#MadaminSilk #GiniGrossenbacher #HFVBTBlogTours #Review

Madam in Silk
by Gini Grossenbacher

Publication Date: July 15, 2019
JGKS Press
eBook & Paperback; 476 Pages

Series: The American Madams, Book 2
Genre: Historical Fiction

 

 

San Francisco,1849. Despite her objections, twenty-year-old Ah Toy and her servant Chen voyage from China to San Francisco with her husband who dies on board ship. With little cash and bound feet, how is she to find employment in the Gold Rush town? Since she is the only Chinese woman there, she opens a “Lookee Shop,” catering to miners who pay in gold dust to see her exotic beauty. As her notoriety grows, so does her attraction to the devoted policeman, John Clark. Yet should she put her faith in one man? Will their love survive despite her frightening encounter with Sydney Ducks, threats from rival madam Li Fan, and a tempting offer from Henry Conrad who promises her wealth and security? Armed with her mystical beliefs of the inner dragon and Goddess Mazu, Ah Toy faces much more than the journey from the ancient ways in China to the new world in America. In fact, she must find the true source of courage in a life or death struggle for her own fate, justice, and dignity. Based on page-turning accounts about the life of Ah Toy, one of San Francisco’s most legendary madams.

“Readers were effusive in their praise of Gini Grossenbacher’s dynamic debut novel Madam of My Heart, based on the life of the infamous brothel owner Belle Cora. This, the prequel to her American Madams Series, is inspired by the life of a beautiful young Chinese woman of high birth brought to California against her will. She was able–and willing–to do whatever it took to find security and fortune in Gold Rush San Francisco. Madam in Silk is this year’s exciting addition to historical fiction.” -Cheryl Anne Stapp, Author of Disaster & Triumph: Sacramento Women, Gold Rush Through the Civil War

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Coffee and Ink’s Review

Gentle Ah Toy has survived so much in her short life, from the binding of her feet in childhood, her abusive husband, the deaths of her girl babies, and arriving in San Francisco with no one but her loyal servant, Chen.

I was unable to put down the story of her survival in San Francisco, a riveting account of early California and the Gold Rush, and the first Chinese people to arrive in that chaotic time. Vigilante groups opposed to the immigration of Chinese, heap violence upon them. Ah Toy’s husband’s family send thugs to bring her back to China, but she loves her independence too much to go back to that kind of life, though her Lookee Parlor is not how she imagines her life, either. She is plucky and courageous and though it means exploiting others by becoming a madam, she still offers her workers a better life than most. I loved her independence-driven mindset, her dragon, even when love found her and offered her ease and comfort away from the harrowing streets of the city.

The prose is infused with the taste and scents of her homeland, Chen’s cooking and encouraging friendship, her gentle spirit balanced with the spirit of her inner dragon who knows the men around her underestimate her (except for Chen). I loved reading the ups and downs of her life, the harsh reality of where she might end up if she fails to make it on her own. I highly recommend this book.

About the Author

California author Gini Grossenbacher was a successful high school English teacher until she abandoned grades and term papers, choosing to write historical novels instead. Now she leads small writing groups and coaches other writers. She loves researching the history behind her novels, and enjoys traveling to the setting where they take place. Her hobbies include needlepoint, nature walks, and Scrabble. She lives in the Sacramento Valley where she grew up, east of San Francisco.

For more information, please visit Gini’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 23
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Wednesday, September 25
Excerpt at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Friday, September 27
Review at Reading is My Remedy
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Monday, September 30
Review at WTF Are You Reading?

Tuesday, October 1
Review at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Thursday, October 3
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Friday, October 4
Interview at Passages to the Past

Monday, October 7
Review at Passages to the Past

Thursday, October 10
Review at @jypsylynn
Review at my.boys.mom

Friday, October 11
Review at Broken Teepee
Review at Coffee and Ink

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of Madam in Silk! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on October 11th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Madam in Silk

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#ALadyNeverTells #LynnWinchester #HFVBTBlogTours #Review

A Lady Never Tells
by Lynn Winchester

Publication Date: September 23, 2019
Entangled Publishing
eBook, 368 pages

Series: Women of Daring, Book One
Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

 

 

Richard Downing may be a viscount of impeccable character, but he’s bored beyond belief of dancing at balls, faking smiles, and making dull conversation. So when he stumbles upon a house maid with defiance in her striking blue eyes and a dagger hidden in her skirts…well, color him intrigued.

Raised with a rather…peculiar upbringing, Lady Victoria Daring is full of secrets and surprises. As part of His Majesty’s personal homeland spy network and as a master of disguises, Vic is charged with infiltrating high society to uncover the enemies hiding in plain sight.

But Richard is the first man to see through her disguises–and infiltrate deep into her heart. Too bad his family is at the top of her list of suspects…

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | Kobo

 

About the Author

Lynn Winchester is the pseudonym of a hardworking California-born conservative, now living in the wilds of Northeast Pennsylvania. Lynn has been writing fiction since the 5th grade, and enjoys creating worlds, characters, and stories for her readers.

