Friday, November 17, 2017

Excerpt of The It Girl and Me: A Novel of Clara Bow​ ​by Laini Giles + Tour-Wide Giveaway!!

Sepia Stories Publishing
Pub. Date: March 25, 2017
Pages: 341

Series: Forgotten Actresses, Book #2
Gere: Historical Fiction / Biographical



Daisy DeVoe has left her abusive husband, her father has been pinched for bootlegging, and she’s embarrassed by her rural Kentucky roots. But on the plus side, she’s climbing the ladder in the salon of Paramount Pictures, styling hair for actress Clara Bow.

Clara is a handful. The “It” Girl of the Jazz Age personifies the new woman of the 1920s onscreen, smoking, drinking bootleg hooch, and bursting with sex appeal. But her conduct off the set is even more scandalous. Hoping to impose a little order on Clara’s chaotic life, Paramount persuades Daisy to sign on as Clara’s personal secretary.

Thanks to Daisy, Clara’s bank account is soon flush with cash. And thanks to Clara, Daisy can finally shake off her embarrassing past and achieve respectability for herself and her family.

The trouble begins when Clara’s newest fiancé, cowboy star Rex Bell, wants to take over, and he and Daisy battle for control. Torn between her loyalty to Clara and her love for her family, Daisy has to make a difficult choice when she ends up in the county jail.

Here, Daisy sets the record straight, from her poverty-stricken childhood to her failed marriage; from a father in San Quentin to her rollercoaster time with Clara, leaving out none of the juicy details.


Excerpt of The It Girl and Me

 

“The Wild Party, scene three, take six,” said the slate boy. He clacked the halves together and retreated.

“Action!”

Clara frolicked into the frame, turned enthusiastically, and let out a booming “Whoopee!”

The dangling microphone shook for a moment, then emitted a poof, like a giant creature exhaling.

“Cut!” Dorothy called.

Everyone on the set looked up at it in confusion. Clarence lowered the mike, his eyes filled with fear. Roy Pomeroy stalked over, grabbed the thing away from Clarence, and examined it. He hacked at the twine with his pocketknife, then shook his head. “Clarence, bring me a new tube. This one’s blown.”

After fifteen minutes of searching for a replacement, Clarence dashed over to Pomeroy with it. Pomeroy pulled the microphone apart, pushed in the tube, and reassembled it. This time, instead of heading back into the sound booth, he waited to see what happened.

“Places, everyone!” Dorothy called. Cast and crew resumed their spots.

“The Wild Party, scene three, take seven,” said the slate boy.

“And . . . action!”

There came Clara again, executing her perfectly casual turn, her face animated.

“Whoopee!” she exclaimed.

Poof.

Dorothy shook her head.

Pomeroy turned to Clarence again. “Any tubes left?” he asked through clenched teeth.

“Eight, Mr. Pomeroy.”

Pomeroy reached into his pocket and pulled out a wad of bills, then handed them to Clarence. “Get over to that place on Sunset. Pick up as many as they have in stock. We’re going to need plenty.”

While the cast and crew had a laugh over the tubes, Artie leaned over to me.

“She’s having to learn to use her voice for the very first time, and it scares the hell outta her.”

“And learn lines too,” I said. “She wanted me here for support the day they tested her. She was sobbing, Artie. Told me she couldn’t possibly be in pictures with a voice that bad.”

He shook his head. “It’s not bad. It’s just Brooklyn. We gotta help her develop some confidence. Everybody’s got mike fright right now. Think of all the foreigners in Hollywood who have accents thicker than butterscotch pudding. I got seated next to Vilma Banky and Rod La Rocque at a dinner party a couple months ago, and I couldn’t understand a word she said. Where the hell is she from, anyway? Those are the people who need to be worried. Clara is up to forty-five thousand fan letters a month! She’s Paramount’s biggest earner. They won’t kill her career over that voice, but I don’t want her sabotaging herself either.”

“I heard they’re giving Greta Garbo all the time in the world to lose some of her accent,” I said.

“Clara’s got a better voice than that.”

“If she can keep that stammer in check,” I said.

“She only does it when she’s nervous. She’s had it since she was little.”

“That long? I had no idea. I thought she was just frightened of sound.”

“We’re all scared of sound. But audiences want it. We gotta teach Clara how to act all over again.”

