Monday, June 29, 2015

Spotlight on The Lover's Path by Kris Waldherr

Please join Kris Waldherr on her first Blog Tour with HF Virtual Book Tours for The Lover’s Path: An Illustrated Novella of Venice, from June 16th - 30th!

Publication Date: June 16, 2015
Publisher: Art and Words Editions
eBook; 114p

Genre: Historical Fiction/Graphic Novel

New expanded and revised anniversary edition. Finally available for iPad and Kindle.

“To truly love another, you must follow the lover’s path wherever it may take you . . .”

Filamena Ziani is the much younger sister of the most famous courtesan in sixteenth-century Venice, Tullia Ziani. Orphaned as an infant, Filamena has come of age bent like a branch to her sister’s will, sheltered and lonely in the elegant but stifling confines of their palazzo by the sea. Then a dark-haired stranger offers a gift that will change the course of her life forever: a single ripe plum, and an invitation to walk along the lover’s path, wherever it may lead.

THE LOVER’S PATH, a moving tale of forbidden love, is a romantic epic told in multiple layers. Through a novel combination of Filamena’s narrative, famous love stories from history and mythology, and sumptuously ornate illustrations, Filomena’s path is beautifully described and, finally, stunningly revealed.

Praised by The New York Times Book Review for her “quality of myth and magic,” Kris Waldherr brings to life a remarkable period in Venetian history using art and words. Her glorious celebration of romance, the feminine spirit, and the power of love to transform will inspire and move readers everywhere.

Praise for The Lover's Path

“THE LOVER’S PATH is beautiful in every way; not only is the story of the girl’s secret and ultimately dangerous love wonderfully told, but the exquisite illustrations and layout make you feel that you have truly fallen into old Venice with its longing and eroticism. Prepare to be lifted into another time and place and discover secrets long guarded. That one extraordinarily talented writer/artist/designer could have created this whole world is almost not to be believed but it is so. You must own this lovely, lovely book! —Stephanie Cowell, author of Claude and Camille and Marrying Mozart

“The Lover’s Path is a visual and literary feast…. The star-crossed lovers are a celebrated courtesan’s virginal and over-protected young sister and a cardinal’s illegitimate son. The lovers in the book are linked mythically and thematically to the archetypal lovers on the Lover’s Path: Dante and Beatrice, Isis and Osiris, Tristan and Isolde, Orpheus and Eurydice, and ultimately Eros and Psyche…. Haunting.”—Mary Sharratt, author of Daughters of the Witching Hill

“Prepare to be transported to 16th century Venice from the first page. This novel is a feast—a full-color picture book for adults that tells a wrenching story of eternal love…. This beautiful fable reminded me of Erica Jong’s Serenissima.”—NPR Books

“With this illustrated novel, Waldherr has spun a wondrous story spilling over with mythological figures, with tarot cards and personal letters. You’re pulled into a vortex of a 16th century romance centered on Filamena Ziani, the younger sister of a famous courtesan in Venice…. Waldherr, who based her novel on a real-life courtesan, also created the illustrations for her book.”—The Albuquerque Journal

“Voluptuous illustration and enthralling narrative … in this extraordinary testament to the strength of the feminine spirit.”—WNBC/B(u)y the Book

“Kris Waldherr’s The Lover’s Path plunges readers into the mysterious and exhilarating world of sixteenth-century Venice…. A visual adventure.”—Women in the Arts, the Magazine of the National Museum of Women in the Arts

Buy the Book

Kindle Fire format (Deluxe edition with full color graphics)
Kindle format (Optimized for b/w and smaller screen size)
iPad format (Deluxe edition with interactive full color graphics)
iPhone format (Optimized for small screen size)

About the Author

Kris Waldherr is an award-winning author, illustrator, and designer whose many books include
Doomed Queens and The Book of Goddesses. She is also the creator of the Goddess Tarot, which has nearly a quarter of a million copies in print. Waldherr’s illustrations have been exhibited in many galleries and museums, including the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Mazza Museum, and the Ruskin Library. She lives and works in Brooklyn with her husband and their young daughter. Visit her online at

You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

The Lover's Path Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, June 16

Review at Unabridged Chick
Review & Guest Post at Unshelfish
Excerpt at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, June 17

Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Review at Peeking Between the Pages
Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick

Thursday, June 18

Review & Excerpt at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Friday, June 19

Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Spotlight & Excerpt at Raven Haired Girl

Monday, June 22

Review at A Book Drunkard

Tuesday, June 23

Review & Guest Post at Book Lovers Paradise

Wednesday, June 24

Review & Guest Post at The Emerald City Book Review

Thursday, June 25

Review at Broken Teepee

Friday, June 26

Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Monday, June 29

Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Tuesday, June 30

Review at Just One More Chapter


Friday, June 26, 2015

Spotlight on Across Great Divides by Monique Roy

Please join Monique Roy as she tours with HF Virtual Book Tours for Across Great Divides, from June 16th - 26th!

