Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Spotlight: The Birth of Death (Evorath) by Joseph P. Macolino

Book Blurb:

In the second edition of "The Birth of Death," Macolino looks to introduce readers to the world of Evorath and reveal some of the major characters. As the forest finds itself threatened by a grave new evil, its citizens must unite if they hope to survive. 

While these heroes struggle to put aside their own personal challenges, they work to ensure their people can survive another day. Filled with adventure, suspense, and just the right amount of romance, readers will be left on the edge of their seat as they read to the end. One thing is for sure: when it's said and done, nothing will be the same.



Official Website: http://www.evorath.com

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @Evorath


About the Author:

Contemporary Scribe of Epic High Fantasy. Joseph P. Macolino focuses on building worlds and creating believable character with strengths, weaknesses, and realistic attitudes. Rather than having cookie-cutter heroes who are pure-hearted, he sheds light that most heroes are just everyday people who do extraordinary things. His writing focuses on these characters as they shape the history of Evorath, his own fantasy world. 
When he is not writing, Macolino is usually reading about philosophy of some kind or spending time with his wife. He hopes that his fantasy universe will offer readers both an exciting adventure to enjoy while also stressing the importance of staying true to oneself. He believes diversity is what makes a society strong, and hopes to demonstrate through his work that people have more similarities than they do differences.

The Shattered Tree by Charles Todd

The Shattered Tree by Charles Todd
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

World War I battlefield nurse Bess Crawford goes to dangerous lengths to investigate a wounded soldier’s background—and uncover his true loyalties—in this thrilling and atmospheric entry in the bestselling “vivid period mystery series” (New York Times Book Review).

At the foot of a tree shattered by shelling and gunfire, stretcher-bearers find an exhausted officer, shivering with cold and a loss of blood from several wounds. The soldier is brought to battlefield nurse Bess Crawford’s aid station, where she stabilizes him and treats his injuries before he is sent to a rear hospital. The odd thing is, the officer isn't British--he's French. But in a moment of anger and stress, he shouts at Bess in German.

When Bess reports the incident to Matron, her superior offers a ready explanation. The soldier is from Alsace-Lorraine, a province in the west where the tenuous border between France and Germany has continually shifted through history, most recently in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, won by the Germans. But is the wounded man Alsatian? And if he is, on which side of the war do his sympathies really lie?

Of course, Matron could be right, but Bess remains uneasy—and unconvinced. If he were a French soldier, what was he doing so far from his own lines . . . and so close to where the Germans are putting up a fierce, last-ditch fight?

When the French officer disappears in Paris, it’s up to Bess—a soldier’s daughter as well as a nurse—to find out why, even at the risk of her own life


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I read A Pattern of Lies (the book before this one) last year and loved the book. So I was in seventh heaven when I got approved for this one. I have read most of the books in this series since I read A Pattern of Lies and I quite enjoy both the stories and the books characters. Bess Crawford is a wonderful character, strong and competent and I'm so happy that the doesn't spend her time romanticizing about some guy. (I do wish however that she and Sergeant Lassiter would get a bit...closer)

Anyway, this book is, to be honest not my favorite in the series. I'm actually I bit disappointed how weak the story felt compared to A Pattern of Lies. I grew a bit frustrated reading the book because the main story about the soldier that may or may not be a german spy just didn't rock my boat. It was not totally bad, I just didn't find The Shattered Tree as intriguing and as engrossing to read as I usually do with the books in this series. And, I missed Sergeant Lassiter who wasn't even in this book, just mentioned a couple of times (Yes I did a search for him after reading 1/3 of the book because I was really looking forward to reading about Bess and him meeting again). Now, I don't say that the book was bad because Sergeant Lassiter wasn't in it, rather it just didn't make the situation better. 

So, not my favorite book in the series, still good to read, but I hope the next book in the series will be better!

I want to thank William Morrow for providing me with a free copy for an honest review!

Monday, 29 August 2016

Melody Bittersweet and The Girls' Ghostbusting Agency by Kitty French

Melody Bittersweet and The Girls' Ghostbusting Agency by Kitty French
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Life’s tough for Melody Bittersweet.

She’s single, addicted to sugar and super heroes, her family are officially bonkers, and she sees dead people. Is it any wonder no-one’s swiping right on Tinder?
Waking up lonely on her twenty seventh birthday, Melody finally snaps. She can’t carry on basing all of her life decisions on the advice of her magic 8 ball; things have got to change.

Fast forward two months, and she’s now the proud proprietor of her very own ghostbusting agency - kind of like in the movies but without the dodgy white jumpsuits. She’s also flirting with her ex Leo Dark, fraternising with her enemy in alleyways, and she’s somehow ended up with a pug called Lestat.

