Friday, January 23, 2015

3rd Blogaversary!! Giveaway time!



That's right JustOneMoreChapter has been up and about for 3 years now and I would like to say thank you all for your support and encouragement over the years.

What better way to celebrate then with a free book.  Yup that's right, if you live anywhere that The Book Depository delivers to then you got a chance.  On top of that I just got back from a beautiful vacation down south and picked up this lovely bookmark from St. Lucia (one of my very favorite islands, think Pirates and Jack Sparrow = St. Lucia). 


Spread the word, you can enter each day and since I am so close to reaching 200 followers, if that happens before this giveaway ends I will add a 2nd winner (I bought extra bookmarks :)











a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Remember the Lilies by Liz Tolsma


Irene and Rand come from very different walks of life.  Will they find common ground in their fight to survive?

Irene has grown up in the jungle as a missionary with her Aunt Anita, but now she and countless others are imprisoned by Japanese soldiers at the Santo Tomas Internment Camp in the Philippines. Irene and her aunt are safe there, and she keeps busy with her duty of delivering censored messages to the camp's prisoners, but like everyone else, she prays for the war to end and for her freedom.

Rand is a wealthy, womanizing American, whose attempted escape from the internment camp has put himself and others in danger. When Rand and Irene's Aunt Anita meet one another in the hospital, Irene learns more of his story and her heart is determined to save his family.

But the danger outside the walls of the hospital worsens every day, and life in this exotic place is anything but luxurious. Can Irene find Rand's family before they disappear forever? And can a humble missionary woman and an arrogant man find common ground in the face of their biggest fears?

Paperback, 352 pages
Expected publication: February 2015 by Thomas Nelson 
ARC - negalley
*** (I liked it)

The location of Remember the Lilies is what drew me to this book,  I have been reading more these days involving World War II.  This book takes place at an Internment Camp in Manilla just after the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Also I previously read Snow on the Tulips by this author and really enjoyed it.

This book showed how the war affected those rarely written about (at least that I have noticed).  One of the things that stuck me and what I liked was the real and authentic details shown of life at this camp.  The treatment of the prisoners and all that they had to endure. The struggles they faced at the hands of the Japanese, the moral and physical hardships that seemed never ending.

Though I found parts of this story predictable that did not take away from my enjoyment.  However I did struggled a little here some of the characters.  I had a hard time connecting with both Irene and Rand.  Their interaction felt forced and just didn't feel realistic at times.  Maybe a little less dialogue and more emotion, they lacked the depth that I felt was needed.

All in all an entertaining read that will appeal to those interested in WW II and Christian fiction.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The School of Night by Colin Falconer (book tour)

“My name is William Shakespeare. No, not that Shakespeare; and no jests please, I’ve heard them all. I’m the other one, the ne’er do well cousin, the loafer, known to family and friends as the dunce, the one who could not recite Cicero or Horace, who could never be as good as his clever cuz, the one who has just come to Bishopsgate from Stratford with silly dreams in his head and a longing to make something more of himself than just a glover’s handyman.”
 
What he finds in London is Lady Elizabeth Talbot, who is willing to pass a few shillings to this blundering brawler if he will help her find her husband. Poor William does not realize the trail will lead to the truth behind the death of Shakespeare’s great rival, Christopher Marlowe – or to a lifelong love affair with a woman far above his station.

Each book tells the story of William’s adventures as England’s first gumshoe, set against turbulent Elizabethan politics; of his romantic pursuit of the impossible Elizabeth Talbot; while charting the career of his up and coming dramatist cousin, the bard of Stratford, but just Will to his family.

Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Cool Gus Publishing
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Pages: 168 

Series: The William Shakespeare Detective Agency

Genre: Historical Mystery
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****
"As I made my way through the darkening streets, I reflected that I had made a great mistake in coming to this Gomorrah of a city.  It had seemed such a grand adventure when I first thought of it.  Now, I felt as if I had volunteered for the infantry in Hell."
  I've read a couple books by Colin Falconer, Isabella and East India both of which I really enjoyed, they had the historical element I love and were from time periods and locations unfamiliar to me.  When invited to be part of this tour I hestiated somewhat and my reasoning is going to sound strange but basically because of the size of the book.  My experience with anything under 200 pages is that they tend to lack the depth that I enjoy, not just in the plot but the development of the players, it's hard to get to really know them in those few pages.  However because I had experience with the author I signed up.

