A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Friday, March 29, 2019

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: A Share in Death by Deborah Crombie- Feature and Review


A week's holiday in a luxurious Yorkshire time-share is just what Scotland Yard's Superintendent Duncan Kincaid needs. But the discovery of a body floating in the whirlpool bath ends Kincaid's vacation before it's begun. One of his new acquaintances at Followdale House is dead; another is a killer. Despite a distinct lack of cooperation from the local constabulary, Kincaid's keen sense of duty won't allow him to ignore the heinous crime, impelling him to send for his enthusiastic young assistant, Sergeant Gemma James. But the stakes are raised dramatically when a second murder occurs, and Kincaid and James find themselves in a determined hunt for a fiendish felon who enjoys homicide a bit too much.




A Share in Death (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #1)A Share in Death by Deborah Crombie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Share in Death by Deborah Crombie is a 1993 publication.

This series debut got off on a solid enough footing, introducing us to Duncan Kincaid and his partner, Gemma James.

Duncan takes a reluctant, but much needed vacation at a Yorkshire timeshare, only to find himself embroiled in a murder investigation.

This book reads like a traditional or classic British  mystery and it’s easy to see why it quickly gained a following and is so successful.

This first installment is not overly complicated, dark, or heavy, and even has some wry humor thrown in on occasion, with a human-interest story to cap things off. Duncan is a terrific character, especially here, where he gets most of the spotlight. Gemma’s character was slightly muted, but I realize we are just getting started, and I already know her character will develop quite nicely as we go along.

This is a short, easy read, and was lots of fun. I am feeling pretty excited about working my way through this series, which is something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time now.

I did read a later release a long while back, but while the mystery was fine, the interpersonal dynamics between longtime recurring characters left me totally in the dark. So, it was obvious that even if the mystery elements can be read as a stand alone, if I really wanted to enjoy the series to the maximum, I’d have to start at the beginning.

I see this series now has a whopping seventeen installments, but I am determined to read through them all, and eventually, hopefully, get caught up with it.

Overall, this is an entertaining read any mystery fan can enjoy.





Deborah Crombie grew up near Dallas, Texas, but from a child always had the inexplicable feeling that she belonged in England. After earning a Bachelor's degree in Biology from Austin College in Sherman, Texas, she made her first trip to Britain and felt she'd come home. She later lived in both Chester, England, and Edinburgh, Scotland, where she failed to make as good a use of being cold and poor as JK Rowling.

It was not until almost a decade later that, living once more in Texas and raising her small daughter, she had the idea for her first novel, a mystery set in Yorkshire. She had no credentials other than a desire to write and a severe case of homesickness for Britain. A Share in Death, published in 1993, was short-listed for both Agatha and Macavity awards for Best First Novel and was awarded the Macavity.

Crombie's fifth novel, Dreaming of the Bones, was a New York Times Notable Book in 1997, was named by the Independent Mystery Booksellers as one of the 100 Best Crime Novels of the Century, was an Edgar nominee for Best Novel, and won the Macavity award for Best Novel.

Subsequent novels have been published to critical acclaim and in a dozen languages. Crombie's fourteenth novel featuring Metropolitan Police detectives Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and Inspector Gemma James, No Mark Upon Her, will be published by Harper Collins in February 2012.

The author still lives in Texas but spends several months out of the year in Britain, maintaining a precarious balance between the two, and occasionally confusing her cultural references.

The Golden Hour ( Lady Evelyn Mystery #4) by Malia Zaidi-Book Blast- Spotlight Feature + Giveaway



Publication Date: March 26, 2019
eBook & Paperback; 398 Pages
Genre: Historical Mystery
Series: Lady Evelyn Mystery, Book 4

