Monday, November 16, 2015

The Persian Woman Book Blast and Giveaway

02_The Persian WomanPublication Date: September 2, 2015 Circle B Publishing LLC eBook;
 229 Pages
Genre: Literary/Mystery/Thriller

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A tough Navy SEAL and a beautiful Persian woman clash before working together to confront a ferocious common enemy. It is a tale of jihad, terror, and forbidden love. A Jeffrey Quinn novel.

“I stayed up late reading this book a second time. I read it first for the intriguing story and the second time for the wonderful language. Mr. Booker has crafted a timely and compelling story filled with a cast of characters from the slimy to the sublime. I would like to have a friend like the main character, Jeffrey Quinn . . . a man with a past and his own demons . . . honest . . . loyal . . . .” -Rebecca K. McWhorter (5 Star Amazon Review)


About the Author

03_Thomas BookerSoldier of fortune Thomas Booker has traveled widely in Europe, Africa, and Latin America. He currently is helping to build a children’s clinic in South East Asia. He resides in Texas.

Book Blast Schedule

November 4 Book Nerd
November 12 Boom Baby Reviews
November 16 A Book Geek
December 29 Broken Teepee


To win an eBook of The Persian Woman please enter using the GLEAM form below. 20 eBooks are up for grabs!

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on December 31st. You must be 18 or older to enter. – Giveaway is open internationally. – Only one entry per household. – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion – Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.


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Monday, November 9, 2015

The Oracle Blog Tour and Spotlight


Publication Date: November 10, 2015
Medallion Press
Paperback; 456p
ISBN-13: 978-1605426273
Genre: Historical/Archaeological Adventure
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In Delphi, the mountain city deemed by the Greek gods to be the center of the Earth, a cult of neo-pagans re-create with painstaking authenticity ancient rituals to glorify the god Apollo and deliver oracles to seekers from around the world.
When antiquities are stolen from a museum in nearby Thebes, British archaeologist Sarah Weston and her American partner, Daniel Madigan, are drawn into a plot that goes beyond harmless role-playing: someone’s using the Delphian oracle as a smoke screen for an information exchange, with devastating consequences for the Western world.
Pitted against each other by the cult’s mastermind, Sarah and Daniel race against time and their own personal demons to uncover clues left behind by the ancients. Their mission: to find the original navel stone marked with a lost Pythagorean formula detailing the natural events that led to the collapse of the Minoan Empire.
But will they find it in time to stop the ultimate terrorist act?


About the Author

Daphne Nikolopoulos, photography by Lauren Lieberman / LILA PHOTO
Daphne Nikolopoulos, photography by Lauren Lieberman / LILA PHOTO
Daphne Nikolopoulos in an award-winning journalist, author, editor, and lecturer. Under the pen name D.J. Niko, she has written two novels in an archaeological thriller series titled The Sarah Weston Chronicles. Her debut novel, The Tenth Saint (Medallion Press, 2012), won the Gold Medal (popular fiction) in the prestigious, juried Florida Book Awards. Her follow-up release, The Riddle of Solomon, continues the story of British archaeologist Sarah Weston as she seeks the relics—and mystical secrets—left behind by the biblical King Solomon in remote Israel.
Daphne is currently at work on The Oracle, book 3 in The Sarah Weston Chronicles, which releases in 2015. Also slated for publication in 2015 is her first historical novel, The Judgment, which is set in Israel and Egypt in the tenth century BCE.
In addition to writing fiction, Daphne is editor in chief of Palm Beach Illustrated magazine and editorial director of Palm Beach Media Group. Prior to that, she was a travel journalist who logged hundreds of thousands of miles traveling across the globe, with emphasis on little-known and off-the-beaten-path locales—many of which have inspired her novels.
Daphne frequently lectures about her research on the ancient world. She is an instructor at Florida Atlantic University’s Lifelong Learning Society, teaching on the subject of archaeology. She has also spoken to audiences at the Jewish Community Center of the Palm Beaches’ Academy for Continuous Education, and several libraries and private groups throughout Florida.
Born and raised in Athens, Greece, Daphne now resides in West Palm Beach with her husband and twin son and daughter. You can find her on the Web at and connect with her on Facebook (AuthorDJNiko) and on Twitter: @djnikobooks.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 9
Spotlight at A Book Geek
Tuesday, November 10
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection
Wednesday, November 11
Review at Back Porchervations
Friday, November 13
Spotlight at I’d So Rather Be Reading
Monday, November 16
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More
Tuesday, November 17
Review at Book Nerd
Wednesday, November 18
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Spotlight & Excerpt at The Lit Bitch
Thursday, November 19
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Friday, November 20
Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book
Monday, November 23
Character Interview at Boom Baby Reviews
Tuesday, November 24
Guest Post at Yelena Casale’s Blog
Friday, November 27
Spotlight at Teatime and Books
Tuesday, December 1
Review at Kristin Un-Ravelle’d
Wednesday, December 2
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Friday, December 4
Spotlight at Diana’s Book Reviews
Thursday, December 10
Review at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf
Friday, December 11
Guest Post & Giveaway at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
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The Miracle of Grace by Kate Kerrigan - Extract and Blog Post by author

