Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Review: Burning Sky by Lori Benton

From the Back Cover:

"I remember the borders of our land, though I have been gone from them nearly half the moons of my life. But who there will remember me? What I have seen, what I have done, it has changed me.

I am the place where two rivers meet, silted with upheaval and loss.

Yet memory of our land is a clear stream. I shall know it as a mother knows the faces of her children. It may be I will find me there."
Abducted by Mohawk Indians at fourteen and renamed Burning Sky, Willa Obenchain is driven to return to her family’s New York frontier homestead after many years building a life with the People. At the boundary of her father’s property, Willa discovers a wounded Scotsman lying in her path. Feeling obliged to nurse his injuries, the two quickly find much has changed during her twelve-year absence—her childhood home is in disrepair, her missing parents are rumored to be Tories, and the young Richard Waring she once admired is now grown into a man twisted by the horrors of war and claiming ownership of the Obenchain land.

When her Mohawk brother arrives and questions her place in the white world, the cultural divide blurs Willa’s vision. Can she follow Tames-His-Horse back to the People now that she is no longer Burning Sky? And what about Neil MacGregor, the kind and loyal botanist who does not fit into in her plan for a solitary life, yet is now helping her revive her farm? In the aftermath of the Revolutionary War, strong feelings against “savages” abound in the nearby village of Shiloh, leaving Willa’s safety unsure.

Willa is a woman caught between two worlds. As tensions rise, challenging her shielded heart, the woman called Burning Sky must find a new courage--the courage to again risk embracing the blessings the Almighty wants to bestow. Is she brave enough to love again?

My Thoughts:

After war and illness decimate her tribe and rob her of her husband and children, Willa Obenchain, the Mohawk woman once known as Burning Sky, having nowhere else to go, returns to the village of Shiloh on the New York frontier, where she had been abducted twelve years earlier. She discovers a homeland still struggling to put itself back together after the American Revolution, where long-held grudges are still simmering along with a deep distrust of the Native Americans who helped the British. She also discovers that her parents have been missing since the war, when they disappeared under suspicion of aiding the enemy. Willa, as a Mohawk and the daughter of parents accused of being Loyalists during the war, is doubly maligned as she attempts to make a place for herself in her childhood home.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Blog Tour Q&A + Giveaway: Ravensdale by Lucinda Elliot

Please join me in welcoming Lucinda Elliot to Let Them Read Books! I'm always on the lookout for something different in historical romance, and Lucinda's series of tongue-in-cheek spoofs on classic romance staples certainly stands out from the crowd! I recently had a chance to ask Lucinda a few questions about how her books came into being and where she draws inspiration. So read on, check out the trailer, and enter to win a paperback copy of her newest novel, Ravensdale!

Hello, Lucinda! Welcome to Let Them Read Books!

Lovely to speak to you, Jenny!

How did you come to write comedic tales of love and adventure rather than typical historical romance?

Well, years ago I was snowed up in my family home in North Wales. I got through a lot of reading then, and this included a lot of historical romances, which had been part of job lots along with furniture my mother bought at auctions. These included novels by Barbara Cartland, Georgette Heyer, and others and I thought then, as now, that the genre did lend itself easily to a non-malicious spoof. Well, Heyer was after all an unromantic woman who was writing romances to support her family and she was very ironical about her work.

Where do you draw inspiration for your characters and storylines?

Probably form sources lost in my unconscious, from various characters in my reading all over the years all jumbled up, and from real life, too. I read a lot of the traditional robber novels recently, for instance, Vulpius Rinaldo Rinaldini written at the close of the eighteenth century, and Pushkin's unfinished robber novella Dubrovsky written a few decades later. Ravensdale's habit of having "dramatic outbursts" is taken from Rinaldini, while his stalking his love object about the grounds of her house, hiding behind bushes, comes from Durbovsky as does his taking on employment in her household in disguise.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Spotlight + Giveaway: The Crystal Cage by Merryn Allingham

Publication Date: August 4, 2014
Publisher:  eHarlequin
Format:  eBook; ASIN: B00JTPU72S
Genre: Historical Romance

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Captivated…or captured? Appearances don't always reveal the truth. Grace Latimer knows this better than most. Illusions of commitment and comfort have her trapped—until bohemian adventurer Nick Heysham charms his way into her world. Commissioned to recover a Great Exhibition architect's missing designs, he persuades her to assist in his research. The mystery of the Crystal Palace seduces Grace, and once she discovers clues about a forbidden Victorian love affair, she's lured into the deep secrets of the past…secrets that resemble her own. As Grace and Nick dig into the elusive architect's illicit, long-untold story, the ghosts of guilt and forbidden passion slip free. And history is bound to repeat itself, unless Grace finds the courage to break free and find a new definition of love...

