Thursday, September 18, 2014

Excerpt: The Crystal Cage by Merryn Allingham

Captivated…or captured?

Appearances don’t always reveal the truth. Grace Latimer knows this better than most. Illusions of commitment and comfort have her trapped—until bohemian adventurer Nick Heysham charms his way into her world. Commissioned to recover a Great Exhibition architect’s missing designs, he persuades her to assist in his research. The mystery of the Crystal Palace seduces Grace, and once she discovers clues about a forbidden Victorian love affair, she’s lured into the deep secrets of the past…secrets that resemble her own.

As Grace and Nick dig into the elusive architect’s illicit, long-untold story, the ghosts of guilt and forbidden passion slip free. And history is bound to repeat itself, unless Grace finds the courage to break free and find a new definition of love…


Publication Date: August 4, 2014
eHarlequin
eBook; ASIN: B00JTPU72S
Genre: Historical Romance
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 Excerpt



‘You are very quiet, my love,’ he remarked as they strolled down the South Walk. ‘Does this place perturb you? Vauxhall is hardly the Crystal Palace, I grant.’
She looked vaguely around as though she hardly registered her surroundings. ‘I am well, Lucas, thank you.’ Her voice had lost its rich music.
‘Are you sure?’ 
‘Yes, it is really nothing.’
‘Which means that you are bothered by something. Tell me,’ he urged.
She hesitated for some minutes before saying diffidently, ‘I thought that I recognised someone as I approached the gates. But I must have been mistaken.’
‘Who?’
‘A woman. She looked like a visitor who once came to tea with my mother-in-law. But I must be mistaken,’ she repeated.
‘I think you must. I cannot imagine a friend of the elder Mrs Renville frequenting Vauxhall!’ 
He was cajoling her, quite sure that her nervous state had precipitated these qualms. ‘But just in case, we will hide ourselves completely,’ and he steered her towards one of the small paths that led away from the main promenade towards what he knew was the Dark Walk. Here the lamps were absent and the company very thin. It was not long before he found a small wooden shelter half way up the Walk where they could be entirely alone amid thick darkness.
‘I have news,’ he said, trying to not to betray his excitement. ‘The plans I have been pursuing are now almost certain. I hope to be designing the Carlyon chapel as an architect in my own right.’
She looked at him blankly. Her mind still seemed far away and he had to reiterate, ‘I will be leaving de Vere’s.’
This startled her into words. ‘But without a salary, how will you manage? How will you afford your lodgings?’
‘Once I am working for the earl, I will be able to afford far superior lodgings. So superior they will be good enough to accommodate you.’
‘I will be able to visit you there?’
He clasped her hands tightly between his. ‘You will be able to live with me there.’
‘You are suggesting that I leave my home?’
He could not understand her reluctance but said patiently, ‘We cannot continue to meet like this, Alessia. You must know that. We must have a place to call our own.’
‘But I cannot leave Edward. I am his wife.’
Why did she cling so tenaciously to a life that she despised?  ‘Are you not more my wife than his?’ he asked urgently.
‘But in the eyes of the church…’ Her voice trailed off, disappearing into the night mist.
‘What matters most—our eyes or those of a distant church?’ He was almost fierce in his denunciation.
‘Ours,’ she agreed unhappily.
‘So?’
‘But you cannot have thought—my daughters—’
‘The proceeds of the Carlyon commission will allow me to rent a substantial house. We will have them to live with us.’
‘Edward would never agree.’
‘But surely he would not separate them from their mother.’
‘They are his children and he will wish to keep them. The law is on his side.’
‘I accept that, but if he knows what it means to you to have them?’
‘Can you not understand? They are his children, I am his wife. We belong to him. If I should dare to leave, he will do everything in his power to hurt me.’
The eagerness slowly drained from Lucas and he slumped back against the shelter’s rough wooden wall. She turned to him in anguish, desperately gripping his shoulders. ‘I cannot relinquish my daughters, Lucas. You cannot ask it of me.’
When he responded, his voice held the note of defeat. ‘What you are saying is that you will never come to me.’
A long and painful silence descended between them while Alessia slowly twisted into mangled leather the gloves she held. At length, in a voice hardly above a whisper, she said, ‘I did not say that.’
The words appeared wrenched from her, but they galvanised Lucas. He leant forward again, all his eagerness returned. ‘Then say you will come. Say that you love me enough to do this.’
‘Sometimes,’ she said slowly, ‘I think you do not know just how much I love you.’
‘Then come to me, my darling.’
‘When?’
‘As soon as the Great Exhibition has opened, I will be free to work for Lord Carlyon. I will make all the necessary plans.’
‘And my children?’
‘Once we are settled in our new home, I will request an interview with your husband. I will tell him your need for your daughters and say that everything will be done discreetly. You are not a part of his social world, so who is to know that you no longer live at Wisteria Lodge?’
She shook her head and a look of near despair flooded her lovely face.
‘Alessia!’ he said urgently. ‘It cannot truly matter to Edward Renville whether you live with him or not. It is only his business that he cares for. And as for the children, he will see them whenever he wishes.’
Her continued silence moved him to desperation. ‘If you love me, you will come.’
‘I do, I do,’ she said sobbing into his shoulder.

