If you loved I Am Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon you won’t want to miss this novel about her sister, Grand Duchess Maria. What really happened to this lost Romanov daughter? A new novel perfect for anyone curious about Anastasia, Maria, and the other lost Romanov daughters, by the author of The Secret Wife.
The Lost Daughter
A family tragedy. A fight for love. A long-buried secret.
1918 With the country they once ruled turned against them, the future of Russia’s imperial family hangs in the balance. When middle daughter Maria Romanova captivates two of the guards, it will lead to a fateful choice between right and wrong. Fifty-five years later . . . Val rushes to her father’s bedside when she hears of his troubling end-of-life confession: ‘I didn’t want to kill her.’ As she unravels the secrets behind her mother’s disappearance when she was twelve years old, she finds herself caught up in one of the world’s greatest mysteries.
This was his moment; his place in the history books beckoned.
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 Lost Daughter, begins in Ekaterinburg in 1918, just at the time the Romanov family are imprisoned at what was to be their final destination, in the Impatiev House. The fate of the Romanovs is recorded in history however Gill Paul presents a creative thought provoking alternative version.
In the 1970’s, Val is living in Australia. She is called to her father’s nursing home after the staff report that in his state of dementia he keeps repeating a phrase ..” I didn’t want to kill her” Val has no idea what he means.
Ms Paul link between Val and events of the past are slowly revealed but not at all in the way that you will expect. So, she begins a search for the truth about his words and her past. The clues she discovers are baffling a jewel-encrusted box that won’t open and a camera with its film intact. What she finds out pulls Val into one of the world’s greatest mysteries what truly happened to the Grand Duchess Maria?
Atmospheric, riveting and intensely entertaininghistoricalfiction
About Gill Paul
Photo from authors website
Gill Paul is an author of historical fiction, specialising in relatively recent history. She has written two novels about the last Russian royal family: The Secret Wife, published in 2016, which tells the story of cavalry officer Dmitri Malama and Grand Duchess Tatiana, the second daughter of Russia’s last tsar; and The Lost Daughter, published in October 2018, that tells of the attachment Grand Duchess Maria formed with a guard in the house in Ekaterinburg where the family was held from April to July 1918.
Gill’s other novels include Another Woman’s Husband, about links you may not have been aware of between Wallis Simpson, later Duchess of Windsor, and Diana, Princess of Wales; Women and Children First, about a young steward who works on the Titanic; The Affair, set in Rome in 1961–62 as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton fall in love while making Cleopatra; and No Place for a Lady, about two Victorian sisters who travel out to the Crimean War of 1854–56 and face challenges beyond anything they could have imagined.
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.
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.
TodayI Am Sharing My Review Of The Winemaker’s Wife
THE WINEMAKER’S WIFE
The Winemaker’s Wife
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Gallery Books (August 13, 2019)
Champagne, 1940: Inès has just married Michel, the owner of storied champagne house Maison Chauveau, when the Germans invade. As the danger mounts, Michel turns his back on his marriage to begin hiding munitions for the Résistance. Inès fears they’ll be exposed, but for Céline, half-Jewish wife of Chauveau’schef de cave, the risk is even greater—rumors abound of Jews being shipped east to an unspeakable fate.
When Céline recklessly follows her heart in one desperate bid for happiness, and Inès makes a dangerous mistake with a Nazi collaborator, they risk the lives of those they love—and the champagne house that ties them together.
New York, 2019: Liv Kent has just lost everything when her eccentric French grandmother shows up unannounced, insisting on a trip to France. But the older woman has an ulterior motive—and a tragic, decades-old story to share. When past and present finally collide, Liv finds herself on a road to salvation that leads right to the caves of the Maison Chauveau.
Instant #1 bestsellerfrom The Globe and Mail(Toronto) andThe Toronto Star
“Love and betrayal, forgiveness and redemption combine in a heady tale of the ever-present past…fantastic!” —Pam Jenoff,New York Timesbestselling author ofThe Lost Girls of Paris
The author of the “engrossing” (People) international bestsellerThe Room on Rue Améliereturns with a moving story set amid the champagne vineyards of northern France during the darkest days of World War II, perfect for fans of Kristin Hannah’sThe Nightingale.
This book was received from the Author, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own
“Mark Twain, the great American writer was spot on when he claimed: “too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right”.
The Winemaker’s Wife
Champagne, 1940, at the cusp of the Second World War, Inès is the young wife of Michel, owner of the Maison Chauveau, a picturesque champagne house nestled among rolling vineyards near Reims, France. It should be an idyllic life, but Inès–who’s often treated like a child by her husband, his chef de cave, Theo, and Theo’s wife, Céline– is increasingly unhappy.
She’s determined to make a change, but then the German’s arrive.
Kristin Harmel narration is told through dual timelines from Liv’s life in the present and then between Inès and Céline during the war in the late 1930s-1940s. The contemporary chapters propel the story along, but past is a turbulent secretive echo of historical fiction.
Devastated, and heartbroken Olivia, has just recently been divorced is relived to have an excuse to go to France with Edith, her wealthy 97 year old grandmother.
While there Olivia grandmother Edith, slowly tells her incredible story of her and her friends the life she led during the German occupation of the village where she lived with her husband.
This is a dramatic and intricate storyline infused with World War II elements of tragedy, betrayal, and brutality, tempered with love, devotion and heroism. The author masterly allows the reader to unravel the threads of this literary tapestry.
Brilliant progression as the storyline gives you an incredible look at the French resistance during the German occupation amid the champagne vineyards of northern France. The author has created a compelling character driven, emotional resonate novel.
What really stood out for me and what I really loved about this story was the compelling and emotional layered duel timelines and how they connected the story and the family. We see the historical side to the story and then a modern side to it. Each are strong, interesting stories with their conflicts and heartache that shaped the people.
A deeply thoughtful historical fiction novel, based on details of real-life Resistance activities that occurred in France during World War II.
One of our favorite indulgences is lying on the couch with a good book and a bag of our favorite potato chips. Can’t get better than that, right? WRONG! Kristin Harmel, the author ofTHE WINEMAKER’S WIFE, has just made that experience better by telling us that we shouldn’t be drinking water or soda with those chips—we should be drinking champagne!
THE WINEMAKER’S WIFE, a historical novel set in the Champagne region of WW2 France, so she’s done alotof research on champagne and is here to tell us that you don’t have to save that bubbly for a special occasion—it’s a great wine to sip with many foods, plenty of them not fancy at all.
So pour yourself a cold glass of your favorite champagne, open that bag of chips, and discover the other surprising foods you could be eating alongside your bubbly! Watch Kristin share her suggestions in the video above, or keep reading for a transcript of her picks:
#1: Potato chips
The sharpness of champagne, its acidity, cuts perfectly through the salt.
Which means that it also goes pretty perfectly with…
#2: French fries
#3: Spicy foods
The bubbles can balance out heat, so if you’re diving into something spicy, like a great spicy pad thai, pop open a bottle.
#4: Raw fish
Raw fish, especially sushi, is also an excellent pairing.