When Lynn isn’t writing she is running a successful editing business, reading whatever she can get her hands on, raising her four children, making sure her husband is happy, and binge-watching shows on Netflix.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | BookBub

Coffee and Ink’s Review

 

I adored this novel. I don’t read as much in the genre as I used to, but A Lady Never Tells is just how I love historical romance. An unconventional heroine— and she’s not struggling to run her own estates/saving her reputation, etc (and I’m not harping on the tropes, I’ve just read enough of them, lol), Victoria Daring is a member of a family of spies who can out-fence, out-run and out-think any man out there. Recruited by the Home Office in Regency London, she struggles to fit in with the ton even as she begins her investigations within their midst.

Lord Richard is bored with the same old thing, parties and gambling, horses and women, until an awkward encounter with a servant in a terrible wig. He cannot forget her blue eyes and when he encounters Lady Victoria, he has the answer to who she is but not really all of who she is. The more he finds out, the more she wants to run, but eventually she figures it all out with Richard’s help.

The characters are very well drawn, the situations with Regency society and the ton are well researched and believable and with a great plot and romance. I highly recommend this book.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, September 24
Review at WTF Are You Reading?

Wednesday, September 25
Feature at What Is That Book About

Friday, September 27
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Monday, September 30
Feature at The Lit Bitch

Wednesday, October 2
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Sunday, October 6
Review at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, October 9
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Thursday, October 10
Review at Coffee and Ink

Friday, October 11
Review at Spooky’s Maze Of Books

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away an eBook of A Lady Never Tells by Lynn Winchester! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on October 11th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

A Lady Never Tells

 

#TheSecretLifeofMrsLondon #RebeccaRosenberg #HFVBTBlogTours #Review

The Secret Life of Mrs. London
by Rebecca Rosenberg

Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Lake Union Publishing
eBook & Paperback; 348 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

 

 

San Francisco, 1915. As America teeters on the brink of world war, Charmian and her husband, famed novelist Jack London, wrestle with genius and desire, politics and marital competitiveness. Charmian longs to be viewed as an equal partner who put her own career on hold to support her husband, but Jack doesn’t see it that way…until Charmian is pulled from the audience during a magic show by escape artist Harry Houdini, a man enmeshed in his own complicated marriage. Suddenly, charmed by the attention Houdini pays her and entranced by his sexual magnetism, Charmian’s eyes open to a world of possibilities that could be her escape.

As Charmian grapples with her urge to explore the forbidden, Jack’s increasingly reckless behavior threatens her dedication. Now torn between two of history’s most mysterious and charismatic figures, she must find the courage to forge her own path, even as she fears the loss of everything she holds dear.

Coffee and Ink’s Review

This novel details the life and times of Jack London’s wife Charmian, who struggles under the burden of taking care of (i.e. getting him to write) her famous husband and in the shadow of his big personality. His many nicknames for her “Mate-Woman” and “Lady-Boy” seem meant to keep her at a distance, but she knows him so well, he barely notices she is not another limb of his, some accessory hand and brain. “You’re my dictionary.”

Charmian is a woman of depth, heart, and intellect, matching his appetite for adventure in a time when women of the 19th and early 20th century rarely left the home. Charmian is one of the rare ones but she is also caught in the siren call of hearth and home with Jack. I must confess, though, it was her relationship with the Houdini’s that interested me the most.

Who was Jack London’s muse, wife/lover, and Girl Friday? Rebecca Rosenberg looks deeply into the question and gives the reader a more than satisfying answer. Her prose is vivid and immerses the reader in Charmian’s experience. I highly recommend this book J!

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Praise for The Secret Life of Mrs. London

“An impressively original and exceptionally well-crafted novel by an author who is a master of character- and narrative-driven storytelling, Rebecca Rosenberg’s The Secret Life of Mrs. London is an inherently riveting and thoroughly reader-engaging story from beginning to end and feature[es] many an unexpected plot twist and turn.” —Midwest Book Review

“Interesting, and based on the actual lives of the participants…Learning more about Jack London was enjoyable, as well as seeing early feminist examples.” —Historical Novel Society

“…Rosenberg paints an immensely intriguing portrait of a marriage and tells it in an accomplished lyrical prose that captures each moment with poetic intensity.” —Prairies Book Review

“The Secret Life of Mrs. London is a riveting behind-the-scenes look at the marriage of Jack and Charmian London, both fascinating and complicated characters with rich inner lives that Rosenberg conveys in crisp yet poetic prose. This contemporary historical fiction raises questions that are still relevant today about what makes a good marriage, and whether creativity and stability are incompatible. A rich, resonant, deeply satisfying novel sure to delight and leave readers thinking long after they put it down.” —Malena Watrous, author of If You Follow Me and Sparked!, and director of the Stanford Continuing Studies Program in Novel Writing

