TRAPPED IN ICE by Canadian Author Eric Walters – A 5 Star YA Historical Fiction Thriller based on a true story. A MUST READ.

Title: TRAPPED IN ICE

Author: ERIC WALTERS 

Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION, YOUNG ADULT FICTION, MIDDLE-GRADE FICTION, CANADIAN FICTION

Length: 225 PAGES

Publisher: PUFFIN CANADA – A DIVISION OF PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE 

Release Date: 1997

ISBN: 978-1-77049-994-2 (Softcover)

Price: $12.99 CDN ($8.91 on the Chapters.ca website)   

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

I sometimes wonder why we don’t learn more Canadian history in high school. I am 100% sure that if TRAPPED IN ICE was read in history class, not one student would complain of boredom.

ERIC WALTERS has taken the tale of the 1913 Canadian Arctic Expedition and fictionalized it into a tale that everyone should read.

It doesn’t matter if you are a fan of historical fiction or not, this book will draw you in and you will find it nearly impossible to put down.

Thirteen year old Helen lost her father and her home all within the span of a single year. Her mother accepted a job as a seamstress on the Canadian Arctic Expedition and arranged for Helen and her younger brother to join the expedition as well.

Up until this trip, Helen has only ever experienced adventure through the many books she has read. What should have been a moderately scary trip becomes a nightmare when the ocean unexpectedly freezes over early. This catches everyone on board The Karluk by surprise, even the experienced and tough Captain Robert Bartlett. The ship becomes locked in the ice with no chance of a thaw for many months.

Actual photo of the Karluk stuck in the ice in 1913

In fact, it is likely that the ship will sink before the ice thaws enough for it to be released. What follows is a true tale of the ship’s Captain, crew and passengers and their terrifying trek across the ice flow to try to reach land.

Photo of Captain Robert Bartlett at home in Newfoundland before leaving for the 1913 Canadian Arctic Expedition

Readers will find themselves drawn into this harrowing tale of how Helen and the others push themselves beyond human endurance based solely on their will to survive.

This book is not very long, it consists of only 225 pages and readers will become so swept up in the story that they will want to read it in a single day.

I love the fact that author Eric Walters has chosen to bring to light a part of Canadian history that is largely unknown and I hope that he continues to write more books like this one.


I rate TRAPPED IN ICE as 5 out of 5 Stars and I highly recommend this book to all readers aged ten and older. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ 

To learn more about The 1913 Canadian Arctic Expedition and it’s true story click here

TRAPPED IN ICE won the 1999 Silver Birch Award. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

It all began in 1993 when Eric was teaching a Grade 5 class.  His students were reluctant readers and writers and Eric began to write to encourage them to become more involved in literature.  His first novel, Stand Your Ground, was created for this class.  It is set in the school where Eric was teaching, Vista Heights Public School, and some of the features of the community of Streetsville and many of the names of his students were incorporated into the story.

  

Since his first novel Eric has exploded on the childrenโ€™s and young adult scene.  Over the following years he has published over 94 more novels and picture books with more than ten scheduled for the coming years.

These novels have been enthusiastically received by children and young adults and critically acclaimed by teachers, reviewers and parents.  Ericโ€™s novels have won more than 100 awards including eleven separate childrenโ€™s choice awards. 

He is the only three time winner of both the Ontario Library Association Silver Birch and Red Maple Awards โ€“ in which over 250,000 students participate and vote the winner.  In November 2013 he received the prestigious Childrenโ€™s Africana Book Award โ€“ Best Book for young children โ€“ for his book The Matatu.  This American award was presented to Eric in a ceremony at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C.

 https://youtu.be/yheY6Lut3iU   

Ericโ€™s novels are now available in places as far award as New Zealand, Australia, India and Nepal and have been translated into more than a dozen languages including French, German, Japanese, Italian, Mandarin, Spanish and Portuguese.

Eric has presented to more than 1,500,000 students across North America and internationally in Japan and Germany.  His presentations blend drama, storytelling, audience participation and interaction.  He presents to students from K โ€“ Grade 12 as well as adult groups and keynote speeches.

 June 2013 Eric became โ€˜Dr. Waltersโ€™ when he was granted the honorary degree of Literarum Doctorem by Wilfred Laurier University.  He gave the address to graduating  B.Ed., B.A. students in the spring convocation.

Eric, along with his wife Anita, and Ruth and Henry Kyatha, are the co-founders of The Creation of Hope which provides for over 400 orphans and disadvantaged children throughout the Mbooni District of Kenya.

100% of money donated by schools goes directly to serve and through the website these schools are shown โ€“ school by school, dollar by dollar, item by item โ€“ how their donations are spent.

Eric is the father of three (Christina โ€“ born 1985, Nicholas โ€“ born 1988, and Julia โ€“ born 1992) and he and his wife live in Mississauga with their two dogs โ€“ Lola and Winnie the Poodle.  In his free time (what little of it he has) he walks, hikes, and plans his next adventure.  He spends time every summer in Kenya at his orphanage.

