Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Review: The Wild Hunt by Elizabeth Chadwick

During the 12th-century Welsh March Wars, King William Rufus orders Guyon, 28, to marry nearly 16-year-old Judith in order to secure lands from Judith's despised uncle, Lord Robert de Belleme.

As the marriage begins, Guyon is angry and Judith is terrified. He is experienced in both love and war, and is hostile about marrying this child and surrounding himself with such a nest of political vipers. Judith, having watched her father abuse her mother, expects her own marriage to include rape, beatings, and humiliation. What gradually develops between them is a trust and respect that eventually blooms into a passionate love.

Their story is tightly interwoven with a tenuous political situation as brothers battle for the kingdom and the barons divide themselves between the factions.

Paperback, 341 pages 
Published December 4th 2008 by Sphere (first published 1990)
Print copy from personal library
*****

I am relatively new to Elizabeth Chadwick in that I have only read three of her books previous to this one. After reading Lady of the English and the first two books in her Elienor of Aquitaine series I was pleasantly surprised when I searched and found a nice stack of books that were unknown to me. Being the weird sorta of person that I am, I decided to go back to the beginning with her first book and work my way through all of them.

The Wild Hunt is book one in the Ravenstow trilogy taking place in 12th century. Most of the author's writing centers around this time period which makes it all the more exciting to read because of her vast knowledge of this era. Her methods of research are quite interesting and I encourage you to check out her website http://elizabethchadwick.com/

It wasn't long for me to get absorbed in this story, I don't need to re-visit what takes place here you can read the synopsis above to get the idea. The Welsh March War is new for me as is reading anything during the reign of King William II.

I have found in reading debut novels that for some authors it takes a couple books under their belt to really make the words flow and the story to develop smoothly. As I've read the last three books that Elizabeth Chadwick has written, going back to her first (of over 20) I can honestly say I feel that her writing was seasoned and just as captivating as it is now. Her knowledge of the time was evident. She drew me into the story and it wasn't hard to feel the emotions, motives and struggles of  Judith, Guyan and his mistress (to name just a few).  I was immersed in the setting and her character development was spot on, right down to the children portrayed here.

Definitely a series I will continue with as well as working my way through the rest of her books. Though I am not a big romance reader, there is enough of it in this book without being overwhelming. The Wild Hunt was the winner of the Betty Task Award in 1994 for first time novelist, a very well deserved award for a great book.

Definitely one I highly recommend!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Spotlight/Giveaway: Paris RunAway by Paulita Kincer

Paris Runaway cover

When divorced mom Sadie Ford realizes her 17-year-old daughter Scarlett has run away to Paris all she can imagine are terrorist bombings and sex slaves.

After learning her daughter chased a French exchange student home, Sadie hops on the next plane in pursuit. She joins forces with the boy’s father, Auguste, and the two attempt to find the missing teens before they can stumble into more trouble. The chase takes Sadie and Auguste to the seedier side of Marseille, where their own connection is ignited. Since the divorce, Sadie has devoted herself to raising kids and putting her dreams on hold, but when her daughter needs her most, Sadie finds that concrete barrier to life beginning to crack. In her journey, she learns the difference between watching the hours pass and living.

(women’s fiction) 
Release date: June 30, 2016 at Lulu.com
ISBN: 978-1-365-18923-4 220 pages 


Paulita Kincer Paulita Kincer has an M.A. in journalism from American University. She has traveled to France 11 times, and still finds more to lure her back. She currently teaches college English and lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her three children, two cats and one husband.

Visit her website www.paulitakincer.com and her blog at http://www.paulita-ponderings.blogspot.com or follow her on Twitter @paulitakincer
Like her Facebook page at Paulita Kincer Writer.
Email paulita@paulitakincer.com

Buy the book (print, ebook audiobook): Amazon


You can enter the global giveaway here or on any other book blogs participating in this tour. Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook, they are listed in the entry form below.


Enter here


Visit each blogger on the tour: tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time! [just follow the directions on the entry-form] Global giveaway: 2 winners, choice of print or digital copy of this book.

***

CLICK ON THE BANNER TO READ REVIEWS, INTERVIEW, AND EXCERPTS

Paris RunAway banner

Monday, July 18, 2016

Review: The Lord of Ireland by E.M. Powell

02_The Lord of Ireland

 England, 1185.

