Sunday, June 26, 2011

Be Brave, Be Strong: A Journey Across the Great Divide by Jill Homer

Be Brave, Be Strong: A Journey Across the Great DivideI am in awe of this woman... not only can she write a good yarn, but her story is amazing. I mean how many of us would ride a mountain bike from Canada to Mexico in rain and over 11,000 foot mountains in just 24 days? With only two outfits and a bag of junk food and a sleeping bag?

Jill Homer did. It's called the Tour Divide and she did it in 2009.. first try. Her narrative begins in Alaska with her long time boyfriend suddenly calling it quits.. and whereas most women would curl up and cry about it, Jill decides to keep going. It's not easy and she doesn't even realize she's going to do it practically till she's at the starting line, but she does it.

She faces bears, rides next to antelope, talks to cows, has flat tires, deals with a broken gps, braves mud and mud and more mud, climbs and climbs and climbs, wrecks, bangs up her knee, lives off sour patch kids candy half the time, runs out of water, loses her breaks in Colorado (YIKES!!!), and even deals with food poisoning and a hurt friend. But she still does it.. she makes it. 

Along the route, she contemplates giving up... but numerous things keep her going, the desire to outdo her ex boyfriend, the fear of public humiliation... 

What I really liked about her story besides her bravery, determination, and gumption is how amazing some people were along the way.. Perfect strangers offered her food, drink, board, opened their homes to her. It's amazing and touching how many people are willing to help others still today. I loved how Ms. Homer acknowledges each and every one of them. I also enjoyed the parts with John, a fellow rider. I wondered what would happen there...

A very good book. My only complaint is at times it was too much repetitive detail. Just too much at times about everything she ate and the details of the trails. At times, I found myself skimming over that stuff.. just wanting to find out what happened next. 3.5 stars.

Laugh out loud moment: "At mile 62, my throat was dry and my drinking bladder still empty, but my own bladder was completely full. The organ bulged and pressed against my abdomen until I was certain I could feel urine leaking out of my eyes. If it was only a need to pee I might have strongly considered just letting it go - after all, I was already drenched in sweat and wetting my shorts in that manner wouldn't be that much different. But there were other way I needed to relieve myself, too, way that I didn't want to end up in my shorts.." (Wouldn't you know, that's when  a vehicle ends up driving by! LOL)

Favorite quote: "I only had myself to rely on in the end. I had to truly trust myself when the going got tough. And when the going did get tough, I dug deep inside myself and I persevered. I had been brave on my own. I had been strong on my own."

Found an awesome picture of Jill Homer on this website.. it's of her at the finish. Check it out.

I won an ebook of this on LibraryThing Member Giveaways.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Contest and Giveaway Winner

Bren Austin has chosen a winner for the Men, Murder, and Margaritas Title contest.. and that winner gets a signed copy of the book!!

The winner is.. Lady T who suggested "Cruises, Cutthroats, and Cosmos."

Honorable mentions: "Ships, Sirens, and Sangria" and "Models, Mayhem, and Mimosas."

Lady T, I am emailing you for your snail mail address.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Life, Love, and a Polar Bear Tattoo by Heather Wardell

Life, Love, and a Polar Bear TattooThis was one of those kindle freebies that simply caught my eye, partly because of the title. I love tattoos and I think polar bears are cute as hell. And the cover is cute too.. and it was free! However, I didn't expect much from it as my experience with the kindle freebies hasn't always been great.. Boy, was I surprised.

It was one of those weeks in which nothing I picked up held my attention very well.. and I kept coming back to this one. I first read a few pages just to see if it was worth even keeping on my kindle.. and I just kept going. I was hooked by the first person narrative, the honesty, the realness of the heroine, Candice. I also like the writing style, the flow, and I could totally related to what was happening.

Candice has been married to Ian for two years. Like all husbands, Ian occasionally says something hateful to her.. and we all know that once you say it, you can't take it back. Sometimes, we sting from the words for a few days and sometimes.. we never forget. Due to the death of his parents and his blaming Candice for it, Ian crosses that line, says something hateful, and Candice can't get past it. 

