Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Bon Appétit with Kathleen Eagle, Author of Never Trust A Cowboy

Bon Appétit and a Book with Kathleen Eagle
author of

Chicken Diable

I discovered this recipe when I was in high school, and I’ve been making it for family and friends ever since.  It’s always a hit. This is from my original recipe card:

Preheat oven to 375º
Makes 4 servings

1 broiler-fryer (about 3 lbs) cut up
4 tbsp butter
½ cup honey
¼ cup prepared mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp curry powder

Wash chicken pieces; pat dry; remove skin if you wish.

Melt butter in shallow baking pan.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Roll chicken in mixture to coat both sides.  Arrange meaty side up.

Bake 1 hour, spooning sauce over chicken occasionally, until chicken is tender and richly glazed. If skin has been removed, baste more often.

Praise for Kathleen Eagle

"A good man is hard to find, but a romance by Eagle is a good place to start." –Kirkus Reviews

"Kathleen Eagle is an author without peer."
Tami Hoag, #1 New York Times
bestselling author, The 9th Girl

"Kathleen Eagle is a national treasure."
–Susan Elizabeth Phillips,
New York Times bestselling author

“You always can tell that a Kathleen Eagle book is going to be an enjoyable, intelligent read.”
–The Romance Reader

By New York Times Bestselling Author
Kathleen Eagle
The last thing harried Lila Flynn needed was another cowboy to deal with, but new hire Del Fox was different than most sweet-talking wranglers. The hard worker had a gentle touch and eyes that spoke of a past he didn't share. Lila soon found her hardened heart softening, frightening her more than any other hurdles she was facing.
Del's assignment in Short Straw, South Dakota, was meant to be fast and simple. Falling for Lila Flynn, however, had complicated everything. If he did his job right it would mean destroying everything Lila had worked for. He'd given her every reason never to trust him with her heart, but when all was said and done, would she trust their love enough to give them a second chance?

KATHLEEN EAGLE published her first book, a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award winner, with Silhouette Books in 1984. Since then she has published more than 40 books, including historical and contemporary, series and single title, earning her nearly every award in the industry.  Her books have consistently appeared on regional and national bestseller lists, including the USA Today list and the New York Times extended bestseller list.
Born in Virginia and raised "on the road" as an Air Force brat, Eagle earned degrees from Mount Holyoke College and Northern State University.  She taught at Standing Rock High School in North Dakota for 17 years.  She continues to teach writing at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis.

By Kathleen Eagle
Harlequin Special Edition; December 16, 2014
$5.50 US; 224 pages
ISBN-13: 9780373658596


Saturday, January 24, 2015

And the winner is...

I'm delighted to announce the name of this week's giveaway winner...1 copy of DEATH OF A DISHONORABLE GENTLEMAN by Tessa Arlen goes to

Petit, look for my notification in your email! Congratulations to the lucky winner and many thanks to all the contestants for entering the giveaway. Stay tuned and happy reading!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

P.O.W.ER by Lisa A. Kramer: A Review


Lisa A. Kremer


Word Hermit Press; December 1, 2014
Paperback, Kindle, 291 pages
YA Speculative Feminist Fiction

What would happen if women and girls joined their unique abilities together to change the world? In a world where access to the written word is reserved to men, Andra BetScrivener has been able to read and write ever since she was a little girl without anyone teaching her. She must keep her abilities a secret in the country of New North, or she could lose her hands, her eyes or her life. In fact, the only paths offered to her–and all young women–are to either marry or enter the government-run Women’s Training Program, where she’ll be taught “feminine” arts like drawing, painting, and homemaking.
On her seventeenth birthday, Andra discovers that her abilities extend beyond reading. She can write events to life. As she begins to explore her new ability, she must take care not to jeopardize her father’s job as head scrivener at the Ministry. Despite her efforts to keep her powers hidden, she comes to the attention of both the government and a rebel group, who each desire to use Andra for their own goals. At the same time, she begins to meet other gifted women who have never dared use their unique powers. With the help of her friends Brian and Lauren—who has the ability to read minds—Andra must find a way to unite the power of women to create change.
When one side manipulates Andra’s words into killing someone, and the other threatens her father’s life and her own freedom, Andra decides to use her writing to empower others to stop governmental oppression. But in a society ruled by lies, cruelty, and inequality her journey will not be easy or safe.
For each book sold, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to causes that support women and children around the world.