To learn more about Eric and his phenomenal books visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE    

GOODREADS    

TWITTER          

CHAPTERS / INDIGO BOOKS    

EMAIL: ericwaltersauthor@gmail.com   

 

5 Roaring Stars for THE LOST GIRL OF ASTOR STREET by Stephanie Morrill – A mystery thriller set in 1920s Chicago – Fashion, Mobsters, Flappers and Speakeasys will enthrall readers.

Title: THE LOST GIRL OF ASTOR STREET

Author: STEPHANIE MORRILL

Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION, MYSTERY

Length: 352 PAGES

Publisher: BLINK by HARPER COLLINS   

Release Date: FEBRUARY 7, 2017

ISBN: 9780310758389   

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

SYNOPSIS 

Piper and her best friend Lydia attend the prestigious Presley’s School for Girls located on the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago, Illinois.

The year is 1924 and Piper has  embraced the new freedoms that women are experiencing. “This is 1924, after all. A girl has the right to be heard.”

 

Of the best friends, Lydia is the more reserved of the two. “Lydia is a darling of the Astor Street district. Not just wealthy and well-bred, but sweet too.” 

This photo is similar to what I think Lydia would have looked like.

So, when Lydia goes missing it is a shock to everyone in the neighborhood – in fact, her disappearance shocks the entire city.  The police are called in and do the best they can to find Lydia before the unthinkable happens.

But, Piper knows that the police are not being given all the information. She has grown up on Astor Street and is well aware that the residents will keep secret any information that might damage their reputation – despite the fact that it may mean Lydia is never found.

So, Piper sets out to find Lydia on her own. She does not care that she might be placing herself in danger. All she cares about is finding her best friend – alive. 
MY REVIEW 

This story is superbly researched. The author has included the prejudices of the era, the way people spoke, the fashions of the day and even the social and societal norms of the 1920s and has done so in a way that comes across as completely natural.

With multiple twists and turns and a varied cast of interesting and compelling characters, THE LOST GIRL OF ASTOR STREET is a must read novel.

For anyone who has ever viewed the ‘Roaring Twenties’ as an era of freedom and has thought about it with romanticized notions, this book will both reinforce and shatter those notions. 

The central mystery of this book will have readers guessing who and why Lydia was taken and every time they think they have it all figured out, a new twist or piece of evidence will be discovered and readers will have to rethink their views.

This is literally a page-turner that will not only keep readers guessing but will also be impossible for them to put down. If you decide to read this book (and you really should read it) then you had better set aside an entire afternoon since you will NOT be able to put it down. 

I do not think this book will be the last we hear about Piper and I can’t wait to read more of her adventures.

I rate THE LOST GIRL OF ASTOR STREET as 5 out of 5 Stars ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ  

 

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 


 

Stephanie Morrill lives in Overland Park, Kansas with her husband and three kids.

She is the author of The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series, Go Teen Writers: How to Turn Your First Draft Into a Published Book, and the Ellie Sweet series.

She enjoys encouraging and teaching teen writers on her blog, www.GoTeenWriters.com 

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE   

GOODREADS    

TWITTER         

PINTEREST   

FACEBOOK   

INSTAGRAM          

AMAZON    


The Lost Girl of Astor Street hits shelves:February 7th!

Those who pre-order gain access to fun extras, including a bonus chapter that isnโ€™t included in the book! You can get more details aboutpre-order perks by clicking here.


   


A Chicago Speakeasy – Photo obtained from www.timeout.com 

I loved this image of a 1920s flapper with her cigarette looking glamorous so I just had to include it. 

Flapper with smoke

GEMINKNOT by Alexander Francis is a strange yet compelling tale that will pull you in.

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Title: GEMINKNOT

Author: ALEXANDER FRANCIS

Type of Book: SOFTCOVER – LARGE PRINT – AUTOGRAPHED

Genre: DRAMA

Length: 353 PAGES

Publisher: ARCUS VERBA PUBLISHING  

Release Date: SEPTEMBER 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-942420-18-7 

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ 

The story begins when a young, ambitious reporter, employed by a small town newspaper, is ordered to visit the local nursing home to report on a couple who has been married for many years. Jill is annoyed because she is sick of reporting on things like the local garden club and she figures that this assignment will be more of the same.

When Jill first meets Mike she is touched by the depth of the love he obviously still feels for his wife, Mary. But, Jill still believes that her story will be little more than a fluff piece.

When Mike begins by telling her that he was switched at birth for one of a pair of twins, Jill’s interest is piqued.

As Mike continues to talk, they are joined by Mary who is dying and the story gets more & more interesting as details emerge. 

This story includes an unlikely and unique love story, mob affiliations, murder, a young man off to fight in World War II, and much more. 

