Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Madeleine Project Blog Tour and Review with giveaway

Clara Beaudoux

on Tour July 12-18 with

Madeleine Project-Cover


The Madeleine Project
(biography/history) 
 Release date: September 12, 2017 at New Vessel Press
ISBN: 978-1939931498 288 pages
Goodreads    

SYNOPSIS

A young woman moves into a Paris apartment and discovers a storage room filled with the belongings of the previous owner, a certain Madeleine who died in her late nineties, and whose treasured possessions nobody seems to want. In an audacious act of journalism driven by personal curiosity and humane tenderness, Clara Beaudoux embarks on The Madeleine Project, documenting what she finds on Twitter with text and photographs, introducing the world to an unsung 20th century figure. Along the way, she uncovers a Parisian life indelibly marked by European history. This is a graphic novel for the Twitter age, a true story that encapsulates one woman’s attempt to live a life of love and meaning together with a contemporary quest to prevent that existence from slipping into oblivion. Through it all, The Madeleine Project movingly chronicles, and allows us to reconstruct, intimate memories of a bygone era.


My Take:

The Madeleine Project is a unique and pretty cool idea for a book. The Madeleine Project actually began as a project that the author, Clara Beaudoux, embarked upon when she discovered boxes and suitcases full of photos and documents and the various items collected and left behind by the previous tenant of her apartment in Paris. The previous tenant - the Madeleine referred to in the title - had died and her next of kin didn't want any of the stuff she left behind. Beaudoux began going through the accumulated possessions and tweeted pictures and comments on what she found. The book is the compilation of her tweets and her research and interviews about Madeleine.

Since a good part of the book is simply her tweets with the photos and her comments, reading the book is quite fast and easy. However, I found that despite the brevity of the text, the project haunted my thoughts. The slow discovery of pieces of an individual's life is intriguing, poignant, and beautiful. 

The project was a wonderful example of trying to piece together the story of someone's life from the objects they left behind. Some of the items were a mystery as to their function, some make the author question why Madeleine would save such an item, some items had historical significance, but all of the items uncovered work together to paint a snapshot of a life.The project demonstrates that we all have stories to tell and while our lives may seem ordinary and mundane, there is always something that  may intrigue and show that we are all very similar in the end.

I think the beauty of this book and the Madeleine Project itself is how people were drawn in to the mystery of one seemingly simple and ordinary life.  Madeleine had dreams and plans and love and Beaudoux is keeping her memory alive through this lovely project. Reading this book made me consider how and why I keep some of the things that I keep. 




Madeleine Project-BeaudouxABOUT THE AUTHOR

Clara Beaudoux is a Paris-based journalist for the France Info news network. The Madeleine Project has been wildly popular in France. You can follow her on Twitter at @Clarabdx

In French: on Facebook, The Madeleine Project page, and the author’s main website

Follow New Vessel Press on Twitter | on Facebook
Sign up to receive their latest news and deals.

Buy the book: on Indiebound | on Amazon

***

You can enter the global giveaway here or on any other book blogs participating in this tour. Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook, they are listed in the entry form below.

Enter here

Visit each blogger on the tour: tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time! [just follow the directions on the entry-form] Global giveaway open to all 5 winners
 

***

CLICK ON THE BANNER TO READ REVIEWS

Madeleine Project-BannerSave




Thursday, July 13, 2017

Infinity Blog Tour and Review





Book Details:

Book Title: Infinity by Tabitha Lord
Category: Adult Fiction, 304 pages
Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera
Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing
Release date: June 6, 2017
Tour dates: May 22 to July 14, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (violence, non-explicit sex, language)

Book Description:

In the second installment of the award-winning Horizon series, Dr. Caeli Crys returns to her war-torn world to fight for those she left behind.

Almagest, Caeli’s home, stands on the brink of revolution. Long hidden from the rest of the galaxy, the once-peaceful planet suffers under a regime that grows more violent and oppressive by the day. Marcus, Almagest’s dictator, is building an arsenal of alien weaponry by selling empathic children into slavery. A resistance has risen, but they are outmanned, outgunned, and in hiding.

Joined by Commander Derek Markham and his elite squadron of operatives, Caeli embarks on a dangerous mission to find the Resistance, rescue her captive people, and save her civilization from destruction.

My Take:

In the second book in the Horizon series, the reader catches up with Caeli and Derek after they have left Almagest and Caeli has settled in a bit with Derek's family. She has returned to her work as a doctor and things feel safe for her. Of course that can't last.

It soon becomes apparent that Almagest is in great peril and Derek and his crew head back to try to stop Marcus from selling empathic children into slavery and protect the planet from outside influence and exploitation.

Infinity is just as exciting as Horizon - with lots of factions and battles and intrigues. But the thing I enjoyed the most was learning more about the history of the planet and its civilization and how they ended up where they are. The history was fascinating and I am looking forward to finding out more.

One of the aspects of the novel that really resonated with me was the idea of the downfall of a whole civilization due to the decisions of a few powerful and devious people. This concept isn't really new, but it felt fresh and especially important as handled by Tabitha Lord in Infinity. I am very much looking forward to reading the next installment in the Horizon series. I can't wait to see where the story goes and what happens to Caeli and Almagest. As with Horizon, I will be suggesting Infinity to my friends and anyone who likes science fiction.


