Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Whirligig: Keeping the Promise by Richard Buxton + Tour-Wide Giveaway!!

Pub. Date: April 22, 2017
Publisher: Ocoee Publishing
496 Pages

Series: Shire’s Union, Book One
Genre: Fiction/Historical



The first novel from multi-award winning short-story writer Richard Buxton, Whirligig is at once an outsider’s odyssey through the battle for Tennessee, a touching story of impossible love, and a portrait of America at war with itself. Self-interest and conflict, betrayal and passion, all fuse into a fateful climax.


Shire leaves his home and his life in Victorian England for the sake of a childhood promise, a promise that will pull him into the bleeding heart of the American Civil War and through the bloody battlefields of the West, where he will discover a second home for his loyalty.

Clara believes she has escaped from a predictable future of obligation and privilege, but her new life in the Appalachian Hills of Tennessee is decaying around her. In the mansion of Comrie, long hidden secrets are being slowly exhumed by a war that comes ever closer.


Buy the Book

 
 
 

About the Author

 

Richard lives with his family in the South Downs, Sussex, England. He completed an MA in Creative Writing at Chichester University in 2014. He has an abiding relationship with America, having studied at Syracuse University, New York State, in the late eighties. His short stories have won the Exeter Story Prize, the Bedford International Writing Competition and the Nivalis Short Story Award. Whirligig is his first novel and the opening book of Shire’s Union trilogy. Current projects include the second book, The Copper Road, as well as preparing to publish a collection of short stories.

To learn more about Richard’s writing visit https://www.richardbuxton.net. You can also follow Richard on Facebook and Twitter.
 

It's Giveaway Time!!



During the Blog Tour we will be giving away one paperback & one eBook of WHIRLIGIG! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form HERE.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on August 7th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– 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!!
 
 

Whirligig Blog Tour Schedule

 

Tuesday, July 11

Feature at A Bookaholic Swede

Wednesday, July 12

Interview at Let Them Read Books

Friday, July 14

Feature at Passages to the Past

Monday, July 17

Review at Pursuing Stacie

Tuesday, July 18

Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, July 20

Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Feature at What Is That Book About

Friday, July 21

Interview at The Book Junkie Reads

Tuesday, July 25

Feature at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, July 27

Review at Back Porchervations

Friday, July 28

Review at Book Nerd

Thursday, August 3
 
 
 
 
 
 


Friday, July 21, 2017

Book Blast: An Epiphany in Lilacs by Iris Dorbian + Tour-Wide Giveaway!!

Pub. Date: January 1, 2017
Publisher: Mazo Publishers
180 Pages

Genre: Young Adult / Historical Fiction / World War II



An Epiphany In Lilacs is a young adult novel set in a DP camp outside Hamburg, Germany following the end of World War II. The author, Iris Dorbian, captures in this story a unique glimpse into the period after the Holocaust when survivors had to deal with their new realities for living, based on her father’s personal experience. After liberation in May 1945, Daniel, a 14-year-old Latvian Jew, is treated in a field hospital in the British zone of partitioned Germany. A survivor of various concentration camps, Daniel fights to recover from starvation and disease. Racked by nightmares, a nearly nightly occurrence, Daniel finds sleep almost impossible. Through his love of nature, and pre-war memories, Daniel struggles to find comfort. He forms an intriguing bond with an older German gentile, another survivor. Later on, as he joins a theater troupe, Daniel tries to move on with his life, yet still searching for the whereabouts of his mother and two sisters. Poised on the cusp of a new life, young Daniel makes his way to the country that will become his new home.


