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21 December, 2014

Book Tour: Die I Will Not by S. K. Rizzolo

Die I Will Not


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Unhappy wife and young mother Penelope Wolfe fears scandal for her family and worse. A Tory newspaper editor has been stabbed while writing a reply to the latest round of letters penned by a firebrand calling himself Collatinus. Twenty years before, her father, the radical Eustace Sandford, wrote as Collatinus before he fled London just ahead of accusations of treason and murder. A mysterious beauty closely connected to Sandford and known only as N.D. had been brutally slain, her killer never punished. The seditious new Collatinus letters that attack the Prince Regent in the press also seek to avenge N.D.'s death and unmask her murderer. What did the journalist know that provoked his death?

Her artist husband Jeremy is no reliable ally, so Penelope turns anew to lawyer Edward Buckler and Bow Street Runner John Chase. As she battles public notoriety, Buckler and Chase put their careers at risk to stand behind her while pursuing various lines of inquiry aimed at N.D.'s murderer, a missing memoir, Royal scandal, and the dead editor's missing wife. As they navigate the dark underbelly of Regency London among a cast driven by dirty politics and dark passions, as well as by decency and a desire for justice, past secrets and present criminals are exposed, upending Penelope's life and the lives of others.

14 December, 2014

Book Tour: Whither Thou Goest by Anna Belfrage

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Whither Thou Goest is the seventh book in Anna Belfrage's series featuring time traveler Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham.

In their rural home in the Colony of Maryland, Matthew and Alex Graham are still recovering from the awful events of the previous years when Luke Graham, Matthew's estranged brother, asks them for a favour.

Alex has no problems whatsoever ignoring Luke's sad plea for help. In her opinion Matthew's brother is an evil excuse of a man who deserves whatever nasty stuff fate throws at him. Except, as Matthew points out, Luke is begging them to save his son - his misled Charlie, one of the Monmouth rebels - and can Charlie Graham be held responsible for his father's ill deeds?

So off they go on yet another adventure, this time to the West Indies to find a young man neither of them knows but who faces imminent death on a sugar plantation, condemned to slavery for treason. The journey is hazardous and along the way Alex comes face to face with a most disturbing ghost from her previous life, a man she would much have preferred never to have met.

Time is running out for Charlie Graham, Matthew is haunted by reawakened memories of his days as an indentured servant, and then there's the eerie Mr Brown, Charlie's new owner, who will do anything to keep his secrets safe, anything at all.

Will Matthew deliver his nephew from imminent death? And will they ever make it back home?

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 (March 2015)

02 December, 2014

Book Tour: Past Encounters by Davina Blake

02_Past Encounters 

Publication Date: November 22, 2014 |  CreateSpace | Paperback; 442p

Genre: Historical Fiction/Literary Fiction

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England 1955.

The day Rhoda Middleton opens a letter from another woman, she becomes convinced her husband, Peter, is having an affair. But when Rhoda tracks the mysterious woman down, she discovers she is not Peter?s lover after all, but the wife of his best friend, Archie Foster. There is only one problem - Rhoda has never even heard of Archie Foster.

Devastated by this betrayal of trust, Rhoda tries to find out why Peter has kept this friendship a secret for so long. Her search leads her back to 1945, but as she gradually uncovers Peter?s wartime experiences she must wrestle with painful memories of her own. For Rhoda too cannot escape the ghosts of the past.

Taking us on a journey from the atmospheric filming of Brief Encounter, to the extraordinary Great March of prisoners of war through snow-bound Germany, PAST ENCOUNTERS explores themes of friendship, hope, and how in the end, it is the small things that enable love to survive.

Includes bonus material for reading groups.

Praise for Past Encounters

"Her characters are so real that they linger in the mind long after the book is back on the shelf. Highly Recommended!" - The Historical Novels Review

Praise for Deborah Swift

"stellar historical fiction" -Orange Prize Nominee Ann Weisgarber

"compelling'" -Westmorland Gazette

"The past comes alive through impeccable research...and the sheer power of descriptive prose" -Lancashire Evening Post

Buy the Book

Amazon US
Amazon UK

Deborah SwiftAbout the Author

Davina Blake used to be a set and costume designer for theatre and TV, during which time she developed a love of research which fueled her passion for the past. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and also writes successful seventeenth century historicals under the pen name Deborah Swift. 'Her characters are so real that they linger in the mind long after the book is back on the shelf. Highly recommended.' The Historical Novels Review From Davina: 'I was inspired to write 'Past Encounters' because I live close to the railway station where the iconic 'Brief Encounter' was filmed in 1945. I have often used the refreshment room that featured in the film when waiting for a train. I love a good cup of tea, preferably accompanied by a chocolate brownie!'

