Author Archives: What The Cat Read

Meet the Newest Reviewer here at WtCR!

I’m thrilled to announce that we here at What the Cat Read have a new reviewer on staff. Please allow me to introduce you all to Little Dancer! Dancer will be a permanent reviewer who will be taking over our Young Adult reviews. =^.^=

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Little Dancer comes to us after living her early kitten months outside. She arrived in our garage July 2015 and over the course of eight months she slowly came to associate us as her humans. At the end of February of this year, we managed to trap her and began the process of integrating her into our family. The fact that she was a semi-feral and already used to us made the process of integration easier over time.

Admittedly though during the first few months we were unsure if she would settle down enough to become a part of the family. In fact, when we took her in to be spayed our vet said that she was “7 lbs of high intensity spit and vinegar.” But we didn’t give up. Every day we worked with her, talking to her, letting her sniff our fingers, playing with her, the typical things one does when introducing a new feline to one’s home.  Today she spends her time sleeping in either the bathroom or kitchen sinks, wrestling with her sister Sara, pouncing and prancing after spiders and insects that occasionally sneak in, and enjoying endless hours of head bonks and pets. You would never know that she started her life outside.

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Little Dancer’s integration into our house, and her joining on with What the Cat Read, has been a huge success! Her sweet disposition, all be it with moments of spikiness, makes her a perfect addition to the family and we are looking forward to sharing her reviews with you all now and in the years to come!

All Shook Up by Chelsey Krause – First Look Celebration!

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We are excited to be participating in the First Look Celebration for Chelsey Krause’s All Shook Up which officially releases August 17, 2016!

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Publisher: Tryst Books

Release Date: August 17, 2016

Natalie’s world is shaken to its core when she discovers an old photo of a woman who looks like her. Could this woman be related to her birth mother, who put Natalie up for adoption as a baby? When she tracks down the person who dumped the photo album at her thrift shop, she’s shaken again. Especially when the gorgeous fire-fighting guitarist offers to help her find the owner. They quickly become friends – which is all they’ll be, as far as Natalie’s concerned. Her rebellious youth turned her off cheating men, and the new Natalie is looking for true love and a family of her own – something Casey isn’t willing to provide. But how long can Natalie ignore her undeniable attraction to the man with the Irish accent and the broken-down ’57 Chevy?

In Chelsey Krause’s second novel, friends become lovers over a whirlwind summer of rockabilly rhythms, twirling skirts, and a mystery that takes them hilariously far out of their element.

Pre-Order Today:

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Excerpt:

I stare up at the house for a moment, my hands shaking on the steering wheel, wondering what I’ve got myself into. I do some breathing exercises to calm down, pick up the box, and get out of the car. I can barely stand, my legs are so wobbly.

Maybe I’m working myself up over nothing. So what if the woman in the picture looks like me? It could be a coincidence.

Or maybe, just maybe…

I walk slowly up the driveway and knock on the door, my heart racing. After a couple of minutes, I knock again. Maybe they aren’t home? Maybe they didn’t hear me? I try the doorbell.

After a minute, I hear heavy, muffled footsteps.

Oh god. I should have worn a better outfit. I quickly smooth my hair with my free hand and stand a bit taller. Am I going to meet my birth mother? Or, at the very least, an aunt or something? Or my grandmother? Although, if someone cared enough to take these pictures and put them in an album, why would they throw them away? Is that the sort of person I want to meet?

The door swings open. The person standing in front of me is most definitely not a granny.

“Can I help you?” he asks as he rubs his eyes.

“Oh, I, umm…”

My brain has stalled.

He shouldn’t be the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen. But for some reason, he is. He looks like he’s in his late twenties, maybe early thirties. He isn’t wearing anything that spectacular, just a plain T-shirt and fleece pants. And his dark eyebrows are a bit thick for my liking.

But those lips…thin on top, full on the bottom, framed by a cleft chin and dark stubble. And those brown eyes fringed with black lashes…

He blinks. “Okay, then. Well, if that’s all…” He starts to close the door.

“Does this belong to you?” I yelp. I shove the box into his chest. He takes a half step back and sneezes as the dust flies up around him.

He frowns. “Is this the crap I took to the thrift store?” With a confused look on his face, he hands the box back to me and crosses his arms. He leans on the door frame, making his biceps strain against his T-shirt. His entire left arm is covered in swirling blue and green tattoos. “How did you find where I live?” he asks cautiously. He has a hint of an accent. Scottish, maybe?

I roll my eyes. “Don’t flatter yourself, I’m not stalking you.”

He smirks. “Good. I’ve already got too many stalkers.”