Before Christmas I downloaded this little gem, read the first few pages and then literally inhaled this book.  In those few pages the author was able to develop Will's character and I got to know and like him quite well.  This was a fun entertaining read, Will was a hoot, I laughed, applauded his gallantry and drive and shook my head at his antics.  The plot played out at nice pace throughout this book. I wasn't really a big fan of Elizabeth Talbot, can't explain exactly why but she just rubbed me the wrong way.


I am not sure how long the series will be, book 2 The Dark Lady has already been released (and loaded on my kindle).



Born in London, Colin first trialed as a professional football player in England, and was eventually brought to Australia. He went to Sydney and worked in TV and radio and freelanced for many of Australia’s leading newspapers and magazines. He has published over twenty novels and his work has so far been translated into 23 languages.

He travels regularly to research his novels and his quest for authenticity has led him to run with the bulls in Pamplona, pursue tornadoes across Oklahoma and black witches across Mexico, go cage shark diving in South Africa and get tear gassed in a riot in La Paz.
He currently lives in Barcelona.

For more information please visit Colin Falconer’s website. You can also find him on Facebook or follow on Twitter.

The School of Night Blog Tour Schedule

Saturday, January 10
Spotlight at Historical Readings and Views
Monday, January 12
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, January 13
Spotlight at Layered Pages
Thursday, January 15
Interview at Teddy Rose Book Reviews
Friday, January 16
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Monday, January 19
Spotlight at Susan Heim on Writing
Tuesday, January 20
Review at Book Nerd
Thursday, January 22
Review at Just One More Chapter
Friday, January 23
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Saturday, January 24
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Obsession
Sunday, January 25
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog
Monday, January 26
Review at Boom Baby Reviews
Wednesday, January 28
Review at Carpe Librum
Thursday, January 29
Interview at Mina’s Bookshelf
Interview at Books and Benches
Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book
Friday, January 30
Review at Brooke Blogs
Friday, February 6
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Blood of the Fifth Knight by E.M. Powell (book tour)

A triumphant sequel to Powell’s acclaimed historical thriller The Fifth Knight. A desperate king trusts a lone knight to unravel a web of murder.

England, 1176. King Henry II has imprisoned his rebellious Queen for her failed attempt to overthrow him. But with her conspirators still at large and a failed assassination attempt on his beautiful mistress, Rosamund Clifford, the King must take action to preserve his reign.
Desperate, Henry turns to the only man he trusts: a man whose skills have saved him once before. Sir Benedict Palmer answers the call, mistakenly believing that his family will remain safe while he attends to his King.

As Palmer races to secure his King’s throne, neither man senses the hand of a brilliant schemer, a mystery figure loyal to Henry’s traitorous Queen who will stop at nothing to see the King defeated.

The Blood of the Fifth Knight is an intricate medieval murder mystery and worthy sequel to E.M. Powell’s acclaimed historical thriller The Fifth Knight.

Publication Date: January 1, 2015
Thomas & Mercer
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Pages: 368p
Genre: Historical Thriller
Add to GR Button
book provided as part of this tour
****
Picking up right where The Fifth Knight ends Henry II has begun his pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral, his public act of penance over his guilt in the murder of Thomas Beckett.  It wasn't hard to get drawn back into this story.  Sir Benedict Palmer and his wife Theodosia's quiet lives are interrupted by order of the king.

So begins another fast paced story that kept this reader entralled.  Even though it has been 10 months since I read The Fifth Knight I was able to get right back into this story.  For those that haven't read the first book you should be okay with this one, but I highly recommend starting at the beginning.

