Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Cover Reveal: A Lady Unrivalled

Series Info

The Ladies of the Manor Series take readers back in time to Edwardian England, when automobiles and electric lights were all the rage, but the old way of life still ruling the land. Lords and ladies, maids and valets…and in this case, a dose of danger and mystery to take them all on their journey to love.

From Booklist on The Reluctant Duchess

"With the momentum and drama of a modern thriller and the charm and intrigue of an Edwardian upper-class romance, White balances hearty helpings of names, ranks, and family history with highly entertaining situations and plenty of humor."

White Is Quickly Becoming the Top Name in Edwardian Romance

Lady Ella Myerston can always find a reason to smile--even if it's just in hope that tomorrow will be better than today. All her life everyone has tried to protect her from the realities of the world, but Ella knows very well the danger that has haunted her brother and their friend, and she won't wait for it to strike again. She intends to take action . . . and if that happens to involve an adventurous trip to the Cotswolds, then so much the better.

Lord Cayton has already broken two hearts, including that of his first wife, who died before he could convince himself to love her. Now he's determined to live a better life. But that proves complicated when old friends arrive on the scene and try to threaten him into a life of crime. He does his best to remove the intriguing Lady Ella from danger, but the stubborn girl won't budge. How else can he redeem himself, though, but by saving her--and his daughter--from those dangerous people who seem ready to destroy them all?


Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna’s novels range from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. She lives with her family in West Virginia. Learn more at www.RoseannaMWhite.com

Links for A Lady Unrivaled

Thursday, January 07, 2016

lovely lovely books: a cornucopia of words as I clear out my netgalley shelf

So you guys know that I write my own books now, right?

Which makes it harder for me to write long, loquacious reviews --- but I do want to share some lovely books with you!

Carry Me Home (Blue Wren Shallows, #1)

Carry Me Home by Dorothy Adamek is a sweeping love story set in 19th Century Australia. It features some of my favourite romantic tropes: including a woman ahead of her time in a situation where she has to adapt quickly---proving her strength and indomitable spirit-- a romance borne of necessity and a marriage of convenience.   I immediately fell into the world --- a unique setting for me as I haven't read a ton of historicals set in Australia--- and in love with the characters.  
Perhaps the best part? Adamek has a deceptively easy style that lures you into what is (upon slow consideration) a natural writing talent: swift and beguiling and spinning a tapestry I know I want to return to.    Readers of Jody Hedlund: take note

Carry Me Home (Blue Wren Shallows, #1)

The Sweetest Rain by Myra Johnson   Here's an author I had never read before but the cover really enticed me as did the setting and the aftermath of the Great War and depression in Eden, Arkansas. This quiet romance is set on the brink of something and its sombre moments imply that this undercurrent is recognized.  The other reason I loved this book was Bryony and Michael's relationship.  Michael, a veteran of the Great War, is less than whole after his experience: attempting to cultivate beauty is true passion is botanical illustration.   You all must know that recluses with tortured pasts and botanical hankerings are big time Rachel catnip ( here's looking at you, Stephen Maturin).

[review copy: Franciscan Media]
The Farmerettes

The Farmerettes by Gisela Tobien Sherman is one of the strongest YA historicals I have read in an age.  It knits together the experiences of 6 young women during a memorable summer.   It's 1943 and while the men are at war, the women on the homefront are charged with keeping things running: the farms and fields, the food and rations as the nation supports the faraway conflict.
A steady and well-told coming-of-age story, Sherman paints each experience with a competent pen and the characters spring to life.     I loved this snapshot of an experience not always explored in fiction--especially fiction for teens.  To add, this book features strong female friendship: something else I love seeing in fiction.

[review copy: Second Story Press]

Lady of Magick (Noctis Magicae, #2)
Lady of Magick by Sylvia Izzo Hunter:   I kinda wanna say this will appeal to fans of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell and of Naomi Novak.  There's a ton of romance in it which I love and Sophie and Gray are the type of couple that will set readers swooning.    I also have to confess that I read this sequence out of order , but am going back to the Midnight Queen.

