Monday, June 30, 2014

HFVBt: Juliet Waldron's Mozart's Wife - Review

My thoughts
Mozart. One of my most favorite composers in history and someone I think I would have very much liked had I met him. This is my second fictional account of Mozart, the first being the 1985 Best Picture Oscar winner, Amadeus. In that account and in this book, Mozart comes alive and the love between him and his beloved Stanzi is evident and endearing.

Told from the point of view of Konstanze "Stanzi" Weber (her surname before she became Mlle. Mozart), we learn early on that Mozart is likable and falls in love easily. He first courts Stanzi's older sister, Aloysia, who treats him most despicably and shuns him, but it seems that this was divine providence because who he was meant to be with was Stanzi all along. However, despite their great love, Mozart was a very difficult person to be married to. I think what comes along with genius a lot of times is a sense of entitlement and Mozart most assuredly had that. It was hard not to feel sorry for Konstanze with all she endured and yet a nod must be given to a woman who stood by a musical genius whose music perhaps may have taken a different turn if not for his marriage to this remarkable woman.

What most impressed me about this novel was how well the characters and dialog were written. It became very easy to get lost in the story and almost feel like I was right there. It takes a talent to pull this off, especially in historical fiction that is set in the past. Waldron has written many historical novels and now that I've read and enjoyed this one, I can't wait to discover her others.

About the book
Publication Date: January 11, 2014
Books We Love, Ltd.
Formats: eBook, Paperback

Winner of the First Independent E-Book Award for Fiction Seventh Annual Virginia Festival of the Book

She Married the World’s First Superstar.

Mozart’s wife aroused strong feelings among her contemporaries. Her in-laws loathed her. Mozart’s friends, more than forty years after his death, remained eager to gossip about her “failures” as wife to the world’s first superstar. Maturing from child to wife to hard-headed widow, Konstanze paid her husband’s debts, provided for their children, and relentlessly marketed and mythologized Mozart. The composer’s letters attest to his affection for Konstanze as well as to their powerful sexual bond. Still, the question remains: Why did she never mark his grave?

Praise for Mozart’s Wife“This is a multi-faceted novel which brilliantly joins the nomenclature of romantic and historical fiction. I would recommend this novel to lovers of music, lovers of history, and just plain lovers.” –

“Juliet Waldron brings Konstanze and her wayward genius of a spouse to vivid life. She avoids the pitfall of the biographical novelist by refusing to make either of them the villain, and her insights into character are extraordinary.” – Liz Burton, The Blue Iris Journal

“Mozart’s Wife is a story of love, jealousy, grief and most importantly–forgiveness. …Fast-paced; Ms. Waldron has exquisite, flowing prose. .. a must read” – Kim Murphy, Sime-Gen

“Waldron’s writing is humorous, erotic, and fluid…. Mozart’s Wife is a consuming piece that reminds us that all humans, regardless of talent or skill, are within the boundaries of fault and outside the lines of perfection. I highly recommend this wonderful book.” – Melissa Levine
Buy the Book
Amazon (US) Ebook
Amazon (US) Paperback
Amazon (AU) Ebook
Amazon (CA) Ebook
Amazon (CA) Paperback
Amazon (UK) Ebook
Amazon (UK) Paperback
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About the author
“Not all who wander are lost.” Juliet Waldron earned a B. A. in English, but has worked at jobs ranging from artist’s model to brokerage. Thirty years ago, after the boys left home, she dropped out of 9-5 and began to write, hoping to create a genuine time travel experience for herself–and for her readers. She loves her grand-girls and her kitties, likes to take long hikes, and reads historical/archeological non-fiction as well as reviewing for the Historical Novel Society. For summer adventure, she rides behind her husband of 50 years on his “bucket list” (black, and ridiculously fast) Hyabusa motorcycle.

You can find more information at or connect with Juliet on Facebook.

Visit other blogs on the tour--Tour Schedule
Twitter Hashtag: #JulietWaldronBlogTour

A already owned a Kindle copy of this book when I was invited to be on the tour and write a review. This review is my honest opinion.


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Friday, June 27, 2014

HFVBT: Laura Purcell's Queen of Bedlam - Review

Here in America, we learn in our history lessons in elementary school that King George III was a tyrant keeping us from our freedom. The truth of the matter is we're not usually taught both sides of the story. In Queen of Bedlam, we are shown the other side of the story. That King George, who was very human, had real regrets about losing the colonies and cared about what his people thought of him. Of course, this is a fictional account, but even so, it is believable that this was the truth of the man.