The Blood of the Fifth Knight has all the elements that I love, mystery, suspense, a touch of romance, intrigue rounded out with the historical setting.  Drawing two story lines, Benedict's call from the King and Theodosia's situation at home in his absence, these stories collide to make a satisfying conclusion which had me on the edge of my seat. 

I really liked the way both Benedict and Theodosia are portrayed here, they are both very likeable characters, their relationship is genuine with their commitment to each other and the children real.  There was depth here especially as each faced struggles with the unknown. 

Definitely a must read for fans of this time period and those who like a really good mystery.


Review Praise for The Fifth Knight

“Powell does a masterful job. Highly recommended.” Historical Novels Review

E.M. Powell is the author of medieval thriller THE FIFTH KNIGHT which was a #1 Amazon Bestseller. Born and raised in the Republic of Ireland into the family of Michael Collins (the legendary revolutionary and founder of the Irish Free State) she now lives in the north west of England with her husband and daughter and a Facebook-friendly dog. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society, International Thriller Writers and Romance Writers of America. She is a reviewer of fiction and non-fiction for the HNS.

Find out more by visiting www.empowell.com. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

 

 

 

The Blood of the Fifth Knight Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday, January 1
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Friday, January 2
Spotlight at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Monday, January 5
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog
Thursday, January 8
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Monday, January 12
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Character Interview at Boom Baby Reviews
Tuesday, January 13
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Wednesday, January 14
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Friday, January 16
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Saturday, January 17
Interview at Dianne Ascroft
Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Obsession
Monday, January 19
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Tuesday, January 20
Review at Books and Benches
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More
Wednesday, January 21
Review at Just One More Chapter
Monday, January 26
Spotlight at Susan Heim on Writing
Wednesday, January 28
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook
Friday, January 30
Review at Bookramblings
Saturday, January 31
Spotlight at Caroline Wilson Writes
Sunday, February 1
Review at Carole’s Ramblings
Monday, February 2
Guest Post at The Lit Bitch
Tuesday, February 3
Review at Layered Pages
Spotlight at Let them Read Books
Wednesday, February 4
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Friday, February 6
Review at The Never-Ending Book


Searching for Grace Kelly by Michael Callahan

For a small-town girl with a big dream in 1955, there is no address more glamorous than New York’s Barbizon Hotel. Laura, a patrician beauty from Smith, arrives in its vaunted halls to work at Mademoiselle for the summer. Her hopelessly romantic roommate Dolly comes from a working-class upstate town to attend secretarial school. Vivian, a brash, redheaded British bombshell with a disregard for the hotel’s rules, rounds out the unlikely trio of friends. 

As the summer wears on, Laura struggles to find her footing in the chic but formidable world of Manhattan publishing while Dolly battles her own demons of self-doubt. Vivian longs to sing at the Stork Club instead of just shilling cigarettes there, but finds herself floundering in more ways than one. Together, the girls embark on a journey of self-discovery that will take them from the penthouse salons of Park Avenue to the Beat scene of Greenwich Village to Atlantic City’s Steel Pier — and into the arms of very different men who will alter their lives forever.

Paperback, 288 pages
Expected publication: January 27th 2015 by Mariner Books 
ebook provided via netgalley for honest review
****
I am wondering if I am the only one to request a copy of this book from netgalley believing that it was actually about Grace Kelly.  These days I usually skim over the synopis since I find they sometimes provide just a little too much of the storyline.  Was I disappointed that this book was not about Grace Kelly?  Not in the least, I enjoyed every minute in fact I finished off 80% of it in one day and that is not something that usually happens, I just couldn't help myself.  

Michael Callahan has written a story focusing on three very different young women, each with different backgrounds and all living at the Barbizon Hotel.  The synopsis tells a little of their characters, Laura, Dolly and Vivian are unique, each with a different background, a history and their own reasons for being at the Barbizon.  We don't their full stories right away but are slowly drawn in to get to know them. They were real and had the right amount of depth to make this reader care about what was going on in their lives.

