Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Review: Judah's Wife: A Novel of the Maccabees (The Silent Years #2) by Angela Elwell Hunt

 Seeking peace and safety after a hard childhood, Leah marries Judah, a strong and gentle man, and for the first time in her life Leah believes she can rest easily. But the land is ruled by Antiochus IV, descended from one of Alexander the Great's generals, and when he issues a decree that all Jews are to conform to Syrian laws upon pain of death, devout Jews risk everything to follow the law of Moses.

Judah's father resists the decree, igniting a war that will cost him his life. But before dying, he commands his son to pick up his sword and continue the fight--or bear responsibility for the obliteration of the land of Judah. Leah, who wants nothing but peace, struggles with her husband's decision--what kind of God would destroy the peace she has sought for so long?

The miraculous story of the courageous Maccabees is told through the eyes of Judah's wife, who learns that love requires courage . . . and sacrifice.

Paperback, 384 pages
Published January 2nd 2018
by Bethany House Publishers
***

Told with alternating points of view, Judah's Wife is a story of the silent years between the Old and New Testaments, Malachi and Matthew.  The Maccabees is a name I have heard of but know nothing about and that's what I love about reading historical fiction - digging into the past in an informative and entertaining manner.  Discovering a new author along the way is also great.

Angela Hunt has written an emotional story about a young woman named Leah.  Growing up in an abusive home she longs for peace and in her marriage she might just have found that.  But it's short lived, bringing back memories and fears for the future. 

Judah wants nothing more than to please his wife but his father's dying wish takes him in a different direction.

Getting a view from both Leah and Judah gave me a real sense of the times and what the Jews endured.  Judah's Wife is well researched, it's a book about forgiveness, courage and devotion. Fans of Bibical fiction will enjoy this one.


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

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Spotlight/Giveaway: Light of the Northern Dancers by Robin F. Gainey


Publication Date: November 7, 2017
Untreed Reads Publishing
Hardcover, Paperback, & eBook; 396 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

Fiery aristocrat, Eden Rose, uprooted from her native Scotland, has tended a foundering marriage and failing ranch at the corner of Crazy Woman Creek and the Powder River for a decade. Best friend, backwoods spitfire Maddie True, has her own woes a few miles away: widowed with a passel of young children, and caretaker to her addled father. Abandoned by her husband during the height of Wyoming Territory’s worst drought in history, Eden depends on her inept brother, Aiden, to see her through the coming winter. But when he disappears into the wild Bighorn mountains, she shuns Maddie’s fearful cautions, teaming with enigmatic Lakota holy man, Intah, to find her brother before the wicked snow holds them all hostage.

 Light of the Northern Dancers is optioned and currently in development for a limited television series.


Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound


Praise

“Light of the Northern Dancers is a powerful novel of a woman’s journey, thought-provoking and unsettling in its authenticity and unflinching honesty. Its exploration of the depths of heartbreak is unblinking, yet ultimately, this is a celebration of joy, possibility, and transformation. Robin Gainey’s writing illuminates the past in all its brutality and beauty, and the humanity that binds us all together. This story underscores the power of endurance to heal and inspire hope. An unforgettable read that will live in your heart long after the final page is turned.” —Susan Wiggs, NYT Bestselling Author 

“Half of what happens to us may have reason, the rest is chaos. Somewhere down the line, chaos itself may find reason, as Nietzsche said, That which doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. Robin F. Gainey’s second novel, LIGHT OF THE NORTHERN DANCERS, has this brand of existentialism. It’s real and it doesn’t let go!” — Tom Skerritt, Award Winning Actor, Writer, Director

“Brutal and beautiful, unflinching and hopeful, Robin Gainey’s LIGHT OF THE NORTHERN DANCERS reveals the triumphs and hardships of pioneer life in the Wyoming Territory in a powerful story of two women surviving against all odds. Gainey’s prose is as lush as her story is gripping—a literary page turner!”— Lisa Alber, award-winning author of Whispers in the Mist and Path Into Darkness



Robin F. Gainey partnered in creating California’s Gainey Vineyard; presided over their culinary programs; and, with Julia Child, founded Santa Barbara’s American Institute of Wine and Food. She also oversaw the breeding and showing of champion Arabian Horses begun by the Gainey Family in 1939. She’s lived in California, Colorado, Washington, and Rome, Italy. She returned to her hometown, Seattle, to find her heart in writing. Active trustee of the acclaimed, Pacific Northwest Ballet, she enjoys reading, cooking, horseback riding, skiing any mountain, and spending three months every year cruising the wild Canadian Inside Passage aboard her boat—mostly alone. Light of the Northern Dancers, her second novel, is optioned and in development for a limited TV series.

