Thursday, June 22, 2017

#CatThursday - Precocious #cats


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

If they weren't precocious, they wouldn't be cats!








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Friday, June 16, 2017

Book Blast - Traitor’s Knot by Cryssa Bazos #TraitorsKnotBookBlast


Traitor's Knot by Cryssa Bazos

Publication Date: May 9, 2017
Endeavor Press
eBook; 394 Pages

Genre: Fiction/Historical


England 1650: Civil War has given way to an uneasy peace in the year since Parliament executed King Charles I.

Royalist officer James Hart refuses to accept the tyranny of the new government, and to raise funds for the restoration of the king’s son, he takes to the road as a highwayman.

Elizabeth Seton has long been shunned for being a traitor’s daughter. In the midst of the new order, she risks her life by sheltering fugitives from Parliament in a garrison town. But her attempts to rebuild her life are threatened, first by her own sense of injustice, then by falling in love with the dashing Hart.

The lovers’ loyalty is tested through war, defeat and separation. James must fight his way back to the woman he loves, while Elizabeth will do anything to save him, even if it means sacrificing herself.

Traitor’s Knot is a sweeping tale of love and conflicted loyalties set against the turmoil of the English Civil War.

“A hugely satisfying read that will appeal to historical fiction fans who demand authenticity, and who enjoy a combination of suspense, action, and a very believable love story.” - Elizabeth St. John, author of The Lady of the Tower

“A thrilling historical adventure expertly told.” - Carol McGrath, author of The Handfasted Wife

Traitor's Knot is available in eBook from Amazon

About the Author

Cryssa Bazos is a historical fiction writer and 17th Century enthusiast, with a particular interest in the English Civil War (ECW). She blogs about English history and storytelling at her blog, the 17th Century Enthusiast, and is an editor of the English Historical Fiction Authors blog site.

Cryssa's debut novel, Traitor’s Knot, a romantic tale of adventure set during the English Civil War. Traitor’s Knot is the first in a series of adventures spanning from the ECW to the Restoration and is now available from Endeavour Press.

For more information visit Cryssa's website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Book Blast Schedule

Wednesday, May 31
Passages to the Past

Thursday, June 1
A Bookaholic Swede

Friday, June 2
The Writing Desk

Monday, June 5
Pursuing Stacie

Tuesday, June 6
Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Thursday, June 8
So Many Books, So Little Time

Friday, June 9
I Heart Reading

Monday, June 12
What Is That Book About

Tuesday, June 13
Books, Dreams, Life

Wednesday, June 14
The True Book Addict

Thursday, June 15
A Holland Reads

Sunday, June 18
Ageless Pages Reviews

Monday, June 19
Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots (with excerpt)

Tuesday, June 20
A Literary Vacation
To Read, Or Not to Read

Wednesday, June 21
Svetlana's Reads and Views

Thursday, June 22
CelticLady's Reviews

Friday, June 23
Book Nerd



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Thursday, June 15, 2017

#CatThursday - The many vices of #cats


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

They have their vices...just like humans. 😸 What is your cat's favorite vice?






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Thursday, June 8, 2017

#CatThursday - #Authors and #Cats (63)


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

The second Cat Thursday of each month is Authors and Cats Thursday. Each time I will feature an author with their cat(s), or pictured with a cat(s).


This month I'm featuring Orhan Pamuk who celebrated his birthday yesterday (June 7, 1952). I'm not sure if this is his cat, but they sure do seem to like each other. 

Orhan Pamuk was born in Istanbul in 1952 and grew up in a large family similar to those which he describes in his novels Cevdet Bey and His Sons and The Black Book, in the wealthy westernised district of Nisantasi. As he writes in his autobiographical book Istanbul, from his childhood until the age of 22 he devoted himself largely to painting and dreamed of becoming an artist. After graduating from the secular American Robert College in Istanbul, he studied architecture at Istanbul Technical University for three years, but abandoned the course when he gave up his ambition to become an architect and artist. He went on to graduate in journalism from Istanbul University, but never worked as a journalist. At the age of 23 Pamuk decided to become a novelist, and giving up everything else retreated into his flat and began to write.

