Saturday, July 21, 2018

Shelf Candy Saturday No. 255: The Sisters of the Winter Wood, by Rena Rossner

Welcome to Shelf Candy Saturday!

This is my weekly feature
showcasing beautiful covers!
It also provides information, 
if available, on their 
very talented creators!

Here's my choice for this week!

The Sisters of the Winter Wood
Rena Rossner
Hardcover, 464  pages
September 25, 2018
Fantasy, Magical Realism

My Thoughts About This Cover

I first came across this STUNNING cover on the wonderful blog, Books of Teacups, created by Anna Cuneo! You can find that post HERE

This cover strikes me as a very elegant, festive, "Christmasy" cover, although I know it has nothing at all to do with that holiday. It could be that, in addition to the elegant, festive feel of this image, the mention of the word "winter" in the title also makes me think of that beautiful holiday.

Although I do prefer silver to gold, in terms of jewelry, when it comes to book covers, I love them both! And this particular cover shows off the tones of gold SO beautifully.....

The various tones of gold, from light to dark, also give an illusion of depth and three dimensions to this image. The intertwining, gnarled branches form a beautiful, naturally-ornamented frame around the title. Woven into them are several objects that obviously have something to do with this story. At the top, an equally gnarled crown alludes to the rule of a kingdom.

Since I have read the book's synopsis, I know the golden animals are shapeshifting sisters; one is a swan, and the other, a bear. However, the fact that they're calmly standing together, instead one attacking the other, is another hint that these are not ordinary animals. Also, they seem to be discussing something.

In addition to the "Christmasy" feel to this cover, it has a magical, fairy tale feel, and a touch of whimsy, too. Is it obvious yet that I'm totally smitten? 

The font used for the title and author's name is a classic one, except that the letters "R",  "S" and "W" have been somewhat embellished. The font also contributes to the cover's overall elegance. 

The brilliant cover artist is Rebecca Yanovskaya, and the cover designer is Lauren Panepinto.

Yanovskaya graduated from the Illustration Program at Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning. This is a polytechnic institute that grants diplomas and degrees, and is based in Ontario, Canada. 

Yanovskaya is most likely of Russian descent, and this is noticeable in her work, which is done with a combination of ballpoint pen and gold leaf. This is quite a unique and remarkable artistic technique. A freelance illustrator, Yanovskaya has been influence by several sources, such as Pre-Raphaelite art, theatrical costuming, and neoclassical art. She creates illustrations with fantasy, science fiction, and horror elements. Some of her clients include the Royal Canadian Mint, Princessa Productions, Easton Press, and Magpie Games. She lives in Toronto, Canada.

Lauren Panepinto is a combination of many things, such as Graphic Designer, Art Director, Creative Director, writer, and teacher. 

Panepinto is currently the Creative Director of the Orbit Books division of the Hachette Book Group. She has designed covers for several client/writers, such as Iain Banks, Mira Grant, James S. A. Corey, Brent Weeks, and Gail Carriger, as well as many others.

Panepinto has also written articles on fantasy and science fiction, for ImagineFXmagazine,, She has also acted as judge for the Society of Illustrators in New York and L.A.

A graduate of The School of Visual Arts in NYC, she has degrees in Graphic Design and Advertising. 

I envy Lauren Panepinto not only for her diverse career, but also because she has blue hair! Lol.

It's more than obvious that these two form a dynamite team! And they're now on my evergrowing list of Favorite Cover Illustrators and Designers!!

Online Links
Rebecca Yanovskaya

 Lauren Panepinto

What do you think of 
this week's cover?
Please leave a comment
and let me know!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Can't Wait Wednesday No. 69: Archenemies, by Marissa Meyer

Welcome to "Can't Wait Wednesday"!

This is a weekly event hosted by
Tressa @ Wishful Endings!
This is also where we excited book bloggers showcase future releases we're eagerly anticipating! 
For more information, 
please click HERE.

There's also a Linky widget, so participating blogs can link up!

Here's my choice for this week!

(Renegades, Book 2)
Marissa Meyer
Hardcover, 560 pages pages
     November 6, 2018        
Fantasy, Science Fiction, 
Young Adult Fiction

The Renegades Trilogy continues, in this fiercely awaited second installment after the New York Times-bestselling Renegades by Marissa Meyer, author of the Lunar Chronicles.

