Monday, April 30, 2012

Spring Fling Giveaway Hop 1-7 May

Welcome to Spring Fling Giveaway Hop! This event is organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and by Eve's Fan Garden. It runs 1 - 7 May and there are almost 200 blogs participating. It's going to be fun!

What can you win this time?

There will be 1 winner who can choose between either 15$ GC from or a book of a same value from The Book Depository.

Giveaway Details:

As usually in Me and Reading, this giveaway is international.

In order to participate you need to be a follower (GFC, email, Networked blogs) of this blog, enter your name and email. That's mandatory entry.

Optional extra entries
+1 if you tweet about my giveaway and leave a direct link
+1 if you follow Me and Reading on Facebook
+1 if you follow me in Twitter

All possible entries: 4

Friday, April 27, 2012

Win 100$ and copy of Jerusalem Assassin!

Happy Friday!

I will relaunch the contest for winning 100$ with a spy contest!

The author Avraham Azrieli is celebrating his spy thriller The Jerusalem Assassin with a contest. Several blogs have received different destinations for spy contest and my destination is Paris!

Summary of the book:

In the wake of the 1995 Oslo Peace Accords, a wave of Palestinian terror hits Jewish targets. Israel responds with a clandestine war in Paris, Zurich, and Tel Aviv. When a beautiful Mossad agent is critically wounded in Amsterdam, master spy Jerusalem Gerster pursues the attackers back to Israel, where he uncovers a sinister conspiracy to perpetrate an unprecedented national catastrophe—the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin.

What can you find this time?

The contest is to find the best undercover disguise for an agent in Paris. What you have to do is to describe what would be the perfect undercover disguise for an agent in Paris. Use your imagination and think of everything which is characteristic to Paris which could be used!

There will be 1 winner who will receive 100$.

Contest details:

Mandatory entries:

Visit FB page of the author Avraham Azrieli and Like it.

Leave a comment with your suggestion for spy undercover disguise in Paris.
Leave you name, email.
The contest will run for three weeks until 16th of May.

If you want to increase your chances to win, then there are other 3 blogs participating, each of them giving away 100$. Visit the link here: and increase your chances! They have other destinations!

Don't forget to Like the author page!
Good luck and happy reading!

Free download in Kindle - The House of Women by Anne Brear

Happy Friday!

Knox Robinson Publishing is offering another free book through Kindle: The House of Women by Anne Brear. The House of Women is available as a free download in the Kindle store from today until Sunday.


As the Victorian Age draws to a close, lonely and brokenhearted, Grace Woodruff fights for her sisters' rights to happiness while sacrificing any chance for her own.

The eldest of seven daughters, Grace is the core of strength around which the unhappy members of the Woodruff family revolve. As her disenchanted mother withdraws to her rooms, Grace must act as a buffer between her violent, ambitious father and the sisters who depend upon her.

Rejected by her first love and facing a spinster's future, she struggles to hold the broken family together through her father's infidelity, one sister's alcoholism, and another's out-of-wedlock pregnancy by an unsuitable match.

Caring for an illegitimate half-brother affords Grace an escape, though short-lived. Forced home by illness and burdened with dwindling finances, Grace faces fresh anguish –and murder– when her first love returns to wreck havoc in her life.

All is not lost, however. In the midst of tragedy, the fires of her heart are rekindled by another. Will the possibility of true love lead Grace to relinquish her responsibilities in the house of women and embrace her own right to happiness?

Here are the links:

Enjoy and happy reading!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Behind the Screen (17)

Happy Thursday!

Finally I back at writing my favorite weekly post which I haven't been writing since February.  let's see what has happened behind the screen!

While reading:

I have to admit, that two weeks after the surgery I haven't been reading as much as I do usually, but now I am back on track again. I have to say, that there has been lot of laughter and giggling from my side while reading, especially when I read Lisa Sanchez' Faythe Reclaimed, it had lot of humorous situations in it and was partially hilarious. The review will be up in May. At the moment I am reading 2 books at the time and I enjoy it, because these two books are from very different genres. I have finished reading 3 books this week already, out of which I will review 2 I think.