“The Secret Life of Mrs. London is a heart-wrenching portrait of a marriage between two people who utterly depend on one another, but ultimately aren’t enough for each other. With skillful precision of language, Rosenberg weaves a narrative that defines the complexities of love, passion, and art. This is a perceptive, deeply moving novel by a great new talent about a couple who has gone unnoticed in historical fiction until now. Anyone who has ever loved another person will want to read this book.” —Victoria Kelly, author of Mrs. Houdini: A Novel

“One of Houdini’s best kept secrets was his affair with Charmian London in 1918. Now Rebecca Rosenberg tells the story using an elegant blend of fact and fiction, creating a Houdini book like no other. The Secret Life of Mrs. London is a true peek behind the curtain and a page-turner.” —John Cox, Wild about Harry

About the Author

Rebecca Rosenberg receiving the IPPY Gold Medal

A California native, Rebecca Rosenberg lives on a lavender farm with her family in Sonoma, the Valley of the Moon, where Jack London wrote from his Beauty Ranch. Rebecca is a long-time student of Jack London’s works and an avid fan of his daring wife, Charmian London. The Secret Life of Mrs. London is her debut novel.

Rebecca and her husband, Gary, own the largest lavender product company in America, selling to 4000 resorts, spas and gift stores. The Rosenbergs believe in giving back to the Sonoma Community, supporting many causes through financial donations and board positions, including Worth Our Weight, an educational culinary program for at-risk children, YWCA shelter for abused women, Luther Burbank Performing Arts Center to provide performances for children, Sonoma Food Bank, Sonoma Boys and Girls Club, and the Valley of the Moon Children’s Home.

For more information, please visit Rebecca’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook and Goodreads. Visit the Facebook page for The Secret Life of Mrs. London.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 2
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Tuesday, September 3
Review at Melissa Reads

Wednesday, September 4
Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

Thursday, September 5
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Sunday, September 8
Review at My Reading Chronicles
Review at Oh the Books She Will Read

Tuesday, September 10
Review at Diana_bibliophile

Thursday, September 12
Excerpt at I’m All About Books

Friday, September 13
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Tuesday, September 17
Review at Hooked on Books

Wednesday, September 18
Review at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Friday, September 20
Review at Orange County Readers

Monday, September 23
Review at Jathan & Heather

Wednesday, September 25
Review at Red Headed Book Lady

Thursday, September 26
Review, Q&A, & Excerpt at Nursebookie

Friday, September 27
Review at Macsbooks

Monday, September 30
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, October 2
Review at gatticus_finch

Friday, October 4
Review at Coffee and Ink
Interview at Jathan & Heather

Saturday, October 5
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, October 7
Review at rebecca.is.reading

Wednesday, October 9
Review at This Biblio Life

Thursday, October 10
Review at Peaceful Pastime

Friday, October 11
Review at Hopewell’s Public Library of Life

Saturday, October 12
Review at WTF Are You Reading?

Monday, October 14
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away 3 signed paperbacks + swag and 7 eBooks! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on October 14th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Mrs. London

 

#TheQueenofWarriors #ZenobiaNeil #HFVBTBlogTours

The Queen of Warriors
by Zenobia Neil

Publication Date: September 19, 2019
Hypatia Books
eBook & Paperback; 363 Pages

Series: Alexandra of Sparta, Book One
Genre: Historical Fantasy

 

 

Alexandra of Sparta vowed her sword and her heart to the goddess Artemis. And the goddess blessed her. But no warrior lives at peace, and soon, Alexandra loses her title, her troops, and all she holds dear, including the man who holds her heart.

Cursed by a Babylonian witch, she is forced to return to a city she once conquered to make amends, but is captured by the powerful Persian rebel, Artaxerxes. As his prisoner, she awaits judgment for her crimes. But Artaxerxes is not what he seems. With death approaching, Alexandra must face her violent past and discover the truth of her captor’s identity before it’s too late.

Available on Amazon

Excerpt from The Queen of Warriors

Late one night, Alexandra and Caiaphas sat alone drinking. Some of her Spartan commanders lay on their own couches, playing their favorite game “What’s Worse?” and recounting past battles. Most of her other officers had retired for the night.

            Mithra entered the room. She bowed before approaching Alexandra and addressed Caiaphas.

            “Is my queen’s general satisfied with the boys I have given him, or would he like something different?”

            Caiaphas grinned. “No, the boys you have provided have all been to my liking. You have a rare gift for divining what a man wants.”

            “Thank you, my queen’s general. And does my queen desire anything or anyone?”

            Having convinced herself any need she had was satiated when her arrow struck its mark or her sword sliced through flesh, Alexandra had grown used to spending her nights alone.

            “I have no need of anyone, Mithra.”