Time is running out.
Together, they can save the world.
But they each other's worst nightmare.

In Renegades, Nova and Adrian (aka Insomnia and Sketch) fought the battle of their lives against the Anarchist known as the Detonator. It was a short-lived victory.

The Anarchists still have a secret weapon, one that Nova believes will protect her. The Renegades also have a strategy for overpowering the Anarchists, but both Nova and Adrian understand that it could mean the end of Gatlon City - and the world - as they know it.

 Why I can't wait for this one!

OMG.....I can't believe it! I own the first book in this projected trilogy -- Renegades -- and STILL haven't read it! Yeah, that's the story of my bookish life, lol. I see a great-looking book, either at Paradise (my nickname for my local B&N store, lol), or on Amazon, and it's INSTA-LOVE!! So I pick it up, and then, doesn't get read  for a while.....Sound familiar, guys? I guess all of us bookworms belong to this club, huh? Lol. Yeah, well, I REALLY gotta read these two books (see below), so I'm gonna give it my best shot!! Because I KNOW they're AWESOME!! 
(Ditto for The Lunar Chronicles!!)

Here's the first book in 
this best-selling trilogy!!

Marissa Meyer is a fangirl at heart, with a closet full of costumes, a Harry Potter wand on her desk, and a Tuxedo Mask doll hanging from her rear view mirror. Han and Leia are still her OTP. She may or may not be a cyborg.

Marissa writes books for teens, including the NYT bestselling series: The Lunar Chronicles.

What do you think of my
choice this week? 
Please leave a comment and
let me know!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Tour Book Review: Honeysuckle Dreams, by Denise Hunter

Honeysuckle Dreams
(Blue Ridge Romance, Book 2)
Denise Hunter
Trade Paperback,320 pages
Thomas Nelson
May 1, 2018
Christian Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, 

Brady Collins is juggling full-time fatherhood with the booming auto repair business he runs out of his barn. His ex-wife's sudden death has shaken him, but the devastating news that follows leaves him reeling: Sam is not his biological son.

When Sam’s wealthy maternal grandparents decide they want custody of the child, Brady knows he’s in for the fight of his life. Brady’s attorney tips him off that one major life change would virtually assure him of winning guardianship of baby Sam at the final hearing: the stability of an impending marriage. And his friend Hope is willing to step in as the loving and devoted fiancée.
But regardless of what any blood test says, Sam is his son, and Brady will go to any lengths to keep him.

Local radio celebrity Hope Daniels has been driven by a solitary goal her entire life, and she’s finally been offered her dream job--in Atlanta. Unfortunately, her arrangement with Brady requires her presence in Copper Creek, and she is faced with missing the chance of a lifetime or standing in the way of a dear friend’s dreams.

Both Hope and Brady would give their lives for beautiful Sam. But can they give their trust to one another? With this new novel in the Blue Ridge Romance series, Honeysuckle Dreams shines light on the complicated and beautiful angles of love.

TLC Book Tours provided me with an ARC of this novel, in return for an honest review. 
And I'm honestly enthused about it! 
All opinions are my own.

This novel was one of the sweetest, most totally endearing romance novels I've ever read! These characters became people I felt I had known my whole life, even though I was never brought up in a small town, such as the one depicted in the book. However, Denise Hunter succeeded in totally immersing me in the daily lives of the inhabitants of her fictional  Copper Creek, so much so that I felt their joys and sorrows right along with them. (I even looked up the town on Google, and found that there actually is such a place, in Arizona, but it's a ghost town. The town in this novel is, of course, very much a thriving community.)

The marriage of convenience which, as time goes by, becomes one of true love, has long been a romance novel trope. Yet, I never grow tired of it, because I've found that each author manages to give it new life, inventing new and delightful reasons for the characters to enter into such an arrangement. Hunter has certainly done so here! I followed the progress of the courtship-within-a-marriage of the two main characters, Brady Collins and Hope Daniels, with a smile on my face throughout. And, of course, a happy ending was automatically guaranteed! That's the whole reason for indulging in the reading of romance novels, after all, isn't it? What's a good romance novel without that HEA waiting at the end of the book? 