While blogging:

I have been doing quite a lot with my blog this week: I have updated my blog tour page and also giveaway page.

The next which I will clean up is the review policy, I will implement few changes there. The main message which will go up there is, that I will not be accepting new review copies until the end of July, I am fully booked and have lots of book to review before I can take any new obligations. There is one exception though and that goes to the authors and publishers I have been working with already. So if we have had contact previously and you or your books have been featured here in Me and Reading, then I will do my best to help you out.

I also got two very nice offers, one came from Megg Jensen, the author of The swarm Trilogy and Cloud Prophet Trilogy. I will be reviewing Afterlife, the second book in The Swarm Trilogy and make an interview with her. 

The second interesting offer came from Harlequin to review Aimeé Carter's Goddess Interrupted, which is a second book in her Goddess Test series. Besides review I will be organizing a giveaway of the book and also post Q & A with the author.

I have also sent 13 books out from The Book Depository for several winners of different giveaways and besides that mailed 22 books from Spring Cleaning giveaway to 5 countries - each of them in different parts of the world.

Besides that there has been lot of correspondence with authors, other bloggers, tour organizers. I am also glad, that I am finally taking time again to my weekly posts and memes, haven't been doing that for a while.


I have decided to start using Rafflecopter for giveaways and each time the new giveaway is coming up, I don't have time to learn Rafflecopter and I am back at google docs. I have promised to myself that the next bigger giveaway hop which starts on the 1st of May, I will be using Rafflecopter. I have heard, that it is very easy to use and I am sure that I will learn the usage of Rafflecopter. I have used the embedded codes previously, but never had my own Rafflecopter giveaway. In May I will!

Facts and numbers:

The most popular post this week has been Showers of Books Giveaway Hop with 611 page views, the second popular post this week is No Strings Attached Giveaway Hop with 252 hits. The third popular post is again giveaway hop, Fairy Tales Giveaway Hop with 214 page views. The most popular non-giveaway post is on the fourth place and it is The House of Order Blog Tour post with 95 hits.

GFC followers is at the moment 2204, Linky links follower number is 391 followers, Networked Blogs has 203 followers, Twitter has 1695 followers and Me and Reading FB page has 1338 likes. I will add the increased numbers again from next week.

The biggest number of visitors this week are from US - 1918 hits, the second place goes to Australia with 150 hits and third place to Russia with 142 hits and the fourth to Canada with 108 hits.

Last week there were visitors from 38 countries.

Page views all time history shows 107.732 hits.

That's all for today!
Happy reading!

Socialpunk by Monica Leonelle Blog Tour - Excerpt and Giveaway! Win IPad 3, Kindle Fire or harcover copies of Socialpunk!

Happy Thursday!

Today I will be posting and excerpt from Socialpunk, a book written by Monica Leonelle.

Summary of Socialpunk:

Ima would give anything to escape The Dome and learn what’s beyond its barriers, but the Chicago government has kept all its citizens on lockdown ever since the Scorched Years left most of the world a desert wasteland. When a mysterious group of hooded figures enters the city unexpectedly, Ima uncovers a plot to destroy The Dome and is given the choice between escaping to a new, dangerous city or staying behind and fighting a battle she can never win.

Author Bio:

Monica Leonelle is a well-known digital media strategist and the author of three novels. She blogs at Prose on Fire ( ) and shares her writing and social media knowledge with other bloggers and authors through her Free Writer Toolkit ( ).


After playing God for six years with the world he created, he couldn’t control any of his subjects, none at all. Over the years, he had watched them evolve and become the sum of their own choices rather than the sum of his; and for that, he regretted ever giving them life.

A small, blinking red light from just inside his eyelid reminded him of the news they sent him earlier that morning. The company had cancelled his funding and would shut down his project within three months. According to them, the project cost too much and took up too much space, and the inconclusive results couldn’t be published reputably, now or in the future.