For more information visit Davina Blake's website and blog. You can also find her on Twitter.

Past Encounters Blog Tour Schedule

Saturday, November 15
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Sunday, November 16
Review at Library Educated

Monday, November 17
Review at Dianne Ascroft Blog
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, November 18
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, November 19
Review at Just One More Chapter

Thursday, November 20
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Friday, November 21
Review & Interview at Bookish

Saturday, November 22
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective

Monday, November 24
Review at A Bookish Affair
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Tuesday, November 25
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair

Wednesday, November 26
Review at Book Nerd

Thursday, November 27
Interview at The Maiden's Court

Saturday, November 29
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Monday, December 1
Review at Layered Pages
Review & Interview at Casual Readers

Tuesday, December 2
Review at My Reader's Block
Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews

Wednesday, December 3
Review at The Worm Hole
Review at Diary of an Eccentric

Thursday, December 4
Review at Beth's Book Reviews
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry

Friday, December 5
Review at Bibliophilia, Please

Saturday, December 6
Review at Unshelfish
Review at Historical Tapestry

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14 November, 2014

Book Tour Review: The Ripper's Wife by Brandy Purdy


The Ripper's Wife 


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A suspenseful, spellbinding novel of love, jealousy, and murder, The Ripper's Wife re-imagines the most notorious serial killer in history through the eyes of the woman who sealed his fate.

"Love makes sane men mad and can turn a gentle man into a fiend."

It begins as a fairytale romance--a shipboard meeting in 1880 between vivacious Southern belle Florence Chandler and handsome English cotton broker James Maybrick. Courtship and a lavish wedding soon follow, and the couple settles into an affluent Liverpool suburb.

From the first, their marriage is doomed by lies. Florie, hardly the heiress her scheming mother portrayed, is treated as an outsider by fashionable English society. James's secrets are infinitely darker--he has a mistress, an arsenic addiction, and a vicious temper. But Florie has no inkling of her husband's depravity until she discovers his diary--and in it, a litany of bloody deeds...

Praise for the Novels of Brandy Purdy

"Recommended for readers who can't get enough of the Tudors and have devoured all of Philippa Gregory's books." ?Library Journal on The Boleyn Wife

"Purdy wonderfully reimagines the behind-the-scenes lives of the two sisters." ?Historical Novel Reviews on The Tudor Throne

"I love Brandy Purdy's books, she does thorough research into the lives of the people in the Tudor era and it shows in her writing style. Very descriptive, engaging characters makes The Queen's Rivals a page turning novel. If you are a fan of the Tudor era like I am, then this book is a must." -CelticLady's Reviews on The Queen's Rivals

"The writing is inviting, intense and flawless, rich with the flavor of English country life as well as court life. The political machinations, the tragedy to befall the Dudley family and the mystery surrounding Amy's death were weaved to captivating detail and the end result is a mesmerizing work of historical fiction that puts Brandy Purdy on my "must read" list." -Psychotic State Book Reviews on The Queen's Pleasures

Buy the Book


About the Author
Brandy Purdy is the author of several historical novels. When she's not writing, she's either reading or watching classic movies. She currently lives in Beaumont, TX. Visit her website at http://www.brandypurdy.com for more information about her books. You can also follow her via her blog at http://brandypurdy.blogspot.com/ where she posts updates about her work and reviews of what she has been reading.

Review

05 November, 2014

Book Blast: John Chase Regency Mystery Series by S.K. Rizzolo

The Rose in the Wheel (Book One)

01_The Rose WheelPublication Date: January 1, 2002
Poisoned Pen Press
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook

Series: John Chase Mystery Series (Book One)
Genre: Historical Mystery/Regency

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This well imagined, carefully detailed, and cleverly plotted debut draws on actual historical events of 1811 London.

Regency London knows Constance Tyrone as the conspicuously celibate founder of the St. Catherine Society, dedicated to helping poor women. One wet November evening a carriage mows down Constance outside her office. Curiously, while her corpse's one foot is bare, the other is shod in a clean satin slipper despite the muddy road. Why was a gentlewoman abroad in the night? And if she died under the wheel, whose hands bruised her neck and stole her monogrammed crucifix?