 

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About the Author

My father was a soldier and most of my childhood was spent moving from place to place, school to school, including several years living in Egypt and Germany. I loved some of the schools I attended, but hated others, so it wasn’t too surprising that I left half way through the sixth form with ‘A’ Levels unfinished.
I became a secretary, as many girls did at the time, only to realise that the role of handmaiden wasn’t for me. Escape beckoned when I landed a job with an airline. I was determined to see as much of the world as possible, and working as cabin crew I met a good many interesting people and enjoyed some great experiences – riding in the foothills of the Andes, walking by the shores of Lake Victoria, flying pilgrims from Kandahar to Mecca to mention just a few.
I still love to travel and visit new places, especially those with an interesting history, but the arrival of marriage and children meant a more settled existence on the south coast of England, where I’ve lived ever since. It also gave me the opportunity to go back to ‘school’ and eventually gain a PhD from the University of Sussex. For many years I taught university literature and loved every minute of it. What could be better than spending my life reading and talking about books? Well, perhaps writing them.
I’ve always had a desire to write but there never seemed time to do more than dabble with the occasional short story. And my day job ensured that I never lost the critical voice in my head telling me that I really shouldn’t bother. But gradually the voice started growing fainter and at the same time the idea that I might actually write a whole book began to take hold. My cats – two stunning cream and lilac shorthairs – gave their approval, since it meant my spending a good deal more time at home with them!
The 19th century is my special period of literature and I grew up reading Georgette Heyer, so when I finally found the courage to try writing for myself, the books had to be Regency romances. Over the last four years, writing as Isabelle Goddard, I’ve published six novels set in the Regency period.
Since then, I’ve moved on a few years to Victorian England, and I’ve changed genre too. The Crystal Cage is my first novel under the name of Merryn Allingham. The book is a mystery/romantic suspense and tells the story of a long-lost tragedy, and the way echoes from the past can powerfully influence the life of a modern day heroine. The next few Allingham books will see yet another move timewise. I’ve been writing a suspense trilogy set in India and wartime London during the 1930s and 1940s, and hope soon to have news of publication.
Whatever period, whatever genre, creating new worlds and sharing them with readers gives me huge pleasure and I can’t think of a better job.
Connect with Merryn Allingham on Facebook and Goodreads.

The Crystal Cage Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 15
Review at To Read or Not to Read
Spotlight at Flashlight Commentary
Spotlight & Excerpt at Romantic Historical Reviews
Tuesday, September 16
Review at A Bookish Affair
Excerpt at Casual Readers
Wednesday, September 17
Excerpt at CelticLady’s Reviews
Interview at What Is That Book About
Thursday, September 18
Review at Turning the Pages
Friday, September 19
Review at Queen of All Reads
Excerpt at Just One More Chapter
Monday, September 22
Review at Bibliotica
Spotlight at Layered Pages
Tuesday, September 23
Interview at SOS Aloha
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection
Wednesday, September 24
Excerpt at Passages to the Past
Thursday, September 25
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Excerpt at Princess of Eboli
Friday, September 26
Review at Unshelish
Spotlight at Let Them Read Books
Wednesday, October 15
Review at The Worm Hole

Giveaway

To win an eBook of The Crystal Cage please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Two copies are up for grabs. Giveaway is open internationally.
Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on October 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on October 16th and notified via email.
Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Prisoner of the Queen by E Knight (Book Tour)

I have served three queens in my life. One was my sister, one was my savior, and one my bitterest enemy.