 

Buy the Book

 
 

About the Author

 

Originally from the counterculture mecca of Austin, Texas, Laini discovered a love of reading early on, and when she was eight, decided to be Nancy Drew. This dream was dashed when she realized she was actually a big chicken, and that there were no guarantees of rescue from tarantulas, bad guys with guns, and other fiendish plot twists. She finished her first “mystery novel” (with custom illustrations) when she was nine.

She set the writing aside for a while when life got in the way, but was led back to it through her interest in genealogy and 18 months of enforced unemployment due to moving north for maple-flavored goodies and real beer. Reading old microfilm stirred new life into her interest in writing, and watching early silent films struck the match.

Like most other writers, most of her monthly budget is spent on coffee and books. She lives with her husband and their two gray cats in Edmonton, Alberta.

For more information, please visit Laini Giles’ website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.


It's Giveaway Time!!!

 

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away 5 paperback copies of The It Girl and Me! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form HERE.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on November 29th. 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.
 
Good Luck!!
 
  

The It Girl and Me Blog Tour Schedule

 

Wednesday, November 1

Kick Off at Passages to the Past

Thursday, November 2

Feature at What Is That Book About

Friday, November 3

Feature at So Many Books, So Little Time

Monday, November 6

Review at Bookish

Tuesday, November 7

Feauture at WS Momma Readers Nook

Thursday, November 9

Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Friday, November 10

Review at A Bookaholic Swede

Monday, November 13

Review at Creating Herstory
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Wednesday, November 15

Review at A Chick Who Reads

Friday, November 17

Excerpt at A Literary Vacation

Monday, November 20

Feature at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, November 22

Feature at The Lit Bitch

Thursday, November 23

Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Friday, November 24

Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Saturday, November 25

Excerpt at T’s Stuff

Tuesday, November 28

Review at View from the Birdhouse

Wednesday, November 29

Review at A Book Drunkard


 
  




Thursday, November 16, 2017

Cover Crush: Far From The Tree by Robin Benway

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 is such a gorgeous cover!! Firstly, the soft pinks and oranges of the leaves are just beautiful. Secondly, I love the perspective of these leaves falling so heavily from above, onto and around the title. I don't think it necessarily gives anything about the story away either, and I kind of like that.
 
What can the synopsis tell us about the story hiding within....
 

A contemporary novel about three adopted siblings who find each other at just the right moment.

Being the middle child has its ups and downs.

But for Grace, an only child who was adopted at birth, discovering that she is a middle child is a different ride altogether. After putting her own baby up for adoption, she goes looking for her biological family, including—

Maya, her loudmouthed younger bio sister, who has a lot to say about their newfound family ties. Having grown up the snarky brunette in a house full of chipper redheads, she’s quick to search for traces of herself among these not-quite-strangers. And when her adopted family’s long-buried problems begin to explode to the surface, Maya can’t help but wonder where exactly it is that she belongs.

And Joaquin, their stoic older bio brother, who has no interest in bonding over their shared biological mother. After seventeen years in the foster care system, he’s learned that there are no heroes, and secrets and fears are best kept close to the vest, where they can’t hurt anyone but him.
 
 
Don't forget to check out what covers my blogger buddies are drooling over this week (updated as they become available):


Magdalena at A Bookaholic Swede
Meghan at Of Quills & Vellum
Erin at Flashlight Commentary
Heather at The Maiden's Court
Stephanie at Layered Pages
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired



Created by Magdalena of A Bookaholic Swede
 
 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Becoming Mrs. Smith by Tanya E. Williams + Tour-Wide Giveaway!!

Pub. Date: October 10, 2017
Publisher: Rippling Effects Writing & Photography
Pages: 100 Pages


Genre: Historical Fiction/Novella


Not all of war’s destruction takes place on the battlefield.


Violet’s heart flutters from the scarlet fever she survived as a child, and it beats faster at the sight of John Smith, the man she plans to marry. America is entrenched in WWII, and when John enlists, Violet is certain she won’t ever forgive him for dashing their dreams. As the realities of war slowly overtake her life, Violet’s days are filled with uncertainty and grief. She struggles to maintain her faith in John, as the world as she knows it, crumbles.

Becoming Mrs. Smith is the inspiring, and at times, heartbreaking story of a woman’s struggle to reclaim what she lost. War stole the man she loves, and childhood illness weakened her heart—perhaps beyond repair. While guns rage in Europe, the war Violet faces at home may be even more devastating.


