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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Shield (The Finder Series Book 1) by C.J. Bentley (Review)



This is time travel and historical fiction at its best.

Book Details:

Book Title: The Shield (The Finder Series Book 1) by C.J. Bentley
Category: Middle Grade Fiction
Genre: Time travel / Historical fiction
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Release Date: July 18, 2017
Content Rating: G


Book Description:

People lose their belongings. That is a fact of life. It can happen by accident, but sometimes it can happen when you put them in a very safe place and forget where that safe place is. Not many people are good at finding them again. A young, gutsy girl with a kind heart, who's searching for her own identity growing up in the 1960's, just happens to be very good at finding things. Can she be the one to help return whatever is lost – anywhere and at any time – to its original owner? With the help of a beautiful, yet mysterious wise woman and a chivalrous knight she does just that. She finds and returns his shield, lost in battle, which unbeknown to her holds a secret that is important to his King, the safety of the Kingdom and the life of the daughter of his best friend. The Shield is the first story in The Finder Series, taking our heroine on extraordinary journeys back in time. Her first adventure takes place in Medieval England in 1340 where she meets King Edward 111, his wife Philippa and their son, who will later become the Black Prince.

Buy the Book:



My Review:
Reviewed by Sandra Olshaski

This is an excellent middle-grade fiction featuring time travel and historical fiction, my two personal favourites.

A girl "10 years and 4 months old" is narrating. Sometimes she's known as Rebecca, sometimes Peggy, or Eleanor, depending on her whimsy of the week. She's feisty, forthright, a leader of her group of friends and apparently, a person who finds things. The author writes as a 10-year-old very successfully!

On a beautiful English summer day in 1962, our heroine finds a wooden shield in a "beck" or creek. (I didn’t know what a beck is so checked it in Webster's. It's a British word first used in the 14th century – how appropriate.) The shield is old and Rebecca/Peggy/Eleanor wants to examine it more closely at home in the family garage. While doing so, a knight in armour, speaking old English, suddenly appears. This knight, Sir Kay, is aware that he is in a different time – "I know we are in the wrong time for me, but the right time for you…..I was waiting for you…..My Lady!" The knight and our heroine seamlessly travel from the 1960's back to 1340 and so the exciting adventure escalates. The shield (Sir Kay's) and what it contains are important to the security of the realm. She becomes friends with 10-year-old Edward, the future Black Prince.

The author evokes 14th century England by the use of language, clothes, tapestries, the rushes on the floors and the ancient weaponry. Rebecca/Peggy/Eleanor finds herself dressed in the style of medieval times in "a long, pale blue wool dress....with gold buttons and braiding."

The scenario is creative, the action fast paced and well written. This is Book 1 so more time travel and historical fiction is in store for readers - something to anticipate!

I highly recommend this MG book for young teens and adults alike. You won't be disappointed.

Disclosure: Thanks to Rachel Gilbey from Authoright Marketing & Publicity for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.


About the Author:


Originally heralding from the North of England, C.J Bentley has travelled extensively and enjoyed living in a variety of countries across the world from Dubai to Doha, Qatar and now the countryside in the South of France. A background in teaching and childcare she has always enjoyed creating adventure short stories. However, it was when she became a grandma and with her grandchildren growing up that she discovered that books seemed to contain only stories of vampires, zombies and farts that she decided seriously to take matters into her own hands and put pen to paper which today she calls The Finder Series.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter  




Monday, July 17, 2017

Self-Publishing 101: The Hard Lessons to Know Before You Publish


In the many years that I've been book blogging I have come across several bloggers that tell me they are writing a book. I've also worked with and currently work with many self-published authors. Some do it very well and I love discovering these Indie gems, while others could do better. I thought this article on the basics of self-publishing would be interesting to any of my readers that are contemplating this route.

Self-Publishing 101: The Hard Lessons to Know Before You Publish

Self-publishing has given people the ability to publish their own work. These people might have been rejected by traditional publishing houses for any number of reasons. The work did not fit what the company published, the company had already published too many that were similar that year, or they might not have liked it. Self-publishing gives people the opportunity to have their work out there, to legitimize their hard work, and to even have full rights to their own novel.