#5: Salty, buttery popcorn
Not only do the bubbles work perfectly with the butter, but the yeasty notes in champagne from Champagne, France, complement the toastiness of the popcorn.
#5: Fried chicken
Remember that acidity we mentioned? It also cuts perfectly through the grease in fried foods. So the next time you bring home a bucket of fried chicken, believe it or not, pop a bottle of champagne.
If you enjoyed her recommendations, be sure to check
out Kristin Harmel’s novel set in Champagne, France: THE WINEMAKER’S WIFE.
The Winemaker’s Wifeone
The road snaked over the lush vineyards of Champagne as Inès Chauveau sped southwest out of Reims, clouds of dust ballooning in the wake of her glossy black Citroën, wind whipping ferociously through her chestnut hair. It was May, and already the vines were awakening, their buds like tiny fists reaching for the sun. In weeks they would flower, and by September, their grapes—pale green Chardonnay, inky Pinot Meunier, blueberry-hued Pinot Noir—would be plump and bursting for the harvest.But would Inès still be here? Would any of them? A shiver ran through her as she braked to hug a curve, the engine growling in protest as she turned down the road that led home. Michel would tell her she was driving too quickly, too recklessly. But then, he was cautious about everything.In June, it would be a year since they’d married, and she couldn’t remember a day during that time that he hadn’t gentlychided her about something. I’m simply looking out for you, Inès, he always said. That’s what a husband is supposed to do. Lately, nearly all his warnings had been about the Germans, who’d been lurking just on the other side of the impenetrable Maginot Line, the fortified border that protected France from the chaos besetting the rest of Europe. Those of us who were here for the Great War know to take them seriously, he said at least once a day, as if he hadn’t been just four years old when the final battle was waged.Of course Inès, younger than Michel by six years, hadn’t yet been born when the Germans finally withdrew from the Marne in 1918, after nearly obliterating the central city of Reims. But her father had told enough tales about the war—usually while drunk on brandy and pounding his fist against the table—that she knew to be wary.You can never trust the Huns! She could hear her father’s deep, gravelly voice in her ear now, though he’d been dead for years. They might play the role of France’s friend, but only fools would believe such a thing.Well, Inès was no fool. And this time, for once, she would bring the news that changed everything. She felt a small surge of triumph, but as she raced into Ville-Dommange, the silent, somber, seven-hundred-year-old Saint-Lié chapel that loomed over the small town seemed to taunt her for her pettiness. This wasn’t about who was wrong and who was right. This was about war. Death. The blood of young men already soaking the ground in the forests to the northeast. All the things her husband had predicted.She drove through the gates, braked hard in front of the grand two-story stone château, and leapt out, racing for the door that led down to the vast network of underground cellars.“Michel!” she called as she descended two stone steps at a time, the cool, damp air like a bucket of water to the face. “Michel!”Her voice echoed through the tangled maze of passageways, carved out of the earth three quarters of a century earlier by her husband’s eccentric great-grandfather. Thousands of champagne bottles rested on their sides there, a small fortune of bubbles waiting for their next act.“Inès?” Michel’s concerned voice wafted from somewhere deep within the cellars, and then she could hear footsteps coming closer until he rounded the corner ahead of her, followed by Theo Laurent, the Maison Chauveau’s chef de cave, the head winemaker. “My dear, what is it?” Michel asked as he rushed to her, putting his hands on her shoulders and studying her face. “Are you quite all right, Inès?”“No.” She hadn’t realized until then how breathless she was from the news and the drive and the rapid descent into the chill of the cellars. “No, Michel, I’m not all right at all.”“What’s happened?” Michel asked while Theo regarded her silently, his expression as impassive as always.“It has begun,” Inès managed to say. “The invasion, Michel. The Germans are coming!”A heavy silence hung in the damp air. How long would it be before the quiet of the cellars was punctured by the thud of goose-stepping boots overhead? Before everything they’d built was threatened, perhaps destroyed?“Well then,” Michel said at last. “I suppose it is time we finish hiding the champagne.”
Mark Twain, the great American writer was spot on when he claimed: “too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right”.
Ever since it was “discovered” in France in the 17thcentury, just about everyone has fallen under the spell of the effervescent wine. It can only be made in Champagne, north east France to have the status of Champagne the drink. There are more than 100 Champagne houses and 19000 grape growers, of these only around 2000 make and sell Champagne. There are an astonishing 50,000 different Champagne labels, so, if you thought Champagne was Champagne – think again. Tastes and prices vary widely. Part of the fun of being a Champagne drinker is working out which one you like best.
Raise a glass to Ruinart
Ruinart (pronounced Reenart) was founded in 1729, and it was the first established Champagne house and is therefore the oldest in France. In fact the company started on 1 September 1729. We know this because Nicolas Ruinart, the 32 year old founder, wrote in his ledger book that day that he was starting a business devoted to “wine with bubbles”. The ledger book takes pride of place in the entrance to the house.
History of Ruinart
Nicolas Ruinart’s uncle was a monk, Dom Thierry Ruinart, born in Champagne but sent to an Abbey in Paris. Whilst there he learned of a new “wine with bubbles” that the young nobles enjoyed. At that stage it wasn’t known as Champagne. It’s entirely possible that Dom Ruinart knew Dom Perignon the “inventor” of Champagne. They lived at the same time, shared the same interests and in fact both are buried in nearby Hautvilliers.
Dom Thierry told his brother about the new-fangled sparkling wine whose son, Nicolas, picked up the idea and ran with it, 20 years after his uncle died in 1709. The Ruinarts were textile merchants at that time and Nicolas owned some vineyards. He started out making Champagne for clients as gifts. But, the sparkling wine was a runaway success. Just 6 years after producing the first bottle, he gave up the textile business and concentrated on the Champagne.
Kristin Harmel is the international bestselling author of THE ROOM ON RUE AMELIE, THE SWEETNESS OF FORGETTING, THE LIFE INTENDED, WHEN WE MEET AGAIN, and several other novels. Her latest, THE WINEMAKER’S WIFE, is coming in August 2019 from Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster. A former reporter for PEOPLE magazine, Kristin has also freelanced for many other publications, including American Baby, Men’s Health, Glamour, Woman’s Day, Travel + Leisure, and more. Kristin grew up in Peabody, Mass.; Worthington, Ohio; and St. Petersburg, Fla., and she graduated with a degree in journalism (with a minor in Spanish) from the University of Florida. After spending time living in Paris, she now lives in Orlando, Fla., with her husband and young son.
How the Light Gets In Katy Upperman
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: August 6th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Katy Upperman’s How the Light Gets In is a haunting YA novel about a teen coping with the loss of her sibling.
Since her sister’s tragic death, seventeen-year-old Callie Ryan has basically given up. Her grades have plummeted, she’s quit her swim team, and she barely recognizes the people her parents once were.
When she returns to her aunt’s run-down coastal Victorian one year after Chloe’s death, Callie resigns herself to a summer of guilt and home renovations. She doesn’t expect to be charmed by the tiny coastal town or by Tucker Morgan, a local boy brimming with sunshine.