Six years of his work, tens of thousands of lives at stake—and he could do nothing to save any of it. He bowed his head, letting his chin rest on the rim of his breakfast smoothie. The smoothie reeked of powder—crushed pills—but he supposed he had better get used to it. He wouldn’t be able to afford the luxury of real food after they canned him.

He closed his eyes and called up the camera view of one of his favorites, number 3281. She fascinated him; he couldn’t deny it. When he had designed her, her pre-teen rebelliousness lit fire in her eyes. A survivor, he’d thought. He’d meant for her to have it all—to grow up, to get married to the love of her life, and to have a beautiful family of her own someday.

But he had only given her sadness so far. Instead of creating a strict father, he had given her an abusive one. Instead of creating a loving boyfriend, he had given her a friend who could never love her. And instead of creating a strong, proud mother, he had given her a meek one, who watched the whole thing unfold and did nothing about it.

He looked at his last and final creation sitting in the chair across from him—his own son, not awakened yet. The law forbade him to have any children of his own, so this boy would substitute.

But he had done the unthinkable with this creation—he had bestowed on it his own thoughts, emotions, and decision-making processes. He’d given the boy his own mind, his own physical characteristics, his own wants and desires.

He had never done so with any of the others because of the dangers of investing too heavily in any one of his subjects. But who could he kid? He had not stayed objective thus far, watching some of his subjects more closely than others, wishing for the happiness of some at the expense of others. He had become an abomination, a monster of his own doing, who had created subjects only to watch them suffer.

He couldn’t forgive himself; not now, not ever. His eyes lingered on the vial that sat next to his breakfast smoothie, that he’d stowed away for the day when they destroyed all his work, his entire world. He would save it, tuck it away for now, for as long as he could protect them. When things spun out of his control, he would drink it and end himself the way he had ended them.

In the ancient stories, gods frequently gave their sons as gifts. Now, he would give his son as a gift to her, number 3281. So she could be happy in her last months on earth, before they destroyed her with the rest of them.

Buy links:

Barnes and Noble

Enter the giveaway below! You can win either IPad3, Kindle Fire or hardcover copy of Socialpunk!

Happy reading!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wednesday Wonderings (14)

Happy Wednesday!

Time to my weekly wondering post. Today I would like to write about planning. Yes, planning!

I know it might sound boring, but I am sincerely interested how other bloggers plan for the reviews, giveaways, interviews, blog tours - everything.

When I started blogging, I did not plan ahead at all. I just read, wrote and posted and in one way it was easy. Today, when my blog has grown bigger, blogging takes more time and planning.

First thing, which I started to plan and schedule were blog tours. I have monthly quite many blog tours and to keep track of them, I am scheduling them and adding them to my book tour's page. I do the same with giveaways as well, even thought there are fewer amount of them. It's mostly for myself to remind me, when a giveaway hop is coming.

I have learner how many reviews I approximately can post during the months. I have had to learn to say no to reviews, too, because they are most time consuming posts for me. I don't schedule the reviews with dates, but per month. I have been thinking about it, but I would still like to have the freedom of choice.

How do you do? Do you plan your reviews with the day's precision? If yes, then how? What about book tours, giveaways and other posts?

Happy reading!

Fairy Tale Giveaway Hop April 26 - May 1st.

Welcome to Fairy Tale Giveaway Hop! This hop is organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and by vvb32 reads. There are almost 100 blogs participating and it runs from April 26 to May 1st.

Before we go to the giveaway, I would love to share with you which 3 fairy tales are my favorites throughout the times. First, the best author for me is and remains Hans Christian Andersen. The reason why I love his tales is because they are suitable and interesting both for kids and adults. Kids see something different in the tales than adults. They don't always have happy endings and have a content which awakens different thoughts in your mind. When I first read Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales, I was a kid and I truly loved his stories. I have read his fairy tales several times while being grown-up and still find them fascinating!

My all time three favorite fairy tales would be:

The Little Match Girl

The wares of the poor little match girl illuminate her cold world, bringing some beauty to her brief, tragic life.