Knowing she was seen as a threat to the Queen she served, Lady Katherine Grey, legitimate heir to the throne, longs only for the comfort of a loving marriage and a quiet life far from the intrigue of the Tudor court. After seeing her sister become the pawn of their parents and others seeking royal power and then lose their lives for it, she is determined to avoid the vicious struggles over power and religion that dominate Queen Elizabeth’s court. Until she finds love—then Kat is willing to risk it all, even life in prison.


Publication Date: July 2014
Knight Media, LLC
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Series: Tales From the Tudor Court
Genre: Historical Fiction
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****

I vividly remember the first time I read about Lady Jane Grey and being stunned, thinking this has got to be fiction.  Surely this didn't actually take place, how could parents deliberately treat their daughters like this.  Resigned into acceptance remembering that this was Tudor England.

Eliza Knight has written a captivating story that brings to life a stormy period in history.  Lady Katherine Grey, not just sister to the nine day queen but also an heir to the throne of England herself.  The author was able to capture the feel of Tudor England, she portrayed this young woman with her hopes and dreams of a future, of love, marriage and motherhood, all things denied her sister.  Though Katherine finds love she is at the mercy of both Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth (who also views her as a threat to her crown).

An emotional story, full of jealous rivalry, scandal and heartache.  These are women with the blood of Henry VIII running through their veins, how could it be anything but.

Tales From the Tudor Court Series

Book One: My Lady Viper
Book Two: Prisoner of the Queen

E. Knight is a member of the Historical Novel Society, Romance Writers of America and several RWA affiliate writing chapters: Hearts Through History, Celtic Hearts, Maryland Romance Writers and Washington Romance Writers. Growing up playing in castle ruins and traipsing the halls of Versailles when visiting her grandparents during the summer, instilled in a love of history and royals at an early age. Feeding her love of history, she created the popular historical blog, History Undressed (www.historyundressed.com). Under the pseudonym Eliza Knight, she is a bestselling, award-winning, multi-published author of historical and erotic romance.

For more information please visit E. Knight’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Prisoner of the Queen Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 15
Review at A Bookish Affair
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Tuesday, September 16
Review & Giveaway at JulzReads
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading
Wednesday, September 17
Review at Just One More Chapter
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Thursday, September 18
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection
Friday, September 19
Guest Post at What Is That Book About
Monday, September 22
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Interview & Giveaway at The Tudor Enthusiast
Tuesday, September 23
Review at Book Nerd
Review at Historical Tapestry
Wednesday, September 24
Review at leeanna.me
Spotlight & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Thursday, September 25
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Review at Curling Up By the Fire

Friday, September 26
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Monday, September 29
Review at Book Drunkard
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Tuesday, September 30
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Wednesday, October 1
Review at Caroline Wilson Writes
Review at 100 Pages a Day – Stephanie’s Book Reviews
Thursday, October 2
Review & Excerpt at Romantic Historical Reviews
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading
Friday, October 3
Review at The True Book Addict
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee

Monday, September 15, 2014

This is How I'd Love You by Hazel Woods (Book Tour)

As the Great War rages, an independent young woman struggles to sustain love—and life—through the power of words. It’s 1917 and America is on the brink of World War I. 

After Hensley Dench’s father is forced to resign from the New York Times for his anti-war writings, she finds herself expelled from the life she loves and the future she thought she would have. Instead, Hensley is transplanted to New Mexico, where her father has taken a job overseeing a gold mine. Driven by loneliness, Hensley hijacks her father’s correspondence with Charles Reid, a young American medic with whom her father plays chess via post. Hensley secretly begins her own exchange with Charles, but looming tragedy threatens them both, and—when everything turns against them—will their words be enough to beat the odds?