For more information, please visit Robin F. Gainey's website.

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


Giveaway


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away two eBooks of Light of the Northern Dancers by Robin F. Gainey! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below. Giveaway Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on April 20th. You must be 18 or older to enter. – Giveaway is open to US residents only. – Only one entry per household. – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion. – Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

  Light of the Northern Dancers Blog Tour

Monday, March 26, 2018

Review: The Cold Light of Dawn by Anna Belfrage


After Henry of Lancaster’s rebellion has been crushed early in 1329, a restless peace settles over England. However, the young Edward III is no longer content with being his regents’ puppet, no matter that neither Queen Isabella nor Roger Mortimer show any inclination to give up their power. Caught in between is Adam de Guirande, torn between his loyalty to the young king and that to his former lord, Roger Mortimer.  

Edward III is growing up fast. No longer a boy to be manipulated, he resents the power of his mother, Queen Isabella, and Mortimer. His regents show little inclination of handing over their power to him, the rightful king, and Edward suspects they never will unless he forces their hand.

Adam de Guirande is first and foremost Edward’s man, and he too is of the opinion that the young king is capable of ruling on his own. But for Adam siding with his king causes heartache, as he still loves Roger Mortimer, the man who shaped him into who he is.

Inevitably, Edward and his regents march towards a final confrontation. And there is nothing Adam can do but pray and hope that somehow things will work out. Unfortunately, prayers don’t always help.

The Cold Light of Dawn is the fourth in Anna Belfrage’s series, The King’s Greatest Enemy, the story of a man torn apart by his loyalties to his lord and his king.

Publication Date: February 16, 2018
Matador & TimeLight Press
eBook & Paperback; 434 Pages
Series: The King's Greatest Enemy, Book #4
Genre: Historical Fiction

*****

Anna Belfrage is a very talented author, she is one of my favorites for so many reasons,  I wish more people knew about her and her two wonderful series, The King's Greatest Enemy and The Graham Saga.  She can draw a reader right in and not let go until the final pages, even the Author's Note hold my attention.

  The Cold Light of Dawn is the fourth book in the King's Greatest Enemy Series, my understanding was that this would be the final one, but while it concluded nicely this reader would like the series to continue, I've connected with the characters and would love to see what life has in store.  

Anna has created characters here and put them in a time when there is unrest in England and has made me care about them, actually wishing that they were real historical figures. It’s the timeperiod when Edward III wears the crown but the country really seems to be ruled by his mother Queen Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer.  Coming in at 593 pages and, with great attention to detail  there is so much depth here that it wasn’t hard to be totally captivated and the hours just whizzed by.  

There is a lot of activity taking place, whether it's between Kit and Adam, Edward III and his wife Philippa and of course Queen Isabella and Mortimer, that revolve around real historical events. The ending wasn’t a real surprise and honestly I was hoping for a different outcome but alas you can’t change history.  It's evident that not just a lot of research went into this series but also emotion, you can feel the author's passion in her writing.

If I made repeat myself, this is a wonderful series, it's best to start at the beginning with In the Shadow of the Storm and continue on. Trust me, if you are a lover of historical fiction then this is a series for you.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes and Noble


Anna was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result she’s multilingual and most of her reading is historical- both non-fiction and fiction. Possessed of a lively imagination, she has drawers full of potential stories, all of them set in the past. She was always going to be a writer – or a historian, preferably both. Ideally, Anna aspired to becoming a pioneer time traveller, but science has as yet not advanced to the point of making that possible. Instead she ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for her most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career Anna raised her four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive…

For years she combined a challenging career with four children and the odd snatched moment of writing. Nowadays Anna spends most of her spare time at her writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and she slips away into her imaginary world, with her imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in her life pops his head in to ensure she’s still there.

