Friday, April 29, 2016

The Cadence of Gypsies - Barbara Casey

Title: The Cadence of Gypsies
Author: Barbara Casey
Pages: 266
Published: 2010
Genre: Fiction
Edition: Hardcover
Source: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Description: On her 18th birthday Carolina Lovel learned that she was adopted and was given a letter written by her birth mother in an unknown language. After years of research she travels to Italy on a mission to find the truth about her past. Carolina is accompanied by three extremely gifted but mischievous students the FIGs from Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women. In an effort to help their favorite teacher, the FIGs will have to use their special abilities to decipher the Voynich Manuscript, the most mysterious document in the world, and the one thing that is strangely similar to what Carolina was given. Their search will take them into the mystical world of gypsy tradition and magic, more exciting and dangerous than any of them could have imagined.

Buy the Book:  Amazon  ~  Barnes & Noble

Thoughts: I really enjoyed the read.   I didn't know what to make of the book, but once I got into the book, I quite enjoyed the read.  I felt that the book was fairly realistic and could very easily envision each of the main characters in the book.  I suppose it didn't hurt that a good portion of the story took place in the Italian countryside, surrounded by good food and good wine.  I felt that the plot moved along quickly and held my attention and made me care about the characters.  

Bottom line: If you enjoy books set in a country that has good food and good wine, you will enjoy this book.  Recommended.

Rating: 3.75/5

Author's Bio:

Barbara Casey is the author of several award-winning novels for both adults and young adults, and numerous articles, poems, and short stories. In addition to her own writing, she is an editorial consultant and president of the Barbara Casey Agency, established in 1995, representing authors throughout the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan.

In 2014 Barbara became a partner in Strategic Media Books Publishing, an independent publishing house that specializes in true crime and other cutting-edge adult nonfiction.

​Barbara lives on a mountain in Georgia with her husband and three dogs who adopted her: Benton, a hound-mix, Fitz, a miniature dachshund, and Gert, a Jack Russel terrier of sorts.

Connect with the author:  Website

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Winemakers - Jan Moran

Book Description for The WineMakers:

1956: When Caterina Rosetta inherits a cottage in the countryside of Italy from a grandmother she's never known, she discovers a long-buried family secret -- a secret so devastating, it threatens the future of everything her mother has worked for.

Many years before, her mother's hard-won dreams of staking her family's claim in the vineyards of California came to fruition; but as an old murder comes to light, and Caterina uncovers a tragic secret that may destroy the man she loves, she realizes her happiness will depend on revealing the truth of her mother's buried past.

From author Jan Moran comes The Winemakers, a sweeping, romantic novel that will hold you in its grasp until the last delicious sip.

​Buy the book:   Amazon  ~   Barnes & Noble  ~   Kobo  ~  Chapters  ~  Books-a-Million  ~   Book Depository   ~  iBooks

About the author:

Jan Moran is a Rizzoli bestselling and award winning author. She writes historical women's fiction for St. Martin's Press (Scent of Triumph, The Winemakers), contemporary women's fiction (Flawless, Beauty Mark, Runway), and nonfiction books (Vintage Perfumes, Fabulous Fragrances). Her stories are smart and stylish, and written with emotional depth. Jan often draws on her international travel and business experiences, infusing her books with realistic details.

The Midwest Book Review and Kirkus have recommended her books, calling her heroines strong, complex, and resourceful. She likes to talk to readers at and on social media. She lives in southern California and loves lattes and iced coffee, anything chocolate, and Whole Foods Double Green smoothies to balance it all out.

Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter   Pinterest   Facebook   Instagram

Saturday, April 23, 2016

#readathon Mid-Event Survey and Update #teampenguin

Mid-event Survey

1) I am currently reading Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye
2) I have only completed one other book, When Breath Becomes Air
3) I don't know, it depends on how long Jane Steele takes me, but probably Jane Eyre and Scarlet.
4) Haven't had many interruptions, except me feeling tired from a night earlier in the week in which I didn't sleep much.
5) What surprises me every time is the ability I have to just sit down and read something.


The past 6 hours have gone a little slower than the first 6, primarily due to a nap I took for about an hour or two, but other than that, I am holding steady.

Pages read total: 407
Pages read since last update: 141
Total books read: 1 and a half
Total hours read: 12

#Readathon Update No. 1 #teampenguin

Its a little over 6 hours in and I am starting to feel it a little bit at the moment, but I am mostly yearning for lunch.

Here is what I have done:

Pages read: 266
Books read: 1
Time read: 6 hours

I completed When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi and it was amazing.  It is a really good book, meditating on life and death and what it means to be human.  It was a library read and there were a number of quotes that I liked that I would have loved to highlight, but I think I will have to purchase this book at some point.  While the book has this sadness that envelopes the book, it has a hopefulness about it.  It is philosophical, but its not at that elevated level that can lose me.

Back to reading.