Praise for Becoming Mrs. Smith



“Wonderfully emotional and beautifully written, Becoming Mrs. Smith will take hold of your heartstrings and leave you longing for more.” –Kelsey Gietl, author of Across Oceans


Buy the Book

 
Available on Amazon in Paperback and eBook
 
 

About the Author

 
 
A writer from a young age, Tanya E Williams loves to help a reader get lost in another time, another place through the magic of books. History continues to inspire her stories and her insightfulness into the human condition deepens her character’s experiences and propels them on their journey. Ms. Williams’ favourite tales, speak to the reader’s heart, making them smile, laugh, cry, and think.

For more information, please visit Tanya Williams’ website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Pinterest.
 
 

It's Giveaway Time!!

 

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away an eBook of Becoming Mrs. Smith! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form HERE.


Giveaway Rules


– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on November 17th. 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!!
 

HFVBT Schedule

 
Monday, October 30

Feature at View from the Birdhouse
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Tuesday, October 31
 
Review at Hopewell’s Public Library of Life

Wednesday, November 1
 
Feature at The Lit Bitch

Thursday, November 2
 
Review at Bookish

Friday, November 3
 
Feature at Passages to the Past

Monday, November 6
 
Review at Once Upon A Book

Tuesday, November 7

Feature at The Reading Queen

Wednesday, November 8

Guest Post at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Thursday, November 9

Excerpt at Just One More Chapter

Friday, November 10

Feature at Jenn’s Book Vibes

Monday, November 13

Excerpt at What Cathy Read Next

Tuesday, November 14

Interview & Excerpt at Jorie Loves a Story

Wednesday, November 15

Feature at A Literary Vacation
Review at Singing Librarian Books

Friday, November 17
 
Review at Bookramblings
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books
Feature at Broken Teepee
 
 
 
 
 


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Book Blast: Anna Belfrage's Graham Saga Series + Tour-Wide Giveaway!!

Please follow Anna Belfrage as her beloved Graham Saga series is blasted around the blogosphere & enter to win Books #1-8!
 
 

About The Graham Saga Series

 

This is the story of Alex and Matthew, two people who should never have met – not when she was born three hundred years after him.

It all began the day Alex Lind got caught in a thunderstorm. Not your ordinary storm, no this was the mother of all storms, causing a most unusual rift in the fabric of time. Alex was dragged three centuries backwards in time, landing more or less at the feet of a very surprised Matthew Graham.

In a series of books we follow the life and adventures of the expanding Graham family, both in Scotland and in the New World – and let me tell you it is quite an exciting life, at times excessively so in Alex’ opinion.

Sometimes people ask me why Alex had to be born in the twentieth century, why not make her a woman born and bred in the seventeenth century where the story is set? The answer to that is I have no idea. Alex Lind is an insistent, vibrant character that sprung into my head one morning and simply wouldn’t let go.

Seductively she whispered about terrible thunderstorms, about a gorgeous man with magic, hazel eyes, about loss and sorrow, about love – always this love, for her man and her children, for the people she lives with. With a throaty chuckle she shared insights into a life very far removed from mine, now and then stopping to shake her head and tell me that it probably hadn’t been easy for Matthew, to have such an outspoken, strange and independent woman at his side.

At this point Matthew groaned into life. Nay, he sighed, this woman of his was at times far too obstinate, with no notion of how a wife should be, meek and dutiful. But, he added with a laugh, he wouldn’t want her any different, for all that she was half heathen and a right hand-full. No, he said, stretching to his full length, if truth be told not a day went by without him offering fervent thanks for his marvelous wife, a gift from God no less, how else to explain the propitious circumstances that had her landing at his feet that long gone August day?

Still, dear reader, it isn’t always easy. At times Alex thinks he’s an overbearing bastard, at others he’s sorely tempted to belt her. But the moment their fingertips graze against each other, the moment their eyes meet, the electrical current that always buzzes between them peaks and surges, it rushes through their veins, it makes their breathing hitch and … She is his woman, he is her man. That’s how it is, that’s how it always will be.
 
 

Graham Saga Titles

 
 
 
 
Book One: A Rip in the Veil
Book Two: Like Chaff in the Wind
Book Three: The Prodigal Son
Book Four: A Newfound Land
Book Five: Serpents in the Garden
Book Six: Revenge & Retribution
Book Seven: Whither Thou Goest
Book Eight: To Catch a Falling Star
Book Nine: There is Always a Tomorrow (November 2017)
 
 

It's Giveaway Time!!!



During the Blog Tour we will be giving away Books #1-8 in paperback to one lucky winner! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form HERE.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on November 20th. 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!!
 
 

About the Author

 
 
 

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 Anna Belfragehistorical- 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.