My Review
Blending  on the imaginative canvas of speculative fiction the dark tints of a dystopian novel and the refreshing perspective of a YA first person narrative, P.O.W.ER echoes The Hunger Games political setting of a totalitarian regime and class division, but addresses, with grace and intelligence, issues that are more tragically anchored in reality.
"It is acknowledged by the leading scientists of our time  that female brains are weaker and frailer than their male counterparts.  Studies conducted by the New North's  premier scientists have shown the danger to women's brains if they are introduced to inappropriate knowledge."
In Andra BetScrivener’s dystopian world (the Territories of New North), the Supreme Prime Minister has every citizen believe that given the smaller size and structure of women’s brain, as well as the electrical activity marked when certain forms of information are acquired, the input of knowledge through the process of reading causes a massive surge of brain electricity that supposedly  has an adverse effect on women’s ability to function normally in the world. Continuous exposure may lead to death. This effect is less noticeable  when women are engaged in feminine arts (art, music, nurturing children, housekeeping). The Lord did not intend  women to read, write, or do anything beyond basic addition and subtraction. For their own sake, they must be protected from absorbing dangerous  information through literacy and mathematics. So it happens that our heroine, daughter of the government Head Scrivener, grew up among books she wasn’t allowed to read and with mental powers she wasn't allowed to use.
The idea of a society where women's rights to literacy, education, and freedom to choose a profession or a husband are brutally and uncaringly violated, in the name of prejudices and false beliefs, carries a tragic resonance that belongs to the current newsfeeds of the international press rather than an alternate universe portrayed in the pages of a fictional work.

Lisa Kramer's social commentary and not-so-veiled criticism of all corporatist and fascist ideologies that obstruct women's empowerment across social strata, religious groups, and racial enclaves, are the strongest feature of this speculative novel: handled with the fluidity and simplicity of a first person POV that engages the reader and deftly establishes an emotional connection with  the young narrator, P.O.W.ER's political subtext hums with feminist pleas of gender equality, social justice, and ethnic tolerance. An approachable and thematically vigorous read. 4.5 stars
***Review copy generously offered by the author in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.


About the Author

Lisa A. Kramer has spent her life learning, creating, and exploring the world through theatre, writing, traveling and collaborating as an educator. She has lived in nine states and two countries (including Japan). She holds a PhD in Theatre for Youth, an MFA in Theatre Directing, and a BA in English Language & Literature and Theatre. She has published non-fiction articles in journals specializing on Theatre for Young Audiences, as well articles aimed at young people for Listen Magazine. In addition to young adult novels, she has ventured into the world of short stories, and has stories for adults in several of the Theme-Thology series published by and available on Kindle, Nook, and Kobo. When not writing, Lisa shares her love of the arts and the power of story as co-founder of heArtful Theatre Company and as adjunct faculty at various colleges and universities. She also spends time enjoying New England with her husband, daughter, and two dogs from her home base in central Massachusetts.

Her latest book is the YA speculative feminist fiction, P.O.W.ER.
For More Information




Monday, January 5, 2015

DEATH OF A DISHONORABLE GENTLEMAN by Tessa Arlen: Spotlight & Giveaway

Death Of A Dishonorable Gentleman

Author: Tessa Arlen
Publication Date: January 6, 2015
Minotaur Books
Formats: eBook, Hardcover

Genre: Historical Mystery
Add to Goodreads

Lady Montfort has been planning her annual summer costume ball for months, and with scrupulous care. Pulling together the food, flowers and a thousand other details for one of the most significant social occasions of the year is her happily accepted responsibility. But when her husband’s degenerate nephew is found murdered, it’s more than the ball that is ruined. In fact, Lady Montfort fears that the official police enquiry, driven by petty snobbery and class prejudice, is pointing towards her son as a potential suspect.

Taking matters into her own hands, the rather over-imaginative countess enlists the help of her pragmatic housekeeper, Mrs. Jackson, to investigate the case, track down the women that vanished the night of the murder, and clear her son’s name. As the two women search for a runaway housemaid and a headstrong young woman, they unearth the hidden lives of Lady Montfort’s close friends, servants and family and discover the identity of a murderer hiding in plain sight.

In this enchanting debut sure to appeal to fans of Downton Abbey, Tessa Arlen draws readers into a world exclusively enjoyed by the rich, privileged classes and suffered by the men and women who serve them. Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman is an elegant mystery filled with intriguing characters and fascinating descriptions of Edwardian life—a superb treat for those who love British novels.

A Party for Winston, the second book in the series to be released in January 2016.


One copy of Death Of A Dishonorable Gentleman is up for grabs! Please, become a follower of this blog and leave a comment (including your email address) for a chance to win. The contest is open to US residents only. Good luck!


