She Reads Books of Winter: The Magician’s Lie by Greer MacAllister

Synopsis:

Water for Elephants meets The Night Circus in The Magician’s Lie, a debut novel in which the country’s most notorious female illusionist stands accused of her husband’s murder —and she has only one night to convince a small-town policeman of her innocence.

The Amazing Arden is the most famous female illusionist of her day, renowned for her notorious trick of sawing a man in half on stage. One night in Waterloo, Iowa, with young policeman Virgil Holt watching from the audience, she swaps her trademark saw for a fire ax. Is it a new version of the illusion, or an all-too-real murder? When Arden’s husband is found lifeless beneath the stage later that night, the answer seems clear.

But when Virgil happens upon the fleeing magician and takes her into custody, she has a very different story to tell. Even handcuffed and alone, Arden is far from powerless-and what she reveals is as unbelievable as it is spellbinding. Over the course of one eerie night, Virgil must decide whether to turn Arden in or set her free… and it will take all he has to see through the smoke and mirrors.

My Review:

One of the greatest honors I’ve had as a book blogger is being a part of such an amazing community with She Reads!  This Winter, four great books have been selected, with The Magician’s Lie as one of them.

From the moment I read the page, I wanted to know more about Arden.  She is one of the few successful magicians in the country, who also happens to be a female!  As Arden is holed up in a small county jail, she tells her story to Virgil, (a police officer), who has to determine what to do: turn her in for murder or release her.

Both Virgil and Arden have some similarities: they are broken (physically and emotionally), they have to choose their fate, and both have to come to terms with their future.  Over the course of one night, Arden shares her life story and what happened on the fateful night that her husband is murdered.  Did she do it? Was it an illusion gone wrong? Was someone else seeking justice?

Aside from trying to figure what happened, I was most interested in Arden’s early childhood.  She is always second choice, from the time her father leaves her and her mother, to when her mother chooses her cousin’s side for the sake of their financial future, Arden (Ada) realizes that she is truly the only one in charge of her future.

I loved reading about the early beginnings of what it entails to be a magician, a female magician on the road dealing with the dangers and hostility that can easily come her way.  While Arden strives to make a name for herself, her past is never far away…sometimes literally.

Greer MacAllister is an amazing storyteller, and like Arden, it was hard to separate fact from fiction.  Greer based some of the book on actual facts, actual magicians, and brings an incredible story that is unique, will be loved, and will keep people guessing.

The ending seemed to move a little too fast. I wanted to see what happens after the interview with Virgil, however it ends brilliantly and in true magician form-it keeps you guessing long after the last page!

This is definitely a book that will be on many great lists of 2015, be a favorite amongst readers, and hopefully will show that in the end- you are in charge of your destiny and that what doesn’t kill you, truly does make you stronger.  Choice…this story is all about it. So, now you have the choice: will you read it or won’t you? If you do, you will be just as mesmerized as I was and appreciate the level of work and art that magic encompasses.  It’s a fantastic read and I enjoyed it very much!

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*This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest opinion.  No forms of compensation were given.  All

greer the magicians lie authorAbout the Author:

Raised in the Midwest, Greer Macallister is a poet, short story writer, playwright and novelist whose work has appeared in publications such as The North American Review,  The Missouri Review, and The Messenger. Her plays have been performed at American University, where she earned her MFA in Creative Writing. She lives with her family on the East Coast.

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Connect with Greer MacAllister:

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Read an excerpt from THE MAGICIAN’S LIE.

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2015 Book & Non-Bookish Goals

 

2015 goals

 

I have never really felt the need to have goals, because as often is the case, life happens.  However, this is a new year and I am feeling physically better, so I wanted to share some of them with you.

1.  Read more YA:  Last year, I read While Beauty Slept, Eleanor and Park, The Fault in Our Stars, The Madman’s Daughter Trilogy, and maybe some more that I just can’t think of off the top of my head.  However, I was really blown away with the content of the books and how much they truly capture the essence of our youth, today.  So, this year, I plan to read more YA books, follow more YA bloggers, and participate in tours that are YA based.

