Sunday, 18 February 2018

#BookReview Mothers and Other Strangers by Gina Sorell @ginasorell @FreshFiction #FFreview

Mothers and Other Strangers by Gina Sorell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"My father proposed to my mother at gunpoint when she was nineteen, and knowing that she was already pregnant with a dead man’s child, she accepted."

Thus begins this riveting story of a woman's quest to understand her recently deceased mother, a glamorous, cruel narcissist who left her only child, Elsie, an inheritance of debts and mysteries. While coping with threats that she suspects are coming from the cult-like spiritual program her mother belonged to, Elsie works to unravel the message her dying mother left for her, a quest that ultimately takes her to the South African family homestead she never knew existed.


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To be honest, I thought MOTHERS AND OTHER STRANGERS was a thriller. At least that is the feeling I got from the book's blurb. The first thing the blurb says about the book is: "My father proposed to my mother at gunpoint when she was nineteen, and knowing that she was already pregnant with a dead man's child, she accepted." Wow, that is what I call a captivating line. I just had to read this book! Alas, this book is not a thriller. It's about a woman finding herself, learning more about the past, and finding peace.

READ THE WHOLE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION!

#BookReview The Lightkeeper's Daughters by Jean E. Pendziwol @JeanPendziwol @FreshFiction #FFreview

The Lightkeeper's Daughters by Jean E. Pendziwol
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Though her mind is still sharp, Elizabeth's eyes have failed. No longer able to linger over her beloved books or gaze at the paintings that move her spirit, she fills the void with music and memories of her family—a past that suddenly becomes all too present when her late father's journals are found amid the ruins of an old shipwreck.

With the help of Morgan, a delinquent teenager performing community service, Elizabeth goes through the diaries, a journey through time that brings the two women closer together. Entry by entry, these unlikely friends are drawn deep into a world far removed from their own—to Porphyry Island on Lake Superior, where Elizabeth’s father manned the lighthouse seventy years before.

As the words on these musty pages come alive, Elizabeth and Morgan begin to realize that their fates are connected to the isolated island in ways they never dreamed. While the discovery of Morgan's connection sheds light onto her own family mysteries, the faded pages of the journals hold more questions than answers for Elizabeth, and threaten the very core of who she is.

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THE LIGHTKEEPER'S DAUGHTERS is a book that I felt from the beginning was just my kind of book. I love books with dual storylines. Also, I was quite taken with the cover and blurb.

THE LIGHTKEEPER'S DAUGHTERS is about two twin sisters that were born at the beginning of the 20th-century to a lightkeeper and his wife on an isolated island. There, they grew up with their two older brothers. Several events, when they were older, would permanently change their lives and, in the end, make them move away from the island. Now one of the sisters, Elizabeth, is back and living in a nursing home.

READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION!

Friday, 16 February 2018

#BookReview The Painted Queen by Elizabeth Peters @FreshFiction #FFreview

The Painted Queen by Elizabeth Peters
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Egypt, 1912—Amelia Peabody and her dashing archeologist husband, Radcliffe Emerson, are once again in danger as they search for a priceless, stolen bust of legendary Queen Nefertiti and Amelia finds herself the target of assassins in this long-awaited, eagerly anticipated final installment of Elizabeth Peters’s bestselling, beloved mystery series

Arriving in Cairo for another thrilling excavation season, Amelia Peabody is relaxing in a well-earned bubble bath in her elegant hotel suite in Cairo, when a man with knife protruding from his back staggers into the bath chamber and utters a single word—“Murder”—before collapsing on the tiled floor, dead. Among the few possessions he carried was a sheet of paper with Amelia’s name and room number, and a curious piece of pasteboard the size of a calling card bearing one word: “Judas.” Most peculiarly, the stranger was wearing a gold-rimmed monocle in his left eye.

It quickly becomes apparent that someone saved Amelia from a would-be assassin—someone who is keeping a careful eye on the intrepid Englishwoman. Discovering a terse note clearly meant for EmersonWhere were you?”—pushed under their door, there can be only one answer: the brilliant master of disguise, Sethos.

But neither assassins nor the Genius of Crime will deter Amelia as she and Emerson head to the excavation site at Armana, where they will witness the discovery of one of the most precious Egyptian artifacts: the iconic Nefertiti bust. In 1345 B.C. the sculptor Thutmose crafted the piece in tribute to the great beauty of this queen who was also the chief consort of Pharaoh Akhenaten and stepmother to King Tutankhamun.

For Amelia, this excavation season will prove to be unforgettable. Throughout her journey, a parade of men in monocles will die under suspicious circumstances, fascinating new relics will be unearthed, a diabolical mystery will be solved, and a brilliant criminal will offer his final challenge . . . and perhaps be unmasked at last.


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I was thrilled for the chance to read THE PAINTED QUEEN. Before I started to read this book I didn't know that this is the last book in the Amelia Peabody series. Elizabeth Peters never finished it before she died and her good friend, Joan Hess, took over and spent three years working with it before it was released. I have to admit that reading about Elizabeth Peters made me a bit sad about the fact that she never got to finish this book. She was a wonderful person who was a dedicated author who loved writing.

READ THE WHOLE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION!

#BookReview Indigo by Charlaine Harris @FreshFiction #FFreview

Indigo by Charlaine Harris
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Investigative reporter Nora Hesper spends her nights cloaked in shadows. As Indigo, she's become an urban myth, a brutal vigilante who can forge darkness into weapons and travel across the city by slipping from one patch of shadow to another. Her primary focus both as Nora and as Indigo has become a murderous criminal cult called the Children of Phonos. Children are being murdered in New York, and Nora is determined to make it stop, even if that means Indigo must eliminate every member. But in the aftermath of a bloody battle, a dying cultist makes claims that cause Indigo to question her own origin and memories.

Nora's parents were killed when she was nineteen years old. She took the life insurance money and went off to explore the world, leading to her becoming a student of meditation and strange magic in a mountaintop monastery in Nepal...a history that many would realize sounds suspiciously like the origins of several comic book characters. As Nora starts to pick apart her memory, it begins to unravel. Her parents are dead, but the rest is a series of lies. Where did she get the power inside her?

In a brilliant collaboration by New York Times and critically acclaimed coauthors Charlaine Harris, Christopher Golden, Kelley Armstrong, Jonathan Maberry, Kat Richardson, Seanan McGuire, Tim Lebbon, Cherie Priest, James Moore, and Mark Morris join forces to bring you a crime-solving novel like you've never read before.


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INDIGO is a book about reporter Nora Hester who has a secret identity as Indigo. Indigo is a vigilante that uses shadows to travel and fight evil by making weapons out of shadows. She primarily fights the members of Children of Phonos. When children are being killed in New York, Nora is sure that the cult is behind the killings and as Indigo she launches a brutal attack on them. But Nora is starting to fall apart, she isn't sure about her identity anymore. Are her memories really her own? Where did she get her powers from? She decided to try to figure out who she really is...

READ THE WHOLE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION!

Thursday, 15 February 2018

L.A.P. it Marketing #Spotlight on MARY - Tudor Princess by Tony Riches @tonyriches @lapitmarketing

From the author of the international best-selling Tudor Trilogy, the true story of the Tudor dynasty continues with the daughter of King Henry VII, sister to King Henry VIII. Mary Tudor watches her elder brother become King of England and wonders what the future holds for her.

Born into great privilege, Mary has beauty and intelligence beyond her years and is the most marriageable princess in Europe. Henry plans to use her marriage to build a powerful alliance against his enemies. Will she dare risk his anger by marrying for love?

