Thursday, February 11, 2016

Cover Crush: Cajun Waltz by Robert H. Patton

We all know we shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but in today's increasingly competitive market, a memorable jacket can make or break sales.

I am not a professional, but I am a consumer and much as I loath admitting it, jacket design is one of the first things I notice when browsing the shelves at Goodreads and Amazon. My love of cover art is what inspired Cover Crush, a weekly post dedicated to those prints that have captured my attention and/or piqued my interest. Enjoy!

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The jacket design for Robert H. Patton's Cajun Waltz gets me every time I see it. I love the red gold combination of colors, but I also like that the subject matter isn't a person. The jacket speaks to a certain era, but it does so without distant dreamy eyes, or a sumptuous gown. The items it features are actually rather masculine and as a reader who is constantly bitching, yes bitching, about the lack of diverse males in historical fiction, I'm rather intrigued to see where this particular story might go. 

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Did this week's cover catch your eye? Do you have an opinion you'd like to share? Please leave a comment below. I'd love to hear from you!


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Cover Clichés: The Regal Royal Ruffle (Closed Collar)

Sometimes, while browsing the virtual shelves on Amazon and Goodreads, I see an image that gives me an oddly disconcerting sense of deja vu. I could swear I've never read the book, but I know I've seen the jacket image somewhere before.

This phenomenon is what inspired Cover Clichés. Images are often recycled because cover artists are often forced to work from a limited pool of stock images and copyright free material. That said, I find comparing their finished designs quite interesting.  

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Archbishop Franz Schiller Windsor wasn't actually archbishop yet and may never be. His father still held onto that title. He also wasn't German, at least not by birth, probably not by blood either. His mother had had a penchant for foreign names, as Franz's elder brother, Vladmimir, and younger sister, Julieta, evidenced. And, despite the layers of foppish adornment and the amount of authority he held in the house, he was merely sixteen. An age at which most young “men” around him were already getting married, whilst he was still getting over his “zooks, girls are a bother” years. But, like so many other noble fathers of sons his age, he was being found a wife. And, as he had not inherited, as he put it, “my brother's unfortunate countenance”, he was on his way to being the more successful son, possibly upgraded to the heir. This is an adult, graphic erotic romance short story containing explicit content only suitable for adults.




It’s midwinter in 1539, and former nun, Catherine Havens Overton, has just given birth to her second child, a daughter. The convent in which she was raised is now part of her husband's lands, lands that once belonged to Catherine's family. With a son, Robert, and her new daughter, Veronica, her life as the mistress of a great household should be complete. But Henry VIII’s England has not been kind to many of the evicted members of religious houses. And in order to protect her old companions from the hostilities, Catherine has gathered about her a group of former nuns in hopes of providing them a chance to serve in the village of Havenston, her City of Ladies. Catherine’s past haunts her. Her husband begins to suspect that Robert is not his child. Then the women of Overton House begin to disappear and one of them is found brutally murdered nearby. Seizing the moment, under the pretense of ensuring her safety, William forces Catherine to enter service at Hatfield House where the young Elizabeth Tudor lives. Reluctantly, Catherine obeys, only to find herself serving not only the Protestant Elizabeth but also the shamed Catholic Mary Tudor. As the murders in Yorkshire continue to mount and her loyalty to the Tudor sisters grows more complicated, Catherine must uncover the secret of the killer and save her City of Ladies.




She was taught to obey. Now she has learned to rebel. 12 year old Isabella, a French princess marries the King of England - only to discover he has a terrible secret. Ten long years later she is in utter despair - does she submit to a lifetime of solitude and a spiritual death - or seize her destiny and take the throne of England for herself? Isabella is just twelve years old when she marries Edward II of England. For the young princess it is love at first sight - but Edward has a terrible secret that threatens to tear their marriage - and England apart. Who is Piers Gaveston - and why is his presence in the king’s court about to plunge England into civil war? The young queen believes in the love songs of the troubadours and her own exalted destiny - but she finds reality very different. As she grows to a woman in the deadly maelstrom of Edward’s court, she must decide between her husband, her children, even her life - and one breath-taking gamble that will change the course of history. This is the story of Isabella, the only woman ever to invade England - and win. In the tradition of Philippa Gregory and Elizabeth Chadwick, ISABELLA is thoroughly researched and fast paced, the little known story of the one invasion the English never talk about.