 Publication Date: August 26, 2014
Plume Books
Formats: eBook, Paperback, MP3 CD
Pages: 320
Genre: Historical Fiction

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 ****
This is Hazel Wood's debut.  It is written in 3rd person narrative, which I am not totally used to, but thankfully it did not take long to get lost in this story.  I really enjoyed this book and like the unique premise, a chess game via mail.   Taking place in 1917 and America has just entered World War I.  There seems to be quite a number of books around these days during this time period, but I don't recall reading any that takes place primary in the US.  I am not a big romance reader and though this book has been listed as 'romance' it wasn't over the top, it was realistic and a believable tale.

Hensley Dench is young, fresh out of high school and uprooted from New York and moved to New Mexico.  She begins a unique relationship with a medic who is serving in France.  As the story progresses we learn that each is not without secrets and when tragedy strikes both of them they are both forced to do some serious soul searching.  I really enjoyed watching the progression of Hensley and Charles character throughout this book.  The author's writing style keep me engaged as well as visualizing places.

The cover is gorgeous and was one of the first things that attracted me to this book. This is How I'd Love You will  appeal to those that enjoy World War I fiction or just a good all round historical fiction read.


Praise for This Is How I’d Love You

“In This is How I’d Love You, Hazel Woods explores the enduring nature of an improbable love born of words, washed in tragedy, and sustained despite impossible circumstances. With prose as immediate and evocative as a painting, Woods accomplishes the magic of rendering sorrow into hope and fear into courage. It is as idealistic a tale as it is clear-sighted, a brilliant alchemy few novels achieve. Readers, prepare to melt” — Robin Oliveria, author of My Name is Mary Sutter


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Powell’s

03_Hazel Woods
Hazel Woods lives in New Mexico with her husband and two children.

For more information please visit www.hazelwoodsauthor.com.

You can also find her on Twitter.

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This Is How I’d Love You Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 25
Review & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, August 27
Interview at Dab of Darkness
Friday, August 29
Interview at Book Babe
Tuesday, September 2
Review & Interview at Closed the Cover
Review & Interview at A Chick Who Reads
Wednesday, September 3
Review at The Bookworm
Friday, September 5
Spotlight & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Monday, September 8
Spotlight & Giveaway at Historical Tapestry
Tuesday, September 9
Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Wednesday, September 10
Interview at Caroline Wilson Writes
Thursday, September 11
Review at Booktalk & More
Friday, September 12
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Monday, September 15
Review & Guest Post at Bookish
Tuesday, September 16
Review at Book of Secrets
Wednesday, September 17
Review at Book Nerd

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Powder Monkey by Donna McDine (Book Tour)

Forced into a life at sea by the Royal Navy Press Gangs, 12-year-old Tommy Kitt finds himself in a floating sea of misery. Poor living conditions and beatings occur daily. 

Despite his small size, Tommy must summon the courage and physical ability to prevail in a situation he cannot escape.

Suggested age range for readers: 8-12. Free Educator Guides Available.








Written By: Donna McDine
Illustrated by: K.C. Snider
Publication Date: May 20, 2013
Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook
Genre: Historical Fiction/Children’s Fiction (Ages 8-12)
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                                                   ***1/2

My second book by Donna McDine and another enjoyable one.  It appears that she has connected with her targeted age range here (8-12 year olds) with another look at the past.  The illustrations are wonderful and really bring this book to life.    Though the book does not mention where it is taking place or the time period it was still interesting.  Dark at times, it might frighten younger readers.

I had never heard of the Royal Navy Press Ganges before or the term Powder Monkey, so this reader got a history lesson.  Tommy is only 12 years when taken by force from his family, he is scared, smart but also determined that he will survive.  I read this book is one sitting and would have liked the ending to have gone on a little longer.  It ended rather abruptly and it would have been nice to see what happened to Tommy.  I guess that is a sign that the author created a bond with her readers.

In a classroom setting or with parent/child reading it could open a door to questions and bringing history to life.

