Monday, July 31, 2017

Spotlight on Casanova's Secret Wife by Barbara Lynn Davis

Publication Date: July 25, 2017
Publisher: Kensington Books
304 Pages

Genre: Fiction/Historical/Biographical



Set in eighteenth-century Venice and based on an actual account by Giacomo Casanova—here is a lush tale of desire and risk.


Caterina Capreta was an innocent girl of fourteen when she caught the attention of the world’s most infamous chronicler of seduction: Giacomo Casanova. Intoxicated by a fierce love, she wed Casanova in secret. But his shocking betrayal inspired her to commit an act that would mark her forever …

Now twenty years later on the island of Murano, the woman in possession of Caterina’s most devastating secret has appeared with a request she cannot refuse: to take in a noble-born girl whose scandalous love affair resembles her own. But the girl’s presence stirs up unwelcome memories of Caterina’s turbulent past. Tested like never before, she reveals the story of the man she will never forget.

Bringing to life a fascinating chapter in the history of Venice, Casanova’s Secret Wife is a tour de force that charts one woman’s journey through love and loss to redemption.


Praise for Casanova's Secret Wife



“Lynn-Davis admirably incorporates historical detail into this page-turning drama of mystery, love, and loss….Yet the standout is her depiction of Casanova – Lynn-Davis clearly enjoys crafting a real-life character who stands apart from the legend, making him the book’s most enduring character.” – Publishers Weekly

“Lynn-Davis debuts with a fascinating story based on the notorious lover Giacomo Casanova’s writings. With Venice as the romantic backdrop and young love as its focus, this stunning tale of passion, betrayal and redemption is a richly woven tapestry of Casanova’s early life. By bringing little known history to life, Lynn-Davis delivers an unforgettable love story, centering not only on Casanova, but two women who share the beauty of love and the pain of loss; one will find salvation and the other true happiness.”- RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

“Full of passion and rich historical detail . . . an enthralling read, impossible to put down.” –Phyllis T. Smith, bestselling author

“This is Venice beneath the mask: A dark and fascinating love story hiding in the shadows of the golden city.” –Marina Fiorato, bestselling author of The Glassblower of Murano

“Seductive and unforgettable” –Harmony Verna, author of Daughter of Australia

“Breathtaking, beautiful . . . will mesmerize readers.” –Rosanna Chiofalo, author of Stella Mia


Buy the Book

 
 

About the Author

 
 

Barbara Lynn-Davis graduated from Brown University with a degree in art history. She then worked at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Venice and later spent a year there while completing her Ph.D. in Renaissance art at Princeton University.

She currently teaches art history and writing at Wellesley College, and lives outside Boston with her family.

For more information please visit Barbara Lynn-Davis’ website. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Goodreads.

 
 

It's Giveaway Time!!

 

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a paperback copy of Casanova’s Secret Wife! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form HERE.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on August 22nd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US & Canada only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
 
 

Casanova's Secret Wife Blog Tour Schedule

 

Tuesday, July 25

Review at 100 Pages a Day
Spotlight at The Lit Bitch

Wednesday, July 26

Review at A Bookaholic Swede
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Thursday, July 27

Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Friday, July 28

Excerpt at Passages to the Past

Monday, July 31

Review at A Bookish Affair
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Tuesday, August 1

Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession

Wednesday, August 2

Review & Guest Post at Books of All Kinds

Thursday, August 3

Review at Library of Clean Reads
Interview at Let Them Read Books

Friday, August 4

Review at Pursuing Stacie

Monday, August 7

Review at Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, August 8

Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Wednesday, August 9

Guest Post at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Thursday, August 10

Spotlight at Queen Bee Books

Friday, August 11

Review at Trisha Jenn Reads

Monday, August 14

Spotlight at Books, Dreams, Life

Tuesday, August 15

Review at Creating Herstory

Wednesday, August 16

Guest Post at Creating Herstory

Thursday, August 17

Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Friday, August 18

Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads
Interview at Ms. Stuart Requests the Pleasure of Your Company

Monday, August 21

Review at Broken Teepee
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Tuesday, August 22

Review at Bookramblings
Review at Jorie Loves a Story


 
 
 
 




Friday, July 28, 2017

The Tip of My Wish List - Books Made Into TV Shows

If you're anything like me you've got a book wish list so long there is no way you will ever be able to read through it all. And, on top of that, it's never ending because you just can't stop adding more books to it! To try and organize myself I'm sharing 5 books from my wish list that I'm most excited to get to, usually with a common theme, on the last Friday of each month. I know a number of excellent bloggers who will be doing similar posts and I'll be sure to link to their posts as well so you can see all the goodies we're excited about and, hopefully, add a few new books to your own wish list. I'll also link the titles to Goodreads where you can read reviews and find the various ways to purchase a copy of the books if they sound like your style. I really hope you enjoy and let me know if you've read any of these or have others you would add to the list.


