Friday, September 30, 2016

Excerpt: Dido's Crown by Julie K. Rose

02_Dido's Crown

 Set in Tunisia and France in 1935, Dido's Crown is a taut literary-historical adventure influenced by Indiana Jones, The Thin Man, and John le Carré.

 Mary Wilson MacPherson has always been adept at putting the past behind her: her father's death, her sister's disappearance, and her complicated relationship with childhood friends Tom and Will. But that all changes when, traveling to North Africa on business for her husband, Mary meets a handsome French-Tunisian trader who holds a mysterious package her husband has purchased — a package which has drawn the interest not only of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, but the Nazis as well.

 When Tom and Will arrive in Tunisia, Mary suddenly finds herself on a race across the mesmerizing and ever-changing landscapes of the country, to the shores of southern France, and all across the wide blue Mediterranean. Despite her best efforts at distancing herself from her husband's world, Mary has become embroiled in a mystery that could threaten not only Tunisian and British security in the dangerous political landscape of 1935, but Mary's beliefs about her past and the security of her own future.

Publication Date: September 29, 2016
 Paperback; 340 Pages
 ISBN13: 9781365316333
 Genre: Historical Fiction/Literary
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Happy to share an excerpt from Dido's Crown today, enjoy.

As he stood back to survey his handiwork, someone rattled the door below. Will walked over and twitched the curtain, peering down into the alley. "It's Saidini," he whispered without turning. "And he looks spectacular."
"How the hell does he know we're here?" Tom dug into the pocket of his now-ruined coat, searching in vain for his gun. "Bugger," he muttered.
Will whispered, "Stay where you are. Keep your mouth shut."
Tom blinked. A sharp knock and Will's imperious look kept him silent.
Will opened the door, allowing a dark-haired man to step in. Alain Saidini was indeed spectacular, in a crisp cream linen suit and sea-blue shirt open at the collar, his hair newly oiled and his cufflinks sparkling. He was in fact cinema-star handsome, with smooth olive skin, dark eyes, and a broad, charming smile. The only thing marring the elegance of his face was the crookedness of his nose, the result of what must have been quite a fistfight, but this served to throw the near-perfection of his other features into sharp relief.
 "What happened?" Alain asked, looking between them with a mixture of concern and exasperation. His accent was a melodic blend of French and Arabic, with a hint of the East Riding around the edges. When they'd first met him, he explained that he had learned English from a Yorkshireman in the trenches during the war; Tom, despite himself, found it charming.
"My friend here got a bit carried away at a party," Will said with a shrug. "You understand."
Alain chuckled. "Must have been quite a party. I'm sorry I missed it."
"How did you find us?" Will asked.
Alain ignored him and turned to Tom, whose makeshift bandage was already growing red again. He pulled back the bandage Will had just applied. "You'll live, keep pressure on it," he said. "And what about you?" He nodded at Will, who, unaccountably, blushed.
"I'm fine."
Alain raised his eyebrows.
"I'm fine. What are you doing here?"
Alain leaned against the door, his arms folded. "It took some doing to pay off the gendarmes. You owe me three thousand francs, by the way."
"How did you know?" Will asked.
"I heard two dashing Englishmen ran into some trouble outside the attaché's party. I naturally assumed it was you."
Tom mustered the strength to roll his eyes. Will turned away and fidgeted with the curtains. "How did you find us?" Will asked.
Alain smiled, pushing away from the door and adjusting his cufflinks. "I know everything that happens here. By the way, the Germans left via the new port; I couldn't tell you where they're heading, but I know they're not far off the coast."

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

03_Julie K. Rose

A member of the Historical Novel Society and former reviewer for the Historical Novels Review, Julie lives in the Bay Area with her husband and rescue cats, and loves reading, following the San Francisco Giants, and enjoying the amazing natural beauty of Northern California. Her forthcoming historical adventure novel, Dido's Crown, will be released in September 2016. Oleanna, short-listed for finalists in the 2011 Faulkner-Wisdom literary competition, is her second novel. The Pilgrim Glass, a finalist in the 2005 Faulkner-Wisdom competition and semi-finalist in the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards, was published in 2010.

 For more information, please visit Julie K. Rose's website.

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

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

BookBlast/Giveaway: After Paris by Renny deGroot

02_After Paris

 From Shortlisted Author of the 2015 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, Renny deGroot comes a new Historical Fiction.

 Liesbeth Zwart forges her identity with courage and aptitude while nursing in France during WW1. As Liesbeth Bos, she feels that identity melting away; the skills she needed as a nurse in Paris are of little use to her as a wife and mother in post-war Netherlands. As she grapples to adjust to her new reality, she is confronted with a shocking discovery that sends her fleeing with her young daughter to start a new life in Canada.

