Saving the Music

Hello Book Friends, 

Thanks for joining me today,  

as I kick off This amazing Book Tour 

Saving the Music by Vincent B. “Chip” LoCoco

#SavingtheMusic #VincentBLococo #HFVBTBlogTours

Saving the Music by Vincent B. “Chip” LoCoco

Publication Date: March 1, 2020
Cefalutana Press
Hardcover, Paperback, and eBook
Series: Bellafortuna, Book #2
Genre: Historical Fiction

 

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It is the winter of 1942, and the world is at war. A few Jewish musicians attempt to flee the Nazi death grip, each desperately trying to navigate his own path to safety. With the courageous aid and kindness of strangers, they soon find themselves in Rome, where under the highly secret help of the Vatican, they are hidden in Bellafortuna, a small village in Sicily. The residents of Bellafortuna welcome them and care for them, and for a fleeting moment, the horrors the musicians are facing are forgotten while residing in the beautiful, idyllic landscape of Sicily. But word soon reaches the small village that Italy has surrendered, now making Germany at war with Italy. War quickly comes to the village as the Germans storm into Sicily to repel the Allied advance. As Bellafortuna becomes front and center in the raging war, the villagers rise as one to try and protect and save the Jews hiding in their midst. Failure to keep them hidden will mean death to those under their protection…and perhaps even to the villagers themselves.

An intricately plotted and meticulously researched novel, Saving the Music demonstrates how, in the face of death and unspeakable horror, the strength of the human spirit of ordinary people can shine bright through the darkness.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

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This book was received from the Author, and Publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

From the incredible New Orleans author, Chip LoCoco, comes his second novel, Saving the Music.

Bellafortuna, has been nationally recognized, being named a Short List Finalist in the William Faulkner Writing Competition and awarded the B.R.A.G. Award in Historical Fiction. Mr. LoCoco is a member of the Italian American Writers Association.

Chip LoCoco’s latest novel, Saving the Music, is an exceptionally written thought provoking historical fiction.

This is an emotional charged, faced paced, gripping tale that portrays the horrors and suffering the people endured under the weight of the Third Reich.

Ludwig Adler and his family, along with several musicians barley escapes the Nazis regime, as they seek to eradicate all Jews from every territory that is German occupied. Fleeing for their lives, they journey through Switzerland, and eventually they make to Italy.

There they find help within Catholic Church. As the Holy Church’s stealth mission, to save as many Jewish people lives from the death grip of the Nazis. They are Smuggled to a very tiny village in mountains outside of Palermo.
The courageous actions of the cautious, diplomatic, Pontificate of Pope Pius XII, along with the large complex web of priest, together with Italian villagers help to secure the fleeing Jews. Lulled by the picturesque landscape and musicians almost forget the horrors, until Italy announces its surrender.

Chip LoCoco writing is with precision and depth, he keeps the pace brisk and vividly rendered.
The authors seamless narration, beautiful prose will have you completely immersed within this absorbing book. The fleshed out characters were incredibly realistic and endearing. A stunning heartwarming dynamic historical fiction, that I found myself captivated by the first page.

An incredible compassionate novel, that captures the heroism of the people, who risked everything to help those who were targeted by horrific third Reich.

This book is a superb novel, that will transport you with its historical atmospheric imagery, and engaging musical elements. An absorbing riveting book, that will stay with you long after you close the book.

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Advance Praise

“In Saving the Music, author Chip LoCoco writes of the efforts undertaken by common villagers, priests, and even a Pope to protect Jews from the Nazis. He vividly depicts the horrors faced by the Jews as they confront the Holocaust. Filled with real heroism and high drama, this book brings perspective and depth to its subject. It’s an exciting read on an important topic, and I strongly recommend it.” -Ronald Rychlak, Author of Hitler, the War, and the Pope

“This is a well-composed novel that captures key moments of the Holocaust as it relates to the Italian people. I highly recommend it.” -Professor Vincent Lapomarda, S.J., Author of The Jesuits and the Third Reich

“This is a well-researched novel and reflects the situation as it then existed, hopefully, never to return.” -Fr. Peter Gumpel, S.J., postulator of the cause of beautification for Pius XII

“Chip LoCoco’s novel, Saving the Music, is a realistic fact-based story of pain, fear and true heroism. The premise is solidly grounded on documented facts of the actions of the Catholic Church under the Pontificate of Pope Pius XII down to priests and individual Catholics. Saving the Music is an exciting and engrossing read, which joins the list of wonderful truth-based books of late that is shedding light on the truth ending the worst character assassination of the 20th Century. Bravo.” -Gary L. Krupp, Author of Pope Pius XII and World War II- The Documented Truth

 

img_4046-1About the Author

Chip LoCoco was born and raised in New Orleans. His first novel, Tempesta’s Dream, became an Amazon Bestseller.

His second novel, Bellafortuna, has been nationally recognized, being named a Short List Finalist in the William Faulkner Writing Competition and awarded the B.R.A.G. Award in Historical Fiction. Mr. LoCoco is a member of the Italian American Writers Association.

His newest work, Saving the Music, which is Book 2 of his Bellafortuna Series, was just recently released.

Chip, who is an attorney, is married to his wife of over 20 years, Wendy. They have two children, Matthew and Ellie and a beagle, named Scout. They reside in their beloved city of New Orleans, where if you try to find them on a Sunday in the Fall, they will be somewhere rooting on their Saints.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Wednesday, June 3
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Friday, June 5
Feature at What Is That Book About
Review at Books, Writings, and More

Monday, June 8
Review at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, June 9
Feature at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Wednesday, June 10
Interview at Passages to the Past

Friday, June 12
Review at Donna’s Book Blog

Monday, June 15
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Thursday, June 18
Review at Impressions In Ink

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Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of Saving the Music! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on June 18th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Enter Link:

⬇️

Saving the Music

 

 

 

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Tales of Ming Courtesans Book Tour + Review + Giveaway

Hello Bookish Friends,
How Are You Today ?
I’m really excited to be taking part in the
Book Tour of, Tales of Ming Courtesans, by Alice Poon
which is being hosted by HFBT!

Tales of Ming Courtesans
by Alice Poon

Publication Date: June 1, 2020
Earnshaw Books
Paperback; 354 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

From the author of The Green Phoenix comes a riveting tale of female friendship, honor, and sacrifice for love, set in 17th Century China and featuring the intertwined stories of three of the era’s most renowned courtesans, escorts skilled in music, poetry and painting who could decide themselves whether or not to offer patrons bed favors.

Inspired by literary works and folklore, Tales of Ming Courtesans traces the destinies of the three girls from the seamy world of human trafficking and slavery to the cultured scene of the famously decadent pleasure district of the city of Nanjing, evoking episodes in Memoirs of a Geisha.

The girls all existed – Rushi was a famous poet, Yuanyuan became the concubine of a general who changed the course of Chinese history by supporting the Manchu invasion in 1644 and Xiangjun challenged the corruption of court officials to try to save her lover. Rushi’s daughter, Jingjing, gradually pieces together the stories of the three from a memoir left to her by her mother.

Betrayal, tenacity and hope all come together in a novel that brings to life an important era in China’s history, and particularly highlights the challenges faced by independent-minded women.

Amazon |Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Praise for Tales of Ming Courtesans

“In Tales of Ming Courtesans, Alice Poon masterfully brings to life three fascinating women who had a lasting impact on China’s culture and history. This beautiful telling of their turbulent lives and devoted friendship is a reverential testament to their memories.” – Kelli Estes, bestselling author of The Girl Who Wrote in Silk

“Tales of Ming Courtesans is a poignant and captivating exploration of the lives of three extraordinary women…. Ultimately an enduring tale of the power of sisterhood and the bonds between women.” – Jeannie Lin, USA Today bestselling author of The Lotus Palace

“Tales of Ming Courtesans is a brilliant, ‘own voices’ alternative to Memoirs of a Geisha….An exquisite reading experience. Highly, highly recommended.” – M. H. Boroson, author of The Girl With Ghost Eyes

“Alice Poon’s excellent Tales of Ming Courtesans follows the intertwined lives of three seventeenth-century courtesans….. Poon’s real achievement is to create believable depth to her characters’ known histories….She has clearly written Tales from the heart.” – David Leffman, author of The Mercenary

This book was received from the Author, and Publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

From the author of The Green Phoenix comes a riveting tale of female friendship, honor, and sacrifice for love. An inspirational tale of strength and fortitude

Alice Poon sets her latest novel in 17th century China and featuring the intertwined stories of three of the era’s most renowned courtesans, Liu Rushi, Chen Yuanyuan,

Li Xiangjun.

Poon brings forth three iconic legendary women in Chinese history.

Their incredible lives are seen through the exquisitely written pages of, Tales of Ming Courtesans. Liu Rushi, Chen Yuanyuan, Li Xiangjun, all had a lasting impact on China’s culture and it’s noble history.

This eloquent saga is steeped in real life historical people, living in the turbulent times in between the Ming, and the Qing dynasties. Where social classes were defined and woman had little or no voice of their own.

Tales of Ming Courtesans, is a richly textured, mesmerising and captivating story that is full of rich history and the most compelling and intriguing characters. The storyline is a thought provoking, fascinating story. A book that is written in such a way that these memorable three women’s history comes to stunning to life.

I can see why this talented author is loved by so many. Poon’s appealing way of weaving fact and fiction, along with her absorbing seamless narration. This is a book that you will find yourself contemplating the lives and struggles of these memorable women, long after you close the book.

A meticulously researched book that captures the historical elements and traditions of the Chinese people. This is a masterpiece of a tale, that depicts the economics and the cultural mind set that was placed on woman during this era. The resilience and the quiet but powerful strength, that these ladies show within the book is nothing short motivational.

The plot twist with betrayals and longing and much heartache. Poon knows how to transport the reader, with her richly descriptive atmospheric imagery. The lush and vibrant, historical world building is stunning. An emotional book that it’s quick paced from start to finish.