To add to an already volatile situation, Ian is leaving for a month... and Candice's ex boyfriend ends up being her latest client in the restaurant business. And this guy.. makes her feel hot, desired, special, wanted... He makes her feel the way all of us wives wish we felt. And the temptation to stray, to break her marriage vows is great.

But, this amazing man wasn't always amazing. He has hurt her before. Can she trust him this time? Or can she forgive Ian and fix her marriage? 

Did I mention this man is also a client? There could be a job loss here if things go too far.

Really, really, really enjoyed this. Candice is real. She has everyday thoughts and problems and desires that all women have. She's not perfect and she makes mistakes. She also adds bits of humor to her narrative.

When at the gym, she loses the chance to use a treadmill, "I decided on the next best thing, a machine that seemed to resemble cross-country skiing..... From the moment I climbed on board, I was like a cat on a hot tin roof. Wearing roller skates. Blindfolded. When I hit myself in the face the first time with the pole, I stunned myself for a second, but that the fifth collision I hardly noticed."

Seriously, fess up, ladies. We've all done that. :)

Quibbles: 1. Her emails to Ian told us a lot about she was feeling.. but where was Ian's emails? I wanted to see what she was responding to. 2. Too much crying at times. Though understandable, it was still irritating at moments.

Four stars and I "bought" this on Amazon Kindle. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Men, Murder, and Margaritas Title Contest! Win a Book!

Men, Murder and MargaritasOkay, the author of Men, Murder and Margaritas, Bren Austin, and I are doing a little something different. It's a giveaway... but you gotta work for it. And before you immediately groan, huff, sigh, and click on that little x in the upper right corner, hear me out first. It's going to be a fun contest!!!

First, some quick feedback. I reviewed this book and really enjoyed it. (If you missed my review, I will be posting the link at the end of this post) Upon conversing with Ms. Austin afterwords, she disclosed to me that there is going to be a sequel.. and then a third one.. Men, Murder and Margaritas is just the first in a series! 

So the contest is... come up with potential titles for this great series. Let me give you an idea of what Ms. Austin is looking for. The tentative title for the second book is Dancers, Danger, and Daquiris. The third book involves a cruise, models being killed, and of course, some kind of drink....

Don't be scared! Post a comment with your title ideas and be sure to to leave a way for me to contact you. The winner gets a signed copy of Men, Murder, and Margaritas! And who knows.. perhaps the winning title may actually be used!

Here are samples I came up with....

Cuties, Crime, and Coladas
Hos, Hacking, and Happy Hour

Seriously, see what you can come up with, share, and let's all have a good laugh! Last day to enter is June 22nd.

For those that missed my review: Men, Murder and Margaritas

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Great Place for a Seizure by Terry Tracy

As a woman also wearing the brand, "disabled," I was eager to read this book. It's a fictional tale, the life of a Chilean American girl whose life is dramatically changed forever at the age of 14. No, it's not drugs, alcohol, or divorce. It's epilepsy. Mischa is afflicted with seizures. They come out of nowhere, they are sometimes tiny and barely noticeable and other times, huge resulting in bruises, chipped teeth, appalled bystanders...
A Great Place for a Seizure"During that time every table corner was knife, the floor was a sledgehammer, and each step was a cliff.."
The book has an amazing start. I enjoyed the parts with Mischa as a young girl moving from Chile to America, visiting numerous doctors. I enjoyed her sarcasm about her affliction, her witty thoughts about a Frenchman coming up with petit mal and grand mal while eating pastries. I also liked how when first faced with prejudice regarding her condition, she stands up for herself. When told, "I think you should pull out of the race for student body president. You are epileptic and that would interfere with the job," she says she's running anyway...

Later, as an adult, she deals with people that either baby her after a seizure or look at her with disgust. At one place of employment, they even contemplate denying her health insurance. When she goes to college, her roommate reveals that "I was forewarned by the college. They wrote a letter asking me if I was comfortable having a roommate with a disability." 

Mischa doesn't feel she has a disability... this is rampant throughout the novel. It raises the question: What exactly is a disability and who has the right to brand others as having one?

