Thursday, October 29, 2015

Review: Named of the Dragon by Susanna Kearsley

A haunting tale of intrigue from New York Times bestselling author Susanna Kearsley.

Although it goes against her workaholic nature, literary agent Lyn Ravenshaw lets herself be whisked off to Wales for the Christmas holidays by her star client, flamboyant children's author Bridget Cooper. She suspects Bridget has ulterior motives, but the lure of South Wales with its castles and myths is irresistible. Perhaps a change of scene will bring relief from the nightmares that have plagued her since the death of her child.

Lyn immerses herself in the peace and quiet of the charming Welsh village, but she soon meets an eccentric young widow who's concerned her baby son is in danger—and inexplicably thinks Lyn is the child's protector.

Lyn's dreams become more and more disturbing as she forms a surprisingly warm friendship with a reclusive, brooding playwright, and is pulled into an ancient world of Arthurian legend and dangerous prophecies. Before she can escape her nightmares, she must uncover the secret of her dreams, which is somehow inextricably located in a time long ago and far away...

Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published October 6th 2015 by Sourcebooks Landmark (first published July 13th 1998) 
arc - netgalley
****  
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Originally published in 1998 Named of the Dragon has been re released earlier this month.  I've read a number of Susanna Kearsley books but I have to say that this one had a different feel to it.  I don't mean that in a bad way either, the others I've read take place in historical pasts but this one didn't.  It does mention historical figures but this story takes place in current time period.

I love the cover and think that it is a nice portrayal of Lynn.  Even though its been a number of years since she lost her child, seeing her sit like that shows a mother still grieving.  I think that I connected with Lynn because we share that common bond of grief.  I could relate to her when situations brought back memories of the past.  Some might say 5 years is enough time to forget, but really there is no time limit to grieving and I like the way the author showed that.

The story itself was interesting, mysterious with a touch of romance (but not overpowering).  Not being too knowledgeable with the Arthurian legend it has (again) peeked my interest.  Isn't it great after finished a book you add a bunch more books to the ever expanding TBR (Arthurian and Tennyson too)?

A number of years ago I had the privilege of taking a workshop with Susanna Kearsley on the writing of HF (Ontario Writers Conference 2012).  She talked about going on location for her  books.  That was very evident here and it wasn't hard to visualize the setting and feel the atmosphere described.

Click out this imagine for actually pictures of the location.
http://www.susannakearsley.com/dragonphotos.html
Again Susanna Kearsley did not disappoint, it isn't hard to get lost in her stories, highly recommend. 

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

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: The Edge of Lost by Kristina McMorris

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:


Paperback, 340 pages
Expected publication: November 24th 2015 by Kensington


From New York Times bestselling author Kristina McMorris comes an ambitious and heartrending story of immigrants, deception, and second chances.

On a cold night in October 1937, searchlights cut through the darkness around Alcatraz. A prison guard’s only daughter—one of the youngest civilians who lives on the island—has gone missing. Tending the warden’s greenhouse, convicted bank robber Tommy Capello waits anxiously. Only he knows the truth about the little girl’s whereabouts, and that both of their lives depend on the search’s outcome.

Almost two decades earlier and thousands of miles away, a young boy named Shanley Keagan ekes out a living as an aspiring vaudevillian in Dublin pubs. Talented and shrewd, Shan dreams of shedding his dingy existence and finding his real father in America. The chance finally comes to cross the Atlantic, but when tragedy strikes, Shan must summon all his ingenuity to forge a new life in a volatile and foreign world.

Skillfully weaving these two stories, Kristina McMorris delivers a compelling novel that moves from Ireland to New York to San Francisco Bay. As her finely crafted characters discover the true nature of loyalty, sacrifice, and betrayal, they are forced to confront the lies we tell—and believe—in order to survive.


                                         ********************************

“Will grab your heart on page one and won’t let go until the end—and if you’re like me, not even then. I absolutely love this book, and so will you.”
— Sara Gruen, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants

“Compelling, resonant and deeply moving, The Edge of Lost is an absorbing tale of deceit and self-deception, survival and second chances, the ties that bind and the lure of the unknown.”
— Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train

In The Edge of Lost Kristina McMorris takes us on a thrilling ride . . . I found myself thoroughly immersed in her richly evocative settings, just as I was captivated by the pure humanity of her characters. A wonderful read!”
— David Gillham, New York Times bestselling author of City of Women

“A beautifully told story about a young man’s journey through adversity and loss with an exhilarating ending that I couldn’t put down and stayed up well past my bedtime to finish.”
— Charles Belfoure, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Architect

“With prose as lyrical as the music woven through its narrative, and boasting impeccably observed historical details, The Edge of Lost is a thoroughly mesmerizing novel. I adore everything that Kristina McMorris writes and this book is no exception.”
— Jennifer Robson, international bestselling author of Somewhere in France

The Edge of Lost takes readers on an enthralling journey . . . right up to a tense, edge-of-your-seat ending that left me breathless. An absorbing, addictive read.”
— Beatriz Williams, New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Life of Violet Grant


What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Q & A with Carol M. Cram

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/27249.Carol_M_Cram

 
Very happy to share this Q & A with author 



What is usually on your nightstand?

