Friday, February 26, 2016

Review: Marooned in the Arctic: The True Story of Ada Blackjack, the "Female Robinson Crusoe" by Peggy Caravantes

In 1921, four men ventured into the Arctic for a top-secret expedition: an attempt to claim uninhabited Wrangel Island in northern Siberia for Great Britain.

With the men was a young Inuit woman named Ada Blackjack, who had signed on as cook and seamstress to earn money to care for her sick son. Conditions soon turned dire for the team when they were unable to kill enough game to survive. Three of the men tried to cross the frozen Chukchi Sea for help but were never seen again, leaving Ada with one remaining team member who soon died of scurvy. Determined to be reunited with her son, Ada learned to survive alone in the icy world by trapping foxes, catching seals, and avoiding polar bears. After she was finally rescued in August 1923, after two years total on the island, Ada became a celebrity, with newspapers calling her a real “female Robinson Crusoe.” The first young adult book about Blackjack’s remarkable story, Marooned in the Arctic includes sidebars on relevant topics of interest to teens, including the use cats on ships, the phenomenon known as Arctic hysteria, and aspects of Inuit culture and beliefs.

With excerpts from diaries, letters, and telegrams; historic photos; a map; source notes; and a bibliography, this is an indispensable resource for any young adventure lover, classroom, or library.

Hardcover, 208 pages 
Expected publication: March 1st 2016 
by Chicago Review Press
source: netgalley
****

I don't read a lot of nonfiction but this one caught my eye.  Coming in with just over 200 pages it was a relatively quick read, there were actual pictures which did add to the narrative.  This is targeted to a younger audience which the writing reflected nicely.  The author set up the story with bio's of each of the 4 men that accompanied Ada on the journey as well as her story.

An interesting read showing the harsh events of those 2 years for Ada.  It wasn't an in-depth look but considering the audience I think it was enough.  Local customs.traditions were defined to explain them to the reader.  

This was an educational read about a woman that history seems to have forgotten.  I think middle grade ages would also enjoy this one, it gave enough details without going into graphic detail.  Marooned is a fine example of a young mother who did not give up, but was determined to provide and survive for her young son.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Review: Last in a Long Line of Rebels by Lisa Lewis Tyre

Debut novelist Lisa Lewis Tyre vibrantly brings a small town and its outspoken characters to life, as she explores race and other community issues from both the Civil War and the present day.

Lou might be only twelve, but she’s never been one to take things sitting down. So when her Civil War-era house is about to be condemned, she’s determined to save it—either by getting it deemed a historic landmark or by finding the stash of gold rumored to be hidden nearby during the war. As Lou digs into the past, her eyes are opened when she finds that her ancestors ran the gamut of slave owners, renegades, thieves and abolitionists. 

Meanwhile, some incidents in her town show her that many Civil War era prejudices still survive and that the past can keep repeating itself if we let it. Digging into her past shows Lou that it’s never too late to fight injustice, and she starts to see the real value of understanding and exploring her roots. 

 Age Range: 10 and up 
Grade Level: 5 and up
 Hardcover: 288 pages
Source: print copy as part of tour
*****
Well here you have it friends, another 'best of 2016'.  As I type this up I am trying to come up with things that I did not like about this book and you know what?  I couldn't come up with a single thing. Hopefully I won't gush too much or get your expectations so high that when (if) you read this book it won't invoke the same reaction - its happened to me before so I know the feeling about reading overly positive reviews.

So where to begin?  This book's targeted age is 10+ and it hits that perfectly, now I am well above that target and I enjoyed it immensely.  Lou is a character, she is sassy, impulsive, caring, curious and a fighter.  She wants excitement during her summer vacation so when prays are offered up for that exact thing she gets more than she bargained for.  Now she doesn't just pray and that's it, she attends church with her friends to help the process along - no it isn't preachy in anyway here.  But it does show her commitment and drive for 'excitement'.

With each chapter opening with a snippet of diary entries dating back to the 1860's, penned by another Louise Mayhew, the author created a setting of mystery and intrigue.  By connecting the past to the present with this old family home, it also showed that some of the prejudices from that old time period still exist today.  Taking place in 1999, there are no cell phones or internet to aid in this group of friends mission.  It was a refresh change to see kids being kids without all the techno devices. 

I loved the authors writing style, she was able to make me feel the wide range of emotions that Lou endured, to feel her passion in trying to save her home and motives. To see her grow and realize whats important and how she can make a difference, especially when things don't turn out the way you think they should.  Lou's friends round out the story perfectly, each with their own character traits and I gotta say  I loved Bertie, Lou's grandmother, she added so much sparkle to this story, reminding me of Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey).  

The cover of Last In a Long Line of Rebels fits this story perfectly.  A solid debut, definitely an author I highly recommend and I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next.  Thank you to TLC Tours for inviting me to be part of this tour.



About Lisa Lewis Tyre:   I grew up in a small town in Tennessee surrounded by my crazy family and neighbors. I learned early on that not every child had a pet skunk, a dad that ran a bar in the front yard, or a neighbor that was so large his house had to be torn down to get him out. 

What else could I do but write? I’ve wanted to write for as long as I can remember. I think this is because I come from a long line of storytellers. I loved listening to my dad tell me about the escapades of his youth, like how he “accidentally” pushed his brother out of a two-story window, and “accidentally” shot his aunt’s chicken with a bow and arrow. Apparently he was accident-prone.

One of the stories they told me involved the name of our piece of the country. I lived in a tiny spot that the locals called Zollicoffer. When I asked why it had such a strange name, they said it was named after General Felix Zollicoffer who had camped nearby during the Civil War. One day I happened to ask my mom where exactly the camp had been. That’s when she pointed down the road and said, “Probably over there. That’s where some kids in the 50’s found GOLD.” And just like that, LAST IN A LONG LINE OF REBELS was born.


click on banner for more stops on this tour


 “Accomplished debut. . . . Strong secondary characters, including Lou’s thrice-divorced flirtatious grandmother, help build the strong sense of small-town community. Tyre masterfully weaves historical details into Lou’s discoveries in ways that never feel facile, while deftly and satisfyingly resolving past and present puzzles.”—Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

 “Louise Duncan Mayhew’s perspective in the 1860s is an intriguing contrast to Lou’s modern narration at the turn of the 21st century. . . . The story addresses injustice in plain language that is accessible to young readers who enjoy whodunits.”—Kirkus Reviews 

 “Tyre’s debut features characters that are believable in their naïveté and sense of invincibility. . . . Louise’s account of their summer adventures, with chapters headed by entries from a Civil War diary, should please middle-grade readers looking for a solid story with an intriguing historical connection.”—Booklist 

“The characters are true to life. . . . In the midst of solving a Civil War–era mystery, Lou and her friends confront racism in their own time. Lou feels deeply and is single-minded in her pursuit of justice. A solid debut novel for middle graders who enjoy a blend of history and mystery.”—School Library Journal BEA Middle Grade Buzz Pick Amazon Editors Pick (October, 9-12 yr olds.)

