Friday, December 8, 2017

Audio Review: Tides of Honour by Genevieve Graham

A novel of love, loss, and honour amidst the horrors of war and its aftermath.

It’s 1916, and the last thing Nova Scotian soldier Danny Baker expects to find in war-torn France is the love of his life. Audrey Poulin is alone in the world, and struggling to survive the war in the French countryside. When Audrey and Danny meet and fall in love, it seems like the best version of fate.

But love is only the beginning, as Danny loses a leg in the Battle of the Somme, and returns home to Halifax with Audrey, only to discover that he’s unable to leave the war behind. Danny and Audrey struggle with their new life together, and must face not only their own internal demons, but a catastrophe that will soon rip apart everything they think they know about themselves and each other.

Genevieve Graham, author of Under the Same Sky and Sound of the Heart, brings her passion for weaving history and fiction together in a seamless tale that will capture and enthrall the reader.

Paperback, 432 pages
Published April 2015
by Simon & Schuster Canada
Audiobook 12 hours 22 minutes
Reader: Fajer Al-Kaisi
**** 1/2

Last Wednesday marked the 100th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion, which plays central to The Tides of Honour. Having never visited the East coast I know very little of its history and what I do gleam is from my reading, which made me excited to read this one.

I am relatively new to the writings of Genevieve Graham, Promises to Keep opened my eyes to the Acadians and their plight. It also showed me how little I know of this great country's history. With Tides of Honour the trauma of World War I is not just felt in Europe but reaches to Canadian soil as well.  It takes its toll on Private Daniel Baker as he arrives back in Canada with deep physical and mental wounds. As he is adjusting to his new life at home his young bride arrives, though overjoyed it also causes more anxiety.

Now add the explosion and there is a lot to take in, but it works. It works because it’s real, the war is still going strong in 1917 with Canadians playing a part. The characters are authentic, they are flawed, they hurt, they grieve and lash out at those they love. Life isn’t what it used to be nor will it be the same again.

It isn’t often that I come across a story told with a male POV and  it was a refreshing change. There are parts that alternate with Audrey (his bride) but for the majority of the time it was Danny and getting inside his head with its wide range of emotional conflicts.

Tides of Honour is a realistic look at the struggles of war, losing friends, PTSD and new beginnings. It’s an emotional story, drawing on the heartstrings of not just this family but those affected by the explosion, there is a real sense of the devastation that transpired.

Genevieve Graham is a Canadian author who has a love of Canadian history and it shows in her writing.  The amount of research is evident as well as her passion to share this part of our history.

Be sure to check out the her website for a look at her other books.

Though I have a print copy in my personal library I opted for the audio version (via audible). It was great in this format with the reader doing a stellar job.

click on cover to take you to my review

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Spotlight/Giveaway: Fanny Newcomb and the Irish Channel Ripper by Ana Brazil


Publication Date: November 1, 2017
Sand Hill Review Press
Formats: Paperback & eBook
Genre: Fiction/Historical/Mystery

Gilded Age New Orleans is overrun with prostitutes, pornographers, and a malicious Jack the Ripper copycat. As threatening letters to newspaper editors proclaim, no woman is safe from his blade.

Desperate to know who murdered her favorite student, ambitious typewriting teacher Fanny Newcomb launches into a hunt for the self-proclaimed Irish Channel Ripper. Fanny quickly enlists her well-connected employers—Principal Sylvia Giddings and her sister Dr. Olive—to help, and the women forge through saloons, cemeteries, slums, and houses of prostitution in their pursuit. Fanny’s good intentions quickly infuriate her longtime beau Lawrence Decatur, while her reckless persistence confounds the talented police detective Daniel Crenshaw.

 Reluctantly, Lawrence and Daniel also lend their investigative talents to Fanny’s investigation. As the murderer sets a date for his next heinous crime, can Fanny Newcomb and her crew stop the Irish Channel Ripper before he kills again?