I have quite an eclectic selection of books on my nightstand including both fiction and non-fiction because I tend to have a few books on the go at once. At the moment, I’m surfing between Margaret Attwood’s The Year of the Flood, a non-fiction book about women in the Renaissance, Michael Palin’s new novel Truth, and a book called Wits, Wenchers and Wantons: London’s Low Life: Convent Garden in the Eighteenth Century. This last book is part of my research for my third novel called Upstaged that revolves around the world of the London theater in the early 19thCentury. In addition, I have my Kindle filled with novels—mostly historical novels these days with a sprinkling of contemporary “women’s fiction.”
 
Which authors have most influenced your writing?
 
Jane Austen wins hands down, although I wouldn’t say my writing is anything like hers (I wish!) However, the ironic way in which she looks at the world definitely informs my world view when I am writing. As far as other more contemporary authors, I don’t really have any names that spring to mind as influencers. I think I’m influenced by everything I write—every writer is! 
 
What do you think is your lead character’s best trait?
 
Isabette’s best trait is her kind and passionate heart. She is in many ways very innocent. She expects that people she loves will be as honest and generous of spirit as she is and is often disappointed. She cares deeply for music and experiences her greatest joy when playing and composing. I wanted to show her as gaining her strength and sense of self from being creative.
 
What is something your readers would be surprised to know about you?
 
I am passionate about sharing Nia, a movement-dance practice, with people who are looking for alternative ways to keep fit and feel good about their bodies and their lives. I teach a couple of Nia classes a week on Bowen Island. The practice emphasizes the Joy of Movement and is the physical manifestation of how I feel when my writing is really going well.
 
  Where is your favorite place to write?
 
I have a few favorite places! In the summer time, my favorite place to write is on the lower deck of our home on Bowen Island that overlooks my garden and pond. Most of the time, the only sounds are birds chirping. I love to look up from the computer screen to see hummingbirds and eagles flitting and swooping about. I also love to write in public places—the lovely little cafes on Bowen Island (shout outs to the Snug Café, Village Baker, and Artisan Eats!) and my favorite Starbucks in West Vancouver where I spend many productive hours when I leave the island to come down to “the continent.”


 http://carolcram.com/
 









Monday, October 26, 2015

Review: A Woman of Note by Carol M. Cram

Virtuoso pianist Isabette Grüber captivates audiences in the salons and concert halls of early nineteenth-century Vienna. Yet in a profession dominated by men, Isabette longs to compose and play her own music—a secret she keeps from both her lascivious manager and her resentful mother. She meets and loves Amelia Mason, a dazzling American singer with her own secrets, and Josef Hauser, an ambitious young composer. But even they cannot fully comprehend the depths of Isabette’s talent.

Her ambitions come with a price when Isabette embarks on a journey that delicately balances the line between duty and passion. Amid heartbreak and sacrifice, music remains her one constant. With cameos from classical music figures such as Chopin, Schubert, and Berlioz, A Woman of Note is an intricately crafted and fascinating tale about one woman’s struggle to find her soul’s song in a dissonant world.
 
Paperback, 358 pages
Published September 8th 2015 by Lake Union Publishing 
arc: from publisher (via netgalley)
****
 
This is my first time reading Carol M. Cram, though I do have her first book,  The Towers of Tuscany waiting patiently on my tbr pile.

Beginning in 1827 and continuing in the 1830's here is the story of Isabette Gruber a pianist living in Vienna.  Though this book is not based on a real historical figure the book felt like it did.  As a multi talented Isabette struggled through life she encounters many obstacles in her way, a dominating mother, insane family members, a society that doesn't take women composers/musicians seriously.

A Woman of Note was written in such a way that it wasn't hard to feel the times and be transported to the 1830's, to feel societies prejudices towards women and their roles.  I could feel the coldness in relationships and the way of life there. Not being too impressed with either Amelia or Josef, didn't trusting either of them, the author did a great job of portraying them in that light.

The ending was nice, but maybe an epoligue closing things off would have given the story a little bit more of closure.

Again the Author Notes are a favorite and this book did not disappoint there, a lovely couple of pages finishing this book off with the right tone.

Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for a chance to review this book.

Be sure to come back tomorrow when the author visits Just One More Chaper

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: The Girl From the Train by Irma Joubert

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:


Paperback, 384 pages
November 3, 2015  by Thomas Nelson 
(though this might be a re-release)



Six-year-old Gretl Schmidt is on a train bound for Auschwitz. Jakób Kowalski is planting a bomb on the tracks.

As World War II draws to a close, Jakób fights with the Polish resistance against the crushing forces of Germany and Russia. They mean to destroy a German troop transport, but Gretl’s unscheduled train reaches the bomb first.

Gretl is the only survivor. Though spared from the concentration camp, the orphaned German Jew finds herself lost in a country hostile to her people. When Jakób discovers her, guilt and fatherly compassion prompt him to take her home. For three years, the young man and little girl form a bond over the secrets they must hide from his Catholic family.

