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Monday, March 31, 2014

HFVBT Book Blast: Inscription by H.H. Miller

H.H. Miller’s Book Blast for Inscription will be featured around the blogopshere from March 31-April 13.

Inscription_CoverPublication: January 9, 2014
H.H Miller
Paperback; 278p
ISBN-10: 0615944418
eBook; 700kb
ASIN: B00HSBNW5Y
The year is 1851 and the Grand Guard is ravaging Mainland. Arrests. Floggings. Swift executions. Twenty-year-old Caris McKay, the beautiful heiress of Oakside Manor, is sent to live with distant relations until the danger has passed. It’s no refuge, however, as Lady Granville and her scheming son plot to get their hands on Caris’s inheritance with treachery and deceit.
Soon, alarming news arrives that the ruthless Captain James Maldoro has seized Oakside and imprisoned Caris’s beloved uncle. And now he’s after her.
Caris escapes with the help of Tom Granville, the enigmatic silver-eyed heir of Thornbridge. But when a cryptic note about a hidden fortune launches them on a perilous journey across Mainland, Caris and Tom must rely on wits, courage, and their growing love for each other if they hope to survive.
Filled with adventure, intrigue, and romance, Inscription will transport you to a historically fictional world you’ll never want to leave.
READ AN EXCERPT.

Buy the Book

Amazon (eBook)
Amazon (Paperback)

About the AuthorH.H. Miller Author

H. H. Miller is the author of the novel Inscription, a historically fictional romantic adventure. In real life, she’s content director at Stoke Strategy, a brand strategy firm in Seattle, Washington, where she specializes in transforming what some might call “boring” technology jargon into compelling, readable, memorable stories. Her favorite escape is Manzanita, Oregon – a place of beautiful beaches, wild storms, chilly nights around the bonfire (even in July), and time to enjoy life with her husband and three children.
For more information please visit H.H. Miller’s Facebook Page.

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, March 31
A Bookish Affair
Closed the Cover
Mina’s Bookshelf
Tuesday, April 1
Historical Fiction Connection
Wednesday, April 2
Book Nerd
CelticLady’s Reviews
Thursday, April 3
Flashlight Commentary
Friday, April 4
The Mad Reviewer
Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Saturday, April 5
Pages of Comfort
Sunday, April 6
So Many Books, So Little Time
Monday, April 7
Confessions of an Avid Reader
History from a Woman’s Perspective
Tuesday, April 8
The True Book Addict
Historical Fiction Obsession
Wednesday, April 9
Broken Teepee
Thursday, April 10
SOS Aloha
Caroline Wilson Writes
Friday, April 11
Layered Pages
Saturday, April 12
Susan Heim on Writing
Sunday, April 13
Passages to the Past
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Review: Blackwell's Paradise by V.E. Ulett

Title: Blackwell's Paradise
Author: V.E. Ulett
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Old Salt Press
Publish Date: January 31, 2014
Source: I received a copy from the author; however, this did not affect my review.






Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a historical fiction fan.
  • You want some adventure!
  • You're an armchair traveler.
  • You're looking for a little romance.
What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "Relive the pleasure of falling into the past with the author of Captain Blackwell’s Prize, in Volume II of Blackwell’s Adventures.

The repercussions of a court martial and the ill-will of powerful men at the Admiralty pursue Royal Navy captain James Blackwell into the Pacific, where danger lurks around every coral reef. Even if Captain Blackwell and Mercedes survive the venture into the world of early nineteenth century exploration, can they emerge unchanged with their love intact. The mission to the Great South Sea will test their loyalties and strength, and define the characters of Captain Blackwell and his lady in Blackwell’s Paradise."


My Two Cents:

"Blackwell's Paradise" is the second book in V.E. Ulett's Blackwell's Adventures series. This was another exciting addition to Captain Blackwell's tales and I am already looking forward to more (will there be more? please!). Although this is a second book in the series, this book works as a standalone but you should really read the first book in the series if you like historical fiction, romance, and adventure.

You have to love an adventure on the high seas. There is so much excitement and so much dangerous and I really enjoyed reading all about it. This book is full of great historical detail that I ate up. I especially liked reading about Captain Blackwell and Mercedes, his wife, in Hawaii. I haven't read a lot of fiction set in Hawaii, especially not set during this time period so I really enjoyed this (love, love, love something new). Ulett added a lot of good detail to this book that really brought it to life for me.

This book finds Captain Blackwell and Mercedes on another adventure. Their love has grown and they are seemingly even more enamored in this book. I loved the love story between them. I like both of their characters but Mercedes continued to be very interesting to me in this book. She is so strong and you really get to see that once they get to Hawaii and start interacting with the natives.

This is a fantastic series when you're looking to just get lost in an adventure! 


 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Review: Division by Karen A. Wyle

Title: Division
Author: Karen A. Wyle
Format: Ebook
Publisher: Self-published
Publish Date: October 29, 2013
Source: I received a copy from the author; however, this did not affect my review.






Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a sci-fi fan.
  • You like asking 'what if.'
 What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "
Conjoined twins Gordon and Johnny have never let their condition keep them from living full and fulfilling lives. Gordon looks forward to many years of closeness and cooperation. Johnny, however, faces their future with increasing restlessness, even dread.

When the boys are in their teens, the new technologies of accelerated human cloning and brain transplants are combined into a single medical procedure -- Transplant to Clone, or TTC. Someone whose body has suffered such extensive damage as to make normal life impossible may -- with court approval -- be cloned and then given a brain transplant into the clone body. With Gordon's unwitting assistance, Johnny realizes that the TTC procedure provides the chance he had never dared to hope for -- the chance to live in a "normal," separate body.

But Gordon considers their conjoined life a blessing, rather than a curse. He has no intention of accepting separation -- not without a fight . . . .

