The River Jewel Tour – Review & Giveaway

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About the Book

The River Jewel: A Letter Series Novella by Kathleen Shoop
Publication Date: December 3, 2019
eBook & Paperback; 172 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

For everyone who hopes to find the perfect matchÖ

1875 Des Moines, Iowa

The novella, The River Jewel, takes readers of the bestselling Letter Series novels back in time, before there was a last letter, before the Arthurs lost everything, before they knew a girl named Pearl.

Meet Tilly Rabel, a proud oyster-woman, and Landon Lockwood, the troubled son of one of the wealthiest men in America. The two could not be less suited for love. But when an old legend draws Landon to a hidden river cove, Tilly and he find each other, are lured by growing attraction, and repelled by competing desires to control Tillyís waters. The hidden pool is replete with valuable mussel beds and the source of everything that makes Tilly who she is. Landon sees the illustrious treasure as the path to proving to his parents he is worth their love and worthy of the Lockwood name. Can Tilly trust Landon with her heart, with her beloved mussel beds? Can Landon trust that he has truly changed and doesnít need his parents approval to live the life he wants?

Heartbreak, triumph, and a very special baby weave a tale sure to please readers whoíve read the entire Letter Series and those who are just starting the journey.

Available on Amazon

Review

This is my second read from The Letter Series by Kathleen Shoop and I am yet again blown away by how gorgeous it is. This novella takes place as a sort of prequel to the series and contains a lovely romance within. And, as I expected, the writing is just lush and gorgeous!

The River Jewel follows Tilly and Landon on an emotional rollercoaster of a love story. The two are very different, yet even with all of these differences might they make the perfect combination? Each of the characters have their moments of being likeable… and then not so much. Which is perfect, because it makes them human. No person is ever perfect 24/7 and it is through brilliantly imperfect characters that we get a glimpse into the true reality of humanity.

Outside of our main characters, the setting of this book is really quite special. We get a in depth experience of what it was like to live in Des Moines at the time. And the community within is really highlighted in a special way. All in all this book is a splendid romance and a wonderful novella on the day to day lives of two people who happen to meet one another.

About the Author

Bestselling author, Kathleen Shoop, holds a PhD in reading education and has more than 20 years of experience in the classroom. She writes historical fiction, womenís fiction and romance. Shoopís novels have garnered various awards in the Independent Publisher Book Awards, Eric Hoffer Book Awards, Indie Excellence Awards, Next Generation Indie Book Awards and the San Francisco Book Festival. Kathleen has been featured in USA Today and the Writerís Guide to 2013. Her work has appeared in The Tribune-Review, four Chicken Soup for the Soul books and Pittsburgh Parent magazine. She lives in Oakmont, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, August 26
Review at Passages to the Past
Feature at I’m All About Books

Friday, August 28
Review & Excerpt at Bookworlder

Monday, August 31
Review at Books, Writings, and More

Wednesday, September 2
Review at Book Bustle

Monday, September 7
Review at Jorie Loves A Story

Friday, September 11
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks

Saturday, September 12
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Monday, September 14
Review at YA, It’s Lit

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a prize pack including a copy of the book, a bracelet, a journal, and a $50 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky winner! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on September 14th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

The River Jewel

*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*

The Fourteenth of September Tour – Review

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About the Book

On September 14, 1969, Private First Class Judy Talton celebrates her nineteenth birthday by secretly joining the campus anti-Vietnam War movement. In doing so, she jeopardizes both the army scholarship that will secure her future and her relationship with her military family. But Judy’s doubts have escalated with the travesties of the war. Who is she if she stays in the army? What is she if she leaves?

When the first date pulled in the Draft Lottery turns up as her birthday, she realizes that if she were a man, she’d have been Number One—off to Vietnam with an under-fire life expectancy of six seconds. The stakes become clear, propelling her toward a life-altering choice as fateful as that of any draftee.

The Fourteenth of September portrays a pivotal time at the peak of the Vietnam War through the rare perspective of a young woman, tracing her path of self-discovery and a “Coming of Conscience.” Judy’s story speaks to the poignant clash of young adulthood, early feminism, and war, offering an ageless inquiry into the domestic politics of protest when the world stops making sense.

Praise for The Fourteenth of September

An often fresh take on the collegiate anti-war movement in small-town America.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“The ebb and flow between a nineteen-year-old’s mistakes, vulnerability, and surprising moments of insight ring achingly true. The Fourteenth of September is a moving tribute to lives altered by chance. The draft lottery and its rippling effects highlight a generation that came into adulthood amid devastating uncertainty.” –– Foreword Clarion Reviews

“Rita Dragonette has written a strong-hearted and authentic novel about a naive young girl and her struggle to reconcile the dissonance between the world she sees and the world she was raised to believe in. Judy is truly a quiet hero; you won’t forget her.”  –– Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean

Review

This book provides a vivid portrayal of a tumultuous time within the US as well as tumultuous feelings within one individual trying to find her way during this time. Taking a much needed fresh approach to a typical wartime story, The Fourteenth of September focuses on a young female as she navigates college, joining the anti-Vietnam war movement, and her role within the military. So, as you can tell, it’s highly engrossing.