I first learned of the illness that affected George III in the film, "The Madness of King George." Excellent film. So, when I heard about this book, I was immediately drawn to another telling of the story, this time from the point of view of his wife and queen, Charlotte, and two of his daughters. We learn early on that queen Charlotte expects the utmost decorum from herself and her daughters. No emotion must be shown. However, when things start to fall apart with the king, that decorum is very hard to maintain.

The author tells the story across the backdrop of the conflicts that were going on in France with the French Revolution and beyond and so we are shown the turmoil that was occurring at the time. Adding these external elements to the culture of the monarchy during George III's illness makes for a dramatic story. We experience the dread and disappointment of the daughters who are at marriageable age, but are unable to wed due to their father's status and prospective matches disillusioned by a fear of the family madness. All of these elements gave this novel a suspenseful feel. What will happen next? Will the people revolt, will the king hurt his family, will the daughters eventually find a match? It all plays out rather sadly, but the telling is so compelling, we must read on.

I was very impressed by this historical novel and will look forward to the author's future offerings.

About the book
Publication Date: June 10, 2014
Myrmidon Books Ltd
Paperback; 432p
ISBN-10: 1910183016

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London, 1788. The calm order of Queen Charlotte’s court is shattered by screams. Her beloved husband, England’s King, has gone mad.

Left alone with thirteen children and a country at war, Charlotte must fight to hold her husband’s throne in a time of revolutionary fever. But it is not just the guillotine that Charlotte fears: it is the King himself.

Her six daughters are desperate to escape their palace asylum. Their only chance lies in a good marriage, but no Prince wants the daughter of a madman. They are forced to take love wherever they can find it – with devastating consequences.

The moving true story of George III’s madness and the women whose lives it destroyed.

About the Author
Laura Purcell lives in Colchester, the oldest recorded town in England. She met her husband working in Waterstones bookshop and they share their home with several pet guinea pigs.

Laura is a member of the Historical Novel Society, The Society for Court Studies and Historic Royal Palaces. She has recently appeared on the PBS documentary The Secrets of Henry VIII’s Palace, talking about Queen Caroline’s life at Hampton Court.

Laura’s novels explore the lives of royal women during the Georgian era, who have largely been ignored by modern history. Her debut Queen Charlotte was originally self-published as God Save the King, receiving excellent reviews as an Amazon bestseller in biographical fiction.

You can find out more about Laura and read her history blog at You can also follow her on Facebook,Twitter and Goodreads.

Follow the QUEEN OF BEDLAM Blog Tour:

Visit other blogs on the tour--Tour Schedule
Twitter Hashtag: #QueenofBedlamTour

A copy of this book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for providing it.


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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Cat Thursday - Cute, Clever or Crazy

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! Enjoy! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

Cute, clever or decide? 

images credit: lolcats

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed - Guest Post and {Giveaway}

When Lilacs last in the Dooryard Bloomed by Bradley Greenburg was published on 19 June 2014 and is available at all good bookstores and online, price $19.00.

How my local area inspired my book

When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed is set largely in the Wabash River Valley in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, as well as in the river town of Lafayette, Indiana. My father's family has lived in this region since the 1850s. Before the formation of the United States it had a rich Native American tradition as well as being the site of an early 18th-century French fort and trading post (Fort Ouiatenon). I grew up along the river just a few hundred yards from that fort. When I was a kid there was a large archaeological dig that established the true site of the fort as well as a large Native American village alongside it. I went there almost every day in the summer and volunteered when they would let me. It made a lasting impression on me, the idea that beneath our feet our history lay there if we could only find the means to dig it up. A novelist who is interested in recreating a historical world works similarly: you go back into the record, into local memory, and into your imagination to reconstruct how life was lived. Each trace that has a dramatic potential can be useful in telling a story.

When I began writing Lilacs I had Clayton McGhee's voice. The historical circumstances of his life grew up around him once his life story began to emerge. He is not based on an actual historical person, but on my idea of what would happen to a black family if they set off to escape the racial politics of the South in the 1860s by moving to the North. I knew there was a rich history of immigration and diversity in Lafayette and Tippecanoe County due to river and, later, railroad traffic. I knew this because I had assiduously read a local historian named Robert Kriebel for many years. His column in the local newspaper was a touchstone and an inspiration for historical detail and period authenticity. I used old newspaper accounts and books as well, but the work of this local historian was a key to getting started. If I have done this properly, the novel should open an imaginary space that is true to the past while also offering us a window into how we have come to our present dilemmas in terms of race and class.