Division, like Wyle's earlier novels, uses original settings and situations to explore universal themes: the complexity and intensity of family relationships, the nature of individual identity, and the far-reaching effects of the choices we make."


My Two Cents:

One of the things that I love most about sci-fi is its ability to make you ask what if and its ability to make you think long after you've closed the book. "Division" is very much in that vein. Gordon and Johnny are conjoined teenaged twins. When Johnny decides that they want to use new technology to live a separate life, it is not an easy choice for Gordon. On top of that, there are people in the world that will condemn the twins for their choice. Once one of them makes a choice, nothing will ever be the same for either twin.

I enjoyed this book. It is so interesting to think about what I would do in the twin's situation. I love books that make you question ethics. It is hard to know what I would do in that situation but I did like exploring that dilemma with the twins. I really liked how Wyle was able to make the technology in the book feel real. This book doesn't seem like it takes place too far in the future but the author wove in a lot of details to make Johnny and Gordon's world feel real.

The book had nice pacing and kept me reading. I was a little bit confused about one element in the book. The twins grew up with their neighbor, Dodi. Dodi falls in love with both of them and doesn't necessarily want them to separate. What confused me is that although Dodi says she sees them as separate people, she treats them as one unit even after the separation, which results in an interesting situation (I don't want to give anything away) that was not really resolved for me at the end of the book. I wish things were tied up a little more. Can Dodi really love both twins equally? Will there really not be any jealousy between them? That being said, I did still really enjoy this book.

This book would be a good pick for a sci-fi lover who wants something to think about long after they close the book.


 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

TLC Book Tours Review and Giveaway: The Moon Sisters by Therese Walsh

Title: The Moon Sisters
Author: Therese Walsh
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Crown
Publish Date: March 4, 2014
Source: TLC Book Tours


What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "After their mother's probable suicide, sisters Olivia and Jazz are figuring out how to move on with their lives. Jazz, logical and forward-thinking, decides to get a new job, but spirited, strong-willed Olivia, who can see sounds, taste words, and smell sights, is determined to travel to the remote setting of their mother's unfinished novel to say her final goodbyes and lay their mother's spirit to rest.

Though they see things very differently, Jazz is forced by her sense of duty to help Olivia reach her goal. Bitter and frustrated by the attention heaped on her sunny sister whose world is so unique, Jazz is even more upset when they run into trouble along the way and Olivia latches to a worldly train-hopper. Though Hobbs warns Olivia that he's a thief who shouldn't be trusted, he agrees to help with their journey. As they near their destination, the tension builds between the two sisters, each hiding something from the other, and they will finally be forced to face everything between them and decide what is really important."


My Two Cents:

"The Moon Sisters" is the story of Olivia and Jazz. They are sisters but incredibly different from each other. Jazz is grounded. She has had to be her sister's keeper ever since they were little girls. Olivia is a dreamer. She was diagnosed with synesthesia, a neurological syndrome that mixes up Olivia's senses. She can see sounds and taste words. It has caused her to be sort of an outcast in their small town. I loved this element so much. It really added a lot to the book.

After their mother dies, their world is thrown into utter chaos, which will cause Olivia to run and Jazz to chase after her, just as they always have. This is a unique story and one that I know will be on my mind for a very long time.

I love stories about sisters. I love reading about that kind of relationship so much. The relationship between Jazz and Olivia is so interesting. Their relationship is very tumultuous but you can tell underneath all of that chaos that there is a strong love and a strong care for each other. Even the secondary characters in the book were really good. Olivia meets a train-hopper that "tastes like tomorrow" and follows him and throws her life into even more chaos. It's really wonderful.

I really liked the writing in this book. On the whole, I really enjoyed this book. It did get a little bit slow in the middle but then it picked back up towards the end. Overall, this is a very interesting tale filled with great characters!



Giveaway:

One lucky winner will win a copy of this great book (U.S. only)! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the Rest of the Tour:

Monday, March 3rd:  Lit and Life
Tuesday, March 4th:  Beth Fish Reads – “Today’s Read” guest post
Tuesday, March 4th:  Book Club Classics!
Wednesday, March 5th:  Book-a-licious Mama
Thursday, March 6th:  girlichef
Friday, March 7th:  Books in the Burbs
Monday, March 10th:  Bookchickdi
Tuesday, March 11th:  Traveling with T
Wednesday, March 12th:  Patricia’s Wisdom
Friday, March 14th:  The Book Barn
Monday, March 17th:  Book Snob
Tuesday, March 18th:  Fiction Addict
Tuesday, March 18th:  5 Minutes for Moms
Wednesday, March 19th:  Time 2 Read
Thursday, March 20th:  Bibliotica
Monday, March 24th:  Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Wednesday, March 26th:  A Novel Review
Thursday, March 27th:  A Bookish Affair
Tuesday, April 1st:  Suko’s Notebook
Wednesday, April 2nd:  A Reader of Fictions
Tuesday, April 8th:  Books a la Mode
 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

France Book Tours Review and Giveaway: The Collector of Dying Breaths by M.J. Rose

Title: The Collector of Dying Breaths
Author: M.J. Rose
Format: Ebook
Publisher: Atria
Publish Date: April 8, 2014
Source: France Book Tours






What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "A lush and imaginative novel that crisscrosses time as a perfumer and a mythologist search for the fine line between potion and poison, poison and passion…and past and present.

Florence, Italy—1533: An orphan named René le Florentin is plucked from poverty to become Catherine de Medici’s perfumer. Traveling with the young duchessina from Italy to France, René brings with him a cache of secret documents from the monastery where he was trained: recipes for exotic fragrances and potent medicines—and a formula for an alchemic process said to have the potential to reanimate the dead. In France, René becomes not only the greatest perfumer in the country but the most dangerous, creating deadly poisons for his Queen to use against her rivals. But while mixing herbs and essences under the light of flickering candles, Rene doesn’t begin to imagine the tragic and personal consequences for which his lethal potions will be responsible.

