Giveaway: The Curse of La Fontaine by M.L. Longworth


The Curse of La Fontaine

I am so happy to offer for giveaway one copy of the sixth installment of this fabulous mystery series involving Verlaque and Bonner. Now they are newly weds and enjoying their wedded bliss in Aix-en-Provence. Their favorite restaurant is getting glowing reviews and they love nothing better than sipping delicious wine and relaxing over a wonderful meal. But, when the chef and owner experiences difficulty with neighbors when he wants to expand, the two love birds get involved.

There’s a mystery surrounding the courtyard at the restaurant. A big one. Someone was hanged years ago. And there were two murders during WW11. And now the chef is getting threats.. But decides to carry on.  But he needs the help of his two friends.

What’s not to like. Wine, great food, and a mystery, all in France. Aaaah.

My friends at Penguin Books are supplying my giveaway. I will choose one winner on Friday, March 31. Only U.S. addresses and no P.O. boxes, please. Good luck!

Giveaway! Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker

Bianca Bosker

Cork Dork

One lucky reader and wine lover is in for a real treat. I have a copy of CORK DORK for giveaway. It’s an amazing and very funny look at the world of wine. Reminiscent of the writings of Anthony Bourdain and Susan Orlean, this book  is so now. Wine has become huge in the past few years. And I only see it getting even larger in the future.

My review and some wine tidbits will run soon.

Please leave your comment below and that will get you in the running. As usual, no PO boxes and only US addresses. I’ll pick a winner on Thursday, March 30! Good luck everybody.

Thank you Penguin for providing the book.




The Confessions of Young Nero by Margaret George

Margaret George

The Confessions of Young Nero

Margaret George is the New York Times bestselling author of novels of biographical historical fiction. She’s built her writing career on large tomes filled with lyrical prose that tells stories of famous lives from long, long ago. With “The Confessions of  Young Nero” she gives us a unique look at the life of the Emperor we always think of fiddling as we watched Rome burning. Not so. The fiddle was not even a fiddle yet:)

Larger than life, George’s characters are not only true historical kings and queens, they’re the most interesting people brought to life.

For those of us who enjoy learning from reading good literature you are in for a treat. I believe Margaret George’s fictional biography probably is closer to the truth than any others. Yes, we’ve always heard Nero had sex with his mother.   And he did have her killed.  But not before she tried to kill him first. Poison was the drug of choice back in the day. An actual professional poisoner was kept on the roster. How convenient.  No one was safe.


Margaret George

George has written some big books. Her “Helen of Troy” comes to mind. As does “”Cleopatra” and “Henry VII.” Each wonderful fictional bios.

Emperor Nero took the seat of power at the age of sixteen.  It’s sometimes said he was a tyrant, a hedonist, a cunning executioner. But he was also a boy, an artist, and an athlete who was really just the product of an over ambitious mother and the times themselves.

My finished hard copy arrived from Berkley at PenguinRandom House in exchange for an honest review. What a great historical novel!



Giveaway! The Last Days Of Magic by Mark Tompkins plus Tarot Cards

Mark Tompkins

The Last Days of Magic

In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, I’m offering a copy of “The Last Days of Magic” by Mark Tompkins, for giveaway. Plus, Viking-Penguin is throwing in a unique deck of super tarot cards.  Please leave a comment telling me what you do to celebrate this special holiday. The winner will win both book and deck of tarot cards. Win/win. I will choose one winner on Monday, March20. Good luck of the Irish to you! Only U.S. addresses, please, and not P.O. boxes, as usual.

Last Days of Magic tarot deck

Tarot Cards

Spanning the forests and villages of 14th-century Ireland, the lavish courts of France and England, the Vatican’s inner chambers and present-day mysteries, THE LAST DAYS OF MAGIC blends historical, fictional, and mythical events to create a richly imagined world and an exhilarating story of adventure and enchantment. Ireland is the last magical outpost on Earth, its Middle Kingdom—home to faeries and otherworldly beings—still strong in the face of the Vatican’s ever-expanding influence, its armies, exorcists and mercenaries.  But when an ancient treaty between the Celts and faeries is broken, leaving them vulnerable to the machinations of the power-hungry Roman Church, the very existence of magic in the world is threatened. 

A Bridge Across The Ocean by Susan Meissner

Susan Meissner

A Bridge Across the Ocean

“A Bridge Across the Ocean,” by Susan Meissner, is told from the alternating perspectives of Annaliese Lange, Simone Deveraux, and Brette Calake.

In the aftermath of WWII, Annaliese and Simone join hundreds of other European war brides aboard the Queen Mary. Both have suffered greatly during the war: Annaliese is a German desperate to escape her abusive Nazi husband, and Simone is the only surviving child of a French Resistance spy. Their stories converge when they meet in line to board the ship. Both are desperate to leave the war behind and start over. As the women sail toward their new lives in America, tightly-held secrets are revealed in their shared cabin.

When the ship docks in New York Harbor, only one of them will live out her American dream.

