Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Review & Giveaway: Helen of Sparta by Amalia Carosella (Book Tour)

Long before she ran away with Paris to Troy, Helen of Sparta was haunted by nightmares of a burning city under siege. These dreams foretold impending war—a war that only Helen has the power to avert. To do so, she must defy her family and betray her betrothed by fleeing the palace in the dead of night. In need of protection, she finds shelter and comfort in the arms of Theseus, son of Poseidon. With Theseus at her side, she believes she can escape her destiny. But at every turn, new dangers—violence, betrayal, extortion, threat of war—thwart Helen’s plans and bar her path. Still, she refuses to bend to the will of the gods.

A new take on an ancient myth, Helen of Sparta is the story of one woman determined to decide her own fate.

Publication Date: April 1, 2015
Lake Union Publishing
Formats: eBook, Paperback
ISBN-10: 1477821384
Genre: Historical Fiction
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*****

I am fascinated with Troy and Helen and Paris, I don't read as much as I would like.  What drew me to this book was that it wasn't about the Trojan Wars but about Helen before Paris came into the picture. 

This book was written in a way that grabbed me right from the beginning, feeling the anxiety that Helen felt as a result of nightmares she experienced.  Knowing the ultimate fate of Helen I couldn't help rooting for her as she endeavors to escape her ultimate destiny - to launch a thousand ships because of her great beauty.  The author portrayed Helen as a real woman who cared about others, Sparta and deflecting a devastating war.  She was a woman with feelings and at the mercy of others, which is a nice change from how she is usually portrayed.

The descriptive writing was something I enjoyed, it wasn't hard to visualize the settings, what life was like in that time period.  Mixing Greek mythology with historical facts, ancient legends and fiction made this a very enjoyable read.  Definitely an author I will be on the lookout for more of  (a sequel maybe??). 

 Buy the Book

Amazon
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Amalia Carosella graduated from the University of North Dakota with a bachelors degree in Classical Studies and English. An avid reader and former bookseller, she writes about old heroes and older gods. She lives with her husband in upstate New York and dreams of the day she will own goats (and maybe even a horse, too).

For more information, visit her blog at www.amaliacarosella.com. She also writes fantasy and paranormal romance as Amalia Dillin.

You can also connect with Amalia on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter here and here.

Helen of Sparta Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, April 1
Review at Unshelfish
Review at Let Them Read Books
Thursday, April 2
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Friday, April 3
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Saturday, April 4
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Monday, April 6
Review at Curling Up By the Fire
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Tuesday, April 7
Review at leeanna.com
Wednesday, April 8
Review at Historical Reads and Views
Thursday, April 9
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book!
Friday, April 10
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Monday, April 13
Interview at Book Babe
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Obsession
Tuesday, April 14
Review at Forever Ashley
Wednesday, April 15
Review at Just One More Chapter
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Thursday, April 16
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Friday, April 17
Review at Impressions in Ink
Saturday, April 18
Spotlight at Passages to the Past
Monday, April 20
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Interview at The Maiden’s Court
Tuesday, April 21
Review at Broken Teepee
Wednesday, April 22
Helen of Sparta

Friday, April 10, 2015

Inside the O'Briens by Lisa Genova

From the New York Times bestselling author of Still Alice Lisa Genova comes a powerful and transcendent new novel about a family struggling with the impact of Huntington’s disease.

Joe O’Brien is a forty-four-year-old police officer from the Irish Catholic neighborhood of Charlestown, Massachusetts. A devoted husband, proud father of four children in their twenties, and respected officer, Joe begins experiencing bouts of disorganized thinking, uncharacteristic temper outbursts, and strange, involuntary movements. He initially attributes these episodes to the stress of his job, but as these symptoms worsen, he agrees to see a neurologist and is handed a diagnosis that will change his and his family’s lives forever: Huntington’s Disease.

Huntington’s is a lethal neurodegenerative disease with no treatment and no cure. Each of Joe’s four children has a 50 percent chance of inheriting their father’s disease, and a simple blood test can reveal their genetic fate. While watching her potential future in her father’s escalating symptoms, twenty-one-year-old daughter Katie struggles with the questions this test imposes on her young adult life. Does she want to know? What if she’s gene positive? Can she live with the constant anxiety of not knowing?