Inspired by literary works and folklore, Tales of Ming Courtesan, traces the destinies of the three girls from their young humble beginnings to their awe-inspiring accomplishments.

About the Author

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Alice Poon steeped herself in Chinese poetry and history, Jin Yong’s martial arts novels and English Literature in her school days. This early immersion has inspired her creative writing.

Always fascinated with iconic but unsung women in Chinese history and legends, she cherishes a dream of bringing them to the page.

Her new historical novel Tales of Ming Courtesans will be released by Earnshaw Books on June 1, 2020.

She is the author of The Green Phoenix and the bestselling and award-winning non-fiction title Land and the Ruling Class in Hong Kong. She now lives in Vancouver, Canada and devotes her time to writing historical Chinese fiction.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, May 25
Excerpt at Journey in Bookland
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Tuesday, May 26
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Wednesday, May 27
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Friday, May 29
Review at Reader then Blogger

Monday, June 1
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, June 3
Guest Post at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Friday, June 5
Review at YA, it’s Lit

Monday, June 8
Interview at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, June 10
Feature at What Is That Book About

Friday, June 12
Review at Passages to the Past

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a copy of Tales from Ming Courtesans! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on June 12th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Tales of Ming Courtesans

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The Snow Collectors #BookReview

Hello Bookish Friends,
Did you survive the Holidays? Today I have a book review of
The Snow Collectors by Tina May Hall

THE SNOW COLLECTORS BY TINA MAY HALL

  • *Pub date 2/12/20.
    *Paperback:
     224 pages. *Publisher: Dzanc Books (February 12, 2020)
  • #DZANCBooks #tinamayhall #TheSnowCollectors

    Haunted by the loss of her parents and twin sister at sea, Henna cloisters herself in a Northeastern village where the snow never stops. When she discovers the body of a young woman at the edge of the forest, she’s plunged into the mystery of a centuries-old letter regarding one of the most famous stories of Arctic exploration—the Franklin expedition, which disappeared into the ice in 1845.

    At the center of the mystery is Franklin’s wife, the indomitable Lady Jane. Henna’s investigation draws her into a gothic landscape of locked towers, dream-like nights of snow and ice, and

    crumbling mansion rife with hidden passageways and carrion birds. But it soon becomes clear that someone is watching her—someone who is determined to prevent the truth from coming out.

    This book was received from the Author, and Publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. 

    THE SNOW COLLECTORS 
    By Tina May Hall

     A captivating contemporary murder mystery

    A gripping novel of snowy dreamlike, A year and seven months after the loss of her parents and twin sister at sea, Henna, a freelance encyclopedia writer who specializes in entries having to do with water, moves to an unnamed village where her constant companions are the oppressive snow and her sister’s basset hound. 

    Lush imagery, with a stellar gothic mystery that sucks into its atmospheric storyline. 
    The Snow Collectors, engages the reader with a creative twisty, darkish ghost of a Victorian exploration against the eerie beauty of a world on the fringes of environmental collapse. An eerie labyrinth of poetic prose, that I found impossible to put down. Tina May Hall’s exquisite writing, of a cold case murder, along with a ghosts of a nineteenth-century expedition, interwoven with environmental collapse, is completely original. This is one of those books that stays with you long after you finish reading it.

    Tina May Hall’s stories have appeared or are forthcoming in 3rd bed, the minnesota review, Quarterly West, Black Warrior Review, Water-Stone Review, Fairy Tale Review, and other journals. Her novella in prose poems, All the Day’s Sad Stories, was published by Caketrain Press in the spring of 2009.

    She teaches at Hamilton College and lives in the snowy Northeast with her husband and son in a house with a ghost in the radiator. Some days, she spends with her ear pressed to the wall. Some days, she snowshoes with her son to the wolf-ring in the woods where they drink hot chocolate and howl until the crows chase them home.

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    Book Review

    Release Day

    Ten Thousand Doors of January

    #0rbitbook @AlixEHarrow

    Thank you to Orbit Books for gifting me a finished copy. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

    Title: The Ten Thousand Doors of January
    Author: Alix E. Harrow
    Publication date: September 10, 2019
    Publisher: Redhook
    Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical

    In the summer of 1901, at the age of seven, January Scaller found a Door. You know the kind of door–they lead to Faerie, to Valhalla, to Atlantis, to all the places never found on a map.

    Years later, January has forgotten her brief glimpse of Elsewhere. Her life is quiet and lonely but safe on her guardian’s estate, until one day she stumbles across a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds in its pages, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure, and danger. A book that might lead her back to the half-remembered door of her childhood.

    But, as January gets answers to questions she never imagined, shadows creep closer. There are truths about the world that should never be revealed. 

    Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble.

    Title: The Ten Thousand Doors of January
    Author: Alix E. Harrow
    Publication date: September 10, 2019
    Publisher: Redhook, Orbit Book Publishing
    Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher (Orbit/Redhook) in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 Star Book

    One of the most stunning, captivating book of 2019

    “Listen, not every story is made for telling. Sometimes just by telling a story you’re stealing it, stealing a little of the mystery away from it.”

    Have you ever had penchant for the whimsical? Have you looked sideways at doors ever? Or held your breath as walked through a threshold? Or maybe in a moment of fancy, while staring longing at a wall hoping for for a chance of something magical. An opening, a portal…That just maybe there is something magical in the world.

    I have despite voices to the contrary, telling me otherwise.

    Are you a readers who remembers what it was once like to have the ability to imagine a wide world of endless possibilities. In Within these pages, January will discover the impossible truth of her own existence– and the harrowing dangers that lurk between the Doors and other worlds. 

    This fairy tale will have you stepping through the void, into fables, folklore, adventure, love and sanctuary, and the infinite power of words and love. In this completely original lyrical debut, Alix E. Harrow captivating book is a magical blend of both historical fiction and magical realism.

    Alix E. Harrow effortless writing is stunning and unconsciously literary.

    ” I almost didn’t notice the Door at all. All Doors are like that, half-shadowed and sideways until someone looks at them in just the right way.”

    The Ten Thousand Doors of January is completely original storyline but written in classical childhood fairy tale style of older work. Beautiful writing that is poetic and the words are fluid in this captivating and lyrical debut. In the turn of the twentieth century, a time of change with inventions and new discoveries, We meet January, an oddly colored, wild and headstrong imaginative girl.

    From the first pages I fell in love with January Scaller. When we first meet January, she is seven years old and, though her father is living, she is being cared for by Mr. Locke, her fathers benefactor. Her father travels the world, seeking out exotic treasures to bring back to his employer. Throughout her childhood years, she is herded and tamed into submission, well almost..

    The Ten Thousand Doors of January, is lush and richly imaginative book of impossible journeys, unforgettable love, and the incredible power of opening doors .

    Alix Harrow’s has masterly written a captivating illustrious tale with this story. If you love stories that have rich descriptive prose and a within a wonderful historical storyline with magical realism then you definitely want to pick this one up.

    Life has a kind of momentum to it, I’ve found, an accumulated weight of decisions which becomes impossible to shift.”

    Alix E. Harrow has been a student and a teacher, a farm-worker and a cashier, an ice-cream-scooper and a 9-to-5 office-dweller. She’s lived in tents and cars, cramped city apartments and lonely cabins, and spent a summer in a really sweet ’79 VW Vanagon. She has library cards in at least five states.

    Now she’s a full-time writer living in with her husband and two semi-feral kids in Kentucky. Her short fiction has appeared in Shimmer, Strange Horizons, Tor.com, Apex, and other venues, and The Ten Thousand Doors of January is her debut novel. Find her wasting time and having opinions at @AlixEHarrow on Twitter.

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    Book Review Child Of Tempus

    Happy Sunday Bookish Friends

    Today I Am Featuring A Book By A Debut Author

    Winnifred Tataw

    #ya fantasy #book Review

    The Gods’ Scion: Child of Tempus

    by: Winnifred Tataw

    •Print Length: 182 pages

    •Publisher: Winnifred Tataw (January 18, 2019)

    •Publication Date: January 18, 2019

    •Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC

    Rodrick is a prince of the ruling country of Diar. He has a face kissed by the Gods themselves, with deep blue eyes and long ruby-red hair. Speaking of Gods, he also happens to be the Acolyte of Time. Gifts and curses with this power give him control over aspects of time. And being a dragon-human hybrid has its amazing perks too.

    But since childhood, Rodrick has had a target on his back, and his insanely power-hungry father, Demon King Ryton, comes across as his closest but worst enemy. Throw in the workings of an alcoholic mother, a bipolar sister, a recovering addict brother, and an adopted little sister with magical powers, and you have the royal family of Diar.

    Things couldn’t get any worse, until he meets the beautiful Princess Arcelia—but Arcelia isn’t the main problem. Her and Rodrick are on now on the run from Rodrick’s father, Ryton. And with the looming risk of world destruction ahead of them, Rodrick is worried about more than college exams.

    This book was received as an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

    Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own

    An inventive fantasy by a debut author, Winnifred Tataw

    The Gods’ Scion: Child of Tempus.

    Right from the beginning you are swept up into the books enjoyable plot and likable characters that will have you cheering them on. Tataw has Created an urban/contemporary fantasy that takes on a faced passed storyline.

    Rodrick a ruling prince of the country of Diar, Being a Acolyte of his time, And dragon-human. But not everything is perfect, with turbulent family dynamics and a Demon King as your Father. Impending world destruction and magical realism with a dash of romance makes this an intriguing and engaging storyline. Great dialogue and magical elements makes for well written book.

    If you enjoy Ya Contemporary Fantasy than this is the perfect book for you.

    I look forward to reading more books from this creative Author.