For additional information regarding Anna, her characters, extra scenes, and teasers for her next books, have a look at Anna’s website at: www.annabelfrage.com. You can also find her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.
 
 

Graham Saga Series HFVBT Book Blast Schedule

 

Monday, November 6

T’s Stuff
Susan Heim on Writing

Wednesday, November 8

 Let Them Read Books

Friday, November 10

 A Holland Reads

Sunday, November 12

A Chick Who Reads

Monday, November 13

 Book Nerd

Saturday, November 18

 Books, Dreams, Life

Monday, November 20
 
 

 
 


Monday, November 13, 2017

Audiobook Review: The Circle by Dave Eggers

Publisher: Random House Audio
Release Date: October 8th, 2013
Length: 13 hours, 42 minutes
Narrator: Dion Graham


Synopsis



When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency.

As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO.

Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in America - even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.


What Did I Think About the Story?



I absolutely love the concept of this book! I, like a lot of people, have lots of social media accounts and really enjoy interacting with people online as well as having nearly endless purchasing power right at the ends of my fingertips, no matter where I am. The thought of having all of these various accounts connected in one place, with one log in, sounds amazing!! So does the idea that having more transparency online might bring an end to internet trolling. What could go wrong with this idea? Oh, so many things!

I will fully admit that, if I was a young, single twenty-something person growing up in today's expanded world of technology, I would probably itch, at least at first, to work at a company like the Circle, if for no other reason than being at the forefront of technological advances (which I very much enjoyed learning about within this story) and having so much excitement and innovation - endless parties, endless products to try, the best of everything - always available right there at the company. This, on the surface, seems almost perfect doesn't it? I mean sure, you're expected to put in a lot of extra hours at work and don't get to see your family and friends as much as you used to. But look at all the benefits the job brings! This surface excitement slowly seeps away, however, when you discover just how invasive and stressful this sort of world could actually be.

Through Mae the reader gets to see this invasiveness, where people can see and hear what you are doing literally at every second of the day and at least some of the night, where every messy situation that any normal human experiences with their family and friends is laid bare for anyone to analyze and comment on. You also get to see how stressful it could become when people have constant expectations that you will answer their texts, like their products or services instantly, share their information online, not only join their groups and organizations but also attend them, rate every single place you visit, food you consume, product you use...it's endless madness! There is no way that any human can do all of the things having such an online presence would demand and still be present in the physical life they should actually be living. And there lies the rub.

I will admit that I wasn't a huge fan of any of the characters. They all, probably predictably, are quite self-centered and selfish by nature, and I've never been a big fan of people like this in reality. The narrator also made many of their voices almost comical in nature (I'm not sure if this was intentionally done or not) so they became almost caricatures, or ironic representations, of real people instead of actually feeling real. Some of this feeling might be due to the fact that I don't live in a fast-paced, hipster sort of world, so I don't come across people like this very often, but that was the impression I got from these characters regardless. I will say that the  narrator did an excellent job of giving voice to the frenetic nature of the Circle as well as the build up of stress and anxiety that would become inherent in people working there. I won't say too much regarding the lengths Mae will go to in order to become an integral part of the Circle, but the farther and farther she went down that rabbit hole the less and less sympathetic a character she became. Her total immersion did make the ending wonderfully unnerving in a subtle sort of way, so maybe my aggravation in her character, and most of the others, needed to happen in order to get to that seemingly inevitable ending. Whatever the reason I'm just glad I don't have to deal with frenetic, selfish people like they employ at the Circle in my life!

The Circle was definitely entertaining as well as being a social commentary on the ever-increasing reliability on online presences and social media and a warning of what can happen if that reliability goes too far. I read somewhere that the book is like the offspring of 1984 and Black Mirror and I think that is the perfect way to describe it. Definitely worth a read or listen-to if you're looking for something to keep you interested until the end. I'm now excited to watch the movie and see how it compares!  


What Did I Think About the Cover?



This cover doesn't do anything for me. I can see where the many interconnected and overlapping rings might represent the hive-like structure of the Circle and how they all sort of form a barrier around the central, almost closed circle, however I typically prefer a little more....something, anything...in a cover. With all that is going on within the story it seems like a better cover could have been created.


My Rating: 4.0/5.0



I borrowed a copy of The Circle from my library's Overdrive account. All opinions are mine alone. You can find more information about the book, including other reviews and links to where you can purchase a copy, on Goodreads HERE.




