Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Review & Giveaway: East India by Colin Falconer (Book Tour)

In any other circumstance but shipwreck, rape and murder, a man like Michiel van Texel would never have met a fine lady such as Cornelia Noorstrandt.

He was just a soldier, a sergeant in the Dutch East India company’s army, on his way from Amsterdam to the Indies to fight the Mataram. Such a woman was far above the likes of him.

But both their destinies intertwine far away from Holland, on some god-forsaken islands near the Great Southland. When their great ship, the Utrecht, founders far from home, surviving the Houtman Rocks is the least of their worries.

As they battle to survive and the bravest and the best reveal themselves for what they are, Cornelia’s only hope is a mercenary in a torn coat who shows her that a man is more than just manners and money.

He makes her one promise: ‘Even if God forsakes you, I will find you.’
But can he keep it?

Described by one critic as ‘Jack and Rose in the seventeenth century’, East India will keep you wondering until the final page.

Publication Date: July 8, 2014
Cool Gus Publishing
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction
East India by

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All you wanted, sometimes, was someone to believe in.
 Colin Falconer is fast becoming a favorite of mine.  Isabella: Braveheart was what introduced me to Colin Falconer.

The first chapter is enough to grab ones attention, as it takes place in present day, then jumps back to 1629 where the story unfolds.  I have never heard of the shipwreck of the Utrecht which took place off the coast of Australia.  But as soon as I was finished reading I googled what I could to learn more.

Here is a story of total depravity and inhumanity that I could not turn away from.  Rich in detail that had me totally engrossed in this story.  The author has a definite talent for writing scenes that were authentic but not over the top.  I got the picture loud and clear about this wreck.

I will not go into details about the chain of events that lead to this disaster.  But I was say that this is a story of greed, jealousy, lust, murder and total lack of compassion for others (amongst other things too).  There is l a light that does shine with Michiel van Ttexel and his feelings for Cornelia Noorstrandt.  How to find the strength  to carry on when so much is going on around you. 

Written with feeling, compassion and well researched this book will appeal to lovers of nautical books, historical fiction and those that just want a really good book to read.

Still, he had learned in battle that you never knew when things would turn; you think it's all over for you, then something turns up to save your skin.  You had to keep going, that was the mark of a man's strength.

Buy the Book

Barnes & Noble (Nook)
Google Play
 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.

East India Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, July 28
Review at History & Women
Tuesday, July 29
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Wednesday, July 30
Review at Just One More Chapter
Tuesday, August 5
Review at Book Nerd
Thursday, August 7
Review at Bibliotica
Monday, August 11
Review at A Library of My Own
Friday, August 15
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Monday, August 18
Review at The Book Binder’s Daughter
Thursday, August 21
Review at Beth’s Book Reviews
Monday, August 25
Review at Casual Readers
Saturday, August 30
Review at Book by Book
Wednesday, September 3
Review at Unshelfish

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Review & Giveaway: Lies Told in Silence by M.K. Tod (Blog Tour)

In 1914 Paris half the city expects war while the other half scoffs at the possibility.

With knowledge gained from his role at the War Department, Henri Noisette fears that Germany may soon attack Paris. He therefore sends his wife, mother and two younger children to Beaufort, a small village in northern France. By late 1914, instead of a safe haven, Beaufort is less than twenty miles from the front.

As war unfolds, Henri’s daughter, Helene, grows up quickly and in 1917 falls in love with Edward Jamieson, a young Canadian soldier.

The novel examines love and loss, duty and sacrifice and the unexpected consequence of lies.

 Publication Date: June 29, 2014
Tod Publishing
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction
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"No, she thought, war is for history books, not for us to experience firsthand.  It's for faraway places known only on maps."

This is my first book by M.K. Tod, Unravelled is her first but in no way do you have to read it before this one )because I didn't).  But if you are like me you'll automatically want to read, mine is already loaded on my kindle ready to go.

