Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

DEATH AT THE PARIS EXPOSITION by Frances McNamara

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A while back, I received a nice offer of a copy of Ms McNamara’s new book to read and review: DEATH AT THE PARIS EXPOSITION. I did not know this historical mystery series, featuring Emily Cabot, but it looked like something I would enjoy.

Here’s the overview for DEATH AT THE PARIS EXPOSITION, which publishes in September:

In Book 6 Emily, with her husband and three children has traveled to Paris for the 1900 Paris Exposition. She could only do it thanks to the sponsorship of Bertha Palmer who has hired her as social secretary. Mrs. Palmer is the only woman in the US delegation and her fame and money inevitably make her the subject of envy. When Bertha’s famous pearls disappear, and then a young milliner is found dead in the House of Worth exhibit, Emily must prevent disaster by solving the crimes, even if she is in a foreign city. Her adventure takes her behind the scenes at the House of Worth and into the art world of Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas in the latest story which will be published in September 2016.

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I really enjoyed this well-written and well-plotted mystery. Emily is a strong female; she reminds me a little bit of Rhys Bowen’s Molly Murphy (one of my favorite historical mystery solvers!). She’s intelligent and intrepid, drawn to solving mysteries, yet she is a wife and mother and loves her family and her job. This story has a lot of interesting information on the Paris Exposition of 1900 (fun to read as I love Paris and could picture it so well) and also lots of details about clothing and fashion of the period.

While this book doesn’t publish for a few more weeks, there are five previous Emily Cabot mysteries on the shelves right now.

Thank you so much for my opportunity to read and share this novel!

You can read more about Ms. McNamara and her books at: https://fmcnamara.wordpress.com/?iframe=true&theme_preview=true

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The Search for the Homestead Treasure by Ann Treacy

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I do love everything I receive from University of Minnesota Press! All the books I’ve received are for middle grades or YA and take place in Minnesota. They are all well-written, interesting, and well-done. This book was no exception.

Here’s the overview:

Fourteen-year-old Martin Gunnarsson is trying to hold his family together on the homestead where his ancestors died of diphtheria in 1865. Somehow rumors of a treasure on the farm survived, and when Martin discovers Aunt Cora’s journal in a musty trunk in the hayloft, he thinks it might give him a clue. But what exactly is he looking for?

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Ann Treacy is coauthor (with Margi Preus) of A Book of Grace. Her writing has appeared in Lake Superior Magazine as well as Highlights for Children magazine. She lives in Duluth, Minnesota.

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This was a short read (less than 200 pages) and I couldn’t put it down. I loved the character of Martin, and his resilient spirit as he struggles to help his family run their farm. I also enjoy a mystery, and this was woven in, too — the treasure that was hidden somewhere before his grandparent’s family died of illness. Will Martin find it? Where is it? And will his family be able to survive?

Highly recommended for classrooms and middle grade readers who want more than your average pioneer story!

Thank you for my review copy and for having me share my thoughts!

Look for it at a bookstore or library (or online!) near you —

THE SEARCH FOR THE HOMESTEAD TREASURE
Ann Treacy
University of Minnesota Press | 176 pages | May 2016
ISBN 978-0-8166-9956-8 | hardcover | $16.95
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Litfuse Blog Tour and GIVEAWAY for THROUGH THE SHADOWS by Karen Barnett

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I’m excited to be part of the Litfuse Publicity blog tour for Karent Barnett’s latest novel in the Golden Gate Chronicles: THROUGH THE SHADOWS. This story continues on with some of the characters we have come to know from the previous books in the series: OUT OF THE ASHES and BEYOND THE RUINS. That said, it can be a stand alone title as well.

Here’s the description of this story from Litfuse:

Through the Shadows (Abingdon, May 2016)

As San Francisco rises from the ashes, an age-old battle looms between corruption and the promise of new beginnings.

The devastating earthquake is just two years past, but the city of San Francisco is still trying to recover. Destruction of this magnitude is not so easy to overcome-and neither are the past regrets shadowing Elizabeth King’s hopeful future.

Hoping to right her wrongs, Elizabeth dedicates herself to helping girls rescued from slavery in Chinatown brothels, even if it means putting her own life at risk to sneak through the gloomy alleys and rooftops where dangers lurk.