Praise for An Epiphany of Lilacs



“Rich with powerful and piercing historical references, An Epiphany in Lilacs: In the Aftermath of the Camps by Iris Dorbian captures thereality of Jews who survived the Holocaust, the inner scars and the struggles with uncertainty, incessant nightmares, and fitting into the day-to-day lifestyle of ordinary people. It is a heart-wrenching story,told in excellent prose and in the author’s unique style. I have been a huge fan of Holocaust literature, starting with Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, and have always felt appalled by man’s cruelty to fellow man. In this new book, the author explores the terrible effects of a fragment of history on the life of a little boy. This is a story to read and share, a powerful story about freedom and the perils of war.Well-crafted with compelling characters and interesting themes.” – Divine Zape for Readers’ Favorite

“This was a lovely and inspiring read about survival after the war. The fact that this is based on the author’s personal accounts made this absolutely mesmerizing. This was such a tragic and heartbreaking time in our history, so to be able to read a story like this was like none other. Iris really captures this time period quite well through her father. The connection Daniel finds with the older German (another survivor of the war) and his story about rebuilding his life in the country while searching for his family makes it impossible to put book down.” -Rainy Day Reviews/Bookjunkie Mom Blog


Buy the Book

 
 
 
 

About the Author

 
 
Iris Dorbian is a business and arts journalist whose articles have appeared in a wide number of outlets that include the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Venture Capital Journal, Buyouts, Investopedia, DMNews, Jerusalem Report, the Forward, Playbill, Backstage, Theatermania, Live Design, Media Industry Newsletter and PR News. From 1999 to 2007, Iris was the editor-in-chief of Stage Directions. She is the author of “Great Producers: Visionaries of the American Theater,” which was published by Allworth Press in August 2008. Her personal essays have been published in Blue Lyra Review, B O D Y, Embodied Effigies, Jewish Literary Journal, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Adanna Literary Journal, ThisSpace.org, Skirt! and Gothesque Magazine. A New Jersey native, Iris has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.

For more information, please visit Iris Dorbian’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.


It's Giveaway Time!!!



During the Blog Tour we are giving away a SIGNED copy of An Epiphany in Lilacs to one lucky winner! To enter please see the Gleam form HERE.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on July 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– 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!!
 
 

Book Blast Tour Schedule

 
 
Monday, July 17

Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, July 18

Book Nerd
To Read, Or Not to Read

Wednesday, July 19

Faery Tales Are Real

Thursday, July 20

T’s Stuff

Friday, July 21

Books of a Shy Girl
A Literary Vacation

Saturday, July 22

Laura’s Interests

Sunday, July 23

Must Read Faster

Monday, July 24

Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Tuesday, July 25

WS Momma Readers Nook

Wednesday, July 26

100 Pages a Day

Thursday, July 27

Carole’s Ramblings
Mello & June, It’s a Book Thang!

Friday, July 28

Passages to the Past



 
 
 


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Cover Crush: We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

Hello, my name is Colleen and I am a cover slut. I know, I know....you aren't supposed to judge a book by it's cover. I just can't help myself! A beautiful cover draws my eye every single time and I can't help but pick up the book it's dressing and see if the inside seems as intriguing as the outside. Sometimes it does, and sometimes a pretty cover is just a pretty cover. Either way, I love getting an eyeful!


One of my favorite bloggers, Erin at
Flashlight Commentary, created a weekly blog post called Cover Crush and she and some other blogger friends are sharing their favorite covers each Thursday. I've decided to join in this year and will link to their posts down below.


So, without further ado, my Cover Crush this week is.....






This cover is so different than the usual cover I gravitate towards but, for reasons I can't quite put into words, I'm really digging it! I found it when doing a search of the best cover art for 2017 and I have to agree it's quite interesting. From the drawn image I'm guessing this is YA and it makes me think of a comic book or graphic novel. I love the fact that the girl standing on the bed is clearly in a room but seeing or dreaming of a beach or lake or something similar. It's very different from anything else I've seen before!


Let's see what the book is really about....




You go through life thinking there’s so much you need…

Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.



Don't forget to check out what covers my blogger buddies are drooling over this week (updated as they become available):


 


Created by Magdalena of A Bookaholic Swede



Monday, July 17, 2017

Review: The Fire Child by S.K. Tremayne

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pub. Date: March 28th, 2017
Pages: 400

Genres: Mystery/Psychological Thriller/Suspense


Synopsis



THE PERFECT HUSBAND. THE PERFECT STEPSON. THE PERFECT LIE?


When Rachel marries dark, handsome David, everything seems to fall into place. Swept from single life in London to the beautiful Carnhallow House in Cornwall, she gains wealth, love, and an affectionate stepson, Jamie.