Mischa carries on with life, however, she has romances, deals with the death of her mother, travels to Guatemala, England, works with a former president.... 

I have some quibbles, however: 1. For some reason, the writing style suddenly becomes a LOT of telling rather than showing once it reaches the point where Mischa is working with a former president. When she starts work for a human rights organization, it gets pretty bad with that. LOTS of explaining, little experiencing. Up till this point, it was great. 2. Characters I couldn't care less about began entering the book. Examples: A priest that likes barbecue. Clarissa and Christopher... I didn't feel they impacted the novel enough to be included. There is paragraphs about these people and I was like, "why?" 

Thus, three stars. I liked it, especially the parts about life with epilepsy, the incompetence of doctors just switching her from medication to medication, the risks of having seizures anytime anyplace, the reactions from those around her. I found it very enlightening.

I recieved this in ebook format from the author.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Men, Murder, and Margaritas by Bren Austin

Men, Murder and MargaritasMen, vibrator batteries, pasties, thongs, pole dancing, a sexy sheriff,sin, and psychotic female serial killers that kill unsuspecting rich bachelors are just some of the numerous hilarious topics that the three leading ladies of this novel discuss over their nightly margaritas.

Cari Paris is the blonde and no, she's not dumb. She's actually quite savvy as she slowly uncovers clues leading up to a woman scorned turned serial killer, dubbed the Carnation Killer because she always leaves that particular ugly flower by her victim's dead body.  "When a guy gives you carnations, it means he just wants to get laid and doesn't want to spend too much money to get you on your back." 

Her friends, Tracy and Kathi are assisting her. Tracy steals the show somewhat with her witty comments and brutal honesty about church, sex, food, and boobs. "If men were killed for stupidity, there wouldn't be too many left to choose from." (Can't remember which chick specifically said that, but I love it.)

Kathi is more in the background, but her character is crucial for laughs. She goes home every night and does sexual favors for her husband in order to get an inground pool and a couple of cabana boys installed in her backyard. (Seriously, you gotta read it to understand..)

And I've gotten way off track here. The case: An article talking about the state's most eligible and rich bachelors was published in a magazine. Cari and Tracy work for an advertising agency that is hosting an eligible bachelor auction. Problem is... one by one, their bachelors are winding up dead or married (apparently the men can save their lives by rushing to the altar). If they don't find the killer soon, they won't have any bachelors left to auction! But as the women get closer to figuring out who the killer is, those pesky blue carnations are left at their doors... are they next to die, despite the fact that they are the killer's usual choice of victim?

To make it all juicier, Cari and Tracy both end up dating two of the handsome bachelors! 

I thoroughly enjoyed this one. It was funny, witty, cute, and I laughed my butt off too many times to mention. Especially over the "tamponing a dead body" episode.

Five stars and I received this from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Precious Norman Honor by A.L. Stumo

Precious Norman HonorMaud is an eleven year old girl in medieval times. The castle she serves in is under siege by King Henry's men. Her master, an earl, is away muster more troops to his cause. Maud's father has been instructed not to let the king have the castle. Thus, families, children, and all that serve the earl are barricaded within its stone walls while the King's army throw stones and arrow over it.

It's really kinda funny, actually, all these grown men just throwing rocks at each other, until someone gets hurt, that is..

Maud has problems with all this.. She's bored. She wants to look over the walls and see the soldiers, see the army, and the catapult. But all the adults tell her no over and over again. There were moments while reading this when wondered if the entire novel was just this eleven year old girl wanting to climb the tower.. She is obsessed with climbing the tower to the point that it gets a bit irritating, but this is a YA novel.

There's more going on though.. There's the very real threat of running out of food. There's an earl that doesn't appear to be coming back. Maud has a sick friend. And it seems some of the men think they are better than the others... Soon there's Norman vs Saxon rivalry right within the castle. Tensions run high. Just where is the battle? Outside the castle or in?