But even as her days begin to brighten, Callie’s nights are crowded with chilling dreams, unanswered questions, and eerie phenomenon that have her convinced she’s being haunted. Will Callie be able to figure out what her sister is trying to communicate before it’s too late?
This book was received as an ARC from the publisher and Author, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own
How the Light Gets In is a ya romance, with just enough plot twist to make a perfect Summertime read.
Struggling with the tragic death of her younger sister, Callie Ryan has pushed aside everything and everyone that ever meant something to her. She ends up returning to her aunt’s home, one year later.
Callie reluctantly begins helping her aunt restore her old Victorian into a working bed and breakfast, in a small coastal town. A local boy Tucker Morgan proves to be an even bigger distraction, sneaking between the cracks of the walls that Callie has built around the walls herself.
The author kept me interested all the way to the end. The characters were all endearing with creative twist that this an engaging storyline.
When mysterious occurrences have Callie on the edge, believing it is her sister trying to communicate with her. She starts To here strange noises, and having sensations of being watched. In this haunting contemporary novel, Callie must find the answers to some mysterious clues before returning home.
Katy Upperman is a wife, mama, author, reader, baker, and wanderer. She writes novels for teens and teens at heart. She’s a Washington State University alum (go Cougs!), a country music fanatic, and a makeup stockpiler. She loves the ocean, pedicures, sunshine, Instagram, Dirty Dancing and The Princess Bride, Jelly Bellies, true crime documentaries, and Friday Night Lights.
Publisher : Parliment House Press
Publication date: July 16th 2019
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Trigger warnings :The book does contain graphic sex, a-rape, ritual killing and very dark imagery. If this would bother you, I don’t recommend it.
Smart-mouthed Nicole Fontane has a way of getting herself into trouble. She’s been fired from every job she’s had but still refuses to work in her father’s apothecary shop because of his practice of Earth Magick. On Tulare Island where Nicole grew up, Magick has always been a way of life—one she’s determined to avoid at all costs.
With less than two hundred dollars in the bank and rent due, Nicole is forced to take a job at Tribec Insurance as a last resort. Little does she realize, the moment she sets foot inside the building, she becomes a pawn. A sinister force has set its sights on her and will stop at nothing to use her in a sadistic game.
Tribec’s proprietors, the Stewart family, are curiously preoccupied with the Naqada, the mysterious pre-dynastic Egyptian society. Nicole finds it creepy, but on the bright side, the job reconnects her with her estranged friend, Marta. Yet the eerie atmosphere, disappearing Magick wards, and the smell of blood inside Tribec bring Nicole to a startling conclusion—the Stewarts are practicing Blood Magick, the deadliest of the Five Principles. By the time Nicole uncovers the truth, Marta and her four children have gone missing, and all signs implicate the Stewarts and an archaic blood ritual to an Old One, a Naqada god imprisoned on Tulare Island.
Battling the evil of Blood Magick will demand Nicole to confront a hidden past and unlock the Magick buried within. But can she set aside her deep-rooted fears to work with a team of vigilante Mages? Or will the clock run out on Marta and her children—and on Nicole?
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the first book in The Blood and Sacrifice Chronicles
by C. Vonzale Lewis.
I received a copy of this book via The Parliament House and the Author, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! In no way does this affect my rating or review.
With less than two hundred dollars in the bank and rent due, and not wanting to move back home. Nicole is forced to take a job at Tribec Insurance as a last resort. Upon arrival for her interview Her natural intuition tells her that there is something more sinister at play.
The book is faced paced from the start. The storyline is intriguing and a great tension build, that took on some very dark enjoyable undertones.
The book is so creative, with engaging inventive Egyptian folklore, with magical realism, along with an eerie gripping plot line. A strong well developed Maine protagonist . This twisty plot and steamy storyline is spot on, I devoured this book. The sub-characters are well noted and defined.
To beat the clock, Nicole needs to uncover the truth with a team of vigilante Mages, and unlock the magick buried deep within her.
This book Is an edge of your seat page-turner. A wild ride of a mystery with a thrilling ending that was amazing and sets up for the next installment.
What really stood out for me was the author ability to create exceptional world building and well developed magical system that felt realistic.
I really enjoyed the books cover with the scarab and the Eye of Horus, It really grabbed my attention and I thought it was Intriguing, and an excellent and fitting representation of the books content.
Looking for bright, responsible, career-oriented, self-motivated individuals who have excellent people skills and are able to take high volumes of calls while maintaining a positive attitude. Ability to work with others is a must.
I glanced down at the advertisement in my hand. I had none of those qualifications according to my last employer—and pretty much all my other previous ones as well. I was, however, a “foul-mouthed, bad-tempered, under-performing”—still didn’t understand that one—“sarcastic, waste of space.” Although, to be fair, only one of the previous employers actually called me a waste of space, and that was because I had stopped sleeping with him.
This unfortunate lack of options was the reason I stood in the parking lot of Tribec Insurance, smoking the last of my apple-flavored cigars—a habit I learned from my father—wearing a cream-colored dress suit and a pair of matching pumps. I couldn’t afford either of them, and I really hated pumps. But I needed the job, so I dressed the part of the career-oriented, self-motivated candidate the ad was searching for.
Most of the jobs in the area required a college degree, or at least several years of experience. I had no college degree, and the longest I’d ever been employed at one job was six months. Thankfully, Tribec Insurance was always hiring and had no such requirements—a rarity in the uptight community of Alice where Tribec was located.
Through a ring of cigar smoke, I took in the phallic structure that was Tribec Insurance. My eyes landed on the small, stone, pyramid-like shape at the top of the building. It reminded me of an Egyptian Obelisk—a symbol to the god Ra. The Egyptian word for it, “Tejen,” meant “protection” or “defense.”
Why would the occupants of Tribec Insurance erect a symbol of protection or defense on top of the building?
A slight breeze blew over my bare arms, carrying the salty scent of the ocean and stirring the beads of sweat that had formed on them. My new blouse had molded to my back, and my feet had started to sweat. I was generally used to Tulare Island’s oppressive heat, but the anxious jitters in my stomach had caused my skin to flush.
I tried to dispel the nervousness in my stomach. Despite the obvious, I didn’t want to show that I was desperate. My best friend Kara spent most of last night trying to prep me for the interview. She advised me to not ask annoying questions, make sarcastic comments, or let my disgruntled attitude show.
Essentially, she advised me to not be myself. There was a message in there somewhere, but I was choosing to ignore it.
Out of our original group in high school, Kara was the only one who was still in my life. The only one who actually gave a damn about me. Marta and I hadn’t spoken in years, and as for Steve… Well, it was a long time ago.
I glanced at my watch. Damn. I guess I had procrastinated long enough. I put out my cigar, grabbed my blazer from the front seat of my car, shoved the advertisement back in my overly large purse, and headed for the building. As I walked, I attempted to wrap my head around the fact that I was essentially asking Tribec Insurance to let me spend my days chained to a desk, listening to complaints from strangers.
Maybe I should look into prostitution. At least I’d enjoy the job.
Kara also told me to smile a lot, so I pasted one on, pulled open the glass door, and stepped inside. Only to stop dead in my tracks at the entrance.