The New World forces Liesbeth to reassess her own life and beliefs, but will it be enough to save her fractured family?

Publication Date: July 8, 2016
 Paperback & eBook; 364 Pages 
 Genre: Historical Fiction
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Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Paperback) | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

03_Renny DegrootRenny deGroot is a first generation Canadian of Dutch parents.

She is a published poet, song lyricist and novelist. Her debut novel, Family Business, was shortlisted in the Literary Fiction category, for the 2015 Emerging Writer Prize. She studied English Literature at Trent University. Her strong Dutch roots continue to influence her while the love of her Canadian homeland with its beauty and freedom, flavors all that she does. 

Renny lives in rural Ontario, Canada with her Great Pyrenees and Chocolate Lab.

For more information, please visit Renny deGroot's website.

You can also find her on Facebook.


04_After Paris_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL
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To enter the After Paris Blog Tour Giveaway please enter via the Gleam form below.
- 3 winners will receive a copy of Family Business by Renny deGroot (2015 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize Shortlist)
- 3 winners will receive a copy of the CD Macushla by renown Irish Tenor, Jimmy Carton (features songs from the era in which After Paris takes place)
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on September 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

  After Paris

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Review/Giveaway: Echoes of Family by Barbara Claypole White

 Sometimes the only way through darkness is to return to where it began. 

Marianne Stokes fled England at seventeen, spiraling into the manic depression that would become her shadow. She left behind secrets, memories, and tragedy: one teen dead, and her first love, Gabriel, badly injured. Three decades later she’s finally found peace in the North Carolina recording studio she runs with her husband, Darius, and her almost-daughter, Jade…until another fatality propels her back across the ocean to confront the long-buried past.

In her picturesque childhood village, the first person she meets is the last person she wants to see again: Gabriel. Now the village vicar, he takes her in without question, and ripples of what if reverberate through both their hearts. As Marianne’s mind unravels, Jade and Darius track her down. Tempers clash when everyone tries to help, but only by finding the courage to face her illness can Marianne heal herself and her offbeat family.

Paperback: 412 pages 
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (September 27, 2016)
I am not sure if this review can accurately describe my feeling about this book.  While it has been many months since I agreed to be part of this blog tour and to be honest I didn't refresh my memory by reading the synopsis so basically I cracked open Echoes of Family blind.  All I can say is WOW, I just found another 'best of 2016'.

I love the first line in the synopsis above 'sometimes the only way through darkness is to return to where it began', which is exactly what Marianne had to do.  There are so many layers to this story, as Marianne returns to England it affects those not just from her past but present as well.  This intricate story played out so smoothly, I got to know the characters quite well, getting inside their minds as each dealt with the situation.  It was truly an authentic portrayal of bipolar and its effect not just for the individual but their loved ones as well.

It's not a book that I read when I could grab 5 minutes here and there but rather one to sit and savor,  I finished in a matter of days.  The author wrote with such compassion and sensitivity (plus a touch of humor) and just watching the story unfold with its twists and turns made it a pleasure to read.  It's one of those books that will stay with me for a long time.

"'re never truly lost if someone cares enough to come find you.
  Lost is waiting to be found."

Thank you to TLC tours and Lake Union Publishing (via netgalley) for an arc (in exchange for honest review)

“Claypole White’s gift is her ability to put us into the troubled minds of her characters in a way that helps us not only understand them but fall in love with them as well. We discover that while their minds may be different from ours, their hearts are the same.” —Diane Chamberlain, USA Todaybestselling author of Pretending to Dance

 “Echoes of Family is a masterfully written novel that is both difficult to put down, and difficult to forget after the final page. In this powerful novel, Claypole White weaves that narrative that draws the reader into a personal relationship with the characters and has you rooting for them, in spite of their many flaws. This book kept my attention until all secrets were revealed in its dramatic conclusion. I look forward to many more from Claypole White.” —Sally Hepworth, bestselling author of The Things We Keep

 “Barbara Claypole White has done it again—created a quirky cast of characters and then taken us along as they go on a journey through madness and out the other side. Music, England, love, loss, and nature all collide in this beautiful exploration of how the echoes of our past can sometimes drown out the present. Matthew Quick fans will feel right at home.” —Catherine McKenzie, bestselling author of Spin and Hidden

A Brit living in North Carolina, Barbara Claypole White writes hopeful family drama with a healthy dose of mental illness. Her debut novel, The Unfinished Garden, won the 2013 Golden Quill Contest for Best First Book, and The In-Between Hour was chosen by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance as a Winter 2014 Okra Pick. Her third novel, The Perfect Son, was a semifinalist in the 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Fiction. 

Connect with Barbara 

Echoes of Family

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Review/Giveaway: Avelynn: The Edge of Faith by Marissa Campbell

02_The Edge of Faith

 It's the year 871. 

