Friday, September 25, 2020

Into the Unbounded Night- Blog Tour and Review

 

Into the Unbounded Night by Mitchell James Kaplan

Publication Date: September 1, 2020
Regal House Publishing
Paperback & eBook; 231 Pages
Genre: Literary/Historical

When her village in Albion is sacked by the Roman general Vespasian, young Aislin is left without home and family. Determined to exact revenge, she travels to Rome, a sprawling city of wealth, decadence, and power. A “barbarian” in a “civilized” world, Aislin struggles to comprehend Roman ways. From a precarious hand-to-mouth existence on the streets, she becomes the mistress of a wealthy senator, but their child Faolan is born with a disability that renders him unworthy of life in the eyes of his father and other Romans. 

Imprisoned for her efforts to topple the Roman regime, Aislin learns of an alternate philosophy from her cellmate, the Judean known today as the Apostle St. Paul. As the capital burns in the Great Fire of 64 AD, he bequeaths to her a mission that will take her to Jerusalem. There, Yohanan, son of Zakkai, has been striving to preserve the tradition of Hillel against the Zealots who advocate for a war of independence. Responding to the Judeans’ revolt, the Romans—again under the leadership of Vespasian—besiege Jerusalem, destroying the Second Temple and with it, the brand of Judean monotheism it represents. Yohanan takes on the mission of preserving what can be preserved, and of re-inventing what must be reinvented. 

Throughout Into the Unbounded Night, Aislin’s, Faolan’s, Vespasian’s, and Yohanan’s lives intertwine in unexpected ways that shed light on colonization and its discontents, the relative values of dominant and tyrannized cultures, and the holiness of life itself—even the weakest of lives.

Regal House Publishing | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound

Praise for Into the Unbounded Night

“In Into the Unbounded Night, Mitchell Kaplan offers a rich rendering of war and humanity in first century Rome — of tradition and loss, and the transformative power of healing and collective memory to find one’s way home.” – Nichole Bernier, Boston Globe Bestselling author of The Unfinished Work Of Elizabeth D

“Mitchell James Kaplan is the gloriously talented writer of this dramatic, intense story of conflicting emperors, slaves, priests and exiles in a first century world whose roots and traditions are increasingly torn apart by the brutal rule of Rome. Men and women search for belief and reason, out of which will emerge a new Judaism after the destruction of Jerusalem’s Temple as well as the early beginnings of Christianity. A writer of enormous scope, compassion and poetry, Kaplan has written several of the most compelling characters you will meet in the pages of a book. Into the Unbounded Night sweeps over you like a succession of huge waves. It is truly a major novel.” – Stephanie Cowell, American Book Award recipient, author of Claude And Camille: A Novel Of Monet

“Kaplan’s prose is so rich and agile I felt I was breathing the air of these ancient places, and his evocation of character is no less palpable. Fully embodied and driven by ambition, grief, the clear-eyed desire for truth, and fierce maternal love, these characters plunge, march, and stumble toward their fascinating and entangled destinies.” – Marisa de los Santos, New York Times bestselling novelist of I’ll Be Your Blue Sky and award-winning poet

“I’m a big fan of historical fiction when it’s as good as Mitchell Kaplan’s Into the Unbounded Night. Vividly imagined, Into the Unbounded Night pulls the reader along with beautiful prose, strong characters and a wonderfully realized story.” – Heidi W. Durrow, New York Times best-selling author of The Girl Who Fell From The Sky, winner of the PEN/Bellwether Prize

“A beautiful, informative book. It was gripping throughout, the research never overwhelms the story, but is always part of it. [The] writing is lyrical and evocative of time and place. All the characters are real and interesting. Loved it!” – Martin Fletcher, National Jewish Book Award winner, author of Promised Land

“From the mystical lore of Albion to the Roman siege and destruction of Jerusalem, Kaplan’s meticulous research and evocative writing meld seamlessly to create a vivid, textured, and richly imagined story.” —Beth Hoffman, New York Times and International bestselling author of Saving Ceecee Honeycutt and Looking for Me

“Set in Rome and Judea after the crucifixion of Jesus, Mitchell James Kaplan’s finely crafted and intense second novel delves into the minds and hearts of truly captivating characters. An excellent read.” – Eva Stachniak, winner of the Canadian First Novel Award, author of The Chosen Maiden

“Sensually provocative, verbally sharp and critically witted, Mitchell James Kaplan’s Into the Unbounded Night brings to life the tumultuous birth of Judeo-Christian monotheism in this intimately woven narrative brimming with righteous and riotous characters striving for survival and transcendence across the ravished landscapes of Judea, the Roman Empire, and Britannia.” – Jessica Maria Tuccelli, an Okra Pick winner of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance for her debut novel, Glow


“Kaplan weaves an intricate literary tapestry to create a poetic exploration of early Judeo-Christian and Roman history. He builds a diverse yet connected cast of characters whose encounters inspire timeless self-examination and advance the course of history. An engrossing work not easily forgotten.” – Therese Walsh, critically acclaimed author of The Last Will Of Moira Leahy and The Moon Sisters, founder of the literary blog, Writer Unboxed



My Take:

I wasn't sure what to expect from Into the Unbounded Night, but I love ancient history and when I was homeschooling my kids we spent quite a lot of time on Ancient Rome, so I was interested to see how the story was handled. Honestly, I was not expecting the novel to be so poetic! I was happily surprised. 