After last month's wish list theme (Books Made into Movies) I started noticing how many books I had on my wish list that have been made into TV shows. It's amazing how many shows start off as a novel or non-fiction work, although not surprising...we all know how awesome books are!! Below are five books on my wish list that I need to get to before seeing the show (or, in a few cases, were I've already seen the show and need to compare). Do you have any you'd add to the list?
 
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
 
 
 
 
The seminal work of speculative fiction from the Booker Prize-winning author, soon to be a Hulu series starring Elizabeth Moss, Samira Wiley, and Joseph Fiennes.


Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the days before, when she lived and made love with her husband Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now.... Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid's Tale is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and literary tour de force.



American Gods


First published in 2001, here is the New York Times bestselling novel that became an instant classic and was hailed by USA Today as “a powerful, searing force that makes readers confront what is real and what is not…”—now a TV series from FremantleMedia North America is coming to STARZ with Bryan Fuller and Michael Green as showrunners, and starring Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane, Crispin Glover, Cloris Leachman, and Gillian Anderson.


Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life.

But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow’s best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and a rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself.

Life as Wednesday’s bodyguard, driver, and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined. Soon Shadow learns that the past never dies... and that beneath the placid surface of everyday life a storm is brewing—an epic war for the very soul of America—and that he is standing squarely in its path.



Thirteen Reasons Why


Read this sensational mystery bestseller before you watch the 13-part Netflix series, executive produced by Selena Gomez. This special edition is complete with exclusive behind-the-scenes content including a 16-page full-colour photo insert featuring scenes from the show, and interviews with the cast and crew.


You can't stop the future. You can't rewind the past. The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home from school one day to find a mysterious box with his name on it, outside his front door. Inside he discovers a series of cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker - his classmate and crush. Only, she committed suicide two weeks earlier. On the first tape, Hannah explains that there are 13 reasons why she did what she did - and Clay is one of them.

If he listens, Clay will find out how he made the list - what he hears will change his life forever.



11/22/63


Life can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away...but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. How? By stepping through a portal in the diner’s storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke... Finding himself in warmhearted Jodie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is about to be rewritten...and become heart-stoppingly suspenseful.

 
 
Soon to be a television series on Spike TV


 #1 New York Times bestselling author Stephen King’s terrifying novella about a town engulfed in a dense, mysterious mist—as humanity makes its last stand against unholy destruction…


In the wake of a destructive Maine summer thunderstorm, an impenetrable mist descends from the direction of a local military facility and infiltrates the small town of Bridgton. David Drayton and his son Billy are dragged into a living nightmare as unnatural and violent forces concealed by the mist begin to emerge, wreaking havoc in their wake. Now trapped in the local supermarket with a ragtag group of survivors, David unexpectedly faces a growing threat from within, one that promises to challenge the boundaries of sanity itself. In this horrifying mist, hearing is seeing—and believing. And what you’re about to hear, you’ll never forget.

Originally published in his acclaimed collection, Skeleton Crew, this riveting, eerie novella proves why Stephen King is a master storyteller in short form.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
 
 
Check out these lovely blogs for more books to add to your wish list(updated as they become available):


Holly at 2 Kids and Tired
Stephanie at Layered Pages
Heather at The Maiden's Court
Erin at Flashlight Commentary
Magdalena at A Bookish Swede

 
 
 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Cover Crush: Daughters of Fire by Barbara Erskine

Hello, my name is Colleen and I am a cover slut. I know, I know....you aren't supposed to judge a book by it's cover. I just can't help myself! A beautiful cover draws my eye every single time and I can't help but pick up the book it's dressing and see if the inside seems as intriguing as the outside. Sometimes it does, and sometimes a pretty cover is just a pretty cover. Either way, I love getting an eyeful!


One of my favorite bloggers, Erin at
Flashlight Commentary, created a weekly blog post called Cover Crush and she and some other blogger friends are sharing their favorite covers each Thursday. I've decided to join in this year and will link to their posts down below.


So, without further ado, my Cover Crush this week is.....
 
