THICKER THAN WATER by LEXIE CONYNGHAM – New Release and Blog TourΒ 

Title: THICKER THAN WATER   

Author: LEXIE CONYNGHAM 

Genre: HISTORICAL CRIME FICTION 

OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION: 

When young Walter finds a dead body along with the dead fish in his tutor’s fishpond, he knows he should tell his old master, Charles Murray of Letho. The dead man leaves a pretty wife and child and a broken string quartet, but someone must have profited by his death – could it be the avenger from his past as his widow fears, or is it someone from closer at hand? St. Andrews is once again the setting for a murder mystery, and a puzzle that Murray must solve before the murderer strikes again.  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Lexie Conyngham has been publishing the Murray of Letho historical crime novels since 2011, but writing them for much longer.

A historian and part-time teacher in North-East Scotland, she is also much involved in knitting, gardening and practical archaeology (that is, recreating things people did in the past.)

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National Jewish Books Award Winner – ON BLACKBERRY HILL by Rachel Mann examines the mother-daughter connection in a unique way.Β 

Title: ON BLACKBERRY HILL 

Author: RACHEL MANN 

Genre: YOUNG ADULT FICTION, JEWISH FICTION, WOMEN’S FICTION, INDIE FICTION

Length: 194 PAGES

Publisher: SELF-PUBLISHED

Release Date: 2016

ISBN: 9781535262910

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Awards Won: National Jewish Book Award Winner      


 

Reena has no desire to spend her last summer before high school at her cousin’s Jewish residential summer camp far away from her life in the city. She may be Jewish, but living with her non-practicing father means that she does not feel a deep devotion to her dead mother’s faith.

When her father announces that he is leaving the city for the entire summer, Reena’s fate is sealed. Whether she likes it or not, and she really does NOT, she will be living at the camp in Upstate New York until her father returns. Reena will have her cousin with her at camp, but they barely tolerate each other, so that won’t make much difference.

Twenty years earlier, her mother had attended that same camp, but her mother died when Reena was a baby, so it’s not as if Reena knows anything about Naomi’s time at camp.

This book is written in two different time periods and from two different perspectives. It tells not only the tale of Reena’s time at camp, but also the story of her mother, Naomi’s time at that same camp approximately twenty years earlier.

How do the two stories intertwine? You will need to read this book to find out, and you will not be disappointed.

Rachel Mann has penned a moving story that goes beyond the Jewish faith. Yes, the characters are Jewish, but that is only a small part of who they are. This book won the National Jewish Book Award, but again, the “Jewish” part of that award is only a small part. Rachel Mann won the award on the merit of the story.

I love how Rachel Mann seemlessly transitions between Naomi’s past and Reena’s present. The fact that Naomi died when Reena was just a baby means that Reena knows almost nothing about her mother. Sure, her father mentions her from time to time, but he really doesn’t tell her much and Reena is desperate to find some way to connect with the mother she never knew. Camp Tova just might be that place.

Author Rachel Mann has a bright future ahead. She has a gift for getting to the heart of the story and to create characters with depth.

This multi-generational story depicts how the choices we make can effect the future of not just ourselves, but of our family and friends as well. 

I rate ON BLACKBERRY HILL as 4 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 


Rachel Mann is the author of the young adult novel, ON BLACKBERRY HILL, winner of the 2016 National Jewish Book Award for Young Adult Literature, and the play CLASS MOTHER, nominated for best play at the Winterfest Theater Festival 2016. Her theatrical work has been seen at Forward Theater Company in Madison, WI, Ensemble Studio Theatre’s First Brew, Naked Angels Tuesdays at 9, The PlayGround Experiment, and InViolet Theater in NYC. Her writing has been published and performed at The Forward, Kveller, Liars’ League NYC, Manhattan Lit Crawl, and The Fish Anthology (UK). She graduated from the Novel Studio course at City University London, as well as from Columbia (BA) and NYU (MA). She lives in NYC with her husband and three daughters.

To learn even more about the talented Rachel Mann, visit the following links:

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IF THE CREEK DON’T RISE by Leah Weiss is a beautifully written novel set in the Appalachian Mountains – A MUST READ – PRE-ORDER NOW!!!