Publication Date: June 19, 2013
Formats: Ebook, Paperback
223 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction


Across Great Divides is a timeless story of the upheavals of war, the power of family, and the resiliency of human spirit. When Hitler came to power in 1933, one Jewish family refused to be destroyed and defied the Nazis only to come up against another struggle—confronting apartheid in South Africa.

Sixteen-year-old Eva and her twin sister, Inge, witness their lives in Berlin change before their eyes. Their best friend, Trudy, betrays them when she becomes a member of the Hitler Youth. A valuable family heirloom, a beautiful emerald and diamond pendant necklace, is confiscated by the Nazis as they continue to harass Jewish families and businesses.

Their younger brother, Max, a member of the underground resistance, sees even greater danger ahead. Their father, Oskar, a diamond merchant with a thriving business, refuses to leave his beloved Germany and believes Hitler will eventually fail. Their mother, Helene, the elegant matriarch of the family, holds her family together.

The family is conflicted whether they should leave home. But after the devastation of Kristallnacht in 1938, they finally flee Germany with the help of the underground resistance after hiding many diamonds. They seek refuge in Antwerp, but war follows them as Belgium is occupied by the Germans.

A young German man, a nun, a countess conspiring against the Nazis, and a winegrower secretly hiding Jewish children, help them to escape Europe. They hike over the Pyrenees Mountains while eluding German patrols and Spanish informers. Then, they spend agonizing days on a ship bound for Rio de Janeiro that is targeted by a German U-boat. As Rio’s diamond business is corrupt, they decide to go to South Africa, another diamond market.

In Cape Town, Eva encounters an impoverished colored woman, Zoe, who is in need of work. The family hires Zoe as their maid and shields her and her daughter, Zola, from the dangers they face in the slums of District Six and from the horrors of apartheid, which are all too reminiscent of Nazi Germany.

But, when Max gets into trouble with the South African police over his participation in an anti-apartheid march, will he be subject to imprisonment?

In a thrilling conclusion, the family comes to terms with the evils of society, both in their memories and current situation in South Africa.

Praise for Across Great Divides

“Monique Roy writes an rousing story about a Jewish family leaving Germany during the start of WWII with the Nazi Schutzstaffel (SS) hot on their tails. The author must have paid attention at SMU because her prose is excellent.” – Rick O

“The story in this novel is its best feature. It’s a fascinating look at one family’s survival of the Holocaust and their experiences on the other side of the fence in apartheid South Africa. It’s that dichotomy that makes this story so intriguing.” – Sarah Gruwell

“Across Great Divides” is a wonderful tale of resilience, family, and following your moral compass. Author Monique Roy, based this inspiring story on her own grandparents journey across countries, continents, and beliefs to try and find safety from the Nazis. – Madame Librarian

Book Trailer



Buy the Book


About the Author

Monique loves writing that twitches her smiling muscles or transports her to another time or place. Her passion for writing began as a young girl while penning stories in a journal. Now she looks forward to deepening her passion by creating many unique stories that do nothing less than intrigue her readers.

Monique was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and her grandparents were European Jews who fled
their home as Hitler rose to power. It’s their story that inspired her to write Across Great Divides, her debut, historical fiction novel.

Monique holds a degree in journalism from Southern Methodist University in Dallas and is also the author of a children’s book Once Upon a Time in Venice. In her free time, she loves to travel, play tennis, pursue her passion for writing, and read historical fiction. In 2008, she was chosen by the American Jewish Committee’s ACCESS program to travel to Berlin, Germany, on the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht, to explore German and Israeli relations along with 20 other Jewish professionals from across the U.S.

Discover more at Monique Roy’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.


Across Great Divides Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, June 16

Review at 100 Pages a Day

Wednesday, June 17

Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Thursday, June 18

Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Friday, June 19

Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book

Monday, June 22

Review at Room With Books

Tuesday, June 23

Review at Book Babe

Wednesday, June 24

Review at Book Nerd

Thursday, June 25

Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Friday, June 26

Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Excerpt & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Q & A with Pamela Ferderbar, Author of Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale

I'm so happy to welcome Pam Ferderbar, witty author of Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale, to A Literary Vacation today! She's stopped by to tell us a little about herself and her book. So enjoy and continue after the Q & A to learn more about Fng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale.

