Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Sharp Hook of Love: Review and Giveaway Information!

Synopsis:


Among the young women of 12th century Paris, Heloise d’Argenteuil stands apart. Extraordinarily educated and quick-witted, she is being groomed by her uncle to become an abbess in the service of God.


But with one encounter, her destiny changes forever. Pierre Abelard, headmaster at the NĂ´tre Dame Cloister School, is acclaimed as one of the greatest philosophers in France. His controversial reputation only adds to his allure, yet despite the legions of women swooning over his poetry and dashing looks, he is captivated by the brilliant Heloise alone. As their relationship blossoms from a meeting of the minds to a forbidden love affair, both Heloise and Abelard must choose between love, duty, and ambition.
 
Sherry Jones weaves the lovers’ own words into an evocative account of desire and sacrifice. As intimate as it is erotic, as devastating as it is beautiful, The Sharp Hook of Love is a poignant, tender tribute to one of history’s greatest romances, and to love’s power to transform and endure.


So What Did I Think About The Story?:

 


The Sharp Hook of Love might be one of the most poetic and beautifully written novels I have read in quite some time. I found myself rereading passages out loud just to hear them spoken. The way the author included quotes from the lovers' letters to each other really helped solidify not only the ardent love they experienced but the hurt, fear and confusion that came from going against the destinies set before them and the political, religious and societal norms and rules they were breaking at every turn.

What I enjoyed even more than the beautiful writing, however, was the unbelievable complexity of the feelings between Heloise and Abelard. Both of these characters are flawed in their own way and yet their love is true and deep. Abelard is brilliant beyond compare in so many ways - he's a poet, philosopher, teacher, singer and songwriter - and he has no problem letting everyone know it! At times he comes off as arrogant, rude and manipulative and I found myself questioning his motives in regards to Heloise. Then as the story progressed I discovered how much he actually sacrificed for love and I realized that any man who didn't love a woman as he loved Heloise wouldn't have risked all he did to be with her whenever he could. Heloise isn't perfect herself, conducting her love affair under her uncle's roof knowing full well she is meant for the abbey and, feeling abandoned and pained, eventually elicits the help of this very same uncle, who she knows wants nothing more than to bring down Abelard, inadvertently taking away any chance of the two living happily-ever-after. These very imperfections are what makes this love story feel so real, unusual and meant to go down in history. No matter what they do to each other that sharp hook embedded in each of their hearts will never let go!

It is quite clear that Sherry Jones did a good amount of research into not only these two captivating people's lives but also into the environment they lived in. The descriptions of the architecture, the streets and the people all come to life on the page. To fully immerse themselves in the story the reader has to also fully immerse themselves in the time and place in which their lives unfold, and the author makes this easy to do. Heloise's vibrant intelligence and wit is  not appreciated or, seemingly, wanted in her lifetime and she has very few choices when the men in her life try to determine what course  her future should take. This was very hard to read at times, especially given the sacrifices she will have to make (I don't want to give too much away!), but this makes the choices she does make that much more poignant and heartbreaking. The author does not shy away from the very real and very harsh historical truths and I, for one, really appreciate that when reading historical fiction.

The Sharp Hook of Love presents a love story out of time and one, given the time it DOES fall into, seemingly destined to fail. However these two intelligent and determined people will not let their world dictate what they feel in their hearts and, even given all the hurt caused, both want nothing but each other when their last days arrive. This is a heartbreaking and tragic story yet one that is also inspiring and completely captivating.

So What Did I Think About The Cover?:


Absolutely swoon-worthy! The passion these two felt for each other is front and center and the bright and vibrant colors draw the eye right in.

My Rating: 5.0/5.0!


Giveaway Information

 


The Sharp Hook of Love will release on October 7th, 2014 but you can enter to win your own copy before it releases! Goodreads is running a giveaway right now so be sure to head over there and enter to win (the giveaway is running until September 4th, 2014 so hurry!). Go HERE to add the book to your wishlist and enter the giveaway.


 

Sherry Jones is also giving away 100 copies of her e-novella White Heart, about Blanche de Castille, the protagonist in her novel Four Sisters, All Queens, so head over to her website HERE now to enter to win a copy!

About The Author



Sherry Jones is an American journalist and internationally best selling author of the controversial "The Jewel of Medina" and other historical fiction novels about women's power. She is also a speaker on issues including women's rights, free speech, and Islamophobia.
 