The Little Mermaid

Once there was a little mermaid who fell in love with a human boy . .
The Snow Queen

One of Andersen's best-beloved tales, The Snow Queen is a story about the strength and endurance of childhood friendship. Gerda's search for her playmate Kay–who was abducted by the Snow Queen and taken to her frozen palace..

I still enjoy these stories! I love reading fairy tales to my kid, too!

The giveaway would also be related to fairy tales. So let's see what you can win!

What can you win this time?

Even though I love classical fairy tales, I will let you pick what ever fairy tale book you want. It can be classical or modern you adult re-telling of a fairy tale (Cinder and Ella, Cynder, Beastly, Beauty, Entwined etc.).

There will be 1 winner who can pick a fairy tale book from The Book Depository.

Giveaway Details:

As usually in Me and Reading, this giveaway is international.

In order to participate you need to be a follower (GFC, email, Networked blogs) of this blog, enter your name and email. That's mandatory entry.

Optional extra entries

+1 if you tweet about my giveaway and leave a direct link
+1 if you follow Me and Reading on Facebook

All possible entries: 3

Please fill in the form below to enter the giveaway!

Happy reading!

The House of Order Blog Tour - Review and Giveaway

Happy Wednesday, everybody!

Welcome to my stop at The House of Order Blog Tour! this tour is organized by Novel Publicity and by the author John Paul Jaramillo. My stop includes a review and also giveaway together with some information about the blog tour.

Author: John Paul Jaramillo
Title: The House of Order
Release date: 12th of December 2011
Published by: Anaphora Literary Press
Reading level: FICTION - Adult: Stories, Literary Fiction, Social Realism
Pages: 105 in Paperback
Source: Received a review copy from Novel Publicity and the author

The House of Order, the first collection of composite stories by John Paul Jaramillo, presents a stark vision of American childhood and family, set in Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico. Manito Ortiz sorts family truth from legend as broken as the steel industry and the rusting vehicles that line Spruce Street. The only access to his lost family's story is his uncle, the unreliable Neto Ortiz.

My review:

The House of Order by John Paul Jaramillo was different from everything I have read lately. There is nothing beautiful in this book, yet it draws you into it after you started reading the first pages. The environment and setting in the book is harsh, characters cruel and the stories hide nothing. The only beauty in this book is writing – John Paul Jaramillo is a man of few words, but it is amazing how much he can create with saying so little. Less is more is the key sentence of this book!

Regarding the plot:

The novel contains of stories where the narrator Manito is establishing a truth of his family through the stories told by his uncle Neto. There are sixteen stories in the book and each story gives Manito an understanding of his root and where he is coming from.

The setting is based in New Mexico, where the life is harsh after the steel industry has broken and the families try to survive. There is lot of social realism in this book; you get a clear picture of surroundings, where abuse of alcohol, drugs and women is normal and part of everyday life.

Another thing which stroke me while reading, was a use of symbols in the stories. I am not sure if it was intentional, but the titles of the stories seem very far of the content of the story and after finishing a story you realize that it has everything to do what Neto tells.

Regarding the characters:

The stories were told through Manito and uncle Neto, where Manito is listening and asking questions and Neto is a story teller.

Besides these two there were quite many other characters, but they are mostly shown through Neto’s stories. They are real, harsh and have lot of flaws.


As mentioned, there is one key sentence which is describing The House of Order – the less is more. It’s a novel which creates fascinating and ugly pictures of one family and the neighborhood. If you like literary fiction combined with social realism, The House of Order is definitely for you!

5 Flowers!
3 stars.

Thanks goes to Novel Publicity and the author for providing me with the review copy!

Novel Publicity Blog Tour Notes:

Wanna win a $50 gift card or an autographed copy of The House of Order? Well, there are two ways to enter...

  1. Leave a comment on my blog. One random commenter during this tour will win a $50 gift card. For the full list of participating blogs, visit the official House of Order tour page.

  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest! I've posted the contest form below, or you can enter on the official House of Order tour page--either way works just as well.