Both Hope and Brady have gone through tragedy and pain in previous relationships, as well as in life in general. They have been friends for years, but have never seen themselves as romantic partners. Their marriage is born out of Brady's desperate attempt to keep Sam, the son he's grown to love as his. So he puts forth the idea to Hope, who agrees to go along with the charade.

Except that the charade ends up in deep, lasting, true love..... Okay, so it might sound cheesy, even for a romance novel. But in Hunter's skillful hands, this becomes a truly wonderful romantic experience. Brady and Hope gradually come to accept each other as more than just friends, growing closer in the process.

These are characters that I would love to have as next-door neighbors! They are each great people who are mature and sure of themselves, and yet, are vulnerable, and, paradoxically, open to loving and being loved.

One of the aspects of this novel that I found most rewarding was the depiction of the personalities of these two characters.

Hope is no demure, shrinking violet, but a career woman who is after her dream job at a well-known radio station. She knows what she wants, and she works hard to achieve it. Yet, she has the kindness and compassion necessary to help out her lifelong friend, never thinking for a minute that he would turn into her loving husband.

As for Brady, he's a gentle, sweet man, although he's also a very masculine one. The way Hunter describes him, he's every woman's dream in the flesh! Aside from his good looks, he also has a good heart. Furthermore, he wants what's best for Hope, even as she wants the same for him. When she tells him about the interview to get that job she's been working toward for so long, he fully supports her. Not once does he come across as bossy or condescending toward her. Not once does he imperiously demand that she choose either her job or her new family.

The marriage roles of these two characters are well-balanced, too; they have an equal relationship, with neither ever attempng to control or manipulate the other. In short, theirs is an ideal marriage, although Hunter realistically depicts the ups and downs of their adjustment to their new life together.

i also appreciated the fact that there were no graphic sex scenes in this novel. Since one of its categories is Christian Fiction, this is hardly surprising, but I was still happy about that!

The secondary characters (the good ones, that is) are wonderful, as well! I loved them all! First, there's Heather, Brady's former sister-in-law, who turns out to be very supportive toward him, even to the point of going against her parents' wishes and intentions when she feels it to be necessary.

Then there's Cruz and Zoe, whose own relationship is totally endearing. They have a four-year-old daughter, Gracie, born out of wedlock. Having become Christians, they are now planning their wedding. They are both very supportive of Brady and Hope as well. Zoe and Hope have been best friends since childhood.

Then there's Pastor Jack, whose charisma and easy-on-the-eyes presence have somehow not been enough for him to have found a good woman to settle down with.... I really felt for him, and enjoyed his down-to-earth style. In fact, I'd LOVE it if Hunter gave him his own book! 

There are a few other, but unsavory, secondary characters in the book, such as Ned and Patricia Parker, Sam's (the baby's) maternal grandparents. They fought for custody of Sam just because he was their deceased daughter's child, with no consideration of what would have been best for the baby. 

Another character I thoroughly disliked was April, Brady's mother, who never really loved or cared about her son. She causes some trouble in Paradise, and I heartily wished she would disappear as soon as possible. 

I greatly enjoyed reading Honeysuckle Dreams! The people in this novel -- good and not so good -- the setting, the way the story developed, everything flowed together smoothly to make a very satisfying, heartwarming read! I also loved that there were no loose ends left untied by the end of the story, either. This author, previously unknown to me, has now become a new favorite! I will certainly be checking out her other books!

For a perfectly delightful, perfectly endearing, summer read, I recommend picking up this novel! All readers of sweet, clean romance will be thoroughly satisfied! And the cover is perfectly summery eye candy, as well! 


Purchase Links

Denise Hunter is the award-winning author of more than 30 novels, including The Convenient Groom and A December Bride, which have been made into Hallmark movies.

Denise writes heartwarming, small-town romances. Her readers enjoy the vicarious thrill of falling in love and the promise of a happily-ever-after sigh as they savor the final pages of her books.

Denise and her husband live in Indiana, where they raised three sons, and are currently enjoying an empty nest. In 1996, Denise began her first novel, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her books contain a strong romantic element, and her husband says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps, too!

To access the complete tour schedule, please click on the button below!