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Sounds Interesting: Books I Added to My #Goodreads List in March–April 2017 | #amreading #books

Thursday, May 18, 2017

As you’ve probably guessed by the challenge thumbnails over on the right, I catalog and track all of the books I’ve read/am reading on Goodreads. I also use it to keep track of books that I might eventually want to read—those that Sound Interesting to me.

Between seeing what my GR friends are reading, and reading reviews of books on different blogs and book sites I follow, I probably add a few books a week to my Sounds Interesting list.

Books Added to Sounds Interesting Shelf in March–April 2017

(Click the title to open the book’s Goodreads page in a new tab.)

Love Beyond Time
(Morna’s Legacy #1) by Bethany Claire

. . . .Shelves: historical-romance, 16th-17th-centuries, time-travel

The Fitzhugh Trilogy by Sherry Thomas:
Beguiling the Beauty, Ravishing the Heiress, and Tempting the Bride
. . . .Shelves: historical-romance, 19th-C-1830s-1899

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1) by Deborah Harkness
. . . .Shelves: historical-fiction, paranormal

The Hidden Blade (The Heart of Blade Duology #1) by Sherry Thomas
. . . .Shelves: historical-romance, 19th-C-1830s-1899, young-adult

For Love and Honor (An Uncertain Choice #3) by Jody Hedlund
. . . .Shelves: historical-romance, 10th-15th-centuries, inspirational-fiction

The Poyson Garden (Elizabeth I #1) by Karen Harper
. . . .Shelves: historical-fiction, 16th-17th-centuries

A Lady in the Smoke: A Victorian Mystery by Karen Odden
. . . .Shelves: Mystery, historical-fiction, 19th-C-1830s-1899

A Lady’s Guide to Ruin (Birch Hall Romance #1) by Kathleen Kimmel
. . . .Shelves: historical-romance, 19th-C-1800-1820s

Mistress of Rome (The Empress of Rome #1) by Kate Quinn
. . . .Shelves: historical-fiction, 00-ancient-biblical

A Fete Worse Than Death (Jack Haldean Murder Mystery #1) by Dolores Gordon-Smith
. . . .Shelves: mystery, historical-fiction, 20th-century

The Gilded Lily by Deborah Swift
. . . .Shelves: historical-fiction, 16th-17th-centuries

Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs #1) by Jacqueline Winspear
. . . .Shelves: mystery, historical-fiction, 20th-century

The First Princess of Wales by Karen Harper
. . . .Shelves: historical-fiction, 10th-15th-centuries

Shadow on the Crown (The Emma of Normandy Trilogy #1) by Patricia Bracewell
. . . .Shelves: historical-fiction, 10th-15th-centuries

A Useful Woman (Rosalind Thorne Mysteries #1) by Darcie Wilde
. . . .Shelves: 19th-C-1800-1820s, historical-fiction, historical-romance, mystery

Jackaroo (Tales of the Kingdom #1) by Cynthia Voigt
. . . .Shelves: fantasy

The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1) by Stephen King
. . . .Shelves: fantasy, suspense-thriller

The Hollow Kingdom (The Hollow Kingdom Trilogy #1) by Clare B. Dunkle
. . . .Shelves: fantasy, young-adult

Laird of the Mist (MacGregors #1) by Paula Quinn
. . . .Shelves: historical-romance, 16th-17th-centuries

The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran
. . . .Shelves: historical-romance, 19th-C-1830s-1899

In These Times: Living in Britain Through Napoleon’s Wars, 1793–1815 by Jenny Uglow
. . . .Shelves: nonfiction-british-history, 19th-C-1800-1820s, story-research

Write More Good: An Absolutely Phony Guide by The Bureau Chiefs, Foreword by Roger Ebert
. . . .Shelves: nonfiction-writing-books

How to Be a Victorian (How to Be #1) by Ruth Goodman
. . . .Shelves: nonfiction-writing-books

What books have you found recently that sound interesting?

