Monday, May 2, 2016

The Berlin Package Blog Tour and Review

The Berlin Package by Peter Riva
Publisher: Yucca Publishing
Publication date: April 26, 2016
Source: Publisher/author for an honest review

Description:
Film producer Pero Baltazar thought he was taking a Berlin filming assignment. He needed the work, needed to get back in the saddle after fighting off a life-threatening experience in East Africa—alShabaab had attacked his crew, intent on a much larger terrorist attack. Suddenly he finds himself under orders from his part-time employers at the State Department and the CIA when he is handed a mysterious package. It’s an assignment he doesn't want. The problem is, it’s a job contracted by mysterious patrons who are prepared to kill him if he doesn't deliver.

Pero—now in far too deep—turns to friends, old and new, to help him unravel the mystery of the package, uncover connections to Nazi concentration camp gold recently sold by the US Treasury, and thwart the ex–Stasi chief, now head of a powerful banking group.

In this fast-paced sequel to Murder on Safari, Pero calls on Mbuno, his friend and East African safari guide, to anticipate the moves of his enemies as if they were animals—dangerous vermin—who have kidnapped both the film star and director. Mbuno’s tracking skills may keep them from getting killed—provided Pero can rope in more help and keep the CIA at bay.

Exhilarating and expertly crafted, The Berlin Package (Yucca Publishing; April 2016) is a gripping, page-turning thriller set in post–German reunification Europe.

Praise for Berlin Package
“An explosive radioactive thriller written with intelligence. . . . The reluctant spy motif works grandly. . . . An extremely thoughtful and terrifying exposure of the dangers inherent in a nuclear world.”
 —Ron Lealos, author of Pashtun and Don’t Mean Nuthin’




My Take:

The Berlin Package sounded interesting and exciting and even though I hadn't read the previous book, I thought it sounded like a fun read. And for the most part it was a fun read. The reader is introduced to Pero Baltazar on an airplane that is having trouble - and Pero has the information that the pilots need to keep the plane in the air. Lucky for the passengers, right? Right. Pero is just that kind of guy. He is supposed to be a film maker, but he also has some secrets and friends in all the right places.

There are several references to the previous book and much of the necessary information is provided so that I didn't feel at a complete loss while reading Pero's latest adventure. And the adventure is pretty much nonstop. There are spies, some pretty crazy bad guys, rich and powerful friends, and his friends from the previous novel show up in the nick of time.  

Pero's side job as part-time agent for the CIA is pretty dangerous work and at times seems a bit far fetched. However, if fast-paced crime solving adventure is the kind of novel you enjoy, I think you might like The Berlin Package. There is seldom a break in the chase or the quest for information, so there is never a dull moment. I wonder if Pero's newly made friends will show up in later adventures? That could make for a fun read. 







Author's Bio:


Peter Riva has spent many months over 30 years travelling throughout Africa and Europe. Much of this time was spent with the legendary guides for East African hunters and adventurers. He created a TV series in 1995 called Wild Things for Paramount. Passing on the fables, true tales, and insider knowledge of these last reserves of true wildlife is his passion. Nonetheless, his job for over forty years has been working as a literary agent. In his spare time, Riva writes science fiction and African adventure books. He lives in Gila, New Mexico.



Connect with the author:   Website   Twitter   Facebook



Tour Schedule:


April 25 - The Autistic Gamer - review of The Berlin Package
April 25 - #redhead.with.book - book spotlight / giveaway
April 25 - Bookishly Devoted - review of Murder on Safari / giveaway
April 26 - Books Reviews, Nature Photos - review of Murder on Safari
April 26 - Celticlady's Reviews - book spotlight
April 27 - 3 Partners in Shopping - review of Murder on Safari
April 27 - Zerina Blossom's Books - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
April 28 - Vic's Media Room - review of The Berlin Package
April 29 - Heidi's Wanderings - review of Murder on Safari / giveaway
April 29 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review of The Berlin Package / guest post / giveaway
May 2 -    A Book Geek - review of The Berlin Package
May 2 -    The World As I See It - review of The Berlin Package / giveaway
May 3 -    Deal Sharing Aunt - review of Murder on Safari / giveaway
May 4 -   Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine - review of The Berlin Package
May 4 -   fuonlyknew - review of The Berlin Package / giveaway
May 5 -   Sahar's Blog - review of Murder on Safari
May 5 -   First Impressions Reviews - review of The Berlin Package
May 6 -   Heidi's Wanderings - review of The Berlin Package / giveaway
May 6 -   Create With Joy - review of Murder on Safari / giveaway
May 9 -   Mystery Suspense Reviews - guest post
May 9 -   3 Partners in Shopping - review of The Berlin Package
May 10 - Library of Clean Reads - review of Murder on Safari / giveaway
May 10 - Working Mommy Journal - review of The Berlin Package / giveaway
May 11 - Readers' Muse - review of Murder on Safari
​May 11 - Life as Leels - review of The Berlin Package
May 12 - Nighttime Reading Center - review of Murder on Safari / interview / giveaway
May 12 - Sahar's Blog - review of The Berlin Package
May 13 - Olio by Marilyn - review of The Berlin Package / giveaway
May 16 - Olivia's Catastrophe - review of Murder on Safari
May 16 - Ali - The Dragon Slayer - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 17 - Books Reviews, Nature Photos - review of The Berlin Package
May 17 - Deal Sharing Aunt - review of The Berlin Package / giveaway
May 17 - Library of Clean Reads - review of The Berlin Package / giveaway
May 18 - Cover2Cover - review of Murder on Safari / giveaway
May 18 - Olivia's Catastrophe - review of The Berlin Package
May 18 - Create With Joy - review of The Berlin Package / giveaway
May 18 - Book and Ink - review of Murder on Safari / giveaway
May 19 - Readers' Muse - review of The Berlin Package
May 19 - Seasons of Opportunities - review of Murder on Safari
May 19 - Bookishly Devoted - review of The Berlin Package / giveaway
May 20 - Cover2Cover - review of The Berlin Package / giveaway
May 20 - Nighttime Reading Center - review of The Berlin Package / giveaway
May 20 - Book and Ink - review of The Berlin Package / giveaway
May 20 - Seasons of Opportunities - review of The Berlin Package

