Monday, July 31, 2017

Review: The Captain's Daughter (London Beginnings #1) by Jennifer Delamere

 When a series of circumstances beyond her control leave Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater which is presenting the most popular show in London. A talented musician and singer, she feels immediately at home and soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage.

An injury during a skirmish in India has forced Nate Moran out of the army until he recovers. Filling his time at a stable of horses for hire in London, he has also spent the past two months working nights as a stagehand, filling in for his injured brother. Although he’s glad he can help his family through a tough time, he is counting the days until he can rejoin his regiment. London holds bitter memories for him that he is anxious to escape. But then he meets the beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate can’t wait to leave behind.

Paperback, 338 pages 
Published June 6th 2017 
by Bethany House Publishers
Jennifer Delamere is a new-to-me author, The Captain's Daughter is the start of her London Beginning's series.

The 1800's in London is a time I rarely venture into that often, which is why I was keen to read this one (broaden my horizons). It's Victorian England with Gilbert & Sullivan, the HMS Pinafore is on stage as well as Pirates of the Penzance featured here. I hope to rectify my ignorance of this two musical in the very near future.

Newly arrived in London Rosalyn Bernay finds herself homeless, penniless and doesn't know where to turn. Through a series of chance encounters she lands a job back stage. Nate Moran also works backstage and trying to overcome a past before he can resume his army career in India.

Both Rosalyn and Nate are likable characters, the author did a great job of character development, they were authentic making it a pleasure to read. On one hand where Nate is knowledgeable in ways of the world, Rosalyn is naive and too trusting.  This is Christian Fiction where faith plays a large role, as Rosalyn struggles with life she talks to God in a realistic manner and trusts in Him to help her.

I really enjoyed the historical elements here, from the Gilbert & Sullivan musicals to Rosalyn growing up in one of George Muller's orphanages to society life in the Victorian era.  With Author's Notes at the end it was interesting to see some of the characters were based on real historical people and events.

With a visit by Rosalyn's sister Lucy I was given a glimpse into the next book in this series, The Heart's Appeal (releases March 2018).

click on cover to take you to the Goodreads page

This is definitely a series I recommend.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Review: The Competition by Donna Russo Morin

In a studiolo behind a church, six women gather to perform an act that is, at once, restorative, powerful, and illegal: they paint. Under the tutelage of Leonardo da Vinci, these six show talent and drive equal to that of any man, but in Renaissance Florence, they must hide their skills, or risk the scorn of the church, the city, and the law.

A commission to paint a fresco in the church of Santo Spirito is about to be announced and Florence s countless artists each seek the fame and glory this lucrative job will provide. Viviana, a noblewoman freed from a terrible marriage, and now able to pursue her artistic passions, sees a potential life-altering opportunity for herself and her fellow artists. The women first speak to Lorenzo de Medici himself, and finally, they submit a bid for the right to paint it. And they win. The very public commission belongs to them.

But with the victory comes a powerful cost. The church will not stand for women painting, especially not in a house of worship. The city is not ready to consider women in positions of power, and in Florence, artists wield tremendous power. Even the women themselves are hesitant; the attention they will bring upon themselves will disrupt their families, and even put them in physical danger.

All the while, Viviana grows closer to Sansone, her soldier lover, who is bringing to her a joy that she never knew with her deceased husband. And fellow-artist Isabetta has a flame reignited, sparked by Lorenzo himself. Power and passion collide in this sumptuous historical novel of shattering limitations, one brushstroke at a time."

Publication Date: April 25, 2017
Diversion Publishing
eBook & Paperback; 268 Pages
Series: Da Vinci's Disciples, Book Two
Genre: Historical/Mystery

The Competition is the second book in the Da Vinci's Disciples Series by Donna Russo Morin. I have read the first book and highly recommend doing that first, even though this one could work as a stand alone it's nice to understand references to previous events. I got to know who these women, their past and present situations which I feel enhanced my reading of this book.