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Bookblast & Giveaway: Outrageous: The Victoria Woodhull Saga, Volume I: Rise to Riches by Neal Katz

02_Outrageous

Historical fictionalized account of Victoria Woodhull's rise to presidential candidate and wealth, coming from poverty and abuse.

What compels a woman and her youngest sister to overcome abject poverty and violent abuse to grow up to defy convention and obliterate every barrier to become the first women to own and operate a Wall Street brokerage firm and publish their own newspaper?

How did Victoria Claflin Woodhull (1838 - 1927) become the first woman invited to speak to the United State Congress, and then the first female to run for president. What made Tennessee Celeste Claflin (1845 - 1923) so beguiling that the richest man in America, Cornelius Vanderbilt, fell completely in love with her? What caused the sisters to live out their long lives as royalty and peerage in Europe. Victoria living as landed gentry outside of London, and Tennessee in a huge castle like a queen? Why aren't these empowered and independent women iconic in our culture? 

Volume One of The Victoria Woodhull Saga tells the poignant, lascivious, and compelling inside story of how the sisters worked closely with Cornelius Vanderbilt, who at age 74 fell in love with the beguiling 24-year old Tennessee. Victoria provided the titan of industry "Inside Her Information" gathered through the soiled sisterhood, the ladies of the evening working at the top seven brothels servicing the rich and famous of New York City. This relationship resulted in the great lion of industry having his last public roar as together they manipulated the financial markets and created the impending collapse of the U.S. economy in the gold scandal of 1869. To avert the crash, President Ulysses S. Grant provides the richest man in America insider information on the gold market and telegrams Vanderbilt that his railroad company is "Too Big To Fail!" Vanderbilt was proclaimed "The Savior of the American Economy" for intervening in a crisis he helped create.

View Victorian America through the eyes and thoughts of one of its leading heroines., Victoria Woodhull. Watch as the infighting and elitism of the earliest suffrage women denigrating, castigating, and denouncing other passionate suffrage rights women delayed woman suffrage and equal legal standing for five decades. Learn wonderful anecdotes of the origins of products and phrases used today. Learn the story of Reverend Henry Ward Beecher, the most popular man in America, who transformed Christianity from his father's "fire and brimstone" theology to one of a compassionate and loving Jesus, who will redeem all who turn to salvation with complete confession of their sins. The reverend's personal life did not imitate his lofty and popular theology of his weekly sermons at Plymouth Church. He was a notorious womanizer, often bedding, and sometimes impregnating the wives, sisters, and daughters of his most ardent trackers and deacons of the church. 

Written in the first person from Victoria's viewpoint, Neal Katz weaves a compelling page-turning story that cleverly unfolds history while providing a wonderfully entertaining ride. Katz has pledged one half of book sale proceeds to charities dedicating to the empowerment and sustainable economic improvement of women, especially single mothers.

Publication Date: October 1, 2015
Top Reads Publishing Hardcover, Paperback, Ebook; 
344 Pages
Series: The Victoria Woodhull Saga (Vol I)
 Genre: Historical Fiction 
Add to GR Button

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

Praise

"Victoria Woodhull is one of the most fascinating but forgotten characters in American history. She deserves to be better known by anyone who cares about gender equality and the ongoing fight to make America a more tolerant and just country--kudos to Neal Katz for bringing her story to life for a new generation of readers." -Debby Applegate, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher

 "I can't believe this is Neal's first book. Incredibly well written, this is an important work. I see a National bestseller and a long running series." -Victor Villasenor, National bestselling author of Rain of Gold,Three time Pulitzer Prize nominee, and author of Revenge of a Catholic Schoolboy

03_Neal Katz

Neal Katz is a semi-retired, serial entrepreneur, CEO with a passion for women rights. He lives a life based on self-awareness and Love. He practices Yoga, meditates daily, has taught A Course in Miracles, produced Oregon wines, enjoys being a gourmet chef, recites Vedic sutras, and writes his own inspirational poetry. The saga of Victoria Woodhull appeales to Neal, as it serves three purposes. First, the story provokes public awareness of the historical and continuing denigration and subjugation of gender prejudice. Second, the tale exposes the historical basis for the manipulation of the free markets of stocks, bonds and commodities. Third, the story shows how existing financial and political power structures used prison and seizure of assets to prevent innovation and social change. Victoria Woodhull overcame all these obstacles in a remarkable life. Neal chose to write in first person using Victoria s words, thoughts, and point of view to tell the tale, inviting the reader to see through her eyes. The style is magic realism along the lines of Allende, Marquez, and Kathleen McGowan (The Magdalene Trilogy). This is an expression of the HeForShe solidarity movement for gender equality championed by Emma Watson, and Neal proudly proclaims himself a male feminist! Neal has pledged fifty percent (50%) of his author's royalties from book sales and all ancillary revenues, including foreign print distribution and Hollywood rights to a foundation formed in tribute to Victoria Woodhull and her passion for woman rights. The foundation will promote and prove programs for the empowerment and sustainable economic improvement of women, especially single mothers.

For more information visit http://outrageousthebook.com/. You can also follow the author on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Giveaway

To win a signed Hardcover copy of Outrageous: The Victoria Woodhull Saga, Book One please enter the giveaway via the GLEAM form below. Five copies are up for grabs!

Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on March 11th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US addresses only.
– 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.

04_Outrageous_Book Blast Banner_FINAL
  Outrageous Book Blast

Monday, February 22, 2016

Review: Helen Thayer's Arctic Adventure: A Woman and a Dog Walk to the North Pole by Sally Isaacs, Iva Sasheva (Illustrations)

This picture book tells the thrilling story of a woman from New Zealand who walked alone from Canada all the way to the magnetic North Pole; well, alone except for Charlie, the best and most protective dog on the globe.