May 20 - Jessica Cassidy - review of The Berlin Package










Friday, April 22, 2016

The Winemakers Spotlight Tour

The Winemakers by Jan Moran
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Paperback; 358 pages

Description:

1956: When Caterina Rosetta inherits a cottage in the countryside of Italy from a grandmother she's never known, she discovers a long-buried family secret -- a secret so devastating, it threatens the future of everything her mother has worked for.

Many years before, her mother's hard-won dreams of staking her family's claim in the vineyards of California came to fruition; but as an old murder comes to light, and Caterina uncovers a tragic secret that may destroy the man she loves, she realizes her happiness will depend on revealing the truth of her mother's buried past.

From author Jan Moran comes The Winemakers, a sweeping, romantic novel that will hold you in its grasp until the last delicious sip.


​Buy the book: 
  Amazon  ~   Barnes & Noble  ~   Kobo  ~  Chapters  ~  Books-a-Million  ~   Book Depository   ~  iBooks


Author Bio:

Jan Moran is a Rizzoli bestselling and award winning author. She writes historical women's fiction for St. Martin's Press (Scent of Triumph, The Winemakers), contemporary women's fiction (Flawless, Beauty Mark, Runway), and nonfiction books (Vintage Perfumes, Fabulous Fragrances). Her stories are smart and stylish, and written with emotional depth. Jan often draws on her international travel and business experiences, infusing her books with realistic details.


The Midwest Book Review and Kirkus have recommended her books, calling her heroines strong, complex, and resourceful. She likes to talk to readers at www.janmoran.com and on social media. She lives in southern California and loves lattes and iced coffee, anything chocolate, and Whole Foods Double Green smoothies to balance it all out.

Connect with the author:  


Tour Schedule:

April 18 - Working Mommy Journal - author interview / giveaway
April 18 - Lavish Bookshelf - guestpost / giveaway
April 18 - Coffee books & Art - giveaway
April 18 - Brooke Blogs - guest post / giveaway
April 19 - Corinne Rodriges - guest post / giveaway
April 19 - JustOneMoreChapter - giveaway
April 19 - The Cheshire Cat's Looking Glass - giveaway
April 19 - Words And Peace - author interview / giveaway
April 19 - The Autistic Gamer - spotlight
April 20 - Paulette's Papers - giveaway
April 20 - Olio by Marilyn - author interview
April 20 - Discovering/Writing Life - author interview / giveaway
April 20 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - giveaway
April 20 - StoreyBook Reviews - guest post
April 20 - thoughts on this 'n that - giveaway
April 21 - Fantastic Feathers - author interview
April 21 - First Impressions Reviews - spotlight
April 21 - Cassidy Salem Reads & Writes - giveaway
April 22 - ABookGeek - spotlight
April 22 - Celticlady's Reviews - giveaway
April 22 - Carole's Book Corner - giveaway
April 22 - The Bookish & The Romantic - giveaway
April 25 - XoXo Book Blog - giveaway
April 25 - Il mio tesoro - author interview
April 25 - A Bit Bookish - giveaway
April 25 - Jayne's Books - spotlight
April 26 - Mystery Suspense Reviews - guest post
April 26 - The Booktrail - author interview
April 26 - #redhead.with.book - giveaway
April 26 - Library of Clean Reads - giveaway
April 27 - Studentessa Matta - guest post / giveaway
April 27 - Kritters Ramblings - spotlight
April 27 - A Bookaholic Blog - giveaway
April 28 - A Holland Reads - giveaway
​April 28 - Rockin' Book Reviews - guest post / giveaway
April 28 - History from a Woman's Perspective - giveaway
April 29 - Amie's Book Reviews - giveaway
April 29 - Anglers Rest - spotlight
April 29 - FLY HIGH! - guest post / giveaway
​April 29 - Italophilia - spotlight








Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A Pattern of Lies Blog Tour and Review

A Pattern of Lies cover

A Pattern of Lies by Charles Todd

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication date: April 12, 2016
Paperback: 352 pages
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours for an honest review

 A horrific explosion at a gunpowder mill sends Bess Crawford to war-torn France to keep a deadly pattern of lies from leading to more deaths, in this compelling and atmospheric mystery from the New York Timesbestselling author of A Question of Honor and An Unwilling Accomplice.

 An explosion and fire at the Ashton Gunpowder Mill in Kent has killed over a hundred men. It’s called an appalling tragedy—until suspicion and rumor raise the specter of murder. While visiting the Ashton family, Bess Crawford finds herself caught up in a venomous show of hostility that doesn’t stop with Philip Ashton’s arrest. Indeed, someone is out for blood, and the household is all but under siege.