One of the things I loved about The Competition is how it was steeped in time.  With vivid descriptions of Florence, the culture was brought to life.  Add the world of art it wasn't hard to get a clear sense of how seriously the men felt that it was a man's world.  These women were brave enough too risk so much to break into their domain.

There were times I found myself frustrated with the obstacles put before them as well as the treatment they received. The author did a great job of portraying these events and I think it's great when a writer can make her reader feel the frustration, anger and disappointment along with her characters..

I found this book to be entertaining and a series I highly recommend.  Thanks to Netgalley for a copy of this book and HFVBT for the opportunity to be part of this tour.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | iTunes | IndieBound | Kobo

Donna earned two degrees from the University of Rhode Island. In addition to writing, teaching writing, and reviewing for literary journals, Donna works as a model and actor; highlights of her work include two seasons on Showtime’s Brotherhood and an appearance in Martin Scorsese’s The Departed.

Donna is the proud mother of two sons, one a future opera singer, the other a future chef.

Donna's titles include The Courtier's Secret, The Secret of the Glass, To Serve a King, The King's Agent, Portrait of a Conspiracy, and The Competition. Donna enjoys meeting with book groups in person and via Skype chat.

Visit her website at

You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Review: With You Always (Orphan Train #1) by Jody Hedlund

A Riveting Look at the Orphan Train from Historical Novelist Jody Hedlund 

When a financial crisis in 1850s New York leaves three orphaned sisters nearly destitute, the oldest, Elise Neumann, knows she must take action. She's had experience as a seamstress, and the New York Children's Aid Society has established a special service: placing out seamstresses and trade girls. Even though Elise doesn't want to leave her sisters for a job in Illinois, she realizes this may be their last chance.

The son of one of New York City's wealthiest entrepreneurs, Thornton Quincy faces a dilemma. His father is dying, and in order to decide which of his sons will inherit everything, he is requiring them to do two things in six months: build a sustainable town along the Illinois Central Railroad, and get married. Thornton is tired of standing in his twin brother's shadow and is determined to win his father's challenge. He doesn't plan on meeting a feisty young woman on his way west, though.

Paperback, 359 pages
Published June 6th 2017 
by Bethany House 
*** 1/2

The first book in Jody Hedlund's Orphan Train series was released last month. Hedlund is a new author to me, I've seen her books around and jumped at the chance to review this one.

One of the things I really enjoyed here was the historical aspect.  I didn't know the role the New York City's Children's Aid Society played nor did I know about the financial crisis that hit New York City in the 1850's. Times were desperate and if you couldn't work where you lived it made sense to go where the jobs were. I had always assumed it was just orphan's sent west but I guess women went also. The author clearly portrayed the desperation of those in the city seeking to make a better life not just for themselves but to support family, there was not social assistance, everyone was left to their own devices.  Life just seemed to be about survival..  

Even though I found the story line predictable I still enjoyed watching events unfold.  At times I found myself wanting to spend more time with some of the secondary characters, but given this is book 1 I am hoping to see more as the series progresses.  

With You Always is a story of survival, determination, romance and faith.  Definitely an author I will read more of.

Book provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Review: The Library of Light and Shadow (Daughters of La Lune #3) by M.J. Rose

 In this riveting and richly drawn novel from “one of the master storytellers of historical fiction” (New York Times bestseller Beatriz Williams), a talented young artist flees New York for Paris after one of her scandalous drawings reveals a dark secret—and triggers a terrible tragedy.

In the wake of a dark and brutal World War, the glitz and glamour of 1925 Manhattan shine like a beacon for the high society set, which is desperate to keep their gaze firmly fixed to the future. But Delphine Duplessi sees more than most. At a time in her career when she could easily be unknown and penniless, like so many of her classmates from L’École de Beaux Arts, in America she has gained notoriety for her stunning “shadow portraits” that frequently expose her subjects’ most scandalous secrets—for better or for worse. Most nights Delphine doesn’t mind that her gift has become mere entertainment—a party trick—for the fashionable crowd. Though her ancestor La Lune, the legendary sixteenth-century courtesan and—like Delphine—a witch, might have thought differently.