About the author:

John Paul Jaramillo grew up in Southern Colorado but now lives, writes and teaches in Springfield, Illinois. He earned his MFA in creative writing (fiction) from Oregon State University and, currently, holds the position of Associate Professor of English in the Arts and Humanities Department of Lincoln Land Community College. Connect with John Paul on his website, Facebook, Twitter or GoodReads.

Get The House of Order on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Enter the Rafflecopter contest to win $50 Amazon gift card OR an autographed book below!

Teaser Tuesday (21)

Time to tease!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers.

My teaser this week:
"Amber knew she should keep running, but stopped in her tracks. She was tired of always running from the darkness that followed her everywhere. She gave in to the hot searing pain, falling to the ground, quickly shedding the clothes that bound her to the human world."

No Remorse by Marylynn Bast, page 5.

Summary from Goodreads:

Due to her unusual birth, Amber has abilities no other werewolf has ever possessed. On the run since childhood, the lone wolf avoids contact with other werewolves at all cost, continually moving, constantly looking over her shoulder and always alone.

Everything changes when Amber saves a werewolf from the mere brink of death, Blake, the only werewolf to ever protect her. Love blossoms, but not without tribulations when Amber realizes she must help her new pack rescue a member who is being held hostage by a rival pack.

Warring with emotions of going from lone wolf to the pack leader’s mate, Amber must decide if she is willing to risk Blake’s life to know true family and friendship despite the fact that the Council is hell bent on locating her and will stop at nothing until she is found. Will Amber’s special abilities be enough to keep everyone safe?

Happy reading!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Spy Contest - The best undercover disguise (covert ID) for Paris? Win 100$!

Hello everybody!

Today we will go to Paris in France and play spies!

The author Avraham Azrieli is celebrating his spy thriller The Jerusalem Assassin with a contest. Several blogs have received different destinations for spy contest and my destination is Paris.

Summary of the book:

In the wake of the 1995 Oslo Peace Accords, a wave of Palestinian terror hits Jewish targets. Israel responds with a clandestine war in Paris, Zurich, and Tel Aviv. When a beautiful Mossad agent is critically wounded in Amsterdam, master spy Jerusalem Gerster pursues the attackers back to Israel, where he uncovers a sinister conspiracy to perpetrate an unprecedented national catastrophe—the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin.

Here is your chance to win 100$.

What can you win this time?

The contest is to find the best undercover disguise for an agent in Paris. What you have to do is to describe what would be the perfect undercover disguise for an agent in Paris. Use your imagination and think of everything which is characteristic to Paris which could be used!

There will be 1 winner who will receive 100$.

Contest details:

Mandatory entries:
Leave a comment with your suggestion for spy undercover disguise in Paris.
Leave you name, email.
Visit FB page of the author Avraham Azrieli and Like it.

The contest will run for three weeks until 16th of May.

Good luck and happy reading!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday Look Forwards (27)

Happy Monday!

It has been a while since I have wrote a Monday post, so now it's time again. Let's see what this week will bring!


Planning BEA 2012 is on full gear! Besides the plans for BEA2012 itself, I have already booked tickets for Broadway show together with other book bloggers. So BEA2012 will also be a lot of socializing which I am looking very much forward to! The show is going to be Newsies!

I have made some pre-agreements for BEA 2012 also. To mention few, I will be interviewing one of the main organizers of BookExpo, will be meeting couple of my favorite book tour organizers and publishers, got few agreements with authors, too! I don't want to give you the details yet, but it will be fun meeting them besides the usual BEA program.

I will also be introducing you to my travel buddy and blogging buddy Maria, who is Estonian and lives in Germany. She will be joining Me and Reading during BEA2012, so I think it's time for you to know who she is!

I am getting more and more excited with every single day!


Showers of Books Giveaway Hop is continuing until 25th of April and Team Abnegation $100 Giveaway runs until 30th of April. Besides that I have The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa giveaway which finishes on the 24th of April.

Still time to enter!

Blog tours:

There will be few blog tour posts this week: Camryn Rhys is coming by with a guest post and giveaway tomorrow, 24th of April.