Just to throw in another comparison: Hunter's golden-spired Oxford will put readers in mind of The Golden Compass.

[Review copy: Penguin/NAL]

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Most Anticipated Reads of 2016


The Thorn of Emberlain by Scott Lynch (August. Maybe. I think).

I think this is coming out in the summer? I mean, I hope!    I MEAN I AM DYING!  The wait between Red Seas under Red Skies and The Republic of Thieves  was SO LONG so I am hoping that 2016 sees me hanging out with Locke and Jean!

A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn  (September)

Veronica Speedwell and Stoker are back

A Time of Fog and Fire by Rhys Bowen  (March )
MOLLY MURPHY! I love her. Her husband Daniel drives me batty. Whatever.  Apparently Molly goes to San Francisco!

Flickers by Arthur Slade (August)

Honestly, it's been too long since I read a new Slade.  He's by far my favourite YA author in the world and I believe this book draws on his penchant for horror and spooks and things-that-go-bump-in-the-night

The Bridge of the Assassins by Arturo Perez-Reverte
Umm, I think this might be out! I mean, I am waiting for the English translation, yo.
It's a new Alatriste!   Well, not new, but since I don't read Spanish PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE someone translate this! Thanks!
Saint's Blood (Greatcoats, #3)

Saint's Blood by Sebastien de Castell  This is the third book in the Greatcoats series which is kinda  Dumas and kinda Firefly and I love it.

Fire by CC Humphreys
Plague was so good.I find myself thinking about the characters a lot and I am so eager for this next dark --and somewhat gruesome --adventure

This Lynn Austin Book I don't Know the Title of  by Lynn Austin

I love Lynn Austin.   I don't know the title of her book.  What the heck. Anyways, out this year a new Civil War set Lynn Austin! HUZZAH

The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof (August)
I read this book already because Joanne was kind enough to let me and it was one of my favourite books of 2014.  It is beguiling and gripping and so beautifully rendered you will float on air.   She has such a delicate turn of phrase and her characters thrum flesh-and-blood to life.  


A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab (February)

Her voice is so arresting: kind of like Natasha Pulley and Catherine Webb with a tinge of Gaiman.

Monday, January 04, 2016

What I am Geeking Out About Right Now


1.) Endeavour

I finally got around to watching the first two series while home at my parents' house for Christmas.  This is a quiet, cerebral, brilliant and Foyle-esque addition to the British mystery canon.

It is brilliant: with breathtaking cinematography, exceptional use of the music Endeavour Morse loves to listen to ---lots of opera and Mozart and chant-- and a golden-hued, twinkling spired Oxford as the backdrop to corruption that plagues the city world and the potent Academic life in the old city.

Endeavour Morse is a sad puppy of a detective who is so forlorn with his ill-fitting suits and large, watered eyes that you kind of want to take the crumpled, mournful fellow home and feed him up and pat him on the head--- luckily Inspector Fred Thursday (ROGER ALLAM AND HIS AMAZING VOICE) does just that on a few occasions.

The writing is to die for (no pun intended), an intricate waltz with such subtle infusion you have to turn your careful brain on.  A few cliff-hangers and twists left me with a huge clutch in my chest.

While the rest of the world was watching Downton last night, I found the first episode of series 3 and it is just as arresting.

I spent my university years working through the Colin Dexter books and watching the original series but I have to say I like this a lot better.   Probably my favourite Brit detective show since Foyle.