2.  Be on less tours:  So, I know I just wrote that I want to participate in more YA tours.  However, this means that I will be participating in less tours that are NOT YA.  I also want to move away from participating in so many tours because I want to read through many of the book purchases I made last year.  I love tours because they introduce me to great authors and I get the opportunity to read great books and help promote them, but I want to go to my first love: just reading and share what I already own.  I remember a pastor saying once, “how you leave one _____,is how you enter the new _____”.  Fill in the blank for yourself.  In December, I was on very few promotional tours, that I actually was able to read some books that had been on my TBR list.  I loved it and enjoyed having less stress and less pressure to read a book by a certain deadline, writing my review, and posting it on various social media and bookstore sites.  So, I want to apply what that pastor said by ending last year with reading my personal books to continuing that trend for this year!

3.  Attend more book signings:  I don’t typically attend book signings because not many authors trek it over down to Houston.  However, for those authors who do, I am going to be more intentional and plan to attend their signings to encourage, support, and promote their books.  I attended my first book signing this past year.  It was the fabulous Kathleen Kent!  I learned a bit more about her and the creative writing process it takes for her to write a book.  I also learned a lot more about the background story to her latest book, The Outcasts.  So, I realized that attending a book signing is more than just going to get an autograph.  It’s really quite intimate and very engaging!  Author, Kathleen Kent, certainly raised my expectations of a book signing!

4.  Attend a book expo or major event: I have never attended one in person.  I have participated each year online, through BEA, and love meeting new bloggers and interacting with them.  This year, I plan to attend at least one event and actually meet bloggers in person, meet more authors, and be introduced to great books that I can share with all of you!

5.  Have book giveaways that are not limited to my blog: I love seeing book giveaways on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.  I think it’s easier, more fun, and engaging with all the reposts, shares, and retweets.  The comments are awesome, too! So, I want to offer more giveaways that way, as they are less hassle and just easier!

6.  Comment on more blog posts:  I read a lot!  From books, synopsis’, news, social media, and blogs.  While I do respond a lot more on Twitter and Instagram, I am fairly quiet on FB and other’s blogs.  So, this year, I have been making a conscious effort to reply to more posts from fellow bloggers, rather than just reading them and moving on, or simply “liking” their post.  It’s usually because of time that I don’t comment on many posts, but I really want to be more engaging and interactive with others.

7.  Offer monthly giveaways:  I tend to do more than 1 giveaway a month, or sometimes not have a giveaway another month.  I would like it to be more balanced and host a giveaway each month.  Quite honestly, book giveaways are expensive because of postage.  So, I typically only host giveaways in the US.  However, I plan to offer some international giveaways, too.  I will offer some e-giveaways, so that it’s easier for me and less costly!  I don’t earn any revenue on this blog, so this comes out of my own personal finances.  However, I believe in the importance of giving back and will continue to do this!

8.  Donate more books:  I usually offer books as giveaways and at hops.  However, I would like to donate books to my local community so that people can read books and share them with others.  I feel it is so important to share the gift of reading with others, and will do this more.

9.  Have more author interviews:  I am often asked if I would like to offer an author interview spotlight on my blog.  I typically don’t because I don’t want like the standard q/a format that is usually given.  However, I plan to host more and am thinking of questions I can ask that aren’t so standard.  Nothing irks me more than reading an author interview that can be found on other blogs.  Basically, the interview is cut and pasted (not my the blogger), but usually by the publisher or author to cut down on time for the author.  However, if an author wants to provide an interview on my blog, it will be set up a little differently.  Again, I’m thinking of ways to make it more fun and engaging.  If it fails, I will just go back to the standard cut/paste….NOT!  I just won’t have as many!! LOL!

