Blog Tours, Book Blog, Book Reviews, book series, Book Suggestions, Books, four star review, giveaway, HF Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, Uncategorized

Blog Tour & Giveaway – Flirtation and Folly by Elizabeth Rasche

Publication Date: November 10, 2020
Quills and Quartos Publishing
Series: A Season in London, Book One
Genre: Historical Romance

About Flirtation and Folly

Marianne Mowbrey is a responsible country rector’s daughter who longs for the novelty and excitement she reads about in novels. When her crusty Aunt Harriet agrees to give her a Season in London, Marianne vows to dazzle the world, win a husband, and never go home again. But the Londoners who determine social success are inclined to pass over plain Marianne in favor of her beautiful, reckless younger sister.

In a world of ambition, fashion, flattery, and deceit, how can Marianne stay true to her real self—when she is not even sure what that real self is?

AVAILABLE ON AMAZON

My Review

Marianne has spent most of her young life being responsible, taking care of her siblings and living in the shadow of her sister Belinda. She has the opportunity to go visit her Aunt in London for a Season in the hopes of finding a husband. London is a different world than she’s used to – will she thrive or epically fail?

Flirtation and Folly may have been written during a different time period, but I believe readers will find the characters relatable even now. Marianne is so used to taking care of others and really struggles to make her own decisions and be confident in her own skin and point of view. You can feel her uneasiness and you can’t help but root for her to find her own voice.

Another thing I liked was that sex (vaguely referred to) and sexual tension was a small portion of the book. While I do enjoy books of that nature, I liked that this book was different and that Marianne was looking at true character and nature first and foremost. That set this book apart from other historical romance books.

If you’re looking for a historical romance book where finding and loving one’s inner is front and center, then you’ll definitely want to pick up a copy of Flirtation and Folly. I know I’m looking forward to reading book two as well!

A huge thank you to HFVBT and the author for the opportunity to read this book. The review reflects my own personal opinion.

About the Author

After acquiring a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Arkansas, Elizabeth Rasche taught philosophy in the U.S. and co-taught English in Japan. Now she and her husband live in northwest Arkansas, the ‘garden of America.’ (At least, she has only ever heard Arkansas called so.) She dreams of visiting Surrey (if only to look for Mrs. Elton’s Maple Grove), Bath, and of course, London. When she has a Jane Austen novel in one hand, a cup of tea in the other, and a cat on her lap, her day is pretty much perfect.

Elizabeth Rasche is the author of The Birthday Parties of Dragons and her poetry has appeared in Scifaikuest. Flirtation & Folly is her first historical fiction novel.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, November 10
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Wednesday, November 11
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Thursday, November 12
Review at Bitch Bookshelf
Review at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Friday, November 13
Excerpt at Coffee and Ink
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Monday, November 16
Feature at I’m Into Books
Review at Probably at the Library

Tuesday, November 17
Review at Bookworlder

Wednesday, November 18
Feature at Reading is My Remedy

Thursday, November 19
Guest Post at Novels Alive

Friday, November 20
Review at Library of Clean Reads
Review at View from the Birdhouse

Saturday, November 21
Excerpt at Passages to the Past

Sunday, November 22
Review at Robin Loves Reading

Monday, November 23
Review at Jessica Belmont

Tuesday, November 24
Review at Novels Alive
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a copy of Flirtation and Folly by Elizabeth Rasche! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on November 24th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

ENTER HERE: https://gleam.io/competitions/cTrAH-flirtation-and-folly

Blog Tours, Book Blog, Book Suggestions, Features, HF Virtual Book Tours, historical fiction, Uncategorized

Blog Tour & Giveaway – Where Butterflies Go by Debra Doxer

Publication Date: October 7, 2020
Paperback & eBook; 270 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

About Where Butterflies Go

Meira Sokolow had the misfortune of being born to Jewish parents in Warsaw, Poland, in 1912. Before she took her first breath, her fate had been sealed.

Residing in the Jewish Quarter of the city, Meira’s early life was typical. She fell in love with a local boy, got married, and had a daughter. Then the German army marched into Warsaw and everything changed. Forced into the ghetto with her family, she found survival to be a daily struggle. Hunger, disease, and unimaginable cruelty were her stark realities. When the ghetto was purged and she was sent to a concentration camp, Meira still had her family, and that was all that mattered. Then the camp was liquidated, and only a handful of survivors remained out of thousands. Meira Sokolow was one of them.

No longer a wife or mother, Meira emigrated to New York City. After World War II, the world wanted to move on and start a new chapter, but Meira couldn’t turn the page so easily. She walked through her days alone, like a ghost with nothing to tether her to the earth. Then she met Max, a handsome American, who first mistook her for one of the boring socialites he encountered every day. He soon learned she was unlike anyone he had met before, seeing her strength and resilience, even when she couldn’t. Max knew he could breathe life into her again, if only she would let him.

Tragic and heartfelt, Where Butterflies Go is based on the harrowing true story of one woman’s survival during the Nazi occupation of Poland, and her struggle to find meaning in the aftermath.

