Thursday, April 27, 2017

Aloha to Beach Blanket Bingo, Maggie Mae Gallagher, and ASCENDED (The Cantati Chronicles)


We are less than a week away from the RT Booklovers' Convention (link).  I'm packing up my goodies for Beach Blanket Bingo (link),

Join Annette Funicello (Kim Rocha) & Frankie Avalon (Kim Lowe) for a special edition of Book Cover Bingo. Expect spontaneous singing, dancing and flirting with lifeguards inspired by the beloved 60s film. Readers will join sun-loving authors at their favorite beaches and compete for the book laden gift baskets ... perfect for the sand and surf!

I am looking forward to seeing (again) my fellow college alumni, Maggie Mae Gallagher - she attended the University of Tampa several years after I graduated.  From her bio (link),

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Maggie grew up listening to Cardinals baseball and reading anything she could get her hands on. She remembers her mother saying if only she would read the right type of books instead binging her way through the romance aisles at the bookstore, she’d have been a doctor. While Maggie never did get that doctorate, she graduated cum laude from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with an M.A. in History.

Maggie is a bestselling and award-winning author published in multiple fiction genres. She also writes erotic romance under the name Anya Summers. A total geek at her core, when she is not writing, she adores attending the latest comic con or spending time with her family. She currently lives in the Midwest with her two furry felines.

Maggie Mae Gallagher

Maggie attended the University of Tampa several years after I graduated.  Maggie recently celebrated the release of ASCENDED, Book 3 of the THE CANTATI CHRONICLES:

War. It’s here. The last war of mankind. The winner takes Earth as its prize. 

My name is Alana Devereaux. I am an elite Cantati Forces Lieutenant from Earth’s desolate future. I was sent back through time to save your world. My mission to stop the Mutari faltered. Demons infiltrated our world when the walls between Earth and Infernus fell. Millions died in the first volleys.

The Mutari changed me on an elemental level and my new powers scare the bloody daylights out of me. Formorian Hunters are closing in on my trail with a singular goal, to enact the death warrant placed on my head by their Queen. Now I am running for my life, on a quest to discover a way to kill an immortal on a power trip, stuck between mortal enemies, and everyone else wants me dead.

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For the month of April, I am giving away a box of books from authors attending RT. To enter the giveaway,

1. Let's chat about baseball - my father, like Maggie, grew up listening to Cardinals' on the radio. My oldest son was born on Scott AFB, across the river from St. Louis, so he too is a Cardinals fan.  How about you?

2. Comments are open through Sunday, April 30, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I will be offline from Monday, May 1 - Sunday, May 7.

4. I'll post the winner on Sunday, May 8.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

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Books 1 and 2 in the series 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Aloha to the Inspector Lynley Mysteries series - DVD Review

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I recently enjoyed 24 episodes of The Inspector Lynley Mysteries series.  From Wikipedia,

The Inspector Lynley Mysteries is a British crime drama, broadcast on BBC One from 12 March 2001 to 1 June 2008, encompassing six series and a total of twenty-three episodes. The protagonist, Detective Inspector Thomas "Tommy" Lynley, 8th Earl of Asherton (Nathaniel Parker), who is assigned to Scotland Yard, finds himself paired with Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers (Sharon Small). In addition to the tensions involved in solving murder cases, the series thrives on the characters' clashes regarding personality, gender, and class, as Lynley is dapper, male and a peer of the realm, while Havers is untidy, female and comes from a working-class background.


Based on the books from American writer Elizabeth George, the series delivers an engaging story for 80 minutes with no commercial interruptions.  The series was produced by BBC, then rebroadcast on PBS as part of "Masterpiece Theater". The first few DVDs include iconic English actress Dame Diana Rigg introducing the author, series, and episode, noting the challenges George - an an American writer - overcame to find an audience of a British mystery series. Later episodes are introduced by Scottish actor Alan Cumming.  These introductions provide an extra element of "quality television" American audiences have come to expect from BBC and PBS.

Like most BBC productions, the story telling required 100 percent of my attention focused on the unfolding plot.  Turn away for one moment and the viewer might miss a subtle clue. Likewise, the British accents with regional dialects can be a challenge for American ears.  But this only adds to the authenticity of the series.

The series spotlights the ongoing class struggle in British society; the economic challenges of city living; the isolation of farming; and the social struggles of a migrating population within the British Empire.  The producers do not spare the protagonists - the series reveals their emotional baggage, too. Over time, Asherton appreciates Havers who is otherwise dismissed by her sexist peers. In turn, Havers sees beyond Asherton's "stiff upper lip" to find a vulnerable man.  The series ends with them having a mutual respect as colleagues and friends.