Meticulously researched and based on actual events, this ‘sequel’ follows Mary’s story from book three of the Tudor Trilogy and is set during the reign of King Henry VIII.

Excerpt from Chapter Six – Spring 1514


The elderly Archbishop of Canterbury, William Warham, stumbled with the words of a Latin address at Mary’s wedding ceremony, on a warm August day at Greenwich Palace, earning a scowl from Henry. She’d renounced her compact with Charles. Taking it upon herself to announce that he had treated her poorly, she asked Henry’s forgiveness, which he reluctantly granted.

Mary glanced at the Duke of Longueville, standing in for King Louis and dressed, like her, in cloth of gold and purple satin. She could see why Jane was so attracted to him. Suave and handsome, he’d been released from the Tower to become the ambassador of France and joined Henry’s privileged inner circle.

The duke returned her glance, a twinkle of amusement in his eye, no doubt in anticipation of the intimate moment they were soon to share. Catherine’s well-intended warning of what was to come simply heightened her nerves and the prospect filled her with dread.

A polite clearing of the throat broke through her reverie. It was time to repeat her vows, in French as rehearsed the previous day. She spoke clearly and with as much sincerity as she could, for this was not the time to suggest she was anything other than a willing bride for so great a king.

The duke took her right hand in his and smiled as he placed a gold ring on her fourth finger, then kissed her. The heavy ring was a little loose and she made a mental note to have a goldsmith improve the size. The kiss surprised her with its tenderness and the sensation of it lingered.

Mary glanced at the watching crowd of guests and saw a satisfied expression on the face of Thomas Wolsey. Behind him, standing well back, was Charles Brandon. Their eyes met for the briefest moment before she turned her attention back to the ceremony.

Queen Catherine, proud to be pregnant for the fourth time, gave Mary a nod of approval. She had been right. A new peace treaty was already declared with France, and the reparation of a million gold crowns more than compensated for the expense of Mary’s dowry.

At last the dreaded time came and she was led to the richly decorated bedchamber, followed by the guests who were to act as witnesses. Bishops and foreign ambassadors, knights and nobles, and even a scarlet-capped papal envoy thronged to watch the strange ritual.

She allowed her ladies to undress her, unplaiting and combing her long hair so it flowed over her shoulders, a sign of her purity. Standing in her white satin nightdress, she crossed her hands protectively over her breasts, then summoned all her strength of will and let her arms fall to her side. Mary did her best to stand straight and proud, despite the many eyes upon her.

Her handmaidens led her to the bed where she lay, eyes closed, trying to focus on repeating the words of her chosen prayer, Deus in adiutorium meum intende Domine ad adiuvandum me festina. O God, come to my assistance; O Lord, make haste to help me.

She opened her eyes in time to see the handsome Duke of Longueville place his bared leg against hers. The symbolic act of intimate contact drew a raucous cheer from some of Henry’s lusty nobles and a blush to Mary’s face. There would be no going back now her marriage was consummated before so many witnesses.

She closed her eyes again. No man had ever touched her like that before and she sensed her life would never be the same again. Mary continued her repeated psalm, Confundantur et revereantur qui quaerunt animam meam. Let them be confounded and ashamed that seek my soul.

An image drifted into her consciousness. The face of Charles Brandon after she’d said her wedding vows. The special bond shared between them should have meant at least a smile of acknowledgement. Instead all she’d seen in his eyes was a bleak, empty look of deep sadness.

Mary saw no sign of Brandon at the High Mass in the palace chapel, the lavish banquet or the dancing which followed. Even the sight of her brother’s boisterous and increasingly drunken dancing failed to amuse her.

About the Author:


Tony Riches is a full-time author of best-selling historical fiction. He lives in Pembrokeshire, West Wales and is a specialist in the fifteenth century, with a particular interest in the Wars of the Roses and the lives of the early Tudors. For more information about Tony’s other books please visit his website and his popular blog, The Writing Desk and find him on Facebook and Twitter, See links below.

Links:

Twitter @tonyriches




#CoverCrush King's Mountain by Sharyn McCrumb

For new visitors do I want to explain that Cover Crush is something that my friend Erin over at Flashlight Commentary came up with and I adopted the idea together with some other friends. And, now we try to put up a Cover Crush every week. You can check below my pick of the week for their choices this week!


From the New York Times bestselling author—the first Ballad novel to feature the epic, and gorgeously-portrayed, American Revolution

John Sevier had not taken much interest in the American Revolution. Homesteading in the Carolina mountains, Sevier was too busy fighting Indians and taming the wilderness to worry much about a far-off war, but when an arrogant British officer sends a message over the mountains, threatening to burn the settlers' farms and kill their families, the war becomes personal.

That abrasive officer is British Army Major Patrick Ferguson, who is both charmingly antagonistic and surprisingly endearing. The younger son of a Scottish earl, Ferguson suffers constant misfortunes, making his dedication and courage count for nothing. When he loses the use of his arm from an injury at Brandywine, his commander sends him south, away from the war--which, in 1780, George Washington and the Continental Army are losing. Ordered to recruit wealthy Southern planters to the British cause, Ferguson courts disaster by provoking the frontiersmen, and suddenly the far-off war is a sword's length away. The British aristocrat on a fine white horse is the antihero to Sevier's American pioneer spirit. Two Tory washerwomen, Virginia Sal--whose lucid voice lends humor and mysticism to the pages--and Virginia Paul, a mysterious woman too well-acquainted with death, portray the human side of the king's army. With a regiment of British regulars and local Tory volunteers, Ferguson believes he's an indomitable force.

Threatened by the Loyalists with invasion and the loss of their land, Sevier knows that Ferguson has to be stopped. In response, Sevier and his loyal comrades--many of whom would play key roles in later parts of American history--raise an unpaid volunteer militia of more than a thousand men. Bringing their own guns, riding their own horses, and wearing just their civilian clothes, the Overmountain Men ally themselves with other states' militias and march toward Charlotte in search of Ferguson's marauding army.

On a hill straddling the North and South Carolina lines, in what Thomas Jefferson later called "the turning point of the American Revolutionary War," the Overmountain Men triumph, proving that the British forces can be stopped. Their victory at King's Mountain inspired the colonies to fight on, ending the war one year later at Yorktown.

Peppered with lore and the authentic heart of the people in McCrumb's classic Ballads, this is an epic book that paints the brave action of Sevier and his comrades against a landscape of richly portrayed characters. Harrowing battle descriptions compete with provoking family histories, as McCrumb once again shares history and legend like no one else. Both a novel of war and family, crafted with heart and depth, King's Mountain celebrates one of Appalachia's finest hours.

Thoughts:

Oh, this cover is so beautiful. The landscape with the lonley woman standing facing the soldeires. It makes me curious to learn more about the book. . 

Check out what my friends have picked for Cover Crush's this week:

Stephanie @ Layered Pages





Wednesday, 14 February 2018

#BlogTour Force of Nature by Jane Harper @janeharperautho @LittleBrownUK @kimberleynyam

Force of Nature by Jane Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Is Alice here? Did she make it? Is she safe? In the chaos, in the night, it was impossible to say which of the four had asked after Alice's welfare. Later, when everything got worse, each would insist it had been them.

Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along the muddy track. Only four come out the other side.

The hike through the rugged landscape is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and teach resilience and team building. At least that is what the corporate retreat website advertises.

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a particularly keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing bushwalker. Alice Russell is the whistleblower in his latest case - and Alice knew secrets. About the company she worked for and the people she worked with.