2.) Away in a Manger by Rhys Bowen

If Molly had married Jakob Singer we wouldn't be having the problems we have with silly Daniel who--though very much a product of his time and its idea of women in the home and hearth--- seems to forget once a page the WOMAN THAT HE MARRIED IS NEVER GOING TO FIT THAT expectation.  Why does he hold her to it?  FRUSTRATING MAN

Consistent Daniel rant aside,  I really enjoyed this Christmas-set mystery.  It's December, 1905 and Molly and her maid/adoptive daughter Bridie encounter an angel-voiced orphan shivering on a stoop. Determined to help, Molly does her best to provide for the young urchin while discovering that she and her brother are not what they seem at all.

A delicate and finely-tuned mystery that quickly delves into a few dark places,  Molly's New York is resplendent care of Bowen's unbelievably sure handle on the time period.  

So slip into a world of yesteryear: its sleigh bells and glistening shop windows, its oil lanterns and window displays and surround yourself in an Edwardian Christmas brilliantly imagined.

And just roll your eyes at Daniel and move on. Because, seriously pal,get it together!

(I won this book on Rhys Bowen's facebook site!)


3.) Sherlock: The Abominable Bride

I really thought this was just a smorgasbord of Gatiss and Moffatt's favourite Canonical moments.  They just played around like kids with a giant toy box and the nods to the canon, its adaptations (anyone notice the hint of the Granada theme in the soundtrack? ), and its pastiches!  (here's looking at you Laurie R King and Nicholas Meyer)

I loved the Victorian purist setting of course and I loved what they did with the 5 Orange Pips and the Diogenes Club: also the very meta and self-conscious discussion about Boswell Watson and his work in the strand.

I am not sure if this episode will prove quite as charming for those uninitiated with the Canon but I love that, like the series--and even more so ---it provided dollops of fun for those of us who who have spent most of our lives geeking out over the Holmesian world.


4.) The Musketeers
Another Christmas viewing for me was  that last few eps of series 2 of the Musketeers which just is so much fun.  Great character development, expert production value and a decidedly snarky modern flair combine to make this a rip-roaringly good adventure and probably my favourite adaptation of the stories---no matter the liberties.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas Reading

So,  during my two week holiday from my real job I have been

a.) writing up a storm on A Lesson in Love and Murder 

b.) hanging out with my splendid family and my adorable 7 month old niece and aunts and cousins and doing family Christmas stuff in my little hometown of Orillia

c.) working through Endeavour with my parents


Only fun books ( although that's a bit of a lie because I have been doing a lot of research on the history of the Royal Northwest Mounted Police for Lesson in Love and Murder 

A few highlights:

I finally finished Clockwork Prince and Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare and I love Jem but I am #TeamWill but mostly I love Henry and Charlotte

I read  A Week to be Wicked and When A Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare.  (note:mature subject in these ones, so be ye aware)
Tessa Dare's books are consistent in making me laugh (lobsters in When A Scot Ties the Knot) but there was some magic about Week to be Wicked. To be honest, I cannot remember the last time I stayed up til 3:30 in the morning finishing a book.  The magic of holidays.  

[from When A Scot Ties the Knot: Sometimes a woman doesn't quite fit in with her expected role. We do what we can to make our own way, carve out a space for ourselves."

And I laughed through every page.  This is an arresting book that will validate anyone who has felt out of place.  There are almost picaresque elements to Colin's ability to charm his way across the country: amidst gaming halls and brothels and highway robbers in order to transport Minerva across the border to Scotland and a Geology Society in Edinburgh.

A few quotes:

"When Minerva lost herself in a book, her late father had once remarked, a man needed hounds and a search party to pull her back out."

"Did I say disgusting? I meant enchanting. I've always wanted to go to bed with a primeval sea snail."

"Her eyes always caught that wild, desperate spark just before she did something extraordinary."

"Men never hesitated to declare their presence. They were permitted to live aloud, in reverberating thuds and clunks, while ladies were always schooled to abide in hushed whispers."

"You didn't destroy my dreams. You broke me out of my shell. There was bound to be a bit of a mess."

I also read a fun book called Beauty and the Werewolf by Mercedes Lackey because I love re-tellings of this fairytale. Also, there were some very hilarious lines in this book:


"Eat your soup and stop feeling sorry for yourself."
"I wasn't just being gallant. I already knew you were brave."