 
 
 
 
 
If you looked up "atmospheric" in the dictionary I'm pretty sure this picture will be showing (not really, but you get me). Seriously, how gorgeous and mysterious is this cover?! Who is the person riding that horse into what I can only assume is battle since it looks like there are other fighters in the mist behind them? It's amazing how much action and feeling can be in one hazy picture but I, for one, need to know what is happening within this story!
 
Let's see what the synopsis can tell us about what to expect....
 
 

The sweeping new novel from the bestselling author of LADY OF HAY switches between Roman Britain and the present day where history dramatically impacts on the lives of three women.
 
Two thousand years ago, as the Romans invade Britannia, the princess who will become the powerful queen of the great tribe of the Brigantes, watches the enemies of her people come ever closer. Cartimandua's world is, from the start, a maelstrom of love and conflict; revenge and retribution.
 
In the present day, Edinburgh-based historian, Viv Lloyd Rees, has immersed herself in the legends surrounding the Celtic queen. She has written a book and is working on a dramatisation of the young queen's life with the help of actress, Pat Hebden.
 
Cartimandua's life takes one unexpected turn after another as tragedy changes the course of her future. But the young queen has formidable enemies - among them Venutios, her childhood sparring partner, and Medb, a woman whose jealousy threatens not only her happiness but her life.
 
Viv's Head of Department, Hugh Graham, hounds her as she struggles to hide her visions of Cartimandua and her conviction that they are real. Her obsession grows ever more persistent and threatening as she takes possession of an ancient brooch that carries a curse. Both Pat and Hugh are drawn into this dual existence of bitter rivalry and overwhelming love as past envelopes present and the trio find themselves facing the greatest danger of their lives.
 
 
 
Don't forget to check out what covers my blogger buddies are drooling over this week (updated as they become available):





Created by Magdalena of A Bookaholic Swede

 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Whirligig: Keeping the Promise by Richard Buxton + Tour-Wide Giveaway!!

Pub. Date: April 22, 2017
Publisher: Ocoee Publishing
496 Pages

Series: Shire’s Union, Book One
Genre: Fiction/Historical



The first novel from multi-award winning short-story writer Richard Buxton, Whirligig is at once an outsider’s odyssey through the battle for Tennessee, a touching story of impossible love, and a portrait of America at war with itself. Self-interest and conflict, betrayal and passion, all fuse into a fateful climax.


Shire leaves his home and his life in Victorian England for the sake of a childhood promise, a promise that will pull him into the bleeding heart of the American Civil War and through the bloody battlefields of the West, where he will discover a second home for his loyalty.

Clara believes she has escaped from a predictable future of obligation and privilege, but her new life in the Appalachian Hills of Tennessee is decaying around her. In the mansion of Comrie, long hidden secrets are being slowly exhumed by a war that comes ever closer.


Buy the Book

 
 
 

About the Author

 

Richard lives with his family in the South Downs, Sussex, England. He completed an MA in Creative Writing at Chichester University in 2014. He has an abiding relationship with America, having studied at Syracuse University, New York State, in the late eighties. His short stories have won the Exeter Story Prize, the Bedford International Writing Competition and the Nivalis Short Story Award. Whirligig is his first novel and the opening book of Shire’s Union trilogy. Current projects include the second book, The Copper Road, as well as preparing to publish a collection of short stories.

To learn more about Richard’s writing visit https://www.richardbuxton.net. You can also follow Richard on Facebook and Twitter.
 

It's Giveaway Time!!



During the Blog Tour we will be giving away one paperback & one eBook of WHIRLIGIG! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form HERE.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on August 7th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
 
Good Luck!!
 
 

Whirligig Blog Tour Schedule

 

Tuesday, July 11

Feature at A Bookaholic Swede

Wednesday, July 12

Interview at Let Them Read Books

Friday, July 14

Feature at Passages to the Past

Monday, July 17

Review at Pursuing Stacie

Tuesday, July 18

Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, July 20

Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Feature at What Is That Book About

Friday, July 21

Interview at The Book Junkie Reads

Tuesday, July 25

Feature at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, July 27

Review at Back Porchervations

Friday, July 28

Review at Book Nerd

Thursday, August 3
 
 
 
 
 
 


Friday, July 21, 2017

Book Blast: An Epiphany in Lilacs by Iris Dorbian + Tour-Wide Giveaway!!

