August 1, 2014

Butternut Summer by Mary McNear


I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review

Butternut Summer by Mary McNear
The Butternut Lake Trilogy #2
Published August 12, 2014
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780062283160

Synopsis: Every summer on Butternut Lake, the tourists arrive, the shops open, and the waves lap up on its tree-lined shore, just as they have for years. But this season, everything changes for Caroline and her daughter Daisy, who have always called the lake home. Caroline’s ex-husband Jack has returned for the first time in years. He is just as handsome and charming as she remembers, but has he changed his irresponsible ways? Caroline is tempted to let him back into her life, but is skeptical following the heartbreak she felt so long ago. For Daisy, summer is filled with surprises, such as reuniting with a father she hardly knows, and falling in love for the first time with Will, the town “bad boy” whom her mother doesn’t approve of.

A summer full of surprises, Caroline and Daisy come to realize that even if Butternut Lake won’t change, life will. Readers will absolutely love this dual mother-daughter love story, set in one of the most scenic, romantic places imaginable.

My review: This second installment of the series was just as good as the first one. I like how it makes me feel as if I am back home again as I am from the Midwest. The author again does a great job in developing the characters and their relationships to make this story believable, it could be any mother daughter. Butternut Summer is a love story but at the same time a story of a great mother - daughter bond. This book would make a great end of summer read that will have you flying through the pages. Although this book is part of a trilogy but you are able to read it as a standalone but you will find yourself wanting to go back and read the first one Up at Butternut Lake

Mary McNear is a writer living in San Francisco with her husband, two teenage children, and a high-strung, miniscule white dog named Macaroon. She writes her novels in a local donut shop where she sips Diet Pepsi, observes the hubbub of neighborhood life and tries to resist the constant temptation of freshly-made donuts. She bases her novels on a lifetime of summers spent in a small town on a lake in the Northern Midwest.

July 30, 2014

Here and Again by Nicole R. Dickson - Book Spotlight and Giveaway


NAL Accent/Penguin
Trade paperback, $15.00/$17.00 Canadian
Kindle $15.00
400 pages
ISBN: 978-0-451-46677-8
ASIN: B00G3L13CO
June 3, 2014
Complimentary Digital Download for Review available at NetGalley [For press, professionals & bloggers only]
Genre: Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction

Deep in the Shenandoah Valley, the present and the past are as restless as the river mists. And when they collide, the heart is the only compass pointing home.
 
For nurse Ginger Martin, her late husband’s farm is both a treasured legacy and the harbinger of an uncertain future. Since he was recently killed in Iraq, every day is fraught with grief that won’t abate. Keeping the farm going and nourishing her children’s hopes without him seems as impossible as having dreams for the future—or going back into the past...
 
By a curious coincidence, a stranger appears in Ginger’s life, always showing up to help in unexpected and much-needed ways. He says he’s a soldier, lost and trying to make his way home, but Ginger understands that Samuel is a kindred spirit, longing to repair a life interrupted. The challenges of their hopes and longings will test who they really are in the most heartbreaking of ways. And only by coming to terms with their losses and the necessity of change will Ginger and Samuel be able to each make a future of their own—and discover at last where their true home lies...

Author Nicole R. Dickson creates an indelible, delicate world filled with heartbreak and hope, seamlessly weaving past and present, and tying together the personal price we pay for legacy, war and duty.

Praise for Here and Again 

"If you could seamlessly blend the movie The Field of Dreams with Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife and season liberally with John Jakes' North and South, you might find yourself with this unputdownable book.  Dickson deftly draws the humanity out of two wars in which the U.S. has seen many horrors and places Ginger's story against a backdrop that blends scars from the two... Ginger's pain will resonate and stick with readers who will want to move to a farm - with horse-drawn plows - and hug each and every one in Ginger's circle." -- RT Review, June 2014


"Ginger Martin lives on a farm in the Shenandoah Valley with her children and working as a nurse. Now her in-laws want to sell the farm and Ginger wonders how she can keep it. But the farm is her children's legacy, and Ginger is determined to hold on to her home. The appearance of a stranger dressed in a Civil War uniform will change everything. Dickson seamlessly blends past and present in this deeply satisfying novel of a family coming together after a devastating loss, finding strength in the most unexpected of places, and discovering exactly where they truly belong." – Booklist, June 2014 


About Nicole R. Dickson
Nicole R. Dickson is the author of two novels, the first of which, Casting Off (2009), was a top ten entry in the first Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award in 2008. Additionally, as a business executive, she writes essays on leadership and defining brand. An avid student of history, she can most often be found buried in that section of the library and finds many of the books there follow her home to rest on her bedside table. Here and Again is her second novel.