But then Jamie's behavior changes, and Rachel's perfect life begins to unravel. He makes disturbing predictions, claiming to be haunted by the specter of his late mother - David's previous wife. Is this Jamie's way of punishing Rachel, or is he far more traumatized than she thought?

As Rachel starts digging into the past, she begins to grow suspicious of her husband. Why is he so reluctant to discuss Jamie's outbursts? And what exactly happened to cause his ex-wife's untimely death, less than two years ago? As summer slips away and December looms, Rachel begins to fear there might be truth in Jamie's words:

"You will be dead by Christmas."


What Did I Think About the Story?



I really enjoyed S.K. Tremayne's debut novel, The Ice Twins, when I read it a few years ago and was so excited when the lovely Tiffany Sanchez from Grand Central Publishing reached out to me to see if I was interested in receiving a copy of this newest novel for review. Yes please!! From the synopsis I just knew I was going to be in for another really creepy treat. And, having finished it, I'm happy to say I was correct! The Fire Child once again presents a sinister setting by the turbulent sea and creates an atmosphere of confusion and dread that sends chills down your spine.

One of the best parts of the novel is the fact that each chapter opens up with a countdown to Christmas day. This is wonderful for building up the feeling of impending dread and urgency and helped the story from dragging towards the beginning/middle as the author sought to properly develop the characters' backstories. The story is quite long at 400 pages and there are a few points along the way that allowed the overall sense of impending doom to drop away, but overall this countdown to possible death really kept me turning the pages to see if Rachel's life was truly in danger.

The characters are pretty perfect as far as suspenseful mysteries go as well. They are all so very damaged, each and every one of them, and the full extent of that damage and the lies they tell to hide their secrets slowly unfurls as the story progresses, picking up speed right towards the end. I absolutely loved this as it kept me from guessing the outcome. There's some mental illness involved, lots of bold-faced lying, and some pretty heavy subterfuge going on so that you're never quite sure if what you are reading is really what the characters are experiencing, or if what they are saying is true or not, at least until the final shoe drops and you're able to finally see how all the pieces fall into place. 

Something else I love is the fact that Tremayne has an incredible ability to showcase beautiful yet terrifying landscapes and to make these inanimate, natural elements take on a life of their own and feel almost alive. In this novel our ramshackle and dangerous buildings are long abandoned iron mines and tunnels (as opposed to a dilapidated cottage as in The Ice Twins) and this combined with the thick forest surrounding the mansion and the vicious sea surrounding that leads to an overall feeling of isolation and suffocation. The mansion itself is amazingly detailed and it was so much fun going along with Rachel as she explored what had once been the servants areas and the old monastery ruins that the house is built around and on top of. The entire setting feels haunted, with creaks, whispers (was it the wind?), and dark shadows abounding, and this serves to push already disturbed people over the edge into hysteria. I, for one, had the best time watching that descent!

The Fire Child is wonderful, atmospheric suspense and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good gothic mystery. While there was some lagging in the middle and I didn't feel it needed to be quite as long as it was, overall it was a delightful way to spend the hours and I am still a firm fan of Tremayne's writing.  


What Did I Think About the Cover?



I think it fits the story perfectly! It evokes the stormy, sinister feeling that hangs over the whole narrative and is the exact picture I have in my head of the location and youngest character (tossing, freezing seaside with Jamie running off to the dangerous mines on the property). I love it!


My Rating: 4.0/5.0



Thank you to Tiffany Sanchez and Grand Central Publishing for a free copy of The Fire Child in exchange for an honest review! Continue below for more information about the author and where you can purchase a copy.
 
 

Praise for The Fire Child

 
 
"Tremayne...does a terrific job of building suspense until events reach their climax in the midst of a violent storm." - Library Journal       
 
 

Buy the Book

       
 
 

About the Author   

 
 
S. K. Tremayne is a bestselling novelist and award-winning travel writer, and a regular contributor to newspapers and magazines around the world. Tremayne has two daughters, and lives in London.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Spotlight on Plain Jane by Barrie Levitt Knee

Publisher: XLIBRIS
Pub. Date: March 13th, 2015
Pages: 232

Genre: Contemporary Fiction


Plain Jane by Barrie Levitt Knee is the story of a forty something wife and mother who has kept a secret from her family for almost seven years.