Yes I will admit at times the plot might have been a little predictable but I was enchanted throughout this book.  The 1950's is not a time period that I usually read so I found the life styles, setting and social standards rather intriguing.  The rest of the players in this book, Box, Nicky, Metzger, Pete (just to name a few) rounded the story off nicely.  Definitely an era that I will be on the lookout for.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Book Alert: Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman by Tessa Arlen (book tour)

Lady Montfort has been planning her annual summer costume ball for months, and with scrupulous care. Pulling together the food, flowers and a thousand other details for one of the most significant social occasions of the year is her happily accepted responsibility. But when her husband’s degenerate nephew is found murdered, it’s more than the ball that is ruined. In fact, Lady Montfort fears that the official police enquiry, driven by petty snobbery and class prejudice, is pointing towards her son as a potential suspect.

Taking matters into her own hands, the rather over-imaginative countess enlists the help of her pragmatic housekeeper, Mrs. Jackson, to investigate the case, track down the women that vanished the night of the murder, and clear her son’s name. As the two women search for a runaway housemaid and a headstrong young woman, they unearth the hidden lives of Lady Montfort’s close friends, servants and family and discover the identity of a murderer hiding in plain sight.

In this enchanting debut sure to appeal to fans of Downton Abbey, Tessa Arlen draws readers into a world exclusively enjoyed by the rich, privileged classes and suffered by the men and women who serve them. Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman is an elegant mystery filled with intriguing characters and fascinating descriptions of Edwardian life—a superb treat for those who love British novels.

A Party for Winston, the second book in the series to be released in January 2016.

Publication Date: January 6, 2015
Minotaur Books
Formats: eBook, Hardcover
Genre: Historical Mystery
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Praise for Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman

“Tessa Arlen has a worthy debut with Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman. With a deliciously gruesome murder and an unlikely pair of sleuths, this is a treat for fans of Downton Abbey who will want to devour it with a nice steaming pot of Earl Grey.” —New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn

“In her debut novel, Tessa Arlen weaves an evocative tale of the passions, loyalties and ambitions that divide and unite two classes, upstairs and downstairs, in a stately home. She instantly transports the reader to Edwardian England.”—Christine Trent, author of Stolen Remains

“A dash of noblesse oblige sparkles between the upstairs/downstairs world of Lady Montfort and her housekeeper, Mrs. Jackson, as they work together to unmask the identity of a killer at large on the Montfort’s country estate. As sharp as a Nancy Mitford novel, Tessa Arlen’s sophisticated Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman deserves its place among the Great and the Good of classic mystery.”—Lyndsy Spence, founder of The Mitford Society and author of The Mitford Girls’ Guide to Life.

“Thoroughly enchanting. Arlen’s debut will appeal to fans of Downton Abbey, with its vivid descriptions, firm grip on the intricacies of the time period, and skilled portrayal of the often complicated relationship between upstairs and downstairs.” —Anna Lee Huber, author of the Lady Darby mystery series

 

Buy the Book

Amazon (Kindle)
Amazon (Paperback)
Barnes & Noble (Nook)
Barnes & Noble (Paperback)
Book Depository
Books-a-Million
IndieBound
Kobo

TESSA ARLEN, the daughter of a British diplomat, had lived in or visited her parents in Singapore, Cairo, Berlin, the Persian Gulf, Beijing, Delhi and Warsaw by the time she was sixteen. She came to the U.S. in 1980 and worked as an H.R. recruiter for the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee for the 1984 Olympic Games, where she interviewed her future husband for a job.

DEATH OF A DISHONORABLE GENTLEMAN is Tessa’s first novel. She lives in Bainbridge Island, Washington.

For more information please visit Tessa Arlen’s website. Read Tessa Arlen’s blog at Redoubtable Edwardians. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
Subscribe to Tessa Arlen’s Newsletter.

Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, January 5
Review at Reading the Past
Review at Back Porchervations
Review & Giveaway at Mina’s Bookshelf
Tuesday, January 6
Review & Giveaway at Unshelfish
Review & Giveaway at The Maiden’s Court
Wednesday, January 7
Review & Giveaway at To Read, Or Not to Read
Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book
Thursday, January 8
Review at Buried Under Books
Friday, January 9
Review at Mel’s Shelves
Guest Post on The Writing Desk
Interview at Back Porchervations
Saturday, January 10
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Monday, January 12
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, January 13
Review at Girl Lost in a Book
Spotlight & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Wednesday, January 14
Review & Giveaway at The Book Binder’s Daughter
Thursday, January 15
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Friday, January 16
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter
Monday, January 19
Review at Beth’s Book Book
Tuesday, January 20
Review at The Lit Bitch
Spotlight & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Wednesday, January 21
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More
Thursday, January 22
Review at Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Monday, January 26
Review at A Literary Vacation
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Tuesday, January 27
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict
Wednesday, January 28
Review at A Book Geek
Thursday, January 29
Spotlight at What Is That Book About
Saturday, January 31
Review & Giveaway at The Calico Critic
Monday, February 2
Review at Book Nerd
Tuesday, February 3
Spotlight at I Heart Reading
Thursday, February 5
Review at Layered Pages
Friday, February 6
Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater

First published in 1932, Mr. Popper's Penguins is a classic tale that has enchanted young readers for generations. The ebook edition of Mr. Popper's Penguins includes never-before-seen archival material from the authors' estate and features the original award-winning story of a house painter and lover of the Arctic, who receives a penguin as a gift, turning his simple life into one of adventure and fame.

Mr. Popper, a driven businessman who is clueless when it comes to the important things in life – until he inherits six penguins. Popper’s penguins turn his New York apartment into a snowy winter wonderland – and the rest of his life upside-down.

Richard Tupper Atwater (1892-1948) lived in Chicago and worked as a journalist, often writing humorous pieces for newspapers such as the Chicago Tribune. He wrote two books for children before beginning Mr. Popper's Penguins, a 1939 Newbery Honor Book. Before he could finish the story, however, he became ill. His wife, Florence Hasseltine Atwater (1899-1979) finished the book, helping launch a story that has remained popular for generations.

More about Richard and Florence Atwater from Open Road can be found at: http://www.openroadmedia.com/authors/richard-and-florence-atwater.aspx

Kindle Edition, 139 pages

Published (first published 1938) 
thank you to netgalley for provided me with a copy
**** 

I can't believe that I have never read this book or that I never read it to my kids, depriving them of a fun adventure.

Mr. Popper is a house painter and obsessed with Adminal Drake, an Antarctic explorer.  One thing leads to another with Mr. Popper taking delivery of a penguin whom he names Captain Cook.  The story continues with another arrival this one named Greta and then of course that leads to lots of little penguins.

I found this such a delightful story, it was witty, kinda quirky, cute and this adult enjoyed reading it.  I can't see myself watching the movie because I don't want to take anything away from the imagines I have in my mind of this book (plus I really am not a big Jim Carrey fan either).

I can definitely see myself purchasing this book for the grandkids, maybe with a little stuffed penguin to go with it.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

2014 Year in Review Part 2 - Audio Books

It is no secret that I love audio books, usually averaging one a week.  So in random order here are my favorites of 2014. Out of these 10 books 8 are new to me authors (love that).

Clicking on the cover will take you to Goodreads, the title will take you to my review.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20361602-sewing-can-be-dangerous-and-other-small-threads
Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads by S. R. Malley

My first venture into the world of short stories, really enjoyed this one.






https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17695612-a-jane-austen-daydream?from_search=true
a Jane Austen daydream by Scott D. Southard

Another genre that I don't normally read but think I might be a convert now.







https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20893378-hello-from-the-gillespies?from_search=true
Hello From the Gillespies by Monica McInerney

Oh, My. Goodness!  I loved this one!!!








https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18404248-that-night?from_search=true
That Night by Chevy Stevens

If you are looking for a fast paced, compelling murder mystery look no further this one fits the bill quite nicely.







https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18775292-secrets-of-the-lighthouse?from_search=true
Secrets of the Lighthouse by Santa Montefiore

The authors writing reminds me of Kate Morton, who is a favorite of mine.








https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16058610-whistling-past-the-graveyard?from_search=true
Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandell

 "My daddy says that when you do somethin' to distract you from your worstest fears, it's like whistlin' past the graveyard.  You know, making a racket to keep the scardeness and the ghosts away.  He says that's how we by sometimes.  But it's not weak, like hidin'...it's strong.  It means you're able to go on."




https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18722887-little-mercies?from_search=true
 Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf

What an emotionally ride!