Buy the Book:




Meet the Author:




Tabitha currently lives in Rhode Island. She is married, has four great kids, two spoiled cats, and lovable lab mix. Her degree is in Classics from College of the Holy Cross and she taught Latin for years at an independent Waldorf school, where she now serves on the Board of Trustees.

Tabitha’s debut novel, Horizon, won the Writer’s Digest Grand Prize for Self-Published Fiction in 2016, and was named finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards and National Indie Excellence Awards. Infinity, the second book in the Horizon series, will be released in June 2017. Her short story “Homecoming” appears in the anthology Sirens, edited by Rhonda Parrish and published by World Weaver Press, and was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is also a senior editor for www.BookClubBabble.com.

Visit her blog at www.tabithalordauthor.com where she discusses favorite topics including parenting, teaching, and her writing journey.

Connect with Tabitha: Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram

BOOK TOUR SCHEDULE:

May 22 - Working Mommy Journal - review of Horizon / giveaway
May 22 - To Be Read - review of Horizon
May 23 - Working Mommy Journal - review of Infinity / giveaway
May 24 - 411 on Books, Authors and Publishing News - spotlight / guest post/giveaway
May 25 - Bound 4 Escape - review of Horizon / giveaway
May 26 - Cheryl' Book Nook - review of Horizon / author interview / giveaway
May 29 - Book review nature photos and everything in between - review of Horizon
May 30 - Library of Clean Reads - review of Horizon / giveaway
May 31 - Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf - review of Horizon / giveaway
May 31 - Lisa Loves Literature - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
June 1   - A Mama's Corner of the World - review on Horizon
June 2   - A Mama's Corner of the World - review on Infinity
June 5   - Haddie's Haven - review of Horizon / guest post / giveaway
June 6   - The Autistic Gamer - review of Horizon
June 7   - The Autistic Gamer - review of Infinity
June 8   - Library of Clean Reads - review of Horizon / giveaway
June 9   - Cheryl' Book Nook - review of Infinity / giveaway
June 12 - To Be Read - review of Infinity
June 12 - Deal Sharing Aunt - review of Horizon / giveaway
June 13 - Haddie's Haven - review of Infinity / giveaway
June 14 - Mystery Suspense Reviews - review of Horizon
June 15 - Bound 4 Escape - review of Infinity / giveaway
June 16 - 100 Pages A Day - review of Horizon / guest post / giveaway
June 19 - Elsie's Audiobook Digest - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
June 20 - Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf - review of Infinity / giveaway
June 21 - Deal Sharing Aunt - review of Infinity / giveaway
June 22 - Books, Dreams, Life - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
June 26 - Nighttime Reading Center - review of Horizon / giveaway
June 27 - Crossroad Reviews - review of Horizon
June 28 - Baker Kella - review of Horizon / author interview / giveaway
June 29 - Baker Kella - review of Infinity / giveaway
June 30 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review of Horizon
July 3   - Book review nature photos and everything in between - review of Infinity
July 4   - Sharing Stories - review of Horizon
July 4   - Books for Books - review of Horizon
July 5   - Lukten av trykksverte - review of Horizon / giveaway
July 6   - JBronder Book Reviews - review of Horizon / guest post
July 7   - JBronder Book Reviews - review of Infinity
July 7   - A Book Geek - review of Horizon
July 10 - Nighttime Reading Center - review of Infinity / giveaway
July 11 - Books for Books - review of Infinity
July 11 - Crossroad Reviews - review of Infinity
July 12 - Lukten av trykksverte - review of Infinity / giveaway
July 13 - A Book Geek - review of Infinity
July 13 - Reviews in the City - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
July 14 - Sharing Stories - review of Infinity
July 14 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review of Infinity


Enter the Giveaway!
Ends July 22

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday, July 10, 2017

Lost and Found Sisters Spotlight Tour

Lost and Found Sisters by Jill Shalvis
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
**on sale June 20, 2017**


Readers are endlessly fascinated by female relationships, especially the loving and chaotic (yet relatable) ones between sisters. And with her first ever women’s fiction novel, LOST AND FOUND SISTERS (ISBN: 9780062448118; $14.99; on sale 6/20), Jill Shalvis has crafted an unforgettable story of friendship, love, sisterhood, and the bonds of family (by blood or by choice). It’s a must-read for anyone who has a sister or wishes they had a sister, and perfect for fans of Colleen Hoover, Robyn Carr, and Susan Mallery.

Tapping into the power of community and exploring sibling bonds, mother-daughter relationships, and grappling with themes of identity, Shalvis packs an emotional punch within the pages of LOST AND FOUND SISTERS. Shalvis—a rockstar in the traditional romance genre—has been catapulted into “auto-buy” territory by her legions of fans (125K+ across social media and counting) by writing small town stories featuring quirky characters and snappy dialogue. And with this branch out into women’s fiction, LOST AND FOUND SISTERS is poised to not only bring in scores of new readers, but to be her breakout book!



