Monday, October 15, 2018

Review: Escape From the Tower (The Royal Rabbits of London #2) by Santa Montefiore, Simon Sebag Montefiore

‘Packed with fun, fantasy and the sort of adventure guaranteed to have sticky little fingers hungrily turning the pages’ The Mail on Sunday

 Life is an adventure. Anything in the world is possible – by will and by luck, with a moist carrot, a wet nose and a slice of mad courage!

 Little Shylo Tawny-Tail is proud to call himself one of the Royal Rabbits of London, a secret order who live under Buckingham Palace and fight evil across the world. But high up in London’s famous skyscraper, the Shard, the horrible Ratzis are plotting to cause chaos during a visit from the President of the United States. And when the Grand Burrow is attacked and Shylo is kidnapped, it looks as though they might just manage it! Can Shylo escape in time to save the day?

The Hobbit meets Fantastic Mr Fox meets Watership Down in this bestselling series from Santa Montefiore and Simon Sebag Montefiore, which proves even the smallest rabbit can be the biggest hero. Featuring illustrations throughout by award-winning illustrator Kate Hindley.

PRAISE FOR THE ROYAL RABBITS OF LONDON: ‘The Royal Rabbits of London is sweet, funny and beautifully illustrated' The Times ‘Enchanting….Kate Hindley’s illustrations are a treat’ The Lady

Hardcover, 224 pages
Published September 21st 2017
by Simon Schuster Children's UK
"Life is an adventure and anything in the world is possible - by will and by luck, a moist carrot, a wet nose and a slice of mad courage."
It was through searching for more Santa Mortefiore books that I discovered this series for middle grade and younger (even older). 

Call this a short and sweet review.  Perfect for the targeted audience with adventure and suspense.  The illustrations were great connecting the reader and characters.  You are stronger than you think, courageous when you don't feel like it.  Yea not just a good story but good morals for little ones.

click on cover for my 'short and sweet' review

Monday, October 8, 2018

Audio Review: The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis

In her latest captivating novel, nationally bestselling author Fiona Davis takes readers into the glamorous lost art school within Grand Central Terminal, where two very different women, fifty years apart, strive to make their mark on a world set against them.

For the nearly nine million people who live in New York City, Grand Central Terminal is a crown jewel, a masterpiece of design. But for Clara Darden and Virginia Clay, it represents something quite different.

For Clara, the terminal is the stepping stone to her future, which she is certain will shine as the brightly as the constellations on the main concourse ceiling. It is 1928, and twenty-five-year-old Clara is teaching at the lauded Grand Central School of Art. A talented illustrator, she has dreams of creating cover art for Vogue, but not even the prestige of the school can override the public's disdain for a "woman artist." Brash, fiery, confident, and single-minded--even while juggling the affections of two men, a wealthy would-be poet and a brilliant experimental painter--Clara is determined to achieve every creative success. But she and her bohemian friends have no idea that they'll soon be blindsided by the looming Great Depression, an insatiable monster with the power to destroy the entire art scene. And even poverty and hunger will do little to prepare Clara for the greater tragedy yet to come.

Nearly fifty years later, in 1974, the terminal has declined almost as sharply as Virginia Clay's life. Full of grime and danger, from the smoke-blackened ceiling to the pickpockets and drug dealers who roam the floor, Grand Central is at the center of a fierce lawsuit: Is the once-grand building a landmark to be preserved, or a cancer to be demolished? For Virginia, it is simply her last resort. Recently divorced, she has just accepted a job in the information booth in order to support herself and her college-age daughter, Ruby. But when Virginia stumbles upon an abandoned art school within the terminal and discovers a striking watercolor hidden under the dust, her eyes are opened to the elegance beneath the decay. She embarks on a quest to find the artist of the unsigned masterpiece--an impassioned chase that draws Virginia not only into the battle to save Grand Central but deep into the mystery of Clara Darden, the famed 1920s illustrator who disappeared from history in 1931.

Audiobook - 11 hours, 43 minutes
 Published August 7th 2018
by Penguin Audio

This is my second book by Fiona Davis, her previous The Address was a favorite from 2017.  Rich in detail and history with a writing style I loved, she took a part of New York City's history and brought it to life.  I was excited when I saw she was taking on another part of the city, the Grand Central Terminal in The Masterpiece.

I opted for the audio version this time, Cassandra Campbell was the reader and if you know audiobooks then you know she is a great reader, one of my favorites.  I borrowed via Scribd.

I love when a book opens my eyes to parts of history I know nothing about, this time around I learned about Grand Central Terminal (not Station). The bid to demolish this landmark, the School of Art and what an icon it was.  A dual time period story beginning in 1928 just before the Great Depression, when women couldn't succeed at 'men's jobs'.  When the struggle to have a career and succeed in a man's world was next to impossible.   Jumping ahead to 1974 life was still tough for women and a divorced one to boot was even harder.  Both these women, Clara and Virginia struggled but they were strong and had a passion for life. It wasn't hard to feel for them both, to be their cheerleaders and even shake my head at some of the decisions made. 

Both storylines were interesting, usually I enjoy one over the other (the past because of its history) but this time it was an equal liking.  Both had the historical facts I enjoy as well as the mysterious elements drawing the plots together.  While there was a little predictability it didn't take away from my enjoyment.

Definitely a book and author I recommend.

click on cover to take you to my review

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Review: The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton

A rich, spellbinding new novel from the author of The Lake House—the story of a love affair and a mysterious murder that cast their shadow across generations, set in England from the 1860's until the present day.
My real name, no one remembers. The truth about that summer, no one else knows.
In the summer of 1862, a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor on the banks of the Upper Thames. Their plan: to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared; a priceless heirloom is missing; and Edward Radcliffe’s life is in ruins.

Over one hundred and fifty years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London, uncovers a leather satchel containing two seemingly unrelated items: a sepia photograph of an arresting-looking woman in Victorian clothing, and an artist’s sketchbook containing the drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river. Why does Birchwood Manor feel so familiar to Elodie? And who is the beautiful woman in the photograph? Will she ever give up her secrets?

Told by multiple voices across time, The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a story of murder, mystery, and thievery, of art, love and loss. And flowing through its pages like a river, is the voice of a woman who stands outside time, whose name has been forgotten by history, but who has watched it all unfold: Birdie Bell, the clockmaker’s daughter.

Softcover, 496 pages
Expected publication: October 9th, 2018
 by Atria Books
*** 1/2

I very rarely read reviews before starting a new book, there is just too much of a chance for spoilers.  That being said, it wasn't hard to hear comments (via social media) about The Clockmaker's Daughter,  how it was garnering mixed reviews made me rather curious and a little nervous to begin reading.