Taking another look at World War I, through the eyes of a young girl.  The raw and personal affect his war had on the citizens of France, especially the Noisette family, is played out in these 353 pages.  There are no wasted words or filler pages here. Though mainly focusing on the daughter Helene, the author has painted a real picture about how this war has transformed the lives of family, friends and neighbors.  As the title indicates there are lies here, deceit, scandal as well as relational issues within the family, all things that make a great read.

I really like Mary Tod's writing style.  There is no beating around the bush, she tells it like it is (or was) that had me not just feeling this story but visualizing it also. Her research is cleanly shown here in this book. Definitely an author I will be reading more of.  This book will appeal to those that like reading about WW I, especially taking place in France or that just like a good HF read.

It is the things you choose or the things you don't 
choose that make your life.

Praise for Lies Told in Silence

‘Dramatically depicts the horror and heartbreak of war, while also celebrating the resilience of the human spirit.’ – SHARON KAY PENMAN author of A King’s Ransom
‘An intricate, well-researched novel of life forever changed by WWI yet still sweet with the tender innocence of the age.’ – DONNA RUSSO MORIN author of The King’s Agent
‘M.K. Tod is a powerful new voice in the historical fiction genre.’ – AMY BRUNO Historical fiction blogger at Passages to the Past
‘An absorbing and rewarding historical read .. depicting the ruinous impact of war on human lives across the generations.’ – MARGARET EVANS PORTER author of The Proposal
‘A compelling read right up to its taut page-turning ending.’ – RICHARD LEE founder of the Historical Novel Society


Buy the Book

Amazon US
Amazon UK

M.K. Tod has enjoyed a passion for historical novels that began in her early teenage years immersed in the stories of Rosemary Sutcliff, Jean Plaidy and Georgette Heyer. During her twenties, armed with Mathematics and Computer Science degrees, she embarked on a career in technology and consulting continuing to read historical fiction in the tiny snippets of time available to working women with children to raise.

In 2004, she moved to Hong Kong with her husband and no job. To keep busy Mary decided to research her grandfather’s part in the Great War. What began as an effort to understand her grandparents’ lives blossomed into a full time occupation as a writer. Her debut novel is UNRAVELLED: Two wars, Two affairs. One Marriage. LIES TOLD IN SILENCE, her second novel, is set in WWI France and tells the story of Helene Noisette who featured in Unravelled.

Mary has an active blog – – which discusses all aspects of historical fiction and includes author and reader interviews. Additionally, she is a book reviewer for the Historical Novel Society. Mary lives in Toronto where she is happily married with two adult children.

Connect with M.K. Tod on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Lies Told in Silence Blog Tour & Book Blast Schedule

Monday, July 28
Review at Unshelfish
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Book Blast at Our Wolves Den
Tuesday, July 29
Review at Just One More Chapter
Book Blast at Book Babe
Book Blast at A Book Geek
Book Blast at Mel’s Shelves

Wednesday, July 30
Review at Bookish
Book Blast at Passages to the Past

Thursday, July 31
Book Blast at Royalty Free Fiction
Friday, August 1
Book Blast at Back Porchervations
Book Blast at So Many Books, So Little Time
Saturday, August 2
Book Blast at Mythical Books
Monday, August 4
Review & Guest Post at A Bookish Affair
Book Blast at Historical Tapestry
Tuesday, August 5
Book Blast at Layered Pages
Book Blast at Princess of Eboli
Book Blast at What Is That Book About
Wednesday, August 6
Book Blast at Literary Chanteuse
Book Blast at Caroline Wilson Writes
Thursday, August 7
Review at The Book Binder’s Daughter
Book Blast at Kinx’s Book Nook
Friday, August 8
Book Blast at The Maiden’s Court
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter
Monday, August 11
Review at Dianne Ascroft Blog
Book Blast at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Tuesday, August 12
Book Blast at Book Nerd
Book Blast at The Bookworm
Wednesday, August 13
Review at The Writing Desk
Thursday, August 14
Book Blast at Words and Peace
Book Blast at CelticLady’s Reviews
Friday, August 15
Review at Lost in Books
Book Blast at The Mad Reviewer
Sunday, August 17
Book Blast at Brooke Blogs
Monday, August 18
Review at The Librarian Fatale
Review at Historical Fiction Notebook


To win a copy of M.K. Tod's Lies Told In Silence please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open internationally!
Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on August 18th. You must be 18 or older to enter. Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on August 19th and notified via email. Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
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Friday, July 25, 2014

Giveaway: The Pleasure Palace (Secrets of the Tudor Court) by Kate Emerson

Time for another giveaway.  I've got a copy of the first book in the Secrets of the Tudor Court Series by Kate Emerson, The Pleasure Palace.