After losing her sister in a devastating car accident, chef Quinn Weller is finally getting her life back on track. She appears to have it all: a loving family, a dream job in one of L.A.'s hottest eateries, and a gorgeous boyfriend dying to slip an engagement ring on her finger. So why does she feel so empty, like she's looking for a missing piece she can't find?

The answer comes when a lawyer tracks down Quinn and reveals a bombshell secret and a mysterious inheritance that only she can claim. This shocking revelation washes over Quinn like a tidal wave. Her whole life has been a lie. On impulse, Quinn gives up her job, home, and boyfriend. She heads up the coast to the small hometown of Wildstone, California, which is just a few hours north, but feels worlds apart from Los Angeles.

As Quinn settles into Wildstone, she discovers there's another surprise in store for her. The inheritance isn't a house or money, but rather something earthshattering, something that will make her question everything she thought she knew about herself, about her family. Now with a world of possibilities opening up to Quinn, she must decide if this new life is the one she was always meant to have—and the one that could finally give her the fulfillment she's searched so long for.

With her signature humor, heart and heat, LOST AND FOUND SISTERS is the perfect book to toss in your beach tote, read pool side during Fourth of July festivities, or even escape with during that long Labor Day weekend road trip.



About the Author:
New York Times bestselling author JILL SHALVIS lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

Connect with Jill
Facebook: @JillShalvis
Twitter: @JillShalvis

BUY LINKS
IndieBound: http://bit.ly/2qstkR0
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2rqfzHw
Books-A-Million: http://bit.ly/2qs6j0E
GooglePlay: http://bit.ly/2ql4CXx





LOST AND FOUND SISTERS by Jill Shalvis
On Sale: June 20, 2017
William Morrow Trade Paperback Original ISBN: 9780062448118
Pages: 400 | Price: $14.99
Also available in eBook: ISBN: 9780062448125 | $7.99
And downloadable audio: ISBN: 9780062680648 | $24.99






















Friday, July 7, 2017

Horizon blog tour and review

Book Details:

Book Title: Horizon by Tabitha Lord
Category: Adult Fiction, 314 pages
Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera
Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing
Release date: December 2015
Tour dates: May 22 to July 14, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (There are a few, moderately explicit sex scenes, genocide, rape, and moderate language.)

Book Description:

Caeli Crys isn’t living—she’s surviving. On the run after the genocide of her empathic people, she witnesses a spaceship crash near her hidden camp. When she feels the injured pilot suffering from miles away, she can’t help but risk discovery to save his life.

Commander Derek Markham awakens stranded on an uncharted planet. His co-pilot is dead, his ship is in ruins, and he’s only alive because a beautiful young woman is healing him with her mind.

As Derek recovers, Caeli shares the horror of her past and her fear for the future. When Derek’s command ship, Horizon, sends rescue, Derek convinces Caeli to leave with him. But his world is as treacherous as hers—full of spies, interplanetary terrorist plots, and political intrigue. Soon the Horizon team is racing to defend an outlying planet from a deadly enemy, and Caeli’s unique skills may just give them the edge they need to save it.

Buy the Book: 



My Take:


The premise of Horizon is not like anything I have read in a long time. I've given science fiction a break for a while and Horizon sounded like a good choice to get back into the genre. When I first started reading Horizon, I was just checking to see if I would like the book or if it would be a long slog. Well, the next thing I knew, I was finishing the book the very same day.  Needless to say, the book held my attention!

I think my favorite thing about Horizon was the world building. Tabitha Lord does a great job of pulling the reader into this new and turbulent world from the first page. I was curious and intrigued by both the character of Caeli and the civilization she is a part of. The two factions on her world are unique and quite interesting to read about. I found myself so immersed in this world that I continued to think about if after I had finished reading the book. 

Caeli's empathic abilities present some intriguing possibilities, responsibilities and a certain amount of risk. The ethical issues presented by the abilities of Caeli's people are worth considering and do present some interesting  dilemmas. Lord does present the issues and the stark differences between the way each group deals with not only the abilities and the way they may benefit society, but also the ways the abilities could be used unethically. 

I think the reason Horizon appealed to me so much is because Lord presents a complex and troubled world with two groups of people with much the same goals - safety for their people, thriving economy, health and security -- they just have different ideas about how to attain these goals. There is so much to ponder while reading this imaginative and exciting novel. Tabitha Lord manages to create a brand new world to explore and try to understand, but at the same time, shows that despite the distance in time and space, people are remarkably similar. 

I really enjoyed Horizon and couldn't wait to read the next book in the series. This is definitely a book I will recommend to my sci-fi reading friends.



Meet the Author:




Tabitha currently lives in Rhode Island. She is married, has four great kids, two spoiled cats, and lovable lab mix. Her degree is in Classics from College of the Holy Cross and she taught Latin for years at an independent Waldorf school, where she now serves on the Board of Trustees.