I will confess right off the bat that I struggled to get into this book, but it was an 'it's me not you' situation.  My anticipation just got the better of me, times were hectic and yea to sit and read caused issues - nothing to do with the book. So I did the thing I've been doing a lot of the past few months and that is switching to the audio version for a bit.  Yea it came out on Audible before the print copy.  Did the audio cure my struggles? You bet it did!!  This is Kate Morton, one of my go-to authors, read without checking out the blurb. Joanne Froggatt was the reader and she did a great job of bringing this book to life.  I did switch back to the print copy for the last third.

There are multiple pov's here as The Clockmaker's Daughter travels across time to reveal what happened back in 1862 at Birchwood Manor.  You could almost say the Manor was one of the characters playing a pivotal part through the years.  There is a lot of years between 1862 and the present day, also many characters to remember. That I think is a Morton trademark because she can do it smoothly in a mesmerizing way. Her stories are multilayered and in this instance, it was the Manor revealing its history over the years.  The added unknown voice was interesting, spicing things up a little.

While this isn't one of my favorite Kate Morton books (that belongs to The Secret Keeper and The Forgotten Garden) I still enjoyed the ride. 

ARC won from the publisher.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Spotlight: Clash of Empires by Paul Bennett

Publication Date: December 8, 2016
Paperback & eBook; 224 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1540666628
Series: The Mallory Saga, Book #1
Genre: Historical Fiction

In 1756, Britain and France are on a collision course for control of the North American continent. The eventual result can be described as the first world war, known as the Seven Year’s War in Europe and the French and Indian War in the colonies. The Mallory family uproots from eastern Pennsylvania, and moves to the western frontier, where they find themselves in the middle of war. Daniel, Liam, and Liza (the three Mallory siblings) become involved in the conflict in ways that lead to emotional trauma for each. The story focuses on historical events and includes historical characters. Clash of Empires is an exciting look at the developments leading to the events of July 1776, which are chronicled in the sequel as we follow the exploits and fate of the Mallory clan.

"I feel both educated and thoroughly entertained by Mr. Bennett’s debut novel ‘Clash of Empires’. Rich in detail mined from the author’s clearly painstaking research, we find lessons that should have been learned from the distant past rising to the fore once more; cannons boom, bullets fly and tomahawks spin through the air as the war builds towards a brutal climax. A fresh voice and a cracking tale. Recommended!" - Author Gordon Doherty

Amazon US | Amazon UK | IndieBound

Paul’s education was of the public variety and when he reached Junior High he discovered that his future did not include the fields of mathematics or science. This was generally the case throughout his years in school as he focused more on his interest in history; not just the rote version of names and dates but the causes. Paul studied Classical Civilization at Wayne State University with a smattering of Physical Anthropology thrown in for good measure. Logically, of course, Paul spent the next four decades drawing upon that vast store of knowledge working in large, multi-platform data centers, and is considered in the industry as a bona fide IBM Mainframe dinosaur heading for extinction. Paul currently resides in the quaint New England town of Salem, Massachusetts with his wife, Daryl. The three children have all grown, in the process turning Paul’s beard gray, and have now provided four grandchildren; the author is now going bald.

 For more information, please visit the Mallory Saga Facebook page.

You can also find Paul on his Blog, Twitter, and Goodreads.


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a signed copy of Clash of Empires to one lucky reader! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on October 12th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to 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.

Clash of Empires Blast

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Review: The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain

From bestselling author, 
Diane Chamberlain comes an irresistible new novel.

When Caroline Sears receives the news that her unborn baby girl has a heart defect, she is devastated. It is 1970 and there seems to be little that can be done. But her brother-in-law, a physicist, tells her that perhaps there is. Hunter appeared in their lives just a few years before—and his appearance was as mysterious as his past. With no family, no friends, and a background shrouded in secrets, Hunter embraced the Sears family and never looked back.

Now, Hunter is telling her that something can be done about her baby's heart. Something that will shatter every preconceived notion that Caroline has. Something that will require a kind of strength and courage that Caroline never knew existed. Something that will mean a mind-bending leap of faith on Caroline's part.

And all for the love of her unborn child.

A rich, genre-spanning, breathtaking novel about one mother's quest to save her child, unite her family, and believe in the unbelievable. Diane Chamberlain pushes the boundaries of faith and science to deliver a novel that you will never forget.

Hardcover, 384 pages
 Expected publication: October 2nd, 2018
by St. Martin's Press

I have read 4 books by Diane Chamberlain, though she has written quite a few more, and have thoroughly enjoyed each of them. The Dream Daughter is different with the added fantasy element.

How far will a mother go to save the life of her child, for Carly Sears it was taking an enormous leap of faith.  It was also a leap of faith for me as a reader to suspend my disbelief and just go with the flow of the story - probably why fantasy and sci-fi aren't favorites of mine. Leaving the comforts and security of home Carly sets a course to save the life of her child. 

The Dream Daughter is a captivating novel about courage, heartache, and acceptance. This is my 5th novel by Diane Chamberlain, it's a tie between Necessary Lies and The Midwife's Confession as to which one is my favorite. This earns a solid 4 stars. I was glued to the pages and anxious for Carly and her baby - finished this off in a couple days. It didn’t have the depth of those previous books with their multiple layers (remember just my opinion) that I love but still a book I will recommend.

My thanks to St. Martin's Press (via Netgalley) for an advanced copy in exchange for honest review.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Review: The Swallow: A Ghost Story by Charis Cotter

In 1960s Toronto, two girls retreat to their attics to escape the loneliness and isolation of their lives.

Polly lives in a house bursting at the seams with people, while Rose is often left alone by her busy parents. Polly is a down-to-earth dreamer with a wild imagination and an obsession with ghosts; Rose is a quiet, ethereal waif with a sharp tongue. Despite their differences, both girls spend their days feeling invisible and seek solace in books and the cozy confines of their respective attics. But soon they discover they aren't alone--they're actually neighbors, sharing a wall. They develop an unlikely friendship, and Polly is ecstatic to learn that Rose can actually see and talk to ghosts. Maybe she will finally see one too! But is there more to Rose than it seems? Why does no one ever talk to her? And why does she look so... ghostly? When the girls find a tombstone with Rose's name on it in the cemetery and encounter an angry spirit in her house who seems intent on hurting Polly, they have to unravel the mystery of Rose and her strange family... before it's too late.

 Hardcover, 318 pages 
Published September 9th, 2014 
by Tundra Books
**** 1/2

Polly - "There's no place for me. I'm getting squeezed out of my own house.  My parents want to save the world, and they're doing it one unwanted kid at a time."