About the book
Published 19th June
Press contact: Lucy Ramsey

‘Bradley Greenburg holds up to the light what may be our keynote American dilemma – the racial tension that trailed the Civil War – and he turns it into an inventive and thrilling heartbreak. Here is a novel with 20/20 detail vision: it sees every particular of small-town life, business and family, identity and home. Clayton McGhee is one of the signature characters in contemporary historical fiction.’ Darin Strauss

The end of slavery is no guarantee of freedom. When Clayton McGhee journeys north with his parents and grandparents in search of a new life, they must build a homestead with their own labour and defend their right to own land from powerful vested interests and deep rooted prejudice. Thirty years later, Clayton is still forced to defend his livelihood and his family’s safety from racism and greed. But life is more complex now, as the men of influence in this increasingly mixed community find to their cost. When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed is a riveting adventure story about fathers and sons and the difficult moral choices which resound down the generations as America moves slowly towards freedom and equality.

About the author
Bradley Greenburg grew up along the Wabash River in Tippercanoe County, Indiana, a few miles from Prophetstown and the Battle of Tippencanoe site. He teaches Renaissance drama and English literature at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. This is his first novel.

Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter form to win a paperback copy of When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard to U.S. only.
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Monday, June 23, 2014

Alison Morton's Successio - Book Blast and {Giveaway}

Follow Alison Morton's Book Blast for SUCCESSIO, the third book in her Roma Nova Series, from June 16-27 for a chance to win your own autographed copy and bookmark!

Publication Date: June 4, 2014
SilverWood Books
Formats: eBook, Paperback

Genre: Alternative Historical Thriller

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Roma Nova – the last remnant of the Roman Empire that has survived into the 21st century – is at peace. Carina Mitela, the heir of a leading family, but choosing the life of an officer in the Praetorian Guard Special Forces, is not so sure.

She senses danger crawling towards her when she encounters a strangely self-possessed member of the unit hosting their exchange exercise in Britain. When a blackmailing letter arrives from a woman claiming to be her husband Conrad’s lost daughter and Conrad tries to shut Carina out, she knows the threat is real.

Trying to resolve a young man’s indiscretion twenty-five years before turns into a nightmare that not only threatens to destroy all the Mitelae but also attacks the core of the imperial family itself. With her enemy holding a gun at the head of the heir to the imperial throne, Carina has to make the hardest decision of her life…

Praise for Successio

“If there is a world where fiction becomes more believable than reality, then Alison Morton’s ingenious thrillers must be the portal through which to travel. Following in Caesar’s footsteps, she came with INCEPTIO, saw with PERFIDITAS – and has well and truly conquered with SUCCESSIO!” – Helen Hollick, author and Managing Editor Historical Novel Society Indie Reviews

“Alison Morton has done it again. SUCCESSIO is the latest in her series of powerful tales of family betrayals and shifting allegiances in Roma Nova. Once again, I was gripped from start to finish.” – Sue Cook, writer and broadcaster

Watch the Book Trailer

Roma Nova Series

Book One: Inceptio
Book Two: Perfiditas
Book Three: Successio

Buy the Book

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository

About the AuthorAlison Morton

Alison Morton writes Roman-themed alternate history thrillers with strong heroines. She holds a bachelor’s degree in French, German and Economics, a masters’ in history and lives in France with her husband.

A ‘Roman nut’ since age 11, she has visited sites throughout Europe including the alma mater, Rome. But it was the mosaics at Ampurias (Spain) that started her wondering what a modern Roman society would be like if run by women…

INCEPTIO, the first in the Roma Nova series, was shortlisted for the 2013 International Rubery Book Award and awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion® in September 2013. The next in series, PERFIDITAS, published October 2013, has also just been honoured with the B.R.A.G. Medallion®. Alison is currently working on the fourth book.

Connect with Alison Morton

Amazon UK Author Page
Amazon US Author Page
INCEPTIO Facebook Page
PERFIDITAS Facebook Page

Follow the Successio Book Blast

June 16: Flashlight Commentary & Princess of Eboli
June 17: Kincavel Korner, Mina's Bookshelf, & Literary Chanteuse
June 18: Kinx's Book Nook & Svetlana's Reads and Views
June 19: So Many Books, So Little Time, The Lit Bitch, & West Metro Mommy
June 20: Historical Fiction Obsession
June 21: A Bookish Affair & Broken Teepee
June 22: Just One More Chapter
June 23: The Little Reader Library & The True Book Addict
June 24: A Bibliotaph's Reviews & Historical Fiction Connection
June 25: Historical Tapestry & The Maiden's Court
June 26: Book Nerd & Passages to the Past
June 27: CelticLady's Reviews


To win an Autographed copy of SUCCESSIO & Bookmark please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open Internationally.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on June 27th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on June 28th and notified via email.
Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Cat Thursday - Cats in Art (2)

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! Enjoy! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

I have some wonderful paintings to share this week. Hope you like them!