This Week’s #Library Haul! | #amreading

Monday, May 15, 2017

I don’t know about you, but when it’s time to check books out from the library, it’s kind of like a Lay’s potato chip thing—I can never “eat” just one. And since I never know for sure exactly what I’m going to feel like reading at any given moment, I always check out multiple options at a time.

These days, this entails hours spent on the part of my local library’s website where all of the digital items are cataloged, as I’m going to be checking out ebooks and/or audiobooks. Not only is it easier to carry around ten library books/audiobooks when they’re digital, but since they return themselves automatically when the due-date arrives, I never have to worry about overdue books anymore!

Since I just returned a bunch of books and checked out another group this weekend, I thought it might be fun to share my “haul.” And I’d love to see yours, too!

My Library Haul 5/14/17


All the Single Ladies by Rebecca Traister, Narrated by Candace Thaxton
Currently Listening

      A nuanced investigation into the sexual, economic, and emotional lives of women in America, this “singularly triumphant work” (Los Angeles Times) by Rebecca Traister “the most brilliant voice on feminism in the country” (Anne Lamott) is “sure to be vigorously discussed” (Booklist, starred review).

      In 2009, the award-winning journalist Rebecca Traister started All the Single Ladies—a book she thought would be a work of contemporary journalism—about the twenty-first century phenomenon of the American single woman. It was the year the proportion of American women who were married dropped below fifty percent; and the median age of first marriages, which had remained between twenty and twenty-two years old for nearly a century (1890–1980), had risen dramatically to twenty-seven.

      But over the course of her vast research and more than a hundred interviews with academics and social scientists and prominent single women, Traister discovered a startling truth: the phenomenon of the single woman in America is not a new one. And historically, when women were given options beyond early heterosexual marriage, the results were massive social change—temperance, abolition, secondary education, and more.

      Today, only twenty percent of Americans are wed by age twenty-nine, compared to nearly sixty percent in 1960. The Population Reference Bureau calls it a “dramatic reversal.” All the Single Ladies is a remarkable portrait of contemporary American life and how we got here, through the lens of the single American woman. Covering class, race, sexual orientation, and filled with vivid anecdotes from fascinating contemporary and historical figures, All the Single Ladies is destined to be a classic work of social history and journalism. Exhaustively researched, brilliantly balanced, and told with Traister’s signature wit and insight, this book should be shelved alongside Gail Collins’s When Everything Changed.

Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation by Cokie Roberts, read by the author

      From #1 New York Times bestselling author Cokie Roberts comes New York Times bestseller Founding Mothers, an intimate and illuminating look at the fervently patriotic and passionate women whose tireless pursuits on behalf of their families—and their country—proved just as crucial to the forging of a new nation as the rebellion that established it.

      While much has been written about the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, battled the British, and framed the Constitution, the wives, mothers, sisters and daughters they left behind have been little noticed by history. Founding Mothers brings us women who fought the Revolution as valiantly as the men, often defending their very doorsteps. Drawing upon personal correspondence, private journals, and even favored recipes, Roberts reveals the often surprising stories of these fascinating women, bringing to life the everyday trials and extraordinary triumphs of individuals like Abigail Adams, Mercy Otis Warren, Deborah Read Franklin, Eliza Pinckney, Catherine Littlefield Green, Esther DeBerdt Reed, and Martha Washington—proving that without our exemplary women, the new country might have never survived.

The Baron Next Door by Erin Knightley
Currently Reading

      Charity Effington learned two valuable lessons from her first betrothal:
      1) When one loses the attention of an earl, one gains the attention of every gossip in London.
      2) Despite the lingering scandal, she’s not prepared to marry for anything less than love.

      After an exhausting Season, Bath’s first annual music festival offers Charity the perfect escape. Between her newly formed trio and her music-loving grandmother, Charity is free to play the pianoforte to her heart’s content. That is, until their insufferably rude, though undeniably handsome, neighbor tells her to keep the “infernal racket” to a minimum.

      Hugh Danby, Baron Cadgwith, may think he’s put an end to the noise, but he has no idea what he’s begun. Though the waters of Bath provide relief from the suffering of his war injuries, he finds his new neighbor bothersome, vexing, and… inexplicably enchanting. Before long, Hugh suspects that even if his body heals, it’s his heart that might end up broken.

