Monday, February 24, 2014



  The Tales of Goldstone Wood are the award-winning series of author Anne Elisabeth Stengl. These incredible adventure fantasies are told in the classic Fairy Tale style (and are consistently favorites of mine!). Her books include Christy Award-winning Heartless and Veiled Rose, and Clive Staples Award-winning Starflower. 

She makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a passel of cats, 
and one long-suffering dog. (I have visited this menagerie, and it is just as marvelous as you would expect. Tea in china cups with a happy fluffy Monster cat watching over me? Pure heaven). When she's not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and practices piano, painting, and pastry baking. She studied illustration and English literature at Grace College and Campbell University.
   (And I named my daughter after her. She's that awesome).

   So I am honored and thrilled to be involved in the cover reveal for her upcoming novel, GOLDEN DAUGHTER!

 The cover illustration was done by Julia Popova. Visit her website,, 
to learn more about her and her fantastic work!



Masayi Sairu was raised to be dainty, delicate, demure . . . and deadly. She is one of the emperor’s Golden Daughters, as much a legend as she is a commodity. One day, Sairu will be contracted in marriage to a patron, whom she will secretly guard for the rest of her life.But when she learns that a sacred Dream Walker of the temple seeks the protection of a Golden Daughter, Sairu forgoes marriage in favor of this role. Her skills are stretched to the limit, for assassins hunt in the shadows, and phantoms haunt in dreams. With only a mysterious Faerie cat and a handsome slave—possessed of his own strange abilities—to help her, can Sairu shield her new mistress from evils she can neither see nor touch?

For the Dragon is building an army of fire. And soon the heavens will burn.

Want. Now.

You too? Learn more at the fantastic website:
Golden Daughter

(Is it November yet?!?)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel

Where'd You Go Bernadette: A Novel  (2012)  
by Maria Semple

   SILVER MEDALIST for the coveted Erin's Favorite Book of 2013 Award

   My dear husband and I took a trip to Washington D.C. in December to see a couple of dear old friends. I  mean, friends we have known for ten years but who are in no way elderly. Anyway, we drove up on Saturday and back on Sunday, so it was a whirlwind affair that promised at least 4.5 hours in the car one way - so my wonderful mother-in-law loaned us a book. She is an incredible connoisseur of all things literature, and quite frankly, she ought to be writing a review blog. I worship her for many reasons, but I don't want to make you jealous, so just understand that my Mother-In-Law is the BEST, and her recommendation of a book is always a good sign.
   From the moment I merged onto I-40 and the dulcet sound of my husband's voice began the first chapter, I was hooked. By the time we were driving north on I-95, we were both impressed, and putting the book down to check into our hotel was perhaps the hardest think we faced all weekend. (In a moment, you'll understand the true compliment). As we emerged from the car and gathered the overnight bags, we both asked, "Do you have the book? Good" because we were willing to live without pajamas, but NOT our new found love.
   We had an incredible evening at the Arena Stage Theatre in the big city, and an even better late night with friends. The next day, we started the five hour trip home.
   Only I-95 is a monument to infrastructure of its worst, and it took us four hours just to get to Richmond.
   Did we gnash our teeth? Perhaps.
   Were there adult words uttered because there were no children in the car? Probably.
   But did we despair? No.
   Because while it took us TWICE as long to get home, my husband was able to read 'Where'd You Go, Bernadette' in its entirety. It made me cry. It made me scream in outrage. It gave me goosebumps, and it made me yell at characters, and it made me terribly, terribly sad when it was over. Not because the ending isn't perfect, but because I was sorry to see Semple's wonderful point-of-view dance come to an end. There was first person insight, there was epistolary drama, and always, a continuity of voice that made all the jumps and changes feel completely natural. It is absolutely brilliant writing.
   I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It isn't because the "Good ends happily and the bad unhappily" as Oscar Wilde so aptly described fiction, but because 'Good' is found in the most wonderfully unexpected places, and 'Bad' is not always what you think it to be. It sparked some of the most wonderful conversations I've had in a long time.

   So... quick! To the library! But be warned - it's really impossible to put down. So you ought to carve out a day and a half to be swept away.