Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 Blogging -- It's a Wrap!

There's something satisfying about looking over my accomplishments for the year... finding some great new books to add to my list of favorites, expanding my library, and discovering new authors.  I'll never accomplish all the reading that I hope to get to in a year, but that's ok....I just keep adding to the TBR pile and hope for the best next year. I've already posted about my top reads for 2012 (The Graveyard Queen series by Amanda Stevens), but here are a few honorable mentions for 2012 that deserve to be spotlighted and then it's a wrap on the blog until 2013. :)

Best "New-to-Me Author" goes to......Karen White

Best "Blast From the Past" Novel goes to.....The Road to Avalon by Joan Wolf

                                                         Added to my favorites list!

Best "Smokin' Hot Romance" Award goes to.....Defiant by Pamela Clare

                                                     Love those McKinnon brothers!

The "Scared the Bejeezus Out of Me" Award goes to.....The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James
                                                        Crows give me the creeps!

"Prettiest Cover" Award goes to......A Lasting Impression by Tamara Alexander

Best "Time Travel" Novel goes to.....11/22/63  by Stephen King

                             Stephen King is outside of my comfort zone, but this one was great!                        

The "It's About Time I Got This One Off The TBR Shelf" Award goes to.....Here be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman

The "Well, They Liked it over at Goodreads" Award goes to......Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson 

                                                                      Just "meh."

Best "Damn! There's a Yankee in the Parlor!" award goes to.....Carrie Kingston by Betty Layman Receveur

                                                           Love those southern romances!

"Most Highly Anticipated Release in 2012" Award goes to.......The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

                                       Not her best, but it's always a treat to read her lovely writing.

And I think that just about wraps it up for 2012 on my book blog!

 I have had a great time reflecting on books and sharing my passion for reading with you. Visiting your blogs is a great experience and I am looking forward to seeing what 2013 will bring.
Wishing you all good things in the new year!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Historical Holiday Blog Hop - Winner Announced!

A big thank you to all who  participated in the first annual Historical Holiday Blog Hop hosted by the fabulous Amy at Passages to the Past!

Thank you, also, to all of the new followers and visitors to Books, Belles, and Beaux.....I have enjoyed following your links to your blogs and visiting you.

And now for the winner of A Place Beyond Courage, The Shadowy Horses, and The Mischief of the Mistletoe..........

                                            LARA N. of Virginia!!!!!!!!!!!

Congratulations, Lara, and I hope you enjoy your prize package of amazing historical fiction books!

I would also like to take this time to wish everyone a blessed, peaceful, love-filled Christmas and a very happy new year.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Historical Holiday Blog Hop Giveaway! (US)

                   ************THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED********************
Welcome to the 1st Annual Historical Holiday Blog Hop hosted by Passages to the Past!

Visitors to the participating blogs have an opportunity to win some awesome prizes, and the Grand Prize Winners at Passages to the Past have chances of winning gift cards and four amazing historical fiction prize packages! Be sure to visit Passages to the Past for all the details and participating blogs!


Books, Belles and Beaux is happy to offer a prize package which includes some of my favorite authors.
One winner (US entries only, please) will receive a copy of the fabulous Elizabeth Chadwick's A Place Beyond Courage, Lauren Willig's The Mischief of the Mistletoe  ( includes a bookplate signed by Lauren Willig!), and Susanna Kearsley's The Shadowy Horses. (Note: Already have one of these? No problem...if you are chosen as a winner, I'll be happy to discuss a substitute.)



To enter my giveaway, simply leave a comment with a name and e-mail for contact
information, (One entry per person.)

 Contest is open to US entries -- you do not need to be a follower of this blog, but new friends are always welcome! I will be visiting you blog if you've left a link. :)

 The contest runs from Monday, December 10, 2012 through December 17, 2012. One winner will be randomly selected and contacted by e-mail.

Good luck, and Happy Holidays!

