Juliet's Nurse by Lois Leveen (Review and Giveaway!)

>>  Thursday, October 30, 2014

Juliet’s Nurse by Lois Leveen
ISBN: 9781476757445
Published by: Simon and Shuster
Published: 2014
Hard Cover, 384 pages

We all know the story of Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet.  This new version (although we only come to their story about ¾ of the way through) is told through the eyes of Juliet’s wet-nurse, Angelica, who is brought into the Cappelletti (Capulet) family following the death of her own daughter. In the play, after Romeo and Juliet, the person to whom Shakespeare assigns the most lines is Angelica, so it is tantalizing to consider her role in the story; she who has surprising secrets and has endured great losses that rival the young lovers’ own. It’s basically her story.

Convincing historical details abound that help the reader get a glimpse into life in Shakespeare’s ‘fair Verona’. Herbs, medicines, food, candies, tapestries over doors, hidden rooms, customs, hairstyles – “saints, widows and happily wedded matrons all plait (braid) their hair”, interior decors, coats of arms, all contribute to getting a sense of 14th century Verona.

My favorite character was Tybalt as a child, a loving cousin to Juliet. His sense of wonder at the world around him and poignant desire for a relationship with his father really touched me. I didn’t really engage with Angelica except to sympathize with her bereavements.

The book explores loss and resilience.  It’s also a love story on several levels. This is a well-researched, well-written historical novel albeit peppered with crude and raunchy language, a very sensual tale. There are a few sex scenes with baby Juliet nearby – a heads-up to the reader!

Note: This book is rated S: sex scenes and P: profanity
To read more reviews, follow the tour on Italy Book Tours.

About the author:

Award-winning historian, author, and former college professor LOIS LEVEEN holds degrees in history and literature from Harvard, UCLA, and USC. She traveled to Verona, Italy, to research JULIET'S NURSE, as well as apprenticing herself to an urban beekeeping group in her adopted hometown of Portland, Oregon, to write accurately about the life cycle of hives.

Lois has given talks in Finland, France, and throughout the US about the historical research behind JULIET'S NURSE, and about how she approached challenging themes of teen violence, suicide, and plague epidemics in adapting Shakespeare for contemporary readers. Her first novel, The Secrets of Mary Bowser, based on the true story of an African American woman who spied for the Union during the Civil War by posing as a slave in the Confederate White House, was a 2012 Target Book Club pick and is currently being developed into a Broadway musical.

Connect with Lois: Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter

And now for the giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Reviewed by Sandra

Disclosure: Thanks to Laura Fabiani  from Italy Book Tours for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.


CLIMAX: The Publicist Book 3 : Cover Reveal and Giveaway of all three books and a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

>>  Wednesday, October 29, 2014

It's finally here, the long-awaited sequel to The Publicist! CLIMAX by Christina George is the final installment in the series. It comes in two parts:

The Covers

Here is the Bundled set version:

About the Book

Release date: December 15, 2014. You can pre-order now!

Kate Mitchell has never forgiven herself for breaking Nick Lavigne’s heart. Now he’s back and he’s moved on, and it’s affecting Kate’s life more than she’s willing to admit.

Kate Mitchell has everything. She's the head of a crazy successful publishing house, engaged to the traffic-stopping sexy Mac Ellis and she's about to sign one of the biggest authors of her career.

And that's when everything falls apart.

Everything is perfect…until it’s not.

In a city of 8 million people Kate manages to run into someone she never expected to see again.

Nick is handsome, impossibly kind, every girl’s dream, and Kate’s former fiancĂ©. He’s also the brother of the rising star author she’s trying to sign. Now that Nick’s back in town and has moved on he insists he’s over Kate, but part of him still can’t get past how amazing they were, and his sister won’t let anyone forget how brutally it ended.

When Mac is dealt a life-changing blow, it forces Kate to question every single choice she’s made.

Follow Kate as she embarks on a journey of life and love, navigating through the decisions that will change it all forever.

About the Author

Website  ~  Twitter  ~   Facebook  ~  Goodreads

Christina George has worked in publishing for twenty years (give or take). Here’s what this book isn't. It’s not a slam against publishing (though it is broken) and it’s not a slam against authors (though some of them are crazy). This book is not autobiographical though many of the stories are true. No you won’t know which ones, cause it’s more fun to guess, right? George continues to work in publicity and helps authors because at the end of the day she does love books, she loves publishing, and she loves authors. She hopes you’ll enjoy this romp through Kate’s world as much as she enjoyed creating it.

Let's Revisit the Characters...

Some Fun Stuff!

Head on over to Kate's site and listen to a sample of the audio book version of The Publicist and enter her Amazon gift card giveaway. She also has a playlist of songs for the book!

So which team are you on? Want to know who Kate ends up with?