Publishing through a publishing house has many benefits, from professional and financial support from your submission to the final print. Publishing houses edit, format, design a cover, and print your novel. They will then put your novel into bookstores; they put money into advertising. They do the heavy-lifting of post-writing for you. They can also take away a lot of your power. When you are self-publishing, you need to do this work for yourself.

Start with a Great Book Cover
The old saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” is both sound and also unrealistic. There are so many books to choose from – Google estimates there are more than 129million books, and more are being published each year. If you want readers, you will have to stand out. Use a bookcover maker to create a beautiful cover for your novel. The more eye-catching the cover is, the more likely someone will choose to read your novel’s blurb.

Have a Captivating Description
The next thing you need to do is make sure your novel’s description is captivating. You must hook your reader in again and again to convince them to stay and read all the way through. Make them pick up your novel with a beautiful book cover, and convince them to read your novel with a compelling description. Several drafts will be needed.

Online Marketing
The secret to anyone’s success is marketing. As a self-publisher, you will need to take the reins and create a unified marketing campaign that will not only attract new readers to your novel; it will also grow and nurture a community. You want fans. You want people who love your writing and who love you as an author. You want to have a growing group of readers who will be there for your next book. You need to promoteyourself, and your book, without sounding like spam.

  1. Have a Website
Having a website is a wonderful way to bring everything about you (or your book) into one place. You can include Q&As, excerpts, news, and more. Have your website be your home base where you draw readers in and direct them to your novel.

  1. Be on Social Media
There are billions of users of social media out there. Build a following on social media to direct potential readers to your site, and to grow your fan base.

  1. Interact!
This one is the most crucial – you will want to interact with people you meet, both online and offline. Build a community of fellow writers, nurture your relationship with your readers, and you will have a support system that helps you and follows you for years to come.


The last thing to know is that self-publishing is hard work. You need to take on the jobs of several people, and you need to do them well. Once your book makes it, however, you’ll be so much happier with having full control, rather than relinquishing creative power to a publishing house. 

 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sunday Post, Mailbox Monday and It's Monday What Are You Reading? July 17 Edition


Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

Feels like summer is in full swing now here in Montreal. I'm spending time with my family, with friends and with my books. My whole den, including my office is still deep in renovation though, and it looks like it will be awhile before it's all finished. But the hot weather and the shining sun makes me forget everything else. :-)


Mailbox Monday Edition


Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home on its blog. Link up to share your MM.


My mailbox!
For review:

Met the author at Book Expo. She's Canadian and her book will be on tour with iRead Book Tours in August. 


Gifted to me by blogger friend Martha:

I was touched when Martha who blogs at Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf gifted me this boxed set of time travel books! Thank you for your kind gesture Martha!


A win from Savvy, Verse and Wit:

I was thrilled to win this at Savvy, Verse and Wit. The setting is the summer of 1978. Thanks to Serena and the author!


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It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organise yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.



What I read and/or featured last week:


Can't put this one down... First time I read Marie Lu and now I want to read all her books.




Stop by and enter my giveaways!

Also posted on the right sidebar.

Hope you all have a great reading week.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Real Murder by Lauren Carr (Review & Giveaway)



Lauren Carr's Audiobook-a-palooza Blog Tour is still on! To celebrate the release of Lauren Carr's mysteries in audiobook format, we have 14 books from her three series on tour. Today, I am posting my review of Real Murder, her second book in the Lovers in Crime series. I reviewed the first book Dead on Ice last month and the third book Killer in the Band earlier this year. See why I liked it so much and don't forget to enter the giveaway to win $100 Amazon gift card!

Book Details:

Title: Real Murder: A Lovers in Crime Mystery
Written by: Lauren Carr
Narrated by: Mike Alger
Length: 7 hrs and 53 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:01-10-17
Publisher: Acorn Book Services
Content Rating: PG-13 (for murder scenes, some sexual content, not explicit, some profanity but no f-words)

Book Description:

When Homicide Detective Cameron Gates befriends Dolly, the little old lady who lives across the street, she is warned not to get lured into helping the elderly woman by investigating the unsolved murder of one of her girls. "She's senile," Cameron is warned. "It's not a real murder."