            The Babylonian girl’s finely shaped eyebrows rose as if in a challenge. Her lips parted as if she was about to speak, then she cast her eyes down, bowed, and left.

            “If that girl looked at me like that,” Caiaphas said, “I would bed her.”

            “Truly?” She had never known him to look at a woman.

            “Yes,” he said, watching Mithra walk away. “She is not what I normally like, but if she shone those lynx eyes on me the way she does on you, I would try my luck. Little Queen, did I not teach you to be fearless?”

            Alexandra had learned that a good leader knows how to listen to wise counsel. She thought of the Babylonian girl as she fell asleep that night. A concubine trained in the art of love, Mithra was not like Alexandra’s previous husbands who had owned her by marriage. She was just a girl. Perhaps the touch of another, of one who had no power over her, might be welcome after all.

            The next time Mithra came to the dining hall, Alexandra invited her to join her. Mithra glanced nervously at Silent Shadow and Shibar but reclined on Alexandra’s couch. When she offered Mithra wine from her cup, a silver drinking horn shaped like a lion, the girl’s eyes lit up. Caiaphas grinned from across the room.

            The games were done and Isfahan was hers. The Great King’s advisor, pleased with how well they had done in Isfahan, had sent orders for the Queen of Warriors to go to Rhagae, which, like Isfahan, had refused to pay tribute.

            Alexandra had already met with her generals before dinner, and there were no pressing issues which needed her attention. Mithra had arranged for some acrobats to perform, but Alexandra did not need to see them. When she had eaten enough, she stood.

            “Mithra, accompany me.”

 

About the Author

Zenobia Neil was named after an ancient warrior queen who fought against the Romans. She writes about the mythic past and Greek and Roman gods having too much fun. She lives with her husband, two children, and dog in Los Angeles. The Queen of Warriors is her third book.

Visit her at ZenobiaNeil.com. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 16
Review at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, September 17
Guest Post by Reading the Past

Wednesday, September 18
Excerpt at Bookish Rantings

Thursday, September 19
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Friday, September 20
Review at Passages to the Past

Monday, September 23
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Tuesday, September 24
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, September 25
Review at History from a Woman’s Perspective

Thursday, September 26
Review & Guest Post at A Bookish Affair

Monday, September 30
Review & Excerpt at Clarissa Reads it All

Tuesday, October 1
Feature at I’m All About Books
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Wednesday, October 2
Review at book frolic
Review at Al-Alhambra
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, October 3
Excerpt at Coffee and Ink

Friday, October 4
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away 2 eBooks and 2 paperbacks of Psyche Unbound and The Jinni’s Last Wish! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on October 4th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

The Queen of Warriors

Late one night, Alexandra and Caiaphas sat alone drinking. Some of her Spartan commanders lay on their own couches, playing their favorite game “What’s Worse?” and recounting past battles. Most of her other officers had retired for the night.
Mithra entered the room. She bowed before approaching Alexandra and addressed Caiaphas.
“Is my queen’s general satisfied with the boys I have given him, or would he like something different?”
Caiaphas grinned. “No, the boys you have provided have all been to my liking. You have a rare gift for divining what a man wants.”
“Thank you, my queen’s general. And does my queen desire anything or anyone?”
Having convinced herself any need she had was satiated when her arrow struck its mark or her sword sliced through flesh, Alexandra had grown used to spending her nights alone.
“I have no need of anyone, Mithra.”
The Babylonian girl’s finely shaped eyebrows rose as if in a challenge. Her lips parted as if she was about to speak, then she cast her eyes down, bowed, and left.
“If that girl looked at me like that,” Caiaphas said, “I would bed her.”
“Truly?” She had never known him to look at a woman.
“Yes,” he said, watching Mithra walk away. “She is not what I normally like, but if she shone those lynx eyes on me the way she does on you, I would try my luck. Little Queen, did I not teach you to be fearless?”
Alexandra had learned that a good leader knows how to listen to wise counsel. She thought of the Babylonian girl as she fell asleep that night. A concubine trained in the art of love, Mithra was not like Alexandra’s previous husbands who had owned her by marriage. She was just a girl. Perhaps the touch of another, of one who had no power over her, might be welcome after all.
The next time Mithra came to the dining hall, Alexandra invited her to join her. Mithra glanced nervously at Silent Shadow and Shibar but reclined on Alexandra’s couch. When she offered Mithra wine from her cup, a silver drinking horn shaped like a lion, the girl’s eyes lit up. Caiaphas grinned from across the room.
The games were done and Isfahan was hers. The Great King’s advisor, pleased with how well they had done in Isfahan, had sent orders for the Queen of Warriors to go to Rhagae, which, like Isfahan, had refused to pay tribute.
Alexandra had already met with her generals before dinner, and there were no pressing issues which needed her attention. Mithra had arranged for some acrobats to perform, but Alexandra did not need to see them. When she had eaten enough, she stood.
“Mithra, accompany me.”