Leonard Campbell Taylor (British artist, 1874-1969) The Rain It Raineth Every Day

1600s Jacob Gerritsz Cuyp (Dutch artist,1594–1650) Four-Year-Old Girl with Cat and Fish
I think this cat finds something very funny.

Frederick Childe Hassam (American artist, 1859-1935) A Fishermans Cottage
If you blink, you might miss it!

Which is your favorite?

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Lynn Cullen's Mrs. Poe - Review and {Giveaway}

My thoughts
I have always been fascinated by Edgar Allan Poe. Besides being absolutely in love with his literary works, I've also considered him an enigmatic figure who is, and was, widely misunderstood by many people. It turns out that the author of Mrs. Poe felt the same, as evidenced by her wonderful depiction of the man in her book. I have also become intrigued by Frances Osgood, someone I knew very little of before reading this book. The depiction of Osgood in this book is beautiful. I felt like I was listening to the story of a friend. Perhaps I felt akin to her because I too am raising my children primarily alone and I am also a writer. But it's more than that. She is the classic representation of the insecurities that women face, especially women of her era when women were, in many minds, best suited for duties on the home front.

Another aspect of this book that I really enjoyed was the introduction of all the historical and literary figures to the story. Frances' visits to Anne Lynch's salon conversaziones introduce us to characters who are so interesting and lively...and menacing. Who could have stood their ground against the formidable Margaret Fuller? What a bear of a woman. Even Louisa Alcott made an appearance (love her), although sadly, we didn't hear much from her.

The subject of Mrs. Poe, Edgar's young wife, is a strange one. I did not know that he had married his cousin and that she was so young when they married. That's an intriguing story. I won't say too much so not to spoil the story. However, she was an odd character and I have to admit to getting mildly creeped out by her early on. For instance, she mimics the voice of Fanny Butler because she was not happy about her close interaction with her husband. Well, this gave me chills. Some excellent foreshadowing of what was to come.

Mrs. Poe is a terrific historical novel. The author presents a story of Poe that I believe has never been told and succeeds in giving us a picture of him that is much more refreshing than the rumors of the past. I admit that I have several of the author's books, but this is the first I've had a chance to read one of her novels. I'm very much looking forward to reading her previous works and her future offerings.

About the book
Paperback Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Gallery Books


Great Reads of 2013 –NPR
Books That Make Time Stand Still –
Editor’s Pick—The Historical Novels Review
Best Books of 2013—Atlanta Magazine
Indie Next List Pick

A vivid and compelling novel about a woman who becomes entangled in an affair with Edgar Allan Poe—at the same time she becomes the unwilling confidante of his much-younger wife.

It is 1845, and Frances Osgood is desperately trying to make a living as a writer in New York; not an easy task for a woman—especially one with two children and a philandering portrait painter as her husband. As Frances tries to sell her work, she finds that editors are only interested in writing similar to that of the new renegade literary sensation Edgar Allan Poe, whose poem, “The Raven” has struck a public nerve.

She meets the handsome and mysterious Poe at a literary party, and the two have an immediate connection. Poe wants Frances to meet with his wife since she claims to be an admirer of her poems, and Frances is curious to see the woman whom Edgar married.

As Frances spends more and more time with the intriguing couple, her intense attraction for Edgar brings her into dangerous territory. And Mrs. Poe, who acts like an innocent child, is actually more manipulative and threatening than she appears. As Frances and Edgar’s passionate affair escalates, Frances must decide whether she can walk away before it’s too late…

Set amidst the fascinating world of New York’s literati, this smart and sexy novel offers a unique view into the life of one of history’s most unforgettable literary figures.

Praise for Mrs. Poe

“Is it true that Edgar Allen Poe cheated on his tubercular, insipid young wife with a lady poet he’d met at a literary salon? Cullen makes you hope so.” –New York Times

“This fictional reenactment of the mistress of Edgar Allan Poe escorts you into the glittering world of New York in the 1840s…A bewitching, vivid trip into the heyday of American literary society.” –, Book of the Week

“Vivid…Atmospheric…Don’t miss it.” –People

“Nevermore shall you wonder what it might have been like to fall deeply in love with Edgar Allen Poe… Mrs. Poe nails the period.” –NPR

“A page-turning tale…Readers who loved Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife will relish another novel based on historical scandal and romance.” –Library Journal, starred review

“Immensely engaging…Set upon the backdrop of a fascinating era…this is not only a captivating story of forbidden lovers but an elaborately spun tale of NYC society.” –The Historical Novels Review