Putting her life on the line for a worthy cause is admirable. But opening her heart is even more terrifying. So when Elizabeth meets attorney, Charles McKinley—a man who dreams of reforming San Francisco’s crooked politics—Elizabeth begins to doubt: Can she maintain her pretense and hide her past? Or will her secret jeopardize both their futures?

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If you are reading this series, you know it is Christian historical fiction, and I like how the story line is able to encapsulate faith right alongside the action and romance plot lines. Elizabeth is a likable and strong character, and I will give this book credit for highlighting an issue that personally I have never read about (so I am assuming it is often overlooked or ignored) — the plight of the young Chinese prostitute in turn of the century California.

Barnett’s writing flows smoothly and this is an easy read – perfect for starting off the summer!

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Karen Barnett is the author of “Beyond the Ashes,” “Out of the Ruins,” and “Mistaken.” Named the 2013 Writer of Promise by Oregon Christian Writers, Karen lives in Albany, Oregon, with her husband and two kids. When she’s not writing novels, she loves speaking at women’s events, libraries, and book clubs.
Thank you for my review copy and for making me part of the tour!

But wait! There’s more!!! There’s a book giveaway for this tour — click below for info and entering:

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LINK FOR GIVEAWAY: https://promosimple.com/ps/99f1

 

 

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Book Blast for HFVBTours’ OUTRAGEOUS: The Victoria Woodhull Saga by Neal Katz

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I’m excited to be blasting it up today for a book about Victoria Woodhull, the first US woman to run for President (how timely, too!). I can’t believe that I know virtually nothing about this very interesting woman of history.

Here’s what HFVBT has to say (and believe me, it’s quite a fascinating overview!):

Outrageous: The Victoria Woodhull Saga, Volume I: Rise to Riches
by Neal Katz

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Publication Date: October 1, 2015
Top Reads Publishing
Hardcover, Paperback, Ebook; 344 Pages

Series: The Victoria Woodhull Saga (Vol I)
Genre: Historical Fiction

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Historical fictionalized account of Victoria Woodhull’s rise to presidential candidate and wealth, coming from poverty and abuse.

What compels a woman and her youngest sister to overcome abject poverty and violent abuse to grow up to defy convention and obliterate every barrier to become the first women to own and operate a Wall Street brokerage firm and publish their own newspaper?

How did Victoria Claflin Woodhull (1838 – 1927) become the first woman invited to speak to the United State Congress, and then the first female to run for president. What made Tennessee Celeste Claflin (1845 – 1923) so beguiling that the richest man in America, Cornelius Vanderbilt, fell completely in love with her?

What caused the sisters to live out their long lives as royalty and peerage in Europe. Victoria living as landed gentry outside of London, and Tennessee in a huge castle like a queen? Why aren’t these empowered and independent women iconic in our culture?

Volume One of The Victoria Woodhull Saga tells the poignant, lascivious, and compelling inside story of how the sisters worked closely with Cornelius Vanderbilt, who at age 74 fell in love with the beguiling 24-year old Tennessean. Victoria provided the titan of industry “Inside Her Information” gathered through the soiled sisterhood, the ladies of the evening working at the top seven brothels servicing the rich and famous of New York City.

This relationship resulted in the great lion of industry having his last public roar as together they manipulated the financial markets and created the impending collapse of the U.S. economy in the gold scandal of 1869. To avert the crash, President Ulysses S. Grant provides the richest man in America insider information on the gold market and telegrams Vanderbilt that his railroad company is “Too Big To Fail!” Vanderbilt was proclaimed “The Savior of the American Economy” for intervening in a crisis he helped create.

View Victorian America through the eyes and thoughts of one of its leading heroines., Victoria Woodhull. Watch as the infighting and elitism of the earliest suffrage women denigrating, castigating, and denouncing other passionate suffrage rights women delayed woman suffrage and equal legal standing for five decades. Learn wonderful anecdotes of the origins of products and phrases used today. Learn the story of Reverend Henry Ward Beecher, the most popular man in America, who transformed Christianity from his father’s “fire and brimstone” theology to one of a compassionate and loving Jesus, who will redeem all who turn to salvation with complete confession of their sins. The reverend’s personal life did not imitate his lofty and popular theology of his weekly sermons at Plymouth Church. He was a notorious womanizer, often bedding, and sometimes impregnating the wives, sisters, and daughters of his most ardent trackers and deacons of the church.

