Paris Time Capsule, by Ella Carey #review @NetGalley @AmazonPub

About the book, Paris Time Capsule Paris Time Capsule

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (May 26, 2015)

New York–based photographer Cat Jordan is ready to begin a new life with her successful, button-down boyfriend. But when she learns that she’s inherited the estate of a complete stranger—a woman named Isabelle de Florian—her life is turned upside down.

Cat arrives in Paris to find that she is now the owner of a perfectly preserved Belle Époque apartment in the ninth arrondissement, and that the Frenchwoman’s family knew nothing about this secret estate. Amid these strange developments, Cat is left with burning questions: Who was Isabelle de Florian? And why did she leave the inheritance to Cat instead of her own family?

As Cat travels France in search of answers, she feels her grasp on her New York life starting to slip. With long-buried secrets coming to light and an attraction to Isabelle de Florian’s grandson growing too intense to ignore, Cat will have to decide what to let go of, and what to claim as her own.

Buy, read, and discuss Paris Time Capsule

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | Goodreads

About the author, Ella Carey Ella Carey

Ella Carey is a writer and Francophile who claims Paris as her second home. She has been studying French since the age of five, and she has degrees in music and English. Carey’s work has been published in the Review of Australian Fiction. She lives with her two children and two Italian greyhounds in Australia.

Connect with Ella

Website | Facebook

My Thoughts

When I’m looking for a novel to read, the three things that always capture my attention are the beach, coffee, and the city of Paris. I saw Paris Time Capsule when I was browsing NetGalley titles, and downloaded it, and I’m really glad I did, because it’s a delightful story – part historical mystery, part contemporary romance, and made more magical by being set in the City of Light.

Author Ella Carey crafted this piece with a delicate hand – the characters never seem over-the-top, the descriptions of places and things are just vivid enough to let the reader’s imagination fill in the blanks, and the plot has just enough twists and turns to keep you satisfied without being frustrated.

Cat very quickly grew into someone I’d have wanted to meet for coffee: engaging, fresh, and very real. Loic, the man who might be the real inheritor of the Paris apartment the story is build around, is the kind of guy any woman would fall in love with, the perfect blend of sex appeal and mystique, and his mother was a delightful breath of fresh air. The supporting characters – Cat’s fiance in America, her wedding planner, and all the people Cat and Loic talk to during their investigation all felt like people you would run into, as well.

Of course, the apartment itself becomes as much a character as any of the humans, and I felt like I was there, blowing away the dust, peeking at the old papers, cataloguing each artifact of a life long gone.

Paris Time Capsule is the perfect novel for a rainy afternoon, or an early summer morning, or just any time when you want to go antiquing but don’t want to leave your chair.

Goes well with a pot of coffee and a chocolate croissant.


Moonlight on Butternut Creek, by Mary McNear #review @TLCBookTours

About the book, Moonlight on Butternut Lake Moonlight on Butternut Lake

• Paperback: 384 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (May 12, 2015)

From the author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Up at Butternut Lake comes the third novel in the Butternut Lake series—a dazzling story of two wounded souls seizing a second chance at life and love.

On the run from her abusive husband, Mila Jones flees Minneapolis for the safety and serenity of Butternut Lake. Ready to forge a new life, Mila’s position as home health aide to Reid Ford is more than a job. It’s a chance at a fresh start. Though her sullen patient seems determined to make her quit, she refuses to give up on him.

Haunted by the car accident that nearly killed him, Reid retreats to his brother’s cabin on Butternut Lake and lashes out at anyone who tries to help. Reid wishes Mila would just go away. . .until he notices the strength, and the secrets, behind her sad, brown eyes.

Against all odds, Mila slowly draws Reid out. Soon they form a tentative, yet increasingly deeper, bond as Mila lowers her guard and begins to trust again, and Reid learns how to let this woman who has managed to crack through his protective shell into his life. While the seemingly endless days of summer unfold, Reid and Mila take the first steps to healing as they discover love can be more than just a dream.

Buy, read, and discuss Moonlight on Butternut Lake

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound  | Goodreads

About the author, Mary McNear Mary McNear

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Mary McNear is a writer living in San Francisco with her husband, two teenage children, and a high-strung, minuscule white dog named Macaroon. She writes her novels in a local donut shop where she sips Diet Pepsi, observes the hubbub of neighborhood life, and tries to resist the constant temptation of freshly made donuts. She bases her novels on a lifetime of summers spent in a small town on a lake in the northern Midwest.