As Joe’s symptoms worsen and he’s eventually stripped of his badge and more, Joe struggles to maintain hope and a sense of purpose, while Katie and her siblings must find the courage to either live a life “at risk” or learn their fate.

Praised for writing that “explores the resilience of the human spirit” (The San Francisco Chronicle), Lisa Genova has once again delivered a novel as powerful and unforgettable as the human insights at its core. 


Hardcover, 352 pages
Published April 7th 2015 by Gallery Books 
arc - netgalley
*****
I remember years ago hearing about a book that was self published (no one wanted to take a chance on it), but it ended up winning a number of awards - that book was Still Alice by Lisa Genova.  I think it was one of the first books I read in less then 24 hours. Such an emotional story that I hestiated reading her next 2 books - could my heart handle the emotion she invoked?

When Inside the O'Brien was available on Netgalley I figured I was able to handle another dose of her emotional writing (bear in mind that I mean all this in a very good way).  In the end I opted for the audio version (via Audible).  The audio was phenomenal and I am so glad that I went that route, the reader evoked a pace and tone that brought this story to life.

The story begins by spending some time introducing the reader to the O'Briens, getting to know this family, what makes them tick, their beliefs and Irish heritage with subtle hints that all is not right with the patriarch Joe.

Having never heard of Huntington's Disease before I found this an education lesson but not in a clinical manner.  Told mostly through the POV of Joe and his youngest daughter Katie the author managed to make this reader feel empathy for the whole family.  With various reactions to being tested you can see each side and their reasonings.  

As I got closer to the end of this book I wondered how the author could pull it off without disrupting the flow of the story, I was not disappointed it was a fitting end.  Written with authentic and believable reactions this emotional book is a reminder that we aren't guaranteed tomorrow, love today, enjoy life because you never know what the future holds.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

GuestPost: Immigrant Soldier by K. Lang-Slattery



I am happy to have K. Lang-Slattery, author of Immigrant Soldier - The Story of a Ritchie Boy, stop by for a visit today.

“Are you working on a new project and, if so, what is it?” 

With my first novel barely off the press, it is a nearly impossible idea for me to contemplate. Yet, forced by the regularity with which this question is asked of me, I began to think about it. What subject would engage me as much as the story of Immigrant Soldier, the Story of a Ritchie Boy? If there was another book in me, I wanted it to be about a female character and, to simplify research, also a World War II story. I know something of the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) of World War II because the great-aunt of a friend was a member. These women were quiet heroes and the idea of finding a story among them appeals to me. Early research has already revealed a treasure—a brilliant novel about a pilot in the British counterpart, the Air Transport Auxiliary, and her best friend who becomes a spy.

In the very first line, the heroine declares herself a coward. Yet, as she spins out her long confession to her Gestapo captors, the reader soon realizes she is anything but. I will not tell you her real name because that would spoil the delightful confusion and suspense of the first 50 pages of Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein. 

Verity is one of the most engaging characters I have had the pleasure of meeting in many years of reading historical fiction. English (sorry—Scottish!) upper-crust, she is feisty, funny, loyal, self-deprecating, feminine to the core, and brave. More brave than she will admit as she tells of her fears, her weakness, and her failures. She is not proud (except about being Scottish) or stoic or willing to go to her death without a fight. On scraps of paper provided by her captors, Verity reveals every detail of her path to becoming a spy stranded behind the lines in France. Her voice is so distinctive, so funny, and so true that it is almost impossible to put the book down. 

Yes, I did say funny. Not since Hogan’s Heroes, the TV comedy of the mid-1960s, have I found myself laughing out loud at a story about the Nazis. Verity somehow finds the humor in the sadistic personality of her guard and translator, the obsessively cruel behavior of her Gestapo officer interrogator, and her own physical and emotional weakness in the face of unrelenting torture. She finds the strength to taunt her captors and to discover their more human foibles. Over the course of several weeks of writing, she lists her constantly changing fears and recounts the bravery of her friend Maddie, a pilot in the British Air Transport Auxiliary. All of these things she accomplishes in the complexly plotted memoir that her guard believes to be a disclosure of secrets. 

I have finally found the fictional character I most want to meet. If she were only real and alive today (in her 90s and living in the back parlor of her family castle now turned into a tourist attraction), I would rush off to Scotland to listen to her stories, laugh with her about her youthful misadventures, and down a few glasses of cognac with her. No matter if we both felt a bit ill the next morning. 