Quibbles: I don't think I've ever said this before, but this would have been better with a male hero, from a male POV. Maud goes nowhere but the kitchen, the hall, the garden, and back to the kitchen. She's allowed to do nothing but pull weeds, chop vegetable, serve food, and mess with wool. At times, this makes for very dull reading. Had it been told from a male POV, granted, the boy would never have left the castle grounds either, but at least he would know what was going on outside of it and be able to see outside the castle walls and in turn, so would the readers. Plus, he'd be flinging rocks and dung. Much more entertaining than pulling weeds.

If I was an eleven year old, I would have enjoyed it a lot more. It does capture the medieval way of life very well and from an eleven year old's POV. Not bad. Three stars.

I received this in ebook format from the author.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

How I wrote my first novel. . . Ride for Rights

Hey all! Just a short note to let you know that today, I'm over on Teen Word Factory, a blog for teen writers and readers talking about how I penned Ride. Please stop and check it out! I know comments are difficult to leave lately and for that, I apologize. It's a blogger thing. :(

So, come read about How I wrote Ride for Rights.

Sisters of the Sari Giveaway

Sisters of the SariI read this book a few weeks ago and loved it. I'm pleased to announce that the publisher is permitting me to host a giveaway for it. Two copies, U.S. residents only. Please leave a comment by June 14th and be sure to provide an email address or a way that I can contact you should you win. Jazzy, the Japanese Chin will choose the winner from her food bowl on that day, at her convenience.

If you missed my review for this great book, check it out! My Review of Sisters of the Sari

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Christina Courtenay's Large Print Novellas and the Hunks She Visualized

First of all, yes, I'm a fan of this author and I have recently become online friends with her. However, I read her novels, Scarlet Kimono and Trade Winds, before I contacted her. Matter of fact, I was so impressed with Scarlet Kimono, I had to find her email address and tell her so and from there, a friendship bloomed.

I have a grandmother who can't see squat. She refuses to use a magnifying glass whilst reading her books (pride) and she loves to read... so... I am forever searching for large print books for her. Thus, when I discovered that one of my favorite authors had three large print novellas out, I was stoked and I said so. Christina Courtenay has kindly provided me with three lovely large print novellas to pass on to my almost blind grandmother.

But of course, I had to read them myself first. I couldn't resist. And I've enjoyed them tremendously and asked Ms. Courtenay to answer one question about each novella. What actor/rock star/mega hottie did you visualize while writing this?

First up: Marry In Haste

Marry in Haste (Dales Romance)The damsel in distress is pretty crafty and brave. She has been escaping her cousin's amorous advances by padding her waistline and waltzing around with dirty hair. (I said she was BRAVE!) I loved this chick! She not only gets her cuz in the crotch with her knee, but escapes out of her bedroom window in the dark of night and rushes off to marry a Viscount she barely knows.

The Viscount had to marry quickly or he probably would not have married Amelia. He doesn't go for fat, dirty chicks, but when she approaches him and asks him to marry her, his need and his desire to help this damsel wins out. Imagine his surprise when the padding disappears from her waistline and the dirty hair becomes clean and shiny! However, the fact that his new bride was hiding her true self raises suspicions in his mind.

Can these two quit tip toeing around each other long enough to make this arranged marriage work and maybe even become friends? Add a horny cousin and a secret scandal and anything can happen!

I found this cute and fun and loved the characters. Five stars. And what hunk did the author have in mind while writing it?

"I wrote this so long ago I'm not actually sure who the hero was based on but I have a feeling it was Keith Duffy, singer in the boyband Boyzone at the time.  I saw a picture of him with long hair, which I really liked (normally he wears it short and spiky, so not very "historical" looking) and I liked it."

Second Up: Once Bitten, Twice Shy

Once Bitten, Twice ShyThe damsel in distress is one of a twin set. Ianthe is the good twin, Serena the bad. Serena does everything in her power to try to ensure that Ianthe doesn't land the attentions or courtship of the Marquess of Wycheham, Jason. She even stoops to dealing with shady people. Ianthe wins out only to face more trouble: a cousin who wants the Marquess's title and will stop at nothing, a sister in law who refuses to leave the house, a Frenchman in a smuggler's cave...