The series was filmed between 2001 - 2008, so plot's technology is dated.  Yet murder is timeless ... along with the allure of the British life.  An added bonus - beloved British actors make guest appearances as supporting characters.  At least three popular Downtown Abbey actors (Brendan Coyle, Bates; Phyllis Logan, Mrs. Hughes; Samantha Bond, Lady Rosamund) and Superman (Henry Cavill), appear as supporting characters. Then again, this is the beauty of BBC productions - it draws from a smaller pool of British actors who are not perfect in appearance but spot on in performance.

Asherton drives to crime scenes, including country roads,
in his vintage Bristol 410

For the month of April, I am giving away a box of books from authors attending RT. To enter the giveaway,

1. Let's chat about vintage cars - do you have a favorite?  I love the "Woody" surf car! 

2. Comments are open through Sunday, April 30, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I will be offline from Monday, May 1 - Sunday, May 7.

4. I'll post the winner on Sunday, May 8.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City




Saturday, April 22, 2017

Aloha to Beach Blanket Bingo, Rae Latte, and BOOKS I LOVE A LATTE

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We are 10 days away from the RT Booklovers' Convention in Atlanta!  Kim Rocha and I are hosting Beach Blanket Bingo;

Join Annette Funicello (Kim Rocha) & Frankie Avalon (Kim Lowe) for a special edition of Book Cover Bingo. Expect spontaneous singing, dancing and flirting with lifeguards inspired by the beloved 60s film. Readers will join sun-loving authors at their favorite beaches and compete for the book laden gift baskets ... perfect for the sand and surf!

Event Date:
Wednesday, May 3, 2017 2:45pm – 3:45pm
Location: LL2/Exhibit/Reader Level
Room: Grand Hall West, 3

We invited 25 authors ... and 1 blogger ... participate.  It is my pleasure today to introduce you to our fellow blogger, Rae Latte, from Books I Love A Latte.

Kim: Tell us about your blog - what inspired you to create Books I Love A Latte?

Rae: A few years ago Donna MacMeans posted on social media that Advanced Reader Copies were available for her then upcoming book The Whisky Laird's Bed (Rake Patrol). As a lover of whiskey and romance, I knew I needed to get my hands on that book.

For years I’d been keeping a journal of all the books I’d read and periodically posted my thoughts on Goodreads. Within a half hour, I’d secured a Blog name, website, Facebook account, and Twitter account. The rest is history!

Over the years I’ve grown my reader following and in January launched a new website as I continue to expand and promote must read books. One of my favorite features is my Coffee With posts where I interviewed Actors, Authors, Cover Models and other professionals in the industry. Some notable guests at the cafe have been Actor Scott Kyle from Outlander (Season 2) on the Starz network series, Chef Dan Churchill, Cover Models Scott Nova and Charles Paz. If my guest can be connected to a great book, then they are welcome in the café on the blog.

Also, I also feature new releases, cover releases, reviews, participate in Blog Tours and make sure to connect on social media.

As a book reviewer, I prefer only to post reviews of books that I love. Most book review blogs feature a rating system to inform readers of what’s hot or not so hot. While I might not connect to a particular book, the time it takes to craft a book from the first page to the last is both time consuming and someone’s baby. If I tell you it’s a miss, you might have just passed on the one book that could change your life! So, the only thing that I rate is a spicy meter for some of the books that are beyond the normal zest in a romance novel.


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Donna MacMeans

Kim: You mentioned living in Nice - jealous! What was your favorite sight, sound, and smell of the French Riviera?


Rae: One of the things I loved about the French Riviera was that everything was within walking distance or a quick hop on the bus. I enjoyed meandering through the streets and browsing in the shops.

I vividly remember the aroma as I walked past a boulangerie-pâtisserie on the city street. Everyone walking past knew when fresh pastries were pulled hot out of the oven. It was a miracle that anything made it back to my apartment, some days it didn’t ;)!

At night I enjoyed sitting at the beach or walking along the Promenade de Anglais and listening to the water pull along the rocks as the tide came in. Enjoying it with friends under a sky full of stars, it was paradise. 

Nice, France

Kim: What are the rewards and challenges of book blogging?

Rae: The rewards of book blogging are simple; I am privileged to read books before they are released. Afterward, I can then share my joy with other book lovers. As a blogger, I love that I can connect with Authors, Publicists, and Publishers to help promote their books. In fact, I look forward to finally meeting many of them at RT in Atlanta next week.