The emotions that are found within this book is what sets it above many other stories set in this time. Entering adulthood is a difficult time for anyone without a war, but being forced to face even more warring opinions could make anyone break. Dragonette is extremely successful in conveying not only the time period, but the feelings associated with finding your own beliefs about a war killing many on each side. As you read this story you will easily find yourself empathizing with Judy as she struggles to navigate two very different sides of her life and herself.

I believe that what makes The Fourteenth of September such a moving read is the experiences that Dragonette went through herself and infused within this story. It is an extremely realistic and plausible tale that will leave you with a renewed understanding of the time and its people. Although the events in this book may not have been all that long ago (in retrospect), they can provide some outlook on many of the current issues in our society.

About the Author

Rita Dragonette is a writer who, after spending nearly thirty years telling the stories of others as an award-winning public relations executive, has returned to her original creative path. The Fourteenth of September, her debut novel from She Writes Press, is based upon her personal experiences on campus during the Vietnam War. It has received the Beverly Hills Book Award for Women’s Fiction (2018), National Indie Excellence Awards for New Fiction (finalist 2019) and Best Cover Design (finalist 2019), American Book Fest Fiction Awards for Literary Fiction (finalist 2018) and Best Cover Design (finalist 2018) and the Hollywood Book Festival (honorable mention 2018, general fiction). She is currently at work on three other books: an homage to The Sun Also Rises about expats chasing their last dream in San Miguel de Allende, a World War II novel based upon her interest in the impact of war on and through women, and a memoir in essays. She lives and writes in Chicago, where she also hosts literary salons to showcase authors and their new books to avid readers.

Tour Schedule

Sept 9th – Lindas Book Obsession https://www.facebook.com/lindasbookobsession

Sept. 10th – David L Morgan https://instagram.com/david_l_morgan

Sept. 12th – Ya It’s Lit https://instagram.com/ya.its.lit

Sept. 12th – Miss W Book Reviews https://instagram.com/misswbookreviews

Sept. 13th – Hannah Reads https://instagram.com/hannah_reads_

Sept. 13th – Gingerly Reading https://instagram.com/gingerly_reading

Sept. 13th – Flight Nurse https://instagram.com/flightnurse70

Sept. 14th Bookoholic Cafe https://instagram.com/bookoholiccafe

Sept. 14th – Bookish Heidi https://instagram.com/bookish.heidi

Sept. 14th – Nurse Bookie https://instagram.com/nurse_bookie

Sept. 15th – Book Chara https://instagram.com/bookchara

*I received a copy in exchange for a review*

A Better Life Review

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About the Book

Ada, a young Englishwoman in early-1940s Singapore, is about to be married to Michael, a well-educated Anglo-Indian from a wealthy family. She dreams of a life of security and fulfilment. Instead, when the Japanese invade, her family struggle to cope under occupation, while she is interned in Changi gaol. Separated from her baby daughter and her beloved Michael, who is torn between loyalty to his family and duty to his country, she needs all her will-power to survive.After the war, Ada must decide how best to protect her child. She leaves Singapore in search of a better life only to experience prejudice and unkindness. But her journey will also bring compassion and hope. This moving and engaging story is an insightful depiction of people deeply affected by the horrors of war, a mother’s bond with her child, and the momentous challenge of rebuilding one’s life in peace-time. A challenge which requires, above all, self-belief, the capacity to forgive, and the courage to love again.

Review

This is a beautiful story about a time and a place that I don’t know much about. AKA, my type of story. I love a historical fiction that teaches me something while also providing an enjoyable story. And one thing that this story does really imbue is the cost of a better life and if finding it truly is what you expected.

This story is set in Singapore in the early 1940s and examines life before, during, and after the war. While I’ve read a lot of stories on WWII, I haven’t read many focusing on the Japanese and can quite honestly say that this is the first one I’ve read centered on Singapore. While we are used to books focusing on the horrors of the Holocaust, but A Better Life gives a glimpse into the horrors of a Japanese internment camp. Taking us through multiple different settings this book is a moving tale on how difficult life was during this time.

A Beautiful Life is one of those haunting books that will stick with you because of the trials that the characters endured. It is a touching look at a battle for a better life while dealing with the prejudice and cruelty of others. And even with all of this the story is extremely unique and sheds light on a side of history that is rarely seen in books. This book will leave you feeling inspired to hope for more.

About the Author

Isobel Scharen was born in Singapore, where she was adopted by a mixed-race couple. She was educated in New Zealand before settling in England. She now divides her time between London and Bristol. A Better Life is her first novel.

*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*

The Lost Diary of Alexander Hamilton Tour – Review & Giveaway

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About the Book

The Lost Diary of Alexander Hamilton by Sophie Schiller
Publication Date: July 3, 2020
Tradewinds Publishing

Genre: YA/US Colonial & Revolutionary Period/Historical Fiction

The story of Alexander Hamiltonís lost childhood in the Caribbeanóa land of sugar plantations and slaveryówhere an impoverished orphan must learn to survive despite impossible odds. It is a story of struggle, heartbreak, resilience, and ultimately, triumph.