John is a prince without prospect of a crown. 

As the youngest son of Henry II, he has long borne the hated nickname ‘Lackland’. When warring tribes and an ambitious Anglo-Norman lord threaten Henry’s reign in Ireland, John believes his time has finally come. Henry is dispatching him there with a mighty force to impose order. Yet it is a thwarted young man who arrives on the troubled isle. John has not been granted its kingship—he is merely the Lord of Ireland, destined never to escape his father’s shadow. Unknown to John, Henry has also sent his right-hand man, Sir Benedict Palmer, to root out the traitors he fears are working to steal the land from him. But Palmer is horrified when John disregards Henry’s orders and embarks on a campaign of bloodshed that could destroy the kingdom.

Now Palmer has to battle the increasingly powerful Lord of Ireland. Power, in John’s hands, is a murderous force—and he is only just beginning to wield it.

Publication Date: April 5, 2016 
Thomas & Mercer Kindle, Paperback, Audiobook; 370 Pages
 Series: The Fifth Knight
 Genre: Historical Thriller
Add to GR Button  
*****  

This is the third book in the Fifth Knight Series by EM Powell. I have read the first two books which I really enjoyed and looked forward to continuing with this series. Though I highly recommend starting at the beginning with The Fifth Knight and then continuing with The Blood of the Fifth Knight, these books can be read as standalones but there is history with some of the main characters that are fully explained in the first one.

What I really loved about this book was the way John Lackland was portrayed. You know how you have an image in your mind of historical figures, not just their looks but their personalities and behavior? In this book John was exactly how I pictured him and I love that. Being the son of a King with no inheritance left I can see how he would be bitter, jealous and out to prove he is worthy of a Kingship. Henry is right in his fears of Johnny by only making him Lord of Ireland.

This book continues with the story of Sir Benedict  Palmer and his wife Theodosia as they set off to Ireland at the request of King Henry II. Again this was an action-packed book full of mystery and suspense and I was not disappointed. Though some characters are fictional the author also draws on real historical figures and events, thus creating a very entertaining read. Her descriptive writing was spot on and I had no problem visualizing what was taking place and being able to feel the emotion of the characters here.

The author ended the book with historical notes explaining what was fact and fiction which always finishes a book off nicely. I have not heard if this series will continue but one can always hope.

Thank you to each of HFVBT for the invite to be part of this blog tour and a complementary e-book copy for review purposes


Praise for The Fifth Knight Series


"With her fast-paced mysteries set in the tumultuous reign of Henry II, E.M. Powell takes readers on enthralling, and unforgettable, journeys." -Nancy Bilyeau, author of The Crown “Both Fifth Novels are terrific. Benedict and Theodosia are not merely attractive characters: they are intensely real people.” -Historical Novels Review “From the get-go you know you are in an adventure when you enter the world of E.M. Powell's 12th century. Peril pins you down like a knight's lance to the chest”-Edward Ruadh Butler, author of Swordland

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Chapters


03_E.M. Powell

E.M. Powell’s medieval thrillers The Fifth Knight and The Blood of the Fifth Knight have been number-one Amazon bestsellers and on the Bild bestseller list in Germany. Born into the family of Michael Collins (the legendary revolutionary and founder of the Irish Free State) and raised in the Republic of Ireland, she lives in north-west England with her husband, daughter and a Facebook-friendly dog. She reviews fiction and non-fiction for the Historical Novel Society, blogs for English Historical Fiction Authors and is a contributing editor to International Thriller Writers’ The Big Thrill magazine.

Find more information at E.M. Powell's website and blog.

You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.


04_The Lord of Ireland_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL
click on the banner for more stops on this tour

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Review: Into the Free by Julie Cantrell

Just a girl. The only one strong enough to break the cycle.

In Depression-era Mississippi, Millie Reynolds longs to escape the madness that marks her world. With an abusive father and a “nothing mama,” she struggles to find a place where she really belongs. For answers, Millie turns to the Gypsies who caravan through town each spring. The travelers lead Millie to a key which unlocks generations of shocking family secrets. When tragedy strikes, the mysterious contents of the box give Millie the tools she needs to break her family’s longstanding cycle of madness and abuse.

