Monday, October 24, 2016

Release Day Spotlight on The Day She Can't Forget - A gripping new psychological thriller from Meg Carter

Publisher: Canelo
Pub. Date: October 24th, 2016
Pages: 281

Filled with tension and suspense, The Day She Can’t Forget is the engrossing second novel from Meg Carter, author of the bestselling The Lies We Tell

A single mum in her mid-thirties is found wandering aimlessly, dazed, confused and bloodied at the roadside. She is Zeb Hamilton, struggling to cope with the death of her beloved father Pete, and the break-up with her harsh and relentless ex Richard. Her father’s death has triggered a series of unexpected revelations, and everything Zeb knows and trusts about her life is unravelling fast. Desperate for answers, she begins to hunt for the mother she never knew.

Can Zeb find the stability and happiness she yearns for, or will the cost of uncovering the truth be too much to bear?

The Day She Can’t Forget expertly fuses themes of family, loyalty and trauma with a genuinely chilling atmosphere and a shocking twist ending.

Praise For Author Meg Carter 

‘After a dramatic opening, The Lies We Tell develops into an intriguing story full of slow-burning suspense.’ Sophie McKenzie, author of Close My Eyes and Here We Lie

‘The Lies We Tell has a sense of tension and skewed reality from page one. Delightfully creepy and skilfully plotted … it’s a can’t-wait-to-get-back-to-it book and I thoroughly enjoyed it.’ Hilary Boyd, author of Thursdays in the Park

Buy the Book

Amazon UK | Amazon US | iTunes | Kobo 

*The Day She Can’t Forget by Meg Carter is out now from Canelo, priced £3.99 in eBook ($1.99 on Amazon US!) *

About the Author


Meg Carter worked as a journalist for twenty years before turning her hand to fiction. Her features have appeared in many newspapers and magazines including You Magazine, The Independent, The Guardian, Financial Times, and Radio Times. She is on the advisory committee of Women in Journalism and lives in Bath.


Friday, October 21, 2016

Audiobook Review: The Girl in the Ice by Robert Bryndza

Publisher: Bookouture
Pub. Date: February 12th, 2016
Pages/Length: 396/10 hours, 7 minutes


Her eyes are wide open. Her lips parted as if to speak. Her dead body frozen in the ice…She is not the only one.

When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation.

The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound and dumped in water around London.

What dark secrets is the girl in the ice hiding?

As Erika inches closer to uncovering the truth, the killer is closing in on Erika.

The last investigation Erika led went badly wrong… resulting in the death of her husband. With her career hanging by a thread, Erika must now battle her own personal demons as well as a killer more deadly than any she’s faced before. But will she get to him before he strikes again?

A page-turning thriller packed with suspense. If you like Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Karin Slaughter, discover Robert Bryndza’s new series today.

What Did I Think About the Story?

I'm not sure about anyone else, but I subscribe to a number of daily emails that come in with ebook sales and deals and have found it just too easy to push the little button to buy books I didn't even know I wanted until the deal was too good to pass up! Add on an audiobook version for just a couple more dollars? Why, yes, that sounds nice, thank you! This is the scenario that led me to purchase and listen to the audiobook version of The Girl in the Ice.   I've found myself gravitating towards British crime dramas and police procedurals in the last few years, especially in regards to TV shows (Happy Valley, anyone?), and thought this sounded twisting and unnerving enough to keep me entertained on my long drive to and from work each day.  I'm so glad I gave it a try as I enjoyed it very much and recently discovered that this is just the first book in an Erika Foster series!

Erika Foster is quite the complicated character. We find out pretty quickly that a wrong move on Erika's part led to the death of her husband, which she's having a tough time recovering from. Jumping into work seems just the ticket to distract her, and her determination not to make mistakes in this newest case goes a long way in giving her the strength to push back against the thick and twisted bureaucracy she encounters due to the power and influence of the father of the victim found in the ice (more victims are to come, but I don't want to give anything away!).  Erika is not a woman to be messed with and I love that she led the investigation with brains, heart, and conviction even when male counterparts tried to undermine her and block her way. I loved her as a character, as well as the main detective working with her, Detective Moss, and really hope the two of them work together in future installments of this new series.

Great characters aside, I think my favorite aspect of the story is the time and detail given to the actual procedures and red tape that goes into police work. There are so many  intricacies and regulations that go into a police procedural, much of which I had no idea about, and the politics layered on top due to the money and power of the family being investigated made it all that much more interesting. I was amazed at all the work that went into discovering our murderer, not just forensically and logistically but on Erika's instinctual level, and I have a new respect for the detectives that solve this sort of crime.

As with any audiobook, the narrator can make or break my overall enjoyment of the story. The narrator of this story (Jan Cramer) did a great job of varying her voice between characters (which can't be easy with as many characters as we find here) and somehow alternating effectively between concrete police procedures and wild and unpredictable violence. She kept a good pace, depending on what was happening at any given point in the story, and I'm excited to see that she'll be narrating the next book in the series, The Night Stalker.