Dismissing the idea of an accident, Bow Street Runner John Chase forms an unlikely alliance with Penelope Wolfe, wife of the chief suspect. A young mother paying the price for an imprudent marriage, Penelope is eager to clear her husband Jeremy, a feckless portrait painter whose salacious drawings of the victim suggest an erotic interest. Chase's first task is to learn the identity of the mysterious benefactor who goes bail for Wolfe while Penelope traces the victim's last movements. Barrister Edward Buckler, intrigued, shakes off his habitual lethargy and joins their investigation.

As horrifying murders on the Ratcliffe Highway claim all London's attention, the trio discovers that it won't be easy to unravel the enigma of Constance Tyrone, a woman who revives the legend of martyred St. Catherine.

Blood for Blood (Book Two)

02_Blood for BloodPublication Date: April 15, 2003
Poisoned Pen Press
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook

Series: John Chase Mystery Series (Book Two)
Genre: Historical Mystery/Regency

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In the spring of 1812, the Luddites are on the march, Lord Byron is taking London drawing rooms by storm, and Penelope Wolfe has become a lady's companion. When one of the footmen turns up dead with a knife to the heart, Penelope and Bow Street Runner John Chase are entangled in a web of family secrets and political conspiracy that stretches far beyond luxurious St. James's Square.

With the help of barrister Edward Buckler, Chase follows the trail of a mysterious mad woman caught peeping in the window at the corpse. Penelope struggles to fit into the fashionable world, encountering people who hide resentment and deceit under smooth smiles.

Set against a backdrop of millennial fervor with thousands awaiting the end of the world, BLOOD FOR BLOOD explores the simple truth that every drop of blood spilled will be avenged.

Die I Will Not (Book Three)

Die I Will NotPublication Date: November 4, 2014
Poisoned Pen Press
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback

Series: John Chase Mystery Series (Book Three)
Genre: Historical Mystery/Regency

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Unhappy wife and young mother Penelope Wolfe fears scandal for her family and worse. A Tory newspaper editor has been stabbed while writing a reply to the latest round of letters penned by a firebrand calling himself Collatinus. Twenty years before, her father, the radical Eustace Sandford, wrote as Collatinus before he fled London just ahead of accusations of treason and murder. A mysterious beauty closely connected to Sandford and known only as N.D. had been brutally slain, her killer never punished. The seditious new Collatinus letters that attack the Prince Regent in the press also seek to avenge N.D.?s death and unmask her murderer. What did the journalist know that provoked his death?

Her artist husband Jeremy is no reliable ally, so Penelope turns anew to lawyer Edward Buckler and Bow Street Runner John Chase. As she battles public notoriety, Buckler and Chase put their careers at risk to stand behind her while pursuing various lines of inquiry aimed at N.D.?s murderer, a missing memoir, Royal scandal, and the dead editor?s missing wife. As they navigate the dark underbelly of Regency London among a cast driven by dirty politics and dark passions, as well as by decency and a desire for justice, past secrets and present criminals are exposed, upending Penelope?s life and the lives of others.

Buy the Books

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository

About the AuthorSK Rizzolo

S.K. Rizzolo is a longtime Anglophile and history enthusiast. Set in Regency England, The Rose in the Wheel and Blood for Blood are the first two novels in her series about a Bow Street Runner, an unconventional lady, and a melancholic barrister. An English teacher, Rizzolo has earned an M.A. in literature and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.

For more information please visit S.K. Rizzolo's website. You can also find her on Facebook and Goodreads.

John Chase Mystery Series Book Blast Schedule

Monday, November 3
Bookish
Unshelfish
Back Porchervations

Tuesday, November 4
Reading Lark
Rainy Day Reviews

Wednesday, November 5
CelticLady's Reviews
A Bibliotaph's Reviews

Thursday, November 6
The Lit Bitch
Historical Tapestry

Friday, November 7
Passages to the Past
Caroline Wilson Writes

Saturday, November 8
The Maiden's Court
The True Book Addict

Sunday, November 9
Brooke Blogs
Let Them Read Books

Monday, November 10
Layered Pages
With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Tuesday, November 11
To Read or Not to Read