Pub. Date: January 1, 2017
Publisher: Mazo Publishers
180 Pages

Genre: Young Adult / Historical Fiction / World War II



An Epiphany In Lilacs is a young adult novel set in a DP camp outside Hamburg, Germany following the end of World War II. The author, Iris Dorbian, captures in this story a unique glimpse into the period after the Holocaust when survivors had to deal with their new realities for living, based on her father’s personal experience. After liberation in May 1945, Daniel, a 14-year-old Latvian Jew, is treated in a field hospital in the British zone of partitioned Germany. A survivor of various concentration camps, Daniel fights to recover from starvation and disease. Racked by nightmares, a nearly nightly occurrence, Daniel finds sleep almost impossible. Through his love of nature, and pre-war memories, Daniel struggles to find comfort. He forms an intriguing bond with an older German gentile, another survivor. Later on, as he joins a theater troupe, Daniel tries to move on with his life, yet still searching for the whereabouts of his mother and two sisters. Poised on the cusp of a new life, young Daniel makes his way to the country that will become his new home.


Praise for An Epiphany of Lilacs



“Rich with powerful and piercing historical references, An Epiphany in Lilacs: In the Aftermath of the Camps by Iris Dorbian captures thereality of Jews who survived the Holocaust, the inner scars and the struggles with uncertainty, incessant nightmares, and fitting into the day-to-day lifestyle of ordinary people. It is a heart-wrenching story,told in excellent prose and in the author’s unique style. I have been a huge fan of Holocaust literature, starting with Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, and have always felt appalled by man’s cruelty to fellow man. In this new book, the author explores the terrible effects of a fragment of history on the life of a little boy. This is a story to read and share, a powerful story about freedom and the perils of war.Well-crafted with compelling characters and interesting themes.” – Divine Zape for Readers’ Favorite

“This was a lovely and inspiring read about survival after the war. The fact that this is based on the author’s personal accounts made this absolutely mesmerizing. This was such a tragic and heartbreaking time in our history, so to be able to read a story like this was like none other. Iris really captures this time period quite well through her father. The connection Daniel finds with the older German (another survivor of the war) and his story about rebuilding his life in the country while searching for his family makes it impossible to put book down.” -Rainy Day Reviews/Bookjunkie Mom Blog


Buy the Book

 
 
 
 

About the Author

 
 
Iris Dorbian is a business and arts journalist whose articles have appeared in a wide number of outlets that include the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Venture Capital Journal, Buyouts, Investopedia, DMNews, Jerusalem Report, the Forward, Playbill, Backstage, Theatermania, Live Design, Media Industry Newsletter and PR News. From 1999 to 2007, Iris was the editor-in-chief of Stage Directions. She is the author of “Great Producers: Visionaries of the American Theater,” which was published by Allworth Press in August 2008. Her personal essays have been published in Blue Lyra Review, B O D Y, Embodied Effigies, Jewish Literary Journal, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Adanna Literary Journal, ThisSpace.org, Skirt! and Gothesque Magazine. A New Jersey native, Iris has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.

For more information, please visit Iris Dorbian’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.


It's Giveaway Time!!!



During the Blog Tour we are giving away a SIGNED copy of An Epiphany in Lilacs to one lucky winner! To enter please see the Gleam form HERE.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on July 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
 
Good Luck!!
 
 

Book Blast Tour Schedule

 
 
Monday, July 17

Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, July 18

Book Nerd
To Read, Or Not to Read

Wednesday, July 19

Faery Tales Are Real

Thursday, July 20

T’s Stuff

Friday, July 21

Books of a Shy Girl
A Literary Vacation

Saturday, July 22

Laura’s Interests

Sunday, July 23

Must Read Faster

Monday, July 24

Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Tuesday, July 25

WS Momma Readers Nook

Wednesday, July 26

100 Pages a Day

Thursday, July 27

Carole’s Ramblings
Mello & June, It’s a Book Thang!

Friday, July 28

Passages to the Past



 
 
 


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Cover Crush: We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

Hello, my name is Colleen and I am a cover slut. I know, I know....you aren't supposed to judge a book by it's cover. I just can't help myself! A beautiful cover draws my eye every single time and I can't help but pick up the book it's dressing and see if the inside seems as intriguing as the outside. Sometimes it does, and sometimes a pretty cover is just a pretty cover. Either way, I love getting an eyeful!


One of my favorite bloggers, Erin at
Flashlight Commentary, created a weekly blog post called Cover Crush and she and some other blogger friends are sharing their favorite covers each Thursday. I've decided to join in this year and will link to their posts down below.


So, without further ado, my Cover Crush this week is.....






This cover is so different than the usual cover I gravitate towards but, for reasons I can't quite put into words, I'm really digging it! I found it when doing a search of the best cover art for 2017 and I have to agree it's quite interesting. From the drawn image I'm guessing this is YA and it makes me think of a comic book or graphic novel. I love the fact that the girl standing on the bed is clearly in a room but seeing or dreaming of a beach or lake or something similar. It's very different from anything else I've seen before!