Charges of treason, murder, and witchcraft follow Avelynn into exile as she flees England with Alrik.

 Arriving in Wales, they find refuge among Alrik's friends in the Welsh nobility. Cast out by his half-brothers, Alrik seeks to regain his honor and earn favor with the gods. When war threatens, Alrik embraces gold and the opportunity for his crew to become mercenaries, aiding the Southern Welsh kings in their fight against Rhodri the Great.

 Desperate to return home, Avelynn seeks to find a way to prove her innocence, but she is pitted against Alrik as their desires for the future clash. With battle looming, Avelynn's faith in their relationship is further tested through a bitter struggle with Marared, a jealous lover from Alrik's past. Marared's threats turn deadly, and Avelynn runs afoul of magic and sorcery, causing her to question her beliefs and role as priestess.

 When Avelynn and Alrik are betrayed, Avelynn is captured and Alrik is charged with regicide. The two become separated, a chasm of greed, deceit, and ambition driving them apart. In an act of harrowing faith, Avelynn will stop at nothing to find her way back to Alrik and break them both free from Wales's bloodthirsty grasp.

 AVELYNN: THE EDGE OF FAITH is a stand-alone novel and #2 in the Avelynn series.

Publication Date: September 26, 2016 
eBook; 302 Pages 
Genre: Historical Romance/Medieval Series: Avelynn (Book Two)
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This is one of those books that I have been anticipating all year. I really enjoyed book one in the series Avelynn (click here for review) and while The Edge of Faith works as a standalone I highly recommend going back and reading the first one just because it was that good. 

 The Edge of Faith continued right where Avelynn left off, it felt like I was together again with old friends and playing catch up, that's how much the author made me care about Alrik and Avelynn and their plight. Christianity is relatively new to the island and while not everyone has grasped it, there are still those around that practice the supernatural arts. This was central to the story and gave it that authentic feel to the time period. 

 Marissa Campbell is a talented author, she knows how to draw the reader in, she creates empathy and an emotional bond, which drew me right in, I had a hard time putting this book down.  The suspense, uncertainty and mystery kept me guessing at the outcome.  Her descriptive writing made it easy to visualize so much. There is romance here, suffice to say the author knows how to make the pages sizzle.

While the conclusion was fitting it also left an opening for book three (fingers crossed).  Thank you to Amy at HFVBT for the invite to be part of this tour (for which I received the ebook, for an honest review).

Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes & Noble (Nook) | Kobo

Marissa Campbell is a published freelance author, and co-author of the award-winning, spiritual self-help book Life: Living in Fulfillment Every Day. Her debut historical fiction AVELYNN, was published through St. Martin’s Press, September 2015. Look for the second book in the AVELYNN series, releasing Fall 2016.

She is a proud member of the Historical Novel Society, Romance Writers of America, Writer’s Community of Durham Region, and local critique group B7.

When she is not writing, she is busy looking after her wonderful children, spending time with her fantastic husband, hanging out with her awesome friends, teaching yoga, dancing, laughing, and having fun!

For more information visit

You can also follow Marissa Campbell on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Instagram.


To win a $25 Amazon Gift Card or Avelynn: The Edge of Faith eBook, please enter via the Gleam form below. 1 gift card and 5 eBooks are up for grabs!

  Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on October 21st.
--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.

  Avelynn: The Edge of Faith

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Monday, September 26, 2016

Review: Danielle Walker's Against All Grain Celebrations A Year of Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo Recipes for Every Occasion by Danielle Walker

From the two-time New York Times best-selling author of Against All Grain and Meals Made Simple, comes 125 recipes for grain-free, dairy-free, gluten-free comfort food dishes for holidays and special occasions.

 When people adopt a new diet for health or personal reasons, they worry most about the parties, holidays, and events with strong food traditions, fearing their fond memories will be lost along with the newly eliminated food groups. After suffering for years with a debilitating autoimmune disease and missing many of these special occasions herself, Danielle Walker has revived the joy that cooking for holidays can bring in Danielle Walker's Against All Grain Celebrations, a collection of recipes and menus for twelve special occasions throughout the year.

Featuring a variety of birthday cakes, finger foods to serve at a baby or bridal shower, and re-creations of backyard barbecue standards like peach cobbler and corn bread, Danielle includes all of the classics. There's a full Thanksgiving spread--complete with turkey and stuffing, creamy green bean casserole, and pies--and menus for Christmas dinner; a New Year's Eve cocktail party and Easter brunch are covered, along with suggestions for beverages and cocktails and the all-important desserts. Recipes can be mixed and matched among the various occasions, and many of the dishes are simple enough for everyday cooking. Stunning full-color photographs of every dish make browsing the pages as delightful as cooking the recipes, and beautiful party images provide approachable and creative entertaining ideas. Making recipes using unfamiliar ingredients can cause anxiety, and while trying a new menu on a regular weeknight leaves some room for error, the meal simply cannot fail when you have a table full of guests celebrating a special occasion.