  1. Alexander Hamilton arrives in St. Croix with his family to begin a new life. He longs for the chance to go to school and fit in, but secrets from his motherís past threaten to tear his family apart. When he sees a young African slave being tortured, Alexander vows to act. He urges his uncle to buy Ajax and promises to set him free. But tragedy strikes when his father abandons the family and his mother dies of yellow fever. Orphaned and alone, Alex is forced to survive by his wits and resourcefulness. By day he works in a counting house learning the secrets of foreign trade. By night he studies Plutarch and dreams of fame and glory. When Ajax is sold to a brutal planter, Alex vows to save him, even at the risk of his own life. With the aid of a reluctant slave-catcher, he concocts a plan to rescue Ajax, but when the price for helping a slave run away is torture or death, no one is safe.

In this gripping tale, Sophie Schiller re-creates the boyhood of the young man who would grow up to become a Founding Father and one of America’s foremost men.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Praise for The Lost Diary of Alexander Hamilton

“The Lost Diary of Alexander Hamilton is a wonderful read… The musical “Hamilton” has brought the impact of this man in the founding of America sharply into our consciousness. But what author Sophie Schiller has skillfully done here is to take what little is known about Alexander’s early life and fashion a fictional story around his upbringing that fleshes out the boy that would become the man. I can highly recommend this read.” – Grant Leishman for Reader’s Favorite (5 star review)

“The Lost Diary of Alexander Hamilton is the kind of story that helps to restore faith in mankind. It helps to illustrate that, while there are those who are evil, who care not for their fellow man, there are also those willing to put their lives on the line for others. Author Sophie Schiller’s story of Alexander Hamilton shows him to be such a man. In these days when it seems that so little history is taught, and when the veracity of much of what is taught is questionable, this is the kind of story that those both young and old would do well to read.” Patricia Reding for Reader’s Favorite (5 star review)

Review

I have a confession to make. I haven’t watched or listened to any of the songs to Hamilton. Phew! That’s off my chest! And it’s weird that I haven’t because I have been a big fan of Lin-Manuel Miranda since In the Heights first came out. But what does any of this have to do with this book? Well, I was hoping this book would spark my interest in the musical. I also just wanted to learn a bit more about the man who has seemingly become a myth overnight.

This is a gorgeously written book that dives deep into the history it covers. This book covers the early life of Alexander Hamilton and takes what little there is known about that time to weave a beautiful story. It’s a story about pain and heartache while also showing how Hamilton became the genius that we know him as.

A true origin story, The Lost Diary of Alexander Hamilton is a fantastic read for those new to Hamilton and the biggest fans of him. This is a beautifully written book that consistently hints at the research that went into. And even through all of this it is a haunting book that will leave you wanting more.

About the Author

Sophie Schiller was born in Paterson, NJ and grew up in the West Indies. She is a novelist and a poet. She loves stories that carry the reader back in time to exotic and far-flung locations. Kirkus Reviews has called her “an accomplished thriller and historical adventure writer.” Her novel, ISLAND ON FIRE was published by Kindle Scout in 2018 and was called, “A memorable romantic thriller” by Publishers Weekly. Her latest novel, THE LOST DIARY OF ALEXANDER HAMILTON, is out now. She graduated from American University, Washington, DC and lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 7
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Tuesday, September 8
Review at Momfluenster

Wednesday, September 9
Review at Books and Zebras

Thursday, September 10
Guest Post at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Friday, September 11
Review at YA, It’s Lit

Saturday, September 12
Review at A Darn Good Read

Monday, September 14
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks
Review at History + Fiction + Adirondack Spirit

Tuesday, September 15
Excerpt at The Caffeinated Bibliophile

Wednesday, September 16
Review at Passages to the Past

Thursday, September 17
Interview at Passages to the Past

Saturday, September 19
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of The Lost Diary of Alexander Hamilton + a $10 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky winner! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on September 19th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

The Lost Diary of Alexander Hamilton

*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*

Etiquette for Runaways Tour – Review

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About the Book

A sweeping Jazz Age tale of regret, ambition, and redemption inspired by true events, including the Great Moonshine Conspiracy Trial of 1935 and Josephine Baker’s 1925 Paris debut in Le Revue Nègre.

1924. May Marshall is determined to spend the dog days of summer in self-imposed exile at her father’s farm in Keswick, Virginia. Following a naive dalliance that led to heartbreak and her expulsion from Mary Baldwin College, May returns home with a shameful secret only to find her father’s orchard is now the site of a lucrative moonshining enterprise. Despite warnings from the one man she trusts—her childhood friend Byrd—she joins her father’s illegal business. When authorities close in and her father, Henry, is arrested, May goes on the run.

May arrives in New York City, determined to reinvent herself as May Valentine and succeed on her own terms, following her mother’s footsteps as a costume designer. The Jazz Age city glitters with both opportunity and the darker temptations of cocaine and nightlife. From a start mending sheets at the famed Biltmore Hotel, May falls into a position designing costumes for a newly formed troupe of African American entertainers bound for Paris. Reveling in her good fortune, May will do anything for the chance to go abroad, and the lines between right and wrong begin to blur. When Byrd shows up in New York, intent upon taking May back home, she pushes him, and her past, away.

In Paris, May’s run of luck comes to a screeching halt, spiraling her into darkness as she unravels a painful secret about her past. May must make a choice: surrender to failure and addiction, or face the truth and make amends to those she has wronged. But first, she must find self-forgiveness before she can try to reclaim what her heart craves most.