Let's see what the book is really about....




You go through life thinking there’s so much you need…

Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.



Don't forget to check out what covers my blogger buddies are drooling over this week (updated as they become available):


 


Created by Magdalena of A Bookaholic Swede



Monday, July 17, 2017

Review: The Fire Child by S.K. Tremayne

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pub. Date: March 28th, 2017
Pages: 400

Genres: Mystery/Psychological Thriller/Suspense


Synopsis



THE PERFECT HUSBAND. THE PERFECT STEPSON. THE PERFECT LIE?


When Rachel marries dark, handsome David, everything seems to fall into place. Swept from single life in London to the beautiful Carnhallow House in Cornwall, she gains wealth, love, and an affectionate stepson, Jamie.

But then Jamie's behavior changes, and Rachel's perfect life begins to unravel. He makes disturbing predictions, claiming to be haunted by the specter of his late mother - David's previous wife. Is this Jamie's way of punishing Rachel, or is he far more traumatized than she thought?

As Rachel starts digging into the past, she begins to grow suspicious of her husband. Why is he so reluctant to discuss Jamie's outbursts? And what exactly happened to cause his ex-wife's untimely death, less than two years ago? As summer slips away and December looms, Rachel begins to fear there might be truth in Jamie's words:

"You will be dead by Christmas."


What Did I Think About the Story?



I really enjoyed S.K. Tremayne's debut novel, The Ice Twins, when I read it a few years ago and was so excited when the lovely Tiffany Sanchez from Grand Central Publishing reached out to me to see if I was interested in receiving a copy of this newest novel for review. Yes please!! From the synopsis I just knew I was going to be in for another really creepy treat. And, having finished it, I'm happy to say I was correct! The Fire Child once again presents a sinister setting by the turbulent sea and creates an atmosphere of confusion and dread that sends chills down your spine.

One of the best parts of the novel is the fact that each chapter opens up with a countdown to Christmas day. This is wonderful for building up the feeling of impending dread and urgency and helped the story from dragging towards the beginning/middle as the author sought to properly develop the characters' backstories. The story is quite long at 400 pages and there are a few points along the way that allowed the overall sense of impending doom to drop away, but overall this countdown to possible death really kept me turning the pages to see if Rachel's life was truly in danger.

The characters are pretty perfect as far as suspenseful mysteries go as well. They are all so very damaged, each and every one of them, and the full extent of that damage and the lies they tell to hide their secrets slowly unfurls as the story progresses, picking up speed right towards the end. I absolutely loved this as it kept me from guessing the outcome. There's some mental illness involved, lots of bold-faced lying, and some pretty heavy subterfuge going on so that you're never quite sure if what you are reading is really what the characters are experiencing, or if what they are saying is true or not, at least until the final shoe drops and you're able to finally see how all the pieces fall into place. 

Something else I love is the fact that Tremayne has an incredible ability to showcase beautiful yet terrifying landscapes and to make these inanimate, natural elements take on a life of their own and feel almost alive. In this novel our ramshackle and dangerous buildings are long abandoned iron mines and tunnels (as opposed to a dilapidated cottage as in The Ice Twins) and this combined with the thick forest surrounding the mansion and the vicious sea surrounding that leads to an overall feeling of isolation and suffocation. The mansion itself is amazingly detailed and it was so much fun going along with Rachel as she explored what had once been the servants areas and the old monastery ruins that the house is built around and on top of. The entire setting feels haunted, with creaks, whispers (was it the wind?), and dark shadows abounding, and this serves to push already disturbed people over the edge into hysteria. I, for one, had the best time watching that descent!

The Fire Child is wonderful, atmospheric suspense and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good gothic mystery. While there was some lagging in the middle and I didn't feel it needed to be quite as long as it was, overall it was a delightful way to spend the hours and I am still a firm fan of Tremayne's writing.  


What Did I Think About the Cover?



I think it fits the story perfectly! It evokes the stormy, sinister feeling that hangs over the whole narrative and is the exact picture I have in my head of the location and youngest character (tossing, freezing seaside with Jamie running off to the dangerous mines on the property). I love it!


My Rating: 4.0/5.0



Thank you to Tiffany Sanchez and Grand Central Publishing for a free copy of The Fire Child in exchange for an honest review! Continue below for more information about the author and where you can purchase a copy.
 