Rose - "I don't fit in.  There's no place for me.  Not at school, not with Mother and Father, not in this new house, not anywhere."

It's 1963 in Toronto and these two 12-year-olds are searching. Where one wants to see ghosts the other wants to stop seeing them.  Where one wants to be alone the other is tired of it.  Such begins The Swallow and how could I not get draw right in. This story weaves back and forth to the voices of Polly and Rose, relatively short chapters making it a perfect fit for middle grade, also made it very easy to think, hmmm just one more chapter. 

It's been a while since I've read a really good ghost story and this one fit the bill.  While The Swallow is a story of friendship it is also a mystery and this reader kept trying to unravel what was going on.  Hats off to the author for keeping me guessing right till the end. 

I found the writing to be atmospheric, witty and suspenseful. Charis Cotter is a new author to me and one I will be reading again.
"When you see a swallow, it means that spring is coming, and with spring comes new life and hope."
The Swallow comes from my personal library and part of my 'reading my shelf challenge'

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Audio Review: Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen by Sarah Bird

From author Sarah Bird comes the compelling, hidden story of Cathy Williams, a former slave and the only woman to ever serve with the legendary Buffalo Soldiers.

 Here’s the first thing you need to know about Miss Cathy Williams: I am the daughter of a daughter of a queen and my mama never let me forget it.

 Though born into bondage on a “miserable tobacco farm” in Little Dixie, Missouri, Cathy Williams was never allowed to consider herself a slave. According to her mother, she was a captive, bound by her noble warrior blood to escape the enemy. Her means of deliverance is Union general Phillip Henry “Smash ‘em Up” Sheridan, the outcast of West Point who takes the rawboned, prideful young woman into service. At war’s end, having tasted freedom, Cathy refuses to return to servitude and makes the monumental decision to disguise herself as a man and join the Army’s legendary Buffalo Soldiers.

 Alone now in the ultimate man’s world, Cathy must fight not only for her survival and freedom, but she vows to never give up on finding her mother, her little sister, and the love of the only man strong and noble enough to win her heart. Inspired by the stunning, true story of Private Williams, this American heroine.

 Audible - 16 hours, 31 minutes
Published September 4th, 2018
by Macmillan Audio
**** 1/2
“Here’s the first thing you need to know about Miss Cathy Williams: I am the daughter of the daughter of the queen and my mama never let me forget it.”
One of the things I love about reading historical fiction is discovering people, places, and events that are new to me. Cathy Williams - doesn’t ring any bells. The Buffalo Soldiers - nope nothing, even General Sheridan offers no recognition. Mind you I am Canadian but I have heard my fair share of US history. Now I do know the time, slavery has been abolished, and though I’ve heard of former slaves joining the army, a women doing this, yea that’s a new one. Part of me was skeptical, not even believing it could actually happen, let alone go on for 2 years. It was my friend Stephanie and fellow blogger from Layered Pages that changed my mind. I always notice when 5 stars come from her.

This book was told from Cathy’s POV, and I went the audio route here. I say that because audio in first person is wonderful. It’s like Cathy was sitting right there telling me her story and what a story it is. Every time I had a question she answered it, she shared the struggles and horrors the troop encountered. The reader was Bahni Turpin, she did a great job capturing Cathy’s voice, it was like I was right in the action.

Sarah Bird is a new author to me, how she came about writing this book was a bonus feature in the audio version and I loved it. Her research shines through, and she doesn’t hold back but tells it like it was.

Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen is definitely a book I recommend, especially for those looking for strong female figures from the past.

My thanks to the publisher for an advanced copy (via Netgalley).

Monday, September 24, 2018

Review: In Her Bones by Kate Moretti

“A higher level than the standard thriller. Readers will enjoy this book for the suspense…[and] love it for the skill and mastery Moretti has for her craft.” —New York Journal of Books

 “Morbid…Moretti pulls some tricky tricks.” —The New York Times

 New York Times bestselling author Kate Moretti’s next “exceptional…emotionally astute, [and] deliciously sinister” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) thriller follows the daughter of a convicted serial killer who finds herself at the center of a murder investigation.

Fifteen years ago, Lilith Wade was arrested for the brutal murder of six women. After a death row conviction, media frenzy, and the release of an unauthorized biography, her thirty-year-old daughter Edie Beckett is just trying to survive out of the spotlight. She’s a recovering alcoholic with a dead-end city job and an unhealthy codependent relationship with her brother.

Edie also has a disturbing secret: a growing obsession with the families of Lilith’s victims. She’s desperate to see how they’ve managed—or failed—to move on. While her escalating fixation is a problem, she’s careful to keep her distance. That is, until she crosses a line and a man is found murdered.

Edie quickly becomes the prime suspect—and while she can’t remember everything that happened the night of the murder, she’d surely remember killing someone. With the detective who arrested her mother hot on her trail, Edie goes into hiding. She’s must get to the truth of what happened that night before the police—or the real killer—find her.

Unless, of course, she has more in common with her mother than she’s willing to admit…

Perfect for fans of Ruth Ware, In Her Bones features Moretti’s “riveting and insightful” (Megan Miranda, New York Times bestselling author) prose and “chillingly satisfying” (Publishers Weekly) twists, and will leave you questioning the nature of guilt, obsession, and the toxicity of familial ties.

Paperback, 320 pages
Published September 4th, 2018
by Atria Books

There seems to be a lot of hype with serial killer books, but what about the family left behind? Those stunned with what they missed and was there something they could have done to prevent a loved one's crimes? Kate Moretti tackles that very subject with her latest, In Her Bones.

Edi's mother is on death row for her horrible crimes. In Her Bones isn’t just a present day story but weaves back in time with Edi’s growing up years and what turned her into the woman she is. Getting inside her brain as she becomes obsessed with the ‘remainders’ - the loved ones of her mother's victims. But when tragedy strikes again she is forced to come to grips with the past if she wanted a future.

This is my third book by Moretti and I think my favourite. With plenty of twists and turns I was kept on my toes. While this wasn’t a fast-paced story I still managed to read in a couple days. The ending is always important in these types of books, are they believable even plausible? Or just something pulled out of the air. This one worked and loose ends were tied up nicely.

In Her Bones isn’t just a murder mystery but also a story of healing, acceptance, and trust, one I recommend, my thanks to Atria Books for an advanced copy in exchange for honest review.

click on the cover to take you to my review

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Review: Louisiana's Way Home by Kate DiCamillo

From two-time Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo comes a story of discovering who you are — and deciding who you want to be.