Friday, November 10, 2017

Book Blast: The Painter's Apprentice by Laura Morelli

Publisher: The Scriptorium
Pub. Date: November 15, 2017
Pages: 482

Series: The Gondola Maker, Book Two
Genre: Fiction/Historical



Star-crossed lovers with a costly secret. As the plague grips Venice, more than a quarantine divides them…


Venice, 1510. Maria Bartolini wants nothing more than to carry on her father’s legacy as a master gilder. Instead, her father has sent her away from the only home she’s ever known to train as an apprentice to Master Trevisan, a renowned painter.

Maria arranges to leave the painter’s workshop to return to her family workshop and to a secret lover waiting for her back home. But the encroaching Black Death foils her plans…

When the painter’s servants uncover the real reason why Maria has been sent away to train with Master Trevisan, they threaten to reveal a secret that could tear down her family and the future of their trade. She is forced to buy the servants’ silence, but as their greed steadily grows, Maria resorts to more desperate measures. She questions whether her heart’s desire is worth risking her family, her trade, and her future, but Maria’s sacrifices may amount to nothing if the plague arrives on her father’s doorstep and steals away everything she’s ever loved…


From the author of the award-winning The Gondola Maker comes a rich tale of Renaissance Venice, a heroine with a lust for life, and love against all odds.


Pre-Order Promotion



Author Laura Morelli is offering a set of great bonuses exclusively to her readers! If you like to delve deeper into the “story behind the story,” you’ll want to take advantage of Laura’s pre-order package, which takes readers behind the scenes of The Painter’s Apprentice with videos, pictures, commentary about Renaissance Venice, and other exclusive content.

Learn more here: http://lauramorelli.com/preorder-tpa/


Buy the Book

 
 
 

Praise for The Painter's Apprentice

 


“I’m a big fan of Venice, so I appreciate Laura Morelli’s special knowledge of the city, the period, and the process of gondola-making. An especially compelling story.” -Frances Mayes, author, Under the Tuscan Sun

“Laura Morelli has done her research, or perhaps she was an Italian carpenter in another life. One can literally smell and feel the grain of finely turned wood in her hands.” -Pamela Sheldon Johns, author, Italian Food Artisans

“Sixteenth-century Venice is the star of Morelli’s well-crafted historical novel about Luca Vianello, the eldest son of the city’s most renowned gondola builder.” -Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review

“The heir to a gondola empire rejects his birthright but comes full circle in this fascinating glimpse into late-Renaissance Venice by art-historian-turned-novelist Morelli (Made in Italy).” -Kirkus Indie Book of the Month

“The Gondola Maker is historical fiction at its best.” -Midwest Book Review
 
 

About the Author

 

Laura Morelli holds a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University, where she was a Bass Writing Fellow and Mellon Doctoral Fellow. She authored a column for National Geographic Traveler called “The Genuine Article” and contributes pieces about authentic travel to national magazines and newspapers. Laura has been featured on CNN Radio, Travel Today with Peter Greenberg, The Frommers Travel Show, and in USA TODAY, Departures, House & Garden Magazine, Traditional Home, the Denver Post, Miami Herald, The Chicago Tribune, and other media. Recently her art history lesson, “What’s the difference between art and craft?” was produced and distributed by TED-Ed.

Laura has taught college-level art history at Trinity College in Rome, as well as at Northeastern University, Merrimack College, St. Joseph College, and the College of Coastal Georgia. Laura has lived in five countries, including four years in Italy and four years in France.

Laura Morelli is the author of the guidebook series that includes Made in Italy, Made in France, and Made in the Southwest, all published by Rizzoli / Universe. The Gondola Maker, a historical coming-of-age story about the heir to a gondola boatyard in 16th-century Venice, is her first work of fiction.

For more information, please visit Laura Morelli’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.


HFVBT Book Blast Schedule



Monday, October 23

Passages to the Past

Tuesday, October 24

Suzy Approved Book Reviews

Wednesday, October 25

The Never-Ending Book
To Read, Or Not to Read

Thursday, October 26

The Reading Queen

Friday, October 27

What Is That Book About

Monday, October 30

Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Tuesday, October 31

WS Momma Readers Nook

Wednesday, November 1

The Book Junkie Reads

Friday, November 3

Broken Teepee
Locks, Hooks and Books

Monday, November 6

Creating Herstory

Tuesday, November 7

Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Thursday, November 9

The Lit Bitch

Friday, November 10

CelticLady’s Reviews
A Literary Vacation
Romantic Historical Reviews

Saturday, November 11

T’s Stuff

Monday, November 13

Let Them Read Books


 
 
 



Thursday, November 9, 2017

Cover Crush: Norma by Sofi Oksanen

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'm not really sure I need to even comment on the beauty of this cover as it speaks for itself, however I wouldn't be me if I didn't try! Is anyone else absolutely in love/completely jealous of the gorgeous wavy locks of whom I'm assuming is Norma?! The detail given to that flowing hair is just beautiful and I can't help but follow the various strands all over the cover. The soft colors are also very feminine, which is a great contrast to the black and slightly violent-seeming scissors and name. I have no idea what this story is actually about and I really don't care...I just want the cover!
 