AMAZON | BARNES AND NOBLE

About the Author

Debra Doxer was born in Boston, and other than a few lost years in the California sunshine, she has always resided in the Boston area. She writes fiction, technical software documents, illegible scribbles on sticky notes, and texts that get mangled by AutoCorrect. She writes for a living, and she writes for fun. When not writing, she’s walking her Havanese puppy and forcing her daughter to listen to new wave 80s music.”

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS | NEWSLETTER

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 12
Review at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, October 13
Review at Amy’s Booket List

Wednesday, October 14
Guest Post at Novels Alive

Monday, October 19
Excerpt at Coffee and Ink

Tuesday, October 20
Review at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Thursday, October 22
Review at Books, Writings, and More
Feature at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Saturday, October 24
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, October 26
Feature at I’m All About Books

Wednesday, October 28
Review at Robin Loves Reading
Review at Tangents and Tissues

Friday, October 30
Interview at Novels Alive

Sunday, November 1
Review at YA, it’s Lit

Wednesday, November 4
Interview at Books & Benches

Thursday, November 5
Review at Girl Who Reads

Friday, November 6
Feature at The Lit Bitch

Monday, November 9
Review at History from a Woman’s Perspective

Tuesday, November 10
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, November 12
Review at Novels Alive

Friday, November 13
Review at Bookramblings

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away three $25 Amazon Gift Cards! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on November 13th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

ENTER HERE: https://gleam.io/competitions/AaN2y-where-butterflies-go

Book Blog, Book Reviews, Book Suggestions, Fall Books, four star review, Mystery & Thrillers, Psychological Twists, Thomas and Mercer

Book Review: Girls of Brackenhill by Kate Moretti

About Girls of Brackenhill

**Release Date November 1, 2020**

Haunted by her sister’s disappearance, a troubled woman becomes consumed by past secrets in this gripping thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Vanishing Year.

When Hannah Maloney’s aunt dies in a car accident, she returns to her family’s castle in the Catskills and the epicenter of a childhood trauma: her sister’s unsolved disappearance. It’s been seventeen years, and though desperate to start a new life with her fiancé, Hannah is compelled to question the events of her last summer at Brackenhill.

When a human bone is found near the estate, Hannah is convinced it belongs to her long-lost sister. She launches her own investigation into that magical summer that ended in a nightmare. As strange happenings plague the castle, Hannah uncovers disturbing details about the past and startling realizations about her own repressed childhood memories.

Fueled by guilt over her sister’s vanishing, Hannah becomes obsessed with discovering what happened all those years ago, but by the time Hannah realizes some mysteries are best left buried, it’s too late to stop digging. Overwhelmed by what she has exposed, Hannah isn’t sure her new life can survive her old ghosts.

My Review

I always enjoy Kate Moretti’s books; they have an eerie atmosphere, compelling characters and are creepy without getting gory. Girls of Brackenhill is no different and fit my spooky October reading theme well!

Hannah has been staying away from her family and subsequently her past for years. Something happened that last summer in Brackenhill when her sister disappeared and it’s been easier to avoid it all and move on with her life. But her aunt has died and she’s forced to return to tend to her uncle, the estate and her past. A mystery begins to unravel on the estate with police involvement and the unraveling of Hannah’s mind sends her into a spiral. The truth about what happened that last summer in Brackenhill may finally be known.

It’s amazing how the brain works and what it can suppress to protect us. I thoroughly enjoyed following Hannah’s journey through the mental obstacles of her past and dealing with the present. It’s a complex web. The whole story really grabbed me and kept me flying through page after page.

If you’re looking for a good book with elements of mystery, ghosts, and psychological twists, Girls of Brackenhill is one you’ll definitely want to add to your TBR!

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book. The review expesses my own personal opinions.

Blog Tours, Book Blog, Book Suggestions, Books, Features, HF Virtual Book Tours, historical fiction

Blog Tour Featuring: The Brief and True Report of Temperance Flowerdew by Denise Heinze

Publication Date: September 29, 2020
Blackstone Publishing
Hardcover, eBook, AudioBook; 176 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

About The Brief and True Report of Temperance Flowerdew by Denise Heinze

Determined to set the historical record straight, and clear her conscience, Temperance Flowerdew — the wife of Virginia’s first two governors — puts quill to paper, recounting the hardships that nearly brought the Jamestown colony to its knees, and the extraordinary sacrifice of her servant girl, Lily.

When she steps aboard the Falcon in 1609, Temperance Flowerdew was not only setting sail from England to the distant shores of America, she was embarking upon a future of opportunity. She didn’t yet know how she would make her mark, but in this new place she could do or be whatever she wanted.

Willing as she is to brave this new world, Temperance is utterly ill-equipped to survive the wilderness; all she knows is how to live inside the pages of adventure and philosophy books. Loyally at her side, Lily helps Temperance weather pioneer life. A young woman running from lifelong accusations of witchcraft, Lily finds friendship with Temperance and an acceptance of her psychic gifts. Together, they forge paths within the community: Temperance attempts to advise the makeshift government, while Lily experiences the blossoming of first love.