Praise for Etiquette for Runaways

‘Exquisitely written, Liza Nash Taylor’s Etiquette for Runaways is a powerful tale of seeking absolution and pursuing dreams. It’s a magnificent, special novel that I didn’t want to end.” –Alan Hlad, international bestselling author of The Long Flight Home

‘Fasten your seatbelts, for Etiquette for Runaways is an effervescent and completely unpredictable ride from Virginia to New York to Paris with brave and complicated May Marshall. Trust me, this is one fabulous book that will keep you turning pages.” –Nancy Thayer, New York Times bestselling author of Girls of Summer

‘This is a great coming-of-age novel about life lessons, loyalty, and forgiveness in a fast-spinning, glittering world full of temptation and opportunity. Beautifully done!” — Kathleen Grissom, New York Times bestselling author of The Kitchen House and Glory Over Everything

Review

Not only is this an absolutely stunning book, but it is also a gorgeous story! I read this year (or maybe last year? I don’t know, what even is time anymore?) a story based off of Josephine Baker so I was really excited to get back to the time period and the glitz and the glamour that went along with it. And, as we often see with the glamorous lifestyle, there is a bit of darkness mixed into this story as well.

Where do I even begin though? This was just one of those books that I only need to take one look at and instantly know that I would be enamored by it. It just contains so many things that I love reading about and it was done so perfectly. And to top it off it follows a wonderfully strong female who isn’t willing to back down from a challenge. So, even more my type of book.

The best part of this book for me is that it refuses to stray away from the difficult topics. While this time period is often almost fetishized there were plenty of struggles that the people dealt with hidden behind these extravagant parties and lifestyles. Liza Nash Taylor just did such a wonderful job blending the darkness with the light and created a beautifully engaging read!

About the Author

The farmhouse where Liza Nash Taylor lives in Keswick, Virginia, with her family and dogs was built in 1825, and it is the opening setting of ETIQUETTE FOR RUNAWAYS. She writes in the old bunkhouse, with the occasional black snake and a view of the Southwest Mountains. In 2018, Liza completed the MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Art and was named a Hawthornden International Fellow.  She was the 2016 winner of the San Miguel Writer’s Conference Fiction Prize. Her short stories have appeared in Microchondria II,(an anthology by the Harvard Bookstore), Gargoyle Magazine, and others.

ETIQUETTE FOR RUNAWAYS is her first novel. Look for her second, stand-alone sequel, in 2021, also from Blackstone Publishing.

Tour Schedule

Aug. 1st– Nurse Bookie https://instagram.com/nurse_bookie 

Aug. 1st – Dani Reads https://instagram.com/dani.reads.1225

Aug. 2nd- Lindas Book Obsession https://www.facebook.com/lindasbookobsession/ 

Aug 4th – Noor The Bookworm https://instagram.com/noorthebookworm

Aug. 6th – Reader Then Blogger https://instagram.com/readerthenblogger 

Aug. 8th – Gingerly Reading https://instagram.com/gingerly_reading

Aug. 10th – Bookish Heidi https://instagram.com/bookish.heidi

Aug. 11th – Iowa Amber Reads-  https://instagram.com/iowaamberreads

Aug. 13th – Jennifer Tar Heel Reader – http://www.jennifertarheelreader.com

https://instagram.com/tarheelreader

Aug. 15th – Love My Books 2020 https://instagram.com/lovemybooks2020

Aug. 15th – Miss W Book Reviews https://instagram.com/misswbookreviews 

Aug. 19th – Candid With Courtney – https://instagram.com/candidwithcourtney

Aug. 20th -Really Into This https://instagram.com/reallyintothis

Aug. 24th-Cover 2 Cover Cafe https://instagram.com/cover2covercafe

Aug. 29th – Coffee Dogs Books https://instagram.com/coffeedogsbooks

Sept. 3rd – Reading Girl Reviews https://instagram.com/readinggirlreviews

Sept. 7th – Midwest Ladies Who Lit http://www.mwladieswholit.wordpress.com/

https://instagram.com/mwladieswholit

Sept. 9th – Ya It’s Lit  https://instagram.com/ya.its.lit

Sept. 30th – Reecas Pieces Books https://instagram.com/reecaspiecesbooks 

Sept. 30th- Bibliolau https://instagram.com/bibliolau19

*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*

Into the Unbounded Night Tour – Review & Giveaway

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About the Book

Into the Unbounded Night by Mitchell James Kaplan
Publication Date: September 1, 2020
Regal House Publishing
Paperback & eBook; 231 Pages
Genre: Literary/Historical

When her village in Albion is sacked by the Roman general Vespasian, young Aislin is left without home and family. Determined to exact revenge, she travels to Rome, a sprawling city of wealth, decadence, and power. A “barbarian” in a “civilized” world, Aislin struggles to comprehend Roman ways. From a precarious hand-to-mouth existence on the streets, she becomes the mistress of a wealthy senator, but their child Faolan is born with a disability that renders him unworthy of life in the eyes of his father and other Romans.