#FarewellMyLife #CynthiaSallyHaggard #HFVBTBlogTours #Excerpt

Farewell My Life
by Cynthia Haggard

Publication Date: April 7, 2019
eBook & Paperback; 586 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

 

 

Angelina led a life which required her to fib. When Angelina, the black sheep of the Pagano family, meets the mysterious Mr. Russell, she has no idea that she has seen him before…in another country. And so begins Farewell My Life, a novel in three parts, which spins an operatic tale of dangerous love and loss.

The Lost Mother, the first part of this novel, slices back and forth between time and space, opening in the charming village of Georgetown, Washington D.C. while reflecting a family’s troubled past in the lovely village of Marostica in the Italian Veneto.

An Unsuitable Suitor, the second part of the novel, is a Cinderella-ish tale with not-so-charming princes who inhabit the edgy setting of 1920s Berlin.

Farewell My Life, the last part of the novel, set again in Berlin, Germany, during the dark 1930s as the Nazis gain power, takes comfortable lives, assumptions and civilizations and crumbles them into ash.

Amazon | IndieBound

Praise for Farewell My Life

“A unique, deftly scripted, and extraordinary novel by an author with a distinctive narrative storytelling style that will hold the readers dedicated attention from beginning to end, “Farewell My Life: Buona Notte Vita Mia” is an impressive and unreservedly recommended addition to both community and academic library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections. One of those rare novels that will linger in the mind and memory long after the book itself has been finished.”–Mid-West Book Review

“The author knows her characters very, very well; this shows in the consistent and very individual way they act. This is not a plot-driven story; it’s character-driven. In this book, the characters are the jam which holds everything together. The best example of this is Grace, the talented violinist, who, simply, jumps off the page. I loved her.”–Wishing Shelf

“This is not your typical mystery; it’s for fans of thrilling action and historically­-inspired events…Contra to the status quo of the genre, the men are the romantics – though in a deranged manner – and the women showcased are the core strength of the novel.”–BookLife Prize.

“The author…adeptly summons the era in all its manners and details with her descriptive prose…Her omniscient, third-person narrator effectively flits through the heads of various characters, offering momentary glimpses of their inner lives.”–Kirkus Reviews

“I loved the elaborate descriptions of all the places in this book. This is the kind of book that shows instead of just telling. The characters are very well-developed and interesting to read about. Angelina is a fascinating character, as is Grace. Along the duration of the book, Grace learns a lot about herself. I was amazed by her quiet yet vibrant personality, and her brilliant talent.”–Pavani Mathur (The Voracious Bibliophile)

Excerpt

Russell had no intention of acceding to von Kleist’s request. He couldn’t afford to alienate Wilson still further by engaging in risky, undercover activities whose outcome was unclear. But as Grace abandoned him yet again to that too-quiet mansion near Savignyplatz, Russell found himself reconsidering. Nearly a week had gone by, and Wilson still hadn’t said anything and likely never would. Count von Kleist must know Il Cazzo, so perhaps his little scheme would bring Russell closer to Grace. Not seeing his wife was the worst thing that could happen to Russell as it robbed him of the power of persuasion. If only he could talk to her, she would forgive him, as she had done so many times before. Also, he missed his children, more than he’d thought possible. Their constant chatter, the debris they left in their wake, were former annoyances he now longed for.

And so Russell found himself four days later on a Sunday afternoon in late September, in a chauffeur-driven limousine, escorted by von Kleist to a villa on the outskirts of Berlin, the home of his dear friend code-named Taube, or Dove, who had Czech relatives. Taube must be the code-name for a woman. As they drove along, Russell tried to picture Frau or Fraülein Taube.

“How old is she?” he asked von Kleist.

“She?” Kleist smiled faintly. “She is a lady in her fifties.”

Russell resumed his ruminations. Frau Taube was probably a matronly lady, her figure thickened by child-bearing and too many marzipan confections, sweet breads, and Kaffee mit Sahne. He tried out one or two Czech phrases in his head:

Good afternoon. Dobré odpoledne.

I am pleased to meet you. Rád tě poznávám.

Lovely weather for the time of year. Jsme s krásné počasí na ročním období.

He glanced out the window. It was a glorious afternoon, the trees changing color, their leaves glowing in the sunlight. As they turned south near Pichelsdorf to edge around the western side of Lake Wannsee, through Gatow and Hohengatow, multi-colored leaves drifted lazily down as cooling breezes came off the lake. Finally they came to Kladow, a pretty village with a church. Nearby, up a winding drive stood a pale green stucco villa, pavilion-like, very much the summer house, a Sanssouci in miniature. They exited the car and entered the foyer, which was palatial and ornate.

A stocky man with iron-gray hair turned his head, and Russell found himself looking into a pair of icy blue eyes.

He recoiled. What was he doing in the home of his arch-rival?

