#HalfNotesfromBerlin #BVGlants #HFVBT

Half Notes From Berlin by B.V. Glants

Publication Date: October 4, 2022
Anchor Media

Genre: Historical Fiction

Berlin, 1933.

Hans believes he and his family are safe from persecution.

Then, he discovers his family’s dirty secret: his maternal grandparents were Jews who converted to Christianity.

Driven by the desire to understand who he is and whether his mother’s blood is tainted, Hans befriends Rebecca, the only Jewish girl he knows. Perhaps if Jewish blood isn’t evil, his mother will be ok.

To be a Jew in Hitler’s Germany is dangerous.

But to fall in love with one is unthinkable.

Desperate to keep both his family’s true heritage and his love for Rebecca a secret, Hans attempts to navigate this terrifying new world. He’s disconsolate when his Jewish mother is kicked out of the Berlin Conservatory. He’s disgusted by his Aryan father’s aims to acquire Jewish business on the cheap.

Worst, he must watch helplessly as his classmates target Rebecca with increasing violence and malice.

But when his school announces it will expel Jewish students, Hans is determined to fight for Rebecca — and the lives and souls of his family.

“…[a] beautifully written historical debut explores themes of identity and resistance…their gripping stories will stick with readers long after the last page.” –BookLife Reviews – Editors Choice

“A mesmerizing novel, moving and intelligent.”–Kirkus Reviews

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

About the Author

B.V. Glants was born in Soviet Ukraine and immigrated with his family to suburban New Jersey when he was ten years old. Raised on family stories ranging from his grandparents’ fight for survival in WW2 to his parents’ confrontations with Soviet antisemitism, he now lives in Silicon Valley with his wife and daughter.

B.V. Glants is a lay leader at a Jewish day school, a Wexner Heritage Program member, and a technology entrepreneur, most recently having cofounded Tonic Health (sold to R1, NASDAQ:RCM) and Turnkey Labs. That hasn’t stopped him from earning an MFA at California College of the Arts and attending writers’ conferences at Squaw and Sewanee. He writes historical fiction from a Jewish perspective, focusing on how major historical events challenge and transform the lives of everyday families. Half Notes from Berlin is his first published novel.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 28
Feature at Pages and Paws

Thursday, December 1
Review at Dive Into a Good Book
Feature at Books, Ramblings, and Tea

Friday, December 2
Feature at Coffee and Ink

Saturday, December 3
Review at Bookworlder

Monday, December 12
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Thursday, December 15
Review at Impressions in Ink

Monday, December 19
Feature at Tammy Reads
Review at Novels Alive

Wednesday, December 21
Excerpt at CelticLady’s Reviews

Friday, December 23
Review at Carole’s Ramblings

Tuesday, December 27
Review at Cover Lover Book Review

Wednesday, December 28
Review at Girl Who Reads

Friday, December 30
Excerpt at Passages to the Past

Giveaway

Enter to win a paperback copy of Half Notes from Berlin by B.V. Glants! We have 10 copies up for grabs!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on December 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Half Notes From Berlin

#The Great Tree-A Christmas Fable by Able Barrett

Synopsis (from Amazon):

Andrew and his older brother Nicholas were separated as children.

Nicholas had been snatched away by the Prince of Darkness, and Andrew had all but given up hope, but now their mother is ill, and he’s determined to reunite them before she passes – despite her objections.

With his dog Jenny by his side, Andrew sets out on an epic and perilous crusade well beyond his wildest imagination, facing evil protectors, giant wolves, dark magic, Sorcerers, Goblins, and even the Prince of Darkness himself.

Then there’s The Great Tree.

It’s enormous, with a presence that’s nearly impossible to describe…

And it’s clearly the heart of the kingdom of the wicked Sorcerer.

This is the setting for the adventure story that changed Christmas forever!

Young people and adults of all ages will enjoy this thrilling fable in the same way we’ve enjoyed other great Christmas stories of the past.

Jenny the dog is based on a very real Jenny, the author’s vision of a true warrior – who has her own inspiring story that he’s happy to share with anyone who asks.

All proceeds from the sale of The Great Tree go to The Last Road Dog Animal Sanctuary to rescue unadoptable dogs, cats, and horses, an approved 501 (c)(3) Animal Public Welfare Charity that greatly appreciates the ongoing support of readers like you!

Excerpt:

Andrew & The Treasured Spirit of the Northland

I enter the darkness that has been cultured for thousands of years, the legends of life gone by, ringing within its corridors with a deafening silence. I feel the presence of both good and evil, which seem to loosely pull at me. Which direction to take? A light can only slightly penetrate the thickness of the darkness. Faces begin to appear as ghost-like images; it’s a warning, which I do not heed.