Imprisoned for her efforts to topple the Roman regime, Aislin learns of an alternate philosophy from her cellmate, the Judean known today as the Apostle St. Paul. As the capital burns in the Great Fire of 64 AD, he bequeaths to her a mission that will take her to Jerusalem. There, Yohanan, son of Zakkai, has been striving to preserve the tradition of Hillel against the Zealots who advocate for a war of independence. Responding to the Judeans’ revolt, the Romans – again under the leadership of Vespasian: besiege Jerusalem, destroying the Second Temple and with it, the brand of Judean monotheism it represents. Yohanan takes on the mission of preserving what can be preserved, and of re-inventing what must be reinvented.

Throughout Into the Unbounded Night, Aislin’s, Faolan’s, Vespasian’s, and Yohanan’s lives intertwine in unexpected ways that shed light on colonization and its discontents, the relative values of dominant and tyrannized cultures, and the holiness of life itself – even the weakest of lives.

Regal House Publishing | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound

Praise for Into the Unbounded Night

“In Into the Unbounded Night, Mitchell Kaplan offers a rich rendering of war and humanity in first century Rome – of tradition and loss, and the transformative power of healing and collective memory to find one’s way home.” Nichole Bernier, Boston Globe Bestselling author of The Unfinished Work Of Elizabeth D

“Mitchell James Kaplan is the gloriously talented writer of this dramatic, intense story of conflicting emperors, slaves, priests and exiles in a first century world whose roots and traditions are increasingly torn apart by the brutal rule of Rome. Men and women search for belief and reason, out of which will emerge a new Judaism after the destruction of Jerusalemís Temple as well as the early beginnings of Christianity. A writer of enormous scope, compassion and poetry, Kaplan has written several of the most compelling characters you will meet in the pages of a book. Into the Unbounded Night sweeps over you like a succession of huge waves. It is truly a major novel.” Stephanie Cowell, American Book Award recipient, author of Claude And Camille: A Novel Of Monet

“Kaplan’s prose is so rich and agile I felt I was breathing the air of these ancient places, and his evocation of character is no less palpable. Fully embodied and driven by ambition, grief, the clear-eyed desire for truth, and fierce maternal love, these characters plunge, march, and stumble toward their fascinating and entangled destinies.” Marisa de los Santos, New York Times bestselling novelist of I’ll Be Your Blue Sky and award-winning poet

“I’m a big fan of historical fiction when it’s as good as Mitchell Kaplan’s Into the Unbounded Night. Vividly imagined, Into the Unbounded Night pulls the reader along with beautiful prose, strong characters and a wonderfully realized story.” Heidi W. Durrow, New York Times best-selling author of The Girl Who Fell From The Sky, winner of the PEN/Bellwether Prize

“A beautiful, informative book. It was gripping throughout, the research never overwhelms the story, but is always part of it. [The] writing is lyrical and evocative of time and place. All the characters are real and interesting. Loved it!” Martin Fletcher, National Jewish Book Award winner, author of Promised Land

“From the mystical lore of Albion to the Roman siege and destruction of Jerusalem, Kaplanís meticulous research and evocative writing meld seamlessly to create a vivid, textured, and richly imagined story.” Beth Hoffman, New York Times and International bestselling author of Saving Ceecee Honeycutt and Looking for Me

“Set in Rome and Judea after the crucifixion of Jesus, Mitchell James Kaplanís finely crafted and intense second novel delves into the minds and hearts of truly captivating characters. An excellent read.” Eva Stachniak, winner of the Canadian First Novel Award, author of The Chosen Maiden

“Sensually provocative, verbally sharp and critically witted, Mitchell James Kaplanís Into the Unbounded Night brings to life the tumultuous birth of Judeo-Christian monotheism in this intimately woven narrative brimming with righteous and riotous characters striving for survival and transcendence across the ravished landscapes of Judea, the Roman Empire, and Britannia.” Jessica Maria Tuccelli, an Okra Pick winner of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance for her debut novel, Glow

“Kaplan weaves an intricate literary tapestry to create a poetic exploration of early Judeo-Christian and Roman history. He builds a diverse yet connected cast of characters whose encounters inspire timeless self-examination and advance the course of history. An engrossing work not easily forgotten.” Therese Walsh, critically acclaimed author of The Last Will Of Moira Leahy and The Moon Sisters, founder of the literary blog, Writer Unboxed

Review

I went into this book expecting a wonderfully written historical fiction, and what I got was so much more. It was just so beautifully written and equal parts engrossing and engaging. It takes a deep dive into the psyche of humans and shows us at our best and our worst. There is a bit of history, a touch of faith, a dash of magical realism, and topping it off with a wonderful cast of characters.

Now, I mentioned the characters already, but I want to just go a little more in depth. We have the four main characters and their POVs and what really makes them each so special is their imperfections. This was not the easiest time period to live through so being morally grey goes hand in hand with survival. And these characters have had to make extremely difficult decisions to not just survive but to thrive. Yet the characters don’t remain stagnant throughout the book, they change and adapt based off of whatever new situation is thrown their way.

I was really excited for this book given the time period it is set in. I honestly don’t have a plethora of knowledge on the time so I couldn’t wait to dive into it and hopefully learn something. But what I was pleasantly surprised with was the style of writing. This truly was a gorgeous book and it didn’t fall into the trap, that some historical fiction books tend to do, and become dry. You will definitely enjoy the read and the characters throughout your read!