Life just went from dull to dynamite and it’s showing no sign of slowing up anytime soon. Melody’s been hired to clear Scarborough House of its incumbent ghosts, there’s the small matter of a murder to solve, and then there’s the two very handsome, totally inappropriate men hoping to distract her from the job…

Welcome to Chapelwick, home of the brand new and hilarious Girls Ghostbusting Agency series, where things really do go bump in the night

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I don't think I've been so charmed by a paranormal book since I read The Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris. Melody Bittersweet is a new favorite character of mine and I seriously hope that this is the first book in a series!

The book is hilarious, it's romantic, it's engrossing and I love Melody's snarky humor. (And, by God, I love Lestat, the dog). I even like  Melody lusting after Fletch, and I'm usually the last people interested in reading books about people lusting after each other. But, the love-hate relationship between Fletch and Melody work like magic! And, let's not forget Artie the apprentice ghost hunter and Marina, her colleague and best friend. They brought so much to the story that I can't help feeling giddy just thinking about all the funny moments in the book from office meetings to trying to get rid of the ghost from Scarborough House.

Seriously, I hate writing 5-star reviews, because all I do is gush and I just can't help it. This book made me happy, it's a book for when you feel depressed or just down a bit. It was a great joy to read this book, and now I want a sequel! I'm bloody happy that I caved in and requested this book on NetGalley!

I want to thank Bookouture for providing me with a free copy for an honest review!

Blog Tour: If I Only Had a Duke by Lenora Bell

If I Only Had a Duke by Lenora Bell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


After three failed seasons and a disastrous jilting, Lady Dorothea Beaumont has had more than enough of her family's scheming. She won't domesticate a duke, entangle an earl or vie for a viscount. She will quietly exit to her aunt's Irish estate for a life of blissful freedom. Until an arrogant, sinfully handsome duke singles her out for a waltz, making Thea the most popular belle of the season.
Well, the duke ruined her plans and now he'll just have to fix them.

Dalton, Duke of Osborne, is far too heartless for debutantes or marriage - he uses dalliances to distract from his real purpose: finding the man who destroyed his family. When his search leads to Ireland, the last thing he needs is the determined, achingly innocent Thea, who arrives in the dead of night demanding he escort her to her aunt. His foolish agreement may prove his undoing. The road to the Emerald Isle is fraught with unforeseen dangers, but the greatest peril of all might just be discovering that he has a heart... and he's losing it to Thea.


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If I only had a Duke is the second book in The Disgraceful Dukes series. I read the first book, How the Duke Was Won, earlier this spring and I found it quite good. I'm very pleased to say that If I Only Had a Duke is just as funny to read as the first book in the series. I chuckled aloud several times during the first 1/3 of the book. Also, I really like this series heroines. They are all so bloody funny and feels refreshingly stubborn and independent. And, that, despite living in a time when women aren't more than a man's belonging.

Now, the book is not only funny, it has a serious streak as well. Dalton, Duke of Osborne is after the man that killed his young brother when he was a child. And, now he must flee the town in a hurry after confronting a man who wounded him and could identify him because of that. However, Lady Dorothea Beaumont demands that he takes her with him when she learns that he is going to Ireland since it's his fault that she now after a couple of seasons as a wallflower is now the most popular belle of the season. She has absolutely no plans at all to get married least of all to someone her mother or grandmother wants her to marry. But, traveling, with the handsome Dalton to Ireland may change her mind about marriage. However, will she be able to get the Duke to fall for her?

Nevertheless, as much as I enjoyed the book did I have a bit of problem with the story, and that's the seduction part, the mating ritual between Dalton and Thea. And, this is not the book's fault, this is something that seldom interests me in historical romance. I'm just not fond of reading about people lusting about each other. Especially not when it gets a bit too much. In a small dose, then it's fine. But, this is historical romance, and it's a big part. So, for the right person is that part probably just fine. However, I'm just the odd one out when it comes to that. 

Also, the "twist" to the story was not especially surprising, but it at least made the book's ending sweet. Another thing, I just love the ending when Thea really puts down her foot against here families wishes and the result it brings. She really has guts.

I want to thank Piatkus for providing me with a free copy for an honest review!


About the author

Lenora Bell grew up in a tiny town in Alaska with no streetlights, no movie theatre, but a very well-endowed library. A graduate of Portland State University’s MFA in Creative Writing program, she has lived and taught English on five continents. Lenora currently shares a cabin in Switzerland with her husband and two naughty tiger-striped kitties.


Sunday, 28 August 2016

August Wishlist: The Romanovs

This months wishlist is books that in some way are linked to the Romanovs. I have for a long time found the Romanov's fascinating and I've been some reading books about the fall of the Tsar family lately so I thought that it would be a perfect theme. 

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Rasputin's Daughter 

From the author of the breakout bestseller The Kitchen Boy, a new novel delving into the mysterious life and death of the notorious Rasputin.