Danielle has transformed her most cherished family traditions into trustworthy recipes you can feel confident serving, whether you're hosting a special guest with food allergies, or cooking for a crowd of regular grain-eaters.

Hardcover 336 pages 
Expected publication: September 27th 2016 
by Ten Speed Press
While I have a number of Danielle Walker's cookbooks they are all in the physical form.  I wasn't sure with the nature of cookbooks whether they lend themselves well to the ebook format.  Hence my curiosity when I requested this from netgalley, I was also anxious to get my hands on this one, Danielle Walker is a favorite of mine.

Rather than use my kindle, I downloaded on my iPad and it worked very nicely.  I could jump back and forth between pages with ease, never losing my spots and the photos throughout were displayed nicely.

Like I stated above the author is not new to me, I have a couple of her other cookbooks and I was anxious to get my hands on this one.  I was not disappointed here.  Following the author on Facebook I knew of her passion in the kitchen and this paleo lifestyle.  Reading of the work that goes into her recipes makes me appreciate her recipes all the more.

This cookbook begins with chapters on the different ingredients that she uses.  She explains the benefits, what works better with different foods and even includes links where they can be purchased.
As for the the recipes themselves, I was happy with the layout and variety of dishes.  I didn't try them all out, but the ones I did where really good.  Even those in the family not following this way of eating enjoyed them.   Some of my favorites include - roasted beet and bacon salad, poached cod (with butternut squash and carrot puree - perfect for this time of year) and meyer lemon curd cakes.

Definitely a cookbook I highly recommend to those following a healthy diet.  Thank you to Ten Speed Press and netgalley for an advanced copy.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin

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, 304 pages
 Expected publication: November 29th 2016 
by Flatiron Books 

  Set against the construction of the Eiffel Tower, this novel charts the relationship between a young widow and an engineer who, despite constraints of class and wealth, fall in love. 

In February 1887, Caitriona Wallace and Émile Nouguier meet in a hot air balloon, floating high above Paris--a moment of pure possibility. But back on firm ground, their vastly different social strata become clear. Cait is a widow who because of her precarious financial situation is forced to chaperone two wealthy Scottish charges. Émile is expected to take on the bourgeois stability of his family's business and choose a suitable wife. As the Eiffel Tower rises, a marvel of steel and air and light, the subject of extreme controversy and a symbol of the future, Cait and Émile must decide what their love is worth.

Seamlessly weaving historical detail and vivid invention, Beatrice Colin evokes the revolutionary time in which Cait and Émile live--one of corsets and secret trysts, duels and Bohemian independence, strict tradition and Impressionist experimentation. To Capture What We Cannot Keep, stylish, provocative, and shimmering, raises probing questions about a woman's place in that world, the overarching reach of class distinctions, and the sacrifices love requires of us all.

What are you waiting for?

Review: Healing Maddie Brees by Rebecca Brewster Stevenson

A debut novel from a promising new voice in fiction, Healing Maddie Brees is the story of a marriage and the memories that pit themselves against it, of the uncanny power of the body in both disease and desire, and of whether true healing ever really happens.

 Maddie Brees has been given bad news: She is seriously ill. But she also has an old friend, an ex-boyfriend who might be able to heal her. She was witness to Vincent Elander’s so-called miracles in the past. But that was a long time ago, a memory that she would rather stay buried.

Now she is happily married to Frank and mother of their three young boys. The religion of her past is behind her, along with any confidence she once had in it. With the onset of her cancer, the memories of Vincent won’t leave Maddie alone, and before long they are affecting everything else: her marriage, her husband, the things they thought they agreed on, the beliefs they thought they shared. Soon Frank, who was to be Maddie’s rock throughout her treatment, is finding fault-lines of his own. In this exquisitely written narrative, Stevenson explores the questions of honesty and commitment, of disease and isolation, and of the many shapes healing takes.

Paperback, 310 pages 
Expected publication: September 13th 2016 
by Light Messages
*** (I liked it)

When Maddie is diagnosed with breast cancer and begins treatment she reflects back to her life and a past she would just as soon not revisit.  Recalling her experiences with organized religion and her friendship with Vincent and Justice took up much of this story.  Frank also goes back in time as he struggles while trying to support his wife through this difficult time.

This was very much a 'tell' book, with both Maddie and Frank recalling their life.  Usually I am not a big fan, I like the 'show' part of any story, where you can connect and really get to know the characters.  With Healing Maddie Brees it did really work, I was able feel the emotion this story invoked. While I found the writing style mesmerizing and at first hard to down I did find it to be a little repetitive a number of times and drag a little here and there.