Connect with Mary


My Thoughts:

Visiting Butternut Lake via Mary McNear’s always-engaging novels has become something of an annual habit, as I’ve now reviewed all three in the series. I always really enjoy the way she writes small-town life, and the way the local diner, Pearl’s, and the lake itself, are characters in and of themselves.

But it’s the human characters, drawn so well that you totally feel like you could run into them at a diner, or on the lake shore, that really drive McNear’s stories. In this one, we see Allie and Walter and their two children again, but they’re supporting characters. The story really centers around Walter’s brother Reid, recent survivor of a terrible car wreck, and Mila, on the run from a bad relationship (though the details aren’t revealed til the end of the novel) and looking for a fresh start.

That the two of them eventually connect with each other isn’t at all surprising – it’s inevitable – but McNear has created characters so real, and a setting so vivid, that it doesn’t matter how predictable the ultimate ending is, because when you’re traveling the twisting, turning road to Butternut Lake, it really IS about the journey.

And what a journey! This novel has the perfect blend of romance, suspense, small town living, and earthy supporting characters. You can hear the Minnesota accents in the dialogue of the locals, but they never, ever stray outside of credibility and into caricature.

Congratulations, Mary McNear, on bringing us all to Butternut Lake once more, and how fitting that my visit landed on Memorial Day weekend.

Goes well with: strawberry-rhubarb pie and homemade vanilla ice cream.

Mary McNear’s Blog Tour Stops TLC Book Tours

Tuesday, May 12th: A Chick Who Reads

Tuesday, May 12th: Lesa’s Book Critiques

Wednesday, May 13th: Fuelled by Fiction

Thursday, May 14th: Raven Haired Girl

Friday, May 15th: From the TBR Pile

Monday, May 18th: Always With a Book

Tuesday, May 19th: Mrs. Mommy Booknerd’s Book Reviews

Monday, May 25th: Bibliotica

Wednesday, May 20th: Walking With Nora

Wednesday, May 20th: Peeking Between the Pages

Wednesday, June 3rd: Reading Reality

TBD: Svetlana’s Reads and Views

To Ride a White Horse by Pamela Ford (@pamfordauthor) #review @TLCBookTours

About the book, To Ride a White Horse To Ride a White Horse

  • Paperback: 374 pages
  • Publisher: Aine Press (January 3, 2015)

“A sweeping historical love story that hits all the marks.” – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Ireland 1846. The potato crop has failed for the second year in a row and Ireland is in famine. When Kathleen Deacey’s fiancé doesn’t return from a summer working in the Newfoundland fisheries, she faces a devastating choice—leave Ireland to find work or risk dying there. Despising the English for refusing to help Ireland, she crosses the Atlantic, determined to save her family and find her fiancé.

But her journey doesn’t go as planned and she ends up in America, forced to accept the help of an English whaling captain, Jack Montgomery, to survive. As Jack helps her search for her fiancé and fight to save her family and country, she must confront her own prejudices and make another devastating choice—remain loyal to her country or follow her heart.

A love story inspired by actual events, To Ride a White Horse is a historical saga of hope, loyalty, the strength of the human spirit, and the power of love.

To Ride a White Horse

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

About the author, Pamela Ford Pamela Ford

Pamela Ford is the award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance. She grew up watching old movies, blissfully sighing over the romance; and reading sci-fi and adventure novels, vicariously living the action. The combination probably explains why the books she writes are romantic, happily-ever-afters with plenty of fast-paced plot.

After graduating from college with a degree in Advertising, Pam merrily set off to earn a living, searching for that perfect career as she became a graphic designer, print buyer, waitress, pantyhose sales rep, public relations specialist, copywriter, freelance writer – and finally author. Pam has won numerous awards including the Booksellers Best and the Laurel Wreath, and is a two-time Golden Heart Finalist. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and children.

Connect with Pamela

Website | Facebook | Twitter

My Thoughts

I read a lot of historical novels but I’m always kind of iffy on historicals (I think my brain is wired for the future rather than the past.) To Ride a White Horse originally caught my attention, not because of the romance or the historical background of Ireland’s potato famine and the huge influx of Irish immigrants into North America, but because one of the characters (Jack) was the captain of a ship – and I will read almost anything that involves sea captains and adventure on or near the ocean.