The only known witness to the tragedy is now at the Front in France. Bess is asked to find him. When she does, he refuses to tell her anything that will help the Ashtons. Realizing that he believes the tissue of lies that has nearly destroyed a family, Bess must convince him to tell her what really happened that terrible Sunday morning. But now someone else is also searching for this man.

To end the vicious persecution of the Ashtons, Bess must risk her own life to protect her reluctant witness from a clever killer intent on preventing either of them from ever reaching England.


My Take:

I am a little surprised that I haven't read any of the Bess Crawford Mysteries before this one. Starting with the seventh book in the series probably wasn't ideal, but I really didn't feel lost at any point in the book. The authors do a nice job of providing any necessary information from previous books so that newcomers don't miss anything.

Bess is back on a short leave, but finds herself stranded since her train was massively delayed. She accepts the invitation to stay at former patient Major Ashton's family home and finds herself embroiled in the troubles that are plaguing the family. Bess is a curious and intelligent woman and she seems to seek justice and likes to help if she can. The tragic explosion at the Ashton Gunpowder Mill a couple of years previous has suddenly come back into the center of attention and the townspeople want someone to blame even though it was ruled an accident by the military.

Bess uses all her resources and contacts to find the  only witness to the explosion even though he is at the Front and isn't willing to help out the Ashtons. There are rumors and accusations flying around, but very little actual evidence. So, Bess goes in search of witnesses and evidence that will get at the truth. Bess turns out to be a quietly competent nurse and sleuth who is able to use her many contacts in the military to help in her search for answers.

I found A Pattern of Lies to be an enjoyable mystery and  a good look at life at home during the Great War as well as the military hospitals, the nurses and injured soldiers.  It wasn't what I had expected, but I thought it was well written and the story held my attention throughout. I not only enjoyed the mystery, but I also liked the examination of the family members and the way they each handled the stress and grief of the explosion and the way that Philip Ashton was treated by the authorities and the town.

I think that A Pattern of Lies (and possibly the other Bess Crawford mysteries) should be added to my "comfort reads" list. I found it to be a very enjoyable novel with interesting and memorable characters. I think A Pattern of Lies would appeal to historical mystery readers, readers who are interested in the Great War, and readers of general mysteries as well. As a homeschooling mom, I might add A Pattern of Lies to the supplemental historical fiction reading list for my high school students.



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Charles ToddAbout Charles Todd

Charles Todd is the author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, the Bess Crawford mysteries, and two stand-alone novels. A mother and son writing team, they live in Delaware and North Carolina.

Visit their website at Charlestodd.com and like CharlesToddNovels on Facebook.



Charles Todd’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, April 12th: FictionZeal
Wednesday, April 13th: A Book Geek
Thursday, April 14th: #redhead.with.book
Friday, April 15th: I’m Shelf-ish
Monday, April 18th: Jayne’s Books
Wednesday, April 20th: Reading is My Super Power
Wednesday, April 20th: Mel’s Shelves
Thursday, April 21st: Tina Says…
Monday, April 25th: Mama Vicky Says
Tuesday, April 26th: Staircase Wit

Wednesday, April 27th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews


Friday, April 8, 2016

Grendel's Mother:The Saga of the Wyrd-Wife Blog Tour and Review

02_Grendel's Mother

Grendel's Mother: The Saga of the Wyrd-Wife by Susan Signe Morrison

Publication Date: September 25, 2015
Publisher:Top Hat Books
Paperback & eBook; 238 Pages
ISBN-10: 1785350099
Source: Author/Publisher for an honest review

  Add to GR Button  

  Shortlisted for the 2014-2015 Sarton Literary Award for Historical Fiction.

 An amber bead. A gold and glass drinking horn. A ring engraved with Thor’s hammer – all artifacts from a Germanic tribe that carved a space for itself through brutality and violence on a windswept land . Brimhild weaves peace and conveys culture to the kingdom, until the secret of her birth threatens to tear apart the fragile political stability. This is her story – the tale of Grendel’s Mother. She is no monster as portrayed in the Old English epic, Beowulf. We learn her side of the story and that of her defamed child. We see the many passages of her life: the brine-baby who floated mysteriously to shore; the hall-queen presiding over the triumphant building of the golden hall Heorot and victim of sexual and political betrayal; the exiled mere-wife, who ekes out a marginal life by an uncanny bog as a healer and contends with the menacing Beowulf; and the seer, who prophesizes what will occur to her adopted people. We learn how the invasion by brutal men is not a fairy tale, but a disaster doomed to cycle relentlessly through human history. Only the surviving women can sing poignant laments, preserve a glittering culture, and provide hope for the future.  

"What a gift! Grendel’s Mother is sure to become an integral part of every class on Beowulf." -Candace Robb, author of the Owen Archer Mystery Series and, as Emma Campion, A Triple Knot

"This fascinating narrative is to readers today what John Gardner’s Grendel was to readers of the 1970s." -Haruko Momma, Professor of English, New York University
 

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound



My Take:

I am usually pretty excited to read new takes on classic works, but I am especially excited when it is a feminist retelling of the Beowulf tale. Grendel's Mother is a fascinating look at the well known story from the perspective of the mother of that famous monster - who is not actually a monster. 