Another enchanting read was The Witches of Cambridge by Menna van Praag. I read and loved and raved about The Dress Shop of Dreams around the same time last year so I was delighted when Random House sent me an ARC of this new tale.   If you love Alice Hoffman and Sarah Addison Allen then this is the author for you.

A thread of magical realism is subtly weaved into women's fic with a splash of romance, familial relationships, bittersweet introspection on love and loss and a perfectly gothic setting of Cambridge and its university: home to several witches!

Luscious recipes with herbs to infuse delectable spells,  The Witches of Cambridge is a retrospective on art,food, love, romance and loss.  Love in its many facets of light and dark.

"It's as if his heart doesn't reside in his chest but sits,waiting and open wide, just beneath his eyes. And you believe that if you look long enough you'll fall right in."

There is such simple wisdom and universal truth in what Van Praag serves here and she does so with such a sly wink that you are lost in her languid prose, awed at how easy she makes it seem whereas really she is a master wordsmith.

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Ultimate Christmas Q and A with Melissa Tagg

1.)   Favourite Christmas Carol
Good King Wenceslas!
J/K I just wanted to see if I could spell Wenceslas correctly on the first try and weirdly, I totally did. My true favorite is probably Hark, The Herald Angels Sing. Or Joy to the World. Or, ooh, O Holy Night.
2.)   Earliest christmas memory
I’m honestly not sure which Christmas this is from, but I know I was super young (like, probably three or four, maybe five) and I have this memory of getting purple footie pajamas with a little embroidered Winnie the Pooh up near the top. My sister got matching ones. And I remember putting them on and rubbing my hands up and down the sleeves…so soft! Kind of a weird memory, but it’s the earliest Christmas one I’ve got!
3.)   Toy you remember wanting really badly and why
Oh my gosh! I was obsessed with wanting a white popple for several years. I had a purple one—a mini one. But I wanted the full-size white one. I don’t even know why because I look back now and think other colors are cooler. But whatevs. The childish heart wants what the childish heart wants.
4.)   Did you ever write a letter to Santa?
Possibly? I mean, I wrote a ton as a kid, so it’s very possible. But I don’t remember ever truly believing in Santa. (Which I suppose might sound sad, but believe me, I had plenty of imagination and whimsy as a kid.) So I’m not sure I ever wrote one seriously. If I did, it was probably a school assignment. And I probably asked for a white popple!
5.)   You can choose only one movie to watch every Christmas for the rest of your life, what is it ?
Easiest question ever! It’s a Wonderful Life. Hands-down.
6.)   Egg nog or cider?
Cider! Cider! Cider! Truthfully egg nog kinda grosses me out.
7.)   What is your favourite moment in One Enchanted Christmas?
Awww fun question. I have several but probably one of my favorites is this moment in chapter seven or eight, I think, where Drew is in the kitchen looking for an extension cord in a junk drawer and Maren comes in and is sliding over the hard floor in her socks (something I do everyday in my place) and she’s got tinsel in her hair and Drew just has this moment where he looks at her and for once, just does exactly what he wants…stops thinking about everyone and everything else and impulsively asks her out. Just like that. And then he accidentally pulls the drawer off its hinges and everything spills out. And I don’t know, something about that little moment felt real life-ish to me as I wrote it.
8.)   You can invite FIVE people from Stars Hollow for your Christmas party. Who do you choose?
LOVE! Honestly, I’m waffling on Lorelai because in many ways, I feel very similar to her and do we really need both of us there? So no one get mad at me, but I’m gonna nix her. And I’m gonna go with:

Luke (obvs)
Jess (OBVS)
Sookie (‘cause she’s hilarious)
Michel (also ‘cause he’s hilarious)
And the town troubadour
(Also, I really kind of wanted to say Max because the older I get, the more he appeals to me. But I don’t think he’s from Stars Hollow. I also waffled on Miss Patty in place of the town troubadour because, hello, amusement factor. But the town troubadour can provide entertainment, so he won out.)