 Hardcover Published January 1st 2016 by Capstone Press
source: ebook via netgalley
****

Helen Thayer's Arctic Adventure is exactly what the title says.  What makes this book so special, not only is it based on a true story but the messages it conveys.  Helen is 50 years old when she started this trek.  At first wanting to be alone she was talked into taking a Canadian Inuit Husky with her, she named him Charlie.  This adventure was something that she took seriously and trained hard for.  She planned and prepared.  Enduring polar bears and the weather they stuck together and overcame what nature put in their path. They didn't give up but persevered.

The illustrations were wonderful, depicting the barren land with its snow and hollowing winds.  Very easy to feel the elements.  The colorful pages are what brings this book to life, I would recommend reading on a colored tablet or the print copy.

This story is direct and to the point, it is perfect for the targeted age (middle grade).  I loved its message - that no matter your age/gender you can follow you dreams, by working hard, planning and being prepared your can do anything.

Thank you to Netgalley for bringing this book to my attention,  the author herself has penned a more in depth story of this 'adventure' called Polar Dreams and sits nestled on my tbr pile.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Review/Giveaway: The Shadow Ally (The Yankee Years Book 1) by Dianne Ascroft

The Shadow Ally is a Short Read – approximately 2 hours or more – in The Yankee Years series.

America is not yet at war, but the country is preparing for it. And it is essential that this remain secret.

June 1941: Ruth Corey is puzzled by the attractive, enigmatic Italian-American civilian contractor, Frank Long, who is staying at her family’s hotel in Irvinestown, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. Serious and reserved, he is nothing like the friendly, outgoing British and Canadian servicemen she knows. Nor, she discovers, does he even use his real surname. War is a time of alliances and secrets. The biggest secret in the county is the construction of an American flying boat base outside Irvinestown.

Since their country is not at war, the American contractors must conceal the building project. America’s neutrality will be destroyed if Germany discovers its existence. Ambitious local reporter, and Ruth’s almost fiancé, Harry Coalter is consumed with curiosity about the new American airbase. But why? When Ruth finds a letter Harry has written about the flying boat base she fears he is pursuing a path that will land him in serious trouble. She enlists Frank’s help to stop Harry from making a terrible mistake.

Can Ruth safeguard a military secret that will have a profound impact on the course of the war and protect her beau? A tale for fans of Annie Murray, Ellie Dean and Margaret Dickinson.

The Yankee Years series: During the Second World War Northern Ireland hosted American, British and Canadian troops. County Fermanagh welcomed Air Force squadrons hunting U-boats and defending shipping convoys in the Atlantic Ocean and Army battalions training and preparing for deployment to Europe’s Western Front. After the Allied troops arrived, life would never be the same again. The Yankee Years novels and Short Reads weave thrilling and romantic tales of the people and the era.

Publication Date: December 4, 2015
eBook; 76 Pages 
 Genre: Historical Fiction
  Add to GR Button 
****

Though coming in at only 76 pages and a relatively quick read it was still interesting and suspenseful.
Set in 1941 with WW II in the background the reader is introduced to Ruth who works at her family run hotel where Americans are staying.   

The author wrote in a manner that made me care about Ruth, Frank and the little town of Irvinestown.  It was mysterious with some suspicious characters and activity

Definitely a series that I will continue to read,  I am curious as to the role the US plays from this location, also what Frank's Italian background could mean should that info get out.  Lots to look forward to in the next book.



 Dianne Ascroft is a Canadian writer living in Britain. Since moving to Britain in 1990 she has lived in Scotland and Northern Ireland. She writes both fiction and non-fiction and her fiction often has Irish connections. Her articles and short stories have been printed in Canadian and Irish magazines and regional newspapers including the Toronto Star, Ireland’s Own, Senior Times, Celtic Connection and Irish Connections Canada. She is co-editor and a regular contributor to The Fermanagh Miscellany, the Fermanagh Authors’ Association’s yearly anthology and she also contributes material to other local history and writers’ anthologies. Dianne is a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors, Historical Novel Society, Writers Abroad, Fermanagh Authors’ Association and Fermanagh Writers. Dianne started life in a quiet residential neighbourhood in the buzzing city of Toronto and has progressively moved to smaller places through the years. She now lives on a small farm in Northern Ireland with her husband and an assortment of strong willed animals. If she ever decides to write her autobiography the working title will be ‘Downsizing’. For more information please visit Dianne’s website.

You can also find her on her BlogFacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.


Monday, February 8
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Friday, February 12
Tuesday, February 16
Review at Book Nerd
Wednesday, February 17
Friday, February 19

Giveaway

To win an eBook of The Shadow Ally by Dianne Ascroft please enter the giveaway via the GLEAM form below. Three copies are up for grabs!

 Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 19th. 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.

  The Shadow Ally

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Guestpost with Cynthia Ripley Miller (author of On the Edge of Sunrise)

I am happy to have author Cynthia Ripley Miller here today with a special post.  I would love to hear your thoughts about it.  Be sure to scroll to the bottom for more stops on her blog tour to hear about her new book, On the Edge of Sunrise.  There are reviews and giveaways also.

What Does The 5th Century Roman Empire Look Like?
By Cynthia Ripley Miller

Merovech Victorious in Battle, by Emmanuel Frémiet
 (The artist is dead and the piece was done in 1867)