Far from the hike encouraging teamwork, the women tell Falk a tale of suspicion, violence and disintegrating trust. And as he delves into the disappearance, it seems some dangers may run far deeper than anyone knew.

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So, is this book as fabulous The Dry? Definitely! Honestly, I found this book to be perhaps even better. There is just something tantalizing thrilling about this story, to follow the investigation led by Aaron Falk as he probes the remaining four women's stories while they search for the missing woman. Interwoven with Falk's story are the women's stories from day one when they are off to hiking as a team-building exercise. Only the five women are hardly friends, and there is tension from start.

Force of Nature is a thrilling page-turner. As always with thrillers is it hard to write a review since the less you know is the best. However, I will say this that both storylines are equally good. You know that something bad will happen during the hike since it's already been established in the beginning of the book that one of the women, Alice, is missing. But, why and where is she? What happened during the hike? What are the women hiding? You can really feel the tension rising among the women as the story progresses and you definitely feel that they are hiding something as Falk interrogates them.

Jane Harper is a fantastic writer and I'm thrilled to have given a chance to read this book. One thing I especially like is the setting of Australia. It's so refreshing to read books set down under. I can't wait to find out what's next for Aaron Falk. This is a series that keep on getting stronger and I'm really looking forward to the next book!


Tuesday, 13 February 2018

#BlogTour Death Theory by John D. Mimms @JohnDMimms @partnersincr1me

Death Theory by John D. Mimms Tour Banner

Death Theory

by John D. Mimms

on Tour February 1 - March 31, 2018

Synopsis:

Death Theory by John D. Mimms
Mankind’s greatest fear is also its greatest obsession. What awaits when we shuffle off the mortal coil of this world? We all have our beliefs based on faith or science, but both struggle to provide a tangible answer. Perhaps it is possible to prove the existence of the soul, to prove it goes on after death. Following the violent death of his parents, Jeff Granger seeks reassurance that they have moved on. After recording what he believes to be his mother’s voice at the site of the accident, Jeff’s obsession throws him into paranormal research. Realizing that most people are doing it just for fun, Jeff forms his own group. He is joined by Debbie Gillerson, a school teacher; Aaron Presley, a mortician; and Michael Pacheco, a grocery store manager. Even though they are all investigating the paranormal for very different reasons, they are all trying to fill an emptiness in their lives. The deeper they probe paranormal theory, the darker their results. The only way to truly test the ‘Death Theory’, as theorized by Aaron, is to monitor a person’s energy at the moment of death. Horrified by the immoral and unethical application, the group dismisses the theory. A darkness seems to follow their investigations and the police become involved. A former colleague of Jeff’s, a self-proclaimed demonologist, believes a demonic force is attached to the group. The police are not so sure. Evil comes in many forms as the small group is about to discover.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Paranormal
Published by: Draft 2 Digital
Publication Date: January 30th 2018
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN: 9781537849713
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Google Books  | Goodreads 

Read an excerpt:

Death is the closest thing to omnipotence we will experience in our brief time on this planet. It is an all-encompassing power, binding everything, and providing a cold certainty to an otherwise uncertain existence. The firm grip of this assurance reaches much further than the extinguishment of life; it greedily claims the hope and happiness of those who remain. It is a definite ending, but is it also a provable beginning?

Prologue

Linda Granger did not see death coming.
Sleep shielded her from the unfolding horror. The looming headlights and the panicked screams of her husband were beyond her conscious state. When her head shattered the windshield, the dream about her son ended, sending her into what’s next. Linda was gone before the car rolled seven times and wrapped around a large oak tree. Her husband, Stephen, was not as fortunate. He died two minutes later. Linda had fallen asleep from emotional exhaustion. She died with regrets.