Open worldwide (but if winner is outside of Canada/US it will be mailed surface, so might take an extra week or two to arrive).
   Beautiful. Seductive. Innocent. Jane Popyncourt was brought to the court as a child to be ward of the king and a companion to his daughters -- the princesses Margaret and Mary. With no money of her own, Jane could not hope for a powerful marriage, or perhaps even marriage at all. But as she grows into a lovely young woman, she still receives flattering attention from the virile young men flocking to serve the handsome new king, Henry VIII, who has recently married Catherine of Aragon. Then a dashing French prisoner of war, cousin to the king of France, is brought to London, and Jane finds she cannot help giving some of her heart -- and more -- to a man she can never marry. But the Tudor court is filled with dangers as well as seductions, and there are mysteries surrounding Jane's birth that have made her deadly enemies. Can she cultivate her beauty and her amorous wiles to guide her along a perilous path and bring her at last to happiness? Basing her gripping tale on the life of the real Jane Popyncourt, gifted author Kate Emerson brings the Tudor monarchs, their family, and their courtiers to brilliant life in this vibrant new novel.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Oct. 11th, 1943-A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it's barely begun.

When "Verity" is arrested by the Gestapo, she's sure she doesn't stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she's living a spy's worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage, failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

A Michael L. Printz Award Honor book that was called "a fiendishly-plotted mind game of a novel" in The New York Times, Code Name Verity is a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other.

Paperback, 447 pages
Published February 6th 2012 by Egmont Press
my copy provided by netgalley for a honest review
There was so much hype about this book before it was even released, so much so that I was a little hesitant to read it.  Would my expectations be too high? Would I lose the enjoyment of reading this?  I am happy to report that this book is just as wonderful as it's ratings show.
“Don't know how I kept going. You just do. You have to, so you do.”
Verity is a young English pilot that has been captured by the Nazis.  Forced to write out her secrets she  writes out something that is poetic at times.  It is imaginative, at times comical and it had me totally mesmerized.  She has been tortured by the Nazi, but she isn't stupid and fears what the outcome most likely will be.  Through her writings it wasn't hard for that bond to form and to really get to know her.

Then it switches to Maddie's point of view and the friendship continues. Again  the connection is stronger now, with serious fears of the outcome.  Elizabeth Wein's writing style was real and felt genuine. Her knowledge of events and the time period were spot on.

This book was so well written, it wasn't hard to sit, with plans on reading just one chapter only to discover I had read way more. Definitely recommend this book to those that like World War II stories, YA and anyone who genuinely just wants to read a good book.

“It's like being in love, discovering your best friend.”

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Close to the Sun by Donald Michael Platt

Close to the Sun follows the lives of fighter pilots during the Second World War. As a boy, Hank Milroy from Wyoming idealized the gallant exploits of WWI fighter aces. Karl, F├╝rst von Pfalz-Teuffelreich, aspires to surpass his father’s 49 Luftsiegen. Seth Braham falls in love with flying during an air show at San Francisco’s Chrissy Field.
The young men encounter friends, rivals, and exceptional women. Braxton Mobley, the hotshot, wants to outscore every man in the air force. Texas tomboy Catherine “Winty” McCabe is as good a flyer as any man. Princess Maria-Xenia, a stateless White Russian, works for the Abwehr, German Intelligence. Elfriede Wohlman is a frontline nurse with a dangerous secret. Miriam Keramopoulos is the girl from Brooklyn with a voice that will take her places.
Once the United States enter the war, Hank, Brax, and Seth experience the exhilaration of aerial combat and acedom during the unromantic reality of combat losses, tedious bomber escort, strafing runs, and the firebombing of entire cities. As one of the hated aristocrats, Karl is in as much danger from Nazis as he is from enemy fighter pilots, as he and his colleagues desperately try to stem the overwhelming tide as the war turns against Germany. Callous political decisions, disastrous mistakes, and horrific atrocities they witness at the end of WWII put a dark spin on all their dreams of glory.