While blogging is rewarding, there are also challenges, specifically the moments when I don’t receive a book that I’ve been patiently waiting to read. But, I’m just one of many in the blogging world, and I’ve learned to accept it and move forward. Just because I am a book blogger does not guarantee me an advance copy of any books. It just depends on where the books are being distributed from and by whom. For the books that I can’t read early, I wait like everyone else until release day. I then purchase those books and dive into that story.

Every review on my site has a disclaimer that I receive books in exchange for a fair and honest review. While I receive many in that manner, I still purchase books or visit my local library to do my share in supporting the industry.

I look forward to whatever is next in my blogging journey. If you see me at RT please be sure and say hello!

Mahalo, Rae, for sharing your blogging journey!  Learn more about Rae Latte and her blog at booksilovealatte.com.


For the month of April, I am giving away a box of books from authors attending RT. To enter the giveaway,

1. Let's chat about boulangerie-pâtisserie -  bread and pasteries!  Yum ... what is your favorite treat to buy from a bakery?  I would indulge in a mille-feuille aka Napoleon!


2. Comments are open through Sunday, April 30, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I will be offline from Monday, May 1 - Sunday, May 7.

4. I'll post the winner on Sunday, May 8.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City
Mille-feuille aka Napoleon
Image by George Seguin (link)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Aloha to Janna MacGregor and THE BAD LUCK BRIDE - Book Review

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IS MARRIAGE A BLESSING OR A CURSE?

A man of honor, Alexander Hallworth, Marquess of Pembrooke, will not rest until he exacts revenge on the man who destroyed his family. Just one more piece must fall into place for him to succeed he needs to convince his enemy s fiancee, the tragically beautiful Lady Claire Cavensham, to marry him instead.

Lady Claire s curse has always left her one misstep away from social ruin her past three engagements have gone awry, and now her fourth is headed in the same direction. . .until Alex, a man she barely even knows, shocks the ton and Claire by announcing their engagement. What begins as a sham turns into something deeper, and more passionate, than either Claire or Alex could have imagined. But when their secrets are revealed, will the truth behind their union scandalize them both or is their love strong enough to break the curse and lead them toward their happily ever after? 


THE BADE LUCK BRIDE is Book 1 in the Cavansham Heiresses series.  It is available May 2 from St. Martin's Press.

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Pembroke Castle in Wales
Image by JKMMX (link)

If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all. - Hee Haw


Lady Claire Cavenshan could join the Hee Haw band with the bad luck that has prevented her from walking down the aisle. Just when she feels confident about prospect number 4, she is blindsided by the Alexander Hallworth, the Marquess of Pembrooke. Her surprise engagement, then wedding, seems to fulfill her dreams ... until the truth emerges to threaten her marriage and happiness.  It will take more than luck for Claire and Alex to negotiate their own HEA.

Janna MacGregor bursts onto the historical romance scene with a heart wrenching story of two fated lovers who find themselves facing down Lady Luck when life throws a few twists and turns. I commend MacGregor for diving head first into the darker side of historical romance. She masters the nuances of Regency life, including the unchecked power the titled nobility can sway over society, only to find the matters of the heart do not follow any rules.  MacGregor's characterizations show some rough edges - rookie mistakes for a debut author. But this author has a talent for prose and she will only improve over time like a fine wine in the Marquess' cellar.

I look forward to more books in the Cavensham Heiresses series.

I received an ARC from the publisher for an honest review.

Learn more about Janna and her books at jannamacgregor.com.

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Cavensham Park
bbc.com

For the month of April, I am giving away a box of books from authors attending RT. To enter the giveaway,

1. Janna MacGregor is participating in Beach Blanket Bingo at RT - her favourite beach is Old Portsmouth Beach in Hampshire, including a medieval Round Tower!  


Do you have a favourite beach town or historic building to ignite your imagination?

2. Comments are open through Sunday, April 30, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I will be offline from Monday, May 1 - Sunday, May 7.

4. I'll post the winner on Sunday, May 8.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Old Portsmouth's Round Tower
castlesfortsbattles.co.uk







Monday, April 17, 2017

Aloha to Sherlock Holmes, Dancing Men, and Rare Books

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On Saturday, hubby and I ventured to Clyde's Restaurant for the "irregular" meeting of the Diogenes Club of Washington, DC.  Fans of Sherlock Holmes know the fictional detective often found his brother, Mycroft, at the Diogenes Club. From its Facebook page (link), 

A scion society of the Baker Street Irregulars for current and past employees of any agency, department, or branch of government be it local, state, federal, or foreign, including members of the Armed Forces and diplomats. We meet upon an "Irregular" schedule in the Washington, DC Metro area. Based on a roundtable model, Diogenes Club combines a refined clubby atmosphere, an erudite speakers symposium, fine dining experience.