Then, on a snowy night in February, in a penthouse high above Fifth Avenue, Delphine’s mystical talent leads to a tragedy between two brothers. Horrified, she renounces her gift.

Devastated and disconsolate, Delphine returns to her old life in the south of France where Picasso, Matisse, and the Fitzgeralds are summering. There, Delphine is thrust into recapturing the past. First by her charismatic twin brother and business manager Sebastian in his attempts to cajole her back to work and into co-dependence, then by the world famous opera singer Emma Calvé, who is obsessed with the centuries-old Book of Abraham, written by the fourteenth-century alchemist Nicolas Flamel. And finally by her ex-lover Mathieu, who is determined to lure her back into his arms, unaware of the danger that had led Delphine to flee Paris for New York five years before.

Trapped in an ancient chateau where hidden knowledge lurks in the shadows, Delphine questions and in many ways rejects what and who she loves the most—her art, her magick, her family, her brother, and Mathieu—as she tries to finally accept them as the gifts they are and to shed her fear of loving and living with her eyes wide open.

 Hardcover, 384 pages
 Published July 18th 2017
 by Atria Books

MJ Rose is my go to for some yummy supernatural historical fiction entertainment.  She knows how to weave those 2 elements together to dish out unique and intriguing stories.  My first experience was with her Reincarnation Series (book 5 -Seduction) and I haven't looked back but rather wait in eager anticipation for her next.

The Library of Light and Shadow is book 3 in her Daughters of La Lune series and while you don't have to read the first 2 to appreciate this one I recommend it because they are really good.

What I have come to love and appreciate is the authors talent for original story lines.  How she takes real historical figures, puts them in print with a plot so engrossing that I have a hard time putting the book down.  Which is exactly what happened here. Each female in the family has a unique talent and for Delphine she can glimpse into the soul of subjects she puts to canvas, unfortunately her life takes a turn for the worst when tragedy strikes.
"I was not just an artist. I was a woman who had been blinded as a child and whose sight had been brought back by magick. And in the process, I had been given a gift--or, depending on your point of view, a curse. I had the ability not just to see people for who they were but also to see the secrets they harbored. The darkest, most hidden desires of their souls."
The year is 1925, the world is still bouncing back from World War 1 with lavish and supernatural distractions.  The author created a vivid look at the time and setting, there was depth of character and a poetic feel to her writing.  A fine balance between real and magick making everything plausible and I loved the direction the story went and the ending. With mystery, suspense, romance and betrayal MJ Rose has delivered yet again.  Definiely one I highly recommend.

Thanks to Atria Books (via Netgalley) for an ARC.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Review: The Service of the Dead by Candace Robb

Expertly recreating the social and political upheavals of late medieval Europe, Candace Robb introduces a new series starring Kate Clifford, a woman forged on the warring northern marches of fourteenth century England. 

Political unrest permeates York at the cusp of the fifteenth century, as warring factions take sides on who should be the rightful king--Richard II or his estranged, powerful cousin in exile, Henry Bolingbroke. Independent minded twenty-year-old Kate Clifford is struggling to dig out from beneath the debt left by her late husband. Determined to find a way to be secure in her own wealth and establish her independence in a male dominated society, Kate turns one of her properties near the minster into a guest house and sets up a business. In a dance of power, she also quietly rents the discreet bedchambers to the wealthy, powerful merchants of York for nights with their mistresses.

But the brutal murder of a mysterious guest and the disappearance of his companion for the evening threatens all that Kate has built. Before others in town hear word of a looming scandal, she must call upon all of her hard-won survival skills to save herself from ruin.

Paperback Publication Date: May 9, 2017
Pegasus Books
Paperback; 256 Pages
Series: Kate Clifford Mysteries, Book One
Genre: Historical/Mystery/Thriller

As you can read from the synopsis 20-year-old Kate Clifford doesn't have an easy life, her late husband left her a mess and she is determined to make it on her own in a male-dominated society. What she doesn't expect is to find a dead body in her rooming house. There are more surprises for Kate in The service of the Dead as she tries to unravel who this person is and why he was killed.