Hello Pam! Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale sounds hilarious! I love the idea of deciding whether our lives are ruled by luck or something else. Where did you come up with the idea?
Watching the news one night in L.A. I was taken by a story about Feng Shui and how these giant corporations like Sony and Disneyland were hiring Feng Shui practitioners to work with their architects, landscapers and interior designers to make the spaces more conducive to positive energy. I thought, really? Then I started reading about Feng Shui and I was hooked. About a week later I woke up super early, like 3:30 in the morning, and the character of Charlotte Nightingale just came to life. It was like she sat on my shoulder and told me her story. I wrote the novella in six days. Of course there were months of editing, but the story—the thing was instantaneous. It’s the only time in my life that has ever happened.
What does a typical day in your life look like? When do you fit in time to write?
Right now I get up around 4 and start working on the promo and marketing of the book, and I’m still at it at midnight. Once all this book launch stuff has passed I expect things will go back to normal-ish, and I’ll be writing writing again. Since moving back to Wisconsin I haven’t actually done any real writing—it has all been book promo and marketing. I am absolutely itching to get back to writing. How do I see it panning out once all this launch stuff has passed? Ah…in a perfect world I’ll have a couple of photo assignments each week, which will take 20-30 hours between shooting and editing the images. That’ll leave me with 3 solid days to write and maybe even an afternoon off. I’ll try to make it count!
A lot of authors have become huge on social media, not only promoting their work, but interacting with their readers and offering up giveaways, book recommendations, etc. Are you a big proponent of using social media in this way? How do you prefer to interact with your fans?
I LOVE social media. I don’t know how people got close to their readers before. With social media you can be fully present and have an actual dialog with someone on another continent. And that person’s opinion matters, because if you’re writing about a basic human issue, like insecurity, grief, fear—that’s global, right? Americans haven’t cornered the market on feeling bad about themselves. Plus readers give me great ideas. Questions are the best thing ever. The more I question what I’m writing, the better I become at the craft of storytelling. Storytelling hinges on the people listening to your stories. If it’s not important or authentic to them, forget about it.
I’ve noticed that a lot of authors are also big readers. When you have time for leisure reading what sorts of books do you gravitate towards? Have you read anything good lately?
I am all over the place. People give me “dog books” all the time. I love dogs. My heart breaks over animal abuse, so I am easily sucked in to anything dog. I never thought I was a biography buff until I read The Kennedy Women by Laurence Leamer. Holy smokes, it read like the most lush, gorgeous prose ever. Could not put it down. Patti Smith’s Just Kids is one of the finest pieces of writing I've ever had the pleasure to read. Talk about perfection. Pure. Perfect. Writing. I loved Keith Richards’s bio Life. I found myself saying “aw” a lot. From Keith Richards yet. Who knew he was such a sweetie, right? I recently read Tina Fey’s Bossy Pants, which was funny, as expected. I also just read John Cleese’s biography So Anyway, and I was blown away by its poignancy. I love it when you learn what it is about a person’s past that forms them as the person we know. I couldn’t put Cleese’s book down. It was bittersweet. Not at all what I expected. I loved Gone Girl, found The Girl on the Train tedious until the last 20 pages or so, then it all seemed worth it---ish. You’ll have to check Amazon and Goodreads for more of my reviews. I read a lot.
Are you working on any future books at this time? If so, can you tell us a little about it?
Oh, yeah! It’s funny, people seem to have the idea that if you’re not at a computer or pen in hand, you’re not writing. But I’m “writing” when I’m in the tub, the car, staring into space, or reading. It’s those quiet little spaces in between “doing stuff” where the real work gets done. The inspiration, the epiphanies all take place in those cubbyholes of time. So while I’m going nuts trying to get Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale off the ground I’m also thinking about the next phase in her life. Plus I am working on a companion book to the Charlotte series. Yes –she’s going to be a series! The companion book is a compilation of the best (worst?) #CharlotteMoment submissions embellished by illustrations and my photography. I’m also a couple hundred pages into a novel called Mo’s Indian.  It’s funny, but more “literary” than Charlotte, if that makes any sense. That could take years to complete. Or not. You never know what happens in my cubbyholes!
Publication Date: June 21st, 2015
Publisher:  Three Towers Press (an imprint of HenschelHAUS Publishing)
Pages: 240 (Hardcover)
Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale is an uplifting and hilarious fable about empowerment and perception, and the magical things that happen when we begin to see the glass as half full.

Charlotte Nightingale has the worst luck in the world. Her cluttered apartment is the poster child for shar chi—poison luck in the realm of Feng Shui. Her boyfriend’s a jerk, her job sucks, she’s broke and her own family seems to hate her. Every day is a bad hair day. Kwan, a handsome Chinese food deliveryman and aspiring Feng Shui practitioner, takes pity on Charlotte. While Charlotte searches for the money to pay for the Emperor’s cashew chicken Kwan has delivered, he surreptitiously begins to move things around in Charlotte’s apartment in accordance with the ancient art of placement—hoping to improve her life. Charlotte’s luck subsequently appears to change in a big way. It goes from bad to worse—or so it seems.

Charlotte finds a photo of her boyfriend with another woman, her car dies, she is fired from her job, the plumbing in her apartment explodes, and making matters worse, Charlotte’s perfect perky designer-obsessed blonde sister is about to marry a square-jawed, richer-than-god, insanely handsome plastic surgeon from Beverly Hills and the entire family loves nothing more than to rub Charlotte’s nose in it.

Is it bad luck that sends Charlotte careening through calamity after calamity, or is it merely a matter of perspective? Without a loser boyfriend, beater car and crappy job, Charlotte is free to embark on a great adventure that will awaken in her a world of possibility where nothing is as simple as it seems. Until, in the end, Charlotte realizes that everything she ever wanted was right under her nose the whole time.