“A must-read for those intrigued by Poe, poetry and the latter half of nineteenth-century America.” –RT Book Reviews (4 stars)

Buy the Book
Amazon (Kindle)
Amazon (Paperback)
Barnes & Noble
Simon & Schuster

About the author
Lynn Cullen grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the fifth girl in a family of seven children. She learned to love history combined with traveling while visiting historic sites across the U.S. on annual family camping trips. She attended Indiana University in Bloomington and Fort Wayne, and took writing classes with Tom McHaney at Georgia State. She wrote children’s books as her three daughters were growing up, while working in a pediatric office and later, at Emory University on the editorial staff of a psychoanalytic journal. While her camping expeditions across the States have become fact-finding missions across Europe, she still loves digging into the past. She does not miss, however, sleeping in musty sleeping bags. Or eating canned fruit cocktail. She now lives in Atlanta with her husband, their dog, and two unscrupulous cats.

Lynn Cullen is the author of The Creation of Eve, named among the best fiction books of 2010 by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and as an April 2010 Indie Next selection. She is also the author of numerous award-winning books for children, including the young adult novel I Am Rembrandt’s Daughter, which was a 2007 Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection, and an ALA Best Book of 2008. Her novel, Reign of Madness, about Juana the Mad, daughter of the Spanish Monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand, was chosen as a 2011 Best of the South selection by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and was a 2012 Townsend Prize finalist. Her newest novel, MRS. POE, examines the fall of Edgar Allan Poe through the eyes of poet Francis Osgood.

For more information please visit Lynn Cullen’s website and blog. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

Visit other blogs on the tour--Tour Schedule
Twitter Hashtag: #MrsPoeBlogTour

Stop by at Historical Fiction Connection and read my terrific interview with Lynn Cullen and the giveaway is still open over there too...two chances to win this fantastic book!

Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter form below to enter for a chance to win a paperback copy of Mrs. Poe! (Open to U.S. entries only)

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A copy of this book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for providing it.


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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Reina M. Williams's Love at Pemberley Series - Book Blast and {Giveaway}

Please join Reina M. Williams on her Love at Pemberley Series Book Blast from May 12-June 13.

About Most Truly

01_Most Truly
Publication Date: December 15, 2013
Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
eBook; 88 pages
Heat level: Sweet

Colonel James Fitzwilliam is home. The war has left him weary, battle-scarred—and a free man of fortune ready to find a wife. He travels to Pemberley, his second home. There he meets Kitty Bennet. Her unexpected charms soon have him questioning his familial duty and his expectations. A fight looms on the horizon when his aunt—Lady Catherine de Bourgh—and his parents arrive with their own plans for his future. Kitty Bennet has found happiness. At Pemberley, she has improved herself and formed true friendships with her sister Lizzy and Georgiana Darcy. Kitty is captivated by the gentlemanly Colonel Fitzwilliam. But she will not be silly over a redcoat again, and she will not risk her happiness—or his family’s displeasure—for his attentions. Colonel Fitzwilliam, Darcy, Lizzy, and Georgiana have their say, and Kitty learns a new lesson—love will find you at Pemberley.

About Miss Darcy Decides

Miss Darcy Decides
Publication Date: January 21, 2014
Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
eBook; 77 pages
Heat level: Sweet

Miss Darcy Decides is a light, sweet Pride and Prejudice novella, book two in the Love at Pemberley series. While visiting a young woman—who was not so fortunate as Miss Georgiana Darcy in escaping the persuasions of a rogue—Georgiana meets Sir Camden Sutton, whose reputation causes Georgiana to wonder as to his motives. Her wondering soon turns to a different feeling when Sir Camden comes to stay at Pemberley, showing himself to be a very different man than was rumored. While Sir Camden struggles with his past and his commitment to his future, as well as the ill intentions of haughty Caroline Bingley, Miss Darcy must decide whether to listen to others, or the words written on her heart.

About Miss Bennet Blooms

03_Miss Bennet Blooms
Publication Date: 4/25/14
Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
eBook; 70 pages
Heat level: Sweet

Miss Mary Bennet is the last unmarried Bennet sister. She believes she will live out her days as a maiden aunt, seeking quiet in the libraries and parlors of her father's and brother-in-laws' homes. On a visit to Pemberley, the estate of Fitzwilliam Darcy, her sister Lizzy's husband, Mary begins to feel more is possible than her planned life of solitude. Among new friends and with new confidence, Mary opens to new feelings when she meets Mr. Nathaniel Bingley. Nathaniel Bingley, at the insistence of his cousin Charles Bingley, finds himself at Pemberley. After Nathaniel's years in the West Indies studying its intense flora, he is ready to seclude himself to compile his work into a book. But Nathaniel could not say no to Charles, who was one of Nathaniel's few kind relatives after the deaths of his beloved parents. Soon, Nathaniel also finds it difficult to say no to his own feelings about the lovely Miss Mary Bennet. Can Mary and Nathaniel look beyond their plans and accept the grace of love at Pemberley?

