Friday, June 28, 2013

Review: Claudia

Claudia: Wife of Pontius Pilate by Diana Wallis Taylor

Publication Date: June 15, 2013
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Imprint: Revell Books
Genre: Biblical Fiction/Inspirational
Pages: 336
ISBN-10: 0800721381
ISBN-13: 978-0800721381

(Received for an honest review from Revell)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, ChristianBook, IndieBound

Diana Wallis Taylor on the WEB: Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, LibraryThing

Excerpt from Claudia, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature


In a time of turmoil, one woman will search for love and peace--and find it where she never expected.
Tugged this way and that by fate's indifferent hand, Claudia's life is adrift--until she meets Lucius Pontius Pilate and becomes his wife. When they move to the troublesome territory of Judea, she does what she has always done: makes the best of it. But unrest is brewing and Claudia will soon find herself and her beloved husband embroiled in controversy and rebellion. Might she find hope in the mysterious Jewish Rabbi everyone seems to be talking about?

Let this epic story whisk you through marbled palaces, dusty marketplaces, and idyllic Italian villas as you follow the unlikely path of a woman who warrants only a passing mention in one of the Gospel accounts, but whose story, as told by Diana Wallis Taylor, is one worthy of legend.


Diana Wallis Taylor's latest biblical historical novel, Claudia can be summed up in just two words: awe inspiring! Taylor's ability to bring the obscure and little known characters of the Bible to life is unparalleled in the genre. Her in depth characterizations are full of surprises and yet are so realistic that readers will find themselves lost in the history and setting of the New Testament. Though only mentioned briefly in the Bible, Claudia's life comes into focus in this compelling story about a woman thrust into the forefront of one of the world's greatest controversy's.

There is some debate in Christian circles about the validity of what we like to term "biblical fiction". On the one hand some believe that this kind of fiction takes away from the Bible or adds to it, which is strictly forbidden, while others think it only enhances the stories of the Bible. It is not meant to be believed as "gospel" so to speak. 

I tend to go along with the latter group. I don't think this kind of writing is in any way trying to "change" what the Bible says or doesn't say about these people. It is only the authors ideas of what could have happened and what the person could have been feeling or thinking. I believe that these stories are beautiful and meaningful in their own way, but not meant to be an extension of God's Word. 

Diana Wallis Taylor is a master at this type of writing. It is a combination of what the Bible says about the wife of Pontius Pilate, along with historical details and the authors own idea's about this extraordinary woman. Claudia is mentioned in only one paragraph in all of the New Testament, but that one little paragraph shows the depth of her character and the fact that she believed in Jesus and his teaching. Taylor brings this to vivid life in her book.

Taylor not only brings Claudia the wife of Pilate to life, but also Claudia the woman. She allows readers to see her as a real person, with ideas and feelings of her own. She desperately wanted Pilate to understand her need for learning and hearing the teachings of Jesus. She wanted to save his life, but this was not to be. Her courage and determination radiate off the pages. Taylor makes Claudia into a woman, many of us would love to have known.

One of the most dramatic parts of this book was Taylor's description of the crucifixion and what led up to it. It is obvious that Taylor did extensive research on the customs and settings for this novel. Her vision of Christ on the cross was riveting. Readers who have read the accounts of Christ's death from the gospels will appreciate Taylor's attention to detail and the intensity of this scene. 

I thought this was a remarkable portrayal of a little known person from the Bible. I think Taylor did a fantastic job of making Claudia real to her audience. If anything I think this story will want to make readers search through their Bibles to see what God said about Claudia and that is surely one of the best accomplishments a Christian author can have.

Available June 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

Diana Wallis Taylor is the author of the novels Journey to the WellMartha, and Mary Magdalene and lives in California

Review: A Little Night Mischief

A Little Night Mischief by Emily Greenwood

Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Imprint: Casablanca
Genre: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
ISBN-10: 1402276311
ISBN-13: 978-1402276316

(Received for an honest review from Sourcebooks Casablanca)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Emily Greenwood on the WEB: WebsiteTwitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Excerpt from A Little Night Mischief, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature


Every Prize Comes with Complications...
A game of chance saves James Collington from the prospect of debtors' prison, and grants him ownership to Tethering estate. Little does he know that his winnings come with serious complications--not least of which is a beautiful but impoverished young lady who insists his new manor belongs to her.
If He Can't Stop Her, He Might as Well Join Her...
Felicity Wilcox is determined to run Mr. Collington off her land, Though James's charm and devilish good looks are a serious distraction. What she doesn't know is that she may be haunting him right back.