Everyone has had one of those days. For women, our go-to therapy is usually telling a best friend, mom, sister or cousin about the incredibly awful/embarrassing/annoying thing that has happened to us, and then they tell us they have never heard of such an atrocity! It makes us feel better to be heard and understood.
For Charlotte Nightingale, every day is one of those days. It’s not that she’s necessarily doing anything wrong; inauspicious things just seem to happen to Charlotte pretty much end-to-end from the time she wakes up until she goes to sleep at night.
Charlotte is like a lot of us—working a job we hate because we can’t afford not to. She drives a piece of junk car, has massive student loan debt, wears thrift shop clothes and never does anything nice for herself. Under the weight of life, just life, Charlotte is not fully present in her own existence. She phones it in. She is not really living.
Readers tell me that they relate to Charlotte. “That is so me.” “I am Charlotte.” “You won’t believe what happened to me.” “I just had a total Charlotte moment!” This is the genesis of the #CharlotteMoment.
Each time a reader posts #CharlotteMoment to social media it will, a) prove cathartic and make her feel better, and b) it will appear on my website. Once a month I’ll feature the best (worst? funniest? Charlotte-est?) #CharlotteMoment and the person who submitted it will win a prize. Every woman ought to be rewarded for surviving Charlotte moments, but we will have to begin with one per month!
Posting the Charlotte moments is a way of saying ‘you are not alone.’ There’s safety in numbers. Laughter is the best medicine. I think women really like this book because by laughing at Charlotte’s misadventures, we are really letting go of some of the junk we carry with us. Charlotte feels inadequate, overwhelmed, powerless. But we see that she’s a good person, and perhaps all she needs to thrive is a little kindness. A touch of good luck. Some grace. Feng Shui.
Enter Kwan, the gentle soul, the only soul who reaches out to Charlotte for no other reason than he is kind. His small acts of kindness, good fortune and Feng Shui may seem to go unnoticed by Charlotte, but these gestures make all the difference in the world. For reasons she doesn’t comprehend, Charlotte begins to walk with her shoulders back and her chin up.
Is it Feng Shui, magic, or grace that puts Charlotte’s life in order, or is it something she’s always had inside of her, and all that was needed to wake it up was a little kindness? What do I think? Well, I think maybe it’s a combination of all these things. Then again, Feng Shui is powerful stuff. The question is, what do you think?

Buy the Book


Book Trailer


About the Author

Pam Ferderbar was born and raised in Wisconsin, the only child of two loving but quirky parents who fostered her creativity by setting a place at the table for Pam’s imaginary friend Dokka, and preparing his favorite invisible food, muggar. After graduating Marquette University with a B.S. in Journalism, Pam worked at Ferderbar Studios, the family advertising photography business where she honed her skills as a TV commercials director and was paid to play with imaginary friends called actors.
In 1994, Ferderbar moved to Los Angeles where she directed commercials for Microsoft, Wells Fargo Bank, Bally’s, ITT and others, and in her spare time wrote screenplays such as Bob Dylan Stole My Wife, for which she is currently seeking financing for a Wisconsin-based production. In 1998 she wrote the novella Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale, sparking a bidding war for the movie rights. New Line Cinema purchased the rights in a record-breaking $800,000 deal, and a few months later all the executives on the project were fired and Pam’s movie was shelved. Classic #CharlotteMoment. As Charlotte would say, “It wasn’t my fault!”
After completing a novel based on the novella Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale, Pam returned to Wisconsin in 2013. Pam’s father Tom Ferderbar, a student of the great Ansel Adams and a master photographer himself, tutors Pam in the art of photography. Pam is working on a second Charlotte Nightingale novel and a companion book with reader’s “Charlotte moments” complimented with illustrations and Pam’s own photographs. Pam and her friend Dokka continue to play and eat mugger.
Pam is a member of the Writers Guild of America, the Directors Guild of America, and the Coalition for Photographic Arts/Milwaukee.
Learn more about Pam on her website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Guest Post: Joyce Strand, Author of The Judge's Story

I am so excited to have Joyce Strand, author of The Judge's Story, on the blog today! She has written a wonderful guest post dealing with how an author can not only make a fictional character "real" but, on the other hand, can transform a real person into a fictional character. So please welcome Joyce and enjoy her guest post, and be sure to continue after for more information about Joyce, The Judge's Story and a wonderful tour wide giveaway!