Praise for Powder Monkey

“Danger. Hardship. Cannon blasts. And whips. Stolen violently into service as a boy who delivers powder to the cannons during a battle, young Tommy never sees his parents again. What adventures await him? Donna M. McDine’s book, Powder Monkey, moves quickly through tense action scenes to portray realistic life during this dangerous era on the high seas.” ~ Nancy I. Sanders, bestselling and award-winning children’s author of Challenge on the Hill of Fire and Frederick Douglass for Kids ~ nancyisanders.com

“The saga of an age gone by, Donna McDine’s Powder Monkey, ably captures the essence of what some young boys endured as impressed sailors. With pathos and honesty, this historically accurate account of Tommy Kitt’s struggle to stay alive at sea, is a testimony to the author’s prowess as a storyteller.” ~ Nancy Stewart, Award-winning and Amazon best-selling children’s author ~ http://nancystewartbooks.com

“Powder Monkey by Donna McDine, illustrated by K.C. Snider, is a heart wrenching historical fiction. The story chronicles the lives of two brothers during British naval history. The brothers are taken and forced to run powder to the cannons during battles at sea. K.C. Snider’s artwork transports the reader back to a world where innocent boys endured many hardships. Parents and teachers can certainly use the book to teach many valuable lessons about life and how it should not be taken for granted. ~Reviewed by Nicole Weaver, Award-winning Children’s Author ~ http://mysisterismybestfriend.blogspot.com/2013/11/book-review-powder-monkey-by-donna.html

“The richly detailed illustrations, by well known artist and illustrator K.C Snider, drew me back into a time when the theme of this historical novel would have been played out – press gangs kidnapping young boys for service at sea. This tale of 14 year old farm boy Tommy, and his older brother, is well told. It has the right feel. The author’s research shines through on every page. Action scenes, and well crafted tense moments pulled me into the story, and the ending was true to life in those times. This is a book that boys and tomboys will enjoy. Teachers and home schooling parents will appreciate its authentic background and vivid details: an exciting and action packed read. I recommend Powder Monkey as a book that will definitely HOOK Kids on Reading.” ~ Reviewed by Margot Finke, children’s author ~ http://margotfinke.com


Buy the Book

Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
Amazon (Print)
Autographed Copies
Wholesale Orders

Donna McDine is a multiple award-winning children’s author, Honorable Mention in the 77th and two Honorable Mentions in the 78th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competitions, A Sandy Grave ~ Story Monster Approved and Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, The Golden Pathway ~ Literary Classics Silver Award & Seal of Approval Recipient Picture Book Early Reader, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention, Global eBook Awards Finalist Children’s Picture Book Fiction, and Preditors & Editors Readers Poll 2010 Top Ten Children’s Books.

Her interest in ocean life resulted in writing and publishing A Sandy Grave (January 2014). Other books by McDine, Powder Monkey (May 2013), Hockey Agony (January 2013) and The Golden Pathway (August 2010). A fifth book is in the publishing pipeline with Guardian Angel Publishing. She writes and moms from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. McDine is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators.

For more information please visit Donna McDine’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Powder Monkey Blog Tour

Monday, August 25
Spotlight at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Wednesday, August 27
Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Monday, September 1
Spotlight at What Is That Book About
Tuesday, September 2
Review at Book Nerd
Thursday, September 4
Review at A Leisure Moment
Monday, September 8
Review at Bookish
Tuesday, September 9
Interview at Closed the Cover
Wednesday, September 10
Review at Historical Tapestry
Thursday, September 11
Review at Impressions in Ink
Friday, September 12
Review at Just One More Chapter
Friday, September 19
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

The Golden Pathway by Donna M. McDine (Book Tour)

Be transported through time to the Underground Railroad, where high-pitched screams echo each night. David’s cruel Pa always chooses the same victim. Despite the circumstances during slavery, David uncovers the courage to defy his Pa.

Raised in a hostile environment where abuse occurs daily, David attempts to break the mold and befriends the slave, Jenkins, owned by his Pa.

Fighting against extraordinary times and beliefs, David attempts to lead Jenkins to freedom with no regard for his own safety and possible consequences dealt out by his Pa.

Suggested age range for readers: 8-12. Free Educator Guides Available.

 

Written By: Donna McDine
Illustrated by: K.C. Snider
Publication Date: August 12, 2010
Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook
Genre: Historical Fiction/Children’s Fiction (Ages 8-12)

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  *****

I will not recap what this book is about, I think the synopsis does a fine job of that.  There are so many positive things that I love about this book. 

The Golden Pathway is the perfect book to read to any 8-12 year old.  It shows a side of American history from a child's pov and that is rarely done.  This book can open the door to questions and discussions about the Underground Railroad and other aspects of this time period.  David's compassion for Jenkin's is heartfelt, he knows what is right and his desire to help (even though he knows the consequences if he is caught) is admirable. He is brave and determined to get Jenkin's away, he has a plan and figures out how to make it work.