His first novel Cevdet Bey and His Sons was published seven years later in 1982. The novel is the story of three generations of a wealthy Istanbul family living in Nisantasi, Pamuk's own home district. The novel was awarded both the Orhan Kemal and Milliyet literary prizes. The following year Pamuk published his novel The Silent House, which in French translation won the 1991 Prix de la découverte européene. The White Castle (1985) about the frictions and friendship between a Venetian slave and an Ottoman scholar was published in English and many other languages from 1990 onwards, bringing Pamuk his first international fame. The same year Pamuk went to America, where he was a visiting scholar at Columbia University in New York from 1985 to 1988. It was there that he wrote most of his novel The Black Book, in which the streets, past, chemistry and texture of Istanbul are described through the story of a lawyer seeking his missing wife. This novel was published in Turkey in 1990, and the French translation won the Prix France Culture. The Black Book enlarged Pamuk's fame both in Turkey and internationally as an author at once popular and experimental, and able to write about past and present with the same intensity. In 1991 Pamuk's daughter Rüya was born. That year saw the production of a film Hidden Face, whose script by Pamuk was based on a one-page story in The Black Book.

His novel The New Life, about young university students influenced by a mysterious book, was published in Turkey in 1994 and became one of the most widely read books in Turkish literature. My Name Is Red, about Ottoman and Persian artists and their ways of seeing and portraying the non-western world, told through a love story and family story, was published in 1998. This novel won the French Prix du meilleur livre étranger, the Italian Grinzane Cavour (2002) and the International IMPAC Dublin literary award (2003). From the mid-1990s Pamuk took a critical stance towards the Turkish state in articles about human rights and freedom of thought, although he took little interest in politics. Snow, which he describes as “my first and last political novel” was published in 2002. In this book set in the small city of Kars in northeastern Turkey he experimented with a new type of “political novel”, telling the story of violence and tension between political Islamists, soldiers, secularists, and Kurdish and Turkish nationalists. Snow was selected as one of the best 100 books of 2004 by The New York Times. In 1999 a selection of his articles on literature and culture written for newspapers and magazines in Turkey and abroad, together with a selection of writings from his private notebooks, was published under the title Other Colours. Pamuk's most recent book, Istanbul, is a poetical work that is hard to classify, combining the author's early memoirs up to the age of 22, and an essay about the city of Istanbul, illustrated with photographs from his own album, and pictures by western painters and Turkish photographers. (from Goodreads)


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Thursday, June 1, 2017

#CatThursday: #Cats in Art (22) - Artist Julius Adam II


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

I can't believe I haven't done a Cats in Art post since October! I totally forgot!

Today's paintings were painted by Julius Adam II (1852-1913, German). I'll be featuring him again. He painted a ton of cat paintings.


Two young Cats playing with a Basket of Crawfish

Boy with cats

The Two Friends

Self-Portrait with Cats


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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A Reading Life (48) - Almost six months later...


Yes, it's a pattern with me. I never quite do what I say/what I set out to do. I have good intentions, but then real life gets in the way...and my poor blog, which I love so, is so neglected.

I've been doing a lot of reading, as always, but just not posting my thoughts as much. I just get bogged down and then I don't want to talk about what I read. Sometimes I think it's because I think my thoughts should go a certain way, or the review should be just so, according to some standard. I'm not reviewing as many books for authors. I've pretty much decided to only accept books from authors I know/have reviewed for before (and that's mostly horror authors at the moment so will be over at my sister blog, Castle Macabre). So, my thoughts on books from my home library, mostly older books, should just be my thoughts. Right? I guess I just need to get that through my head.


I've also been listening to more audio books. Here's what I've listened to since January:

American Gods, Neil Gaiman
Jaws, Peter Benchley
Little Girls, Ronald Malfi (reread)
The Plantagenets, Dan Jones
Black River, Dean Koontz
The Bear, Claire Cameron
The Buried Giant, Kazuo Ishiguro (currently listening)

I SO enjoy audio books, although I think my boys get irritated. I do find them getting into the stories sometimes though. I've also been listening to some writing podcasts, as I'm trying to focus more on my writing (now that I have a job that takes up more of my time...go figure). This below needs to be in my face constantly...