I was captivated by the prose - which sounds and feels more like poetry, due at least in part, by the use of alliteration throughout the novel. Brimhild arrives in a woven boat/basket from the sea, much like Moses. She is a blessing to her adoptive mother who has recently lost her own child. Her story is an epic all on its own. From the lost babe to the hall-queen of Heorot to exile - Brimhild remains true to herself throughout. 

Brimhild's story is tragic - because aren't all such tales? But I loved it from the start. I loved the contrast of Grendel's Mother to Beowulf - Brimhild is a wise and kind woman who always tries to do the right thing - not a monster in any way. Her son is a beautiful boy who believes he will inherit from his father. Their fall from grace is not of their doing --- the result of war and violence - an unimaginable twist to Brimhild's origin will have lasting repercussions for all. 

When Beowulf shows up, I admit I was surprised and a bit amused - he is not quite the hero I remember - and I loved it. It was nice to read a very different perspective. 

I am most excited about the chance to use Grendel's Mother alongside Beowulf and The Prose Edda: Tales from Norse Mythology for my kids' Great Books/History homeschool curriculum. I think they will appreciate the feminist story in contrast to the very masculine originals.  I also think they will appreciate the examination of feminine life during the period. 

Grendel's Mother is definitely a book that I will be recommending to any of my friends who enjoy historical fiction. I think it will appeal to anyone who enjoys Norse or Germanic tales, historical fiction in general and epic tales. I am already feeling the need to reread both Grendel's Mother and Beowulf very soon.


 

About the Author

03_Susan Signe MorrisonSusan Signe Morrison writes on topics lurking in the margins of history, ranging from recently uncovered diaries of a teenaged girl in World War II to medieval women pilgrims, excrement in the Middle Ages, and waste. Susan Morrison is Professor of English at Texas State University. She grew up in New Jersey by the Great Swamp, a National Wildlife Refuge with terrain not unlike that of Grendel's Mother's mere in Beowulf. Committed to bringing the lives of medieval women to a wider audience and making the ethics of waste fundamental to our study of literature, Susan can be found at grendelsmotherthenovel.com, homefrontgirldiary.com, and amedievalwomanscompanion.com and tweets @medievalwomen.

Susan's BA is from Swarthmore College and her A.M./Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Brown University. She has studied in Germany and taught in the former East Germany. Susan’s publications have appeared in such journals as The Yearbook of Langland Studies, Medievalia et Humanistica, Medieval Feminist Forum, The Chaucer Review, Exemplaria: A Journal of Theory in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, The New York Times, Women In German Yearbook , Journal of Popular Culture , Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik, as well as numerous book chapters. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, daughter and son.

For more information visit Susan's website.  

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, March 28
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, March 30
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective

Thursday, March 31
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter

Monday, April 4
Interview at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Tuesday, April 5
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, April 6
Guest Post A Literary Vacation

Thursday, April 7
Review at Impressions In Ink

Friday, April 8
Review at A Book Geek

Sunday, April 10
Review at Sprinkled With Words

Tuesday, April 12
Review at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Thursday, April 14
Review at Seize the Words: Books in Review

Friday, April 15
Review at With Her Nose Stuck In A Book  

Giveaway

To win one of two copies of Grendel's Mother by Susan Signe Morrison please enter the giveaway via the GLEAM form below. Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on April 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter. – Giveaway is open to US & Canada residents only. – Only one entry per household. – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion – Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. Grendel's Mother 04_Grendel's Mother_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Bloodmark Saga Book Blast

01_Bloodmark

Book Junkie Promotions Presents Aurora Whittet's the Blookmark Saga Book Blast

Bloodmark (Book One)

Publication Date: November 1, 2013 Wise Ink Creative Publishing Hardcover & eBook; 388 Pages
Genre: Young Adult/Paranormal/Romance/Fantasy
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Sixteen-year-old werewolf princess Ashling Boru is different from other wolves-she was able to shift to wolf form at birth. Rather than bringing pride to her family, it brings fear, and as a result, she is forced to live in seclusion in Ireland's countryside. Ashling's reputation is further blackened when she refuses her betrothed and defies the ancient laws. When her pack's oldest rivals begin hunting her, she finds herself in the small town of York Harbor, Maine-far from everything she's ever known.

In Maine, she crosses paths with the dark and rebellious Grey Donavan, and something ignites within her soul. There's just one problem: Grey is human. Their instant connection turns into a passionate romance, and Ashling begins to believe she can create her own life outside of wolf laws. When she begins to uncover long-buried pack secrets-secrets that threaten to destroy all she holds dear-Ashling's courage and tenacity are tested. Will she choose her deep and enduring love for Grey, or will she follow Old Mother's path to her destiny?

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bloodmark Saga Store | iTunes | Kobo


02_Bloodrealms

Bloodrealms (Book Two)

Publication Date: October 31, 2014 Wise Ink Creative Publishing Hardcover & eBook; 400 Pages
Genre: Young Adult/Paranormal/Romance/Fantasy
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Werewolf princess Ashling Boru's eighteenth birthday is only a year away, which means that she only has twelve months before she is claimed and fulfills her prophecy to unite the packs and lead her people. Her father decrees that her four suitors must fight in the Bloodrealms, the werewolves' ancient underground fighting world, and the winner will have King Boru's choice to win Ashling's hand. The wolf laws are rigid and barbaric, and Ashling's illicit love for Grey, if discovered, will mean his death. But when Ashling and Grey get trapped in the blood-soaked depths of the Bloodrealms, they find ancient horrors far greater than Ashling's father's rule.