Anno Dracula (Anno Dracula #1) by Kim Newman

      It is 1888 and Queen Victoria has remarried, taking as her new consort Vlad Tepes, the Wallachian Prince infamously known as Count Dracula. Peppered with familiar characters from Victorian history and fiction, the novel follows vampire Geneviève Dieudonné and Charles Beauregard of the Diogenes Club as they strive to solve the mystery of the Ripper murders.

      Anno Dracula is a rich and panoramic tale, combining horror, politics, mystery and romance to create a unique and compelling alternate history. Acclaimed novelist Kim Newman explores the darkest depths of a reinvented Victorian London.

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill (Tales from Ivy Hill #1) by Julie Klassen

      On a rise overlooking the Wiltshire countryside stands the village of Ivy Hill. Its coaching inn, The Bell, is its lifeblood—along with the coach lines that stop there daily, bringing news, mail, travelers, and much-needed trade.

      Jane Bell lives on the edge of the inn property. She had been a genteel lady until she married the charming innkeeper who promised she would never have to work in his family’s inn. But when he dies under mysterious circumstances, Jane finds herself The Bell’s owner, and worse, she has three months to pay a large loan or lose the place.

      Feeling reluctant and ill-equipped, Jane is tempted to abandon her husband’s legacy and return to her former life of ease. However, she soon realizes there is more at stake than her comfort. But who can she trust to help her? Her resentful mother-in-law? Her husband’s brother, who wanted the inn for himself? Or the handsome newcomer with secret plans of his own . . . ?

      With pressure mounting from the bank, Jane struggles to win over naysayers and turn the place around. Can Jane bring new life to the inn, and to her heart as well?

Premiere: A Romance Writers of America® Collection, including stories from Sylvia Day, Vicki Lewis Thompson, Lila Bell, Courtney Milan, Amber Lin, Monica Murphy, Regina Scott, Joan Johnston, T. L. Costa, Sabrina Jeffries, and many more.

      From Romance Writers of America® comes a never-before-published collection of tales that showcases the breadth and complexity of the world’s most popular genre of fiction!

      New York Times bestselling authors Cindy Gerard and Allison Brennan bring the thrills in their tales of romantic suspense.

      New York Times bestselling authors Sabrina Jeffries and Courtney Milan take you on a trip back in time with lush stories of historical romance.

      New York Times bestselling authors Vicki Lewis Thompson and Joan Johnston show the wonder of contemporary romance, while New York Times bestselling authors Monica Murphy and Laura Kaye’s New Adult romances delve into the evolving Millennial perspective.

      And editor and #1 New York Times bestselling author Sylvia Day’s tale of angels and sizzling desire takes readers to the edge with paranormal romance.

      From the first love of Young Adult romance to tales of second chances, LGBT romance to the realms of the supernatural, contemporary to historical, suspense to inspirational, the genre of romance has a story for every reader and this blockbuster inaugural collection from Romance Writers of America showcases it all!

      Introduction by Sylvia Day
      “Ravished by the Geek” by Vicki Lewis Thompson
      “Under a Wicked Moon” by Lila Bell
      “A Right Honorable Gentleman” by Courtney Milan (Read)
      “Station 12” by Amber Lin (Read)
      “Wrong Number, Right Girl” by Monica Murphy
      “A Light in the Darkness” by Regina Scott
      “Coming Home” by Joan Johnston
      “The Poet” by T. L. Costa
      “Dead Wrong” by Cindy Gerard
      “The Fallout” by Harper St. George
      “Hard To Breathe” by Sylvia Day
      “All I Want” by Erica Ridley
      “Covering Her Skin” by Laura Kaye
      “The Long Way Home” by Katy Regnery
      “Their Night Off” by Allison Brennan
      “Flying in the Face of Convention” by Lex Valentine
      “An April Fool’s Forbidden Affair” by Sabrina Jeffries
      “Wrong Address, Right Guy” by Diane Kelly

What do you have checked out from the library to try?