    Purchase link:

    Amazon.com: The Gods’ Scion: Child of Tempus eBook: Winnifred Tataw: Kindle Store

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Winnifred or Winnie, as most know her by, is an artist, writer, and author of her debut novel: The Gods’ Scion: Child of Tempus. As a military child, Winnie has traveled extensively around the US East Coast and Germany, learning about the history, lore and culture of each region. Winnie has spent the last two years writing and expanding the world of  The Gods’ Scion trilogy series. Winnie has had a lifelong love of literature and art.  As a new writer she wants to create beautiful fantasy world and with compelling and intriguing characters. Winnie resides in South Carolina and is an undergraduate at the College of Charleston. She loves to spread positivity and joy to those around her, and look at the world through a glittery pink lens.

    Have a wonderful Day

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    Book Tour The Great Jewel Robbery

    The Great Jewel Robbery:A Front Page Mystery Book 1
    Elizabeth McKenna
    Category: Adult Fiction, 204 pages
    Genre: Cozy mystery
    Publisher: Elizabeth McKenna
    Release date: May 28, 2019
    Tour dates: August 19-30, 2019
    Content Rating: PG-13

    There is no profanity. There is drinking, desire, and a kiss.

    Synopsis

    Mystery with a splash of romance…Chicago Tribune reporters Emma and Grace have been best friends since college despite coming from different worlds. When Grace is assigned to cover an annual charity ball and auction being held at a lakeside mansion and her boyfriend bails on her, she brings Emma as her plus one. The night is going smoothly until Emma finds the host’s brother unconscious in the study. Though at first it is thought he was tipsy and stumbled, it soon becomes clear more is afoot, as the wall safe is empty and a three-million-dollar diamond necklace is missing. With visions of becoming ace investigative journalists, Emma and Grace set out to solve the mystery, much to the chagrin of the handsome local detective.

    To read more reviews, please visit Elizabeth McKenna’s page on iRead Book Tours.

    This book was received from the Author, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own

    The Great Jewel Robbery by Elizabeth McKenna is the first book in this delightful cozy mystery series.

    Chicago Tribune reporters Emma and Grace have been best friends since college despite coming from different worlds. Grace has been assigned to cover an annual charity ball and auction being held at a Lakeside Mansion on shores of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. When her boyfriend has a change of plans she brings Emma along.

    I was immediately sucked into the narrative and devoured every single page of this highly entertaining and deceptive book. Once I started reading it I was hooked and so absorbed in the storyline that I lost all sense of time. The author ability to keep my attention in this intriguing cozy mystery. I was definitely lost in this book and nothing was going to distract me until I finished reading it.

    An entertaining and quick read with the right amount of romance, a robbery, murder..a weekend party at a mansion. What more could you ask for?

    This is a fun, breezy mystery that totally enchanted me. The storyline is engaging tension filled who-did -it.

    A great light hearted mystery, that keeps you guessing all the way through.

    Faced paced exceptional dialogue with well developed characters.

    I definitely recommend this book and I am looking forward to reading more from this author.

    Do you read cozy mysteries, The light hearted who don it’s?

    Cozy Sweet Cream Pancakes Recipe

    • All-Purpose Flour

    • Baking Powder

    • Baking Soda

    • Salt

    • Sugar

    • Eggs

    • Vanilla Extract

    • Heavy Cream

    • Milk, to thin the batter if desired

    Toppings for Pancakes

    These pancakes may take a few extra minutes to cook, but boy is it worth it! I feel like pancakes are kind of like the blank canvas of breakfast food!

    You can add different toppings to create totally different experiences.

    Gwendalyn G Anderson

    Meet the Author: 

    Elizabeth McKenna’s love of books reaches back to her childhood, where her tastes ranged from Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys to Stephen King’s horror stories. She had never read a romance novel until one Christmas when her sister gave her the latest bestseller by Nora Roberts. She was hooked from page one (actually, she admits it was the first love scene). She combined her love of history, romance, and a happy ending to write the historical romance novels Cera’s Place and Venice in the Moonlight. Her contemporary romance novel, First Crush Last Love, is loosely based on her life (she eventually married her first crush)

    The Great Jewel Robbery is her debut cozy mystery, and she hopes readers will like it as much as they have enjoyed her romances. Elizabeth lives in Wisconsin with her understanding husband, two beautiful daughters, and a sassy Labrador. When she isn’t writing, working, or being a mom, she’s sleeping.

    Connect with the author: Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram

    Enter the Giveaway!
    Ends Sept 6, 2019

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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    Blog Tour and Giveaway

    Hello Bookish Friends,

    Today is the first stop on this very anticipated Book Tour and Giveaway!

    #TheSorcerersWhore #SamanthaGrosser #HFVBTBlogTours

    The Sorcerer’s Whore
    by Samantha Grosser

    Publication Date: July 16, 2019
    eBook: 330 Pages

    Series: Pages of Darkness, #2
    Genre: Historical Fiction/Historical Fantasy

     

    A cursed child, a dangerous path, and a price to pay…

    Six-fingered Mary Sparrow dreams of escape from the brothel that is the only world she knows. But when a mysterious old man drives her friend to madness, she begins to fear for her life.

    Toby Chyrche also hopes for a better future, away from the confines of the tailor’s shop where it seems his fate is set in stone. So when a chance meeting with an old man at the brothel offers him a different path, he is only too eager to accept. Then the discovery of an ancient book of magic throws a new and shocking light onto the past – his mother had a brother, and that brother was a witch.

    As the old man’s shadow over Bankside lengthens, Mary is drawn into the growing web of darkness. Unable to escape its reach, she turns to Toby for help. But Toby has daemons of his own to face. Will possession of the book be enough to protect them from the old man’s power? And what price will they have to pay for victory?

    For the Sorcerer’s Whore, nothing is as it seems …

    Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks | Kobo | Nook

    This book was received as an ARC from the Author, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own

    England 1632 

    25 years have passed since the first fateful production of Macbeth, and the forces of evil are about to be reawoken.

    The Sorcerer’s Whore, is Samantha Grossers second book in the Pages of Darkness Series. A wickedly delightful, gripping and immersive tale that totally absorbed me into its hauntingly dark characters.

    The setting takes place 25 years after Shakespeare’s Witch. The book reintroduces some of the characters from the first installment, and introduces us to some new characters as well.

    Six-fingered Mary Sparrow dreams of escaping from her line of work in Bankside, London. In her lot in life there is no room for real love. She is confused and torn by unsettling emotions she has for a new handsome client. Living in the stews of Cardinal Cap is the only world she knows, it’s a place of distractions and debauchery. Survival is the main priority, and Mary must keep her wits about her.

    Dark plans from a mysterious older gentleman may have her questioning her safety and fearing for life.

    Toby Chyrche, also hopes and dreams for a better future, after the death of his father, dark shocking secrets come to light.

    A chance meeting with an older gentleman at a brothel offers Toby a different journey in life. One he is only too eager to accept, which takes him down a dark pathway. Nothing is what it seems, a discovery of an old book of magic which once was lost, and now found, along with past revelations sets events in motion in this well layered novel.

    In this dramatic sweeping plot, I was immediately drawn in and I devoured every single page of this wickedly entertaining book. Once I started reading I was hooked and engaged in this creative storyline. It wasn’t an easy task to pull away from the book.

    This intense and riveting novel, has well developed characters and an enjoyable storyline. The authors writing had me hooked from the very first chapter.

    Grossers, intricately plots a character driven romance that fights poignancy through the complex conflicts of fate. Dark seductive magic drives the story forward with several interesting twists that make the ending all the more anticipated and satisfying. I was immediately pulled into the story, totally intrigued by the premise, and fully absorbed in this suspenseful page-turner.

    What really stood out for me was how the author included the religious strife that was coming to head and political drama it caused in the area around Bankside London with Puritan belief system. It caused a climactic change in the area that once allowed prostitution and the creativeness the theater brought with it. Puritan beliefs that stifled and frighten the population to the living conditions and strict code of conduct that restricted woman into believing that sexuality was only for procreation for children and anything else was considered evil and that of satan and sinful. The Authors creative and atmospheric details that captures the turbulent times of 1632

    A Seductive, and wickedly alluring gritty tale that was such an irresistible read.

    I am looking forward to the next installment in this memorizing dark a provocative and alluring series.

    About the Author

    Historical fiction author Samantha Grosser originally hails from England, but now lives on the sunny Northern Beaches of Sydney with her husband, son and a very small dog called Livvy.

    Combining a lifelong love of history with a compulsion to write that dates from childhood, Samantha is now bringing her passion for telling compelling stories to the world.

    Samantha has an Honours Degree in English Literature and taught English for many years in Asia and Australia. She is the author of wartime dramas Another Time and Place and The Officer’s Affair, and The King James Men, set during the turbulent early years of 17th Century.

    Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | BookBub | Pinterest | Instagram

    Blog Tour Schedule

    Monday, August 12
    Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

    Wednesday, August 14
    Review at Passages to the Past

    Sunday, August 18
    Feature at Diana_bibliophile

    Monday, August 19
    Review at Pencils & Pages

    Tuesday, August 20
    Review at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

    Thursday, August 22
    Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

    Giveaway

    During the Blog Tour, we are giving away one eBook and one paperback copy of The Sorcerer’s Whore! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

    Giveaway Rules

    – Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on August 22nd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
    – Giveaway is open to the US & UK only.
    – Only one entry per household.
    – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
    – The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

    Sorcerer’s Whore

    -A little Historical facts-

    The name Cardinal’s Hat (or Cap),

    for a house on the site of the present No. 49, Bankside, and for the narrow alley which runs down beside it,

    Photo taken from the, British History Online is a digital library of key printed primary and secondary sources for the history of Britain and Ireland, with a primary focus on the period between 1300 and 1800. We aim to support the learning, teaching and research of our users from around the world.

    BHO was founded by the Institute of Historical Research and the History of Parliament Trust in 2003.

    Photo from British History Online

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    Book Review ~ Mom’ Perfect Boyfriend

    Happy Pub Day

    Mom’s Perfect Boyfriend

    Author: Crystal Hemmingway

    Publisher: Galbadia Press

    Pub Date: July 16, 2019

    Pages: 297

    @crustalhemmingway

    @galbadia

    @gwendalyns_books_

    I Couldn’t put this Rom-Com down!!