Such is not the case. After Dolly is brutally murdered, Cameron discovers that the sweet blue-haired lady's "girl" was a call girl who had been killed in a mysterious double homicide.

Meanwhile, Prosecuting Attorney Joshua Thornton is looking for answers to the murder of a childhood friend, a sheriff deputy whose cruiser is found at the bottom of a lake. The deputy had disappeared almost 20 years ago while privately investigating the murder of a local prostitute.

It doesn't take long for the Lovers in Crime to put their cases together to reveal a long-kept secret that some believe is worth killing to keep undercover. 



Buy the Book:


My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

After reading Dead on Ice, the first book in the Lovers in Crime series, I was eager to dig into this second book in the series, Real Murder. And Lauren Carr did it again! I liked this one even better than Dead on Ice. Like her other books, this one has so many layers that all come together in the end. There are several murders being investigated and as a reader you're pulled in, your mind trying to figure out the connection and the clues that will lead to the killer(s).

Once again, lovers Joshua and Cameron are on the same case. Cameron is a strong kickass woman, but she is also vulnerable and feminine. This made her so likable. She and Joshua are now married in this book, and I loved how Carr infuses marital bliss and second marriage issues into her stories. It makes her characters believable even as the action never stops. Best of all, I'm now familiar with most, if not all, of Carr's characters from her various series and their distinct personalities are consistent every time I meet up with them in her books.

As is Carr's trademark, interspersed with the murder mystery is romance, some great pet humor (a Great Dane dog and Irving the skunk cat) and a colorful cast of shady characters. The theme of small town secrets is strong again in this book. In this one, we come to find out that the sweet old woman who lives on the same street and used to babysit Joshua as a boy was once a "madam" of a high-end bordello! Carr's books are clean but she doesn't shy away from realistic and sordid situations that make her mysteries good.

I both listened to parts of the audio version of the book and read parts of it on my Kindle. I enjoyed Mike Alger's narration. He was engaging and great for the men's voices but I sometimes could not distinguish the female ones as quickly. My auditory skills are not quite as advanced as my reading, where I can quickly read through a page without missing a beat. Because this was a mystery with many characters, I preferred reading the cast of characters that Lauren Carr includes at the beginning of her books, and the prologue too. I didn't want to miss even one clue! That is what is so much fun about Carr's books. She keeps the reader engaged throughout in trying to catch the killer!

I've already read the third book in this series, Killer in the Band. All three books in this series were good, but I liked this one the best. I look forward to Carr's next awesome mystery!


To read more reviews of Lauren Carr's audiobooks, please visit her page on iRead Book Tours.

Books I read by Lauren Carr:

Mac Faraday Mystery:
Three Days to Forever
Cancelled Vows
Candidate for Murder

Lovers in Crime:
Dead on Ice
Real Murder
Killer in the Band

Thorny Rose Mystery:
Kill and Run
A Fine Year for Murder

Disclosure: Thanks to the author for sending me this book for review. I was not told how to rate or review this product.

Meet the Author:



Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband and three dogs (including the real Gnarly’s klutzy nephew Sterling) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.


Connect with Lauren: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook


Meet the Narrator:




A broadcast veteran of over 30 years, Mike Alger is best known as the award-winning Chief Meteorologist for KTVN-TV in Reno, NV. He is also a successful author, having penned the Mystery-Thriller novel "Snow Storm," and is the narrator of the audiobook of the same name.




Enter the Giveaway!
Ends July 22

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Monday, July 10, 2017

Savoring the Seasons (Chilton Crosse Book 4) by Traci Borum (Review)


This is a charming, contemporary love story set in a quintessential English village.

Book Details:

Book Title: Savoring the Seasons (Chilton Crosse Book 4) by Traci Borum
Category: Women's Fiction, 321 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing , LLC
Release Date: June 28, 2017
Content Rating: G

Book Description:

Julia Bentley spent her fortieth birthday doing what she always does, baking treats for the customers in her Cotswold bakery and taking care of her elderly father. She doesn’t realize how stagnant her life has become until a younger man, Tristan Hannigan, moves to the village and shows interest in her. As Julia becomes closer to Tristan, he begins to season her mundane days and to challenge how she views the world.