When Louisiana Elefante’s granny wakes her up in the middle of the night to tell her that the day of reckoning has arrived and they have to leave home immediately, Louisiana isn’t overly worried. After all, Granny has many middle-of-the-night ideas. But this time, things are different. This time, Granny intends for them never to return. Separated from her best friends, Raymie and Beverly, Louisiana struggles to oppose the winds of fate (and Granny) and find a way home. But as Louisiana’s life becomes entwined with the lives of the people of a small Georgia town — including a surly motel owner, a walrus-like minister, and a mysterious boy with a crow on his shoulder — she starts to worry that she is destined only for good-byes. (Which could be due to the curse on Louisiana’s and Granny’s heads. But that is a story for another time.)

Called “one of DiCamillo’s most singular and arresting creations” by The New York Times Book Review, the heartbreakingly irresistible Louisiana Elefante was introduced to readers in Raymie Nightingale — and now, with humor and tenderness, Kate DiCamillo returns to tell her story.

Hardcover, 240 pages
Expected publication: October 2nd, 2018
 by Candlewick Press (MA) 

The beginning is that my great-grandfather was a magician, and long, long ago he set into motion a most terrible curse.

I read this over the summer when I needed something light, whimsical and almost magical. I enjoyed  Flora & Ulysses and The Tale of Despereaux also by Kate DiCamillo, so I had a rough idea that I was in for a real treat with this one.

The blurb above tells you what takes place for Louisiana, she is only 10 years old as she tells her story, of being pulled out of bed in the middle of the night and the terrible curse that seems to be following them.  She is quite the character with a vivid imagination, vocabulary beyond her years and amazing reasoning skills. I loved Louisiana, she made me smile and I just wanted to give her a hug (along with some milk and cookies).

Louisiana's Way Home was a delight to read, it's a story of self-discovery, hope, and forgiveness. Told with wit and compassion, Kate DiCamillo has landed as one of my favorite children's author.

“Perhaps what matters when all is said and done is not who put us down but who picks us up”

Thank you to the publisher (via NetGalley) for an advanced e-arc. 

click on cover to see my review

Monday, September 10, 2018

Review: Hidden Among the Stars by Melanie Dobson

From the award-winning author of Catching the Wind, which Publishers Weekly called “unforgettable” and a “must-read,” comes another gripping time-slip novel about hidden treasure, a castle, and ordinary people who resisted evil in their own extraordinary way.

The year is 1938, and as Hitler’s troops sweep into Vienna, Austrian Max Dornbach promises to help his Jewish friends hide their most valuable possessions from the Nazis, smuggling them to his family’s summer estate near the picturesque village of Hallstatt. He enlists the help of Annika Knopf, his childhood friend and the caretaker’s daughter, who is eager to help the man she’s loved her entire life. But when Max also brings Luzia Weiss, a young Jewish woman, to hide at the castle, it complicates Annika’s feelings and puts their entire plan―even their very lives―in jeopardy. Especially when the Nazis come to scour the estate and find both Luzia and the treasure gone.

Eighty years later, Callie Randall is mostly content with her quiet life, running a bookstore with her sister and reaching out into the world through her blog. Then she finds a cryptic list in an old edition of Bambi that connects her to Annika’s story . . . and maybe to the long-buried story of a dear friend. As she digs into the past, Callie must risk venturing outside the safe world she’s built for a chance at answers, adventure, and maybe even new love.

Kindle ebook, 400 pages
Published September 2018
by Tyndale House Publishers
*** 1/2

Opening Line:
The blade of a shovel, cutting through frosted grass. That’s what she remembered most from the spring of 1938.

I have been a fan of Melanie Dobson since reading her books Catching the Wind, Ch√Ęteau of Secrets and Shadows of Ladenbrook Manor - all historical fiction.

It is 1938 and Austria is getting overtaken by the Nazis, three young people’s lives are about to get entwined together as family secrets are uncovered and friendships are put to the test. How an original copy of Bambi, gifted from mother to daughter, ignites a journey for the present day story. 

Hidden Among the Stars weaves between 3 women with 3 vastly different stories to tell. Again I found myself drawn to the past story (nothing new there). Set around a castle, hidden treasure and forbidden love I couldn’t help feeling for these young women. It was a brutal time with the author not holding back on the atrocities that took place. While I enjoyed this book I was able to predict the outcome as the story unfolded - which isn't a bad thing.

Sometimes it’s the little tidbits I glean from certain books that stay with me, such is the case here. Callie works in a bookstore and it’s her knowledge of children’s literature and the past that did interest me.  References to some of my favorite kids' books even adding a few to my tbr pile. The author of Bambi and Curious George both Jewish fled hours before Nazis invaded (I’m still googling).

This is Christian fiction and heavy in both time periods, more so than in the author’s previous books. I feel there is a fine line where it can be too over-the-top, just right or not enough, in terms of sharing the faith of the characters, without sounding overly preachy and taking away from the story. With this book I think it was just the right blend, especially the past story. The  nightmarish path these girls faced, the struggles, it was authentic and believable. For Callie while her story was not as devastating as the other two she clung to her faith.

All in all an entertaining read, my thanks to the publisher (via netgalley) for an advanced copy of this book.

click on cover to take you to make review (except Catching the Wind - review coming soon -how did I miss that!?)

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Spotlight: The Jinni's Last Wish by Zenobia Neil

Publication Date: September 13, 2018

eBook; 283 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy

As a eunuch in the Ottoman Imperial Harem, Olin has already lost his home, his freedom, and his manhood. His only wish is for a painless death, until he meets Dark Star, a beautiful odalisque who promises to give him his deepest desire. He refuses to believe her claim to possess a jinni in a bottle. But when Dark Star is accused of witchcraft, Olin rubs the bottle in desperation and discovers she’s told the truth.

Olin becomes the jinni’s master to save Dark Star, but it's not enough. In the complex world of the Topkapi Palace, where silk pillows conceal knives, sherbets contain poison, and jewels buy loyalty, no one is safe. With each wish, Olin must choose between becoming like the masters he detests or risk his life, his body, and his sanity to break the bonds that tie them all.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Chapters

About the Author

Zenobia Neil was named after an ancient warrior queen who fought against the Romans. She writes about the mythic past and Greek and Roman gods having too much fun. Zenobia spends her free time imagining interesting people and putting them in terrible situations. She lives with her husband, two children, and dog in an overpriced hipster neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Visit her at

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Audio Review: The Secret of the Irish Castle (Deverill Chronicles #3) by Santa Montefiore

It is 1939 and peace has flourished since the Great War ended. But much has changed for the Deverill family and now a new generation is waiting in the wings.