With the same riveting historical narrative that made The Kitchen Boy a national bestseller and a book-club favorite, Robert Alexander returns to revolutionary Russia for the harrowing tale of Rasputin's final days as told by his youthful and bold daughter, Maria. Interrogated by the provisional government on the details of her father's death, Maria vividly recounts a politically tumultuous Russia, where Rasputin's powerful influence over the throne is unsettling to all levels of society and the threats to his life are no secret.

With vast conspiracies mounting against her father, Maria must struggle with the discovery of Rasputin's true nature-his unbridled carnal appetites, mysterious relationship with the empress, rumors of involvement in secret religious cults-to save her father from his murderers. Swept away in a plot much larger than the death of one man, Maria finds herself on the cusp of the Russian Revolution itself. With Rasputin's Daughter, Robert Alexander once again delivers an imaginative and compelling story, fashioned from one of history's most fascinating characters who, until now, has been virtually unexplored in fiction.



The True Memories of Little K

Exiled in Paris, tiny, one-hundred-year-old Mathilde Kschessinska sits down to write her memoirs.

Kschessinka’s riveting storytelling soon thrusts us into a world lost to time: that great intersection of the Russian court and the Russian theater. Before the revolution, Kschessinska dominated that world as the greatest dancer of her age. At seventeen, her crisp, scything technique made her a star. So did her romance with the tsarevich Nicholas Romanov, soon to be Nicholas II. It was customary for grand dukes and sons of tsars to draw their mistresses from the ranks of the ballet, but it was not customary for them to fall in love.

before all that she believes to be true is forgotten. A lifetime ago, she was the vain, ambitious, impossibly charming prima ballerina assoluta of the tsar’s Russian Imperial Ballet in St. Petersburg. Now, as she looks back on her tumultuous life, she can still recall every slight she ever suffered, every conquest she ever made.

The affair could not endure: when Nicholas ascended to the throne as tsar, he was forced to give up his mistress, and Kschessinska turned for consolation to his cousins, two grand dukes with whom she formed an infamous ménage à trois. But when Nicholas’s marriage to Alexandra wavered after she produced girl after girl, he came once again to visit his Little K. As the tsar’s empire—one that once made up a third of the world—began its fatal crumble, Kschessinka’s devotion to the imperial family would be tested in ways she could never have foreseen.

The Imperial Wife

Two women's lives collide when a priceless Russian artifact comes to light.

Tanya Kagan, a rising specialist in Russian art at a top New York auction house, is trying to entice Russia's wealthy oligarchs to bid on the biggest sale of her career, The Order of Saint Catherine, while making sense of the sudden and unexplained departure of her husband.

As questions arise over the provenance of the Order and auction fever kicks in, Reyn takes us into the world of Catherine the Great, the infamous 18th-century empress who may have owned the priceless artifact, and who it turns out faced many of the same issues Tanya wrestles with in her own life.

Suspenseful and beautifully written, The Imperial Wife asks whether we view female ambition any differently today than we did in the past. Can a contemporary marriage withstand an “Imperial Wife”?

The Kitchen Boy

Drawing from decades of work, travel, and research in Russia, Robert Alexander re-creates the tragic, perennially fascinating story of the final days of Nicholas and Alexandra Romanov as seen through the eyes of their young kitchen boy, Leonka.

Now an ancient Russian immigrant, Leonka claims to be the last living witness to the Romanovs’ brutal murders and sets down the dark secrets of his past with the imperial family. Does he hold the key to the many questions surrounding the family’s murder? Historically vivid and compelling, The Kitchen Boy is also a touching portrait of a loving family that was in many ways similar, yet so different, from any other.






Check out some friends brilliant Wishlist's for August:




Friday, 26 August 2016

The Killing Ship by Simon Beaufort

The Killing Ship: An Antarctica Thriller by Simon Beaufort
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"A group of scientists in the Antarctic face a desperate battle for survival as they are hunted down by hostile intruders. "


Having spent the summer conducting fieldwork on stark Livingston Island, marine biologist Andrew Berrister is looking forward to returning to civilization. But his final days in Antarctica take an unexpected turn when it becomes clear that he and his small group of scientists are not alone on the island. Deducing that the intruders are a crew of illegal whalers, the scientists face an increasingly desperate struggle for survival when two members of their shore party disappear and their supplies are deliberately sabotaged. 

As Berrister and his remaining companions flee across the treacherous, icy terrain, they are pursued unrelentingly by ruthless killers whose true reasons for being in the Antarctic are darker and more dangerous than the scientists could ever have imagined.

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I got in my head, for some reason, when I started to read this book that this would be a paranormal thriller. However, I quickly, after reading the blurb, realized that it was just a thriller. However, it was a pretty good thriller, so I'm pleased.