But as the harsh winter approaches, Lily intuitively senses a darkness creep over the colony and the veneer of civilized life threatens to fall away — negotiations with the Indians grow increasingly hostile and provisions become scarce. Lily struggles to keep food on the table by foraging in the woods and being resourceful. Famine could mean the end of days. It’s up to Lily to save them both, but what sacrifice will be enough to survive?

A transporting and evocative story, The Brief and True Report of Temperance Flowerdew is a fiercely hopeful novel — a portrait of two intrepid women who choose to live out their dreams of a future more free than the past.

AMAZON | BARNES AND NOBLE | INDIEBOUND

Praise

‘Denise Heinze has written a stirring novel about America’s first pioneers, with particular attention to the women whose pluck and forbearance made it all possible. Temperance Flowerdew’s ‘Brief and True Report’ retells the story of America’s first colony, established by English settlers in 1609, all but destroyed by Powhatan Indians twenty years later, then rescued from oblivion by remnants of Britain’s exploratory fleet. In that saga, Heinze manages to preserve the formal language of the period with a storytelling appetite for narrative, complete with native savagery, thwarted romance, the harsh realities of seventeenth-century ocean travel, and the unpredictable currents that made such explorations so daunting and so frequently fatal.’ –C. Michael Curtis, Fiction Editor Emeritus, The Atlantic

‘With a poet’s tongue and painter’s eye, Denise Heinze summons the wonder, horror, and selfless grit of the women who pioneered a new world. Temperance Flowerdew makes compulsive reading.’ –Elizabeth Cobbs, bestselling author of The Hamilton Affair

‘With careful research, and lyrical and evocative writing, Denise Heinze’s The Brief and True Report of Temperance Flowerdew transports the reader to the harrowing seventeenth-century Jamestown settlement. The richly imagined story of two pioneering women who escape a stifling old-world existence, only to face a tempest at sea, and land in a new world of hunger, thirst, and desperation, is captivating from first page to last. Temperance and Lily represent the untold stories of the heroic American Founding Mothers.’ –Tracey Enerson Wood, author of The Engineer’s Wife

‘The Brief and True Report of Temperance Flowerdew by Denise Heinze is a vivid novel about the winter of 1609-10 in Jamestown, Virginia, America’s first colony. A relentless drought preceded the winter, and a siege by natives of the region blocked access to food. Through the voices of Temperance and her housemaid and friend, Lily, Heinze takes us into the desperate days of what became known as ‘the Starving Time’ in sometimes ruthless detail. This richly researched novel, in an elegant narrative using the vernacular of the seventeenth century, is a must-read for those who love historical fiction and for all who enjoy a compelling drama well told. I read this captivating book straight through.’ –Anna Jean Mayhew, author of Tomorrow’s Bread, The Dry Grass of August, and a third novel in progress.

‘A literary thriller. This remarkable novel infuses the history of the Jamestown experiment with the tale of two women, a mistress and her servant, who find in one another the full measure of sacrifice and survival. This story is spun of silk and rendered in blood.’ –Elaine Neil Orr, author of Swimming Between Worlds

‘In this vividly imagined historical novel, Denise Heinze gives voice to one of the few survivors of the darkest period (1609-10) in the life of the Jamestown colony. The Brief and True Report of Temperance Flowerdew is not only an unforgettable account of the extreme hardships faced by the colonists but also the moving story of two remarkable young women who faced the challenges with courage and ingenuity.’ –Nancy Grayson, executive editor emeritus, University of Georgia Press

‘Denise Heinze skillfully resurrects a forgotten life, and puts her heroine where she belongs — at the center, not the sidelines, of early Jamestown history. Wonderfully inventive, briskly plotted, and rich with historical detail, this fact-filled novel will delight readers of historical fiction and women’s history alike.’ –Kate Bolick, bestselling author of Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own

‘At the end of Denise Heinze’s compelling new novel, main character Temperance Flowerdew wonders ‘what goes missing when the women are nowhere to be found as actors in history.’ Heinze has created a character whose life answers that question. A product of the English landed gentry, Flowerdew endures the Starving Time in the early days of the Jamestown colony. Surrounded by desperation and death, she manages to prevail, eventually documenting her story of survival and salvation using a quill from a Christmas goose. Although this book is a novel, it is a powerful, truthful, richly detailed portrayal of the daily struggle to survive in early seventeenth-century Virginia.’ –Fred Sauceman, associate professor, East Tennessee State University

‘An enthralling tale of female strength and courage against seemingly impossible odds. Denise Heinze’s Temperance is a complex, nuanced character (as is her maid, Lily, a real treat), and the world we see through her eyes is fascinating and terrifying in equal measure. The research is impeccable but sits lightly on the narrative. The Brief and True Report of Temperance Flowerdew is more than an engaging tale of a pivotal time in America’s history — it draws the women who lived it out of the shadows and, finally, lets them take their rightful place at the center of the story.’ –Meg Keneally, author of Fled