Twitter: @nicolerdickson


For interviews and press assets, please contact Darlene Chan at darlene@darlenechanpr.com

BOOK EXCERPT

Chapter 13
Moonshine
The house had been full of words and shuffling feet as Ginger tried to serve coffee to the Martins. They, however, would not settle; instead they followed Osbee from one room to another, trying to beat sense into her with argument and tenacious pursuit. But everyone was talking and no one was listening any longer, so the words just floated about the kitchen, dining room, and family room like a bunch of notes played absently by a small child on a piano. None of it made sense and it wasn’t a pretty tune to be sure. Eventually, the long drone of discord found its way to the door, down the steps of the porch, and was silenced by the slamming of the Mercedes’s doors. At the exact moment the car rolled onto the asphalt, Beau came slinking out of the barn. Coward.
Ginger kissed Osbee on the cheek and, without any words, they made dinner. All was quiet as they ate, after which there was just a soft murmuring as baths were taken. Osbee mentioned something about exhaustion when she passed by the door to the bathroom. Ginger was towel drying Oliver when a mumbled “Good -night” was followed by the gentle closing of Osbee’s bedroom door. That was soon followed by Bea’s door shutting and Oliver climbing into bed next to his brother.
By nine p.m., silence fell through the house and Ginger slowly walked around it, room to room, turning off the lights, locking the doors. As she did so, for the first time, she pondered how many people had done these things in the hundred and forty-four years the Smoots’ Farm had stood. Then she wondered why she hadn’t thought about it before this night. When Samuel and ghosts rolled across her mind, she shivered and went upstairs quickly to bed.
There she lay down, covers tucked beneath her chin, listening to the wind and watching herself kneel in the snow near Jesse’s tree. She had asked for anything and so here she was, in an old house, on ancient land, waiting for a ghost to help her—farm.
“Be careful what you ask for,” she whispered, breathing in the scent of coffee that was now brewing in the kitchen. She hadn’t slept a wink, and when her cell phone alarm sounded at eleven thirty p.m., she turned it off. It was time to get up—time to go to work. As she rolled out of her covers, a large shadow moved in the far corner of the room. An electric zap of terror seized her spine and instantly, she reached for the lamp next to her bed.
“Don’t!” Samuel said, but it was too late. It was reflex; she turned the knob.
“Ahhh!” he yelled. In the flash of light, in the second the bulb came to life, Ginger saw Samuel in the corner of the room with both of his arms flung across his face as if recoiling from a large flame. Then, he was gone.
“Samuel?” Ginger called.
The door burst open and Osbee rushed in.
“What?” the old woman asked, her eyes wide as she stood barefoot in her white nightdress.
In the light, Ginger could just make out a shadow of red undergarments through the cotton. She grinned a little.
“Uh —bad dream,” Ginger said, with a shrug as she endeavored to recover from her own start. “So sorry.”
“Holy Moses!” Osbee said, grabbing her heart. “That didn’t even sound like you.”
“It was a really bad dream,” Ginger added, climbing out of bed. “Sorry to wake you. Go on back to bed.”
Osbee shot her a sideways glance, shaking a little as she turned to go. Before she left, she paused to offer, “We’ll talk tomorrow when you get home.”
“Yeah. Oh—and Ed Rogers is coming to fix Henry’s Child.”
Osbee stopped, gazing over her shoulder. “Who?”
“Ed Rogers. Jesse bought parts for Henry’s Child before he, uh—”
“Yeah, okay.” Osbee waved to stop the rest of the sentence. “Good thing, ’cause we’ll need that tractor now.”
“Time to plow,” Ginger said as she followed the old woman into the hall.
“That’s for sure. Drive safe, daughter.”
“Always,” Ginger replied. “Love you, Osbee.”
“Love you, too.”
Ginger shut the bathroom door, stood still for just a second, and then, faster than Oliver could grab a free cookie, she was dressed and tiptoeing down the stairs. She found Beau sleeping on the couch with Regard resting just above him on the window sill. Both raised their heads as Ginger entered the living room.
“Samuel?” she whispered. She stopped to listen. Nothing.
“Samuel?” Stepping into the kitchen, she turned on the light. There was no sound except the popping of the coffee pot as it finished brewing.
“Uh —sorry,” she whispered to the empty kitchen. “I didn’t realize it was you.”
Ginger poured coffee into her traveler’s mug, grabbed her lunch from the refrigerator, slipped into her coat and boots, and quietly stepped out of the house. The yard was darker than the night before even though a sliver of moon hung above. Snow reflects light and as most of it had melted away during the day, the moon had no help brightening the night. Coming around the back of the house, she found a shadow sitting on the front fender of her truck. She halted.
“Samuel?” she whispered.