She doesn't sit and wait to be rescued, but takes matters into her own hands as much as she can. Very entertaining novella. There were times I thought the evil characters were TOO evil and the good characters TOO good or I would have gave it a five as well. Conclusion: four stars. 

And what handsome hunk did Christina have in mind whilst writing this one? 

"You're going to think I'm crazy, but this hero was definitely Lucius Malfoy from the Harry Potter movies (the actor Jason Isaacs in real life).  I loved the way he looks so arrogant and sure of himself, a true aristocrat.  But I also felt that he could have been misunderstood (like the hero of my novel) and he was the kind of guy people would talk about behind his back, but not dare say it to his face.  I imagined he had a sense of humour and didn't give a damn about what people said, because he knew he hadn't done anything wrong.  And the heroine would see behind his facade, unlike everyone else."

Third Up: Desperate Remedies

Desperate RemediesThe damsel in distress in this one is by far my favorite and thus, this is a five star. Though chased and shot at by a highway man at one point, she's not really in distress. She shoots back at him! She also dresses up as a boy and goes on a spying mission. She's spunky, smart, and I'd love to see her in a novel.

"I doubt I would do anything that was against the law, but if it was merely something that society dictated I shouldn't do, then I'd probably do it regardless. I don't give a fig for silly rules made up by match making matrons with nothing better to do."

"... I prefer to go my own way rather than be ruled by a man I cannot respect or like."

The latter quote explains why she turned down three suitors in her London season and now finds herself a governess for her sister. She just may have met her match in her sister's handsome neighbor, however. But just how far can this new romance go when someone wants him dead?

Courtenay had a special hottie in mind while penning this one as well, however, she doesn't wish to reveal his name. Here is what she was willing to reveal:

"not sure you should mention this one by name as he might be offended to be in a romance novel .  Let's just say he was based on the guitarist of a heavy metal band, although I gave him blue eyes instead of brown in the novella.  He too had long hair for a while, so it was easier to imagine him as a hero from the past that way."

Thus, to be on the safe side, we are not posting a picture of the last hottie.. but if you can rack your brain and guess who it is, leave a comment for the fun of it. Be interesting to see if anyone can come up with the name. Perhaps we could get Christina to confirm or deny. :)

Conclusion: I loved these little novellas and if they were not intended for my grandmother, I would keep them and re read them on those rainy, ugly days when I need an little pick me up. They are short and sweet, but worth finding if you can.

Ms. Courtenay, thank you for sending these and thank you for taking the time to answer that question for all three, making a fun blog post. :)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Roma Victrix by Russell Whitfield

Roma VictrixThis is the sequel to Gladiatrix, a book I absolutely loved. This brings back some of the main players.. I say some because well, some of them died in book one. 

There's Lysandra. She was once the greatest gladiatrix in the arena and is yet unbeatable. However, years have gone by and she is now getting "soft" and rather lost in her cups. She's got a weakness for the drink. She also doesn't fight as much as she used to and has become a paper pusher. When she receives a summons from Rome to fight the new, unbeaten, gladiatrix prima, she decides she needs to do it because she the "heady drug of victory was stronger than wine." She's tough, arrogant, but sometimes makes a fool of herself. 

Varia is from book one also. In book one, she adored Lysandra. Lysandra became her instructor. Varia no longer idolizes Lysandra, however, because she begins to resent her. Lysandra has taken to mothering her and holding her back from what she most wants to do: fight in the arena.. She runs away to fight, unaware that she could very well be pit against the woman she once loved and admired above all others. She's stubborn and fights for what she wants, even if it's not the right thing.

Valerian is from book one as well, though I honestly don't remember much about him from the first one. In the first one, the women def stole the show. He's a Roman soldier in the beginning who ends up traumatized from a major battle loss. I do not like reading about Roman soldiers, Roman war strategy, or Roman battles. That has simply never interested me and thus, I didn't enjoy this guy's parts. His parts really do go on and on too much about that battle. That's one of my quibbles. He is dealing with shame and struggling to get his life back in order.