But she can’t stay with him forever. Jakób sends Gretl to South Africa, where German war orphans are promised bright futures with adoptive Protestant families—so long as Gretl’s Jewish roots, Catholic education, and connections to communist Poland are never discovered.

Separated by continents, politics, religion, language, and years, Jakób and Gretl will likely never see each other again. But the events they have both survived and their belief that the human spirit can triumph over the ravages of war have formed a bond of love that no circumstances can overcome.


What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Review: The Other Side of Life by Andy Kutler

December 1941, Pearl Harbor. A peaceful Sunday morning turns into a devastating attack on American soil. Naval officer Malcolm “Mac” Kelsey is severely wounded while defending his ship. A flawed man abandoned long ago by his alcoholic wife, Kelsey has been mired in despair and hopelessness following the accidental death of Lucy, the young daughter he considers the only redemptive aspect of his life. Near the point of death, Kelsey is brought to what he believes to be an afterlife where he is offered an opportunity to shed his past memories and embark upon an alternate path in another place and time. Eager to escape his torment and begin a more tranquil existence, Kelsey accepts, only to feel quickly betrayed as he soon finds himself back in the midst of battle, this time as a Union soldier at the dawn of the Civil War.

Through Antietam, Gettysburg and four years of relentless fighting, Kelsey attempts to cast aside his painful past while trying to survive the horrors of combat. He crosses paths with compelling figures on both sides of the conflict determined to persevere and return to those they left behind. Idealistic Ethan Royston, promoted from the enlisted ranks, believes in preserving the Union but is plagued by insecurity and self-doubt. His closest friend, West Point-trained Cal Garrity, remains loyal to his home state of Virginia despite his misgivings about the virtue of the Southern cause. The war will divide these friends, just as it will divide Garrity from his adoring wife, Emily, the charismatic and headstrong daughter of a prominent Norfolk shipbuilder, forced to face the onset of war alone.

Each will endure unimaginable hardship and brutality that will forever reshape their core beliefs and values. Each will find their strength and resolve tested as they search for self-purpose, humanity, and reconciliation. Most of all, Mac Kelsey will discover the very essence of life and death, and whether the new beginning he has long coveted will bring him the inner peace he has so desperately sought.

Publication Date: August 11, 2015
Neverland Publishing Company LLC
Formats: Trade Paperback and Kindle
Pages: 360

Genre: Historical Fiction
paperback - from author
**** 



Time travel books have become a favorite of mine these days.  With the Other Side of Life the protagonist is male verses the more common female.  Beginning in 1941 Malcolm Kelsey is an officer aboard the USS Nevada during the bombing of Pearl Harbour.  As you can read from the synopsis above this is an interesting and unique twist to time travel.

With the promise of the memories of his life being erased Kelsey's frustration upon learning that isn't the case adds to this story.  Once Kelsey arrives in 1861 much time is spend introducing the reader to key players, meshing the story together nicely.  I got to know Kelsey and his personality, outwardly a harsh officer but inside still grieving the death of his daughter years earlier.

I really like the authors writing style, his knowledge of the time period, especially the Civil War is evident.  With vivid details it wasn't hard to visualize the living conditions, battles scenes and medical treatments there.

This book is not just about war, but also friendship, heartache and love (to name a few).  Though at times predictable there were enough twists and turns that I didn't see coming.  Overall a solid debut that has me looking forward to what the author is working on next.


PRAISE

“Employing some new twists on the novelist’s technique of time travel, Andy Kutler sends a naval officer bombed at Pearl Harbor back to the Civil War. Among his comrades in a Union cavalry regiment he absorbs the enduring values of trust, loyalty, love, and selflessness during the chaos and tragedy of a war that took place a half century before he was born. Readers will find themselves immersed in this story and captivated by its principal characters.” — James M. McPherson, Pulitzer Prize-winner author of Battle Cry of Freedom and The War That Forged a Nation

“Profound, smart, and entertaining – the path through The Other Side of Life is an amazing journey through history.” — Joe Weisberg, Creator and Executive Producer of FX’s The Americans and author of An Ordinary Spy

“Andy Kutler’s war scenes are gripping, his characters vulnerable and honest, and his story ultimately triumphant — an exciting journey back into two levels of the past.” — David Hardin, author of Emblems of Woe: How the South Reacted to Lincoln’s Murder

“The Other Side of Life imaginatively mingles brutal scenes of Civil War battlefields with thought-provoking moral issues. It describes the conflicted loyalties and sufferings of that tragic era and the spiritual growth of the book’s hero—a naval officer wounded in the Pearl Harbor attack—and those he becomes close to when he is transported to the past. The swiftmoving, compelling narrative grips the reader from first page to last.” — Bernard Weisberger, historian and author of America Afire: Adams, Jefferson, and the Revolutionary Election of 1800

“Andy Kutler has written a thoughtfully imaginative adventure across time, approaching the Civil War from a fresh perspective while creating memorable, compelling characters. The story flows beautifully and is consistently challenging.” — Ivan R. Dee, Publisher, Now and Then Reader (nowandthenreader.com)

AMAZON

 

 Andy Kutler is a writer living in Arlington, Virginia. A native of Madison, Wisconsin and a graduate of Michigan State University (B.A.) and Georgetown University (M.A.), he has previously worked on the senior legislative staff of two United States Senators before serving as a senior policy officer with the U.S. Secret Service. He is working today as a consultant to the national security community.