The relationship is threatened when Julia’s doubts and insecurities overwhelm her, and the secret she’s afraid to reveal creates a wedge between them. Will Julia choose the easy route, slipping back into her daily routine and living without love? Or will she find the courage to follow her heart and accept the love she deserves?

Buy the Book:


My Review
Reviewed by Sandra Olshaski

This is a gentle love story. Almost-forty, Julia, runs the village bakery and is a caretaker for her father. Enter handsome, kind, twenty-nine-year-old Tristan who seems to be interested in her.

The story takes place in a quintessentially English village, Chilton Crosse. The author is a Texan, but quite convincingly evokes life in a British village. I like the development of the camaraderie between the people.

The two main characters, Julia and Tristan, are complex and believable, each with their respective baggage. But, sensible, dutiful Julia is slowly falling in love with Tristan – "she would happily place herself under Tristan's delicious spell." Doubts and secrets, however, threaten to keep them apart.

Although the pace is slow-moving as one would expect of life in a village, it deals with real issues – overcoming fears, taking charge of one's life, taking a chance on love. Grab a big mug of tea, imagine yourself in the English countryside and savor this lovely, clean romance.

Disclosure: Thanks to the author for sending me this book. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

About the Author:

 Traci Borum is a writing teacher and native Texan. She's also an avid reader of women's fiction, most especially Rosamunde Pilcher novels. Since the age of 12, she's written poetry, short stories, magazine articles, and novels.

Traci also adores all things British and is completely addicted to Masterpiece Theater---must be all those dreamy accents! Aside from having big dreams of getting a book published, it's the little things that make her the happiest: deep talks with friends, a strong cup of hot chocolate, a hearty game of fetch with her Corgi, and puffy white Texas clouds always reminding her to "look up, slow down, enjoy your life."

Visit Traci's official website and sign up for her newsletter here:
http://www.traciborum.com/p/newsletter.html




GIVEAWAY: Dancing in the Rain by Lucy Appadoo



Love books set in Italy? Here's a chance to win a signed copy of Dancing in the Rain by Lucy Appadoo. This latest release is part of the Italian Family series and can be read as a stand alone.

Book Description:

Fifteen-year old Valeria Allegro works diligently on the family farm in Italy, where she is torn between her duty to her family and her desire to find freedom from her strict, domineering father. She finds solace in Dario, a young student who provides a blissful escape—until a neighbour’s son, Gregorio, decides he wants her for himself.

This raises an alarm for her father, which leads to family conflict and aggression. When Dario is threatened and her family is plagued by a series of suspicious accidents, Valeria is desperate to keep her loved ones safe. Can she end the turmoil and escape the firmly built trap to find the freedom she craves?

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends Aug 20

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Seven Threads: A Book of Short Stories by Jason Atkinson (Book Spotlight & Giveaway)


Today I'm happy to be kicking off the tour for Jason Atkinson's latest release, a collection of short stories. Enter to win a copy below!

Book Details:

Book Title: Seven Threads: A Book of Short Stories
Author: Jason Atkinson
​Category: Adult Fiction, 151 pages
Genre: Thriller and Suspense
Publisher: Mascot Books
Release date: July 4 , 2017
Tour dates: July 10 to 28, 2017
Content Rating: PG

Book Description:

In this collection of seven short stories from Jason Atkinson, follow a man accused of murder, a runaway girl on a train, a scientist at the heart of a government conspiracy, and more! Full of twists and turns, Seven Threads offers a selection of fast-paced stories full of heart and excitement.
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Buy the Book:




Meet the Author:



Jason Atkinson lives in the Midwest with his wife and son. With a love of writing, this is his 3rd book, but first book in the fiction category. Short stories are easy to digest, and yet, this book still provides all the joys for the long haul reader. Jason write for everyone in mind when creating this piece and hopes you will enjoy it as much as he did when writing it.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Facebook


Enter the Giveaway!
Ends Aug 5


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Sunday, July 9, 2017

Sunday Post, Mailbox Monday and It's Monday What Are You Reading? July 10 Edition


Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

I've had a busy work week this past week. With my teen kids staying up late, my bedtime hour has shifted to a late hour too. My mind wants to shift to vacation mode and it's so hard to get up in the mornings!