The walls—painted a burnt gold color that reminded me of the sunset—were lined with Egyptian art. Four glass displays, filled with half-head replicas of deities and artifacts, sat in each corner of the room. Green foliage hung from black ceramic pots near the entrance and the elevator. Something was off about the elevator. It wasn’t stainless-steel. No, more like marble. Black marble with gold striations that, at first glance, appeared to be moving. Odd.
And everything, including the guard station—which sat sunken into the foundation in the middle of the floor—was set up in a spherical configuration. Directly behind the guard station was a set of mahogany double doors, with gold Egyptian hieroglyphs carved around the frame. They were also etched around the guard station.
Most people on Tulare Island either practiced one of the four principles of magick or knew someone who did. There was, however, a small group of people who, despite the evidence, still refused to believe in magick. They usually carried picket signs outside of herbal and occult shops, telling people they were going to burn in hell, not realizing they were actually practicing faith magick every time they went to church.
Judging from the set-up of the room, and even the obelisk on the top of the building outside, I could hazard a guess—more like an assumption—that the occupants of Tribec Insurance practiced magick.
Despite my assumption, I couldn’t figure out which of the four principles—earth, elemental, mind, or faith—the people at Tribec used. There was, however, a fifth principle—blood—that to my knowledge, no one practiced anymore. And sadly, I didn’t know enough about it to recognize any symbols associated with its practice. Yet, symbols from the other four were etched all over the walls. Odd. Especially since people only had the ability to practice one. Not all four.
If it was a job requirement for me to use magick, I was running the hell out of here. I would live in a cardboard box before I got involved with magick. And if I didn’t get a job soon, that was exactly where I’d be living. Especially since I refused to move back in with my parents. I had to grow the hell up sometime.
I moved farther into the lobby; the scent of desert sand wafted around me. It had that baked-on smell that emanated off the ground when the sun was at its peak. It was unusual, but the décor could explain the smell. Especially if they added sand to some of the displays for authenticity. The odor that was definitely out of place was the one directly underneath it.
Blood. It was faint. I could almost chalk it up to imagination. Almost. If it wasn’t so overpowering.
I moved forward cautiously, my heels clicking on the white-tiled floor, as I tried to pinpoint where the scent was coming from. But the farther away from the door I got, the less I smelled it. I turned and started back toward where I’d first detected the smell. A chair creaked, stopping me in my tracks. The space between my shoulder blades started to itch. I turned.
The guard behind the desk was watching me.
I stood there, debating whether or not I should just leave. Yes, I was desperate, but the smell of blood? Was I imagining it? I pulled in a deep breath, trying to find the scent again. Nothing.
Get it together, Nicole.
After a short pause, I shook myself mentally, and continued toward the guard station with the guard’s black eyes boring into me. Sizing me up.
“Can I help you, miss?” He rose to his feet and crossed his arms across his chest.
I placed him in his late twenties. He had a solid frame, close-cropped black hair, deep set black eyes, and no facial hair. The dark brown suit he wore looked as if it had been poured onto him. Had to be ex-military.
The gold tag on his shirt read “Oliver Strong.” It suited him.
“Yes, my name is Nicole Fontane, and I’m here for an interview with…” I set my purse on the counter, ignoring his pointed glare, and pulled out my tattered notebook. “…a Francine Delaporte at eleven.”
“Have a seat. I will call someone down to escort you.” He inclined his head in the direction of the red leather couch on the right.
“Okay, thanks,” I said as I mentally extended my middle finger. Everything about him rubbed me the wrong damn way.
I sat and placed my purse beside me on the couch—the damn thing weighed a ton—and picked up one of the brochures for Tribec Insurance. While I sat there leafing through it, another security guard walked up and blocked my view of the sun. Well, he would have if there had been one inside the building. This burly bastard had tree trunks for arms and a head that resembled a boulder. Did they chisel him from a mountain?
“Ms. Fontane?” the guard grumbled. It sounded as if his voice came from a gut full of rocks.
I stood, which put me at eye level to his massive chest and the name tag pinned to his shirt that read “Duncan Glass.”
Maybe when they hired their guards, they assigned them names as well.
“Yes.” I tried to push myself up a few inches more. I was already wearing three-inch heels, bringing my total height to five nine, yet this massive behemoth still towered over me.
“Follow me.” He spun around abruptly and led the way to the elevator.
I was tempted to salute him, or give him the finger—the damn bossy bastard.
Calm down, Nicole. You need this job.
Duncan pulled a card from his pocket and inserted it into a slot located on the right side. I guess that answered my question about the oddity of the elevator. Besides the strange composition, they didn’t have a call button. They sure did have a high level of security for an insurance company. Maybe they denied more claims than they approved. Greedy bastards.
When the doors slid open, Duncan extended his arm out. “Ms. Fontane.”
I stepped inside.
Once the doors were closed, he inserted his card into another slot, and a display lit up with a list of floors.
The number thirteen was among them.
I had once read somewhere that all older buildings either omitted the thirteenth floor or renamed it. It all stemmed from a superstition that the thirteenth floor was unlucky. I wasn’t superstitious, but I did find it interesting they chose to include it.
“They have a thirteenth floor,” I said.
“It comes after twelve.”
While I was no stranger to snide comments I really didn’t like others using them on me. Bastard.
A few moments later, the elevator doors opened and, thankfully, deposited us on the seventeenth floor. I followed Duncan to a set of offices in the center of the floor. He stopped at the first door in a row of three that faced the elevators. The silver name plate affixed to it read: Francine Delaporte. After he rapped on it three times, he planted his feet a few inches apart and placed his hands behind his back.
Maybe Duncan thought he was still in the military.
I took in the room while I waited. Cameras inside small black orbs dotted the ceiling. A hazy gray tint covered the windows, allowing minimal light to filter into the room. Industrial gray walls sported a few framed “inspirational” quotes that referred to “teamwork” and “having a positive attitude.” They even had the stupid “Hang in There” poster with a cat hanging off a wire.
Even the partitions that divided the employees’ desks were gray. The only break up in the ashen color were the fake wood desks.
It reminded me of a mental asylum.
The majority of the people in the office were women, with a few men thrown in here and there. Did they believe women were more suited to talking on the phone? Either way, everyone in the room was pasty, their eyes sunken in, wearing expressions that suggested they had given up on life. I wouldn’t have been surprised if they were all former tenants of the asylum, dressed up in over-sized clothes and forced into the role of “employee.”
The fact that no one looked up when Duncan and I got off the elevator supported my theory. They just sat there in their little black chairs, talking into their headsets, all repeating what sounded like the same practiced spiel in monotonous tones, a few minutes behind one another. Like a rolling set of waves crashing against the most boring shore imaginable.
I turned back to Duncan. He still stood at ease in front of Francine Delaporte’s door. What the hell was taking this woman so long? My feet were killing me. Like an idiot, instead of breaking the shoes in after Kara left last night, I had curled up on the couch with a bottle of Samuel Adams, contemplating my limited options. My little pity party of one ended at midnight when I realized my only option was one I wasn’t willing to entertain.