Through it all, Millie experiences the thrill of first love while fighting to trust the God she believes has abandoned her. With the power of forgiveness, can Millie finally make her way into the free?

Paperback, 329 pages 
Published February 1st 2012 by David C. Cook
arc via netgalley
****1/2

This is the kind of Christian fiction that I really enjoy. I was not preached to but instead I was given a realistic coming of age story. Taking place during the depression era Millie Reynolds lives in a very difficult setting with a drug addicted mother and a father who is hardly there and when he is it is very unpleasant. Forced to grow up before her time Millie tells her story with feeling and grit. At times it was heartbreaking to read and I commend the author for writing with such emotion making me genuinely care for Millie and fear for her future.

  Into the Free is an emotional story, it is about hope, healing and forgiveness. Difficult to set aside and tugs at ones heartstrings. One that stayed with me long after I turned the last page. This is the authors debut and I think she is off to a great start. I found her writing style engaging, believable and authentic staying true to the time period.

 I would have given this book 5 stars but there was one scene that took place with Millie's father in the truck and his emotional state, I would have loved for the author to have expounded on that a little, to maybe humanize him and get inside his head.

Thank you to David C Cook (via Netgalley) for a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.


Monday, July 11, 2016

Book Blast: The Irish Inheritance: A Jayne Sinclair Genealogical Mystery by M.J. Lee

02_The Irish Inheritance

June 8, 1921. Ireland.

 A British Officer is shot dead on a remote hillside south of Dublin.

November 22, 2015. United Kingdom.

Former police detective, Jayne Sinclair, now working as a genealogical investigator, receives a phone call from an adopted American billionaire asking her to discover the identity of his real father.

How are the two events linked?

Jayne Sinclair has only three clues to help her: a photocopied birth certificate, a stolen book and an old photograph. And it soon becomes apparent somebody else is on the trail of the mystery. A killer who will stop at nothing to prevent Jayne discovering the secret hidden in the past.

The Irish Inheritance takes us through the Easter Rising of 1916 and the Irish War of Independence, combining a search for the truth of the past with all the tension of a modern-day thriller. It is the first in a series of novels featuring Jayne Sinclair, genealogical detective.

Publication Date: June 15, 2016 
eBook; 285 Pages ASIN: B01FR5PP9S 
Series: The Jayne Sinclair Series, Book One 
Genre: Historical/Mystery
Add to GR Button  

Amazon US

03_MJ Lee

Martin has spent most of his adult life writing in one form or another. As a University researcher in history, he wrote pages of notes on reams of obscure topics. As a social worker with Vietnamese refugees, he wrote memoranda. And, as the creative director of an advertising agency, he has written print and press ads, tv commercials, short films and innumerable backs of cornflake packets and hotel websites. He has spent 25 years of his life working outside the North of England. In London, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, Bangkok and Shanghai, winning awards from Cannes, One Show, D&AD, New York and London Festivals, and the United Nations.

When he’s not writing, he splits his time between the UK and Asia, taking pleasure in playing with his daughter, researching his family history, practicing downhill ironing, single-handedly solving the problem of the French wine lake and wishing he were George Clooney.

You can find more information on M.J. Lee and his novels on Goodreads, Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter.


04_The Irish Inheritance_Book Blast Banner_FINAL

Friday, July 8, 2016

Review: The Memory Painter: A Novel of Love and Reincarnation by Gwendolyn Womack

02_The Memory Painter PB Cover

Two lovers who have traveled across time.

A team of scientists at the cutting edge of memory research.

A miracle drug that unlocks an ancient mystery.

At once a sweeping love story and a time-travelling adventure, Gwendolyn Womack's luminous debut novel, The Memory Painter, is perfect for readers of The Time Traveler's Wife, Life After Life and Winter's Tale.

Bryan Pierce is an internationally famous artist, whose paintings have dazzled the world. But there's a secret to Bryan's success: Every canvas is inspired by an unusually vivid dream. Bryan believes these dreams are really recollections―possibly even flashback from another life―and he has always hoped that his art will lead him to an answer. And when he meets Linz Jacobs, a neurogenticist who recognizes a recurring childhood nightmare in one Bryan's paintings, he is convinced she holds the key.