10.  Continue to not review DNF books:  Back when I first started blogging, I posted 1 and 2 star reviews.  If I didn’t finish, for whatever reason, I wrote about those books, too.  However, I don’t get paid to review.  I don’t work for anyone else.  This is my blog.  So, if a book isn’t really resonating with me, I won’t continue reading the book.  The problem is that you, the reader, has no idea if I read a certain book or not.  So, I plan to include a list of DNF books, just so that readers can know I attempted to read that book, but just couldn’t finish it (for whatever reason).  I don’t want to torture myself or readers by finishing a book that is a 1 or 2 star rating, simply for the sake of having a varied amount of books with different ratings.  It’s not necessary to me, I don’t want to waste your time, and I always hold onto the belief that just because a book wasn’t great for me, doesn’t mean it won’t be great for someone else.

 

Personal Goals

1. Time Management: I bought a paper calendar, because let’s face it-nothing works better than paper and pen!  I want to be intentional with my day and have a better routine.  Even if I don’t complete everything on my list, I want to have at least recognized that item and attempted it.  I’m not perfect.  However, I can certainly plan better!

2.  Use Social Media less:  Unless it’s a scheduled part of my day, I don’t want to respond to every “ping” sound I get on my phone.  I want to interact more with those around me and spend less time looking at social media.  It’s time consuming.

3.  Set aside prayer time and devotional:  I bought a great devotional yesterday! I also bought a Bible that has it scheduled out for you, to read in one year! I have two of those Bibles on my iPad, but there is something about having an actual Bible and devotional, rather than it being on my an electronic device.  I absolutely love my One Year Bible because it not only has my favorite translation: New Living Translation, but it has colored tabs for each day!! I love that!! Also, each day has all the scripture passages based on each day, rather than in the order of the books of the Bible.  Love that feature, which isn’t as evident on my digital Bible.

4.  More family time: I don’t think I can ever have too much family time.  However, I want our time to be intentional.  Having teenagers, one in high school and the other in college, it means making use of our time wisely-which doesn’t consist of sitting in front of the tv or gaming.

5.  Planning my meals:  I love when I already know what I am going to cook for the family, each day.  However, I don’t always do that.  So, each week, I’ve been menu planning and that has helped tremendously.  It just feels good knowing what we are eating and that I have the necessary ingredients each week!

So, those are my goals for this year!  Any goals that resonated with you?  I’d love to hear your goals!

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Awesome Blog Posts & Books ‘n’ Bloggers Swap Info

Picture Courtesy of I’m Lost in Books. Click on picture for link.

 

I absolutely have been loving the Blog Shout-Outs that (I’m) Lost in Books has been posting lately.  I am a subscriber to a number of blogs, follow bloggers on various social media sites, and read their posts often.  However, I’ve always wanted to know what bloggers think of other’s blog posts, which is what Becca does.  She gives a snapshot view each week of book related posts and non-bookish topics, highlighting them, and linking where there are some great book giveaways, too!  I have actually found NEW blogs to follow through this, which is absolutely awesome!

Photo courtesy of Chaotic Goddess Swaps. Click on image for link.

Yesterday, Lost in Books posted about Books ‘n’ Bloggers Swap Signups, which Chaotic Goddess Swaps is hosting!  I love having an opportunity to buy and receive books from fellow bloggers, because I not only get to meet new bloggers this way, but give books, as a Secret Santa (or Olaf) kinda thing.  For Christmas, I have more fun shopping for people than receiving.  So, it’s kinda sad when the tree is put and the decorations taken to the attic.  However, this is a fun way to keep the gift of giving still going.  Of course, that’s why I love having giveaways, too!  I love sharing books!

So, below are the rules and information about this huge event, that happens 3 times a year!  If you are a blogging and want to join in, just click on the pic above and it will show you where you can sign up, too!

  It’s time for the Books ‘n’ Bloggers Swap!