As I switched my purse from my right shoulder to my left, I caught sight of a faint circular line drawn around the cubicles. I stared at the ground, unsure if I was seeing things, or if there really was a line drawn on the floor. I straightened and moved to the left, trying to follow it. As I stood there transfixed, someone brushed their frigid hand across my exposed neck.
Coldness raced down my spine, and the scent of sand filled my nostrils.
I whipped around.
Duncan was gone.
In his place stood a woman wearing a red paint suit. Given that she was at least five feet away from me with her hands down at her sides… Who the hell had touched my neck?
Francine extended her hand and smiled. “Hello. Ms. Fontane?”
I stepped forward, my legs suddenly weak, and took her hand. “Hi.” I cleared my throat. “Yes, I’m Nicole Fontane.”
“I’m Francine Delaporte. Let’s get started.” She let go of my hand and walked into her office.
I rubbed the back of my neck, trying to warm the sudden chill that had settled there. I glanced around the room. The employees remained at their desks, staring rapt at their computer screens.
A cool breeze circled the room, pulling my gaze toward the ceiling. An air vent sat directly above me.
Before I entered Francine’s office, I glanced down at the floor. The markings were gone. Maybe I had imagined them. And maybe the air-conditioning explained the feeling of someone brushing their fingers across my neck.
Yes—for sanity’s sake, I was going to go with that.
Today Is My Stop On The When Summer Ends Book Tour
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Tor Teen (April 9, 2019)
Praise for WHEN SUMMER ENDS
“Bringing the small-town Michigan setting evocatively to the forefront, Pennington’s sophomore novel captures the pleasures of new love.” ―Kirkus Reviews
Praise for LOVE SONGS & OTHER LIES
“A captivating read and a great pick for fans of Morgan Matson and Emery Lord!” ―RT Book Reviews
“Filled with lyrics, love, and late nights, Pennington’s debut novel will appeal to romance fans of Sarah Dessen and Susane Colasanti.” ―School Library Journal
“Pennington’s debut is a light road-tripping romance about redemption and the love of music.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Reading Cam & Vee’s past and present romance reminds me of This is Us! This is going on my keeper shelf.” ―Simone Elkeles, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author
Love Songs & Other Lies is a music-infused romance about a pair of perfectly imperfect teenagers who will have readers rooting for their happily ever after.” ―Katy Upperman, author of Kissing Max Holden
“Boys in bands, second chance romance, and pitch-perfect chemistry. Love Songs & Other Lies hits all the right notes!” ―Gina Ciocca, author of Last Year’s Mistake
“Fun and full of heart, with a hero who stole my heart!” ―Katie McGarry, author of Pushing the Limits
Aiden Emerson is an all-star pitcher and the all-around golden boy of Riverton. Or at least he was, before he quit the team the last day of junior year without any explanation. How could he tell people he’s losing his vision at seventeen?
Straight-laced Olivia thought she had life all figured out. But when her dream internship falls apart, her estranged mother comes back into her life, and her long-time boyfriend ghosts her right before summer break, she’s starting to think fate has a weird sense of humor.
Each struggling to find a new direction, Aiden and Olivia decide to live summer by chance. Every fleeting adventure and stolen kiss is as fragile as a coin flip in this heartfelt journey to love and self-discovery from the author of Love Songs & Other Lies.
You can purchaseWhen Summer Ends at the following Retailers:
This book was received as an ARC from the publisher and Author, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own
➽TW: Abandonment, neglect, and underage drinking.
Three months Two changed fates One chance to fall in love
“Why did we have to meet the summer before I move away?”
When Summer Ends by Jessica Pennington is the perfect YA contemporary to Finish off your Summer Reading. The Michigan beach town setting is the perfect backdrop for this sweet coming of age story. The authors ability to create a book that is Ya swoon worthy and strong family and friendships themed book makes this book a perfect read.
Jessica Pennington seems to have ability for for writing stories that feature settings that are perfect for a very sweet light summer romance. Both of the characters work at a popular tourist spot in Michigan, and I really enjoyable to read about their boating and camping adventures. It definitely sets the stage for some sweet romance.
The duel perspectives added an extra element to the story that I really enjoyed
This coming of age story is told from the perspectives of Olivia and her boyfriend, Aiden. Olivia is a perfectly flawed character and it is quite relatable reading about her struggles. She has to make some tough choices as well as come to grips that some things in life are not within our control. I really loved how Olivia’s character developed in the plot as the book progresses.
I really enjoyed this faced paced heartwarming modern family themed storyline. The storyline is creative with unconventional family themes, which makes the book more relatable.
Fans of the YA contemporary genre will love this new novel from Jessica Pennington. When Summer Ends has the perfect setting for a summer romance, full of family, friendship, and love, and with big changes that lead into new beginnings
Definitely one book to read before this summer ends..
Photo Credit: Sheena Pearce
Jessica Pennington is no stranger to the combination of love and drama. She’s a wedding planner, after all. A writer since the age of ten—when she sought publication for her poem about a tree—Jessica likes the challenge of finding the humor in a sad situation or highlighting the awkwardness in a romantic one. She lives in a Michigan beach town suspiciously similar to the one in her novel, with her husband Josh and their son, Rory. Love Songs & Other Lies is her debut novel.
Happy Tuesday to you! I hope your week will be is overflowing with great reads.
I am delighted to welcome a wonderful author to the blog today,
Sign of the White Foal
by Chris Thorndycroft
Publication Date: July 1, 2019
eBook & Paperback; 327 Pages
Series: Arthur of the Cymry Trilogy (Book 1)
Genre: Historical Fiction
A generation after Hengest and Horsa carved out a kingdom in the east, a hero of the Britons rises in the west…
480 A.D. The sons of Cunedag have ruled Venedotia for fifty years but the chief of them – the Pendraig – is now dying. His sons Cadwallon and Owain must fight to retain their birthright from their envious cousins. As civil war consumes Venedotia, Arthur – a young warrior and bastard son of the Pendraig – is sent on a perilous quest that will determine the fate of the kingdom.
The Morgens; nine priestesses of the Mother Goddess have found the cauldron of rebirth – a symbol of otherworldly power – and have allied themselves with the enemy. Arthur and six companions are dispatched to the mysterious island of Ynys Mon to steal the cauldron and break the power of the Morgens. Along the way they run into the formidable Guenhuifar whose family have been stewards of Ynys Mon for generations. They need her help. The trouble is, Guenhuifar despises Arthur’s family and all they stand for…
Based on the earliest Arthurian legends, Sign of the White Foal is a rip-roaring adventure of Celtic myth and real history set in the ruins of post-Roman Britain.
Chris Thorndycroft is a British writer of historical fiction, horror and fantasy. His early short stories appeared in magazines and anthologies such as Dark Moon Digest and American Nightmare. His first novel under his own name was A Brother’s Oath; the first book in the Hengest and Horsa Trilogy. He also writes under the pseudonym P. J. Thorndyke.
Q: Was the research easier for this book, or harder than the last series you completed?