Praise for Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman

“Tessa Arlen has a worthy debut with Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman. With a deliciously gruesome murder and an unlikely pair of sleuths, this is a treat for fans of Downton Abbey who will want to devour it with a nice steaming pot of Earl Grey.” —New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn

“In her debut novel, Tessa Arlen weaves an evocative tale of the passions, loyalties and ambitions that divide and unite two classes, upstairs and downstairs, in a stately home. She instantly transports the reader to Edwardian England.”—Christine Trent, author of Stolen Remains

“A dash of noblesse oblige sparkles between the upstairs/downstairs world of Lady Montfort and her housekeeper, Mrs. Jackson, as they work together to unmask the identity of a killer at large on the Montfort’s country estate. As sharp as a Nancy Mitford novel, Tessa Arlen’s sophisticated Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman deserves its place among the Great and the Good of classic mystery.”—Lyndsy Spence, founder of The Mitford Society and author of The Mitford Girls’ Guide to Life.

“Thoroughly enchanting. Arlen’s debut will appeal to fans of Downton Abbey, with its vivid descriptions, firm grip on the intricacies of the time period, and skilled portrayal of the often complicated relationship between upstairs and downstairs.” —Anna Lee Huber, author of the Lady Darby mystery series

Buy the Book

Amazon (Kindle)
Amazon (Paperback)
Barnes & Noble (Nook)
Barnes & Noble (Paperback)
Book Depository


About the Author

TESSA ARLEN, the daughter of a British diplomat, had lived in or visited her parents in Singapore, Cairo, Berlin, the Persian Gulf, Beijing, Delhi and Warsaw by the time she was sixteen. She came to the U.S. in 1980 and worked as an H.R. recruiter for the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee for the 1984 Olympic Games, where she interviewed her future husband for a job. DEATH OF A DISHONORABLE GENTLEMAN is Tessa’s first novel. She lives in Bainbridge Island, Washington.
For more information please visit Tessa Arlen’s website. Read Tessa Arlen’s blog at Redoubtable Edwardians. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
Subscribe to Tessa Arlen’s Newsletter.


Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, January 5
Review at
Reading the Past
Review at Back Porchervations
Review & Giveaway at Mina’s Bookshelf
Tuesday, January 6
Review & Giveaway at
Review & Giveaway at The Maiden’s Court
Wednesday, January 7
Review & Giveaway at
To Read, Or Not to Read
Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book
Thursday, January 8
Review at
Buried Under Books
Friday, January 9
Review at
Mel’s Shelves
Guest Post on The Writing Desk
Interview at Back Porchervations
Saturday, January 10
Review at
With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Monday, January 12
Review at
Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, January 13
Review at
Girl Lost in a Book
Spotlight & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Wednesday, January 14
Review & Giveaway at
The Book Binder’s Daughter
Thursday, January 15
Spotlight & Giveaway at
Passages to the Past
Friday, January 16
Spotlight at
Just One More Chapter
Monday, January 19
Review at
Beth’s Book Book
Tuesday, January 20
Review at
The Lit Bitch
Spotlight & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Wednesday, January 21
Spotlight & Giveaway at
Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More
Thursday, January 22
Review at
Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Monday, January 26
Review at
A Literary Vacation
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Tuesday, January 27
Review & Giveaway at
The True Book Addict
Wednesday, January 28
Review at
A Book Geek
Thursday, January 29
Spotlight at
What Is That Book About
Saturday, January 31
Review & Giveaway at
The Calico Critic
Monday, February 2
Review at
Book Nerd
Tuesday, February 3
Spotlight at
I Heart Reading
Thursday, February 5
Review at
Layered Pages
Friday, February 6
Guest Post & Giveaway at
Historical Fiction Connection




Monday, December 29, 2014

Mina's Bookshelf 2014: A Year In Reading

Farewell, 2014! On a personal level, I have never been happier to turn the page, so to speak. As far as Mina's Bookshelf goes, I am saying goodbye to a wonderful year of book blogging: my profound gratitude to all those authors who graced my blog with their enthralling interviews and guest posts, to the publicists and tour organizers who provided excerpts and material for reviews and giveaways - you made my 2014 exciting, unforgettable, and absolutely gratifying.
A heartfelt 'thank you' to my fantastic readers: my gratitude goes to 92,000+ unique blog visitors and 5,800+ followers across my social media venues.
To all, health, happiness, and prosperity in 2015 and always!

***A photo collage of the authors who graced this blog throughout the year with their interviews and generously contributed to the success of Mina's Bookshelf with their guest posts and giveaway donations.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Mina's Bookish Resolutions for 2015

As we approach the end of 2014, about half of the population will spend some time reflecting on what needs  to change in their lives and how to follow through on those changes. Family and self-improvement seem to be the most popular new year's resolutions (spending more time with loved ones being the #1 goal, immediately followed by exercising more, losing weight, and quit smoking). According to a Forbes article though, only 8%  of people achieve their new year's resolutions: why does just a tiny fraction of people succeed at goal-setting and what is their secret? Well, there is a scientific explanation for nearly everything, including success and failure.