Other than on her website, www.annabelfrage.com, Anna can mostly be found on her blog, http://annabelfrage.wordpress.com – unless, of course, she is submerged in writing her next novel.

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


Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a complete set of The King's Greatest Enemy series to one winner & two winners will win a paperback copy of The Cold Light of Dawn!

To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

  Giveaway Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on March 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter. – Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY. –


  The Cold Light of Dawn


click on banner for more stops on this tour

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Excerpt: We Own the Sky by Luke Allnutt

“We looked down at the cliff jutting into the sea, a rubber boat full of kids going under the arch, and then you started running and jumping through the grass, dodging the rabbit holes, shouting at the top of your voice, so I started chasing you, trying to catch you, and we were laughing so hard as we ran and ran, kicking up rainbow showers in the leaves.”

 Rob Coates feels like he’s won the lottery of life. There is Anna, his incredible wife, their London town house and, most precious of all, Jack, their son, who makes every day an extraordinary adventure. But when a devastating illness befalls his family, Rob’s world begins to unravel. Suddenly finding himself alone, Rob seeks solace in photographing the skyscrapers and clifftops he and his son Jack used to visit. And just when it seems that all hope is lost, Rob embarks on the most unforgettable of journeys to find his way back to life, and forgiveness.

 We Own the Sky is a tender, heartrending, but ultimately life-affirming novel that will resonate deeply with anyone who has suffered loss or experienced great love. With stunning eloquence and acumen, Luke Allnutt has penned a soaring debut and a true testament to the power of love, showing how even the most thoroughly broken heart can learn to beat again.

 Hardcover, 368 pages 
Expected publication: April 3rd 2018
 by Park Row

Excerpt

CHAPTER TWO

 “Anna, can you talk, you’re not gonna fucking believe this.” I was standing outside a meeting room in an office on Old Street.

 “Is everything all right?” she said.

I was trying to keep my voice down as the corridor walls were thin. “They want it. The software. They want to buy the fucking software.”

 A pause, a faint crackle on the line.

 “This isn’t one of your jokes, is it, Rob?” Anna said.

 “No, not at all. I can’t talk for long, but they’re in the room now, looking at the papers. I didn’t even have to pitch it. They just want it. They get it.”

The company, Simtech, had been recommended by a pro¬grammer friend. A start-up run by someone called Scott, who had been a few years ahead of me at Cambridge.

 “That’s absolutely fantastic, Rob. Brilliant news,” she said, but it was as if she was waiting for me to tell her something else.

“And guess how much they want to pay for it?”

 “I don’t know, um…”

“One and a half million.”

 Even Anna couldn’t contain her excitement. “As in sterling?”

“Yes, pounds. I still can’t believe it.”

 Anna took a deep breath, and I could hear a shuffling sound, what sounded like her blowing her nose.

 “Anna, are you okay?”

 “Yes,” she said, sniffing a little. “I just… I just don’t know what to say…”

 “I know, me too. We have to celebrate tonight.”

 “Yes, of course,” she said, a note of caution in her voice. “I don’t understand, though. So what actually happened? What did they…”

 I could hear the scraping of chairs on the floor of the meet¬ing room, the sound of people standing up.

 “Anna, I’ve got to go, I’ll call you in a bit…”

 “Okay,” she said, “but don’t do anything hasty, Rob. Don’t sign anything, okay? Say you need to discuss everything with your lawyers.”

 “Yeah, yeah… I’ve got…

“I’m serious, Rob…”

 “Okay, Okay, don’t worry. I’ll call you later…”



 The grimy heat hit me as soon as I left the building. For a moment, I just stood, blinking into the sunlight, watching the lanes of traffic hurtle around the roundabout, the happy, dirty din of London.

The last nine months hadn’t been easy. Living in Clapham in a rented ground-floor flat that Anna paid for. While I worked late through the night—caffeine-fueled coding binges—Anna got up early for work. We didn’t see much of each other, a wave in our bathrobes on the landing—her getting up, me turning in. It was just for a while, we agreed. It would be better when her training period was over, when I had finished writing my software.