Emily Greenwood's debut novel, A Little Night Mischief is a lighthearted romp in the country, away from the ton. Regency romance lovers will find this new voice in the genre to be entertaining and full of surprises. Greenwood's characters are subtle but witty, romantic but also passionate. She is able to catch the feel and atmosphere of a country estate with ease, giving the reader lavish scenery and descriptions that will entice the senses.

I really enjoyed Emily Greenwood's first novel. I liked the fact that she allowed her characters to have not only a serious side, a lively humorus side. Her characters were able to laugh at themselves and their predicaments, but also be conscientious where their families were concerned. Both the hero and heroine had a strong sense of family and duty and the determination to do what was right, no matter the cost to themselves. Admirable qualities to be sure.

I liked the fact that both James and Felicity were sort of stuck in the past. Felicity bound by a deathbed promise and James by the duty he feels to right a past wrong. Together the two of them forge a future for themselves that transcends their circumstances. Secondary characters like the vicar and Aunt Miranda helped to move the plot along as well. Greenwood does an excellent job of writing her characters as strong willed and determined, yet passionate and true. A good combination.

One of the things that I think set this novel apart was the descriptive prowess of the author. Greenwood's descriptions of the countryside and the small estate atmosphere were delightful. A romp for the senses. Readers will probably find themselves smelling the roses, so to speak and enjoying the scenes of village life as if on the movie screen. Greenwood excelled at setting the scene and drawing readers in.

I look forward to seeing what's come from this new author, as this first one was truly a pleasure to read. There was just enough mystery to keep readers on the edge and plenty of romance to bring it home. A great first effort from an author to watch!

A Little Night Mischief is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

Emily Greenwood has a degree in French and worked for a number of years as a writer, crafting newsletters and fundraising brochures. But she far prefers writing playful love stories set in Regency England, and she thinks romance is the chocolate of literature.
A Golden Heart finalist, she lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Review and Giveaway: One Sweet Ride

One Sweet Ride (Play By Play - Book 6) by Jaci Burton

Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Heat
Genre: Erotic Romance
Pages: 336
ISBN-10: 0425253384
ISBN-13: 978-0425253380

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Heat)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Jaci Burton on the WEB: Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, LibraryThing, FantasticFiction

Books in the Series:

The Perfect Play (2011), Changing the Game (2011), Taking a Shot (2012), Playing to Win (2012), Thrown by a Curve (2013), One Sweet Ride (2013)

Coverart: Click on the image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.

Warning: This book is an erotic romance and is not appropriate for readers under the age of 18 years. The excerpt may contain graphic material that is unsuitable for young readers.

Excerpt from One Sweet Ride, courtesy of the authors website.


Gray Preston was born into money, but he's built his racing empire on hard work and muscle. And now that Gray has millions of fans, his senator father sends one of his aides, Evelyn Hill, to elicit Gray's help in garnering votes for the upcoming national election. Gray wants nothing to do with his estranged father's campaign, but Evelyn can be pretty persuasive. She's willing to learn about racing, and maybe even get a little dirty.

Evelyn's number-one goal is politics, which makes working with Gray difficult, because his only passion is fast cars. As she and Gray spend time together, he teaches her about the sport he loves, and she learns a lot about the man behind the wheel. The more she learns, the more she wants him. But any desire that threatens to derail the carefully laid plans for her future is a dangerous one.

With the passion Gray and Evelyn share running hotter than either imagined, one of them is going to have to compromise, or else run the risk of losing more than their hearts.


Jaci Burton's sixth book in the Play By Play series takes on yet another sport. This time it's fast cars and racing. Burton has received many accolades and much praise for this series. It is erotic romance at it's best! Burton proves that you don't always have to write about BDSM or menage a`trois to tell a good erotic story. This is a book where passions run high whether it's in the bedroom, behind the wheel of a car or in the political arena. This is Burton at her best!