Written in the first person from Victoria’s viewpoint, Neal Katz weaves a compelling page-turning story that cleverly unfolds history while providing a wonderfully entertaining ride. Katz has pledged one half of book sale proceeds to charities dedicating to the empowerment and sustainable economic improvement of women, especially single mothers.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

Praise

“Victoria Woodhull is one of the most fascinating but forgotten characters in American history. She deserves to be better known by anyone who cares about gender equality and the ongoing fight to make America a more tolerant and just country–kudos to Neal Katz for bringing her story to life for a new generation of readers.” -Debby Applegate, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher

“I can’t believe this is Neal’s first book. Incredibly well written, this is an important work. I see a National bestseller and a long running series.” -Victor Villasenor, National bestselling author of Rain of Gold,Three time Pulitzer Prize nominee, and author of Revenge of a Catholic Schoolboy

About the Author

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Neal Katz is a semi-retired, serial entrepreneur, CEO with a passion for women rights. He lives a life based on self-awareness and Love. He practices Yoga, meditates daily, has taught A Course in Miracles, produced Oregon wines, enjoys being a gourmet chef, recites Vedic sutras, and writes his own inspirational poetry.

The saga of Victoria Woodhull appeales to Neal, as it serves three purposes. First, the story provokes public awareness of the historical and continuing denigration and subjugation of gender prejudice. Second, the tale exposes the historical basis for the manipulation of the free markets of stocks, bonds and commodities. Third, the story shows how existing financial and political power structures used prison and seizure of assets to prevent innovation and social change. Victoria Woodhull overcame all these obstacles in a remarkable life.

Neal chose to write in first person using Victoria s words, thoughts, and point of view to tell the tale, inviting the reader to see through her eyes. The style is magic realism along the lines of Allende, Marquez, and Kathleen McGowan (The Magdalene Trilogy). This is an expression of the HeForShe solidarity movement for gender equality championed by Emma Watson, and Neal proudly proclaims himself a male feminist!

Neal has pledged fifty percent (50%) of his author’s royalties from book sales and all ancillary revenues, including foreign print distribution and Hollywood rights to a foundation formed in tribute to Victoria Woodhull and her passion for woman rights. The foundation will promote and prove programs for the empowerment and sustainable economic improvement of women, especially single mothers.

For more information visit http://outrageousthebook.com/. You can also follow the author on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Book Blast Schedule

Discover a new blog!

Monday, February 22
Passages to the Past

Tuesday, February 23
Just One More Chapter
The Never-Ending Book

Wednesday, February 24
Back Porchervations

Thursday, February 25
I Heart Reading

Friday, February 26
Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Saturday, February 27
With Her Nose Stuck In A Book

Monday, February 29
Book Nerd

Tuesday, March 1
The Book Connection

Wednesday, March 2
Boom Baby Reviews
Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Thursday, March 3
CelticLady’s Reviews

Monday, March 7
A Holland Reads

Tuesday, March 8
A Literary Vacation

Friday, March 11
I’m Shelf-ish

Giveaway

But wait! There’s more!!

To win a signed Hardcover copy of Outrageous: The Victoria Woodhull Saga, Book One please enter the giveaway via the GLEAM form below. Five copies are up for grabs!

Rules

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

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Review: THE SECRET LIFE OF ANNA BLANC by Jennifer Kincheloe

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Back in the fall I was contacted by my friends at Prometheus Books to see if I’d like to read and review THE SECRET LIFE OF ANNA BLANC. The book sounded great, but it soon disappeared into the piles of things I had around during the holidays, only to be rediscovered recently. What a treasure! I loved this laugh-out-loud funny book about intrepid socialite Anna Blanc and her foray into the dark world of detective work in Los Angeles in turn of the century California.

Here’s how they describe the novel on Edelweiss:

It’s 1907 Los Angeles. Mischievous socialite Anna Blanc is the kind of young woman who devours purloined crime novels—but must disguise them behind covers of more domestically-appropriate reading. She could match wits with Sherlock Holmes, but in her world women are not allowed to hunt criminals.

Determined to break free of the era’s rigid social roles, Anna buys off the chaperone assigned by her domineering father and, using an alias, takes a job as a police matron with the Los Angeles Police Department. There she discovers a string of brothel murders, which the cops are unwilling to investigate. Seizing her one chance to solve a crime, she takes on the investigation herself.