When I first starting this book I thought it was Christian fiction, but as it progressed and I finished it is a fiction book with strong religious elements.

Saving Maddie Brees is a solid debut for Rebecca Brewster Stevenson, my thanks to the publisher for an advanced copy for review purposes.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Review/Giveaway: Time and Regret by M.K. Tod

Time And RegretWhen Grace Hansen finds a box belonging to her beloved grandfather, she has no idea it holds the key to his past—and to long-buried family secrets. In the box are his World War I diaries and a cryptic note addressed to her. Determined to solve her grandfather’s puzzle, Grace follows his diary entries across towns and battle sites in northern France, where she becomes increasingly drawn to a charming French man—and suddenly aware that someone is following her…

Through her grandfather’s vivid writing and Grace’s own travels, a picture emerges of a man very unlike the one who raised her: one who watched countless friends and loved ones die horrifically in battle; one who lived a life of regret. But her grandfather wasn’t the only one harboring secrets, and the more Grace learns about her family, the less she thinks she can trust them.

Paperback, 353 pages 
Published August 16th 2016
 by Lake Union Publishing

I have previously read Lies Told in Silence also written by M.K. Tod and looked forward to reading this new one.  Though I finished this book a month ago it has still stayed with me, there is more to Time and Regret than the actual story.

The cover reflects the story nicely (and is gorgeous) while the title perfectly matches the story.  With the modern day story taking place in 1991, where there is no need for internet and cell phones to distract.
The author did a great job with Martin's diaries. Beginning when he first enlisted you can see and feel his emotional struggles as the war, with all it's brutality, gets worse and unbearable. It wasn't hard to feel his emotional state as he loses his best friends and other young men. His feeling of helplessness and the guilt of being the one in charge and knowing those you stand with in battle might very well never go home.
"There's no point in friendship in this mess. You make friends and they die. It's that simple. God knows why I'm still alive." 
Meeting Grace when a recently divorced mother of 2 and watching her journey of self discovery was a great experience.  Traveling as she retraces her grandfathers footsteps through France, visualizing the scenery and culinary experiences showed the authors vast knowledge of the times and locale.

I enjoyed the story, the mystery and Grace's adventure.  Though I anticipated the ending it was a great read.  There was so much about this book that really enjoyed as a reader and also on a personal level. There was more here than the story. It's personal, to go outside your comfort zone, take a risk, grab life and live it on your own terms. It's a reminder about regret and doing the things that you love out of your own desire.

Definitely a book that I highly recommend.  Thank you to Emma at France Book Tours for the invite to be part of this tour and to M.K. Tod for a print copy of Time and Regret.


Time And Regret MK Tod Time and Regret is M.K. Tod’s third novel. She began writing in 2005 while living as an expat in Hong Kong. What started as an interest in her grandparents’ lives turned into a full-time occupation writing historical fiction. Her novel Unravelled was awarded Indie Editor’s Choice by the Historical Novel Society.

In addition to writing historical novels, she blogs about reading and writing historical fiction at, reviews books for the Historical Novel Society and the Washington Independent Review of Books, and has conducted three highly respected reader surveys. She lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and is the mother of two adult children.

Please visit her website and her blog A Writer of History Subscribe to her mailing list or contact her at

Follow her on Facebook and Twitter on Goodreads and Pinterest Buy the book (print, ebook audiobook): Amazon


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

Enter here

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



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Review: The Secrets of Flight by Maggie Leffler

This captivating, breakout novel—told in alternating viewpoints—brings readers from the skies of World War II to the present day, where a woman is prepared to tell her secrets at last.

Estranged from her family since just after World War II, Mary Browning has spent her entire adult life hiding from her past. Now eighty-seven years old and a widow, she is still haunted by secrets and fading memories of the family she left behind. Her one outlet is the writing group she’s presided over for a decade, though she’s never written a word herself. When a new member walks in—a fifteen-year-old girl who reminds her so much of her beloved sister Sarah—Mary is certain fate delivered Elyse Strickler to her for a reason.

Mary hires the serious-eyed teenager to type her story about a daring female pilot who, during World War II, left home for the sky and gambled everything for her dreams—including her own identity.

As they begin to unravel the web of Mary’s past, Mary and Elyse form an unlikely friendship. Together they discover it’s never too late for second chances and that sometimes forgiveness is all it takes for life to take flight in the most unexpected ways.

Paperback, 344 pages
Published May 3rd 2016 by William Morrow Paperbacks
ARC via Edelweiss
It isn't a secret the dual time books are a favorite of mine. Usually there is always one story line that I am drawn to more than the other, however with The Secrets of Flight both stories kept me entertained.  I love the cover for this book, with a husband with his private pilots license, I am attracted to these little planes. Add to that, this is also a book of writers and it's at a writers group meeting that Mary and Elyse meet. A book about books and  writers - how can that not be a great start.