Amazon | Barnes and Noble


A native of California, Ana Brazil lived in the south for many years. She earned her MA in American history from Florida State University and traveled her way through Mississippi as an architectural historian. Ana loves fried mullet, Greek Revival colonnades, and Miss Welty’s garden. She has a weakness for almost all things New Orleans. (Although she’s not sure just how it happened…but she favors bluegrass over jazz.) The Fanny Newcomb stories celebrate the tenacity, intelligence, and wisdom of the dozens of courageous and outrageous southern women that Ana is proud to call friends. Although Ana, her husband, and their dog Traveller live in the beautiful Oakland foothills, she is forever drawn to the lush mystique of New Orleans, where Fanny Newcomb and her friends are ever prepared to seek a certain justice.

For more information, please visit Ana Brazil's website and blog.

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

click on banner for more stops on this tour (reviews, interviews and guestposts)


Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a paperback copy of Fanny Newcomb and the Irish Channel Ripper! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

 – Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on December 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
 – Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY. 

 Fanny Newcomb

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Review: The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

Kaine Prescott is no stranger to death. When her husband died two years ago, her pleas for further investigation into his suspicious death fell on deaf ears. In desperate need of a fresh start, Kaine purchases an old house sight unseen in her grandfather's Wisconsin hometown.

But one look at the eerie, abandoned house immediately leaves her questioning her rash decision. And when the house's dark history comes back with a vengeance, Kaine is forced to face the terrifying realization she has nowhere left to hide.

 A century earlier, the house on Foster Hill holds nothing but painful memories for Ivy Thorpe. When an unidentified woman is found dead on the property, Ivy is compelled to discover her identity. Ivy's search leads her into dangerous waters and, even as she works together with a man from her past, can she unravel the mystery before any other lives-- including her own--are lost?

Published November 21st 2017 
by Bethany House Publishers
**** 1/2


The House on Foster Hill is Jamie Jo Wright's debut, I love discovering new authors especially when I get the chance to start with their debut. I loved the premise of this one, spooky old abandoned house, murder of an unidentified woman taking place a century earlier in a town that is tight lipped about the past.

This book made my 'best of 2017' list for a number of reasons. First off I love the mystery, the Gothic elements, creepy family portraits hanging crooked with eyes that follow you, mysterious music playing in this vacant house and it's deadly history. The author kept me wanting to read more with its subtle clues and it wasn’t till near the end where everything fit into place. I think it’s great when an author can create a mystery/suspense book in a way where it isn’t blatantly obvious what is taking place and keeps me guessing.

Now you may have noticed I only gave this book 4 1/2 stars instead of five and that involves the past story line. It wasn’t anything that I can put my finger on but I just felt there was some little thing missing. They were a few times where I didn’t get the feel of the time, but it wasn’t enough to distract me or take away from the plot.

I really like the author's writing style I liked how she wove the story back-and-forth in time smoothly, the ending it was not something I expected at all, very fitting for the time. The way the past and current story lines mesh was perfect.

This is Christian fiction and this book portrayed it perfectly. Maybe it’s just because I can relate but I thought the author displayed both Ivy and Kaine’s grief in a realistic manner,. Each person handles grief differently, the reaction and their feelings toward God is altered,  where some cleave to Him others distance themselves wondering how a loving God could let bad things happen. Both Ivy and Kaine’s struggles played out nicely here not in an overwhelming preachy manner but heartfelt and authentic. There is no set time period for grief and healing and that came out here.

All in all I think Jamie Jo Wright is off to a great start with this book, definitely looking forward to her new book out in June 2018.

Thank you to Bethany House (via Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book).


Sunday, December 3, 2017

Review/Giveaway: There is Always a Tomorrow by Anna Belfrage

There is Always a Tomorrow is the ninth book in Anna Belfrage’s time slip series featuring time traveller Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham. 


It is 1692 and the Colony of Maryland is still adapting to the consequences of Coode’s Rebellion some years previously. Religious tolerance in the colony is now a thing of the past, but safe in their home, Alex and Matthew Graham have no reason to suspect they will become embroiled in the ongoing religious conflicts—until one of their sons betrays their friend Carlos Muñoz to the authorities. 


Matthew Graham does not leave his friends to rot—not even if they’re papist priests—so soon enough most of the Graham family is involved in a rescue attempt, desperate to save Carlos from a sentence that may well kill him. 