Title: IF THE CREEK DON’T RISE
Author: LEAH WEISS

Genre: FICTION

Publisher: SOURCEBOOKS LANDMARK

Release Date: AUGUST 8, 2017

ISBN: 9781492647454

Price: $15.99 USD

Type of Book: ARC from Netgalley 

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

This is the debut novel written by LEAH WEISS.

Set in the 1970s high in the Appalachian Mountain range sits a small, secluded community struggling to survive and to live their lives as they see fit.

The inhabitant’s lives are not very different from the lives of their ancestors. Down the mountain, people are embracing new technologies and just about everyone has a car, indoor plumbing and telephones are installed in every home. Not so on the mountain. Outhouses are still in use and the mountain folk have no desire for the intrusion that improvements might bring.

In fact, outsiders are treated with scorn and suspicion. Children are taught in a one-room schoolhouse that in theory sounds quaint and idyllic, but in reality is anything but.

Teachers arrive with the best of intentions, but soon run away with their tails tucked between their legs  when they discover the harsh reality of mountain life. Their leaving could also have something to do with the fact that the last teacher’s home mysteriously caught fire in the middle of the night and burned to the ground.

With character names such as Marris, Gladys, Sadie and Otis Blue, the author creates a sense of living in the past. There are too many characters and too many intertwined storylines to mention them here, but Leah Weiss has crafted a complex but believable and haunting tale that will tug at your heartstrings and make you shake your head in both exasperation and disbelief.

IF THE CREEK DON’T RISE is as harsh and unapologetic as the immovable mountains. Leah Weiss has a gift for character building and the people who live on the mountain come alive on every page. Even the way the characters talk comes through as raw and authentic. For example, Sadie’s grandmother Gladys says, “From the start there’s been a film of dingy on my days. I’ve always done woman’s work; man’s work, too. Woke up with work to do, went to bed before it got done … I been chained to an iron life.”

My favourite line in the book was when Gladys says that her friend is as annoying and clingy as chickenshit on shoes.

I rate IF THE CREEK DON’T RISE as 5 out of 5 stars and predict that we will see this book at the top of the Bestseller lists as soon as it is released.  🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟


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


MY FAVOURITE QUOTES:


“Only got the clothes on her back and a backbone that won’t bend.”


“Ugly talk follows Roy like fleas on a mangy dog. He’s a spiteful, small-minded man who drinks hard and plays for keeps.”   


“Truth always hurts and it’s extra hard to look at late in life.”


“She’s got lessons to learn, and life’s one bugger of a teacher.”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
(In her own words – copied from her website)

Leah Weiss’s roots are deep, simple and southern. 

They started where my mama Lucy was born on a tobacco farm in the flatlands of eastern North Carolina. She was one of fifteen siblings raised without electricity or indoor plumbing. My daddy, a Marine from Cherry Point, saw my mama a handful of times. Then he married her on her eighteenth birthday in 1944. They settled near her family where my sister and I were born in a farming town, where neighborhoods were divided by train tracks and held together by church and traditions.Just about everybody we knew was kin.

When I was ten, we left Carolina and moved to Virginia when my grandpop died. We moved in with Nana, and on the empty lot next door my parents built us a four-room home, sawing, hammering and painting. They were self-sufficient and hardworking people with humble dreams.

In my childhood days, I fell in love with Nancy Drew mystery books. Every spare moment was spent between the covers of those blue books solving crimes and thinking that could be me. If my name was Nancy. If I had a roadster. If I was five years older. I have nineteen of those early Nancy Drew books on my bookshelf. They hooked me on the pull of imagination.

But my world wasn’t Nancy Drew’s world. I took piano lessons that led to a scholarship that took me to Dunbarton College in Washington DC in the second half of the turbulent sixties. Our Nation’s Capital was in chaos over Vietnam, racial strife and women’s equality. Marches and sit-ins were the norm in that time of unrest. A year after college, I married, had a son, taught music, and wrote articles for a magazine. Two decades later, I divorced then took the job of executive assistant to the Headmaster at Virginia Episcopal School that lasted my next twenty-four years.