Paris, France—The Present: A renowned mythologist, Jac L’Etoile, is trying to recover from personal heartache by throwing herself into her work, learns of the 16th century perfumer who may have been working on an elixir that would unlock the secret to immortality. She becomes obsessed with René le Florentin’s work—particularly when she discovers the dying breathes he had collected during his lifetime. Jac’s efforts put her in the path of her estranged lover, Griffin North, a linguist who has already begun translating René le Florentin’s mysterious formula. Together they confront an eccentric heiress in possession of a world-class art collection. A woman who has her own dark purpose for the elixir… a purpose for which she believes the ends will justify her deadly means. This mesmerizing gothic tale of passion and obsession crisscrosses time, zigzagging from the violent days of Catherine de Medici’s court to twenty-first century France. Fiery and lush, set against deep, wild forests and dimly lit chateaus, The Collector of Dying Breaths illuminates the true path to immortality: the legacies we leave behind."


My Two Cents:

"The Collector of Dying Breaths" marks the return of perfumer and mythologist, Jac L'Etoile, who has a penchant for getting involved in mysteries. This book is the sixth book in the Reincarnationist series but like the other books in this series that I have read, this book can be read as a stand alone book. With a lot of good historical detail, mystery, and a touch of the paranormal, this book will appeal to many different types of readers. I enjoyed this latest installation!

Jac continues to be a stand out part of this series for me. She is such an interesting character. I loved following her through this book as she tries to figure out what happened to her beloved brother. If you're looking for a really sharp character, you're going to love her. I love her role as a perfumer. I'm a huge fan of perfume and found the science of perfuming and how she and her brother work with scents.

The book started out a bit slowly for me but then it picked up and did not let me go until the end of the book. Rose weaves in so many different elements that work really well together. I loved the historical detail. I also loved how Rose was able to weave in some fantastic elements into this story. I'm not sure that I believe in reincarnation but the way that Rose describes this in the book makes it feel like it could be real and you all know how much I love magical realism.

If you're looking for books that are a little off the beaten path, this is a good series for you!  






Giveaway:

This giveaway will be run a little bit differently than other giveaways on my site.

Here's how to enter:


  1. You will get 1 entry in the contest if you share about this book on Twitter or Facebook by April 13th (you can share my blog post if you want via the share buttons on this post).
  2. You must send me the url of your Twitter or Facebook post via email (my email address is abookishaffair(at)gmail(dot)com). If you don't send me the urls, you will not be entered in the contest.
  3. I will then randomly choose one person from all of the entries I receive and send that person's info to the tour organizer to be entered in the larger giveaway.
  4. The author will choose two winners out of all of the entries received who will receive a $25 Amazon gift card.
  5. The contest is open internationally.
Follow the Rest of the Tour:

Tuesday, March 25
Review + Giveaway at The Most Happy Reader
Wednesday, March 26
Review + Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Thursday, March 27
Review + Giveaway at
Musings of a Writer and Unabashed Francophile
Friday, March 28
Review + Interview + Giveaway at
Vvb32 Reads
Saturday, March 29
Review + Giveaway at Words And Peace
Sunday, March 30
Review + Giveaway at
Ciska’s Book Chest
Monday, March 31
Review + Giveaway at
Queen of All She Reads
Tuesday, April 1
Review + Giveaway at Books A To Z
Wednesday, April 2
Review + Giveaway at I Am, Indeed
Thursday, April 3
Review at Lisa’s Yarns
Friday, April 4
Review at Blog in France
Saturday, April 5
Review at Doing Dewey
Sunday, April 6
Review at Valli’s Book Den
Monday, April 7
Review + Giveaway at Wildmoo Books
Tuesday, April 8
Interview + Giveaway at Book Nerd
Wednesday, April 9
Review at An Accidental Blog
Thursday, April 10
Review + review video at
Kerrie Ann Salsac / Writing For Life
Friday, April 11

Review at Mystery Playground
Sunday, April 13
Review + Giveaway at Making My Mark

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

HF Virtual Book Tours Review and Giveaway: The Debt of Tamar by Nicole Dweck

Title: The Debt of Tamar
Author: Nicole Dweck
Format: Ebook
Publisher: Devon House Press
Publish Date: July 1, 2013
Source: HF Virtual Book Tours


Why You're Reading This Book:
  • You're a historical fiction fan.
  • You like books that are split between different time periods.
  • You're an armchair traveler.
What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "During the second half of the 16th century, a wealthy widow by the name of Doña Antonia Nissim is arrested and charged with being a secret Jew. The punishment? Death by burning. Enter Suleiman the Magnificent, an Ottoman "Schindler," and the most celebrated sultan in all of Turkish history. With the help of the Sultan, the widow and her children manage their escape to Istanbul. Life is seemingly idyllic for the family in their new home, that is, until the Sultan's son meets and falls in love with Tamar, Doña Antonia's beautiful and free-spirited granddaughter. A quiet love affair ensues until one day, the girl vanishes.

Over four centuries later, thirty-two year old Selim Osman, a playboy prince with a thriving real estate empire, is suddenly diagnosed with a life-theatening condition. Abandoning the mother of his unborn child, he vanishes from Istanbul without an explanation. In a Manhattan hospital, he meets Hannah, a talented artist and the daughter of a French Holocaust survivor. As their story intertwines with that of their ancestors, readers are taken back to Nazi-occupied Paris, and to a seaside village in the Holy Land where a world of secrets is illuminated.

Theirs is a love that has been dormant for centuries, spanning continents, generations, oceans, and religions. Bound by a debt that has lingered through time, they must right the wrongs of the past if they're ever to break the shackles of their future."