If the police find out, she’ll get fired; if her father finds out, he’ll disown her; and if her fiancé finds out, he’ll cancel the wedding and stop pouring money into her father’s collapsing bank. Midway into her investigation, the police chief’s son, Joe Singer, learns her true identity. And shortly thereafter she learns about blackmail.

Anna must choose—either hunt the villain and risk losing her father, fiancé, and wealth, or abandon her dream and leave the killer on the loose.

Story Locale: 1907 Los Angeles

Series Overview: Los Angeles police matron Anna Blanc bucks society’s mores to solve crime in the early 1900s.

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I would LOVE if this became a series! What a fun and well-written read, but it also had a lot to think and talk about in terms of women’s changing roles in society. Poor Anna fought against all the mores holding her in firmly in place,  though I particularly liked the horrid chaperone who was supposed to accompany her everywhere.

I also am not aware of too many cozies set in turn of the century LA. Between the historical mystery, the humor, and a little romance, I give this one top marks!

Thank you so much for my review copy!

This book is available at bookstores near you and online (and of course – check your library!).

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Book Blast for THE EDGE OF LOST

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We are blasting it up today to bring you Kristina McMorris’ THE EDGE OF LOST. This book is on my TBR list and I will be entering the GIVEAWAY, too!

The Edge of Lost
by Kristina McMorris

Publication Date: November 24, 2015
Kensington Books
Trade Paperback, 340 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

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From New York Times bestselling author Kristina McMorris comes an ambitious and heartrending story of immigrants, deception, and second chances.

On a cold night in October 1937, searchlights cut through the darkness around Alcatraz. A prison guard’s only daughter—one of the youngest civilians who lives on the island—has gone missing. Tending the warden’s greenhouse, convicted bank robber Tommy Capello waits anxiously. Only he knows the truth about the little girl’s whereabouts, and that both of their lives depend on the search’s outcome.

Almost two decades earlier and thousands of miles away, a young boy named Shanley Keagan ekes out a living as an aspiring vaudevillian in Dublin pubs. Talented and shrewd, Shan dreams of shedding his dingy existence and finding his real father in America. The chance finally comes to cross the Atlantic, but when tragedy strikes, Shan must summon all his ingenuity to forge a new life in a volatile and foreign world.

Skillfully weaving these two stories, Kristina McMorris delivers a compelling novel that moves from Ireland to New York to San Francisco Bay. As her finely crafted characters discover the true nature of loyalty, sacrifice, and betrayal, they are forced to confront the lies we tell—and believe—in order to survive.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOKS-A-MILLION | POWELL’S| INDIEBOUND

 

Advance Praise

“Kristina McMorris evokes such a strong sense of place that to open her books feels less like reading and more like traveling. Her absorbing new novel..[is an] epic, deeply felt tale of struggle and second chances… a transporting piece of historical fiction.” — BookPage

“McMorris’ gripping immigrant saga sweeps from Dublin to New York, through Prohibition and vaudeville, from New York to San Francisco and Alcatraz. It is a young man’s battle with hardship and tragedy, but it is also a portrait of America during a turbulent time and a quest that ends in triumph. Readers will be caught up in this well-told story.” — RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

“Compelling, resonant and deeply moving, The Edge of Lost is an absorbing tale of deceit and self-deception, survival and second chances, the ties that bind and the lure of the unknown.” — Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author ofOrphan Train

“The story will grab your heart on page one and won’t let go until the end—and if you’re like me, not even then. I absolutely love this book, and so will you.” — Sara Gruen, #1New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants

“A beautifully told story about a young man’s journey through adversity and loss with an exhilarating ending that I couldn’t put down and stayed up well past my bedtime to finish.” — Charles Belfoure, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Architect

“In The Edge of Lost Kristina McMorris takes us on a thrilling ride . . . I found myself thoroughly immersed in her richly evocative settings, just as I was captivated by the pure humanity of her characters as they struggled for redemption. This book is a wonderful read!” — David R. Gillham, New York Times bestselling author of City of Women

“The Edge of Lost takes readers on an enthralling journey . . . right up to a tense, edge-of-your-seat ending that left me breathless. An absorbing, addictive read.” — Beatriz Williams, New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Life of Violet Grant