Mailbox Monday Edition


Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home on its blog. Link up to share your MM.


My mailbox!
For review:

This is a coloring book for those with Alzheimer's and the people who love them. Having worked with seniors with Alzheimer's in a day center, I am very interested in this one.

Got these two books free on Kindle this week:

You guessed it. It's another time travel book...


Historical fiction set in Ireland. It's been a while since I read a book with this setting.

A gift from the author:

I assisted the author with the Italian translation of certain phrases in his book and he gifted me a copy. I already read Drawn, the first book, and I look forward to reading this sequel.

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It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organise yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.



What I read and/or featured last week:


So far I'm loving this one. It's got a great protagonist and I love his voice.



Stop by and enter my giveaways!

Also posted on the right sidebar.

Hope you all have a great reading week.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

More People Choosing to Study Online to Avoid Increasingly Liberal College Culture


As a parent with a daughter who will be attending college in two years, I worry about her exposure to college culture. We have an advantage of having good colleges in both English and French languages (my daughter is fluent in both) within our city of Montreal so she wouldn't have to travel away from home and stay on campus. However, I have American friends who worry about their kids heading off to college. I thought this article might be useful.

More People Choosing to Study Online to Avoid Increasingly Liberal College Culture
Getting a college degree or undertaking graduate studies to get a master’s can make a big difference to the career options open to you, and is something a lot of people from all walks of life want to do. However, more and more people are snubbing traditional private colleges in favor of doing their degrees online with colleges like Rutgers Online. This is for a wide range of reasons. For one thing, it can be a lot less expensive, meaning people don't have to expose themselves to crippling student debt. For another, it allows people to study on their own terms, while also working, running businesses, or raising a family. Additionally, it lets people who live far from a university that offers the study path they want to gain their qualifications without having to leave their community to do it.
These practical reasons are not the only ones, though. A lot of people simply don't want to be in a college environment anymore, and this is often because people feel that they have become quite unwelcoming places for people who do not share the liberal views seen as the norm at many colleges.
College can be A Difficult Place for Non-Liberals
There have been countless stories about the increase in liberal values at universities all over America, and where colleges were always seen as somewhat liberal, it seems now that there is no place for people who don't have far left views. The scary thing for many is that they don't understand the rules that liberals tend to police each other by, and worry they may be disciplined for things like not using someone's 'preferred pronouns' or committing a 'microaggression'. For all the talk of safe spaces and tolerance in colleges these days, it seems that these rights are not extended to people who are, for example, pro-gun or Trump supporters, and this makes living in that environment frustrating for people who do not subscribe to 'social justice warrior' ideologies.
Online Degrees Offer a Less Stressful Alternative
For people who don't want to be distracted from their studies by politics, or have to worry about being judged for not conforming, an online degree offers a perfect solution. You can study all kinds of topics online, from an online masters in public administration to a degree in computer programming. You can get an MBA, or get yourself qualified for a career in healthcare. Aside from subjects where you need access to labs and other hands-on equipment you won't have access to outside of a college, you can basically study anything you like. Employers now see these degrees as just as valuable as equivalents from traditional colleges.
Would You Study Online?
Are you planning to do a degree like an MPA online? How much did modern college culture affect your decision? Let us know how you feel about the rise in people choosing online degrees to avoid attending liberal colleges in the comments!

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Monticello: A Daughter and her Father by Sally Cabot Gunning (Review)


I've always been curious about the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and his eldest daughter Martha. Author Sally Cabot Gunning renders a compelling and well-written portrait of one of America's most interesting women.

Book Details:

Book Title: Monticello: A Daughter and her Father by Sally Cabot Gunning
Category: Adult Fiction, 384  pages
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Release date: June 27, 2017
Content Rating: G


Book Description:

From the critically acclaimed author of The Widow’s War comes a captivating work of literary historical fiction that explores the tenuous relationship between a brilliant and complex father and his devoted daughter—Thomas Jefferson and Martha Jefferson Randolph.