Want to win a signed copy of all three books? How about a $25 Amazon Gift Card?

And now for the giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Remake by Ilima Todd (Review and Giveaway)

>>  Friday, October 24, 2014

Remake by Ilima Todd
Shadow Mountain Publishing
ISBN: 978-1609079246
Published October 14,2014
Trade paperback, 304 pages

Book synopsis:

Male or Female?

Nine is the ninth female born in her batch of ten females and ten males. By design, her life in Freedom Province is without complications or consequences. However, such freedom comes with a price. The Prime Maker is determined to keep that price a secret from the new batches of citizens that are born, nurtured, and raised androgynously.

But Nine isn’t like every other batcher. She harbors indecision and worries about her upcoming Remake Day—her seventeenth birthday, the age when batchers fly to the Remake facility and have the freedom to choose who and what they’ll be.

When Nine discovers the truth about life outside of Freedom Province, including the secret plan of the Prime Maker, she is pulled between two worlds and two lives. Her decisions will test her courage, her heart, and her beliefs. Who can she trust? Who does she love? And most importantly, who will she decide to be?

Our thoughts:

I've been waiting to read this book since I heard about it at BookExpo America. I let my daughter read it first and she finished it quite quickly. A good sign since she lingers with books that don't grab her from the very beginning. Lately I've been reading more YA and especially dystopian novels, and my daughter who is now 13 discovered this genre and she loves it. So this was the perfect escapism book for both me and my daughter. Like her I devoured it quite quickly too. And we both felt the same way about it, which is interesting because she is a teenager and I'm, well... a lot older!

Nine's world is quite different from any other dystopian world we've read because there are no families and children are raised in batches with hormone suppressants so that they do not develop physically until they reach age 17 and are sent to the Remake facility where they can decide what gender and occupation they would like. The hormone suppression reminded me of The Giver. It took some getting used to reading about teenagers who were more like younger children because they were underdeveloped. But Todd does a good job of convincing the reader as we get immersed in the story. Their innocence was refreshing.

I had some questions about how Freedom Province actually came to be and the daily life in that place. We get a glimpse of it when Nine and her best friend Theron go for a night out, but I would have like to know more. My daughter felt the same way. When a terrible accident on their way to the Remake facility separate Nine and Theron, with Nine washing up on the shores of an island, things change drastically for Nine. 

She has to deal with loss and with the sudden changes in her body as she starts to mature physically. (Teens can definitely relate to that! I even remember those puberty changes.) She meets an actual family and learns about the roles of mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, things she knows nothing about. The message that family is important and essential came across beautifully in this novel. The descriptions of island life and teamwork contrasted well with the controlled and narcissistic atmosphere of Freedom. 

Nine also experiences love for a boy in a way she never knew before. I don't mind a little romance in a dystopian novel, but both my daughter and I felt that the romance was a little too heavy and that at times it overpowered the dystopian plot line. We weren't aware that there is a sequel to this novel so that the ending left us feeling like her decision was not made in the right way. We were both a little stunned. Not by her choices, but how she made those choices. About why she did not share her new-found knowledge. However, if we felt that way, clearly it's because we got so immersed in Nine's world and wondered if there was more to come. The answer is yes. So now we have to patiently wait for the second book to see how the rebellion will come about, what role Nine has in it, and how this will affect her relationships.

If you like dystopian novels with romance, pick this one up. It's different enough and will immerse you in its story. My daughter and I loved how it kept us wondering what would happen next. Todd skilfully introduced twists to the story when least expected. We look forward to the next installment!

Note: This book is rated V = minor violence. There is a scene where a character gets beat up and another where Nine witnesses cruel acts from the Freedom police. No bad language or sex scenes, just kissing.

To follow the tour, please visit the iRead Tour Page for REMAKE.

Ilima Todd
About the author:

Ilima Todd was born and raised on the north shore of Oahu and currently resides in the Rocky Mountains. She never wanted to be a writer even though she loves books and reading. She earned a degree in physics instead. But the characters in her head refused to be ignored, and now she spends her time writing science fiction for teens. When she is not writing, Ilima loves to spend time with her husband and four children.
Connect with Ilima:

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter

And now for the giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Reviewed by Laura and Daughter

Disclosure: Thanks to the publisher for sending us this book for review. We were not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.


Have a Happy Family by Friday by Dr. Kevin Leman

>>  Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Have a Happy Family by Friday by Dr. Kevin Leman
Revel (Baker Publishing Group)
ISBN: 978-0800724153
Published August 2014
Trade paperback, 304 pages

I like reading parenting books. Although I studied child psychology and I practice Biblical teachings, I like to strive to learn more, especially when we parents have the challenge to bring up our kids in a technological-based world.

As children grow from babies to toddlers, preschoolers, middle-graders and finally teenagers, what you think you know about your kids suddenly flies out the window when your emotions get involved and you go through your own life changes too.