I will warn those that are squeamish that the murder scenes and some descriptions throughout can be kind of graphic, however I think any reader should expect as much given the book synopsis and the genre of novel. I, for one, appreciate this aspect when I'm reading a story such as this as it makes it more realistic and therefore more interesting to me as a whole.

The Girl in the Ice surprised me with its well developed characters and authentic feel.  While I had an idea in which direction our killer was going to come from, I can honestly say I didn't guess the actual murderer correctly and was excited when the killer was finally revealed. I'm definitely going to be reading the next installments in the series as I quite enjoyed Erika Foster as a character and am curious to see what other characters make it in as well. Pure grit and entertainment, it's sure to be a fun ride!   

My Rating 4.0/5.0

I purchased a copy of both the ebook and audiobook of The Girl in the Ice for my own collection and all views expressed are my own. Find more information about the book, including other reviews and purchase links, on Goodreads.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Excerpt of A Song of War: A Novel of Troy by the "H" Team + Tour-Wide Giveaway!


The Apple
by Kate Quinn

Ah, might the gods make you the prize in a mighty contest,
and let the victor have you for his couch!

- Ovid, the Heroides


Shall I sing to you of Troy?

Shining Troy, windy Troy, many-towered Troy. The city of gold, gatekeeper of the east, haven of the god-born and the lucky. Aphrodite’s sweet breath kissed every breeze that wafted over our gates; Apollo and Poseidon raised our mighty walls; we were ruled by a white-haired king wise as Athena, and defended by the mightiest heroes ever to stride the earth.

That is the story you want—but I am not the singer for that song. I am no hero, and I did not call Troy home, though it was the place of my birth. I hated its every brick and banner. Watching those fabled towers fade beyond the horizon of the sea, as sails bellied and oars splashed, I made a vow.

I will return only to leave again. That I swore as the seabirds cried overhead. One last task in the service of my father, the king, and then I was done. I would return only for my sister, my dark and shadow-haunted twin, and then the two of us would be gone from Troy forever.

That I swore. But instead there would be war, because the gods had other plans.

The gods and a woman named Helen.

My moods could be as dark as my skin at times—those moods were a curse all Priam’s sons shared, except perhaps Paris, who was made of bright copper and sunshine—but I loved the sea, and a voyage in the height of summer lifted even a somber soul like mine. With every oar-stroke that pulled our ships away from Troy, my heart lightened. The winds came soft and sweet from the west, blowing us toward Sparta, and I rode the deck easily, savoring the salt wind and the sunshine. I could see my brothers doing the same on their respective ships, Paris, ever more burnished by the sun, and Hector, prowling the deck like a great dark-maned lion. Three princes riding three ships with painted eyes and hulls full of treasure: the song at least had a proper beginning.

“Sparta,” Paris mused when we disembarked at the port in Gythio. “Is that the city where the women cut off a breast and grow beards like men?” He grinned. “Sounds like an adventure.”

“I doubt you’ll see any bearded women here,” Hector rumbled.

“At least one single-breasted woman, then?” Paris pleaded. “Just one? You promised me excitement, and royal weddings are so damnably dull!”

“I did not promise you excitement,” Hector reproved, but he was grinning, and so was I. Paris’ charm was like ambrosia, heady and irresistible, and his never-ending ripple of jokes was a natural antidote to any dark mood. Even mine and Hector’s.

“Sparta is the city where kingship comes from queens,” a lighter voice laughed behind me. “Menelaus is king, but it comes through his wife. Someone will have to explain how that works, if only so I can tell Priam and see him harrumph.” Andromache stepped to her husband’s side, small and bird-boned and barely up to Hector’s vast shoulder. She was dusted all over in freckles like powdered gold, and her sand-colored hair flew everywhere in cheerful disarray. Cheerful disarray was my sister-in-law’s usual state, paired with the infectious grin of a happy urchin. Hector, I knew, found it charming. His mother did not. Perhaps that was the reason for Andromache’s greater than usual smile as she shook out her salt-streaked skirts without hearing a pained reproof of You do not look very queenly, dear. “I don’t care if the Spartan queen has a beard as long as she offers me a bath.”

“They’ve heard of baths, haven’t they?” Paris grimaced comically. “Dear gods, what have we let ourselves in for?”

Hector gave a laughing warning of “Behave!” and we were off: a rolling array of chariots assembled from the bellies of our ships, followed by a string of donkeys laden with Trojan treasure: gifts for King Menelaus, our host in Sparta, and for the lavish wedding he was hosting for a royal cousin.

“What king is this girl marrying again?” Paris wondered when we halted to water the horses. “King of Ithaca? Who ever heard of Ithaca anyway? Any man with an island of three sand dunes and a few stingrays can call himself a king in these parts.”

It was true—none of these little kings in the west could compare with Priam, our father, who considered them no better than pirates. He believed in reminding them of his greatness with lavish gifts at royal weddings, proving just how much gold he could afford to toss away to the pirate rulers of sand dunes and stingrays.

“Aphrodite’s tits,” Paris exclaimed when at last we reined up before the palace of Menelaus. “Hector, you wouldn’t lodge your horses in that shed. Of course, you’d take one look at the palace at Olympus and decide it wasn’t good enough for your horses . . .”

“He has you there,” I told Hector.