After the death of her beloved mother, Martha Jefferson spent five years abroad with her father, Thomas Jefferson, on his first diplomatic mission to France. Now, at seventeen, Jefferson’s bright, handsome eldest daughter is returning to the lush hills of the family’s beloved Virginia plantation, Monticello. While the large, beautiful estate is the same as she remembers, Martha has changed. The young girl that sailed to Europe is now a woman with a heart made heavy by a first love gone wrong.

The world around her has also become far more complicated than it once seemed. The doting father she idolized since childhood has begun to pull away. Moving back into political life, he has become distracted by the tumultuous fight for power and troubling new attachments. The home she adores depends on slavery, a practice Martha abhors. But Monticello is burdened by debt, and it cannot survive without the labor of her family’s slaves. The exotic distant cousin she is drawn to has a taste for dangerous passions, dark desires that will eventually compromise her own.

As her life becomes constrained by the demands of marriage, motherhood, politics, scandal, and her family’s increasing impoverishment, Martha yearns to find her way back to the gentle beauty and quiet happiness of the world she once knew at the top of her father’s “little mountain.”


Purchase Links




My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

I've always been curious about the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and his eldest daughter Martha. Author Sally Cabot Gunning renders a compelling and well-written portrait of a woman who was beloved by her father and who lived through many tumultuous moments. Although this is very much a character-driven novel, there is never a dull moment. I did find parts of it to be depressing, though.

It's clear that the author extensively researched the history of the Jeffersons. I was motivated to look up information on the Internet and was so impressed by the author's ability to bring this family to life. Not only the family, but also the slave issue for landowners trying to make a living in the South. Although they disliked that black people were sold into slavery and tried to make up for this by treating the slaves as workers, they were still caught in the system. Their increasing financial strain forced them to buy and sell slaves even as their conscience warred with these actions.

Sally Hemings (Jefferson's beautiful mulatto concubine) plays a role in this story too, and I was taken in with how her relationship with Thomas Jefferson was portrayed, and how Martha deals with it. The tension between the two is palpable. I thought the way the author dealt with the slave issue was realistic and although it wasn't the main theme, it certainly was part of Martha's life.

I went through so many emotions reading this book. Although Martha was an intelligent and strong woman, she was constrained by her gender and her marriage, giving birth to twelve children and living with a husband with a volatile temperament. The author does not shy away from showing Martha's flaws as well as her strengths, especially that of loyalty. It is her relationship with her father that is her saving grace.

Monticello, the family's beloved Virginia plantation among lush mountains is almost like another character in this book. The importance of its location and the meaning it has in Martha's life is paramount throughout the book. Monticello is Martha's haven.

Overall, Monticello is a beautifully written portrait of one of America's most interesting women. Fans of realistic American historical fiction will no doubt not want to miss reading this one. 

To read more reviews, please visit Sally Cabot Gunning's page on TLC Book Tours./

Disclosure: Thanks to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.


About the Author:



A lifelong resident of New England, Sally Cabot Gunning has immersed herself in its history from a young age. She is the author of the critically acclaimed Satucket Novels—The Widow’s War, Bound, and The Rebellion of Jane Clarke—and, writing as Sally Cabot, the equally acclaimed Benjamin Franklin’s Bastard. She lives in Brewster, Massachusetts, with her husband, Tom.

Find out more about Sally at her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.


Monday, July 3, 2017

Appointment with Yesterday by Christopher Stratakis (Review and Giveaway)


A poignant and compelling first novel, Appointment with Yesterday tells the story of Yanni, a cheeky and delightful Greek boy growing up in a small town on an island in the eastern Aegean. It's a feel-good story and you could win your own copy, by entering the giveaway.

Book Details:

Book Title: Appointment with Yesterday: A Novel in Four Parts with a Prologue and an Epilogue
Author: Christopher Stratakis
Category: Adult Fiction, 334 pages
Genre: coming-of-age / WWII / immigrant experience
Publisher: IndieReader
Release date: January 2017
Tour dates: July 3 to 14, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (There is no bad language or violence, but there are references to sex and sexual situations (including between a pre-teen and teen)


Book Description:

A poignant and compelling first novel, Appointment with Yesterday tells the story of Yanni, a cheeky and delightful Greek boy growing up in a small town on an island in the eastern Aegean.