Carl von Lietzow gave him a feral smile. “At last, the industrious Herr Russell has spared enough time from his busy schedule to come to my door.”

Of course he’d been expecting him. Russell glared at von Kleist who smiled back. He had fallen into a neat trap.

“Let me introduce my friends and comrades-in-arms: General von Witzleben, and Obersleutnant Oster.”

Merda. It never occurred to him Il Cazzo could be involved in the Oster conspiracy.

“I gather that you have gone to a great deal of trouble to meet them,” continued von Lietzow. “But I know them all personally. You had only to ask, my dear fellow.”

Russell glared into their smiles.

“What would you like?” von Lietzow snapped his fingers, and a flunky scurried forward.

“Nothing,” muttered Russell.

“Oh come now, my good fellow,” remarked von Lietzow, smiling. “You need a little something to relax the nerves. We are not the Borgias, you know.”

Russell stiffened. How dare Il Cazzo cast slurs upon his Italian heritage! How dare he suggest—Russell’s cheeks prickled as his face drained of color. What was he suggesting? Surely he didn’t know about Grace’s mother—

“You seem upset,” remarked von Lietzow. “I have just the remedy. How about a little Armagnac from Condom? I am told it is one of the best.”

Russell glared again. When the brandy arrived, he pursed his lips to take the smallest of sips. Il Cazzo was right, it was excellent. But how had he managed to acquire such a luxury?

“Why a cleaning lady?” asked Oster, an annoying grin plastered across his face.

Russell remained silent, his cheeks warming.

“You do realize there are laws in this country against men dressing as women?” Il Cazzo gave him a wolfish smirk.

Russell drew himself up. “I have diplomatic immunity. My war record is superlative. I received the Congressional Medal of Honor—”

“You are not at the American Embassy,” remarked Oster, smiling.

“If we reported this to the Gestapo…” said Il Cazzo.

Russell froze.

Il Cazzo laughed in his face. “Come! Let us sit down so that we can chat more comfortably.” Between them, they herded Russell to a sofa that was penned in by a coffee table. Il Cazzo sat down next to him, putting his boots upon the white marble table-top.

“I know you do not believe me, Herr Russell, but I am a gentleman. As a proud Prussian aristocrat, I do not allow my guests to be—how do you put it? Ah yes, to be roughed up.”

The others chuckled.

“But we wish to warn you,” said von Witzleben. “Don’t ever do that again.”

“We cannot be responsible for the consequences,” said Oster.

“Believe me, you do not want to make the acquaintance of the Gestapo,” remarked Il Cazzo, smiling.

Russell’s hands shook as he contemplated the white marble table. It was a handsome piece veined with gray. The Geheime Staatspolizei or the German Secret State Police was known for its brutality. It had the authority to investigate treason, espionage, sabotage and attacks against the Nazi Party. Of course these conspirators were not going to report him to the Gestapo, they must live in fear of it every day themselves. They had just been playing with him, and he hadn’t understood because he was worn down with exhaustion. He should never have come here—but where was Grace? Peter?

Von Kleist sat on his other side. “I have a commission for you, if you are interested.”

Russell rose to his feet. “I am not interested in your games. I wish to speak to my wife and son.”

“All in good time.” Il Cazzo bared his teeth into a smile. “First, we would like your assistance.”

“It is a pleasant task, I assure you,” remarked Kleist. “It concerns a lady.”

Russell’s cheeks flamed. He was utterly in their power, and that lava-like fury he curbed with an iron bit so that it only emerged during those dark hours when his head touched the pillow and he could not sleep, that fury threatened to erupt as he realized they would not stop in their efforts to humiliate him.

“Her name is Mabel Phelps,” said Oster.

Russell winced. How did they know about her? Did they know about that indiscreet meeting in his office?

“We want to know if she is a double-agent,” said von Witzleben.

Russell picked up his goblet and took a long swallow of his brandy. “Why me?”

“Well,” drawled Il Cazzo, “your English is good—”

“And we have reason to believe that she…fancies you,” remarked Oster.

Russell bit his lip. Dio Cane. Someone must have given them a thorough report.

“A little harmless flirtation, eh?” Il Cazzo zigzagged his eyebrows as he raised his brandy glass.

“But—”

“Why not invite her out for coffee, you know, that sort of thing?” remarked Oster, with a smile that would have been charming if the fellow were not so irritating.

“What happens if I refuse?”

“I think you know the answer to that,” replied General von Witzleben.

About the Author

Cynthia graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University, Cambridge MA, in June 2015.

Her first novel, Thwarted Queen, a frustrating tale (hence the title) of Lady Cecylee Neville (1415-1495) who was nearly crowned Queen of England, was shortlisted for many awards, including the 2012 Eric Hoffer New Horizon Award for debut authors. To date, sales have surpassed 38,000 copies.