He smiled, then turned serious. “Give Paris a helping hand during our stay if he needs it,” my older brother murmured. “His first diplomatic visit—under all that joking, he’s very anxious to do our father proud.”

“Aren’t we all?” I said lightly. To win and keep Priam’s approval—that was a burden I’d seen stoop the shoulders of all my brothers. All but me, for I’d knew I’d never earn it.

Perhaps Hector guessed my thoughts, for he gave a silent squeeze of my shoulder. It was his way—to give comfort without words, to speak affection in a glance, to show fury in stillness. We think of heroes as loud crashing creatures, their reputations and the clatter of their weapons announcing their presence in every movement, but Hector approached everything from spear practice to common conversation with the same calm, reflective ease. His soul was warm, strong bronze to Paris’ flashy copper and my own humble tin. And over us all, our father with his core of granite.

Only Paris acted unruffled before that stone gaze. He could make an irreverent face, the one he wore now, and even our father would laugh.

Hector handed Andromache down, and we advanced on the palace gates. Sparta was lovely country—rich hills furred with pines, brush rustling thick with boar and deer to be hunted, streams clear and bubbling—but the king’s abode was a poor thing compared to Troy’s massive palace atop the citadel. A double porch opened into a small courtyard, pillars of painted plaster rather than stone rising around us as we awaited our host.

Curious slaves and Spartan guards were already gathering, whispering behind their hands as they stared at the donkeys laden with gifts, at our heavy Hittite-styled chariots, at Andromache, who had tamed her hair if not her freckles and stood in full fringed skirts and gold bracelets. Hector bore the weight of eyes calmly, accustomed to being stared at: twenty-six and standing tall as any god, his shoulders massive under armor that alternated gold and bronze with silver and iron and studded with lapis lazuli. Paris, at nineteen, lounged in his blinding white tunic and up-curled shoes, running a hand through his oiled-back curls and returning the stares just as frankly, dropping his eyelid in a wink if any of the starers was pretty. And I braced myself for gaping of a different kind, for though I was the second of Priam’s sons and born just after Hector, I was the least of them. And the darkest.

My mother was a Nubian, a princess given to Priam as a concubine to seal a truce with her father—she was dark as a night sky, so they said. I had no memory of her. She died birthing my twin sister and me, and we stood out darkly among Priam’s other offspring, much ogled and pointed at. My sister would have garnered stares even had her skin been pale; she had beauty and fire, and to look at her was to see a torch burning to its base. I had nothing special about me; I was merely Hellenus, stockily built, modest in height, and modest in talents, too. I had no beguiling charm like Paris or hero’s strength like Hector, no wily brain like Priam or unearthly beauty like my twin. A lesser prince, an ordinary man—that was me. But my face was dark, and so I was accustomed to pointing fingers and barely concealed whispers everywhere I went in Troy. Does he bleed black? people would mutter, staring curiously. Do you think a sun-born spirit sired that one instead of Priam?

I ignored the whispers, but my sister would whip around and say, “Nothing so gentle as a sun spirit. More like a daemon. Priam is the daemon!” just to see the reactions. I tried to hush her in such moods, for our father’s displeasure was savage, but sometimes she wouldn’t be calmed. She had clung to me weeping when I left her on this voyage, muttering, “Death begets death until only the flies and carrion remain.” I’d held her till she calmed, telling myself that when I returned, I would take her with me away from Troy. From Troy, where the commoners stared at us as though we were curiosities, and our family—apart from Hector and Andromache and a few others—hardly considered us part of the palace at all. We were not housed with them; we did not dine with them; our brothers and sisters mostly ignored us. Priam only addressed my sister to harangue her, and he never summoned me unless there was some duty or service he thought I should be grateful to perform—like making up a third envoy to this Spartan wedding. No, few in Troy would miss my sister and me if we were to leave.

Only where would we go? To build any kind of home, I would need a king willing to shelter a pair of Trojan castoffs, and I knew of none who would risk offering a welcoming hand to mine for fear it would displease my father. Though I did notice, standing in the Spartan courtyard, that though my face attracted glances, I was not receiving the kind of open stares that were my lot in Troy.

There was a ripple then, and the doors of the anteroom parted. Our hosts appeared, the king and queen of Sparta, and I thrust aside my musings to examine them. Menelaus proved to be a short and stolidly built man with a crown of red hair that clashed against his purple robe, and a wide, perspiring face. His spear-slim queen towered over him by a head, towered over every man in that courtyard save Paris and Hector. I tilted my head to meet her eyes, Argive Helen, swan-born Helen.

And the gods began to scheme.

Publication Date: October 18, 2016
Knight Media, LLC
eBook & Paperback; 483 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction/Ancient History/Anthology
Troy: city of gold, gatekeeper of the east, haven of the god-born and the lucky, a city destined to last a thousand years. But the Fates have other plans—the Fates, and a woman named Helen. In the shadow of Troy’s gates, all must be reborn in the greatest war of the ancient world: slaves and queens, heroes and cowards, seers and kings . . . and these are their stories.

A young princess and an embittered prince join forces to prevent a fatal elopement.

A tormented seeress challenges the gods themselves to save her city from the impending disaster.