We really should read the synopsis to figure out what the story is all about anyways....

 
From the internationally best-selling author of Purge and When the Doves Disappeared, a spellbinding new novel set in present-day Helsinki, about a young woman with a fantastical secret who is trying to solve the mystery of her mother's death.

When Anita Naakka jumps in front of an oncoming train, her daughter, Norma, is left alone with the secret they have spent their lives hiding: Norma has supernatural hair, sensitive to the slightest changes in her mood--and the moods of those around her--moving of its own accord, corkscrewing when danger is near. And so it is her hair that alerts her, while she talks with a strange man at her mother's funeral, that her mother may not have taken her own life. Setting out to reconstruct Anita's final months--sifting through puzzling cell phone records, bank statements, video files--Norma begins to realize that her mother knew more about her hair's powers than she let on: a sinister truth beyond Norma's imagining. As Sofi Oksanen leads us ever more deeply into Norma's world, weaving together past and present, she gives us a dark family drama that is a searing portrait of both the exploitation of women's bodies and the extremes to which people will go for the sake of beauty.
 
 
Don't forget to check out what covers my blogger buddies are drooling over this week (updated as they become available):

Magdalena at A Bookaholic Swede
Meghan at Of Quills & Vellum
Erin at Flashlight Commentary
Heather at The Maiden's Court
Stephanie at Layered Pages
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired



Created by Magdalena of A Bookaholic Swede
 
 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Review: Girl Last Seen by Nina Laurin

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pub. Date: June 20th, 2017
Pages: 352

Genre: Fiction / Psychological Suspense / Thriller / Mystery


Synopsis



Two missing girls. Thirteen years apart.


Olivia Shaw has been missing since last Tuesday. She was last seen outside the entrance of her elementary school in Hunts Point wearing a white spring jacket, blue jeans, and pink boots.

I force myself to look at the face in the photo, into her slightly smudged features, and I can't bring myself to move. Olivia Shaw could be my mirror image, rewound to thirteen years ago.

If you have any knowledge of Olivia Shaw's whereabouts or any relevant information, please contact...

I've spent a long time peering into the faces of girls on missing posters, wondering which one replaced me in that basement. But they were never quite the right age, the right look, the right circumstances. Until Olivia Shaw, missing for one week tomorrow.

Whoever stole me was never found. But since I was taken, there hasn't been another girl.

And now there is.


What Did I Think About the Story?



Girl Last Seen is such a unique thriller. The story opens up with Laine Moreno (born Ella Santos but having changed her name after the horrible experiences she had under that name) sort of floating through life, trying not to make connections or long-term commitments but being satisfied with menial work that requires very little from her. She's been covering up  her obvious PTSD with drugs and alcohol, always keeping one eye on the door and the other on the missing children's posters, waiting for her abductor - who was never caught - to strike again. Then he does and Laine's life is irrevocably changed forever. While most of this is highlighted in the synopsis above what isn't made clear is just how twisty and tormented Laine's story is and just how painful a journey it will be before the reader turns that last page.

Laine is such a wonderfully complicated character and unlike any other narrator I've come across before. So often with these sorts of thrillers it seems the victim/main character is a middle-class (or higher) white woman who has an adequate amount of resources and support as she navigates whatever dangers her story presents. Not Laine. She's a young Hispanic woman who grew up poor and unloved by her mother, who's disappearance when she was kidnapped as a ten-year-old went unknown for some time because her mother had been arrested and no one was looking after her. Years later, when we meet Laine on the day she discovers Olivia Shaw has been kidnapped, she's living in a squalid apartment and making herself numb to all the buried hurt and horror she has inside with drugs, working two jobs just to pay for this sad little life. She's treated like dirt and, even worse, like some sort of criminal when the police come looking for her help in trying to find Olivia. Given the life she's had it's not surprising that Laine has issues with authority and lashes out at others, more often than not hurting herself in the process. She's a fighter and a survivor but also a very vulnerable person who needs understand and care as much as anything else. I absolutely loved her even when I sometimes wished I could shake her into not doing something stupid.