In present day, facing a crossroads in her own life and coming to terms with her family’s dark legacy, Brette visits the rumored-to-be-haunted Queen Mary. What she finds will lead her on a search to solve a decades-old mystery connected to Annaliese and Simone’s fateful crossing.

Susan Meissner met and interviewed June Allen–now 86 and living in Indianapolis. June was one of the war brides who made the trans-Atlantic journey on the Queen Mary in February 1946. She was eighteen when she boarded the ship with her baby boy. They were bound to American to be reunited with June’s U.S. Army MP husband, Arnie. June spoke of spending the 5-day crossing watching movies and playing shuffleboard with the other war brides. The ship even printed a newspaper called Wives Aweigh.

The women in the book are fiction.  But Meissner did her research on the voyage and the ship. She spent a night at the Queen Mary hotel in Long Beach, California; where the ship is now docked. That’s where she fell in love with the ship and its complicated history. It’s even noted that the ship is haunted with ghosts of past lives. Hence, the part of the story dealing with ghosts.

Shifting back and forth in time, Meissner manages to keep you flipping the pages long into the night as you imagine what is happening next.  Both women on the ship have suffered, each in totally different ways.  They each have secrets which they reveal to each other when they share a cabin.

The cover of the book is gorgeous. The subject is compelling. Don’t let the ghost story deter you. I am not a fan of ghost stories but, I enjoyed this book. It’s much more than that.

My trade paperback copy came from Berkley publishing house, a division of Penguin Random House.  I really liked the book. Thanks so much for sending.



The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

Lisa See

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane

This is what I call an OMG book! I have unveiled it at book lectures the past month. There have been gasps and big grins. Everyone is anxious to read it. It is magnificent. Not since, “Snow Flower And The Secret Fan”, has Lisa See had me so excited. We’re back in China and in a huge way. You’re about to enter the intoxicating world of “The Tea Girl Of Hummingbird Lane”, by Lisa See.

Li-Yan and her family align their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea. There is ritual and routine, and it has been ever thus for generations. then one day a jeep appears at the village gate–the first automobile any of them have seen–and a stranger arrives…

It’s truly astonishing  that the timeline for this novel begins in 1988. That just seems so modern. But it’s far from modern high in the remote tea-growing mountains of China.  The small village inhabited by the Akha people is home to Li-Yan and her family.  Her mother is the midwife who also heals with her ancient cures.  And this is where the finest tea comes from. Some of the tea trees are anywhere from one hundred to three hundred years old.  That is hard to comprehend. And that’s where this amazing story completely “got” me.

Early in the story, there is one of the most disturbing scenes I’ve ever read. It occurs when Li-Yan’s mother takes her along to help with a birth. It’s Li-Yan’s first birth.  So many backward beliefs were still being upheld at this time.  In this case it involves the birth of twins; both healthy. But they are twins; considered to be human rejects…. From this point on I could not take my eyes off the pages. I couldn’t read quickly enough. I even ran to the other room where my husband was quietly watching tv and made him listen while I told him what I had just read. Monstrous!

Li-Yan is one of the few educated girls on the mountain. Blessing and curse.  But even this will not save her from hardship and mistakes and the misery of being a young woman in China.

However, Li-Yan knows something secret. She and her mother are the keepers of the tea trees. Only the women in their family are allowed to even know where these ancient trees grow. Hidden away from the entire world, these trees will eventually change their lives.

China was still abiding by the one child law at this time. And many babies born out-of-wedlock were adopted out to Americans.  This is a part of the story. And it’s heartbreaking. But it’s not like any other novel.

I love the extensive research See has done with this novel. She went to China on a tea buying trip with Linda Louie who owns Bana Tea Company. They deal primarily in Pu’er tea which is the tea in the book. To say that Lisa See has completely immersed herself in the Pu’er tea world is a gross understatement. I found myself racing to the computer to check it out. And then I discovered a tearoom in Punta Gorda, Florida that serves it.  Yes, I sat on the quaint porch with a friend and we quietly sipped this delicious brew. Tina’s Cafe and Bakery Vienna. On Taylor Street.

Lisa See

Lisa See

I’ve been telling people that this book will draw you in the same way Snow Flower did. See used the foot binding in that amazing book. In this one there is something even more horrendous. And you will be taken. Taken away to China and the amazing world of Li-Yan and her family and , of course, the tea…

I love a good cup of tea. The past several years I’ve become especially fond of unique new teas. I’ve discovered the world of Teavana Tea Company and make it my business to have all sorts of specialty teas in the house at all times.

I truly believe this book is going to explode onto the reading scene on March 21 with a fury.  And rightly so. Pre-order your copy now. You are going to want to start reading it as soon as it’s available. Let me know what you think? I can’t wait to talk to you about it.

My review copy arrived from the generous people at Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review. OMG! is my highest rating. THE TEA GIRL OF HUMMINGBIRD LANE has earned it and then some. I absolutely LOVE it!