My Two Cents:

Are you looking to get absolutely sucked into a riveting book? Are you looking for historical fiction and memorable characters? If so, you should really check out "The Debt of Tamar." I ate through this book in two sittings and it definitely blew me away. This book takes place in several different time periods and has love, family, and secrets at its center.

I don't really know where to even start with this book. The first time period was definitely my favorite and I almost wish that the entire book had taken place during the first time period.The book really takes place in a few different time periods. I loved reading all of them but I especially loved the first time period, which takes place during the Spanish Inquisition. The other time periods were good but not nearly as interesting to me. The first time period was so filled with action and intrigue for me.

The family at the center of this novel are pushed into the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul specifically where they will have to make a new life for themselves. Jose and his wife come to this place where they do not know anyone. They are swept into court life by the Sultan and raise their daughter and grudgingly promise their daughter, Tamar, to the Sultan's son. Mystery ensues. I loved reading about court life under Sultan Suleimon. I have not read a lot about this time period in this part of the world so it was absolutely engrossing to me.

The settings are really amazing in this book. I loved reading about Istanbul. That seems like such a fascinating city and I would love to visit someday. I really liked Dweck's description of the place. I could definitely picture it from the descriptions.

The rest of the book was enjoyable but slowed down for me. I liked seeing how the secrets of Tamar's family affected the characters in later time periods as a nice tie-together.

Overall, this was a good read!



Giveaway:

One lucky winner will win a paperback copy of this book (U.S. only)!


  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the Rest of the Tour:

Monday, February 24
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, February 25
Interview & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, February 26
Review at Unabridged Chick
Thursday, February 27
Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick
Friday, February 28
Monday, March 3
Review at The Written World
Review at History Undressed
Review at The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader
Review & Giveaway at Historical Tapestry
Tuesday, March 4
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Wednesday, March 5
Review at Just One More Chapter
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Thursday, March 6
Review at Stephanie Thornton Website
Friday, March 7
Review at The Maiden’s Court
Tuesday, March 11
Review at One Book at a Time
Review & Giveaway at The Eclectic Reader
Wednesday, March 12
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Thursday, March 13
Review at Kelsey’s Book Corner
Friday, March 14
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Monday, March 17
Review & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Tuesday, March 18
Review at Chick With Books
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Thursday, March 20
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Friday, March 21
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Monday, March 24
Review at Confessions of an Avid Reader
Tuesday, March 25
Review at The Novel Life
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Wednesday, March 26
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Friday, March 28
Review at The True Book Addict
Review & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
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Giveaway: The House at the End of Hope Street by Menna Van Praag

I am very excited to share the new cover of "The House at the End of Hope Street" by Menna Van Praag. I love it! Here is a link to the review of the book that I did last year. Want to read the book? Fill out the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of this post for your chance to win a copy (U.S. only)!

                                               
medium_The_House_at_the_End_of_Hope_Street


THE HOUSE AT THE END OF HOPE STREET

By Menna Van Praag


­­­­­­­­­­Praise for The House at the End of Hope Street

“I entered THE HOUSE AT THE END OF HOPE STREET and was enchanted—literally under the spell—of Menna van Praag's tender, playful, beautiful writing, and the ghosts that inhabit the house and the pages.  These are wise and sensible ghosts who know the secrets of a woman's heart—I wish I could borrow a few from this lovely novel.  It fulfills my book lover's dream of an English literary landscape, in the most surprising and magical way.”
—Luanne Rice, author of The Lemon Orchard and Little Night

“Menna van Praag has created a magical book about an enchanted house and the notable women who inhabit it, both living and dead.  Richly atmospheric, literary, and textured, THE HOUSE AT THE END OF HOPE STREET casts an enthralling spell, giving both characters and readers not only what they most want, but what they ultimately need.”
—Brunonia Barry, New York Times  bestselling author of The Lace Reader and The Map of True Places

“When Alba Ashby arrives at THE HOUSE ON THE END OF HOPE STREET in despair, it’s clear that some very unusual things are about to happen. The people she meets—both earthly and unearthly—help her to uncover the secrets that have haunted her all her life. The story offers a wonderful mix of all-too-real problems in a fantastical setting. And who couldn’t use a Hope Street at some point in her life?”
—Juliette Fay, author of Deep Down True and Shelter Me

“This fresh, whimsical book is as is full of heart as the house at its heart is full of fascinating women. We should all have such friends and such a refuge!”
Marisa de los Santos, bestselling author of Falling Together and Love Walked In

With its magical house and yet feet-on-the-ground realism, this exceptional novel enchanted me from the first beautiful page. If only I could stay a spell myself at the house at the end of Hope Street.”
Melissa Senate, bestselling author of The Love Goddess’ Cooking School
THE HOUSE AT THE END OF HOPE STREET is a sunrise of a novel, so fresh and lovely, whimsical and original that it will enchant and surprise even the most jaded of readers.  I am besotted with this house, and with Menna van Praag, and you will be, too.”
—Barbara O’Neal, author of The Garden of Happy Endings


What would you do if you had ninety-nine days to change your life? When you enter the world of Menna van Praag’s magical debut, THE HOUSE AT THE END OF HOPE STREET (Penguin; On-Sale: March 25, 2014; 978-0-143-12494-8; $16.00) about an enchanted house that offers refuge to women in their time of need, that is precisely what you’ll begin to ask yourself.

When Alba Ashby, the youngest Ph.D. student at Cambridge University, suffers the Worst Event of Her Life, she finds herself at the door of 11 Hope Street.  There, a beautiful older woman named Peggy invites Alba to stay, on the house’s unusual conditions: she’ll have ninety-nine nights, and no more, to turn her life around. The enchanted house will help Alba get her life back but, Peggy warns her, it may not give her what she wants. It will give her what she needs. The house, invisible to everyone except those who need it, has had more than a few distinguished guests. Virginia Woolf, Dorothy Parker, and Agatha Christie, among others, all stayed there at hopeless times in their lives and still hang around—quite literally—in talking portraits on the walls.

