Sound Bytes – February 2014 Link-Up

The formerly weekly audiobook review link-up Sound Bytes is now a monthly link-up. I encourage you to leave links to any audiobooks you review throughout the month and check out the links of other reviewers for your next great listen. Thanks to Pam for creating the button.


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Girl on the Golden Coin by Marci Jefferson – Giveaway

Today I have a giveaway for The Girl on the Golden Coin by Marci Jefferson. I’m really excited for this book because, hey, new time period! I have two copies to give away to readers in the continental US. To enter, fill out the form at the bottom of this post by Sunday, February 2nd. Here’s the description:

A debut historical novel about the beautiful Royalist exile Frances Stuart, who must walk a fine line between pleasing kings and protecting her family’s secret

In 1660, the Restoration of Stuart Monarchy in England returns Frances Stuart and her family to favor. Frances discards threadbare gowns and goes to gilded Fontainebleau Palace, where she soon catches the Sun King’s eye. But Frances is no ordinary court beauty-she has Stuart secrets to keep and her family to protect. King Louis XIV turns vengeful when she rejects his offer to become his Official Mistress. He sends her to England with orders to seduce King Charles II and help him form an alliance with England. The Queen Mother likewise orders Frances to become her son’s mistress, in the interest of luring him away from the Protestant mistress he currently keeps.

Armed in pearls and silk, Frances maneuvers the political turbulence of Whitehall Palace, but still can’t afford to stir a scandal, determined to keep her family from shame. Her tactic to inspire King Charles to greatness captivates him and the two embark on a tenuous relationship. Frances survives the Great Fire, the Great Plague, and the debauchery of the Restoration Court, yet loses her heart to the very king she must control. A startling discovery will leave her with no other choice but to break his heart, while the fate of England hangs in the balance.

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For Fitness: Foot Pain

When I anticipated starting to write about fitness here occasionally, I mostly thought that I would write about running and training for an 8k or 10k, maybe about yoga, about my TRX. What I didn’t expect to write about right away was Plantar Fasciitis. Despite the fact that I rarely ran over the holidays, I’ve been having feel pain in my left foot over the same basic time frame. Earlier this week I finally did some reading up about it and determined it was definitely tissue pain, and not joint pain, meaning it was very likely my plantar fascia.

So now I’m off of running and any treadmill walking through the end of the month. I’ve set a recovery plan for myself for now since that pain hasn’t been happening for too long and isn’t too bad, if it doesn’t work I’ll explore a medical opinion. Instead of running, I’ll be doing the exercise bike (thank goodness I joined a gym last month when it got too snowy/icy/cold to run outside), as well as strength and stretching exercises, including machines at the gym, TRX, and yoga. I also went and bought myself a Feetures! Plantar Fasciitis compression sleeve that I am wearing all day (they say you can wear it at night too, but it keeps bugging me in the middle of the night, so I’m not sure if I’m going to keep trying or just take it off before bed) and over that I’ve been wearing shoes all day, even around the house.

I’m actually amazed at how much better my foot is feeling already. The night I finally decided to do something about it, I could feel a particular spot on my heel that hurt to touch, whereas now I really can’t any more. Obviously the rest can’t have fixed it yet, not in half a week, but I think the combination of the sleeve and wearing shoes (good, supportive Born flats) is doing amazing things. When the weather is nice and dry and I run outside first thing in the morning I tend to just keep my shoes on all day; since the ground has been covered with snow and ice and melted snow, whatever shoes I wear outside have to come off right away. I suspect that this is the reason that my heel started hurting at almost the exact same time I stopped running outside and thus starting hanging out around the house without shoes all day. At this rate I’m very hopeful about the beginning of February being okay to get back to running, and I’m also glad I set myself a minimum amount of time I needed to rest before starting the treatment, because if I hadn’t I suspect I might have tried to run next week and not actually rested as long as I should.

How do you get through injuries in your training regimen?