The Miracle of Grace by Kate Kerrigan
Publication date: November 1, 2015 by Head of Zeus
eBook; ISBN13:  9781784974879


Grace's life changed with a list. Left in the kitchen by her mother, Eileen, this innocuous 'To Do' list states, below bread, telephone bill and bins: "Tell G I have ovarian cancer, probably terminal."

Brought up in rural Ireland in the 1950s, Eileen's life has been ruled, in order, by the church, her husband and her child. She's had little time to think about herself.

But now time is running out. And Grace is determined to know everything about her mother before it's too late.

THE MIRACLE OF GRACE is a poignant, but ultimately uplifting, novel that reveals a unique relationship between a mother and her daughter.

**Extract from The Miracle of Grace**

I knew the instant I learned I was pregnant, from the moment of his conception, my child’s future was away from me. I had to take my punishment. Keeping the child was not an option; not for respectable girls who understood that it was in the child’s interests to be raised by a good Catholic family. I did not want to give my child away but I had no choice. The ability to measure ‘morality’ against my own right to happiness did not come until it was too late.
I took the train to St Albans on the day I was to hand Michael over. In my purse I had a postal order for six shillings to pay the foster-parents until a permanent home was found for him. I carried a small knitted bag with Michael’s belongings in it. Four white vests, three pairs of nappy pants, five nappies, a romper suit, two pairs of tights, a wooden rattle, a tiny blue rabbit, a dummy and two bottles.
Michael was wearing a brand-new outfit, a two- piece sailor suit with matching hat and mittens which I had bought in British Home Stores. It was a little too big for him but would be good for another few weeks. He was wrapped in a soft wool blanket which one of the girls leaving the house had given to me. As the train clacked past the outskirts of the city, I held my baby in a protective cocoon and thought vaguely of what I might do and where I would go when he was gone. We passed stations with pretty names: Cricklewood, Hendon, Mill Hill – London offered endless places to hide and explore; life here was an adventure waiting to happen, I told myself. Despite that, up until the moment we were separated, I did not fully believe I would have to give Michael away. It didn’t seem real – possible, even. It was as alien to me as the awful fact of pregnancy had been from the joyful reality of Michael when he was born. I was like a child playing on the train tracks, never really believing the train would hit me until it was too late.
I took a taxi to the orphanage, introduced myself at the office, signed the release papers, explained the con- tents of the bag and handed over the postal order without fully taking it in. When the woman smiled and reached out her arms, I did what I had always done when someone in authority asked me for something; I conceded.
As I handed Michael over, I lifted my son’s head to my face and breathed in the sweet scent of him for the last time. This was love, as certain a love as I knew I would ever find. There was nothing grey here, but a bright white certainty; love that came with no price, no duty, no questions. I breathed in on my tears, kissed him a silent goodbye, then breathed out bravely and placed him in the arms of the worker. I held the edge of the blanket for a few seconds, realizing that I wanted to keep it as a memento. When it came loose, the worker looked at me quizzically. I said, ‘Sorry,’ then tucked it back into the crook of the stranger’s arm which now held my son. I did not touch Michael one last time. I loved him so much I was able to give him away. He would be taken into a good family who would give him a good life. I could not keep him because I had nothing to offer him. All I had was a mother’s love. It was hard giving him up, but the past few months had taught me that sometimes life required you to do hard things.
At twenty, I could not possibly have known that it would be the hardest thing I would ever have to do in my life.