About the Author

Mitchell James Kaplan graduated with honors from Yale University, where he won the Paine Memorial Prize for Best Long-Form Senior Essay submitted to the English Department. His first mentor was the author William Styron.

After college, Kaplan lived in Paris, France, where he worked as a translator, then in Southern California, where he worked as a screenwriter and in film production.

He lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with his family and two cats.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 31
Review at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, September 2
Review at Books and Zebras

Friday, September 4
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Saturday, September 5
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Monday, September 7
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks

Tuesday, September 8
Interview at Novels Alive
Feature at I’m Into Books

Wednesday, September 9
Review at YA, It’s Lit

Thursday, September 10
Review at The Caffeinated Bibliophile

Friday, September 11
Feature at Pursuing Stacie

Monday, September 14
Interview at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, September 16
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, September 17
Review at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Friday, September 18
Guest Post at Book Bustle

Monday, September 21
Interview at Books & Benches

Tuesday, September 22
Feature at Coffee and Ink

Wednesday, September 23
Guest Post at The Intrepid Reader

Friday, September 25
Review at A Book Geek

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away 2 copies of Into the Unbounded Night! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on September 25th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Unbounded Night

*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*

Alina Tour – Review & Giveaway

Click the image

About the Book

Alina: A Song For the Telling by Malve von Hassell
August 27, 2020
BHC Press
Hardcover, Paperback, & eBook
Genre: Young Adult/Historical/Medieval

“You should be grateful, my girl. You have no dowry, and I am doing everything I can to get you settled. You are hardly any man’s dream.” Alina’s brother, Milos, pulled his face into a perfect copy of Aunt Marci’s sour expression, primly pursing his mouth. He had got her querulous tone just right.

I pinched my lips together, trying not to laugh. But it was true; Aunt Marci had already introduced me to several suitors. So far I had managed to decline their suits politely.

Maybe Alina’s aunt was right. How could she possibly hope to become a musician, a trobairitz, as impoverished as she was and without the status of a good marriage?

But fourteen-year-old Alina refuses to accept the oppressing life her strict aunt wants to impose upon her. When the perfect opportunity comes along for her to escape, she and her brother embark on a journey through the Byzantine Empire all the way to Jerusalem.

Alina soon finds herself embroiled in the political intrigue of noble courts as she fights to realize her dream of becoming a female troubadour.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Review

I don’t often read middle school age books, but when I do it’s because it’s compared to Anne of Green Gables or Little Women. Alina is a delightful story of a young girl coming of age in a very tumultuous time. It’s a really interesting look into the time period and focuses on the people that lived and persevered during this time.

This is very much a story focused on the characters, so while there is tons of character development the action sometimes falls to the wayside. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s action throughout this story, but it is all through the eyes of Alina and her own thoughts and feelings. While there were some aspects that could have been a bit more detailed, this story was extremely enjoyable and gave us a wild tale.

Alina is a wonderful story that provides a small insight into the lives of those who lived during this time period. And it’s also a reminder that life was not always easy for those who strive to live it. And although this is a middle grade book, adults and younger individuals can enjoy this story alike.

About the Author

Malve von Hassell is a writer, researcher, and translator. Born in Italy, she spent part of her childhood in Belgium and Germany before moving to the United States. She lives in Southampton, New York, close to the ocean and a bay beach where she meets flying sea robins and turtles on her morning walks with her rescue dog Loki. She enjoys reading, playing chess with her son, gardening, anything to do with horses, and dreams of someday touring Mongolia on horseback. Her works include the children’s picture book, Letters from the Tooth Fairy, written in response to her son’s letters to the tooth fairy; The Falconer’s Apprentice, her first historical fiction novel for young readers; The Amber Crane, a historical fiction novel set in Germany in the 17th century, and Alina: A Song for the Telling, a coming-of-age story of a young woman from Provence in the 12th century who dreams of being a musician.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday, August 27
Review at Passages to the Past

Friday, August 28
Interview at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Saturday, August 29
Feature at Books, Cooks, Looks

Monday, August 31
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Wednesday, September 2
Review at History from a Womanís Perspective

Thursday, September 3
Feature at SplendeurCaisse

Friday, September 4
Review at YA, it’s Lit

Monday, September 7
Review at Books and Zebras

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of Alina by Malve von Hassell! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on September 7th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Alina

Hope City Tour – Review

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About the Book

Hope City: The Alaskan Adventures of Percy Hope by Neil Perry Gordon
Publication Date: May 31, 2020

Two teenage boys from San Francisco set off in the summer of 1898 into the goldfields of the Alaskan wilderness.

Warned by his father to conceal his Jewish heritage from the ruffians he may encounter, Samuel Rothman changes his name to the less conspicuous Percy Hope. This fateful decision gives a yet-unnamed mining village a new identity and catapults Percy into a world where the good and the righteous must face greedy and ruthless adversaries.

Along a waterway known as Turnagain Arm, the newly named Hope City and the more established Sunrise are like opposite sisters. The good and virtuous Hope, with a Catholic church led by the influential Reverend O’Hara, admonishes residents against committing the seven deadly sins. In Sunrise, villainous saloon owner Magnus Vega tempts prospectors with whiskey, gambling, and women.

