Book Review: Dreaming of Tuscany

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Author: TA Williams 

Publish Date: Feb 11, 2019
Summary from Amazon:The glamour of Hollywood. The magic of the Tuscan countryside. One big decision...
Beatrice Kingdom (Bee to her friends) wakes up in hospital in Tuscany. After an accident on a film set leaves her burned and scarred, she feels her whole life has been turned upside down.

Bee is offered the chance of recuperating in a stunning Tuscan villa in the company of a world-famous film star, the irascible Mimi Robertson. Here amid the vines and olive groves, Bee quickly finds there’s more to the place than meets the eye, not least a certain Luca (and Romeo the dog).

As she comes to terms with her injuries and her new life takes shape, Bee will have to travel a road of self-discovery… and make a huge decision.

 A joyous, funny and moving tale, Dreaming of Tuscany is a triumph, perfect for fans of Holly Martin, Tilly Tennant, and Jenny Oliver.

Personal Review:
When I saw that TA Williams had a new book coming out, I really wanted to read it. Thankfully someone at NetGalley/the publisher fulfilled my need. This book was super cute, and can I mention Romeo the dog? (**Heart eyes!)

I loved the setting for this book and the characters. The book kept me flipping pages throughout wanting to know what would happen next. I was really grateful for the opportunity to go on this journey with Bee and read this book. Thank you for the opportunity.

Disclaimer: I was awarded this book on NetGalley from the Publisher. Though I did not pay for the book, the opinions are strictly my own.

Happy Reading!

Guest Post with Hank Quense

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Hi Everyone!

I am excited to be here today to bring you a guest post from author, Hank Quense. Please help me give him a warm welcome to the blog.


What inspired the book?
Years ago, I had just published my Tales From Gundarland, an anthology of short stories and novellas.  Gundarland is the world I invented for my fantasy (and human) characters to romp around in.
Prior to that I had written a few short stories in which a zaftan alien showed up in New York City.  Zaftans are huge, squid-like creatures whose stench makes humans sick.  They are also quite vicious.
Around that time, something triggered a thought in my mind about First Contact stories.  I recall thinking most stories in this genre took themselves quite serious and it was time someone wrote a satiric First Contact story.
I volunteered to be that someone.  It seemed a natural development to combine the zaftans and the gundies, as the folks in Gundarland are called (by the zaftans)  The results were Books 1 to 4 of the Zaftan Troubles.  The books are filled with military and political satire.
I had so much fun writing the First Contact story I continued it with Books 5 to 7.  This second set is a Space Opera satire that occurs 300 years after the conclusion of the first adventure. It includes more military and political satire.
I’m currently writing a continuation of the second adventure and that will be in Books 8 to 10 of the Zaftan Troubles.  Guess what?  I will have military and political satire in it.

Thanks Hank for the post!

Lucky for you all, I also have a  Short Synopsis:


This novel takes place in a fantasy country that has reached the early Industrial Age of technology and recently instituted a democratic government. 
An alien space ship arrives over the planet. The ship is owned by a mining corporation and searches for exotic mineral deposits to mine and bring back to its home planet, Zaftan 31B where rare elements are extracted from the minerals and sold
The two main characters are MACDRAKIN GEMSEEKER, a dwarf miner and LESLIE HIGGINBOTTOM, a half-dwarf, half human constable in the small town of Skensfirth where the two have a budding romance. The alien captain, YUNTA, orders her second-in-command, SHTAP, to negotiate an agreement with the president of the country, ALBERT WEBLEY, a human.  Webley agrees to allow the aliens to mine the minerals if they can find them, provided the aliens respect property rights and don't harm folks.

Yunta faces a time limit, the ship's supply situation dictates they start the return voyage in less than two weeks, and has no intention of slowing down the exploration and mining to protect property.  Explorations are carried out by robots who cause considerable damage to property as they follow their search programs.  MacDrakin destroys a robot when it trespasses on his land.  After a few other robots are destroyed, Shtap demands that Webley take steps to protect the expensive robots and Higginbottom gets a telegram to that effect.  Upset that she must protect the robots rather than the property, she learns that MacDrakin has destroyed yet another robot.  Despite their mutual attraction, the alien presence and the telegrams are straining their relationship.  The strain becomes acute when MacDrakin declares war on the aliens and Higginbottom gets another telegram ordering her to arrest anyone who damages or destroys a robot.  Meanwhile, Webley's staff get reports the folks in Skensfirth are on the verge of revolt.

The robots discover two major mineral deposits.  One is on MacDrakin's land, the other is beneath the town of Skensfirth.  On their first attempt to mine MacDrakin's land, he and several hunter friends destroy all the robots who operate the mining machinery.  Yunta, with the deadline approaching, is outraged by the truculent natives and sends reinforcements to get the mining operation back on track.  Faced with more
aliens, MacDrakin abandons his land and sets out to prevent the aliens from entering Skensfirth.  A group of retired dwarf soldiers answer his call and join him. He is also joined by several government officials sent by Webley to solve the Skensfirth problems.
In the ensuing battle, the aliens are thwarted by weather problems, mutinous crew members and the MacDrakin's determination.  After many machines are destroyed, Shtap, the alien commander of the ground operation, calls for a truce and tells Drakin that he admits defeat and that the aliens will leave.  The aliens abandon the remaining mining machines, damaged robots, weapons, and a damaged cargo pod.  Engineers and scientists are ordered to examine these artifacts and decipher their secrets.