“With prose as lyrical as the music woven through its narrative, and boasting impeccably observed historical details, The Edge of Lost is a thoroughly mesmerizing novel. I adore everything that Kristina McMorris writes and this book is no exception.” — Jennifer Robson, international bestselling author of Somewhere in France

About the Author

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Kristina McMorris is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author and the recipient of more than twenty national literary awards, as well as a nomination for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, RWA’s RITA® Award, and a Goodreads Choice Award for Best Historical Fiction. Inspired by true personal and historical accounts, her works of fiction have been published by Kensington Books, Penguin Random House, and HarperCollins. The Edge of Lost is her fourth novel, following the widely praised Letters from Home, Bridge of Scarlet Leaves, and The Pieces We Keep, in addition to her novellas in the anthologies A Winter Wonderland and Grand Central.

Prior to her writing career, Kristina hosted weekly TV shows since age nine, including an Emmy® Award-winning program, and has been named one of Portland’s “40 Under 40” by The Business Journal. She lives with her husband and two sons in Oregon, where she is working on her next novel. For more, visit www.KristinaMcMorris.com. You can also follow Kristina on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, December 14
The Maiden’s Court
Passages to the Past

Tuesday, December 15
A Literary Vacation
CelticLady’s Reviews
What Is That Book About

Wednesday, December 16
Reading Is My SuperPower
Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Thursday, December 17
Unshelfish
A Book Geek
With Her Nose Stuck In A Book

Friday, December 18
The Lit Bitch
The Reading Queen

Saturday, December 19
Book Nerd
Beth’s Book Nook Blog
So Many Books, So Little Time

Sunday, December 20
Let Them Read Books
Eclectic Ramblings of Author Heather Osborne

Monday, December 21
Boom Baby Reviews

Giveaway!

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To win a signed copy of The Edge of Lost by Kristina McMorris please enter the giveaway via the GLEAM form below.

Rules

– Giveaway starts at 12:01am EST on December 14th and ends at 11:59pm EST on December 21st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US and Canada ONLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
The Edge of Lost Book Blast Giveaway

Direct Link: https://gleam.io/hu4b3/the-edge-of-lost-book-blast-giveaway

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Litfuse Blog Tour for A RESPECTABLE ACTRESS by Dorothy Love

Here I am today as part of the Litfuse Blog Tour for A RESPECTABLE ACTRESS, a fun mystery set behind the footlights at the turn of the century.

Here’s what the tour has to say:

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About the book:

A Respectable Actress (Thomas Nelson, October 2015)

When India Hartley is accused of murder, she must uncover the deceptions of others to save herself.

India Hartley, a famous and beautiful actress, is now alone after her father’s death and embarks upon a tour of theaters across the South. Her first stop is Savannah’s Southern Palace. On the eve of the second night’s performance, something goes horribly wrong. Her co-star, Arthur Sterling, is shot dead on stage in front of a packed house, and India is arrested and accused of the crime.

A benefactor hires Philip Sinclair, the best—and handsomest—lawyer in Savannah to defend India. A widower, Philip is struggling to reinvent his worn-out plantation on St. Simons Island. He needs to increase his income from his law practice in order to restore Indigo Point, and hardly anything will bring him more new clients than successfully defending a famous actress on a murder charge.

Because India can’t go anywhere in town without being mobbed, Philip persuades the judge handling her case to let him take her to Indigo Point until her trial date. India is charmed by the beauty of the Georgia lowcountry and is increasingly drawn to Philip. But a locked room that appears to be a shrine to Philip’s dead wife and the unsolved disappearance of a former slave girl raise troubling questions. Piecing together clues in an abandoned boat and a burned-out chapel, India discovers a trail of dark secrets that lead back to Philip, secrets that ultimately may hold the key to her freedom. If only he will believe her.

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/1MUVRqX

About the author:

A native of west Tennessee, Dorothy Love makes her home in the Texas hill country with her husband and their golden retriever. An award-winning author of numerous young adult novels, Dorothy made her adult debut with the Hickory Ridge novels. When she isn’t busy writing or researching her next book, Love enjoys hiking, traveling, and hanging out with her husband Ron and their rambunctious golden retriever. The Loves make their home in the Texas hill country.

Find Dorothy online: website, Twitter, Facebook

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Me again!