**Blog post by the author, Kate Kerrigan**

Falling in love with my mother

I OFTEN joke that if I ever left my husband it would not be for another man, but for my mother. I fell in love with my mother again in my early 30s and we are markedly close.
Through my 30s and 40s my mother has become a companion and friend as well as a supportive and nurturing parent. One of the things that surprises me about our relationship is how coveted it is among my friends. Not just our relationship, but my mother herself.
"I wish my mum was more like your mum,” friends often remark and yet I think this says more about the attitude we have towards our mothers than it does about the woman themselves.
My mother, while she does have exceptional qualities, is not so different from her peers as my friends perceive. It is the fact that I have made an effort to treat her as a woman and not just a mother that has allowed our, in the past, often fraught mother-daughter relationship to flourish into a deep friendship.

Our mothers wore the long flowery skirts and the platform shoes but they left the free-love principles behind. They eschewed contraception AND remained loyal to catholic wedding vows, many stuck it out in unhappy marriages and found they were still primarily cooking and cleaning and minding their children when they thought they would be taking over the world. While society around them partied, the majority of my mother's generation of Irish emigrants spent the '60s and '70s picking rusk crumbs out of their Draylon-covered sofas in the London suburbs, cooking big dinners for tired husbands, feeding babies and taking their daughters to Irish dancing classes in chilly church halls.
Joan Baez was singing on their kitchen transistor about revolution. Erica Jong, The Female Eunuch, Gloria Steinem, free thinking, free love . . . it seemed like everyone was free except them. The revolution was happening on their doorsteps but not in their homes, they could smell the freedom but they couldn't taste it.

She gathered me into her arms and comforted me. I realised then that there was no other human being on earth who would ever love me enough to sympathise with such ugly feelings. And crucially, I realised I still needed her as a mother. I made a conscious decision to let all of the past go and form a new relationship with this person. This woman who had all this love towards me: how would it be if I didn't dismiss her love as a given but took it on afresh? What would happen if, instead of the immature expectation I had always had of this cure-all love, that I simply started to ask for her love, ask for her advice? And crazier still, perhaps even, from time to time, take it on board.

MY generation of women are particularly hard on our mothers. We urge them to be more liberal, more like us. And yet they have witnessed and weathered the almost complete disintegration of their value system whilst still managing to fling their daughters forward into a new era, fuelling us with their dreams as well as their disappointments.
 What I have discovered through my mother and her friends in the past 15 years is that these women, with a tremendous amount to offer, often lack the confidence to achieve their potential. What makes them more hard-done by than the generations before them is that liberation was within their grasp but their arms were not long enough to reach it.

Throughout my teens and right up to the end of my 20s I held my mother responsible for everything that went wrong in my life: my inability to form a satisfactory relationship with a man, my bad teeth/feet/legs and fluctuating weight. The biggest thing I blamed her for was the gap inside me that craves love; the gap we try to fill with drink, or food, or sex or therapy . . . seeking the satisfaction of complete fulfilment which we will never find. The only love that is big enough to fill that gap is surely a mother's love. However it's not until you become a mother yourself that you realise the hard truth which is that no matter how big your love is for your child, ultimately they will have to make it on their own.
My turning point with my mother came when I was 31. I was staying in her house in London. I was unemployed, single and childless and my youngest sister had just become pregnant by her boyfriend. I would like to say I had conflicted feelings, but that would be too kind. I was furious and bitterly, bitterly jealous. My mother came into my room early one morning and found me howling, pounding the wall shouting, "It should have been me!"

 I am happy to report that I have traced the most successful and happy days of my adult life back to the moment I got sense and finally started listening to my mother.


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Recipes for a Perfect Marriage Blog Tour and Review

Recipes for a Perfect Marriage by Kate Kerrigan
Publication date:November 1, 2015 by Head of Zeus
ISBN 13: 9781784974862
Source: Publisher for an honest review


New York food writer Tressa returns from honeymoon worried that she has married her impossibly handsome new husband Dan out of late-thirties panic instead of love.

In 1930’s Ireland, her grandmother, Bernadine, is married off to the local schoolteacher after her family are unable to raise a dowry for her to marry her true love, Michael.

During the first year of her marriage, Tressa distracts herself from her stay-or-go dilemma by working on her grandmother’s recipes, searching for solace and answers through their preparation.

Through the stories of these two women RECIPES FOR A PERFECT MARRIAGE challenges the modern ideal of romantic love as a given and ponders whether true love can really be learned.