I have really enjoyed this series. With each new book that Burton has added it has become better and better. Burton has a knack for writing erotic romance that is hot and steamy but not down and sleazy if you know what I mean. Her writing has a sophistication to it. The sexual content is an extension of the story not the main plot. It flows easily and does not overpower the rest of the story.

Burton's characters are real and full of passion. I liked the race car angle, being a fan of NASCAR myself. It was clear that Burton did her homework. She knew her way around a race car and it was apparent in her writing. Making Gray the son of a senator added and interesting angle to story. It almost made it a little more believable. It isn't hard to see a self-made man building a racing empire, working hard and earning his way, but political angle gives Gray a little edge that he needs. Like he was proving something to himself and to his father. 

Evelyn is a woman with a plan. She knows what she wants and how to get it. A race car driver does fit into her plans, but he is awfully hard to resist. I liked her spunk and her attitude, her willingness to learn and her saucy side. She was the perfect compliment to Gray's rugged good looks and mans man kind of demeanor. I thought they made a good couple and that their passion spilled over into everything they did, whether it was driving or winning a political campaign. 

Burton scores once again with a great addition to this very steamy, well written series. Looking forward to seeing what's next. And I just have to say one thing about the covers in this series:  WOWSERS!

One Sweet Ride is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

I'd like to say I always wanted to be a writer, but that's not the case. First I wanted to be a teacher. When I was a kid I used to play school in my friend's basement. She had actual school desks—and index cards. I'm a list maker, so those index cards rocked my world. Then later on, I wanted to be a nurse. My other friend had a stethoscope and a medical book. I had a thing for props, okay?
But during my early teen years my cousin and I—back in the day before the internet –would exchange scripts we'd written of a popular TV show. No, I won't tell you which TV show because then you'd know how old I really am. But it was a western with two gorgeous cowboy heroes and we were each in love with one of the main characters. I'd say that was my first foray into writing, and it got me hooked.
As an adult, marriage, work and raising two sons took priority. And while I fell madly in love with reading romance, there wasn't much time to write it. It's amazing how much corporate life, soccer games, high school musicals, dinner and laundry can suck out of the average day. But I would occasionally dabble in writing, then put it aside when I got busy. Unfortunately, I was always busy.
Eventually my kids grew up and I was on my second marriage when Biker Dude (what I call my husband because of his love for his Harley Davidson) found out I used to dabble in writing and encouraged me to try again. So I did.
I sat down and wrote a romance novel, start to finish. I was so proud of it, but I didn't sell that romance. Not right away, anyway. I didn't sell the one after that, either. Or the one after that. Suffice it to say I wasn't an overnight success. But eventually I did sell a book, then another, and then another. I have an exceptionally smart agent and write for amazing editors. I'm a USA Today andNew York Times bestselling author, and I have you wonderful readers to thank for that.
This has been a dream come true for me, one I wanted for so many years. Writing is my full time career and something I love so much. I can't imagine a day that isn't filled with hot, sexy heroes who save the day, strong, capable heroines who don't need a man to save them, and the happily ever afters in every book.
Sometimes I even write about teachers and nurses. And hot cowboys.
I live in northeast Oklahoma with Biker Dude and our wonderful, crazy dogs. Between us we have three kids who are all grown up and living out in the wild. When I'm not writing I can usually be found in the garden, coaxing the tomatoes to grow, heading out to our local casino trying to become a millionaire (so far, no luck there), or riding on the back of Biker Dude's Harley. And when I want to relax I read other authors' masterpieces or I'm parked in front of the television watching sports, reality TV or crime shows. And maybe a drama or a comedy. Okay, I really watch way too much television.

Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of One Sweet Ride by Jaci Burton.

~You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~US addresses only
~The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight, EST,  July 11th.