Her forthcoming novel, THE SHARP HOOK OF LOVE, tells of the forbidden love affair between two of the Middle Ages' greatest intellectuals: Peter Abelard, headmaster of the Notre-Dame Cloister School and a poet whose good looks and love songs make women swoon; and Heloise d'Argenteuil, a beautiful woman scholar being groomed by her uncle to become an abbess. This erotic, passionate story about the sacrifices we make for love debuts October 7th from Simon and Schuster's Gallery Books.



 

 

 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Maggie's Wars Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

Publication Date: November 6, 2013
American Book Incorporated
Formats: eBook, Paperback

Synopsis:


Combatting wars on two fronts – one of fame and the other love – Maggie Hogan never wavers as a rare woman reporter on the battlefields of World War II, the Nuremburg Trials and the beginnings of the cold war. But she makes the mistake of falling for an officer, complicating her ambitions.

Learn of what one woman feels she must do in order to make it in a man’s world, no matter what.

Maggie’s Wars is a story about the ultimate battle between love and prestige, and how you can’t win them both.

 

So What Did I Think About The Story?:



Oh Maggie, Maggie, Maggie...what am I to do with you?! Right from the start I wasn't much of a fan of Maggie Hogan, the determined young woman with a dream of making a name for herself in the fast and incredibly chauvinistic world of journalism in the closing years of WWII. While she's spunky, intelligent and determined she is also selfish and conniving, using her womanly good looks and charms that she seemingly hates the male journalists to focus on to actually seduce her way into a better career. Her ambitions know no bounds and she doesn't blink an eye at using other people to get what she wants.  Being this ruthless makes it hard to like Maggie or feel much for her fleeting and ever-changing feelings for the various men she finds in her bed. But one of those men, the young officer mentioned in the synopsis, fully steals the spotlight from Maggie.

While the title and synopsis led me to believe this is exclusively Maggie's story the novel is actually told in two alternating viewpoints: Maggie and Johnny Pero, the hit man turned secret military agent that Maggie has an on again off again love affair with. And thank God Johnny got to tell his story because he saved this book for me! An Italian-American born into a rough neighborhood, he's working for the mob when his special skills at killing lead him to be enlisted into the military for select dangerous operations in Europe at the end of WWII. Having fallen head over heals for Maggie, he jumps at the chance to go over seas in the hopes of getting closer to her once she goes to Europe to write about what she sees at the frontlines. Through Johnny's eyes the reader gets the chance to see some of the devastation and viciousness that only someone in his unique situation could see: bombed, shot and/or stabbed bodies, destroyed towns, piles of tortured and starved bodies on the death trains...my only complaint with the portions of the novel detailing Johnny's time during the war is that they were too short. These portions were descriptive and compelling and I felt like I could have read pages and pages more.

To be honest the great majority of the story felt rushed to me and, at only 229 pages, I think some more development of the situations discussed would have really elevated the whole story. For examples, both the liberation of Dachau and the Nuremberg trials were introduced as important turning points in the story and could have really brought the reader front and center for these spellbinding times in history but, instead, were only given a few pages each and then moved away from. I found this disappointing because I really wanted more!

In the end Maggie's Wars was a bit of a mixed bag for me. The parts I enjoyed, which were pretty much any part from Johnny's perspective, needed more development and more time to bring me into the story instead of just telling me something and moving on. The ending left a lot to be desired as well and left me wondering why the author chose to wrap it up the way he did. With all this being said there is a lot of potential here. It's a quick read that gives a unique perspective on WWII I haven't seen addressed before.  If the author were to write another book set during this same time with a bit more attention given to development I would be very excited to see where it went.

So What Did I Think About the Cover?:


 Meh. While the close-up of a typewriter perfectly fits into the story no part of it - the colors, the composition, the typeface - draws me in or makes me want to read the book.


Rating: 3.0/5.0

 
 
Thank you to Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for sending me a free copy of Maggie's Wars in exchange for an honest review! Make sure to continue below for more information about the author, the chance to win a copy of Maggie's Wars of your very own and information about the rest of the tour schedule!
 