9.)   Pick a reindeer.
Can I choose Buddy the Elf instead? J/K I think I’ll go with Cupid because to me Christmas is kinda romancey, so I don’t know, it feels fitting.

10.)Best TV Christmas special of all time

What if I told you I’m woefully under-qualified to answer this? I don’t watch very many Hallmark Christmas movies, for instance. I’m more of a classic Christmas movie girl. But oh, oh, wait! In the 80s there was a Muppet’s Family Christmas TV special. Loved it! And check it out…you can watch the whole thing on YouTube! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojtGHXsTXmU 

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Theatre! Mini-Reviews: 'Cinderella' and 'Anne and Gilbert'

toronto theatre.com

The revival of this lesser known Rodgers and Hammerstein piece opened last week here on its National Tour after mixed reviews ( though a few Tonys!) on Broadway.

I knew nothing about the music or the adaptation of the story before I went .  I confess that I was disappointed with the book to the musical : some of the lyrics being forced to rhyme together while the secondary plots weren’t really developed at all.  While the orchestration was a dream, the lyrics were stilted and too often expected without the turn of nuanced phrase that contributes to the lasting impressions of other musicals by the pair like Sound of Music and The King and I.

That being said every single actor on the stage was top-notch, the voices soared through the beautiful Edwardian Mirvish theatre and the dancing was divine.  The costumes were slight of hand and really quite as magical as the subject matter and the sets of enchanted forest and glistening palace alike.    

An opulent musical with expert staging that just suffers from some lukewarm storytelling.  Cast and crew  nor composer to blame.

p.s. how does she do that dress change before the ball? I have no clue. Youtube has been no help.


We went off to Ottawa for this one! 

This is a musical that has become a staple in Charlottetown and Summerside during the summer: a sort of continuation of the favourite Anne of GG Musical which I am not afraid to admit I loathe.    This is a far more mature piece and actually a pretty close adaptation of Anne of the Island. Unlike other adaptations, and indeed the book itself, it really excels at digging a little deeper into Gilbert’s perspective.  While the first act was a bit scattered, I found things really tightened in the second when Anne and Gil, Moody and Josie end up at Redmond.  Here, Anne meets the equally luminous and flirtatious Philippa and her upper class beau Royal Gardner. All while Gil sits on the sidelines, hoping Anne finally catches up to him.

The staging was great: a sort of an elaborate puzzle with pieces that interlocked and spread apart. The costumes, too, were first rate and the choreography was great.   Musically, I was impressed at how the score was infused with the flavour of Maritime music.  This is not big, robust orchestra musical music: this is sweet and chime-like, making great use of the fiddle and, in some cases, crystalline voices.  The two strongest voices in the cast belonged to Anne (thank goodness) and Roy.  Though the actresses playing Marilla and Rachel Lynde both had fine voices and a marvelous duet. 

Apparently, on the Island ( where I will probably see it next summer) the auditorium at the Guild theatre is quite intimate.  The National Arts centre is a mid-sized theatre with great acoustics and allowed the production to breathe a little. It makes great use of its space.

Finally, if you’ve spent your life pining for boy-next-door Gil Blythe, this musical was written for you. It self-consciously parades the idealization of Gilbert, every school girl swoons for him and, obviously, even the stubborn Anne is not immune to his charms. 

But, without doubt, the price of admission was worth it for Ellen Denny whose Anne is at times heart-breaking and winsome who is never less than luminous and intelligent and who sings like an angel. 

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Giveaway and Cover Reveal: Of Dubious and Questionable Memory

Hey all!

Head on over to our friend Rissi's blog for a neat giveaway ( a copy of A Singular and Whimsical Problem and Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder upon its release) and to learn more about Of Dubious and Questionable Memory: the first time we send Herringford and Watts state-side!