New addition: Aesalon Nocturna. She's a gorgeous and unbeaten gladiatrix that is going to be pitted against Lysandra. She becomes close friends with Varia as she trains her for the arena. I really enjoyed the parts involving her and Varia. I must note there was also a fabulous sex scene involving these two. Wow!

There were many other likable characters as well, namely two bodyguards that Lysandra picks up. I enjoyed their banter and just their characters overall.

The first half of the book was pretty slow, a lot of "setting the scene and storyline." One the novel went past the halfway mark, however, things picked up considerably and the last quarter had me on the edge of my seat and especially the parts involving the gladiatrices had me riveted. The anticipation leading up to Lysandra and Nocturna's fight. . . fabulous. Because at that point, Lysandra has nothing to lose. She believes her life is in Athena's hands and is willing to sacrifice it.. Nocturna, however, has much to live for. She loves her life, the adoration of the fans, the fighting.. 

Regardless, two amazing and unbeaten fighters are going to face off. One is going to have to lose.

Quibbles: 1. Valerian's parts. 2. Not a whole lot of Sorina, a character I wanted more of. 3. The language was far too modern for ancient Rome. I have a hard time visualizing Romans calling each other "mate" and saying things like, "wanker."

A good read even though I still like the first one better. Four stars.

I bought this on Amazon Kindle.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What I'm Going to Read This Month

I've been super duper busy. My "real" job put  me on 60 hour work weeks the beginning of May and there is no end in sight. Plus, I must squeeze in my own writing. Thus, I'm WAY behind on review requests. Authors, please accept my apologies and know you are NOT forgotten. Your books are there and waiting and I will read them this month. 

Here's what on the agenda this month FOR SURE, some are review requests, some I just plain want to read. 

From netgalley: 

No One to Trust (Lexi Carmichael Mystery, #2)No One To Trust (Lexi Carmichael #2) by Julie Moffett. I read the first one, No One Lives Twice, last year and really enjoyed it. Witty, funny, realistic. 

SWFG: Single, White, Female, Geek. 

That’s me, Lexi Carmichael, a reformed hacker who was gainfully employed by the National Security Agency. But a series of extraordinary events led me to leave government life behind for a fresh start with a brand-new company and an incredibly sexy boss, Finn Shaughnessy. It may not be kosher to have the hots for your boss, but he seems to have the hots for me, too. If only things didn’t get so complicated… 

Darren Greening, a genius researcher from Flow Technologies (our first client!) is missing, and his bosses think I’m involved. And they aren’t the only ones—the man who nearly snapped my neck in the parking garage thinks so, too. 

Now I’m caught in the middle of a complex and dangerous case. I’ll have to use all my geek skills and a little help from my friends to solve the mystery of Darren’s disappearance before Neck-Snapping-Man makes a return visit…

Theodora: Actress, Empress, WhoreTheodora: Actress, Empress, Whore by Stella Duffy

Roman historian Procopius publicly praised Theodora of Constantinople for her piety-while secretly detailing her salacious stage act and maligning her as ruthless and power hungry. So who was this woman who rose from humble beginnings as a dancer to become the empress of Rome and a saint in the Orthodox Church? Award-winning novelist Stella Duffy vividly recreates the life and times of a woman who left her mark on one of the ancient world's most powerful empires. Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore is a sexy, captivating novel that resurrects an extraordinary, little-known figure from the dusty pages of history.

The Legacy by Katherine Webb

Following the death of their grandmother, Erica Calcott and her sister Beth return to Storton Manor, a grand and imposing house in Wiltshire, England, where they spent their summer holidays as children. When Erica begins to sort through her grandmother’s belongings, she is flooded with memories of her childhood—and of her cousin, Henry, whose disappearance from the manor tore the family apart.

Erica sets out to discover what happened to Henry—so that the past can be laid to rest, and her sister, Beth, might finally find some peace. Gradually, as Erica begins to sift through remnants of the past, a secret family history emerges: one that stretches all the way back to Oklahoma in the 1900s, to a beautiful society heiress and a haunting, savage land. As past and present converge, Erica and Beth must come to terms with two terrible acts of betrayal—and the heartbreaking legacy left behind.