The novel begins with Aislin as a young girl in Albion - or Britannia.  She and her people have a brief time of peace before an army unlike any they have encountered before utterly destroys their homes and their lives. Aislin is taken and abused by the military leader of the Roman force, Titus Flavius Vespasianus - or Vespasian. While this is happening to her, her entire village is being destroyed. This event sets the course for the rest of the novel. 

The novel sets out as a revenge quest, but it is also a really thoughtful examination of the different sects of the Judaean monotheism of Jerusalem at the time. It also gives time and thought to Saul of Tarsus and his vision of what would become Christianity. 

There is an obvious villain in Vespasian, but there are other characters that are complicated and some try to redeem themselves while others not so much. I really enjoyed the compexity of the characters and the contrast between those who work to be better and hold themselves and their people accountable and those who sucumbed to the tyranny and debauchery that prevailed in Rome at the time. 

Aislin ends up in Rome and then Jerusalem - she encounters great good and utter evil along the way. The novel goes from one character point of view to another as the characters move in and out of each others' lives. There is a poetic, inevitableness to the way the story weaves itself through their lives. 

I really enjoyed all the history throughout the novel. But it never detracts from the story, in fact, I found it helpful to have a point of reference as I was reading. 

I found the ending chapters to be particularly moving and almost hopeful, accepting and at peace. I would encourage anyone interested in ancient hisotry, Rome, Jerusalem,  and beautiful ficiton to read Into the Unbounded Night.



 
 

About the Author

Mitchell James Kaplan graduated with honors from Yale University, where he won the Paine Memorial Prize for Best Long-Form Senior Essay submitted to the English Department. His first mentor was the author William Styron.
After college, Kaplan lived in Paris, France, where he worked as a translator, then in Southern California, where he worked as a screenwriter and in film production.
He lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with his family and two cats.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 31

Wednesday, September 2
Review at Books and Zebras

Friday, September 4 

Saturday, September 5 
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Monday, September 7 

Tuesday, September 8 
Interview at Novels Alive
Feature at I'm Into Books 

Wednesday, September 9 
Review at YA, It's Lit

Thursday, September 10

Friday, September 11 
Feature at Pursuing Stacie

Monday, September 14
Interview at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, September 16
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews 

Thursday, September 17 

Friday, September 18 
Guest Post at Book Bustle 

Monday, September 21 
Interview at Books & Benches

Tuesday, September 22 
Feature at Coffee and Ink

Wednesday, September 23 
Guest Post at The Intrepid Reader 

Friday, September 25 
Review at A Book Geek

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away 2 copies of Into the Unbounded Night! To enter, please use the Gleam form below. The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on September 25th.

 You must be 18 or older to enter.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Marie Antoinette's World: Intrigue, Infidelity, and Adultery in Versailles - Blog Tour and Review

Marie Antoinette's World

Will BASHOR

on tour July 20-August 14 with    

Marie Antoinette’s World: Intrigue, Infidelity, And Adultery In Versailles

[history/biographical nonfiction]
Release date: June 15, 2020
Postponed due to Covid-19: July 30, 2020 at Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Hardcover and ebook, 320 pages

SYNOPSIS

This riveting book explores the little-known intimate life of Marie Antoinette and her milieu in a world filled with intrigue, infidelity, adultery, and sexually transmitted diseases. Will Bashor reveals the intrigue and debauchery of the Bourbon kings from Louis XIII to Louis XV, which were closely intertwined with the expansion of Versailles from a simple hunting lodge to a luxurious and intricately ordered palace. It soon became a retreat for scandalous conspiracies and rendezvous—all hidden from the public eye.

When Marie Antoinette arrived, she was quickly drawn into a true viper’s nest, encouraged by her imprudent entourage. Bashor shows that her often thoughtless, fantasy-driven, and notorious antics were inevitable given her family history and the alluring influences that surrounded her. Marie Antoinette’s frivolous and flamboyant lifestyle prompted a torrent of scathing pamphlets, and Bashor scrutinizes the queen’s world to discover what was false, what was possible, and what, although shocking, was most probably true.

Readers will be fascinated by this glimpse behind the decorative screens to learn the secret language of the queen’s fan and explore the dark passageways and staircases of endless intrigue at Versailles.