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Some Cozy Mysteries I Have Been Enjoying

While stuff has been crazy this fall I’ve been reading quite a few cozy mysteries. They are fun and light and often quite delightful. Also I tend to have the WORLD’S MOST DIFFICULT TIME reviewing them, particularly once I’m past the first book in the series. So, instead of three or four reviews, here’s a roundup.

The Christie Curse and The Sawyers Swindle by Victoria Abbott – Jordan Kelly needs a job and by some miracle, she seems to have found the perfect one, curating the library of Vera Van Alst, a rare book collector. Tracking down rare mysteries is a more dangerous job than it seems, however. Luckily for Jordan, she has great resources in her uncles who aren’t always on the right side of the law, but who love Jordan dearly.

A Chorus Lineup by Joelle Charbonneau – the third in the Glee Club Mystery series. Paige’s glee club has the opportunity to perform in a huge Nashville competition, but when most of the teams’ costumes are destroyed and Paige is blamed, she gets sucked back an investigation that could put her and those she loves in serious danger. Charbonneau writes two other great series and she is really getting on a roll with this cozy series. I particularly liked the revelations about Paige’s personal life.

Home of the Braised by Julie Hyzy – the White House Chef Mystery series is one of my very favorite cozy series, I look forward to them every January. In Home of the Braised Olivia is back in the White House and is all ready to focus on her upcoming marriage to her secret service beau Gav when the two of them inadvertently walk in on a mass murder just before the secret service gets there. Now Olivia is back in the middle of things and it may be up to her to save the President.

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Excerpt and cover reveal – The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

You may remember that I adored the first two books in Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Trilogy, A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night. I’m pleased to announce that I can share with you today an excerpt of the third book in the trilogy, The Book of Life, which will be out this summer on July 15th.

Ghosts didn’t have much substance; they were composed only of memories and heart. Atop one of Sept-Tours’ round towers, Emily Mather pressed a diaphanous hand against the spot in the center of her chest that even now was heavy with dread.

It had been her witch’s sixth sense that someone was in mortal peril that had steered Emily down the path leading to this moment. But the death she had foreseen was her own.

Does it ever get easier? Her voice, like the rest of her, was almost imperceptible. The watching? The waiting? The knowing?

Not that I’ve noticed, Philippe de Clermont replied shortly. He was perched nearby, studying his own transparent fingers.

Emily’s face fell, and Philippe silently cursed himself. Since she’d died, the witch had been his constant companion, cutting his loneliness in two.

Perhaps it will be easier when they don’t need us anymore, Philippe said more gently. He might be the more experienced ghost, but it was Emily who understood the metaphysics of their situation. What the witch had told him went against everything Philippe believed about the Afterworld.

Diana’s warm alto floated up to the battlements. Diana and Matthew, Emily and Philippe said in unison, peering down on the cobbled courtyard that surrounded the chateau.

There, Philippe said, pointing at the drive. Even dead, his vampire sight was sharper than any human’s. He was also still more handsome than any man had a right to be, with his broad shoulders and devilish grin. He turned the latter on Emily, who couldn’t help grinning back. They are a fine couple, are they not? Look how much my son has changed.

Vampires weren’t supposed to be altered by the passing of time, and so Emily expected to see the same black hair, so dark it glinted blue; the same celadon eyes, cool and remote as a winter sea; the same pale skin and wide mouth. There were a few subtle differences though, as Philippe suggested. Matthew’s hair was shorter, and he had a beard that made him look even more dangerous, like a pirate. She gasped.

Is Matthew – bigger? . . . Diana looks different, too. More like her mother, with that long coppery hair.

Diana stumbled on a cobblestone and Matthew’s hand shot out to steady her.

It’s not just Diana’s hair that has changed. Philippe’s face had a look of wonder. Diana is with child – Matthew’s child.

Emily examined her niece more carefully, using the supernatural grasp of truth that death afforded.

What will happen now, Philippe? Emily asked, her heart growing heavier.

Endings. Beginnings, Philippe said with deliberate vagueness. Change.

Diana has always resisted change, Emily said.

That is because she is afraid of what she must become, replied Philippe.


From The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness. Reprinted by arrangement with Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, a Penguin Random House company. Copyright Deborah Harkness, 2014.


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