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

    A Brilliantly, Funny refreshing Read

    A story told through a variety of interfaces, Written in the form of journal entries, text messages, emails, and excerpts of the novel Crystal is writing, A brilliant romantic comedy about mothers and daughters, and the hilarious consequences of a not really telling the real truth. The characters were all endearing and the subject matter was interesting and I really liked the format the author chose to write the book in.

    What really stood out for me and what I really loved about this story was the development of the relationships between the Women in the story, and the complexity of the mother-daughter relationship.

    It’s a creative a perfect summer read. Fast paced and enjoyable book that you won’t want to put down.

    Overall, this is creative Romantic comedy that I would recommend to anyone looking to read and is a big fan of a contemporary novels

    I Couldn’t put this Rom-Com down!!

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

    This book was received as an ARC from the Galbadia in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own

    Author

    Crystal Hemmingway is a corporate washout and novelist. She lives in Los Angeles with her favorite person and two cats. In her spare time, Crystal enjoys binge-watching TV shows, eating sugary cereals, and pretending to write at coffee shops.

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    Blog Tour Dragonslayer & Giveaway

    Welcome to my stop on

    The Dragonslayer Book Tour and Giveaway TOUR SCHEDULE:
    http://www.jeanbooknerd.com/2019/05/dragonslayer-by-duncan-m-hamilton.html

    Print Length: 304 pages
    Publisher:
    Tor Books (July 2, 2019)
    Publication Date: July 2, 2019
    Sold by: Macmillan
    Language: English
    ASIN: B07CRFSDLS



    Author of one of BuzzFeed ‘s Greatest Fantasy Books of 2013

    Do you have what it takes to be a Dragonslayer?

    In this epic, adventure fantasy series, an unlikely hero, Guillot dal Villevauvais, must overcome his disgraced past as a failed member of the King’s guard and hunt down a ferocious beast thought long extinct. A dangerous quest, led by the swordsmanship of Gill, the magical powers of Solène, a barmaid nearly burned to the stake, and the goodness of Prince Bishop. From the critically acclaim fantasy author Duncan M. Hamilton, this fast-moving series is a must-read for fans of epic, sword-and-sorcery adventures.

    Successfully mixes swords, sorcery, and skullduggery with complex characters. Dumas fans will especially appreciate the faux-French setting. This is pure adventure fun with plenty for epic fantasy readers to enjoy.

    In his magnificent, heroic, adventure fantasy, Dragonslayer, Duncan M. Hamilton debuts the first book in a fast-moving trilogy: a dangerous tale of lost magics, unlikely heroes, and reawakened dragons.

    Once a member of the King’s personal guard, Guillot dal Villevauvais spends most days drinking and mourning his wife and child. He’s astonished—and wary—when the Prince Bishop orders him to find and destroy a dragon. He and the Prince Bishop have never exactly been friends and Gill left the capital in disgrace five years ago. So why him? And, more importantly, how is there a dragon to fight when the beasts were hunted to extinction centuries ago by the ancient Chevaliers of the Silver Circle?

    On the way to the capitol city, Gill rescues Solène, a young barmaid, who is about to be burned as a witch. He believes her innocent…but she soon proves that she has plenty of raw, untrained power, a problem in this land, where magic is forbidden. Yet the Prince Bishop believes magic will be the key to both destroying the dragon and replacingthe young, untried King he pretends to serve with a more pliable figurehead.
    Between Gill’s rusty swordsmanship and Solene’s unstable magic, what could go wrong?

    You can purchase Dragonslayer at the following Retailers:
            
    *JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*

    – 6 Winners will receive a Copy of DRAGONSLAYER by Duncan M. Hamilton.

    ENDS: JULY 25, 2019

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    -The Author Successfully mixes swords, sorcery, and skullduggery with complex characters. Dumas fans will especially appreciate the faux-French setting. This is pure adventure fun with plenty for epic fantasy readers to enjoy.

    Mirabaya, a country similar to medieval France, is ruled by a young, untried king who should be easily led by Amaury, the head of the church. Amaury knows power is often best wielded frombehind the throne, out of sight, out of range of an assassin…. Threatening his plans is news of a dragon, a creature thought destroyed centuries ago. How best to deal with this nuisance?

    Dragonslayer

    Duncan M. Hamilton

    Tor Teen

    The Dragonslayer Trilogy:

    1. Dragonslayer

    2. Knight of the Silver Circle

    3. Servant of the Crown

    This book was received as an ARC from The Author,

    Duncan M. Hamilton and the Publisher Tor Teen, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

    Once a member of the King’s personal guard, Guillot dal Villevauvais

    is now a middle age over weight, and living his life down a bottle. Gill needs to resurrect himself if he is actually going to accomplish the daunting task set before him ….and become the eponymous Dragonslayer once more , …Our hero

    Selene character slowly builds but she just wants to have a simple life. A character in this book that I was connected to, I was really intrigued by the undefined nature of her raw magic I just wished there was more of her in the storyline. Maybe I am just being biased.

    Together they join forces to take down a vengeful dragon, Alpheratz

    The storyline develops as millennium of old secrets are brought to the surface.

    This Old school Fantasy World-building but it felt somewhat light. Personally I think the book is actually more character driven. The Authors creative and engaging dialogue and writing style, sucked me into this heroic, adventure fantasy, world.

    Together they join forces as a millennium of old secrets are brought to the surface, What really stood out for me was how the author descriptive voice of the Dragons POV. Hamilton draws on our sympathies for the dragons and gives them emotions.

    This is the First installment in Hamilton’s Trilogy, And I am already looking forward to reading more. The author gives little subtle hints of empire he is building.

    I think there is going to be more back story brought to life in the following books in this series.

    Photo Credit: Jason Clarke


    Duncan M. Hamilton is the Amazon best selling writer of fantasy novels and short stories, including The Wolf of the North and the Society of the Sword trilogy. He has Master’s Degrees in History and Law, and practised as a barrister before writing full time. Duncan is particularly interested in the Medieval and Renaissance periods, from which he draws inspiration for his stories.


    He lives in Ireland, near the sea, and when not writing he enjoys sailing, scuba diving, windsurfing, cycling, and skiing.
    His debut novel, ‘The Tattered Banner (Society of the Sword Volume 1)’ was featured on Buzzfeed’s 12 Greatest Fantasy Books Of The Year, 2013.Duncan is a member of The Society of Authors, and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). He is represented by DongWon Song of Howard Morhaim Literary.
          
    WEEK ONEJULY 1st MONDAY BookHounds EXCERPT JULY 2nd TUESDAY Insane About Books REVIEWJULY 3rd WEDNESDAY J.R.’s Book Reviews REVIEW
    JULY 3rd WEDNESDAY Stephanie’s Life of Determination REVIEWJULY 4th THURSDAY Lauren’s Bookshelf REVIEWJULY 4th THURSDAY TTC Books and More EXCERPTJULY 5th FRIDAY Crossroad Reviews REVIEW
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    WEEK TWOJULY 8th MONDAY Nay’s Pink Bookshelf REVIEWJULY 9th TUESDAY Sabrina’s Paranormal Palace REVIEW JULY 9th TUESDAY Rose’s Book Corner EXCERPTJULY 10th WEDNESDAY Two Points of Interest REVIEWJULY 10th WEDNESDAY A Dream Within A Dream EXCERPT
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    Book Review Spin The Dawn

    Hello Lovelies,

    Welcome to my Book Review of Spin The Dawn

    Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
    Series: The Blood of Stars
    Published July 9th 2019 by Knopf
    Genre: young adult, fantasy, asian representation,

    rating: ★★★★1/2

    。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆ 。★ 。☆ 。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆ 。・:*:・゚★,。・:*: 。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆

    “Sendo used to tell me fairy tales. How he’d love mine if he were still alive: the tale of a girl who’d sewn the sun, the moon, and the stars into three dresses.”

    Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

    Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.
    And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. 

    Sendo used to tell me fairy tales. How he’d love mine if he were still alive: the tale of a girl who’d sewn the sun, the moon, and the stars into three dresses.”

    His gaze bored into mine, deep and penetrating. Melting my resistance. “I know one thing, Maia Tamarin–being with you makes me happier than I have ever been.”

    This book was received as an ARC from NetGalley,in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own 

    This story follows Maia Tamarin, a girl with aspirations to be a tailor, but because she was born female all she can hope for is to make a good match in marriage. However, when her father, a renowned tailor in his own right is summoned by the royal court, Maia decides to pose as a boy to save her father from becoming even more ill on the journey. Aware that the penalty of death is imposed for her actions, she’s determined to overcome the hardships to become the best tailor. Except she’s one of twelve tailors eyeing the coveted position. Despite her skills, she becomes caught up in the schemes of saboteur tailors and is saved by the royal court magician Edan, who has seen through her disguise; his motives unclear. Her final challenge is the most difficult: crafting three dresses for the king’s bride-to-be using the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of the stars. Her journey will set her on a path that she never imagined, 

    Maia Tamarin, has aspirations to be a tailor, in world where women are subservient. Born the only girl in a family of three older brothers, with a Father as Tailor. She sacrifices everything to protect her family. In a turn of events she seizes the opportunity for a one in life time chance to become a Court Tailor. Maia decides to pose as a boy and Travel to court In disguise as her brother .while there she must avoid court intrigue and schemes of saboteur tailors .She must face her final challenge crafting three dresses for the king’s bride-to-be using the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of the stars. 

    Her journey will set her on a path that she never imagined.. 

    The Author has creatively weaved One Thousand and One Nights into a Chinese-themed adventure story, with just enough sweet romance to make it a perfect read!
    This is one of those books that you just have to read to know what feeling I’m getting at. It sucks you in and keeps you hungry for more until you reach the mind-blowing ending. It’s a unique and unforgettable magical storyline. Masterfully created spellbinding world. I devoured this one as fast as I could and was completely drawn into the lives of these characters.  I turned those pages as fast as I could and then slowly took in this beautifully written page turner. 
    What I especially liked is Elizabeth Lim imaginative writing style. I feel in love with the overall premise of the novel, and the quick pace it kept me engaged. 