Jeremy Brett (right) stars as Sherlock Holmes in 
THE ADVENTURE OF THE DANCING MEN.

The luncheon featured S. Brent Morris and "Dancing with Cryptographers: An Evaluation of Sherlock Holmes' Cryptanalysis of The Dancing Men Cipher”.  From Wikipedia,

S. Brent Morris is an American author who writes on Freemasonry. He is a Master Mason, a 33° Scottish Rite Mason, and currently the editor of The Scottish Rite Journal, a publication of the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction.

Morris has served as Executive of the Cryptologic Mathematician Program at the National Security Agency and as U.S. representative to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in the area of computer security.



We sat with two couples - the couple to our right, Dennis and Mary, are also a retired Air Force family.  Dave attended Purdue University several years before my husband.  Plus they lived on Maui when Dave was assigned to the Air Force observatory on Haleakula (for more pictures from Haleakula, check out my travel blog at this link).


Our other table mates were Brian and Rebecca.  Rebecca shared that she taught English in a small Japanese village. My husband served in Japan so we shared memories of the Japanese culture.  Brian and Rebecca then chatted about their jobs as rare book dealers.  I replied, "All I know about rare books I learned from the History Channel's PAWN STARS (link). Set in Las Vegas, the pawn store is operated the Harrison family, leading to drama between the grandfather, father, and son.  When they receive a rare book, they often call an expert named Rebecca to give them an evaluation."

Rebecca was that Rebecca.  I almost fell out of my chair.  From the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop website (link),

Rebecca Romney’s background is in Linguistics, Classical Studies and Philosophy. Languages are one of her chief passions: she speaks three (English, French, Japanese) and reads in six (add Ancient Greek, Latin, Old English). She can recite poems in each. She currently works as an independent book expert and appraiser.


Learn more about Rebecca from her website, rebeccaromney.com.


Let me say Rebecca looks great on the show ... but she is gorgeous in person!  She was kind to answer our questions about rare books ... and allow me to gush over her reality star status. Rebecca even expressed an interest to learn more about rare books in the romance industry.

For the month of April, I am giving away a box of books from authors attending RT. To enter the giveaway,

1. Have you met a reality star?  Do you have a favorite reality show?  Have you visited a pawn shop? Do you have any "rare" books?  

I enjoy PAWN STARS and STORAGE WARS - I am curious what people collect and what objects they think are valuable.  I have not visited a pawn store yet - I am tempted to visit the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop, as featured on the show, when I next visit Las Vegas.  As I shared with Rebecca, I have several hardcover books published in the late 1800s, including Emerson's poems, but the books themselves are in fair condition.

2. Comments are open through Sunday, April 30, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I will be offline from Monday, May 1 - Sunday, May 7.

4. I'll post the winner on Sunday, May 8.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Leighton Hall in  Lancashire served as the 
film location for DANCING MEN.
leightonhall.co.uk

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Aloha to Jenn McKinlay, Library Lover's Mystery series, and BETTER LATE THAN NEVER - Book Review


In the latest Library Lover’s Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of A Likely Story, a decades overdue book puts library director Lindsey Norris hot on the trail of a cold case...

When the Briar Creek Public Library holds its first overdue book amnesty day—no fines for late returns—the volume of incoming materials is more than Lindsey and her staff can handle. In a bind, Lindsey drafts the crafternoon ladies to help check in and sort the stacks of books.

But one tardy tome catches her attention—a copy of J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, twenty years past due. When Lindsey looks up the borrower, she’s shocked to discover it was a murdered school teacher named Candice Whitley, whose killer was never found.

Candice checked out the novel on the day she was murdered. Now Lindsey wonders if it could provide a clue to the decades-old cold case. No one noticed who brought the book back in, but could it be Candice’s killer? Lindsey is determined to catch the culprit one way or another, because justice for Candice Whitley is long overdue ... 



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Patience outside the NYC Library

Courage, my friends; 'tis not too late to build a better world. 
- Tommy Douglas

Lindsay Norris is building a better world as library director in Briar Creek, a New England coastal town. She transitioned as an academic librarian to public servant, bringing fresh ideas to a traditional institution. Lindsay implemented "Amnesty Day" to encourage patrons to return late and/or damaged books, thus welcoming back the "prodigal" readers.  As her staff struggle with the overwhelming number of returned books, one title stands out - a twenty year old copy of CATCHER IN THE RYE.  After digging up old library records, the staff discover the reader was a beloved high school teacher who was murdered the day she checked out the book. And her murder remains unsolved.

