Book Drunkard

“I am simply a 'book drunkard.' Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.” L.M. Montgomery


Leave a comment

Mata Hari’s Last Dance by Michelle Moran, review


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Paris, 1917. The notorious dancer Mata Hari sits in a cold cell awaiting freedom…or death. Alone and despondent, Mata Hari is as confused as the rest of the world about the charges she’s been arrested on: treason leading to the deaths of thousands of French soldiers.

As Mata Hari waits for her fate to be decided, she relays the story of her life to a reporter who is allowed to visit her in prison. Beginning with her carefree childhood, Mata Hari recounts her father’s cruel abandonment of her family as well her calamitous marriage to a military officer. Taken to the island of Java, Mata Hari refuses to be ruled by her abusive husband and instead learns to dance, paving the way to her stardom as Europe’s most infamous dancer.

From exotic Indian temples and glamorous Parisian theatres to stark German barracks in war-torn Europe, international bestselling author Michelle Moran who “expertly balances fact and fiction” (Associated Press) brings to vibrant life the famed world of Mata Hari: dancer, courtesan, and possibly, spy.

MY REVIEW:

Michelle Moran has long been one of my favourite authors and I have enjoyed every one of her books so far.  MATA HARI’S LAST DANCE is no exception.

I knew little about Mata Hari when I picked up this book other than that she was a spy.  Margareth Zelle MacLeod, also known as “M’greet”, didn’t have an easy life growing up, nor during her years of marriage. Learning her background was much appreciated and helped me to understand her choices later in life.  I don’t often cry reading books, but this one had me in tears at the end.  Is it weird that even though I knew the history, I still hoped for a different ending??

Moran has a knack for writing about strong female characters in history.  I always feel more akin to them after I’ve read her books.  Her writing style is easy and smooth and I fly through the pages while wishing sleep and work weren’t things.  Also, the cover is stunning!!

The book is on the slim side and if I had a complaint, that would be it.  I wish the book had been longer so that the story didn’t feel rushed.  There was much I would have loved to had expanded.  However I do understand that too much of the same thing–dances and conquests–could have weighed the story down too much and made it bland.  I’m looking forward to what Michelle Moran writes next!

4 stars

Thank you to Touchstone for the ebook version via NetGalley


Leave a comment

Lilac Girls by Martha Kelly Hall, review


ABOUT THE BOOK:

New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon. But Caroline’s world is forever changed when Hitler’s army invades Poland in September 1939—and then sets its sights on France.

An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspecting neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences.

For the ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power.

The lives of these three women are set on a collision course when the unthinkable happens and Kasia is sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Their stories cross continents—from New York to Paris, Germany, and Poland—as Caroline and Kasia strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten.

MY REVIEW:

LILAC GIRLS by Martha Kelly Hall is the story of three women from three different countries–Poland, Germany, and the USA–who lived during the Holocaust.  Most of the book is centered around Ravensbrück, Hitler’s only all female concentration camp where horrific testing and operations are performed.    The tale is often, understandably, quite brutal.  While the backgrounds of the women are completely different, they come together in a way that is both tragic and triumphant.

The story is told through the voices of the three women, each with their own narrative and easily distinguishable.  The author has fictionalized a heartbreaking historical event and shown us what life may have been like during that time.  Parallels to current day events were startling at times.  Photos of the women featured in the story at the end of the book made me enjoy it even more.

5 stars.

 


Leave a comment

Under the Approaching Dark by Anna Belfrage, review


02_Under the Approaching DarkUnder the Approaching Dark by Anna Belfrage

Publication Date: April 28, 2017
Matador
eBook & Paperback; 424 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

Adam de Guirande has cause to believe the turbulent times are behind him: Hugh Despenser is dead and Edward II is forced to abdicate in favour of his young son. It is time to look forward, to a bright new world in which the young king, guided by his council, heals his kingdom and restores its greatness. But the turmoil is far from over.

After years of strife, England in the early months of 1327 is a country in need of stability, and many turn with hope towards the new young king, Edward III. But Edward is too young to rule, so instead it is his mother, Queen Isabella, and her lover, Roger Mortimer, who do the actual governing, much to the dislike of barons such as Henry of Lancaster.

