Thursday, April 23, 2015

Spotlight: The Children of Ankh Series by Kim Cormack

What if....
The things that go bump in the night that you thought were simply a figment of your wild imagination are in fact very real. 
Would you live your life differently if you knew that you were going to be corrected.....
Erased from this world sometime around your sixteenth birthday.
You and your twin sister were never meant to be born....
There will be no place to run....
No place to hide....
You won't even know they're coming.
Do you have what it takes to survive your Correction?
Do you have what it takes to leave your humanity behind?
If your answer is yes, then hold on tight...
It’s going to be one hell of a ride!

As her vision flickered one last time, the man was gone. It was her mother looking into her eyes.
Her mother's eyes were filled with so much love that it seemed to release her from her pain and fear as it had when she was a small child. Her mother cradled her as a baby, rocking her back and forth. She was safe now in her mother's arms. She was at peace. Mommy, her heart sang, you're here to save me.

The warmth of her mother's love enveloped her tortured soul. She looked into her mother's eyes. She touched Kayn's face and started to sing a song that she had sung to her every night when she was very small.

Sleep, sweet sleep till the morning
Just dream away and close your eyes
My love you'll be safe until the morning
Sleeping in my heart, all through the night
Although bad dreams come to scare you
My love will scare them all away
My heart

The lights flickered, the pain went away, and her mother was holding her, singing "Sleep, sweet sleep."

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Blog Tour Guest Post + Giveaway: Godwine Kingmaker by Mercedes Rochelle

Please join me in welcoming Mercedes Rochelle back to Let Them Read Books! Mercedes was here last year with a Q&A about her novel, Heir to a Prophecy, and she's here today with a guest post about Edmund Ironside and her new novel, Godwine Kingmaker: Part One of The Last Great Saxon Earls. Read on and enter for a chance to win a paperback copy!

Publication Date: April 24, 2015 (US & UK)
Top Hat Books
Formats: Kindle eBook, Paperback
351 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

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Harold Godwineson, the Last Anglo-Saxon King, owed everything to his father. Who was this Godwine, first Earl of Wessex and known as the Kingmaker? Was he an unscrupulous schemer, using King and Witan to gain power? Or was he the greatest of all Saxon Earls, protector of the English against the hated Normans? The answer depends on who you ask. He was befriended by the Danes, raised up by Canute the Great, given an Earldom and a wife from the highest Danish ranks. He sired nine children, among them four Earls, a Queen and a future King. Along with his power came a struggle to keep his enemies at bay, and Godwine’s best efforts were brought down by the misdeeds of his eldest son Swegn. Although he became father-in-law to a reluctant Edward the Confessor, his fortunes dwindled as the Normans gained prominence at court. Driven into exile, Godwine regathered his forces and came back even stronger, only to discover that his second son Harold was destined to surpass him in renown and glory.

Edmund Ironside, Hero or Fool?
by Mercedes Rochelle

Edmund Ironside’s foray into written history was as dynamic as it was brief. 1016 was a pivotal year for England, as we see the death of two kings and an awful lot of Danish activity. By the time King Aethelred the Unready died in April of that year, Canute was entrenched in Wessex, with London as his aim. Edmund was declared Aethelred’s successor and immediately set about to bring Wessex back to fold, so to speak. He was generally successful in finding men willing to fight for him, and giving Canute a run for his money.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Spotlight + Giveaway: The Silver Witch by Paula Brackston

The Silver Witch
Paula Brackston

April 21, 2015
Thomas Dunne Books
Hardcover, ebook
320 pages
ISBN13: 9781250028792


A year after her husband’s sudden death, ceramic artist Tilda Fordwells finally moves into the secluded Welsh cottage that was to be their new home. She hopes that the tranquil surroundings will help ease her grief, and lessen her disturbing visions of Mat’s death. Instead, the lake in the valley below her cottage seems to spark something dormant in her – a sensitivity, and a power of some sort. Animals are drawn to her, electricity shorts out when she’s near, and strangest of all, she sees a new vision; a boatful of ancient people approaching her across the water.

On this same lake in Celtic times lived Seren, a witch and shaman. She was respected but feared, kept separate from the community for her strange looks. When a vision came to her of the Prince amid a nest of vipers she warned of betrayal from one of his own. Prince Brynach both loved and revered her, but could not believe someone close to him wished him harm, even as the danger grew.