Lady Evelyn Carlisle has barely arrived in London when familial duty calls her away again. Her cousin Gemma is desperate for help with her ailing mother before her imminent wedding, which Evelyn knew nothing about! Aunt Agnes in tow, she journeys to Scotland, expecting to find Malmo Manor in turmoil. To her surprise, her Scottish family has been keeping far more secrets than the troubled state of their matriarch. Adding to the tension in the house a neighbor has opened his home, Elderbrooke Park, as a retreat for artistic veterans of the Great War. This development does not sit well with everyone in the community. Is the suspicion towards the residents a catalyst for murder? A tragedy at Elderbrooke Park’s May Day celebration awakens Evelyn’s sleuthing instinct, which is strengthened when the story of another unsolved death emerges, connected to her own family. What she uncovers on her quest to expose the truth will change several lives forever, including her own. With the shadow of history looming over her, Evelyn must trust in her instinct and ability to comb through the past to understand the present, before the murderer can stop her and tragedy strikes again.







Malia Zaidi is the author of The Lady Evelyn Mysteries. She studied at the University of Pittsburgh and at the University of Oxford. Having grown up in Germany, she currently lives in Washington DC, though through her love of reading, she resides vicariously (if temporarily) in countries around the world.
Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Book Blast Schedule

Tuesday, March 26 To Read, Or Not to Read Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen Wednesday, March 27 The Caffeinated Bibliophile Thursday, March 28 Tar Heel Reader Friday, March 29 The Book Review Saturday, March 30 Historical Fiction with Spirit Monday, April 1 Bookish Rantings Tuesday, April 2 Book Frolic Wednesday, April 3 CelticLady's Reviews Thursday, April 4 Donna's Book Blog Friday, April 5 Passages to the Past Monday, April 8 Jorie Loves a Story


During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away a paperback copy of The Golden Hour! To enter, please use the Gleam form below. Giveaway Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on April 8th. You must be 18 or older to enter. – Giveaway is open to the US only. – Only one entry per household. – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion. – No sweepstakes accounts. – The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner will be chosen.

  The Golden Hour

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik- Feature and Review


Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders... but her father isn't a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife's dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty--until Miryem steps in. Hardening her heart against her fellow villagers' pleas, she sets out to collect what is owed--and finds herself more than up to the task. When her grandfather loans her a pouch of silver pennies, she brings it back full of gold.

But having the reputation of being able to change silver to gold can be more trouble than it's worth--especially when her fate becomes tangled with the cold creatures that haunt the wood, and whose king has learned of her reputation and wants to exploit it for reasons Miryem cannot understand.



Spinning SilverSpinning Silver by Naomi Novik
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik is a 2018 Del Rey publication.

I need more stories like this one in my life!

I rarely grab a fantasy novel, although, I am often tempted by them. I respect the genre immensely because of the thoughtfulness and work required for world building and the huge imaginations of fantasy writers. However, no matter how badly I might want to dive into a high fantasy, I always manage to talk myself out of it. My first excuse usually has to with the heft of the book, and the sheer concentration required on my part, as fantasy usually requires a bit more of my undivided attention. With so many books I need to read, taking time out for an epic fantasy feels like a daunting endeavor.

However, this book kept popping up on my Goodreads feed, and it happens to be a stand- alone, not a part of an ongoing epic saga, AND it is marketed as a re-telling of the classic Grimm fairy-tale, Rumpelstiltskin, which was one of my favorite stories as a child, a story own children enjoyed too, plus it comes in at just under five hundred pages, which is doable.
The bare bones set up is something like this:

Miryem Mandelstam’s father is a Jewish money-lender, but he’s not very good at his job. He lends money easily enough, but usually fails to collect when the payments are due, which has put his family in serious financial straits. So, Miryem takes over for her father, with far better results. She then hires, Wanda, whose abusive father owes her money, to work off his debt by being her assistant.

Miryem’s success attracts the attention of the ‘Staryk’, fairies, who thrive only in the frigid cold winter. From here, Miryem gets caught in a vicious cycle, as The Winter King forces her to continue turning silver into gold.

Meanwhile, Irina, a plain lady in waiting, from the same city as Miryem’s wealthy maternal grandparents, becomes attractive to everyone around her, with the help of a magical Fae crown. This development helps her father convince the Tsar to marry her. However, the Tsar is rumored to have delved into the black arts and his soul is demon possessed.