From Real to Fictional-Real Person
By Joyce T. Strand, Mystery Author
“When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.” -Ernest Hemingway
Agreed. I want real people in my mysteries—not two-dimensional caricatures who stiffly move from red herring to red herring in pursuit of a solution to the puzzle.
We readers can’t get involved in a story if we don’t care about the people.
I have used multiple methods to develop characters, including drafting detailed biographies from which to draw.  However, for my newest novel, The Judge’s Story, a historical mystery set in 1939 in a small town in California, I based my protagonist on a real person – a California Superior Court Judge.  I faced the challenge of re-creating a fictional judge based on a real one.
It’s not as easy as you might think!
Fortunately, my real judge wrote a memoir (Louis C. Drapeau, Senior; Autobiography of a Country Lawyer; 1941; available at the Museum of Ventura County/Library, 100 E. Main St., Ventura CA 93001). From it, I gleaned insight into his beliefs, temperament, and personality as well as details about his daily life.
Using the Memoir, I applied the values of the real judge to my fictional judge, which offered a rich source of options. I could guide his actions in the fictional story based on these values. For example, given that he was a judge, I could pull from his belief system to reach a verdict and hand out punishment in a fictional case. Given that he cared about social justice, I made him quick to respond to signs of bigotry and helpful to those who were mistreated. By drawing on these values, I could portray a man who stood for something without being preachy.
Of course, a person is more than just values and beliefs. What about emotions and feelings? The real judge in his memoir talked about his grief upon his first wife’s death, his respect for an acquaintance’s stoicism, and his regret at losing a specific case for a deserving client. I developed these feelings for my fictional judge. I made him a widower who still grieved over the loss of his wife and thought of her often. As a judge, he reflects on his cases as a lawyer—remorseful for those he lost.
For credibility, I turned to events of the time period to comprehend how my fictional judge fit in. This required additional research beyond the Memoir. The most valuable source to create this part of his persona came from reading the daily newspaper in 1939. For example, dominant in the news was the war in Europe, which meant that characters in this time would be concerned about the U.S. entering it.  Actual court cases, legal trends, and local economics also contributed.
To accommodate the plot, I did assign some original traits to my Judge—mostly in reaction to the fictional characters around him. He mentors a 16-year-old girl, although we learn that he shares the viewpoint of many in the 1930s about the role of women to get married and keep a home—a narrow perspective which the teenager and the Judge’s female assistant point out to him.
By blending the real judge’s values, beliefs, and feelings with events of the time I created my fictional judge and the micro-world around him. I could feel what it might have been like living then. My Judge and his fellow characters became real people. Yes, the story itself provides a huge bonus to pull us into their lives. But in the end, I believe it’s the characters, aka, the people, we’ll remember.



A Superior Court Judge with a passion for social justice as well as the law strives to discover the truth behind the mystery of a robbery-murder in a small California town in 1939.

When the Judge hears testimony against a 14-year-old teenager, he realizes that the boy participated in a robbery-murder. However, the accused did not actually pull the trigger. But unless the boy identifies his partner, the Judge must sentence him as a murderer, which would result in prolonged jail time. The Judge’s investigator, along with the precocious 16-year-old girl who identified the boy as one of the thieves, explore different approaches to uncover the murderer. In the backdrop of escalating war in Europe, the financial scarcities of the Great Depression, and the Judge’s caseload, their attempts to find justice for the accused boy and unmask the killer lure the Judge and his friends into sordid criminal activities.


Buy the Book


About the  Author


Mystery author Joyce T. Strand, much like her fictional character, Jillian Hillcrest, served as head of corporate communications at several biotech and high-tech companies in Silicon Valley for more than 25 years. Unlike Jillian, however, she did not encounter murder. Rather, she focused on publicizing her
companies and their products. She is the author of the Jillian Hillcrest mysteries ON MESSAGE, OPEN MEETINGS, and FAIR DISCLOSURE and the Brynn Bancroft mystery HILLTOP SUNSET. Strand received her Ph.D. from The George Washington University, Washington, D.C. and her B.A. from Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA. She currently lives in Southern California with her two cats, a collection of cow statuary and art, and her muse, the roadrunner.

You can find out more about Joyce on her website or blog, and can connect with her on her Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter social media sites.



Joyce will be doing a giveaway throughout her book tour!
1st Prize: Kindle Fire HD 7 or Kindle Paperwhite
2nd Prize: $50 Amazon gift card and an ebook or paperback copy of The Judge's Story
3rd Prize: $25 Amazon gift card and an ebook or paperback copy of The Judge's Story
To enter the giveaway fill complete the Rafflecopter form HERE.
Good Luck!!


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

TLC Blog Tour: Review of Mireille by Molly Cochrane + Giveaway!!

Publication Date: June 9th, 2015
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
573 pages


Near the end of World War II, seventeen-year-old Mireille de Jouarre flees the home of her stepfather, a Nazi collaborator and abusive drunk. She finds shelter with her childhood friend Stefan, and the two fall deeply in love. But as the fighting escalates, Mireille must escape alone to Paris, where she discovers she’s pregnant and lacking a way to provide for her child.

So begins her new life as l’Ange—the Angel. After an unlikely meeting with a wealthy aristocrat in a Parisian hotel—and her acceptance of his solicitation—Mireille becomes the most celebrated poule in all of France, eliciting huge fees and invitations to exclusive parties. At one of these events, Mireille meets Oliver Jordan, an American womanizer and film producer, and is soon launching a promising film career. As her star rises, Mireille is determined to bury her past. But her success isn’t as carefree and glittery as it seems, and when her daughter’s future is threatened, Mireille must make a deadly decision in a desperate attempt to finally choose her own path.