 

Praise for The Fire Child

 
 
"Tremayne...does a terrific job of building suspense until events reach their climax in the midst of a violent storm." - Library Journal       
 
 

Buy the Book

       
 
 

About the Author   

 
 
S. K. Tremayne is a bestselling novelist and award-winning travel writer, and a regular contributor to newspapers and magazines around the world. Tremayne has two daughters, and lives in London.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Spotlight on Plain Jane by Barrie Levitt Knee

Publisher: XLIBRIS
Pub. Date: March 13th, 2015
Pages: 232

Genre: Contemporary Fiction


Plain Jane by Barrie Levitt Knee is the story of a forty something wife and mother who has kept a secret from her family for almost seven years.


Jane has forever considered herself to be plain. Her BFF Gaby is the exact opposite. Following a night of countless margaritas, Jane and Gaby make a secret pact because thats what friends are for. Now Jane has less than a week to tell her family what she has done. The secret is revealed over a four and a half hour time period while Jane is running a marathon. Each chapter begins with a song that Jane is listening to while running. The lyrics tie into the secret and many other stories that Jane tells about Gaby, her family and mostly herself.

“Keep moving Jane! You can do this!” This is Jane’s running mantra throughout the book. The physical and emotional journey of running a marathon is continuously felt. Plain Jane keeps the pace of a marathon with each song. The sixty-four songs playlist is at the end of the book. It is a great playlist for those that run a ten minute mile like Jane.


Praise for Plain Jane



"This book is filled with love, loss and running. It has many unexpected twists and turns. So enjoyable." - Cindy, Amazon Reader


"Great book! The race went so fast. I couldn't believe the marathon was over. Highly recommended." - Michael, Amazon Reader


Buy the Book

 
 
 

About the Author

 
 
Like Jane, Barrie Levitt Knee is also a wife and mother who enjoys running, yoga and mostly listening to classic rock music. Professionally, she spent fifteen years working in online media. She also designed and manufactured decorative covers for children’s bedrails called Kover-Ups (www.kover-ups.com). This product earned an iParenting Media award. She currently resides in New Jersey and is working on her second novel.

You can learn more about Barrie on her website and connect with her on Facebook.
 
 


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Cover Crush: The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

Hello, my name is Colleen and I am a cover slut. I know, I know....you aren't supposed to judge a book by it's cover. I just can't help myself! A beautiful cover draws my eye every single time and I can't help but pick up the book it's dressing and see if the inside seems as intriguing as the outside. Sometimes it does, and sometimes a pretty cover is just a pretty cover. Either way, I love getting an eyeful! 


One of my favorite bloggers, Erin at Flashlight Commentary, created a weekly blog post called Cover Crush and she and some other blogger friends are sharing their favorite covers each Thursday. I've decided to join in this year and will link to their posts down below.


So, without further ado, my Cover Crush this week is.....






I have to admit that I've been a big fan of every single one of Simone St. James's covers. This, combined with the alluring book descriptions, has led me to purchase every single one of her novels even when I've still not yet read any of them. That might sound weird, but I've just heard such good things about her spine-tingling stories and her covers draw me in so much that I seem to push the "buy" button before I can help myself (I told you I had a problem!). I'm sure this book will be no different!

What I love most about this particular cover is the blurry building in the background, surrounded by what looks to be broken glass and/or decaying overgrowth. It creates such an eerie feeling of dilapidation and ruin. And clearly something sinister must have happened in that building! The muted colors lead me to the same conclusions and all in all it creates a definitively creepy feelings.

So what might have happened in that building? Let's read to find out....



Vermont, 1950. There’s a place for the girls whom no one wants-—the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too-smart-for-their-own-good. It’s called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it’s located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming—until one of them mysteriously disappears...

Vermont, 2014. As much as she’s tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister’s death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister’s boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can’t shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.

When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past—and a voice that won’t be silenced…



Don't forget to check out what covers my blogger buddies are drooling over this week:





Created by Magdalena of A Bookaholic Swede



Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Review: The Child by Fiona Barton

Publisher: Berkley
Pub. Date: June 27th, 2017
Pages: 384

Genre: Thriller / Suspense


You can bury the story . . . but you can’t hide the truth


As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby?

As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.

But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn—house by house—into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women—and torn between what she can and cannot tell…


What Did I Think About the Story?



I have a confession to make: I have not yet read Fiona Barton's debut novel, The Widow.  I might be one of the last readers on the planet who hasn't read it, but there you are. I've read all the excellent reviews and even purchased a copy but I just haven't gotten around to finding the time to dig in. I mention this as somewhat of an explanation as to why I jumped at the chance to read this, her sophomore novel. Between this urge to get ahead of the game and read it before it comes out and the attention-grabbing synopsis above I was not going to let this one pass me by and be relegated to the  never-ending TBR pile. I'm so glad I fit this one into my reading schedule because it definitely kept me entertained and was the perfect distraction for my rainy day weekends in Florida!