Be sure to check out some of the other wonderful blogs and giveaways in the Historical Holiday Blog Hop listed below:

****************THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED 12/18/12***************************

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Rising Tides by Emilie Richards

About the Book:

"Nine people have gathered for the reading of Aurore Gerritsen's will. Some are family, others are strangers. But all will have their futures changed forever when a lifetime of secrets is finally revealed.
Aurore Gerritsen left clear instructions: her will is to be read over a four-day period at her summer cottage on a small Louisiana island. Those who don't stay will forfeit their inheritance. With the vast fortune of Gulf Coast Shipping at stake, no one will take that risk.
Tensions rise as Aurore's lawyer dispenses small bequests, each designed to expose the matriarch's well-kept secrets. Longtime loyalties are jeopardized and shocking new alliances are formed as the family feels the sands of belief shifting beneath their feet.
As a hurricane approaches and survival itself is threatened, the fourth day dawns and everyone waits for the final truth to be revealed."
(from Goodreads)

My thoughts:

Having just completed Iron Lace which left me wondering about the loose threads, I just had to move on to the sequel, Rising Tides to find out the fate of the Gerritsen heirs.

Not quite as compelling as the first installment, it was still very intriguing the way the author structured the story of the reading of the will.....gradually, over a period of four days with an approaching hurricane, the tempestuous lives, loves and secrets of those gathered to hear the reading of the will are exposed for all to see, some with devastating results (the evil you send out into the world will come back to you), while a few experience healing and hope. The downside is that I found it to be overlong in some areas and a bit far-fetched at some of the coincidences and chance meetings that happened halfway across the globe.

Richards once again wove very accurate and interesting historical details of southeastern Louisiana during the civil rights movement and the tensions during desegregation efforts into the plot and created very sensitive and deeply moving storylines involving the issue of race, relationships, and love.

3/5 stars

Author: Emilie Richards
Title: Rising Tides
genre: southern fiction

Friday, December 7, 2012

My Favorite Reads 2012 - Nonfiction

Continuing with My Favorite Reads 2012, I'm spotlighting two favorite nonfiction selections, both which fed my addiction to the PBS series, Downton Abbey. 

To Marry an English Lord by Gail MacColl  was a fun pictorial/anecdotal history of the wealthy young American women who traveled abroad to find love and marriage among European aristocrats. A scrapbook-styled book filled with tidbits of trivia involving fashion, etiquette, entertaining, correspondence, courting, and other interesting topics related to the Victorian and Edwardian periods.


Continuing to add to my growing collection of all things Downton Abbey, The World of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes is sitting on my coffee table as we speak. I've flipped through it again in anticipation of the Season 3 in 2013.

And speaking of Season 3, here's the trailer for the new season (January 6, 2013) of Downton Abbey! Are you a fan of the show? 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

My Favorite Reads 2012 - Paranormal

It's hard to believe we're nearing the end of 2012 already....and another year of great reads and book blogging!

One of my favorite things to do as we enter December is to look back at the books I completed this year and select a handful that qualify as outstanding reads. These books most likely have landed on my "favorites" shelf at Goodreads and Librarything and are definite keepers.

For my first end-of-year favorites post I have chosen the Paranormal category:

 Hands down, Amanda Stevens' The Graveyard Queen series tops my list of amazing reads in 2012! And I am thrilled that not only does the author have future books planned...... it seems that NBC has plans to develop a TV series based on the books!

The series is based on Amelia Gray, a young woman who has seen ghosts since her childhood. She's lived by a strict set of rules which includes never interacting with the spirits. But circumstances force her to break the rules which opens the door for danger and terror to enter Amelia's world. Set in sultry Charleston, South Carolina, these novels are delightfully spooky and creepy with a dash of sexy -- a perfect mix of mystery, romance, and ghosts in a southern gothic setting. I want to read them all over again to enjoy the lush imagery and writing!                                      

Did you read an outstanding paranormal novel that you would recommend? Please let me know! I love recommendations.

Favorite Period Dramas

Mount TBR

Joanne's to-read book montage

On a Highland Shore
A Light on the Veranda
The Queen's Vow: A Novel Of Isabella Of Castile
The Edwardians
Maisie Dobbs
Howards End
Lady's Maid
Instruments Of Darkness
When Maidens Mourn
Where Shadows Dance
What Remains of Heaven
Where Serpents Sleep
Why Mermaids Sing
When Gods Die
Before Ever After
The Sugar Queen
Garden Spells
After the Night

Joanne's favorite books »