When I first saw the title of this book I thought it was unrealistic, but as I started reading I found the counsel to be very realistic, practical and loving. It fit right in with my own family values and ways of parenting.

Dr. Leman dispenses his counsel with knowledge and experience. I felt like I was reading a letter from a very experienced parent and grandparent who has seen it all. Best of all, Dr. Leman has a wonderful sense of humour and his love of family shines through in this book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading and meditating on the counsel it contains. Dr. Leman gets kids and he gets teenagers. He gets how to make families thrive. I read a portion of this book every night and it made me love my kids more, it made me see them with new eyes, especially after some difficult days with them.

Dr. Leman incorporates all parts of a family, including grandparents. He delves into essential topics like communication, time and priorities, discipline and attitude. There is even a section called Ask Dr. Lemon with question and answer, much like Dear Abby. I also enjoyed the anecdotal stories he includes.

Overall, this is an easy book to read and Dr. Leman motivates one to take action and to follow through. However, that doesn't mean the advice is simplistic. It's actually quite deep and filled with wisdom. Highly recommended, especially if you want to make some positive changes to parent in the best way you can.

Note: This book is rated C = clean read.

Reviewed by Laura

Disclosure: This book has been provided courtesy of Revel (Baker Publishing Group) and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Baker Publishing Group. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.


Mailbox Monday and It's Monday, What Are You Reading? Oct 20 Edition

>>  Sunday, October 19, 2014

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia who now blogs at To Be Continued. It is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home on its blog. Link up to share your MM.

This week I participated in a Google+ Hangout called Mamma Mia - Italy. The panel consisted of three foreigners living in Italy as well as two Italian Canadians (I was one of them) and we talked about what Italy means to us. It was a fun discussion. I invite you to take a look:

Mamma Mia - Italy hosted by Connections

Two books in my mailbox this week!

Dinosaur Boy by Cory Putman Oakes

Everyone knows the dinosaur gene skips a generation.

So it isn't a complete surprise when Sawyer sprouts spikes and a tail before the start of fifth grade. After all, his grandfather was part stegosaurus.

Despite the Principal's Zero Tolerance Policy, Sawyer becomes a bully magnet, befriended only by Elliot aka "Gigantor" and the weird new girl. When the bullies start disappearing, Sawyer is relieved-until he discovers a secret about the principal that's more shocking than Dino DNA. The bullies are in for a galactically horrible fate...and it's up to Sawyer and his friends to rescue them.

This one will be on tour with iRead Book Tours:

Corporate Cowboy by Stuart Anderson

Stuart Anderson had led a fascinating life for the past 90 years. He built Black Angus, America's #1 restaurant chain of the 1980s and ranched on a 26,000 acre spread where he raised cattle. His circle of friends has included Hollywood stars and corporate bigwigs. You'll discover his persona history is a lot like the man - larger than life! In addition, reader benefits: 

* Discover the ins and outs of profitable restaurant management as imparted by a master entrepreneur * Delight in "bone head" mistakes Anderson made early in his career like the case of the "melted chocolate" or "bitter pills for bulls."
* Get a backstage look at celebrity friendships and news-making events. 
* Try some Black Angus favorite recipes and get some diabetic tips 

Won't you too join in the adventures of this "Corporate Cowboy's" successes and failures which are by turns sobering, insightful, laugh-out-loud funny and full of folksy wisdom.

Free Kindle:
With Autumn's Return by Amanda Cabot

Elizabeth Harding arrives in Cheyenne, Wyoming, to establish her medical practice thanks to the wooing of her two older sisters who extolled the beauty of the land. She's certain she'll have a line of patients eager for her expertise and gentle bedside manner. However, she soon discovers the town and its older doctor may not welcome a new physician. Even more frustrating, the handsome young attorney next door may not be ready for the idea of a woman doctor. For his part, Jason Nordling has nothing against women, but he's promised himself that the woman he marries will be a full-time mother.

Despite their firm principles, Elizabeth and Jason find that mutual attraction--and disdain from the community--is drawing them ever closer. And when the two find themselves working to save the life and tattered reputation of a local woman, they'll have to decide how far they're willing to go to find justice--and true love.

This meme is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. This is where we keep track of what we are currently reading and plan to read.  The kidlit version is hosted by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts.

Read and Reviewed:

The Sea House by Elizabeth Gifford (so well-written and atmospheric!)

Review of REMAKE coming up on Friday. My daughter and I thought this was a great read! On tour now with giveaway. Win one of 5 copies. Enter by clicking here.

Currently Reading: The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure (very good!)

The link for October audiobook reviews is up:  LISTEN UP! Let other know what you're listening to in books.


Have a great reading week!

"The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them."
— Mark Twain

Find the best prices for the books you love!


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