Books Read in 2017: The Favored Queen by Carolly Erickson (1.5 stars) | #amreading #bookreview

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Favored Queen: A Novel of Henry VIII’s Third Wife
by Carolly Erickson
Audiobook narrated by Kate Reading
Genre: Historical Fiction
My rating: 1.5 stars

Book Summary:
From The New York Times bestselling author of The Last Wife of Henry VIII comes a powerful and moving novel about Jane Seymour, third wife of Henry VIII, who married him only days after the execution of Anne Boleyn and ultimately lost her own life in giving him the son he badly needed to guarantee the Tudor succession

Born into an ambitious noble family, young Jane Seymour is sent to Court as a Maid of Honor to Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s aging queen. She is devoted to her mistress and watches with empathy as the calculating Anne Boleyn contrives to supplant her as queen. Anne’s single-minded intriguing threatens all who stand in her way; she does not hesitate to arrange the murder of a woman who knows a secret so dark that, if revealed, would make it impossible for the king to marry Anne.
Once Anne becomes queen, no one at court is safe, and Jane herself becomes the victim of Anne’s venomous rage when she suspects Jane has become the object of the king’s lust. Henry, fearing that Anne’s inability to give him a son is a sign of divine wrath, asks Jane to become his next queen. Deeply reluctant to embark on such a dangerous course, Jane must choose between her heart and her loyalty to the king.

Acclaimed biographer and bestselling novelist Carolly Erickson weaves another of her irresistible historical entertainments about the queen who finally gave Henry VIII his longed for heir, set against the excitement and danger of the Tudor Court.

My GR Status Update(s):
05/10. . .Currently Reading

5/10. . .23.0%It’s a good thing I’m listening to this on audio while falling asleep at night. Even through a haze of fatigue, I’ve noted several historical inaccuracies, not to mention internal contradictions in the narrative. (Did the baby live for an hour and then die, or was it stillborn? Both are said of the same baby.) But it’s still interesting enough to fall asleep to at night.

05/13. . .Finished Reading

My Review:
1.5 stars

This is the highly fictionalized story of Henry VIII’s favorite wife, Queen Pollyanna (aka, Jane) Seymour. She is perfect and good and kind and sweet and the only one trusted by everyone at court. She not only is Queen Katherine of Aragon’s closest (English) confidante, but all of the other ladies in waiting and maids of honor love her, too. Except, of course, for Anne Jezebel Boleyn. But it’s only natural that Anne hates Jane—after all, Anne is not only conniving and manipulative, she’s also well versed in bribery (trying to pay men—including Jane’s married French lover!?!?!?—to impregnate her) and, apparently, murder (another lady in waiting who might know a scandalous secret about the Boleyn family, and at least one man who refuses to stand stud for her).

The caricatures drawn of every single character in this book are ridiculous—but not in an amusing/entertaining way. Jane is completely perfect. Anne is completely evil. Katherine is perfectly patient. Henry is perfectly . . . well, any stereotype of Henry VIII you can think of.

And even though I was listening to this on audio as I fell asleep at night, I still easily caught multitudinous historical errors as well as continuity errors.

How did I listen to a 9.5-hour audiobook in four nights only by listening while falling asleep? Well . . . I skipped a lot of chapters/segments.

I was hoping this author would be a good shelf-companion to Alison Weir as a go-to writer for all-things-Tudor; but after this book, I won’t be reading any of her other titles.

My rating matrix:
5 STARS = one of the best I’ve ever read
4 STARS = a great read, highly recommended
3 STARS = it was okay
2 STARS = I didn’t enjoy it all that much, not recommended
1 STAR = DNF (did not finish)

View all my reviews on Goodreads

It’s Reading Report Time! (May 2017) | #amreading #bookreview

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Happy First Monday (a.k.a., Tuesday) of May, everyone.
It’s Reading Report Time!

Open Book by Dave Dugdale

Open Book by Dave Dugdale

(Sorry this is a day late—I’m in the process of trying to become a first-time homeowner, so I’ve been a bit distracted lately!)