Publication Date: June 15, 2014
Fireship Press
eBook; 404p
Genre: Historical Fiction

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When I was asked to read this book I jumped at the chance.  It's about pilots!  What's the big deal about pilots you ask?  My husband has his private pilots license and son #3 is working on his.  The early part of our marriage involved me learning about Messerschmitt's, Mosquito's, Mustang's and other fighters.  So reading this book was a wonderful relearning experience.

Lately I've been reading so many books about WW II, this book was a nice change given that it was from on high, the pilots point of view.  Having never gotten a glimpse from that angle it was very interesting to watch Karl, Hank and Seth train and work towards their goals with such passion and commitment.  Taking place during the course of the war there is much going on, not just the air to air combat, but political situations and more. Of course this book wouldn't be complete without women and a little romance.  Winty (tomboy, pilot also), Miriam (singer), Elfi (nurse) and Mariya-Xenia round this book pleasingly with their authentic story lines.

There is no doubt that the author has done a remarkable job with research, it shows.  The story line was real and matched the time period perfectly.  Definitely an author I will read more of.

This book will appeal to those that enjoy WW II from a unique POV.

Blogger Praise for Close to the Sun

“Donald Michael Platt’s Close to the Sun is an amazing story told from the perspective of average male fighter pilots in the onset and during WWII, juxtaposing between various men from many sides of the war. The details in this novel were spectacular, creating imagery and depth in the scenes and characters, as well as the dialogue being so nostalgic and well-written it felt right out of a 1950’s film. The romantic nuances of his storytelling felt incredibly authentic with the tug and pull of the men being called to serve and the women whom they loved who had their own high hopes, dreams, or work. I loved how he portrayed this women the most—strongly and fiercely independent. I’ve read several other books by Platt, and this is the best one I’ve read yet! I couldn’t stop reading. ” – Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi, Hook of a Book

“Donald Platt’s Close To The Sun, is nothing short of Historical Fiction gold. Platt’s flair for emotionally provocative storytelling makes this book attractive to both male and female readers. Seamlessly weaving the threads of action and feeling into a brilliant tableau of humanity. This is a masterfully penned tale of war, ambition, love, loss, and ACES!” – Frishawn Rasheed, WTF Are You Reading?

“Fast-paced and riveting I couldn’t get enough of Hank, Karl and Seth’s exploits! CLOSE TO THE SUN is a thrilling novel that leads readers through idyllic dreams of heroism and the grim reality of war. Platt provides readers with a unique coming-of-age story as three adventure-seeking boys discover far more than how to be an aerial combat pilot. CLOSE TO THE SUN is an amazing tale of adventure, heroism, war and the drive within us all that keeps us going when things look bleak.” – Ashley LaMar, Closed the Cover

“I found Close to the Sun to be an entertaining read, it was well written, with well developed characters, these characters had depth and emotion. A unique plot, told from the point of view of pilots prior to and during World War II. It was a well researched and interesting book” – Margaret Cook, Just One More Chapter

Buy the Book

Barnes & Noble

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 Florian├│polis, 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.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall

The summer of 1963 begins like any other for nine-year-old Starla Claudelle. Born to teenage parents in Mississippi, Starla is being raised by a strict paternal grandmother, Mamie, whose worst fear is that Starla will turn out like her mother. Starla hasn’t seen her momma since she was three, but is convinced that her mother will keep her promise to take Starla and her daddy to Nashville, where her mother hopes to become a famous singer—and that one day her family will be whole and perfect.