About the Author

Denise Heinze, a former literature professor and a PhD graduate of Duke University, writes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. She is the author of the novel Sally St. Johns and her work has appeared in Now and Then, Thought and Action, Reunions, Wow! Women on Writing, THEMA literary journal, and Gemini Magazine; her story The Grid, was a quarter-finalist for the Ghost Story Supernatural Fiction Award. The Brief and True Report of Temperance Flowerdew is her second novel and was a finalist for the University of New Orleans Press Publishing Lab Prize. A descendant of Louisa May Alcott, she lives in North Carolina.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 21
Review at The b00kreader
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Tuesday, September 22
Feature at Coffee and Ink
Guest Post at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Wednesday, September 23
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Thursday, September 24
Review at Novels Alive

Friday, September 25
Review at Bookworlder

Monday, September 28
Review at Jorie Loves A Story

Tuesday, September 29
Review at Amy’s Booket List

Wednesday, September 30
Feature at The Lit Bitch
Review at Books and Zebras

Thursday, October 1
Review at Bri’s Book Nook

Friday, October 2
Guest Post at Novels Alive

Saturday, October 3
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, October 5
Review at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, October 6
Review at History from a Woman’s Perspective

Wednesday, October 7
Review at Rajiv’s Reviews

Thursday, October 8
Review at A Book and a Latte
Feature at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Friday, October 9
Review at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away 5 paperback copies of The Brief and True Report of Temperance Flowerdew! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on October 9th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Enter Herehttps://gleam.io/competitions/hZVVa-temperance-flowerdew

Blog Tours, Book Blog, Book Reviews, book series, Book Suggestions, HF Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, netgalley

Blog Tour & Review – Highland Renegade by Cynthia Breeding

Publication Date: September 21, 2020
Entangled Amara
Series: Children of the Mist, Book One
Genre: Historical Romance

About Highland Renegade

Emily, the Dowager Countess of Woodhaven, has received title to lands in the Highlands—MacGregor lands—and after surviving an abusive marriage, she’s determined to make a new start…without a man. She just has to win over the handsome Scottish laird whose family has lived there for centuries. How hard could it be?

When Ian MacGregor heard that the Sassenach countess was actually laying claim to his lands, he figured to scare the aging widow away by showing her the hardships of living in the Highlands. She’d leave before the first snowflake fell. But he never imagined that the widow was young and beautiful and more territorial than a she-wolf. No matter, he’ll prove that a fragile, London woman like her would never survive life without her servants…and if he happens to give her the coldest and most remote rooms, all the better.

Despite his best efforts to freeze her out, things between them heat up. But Highlanders hate the Sassenach, so Ian faces a dire choice—his clan or the irresistible English aristocrat who seems to have taken not only his lands, but also his heart.

“Lush, evocative, and sizzling-hot.” -Ann Major, USA Today bestselling author

My Review

Emily and her sisters are starting over in the Highlands after her husband dies and she is given the title to the land. She hopes it will be a fresh start for them, but Ian MacGregor, who believes these are his and his family’s lands, has another idea. Will Emily be accepted or will the MacGregors drive her out? Or maybe something far more unexpected will happen.

One of my favorite parts of this book was the tension between Emily and her sisters and the MacGregor family. It’s that enemies-to-lovers feel and you’re just waiting for a crack in the hard exterior to break through. I found myself saying, “Come on!!” at the tension and conversations. Get together already!

I also really enjoyed reading about the historical background of the MacGregor lands and how far back some of the battles and distrust went. It’s amazing that deep-rooted anger can carry through centuries having a big impact on history.

If you’re looking for a book with strong-willed characters, some steam and history, Highland Renegades is a great fit!

Thank you to HFVBT, Cynthia Breeding and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book. The review expresses my own personal opinion.

About the Author

An avid reader of anything medieval, Cynthia Breeding has taught the traditional Arthurian legends to high school sophomores for fifteen years. She owns more than three hundred books, fictional and non-fictional, on the subject. More information on Arthur, Gwenhwyfar and Lancelot can be found on the Historical Account link.

In addition, she has won numerous awards including the Holt Medallion, Beacon Contest, Barclay Gold, More Than Magic and Ancient City Romance Authors.

Cynthia lives on the bay with her Bichon Frise and enjoys sailing and riding on the beach.

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 21
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Wednesday, September 23
Guest Post at Novels Alive

Thursday, September 24
Excerpt at Coffee and Ink
Review & Excerpt at SplendeurCaisse

Friday, September 25
Review at Historical Romance Lover

Monday, September 28
Review at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Wednesday, September 30
Excerpt at Passages to the Past

Monday, October 5
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Tuesday, October 6
Review at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Wednesday, October 7
Interview at Books & Benches

Friday, October 9
Review at Novels Alive
Review at Probably at the Library

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on October 9th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

ENTER HERE: https://gleam.io/competitions/9eXyK-highland-renegade

Book Blog, Book Reviews, Book Suggestions, Holiday Books, Kensington Books, netgalley

Book Review: Mrs. Claus and the Santaland Slayings

About Mrs. Claus and the Santaland Slayings

It’s the first Christmas in Santaland for April Claus—but it may also be her last unless she can uncover a villain with a killer Christmas wish. . . .
 