My Take:

I haven't read Will Bashor's other books about Marie Antoinette, but I have a lifelong interest in French history and Versailles in particular. Marie Antoinette's World starts with a history of Versailles and how it was used by the kings through the years. That was actually very interesting and it sets up how the atmosphere of the Palace of Versailles influences everyone who lives there.

The book is organized chronologically. This works well to demonstrate the evolution of the palace, its uses, and its perception by the population. The palace often seems to have been a place to indulge in and hide certain kinds of behavior. I found this to be the most interesting aspect of the book.

As stated in the Introduction of the book, this is not an unbiased look at Marie Antoinette and I found this very disconcerting. I found some of the sources used to create a picture of who Marie Antoinette was as a person to be questionable - I didn't find the handwriting analysis or astrological charts to be relevant or compelling.

The chapter on the pamphlets published about Marie Antoinette was quite interesting. The chapter examines in detail some of the pamphlets and gives a pretty clear picture of how women who don't behave according to certain standards are maligned by men. As a "foreigner", Marie Antoinette was always something of a target for certain factions. But it was interesting that as Marie Antoinette grew up and became more interested in politics and policy and began using her influence and power, she became a much larger target and the attacks became much more personal. There is a lot to unpack in this book and the reader will have a lot to consider. I found myself pondering over how little progress society has made regarding women with power. It seems that they are still threatening to many and we have a long ways to go in that regard.

While I didn't like the biased nature of the book, I did find much of it very interesting and worthwhile to read. There are lots of notes and sources which is always useful.  I feel that any reader who is interested in French history, the French Revolution, and Marie Antoinette in particular, will find Marie Antoinette's World to be a good addition to their reading and library.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Bashor pictureWill Bashor is the author of the award-winning Marie Antoinette’s Head: The Royal Hairdresser, the Queen, and the Revolution and Marie Antoinette’s Darkest Days: Prisoner No. 280 in the Conciergerie. He holds a doctorate in international studies from the American Graduate School in Paris and is professor of global issues at Franklin University. He lives in Barcelona, Spain.

Visit his website, or connect with him here:
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Friday, December 27, 2019

The Viking's Captive - Spotlight

The Viking's Captive by Ingrid Hahn

Publication Date: December 9, 2019
Entangled Publishing, LLC
ebook; 371 pages
Genre: Historical Romance



Thorvald Longsword can’t believe all he has to do is kidnap the daughter of his jarl’s enemy to get his land back. Easy. But when he finally snatches the princess up and tosses her over his shoulder, the beautiful spitfire makes him question his determination to get his land back at any cost.

Alodie gladly agrees to impersonate the princess so the bloodthirsty Northmen will take her instead. While Alodie might be ready to die for her people, she wasn’t prepared for how her pulse races for the maddeningly noble captor whom she’d just as soon hate.

But what happens when Thorvald finds out she’s not who she says she is...

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

About the Author

Ingrid Hahn is a failed administrative assistant with a B.A. in Art History. Her love of reading has turned her mortgage payment into a book storage fee, which makes her the friend who you never want to ask you for help moving. Though originally from Seattle, she now lives in the metropolitan DC area with her ship-nerd husband, small son, and four opinionated cats. When she’s not reading or writing, she loves knitting, theater, nature walks, travel, history, and is a hopelessly devoted fan of Jane Austen.

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, December 18
Review at Historical Romance Lover

Thursday, December 19
Review at Gwendalyn's Books
Excerpt at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Friday, December 20
Excerpt at I'm All About Books
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews

Saturday, December 21
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Sunday, December 22
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Monday, December 23
Feature at YA, It's Lit

Tuesday, December 24
Review at Liberty's Literary Loves

Thursday, December 26
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Friday, December 27
Feature at A Book Geek
Review & Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

Monday, December 30
Review at Amy's Booket List

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on December 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
 – The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen. The Viking's Captive

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Entertaining Mr. Pepys - review and giveaway

Entertaining Mr. Pepys by Deborah Swift

Publication Date: September 12, 2019
Hachette Book Group
eBook. Paperback, Audiobook; 400 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction



London 1666 Elizabeth 'Bird' Carpenter has a wonderful singing voice, and music is her chief passion. When her father persuades her to marry horse-dealer Christopher Knepp, she suspects she is marrying beneath her station, but nothing prepares her for the reality of life with Knepp. Her father has betrayed her trust, for Knepp cares only for his horses; he is a tyrant and a bully, and will allow Bird no life of her own.

When Knepp goes away, she grasps her chance and, encouraged by her maidservant Livvy, makes a secret visit to the theatre. Entranced by the music, the glitter and glamour of the surroundings, and the free and outspoken manner of the women on the stage, she falls in love with the theatre and is determined to forge a path of her own as an actress.

But life in the theatre was never going to be straightforward - for a jealous rival wants to spoil her plans, and worse, Knepp forbids it, and Bird must use all her wit and intelligence to change his mind. 