 Mary is almost 90 years old when she decides her story needs to told as well as to come to terms with her past. There are secrets that she needs to come clean with and her decision to tell 15 year old Elyse was an interesting twist. Two totally different characters with different personalities and background making this relationship interesting to watch as it developed into something special.

 I really enjoyed the authors writing style it wasn't hard to get lost in this story. When thinking of World War II I give little thought to the impact on those living in countries where the fighting is not taking place.  With The Secrets of Flight the reader feels the struggles of Mary and her family during this time. The story line was unique as Mary learned to fly planes while keeping it a secret from most of her family. When the war dawns this creates more obstacles for Mary and she is forced to make some decisions that will impact the rest of her life and that of her family.

Young Elyse isn't without here own conflicts and how these two meshed together, overcoming pain and heartache brought forth not just an entertaining story but one that touches the heart strings.

Thank you to Edelweiss for an advanced copy of this book.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle

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 
Expected publication: December 27th 2016 
by Mira

Even the perfect marriage has its dark side…

 Iris and Will's marriage is as close to perfect as it can be: a large house in a nice Atlanta neighborhood, rewarding careers and the excitement of trying for their first baby. But on the morning Will leaves for a business trip to Orlando, Iris's happy world comes to an abrupt halt. Another plane headed for Seattle has crashed into a field, killing everyone on board, and according to the airline, Will was one of the passengers on this plane.

 Grief-stricken and confused, Iris is convinced it all must be a huge misunderstanding. But as time passes and there is still no sign of Will, she reluctantly accepts that he is gone. Still, Iris needs answers. Why did Will lie about where he was going? What is in Seattle? And what else has he lied about? As Iris sets off on a desperate quest to find out what her husband was keeping from her, the answers she receives will shock her to her very core.

What are you waiting for?

Monday, September 5, 2016

Review/Giveaway: Days of Sun and Glory (The King’s Greatest Enemy #2) by Anna Belfrage

02_Days of Sun and Glory

Adam de Guirande has barely survived the aftermath of Roger Mortimer’s rebellion in 1321. When Mortimer manages to escape the Tower and flee to France, anyone who has ever served Mortimer becomes a potential traitor – at least in the eyes of King Edward II and his royal chancellor, Hugh Despenser. Adam must conduct a careful balancing act to keep himself and his family alive. Fortunately, he has two formidable allies: Queen Isabella and his wife, Kit. England late in 1323 is a place afflicted by fear. Now that the king’s greatest traitor, Roger Mortimer, has managed to evade royal justice, the king and his beloved Despenser see dissidents and rebels everywhere – among Mortimer’s former men, but also in the queen, Isabella of France.

Their suspicions are not unfounded. Tired of being relegated to the background by the king’s grasping favourite, Isabella has decided it is time to act – to safeguard her own position, but also that of her son, Edward of Windsor. As Adam de Guirande has pledged himself to Prince Edward he is automatically drawn into the queen’s plans – whether he likes it or not.

Yet again, Kit and Adam are forced to take part in a complicated game of intrigue and politics. Yet again, they risk their lives – and that of those they hold dear – as the king and Mortimer face off. Once again, England is plunged into war – and this time it will not end until either Despenser or Mortimer is dead.

Days of Sun and Glory is the second in Anna Belfrage’s series, The King’s Greatest Enemy, the story of a man torn apart by his loyalties to his lord, his king, and his wife.

Publication Date: July 4, 2016
Matador eBook & Paperback; 418 Pages 
Series: The King's Greatest Enemy 
Genre: Historical Fiction
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I don't think it's a big secret that I am a fan of Anna Belfrage and have been since reading her Graham Saga Series, so it only stands to reason that when she has a new book out I read it right away. Days of Sun and Glory is book two in her The King's Greatest Enemy series and she does a great job of recapping enough to make this book work as a standalone but I highly recommend starting with book one, it's a great series and starting from the beginning will just make the ride more enjoyable.

 Though Kit, Adam and the family are largely fictional characters the author has set them in a real historical place and time. Kit and Adam are a great couple, they are authentic and not immune to the times, they struggled with separation, jealousy, deception and heartache. The future was bleak and they were forced to live their lives not really knowing who they can and should trust while at the mercy of a King who wasn't ruling with a heart for his country but relying on advice from the wrong places.  Prince Edward was used as a pawn in his agenda as was his queen giving this story the added intrigue, suspense and adventure that made Days of Sun and Glory such a pleasure to read.