About the Author


Phil Pisani grew up on the north side of the railroad tracks in an upstate New York blue-collar industrial town in a rough neighborhood filled with the most colorful characters in the world. Factory and tannery workers mingled with bar and restaurant owners, gamblers and gangsters, good people and bad people, brash rogues and weak loudmouths, all spawned by the early immigrant movement to America. Italians, Russians, Slovacks, Irish, and Germans formed a rough and tough section of town where few from the south side dared to venture. He learned to fight at a very young age, both in the ring and on the streets. Fights became badges of honor. He also was a voracious reader. His mother worked in the village’s library. After school, or fights or sandlot football games he would curl away into the adult reading section. Enjoying the polished blonde oak bookshelves, tables and chairs, he would choose a book from the stacks and delve into its smells and contents. Reading soothed him.

He studied history and humanities in Pisa, Italy, and Oswego State in New York and later earned a MA in Political Science from Binghamton University.

He worked as a labor investigator for NY and rose in the ranks through the years but never stopped writing or reading. He currently lives in Albany NY, with his wife Joanne.

For  more information please visit Phil Pisani’s website. You can also connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

Maggie’s Wars Blog Tour Schedule


Monday, August 18

Review at JulzReads

Tuesday, August 19

Review & Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Interview at The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, August 20
Review at Book Nerd
Review at Layered Pages
Spotlight at Flashlight Commentary

Thursday, August 21

Review at Man of la Book
Spotlight at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time

Friday, August 22

Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Review and Giveaway at Historical Tapestry
Interview at Closed the Cover

Giveaway Time!


Want a chance to win a copy of Maggie's Wars of your very own? Just leave a comment below telling me your all time favorite book set during WWII (I'm always looking for recommendations!). Be sure to leave your email address in your comment (no email, no entry!). For extra entries just share this giveaway and leave a separate comment with a link to where you shared. That's it!

I'll pick a winner on August 29th and the winner will have 2 days to answer my email notification with their mailing address before I have to pick another winner. Good luck everyone!

If you'd like to buy the book you can do so at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Spotlight on Bianca's Vineyard by Teresa Neumann Plus Giveaway!

Publication Date: November 12, 2010
All’s Well House Publishing
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction


Bianca Corrotti’s vineyard is more than a piece of mouth-watering real estate in Tuscany. It’s an inheritance; a storehouse harboring the secrets of her Uncle Egisto Bertozzi, a world-class sculptor, and his troubled wife — a woman whose destiny converges with Mussolini’s when WWII overtakes them all. Based on a true story, Bianca’s Vineyard follows a devoted family of strong-willed men and lion-hearted women waging an epic battle against a gathering storm intent on destroying their lives.

 

Praise for Bianca’s Vineyard


“Bianca’s Vineyard is many things: a striking portrait of wartime Italy under the Fascist reign of Benito Mussolini; a poignant story of family, torn apart and brought back together in the decades that spanned the Second World War; a love letter to the Tuscan countryside through its downfall and triumph. But beneath the lush descriptions of the Italian wine country and the startling brutality of a gruesome war that left a lasting impression on the entire world, it’s a story about forgiveness and second chances, and true love that prevails. The novel, ultimately, is a beautifully descriptive piece of historical fiction that spans nearly ninety years of one family’s history, focusing on one of the most pivotal moments of the twentieth century. The plot twists and turns with all of the provocative intrigue of family lore, but never fails to delight.” — The Portland Review

“Bianca’s Vineyard is involving and smoothly written, which is not surprising because Neumann is a journalist. Her dialogue is crisp and believable, and her evocation of the battle between partisans and Nazis is painful to read. Most of all, her story is of the secrets, compassion, family loyalty and long memories of people in small villages.” — St. Paul Pioneer Press

“Filled with drama and mystery, this page turner will have you longing for a vineyard of your own. Recommended for readers of historical fiction with lush settings and fans of family sagas.” — JoAnne Drake, Willamette Woman Magazine

"Bianca’s Vineyard is beautifully written and is rich in culture and complex characters. Neumann gives you a realistic picture of what people went through during the war and how they survived a terrible force bent on destroying everything they have worked hard for and loved. I highly recommend this story! You will fall in love with it the moment you start the first page. Five Stars! — Historical Novel Society, Layered Pages

“Teresa Neumann’s wonderful novel, born in the contemporary history of Italy, has the impact that only a true and deeply human story could deliver. This is no fluffy Under the Tuscan Sun affirmation of all the cliches about Italy that you’ve read in recent years. Yes, the long family table under the sun, the wine and the wonderful Italian food, and the charming Italian eccentricity are all there … but this book is a riveting human story told by a master storyteller. It transcends place and time. With the instincts of a detective, Neumann investigated the tangled and often missing threads of a family story that found its way through the decades down to her. She has created a story that a absorbs, stuns, and sometimes overwhelms the reader with its reality and immediacy.” — Dick Paetzke, Author of Postcards: Little Letters From Life