Tell us what you’ve finished since the beginning of last month, what you’re currently reading, and what’s on your To Be Read stack/list. And if you’ve reviewed the books you’ve read somewhere, please include links!

To format your text, click here for an HTML cheat-sheet. If you want to embed your links in your text (like my “click here” links) instead of just pasting the link into your comment, click here.

  • What book(s) did you finish reading (or listening to) since the last update?
  • What are you currently reading and/or listening to?
  • What’s the next book on your To Be Read stack/list?

It’s Reading Report Time! (April 2017) | #amreading #bookreview

Monday, April 3, 2017

Happy First Monday of April, everyone.
It’s Reading Report Time!

Open Book by Dave Dugdale

Open Book by Dave Dugdale

Tell us what you’ve finished since the beginning of last month, what you’re currently reading, and what’s on your To Be Read stack/list. And if you’ve reviewed the books you’ve read somewhere, please include links!

To format your text, click here for an HTML cheat-sheet. If you want to embed your links in your text (like my “click here” links) instead of just pasting the link into your comment, click here.

  • What book(s) did you finish reading (or listening to) since the last update?
  • What are you currently reading and/or listening to?
  • What’s the next book on your To Be Read stack/list?

Fun Friday: ‘To Capture His Heart’ (A Ransome Spin-Off #StoryIdea) | #amwriting #romance

Friday, March 31, 2017

Fun Friday 2013
Because I’m trying to re-teach myself that writing can be fun, this year, I’m focusing on coming up with new ideas for stories. Does this mean they’ll all get written in novel or even novella form? No guarantees. However, this is a creative exercise that I both need and want to share.

You can read all of the previous story ideas here.

Working Title: To Capture His Heart

Frederick Ransome = Ben Aldridge
Valeria Amador = Gal Gadot


Valeria Amador (1821) and her brothers, Faron (1819) and Mateo (1823), grew up in one of the largest land-holding Californio families in Alta California, north of San Francisco. Their father, a high-ranking member of the Mexican leadership in Alta California, was arrested and his lands confiscated during the Mexican-American war. Valeria had been engaged to marry a Spanish aristocrat before the war broke out, but once her family lost everything, the engagement was canceled.

With the influx of US soldiers during the war and immigrants flooding in with the peace and the discovery of gold, diseases have run rampant among the Californio and native populations not exposed to them before—including decimating Val’s family. Now all she has left are her two brothers from their once-large family. By chance—because they saw a Wanted poster with a reward listed and they desperately needed the money—the three became some of the best Vigilantes in California. With a nomadic lifestyle—and the occasional hospitality of other Californio families who still have their homes—the Amadors have managed to save most of the money from the bounties they’ve claimed.

Faron Amador = Oscar Isaac

Older brother Faron has it figured that with just three or four more high-value captures, they can buy enough land for all three of them to be set for the future—for families and children and homes of their own.

Frederick Ransome arrived in Philadelphia at age eighteen to live with his uncle’s family and attend college and medical school. Upon completing his medical degree in 1845, Freddie joined an expedition led by famous explorer John Fremont. The goal was to map the source of the Arkansas River to its source in the eastern Rocky Mountains. However, Fremont actually took them through the mountains and into California—the Sacramento Valley—where he started trying to stir up disaffection against Mexico City and start an independence movement. Freddie didn’t want any part of the war-mongering, so he set out on his own, seeking other doctors—and native shamans and medicine men—who could teach him not just about healing and native plants/remedies, but also about the land itself and how to live with it rather than exploit it.

By the time the Mexican-American War started in 1846, Freddie had apprenticed himself to Dr. John Marsh, a Harvard-educated physician and wealthy land owner in northern California. Marsh was more heavily involved in politics/the war effort than Freddie first realized and he soon struck out on his own again. This time, he ended up in Nueva Helvetia, California, where he was immediately employed as the settlement’s physician by founder John Sutter. Once gold was discovered where the workers were digging the foundation of the new mill Sutter wanted built, immigrants and wagon trains started flooding in—bringing plenty of work for doctors . . . and bounty hunters alike.