Martha Wallace came to Dublin from her home in America to find her birth mother. But instead, she has lost her heart to the impossibly charming JP Deverill. Then she discovers that her mother comes from the same place as JP, and her fate seems sealed.

 Bridie Doyle, now Countess di Marcantonio and mistress of Castle Deverill, is determined to make the castle she used to work in her home. But her flamboyant husband Cesare has other ideas. And as his eye strays away from his wife, those close to them start to wonder if he really is who he says he is.

Kitty Deverill has come to terms with her life with her husband Robert, and their two children. But then Jack O’Leary, the love of her life, returns to Ballinakelly. And this time his heart belongs elsewhere…

This summer discover the dramatic conclusion to the bestselling Deverill Chronicles.

Published August 14th, 2018
by HarperAudio

Book 3 of The Deverill Chronicles has come to a fitting conclusion, I think this is the first time I have read a trilogy in as many months. I really enjoyed the first two books in this trilogy, the characters were interesting not always likable, the story was plausible and I love the Irish setting.

They were lots of loose ends that tied up nicely for some, not so much for others. But a fitting conclusion to a series that spanned from 1916 till after the Second World War. Three young girls began and what a life they have lived. Oh, and did I mention the curse, yes the Castle is cursed, it added that extra zip, it wasn't necessary but was a nice bonus. There were a few things I found a little too coincidental and predictable but not enough to spoil my enjoyment.

My only complaint would be the book titles, different from the UK edition and since collecting Santa Montefiore novels I’ve managed to acquirer many duplicates. This book is also known as The Last Secret of the Deverills.

My thanks to the publisher (via Edelweiss) for an advanced copy.

click on the cover to take you to review

Monday, September 3, 2018

Review: The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter by Hazel Gaynor

From The New York Times, bestselling author of The Girl Who Came Home comes a historical novel inspired by true events and the extraordinary female lighthouse keepers of the past two hundred years
 “They call me a heroine, but I am not deserving of such accolades. I am just an ordinary young woman who did her duty.”
1838: Northumberland, England. Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands has been Grace Darling’s home for all of her twenty-two years. When she and her father rescue shipwreck survivors in a furious storm, Grace becomes celebrated throughout England, the subject of poems, ballads, and plays. But far more precious than her unsought fame is the friendship that develops between Grace and a visiting artist. Just as George Emmerson captures Grace with his brushes, she in turn captures his heart.

1938: Newport, Rhode Island. Nineteen-years-old and pregnant, Matilda Emmerson has been sent away from Ireland in disgrace. She is to stay with Harriet, a reclusive relative, and assistant lighthouse keeper, until her baby is born. A discarded, half-finished portrait opens a window into Matilda’s family history. As a deadly hurricane approaches, two women, living a century apart, will be linked forever by their instinctive acts of courage and love.

ebook, 416 pages
Expected publication: October 9th, 2018
by William Morrow Paperbacks

This is my first book but Hazel Gaynor, I’ve seen and heard many wonderful things about her books and jumped at the chance when Edelweiss was offering an advanced copy. This book will be released on October 9th.

One of the things I love about historical fiction is reading about brave women of the past, those ones that we don’t hear much about but for the mark they have left on the pages of history. Grace Darling is one such woman from the Victorian age. It’s 1838, on England's east coast when Grace and her father rescue survivors of the shipwreck during a terrible storm. Jump ahead 100 years to 1938 where Matilda Emerson has been sent away to prevent further disgrace to her family. It’s between these two stories, evolving around lighthouse keepers, that connects and plays central to this story.

It’s not a short book coming in just over 400 pages, it’s the story of courage, love, and strength. How the 2 storylines connect played out nicely. I found this to be a softer book, more romanticized with a calm pacing but still keep my attention. I loved how the author stayed true to history in what Grace endured after the rescue. I have never given much thought to lighthouse keepers and their role, my eyes well opened to what a heavy responsibility that was, especially in both time periods lacking in modern technology of today.

Definitely an author I will be reading more of.  This book will appeal to those that are looking for strong women and unknown stories of the past.

Thanks to the publisher via Edelweiss for an advanced copy.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Review: The Glass Ocean by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, Karen White

From the New York Times bestselling authors of The Forgotten Room comes a captivating historical mystery, infused with romance, that links the lives of three women across a century—two deep in the past, one in the present—to the doomed passenger liner, RMS Lusitania.

May 2013 Her finances are in dire straits and bestselling author Sarah Blake is struggling to find a big idea for her next book. Desperate, she breaks the one promise she made to her Alzheimer’s-stricken mother and opens an old chest that belonged to her great-grandfather, who died when the RMS Lusitania was sunk by a German U-Boat in 1915. What she discovers there could change history. Sarah embarks on an ambitious journey to England to enlist the help of John Langford, a recently disgraced Member of Parliament whose family archives might contain the only key to the long-ago catastrophe. . . .

April 1915 Southern belle Caroline Telfair Hochstetter’s marriage is in crisis. Her formerly attentive industrialist husband, Gilbert, has become remote, pre-occupied with business . . . and something else that she can’t quite put a finger on. She’s hoping a trip to London in Lusitania’s lavish first-class accommodations will help them reconnect—but she can’t ignore the spark she feels for her old friend, Robert Langford, who turns out to be on the same voyage. Feeling restless and longing for a different existence, Caroline is determined to stop being a bystander, and take charge of her own life. . . .

Tessa Fairweather is traveling second-class on the Lusitania, returning home to Devon. Or at least, that’s her story. Tessa has never left the United States and her English accent is a hasty fake. She’s really Tennessee Schaff, the daughter of a roving con man, and she can steal and forge just about anything. But she’s had enough. Her partner has promised that if they can pull off this one last heist aboard the Lusitania, they’ll finally leave the game behind. Tess desperately wants to believe that, but Tess has the uneasy feeling there’s something about this job that isn’t as it seems. . . .

As the Lusitania steams toward its fate, three women work against time to unravel a plot that will change the course of their own lives . . . and history itself.

Kindle, 416 pages
Expected publication: September 4th, 2018
by William Morrow
*** 1/2

The Glass Ocean is the 2nd collaboration between talented authors Karen White, Beatriz Williams and Lauren Willig. Their first book together, The Forgotten Room was a favorite of mine back in 2016. Needless to say, I was excited when William Morrow provided me with an advanced copy of this their latest.

I didn’t know much about the Lusitania other than it was hit by a German torpedo during World War One and ushered the US into war. With 3 different narrators it wasn’t hard to keep the two time periods straight, two from the past and one present day.