An avid reader of both fiction and history, I became fascinated with fifth century France and the world of the barbarian Franks, later called the Merovingians.  My curiosity doubled when I discovered a different view of ancient Rome in this period and its interaction with European barbarian tribes.  The Roman Empire was on the brink of collapse and into this gap stepped the barbarians.  Gregory of Tours, bishop, and sixth century historian, wrote in his work, The History of the Franks, of how the Franks rose from tribal chiefs and warriors to the acknowledged masters of Roman Gaul (France).  Fascinated by this era of change and upheaval, I chose late ancient Rome and Gaul as the setting for my novel, On the Edge of Sunrise.
History and People
By the third century, the Germanic Franks were a federation formed of eleven tribal groups, which included the Salian Franks and the Chamavi.  They occupied the territory on the east bank of the lower Rhine valley known as Gaul (modern Belgium and southern Netherlands) and in the later centuries as Francia/France.
            Merovingian, the title given to the Franks, derives from Meroveus/Merovech one of the first kings of the Salian Franks.  Around 450, he entered a power struggle with his older brother for the throne.  Meroveus went to Rome to gain support from the Romans for succession as king against an elder brother who aligned with Attila the Hun for the same reason.  Priscus, a Roman historian, wrote of Meroveus, “ … he was still very young and we all remarked his fair hair which fell upon his shoulders.”  Frank nobles distinguished themselves from the commoner and other groups by wearing longer hair, despite the fashion, and were called ‘Long-hairs.’  The Salian Franks fought with Rome at the Battle of Catalaunum or Catalaunian Plains. 
            General Flavius Aetius, also referred to by some as the ‘last Roman’, served as the Master of the Soldiers from 429 to 454 and had a long career as a soldier and general.  He won the Battle of Catalaunum against Attila the Hun in 451.  After Attila’s death in 453, Emperor Valentinian III believed that Aetius conspired to put his own son, Gaudentius (betrothed to Valentinian’s daughter) on the throne.  Valentinian felt threatened and stabbed Aetius to death as he read a financial account to him.  With Aetius gone, the empire was vulnerable and left without a true defender.  In 455, the Vandals sacked Rome.
Religion
By the fifth century, most of the Roman Empire was Christianized, including many barbarian groups.  However, reputable sources have recorded that the Germanic Franks were northern pagans in a Christian Roman Empire.  Little evidence exists regarding their precise spiritual beliefs, especially in the fifth century.  Yet, they were a Germanic tribe.  The Franks remained pagan until Clovis.  He united all the Frank tribes under one ruler to become their first official king and converted to Christianity in 496. 
5th Century Products and Domestic Life
The most important role for a Roman woman was as a wife and mother.  Mothers passed on their domestic skills to their daughters, but historians write that girls and boys attended primary school. Girls from elite families learned Latin and Greek. Girls and boys sang in choirs and attended social events.  Women from the upper classes appear ‘well-educated, some highly so, and at times praised by historians for their learning and cultivation.’  Freeborn women were citizens but could not vote or hold office; however, women played an active role in trying to persuade the government to adopt certain policies.  Although Roman women held no direct political power, those from wealthy or powerful families could and did influence through private negotiations. 
The currency at the time was the Denarius and Solidus.
            Braziers (a portable heater) were stoked by wood, charcoal and coke; oil lamps for light and heat.  Rural farms used center room fire pits.
Barbarian men wore tunics with leggings and the women tunic style dresses. Brooches were used to secure capes and robes together. Roman men wore uniforms if in the military and on duty, otherwise tunics without leggings.  Togas were more for dress or ceremony.  Roman women wore the stola, a draped, belted dress.
Barbarians liked mead.  Romans liked watered down or sweetened wine.  However, no one will pass up what is available to them!
The fifth century is an era rich in drama and ripe for storytelling.  I sought to bring my heroes, Arria and Garic, to life in an age not only changing in cultural perspectives, but also, one struggling to be born. 
Attila the Hun, another historical figure in my story, adopted the Roman custom of bathing.  Even into the sixth century Roman baths were not only for hygiene and gymnastics, but for conversation and ??  
What is a public room housed in the baths one might not expect to find?  Do you have any 5th century facts you can share?
Quoted Sources:  Gregory of Tours, The History of the Franks; Beryl Rawson, The Family in Ancient Rome: New Perspectives; Bertrand Lançon: Rome in Late Antiquity

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
When love commands, destiny must obey.
 The year is AD 450.

The Roman Empire wanes as the Medieval Age awakens. Attila the Hun and his horde conquer their way across Europe into Gaul. Caught between Rome’s tottering empire and Attila’s threat are the Frankish tribes and their ‘Long-Hair’ chiefs, northern pagans in a Roman Christian world, and a people history will call the Merovingians.

A young widow, Arria longs for a purpose and a challenge. She is as well versed in politics and diplomacy as any man … but with special skills of her own. 

The Emperor Valentinian, determined to gain allies to help stop the Huns, sends a remarkable envoy, a woman, to the Assembly of Warriors in Gaul. Arria will persuade the Franks to stand with Rome against Attila.

When barbarian raiders abduct Arria, the Frank blue-eyed warrior, Garic, rescues her. Alarmed by the instant and passionate attraction she feels, Arria is torn between duty and desire. Her arranged betrothal to the ambitious tribune, Drusus, her secret enlistment by Valentinian as a courier to Attila the Hun, and a mysterious riddle—threaten their love and propel them into adventure, intrigue, and Attila’s camp. Rebels in a falling empire, Arria and Garic must find the strength to defy tradition and possess the love prophesied as their destiny.


 Praise
 “From cover to cover a gripping read – in all senses of the word! Grips your interest and imagination, your held breath and your pounding heart! A thumping good novel!” – Helen Hollick, USA Today bestselling author & Managing Editor Historical Novel Society Indie Reviews

“AD 450. The Roman Empire is breaking apart, and Attila the Hun has his sights set on conquering Gaul. … The love story between Garic and Arria is set against a background of fierce battles, intrigue, jealousy and betrayal. … The story weaves, twists and turns at a tremendous pace, and the characters leap off the pages, which simply keep on turning. This is the author’s debut novel, the first in her ‘Long Hair’ series. I look forward to reading more in due course. Recommended. – Marilyn Sherlock, Historical Novel Society, HNR Issue 74 (November 2015)
 
“On the Edge of Sunrise is a compelling epic, sure to appeal to fans of historical fiction. Forbidden love, a turbulent time period, and world-changing events combine to produce a real page-turner.” – India Edghill, author of Queenmaker, Wisdom’s Daughter, and Delilah
 
“On the Edge of Sunrise is a passionate and intriguing take on the often overlooked clash of three brutal and powerful empires: the Romans, Franks, and Huns. A Compelling read!” – Stephanie Thornton, author of The Secret History and The Tiger Queens

Cynthia Ripley Miller is the author of On the Edge of Sunrise, the first novel in the Long-Hair Sagas, a series set in Late Ancient Rome and France. She has lived and travelled in Europe, Africa, North America and the Caribbean, taught history and currently teaches English. Her short stories have appeared in the anthology Summer Tapestry, The Scriptor, and at Orchard Press Mysteries.com. Cynthia writes a blog, Historical Happenings and Oddities: A Distant Focus. She lives with her husband, twin cats, and German Shepherd in a suburb of Chicago.

For more information visit http://www.cynthiaripleymiller.com.
 You can also connect with Cynthia on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.


click on banner for more stops on this tour

Review: Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor

“Seventy-two hours, then we have to be back at the clearing. Sunrise on the third day.”