Wednesday, November 12
Just One More Chapter

Thursday, November 13
A Book Geek
100 Pages a Day

Friday, November 14
Peeking Between the Pages

Saturday, November 15
Mel's Shelves
Historical Fiction Connection

Sunday, November 16
Book Nerd

Giveaway

To win all three books in S.K. Rizzolo's John Chase Regency Mystery Series please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open internationally.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on November 16th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on November 17th and notified via email.
Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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03 November, 2014

Guest Book Tour: “The Serpent’s Tooth” trilogy by Kathy Fischer-Brown



In Courting the Devil and The Partisan’s Wife (Books 2 & 3 of “The Serpent’s Tooth” trilogy), a major plot thread involves espionage during the American Revolution. One of the oldest occupations, spying on an organized level has been around for as long as men have waged wars. While in no way possessing the skills and training of a modern-day spy, covert agents played a vital role on both sides of the conflict. 



George Washington relied heavily on gathering and exchanging information about enemy strengths, movements, and supply lines. He also expended time and resources in disseminating misleading information. But during the first few years of the war, American intelligence efforts were no match for their British counterparts. 



Under the auspices of The Committee of Secret Correspondence, created during the Second Continental Congress in November of 1775, Washington availed himself of an assortment of alpha-numeric codes—with several kinds of secret ink and several ways to employ them—as well as novel methods of transporting and exchanging these communiqués. In addition to hiding messages in canteens and false heels of shoes, another clever method was to tear the message into narrow strips, roll them up small, and stuff the slivers into the hollow stem of a goose quill pen.



The accompanying photographs (of a dispatch from General Sir Henry Clinton to General John Burgoyne) present an example of one of the coding methods employed by the British. The “Code Mask” was placed over a seemingly innocent letter—or one filled with misinformation, such as the one to the right. The words revealed (below) contained the message.



People from all walks of life served as eyes and ears for their respective causes. Among their numbers were women. Although a few names have come down to us through history—Lydia Darragh, Anna Strong, Ann Bates, to name but a few—no one knows exactly how many women worked behind the lines, selling food and other necessaries in the camps and meeting places frequented by Rebels, British, and Tories. In many cases, such as that of Agent 355 of the “Culper Ring,” we don’t even know their real names. It’s safe to assume we may never know.



In the Courting the Devil, the treatment of my protagonist Anne by Loyalists who have been misled to think she’s a spy is in no way far-fetched. In fact, I saved her from a far worse fate—that suffered by the Canadian Tory, “Miss Jenny,” at the hands of French soldiers serving under Lafayette in 1778. Under the pretense of seeking her father in their camp, she aroused suspicions and was arrested. Not only did her captors try to beat the truth out of her, they raped her. If that wasn’t despicable enough, they cut off her hair—an act considered the height of humiliation at the time. (Miss Jenny, however, did not relent and successfully completed her mission. After returning to the British camp with her intelligence, she vanished from history.) It is also interesting to note that women, in general, were considered too “simple” to understand the complexities of a military campaign, and for the most part, were not taken seriously by either side.



Excerpt from Courting the Devil

30 October, 2014

Book Tour: The Tudor Vendetta by C.W. Gortner


The Tudor Vendetta

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Winter, 1558: Elizabeth I has ascended the throne but the first days of her reign are already fraught with turmoil, the kingdom weakened by strife and her ability to rule uncertain.

Summoned from exile abroad at the new queen's behest, Brendan Prescott arrives in London to face his shattered past. He soon finds himself pitted in deadly rivalry with his life-long foe, Robert Dudley, but when a poison attempt overshadows the queen?s coronation, Elizabeth privately dispatches Brendan on a far more dangerous assignation: to find her favored lady-in-waiting, Lady Parry, who has vanished in Yorkshire.

Upon his arrival at the crumbling sea-side manor that may hold the key to Lady Parry's disappearance, he encounters a strange, impoverished family beset by grief, as well as mounting evidence that they hide a secret from him. The mystery surrounding Lady Parry deepens as Brendan begins to realize there is far more going on at the manor than meets the eye, but the closer he gets to the heart of the mystery, the more he becomes the quarry of an elusive stranger with a vendetta? one that could expose both his own buried identity and a long-hidden revelation that will bring about Elizabeth's doom.

From the intrigue-laden passages of Whitehall to a foreboding Catholic manor and the prisons of the Tower, Brendan must risk everything to unravel a vendetta that strikes at the very core of his world, including his loyalty to his queen.