Bookish bloggers unite!
Your Swap Objective
Send your partner THREE books:

  1. A book you love
  2. A book you haven’t read but are interested in
  3. A book from your partner’s wish list

Dates to Remember:

  • Sign-Ups Start:  Monday, January 5th at 12AM
  • Sign-Ups End: Monday, January 12th at 11:59PM
  • First Post MUST be Posted within 3 days of receiving acceptance email: (latest possible is Monday, January 12th by noon)
  • Partners assigned: Wednesday, January 14th
  • Packages Shipped: on or before Saturday, January 24th
  • Show-Off Linky Opens: Wednesday, January 28th
  • Show-Off Linky Closes: Friday, February 13th
Books ‘n’ Bloggers Swap Rules
  • After being accepted, you must post on your blog saying you’re participating.  Post must include the button/link back to the sign-ups and must be posted within 3 days of receiving your acceptance email.
  • Packages must contain 3 books that fit the criteria stated in the Swap Objective.
  • Send books that fit your partner’s genre preferences.
  • You must respond to emails from the swap hosts within a timely fashion.
  • Books MUST be mailed on or before January 24th!
  • You must send a tracking number for your package to your partner and to us at Chaotic Goddess Swaps.
  • You MUST post and link up your swap reveal post. This is non-negotiable.
Please do not sign up for this swap if you cannot fulfill your obligation to the rules above.

We don’t want anyone to be left out and not receive a package, especially after sending one. If for any reason you become unable to participate YOU MUST CONTACT US here at Chaotic Goddess Swaps immediately so we can work out another arrangement. Failure to send a package, contact us, or to link up a reveal post, will result in blacklisting for all future swaps.

 

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Last Year Was About Being “Good”, This Year It’s About The Magic!

its all about the magic

Last year, I remember seeing so many great book titles with the word, “Good” in it.  Do you remember these titles?I am sure I have left some Good titles out, but as you can see-some fantastic titles!  Actually, The Good Girl by Mary Kubica is one of our She Reads Book for Winter, this year!  Another book that is on the list for She Reads is The Magician’s Lie by Greer MacAllister.  I absolutely loved the book and my review will be posted within the next couple of weeks.  As I was looking at other books slated to be released for 2015, I was surprised to see a recurring theme: magic!

That’s quite an extensive list!  I didn’t add all of them, and while I am sure there are always books about magic each year, there haven’t been many that have caught my interest.  Except for these books!  From the beginning of time, people have always been interested in the “what ifs” and wanting a miracle to happen when all else fails.  However, I am most interested in the books because it’s not necessarily about “magic”, as it is about illusions and showing the other side of the coin (pun intended).  I also love the whimsical sprinkles of magic that some books contain!  Especially, First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen.

So, which books do you have on your list this year? Wishing you a year full of joy, hope, and some magic that books always seem to offer!

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Jumping Into Book Blogging

jumpingintobooks

 

About 4 years, I decided to venture into the world of book blogging.  It has been such a great experience for me, as I have met great bloggers, authors, and publishers.  I’ve also met some wonderful readers, who have joined me on this journey, too!

Today, I received an email from a newbie blogger.  She is new to the book blogging world and reached out to me about books.  It really meant a lot that she reached out, but it also made me realize that perhaps there are others who want to book blog, but may not know where to start.

When I first started, I had already been following book bloggers for years prior.  So, I naturally looked on their blog sites and searched to see what would be helpful to me.

Below are just some tips for the new blogger, because anyone can do this!

blog book

Picture courtesy of Radical Parenting.