Their meeting triggers Bryan's most powerful dream yet―visions of a team of scientists who, on the verge of discovering a cure for Alzheimer's, died in a lab explosion decades ago. As his visions intensify, Bryan and Linz start to discern a pattern. But a deadly enemy watches their every move, and he will stop at nothing to ensure that the past stays buried.

The Memory Painter is at once a taut thriller and a deeply original love story that transcends time and space, spanning six continents and 10,000 years of history.

Publication Date: July 5, 2016
Picador USA Paperback; 336 Pages
Historical Fiction/Time Travel/Mystery/Romance
Finalist for the 2016 RWA Prism Awards for Best First Book & Best Time Travel/ Steampunk category
Add to GR Button 
***1/2

I don't know if anybody else is like me when it comes to reading. I will put a book on my Goodreads 'want to read' shelf and when the time comes to read it I don't always refresh my memory and go in half blind. Such was the case with The Memory Painter. Books on reincarnation always interest me as I find it a fascinating subject.

I liked Brian right from the beginning, as the author painted a vivid picture of what his life is like, in the frustrations of searching for something/someone and not being able to find any resolution. With his flashbacks yielding interesting past lives you can see more of his struggles not just in understanding them but with how he is portrayed in society and with his family. I found the memories intriguing, how they fit into the big picture and somehow I even managed to not get too overly confused.
He put his work out there with the hope that someone, someday, would recognize his paintings for what they were, that someone else in the world suffered from the same curse. But maybe that hope was delusional. he had been searching for years and was beginning to feel it was a lost cause. Hundreds of paintings and not one answer. 
Linz I struggled with somewhat, I found for someone so smart and professional that her actions didn't always resonate well with me, just seemed out of character jumping back and forth in her decision making. But then again she does have to absorb a lot in a short period of time, so maybe I should cut her some slack.

I enjoyed the authors pose, the storyline was unique, she kept me engaged in the story. While I found the first half to be a slower pace the last part picked up right to the end.  I would've loved some authors notes at the end just to know if the past lives were fact or fiction. All in all a solid debuted that will appeal to historical fiction readers and those that love a good mystery.

Thank you to Amy at HFVBT for the invite to be part of this book tour and the publisher (via netgalley) for a complimentary copy.


“Gwendolyn Womack's tale dazzles.” ―US Weekly (Standout Spring Novels)
“…hang on for a wild and entertaining ride around the world and through the centuries back to ancient Egypt.” ~ Library Journal, starred review
“A sweeping, mesmerizing feat of absolute magic. . . . ~ M.J. Rose, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Witch of Painted Sorrows
“Layers of past and present form a rich pastry of a narrative, poignant and thoughtful, rich and suspenseful, filled with intrigue and dripping with meaning... ~ Charlie Lovett, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Bookman's Tale and First Impressions

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound




Originally from Houston, Texas, Gwendolyn Womack began writing theater plays in college at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. She went on to receive an MFA from California Institute of the Arts in Directing Theatre, Video & Cinema.

Currently she resides in Los Angeles with her husband and son where she can be found at the keyboard working on her next novel. The Memory Painter is her first novel. 

For more information visit Gwendolyn's website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

04_The Memory Painter_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL
click on banner for more stops on this tour

Giveaway

To win a $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card & Vegvisir decal and Eye of Horus Necklace, please enter via the GLEAM form below.
Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on July 12th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US & Canada addresses only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

The Memory Painter Blog Tour

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Review: The Last Woman Standing: A Novel of Mrs. Wyatt Earp by Thelma Adams

Thelma Adams has built a successful career writing profiles of Hollywood’s biggest and brightest stars. From Julianne Moore and George Clooney to Jessica Chastain and Matthew McConaughey, her portfolio is dazzling and reputation as a film critic in the industry stellar.

Now, Adams shifts from Hollywood to the Wild West with THE LAST WOMAN STANDING, the first biographical novel about Josephine Marcus, Wyatt Earp’s wife, the gutsy Jewish beauty who captured the lawman’s heart in 1881, the year he fought the legendary Gunfight at the OK Corral.

In her well-researched and vividly composed novel, Adams doesn’t waste any time proving her talent as a dynamic writer with a cinematic flair. She explores the brief defining period when Josephine comes-of-age on the American frontier, weaving action, wit, and clever introspection.