    I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading the next installment in this series.

    I am having a give away on my IG Account

    Clink On The pic below, to take you there

    Elizabeth Lim grew up on a hearty staple of fairy tales, myths, and songs. Her passion for storytelling began around age 10, when she started writing fanfics for Sailor Moon, Sweet Valley, and Star Wars, and posted them online to discover, “Wow, people actually read my stuff. And that’s kinda cool!” But after one of her teachers told her she had “too much voice” in her essays, Elizabeth took a break from creative writing to focus on not flunking English.

    Over the years, Elizabeth became a film and video game composer, and even went so far as to get a doctorate in music composition. But she always missed writing, and turned to penning stories when she needed a breather from grad school. One day, she decided to write and finish a novel — for kicks, at first, then things became serious — and she hasn’t looked back since.

    Elizabeth loves classic film scores, books with a good romance, food (she currently has a soft spot for arepas and Ethiopian food), the color turquoise, overcast skies, English muffins, cycling, and baking. She lives in New York City with her husband.

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    Blog Tour A Bad Breed

    Today Is My Stop On The A Bad Breed

    BookTour And Giveaway

    #Giveaway

    A Bad Breed
    Kat Ross
    (Gaslamp Gothic, #3)
    Published by: Acorn Publishing
    Publication date: May 31st 2019
    Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Retelling

    Pricolici.

    A creature out of folklore. And nightmare.

    January 1889. When a Romanian village suffers a series of brutal attacks, occult investigator Anne Lawrence is dispatched to the forests of the Old Country to hunt the killer – only to vanish without a trace.

    The trail leads her mentor Vivienne Cumberland deep into the Carpathians to a remote monastery. As a blizzard rages outside, trapping them all with the pricolici, Vivienne risks sharing the fate of the woman she came to find. But is the culprit truly a werewolf … or something even more dangerous?

    A man bent on revenge. And a love that was never meant to be.

    Imprisoned in a decaying castle, Anne finds herself ensnared in a web of dark enchantment, at the mercy of a mysterious captor with a beast inside – and a memory as old as the ancient legends.

    As the weeks pass, Anne learns his real identity, and slowly uncovers a complex and deeply passionate man. But is she willing to pay the price for falling under his spell?

    Note: This darkly magical reimagining of Beauty and the Beast is the third book in the Gaslamp Gothic series, but can be read as a standalone with no need to start with Book #1, The Daemoniac.

    Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

    Tour-wide giveaway (INTL)
    • $20 Amazon gift card
    • Signed copies of the first 2 books in the Gaslamp Gothic series

    GIVEAWAY!
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    This book was received from the Author, and Publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own

    A Bad Breed is Kat Ross’s is the third book in Gaslamp Gothic series.

    After having read and enjoyed the previous other books in this series, I knew I wanted to fall back into Ms Ross’s Victorian Gothic world building.

    The Author has masterly created a a compelling Retelling of the age old storyline of Beauty and the Beast. She masterly sets character conflicts of Enemies to Lovers, with an unsettling, intense, suspenseful, twisty, plot. Ross has tasteful written a fast, edgy and face blushing, erotic read.

    Occult investigator, An Anne Lawrence is dispatched to the forests of a Romanian village. The village in the suffers a series of brutal attacks in January 1889. Anne’s investigation takes her deep into the Carpathians, where she mysteriously disappeared.

    Vivienne Cumberland, Anne’s mentor must travel with her bonded Nathaniel, to find out what has happened to Anne. All is not what it seems in this complex paranormal, suspenseful reimagined fairy tale.

    The author delivers a fast moving tale of shape-shifters, necromancers, daevas, and enchantments, for a non stop read.

    I am definitely looking forward to her next book, The Necromancer’s Bride!

    *Trigger warning of sexual content *

    Author Bio:

    Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She’s the author of the Fourth Element and Fourth Talisman fantasy series, the Gaslamp Gothic paranormal mysteries, and the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day. She loves myths, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Check out Kat’s Pinterest page for the people, places and things that inspire her books.

    Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

    Tour-wide giveaway (INTL)
    • $20 Amazon gift card
    • Signed copies of the first 2 books in the Gaslamp Gothic series

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    Welcome To Collateral Damage Take over Tour

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Click on the Banner To listen ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    Purchase by clicking on the Amazon button

    #taylorsimonds #collateraldammage #superheroes #fantasyreads #yareads #theparliamenthousepress #TPHTours

    Debuting at a 1# Spot Is No Small Feet

    @taylor_on_tour @theparliamentpress

    •Publisher: The Parliament House

    •Author: Taylor Simonds

    •Book Title: Collateral Damage

    Power. Courage. Invincibility. The marks of a true hero.

    Meg Sawyer has none of these things.

    Meg has never stopped a moving bus with her bare hands, been bitten by a radioactive
    insect, or done anything moderately resembling saving the world. She doesn’t have to. She’s a background citizen, a nobody, one of the swarms of faceless civilians of Lunar City–where genetically enhanced superhumans straight out of the comics have thwarted
    evil for years.

    For as long as the Supers have existed, Meg has had one goal: to not become a
    casualty in their near-daily battles for justice. And for the last seventeen years, she’s managed to do just that. Sure, her minimum-wage job at the local coffee shop isn’t great, she can’t even leave her apartment without loading herself up with protective
    gear, and her car was just hijacked to throw at a supervillain (again), but she’s not dead yet.

    But when Meg accidentally finds one of the city’s perfect, invincible protectors
    murdered under extremely suspicious circumstances, her whole “innocent bystander” strategy falls apart. After being coerced by his determined girlfriend into a mission to help prevent the deaths of the remaining Supers, Meg finds herself forced into the foreground
    of a story she never wanted to be part of—one that challenges everything she thought she knew about both her city and herself.

    Collateral Damage Chapter 1

    Arnold is dead.

    It’s not my fault. Let’s get that clear. These kinds of things usually aren’t, but that doesn’t change the unavoidable fact that he’s super, super dead.

    I wish I could say Arnold’s dead-ness is unexpected, but the truth is, I’m impressed he even survived this long.

    My last car only made it six months.

    To be fair, he’s not technically dead yet, but he’s definitely going to be in a few minutes. Maybe it’s fatalistic to write this off as an inevitability, but I’ve lived in Lunar City long enough to know when it’s someone’s—or something’s, in this case—final day.

    In this case, it’s the police scanner duct-taped to my dashboard that sets off the feeling of impending doom—but even before it starts blaring, I can already tell something’s wrong. The desperate hope that maybe the hordes of people running hysterically down the street toward my car are participating in some kind of 5K only lasts a few moments before, with a pavement-rattling eruption, the tidal wave of dark smoke starts rolling in behind them. This, as you’d imagine, shuts my original theory down pretty quickly.

    As if the stampeding herd isn’t enough of an indicator, the police scanner suddenly lets out a static-laced crackle that quickly gives way to a garbled, warped version of the authoritative shouting I’ve come to expect from it. I prod the finicky device until the muffled noise turns into something that sounds like “two casualties,” “East Seventh Avenue,” and “SuperVariants have engaged,” and that’s enough for me.

    “Absolutely not,” I mutter, yanking the steering wheel to the left and dodging across the traffic down a side road. “Not today.”

    This turns out to be one of my worse ideas, because the side road is already occupied by one of the Supers.

    SuperVariant Three, if we’re being specific.

    I would accuse the Lunar City Police Department of misinformation (East Seventh, right? Did the scanner not just say he was on East Seventh?), but I’m not really supposed to have a scanner, so there’s no one to complain to.

    My tires screech as I hit the brakes, just feet away from the standstill traffic blocking the road, the owners having abandoned their cars in favor of running. And there, about six cars ahead of me, boots firmly planted on the hood like it’s some kind of pedestal, is SuperVariant Three. The morning sun glistens off the gray leather supersuit he’s wearing like it’s a second skin, his famously perfect blue-black hair positioned in its trademark coil over his forehead.

    “Everybody out of the streets!” he’s ordering, a gloved hand cupped around his chiseled jaw. “Get to someplace safe! You need to—”

    A piercing scream grabs both of our attention. It’s impossible to tell who it came from, but it’s clearly someone out of the cluster on the sidewalk—one of the dozen or so heads gaping upward in terror at a massive billboard groaning on its hinges, a light breeze away from crashing down to the street below.

    “Oh, no,” I whisper, and then Three and I both move at the same time.

    I’m not worried about the people underneath the billboard. I’m worried about me. Because I’ve seen Three in action before, and I know his MO.

    In the few seconds that it takes me to lunge for my backpack—an unwieldy black monstrosity jangling with a color-coded assortment of safety gear all firmly labeled please return to Meg Sawyer—and smash a thumb into the release on my seatbelt, the billboard has wrenched free with a fantastic howl. I can see Three flying toward it in a gray blur.

    Get out of the way, get out of the way, get out of the way—

    I tumble out of the car and lunge for the sidewalk just as Three reaches the falling metal. There’s a weird moment of optimism where I wonder if maybe today, he’ll be different; maybe today, he’ll just catch it and gently put it down on the ground like a normal, rational human. No show of power, no flashy stunts.

    But then he raises his fist and decks the absolute hell out of it.

    I have just enough time to snatch the closest thing I can grab off my backpack—which turns out to be a safety helmet, thank god, and not something completely useless for the situation, like a Band-Aid or hand sanitizer—and jam it on my head before the billboard’s trajectory is walloped away from the paralyzed citizens and toward the small army of abandoned cars lining the road.

    I’ll give Three this: the guy’s got a future career in bowling if he ever wants it.