 

Buy the Book


Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository
IndieBound

 

About the Author


Teresa Neumann was raised in a large, boisterous Irish-Catholic family from Iowa and is the author of “Bianca’s Vineyard,” and its sequel, “Domenico’s Table.” Both books are based on the true stories of her husband’s Italian family in Tuscany. She has lived in Oregon for over 30 years with her husband and three children. In addition to enjoying family, writing, reading, meeting her readers, wine tasting, traveling, and all things Italian, Teresa loves playing the fiddle with other musicians.

For more information on Teresa Neumann and her novels please visit her website and blog. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

 

Bianca’s Vineyard Blog Tour Schedule



Monday, August 11

Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, August 12
Spotlight at Reading Lark
Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, August 13
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Thursday, August 14
Review at Beth’s Book Reviews

Friday, August 15
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Monday, August 18
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Review at Queen of All She Reads

Tuesday, August 19
Spotlight at Historical Tapestry

Wednesday, August 20
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Friday, August 22
Review & Interview at Bookish

Tuesday, August 26
Review at Luxury Reading

Giveaway


To win a Kindle eBook of Bianca’s Vineyard please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form HERE.

Two copies are up for grabs.
Giveaway is open to US residents only.
Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on August 26th.
You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on August 27th and notified via email.

 


Friday, August 15, 2014

Exciting Upcoming Release: The Sharp Hook of Love: A Novel of Heloise and Abelard by Sherry Jones

Hello everyone, Colleen here!


I am very excited to share that I have been selected to be part of the street team, Sherry's Sirens, tasked with spreading the word about the upcoming release of Sherry Jones's novel The Sharp Hook of Love: A Novel of Heloise and Abelard. I have long had this book on my wish list and as the release date gets closer and closer my excitement just keeps growing! I will be reading and reviewing the book shortly but in the meantime wanted to bring all of you more information about the book, the author and a giveaway you might like to enter!


About The Sharp Hook of Love: A Novel of Heloise and Abelard

 

Isn't this a GORGEOUS cover?!
 



Heloise and Abelard, the original "star-crossed" lovers -- before Romeo & Juliet – dare to live, and love, on their own terms in 12th-century Paris, then lose all in one tragic stroke.

He is the most famous philosopher in the world, the arrogant headmaster of the Notre Dame Cloister School, and a poet whose songs and good looks make women swoon. She is Paris’s most brilliant young scholar, beautiful and wry, and his student. Forbidden by the church and society to love each other, Heloise and Abelard defy the rules to follow their hearts, risking everything that matters to them — including each other. An illicit child, a secret marriage, an abusive uncle: nothing, it seems, can come between them — until a vicious attack tears them apart forever. Or does it?

Sherry Jones’s THE SHARP HOOK OF LOVE is the first re-telling of this much-loved tale since the discovery, in 1999, of 113 “Lost Love Letters” between Heloise d’Argenteuil and Pierre Abelard. Incorporating excerpts from these beautiful letters, THE SHARP HOOK OF LOVE offers an intimate, erotic account of one of the most famous couples of all time, and explores the meaning of true love and the sacrifice it demands.



Giveaway Opportunity!!!

 


Does this sound as good to you as it does to me??? Well then head over to Goodreads and enter to win a copy of your very own (giveaway is open until September 4th, 2014)! Also make sure to add the book to your "To Be Read" shelf so you can be reminded when the book releases!
 
 
 

 

 

Preorder The Book

 

If you want to make sure you have the book in your hot little hands as soon as it comes out preorder the books at any of these links or at your favorite book store:


 
 
 
Or maybe consider asking your library to order it, if they haven't already, and put your name in to receive it as soon as the library receives their copies.


 

About The Author

 
 
 
Sherry Jones is an American journalist and internationally best selling author of the controversial "The Jewel of Medina" and other historical fiction novels about women's power. She is also a speaker on issues including women's rights, free speech, and Islamophobia.
 