#Readathon Hour 2 Mini-Challenge: Our Bookish Childhoods

My own top 5 bookish childhood moments:

1) Attempting to read Anne of Green Gables when I was in Grade 3.  I did eventually read the book.

2) The sticker dictionary book I got when I was about 3 or 4.

3) The photo with my mom and I read going over a book when I was about 3 or 4 as my mom was trying to make our Sunday noon meal.  My dad took a photo of the moment.

4) When I was in Grade two, I was still sucking my middle and pointer fingers and my teeth were on the receiving end of that and weren't looking good as a result.  After an orthodontist appointment, my dad took me to White Spot and got me a Pirate Pack.  Because of the device in my mouth, I had to have my burger cut up so I could eat my food.  I seem to have a memory of him taking me to a nearby bookstore and allowing me to choose a book, of which I choose Ramona the Pest.

5) Every Friday during the ski season from the time I was about 11 until I was about 13/14, my dad, me and my sister would head to one of the Vancouver ski slopes and do some Friday night skiing. I would usually bring a book (I rarely go a place without a book on me), hoping to read while we had our dinner break in the lodge.  This particular evening was unique because my sister broke her collar bone due to her ski catching a rut and hitting her up on the collar bone.  As a result, my dad had to take her to emergency at a nearby hospital (thank goodness for universal health care!) and I had to tag along.  Fortunately I had brought a book along with me, just in case I had a chance to read.  The book I had brought along was Jane Eyre, one of the books on my TBR list today.  Because of the long wait (it was about an hour until my sister and dad came out) I had no choice but to read and having no clue as to when they would be back, I started to read the hardcover blue book I had borrowed from the school library and managed to read the first 9 or 10 chapters of the book.  The result was that I fell in love with the book and it became one of my favourites as a result.

Pre-Event! Hour Zero! #readathon

Good morning folks!  I hope everybody is ready to crack open those books.  I sure am.

Here are the questions for the opening meme:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

Here are my answers:
1) I am reading from Abbotsford, BC, about 2 and a half hours north of Seattle, Washington and about an hour outside of Vancouver, BC.
2) I am looking forward to When Breath Becomes Air; have heard so much about this book.
3) I am looking forward to having my twizzlers.
4) I spent two years as a toddler living in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
5) I am going to save my audio books for the last half of the readathon.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Spring into Horror Read-a-Thon - Starting Post #SpringHorrorRAT

I had been humming and hawing as to whether I should join or not, but as you can see, I have decided to join.  I have decided not to read horror books, just due to the fact that its not a genre I don't read that much and it really doesn't interest me.  But I will be reading some mystery novels, with some general reading mixed in.

Here are my plans:

  • Jane Eyre
  • A Duty to the Dead
  • 13 Ways to look at a Fat Girl
  • Kindred (complete)
  • Outlander
  • The Residence
  • The Cadence of Gypsies
  • Jane Steele
  • When Breath becomes Air
Happy reading to all that are joining.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A Pattern of Lies - Charles Todd #tlcbooktours #APatternOfLies

• Paperback: 352 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (April 12, 2016)

A horrific explosion at a gunpowder mill sends Bess Crawford to war-torn France to keep a deadly pattern of lies from leading to more deaths, in this compelling and atmospheric mystery from the New York Timesbestselling author of A Question of Honor and An Unwilling Accomplice.

An explosion and fire at the Ashton Gunpowder Mill in Kent has killed over a hundred men. It’s called an appalling tragedy—until suspicion and rumor raise the specter of murder. While visiting the Ashton family, Bess Crawford finds herself caught up in a venomous show of hostility that doesn’t stop with Philip Ashton’s arrest. Indeed, someone is out for blood, and the household is all but under siege.

The only known witness to the tragedy is now at the Front in France. Bess is asked to find him. When she does, he refuses to tell her anything that will help the Ashtons. Realizing that he believes the tissue of lies that has nearly destroyed a family, Bess must convince him to tell her what really happened that terrible Sunday morning. But now someone else is also searching for this man.

To end the vicious persecution of the Ashtons, Bess must risk her own life to protect her reluctant witness from a clever killer intent on preventing either of them from ever reaching England.

My thoughts: I had mixed feelings as to what to expect from the book, as I had never read a Bess Crawford book.   And in the end, I thought it was an okay book.  I felt that the middle of the book seemed to drag a little bit too much, but the beginning and the end were strong.   I quite liked Bess and thought she was a fairly spunky character, albeit confined within the constraints of working within the military.

Bottom line: If you have read the previous books in the series, you will enjoy this book, but if you haven't read any of the other books, I would suggest going back and reading the previous 6 books in the series.  Recommended.

Rating: 3.5/5

I received this book in exchange for unbiased review of the book.

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Charles ToddAbout Charles Todd

Charles Todd is the author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, the Bess Crawford mysteries, and two stand-alone novels. A mother and son writing team, they live in Delaware and North Carolina.

Visit their website at and like CharlesToddNovels on Facebook.
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