Being “the homeschooled girl,” in a small town, Hope Walton's crippling phobias and photographic memory don't help her fit in with her adoptive dad's perfectly blonde Southern family. But when her mother is killed in a natural disaster thousands of miles from home, Hope's secluded world crumbles. After an aunt she's never met invites her to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic. She's a member of a secret society of time travelers, and is actually trapped in the twelfth century in the age of King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Now Hope must conquer her numerous fears and travel back in time to help rescue her mother before she's lost for good. Along the way, she'll discover more family secrets, and a mysterious boy who could be vital to setting her mother free… or the key to Hope's undoing.

Addictive, romantic, and rich with historical detail, Into the Dim Outlander for teens.

Kindle Edition432 pages 
Expected publication: March 1st 2016 by HMH Books for Young Readers
ARC from HMH Books via Netgalley
****
This book had me at Eleanor!  I pretty well read anything I can about this lovely, feisty and intriguing lady.  She was a woman ahead of her time who lived a long and interesting life.

I read lots of dual time period, jumping back and forth in time but rarely actually time travel (except Outlander), which made me look forward to Into the Dim, especially since it is in the YA genre, another favorite.  Immediately I was hooked, how could I not be?  Poor Hope, attending the funeral of her mother but everyone knows it's an empty coffin - no spoiler required, says so on the first page.  What a confusing time this must have been, then she is shipped off to Scotland to relatives she has never met.  Not only abandoned but as the secrets of her mother begin to unfold Hope knows that life will never be the same again.

I really enjoyed this book, it was mysterious, full of suspense, historical with a touch of romance.  The author kept the story alive with lots of twists and turns that I didn't anticipate, it was action packed making it hard to put this one down. The truly best part is the door is open for a sequel and I can't wait.

Thank you to HMH Books and Netgalley for a review copy.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Review: Thérèse Makes a Tapestry by Alexandra S.D. Hinrichs, Renée Graef (Illustrator)

Step back in time to seventeenth-century Paris with Thérèse, a talented young girl who lives and works at the Gobelins Manufactory, where Europe’s greatest artisans make tapestries and luxury objects for King Louis XIV.

Even though girls are not trained on the great looms there, Thérèse practices on a small one at home and dreams of becoming a royal weaver someday. This charming story follows Thérèse as she carries out an ambitious plan with the help of family, friends, and the artisans of the Gobelins.

The intricate craft of tapestry weaving is illuminated, and surprises await Thérèse, her parents and brothers, and even the king himself.

Children’s book author Alexandra S. D.Hinrichs here breathes vivid life into a delightful tale full of fun twists and an appealing cast of characters. Original paintings by award-winning artist Renée Graef playfully illustrate the book, as well as the many steps involved in the creation of the famous Gobelins tapestries, from dying wool and making silver thread, to painting and copying the elaborate designs, to the delicate art of weaving. Thérèse’s fictional adventures are inspired by real people, the actual Gobelins Manufactory, and a beautiful tapestry that hangs today in the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Hardcover40 pages 
Expected publication: March 8th 2016 by Getty Publications
ARC from Getty Publications via Netgally
****
This is a delightful story of a young girl with ambition and drive.  Thérèse is a fictional character though the Gobelins Manufactory is real, as is King Louis XIV of France.

Thérèse isn't trained to weave but wanting to make something special for her father she undertakes a huge project.  I loved her drive and the way she worked out how to make it happen.  The book does a great job of explaining what is involved in weaving and the process of making a tapestry.

Though I read this on my iPad to appreciate the illustrations the hardcover would be the way to go.  The full page vivid pictures really brings this story to life.

The historical notes and glossary are a nice finishing touch, not just entertaining but educational as well.  Thank you to Getty Publications for an arc for review purposes.

Book Blast and Giveaway: The Vatican Princess: A Novel of Lucrezia Borgia by C.W. Gortner

Infamy is no accident. It is a poison in our blood. It is the price of being a Borgia.

Glamorous and predatory, the Borgias fascinated and terrorized 15th-century Renaissance Italy. Lucrezia Borgia, beloved daughter of the pope, was at the center of the dynasty’s ambitions. Slandered as a heartless seductress who lured men to their doom, was she in fact the villainess of legend, or was she trapped in a familial web, forced to choose between loyalty and survival?

With the ascension of the Spaniard Rodrigo Borgia as Pope Alexander VI, the new pope’s illegitimate children—his rival sons, Cesare and Juan, and beautiful young daughter Lucrezia—assume an exalted position in the papal court. Privileged and adored, Lucrezia yearns to escape her childhood and play a part in her family’s fortunes. But Rome is seductive and dangerous: Alliances shift at a moment’s notice as Italy’s ruling dynasties strive to keep rivals at bay. As Lucrezia’s father faces challenges from all sides, he’s obliged to marry her off to a powerful adversary. But when she discovers the brutal truth behind her alliance, Lucrezia is plunged into a perilous gambit that will require all her wits, cunning, and guile. Escaping her marriage offers the chance of happiness with a passionate prince of Naples, yet as scandalous accusations of murder and incest build against her, menacing those she loves, Lucrezia must risk everything to overcome the lethal fate imposed upon her by her Borgia blood.

Beautifully wrought, rich with fascinating historical detail, The Vatican Princess is the first novel to describe Lucrezia’s coming-of-age in her own voice—a dramatic, vivid tale set in an era of savagery and unparalleled splendor, where enemies and allies can be one and the same, and where loyalty to family can ultimately be a curse.

Publication Date: February 9, 2016
Ballantine Books
Hardcover, Ebook, Audiobook
400 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Add to GR Button


Praise

“Assiduously researched and expertly crafted . . . . This unholy plunge into Rome’s darkest dynasty is wholly engrossing.” – Allison Pataki, New York Times bestselling author

“A spider web of Renaissance intrigue with a legendary cast . . . Impressive research, a lush background, and deft characterization make for a fascinating read.” – Margaret George, New York Times bestselling author

“Elegantly written and deeply researched . . . Renaissance Italy is vividly brought to life. I’m captivated by this knowledgeable author’s take on the controversial Borgias.” – Alison Weir, NYT bestselling author


C.W. GORTNER holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis in Renaissance Studies from the New College of California, as well as an AA from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco.

After an eleven year-long career in fashion, during which he worked as a vintage retail buyer, freelance publicist, and fashion show coordinator, C.W. devoted the next twelve years to the public health sector. In 2012, he became a full-time writer following the international success of his novels.