The novel begins with the discovery of a baby's skeleton during the demolition of a house in London and continues for a little over a year as the police and journalist Kate Waters investigate to find out not only who the "Building Site Baby" is but why she was buried there in the first place. The story goes back and forth between four perspectives: Kate, a journalist looking to not only help uncover who the baby is but hopefully use the story to reignite her somewhat stagnant career; Emma, a woman who grew up on the street where the baby was found and who seems to begin having a resurgence of mental health issues triggered by learning about the discovery; Jude, Emma's mother who kicked her out of the house at sixteen at the prompting of her boyfriend; and Angela, a woman who's baby was kidnapped from the hospital decades ago and who never got over the loss of her newborn. The story unfolds somewhat slowly at first and these women seem to only tenuously be linked to each other by their reactions to the discovery of the baby. However, as the story begins to pick up (somewhere around 1/3 of the way in) the ties between the women become more solid, all leading to an incredibly shocking revelation.

I have to say that, whenever I start a mystery or thriller book, I always write down my initial prediction of what the outcome of the story will be and, in this case, I was pretty darn close in my prediction, although the "big reveal" and the way we got to that discovery completely threw me for a loop. I think having Kate Waters, a seasoned journalist with quite the skill at getting to the heart of a mystery and getting people to open up to her, as one of the main characters was perfect and made the revelations feel natural and realistic. While some of the smaller surprises were easy to see coming I still enjoyed seeing how we got there and learning the reasons things happened the way they did.

Possibly my favorite part of the story were the characters, especially Kate. She is such a salty yet compassionate and resourceful person and I just loved the spots of levity and shots of adrenaline she brought to the table. While the other characters weren't quite as likeable (especially Jude and some of the secondary male characters) they were all very well developed and realistic and all served a purpose in the overall development of the story. Emma and Angela provided the most sympathetic situations and while they were both put through hell in different ways I was very satisfied with how their stories tied up.

Something else I enjoyed about the story was how it developed to be so much more than just the discovery of a buried baby. It dealt with the complicated relationships between mothers and their children and the myriad of outcomes that can develop from that sort of relationship. There are few relationships more complex then between a parent and their growing children and I enjoyed watching these different scenarios play out.

The Child is wonderful summer reading and I very much enjoyed my time with it. While I wouldn't call this face-paced or necessarily "page-turning suspense" I would say it's an excellent mystery filled with interesting characters placed in some unimaginable situations. I am now very excited to make some time to read Fiona Barton's first novel!


What Did I Think About the Cover?



It's okay. I'm not really sure what it has to do with the story and doesn't really reveal anything, but it's interesting enough that I would want to find out more about the book if I passed it on the shelves.



My Rating: 4.0/5.0



Thank you to Penguin Random House/Berkley for a free copy of The Child in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Continue below for more information about the book and it's author.
 


Early Praise for The Child



One of Publishers Weekly and Bustle’s Most Anticipated Books of 2017

Readers “will be rewarded with startling twists—and a stunning, emotionally satisfying conclusion.”—STARRED Publishers Weekly review

“Barton’s second well-plotted outing, with its sustained tension and believable characters, is an excellent addition to the popular psychological thriller genre.”—STARRED Library Journal review

“Immersive, heartbreaking, and addictive”—Crime By the Book

“Tense, tantalizing, and ultimately very satisfying … definitely one of the year’s must-reads.”—Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“Fiona Barton has outdone herself with THE CHILD. An engrossing, irresistible story about the coming to light of a long-buried secret and an absolutely fabulous read—I loved it!”—Shari Lapena, New York Times bestselling author of The Couple Next Door


Buy the Book

 
 
 

About the Author

 
 
It was the allure of a hidden story that propelled Fiona Barton to her long-time career in news. A
journalist and British Press Awards “Reporter of the Year,” she has worked at the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph, and brings that experience to bear in her novels.

You can discover more about Fiona on her website and connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.



Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Spotlight on The Competition by Donna Russo Morin +Tour-Wide Giveaway!

Publication Date: April 25, 2017
Diversion Publishing
eBook & Paperback; 268 Pages

Series: Da Vinci’s Disciples, Book Two
Genre: Historical/Mystery



Donna Russo Morin returns with a follow-up to Portrait of a Conspiracy, called “a page-turner unlike any historical novel, weaving passion, adventure, artistic rebirth, and consequences of ambition,” by C.W. Gortner.