Even though it took me a little bit to get invested in the story I found myself rooting for Kate and donning my inspector hat along with her. The year is 1399 and there is political tension throughout the realm of York. This isn't a long book, 236 pages, a nice cozy mystery perfect for the beach. I enjoyed reading this one, getting to know Kate and it wasn't hard to feel for her plight as it seems each direction she goes she gets slammed with a another challenge.

The Service of the Dead is the first book in the Kate Clifford Mystery Series. There is mystery here, action and a wide cast of characters with enough historical detail to get a great feel of the era. Though I found this book a little slow at times I enjoyed it and look forward to reading the next in the series called The Twisted Vengeance.

Thank you to Amy at HFVBT for the opportunity to be part of this tour.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

Candace Robb did her graduate work in medieval literature and history, and has continued to study the period while working first as an editor of scientific publications and now for some years as a freelance writer.

Candace has published 13 crime novels set in 14th century England, Wales, and Scotland. The Owen Archer series is based in York and currently extends over 10 novels beginning with THE APOTHECARY ROSE; the most recent is A VIGIL OF SPIES. The Margaret Kerr trilogy explores the early days of Scotland’s struggle again England’s King Edward I, and includes A TRUST BETRAYED, THE FIRE IN THE FLINT, and A CRUEL COURTSHIP.

 Writing as Emma Campion, Candace has published historical novels about two fascinating women she encountered while researching the Owen Archer mysteries, Alice Perrers (THE KING’S MISTRESS) and Joan of Kent (A TRIPLE KNOT). 

Candace was born in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and has lived most of her adult life in Seattle, Washington, which she and her husband love for its combination of natural beauty and culture. Candace enjoys walking, hiking, and gardening, and practices yoga and vipassana meditation. She travels frequently to Great Britain.

For more information, please visit Candace Robb's website.

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


During the Blog Tour we are giving away a copy of The Service of the Dead and A Twisted Vengeance to one lucky winner!

To enter please see the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on July 21st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US 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.

  Kate Clifford Series Blog Tour

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Review: The Address by Fiona Davis

 Fiona Davis, author of The Dollhouse, returns with a compelling novel about the thin lines between love and loss, success and ruin, passion and madness, all hidden behind the walls of The Dakota, New York City's most famous residence.

After a failed apprenticeship, working her way up to head housekeeper of a posh London hotel is more than Sara Smythe ever thought she'd make of herself. But when a chance encounter with Theodore Camden, one of the architects of the grand New York apartment house The Dakota, leads to a job offer, her world is suddenly awash in possibility--no mean feat for a servant in 1884. The opportunity to move to America, where a person can rise above one's station. The opportunity to be the female manager of The Dakota, which promises to be the greatest apartment house in the world. And the opportunity to see more of Theo, who understands Sara like no one else . . . and is living in The Dakota with his wife and three young children.

In 1985, Bailey Camden is desperate for new opportunities. Fresh out of rehab, the former party girl and interior designer is homeless, jobless, and penniless. Two generations ago, Bailey's grandfather was the ward of famed architect Theodore Camden. But the absence of a genetic connection means Bailey won't see a dime of the Camden family's substantial estate. Instead, her -cousin- Melinda--Camden's biological great-granddaughter--will inherit almost everything. So when Melinda offers to let Bailey oversee the renovation of her lavish Dakota apartment, Bailey jumps at the chance, despite her dislike of Melinda's vision. The renovation will take away all the character and history of the apartment Theodore Camden himself lived in . . . and died in, after suffering multiple stab wounds by a madwoman named Sara Smythe, a former Dakota employee who had previously spent seven months in an insane asylum on Blackwell's Island.

One hundred years apart, Sara and Bailey are both tempted by and struggle against the golden excess of their respective ages--for Sara, the opulence of a world ruled by the Astors and Vanderbilts; for Bailey, the free-flowing drinks and cocaine in the nightclubs of New York City--and take refuge and solace in the Upper West Side's gilded fortress. But a building with a history as rich--and often tragic--as The Dakota's can't hold its secrets forever, and what Bailey discovers in its basement could turn everything she thought she knew about Theodore Camden--and the woman who killed him--on its head.