With betrayal around every corner and old nemeses set to destroy Ashling, she is more divided than ever between the destiny she didnít choose and the love that she did. To make matters worse, her decision will not only set the course of her future, but the future of her entire race.

"Bloodrealms will transport you to a fantasy world full of glamour, excitement, and the romance between Ashling and Grey will whisk you away!" -C.A. Gray, author of Intangible

"A must-read for all aficionados of first-class fantasies." -Juliann Rich, author of Caught in the Crossfire, Searching for Grace, and Taking the Stand

"Ashling Boru is an engaging and fiery heroine." -Wendy Delsol, author of Stork, Frost, Flock, and The McCloud Home for Wayward Girls

"Bloodrealms simply sparkles!" -Jami Brumfield, author of the Winters Saga, Mystery Springs Series, PBI Case Files, and Ghost Connection

"A one of a kind, must-read for all paranormal romance lovers." -Emily Fay, blogger for Hooked in a Book

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bloodmark Saga Store


03_Bloodmoon

Bloodmoon (Book Three)

Publication Date: March 21, 2016 Wise Ink Creative Publishing Hardcover & eBook; 400 Pages
Genre: Young Adult/Paranormal/Romance/Fantasy

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Just months shy of her claiming at Carrowmore and fulfilling a centuries-old prophecy, werewolf Ashling Boru has stepped into her role as the Crimson Queen. She finally has the support of her pack and her love for Grey is stronger than ever.

But itís not easy being queen. Ashling's guardian, Baran, has been captured by the Dvergars, a family of evil wolves who will stop at nothing to possess Ashlingís power and destroy everything-and everyone-she loves. Ashling must unite the clans and build an army to stand against the Dvergars before it's too late. Unfortunately, the Dvergars also have armies of the darkest creatures the world has ever known.

Shadows loom, growing ever larger as generations of pack secrets begin to unfold. Ashling's people, the humans they protect, and Old Mother Earth herself all hang in the balance of Ashling's choices. Will Ashling have to forsake her true love to save the world? And will she have the strength to do it?

"This was an action-packed book from the first chapter to the end. . . . happy and sad moments, but a great end for Ashling and her story. Fun, fast-paced, and all the loose ends were wrapped up nicely. . . . I loved it, and I would recommend the whole series!" -B. Kristin McMichael, Amazon bestselling author of the Blue Eyes Trilogy, the Day Human Trilogy, and the Chalcedony Chronicles

"Readers dying to know what happens to Ashling and Grey will not be disappointed by Bloodmoon. I know this reader wasn't. What a thrilling conclusion to the trilogy!" -Andrew DeYoung, author of The Girl from Beyond

"A unique urban fantasy world of werewolves and magic." -Aileen Erin, USA Today bestselling author of the Alpha Girl Series

Amazon | Bloodmark Saga Store

04_Aurora WhittetAbout the Author


Aurora Whittet started out as a wild red-haired child in Minnesota dreaming up stories for her friends to read. Today, she has completed the second of three novels in the Bloodmark Saga. She is a national award-winning graphic designer in her day job. Aurora lives with her family in Minnesota.



Bloodmark Saga Website | Aurora Whittet Website | Bloodmark Saga Store | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Book Blast Schedule

Thursday, March 31

Friday, April 1

Saturday, April 2

Monday, April 4 

Tuesday, April 5

Wednesday, April 6 

Friday, April 8 


04_Bloodmark Saga_Book Blast Banner_FINAL

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Dark Lady's Mask Book Blast

02_The Dark Lady's Mask

The Dark Lady's Mask by Mary Sharratt

Publication Date: April 19, 2016
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Hardcover, eBook, Audio Book
Genre: Historical Fiction

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Shakespeare in Love meets Shakespeareís Sister in this novel of Englandís first professional woman poet and her collaboration and love affair with William Shakespeare.

London, 1593. Aemilia Bassano Lanier is beautiful and accomplished, but her societal conformity ends there. She frequently cross-dresses to escape her loveless marriage and to gain freedoms only men enjoy, but a chance encounter with a ragged, little-known poet named Shakespeare changes everything.

Aemilia grabs at the chance to pursue her long-held dream of writing and the two outsiders strike up a literary bargain. They leave plague-ridden London for Italy, where they begin secretly writing comedies together and where Will falls in love with the beautiful country ó and with Aemilia, his Dark Lady. Their Italian idyll, though, cannot last and their collaborative affair comes to a devastating end. Will gains fame and fortune for their plays back in London and years later publishes the sonnets mocking his former muse. Not one to stand by in humiliation, Aemilia takes up her own pen in her defense and in defense of all women.

The Dark Lady's Mask gives voice to a real Renaissance woman in every sense of the word.

 The Dark Lady's Mask will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in April 2016 to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death.

Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Hardcover) | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble


Advance Praise

"An exquisite portrait of a Renaissance woman pursuing her artistic destiny in England and Italy, who may - or may not - be Shakespeare's Dark Lady." - MARGARET GEORGE, internationally bestselling author of Elizabeth I

"Perfectly chosen details and masterful characterization bring to life this swiftly moving, elegant story. As atmospheric and compelling as it is wise, The Dark Lady's Mask is a gem not to be missed." - LYNN CULLEN, bestselling author of Mrs. Poe and Twain's End

"Mary Sharratt's enchanting new novel, The Dark Lady's Mask, is a richly imagined, intensely romantic and meticulously researched homage to lauded poet, Aemilia Bassano Lanyer, an accomplished woman of letters who many believe to be Shakespeare's Eternal Muse. Sharratt unfolds a captivating tale, a compelling 'what if ' scenario, of a secret union that fed the creative fires of England's greatest poet and playwright." - KATHLEEN KENT, bestselling author of The Hereticís Daughter

"Mary Sharratt is a magician. This novel transports the reader to Elizabethan England with a tale of the bard and his love that is nothing short of amazing. Absorbing, emotional, historically fascinating. A work of marvelous ingenuity!" - M.J. ROSE, New York Times bestselling author of The Witch of Painted Sorrows

"I enjoyed this exciting fantasy of Shakespeare's 'dark lady.' There was adventure, betrayal, resilience, and above all, the fun notion that Shakespeare might have had far more than a muse to help him create his wonderful plays." -KARLEEN KOEN, bestselling author of Dark Angels and Before Versailles

"Through the story of Aemilia Bassano, a talented musician and poet, Mary Sharratt deftly tackles issues of religious and gender inequality in a time of brutal conformity. The Dark Lady's Mask beautifully depicts the exhilaration and pitfalls of subterfuge, a gifted woman's precarious reliance on the desires of powerful men, and the toll paid by unrecognized artistic collaborators. Resonant and moving." -MITCHELL JAMES KAPLAN, author of By Fire, By Water

"In The Dark Lady's Mask, Mary Sharratt seduces us with a most tantalizing scenario -that the bold, cross-dressing poet and feminist writer Aemilia Bassano is Shakespeare's mysterious muse, the Dark Lady. Romantic, heart-breaking, and rich in vivid historical detail and teeming Elizabethan life, the novel forms an elegant tapestry of the complexities, joys, and sorrows of being both a female and an artist." -KAREN ESSEX, author of Leonardoís Swans and Dracula in Love

"Mary Sharratt has created an enchanting Elizabethan heroine, a musician, the orphaned daughter of a Jewish Italian refugee who must hide her heritage for her safety. Taken up by powerful men for her beauty, Amelia has wit and daring and poetry inside her that will make her a match for young Will Shakespeare himself and yet she must hide behind many masks to survive in a world where women have as much talent as men but little power." - STEPHANIE COWELL, author of Claude & Camille: A Novel of Monet

"Prepare to be swept away by Mary Sharratt's latest foray into historical fiction. Inspired by the true story of poet, Aemilia Bassano, THE DARK LADY'S MASK explores her relationship with William Shakespeare. Richly detailed and well researched, this lush tale brings Aemilia out of the shadows of history and let's her emerge as one of the founding mothers of literature. Drama, intrigue, and romance will have readers racing through this brilliant celebration of the muse." - PAMELA KLINGER-HORN, Sales & Outreach Coordinator, Excelsior Bay Books

03_Mary Sharratt


About the Author


MARY SHARRATT is an American writer who has lived in the Pendle region of Lancashire, England, for the past seven years. The author of the critically acclaimed novels Summit Avenue, The Real Minerva, and The Vanishing Point, Sharratt is also the co-editor of the subversive fiction anthology Bitch Lit, a celebration of female antiheroes, strong women who break all the rules.


Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


Book Blast Schedule


Monday, April 4
A Book Geek
Let Them Read Books

Tuesday, April 5
Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, April 6
Brooke Blogs
The Never-Ending Book

Thursday, April 7
The Lit Bitch
It's a Mad Mad World

Friday, April 8
Boom Baby Reviews
The Book Junkie Reads

Saturday, April 9
Passages to the Past

Monday, April 11
A Holland Reads
The Reading Queen

Tuesday, April 12
A Literary Vacation

Wednesday, April 13
Ageless Pages Reviews

Thursday, April 14
Broken Teepee
Svetlana's Reads and Views

Friday, April 15
Lampshade Reader
The Maiden's Court

Saturday, April 16
With Her Nose Stuck In A Book

Sunday, April 17
Book Nerd

Monday, April 18
The Readers Hollow
Susan Heim on Writing

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Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Tapestry Book Blast and Giveaway

02_The TapestryThe Tapestry (Joanna Stafford #3) by Nancy Bilyeau

Paperback Publication Date: March 22, 2016 Touchstone/Simon & Schuster
Paperback; 416 Pages
Series: Joanna Stafford
Genre: Historical Mystery

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   "Fans of the Tudor era, you're in for a treat" --InStyle magazine

 Henry VIII's Palace of Whitehall is the last place on earth Joanna
Stafford wants to be. But a summons from the king cannot be refused.

 After her priory was destroyed, Joanna, a young Dominican novice, vowed to live a quiet life, weaving tapestries and shunning dangerous conspiracies. That all changes when the king takes an interest in her tapestry talent.

 With a ruthless monarch tiring of his fourth wife and amoral noblemen driven by hidden agendas, Joanna becomes entangled in court politics. Her close friend, Catherine Howard, is rumored to be the king's mistress, and Joanna is determined to protect her from becoming the king's next wife--and victim. All the while, Joanna tries to understand her feelings for the two men in her life: the constable who tried to save her and the friar she can't forget.