This isn't a small book coming in at almost 500 pages but it is the type of book that draws you in, making you care about the characters, what happens to them and sometimes even feeling (maybe a tad) sorry for the enemy. The author's passion for this time period is evident and shows in her knowledge of the era, taking the reader not just through the English countryside but also to France and even the coast of the Netherlands.  

Of course there was romance here, Anna know's how to do that right, some of those pages were just a sizzlin'.

Definitely a series I highly recommend.  Thank you to Amy at HFVBT for the invite to be part of this tour and to Anna Belfrage for a lovely print copy of this book (love the cover).

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

03_Annna_Belfrage 2015

Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a professional time-traveller. As such a profession does as yet not exists, she settled for second best and became a financial professional with two absorbing interests, namely history and writing.

These days, Anna combines an exciting day-job with a large family and her writing endeavours. When Anna fell in love with her future husband, she got Scotland as an extra, not because her husband is Scottish or has a predilection for kilts, but because his family fled Scotland due to religious persecution in the 17th century – and were related to the Stuarts.

For a history buff like Anna, these little details made Future Husband all the more desirable, and sparked a permanent interest in the Scottish Covenanters, which is how Matthew Graham, protagonist of the acclaimed The Graham Saga, began to take shape. Set in 17th century Scotland and Virginia/Maryland, the series tells the story of Matthew and Alex, two people who should never have met – not when she was born three hundred years after him. With this heady blend of romance, adventure, high drama and historical accuracy, Anna hopes to entertain and captivate, and is more than thrilled when readers tell her just how much they love her books and her characters. Presently, Anna is hard at work with her next project, a series set in the 1320s featuring Adam de Guirande, his wife Kit, and their adventures and misfortunes in connection with Roger Mortimer’s rise to power. The King’s Greatest Enemy is a series where passion and drama play out against a complex political situation, where today’s traitor may be tomorrow’s hero, and the Wheel of Life never stops rolling. The first installment in the Adam and Kit story, In the Shadow of the Storm, was published in 2015. The second book, Days of Sun and Glory, will be published in July 2016.

Other than on her website,, Anna can mostly be found on her blog, – unless, of course, she is submerged in writing her next novel.

You can also connect with Anna on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.
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To win a copy of Days of Sun & Glory by Anna Belfrage, please enter via the Gleam form below.

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on September 29th. 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.

  Days of Sun and Glory

Friday, September 2, 2016

Review/Giveaway: Aphrodite's Choice by Christy English

02_Aphrodite's Choice

Aphrodite, Goddess of Love, still walks the modern world.

No longer thronged by worshipers, Aphrodite heals the bodies and souls of the men she touches, one man, one night, at a time. But not everyone thinks of her as a long-dead myth. Someone is stalking her. The men who have hunted her kind as witches for centuries have passed their hatred on to their sons.

As she flees her enemies and tries to warn her sisters of the danger facing them once again, Aphrodite is followed by one of the members of the Brotherhood, a man who has been given the task of killing her, and any of her sisters who cross his path. But it does not take her long to discover that Steven Wharton is not a murderer, and his soul is one she has known before.

In this paranormal romance, a goddess’s past is brought to life, from the Greek city of Corinth to the shores of the island of Cyprus, at the court of Versailles to the burning city of Persepolis. But it is not until she meets Steve that Aphrodite falls in love for the first time. As she faces an ancient enemy, Aphrodite discovers that the love she feels, not the love she gives, is the root of her soul. And that love might even be the path to her freedom...

Publication Date: May 20, 2016 
eBook; ASIN: B01FZQ80F0 
Series: The Goddess Diaries #1 
Genre: Fantasy/Mythology/Paranormal/Romance
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Sometimes it is good to step out of your comfort zone and try something new.  I have heard authors cringe when a review starts 'fantasy/paranormal are not what I normally read' they must ask themselves why said reader even entertained the thought of reading their book let alone doing it for a blog tour.  I love a good mystery and historical fiction is my favorite however simple put, my main reason for reading Aphrodite's Choice was the author. I've seen her name popping up numerous times online and even have a number of her books patiently sitting in my TBR pile.  So I couldn't pass this opportunity up.

I find mythology interesting but my knowledge isn't that vast but I know enough to get by.  This book peeked my interest to learn more about this ancient period in history.  I found the premise for Aphrodite's Choice to be unique, grabbing my attention right away and kept me glued to my kindle. Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, but can she truly find love herself?  The author used real historical events as the backdrop, taking me back in time, getting to know Aphrodite along the way.  As the story unfolded I found myself reading faster as the action sped up, suffice to say it wasn't hard to get lost in this story.

  I loved the author's writing style, she creates enough mystery and suspense that kept me guessing and then surprised me with the ending.  Definitely a book and author I recommend.