The beginning 1/3 of this book pulled me in with its character building and intriguing plot. The dual time periods are books I usually enjoy, though at times it can be one time period that interests me more. Such was the case here (to some extent). To be honest, I struggled with the past plot, maybe because it dragged on a little longer than I thought necessary or maybe just a slight confusion at times. What saved it for me were the comedic bantering that was needed (pretty sure that was William’s part).

I struggled between giving this book 3 or 4 stars. Frustration grew when a change of direction occurred towards the end of the present day story (yea I felt it out of place and it really bugged me). But as I continued reading I ‘got it’ and thought it a great addition- sometimes you just need to sit back and trust the writer.

So I'm giving this book 3 1/2 stars rounding up to 4.

My thanks to William Morrow for an advanced copy (via Edelweiss).

click on cover for my review

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Audio Review: Tiffany Blues by M.J. Rose

New York, 1924.

Twenty‑four‑year‑old Jenny Bell is one of a dozen burgeoning artists invited to Louis Comfort Tiffany’s prestigious artists’ colony. Gifted and determined, Jenny vows to avoid distractions and romantic entanglements and take full advantage of the many wonders to be found at Laurelton Hall.

But Jenny’s past has followed her to Long Island. Images of her beloved mother, her hard-hearted stepfather, waterfalls, and murder, and the dank hallways of Canada’s notorious Andrew Mercer Reformatory for Women overwhelm Jenny’s thoughts, even as she is inextricably drawn to Oliver, Tiffany’s charismatic grandson.

As the summer shimmers on, and the competition between the artists grows fierce as they vie for a spot at Tiffany’s New York gallery, a series of suspicious and disturbing occurrences suggest someone knows enough about Jenny’s childhood trauma to expose her.

Supported by her closest friend Minx Deering, a seemingly carefree socialite yet dedicated sculptor, and Oliver, Jenny pushes her demons aside. Between stolen kisses and stolen jewels, the champagne flows and the jazz plays on until one moonless night when Jenny’s past and present are thrown together in a desperate moment, that will threaten her promising future, her love, her friendships, and her very life.

Audiobook, 10 hours 25 minutes
Published August 7th, 2018
by Atria Books

Opening line: I lost my heart long before this fire darkened its edges.

M.J. Rose has been a favorite of mine since reading Seduction about 5 years ago. She knows how to write unique plots with snapshots of real historical places, with characters that are hurting and struggling to hide secrets of the pasts. It’s always a treat opening one of her books. Due to time restraints, I opted for the audio version of Tiffany Blues.

The book opened in 1957 when a fire destroyed the famous Tiffany mansion in Long Island (it's a fact, google it, I did). There was enough in that opening that had me intrigued and curious about this place. The biggest surprise was the location of Hamilton, Ontario playing a pivotal role in Jenny’s past. That’s my neck of the woods (well close enough). One can’t help feeling for Jenny and all she went through, but trying to live a life without the past catching up is hard.

Tiffany Blues is a mysterious story with romance and the historical elements I love. The story goes back and forth to Jenny’s past and 1924, both of which were interesting enough, but I kinda felt it lacked the depth of character development from Rose’s previous books. That being said Jenny was well developed but I would have loved to have known some of the others in this book a little better, like Minx especially.

Coming in at just over 10 hours it was a quick listen with the reader Tavia Gilbert doing a great job. Author notes are always a favorite of mine especially for historical fiction, they were included here and I liked the fact it was at the beginning before the story began.

My thanks to the publisher for an advanced copy, however, I went the audio route via Sribd.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Spotlight: The Promise of Tomorrow by AnneMarie Brear

The Promise of Tomorrow by AnneMarie Brear

Publication Date: September 1, 2018
eBook; 390 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

Perfect for the fans of Dilly Court and Rosie Goodwin.

Charlotte Brookes flees her lecherous guardian, McBride, taking her younger sister with her. After a year on the road, they stumble into a Yorkshire village where the Wheelers, owners of the village shop, take them in. This new life is strange for Charlotte, but preferable to living with McBride or surviving on the roads.

Harry Belmont is an important man in the village, but he’s missing something in his life. His budding friendship with Charlotte gives him hope she will feel more for him one day, and he will marry the woman he yearns for. When McBride discovers where Charlotte lives, his threats begin. Harry fights to keep Charlotte safe, but World War I erupts and Harry enlists. Left to face a world of new responsibilities, and Harry’s difficult sister, Charlotte must run the gauntlet of family disputes, McBride's constant harassment, and the possibility of the man she loves being killed.

Can Charlotte find the happiness that always seems under threat, and will Harry return home to her?

Available on Amazon

AnneMarie has been a life-long reader and started writing in 1997 when her children were small. She has a love of history, of grand old English houses and a fascination with what might have happened beyond their walls. Her interests include reading, genealogy, watching movies, spending time with family and eating chocolate – not always in that order! AnneMarie grew up in Australia but now lives in the UK.

For more information please visit AnneMarie Brear's website.

You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Goodreads.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Review: The 49th Mystic (Beyond the Circle #1) by Ted Dekker

Some say the great mystery of how one can live in two worlds at once died with Thomas Hunter many years ago. Still, others that the gateway to that greater reality was and is only the stuff of dreams.

They are wrong. In the small town of Eden, Utah, a blind girl named Rachelle Matthews is about to find out just how wrong.

When a procedure meant to restore Rachelle's sight goes awry, she begins to dream of another world so real that she wonders if Earth might only be a dream experienced when she falls asleep in that reality. Who is a simple blind girl to have such strange and fantastic dreams?

She's the prophesied one who must find and recover five ancient seals--in both worlds--before powerful enemies destroy her. If Rachelle succeeds in her quest, peace will reign. If she fails, both worlds will forever be locked in darkness.

So begins a two-volume saga of high stakes and a mind-bending quest to find an ancient path that will save humanity. The clock is ticking; the end rushes forward.

Ready? Set?


Paperback, 409 pages 
Published May 15th, 2018 
by Revell

I am a relatively new reader to Ted Dekker. I have read his Boneman's Daughter and that’s about it. I know he is a Christian author with supernatural or mystic themes in his book. Having never read the Circle series, which is a prequel to this book, and while it didn't hamper my enjoyment of The 49th Mystic some prior knowledge might have been helpful at times.

It didn’t take long for me to get drawn in, beginning with a young blind girl I immediately connected and wanted to find out how she fared.

There is a lot going, it’s fantasy with Other Earth and supernatural elements. Mysterious and suspenseful as the story unfolds. The 48th Mystic is Rachelle’s journey, with theology themes familiarity with The Bible is helpful to appreciate her quest.

The 49th Mystic is a well-written book, a nice fast pace that kept me on my toes.  I can see myself reading over again. There were many quotes and highlights pertaining to my life and journey.