In the north, the Scots take advantage of the weakened state of the realm and raid with impunity. Closer to court, it is Mortimer’s increasing powers that cause concerns – both among his enemies, but also for men like Adam, who loves Mortimer dearly, but loves the young king just as much.

When it is announced that Edward II has died in September of 1327, what has so far been a grumble grows into voluble protests against Mortimer. Yet again, the spectre of rebellion haunts the land, and things are further complicated by the reappearance of one of Adam’s personal enemies. Soon enough, he and his beloved wife Kit are fighting for their survival – even more so when Adam is given a task that puts them both in the gravest of dangers.

“The writing is impeccable. The story has everything. Under the Approaching Dark is just perfect in every sense” – Sharon Bennett Connolly, History The Interesting Bits

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Chapters | IndieBound | Kobo

My Review

UNDER THE APPROACHING DARK is another stellar achievement from author, Anna Belfrage.  Book three in the King’s Greatest Enemy series is just as great as the first two and I feel so fortunate to have been on all three blog tours so far!

This book begins in 1327–Edward the second has been incarcerated and Queen Isabella and her lover, Roger Mortimer are in charge of the realm, much to the chagrin of the young king, Edward III.  All the court intrigue (I’m tired of using that phrase ALL the time when reviewing historical fiction, but hey.. that’s what it is!!), romance, hatred, and bloodshed we’d expect to find are there for the reader to devour.  It’s nice to read a familiar story with fresh characters that give it a different spin.  Plus, I very much like Kit better in this book.  She’s definitely growing on me.  🙂

Thank you Anna for writing such a great book and series and thank you to Amy from HFVBT for asking me to be on another fabulous tour!

 

03_Anna BelfrageAbout the Author

Anna was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result she’s multilingual and most of her reading is historical- both non-fiction and fiction. Possessed of a lively imagination, she has drawers full of potential stories, all of them set in the past. She was always going to be a writer – or a historian, preferably both. Ideally, Anna aspired to becoming a pioneer time traveller, but science has as yet not advanced to the point of making that possible. Instead she ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for her most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career Anna raised her four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive…

For years she combined a challenging career with four children and the odd snatched moment of writing. Nowadays Anna spends most of her spare time at her writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and she slips away into her imaginary world, with her imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in her life pops his head in to ensure she’s still there.

Other than on her website, www.annabelfrage.com, Anna can mostly be found on her blog, http://annabelfrage.wordpress.com – unless, of course, she is submerged in writing her next novel. You can also connect with Anna on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

04_Under the Approaching Dark_Blog Tour Banner_FINALBlog Tour Schedule

Monday, May 1
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Tuesday, May 2
Interview at Let Them Read Books
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, May 3
Review at A Book Drunkard

Thursday, May 4
Review at A Holland Reads

Friday, May 5
Spotlight at The Reading Queen

Monday, May 8
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Tuesday, May 9
Review at Just One More Chapter

Wednesday, May 1

Review at A Bookaholic Swede

Thursday, May 11
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Friday, May 12
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Monday, May 15
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession

Tuesday, May 16
Review at Back Porchervations
Guest Post at Ms. Stuart Requests the Pleasure of Your Company

Wednesday, May 17
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, May 18
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Friday, May 19
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Monday, May 22
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Tuesday, May 23
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Review at The Muse in the Fog Book Reviews

Wednesday, May 24
Excerpt at Jo’s Book Blog
Spotlight at The Paperback Princess

Thursday, May 25
Review at Broken Teepee

Friday, May 26
Spotlight at Laura’s Interests

Sunday, May 28
Review at Bookramblings
Review at Books and Benches

Monday, May 29
Guest Post at Yelena Casale’s Blog

Tuesday, May 30
Interview at Dianne Ascroft’s Blog


Leave a comment

The Mourning Ring by Sarah Parke, review


Publication Date: October 10, 2016
CreateSpace
eBook & Paperback; 350 Pages

Genre: Young Adult/Historical Fantasy

READ AN EXCERPT.