I wanted to share with you some changes to my two online book clubs (on Goodreads), TuesBookTalk and Lit Collective.

TuesBookTalk has always been a genre based book club in which we read a different genre each month (decided by voting). We also have three non-fiction months in January, May and September. Recently, I decided to set genres for specific months to cut down on the amount of voting we do, and to make it easier for members. Below is the graphic outlining what genres we read in which months. Come join us any time. We now do our chats on Slack (we have a "team" on there for TuesBookTalk) and it's so nice not to have to deal with a character limit. Of course, thoughts can also be exchanged in the Goodreads group at any time.

Our June read, which is Science Fiction, is Dune by Frank Herbert.



Lit Collective is what we call an online reading retreat which takes place in the Spring and end of Summer/Fall. We will nominate and vote on a theme for the Spring retreat and then choose a list of 2-3 books to read and discuss in March, April and May. For our end of Summer/Fall retreat, we will focus on selected works of a particular author which will also be chosen by vote. We will read 2-3 works by said author and discuss in August, September and October. We generally have our chats after we've read the whole book. So, at the end of its designated month. We're also going to have our chats on Slack (Slack is free to join, by the way...forgot to mention that). As mentioned above, thoughts can also be exchanged in the Goodreads group at any time.

We are currently finishing up The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (on which I'm seriously behind, although it is a reread for me) and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Right now, it's looking like Sarah Waters is going to be our featured author for August, September, and October (I'm pretty excited if it does turn out to be her. I loved The Little Stranger).


Finally, I'd like to share with you two events coming up on June 1st.


The SciFi Summer Readathon, hosted at my readathon blog, Seasons of Reading, starts Thursday and runs until Wednesday June 7th. Details and sign up HERE.


The Summer of IT!!! In anticipation of the new movie coming out in September, I'm hosting a three month read-along of Stephen King's massive tome, IT! This will be hosted via my reading community site, Gather Together and Read (for schedule/sign-up/discussion) and I'll also have an event for discussions via the Gather Together and Read Facebook group. Check at Gather Together and Read later today to sign up and get the reading schedule.

Well, it's summer so dipping my toe back in the pool of this blogging thing. No promises, but I'm going to try. We shall see...

What's going on in your reading life?

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

#CatThursday - #Cats...doing what they want since the pharaohs


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

Truth!








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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Ellen Meeropol's Kinship of Clover - Review


My thoughts
I'm a believer in global warming and climate change, but those of us who do believe don't often go beyond thinking of endangered species, deforestation, and pollution. Jeremy, the protagonist of Kinship of Clover, has a strong connection to plants due to family trauma suffered as a child. He feels a kinship with, and a need to save, plants that have become extinct, or are becoming extinct.

But this book is not just about environmental activism. It's a story about family. About the connections that make and break us. It's about how families choose to live can affect the children, and how secrets kept can cause a lot of heartache, and yet, lead to redemption in the end.

I loved every single character in this book. The author did a great job of illustrating a unique family dynamic and it really shines through. And, as a supporter of (peaceful) political activism, this book also spoke to me, especially considering the times and the events in which we are currently living. Some find books with a message off-putting. Not me. I like a story with a message. Even better if the message does not overwhelm the story. The balance is beautiful here.

Kinship of Clover is a book for those who like characters they can fall in love with, and for those who believe in fighting for what's right in the world. I highly recommend it.

About the Book
He was nine when the vines first wrapped themselves around him and burrowed into his skin. Now a college botany major, Jeremy is desperately looking for a way to listen to the plants and stave off their extinction. But when the grip of the vines becomes too intense and Health Services starts asking questions, he flees to Brooklyn, where fate puts him face to face with a group of climate-justice activists who assure him they have a plan to save the planet, and his plants.