About the Author:

View More: http://rhondakrause.pass.us/chelsey

Chelsey Krause has a thing for thrift stores and used bookshops. A nurse, wife, Starbucks addict, and mom to two children, she can often be found repurposing other people’s junk or considering whether the library would let her move in. The rest of the time, she’s reviewing for Chicklit Club or writing. All Shook Up is her second novel.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

***Giveaway***

Tryst Books is offering one (1) lucky grand prize winner a paperback set containing the following titles: All Shook Up, Sweet Bliss, Drawn Through You, Ms. Conception, & Lessons in Pure Life and ten (10) runner-ups will win an eBook copy of their choice from the Tryst Books publishing catalogue! To enter, simply click on the Rafflecopter link below:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b050ef29256/

The Secret Language of Stones by M.J. Rose – Excerpt & Promotional Post

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We are thrilled to be participating the in tour for M.J. Rose’s novel and would like to thank Inkslinger PR for letting us join the tour event. If you’d like to see all of the blogs involved and read exclusive excerpts and reviews of The Secret Language of Stones, please click on the banner above, murr! =^.^=

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Publisher: Atria Books

Release Date: July 19, 2016

Series: The Daughters of La Lune #2

As World War I rages and the Romanov dynasty reaches its sudden, brutal end, a young jewelry maker discovers love, passion, and her own healing powers in this rich and romantic ghost story, the perfect follow-up to M.J. Rose’s “brilliantly crafted” (Providence Journal) novel The Witch of Painted Sorrows.

Nestled within Paris’s historic Palais Royal is a jewelry store unlike any other. La Fantasie Russie is owned by Pavel Orloff, protégé to the famous Faberge, and is known by the city’s fashion elite as the place to find the rarest of gemstones and the most unique designs. But war has transformed Paris from a city of style and romance to a place of fear and mourning. In the summer of 1918, places where lovers used to walk, widows now wander alone.

So it is from La Fantasie Russie’s workshop that young, ambitious Opaline Duplessi now spends her time making trench watches for soldiers at the front, as well as mourning jewelry for the mothers, wives, and lovers of those who have fallen. People say that Opaline’s creations are magical. But magic is a word Opaline would rather not use. The concept is too closely associated with her mother Sandrine, who practices the dark arts passed down from their ancestor La Lune, one of sixteenth century Paris’s most famous courtesans.

But Opaline does have a rare gift even she can’t deny, a form of lithomancy that allows her to translate the energy emanating from stones. Certain gemstones, combined with a personal item, such as a lock of hair, enable her to receive messages from beyond the grave. In her mind, she is no mystic, but merely a messenger, giving voice to soldiers who died before they were able to properly express themselves to loved ones. Until one day, one of these fallen soldiers communicates a message—directly to her.

So begins a dangerous journey that will take Opaline into the darkest corners of wartime Paris and across the English Channel, where the exiled Romanov dowager empress is waiting to discover the fate of her family. Full of romance, seduction, and a love so powerful it reaches beyond the grave, The Secret Language of Stones is yet another “spellbindingly haunting” (Suspense magazine), “entrancing read that will long be savored” (Library Journal, starred review).

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Excerpt:

Ma Chère,
Here in the dark, as the kerosene burns, I try to summon your perfume and pretend I smell it instead of this stink. All around us, all the time, lives are lost. Every minute of every hour of every day and night. We steel ourselves from what we do as we carry the wounded out of danger, getting their blood on our hands, our boots, our uniforms . . . as we ship them off to the temporary field hospitals or, worse, send them back home for burials. We try not to think of the dead who we have no choice but to bury here on the battlefield.
Breathe, breathe, I tell myself, when the enormity of the loss overwhelms me. When I think of the achievements the world will never know. What great novel will never be written because its author was blown up. What wonderful painting that could have brought such joy will never be painted because its artist has expired after losing too much blood.
We march on roads and through fields that have become cemeteries. Nothing picturesque and peaceful like the ones we have at home. There are no graceful cobblestone paths here. No stained glass windows in artful mausoleums.
There is no romance in the impromptu graveyards at the front. Nothing like Père-Lachaise in Paris. If I were home, I would escort you there today. It is a perfect place to ruminate on love. Shall you go for me?
The first tomb I want you to visit is on avenue Casimir Périer, the same name as the tiny street in the 6th arrondissement, but here it is in the seventh section. You will see it from a distance for it is one of the tallest monuments in the area.
When you arrive, pause to take in its melancholy grandeur. Then stroll around its perimeter, peer inside its open arches at the two stone effigies, lovers sleeping side by side on their funeral biers.
Peter Abelard was a twelfth-century philosopher and theologian at the cathedral school of Notre-Dame. Considered the boldest thinker of his time, he was quite famous. Héloïse, the niece of a secular canon named Fulbert, was a young woman renowned for her brilliant prose writing, who spoke Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. Yearning to learn even more, she persuaded her uncle to hire Abelard to teach her.
At thirty-nine, despite his fame and popularity, Abelard remained chaste. Héloïse, in her early twenties, was as well.
The great meeting of their minds led to a meeting of their souls and eventually their flesh, even though the political and religious climates of their time forbid their being together.
Abelard wrote he was “all on fire” for Héloïse and decided “she is the one to bring to my bed.”
Despite knowing sex was a sin, neither could resist and they met in secret, insatiable, they both wrote, exploring each other with a passion that until then they’d devoted solely to their intellect.
“My hands strayed more often to her bosom than to the pages, love drew our eyes to look on each other more than reading kept them on our texts,” Abelard wrote.
And then Héloïse became pregnant.
“Oh, how great was the uncle’s grief when he learned the truth, and how bitter was the sorrow of the lovers when we were forced to part!” Abelard wrote.
To protect Héloïse, Abelard took her to Brittany. There, they wed in secret and she went to stay with the nuns in a convent in Argenteuil while Abelard returned to Paris to make amends. But Héloïse’s uncle, believing Abelard had cast off his niece, greeted him by having him brutally beaten and castrated.
Compared to our time, the Middle Ages were so unforgiving. So patriarchal. Humiliated, Abelard resigned as a teacher and became a monk. Héloïse, believing she was without other options, gave up her child and became a nun. And yet their love didn’t wither, didn’t die.