Her forthcoming novel, THE SHARP HOOK OF LOVE, tells of the forbidden love affair between two of the Middle Ages' greatest intellectuals: Peter Abelard, headmaster of the Notre-Dame Cloister School and a poet whose good looks and love songs make women swoon; and Heloise d'Argenteuil, a beautiful woman scholar being groomed by her uncle to become an abbess. This erotic, passionate story about the sacrifices we make for love debuts Nov. 25 from Simon and Schuster's Gallery Books.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Stay up to date on all things Sherry Jones by following her:
 
 
 
 
 
 
So What Do You Think? Does This Sound Like Historical Fiction You Would Like To Sink Your Teeth Into?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 




 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Why I Love....Grand Hotels: Guest Post by Alison Atlee, Author of The Typewriter Girl


My family had two guiding principles when it came to vacation travel. First, vacation was no time to rest. If you’d made the effort to leave home and see someplace new, then by golly, you were going to see ALL of it. Conquer it. You want to sleep ’til noon or eight a.m.? You can (theoretically) do that at home.

 
Secondly, all hotels/motels/concrete teepees look alike with your eyes closed. And really, you can stand anything for one night, right? Since we were out to conquer territory, we rarely stayed in one place for more than a night or two. Reservations? Pooh. Show up at ten p.m., and you can haggle a better rate. TripAdvisor? Nay! If a place seemed too questionable, my sister would do a sniff test before we bought the room.

 
In short, if you didn’t come home worn out, burned up, and more grateful for your home than when you’d left, how could you tell you’d been anywhere?

 
And then I saw the Grand Floridian in Walt Disney World. From the monorail, mind you, but even from there, it was the most glamorous, elegant place I’d ever seen in person up to that point, the kind of hotel where Anne Shirley, in her pearls and white gown with puffed sleeves, recited “The Highwayman” in the Anne of Green Gables mini-series. Disneyfied Victorian splendor, yes, but I didn’t care. I just had the feeling that I could walk into that hotel and be transported to the past (which was pretty much the driving desire of my youth).
 

 
 
 

Researching turn-of-the-century hotels as I created the Swan Park Hotel for The Typewriter Girl was pure pleasure--not only the eye candy of sweeping staircases and gilded foyers, but also the bustling “backstage” of these places. When I came upon the cross-section illustration of the London Savoy, I felt like a girl with a dollhouse, full of stories to play, my imagination sparked by all the possibilities of “upstairs-downstairs.”

 
I “built” the Swan Park Hotel to include all my favorite elements of grand hotels: The details-obsessed hotel manager accesses a secret staircase from his office. Violin music drifts off the verandah in the evenings. Beneath the ballrooms and palm courts, a sprawling, humming basement of kitchens and laundries and storage rooms makes all that splendid leisure possible.

 
The Swan Park is posh and elegant, but Betsey Dobson, the main character in The Typewriter Girl, is not. When she first enters the seaside hotel where she has come to work, she feels two things--out of place and full of wonder. Overwhelmed, she tries to find her way out, only to end up in the grand palm court of the hotel:

 
She halted when she realized the light had changed and found herself in an airy space with ferns and palm trees--entire trees, indoors! On the furniture, on the islands of carpet atop the parquet, on Betsey’s own sleeve and glove as she started to touch her forehead, dapples of light glowed blue and turquoise, and she could only look up... The source was a dome of colored glass....

 
Betsey allowed herself to stare, to wonder at the imagination behind it, one unfettered by practicality or moderation.

 

 Betsey could do with a little less practicality at this point in the story--she is someone who has put limits on her dreams and imagination. Here in the grand hotel, she gets an early lesson in the glorious results of ignoring those limits.

 
See the places that inspired The Typewriter Girl on Pinterest; connect with Alison on Facebook or Twitter: All the links are at her website, www.AlisonAtlee.com
 
 
Thank you Alison Atlee for your wonderful guest post! As a native Floridian I have long admired The Grand Floridian hotel and can see how that could spark thoughts of transportation to another time!
 
Readers, don't forget to enter the giveaway (information and link below). Good luck!!!
 
 
 

Buy the AudioBook

 

 About the Author


03_Alison Atlee
Alison Atlee spent her childhood re-enacting Little Women and trying to fashion nineteenth century wardrobes for her Barbie dolls. Happily, these activities turned out to be good preparation for writing historical novels. She now lives in Kentucky.
For more information please visit Alison Atlee’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads and Pinterest.