A tragedy-haunted king battles private demons and envious rivals as the siege grinds on.

A captured slave girl seizes the reins of her future as two mighty heroes meet in an epic duel.

A grizzled archer and a desperate Amazon risk their lives to avenge their dead.

A trickster conceives the greatest trick of all.

A goddess’ son battles to save the spirit of Troy even as the walls are breached in fire and blood.

Seven authors bring to life the epic tale of the Trojan War: its heroes, its villains, its survivors, its dead. Who will lie forgotten in the embers, and who will rise to shape the bloody dawn of a new age?

Buy the Book


About the Authors


CHRISTIAN CAMERON was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1962. He grew up in Rockport, Massachusetts, Iowa City, Iowa,Christian Cameron and Rochester, New York, where he attended McQuaid Jesuit High School and later graduated from the University of Rochester with a degree in history.

After the longest undergraduate degree on record (1980-87), he joined the United States Navy, where he served as an intelligence officer and as a backseater in S-3 Vikings in the First Gulf War, in Somalia, and elsewhere. After a dozen years of service, he became a full time writer in 2000. He lives in Toronto (that’s Ontario, in Canada) with his wife Sarah and their daughter Beatrice, currently age four. And a half.

LIBBIE HAWKER was born in Rexburg, Idaho and divided her childhood between Eastern Idaho’s rural environs and the greater Seattle area. She presently lives in Seattle, but has also been a resident of Salt Lake City, Utah; Bellingham, Washington; and Tacoma, Washington. She loves to write about character and place, and is inspired by the bleak natural beauty of the Rocky Mountain region and by the fascinating history of the Puget Sound.

After three years of trying to break into the publishing industry with her various books under two different pen names, Libbie finally turned her back on the mainstream publishing industry and embraced independent publishing. She now writes her self-published fiction full-time, and enjoys the fact that the writing career she always dreamed of having is fully under her own control.

KATE QUINN is a native of southern California. She attended Boston University, where she earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Classical Voice. A lifelong history buff, she has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga, and two books in the Italian Renaissance detailing the early years of the infamous Borgia clan. All have been translated into multiple languages.

Kate has succumbed to the blogging bug, and keeps a blog filled with trivia, pet peeves, and interesting facts about historical fiction. She and her husband now live in Maryland with two black dogs named Caesar and Calpurnia, and her interests include opera, action movies, cooking, and the Boston Red Sox.

VICKY ALVEAR SHECTER is the author of the young adult novel, Cleopatra’s Moon (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, 2011), based on the life of Cleopatra’s only daughter. She is also the author of two award-winning biographies for kids on Alexander the Great and Cleopatra. She is a docent at the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Antiquities at Emory University in Atlanta. The LA Times calls Cleopatra’s Moon, “magical” and “impressive.” Publisher’s Weekly said it was “fascinating” and “highly memorable.” The Wall Street Journal called it “absorbing.”

STEPHANIE THORNTON is a writer and history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from ancient history since she was twelve. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alaska, where she is at work on her next novel.

Her novels, The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora, Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt, The Tiger Queens: The Women of Genghis Khan, and The Conqueror’s Wife: A Novel of Alexander the Great, tell the stories of history’s forgotten women.

SJA TURNEY lives with his wife, son and daughter, and two (close approximations of) dogs in rural North Yorkshire.

Marius’ Mules was his first full length novel. Being a fan of Roman history, SJA decided to combine his love of writing and love of the classical world. Marius’ Mules was followed two years later by Interregnum – an attempt to create a new fantasy story still with a heavy flavour of Rome.

These have been followed by numerous sequels, with three books in the fantasy ‘Tales of the Empire’ series and five in the bestselling ‘Marius’ Mules’ one. 2013 has seen the first book in a 15th century trilogy – ‘The Thief’s Tale’ – and will also witness several side projects seeing the light of day.

RUSSELL WHITFIELD was born in Shepherds Bush in 1971. An only child, he was raised in Hounslow, West London, but has since escaped to Ham in Surrey.

Gladiatrix was Russ’s first novel, published in 2008 by Myrmidon Books. The sequel, Roma Victrix, continues the adventures Lysandra, the Spartan gladiatrix, and a third book, Imperatrix, sees Lysandra stepping out of the arena and onto the field of battle.

It's Giveaway Time!!

To win a paperback copy of A Song of War: A Novel of Troy by the H Team, please enter via the Gleam form HERE.
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on November 12th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

– Giveaway is open to US & Canada residents only.

– Only one entry per household.

– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.

– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
Good Luck!

