Thursday, September 18, 2014

I've Got Some Winners to Announce!




Emails have gone out to the winners.
Thanks to everyone who took the time to read and comment on these posts! Check my sidebar for more great giveaways!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Blog Tour Q&A + Giveaway with Anne Girard, Author of Madame Picasso

Please join me in welcoming author Anne Girard to Let Them Read Books! Anne is currently touring the blogosphere with her new historical fiction novel, Madame Picasso, the untold story of Eva Gouel, the woman who stole the heart of the greatest artist of our time, Pablo Picasso. This book is getting rave reviews from my reading friends, and I can't wait to read it myself. I was so pleased to get the chance to ask Anne a few questions about her muse, Eva, and what it was like to write about the iconic Picasso. Check out the book trailer and my Q&A with Anne, and then enter to win a paperback copy of Madame Picasso!

Hello, Anne! Welcome to Let Them Read Books!

Hello, Jenny, it’s a pleasure to be here. Thank you for having me.

How were you first introduced to Eva Gouel, and what inspired you to write about her?

I first learned about Eva when I was preparing to write a novel about Picasso and his first significant love, Fernande Olivier, a woman who still, curiously enough, figures prominently in Madame Picasso. But the fact that Picasso was pulled away from Fernande so powerfully by his feelings for Eva, made my original proposal not one worth pursuing in my mind. Through my research, I discovered that Eva was his heart when he was young and on the cusp of his major international stardom, and he needed her. When they were together, she really did change him, calm him, love him and, I believe, help him become a better man. That sentiment is backed up by Picasso’s friend and biographer, Pierre Daix. Knowing the impact Eva had on him was definitely my initial inspiration to tell her story.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Spotlight + Giveaway: Spy Island by Sophie Schiller

Please join Sophie Schiller as she tours the blogosphere with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours with her historical fiction novel, Spy Island, from September 15-26. Read on for more info about the book, the tour schedule full of reviews, interviews, and giveaways, and a chance to win your own copy of Spy Island!

Publication Date: January 16, 2013
Formats: eBook, Paperback

A forbidden friendship that blossoms into love is at the heart of this colorful historical novel.

Abigail Maduro arrives in the Danish West Indies on 1916 to live with her Aunt Esther, a bad tempered spinster, and her houseful of eccentric servants. Despite the island’s veneer of tranquility, St. Thomas is a hotbed of German spies who use their Hamburg-America steamers to aid the Kaiser’s war effort.

When a mysterious stranger suddenly appears in town, Abigail is drawn into the conflict. In the scholarly Erich Seibold, she finds the friendship and love she has been craving, even after she learns that Erich is really a deserter from a German U-boat. But their idyllic interlude comes to a crashing halt when the island’s German consul also discovers Erich’s identity, and blackmails him into committing sabotage. After a melee involving the Danish governor, Erich is thrown into prison, forcing Abigail to risk everything to save him. Action and adventure abound in this colorful historical novel that brings to life a fading West Indian sugar colony in the last days of Danish rule.

Praise for Spy Island

“Spy Island is an exciting adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I love being immersed in the world of the Caribbean during World War I, I felt like I was looking into a snapshot of the past. This book is full of adventure, exciting twists, just when I thought I had the plot figured out, it would change again. The descriptions, the characters, and the plot of this story all weave together into a tight package of fun that you do not want to miss.” The Howling Turtle Book Reviews

“Spy Island is a fun, fast read for any fan of historical fiction and adventure stories.” Lynne Hinkey, author of Marina Melee

Monday, September 15, 2014

Blog Tour Guest Post + Giveaway: Inglorious Royal Marriages by Leslie Carroll

Please join me in welcoming author Leslie Carroll to Let Them Read Books! Leslie is touring the blogosphere with her newest nonfiction release, Inglorious Royal Marriages, compiling the outrageous real-life stories of the most spectacular mismatches in five hundred years of royal history. Leslie's got a guest post for us on a surprising modern-historical connection, and she's brought along a copy of Inglorious Royal Marriages to give away. Read on for your chance to win!

What Do the National Football League and the Medicis Have In Common?
by Leslie Carroll

It goes a lot deeper than bling and big houses. If you were to say “trophy wives,” you’d be warm, but the Medici women were prizes themselves, at least as wealthy and glamorous in their own right as any starlet or supermodel.

The rather sordid and sinister answer is: domestic violence.

During the course of my research for INGLORIOUS ROYAL MARRIAGES, when I came to the chapter on the 16th century unions of the stunning heiress, Isabella Romola de Medici to Paolo Giordano Orsini, the scion of a prestigious Roman family; and that of Isabella’s incredibly warped younger brother Pietro de Medici to their beautiful and spirited cousin Eleonora di Garzia di Toledo, little did I realize how relevant their stories would become to current events.

To me, the horrific events of these two Medici marriages were shocking. I have written about countless royal unions, both connubial and extramarital. Because most royal marriages were arranged, and therefore not love matches, it’s no wonder that they failed to some extent—that there was acrimony, or adultery. But murder? And not the Henry VIII-trumped-up-charges-of-high-treason sort. But the kind of spousal assault designed to look like an accident where the husband then weeps crocodile tears. And gets away with it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Blog Tour Guest Post + Giveaway: This is How I'd Love You by Hazel Woods

Please join me in welcoming author Hazel Woods to Let Them Read Books! Hazel is touring the blogosphere with her debut historical fiction novel, This Is How I'd Love You, a story of love and loss during World War I. This book is generating a lot of buzz, and I can't wait to read it! Hazel is here today with a guest post of how her great-grandparents' love letters inspired This Is How I'd Love You, and she's brought along a copy to give away! Read on for your chance to win!