At Hope Street Alba meets Carmen, a sexy singer who no longer performs, and seems haunted by something that is buried under a plant in the garden with flowers so dark they are almost black. Living with them is Greer, a failed actress who’s hiding a dark secret of her own. But perhaps most mystifying of all is Peggy herself, who entertains her lover on Sundays, eats chocolate cake for breakfast, and holds conversations with the illustrious tenants occupying the house’s walls. As Alba begins to piece her life back together she discovers her own family has been hiding truths from her, truths that will lead Alba to places and people she never knew existed and to a life she never dreamed possible. 

Inventive, charming, and filled with a fabulous cast of literary figures, THE HOUSE AT THE END OF HOPE STREET is a wholly imaginative novel of feminine wisdom and second chances, with just the right dash of magic.

About the Author
Menna van Praag is a freelance writer, journalist, and Oxford graduate. She is the author of Men, Money and Chocolate. She lives in Cambridge, England, with her husband and son.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 24, 2014

HF Virtual Book Tours Book Blast: Julie Dewey’s One Thousand Porches

One Thousand Porches Blast Post HTML.txt No recorded activity before March 23, 2014 HF Virtual Book Tours is thrilled to introduce you to author Julie Dewey's historical novel One Thousand Porches!

A heart warming story about family, love, and perseverance, One Thousand Porches chronicles the lives of tuberculosis sufferers and their family members at a sanatarium in Sarnac Lake, NY. A beautiful story that is meant to inspire and uplift readers through the cast of characters that are genuinely kind human beings, readers have called One Thousand Porches "illuminating" and "historically significant". Down the Kindle Ebook for FREE on March 20th!

In celebration of the release of One Thousand Porches we are giving away 2 paperback copies and a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

One Thousand PorchesOne Thousand Porches
by Julie Dewey

Publication Date: November 1, 2013
CreateSpace
Formats: Ebook, Paperback

Set in the majestic yet untamed Adirondack Mountains of New York more than a century ago, an extraordinary story unfolds about a little known town called Saranac Lake.

The town is home to a man with a disease known as consumption, white plague, or as some called it, the red death. It is here that Doctor Edward Livingston Trudeau finds a hopeful cure for tuberculosis in the form of open air. Trudeau’s patients vary in age, gender, class, and race, but they have one thing in common. They must all choose to embrace life, even in the face of death, if they wish to heal at the Sanitarium.

Christine, a woman at the helm of her family, has already lost two children to the dreaded plague. But when her daughter, Collette, contracts the disease, she is determined to keep her alive. Venturing into unknown territory, Christine risks her own health and that of her unborn child, as well as her marriage, to help her daughter seek a cure that to many is absurd. Christine embarks upon a life-changing journey as she moves from caregiver to patient. In the face of adversity she must find the courage to sustain herself. When Lena, a factory worker and mother of three, begins coughing up blood she is faced with a decision no mother wants to make. She either stays with her family and risks her own death, or leaves her loved ones behind while she goes off in hope of a cure at the Sans. Big Joe, once a strong man for a traveling circus, seeks a quiet place to live out his final days in hiding. When he is sent to the Sanitarium, he is terrified to learn he will be housed with fellow circus performers for he is a hunted man. Gaunt and thin, he can only hope no one from his past recognizes him in his current state. Little Amy, a six year old child, must care for her entire family of seven, all whom are afflicted with different forms of plague. When she is diagnosed with a very rare form herself, she is sent to the Sanitarium and put under the care of Dr. Trudeau. Alone and afraid, Amy faces her fears and allows herself to dream of a future.

With a cast of characters so vivid, One Thousand Porches is a heart warming and engaging story that will instill hope and faith in even the most pessimistic reader.

Read an excerpt


Chapter 1 Pittsford, NY 1885

The sputum most likely crossed the hearth of our large country estate in Pittsford, New York on the scalloped hem of my favorite green velvet dress. The flattering ensemble with the well fitted bodice and bustle below my waist in the back. I was told this by my husband, James Lyndon, who made me watch while he set the garment to burn in our grate, the embers coursed thru the fabric destroying the residue left from a lungers hacking.

Consumption was a poor man’s disease, it was inconceivable that it gained entry into our pristine home miles outside the village by any other means. James had no one else to hold responsible for his son’s suffering so the burden of blame was mine in his eyes. I had ventured into town for groceries and fabric, as well as lunch with the ladies several times over the course of the month. I dare not remind my husband, but he ventured far more places than I did.

My husband could not bear witness as his sons flesh was consumed, his lungs gurgling and dissolving as he gasped and choked for air. All Henry’s strength and will were sapped from his body as he withered away in isolation. His soul leaving us for heaven mere weeks before his 18th birthday celebration this October. I was given no choice but to accept the guilt that Henry would never attend college, or marry and have children. James placed the blame squarely upon my shoulders and defiantly closed me out from our bedroom and from his affections, punishing me for the death of our first born son.

Typically solid and stoic to a fault, James became maniacal for a short time immediately following Henry’s death. Frenzied, he set off on a tirade where he emptied gown after gown from my closet along with dress coats, shoes, scarves and gloves, immersing them all in the raging blaze to be destroyed. James wasted no time, and stormed through the house ripping sheets and pillowcases off beds, kitchen aprons from hooks and even the old fraying rags under our sink that we stored for cleaning, were all set to burn.

“James, I beg of you, you cannot burn our entire wardrobes, we will have nothing left!” I screamed in a panic, trying to get through to him, but knew I could not be heard for his empty eyes did not meet mine but instead flickered across the house, leaping from object to object in search of anything else he missed, telling me in short, he was momentarily insane.