This is book one in the Goddess Diaries Series and I am anxious to see what takes place in book two.  Thank you to Amy at HFVBT for the invite and the author for a digital copy of Aphrodite's Choice.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Ever since Christy English picked up a fake sword in stage combat class at the age of fourteen, she has lived vicariously through the sword-wielding women of her imagination. Sometimes an actor, always a storyteller, Christy works happily with Sourcebooks Casablanca to bring the knife-throwing women of her novels to life. A banker by day and a writer by night, she loves to eat chocolate, drink too many soft drinks, and walk the mountain trails of her home in western North Carolina.

Please visit her at

You can also find Christy on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.


To win an eBook of Aphrodite's Choice by Christy English, please enter via the Gleam form below. 5 eBooks are up for grabs!

Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on September 9th. 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.

  Aphrodite's Choice

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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Book Blast: The Boy Who Wanted Wings by James Conroyd Martin

02_The Boy Who Wanted Wings

Aleksy, a dark-complexioned Tatar raised by a Polish peasant family, holds in his heart the wish is to become a Polish hussar, a lancer who carries into battle a device attached to his back that holds dozens of eagle feathers. As a Tatar and as a peasant, this is an unlikely quest. When he meets Krystyna, the daughter of the noble who owns the land that his parents work, he falls hopelessly in love. But even though she returns his love, race and class differences make this quest as impossible as that of becoming a hussar. Under the most harrowing and unlikely circumstances, one day Aleksy must choose between his dreams.

On the eve of September 11, 1683, a massive Muslim Ottoman horde was besieging the gates of the imperial city of Vienna and had been doing so since the previous July. Now, however, they were just hours from capturing this capital of the Holy Roman Empire. The Turks’ intent was to bring Islam to all of Europe, and this city was seen by East and West alike as the gateway. With the window of time closing for Vienna, the walls were about to be breached on September 12 when the vastly outnumbered Christian coalition, led by Polish King Jan III Sobieski and his famous winged hussars, descended Kahlenberg Mountain to engage the Turks in an attempt to lift the siege. As crucial and consequential as the 1066 Battle of Hastings, the ensuing battle changed the course of European history.

(Was it the first 9/11? Some people believe that the date for the September 11th attack in 2001 was chosen to symbolically resume the effort that began in 1683.)

Publication Date: September 1, 2016 
Hardcover ISBN: 97809978994516 
Paperback ISBN: 9780997894509 358
 Pages Genre: Historical Fiction
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“A poor archer in medieval Poland takes aim at the love of his life in this epic novel from Martin. The anxious Aleksy Gazdecki, a young farmhand, embodies the ethnic and political tensions of Europe during the reign of the Ottoman Empire. The believability of this novel, which is sprinkled with period-specific details, is never in question. Martin sets the stage so tidily that the plight of Aleksy and Krystyna, who desire to move beyond the social classes that keep them apart, transcends the historical moment. Sprawling but never slow, the plot moves naturally from battle to intimacy and back again. A gripping, transporting story of self-determination set against fate.” ~Kirkus Reviews

"Amidst class and religious warfare, this alternately romantic and brutal love story is also a reminder that the struggle between Christianity and Islam is a great deal older than 2001. Culminating in the re-creation of the Siege of Vienna in 1683, where monstrous killing was perpetrated in the name of God and power, this is a meticulously researched and convincingly written tale of love’s triumph that will surprise historical fiction readers with its little known historical backdrop. In an ethnically diverse Poland that is now long gone, the main characters struggle with loyalties to family, race, and country as they come to understand that no fear or evil is unchangeable." ~Leonard Kniffel, Past Editor in Chief of American Libraries Director, Polish American Librarians Association

About The Poland Trilogy

04_The Poland Trilogy
Based on the diary of a Polish countess who lived through the rise and fall of the Third of May Constitution years, 1791-94, Push Not the River paints a vivid picture of a tumultuous and unforgettable metamorphosis of a nation—and of Anna, a proud and resilient woman. Against a Crimson Sky continues Anna’s saga as Napoléon comes calling, implying independence would follow if only Polish lancers would accompany him on his fateful 1812 march into Russia. Anna’s family fights valiantly to hold onto a tenuous happiness, their country, and their very lives. Set against the November Rising (1830-31), The Warsaw Conspiracy depicts partitioned Poland’s daring challenge to the Russian Empire. Brilliantly illustrating the psyche of a people determined to reclaim independence in the face of monumental odds, the story features Anna’s sons and their fates in love and war.

03_James Conroyd Martin

James Conroyd Martin is the award-winning author of The Poland Trilogy (Push Not the River, Against a Crimson Sky, & The Warsaw Conspiracy), a saga inspired by the diary of a countess in 1790s Poland. Hologram: A Haunting was inspired by a house he lived in in Hammond, Indiana. He currently resides in Portland, Oregon.

For more information please visit James Conroyd Martin's website.

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

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