When Starla is grounded on the Fourth of July, she sneaks out to see the parade. After getting caught, Starla’s fear that Mamie will make good on her threats and send her to reform school cause her to panic and run away from home. Once out in the country, Starla is offered a ride by a black woman, Eula, who is traveling with a white baby. She happily accepts a ride, with the ultimate goal of reaching her mother in Nashville.

As the two unlikely companions make their long and sometimes dangerous journey, Starla’s eyes are opened to the harsh realities of 1963 southern segregation. Through talks with Eula, reconnecting with her parents, and encountering a series of surprising misadventures, Starla learns to let go of long-held dreams and realizes family is forged from those who will sacrifice all for you, no matter if bound by blood or by the heart.

Hardcover, 307 pages
Published July 2nd 2013 by Gallery Books (first published June 1st 2013)

my copy provided by netgalley for a honest review
 "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''s strong.  It means you're able to go on."

What a wonderful coming of age book!  It's 1963 in Mississippi, the realness of segregation is an eye opening experience for 9 year old Starla.  She is spunky, stubborn, she acts before she thinks and it was a delight to get to know her. (she reminded me a little of Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird)  There isn't a lot that she wants from life, except her mother and to be loved.

Eula has her own issues also.  The pair begin a journey which gets them into a number of tricky situations.

There is a lot going on in this book.  Relationships mostly take center stage here, whether between grandmother/granddaughter - it's rocky at best and both are at their wits end.  There is father/daughter - with dad working on an oil rig far away, how can there even be a relationship at all?  Then mother/daughter - does Starla find her mother and get the love she so craves?  Well you'll have to read the book for that answer. 

This is my first book by Susan Crandall, she has a wonderful way with words.  Her descriptions were authentic, she brought the emotions and feelings of racial tension to life.   This book will appeal to fans to To Kill a Mockingbird also to those that like coming of age books.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Mist of Midnight by Sandra Byrd

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill  at  Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.   

   This week I am waiting for:
Mist of Midnight (Daughters of Hampshire, #1)

Paperback, 352 pages
Expected publication: March 10th 2015 by Howard Books (first published January 1st 2015)
In the first of a brand new series set in Victorian England, a young woman returns home from India after the death of her family to discover her identity and inheritance are challenged by the man who holds her future in his hands.

Rebecca Ravenshaw, daughter of missionaries, spent most of her life in India. Following the death of her family in the Indian Mutiny, Rebecca returns to claim her family estate in Hampshire, England. Upon her return, people are surprised to see her… and highly suspicious. Less than a year earlier, an imposter had arrived with an Indian servant and assumed not only Rebecca’s name, but her home and incomes.

That pretender died within months of her arrival; the servant fled to London as the young woman was hastily buried at midnight. The locals believe that perhaps she, Rebecca, is the real imposter. Her home and her father’s investments reverted to a distant relative, the darkly charming Captain Luke Whitfield, who quickly took over. Against her best intentions, Rebecca begins to fall in love with Luke, but she is forced to question his motives–does he love her or does he just want Headbourne House? If Luke is simply after the property, as everyone suspects, would she suffer a similar fate as the first “Rebecca”?

A captivating Gothic love story set against a backdrop of intrigue and danger, Mist of Midnight will leave you breathless.
What are you waiting for? 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf

In her latest ripped-from-the-headlines tour de force, New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf shows how one small mistake can have life-altering consequences...

Veteran social worker Ellen Moore has seen the worst side of humanity; the vilest acts one person can commit against another. She is a fiercely dedicated children's advocate and a devoted mother and wife. But one blistering summer day, a simple moment of distraction will have repercussions that Ellen could never have imagined, threatening to shatter everything she holds dear, and trapping her between the gears of the system she works for.

Meanwhile, ten-year-old Jenny Briard has been living with her well-meaning but irresponsible father since her mother left them, sleeping on friends' couches and moving in and out of cheap motels. When Jenny suddenly finds herself on her own, she is forced to survive with nothing but a few dollars and her street smarts. The last thing she wants is a social worker, but when Ellen's and Jenny's lives collide, little do they know just how much they can help one another.