The Tudor Vendetta is the third book in Gortner's Elizabeth I Spymaster Trilogy.

Praise for The Tudor Vendetta

'Fast paced and exciting, with a most engaging hero . . . So vivid, you feel are there!?' - Diana Gabaldon, bestselling author of the Outlander series

'C.W. Gortner has done it again! Full of breathtaking action, dark twists and unexpected revelations, this is an unputdownable read.' - Michelle Moran, bestselling author of Madame Tussaud

'Suspense, intrigue, betrayal and deadly rivalry: What more can you ask for? A swashbuckling, perilous adventure.' - M.J. Rose, bestselling author of The Reincarnationist

Buy the Book


About the Author

C.W. GORTNER holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis in Renaissance Studies from the New College of California, as well as an AA from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco.

After an eleven year-long career in fashion, during which he worked as a vintage retail buyer, freelance publicist, and fashion show coordinator, C.W. devoted the next twelve years to the public health sector. In 2012, he became a full-time writer following the international success of his novels.

03_CW Gortner
In his extensive travels to research his books, he has danced a galliard at Hampton Court, learned about organic gardening at Chenoceaux, and spent a chilly night in a ruined Spanish castle. His books have garnered widespread acclaim and been translated into twenty-one languages to date, with over 400,000 copies sold. A sought-after public speaker. C.W. has given keynote addresses at writer conferences in the US and abroad. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights, in particular companion animal rescue to reduce shelter overcrowding.

C.W. recently completed his fourth novel for Ballantine Books, about Lucrezia Borgia; the third novel in his Tudor Spymaster series for St Martin's Press; and a new novel about the dramatic, glamorous life of Coco Chanel, scheduled for lead title publication by William Morrow, Harper Collins, in the spring of 2015.

Half-Spanish by birth and raised in southern Spain, C.W. now lives in Northern California with his partner and two very spoiled rescue cats.

For more information please visit C.W. Gortner's website and blog. You can also connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and YouTube.

28 October, 2014

Book Tour: A Little Wicked by Janet R. Macreery

01_A Little Wicked 


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After her Scottish village is attacked, 12-year-old Dory must flee her home without her family. Once the granddaughter of the chief, now branded a fugitive, Dory begins a dangerous journey trekking through the Scottish wilderness and crossing the Atlantic in disguise in order to reach the distant and unfamiliar Massachusetts Bay Colony in the New World. There she must survive a crisis that is quite different from the one in Scotland but no less fatal, the Salem Witch Trials. The year is 1692 and Dory is plunged into mayhem on both sides of the ocean.

Praise for A Little Wicked
"Readers will learn a lot about resilience and Scottish identity." ~ Publisher's Weekly

"...the fast pace and suspense-filled pages will keep younger teens engrossed while providing notable history lessons. A high-stakes historical adventure full of emotional, social and political drama." ~ Kirkus Reviews

"debut novel is addicting, passionate, and fresh." ~ Novel Nutritious

"A Little Wicked evokes themes of survival, rebellion, and identity just as vividly as the most popular fantasy novels for young people."~ Amazon.com Reader

"The author writes from the viewpoint of the female child character Dory, making the story highly relatable as well as understandable to young readers. Readers will gain a strong idea of customs, daily life, and government for those living in 1692 in England, Scotland, and The New World." ~ Michelle Robertson for Reader Favorites

"Writing with both discipline and creative abandon, Macreery gives studious attention to detail as each carefully crafted sentence flows fluidly to the next." ~ Amazon.com Reader

"fast-paced style that kids are used to from their favorite fantasy-adventure books.The book is full of historical and cultural details, with touches of Scottish folklore leaving open the possibility of the supernatural." ~ Goodreads Reader

Watch the Book Trailer


About the Author
02_Janet Macreery Author
Janet's parents never had to emphasize the importance of reading; they both genuinely love to read. That love of literature transferred to Janet, her sister and brother as they grew up in suburban New Jersey. College took Janet to Pennsylvania where she met her husband. Proud of her homeland and her heritage, Janet and her husband read about and travel the United States and Scotland to learn more about the history and culture of both countries and currently live in the shadow of Washington, DC in Northern Virginia.


For more information please visit Janet Macreery's website. You can also connect with Janet Macreery on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.



