved to do some good before she passes happily on, waiting to be reunited with her beloved late husband. The unsuspecting couples gather, not necessarily in correct social order, but through much character development, introspection and doubt, find love. Second chances for all ages, in changing social times.
Read on:
To Georgette Heyer, Anne Perry
Mark it for next holiday, with the true spirit of Christmas or enjoy during this winter season.
Quotes:
It’s going to be a long cold winter. Been a miserable summer and it is not likely to get any better now.
But each season had its own sorrows and rewards and she learned a long time ago to take each day as it came….looking ahead was too bleak and looking back was unthinkable.
I hate this present age of music I don’t understand, prissy young folk allowed to marry wherever they wish, and a mad old king,
You cannot mean that you intend to match these poor unsuspecting young people? A reverend and a hoyden?
I have outlived disease. I begin to fear I will live forever…..Lady Bournaud did not like closed books.
As the life I live is my own, and the only one I have been given, I think it behooves me to be careful with it ma’am.
I have taken the elegant affectation of staying in bed until luncheon.

Read as an ARC from Netgalley

That’d Be CRM to you

Title: Esther Freud Mr Mac and Me
Publisher: Bloomsbury (September 2014)
293pp
Genre: literature, English novel, historical novel, coming of age
3 Stars ***
Author:
Esther Freud is a British novelist, named as one of the 20 “Best young English novelists” by Granta (1993, after her novel Peerless Flats was published). Yes, she is one of those Freuds, great granddaughter of Sigmund, and daughter of the painter Lucien. She caught my attention because of Sea House (2003) which was loosely based on her grandfather Ernst: another Suffolk house with German Jewish refugee after WWII). She bought a cottage some years ago in Walberswick, and here discovered a famous guest (1914, Charles Rennie Mackintosh) and a ghost, a small boy of 10-12.
Mr Mac and Me is her 8th novel. She was shortlisted for the Llewellyn Rhys prize for her first novel Hideous Kinky (1992) which was made into a film starring Kate Winslet. Another novel Gaglow (1998) was shortlisted for the Jewish Quarterly Literary Prize for Fiction.
Story line:
The narrator is this story is young Thomas Maggs, whose family is struggling to make a living. He is the only surviving son of an abusive, alcoholic publican, born with a club foot which denies him his dream of going to sea. He is a curious scamp, I wanted to like him, empathized with his hard life, delighted in some of his antics and appreciated his budding artistry, mentored by the Scottish architect and artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh (CRM) and his wife beloved Margaret. But.
Thomas is more than a scamp. He has been befriended by CRM, has seen the contrast of their lives, yet he makes curious choices. Not out of place with his status, but rendering friendship meaningless. The jumbled ending confused me, and seems out of character with the rest of the book. My Margaret? Indeed. This has been the recollection of a dying man on seeing the obituary of Mackintosh, followed by memories of the country awakening to CRMs brilliance?
I really wanted to love this book as it concerns my favourite artist. Her depictions of his craft are poetical. I am not aware of other fictional works concerning his story, but have read /own many biographies. I kept reading because of the thread of CRM’s story, an interesting blend of fact and fiction. I loved the sumptuous description of the countryside, the village is a central character. She has a gift for describing the natural world, and is a well crafted, meditative wordsmith. It is a slow, quiet detailed read. The area was known by artists for its light and their paintings capture the ethereal magic.
This is also a good study of the effects of war on everyday life in a small english coastal hamlet. I am delighted she has exposed many people to Mackintosh, as I can’t believe the number of Americans who had never heard of him, even with the great fire that nearly destroyed his Art School masterpiece this year. I was pleased to see a recent review in the NYTimes (Elizabeth Graver Jan 25).
I loved the British cover art of CRMs Fritillaria.