  •  Come up with a blog name! Be original, get creative, but make sure no one else has that name! While not every blogger owns their domain, be respectful.  That’s huge in this blogging community!
  • Decide where to host your blog: You can use so many different formats to create a blog.  You need to decide if you are going to pay, how much, or if you just want it to be free.  I use WordPress, but lots of my bloggey friends use Blogger.
  • Sign up! Go to NetGalley, Edelweiss, Goodreads, LibraryThing, and other sites, where you can request books, enter book giveaways, and connect with other readers and bloggers.
  • Pick an E-Reader:  While there are bloggers who will only read paperbacks, the books you request from Edelweiss and NetGalley will be sent to you to download onto a reader.  Also, there are tours that are “virtual”, meaning the books will be sent to you in a ePub, PDF, Mobi format.  Some prefer to read on a tablet and have accounts with Kindle, Nook, and/or Kobo.  I am sure there are other apps they use, too.  You can read the post I wrote:  Sometimes Less is More!  It’s important you decide which reader or app you prefer.  Nowadays, simple readers are as cheap at $79 and can go upwards to $300.  While I love my Nook Glowlight and will always support Barnes and Noble (I just love their customer service), Kindle seems to be easier to download books and keep them on your reader. With Nook, you will need to use your USB cable and plug it into your computer to download the books directly from Adobe Digital Editions (once you have downloaded the book).  With Kindle, you don’t need to plug into your computer.  Another plus is that when the book is archived on your NG or Edelweiss, it won’t be archived on your Kindle, so that you can read the book closer to a tour or review.  On your Nook, once it’s archived on those sites, it will automatically archive on your device. That’s a plus, too, because it won’t clutter your device!  However, you can always be like me and have both!
  • Social Media:  It’s a must.  You need to stay connected with your readers, the literary world, and share what you love: books!  Of course, you can get overwhelmed…I know I did!  An easy way to decide which sites to sign up with, start with where you are already connected.  You may choose to use your personal name or keep it strictly book related-so using your blog name is popular, too!
  • Tours:  When I first started book blogging, I was reviewing only books I had personally purchased or borrowed from the library.  It wasn’t until I really started researching, that I found so many amazing book tours that I could participate with!  The hardest part will be deciding which tours you want to do, and streamlining those, so that you don’t overbook yourself.
  • Blog Hops:  The fun part of book blogging is participating with fellow bloggers and giving back to the community!  Once you start receiving books, you will want to share those books with your readers.  It’s part of the wonderful generosity that our book blogging community strives for.  So, join some and get to know other bloggers that way!
  • Tailor your Blog:  Decide which genres interest you the most and focus on those.  Of course, it can be as small or as large as you want.  The reason I suggest deciding the genres is because it will be so much easier for you to decide which tours to join and which books to request.  Otherwise, you will be inundated with requests and the hardest part when you start is saying “no”.
  • Connect with Others:  Visit other blogs, comment on their posts (we like that!), interact with authors/readers/bloggers on social media, and get to know them.  I have been blown away by blogger’s generosity, their helpfulness, their support, and being so welcoming.
  • Time:  That is a huge issue that many bloggers will say is their biggest challenge.  Decide from the onset how much time you plan to set aside to blog.  This of course, includes the time you make to read.  Based on that time, it should help you determine how many tours, books, and commitments to make on a weekly and monthly basis.  Most bloggers have signed up for tours months in advance.  So, I’ve learned a lot from them with their time management.
  • Study Blogs:  Now, I said “study”, don’t COPY!  Be original.  However, I am always learning from my fellow bloggers and like to see which blog hops they are participating in, which tours they participate in, and how they format their blogs.  So many of them will share where they learned how to implement a plug-in, how to create graphics (thank goodness for Pic Monkey), and are wonderful at what they do! So, never be afraid to ask!

Well, these are some minor tips.  However, I hope they will help you with figuring out if you want to start a blog, deciding how much time you want to invest, and doing something fun for yourself this year-while making friends and reading books along the way!

To find some blogs that may interest you, follow this link!

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Ultimate Supreme Cupcake Books of 2014

supreme cupcake rating 6What makes a book an Ultimate Supreme Cupcake?

These are books that are cream of the crop! They stand out from all the rest and are books that I simply couldn’t put down, remembered long after the last page was read, and are books that I could re-read.  These books have me research more about a person,  (if it’s based on some historical fact), a place, and even has me explore more books in that particular genre.

I read a little over 70 books this past year, surpassing last year’s book total.  I am quite happy with that, considering some of the personal issues I had to deal with regarding my health, which put me a little behind on my reading schedules.