I also loved how twisty the plot was and how so many of these twists are sort of casually dropped within normal narration or dialogue to be picked up by the reader. I can't really go into any of the twists as it would ruin so much enjoyment, but I will say that, while I had an inkling for some of what was eventually revealed, the ending had me completely stumped. I absolutely love when that happens!

I should warn those thinking about reading Girl Last Seen that it can get quite gritty and dark. There are a lot of horrible things happening to some of these characters, some of which involves children, and there is heavy profanity throughout as well. This in no way bothered me during reading - to be honest I think it brought the story home and made it feel quite realistic given the story I was reading - but I do like to warn others as I know this bothers some reader a lot.

Girl Last Seen is a quick-paced psychological suspense/thriller with plenty of turns to keep even the most discerning fan of the genre entertained and guessing. It's not an easy story to envelop yourself in by any means, but it's a poignant one and one I think needs to be told. There are more women than I would care to venture a guess at who have experienced the kinds of horrors than Laine has but, given their poverty and background, haven't gotten the help or even understanding they deserved. I'm very interested to see what Nina Laurin writes next.  


What Did I Think About the Cover?



I think it's perfect for this story! It's stark and bleak, with little adornment or flashy colors. The woman on the front is barely even there, which is perfect as Laine expresses numerous times that no one really sees her and most people would rather not even acknowledge her. She's also figuratively twisted up inside given her experiences, so it's pretty accurate to show her physically twisted up with the branches. All in all a great cover to represent the story!


My Rating: 4.0/5.0



Thank you to Tiffany Sanchez and
Grand Central Publishing for a free copy of Girl Last Seen in exchange for an honest review! Continue below for more information about the book, the author, and where you can purchase a copy.
 
 

Praise for Girl Last Seen

 

Debut novelist Nina Laurin has created a memorable character in complicated, flawed and endearing Laine Moreno. From the very first page, GIRL LAST SEEN jettisons the reader into the life of a crime victim trying to outrun her past. Fast-paced and hard-edged, it is a heart-stopping thriller that had me guessing to the very end.” —Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author of The Weight of Silence and Not a Sound

"GIRL LAST SEEN hooked me so quickly I might have whiplash. This is a sharp, twisting, intense thriller, the heartbreaking and fast-paced story of a woman who bears the scars of a trip to hell and back but who refuses to be defeated. Don't miss this smashing debut! —David Bell, bestselling author of Bring Her Home

"Girl Last Seen gripped me from start to finish. Lainey Moreno is a riveting heroine, a kidnapping survivor who will only escape her demons if she faces her greatest fears, and Nina Laurin brings her vividly to life. Psychological suspense doesn't come much grittier or more packed with satisfying twists and turns.” —Meg Gardiner, Edgar Award-winning author of Unsub

"Laurin creates a compelling, vulnerable central character.” —Publisher’s Weekly
 
 

Buy the Book

 
 
 

About the Author 

 

Nina Laurin is a bilingual (English/French) author of suspenseful stories for both adults and young adults. She got her BA in Creative Writing at Concordia University, in her hometown of Montreal, Canada.
 
Learn more about Nina on her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
 
 


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

A Sea of Sorrow: A Novel of Odysseus by the H Team + Tour-Wide Giveaway!!

The H Team: David Blixt, Amalia Carosella, Libbie Hawker, Scott Oden, Vicky Alvear Shecter, and Russell Whitfield

Pub. Date: October 17, 2017
Publisher: Knight Media, LLC
Pages: 524

Genre: Historical Fiction



Odysseus, infamous trickster of Troy, vaunted hero of the Greeks, left behind a wake of chaos and despair during his decade long journey home to Ithaca. Lovers and enemies, witches and monsters–no one who tangled with Odysseus emerged unscathed. Some prayed for his return, others, for his destruction. These are their stories…


A beleaguered queen’s gambit for maintaining power unravels as a son plots vengeance.

A tormented siren battles a goddess’s curse and the forces of nature to survive.

An exiled sorceress defies a lustful captain and his greedy crew.

A blinded shepherd swears revenge on the pirate-king who mutilated him.

A beautiful empress binds a shipwrecked sailor to servitude, only to wonder who is serving whom.

A young suitor dreams of love while a returned king conceives a savage retribution.