Her forthcoming novel, Farewell My Life, is a Cinderella-ish tale with not-so-charming princes who inhabit the edgy setting of 1920s Berlin.

When she’s not annoying everyone by insisting her fictional characters are more real than they are, Cynthia likes to go for long walks, knit something glamorous, cook in her wonderful kitchen, and play the piano. You can visit her at www.spunstories.com. You can also find Cynthia on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 9
Interview at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, September 10
Feature at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Thursday, September 12
Excerpt at A Darn Good Read

Friday, September 13
Excerpt at Maiden of the Pages

Monday, September 16
Review at girl-who-reads

Tuesday, September 17
Feature at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Wednesday, September 18
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Thursday, September 19
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Saturday, September 21
Excerpt at Broken Teepee

Monday, September 23
Feature at The Book Junkie Reads

Tuesday, September 24
Review at Unabridged Chick

Friday, September 27
Excerpt at Coffee and Ink

Sunday, September 29
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, September 30
Interview at Unabridged Chick

Saturday, October 5
Review at Passages to the Past

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

Wednesday, October 9
Excerpt at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away two eBooks of FAREWELL MY LIFE! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on October 9th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Farewell My Life

#WandersFar #DavidFitz-Gerald #HFVBT #Review

Wanders Far
by David Fitz-Gerald

Publication Date: May 11, 2019
Outskirts Press
eBook, Paperback, AudioBook; 197 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

 

 

Wanders Far lived in dangerous times and was faced with one difficult challenge after another. He was a skinny, quiet boy who was raised on the banks of a tributary of New York State’s Mohawk River, hundreds of years before colonists arrived. One lifetime was not enough for Wanders Far’s old soul.

From a very young age, his wanderlust compelled him down one path after another. No village could contain him.

He was happy living a simple life in the physical world during challenging times. The spirit world had other plans.

A wise, enigmatic shaman mentored Wanders Far and helped him cultivate the supernatural visions that haunted him. His guide could only help him so far.

He set out to become a runner, carrying important messages across the lands of his people and their enemies. He ended up fulfilling a much greater destiny than he ever imagined.

“This engrossing, well-written novel tells the story of a pivotal moment in Iroquois history through a well-traveled protagonist.” – Kirkus Reviews

Watch the Book Trailer HERE

About the Author

After a chaotic day as a business person, Dave enjoys getting lost in the settings he imagines and spending time with the characters he creates. Writing historical fiction is like making paintings of the past. He loves to weave fact and fiction together, stirring in action, adventure, romance, and a heavy dose of the supernatural with the hope of transporting the reader to another time and place. He is an Adirondack 46-er, which means he has hiked all of the highest peaks in New York State, so it should not be surprising when Dave attempts to glorify hikers as swashbuckling superheroes in his writing.

Wanders Far—An Unlikely Hero’s Journey is the first in a series of books in the Adirondack Spirit Series.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | BookBub | Instagram

Coffee and Ink’s Review

A gifted young boy of a New England tribe spends an idyllic childhood by the deep rivers, crystal lakes and virgin forests of the land that will become North America. He knows things, things other members of his family and tribe do not. He finds things, or they find him, aiding him on his journey. His connection to nature is profound. But this knowledge shows him the past and the future of the land they inhabit, and he knows that a change is coming and the people must prepare.
Well written, well researched, a very enjoyable read and quite different from my usual reading fare. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 2
Review at Historical Fiction Reviews

Thursday, September 5
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Monday, September 9
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Tuesday, September 10
Interview at Jathan & Heather

Monday, September 16
Review & Interview at Jorie Loves A Story

Friday, September 20
Feature at Coffee and Ink

Monday, September 23
Review at Nursebookie

Wednesday, September 25
Review & Excerpt at Just Another Reader

Friday, September 27
Review at Red Headed Book Lady

Monday, September 30
Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

Friday, October 4
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Wednesday, October 9
Excerpt at Maiden of the Pages

Monday, October 14
Guest Post at Passages to the Past

Thursday, October 17
Review at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Monday, October 21
Review at Jessica Belmont
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Saturday, October 26
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, October 28
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of Wanders Far! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on October 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Wanders Far

 

#SarahBennettMysteries #SarahBennett #HFVBTBlogTours #Review

The Spirit of Grace
by Terry Lynn Thomas

Publication Date: November 26, 2017
HQ Digital

Series: Sarah Bennett Mysteries, Book One
Genre: Historical Mystery

Sarah Bennett doesn’t remember the night her mother tumbled down the stairs at Bennett House, despite allegedly witnessing the fatal fall. There was talk of foul play, dark whispers, and sidelong glances, all aimed at Sarah, prompting her family to send her to The Laurels, an exclusive asylum in San Francisco, under a cloud of suspicion. Now, on the one-year anniversary of her mother’s murder, Sarah has been summoned home. Convinced of her innocence, she returns to Bennett House, hoping to put the broken pieces of her life back together. But when another murder occurs shortly after her arrival, Sarah once again finds herself a suspect, as she is drawn into a web of suspicion and lies. In order to clear her name, Sarah must remember what happened the fateful night her mother died. But as she works to regain her memory, the real murderer watches, ready to kill again to protect a dark family secret.