Chapter 1

Jeff’s sheets were drenched in sweat. He strained to hear because he wanted to continue the conversation he had been having. The bass drum of his pulse throbbed in his ears, making hearing impossible. He sat up and glanced about frantically. Where had she gone?
As sleep gave way to the waking world, dread filled him. He remembered the terrible truth. These muddled conversations with his mother had become nightly occurrences since his parents’ accident. The last words he shared with his mother were over the phone, and they were harsh. The next time he picked up the phone, mere hours later, it was the Missouri State Police asking him to come to the hospital. It has been over a year since the terrible night, yet the pain had not gone away. In some ways, it grew worse.
Jeff rolled on his side as tears streamed down his cheeks. In his dream, he told his mother he loved her. He wondered if she could hear him. Somehow, he believed it might be possible. His grieving heart longed for a way to communicate with his late parents.
Jeff rolled over and tried to go back to sleep. It was impossible. He eventually got up and opened the blinds. It rained last night and a steamy mist shielded the street from view. This was the perfect morning to stay in bed and he almost did if not for two things. His sheets were soaked and he was excited about today. Even though he needed extra sleep, since he would be staying up all night, he just couldn’t hold back the excitement of investigating with his fourth paranormal group in as many months. Missouri Spirit Seekers claim to do purely scientific investigations, but the three previous groups he joined did as well. He hoped this time would be different.
They would be investigating Pythian Castle tonight, the most ‘haunted’ location in Springfield, not too far from Jeff’s alma mater, Missouri State. The castle was a very cool historical site, but to Jeff, it was another opportunity to find answers for life’s greatest mystery -death.
Although the investigation was still twelve hours away, nervous anticipation consumed him. He hoped this was not another séance based, sage burning, ghost hunt like most of the others. His previous groups were as far away from science as one could get.
Jeff brewed a pot of coffee and microwaved a bowl of instant oatmeal, before sitting down to watch his recording of the show which started him on the path to paranormal investigation. He viewed it often, but it had become a ritual to watch on the day of an investigation. If Jeff were counting, this would be his eighty-third time to watch.
The show starred two men, who were electricians by trade, investigating haunted places using the scientific method. They gathered measurable scientific evidence in their investigations. In this particular episode, they were investigating the catacombs underneath an old church in Baltimore.
What peaked Jeff’s interest were the Electronic Voice Phenomenon the men captured on their digital recorders. He wondered if EVP’s are actually the voices of the dead. The guys on the show didn’t commit one way or the other, they just presented the recordings.
“You up above,” a disembodied voice said.
“The way through,” another one whispered.
The most eerie utterance of them all said, “Come down here among us.”
Jeff’s reaction was the same every time he watched; chills intermingled with hope and fear ran up his spine.
Jeff reached into a box under the coffee table and retrieved his digital recorder. He held it in his hands as if it were an object of holy veneration. Jeff recorded his own EVP one night several months earlier at the scene of his parent’s accident. Short, incredible, and heart-breaking; his mother seemed to call his name from beyond. The EVP was still on his recorder, even though he had backed it up to a dozen sources. He would never delete it from any device. Never.
A loud thud rattled the blinds on the front door. Jeff jumped, almost dropping the recorder. His alarm lasted only a moment when he recognized the sound of the newspaper carrier’s rattle-trap station wagon puttering up the street. He peeled back the blinds in time to see the tail lights disappear into the mist. Jeff was still in his underwear with a gaping fly, but he figured his rural setting, coupled with the fog, would spare him any indecent exposure charges.
Jeff scooped up the paper, almost losing his balance on the wet concrete, and then backed through the door. He plopped down on the sofa and began to unfold the massive log of news. He was heading straight for the sports section when an article caught his eye. The title read:
Springfield … the Most Haunted City in Missouri?
The Kansas City Royals box scores could wait. Jeff dove right into the article. The ghosts of Phelps Grove Park, Bass Country Inn, Drury University, Landers Theater, Springfield National Cemetery, University Plaza Hotel, and Pythian Castle were all mentioned prominently by the author. Jeff had investigated Phelps Grove Park with one of his previous groups. One of the members claimed he saw the infamous spectral bride near the bridge, but Jeff had no such luck. He never had success when it came to firsthand experiences. Either everyone else is lying or perhaps Jeff is walking ghost repellent. He didn’t think they were lying, at least not everyone who made a paranormal claim. His recording of his mother was enough to keep faith in the paranormal.
He read the claims of Drury University with great interest. There were allegedly several ghosts, in a few buildings, which had taken residence there since the school’s founding in 1873. The saddest one was a little girl who died in a fire. Her phantom laughter could be heard from time to time in one of the women’s dorms.
Jeff enjoyed a good ghost story since he was a kid, but these were more than merely a spectral yarn. Each story offered a small glimmer of hope.
He didn’t read about Pythian Castle; there was no need. He had spent so much time researching it the last couple of weeks, he could recite the history word for word. The shadow spirits who allegedly resided in the basement intrigued him the most. They had been reported so often over the years, there was little doubt that something unusual was occurring in the depths of the castle.
Jeff finally checked the box scores, lamenting another loss by his favorite team. He scanned the comics before tossing the paper on the floor. He trudged to the bathroom and took a long, hot shower. Afterward, he put on a fresh pair of boxers and a T-shirt before stretching out on the couch. He fell asleep watching Netflix. If he dreamed of his parents again, he did not remember.
Jeff arrived at Pythian Castle an hour before dusk. The rainy morning had given way to a perfectly clear early evening. The ghostly apparition of the full moon glowed in the eastern sky as the sun began to dip. The large tower on front of the castle cast a long shadow over his truck as he pulled in and parked. He ascended the stone steps onto an expansive porch where a very large woman with a mystical fashion sense met him at the front door.
“Hello … Jack?” she said.
“Jeff,” he corrected. “You must be Swoosie.”
Swoosie half-nodded and half-bowed. She reminded him of a fortune teller he visited one time, just for kicks.
“Would you like a charm for protection tonight?” Swoosie asked, reaching into a velvet bag and retrieving what appeared to be a tiny silk pillow.
“No, thanks … I’m good,” Jeff said. He couldn’t help smirking a little.
Swoosie noticed.
“Suit yourself,” she huffed. “Spirits can pick up on those less experienced in this field. They tend to prey more on them.”
“Good,” Jeff said. “Maybe I will get some good evidence.”
Swoosie narrowed her pudgy eyelids and motioned for a man who was milling about awkwardly, studying old pictures on the wall. “Preston,” she called with a snap of her fingers.
He was a middle-aged man with a greasy ring of dark hair circling a large bald spot. His clothing was a mish mash of suit pants and a Molly Hatchett T-shirt. The shirt and pin stripe pants were riddled with stains.
“How are you?” Preston asked breathlessly. It seemed his pot belly was a strain for him to carry.
“Fine, Preston,” Jeff said. “Nice to meet you.”
“Oh … I think Mr. Leach is preferable,” Preston said. “I could be your daddy.”
“Not likely,” Jeff thought.
“I’m putting the two of you together tonight since you are both new to this,” Swoosie said. “You know … strength in numbers.”
Both men’s puzzled expressions testified their bewilderment of Swoosie’s logic as if to point out that it would make more sense to put them with an experienced investigator.
“I’m a fairly experienced investigator,” Jeff said. “Tonight, makes my twentieth investigation.”
Swoosie’s condescending smile let him know she still considered him a novice. She turned and then waddled over to a sofa in the foyer where her daughter and a couple of other men waited. Their familiar banter showed them to be a clique.
“Okay, Mr. Leach,” Jeff said. “Where should we start?”
This group didn’t set up night vision cameras or environmental equipment as he hoped. Each member was only armed with a flashlight, digital recorder, and maybe a camera. Jeff was sure most of them carried a silk charm pillow in their pocket.
“I think they want us to go the basement,” Mr. Leach said impatiently. “Didn’t you hear what Swoosie said?”
Swoosie was much larger than Mr. Leach, yet she seemed a bit more agile as he watched his partner shuffle down the corridor.
“Okay,” Jeff mumbled before following him down the stone stairs to the basement.
They picked a far corner in the dark, dingy basement, and then set their digital recorders on a wooden table. The musty smell of old buildings had become synonymous with ghosts in Jeff’s mind. Even though he knew better, he sometimes entertained the idea of it being a ‘ghost odor’.
The sun was beginning to set through one of the basement windows, so they agreed to wait until full dark before beginning their session.
“Hey … you know this used to hold POWs during World War Two?” Jeff said, nodding at the old cells across the room. The iron doors had been removed many years ago on all but one.
“It was an orphanage at one time, built by the Knights of Pythias,” Mr. Leach countered.
“Really?” Jeff said, a little confused at why an orphanage would be more interesting than a POW prison.
“Yeah, can you imagine how many kids died here?” Mr. Leach mused.
Jeff’s stomach twisted. His partner seemed a little too gleeful about dead children.
“Yeah,” Jeff said distantly. He watched the last rays of the sun disappear behind the shrubbery outside. When it was completely dark, he said, “Well, shall we get started?”
Jeff jumped when a flashlight beam flared in his eyes.
“Can I ask you something, Jeff?” Mr. Leach asked, lowering his flashlight.
“Sure.”
“How did you get into paranormal stuff?” Mr. Leach asked.
“Curiosity,” Jeff began and then anger began to simmer. He didn’t know why the question upset him so, it was benign and practical. Perhaps it was his partner’s tone. “It’s really nobody’s business,” Jeff snapped.
“Fair enough,” Mr. Leach said. “What did your fiancée say about it?”
Jeff glared at Mr. Leach in the darkness. How did he know he had a fiancée?
“What makes you think I had a fiancée?” Jeff asked, pointedly.
“I know things,” Mr. Leach replied. His coy response echoing from the darkness sounded like the prelude to a horror movie.
Jeff was angry. Mr. Leach seemed to have no boundaries. Jeff’s fiancée was a sore spot. She had been a former fiancée for almost a year.
“Why don’t you tell me her name?” Jeff said, a little too loud. Shushes hissed from deep in the darkness as his voice echoed off the stone walls. It seemed the whole building heard his question.
There was a very long pause. Jeff almost thought he was alone until the answer startled him.
“I can’t see that,” Mr. Leach answered. “Only events and feelings.”
“What are you … some kinda Jedi Master?” Jeff asked.
“I’m psychic,” Mr. Leach wheezed. His last word echoed about the basement, bringing more shushes from around the building.
“Oh,” Jeff whispered. He had encountered these people before; every paranormal group seemed to have them. Out of the dozen or so self-proclaimed psychics Jeff had known in his life, there was only one he believed legitimate. An old shut-in, who he delivered prescriptions to while in college, told him some interesting things about his life that came to pass a short time later.
“So, where is my fiancée?” Jeff asked.
There was a long silence before Mr. Leach replied flatly. “With another man, I’m afraid.”
Jeff didn’t say anything. He knew she was with another man now. Lurid images filled his head as to what they may be doing right now. Acid boiled in his guts and his heart began to pound. He didn’t expect this answer; he was looking for more of a geographical location. She had been with this schmuck for six months, two weeks, and three days, but he wasn’t counting.
“Does that shock you?” Mr. Leach whispered.
“You’re the psychic … you tell me,” Jeff barked. “Look, I just want to focus on the investigation, can we do that now?”
More shushes ensued followed by a booming female voice asking them to be quiet. Swoosie had some lungs.
They were so engrossed in their argument, neither man noticed the single cell door slowly swing open and a black shadow dart down the passageway. The air grew thick and uncomfortable, but both men thought it was from their awkward conversation.
Mr. Leach didn’t answer. A moment later, Jeff heard the beep of a digital recorder turning on. The small red recording light resembled a one-eyed demon in the complete darkness. Jeff knew he hurt the guy’s feelings, but he didn’t care. Mr. Leach had trodden on areas of Jeff’s life where he wasn’t welcome. In fact, no one was welcome. His fiancée had been the last living member of anything resembling family for Jeff. She had tried to get him to see a shrink to cope with his parent’s death, but he refused. Thus, the wedge between them was forged.
On the surface, Jeff seemed to recover. He tried to move on with his life. His preacher once told him that time is a river, washing away all pains and transgressions. Yet, for those who grieve, time is often an ocean. It ebbs and flows, sometimes exposing the pain lurking beneath the surface of our consciousness with each experience.
“Truth,” Jeff thought.
He finally turned on his digital recorder and began to alternate questions with Mr. Leach.
Is anyone with us?”
“Are you angry?”
“What is your name?”
“How old are you?”
“Why are you here?”
“When did you die?”
They repeated this process several times in different areas of the building. They never heard anything. Hopefully, there would be some evidence on the recording.
Jeff found it difficult to focus. Of course, he was tired, yet it was much more than fatigue. Mr. Leach had upset him, there was no denying it. The thing bothering him the most was the image running through his head; His fiancée and some faceless man with a Chippendale’s body were in bed together. He tried to push it aside and focus on the reason he was here. When he turned his thoughts to his parents, it did not help. He kept seeing the make-shift white cross memorial at the site of his parents’ crash. The same cross where he had recorded his mother’s voice. It wasn’t only the mental image distracting him. His mother’s one-word response echoed in his head after every EVP question – “Jeff”. A few times he thought he heard her voice coming from the darkness – “Jeff”.
Jeff knew it was fatigue, it had to be. If not, Mr. Leach would have heard something.
Jeff left Sunday morning frustrated. He sat in his truck and watched the last act unfold in what had been an all-night circus. Swoosie, her daughter, Mr. Leach, and a few other men sat in folding chairs arranged in a circle on the front lawn. They had asked Jeff to join them, but he respectfully declined. They burned sage while performing a cleansing ritual.
“We can’t have any spirits following us home,” Swoosie’s daughter proclaimed. “This’ll keep ‘em put.”
The obese Swoosie sat with her back to him. Her butt dangled on either side of the stressed chair as the legs sank into the soft and dewy sod. She swung a burning leaf around her head, making her resemble an elephant trying to douse the flames of a burning tree.
Jeff realized the only way he would get anywhere is starting his own team. He turned the ignition, causing his lights to fall on the group. They turned and glowered as if he farted and belched in church. He smiled and waved as he shifted the truck into gear.
Missouri Spirit Seekers,” Jeff muttered as he left the gate, “seems more like shit seekers.”
***
Excerpt from Death Theory by John D. Mimms. Copyright © 2017 by John D. Mimms. Reproduced with permission from John D. Mimms. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

