Phillip Margulies has scored a stunning success with “Belle Cora” the fictionalized account of a woman who was a madam in Gold Rush era California. The story traces Arabella Goodwin from her privileged upbringing in New York through the tragedies that set her life on a course that would place her at the center of the politics and controversies of California’s early days. A grand love story told in a manner to do it justice, Margulies brings Belle and her various and sundry friends, lovers, family and acquaintances to life on the page. Margulies also captures the essence of the Gold Rush and subsequent power struggles in San Francisco and the political factions who fought to control the city.
“Belle Cora” is an engaging novel which gives the reader a fresh view into the sex trade of the 1800’s told from the perspective of a successful career ‘madam.’ Belle is not just a madam but a smart and calculating business owner. Her rise from sought after call girl to power-wielding madam and her attempts to recreate herself to win her lost love will sweep you into another time and place. Exquisitely written, beautifully paced and sympathetically told, this story will touch your heart.
“Belle Cora” is scheduled for release from Doubleday on January 7, 2014. Mark your calendars…you’ll be glad you did!
This book was provided to me by Doubleday for this review. The opinions, however, are entirely my own!
Kim Burke hasn’t risked her heart in years but being surrounded by engagements and spending her days decorating cupcakes hasn’t quenched her desire for romance. Romance takes a backseat, though, when the sale of their building puts the existence of “Creative Cupcakes” in danger. In addition, there is a mysterious cupcake thief who seems to be striking more and more frequently. When Kim meets the handsome Nathaniel Sjolander she must make a choice between protecting her heart and finding her future.
Darlene Panzera manages to weave together a nice, light romance that will not offend but is about as substantial as the cupcakes portrayed in the book. Just like the cupcakes, however, the book makes a nice change from weightier stories and provides a nice escape for a couple of hours from the mundane stuff of everyday life. Basically, I’d put this book on the dessert menu…it’s light, sweet and a good way to spend a rainy afternoon! One of the nicest features of this book is that it falls in the “clean” romance category that you can safely share with girls of middle grades and up.
“The Cupcake Diaries: Taste of Romance” is available now from Avon Books. This book was provided to me by Avon for this review. The opinions, however, are entirely my own!
“The Clockwork Scarab” by Colleen Gleason is a study in juxtapositions. Her two main characters are the niece of Sherlock Holmes (a fictional character) and the half-sister of Bram Stoker (an actual person.) The one based on a real person has vampire slaying capabilities while the fictional niece of a fictional character has only the advantage of wit and strength of character. Throw these two young ladies together with the infamous Irene Adler (of Holmes fame) , a commission from the Princess of Wales, the suspicious deaths of society young ladies and a young man from another time and, well, you could get quite a muddle. However, in the skillful hand of Gleason, the result is a delightful, suspenseful and fully original work that should be well-received by readers of middle grades and up.
In my opinion, this is one of those books that it is well worth suspending a little belief for. The premise of a pair of crime fighting Victorian young ladies works well in the steam punk fantasy London that Gleason brings to life. I’d highly recommend this book for fans of crime fiction, fantasy, or time travel.
“The Clockwork Scarab” is scheduled for release on September 17, 2013 from Chronicle Books.
This book was provided to me by Chronicle Books for this review. The opinions, however, are entirely my own!
Esme Garland, 23 and British, is studying art in New York when her life takes an unexpected turn. Suddenly in need of an extra income, she gets a part-time job at her favorite used bookstore, The Owl. The Owl’s colorful staff and customers become a kind of family who help see Esme through.
Deborah Meyler has crafted an exquisite novel of friendship and how the most unlikely people sometimes become the most important people in our lives. “The Bookstore” draws you in from the first page and never disappoints. The characters are memorable and original and the story is certainly not your average “girl in the big city” story. Unexpected twists and turns take Esme and the reader on a one of a kind journey that proves once again that love shows itself in a myriad of unexpected ways.
“The Bookstore” by Deborah Meyler is scheduled for release by Simon & Schuster on August 20, 2013.
This book was provided to me by Simon & Schuster for this review. The opinions, however, are entirely my own.
Ok, I’m just running up against the deadline but I decided to enter a quilt in the Bed Quilt Category for the Blogger’s Quilt Festival. Every once in a while I decide to try something new and competitions aren’t really my thing so I’ll just think of this as sharing one of my favorite quilt I finished this last year. And which quilt is it? It’s the Eagle Quilt that I finally got off my guilt list! You can read the original post here.
The short version of the story is that I started this quilt for my husband’s 50th and finished it well, more than a decade later! Luckily, he loves it even though it took a while…I guess he thinks it was worth the wait!