Meanwhile, in London little Rachel is going through hell. In a matter of months she loses everything, even her surname, as apparently her father is not Master Cooke but one Jacob Graham. Not that her paternity matters when her entire life implodes. Will Alex and Matthew be able to help their unknown grandchild? More importantly, will Rachel want their help?


Publication Date: November 5, 2017
Timelight Press
eBook & Paperback; ISBN: 9781788039666
Series: Graham Saga, Book #9
Genre: Historical Fiction/Time-Slip

*****


It is always a pleasure reading one of Anna Belfrage’s books. With book 8 (To Catch a Falling Star) in the series I thought that was the last of Matthew and Alex but alas book 9 was published earlier last month. 

Why do I enjoy this series so much? Well, there are many reasons, so in no particular order let’s start with the setting and time period. As a lover of historical fiction I love it when an author takes me back in time, where I can get a good feel of the era with the lifestyle, lay of the land and the political/religious tension in the air. Which is exactly what happened here. Not only am I entertained but educated at the same time, in this case as I was unaware of the religious strife that took place. 

Secondly, Alex and Matthew Graham, though it saddens me to say these are fictional characters, the author has made me care about them, they are an authentic family where life isn’t always kind. 

Thirdly, the author's writing, Anna Belfrage is one of my favourites, it isn’t hard for me to get lost in her books. I sit for a few minutes and then wham, it’s an hour later. 

In There is Always a Tomorrow, the family feels the betrayed by one of their own, they struggle to support friendships, heal over loses and welcome someone who doesn’t reciprocate . There is a lot going on in this book and with a brood of offspring it makes sense, but it isn’t done in an overwhelming way. While most of the story takes place in the US, with 2 sons and granddaughter in England the story weaves back and forth. 

Now the big question, will there be a book 10? While the ending was fitting with no cliffhangers I will admit to that there are a few lose ends that need to be tied up. If my feelings for the Grahams are like this I can assume the author’s is doubly so and she won’t leave things hanging when it comes to the offspring of Matthew and Alex. 

This one can work as a stand alone but I highly recommend starting at the beginning of this series with A Rip in the Veil. 

Thanks to Amy at HFVBT and Anna Belfrage for a copy of this book (which in no way influenced my opinion).

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound




Anna was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result she’s multilingual and most of her reading is historical- both non-fiction and fiction. Possessed of a lively imagination, she has drawers full of potential stories, all of them set in the past.

She was always going to be a writer – or a historian, preferably both. Ideally, Anna aspired to becoming a pioneer time traveller, but science has as yet not advanced to the point of making that possible. Instead she ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for her most favourite pursuit.

Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career Anna raised her four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive…

 For years she combined a challenging career with four children and the odd snatched moment of writing. Nowadays Anna spends most of her spare time at her writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and she slips away into her imaginary world, with her imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in her life pops his head in to ensure she’s still there.

 Other than on her website, www.annabelfrage.com, Anna can mostly be found on her blog, http://annabelfrage.wordpress.com – unless, of course, she is submerged in writing her next novel.

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

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away 2 ebook and 2 paperback copies of There is Always a Tomorrow!

To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.



  There is Always a Tomorrow

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Spotlight/Giveaway: Isabella Unashamed by Helen R. Davis and Carolina Casas


Publication Date: September 7, 2017
Editorial Caliope
eBook & Paperback; 144 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction/Alternate History

Isabella of Castile is known as Europe's first great queen. Renowned for her marriage to Ferdinand of Aragon and birthing of modern day Spain, Isabella is also known as the queen who launched the Inquisition, completed the Reconquista and expelled the Jews from her nation. Not long after her triumph in 1492, her dynasty came apart and unraveled, and it was whispered by many that the Trastamara line was cursed.

But, what if Isabella had been wiser and not expelled the Jews, some of the very people who ironically helped put her on the throne of Castile?

What if Isabella had had more foresight and had her successor be Catalina, who, although the youngest, was the most like her and the wisest of her children?

How would the power balance of 15th and 16th century Europe shifted if Catalina had been the powerful queen regnant of Spain and not one of the 'merry wives' of Windsor?