PS – The second half of the novel holds surprises—both wonderful and tragic.  I will say no more.

PSS – Code Name Verity was originally written as a Young Adult novel, and like The Book Thief, also written by a YA author, it should be on your “must read” list.    
Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein
Paperback, 337 pages
Published in 2013 by Hyperion 


Kathryn Lang-Slattery, a published author of fiction and nonfiction for youth, became fascinated with her uncle’s World War II stories and began taping his conversations in 1996. Soon she knew she had found a fascinating untold story of Jewish refugees who became silent heroes. More than a decade spent researching, interviewing Ritchie Boys, and turning the true story of her uncle into fiction became an odyssey of discovery that resulted in the novel, Immigrant Soldier, The Story of a Ritchie Boy.

For more information please visit at K. Lang-Slatter’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.



Immigrant Soldier Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, April 6
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Spotlight at Unshelfish
Tuesday, April 7
Review at Book Nerd
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Thursday, April 9
Review at Dianne Ascroft
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter
Friday, April 10
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Sunday, April 12
Review at Carole’s Ramblings
Monday, April 13
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Tuesday, April 14
Guest Post at Books and Benches
Wednesday, April 15
Spotlight, Excerpt, & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Thursday, April 16
Review at Bookramblings
Friday, April 17
Blog Tour Wrap-Up at Passages to the Past


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Guest Post with Anna Belfrage "And Then What?"



 And then what? 


Well, now they're all out there - the original eight books in The Graham Saga. And, dear readers, this writer is suffering from withdrawal symptoms, which probably means we will have to visit a couple of times more with the Graham family - I do have this niggling sense of unease that Richard Campbell is not quite finished with them, horrible man that he is.

Plus, of course, Mercedes has been standing in the wings for a long, long time, demanding her moment in the limelight. Problem is, I am somewhat ambivalent to Mercedes.
"Yeah, you and me both," Alex mutters.
But still, there’s potential in the story of a girl born just as thunder strikes the Cathedral’s bell tower in 15th century Seville. Especially if the girl is Jewish. Even more so when she has magical talents that in themselves are sufficient to condemn her to being roasted alive. So maybe it’s no wonder Mercedes turns out as she does.
“Hmm,” Alex says. (Between us, dear readers, Alex prefers it if the limelight remains on her. Or maybe it’s just that she worries how her mother will reflect on her…)

Anyway, I am glad to report that there is much more in my head than Matthew and Alex Graham.
“What?” Alex gives me a disapproving look.
“Sorry,” I mutter, “But Adam and Kit, and…”
“Who cares about Adam and what’s-her-name?” Alex demands.
Well I do, actually.
Adam de Guirande is a man who has more than one reason to love his lord, the enigmatic and ambitious Roger Mortimer. In 1321, Adam marries Kit Coucy – except he thinks he’s marrying Katherine de Monmouth, and doesn’t take it all that well when he realises he’s been played the fool. Not that Kit had any choice, but Adam has a hard time believing that.
When the conflict between Baron Mortimer and Edward II explodes into armed conflict, Adam has no choice but to ride with his lord, no matter that treason comes with dishonourable death. With Mortimer in chains, and Adam’s at death’s door, only one person cares enough to come looking – Kit.
And that, people, is but a brief introduction to a story that will require at least three novels to tell in full. A story where passion and drama play out against a complex political situation, where today’s traitor may be tomorrow’s hero, and the Wheel of Life never stops rolling.
The first instalment in the Adam and Kit story, In the Shadow of the Storm, is planned for later this year
“Okay,” Alex says, somewhat grudgingly. “That sounds exciting.”
“Aye,” Matthew agrees, extending his long legs towards the fire. “Yon Adam, he’s an honourable man, isn’t he?”
“Yup.” (As an aside, all my leading men are honourable, starting with Mr Graham himself.)
“It’s difficult to hold on to your honour in a world where allegiances change overnight,” Matthew mutters, and I know he’s thinking about his own experiences during the English Civil War. Come to think of it, in many ways Adam and Matthew live through similar experiences.