"You have to look for the little mercies, the small kindnesses and good that come from the terrible."





https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/14891.A_Tree_Grows_in_Brooklyn?from_search=true
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

“Dear God," she prayed, "let me be something every minute of every hour of my life.







https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21062.A_Rose_for_the_Crown?from_search=true
A Rose for the Crown by Anne Easter Smith

Sometimes you just need a nice big juicy book and this one fit the bill perfectly.  Loved it!







https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7167984-the-queen-s-lady?from_search=true
 The Queen's Lady by Barbara Kyle

So begins The Thornleigh Series, read by the author herself and did a stellar job. 


Friday, January 9, 2015

Bodo the Apostate by Donald Michael Platt (book tour)

"… in the meantime, a credible report caused all ecclesiastics of the Catholic Church to lament and weep.” Prudentius of Troyes, Annales Bertiniani, anno 839
 
On Ascension Day May 22, 838, Bishop Bodo, chaplain, confessor, and favorite of both his kin, Emperor Louis the Pious, son of Charlemagne, and Empress Judith, caused the greatest scandal of the Carolingian Empire and the 9th century Roman Church.
Bodo, the novel, dramatizes the causes, motivations, and aftermath of Bodo’s astonishing cause célèbre that took place during an age of superstitions, a confused Roman Church, heterodoxies, lingering paganism, broken oaths, rebellions, and dissolution of the Carolingian Empire.

Publication Date: September 29, 2014
Raven’s Wing Books
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction
Add to GR Button
ebook provided as part of this tour
****

One of my favorite aspects of reading HF is discovering those people in history that you never (or very rarely) hear about.  Those that have done something significant but we don't hear or know much about, they are waiting quietly in the wings for someone to write their story.  That is precisely what Donald Michael Platt has done here.

This is a relatively new author to me, I've previously only read one of his books, Close to the Sun which I really enjoyed and why I wanted to be part of this tour for his latest. 

This book is set in a time period that I rarely read as well as taking place in a location that I am unfamiliar with.  Bodo is only 6 years old when this book begins.  The author paints a vivid picture of his life as he grows, through tragedy that befalls him and his sister.  No I am not going to recall everything that takes place here and spoil this book for anyone.  One of the first things that stuck me about this book is the rich details regarding traditions and life style during that era.  With power struggles and dominion by the Catholic church this story stayed true to its time.  It's a story where blood isn't thicker than water, power struggles dominate and religion plays a big role.

The author has shown his interest and respect of this time period with the about of research that was involved here.  I liked Bodo, he was true to himself and his journey was fascinating to read about. 

It's no secret that I love book covers and I think this is fits the book perfectly. 


Author of four other novels, ROCAMORA, HOUSE OF ROCAMORA, A GATHERING OF VULTURES, and CLOSE TO THE SUN, Donald Michael Platt was born and raised in San Francisco. Donald graduated from Lowell High School and received his B.A. in History from the University of California at Berkeley. After two years in the Army, Donald attended graduate school at San Jose State where he won a batch of literary awards in the annual SENATOR PHELAN LITERARY CONTEST.

Donald moved to southern California to begin his professional writing career. He sold to the TV series, MR. NOVAK, ghosted for health food guru, Dan Dale Alexander, and wrote for and with diverse producers, among them as Harry Joe Brown, Sig Schlager, Albert J. Cohen, Al Ruddy plus Paul Stader Sr, Hollywood stuntman and stunt/2nd unit director. While in Hollywood, Donald taught Creative Writing and Advanced Placement European History at Fairfax High School where he was Social Studies Department Chairman.