Love is full of surprises—though few compare to realizing that you’re marrying the real-life Santa. April Claus dearly loves her new husband, Nick, but adjusting to life in the North Pole is not all sugarplums and candy canes. Especially when a cantankerous elf named Giblet Hollyberry is killed—felled by a black widow spider in his stocking—shortly after publicly arguing with Nick.
 
Christmastown is hardly a hotbed of crime, aside from mishaps caused by too much eggnog, but April disagrees with Constable Crinkle’s verdict of accidental death. As April sets out to find the culprit, it’ll mean putting the future of Christmas on the line—and hoping her own name isn’t on a lethal naughty list . . .

My Review

With the holiday season approaching quickly, I’m on the lookout for new holiday-ish books, hence Mrs. Claus and the Santaland Slayings. And I gotta say, this is the perfect one to curl up with while you sip a cup of hot tea and get comfy under a warm blanket!

In this cozy mystery, there is a new Mrs. Claus in town and also a cold-hearted killer. When an elf is murdered, the town turns upside down. Things get worse as more residents are killed. Will they be able to figure out who the murderer is? And is Santa to blame?

I loved that this book gives a little behind-the-scenes of the North Pole and the life of Santa. How Santa met his wife, what it’s like around Christmas, what the elves and other creatures are like. I also like a low-pressure whodunit, and this book kept me guessing. There’s also a great storyline about being the new person in everyone’s life and trying to figure out how to fit in and what your place is. Overall, a book I found to be fun to read!

Thank you to Kensington Books and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book. The review expresses my own personal opinions.

Blog Tours, Book Blog, Book Excerpts, Book Suggestions, HF Virtual Book Tours, Historical Mystery, William Morrow

Blog Tour & Excerpt: A Trace of Deceit by Karen Odden

Publication Date: December 17, 2019
William Morrow
Paperback & eBook; 416 pages
Genre: Historical Mystery/Victorian

About A Trace of Deceit

From the author of A Dangerous Duet comes the next book in her Victorian mystery series, this time following a daring female painter and the Scotland Yard detective who is investigating her brother’s suspicious death.

A young painter digs beneath the veneer of Victorian London’s art world to learn the truth behind her brother’s murder…

Edwin is dead. That’s what Inspector Matthew Hallam of Scotland Yard tells Annabel Rowe when she discovers him searching her brother’s flat for clues. While the news is shocking, Annabel can’t say it’s wholly unexpected, given Edwin’s past as a dissolute risk-taker and art forger, although he swore he’d reformed. After years spent blaming his reckless behavior for their parents’ deaths, Annabel is now faced with the question of who murdered him—because Edwin’s death was both violent and deliberate. A valuable French painting he’d been restoring for an auction house is missing from his studio: find the painting, find the murderer. But the owner of the artwork claims it was destroyed in a warehouse fire years ago.

As a painter at the prestigious Slade School of Art and as Edwin’s closest relative, Annabel makes the case that she is crucial to Matthew’s investigation. But in their search for the painting, Matthew and Annabel trace a path of deceit and viciousness that reaches far beyond the elegant rooms of the auction house, into an underworld of politics, corruption, and secrets someone will kill to keep.

AMAZON | BARNES AND NOBLE | BOOKS-A-MILLION | INDIEBOUND

Praise for A Trace of Deceit

From Chapter One: “Odden’s third effort injects a refreshing level of complexity, both in character development and plotting, into what one typically expects to find in historical cozies. This will appeal to fans of Victorian mysteries, as well as those interested in art history.” -Booklist (starred review)

“Odden keenly evokes the physical as well as cultural milieu of Victorian England, and peoples her setting with fully realized and intriguing characters. This book will delight readers who like their mysteries cloaked in well-researched history.” -Publishers Weekly

“…this thrilling, action-packed story [is] an absolute delight to read.” -Historical Novel Society

“Odden’s literary brushstrokes vividly portray the misogyny and gender bias experienced by women in Victorian society, especially a woman battling to exercise her artistic talent. ” -Washington Independent Review of Books

“Fans of Anne Perry, Deanna Rayborn, and Tasha Alexander will root for Karen Odden’s newest heroine, Annabel Rowe—aspiring painter and now amateur sleuth—investigating the murder of her art forger brother. The novel’s a delightful mix of mystery, history, and romance, served with a delicious helping of lush period detail, while chemistry between Annabel and the investigating Scotland Yard detective add spice to the adventure.” -Susan Elia MacNeal, New York Times bestselling author of the Maggie Hope series

“A darkly thrilling story filled with suspense and secrets, a courageous heroine, an edgy climax, and an atmospheric setting that perfectly captures the underbelly of London’s art world in the Victorian era. A Trace of Deceit is an absolute winner!” -Stefanie Pintoff, Edgar Award winning author

Read an Excerpt

From Chapter One: My work finished for the afternoon, I washed my brushes, set them bristles-end-up in the tin buckets, and hung my smock on the wooden hook behind the door. Fishing in the umbrella rack, I found my own frayed black specimen, still damp from this morning. I opened it as I exited the Slade’s airy marble rotunda and braced it against the drizzle as I started up Charing Cross Road toward Edwin’s flat.