Read on:
Helen Humphreys The Evening Chorus (2015, WWII rural England)
Helen Dunsmore Zennor in Darkness (DH Lawrence in Cornwall)
Flora Thompson Lark Rise to Candleford (daily village life as experienced by a child)
For CRM biographies:
2010 CRM: Life and Work by James Macauley
2001 CRM by Edmund Swinglehurst
2000 CRM: Architect, Artist, Icon by John McKean and Colin Baxter
1995 CRM by Alan Crawford
Quotes:
My name is Thomas Maggs. Although I’m known as Tommy. And Tom’s what I tell people if I’m asked.
He’s got a gruff voice, low and hard to understand, with rolling Rs and sudden lifts and burrs, and if I close my eye I can hear the chimes and rises in it…
Mac…he looks for all the world like a detective. He’s wearing a great black cape as if he’s Sherlock Holmes.
I eat the little triangle of bread, so fast that I have to search myself for what is in it. Honey.
But the ink smudges against my knuckle and my finger and I am so disappointed I want to take the nub of the pen and stab it into my arm.
He’s built a school and a church in his home city of Glasgow, and houses, unusual houses, for gentlemen that don’t care what anybody thinks.
The truth about Margaret Macdonald, says Mac slowly, drilling the edges of a lead, is that she has genius. Where I have only talent.
I’ve made places for poets and now I’m being reprimanded for misplacing the toilet facilities.
I wanted to work in Glasgow. I wanted to work for Glasgow.

Read as an ARC from Netgalley

What Would Papa Do?

Title: Anne Perry A New York Christmas
Publisher: Ballantine/Penguin Random House (2014, 2015)
164pp
Genre: Christmas short story, novella, historical mystery, romantic suspense, English mysteries,
4 Stars ****
Author: Anne Perry is an international bestselling British author of over 60 historical detective novels. She lives in the secluded Scottish Highlands, but her readership is primarily American. The Times selected her as one of the 20th century’s “100 Masters of Crime”, and her short story “Heroes” (2001) won an Edgar.
Two of her acclaimed series feature William Monk, a private investigator who has amnesia, and Thomas Pitt, now head of Special Branch after a long illustrious career (and 30 books). Her Christmas stories (12 novellas) involve characters from these series, each with a pleasant, moral theme. They are a gentle reminder of why we celebrate the season. Her WWI series is not to be missed. She has also written YA, fantasy, and stand alone novels. I have read all her books and novellas (since 1980) so am familiar with her characters and writing style.
Story line:
It is 1904 and Jemima, the daughter of Thomas and Charlotte Pitt, travels as chaperone to America with Delphinia Cardrew for her high society NY wedding into the wealthy Albright family. Jemima embarks on an adventure trying to find Phinnie’s mother Maria, but is then accused of murder. She meets Patrick Flannery, a police officer with an Irish lilt, who believes her innocence. They encounter danger and friendship in NYC society.
This story is a bit simplistic at times, with numerous themes, very predictable, but enjoyable to read especially the luxurious descriptions of elite NYC, winter in Central Park, diverse neighborhoods, family secrets and skeletons. And as our winter extends, it makes for an enjoyable afternoon read. I wonder if the continuing romance will lead to stories on this side of the Atlantic.
Now on sale in most bookstores, with shorter waiting list in the library.
Read on:
To the mysteries of Anne Perry, Thomas and Charlotte Pitt, or William and Hester Monk.
To Victoria Thompson’s Gaslight series. Or Jane Haddam series.
To short stories of Donna VanLiere.
Quotes:
At twenty you have the face nature has given you; at fifty you have the face you deserve.
Twenty-three, and I’m thinking like a policeman! You would be proud of me Papa…and horrified.
Tact is a priceless virtue.
At least she would not look as foreign as she felt.
She made an instant decision to be charming, complimentary, and unimpressed. She owed it to her national honor not to gawk as if such things were not common at home.
She knows what matter and what doesn’t. She remembers what she receives, but not what she gives….she is never unnecessarily unkind.
It is very good to know the rules, even if you did not intend to follow them.
After all, how could you find magic if you did not believe in it?

Read as an ARC from Netgalley