 

The Typewriter Girl Swag Giveaway

 

One copy of The Typewriter Girl (Audio Book or Print)
Set of earbuds in a cute typewriter print pouch
A Typewriter Girl Happily-Ever-After t-shirt (features last lines from famous novels)
A vintage style postcard “from” Idensea, the setting of The Typewriter Girl
A “dream wildly” ribbon bookmark with typewriter key charms

 
To enter, please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway HERE. Giveaway is open to residents in the US, Canada, and the UK.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on August 29th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on August 30th and notified via email.

Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.




 

 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Audiobook Blog Tour: The Typewriter Girl by Alison Atlee

Audible AudioBook Edition
Audible.com Release Date: April 4, 2014
Listening Length: 12 hours and 39 minutes
Publisher: Audible Studios
Language: English
ASIN: B00JH0L9HW

Synopsis From Audible.com:


All Betsey Dobson has ever asked is the chance to be viewed on her own merits, but in a man’s world, that is the unforgivable sin.

When Betsey disembarks from the London train in the seaside resort of Idensea, all she owns is a small valise and a canary in a cage. After attempting to forge a letter of reference she knew would be denied her, Betsey has been fired from the typing pool of her previous employer. Her vigorous protest left one man wounded, another jilted, and her character permanently besmirched.

Now, without money or a reference for her promised job, the future looks even bleaker than the debacle behind her.

But her life is about to change…because a young Welshman on the railroad quay, waiting for another woman, is the one man willing to believe in her.

Mr. Jones is inept in matters of love, but a genius at things mechanical. In Idensea, he has constructed a glittering pier that astounds the wealthy tourists. And in Betsey, he recognizes the ideal tour manager for the Idensea Pier & Pleasure Building Company.

After a lifetime of guarding her secrets and breaking the rules, Betsey becomes a force to be reckoned with. Now she faces a challenge of another sort: Not only to outrun her sins, but also to surrender to the reckless tides of love.

 

So What Did I Think About The Story?:



It is hard not to love a character like Betsey Dobson! Her intelligence, spunk and drive are so admirable and the fact that she refuses to let any individual or society as a whole dictate how she should live her life made her really stand out as a character for me. The vast majority of people surrounding her - both men and women - seemed so confined within their gender and class roles and it was really interesting to watch her break through every barrier put up in front of her and see  how her actions influenced and/or changed those she interacted with.  She is far from perfect, however, and was not afraid to lie, cheat and seduce to get what she wanted, and all this with her head held high. Betsey was also vulnerable at times and seemed to put up her own defenses in the hopes of keeping herself from getting hurt, especially when it came to her heart. All of these characteristics combined to made her seem very real and flawed and had me rooting her on in the hopes that she would realize she is worthy of not only her independence but a deep, mutual love and not just the physical love she had let herself experience up to coming to Idensea.

One of the people Betsey seemed to influence the most was John Jones, the man in charge of building the Idensea Pier and the one who saw something in her, from the moment she stepped off that train, and gave her the shot to prove her worth as tour manager. Starting out as a very conventional man who seemed happy enough at first to marry for money and build his wealth and reputation, he could  not deny that Betsey had a spark and determination he had never seen before, nor could he deny the admiration and affection that continued to build within him. These two are from two different worlds and with all that stood between them I really wasn't sure if they were going to find there way to a lasting relationship.  Betsey was a hard nut to crack and it was quite entertaining to see these two strong willed characters battle against each other only to come together and separate over and over again.

Beyond the entertaining and endearing characters, the descriptions of life in London and in Idensea really helped place me in the thick of the world these characters inhabited. There was quite the contrast between the hard, hand-to-mouth existence Betsey inhabited in London and the grandeur and wealth of those wealthy tourists whiling away their vacations in Idensea. Placing Betsey in both locales gives the reader the chance to not only see these differences but to incorporate the local people living in Idensea into this world and story they typically wouldn't be a part of. And those Idensea natives are something I would have been sad to miss as they are some of the most endearing components of the story.

The only downside to listening to the audiobook version of The Typewriter Girl was distinguishing the various characters as they spoke, especially the males. The narrator did a remarkable job of trying to give each person their own voice but with a number of secondary characters this wasn't always possible. Other than that I was very impressed with the narrator's ability to express the humor and sadness the characters experienced and to build and release the tension within the story when appropriate.  I happened to listen to the story on my commute to and from work and found myself disgruntled when I arrived at my destination and had to turn off the story.