With rich historical detail, nuanced characters, and gorgeous prose, Fiona Davis once again delivers a compulsively readable novel that peels back the layers of not only a famed institution, but the lives --and lies--of the beating hearts within.

Hardcover, 368 pages 
Expected publication: August 1st 2017 
by Dutton Books
**** 1/2

It's not that often that I polish off a book in 24 hours but when I do, it's obviously a sign of how enticing it is. The synopsis gives a detailed portrait of what to expect here and it was my curiosity of how Sara could have killed this man who knew her so well. As the story evolved I kept looking for clues and wondering how and why this would take place.

Lately it seems with dual narrative books I find myself engrossed with both the past and present story lines, but with The Address I found myself drawn to the past more, I think I got to know the characters better and found the plot more intriguing, reading about the lifestyle and historical aspects of the time is something that interests me. The 1985 time was interesting enough, with Bailey and her cousin Melinda but the author spent more time on the past. I appreciated the timing of this part of the book with it's lack of electronic devices -no cell phones, no Internet, no computer jargon, that was a nice refreshing change.

The Address comes in at 368 pages, I thought the first two thirds were great, there was depth of character, the story line moved at the right pace and I had a hard time putting it down. However, the last third could have done with a few more pages, I felt the ending a bit rushed and there could have been more time spent drawing out the conclusion. Now don't get me wrong here I found the ending was fitting and it wasn't till close to the end where it actually dawned on me what might be taking place, so I commend the author for dropping clues that didn't always register with me.

The historical aspect always fascinates me, with the actual building and renovation of the Dakota, time spent in an insane asylum and the landscape of New York City in that era. The timing of some actual historical events were moved to fit the story and I am fine with that, if the author didn't mention that in the author's notes I wouldn't have known any different. But I appreciate the mention showing the author's respect for the history here.

Definitely a book and author I highly recommend.

Thanks to Penguin Group for an advanced copy of this little gem.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Review: Heartwood Hotel, Book 1 A True Home by Kallie George, Stephanie Graegin (Illustrations)

When Mona the Mouse stumbles across the wondrous world of the Heartwood Hotel in the middle of a storm, she desperately hopes they'll let her stay. As it turns out, Mona is precisely the maid they need at the grandest hotel in Fernwood Forest, where animals come from far and wide for safety, luxury, and comfort. But the Heartwood Hotel is not all acorn souffl and soft moss-lined beds. Danger lurks, and as it approaches, Mona finds that this hotel is more than a warm place to spend the night. It might also be a home.

This delightfully enticing start of a new chapter book series tells a tale of friendship, courage, and community, with exquisite black-and-white illustrations throughout.

Paperback, 176 pages 
Published July 3rd 2017 
by Disney-Hyperion

Heartwood Hotel, with the secret entrance hidden in a tree, a place of refuge for lost creatures of the wilderness, those that are easy prey for larger beasts of the woods. What an absolutely delightful little story, it reminded me of The Wind in the Willows and Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nim.

With the storm raging Mona accidentally stumbles upon this little place of refuge and gets more than she bargained. With a wonderful cast of characters from the animal kingdom this is a story of friendship, courage and compassion. There is danger and adventure here but toned down for the targeted age.

With lovely penciled drawings scattered throughout I suggest either a print copy or reading in a tablet (sorry but a kindle won't do it justice).

Thanks to Disney Book Group for an ARC

Praise for the Magical Animal Adoption Agency series

 "[This] gentle tale of magic and self-reliance will entertain confident new independent readers. Clover's sweet story is a good next step for lovers of the Magic Tree House." -Kirkus Reviews 

"Readers will be envious of the world of magic that Clover becomes ensconced in and eager to read future installments." -Publishers Weekly

 "[A] charming story, delicately written, with a winning heroine. . . [and] a conclusion that will satisfy young readers." -Booklist Online

 "Graduates of sparkly chapter-book series will be right at home and looking for the next installment posthaste." -Kirkus Reviews

 "[T]he gentle but intrepid Clover continues to charm." -Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (less)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Review: Local Girl Missing by Claire Douglas

Someone knows where she is…

The old Victorian pier was a thing of beauty until it was allowed to decay. It was where the youth of Oldcliffe-on-Sea would go to hang out. It’s also where twenty-one-year-old Sophie Collier disappeared eighteen years ago.