 In a world of royal banquets, jousts, sea voyages and Tower Hill executions, Joanna must finally choose her future: nun or wife, spy or subject, rebel or courtier.

The Tapestry is the final book in a trilogy that began in 2012 with The Crown, an Oprah magazine pick. Don't miss the adventures of one of the most unforgettable heroines in historical fiction.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound


Praise

“In Joanna Stafford, Bilyeau has given us a memorable character who is prepared to risk her life to save what she most values.” (Deborah Harkness)

“Nancy Bilyeau's passion for history infuses her books and transports us back to the dangerous world of Tudor England. Vivid characters and gripping plots are at the heart of this wonderful trilogy, and this third book will not fail to thrill readers. Warmly recommended!” (Alison Weir, author of The Marriage Game: A Novel of Queen Elizabeth I)

 "A rip-roaring Tudor adventure from Nancy Bilyeau! Novice nun turned tapestry weaver Joanna Stafford returns to the court of Henry VIII. She's that great rarity of historical fiction: a fiercely independent woman who is still firmly of her time. A mystery as richly woven as any of Joanna's tapestries." (Kate Quinn, author of Lady of the Eternal City)

 "The Tapestry takes its history seriously, but that doesn't stop it from being a supremely deft, clever and pacy entertainment. This is Nancy Bilyeau's most thrilling - and enlightening - novel in the Joanna Stafford series yet." (Andrew Pyper, International Thriller Writers Award winner of The Demonologist and The Damned)

"A master of atmosphere, Nancy Bilyeau imbues her novel with the sense of dread and oppression lurking behind the royal glamour; in her descriptions and characterizations . . . Bilyeau breathes life into history." (Laura Andersen, author of The Boleyn King)

"In The Tapestry, Nancy Bilyeau brilliantly captures both the white-hot religious passions and the brutal politics of Tudor England. It is a rare book that does both so well." (Sam Thomas, author of The Midwife’s Tale)

“In spite of murderous plots, volatile kings, and a divided heart, Joanna Stafford manages to stay true to her noble character. Fans of Ken Follett will devour Nancy Bilyeau’s novel of political treachery and courageous love, set amid the endlessly fascinating Tudor landscape.” (Erika Robuck, author of Hemingway’s Girl)

“These aren't your mother's nuns! Nancy Bilyeau has done it again, giving us a compelling and wonderfully realized portrait of Tudor life in all its complexity and wonder. A nun, a tapestry, a page-turning tale of suspense: this is historical mystery at its finest.” (Bruce Holsinger, author of A Burnable Book and The Invention of Fire)

About the Author

02_Nancy BilyeauNancy Bilyeau has worked on the staffs of InStyle, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Ladies Home Journal. She is currently the executive editor of DuJour magazine. Her screenplays have placed in several prominent industry competitions. Two scripts reached the semi-finalist round of the Nicholl Fellowships of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Her screenplay “Zenobia” placed with the American Zoetrope competition, and “Loving Marys” reached the finalist stage of Scriptapalooza. A native of the Midwest, she earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. THE CROWN, her first novel, was published in 2012; the sequel, THE CHALICE, followed in 2013, and THE TAPESTRY in 2015.Nancy lives in New York City with her husband and two children.

Stay in touch with her on Twitter at @tudorscribe. For more information or to sign up for Nancy’s Newsletter please visit her official website.


Book Blast Schedule

Tuesday, March 22
Just One More Chapter
Historical Fiction Addicts
Svetlana's Reads and Views

Wednesday, March 23
Passages to the Past
With Her Nose Stuck In A Book

Thursday, March 24
Impressions In Ink
The Life & Times of a Book Addict

Friday, March 25
The Reading Queen
Queen of All She Reads

Saturday, March 26
A Holland Reads

Sunday, March 27
Layered Pages

Monday, March 28
A Book Drunkard
Historical Readings & Reviews

Tuesday, March 29
Book Nerd
Carpe Librum

Wednesday, March 30
The Lit Bitch
Eclectic Ramblings of Author Heather Osborne

Thursday, March 31
A Book Geek
What Is That Book About

Friday, April 1
CelticLady's Reviews
A Dream within a Dream

Saturday, April 2
So Many Books, So Little Time

Sunday, April 3
Susan Heim on Writing

Monday, April 4
100 Pages a Day
A Literary Vacation

Tuesday, April 5
The Tudor Enthusiast
Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Giveaway

Two paperbacks of The Tapestry by Nancy Bilyeau are up for grabs! To enter, please use the GLEAM form below. Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on April 6th. You must be 18 or older to enter. – Giveaway is open to US addresses only. – Only one entry per household. – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion – Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. The Tapestry Book Blast 03_The Tapestry_Book Blast Banner_FINAL

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Death Sits Down to Dinner Blog Tour and Review

02_Death Sits Down to Dinner

Death Sits Down to Dinner (Lady Montfort Mystery #2) by Tessa Arlen

Publication Date: March 29, 2016
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Hardcover & Ebook; 320 Pages
Genre: Historical Mystery
Source: Publisher via NetGalley for an honest review

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 Filled with deceptions both real and imagined, Death Sits Down to Dinner is a delightful Edwardian mystery set in London.