My Take:

If you have read my blog much, you will have noticed that I have read and reviewed a few of Kate Kerrigan's other novels and enjoyed them very much. Naturally, I was happy to join the blog tour for two of her newest US releases - Recipes for a Perfect Marriage and The Miracle of Grace.

Recipes for a Perfect Marriage gives the reader the point of view of Tressa in her first year of marriage to Dan interspersed with what turns out to be a journal written by her grandmother which details her marriage and many traditional recipes from Ireland. 

While Tressa is lamenting her own marriage and expressing the desire to have a perfect marriage like her grandparents, the reader is learning that Tressa's grandmother, Bernadine, didn't feel she had a perfect marriage for most of her married life. The irony is wonderful and the love stories are refreshing and brutally honest ---- there is no such thing as perfect marriage -- not in the way they are often portrayed in books and movies. 

As usual, I found Kerrigan's writing to be charming, funny, and insightful. I particularly enjoyed the short quotes at the beginning of new chapters --- they reflect the wisdom learned by Bernadine and they are true. The recipes were so fun to read - there is a little anecdote that goes with  each one. 

 I have to give credit to Kerrigan --- even though I originally didn't think I'd be that interested in the topic of this book, once I read the first page, I was hooked. I have said many times and it still holds true -- I will read anything Kate Kerrigan writes  because she can write about subjects I am not that thrilled about and make them engaging.  I love her sense of humor and her honesty about human weakness and our ability to learn and grow. 

I was completely taken with Bernadine and Tressa and their honest and sometimes not so nice feelings -- I found it refreshing, quite honestly. I would happily recommend Recipes for a Perfect Marriage to anyone who enjoys books about family, Ireland, or just a good, thoughtful and fun read.


**Extract from Recipes for a Perfect Marriage**

The heart of a recipe, what makes it work, is a mystery. Taste is such a personal thing and yet the right recipe can open a person’s mind to a food they thought they didn’t like. Then again, you can put all the right ingredients together, follow the instructions ex- actly, and still have a disaster on your hands.
That’s how it has always been with me and my Grandma Bernadine’s brown bread. I would do exactly as she showed me, but it would always come out a little too crumbly or doughy or hard.
“You’re too fussy,” she’d say. “Put some jam on and just eat it anyway. It’ll be different again tomorrow.”
And it was always different. But it was never right. Like my marriage to Dan.
they say you just know the man you are going to marry. That’s how it’s supposed to work. You date guys, sleep with them, live with them—get through your twenties having fun falling in and out of love. Then one day you meet this man and you just know he is “The One.” He’s different from everyone else you have ever met. You feel happier, more special, more alive when you are with him. So you get married.
For two weeks you are Barbie and Ken. There’s a big show- off wedding at the Plaza, and you wear a white meringue of a dress even though you are over thirty. You spend what should be the down payment for your first home on fourteen days in the Caribbean.
Then, when you get your “Ken” home, you realize he was an impulse buy. You wanted the “married” label so badly that you didn’t think it through, and now he doesn’t look as good as he did under the spangly lights of singledom. He doesn’t fit you properly, either; although you convinced yourself he’d be suitable for every- day use, you now find him uncomfortable and irritating. He has cost you your freedom; he is the most expensive mistake you will ever make. You have been married for less than three months and everything he does and everything he says makes you scream inside: For the rest of my life! I can’t live with this for the rest of my life!
But you don’t say it out loud because you are ashamed of hav- ing made such a terrible, terrible mistake. Even though you de- spise him for the way he clips his toenails in bed, you know it is not grounds for divorce. You know that this silent torture you are living with is entirely your fault for marrying him when you didn’t really love him. Not enough, certainly. Now that you think back on it, did you ever love him at all, or was it all just about you desperately wanting to get married? Because surely love is too strong to allow these petty everyday annoyances to turn it into ha- tred. Love is bigger than that. Love doesn’t make mistakes. Not real love. Not the kind of love that makes you marry someone.
by the seventh week of married life the statistic that one in four marriages ends in divorce cheers you, and you have decided that six months is a respectable amount of time to be seen trying to make it work.
Except that you know you haven’t. Tried, that is. And you can’t help thinking that perhaps you are just part of a generation of women who finds marriage a challenging and difficult state of being.
Or perhaps there is no universal group, no zeitgeist-y cliché to hide behind.