1. Please leave a comment for the author on this post.
2. Please fill out the FORM.

Review: Smoking Hot

Smoking Hot (Good Girl - Book 3) by Karen Kelley

Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Imprint: Casablanca
Genre: Erotic Romance
Pages: 288
ISBN-10: 1402263929
ISBN-13: 978-1402263927

(Received for an honest review from Sourcebooks Casablanca)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Karen Kelley on the WEB: WebsiteFacebook, Goodreads, LibraryThing, FantasticFiction

Books in the Series:

Where There's Smoke (2012), Where There's a Will (2012), Smoking Hot (2013)

Coverart: Click on the image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.

Warning: This book is an erotic romance and is inappropriate for readers under 18 years of age. The excerpt may contain content that is too graphic in nature for young readers.

Excerpt from Smoking Hot, courtesy of the authors website.


Everything She Wants...

Working the night shift at the sheriff's office has given deputy Raine McCandless more than enough time to fantasize about the kind of man she'd like to take prisoner, so when she arrives home to find a sexy intruder waiting for her, she's pretty sure she must be dreaming.

...Can and Will Be Held Against Her

But Dillon Taylor, with his stunning blue eyes and killer tan, is 100% real, just not 100% human. Half-man, half-angel, he'd love to answer every naughty prayer Raine has ever had. But Raine is in serious danger. And Dillon can only fulfill her every fantasy if he can keep her alive.

Karen Kelley's third book in the Good Girl series, Smoking Hot lives up to it's name. It's a paranormal erotic romance that will have readers turning on the air conditioning it's sooo hot. Fans of the Good Girl series will fall in love with Raine McCandless, a determined officer of the law and Dillon Taylor, the too-good-to-be-true hero. This one should come with a warning that says: prepare to be consumed. It's part paranormal romance and part mystery. A steamy combination in this case.

I like a book that is surprising sometimes and Smoking Hot was definitely that. I had read the other two books in the series. They were interesting and had some really good points, but Smoking Hot was a horse of a different color, so to speak. Certainly the best of the three, this novel has characters that have a lot of depth and intensity. Their stories while not completely normal are consuming. The reader will be swept away from the first chapter. The mystery is captivating and romance is hot. 

Raine McCandless is my favorite of the three heroines from this series. She is a take charge kind of girl. She likes to be in control and call the shots, whether it's in the bedroom or out of it. I liked the fact that she was able to eventually let down her guard with Dillon and show a more vulnerable side to her character as well. I thought she was very engaging. Readers will love reading about her.

Dillon Taylor is such a great hero. Not exactly human, but he doesn't have to be. He is able to see inside Raine and understand her like one has before. He doesn't let her get away with anything either. He forces to her to look at herself and see herself in a different way. He was loyal and protective and extremely sexy. I think readers will find him more than a pretty face though. He had a lot of depth to him that is shown in every facet of his character.

Overall the mystery was very engaging. I kept trying to figure it out all along and when it finally came to fruition it made the rest of the story really fall into place. I think this one is the best of the series so far. I don't know if Karen Kelley plans to continue the series, but I hope she does. If her next book is anything like this one it will be an instant hit.

Smoking Hot is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

Rosemary Rodgers hooked me on romance with 'Sweet Savage Love'. I consumed books after that until I decided I wanted to try my hand at writing. Not as easy as it looks! But I'd found my niche. I instinctively knew this is what I wanted to do.
Luckily, I'm married to a wonderful man who gives me 100% support in anything I want to try. He not only told me to go for my dream, but he encouraged me not to give up.
And the dream did become reality. Wow! I still have to pinch myself. I love being an author!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Winners Post!

It's time for another winners post! I want to thank everyone who participated in the giveaways and give special praise to those to followed the directions correctly...LOL. Please make sure you remember to leave a comment on the post for the author. This shows appreciation and shows interest which in turn allows me to offer more giveaways. Winners will be notified later today and publishers no later than tomorrow. Thank-You!

Cat Nap by Claire Donally
Winner: griperang

Murder on Fifth Avenue by Victoria Thompson
Winner: Brooke Bumgardner

Death Comes Silently by Carolyn Hart
Winner: Madonna Dolin

Topped Chef by Lucy Burdette
Winner: KMichelleC87

Looming Murder by Carol Ann Martin
Winner: Ann Hengst

Bled and Breakfast by Michelle Rowen
Winner: lag110

Mayhem at the Orient Express by Kylie Logan
Winner: Sue Farrell

A Lady and Her Magic by Tammy Falkner
Winner: CrystalGB

Billion Dollar Cowboy by Carolyn Brown
Winner: Helen Livermore

The Diva Frosts a Cupcake by Krista Davis
Winner: Carol M.