Based on events depicted in the famous Diary of Samuel Pepys, Entertaining Mr Pepys brings London in the 17th Century to life. It includes the vibrant characters of the day such as the diarist himself and actress Nell Gwynne, and features a dazzling and gripping finale during the Great Fire Of London.

The third in Deborah Swift's atmospheric trilogy, bringing to life the women in Pepys' Diary. Each novel features a different character and can be read as a stand-alone book.

'A remarkably beguiling read. It transported me to the glitter and filth of seventeenth century London' - Martine Bailey, author of The Almanack

'The fusion of historical facts and fiction is so flawless that it is hard to know where reality ends and fiction begins' - Readers Favourite Review

Amazon | Book Depository

Praise for the Pepys Trilogy

'Swift is a consummate historical novelist, basing her books on immaculate research and then filling the gaps between real events and real people with eloquent storytelling, atmospheric scene setting and imaginative plot lines' - The Visitor

'A novel that transports readers with astonishing and engrossing detail' - Readers Favorite 5*

'Pepys and his world spring to vibrant life… Gripping, revealing and stunningly imagined' -Lancashire Evening Post

My Take:

Entertaining Mr. Pepys is the third book in Deborah Swift's trilogy telling the stories of the lives of women that appear in Samuel Pepys's famous diary. The novel also works as a stand alone. I haven't read the other two books and I was still able to thoroughly enjoy the novel.

Elizabeth "Bird" Carpenter is the main focus of Entertaining Mr. Pepys. When the novel begins, she is a young woman with a beautiful singing voice about to be married off so that her father and his new much-younger-wife can be alone to enjoy their new marriage. While Bird has ideas about what her husband should be like, her father is much more interested in getting her out of his house and make her someone else's responsibility. Sadly, her new husband, Mr. Knepp, married her simply to be his servant and to give him children. She must adjust to a life of hard work, scrambling to feed the yard hands on a pittance and avoiding her abusive husband.

Eventually Bird will be introduced to the theater by Livvy, her new friend and servant to her husband. Livvy introduces her to some of the women performing in the theater and Bird is stricken by a strong desire to sing and perform on stage. It is through her performances that she encounters Mr. Pepys. 

Swift does a wonderful job of bringing the time period to life. I really appreciated how she brings the details of working-class life into the story. It helps the reader appreciate the vast differences of a woman's life today and during the 1600's. Swift also examines the issues of slavery as it was viewed at the time. The novel manages to explain the various conflicts that were causing tensions in England as well as the religious politics that play a large role in the era.

Entertaining Mr. Pepys is mostly about Bird and a few other women - Mr. Pepys himself is not a main focus. I really liked that Swift uses Pepys's diary as a jumping off point to imagine what Elizabeth Carpenter Knepp's life might have been like. I found the novel to be beautifully imagined with a cast of interesting and (mostly) likable characters. Mr. Knepp is not a sympathetic character for most of the novel, but Swift manages to allow even him to grow by the end.

Another character that is hard to like at first is an actor named Stefan. He had built his life in the theater playing women - before the change that allowed women to act on stage. Stefan isn't suited to playing the leading male roles and takes his frustrations out on Bird. However, as the reader learns more about his life, his motivations, and his secrets, he slowly becomes at least a person that can be sympathized with. He is allowed to grow as a person and has some interesting adventures.

There is something for everyone in this entertaining novel - from history buffs to theater lovers. Entertaining Mr. Pepys is definitely a book that I can recommend. I loved all the history - especially the amazing imagery of the Great Fire of 1666. I really enjoyed Entertaining Mr. Pepys and I look forward to reading the other books in the trilogy.


About the Author

Deborah Swift is the author of three previous historical novels for adults, The Lady’s Slipper, The Gilded Lily, and A Divided Inheritance, all published by Macmillan/St Martin’s Press, as well as the Highway Trilogy for teens (and anyone young at heart!). Her first novel was shortlisted for the Impress prize for new novelists. 

She lives on the edge of the beautiful and literary English Lake District – a place made famous by the poets Wordsworth and Coleridge.

For more information, please visit Deborah Swift’s website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday, November 21
Excerpt at The Lit Bitch
Review at Reading the Past

Friday, November 22
Review at Gwendalyn's Books
Guest Post at The Writing Desk

Monday, November 25
Review & Excerpt at Book Reviews from Canada

Tuesday, November 26
Review at A Book Geek

Wednesday, November 27
Guest Post at Short Book and Scribes

Thursday, November 28
Feature at To Read, Or Not to Read

Friday, November 29
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books
Guest Post at What Is That Book About

Monday, December 2
Review at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, December 3
Excerpt at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, December 4
Interview at Passages to the Past