Hope City weaves the tale of a young man falling down a rabbit hole of unexpected hardships and struggling to find his way out, amid a wild and unforgiving environment where ambitious men and women seek their fortunes.

This fast-paced adventure is full of unforeseen twists and will delight all readers looking for a rich and dramatic page-turner with a shocking twist.

Praise for Hope City

“… Gordon’s beautifully imagined prose has clarity and dimension, and he keeps the pacing relatively quick and does justice to the impressive array of characters. Samuel’s emergence from a typical teenage self-doubt is beautifully imagined. Ripe on unforeseen twists and shocking turns, this fast-paced adventure will delight action-adventure fans as well as lovers of nuanced coming-of-age tales. This is a complete entertainment package.” ~ The Prairies Book Review

“The hunt for gold was a time of discovery and excitement for many people. Neil Gordon Perry has crafted a story that takes this time period and allows readers to connect with two friends on their journey in Alaska. Hope City is the type of story that will remind people of the beloved stories like Call of the Wild that bring the adventures of the past to a present audience in an engaging way…” ~ The Nerdy Girl Express

“…But the real treasure in Hope City is to be found in its character development with Gordon once again demonstrating a gift for nuance that vividly brings his characters to life. A rich and dramatic page-turner with a shocking twist, Hope City proves a must-read and is highly recommended.” ~ Book Viral

Review

I feel like you can tell I’ve been watching a lot of adventure and treasure hunting shows lately based off of the books I’ve been reading. What can I say, I really find the subject enjoyable! Plus this is a story of adventure in Alaska, which is one of the places I want to visit the most. So yeah, this was a story that seemed to be made just for me.

And adventure abounds in this story. There are some twists that will keep you interested in finding out what will happen next. And the characters themselves provide plenty of entertainment while reading, helping to develop the plot and give a more realistic appeal to the hunt for gold in the Alaskan wilderness.

This is such a lush novel. The writing just has that something extra that really draws you in and makes you think. There were so many enjoyable moments and the plot really kept you on your toes and made you consider what life was like back then. And all in all, it’s just a really good story.

About the Author

Beginning with his debut novel in 2018–A Cobbler’s Tale, followed by Moon Flower, The Righteous One, The Bomb Squad and Hope City, Neil Perry Gordon has established himself as a well-respected and prolific historical fiction novelist. His story telling ability has earned him high editorial praise from the likes of Kirkus, Midwest Book Review and others, including hundreds of four and five star reader reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

Neil attributes his love of the writing process from his formative education at the Green Meadow Waldorf School, where he learned that subjects such as music, dance and theater, writing, literature, legends and myths, were not simply things to be read about and tested, but lessons to be experienced.

His creative writing methods and inspiration have been described as organic; meaning that he begins his work with a general storyline for his characters, rather than working with a formal, detailed outline. This encourages his writing to offer surprising twists and unexpected outcomes, which readers have celebrated. His novels have the attributes of being driven by an equal balance between character development and face-paced action, which moves his stories along at a swift page-turning pace.

*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*

The Golden Van Dorens Tour – Review & Giveaway

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About the Book

The Golden Van Dorens by Nicole Strycharz
Publication Date: September 1, 2020
eBook & Paperback; 355 Pages
Genre: Historical Thriller

Malcom Van Doren made his fortune in the California Gold Rush of 1849.

By 1853, he spent it all, drowning in debt, and returned to his mine out of desperation.

Steadily, over the years, he went mad.

Known for his lunacy, when Malcom claimed to have discovered gold a second time, no one believed him, not even his family. Too paranoid about his creditors to prove his finding, Malcom Van Doren told everyone he hid his fortune away.

Now, in the year 1880, twenty-seven years after his second discovery, his daughters are each as desperate as he once was for wealth. All of them, for different reasons; revenge, love, or greed.

Three sisters battle to discover their dead father’s gold, but only one will win this race as their own little gold rush ensues.

God help the man that stands between a Golden Van Doren and all that glitters.

Available on Amazon

Review

Ok, I know I need to talk about this amazing book but I also just need a moment to point out and drool over this cover. I mean, look at it. LOOK! It’s just so freaking gorgeous and aesthetically pleasing! But ANYWAYS, back to the story. It’s amazing, like I said, and it’s got so much in it that appeals to me when looking for books.

Now, I love a good gold hunt. I often spend my time procrastinating by watching shows about hunting for gold, so of course this book spoke to me. What I found most intriguing were the sisters. Each one was so unique and had her own reasons, and I loved picking who I wanted to “win” and seeing if my opinion changed throughout the story.

This was such a complex story. I mean, anything that involves a gold hunt is automatically complex, but where this one shined was on the complexities of the characters. It was an easy book to get drawn into and I was able to quickly read through it.

About the Author

Nicole is a multi-genre author of over a dozen books.

“The Divorce” was nominated in the 2016 Indie Book Awards and won second place in the 2016 Best Cover Design in ‘Urban Literature Magazine.’

She was featured on the cover of Words + Magazine for her book “The Affair.”

Sheís known for delving into sensitive and real topics such as in her title ìThe Love That Hurtsî which explored domestic violence with the hopes of giving victims a voice while exposing the red flags of an abusive relationship. Most of her lead female characters are depicted as survivors or evolving overcomers of trauma. Sending a message to readers that every moment and every day they fight for is a victory.