A Song of War: A Novel of Troy Blog Tour Schedule

Saturday, October 15

Review at Just One More Chapter
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Sunday, October 16

Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Monday, October 17

Review at

Tuesday, October 18

Review at A Book Drunkard

Wednesday, October 19

Excerpt at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, October 20

Review at Peeking Between the Pages

Friday, October 21

Review & Excerpt at The Silver Dagger Scriptorium

Saturday, October 22

Review at 100 Pages a Day

Monday, October 24

Review at Unabridged Chick

Tuesday, October 25

Interview at Unabridged Chick

Wednesday, October 26

Review at The Maiden’s Court

Friday, October 28

Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Monday, October 31

Review & Excerpt at Book Lovers Paradise

Tuesday, November 1

Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, November 2

Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Thursday, November 3

Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Monday, November 7

Review at A Bookish Affair

Tuesday, November 8

Interview at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, November 9

Review at Historical Readings & Reviews

Friday, November 11

Review at Broken Teepee
Spotlight at The Book Tree

Saturday, November 12

Excerpt at The Reading Queen
Review at The True Book Addict


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Guest Post by Andrew Joyce, Author of Yellow Hair

My name is Andrew Joyce and I write books for a living. Colleen has been kind enough to allow me a little space on her blog to talk about my latest, Yellow Hair.

Yellow Hair documents the injustices done to the Sioux Nation from their first treaty with the United States in 1805 through Wounded Knee in 1890. Every death, murder, battle, and outrage depicted actually took place—from the first to the last. The historical figures that play a role in my story were real people and I used their real names. I conjured up my protagonist only to weave together the various events conveyed in my fact-based tale of fiction. Yellow Hair is an epic tale of adventure, family, love, and hate that spans most of the 19th century. It is American history.

The inspiration for the book came to me when I was reading a short article and it made reference to the Great Sioux Uprising of 1862. It also mentioned that the outcome involved the largest mass execution in the history of the United States. That piqued my interest.

When I started my research into the incident, one thing led to another and before I knew it, I was documenting the entire history of the Sioux, who are also known as the Dakota, vis-à-vis the relationship between them and the United States.

Because the book exists only because I read the phrase, “the largest mass execution in the history of the United States,” I’ll tell you a little about that. What follows is an extremely abbreviated version of events.

The Dakota signed their first treaty with the United States in 1805 when they sold a small portion of their land to the Americans for the purpose of building forts. It was right after the Louisiana Purchase and President Jefferson wanted a presence in the West. At the time, “the West” was anything on the western side of the Mississippi River.

In the treaty of 1805, the Dakota sold 100,000 acres to the Americans. The agreed-upon price was $2.00 per acre. But when the treaty came up before the Senate for ratification, the amount was changed to two cents per acre. That was to be a precursor for all future treaties with the Americans. There were subsequent treaties in 1815, 1825, 1832, 1837, and 1851, and basically the same thing happened with all those treaties.

In 1837, the Americans wanted an additional five million acres of Dakota land. Knowing it would be a hard sell after the way they failed to live up to the letter or spirit of the previous treaties, the government brought twenty-six Dakota chiefs to Washington to show them the might and majesty that was The United States of America.

The government proposed paying one million dollars for the acreage in installments over a twenty-year period. Part of the payment was to be in the form of farm equipment, medicine, and livestock. Intimidated, the Indians signed the treaty and went home. The United States immediately laid claim to the lands—the first payment did not arrive for a year.

The significance of the 1837 treaty lies in the fact that it was the first time “traders” were allowed to lay claim to the Indians’ payments without any proof that money was owed . . . and without consulting the Indians. Monies were subtracted from the imbursements and paid directly to the traders.

By 1851, the Americans wanted to purchase all of the Dakota’s remaining lands—twenty-five million acres. The Sioux did not want to sell, but were forced to do so with threats that the army could be sent in to take the land from them at the point of a gun if they refused the American’s offer.

“If we sell our land, where will we live?” asked the Dakota chief.

“We will set aside land for the Dakota only. It is called a reservation and it will be along both banks of the Minnesota River, twenty miles wide, ten on each side and seventy miles long,” answered the Commissioner of Indian Affairs.

The Dakota were offered six cents an acre for land that was worth at least a dollar an acre. The payment would be stretched out over a twenty year period and was to be made in the form of gold coins. One year later, in 1852, the Americans took half the reservation, the seventy miles on the north side of the river. The Dakota were now reduced from a nation of fierce, independent people to a people dependent on hand-outs from the ones who stole not only their land, but also their dignity.

The Dakota were forced to buy their food from the traders who ran trading posts at the Indian Agency the U.S. Government had set up on the reservation. All year long the Dakota would charge what they needed. When the yearly payment for their land arrived, the traders would take what they said was owed them. Subsequently, there was very little gold left for the Dakota.

By 1862, the Dakota were starving. That year’s payment was months late in arriving because of the Civil War. The traders were afraid that because of the war there would be no payment that year and cut off the Dakota’s credit. The Indian Agent had the power to force the traders to release some of the food stocks, but refused when asked to do so by the Dakota.

After they had eaten their ponies and dogs, and their babies cried out in the night from hunger, the Dakota went to war against the United States of America.

They attacked the agency first and liberated the food stock from the warehouse, killing many white people who lived there. Then bands of braves set out to loot the farms in the surrounding countryside.

Many whites were killed in the ensuing weeks. However, not all of the Dakota went to war. Many stayed on the reservation and did not pick up arms against their white neighbors. Some saved the lives of white settlers. Still, over 700 whites lost their lives before the rebellion was put down.

When the dust settled, all of the Dakota—including women and children, and those people who had saved settlers’ lives—were made prisoners of war.