Day after that I will launch something what I haven't done yet, but it's going to be fun - Spy Cover Contest!! I have a destination for the spy and you will all get chances to suggest cover for the spy. The prizes will be quite big, the best suggestion will receive 100$, so come by to check it out!

On 25ht of April I will post a review of The House of Order for it's blog tour which is organized by Novel Publicity.

Last, but not least there will be stop at the 26th of April at Socialpunk blog Tour where the author Monica Leonelle is coming by with an excerpt.


I will pick up different challenges in the beginning of May, because I still need to write reviews of 2012 TBR List Challenge and also DAC2012 Challenge. The same for RAK, I will participate in RAK in May again.

All that plus some reviews and other posts will be waiting for you this week!
Happy reading!

The Memory of Roses Blog Tour by Blair McDowell - Review and Excerpt

Welcome to my stop at The Memory of Roses Blog Tour! The tour is organixed by Sizzling PR and by the author Blair McDowell.My stop includes review and a book spotlight with an excerpt from the book.

Author: Blair McDowell

Title: The Memory of Roses
Release date: 2nd of October 2011
Published by: Rebel Ink Press
Reading level: FICTION - Adult: Contemporary, Romance, Mystery
Pages: 237 pages in Paperback
Source: From Sizzling PR and the author for blog tour and reviewing


The Greek island of Corfu unearths the enduring love stories of two generations of the

McQuaid family. First, renowned archaeologist Ian McQuaid meets the love of his life while

recuperating from an illness contracted during a dig in Crete. Even though he is married, his wife had not been a passionate partner for many years, and the appearance of the stunning Maria Calbrese was a miracle sent to him at the lowest point in his life.

Then a generation later, Ian’s daughter Brit travels to Corfu after his death. He left Brit a note
disclosing that he owned a villa on Corfu, and that when he was there he had fallen in love with a
woman named Maria while still married to Brit’s mother. He asked Brit to deliver a package to Maria, who he thought lived somewhere in Venice. Determined to fulfill her father’s requests and return quickly to the US, Brit’s plan is soon derailed. She meets archaeologist Dr. Andreas Leandros who looks like the Greek gods of ancient times, and her own damaged heart begins to come alive.

What does the mysterious package contain, and how will Brit find Maria as requested by her
father? Will finding her change Brit’s life? Will she manage to preserve her bond with Andreas, or will she return to the US to live out her life without him?

My review:

I took this book for review, because I have visited Greek Islands and I am a big fan of the islands and the rest of Greece too and since the main parts of the book were taken place on Corfu, I was hooked!

The Memory of Roses is well-written book, it is easy to read and had interesting characters. I liked that there were two parallel stories of father and a daughter and I liked how the author brought these stories together to the solving a mystery.

Regarding the plot:

The story starts out with Brit reading a letter of his recently dead father. Through this letter she finds out, that her dad has lived a double life and had a woman he loved in Greece. Her father also tells her, that she owns a house in Corfu.

After the shock she travels to Corfu to find the house and deliver the box which her dad left for to the woman she loved. On Corfu she meets a young man, an archaeologist Dr. Andreas Leandros who knew Brit’s dad. Andreas is talented and gorgeous man who agrees to help Brit to find out who was the mystery woman her dad loved.

At the same time there is a parallel story about Brit’s dad and how he found love in Corfu.

I liked that these two stories were combined. The story was told from two points of views – Brit’s and her dad’s. That gave added value to the book and gave better understanding for what happened in the past.

I also enjoyed the descriptions of the life in Greece, these were really well-written by the author.

There was one thing which I disliked and that was the ending of the book. Not the ending itself, but the way it was written. It seemed that it was rushed and the author did not give enough time to Brit and Andreas to organize the big events towards the end of the book. I would have wanted seeing more emotions and happiness.

Regarding the characters:

There were two sets of main characters in the book: Brit and Andreas and Ian and Maria.

I liked how Brit developed through the story from being a heart-broken and betrayed to the independent woman making her own choices. She was vulnerable and there were times in the book where it annoyed me, but I enjoyed her growth. Andreas was not only a good looking man, but also handy. He supported Brit and was very patient with Brit during the development of their relationship.