A powerful and emotionally charged tale about motherhood and justice, Little Mercies is a searing portrait of the tenuous grasp we have on the things we love the most, and of the ties that unexpectedly bring us together.

Paperback, 320 pages

Published June 24th 2014 by Harlequin MIRA (first published January 1st 2014) 
 my copy provided by netgalley for a honest review
I read the novella called Little Lies in which I was introduced to social worker Ellen Moore.  When Little Mercies became available on Netgalley I jumped at the chance, not even reading the synopsis because anything by Heather Gudenkauf is automatically part of my TBR pile.  So beginning this book, without any preconceived ideas was enjoyable, my mind was totally open as to where this journey would take me.  It wasn't long before I had that moment, you know the one, your mouth kinda hangs open, you're rather stunned because ya didn't see that coming, so you sit still and think did that really happen?  And maybe go back and read those couple of paragraphs over again.  Well guess what?  It did happen and boy I was sucked in to this book big time.  

It was an emotional storyline for me, one of the things that I really like about this author is her writing style, she created a world that is so real and raw.  I read a large part of this book in one day and had to give myself a couple hours rest before completing the journey.  This was also one of those books that had me waiting a day or so after I finished before I could start a new book.  
It wasn't just Ellen's life but Jenny's also, waiting to see how they were set to collide, wondering what the outcome (and purpose) would be.  There was a lot going one, but not in an overwhelming way.  The author created characters that were human and authentic along with a very believable story.  Parent and child relationships, wife and husband, siblings and complete strangers made this such a great story.
If it was the authors intent to tug at her readers heart strings, she definitely did that to this reader.
"You have to look for the little mercies, the small kindnesses and good that come from the terrible."

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Lady of the Eternal City by Kate Quinn

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill  at  Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.   

   This week I am waiting for:

 I wasn't sure what to post this week, but today when this cover was revealed I had my answer.  If you haven't started this wonderful series now is the time, I am offering a giveaway for the first book, in this series.  Mistress of Rome, just click on the link (ends soon).

  Expected publication: March 2015 by Berkley Trade 

National bestselling author Kate Quinn returns with the long-awaited fourth volume in the Empress of Rome series, an unforgettable new tale of the politics, power, and passion that defined ancient Rome.

Elegant, secretive Sabina may be Empress of Rome, but she still stands poised on a knife’s edge. She must keep the peace between two deadly enemies: her husband Hadrian, Rome’s brilliant and sinister Emperor; and battered warrior Vix, who is her first love. But Sabina is guardian of a deadly secret: Vix’s beautiful son Antinous has become the Emperor’s latest obsession.

Empress and Emperor, father and son will spin in a deadly dance of passion, betrayal, conspiracy, and war. As tragedy sends Hadrian spiraling into madness, Vix and Sabina form a last desperate pact to save the Empire. But ultimately, the fate of Rome lies with an untried girl, a spirited redhead who may just be the next Lady of the Eternal City . . .

What are you waiting for?

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Giveaway: Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn (open worldwide)

Kate Quinn is one of my favorite authors.  I love her Empress of Rome Series and am offering a gently used copy of book one, Mistress of Rome, to one lucky reader.

An exciting debut: a vivid, richly imagined saga of ancient Rome from a masterful new voice in historical fiction

Thea is a slave girl from Judaea, passionate, musical, and guarded. Purchased as a toy for the spiteful heiress Lepida Pollia, Thea will become her mistress's rival for the love of Arius the Barbarian, Rome's newest and most savage gladiator. His love brings Thea the first happiness of her life-that is quickly ended when a jealous Lepida tears them apart.

As Lepida goes on to wreak havoc in the life of a new husband and his family, Thea remakes herself as a polished singer for Rome's aristocrats. Unwittingly, she attracts another admirer in the charismatic Emperor of Rome. But Domitian's games have a darker side, and Thea finds herself fighting for both soul and sanity. Many have tried to destroy the Emperor: a vengeful gladiator, an upright senator, a tormented soldier, a Vestal Virgin. But in the end, the life of the brilliant and paranoid Domitian lies in the hands of one woman: the Emperor's mistress.