Review

Series: N/A
Release Date: 29 April, 2014
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Genre: Middle Grade Historical Fiction (Ages 9-13)
ISBN:  9781620151785
Edition: Paperback
Rating: 
Review Written: 28 October, 2014

21 October, 2014

Book Tour: The Secrets of Casanova by Greg Michaels

02_The Secrets of Casanova 



2014 Nancy Pearl Award Winner for Fiction.


Add to GR ButtonLoosely based on the life of Jacques Casanova, The Secrets of Casanova is a rich, lush novel of love, sex, family, ambition, intrigue, and adventure. Set in Paris of 1755, Casanova's luck is fading and his past is shoving up against his present with potentially disastrous consequences. What price must he pay to uncover a treasure of inestimable value? What hearts must he break along the way? Casanova's will and destiny collide again and again in this riveting historical fiction that brings to light a man of great passion and not a few secrets.


About the Author
03_Greg Michaels

After receiving his B.A. in anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin, a chance experience thrust Greg into a career as a professional actor and fight director. To date he's acted in over fifty theater productions, more than forty television shows, and choreographed dozens of swordfights for stage and screen. In THE SECRETS OF CASANOVA, Greg again proves his skill at telling a theatrical story. He lives with his wife, two sons, and Andy the hamster.


Praise for The Secrets of Casanova

'A Shakespearean actor with a flair for the dramatic and a superb ear for dialogue, Michaels's debut novel puts a brilliantly original spin on an historical figure whose very name is a cliche. This Casanova must wrestle not only with falling hopelessly and passionately in love, but embarking on a mysterious quest that is as much a spiritual awakening as a swashbuckling adventure. The Secrets of Casanova is so erotic and so sensitively written, I found it difficult to believe its author was a man.' -Robin Maxwell, national best-selling author of The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn

Buy the Book


For more information please visit Greg Michaels's website. Like The Secrets of Casanova Facebook Page. Follow Greg Michaels on Twitter.

Review

Series: N/A
Release Date: 21 October, 2013
Publisher: Booktrope Editions
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
ISBN:  9781620151785
Edition: Paperback
Rating: 
Review Written: 21 October, 2014

15 October, 2014

Book Tour: The Paradise Tree by Elena Maria Vidal

02_The Paradise Tree


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The year is 1887 in Leeds County, Ontario. The O’Connor clan is gathering to mourn the loss of its patriarch Daniel O’Connor, an Irish immigrant. The story of Daniel and his wife Brigit is one of great hardships, including illness, ill-starred romances, war and political upheavals, as well as undying love and persevering faith. As Daniel is laid to rest, his grandson Fergus receives a piercing insight into what his own calling in life will be.

Praise for The Paradise Tree

"With this marvelous immigrant saga, Elena Maria Vidal reminds us why our forebears left the Old World for the New: for Faith, family, and freedom! Through three generations of an Irish clan in Canada, she invites us into their home for struggle and triumph, celebrations of joy and sorrow, music, feasting, and dancing. The Paradise Tree makes 'the past and present mingle and become one' for the reader’s great delight." --Stephanie A. Mann, author of Supremacy and Survival: How Catholics Endured the English Reformation

“Elena Maria Vidal’s latest book, The Paradise Tree, is the fictionalized true story of the author’s devoutly Catholic ancestors who immigrated to Canada from Ireland. It is filled with rich detailed history recounting the hardships and joys of the 19th century O’Connor Family. Beautifully written with great attention to historical, geographical and religious accuracy, this fascinating and moving family saga is a treasure that I highly recommend!” ~Ellen Gable Hrkach, award-winning author of In Name Only and four other novels

Buy the Book
Amazon

About the Author


Elena Maria Vidal grew up in the countryside outside of Frederick, Maryland, "fair as the garden of the Lord" as the poet Whittier said of it. As a child she read so many books that her mother had to put restrictions on her hours of reading. During her teenage years, she spent a great deal of her free time writing stories and short novels.