“I did not mean to startle you, Virginia. I was hoping to speak with you and could not determine how best to wake you.”
“I was awake,” she replied, walking toward the truck.
“Oh,” Samuel said, standing free of the fender.
“Why did you yell?” she asked.
“I cannot be in light.”
Ginger thought for a moment. She had seen him in the day and opened her mouth to say such.
“Electric light,” Samuel interrupted. “Electricity hurts me.”
Ginger shut her mouth, not sure she wanted any further explanation.
“To be in your house —itches a little.”
“Itches,” she repeated.
“Yes. I can will myself through your doors and windows, but not through the walls, as there is electricity there.”
She nodded as if to indicate she understood. She had, of course, no true comprehension of what he was talking about but it seemed the polite thing to do. What were manners when dealing with a ghost?
“Um —is that what you wanted to tell me?”
“No. But it is why I could not help you with the sick boy on the road.”
“Ah.” Ginger smiled. “You couldn’t get in my truck.”
“It is full of electricity. And light hurts. Bright light hurts greatly.”
“But not the sun,” Ginger stated.
“No. Nor moonshine.” Samuel pointed up at the moon, which smiled down at them like the Cheshire cat.
She nodded again and lightly danced from one foot to the other. It was cold. “I—uh –have to go to work.”
“I know. I— Would you mind if I rode with you?”
Ginger cocked her head. “I thought yo—-”
“I can sit back here,” Samuel said, walking back to the bed of the truck. “And this window opens, yes?”
He pointed to the little sliding window in the back of the cab. Oliver called it “Beau’s window”.
“It won’t hurt?”
“It’ll itch a little, I think. But we can talk. Would you mind, Virginia?”
“Not at all. Mmm. There’ll be headlights on the freeway.”
“I think I can duck. If I dissipate, though, I’ll only end up back in your orchard.”
Reticently, Ginger shuffled to the driver’s side. “You dissipated when I turned on my light,” she said.
“Yes.”
As she opened the door, Samuel, who was climbing into the bed, coughed loudly and held his hand over his nose. “What is that smell?” he asked, shaking his head.
“Jacob Esch hurled in my truck,” Ginger replied, turning on the truck. She then reached back and opened Beau’s window.
“Who is Jacob Esch and what is ‘hurled’?” Samuel said as he lifted himself into the truck bed.
“The Amish kid you found in the ditch. And ‘hurled’ means he threw up.”
Ginger shut her door, turned her lights on, and began to back down the drive. There was Samuel, a ghost, sitting with his head in Beau’s window. She shivered a little and so turned instead to her side windows to back up down the gravel drive.
“Amish. So they yet live?”
“Yep. You had Amish back the—” Her sentence stopped with the truck. What were ghostly manners?
“Back then,” Samuel finished her sentence. “We did.”
Ginger put the truck in drive and slowly made her way down the road.
 “Where are you from?” Ginger asked.
“I have said, Virginia Moon. Laurel Creek.”
“There were Amish in Laurel Creek?”
“No. My best friends had a friend who was from Pennsylvania. An Amish on rumspringa.”
“I see.”
Ginger came to the spot where she’d fallen near the fence—where Bea saw Samuel standing as she rode away in the bus. Samuel had not said anything and she looked in her rearview mirror to see if he was still there. He was, his eyes lifted to the sky.
“Light hurts, Virginia Moon. I can smell and see and hear. But I cannot touch or taste. I am left here in the world, but am not of it. That is how the Amish say they live.”
“How’s that?” Ginger turned right.
“They are in the world, not of it. But truly, they are of it. They can feel the sun and the wind. They can feel warmth of soup on a cold night and taste the salt of its broth. They can work all day beneath heaven and feel the aches of their muscles. They can touch hair, feel breath, taste lips.”
How long had it been since she’d tasted Jesse’s lips? She felt an ache in the center of her body as a car came toward the truck and she could see Samuel disappear from her rearview mirror.
The car passed. Darkness grew. Had he dissipated? “Samuel?” she called quietly.
“I am here, looking up at a Virginia moon.”
She smiled and leaned forward to see it, too.
“To farm beneath a Virginia moon,” he said.
“Hard to farm in the dark, I reckon, Samuel,” she said with a giggle.
“The orange one that rises on the harvest. Huge and round on the horizon. No sound but insects, the click of horse hooves, and the scour of the plow.”
Ginger imagined the quiet of plowing so. “I love that moon,” she said. “I like it when it’s warm on those evenings.”
“Mmm. A ginger moon,” he whispered.
Ginger giggled.
“What’s funny?” Samuel asked.
“I was thinking about my name.”
He popped up in her rearview mirror. “I love your name,” he said.
She smiled to his reflection. “My mother always wanted to name her daughter Virginia after her grandmother. My father wanted to name his child ‘Moon.’ You know my dad? The one you want to meet?”
Samuel nodded, staring at her intently.