In which case I am just a woman who married the wrong guy and is trying to find a way out.


Monday, November 2, 2015

The Lake House Blog Tour and Review

02_The Lake House
The Lake House by Kate Morton
Publication Date: October 20, 2015 Atria Books Hardcover & eBook; 
512 Pages 
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Book Tours for an honest review

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From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of The Secret Keeper and The Distant Hours, an intricately plotted, spellbinding new novel of heart-stopping suspense and uncovered secrets.

Living on her family’s idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, innocent, and precociously talented sixteen-year-old who loves to write stories. But the mysteries she pens are no match for the one her family is about to endure…

One midsummer’s eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest child, eleven-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace. What follows is a tragedy that tears the family apart in ways they never imagined.

Decades later, Alice is living in London, having enjoyed a long successful career as an author. Theo’s case has never been solved, though Alice still harbors a suspicion as to the culprit. Miles away, Sadie Sparrow, a young detective in the London police force, is staying at her grandfather’s house in Cornwall. While out walking one day, she stumbles upon the old estate—now crumbling and covered with vines, clearly abandoned long ago. Her curiosity is sparked, setting off a series of events that will bring her and Alice together and reveal shocking truths about a past long gone...yet more present than ever.

A lush, atmospheric tale of intertwined destinies, this latest novel from a masterful storyteller is an enthralling, thoroughly satisfying read.

My Take:

As always seems to happen when I read a book by Kate Morton, I was immediately caught up in story from the first page. Morton begins the novel with a flash of something mysterious and vaguely sinister that happens in Cornwall in 1933 and then goes into the part of the story that takes place in the 1930's and seems to be leading up to that event.

The other story line takes place in 2003 - Sadie Sparrow is on leave from the police force because she got emotionally involved in a case and made some decisions that landed her in trouble. While on leave, she stays with her Grandfather in Cornwall and discovers the abandoned home of the Edevanes and becomes intrigued by the house itself and the mystery that surrounds it.

Alice Edevane has grown up to be a successful mystery writer who is still haunted by the events of the past. Sadie pursues the answers to what happened to Theo Edevane all those years ago, so eventually she must meet with Alice. I loved the way these two women related to each other. They are each intelligent, stubborn, inquisitive women and both are great characters.

I enjoyed The Lake House so much - just as I have enjoyed all the Kate Morton books I have read so far. I loved the way Morton interweaves the various characters and their story lines. There are a couple of good mysteries to solve, but the novel is about more than just the mysteries - it also has a lot to say about the aftermath of war and how it can destroy lives and families even after the fighting is finished. The novel also highlights the very different views each person has on the same event and how these limited views can cause rifts, misunderstandings and turmoil. 

I would strongly recommend The Lake House to any reader who enjoys Kate Morton books, historical mysteries, and just lovely atmospheric novels with wonderful characters. The Lake House was a pleasure to read and I think it may be my favorite Kate Morton novel so far.




Kate Morton grew up in the mountains of south-east Queensland and lives now with her husband and young sons in Brisbane. She has degrees in dramatic art and English literature, specializing in nineteenth-century tragedy and contemporary Gothic novels.

Kate Morton has sold over 7.5 million copies in 26 languages, across 38 countries. Her novels include The House at Riverton, The Forgotten Garden, The Distant Hours, and The Secret Keeper.

You can find more information about Kate Morton and her books at or


Monday, October 5
Review at Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, October 6
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Monday, October 12
Review at Book Drunkard

Thursday, October 15
Review at The Eclectic Reader
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective

Tuesday, October 20
Review at Unshelfish
Review at Luxury Reading

Wednesday, October 21
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Monday, October 26
Review at Beth's Book Nook

Tuesday, October 27
Review at Peeking Between the Pages

Wednesday, October 28
Review at The Maiden's Court

Thursday, October 29
Review at Book Nerd

Friday, October 30
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Sunday, November 1
Review at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Monday, November 2
Review at A Book Geek
Review at CelticLady's Reviews

Tuesday, November 3
Review at Bookish
Review at Bookramblings
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, November 4
Review at Broken Teepee
Review at Words and Peace

Thursday, November 5
Review at The Lit Bitch
Review at Kinx's Book Nook

Friday, November 6
Review at A Literary Vacation
Review at Curling Up By the Fire

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