Ebooks from patient authors:

RainRain by Leigh K. Cunningham

Set in provincial Australia in the early sixties, Rain is a multigenerational family saga that chronicles the lives of three generations of the Wallin sawmilling dynasty. It explores the often difficult but enduring ties between mothers and daughters, men and women: the sacrifices, compromises, and patterns of emotion that repeat themselves through generations. In a journey that spans four decades and crosses the globe, Rain is an epic tale of the choices and consequences that comprise one family’s history. By turn dark and amusing, Rain delivers an emotionally charged revelation about love, loss, guilt, self-discovery and redemption. The enduring question of family bonds—escapable or not, divides, conquers, and triumphs. 

Precious Norman HonorPrecious Norman Honor by A.L. Stumo

Maud has always found that running errands and being helpful lets her go wherever the action is happening and wins the approval of her parents. But now that the castle is under siege by their own king, all that she knew is mixed up.

She cannot go run errands outside, she cannot even see outside, and her parents only want her to sit still and be safe. Maud longs to see the army outside and make this siege come to a happy end so that her life with her friends and family can return to normal. But can her life ever be normal again? Will she even be alive after this siege?Based on an actual siege in 12th century England, "Precious Norman Honor" is Maud's tale of conflicted loyalties, climbing attempts, and confinement.

A Great Place for a SeizureA Great Place for a Seizure by Terry Tracy

Mischa Dunn's family flees Chile in the wake of the 1973 coup d'etat that installs a military dictatorship. She settles comfortably in her newly adopted country, the United States, until one day, an unexplained seizure in a library signals the beginning of her life with epilepsy. With an engaging balance of humor, insight, and sensitivity Mischa draws the reader into a vivid tale that travels across three continents over thirty years.

Olga - A Daughter's TaleOlga: A Daughter's Tale by Marie-Therese Browne

Olga – A Daughter’s Tale is a story about heritage, identity, and belonging. It’s one family’s experiences of hardship, discrimination and love. Set in Jamaica and London between the years of 1900 and post war England, the reader is taken on a journey with one family through history and cultural change.

Written with diary entries and letters, "Olga – A Daughter's Tale" is based on a true story about cruelty, revenge and jealousy inflicted on an innocent young woman and about her moral courage, dignity, resilience and, in particular, love. It is the story of a remarkable woman who because of circumstances made a choice which resulted in her losing contact with her beloved family in Jamaica. That is, until nearly half a century later, when her past caught up with her.

Books I am going to read while on vacation just because I plain want to:

The Greatest KnightThe Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick

A penniless young knight with few prospects, William Marshal is plucked from obscurity when he saves the life of Henry II's formidable queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine. In gratitude, she appoints him tutor to the heir to the throne. However, being a royal favourite brings its share of conflict and envy as well as fame and reward. William's influence over the volatile, fickle Prince Henry and his young wife is resented by less favoured courtiers who set about engineering his downfall.

In a captivating blend of fact and fiction, Elizabeth Chadwick resurrects one of England's greatest forgotten heroes, restoring him to his rightful place at the apex of the Middle Ages, reflecting through him the tumults, triumphs, scandals and power struggles that haven't changed in eight hundred years.

For the King's FavorFor the King's Favor by Elizabeth Chadwick

When Roger Bigod arrives at King Henry II's court to settle a bitter inheritance dispute, he becomes enchanted with Ida de Tosney, young mistress to the powerful king. A victim of Henry's seduction and the mother of his son, Ida sees in Roger a chance to begin a new life. But Ida pays an agonizing price when she leaves the king, and as Roger's importance grows and he gains an earldom, their marriage comes under increasing strain. Based on the true story of a royal mistress and the young lord she chose to marry, For the King's Favor is Elizabeth Chadwick at her best.

Added to all of this is Amazon Vine books, the occasional library book, and sometimes a spur-of-the-moment-I-just-feel-like it read so if you have sent me a book and don't see it on this list, please be patient with me. You may have been bumped to July, but I will get to it. :)

Others, I don't review every book I read on Book Babe, but if you find me on goodreads, I post every single review there.