Friday, December 6
Excerpt at Donna's Book Blog

Monday, December 9
Review at Red Headed Book Lady

Tuesday, December 10
Excerpt at Words and Peace

Wednesday, December 11
Review at Hopewell's Public Library of Life

 Thursday, December 12
Feature at Coffee and Ink

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a signed copy of Entertaining Mr. Pepys! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on December 12th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen. Entertaining Mr. Pepys




Friday, November 8, 2019

Distant Signs by Anne Richter - Blog Tour

Distant Signs by Anne Richter

Publication Date: November 7, 2019
Neem Tree Press
Hardcover; 240 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance/Saga


Distant Signs is an intimate portrait of two families spanning three generations amidst turbulent political change, behind and beyond the Berlin Wall. In 1960s East Germany, Margret, a professor's daughter from the city, meets and marries Hans, from a small village in Thuringia. The couple struggle to contend with their different backgrounds, and the emotional scars they bear from childhood in the aftermath of war. As East German history gradually unravels, with collision of the personal and political, their two families' hidden truths are quietly revealed. An exquisitely written novel with strongly etched characters that stay with you long after the book is finished and an authentic portrayal of family life behind the iron curtain based on personal experience of the author who is East German and was 16 years old at the fall of the Berlin Wall. Why do families repeat destructive patterns of behaviour across generations? Should the personal take precedence over the political? Can we rise above our histories and political identities to forge a new understanding of the past and to welcome change?

Available on Amazon

My Take: 

Distant Signs tells the story of two families over three generations. There is so much that really impressed me about the book. The time span covered in the book is really important - I feel that most Americans are not very familiar with what Germany was like during these years after WWII and before the Berlin Wall came down. 

While the novel does provide some very useful information about the various institutions of government, education, etc., I felt the insight into the generational differences was even more interesting. The author manages to show the reader a bit more about each character as the book progresses. I feel Richter does a great job of bringing to life the experiences of each generation and really demonstrates the reasons for their beliefs and world views. One doesn't have to agree with a particular worldview to empathize with the person. This is demonstrated throughout the novel. The examination of the families and the way they hurt each other, try to fix their errors, pull away from each other and try to heal and pull together felt really authentic and resonated. 

 I have a hard time finding the words to describe the book, but I feel strongly about it. It really made an impression on me. At times it is heartbreaking, at others it is hopeful and filled with love, but Distant Signs is a beautifully written novel that will stick with the reader long after closing it.

About the Author

Anne Richter was born in 1973 in Jena, in the former German Democratic Republic. Her degree in Romance languages and English included study periods in England, Italy and France. In 2011, Anne was nominated for the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize, a highly regarded German-language literary award. Her debut novel, Distant Signs, was published in Germany in 2013. Anne is currently writing her second novel.

Douglas Irving is Scottish. He studied German and Spanish at Aberdeen University. In 2014 he completed a Masters in Translation at Glasgow University. His first translation, Crossing: A Love Story by Anna Seghers was published in 2016 in the US to positive reviews. His translation of Anna Seghers’ last work published in her lifetime, Three Women from Haiti, is set to follow.

Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday, November 7
Review at Broken Teepee
Review at Comet Readings

Friday, November 8
Review at A Book Geek

Sunday, November 10
Excerpt at A Darn Good Read

Tuesday, November 12
Review at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Wednesday, November 13
Excerpt at To Read, Or Not to Read

Thursday, November 14
Feature at Lost_in_a_book_reviewer

Friday, November 15
Review at Red Headed Book Lady

Monday, November 18
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Tuesday, November 19
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Wednesday, November 20
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Thursday, November 21
Review at Peaceful Pastime

Friday, November 22
Feature at What Is That Book About

Saturday, November 23
Review at Impressions In Ink

Monday, November 25
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Tuesday, November 26
Excerpt at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, November 27
Feature at Just One More Chapter

Friday, November 29
Feature at Coffee and Ink

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a copy of A Distant Signs by Anne Richter! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules
- Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on November 29th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
- Paperback giveaway is open internationally.
- Only one entry per household.
- All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
- The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen. Distant Signs







Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The Highlander's Christmas Bride - Blog Tour Feature

The Highlander's Christmas Bride by Vanessa Kelly

Publication Date: October 29, 2019
Zebra Books
eBook & Paperback; 432 Pages
Series: Clan Kendrick, Book #2
Genre: Historical Romance/Scottish



In bestselling author Vanessa Kelly’s irresistible Clan Kendrick series, Christmas in the Highlands means family, celebration—and for one brother, the beginning of a passionate adventure . . .

Being thrown over by the man she expected to marry was humiliating enough. Now that Donella Haddon, grandniece of the Earl of Riddick, has also proven a failure as a nun, she has no choice but to return to her family’s estate. The brawny Highlander sent to escort her is brash, handsome, and the only thing standing between Donella and a gang of would-be kidnappers. But the scandal in her past can’t be so easily outrun . . .