This is a powerful book that is further enhanced with the colorful and moving illustrations. Not just a historical story but educational as well.  A must for classrooms and home libraries.

Praise for The Golden Pathway

“The Golden Pathway is a tale of compassion and courage. This book earns the Children’s Literary Classics Seal of Approval, a designation reserved for those books which uphold the rigorous criteria set forth by the Children’s Literary Classics review committee, a team comprised of individuals with backgrounds in publishing, editing, writing, illustration and graphic design.” –Literary Classics Book Awards & Reviews

“The Golden Pathway is written specifically for children 8-12 years old and is written perfectly to their level of understanding. It is easy to comprehend and the plot flows smoothly. The illustrations are beautifully depicted and complement the wording immensely. I found this story to be powerful, inspiring and something that will provide children with a valuable lesson about slavery and freedom as part of American History. I can see this book also providing a valuable tool for children to ask questions and bring about important conversation. I feel strongly that this book is a must read for all children ages 8 and up.” –Rita V., Readers Favorite

“This story by author Donna M. McDine, with full-page, full-color illustrations by K. C. Snider, is an attention-grabbing way to introduce students to the fact that slavery once existed in this country and also illustrate how the “Underground Railroad” helped slaves to escape north so that they might gain their freedom. It is a great book.” –Wayne S. Walker, Home School Book Review

“Donna M. McDine is an award winning children’s author and it comes through in the book. The way she has handled such a delicate and emotional subject is really good. She has given a good twist to the tale in the end. The story imparts an important message to the children, of being courageous and yet compassionate towards fellow human beings. At the same time the story makes the children realize the plight people went through in those times.” -Benu Bali, Zealot Readers

Buy the Book

Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
Amazon (Kindle)
Amazon (Print)
Autographed Copies
Wholesale Orders

Donna McDine is a multiple award-winning children’s author, Honorable Mention in the 77th and two Honorable Mentions in the 78th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competitions, A Sandy Grave ~ Story Monster Approved and Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, The Golden Pathway ~ Literary Classics Silver Award & Seal of Approval Recipient Picture Book Early Reader, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention, Global eBook Awards Finalist Children’s Picture Book Fiction, and Preditors & Editors Readers Poll 2010 Top Ten Children’s Books.

Her interest in ocean life resulted in writing and publishing A Sandy Grave (January 2014). Other books by McDine, Powder Monkey (May 2013), Hockey Agony (January 2013) and The Golden Pathway (August 2010). A fifth book is in the publishing pipeline with Guardian Angel Publishing. She writes and moms from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. McDine is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators.

For more information please visit Donna McDine’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

The Golden Pathway Blog Tour

Monday, August 25
Review at What Is That Book About
Tuesday, August 26
Spotlight at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Wednesday, August 27
Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Friday, August 29
Review at 100 Pages a Day – Stephanie’s Book Reviews
Wednesday, September 3
Review at Bookish
Thursday, September 4
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Friday, September 5
Review at Book Nerd
Review at A Leisure Moment
Monday, September 8
Review at Beth’s Book Nook
Review at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Tuesday, September 9
Interview at Closed the Cover
Thursday, September 11
Review at Impressions in Ink
Review at Historical Tapestry
Friday, September 12
Review at Just One More Chapter
Wednesday, September 17
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Review & Giveaway: Shadow on the Highway by Deborah Swift

Please join Deborah Swift as she tours the blogosphere with HF Virtual Book Tours for Shadow on the Highway (The Highway Trilogy, Book One), from August 25-September 15, and enter to win your own copy!

May 1651. England has been in the midst of a civil war for nearly ten years. The country has been torn in two, and the King is getting ready to make his last stand against Cromwell’s New Model Army.

Abigail Chaplin, a young mute girl, has lost her father to the parliamentarian cause. But with her family now in reduced circumstances, she is forced to work as a servant at a royalist household – the estate of Lady Katherine Fanshawe.

Abi is soon caught up in a web of sinister secrets which surround the Fanshawe estate. The most curious of which is the disappearance of Lady Katherine late at night.