As the group readies itself to make a big Earth Day splash, Jeremy soon realizes these eco-terrorists devotion to activism might have him and those closest to him tangled up in more trouble than he was prepared to face. With the help of a determined, differently abled flame from his childhood, Zoe; her deteriorating, once rabble-rousing grandmother; and some shocking and illuminating revelations from the past, Jeremy must weigh completing his mission to save the plants against protecting the ones he loves, and confront the most critical question of all: how do you stay true to the people you care about while trying to change the world?

About the Author
Ellen Meeropol is fascinated by characters on the fault lines of political upheaval. Previous work includes a dramatic script telling the story of the Rosenberg Fund for Children which has been produced in four U.S cities, most recently in Boston. Elli is the wife of Robert Meeropol, youngest son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. Elli is a former nurse and independent bookstore event coordinator and the author of two previous novels, House Arrest and On Hurricane Island. She is a founding member of Straw Dog Writers Guild. Short fiction and essays have appeared in Bridges, DoveTales, Pedestal, Rumpus, Portland Magazine, and the Writer’s Chronicle. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and GoodReads.




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Friday, May 19, 2017

Guest post - Genevieve Graham, author of Promises to Keep


Historical Fiction Bored Me to Death. Now It’s My Passion.

When I tell people that I used to despise history, they can’t understand why I write what I do. To me, it makes perfect sense.

Growing up, I fell asleep quite frequently during history class. In my mind it was nothing more than names, dates, and places I needed to memorize for exams. Only once was I fully intrigued by history during school. That was in grade ten, and the subject was the Holocaust. My teacher was passionate about the subject – in fact, he has gone on to be a university professor specializing in the Holocaust. Even more importantly, he was passionate about engaging us, in helping us see the true experience of humanity’s past. After that class ended, I read more about the subject ... but over time my fascination faded and I forgot the relevance and importance of history in our present day.

Around fifteen years ago, I was given a copy of “Outlander”, and everything changed. Here was adventure and romance like I craved, but it was combined with incredible facts both immense and trivial. The stories were about “real” people … which is ironic, because in a lot of historical fiction (including mine), characters are often the only things that aren't real in the story. I was completely swallowed up by the genre and spent a great deal of my time thinking, “I had no idea.” After reading the series seven times (as well as books of other historical fiction authors like Wilbur Smith, Sara Donati, Penelope Williamson, Susanna Kearsley, and more) I decided to try a little writing of my own. I started with 18th century Scotland, since that was where Ms Gabaldon’s stories put me, but the more I read, the more I became intrigued by the history of other places. I now am focused entirely on the history of my own great country, Canada.

My family and I moved from Calgary to Nova Scotia in 2008, and everything about this place was new to us. We'd never lived by the ocean, never known any lobstermen, didn't understand about the tides, the red clay, the fog that came in so thick you could cut it. And the people? Well, they were friendly and welcoming, but they were different from people we'd known before, too. Many of the folks along our Eastern Shore tell stories of their grandparents fishing the Atlantic, of their great grandparents building the original homestead out here. I started to wonder who else might have lived here … in a fictional sense.

One hundred years ago this coming December, 1900 people were killed in a blast that levelled the city. Hundreds were blinded by flying glass, and over twenty-six thousand were left homeless. The Halifax Explosion was the largest manmade explosion before Hiroshima, and it happened right here! How is it that no one in my family had ever heard of it? Not even my kids, who were attending school right here in Nova Scotia? What stories there must be! Everyone I asked had one about a great aunt who remembered the windows shaking miles away from the blast, or a grandfather who was supposed to be in Halifax that morning for work but who had stayed home for whatever reason. The busy port had been hopping that day, crowded with sailors and soldiers headed in and out of the war … and that grabbed my interest as well. Imagine surviving that war then having your home blown out from beneath you. What physical, mental, and emotional scars took over their lives? And what of the people they loved? Without all the technology and know-how of the 21st century, how did they live? From those questions was born “Tides of Honour”. One of that book’s greatest accomplishments (in my opinion) was being included in the Halifax Regional School Board’s “Teacher Recommended Reading List” for high schools. I hope teachers will choose to pick it up and share the story with our next generation.