The daughter of Jewish immigrants, Josephine shames her tight-knit family (her over-bearing mother begins to sit-shiva the minute Josephine walks out the door) when the 19-year-old follows the smooth-talking and attractive lawman, Johnny Behan, from San Francisco, California to Tombstone, Arizona. Hanging on the slim promise of a wedding, the naïve young woman eventually discovers the older man’s untrustworthy side. She also learns that divided loyalties and corruption plague the silver boom town—with her fiancé at the conflict’s heart. And she can’t pretend she hasn’t noticed the courageous straight-shooter Wyatt Earp who becomes Behan’s sworn enemy.

When Behan betrays Josephine, she leaves him—and immediately faces the harsh realities of being a woman on her own in the Wild West, a world where a lady’s every action depends on a man’s approval. Adams’s storytelling from a female perspective, and her rich and descriptive style, allow the reader to feel Josephine’s desperation as she realizes the only available options she has are prostitution or returning home. That is—until Wyatt Earp declares his love for her. As their romance blossoms and their bond deepens, Behan’s jealousy ignites a rivalry destined for the history books.


Paperback: 298 pages
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (July 1, 2016)
****

I think most people have heard of the Gunfight at the OK Corral, Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp and Tombstone. But we hear very little of the women during that time. The Last Woman Standing is the story of Josephine Marcus daughter of Jewish immigrants from San Francisco. With the promise of marriage she leaves her home and is lured to Tombstone Arizona with the promise of marriage by lawman Johnny Behan.

This book begins in the last years of Josephine's life, told in first person she recalls the early years of her time in Tombstone and the events taking place which lead up to the famous gunfight and it's aftermath. I love the way Josephine or Jose was portrayed here, she was feisty, determined and stood her ground on matters that were important to her. I think I enjoyed the first half of this book more so as the last bit seemed to have more of a romantic feel to it, not that that is a bad thing.

"Tombstone kicked my ass and I kicked back."

This was my first time reading anything by Thelma Adams and I really enjoyed her writing style. It was engaging and kept my attention. This book is about love, revenge, jealousy and determination (just to name a few).  Reading about lesser-known women in history is always something that grabs my attention and I enjoyed reading that here, showing the things women had to put up with in that time period.  I would have loved to have seen some authors notes at the end just to get a feel for what was fact and what was fiction.

All in all a great read that I will recommend to those that like reading about real historical figures that seems to have been lost to the past. Thank you to TLC book tours and netgalley for a complementary copy of this book for review purposes.




THE LAST WOMAN STANDING is a compelling novel: both an epic tale of an improbable romance and a retelling of an iconic American legend through a female lens. Josephine is a charismatic, fierce heroine who seeks to reinvent herself—and find her soul mate—in a lawless outpost among cowboys and lawmen, where few people are what they seem on the surface. “Adams is that rare, vivid author who brings a cinematic quality to her wildly entertaining fiction.” —Peter Travers, Rolling Stone .



Thelma Adams is an established figure in the entertainment industry. For two decades, she has penned celebrity features and criticism for high-profile publications. Her portfolio of actor interviews includes Julianne Moore, George Clooney, Jessica Chastain, and Matthew McConaughey, among many others.

While covering film for the New York Post, Us Weekly, and Yahoo Movies, Thelma became a regular at film festivals from Berlin to Dubai, Toronto to Tribeca. She sits on the Hamptons International Film Festival Advisory Board and twice chaired the prestigious New York Film Critics Circle.

Her debut novel, Playdate, published by Thomas Dunne Books, won high critical acclaim. Adams is often recognized, as she has been invited to share her expertise on many broadcast outlets, including appearances on NBC’s Today, CBS’s Early Show, and CNN.

She graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a history degree from UC Berkeley and earned an MFA from Columbia University. She lives in Hyde Park, New York, with her family.

Connect with Thelma Website | Facebook | TwitterThelma Adams’ 

click on banner for more stops on this tour

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Spotlight: As Death Draws Near (Lady Darby Mystery #5) by Anna Lee Huber

02_As Death Draws Near

   The latest mystery from the national bestselling author of A Study in Death tangles Lady Kiera Darby and Sebastian Gage in a dangerous web of religious and political intrigue.