After living in Florianópolis, Brazil, setting of his horror novel A GATHERING OF VULTURES, pub. 2007 & 2011, he moved to Florida where he wrote as a with: VITAMIN ENRICHED, pub.1999, for Carl DeSantis, founder of Rexall Sundown Vitamins; and THE COUPLE’S DISEASE, Finding a Cure for Your Lost “Love” Life, pub. 2002, for Lawrence S. Hakim, MD, FACS, Head of Sexual Dysfunction Unit at the Cleveland Clinic.

Currently, Donald resides in Winter Haven, Florida where he is polishing a dark novel and preparing to write a sequel to CLOSE TO THE SUN.

For more information please visit Donald Michael Platt’s website. You can also connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

Bodo, the Apostate Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 8
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Tuesday, December 9
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Wednesday, December 10
Review at Back Porchervations
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Friday, December 12
Guest Post at Back Porchervations
Monday, December 15
Spotlight at Boom Baby Reviews
Monday, December 22
Guest Post at Words and Peace
Tuesday, December 23
Review at Book Nerd
Monday, December 29
Review at Next Chapter Book Reviews
Monday, January 5
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Spotlight at The Literary Vacation
Tuesday, January 6
Review at Broken Teepee
Thursday, January 7
Review at A Bibliophile’s Reverie
Friday, January 8
Review at Just One More Chapter
Review at The Never Ending Book

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Why Delphi and Ancient Greece? by Marie Savage (book tour)

I am happy to have author Marie Savage (Oracles of Delphi) join me today for a little guest post.


Why Delphi and Ancient Greece?

When I’m asked why I chose Ancient Greece as the setting for a novel and why I chose to weave both romance and mystery into the book, I often answer with a question of my own: “Have you ever been to Delphi?”

I’ve been lucky enough to visit Delphi on numerous occasions, but it only took one trip for me to become completely captivated by the beauty of the place. Once I’d seen it, once I’d breathed it in and walked up the Sacred Way, I was hooked. I could no more stop my imagination from conjuring up stories of the Pythia, the priests, and the sacred oracle than I could stop breathing. And considering wherever there are people, there will be romance and wherever there is religion and politics mixing together there will be mystery and intrigue, I knew the book would have to have all these elements.

ORACLES OF DELPHI is set in 340 BCE, a time of great change. The glory of Athens and Sparta had faded—even though Athenians and Spartans at the time would hardly have admitted it—and the conquests of Philip of Macedon and his son Alexander loomed large. Socially, it was a time of great upheaval in science and philosophy as new ideas grounded in the human capacity for rational thinking and apprehending the world through the senses rather than reliance on the gods for understanding were gaining adherents. And, given that there were no major wars going on, it was a time of relative peace and so Althaia and her friends could travel easily.

As a woman and the mother of two daughters, I wanted to write a female character firmly rooted in her time and the restrictions she would have to face, but who also showed great spirit and curiosity about the world. Althaia of Athens must live within the constraints of her position—she is married off to a cousin to keep her father’s wealth in the family—and her movement and participation in society is limited. However, she is educated and headstrong and relies on two unconventional men who give her a tremendous amount of leeway to study and travel. Theron, her tutor, and Praxis, her slave, play different roles in her life and I hoped, through their relationships, to show both Althaia’s vulnerability and her determination. With the introduction of Nikos, her love interest, I wanted to explore how Althaia might view the competing interests of honoring her husband and giving into love and desire.

In setting up the conflict between the priests of Apollon and the priestesses of Gaia, I took great liberties with myth and history—it is historical fiction, after all. I’ve always been fascinated with the history of religion and have read a great deal about the early foundations of what we know today as mere myths. Some scholars have speculated about a time period in which female “mother earth” goddess cults rooted in fertility and nature motifs were gradually replaced by male sky and warrior gods who laid down the law and ruled with the fearsome power of thunder and lightning. Delphi, to me, seemed like the perfect place to illustrate this transition as the foundational myth says that the site was originally sacred to Gaia who was the mother of all, including the Titans and, hence, great grandmother of Apollon who was the son of Zeus and grandson of Kronos, one of the Titans. Gaia’s oracle at Delphi was guarded by a serpent which was associated with the Korycian Cave—symbolic of the womb of the earth.  Eventually, Apollon came along and slew the serpent and claimed the oracle as his own. This coin illustrates the myth as the tripod of the Pythia is between Apollon and the serpent: http://www.odysseyadventures.ca/articles/delphi/001.coinCroton.jpg


In ORACLES OF DELPHI, I imagined that the priestesses of Gaia did not give up so easily and that a remnant of worshippers remained in Delphi claiming the oracle as their own. Two competing claims to the power and fame, not to mention wealth, of the oracle seemed to be the perfect set-up for murder.