 A joint effort, Isabella Unashamed is written by two authors from very different cultural backgrounds who have nonetheless joined together to create a haunting portrait of Spain's most famous queen, as well as a glimpse of what might have been had Isabella been wiser.

Available in eBook and Paperback on Amazon


About the Authors

Helen R. Davis is an American author. Her first novel, Evita: My Argentina was previously published as Evita: My Life and republished with Custom Book Publications in Hong Kong. Her second novel, CLEOPATRA UNCONQUERED, which is the first in a series, imagines a world in which Antony and Cleopatra, rather than Augustus Caesar, are the victors of the Battle of Actium. the sequel, CLEOPATRA VICTORIOUS, will be released soon, followed by the titles CLEOPATRA MAGNIFICA and CLEOPATRA TRIUMPHANT.

 Her third novel, or at least, her third historical novel/alternate history, THE MOST HAPPY, will be published with Callipe Editorial, based out of Madrid Spain, on July 25th, 2017.


 For more information, please visit Helen Davis’ website.

You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Carolina Casas has a BA in History and a minor in women's studies. Her debut novel "Isabella Unashamed" was co-written with the author of "Cleopatra Unconquered" & "The Most Happy", Helen R. Davis and it is a powerful alternative historical novel that asks the important question that has been on everyone's mind: what-if? What if Isabella had taken a different route than the one she did following the surrender of Granada at the beginning of 1492. A young woman who enjoys life and giving to others, she is also a self-proclaimed nerd who currently resides in the lone star state of Texas where she spends her free time writing, drawing, reading about her favorite historical subjects and watching classical horror and rom-coms with her friends. Carolina's journey into the realm of alternate history began when she was very little. After a frightful and sleepless night, she was introduced to the legend of King Arthur and his knights through Sir Thomas Mallory's epic "Le Morte d'Arthur" which started her fascination with the medieval period and later with other eras. This, along with her curiosity, has led her to delve into the realm of alternate history.

 Carolina has several pages on Facebook where she works alongside other history buffs and novelists (Tudor Nerds with Glasses and Tudor Facts vs. Fiction), as well as a history blog where she shares her thoughts on movies and TV shows as well.

 You can also find her on Twitter and Goodreads.


Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away an eBook of Isabella Unashamed! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on December 7th. 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.

  Isabella Unashamed

Monday, November 27, 2017

Coming Soon: As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner

As 2017 is closer to turning into 2018 , in the coming weeks I plan on sharing some of the books I am looking forward to reading in the new year.



 From the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life and A Bridge Across the Ocean comes a new novel set in Philadelphia during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, which tells the story of a family reborn through loss and love. 

 In 1918, Philadelphia was a city teeming with promise. Even as its young men went off to fight in the Great War, there were opportunities for a fresh start on its cobblestone streets. Into this bustling town, came Pauline Bright and her husband, filled with hope that they could now give their three daughters—Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa—a chance at a better life.

 But just months after they arrive, the Spanish Flu reaches the shores of America. As the pandemic claims more than twelve thousand victims in their adopted city, they find their lives left with a world that looks nothing like the one they knew. But even as they lose loved ones, they take in a baby orphaned by the disease who becomes their single source of hope. Amidst the tragedy and challenges, they learn what they cannot live without—and what they are willing to do about it.

 As Bright as Heaven is the compelling story of a mother and her daughters who find themselves in a harsh world not of their making, which will either crush their resolve to survive or purify it.

Hardcover, 400 pages 
Expected publication: February 6th 2018 
by Berkley Books

Friday, November 24, 2017

Coming Soon: Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

As 2017 is closer to 2018, in the coming weeks I plan on sharing some of the books I am looking forward to reading in 2018.



After the death of her beloved grandmother, a Cuban-American woman travels to Havana, where she discovers the roots of her identity--and unearths a family secret hidden since the revolution...

Havana, 1958. The daughter of a sugar baron, nineteen-year-old Elisa Perez is part of Cuba's high society, where she is largely sheltered from the country's growing political unrest--until she embarks on a clandestine affair with a passionate revolutionary...