They go to Boston and Concord, Mass --- 2 of my favourite places in the world.

Also, how cute are these covers all in a chronological row?

Monday, December 07, 2015

What is Rachel Reading?: The Thomas Nelson edition

If you can crush on a publisher, I crush hardcore on Thomas Nelson.  They have brilliant marketing, gorgeous covers and some of my favourite voices. To add, they are taking wonderful risks and bringing out faith fiction with soft thematic resonance that is accessible across the markets.

A Respectable Actress by Dorothy Love 

Isn't this cover gorgeous? I cannot even handle it. Sheesh.  

When India Hartley is accused of murder, she must uncover the deceptions of others to save herself.
India Hartley, a famous and beautiful actress, is now alone after her father’s death and embarks upon a tour of theaters across the South. Her first stop is Savannah’s Southern Palace. On the eve of the second night’s performance, something goes horribly wrong. Her co-star, Arthur Sterling, is shot dead on stage in front of a packed house, and India is arrested and accused of the crime.
A benefactor hires Philip Sinclair, the best—and handsomest—lawyer in Savannah to defend India. A widower, Philip is struggling to reinvent his worn-out plantation on St. Simons Island. He needs to increase his income from his law practice in order to restore Indigo Point, and hardly anything will bring him more new clients than successfully defending a famous actress on a murder charge.
Because India can’t go anywhere in town without being mobbed, Philip persuades the judge handling her case to let him take her to Indigo Point until her trial date. India is charmed by the beauty of the Georgia lowcountry and is increasingly drawn to Philip. But a locked room that appears to be a shrine to Philip’s dead wife and the unsolved disappearance of a former slave girl raise troubling questions. Piecing together clues in an abandoned boat and a burned-out chapel, India discovers a trail of dark secrets that lead back to Philip, secrets that ultimately may hold the key to her freedom. If only he will believe her.

Quick take: I sometimes find that Love's narrative is at odds with the time period she writes in but I love the unique setting and characterization. A really clever and taut mystery lies at the heart of this book

Lydia’s job at the library is her world—until a mysterious patron catches her eye . . . and perhaps her heart.
Just months after the closure of the Chicago World’s Fair, librarian Lydia Bancroft finds herself fascinated by a mysterious dark-haired and dark-eyed patron. He has never given her his name; he actually never speaks to a single person. All she knows about him is that he loves books as much as she does.
Only when he rescues her in the lobby of the Hartman Hotel does she discover that his name is Sebastian Marks. She also discovers that he lives at the top of the prestigious hotel and that most everyone in Chicago is intrigued by him.
Lydia and Sebastian form a fragile friendship, but when she discovers that Mr. Marks isn’t merely a very wealthy gentleman, but also the proprietor of an infamous saloon and gambling club, she is shocked.
Lydia insists on visiting the club one fateful night and suddenly is a suspect to a murder. She must determine who she can trust, who is innocent, and if Sebastian Marks—the man so many people fear—is actually everything her heart believes him to be.

Quick Take: I was looking forward to this, especially because I enjoyed the characters in Deception at Sable Hill so much.  I also love a cozy mystery ---and a cozy mystery punctuated with books? the best.