Again I’m a bit tardy with this, but I was laboring under the delusion that I could use a handy plug-in I saw on another blog. Unfortunately, my WordPress doesn’t allow plug-ins (I don’t even want to admit how long it took me to figure this out) so I was back to Mr. Random and counting by hand. Have I ever mentioned how many times I recount just to be sure I don’t make a mistake? Silly, I know, but it does worry me! According to the faithful Mr. Random, the winner is Jeanne with her comment “Don’t worry if you can’t see it from a galloping horse. Spoken to many quilters when they want to rip for a teeny mistake.” I love that, it’s similar to one the defunct husband’s aunt used to say, “It’s nothing a blind man galloping by at midnight would notice.”
My lovely package arrived with both the birdie fabric and an entire fat quarter collection of the Camp Peanuts fabric.
I did promise a sneak peek at my “Say it with Flowers” project for the coming blog hop and here it is. I can hardly wait to finish it and show you the whole thing! In the meantime,
Well, there are signs of progress despite my slow walking pace. I finished piecing the Quilt Without End blocks together and tomorrow I will get my youngest daughter to try it on her bed. (I suspect we’ll need to add a row on the side and top.) In the meantime, I’m cooking up my ” Say it with flowers” project. I’d add a sneak peek but I’m tapping this out on my phone! Look for a few book reviews and a winner announcement tomorrow.
(Oops, forgot to mention that I’m linking this up to A Lovely Year of Finishes!)
Ok, a few things you need to know…first, I love puns. I always tell my daughters that I never promised there would be good jokes, just a lot of them! Second, I recently found the most adorable Kiwi pattern over at Tartan Kiwi and third, I just happen to have two yards of New Zealand fabric left over from a Girl Scout Thinking Day. Throw those elements together with my love of WordPlay quilts and you get
My oldest daughter has already claimed this one and it will go off to her college apartment to spend the summer while she works on campus.
Now, for the mystery giveaway…it’s a mystery because I’m not yet driving and won’t get to the quilt shop until tomorrow to pick up bird fabric! So, sometime tomorrow, the 1/2 yard of bird fabric I’m giving away will post right about here. In the meantime, step out on faith and leave me your favorite pun or funny saying and I’ll use Mr. Random to pick a winner at the end of the hop. (I will ship internationally, by the way!) [Plans to get to the quilt shop are not going to materialize today but I've ordered my fabric and you can click here to see what it looks like! http://www.fatquartershop.com/store/stores_app/Browse_Item_Details.asp?Shopper_id=8178514053488178&Store_id=499&page_id=23&Item_ID=60085]
Now, fly on over to see what all the other creative quilters have been up to…this has been such fun! I want to send a big hug to our wonderful Madam Samm and to Mary for all their wonderful work and inspiration!
Here’s a list of the rest of today’s quilters…have a great time!
Tuesday, May 14
http://bethstrand.wordpress.com (That’s me)
Last weekend, before I so ignobly tangled with yet another curb (and lost), I was privileged to serve as a bridesmaid for my dear friend, Connie, as she celebrated her wedding. Of course, the wedding of a dear friend requires a quilt and I had to hustle to finish this one! But finish I did, getting the binding on just before I had to leave to be at the church! It’s a little hard to see in the photo, but the fabric in the middle of the stars and on the borders is filled with “Wedding” words.
There are things like “Love, Romance, I do, We do, Cherish, etc.” in all different fonts and sizes. I finished my stars with purple points and even added a special embroidered block with my dear friends’ initials and wedding date all encircled in a purple heart. I used a filler design with hearts from Leah Day’s website (if you need a great quilting resource, check her out) and quilted it all over with purple Aurofil. My dear friends were delighted and there’s nothing like the delight of someone I love to make a quilt shine for me!
Well, due to some WordPress glitches, it’s taken me days to get the photos in this post so let me add my wishes that your Mother’s Day was a special day. My family has been so incredibly helpful with yours truly crutching around all week and then they topped it off with an amazing dinner and no dishes for moi! I’m counting my blessing this week in spite of my funny footwear! I’ll be back tomorrow (God willing and the creek don’t rise, as my mom says) with a book review or two (one I LOVE) and tomorrow night I’ll be posting my “It’s for the Birds” hop post. I can hardly wait to show you what I’ve done!
When I finished the first book in Sigmund Brower’s “Merlin’s Immortals” series, I was eager for book two to arrive and it has not disappointed. “Fortress of Mist” picks up the story from “The Orphan King” and continues to run at a wonderful pace through a world laced with fantasy, intrigue and mystery. Thomas has come into his kingdom but his troubles are far from over. Now he must negotiate the murky world of politics, never knowing who to trust and who is on his side. As two opposing forces fight for his allegiance, this young king must tread carefully knowing that all he has fought for may be lost in one wrong decision.
“Fortress of Mist” delivers the second installment of Thomas’ story with deepening plot points and well-written storylines that will take you further into this ancient land and leave you, alas, waiting as I am for the next installment! I highly recommend this series for fantasy fans of middle school grades and upward to adults.
“Fortress of Mist” was provided to me by Waterbrook Press for this review as part of their Blogging for Books Program. The opinions, however, are entirely my own.