Other than Adam and Kit, there’s also a WIP involving three reincarnated souls, tied to each other due to events in the distant past. Jason Morris has spent three millennia trying to find Helle again, the woman he loved and lost in a time when the fall of Troy was still a memory, not yet a legend. Helle Madsen has no idea who he is, this man with hair a glorious shade of mahogany, but he’s hot as hell and seems a far nicer person than Sam Woolf, a.k.a. Samion, the Wizard Prince of Kolchis. Too right, Helle! Sam Woolf may be utterly delicious on the outside, but he is rotten to the core – as Helle soon finds out for herself. At this point in time, I have no idea what genre this story falls under, but I do have a tentative name for the series, The Wanderer. Suffice it to say there’s plenty of action and steam. Very much steam, actually. Plus a cat called Kublai Kahn.
So, it’s not as if I will run out of books any time soon, is it? In actual fact, time, rather than imagination, is the limiting variable when it comes to my writing. Seriously, I need another twelve hours or so per day.
“Huh.” Alex gives me a long look. “At this rate, you’ll soon forget about us.” She moves closer to Matthew and takes his hand. There is a glimmer of something suspiciously like tears in her eyes, and she looks a bit forlorn, abandoned even. Matthew leans towards her and kisses her tenderly on the cheek, a small smile playing over his long mouth. Forget them? Is she crazy? Dearest Alex and Matthew, you don't need to worry about competition: I will carry you always - always - in my heart!
I dab at my eyes, and here’s Matthew crushing me to his chest, while Alex pats my back and hands me a handkerchief. Sheesh, I can’t stop crying, silly idiot that I am.
“We love you anyway,” Matthew assures me, and I scrub my face across the rough linen of his shirt and think I love him much, much more than he loves me. After all, he has Alex – which is how it should be, given that I made them like that: two hearts that beat in perfect synchronisation, two people meant for each other since long before they were born. 

I will return to Matthew and Alex – of course I will. But in the meantime, here come Adam and Kit! 

To Catch a Falling Star Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, April 7
Review at Just One More Chapter
Excerpt at Rainy Day Reviews
Guest Post at What Is That Book About
Tuesday, April 8
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter
Wednesday, April 9
Review & Giveaway at So Many Books, So Little Time
Spotlight at Unshelfish
Thursday, April 10
Excerpt & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Friday, April 11
Spotlight at Caroline Wilson Writes
Monday, April 14
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Interview at Becky on Books
Tuesday, April 15
Review & Guest Post at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Wednesday, April 16
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Thursday, April 17
Review at Book Nerd
Friday, April 18
Spotlight & Giveaway at View From the Birdhouse
Monday, April 21
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Tuesday, April 22
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Interview & Excerpt at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Wednesday, April 23
Review at Griperang’s Bookmarks
Thursday, April 24
Interview & Giveaway at Griperang’s Bookmarks
Friday, April 25
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection
Monday, April 28
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, April 29
Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway at A Virtual Hobby Store and Coffee Haus
Wednesday, April 30
Spotlight & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Thursday, May 1
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Saturday, May 3
Review at Quirky Book Reviews
Monday, May 5
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog
Tuesday, May 6
Review at Layered Pages
Spotlight at Long Ago Love
Wednesday, May 7
Review at Mari Reads
Review at Dianne Ascroft Blog
Thursday, May 8
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

To Catch a Falling Star by Anna Belfrage (Book Tour)

To Catch a Falling Star is the eighth book in Anna Belfrage’s series featuring time traveller Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham.

Some gifts are double-edged swords …

For Matthew Graham, being given the gift of his former Scottish manor is a dream come true. For his wife, Alex, this gift will force her to undertake a perilous sea journey, leaving most of their extensive family in the Colony of Maryland. Alex is torn apart by this, but staying behind while her husband travels to Scotland is no option.

Scotland in 1688 is a divided country, torn between the papist Stuart king and the foreign but Protestant William of Orange. In the Lowlands, popular opinion is with Dutch William, and Matthew’s reluctance to openly support him does not endear him to his former friends and neighbours.


While Matthew struggles to come to terms with the fact that Scotland of 1688 bears little resemblance to his lovingly conserved memories, Alex is forced to confront unresolved issues from her past, including her overly curious brother-in-law, Luke Graham. And then there’s the further complication of the dashing, flamboyant Viscount Dundee, a man who knocks Alex completely off her feet.

All the turmoil that accompanies their return to Scotland pales into insignificance when a letter arrives, detailing the calamities threatening their youngest daughter in Maryland – at the hand of that most obnoxious minister, Richard Campbell. Matthew and Alex have no choice but to hasten back, no matter the heartache this causes.