Lady Montfort is thrilled to receive an invitation to a dinner party hosted by her close friend Hermione Kingsley, the patroness of England’s largest charity. Hermione has pulled together a select gathering to celebrate Winston Churchill’s 39th birthday. Some of the oldest families in the country have gathered to toast the dangerously ambitious and utterly charming First Lord of the Admiralty. But when the dinner ends, one of the gentlemen remains seated at the table, head down among the walnut shells littering the cloth and a knife between his ribs.

 Summoned from Iyntwood, Mrs. Jackson helps her mistress trace the steps of suspects both upstairs and downstairs as Hermione’s household prepares to host a highly anticipated charity event. Determined to get to the bottom of things, Lady Montfort and Mrs. Jackson unravel the web of secrecy surrounding the bright whirlwind of London society, investigating the rich, well-connected and seeming do-gooders in a race against time to stop the murderer from striking again.  

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | INDIEBOUND | KOBO

 

Advance Praise

“Despite Clementine’s luxurious lifestyle, she’s got a head on her shoulders . . .and is as cagey as she is charming. A neatly crafted whodunit dripping with diamonds, titles and scandal . . .” -Kirkus Reviews

 “The close, mutually respectful partnership between Clementine and Edith will remind Dorothy Sayers’s fans of the relationship between Lord Peter Wimsey and Bunter, his manservant. Arlen does a good job of depicting a period when class distinctions have become blurred by new money and more-relaxed manners. The plot, which includes a slew of red herrings, builds to a startling denouement.” -Publisher’s Weekly

 “VERDICT Real-life Edwardian personalities abound in this period historical, and the upstairs/downstairs focus delivers a clash of temperaments. This title is bound to appeal to fans of historicals set in this period and of such authors as Rhys Bowen and Ashley Weaver.” -Library Journal  


My Take:

When I was presented with the opportunity to read and review Death Sits Down to Dinner by Tessa Arlen, I jumped at the chance because I so thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the Lady Montfort Mysteries, Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman.  

Once again, Tessa Arlen succeeds in capturing my interest early in the book and keeping it throughout the novel. Instead of the country, this novel takes place in London at Montfort House and at Hermione Kingsley's London house. The big party is in honor of Winston Churchill, whom Lord Montfort cannot stand, so that made for an interesting and amusing episode. That is to say, it was amusing  until someone gets murdered during the entertainment. This crime sets Lady Montfort on a quest for more information about everyone and everything associated with the event. Despite the wishes of her husband, Lady Montfort just can't help herself when it comes to solving murders. She enlists her trusted Jackson to come up from Iyntwood to help with the fundraiser that Hermione Kingsley puts on each year and also- mostly- to help her solve the murder. 

I really like this duo of Lady Montfort and Jackson - they are so good together and while maintaining all rules of decorum and station, they have a close and mutually beneficial relationship.  I was completely caught up in the descriptions of Edwardian London life among the aristocracy and the efforts to solve the mystery itself. I enjoyed the depiction of Churchill and the others in Lady Montfort's social group. There are so many interesting characters and social situations and complicated relationships. 

Once again, I was unable to guess who the murderer was before the reveal - and while I did hazard a guess about some other things that occurred, I was still surprised and enjoyed the whole reveal sequence. 

The Lady Montfort Mysteries are at the top of what I call my "Comfort Reads" list -- books that I read to calm my nerves and to revel in the descriptions of the houses, furnishings, clothes, and mostly the manners. 

As with Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman, I will be strongly recommending Death Sits Down to Dinner to anyone who will listen to me. I think that both books will appeal to anyone who enjoys a good historical mystery, Edwardian England,  or Downton Abbey.




About the Author


02_Tessa ArlenTESSA ARLEN, the daughter of a British diplomat, had lived in or visited her parents in Singapore, Cairo, Berlin, the Persian Gulf, Beijing, Delhi and Warsaw by the time she was sixteen. She came to the U.S. in 1980 and worked as an H.R. recruiter for the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee for the 1984 Olympic Games, where she interviewed her future husband for a job. DEATH OF A DISHONORABLE GENTLEMAN is Tessa’s first novel. She lives in Bainbridge Island, Washington.

For more information please visit Tessa Arlen's website. Read Tessa Arlen's blog at Redoubtable Edwardians. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Subscribe to Tessa Arlen's Newsletter.  

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, March 28
Review at Laura's Interests
Interview at Books and Benches

Tuesday, March 29
Review at A Book Geek
Interview at Historical Fiction Addicts

Wednesday, March 30
Interview at AustenProse

Thursday, March 31
Review at Buried Under Books
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Friday, April 1
Review at Reading Is My SuperPower

Monday, April 4
Review at Reading the Past
Spotlight at Seize the Words: Books in Review

Tuesday, April 5
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Wednesday, April 6
Review at Luxury Reading

Thursday, April 7
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Friday, April 8
Review at A Holland Reads

Monday, April 11
Review at The Absurd Book Nerd

Tuesday, April 12
Interview at The Absurd Book Nerd

Wednesday, April 13
Review at Room With Books

Thursday, April 14
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Friday, April 15
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Monday, April 18
Review at Beth's Book Nook Blog

Tuesday, April 19
Review at CelticLady's Reviews

Wednesday, April 20
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective

Thursday, April 21
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Friday, April 22
Spotlight at Let Them Read Books

Monday, April 25
Review & Giveaway at Brooke Blogs

Tuesday, April 26
Review at Book Nerd

Wednesday, April 27
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Friday, April 29
Review at To Read, Or Not to Read

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