Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Wordless Wednesday, November 16

Turning to everything for comfort right now: books (Cherie Priest's Maplecroft at the moment), knitting, tarot, attempts at meditation, sugar, carbs, and caffeine, and even some writing.

(I'm so bad at this wordless thing, aren't I?)

What are you reading right now?

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Review: BarbaraGrace Upcycled Journal, Portfolio, and Affirmation Cards

Earlier this fall I was approached by Barbara Grace, a recycled/upcycled journal and stationary shop, to review some of their offerings.

Being a journal junkie, I couldn't say no, and I'm delighted to introduce folks to this charming company. I was sent their recycled leather folder, a book journal, and the water-themed affirmation cards for review. I loved everything, and I'm excited to squee about them, especially because everything is affordable in addition to being cute!

Book Journal: Barbara Grace takes old books, spiral binds them, then adds blank paper between some of the original pages to create an inventive and unique journal. I'm in love with these journals -- what book geek wouldn't be? -- and I was delighted to receive an old geography guide turned journal. (I majored in geography as an undergrad.)

Each journal is 100 pages, with blank paper rather than lined (my preference). I'm really torn between using this as my next diary or making it my 2017 bullet journal -- just having to resist the urge to horde it!

I'm especially excited about being introduced to Barbara Grace because they repurpose children's books into journals, too, and I'm already daydreaming of the day I get Unabridged Toddler his first diary. (Probably when he's Unabridged Kid, but a girl can dream!)

Leather File Folder: Made of recycled leather, this file folder was the biggest surprise for me as I didn't really think I needed a fancy folder -- but it's become a handy tool for me at work. I'm always shuffling between meetings with a pile of papers, and I love that I've got something chic and unique to keep everything neat. The folders have a smooth inner lining so nothing catches and the simple metal pin closure is smart and effective. The leather is firm but not hard; I suspect it'll soften with use without getting floppy, and the color is wonderfully bold.

Affirmation Cards: These affirmation cards have been an unexpected but welcome gift during the stressful last few weeks, and I've found myself turning to them almost every morning.

Printed on matte stock, the colors and photos are bright and soothing, and it's been lovely to sip my coffee and decide which view I want on my desk. The pack comes with some suggestions for use, too, for those who aren't sure what they'd do with a set. I've either browsed the cards to see what "calls" or have randomly selected, and either way, it's been a lovely little focusing ritual.

If you're looking for unique stationary items, consider BarbaraGrace -- their offerings are one-of-a-kind and very affordable.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Weekend reads and busy times as usual

I'm sort of all over the place for reads this weekend; have started a couple of novels but nothing is sticking at the moment.

Reads include Kate Howard's The Ornatrix, Marie Benedict's The Other Einstein, and Josi S. Kilpack's The Lady of the Lakes: The True Love Story of Sir Walter Scott. (And of course, as seen from the other photo, another read is more Unabridged Toddler's tastes. I can only blame myself -- I got the book because he's been so delighted by his own toots. Le sigh.)

What are you reading this weekend?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Cover Reveal: Donna Russo Morin's The Competition

COVER REVEAL!

THE COMPETITION: Da Vinci’s Disciples Book Two!

Ready (willing and eager) to see the cover of the much-anticipated second book in the Da Vinci’s Disciples trilogy? Well, we hope so, because here it is (be sure to read to the end of the post for an extra special bonus!).

But before we get to the gorgeous cover, here’s what the author has to say about the next book in this thrilling trilogy and its cover:
“I knew I wanted the second book in this trilogy to be a little more personal, get into the lives of these courageous women, and da Vinci himself, a bit more deeply. Oh, they are still daring to go where women had never gone before in the Renaissance, and they put everything on the line for the love of their art—their marriages, their family relationships, even their lives—to do it, to bring their work out into the open, no matter the consequence. Another form of art is explored through their eyes, through their hands. But in THE COMPETITION, I’ve pulled back more of the layers of their lives and the secrets they may hold. Love bursts to fulfillment, desire is ignited, disastrous illnesses change lives, and familial condemnations are shattered. All set amidst the glory that is Florence during the Renaissance.

These women are bold; there can be no doubt. But they are elegant women and this cover, like the first, captures that elegance to perfection. It is the seamless companion to the first, and they look dazzling together.”
Ready to see the cover? Not just yet. Here’s the official description first:

A commission to paint a fresco in the church of Santo Spirito is about to be announced and Florence’s countless artists each seek the fame and glory this lucrative contract will provide. Viviana, a noblewoman freed from a terrible marriage, and now able to pursue her artistic passions, sees a potential life-altering opportunity for herself and her fellow artists. The women first speak to Lorenzo de’ Medici himself, and finally, they submit a bid for the right to paint it. And they win. The very public commission belongs to them.