 Anna loved her job, working in a department that audited the bank’s adherence to financial regulations. It was perfect for her: a stickler for the rules, she knew where the bank could trip up. And because she knew the rules, she also knew how to get around them, the legal shortcuts and backdoors, the get-out clauses that lurked in the small print. Her talents were recog¬nized, and she was promoted and fast-tracked for management in just her first six months.

I was still buzzing and didn’t know what to do with myself, so I started walking toward Liverpool Street, the skyscrap¬ers eclipsing the sun. I tried to call Anna but her phone was switched off, so I ducked into a pub for a beer.

I knew I was right. All those twenty- and thirty-hour cod¬ing sessions, sleeping under an old blanket on the floor. I told people smartphones would change everything, and they rolled their eyes. But it was true. Maps used to be static, something we kept folded up in a backpack, or in the glove compartment of the car. Now they would always be with us, customized, dynamic, on our phones, in our pockets.

The beer began to have a calming effect, and it felt like a great weight had been lifted. It hadn’t been the plan—Anna paying the rent and lending me the money to buy a new suit. She didn’t say it outright, but I knew what she thought. That I should do a business course, an internship at a gaming company, that I should put my silly maps idea on the backburner for now.

 It grated. Because everyone always thought that it would be me, that I would be the precocious wunderkind dripping in cash. Because I had a track record. I told people I would grad¬uate at the top of my class—and I did. I told my disbelieving tutors I would win the annual Cambridge hacking competi¬tion—and I did, every year. But London hadn’t been like that. While Anna flew off to Geneva every two weeks for work, I sat on the sofa in my boxer shorts watching Countryfile and eating leftover rice from Chicken King.

My phone rang. It was Anna.

 “Hello.”

 “You’re in a pub, aren’t you?”

“How did you guess?”

 “I had training and I’ve finished early. Do you want to come and meet me at Liverpool Street?”

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

Be sure to click on the link for more stops on this tour, along with links to purchase this book and how to connect with the author.   Also come back on April 18th when I will post a review of We Own the Sky here


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Interview: Author Aimie K. Runyan

I am thrilled to have Aimie K. Runyan here at JustOneMoreChapter today.  I've read all 3 of her books and look forward to many more.  Be sure to scroll down to the bottom for links to her social media sites and links to my reviews.


Aimie, I am going to regress a little here and go back to your series, Daughters of New France. This Canadian is always on the lookout for HF taking place in Canada and any books I have found were usually written by a Canadian. You aren’t Canadian, what made you pick this story to write about?
I am actually French-Canadian by ancestry on my dad’s side, and learned (after writing my Master’s thesis on these remarkable female pioneers) that I’m descended from more than a dozen filles du roi. Apparently blood won out! I first learned about these women when I was working on my MA in French at Indiana University. I was taking a course on Canadian Civ, and the professor spent perhaps a quarter of an hour discussing female emigration to New France. I was also taking a creative writing course for fun, and was immediately struck that these women deserved to be known. I wrote a short story from the POV of the character that would become Nicole, and a decade later, decided to finish the book!
With Daughters of the Night Sky you take the big leap to Russia during World War 2, again what drove you in that direction?
Practicality, in many respects. And persistent friends. I knew I needed to choose a marketable era (like WWII) for a few projects to gain the readership I’d need to have success selling books that take place in lesser-known times and places. Several friends sent me articles about the Night Witches when I was idea-hunting, and I was captivated by their bravery. Once I started writing the synopsis, it was a concept that wouldn’t let go.
Did you get a chance to visit the areas you wrote about?
Sadly, no. A trip to Russia wasn’t in the budget. I have been to Germany and France, which was helpful for the last few chapters.
So  how did you go about a getting a feel for that era.
I *have* been to Alaska, which shares a lot with Russia in terms of climate and geography, so that was very useful for descriptions. I relied a lot on personal narratives from the Night Witches, and also had the chance to fly in an open-cockpit WWII-era biplane. That was the highlight of my research for sure!
What is one thing you hope readers will take away from this story?
Wars are not fought exclusively by men. There have been thousands of women in the last century who answered their countries’ calls for aid in their hour of need, and who did so without reservation. They gave their lives freely to protect their families and their freedoms. And while the men who fought were also heroes, not all can say they volunteered their service as freely as every single woman who took up arms for her country.
What can you readers look forward to in the future?
 I’ve just turned in Girls on the Line, which is a story of the American telephone operators who served in France during the Great War. This book was absolutely a love affair of mine, and I can’t wait for you all to read it in early November, just in time for the 100th anniversary of the armistice!
Aimie when this interview posts you will be in the sunny south, care to share what books you are packing?
Quite a few! I’m taking early review copies of Carousel Beach by Orly Konig, In Praise of Difficult Women by Karen Karbo, The Optimists Guide to Letting Go by Amy E. Reichert, and a whole Kindle-full of books I’ve been wanting to read for ages!!!