First, let me address the Rumpelstiltskin parallels. Yes, there are obvious references to the class fable, however, in my humble opinion, the book goes far beyond a re-telling. In fact, the story seems to also borrow from several other folk legends, as well.

There is a lot going on with the three featured women in the story, all of whom face different challenges and meet those challenges with bravery and cunning. While the fairy-tale has gotten a lot of bad press in recent years, I have never wavered from believing they served a greater purpose. Okay- sure there is a usually a happy ending, (God forbid!) but, there is more dark reality in these tales of folklore than meets the eye, and they nearly always come with a built- in lesson of morality. This story also comes replete with tons of allegory and symbolism, the most notable being that of antisemitism.

The story is absolutely mesmerizing, so rich in detail, and imagery, with layers upon layers of thought -provoking situations, in which our characters face evil, greed, and life or death situations.

The one downfall is that the book is often poorly structured, with breakneck shifts in narratives, which took me out of the story, forcing me to slow down and re-read segments to be sure I was staying up with who was doing or saying what. I really dislike this type of issue in any book I read, but it is especially annoying when it occurs in a genre where large casts of characters are prevalent and so much important dialogue and activity is in play. The momentum, which is not really designed to move at a brisk pace, still suffered, as a result of this rather unorthodox setup. Once I knew what to expect, however, I was prepared for the sudden shifts and eventually adjusted to the jarring style.

Other than that, reading this book was an incredible experience. I loved the way the story paid homage to the types of fairytales I loved, putting a fresh spin on favorite tropes, featuring three strong female leads, and still managed to incorporate faith and religion into the tale, in a new and refreshing way, giving the reader something substantial to digest.

This is my first book by this author, and I feel I may be showing up a little late to the party. But, after losing myself in this gem of a story, I’m inspired to read more of Novik's work. Not only that, immersing myself in this story helped to stave off a rapidly building burnout phase.

It’s time to slow down the conveyor belt on ARC’s and the pressure of deadlines and blog posts, and social media and all the rest, and escape into an epic fantasy tome more often. I need to enjoy more books I’ve been missing out on, more classics, more vintage books, and more reading simply for the pleasure of reading.

Here’s to more world building, to more fantasy and epic sagas, and to taking a long overdue vacation!!





Author, coder, fangirl, geek. Come talk to me @naominovik on twitter or ask me questions at goodreads or at naominovik.com!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Impossible Girl by Lydia Kang- Feature and Review


Two hearts. Twice as vulnerable.

Manhattan, 1850. Born out of wedlock to a wealthy socialite and a nameless immigrant, Cora Lee can mingle with the rich just as easily as she can slip unnoticed into the slums and graveyards of the city. As the only female resurrectionist in New York, she’s carved out a niche procuring bodies afflicted with the strangest of anomalies. Anatomists will pay exorbitant sums for such specimens—dissecting and displaying them for the eager public.

Cora’s specialty is not only profitable, it’s a means to keep a finger on the pulse of those searching for her. She’s the girl born with two hearts—a legend among grave robbers and anatomists—sought after as an endangered prize.

Now, as a series of murders unfolds closer and closer to Cora, she can no longer trust those she holds dear, including the young medical student she’s fallen for. Because someone has no intention of waiting for Cora to die a natural death.



The Impossible GirlThe Impossible Girl by Lydia Kang
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Impossible Girl by Lydia Kang is a 2018 Lake Union Publishing publication.

A dark, gritty, and ghoulish piece of highly suspenseful historical fiction!

Cora Cutter, born of mixed race, and out of wedlock, is raised by her aunt after her mother dies in childbirth. The doctor, who arrived too late to save her mother, examines Cora, and declares she has been born with two hearts. This anomaly would most assuredly place a price on her head and put an end to her life. As such, Cora is brought up as a boy to protect her real identity.