As a reminder to everyone, July 1st is the last day for GFC, so remember to follow by email to continue to participate in giveaways!

Review and Giveaway: Lethal Outlook

Lethal Outlook (Psychic Eye Mystery - Book 10) by Victoria Laurie

Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Obsidian Mystery
Genre: Paranormal Cozy Mystery
Pages: 352
ISBN-10: 045141490X
ISBN-13: 978-0451414908

(Received for an honest review from Obsidian Mystery)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Victoria Laurie on the WEB: website, blog, twitter, facebook, goodreads, librarything, fantasticfiction, cozy-mystery

Books in the series:

Abby Cooper: Psychic Eye (2004), Better Read Than Dead (2005), A Vision of Murder (2005), Killer Instinct (2006), Crime Seen (2007), Death Perception (2008), Doom With a View (2009), A Glimpse of Evil (2010), Vision Impossible (2011), Lethal Outlook (Hard Cover) (2012)

Coverart: Click on the image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.

Excerpt from Lethal Outlook, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside Feature


When a mysterious client approaches Abby with a cryptic message about a young mother who has vanished, Abby is more than willing to get involved. After all, it's the perfect distraction from dealing with the headache of her sister Cat - who has flown into town and turned Abby and Dutch's impending nuptials into Weddingpalooza.

After Abby recruits her business partner and BFF, Candice, to assist, they meet with the parents of the missing woman. But the parents refuse to put their faith in a psychic. What's worse, due to a grave misunderstanding, the family suspects Abby has a connection to their daughter's husband - the man they believe to be responsible for her disappearance.

So while the family may be blind to the truth, with a potential killer in her sights, Abby is determined to keep her eyes wide open...


Victoria Laurie's tenth book in the Psychic Eye series, Lethal Outlook is another successful offering. Laurie provides authenticity and realism in this series while still keeping that paranormal edge. This book and series blends the idea of psychic abilities with traditional mystery and combines the best of both. Laurie's knowledge of the psychic world is the glue that binds this series and readers can't seem to get enough.

This is one of those books that you want to read slowly and savor, but you just can't manage to do it, because it is riveting. I love the idea behind this series. Laurie is a professional psychic herself which lends a lot of credibility to her writing. Her descriptions of how Abby's abilities manifest and how she is able to adjust them to her real life is genius. Laurie is obviously very knowledgeable about her subject and keeps the reader interested from the first page to the last.

The mystery aspect of this one was interesting. It was not overshadowed by the secondary plot of Abby's wedding which could easily have made this one a dud. Readers are still treated to Abby's typical off the wall adventures. Abby isn't up to her best because of her recent accident in the last book, but she is still able to hold her own with the bad guys. She is intuitive and observant. Her sleuthing skills are a lot better than her interpersonal skills though.

As a character, Abby can be a little off putting. She can be a bit whiny and she isn't very good at making important decisions like her wedding plans. She jumps at the chance to sleuth instead of pick out her wedding venue. Her sister Cat has kind of taken over, and Abby can be catty with her. She also ignores Dutch on occasion and lets face it, who would want to do that? But I think these things are part of what makes Abby a special heroine. She isn't perfect. Far from it in fact, but that makes her more real. Ever had a tiff with your sister? I know I have. Ever ignored a text or a call because you were busy doing something else? You get my point.

I liked the way the relationship between Abby and Dutch has progressed in the series and a wedding seemed inevitable. I'm glad as a reader to get to see this couple come full circle. I think fans of the series are in love with these characters and enjoy seeing them happy. Abby may be a challenge, but Dutch is up for it.

Lethal Outlook is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

Real-life professional psychic Victoria Laurie drew from her career as a gifted intuitive to create the characters of Abigail Cooper and M. J. Holliday. She lives with two spoiled dachshunds, Lilly and Toby, and one opinionated parrot named Doc.

Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Lethal Outlook by Victoria Laurie.

~You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~US addresses only
~The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight, EST, July 10th.

1. Please leave a comment for the author on this post.
2. Please fill out the FORM.

Review and Giveaway: Cast On, Kill Off

Cast On, Kill Off (Knitting Mystery - Book 10) by Maggie Sefton

Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Prime Crime
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 304
ISBN-10: 0425252175
ISBN-13: 978-0425252178

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Maggie Sefton on the WEB: Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, LibraryThing, FantasticFiction, Cozy-Mystery

Books in the Series:

Knit One, Kill Two (2005), Needled to Death (2005),
A Deadly Yarn (2006), A Killer Stitch (2007), Dyer Consequences (2008), Fleece Navidad (2008), Dropped Dead Stitch (2009), Skein of the Crime (2010), Unraveled (2011), Cast On, Kill Off (Hardcover) (2012)

Coverart: Click on the image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.

Excerpt from Cast On, Kill Off, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside Feature


Wedding bells are ringing in Fort Connor, Colorado, and the House of Lambspun knitters are abuzz with excitement. But when a murder interrupts the wedding planning, Kelly Flynn will have to solve this crime fast to ensure the killer doesn't wind up on the guest list...

Kelly Flynn's knitting pal, Megan, is about to get hitched, and all the planning is falling into place. Megan has found the perfect seamstress, Zoe Yeager, to create the dresses for Kelly and the other bridesmaids. And each bridesmaid is knitting her own loose-knit shawl to drape over the lovely dresses. But Zoe has more than bolts of fabric and seam-cutters stashed away in her shop--she's harboring a secret. Bruises on her face show a troubling side of her marriage, and just after she finds the courage to leave her husband, Zoe's found dead from a single bullet shot.

Though her husband is a key suspect, it turns out there are others who might have had designs on Zoe's death. One is fellow seamstress Leann O'Hara, who recently discovered Zoe won a bridal gown design contest with one of Leann's own designs. Now it's up to Kelly and her knitting pals to use their sleuthing savvy to solve the case, while helping Megan stay cool and collected as the big day approaches. They'll have to stitch up all the loose ends before they can don their dresses and shawls and escort Megan into the land of happily ever after...


Maggie Sefton's Knitting series has been a popular cozy favorite for many years. The latest paper back in the series, Cast On, Kill Off is the 10th book in this long-lasting series. Fans of the series welcome back Kelly Flynn and her friends as they prepare for the wedding of one of Lambspun knitters, Megan. Knitters and cozy fans alike will flock to this series and the lovable characters Sefton has created. An intriguing addition to the series.

I will admit that I have mixed feelings about this novel. In the beginning the series was one of my favorites. Sefton's characters were easy to identify with, smart and witty, and the mysteries were very enjoyable to read. The last few books in the series however, have fallen a bit flat. The mysteries have been more concise and easier to predict. There is quite a bit of repetition in both the dialogue and the patterns. Sometimes I think a series outlives it's potential and I think that's is basically what has happened here. Perhaps Sefton needs to either move on to a new series or perhaps take this one in an unusual direction to bring back the interest of the readers. 

That being said, Cast On, Kill Off is not a horrible book. In fact there are parts of the book that were quite fun to read. As always, the interesting facts about knitting and knitters are always appreciated. I will be the first to admit that I have no idea what the difference between casting on and casting off is, or what knit one, purl two means. So, I always enjoy learning more about a hobbie that I find interesting. 

Another good point about the book is that Sefton continues to develop the relationships between her characters. Kelly's friends are a big part of the story in each of Sefton's books and this one is no different. We  as readers get to see into Kelly's life, especially her relationship with former boyfriend Steve. I liked the flow of their relationship in this one. It was comfortable and realistic. Sometimes we all make mistakes in judgment, I'm not sure whether Kelly has this time or not, but I'm willing to read the next book to find out. 

I am still a fan of the series, and I think there is definitely hope that it will grow and change and perhaps be even better than those books in the beginning were. Sefton is obviously a gifted writer and knitter. I loved the recipe in the back as well as the knitting pattern. One of these days I'm going to give knitting a try, largely in part due to this series and how enjoyable it has been for me to read.