In her own time, Tilda’s grief begins to fade beside her newfound powers and a fresh love. When she explores the lake’s ancient magic and her own she discovers Seren, the woman in her vision of the boat. Their two lives strangely mirror each others, suggesting a strong connection between the women. As Tilda comes under threat from a dark power, one reminiscent of Seren’s prophecy, she must rely on Seren and ancient magic if death and disaster are not to shatter her life once more.

Praise for Paula Brackston's books:

"Vivid Welsh historical details, haunting surroundings, and Gothic magical elements both enchant and perplex the reader as Tilda and Dylan strive to unravel the mysteries of the past before the present danger overwhelms them. Readers who savor richly detailed paranormal fiction or have enjoyed Brackston's previous novels will want to give this one a try." (Library Journal)

"There's a whiff of Harry Potter in the witchy conflict...Love of landscape and lyrical writing lend charm, but it's Brackston's full-blooded storytelling that will hook the reader." (Kirkus Review on The Winter Witch)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Blog Tour Guest Post + Giveaway by Alison McMahan, Author of The Saffron Crocus

Please join me in welcoming author Alison McMahan to Let Them Read Books! Alison is touring the blogosphere with her brand new young adult historical fiction novel, The Saffron Crocus, winner of the 2014 Rosemary Award for Best Historical for Young Adults. Alison has a fascinating post for us today about swordfighting, and she's brought along a paperback copy of The Saffron Crocus for one lucky reader!

Venice, 1643. Isabella, fifteen, longs to sing in Monteverdi’s Choir, but only boys (and castrati) can do that. Her singing teacher, Margherita, introduces her to a new wonder: opera! Then Isabella finds Margherita murdered. Now people keep trying to kill Margherita’s handsome rogue of a son, Rafaele.

Was Margherita killed so someone could steal her saffron business? Or was it a disgruntled lover, as Margherita—unbeknownst to Isabella—was one of Venice’s wealthiest courtesans?

Or will Isabella and Rafaele find the answer deep in Margherita’s past, buried in the Jewish Ghetto?

Isabella has to solve the mystery of the Saffron Crocus before Rafaele hangs for a murder he didn’t commit, though she fears the truth will drive her and the man she loves irrevocably apart.

by Alison McMahan

The story of The Saffron Crocus is set in Venice, 1643. The heroine is fifteen-year-old Isabella. She longs to sing in Monteverdi’s Choir, but only boys and castrati can do that. Her singing teacher, Margherita, introduces her to the opera, where women can sing for a living. But then Isabella finds Margherita murdered.  Next someone tries to kill Margherita’s handsome rogue of a son, Rafaele. So Rafaele and Isabella have to stop the murderer together.

In the 17th century most people carried weapons on their person for self-defense, or to defend their honor. Rafaele, like most men, wears a sword, specifically, a sabre. So, just as a gun on the mantelpiece in the first act has to go off in the third act, with all those sabres rattling around, there had to be swordfights in my story.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Blog Tour Q&A + Giveaway with Marianne Perry, Author of The Inheritance

Please join me in welcoming author Marianne Perry to Let Them Read books! Marianne is touring the blogosphere with her debut historical fiction novel, The Inheritance! She's talking today about family mysteries and obsessions, and she's brought along an ebook copy of The Inheritance for one lucky reader!

The Inheritance tells the story of a family disintegrating from conflicting loyalties in Calabria, southern Italy. Set during the period 1897 to 1913, the region was subject to earthquakes and tsunamis; the land was harsh and poverty the norm. Superstition clashed with religion and a class system ruled the people. Calabria is the perfect backdrop for the tragedy that unfolds in The Inheritance.

Caterina is an atypical woman, and The Inheritance chronicles her life from birth to young womanhood. Born with an inheritance of loss into a society that has predetermined what she can and cannot do, she vows to live a life of her choosing. Caterina refuses to allow the limits of her gender, the constraints of her class and the demands imposed by those in power to stand in her way. Caterina remains steadfast in her commitment to become the woman she imagines. Her decisions ignite conflicts and fuel a chain of events that result in dire consequences for all whose path she crosses.

Thanks so much for being here today, Marianne!