Amazon

Coffee and Ink’s Review of The Spirit of Grace

Sarah Bennett flees the asylum she’s been committed to, on the suspicion she killed her mother, into a world embroiled in the second world war. Tension is in the air as the people of San Francisco await an invasion from Japan. Many of the folks who knew her in Bennett Cove don’t believe she did it, but who did?

This is an earlier work by the author. I really enjoyed The Silent Woman far more as it is simply better written. However, the plot to the Spirit of Grace and getting to who-dunnit was enjoyable. Although it is apparently meant to be dark, in my opinion the writing felt almost light enough to be a cozy.

The House of Secrets
by Terry Lynn Thomas

Publication Date: April 11, 2019
HQ Digital

Series: Sarah Bennett Mysteries, Book Two
Genre: Historical Mystery

Sarah Bennett has two secrets: she sees ghosts, and she is in love with a spy.

When Sarah takes a job with occult expert Dr Matthew Geisler, he promises to help her understand the sorrowful spirit that seems to have attached itself to her.

As Sarah struggles to cope with the ghostly presence, she runs into Zeke, the man who left her six months earlier and is recovering from injuries suffered in an alleged accident. But Zeke has secrets of his own, and when an attempt is made on Geisler’s life, Sarah finds herself caught in a struggle between the living and the dead.

Unsure who she can trust, Sarah must solve the mystery of the soul determined to haunt her, and save Dr. Geisler and herself from an unknown threat.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

The Drowned Woman
by Terry Lynn Thomas

Publication Date: April 16, 2019
HQ Digital

Series: Sarah Bennett Mysteries, Book Three
Genre: Historical Mystery

Family secrets won’t always stay buried…

December 1937.

When Zeke’s sister-in-law Rachel Caen was found dead on Christmas Eve, her family assumed that she had taken her own life.

Now five years later, one of the emeralds that Rachel was wearing at the time of her death is discovered at a stonecutter’s house in Portland, Oregon.

With his brother Simon under suspicion for Rachel’s murder and stealing the emeralds, Zeke and detective Sarah are under pressure to clear his name.

But with troubles of their own and in need of a place to hide, the duo return to Zeke’s hometown where a spiritual force helps Sarah find another emerald…

All the fingers are pointing to Zeke’s family; how far will they go to protect their secrets? And will Sarah uncover the killer before it’s too late?

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

About the Author

TERRY LYNN THOMAS grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, which explains her love of foggy beaches and Gothic mysteries. When her husband promised to buy Terry a horse and the time to write if she moved to Mississippi with him, she jumped at the chance. Although she had written several novels and screenplays prior to 2006, after she relocated to the South she set out to write in earnest and has never looked back.

Terry Lynn writes the Sarah Bennett Mysteries, set on the California coast during the 1940s, which feature a misunderstood medium in love with a spy. The Drowned Woman is a recipient of the IndieBRAG Medallion. She also writes the Cat Carlisle Mysteries, set in Britain during World War II. The first book in this series, The Silent Woman, came out in April 2018 and has since become a USA TODAY bestseller. The Family Secret is slated for release in March 2019. When she’s not writing, you can find Terry Lynn riding her horse, walking in the woods with her dogs, or visiting old cemeteries in search of story ideas.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 9
Guest Post at What Is That Book About

Tuesday, September 10
Excerpt at Bookish Rantings

Thursday, September 12
Review at Just One More Chapter (Book #1)

Friday, September 13
Review at Coffee and Ink (Book #1)

Monday, September 16
Feature at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Tuesday, September 17
Review at WTF Are You Reading? (all three)

Thursday, September 19
Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

Friday, September 20
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books (Book #1)

Monday, September 23
Review at History from a Woman’s Perspective (Book #1)

Tuesday, September 24
Feature at Gwendalyn’s Books (Book #2)

Wednesday, September 25
Review at Passages to the Past (Book #1)

Thursday, September 26
Feature at I’m All About Books

Monday, September 30
Review at History from a Woman’s Perspective (Book #2)

Wednesday, October 2
Excerpt at Gwendalyn’s Books (Book #3)

Thursday, October 3
Review at Macsbooks (Books #1 &# 2)

Friday, October 4
Review at 100 Pages a Day (Book #1)

Sunday, October 6
Review at A Darn Good Read (all three)
Review at Spooky’s Maze Of Books (Books #1 & #2)

Monday, October 7
Review at History from a Woman’s Perspective (Book #3)

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away one eBook of each title in the Sarah Bennett Mysteries series! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on October 7th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Sarah Bennett
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