July 1831. In the midst of their idyllic honeymoon in England’s Lake District, Kiera and Gage’s seclusion is soon interrupted by a missive from her new father-in-law. A deadly incident involving a distant relative of the Duke of Wellington has taken place at an abbey south of Dublin, Ireland, and he insists that Kiera and Gage look into the matter. Intent on discovering what kind of monster could murder a woman of the cloth, the couple travel to Rathfarnham Abbey school. Soon a second nun is slain in broad daylight near a classroom full of young girls. With the sinful killer growing bolder, the mother superior would like to send the students home, but the growing civil unrest in Ireland would make the journey treacherous. Before long, Kiera starts to suspect that some of the girls may be hiding a sinister secret. With the killer poised to strike yet again, Kiera and Gage must make haste and unmask the fiend, before their matrimonial bliss comes to an untimely end...

Publication Date: July 5, 2016
Berkley Harcover & eBook; 336 Pages
Series: Lady Darby Mysteries 
Genre: Historical Mystery
 Add to GR Button    

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | iBooks | IndieBound


Praise for the Lady Darby Mysteries

“Riveting…Huber deftly weaves together an original premise, an enigmatic heroine, and a compelling Highland setting for a book you won’t want to put down.”—Deanna Raybourn, New York Times bestselling author

 “[A] history mystery in fine Victorian style!”—Julia Spencer-Fleming, New York Times bestselling author “[A] fascinating heroine…A thoroughly enjoyable read!”—Victoria Thompson, national bestselling author

 “[A] clever heroine with a shocking past and a talent for detection.”—Carol K. Carr, national bestselling author

03_Anna Lee Huber

Anna Lee Huber is the Award-Winning and National Bestselling Author of the Lady Darby Mystery Series. She was born and raised in a small town in Ohio, and graduated summa cum laude from Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN with a degree in music and a minor in psychology. She currently resides in Indiana, and when not working on her next book she enjoys reading, singing, traveling and spending time with her family.

For more information please visit www.annaleehuber.com.

Connect with Anna Lee Huber on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.




Giveaway

To win a paperback copy of As Death Draws Near by Anna Lee Huber, please enter the giveaway via the GLEAM form below.

Two copies are up for grabs!

 Rules
 – Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on July 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
 – Giveaway is open to US & Canada residents only.
 – Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
  As Death Draws Near Book Blast

04_As Death Draws Near_Book Blast Banner_FINAL

Monday, June 27, 2016

Review: Lady of the Highway by Deborah Swift

 ‘anyone, regardless of age, would love this. . . great story and great storytelling’ - Book Nerd Blog 

England 1651 

The English Civil War is over, but the wounds of the conflict are still raw. Young Lady Katherine Fanshawe is determined to save her inheritance from the grasping hands of the authorities, and build a brighter future for herself.

 Although Kate knows it is dangerous, she invites her rebel friends to live and work at Markyate Manor. But her plans are quickly blown apart when, after months of hard work, her stepfather returns unexpectedly, and evicts them all without pay. Kate’s friends are bitter and turn against her, accusing her of being cursed and a bringer of misfortune. Desperate to regain their sympathy and trust, she turns to highway robbery to pay them back.

But Kate is not the only highway thief on the road, and her rival is intent on bloodshed and murder. Soon the local constable is hot on her trail for crimes she did not commit. Just when Kate thinks things can’t get worse, another secret begins to reveal itself – a secret that threatens her very life.

In this struggle against her loveless family, militant authorities and an unforgiving winter, will Lady Katherine’s birth right turn out to be a blessing or a curse? Lady of the Highway is the final book of Deborah Swift’s Highway Trilogy.

Kindle Edition
Published June 5th 2016 by Endeavour Press
****


Lady of the Highway is Book 3 in The Highway Trilogy Series, though it does work as a standalone I highly recommend going to the beginning and starting with Shadow on the Highway and Spirit of the Highway.

I was first introduced to Deborah Swift with her book The Lady's Slipper and fell in love with her writing style. As a writer of the historical fiction she steers clear of the well-known characters and gives the reader a vivid glimpse into the lifestyle of everyday folks. Though her previous books were geared to an adult audience this series is YA though I think it will appeal to adults as well.