Left in the care of his loving grandparents, Yanni endures the deprivation and terror of the German occupation during World War II and finally leaves his beloved homeland and family to rejoin the parents who had left him behind to make a better life for themselves in America.

Filled with heartbreaking and heartwarming stories of love, devotion, disenchantment, and dashed dreams, Appointment with Yesterday is, ultimately, the story of hardships overcome and a determined boy’s journey toward finding his destiny.


Buy the Book:



My Review:

Reviewed by Sandra Olshaski


Readers will be charmed by this memoir/historical fiction. It begins with an old man, Yanni, sitting on the veranda of his country home on a Greek island, reminiscing about his life on Erytha where "the sun-dappled Aegean waters glistened – the wonderfully azure Aegean, his faithful companion filling his eyes and his senses."

Yanni is a likeable Greek boy who lives with his grandparents in Greece while at the same time wondering about his parents in America. Family life for Yanni in Greece is warm and tender. I could almost smell the almond cookies baked by his grandmother and feel her tender affection for him. As was often the case, parents travelled to the "new world" in search of jobs and security, leaving their children in the care of grandparents.

Soon Yanni is on his way to his parents in America. The author aptly describes the challenges, heartbreak, fears and tears facing immigrants. It resonates in the current immigrant situation. But this is a success story. Like many immigrants, Yanni not only succeeds but thrives as he eventually completes his education, begins a professional career and assumes the responsibilities of marriage and family life in America.

This is a history book and a memoir and a coming-of-age story. The book is filled with challenges, turmoil, determination to succeed, and poignant family moments and above all love – for the author's homeland, his family, and his friends. It's a feel-good story enjoyable for all!

To read more reviews, please visit Christopher Stratakis' page on iRead Book Tours.

Sandra's disclosure: Thanks to the author for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.



Meet the Author:




Christopher Stratakis was born and raised in Greece. After moving to America, he graduated from Drexel University in 1951 and New York University School of Law in 1955. Shortly after joining the law firm of Poles, Tublin & Patestides in 1960, he became a partner, specializing in admiralty and corporate law.

He has written and published several articles, lectured on professional and historical subjects, served as Legal Advisor to several non-profits (pro bono), and was an arbitrator in maritime disputes. He is the author of Mnimes “Memories” (2010), a book of essays, short stories, and poems that he wrote as a teenager. In 2015, he co-edited Chains on Parallel Roads, a book published by Panchiaki “Korais” Society of New York. In recognition of his extensive community involvement, he has been the recipient of several awards from religious, governmental, and educational institutions.

Mr. Stratakis lives with his wife in New York City. He is the proud father of three and grandfather of three. This is his first novel.

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Sunday, July 2, 2017

Sunday Post, Mailbox Monday and It's Monday What Are You Reading? July 3 Edition


Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

This was a rainy week. Very muggy. Is it July already? Doesn't feel like it. I need more sun and more heat. I know some of you are sweltering hot where you are. I guess we have to be happy with whatever we get.

Having two teens in the house is a bit challenging for a mom who works from home, but it's great to see my kids enjoying their time off and not stressed. Hope you all have a great reading week!




Mailbox Monday Edition


Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home on its blog. Link up to share your MM.


My mailbox!

I bought this one on sale on Kindle. Set against the beautiful backdrop of post-World War II Sardinia, Sara Alexander’s evocative novel is a sweeping story of star-crossed romance between an American lieutenant and a local girl.


This was a free Kindle. It's a Bollywood-style royal romance that takes you to an alternate East Indian world filled with skyships, saber duels, and lots of royal intrigue.



Bought on sale on Kindle. A princess becomes a warrior, indulges in forbidden romance, and rules an empire in an epic fantasy saga inspired by Aladdin and the 1001 Arabian Nights.



Bought on sale on Kindle. It's a time travel novel. You know me and my time travel obsession. Can't resist.

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It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organise yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.



What I read and/or featured last week:




Reading Now:

Loving this one so far!


Stop by and enter my giveaways!

Also posted on the right sidebar.

Hope you all have a great reading week.

Love audiobooks?

Wrote a Book Set in Italy?

 
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