A: Probably easier as I had done the lion’s share of research for the first trilogy. This trilogy really just follows on from the first so I had a lot of the background filled in already. It was mostly small details I had to research for this one. I generally research stuff as it comes up. Say I have a scene set in a particular town. I’ll then search for references to that town and make sure I have things like the layout right.
Q: What special challenges did you face making your story stand out from others in the genre ?
A: Arthurian fiction is a massive genre of its own and some really big authors have done their versions so it was daunting trying to come up with a unique take. There are several different ways you can look at the legend. One is to go the traditionalist route and basically use Thomas Malory as your template. He is the guy who, in the 15th century, rounded up all the things we associate with the Arthurian legend into one book – the sword in the stone, the round table, the quest for the Holy Grail etc. But that is very much in the fantasy vein. The Britain (or England) Mallory presented never existed and you’re pretty much in alternate history territory even if you strip out all the magical elements. Other writers have gone the realistic ‘how the legend might have happened’ route by grounding it very much in the 5th century and that is what I wanted to do but I knew I’d be up against several big names in doing so – Rosemary Sutcliff and Bernard Cornwell for a start! I had an idea I thought might make my Arthur stand out and that was to slot him into a real royal dynasty that ruled Gwynedd (North Wales) in the 5th century. It was fun to try and work elements of the legend around real figures.
Q: How did you go about developing the setting(s) for this story?
A: Britain at this time (the 5th century) was very wide open and mostly rural so the countryside was important. I researched what the land was like, what sort of trees, flora and fauna was around. Religion (both pagan and Christian) was a big deal for my characters so I really did the research on that. I also looked at how Roman Britain changed (or deteriorated) into post-Roman Britain, how towns decreased or were abandoned entir ely as focus shifted to a more rural economy. Hill forts, some of which had been abandoned since before the Romans came, were refortified suggesting that people moved from towns to more easily defendable places.
Q: What research methods have been most fruitful for you?
A: Reading, reading and more reading. As well as picking up several intimidating textbooks, I found the internet invaluable. Facebook groups are the haunts of some serious Arthurian scholars and reading through their posts (and occasional arguments) was really helpful. I also got ahold of a lot of academic papers relating to just about every aspect of the 5th century you can think of as well as some antique books no longer in print that have been scanned into Google books. You really have to dig and follow leads to get to the good stuff!
Q: Which character was most challenging to create? Why?
A: Probably Arthur. It’s something of a curse in Arthurian fiction that Arthur is usually the least fleshed-out character. With everybody else running off on quests, the king and his court usually just provides the backdrop. I wanted Arthur to be the main character but he’s a bit of a blank slate. I had to give him motivation, desires and fears. That, in turn, helped bring the cast around him to life.
Q: What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
A: Living in Norway with two small children doesn’t provide many opportunities for jetting off on research trips to Britain but I did use to live in North Wales so I had those memories of the landscape to inspire me. It was fun to write scenes set on the exact stretch of coastline I used to live on.
Q: Some writers create a bubble around themselves until they’re finished with their project – how true is that in your case?
A: It’s a bit hard to create much of a bubble when you have two young kids and a full time job, but I make sure the last couple of hours in the day is my time to get stuck in and get some writing done. I try to stick with one project until it’s done but all my other writing projects keep trying to sneak in. It’s an effort to push them out and focus on what needs to be done so I suppose I do isolate myself a little bit, at least from anything that might get me excited about those other books I have planned in my head.
Q: Do you prefer writing in silence or to music?
A: Music usually, but only instrumental stuff. Song lyrics distract me when I’m writing so I stick to movie and game soundtracks mostly. There’s loads of playlists on Spotify that have been very motivational in writing my Arthur trilogy. Anything epic or stirring.
Q: What book from your childhood has shaped you most as a writer?
A: The Hobbit was a big influence. I remember my primary school teacher reading it to us and I just loved the sense of adventure, of going from one peril to another, so that has probably had an effect. I always seem to put a bit of adventure in my writing.
Q: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
A: I don’t base characters on people I know or anything like that, at least not wholesale. Sometimes I have a real person in mind when I’m writing a character but I always make sure I change a few things! When it comes to other stuff, there are a few nods in my Arthur books to things in Arthurian literature that only real enthusiasts will spot. I try to keep things as authentic as possible even if it’s a small detail nobody will notice.
Thanks so much Chris, for visiting Gwendalyn’s Books
Based on a true story, this gorgeous new novel follows the fortunes of three Berliners caught up in an art scandal—involving newly discovered van Goghs—that rocks Germany amidst the Nazis’ rise to power.
Hedonistic and politically turbulent, Berlin in the 1920s is a city of seedy night clubs and sumptuous art galleries. It is home to millionaires and mobs storming bakeries for rationed bread. These disparate Berlins collide when Emmeline, a young art student; Julius, an art expert; and a mysterious dealer named Rachmann all find themselves caught up in the astonishing discovery of thirty-two previously unknown paintings by Vincent van Gogh.
In the Full Light of the Sun explores the trio’s complex relationships and motivations, their hopes, their vanities, and their self-delusions—for the paintings are fakes and they are in their own ways complicit. Theirs is a cautionary tale about of the aspirations of the new Germany and a generation determined to put the humiliations of the past behind them.
With her signature impeccable and evocative historical detail, Clare Clark has written a gripping novel about beauty and justice, and the truth that may be found when our most treasured beliefs are revealed as illusions.
“As compelling as it is expansive… In an age that has apparently lost faith in experts and verifiable sources of information, Clark’s fictionalization of the Wacker affair stands as a salutary tale for the post-truth era.” —The Guardian
“[Clark] excels at evoking the febrile tensions of the Weimar Republic… A gripping and ultimately moving story about art, artifice and authenticity.” —The Mail on Sunday
“With great skill and sympathy, Clark evokes a febrile society in which politics, love and art offer no certainties, and the ground always threatens to open beneath her characters’ feet.” —The Sunday Times
“Set over the decade of the Nazis’ rise to power, In the Full Light of the Sun loosely follows the real-life mystery of whether paintings apparently by Van Gogh that were exhibited in Berlin in the 1920s were forgeries…The most enjoyable mystery here is the matter of whether anyone is really their authentic self.” —The Times (UK)
“An engrossing read.” —Image Magazine Ireland
“Clark’s beautiful writing is as dense and layered as thick, Post-Impressionist oils.” —Tablet
“A completely fascinating novel about the early 20th century art world and its many dubious machinations. Expertly researched, compellingly narrated and full of potent resonance today.” —William Boyd, author of Sweet Caress
“Clare Clark casts her spell of time and place with casual elegance and no apparent tricks – yet caught me up in this juicy story of colossal art fraud, the passions and intrigues of her vivid and moving characters – and the truly terrifying rise of the Nazi party, with all its contemporary echoes. The atmosphere of this book lingers on.” —Laline Paull, author of The Bees
“I loved In the Full Light of the Sun, a novel about deception, self-deception, truth, love and lies that will enthrall anyone fascinated by Van Gogh, the art world and Berlin in the 1920s. Written with verve and assurance it is both engaging and humane.” —Amanda Craig, author of the Lie of the Land
“In her gripping new novel Clare Clark paints a picture of Weimar Berlin in which surface glitter hides sinister and bitter truths. Page by page she brings secret lives into the light; nothing: not love, not art, not politics, is what it seems, and few escape the brutal forces that emerge.” —Stella Tillyard, author of Aristocrats
“A wonderful novel: passionate, intelligent, humane, it held me from the first page to the last. Van Gogh’s fleeting genius—achingly out of reach, the pull so strong—is wonderfully evoked; and the house of cards that was the Weimar Republic provides the perfectly rendered backdrop for a story about our willingness to deceive in the pursuit of beauty.” —Rachel Seiffert, author of A Boy in Winter
“Clark’s mastery of historic and artistic details merges with skillful plotting and compelling characters in this accomplished novel. A suspenseful, atmospheric portrait of Berlin during Hitler’s rise.”—Kirkus
“Infused with Clark’s signature attention to historical detail…Evocative prose and excellent pacing make this fine historical a must-read for art history buffs.”—Publishers Weekly
Vincent Willem van Gogh
“What I do may be a kind of lie, but only because it tells the truth more plainly.”