Daughters of the Night Sky
Paperback, 316 pages 
Published January 1st 2018 
by Lake Union Publishing

 A novel—inspired by the most celebrated regiment in the Red Army—about a woman’s sacrifice, courage, and love in a time of war.

Russia, 1941. Katya Ivanova is a young pilot in a far-flung military academy in the Ural Mountains. From childhood, she’s dreamed of taking to the skies to escape her bleak mountain life. With the Nazis on the march across Europe, she is called on to use her wings to serve her country in its darkest hour. Not even the entreaties of her new husband—a sensitive artist who fears for her safety—can dissuade her from doing her part as a proud daughter of Russia.

After years of arduous training, Katya is assigned to the 588th Night Bomber Regiment—one of the only Soviet air units comprised entirely of women. The Germans quickly learn to fear nocturnal raids by the daring fliers they call “Night Witches.” But the brutal campaign will exact a bitter toll on Katya and her sisters-in-arms. When the smoke of war clears, nothing will ever be the same—and one of Russia’s most decorated military heroines will face the most agonizing choice of all.

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

Aimie K. Runyan writes to celebrate history’s unsung heroines. She is the author of two previous historical novels: Promised to the Crown and Duty to the Crown, and hard at work on novel #4.

She is active as an educator and a speaker in the writing community and beyond.

She lives in Colorado with her wonderful husband and two (usually) adorable children.

To learn more about Aimie and her work, please visit her www.aimiekrunyan.com

Social Media links:  Website   Facebook  Twitter



                            click on covers to take you to my review of these wonderful books



Sunday, March 11, 2018

Audio Review: Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley and Livingstone by Martin Dugard

With the utterance of a single line—“Doctor Livingstone, I presume?”—a remote meeting in the heart of Africa was transformed into one of the most famous encounters in exploration history. But the true story behind Dr. David Livingstone and journalist Henry Morton Stanley is one that has escaped telling. Into Africa is an extraordinarily researched account of a thrilling adventure—defined by alarming foolishness, intense courage, and raw human achievement.

 In the mid-1860s, exploration had reached a plateau. The seas and continents had been mapped, the globe circumnavigated. Yet one vexing puzzle remained unsolved: what was the source of the mighty Nile river? Aiming to settle the mystery once and for all, Great Britain called upon its legendary explorer, Dr. David Livingstone, who had spent years in Africa as a missionary. In March 1866, Livingstone steered a massive expedition into the heart of Africa. In his path lay nearly impenetrable, uncharted terrain, hostile cannibals, and deadly predators. Within weeks, the explorer had vanished without a trace. Years passed with no word.

 While debate raged in England over whether Livingstone could be found—or rescued—from a place as daunting as Africa, James Gordon Bennett, Jr., the brash American newspaper tycoon, hatched a plan to capitalize on the world’s fascination with the missing legend. He would send a young journalist, Henry Morton Stanley, into Africa to search for Livingstone. A drifter with great ambition, but little success to show for it, Stanley undertook his assignment with gusto, filing reports that would one day captivate readers and dominate the front page of the New York Herald.