I am not overly familiar with this time and the events that transpired which made me enjoy this series all the more, inspiring me to learn more. The term highway men always conjures up visions of the wildwest with stagecoach holdups and I never connected it taking place in England as well. I love how the author took a real historical figure and created this series. With each of the three books being told from a different point of view added that extra element of seeing the total picture from various angles. Lady of the Highway takes us to the view of Lady Katherine Fanshawe (Kate). As with any war there is always that struggle and conflict when it is over to rebuild ones life again. At the conclusion of the English Civil War the author was able to show the struggles from various sides, whether it was the Diggers, those that worked for the king or were opposed to him. The land was ravished and trying to rebuild your life was a constant struggle, families were pitted against each other as well as the paranoia of who you could trust and who to steer clear of.  Again I was not disappointed with this author, it wasn't hard to get immersed in this story especially since being book three I was connected to the characters and understood their struggles.

Again the Author's Notes were wonderful, reading what was fact verse fiction as well as historical facts of the timeperiod.

I was unaware that the final book in the series was released in June and my thanks to Endeavour Press (via Netgalley) for a complementary copy for review.

Praise for Deborah Swift

‘There is no greater compliment than, give me more’ – Susanna Gregory, bestselling author of historical crime fiction

‘Characters so real they linger in the mind long after the book is back on the shelf’ – The Historical Novels Review

‘The past comes alive through impeccable research, layers of intriguing plotline, an understanding of the complexities of seventeenth century politics and the sheer power of descriptive prose’ –Lancashire Evening Post


Deborah Swift lives in a stunning part of the world, the English Lake District. She used to work as a costume designer for film and TV, and loves researching the background to her novels. She has an MA in Creative Writing, and is the author of a number of historical novels, including The Gilded Lily, A Divided Inheritance, Spirit of the Highway, Shadow on the Highway and The Lady’s Slipper, which was shortlisted for the Impress Prize.

You can find out more about her on her website: www.deborahswift.com Or follow her on Twitter: @swiftstory

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Spotlight: A Moment Forever (Liberty Victory Series #1) by Cat Gardiner (tour wide giveaway)

02_A Moment Forever
In every footlocker, hope chest, and heart full of secrets there is a story waiting to be discovered and told.

In the summer of 1992, a young writer is bequeathed the abandoned home of a great-uncle she never knew. The house has a romantic history and is unlike any home she has ever seen. Juliana Martel felt as though she stepped into a time capsule—a snapshot of 1942. The epic romance—and heartache—of the former occupant unfold through reading his wartime letters found in the attic, compelling her on a quest to construct the man. His life, as well as his sweetheart’s, during the Second World War were as mysterious as his disappearance in 1950.

Carrying her own pain inflicted by the abandonment of her mother and unexpected death of her father, Juliana embarks on a journalist’s dream to find her great-uncle and the woman he once loved. Enlisting the reluctant assistance of a man whose family is closely related to the secrets, she uncovers the carefully hidden events of her great-uncle's and others' lives - and will ultimately change her own with their discovery.

This story of undying love, born amidst the darkest era in modern history, unfolded on the breathtaking Gold Coast of Long Island in 1942. A Jewish, Army Air Forces pilot and an enchanting society debutante—young lovers—deception—and a moment in time that lasted forever.

A Moment Forever is an evocative journey that will resonate with you long after you close the book. Romance, heartache, and the power of love, atonement, and forgiveness transform lives long after the horrors and scars of the Second World War have ended.

Publication Date: May 28, 2016
Vanity & Pride Press
eBook; 600 Pages
Genre: Historical Romance
Add to GR Button




Excerpt

The closed door to the attic appeared innocuous, but like the pleasant personas and expressions many people conveyed, Juliana felt it was a dead giveaway that something terrible hid behind it. She was, after all, an example of that. Her deepest wounds, she believed, were cleverly masked behind her jovial expressions and happy demeanor, but she didn’t realize that the signs were evident in her near anorexic figure.

However, on this late afternoon, she felt open and liberated after surviving the luncheon with her mother. She had bared her inner feelings and animosity then came home to clean the vintage kitchen. Feeling renewed, she went to the grocer around the corner because her white Frigidaire looked as hollow as she had felt these last eleven years. Strangely, she was in the mood to cook a cheeseburger.