Buy the Novellas

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About the AuthorReina M. Williams

Reina M. Williams loves period dramas, sweet reads, fairy tales, cooking and baking. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her two boys, who hope to someday take a research trip to England with their mom. For more information please visit Reina M. Williams's website. You can also connect with her on Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

Book Blast Schedule

May 12: Kincavel Korner
May 13: Hardcover Feedback
May 15: Peeking Between the Pages
May 16: A Bookish Girl and The Lit Bitch
May 20: CelticLady's Reviews
May 21: Historical Tapestry and To Read, Or Not to Read
May 22: Book Nerd and Historical Fiction Obsession
May 24: Passages to the Past
May 26: Mari Reads
May 27: Long Ago Love
May 28: Kinx's Book Nook
May 30: Flashlight Commentary
June 1: Literary Chanteuse and Historical Fiction Connection
June 2: History From a Woman's Perspective
June 4: She is Too Fond of Books
June 5: So Many Books, So Little Time
June 7: A Bookish Affair and Griperang's Bookmarks
June 8: The True Book Addict
June 9: West Metro Mommy
June 11: Book Lovers Paradise and The Tower of Babel
June 13: Carole's Ramblings and The Mad Reviewer


To win one of the following prizes please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open internationally.
  • 2 eBook Sets of Love at Pemberley Trilogy
  • 2 Audio Books of Most Truly
Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on June 13th. You must be 18 or older to enter. Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on June 14th and notified via email. Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winneris chosen.

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Cat Thursday - Authors and Cats (33)

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! Enjoy! (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 and their cat(s).

Our featured author this month who has a birthday in June is Colleen McCullough, born June 1, 1937. I have read only one of her books, The Thorn Birds, although I own many more. I read Thorn Birds when I was in high school. It is one I will probably reread. I loved it!

Colleen McCullough is an internationally acclaimed Australian author. Colleen was born in Wellington in central west New South Wales to James and Laurie McCullough.

She grew up during World War II. In her first year of medical studies at the University of Sydney she suffered dermatitis from surgical soap and was told to abandon her dreams of becoming a medical doctor. Instead, she switched to neuroscience and worked in Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney. In 1963 she moved to the United Kingdom where she met the chairman of the neurology department at Yale University at the Great Ormond Street hospital in London, who offered her a research associate job at Yale. McCullough spent ten years researching and teaching in the Department of Neurology at the Yale Medical School in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. In the late 1970s she settled on Norfolk Island in the Pacific, where she met her husband, Ric Robinson, to whom she has been married since 1983. She now lives in Sydney. (from Goodreads)

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Friday, June 6, 2014

Carrie May Lucas's Where Fault Lies - Guest Post and Book Spotlight

Writing and Professionally Self-Publishing a Memoir for Non-Writers

I never imagined I would author a memoir. I dabbled in writing a little when I was younger, but I thought I wasn’t creative enough to ever publish a book. In fact, I am actually a mathematician. When I started writing Where Fault Lies, I didn’t expect it to take on the life that it has. After I went through a traumatic experience, I started writing to better understand what happened to me. When you have PTSD, your brain stops you
from feeling all your emotions at once. But if you never let them out, you can continue to experience trauma symptoms for the rest of your life. Writing this book and facing the severity of what happened to me ensured that I relived the experience and let it out a little at a time.

When I began telling people about my memoir and sharing it with others, only then did I realize how much power there can be in storytelling. By opening myself up and being completely transparent, I was able to reach through my book to my audience and relate to them in a way that is much more difficult than in an hour-long conversation. People I do not know have cried for me over my experiences that I wrote about, and they have used it to better understand themselves. It isn’t a self-help book, but any memoir that deals with a subject people can relate to can and will help others.

Even more important than the lives of the famous are those of the ordinary. I believe there are people around us everywhere with extraordinary tales to tell. But many of them never do, probably because of the lack of an outlet or the fear being vulnerable can bring. I am here to testify that it can be done. If you have a story to tell, you need to tell it. Even if it’s excruciatingly difficult, even if you are not a writer, your story does have
power, and it can move people.