Will they make it back in time? And what will Richard Campbell do?

Publication Date: April 7, 2015
SilverWood Books
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Series: Book Eight, The Graham Saga
Genre: Historical Fiction/Time-Slip

It is no secret that this is one of my favorite series.  I have been staring at this book for a couple weeks now with mixed feelings.  To sit and crack this baby open would mean the beginning of the end, but then there is that need to find out what is going to happen when Matthew and Alex travel back to Scotland.  The synopsis does a great job outlining what is about to take place.  

Any author that tackles a series is really putting a lot of pressure on themselves.  Especially with 8 books in the Graham Saga Anna Belfrage needs to keep us, the reader, engaged.  She needs to create a story line that needs to be just as good if not better then the previous one.  The characters need growth and change in a realistic manner.  Was I nervous that this wouldn't happen in To Catch a Falling Story?  Not in the least, I know Anna and her writing talent, this was such a fitting conclusion taking away some of the pain of its ending.  

Traveling back to Scotland both Alex and Matthew need to confront their past in ways not expected in a country not the same as they left it.  The religious tensions cause much damage to the family and well as dealing with a brother that caused so much damage to his life.  This isn't the 'happy ever after' that Matthew envisioned.

Alex has a past she is forced to deal with and the dashing Viscount Dundee isn't helping matters.

I could go on about life in Scotland but because not all is mentioned in the synopsis I am not going to mention it here, suffice to say I enjoyed that part of the story, it was unexpected but in a way necessary.  There is closure here and fresh beginnings, there is heartache and healing.

Anna's writing style is such that you just get lost in the words.  It's like you are catching up with old friends as this story reveals itself.  Though I am sad to see the Graham Saga end, I take comfort that the author has not stopped writing and look forward to what is coming next.

This is a series that I highly recommend, available in ebook and paperback format.

Graham Saga Titles

Book One: A Rip in the Veil
Book Two: Like Chaff in the Wind
Book Three: The Prodigal Son
Book Four: A Newfound Land
Book Five: Serpents in the Garden
Book Six: Revenge & Retribution
Book Seven: Whither Thou Goest
Book Eight: To Catch a Falling Star

I was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result I’m multilingual and most of my reading is historical – both non-fiction and fiction.

I was always going to be a writer – or a historian, preferably both. Instead I ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for my most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career I raised my four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive … Nowadays I spend most of my spare time at my writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and I slip away into my imaginary world, with my imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in my life pops his head in to ensure I’m still there. I like that – just as I like how he makes me laugh so often I’ll probably live to well over a hundred.

I was always going to be a writer. Now I am – I have achieved my dream.

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

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To Catch a Falling Star Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, April 7
Review at Just One More Chapter
Excerpt at Rainy Day Reviews
Guest Post at What Is That Book About
Tuesday, April 8
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter
Wednesday, April 9
Review & Giveaway at So Many Books, So Little Time
Spotlight at Unshelfish
Thursday, April 10
Excerpt & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Friday, April 11
Spotlight at Caroline Wilson Writes
Monday, April 14
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Interview at Becky on Books
Tuesday, April 15
Review & Guest Post at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Wednesday, April 16
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Thursday, April 17
Review at Book Nerd
Friday, April 18
Spotlight & Giveaway at View From the Birdhouse
Monday, April 21
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Tuesday, April 22
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Interview & Excerpt at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Wednesday, April 23
Review at Griperang’s Bookmarks
Thursday, April 24
Interview & Giveaway at Griperang’s Bookmarks
Friday, April 25
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection
Monday, April 28
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, April 29
Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway at A Virtual Hobby Store and Coffee Haus
Wednesday, April 30
Spotlight & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Thursday, May 1
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Saturday, May 3
Review at Quirky Book Reviews
Monday, May 5
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog
Tuesday, May 6
Review at Layered Pages
Spotlight at Long Ago Love
Wednesday, May 7
Review at Mari Reads
Review at Dianne Ascroft Blog
Thursday, May 8
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Giveaway Winners

Thank you all who entered my giveaway last month and congrats to the winners:

Amy - Lady in Waiting by Susan Meissner
Raquel - Confessions of Marie Antoinette by Juliet Grey
Kim - Blood Between Two Queens by Barbara Kyle
Carol - The Mermaid Garden by Santa Montefiore
Kara - The Daughter of Siena by Marina Fiorato

All winners have been notified and books mailed.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Frog in the Tree by Paul Waters

Reminiscent of The Wind in the Willows, The Frog in the Tree is a journey of discovery for both a frog and a baby crow who help each other overcome their fears and doubts. It is a tale of friendship and bravery and finally a family’s love at the end.