What I like about this book that there were never any dull moments from the start until the end. I mean why on earth would anyone want to hurt a bunch of scientists? And, would any of the scientists survive? Also, what's it in the cargo bay? I was hooked, and I came to like Berrister, Mortimer, and the rest very much and I was worried that any of them would die. Antarctica is a danger place as it is, but having people after you for some strange reason. Well, that's tough!

I love reading books about Antarctica, whether it be thrillers or literary fiction, hell I even take romance. It's such a fascinating setting for a book. The Killing Ship is no exception. And, I like that the ending is open. Hopefully, there will be a sequel!

I want to thank Severn House for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review.

Blog Tour: Time and Regret by M.K. Tod

Please join M.K. Tod as she tours the blogosphere with HF Virtual Book Tours, from August 16-31. This is M.K. Tod’s second tour with HFVBT. She toured previously for Lies Told in Silence in 2015.

Time and Regret by M.K. Tod

Release Date: August 16, 2016
Lake Union Publishing
eBook & Paperback; 366 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

Add to GR Button

When Grace Hansen finds a box belonging to her beloved grandfather, she has no idea it holds the key to his past—and to long-buried family secrets. In the box are his World War I diaries and a cryptic note addressed to her. Determined to solve her grandfather’s puzzle, Grace follows his diary entries across towns and battle sites in northern France, where she becomes increasingly drawn to a charming French man—and suddenly aware that someone is following her…

Through her grandfather’s vivid writing and Grace’s own travels, a picture emerges of a man very unlike the one who raised her: one who watched countless friends and loved ones die horrifically in battle; one who lived a life of regret. But her grandfather wasn’t the only one harboring secrets, and the more Grace learns about her family, the less she thinks she can trust them.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

Praise For Time and Regret

“With fluid prose and a keen eye for detail, M.K. Tod takes readers on a decades-spanning journey of wartime loss, family secrets, and, ultimately, redemption.” – Holly Smith, Managing Editor, Washington Independent Review of Books

“Spiced with mystery and a spark of romance, TIME AND REGRET is an immersive journey into one man’s brave but terrifying slog through the killing fields of France and Flanders during WWI. Tod’s prose brims with exquisite atmospheric detail, drawing the reader into an unforgettable story.” – Juliet Grey: author of the acclaimed Marie Antoinette trilogy

“Time and Regret, equally captivating and suspenseful, presents well-drawn characters who strive to resolve past mysteries and overcome present obstacles. M.K. Tod is an impressively gifted storyteller who creates relatable conflicts and believable dangers. Highly recommended!” – Bestselling author Margaret Porter

“Hugely satisfying – impossible to put down.” – Elizabeth St. John author of The Lady of the Tower

“Time and Regret is something as rare as a treasure hunt with heart. Between the gritty trenches of World War I, the romantic allure of present-day France, and the cut-throat New York arts scene, M.K. Tod has spun a gripping family drama that delves deeply into the effects of war on the human soul and takes us on an intriguing journey of self-discovery. It is a book rich in hard-won wisdom and crucial historical insights, and Tod’s perceptive voice leads us unfaltering through some of the darkest chapters in human history to a very satisfying conclusion.” – Anne Fortier author of The Lost Sisterhood

About the Author

Time and Regret is M.K. Tod’s third novel. She began writing in 2005 while living as an expat in Hong Kong. What started as an interest in her grandparents’ lives turned into a full-time occupation writing historical fiction. Her novel Unravelled was awarded Indie Editor’s Choice by the Historical Novel Society. In addition to writing historical novels, she blogs about reading and writing historical fiction on www.awriterofhistory.com, reviews books for the Historical Novel Society and the Washington Independent Review of Books, and has conducted three highly respected reader surveys. She lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and is the mother of two adult children.

For more information visit M.K. Tod’s website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, August 16
Spotlight at Passages to the Past


Wednesday, August 17


Thursday, August 18
Review at Creating Herstory


Friday, August 19
Interview at Flashlight Commentary


Monday, August 22
Review at A Chick Who Reads


Tuesday, August 23
Review at The Book Return


Wednesday, August 24
Spotlight at Broken Teepee


Thursday, August 25
Interview at Let Them Read Books


Friday, August 26
Spotlight: at A Bookaholic Swede
Review at Dianne Ascroft Blog (Author)


Sunday, August 28


Monday, August 29
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation


Tuesday, August 30
Review at Bookramblings
Guest Post at The Gadoury Dreamer


Wednesday, August 31


Giveaway

To enter to win a paperback copy of Time and Regret by M.K Tod please see the GLEAM form below. Two copies are up for grabs!
Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on August 31st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US 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.

Time and Regret Blog Tour

Direct Link: https://gleam.io/odH1R/time-and-regret-blog-tour