But with the victory comes a powerful cost. The church will not stand for women painting, especially not in a house of worship. The city is not ready to consider women in positions of power, and in Florence, artists wield tremendous power. Even the women themselves are hesitant; the attention they will bring up) on themselves will disrupt their families, and even put them in physical danger.

All the while, Viviana grows closer to Sansone, her soldier lover, who is bringing to her a joy that she never knew with her deceased husband. And fellow-artist Isabetta has a flame reignited, sparked by Lorenzo himself. 

Power and passion collide in this sumptuous historical novel of shattering limitations, one brushstroke at a time.

THE COMPETITION: Da Vinci’s Disciples Book Two goes on sale April 25, 2017. Pre-order a copy here.

Add it to your Goodreads shelf!

Now, are you ready to see the cover?


Really?


Are you sure?


Here it is!


02_the-competition


Do you love it?!

Haven’t read the first book yet? Now’s your chance at a special reduced price.

For the next SEVEN days (beginning November 2 until November 9!), the Kindle version of PORTRAIT OF A CONSPIRACY IS ONLY $.99…that’s a $7 savings!

Get your copy now!

Read the first critically acclaimed book, fall in love with these daring women, and get ready to fight beside them for the right to be who they truly want to be in THE COMPETITION.

“Russo Morin’s elegant command of language and composition left me breathless, but the story itself, with its flawless depiction of power, corruption, defiance, intrigue, and retribution makes Portrait of a Conspiracy an absolute must read.” Flashlight Commentary

“...a page-turner unlike any historical novel, weaving passion, adventure, artistic rebirth, and consequences of ambition...a masterful writer at the peak of her craft.”
—C. W. Gortner, author of THE CONFESSIONS OF CATHERINE DE’ MEDICI

“This riveting book is filled with art, assassinations, retribution, and a sisterhood of fascinating women who inspire as well as entertain.”
—Stephanie Dray, NYT Bestselling author of AMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER

“In PORTRAIT OF A CONSPIRACY, Russo Morin's prose is as sharp as a Medici dagger...Thwarting danger, finding love, and creating masterpieces, [these women] remind us just how powerful the bonds of womanhood can be.”
—Marci Jefferson, author of THE ENCHANTRESS OF PARIS

“A 15th-century Florence of exquisite art, sensual passion and sudden, remorseless violence comes vividly to life in Donna Russo Morin's new novel.”
—Nancy Bilyeau, author of THE CROWN


“In PORTRAIT OF A CONSPIRACY, Russo Morin's rich detailing transports the reader to the heart of Renaissance Italy from the first page.”
—Heather Webb, author of BECOMING JOSEPHINE

“Illicit plots, mysterious paintings, and a young Leonardo da Vinci all have their part to play in this delicious, heart-pounding tale.”
—Kate Quinn, author of THE EMPRESS OF ROME SAGA

03_donna-russo-morinAbout the Author

Donna Russo Morin is the award winning of author of historical fiction. A graduate of the University of Rhode Island, she lives near the shore with her two sons, Devon and Dylan, her greatest works in progress.

Donna enjoys meeting with book groups in person and via Skype chat. Visit her website at www.donnarussomorin.com; friend her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @DonnaRussoMorin.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Teaser Tuesday, November 1

Late for Halloween, but perfect for All Saints' Day, my teaser for today's Teaser Tuesday comes from Cherie Priest's newest, The Family Plot, a can-they-survive-sleeping-in-a-haunted-house story, and it's wonderfully fun so far.

My teaser is from the first page -- the opening, basically -- and the last line tickled me so much I had to share.
The owner and manager of Music City Salvage was every inch a goddamn professional, but he couldn't prove it by his office -- which was littered with rusting light fixtures, crumbling bricks and broken statuary, old books covered in mildew, stray tools that should've been packed a way, and a thousand assorted items that he was absolutely going to restore to life or toss one of these days when he got the time. His office was the company lint trap, and it was no one's fault but his own. (p11)
What are you reading right now? Any good teasers to share? [Note: I can't tell if Teaser Tuesday is a thing anymore -- seems like the blog that originally started it isn't doing it any more? Anyone know for sure?]