As Jill is drawn into the story, so is the reader. It is impossible to not want to know more about this elderly pair of lovebirds. Readers will want to know what the secret is to holding onto that love for a lifetime.

As beautiful and touching as the story of Mike and Mary seems to be, they also seem to have been magnets for trouble and they are both touched by evil at different times in their lives.

The author does a great job of showing both the best of mankind and the worst. Every chapter in GEMINKNOT throbs with emotion. 

It is definitely worth reading and I loved the large print edition and how easy it was on my eyes. 


I rate GEMINKNOT as 4 out of 5 Stars. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ 


I received an autographed, large print version of GEMINKNOT from the author through the Goodreads Giveaway program.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Alexander Francis grew up in Charleston, South Carolina and went to college there.

His first attempt at writing was to re-create some favorite episodes from his childhood and, to poke a bit of fun at his brother.

In college, Alexander discovered an ability to write poetry, thanks to a rather demanding English professor.

Life intervened, and there was a large hiatus before he found time to write again. His first attempt came almost by accident, because one day he simply wrote down what had happened to him the previous evening.

That story eventually became the book ARE WE A BAND YET and at the time, the few who read it were full of praise. Because the story was personal, and some of the characters real, he declined to publish it for a long time. But his language skills and storytelling were re-awakened by that first attempt, and since then, he has gone on to write eight full-length novels, all the while working on his style and literary abilities.

He says that what most interests him is the interrelationship between men and women. Itโ€™s a subject which has tested writers and storytellers for eons and is truly inexhaustible. Each situation is both unique and timeless, as well as compelling.

During Alexander’s rather short career, his emotions have been awakened, and he attempts to give his readers the intensity of his feelings through words. Two of his novels (Beware The Exit and Memory Gap) were inspired by dreams, and after recalling the fragments that remained the next morning, he put the essence down on paper and began the laborious task of creating an exciting book.

He says that his writing is just getting started, because everywhere he looks, he can see the outline of yet another book which needs telling, another exciting tale or tender moment which can be created in ink and paper.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE  

GOODREADS  
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5 Stars for a unique work of Historical Fiction by Indie Author Delaney Green – JEM: A FUGITIVE FROM LONDONย 

Click here to purchase JEM: FUGITIVE FROM LONDON now!

Print of London 1750 by Martin Engelbrecht


Title: JEM: A FUGITIVE FROM LONDON

Series: JEM – BOOK TWO

Author: DELANEY GREEN  

Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

Genre: HISTORICAL FICTION

Length: 363 PAGES

Publisher: SELF-PUBLISHED – INDIE AUTHOR through CREATE SPACE   

Release Date: AUGUST 4, 2016

ISBN: 9781533030528 

Price: $14.95 USD / 19.95 CDN

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ   


* I received a free autographed softcover copy of this book from the 
Goodreads Giveaway program.  



FROM THE BACK COVER:


LONDON, 1758

Orphan Jem Connolly, disguised as a boy, works for physician John Abernathy and makes medicine on the side with herbalist Margery Jamison. Life is good, except for Jem’s inborn magic, which forces her to listen to what animals are thinking and to know, by touch, which illnesses hide deep inside Abernathy’s patients.

Lately, Jem’s Second Sight has flung her spirit into birds, leaving her body behind and helpless.

Jem wants to try to control her magic on her own, but Abernathy thinks Jem should study in Cornwall with Margery’s Sighted grandmother.

When Jem’s old enemy, Patch, turns up looking for Jem, she is forced to flee to windswept Bodmin Moor and stay with Granny Kestrel, who lives near an ancient stone circle saturated with Old Magic.

Can Granny teach Jem how to control her Second Sight, or will it continue to control her?


MY REVIEW:

This is the second book in the “JEM” series which I was unaware of when I began reading. Fortunately for me, it did not matter. Author Delaney Green has beautifully woven the pertinent details from the first book into the storyline of Book Two. She does this so seemlessly that readers will be unaware that this information was not new to readers of Book One. By the time I reached the one-third mark, I felt that I had a solid grasp on Jem’s backstory as well as an insight into her psychology.

This book contains details about the way of life in England in the years before the US (or The Colonies as they were known at the time) went to war with England for Independence.

I was fascinated with not only the core story, but also with the way the author wove historical figures such as Benjamin Franklin into the tale in such a way that it seemed not only possible, but also plausible.

Benjamin Franklin

Aside from the incredibly interesting and detailed historical elements of this story are also the powers that Jem has which are also intriguing.

Photo obtained from the Georgian Gentleman Blog


When she flees London and goes to live on the Moor with Granny, she learns how to harness and use her powers.

Then, there is also the mystery of Jem’s genealogy which will draw readers further into Jem’s world.

It is impossible not to be sucked in to this book and it is incredibly hard to put it down once you begin reading.