In his extensive travels to research his books, he has danced a galliard at Hampton Court, learned about organic gardening at Chenoceaux, and spent a chilly night in a ruined Spanish castle. His books have garnered widespread acclaim and been translated into twenty-one languages to date, with over 400,000 copies sold. A sought-after public speaker. C.W. has given keynote addresses at writer conferences in the US and abroad. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights, in particular companion animal rescue to reduce shelter overcrowding.

Half-Spanish by birth and raised in southern Spain, C.W. now lives in Northern California with his partner and two very spoiled rescue cats.

For more information visit C.W. Gortner’s website and blog. You can also find him on FacebookTwittterGoodreadsPinterest, andYouTube. Sign up for C.W. Gortner’s Newsletter for updates.



The Vatican Princess Book Blast

Monday, February 15, 2016

Review: The Mapmaker's Children by Sarah McCoy

The Mapmaker's Children cover

Have you ever wondered if your decisions could change the course of history? Questioned whether or not bad things happen for a reason?

 In Sarah McCoy's THE MAPMAKER'S CHILDREN: A Novel, two women's lives are inextricably linked as they struggle through personal conflicts and wade through mysterious secrets. As the chapters alternate between these two commanding female protagonists, the reader must redefine courage, family, and destiny alongside these two remarkable women. Sarah Brown, the fiercely independent daughter of abolitionist John Brown, is a talented artist in 1860s West Virginia. When Sarah discovers that she cannot bear children, she turns her skills toward helping others and becomes one of the foremost mapmakers for the Underground Railroad. Taking cues from Slave Quilt codes, she hides maps within her paintings as the United States moves toward a bloody civil war. 

Over one hundred and fifty years later, Eden Anderson, a modern-day woman struggling to conceive a child, moves into an old house in West Virginia as a last-ditch effort to save her marriage and start a family. When she stumbles across part of an old porcelain doll in the root cellar, Eden slowly uncovers a dramatic connection to the Underground Railroad. 

McCoy, whose novel The Baker's Daughter was a nominee for the 2012 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Historical Fiction, spent three years researching the Brown family history. This research became the basis for her inventive narrative, one in which McCoy honorably portrays the spirit of the real Sarah Brown and imagines her ties to the fictional Eden. Skillfully plotted and magnificently transporting, THE MAPMAKER'S CHILDREN highlights the power of community and legacy, illustrating the ways in which history and destiny are interconnected on one enormous, intricate map.


Paperback: 336 pages 
 Publisher: Broadway Books (February 9, 2016)
Add to Goodreads badge
****

The Mapmaker's Children is a story of secrets, loved denied, forgiveness, disappointments and finding healing in unexpected places.

Dual time period books are a favorite of mine, especially when they revolve around real historical figures.  It's 1859 and the events of Harper's Ferry are about to take place, leaving the Brown family in turmoil.  Jump to 2014, Eden and Jack are struggling with life's disappointments, hoping their move to this old house will heal and give them the rest that they need.

Usually when I read dual time periods it's the past story that I'm drawn to, but in this care it was the opposite.  Eden has so much going on and it wasn't hard to feel for her.  I loved the way her character evolved, watching the changes taking place was written in both a realistic and emotional manner.  I could feel her disappointments and confusion during this time.

Sarah Brown, daughter of John Brown seemed older than her years, though growing up during this time left little chance for children to be children and enjoy a carefree lifestyle.  She was brave, creative and willing to take risks, especially where the Underground Railway was concerned.  

This is the first time reading anything by Sarah McCoy and I enjoyed it.  She writes with feeling and clarity, I could visualize so much, from the old house, to the doll's head and the bookstore made me appreciate the research that went into The Mapmaker's Children.  It might seem like a trivial thing to mention but one thing that usually stands out for me in books is dialogue, I think it's important to have the right balance, sometimes too much is just too much, not enough just lacks something, but this book had the perfect amount and she nailed the conversations just perfectly.   I am a new fan.

I loved the ended, everything was wrapped up nicely, a fitting conclusion to this story.  Thank you to TLC Tours for allowing me to be part of this tour.


Purchase Links

Sarah McCoy AP

SARAH McCOY is the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of the 2012 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Historical Fiction nominee The Baker's Daughter as well as The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico and the novella "The Branch of Hazel" in Grand Central.

She has taught English writing at Old Dominion University and at the University of Texas at El Paso. She calls Virginia home but presently lives with her husband and their dog, Gilly, in El Paso, Texas.

 Sarah enjoys connecting with her readers on Twitter at @SarahMMcCoy, on her Facebook Fan Page or via her website, www.sarahmccoy.com.

click on link for more stops on this tour

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Review: The Secrets of Lizzie Borden by Brandy Purdy

In her enthralling, richly imagined new novel, Brandy Purdy, author of The Ripper’s Wife, creates a compelling portrait of the real, complex woman behind an unthinkable crime.

Lizzie Borden should be one of the most fortunate young women in Fall River, Massachusetts. Her wealthy father could easily afford to provide his daughters with fashionable clothes, travel, and a rich, cultured life. Instead, haunted by the ghost of childhood poverty, he forces Lizzie and her sister, Emma, to live frugally, denying them the simplest modern conveniences. Suitors and socializing are discouraged, as her father views all gentleman callers as fortune hunters. Lonely and deeply unhappy, Lizzie stifles her frustration, dreaming of the freedom that will come with her eventual inheritance. But soon, even that chance of future independence seems about to be ripped away. And on a stifling August day in 1892, Lizzie’s long-simmering anger finally explodes…

Vividly written and thought-provoking, The Secrets of Lizzie Borden explores the fascinating events behind a crime that continues to grip the public imagination—a story of how thwarted desires and desperate rage could turn a dutiful daughter into a notorious killer.

Paperback384 pages
Published January 26th 2016 by Kensington
arc via netgalley
***
I don't read a lot of true crime fiction but I'll admit to being fascinated with the Lizzie Borden case.  It was such a spectacular case in 1892, with that famous rhyming verse and really whether or not she was in fact guilty of this horrible crime.  Though history has never really proven beyond a doubt what happened it's always interesting to speculate.  Such is the case with The Secrets of Lizzie Borden by Brandy Purdy.

The story is told by Lizzie Borden herself, she chronologies her life from a little girl meeting her new mother (step mother that is) and through to the end of her life.  Her relationship with sister Emma, her father and mother, her hopes, dreams and desires are laid out for the reader making it easy to sympathize and feel her struggles as life just isn't going the way she would like. 