While Andy’s writings have appeared in The Huffington Post and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, The Other Side of Life is his first novel. Andy’s interests include travel, military history, his Wisconsin sports teams, and most importantly, spending time with his wife and two children.

For more information and news please visit Andy Kutler’s Facebook page.

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

Monday, September 8
Spotlight & Giveaway at Unshelfish
Sunday, September 14
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection
Monday, September 15
Review at Dianne Ascroft’s Blog
Friday, September 19
Spotlight at What Is That Book About
Friday, September 26
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More
Monday, October 6
Review at A Book Geek
Monday, October 13
Review at Book Nerd
Monday, October 20
Review at Just One More Chapter
Saturday, November 1
Review at Genre Queen
Monday, November 10
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog
Wednesday, November 12
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Thursday, November 13
Blog Tour Wrap-Up at Passages to the Past

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Review/Giveaway: Port of No Return by Michelle Saftich

What can you do when you have nowhere left to call home?
Port of No Return considers this question and more in a novel that is full of action, 
pain and laughter -- a journey you will want to see through to the very end.

Port of No Return by Michelle Saftich
Contessa and Ettore Saforo awake to a normal day in war-stricken, occupied
Italy. By the end of the day, their house is in ruins and they must seek shelter and protection wherever they can. But the turbulent politics of 1944 refuses to let them be.

As Tito and his Yugoslav Army threaten their German-held town of Fiume, Ettore finds himself running for his life, knowing that neither side is forgiving of those who have assisted the enemy. His wife and children must also flee the meagre life their town can offer, searching for a better life as displaced persons.

Ettore and Contessa’s battle to find each other, and the struggle of their family and friends to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of a devastating war, provide a rich and varied account of Italian migration to Australia after World War II.

What can you do when you have nowhere left to call home? Port of No Return considers this question and more in a novel that is full of action, pain and laughter -- a journey you will want to see through to the very end.

Book Title: Port of No Return by Michelle Saftich
Category:  Adult Fiction, 238 pages
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Odyssey Books
Published: July 2015
Available in:  Print
Will send books: International
Tour dates:  Oct 12 to 23, 2015
Content Rating:  PG-13
**** 

Lately I have been continuing on a quest to read more from Australian authors - there is a talent in that country that doesn't always reach Canada.  Thank you to Italy Books Tours for allowing me to be part of this tour and introducing me to Australian author Michelle Saftich.

Port of No Return begins in January 1944 in Fuime, Italy, a small town close to the Yugoslavia border.  Told from various pov's the author wrote a gripping story of survival, filled with courage and fear, struggle and heartache.  Even after the war ends life doesn't automatically return to what it once was.  Those we meet are forever changed, with some no longer present.  Many displaced families rebuilt their lives in other countries and even that transition was no easy task.

The author definitely knows her time period, she wrote with clarity and emotion.  It wasn't hard to get absorbed into this story, to feel compassion and the injustice this family suffered.  The ending left at a place that had me wanting more, my hope that a sequel is in the works so I can read about the next chapter in their lives.

Thank you to Italy Book Tours for providing me with a copy for review purposes as part of this tour.

Buy the book:    Amazon    Barnes & Noble    Chapters/Indigo    


Michelle Saftich author pic
Michelle Saftich is a first-time author who resides in Brisbane, Australia.  She holds a Bachelor of Business/Communications Degree, majoring in journalism, from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

For the past 20 years, she has worked in communications, including print journalism, sub-editing, communications management and media relations. She is married with two children.


Connect with the author:   Website    Facebook    Twitter

Tour Schedule:

Oct 12 – Library of Clean Reads – book spotlight / giveaway
Oct 12 – The Bookish and the Romantic - review
Oct 13 – Working Mommy Journal – review / author interview / giveaway
Oct 13 – Bound 4 Escape – review / giveaway
Oct 14 – Library Educated – review
Oct 14 -  History from a Woman's Perspectivereview / author interview / giveaway
Oct 15 – The Autistic Gamer – review
Oct 15 – Books and Quilts - review
Oct 16 – Diary of an Eccentric – review
Oct 16 -  #redhead.with.book – review / giveaway
Oct 19 – Just One More Chapter – review / giveaway
Oct 19 – Italophilia - review
Oct 20 – Jayne's Books – review / giveaway
Oct 20 – NorthernMSW - review
Oct 21 – A Simple Life, really?! - review
Oct 22 – Il Mio Tesoro – review / guest post
Oct 22 – Essentially Italian – review / giveaway
Oct 23 – Roughseasinthemed - review


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Friday, October 16, 2015

Spotlight: The Prince of Prigs by Anthony Anglorus

The union of England and Scotland under one crown is not even a half century old, and the Parliamentarians already threaten the very fabric of the nation. These are the adventures of highwayman Capt. James Hind who, in Robin Hood fashion, steals from the Roundheads to help fund the royalist cause. When Cromwell comes to power, James, the Prince of Prigs, must be careful whom among his treacherous “friends” he trusts.