Francesca Howe, known as Frankie, was Sophie’s best friend, and even now she is haunted by the mystery of what happened to her. When Frankie gets a call from Sophie’s brother, Daniel, informing her that human remains have been found washed up nearby, she immediately wonders if it could be Sophie, and returns to her old hometown to try and find closure. Now an editor at a local newspaper, Daniel believes that Sophie was terrified of someone and that her death was the result of foul play rather than “death by misadventure,” as the police claim.

Daniel arranges a holiday rental for Frankie that overlooks the pier where Sophie disappeared. In the middle of winter and out of season, Frankie feels isolated and unnerved, especially when she is out on the pier late one night and catches a glimpse of a woman who looks like Sophie. Is the pier really haunted, as they joked all those years ago? Could she really be seeing her friend’s ghost? And what actually happened to her best friend all those years ago?

Harrowing, electrifying, and thoroughly compelling, Local Girl Missing showcases once again bestselling author Claire Douglas’ extraordinary storytelling talent. 

Paperback, 352 pages 
Published July 4th 2017 
by Harper Paperbacks 

I love a good psychological thriller, one that has me deciphering clues, reading between the lines and where I have the inability to trust anybody.

It's been 18 years since Frankie has been back to her home town, the year her best friend disappeared. Now that it looks like she can finally have some sort of closure she returns when human remains are discovered.

  ...but since being back here I morphing into that girl again. I don't want to go back to being insecure Frankie. I'm Fran now, confident, assured, successful. A grown-up. This place isn't good for me. Too many memories, too many ghosts. 
There is a dual narrative here, one with Frankie talking to Sophie.  It's a unique narrative and one that made me get inside her head garnering that emotional connection, between going over old memories and feelings about being back in a place she left long ago.  The other narrative is Sophie telling her story and what leads up to her deadly fall off the pier.  Usually I enjoy one narrative over another in these types of books, but here I enjoyed each equally.

I was drawn into the story pretty well from the beginning.  There isn't just the mystery of the past but also things taking place to scare Frankie off, hence my distrust of many.  I read the last half in one sitting, there were things that I didn't see coming which I felt played out nicely. On one hand I really liked the ending, it fit the story nicely but a there were few little things I would have loved to have seen a different outcome, but not enough to really spoil the book for me.

All in all an entertaining book and an author I am glad to have discovered. Claire Douglas's debut was The Sisters (which has been added to my TBR pile)

 My sincere thanks to Harper Collins for a copy of this book in exchange for honest review.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Giveaway: The Babe Ruth Deception by David O. Stewart

Publication Date: June 27, 2017
Kensington Books
Hardcover & eBook; 304 Pages
Series: A Fraser and Cook Mystery (Book 3)
Genre: Fiction/Historical/Mysteries/Baseball

As the Roaring Twenties get under way, corruption seems everywhere–from the bootleggers flouting Prohibition to the cherished heroes of the American Pastime now tarnished by scandal. Swept up in the maelstrom are Dr. Jamie Fraser and Speed Cook…

Babe Ruth, the Sultan of Swat, is having a record-breaking season in his first year as a New York Yankee. In 1920, he will hit more home runs than any other team in the American League. Larger than life on the ball field and off, Ruth is about to discover what the Chicago White Sox players accused of throwing the 1919 World Series are learning–baseball heroes are not invulnerable to scandal. With suspicion in the air, Ruth’s 1918 World Series win for the Boston Red Sox is now being questioned. Under scrutiny by the new baseball commissioner and enmeshed with gambling kingpin Arnold Rothstein, Ruth turns for help to Speed Cook–a former professional ballplayer himself before the game was segregated and now a promoter of Negro baseball–who’s familiar with the dirty underside of the sport.