Throughout the year, I post books with a cupcake rating.  It’s a creative approach to the traditional 1-5 star rating.  However, I also give ratings to books that are not only a 5 star rating, but an all time favorite read of mine.  So, from that list, I chose the books.  This makes it harder for me because I have more books with the Ultimate Supreme Cupcake Rating for 2014, but chose the ones that even stood further above the pack.  This is why it has been so hard to choose!  How do you choose??? It’s like Sophie’s Choice!  Okay, maybe not that drastic, but if you are bibliophile like me, then you understand! It’s not easy.  So, without further delay, below is the list of books I chose to be the Best Books of 2014.  ultimate supreme cupcakes of 2014

book1I fell in love with this book. I had no idea how much this book would touch me, but it did. I love John Searles’ style of writing.  It is simple, yet deals with complex issues that many of Christian faith will relate with.  Click here for my review.

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book2One word:  Creepy!  This book had me on the edge of my seat!  This is one of those books where I couldn’t read fast enough to keep up! I found myself holding my breath, as I tried figuring out what was going on! Click here for my review.

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book3The title of this book is a mouthful.  However, don’t let that fool you.  Inside this clever little book is a story that will keep you reading, wanting more, and shedding a few tears along the way!  Click here for my review.

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book4I love anything Jane Austen, especially books about her life!  The title alone grabbed my interest and when I read it, I was absolutely intrigued and couldn’t put this book down! Click here for my review.

 

 

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book5I realize everyone is raving about Randy Susan Meyers’ latest book, Accidents of Marriage, but it would be remiss not to include this fantastic book!  It has a storyline that is emotionally charged, will definitely challenge your own belief system about infidelity, and is a book that never fully leaves your mind.  Click here for my review.

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book7This is the second book that has completely given me a different and better appreciation for a character/storyline I wasn’t much interested in before.  The first was Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin, now this one.  I loved this story so much that I took my daughter to her first ballet to see The Sleeping Beauty.  Yeah, it’s safe to say, I just love this book! Also, it is very different from the movie that came out this summer: Maleficient.  Click here for my review.

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book8Julie Klassen’s writing is very similar to that of Jane Austen.  I absolutely loved this book and the murder mystery storyline.  I was sad to finish the book because I just loved reading about Abigail and the secrets she uncovers.  This is by far one of the best books Julie has written! Click here for my review.

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??????????????????This was a huge surprise for me!  I have read about Pablo Picasso and his many conquests, aside from his art, but haven’t read much about Eva Gouel.  Anne Girard is a beautiful storyteller, as she writes this fantastic novel with very little information about Eva.  However, she captures a beautiful relationship between Pablo and Eva, shares the vulnerable side to Picasso and the love that transcends his work.  Click here for my review.

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book14So, this is a book that I read for review in 2013, but re-read it this year, for personal use.  This is why I posted it as a top pick because I found the book to be so valuable and loved the information about the Amish culture, along with daily prayer and inspiration.  It’s an easy read that make it a nice way to connect with God and have prayer life.  Click here for review.

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book10 In the early part of 2014, I purchased this book online.  I had it on my reader and decided to read it, during some downtime I had between book tours.  Wow.  I was so blown away by this book that I ended up buying other Zelda books, such as the fantastic book, Z is for Zelda, and other books that were about her life and her own book, too. Click here for review.

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book6Have you ever read a book that reminded you of your teen years and first crushes? This book took me back to my youth and while I didn’t have the same life as Eleanor or Park, Rainbow Rowell beautifully paints this storyline to resonate with a reader of any age.  It is so raw, has so many layers that teens and young adults will identify with, older people (like me) will reflect on, and will have you rooting for them along the way.  I cried, I laughed, and it gave me an absolute love for YA books, again.  I don’t read too many YA books, so when I read one that is magical, it’s a book that everyone needs to read! I didn’t write a review on this one, because of time, but I will post a review on Goodreads.  In the meantime, check out this book, because you will love it!