One of the scary things about writing our own memoirs is the fear of being sued or hurting people’s feelings. On the latter, I have realized that people will be more supportive than you imagine. Even if you don’t paint your friends and family as perfect angels, your story is about you. So, as long as you are as open about your own faults as you are about theirs, the people in your life should be proud of what you’ve accomplished and your willingness to speak out.

Understand also that lawsuits are much less likely than you think. There are seven criteria a libel suit must make to win, and the one bringing the suit has the burden of proving each one. To protect yourself, all you have to remember is this: it isn’t defamation if it’s true. The truth will always protect you from a lawsuit. You don’t necessarily have to prove it’s true either. In a civil suit, it goes the other way: the one bringing the suit has to be able to prove that it isn’t.

The best decision I made once I decided to publish Where Fault Lies was hiring an editor, two editors to be exact. It was the largest investment I made in my work other than my time, but it was worth the effort ten-fold. Your primary editor isn’t just to edit spelling and grammar (that’s what your second editor is for). They will analyze your storyline, critique your character development, help you add details when needed, cut
parts that are unnecessary, and so much more. It isn’t easy to review our own work because we know what we mean, even if we don’t say it quite right. An editor will ensure that your words come across as you mean them to and provoke the emotional responses you are looking for.

Maybe the most unfamiliar part about writing a memoir is what you do after your book is done. How do you sell it? Self-publishing has come a long way in the last few years, and there are so many resources out there to help get you through the process. Just because a book is self-published doesn’t mean it is poorly published. The new wave of publishing focuses on professionally self-published work, which can produce
an equally impressive product. The best piece of advice I can give when it comes to marketing is this: be an avid self-promoter. It’s important enough to leave at just that.

I’m not saying this is an easy process, or that everyone should write a book. Not only does it take commitment, but publishing a memoir also needs a story, one that you are willing to share, and one that others will want to read. There are extraordinary things happening around us everywhere. Only when we begin to honestly see people will we truly understand who we really are.

About the book
When divorced single-mom Carrie Lucas moved to Seattle she knew it was time to start living life on her own terms, and stop playing by the rules of everyone else. While exploring her new city she falls for Sayid, a charismatic lawyer who has life figured out. But one traumatic night, Carrie discovers evil doesn’t come in the package she expected. Afterwards, she struggles to make sense of what’s real and understand ultimately who is at fault for the tragedy that unraveled her life.

In a gripping and powerful narrative, Carrie tells the true story of how falling for the wrong person can cause so much more than heartbreak. Where Fault Lies is a chilling exploration of memory through trauma, trust in humanity, and a captivating story of strength and survival that appeals to the hearts of fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, and men and women alike.

"As much as I don’t want to admit it, this is going to impact me the rest of my life. The way I love, the way I trust. If my mother told me she was making chicken for dinner, I wouldn’t believe her. It’s not just that he raped me, but he wedged his way into a place no one had ever been and he used that to control me. It’s not just him that lost my trust. How can I ever trust myself again?

I can’t even hug my dad. This is not me.

I guess, there isn’t much I can do about that. The FBI considers sexual assault as the second worst crime to murder, but it’s a hard crime to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s easy to get tangled in the argument of consent, or find a way to insinuate the victim had it coming. She was wearing a short skirt, she was flirting, she was drinking. But rapists are not animals that snap when a target is vulnerable in front of them. Women cannot protect themselves from rape by wearing less revealing clothing or not drinking too much. Rape is not a crime of opportunity. Rapists calculate and plan and perfect their craft. They only do it in an environment to which they feel they have the utmost control. It’s not that they cannot help themselves, it is that they simply do not want to.

And in a very real way, it’s as serious as murder. Rapists cut to the core and go after one of the most primal things we have that is sacred. So to cut deep, to take over, to take from, to rape—in the form of what may look like a sexual act, something that should empower and give pleasure and life—is horrid. It is the most horrid of actions that not only rapes what’s physical, but also what is not. They take from us our personhood. They empty the shell of our bodies. That is why they call us survivors. We are left to fill in the hole that is left after surviving our own murders. Rape spares the finite of the human body, while sacrificing the infinite of the soul.”

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About the author
Carrie May Lucas is an American author living in Seattle, Washington with her daughter. As a member of the RAINN Speakers Bureau, she works to educate and inform the public on sexual violence. Through her writing she inspires other survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse, and helps give a voice to their struggles. In her spare time, Carrie May Lucas likes to dance, run, and do yoga, and is currently getting a Master’s degree in Education.

For more info on Carrie and Where Fault Lies, visit her website


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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Cat Thursday - Kitty paws!

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! Enjoy! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

Oh, the paws of the kitties. How can we resist the cuteness!?

