Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Blog Tour Guest Post by Deborah Lincoln, Author of Agnes Canon's War

Please join me in welcoming author Deborah Lincoln to Let Them Read Books! Deborah is touring the blogosphere with her historical fiction novel, Agnes Canon's War. I'm thrilled to have her here today with a guest post about the inspiration for the novel. Read on for some insight into the art of blending fact and fiction!

Agnes Canon’s War: Honoring the “Bit Players” of History
by Deborah Lincoln

I once mentioned to my eight-year-old niece that I was writing a story about her several-times great grandma, and she said, emphatically, that she wasn’t at all interested in reading about dead people. She wanted to read about live people, by which I think she meant Harry Potter.

I understand that. Not everyone enjoys historical fiction; it can be an acquired taste. But how can you pass up a story like this?

Pre-Civil War America: A young man leaves his home in Maine and walks to Pennsylvania, hoping to get into a course of medical training, but is turned down. He teaches school, meets a young woman whose father rejects his suit, heads west, crosses the Panama Isthmus to California, joins the army as a doctor during the Mexican War, returns east, marries the girl who waited ten years for him and moves to Missouri.

Meanwhile, a young woman with a horde of sisters (and one brother) joins a group of family
members emigrating to the Missouri frontier (how hard is that for a single woman in the 1850s?), where she meets and marries a widowed doctor whose secessionist views land them in all sorts of troubles during the war and result in their exile to the Montana wilderness at its end. Further adventures ensue.

These are the bit players of history, and these are the facts of their lives. This is you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up territory: why invent a plot when there it is, needing just a little flesh on its bones, full of enduring lessons about life, love, hate, war, freedom — all those great truths we turn to literature to illuminate.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Spotlight + Giveaway: Feel by Karen-Anne Stewart

Please join Karen-Anne Stewart as she tours the blogosphere with Book Junkie Promotions for her new romance, Feel, from December 15-19, and enter to win an autographed copy of Feel plus a $15 gift card!

Publication Date: December 15, 2014 | eBook, Paperback | ISBN-10: 1502757745
Genre: New Adult, Paranormal Romance

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The one whose emotions I can't feel is the one who makes me feel the most.

I was a sensitive, at least that's what I was told by the boy who saved me from the overwhelming emotions that consumed my soul, the boy who saved me from myself when my gift became stronger. Through the years, he was my redemption, my reason to take my next breath...then, he was gone.

Jensen always told me I was strong, but I didn't believe him until I was forced to be strong on my own, and I kept breathing without him. I've taken 42 million breaths since the moment he sent me away. Now, four years later, he's standing in front of me, and I can barely breathe.

This isn't just a story about the abilities I possess; it's a story about something much stronger...the love of the man who possesses every part of me.

***Disclaimer - Feel is intended for readers 18+ due to strong language, mature scenes, and some violence.

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Spotlight + Giveaway: Noah's Wife by T.K. Thorne

Please join T.K. Thorne as she tours with the blogosphere with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for Noah's Wife from December 15-19, and enter to win an autographed copy & magnetic bookmark!

Publication Date: April 17, 2011 | Blackburn Fork Publishing 
Formats: AudioBook, Ebook, Paperback | Pages: 352p
Genre: Historical Fiction

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ForeWord Reviews 2009 Historical Fiction BOOK OF THE YEAR.

A novel set in 5500 BCE can’t possibly relate to today’s issues— or can it?

Dysfunctional family relationships • Sexual abuse • Kidnapping • Love triangle •  Religious freedom • Autism • Cultural Change

This award-winning novel touches all of these issues with wisdom and humor.

From the perspective of a young girl with what is now known as Aspergers, Thorne weaves twists into the Biblical story, entwining myth, history, and archaeological findings with her vivid imagination.

Na’amah wishes only to be a shepherdess on her beloved hills in ancient Turkey— a desire shattered by the hatred of her powerful brother and the love of two men.

Her savant abilities and penchant to speak truth forces her to walk a dangerous path in an age of change— a time of challenge to the goddess’ ancient ways, when cultures clash and the earth itself is unstable. When foreign raiders kidnap her, Na’amah’s journey to escape and return home becomes an attempt to save her people from the disaster only she knows is coming.

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Friday, December 12, 2014

Blog Tour Q&A + Giveaway with Mercedes Rochelle, Author of Heir to a Prophecy

Please join me in welcoming author Mercedes Rochelle to Let Them Read books! Mercedes is touring the blogosphere with her first historical fiction novel, Heir to a Prophecy, a novel that addresses a burning question left hanging in Shakespeare's MacBeth. I recently had the chance to ask Mercedes a few questions about the inspiration for her novel and the challenges of researching and writing in this time period. Read on, and enter to win a paperback copy of Heir to a Prophecy!

Can you tell us about your inspiration for writing Heir to a Prophecy?

I had always loved Macbeth, but the question about Fleance bothered me for years. Banquo is killed and Fleance gets away. What happed to him? What Kings were the Witches talking about? Why did Shakespeare just drop the subplot? I can only assume the answers to my questions were common knowledge in Shakespeare’s day, but I think they are lost to most modern readers. I finally woke up and realized I could research the question myself. Luckily I stumbled across a rare book that had a long paragraph about Fleance’s fate and the life of his illegitimate son. I had a hard time knitting the pieces together (Fleance’s son moved around a lot), but I discovered that my story dropped me into the midst of  momentous events.