Wealthy widower Logan Kendrick was expecting to meet a plain, pious spinster—not a gorgeous, sharp-tongued lass who can hold her own in any ambush. Though she’s known as the Flower of Clan Graham, Donella is no shrinking violet. In fact, she might be the perfect woman to bring happiness back to his lonely little son’s life, just in time for Christmas. But first he must protect her from ugly gossip and a mysterious threat—and convince her that their wild, unexpected desire is heaven sent.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

About the Author

Vanessa Kelly is a USA Today Bestselling, award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.” Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated in a number of contests, and she has won multiple awards, including the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance. Her books have been published in nine languages.

Vanessa’s latest book, The Highlander Who Protected Me, was a USA Today, Barnes & Noble, and BookScan bestseller. Her Renegade Royals Series was a national bestseller, as was The Improper Princesses Series. My Fair Princess was named a Goodreads Romance of the Month and is a USA Today and BookScan bestseller. The Highlander’s Princess Bride, book 3 in the series, was a Barnes and Noble top 50 bestseller. 

When she’s not dreaming of plots for her next Regency novel, Vanessa is writing USA Today Bestselling books with her husband, under the pen name of V.K. Sykes.

You can find Vanessa at vanessakellyauthor.com or at vksykes.com. For all of Vanessa's latest news and contests--and to receive a free story--please sign up for her newsletter on her website.

Clan Kendrick Facebook Group | Facebook Author Page | Pinterest | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, October 29
Review at Coffee and Ink

Wednesday, October 30
Feature at A Book Geek
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Thursday, October 31
Review at Amy's Booket List

Friday, November 1
Review at Gwendalyn's Books
Excerpt at Donna's Book Blog
Review at View from the Birdhouse

Saturday, November 2
Review at Fictitiouswonderland

Monday, November 4
Review at Nursebookie
Review at A Bookish Affair

Tuesday, November 5
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Wednesday, November 6
Review at Bookish Rantings
Interview at Jathan & Heather

Thursday, November 7
Review at Unabridged Chick
Guest Post at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Friday, November 8
Excerpt at Maiden of the Pages
Review at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Monday, November 11
Review at Jessica Belmont
Review at Stephanie's Novel Fiction
Guest Post at What Is That Book About

Tuesday, November 12
Excerpt at The Lit Bitch
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away signed copies of THE HIGHLANDER’S PRINCESS BRIDE and THE HIGHLANDER WHO PROTECTED ME + a $20 Amazon gift card! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on November 12th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.
  The Highlander's Christmas Bride

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Dreamland by Nancy Bilyeau - Cover Reveal

Dreamland by Nancy Bilyeau

Publication Date: January 16, 2020
Endeavor Quill
Genre: Historical Fiction
 

The year is 1911 when twenty-year-old heiress Peggy Batternberg is invited to spend the summer in America’s Playground.

But the invitation to Coney Island is unwelcome. Despite hailing from one of America’s richest families, Peggy would much rather spend the summer at the Moonrise Bookstore where she works voluntarily, than keeping up appearances with Brooklyn socialites and her snobbish, controlling family. 

But soon it transpires that the hedonism of Coney Island affords Peggy more of the freedom she has been longing for. For one, she finds herself in love with a troubled pier-side artist of humble means, whom the Batternberg patriarchs would surely disapprove of. 

Disapprove they may, but hidden behind their pomposity lurks a web of deceit, betrayal and deadly secrets. And as bodies begin to mount up amidst the sweltering clamour of Coney Island, it seems the powerful Batternbergs can get away with anything…even murder.s 

It is up to Peggy to overcome the oppression of her family and clear the name of her vulnerable lover, before she or her beloved sister become the next victims of Dreamland. 

Extravagant, intoxicating and thumping with suspense, bestselling Nancy Bilyeau’s magnificent Dreamland is a story of corruption, class and dangerous obsession.

About the Author


"Dreamland" is Nancy Bilyeau's fifth novel of historical suspense. She is the author of the best-selling historical thriller “The Blue” and the Tudor mystery series “The Crown,” “The Chalice,” and “The Tapestry,” on sale in nine countries. 

Nancy is a magazine editor who has lived in the United States and Canada. She studied History and English Literature at the University of Michigan. After moving to New York City, she worked on the staffs of “InStyle,” “Good Housekeeping,” and “Rolling Stone.” She is currently the deputy editor of the Center on Media, Crime and Justice at the Research Foundation of CUNY and a regular contributing writer to “Town & Country" and "Mystery Scene Magazine." 

Nancy’s mind is always in past centuries but she currently lives with her husband and two children in Forest Hills in the borough of Queens. "Dreamland" is her first novel set in her adopted hometown of New York City.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | BookBub

Cover Reveal Schedule

Monday, August 19

Tuesday, August 20 

Wednesday, August 21 

Thursday, August 22

 Friday, August 23

Saturday, August 24

Sunday, August 25 

Monday, August 26 

Monday, August 12, 2019

The Fire of Winter Blog Tour and Giveaway

The Fire of Winter by D.K. Marley

Publication Date: June 1, 2019
eBook; 355 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction



She is known as Lady Macbeth.
What leads her down the path of murder? 
What secrets fire her destiny? 