Cook in turn enlists the help of Dr. Jamie Fraser, whose wife Eliza is coproducing a silent film starring the Yankee outfielder. Restraint does not come easily to the reckless Ruth, but the Frasers try to keep him in line while Cook digs around.

As all this plays out, Cook’s son Joshua and Fraser’s daughter Violet are brought together by a shocking tragedy. But an interracial relationship in 1920 feels as dangerous as a public scandal–even more so because Joshua is heavily involved in bootlegging. Trying to protect Ruth and their own children, Fraser and Cook find themselves playing a dangerous game.

Once again masterfully blending fact and fiction, David O. Stewart delivers a nail-biting historical mystery that captures an era unlike any America has seen before or since in all its moral complexity and dizzying excitement.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound

Praise for The Babe Ruth Deception

"Having mastered the craft of writing novels that feature Abraham Lincoln and Woodrow Wilson, David O. Stewart has now chosen someone who is perfect for the genre. Babe Ruth was as mythic as a person gets, and the author has surrounded The Babe with a Prohibition cast of bootleggers, gangsters and thugs, giving us a fine yarn that mixes and matches the grand glories of The National Pastime with the nefarious foibles of human nature." --Frank Deford, Sportswriter and Bestselling Novelist

 “This is so much more than a baseball book. There’s a lot of the Babe, but it’s a history book, a mystery book, a complex book that beautifully details an era in America. I loved it!” --Tim Kurkjian, ESPN Baseball Contributor and Author

 “[The Babe Ruth Deception] cleverly mixes real-life people and historical events. The problems of the unlikely sleuths will particularly appeal to baseball fans.” --Kirkus Reviews

 “A rollicking real-life figure leads to a rollicking fictional romp. The allure of the Babe may bring you into this book; David O. Stewart’s lively tale will keep you there.” --Kostya Kennedy

 “Well-written novels that blend fact and fiction always get my attention, and if it’s Babe Ruth and characters from his era, I’m in. David O. Stewart reminds us of why the ‘20s roared, and how much fun the Babe was. A delight!” --Marty Appel, author of Pinstripe Empire

“David O. Stewart, the master of fictional historic deceptions, has hit one out of the park with The Babe Ruth Deception. Not only is it most cleverly plotted but gives us a feel for the corrupt and colorful Era of Prohibition when Babe Ruth was at his most beloved despite – or because of – his off-the-field flaws and excesses.” --Paul Dickson author of Leo Durocher – Baseball’s Prodigal Son


David O. Stewart, formerly a lawyer, writes fiction and history. His first historical work told the story of the writing of the Constitution ("The Summer of 1787"). It was a Washington Post Bestseller and won the Washington Writing Prize for Best Book of 2007. His second book ("Impeached"), grew from a judicial impeachment trial he defended before the United States Senate in 1989. "American Emperor: Aaron Burr's Challenge to Jefferson's America" explored Burr's astounding Western expedition of 1805-07 and his treason trial before Chief Justice John Marshall. "Madison's Gift: Five Partnerships That Built America" debuted in February 2015. He has received the 2013 History Award of the Society of the Cincinnati and the 2016 William Prescott Award for History Writing from the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America.

Stewart's fiction career began with the release of "The Lincoln Deception," an historical novel exploring the John Wilkes Booth conspiracy. "The Wilson Deception," the sequel, is set at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. "The Babe Ruth Deception" occurs during the Babe's first two years with the Yankees while he remade baseball and America began the modern era with Prohibition, bootlegging, and terrrorism. Stewart lives with his wife in Maryland.

Visit his website at


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away two paperback copies of The Babe Ruth Deception! To enter, please see the Gleam form below.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on July 27th.
-You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US & Canada 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.

  The Babe Ruth Deception

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Audio Review: The Weight of Lies by Emily Carpenter

In this gripping, atmospheric family drama, a young woman investigates the forty­-year­-old murder that inspired her mother’s bestselling novel, and uncovers devastating truths—and dangerous lies.

