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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Saturday Snapshot #13

West Metro Mommy Reads
To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky on West Metro Mommy Reads' Blog. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.
The mister and I went to the Toronto Zoo a couple weeks back and got this shot of our 3 Rhinos that live there :)

Friday, September 19, 2014

*[Blog Tour Review & Giveaway] The Crystal Cage by Merryn Allingham

The Crystal Cage
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Captivated…or captured?

Appearances don't always reveal the truth. Grace Latimer knows this better than most. Illusions of commitment and comfort have her trapped—until bohemian adventurer Nick Heysham charms his way into her world. Commissioned to recover a Great Exhibition architect's missing designs, he persuades her to assist in his research. The mystery of the Crystal Palace seduces Grace, and once she discovers clues about a forbidden Victorian love affair, she's lured into the deep secrets of the past…secrets that resemble her own.

As Grace and Nick dig into the elusive architect's illicit, long-untold story, the ghosts of guilt and forbidden passion slip free. And history is bound to repeat itself, unless Grace finds the courage to break free and find a new definition of love…

Summary & Cover taken from
Length: 264 pages (E-book)
Source: Review Copy
Available Formats: E-book
Publication Date: August 4th 2014 by Harlequin E (first published January 1st 2014)

If you had asked me to read a book that takes place in two very different times a few years back I probably would have turned you down. I wasn't much of a fan of the whole split timeline thing back then and I suppose it's because to me I find that that the story has to be just so to really work for me and in the Crystal Cage I loved the way the author used this style of story telling.

For me though, because there are two stories being told that are bound so tightly together that I often find it hard to describe the story without giving to much away so if I'm to brief it's all because I try not to stick spoilers in my reviews.

As you've gathered I'm a huge fan of how this story turned out. When I first got the invite for the book I was so excited, I loved the premise but thought that it would actually be a bit of a lighter read (nothing wrong with a light Historical), but The Crystal Cage had much more substance to it and that was a major factor if not the major factor that made me such a fan.

There was more than just a love story in this 264 page volume, there were two love stories in fact and a pretty well fleshed out mystery that had it's fair share of plot twists that kept me on my toes and I liked that Grace and Nick had a bit of a treasure hunt on their hands when it came to the lost architectural plans. I like how both history, mystery and romance were mixed together the way it was because it made the characters all that much more likeable.

Grace, I found was a little bit of an enigma for a good bit in the book. I didn't not like her but she was like a riddle that I had to figure out, and I enjoyed that she had layers to her character, just like Nick. I also very much enjoyed Alessia's character as well since she was a large part of the story as a whole and how all the characters were different and played off each other.

While it wasn't a light read, it wasn't too heavy and I enjoyed the pace at which the story moved. I didn't once get bored and managed to polish this one off in a couple glorious hours of relaxing. As a debut, I'd say that the author Merryn Allingham is an author that I'm going to have to watch out for in the future because her story telling was wonderful.

Author Bio:

03_Merryn AllinghamMy father was a soldier and most of my childhood was spent moving from place to place, school to school, including several years living in Egypt and Germany. I loved some of the schools I attended, but hated others, so it wasn’t too surprising that I left half way through the sixth form with ‘A’ Levels unfinished.
I became a secretary, as many girls did at the time, only to realise that the role of handmaiden wasn’t for me. Escape beckoned when I landed a job with an airline. I was determined to see as much of the world as possible, and working as cabin crew I met a good many interesting people and enjoyed some great experiences – riding in the foothills of the Andes, walking by the shores of Lake Victoria, flying pilgrims from Kandahar to Mecca to mention just a few.
I still love to travel and visit new places, especially those with an interesting history, but the arrival of marriage and children meant a more settled existence on the south coast of England, where I’ve lived ever since. It also gave me the opportunity to go back to ‘school’ and eventually gain a PhD from the University of Sussex. For many years I taught university literature and loved every minute of it. What could be better than spending my life reading and talking about books? Well, perhaps writing them.
I’ve always had a desire to write but there never seemed time to do more than dabble with the occasional short story. And my day job ensured that I never lost the critical voice in my head telling me that I really shouldn’t bother. But gradually the voice started growing fainter and at the same time the idea that I might actually write a whole book began to take hold. My cats – two stunning cream and lilac shorthairs – gave their approval, since it meant my spending a good deal more time at home with them!
The 19th century is my special period of literature and I grew up reading Georgette Heyer, so when I finally found the courage to try writing for myself, the books had to be Regency romances. Over the last four years, writing as Isabelle Goddard, I’ve published six novels set in the Regency period.
Since then, I’ve moved on a few years to Victorian England, and I’ve changed genre too. The Crystal Cage is my first novel under the name of Merryn Allingham. The book is a mystery/romantic suspense and tells the story of a long-lost tragedy, and the way echoes from the past can powerfully influence the life of a modern day heroine. The next few Allingham books will see yet another move timewise. I’ve been writing a suspense trilogy set in India and wartime London during the 1930s and 1940s, and hope soon to have news of publication.
Whatever period, whatever genre, creating new worlds and sharing them with readers gives me huge pleasure and I can’t think of a better job.
Really Liked It!
To "Like" Merryn on Facebook CLICK HERE
To become a "Fan" of  Merryn  on Goodreads CLICK HERE
To purchase the book via Chapters Indigo CLICK HERE
To purchase the book via Kobo CLICK HERE
To purchase the book via Amazon
To purchase the book via AmazonUK CLICK HERE
To purchase the book via Barnes & Noble CLICK HERE


Feature & Follow #20

Increase Blog Followers
Gain new followers and make new friends with the Book Blogger Feature & Follow! If this is your first time here, welcome! You are about to make some new friends and gain new followers -- but you have to know -- the point of this hop is to follow other bloggers also. I follow you, you follow me.

The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs!

How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools -- keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them "hi" in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you!
What Are Your Blogger Pet Peeves?
When I go to schedule a post and am sure I scheduled it (especially ones for tours) and then I end up getting bitched out by authors and tour hosts for not having it up by 8 a.m. and most of the time I do check but heaven forbid if I miss that deadline by 10 minutes.  MISTAKES HAPPEN PEOPLE and it's almost always Blogger's fault.
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Friday 56 #32

This is a fun meme to do hosted by Freda's Voice If you'd like to join on the fun go to The Friday 56 

 *Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
*Find any sentence that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Link it
Briar Rose
A dark and sexy reimagining of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale from the author of THE DEMON TRAPPERS.

For Briar Rose, life is anything but a fairy tale. She's stuck in a small town in deepest Georgia with parents who won't let her out of their sight, a bunch of small-minded, gossiping neighbours and an evil ex who's spreading nasty rumours about what she may or may not have done in the back of his car. She's tired of it all, so when, on her sixteenth birthday, her parents tell her that she is cursed and will go to sleep for a hundred years when the clock strikes midnight, she's actually kind of glad to leave it all behind. She says her goodbyes, lies down, and closes her eyes . . . And then she wakes up. Cold, alone and in the middle of the darkest, most twisted fairy tale she could ever have dreamed of. Now Briar must fight her way out of the story that has been created for her, but she can't do it alone. She never believed in handsome princes, but now she's met one her only chance is to put her life in his hands, or there will be no happy ever after and no waking up.
Summary & Cover taken from
Length: 470 pages (Paperback)
Publication Date: September 12th 2013 by Macmillan Children's Books
Pg. 156
A bone-dry chuckle came from the spirit behind her as the footsteps grew closer. Reena's knees were knocking now and she clutched her personal gris-gris bag tighter. Joshua was shivering as well, though he kept his back turned as she'd asked.