Now living in Manhattan, in 1850, Cora presents herself as twins. In her male disguise, she performs the physical labor of a Resurrectionist. When Cora ditches her male persona, she handles the business end of the operation. The clandestine operation of exhuming bodies, especially those who, like Cora, are unusual- a port wine stain birthmark, or a girl born with a tail, for example, brings top dollar when sold to museums of curiosities. Cora, herself, would make prime exhibit, which, of course, makes her a target, especially now, as a killer is out there hastening the deaths of those who have certain unique traits or characteristics.

Yet, Cora’s enterprise is threatened by some stiff competition and the rumors swirling about a girl with two hearts is threatening to cut into her profits and expose her closely guarded secret!

Historical fiction is probably my favorite genre right now. This book is a prime example of why I think this genre is so rich and fulfilling. This book knocked my socks off!!

There are so many layers to this tale, I’d love to write a long analysis, but will try to keep it my thoughts brief and an on point.

If you like strong female leads, you won’t find one better than Cora! She’s savvy, because she’s had no other choice but to find clever ways to remain incognito and earn a living. Despite her unseemly occupation, she is loyal to a fault, flawed and human, but also entirely believable. In fact, all the characters in this book are realistically portrayed. Human frailties abound, and the darkness at the center of humanity is absolutely spot on.

The premise is also based in fact, believe it or not, as grave robbing was indeed a lucrative business during this era. Hard to imagine, but morbidly fascinating at the same time. This is a terrific backdrop for this outstanding, atmospheric, and highly suspenseful mystery, which develops at a tantalizing pace.

The writing is superb, and the story flows beautifully. The dialogue, while less than authentic at times, is still crisp, witty, and sharp. This is an intelligent story, well- structured for optimum suspense, but, is also a story with a great big heart- pun intended.

The conclusion is absolutely riveting!! I was on the edge of my seat, on pins and needles! I was in total shock and completely bowled over when the twist of all diabolical twist hit me right between the eyes- and I never saw it coming!! Whew! Oh, yes- this is my kind of book!

This is a fantastic novel from start to finish! If you like dark, twisted mysteries, novels of suspense, or realistic historical fiction, this one should be in your wheelhouse!




I love salt more than chocolate. I'm somewhat small, yet deceptively strong. Sort of like an ant. 

I'm a part time doc, full time family member, and if you offer me snacks, I'll be a friend for life.

My adult fiction debut is an historical forensic mystery, entitled A BEAUTIFUL POISON from Lake Union Publishing. My second book, THE IMPOSSIBLE GIRL is available now. 

I have a nonfiction, adult book written with Nate Pederson entitled QUACKERY: A Short History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything,  (Workman).

I'm also part of the new anthology, COLOR OUTSIDE THE LINES, with Soho Teen coming in 2019!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing- Feature and Review


Dexter meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith in this wildly compulsive debut thriller about a couple whose fifteen-year marriage has finally gotten too interesting...

Our love story is simple. I met a gorgeous woman. We fell in love. We had kids. We moved to the suburbs. We told each other our biggest dreams, and our darkest secrets. And then we got bored.

We look like a normal couple. We're your neighbors, the parents of your kid's friend, the acquaintances you keep meaning to get dinner with.

We all have secrets to keeping a marriage alive.

Ours just happens to be getting away with murder.



My Lovely WifeMy Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My Lovely Wife is a 2019 Berkley publication.

Sly, witty, and brilliant!!

The tile, cover, and intriguing synopsis for this book made it sound too good to pass up- and it was!!

The premise is mostly original, as a husband and wife and their two children enjoy ,what appears on the surface, to be a nice normal, healthy, family life. However, this married couple, instead of engaging in a little role play to spice up their marriage- indulge in a little murder on the side instead.

The husband, who never reveals his real name, tells this story from a first person perspective, giving us a play by play of events as they unfold, adding all his twisted inner thoughts about what has happened, what is probably happening, what he hopes will happen, and what he is afraid will happen- which is as fascinating as it is horrifying.