Clare Clarke, In The Full Light of the Sun, set in 1920s Berlin, between the First & Second World Wars, in a time when Germany was facing climatic political turbulence.
The Authors ability to cleverly divide her narrative voice into three distinctive times, was easy to follow and immensely enjoyable. The books multi layered time frames are set in 1923, 1927 and 1933, with mixed POV’s. Told through the views of Julius, a middle-aged art critic; Emmeline, a young bisexual artist; and Frank, a Jewish lawyer. All three have one distinct thing in common Matthias, a young aspiring Art dealer, who a desire to open his gallery.
What really I really enjoyed was the use of historical events to masterly create a storyline that draws upon a real life scandal that shocked the Berlin Art World.
The riveting discovery of a number of previously unknown works by Van Gogh. At first they are authenticated, but later they are declared to be forgery. Clark’s compelling literary novel is suspenseful, and gripping atmospheric portrait of Berlin during turbulence of Hitler’s rise to power. A must read for anyone who enjoys historical fiction.
Clare Clarke, delivers quite the impressive, clever, complex, tension-filled and well-written read here that was extremely well-plotted, multi-layered. Faced paced with well developed characters that makes for a dramatic read.
This highly recommend getting your hands on a copy!
Vincent Willem van Gogh, was a Dutch post-impressionist painter who is among the most famous and influential figures in the history of Western art. In just over a decade he created about 2,100 artworks, including around 860 oil paintings, most of them in the last two years of his life.
-According to British journalist and art historian Martin Bailey says the patch of floor in front of the Sunflowers in London’s National Gallery gets more scuffed than any other part of the museum, and the Sunflowers are the number one bestseller postcard at London’s National Gallery gift shop.-
Are you a fan of Van Gogh?
I definitely am, I took at a special trip to see some of this amazing artists work in person at the Chicago Museum of Art.
The Art Exhibit : In Van Gogh’s Bedrooms
“I experience a period of frightening clarity in those moments when nature is so beautiful. I am no longer sure of myself, and the paintings appear as in a dream.” I Vincent van Gogh
-This book was received as an ARC from the publisher and Author, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own-
CLARE CLARK is the author of four novels, including The Great Stink, which was long-listed for the Orange Prize and named a Washington Post Best Book of the Year, and Savage Lands, also long-listed for the Orange Prize. Her work has been translated into five languages. She lives in London.
During the Blog Tour, we are giving away three copies of In the Full Light of the Sun by Clare Clark! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on August 9th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US & Canada 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.
Hello Bookish Friends And Welcome To My Stop On The Much Anticipated Book Tour
The Earl in Black Armor Tour
#TheEarlinBlackArmor #NancyBlanton #HFVBTPartner
Blog Tour and Book Review
The Earl in Black Armor
by Nancy Blanton
Publication Date: March 17, 2019
eBook, Paperback, Hardcover
Genre: Historical Fiction
#TheEarlinBlackArmor #NancyBlanton #HFVBTPartner
When the clan leader sends Faolán Burke to Dublin to spy on Thomas Wentworth, the ruthless Lord Deputy of Ireland, the future of his centuries-old clan rests upon his shoulders. Wentworth is plotting to acquire clan lands of Connacht for an English Protestant plantation. To stop him, Faolán must discover misdeeds that could force King Charles to recall Wentworth to England.
Leaving his young daughter Elvy in the care of his best friend Aengus, Faolán works as a porter in Dublin Castle, and aligns with the alluring Denisa, Wentworth’s personal assistant. She, too, spies on Wentworth, but for very personal reasons.
While Faolán knows he should hate Wentworth, he admires his prosecution of pirates and corrupt nobles who prey on Irish merchants. Supremely arrogant and cruel to his enemies, Wentworth shows loyalty, warmth and compassion for family, friends and a few select others.
A common mission takes Faolán and Denisa from Dublin to London and Hampton Court; to York and Scotland; and to the highest levels of court intrigue and power. But secrets, fears, war and betrayal threaten their love—and even their lives. And as Wentworth’s power grows, so grow the deadly plans of his most treacherous and driven enemies.
“If you are looking for an adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat, then look no further! Get ready for court intrigue, roguish behavior, and of course, that little bit of romance… Well, then you have a book that is hard to put down.” — Rebecca Hill, Net Galley Reviewer
The Earl in Black Armor is a bridge book written of the interval of events between Blanton’s first two historical novels Sharavogue, and The Prince of Glencurragh
“The messengers reported the evil omen as an angry sunset the sky search Crimson as a fresh blood has been poured into a bright silver basin”
This was a magnificent book, a rich and vibrant retelling of a man known to us through history and legend. One that invokes such powerful emotional response. Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Stafford, whose tenure as Lord Deputy of Ireland comes to life in this superbly crafted historical novel, which really evokes time, place and people. The Authors ability to create a intriguing multi-layered and fascinating portrait of intricately plotted, historically accurate medieval Novel.
Incredibly clever weaving of actual historical figures and atmospheric content.
Blanton’s main protagonist in this story, Faolán Burke is a recently widowed struggling single Father. He is sent to spy on King Charles’s Irish representative.
Thomas Wentworth. Wentworth was engaging for in breaking up the power of the Irish Catholic upper classes.
As the storyline unfolds under the authors detailed rich descriptive voice of Faolán Burke, who is sent by Richard Burke, 4th Earl of Clanricarde, to discover any unethical deeds that could force the hand of the English King and have Wentworth recalled back to England.
Faolán meets Wentworth personal assistant, The captivating Denisa Dumalin, who has her secrets and agenda.
Struggling with his loyalties to his Irish clan and his new found admiration to Wentworth, his love for his very young daughter. And the pull of his heart string for Denisa Dumalin. Burke must travel through out Ireland and England in the services of Wentworth. During this time he comes to see the multifaceted Wentworth, who prosecutes pirates and see the corruption of the treacherous nobles.