Publication Date: July 6, 2015
Bygone Era Books
Formats: eBook & Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction
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AMAZON US | AMAZON UK | BARNES & NOBLE | CHAPTERS | KOBO

 

PRAISE

“Any who view historical fiction as dry or plodding should pick up The Prince of Prigs: it wraps courtroom drama, social issues, flamboyant personalities and British politics under one cover and represents a rollicking good read even for audiences who normally eschew the genre. As for those who know how compelling it can be – The Prince of Prigs is ample evidence of the powers of historical fiction.” – D. Donovan, Midwest Book Review



After a lifetime of balancing books, Anthony turned his hand to writing them in 2009. His first book, The Other Robin Hood, is available as an ebook. An Englishman still living in England, he married a Russian doctor in 1999 and will be moving to rural France after reaching retirement age — but the writing will continue. He is already working on the sequel to The Prince of Prigs, tentatively titled Dark Days, Dark Deeds.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | GOODREADS

 

 

 

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

Monday, October 5
Review at Back Porchervations
Tuesday, October 6
Spotlight at Broken Teepee
Wednesday, October 7
Review & Interview at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf
Thursday, October 8
Review at Book Nerd
Friday, October 9
Review at Diana’s Book Reviews
Monday, October 12
Review at With Her Nose Stuck In A Book
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter
Tuesday, October 13
Character Interview at Boom Baby Reviews
Friday, October 16
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Review/Giveaway: The Determined Heart: The Tale of Mary Shelley and Her Frankenstein by Antoinette May

The Determined Heart

Frankenstein lives on as one of the most fascinating fictional creations of all time, but the true personal story of the women behind this work of genius is equally as compelling.

In her new historical novel, The Determined Heart: The Tale of Mary Shelley and Her Frankenstein (Lake Union Publishing; September 29, 2015), New York Times bestselling author Antoinette May brings to life the tragic story of obsessive love, betrayal, and redemption that spawned an enduring classic. In a story more dramatic and tragic than anything a writer could invent, the lives of Mary Shelley, her great love, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and her complex web of family and friends entwine in a chronicle of strange behavior, bohemian attitudes, and unconventional acts as far ahead of their time as the amazing literary work that grew from them.

Mary Godwin Shelley was the daughter of two revolutionary thinkers—political philosopher William Godwin and philosopher and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft. An unconventional childhood in an intellectual, if impecunious household would shape the young girl’s renegade spirit. When still a teenager, she ran off with the already-married poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, an act of equal parts passion and defiance that led to a life of wandering destitution. Espousing free love, the couple would endure its share of tragedies, each of which would add to their romantic legacy. From the darkness that surrounded her life, though, the brilliant and talented Mary imagined a timeless work of fiction that secured her place in history, if not her happiness.

 The Determined Heart is a masterful work of historical fiction that reanimates the timeless story of an iconic literary life.

“Epic in scope, this is a beautifully written novel about a woman whose story is every bit as extraordinary and gripping as that of the epic character she created, Frankenstein. May’s meticulous research and exquisite prose shine on every page.” —Erika Mailman, author of The Witch’s Trinity and Woman of Ill Fame

“May displays a deft flair for historical fiction…” –BookList on Pilate’s Wife, A Novel of the Roman Empire

Paperback: 410 pages
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (September 29, 2015)

Add to Goodreads badge

paperback received as part of tour

****
Confession time, I didn't realize Frankenstein was written by a woman (never read it).  Published in 1818, I didn't think that women were able to get anything published, even if anonymously. So this book was not just entertaining but educational at the same time. 

If there is one sure way to grab a readers attention, especially mine, this book had it.  Start with a young girl who's mother perished giving her life, mix in a little scandal and The Determined Heart had me right from the beginning.  With a famous mother, who was also a writer, this book revolved around books, whether writing them, selling them, essentially all things literary.  

The writing style was engaging and her character development was nice.  It wasn't hard to connect with Mary and her older sister Fan but once the stepmother and stepsister showed up things changed.  It would have been nice if there was a little more depth at times to some of the interactions as I didn't exactly feel the emotional connection in the romance department - whether it be between Mary and Percy and those involving Clara (the stepsister).  

One thing about HF is you can't change history, you can modify it a little to make for interesting reading though.  Case in point Claire/Clara, I didn't like her, she was demanding, immature and extremely inconsiderate not to mention annoying.  Whether she was like that in history I don't know, but if it was the authors intent to portray her that way, she did a spot on job of that.

All in all I really enjoyed this book, very happy to have read it.  I love learning about lesser known figures in history and this fit the bill perfectly.  Frankenstein is already loaded on my kindle.

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

I have one copy up for grabs (US and Canada addresses only).  Just leave a comment below, maybe tell me about a book you think I might like, have you read Frankenstein or what you are reading these days.  Contest closes Oct 26th.