 Paperback, 470 pages

 Published April 6th 2010 by Berkley Trade (first published 2010) 

giveaway is open worldwide, winner will have 48 hours to respond to email with mailing address 
otherwise new winner will be choosen
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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

How Angels Die by David-Michael Harding

In the darkest days of World War II, when France found itself at the mercy of a brutal dictator, the front-lines of resistance may just have been in the grasp of a few good women.

How Angels Die, the epic work of historical fiction by author David-Michael Harding, delivers a highly inventive and uncommon take on the French Resistance that is certain to appeal to anyone who relishes a blood-pumping drama, which also sheds searing new light on the astounding bravery, profound passion, and razor-sharp cunning of the fairer sex during the most trying times. In four fateful days, two remarkable sisters, Monique and Claire McCleash, battle the German occupation of their coastal French town in the early days of June 1944. While their mission is the same, their methods of upending the occupation are irreconcilably at odds. The strikingly beautiful Monique puts her body and wit to work for the Resistance by dating and sleeping with German officers; her younger sister Claire elects instead to serve as an active combat guerrilla fighter for the cause.

Brimming with high drama that is punctuated by family humor, How Angels Die lifts the veil on a lesser-known side of the French Resistance. Through the prism of two intrepid women, the novel illuminates how these women employ their formidable assets and fierce love of country to face down a vicious enemy. With page-turning action, unstoppable passion, and historical accuracy, this heart-racing novel is a must-read for sisters, history buffs, and action enthusiasts alike.

Paperback, 420 pages
Published December 20th 2011 by Q&CY BOOKS 
(my copy provided by author for an honest review)

 After reading the synopsis above it is hard to add much about the book without giving too much information away.  Again I was back in France during World War II, this book takes place over a 4 day period and what an intense 4 days that was. 

This was an emotional book!  Two sisters, each part of the French Resistance, but with very different roles.  Sean & Estelle are the parents, this is a family divided by the distinct roles they each play.  This book isn't just about the war, it's also about trust, commitment, feelings, loyalty, revenge, family dynamics, romance and so much more. But it also isn't just about Claire and Monique, there is Paul and Valerie, Sophie and even Claudine each dealing with their own private pain.

There is a large cast of characters here, each showing the effects that this war had on them.  Yea it is violent at times, but it was a violent war.  I don't really know my French history that well and can't say if there was actually a French Resistance Group, but the author has written a very original story that was not just emotional but a believable and vivd look at German occupied France.  He painted pictures with his words that were authentic and shows his knowledge of the time period.

It started out a little slow for me, but at the 20% mark (on my kindle) it became 'unputdownable'.  I have no finger nails left and even resorted to drinking strong coffee at 9pm just so I would be able to stay up late.

A big thank you to the author for connecting with me and providing a copy of this book.  Most definitely will be reading more by David-Michael Harding.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill  at  Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.   

   This week I am waiting for:

Hardcover, 400 pages
Expected publication: Aug 26 2014 by Picador

 On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. But her new home, while splendorous, is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse office-leaving Nella alone with his sister, the sharp-tongued and forbidding Marin.

But Nella's world changes when Johannes presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. To furnish her gift, Nella engages the services of a miniaturist-an elusive and enigmatic artist whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways . . .

Johannes' gift helps Nella to pierce the closed world of the Brandt household. But as she uncovers its unusual secrets, she begins to understand-and fear-the escalating dangers that await them all. In this repressively pious society where gold is worshipped second only to God, to be different is a threat to the moral fabric of society, and not even a man as rich as Johannes is safe. Only one person seems to see the fate that awaits them. Is the miniaturist the key to their salvation . . . or the architect of their destruction?

Enchanting, beautiful, and exquisitely suspenseful, The Miniaturist is a magnificent story of love and obsession, betrayal and retribution, appearance and truth.

What are you waiting for?