Tracing the amazing journeys of Livingstone and Stanley in alternating chapters, author Martin Dugard captures with breathtaking immediacy the perils and challenges these men faced. Woven into the narrative, Dugard tells an equally compelling story of the remarkable transformation that occurred over the course of nine years, as Stanley rose in power and prominence and Livingstone found himself alone and in mortal danger. The first book to draw on modern research and to explore the combination of adventure, politics, and larger-than-life personalities involved, Into Africa is a riveting read.


Narrated by: John Lee 
Length: 11 hrs and 30 mins 
Unabridged Release date: 12-11-03 
Publisher: Books on Tape
****

I’m always fascinated with explorers, those that go out into the world who are brave enough to risk so much in their search. Stanley and Livingston are names I heard all through school, famous explorer and famous statement 'Dr. Livingston I presume' has stayed with me and left me wondering about their stories. I went with the audio version,  the reader was someone new (to me) so he did a fantastic job.

 The author doesn’t hold back as he describes this journey and the hostile environment Africa was during that time. This books isn’t just about finding Livingston but it gives the background information on both these men, the time period as well as what happens after their meeting. I grew up thinking Livingston was a missionary however this book doesn't really get into that aspect of his life but centered on his search for the source of the Nile.  History classes had me assuming the search for Livingstone was straight forward but as shown here it was anything but.  Disease was a daily concern, violence and desertion a common occurrence.  The weather was scary and the bugs/insects even more so. How these 2 managed to meet up was amazing and it took years.

There is a wealth of information here and I am glad to have gone the audio way this time around.  Nonfiction leans itself well in that direction.  My copy was from my personal library (via Audible). 


Saturday, March 10, 2018

Review: The Wild Woman's Guide to Traveling the World by Kristin Rockaway

Fans of Sophie Kinsella and The Devil Wears Prada will love this smart, sexy debut novel of wanderlust.

Objectively, Sophie is a success: she's got a coveted job at a top consulting firm, a Manhattan apartment, and a passport full of stamps. It isn't quite what she dreamed of when she was a teenager dog-earing pages in exotic travel guides, but it's secure. Then her best friend bails just hours after they arrive in Hong Kong for a girls' trip, and Sophie falls for Carson, a free spirited, globetrotting American artist. He begs her to join him on his haphazard journey, but she chooses responsibility and her five-year plan.

Back in New York, that plan feels less and less appealing. As Sophie recalls the dreams she's suppressed, the brief international jaunts she sneaks in between business trips no longer feel like enough. Carson isn't ready to let her go either, but as they try to figure out their relationship, Sophie realizes she may have to pursue her passions with or without him.

Kindle, 352 pages 
Published June 6th 2017 
by Center Street
*** 1/2

Sophie has it all, or so she thinks, she has her precious five-year plan that works with her career, a savings account and a job that allows her to travel the world. She doesn’t realize what she is missing until she gets a taste of it then the real adventure begins.

From the title I imagined far away places but this story takes place in Hong Kong and New York City and is the perfect beach read (or for some of us snowed it) curl up under a quilt with a cuppa tea. Though a relatively quick read the author has written a tantalizing story that didn’t just entertain but presented a clear message - you’ll have to read the book to find out what it is.....

This is the author’s debut and I hope she writes a sequel with more adventures of Sophie and Carson. I loved the historical details of both locations and while the ending was a little predictable it was still a great read.  There are a couple risque scenes which might not appeal to all, but this is chick lit and easy to skip over.

Thanks to TLC Tours for the opportunity to be part of this tour.


Kristin Rockaway is a native New Yorker with an insatiable case of wanderlust. After working in the IT industry for far too many years, she finally traded the city for the surf and chased her dreams out to Southern California, where she spends her days happily writing stories instead of software. Her debut novel, The Wild Woman’s Guide to Traveling the World, was released from Hachette Book Group in June 2017. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband and son, browsing the aisles of her neighborhood bookstores, and planning her next big vacation.

 Find out more about Kristin at her website, and connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Review: The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

When newly widowed Elsie is sent to see out her pregnancy at her late husband's crumbling country estate, The Bridge, what greets her is far from the life of wealth and privilege she was expecting . . . 