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

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble


Unknown-4Antoinette May is the author of Pilate’s Wife and The Sacred Well and coauthor of the New York Timesbestseller Adventures of a Psychic.

 An award-winning travel writer specializing in Mexico, May divides her time between Palo Alto and the Sierra foothills.

 

 Antoinette May’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Tuesday, September 29th: FictionZeal
Tuesday, September 29th: The Lit Bitch
Wednesday, September 30th: BookNAround
Thursday, October 1st: From L.A. to LA
Friday, October 2nd: Guiltless Reading
Monday, October 5th: It’s a Mad Mad World
Wednesday, October 7th: Kritter’s Ramblings
Thursday, October 8th: Outlandish Lit
Monday, October 12th: A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, October 13th: A Literary Vacation
Wednesday, Otcoter 14th: Mom in Love with Fiction
Thursday, October 15th: Just One More Chapter
Monday, October 19th: Reading Reality
Tuesday, October 20th: Mom’s Small Victories
Wednesday, October 21st: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Friday, October 23rd: Romantic Historical Reviews
Monday, October 26th: Bibliophilia, Please
TBD: Books a la Mode – author guest post

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: White Collar Girl by Renee Rosen

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:



Paperback, 448 pages
Expected publication: November 3rd 2015 by NAL

The latest novel from the bestselling author of Dollface and What the Lady Wants takes us deep into the tumultuous world of 1950s Chicago where a female journalist struggles with the heavy price of ambition...

Every second of every day, something is happening. There’s a story out there buried in the muck, and Jordan Walsh, coming from a family of esteemed reporters, wants to be the one to dig it up. But it’s 1955, and the men who dominate the city room of the Chicago Tribune have no interest in making room for a female cub reporter. Instead Jordan is relegated to society news, reporting on Marilyn Monroe sightings at the Pump Room and interviewing secretaries for the White Collar Girl column.

Even with her journalistic legacy and connections to luminaries like Mike Royko, Nelson Algren, and Ernest Hemingway, Jordan struggles to be taken seriously. Of course, that all changes the moment she establishes a secret source inside Mayor Daley’s office and gets her hands on some confidential information. Now careers and lives are hanging on Jordan’s every word. But if she succeeds in landing her stories on the front page, there’s no guarantee she’ll remain above the fold.


What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Giveaway/Spotlight: Candace Robb's Margaret Kerr Mystery Series

  
Please join Margaret Kerr as she tours the blogosphere for her Margaret Kerr Mystery Series, from October 12-23, with HF Virtual Book Tours, and enter to win one of three (3) Sets of A TRUST BETRAYED and THE FIRE IN THE FLINT in eBook!

 

A Trust Betrayed (Book One)


“Thirteenth-century Edinburgh comes off the page cold and convincing, from the smoke and noise of the tavern kitchen to Holyrood Abbey under a treacherous abbot. Most enjoyable.” —THE LIST
In the spring of 1297 the English army controls lowland Scotland and Margaret Kerr’s husband Roger Sinclair is missing. He’d headed to Dundee in autumn, writing to Margaret with a promise to be home for Christmas, but it’s past Easter. Is he caught up in the swelling rebellion against the English? Is he even alive? When his cousin, Jack, is murdered on the streets of Edinburgh, Roger’s last known location, Margaret coerces her brother Andrew, a priest, to escort her to the city.
She finds Edinburgh scarred by war—houses burnt, walls stained with blood, shops shuttered—and the townsfolk simmering with resentment, harboring secrets. Even her uncle, innkeeper Murdoch Kerr, meets her questions with silence. Are his secrets the keys to Roger’s disappearance? What terrible sin torments her brother? Is it her husband she glimpses in the rain, scarred, haunted? Desperate, Margaret makes alliances that risk both her own life and that of her brother in her search for answers. She learns that war twists love and loyalties, and that, until tested, we cannot know our own hearts, much less those of our loved ones.

 

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOOGLE PLAY | ITUNES | KOBO


The Fire in the Flint (Book Two)

“Intrigue abounds…. Robb’s captivating blend of history and mystery vividly evokes medieval Scotland.” —BOOKLIST
Scots are gathering in Murdoch Kerr’s Edinburgh tavern, plotting to drive out the English forces. Margaret takes her place there as innkeeper, collecting information to pass on to William Wallace—until murder gives the English an excuse to shutter the tavern. The dead man was a witness to the intruders who raided chests belonging to Margaret’s husband and her father, the latest in a string of violent raids on Margaret’s family, but no one knows the identity of the raiders or what they’re searching for.
Margaret’s uncle urges her to escape Edinburgh, but as she flees north with her husband Roger, Margaret grows suspicious about his sudden wish to speak with her mother, Christiana, who is a soothsayer. Margaret once innocently shared with Roger one of Christiana’s visions, of “the true king of Scotland” riding into Edinburgh. Now she begins to wonder if their trip is part of a mission engineered by the English crown…

 

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOOGLE PLAY | ITUNES | KOBO


A Cruel Courtship (Book Three)