I rate this historical fiction book as 5 out of 5 stars. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ 

 I also plan to go back and read the first book in this series and I am very much looking forward to reading more about Jem’s adventures. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Delaney Green lives in the American Midwest with a black cat and a Golden Retriever.

When she’s not writing, you’ll likely find her working in the garden, tinkering in the garage, or tooling around on her bike.

She is the author of “Jem, a Girl of London,” which won a North Street Book Prize in 2015 and of “Tsunami Surprise,” featured in “Murder at the Beach,” a story anthology published for Bouchercon 2014, an annual convention of creators and devotees of mystery and detective fiction.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE  

GOODREADS  

TWITTER  

FACEBOOK   

AMAZON  

THE SECOND MRS. HOCKADAY by Susan Rivers is one of the best historical fiction books that I have ever read. Coming in January – MARK YOUR CALENDARS or PPRE-ORDER NOW.

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Title: THE SECOND MRS. HOCKADAY    

Author: SUSAN RIVERS  

Type of Book: HARDCOVER

Genre: HISTORICAL FICTION

Length: 272 PAGES

Publisher: ALGONQUIN BOOKS  

Release Date: JANUARY 10, 2017

ISBN: 9781616205812

Price: $25.95 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ   

I love that this book is unique in that the story is told entirely through letters, diary entries and court documents. It lends an intimacy and  believability to the story that would otherwise be impossible to achieve.

This is an actual photo of a civil war letter.

The story is set in South Carolina during and after the American Civil War.

Photo obtained from http://www.civilwar.org

Through letters we learn of how unique a period of history those years were. Marriages were made within days of meeting and men went off to war leaving their young, inexperienced brides at home to tend to properties and farms of which they knew next to nothing as was the case of Major Hockaday and his young bride; Placidia. 

But, those trials were nothing when compared to something that the men who went off to war had barely considered; the vulnerability their wives and children to theives, army deserters and rogues of all kinds.

The choice of crafting an entire novel mostly through letters lends itself to revealing the authentic voices of the charcters in the book. In fact, I found myself so immersed in the story that I felt I had been transported back in time to this dark period in America’s history.

This compelling narrative details a time when slavery was slowly (ever so slowly) disappearing as it became apparent that the South were destined to lose the war and to a time when men felt that it was their patriotic duty to fight for their beliefs. It also follows the gradual change in the belief system of the main character – Placidia and how, over time through the  education of life unsheltered by her father’s influence and money, her beliefs begin to change.

The story also does a credible job of describing the lives of slaves during that time. Readers cannot help but be drawn in to their plight even while understanding the need of their white owners to have them available as labourers in order for their farms to survive.

Photo obtained from Pinterest “Lest We Forget Slavery Museum”


THE SECOND MRS HOCKADAY
is at heart the story of a couple and their desire to create a life together despite the multitude of hardships they each endure. It is a story of resilience and hope despite the fact that their futures often seemed to be in doubt. In fact, I found the book haunting in it’s intensity and I was literally unable to put it down.

This book is exceptionally well researched and was inspired by a true story. Author Susan Rivers deserves every literary accolade that is sure to be coming her way.

I feel both humbled and blessed that the publisher (Algonquin Books) through Netgalley chose me to be an advance reader of this story and I will not be surprised when this book hits the Bestseller lists upon it’s official release. I also believe that this book will receive an abundance of literary awards upon publication.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone who loves not only terrific historical fiction, but a truly great read. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ  

Click on the INDIE BOOKSTORE LOGO BELOW TO PRE-ORDER:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Photo by Tasha Thomas

SUSAN RIVERS says “Language is my life.”

Susan began as a playwright, receiving the Julie Harris Playwriting Award and the New York Drama League Award, working as an NEA Writer-in-Residence in San Francisco, and being named as a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award for British and American Women Playwrights. She is a veteran of the Playwrights Festival at Sundance Institute for the Arts and the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference and has crossed the country working on productions and workshops of her plays.

Fiction became Susan’s focus after starting her family and moving to the Carolinas in 1995.  She holds an MFA in Fiction-writing from Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina and was awarded a Regional Artist Grant from the Arts and Sciences Council there.  Since 2009, she and her husband have made their home in a small town in South Carolina, where stray animals and stories are thick on the ground.  (None are turned away.)  

Susan teaches English at a university in the upstate region of South Carolina and values her daily interactions with bright young men and women.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE      

GOODREADS  
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Jeffrey Archer – SINS OF THE FATHER – Review of Book Two of the Bestselling Series THE CLIFTON CHRONICLES – A 5 Star Read ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸย 

Title: THE SINS OF THE FATHER



Series: BOOK TWO OF THE CLIFTON CHRONICLES

Author: JEFFREY ARCHER       

Type of Book: PAPERBACK

Genre: HISTORICAL FICTION

Length: 339 PAGES

Publisher: ST. MARTIN’S GRIFFIN – A division of MACMILLAN PUBLISHERS LTD

Release Date: 2012

ISBN: 978-1-250-03903-3

Price: $16.99 USD / $19.50 CAN

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ  

First off I have to admit that I have not read book one in the Clifton Chronicles series. I received a free copy of this book through the Goodreads Giveaway program. Fortunately for me, it was not necessary to have read the first book to understand and to enjoy THE SINS OF THE FATHER. 