Being of mixed ethnicity, she keeps her cast of characters diverse and tries to highlight the different cultures around the world.

Nicole lives in Virginia with her partner, three children, three stepsons, their amazing Grandparents, and one pretty Pocket-Pittie. She is always reading or working on the next book between mommyhood adventures.

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, September 1
Review at YA, It’s Lit

Wednesday, September 2
Review at Passages to the Past

Thursday, September 3
Review at Book Bustle
Review at Bitch Bookshelf
Feature at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Friday, September 4
Feature at Gwendalyn’s Books

Saturday, September 5
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, September 7
Review at Books and Zebras

Tuesday, September 8
Feature at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Wednesday, September 9
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a 12″ by 8″ canvas painting of The Van Doren Sisters! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on September 9th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

The Golden Van Dorens

Origins Tour – Review & Giveaway

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About the Book

Origins by Nicole Sallak Anderson
Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Literary Wanderlust
Paperback & eBook; 229 Pages
Series: Song of the King’s Heart, Book 1
Genre: Historical Fiction

This is the lost story of Lord Ankhwenefer, known to the Greeks as Chaonnophris the Rebel, the last native Egyptian Pharaoh. The brilliance and heartache of his rebellion weave a tale that history has forgotten.

Until now.

In the year 205 B.C., after centuries of Persian and Macedonian occupation, a rebel king rises from the south to take ancient Egypt back unto native hands. He will battle the Ptolemy line for twenty years, and rule almost eighty percent of Egypt, yet in the end, history will never mention his name.

Born Prince Ankhmakis, the last in a line of native Egyptian kings, he is raised with one purpose to help his father reclaim Egypt from the Macedonian occupiers and return their country to dynastic greatness. Fate, however, has its own plans. For lies and deceit live in the hearts of all involved, from his family to the priesthood, and the Greeks arenít the only ones who seek to destroy him.

Natasa is in training to become the High Priestess of the temple of Isis. Her task is to strengthen the royal family with the magic of the goddess through love and pleasure. She never thought the connection between her and Ankhmakis could be so strong, or carry a power coveted by those lurking in the shadows. Nor did she know that the child they would create would have her own great destiny to fulfill.

Together, Ankhmakis and Natasa must defend the potential of their love from those who would seek to use it for their own gain. Theirs is a world of magic, power, riches, and lust, and there are those within the court who would do anything to keep Ankhmakis and Natasa apart. Between mystical forces, murder, and illicit schemes–only the gods know if theyíll survive.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Praise for Origins

“ORIGINS is an enthralling, cinematic tale set in Ancient Egypt, seeping with magic, intrigue, treachery, and romance. I was hooked from the beginning and holding my breath until the very last page.” ó Stephanie Diaz, author of the Extraction Series

“Nicole Sallak Anderson’s detailed research of costumes, history, and rituals illuminate a long-vanished culture and makes it interesting and she has skillfully breathed life into mere hieroglyphs turning them into vibrant people whose lives are filled with love, jealousy, intrigue, and ambition. A must-read for anyone fascinated by Egyptology or who just wants to read a great story.” – Nancy Lynn Jarvis, author of the Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries series and the PIP Inc. series.

Review

Gah, it’s been so long since I’ve read such a solid historical fiction piece on Ancient Egypt. There’s just obviously so much history and research that went into this story, but there’s also still that mysticism and magic that comes with anything related to Ancient Egypt. And the best part is that it’s superbly written and not a dry historical fiction. There is a wonderful story within these pages that will pull on your interest.

But yeah, there’s some romance, of course some drama, lots of action and political intrigue, and so much more in between. This story definitely does not disappoint and you will never find yourself bored. If anything it’ll just make you want to read faster and faster so that you can find out what happens next. But yeah, the romance in this one is good! And that’s all I’m going to say on that because I don’t want to spoil anything.

Also, I think it’s fair to note that this is the first installment in the series. So you know I’m going to be eagerly awaiting book two. But that also means that there will be plenty more to enjoy from this story and world!

About the Author

Nicole Sallak Anderson is a Computer Science graduate from Purdue University, and former CTO for a small Silicon Valley startup, turned novelist and blogger, focusing on the intersection of technology and consciousness. She currently lives in the beautiful Santa Cruz Mountains in California with her husband, where she raises goats and bees. She enjoys spinning, knitting, playing the bass, and dancing, particularly the tango.

You can keep up with all her latest writing by following @NSallakAnderson on Facebook, Twitter and Medium or her website www.nicolesallakanderson.com. Feel free to contact her, she almost always answers to any query or comment!

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 24
Review at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, August 25
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Wednesday, August 26
Review at YA, it’s Lit

Thursday, August 27
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Friday, August 28
Review at Books and Zebras

Monday, August 31
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Tuesday, September 1
Review at Books Cooks Looks

Wednesday, September 2
Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

Thursday, September 3
Review & Excerpt at Journey in Bookland

Monday, September 7
Feature at I’m Into Books
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Review at History + Fiction + Adirondack Spirit

Friday, September 11
Review at Jessica Belmont

Wednesday, September 16
Review at Hoover Book Reviews

Friday, September 18
Review at Little But Fierce Book Diary

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of Origins! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on September 18th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Origins

*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*