I can’t believe this is a debut novel!! Smart, devious, well-constructed, and wildly entertaining!! I loved it! If you love psychological thrillers, you do not want to miss this one! Relish it and savor it and try not to feel too guilty if you find yourself laughing instead being justly outraged by our narrator and his lovely wife. This book was almost TOO fun! But, if you love dark humor, twisted and disturbing plots, with loads of surprises, I promise this one will deliver everything you ordered and then some!!





Samantha Downing currently lives in New Orleans, where she is furiously typing away on her next standalone book. My Lovely Wife is her first novel.

Monday, March 25, 2019

The Man Who Came Uptown- by George Pelecanos- Feature and Review


Michael Hudson spends the long days in prison devouring books given to him by the prison's librarian, a young woman named Anna who develops a soft spot for her best student. Anna keeps passing Michael books until one day he disappears, suddenly released after a private detective manipulated a witness in Michael's trial. 
Outside, Michael encounters a Washington, D.C. that has changed a lot during his time locked up. Once shady storefronts are now trendy beer gardens and flower shops. But what hasn't changed is the hard choice between the temptation of crime and doing what's right. Trying to balance his new job, his love of reading, and the debt he owes to the man who got him released, Michael struggles to figure out his place in this new world before he loses control.
Smart and fast-paced, The Man Who Came Uptown brings Washington, D.C. to life in a high-stakes story of tough choices.



The Man Who Came UptownThe Man Who Came Uptown by George Pelecanos
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Man Who Came Uptown by George Pelecanos is a 2018 Mulholland publication.

This is the first book by George Pelecanos, I’ve read in many years. I have a handful of his novels on my shelves, both print and digital, I needed to read first, but this one was so highly recommended to me by many of my Goodreads friends, I had to read this one immediately- and I’m so glad I did!

This crime novel is fittingly dedicated to Charles Willeford and Elmore Leonard. The tribute is both subtle and obvious.

This is a well-crafted crime novel, which is to be expected from a seasoned author who has built a solid reputation writing mystery/ thrillers- of course, he is just as respected for his television manuscripts.

This story, however, almost becomes philosophical, giving the reader a lot more to ponder on than the mystery and various criminal vignettes acted out by this exquisitely flawed cast of characters.

Book lovers and fans of literary fiction will drool over the storyline involving Anna, who works at the jail in the book group program, and Michael, a prisoner upon which she, and her book recommendations have an enormous impact.

Michael’s jail term is significantly reduced, and he is released after a PI named Phil Ornazian does a little wheeling and dealing on his behalf. Phil’s motives aren’t exactly pure, however. As it happens, our PI, and family man, Phil, has a lucrative side business, where he robs pimps and other criminals of their ill-gotten gains.

Phil, along with his sidekick, Thaddeus Ward, are hired to discover who robbed a wealthy family and violated their teenage daughter while they were away on vacation. Phil, who obviously plays loose and fast with the law, all but blackmails Michael, who is determined to play it straight and get his life in order, into driving a getaway car for him.

Meanwhile, Michael and Anna, who is married, meet by chance, rekindling their friendship, sharing more book recommendations and flirting with an illicit attraction to one another.

While there is a gritty crime drama, a mystery to solve, a fair amount of action, and few nail- biting moments in the story, what stands out the most are the characterizations. Is one crime worse than the other? After repeated failures, has Michael finally put his criminal escapades behind him? How has Anna’s influence on him and his newly acquired love of literature influenced him? Will Anna pursue something beyond friendship with Michael, or will she remain loyal to her husband?

I loved this book! I didn’t go into it with extra high expectations, thinking of it only in terms of crime fiction. What I got was something far more in depth and redeeming. It’s a homage to books and literature, it’s a deep character analysis, and a piece of literary fiction, disguised as a mystery-thriller. It’s stylish and sleek, deep and thoughtful, and felt honest and real. The only complaint I have is that it was over far too soon!!





George Pelecanos was born in Washington, D.C. in 1957. He worked as a line cook, dishwasher, bartender, and woman's shoe salesman before publishing his first novel in 1992.