Ginger sighed, thinking about her father. Step into the light. What if it hurts? “Yeah—Virginia Moon. My hair is strawberry blonde so my parents call me Ginger Moon.”
They had reached Highway 81 and Samuel lay down, saying, “But your hair is dark.”
“Mood hair,” she replied, accelerating.
“What?”
“My hair changes with my mood. Like a mood ring.” She laughed.
“What’s a mood ring?”
Ginger stopped laughing with a little cough. That joke didn’t translate. There must not have been mood rings back —then. “It’s a little ring with something inside the glass stone that changes color with the heat of your body. Supposedly different colors mean you’re feeling this way or that. Doesn’t really work or anything. It’s just a—thing. It was popular a while ago.”
“You change your hair with your mood?”’ Samuel asked.
Ginger shook her head. This wasn’t working. “Just a joke, Samuel.”
“Your hair changes as a joke?”
“No. The mood thing—that’s a joke. The hair color—the mood ring.” For the love of Pete.
“Why do you change your hair?”
She rolled her eyes. Could she switch subjects politely? “I don’t know. To change something. To see something new.”
“Is that why you drive so far to work?”
Ginger thought. “I don’t think I do those two things for the same reason.”
“We passed a hospital on our way, Virginia. It is closer to home.”
“I know.”
The cab of the truck fell silent. Cars passed on the left and Ginger wondered if ever anyone would believe she had a ghost riding with her. Until this morning, Samuel could be explained away logically. Now, he was her companion on her travels. Was she calling him, keeping him with her? He had said as much.
“When my husband was alive, I was more. I was greater than I am now.”
“You are the same person.”
“No—not the same. I never used to question if I was pretty because he thought me so. And smart—he thought me so. It’s like I am myself and I have respect for myself, but with him, I was more myself. And he was more himself with me. Now, I am just myself. I was more because he thought me so.”
Ginger switched into the left lane. A BMW had been going too slow for her. This made no sense.
“Look—I was born a traveler. I had a wanderlust to see the world. To be of it and in it. To walk on as it rolls endlessly beneath my feet and be dusty and sore from the road. But with him, I didn’t need to go anywhere to do that. Every day was something new. Another day to figure stuff out with him. We weren’t done with anything. We weren’t even sure we were done having kids.”
She returned to the right lane.
“But now, here I am. No more kids. I didn’t even get a choice in that. I don’t even know who I am anymore or what I want or what I like. How can I raise children and do them any justice? This wasn’t our plan. We were together in this. We were greater. I want him back. I want to see him and tell him he is more—more than anything else in the world.”
Ginger broke off, her voice cracking. Flipping on her blinker, she turned the endless loop off of 81 and onto the road that climbed into the Blue Ridge. She wept as the truck wound through Harrisonburg and crawled up the hill. The sky was clear; the air cold. She said nothing for miles as she struggled to stop crying. She came to the spot where Jacob Esch had lain drunk in the ditch and she wiped her stinging eyes.
“Are you still there?” she asked as her voice steadied.
Samuel slid up into Beau’s window.
“I called to him, Samuel. That day in the snow. And you came. An answer to my prayer.”
“I —am an answer to your prayer, Virginia Moon?”
“As sure as I’m sitting in this smelly truck.” She sniffled, taking a sip of her coffee.
“I have never been an answer to a prayer. I have been prayed over. I must confess I was hardly an obedient son. I perpetually spilled things I shouldn’t have touched or broke things I shouldn’t have played with or rode away to a far, distant place on a horse that was not our own. Many a time have I heard the prayer, ‘Lord, give me patience with this boy’ as the switch hit my backside. Never would my father believe I would be the answer to anyone’s prayer.”
Ginger looked up at the rearview mirror. Samuel’s face was shadowed by the light of her dashboard and he was smiling in the darkness of the empty road.
“Well, maybe, Samuel, one day I’ll meet your father and set him straight.”
“Will you?” He chuckled.
“Yes.” “
“And what will you say to him?”
“I will say that in the darkest day I have ever lived, your son came as an answer to my prayer. And I know now—– I know, Samuel —my husband rode the Elysian Fields home and is watching over me. Watching over our children.”
She put on her blinker and pulled into the hospital parking lot, which held more than ten vehicles. In her three shifts at Franklin, the parking lot never had so many cars when she arrived. It was a busy night at the hospital. The truck crawled closer to the lights.
“Better go now, Samuel. This is no moonshine and I would never wish you to hurt on account of me.”
“Very well. I will be home when you return,” he said quietly, and as Ginger turned into a parking space far from the emergency room door, she gazed over her shoulder to find Samuel gone.