    There’s something weirdly satisfying about watching the ripple of cars get smashed to pieces. It’s like when you line up a chain of dominos and push one over. The not-satisfying thing is the knowledge that the billboard on its own would never have been able to cause this much damage, but I guess you can turn anything into a missile if you super-punch it hard enough.

    The rippling of the first few cars is the only thing I see, however, because that’s when I dive behind the closest tree, cover my organs with my backpack, and clamp my eyes and mouth shut against the impending cloud of dust and debris. The last thing I need today is to get impaled by flying shrapnel.

    The next few moments are underscored by a soundtrack I know very well—the sound of metal screeching as it wrenches apart, glass shattering, steel pounding into the sidewalk. When the noise gets replaced by silence, followed by the clamor of breathless, relieved sobs of gratitude that can only mean the people on the other side of the street have suddenly realized they’re not dead, I know it’s safe enough to open my eyes and peer around the corner.

    As expected, SuperVariant Three is not looking in horror at the destruction he’s just caused to eight different vehicles (including my poor, useless Arnold, which is now a blackened, charred mess with a sliced-off roof and an eruption of smoke pouring out of the engine). No, he’s floating above the awestruck crowd, beaming down at them. I can’t make out any of what they’re all saying to him—probably something along the lines of “I love you” or “sign my face” or “let me name my children after you”—but his proud, confident voice carries.

    “Not a problem,” he’s saying. “Just doing my duty.”

    My mouth falls open. Not a problem? I have a problem. I have several problems. I’m about to step off the sidewalk to march over and tell him so, but then there’s a near-intangible blur of orange light accompanied by a gust of wind that rips past me so quickly, my helmet clatters to the ground and my choppy red hair blows over my eyes. “Watch it!” I yell, shaking my bangs back into place.

    “Hey, Three!” The blur zig-zags through the maze of destroyed cars and slams to a stop near Three and his fawning fans, coming into focus as a tall figure with a sleek wave of black hair, coated in a dull orange neoprene bodysuit. SuperVariant Four. Take a guess what his thing is.

    “Quit flirting; One needs backup.” Four stands still long enough to get the words out before he readjusts his opaque goggles and runs up the side of a building, disappearing in another orange flash over the top.

    “I do not!” an unseen voice screams in outrage, and then, oh, what a surprise, another Super. A deep purple blotch in the distance that I recognize immediately as SuperVariant One, asymmetrical cape trailing behind her, rockets out from over the building Four has just disappeared behind. I vaguely wonder where SuperVariant Two is in all this. If I had invisibility powers, I probably wouldn’t show up to these shenanigans at all. No one would even know

    SuperVariant One executes a sharp swivel in midair that makes her thick, dark braid snap like a whip, and yells, “I can handle this!” She makes a claw shape with her hands, reaches toward the ground, and scoops upward. In response, a car parked at the end of the street rises languidly into the air. She uncurls her right hand into a flat palm and presses it forward, sending the car catapulting over her head and toward some unseen enemy

    “Oh, no,” I moan, and instinctively try to shield Arnold behind my body, even though he’s pretty much a lost cause as a vehicle at this point. “It never works!” I yell up at her. “Throw something else!”

    She doesn’t even look my way. Before I can say anything else, her left hand is thrown out in that claw shape again, and Arnold is hurtling through the air to join the other car. The thing that’s been antagonizing the Supers has come into view from behind the building, and I can see the polished gleam of an eight-story-tall robot, with some human operating it from inside its transparent head. A robot. Not for the first time, I feel myself filled with irritation rather than terror at the threat of the day. I mean, come on, guys. How did someone build a giant robot in this city without anyone noticing? If someone’s getting eight hundred tons of metal delivered to their house, that needs to be a red flag.

    The robot doesn’t even turn its head as its right arm swings up and blocks my car with the earsplitting clang of metal on metal, sending it careening back toward the pavement in a shower of sparks.

    I shield my head with my arm as my car crashes and rolls, coming to a smoking stop a few yards away from me, then look back up dejectedly. The Supers are already gone, leading the robot farther down the street.

    “You’re fine, right Arnold?” I yell at my car.

    It erupts into flames.

    Okay. I’ll just walk to work.

    I reach around for the metal rod clipped magnetically to the side of my backpack and press a button. It instantly lengthens and expands into a titanium umbrella, riddled with minor dents and scratches. A bowling ball-size crater dips into the left side, giving the whole umbrella an uneven, sagging look. A burn mark from who knows what (I want to say maybe lasers) is just below that. It’s been through a lot, but it still works, I think. I mean, I’m not dead yet.

    I raise it above my head and start walking.

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    1. Q: Tell us about your writing process and the way you brainstorm story ideas.

    A: I don’t know if two books is enough to supply a scientifically justifiable pattern, but pretending it is, here’s the process:

        1) A book premise and ending drop themselves into my head fully formed. I know who my characters are and where they’re going and I have no idea how they’re going to get there.

        2) I pants. I write without an outline. It is bad. “The first draft is telling the story to yourself!” I scream at myself as I write many, many bad words that I know I will delete later.

        3) Somewhere around the 40,000-word mark, I realize that I have made a crucial error in developing one of my lead characters. That personality isn’t right at all. I have to fix it. Wait, I need to change the opening scene to match the characterization I actually want them to have. Wait, none of these characters are right. This worldbuilding is so half-baked. This would make a much better inciting incident. What am I doing?

        4) I move all 40,000 words to a file labeled “WIP Dumping Grounds” and start over from scratch.

        5) I do this three more times until I have 40,000 words I don’t hate and then I finish the book, still screaming

    2. Q: When you develop characters do you already know who they are before you begin writing or do you let them develop as you go?

    A: I have to know who my characters are before I start writing, or the story will never get written—I’m the world’s worst pantser, so all I ever know going into a book is who my book is about and where they’re trying to get to. For COLLATERAL DAMAGE I had a set of references for each character to use as a template for if I got stuck (Meg was Mia Thermopolis x Veronica Sawyer x Darcy Lewis x Haruhi Fujioka, for example, mixed with a few friends I know in real life). I feel like if I can understand my characters on as many levels as possible—what they want, what they fear, what they’re trying to accomplish, who or what raised them, how they connect to others, how they talk and move—they’ll become as familiar to me as real people. And if I let them act like real people, they’ll naturally make choices that create the plot

    3. Q: Where is your favorite place to write?

    A: DISNEY WORLD RESORTS. I’m so lucky that I live so close to them. I work from home as an editor most of the time and if I had to stay in my bedroom all day I’d go crazy, so my favorite thing to do is go work at one of the themed hotels. It makes me feel like I’m on vacation, and it’s so easy to be inspired when every aspect of the Disney brand relies so heavily on thematic storytelling. My top three spots are Beach Club, which makes me feel like I’m on a cruise ship, Wilderness Lodge, which makes me feel like I’m on a writing retreat in the woods, and the Grand Floridian, which is just fancy.

    4. Q: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find

    A: Yes! COLLATERAL DAMAGE is a play on the superhero genre, which I’m a huge fan of, so there are Easter eggs and references all over the place. No real names or exact details are used, of course, but they’re clear enough for a potential fellow nerd to be like “Wait, this feels like Spider-Man. That’s a Flash joke. That thing covered in gemstones they just walked past in the vault is totally the Infinity Gauntlet.” Stuff like that.

    5. Q: Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

    A: I prefer each book to stand on its own! One of my favorite concepts is “leave the reader wanting more, not needing more.” I’m an advocate for letting books work on their own as a self-contained unit; I don’t like it when a story ends with all of its ends still loose. I shouldn’t have to buy another book to know how the first book’s conflict wraps up! I think of it as a TV series—you know how each season typically has a central theme, antagonist, character arc, collection of new characters, etc.? By the end of the season, almost everything that has been presented should have reached a conclusion—but then the last episode will hit you with a tease that there’s more to come, like the camera shift to the looming Upside-Down after the school dance scene at the end of Stranger Things. I prefer books in a series to work in the same way—when a reader picks up a book, they’re being invited on a journey, and it’s unfair to the reader to cut that journey short. Without giving anything away from the end of COLLATERAL DAMAGE, there is definitely room for a sequel eventually because it’s superheroes, but I don’t think anyone would feel confused or infuriated if this was the only book in this world that ever got written. I like to put bows on things!

    #taylorsimonds #collateraldammage #superheroes #fantasyreads #yareads #theparliamenthousepress #TPHTours

    #bookstagram #bookish #bookworm #booknerd #read #reading #alwaysreading #coverlove #tbr #ireadya #bookishgiveaway #marvel

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    Blog Tour Giveaway RiVen

    Welcome to the RiVen Blog Tour and Giveaway

    #Riven #bookblog

    TOUR SCHEDULE:
    http://www.jeanbooknerd.com/2019/06/trailer-reveal-riven-by-jane-alvey.html

    Series: My Myth Trilogy (Book 1)
    Publisher:
    CreateSpace (March 5, 2017)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 1544054173
    ISBN-13: 978-1544054179

    Winner: 2016 Publishers Weekly’s BookLife Prize in Fiction, Young Adult

    Winner: 2016 Moonbeam Gold Medal, Young Adult Fiction
    Winner: 2017 Royal Dragonfly First Place, Young Adult Fiction
    Winner: 2017 Reader Views Reviewers Choice Award
    Nominated for the 2018 Indie Next List
    Which reality would you choose? Seventeen year-old Emily’s dad is in prison for securities fraud and her mom’s strung-out on pain meds, leaving Emily to parent herself and her younger brothers and sister. She’s got things mostly under control until a couple weeks before Dad’s release, when voices start whispering in her head, and Gabe, the hot lifeguard at the pool, notices the strange brands engraved on her arm…the ones she’s trying desperately to hide. Emily doesn’t know how the symbols got there or what they mean. They appeared overnight and now they’re infected and bleeding. She’s pretty sure she’s losing her mind. Stress, insomnia, and her wounded egos drive Emily to self-medicate, which has to be why the nightmares from her childhood have resurfaced, why they’re commandeering her conscious even when she’s awake. It has to be why the fairytale creatures she created as a little girl insist they need her help. 