John D. Mimms
John D. Mimms is a business owner, paranormal researcher and author. John served as the Technical Director for a TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) family paranormal research group in Central Arkansas. During his four-year tenure with the organization, he helped supervise over 100 investigations and wrote more than sixteen technical articles. Paul Bradford, of Ghost Hunters International fame, read one of John's articles titled A Christmas Carol Debunked live on the air of the Parazona Radio program on Christmas Day 2009. John also wrote a definitive technical/training manual, which is a comprehensive guide on equipment usage, investigation protocol and scientific theory for paranormal research.

In 2009 John decided to couple his knowledge of paranormal phenomena with his lifelong love of literary fiction. John's first published work, The Tesla Gate, is the first installment of a three-part, heart-wrenching, sci-fi/paranormal drama.

Book 1 of this unique, ground-breaking story released July 2014 through Open Road Media. In January 2016, Open Road Media released The Tesla Gate Book 2: The Myriad Resistance. Book 3: The Eye of Madness is slated for release September 27, 2016. Though fictional, the trilogy is based on scientific, paranormal theory.

Publishers Weekly declared about The Tesla Gate in the March 3, 2014 issue "…touching sci-fi story that takes the reader on an unlikely road-trip adventure…a fast read with some entertaining ideas and a real emotional core in the relationship between father and son."

The Examiner proclaimed in June 2014: "Entertaining as well as poignant, this book is extremely imaginative in its basic premise as well as the many colorful and emotionally compelling events that take place."

John resides and writes on a mountaintop in central Arkansas with his wife and two sons.

Catch Up With Our Author On: Website , Goodreads , Twitter , & Facebook !


Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for John D. Mimms. There will be 3 winners of one (1) physical copy of Death Theory by John D. Mimms (US ONLY) AND 3 winners of one (1) audiobook copy of Death Theory by John D. Mimms. The giveaway begins on February 1, 2018 and runs through March 31, 2018. This giveaway is open to US addressess only.
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#BookReview White Houses by Amy Bloom @AmyBloomBooks @randomhouse

White Houses by Amy Bloom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lorena Hickok meets Eleanor Roosevelt in 1932 while reporting on Franklin Roosevelt's first presidential campaign. Having grown up worse than poor in South Dakota and reinvented herself as the most prominent woman reporter in America, "Hick," as she's known to her friends and admirers, is not quite instantly charmed by the idealistic, patrician Eleanor. But then, as her connection with the future first lady deepens into intimacy, what begins as a powerful passion matures into a lasting love, and a life that Hick never expected to have. She moves into the White House, where her status as "first friend" is an open secret, as are FDR's own lovers. After she takes a job in the Roosevelt administration, promoting and protecting both Roosevelts, she comes to know Franklin not only as a great president but as a complicated rival and an irresistible friend, capable of changing lives even after his death. Through it all, even as Hick's bond with Eleanor is tested by forces both extraordinary and common, and as she grows as a woman and a writer, she never loses sight of the love of her life.

From Washington to Hyde Park, from a little white house on Long Island to an apartment on Manhattan's Washington Square, Amy Bloom's new novel moves elegantly through fascinating places and times, written in compelling prose and with emotional depth, wit, and acuity.


**********

I first read about Lorena Hickok and Eleanor Roosevelt last year when I read Loving Eleanor by Susan Wittig Albert. It's a fabulous book, deep and well researched. And I loved it. So, when I learned about White Houses by Amy Bloom was I curious about how it would be. I'm glad to say that this one is also very good, well-written and engrossing.

I'm fascinated by the Roosevelt family and even though FDR is my favorite do I find Eleanor Roosevelt to be such an interesting woman. This book is a fictional take on Eleanor's relationship with Lorena Hickok. It's an engaging tale, where we get to Lorena's POV of her growing up with fan abusing father, her time at a circus and of course her first interview with Eleanor that starts off a love affair.

However, I did feel that, despite the wonderful portrayal of the characters, and the compelling dialog that the story lacked the depth that Loving Eleanor had. I miss some parts from Loving Eleanor, like for instance how their relationship was put an end by FDR because they were a risk to the presidency. I never really got the sense of what happened to them in this book. Lorena moved out from the White House and was involved with another woman. And, then that relationship ended. Sometimes the story just felt a bit disjointed. But, that's perhaps the point, although it did feel like Lorena jumped from thought to thought in her recollection of her relationship with Eleanor.