Historical fiction is exceptionally difficult to write, especially if it includes specific years when significant events have taken place as is the case with this book. However, Jeffrey Archer is a professional and he is able to convincingly write about the time period in question.

This series has been referred to as: “Archerโ€™s most ambitious work in four decades as an international bestselling author.” And it is easy to understand why.

The book begins in 1939 on the docks of New York City. Harry Clifton has decided to take on a new identity in order to cut all ties to his past. He chooses to call himself Tom Bradshaw (the name of a fellow shipmate who died at sea) but little did he know that he chose the wrong person to impersonate.

Upon arrival on the docks, he is immediately arrested and charged with first-degree murder.

 When Sefton Jelks, a famous (and usually expensive) lawyer, offers his services for free, Harry has little choice but to accept his advice since he has no money. After Harry is tried, found guilty and sentenced, Jelks disappears, and the only way for Harry to prove his innocence would be to reveal his true identity which  he has sworn not to do. He knows that in order to set free the woman he loves, he must let everyone back in England believe that he died at sea. 

Harry begins serving out his prison sentence unaware that Emma (the woman he loves more than anything else) has given birth to a son – his son.

Emma refuses to believe that Harry is dead and travels to New York to try to prove her theory.

This novel revolves around secrets – both personal and familial and gives reader a glimpse into the lives of those on both sides of the ocean both before and during World War II.

“The Sins of the Father bears all the characteristic twists of a classic Archer novel, and leaves readers wanting more.”

The author does an amazing job of explaining the backstory so that it did not matter that I had not read the first book. Jeffrey Archer has a gift for drawing readers into the story and making them care about what happens to them. This is especially true of the character Emma Barrington. It is impossible not to admire her dedication and fortitude during a time in history when women were often not taken seriously.

Because of the astonishing amount of detail and the obvious amount of research that must have gone into writing this book and the amazing character development, I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars.๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Watch a video in which Author Jeffrey Archer talks about THE CLIFTON CHRONICLES:

  https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=Y7nK1_6Tp00   


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

It has often been said that Jeffrey Archerโ€™s own story would make an international bestseller. He was born in London, brought up in Somerset, the son of a printer, and educated at Wellington School, and Brasenose College, Oxford.

After leaving Oxford he was elected to the Greater London Council, and three years later at the age of 29, he became Member of Parliament for Louth. After five years in the Commons and a promising political career ahead of him, he invested heavily in a Canadian company called Aquablast, on the advice of the Bank of Boston. The company went into liquidation, and three directors were later sent to jail for fraud. Left on the brink of bankruptcy, he resigned from the House of Commons.

Aged 34, determined to repay his creditors in full, he sat down to write his first novel Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less. Written at the home of his former Oxford Principal, it was taken up by the Literary Agent, Debbie Owen, and sold to 17 countries within a year. It was also made into a successful serial for BBC Radio 4, and was later televised in 1990 by the BBC.

Since then, Jeffrey Archer has produced over 25 published titles and sold over 270 million copies around the world, in 97 countries and more than 37 languages. He is the only author ever to have been a number one bestseller in fiction (eighteen times), short stories (four times) and non-fiction (The Prison Diaries).

Jeffreyโ€™s latest project is a seven-book saga called the Clifton Chronicles. Book One, Only Time Will Tell, published in 2011, topped the charts around the world, spending 12 weeks at No.1 in India. Books two, The Sins of the Father published in March 2012, and three, Best Kept Secret published in March 2013, also went straight to No.1 in the UK, India, Australia and South Africa. The fourth book in the series, Be Careful What You Wish For, came out in hardback in March 2014, and spent twelve weeks in the top 10โ€”four of them at #1โ€”on the Sunday Times Best Seller list, and also went to #1 in Australia, India, and South Africa.

Jeffrey Archer was Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party from September 1985 until November 1986. In 1991, he was co-ordinator for the Campaign for Kurdish Relief, and he is also an amateur charity auctioneer. Jeffrey Archer was made a Life Peer in the Queenโ€™s Birthday Honours List of 1992.