Though this book make me feel for her and all she endured at the hands of a frugal and controling father I did struggle at times reading this.  Up until the trial I was captivated with the story, but after that it was hard to stay interested.  Here she is now in her 30's, a grown woman and with everything that she went through I would have thought she would be a little more mature in her actions.  Her emotions piloted her life while lacking common sense and I felt it over the top at times. 

This is my first experience reading Brandy Purdy, she wrote an interesting story and I can appreciate her research and time spent writing this book.  Her writing style made for easy reading but I was also easily distracted by her overly elaborate descriptive sentences, some of which I found to be overly long.

Thank you to the Kensington Books and Netgalley for the opportunity to review The Secrets of Lizzie Borden

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Review/Giveaway: Daughter of Destiny (Guinevere's Tale, Book One) By Nicole Evelina

02_Daughter of Destiny

Before queenship and Camelot, Guinevere was a priestess of Avalon. She loved another before Arthur, a warrior who would one day betray her.

In the war-torn world of late fifth century Britain, young Guinevere faces a choice: stay with her family to defend her home at Northgallis from the Irish, or go to Avalon to seek help for the horrific visions that haunt her. The Sight calls her to Avalon, where she meets Morgan, a woman of questionable parentage who is destined to become her rival. As Guinevere matures to womanhood, she gains the powers of a priestess, and falls in love with a man who will be both her deepest love and her greatest mistake.

Just when Guinevere is able to envision a future in Avalon, tragedy forces her back home, into a world she barely recognizes, one in which her pagan faith, outspokenness, and proficiency in the magical and military arts are liabilities. When a chance reunion with her lover leads to disaster, she is cast out of Northgallis and into an uncertain future. As a new High King comes to power, Guinevere must navigate a world of political intrigue where unmarried women are valuable commodities and seemingly innocent actions can have life-altering consequences.

You may think you know the story of Guinevere, but you’ve never heard it like this: in her own words. Listen and you will hear the true story of Camelot and its queen. Fans of Arthurian legend and the Mists of Avalon will love Daughter of Destiny, the first book in a historical fantasy trilogy that gives Guinevere back her voice and traces her life from an uncertain eleven year old girl to a wise queen in her fifth decade of life.

Publication Date: January 1, 2016
 Lawson Gartner Publishing eBook & Paperback; 326 Pages 
Genre: Historical Fantasy 
Add to GR Button
****

Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Paperback) | Barnes & Noble


I've heard of Guinevere, Arthur, Morgan and Merlin but have never read anything about them.  It's not for lack of books out there, just not sure which one to start with.  That was answered when I was invited to be part of this tour - thank you to HFVBT for that.

Told from Guinevere's point of view she takes the reader back to medieval times.  A time when Christianity was on the rise clashing with her pagan upbringing.  Only 11 years old when sent to Avalon, separated from family it wasn't hard to sympathize with her plight.  What I like about this book was the authentic feel to it, she is young and rather innocent with her time in Avalon showing a young girl trying her best.  Having to deal with a jealous and spiteful Morgan further strengthened my connection to here.  It's tragedy that brings her back home on a path to Arthur, though her heart belongs to someone else.

I liked the authors writing style, fast paced, entertaining making it hard to put down.  Ending not exactly at a cliffhanger but at a new chapter in her young life.  I think this is a great start to this series and can't wait to read more.


"Thee here gathered serve me well, and I am pleased.  But the day will come when sister shall oppose sister, both in this sacred place and without.  Loyalties will be tested and betrayed, so heed my warning.  That which is birthed in jealousy shall not give life but infect all who draw near.  Therefore, act with love and not out of spite.  Only then shall you escape the fate the stars foretell."


Praise

"A gripping read that brings a wonderfully depicted Guinevere tumbling out of the shadows of myth." - Anna Belfrage, author of The Graham Saga

 "Nicole Evelina shows a deep and passionate love for the Arthurian world, and her re-weaving of the story of Guinevere and Arthur makes for enjoyable reading. With more volumes to come, if you like stories of Camelot, ancient priesthoods, magical Avalonian dreams and embattled romance, this is for you." - John Matthews, author of 'Arthur of Albion' and 'The Camelot Oracle'.

 "Colorful and exciting...love all the characters. You will have a ball with this book." - Serena Scott Thomas, actress and audio book narrator

03_Nicole Evelina

Nicole Evelina is St. Louis-born historical fiction and romantic comedy writer.

Her first four books are coming out in 2016:
 1. Daughter of Destiny (January 1 – This is the first book of an Arthurian legend trilogy that tells Guinevere’s life story from her point of view)
2. Camelot’s Queen (March 23 – The second book in the trilogy)
3. Been Searching for You (May 23 – a contemporary romantic comedy that won in the single title romance category of the 2015 Great Expectations Contest (sponsored by North Texas RWA) and the 2015 Gold Rose Contest (sponsored by Portland RWA) and is a finalist in five others.
4. Madame Presidentess (July 25 – Historical fiction about 19th century American Presidential candidate Victoria Woodhull, the first American woman to run for President)

 She hopes to have the final book in Guinevere’s Tale available in late 2016 or early 2017. Nicole is a member of and book reviewer for the Historical Novel Society, and Sirens, a group supporting female fantasy authors, as well as a member of the Romance Writers of America, Women Fiction Writers Association, the St. Louis Writer’s Guild, Women Writing the West and the Alliance of Independent Authors.

 She is one of only six authors who completed the first week-long writing intensive taught by #1 New York Times bestselling author Deborah Harkness in 2014. Nicole has traveled to England twice to research the Guinevere trilogy, where she consulted with internationally acclaimed author and historian Geoffrey Ashe, as well as Arthurian/Glastonbury expert Jaime George, the man who helped Marion Zimmer Bradley research The Mists of Avalon.

 Her website/blog is http://nicoleevelina.com and she can be found on Twitter as well as on Pinterest, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram and Tumblr.

Giveaway

To win a paperback copy of Daughter of Destiny (Guinevere’s Tale, Book One) by Nicole Evelina please enter the giveaway via the GLEAM form below. Two copies are up for grabs!

Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 26th.
You must be 18 or older to enter.
 – Giveaway is open to US residents only.
 –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. Daughter of Destiny

04_Daughter of Destiny_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL
click on banner for more stops on this tour

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Review: Along the Infinite Sea (Schuyler Sisters #3) by Beatriz Williams

Each of the three Schuyler sisters has her own world-class problems, but in the autumn of 1966, Pepper Schuyler's problems are in a class of their own. When Pepper fixes up a beautiful and rare vintage Mercedes and sells it at auction, she thinks she's finally found a way to take care of herself and the baby she carries, the result of an affair with a married, legendary politician.