What Did I Think About the Story?

I initially decided to read and review Mireille based on its connection to WWII France. I am on a huge kick right now with WWII fiction, especially if it deals with resistance against the Nazi war machine. However, within Mireille the storyline dealing with the war is over relatively quickly. Did I find this to be a disappointment? Not at all! Mireille's struggle to survive against all odds had me hooked from the first page and when it left the war in the dust I was happy to go along on Mireille's compelling and heartbreaking story.

What Mireille had to endure throughout this novel is beyond comprehension and, at times, hard to read. From the get-go her life is in danger and she has to do unimaginable things just to stay alive and, once she has her daughter Stephanie, to keep her safe. Her beauty is her curse but it is her determination and quick thinking that allows her to find a way to use that beauty to make a life for herself until she is able to finally show the "real" Mireille to anyone, even those closest to her.

The author's character development is spot on. Not only is Mireille a compelling character but many other characters come to life and, for me, fought to take the spot of favorite. Mireille's friend Barbara won that distinction as a wonderfully hilarious character that shows Mireille the ropes of becoming a world-class prostitute and takes Mireille in when she has nowhere else to go. She also plays a huge part in Stephanie's life later on and her unique way of making light of the darkness they all live in was beyond endearing to me.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Oliver Jordan might be the most heinous character I have come across in a long time. He is a predatory psychopath that uses every person he comes into contact with, all with a diabolical charm that initially brings so many into his sick world.  He blackmails, abuses and manipulates Mireille, and others, in every possible way until I, for one, couldn't imagine anything worse he could do. He ruins every part of Mireille's personal life, including her relationship with Stephanie as Mireille attempts to protect Stephanie from her past and Oliver Jordan's influence, and when her plans backfire the three of them become so wrapped up in a warped tangle that I could not imagine a different resolution than what the author presents. I won't give away what that is, but it was perfect to me given the situation!

One thing readers should note is that this novel has a lot of graphic sexual content and abuse. It might be hard to read but almost all of it I considered  necessary and appropriate given the situations and characters presented. Mireille becomes a prostitute so this should be expected and the author does not shy away from thrusting the reader into that world in remarkably realistic ways. The worst of it involves Oliver Jordan but, again, I think most of it was required to show just what level of depraved individual we are dealing with and just how much danger he presents to Mireille and her daughter.

Mireille  is what I like to affectionately call a "chunkster", weighing in at nearly 600 pages, but it reads much faster than I expected. It is a long, hard journey for the characters but the ending was quite satisfying and left me certain that happiness could be had, with honesty and a release of the past. I highly recommend this to those that can stomach a difficult stroll through the 20th century with a character who refuses to give up.    

What Did I Think About the Cover? 

I love it! Mireille's true love Stefan is a painter, so showing our blond-haired beauty in a painting is perfect. The Eiffel Tower of course gives us a sense of place and the colors are very inviting. Good job to the designer!

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for providing me with a free copy of Mireille in exchange for an honest review! Be sure to continue below for information on the author, the blog tour and where you can grab your own copy! Don't forget to enter my giveaway for a copy below as well! 

About the Author


Molly Cochran is the author of more than twenty novels and nonfiction books, including the New
York Times bestseller GrandmasterThe Forever KingThe Broken Sword, and The Temple Dogs, all cowritten with Warren Murphy. She is also the author of The Third Magic, and she cowrote the nonfiction bestseller Dressing Thin with Dale Goday. Cochran has received numerous awards, including the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award, the Romance Writers of America’s “Best Thriller” award, and an “Outstanding” classification by the New York Public Library. Recently she published a series of young adult novels, LegacyPoison, and Seduction, and two novellas, Wishes and RevelsLegacy won a 2013 Westchester Fiction Award.

Visit Molly at her website

Giveaway Time!!

For a chance to win your own copy of Mireille (US/Canada only) please enter your name and email address on the giveaway form HERE. Please be sure to enter your email address so I can contact you if you are the winner. You can receive extra entries for following me on various social media sites (links on the right hand side bar) just be sure to leave the name you follow under on the giveaway form (I check!). That's it! I  will select a winner on June 29th and email the winner for their mailing address. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email with their mailing address before I have to pick another winner.
Good luck everyone!