Three hundred and ninety-six men were singled out to stand trial before a military commission. They were each tried separately in trials that lasted only minutes. In the end, three hundred and three men were sentenced to death.

Even though he was occupied with the war, President Lincoln got involved. He reviewed all three hundred and three cases and pardoned all but thirty-eight of the prisoners.

On a gray and overcast December morning in 1862, the scaffold stood high. Thirty-eight nooses hung from its crossbeams. The mechanism for springing the thirty-eight trap doors had been tested and retested until it worked perfectly. At exactly noon, a signal was given, a lever pulled, and the largest mass execution to ever take place in the United States of America became part of our history.
Publisher: William Birch & Associates
Pub. Date: September 28th, 2016
Pages: 498

Yellow Hair documents the injustices done to the Sioux Nation from their first treaty with the United States in 1805 through Wounded Knee in 1890. Every death, murder, battle, and outrage written about actually took place. The historical figures that play a role in this fact-based tale of fiction were real people and the author uses their real names. Yellow Hair is an epic tale of adventure, family, love, and hate that spans most of the 19th century. This is American history.

Buy the Book


About the Author

Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until decades later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written five books, including a two-volume collection of one hundred and fifty short stories comprised of his hitching adventures called BEDTIME STORIES FOR GROWN-UPS (as yet unpublished), and his latest novel, YELLOW HAIR. He now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny, where he is busy working on his next book, tentatively entitled, MICK REILLY.

You can find out more about Andrew on his website.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

TLC Book Tours: Review of Yesternight by Cat Winters

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Pub. Date: October 4th, 2016
Pages: 400


From the author of The Uninvited comes a haunting historical novel with a compelling mystery at its core. A young child psychologist steps off a train, her destination a foggy seaside town. There, she begins a journey causing her to question everything she believes about life, death, memories, and reincarnation.

In 1925, Alice Lind steps off a train in the rain-soaked coastal hamlet of Gordon Bay, Oregon. There, she expects to do nothing more difficult than administer IQ tests to a group of rural schoolchildren. A trained psychologist, Alice believes mysteries of the mind can be unlocked scientifically, but now her views are about to be challenged by one curious child.

Seven-year-old Janie O’Daire is a mathematical genius, which is surprising. But what is disturbing are the stories she tells: that her name was once Violet, she grew up in Kansas decades earlier, and she drowned at age nineteen. Alice delves into these stories, at first believing they’re no more than the product of the girl’s vast imagination. But, slowly, Alice comes to the realization that Janie might indeed be telling a strange truth.

Alice knows the investigation may endanger her already shaky professional reputation, and as a woman in a field dominated by men she has no room for mistakes. But she is unprepared for the ways it will illuminate terrifying mysteries within her own past, and in the process, irrevocably change her life.

What Did I Think About the Story?

As soon as I read the synopsis of this book I knew I had to read it! My undergrad degree is in psychology and I've always found the subject matter fascinating. I've also always found the paranormal interesting, so the combination of the very grounded and measurable study of psychology and this wild and unpredictable investigation of reincarnation was too delicious to pass up. It seemed to promise to be dark and eerie and thought-provoking, and Yesternight comes through on all of those promises.

My first two thoughts when I started reading Yesternight were 1) This tossed and stormy setting is PERFECT for a creepy story! and 2) How cool is Alice Lind, a smart, determined woman pushing her way through a man's field and refusing to back down! The author did a great job of showing how hard Alice had to work to be taken seriously as a psychologist as well as the double standards she faced when it came to her sexuality. A good amount of time was spent on her sexuality and the fact that her needs were considered obscene for the times, while we know now those needs would just be considered normal. I have to say that this aspect of the story was my least favorite as it drew away from the much more interesting (in my opinion) past lives aspects, however I understand it served a point that becomes a little more evident towards the end of the story.

My very favorite aspect of the story was the exploration of the past lives a few of our characters (not only Janie) experienced, and how those past lives bled into their present, affecting them in some interesting and disturbing ways.  The ending was absolutely chilling to me and the whole discussion really made me think about how much I believe in reincarnation and, if it is true, how many traits (both bad and good) someone could bring over to their new life. It was really interesting to watch the characters grapple with the frustration, fear, and confusion they inevitably felt trying to figure out what truly was happening to them...and what had already happened that they couldn't remember! Some of the actions of the characters were really horrific and went quite a way to make me dislike them as a whole, however the process they all went through was really fun to read about.

Yesternight definitely gave  me that creep-factor I want this time of year and in novels dealing with this subject matter. It took some turns that I didn't expect (and some that I didn't necessarily enjoy) but all in all it was a well written story that made me think long and hard about the possibilities it presented. I'm excited to read the author's first novel, The Uninvited, and look forward to what she comes out with next.

What Did I Think About the Cover?

I am absolutely gaga for this cover! I mean, I can't stop looking at it. I'm not even really sure what it is I love about it so much, but I can't help myself. Beyond just being beautiful, it perfectly captures the dark, gloomy feeling of the story, plus the torrential and unpredictable rain Alice faces in Gordon Bay is well represented. This is a cover that would cause me to pick up the book any day!