Gruah, granddaughter of King Cìnéad III of the Royal Clan Alpin, marries two men in less than six months, one she loves and one she hates; one in secret, the other arranged by the High King of Scotland. At the age of eighteen, she lays her palm upon the ancient stone of Scone and sees her destiny as Queen of Scotland, and she vows to do whatever necessary to see her true love, Macbeth macFindlaech, beside her on the throne.

Amid the fiery times and heated onslaughts from Denmark and England, as the rule of Scotland hangs in the balance, Gruah seeks to win the throne and bring revenge upon the monsters of her childhood, no matter the cost or amount of blood tainting her own hands; yet, an unexpected meeting with the King called the Confessor causes her to question her bloody path and doubt her once blazing pagan faith. Will she find redemption or has the blood of her past fire-branded her soul?

The story weaves the play by William Shakespeare with the actual history of Macbeth and his Queen in 11th-century Scotland.

“...a woman's story at a winter's fire...” (Macbeth, Act III, Scene IV)

“This beautifully written reworking of the Macbeth tale told from Lady Macbeth’s point-of-view flows from the page and you quickly become immersed in the politics and intrigues of feudal Scotland as she fights for her rightful place and her true love! A mesmerizing read that grips from start to finish and Gruah is now one of my all-time favorite literary crushes. “ - Iain Leonard, ARC Reviewer

“Brilliantly conceived and beautifully written, The Fire of Winter is a tale not to be missed by lovers of Shakespeare, lovers of history, or lovers of the written word.” - Riana Everly, Author of Teaching Eliza and Through a Different Lens

Amazon | IndieBound



My Take:

The Fire of Winter was quite a surprising treat to read! I love Shakespeare and usually jump at the opportunity to read an author's take on a Shakespeare play - especially when it is told from the woman's point of view. I was very impressed with how the author was able to bring Gruah to life and make her a very complicated, interesting, conflicted and thoroughly intriguing person.

I was totally drawn into her life - there is tragedy, violence, ambition, passion and enough revenge to satisfy most any reader. Eleventh century Scotland was still making a transition from the Celtic faith to Christianity and it wasn't a smooth, peaceful transition. The transition plays a part in the novel and helps to explain Gruah's beliefs and some of her justifications for some of her actions.

The Fire of Winter stays pretty true to Shakespeare's Macbeth with the added bonus of getting to explain some of the things that always made me wonder about the play. For example, who the "witches" are, why they do what they do, what the motivating factors are for Gruah's actions -- why does she urge Macbeth to kill the king? All of these and more are explained in very clever ways that tell a dark and complex tale about Gruah, her history, her family and helps explain the complicated relationship between the aristocracy of Scotland at the time.

Gruah is not an easy character to like, but she is definitely interesting and deserves to have her story told - even if it is completely fictionalized. Hers is definitely a story that sticks with the reader and Gruah is a memorable character. The Fire of Winter was a fun and clever book and I would happily recommend it to anyone who enjoys Shakespeare, historical fiction, women's history, and dark revenge tales. 



About the Author

D. K. Marley is a historical fiction writer specializing in Shakespearean themes. Her grandmother, an English Literature teacher, gave her a volume of Shakespeare's plays when she was eleven, inspiring DK to delve further into the rich Elizabethan language. Eleven years ago she began the research leading to the publication of her first novel "Blood and Ink," an epic tale of lost dreams, spurned love, jealousy and deception in Tudor England as the two men, William Shakespeare and Kit Marlowe, fight for one name and the famous works now known as the Shakespeare Folio. She is an avid Shakespearean / Marlowan, a member of the Marlowe Society, the Shakespeare Fellowship and a signer of the Declaration of Intent for the Shakespeare Authorship Debate. She has traveled to England three times for intensive research and debate workshops and is a graduate of the intense training workshop "The Writer's Retreat Workshop" founded by Gary Provost and hosted by Jason Sitzes. She lives in Georgia with her husband and a Scottish Terriers named Maggie and Buster.