GIVEAWAY
This giveaway is open to the US and Canada. Thank you.


July 24, 2014

The Tea Shop on Lavender Lane by Sheila Roberts

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Tea Shop on Lavender Lane by Sheila Roberts
Life in Icicle Falls Series # 5
ISBN: 9780778316183
Mass Market Paperback

Synopsis: When it comes to men, sisters don't share! 
After a fake food poisoning incident in L.A., Bailey Sterling's dreams of becoming a caterer to the stars collapse faster than a soufflĂ©. Now Bailey's face is in all the gossip rags and her business is in ruins. But the Sterling women close ranks and bring her back to Icicle Falls, where she'll stay with her sister Cecily. 
All goes well between the sisters until Bailey comes up with a new business idea—a tea shop on a charming street called Lavender Lane. She's going into partnership with Todd Black, who—it turns out—is the man Cecily's started dating. It looks to Cecily as if there's more than tea brewing in that cute little shop. And she's not pleased. 
Wait! Isn't Cecily seeing Luke Goodman? He's a widower with an adorable little girl, and yes, Cecily does care about him. But Todd's the one who sends her zing-o-meter off the charts. So now what? Should you have to choose between your sister and the man you love (or think you love)?


My review: As with the rest of this series I absolutely loved this book. When I start reading any of Sheila's book I want to savor each of them so I find myself reading even slower so that it will last me. I felt so bad for Bailey when the start faked the food poisoning - I don't know if I would have been as nice as Bailey was - I think I would have sued her for slander. It was so nice that the sisters stepped in and brought Bailey home to help her get through this tough time. As for Cecily - I also felt bad for her as it seems she just can't get a break when it comes to love. I don't want to spoil the story by telling you what happens but you will be happy with the ending. I would love to live in Icicle Falls as it is such a quaint little town with such good people. 

The French House by Don Wallace Review plus Giveaway

I received this book in exchange for a fair an honest review.

The French House by Don Wallace
ISBN: 9781402293313
Trade Paperback

Synopsis: When life hands you lemons, make citron pressĂ©.
Shortly after Don and Mindy Wallace move to Manhattan to jump-start their writing careers, they learn of a house for sale in a village they once visited on a tiny French island off the Brittany coast. Desperate for a life change, the Wallaces bravely (and impulsively) buy it almost sight unseen.
What they find when they arrive is a ruin, and it isn't long before their lives begin to resemble it—with hilarious and heartwarming results.
Redolent with the beauty and flavors of French country life, The French House is a lively, inspiring, and irresistibly charming memoir of a family that rises from the rubble, wins the hearts of a historic village, and finally finds the home they've been seeking off the wild coast of France.
My review: I enjoyed this book reading the author's story made me feel as if I was on the "journey" with him and his wife. I would love to be able to do what they did. The "characters" in this book we fun to read about and meet. In my opinion I think the author did a good job on making this memoir read like a story. For me I wanted the story to go on a little longer as I was sucked in from page one. I recommend this book to everyone looking for a nice enjoyable read. 