Reformed party girl Meg Ashley leads a life of privilege, thanks to a bestselling horror novel her mother wrote decades ago. But Meg knows that the glow of their very public life hides a darker reality of lies, manipulation, and the heartbreak of her own solitary childhood. Desperate to break free of her mother, Meg accepts a proposal to write a scandalous, tell-all memoir.

Digging into the past—and her mother’s cult classic—draws Meg to Bonny Island, Georgia, and an unusual woman said to be the inspiration for the book. At first island life seems idyllic, but as Meg starts to ask tough questions, disturbing revelations come to light…including some about her mother.

Soon Meg’s search leads her to question the facts of a decades-old murder. She’s warned to leave it alone, but as the lies pile up, Meg knows she’s getting close to finding a murderer. When her own life is threatened, Meg realizes the darkness found in her mother’s book is nothing compared to the chilling truth that lurks off the page.

 Kindle Edition, 382 pages 
Published June 6th 2017 
by Lake Union Publishing
I was drawn to this book because of the intriguing cover and recommendation from other blogs that I follow (the Baking Bookworm to be exact). I opted for the audio version with my fingers crossed that this would be told in first person, thankfully it was (it's one of my favorite views in audio, I felt like Meg was telling me her story here).

The Weight of Lies is an intriguing story with Meg Ashley trying to break free of her mother's hold by writing a tell all story of her life with a famous author/mother. What really happened forty years ago that inspired her to write this best-selling book that is still just as popular today? As Meg digs deeper it doesn't take long for it to become apparent that someone would like to stop her. As I tried to unravel the mystery myself the author made it difficult with twist and turns as well as characters I wasn't confident which I could trust.

The chapters alternated between excerpts from Kitten (the famous novel) and the other from Meg's point of view. This was handled smoothly in the audio version with distinct chapter headings making it easier to follow the story.

The location was interesting here, Bonny Island, the reader is treated to nice visuals displaying not just its suspicious/creepy side but also it wasn't hard to visualize the beauty with beaches, wild horses and nature.

The author pulled me right in with this book filled with family secrets, murder and mayhem plus a touch of romance.  This is my first time reading anything by Emily Carpenter, definitely an author I will read more of.

This audio was from my personal library (via Audible) and comes in at 11 hours and 57 minutes, the reader is Kate Orsini - she did a great job reading this one.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Review: One For Sorrow: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn

Against the ominous backdrop of the influenza epidemic of 1918, Annie, a new girl at school, is claimed as best friend by Elsie, a classmate who is a tattletale, a liar, and a thief.

Soon Annie makes other friends and finds herself joining them in teasing and tormenting Elsie. Elsie dies from influenza, but then she returns to reclaim Annie's friendship and punish all the girls who bullied her.

Young readers who revel in spooky stories will relish this chilling tale of a girl haunted by a vengeful ghost.

Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Expected publication: July 18th 2017
 by Clarion Books

Who doesn't love a good ghost story! Though I have never read anything by this author I have read reviews with positive remarks about her previous works. For a middle grade audience I knew it couldn't be too too spooky but still enough to grab the attention of that age group.

I have to admit at the 30% mark I was ready to give up, to me this was just Mean Girls on steroids. I got the just of the picture the author was painting but it just seemed to go on and on. When we were first introduced to Annie she comes across as a sweet shy girl then she becomes so nasty, I get how that fit into the story but it felt to fast and uncharacteristic. I would have loved to known more about Elsie's home life and why she was a tattletale, liar and thief.

As for the ghosty scary spooky side of the story I didn't feel that at all and again there was a stretch in the middle/last third that was the same thing over and over again. There was no real surprise or suspense on who the ghost was, I only continued to read because I was curious about the ending.

It was a good ending and I loved how the author played on her mother's own history here. It's a time period lacking in MA HF and I commend the author for tackling it.

However I did find this book somewhat disturbing and not really one that I would recommend to my nine-year-old granddaughter.

Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC ebook copy.