    Triggered by the return of her childhood abuser and unable to cope with reality, Emily slips completely inside her elaborate fantasy world. She’s powerful in the First Realm, maybe even more powerful than her attacker. It would be so easy to stay there, to lose herself in enchantment…to lose herself in love. But something sinister lurks in the forest shadows. Emily soon discovers her demons have followed her inside her fairytale. They’re hunting her. With the help of the Fae, she frantically searches for the weapons she needs to defeat her greatest fears and escape back to reality before the man who tortured her can prey on her younger brothers and sister, too. Time is running out…*Non-explicit Trigger Warning: This book deals with issues of child molestation and abuse.


    Behind-the-scenes picture from the making of the trailer for Secret Keeper (sequel to Riven).

    Photo Content from Film 14.

    Behind-the-scenes picture from the making of the trailer for Secret Keeper (sequel to Riven).
    Photo Content from Film 14.
    ABOUT SECRET KEEPER
    Secret Keeper is the second part of the My Myth trilogy, and this astonishingly insightful and moving YA fantasy novel takes us even deeper into the painful reality of Emily’s existence. If you thought that the first novel in this young adult trilogy was moving, fascinating, unique and powerful… just wait and see what lies between the pages of this remarkable sequel to the first psychological thriller.

    You can purchase Riven (My Myth Trilogy #1) at the following Retailers:
     Film 14 is an LA-based film studio.They produce cinematic book trailers, author’s videos, short films, and more.
    Cinematic Book Trailers leave that lasting impression on the viewer, and remain with the book for as long as it’s in print. They’re stand-alone works of art, and at the same time they compliment the book perfectly. We create these cinematic trailers to give a poignant vignette of the book, which leaves the viewer curious. The tone, the pacing, the details, all generate tangible interest in the book and its author.FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER | WEBSITE | YOUTUBEPhoto Content from Jane Alvey Harris

    Jane Alvey Harris has a Humanities degree from Brigham Young University with emphases in Art History, Italian Language, and Studio Art. She’s CRAZY about the visual and performing arts! Jane enjoys playing classical piano, painting & sketching, singing & acting, and especially writing poetry & prose.But her real passion is PEOPLE. She loves to watch and study what makes us tick as human beings. Jane is definitely a dreamer. Her favorite thing to do is weave together sublime settings and stories for characters to live and learn in…herself included.She currently lives in an enchanted fairy-princess castle in Dallas, Texas, with her three often-adorable children and their three seldom-adorable cats.
            
    Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

    – 2 Winners will receive a Signed Copy of RIVEN by Jane Alvey Harris.

    – 1 Winner will receive an Exclusive Basic Book Teaser from Film 14 (Valued at $500.00)

    *JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*

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    Blog Tour and Review ⚜️ Eternally Artemisia

    ⚜️Author: Melissa Muldoon

    ⚜️Publisher: MATTA Press

    ⚜️⚜️⚜️Author: Melissa Muldoon⚜️⚜️Publisher: MATTA Press⚜️⚜️⚜️

    Book Details:

    • Book Title: Eternally Artemisia : Some loves, like some women, are timeless by Melissa Muldoon
    • Category: Adult Fiction (18+), 312 pages
    • Genre: Fiction General, Fiction Women
    • Publisher: Matta Press
    • Release date: March 2019
    • Tour dates: June 3 to 28, 2019
    • Content Rating: PG-13 + M (The themes of the book deal with rape and overcoming sexual abuse. It is a book about female empowerment and how with the right tools, and support women may rise above past tragedies to build a better future for themselves.)

    They say some loves travel through time and are fated to meet over and over again. For Maddie, an art therapist, who wrestles with the “peculiar feeling” she has lived previous lives and is being called to Italy by voices that have left imprints on her soul, this idea is intriguing. Despite her best efforts, however, proof of this has always eluded her. That is, until one illuminating summer in Italy when Maddie’s previous existences start to bleed through into her current reality. When she is introduced to the Crociani family—a noble clan with ties to the seventeenth-century Medici court that boasts of ancestors with colorful pasts—she finally meets the loves of her life. One is a romantic love, and another is a special kind of passion that only women share, strong amongst those who have suffered greatly yet have triumphed despite it.

    As Maddie’s relationship develops with Artemisia Gentileschi—an artist who in a time when it was unheard of to denounce a man for the crime of rape, did just that—Maddie discovers a kindred spirit and a role model, and just what women are capable of when united together.

    In a journey that arcs back to biblical days and moves forward in time, Maddie encounters artists, dukes, designers, and movie stars as well as baser and ignoble men. With Artemisia never far from her side, she proves that when we dare to take control of our lives and find the “thing” we are most passionate about, we are limitless and can touch the stars.

    Praise for Eternally Artemisia:

    “A true Renaissance woman, Melissa Muldoon weaves her passions for art and Italy into a stirring saga that sweeps across centuries. As her time-traveling heroine Maddie reconnects with kindred souls, we meet Artemisia Gentileschi, the 17th-century artist who overcame rape and ignominy to gain respect and acclaim. Historic figures such as Galileo and Mussolini also come to life in this intricately plotted novel, but the women who defy all constraints to take control of their destinies are the ones who prove to be eternally fascinating.” — Dianne Hales

    What a lovely story! Melissa weaves the lives of 4 women across time, all with some connection to Artemisia Gentileschi, a 16th century Italy painter. They represent the feminine strength that arises from life challenges, each with their unique intelligence. Underlying their stories is the idea that love transcends all, even time, love is timeless. As with her other books, Melissa fills the story out with interesting facts and references to the Italian life, culture and it’s history, her attention to detail is immaculate . I loved all of the many connections in this story that tied it all together, very cleverly done. Wonderful read, I would highly recommend it. – Lize, Amazon Reviewer

    Melissa Muldoon does a phenomenal job blending fiction, romance, art history, and the Italian language into this gem. For fans of historical fiction, romance, and time travel, I strongly recommend this novel. –Exemplary Editing, Amazon Review

    To read reviews, please visit Melissa Muldoon’s page on Italy Book Tours

    In the pages of this book, you will learn the story of Artemisia Gentileschi, one of the first famous female artists to paint in the tradition of Caravaggio. I’ve always been fascinated and inspired by Artemisia and have wanted to tell her story. But Artemisia is just a part of the equation—the novel takes readers back to biblical days and forward in time again exploring the idea that some lives are intertwined and are destined to meet over and over again.

    You can purchase this book and all of her books

    Prizes:
    1st Prize: Win a 3-book set (Dreaming Sophia,
    Waking Isabella, and Eternally Artemisia) by Melissa Muldoon; 2nd and 3rd prizes: Win a paperback copy of Eternally Artemisia (open to USA & Canada / 3 winners total)

    Ends July 5, 2019

    Thank you to iRead Book Tours and Melissa Muldoon for providing me a free personalized and autographed copy of Eternally Artemisia in exchange for my completely honest and unbiased review.

    Eternally Artemisia is Melissa Muldoon third book.

    In the beginning we see through the narrative eyes of the painter, Atremesia.Right from the start the author grabs your interest with imagination details of trials the pious young widow from a Jewish city beheads the general of an Assyrian army sent to destroy the city.

    It then moves forward to present day, with Maddie a 40 year old art therapist who has decided to live her dream of relocating from New York City to Italy. Melissa Muldoon, weaves multiple layered time lines to create an engaging historical rich book. The authors ability to weave her descriptive voice and historical magical realism to create an intriguing novel. Wonderful character development engaging narrative and dialogue.

    Ms Muldoon, captures the strength struggles of women in multiple eras, to create a passionate and beautiful written novel. The book was a nonstop read for me and what I really enjoyed was the female bonds the author creates through extraordinary folding parallel timeframes.

    Four courageous women across multiple times controlling their own destinies.

     

    Melissa Muldoon is the author of three novels set in Italy: “Dreaming Sophia,” “Waking Isabella,” and “Eternally Artemisia.” All three books tell the stories of American women and their journeys of self-discovery to find love, uncover hidden truths, and follow their destinies to shape a better future in Italy.

    Melissa is also the author of the Studentessa Matta website, where she promotes the study of Italian language and culture through her dual-language blog written in Italian and English (studentessamatta.com). Studentessa Matta means the “crazy linguist” and has grown to include a podcast, Tutti Matti per l’Italiano and the Studentessa Matta YouTube channel, Facebook page and Instagram feed. Melissa also created Matta Italian Language Immersion Programs, which she co-leads with Italian schools in Italy to learn Italian in Italy. Through her website, she also offers the opportunities to live and study in Italy through Homestay programs. Melissa has a B.A. in fine arts, art history and European history from Knox College, a liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, as well as a master’s degree in art history from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

    She has also studied painting and art history in Florence. She is an artist, designer, and illustrated the cover art for all three of her books. Melissa is also the managing director of Matta Press. As a student, Melissa lived in Florence with an Italian family. She studied art history and painting and took beginner Italian classes. When she returned home, she threw away her Italian dictionary, assuming she’d never need it again, but after launching a successful design career and starting a family, she realized something was missing in her life. That “thing” was the connection she had made with Italy and the friends who live there. Living in Florence was indeed a life-changing event. Wanting to reconnect with Italy, she decided to start learning the language again from scratch. As if indeed possessed by an Italian muse, she bought a new Italian dictionary and began her journey to fluency—a path that has led her back to Italy many times and enriched her life in countless ways. Now, many dictionaries and grammar books later, she dedicates her time to promoting Italian language studies, further travels in Italy, and sharing her stories and insights about Italy with others. Melissa designed and illustrated the cover art for Eternally Artemisia, Waking Isabella, and Dreaming Sophia.

    She also curates the Dreaming Sophia Art History blog site and Pinterest site: The Art of Loving Italy, where you will find companion pictures for all three books. Visit MelissaMuldoon.com for more information about immersion trips to learn the language with Melissa in Italy, as well as the Studentessa Matta blog for practice and tips to learn the Italian language.

    Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram

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    Book Tour and Review The Severed Knot

    Hello Bookish Friends,

    Today I have teamed up the author, Cryssa Bazos And Historical Fiction Book Tours, to bring you

    Severed Knot
    @CryssaBazos

    #TraitorsKnot @HFVBT

    Severed Knot
    By Cryssa Bazos
    Publisher: W. M. Jackson Publishing
    Publication Date: June 16, 2019

    Barbados 1652. In the aftermath of the English Civil War, the vanquished are uprooted and scattered to the ends of the earth.

    Barbados 1652. In the aftermath of the English Civil War, the vanquished are uprooted and scattered to the ends of the earth.
    When marauding English soldiers descend on Mairead O’Coneill’s family farm, she is sold into slavery. After surviving a harrowing voyage, the young Irish woman is auctioned off to a Barbados sugar plantation where she is thrust into a hostile world of depravation and heartbreak. Though stripped of her freedom, Mairead refuses to surrender her dignity.
    Scottish prisoner of war Iain Johnstone has descended into hell. Under a blazing sun thousands of miles from home, he endures forced indentured labour in the unforgiving cane fields. As Iain plots his escape to save his men, his loyalties are tested by his yearning for Mairead and his desire to protect her.
    With their future stolen, Mairead and Iain discover passion and freedom in each other’s arms. Until one fateful night, a dramatic chain of events turns them into fugitives.
    Together they fight to survive; together they are determined to escape.

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ #5Star

    Severed Knot is Cryssa Bazos follow up to her award winning debut novel, In this emotional charged book set in 1652. We meet the two main protagonist, Iain and Mairean. Iain is a Scottish soldier captured while fighting for the Royalist cause in the Battle of Worcesterin 1651. As a consequence to his royalist loyalty he ends up being shipped out with his band of soldiers as indentured servant to the island of Barbados.

    Mairean is a young woman who is kidnapped by marauding English soldiers who descend on Mairead O’Coneill’s family farm. She finds herself on board a slavers ship bound for Barbados, there she meets Iain. They are eventually sold at auction to the same sugarcane plantation.

    I was fully immersed in this character driven drama, with well developed characters, who came to life right off the page.The Author sets this historical romance to the backdrop of the lush and hostile Barbados. In Ms Brazo’s tragic historical fiction, Mairead and Iain romance interweaves between survival and the dark cruelty of servitude within plantation life. The strength of the novel lies in the authors ability capture the human heart and soul. With both futures stolen, Iain and Mairean, find passion and freedom in each other’s arms. Both have vowed to gain there freedom and return to there homeland at all costs.

    The Authors realistic storyline catapults you into a world authentic details about sugar manufacture. Her portrayal and descriptive content draws you into the harsh reality of the horrors and violent struggles of plantation life.

    Severed Knot, is a stunning achievement of heartache, survival and death.

    Cryssa Bazos’s sets the bar in realistic historical fiction. Her ability to precisely set the character conflict with romance, for a powerful and unforgettable, riveting novel.

    The novels premise and the writing definitely intrigued me and kept me entertained. The pace was brisk and the dialogue is fluid and engaging. Her true to life candid theme of enforced labor is gut wrenching and gruesome at times.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the tension of this storyline and it had me hooked right from the very first chapter. Ms Bazos’s meticulous research pulled me in from page one and kept me fully captivated and intrigued until the very end. Knowing the caliber of her writing, I knew I would be in for an intense and gripping read, which is exactly what this was. The authors execution is impeccable and each scene is richly atmospheric.

    Severed Knot, is a stunning achievement of heartache, survival and death.

    Once again the author delivers a captivating and nonstop historical fiction, with intriguing plot twist with believable characters that keeps you vested all the way through until a satisfying end.

    I am definitely looking forward to reading more books by this author!

    Thanks to the author and to the publisher for sending me this early Arc,

    in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

    Click the icons to add to your Goodreads and you can purchase on Amazon

    Sunlight sparkled on the water. A slight breeze rippled the otherwise still water. Another splash. At first, Mairead didn’t see anything, then someone surfaced. A man, skimming across the pond, arms and legs slicing through the water. Even before he turned, she knew who it was. Johnstone.

    Mairead knew she should back away and leave before he caught her watching—he’d be insufferable otherwise. That, or bark her head off as any self-respecting ogre. And yet something pinned her to the spot.

    He dove into the water, his body curving with a flash of his naked buttocks.

    Mairead’s eyes widened, and she edged closer. When he split the surface of the lake, he caused a spray of water drops to splatter. He stood facing her direction, eyes closed. Raising his hands to his head, he slicked back his dark blond hair.

    Mairead didn’t dare move. She watched how the muscles in his arms flexed. Her eyes travelled across his broad chest with its light mat of hair. A trail of darkish hair ran down from chest to stomach until it disappeared below the pond’s surface. Mairead craned her head to peer into the pond, but the water was murky and brownish-green.

    Johnstone dove under again. Mairead sat back on her heels and nibbled her fingertip, considering her options. She really should leave. A smile played at the corner of her mouth as she made herself more comfortable.

    Johnstone surfaced and began to paddle lazily in the water. His head was tipped backwards, his face presented to the sun. His skin had become tanned and gleamed against the lapping water.

    Mairead watched, captivated. He seemed at one with the water. She didn’t know too many who could swim, and none so well. Her own brothers had enjoyed a quick barrelling leap into the river back home, splashing like mad puppies and thrashing in the water. They had taught her to float, but swimming across the water as this Scotsman was now doing, with strong, purposeful strokes, was an art, and one she admired greatly. So she told herself.

    After a few moments, prudence whispered that she had stayed long enough. Mairead rose from her crouch, careful not to rustle a leaf, but just as she moved Johnstone finished his swim and headed back to the bank. Mairead dropped to the ground again so he wouldn’t notice her.

    Johnstone slowly waded out of the water, all glorious and dripping. Mairead’s breath locked in her throat. She took in that expanse of chest, the tapered waist then . . . Blessed Mother of Jesus.

    She made a slight choking sound, and Johnstone stopped to look around.

    “Who’s there?” he called out in her direction.

    Mairead’s face flooded. He would never let her live this down. She had to get away from here without him seeing her.

    No time for discretion.

    Mairead darted for the trail. She risked a glance over her shoulder to catch a glimpse of Johnstone yanking on his breeches. And that was her downfall. Literally. A root hooked her foot, and she crashed to the ground with a cry. Then she heard him thrashing through the brush behind her. Mairead scrambled to her feet and managed to take a few more strides before he caught up with her, grabbing a fistful of her petticoat in his hand.

    Mairead twisted around and found herself face-to-face with Iain Locharbaidh Johnstone. It was one thing to gawk at the man from a distance but to be this close to his still-wet chest squeezed the breath from her lungs. She averted her eyes, not sure where she could safely look, and her gaze landed on his unlaced breeches. More wet skin. Heat flooded her cheeks.

    “Oh!”

    Johnstone released her and swore under his breath while he laced up his breeches. “What were you doing, woman?”

    “Nothing! I . . . I came down for a wash.”

    “Do you always hide in the shrubs when taking a wash?” His eyes narrowed, causing her to squirm. “Here’s a tip, lass, the water works far better. Not sure what they do in Ireland, but that’s how it’s done in Scotland.”

    “I was not hiding in the shrubs.” Mairead hid her crossed fingers in the folds of her petticoat and searched lamely for an adequate rebuttal. “I had only reached the shrubs when you starting crashing around like a mad man. And don’t you dare disparage my homeland with your poor attempt of humour.”

    “How long were you watching me?”

    Mairead felt her face blaze. “I was not watching you, to be sure. Have you not heard a thing I’ve said?”

    He folded his arms across his chest and quirked his brow. “Building a nest in the shrubs, then, like a wee mouse?”

    “Stop calling me a mouse,” Mairead said, now with true outrage. Small and insignificant—was she always to be thought this way? No one ever compared Ciara to a mouse. Not even Bronagh—a shrew, perhaps, but never a mouse.

    The corners of his mouth lifted slightly. “Aye, you were watching.”

    She knew it—she knew he’d be insufferable! “I didn’t know who was in the pond and the moment . . . the moment I discovered who it was . . . For certain, it could have been anyone . . . even . . . even Masterton the Younger.”

    Johnstone quirked a brow, amusement playing across his features. Mairead’s gaze latched on to his deepening smile, and she only now noticed the firmness of his jaw and how the droplets of water clung to his blond whiskers.

    Mairead tore her eyes away and forced herself to meet his eyes. “What? What do you find so amusing?”

    “Not sure where to start.” Was that laughter in his voice?

    Mairead’s inner voice sat her down and delivered a stern lecture. Concede the field, Mairead. Retreat now. No shame in admitting defeat. And yet she dashed the voice of reason and found herself saying, “Make an effort. Explain it to me.”

    “You thought you were ogling Masterton?”

    Mairead’s jaw dropped. “I never said—”

    Johnstone’s teeth flashed in a smile. “He’ll be flattered, lass, but

    I’d steer clear of his wife, were I you. She’ll not think twice to chase you off the croft with a broom.”

    “I never said I was ogling him!”

    “Oh aye? But you were ogling someone?”

    Mairead sucked in her breath. “You. Are. An. Impossible. Man!”

    She finally did what her good sense had urged her to do earlier. She whirled around and fled the field.

    Connect with Cryssa through her Website (cryssabazos.com), Facebook, Twitter (@CryssaBazos) and Instagram

    Cryssa Bazos is an award-winning historical fiction author and 17th-century enthusiast with a particular interest in the English Civil War. Her debut novel, Traitor’s Knot, is the Medallist winner of the 2017 New Apple Award (historical fiction), a finalist for the 2018 EPIC eBook Awards (historical romance) and the RNA Joan Hessayon Award. Her second novel, Severed Knot, was longlisted for the Historical Novel Society 2018 New Novel Award.

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