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Monday, June 2, 2014

HFVBT: Peni Jo Renner's Puritan Witch - Review and {Giveaway}

My thoughts 
I have been lucky in my historical fiction reading lately, as I've been privileged to read fictional accounts of two subjects I have always been fascinated with. One being ancient Egypt and in the case of this book, the Salem Witch trials.

Puritan Witch is based on the true story of Rebecca Eames, who experienced the trials as one of the accused. The author is a descendant, Rebecca being her ninth great-grandmother. The story is told from Rebecca's point of view and has an authentic biographical tone. One could almost believe that it was an actual written account from Rebecca's own hand.

The horrors experienced by the people accused in the trials are almost beyond belief. And anyone could be accused on a whim. If you had a vendetta with a neighbor, you could just accuse them of witchcraft. It really was mass hysteria. That's the only way I can describe it. The author tells the story vividly and so the reader really feels what Rebecca went through. The deplorable conditions in the 'dungeon', as they called it, and the shocking humiliation of the physical examination in front of all, including the shaving of the hair on the head and pubis, was almost too much to bare. One cannot read such a book without a heavy heart.

This time in our history is one that all Americans should regret. It is something that should never have happened, but it did. Books like Puritan Witch are important because they remind us of a terrible history that should never be repeated. If you are interested in the history of the Salem trials or American history in general, this is a book you should definitely read.

About the book
 Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Formats: Ebook, Hardcover, Paperback

On a cold night in 1692, two young girls are caught up in the divining games of a slave woman-and then begin to act very strangely when the game goes wrong. Suddenly, Salem Village is turned upside down as everyone fears that witches may be involved. Six months later, as news of the girls’ strange behavior becomes known, fear and suspicion overwhelm a nearby farming community, pitting neighbors against neighbors and turning friends into enemies. When Rebecca Eames makes one careless utterance during a verbal attack on her family, she is falsely accused of witchcraft. After her fate is decided by three magistrates, Rebecca must endure a prison sentence during which she and her fellow captives have no choice but to valiantly struggle to find humanity and camaraderie among dire conditions. In this novel based on a true story, a woman wrongly imprisoned during the seventeenth-century witchcraft trials comes full circle where she must determine if she can somehow resume her life, despite all she has endured.

Praise for Puritan Witch: The Redemption of Rebecca Eames
“Puritan Witch: The Redemption of Rebecca Eames is a story of the fear, suspicion, and accusations as they permeate the surrounding communities. The narration was exquisite, really painting a picture in my head and bringing to life the language of the Puritans much better than it usually is done. I loved that it was based on a true story and that the story really expands on a piece of the darkest of American history. Such a cool read!” – Katelyn Hensel, Readers’ Favorite

“Elegantly written, meticulously researched, and historically accurate, the author’s work rings true. … Renner’s vast talent as a writer is enhanced by the fact that she’s telling the story of her own family, completely captivating from beginning to end.” – Kelly Z. Conrad, award-winning author of Shaman

“In the colonial-era tale Puritan Witch, the plight of Rebecca Eames and her family plays out against the backdrop of one of the most intriguing periods in American history.” – Julie Castillo, writer and editor

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About the author
Peni Renner is the author of “Puritan Witch: The Redemption of Rebecca Eames”, an award-winning historical novel based on the true-life account of Peni’s 9th greatgrandmother. The book is Renner’s first published work, and follows Eames’ life and struggles in 1692 Massachussetts during the Salem Witchcraft Trials.

Writing historical fiction has always been a lifelong dream of mine. I was discouraged for many years after receiving multiple rejection slips, and turned to other creative outlets like crocheting, quilting and cross-stitch for many years. Then I met a 3rd cousin of mine online who is also into geneology and history. She told me we shared a common ancestor who was involved in the Salem Witchcraft Hysteria of 1692, and her story had never been told. My love of writing was rekindled and I began to research this ancestor, Rebecca Blake Eames. In August of 2012 I had the privilege of visiting her grave in Boxford, Massachusetts.

After months and months of research, writing, rewriting and revising, Puritan Witch came into being, featuring a lovely sketch done by my sister-in-law, Jane Sisk.

I have several other story ideas I am working on at the moment, all pertaining to interesting ancestors my 3rd cousin has introduced me to.

For more information please visit the Puritan Witch Facebook Page. You can also follow Peni Jo Renner on Twitter.

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Twitter Hashtag: #PuritanWitchTour #PeniJoRenner #VirtualBookTour
Twitter: @PeniJoRenner @hfvbt

Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter form below to enter for a chance to win a paperback copy of Puritan Witch by Peni Jo Renner! (Open Internationally)

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A copy of this book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for providing it.


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