If you want a tragic love story is this book great. There are several wonderful memorable scenes that I loved like Lorena last meeting with Franklin. Or in the beginning when Eleanor arrives at Lorena's place after Franklin's death. I think that Amy Bloom did a wonderful job of describing the book's characters.

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

Sunday, 11 February 2018

#BookReview De vackra döda (The Beautiful Dead) by Belinda Bauer (SWE/ENG) @BelindaBauer @ModernistaRed

The Beautiful Dead by Belinda Bauer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

SWEDISH REVIEW

Han kommer kanske att döda henne.
Hon låter honom kanske göra det.

Eve Singer är beroende av döden. Hennes karriär som kriminalreporter på TV är på väg att dala, och hon är beredd att ta till nästan vilka medel som helst för att tillfredsställa sin blodtörstiga publik.

Mördaren är också beroende av döden. Inte nog med att han fortsätter att döda. Han tillkännager dessutom sina makabra framträdanden i förväg, i syfte att visa upp döendets skönhet för världen.

När han kontaktar Eve tar hon tacksamt emot erbjudandet om att få vara först med varje nytt och blodigt spektakel. Tills hon inser att mördaren har två besattheter - och att hon är den andra


**********

Jag måste erkänna att jag hade helt fel bild av Eve Singer innan jag började läsa denna bok. Jag såg framför mig en kallhamrad reporter som skulle göra allting för sin karriär. Men Eve är så mycket mer än det. Hon är inte en av blodtörstig reporter som är beredd att kliva över lik för att nå framgångar. Faktum är att hon har problem med blod och det märks väldigt tidigt i denna bok då när läsaren för första fången möter henne så kräks hon pga. av att scenen hon precis har sett. Men hon måste göra ett bra jobb, måste tillfredsställa sin chefs behov av sensationer för att få behålla jobbet. För hon måste ha jobbet. Hemma har hon sin sjuka far, vem ska ta hand om honom om hon mister jobbet och sin inkomst?

Tyvärr så får hon stora problem på halsen när en seriemördare fastnar för henne och beslutar sig för att kontakta henne varje gång han planerar att döda någon. Så hon ställs inför ett dilemma informera sin chef om denna kontakt eller ej. Men ju mer tiden går desto säkrare blir hon att hon måste kontakta polisen, innan mördaren ger sig på henne.

De vackra döda är en spännande thriller, men det är också en bok om relationer. Eve Singer kämpar varje dag med att ta hand om sin sjuka far, samtidigt som hon måste göra ett bra jobb. Runt omkring henne finns det de som vill hjälpa henne, om hon bara släpper in dem i livet. Men hon tar på sig så mycket. Och så får hon ett videoklipp skickat till sig som förändrar hela hennes liv. Hur ska hon tackla faktumet att en mördare verkar ha blivit besatt av henne? Kan hon verkligen gå så långt att tjäna på en seriemördares besatthet av henne? 

Boken är fantastiskt bra och jag ser fram emot att läsa fler böcker av Belinda Bauer och eftersom detta är den första jag har läst av henne så har jag en hel del kvar att läsa!

Tack till Modernista för recensionsexemplaret!


ENGLISH REVIEW

TV crime reporter Eve Singer’s career is flagging, but that starts to change when she covers a spate of bizarre murders—each one committed in public and advertised like an art exhibition. When the killer contacts Eve about her coverage of his crimes, she is suddenly on the inside of the biggest murder investigation of the decade. But as the killer becomes increasingly obsessed with her, Eve realizes there’s a thin line between inside information and becoming an accomplice to murder—possibly her own.

A seamlessly-plotted thriller that will keep readers breathless until the very end, The Beautiful Dead cements Belinda Bauer’s reputation as a master of heart-stopping suspense.

**********

I have to admit that I had a completely wrong picture of Eve Singer before I started reading this book. I saw in front of me a cold-hearted reporter who would do everything for her career. But Eve is so much more than that. She is not a bloodthirsty reporter who is prepared to step over corpses to achieve success. In fact, she has a problem with blood and very early in this book is she vomiting because of the scene she just saw. But she has to do a good job, must satisfy her boss's need for sensations to keep the job. Because she must have the job. At home, she has a sick father and who will take care of him if she loses her job and income?

Unfortunately, she gets into a big problem when a serial killer gets obsessed with her and decides to contact her every time he plans to kill someone. So she faces a dilemma, informing her boss about this contact or not. But the more time goes, the surer she becomes that she has to contact the police before the killer gets on her.

The Beautiful Dead is an impressive thriller, but it's also a book about relationships. Eve Singer struggles every day to take care of her sick father while doing a good job. Around Eve are the people who want to help her if she just lets them into her life. But she takes on so much. And then she gets a video sent to herself that changes her entire life. How will she tackle the fact that a murderer seems to have become obsessed with her? Can she really go so far that she would earn money on a serial killers obsession of her? 

The book is fantastic and I look forward to reading more books by Belinda Bauer and since this is the first one I have read of her I have a lot to read!

Thanks to Modernista for the review copy!

#BookReview För oss är natten ljus (For Us The Night Is Light) by Christoffer Holst (SWE/ENG) @Bokfabriken

För oss är natten ljus by Christoffer Holst
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

SWEDISH REVIEW

Kan världens bästa stad laga världens värsta familj?

När familjen Brickman äntligen ska lämna USA och åka hem till Sverige efter den pliktskyldigt besökta begravningen av de vuxna barnens farfar nås de av beskedet att Norwegians piloter har gått ut i strejk. De är strandsatta i New York.

En dröm för många, men en mardröm för Oliver.

Han försöker ignorera det faktum att han tvingas dela rum med sin pensionärstorra syster, krisande mamma, nya unga styvmor och kärlekskranka pappa och istället fokusera på att han faktiskt är i New York. Möjligheternas och musikalernas stad. Och att drömmen om ett liv på Broadway plötsligt känns inom räckhåll.

Under fyra dagar ställs allt på ända bland gula taxibilar, nätter på Brooklyn Bridge och glittrande storstadsgator. För oss är natten ljus av Christoffer Holst är en feelgood-roman om drömmar, förälskelse, familjeband och försoning.


**********

För oss är natten ljus är en fantastisk kul men samtidigt tragisk bok om en familj som tvingas under fyra dagar att umgås i New York då deras plan hem till Sverige har blivit inställt pga. av strejk. Tacksamt nog hittar de en plats att sova på då Olivers faster, som jobbar med Broadwaymusikaler, entusiastiskt tar emot dem. Olivers far är inte så nöjd med arrangemanget då han har ingen kontakt med sin syster längre och de har först nu på begravningen träffas igen. Och så måste ju Olivers mamma och styvmamma umgås också, samt Olivers storasyster som beter sig som om pensionen är runt hörnet trots att hon bara är lite över tjugo. Med andra ord, det är bäddat för konflikter!

För oss är natten ljus är en underbar feelgood bok som jag blåste igenom. Den har både rolig men också tragisk, men de mer allvarliga delarna, som när syrran får en dick pic inte menat för henne blir ändå vansinnigt roligt när hon efter det beslutar sig för att vara lite mindre allvarlig till Olivers förskräckelse. Sedan har vi Oliver själv som äntligen får sin chans att pröva vingarna på Broadway, om han vågar.

Boken är verkligen minnesvärd och jag ser fram emot att läsa mer av Christoffer Holst! 

Tack till Bokfabriken för recensionsexemplaret!