Sixteen-year-old Charlotte Bronte lives to tell stories. She longs to improve her fortunes through her writing. Charlotte’s father expects her to leave behind her childish fantasies in order to set an example for her three younger siblings.

But the Bronte children hold a secret in their veins—a smidgen of fairy blood that can bring their words to life.

When Charlotte discovers that the characters from their childish stories exist in an alternate world called Glass Town, she jumps at the opportunity to be the heroine of her own tale.

The city of Angria teeters on the brink of civil war and Charlotte and her siblings must use their magic and their wits to save its people from a tyrant with magic abilities. But entering the fictional world means forfeiting control of their own creations. If they fail, the characters they have come to know and love will be destroyed.

Charlotte is determined to save the city and characters she loves, but when the line between creator and character becomes blurred, will she choose her fantasy or her family?

Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Paperback) | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

My Review

THE MOURNING RING by Sarah Parke is a fantastical tale of the Brontë siblings during their childhoods and how they found out they had fairy blood running through their veins.  When they discover that the characters in their imaginary kingdom of Angria are in trouble, the foursome take a magical journey to save the day.

This is Sarah Parke’s debut novel and I can only hope that she continues down this road.  The story is imaginative and well told, suitable for youngsters and adults alike–especially those like me who have a bit of Peter Pan in them.  It was interesting to envision the Brontë’s as teenagers as I usually view them as adults.  I was especially happy to learn of Tales of Angria, a book written before their more famous works as it gives me something new to read by some of my favourite authors.

With the perfect mix of historical fiction and fantasy, I give THE MOURNING RING 4 stars ****.

 

Thank you to Amy from Historical Fiction Virtual Books Tours for asking me to be part of the blog tour.  

 

About the Author

Sarah Parke writes fantasy and historical fiction (sometimes at the same time) for young adult readers and those young at heart.

She has a MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA program. Her work has been published internationally, most recently in the July 2015 issue of The Writer magazine.

For more information, please visit Sarah Parke’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, April 19
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Thursday, April 20
Excerpt at What Is That Book About
Review, Excerpt & Interview at The Book Junkie Reads

Friday, April 21
Excerpt at The Lit Bitch
Review at Queen of All She Reads
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Review & Excerpt at Adventures Thru Wonderland

Saturday, April 22
Interview at T’s Stuff
Review at A Book Drunkard

Sunday, April 23
Review, Excerpt, & Interview at Quitterstrip

Monday, April 24
Review & Excerpt at Rainy Day Reviews

Tuesday, April 25
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books 
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Wednesday, April 26
Review at Just One More Chapter
Review at A Chick Who Reads


Leave a comment

24 Hour Read-a-thon: Hour 1


Oh the joy of hour 1.  It’s the time of day when you’re so full of hope and excitement that the next 24 hours will be full of books and reading and snacks.  Never once have I read a full 24 hours and I’m under no illusion that THIS will be the time.  I have plans to read for about 8 hours today–the rest of my day off will be spent with my husband, daughter (I’m one daughter short because my eldest up and moved away for a job!), and with some other family this evening for my dad’s birthday.  But, I intend on having fun and enjoying every moment of reading time I have.

I’m excited to share the love of reading with other read-a-thon’ers all over the world.  Have fun!

image


Leave a comment

Shadow of Whimsy Blog Tour


Shadow of Whimsy: A Cape Cod Love Story
by Ann Hymes

Publication Date: June 15, 2016
Secant Publishing
Hardcover, Paperback, eBook

Genre: Contemporary/Women’s Fiction/Literary

Add to GR Button

Several generations of one family have lived, loved, and lied at Whimsy Towers, a unique oceanfront house in Chatham, Massachusetts. Strong women who refuse to be suffocated by marriage have found excitement and refuge in this house filled with artists and parties. Love surfaces in unexpected ways.

The newest owner, Theresa Alston Crandall, has just inherited the property and leaves her too-predictable husband in Virginia to spend time on the Cape and unravel family secrets and history. She swims, reflects, explores, and watches dramatic cloud formations float high over the ocean as she sorts through the choices in her path forward.