But the car's new owner turns out to have secrets of her own, and as the glamorous and mysterious Annabelle Dommerich takes pregnant Pepper under her wing, the startling provenance of this car comes to light: a Nazi husband, a Jewish lover, a flight from Europe, and a love so profound it transcends decades. As the many threads of Annabelle's life from World War II stretch out to entangle Pepper in 1960s America, and the father of her unborn baby tracks her down to a remote town in coastal Georgia, the two women must come together to face down the shadows of their complicated pasts.

Indomitable heroines, a dazzling world of secrets, champagne at the Paris Ritz, and a sweeping love story for the ages, in New York Times bestselling author Beatriz William's final book about the Schuyler sisters. 

Hardcover, 464 pages
Published November 3rd 2015 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
arc via netgalley
****
I became a fan of Beatriz Williams after listening to the audio of The Secret Life of Violet Grant (which I loved).  Along with Tiny Little Things and this book they form a series about the Schuyler Sisters.  Though involving 3 sisters it is not necessary to read in an particular order - they are wonderful on their own, but if you are like me I am sure you'll be reading them all.

Along the Infinite Sea is a dual time period story of 2 young women and the car that connects them.  In 1966 Pepper is young, single, pregnant and on the run. She has gotten herself into a sticky situation and to her the only solution is to run, leaving family behind.   Back in the 1930's we have Annabelle, though young and naive she is forced to do some serious growing up.  Things are tense in Europe during the 1930's and no one is immune to what is about to take place.

I found this book entertaining, Pepper's sassy character with her witty comments and carefree attitude  helps to off set the drama and tension taking place in Europe.  Annabelle's story is more intense and the driving force of this book.  There was plenty to keep ones attention and I can admit the ending wasn't one I envisioned, it worked and I liked it.

The authors writing style is such that had me hooked from the beginning, it wasn't hard to get lost in this story.  One of the things I liked was the timing, it isn't often that I read of the years preceding the war, which is what happened with this book and I found that to be a refreshing change.  

I started this book with high expectations and I was not disappointed.  Thanks to the publisher (via netgalley) for providing a copy for review purposes.


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Guestpost: How Reading Local Authors Saves the World by Jodie Toohey

I am thrilled to have Jodie Toohey here to with this guestpost, please read and I've love to hear you comments below.

How Reading Local Authors Saves the World

Okay, so that was really just a catchy title designed to get you to read this first line of this blog post. But it’s true – at least indirectly. We’ve all heard of Small Business Saturday when we’re all encouraged to shop at our locally-owned shops to purchase holiday gifts on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. Your participation may have included shopping at a local bookstore. But, did you know that if you purchased a book that day from a local author, that you doubly helped local small businesses?

Though we authors love what we do and, unfortunately for our pocketbooks, more often than not, we love it so much that we would do it anyway, even if we never received a cent, we have bills to pay. And the time we spend writing takes away from time we could be spending working at another job – so we sell books, making each and every one of us a business. When we sell books on our own, we collect sales taxes. We fill out Schedule C (business) tax returns and we pay income taxes on our profits. We have office supply and advertising expenses to keep track of (and often if you’re a “words” person, numbers aren’t your strong suit).

You probably realized all this, but have you ever considered the bigger picture? Just like when you shop at a local book store on Small Business Saturday or any one of the other great stores owned and operated by someone living in your area, when you buy a local author’s book, more of that tax revenue stays in your city and state. It gives an income to your neighbors who then use that money to buy more things, the revenue from which also stays in the local economy. It also makes us happy – which means more smiles when we’re walking down the street. More smiles mean a more charitable attitude and a desire to make the world a better place. More desire to make the world a better place … saves the world.
So there you go, reading local authors’ work saves the world. But it even does more than that. If you’ve never perused the local authors section, make a point to do it the next time you are at your local book store. And if your local bookstore doesn’t have a local authors section, then request that they install one. You might be surprised at how many books are there. And these are just a sampling of what local authors have out in the marketplace, including e-books that can’t be sold on a physical book shelf. Pick up a few and read the blurbs on the back – you will likely find at least one that interests you. And these are good books – some of them better than the ones you find on the national best-seller lists. Not only can you help save the world by buying one, but you will get to enjoy a great reading experience. Everybody wins!

What’s your favorite book by an author from your city or region? Or what’s your favorite book written by an author most people have likely never heard about? Please describe them in the comment section.

Taming the Twisted by Jodie Toohey
Publication Date: August 15, 2015
Wordsy Woman Press
eBook & Paperback; 242 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

   Add to GR Button

Taming the Twisted
 is written in a similar style to Laura Ingalls Wilders’ Little House books though updated for modern times. It might read as if she’d left in all of the juicy tidbits about things people didn’t talk about during the time when she was writing.

 Taming the Twisted is a story of destruction, romance, mystery, and deceit set against a back drop of an actual historical event. In early June, 1860, Abigail enjoyed a peaceful home life with her parents, younger sister, and twin toddler brothers. Their home in Camanche, Iowa, where they’d emigrated from Pennsylvania, was almost complete and her beau, Joseph Sund, had recently proposed marriage. That changes the evening of June 3rd when a tornado rips through town, killing her parents. At the mass funeral for the over two dozen people who perished in the storm, she learns Marty Cranson, with whom Abigail witnessed Joseph having a heated argument, died, but at the hands of a person rather than the tornado. 

In addition to being faced with raising her young siblings, Joseph has disappeared without a trace and a stranger, Marshall Stevenson, appears, offering to help Abigail repair the families’ home and cultivate the newly planted farm crops. Abigail, while developing romantic feelings for Marshall, tolerating the scorn of town woman Pamela Mackenrow, and working as a seamstress and storekeeper to support her siblings, becomes obsessed with finding out who killed Marty, hoping that and not that he no longer loved her, was the reason Joseph left without saying goodbye.


Jodie Toohey is the author of four additional books, two poetry collections – Crush and Other Love Poems for Girls (2008) and Other Side of Crazy (918studio, 2013) – as well as two novels, Missing Emily: Croatian Life Letters (2012) and Melody Madson – May It Please the Court? (2014).

When Jodie is not writing poetry or fiction, she is helping authors, soon-to-be-authors, and want-to-be authors from pre-idea to reader through her company, Wordsy Woman Author Services.


click on the banner for more stops on this tour