When Elsie married handsome young heir Rupert Bainbridge, she believed she was destined for a life of luxury. But with her husband dead just weeks after their marriage, her new servants resentful, and the local villagers actively hostile, Elsie has only her husband's awkward cousin for company. Or so she thinks. Inside her new home lies a locked door, beyond which is a painted wooden figure--a silent companion--that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself. The residents of The Bridge are terrified of the figure, but Elsie tries to shrug this off as simple superstition--that is, until she notices the figure's eyes following her.

A Victorian ghost story that evokes a most unsettling kind of fear, this is a tale that creeps its way through the consciousness in ways you least expect--much like the silent companions themselves.


 Paperback, 320 pages
 Expected publication: March 6th 2018
 by Penguin Books
****

I have been shying away from contemporary psychological thrillers these days, I find they lack the creepy, suspenseful, on the edge of your seat feel.  And to be totally honest I had given up hope of obtaining an arc (of The Silent Companion) from netgalley when I requested back in the fall.  When I did receive this last week I jumped right in blind, totally forgetting what this book was about but being familiar with the author I knew I was in good hands.

The Silent Companions is the type of eerie, suspenseful, spooky, mysterious book that I love, add the historical setting and I was glued to the pages.  There are two time periods involved here, 1635 and 1865 that are connected by The Bridge, an estate that the locals stay away from because of its dark history.

Laura Purcell does a great job setting the mood for this story, with it's locked doors, strange noises and equally interesting characters (real and wooden) and of course an old diary.  Because of the time periods involved the mystically elements fit right in, witch's were believed to exist and the way everything was presented felt authentic.  Definitely shows the authors knowledge of the time period.  While I didn't get that scared feeling I was totally captivated here, I had to keep reading to find out what was going on. 

I like the cover above but think the UK version is also great.

Thanks to the publisher (via Netgalley) for an advanced copy in exchange for honest review.


Friday, March 2, 2018

Review: The Lost Castle (The Lost Castle #1) by Kristy Cambron

Launching a brand-new series, Kristy Cambron explores the collision of past and present as she discovers the ruins of a French castle, long lost to history.

 A thirteenth century castle, Chateau de Doux Reves, has been forgotten for generations, left to ruin in a storybook forest nestled deep in France's picturesque Loire Valley. It survived a sacking in the French Revolution, was brought back to life and fashioned into a storybook chateau in the Gilded Age, and was eventually felled and deserted after a disastrous fire in the 1930s.

 As Ellie Carver sits by her grandmother's bedside, she hears stories of a castle . . . of lost love and a hidden chapel that played host to a secret fight in the World War II French resistance. But her grandmother is quickly slipping into the locked-down world of Alzheimer's, and Ellie must act fast if she wants to uncover the truth of her family's history.

Sparked by the discovery of a long forgotten family heirloom, Ellie embarks on a journey to French wine country to uncover the mystery surrounding The Sleeping Beauty--the castle so named for Charles Perrault's beloved fairy tale--and unearth its secrets before they're finally silenced by time.

Set in three different time periods--the French Revolution, World War II, and present day--The Lost Castle is a story of loves won and lost, of battles waged, and an enchanted castle that inspired the epic fairy tales time left behind.

 Paperback, 384 pages
 Published February 6th 2018 
by Thomas Nelson
****

The Lost Castle is not your average dual time period book, because this book has three time periods. The Sleeping Beauty is a 13th century castle with many stories to tell.

The Chateau de Doux Reves survives the French Revolution but not a fire in the 1930’s. Left abandoned the French resistance uses its shell to hide in. The current day story centers around Ellie and her quest to unravel the story behind a mysterious picture of her grandmother taken at the ruins.

The synopsis above does a great job of descibing the stories here without me going into more detail.  Suffice to say I really enjoyed this book.  Each of the characters were unique, their journeys played out nicely and the landscape was easy to visualize.  As each women searches for meaning in different ways they battle through war, whether physically or through another their lives are changed because of it.

The Lost Castle is a story of love and loss, strength and determination. The author’s passion for this story was evident with vivid descriptive detail and an interesting story where all the pieces fit together nicely.

This looks to be the first book in a new series called The Lost Castles, a series I will continue to read. This is my second book by Kristy Cambron and my favorite so far.

Thanks to TLC Tours and Netgalley for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.
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