From the top of the staircase, Juliana could still hear the record player from the parlor. Melancholy tunes by the Ink Spots and Ella Fitzgerald filled the entire house. She hoped it would carry up into the attic, thinking the soulful music would transport her back to the era and mindset of William when he had last locked the garret.

Yes, it was locked and after an hour of searching the house high and low, she finally found the key inside a small box in one of the dresser drawers. Beside the brass skeleton key sat a gold signet ring with engraving upon the face: propellers and wings surrounded a small diamond at its center. The inscription along the inside of the band read, “With Love, Mom and Dad.”

“Here it goes,” Juliana said before holding her breath and nervously turning the key. She felt on the verge of a full-blown panic attack.

The door creaked like all the others in the house and her heart rate sped up as it had time and again in the course of this home’s unveiling.

Once the door was fully open, she pulled the slender cord hanging against the wall, illuminating the narrow passage by the bare light bulb fixture.

Each step up the steep staircase issued a groan from the hardened planks beneath every footfall of her black Converse sneakers until she stood at the top, fiercely gripping onto the simple banister. She looked around the large, dark room before taking the final step into the unknown, mysterious, and yet-to-be-discovered past of her great-uncle. After working herself up to it for the last two days, Juliana had been expecting something ominous and frightening in the attic, yet instead she felt a sense of peace coupled with sadness. Her thoughts traveled to her father, and her emotions became even more pronounced. Her eyes welled with tears at the morose tranquility the attic emanated.

Essentially, but for a couple of trunks and a few boxes neatly placed upon a shelf, the attic was empty, having lain undisturbed and unfilled since its purchase in December of 1942.

If these walls could talk, they would tell her how William had slid his footlocker under the eave after placing the last of its contents within and how he had waited one full year before doing so. They would tell his grand-niece how he waited until the very last minute to place the newspaper over the windows. Once beige strips of masking tape were now an aged, burnished orange. The empty space staring back at the modern-day interloper represented the very reason for William’s departure.

Although expecting the worst in the attic, she wasn’t prepared for the emptiness. She had imagined cobwebs extending from box to box and odd pieces of furniture and tools that had long outgrown their usefulness. She thought the attic would surely be filled with scary dolls and broken strollers, perhaps a rocking chair or an eerie mirror, maybe even some Dorian Gray-type painting and faded photographs. Expecting an antique cemetery of sorts filled with memories, stories, and voices of the past residents who had once lived at 300 Bradford Road, she was surprised by the vacant space before her.

The startling emptiness of the room confirmed to her that no happy memories had ever been created in this house. The house never became a home, had never filled with children’s laughter or generations of family dating back to its initial construction. No household item ever had the luxury of being used enough to justify its disregard, saving and eventual storing on the third floor. It was clear to Juliana that Primrose Cottage was only a place where William laid his head, not his heart. True life had never infused these walls. The attic led her to believe he had been a bachelor—never married, never had children, never sharing his life, let alone this house, with anyone. The starkness of the attic revealed the loneliness of the man at the time of his departure.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

03_Cat Gardiner
Born and bred in New York City, Cat Gardiner is a girl in love with the romance of an era once known as the Silent Generation, now referred to as the Greatest Generation. A member of the National League of American Pen Women, Romance Writers of America, and Tampa Area Romance Authors, she and her husband adore exploring the 1940s Home Front experience as living historians, wishing for a time machine to transport them back seventy years.

She loves to pull out her vintage frocks and attend U.S.O dances, swing clubs, and re-enactment camps as part of her research, believing that everyone should have an understanding of The 1940s Experience™.

Inspired by those everyday young adults who changed the fate of the world, she writes about them, taking the reader on a romantic journey. Cat’s WWII-era novels always begin in her beloved Big Apple and surround you with the sights and sounds of a generation.

She is also the author of four Jane Austen-inspired contemporary novels, however, her greatest love is writing 20th Century Historical Fiction, WWII-era Romance. A Moment Forever is her debut novel in that genre.

For more information please visit Cat Gardiner's website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

04_A Moment Forever_Book Blast Banner_FINAL


Giveaway

To win an eBook of A Moment Forever by Cat Gardiner please enter using the GLEAM form below. Two eBooks are up for grabs!

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on June 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

A Moment Forever Book Blast