The enduring mystery of what happened to the first English colony in the New World... In 1587, a group of would-be colonists set sail from England and later landed on Roanoke Island, now part of North Carolina's Outer Banks. Their ship returned to England and the settlers were never heard from again. This is the story, based on legendary and historical information, of what might have happened to them. Jocelyn White, a newlywed married to Thomas Coleman, is reluctant to leave her home in England for the wild shores of the New World. The journey is fraught with danger, but her dependence on God and God's providence carry her safely through.



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Which cover strikes your fancy and why? What colors draw your eye? Do you think the image appropriate next to the jacket description? Leave your comments below!

Have you seen this image elsewhere? Shoot me an email or leave a comment and let me know. 


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Cover Crush: A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams

We all know we shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but in today's increasingly competitive market, a memorable jacket can make or break sales.

I am not a professional, but I am a consumer and much as I loath admitting it, jacket design is one of the first things I notice when browsing the shelves at Goodreads and Amazon. My love of cover art is what inspired Cover Crush, a weekly post dedicated to those prints that have captured my attention and/or piqued my interest. Enjoy!

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Don't you just love the warmth in this cover? The lighter colors drew my eye and I love how the red pops against the softer tones of the city in the background. Another thing I like about this jacket is that the model's full face is visible. There's something intriguing in her eyes and like how the artist used that to their advantage when designing this cover. 

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Did this week's cover catch your eye? Do you have an opinion you'd like to share? Please leave a comment below. I'd love to hear from you!


In Another Life by Julie Christine Johnson

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Obtained from: Netgalley
Read: February 3, 2016

Historian Lia Carrer has finally returned to southern France, determined to rebuild her life after the death of her husband. But instead of finding solace in the region's quiet hills and medieval ruins, she falls in love with Raoul, a man whose very existence challenges everything she knows about life--and about her husband's death. As Raoul reveals the story of his past to Lia, she becomes entangled in the echoes of an ancient murder, resulting in a haunting and suspenseful journey that reminds Lia that the dead may not be as far from us as we think. Steeped in the rich history and romantic landscape of rural France, In Another Life is a story of love that conquers time and the lost loves that haunt us all.

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Julie Christine Johnson’s In Another Life was a hard book for me. I liked the idea and found the tone reminiscent of M.J. Rose’s novels, but it took ages for me to get into the story and, taken as a whole, I find that fact impossible to ignore. 

Johnson’s rich prose is impossible to criticize and I loved how atmospheric the novel felt, but I found the structure of the story incredibly fractured. I hate to be blunt, but I struggled with how Johnson approached the dual timeline and felt the manner in which she moved between past and present made the story difficult to follow and absorb. 

The pacing presented another hurdle for as I felt the novel’s momentum was often stalled by historical exposition. The information itself is testament to Johnson’s dedication to research and I adore the author’s enthusiasm, but I felt the sheer volume of fact overwhelmed the fictional elements of the finished narrative. 

Looking back, I find that I have a lot of unanswered questions regarding the mechanics of what exactly transpires. It’s all rather mystifying I think the novel might have been stronger if the author had elaborated on the supernatural natural elements of the story in greater detail. I don’t mean to sound overly critical, but the concepts were too vague for my liking and the gaps left me at a bit of a loss. 

Did I enjoy the time I spent reading In Another Life? Yes. I struggled with elements of its construction, but I enjoyed the story Johnson told and see myself recommending her work as a light and imaginative romance. 

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The bag over Lia’s shoulder contained two letters. Both had been written in that terrible year between December 1207 and December 1208, when Languedoc fell on the blade of a sword and split open into war. One letter warned of evil; the other offered safe passage to a woman and her children. Betrayal and forgiveness. The past not forgotten, the future in the form of new life. 
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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Cover Clichés: Kissing Couple Number One

Sometimes, while browsing the virtual shelves on Amazon and Goodreads, I see an image that gives me an oddly disconcerting sense of deja vu. I could swear I've never read the book, but I know I've seen the jacket image somewhere before.