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

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Review: Falcon Wild by Terry Lynn Johnson

 "I back up as Cooper did and then sprint toward the edge. Just as I'm about to launch myself across the crevice, a hot wave of nausea grips me. I stumble at the last second. My leap is not enough to propel me to the other side. I reach for the edge.

 And miss." 

 Thirteen-year-old Karma is lost in the backcountry of Montana with her falcon, Stark, and a runaway boy named Cooper. She's desperate to find help for her dad and brother after they find themselves in a terrible accident on a back road.

 Karma wouldn't be in this mess if her parents hadn't insisted on returning Stark to the bird's original owner. Life at her father's bird sanctuary--and Karma's dreams of becoming an apprentice falconer--will never be the same now that she has to give Stark back. Lost in the wild, her bond with the tamed falcon only grows stronger. All the while, Cooper gets his own lessons on how to trust in newfound friendship.

 Both Karma's and Cooper's mettle is tested by mountain terrain, wild animals, severe weather, injury, and their own waning hope as this edge-of-your-seat adventure story vividly portrays the special bonds that can form between humans and animals.

 Hardcover, 176 pages 
Published September 19th 2017 
by Charlesbridge

I used to use the excuse that I read middle grade and children's book to see what would appeal to my boys and as time went by for the grandkids.  But the plain truth is that I love these books and I don't read nearly enough of them.  Now mind you I do have boundaries, not being a fan of fantasy or sci-fi, I am always on the lookout for adventure type story's, ones that feature the great outdoors and coming of age themes.  So when I discovered Canadian author Terry Lynn Johnson I knew I'd hit gold.

Beginning with Ice Dogs and Dogsled Dreams I have been avidly waiting for more great stories.  Imagine my shock in discovering Falcon Wild months after it's release. (I read this last fall and realized I never posted my review).  One of the things that stands out for me is the author's love of nature, it shines through in her writing.  With Falcon Wild it wasn't just about a couple of kids lost in the wilderness, I was given a glimpse of the beauty and harshness of the environment.  The feelings of hope and hopelessness,  respect and appreciation of animals and nature shine through.  Karma and Copper are challenged on many levels and I enjoyed reading about it.  The lessons on falconry were fun and educational.

Terry Lynn Johnson has a wonderful blog that highlight not just her books but where she draws inspiration.  Check it out at

My print copy from personal library.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Audio Review: The Romanov Empress by C.W. Gortner

For readers of Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir comes a dramatic novel of the beloved Empress Maria, the Danish girl who became the mother of the last Russian tsar.

 Even from behind the throne, a woman can rule.

 Narrated by the mother of Russia’s last tsar, this vivid, historically authentic novel brings to life the courageous story of Maria Feodorovna, one of Imperial Russia’s most compelling women who witnessed the splendor and tragic downfall of the Romanovs as she fought to save her dynasty in the final years of its long reign.

 Barely nineteen, Minnie knows that her station in life as a Danish princess is to leave her family and enter into a royal marriage—as her older sister Alix has done, moving to England to wed Queen Victoria’s eldest son. The winds of fortune bring Minnie to Russia, where she marries the Romanov heir and becomes empress once he ascends the throne. When resistance to his reign strikes at the heart of her family and the tsar sets out to crush all who oppose him, Minnie—now called Maria—must tread a perilous path of compromise in a country she has come to love.

 Her husband’s death leaves their son Nicholas as the inexperienced ruler of a deeply divided and crumbling empire. Determined to guide him to reforms that will bring Russia into the modern age, Maria faces implacable opposition from Nicholas’s strong-willed wife, Alexandra, whose fervor has lead her into a disturbing relationship with a mystic named Rasputin. As the unstoppable wave of revolution rises anew to engulf Russia, Maria will face her most dangerous challenge and her greatest heartache.

 From the opulent palaces of St. Petersburg and the intrigue-laced salons of the aristocracy to the World War I battlefields and the bloodied countryside occupied by the Bolsheviks, C. W. Gortner sweeps us into the anarchic fall of an empire and the complex, bold heart of the woman who tried to save it.

Published July 10th 2018
by Ballantine Book
Audible - 17 hrs, 49 mins

C.W. Gortner has been a favorite of mine since reading The Last Queen. He writes vividly, creating strong characters with realistic personalities breathing life into history with each new book release.

The Romanov Empress is one of my most anticipated books of 2018. I had signed up to be part of the HFVBT and was about 30% of the way through reading when life got chaotic and I ended up dropping out, switched over to the audiobook. It’s tricky doing that sometimes, will it work? Will I enjoy it reading more? In this instance the audio was wonderful - Katharine McEwan was the reader and one of my favorites. Coming in at almost 18 hours, my time driving, sitting and waiting just flew by.

I love reading about women that aren’t well know but still played a big part in the past. The Romanov’s are relatively new to me (this is my 3rd book) and coming from this perspective really gave me a sense of the background to what took place in 1918. Told through the eyes of Nicholas II’s mother was perfect. First introduced as a young women in Denmark her transition to a Russian Empress marked her as a strong woman, smart and compassionate and fiercely devoted to her family.

Reading a CW Gortner book is always a treat. With attention to detail, lots of history (without sounding like a history book) he has written a captivating story of a turbulent time in Russia’s past. I was actually hoping for a different outcome. He made me care for the family and citizens of that country. It’s evident the author has not only done extensive research but also has a passion for the era - it shines through in his writing.

I highly recommend this book to those that love reading about strong women in history that we rarely hear about.

 My thanks to Amy at HFVBT’s and Random House for an advanced copy (via Netgalley).

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Review: Women of the Dunes by Sarah Maine

From the author of the acclaimed novels The House Between Tides and Beyond the Wild River, a rich, atmospheric tale set on the sea-lashed coast of west Scotland, in which the lives of a ninth-century Norsewoman, a nineteenth-century woman, and a twenty-first-century archeologist weave together after a body is discovered in the dunes.

Libby Snow has always felt the pull of Ullanessm a lush Scottish island enshrouded in myth and deeply important to her family. Her great-great-grandmother Ellen was obsessed with the strange legend of Ulla, a Viking maiden who washed up on shore with the nearly lifeless body of her husband—and who inspired countless epic poems and the island’s name.

Central to the mystery is an ornate chalice and Libby, an archaeologist, finally has permission to excavate the site where Ulla is believed to have lived. But what Libby finds in the ancient dunes is a body from the Victorian era, clearly murdered…and potentially connected to Ellen.

What unfolds is an epic story that spans centuries, with Libby mining Ellen and Ulla’s stories for clues about the body, and in doing so, discovering the darker threads that bind all three women together across history.