Why are her husband’s clothes worn and muddy even though he hasn’t been home for weeks? How is she stealing out of the house late at night when her room is being guarded? And what is her involvement with the robberies being committed by the mysterious Shadow on the Highway?

‘Shadow On The Highway’ is based on the life and legend of Lady Katherine Fanshawe, the highwaywoman, sometimes known as ‘The Wicked Lady’. It is the first book in ‘The Highway Trilogy’.

Publication Date: July 15, 2014
Endeavor Press
Formats: eBook, Paperback; 200P
Series: The Highway Trilogy
Genre: Historical Fiction/YA (14+)
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****

Book 1 in The Highway Trilogy has two of my favorite elements - young adult and historical fiction.  Deborah Swift is a favorite of mine, I've read all 3 of her books, The Lady Slipper, The Gilded Lily and A Divided Inheritance and am thrilled to be a part of this tour.

Young Adult is a new genre for this author and she has embraced it very nicely.  Coming in around 200 pages it was a quick read, but for this reader I was so engrossed in the story that the time just flew by.

Told from the POV of young Abi (Abigail) during the Civil War in England (17th century).  She is sent by her mother to Markyate Manor where she is met with a grumpy cook and ornery overseer.  To top it off she is to be maid to Lady Katherine Fanshawe, who just happens to be the same age and not too pleasant herself.  Did I mention that Abi is deaf? 

I really like the authors writing style, she managed to captured the essence of this time period through her vivid descriptions showing the effects this war had on it's citizens.    The storyline was interesting and unique, how slowly over the course of this book the mystery of Abi's deafness is revealed.  Along with how she ended up being a maid in the first place.  How Katherine turned into Kate and fell for Abi's brother.  There is a lot going on here but in a good way.  Mystery, a touch of romance, hidden agenda's, friendship, commitment, manipulation and more.

The historical notes at the end of the book were an added bonus.  They explained much and confirmed the fact that this author really knows her history and has done her homework.  

I think that not just YA but adults will enjoy this book, especially if you are a lover of historical fiction taking place in England (with non royal characters.)

 

 Praise for Deborah Swift

“There is no greater compliment than ‘Give me more!’” – Author Susanna Gregory
“realistic dialogue, an author’s obvious love for history, and characters that leap off the pages” – Romance Reviews Today
“genuinely engrossing… with characters you can get interested in” – The Mum Website

Buy the Book

Amazon US
Amazon UK

Deborah Swift used to work in the theatre and at the BBC as a set and costume designer, before studying for an MA in Creative Writing in 2007. She lives in a beautiful area of Lancashire near the Lake District National Park. She is the author of The Lady’s Slipper and is a member of the Historical Writers Association, the Historical Novel Society, and the Romantic Novelists Association.

For more information, please visit Deborah’s website. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Shadow on the Highway Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 25
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, August 26
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Book Blast at Princess of Eboli
Wednesday, August 27
Guest Post at Reading the Past
Book Blast at Broken Teepee
Thursday, August 28
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Book Blast at Peeking Between the Pages
Friday, August 29
Book Blast at Passages to the Past
Book Blast at What Is That Book About
Monday, September 1
Review at The Maiden’s Court
Book Blast at Reading Lark
Tuesday, September 2
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books
Wednesday, September 3
Review at A Bookish Affair
Friday, September 5
Book Blast at Curling Up By the Fire
Saturday, September 6
Book Blast at A Book Geek
Monday, September 8
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Tuesday, September 9
Review at Brooke Blogs
Book Blast at CelticLady’s Reviews
Wednesday, September 10
Review at Unabridged Chick
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Thursday, September 11
Review & Guest Post at Just One More Chapter
Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick
Book Blast at Luxury Reading
Friday, September 12
Review at The Musings of ALMYBNENR
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Monday, September 15
Review at Historical Tapestry
Book Blast at A Bibliophile’s Reverie

Giveaway

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Guestpost: Sally O’Reilly – Dark Aemilia


Please join me in welcoming Sally O'Reilly to JustOneMoreChapter today.  I was able to pick the topic for this guestpost and here it is -


"With so many books out there about the major players in that time period it is nice to read something about lesser known people.  Why did you pick Amelia?  I'd love to hear about your research, how hard is it to dig up information about someone that isn't part of the court."