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About the Author:

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New York Times Bestseller, M.J. Rose grew up in New York City mostly in the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum, the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park and reading her mother’s favorite books before she was allowed. She believes mystery and magic are all around us but we are too often too busy to notice… books that exaggerate mystery and magic draw attention to it and remind us to look for it and revel in it.

Rose’s work has appeared in many magazines including Oprah Magazine and she has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, WSJ, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio. Rose graduated from Syracuse University, spent the ’80s in advertising, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors – Authorbuzz.com

The television series PAST LIFE, was based on Rose’s novels in the Reincarnationist series. She is one of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers and currently serves, with Lee Child, as the organization’s co-president.

Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield, and their very spoiled and often photographed dog, Winka.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

***Giveaway***

We’re celebrating the release of THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF STONES by giving away a beautiful Daughter of La Lune pendant. Designed by Cadsawan Jewelry, the silver pendant contains a labradorite, a magical stone excellent for awakening one’s own awareness of inner spirit, intuition, and psychic abilities. If you wish to enter for your chance to win, please click on the Rafflecopter link below:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/9172c1a0330/

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Cover Reveal: I See You by Molly McAdams

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We are thrilled to be partaking in the reveal for Molly McAdams’s I See You and wish to thank HarperCollins for letting us share this special post with you all, murr! =^.^=

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About I See You:

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Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

Release Date: November 1, 2016

Futures are uncertain, unpredictable-like ink spilled across the purest surface. Nearly imperceptible ripples move and flow until a unique stain is formed. The ink is permanently embedded in the surface…

During one wild night in college, Jentry Michaels is a tidal wave of ink that brands Aurora Wilde’s soul. An unparalleled stain she can’t forget despite the many months that have passed-and despite the distraction she’d hoped she would find in her new relationship with Declan, the charmer who captured her heart soon after. Jentry has irrevocably touched her soul, and he is intertwined in her present and future in ways she never fathomed. Now Aurora is faced with keeping that night hidden though it feels as if the ink has indelibly etched their story across her skin.

When Declan is confronted with his own personal demons, Aurora must decide if she will continue to hold tight to their relationship and a safe, reliable future with him, or if she will turn to Jentry-the guy she can’t forget no matter how hard she tries…

Pre-order Today:

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About the Author:

Molly McAdams

Molly McAdams grew up in California but now lives in the oh-so-amazing state of Texas with her husband, daughter, and fur babies. Her hobbies include hiking, snowboarding, traveling and long walks on the beach … which roughly translates to being a homebody with her hubby and dishing out movie quotes.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Sara’s Review of Once Upon a Moonlit Night by Elizabeth Hoyt

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I’d like to sincerely thank Forever Yours – Grand Central Publishing for letting me participate in the launch event for Hoyt’s newest novel and for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review! =^.^=

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Rating: paw3

Publisher: Forever Yours – Grand Central Publishing

Date Released: July 5, 2016

Series: Maiden Lane 10.5

Goodreads Description:

From New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Hoyt comes a delightful Maiden Lane novella that begins once upon a moonlit night—and ends wickedly, wonderfully ever after . . .

Hippolyta Royle is running for her life. Pursued by hounds on a cold rainy night, the heiress flags down a passing carriage and throws herself at the mercy of the coach’s occupant. Whoever this handsome traveler may be, he is her only hope to escape a terrible fate. But should he agree to escort her to safety, he’s in for much more than he bargained for . . .