Cast On, Kill Off is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm going to have to give this one 3 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

Maggie Sefton was born and raised in Virginia, where she received her bachelor’s degree in English literature and journalism. Maggie has worked in several careers over the years, from a CPA to a real estate broker in the Rocky Mountain West. However, none of those endeavors could compare with the satisfaction and challenge of creating worlds on paper. She is the mother of four grown daughters, currently scattered around the globe. Author of the nationally bestselling Knitting Mysteries, she resides in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado with two very demanding dogs.

Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Cast On, Kill Off by Maggie Sefton.

~You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~US addresses only.
~The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight, EST,  July 10th.

1. Please leave a comment for the author on this post.
2. Please fill out the FORM.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Review: A Captain and A Corset

A Captain and a Corset (Steam Guardians - Book 2) by Mary Wine

Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Imprint: Casablanca
Genre: Steampunk 
Pages: 320
ISBN-10: 1402264836
ISBN-13: 978-1402264832

(Received for an honest review from Sourcebooks Casablanca)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Mary Wine on the WEB: Webpage, BlogFacebook, Goodreads, LibraryThing, FantasticFiction

Books in the Series:

A Lady Can Never Be Too Curious (2012), A Captain and a Corset (2013)

Coverart: Click on the image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.

Excerpt from A Captain and a Corset, courtesy of the author's website.


There's Trouble in the Skies...

For Sophia Stevenson, there's no going back to the life she knew. She never asked for the powers that make her a precious commodity to the secret society of Illuminists—and their archenemies.

Captain Bion Donkova would give anything to possess the powers that have fallen in Sophia's lap. If only the beautiful, infuriating woman could stay out of trouble, he wouldn't have to keep coming to her rescue...

Bion and Sophia have friction to spare—and nothing fuels a forbidden passion better than danger...


Mary Wine has delighted readers with everything from erotic romance to historical romance, but her latest series, Steampunk Guardians is the most unique and diverse series yet from this author. A Captain and Corset is the second book in the Steampunk Guardians series, which is cross between Victorian historical fiction and science fiction. With a strong female lead character and fantastic world building, this book is sure to strike a cord with many different types of readers. 

I have long been a fan of Mary Wine's writing, but this latest series is probably one of my favorites. Some of the first books and tv shows that I really enjoyed growing up were science fiction and the Steampunk sub-genre has elements of both romance and science fiction. The blend between the two makes for really interesting world building, something that I think Wine really excels at. Readers who have not tried Steampunk yet, with find A Captain and a Corset, as well as, A Lady Can Never Be Too Curious a very good place to start. 

The latest book in the series, A Captain and Corset picks up directly after the first book and continues the world created there. I liked the idea of airships and how some navigators were able to see gates that allowed the airships to travel faster across the globe. The entire society that Wine has built is contingent on these ships and the people who use them. I enjoyed the fact that Wine continues to give readers more and more details about this world and how it works. As with most books that science fiction elements the potential is limitless because the author can take it any direction they can dream up. I like Wine's direction so far, and I can't wait to see what happens in book three, which is set up nicely in this one.

Wine has created a society called The Illuminists, which is composed of men and women who want to better society, a lofty goal. But Wine makes the reader believe it is possible and shows how one person can change the world. She also provides a group of people who are out to make changes to the world for their own purposes. The conflict in ideas and views makes for a lively clash between the two, which readers will really enjoy.

I liked the strong characters she created with the heroine, Sophia, who is determined and independent. I also love the hero in this one, Bion. He is certainly a little rough around the edges but loyal and trustworthy. His conviction in finding Sophia after she is kidnapped is both appealing and attractive. Readers will find both characters to have great depth and intensity. 

This book is a blend of romance, fantasy and adventure that readers won't want to put down!

A Captain and a Corset is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

Acclaimed author Mary Wine has written over 30 works of erotic fantasy, romantic suspense, and historical romance. An avid history-buff and historical costumer, she and her family enjoy participating in historical reenactments. Mary lives with her husband and two sons in Yorba Linda, California.