Jeffrey has been married for 48 years to Dame Mary Archer DBE, who is Chairman of the Science Museum. They have two sons, William and James, and two grandsons, and divide their time between homes in London, Cambridge and Mallorca.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE 


OFFICIAL US WEBSITE  

MACMILLAN PUBLISHERS AUTHOR PAGE         

TWITTER     

GOODREADS  

FACEBOOK 

YOUTUBE 

ALL THE THINGS WE LEAVE BEHIND by Riel Nason has only been available for sale for 1 day but is already destined to be a Bestseller.ย 


Title: ALL THE THINGS WE LEAVE BEHIND    

Author: RIEL NASON  

Type of Book: SOFTCOVER  

Genre: FICTION

Length: 236 PAGES

Publisher: GOOSE LANE EDITIONS 
Release Date: SEPTEMBER 13, 2016 

ISBN: 9780864920416 

Price: $19.95 CDN

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ 

* I received a free copy of this book through the Goodreads Giveaway program.

An absolutely mesmerizing read. ALL THE THINGS WE LEAVE BEHIND is quite simply brilliant.

Set in the late 1970s in a tiny town in New Brunswick, the story begins with seventeen-year-old Violet reminisces about the childhood adventures she experienced with her brother; Bliss.

The ironically named Bliss has left home and Violet’s parents have left to try and track him down. They have left Violet in charge of The Purple Barn which is the family’s antique store.

During her childhood, Violet remembers all the times that Bliss would become incredibly sad for no apparent reason. In those days things such as mental illness or depression were not taken as seriously as they are today. (Even though current society still has a long way to go as well.) This book highlights his depression symptoms, without recognizing them for what they were.

With characters such as “Quinny” who is the silver haired old lady hired to work the store’s counter and Violet’s almost too nice boyfriend: Dean, working alongside her, what could possibly go wrong for Vi?

Violet visits the hermit who lives at the edge of her family’s property, and hears about the deer he spotted recently, then she begins seeing an all-white deer which seems to glow in the moonlight. Violet is not sure if she wants the deer sightings to be real or imaginary.

When Violet is tasked with the responsibility for obtaining the items from a legendary local estate, things come to a head.

This book contains so many compelling storylines within the main narrative that you just do not want to put it down.

As a seventies child myself, I couldn’t help but feel nostalgia for that time period. With the backdrop being an antiques store, feelings of nostalgia are inevitable, but somehow the author makes it seem as if it is the readers idea which probably will not make sense until you read the book.

This is easily one of the best general fiction books that I have read in a very long time and deserves to be rated much higher than just 5 out of 5 stars. Ten stars seem more fitting, but since that is not an option, I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars  ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

I believe that this book will become a bestseller and that it is destined to win multiple literary awards. Add this to your MUST READ list. You will not be disappointed.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Riel Nason is a Canadian novelist and textile artist (quilter).

Her acclaimed debut novel The Town That Drowned won the 2012 Commonwealth Book Prize for Canada and Europe, and the 2012 Margaret and John Savage First Book Award.  It was also shortlisted for several other literary awards as well as longlisted for the 2013 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.  Her second novel All The Things We Leave Behind was published September 13, 2016. 

Riel’s original quilts have been exhibited across Canada including being shown twice at Quilt Canada (the National Juried Show). She is best known for her whimsical selvage quilts and bold use of colour.  Modern Selvage Quilting was published in March, 2016.  It features 17 of her original designs.

She grew up in Hawkshaw, New Brunswick and now lives in Quispamsis, NB with her husband, son, daughter and cats.

LEAVING LUCY PEAR by Anna Solomon – UPCOMING NEW RELEASE Historical Fiction earns 5 Stars

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Title: LEAVING LUCY PEAR

Author: ANNA SOLOMON

Genre: Historical Fiction, Fiction

Length: 315 PAGES

Publisher: VIKING

ISBN: 978-1-594-63265-5

Price: $26.00 ($35.00 CAN)

Release Date: JULY 26, 2016

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ

* I received a free copy of this book through a Goodreads Giveaway.

NEW RELEASE

It’s 1917 and a young and unmarried Beatrice Haven has snuck out of the house with a bundle in her arms.

Within that bundle lies her squirming infant daughter. The daughter she was supposed to give up on the very day of her birth. The secretly beloved daughter that she cannot allow to be raised by the awful woman who runs the Jewish orphanage.

Instead, Beatrice has a plan.ย  It is risky and bold, but Beatrice (whom everyone calls ‘Bea’) wants her child to have a chance at happiness. So, she lays her baby girl under a pear tree and waits.

Her plan works. The baby is claimed by another woman and Bea is free to continue on her life’s path without the stigma and encumbrance of a child born out of wedlock.ย 

Ten years later a series of coincidences end with Bea reuniting with Emma Murphy, the Irish Catholic woman who took in her abandoned daughter all those years ago.

The characters in LEAVING LUCY PEAR are so vividly described that the reader could easily believe that she was watching a movie rather than reading a book.

Bea’s daughter’s name is Lucy. Lucy is quite the character. She’s headstrong, she contains a vast intellect that is well above that if her peers. And Lucy has plans of her own.