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About the Author

03_Merryn AllinghamMy father was a soldier and most of my childhood was spent moving from place to place, school to school, including several years living in Egypt and Germany. I loved some of the schools I attended, but hated others, so it wasn’t too surprising that I left half way through the sixth form with ‘A’ Levels unfinished.

I became a secretary, as many girls did at the time, only to realise that the role of handmaiden wasn’t for me. Escape beckoned when I landed a job with an airline. I was determined to see as much of the world as possible, and working as cabin crew I met a good many interesting people and enjoyed some great experiences – riding in the foothills of the Andes, walking by the shores of Lake Victoria, flying pilgrims from Kandahar to Mecca to mention just a few.

I still love to travel and visit new places, especially those with an interesting history, but the arrival of marriage and children meant a more settled existence on the south coast of England, where I’ve lived ever since. It also gave me the opportunity to go back to ‘school’ and eventually gain a PhD from the University of Sussex. For many years I taught university literature and loved every minute of it. What could be better than spending my life reading and talking about books? Well, perhaps writing them.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Spotlight + Giveaway: Stevenson's Treasure by Mark Wiederanders

Publication Date: February 23, 2014
Publisher: Fireship Press
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction

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STEVENSON’S TREASURE is a fictional but carefully researched story about the year Robert Louis Stevenson leaves all that is safe in Scotland and journeys to California on what has to be one of the most romantic, ill-advised but successful quests a literary figure has ever made. Unknown and in shaky health, the 29-year-old writer in the summer of 1879 crosses the Atlantic by steamer and the American continent by rail. His objective is scandalous: to make an American art student he met in France, Fanny Osbourne, his wife despite the facts that she is already married (unhappily), has children and is ten years older than him. Showing up on her Monterey doorstep half-dead from several ailments, “Louis” nonetheless proposes marriage. Although her heart longs to say “yes,” she turns him down for a variety of practical reasons. Louis finds cheap lodgings nearby and vows to stay as long as it takes to overcome her objections. In their year-long struggle to somehow have a future together, Louis and Fanny must contend not just with his abysmal health but his inability to sell his writing, her handsome but philandering husband, a contentious teenage daughter and a skeptical ten-year-old son. From this mixture, stirred on a palette of landscapes that include France, Monterey, San Francisco, Calistoga and the Highlands of Scotland comes a more complete triumph than Stevenson had hoped for…

Praise for Stevenson's Treasure

“With intricately-rendered characters, rich international historical settings, and a warm humor simmering throughout its pages, STEVENSON’S TREASURE reminds us that while pirates, buried treasure, and split personalities can captivate, there is no adventure quite like the deep longing of the human heart.” – Kim Culbertson, Northern California Book Award Winner for Instructions for a Broken Heart.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Q&A + Excerpt + Giveaway: No Limits by Lori Foster

Ever wanted to get a peek inside a bestselling romance author's head? Here's your chance! Lori Foster is touring the blogosphere with her newest release, No Limits! Read on to learn more about Lori's new series, creating characters, and the writing process, PLUS she's brought along an excerpt from No Limits, and a copy to give away to one lucky reader!

Can you tell us a little bit about your latest release, NO LIMITS?

This is Cannon’s story, a character that readers met in my last series, Love Undercover. From the second Cannon showed up on the page, I knew he’d get his own story. He’s that kind of guy, the guy who steps up and takes notice and gets a lot of notice in return.

In NO LIMITS, Cannon reunites with Yvette, another character from the previous series. They parted under strained circumstances, with Cannon just heading into professional MMA and Yvette young and traumatized from a horrific threat. Cannon saved her then, but he was noble because of her age and what she’d been through. Now she’s older, more independent, and he’s ready to make up for lost time.

Can you also fill us in on the prequel to the series, HARD KNOCKS?

HARD KNOCKS gives readers a peek into the MMA world and the fighters who will have novels in the Ultimate series. You get to see the inside of Cannon’s gym, the set-up and what the guys do for the neighborhood, as well as the close relationships they share. It’s a short romance featuring Gage and Harper, two fun, strong people with a few romantic quirks to work out. It’s short and sexy and gives readers a taste for how the novels will be more about fighters in a romance than about fighters fighting in the cage.

How has your UFC obsession influenced the writing of NO LIMITS?

Well, I’ve gotten into the idea of picking silly fight names for the heroes. And from the fight names, I’ve come up with some “inspired” reasons for them. It also makes it easier to justify the guy being totally ripped – although not all fighters are. I’ve learned in actual fights the physical appearance can be deceiving. It’s more about heart and talent, training and speed, than how a guy looks. But naturally any hero I write about will be blessed with a six-pack and boulder shoulders.

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: 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