A few summers ago, my husband and I took a two-hour drive to Grand Pré, Nova Scotia and went to the historic site to learn about the Acadian Expulsion. Once again, I knew absolutely nothing about this incredible event in our history, and it was not being taught to our children—or if it was, the lesson made no impact on them. They were sleeping through history just as I had. I walked through the Grand Pré museum and tour in a trance then returned home to dig deeper. Who were the Acadians? Why do so many people still celebrate them up here more than two hundred years later? Who were the British soldiers who ripped over 10,000 people from their homes and families? What happened after the bewildered and terrified Acadian people were dumped in the bowels of so many rotting, rented ships and sent adrift? From this came “Promises to Keep”, which was just published this April by Simon & Schuster Canada.

Canadian history is rich with little known or untold stories. America and Europe are the most prolific storytellers, and we have all read about their past, I am sure. But what about up here, in Canada? My next book (in final editing stages now) will return to the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia, to the same family from “Tides of Honour” but twenty years later, during WWII. Our little corner of the earth was teeming with German U-Boats, spies, and secrets. As the busiest Canadian port, the Halifax harbour bustled with thousands of sailors, soldiers, the Merchant Navy, the WRENs (Womens Royal Navy Service), and more. So many stories! After that I will get back to work on three more books which are already partially written – the first features the beginnings of the Mounties and includes the Klondike Gold Rush. The next revolves around more than 100,000 children who were scooped off the streets of London and sent to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa and given the promise of a better life—but most ended up living difficult, sometimes horrible lives as indentured servants. Do we know a lot about them? Unless you’re a historian, I imagine not. I promises that if you read my books, that will change.

My agent once told me the secret to successful publishing is to “write a really great book.” Well, I want more than that. I want to write a good book and I want to bring history back to life … so no one sleeps through class anymore.

--Genevieve Graham, April 2017
Tides of Honour

*********

An enchanting and poignant story about the unfailing power of love in a world turned upside down by war—from the bestselling author of Tides of Honour.

Summer 1755, Acadia

Young, beautiful Amélie Belliveau lives with her family among the Acadians of Grande Pré, Nova Scotia, content with her life on their idyllic farm. Along with their friends, the neighbouring Mi’kmaq, the community believes they can remain on neutral political ground despite the rising tides of war. But peace can be fragile, and sometimes faith is not enough. When the Acadians refuse to pledge allegiance to the British in their war against the French, the army invades Grande Pré, claims the land, and rips the people from their homes. Amélie’s entire family, alongside the other Acadians, is exiled to ports unknown aboard dilapidated ships.

Fortunately, Amélie has made a powerful ally. Having survived his own harrowing experience at the hands of the English, Corporal Connor MacDonnell is a reluctant participant in the British plan to expel the Acadians from their homeland. His sympathy for Amélie gradually evolves into a profound love, and he resolves to help her and her family in any way he can—even if it means treason. As the last warmth of summer fades, more ships arrive to ferry the Acadians away, and Connor is forced to make a decision that will alter the future forever.

Heart-wrenching and captivating, Promises to Keep is a gloriously romantic tale of a young couple forced to risk everything amidst the uncertainties of war.

Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (April 4 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1501142879
ISBN-13: 978-1501142871


Genevieve Graham graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in music in 1986 and began writing in 2007. She is passionate about breathing life back into history through tales of love and adventure, and loves the challenge of re-living Canadian history in particular. Her previous novel, Tides of Honour, was a Globe and Mail bestseller. When Graham is not writing, she can be found relaxing with her husband and two grown daughters, teaching piano to children in the community, or tending the garden along with a friendly flock of heritage chickens. She lives near Halifax, Nova Scotia. Visit her at GenevieveGraham.com.


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Thursday, May 18, 2017

#CatThursday - Do You Let Your #Cats on the Kitchen Counters?


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

My answer: Of course! My cats do whatever the hell they want. 😸😸😸





And now for something completely different.....





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