Before he became a father of the Christian Church, Augustine of Hippo loved a woman whose name has been lost to history. This is her story.
She met Augustine in Carthage when she was seventeen. She was the poor daughter of a mosaic-layer; he was a promising student and with a great career in the Roman Empire ahead of him. His brilliance and passion intoxicated her, but his social class would be forever beyond her reach.  She became his concubine, and by the time he was forced to leave her, she was thirty years old and the mother of his son. And his Confessions show us that he never forgot her. She was the only woman he ever loved.
In a society in which classes rarely mingled on equal terms, and an unwed mother could lose her son to the burgeoning career of her ambitious lover, this anonymous woman was a first-hand witness to Augustine of Hippos’s anguished spiritual journey from religious cultist to the celebrated Christian saint and thinker.
Giving voice to one of history’s most mysterious women, The Confessions of X tells the story of Augustine of Hippo’s nameless lover, their relationship before his famous conversion, and her life after his rise to fame. A tale of womanhood, faith, and class at the end of antiquity, The Confessions of X is more than historical fiction . . . it is a timeless story of love and loss in the shadow of a theological giant.
She met Augustine in Carthage when she was just seventeen years old. She was the daughter of a mosaic-layer. He was a student and the heir to a fortune. They fell in love, despite her lower station and Augustine’s dreams of greatness. Their passion was strong, but the only position in his life that was available to her was as his concubine. When Augustine’s ambition and family compelled him to disown his relationship with the her, X was thrust into a devastating reality as she was torn from her son and sent away to her native Africa.
A reflection of what it means to love and lose, this novel paints a gripping and raw portrait of ancient culture, appealing to historical fiction fans while deftly exploring one woman’s search for identity and happiness within very limited circumstances.

Quick Take: this is literary historical fiction at its best. A deft and nuanced look at women's roles in ancient times as well as a gorgeous tapestry of philosophy and love.  This was a surprising voice for me and a brilliant addition to Nelson's growing and varied book program. 

“Why won’t you just tell me what’s in that cake?” I’d been trying to get Laine’s recipe for years. We all had.
When all else fails, turn to the divine taste of hummingbird cake.
In the South you always say “yes, ma’am” and “no, ma’am.” You know everybody’s business. Football is a lifestyle not a pastime. Food—especially dessert—is almost a religious experience. And you protect your friends as fiercely as you protect your family—even if the threat is something you cannot see.
In this spot-on Southern novel brimming with wit and authenticity, you’ll laugh alongside lifelong friends, navigate the sometimes rocky path of marriage, and roll through the outrageous curveballs that life sometimes throws . . . from devastating pain to absolute joy. And if you’re lucky, you just may discover the secret to hummingbird cake along the way.

Quick Take: if you like Fannie Flagg, Billie Letts or The Divine Sisters of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, you will enjoy this winsome Southern novel which paints with talented aplomb a pitch-perfect women's sphere.  The voice is refreshing, the characters buoyant and believable: why, you feel like you will look up from the pages and see them there across from you! 

Note: I received all of the above with compliments from the publisher.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Happy Book Birthday A Singular and Whimsical Problem

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I am ALL over the place this week promoting  A Singular and Whimsical Problem and it is so much fun to have a book out in the world.

release dates mean your sister and brother-in-law
send you a poinsettia bouquet + a balloon to your
Please go to iBooks, Kobo, Kindle or Nook and pick up a copy!  It's less than the price of a gingerbread latte at Starbies and the size of one of the original Sherlock Holmes adventures in the Strand!

you can read my 2 part interview on Novel PASTimes (includes giveaway)

you can learn about my favourite Christmas reads (Sherlockian and otherwise) on Thinking Thoughts as part of the Spread The Christmas Joy series (includes giveaway)

you can see who I would choose in a game of Date, Marry, Kill featuring Lestrade, Sherlock and Watson at Melissa Tagg's blog (again with the giveaway)

over at Christen Krumm's blog I am talking about the 6 authors I would most like to have dinner with (among other things) BONUS: see who would play Merinda in a movie! (whoa! another giveaway)

I rank the 5 best (and worst) made-for-tv Christmas movies at Deanna Raybourn's blog

Learn about my inspiration for Herringford and Watts at Breakpoint

Learn about my insane publication schedule at ICFW

At Coffee Cups and Camisoles, I tell you all about my leading man Ray DeLuca 

And don't forget to enter my giveaway! It's so easy! you just have to leave an online review. ANY ONLINE REVIEW

release dates also mean your parents come all the way to Toronto and take you to dinner at a fav italian place and give you a bouquet of holly 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