Tabitha’s debut novel, Horizon, won the Writer’s Digest Grand Prize for Self-Published Fiction in 2016, and was named finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards and National Indie Excellence Awards. Infinity, the second book in the Horizon series, will be released in June 2017. Her short story “Homecoming” appears in the anthology Sirens, edited by Rhonda Parrish and published by World Weaver Press, and was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is also a senior editor for www.BookClubBabble.com.

Visit her blog at www.tabithalordauthor.com where she discusses favorite topics including parenting, teaching, and her writing journey.

Connect with Tabitha: Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram

BOOK TOUR SCHEDULE:

May 22 - Working Mommy Journal - review of Horizon / giveaway
May 22 - To Be Read - review of Horizon
May 23 - Working Mommy Journal - review of Infinity / giveaway
May 24 - 411 on Books, Authors and Publishing News - spotlight / guest post/giveaway
May 25 - Bound 4 Escape - review of Horizon / giveaway
May 26 - Cheryl' Book Nook - review of Horizon / author interview / giveaway
May 29 - Book review nature photos and everything in between - review of Horizon
May 30 - Library of Clean Reads - review of Horizon / giveaway
May 31 - Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf - review of Horizon / giveaway
May 31 - Lisa Loves Literature - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
June 1   - A Mama's Corner of the World - review on Horizon
June 2   - A Mama's Corner of the World - review on Infinity
June 5   - Haddie's Haven - review of Horizon / guest post / giveaway
June 6   - The Autistic Gamer - review of Horizon
June 7   - The Autistic Gamer - review of Infinity
June 8   - Library of Clean Reads - review of Horizon / giveaway
June 9   - Cheryl' Book Nook - review of Infinity / giveaway
June 12 - To Be Read - review of Infinity
June 12 - Deal Sharing Aunt - review of Horizon / giveaway
June 13 - Haddie's Haven - review of Infinity / giveaway
June 14 - Mystery Suspense Reviews - review of Horizon
June 15 - Bound 4 Escape - review of Infinity / giveaway
June 16 - 100 Pages A Day - review of Horizon / guest post / giveaway
June 19 - Elsie's Audiobook Digest - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
June 20 - Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf - review of Infinity / giveaway
June 21 - Deal Sharing Aunt - review of Infinity / giveaway
June 22 - Books, Dreams, Life - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
June 26 - Nighttime Reading Center - review of Horizon / giveaway
June 27 - Crossroad Reviews - review of Horizon
June 28 - Baker Kella - review of Horizon / author interview / giveaway
June 29 - Baker Kella - review of Infinity / giveaway
June 30 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review of Horizon
July 3   - Book review nature photos and everything in between - review of Infinity
July 4   - Sharing Stories - review of Horizon
July 4   - Books for Books - review of Horizon
July 5   - Lukten av trykksverte - review of Horizon / giveaway
July 6   - JBronder Book Reviews - review of Horizon / guest post
July 7   - JBronder Book Reviews - review of Infinity
July 7   - A Book Geek - review of Horizon
July 10 - Nighttime Reading Center - review of Infinity / giveaway
July 11 - Books for Books - review of Infinity
July 11 - Crossroad Reviews - review of Infinity
July 12 - Lukten av trykksverte - review of Infinity / giveaway
July 13 - A Book Geek - review of Infinity
July 13 - Reviews in the City - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
July 14 - Sharing Stories - review of Infinity
July 14 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review of Infinity


Enter the Giveaway!
Ends July 22

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Friday, June 23, 2017

The Alice Network Blog Tour and Review

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication date: June 6, 2017
Genre: Historical fiction
Source: Publisher for an honest review

Description:

In an enthralling new historical novel from national bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.

1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She's also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie's parents banish her to Europe to have her "little problem" taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she's recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she's trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the "Queen of Spies", who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy's nose.

Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn't heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth ...no matter where it leads.



My Take:

It's hard to know where to start on this review of The Alice Network. The time covered is World War I through the turmoil after World War II.  The current action takes place after WWII and Charlie is searching for her cousin, Rose, who went missing during the war. Charlie meets Eve and her driver Finn and talks them into helping her with her mission.

Eve is a mystery to Charlie at first. She is difficult, is obviously traumatized by something in her past, but smart and interesting and funny at times. Charlie and Eve are more alike than either suspects. The novel is told in a back-and-forth style between Charlie's present and Eve's past during WWI. Eve's amazing story is told bit by bit as the reader follows Charlie's search for her cousin.

I found the character development to be very well done and was quickly pulled into the drama of Charlie running away from her parents' plans to take care of her "little problem" and take definitive action on her own. Even knowing the repercussions of her actions, she is determined to finally do something for herself. Charlie is a very sympathetic character and I thought she was easy to relate to.

Eve is a more difficult character - but once her story starts to come out, I was completely pulled into her life and her troubles. Without giving too much away, Eve is a real hero and such a tough woman. She had some very wild, dangerous, and ultimately traumatizing times during the war and she has the demons and ghosts to prove it. 

The story of The Alice Network itself is every bit as exciting and heartbreaking as the stories of Eve and Charlie individually. There is a section at the end of the book which describes which people and events are based on actual historical events. The stories of the amazing, brave women who worked in the spy network read like fiction - despite being based on actual events. After reading The Alice Network, I want to read more about them.