PRAISE FOR THE FRENCH HOUSE

“A journalist and fiction writer’s account of how a crumbling house he bought on a French island became his family’s unexpected refuge and salvation…Warm, funny and full of heart.” – Kirkus
“You’ve never been any place as beguiling as Don Wallace’s Belle Ile. He’s a funny, literate raconteur with a story full of fine twists, soulful turns, and fantastic neighbors.” – William Finnegan, author of Cold New World
“On a tiny French island, a couple of American dreamers redefine their lives by restoring a ruin—which in this lovely, shimmering story becomes a parable of a saner, greener, more sustainable path that we all can follow if we will but listen to the wisdom of the villagers the way the Wallaces did. The French House moves to a soulful, very funny rhythm all its own.” – Meryl Streep 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Don Wallace has been a magazine writer and editor for 25 years,
and is the film editor for Honolulu Weekly.
He has held a number of senior positions at magazines, including Yachting magazine, SELF,
Golf Digest Woman at The New York Times, and others.
His essays and articles have appeared in The New York Times, Fast Company, E Magazine,
Redbook, Portfolio, Parents, and many others.
Wallace and his wife, Mindy, split their time between Honolulu, Long Beach, and Belle Ile.
Visit his website, his blog
Follow him on Facebook  |   Twitter | Goodreads | Google + | LinkedIn
Buy this book onSourcebooksAmazon (paperback or kindle), B&N (Paperback or Nook), BAMIndieBoundIndigo


Be sure to check out France Book Tours (click here) to see all the stops on the tour. 

Also entry to win this great gift baskets. The giveaway is open to US/Canada residents. Each of the 5 winners will receive a print copy of the book AND a French gift basket with chocolates. 

July 23, 2014

World’s Best Story: Rewarding readers and book bloggers for telling the world they found a great story!



I am really excited to tell you about an innovative new contest platform for both readers and writers. Laura Fabiani of iRead Book Tours is now a proud sponsor for World’s Best Story!

More and more authors and writers are discovering the power of readers. Books are written for the reader audience, so why not have a say in telling others we think a writer’s story has blockbuster potential? That’s what World’s Best Story allows you to do.
In view of this, I hope you will join me in helping to spread the word and to sign up as a member of World’s Best Story to find talented storytellers and get great prizes. 


But first let me tell you more about World’s Best Story.



World’s Best Story was launched at BookExpo America on May 28. It’s the first social contest to reward readers and writers with exclusive partner prizes. So what does this mean for you?

If you are a writer:

1. Submit your story. Entering is free and the entry period ends Aug 12.
2. Prizes include publishing contracts, celebrity master classes, trademark and IP protection, book tours, big box retail distribution, PR and marketing support and more!
3. Top ten finalists and grand prize winner will be announced at the Toronto International Book Fair on November 15, 2014.

If you are a reader:

1. You get the chance to be the judge, discover new stories and win great prizes.
2. When you sign up to become a member, you automatically get $10 to spend at Beyond the Rack. Signing up is easy, requiring only your name and email.
3. When you rate and vote you’ll get a chance to win cool prizes, and the grand prize package includes a $2000 shopping spree at Beyond the Rack!

So how can you help spread the word? There are several ways:
  • Write a post about it and you can enter in a giveaway for a $20 Amazon gift card and one of 6 $25 Beyond the Rack Gift Cards
  • Add the World’s Best Story logo on your blog with a link back to their site.
  • If you are an iRead tour host, your post will count toward your incentive program if you do the above.
  • If you are not yet an iRead tour host, join and you will qualify for the incentive program
  • Tell all your readers about WBS through social media networking.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


THANK YOU!

July 18, 2014

The Queen's Exiles by Barbara Kyle

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Queen's Exiles by Barbara Kyle
Thornleigh Saga #6
ISBN: 978075827324
Trade Paperback

Synopsis: 1572. Europe is in turmoil. A vengeful faction of exiled English Catholics is plotting to overthrow Queen Elizabeth and install her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots on the throne. And in the Netherlands the streets are red with the blood of those who dare to oppose the brutal Spanish occupation. But amid the unrest, one resourceful young woman has made a lucrative enterprise. Scottish-born Fenella Doorn salvages crippled vessels. It is on one of these ships that she meets wealthy Baron Adam Thornleigh. Secretly drawn to him, Fenella can’t refuse when Adam enlists her to join him in war-torn Brussels to help find his traitorous wife, Frances—and the children she’s taken from him. But Adam and Fenella will put their lives in peril as they attempt to rescue his young ones, defend the Crown, and restore a peace that few can remember. 