Pelecanos is the author of eighteen novels set in and around Washington, D.C.: A Firing Offense, Nick's Trip, Shoedog, Down By the River Where the Dead Men Go, The Big Blowdown, King Suckerman, The Sweet Forever, Shame the Devil, Right as Rain, Hell to Pay, Soul Circus, Hard Revolution, Drama City, The Night Gardener, The Turnaround, The Way Home, The Cut, and What It Was. He has been the recipient of the Raymond Chandler award in Italy, the Falcon award in Japan, and the Grand Prix Du Roman Noir in France. Hell to Pay and Soul Circus were awarded the 2003 and 2004 Los Angeles Times Book Prizes. His short fiction has appeared in Esquire, Playboy, and the collectionsUnusual Suspects, Best American Mystery Stories of 1997, Measures of Poison, Best American Mystery Stories of 2002, Men From Boys, and Murder at the Foul Line. He served as editor on the collections D.C. Noir and D.C. Noir 2: The Classics, as well as The Best Mystery Stories of 2008. He is an award-winning essayist who has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, GQ, Sight and Sound, Uncut, Mojo, and numerous other publications. Esquire magazine called him "the poet laureate of the D.C. crime world." In Entertainment Weekly, Stephen King wrote that Pelecanos is "perhaps the greatest living American crime writer." Pelecanos would like to note that Mr. King used the qualifier "perhaps." 

Pelecanos served as producer on the feature films Caught (Robert M. Young, 1996), Whatever (Susan Skoog, 1998) andBlackMale (George and Mike Baluzy, 1999), and was the U.S. distributor of John Woo's cult classic, The Killer and Richard Bugajski's Interrogation. Most recently, he was a producer, writer, and story editor for the acclaimed HBO dramatic series, The Wire, winner of the Peabody Award and the AFI Award. He was nominated for an Emmy for his writing on that show. He was a writer and co-producer on the World War II miniseries The Pacific, and is currently at work as an executive producer and writer on David Simon's HBO dramatic series Treme, shot in New Orleans.

Pelecanos lives with his family in Silver Spring, Maryland.

MANGA MONDAY- Lover's Touch by by Juri Nakao (Illustrator), Penny Jordan - Feature and Review


Eleanor de Tressail lost her father and grandfather in quick succession, and now she’s racking her brain trying to figure out how to pay the inheritance tax on the estate and all the property that was bequeathed to her. She promised her grandfather that she wouldn’t lose the home that the family has lived in for generations, but her stepsister, Grania, believes they should sell the house and split the money equally. At that moment Joss, the trustee of their finances, appears and proposes marriage to Eleanor. In exchange for the de Tressail family title, he’ll take care of all her financial problems. But she can’t marry someone who doesn’t love hereven if she loves him!

Lover's TouchLover's Touch by Juri Nakao
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lover’s Touch by Juri Nakao, ( Illustrator), Penny Jordan is a 2017 Harlequin/ SB Creative publication.

Eleanor de Tressail gets saddled with an enormous estate tax after her father and grandfather pass away. While she is trying figure out a way to keep the estate in the family and pay the taxes, her shallow step-sister is pressuring her to sell the property and split the proceeds.

However, the trustee of their finances, Joss, shows up and offers Eleanor a most unusual solution to her dilemma- a marriage of convenience!

Joss and Eleanor have a complicated past. Eleanor loves Joss, but is positive he could never return her feelings.

This short story is based on the Harlequin novel published by the late Penny Jordon back in 1989. The story is slightly rushed, but I thought the Manga version did the original story justice and as always, the illustrations are top notch.

I love the theme in this book, as the good looking, wealthy man appreciates Eleanor for who she is, loving her, whether she has her glam on, or if she is dressed casually, seeing her inner beauty and depth, which is always a nice concept and a lovely message.

Penny was a big favorite of mine way back in the day, so it is so lovely to see some of her books enjoyed once again in such an imaginative and visual format.