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book15I don’t review too many children’s books, but the ones I do, I have been so happy with.  This is one of the books I wanted to include in my list because it is so important to share books with other moms and dads, aunts/uncles, and friends, who are looking for a book that isn’t blasted all over the internet or bookstore.  It’s a special book amongst many great books, and one that really deserves recognition.  I love that the reading is simple, the meaning is huge, and the pictures are fun to look at.  While the illustrations are simple, it still gives little one opportunities to talk and explore what they think is happening on each page.  Click here for my review.

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More Than 1 Book From The Same Author:

It was hard to choose between books, so I had to simply just include the names of these authors.

Ultimate supreme cupcake authors 2014

  Megan Shepherd and Sarah Addison Allen.  I read Megan’s Madman’s Daughter Trilogy and Sarah’s books: Lost Lake and First Frost. I love them all.  I think anyone that likes a Sci-fi/YA book with a female heroine will love Megan Shepherd’s books.  I read Megan’s first book in 2013, and the last 2 books in 2014.  If you read one, you will need to read all 3.  The first book can be a standalone, however the other 2 are definitely books that need to be read in order and back to back.

If you want a little magic in Women’s fiction, then pick up an Allen book. You’ll love her style!  These are easy reads, but deal with issues that aren’t so light.  However, in Sarah’s fun style, she knows when to include humor, splashes of hope and whimsy, and always ends books with you feeling good.  I love her writing!

books to look out for in 2015

I hope you have already some of these books and if you haven’t, that you will consider reading them!  I am looking forward to some great 2015 books, a couple that I read in 2014, but won’t write much about until they are published.  Two of them that I loved are: Mademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Gortner and A Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor.

So, which books did you love in 2014? Any on this list? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Books to Add to Your List for 2015

The best part about book blogging is having an opportunity to preview books before they are published to the general public.  Below are some books I read this year, and know you will equally love them as much as I did!

This is book 2 of The Madman’s Daughter trilogy.  I loved the first book and while the 2nd one is more grotesque and quite violent, I still found myself on the edge of my seat reading this one.  With random and horrible murders happening everywhere, Juliet has an idea as to who is causing the killings.  Just as Juliet leaves the island and her father behind, she realizes her past is always there to haunt her.  It’s an excellent companion to the first book, although you will immediately have to purchase the 3rd book because it leaves you hanging!

great cupcake rating 4

This is a fantastic wrap up to the trilogy.  It’s a bit long, but there are so many loose ends that Megan has to address so that it ends on a high note! I love the trilogy and how much Juliet grows through each novel.  She must choose her destiny: that of her mother, her father, or perhaps, even her own path that isn’t what her parents may want.  She learns about the family secrets, brings closure to the ghosts of her past and finds meaning that goes beyond that of her father.

great cupcake rating 4

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I absolutely loved this book.  I am always fascinated with how flowers have their own knowledge and the emotions they convey.  This is a story that will certainly be a favorite for many!

Tilly becomes an assistant housemother at Mr. Shaw’s Home for Watercress and Flower Girls.  It is while she is there that she comes across a diary and reads about Florrie and Rosie. I love the historical facts weaved throughout this story and how the stories merge from past and present, to finally the present.  It’s beautiful and heartbreaking, but as always, this book gives hope.

excellent cupcake 5***************

 I have read almost every book written about the fabulous Coco Chanel and have watched every movie and documentary made about her life.  I am absolutely fascinated with her and truly did not know what to expect with this book.  However, I have read C.W. Gortner’s work and love his writing.  From the first chapter, I am immersed in Coco’s life!  It’s a fantastic story with tidbits in there that aren’t in too many books.  Readers will love this book and finish it, wanting more! This is by far C.W. Gortner’s best work to date and I know this will be a huge favorite for many!

supreme cupcake rating 6

*Each of these books mentioned have very little information about them.  I intentionally chose not to write a huge write-up on them because they aren’t going to be available to the public, until 2015.  However, I needed to put these books on your radar so that you can add them to your wish lists, pre-order, and buy them the minute they hit the bookstores.  The only exception is Megan Shephard’s books, however, I stayed with the same style: simple.

Happy Reading!