I felt sad for Ian for being forced to make difficult choices, but I adored him for being so loyal to his daughter. Maria was like an enigma: beautiful, creative, loveable. Unfortunately their story was not as happy as Brit’s and Andreas’.


The Memory of Roses was a sweet romance to read. Definitely a book to romance lovers!

5 Flowers!
4 stars.

Buy links:
Barnes and Noble
All Romance E-Book

Author Bio:

Blair McDowell wrote her first short story when she was eleven and hasn’t stopped writing since. After many years producing non-fiction professional books in her field, Blair decided to exercise her rich imagination and write novels of mystery and romance set in places she knows and loves, peopled with characters drawn from her experiences in those locales.

One of her favorite places in the world is Greece, the setting for ‘The Memory of Roses’, Blair McDowell’s latest novel. While in Greece Blair was inspired by the ancient culture, friendly people and the picturesque settings, and the plot for the ‘Memory of Roses’ was born.

Blair has a home on a remote island in the Caribbean where the local lore of the ‘Jumbie’ (‘the dead who walk’) formed the basis for her novel of that name.

The setting for Blair McDowell’s book, ‘Sonata’, is the spectacular city of Vancouver with its vibrant multicultural population and its rich musical life. In ‘Sonata’, Blair McDowell’s love of music comes into play, and is intricately woven into this story of mystery and romance.

Blair is a member of the Romance Writers of America, Romance Writers of America (Greater Vancouver Chapter), and the Romance Writers of America (Women's Fiction).



It was on June eleventh that he met her. He had gone to Adriatika for his evening meal. It was a week night and he had lingered over his late afternoon swim. By the time he arrived, the few other diners were well into their meals.

“What have you for me tonight, my friend?” he asked.

“Ah! You are in luck. We have Rabbit Steffado and I’ve kept a portion back for you.”

Ian settled into his chair at his regular table and opened his book. He’d long had the habit of reading in restaurants until his food arrived. It kept him from feeling lonely.

He heard a commotion at the door and glanced up from his book to see a stunning young woman in conversation with Yiannis.

“Of course you are not too late, Signorina,” Yiannis was saying as he showed her to a table. “We
always look forward to your return in June. Did you have a pleasant journey from Venice?”

“Pleasant enough, Yiannis. I hope you have some of your Rabbit Steffado for me tonight. I’ve been looking forward to it for months.”

“Alas, I am afraid the last portion was just ordered by someone else,” he said, nodding in the general direction of Ian’s table. “But I have a very nice fish if you’re interested.”

“Hmm. I’ll think about it. Meanwhile, if you could bring me a pitcher of your good house wine…”

“Of course.”

Ian went back to reading his book. Suddenly he sensed that he wasn’t alone. He looked up to see

the woman who’d just entered the restaurant standing at his table, a brimming pitcher of wine in her hand. She was tall and full breasted, her long ebony hair swung loosely to her shoulders and her eyes were dark and lively. Her face could have come from a Botticelli painting, beautifully oval, classically Italian. She wore a low necked blouse that seemed to fall off one shoulder and a full skirt that emphasized her small waist.

He realized with a shock that she was speaking to him in English and that he hadn’t heard a word she had said.

“I beg your pardon?”

“I said I assume you speak English since you’re reading a book in that language. If you’d rather, we could speak in Italian. My Greek is a bit primitive.”

Confused, Ian managed to stutter, “English will be fine.”

“Good. I have a proposition for you.” She smiled.

Ian thought whatever it is the answer is yes. He merely nodded.

“You,” she resumed accusingly, “you have ordered the last portion of Rabbit Steffado. I’ve been looking forward to Rabbit Steffado for months. I propose that we should enjoy that rabbit together. There is always enough for two in Yiannis’ portions. Meanwhile we can order some of Catarina’s eggplant and a salad to start and,” here she held up the pitcher, “I already have the wine.” She waited expectantly.