Beautifully illustrated, the lilting storyline will carry the reader from beginning to end in a joyous melody of sight and sound.

ebook, 34 pages
Published March 20th 2015 by First Edition Desing Publishing 
ebook via netgalley
*****


I am a big fan of The Wind in the Willows, so it only stands to reason that I would read this book.  However I will admit being somewhat nervous about the comparison and whether it would mimic the Grahame classic.

My fears were unfounded as I enjoyed this book just as much.  The rhyming words added much to this story as did the pictures dispersed throughout.  

Froggy just wants to live alone up in a tree, which is totally unnatural for a frog.  But something has happened in his past to make him feel this way.  Things change when a little bird falls in the creek and Froggy rescues him.  Forced to confront his fears changes Froggy as he is reunited with his past.

This book would make a wonder gift that will keep any child enchanted with.
"Mr. Frog, I must ask you...what is this word- love?"  He thought, and he thought, as he racked his brain.  "Love is a word that's not easily explained.  It's a feeling you feel somewhere deep in your heart, and true love indeed, never ends- it just starts"

 Advance Praise

“The Frog in the Tree is a MARVELOUS story, for all ages! Short, sweet and full of love and light... a heart- warming tale to be sure! Besides the wonderful prose written by Paul Waters, the illustrations by J.E. Larson speak for themselves, and allow ones' imagination to fully experience the Prose!! Well done indeed!!”
... By Joe Walsh

“Couldn't put the book down. The writing captures the youth it was intended for. I gave one as a gift and have one for my home. Looking forward for some more from Mr. Paul Waters. Genius!!!!!!”
... By Louis

“Creative and fun!! Really enjoyed the story and the art work!! Both my niece and nephew really enjoyed it!! I am keeping my eye out for more!!”
... By Steve Baldassano

“My daughter and I both enjoyed the read! Very sweet story and well written!”
... By Berdj Hakverdian

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Masque of a Murdered by Susanna Calkins (Book Tour)


In Susanna Calkins’ next richly drawn mystery set in 17th century England, Lucy Campion, formerly a ladies’ maid in the local magistrate’s household, has now found gainful employment as a printer’s apprentice. On a freezing winter afternoon in 1667, she accompanies the magistrate’s daughter, Sarah, to the home of a severely injured Quaker man to record his dying words, a common practice of the time. The man, having been trampled by a horse and cart the night before, only has a few hours left to live. Lucy scribbles down the Quaker man’s last utterances, but she’s unprepared for what he reveals to her—that someone deliberately pushed him into the path of the horse, because of a secret he had recently uncovered.

Fearful that Sarah might be traveling in the company of a murderer, Lucy feels compelled to seek the truth, with the help of the magistrate’s son, Adam, and the local constable. But delving into the dead man’s background might prove more dangerous than any of them had imagined.

In The Masque of a Murderer, Susanna Calkins has once again combined finely wrought characters, a richly detailed historical atmosphere, and a tightly-plotted mystery into a compelling read.

Publication Date: April 14, 2015
Minotaur Books/St. Martins Press
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 323
Series: Book Three, Lucy Campion Mysteries
Genre: Historical Mystery

Add to GR Button
 arc - netgalley
****
This is the third book in the Lucy Campion Mysteries Series.  I have not read the first 2 books which really wasn't a problem however I could feel something was missing so a little bit background would have been nice.

Lucy is a very likable character, I would have liked to have known more of her background and what transpired between her and Adam but there was enough info to get the general drift.  Working as a printers apprentice and what that entailed was quite interesting.  I didn't know about tracts and the recording of death scenes (I love learning history while at the same time as being entertained).

The plot was intriguing and kept my attention.  Usually I try to figure out the bad guy but in this case I was guessing right till the end.  It wasn't one I envisioned but plausible and original.

The Quakers (Friends) was also a new experience for me, definitely can see myself on the lookout for more reading about them and their plight in England and how they made it to North America.