Behavioral psychologists claim that your chances to stick to your vows will dramatically increase if you keep your bucket list short and simple. In a nutshell, be realistic, prioritize, be specific, and chart your goals. Screening your improvements, using vision boards, personal diaries, or simply sharing your achievements with friends and family, will definitely boost your confidence and fuel your determination.

Spending time with loved ones is a lifetime resolution for me. Family is and will remain my #1 priority in 2015 and beyond. So, what else is left for a 43-year old girl with a booklover heart, a body shape she is completely satisfied with, and two kids that keep her more active than a personal trainer ever could? Books, of course. A sensibly short, easily attainable to-read list.

Here's my bookish resolution for 2015. Best wishes of a Happy New Year, from my bookshelf to yours.

In this richly told story where Sliding Doors meets P.S. I Love You, Kristin Harmel weaves a heart-wrenching tale that asks: what does it take to move forward in life without forgetting the past? THE LIFE INTENDED is coming up in a few days (December 30) from Gallery Books.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Garden Spells comes a story of the Waverley family, in a novel as sparkling as the first dusting of frost on new-fallen leaves... FIRST FROST (Waverley Family #2) by Sarah Addison Allen will be released by St. Martin's Press on January 6, 2015.

In this darkly imaginative debut novel full of myth, magic, romance, and mystery, a Princeton freshman is drawn into a love triangle with two enigmatic brothers, and discovers terrifying secrets about her family and herself—a bewitching blend of Twilight, The Secret History, Jane Eyre, and A Discovery of Witches. WILDALONE by Krassi Zourkova is to be released on January 6, 2015 (William Morrow).

In LILLIAN ON LIFE, Alison Jean Lester has created a brutally honest portrait of a woman living through the post-war decades of change in Munich, Paris, London and New York. Her story resonates with the glamour and energy of those cities. Charming, sometimes heartbreaking, never a stereotype, Lillian is completely herself; her view of the world is unique. You won't soon forget her. Due on January 13, 2015 (Putnam Adult)

A compulsively readable, emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller that draws comparisons to Gone Girl, The Silent Wife, or Before I Go to Sleep, this is an electrifying debut embraced by readers across markets and categories. THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins will be release on January 13, 2015 (Riverhead).


CSI meets the Age of Reason with a well-drawn, intriguing cast of characters (Karen Harper) in Tessa Harris superbly plotted historical mystery series, featuring eighteenth-century anatomist and pioneering sleuth Dr. Thomas Silkstone. Due on January 27, 2015 from Kensington.

In snappy, glittering prose that is both utterly hilarious and achingly poignant, Katherine Heiny chronicles the ways in which we are unfaithful to each other, both willfully and unwittingly. Maya, who appears in the title story and again in various states of love, forms the spine of this linked collection, and shows us through her moments of pleasure, loss, deceit, and kindness just how fickle the human heart can be.  SINGLE, FREE, MELLOW, a collection of short stories, will be released by Knopf on February 3, 2015. 

'A sumptuous, page-turning account of William Shakespeare's muse in 1590s England...'.  Inventive and absorbing, The Tutor is a masterful work of historical fiction, casting Shakespeare in a light we’ve never seen. THE TUTOR by Andrea Chapin will be released in hardcover, e-book, and audio format on February 5, 2015 (Riverhead Books).

From the beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Anne Tyler--now in the fiftieth year of her remarkable career--a brilliantly observed, joyful and wrenching, funny and true new novel that reveals, as only she can, the very nature of a family's life. A SPOOL OF BLUE THREAD, coming up February 10, 2015 from Knopf.

Based on actual attempts to assassinate Queen Victoria, INSPECTOR OF THE DEAD by David Morrell brilliantly merges historical fact with fiction, bringing a bloody chapter of Victorian England to vivid, pulse-pounding life.  (Mulholland Books, March 24, 2015) 

 Kim Michele Richardson's lush, beautifully written debut, is set against a Southern backdrop passing uneasily from bigotry and brutality to hope. With its compelling mystery and complex yet relatable heroine, LIAR'S BENCH is a story of first love, raw courage, and truths that won't be denied. Coming up from Kensington on April 28, 2015.

The stunning companion to Kate Atkinson's #1 bestseller Life After Life. In her new novel, A GOD IN RUINS, Atkinson tells the story of Ursula Todd's beloved younger brother Teddy--would-be poet, RAF bomber pilot, husband, and father--as he navigates the perils and progress of the 20th century. (Little, Brown & Company, May 26, 2015)

Summer of 1966. A beautiful and powerful couple, a picture-perfect marriage, a Kennedy-like fairytale with plenty of intrigue and romance. From the New York  Times bestselling author of A Hundred Summers, Beatriz Williams. TINY LITTLE THING is two seasons away (Putnam Books, June 23, 2015).


Love always,