Six authors bring to life the epic tale of The Odyssey seen through the eyes of its shattered victims—the monsters, witches, lovers, and warriors whose lives were upended by the antics of the “man of many faces.” You may never look upon this timeless epic—and its iconic ancient hero—in quite the same way again.


Buy the Book

 
 
 

About the Authors



Amalia Carosella graduated from the University of North Dakota with a bachelors degree in Classical Studies and English. An avid reader and former bookseller, she writes about old heroes and older gods. She lives with her husband in upstate New York and dreams of the day she will own goats (and maybe even a horse, too). Amalia’s novels include Tamer of Horses, Helen of Sparta, By Helen’s Hand, and Daughter of a Thousand Years.
 
 
David Blixt‘s work is consistently described as “intricate,” “taut,” and “breathtaking.” A writer of Historical Fiction, his novels span the early Roman Empire (the COLOSSUS series, his play EVE OF IDES) to early Renaissance Italy (the STAR-CROSS’D series) up through the Elizabethan era (his delightful espionage comedy HER MAJESTY’S WILL, starring Will Shakespeare and Kit Marlowe as inept spies). His novels combine a love of the theatre with a deep respect for the quirks and passions of history.

Living in Chicago with his wife and two children, he describes himself as “actor, author, father, husband. In reverse order.”
 
 

Libbie Hawker writes historical and literary fiction featuring complex characters and rich details of time and place. Libbie’s recent novels include Daughter of Sand and Stone, Mercer Girls, A Song of War, White Lotus and Persian Rose.

She lives in the San Juan Islands of Washington State.
 
 

Russell Whitfield was born in Shepherds Bush in 1971. An only child, he was raised in Hounslow, West London, but has since escaped to Ham in Surrey.

Gladiatrix was Russ’s first novel, published in 2008 by Myrmidon Books. The sequel, Roma Victrix, continues the adventures Lysandra, the Spartan gladiatrix, and a third book, Imperatrix, sees Lysandra stepping out of the arena and onto the field of battle.
 
 

Scott Oden was born in Indiana, but has spent most of his life shuffling between his home in rural North Alabama, a Hobbit hole in Middle-earth, and some sketchy tavern in the Hyborian Age. He is an avid reader of fantasy and ancient history, a collector of swords, and a player of tabletop role-playing games. When not writing, he can be found walking his two dogs or doting over his lovely wife, Shannon.

Oden’s previous works include the historical fantasy, The Lion of Cairo, and two historical novels, Men of Bronze and Memnon. He is currently working on his next novel.
 
 

Vicky Alvear Shecter is the author of multiple books set in the ancient world, including the YA novels, CLEOPATRA’S MOON, based on the life of Cleopatra’s only daughter, and CURSES AND SMOKE: A NOVEL OF POMPEII and the adult historical collaborations, A SONG OF WAR, A YEAR OF RAVENS, and A DAY OF FIRE. She has written a mid-grade series on mythology (ANUBIS SPEAKS, HADES SPEAKS, and THOR SPEAKS) as well as two award-winning biographies for kids. She a She is a docent at the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Antiquities at Emory University in Atlanta.
 

 

It's Giveaway Time!!!



During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a paperback copy of A Sea of Sorrow: A Novel of Odysseus! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form HERE.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on November 17th. 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.
 
Good Luck!!
 
 

A Sea of Sorrow HFVBT Schedule

 
Tuesday, October 17

Review at A Book Drunkard

Wednesday, October 18

Feature at A Holland Reads

Thursday, October 19

Feature at View From the Birdhouse

Friday, October 20

Review at Pursuing Stacie

Monday, October 23

Review at The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, October 24

Feature at The Reading Queen

Wednesday, October 25

Review at A Bookish Affair

Thursday, October 26

Review at What Cathy Read Next

Friday, October 27

Feature at So Many Books, So Little Time

Monday, October 30

Review at Creating Herstory

Tuesday, October 31

Review at Historical Fiction Reviews

Wednesday, November 1

Review at Back Porchervations

Thursday, November 2

Feature at The Writing Desk

Friday, November 3

Review at 100 Pages a Day

Monday, November 6

Review at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, November 7

Feature at A Literary Vacation

Wednesday, November 8

Feature at Passages to the Past

Friday, November 10

Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Monday, November 13

Review at Unabridged Chick
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Tuesday, November 14

Review at Bookramblings
Feature at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Thursday, November 16

Feature at I Heart Reading

Friday, November 17

Review at A Book Geek
Review at The True Book Addict