ENGLISH REVIEW

Can the world's best city fix the world's worst family?

When the Brickman family finally is about to leave the United States and return home to Sweden after the burial of the grandchildren's grandfather, are they notified that Norwegian pilots have gone on strike. They are stranded in New York.

A dream for many, but a nightmare for Oliver.

He tries to ignore the fact that he is forced to share a room with his young (but acting as a pensioner) sister, a mom in crisis, the new young stepmother and lovelorn daddy and instead focuses on being in New York. The city of opportunities and musicals. And that dream of a life on Broadway suddenly feels within reach.

Over four days everything is turned upside down among yellow taxis, nights on Brooklyn Bridge and sparkling metropolitan streets. For us, the night is light by Christoffer Holst is a feelgood novel about dreams, love, family ties and reconciliation.

**********

For Us The Night Is Light light is a story about a family forced to spend four days in New York when their plan home to Sweden has been canceled due to a strike. Thankfully, they find a place to sleep when Oliver's aunt, who works with Broadway musicians, enthusiastically takes them in. Oliver's father is not so happy with the arrangement as he has no contact with his sister anymore and they and only their father's death brought them together. To make matters worse, Oliver's mom and stepmother must also stay at the same place, as well as Oliver's big sister who behaves like the retirement is around the corner even though she's only a little over twenty. In other words, it will be chaos.

For Us The Night Is Light is a wonderful feelgood book that I blew through. It's funny, but also tragic, but the more serious things, like when Oliver's sister gets a dick pic, turn the table completely and she goes from being the proper young lady to a, well let's say she decided to bring back the old party going self. Then, we have Oliver himself who finally gets his chance to try the wings on Broadway, if he dares.

The book is really great and I look forward to reading more of Christoffer Holst!

Thanks to Bokfabriken for the review copy!

Saturday, 10 February 2018

#BookReview Wisp of a Thing by Alex Bledsoe @AlexBledsoe

Wisp of a Thing by Alex Bledsoe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Alex Bledsoe’s The Hum and the Shiver was named one of the Best Fiction Books of 2011 by Kirkus Reviews. Now with Wisp of a Thing Bledsoe returns to the isolated ridges and hollows of the Smoky Mountains to spin an equally enchanting tale of music and magic older than the hills….

Touched by a very public tragedy, musician Rob Quillen comes to Cloud County, Tennessee, in search of a song that might ease his aching heart. All he knows of the mysterious and reclusive Tufa is what he has read on the internet: they are an enigmatic clan of swarthy, black-haired mountain people whose historical roots are lost in myth and controversy. Some people say that when the first white settlers came to the Appalachians centuries ago, they found the Tufa already there. Others hint that Tufa blood brings special gifts.

Rob finds both music and mystery in the mountains. Close-lipped locals guard their secrets, even as Rob gets caught up in a subtle power struggle he can’t begin to comprehend. A vacationing wife goes missing, raising suspicions of foul play, and a strange feral girl runs wild in the woods, howling in the night like a lost spirit.

Change is coming to Cloud County, and only the night wind knows what part Rob will play when the last leaf falls from the Widow’s Tree…and a timeless curse must be broken at last.


**********

I'm currently listening through every book in the Tufa series before I start reading The Fairies of Sadieville, the latest book in the series that will be published in April. I'm right on the fifth book, the one before The Fairies of Sadieville, so I'm sure I will get to The Fairies of Sadieville before the pub.date!

In the first book of the Tufa series, The Hum and the Shiver are we introduced to the strange people that live in the Smoky Mountains. The Tufas is said to have been there before the Native Americans arrived in the United States and this book gives more clues to what they really are...

Musician Rob Quillen comes to Cloud County, Tennessee looking for a special song that will take away his heartache. But, he gets more than he bargains for when he gets caught up in a power struggle between two different groups of Tufas. For the people on the outside of the community is the Tufas one group of similar looking people, but there has been a power between those that follow Rockhouse Hicks and those that follow Mandalay Harris for a long time. And it the woods a wisp of a thing, a feral girl is running screaming, for when the last leaf falls from the Widow's Three, then the curse that has made what she is will finally be the end of her...

We were introduced to Bliss Overbay in the first book that starred Bronwyn Hyatt, the war heroine (a great book as well, read it). In this book, however, is Brownwyn taking a step back and it's Bliss time to be in the center as she tries to figure out how Rob Quillen can see things only a true Tufa can see. I found this book to be an absolute delight to listen to, just like the first book. As a big fan of urban fantasy, do I love the Tufa people that have so many interesting secrets. And, I love how this book gives away some more secrets about them. Also, the storyline about the wisp of a thing is so heartbreaking.

I recommend this series warmly!

#BlogTour Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton @ChanelCleeton

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Next Year in Havana 
by Chanel Cleeton

February 6, 2018
Women’s Fiction/Historical Fiction
Penguin/Berkley

Book Summary


After the death of her beloved grandmother, a Cuban-American woman travels to Havana, where she discovers the roots of her identity--and unearths a family secret hidden since the revolution...

Havana, 1958. The daughter of a sugar baron, nineteen-year-old Elisa Perez is part of Cuba's high society, where she is largely sheltered from the country's growing political unrest--until she embarks on a clandestine affair with a passionate revolutionary...


Miami, 2017. Freelance writer Marisol Ferrera grew up hearing romantic stories of Cuba from her late grandmother Elisa, who was forced to flee with her family during the revolution. Elisa's last wish was for Marisol to scatter her ashes in the country of her birth. 


Arriving in Havana, Marisol comes face-to-face with the contrast of Cuba's tropical, timeless beauty and its perilous political climate. When more family history comes to light and Marisol finds herself attracted to a man with secrets of his own, she'll need the lessons of her grandmother's past to help her understand the true meaning of courage.



Book Review


Next year in Havana is one of those books that I took one look at and just knew that I wanted to read. The cover is breathtakingly beautiful and the blurb promised the reader an unforgettable story. I was very interested in Che Guevara in my early twenties, and I still find him to be a fascinating person. And the history of Cuba is also very interesting so guess my delight to get the chance of reading a historical fiction book set in Cuba.

Next year in Havana has a dual storyline, with one story taking place in 1958 when Batista was driven from the country and Castro took control of the country and you either stayed and took your chance with the new government or you left like the Perez family did in this book. They hoped that they would one day return to Havana, but it will not be until 2017 before a member of the Perez family will return when Marisol Ferrera travels to her family's birth country.

I particularly liked the contrast between now and then Cuba will reading the book. In many ways have time stood still in Cuba since Castro took power and through this book, one gets a glimpse both how it was during Batista's rule and the situations in the country after Castro's death. The most tragic thing is that the people just wanted to be free and they thought Castro would be the one to give back Cuba to its people. It didn't turn out that way instead they traded one terrible situation for another.

The book also promotes the reader some passionate love stories, both Elisa and Marisol found themselves swept off their feet. I guarantee if you are looking for some great love stories, then you don't need to look any further!

Next Year in Havana is a fantastic book with two equally interesting storylines. And the best thing is that there will be a sequel released about Eliza's sister Beatriz. I can't wait to read the book!