Ian threw back his head and laughed for the first time in months. “Please,” he said, getting up quickly and pulling out a chair for her, “Be my guest. I’m Ian McQuaid.”

Over the eggplant she told him she was from Venice and that her name was Maria. “I always spend six weeks here at this time of the year. And this is my favorite restaurant on Corfu. I always came here on my first night back.”

They worked their way through the appetizers laughing and chatting about their experiences on Corfu as if they were old friends.

The rabbit arrived at the table, steaming and aromatic in its rich sauce. Maria ladled it on to their plates. “So what brings you to Corfu?”

Ian somehow didn’t want to admit his recent illness to this young woman who was the picture of

health and vitality. “I was working on Crete and I decided to take some time off. A friend suggested Corfu.”

“What do you do on Crete?”

“I’m an archaeologist. My special area is Bronze-Age societies, the Minoans in particular. Knossos, on Crete, is one of the best preserved Minoan sites in the world. I’ve been working there off and on for some years.”

“You’re an American aren’t you? Your accent isn’t British.”

“Yes. I’m a professor at Stanford University in California. But I spend half of every year in Greece.”

They continued to chat and laugh their way through the rest of meal.

Ian could hardly take his eyes off of her. She was so utterly alive. Her mobile face telegraphed her every thought and mood. When she laughed at his stories her whole face lit up. When she was serious,her eyes held the reflective calm of a mountain lake. He found her utterly entrancing. By the time they’d finished dessert he was wondering how he could prolong the evening, how he could arrange to see her again.

Then he reminded himself that he was still married, that he’d no right to become involved with this young vibrant creature sitting at his table. And that surely she would have no interest in him, a middle-aged man graying at the temples and many years her senior. Regretfully, when Catarina began closing the shutters, he moved to pay the bill. “Please allow me,” he said. “You’ve given me so much pleasure tonight.”

She nodded and rose to leave.

Outside the restaurant, she paused confused, and looked around. “Where’s your car?”

“Actually, I don’t have one. I haven’t found much need for one here. I walk everyplace. The house I’m renting is just up the hill a mile or so.”

“Please let me drive you home,” she said. “I insist. It is small payment for that lovely dinner.”

Ten minutes longer with her, Ian thought. Ten minutes more of her lovely voice and beautiful face. “Of course,” he responded.

She drove efficiently and competently. He watched the shadows and light fall on her face as she
navigated the curves of the narrow, winding country road.

“Turn here,” he instructed as they reached the open gates to the property. She came to a stop at the circle in front of the villa. The fountain was splashing, its dolphins alive in the moonlight.

“What a beautiful spot.” She said. They sat in silence for a moment, neither quite willing to end the evening.

“You could come in for a brandy,” he suggested.

They got as far as the front door. Later they could neither of them remember who moved first.

They were in each other’s arms, tearing at their clothing, stumbling up the steps toward the bedroom. Frustrated with their slow progress Ian swept her up into his arms and carried her to his bed, covering her with his body. They made love wordlessly, frantically, as if their very lives depended on their being together in this way at this moment.

When the storm had passed, Ian tried to speak. “I had no right to do this,” he said. “I’m married.”

“Of course you are,” she replied. “No man as attractive as you could be single. Not at your age. I came to you willingly, I asked for no commitment. We have here and now. We have tonight. Let’s not ask for more.”

He buried his face in her fragrant hair.

Thanks goes to the author for providing the excerpt!
Happy reading!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

In My Mailbox (25)

Happy Sunday!

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. Each week I will post books (or book-related things) that I've bought, won in contests, or received in the mail.

Books I have pre-oredered
Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris
Rapture by Lauren Kate
Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Books I have purchased
Lover Reborn by J.R. Ward
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Books I have received for reviewing

The Vampire Hunter's Daughter by Jennifer Wright
Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn
Honey the Hero by Emlyn Chand
Delighting In Your Company by Blair McDowell
Forsaken Heart by Elise Whyles
Crossroads by Mary Ting
Between by Mary Ting
Gothic Spring by Caroline Miller

That's all for today! More books next week!

Happy reading!

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