We know today, however, that even Apollon’s power was eventually supplanted in Delphi and a new god came to be worshipped throughout Greece. Besides the rise of Christianity and the rise of rationalism, Delphi suffered from another problem—it seems the Pythia just couldn’t get high enough to channel the god anymore. Modern scientists speculate that seismological changes—Delphi sits on two fault lines that intersect almost directly under the temple—reduced flow or elimination of the narcotic, trance-inducing gas issuing from the bedrock. The historian Plutarch (c. 46-120 AD), who served as the senior of the two priests of Apollon in Delphi, described the smell of the sacred pneuma as sweet and speculated that the weakening influence of the oracle in his time was caused by the pneuma’s sporadic and weak emissions. (For more on the geology of Delphi, visit http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/ancient-cultures/daily-life-and-practice/the-oracle-of-delphi%E2%80%94was-she-reallystoned/ or read The Oracle: Ancient Delphi and the Science Behind Its Lost Secrets by William J. Broad.)

Finally, in 393 AD, when Roman emperor Julian the Apostate tried to revive elements of classical Greek culture, he consulted Delphi’s famed oracle and in response, the last Pythia issued this statement:

Tell the King:
The fair wrought house has fallen.
No shelter has Apollon,
nor sacred laurel leaves;
The fountains are now silent;
the voice is stilled.
It is finished.

In the book, in 340 BCE, I imagine the earlier period when Gaia’s priestesses finally give way to Apollon and, after Althaia and her friends solve the murder, the Pythia of Gaia issues her own final statement:

Tell the People
Our Mother Earth has spoken.
Gaia’s oracle is broken.
Apollon’s hundred arrows
Silenced her sacred servant.
Now, in one or one thousand years,
His fair wrought house will fall
And a god reborn shall reign.

I hope readers of mystery, romance, and myth enjoy ORACLES OF DELPHI and thank you for hosting me!

Marie Savage is the pen name of Kristina Marie Blank Makansi who always wanted to be a Savage (her grandmother’s maiden name) rather than a Blank. She is co-founder and publisher of Blank Slate Press, an award-winning small press in St. Louis, and founder of Treehouse Author Services. Books she has published and/or edited have been recognized by the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY), the Beverly Hills Book Awards, the David J. Langum, Sr. Prize in American Historical Fiction, the British Kitchie awards, and others. She serves on the board of the Missouri Center for the Book and the Missouri Writers Guild. Along with her two daughters, she has authored The Sowing and The Reaping (Oct. 2014), the first two books of a young adult, science fiction trilogy. Oracles of Delphi, is her first solo novel.

For more information visit Kristina Makansi’s website and the Blank Slate Press website. You can also follow Krisina Makansi and Blank Slate Press on Twitter.

Oracles of Delphi Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 8
Review at The Mad Reviewer
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading
Tuesday, December 9
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Wednesday, December 10
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Thursday, December 11
Interview at The Maiden’s Court
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More
Monday, December 15
Review at Book Nerd
Tuesday, December 16
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Thursday, December 18
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter
Monday, December 22
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Tuesday, December 23
Review at Book Babe
Tuesday, December 30
Guest Post & Giveaway at The Book Binder’s Daughter
Thursday, January 1
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Friday, January 2
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Monday, January 5
Review at A Bookish Affair
Tuesday, January 6
Review at Book Drunkard
Wednesday, January 7
Review at bookramblings
Review & Giveaway at Brooke Blogs
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Friday, January 9
Review at Book Dilettante