The Alice Network is all the buzz for a good reason - the book is highly readable, the story is intriguing, the tension is almost unbearable, and the characters are wonderful. This is definitely a book that I will be recommending to all my friends and to my book club.





About the Author:

Kate Quinn is a native of southern California. She attended Boston University, where she earned a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Classical Voice. A lifelong history buff, she has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga, and two books in the Italian Renaissance, before turning to the 20th century with "The Alice Network." All have been translated into multiple languages. Kate and her husband now live in Maryland with two black dogs named Caesar and Calpurnia, and her interests include opera, action movies, cooking, and the Boston Red Sox












Monday, May 15, 2017

Candace Robb's Kate Clifford Mystery Series Book Blast

Please join author Candace Robb as her Kate Clifford Mystery Series is featured around the blogosphere, from May 9-24.

The Service of the Dead by Candace Robb

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



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

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

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

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound


Praise for The Service of the Dead

“Robb’s deft hand creates a realistic political and commercial climate as King Richard II’s reign draws to a close in 1399. Comparable to Sara Poole’s Poisoner mysteries and Ariana Franklin’s Adelia Aguilar series, with its strong political setting and multiple plot strands.” (Booklist)

“A historical novel that deftly captures politics and interactions between different social interests in late medieval England…against the backdrop of social pressures and military actions, Kate’s character and world shine and draw readers into her choices and challenges.” (California Bookwatch)

“Kate Clifford is a wonderful creation, hard-nosed in some respects, compassionate and caring on the other. I look forward to the next installment of this delightful series!” (Historical Novels Review)

“The novel resonates with its compelling portrayal of an England on the brink of crisis.” (Publishers Weekly)

“The Service of the Dead is a tasty brew of political intrigue, larceny, and murder set within the walls of medieval York. Candace Robb’s latest historical mystery is steeped in the atmosphere of the late fourteenth century, and in Kate Clifford she’s given us a no-nonsense heroine and sleuth who is not only smart, but fierce when those she cares about are threatened. You’re going to love her.” (Patricia Bracewell, author of the Emma of Normandy Trilogy)