Jane has forever considered herself to be plain. Her BFF Gaby is the exact opposite. Following a night of countless margaritas, Jane and Gaby make a secret pact because thats what friends are for. Now Jane has less than a week to tell her family what she has done. The secret is revealed over a four and a half hour time period while Jane is running a marathon. Each chapter begins with a song that Jane is listening to while running. The lyrics tie into the secret and many other stories that Jane tells about Gaby, her family and mostly herself.

“Keep moving Jane! You can do this!” This is Jane’s running mantra throughout the book. The physical and emotional journey of running a marathon is continuously felt. Plain Jane keeps the pace of a marathon with each song. The sixty-four songs playlist is at the end of the book. It is a great playlist for those that run a ten minute mile like Jane.


Praise for Plain Jane



"This book is filled with love, loss and running. It has many unexpected twists and turns. So enjoyable." - Cindy, Amazon Reader


"Great book! The race went so fast. I couldn't believe the marathon was over. Highly recommended." - Michael, Amazon Reader


Buy the Book

 
 
 

About the Author

 
 
Like Jane, Barrie Levitt Knee is also a wife and mother who enjoys running, yoga and mostly listening to classic rock music. Professionally, she spent fifteen years working in online media. She also designed and manufactured decorative covers for children’s bedrails called Kover-Ups (www.kover-ups.com). This product earned an iParenting Media award. She currently resides in New Jersey and is working on her second novel.

You can learn more about Barrie on her website and connect with her on Facebook.
 
 


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Cover Crush: The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

Hello, my name is Colleen and I am a cover slut. I know, I know....you aren't supposed to judge a book by it's cover. I just can't help myself! A beautiful cover draws my eye every single time and I can't help but pick up the book it's dressing and see if the inside seems as intriguing as the outside. Sometimes it does, and sometimes a pretty cover is just a pretty cover. Either way, I love getting an eyeful! 


One of my favorite bloggers, Erin at Flashlight Commentary, created a weekly blog post called Cover Crush and she and some other blogger friends are sharing their favorite covers each Thursday. I've decided to join in this year and will link to their posts down below.


So, without further ado, my Cover Crush this week is.....






I have to admit that I've been a big fan of every single one of Simone St. James's covers. This, combined with the alluring book descriptions, has led me to purchase every single one of her novels even when I've still not yet read any of them. That might sound weird, but I've just heard such good things about her spine-tingling stories and her covers draw me in so much that I seem to push the "buy" button before I can help myself (I told you I had a problem!). I'm sure this book will be no different!

What I love most about this particular cover is the blurry building in the background, surrounded by what looks to be broken glass and/or decaying overgrowth. It creates such an eerie feeling of dilapidation and ruin. And clearly something sinister must have happened in that building! The muted colors lead me to the same conclusions and all in all it creates a definitively creepy feelings.

So what might have happened in that building? Let's read to find out....



Vermont, 1950. There’s a place for the girls whom no one wants-—the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too-smart-for-their-own-good. It’s called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it’s located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming—until one of them mysteriously disappears...

Vermont, 2014. As much as she’s tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister’s death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister’s boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can’t shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.

When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past—and a voice that won’t be silenced…



Don't forget to check out what covers my blogger buddies are drooling over this week:





Created by Magdalena of A Bookaholic Swede



Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Review: The Child by Fiona Barton

Publisher: Berkley
Pub. Date: June 27th, 2017
Pages: 384

Genre: Thriller / Suspense


You can bury the story . . . but you can’t hide the truth


As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby?

As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.

But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn—house by house—into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women—and torn between what she can and cannot tell…


What Did I Think About the Story?



I have a confession to make: I have not yet read Fiona Barton's debut novel, The Widow.  I might be one of the last readers on the planet who hasn't read it, but there you are. I've read all the excellent reviews and even purchased a copy but I just haven't gotten around to finding the time to dig in. I mention this as somewhat of an explanation as to why I jumped at the chance to read this, her sophomore novel. Between this urge to get ahead of the game and read it before it comes out and the attention-grabbing synopsis above I was not going to let this one pass me by and be relegated to the  never-ending TBR pile. I'm so glad I fit this one into my reading schedule because it definitely kept me entertained and was the perfect distraction for my rainy day weekends in Florida!