When the story opened with our introduction to Kathleen, pining for her fiance, I was hooked on her story, as well, because she wasn’t a girl to sit and simper and moan, but a strong young woman who made an action plan and carried it out. Going on a ship across the ocean is a daunting task even today, when we can do so in hours (by air) or days (by sea) rather than the weeks or months it took back then. Going on a ship to a new country where you cannot be certain of your reception or your survival? That takes a special kind of courage, one that all immigrants have, as well as a firm faith in the promise of a better life.

Jack, the whaling captain who really isn’t in love with his job (whaling was a dangerous, dangerous profession then, even before Greenpeace would come and shoot at you), and Kathleen, the young woman looking for her love and her future, have stories that meet, separate, and meet again, but watching the relationship shift and turn between them is like watching your two best friends, whom you know are meant to be together, continue to make low-percentage choices and false starts until they finally get it right.

Author Pamela Ford writes the romance, the history, and the politics of the period (English vs. Irish, Native vs. Immigrant, Whaling vs. Shipping, etc.) with nuance and an excellent ear for dialogue. Kathleen never sounds like a caricature, but her Irish lilt is ever-present. English Jack never sounds too stilted, but you can read in his words the crisper accent he would have.

Romances can often be more fluff than flavor but To Ride a White Horse balances all the elements: adventure, romance, history, politics and gives us a meaty story that keeps the reader’s attention from the first page to the last.

Goes well with A hearty Irish stew, brown bread, and a glass of stout.

Pamela’s Tour Stops TLC Book Tours

Monday, May 11th: Bibliotica – That’s ME!

Tuesday, May 12th: 2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews

Wednesday, May 13th: Gspotsylvania: Musings from a Spotsylvania Dog and Bird Mom

Thursday, May 14th: Novel Escapes

Friday, May 15th: Mom in Love With Fiction

Tuesday, May 19th: Ms. Nose in a Book

Monday, May 25th: Queen of All She Reads

Wednesday, May 27th: Broken Teepee

Thursday, May 28th: Doing Dewey

Friday, May 29th: Bell, Book and Candle

Monday, June 1st: Books and Bindings

Tuesday, June 2nd: Jorie Loves a Story

Wednesday, June 3rd: Every Free Chance Book Reviews

Wednesday, June 3rd: Rockin’ Book Reviews

Thursday, June 4th: Little Lovely Books

Monday, June 8th: Books Like Breathing

TBD: A Night’s Dream of Books

Little Beach Street Bakery, by Jenny Colgan (@jennycolgan) – #review @tlcbooktours

About the book, Little Beach Street Bakery Little Beach Street Bakery

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (March 31, 2015)

In the bestselling tradition of Jojo Moyes and Jennifer Weiner, Jenny Colgan’s moving, funny, and unforgettable novel tells the story of a heartbroken young woman who turns a new page in her life . . . by becoming a baker in the town of Cornwall.

A quiet seaside resort. An abandoned shop. A small flat. This is what awaits Polly Waterford when she arrives at the Cornish coast, fleeing a ruined relationship.

To keep her mind off her troubles, Polly throws herself into her favorite hobby: making bread. But her relaxing weekend diversion quickly develops into a passion. As she pours her emotions into kneading and pounding the dough, each loaf becomes better than the last. Soon, Polly is working her magic with nuts and seeds, chocolate and sugar, and the local honey—courtesy of a handsome beekeeper.

Packed with laughter and emotion, Little Beach Street Bakery is the story of how one woman discovered bright new life where she least expected—a heartwarming, mouthwatering modern-day Chocolat that has already become a massive international bestseller.

Buy, read, and discuss Little Beach Street Bakery

Amazon | Barnes & NobleIndieBound | Goodreads

About the author, Jenny Colgan

Jenny Colgan is Scottish born and bred, born in Ayrshire in 1972, but currently lives and works in London. After graduating from Edinburgh University, Jenny worked for six years in the health service whist moonlighting as a cartoonist and doing stand-up in the outer fringes of London’s comedy circuit.