“The Service of the Dead by Candace Robb is a strikingly well-crafted novel that is a compelling page-turner from beginning to end. Very highly recommended for community library historical fiction collections.” (Midwest Book Review)

~~~~~~~~~~


A Twisted Vengeance by Candace Robb

Publication Date: May 9, 2017
Pegasus Books
Hardcover; 400 Pages
Series: Kate Clifford Mysteries, Book Two
Genre: Historical/Mystery/Thriller



As the fourteenth century comes to a close, York seethes on the brink of civil war-and young widow Kate Clifford, struggling to keep her businesses afloat, realizes that her mother is harboring a dangerous secret…

1399. York is preparing for civil war, teeming with knights and their armed retainers summoned for the city’s defense. Henry of Lancaster is rumored to have landed on the northeast coast of England, not so far from York, intent on reclaiming his inheritance-an inheritance which his cousin, King Richard, has declared forfeit.

With the city unsettled and rife with rumors, Eleanor Clifford’s abrupt return to York upon the mysterious death of her husband in Strasbourg is met with suspicion in the city. Her daughter Kate is determined to keep her distance, but it will not be easy-Eleanor has settled next door with the intention of establishing a house of beguines, or poor sisters. When one of the beguines is set upon in the night by an intruder, Kate knows that for the sake of her own reputation and the safety of her young wards she must investigate.

From the first, Eleanor is clearly frightened yet maintains a stubborn silence. The brutal murder of one of Eleanor’s servants leads Kate to suspect that her mother’s troubles have followed her from Strasbourg. Is she secretly involved in the political upheaval? When one of her wards is frightened by a too-curious stranger, Kate is desperate to draw her mother out of her silence before tragedy strikes her own household.


"Lovers of Shakespeare’s Richard II will find Robb’s intricate sequel to 2016’s The Service of the Dead a particular treat, as it charts the course of Richard’s downfall and his cousin Henry of Bolingbroke’s rise through the fears and uncertainties of the residents of the city of York in July 1399. These anxieties are worsened by a series of strange deaths connected to the extended family of Kate Clifford, a fierce young widow struggling to cope with not only her own household of jostling servants and the recently arrived illegitimate children of her late husband but also the return of her quarrelsome mother, Eleanor, from Strasbourg with religious women in tow. The character of Clifford is compelling and finely drawn, and for those readers who are patient enough to manage an unusually large number of secondary characters, the answers to a series of mysteries, starting with the reason for an intruder’s attack on a beguine (or poor sister) in the middle of the night, are highly satisfying." - Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound


About the Author


Candace Robb did her graduate work in medieval literature and history, and has continued to study

the period while working first as an editor of scientific publications and now for some years as a freelance writer. Candace has published 13 crime novels set in 14th century England, Wales, and Scotland. The Owen Archer series is based in York and currently extends over 10 novels beginning with THE APOTHECARY ROSE; the most recent is A VIGIL OF SPIES. The Margaret Kerr trilogy explores the early days of Scotland’s struggle again England’s King Edward I, and includes A TRUST BETRAYED, THE FIRE IN THE FLINT, and A CRUEL COURTSHIP.

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

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

For more information, please visit Candace Robb's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Book Blast Schedule

Tuesday, May 9
Passages to the Past

Wednesday, May 10
The Reading Queen

Thursday, May 11
Carole Rae's Random Ramblings
The Paperback Princess

Friday, May 12
Jo's Book Blog

Saturday, May 13
The Never Ending Book

Monday, May 15
A Book Geek

Tuesday, May 16
So Many Books, So Little Time

Wednesday, May 17
Book Nerd

Friday, May 19
Books, Dreams, Life

Saturday, May 20
Buried Under Books

Monday, May 22
The Book Junkie Reads

Tuesday, May 23
The Lit Bitch
A Literary Vacation

Wednesday, May 24
T's Stuff


Monday, May 8, 2017

Outremer blog tour - Extract

Outremer by D.N. Clark
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication date: May 9, 2017


Outremer I
Who Controls The Past Controls The Future
 An epic love story must overcome religious divide and a plot to eradicate two blood lines, as the Crusades and the search for the ancient mysteries of the Holy Grail gather momentum.
Raised by his father in La Rochelle, France, Paul Plantavalu is known for his artistic nature, inquisitive mind and Christian faith. He also has an unshakable love for his Muslim childhood friend, Alisha al Komaty. Courageous and outspoken, she returns Paul’s love. But their path is paved with obstacles; religion, war, political chaos and a mysterious enemy determined to destroy their family lines.
Sometime between 1110 AD and 1120 AD in the aftermath of the first crusade, a small band of nine knights — the founding knights Templar — recover ancient precious artefacts left by a former, advanced civilisation, beneath the City of Jerusalem. Ruthlessly guarded, the secrets revealed by this discovery are highly prized by powerful and dangerous forces far and wide; the repercussions of their capture are inextricably linked to Paul and Alisha. As Paul starts to experience dark and vivid dreams and the fragile balance of peace starts to crumble, it will fall to an enigmatic man known as Kratos and his female warrior protégée Abi Shadana, to safeguard Paul and Alisha.
Paul and Alisha’s love story weaves between the threads of our reality and other realms — from the Druids to the Sufi mystics, the Magi of the East, the secret political arm of the Knights Templar and the Isma’ilis, the Assassins. Knights and pilgrims alike will witness some of the darkest battles ever fought. The discovery of a unique sword’s lethal power and whispered connections to King Arthur and the Holy Grail lead Paul and Alisha to question if their lives ever be the same again.
The first of a four-part series, Outremer is an historical epic, which sweeps across England, Scotland and France, to Syria, Jerusalem and Egypt. Discover the truth — and crack the ancient code — behind the great mysteries of the High Middle Ages for yourself.

About the author: After strange and vivid experiences whilst living in Cyprus as a child, author D N Carter has been fascinated by the history, myths and legends of the Middle Ages and mankind’s past. As he got older travels to Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, the Languedoc region of France and the deserts of Arabia fuelled his enthusiasm. While not decoding maps and mathematical codes D N Carter enjoys adventure sports from parachuting to microlight flying. Today he divides his time between East Anglia in the UK and the south of France with his family.