The novel begins with the discovery of a baby's skeleton during the demolition of a house in London and continues for a little over a year as the police and journalist Kate Waters investigate to find out not only who the "Building Site Baby" is but why she was buried there in the first place. The story goes back and forth between four perspectives: Kate, a journalist looking to not only help uncover who the baby is but hopefully use the story to reignite her somewhat stagnant career; Emma, a woman who grew up on the street where the baby was found and who seems to begin having a resurgence of mental health issues triggered by learning about the discovery; Jude, Emma's mother who kicked her out of the house at sixteen at the prompting of her boyfriend; and Angela, a woman who's baby was kidnapped from the hospital decades ago and who never got over the loss of her newborn. The story unfolds somewhat slowly at first and these women seem to only tenuously be linked to each other by their reactions to the discovery of the baby. However, as the story begins to pick up (somewhere around 1/3 of the way in) the ties between the women become more solid, all leading to an incredibly shocking revelation.

I have to say that, whenever I start a mystery or thriller book, I always write down my initial prediction of what the outcome of the story will be and, in this case, I was pretty darn close in my prediction, although the "big reveal" and the way we got to that discovery completely threw me for a loop. I think having Kate Waters, a seasoned journalist with quite the skill at getting to the heart of a mystery and getting people to open up to her, as one of the main characters was perfect and made the revelations feel natural and realistic. While some of the smaller surprises were easy to see coming I still enjoyed seeing how we got there and learning the reasons things happened the way they did.

Possibly my favorite part of the story were the characters, especially Kate. She is such a salty yet compassionate and resourceful person and I just loved the spots of levity and shots of adrenaline she brought to the table. While the other characters weren't quite as likeable (especially Jude and some of the secondary male characters) they were all very well developed and realistic and all served a purpose in the overall development of the story. Emma and Angela provided the most sympathetic situations and while they were both put through hell in different ways I was very satisfied with how their stories tied up.

Something else I enjoyed about the story was how it developed to be so much more than just the discovery of a buried baby. It dealt with the complicated relationships between mothers and their children and the myriad of outcomes that can develop from that sort of relationship. There are few relationships more complex then between a parent and their growing children and I enjoyed watching these different scenarios play out.

The Child is wonderful summer reading and I very much enjoyed my time with it. While I wouldn't call this face-paced or necessarily "page-turning suspense" I would say it's an excellent mystery filled with interesting characters placed in some unimaginable situations. I am now very excited to make some time to read Fiona Barton's first novel!


What Did I Think About the Cover?



It's okay. I'm not really sure what it has to do with the story and doesn't really reveal anything, but it's interesting enough that I would want to find out more about the book if I passed it on the shelves.



My Rating: 4.0/5.0



Thank you to Penguin Random House/Berkley for a free copy of The Child in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Continue below for more information about the book and it's author.
 


Early Praise for The Child



One of Publishers Weekly and Bustle’s Most Anticipated Books of 2017

Readers “will be rewarded with startling twists—and a stunning, emotionally satisfying conclusion.”—STARRED Publishers Weekly review

“Barton’s second well-plotted outing, with its sustained tension and believable characters, is an excellent addition to the popular psychological thriller genre.”—STARRED Library Journal review

“Immersive, heartbreaking, and addictive”—Crime By the Book

“Tense, tantalizing, and ultimately very satisfying … definitely one of the year’s must-reads.”—Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“Fiona Barton has outdone herself with THE CHILD. An engrossing, irresistible story about the coming to light of a long-buried secret and an absolutely fabulous read—I loved it!”—Shari Lapena, New York Times bestselling author of The Couple Next Door


Buy the Book

 
 
 

About the Author

 
 
It was the allure of a hidden story that propelled Fiona Barton to her long-time career in news. A
journalist and British Press Awards “Reporter of the Year,” she has worked at the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph, and brings that experience to bear in her novels.

You can discover more about Fiona on her website and connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.