With eloquent and enthralling finesse, Barbara Kyle illuminates one of history's grimmest chapters. The Queen's Exiles breathes new life into an extraordinary age when love and freedom could only be won with unmitigated courage.


My review: This was a great addition to the Thornleigh Saga. I enjoyed this book from page one as I have each one in this series. It was packed full of drama and action which keeps you turning the pages. Barbara does a great job with her character development as well as making you feel as if you are in Europe at this time by her descriptions of the scenes. Another thing that I liked about this book is that even though it is a Tudor novel it is not set in England which is a change of pace for these types of books. It gives us a new perspective of this time period. If you have not read any of the rest of the series that is ok you can read this by itself but I am sure you will want to go back and read the rest after you are done. I am looking forward to the next book in this series. 


Be sure to stop by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours (click here) to see all the stops on The Queen's Exiles book tour.

Praise for The Queen’s Exiles

“Riveting Tudor drama in the bestselling vein of Philippa Gregory” – USA Today
“A bold and original take on the Tudors that dares to be different. Enjoy the adventure!” – Susanna Kearsley, New York Times bestselling author
“This moving adventure pulses with Shakespearean passions: love and heartbreak, risk and valour, and loyalties challenged in a savage time. Fenella Doorn, savvy and brave, is an unforgettable heroine.” – Antoni Cimolino, Artistic Director of the Stratford Festival
“Brilliant. A page-turner of love and loyalty in treacherous Tudor times. A truly unforgettable adventure.” – Deborah Swift, author of A Divided Inheritance
“A vivid and compelling novel by an author at the very top of her craft.” – Diane Haeger, author of I, Jane

Praise for Barbara Kyle’s Books

“Kyle knows what historical fiction readers crave.” – RT Book Reviews on Blood Between Queens
“A complex and fast-paced plot mixing history with vibrant characters” – Publishers Weekly on The King’s Daughter
“An all-action thriller, bringing to life the passion and perils of the Tudor period.” – Lancashire Evening Post on The King’s Daughter
“Riveting…adventurous…superb!” – The Historical Novels Review on The Queen’s Gamble
“An exciting tale of the intrigue and political manoeuvring in the Tudor court.” – Booklist on The Queen’s Captive
“Boldly strides into Philippa Gregory territory…sweeping, gritty and realistic.” – The Historical Novels Review on The Queen’s Lady

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About the Author

Barbara Kyle is the author of the acclaimed, internationally-published Thornleigh Saga novels which follow a middle-class English family’s rise through three tumultuous Tudor reigns:
The Queen’s Exiles
Blood Between Queens
The Queen’s Gamble
The Queen’s Captive
The King’s Daughter
The Queen’s Lady
Barbara was a speaker in 2013 at the world-renowned Stratford Festival with her talk Elizabeth and Mary, Rival Queens and is known for her dynamic workshops for many writers’ organizations and conferences. Before becoming an author Barbara enjoyed a twenty-year acting career in television, film, and stage productions in Canada and the U.S.
For more information visit www.barbarakyle.com. You can also connect with Barbara at FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, June 16Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, June 17Excerpt & Giveaway at The Maiden’s Court
Wednesday, June 18Review at The True Book Addict
Friday, June 20Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Monday, June 23Review & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, June 24Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Wednesday, June 25Review & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Thursday, June 26Guest Post at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Monday, June 30Review at HF Book Muse-News
Wednesday, July 2Guest Post & Giveaway at HF Book Muse-News
Monday, July 7Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Wednesday, July 9Review at Historical Tapestry
Thursday, July 10Guest Post & Giveaway at HF Connection
Friday, July 11Review at Dianne Ascroft Blog
Monday, July 14Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Wednesday, July 16Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading
Thursday, July 17Review at Griperang’s Bookmarks
Friday, July 18Interview at Griperang’s Bookmarks
Monday, July 21Review at Always with a Book
Wednesday, July 23Guest Post & Giveaway at Always with a Book
Thursday, July 24Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Friday, July 25Review at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Monday, July 28Review at A Bookish Affair
Wednesday, July 30Guest Post & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Thursday, July 31Interview at Passages to the Past


July 17, 2014

Interview with Barbara Kyle - Author of The Queen's Exiles


I would like to welcome historical fiction author Barbara Kyle to my blog today. I had the pleasure of interviewing her so we can all learn a little more about her.