03_Elena Maria VidalElena graduated in 1984 from Hood College in Frederick with a BA in Psychology, and in 1985 from the State University of New York at Albany with an MA in Modern European History. In 1986, she joined the Secular Order of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Elena taught at the Frederick Visitation Academy and worked as a private tutor as well as teaching children's etiquette classes. During a trip to Austria in 1995 she visited the tomb of Empress Maria Theresa in the Capuchin crypt in Vienna. Afterwords she decided to finish a novel about Marie-Antoinette she had started writing ten years before but had put aside. In 1997 her first historical novel TRIANON was published by St. Michaels Press. In 2000, the sequel MADAME ROYALE was published, as well as the second edition of TRIANON, by The Neumann Press. Both books quickly found an international following which continues to this day. In 2010, the third edition of TRIANON and the second edition of MADAME ROYALE were released.

In November 2009, THE NIGHT'S DARK SHADE: A NOVEL OF THE CATHARS was published by Mayapple Books. The new historical novel deals with the controversial Albigensian Crusade in thirteenth century France. Elena has been a contributor to Canticle Magazine, Touchstone Magazine, The National Observer, and The American Conservative. In April 2009 she was a speaker at the Eucharistic Convention in Auckland, New Zealand. In August 2010 Elena spoke at The Catholc Writers Conference in Valley Forge, PA. She is a member of the Catholic Writers Guild and the Eastern Shore Writers Association. She currently lives in Maryland with her family.

For more information please visit Elena's website and blog. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Other Titles by Elena Maria Vidal

Trianon: A Novel of Royal France
Madame Royale: A Novel
The Night's Dark Shade: A Novel of the Cathars


09 October, 2014

Review: The Fifth Vertex by Kevin Hoffman


Urus Noellor--a boy born deaf who is about to be publicly branded as a burden, incapable of being the warrior his people demand--stands upon a rooftop, poised to throw himself over the edge. His failed attempt at suicide unlocks within him a long-dormant form of magic thought to have died out thousands of years before, a power that may be the key to saving the world from an equally ancient enemy. 

Urus and his companions--Goodwyn, the greatest warrior in Kest, and Cailix, a mysterious orphan--must find a way to stop a powerful group of sorcerers from destroying the five long-hidden vertices that ward the world against threats from beyond, while fighting off threats from within. They soon learn that the scope of the coming danger may be more dire than any of them could have imagined. As the battle for the vertices spreads to the neighboring realms, Goodwyn must face the realities of war and death; Cailix discovers a devastating truth that could change everything; and Urus discovers his uncanny gifts and courage as he peels away clues to his true identity. But even as Urus gains the power he has always craved, he experiences it all in profound, lonely silence.

Review

Series: The Sigilord Chronicles #1
Release Date: 2 August, 2014
Publisher: Kevin Hoffman
Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult
ISBN:  9780990647904
Edition: ARC Netgalley eBook
Rating: 
Review Written: 9 October, 2014

06 October, 2014

Book Tour: Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth

02_Bitter Greens 


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The amazing power and truth of the Rapunzel fairy tale comes alive for the first time in this breathtaking tale of desire, black magic and the redemptive power of love.


French novelist Charlotte-Rose de la Force has been banished from the court of Versailles by the Sun King, Louis XIV, after a series of scandalous love affairs. At the convent, she is comforted by an old nun, Sœur Seraphina, who tells her the tale of a young girl who, a hundred years earlier, is sold by her parents for a handful of bitter greens... 

After Margherita’s father steals parsley from the walled garden of the courtesan Selena Leonelli, he is threatened with having both hands cut off, unless he and his wife relinquish their precious little girl. Selena is the famous red-haired muse of the artist Tiziano, first painted by him in 1512 and still inspiring him at the time of his death. She is at the center of Renaissance life in Venice, a world of beauty and danger, seduction and betrayal, love and superstition.

Locked away in a tower, Margherita sings in the hope that someone will hear her. One day, a young man does.

Award-winning author Kate Forsyth braids together the stories of Margherita, Selena, and Charlotte-Rose, the woman who penned Rapunzel as we now know it, to create what is a sumptuous historical novel, an enchanting fairy tale retelling, and a loving tribute to the imagination of one remarkable woman.