Anyone liking a strong willed, flawed female character going against the grain of society or an unconventional love story will find much to enjoy in The Typewriter Girl. I'm excited to see what Ms. Atlee comes up with next.

 

So What Did I Think About The Cover?: 



I think its beautiful! While I'm not sure if I see Betsey as the woman on the dock...I imagine her in a more determined stance, maybe with her hands on hips...the colors are pleasing and it definitely showcases the pier that plays such an important part in the story.

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

 
 
Thank you to Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for providing me with an audiobook copy of The Typewriter Girl in exchange for an honest review! Be sure to come back tomorrow for a guest post by Alison Atlee and continue below to find information about the author, where to buy The Typewriter Girl and the complete tour schedule. There is also a chance to win a copy of The Typewriter Girl and some swag of your very own so keep reading!

 

 

Praise for The Typewriter Girl


“Atlee’s out¬standing debut unflinchingly explores … the unforgiving man’s world of Victorian England.” –PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (starred review)

“Easily one of the most romantic books I’ll read all year … John and Betsey are compelling and worth rooting for.” –DEAR AUTHOR (a Recommended Read)

“Sweeps readers to a satisfying conclusion.” –LIBRARY JOURNAL

 

Buy the AudioBook


Amazon UK
Amazon US
Audible.com

 

About the Author


03_Alison Atlee

Alison Atlee spent her childhood re-enacting Little Women and trying to fashion nineteenth century wardrobes for her Barbie dolls. Happily, these activities turned out to be good preparation for writing historical novels. She now lives in Kentucky.
For more information please visit Alison Atlee’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads and Pinterest.



The Typewriter Girl Blog Tour & Book Blast Schedule


Monday, August 4

Review at Peeking Between the Pages (Audio Book)
Book Blast at Mina’s Bookshelf
Book Blast at Princess of Eboli
Book Blast at Literary Chanteuse
Book Blast at What Is That Book About

Tuesday, August 5

Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews (Print)

Wednesday, August 6

Book Blast at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, August 7

Book Blast at Mari Reads
Book Blast at Book Lovers Paradise

Friday, August 8

Book Blast at Book Blast Central

Saturday, August 9

Book Blast at Caroline Wilson Writes

Sunday, August 10

Book Blast at Book Nerd

Monday, August 11

Review at Just One More Chapter (Audio Book)
Book Blast at Gobs and Gobs of Books

Tuesday, August 12

Book Blast at Queen of All She Reads

Wednesday, August 13

Review at Historical Tapestry (Audio Book)
Book Blast at The Lit Bitch
Book Blast at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, August 14

Review at A Bookish Affair (Print)
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry

Friday, August 15

Review at Brooke Blogs (Audio Book)
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair

Saturday, August 16

Book Blast at Broken Teepee

Sunday, August 17

Interview at Closed the Cover

Monday, August 18

Review at The Maiden’s Court (Audio Book)

Tuesday, August 19

Book Blast at Always with a Book

Wednesday, August 20

Book Blast at Literary, Etc.

Thursday, August 21

Review at Books in the Burbs (Print)
Book Blast at Bibliotica

Friday, August 22

Review at Bibliophilia, Please (Audio Book)

Saturday, August 23

Book Blast at Reading Lark
Book Blast at Ageless Pages Reviews

Sunday, August 24

Book Blast at Passages to the Past

Monday, August 25

Review at Flashlight Commentary (Audio Book)

Tuesday, August 26

Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, August 27

Book Blast at Susan Heim on Writing

Thursday, August 28

Review at Jorie Loves a Story (Print)

Friday, August 29

Interview at Jorie Loves a Story


The Typewriter Girl Swag Giveaway


One copy of The Typewriter Girl (Audio Book or Print)
Set of earbuds in a cute typewriter print pouch
A Typewriter Girl Happily-Ever-After t-shirt (features last lines from famous novels)
A vintage style postcard “from” Idensea, the setting of The Typewriter Girl
A “dream wildly” ribbon bookmark with typewriter key charms

To enter, please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway HERE. Giveaway is open to residents in the US, Canada, and the UK.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on August 29th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on August 30th and notified via email.

Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.



Monday, August 4, 2014

Book Blast: The Graham Saga by Anna Belfrage

Please join Anna Belfrage as her beloved time-slip series, The Graham Saga, is featured around the blogosphere from July 28-August 15 with HF Virtual Book Tours and enter to win your own set of Books 1-6!