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

Thank you to Harper Collins Publishers and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a free copy of Yesternight in exchange for an honest review. Please continue below for information about the book, it's author, and the rest of the blog tour.

About the Author

Photo by Tara Kelly
 Cat Winters’s debut novel, In the Shadow of Blackbirds, was released to widespread critical acclaim. The novel has been named a finalist for the 2014 Morris Award, a School Library Journal Best Book of 2013, and a Booklist 2013 Top 10 Horror Fiction for Youth. Winters lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and two children.

Find out more about Cat at her website, and follow her on tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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Yesternight Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, October 4th: Wall-to-Wall Books
Wednesday, October 5th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Thursday, October 6th: 5 Minutes For Books
Friday, October 7th: A Chick Who Reads
Friday, October 7th: Peeking Between the Pages
Monday, October 10th: Kahakai Kitchen
Tuesday, October 11th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, October 12th: A Literary Vacation
Thursday, October 13th: Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile
Monday, October 17th: Broken Teepee
Tuesday, October 18th: Ms. Nose in a Book

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

TLC Book Tours: Review of News of the World by Paulette Jiles

Publisher: William Morrow
Pub. Date: October 4th, 2016
Pages: 224


Longlisted for the National Book Award–Fiction

It is 1870 and Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence.

In Wichita Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her relatives in San Antonio. Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders killed Johanna’s parents and sister; sparing the little girl, they raised her as one of their own. Recently rescued by the U.S. army, the ten-year-old has once again been torn away from the only home she knows.

Their 400-mile journey south through unsettled territory and unforgiving terrain proves difficult and at times dangerous. Johanna has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away her shoes, and refuses to act “civilized.” Yet as the miles pass, the two lonely survivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forging a bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land.

Arriving in San Antonio, the reunion is neither happy nor welcome. The captain must hand Johanna over to an aunt and uncle she does not remember—strangers who regard her as an unwanted burden. A respectable man, Captain Kidd is faced with a terrible choice: abandon the girl to her fate or become—in the eyes of the law—a kidnapper himself. Exquisitely rendered and morally complex, News of the World is a brilliant work of historical fiction that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.

What Did I Think About the Story?

When it comes to historical fiction, I've often found myself drawn to long, weighty books that completely immerse the reader in the details of the time and place the story inhabits. It seems to take a good amount of time to make me feel like I'm right there with the characters, utilizing all my senses to be a part of the world the author is building. So when News of the World came up for review I have to admit to being somewhat skeptical. How would the author make me experience this world in such a limited number of pages? I mean, a 400-mile journey in under 250 pages?! I feel horrible admitting this now because News of the World is a gem of a story and not only tackles that long and arduous journey within its slim pages, but presents two of the most admirable and heartfelt characters I'm come across in a while.

The story's formatting did take some time to get used to, with no quotations around the dialogue and a sparse, bare sort of style, but once I got used to the pattern I very much began to enjoy it. The style matches Captain Kidd's personality very well and, as he's the narrator, this began to make perfect sense as the story developed. The writing is true and honest, yet curt and grounded, with a light sprinkling of humor and sarcasm thrown in from time to time. It became so easy to see Captain Kidd, this gritty yet compassionate old man, as he dealt with a world he wasn't quite sure he liked anymore and a young girl who was set to change his world whether he liked it or not. The way the author wrote Johanna's small yet pointed dialogue was perfect as well, with her strange yet endearing way of speaking and her determination, pride and bravery always at the forefront, I completely became enamored with her. The odd yet beautiful relationship these two very different characters develop is delightful and I'm amazed as much heart and feeling could be expressed in so few words.

This relationship between Johanna and Captain Kidd was so touching. At the point where we meet Captain Kidd, he's become bored, disillusioned and even depressed with the life he was living. Being put in charge of Johanna, as aggravating as she could be at times, gave his life a new purpose. She kind of brings him back to life, giving him meaning and structure and something to care about beyond the news and his family far away in Georgia. In turn, he begins to calm this wild child and allows her to remember not only a language she had forgotten but the realization that there was kindness in this strange world of the white man. They're both brave, tough, and determined, and each does there part to bring love and life back to the other.

Something else I really appreciated about the story was the way the time period was expressed and the depth that was given in regards to the politics and changing landscape the US was undergoing at the time. I haven't read much about the US post Civil War, but, again, I was amazed at the breadth of knowledge that could be expressed in such a short amount of time. I could perfectly feel the danger and fright that existed so close to Indian territory as well as the anger and resentment on both sides of the political divide, and the skillful way Captain Kidd juggled all of these things to stay alive and deliver his charge as he promised.    

My only complaint (not that it's that much of a complaint) would be that the pivotal turning point at the end of the book (I don't want to say too much and give anything away) went down a little too cleanly to seem realistic and seemed to wrap up quickly and neatly for a story that held so many obstacles. When all the figurative mountains these two had come across took fighting to get through, why this final mountain would be so easy just seemed odd. That being said, the very end of the novel brought me to tears and I realized that this short book had held an epic and arduous journey that can't be known from just looking at the page count. I felt like I had been on a long, hard road with these two and was just as cathartic and enlightened by the outcome as they were.