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

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

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

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


Praise for The Competition



“THE COMPETITION is a page-turning, provocative romp through a fascinating time and place―15th-century Florence. Donna Russo Morin has given us a novel for our time, a book featuring strong female characters fighting the odds to break the “glass ceiling,” and reminding us that this battle is not new: women have been waging it for centuries. ―Sherry Jones, author of The Sharp Hook of Love: A Novel of Heloise and Abelard


“…a page-turner unlike any historical novel, weaving passion, adventure, artistic rebirth, and consequences of ambition…a masterful writer at the peak of her craft.”―C. W. Gortner, author of The Confessions of Catherine de’Medici


“A 15th-century Florence of exquisite art, sensual passion and sudden, remorseless violence comes vividly to life in Donna Russo Morin’s new novel.”―Nancy Bilyeau, author of The Crown

“In Portrait of a Conspiracy, Russo Morin’s rich detailing transports the reader to the heart of Renaissance Italy from the first page.”―Heather Webb, author of Becoming Josephine


“Illicit plots, mysterious paintings, and a young Leonardo da Vinci all have their part to play in this delicious, heart-pounding tale.”―Kate Quinn, author of The Empress of Rome Saga


“In elegant prose, Morin paints a captivating tale of courageous women painters who battle against prejudices in Renaissance Florence. Featuring strong women characters, each with distinctive personalities, this is exactly the type of historical novel I enjoy. Exhilarating and compassionate, The Competition sings a beautiful tribute of women’s talents and underscores Morin’s masterful storytelling. Delightful!”―Weina Dai Randel, author of The Moon in the Palace and The Empress of Bright Moon


“An inspiring tale of determined women, empowered by undeniable talent, in the male-dominated art world of Renaissance Florence. In The Competition, Ms. Morin delivers a captivating story rich with historical detail and beautifully woven through with atmosphere.”―Diane Haeger, author of Courtesan


Buy the Book




About the Author



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

Donna’s titles include The Courtier’s Secret, The Secret of the Glass, To Serve a King, The King’s Agent, Portrait of a Conspiracy, and The Competition.

Donna enjoys meeting with book groups in person and via Skype chat. Visit her website at www.donnarussomorin.com. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.


It's Giveaway Time!!



During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a paperback copy of The Competition & a Key Pendant necklace! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form HERE.


Giveaway Rules


– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on July 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.


The Competition Blog Tour Schedule



Monday, June 26

Interview at The Book Junkie Reads

Tuesday, June 27

Review at A Bookaholic Swede

Wednesday, June 28

Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Thursday, June 29

Spotlight at The Lit Bitch
Spotlight at A Holland Reads

Friday, June 30

Review at The True Book Addict

Monday, July 3

Review at Pursuing Stacie

Wednesday, July 5

Guest Post at Books of All Kinds

Thursday, July 6

Spotlight at The Writing Desk

Saturday, July 8

Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Monday, July 10

Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book

Tuesday, July 11

Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Friday, July 14

Interview at Dianne Ascroft’s Blog

Monday, July 17

Review at Let Them Read Books

Tuesday, July 18

Guest Post at Bookfever

Thursday, July 20

Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Monday, July 24

Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Wednesday, July 26

Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, July 27

Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Friday, July 28







Friday, July 7, 2017

Spotlight on Incognito by Khaled Talib

Publisher: World Castle Publishing, LLC
Pub. Date: May 15th, 2017

Pages: 268


Genres: Thriller / Suspense


The Pope has been kidnapped. Three specialists are dispatched to Europe by a covert division of the global hacker group, Anonymous, to find him. A secret arrangement is made for specialist Ayden Tanner - who is officially dead - to meet Rafael Rabolini, the Papacy’s press secretary, in Geneva, who might be able to tell him more. But trouble unexpectedly starts from the moment Ayden arrives in the city that winter day...


Book Trailer

 
 


Praise for Incognito



"A roller coaster of intrigue, action and conspiracy." - Juan Gómez Jurado, international bestselling author of God's Spy.


Buy the Book

 
 
 
 

Check out Khaled Talib's interview with The Big Thriller Magazine! 

 
 

About the Author


 

Khaled Talib is a former journalist with local and international exposure. He has written three novels, third, Gun Kiss, will be published year end by Imajin Books in Canada. Khaled is a member of the Crime Writers Association and the International Thriller Writers. He resides in Singapore.

Learn more about Khaled on his website and connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.