By her early twenties, Jordan was writing for herself, but her writing career began in earnest when she was 30, encouraged and supported by her husband. He bought her, at a time when he could ill afford it, the small electric typewriter on which she typed her first books. She entered a competition run by the Romantic Novelists' Association. Although she did not win, an agent looking for a new-style Georgette Heyer, contacted the R.N.A.
In March 1979, she published her first novel under the pseudonym Caroline Courtney, Duchess in Disguise, the same year she published 4 other books. Under this pen-name she published 25 Regency romances until 1986. From 1981–83, she signed 3 air-hostess romps as Melinda Wright and 2 thrillers as Lydia Hitchcock, published by Columbine House.  In 1981, Mills & Boon accepted her first novel for them, Falcon's Prey, signed as Penny Jordan. Since then, almost 70 million copies of her 167 Mills & Boon (or Harlequin) novels have been sold worldwide.

Jordan died of cancer on 31 December 2011, aged 65.

Friday, March 22, 2019

FLASHBACK FRIDAY- A Portrait of Jennie by Robert Nathan- Feature and Review


Artist EBEN ADAMS has never been able to impress influential art dealer HENRY MATTHEWS with his work until he sketches a schoolgirl in Central Park named JENNIE. Eben is intrigued by her mystical quality and the way she chats about things that happened long before her time. When he sketches Jennie, the drawing conveys more emotion than anything else he has ever done, but before he can finish, Jennie vanishes. Eben searches for Jennie, and when he finds her, he notices a startling transformation . she has aged several years since their first meeting. Eben soon realizes that Jennie has long been dead and that she is a beautiful spirit who means more to him than life itself. Over the next several days, Eben paints Jennie's portrait, knowing that when he finishes, Jennie will disappear again. His foretelling comes true. Disheartened, Eben searches in vain for his timeless beloved and eventually finds comfort in the notion that true love has no boundaries between time and space. He, Jennie, and the world are one.


Portrait of JenniePortrait of Jennie by Robert Nathan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Portrait of Jennie by Robert Nathan was originally published in 1940.

I read this book several times when I was a teenager. Over the years, however, I completely forgot about it- until I saw it pop up on my Goodreads feed a little while back. I knew right away I wanted to re-read this one, but finding a copy of this book is very difficult. My library had an audio version, but I was hoping they would have a physical copy or at least a digital copy on Overdrive- but I was out of luck on that front and eBay- Oy! Too rich for my blood. Finally, I gave up and settled for the Kindle edition, which is only 99 cents.

(*Note:  It has just come to my attention, that, for some reason, this title is no longer unavailable in the Kindle store- will update purchase links, if and when they become available. However, as of this writing, it is available at Barnes & Noble- for the Nook- or with the Nook App for 99 cents and on KOBO- via Wal Mart e books) 

I wondered if maybe I had mythologized this book. I seem to remember the deep impression the story had on me, more than any specific details of it, if that makes any sense. I was worried it might be one of those books that once I read it as an adult, it would fail to impact me in the same way it did when I was younger.

Well, I needn’t have worried about that. As a teenager, drawn to fantasy and the supernatural, this book would have appealed to me due to the prominence of those elements. But, as an adult, I realize the palpable loneliness, the longing, and the tragedy of the story, as well as the bittersweet and tender love story is what is really at the heart of the story.

The Past isn’t behind us… it’s all around us-

I love this story more than ever! It’s a short story- novella size in length, but wow! It really packs a powerful punch. It’s a so well written, so mysterious, and melancholy. The fantasy elements are really left up to the reader to decipher as they see fit, as no pat answers are given. This only adds to the book's legend, I think, as everyone seems to have a different opinion.

Personally, I lean, not towards the time travel, but a 'time slip' scenario, myself. That’s a fine line, I know, but time slip adds more of a supernatural tone, I think. Either way, Eben Adams will hold Jeannie's memory in his heart, which is the most important thing, no matter which theory you choose to embrace. (I'd love to hear your opinion!)