How have family mysteries impacted your life?

a). Prompted me to study ancestral history
b). Influenced my travels
c). Inspired my writing

Nana Caterina, my paternal grandmother, was born in 1889 in an isolated mountain village in Calabria, a region in southern Italy. Leaving loved ones behind, she boarded a steamship in 1912, journeyed as a steerage passenger across the Atlantic Ocean, landed at Ellis Island, New York, settled in Northern Ontario, Canada, married my grandfather and raised nine children that included my late father. She never returned to Calabria and learning about her early life compelled me to act on the above.

What would stop you from going home? 

Intrigue about answering this question spurred my genealogical research and drove me to travel to Calabria twice. On my first trip, I visited the place of my grandmother’s birth, scoured the local cemetery and obtained documents informing me about her past.

To this day and despite ongoing efforts, however, the reasons why my Nana Caterina never went home remain shrouded in mystery.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Blog Tour Review + Giveaway: The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg

From the Back Cover:

At the beginning of this powerful novel, we meet Aurore Dupin as she is leaving her estranged husband, a loveless marriage, and her family’s estate in the French countryside to start a new life in Paris. There, she gives herself a new name—George Sand—and pursues her dream of becoming a writer, embracing an unconventional and even scandalous lifestyle.

Paris in the nineteenth century comes vividly alive, illuminated by the story of the loves, passions, and fierce struggles of a woman who defied the confines of society. Sand’s many lovers and friends include Frédéric Chopin, Gustave Flaubert, Franz Liszt, Eugène Delacroix, Victor Hugo, Marie Dorval, and Alfred de Musset. As Sand welcomes fame and friendship, she fights to overcome heartbreak and prejudice, failure and loss. Though considered the most gifted genius of her time, she works to reconcile the pain of her childhood, of disturbing relationships with her mother and daughter, and of her intimacies with women and men. Will the life she longs for always be just out of reach—a dream?

Brilliantly written in luminous prose, and with remarkable insights into the heart and mind of a literary force, The Dream Lover tells the unforgettable story of a courageous, irresistible woman.

My Thoughts:

I was eagerly anticipating this novel of groundbreaking French author George Sand's life. I confess I did not know much about her beforehand, other than that she was a famous writer and that she had a relationship with Frederic Chopin, one of my favorite composers. I've been on a roll lately with good fiction about women in history, and so I couldn't wait to dig in.

The story begins as an older and ailing George reflects on her life, and then takes us back to alternating scenes from her childhood and the years when she strikes out for Paris on her own after leaving her husband. Aurore, as she was known in the beginning, is a sympathetic woman, one who survived a "poor little rich girl" upbringing and an unhappy marriage to find the courage to seize opportunity and make her own dreams come true. She is fortunate in that she finds success very early on, and this paves the way for her to command her own destiny and live her life on her own terms, which included dressing as a man for the freedom and simplicity of the clothing, smoking cigars, sitting at the "men's table" with various stars of the literary and art scene in Paris, running her beloved country estate, dictating how her children were to be raised and educated, and seeking affection from a multitude of lovers.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Book Blast: The British Agent Series by M.K. McClintock

Please follow M.K. McClintock's Book Blast for her British Agent Series, from April 13-17, and enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Book One: Alaina Claiborne

Publication Date: January 8th, 2013 Trappers Peak Publishing ISBN: 978-0615742502 Series: British Agent Novels, Book One Genre: Historical Romantic Mystery

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How far would you go to avenge your family and save the one you love? In nineteenth-century England, Alaina Claiborne had a loving family, a cherished friend, and devoted servants. She spent her days riding across the grassy hills of the English countryside, joyful and at peace. Then tragedy strikes and her world is forever changed. Searching for those responsible is her only focus . . . until she meets Tristan. Tristan Sheffield, a man of many talents, searches out those who don’t want to be found. His past is filled with secrets and deeds he would rather leave deeply buried. However, when his life unexpectedly entwines with Alaina's, he soon discovers they share more than a mutual desire to catch a murderer. On their hunt for a man driven by greed, Tristan and Alaina find that love is the greatest weapon against evil, and they'll stop at nothing to survive.

Praise for Alaina Claiborne

"This one is a winner. It broke my heart several times, the poignant moments she describes are so real." -Deborah from The Bookish Dame Reviews

"Ms. McClintock succeeds in masterfully weaving both genres meticulously together until mystery lovers are sold on romance and romance lovers love the mystery!" -InD'Tale Magazine

"With a strong female lead and a nice mix of both action and romance, this novel tops my list." -Judge, Writer's Digest 21st Annual Self-Published Book Awards

Official Book Trailer