Book Links



Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2pYsJJY


IndieBound: http://bit.ly/2zrt11m



Learn more about Next Year in Havana including downloading the book club guide and more at: http://www.chanelcleeton.com/next-year-in-havana/

Add Beatriz Perez’s story WHEN WE LEFT CUBA on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38193131-when-we-left-cuba



Praise for Next Year in Havana

Chanel Cleeton's Next Year In Havana is a flat-out stunner of a book, at once a dual-timeline mystery, a passionate romance, and paean to the tragedy and beauty of war-torn Cuba. The story of sugar heiress Elisa, watching Cuba fall into revolution as Castro rises, is intertwined with the modern-day tale of Elisa's granddaughter Marisol as she returns to Cuba after Castro's death. Both women fall for fire-brand revolutionaries, but Cuba itself emerges as their true love-interest, threatening to break both women's hearts as Elisa and Marisol each grapple in their own way with what it is to be Cuban, what it is to be an exile, and how to love and live in a homeland riven by revolution. Simply wonderful!

- Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network

Cleeton has penned an atmospheric, politically insightful, and highly hopeful homage to a lost world. Devour NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA and you, too, will smell the perfumed groves, taste the ropa vieja, and feel the sun on your face. Just a wonderful and educational book!

- Stephanie Dray, New York Times bestselling author of America's First Daughter

A vivid, transporting novel. Next Year in Havana is about journeys-- into exile, into history, and into questions of home and identity. It's an engrossing read.


- David Ebershoff, author of The Danish Girl and The 19th Wife

An evocative, passionate story of family loyalty and forbidden love that moves seamlessly between the past and present of Cuba’s turbulent history— how one young woman’s sacrifice becomes the key to her granddaughter’s future—how culture and spirit survive against all odds. Next Year in Havana kept me enthralled and savoring every word.
- Shelley Noble, New York Times bestselling author of Whisper Beach

In Next Year in Havana, Chanel Cleeton's prose is as beautiful as Cuba itself, and the story she weaves--of exile and loss, memory and myth, forbidden love and enduring friendship--is at once sweeping and beautifully intimate. This is a moving, heartfelt, and gorgeously realized story that will stay with you long after you turn the final page.

- Jennifer Robson, USA Today bestselling author of Somewhere in France



Author Information:


Originally from Florida, Chanel Cleeton grew up on stories of her family's exodus from Cuba following the events of the Cuban Revolution. Her passion for politics and history continued during her years spent studying in England where she earned a bachelor's degree in International Relations from Richmond, The American International University in London and a master's degree in Global Politics from the London School of Economics & Political Science. Chanel also received her Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law. She loves to travel and has lived in the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia.


Thursday, 8 February 2018

#CoverCrush Where the Fire Falls by Karen Barnett

For new visitors do I want to explain that Cover Crush is something that my friend Erin over at Flashlight Commentary came up with and I adopted the idea together with some other friends. And, now we try to put up a Cover Crush every week. You can check below my pick of the week for their choices this week!
Stunning Yosemite National Park sets the stage for this late 1920s historical romance with mystery, adventure, heart, and a sense of the place John Muir described as “pervaded with divine light.”

Watercolorist Olivia Rutherford has shed her humble beginnings to fashion her image as an avant-garde artist to appeal to the region’s wealthy art-collectors. When she lands a lucrative contract painting illustrations of Yosemite National Park for a travel magazine, including its nightly one-of-a-kind Firefall event, she hopes the money will lift Olivia and her sisters out of poverty.

After false accusations cost him everything, former minister Clark Johnson has found purpose as a backcountry guide in this natural cathedral of granite and trees. Now he’s faced with the opportunity to become a National Parks Ranger, but is it his true calling?

As Clark opens Olivia’s eyes to the wonders of Yosemite, she discovers the people are as vital to the park’s story as its vistas—a revelation that may bring her charade to an end.

Thoughts:

When it was time to decided this week's Cover Crush did I not have to go far. I have just gotten an eARC of this book and I'm totally charmed by the cover. I love the old poster look. The colors and the painted motives. It's the kind of cover I would love to have on my walls at home. 

Check out what my friends have picked for Cover Crush's this week:

Stephanie @ Layered Pages





Wednesday, 7 February 2018

#BlogTour The Line of His People by C.J. Adrien @AuthorCJAdrien @hfvbt

The Line of His People by C.J. Adrien

Publication Date: September 1, 2013
Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, AudioBook
Series: Kindred of the Sea, Book #1
Genre: Fiction/Historical/Vikings
France, 799 A.D. The Northmen sacked the monastery at dawn, before anyone had awakened. They burned the village and slaughtered all who stood in their path. The relics of Saint Philbert were lost, and the island was abandoned by those who once dwelled there. 

Years later, the monk Abriel - survivor of the same attack as a young boy - is sent to recover the relics to help restore the reputation and legitimacy of Saint Philbert. What he discovers on his journey changes his life forever. 

Northmen had colonized the island in the absence of the monks. They hold the key to finding the relics, but they have greater plans for Abriel, plans that will take him to the North to find his destiny.

"Adrien's novel is a well thought out, deeply researched narrative that marries history with young adult fiction. In a time where females are popular among the young adult sector, this male focused novel is a welcome reprieve and appeals to a need for an action packed novel." - Portland Book Review

"A well-written tale with vividly imagined characters." - Trevor Schmidt, author of The Corsair Uprising series.

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The Oath of the Father by C.J. Adrien

Publication Date: March 1, 2015
eBook & Paperback
Series: Kindred of the Sea, Book #2
Genre: Fiction/Historical/Vikings
Coast of Brittany, 822 A.D. 

King Abriel Haraldsson is a man on the run. 

Injured in combat, his warriors take him to a nearby monastery to find a healer. The monks accept to care for him, but fake his death and steal him away to a distant island to be reconverted to their faith. 

Believing the king of Herius to be dead, suitors from the north descend upon the island kingdom with the intent to marry Queen Kenna to usurp her husband's lands and wealth. Most terrifying among them is the fierce warlord Turgeis -- known for his prowess in battle and lust for blood -- who sets his sights upon the queen. 

When a messenger from afar returns with news that Abriel survived his injuries, Turgeis sets sail to ensure the king will never return. 

Thus began the hunt.

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About the Author

C.J. Adrien is a French-American author of Viking historical fiction with a passion for Viking history. His Kindred of the Sea series was inspired by research conducted in preparation for a doctoral program in early medieval history as well as his admiration for historical fiction writers such as Bernard Cornwell and Ken Follett. C.J. Adrien’s novels and expertise have earned him invitations to speak at several international events, including the International Medieval Congress at the University of Leeds. For more information, please visit C.J. Adrien's website and blog.

You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule


Monday, January 29 
Kick Off at Passages to the Past 

Thursday, February 1 
Review at Donna's Book Blog (The Line of His People) 

Monday, February 5 
Review at Pursuing Stacie (The Line of His People) 

Wednesday, February 7 
Feature at A Bookaholic Swede 

Monday, February 12 
Review at The Writing Desk (The Line of His People) 

Tuesday, February 13 

Thursday, February 15 
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books 

Friday, February 16 
Feature at Broken Teepee 

Monday, February 19 
Review at Laura's Interests (The Line of His People) 

Tuesday, February 20 
Review at Donna's Book Blog (The Oath of the Father)
Feature at A Literary Vacation 

Friday, February 23 
Review at Cup of Sensibility 

Monday, February 26 
Review at Pursuing Stacie (The Oath of the Father) 

Thursday, March 1 
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books (The Line of His People) 

Monday, March 5 
Review at Laura's Interests (The Oath of the Father) 

Tuesday, March 6 
Review at WS Momma Readers Nook (The Line of His People) 

Tuesday, March 13 
Tour Wrap Up at Passages to the Past

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a set of The Line of His People & The Oath of the Father! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on March 13th. 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.

  C.J. Adrien Blog Tour