              Since he’d been let out of prison, we had been meeting every other Tuesday, at his request. Typically he sent a message to my rooms on Monday evening, arranging to have dinner in a pub or chophouse somewhere near the Slade, though on one particularly pleasant day, we met for a walk in a nearby park. His manner was often subdued, and our conversation was prone to moments when both of us broke the silence at once, without the ease we’d had as children. Admittedly, I had a part in this: I kept him at some distance, for I was chary of believing his claims of reform, although his recent steadiness had raised my hopes more than I let him see. But it was Tuesday afternoon, and I hadn’t a word from him. While a part of me was braced for him to resume his erratic ways, his letter could have been lost in the post, and it wasn’t much out of my way to go to his rooms.

              I turned off Charing Cross and walked halfway down Judson Place to the building where Edwin rented rooms. It was a narrow red brick house, with two dormer windows like eyes peering out from a frowning brow. Once a family home, it had been divided into three flats, one on each floor. I went inside the building and started up the thinly carpeted stairs to the top, grasping the wooden banister worn smooth by years of palms and polishing cloths. My own flat, closer to the school, was on an uppermost floor as well. The stairs were a bother, especially when I had items to carry, but like Edwin, I found the light was better for painting. I rounded the landing, already raising my hand to knock.

              Oddly, Edwin’s door stood wide open. He was nowhere to be seen, but inside his room were two strange men dressed in dark coats. Their backs were to me, and they were bent over, sifting carelessly through Edwin’s paintings stacked against the wall. The sight halted me at the threshold, my hand on the doorframe, and I felt a flare of indignation. “What are you doing?” I demanded. “Who are you?”

              Even as the words burst from me, I took in the breadth of their shoulders, the broken gilt frames on the floor, a chair flipped on its side—and a sudden fear made me shrink back.

              The men pivoted and two pairs of eyes examined me with peculiar acuteness, taking in every detail down to the wet hem of my dress. Perhaps they saw my alarm, for a quick look passed between them, and the elder of the two stepped forward: “Don’t be afraid, miss. I’m Chief Inspector Martin, of Scotland Yard.” He jerked his chin upward, toward the other man. “This is Inspector Hallam.”

              My heart sank, and my fright gave way to weary disappointment and vexation. It seemed I’d been right to hold my hopes in abeyance. Edwin’s resolve to live lawfully was apparently as flimsy as ever.

              “Hello, Miss.” Mr. Hallam was perhaps five-and-twenty, with wavy brown hair and a countenance that would have made a handsome portrait. “Are you a friend of Mr. Rowe’s?”

              I suppressed a sigh. “I’m his sister.”

              The chief inspector’s head tipped forward. “Is your name Annabel?”

              I started. “Yes. How did you know?”

              “Miss.” Inspector Hallam’s measured voice drew my gaze back to him. “When did you last see him?”

              “Two weeks ago.”

              “And you haven’t heard from him since?”
              “No,” I replied, drawing off my gloves. “What has he done?”

              Another significant look between them. Clearly they were reluctant to shock me. “It’s all right,” I assured them. “You can say it.”

               The inspector’s expression softened. “I’m afraid he’s gone, miss.”

              “I’ve gathered that much,” I said drily. Edwin had probably taken up gambling again and run off, leaving debts behind and his rent unpaid. No wonder his room was in such a state. I put the gloves in my pocket. “I assume he owes someone money, and you’re here to recover what you can?”

              The chief inspector spoke up, his voice gruff: “I’m afraid you misunderstand. Your brother is dead.”

              Dead.

              My eyes flicked back to the younger inspector. He saw I hadn’t grasped the meaning of his gentler word, and he winced in regret and sympathy.

              I reached for the nearest chair and sat down, averting my face. All I could feel was my heart thudding in my chest.

              Years ago, as a child, I fell out of a tree and landed on my back. I had the sensation of my entire ribcage flattening forcibly to the thickness of a washboard, and as I lay there, staring up at the leafy branches, I thought, I shall never be able to breathe again. This is how it feels to die.

              I had the same sensation now.

About the Author

Karen Odden received her Ph.D. in English literature from New York University and taught at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She has contributed essays and chapters to books and journals, including Studies in the Novel, the Journal of Victorian Culture, and Victorian Crime, Madness, and Sensation; she has written introductions for Barnes and Noble editions of books by Dickens and Trollope; and she edited for the academic journal Victorian Literature and Culture. She freely admits she might be more at home in nineteenth-century London than today, especially when she tries to do anything complicated on her iPhone. Her first novel, A Lady in the Smoke, was a USA Today bestseller and won the New Mexico-Arizona 2016 Book Award for e-Book Fiction. Her second novel, A Dangerous Duet, about a young pianist who stumbles on a notorious crime ring while playing in a Soho music hall in 1870s London, won the New Mexico-Arizona 2019 Book Award for Best Historical Fiction. A Trace of Deceit is her third novel. She resides in Arizona with her family and a ridiculously cute beagle named Rosy.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | PINTEREST | BOOKBUB | GOODREADS

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 7
Review at Books and Backroads
Review at WTF Are You Reading?