Once again the Author’s brilliant dialogue and historical research made the well developed characters come to life in, The Earl in Black Armor
I definitely would recommend this descriptive period historical fiction that has court intrigue, war and just enough romance that keeps you immersed all the way through to the satisfy end.
About the Author
Nancy Blanton writes award-winning novels based in 17th century Irish history. Her latest, The Earl in Black Armor, tells a relentless story of loyalty, honor and betrayal in the Stuart era prior to the great Irish Rebellion of 1641. The Prince of Glencurragh, her second novel, occurs in 1634 during the English Plantation of Ireland. Her first novel, Sharavogue, is set in Ireland and the West Indies during the time of Oliver Cromwell. In non-fiction, Brand Yourself Royally in 8 Simple Steps is also a medalist, providing a valuable personal branding guide for authors, artists, and business consultants. Her blog, My Lady’s Closet, focuses on writing, books, historical fiction, research and travel. Ms. Blanton is a member of the Historical Novel Society and is proud to be an occasional guest author on the award-winning UK blog, Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots. She has worked as a journalist, magazine editor, corporate communications leader and brand manager. Her books celebrate her love of history and her Irish and English heritage. She lives in Florida.
During the Blog Tour, one winner will receive a signed hardcover copy of The Earl in Black Armor! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 19th. 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 is 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.
Print Length: 410 pages
Publisher: The Wild Harp & Company, Inc. (July 16, 2019)
Publication Date: July 16, 2019
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Praise for CATHY CASH SPELLMAN “…Almost impossible to put down. The Author has the ability to produce one powerful scene after another and the action draws you helplessly on…” ―Publisher’s Weekly on So Many Partings
“…A cross between The Thorn Birds and Ragtime…” ―ALA Booklist on So Many Partings
“Flows along with an inexorable narrative current that propels the readers from one involving episode to the next.” ―Booklist on So Many Partings
“An energetic plot that never takes a breather.” ―Kirkus Reviews on Paint the Wind
“A western extravaganza.. a plot teeming with outsize characters.” ―Publishers Weekly on Paint the Wind
“I have never read a book or connected with an author who has touched me so deeply – as a mother, a grandmother, and another psychic kindred soul!” ―Elizabeth Taylor on Bless the Child
“This book has really touched my heartstrings as both a mother and grandmother. And Cathy Cash Spellman is one hell of a writer!” ―Maureen Stapleton on Bless the Child
“With a seductive, at times spellbinding style, author Spellman (An Excess of Love) incorporates ancient myths into an entrancing romantic thriller.. Spellman succeeds in capturing the reader’s close attention as an unrelenting sense of foreboding drives the narrative forward with power.” ―Publisher’s Weekly on Bless the Child
A brutal murder.
A heinous secret
A deadly conspiracy.
The brutal murder of the little old lady next door puts FitzHugh Donovan on the case. A retired New York City Police Chief, he knows a cover-up when he sees one and his Irish Cop conscience can’t let that happen.
Now, Fitz, his family and his quirky band of Bleecker Street Irregulars are ensnared in the bizarre secret the woman died to protect.
Is this a 75-year-old cold case turned hot again, or an unspeakable crime-in-progress that could alter the course of the world?
Fitz doesn’t yet know how high the stakes are, that failure isn’t an option, and that the little old lady was so much more than she appeared. But he’s trying to keep everyone alive long enough to find out.
Characters you’ll care about, dark shocking secrets, and disturbing similarities to today’s political scene, will keep you turning pages to an ending you won’t see coming.
You can purchaseA Murder on Jane Street at the following Retailers:
Photo Credit: Dakota Cash
Multiple New York Times and International Bestsellers, a Paramount Movie, book sales in 22 countries, Cathy Cash Spellman writes stories about love, friendship, adventure, and history. Known for her big sprawling sagas and memorable characters, Cathy writes the kind of stories women like to lose themselves in, and then remember long after the book is done.
Her books range through several genres: contemporary, historical, mystery, mystic and romance. Several take place in two time-frames, both current and historical.
Bless the Child was a Paramount movie in 2000, starring Kim Basinger and Jimmy Smits, and Paint The Wind has been optioned for film and TV.
Cathy is an Astrologer, Martial Artist (Black Belt Goju Ryu Karate) and has expertise in Chinese Medicine, several alternative healing modalities and many metaphysical disciplines.
She has written for Self, Harper’s Bazaar, Town & Country, Mademoiselle, Cosmo, Penthouse, Mode, Kung Fu and many other magazines about women, health, empowerment, sexuality, spiritual philosophy and Astrology. She blogs for The Huffington Post and The New York Times.
*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter
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!
Series: My Myth Trilogy (Book 1)
Publisher: CreateSpace (March 5, 2017)
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 purchaseRiven (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*
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
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.
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)
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.
Book Title: The Storyteller’s Secret by Sejal Badani
Category: Adult Fiction, 399 pages
Publisher: Lake Union
Release date: September 2018
Tour dates: June 3 to July 12, 2019
Content Rating: PG-13 (There are some non-explicit sex scenes)
An Amazon Charts, USA Today, and Washington Post bestseller!
From the bestselling author of Trail of Broken Wings comes an epic story of the unrelenting force of love, the power of healing, and the invincible desire to dream.
Nothing prepares Jaya, a New York journalist, for the heartbreak of her third miscarriage and the slow unraveling of her marriage in its wake. Desperate to assuage her deep anguish, she decides to go to India to uncover answers to her family’s past. Intoxicated by the sights, smells, and sounds she experiences, Jaya becomes an eager student of the culture. But it is Ravi—her grandmother’s former servant and trusted confidant—who reveals the resilience, struggles, secret love, and tragic fall of Jaya’s pioneering grandmother during the British occupation.
Through her courageous grandmother’s arrestingly romantic and heart-wrenching story, Jaya discovers the legacy bequeathed to her and a strength that, until now, she never knew was possible.
“home is not a place or a lifestyle, but the state of your heart and all the people who take their place in it.
In the present time of 2000, Jaya a heartbroken and devastated New York journalist, must come to terms of the collapse of her marriage. Still dealing with a third miscarriage and the information that unlikely possibility that she may never be able to carry child.
Sejal Badani, delivers a well-paced and beautifully written story here with interesting, compelling, and believable characters that I found quite compassionate to read about. The story was told in alternating perspectives. In the story we really got a different understanding and look into the of the social injustice to women in India’s culture and the injustice towards the people of India during the British occupation.
A multi layered historical fiction story, that covers several generations of an Indian family, starting with a young woman tracing her heritage back to her family’s homeland. This captures and draws you in. The author has created a riveting real life to fiction novel.
I especially enjoyed how the story unfolds and the emotions explored in the book, such as grief and love. The multilayered storyline weaves together perfectly. The Authors achievement in bringing India’s culture to life was beautiful written.
I was fully immersed in this character driven drama. 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 all the depth and layers to the characters.
This book was received from Author and the Publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.
A former attorney, Sejal Badani left the law to pursue writing full time.
She is a USA Today, Washington Post & Amazon Charts bestselling author, Goodreads Fiction Award Finalist and ABC/DISNEY Writing Fellowship Finalist.