TLC Blog Tour Schedule for Mireille


Monday, June 8th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Tuesday, June 9th: The Book Binder’s Daughter
Tuesday, June 9th: Built By Story
Wednesday, June 10th: The Novel Life
Thursday, June 11th: Kahakai Kitchen
Monday, June 15th: Broken Teepee
Tuesday, June 16th: Life is Story
Wednesday, June 17th: 100 Pages a Day
Thursday, June 18th: Book Lovin’ Hippo
Friday, June 19th: Ageless Pages Reviews
Monday, June 22nd: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Monday, June 22nd: From the TBR Pile
Monday, June 22nd: The World As I See It
Tuesday, June 23rd: A Literary Vacation
Wednesday, June 24th: Bell, Book & Candle
Thursday, June 25th: Savvy Verse & Wit
Friday, June 26th: Thoughts on This ‘n That
Monday, June 29th: The Avid Reader
Tuesday, June 30th: Life By Kristen

Buy the Book


Monday, June 22, 2015

Spotlight on Guessing At Normal by Gail Ward Olmsted

Jill Griffin has mastered the art of being invisible, so when she falls in love with sexy rocker James Sheridan, at first she is content to live in his larger than life shadow. Building a ‘normal’ life together under the glare of the media is challenging and further complicated by constant touring, James’ partying and the mixed signals she gets from James’ twin brother Alex.

When her poems and journal ramblings become the songs on James’ best-selling album, Jill has to step out of her comfort zone and figure out how to live her life in a spotlight all her own. With no road map to follow, she struggles to navigate her way in her search for happiness.  As her professional success threatens her relationship with James, Jill questions whether she can make a living writing love songs without the love of her life.


Praise for Guessing at Normal

"Olmsted has surpassed herself with this breathtaking second novel! Guessing at Normal is a compelling rock and roll romance that morphs into the journey of a woman learning how to live with a tough love, no matter where life takes her. Throughout the book, I found myself excited for Jill, worried for her, wanting to shake her, and cheering for her. And rock and roller James Sheridan is such a delightful surprise! Though he is a bad boy and a rat at times, his charm and sincerity, and the depth of his love for Jill, are undeniable and irresistible. Olmsted brilliantly unfolds the story, letting you feel all the highs and lows right along with Jill. Olmsted doesn't tell the story – she lets you live it. I confess I am no music aficionado, but the chapters titled after songs struck a cord with me as I read, as did the song lyrics peppered throughout the story. The music makes this wild emotional ride truly poignant. Whether you love music or pop singers or not, once you pick up this novel, you won't want to put it down. The heroine Jill's lust for life is infectious as you become embroiled in this overwhelming love story. Olmsted has knocked my socks off with this second novel of hers!" - 5/5 review by Goodreads reviewer Geralyn Corcillo

"I received an ARC copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. This book reminded me a lot of "Where the Heart Is" which is one of my all time favorite books. The story line was not really similar, other than being about a singer and a song that was written because of a relationship with the female protagonist,mbut I felt like Jill and Novalee had a lot of parallels. The writing style was unique and fresh, never boring. I absolutely loved the song titles as chapters. My only complaint was that it felt a little rushed toward the end...I think it could have been longer with a little more detailed. But I must say that the ending caught me by surprise and I loved the overall message. Very well done Gail; I must go back and read "Jeep Tour" now :)." - 5/5 review by Goodreads reviewer Heather Balog 

"It's one of those books you don't want to finish because you don't want it to end. No guessing here...Pure Enjoyment!" - 5/5 review by Goodreads reviewer Donna Lukenbill


Buy the Book

Barnes and Noble
Amazon (Kindle)
Amazon (Paperback)

About the Author

My first visit to Sedona, AZ prompted me to start writing JEEP TOUR, my first novel. I fell in love with the red rocks and blue skies. My second novel is Guessing at Normal, a rock and roll romance. I am currently working on a sequel to JEEP TOUR, which will be based in Ireland. A hopeless romantic, I am married to the love of my life. I am mom to two young adults and three cats, and I
enjoy reading, boating, music and travel.

I am a professor in the School of Business & Information Technology at Springfield Technical Community College in Springfield, MA. I was the recipient of the Deliso Endowed Chair Award and was recently recognized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’s Department of Higher Education as one of “29 Who Shine”.

Learn more about Gail and her books on Amazon and connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Spotlight on Keep Dancing by Leslie Wells + $2,000 Diamond Ring Giveaway!!!

Do I have a treat for you all today!! Not only do I have information on what sounds to be a very intriguing novel but I have the information you need to enter the tour-wide contest for a $2,000 diamond ring! If that isn't enough, Ms. Wells has been kind enough to offer up a giveaway just for this blog - five winners will receive the Kindle copy of BOTH books in Leslie Wells' series - Come Dancing and Keep Dancing! The books will also be on sale (Kindle version) for 99 cents through the end of this tour. I hope you enjoy and good luck in the giveaways!!


Publication Date: February 5, 2015
Percambio Press
Formats: Print & ebook
256 pages
Series: Come Dancing, Book Two
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Julia is a young book editor on the rise. Jack is a British rock star at the pinnacle of his fame.
Can they both get what they want—if what they need threatens to tear them apart?
It’s January, 1982. Twenty-four-year-old Julia Nash has just moved in with her boyfriend, rock and roll guitarist extraordinaire Jack Kipling. Their connection sizzles as Jack takes her to England to meet his mother, and then to a private Caribbean island for a sensual post-holiday retreat.
But back in New York, they hit a turbulent patch. Career-focused Julia is in the running for a new job, while Jack’s life becomes even more chaotic with an upcoming thirty-city tour. Although free-spirited Jack enjoys his partying lifestyle, he craves more support on the home front. But Julia doesn’t know if she can ever be a domestic goddess—or if her wild boyfriend can ever be domesticated.
On tour, Julia experiences private jets, mind-blowing concerts, shocking hotel room antics, and screaming headlines. Back home, she has to decide if their relationship can withstand the ravages of fame and conflicting interests—not to mention a suave bestselling author who seems to like more than her grammar sense.
Emotionally poignant, hilarious and steamy, Keep Dancing will delight brand-new readers as a stand-alone novel, and also serves as the perfect follow-up to Come Dancing.