Connect with Jenny

Website | Facebook | Twitter

My Thoughts

This cozy little novel was exactly what I needed on an overcast weekend when I was fighting poor sleep patterns and a dawning migraine. It’s funny, engaging, and really makes you wish you lived in a harbor-front flat in an old fishing village.

The protagonist, Polly, has just come through a bad breakup and a bankruptcy when we meet her, and she clearly needs a sea change in more ways than one. Taking the flat in the ramshackle building that once housed a bakery, in a once-thriving town that now barely survives on summer tourism, is her first step of a reawakening that we readers are privileged to watch.

Author Jenny Colgan has a knack for writing snappy dialogue that immediately gives us a sense of who each character is – Polly, Tarnie, Huckle – all have distinct voices. Then she throws in a dash of whimsy (an adopted rescue-puffin) and romance, and mixes it up with a sense of place that allows us to feel the chilly water rise over our feet as the causeway is flooded (a daily occurrence) by the changing tides.

At almost 450 pages, Little Beach Street Bakery is a bit meatier than the average ‘beach read,’ but there’s never a sense of having filler in the story. Every page counts, and every scene matters, and the whole novel is entertaining, engaging, and even a bit heartwarming.

What else can I say? I LOVED this book.

Goes well with A plate of fish and chips and a glass of iced sweet tea.

Jenny’s Tour Stops TLC Book Tours

Tuesday, March 31st: Bibliotica (That’s ME!!!)

Wednesday, April 1st: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Thursday, April 2nd: A Chick Who Reads

Friday, April 3rd: Kritters Ramblings

Tuesday, April 7th: Drey’s Library

Wednesday, April 8th: Kahakai Kitchen

Thursday, April 9th: For the Love of Words

Friday, April 10th: 2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews

Tuesday, April 14th: A Bookish Way of Life

Thursday, April 16th: Walking With Nora

After the War is Over, by Jennifer Robson

About the book, After the War is Over After the War is Over

• Paperback: 384 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (January 6, 2015)

The International bestselling author of Somewhere in France returns with her sweeping second novel—a tale of class, love, and freedom—in which a young woman must find her place in a world forever changed.

After four years as a military nurse, Charlotte Brown is ready to leave behind the devastation of the Great War. The daughter of a vicar, she has always been determined to dedicate her life to helping others. Moving to busy Liverpool, she throws herself into her work with those most in need, only tearing herself away for the lively dinners she enjoys with the women at her boarding house.

Just as Charlotte begins to settle into her new circumstances, two messages arrive that will change her life. One, from a radical young newspaper editor, offers her a chance to speak out for those who cannot. The other pulls her back to her past, and to a man she has tried, and failed, to forget.

Edward Neville-Ashford, her former employer and the brother of Charlotte’s dearest friend, is now the new Earl of Cumberland—and a shadow of the man he once was. Yet under his battle wounds and haunted eyes Charlotte sees glimpses of the charming boy who long ago claimed her foolish heart. She wants to help him, but dare she risk her future for a man who can never be hers?

As Britain seethes with unrest and post-war euphoria flattens into bitter disappointment, Charlotte must confront long-held insecurities to find her true voice . . . and the courage to decide if the life she has created is the one she truly wants.

Buy, read, and discuss After the War is Over

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Goodreads

About Jennifer Robson Jennifer Robson

Jennifer Robson first learned about the Great War from her father, acclaimed historian Stuart Robson, and later served as an official guide at the Canadian National War Memorial at Vimy Ridge, France. A former copy editor, she holds a doctorate in British economic and social history from the University of Oxford. She lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and young children.

Connect with Jennifer


My Thoughts

I spent December immersed in another post-war story, having binge-watched three seasons of Call the Midwife with my parents and husband. Of course, that story was post WWII, and this one was post WWI, but if you like that show, chances are that you will love – or at least appreciate – this novel.

Author Jennifer Robson is amazing at putting in the tiny details that make scenes seem so realistic – the sound of footsteps, the look in an eye, the scent of tea – whatever, but she’s equally amazing at making us feel as though her characters are fully formed, dimensional people, from their very first appearances. In my case, I was hooked on this story the second Charlotte used five pounds of her own money to help someone, and not just because it’s something I would have done, in her position.