Amidst my pain and suffering I took great measures to prevent the bacteria from infecting the rest of us, beginning with scouring the house daily to an immaculate state until my fingers cracked and bled. In the evenings my gentle daughters slathered my hands, one finger at a time, with petroleum jelly and wrapped them in strips of cotton in order to heal. All of my remaining dressing gowns, the ones set aside to be tailored that James missed as he ransacked the place, as well as Collette’s and Emma Darlings were hemmed to mid-calf so as not to risk contact with the ground. Lucas and Daniel, our two remaining boys wore trousers that did not drag but I feared the disease and their fathers instability so intensely now that I made them take off their shoes on the porch and wipe the soles with rags dipped in boiling water the moment they got home from school. Then the rags were burned in our outdoor fire pit.

We were told the disease could lay dormant for months or years even, causing even more panic, and so the fires raged and our old shifts were ripped to make rags to use for boiling and cleaning purposes.

The disease known as consumption, white plague, the red death, or tuberculosis was especially harmful to anyone with an already compromised immune system, such as our Collette with her weakling lungs. It was spreading like wildfire across the nation and was being touted as the most fatal disease known to man, far surpassing typhoid and scarlet fever in its death toll. Taking nearly one in every seven Americans or four hundred souls daily. It took no prejudice in who it afflicted either. The elderly as well as children, men and women, black and white, poor and wealthy were disposed of but most often it was young adult males in the prime of their life, like our Henry, falling prey.

Doctors were perplexed by the spread of the disease, some believed it was developed based on the patient’s constitution, either physiologically or psychologically and therefore didn’t believe it could be spread. Along the same lines other scientists and researchers believed it to be hereditary and therefore took no precautions against it. Still others thought it was airborne spread from spitting, coughing, laughing, sneezing, and even talking. It was thought it could also be transferred from bodily fluids such as pus and bowel discharge. Doctors encouraged everything from wearing beards for the men to prevent the germ from entering their orifices, to eating nothing but diets rich in meat and dairy.

“I tell you Christine, this disease is contagious. We must be vigilant over our hand washing, and we shall each bathe nightly in separate water.” James spoke to me through his fog of grief.

Praise for One Thousand Porches


"I greatly enjoyed the time I spent reading this book. Historically significant as well as heartwarming, One Thousand Porches is an engaging tale of family, friendship, hope and perseverance in the shadow of uncertainty." - Erin, Flashlight Commentary Blog

"This novel was fascinating. Of course I know of TB but to hear the history behind what Dr. Trudeau did for so many is remarkable. I think anyone interested in history and especially the history of TB and the development of the first sanitariums should enjoy this novel. I’ve read one other of Julie’s books and I find her writing to be very frank and real. I look forward to seeing what subject Julie tackles next!" - Dar, Peeking Between the Pages Blog

"One Thousand Porches is such a treasure. I learned so much about tuberculosis through the intertwined lives of Christine, Joe, Collete, Will, Amy, Daniel, and, of course, Edward Trudeau. Such inspiring lives these characters show us. As we advance in the 21st century, we can learn so much from those who lived, learned and loved over a hundred years ago. Thank you, Julie, for another illuminating look back in history." - Cindy Gorham-Crevelling

"Julie Dewey loves history...that is clear!!! And, as in her first book about the orphan trains of old, she has again chosen to write about a time in our past that few remember. She writes about tuberculosis, and shows us that TB did not discriminate! She introduces us to a cast of characters from all walks of life, from the very wealthy, the poor and indigent, to everything in between. This is a warm story about people making the best of their circumstances after they are torn away from their homes and families!! Because I live in New York state, I was particularly intrigued. I feel a visit to Saranac Lake and surrounding areas need to be on my "bucket list"! I also love that Julie Dewey wove her own personal history into the story, with the introduction of LENA!!! As per her dedication, Lena was her great Grandmother!!!" - Dr Michael A. Radz

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About the AuthorJulie Dewey

Julie Dewey is a novelist who resides with her family in Central New York. Her daughter is a singer/songwriter, and her son is a boxer. Her husband is an all-around hard working, fantastic guy with gorgeous blue eyes that had her falling for him the moment they met.

In addition to researching and writing she is an avid reader. She is also passionate about jewelry design and gemstones. She loves anything creative, whether it be knitting, stamping, scrapping, decoupaging, working with metal, or decorating.

Visit her at www.juliedewey.com to get your reading guide for this book and to read an excerpt from Forgetting Tabitha, the Story of an Orphan Train Rider.

Author Links

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Book Blast Schedule


Monday, March 17
Historical Tapestry
Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, March 18
Layered Pages
Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, March 19
West Metro Mommy
Turning the Pages

Thursday, March 20
Reading the Ages
Passages to the Past

Friday, March 21
Pages of Comfort
To Read or Not to Read

Saturday, March 22
Book Nerd
Reviews by Molly

Sunday, March 23
Carpe Librum
Books in the Burbs

Monday, March 24
A Bookish Affair
Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Tuesday, March 25
Peeking Between the Pages
Historical Fiction Obsession

Wednesday, March 26
CelticLady's Reviews
So Many Books, So Little Time

Thursday, March 27
Closed the Cover
HF Book Muse-News

Friday, March 28
Broken Teepee
A Bookish Libraria

Giveaway


To enter to win one of the following prizes, please complete the Rafflecopter form below.

2 – Paperback copies of One Thousand Porches
1 – $215 Amazon Gift Card

Giveaway will run from March 17-28. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on March 29 and notifiied via email.
Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

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Review: Tempting Fate by Jane Green

Title: Tempting Fate
Author: Jane Green
Format: ARC
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publish Date: March 25, 2014
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.






Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a fiction fan.
What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "When Gabby first met Elliott she knew he was the man for her. In twenty years of marriage she has never doubted her love for him - even when he refused to give her the one thing she still wants most of all. But now their two daughters are growing up Gabby feels that time and her youth are slipping away. For the first time in her life she is restless. And then she meets Matt . . .

Intoxicated by the way this young, handsome and successful man makes her feel, Gabby is momentarily blind to what she stands to lose on this dangerous path. And in one reckless moment she destroys all that she holds dear.

Consumed by regret, Gabby does everything she can to repair the home she has broken. But are some betrayals too great to forgive?"


My Two Cents:

"Tempting Fate" is the story of Gabby, a woman in her early 40s that is struggling with getting older. She is the mother of two daughters and desperately wants another baby. She loves her husband. He's comfortable and loving but Gabby wants more excitement. She goes out and has a fling and then unintended consequences ensue.

I struggled a little bit with this book as I felt so bad for Elliott, Gabby's husband. He is so nice and I really didn't feel that Gabby was very fair to him. Marriage is something that I take pretty seriously and Gabby doesn't seem to be on that same page in that regard but I liked walking this mile in someone else's shoes (this is really what this book was for me). I ended up liking the book because the situation felt so real though. I thought Green did a really good job of capturing the emotion of someone going through what Gabby was going through.

I have really enjoyed Jane Green's books in the past and this one is no different. Fans of hers will definitely enjoy this latest installation. Some of the timeline in the book is a little interesting and felt a bit choppy but overall, I enjoyed this read. Those that are looking for a light read that still packs a punch and will make you think a lot about the commitments that we make to each other and how we stay true to those things.


  

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Giveaway Winners and a Penn State Weekend!

Hi, everyone! Hope you're enjoying the last little bit of your weekend! I know that I definitely had a good one. I have a lot of giveaway winners to announce but first, I wanted to share a little bit of my weekend.

This weekend found me in State College, PA, home of Penn State. My husband is a very proud Nittany Lion and I've learned to love the place from him. I went to college in a very suburban area and while I loved college (oh yes, I really, really loved college), I think I would have loved going to somewhere that had more of a college town vibe. Penn State has just that and I love visiting!

Old Main
 My husband got invited back to Penn State to speak at a career fair so while he was busy being productive, I was staying busy relaxing. Based on a recommendation from some friends that still live in the area, I decided to check out Webster's, which (perhaps unsurprisingly) is a bookstore. It's in the basement of a building right down town and it is wonderful. It has a little cafe and tons and tons of used books.

I sat with a cappuccino and read a book for quite awhile and it was absolutely amazing.

Mmmhmm!

I also treated myself to a couple books. All of the books were 50% off of what were already some great prices. I got The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck and Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie.

I had an absolutely lovely weekend!

And now I have a ton of giveaway winners to announce:

The Boleyn Bride:
Carl (already won a copy)
Liz

Under the Wide and Starry Sky:
Katherine

Tyringham Park:
Sandra

Real Happy Family:
Pamela

Above:
Kat

The Book Thief Blu-ray and Book:
Amy C.  (already received a copy)
Meg 

Spring Equinox Midnight Witch Tour!

I am very excited to be a part of the tour for "The Midnight Witch" by Paula Brackston!

Title: The Midnight Witch
Author:  Paula Brackston
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Thomas Dunne
Publish Date: March 25, 2014
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.


What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: ""The dead are seldom silent. All that is required for them to be heard is that someone be willing to listen. I have been listening to the dead all my life."

Lilith is the daughter of the sixth Duke of Radnor. She is one of the most beautiful young women in London and engaged to the city’s most eligible bachelor. She is also a witch.

When her father dies, her hapless brother Freddie takes the title. But it is Lilith, instructed in the art of necromancy, who inherits their father’s role as Head Witch of the Lazarus Coven. And it is Lilith who must face the threat of the Sentinels, a powerful group of sorcerers intent on reclaiming the Elixir from the coven’s guardianship for their own dark purposes. Lilith knows the Lazarus creed: secrecy and silence. To abandon either would put both the coven and all she holds dear in grave danger. She has spent her life honoring it, right down to her charming fiancé and fellow witch, Viscount Louis Harcourt.

Until the day she meets Bram, a talented artist who is neither a witch nor a member of her class. With him, she must not be secret and silent. Despite her loyalty to the coven and duty to her family, Lilith cannot keep her life as a witch hidden from the man she loves.

To tell him will risk everything."


My Two Cents:

"The Midnight Witch" is the story of Lilith. She is just really coming into her own with her powers when she inherits the leadership position of her coven. She is not really sure what to do with this new found power and has a lot to contend with in order to make sure that the coven continues the way that it is supposed to. Add to that she falls in love with someone that is not from her world and does not really understand where she is coming from and you have an interesting tale that kept me reading.

I really enjoyed the blend of historical fiction with an element of the mystic and the magical. I don't often read books with such an overt magical element but I really enjoyed this book for that factor. It definitely made for an interesting read. I really thought that the author brought Lilith's witch world to life for me. I liked how fact and fiction were blended in this book. This book is set in London, which is one of my very favorite places to read about and I really liked reading about historic London alongside magic. It was really neat!

Overall, I thought this was a good read. The book had a couple of slow sections interspersed between some of the really exciting sections of the book. It felt a little uneven. The action in the book was good though. I really liked reading about what Lilith's coven was all about. This book would be a good pick for historical fiction lovers who are looking for a bit of the fantastic with their reading!



Links:

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Review: Panic by Lauren Oliver

Title: Panic
Author: Lauren Oliver
Format: Ebook
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publish Date: March 4, 2014
Source: Netgalley






Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a YA fiction fan.
  • You like strong characters.
What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most."