At first Matthew Mortimer doesn’t believe Hippolyta’s story, that she’s a fabulously wealthy heiress who’s been kidnapped. He assumes she’s a beggar, an actress, or worse. But once his new travel companion washes the mud from her surprisingly lovely face, and they share a breathtaking kiss, there is no turning back . . .

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Review:

As my first taste of Hoyt’s writing, I have to say that this was an okay read. While it didn’t entirely standout for me, it didn’t leave me regretting having spent my time reading it. I definitely want to check out the Maiden Lane series from the beginning and give Hoyt’s other books a try. At the very least I want to hold judgement on whether I’m going to fully enjoy Hoyt’s writing until after I’ve read a full length novel of hers.

Novellas are usually hard for me to rate because I always feel as though the plot in them would be better if they were longer. Often times the pacing of the plot feels rushed in novellas, but in the case of this particular tale the pacing worked rather well. The only place where I felt things were rushed was toward the end when Hippolyta is suddenly married to Matthew. The jump in time gave me a bit of a jolt due to the unexpectedness of it. Yes, I knew they would eventually wed, but I didn’t think it would be that sudden. Other than that, the pacing was great and worked for the events in the story, for the most part.

Hippolyta was an interesting character. I found her to be both strong and vulnerable respectively. She’s not the sort of woman who’s afraid to speak her mind in matters of her place in society or what she expects out of life and men, yet once she’s faced with potential ruin both physically and socially she runs from her troubles rather than fighting them, at least until she’s given the strength to do so by those who love her. In this I’d have loved for her to have had a full length story because I feel as though there is more that Hoyt could have done with her to make Hippolyta a truly enjoyable character. Here we get just a quick glance into who she is and what she’s capable of, rather than the full growth and examination that are afforded to other women in the series, and from what I hear from other readers of this series, Hippolyta is the character that most readers wanted to see more of in the previous books. As for Matthew, for most of the story he rub my fur entirely the wrong way. His behavior and assumptions toward Hippolyta not only were disrespectful, but bordered on cruel. I had a difficult time dredging up any respect for him as the story progressed. He didn’t have many opportunities to prove himself as being worthy of Hippolyta’s affections, didn’t strike me as having developed much emotionally, and pretty much made me doubt whether the two of them really would have ended up together in the end if circumstances had been different. And this is where having their story be a full length novel would have resulted in a higher rating from me: I wanted more character development for them!

What also kept me from giving this book a higher rating was the conflict wasn’t what I was originally led to believe it would be. When we first meet Hippolyta she is being pursued by a pack of hunting hounds after she escaped from a gentleman who had her kidnapped to force her to marry him. As I was reading this story, I kept expecting Hippolyta and Matthew to eventually have to confront this gentleman and in the process of doing so, Matthew would earn his favor with Hippolyta. Having this, Hippolyta’s escape back to London, be the tone and focus of the first half of the novella is what drove my interest in the story. I wanted to know what would happen to her where this issue was concerned. I wanted to know if she would end up being caught again. But by the time I got to the three-quarter mark of the novella the conflict became something else entirely and completely threw off my enjoyment of the book. The motives behind the new conflict seemed weak and didn’t hold any relevance to the majority of the tale. While it is true that the reader is told of Hippolyta’s background, the impact of this didn’t strike me as something that would play that large of a role later in the story. So here I am expecting one ending for this book only to end up with an entirely different one. Yeah, I was not a happy feline. I genuinely would have liked the book more had the initial conflict been what was resolved in the end.

Now to be fair the premise of this story is a good one. Hippolyta is an enjoyable character whom I feel readers will readily connect with and as I said, the pacing works well for the length of the story. I can’t say that I didn’t like reading this title because up until the shift in the conflict I was actually enjoying the story despite not being overly enamored with Matthew, and had the conflict not become something else, I’d have definitely given this novella a four paw rating.

So if asked if I would recommend this book to readers, I’d say yes, it’s worth giving it a read. Just be aware that things aren’t going to go in the direction you originally think they are going to go. And if you’ve already read this book, please feel free to share your thoughts on it in the comments section below. I’d love to hear other readers’ views on this story, especially from those who have read the other books in the series, murr! =^.^=

About the Author:

HoytElizabethElizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times bestselling author of over seventeen lush historical romances including the Maiden Lane series. Publishers Weekly has called her writing “mesmerizing.” She also pens deliciously fun contemporary romances under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with three untrained dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the long-suffering Mr. Hoyt.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

***Giveaway***

If you would like to win 1 (one) of 10 (ten) paperback copies of Elizabeth Hoyt’s Duke of Sin, book #10 in her Maiden Lane series, please click on the Rafflecopter link below:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/26635ce2339

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