Tuesday, September 8
Feature at I’m All About Books

Wednesday, September 9
Review at Hallie Reads

Thursday, September 10
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Friday, September 11
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Monday, September 14
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Tuesday, September 15
Review at Faery Tales Are Real

Wednesday, September 16
Review at Into the Hall of Books

Thursday, September 17
Review at Novels Alive

Friday, September 18
Review at A Darn Good Read

Saturday, September 19
Review at Nursebookie

Monday, September 21
Review at Books and Zebras

Tuesday, September 22
Review at Passages to the Past

Thursday, September 24
Guest Post at Novels Alive

Friday, September 25
Review at The Lit Bitch

Monday, September 28
Review at Amy’s Booket List
Review at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Tuesday, September 29
Review at Impressions In Ink
Review at Writing the Renaissance

Wednesday, September 30
Review at Probably at the Library
Guest Post at Writing the Renaissance

Thursday, October 1
Excerpt at Books In Their Natural Habitat
Review at History from a Woman’s Perspective

Friday, October 2
Review at Jessica Belmont
Review at Jorie Loves A Story
Review at View from the Birdhouse

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away one paperback copy of A Trace of Deceit! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on October 2nd. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Enter Herehttps://gleam.io/competitions/qxgBy-a-trace-of-deceit

Blog Tours, Book Blog, Book Suggestions, Features, giveaway, HF Virtual Book Tours, Historical Thriller

Blog Tour: The Golden Van Dorens by Nicole Strycharz

Publication Date: September 1, 2020
eBook a& Paperback; 355 Pages
Genre: Historical Thriller

About The Golden Van Dorens

Malcom Van Doren made his fortune in the California Gold Rush of 1849.

By 1853, he spent it all, drowning in debt, and returned to his mine out of desperation.

Steadily, over the years, he went mad.

Known for his lunacy, when Malcom claimed to have discovered gold a second time, no one believed him… not even his family. Too paranoid about his creditors to prove his finding, Malcom Van Doren told everyone he hid his fortune away.

Now, in the year 1880, twenty-seven years after his second discovery, his daughters are each as desperate as he once was for wealth. All of them, for different reasons; revenge, love, or greed.

Three sisters battle to discover their dead father’s gold, but only one will win this race as their own little gold rush ensues.

God help the man that stands between a Golden Van Doren and all that glitters.

AVAILABLE ON AMAZON

About the Author

Nicole is a multi-genre author of over a dozen books.

“The Divorce” was nominated in the 2016 Indie Book Awards and won second place in the 2016 Best Cover Design in ‘Urban Literature Magazine.’

She was featured on the cover of Words + Magazine for her book “The Affair.”

She’s known for delving into sensitive and real topics such as in her title “The Love That Hurts” which explored domestic violence with the hopes of giving victims a voice while exposing the red flags of an abusive relationship. Most of her lead female characters are depicted as survivors or evolving overcomers of trauma. Sending a message to readers that every moment and every day they fight for is a victory.

Being of mixed ethnicity, she keeps her cast of characters diverse and tries to highlight the different cultures around the world.

Nicole lives in Virginia with her partner, three children, three stepsons, their amazing Grandparents, and one pretty Pocket-Pittie. She is always reading or working on the next book between mommyhood adventures.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, September 1
Review at YA, It’s Lit

Wednesday, September 2
Review at Passages to the Past

Thursday, September 3
Review at Book Bustle
Review at Bitch Bookshelf
Feature at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Friday, September 4
Feature at Gwendalyn’s Books

Saturday, September 5
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, September 7
Review at Books and Zebras

Tuesday, September 8
Feature at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Wednesday, September 9
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a 12″ by 8″ canvas painting of The Van Doren Sisters! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on September 9th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

ENTER HEREhttps://gleam.io/competitions/v5Ce0-the-golden-van-dorens

Aria Fiction, Blog Tours, Book Blog, Book Reviews, Book Suggestions, five star review, HF Virtual Book Tours, historical fiction, netgalley, world war II

Blog Tour – The Girl From Vichy by Andie Newton

Publication Date: August 13, 2020
Aria Fiction
Genre: Historical Fiction

About The Girl From Vichy

1942, occupied France.

As the war in Europe rages on, Adèle Ambeh dreams of a France that is free from the clutches of the new regime. The date of her marriage to a ruthless man is drawing closer, and she only has one choice – she must run.

With the help of her mother, Adèle flees to Lyon, seeking refuge at the Sisters of Notre Dame de la Compassion. From the outside this is a simple nunnery, but the sisters are secretly aiding the French Resistance, hiding and supplying the fighters with weapons.

While it is not quite the escape Adèle imagined, she is drawn to the nuns and quickly finds herself part of the resistance. But her new role means she must return to Vichy, and those she left behind, no matter the cost.

Each day is filled with a different danger and as she begins to fall for another man, Adèle’s entire world could come crashing down around her.

Adèle must fight for her family, her own destiny, as well as her country.