This was a fun read. I have to say that I really enjoyed the novel and its depiction of life in the theater at that time. Of course I love reading about theater at ANY time!

I found it well-researched and was not surprised to find out that this story was in part based on a real life person.

That said, I had some difficulty with the wrap up of the mystery, which felt a bit contrived and I had to suspend my belief in order to accept it. It was fun though, with a little romance and definitely a “clean read”.

Thank you for making me part of the tour and for my review e-copy!

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Cover Reveal for FALL OF POPPIES! w/GIVEAWAY!

Look at this BEAUTIFUL cover which was revealed today for the new story collection FALL OF POPPIES – Stories of Love and the Great War —

There is also a GIVEAWAY for a copy of the book:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here’s what Harper Collins has to say —

Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War

by Heather Webb, Hazel Gaynor, Beatriz Williams, Jennifer Robson, Jessica Brockmole, Kate Kerrigan, Evangeline Holland, Lauren Willig, Marci Jefferson

William Morrow Trade Paperback; March 1, 2016; $14.99; ISBN: 9780062418548 Barnes & Noble / Amazon / IndieBound / Books-a-Million

Top voices in historical fiction deliver an intensely moving collection of short stories about loss, longing, and hope in the aftermath of World War I—featuring bestselling authors such as Hazel Gaynor, Jennifer Robson, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig and edited by Heather Webb.

A squadron commander searches for meaning in the tattered photo of a girl he’s never met…

A Belgian rebel hides from the world, only to find herself nursing the enemy…

A young airman marries a stranger to save her honor—and prays to survive long enough to love her…The peace treaty signed on November 11, 1918, may herald the end of the Great War but for its survivors, the smoke is only beginning to clear. Picking up the pieces of shattered lives will take courage, resilience, and trust.

Within crumbled city walls and scarred souls, war’s echoes linger. But when the fighting ceases, renewal begins…and hope takes root in a fall of poppies.

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Retro Review: LOVING FRANK by Nancy Horan

Today for a “retro review” I’m throwing it back to 2009 and one of my first reviews. This book STILL haunts me!

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One of my book clubs recently chose “Loving Frank” by Nancy Horan as its January selection. This is the story of Frank Lloyd Wright’s rather public affair with Martha “Mamah” Cheney shortly after the turn of the century. Horan has done extensive research in order to capture Mamah (pronounced “May-mah”) as her protagonist. The book covers their relationship from their first meeting (when Wright was employed to build a house for Mamah and her then husband, Edwin) to its tragic end.

To be honest, this was not a book that I would have chosen on my own to read. I doubted that 362 pages about two married people having an affair – no matter how well-known they were – could hold my attention or interest. However, this book was oddly fascinating. Mamah is portrayed as an intelligent, independent, unique woman, while Frank Lloyd Wright is portrayed as a self-centered, driven genius. I felt that I had come to know these people, and to be honest, I did not like them. Frank’s selfishness and lack of dealing with the realities of life made me irritated with him – though I recognize that genius often comes at such a price. He had no qualms about trying to leave his wife and the six children he had by her. Mamah, on the other hand, was portrayed as sympathetic and as the proverbial butterfly trapped in a bell jar. I would have had more sympathy for her, but I personally could not move past the fact that she chose to desert her two very young children (and a very normal, though somewhat boring, husband) in order to live openly with Wright. She is portrayed as aching for her children, however, leaving them was by her choice, and she made that choice more than once. Furthermore, she left it to her maiden sister to raise them with her former husband.

As I became intrigued with this story, I made the very big mistake of googling these characters to get more real information on them. What a mistake!! I discovered the ending of this tale before I reached it, and let me warn you – it is not pleasant. In fact, I finished this book at 10:00 pm one night and had trouble sleeping. The ending is not only tragic, but haunting and disturbing – made all the more terrible by the fact that it is true.

I would recommend this book to those who have an interest in FLW, in historical fiction with real characters, and/or those who like a love story. It is well-written and well-researched, and I found that it reads easily. I can’t say I loved it as it was too disturbing, but I can appreciate its merits, so I’m giving it: 4 Stars. I purchased my copy from Amazon. (book cover image courtesy of Amazon).

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Litfuse Blog Tour for BEYOND THE ASHES by Karen Barnett and Giveaway!