What kind of research did you do while writing this novel? Did you come across anything that surprised you?

I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I researched this novel before the internet came along, then put it aside when I started my own business. I spent most of my time in the bowels of the Princeton University Library blowing dust off of long-neglected books. It was the best adventure ever! Then I traveled to England on a book-buying tour and found a complete six-volume set of Edward A. Freeman’s “The Norman Conquest,” which is still very difficult to find. This was my most precious discovery, because Freeman covers everything in exhaustive detail. I think I got more interesting information out of these obscure sources than I now find on the internet. These days, you’ll find the same passage again and again. And easy access to the World Wide Web has made me a lazy researcher! There are still a lot of books that haven’t been “scanned,” and I need to retrace my researching roots.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Blog Tour Guest Post + Giveaway from Sherryl Caulfield, Author of Seldom Come By

Please join me in welcoming author Sherryl Caulfield to Let Them Read Books! Sherryl is touring the blogosphere with the first book in her Iceberg Trilogy, Seldom Come By, and today she joins us to discuss this historical romance set in Newfoundland on the eve of WWI. Read on to learn more about the icebergs that inspire Sherryl and her heroine, Rebecca, and enter to win one of five autographed copies of Seldom Come By!

Many people are surprised to discover my novel is set in Newfoundland, a harsh climate on the edge of the Atlantic, frozen and wind-pummelled for many months of the year. In 1914, two years after the sinking of the Titanic, Newfoundland was once again in the news after two nautical accidents claimed the lives of 251 sealers. The place should almost come with its own warning sign. It doesn’t strike you as a romantic place of grandeur or intrigue or conflict in the traditional sense. Yet it is and it was. For off the coast of Newfoundland are icebergs – treacherous icebergs, yes – but magnificent icebergs all the same – white towering peaks piercing the skyline, aqua blue meltwater trailing down glittering sides, mythical creatures revealed in icy magnitude.

For me, and my soon to be fifteen-year-old heroine, Rebecca Crowe, icebergs represent something magical; a sign of lightness in the darkness, a sign of hope and endless possibilities. For Rebecca icebergs are the most exciting spectacle in the months of monotony and mediocrity that mark her year. In the spring of 1914, Rebecca, who lives and breathes longing, is looking out to sea, yearning for an iceberg, multiple icebergs, when she discovers a shipwrecked sailor and her world is never the same again.

Nineteen-year-old Samuel Dalton, near death, with his blonde straggly hair and his out-of-this-world smile and his far-flung experiences and talk of nude Rodin sculptures and the teal waters of the Caribbean, is like no one Rebecca has ever imagined, let alone met. The summer Samuel stays with them, recovering from his misadventure at sea, ignoring requests from his brother, Matthew, to come home to Toronto, is the most exciting summer of Rebecca’s life. And then war breaks out.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

I've Got Some Winners to Announce!

Denise K.

Amy C.

Anita Y.

Emails have gone out to the winners.
Thanks to everyone who took the time to read and comment on these posts! Check my sidebar for more great giveaways!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Blog Tour Review ~ A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii

From the Back Cover:

Pompeii was a lively resort flourishing in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius at the height of the Roman Empire. When Vesuvius erupted in an explosion of flame and ash, the entire town would be destroyed. Some of its citizens died in the chaos, some escaped the mountain's wrath . . . and these are their stories: 

A boy loses his innocence in Pompeii's flourishing streets. 
An heiress dreads her wedding day, not knowing it will be swallowed by fire. 
An ex-legionary stakes his entire future on a gladiator bout destined never to be finished. 
A crippled senator welcomes death, until a tomboy on horseback comes to his rescue. 
A young mother faces an impossible choice for her unborn child as the ash falls. 
A priestess and a whore seek redemption and resurrection as the town is buried. 

Six authors bring to life overlapping stories of patricians and slaves, warriors and politicians, villains and heroes who cross each others' path during Pompeii's fiery end. But who will escape, and who will be buried for eternity?

My Thoughts:

If you are fascinated by the fate of Pompeii and its residents and gobble up the documentaries on the history channels, like me, and recently watched the big Hollywood action flick Pompeii and were disappointed in it, as I was, treat yourself to A Day of Fire and prepare to immerse yourself in the heart of a city on the brink of destruction. I'd had the pleasure of reading four of the authors featured in this collection before, so I just knew this had to be good, and it was!

A Day of Fire was a unique read for me. I've read a few novella collections, but never was one constructed in such a way that all of the stories truly worked together to form a whole picture, and it's genius in its design. The stories follow the progression of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, from the warning-filled days leading up to the eruption to the scramble for survival as ash and stone rain down on the streets to the final deathly silence that remains after the pyroclastic flow entombs the city.

The reader experiences this devastating event from the points of view of six main characters, the Son, the Heiress, the Soldier, the Senator, the Mother, and the Whore, and I loved the way featuring different people from different walks of life in different parts of the city combined to form such a complete picture of life in Pompeii. Even the manner in which these people were connectedfriends of friends, business relationships, romantic encounters, common enemies, chance meetings
underscored the humanity and sense of community in this hedonistic resort town where pleasuresand peopleare bought and sold, and where everyone has an angle.