Infused with Sarah Maine’s signature “meticulous research and descriptive passages of lush, beautiful landscapes” (Publishers Weekly), Women of the Dunes is a beautifully told and compelling mystery for fans of Kate Morton and Beatriz Williams.

Paperback, 384 pages
Published July 24th 2018
by Atria Books

I loved the author’s debut The House Between Tides, it was a Gothic mysterious story that left its mark as a unique and well written debut. That fact adds pressure to any subsequent release, with Women of the Dune I was not disappointed.

Women of the Dunes is an entertaining, tale set on the coast of Scotland with 3 distinct time periods involved. Having read my fair share of dual time period stories that sometimes overlap with a third one, this book’s plot stayed within those 3 periods and it worked. Never did I feel overwhelmed with the cast of characters.

Whether it was the 9th century Ulla, Ellen from the 1800’s or current day Libby each had great settings that put me there. The authors research was clearly spot on, the pace wasn’t rushed but steady, keeping my attention and wondering where the author was heading.

Women of the Dunes is a mysterious story with many layers, there is murder, betrayal, history and of course some romance. All the things that make for a captivating and entertaining read. 

My thanks to Atria Books for an advanced copy, via Netgalley.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Spotlight: A.B. Michaels' Golden City Series

The Art of Love (Golden City, Book 1) by A.B. Michaels

Publication Date: May 4, 2014
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
A Notable Indie Book of 2014 Silver Ippy Award New Apple Medalist Editor’s Choice – Idaho Book Awards

At the end of the Gilded Age, the “Golden City” of San Francisco offers everything a man could want—except the answers August Wolff desperately needs to find.

After digging a fortune in gold from the frozen fields of the Klondike, Gus heads south, hoping to start over and put the baffling disappearance of his wife and daughter behind him. The turn of the century brings him even more success, but the distractions of a city some call the new Sodom and Gomorrah can’t fill the gaping hole in his life.

Amelia Starling is a wildly talented artist caught in the straightjacket of Old New York society. Making a heart-breaking decision, she moves to San Francisco to further her career, all the while living with the pain of a sacrifice no woman should ever have to make.

 Brought together by the city’s flourishing art scene, Gus and Lia forge a rare connection. But the past, shrouded in mystery, prevents the two of them from moving forward as one. Unwilling to face society’s scorn, Lia leaves the city and vows to begin again in Europe.

Gus can’t bear to let her go, but unless he can set his ghosts to rest, he and Lia have no chance at all.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

The Depth of Beauty (Golden City, Book 2) by A.B. Michaels

Publication Date: January 6, 2016
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
A Notable Indie Book of 2016 2017 RITA Finalist – “Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance” Bookstores without Borders Lyra Award for Historical Fiction Chanticleer Book Reviews Goethe Award – First in Category: North American Turn of the Century

In 1903 San Francisco’s Chinatown, slavery, polygamy, and rampant prostitution are thriving— just blocks away from the city’s elite, progressive society.

Wealthy and well-connected, Will Firestone enters the mysterious enclave with an eye toward expanding his shipping business. What he finds there will astonish him. With the help of an exotic young widow and a gifted teenage orphan, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery, where lust, love and tragedy will change his life forever.

A stand-alone novel, The Depth of Beauty is the latest addition to the dual genre series, “Sinner’s Grove,” which chronicles the family and friends of a world-famous artists’ retreat on the northern California coast. The stories follow both historical and contemporary tracks and can be read separately or together for greater depth. Other titles in the series include the award-winning The Art of Love, Sinner’s Grove and The Lair.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

The Promise (Golden City, Book 3) by A.B. Michaels

Publication Date: June 24, 2016
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
April 18, 1906. A massive earthquake has decimated much of the Golden City, leaving thousands without food, water or shelter. Patrolling the streets to help those in need, Army corporal Ben Tilson meets a young woman named Charlotte who touches his heart, making him think of a future with her in it. In the heat of the moment he makes a promise to her little sister that even he realizes will be almost impossible to keep.

Because on the heels of the earthquake, a much worse disaster looms: a fire that threatens to consume everything and everyone in its path. It will take everything Ben’s got to make it back to Charlotte and her family—and even that may not be enough.

The Promise, a stand-alone novella, is the third offering in A.B. Michaels’ award-winning historical saga, “The Golden City,” which takes place in and around San Francisco at the turn of the twentieth century. Other books in the series include The Art of Love and The Depth of Beauty.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

The Price of Compassion (Golden City, Book 4) by A.B. Michaels

Publication Date: August 27, 2018
Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery
April 18, 1906. San Francisco has just been shattered by a massive earthquake and is in the throes of an even more deadly fire.

During the chaos, gifted surgeon Tom Justice makes a life-changing decision that wreaks havoc on his body, mind, and spirit.

Leaving the woman he loves, he embarks on a quest to regain his sanity and self-worth. Yet just when he finds some answers, he’s arrested for murder—a crime he may very well be guilty of. The facts of the case are troubling; they’ll have you asking the question: “Is he guilty?” Or even worse…”What would I have done?”

About the Author

A native of northern California, A.B. Michaels earned masters' degrees in history and broadcasting, and worked for many years in public relations and marketing. Now that she's an empty nester, she has time to write the kinds of stories she loves to read. Her historical series, "The Golden City," follows characters who make their way in turn of the twentieth century San Francisco. "I love creating flawed characters I can relate to, who have to make difficult choices, and who long for happiness like the rest of us. So much was happening in the early 1900's that help shape my novels. Once I tear myself away from the underlying research, they are fascinating stories to write."

Currently Ms. Michaels lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband and two furry creatures who are unclear on the concept that they are just dogs. In addition to writing, she loves to read and travel. A dabbler in fabric art, she also plays bocce in a summer league. Her latest stand-alone novel, "The Price of Compassion," is Book Four of the "Golden City" series. It's scheduled for release this summer and will be followed by Book Five, "Josephine's Daughter."

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Book Blast Schedule

Monday, August 13 Passages to the Past Tuesday, August 14 Naomi Finley's Blog Wednesday, August 15 What Is That Book About Thursday, August 16 To Read, Or Not to Read Friday, August 17 CelticLady's Reviews Just One More Chapter Saturday, August 18 Broken Teepee Sunday, August 19 Maiden of the Pages Monday, August 20 Pursuing Stacie Clarissa Reads It All Tuesday, August 21 A Book Geek Wednesday, August 22 Creating Herstory The Book Junkie Reads Thursday, August 23 Katie's Book Cave Friday, August 24 The Book Review Donna's Book Blog

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