I can't forget to mention the wonderful marketing material that came with my Uncorrected Proof copy of the book. One side of this sheet is a map of Captain Kidd and Johanna's journey, so the reader can follow along visually, and the other side are reviews written in the format of a newspaper such as what Captain Kidd would have read to his audiences. I just love little touches like this, and it goes a long way to making me enjoy the reading experience even more.

News of the World is such a divine study at what it really means to be a family, and how you never know what path your life might take or where that path might lead you. It is not hard to see why this book has been long-listed for the National Book Award and I'm so glad I took a chance and went along on this exciting and touching journey.

What Did I Think About the Cover?

I think it must be incredibly hard for a publisher to come up with a cover that perfectly captures the story, whether that be because of issues finding a cover model with the appropriate color hair, style of clothes, wrong background, wrong time period detail, what have you. Somehow finding a way to incorporate all of the details within a story into one image that not only represents the story but grabs the attention of a future reader seems near impossible. Well whoever designed this cover did a brilliant job! Not only does the background image, colors, and font perfectly represent the time period and feel of the story, but the little girl leading the horse along is Johanna! Our wild girl seemed to much prefer walking alongside the horses to riding in the wagon. I didn't even notice that little detail until after I read the story, but it just  makes me love the cover even more!

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

Thank you so much to Harper Collins Publishers and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a free copy of News of the World in exchange for an honest review. Please find more information about the book, author, and the rest of the blog tour below.

About the Author

Paulette Jiles is a novelist, poet, and memoirist. She is the author of Cousins, a memoir, and the
novels Enemy Women, Stormy Weather, The Color of Lightning, Lighthouse Island, and News of the World. She lives on a ranch near San Antonio, TX.

Find out more about Paulette at her website.

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New of the World Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, October 4th: Broken Teepee
Wednesday, October 5th: Bibliophiliac
Thursday, October 6th: FictionZeal
Friday, October 7th: Just One More Chapter
Monday, October 10th: BookNAround
Tuesday, October 11th: The Paperback Pilgrim
Tuesday, October 11th: A Literary Vacation
Wednesday, October 12th: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Thursday, October 13th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Friday, October 14th: Booksie’s Blog
Monday, October 17th: Kahakai Kitchen
Tuesday, October 18th: Lesa’s Book Critiques
Wednesday, October 19th: Books on the Table
Thursday, October 20th: Dwell in Possibility
Monday, October 24th: Tina Says…
Tuesday, October 25th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Wednesday, October 26th: Literary Quicksand
Thursday, October 27th: A Bookworm’s World
Friday, October 28th: Art @ Home
Monday, October 31st: The Book Diva’s Reads
Tuesday, November 1st: Man of La Book

Monday, October 10, 2016

Spotlight on Death Unmasked by Rick Sulik

Publisher: Christopher Matthews Publishing
Pub. Date: November 6th, 2015
Pages: 265

Genres: Mystery/Suspense/Police Procedural

A reincarnated evil is stalking the women of Houston. With each murder, the madman quotes an excerpt from the Oscar Wilde poem, “The Ballad of Reading Gaol.” A huge smokestack belching smoke, a ragged flea market double-breasted wool coat, and an old antique picture frame, bring the distant past back to haunt Houston Homicide Detective, Sean Jamison. With those catalysts, Jamison knows who he was in a past life and that he lost the only woman he could ever love. Searching for his reincarnated mate becomes Jamison’s raison d’être as he and fellow detectives scour Houston for a brutal serial killer. The memory of timeless love drives Jamison’s dogged search for a serial killer, determined to finish what he started decades earlier.

Each clue brings Jamison closer to unmasking his old nemesis. Tenacious police work, lessons learned in the past, and intuition may be the only weapons he has in preventing history from repeating itself.

Death Unmasked, is a police procedural involving an intense, thought-provoking mystery, suspense thriller spanning lifetimes, using reincarnation, karma, psychic ability, remote viewing, and out of body experience as a premise.

Praise for Death Unmasked

"The author has accomplished an impassioned, arduously written result of crafting together various stylistic elements to tell his story that, combined, engage the reader on different levels and provide different perspectives of social, spiritual and humanistic themes in an entertaining way." --Robert M. Tucker, author, Byron, Chance of a Lifetime, American Landscape

"Poetry and murder: an unlikely couple, but the twain meet in this fascinating, supernaturally inspired detective thriller." --D. Clarke

"A unique and satisfying read, definitely recommended."--Thalia, Amazon Reviewer

"This book gets the reader involved and engrossed as well as relating to the well paced story line. No chance of getting bored and a perfect read on the plane or for a cosy night in. With the twists and turns, enhanced with love, crime and the supernatural, well written, what more could you ask for? Get it, Gift it, share it."--T-Fly, Amazon Reviewer

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About the Author

Rick Sulik was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio. After completing high school in Boardman, Ohio, he enlisted and served four years in the United States Air Force Military Police. After receiving an Honorable Discharge, he worked three and a half years with the Houston, Texas Police Department, twenty-two years with the Pasadena, Texas Police Department, and ten years as a courthouse bailiff with the Gonzales County, Texas Sheriff's Department, before retiring in 2013.