Taking place in the town of Cape Ann, Massachusetts in the early 1920s, readers are in for a treat. Author Anna Solomon has obviously vigorously researched the time period as well as the location’s geography. I am not a historian by any means, but the story and its setting seemed authentic and entirely plausible to me.

Readers are in for a fictional historic tale that will make them laugh, make them cry and in fact, at times, will have readers experiencing every emotion in between. LEAVING LUCY PEAR will stay with readers long after the book has been shelved. I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ

ย 

FAVORITE QUOTES:

“He had told her she could leave, her last night, to make it easier for her. He had never regretted that. Yet he missed her. He doubted he would live long enough to stop missing her.”

“…even after all these years, he cannot tell if she is actually unstable, or just very sad.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Photo: ยฉ Beowulf Sheehan

ANNA SOLOMON is the author of “The Little Bride” and a two-time winner of the Pushcart Prize. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in many publications including “The New York Times Magazine,” “One Story,” “Ploughs hares,” “Slate,” and MORE.

She previously worked as a journalist for National Public Radio. She was born and raised in Gloucester, Massachusetts and now lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and two children.

A Fictional Tale of A Korean Immigrant to Canada

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Title: KAY’S LUCKY COIN VARIETY

Author: Ann Y.K. Choi

Type of Book: Ebook

Genre: Fiction, Canadian Fiction

Length: 288 pages

Publisher: Touchstone by Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 9781476748054

Price: Canadian Hardcover $29.99

Release Date: May 3, 2016

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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Upon reflection, after reading this book I realized that one of the reasons that I enjoyed this book so much was due to the author’s talent for reaching inside her readers hearts and minds and being able to relate to them.

I also loved that this story was set in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I truly enjoy reading books that contain “real” settings, especially settings that I can easily visualize in my head. Being born and raised in a small town north of Toronto, I have often visited many of the locations mentioned in the book.

I will never again be able to visit a Variety Store without thinking about this book and wondering about the lives of the people working behind the counter.

Visiting Korea for the first time since emigrating to Canada as a small child, Mary was shocked at what she saw. “[She] looked out at the endless rows of high-rise apartment buildings set against a dreary November sky. It made [her] claustrophobic. Were there any houses left in Seoul? This was not the Korea [she] remembered.” Reading this brought to mind the changes I have seen in my own hometown. Author Ann Choi uses very few words and yet is still able to evoke a sense of nostalgia in the reader for their own childhoods. That nostalgia is universal. It crosses gender and even racial lines. No matter who you are or where you grew up, your childhood home will always have a special (and usually rose-coloured) place in your memory.

What struck me the most about Mary’s visit “home” to Korea was that it was no longer her home. She felt like an outsider and was more comfortable in her adopted homeland of Canada. I loved that fact. It proves that immigrants who move to Canada become full-fledged Canadians and not just long-term visitors.

What people who discriminate against immigrants seem to forget is that we are all the products of immigrationย  (except members of the Aboriginal groups). It may have been a few generations since our ancestors moved to Canada, but they all came to Canada with the same goal as modern-day immigrants – the goal of a better life.

I have often heard that writers are told to “Write about what you know.” It is evident to me that Ann Y.K. Choi has followed this advice. Although I am unable to prove it, I believe that she has taken settings and scenes from her own life and fictionalized them to fit within her story. If this is not the case, then I am even more impressed since reading the story truly made me feel as if these characters were actual people and not just two dimensional fictional characters.

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Collage by Michael Lyons

I enjoyed the story very much and I believe this book should be required reading for all adults. It is especially important reading material for anyone who seeks to understand the life of Canadian Korean immigrants.

The writing is fantastic. The characters are believable and realistic and the story is both interesting as well as absorbing. I rate KAY’S LUCKY COIN VARIETY as 5 out of 5 stars. ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ

The Publisher has included a Reading Guide on their website which is a terrific companion guide to the book which can and will be perfect for those reading KAY’S LUCKY COIN VARIETY as part of a Book Club.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Ann Y.K. Choi immigrated to Canada from Korea in 1975. She attended the University of Toronto where she studied English, Sociology, and Education. Ann has also graduated from the Humber School for Writers, the Creative Writing Certificate Program at the University of Torontoโ€™s School of Continuing Studies, and is completing her MFA in Creative Writing from the National University in San Diego, California. In 2012, she received the Marina Nemat Award.

To learn more about Ann Y.K Choi visit her online.

Author Website

Publisher Website

Twitter

Goodreads

* Author Photo by John Burridge

A Terrific Beach Read – 5 Stars for CONJURING CASANOVA by Melissa Rea – BOOK REVIEW

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Title: CONJURING CASANOVA

Author: Melissa Rea

Type of Book: Softcover

Genre: Fiction

Length: 259 pages

Release Date: June 2015

Publisher: She Writes Press

Cover Design: Julie Metz

Print ISBN: 978-1-63152-056-3

Price: $16.95 USD

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

I’m not quite sure how to start this book review. There is so much to say about CONJURING CASANOVA that it is difficult to figure out where to begin, so I will just dive right in.