“This is history as it should be told!” —GOOD BOOK GUIDE
In late summer 1297, Margaret Kerr heads to the town of Stirling at the request of William Wallace’s man James Comyn. Her mission is to discover the fate of a young spy who had infiltrated the English garrison at Stirling Castle, but on the journey Margaret is haunted by dreams—or are they visions?—of danger.
He who holds Stirling Castle holds Scotland—and a bloody battle for the castle is imminent. But as the Scots prepare to cast off the English yoke, Margaret’s flashes of the future allow her to glimpse what is to come—and show her that she can trust no one, not even her closest friends.
A CRUEL COURTSHIP is a harrowing account of the days before the bloody battle of Stirling Bridge, and the story of a young woman’s awakening.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOOGLE PLAY | ITUNES | KOBO

 

Growing up, Candace Robb wanted to be a ballerina, tap dancer, folk singer, journalist—but on the day that she walked into Liz Armstrong’s undergraduate class on Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde, that all changed. A gifted teacher, lively, witty, always laughing even when cringing at a lazy response, Dr. Armstrong launched into the opening stanzas, and within a few lines Candace’s ears adjusted to the middle English—and she was hooked. Chaucer’s psychological study of the two lovers was a revelation to her. The next quarter was The Canterbury Tales. That clinched it. Candace went on to graduate work in medieval history and literature, and ever since she’s been engaged in bringing to life the rich culture of the period, from the arts to the politics. She is the internationally acclaimed author of thirteen crime novels featuring the sexy, brooding, clever Owen Archer, who solves crimes for John Thoresby, Archbishop of York and Lord Chancellor of England, and the young Margaret Kerr, searching for her missing husband and her role in a Scotland overrun by English soldiers. Candace is currently under contract with Pegasus Books for a new crime series set in 15th century York, the Kate Clifford mysteries, which will debut in 2016.

Writing as Emma Campion, Candace has published two historical novels about the women of the English court in the 14th century, A Triple Knot and The King’s Mistress.

Born in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Candace grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and has lived most of her adult life in Seattle, Washington, which she loves for its combination of culture, natural beauty, and brooding weather so like Yorkshire, Wales, and Scotland, which she visits as often as possible. She has taught the art of writing the crime novel in the University of Washington’s certificate program, and offers workshops in writing the historical novel and in creating and plotting the crime series. Candace (and Emma) blog about writing and medieval topics at A Writer’s Retreat, ecampion.wordpress.com.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS 

 

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

Monday, October 12
Interview at The Writing Desk
Tuesday, October 13
Review at Worth Getting In Bed For (A Trust Betrayed)
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter
Wednesday, October 14
Review at Book Nerd (A Cruel Courtship)
Thursday, October 15
Review at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf (A Trust Betrayed)
Spotlight at Buried Under Books
Friday, October 16
Review at Worth Getting in Bed For (The Fire in the Flint)
Monday, October 19
Review at A Book Geek (A Trust Betrayed)
Character Interview at Boom Baby Reviews
Review & Interview at Singing Librarian Books (A Trust Betrayed)
Tuesday, October 20
Review at Singing Librarian Books (The Fire in the Flint)
Spotlight at The Lit Bitch
Wednesday, October 21
Review at Singing Librarian Books (A Cruel Courtship)
Thursday, October 22
Review at Worth Getting in Bed For (The Fire in the Flint)
Friday, October 23
Review at A Chick Who Reads (A Trust Betrayed)
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective (A Trust Betrayed)

 

GIVEAWAY

To win one of three (3) Sets of A TRUST BETRAYED and THE FIRE IN THE FLINT in eBook, enter using the Rafflecopter Widget below.
Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on October 23rd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 12, 2015

Review: Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

Paula McLain, author of the phenomenal bestseller The Paris Wife, now returns with her keenly anticipated new novel, transporting readers to colonial Kenya in the 1920s. Circling the Sun brings to life a fearless and captivating woman—Beryl Markham, a record-setting aviator caught up in a passionate love triangle with safari hunter Denys Finch Hatton and Karen Blixen, who as Isak Dinesen wrote the classic memoir Out of Africa.

Brought to Kenya from England as a child and then abandoned by her mother, Beryl is raised by both her father and the native Kipsigis tribe who share his estate. Her unconventional upbringing transforms Beryl into a bold young woman with a fierce love of all things wild and an inherent understanding of nature’s delicate balance. But even the wild child must grow up, and when everything Beryl knows and trusts dissolves, she is catapulted into a string of disastrous relationships.

Beryl forges her own path as a horse trainer, and her uncommon style attracts the eye of the Happy Valley set, a decadent, bohemian community of European expats who also live and love by their own set of rules. But it’s the ruggedly charismatic Denys Finch Hatton who ultimately helps Beryl navigate the uncharted territory of her own heart. The intensity of their love reveals Beryl’s truest self and her fate: to fly.

Set against the majestic landscape of early-twentieth-century Africa, McLain’s powerful tale reveals the extraordinary adventures of a woman before her time, the exhilaration of freedom and its cost, and the tenacity of the human spirit.