There is a movie, most people are familiar with, starring Joseph Cotten, but amazingly enough, I have never seen it. Some people really love it, but many believe the book is much better and my understanding is that some liberties were taken especially with the conclusion, so I think I’ll continue to steer clear of the movie. However, if you are interested, you can probably find it on YouTube.



Nathan was born into a prominent New York Sephardic family. He was educated in the United States and Switzerland and attended Harvard University for several years beginning in 1912. It was there that he began writing short fiction and poetry. However, he never graduated, choosing instead to drop out and take a job at an advertising firm to support his family (he married while a junior at Harvard). It was while working in 1919 that he wrote his first novel—the semi-autobiographical work Peter Kindred—which was a critical failure. But his luck soon changed during the 1920s, when he wrote seven more novels, including The Bishop's Wife, which was later made into a successful film starring Cary Grant, David Niven, and Loretta Young.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

The Nanny Clause- by Karen Rose Smith- Feature and Review


Three kids. One pregnant cat. And one perfect nanny... When Daniel Sutton's daughters rescue an abandoned calico, the hardworking attorney doesn't expect to be sharing his home with a litter of newborns! And the adorable kittens aren't his only houseguests. Animal shelter volunteer Emma Alvarez is transforming the lives of Daniel and his three girls. The first-time nanny is a natural with kids and pets. Will that extend to a single father ready to trust in love again?


The Nanny ClauseThe Nanny Clause by Karen Rose Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Nanny Clause by Karen Rose Smith is a 2019 Harlequin Special Edition publication.

A lovely story about how three adorable little girls and a pregnant cat brought two people together to create one big happy family-‘Fur-ever’!!

When Pippa, Penny, and Paris find a pregnant cat, their father, Dan Sutton, takes her to an animal shelter. There, they meet a shelter volunteer named Emma Alvarez. As a single father with a demanding career, Dan doesn’t think he can take on the responsibility of a caring for a pet, especially one expecting a litter of kittens.

However, he and his girls do check in with Emma to see how “Fiesta” the cat is doing. As Dan and the “Three P’s’” get to know Emma, Dan sees how well the girls respond to her. So, he offers her a job as their Nanny and she accepts the position. There are a few misunderstandings, and the girls are still coping with the way their mother left them, but things are working out very well…

Well, except that Dan and Emma are finding it hard not to give in to their mutual attraction to one another!

The cover of this book caught my attention right away! A basket full of kittens!! I love books that spotlight rescue pets in the story, so I had a good feeling about this book right from the start. The children featured in the story are also a big part of why the book is so sweet- and aren’t their names adorable??

But with all the pets, kids, and family dramas, it might sound like Emma and Dan would have a hard time finding sexy time, but the chemistry between them is just right and their feelings and sensuality develop in a healthy way.

The story is quite charming, and I was really enjoying the progress the family was making when – uh oh! A surprise twist came along- and it was a doozy!!

Can Emma and Dan accept these new developments and put old hurts behind them, or will circumstances force them to take a different path?

This is a gentle, heartwarming story, the kind that is good for your mind and heart, reminding us that in an imperfect world, love can provide the strength to forgive, and can find a way to heal broken hearts, bringing people together who are a purr-fect fit.


There are cats!!

Enough said!


Kindle Format available for pre-order. Release day- April 1, 2019



Karen is well-known for writing emotion-packed novels. An only child, she spent a lot of time in her imagination and with books--Nancy Drew, Zane Gray, The Black Stallion and Anne of Green Gables. She dreamt of brothers and sisters and a big family like her mother and father came from--seven children in her mom's family and ten in her dad's. On weekends she was often surrounded by aunts, uncles and cousins. This is the root of her plotlines that include small communities and family relationships as integral to everyday living. She believes universal emotions unite us all and that is the reason she employs them to propel her plots.

Contact her through her website www.karenrosesmith.com or KarenRoseSmithMysteries.com if you'd like to belong to her street team or her readers group on Facebook. She welcomes interaction with her readers on Facebook and Twitter, and would love to chat about plotlines, titles, emotions, heroes, heroines, music, books, gardening, cooking, or anything else readers deem noteworthy!