My original idea when writing ‘Dark Aemilia’ was to set the story in eleventh century Scotland. The novel was going to be told from the point of view of Lady Macbeth. But I found it difficult to understand the mind-set of a woman in the eleventh century – it all seemed very alien and remote. So I researched Shakespeare’s London (in the sixteenth and early seventeenth century) and found I could identify more easily with the people at this time.

However, the Early Modern period is very popular with historical fiction writers, and I was keen to find a new area that I could explore.  I was excited to discover Aemilia Bassano (later Lanyer) largely because she has been almost forgotten by history. The facts that we do know are startling: she was illegitimate, of Venetian/Jewish descent, the cast-off mistress of the Lord Chamberlain and she was the first woman to be published professionally as a poet in England. Add to this the possibility that she could be Shakespeare’s Dark Lady and you have a story that is waiting to be told.

Hilary Mantel has said that when writing ‘Wolf Hall’ and ‘Bring Up the Bodies’ she operates ‘in the gaps in history’ and that she writes about ‘what is said behind the hand, and on the back stairs’. She does this brilliantly by somehow getting into Cromwell’s point of view without using the first person voice. But he is a major historical player, and it suited me to find someone who was anything but, someone who was in close contact with influential people, but had no real influence of her own. (In formal terms, at least; Aemilia actually had a lot of power sexually and emotionally, as I hope the story demonstrates.)

To me, writing good historical fiction is about being accurate where you have to be – about major historical events, about the context, the details of everyday life, and so on. But it is also about letting your imagination run free when you find the sort of gap that Hilary Mantel is talking about. And life outside the court is a very big gap indeed – no one even kept a diary that we know about until Samuel Pepys in the mid seventeenth century. I worked within the known facts about Aemilia’s life – date of birth, dates of her relationship with the Lord Chamberlain, Lord Hunsden, date of her marriage and so on.

In addition to this, I looked for facts about women’s domestic lives, fashions, superstitions, information about the raising of children, where and how they did their shopping, the kind of books they would read (if they were literate) and so on. I found that this really bought the period alive, and allied to what I knew about his extraordinary woman, it helped me to paint a picture of her life that I found credible, and that I hoped other people would also believe in.  The places I looked were contemporary social documents, such as chapbooks about childbirth and household remedies, and physical places like museums, ancient houses and churches.

I tried to find out about the tactile reality of life: I even tried on a crinoline in the costume museum in Bath, because I thought the way it hangs and gets in the way would be very like the farthingales that were fashionable in Aemilia’s time. (And why on earth are women’s fashions so cumbersome and impractical?)

Research is a strange business – you don’t know what you need to know till you are quite far into the narrative, and until you get to that point it can feel as if you are assembling a huge pile of weird facts that you don’t know what to do with. I am at this stage with my new novel now, and I have to remind myself that I have been there before, and it is all part of the process.

Monday, August 18
Review at The Bookworm
Tuesday, August 19
Review & Giveaway at Unshelfish
Spotlight & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Wednesday, August 20
Guest Post at Bibliophilia, Please
Thursday, August 21
Spotlight at Princess of Eboli
Monday, August 25
Review at The Mad Reviewer
Review & Giveaway at Curling Up By the Fire
Tuesday, August 26
Review & Giveaway at Poof Books
Thursday, August 28
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Sunday, August 31
Review at Carole’s Ramblings
Monday, September 1
Review at Book Drunkard
Giveaway at Carole’s Ramblings
Tuesday, September 2
Guest Post & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Wednesday, September 3
Review & Giveaway at Bibliophilia, Please
Friday, September 5
Review at Awesome Book Assessment
Tuesday, September 9
Review at Just One More Chapter
Wednesday, September 10
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter
Thursday, September 11
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Tuesday, September 16
Review & Giveaway at Bookish
Wednesday, September 17
Review & Giveaway at Casual Readers
Friday, September 19
Review & Giveaway at Book Nerd
Monday, September 22
Review at A Book Geek
Tuesday, September 23
Review & Giveaway at Beth’s Book Reviews
Wednesday, September 24
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Friday, September 26
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Sunday, September 28
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Monday, September 29
Review at 100 Pages a Day – Stephanie’s Book Reviews
Review & Giveaway at Book Dilettante