Praise for Keep Dancing

“Set in the 80s and dripping with the excesses this time period excelled at, Julia and Jack have reached a point in their relationship where the hard work begins. Julia is working towards her own stardom, while Jack continues to play in the world that made him. As external forces do their best to force this unusual couple apart, Jack and Julia will need to decide if they should keep dancing or find new partners. Emotionally plump with laughter, love, and heartbreak…” —Smexy Book Reviews
“HOT”—“In book two of the Jack and Julia series, Wells once again titles chapters after hit songs, and finds even more ways to describe the excitement surrounding New York City as she did in the debut…” —Romance Times
“This is a 5 star series, and I recommend this as a wonderfully fun yet angsty read. I loved the chemistry between Jack and Julia and their crazy bad communication skills (they didn’t have cell phones, after all). The breakups were worth it, if only just so they could make up!” –Cindy Becker, The Book Enthusiast

Praise for the first novel about Jack and Julia: Come Dancing, an Amazon Bestseller and Apple iBooks Breakout Book

"Wells builds an emotionally poignant love story, abounding with romance and humor.” —Smexy Book Reviews
“Sometimes a book like this comes along and takes me out of the niche reading that I tend to find myself in…. I am in love… So very sex + the city.” —Must Read Books or Die
“It reads like a very, very good romantic comedy movie.” —Michelle & Leslie’s Book Picks
“Once you start, you are completely unable to put it down.” —Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews
“Like a well-oiled machine or a well-tuned guitar, Julia and friends work their way into your heart.” —Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
“Hot, sexy, and combustible.” —Blushing Divas Book Reviews
“Come Dancing is brimming with both humor and heart.” —Flashlight Commentary
“It’s a fun romp, and the sparkling characters definitely made it worth the read.” —A Bookish Affair
“I enjoyed reading Come Dancing! It had a good story, fascinating characters, and a charming vibe.” —Julie Anne, Teacups & Book Love

Buy the Books

Both Come Dancing and Keep Dancing are available on Amazon (click the book name to go to their Amazon page). Remember, through June 24th, 2015 both books will be on sale for 99 cents!!

About the Author

Leslie Wells left her small Southern town in 1979 for graduate school in Manhattan, after which she got her first job in book publishing. She has edited forty-eight New York Times bestsellers in her over thirty-year career, including thirteen number one New York Times bestsellers. Leslie has worked with numerous internationally known authors, musicians, actors, actresses, television and radio personalities, athletes, and coaches. She lives on Long Island, New York.
Author Links

Blog Giveaway!! 

Thanks to the lovely Leslie Wells I have the opportunity for five winners to receive Kindle copies of both Come Dancing and Keep Dancing! All you need to do is fill out the form HERE, leaving your name and your email address so I can pass it along to Leslie if you are selected as a winner (no email address, no entry!). You get extra entries for following me on various social  media (links to the right), just be sure to actually follow and then leave your name that you follow under on the form (I check!). I'll pick the winners on June 25th, 2015.
Good luck everyone!

Huge Tour-wide Giveaway!!

To enter to win a $2,000 diamond ring go to the giveaway form HERE.
The giveaway is open until 11:55 pm on June 30th, 2015. One random winner will be selected after the giveaway closes.
All entrants must be 18 years are older and be a US resident (void in RI).
Good luck!!!

Keep Dancing Blog Tour Schedule

Friday, May 1
Saturday, May 2

 Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book
Monday, May 4

 Review at Red Hot Books
Thursday, May 7

 Guest Post at I Heart Reading
Friday, May 8

 Spotlight at Rainy Day Reviews
Monday, May 11
Tuesday, May 12

 Review at Room With Books
Wednesday, May 13

 Spotlight at Susan Heim on Writing
Friday, May 15

 Spotlight at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, May 20

 Review & Guest Post at Must Read Books or Die
Thursday, May 21

 Spotlight at Romance Junkies Blog
Monday, June 1
Tuesday, June 2

 Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Wednesday, June 3
Thursday, June 4

 Review at SOS Aloha
Friday, June 5

 Spotlight at Just One More Chapter
Monday, June 8
Tuesday, June 9

 Review & Excerpt at Reading in Pajamas
Wednesday, June 10

 Review at Book Nerd
Thursday, June 18

 Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Monday, June 22
Wednesday, June 24

 Guest Post at Brooke Blogs