Elizabeth “Lizzy” Hillman is a forty-nine year old Emergency Room Doctor who happens to be single and who also happens to have an obsession with the eighteenth century and one of its most notorious inhabitants – Giacomo Casanova.

I can’t think of anyone who has not heard of Casanova. Even if you don’t know much (or anything at all) about the actual historical figure of Casanova, his name is synonymous with being a “ladies man.” Lizzy is fascinated by his memoir and spends all her free time reading about his exploits.

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This is the sexy Casanova himself - obviously female tastes have changed over the centuries.

After a horrific day in the emergency room where a seven year old girl died, Lizzy returns home to try to escape the sadness of her day in the only way she knows how; with her favorite man: Giacomo Casanova. Lizzy believed that “Casanova was all male. Reading his memoir was like having a man for a friend without any risk to her heart.”

After being forced to take a vacation, Lizzy decides to head to Venice to explore the many places she has read about in Casanova’s memoir.ย 

Staying at a hotel where Casanova once lived two hundred years earlier, Lizzy finds herself giving in to self-pity on the rooftop terrace where breakfast is now served by the hotel staff.

When the real Casanova suddenly appears at her side, chivalrously holding out a handkerchief for her to use to dry her tears, Lizzy is appropriately stunned.

Casanova is Casanova and even in the twenty-first century he oozes both charm and sexuality. But, Lizzy is too smart (and too jaded) to fall for what she considers his ‘act’.

But, she has a problem (well, several problems actually) how the heck is she going to send him back to where he belongs?

This book is a fun-filled romp that carries the reader along on Lizzy’s journey of unexpected self-discovery and world travels. From the gritty, real world of a Chicago Emergency room where children die for no good reason to the majesty that is the modern city of Venice, readers will be afraid to put this book down for fear of having to come back to their own reality.

As I found when I began reading this book, the author is a ‘quote-machine’. She throws out tiny pearls of wisdom as she writes that had me saving quotes right from the first chapter. Not only did she include many meaningful quotes in her writing, but she also included some terrific one-liners. I have included a few of my favorites at the end of this review.

Melissa Rea has a gift for describing people. With only a few sentences she is able to describe a character so vividly that you would swear to be looking at a photograph rather than reading a book. A perfect example of this is her description of Lizzy’s cleaning lady: “Roxanne had an athletic figure that made it impossible to guess her age, and three-inch braids all over her head that made her look like a hedgehog or a sea urchin, if either had gorgeous brown eyes and a bright generous smile. Today she wore a little lime green rompers that made her skin look even more like a big cup of hot chocolate, brown and comforting.”

Obviously this book is pure fantasy and escapism, but that is exactly what makes it such a perfect ‘Beach Read’.ย 

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Photo obtained from the author's Twitter page

Have you ever had a conversation with friends where you were asked; “If you could have dinner with only one person,ย  living or dead, who would it be?” This book takes that concept to the next level.ย 

I enjoyed the story for what it is; a fun, light-hearted fantasy. This book is entertaining. The author has done a good job of including details from the eighteenth century but the entire process of Casanova becoming acclimated to life in the twenty-first century is glossed over. But, if the author had focused on those details I believe it would have weighed down the story so, in this instance it works.

I am rating CONJURING CASANOVA as 5 out of 5 stars.๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

I received a free copy of this book through the Goodreads Giveaway program.

A FEW OF MY FAVORITE QUOTES FROM THIS BOOK:

“Things did not have to last forever to bring happiness.”

Her vagina was certainly not unhappy, just a little lonely.”ย ย 

“He loved women like modern men loved NASCSR, football, and corporate takeovers…”

“It surprised her how much it still hurt to think of her mother’s death after a year, and how little gin helped. No one deserved lung cancer, no matter how much they smoked.”

“Lizzy noted that the big mama spider-vein on her thigh must have had babies over the winter.”

“…Lizzy had decided long ago; priorities were priorities. If she only had money for one, a cleaning lady took precedence over food.”

“The man and the dream were never the same.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Melissa Rea hss a degree in psychology with a minor in French and is an amateur Casanovist.

A dedicated researcher, she has read Giacomo Casanovaโ€™s memoirย Histoire de Ma Vieย many times in English and in itsย original Archaic French. She traveled to Paris to see the handwritten manuscript when itย was displayed for the first time in over two hundred years, and has stayed in the hotel in Venice that was Giacomo Casanovaโ€™s home for nine years.

Originally from Louisiana, Rea studied dentistry at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She practices in St.ย Louis where she lives with her husband, and is at work on her third novel. When notย drilling, reading or writing, she is in search of the next Madmen/50s eraย 

To learn more about Melissa Rea and her books visit her online:

Official Melissa Rea Website

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