For more information, please visit D.K. Marley's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, July 22
Review & Guest Post at Gwendalyn's Books

Tuesday, July 23
Review at Amy's Booket List

Wednesday, July 24
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Friday, July 26
Feature at Words and Peace

Monday, July 29
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Tuesday, July 30
Excerpt at The Order of the White Boar

Thursday, August 1
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Friday, August 2
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Monday, August 5
Review at Jorie Loves A Story

Tuesday, August 6
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective

Thursday, August 8
Review at Coffee and Ink
Review at Faery Tales Are Real

Saturday, August 10
Interview at Jorie Loves A Story

Monday, August 12
Review at A Book Geek

Tuesday, August 13
Guest Post at History From a Woman's Perspective

Wednesday, August 14
Feature at Just One More Chapter

Friday, August 16
Review at Impressions in Ink
Review at Book Reviews from Canada

Monday, August 19
Excerpt at Broken Teepee
Review at Passages to the Past

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away copies of The Fire of Winter + a surprise gift to three lucky winners! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on August 19th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

  The Fire of Winter




Friday, August 2, 2019

A Conspiracy of Wolves - Review and Giveaway

A Conspiracy of Wolves by Candace Robb

Publication Date: August 1, 2019
Severn House/Crème de la Crime
Hardcover & eBook; 256 Pages
Series: Owen Archer, Book 11
Genre: Historical Mystery



When a prominent citizen is murdered, former Captain of the Guard Owen Archer is persuaded out of retirement to investigate in this gripping medieval mystery.

1374. When a member of one of York’s most prominent families is found dead in the woods, his throat torn out, rumours spread like wildfire that wolves are running loose throughout the city. Persuaded to investigate by the victim’s father, Owen Archer is convinced that a human killer is responsible. But before he can gather sufficient evidence to prove his case, a second body is discovered, stabbed to death. Is there a connection? What secrets are contained within the victim’s household? And what does apprentice healer Alisoun know that she’s not telling?

Teaming up with Geoffrey Chaucer, who is in York on a secret mission on behalf of Prince Edward, Owen’s enquiries will draw him headlong into a deadly conspiracy.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound


My Take:


A Conspiracy of Wolves is the eleventh novel in the Owen Archer series. But don’t worry if this is your first introduction to Owen Archer – the novel can easily be read as a standalone. Candace Robb is a master storyteller and she truly understands the time period. Any needed back story is provided within the novel as well as plenty of historical references for those of us who are history nerds and need to know exactly when in time the story takes place and who the important historical players would have been.

While the mystery regarding the violent and confusing deaths is the main element of the novel – the rumors of wolves running wild and killing people despite the evidence of murder, a new Archbishop of York brings some challenging political changes that Archer must deal with, conflicting loyalties, other characters keeping secrets – all work to make the story complex and infinitely fun to read.

I was completely drawn into the challenges that Owen Archer and his oftentimes annoying friend Geoffrey Chaucer face in trying to figure out exactly what is going on. There are so many wonderful characters in the novel besides Archer and Chaucer. I found them engaging and very real.

Usually when I read mysteries, I am really focused on trying to figure out who the murderer is and solving the crime. But while reading A Conspiracy of Wolves, I found myself more involved with the characters and their lives and problems. I was so pleased at how real the story felt – from the details of everyday activities to the historical accuracy.

A Conspiracy of Wolves was a real treat to read and I am embarrassed to admit that this is the first Owen Archer novel I have read – but it won’t be the last! I immediately ran to the library to check out the first two books in the series. I would wholeheartedly recommend A Conspiracy of Wolves to anyone who enjoys historical fiction and/or mysteries.






About the Author

I’m Candace Robb, a writer/historian engaged in creating fiction about the late middle ages with a large cast of characters with whom I enjoy spending my days. Two series, the Owen Archer mysteries and the Kate Clifford mysteries, are set in late medieval York. The Margaret Kerr trilogy is set in early 14th century Scotland, at the beginning of the Wars of Independence. Two standalone novels (published under pseudonym Emma Campion) expand on the lives of two women in the court of King Edward III who have fascinated me ever since I first encountered them in history and fiction.

I am a dreamer. Writing, gardening, walking, dancing, reading, being with friends—there’s always a dreaming element.

Website | Facebook | Twitter  | BookBub

Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday, August 1
Review at Book Frolic
Excerpt at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Friday, August 2
Review at A Book Geek

Saturday, August 3
Feature at The Writing Desk

Monday, August 5
Feature at Book Addict Rambles

Tuesday, August 6
Excerpt at Broken Teepee
Review at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Wednesday, August 7
Interview at Bookish Rantings

Thursday, August 8
Guest Post at Reading the Past
Review at Hoover Book Reviews

Friday, August 9
Feature at I'm All About Books
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Saturday, August 10
Feature at Clarissa Reads it All

Sunday, August 11
Excerpt at A Darn Good Read

Monday, August 12
Excerpt at Just One More Chapter
Review & Interview at Gwendalyn's Books

Tuesday, August 13
Review at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, August 14
Guest Post at Words and Peace
Excerpt at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Thursday, August 15
Review at Coffee and Ink
Review at Book Reviews from Canada

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a Hardcover copy of A Conspiracy of Wolves by Candace Robb! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on August 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
 – The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen. Conspiracy of Wolves






Into the Unbounded Night- Blog Tour and Review

  Into the Unbounded Night by Mitchell James Kaplan Publication Date: September 1, 2020 Regal House Publishing Paperback & eBo...