Romance arrives in the form of a young widower and landscape gardener with an awesome pickup truck, who likes Theresa’s dog and provides temptation to stay at Whimsy Towers. Tips of tree branches dance with the weight of birds that seem to scream warnings of danger, and the churning ocean disrupts family continuity.

Theresa learns how her Southern grandmother came to buy a storm-weathered New England house and how loveless marriage is not a mandatory life style. The final decision feels just right.

“In her debut novel, Hymes presents a conflicted young woman who is beginning to question her humdrum existence. From grief and loss to forgiveness and redemption, Hymes does not hold back. The author steers clear of predictable outcomes in this unexpected story, providing ample romantic suspense and witty prose to keep the reader turning pages. Chock-full of rich descriptions of the New England coast, as well as surprising scandals and an adorable dog named Gypsy, the book should satisfy even seasoned beach readers. A captivating and uplifting tale best suited for fans of meaningful beach-town romances.” -Kirkus Reviews

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo

My Review

SHADOW OF WHIMSY: A CAPE COD LOVE STORY is a book of few pages.  But, those pages contain the charm and wit of many books.  This is Ann Hymes first novel and it’s an enjoyable one.

This book has it all–love, mystery, family.  The author has a knack for description, and, though I’ve never been to New England, I feel like I’ve been there after finishing the book.  Characters aren’t your typical which I always appreciate.  This isn’t your run of the mill romance as it’s quite unpredictable.  I was immediately pulled into the story and stayed there until the last page.

With a refreshing book that gives you the unexpected, I give SHADOW OF WHIMSY: A CAPE COD LOVE STORY by Ann Hymes 3 stars ***.

Thank you to Amy from Book Junkie Promotions for inviting me to participate in this tour.  I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author

Ann Hymes is a retired real estate broker and mother of two grown daughters. She has a B.A. in English from Mills College and an M.A. in English from Washington College. Her published work includes creative nonfiction. An active international volunteer, including service in the Peace Corps in the 1960s, Ann lives in St. Michaels, Maryland.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 27
Kick Off at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, February 28
Spotlight at The Lit Bitch
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, March 1
Review at Books, Dreams, Life

Thursday, March 2
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Friday, March 3
Spotlight at Cafinated Reads

Monday, March 6
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Tuesday, March 7
Review at Book Drunkard
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Friday, March 10
Review & Interview at The Book Junkie Reads

Tuesday, March 14
Spotlight at Susan Heim on Writing

Wednesday, March 15
Review at Book Nerd

Thursday, March 16
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Tuesday, March 21
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter

Friday, March 24
Review at Blushing Babes Are Up All Night

Giveaway

Five copies of Shadow of Whimsy: A Cape Cod Love Story are up for grabs during the blog tour! To enter, please click the link below.

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on March 10th. You must be 18 or older toenter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US 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.

 

Direct Link: https://gleam.io/53SYk/shadow-of-whimsy

 

 

 


Leave a comment

Solo by Jill Mansell, review


ABOUT THE BOOK:

It all starts at a party, as these things often do…

– A one-night stand with far-reaching consequences
– Momentarily enamored guests going home with all the wrong people
– An unfaithful wife struck by jealousy and getting a dose of her own medicine
– A shocking family secret revealed at the worst possible moment

One fling follows another, and now the whole community is embroiled in a great big web of deceit, the untangling of which will charm you, amuse you, make you laugh and make you cry.

MY REVIEW:

I’m not going to lie.  This is not my favourite Jill Mansell book.  The story line is just okay, the characters were annoying for the most part (I did enjoy a few of the minor characters–the book should have been about them) and I was seriously galled that either of the main male characters should end up with women in the end.  They are AWFUL!  The only thing they should have ended up with is syphilis.

BUT, I read the entire thing and wasn’t able to put it down so there is that.

With great writing I always expect from Jill Mansell, but with the worst bunch of characters I’ve had the displeasure of meeting in a long time, I give SOLO, 2.5 stars.

I received an ebook copy of this title from SOURCEBOOKS Landmark via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review