Susanna Calkins is a new author to me.  Her writing style is smooth, engaging as well as authentic to the time period.  Her knowledge of history is evident.  Definitely recommend this book to mystery and HF lovers.


Lucy Campion Mystery Series Titles

Book One: A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate
Macavity Award Finalist Sue Feder Historical Mystery Award (2014)
Barnes & Noble Bookseller’s Selection (“Mystery Pick” and “Featured New Arrival”)
Chicago Book Review – Best Books of 2013
Book Two: From the Charred Remains (Paperback release on March 17, 2015)
Short-listed for the Bruce Alexander Historical Mystery Award (2015)
Book Three: The Masque of a Murderer (coming April 2015!)

 

Praise for the Lucy Campion Mystery Series

“…the high-quality writing augurs well for future outings.” -Publisher’s Weekly
“Calkins makes Lucy’s efforts to find the real killer entirely plausible, leading to a nail-biter climax with London in flames. This history-mystery delivers a strong heroine making her way through the social labyrinth of Restoration London.” -Booklist
“Calkins’ debut mystery places her unusual detective in a world rich in carefully researched historical detail.” -Kirkus
“A historical mystery with originality and great attention to detail. Readers are transported to 17th century England, a time when social classes were just beginning to change. The characters are multi-dimensional–including the smart, adventurous Lucy Campion–and the mystery will keep readers turning the pages, and they’ll eagerly await the next book in the series.” RT Book Reviews (4 Stars)
“…an intricate tale of fraud and blackmail, leavened by a touch of romance. Calkins, who holds a doctorate in British history, puts her knowledge to sparkling use in this intriguing mystery, which combines a gripping plot with rich historical detail and one of the most admirable protagonists in the genre.” -The Richmond Times-Dispatch
“Calkins is able to seamlessly weave this romance into the story without making it the main plot line, and keeping the mystery the main focus of the story….The puzzles, anagrams, and many secrets combine to make intertwining plot twists that keep the pages turning. FROM THE CHARRED REMAINS is an exciting, secret filled, historical mystery that will keep readers guessing until the very end.” –Fresh Fiction (Reviewer’s Pick)
“A good yarn and a fascinating look at life in England in a time when things began to change…social classes, positions, servants’ rights…all because of plague and fire.” -Book Babe Blog
“For me, this book was more than a mystery. It was an eye-opening look at what London was like in the mid-1660s, including the plague and fire that ravaged London, class struggle, the plight of women, and the laws of the time. The author’s engaging writing style made it easy to slip back into the past and experience these things with Lucy.” -Book of Secrets
“A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate is Susanna Calkins’ absorbing debut novel. Just a warning that time WILL easily slip away as you become engrossed in this historical fiction mystery.” -1776 Books: A Philadelphian’s Literary Journey

 

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Born and raised in Philadelphia, Susanna Calkins lives in Highland Park, Illinois with her husband and two sons, where she is an educator at Northwestern University. With a PhD in history, her historical mysteries feature Lucy Campion, a 17th century chambermaid-turned-printer’s apprentice. Her first novel, A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate, was a finalist for the Sue Feder Historical Mystery Award (Macavity). The second in this series, From the Charred Remains, is currently a finalist for the Bruce Alexander Historical Mystery Award. Her third, The Masque of a Murderer, will be released in April 2015.

For more information and to subscribe to Susanna Calkins’ newsletter please visit her website. You can also follow her blog, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

 

 

The Masque of a Murderer Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, March 16
Review at Bibliophilia, Please
Tuesday, March 17
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Guest Post at Bibliophilia, Please
Wednesday, March 18
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Friday, March 20
Spotlight at Historical Readings & Reviews
Monday, March 23
Review & Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Wednesday, March 25
Review & Interview at The Emerald City Book Review
Tuesday, March 31
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Wednesday, April 1
Character Interview at Boom Baby Reviews
Thursday, April 2
Review at Just One More Chapter
Monday, April 6
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Tuesday, April 7
Spotlight at The Genre Queen
Thursday, April 9
Review at The Lit Bitch
Guest Post at A Literary Vacation
Friday, April 10
Review at Book Nerd
Monday, April 13
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Tuesday, April 14
Review at Book Babe
Thursday, April 16
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Spotlight at Layered Pages
Friday, April 17
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past