AMAZON US | AMAZON UK | APPLE | BARNES AND NOBLE | GOOGLE PLAY | KOBO

My Thoughts

I am so happy to be featuring another one of Ms. Newton’s books! After reading The Girl I Left Behind, I knew I had to put her on my short list of authors to always read… and she did not disappoint with The Girl From Vichy!

Adele is a bit of a dream, a free spirit. Her father has helped her secure a marriage to a local man, a man whose regard for others is dwindling as the war progresses. Adele knows she won’t be able to go through with the marriage and, with the help of her mother, escapes to a nunnery. Little does she know, the people she meets there will change her path significantly as she finds herself in the resistance and fighting for a future she believes in.

I cried at the end of this book. What an emotional journey Adele and her family goes on! We can all relate to Adele’s entire family; everyone is making decisions that they feel is best to secure their future and to take care of those they love. Sadly, this drives a wedge between them. There are moments of love, heartbreak, deep loss, and selflessness.

If you are looking for a book that is World War II-Era with familial turmoil, resistance and love, you’ve got to add The Girl From Vichy to your must-read list!

Thank you to HFVBT and the author for an opportunity to read this book. The review expresses my own personal opinions.

About the Author

Andie is an American writer living in Washington State with her husband and two boys. She is the author of The Girl I Left Behind (Aria 2019) and The Girl from Vichy (Aria 2020). She has a Bachelor’s degree in History from Washington State University and a Master in Teaching. She would love to say she spends her free time gardening and cooking, but she’s killed everything she’s ever planted and set off more fire alarms than she cares to admit. Andie does, however, love spending time with her family, trail running, and drinking copious amounts of coffee.

Andie would love to be a guest at your next book club! You can find discussion questions for her novels on her website www.andienewton.com. You can also find Andie on FacebookTwitterInstagramBookBub, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday, August 13
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Friday, August 14
Review at Passages to the Past

Saturday, August 15
Feature at Lost in a Book Reviewer

Sunday, August 16
Review at Carole’s Ramblings

Tuesday, August 18
Review at The Lit Bitch
Excerpt at Gwendalyn’s Books

Wednesday, August 19
Feature at I’m All About Books

Thursday, August 20
Review at Girl Who Reads
Feature at What Is That Book About

Saturday, August 22
Feature at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, August 24
Review at Bookworlder

Tuesday, August 25
Review at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Friday, August 28
Review at Little But Fierce Book Diary

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a signed copy of The Girl from Vichy! To enter, please use the Gleam form below. The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on August 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

ENTER HERE: https://gleam.io/competitions/KvIwr-the-girl-from-vichy

Book Blog, Book Reviews, Book Suggestions, Books, Fall Books, Kensington Books, Mystery & Thrillers, netgalley

Fall Reads – What Not to Wear to a Graveyard by Debra Sennefelder

Publication Date: September 8, 2020
Publisher: Kensington Books
Genre: Mystery/Thrillers
ISBN: 9781516110858

About What Not to Wear to a Graveyard

After trading her Manhattan digs for her upstate hometown, fashionista Kelly Quinn has big plans for her grandmother’s consignment shop. But this All Hallow’s Eve someone is already dressed to kill . . .

A socialite’s missing dog has made front page news in Lucky Cove—complete with a hefty reward. But between renovating the consignment shop, planning her costume for a 1970s themed Halloween party, and scouting a location for a fashion shoot, Kelly doesn’t have time to search. Yet a visit to the local colonial-era cemetery—ideal for the moody atmosphere she’s after—soon turns up the precious pooch. Kelly’s looking forward to collecting the check—until she makes a gruesome discovery in an abandoned farmhouse: The dog’s owner, stabbed through the heart.

Kelly can’t help wondering why Constance Lane was traipsing around the farmhouse in stilettos. But as Kelly gets decked out in a vintage disco caftan, that isn’t the only fashion misstatement spooking her. Hidden in the dead woman’s past is a secret that could be the motive for the murder. And as the Halloween party gets started, even a menacing clown and a threatening bearded lady can’t keep Kelly from trick or treating for the truth—even if it means her last dance . . .

My Thoughts

I don’t know about you, but I like to get into the spirit of seasons… decorations, scents, baking, seasonal books, you name it! Seeing how it’s almost fall (how?!!), I’ve been starting to dive into some seasonal reads that I’m excited to share with you!

First up in my fall reads is What Not to Wear to a Graveyard. The cover alone is super cute, and I knew I was in for a good time before I even opened the book. This book is part of a series, which I’ve never read, but had no issues reading it as a standalone.

Kelly is a bit of a thrifting fashionista with a re-sale clothing store and has a tendency to put her nose where she probably shouldn’t. There’s a dog missing in town which she stumbles upon in a cemetery. She accidentally comes across its dead owner later on when she is asked to look at clothes in a home for her store! Never a dull moment for her. But the thing is, she has to know what happened!

This is a really fun, genuinely enjoyable, quick read. A cozy mystery if you will. Perfect for the fall and has nothing too mentally taxing. It’s along the lines of a shortened Aurora Teagarden book, so if you enjoyed that series, definitely give this one a read!

A quick “thanks” to the publisher, Kensington Books, and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book. Please know that this review expresses my own personal opinions.