Hardcover, 384 pages
Published July 28th 2015 by Ballantine Books
ebook - netgalley
*** 

I always love to read about lesser known women in history, ones that have left their mark but for one reason or another don't get the recognition that they deserved.  Such is the case with Beryl Markham.  

Beryl was a woman ahead of her time, living in Africa though British born and abandoned by her mother at a young age.  The book started out very nicely, I was grabbed right away, hearing about the plight of this young girl I instantly cared and felt for her.  Told from Beryl's point of view there were times that I would have liked to hear other voices as well, just to round out some of the scenes. 


The author has definitely shown the amount of research that went into this book.  It wasn't hard to visualize the settings, from the African wilderness to the customs and traditions of the land.  There were times in the middle of the book that I thought it dragged a little and other times I would have loved more details (like her experiences learning to fly). 

But all in all a nice read by an author I have recently discovered and will continue to be on the look out for future writings.


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Review/Giveaway; Mistress of the Court by Laura Purcell


The second  in Laura Purcell’s captivating and acclaimed series of novels chronicling the lives and loves of the consorts and mistresses of Britain’s rash, reckless and ebullient Hanoverian kings. 

Her first novel, Queen of Bedlam, was published by Myrmidon in the summer of 2014.

Orphaned and trapped in an abusive marriage, Henrietta Howard has little left to lose. She stakes everything on a new life in Hanover with its royal family, the heirs to the British throne.

Henrietta’s beauty and intelligence soon win her the friendship of clever Princess Caroline and her mercurial husband, Prince George. But, as time passes, it becomes clear that friendship is the last thing on the hot-blooded young prince’s mind. Dare Henrietta give into his advances and anger her violent husband? Dare she refuse?

Whatever George’s shortcomings, Princess Caroline is determined to make the family a success. Yet the feud between her husband and his obstinate father threatens all she has worked for. As England erupts in Jacobite riots, her family falls apart. She vows to save the country for her children to inherit – even if it costs her pride and her marriage.

Set in the turbulent years of the Hanoverian accession, Mistress of the Court tells the story of two remarkable women at the centre of George II’s reign.

“Ms. Purcell’s knowledge of the intimate life of the Hanoverians is stunning, and in this novel she has brought a remarkable, and unappreciated herione to gritty, heart-breaking life.” –Anita Seymour, author of Royalist Rebel

“Laura Purcell is a wonderful storyteller, and Mistress of the Court a fabulous Georgian read!”–Lucinda Brant, NY Times bestselling author of Georgian romances and mysteries

Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Myrmidon Books Ltd (4 Aug. 2015)

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 paperback - publisher as part of this tour
*****

 

It's rare when I venture past the reign of Queen Elizabeth I in my reading.  I know the names of the various kings and queens but that's about it.  I started Mistress of the Court with both excitement and a little trepidation (would I be lost in an unfamiliar time?).

I am happy to report that I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  The author created characters that I really got to know, not just on the surface but she got inside of them which had me feeling much empathy for their plight.

The story weaves the POV which I liked, it gives the reader both sides of certain plot lines.  Again not being familiar with issues of the day, I learned much as I was also entertained.  The outline of this book above does a great job with what this book is about, no need for me to add to it.  The authors writing was smooth and her knowledge of this time period is evident.  Reading it wasn't hard to feel the life style of that era. Upon closing the book I googled what I could about both Henrietta and Caroline, even King George (was he really that nasty?).  I think I have myself a new time period to study and read about.  The conflicts, family drama seem as typical as any other British royalty and the author has done a great job with Mistress of the Court. 

There is a nice couple pages with Author's notes which just completed this book perfectly. I eagerly away the sequel and reading more of her books.

 To win a copy of this book (worldwide giveaway).  Just leave a comment below, contest closes on Oct. 24th.  More entries if you spread the word (leave a link below).

 

Purchase Links

Amazon UK | Amazon

 

Laura PurcellLaura Purcell is a former Waterstones bookseller who lives in Colchester. She is a member of the Society for Court Studies and Historic Royal Palaces and featured on a recent PBS documentary, talking about Queen Caroline’s life at Hampton Court.

She maintains a history blog at laurapurcell.com.





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Laura Purcell’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Wednesday, September 16th: Raven Haired Girl
Monday, September 21st: Hoser’s Blog
Wednesday, September 23rd: Living in the Kitchen with Puppies
Wednesday, September 30th: Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, September 30th: Books Without Any Pictures
Thursday, October 1st: The Maiden’s Court
Friday, October 2nd: Raven Haired Girl – author Q&A
Monday, October 5th: Broken Teepee
Monday, October 5th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Tuesday, October 6th: A Chick Who Reads
Wednesday, October 7th: A Literary Vacation
Thursday, October 8th: Just One More Chapter
Friday, October 9th: A Bookish Affair
Monday, October 12th: Luxury Reading
Tuesday, October 13th: Open Book Society
Wednesday, October 14th: #redhead.with.book
Thursday, October 15th: Bibliophilia, Please
Monday, October 19th: BookBub – author guest post
Tuesday, October 27th: Reading Lark