Extract                                                                  

This scene follows immediately after the original founding knights of the Templar's locate and enter a secret chamber beneath Jerusalem and recover ancient artefacts in 1109 AD.

Megalithic Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni, Malta, 1109 AD.

    No sooner had the Count knelt down to pick up the ornate necklace in Jerusalem, when at that exact same moment, across the Mediterranean Sea upon a raised artificial plateau near the shore on Malta’s East coast at the site of a buried Megalithic Hypogeum, a tall, clean-shaven middle aged looking man dressed in a full-length white mantle stood motionless beneath a single standing, large and very ancient Holm Oak tree. The tree shaded an even more ancient stone burial mound. The man sensed something, like a soft wave of water gently hitting him. The setting sun was reflecting hues of crimson and red off the white undersides of the Oaks leaves to beautiful effect. His long tied back hair matched the white of his clothes. His eyes were closed tightly, his hands resting upon a staff as he breathed in deliberately slowly, held his breath for a moment, and then exhaled even more slowly. A slight breeze blew his mantle tunic top open revealing a black and yellow striped cord with a hexagonal pendant replete with a depiction of a stylised bee hanging around his neck.



Fig 1:

    The staff was unusual in that it had a dark polished metallic type horse shoe at the top positioned above a round ball of identical colour. As the Sun sank slowly over the horizon, it cast long shadows across the small open clearing within the woods where the great Oak tree stood separate from the rest. The round ball section of the staff appeared to glow from the inside and a pale bluish green light began to emanate from it shining through his fingers. The man opened his eyes wide revealing large piercing blue eyes that reflected the silhouette image of the tree he stood before. His gaze slowly moved downwards to look at the small figure of a young blonde haired girl of no more than four years of age approach him. Her smile was mesmerising as she stood before him and looked up. He sighed softly and returned the smile. She outstretched her hand for his and when his hand met hers, he knelt down and looked intently into her clear youthful blue eyes.
    “We are but the last few of our kind! You cannot understand me, nor grasp what I say to you yet, but now, as my work can again continue, so too is your journey just beginning my child; so come, we have much to do,” he said softly.
    The little girl squeezed his hand tightly, and simply smiled back at him.

Port of La Rochelle, France, Melissae Inn, Spring 1191.

    A tall figure cloaked from head to toe in a dark grey, almost black, ankle length over tunic with a bright blue sash wrapped around his middle and over his right shoulder stood with his back to the main entrance door of the two storeyed Melissae Inn. A former manor house, it was situated alone at the top of a raised outlet of land that jutted into the harbour opening of the protected straits of the Pertuis d’Antioche, part of the Bay of Biscay to the south of La Rochelle. The port echoed with the sounds of traders, sailors and builders working upon the new half completed outer harbour wall and castellated towers that flanked the entrance. Several large Genoese galleys were berthed alongside Hospitaller and Templar ships along with several merchant Cog vessels; their sails were being furled away.
    With stables, a sizable bunkhouse and a natural fresh water well, it was a haven for travellers and pilgrims to stop and rest as many passed by on the path named the ‘Allee Stella Maris’ due to several myths and stories that surrounded it being named as such, which the inn fronted onto. It had commanding views north across the sheltered harbour and west overlooking the open Atlantic ocean beyond. The sun was casting its last rays on the horizon creating bright shimmering starbursts of light upon the calm waters, which silhouetted him to those inside the inn. A chilly breeze gently blew and he raised the hood up over his head. He stood a while longer gazing out towards the open ocean as raised voices and laughter filled the air with a cacophony of noise he would rather not hear. Stephan, the inn’s proprietor, exited the door looking more like a blacksmith than an innkeeper with his oversized boots and dark leather apron and sleeves rolled up on his arms. Large in both size and character, his receding ginger hair gave away his older age despite his face being youthful and kind looking.
    “I think it’s about time you came inside and warmed yourself. That wind will chill you before you realise it,” he said loudly to be heard above the noise. He wiped a small drinking goblet with a cloth as he waited for the man’s reply and adjusted a small sign that hung bearing the name of the inn and an image of a bee, a beehive and a scallop shell.
    The man raised his right hand in acknowledgement but carried on looking out across the har­bour. A horn blew in the distance and echoed out as workers constructing the harbour entrance fortifications were called to stop their day’s work. The regular and repeated thuds and metallic clanging sounds started to cease almost at once. Only the noise of several horses tied up near the inn neighing and making the odd snort as a Mareschal farrier tended them now punctured the air, plus the occasional laugh and female shriek coming from inside the inn. As the last rays of the sun set in bright crimson and orange hues on the long streaks of cloud on the horizon, the man turned slowly, pulled the hood and cloak around himself tighter and walked toward the inn’s main entrance. Built from both local sandstone blocks and with large wooden beams, the inn was a solid refuge against the bitter Atlantic winds and weather that could batter the shoreline during the winter months, but mostly the bay afforded La Rochelle a temperate climate all year, almost identical to its southern French ports on the Mediterranean. It made for an ideal location as a major Freeport for traders.



Friday, April 21, 2017

Lilli de Jong Book Blast

Lilli de Jong by Janet Benton

Publication Date: May 16, 2017 Nan A. Talese Hardcover & eBook; 352 Pages Genre: Fiction/Historical/Literary

   

   READ AN EXCERPT.

 A young woman finds the most powerful love of her life when she gives birth at an institution for unwed mothers in 1883 Philadelphia. She is told she must give up her daughter to avoid lifelong poverty and shame. But she chooses to keep her.

Pregnant, left behind by her lover, and banished from her Quaker home and teaching position, Lilli de Jong enters a home for wronged women to deliver her child. She is stunned at how much her infant needs her and at how quickly their bond overtakes her heart. Mothers in her position face disabling prejudice, which is why most give up their newborns. But Lilli canít accept such an outcome. Instead, she braves moral condemnation and financial ruin in a quest to keep herself and her baby alive.