Book Description:

As the Great War rages, an independent young woman struggles to sustain love—and life—through the power of words. It’s 1917 and America is on the brink of World War I. After Hensley Dench’s father is forced to resign from the New York Times for his anti-war writings, she finds herself expelled from the life she loves and the future she thought she would have. Instead, Hensley is transplanted to New Mexico, where her father has taken a job overseeing a gold mine. Driven by loneliness, Hensley hijacks her father’s correspondence with Charles Reid, a young American medic with whom her father plays chess via post. Hensley secretly begins her own exchange with Charles, but looming tragedy threatens them both, and—when everything turns against them—will their words be enough to beat the odds?

The Letters
by Hazel Woods

I’ve been surrounded by the myth of the letters for almost as long as I can remember.  Love letters between my great-grandparents, people I’d never met, but whose legacy I unknowingly carried.  First, they were kept in a trunk in the garage, awaiting my mother’s empty nest years.  She’d wax on occasionally about her grandparents—Margaret, the elegant, engaging, fashionable, eccentric wife to Edward, the family radical, a newspaperman turned gold mine manager turned lawyer.  Eventually, on my weekly long distance phone call home from college, I was told they were finally being transcribed, from the looping black ink on yellowed paper into a tidy Microsoft Word document.  Someday I hope somebody reads them, my mother told me wistfully.  It blurred in with the rest of her wistfulness and I rolled my eyes in my dorm room, even as I sat down to pen a letter to my own long-distance love, who would one day become my husband.  Ah, irony.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Cover Reveal: The Tapestry by Nancy Bilyeau

I am so excited to take part in the cover reveal for The Tapestry, the third book in Nancy Bilyeau's Joanna Stafford historical mystery series! I loved the first two books (check out my reviews of The Crown and The Chalice),
and The Tapestry is one of my most anticipated titles of 2015!
Without further ado, here's the cover!

Publication Date: March 24, 2015
Touchstone Publishing
Formats: eBook, Hardcover
Pages: 390
Genre: Historical Mystery
Series: Joanna Stafford, Book Three

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In THE CROWN, Sister Joanna Stafford searched for a Dark Ages relic that could save her priory from Cromwell’s advancing army of destruction. In THE CHALICE, Joanna was drawn into an international conspiracy against Henry VIII himself as she struggled to learn the truth behind a prophecy of his destruction.

Now, in THE TAPESTRY, Joanna Stafford finally chooses her own destiny.

After her Dominican priory in Dartford closed forever—collateral damage in tyrannical King Henry VIII’s quest to overthrow the Catholic Church—Joanna resolves to live a quiet and honorable life weaving tapestries, shunning dangerous quests and conspiracies. Until she is summoned to Whitehall Palace, where her tapestry weaving has drawn the King’s attention.

Joanna is uncomfortable serving the King, and fears for her life in a court bursting with hidden agendas and a casual disregard for the virtues she holds dear. Her suspicions are confirmed when an assassin attempts to kill her moments after arriving at Whitehall.

Struggling to stay ahead of her most formidable enemy yet, an unknown one, she becomes entangled in dangerous court politics. Her dear friend Catherine Howard is rumored to be the King’s mistress. Joanna is determined to protect young, beautiful, na├»ve Catherine from becoming the King’s next wife and, possibly, victim.

Set in a world of royal banquets and feasts, tournament jousts, ship voyages, and Tower Hill executions, this thrilling tale finds Joanna in her most dangerous situation yet, as she attempts to decide the life she wants to live: nun or wife, spy or subject, rebel or courtier. Joanna Stafford must finally choose.

Pre-order the Book:

Barnes & Noble

About the Author:

 Nancy Bilyeau has worked on the staffs of InStyle, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Ladies Home Journal. She is currently the executive editor of DuJour magazine. Her screenplays have placed in several prominent industry competitions. Two scripts reached the semi-finalist round of the Nicholl Fellowships of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Her screenplay "Zenobia" placed with the American Zoetrope competition, and "Loving Marys" reached the finalist stage of Scriptapalooza. A native of the Midwest, she earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan. THE CROWN, her first novel, was published in 2012; the sequel, THE CHALICE, followed in 2013. THE TAPESTRY will be released in March 2015.

Nancy lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Stay in touch with her on Twitter at @tudorscribe. For more information please visit Nancy Bilyeau's website.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Wicked Lady: Blog Tour Guest Post by Deborah Swift, Author of Shadow on the Highway

Please join me in welcoming Deborah Swift to Let Them Read Books! Deborah is touring the blogosphere with her newest historical fiction novel, the first book in the Highway Trilogy, Shadow on the Highway, based on the life and legend of Lady Katherine Fanshawe, the highwaywoman, sometimes known as "The Wicked Lady."  Check out Deborah's guest post on this Wicked Lady, and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win one of ten copies of Shadow on the Highway!

The Wicked Lady – Katherine Fanshawe
By Deborah Swift

I am not the first writer to be inspired by the life and legend of Lady Katherine Fanshawe.

The first novel based on her life was by Magdalen King-Hall who wrote a book called The Life and Death of the Wicked Lady Skelton in 1945. I have a copy and it is exciting reading, though long-winded in the telling by today’s standards. The book was a smash hit in its day and was made into a film - The Wicked Lady. The film starred Margaret Lockwood in the title role as a nobleman's wife who secretly becomes a highwayman to relieve her life of boredom. The mystery of why she would take such an extreme action was the sensation of its day – women were supposed to be safe at home doing the housekeeping! The film had one of the top audiences ever for a film of its period, 18.4 million – a staggering number. I can remember my mother talking about it as one of her favourite films.