 

 

About The Graham Saga



This is the story of Alex and Matthew, two people who should never have met – not when she was born three hundred years after him.

It all began the day Alex Lind got caught in a thunderstorm. Not your ordinary storm, no this was the mother of all storms, causing a most unusual rift in the fabric of time. Alex was dragged three centuries backwards in time, landing more or less at the feet of a very surprised Matthew Graham.

In a series of books we follow the life and adventures of the expanding Graham family, both in Scotland and in the New World – and let me tell you it is quite an exciting life, at times excessively so in Alex’ opinion.

Sometimes people ask me why Alex had to be born in the twentieth century, why not make her a woman born and bred in the seventeenth century where the story is set? The answer to that is I have no idea. Alex Lind is an insistent, vibrant character that sprung into my head one morning and simply wouldn’t let go.

Seductively she whispered about terrible thunderstorms, about a gorgeous man with magic, hazel eyes, about loss and sorrow, about love – always this love, for her man and her children, for the people she lives with. With a throaty chuckle she shared insights into a life very far removed from mine, now and then stopping to shake her head and tell me that it probably hadn’t been easy for Matthew, to have such an outspoken, strange and independent woman at his side.

At this point Matthew groaned into life. Nay, he sighed, this woman of his was at times far too obstinate, with no notion of how a wife should be, meek and dutiful. But, he added with a laugh, he wouldn’t want her any different, for all that she was half heathen and a right hand-full. No, he said, stretching to his full length, if truth be told not a day went by without him offering fervent thanks for his marvelous wife, a gift from God no less, how else to explain the propitious circumstances that had her landing at his feet that long gone August day?

Still, dear reader, it isn’t always easy. At times Alex thinks he’s an overbearing bastard, at others he’s sorely tempted to belt her. But the moment their fingertips graze against each other, the moment their eyes meet, the electrical current that always buzzes between them peaks and surges, it rushes through their veins, it makes their breathing hitch and … She is his woman, he is her man. That’s how it is, that’s how it always will be.

 

Graham Saga Titles



Book One: A Rip in the Veil
Book Two: Like Chaff in the Wind
Book Three: The Prodigal Son
Book Four: A Newfound Land
Book Five: Serpents in the Garden
Book Six: Revenge & Retribution
Book Seven: Whither Thou Goest (November 2014)
Book Eight: To Catch a Falling Star (March 2015)

 

About the Author


Anna was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result she’s multilingual and most of her reading is historical- both non-fiction and fiction. Possessed of a lively imagination, she has drawers full of potential stories, all of them set in the past. She was always going to be a writer – or a historian, preferably both. Ideally, Anna aspired to becoming a pioneer time traveller, but science has as yet not advanced to the point of making that possible. Instead she ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for her most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career Anna raised her four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive…

For years she combined a challenging career with four children and the odd snatched moment of writing. Nowadays Anna spends most of her spare time at her writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and she slips away into her imaginary world, with her imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in her life pops his head in to ensure she’s still there.

For additional information regarding Anna, her characters, extra scenes, and teasers for her next books, have a look at Anna’s website at: www.annabelfrage.com. You can also find her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

 

Book Blast Schedule



Monday, July 28

Broken Teepee
Kincavel Korner
bookworm2bookworm’s Blog

Tuesday, July 29

So Many Books, So Little Time

Wednesday, July 30

A Bibliotaph’s Reviews

Thursday, July 31

Book Drunkard

Friday, August 1

The Lit Bitch

Saturday, August 2

Book Nerd

Sunday, August 3

Literary Chanteuse
Just One More Chapter

Monday, August 4

A Bookish Girl
Historical Tapestry
To Read, Or Not to Read

Tuesday, August 5

CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, August 6

The True Book Addict

Thursday, August 7


 Impressions in Ink

Friday, August 8

A Bookish Affair
The Mad Reviewer

Saturday, August 9

Historical Fiction Connection

Monday, August 11

Gobs and Gobs of Books

Tuesday, August 12

Pages of Comfort

Wednesday, August 13

History Undressed

Thursday, August 14

Passages to the Past

Friday, August 15

Mina’s Bookshelf


Giveaway

To win a set of Anna Belfrage’s Graham Saga (Books 1-6) please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form HERE.

Two winners will be chosen. Giveaway is open internationally!

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on August 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter on August 16th and notified via email.

Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.