Lindsay can't help but initiate her own investigation to satisfy her curious nature. In fact, her friends have already taken friendly bets on how long it takes Lindsay to solve the mystery. Yet Lindsay's inquiries open old wounds for those who loved the teacher and became suspects in her murder. The plot follows the predictable pattern of cozy mysteries - an amateur detective, multiple suspects with personal secrets, a few red herrings, and the climatic unveiling of the murderer.  Still BETTER LATE THAN NEVER is an enjoyable escape into a small coastal town. 

The subplots offers depth to this novel and the series - Lindsay has an on/off/on relationship with Navy Vet-turned-Sea Captain Sully. The children's librarian, Beth, adds comic relief with her literary antics. Lindsay's friends in the book club/craft group cook up tasty treats (and gossip) to counterbalance the underlying concern of a murder still prowling the town. McKinlay makes it easy to assimilate with the quirky characters who populate Briar Creek.

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER is Book 7 in McKinlay's Library Lover's Mystery Series.  While this title can be read as a stand alone novel, I recommend reading the series in order. McKinlay is also the author of Cupcake Bakery Mysteries (set in Scottsdale, Arizona) and Hat Shop Mysteries (set in London, England) - I am a fan of all three series.

Natually, I checked out BETTER LATE THAN NEVER from my local library.

Learn more about Jenn and her books at jennmckinlay.com.

Fortitude outside the NYC library

For the month of April, I am giving away a box of books from authors attending RT. To enter the giveaway,

1. What's your favorite library?

2. Comments are open through Sunday, April 30, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I will be offline from Monday, May 1 - Sunday, May 7.

4. I'll post the winner on Sunday, May 8.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore

Aloha Spirit in Charm City

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Aloha to Beach Blanket Bingo, Tracy Solheim, and SMOLDER

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I have started packing for the RT Booklovers Convention in Atlanta, Georgia!  Kim Rocha (Book Obsessed Chicks) and I are hosting Beach Blanket Bingo:

Join Annette Funicello (Kim Rocha) & Frankie Avalon (Kim Lowe) for a special edition of Book Cover Bingo. Expect spontaneous singing, dancing, & flirting with lifeguards inspired by the beloved 60s film. Readers will join sun loving authors at their favorite beaches and compete for the book laden gift baskets ... perfect for the sand and surf!


Wednesday, May 3, 2017 2:45pm – 3:45pm
Location: LL2/Exhibit/Reader Level
Room: Grand Hall West, 3



Kim and I invited 26 authors to join us, including Atlanta local Tracy Solheim:

Tracy Solheim, a military brat who now makes her home near Atlanta, began her writing career as a teenager when she penned a column in her town's local newspaper. Then, it was on to journalism school and a brief stint with NBC sports. After spending nearly two decades writing reports and testimonies for Congress, she delved into fiction. She lives in the suburbs with her husband, two teenagers, a Labrador retriever who thinks she's a cat and a horse named after her first novel. When she's not writing, she enjoys photography, cooking, and reading. A frustrated sports writer, the books she loves to read--and write--feature athletes and the women who capture their hearts. See what's she's up to at www.tracysolheim.com.

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Tracy is know for romance set in the sports world and small towns ... but roared onto the scene with a smoking hot romance, SMOLDER:

Former Army Ranger, Sam Gaskill, is starting over in Glacier Creek, Montana - far away from the plains of Texas and the memories of his late wife. Taking charge as the new captain of a squad of smoke jumpers should provide him with enough adrenaline to chase away the ghosts from his past. Until a sexy, green-eyed temptress with a sassy mouth enters the picture…

Laurel Keenan, champion horsewoman, couldn’t wait to escape her hometown. But instead, an ailing mother and an unplanned pregnancy landed the impetuous dreamer right back on her father’s ranch. Laurel has managed to lead a quiet life with her young son—until she sets eyes on the tough guy with the sexy ass.

Sam already failed one woman; he won’t trust his heart with another. And Laurel is determined not to risk her heart—or her son’s—on another thrill-seeker. Can their slow burn lead to a love that lasts?


Glacier National Park
Public Domain (link)

For the month of April, I am giving away a box of books from authors attending RT. To enter the giveaway,

1. Readers - do you have any advice for authors at conventions?

2. Comments are open through Sunday, April 30, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I will be offline from Monday, May 1 - Sunday, May 7.

4. I'll post the winner on Sunday, May 8.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore

Aloha Spirit in Charm City