Praise for Bitter Greens

“Kate Forsyth’s Bitter Greens is an enthralling concoction of history and magic, an absorbing, richly detailed, and heart-wrenching reimagining of a timeless fairytale.” —Jennifer Chiaverini, New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival 


“See how three vividly drawn women cope with injustice, loneliness, fear, longing. See how they survive—or perpetrate—treachery. Surrender yourself to a master storyteller, to delicious detail and spunky heroines. Bitter Greens is a complex, dazzling achievement.” —Susan Vreeland, New York Times bestselling author of Clara and Mr. Tiffany and Girl in Hyacinth Blue

“A magical blend of myth and history, truth and legend, Bitter Greens is one of those rare books that keeps you reading long after the lights have gone out, that carries you effortlessly to another place and time, that makes you weep and laugh and wish you could flip forward to make sure it all ends happily ever after—but for the fact that if you did so, you might miss a line, and no line of this book should be missed.” —Lauren Willig, New York Times bestselling author of The Ashford Affair

“Kate Forsyth wields her pen with all the grace and finesse of a master swordsman. In Bitter Greens she conjures a lyrical fairytale that is by turns breathtaking, inspiring, poetic, and heartbreakingly lovely. Set like a jewel within the events of history, it is pure, peerless enchantment.”—New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn 

“Bitter Greens is pure enchantment–gripping and lyrical. From the high convent walls where a 17th century noblewoman is exiled, to a hidden tower which imprisons an innocent girl with very long hair, to the bitter deeds of a beautiful witch who cannot grow old–Kate Forsyth weaves an engrossing, gorgeously written tale of three women in search of love and freedom. A truly original writer, Forsyth has crafted an often terrifying but ultimately redemptive dark fairy tale of the heart.”—Stephanie Cowell, American Book Award-winning author of Claude & Camille

“Kate Forsyth’s Bitter Greens is not only a magnificent achievement that would make any novelist jealous, it’s one of the most beautiful paeans to the magic of storytelling that I’ve ever read.”—C.W. Gortner, author of The Queen’s Vow and The Confessions of Catherine de Medici

"Threads of history and folklore are richly intertwined to form this spellbinding story. Kate Forsyth has excelled herself with Bitter Greens. Compulsively unputtdownable."—Juliet Marillier, national bestselling author of Flame of Sevenwaters and Heart’s Blood

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Kate Forsyth 1
About the Author

Kate Forsyth wrote her first novel at the age of seven, and is now the internationally bestselling & award-winning author of thirty books, ranging from picture books to poetry to novels for both adults and children. She was recently voted one of Australia's Favourite 20 Novelists, and has been called 'one of the finest writers of this generation. She is also an accredited master storyteller with the Australian Guild of Storytellers, and has told stories to both children and adults all over the world. 

Her most recent book for adults is a historical novel called 'The Wild Girl', which tells the true, untold love story of Wilhelm Grimm and Dortchen Wild, the young woman who told him many of the world's most famous fairy tales. Set during the Napoleonic Wars, 'The Wild Girl' is a story of love, war, heartbreak, and the redemptive power of storytelling, and was named the Most Memorable Love Story of 2013.


She is probably most famous for 'Bitter Greens', a retelling of the Rapunzel fairy tale interwoven with the dramatic life story of the woman who first told the tale, the 17th century French writer, Charlotte-Rose de la Force. 'Bitter Greens' has been called 'the best fairy tale retelling since Angela Carter', and has been nominated for a Norma K. Hemming Award, the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Fiction, and a Ditmar Award.

Her most recent book for children is 'Grumpy Grandpa', a charming picture book that shows people are not always what they seem.


Since 'The Witches of Eileanan' was named a Best First Novel of 1998 by Locus Magazine, Kate has won or been nominated for numerous awards, including a CYBIL Award in the US. She's also the only author to win five Aurealis awards in a single year, for her Chain of Charms series – beginning with 'The Gypsy Crown' - which tells of the adventures of two Romany children in the time of the English Civil War. Book 5 of the series, 'The Lightning Bolt', was also a CBCA Notable Book.

Kate's books have been published in 14 countries around the world, including the UK, the US, Russia, Germany, Japan, Turkey, Spain, Italy, Poland and Slovenia. She is currently undertaking a doctorate in fairytale retellings at the University of Technology, having already completed a BA in Literature and a MA in Creative Writing.

Kate is a direct descendant of Charlotte Waring, the author of the first book for children ever published in Australia, 'A Mother's Offering to her Children'. She lives by the sea in Sydney, Australia, with her husband, three children, and many thousands of books.

For more information please visit Kate Forsyth's website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Review

Series: N/A
Release Date: 23 September, 2014
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
GenreHistorical Fiction/Fantasy/Fairy-tale Retellings
ISBN:  9781250047533
Edition: ARC Paperback
Rating: 
Review Written: 6 October, 2014

 
 
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