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I’m happy today to take part in the blog tour for Karen Barnett’s second story in her Golden Gate Chronicles series: BEYOND THE ASHES.

Here’s the synopsis from Litfuse:

About the book:
Beyond the Ashes (Abingdon Press, June 2015)Where better to rebuild and face one’s fears than in 1906 San Francisco, a city rising from the ashes?

Ruby Marshall, a young widow, is certain she’ll discover new purpose assisting her brother Robert with his cancer research, but she doesn’t anticipate finding new love.

Dr. Gerald Larkspur dreams of filling his empty home with family, but he’d always hoped it would be a wife and children. In the aftermath of the great earthquake, the rooms are overflowing with extended family and friends left homeless by the disaster. When Robert’s widowed sister arrives, the close quarters seem close indeed.

Ruby and Gerald’s fledgling romance is put at risk when Gerald develops symptoms of the very disease they’re striving to cure. Together they must ask—is it worth a second chance at love when time might be short?

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/1IGu1bg

About the author:

Karen Barnett is the author of Beyond the Ashes, Out of the Ruins, and Mistaken. Named the 2013 Writer of Promise by Oregon Christian Writers, Karen lives in Albany, Oregon, with her husband and two kids. When she’s not writing novels, she loves speaking at women’s events, libraries, and book clubs.

Find Karen online: website, Twitter, Facebook

If you read me, you know I love historical fiction. Plus I grew up in the Bay Area, so stories taking place in San Francisco are always a draw for me! This story had a lot of background in it about conditions after the big quake and medical issues at the time. I found the whole subplot about cancer and cancer treatment – just a hundred years ago – quite fascinating, too.
There were a lot of characters in this book, with the main ones being Ruby, her brother Robert, and his friend and fellow doctor Gerald. I did find the first half of the book a tad slow. There was a lot of build up to Ruby and Gerald’s feelings for each other. Then it seemed like the second half of the book flew! There were a few other subplots (such as one about the abuse of young Asian girls), along with Ruby and Gerald’s relationship, the upcoming wedding of Robert, Gerald’s illness, and an ill-timed diphtheria outbreak! The Christian element in this book is what I call a “light touch”. Ruby and Gerald – and another key character who was a minster – are people of faith and they let that faith guide them.
Recommended to those who enjoy historical fiction!
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Blog Tour Schedule:

6/29/2015
Rebekah | Backing Books
Jendi | Jendi’s Journal
Tressa | Wishful Endings
Karen | LyonsLady
Charity | aTransParentMom
Marianne | reviewing Novels Online
Debra | 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too !
Charity | Giveaway Lady
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6/30/2015

Taylor | Taylor Reid Reads and Breathes
Vicky | deal sharing aunt
Dianna | Savings in Seconds
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Erin | For Him and My Family
Megan | when life gets you down…read a book

7/1/2015

Jami | Jami’s Words
Rayleigh | Accelerate The Jesus Movement
Joy | Splashes of Joy
Jalynn | A Simple Life, really?!
Kav | Best Reads

7/2/2015

Pamela | Daysong Reflections
Kathleen | Reviews From The Heart

7/3/2015

Angela | Griperang’s Bookmarks
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Margaret | The World As I See It

7/4/2015

Amanda | Inklings and Notions

7/5/2015

Sandra | Simple Harvest Reads
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7/6/2015

Sally | Proverbial Reads
Nicki | Confessions of a Teenage Bookworm
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7/7/2015

Sarah | Growing for Christ
Val | Beyond the ashes
Debra | Footprints in the Butter
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Nancy | sunny island breezes
Laura | Harvest Lane Cottage
Becky | Christian Chick’s Thoughts
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7/8/2015

Lena | A Christian Writers World
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7/9/2015

Britney | Buzzing About Books
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Hallie | Book by Book

7/10/2015

Vera | Chat With Vera
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Margaret | Frugal-Shopping and More
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7/11/2015

Beth | Beth’s Book-Nook Blog

7/13/2015

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7/14/2015

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Paige | Electively Paige
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7/16/2015

Bethany | Perfect Beginnings
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Kari | Slow It Down

7/17/2015

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7/18/2015

Amy | A Nest in the Rocks
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7/19/2015

Stacey | WORD Up!
Tammy | Tammy is Blessed
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Amanda | The Talbert Report
Lisa | Seekingwithallyurheart
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