Barbara Kyle is the author of the acclaimed Thornleigh Saga novels – The Queen’s ExilesBlood Between QueensThe Queen’s GambleThe Queen’s CaptiveThe King’s Daughter and The Queen’s Lady – which follow a middle-class English family’s rise through three tumultuous Tudor reigns during which they make hard choices about loyalty, allegiance, family, and love. Barbara is also the author of the contemporary thrillers Entrapped (a B.R.A.G Medallion Honoree) and The Experiment. Over 450,000 copies of her books have been sold in seven countries.
Barbara is known for her dynamic workshops and master classes for writers. She also gives popular talks about Tudor history, most recently for the University of Toronto Lecture Series and the world-renowned Stratford Festival.
Before becoming an author Barbara enjoyed a twenty-year acting career in television, film, and stage productions in Canada and the U.S. Barbara and her husband live in Ontario.
You can learn more about Barbara and her books by going to her website (click here) and now for the interview. 
What made you decide to write historical fiction?
It was one of those "epiphany" moments. I saw an exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario of the works of Hans Holbein featuring people at the court of Henry VIII. Holbein's drawings of these men and women were so brilliantly lifelike I was utterly captivated. That experience led me to read widely abou the cour of Henry VIII, and that research led me to create my first historical novel which became The Queen's Layd. That first book launched the six-book Thornleigh Saga. 
Who designs your covers? Do you have any influence on them?
Kensington Books has published all six of my Thornleigh Saga novels and their in-house designer, Kristine Mills-Noble, created all the covers. I've made suggestions during the process, but basically Kristine and her team work with my editor who shepherds the book through production, and collectively they make all the decisions. I'm very happy with what they've created. 
I know this question is asked a lot but where do you get the ideas for your books and how long does it take you to do your research?
I get the ideas from my research. I read extensively about Tudor times - historical works, biograpies, letters, ambassadors' reports, etc. - and that reading invariably yields wonderful nuggets aboutt people and sparks ideas for plots. The question of how long the research takes ia alittle tricky because , really, the research never stops. However, after I've got a first draft of a book written the research shrinks to just checking that I've got certain facts correct. 
What keeps you focused when you are writing?
My contract deadline! But seriously, I don't find focusing a challenge. Once I begin the day's writing I'm totally involved in the work. 
What can we expect from you in the future?
I'm just finishing the next book in the Thornleigh Saga (book #77). It's called The Traitor's Daughter and it will be released by Kensington Books in June 2015. 
What is a favorite book or author you like to read or would like to recommend to your readers"
The best book I've read recently is Robert Harris's new novel., An Officer and a Spy. It's gripping, moving, and brilliant. And right now I'm in the middle of Donna Tartt's Pulitzer-winning novel. The Goldfinch , which is magnificent. 
Who or what influenced your love of books?
I've been inspired all my life by big sagas. Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind. Herman Wouk's The Winds of War. Leon Uris' Trinity, Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove, Jame Clavell's Shogun. I admire the way these works combine adventure, game-changer moments in history, and personal crises of conscience.
Is there someone who encourages you most in your writing? Who is it and how do they influecne you?
Two people are big influences on my writing. The first is my agent, Al Zuckerman of Writers House in New York. He comments on every draft I send him, from the outline to the final draft. The second is my husband, Stephen  Best, who is a filmmaker and an excellent writer himself. I give him each chapter as I write them and his feedback is always helpful. 
When you are not writing what do you like to do?
Take long walks. And cook. I enjoy both!
List five random things about yourself.
I was an actor for twenty years: TV, film and theater. Writing full time is my second career.
I'm a vegetarian.
I'm a sailor. (My husband and I sail our Cal-46 ketch on beautiful Georgian Bay, Lake Huron.)
I'm a fan of both "Downton Abbey" and "Game of Thrones" How's that for variety.
I've just started learning Tai Chi and I love it. 
I would once again like to thank Barbara for giving me the chance to interview her. I look forward to all of her future books. 

Be sure to stop by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours (click here) to see all the stops on The Queen's Exiles book tour.