With the departure of the aliens, the reason for Higginbottom's and MacDrakin's feud disappears and they resume their romantic interest.
Curious to learn more about the author or how to get a copy for yourself?

Author bio
:Hank Quense writes satirical fantasy and sci-fi. Early in his writing career, he was strongly influenced by two authors: Douglas Adams and his Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. Happily, Hank has never quite recovered from those experiences. He lives with his wife in northern New Jersey, a mere 20 miles from Manhattan, the center of the galaxy (according to those who live in Manhattan). They have two daughters and five grandchildren all of whom live nearby. For vacations, Hank and Pat usually visit distant parts of the galaxy.  Occasionally, they also time-travel.

Besides writing novels, Hank lectures on fiction writing, publishing and book marketing. He is most proud of his talk showing grammar school kids how to create a short story. He used these lectures to create an advanced ebook with embedded videos to coach the students on how to create characters, plots, and setting.  The target audience is 4th to 7th graders.  The book's title is
Fiction Writing Workshop for Kids. 

Purchase Links
Amazon    Barnes & Noble  iBooks    Kobo    Smashwords

Social Media Links:   FaceBook   Twitter    LinkedIn   Youtube Channel

Happy Reading!


Saturday, January 26, 2019

Photo Credit

Hi Everyone!

It is the start of a reading weekend and that is good news for me. Classes started back up this week and I need to hit the books :)

If you don't know much about this readathon...the point is to try to read for 24 of the 48 hours over the weekend! So this weekend, let's hit the books hard!

You can find out more here. 

Let me know how it goes!
Happy Reading!

Book Review: Paperback Crush

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Author: Gabrielle Moss 

Amazon Description:
For fans of vintage YA, a humorous and in-depth history of beloved teen literature from the 1980s and 1990s, full of trivia and pop culture fun.
Those pink covers. That flimsy paper. The nonstop series installments that hooked readers throughout their entire adolescence. These were not the serious-issue novels of the 1970s, nor the blockbuster YA trilogies that arrived in the 2000s. Nestled in between were the girl-centric teen books of the ’80s and ’90s—short, cheap, and utterly adored. 

In Paperback Crush, author Gabrielle Moss explores the history of this genre with affection and humor, highlighting the best-known series along with their many diverse knockoffs. From friendship clubs and school newspapers to pesky siblings and glamorous beauty queens, these stories feature girl protagonists in all their glory. Journey back to your younger days, a time of girl power nourished by sustained silent reading. Let Paperback Crush lead you on a visual tour of nostalgia-inducing book covers from the library stacks of the past.
Personal Review:
There are a few things that shaped and truly defined my childhood, most notably was the Babysitter Club and Sweet Valley books. These books were a lifeline for me and even when I didn't feel like I could be with the popular kids, these books were my escape. They meant something to me that was really important.

All of that to say, when I found out about Paperback Crush, I had to get it. It was a straight up buy for me. I want to hold on to the nostalgia of my youth and this seemed like a fun way to do so. In doing so, I learned so much!

There were so many other books that I have never heard about and it was fun to see a history like this. I am so grateful for this book and all of the new books it has introduced to me. 


Happy Reading!

TTT: Books I Meant to Read In 2018 but Didn’t Get To

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Hi Everyone! 

It has been a while since I did a TTT post and I am excited to be back with it. TTT is now being hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl, be sure to check it out and all of the other amazing bloggers that link up! 

This weeks topic is Books that I Meant to Read in 2018 but Didn't Get To:

Have you read any of these? What did you think? Which should I pick up first?

Happy Reading!

Reading Recap

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Hi Everyone!

Just stopping by with a couple of mini reviews of books I have finished recently:

Winter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand
The new winter series from Elin. I really enjoyed this one and the twist. I am looking forward to the next one! Get here October. :) Happy Reading!
A Truly Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
As you guys know, I have enjoyed the books by John Green in the past. This time his brother is writing the book. I didn't really know what to think about this book. It was good, but in a really quirky way. If you enjoy aliens, puzzles, and the unknown...this may be the book for you!

Hero Dogs by Wilma Melville, Paul Lobo
In full disclosure, I was awarded this book from the publisher through Net Galley. I really appreciated and enjoyed this book. I learned alot about the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (SDF) in this book and it was very informational.  There is no question asked that this is the reminder on why dogs are amazing and should be valued parts of our lives.
The Legend of Grimm's Woods (Hocus Pocus #1) 
In full disclosure, I was awarded this book from Quirkbooks for participating in the Quirksgiving event this November. This was such a fun take on a graphic novel. I loved that you got to chose your own adventure! I look forward to the others in this series.

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

Happy Reading!


Sunday, January 13, 2019

Hi Everyone!

Cheers and Happy New Year!

..........I am back :) ........Well kinda sorta.

I have decided that I want to bring back some goodness here on the website. I miss having this outlet and I miss interacting with other book-friendly folks in the world. I did the #boutofbooks chat yesterday and yes, it just felt right.

It has been six months since I started my Ph.D. program and I am still working full time so it won't be quite the same as was before...but I would like to try to make an effort to be here when I can be. I trust that you all will understand :) and be patient with me.

To that is my commitment for 2019:

-2 reviews a month
-Ongoing opportunities to promote amazing authors!
-Upcoming details about fun book events
-Other fun link ups as appropriate

Happy Reading!