Miami, 2017. Freelance writer Marisol Ferrera grew up hearing romantic stories of Cuba from her late grandmother Elisa, who was forced to flee with her family during the revolution. Elisa's last wish was for Marisol to scatter her ashes in the country of her birth.

Arriving in Havana, Marisol comes face-to-face with the contrast of Cuba's tropical, timeless beauty and its perilous political climate. When more family history comes to light and Marisol finds herself attracted to a man with secrets of his own, she'll need the lessons of her grandmother's past to help her understand the true meaning of courage.

Paperback
 Expected publication: February 6th 2018 
by Penguin/Berkley

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Coming Soon: Phoebe's Light (Nantucket Legacy #1) by Suzanne Woods Fisher

As 2017 is closer to turning into 2018, in the coming weeks I will share some of the books I am looking forward to reading in the new year.


 Phoebe Starbuck has always adjusted her sails and rudder to the whims of her father. Now, for the first time, she's doing what she wants to do: marrying Captain Phineas Foulger and sailing far away from Nantucket. As she leaves on her grand adventure, her father gives her two gifts, both of which Phoebe sees little need for. The first is an old sheepskin journal from Great Mary, her highly revered great-grandmother. The other is a "minder" on the whaling ship in the form of cooper Matthew Mitchell, a man whom she loathes.

Soon Phoebe discovers that life at sea is no easier than life on land. Lonely, seasick, and disillusioned, she turns the pages of Great Mary's journal and finds herself drawn into the life of this noble woman. To Phoebe's shock, her great-grandmother has left a secret behind that carries repercussions for everyone aboard the ship, especially her husband the captain and her shadow the cooper. This story within a story catapults Phoebe into seeing her life in an entirely new way--just in time.

In this brand-new series, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher brings her signature twists and turns to bear on a fascinating new faith community: the Quakers of colonial-era Nantucket Island.

 Paperback, 352 pages
 Expected publication: February 6th 2018 
by Fleming H. Revell Company

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Coming Soon: The Promise Between Us by Barbara Claypole White

As 2017 is closer to 2018, in the coming weeks I will share books I am looking forward to in 2018.


From the bestselling author of The Perfect Son comes a hopeful tale of redemption, renewal, and the promise of love.

 Metal artist Katie Mack is living a lie. Nine years ago she ran away from her family in Raleigh, North Carolina, consumed by the irrational fear that she would harm Maisie, her newborn daughter. Over time she’s come to grips with the mental illness that nearly destroyed her, and now funnels her pain into her art. Despite longing for Maisie, Katie honors an agreement with the husband she left behind—to change her name and never return.

 But when she and Maisie accidentally reunite, Katie can’t ignore the familiarity of her child’s compulsive behavior. Worse, Maisie worries obsessively about bad things happening to her pregnant stepmom. Katie has the power to help, but can she reconnect with the family she abandoned?

 To protect Maisie, Katie must face the fears that drove her from home, accept the possibility of love, and risk exposing her heart-wrenching secret. 

350 pages Paperback
 Expected publication: January 16th 2018 
by Lake Union Publishing

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Coming Soon: In Love and War by Liz Trenow

As 2017 is closer to turning into 2018 in the coming weeks I will be sharing some of the books I am looking forward to reading in 2018


"Three women, once enemies. Their secrets will unite them."

July, 1919. The First World War is over. The war-torn area of Flanders near Ypres is no longer home to trenches or troops, but groups of tourists. Controversial battlefield tourism now drives bus-loads of people to witness first-hand where loved ones fell and died.

At the Hotel de la Paix in the small village of Poperinghe, three women have come to the battlefields to find a trace of men they have loved and lost. Ruby is just 21, a shy Englishwoman looking for the grave of her husband. Alice is only a little older but brimming with confidence; she has travelled all the way from America, convinced her brother is in fact still alive and still in France. Then there’s Martha and her son Otto, who are not all they seem to be…

The three women may have very different backgrounds, but they are united in their search for reconciliation: to reconcile themselves to what the war took from them, but also to what life might still promise for the future…"

 Paperback, 400 pages
 Expected publication: January 25th 2018 
by Pan