GIVEAWAY: Very Merry Torontonian Sherlockian Murdoch Tea-filled Christmas

*Contest runs Dec 1-6*
heart emoticon read a Singular and Whimsical Problem (available at all online major retailers) or pretend to read it. Whatever. You are still eligible as LONG AS YOU LEAVE AN ONLINE REVIEW
heart emoticon leave a review on Amazon, Nook, Kobo, iBooks (through Apple iTunes) ... the retailer of your choice between Dec 1-6
heart emoticon take a screenshot or capture of said review (it doesn't have to be a good review or a deep review. It could be "The Chipmunks are better sleuths")
heart emoticon send proof of your review to getrachel [at] gmail [dot] com
heart emoticon be entered in a DRAW!
heart emoticon WIN:
-a signed copy of The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder upon its release in March 2016
-The David's Tea Christmas Collection 2015
-a replica print of a Sidney Paget illustration from the original Sherlock Holmes serials in the The Strand Magazine
-a TV tie-in copy of "Night's Child" by Maureen Jennings featuring Toronto's best and brightest Victorian detective
-my undying love ( oh heck, kids, you had that anyways!)

Contest open to residents of Canada and the U.S. only
Winner will be announced December 8

A Singular and Whimsical Problem releases Dec 1 


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Spotlight: A Talent for Trickery

I have been insanely busy of late. It's the whole "you're a writer and a career girl thing" and my reading has been sliding. As such, I haven't even finished this delightful book but I am loving it so far and I know you will, too!

Indeed, our friend Serena Chase ( who has impeccable taste) listed it as one of her must-reads on USA Today's HEA 

The Lady is a Thief

Years ago, Owen Renderwell earned acclaim-and a title-for the dashing rescue of a kidnapped duchess. But only a select few knew that Scotland Yard's most famous detective was working alongside London's most infamous thief...and his criminally brilliant daughter, Charlotte Walker.

Lottie was like no other woman in Victorian England. She challenged him. She dazzled him. She questioned everything he believed and everything he was, and he has never wanted anyone more. And then he lost her.

Now a private detective on the trail of a murderer, Owen has stormed back into Lottie's life. She knows that no matter what they may pretend, he will always be a man of the law and she a criminal. Yet whenever he's near, Owen has a way of making things complicated...and long for a future that can never be theirs.

There's also a sneak peek of the book ( and its sparkling narrative) on Harlequin Junkie 

Please visit Alissa Johnson

While I received a copy for review purposes from Sourcebooks, the book itself is less than the price of a gingerbread latte on kindle so snap it up.

Monday, November 16, 2015

A Christmas Giveaway and a chance to win 'A Singular and Whimsical Problem'

First off,  excited that A Singular and Whimsical Problem is up for pre-order on Amazon!  It is e-only with links for kobo, nook and ibooks coming shortly. It will show up on your kindle Dec 1

it's super cheap so go forth and get it. It's just a slight little novella-sized Christmas confection but you do get to meet Jem and Merinda and Jasper and Ray!

Secondly, a bunch of awesome authors have pooled together for a cool Christmas Giveaway. You could win all of the books listed below (for me: a digital copy of Singular and Whimsical Problem and a print copy of Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder upon its release) as well as a cozy fireplace heater. I have one in my little apartment and there is nothing better in the world!

Sending you over to Amanda Dykes' website to enter so you can check out her awesome blog and learn more about Bespoke: A Tiny Christmas Tale--- one of my favourite reads of last year )

Cynthia Ruchti (novella, An Endless Christmas), Katie Ganshert (Amish Christmas at North Star), Michelle Ule (The 12 Brides of Christmas), Kathy Ide (21 Days of Christmas)Rachel McMillan (A Singular and Whimsical Problem), Melissa Tagg (One Enchanted Christmas), and Amanda Dykes (Bespoke: a Tiny Christmas Tale).