In those years, I wrote memoirs and fiction whose rules weren’t always clear. I attended writing conferences and workshops, haunted bookstores and studied my favorite authors. I cut my writing teeth on a novel that didn’t sell and a string of short stories that did. Eventually, I found.my writing voice. No surprise, it’s southern and musical and best when read aloud. It is always about people who are self-sufficient and hard working with humble dreams.

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A New MUST READ Young Adult novel that will have adult readers fondly thinking about growing up in the 80s. THE IMPOSSIBLE FORTRESS is available now!


 
Title: THE IMPOSSIBLE FORTRESS

Author: JASON REKULAK     

Genre: YOUNG ADULT FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION  (THE 1980s)

Length: 285 PAGES

Publisher: SIMON AND SCHUSTER 

Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

Received From: SIMON AND SCHUSTER through the Goodreads Giveaway program

Cover Design: WILL STAHLE

Release Date: FEBRUARY 7, 2017

ISBN: 9781501166839

Rating:   5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟     

  

I LOVED THIS BOOK. Although THE IMPOSSIBLE FORTRESS is targeted at young adult readers, anyone who, like me, grew up in the 1980s will find this book a trip down memory lane.

Jason Rekulak may be a debut author, but it is obvious that his years working as an editor for Quark Books embued him with an excellent sense of the proper balance between the plot and character development.

Will Marvin and his two best friends are the ultimate underdogs. It’s 1986 and Vanna White is the ultimate girl next door. When the boys learn that she is featured in Playboy magazine, they are determined to get copies.

Will is a nerd. I can relate. I remember taking classes in Basic Code and doing anything on a computer took hours and hours of entering programming code. But, Will loves it. Hos ultimate life goal is to design video games for a living.

Then he meets Mary Zelinsky. She is a computer nerd too. Will is stunned. He had no idea that there were girls who liked computers. Remember – this was the 80s and women were still battling the secretary stereotype.

Can Will get the girl, perfect his video game called The Impossible Fortress, and get his hands on the dirty pictures of Vanna White?

This novel will have adult readers waxing nostalgic for the less complicated days of their youth and both adults and young adults alike will be able to relate to the terror and elation of discovering the opposite sex for the first time.

THE IMPOSSIBLE FORTRESS is liberally sprinkled with pop culture references and readers will find themselves digging out their old mixed-tapes.

I absolutely loved this book and I will be recommending it to all my friends. I doubt this is the last we have heard from debut author Jason Rekulak and I, for one, can’t wait to read whatever he comes up with next.

I rate this book with an enthusiastic 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Now, I’m off to my basement to try to find my old Atari system. I can’t wait to play Space Invaders – old school style.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

 

JASON REKULAK was born and raised in New Jersey. He has worked for many years at Quirk Books, where he edits a variety of fiction and non-fiction.

He lives in Philadelphia with his wife and two children. THE IMPOSSIBLE FORTRESS is his first novel.

To learn more and to play a version of The Impossible Fortress game, visit his website.

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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 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

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. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 

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 children’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.  Eric’s novels have won more than 100 awards including eleven separate children’s choice awards. 

He is the only three time winner of both the Ontario Library Association Silver Birch and Red Maple Awards β€“ in which over 250,000 students participate and vote the winner.  In November 2013 he received the prestigious Children’s Africana Book Award – Best Book for young children – 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   

Eric’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 – Grade 12 as well as adult groups and keynote speeches.

 June 2013 Eric became β€˜Dr. Walters’ 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 – school by school, dollar by dollar, item by item – how their donations are spent.

Eric is the father of three (Christina – born 1985, Nicholas – born 1988, and Julia – born 1992) and he and his wife live in Mississauga with their two dogs – 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:

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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 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

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 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟  

 

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 

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

Those who pre-order gain access to fun extras, including a bonus chapter that isn’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 🌟🌟🌟🌟 

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. 🌟🌟🌟🌟 


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. It’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:

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

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 STARS🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟   


* 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. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 

 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:

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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 πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ   

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. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟  

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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:

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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 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 

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 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟  

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: “Archer’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.🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

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 Archer’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).

Jeffrey’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 10β€”four of them at #1β€”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 Queen’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         

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FACEBOOK 

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