This phenomenon is what inspired Cover Clichés. Images are often recycled because cover artists are often forced to work from a limited pool of stock images and copyright free material. That said, I find comparing their finished designs quite interesting.  

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Lest we forget…
A poignant new tale from the English Maeve Binchy.

It's 2003 and at over 100 years old, Selma Dixon is the last link to the hidden truth behind her village's refusal to honour its war dead.

1914 saw the Yorkshire village of West Sharland send its men off to fight, including Selma's brothers and her sweetheart Guy. But when Guy is badly wounded and returns home on leave, the horrific reality of war is fully realised in the village. By none more so than Guy's mother, who, in a fit of protective madness, secretly sends Angus, Guy's identical twin brother who was medically unfit to enlist, back to fight in his place. Horrified, Guy tries to reveal the truth about his identity.

Back in France, reckless and naïve Angus is bitterly unprepared for war, and when his actions seal not only his fate but that of Selma's brother, whose name becomes tainted in the village, Selma’s life is changed forever.

Forced to start a new life in America, Selma is oblivious to why her family’s name is mud back at home. Until the past comes back to haunt her and the names of the dead must be spoken once more...




Carlos and Nicole met in the streets of Paris. German troops advanced on strong and determined step, but everyone believed that the French capital was safe from Adolf Hitler's madness. They are deceiving themselves. Within weeks, the Nazi troops were at the gates of Paris and thousands of refugees sought to salvation. Nicole found her in Bordeaux at the hands of Ambassador Aristides de Sousa Mendes who handed him a visa to come to Portugal, where they finally fall in the arms of his beloved. Away from the war, away from danger, away from the stigma of being Jewish, would finally be happy. But there are prejudices that are hard to break and once again the two lovers are required to follow different paths. Carlos is in Lisbon, between his father's business, an influential man in society Salazar and her mother's illness. Nicole part to London, a city that lives dramatic days under the threat of being bombed by German aviation. Participates in the war effort as best you know, wearing a nurse's uniform, risking their lives to help others. Hoping to forget Carlos. Yet amid the rubble of World War II there is a love capable of resisting it.




It is the summer of 1936, the early months of the agonising civil war that engulfs Spain and shakes the rest of the world. In a prison in the pilgrim city of Santiago de Compostela, an artist sketches the famous porch of the cathedral, the Portico da Gloria. He uses a carpenter's pencil. But instead of reproducing the sculptured faces of the prophets and elders, he draws the faces of his fellow Republican prisoners.

Many years later in post-Franco Spain, a survivor of that period, Doctor Daniel da Barca, returns from exile to his native Galicia, and the threads of past memories begin to be woven together. This poetic and moving novel conveys the horror and savagery of the tragedy that divided Spain, and the experiences of the men and women who lived through it. Yet in the process, it also relates one of the most beautiful love stories imaginable.




A stunning debut novel of a young American woman who becomes a spy in Paris during World War II.

May 1940. Fleeing a glamorous Manhattan life built on lies, Claire Harris arrives in Paris with a romantic vision of starting anew. But she didn't anticipate the sight of Nazi soldiers marching under the Arc de Triomphe. Her plans smashed by the German occupation, the once- privileged socialite's only option is to take a job in a flower shop under the tutelage of a sophisticated Parisian florist.

In exchange for false identity papers, Claire agrees to aid the French Resistance. Despite the ever-present danger, she comes to love the enduring beauty of the City of Light, exploring it in the company of Thomas Grey, a mysterious Englishman working with the Resistance. Claire's bravery and intelligence make her a valuable operative, and slowly her values shift as she witnesses the courageous spirit of the Parisians.

But deception and betrayal force her to flee once again-this time to fight for the man she loves and what she knows is right-praying she has the heart and determination to survive long enough to one day see Paris again.


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Which cover strikes your fancy and why? What colors draw your eye? Do you think the image appropriate next to the jacket description? Leave your comments below!

Have you seen this image elsewhere? Shoot me an email or leave a comment and let me know. 


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