Mateo Amador = Diego Luna


With winter approaching, Dr. Frederick Ransome is seeing more and more miners every day with illnesses that could be easily treated in an office or hospital in a city, with the proper medications and nutrition. But as these aren’t available in the gold fields, he applies what he’s learned from the native tribes—herbs and plants found in the area as he travels from camp to camp.

Upon arriving at the latest camp, Freddie ducks into the saloon tent for a bite to eat and to warm up. Within minutes, the mood changes perceptibly, and Freddie turns to see a beautiful woman enter. She looks anxious and asks if there’s a doctor in camp. Freddie identifies himself and rushes out with her when she tells him her brother needs a doctor urgently.

Outside the camp, Freddie is ambushed by two able-bodied men. After riding through the night, they stop to rest the horses and finally tell him what’s happening. They’re Vigilantes (bounty hunters), and they’re taking him to San Francisco to face legal charges for fraud and theft.

Someone has been going from town to town, camp to camp, selling fake medicines (that have been making people sick) and, when he leaves, money and valuables are discovered missing. His name: Dr. Frederick Ransome. And though the drawing on the Wanted poster doesn’t look much like Freddie, it doesn’t matter. He says he is Dr. Frederick Ransome, so they’re taking him in.

Val Amador has had too much experience with avoiding unwanted advances from the men they capture and arrest—so when Freddie Ransome doesn’t behave the way all the others have, she starts to observe him, paying much closer attention to him. Soon, she finds herself believing him and trying to convince her brothers of his innocence. She finally convinces them to detour to a town that leveled a complaint about him to see if they can identify him as the con artist.

When they arrive in the town, Freddie is vindicated, as each person who’d seen the doctor is willing to swear that it wasn’t the man—Freddie—standing before them now. Wanting to clear his name—and spend more time with Val, while also helping the Amadors bring in the reward money—he offers to work with them to track down and capture the man who has stolen his identity.

Will Freddie and Val be able to find the culprit before a rival group of vigilantes, known for delivering their prey dead more often than alive, finds Freddie and takes the law into their own hands?

#WritingBiz: The Dos and Don’ts of Networking | #amwriting

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A high percentage of writers are introverts, and our natural instinct is to just sit at home and write. But while some authors can parlay that into book sales without ever leaving their comfort zone, in this modern age of branding and name-marketing, selling our books is much harder to do without networking and marketing ourselves. You have to learn how to talk to people!

Whether introverted or extroverted, there are going to be some stumbling blocks you’ll need to get over and etiquette you’ll need to learn. From my experience, networking takes years to learn, so don’t expect to become an expert overnight. Practice, practice, practice!

As you practice networking, here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind:

  • Don’t give up!
  • Do have confidence in yourself!
  • Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you! Do go out and make your own opportunities!
  • Don’t be afraid!
  • Do make eye contact!
  • Do plan what you’re going to say ahead of time!
  • Don’t go into every situation with an agenda!
  • Do collect business cards! Don’t just let them sit in a drawer! Do follow up with those contacts!
  • Do start conversations! Do ask people about themselves!
  • Don’t wait for networking opportunities to come to you. Do get out there—find new people to network with—a great source is to find groups meeting in your area!
  • Do ask for advice!
  • Don’t retreat to a corner!
  • Do watch others as they network. Pick up pointers of other dos and don’ts through observation!
  • Don’t assume when someone doesn’t respond to you or doesn’t let you have that seat that you’re being rejected. Don’t get discouraged.
  • Do refresh yourself with time alone or time with your supporting group of friends/family.
  • Don’t put off networking. Building your network of contacts now will lead to more success in the future.
  • Don’t talk someone’s ear off. Do know when to shut-up.
  • Don’t stalk the person you’re trying to network with. Do know when to walk away.
  • Do learn how to write good letters and e-mails.
  • Do practice speaking to business contacts on the phone.
  • Do treat everyone you come in contact with as you would like to be treated if you were in his or her shoes.

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