Confiding their story to her diary as it unfolds, Lilli takes readers from an impoverished charity to a wealthy family's home to the streets of a burgeoning American city. Drawing on rich history, Lilli de Jong is both an intimate portrait of loves lost and found and a testament to the work of mothers. "So little is permissible for a woman," writes Lilli, ìyet on her back every human climbs to adulthood."

Available for Pre-Order at


  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | iTunes | IndieBound | Kobo | Powell's


Praise for Lilli de Jong

"Lilli de Jong, discharged from her teaching job and banished from Quaker meetings because of her father's selfish choice, finds comfort in the affections of her father's apprentice, Johan. The night before he leaves to embark on a new life, she succumbs to his embrace with his promise that he will send for her. Soon thereafter, a pregnant Lilli finds herself shunned and alone, her only option a Philadelphia charity for wronged women. Knowing that she must relinquish her newborn, she is unprepared for the love that she feels for her daughter. Lilli quickly decides to fight to keep her, but in 1883 that means a life of hardship and deprivation. Telling Lilli's story in diary form, debut author Benton has written a captivating, page-turning, and well-researched novel about the power of a mother's love and the stark reality of the choices she must make. VERDICT A great choice for book clubs and readers of Geraldine Brooks." - Library Journal, Starred Review

"A powerful, authentic voice for a generation of women whose struggles were erased from history - a heart-smashing debut that completely satisfies." - Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

"Beautifully written, emotionally resonant, and psychologically astute, Lilli de Jong is the story of an unwed mother in late 19th-century Philadelphia who, facing peril at every turn, will do almost anything to keep her daughter alive. Benton turns a laser eye to her subject, exposing the sanctimony, hypocrisies, and pervasive sexism that kept women confined and unequal in the Victorian era - and that still bedevil many women today. A gripping read." - Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train and A Piece of the World

"A stunning ode to motherhood. Lilli de Jong reminds us that there is no formula to being a good mother. Love is the essential ingredient, and only it gives everlasting life to our legacies. A debut of robust heart that will stay with me for a very long time."  - Sarah McCoy, author of The Mapmaker's Children

"Janet Bentonís remarkable novel Lilli de Jong is historical fiction that transcends the genre and recalls a past world so thoroughly that it breathes upon the page. From the first sentence, Lilli's sensitive, observant, determined voice casts an irresistible spell. Benton combines rich, carefully researched detail with an imaginative boldness that is a joy to behold - though reader, be warned: Lilli's story may break your heart."  - Valerie Martin, author of The Ghost of the Mary Celeste

"[A] gorgeously written debut . . . Lilli's fight to craft her own life and nurture her bond with her baby is both devastatingly relevant and achingly beautiful. A stunning read about the fierceness of love triumphing over a rigid society." - Caroline Leavitt, author of Is This Tomorrow

"The trials Lilli undertakes to keep her baby are heart-rending, and it's a testament to Benton's skill as a writer that the reader cannot help but bear witness. In a style reminiscent of Geraldine Brooks, she seamlessly weaves accurate historical detail as well as disturbing societal norms into the protagonist's struggles . . . An absorbing debut from a writer to watch." - Kirkus Reviews

"A heartrending debut . . . Bentonís exacting research fuels Lilliís passionate, authentic voice that is 'as strong as a hand on a drum . . . that pounds its urgent messages across a distance' . . . Lilli's inspiring power and touching determination are timeless." - Publishers Weekly

"A harrowing look at the strictures of nineteenth-century American society. . . . [Lilli] is a full-fledged heroine, persevering despite seemingly insurmountable odds. . . her voice is distinctive, her fierceness driven by a motherís love." - Booklist

 "I loved this novel. Lilli de Jong is deeply moving and richly imagined, both tragic and joyous. Janet Benton has an exceptional ability to bring history to life . . . It's not only a compelling, beautifully crafted historical novel, however: it's also important . . . Lilli's life-and-death struggle is shockingly common to women even today." - Sandra Gulland, author of the internationally bestselling Josephine B. Trilogy

"Writing with a historical eye akin to Geraldine Brooks and incisive prose matching that of Anthony Doerr, debut novelist Janet Benton magically weaves a gripping narrative of hardship, redemption, and hope while illuminating a portrait of little-known history. The result is an unforgettable and important reflection on the maternal and, ultimately, the human bond. Stunning!" - Pam Jenoff, author of The Kommandantís Girl

"A confident debut . . . Sentence by carefully-crafted sentence, Benton ensnares the reader." - The Millions

About the Author

Janet Bentonís work has appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Glimmer Train, and many other publications. She has co-written and edited historical documentaries for television. She holds a B.A. in religious studies from Oberlin College and an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and for decades she has taught writing and helped individuals and organizations craft their stories. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter. Lilli de Jong is her first novel.

Visit Janet Benton's website for more information and updates. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, April 17
Bookfever

Tuesday, April 18
So Many Books, So Little Time

Wednesday, April 19
Luxury Reading

Thursday, April 20
100 Pages a Day
The Never-Ending Book

Friday, April 21
A Book Geek
Caryn, The Book Whisperer

Saturday, April 22
History From a Woman's Perspective

Monday, April 24
Creating Herstory

Tuesday, April 25
The Book Junkie Reads

Wednesday, April 26
SJ2B House of Books

Thursday, April 27
A Fold in the Spine
One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Friday, April 28
Just One More Chapter

Monday, May 1
Back Porchervations

Tuesday, May 2
Books & Benches
Oh, for the Hook of a Book

Wednesday, May 3
The Lit Bitch
Unabridged Chick

Thursday, May 4
Beth's Book Nook Blog

Friday, May 5
Brooke Blogs
Trisha Jenn Reads

Sunday, May 7
A Dream within a Dream

Monday, May 8
Book Nerd

Tuesday, May 9
Broken Teepee
The True Book Addict

Wednesday, May 10
What Is That Book About

Thursday, May 11
CelticLady's Reviews

Friday, May 12
A Literary Vacation

Monday, May 15
Passages to the Past