While this novel deals with some very deep subjects – how do we find ourselves after a national tragedy? How do we define ourselves in a world that is constantly in flux? Dare we turn away from people who are in need of help? – it is also full of hope and joy. The hope that life will be better, that new relationships will thrive, and the joy of breaking bread and sharing stories with friends, and of opening ourselves to new loves, and new possibilities.

If you think historical romances have to be bodice-rippers or require bare-chested men in kilts, or the clank of armor (not that any of those things are bad) then your definition of the genre is severely limited, and this book will open your eyes to what history and romance can really be.

If you already know this, then trust me, you need to read After the War is Over because Jennifer Robson is destined to be an important voice in fiction.

Goes well with Fish & chips, wrapped in newspaper and served with a dash of vinegar.

Jennifer’s Tour Stops TLC Book Tours

This review is part of a blog tour organized by TLC Book Tours. For the complete list of tour stops, see below. For more information, click HERE.

Tuesday, January 6th: A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, January 7th: Unshelfish

Thursday, January 8th: Drey’s Library

Friday, January 9th: Kritters Ramblings

Monday, January 12th: Reading Reality

Tuesday, January 13th: Biltiotica

Wednesday, January 14th: Diary of an Eccentric

Thursday, January 15th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Monday, January 19th: Ms. Nose in a Book

Wednesday, January 21st: The Book Binder’s Daughter

Review: Painting the Moon, by Traci Borum

About the book Painting the Moon Painting the Moon

Publisher: Red Adept Publishing
Release Date: June 7, 2014
Pages: 300

When Noelle Cooke inherits a cottage from her British aunt, she also inherits a cottage full of secrets–a locked room, an old journal, an art gallery in financial ruin. Noelle never planned to abandon her life in San Diego, never intended to move across the ocean to live in a tiny Cotswold village. But the idea becomes irresistible, especially with the possibility of saving the gallery.

And just when Noelle settles into her new village life and starts to discover the cottage’s mysteries, someone from her past reappears—her first love, Adam Spencer. But an impossible barrier stands between them, and Noelle is forced to make a choice. Will she risk her heart? Or will she walk away…and lose him all over again?

Buy, read, and discuss Painting the Moon

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GooglePlay | iBookstore | Kobo | Goodreads

About the author, Traci Borum Traci Borum

Traci Borum is a writing teacher and native Texan. She’s also an avid reader of women’s fiction, most especially Elin Hilderbrand and Rosamunde Pilcher novels. Since the age of 12, she’s written poetry, short stories, magazine articles, and novels.

Traci also adores all things British. She even owns a British dog (Corgi) and is completely addicted to Masterpiece Theater-must be all those dreamy accents! Aside from having big dreams of getting a book published, it’s the little things that make her the happiest: deep talks with friends, a strong cup of hot chocolate, a hearty game of fetch with her Corgi, and puffy white Texas clouds always reminding her to “look up, slow down, enjoy your life.”

Connect with Traci

Website | Facebook | Twitter

My Thoughts

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from the author of this novel, asking me if I’d consider it for review. Her email was so sweet, and her bio resonated so much with me, that there was no way I could say no. Besides, I’ve been reading so much heavy, serious fiction – which I love – that it’s nice to review something a bit lighter from time to time. Painting the Moon came into my life exactly when I needed it, and I stayed up all night because I was so absorbed with the story.

On the surface, it’s a somewhat predictable “twinkling brown eyes” novel – cute English village, American relative inheriting adorable cottage, handsome and mostly-single male childhood friend looking to reconnect – but that’s just the surface. Author Borum takes those elements and really makes them sing with vivid descriptions of people and places – I could taste the shepherd’s pie, smell the paint on the canvas, feel the English rain – and I could also hear the characters’ distinct voices, especially Noelle herself, but also the pub owner and the gardener/handyman.

One thing I particularly loved about this novel was the use of Nioelle’s aunt’s (well, great aunt, but why be picky) advice on painting at the head of the chapters. It really made you feel like the aunt was a character in the story, rather than just a reason for Noelle to move from San Diego to the Cotswolds.

Painting the Moon is a fabulously entertaining story about love, art, and the choices we make as adults, and should not be overlooked. It’s the perfect novel for a lazy summer afternoon. If there’s a thunderstorm brewing while you read it, so much the better.

Goes well with hot tea and peach-rhubarb pie.