My Two Cents:

Everyone in Carp seems to play Panic to prove something. Heather is trying to escape from life with her druggie mother while trying to protect her little sister and give her a good life. Dodge has something to prove and some revenge to gain by playing. Panic is played the summer after high school. It's a high stakes game full of danger. Heather and Dodge both know this walking in but they don't realize just how high the stakes really are and how much they stand to lose.

"Panic" is a step away from dystopian for Lauren Oliver and let me just say that it is a really good fit for her. I really enjoyed this book. The characters felt really real to me and I loved reading about them in this book. Both Heather and Dodge are dealing with a lot. Heather's home life is terrible. She is trying to take care of her beloved little sister since her mother seems more interested in where her next fix is going to come from rather than anything else. Dodge is dealing with a difficult family life. His sister was in a horrific accident that ended with her needing a lot of care. Both of these characters are driven for different reasons. I really liked that the book didn't just focus on the game but that it was very character driven as well.

I really liked the setting of the book too. Carp is not a glitzy town at all. It is grimy. There's a lot of people just trying to make ends meet. Those in Heather and Dodge's age group just want to do what they can to get out of that town, which is why they want to win Panic so badly. There is a nice cash prize to go along with winning!

The action and pacing of this book was really good. The whole game of Panic centers on people doing really dangerous things. As I am a pretty risk adverse person myself, I definitely found a lot of thrills in this book, which was so much fun!


  

Friday, March 21, 2014

HF Virtual Book Tours Book Blast and Giveaway: The Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau

The new novel The Chalice, by Nancy Bilyeau, sends readers on a page-turning historical quest. Set in Henry VIII's England, the story is driven by plot twists, deceptions, spiritual searching and romantic tension. Readers fall in love with protagonist Joanna Stafford, a Catholic novice forced to leave her priory and find her answers. "She is strong and determined and very likable," says one blogger. "Exhilarating," says Good Housekeeping, and "The novel is riveting and provides fascinating insight into into the lives of displaced nuns and priests, with fully realized characters," says RT Book Reviews. Launching in paperback on March 18 and available in ebook too.

The ChaliceThe Chalice
by Nancy Bilyeau

Publication Date: March 18, 2014
Touchstone Publishing
Paperback; 496p
ISBN-10: 1476708665

Series: Joanna Stafford, Book Two
Genre: Historical Mystery

READ AN EXCERPT.

Between the crown and the cross stands one woman...

IN 1538, ENGLAND is in the midst of bloody power struggles that threaten to tear the country apart. Aristocrat-turned-novice Joanna Stafford knows what lies inside the king's torture rooms and risks imprisonment when she is caught up in an international plot targeting the king. As the power plays turn vicious, Joanna understands she may have to assume her role in a prophecy foretold by three different seers.

Joanna realizes the life of Henry VIII, as well as the future of Christendom, are in her hands, hands that must someday hold the chalice that lies at the center of these deadly prophecies...

Praise for The Chalice


"A brilliant and gripping page-turner. A fascinating blend of politics, religion, mysticism and personal turmoil. Well-researched and filled with sumptuous detail, it follows Joanna's early life from Bilyeau's debut novel, The Crown, but this book easily stands on its own. Bilyeau fills in the blanks from her earlier work while leaving the reader both wanting to read the first book and eagerly awaiting the next. This is a must-read for lovers of historical fiction." - Free Lance-Star

"English history buffs and mystery fans alike will revel in Nancy Bilyeau's richly detailed sequel to The Crown." - Parade

"The novel is riveting, and provides fascinating insight into the lives of displaced nuns and priests during the tumultuous Tudor period. Bilyeau creates fully realized characters, with complex actions and emotions, driving the machinations of these historic personages." - RT Book Reviews, (Top Pick)

"The human and political battles of Henry VIII's reformation are brought to exhilarating life in The Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau." - Good Housekeeping UK, April 2014

"Bilyeau sends her plucky former novice back into the intrigue-laden court of Henry VIII." - Entertainment Weekly

"Bilyeau continues from her first novel the subtle, complex development of Joanna's character and combines that with a fast-paced, unexpected plot to hold the reader's interest on every page . . . history and supernatural mysticism combine in this compelling thriller." - Historical Novel Society

"Joanna Stafford is a young novice caught up in power struggles familiar to readers of Hilary Mantel and C.J. Sansom, but with elements of magic that echo the historical thrillers of Kate Mosse." - S.J. Parris, author of 'Heresy,' 'Prophecy' and 'Sacrilege'

"[A] layered book of historical suspense." - Kirkus Reviews

"The Chalice is an engrossing mix of the complicated politics of the Reformation with the magical elements of the Dominican order, and Joanna--fiery, passionate, determined to honor what she thinks God wants her to do--is a fascinating character. Fans of historical mysteries, Tudor politics and supernatural fiction will all be pleased by the broad scope, quick-moving plot and historical integrity of Bilyeau's second novel." - Shelf Awareness

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About the Author
Nancy Bilyeau

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

Some earlier milestones: In 1661, Nancy's ancestor, Pierre Billiou, emigrated from France to what was then New Amsterdam when he and his family sailed on the St. Jean de Baptiste to escape persecution for their Protestant beliefs. Pierre built the first stone house on Staten Island and is considered the borough's founder. His little white house is on the national register of historic homes and is still standing to this day.

Nancy lives in New York City with her husband and two children.

Author Links


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Nancy Bilyeau Gives an Inside Peek Behind THE CHALICE



Book Blast Schedule




Tuesday, March 18
A Book Geek
Kinx's Book Nook
Passages to the Past
Book Lovers Paradise
To Read or Not to Read
Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Historical Fiction Obsession


Wednesday, March 19
Closed the Cover
A Chick Who Reads
The True Book Addict
A Dream within a Dream



Friday, March 21
A Bookish Affair
The Maiden's Court
Let Them Read Books
Historical Fiction Connection


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