The images become clearer. They are the faces of beautiful women, goddesses perhaps; they draw my very being deeper into the darkness, serenaded by their gentle voices lifting away my fear of the unknown. I am floating now, effortlessly on a bed of soft blowing air. I am totally consumed. Have I fallen under a spell? I call out for help.

Suddenly there is a flash of brilliant light and the real faces of the women are revealed to me. They are the true evil ones, the guardians of the darkness, the Temptress Sirens of the Dark Lords. They have surrounded me. I see a faint light in the distance. I begin to run towards the light, I feel Temptress Sirens clawing at me as I try to go towards the light in hopes of a safe passage. I hear a voice ever so softly… “Don’t go to the light…….Don’t go to the light…….It will deceive you. Use your faith and follow your heart.”  

I stop but I can feel the Temptress Sirens stalking me. I move through the complete darkness with my eyes closed now. There then appears a golden mist that forms a stairway leading upward through the darkness. Without hesitation, I follow the stairway climbing slowly out of the darkness. I can still feel the draw of the Temptress Sirens at my back growing stronger. I become weary as I continue to climb. The strength of the Temptress Sirens is beginning to hold me back. I fear I cannot make it to the top. A silhouetted hand appears from out of the darkness above me. I do not know whether to take it. I have no choice. I grab the hand and a gentle pull brings me away from the grasp of the Temptress Sirens. I hear their shrieks of madness slowly fade away as I am pulled forward.

A gentle light appears and an Angel appears before me. She has the youthful beauty of a thousand ages. I hear her gentle voice speaking to me yet her lips do not move. Her name is Afriel. She is a being of light charged with safeguarding young life. She is to protect that which is youthful and tenderly growing within each of us, no matter how old we actually are. Afriel grants youth, vigor, and vitality. She places her hand on my forehead and closes her eyes as she nods her head and says, “go forward and save your brother, Nicholas.”

Author Bio:

Able Barrett is a former Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney and U.S. Department of Justice Organized Crime Strike Force Prosecutor who shamelessly admits he loves animals more than most people, and he’s the manager of The Last Road Dog Animal Sanctuary.

Author Links:

Website:  www.thelastroaddog.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TLRDSANCTUARY

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/blkdogr4/

Author Marketing Experts tags for social media:

Twitter: @Bookgal

Instagram: @therealbookgal

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BGK2ZNJF

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60553311-the-great-tree

#Review#PhysiciansDaughter#MarthaConway#HFVBT

THE PHYSICIAN’S DAUGHTER
BY MARTHA CONWAY

Publication Date: September 1, 2022
Zaffre

Genre: Historical Fiction

From the author of The Underground River comes this compelling new novel of female perseverance. Set in the aftermath of the Civil War, The Physician’s Daughter is the story of two people trying to make their way in a world that is struggling to escape its past.

It is 1865, the American Civil War has just ended, and 18-year old Vita Tenney is determined to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a country doctor like her father. But when her father tells her she must get married instead, Vita explores every means of escape – and finds one in the person of war veteran Jacob Culhane.

Damaged by what he’s seen in battle and with all his family gone, Jacob is seeking investors for a fledgling business. Then he meets Vita – and together they hatch a plan that should satisfy both their desires. Months later, Vita seemingly has everything she ever wanted. But alone in a big city and haunted by the mistakes of her past, she wonders if the life she always thought she wanted was too good to be true. When love starts to compete with ambition, what will come out on top?

WATERSTONES | AMAZON | INDIEBOUND | BAM

Praise

“In the proud tradition of female characters from Jo March to Meredith Grey, Vita Tenney takes her place as a determined woman unwilling to let society or her family control her destiny. I was captivated by The Physician’s Daughter. The novel stays with you.”
–Tony Phelan, executive producer of Grey’s Anatomy and Council of Dads

“Vividly realised, and impeccably researched, with a determined female lead”
–Kayte Nunn, author ofThe Botanist’s Daughter

“A riveting read set during the American civil war about a pioneering young woman dead-set on becoming a doctor.”
–Inga Vesper, author of The Long, Long Afternoon

About the Author

Martha Conway is the author of several novels including The Underground River, which was a New York Times Book Editor’s Choice (titled The Floating Theatre in the U.K. and Europe). Her novel Thieving Forest won the North American Book Award for Best Historical Fiction.

Martha’s short fiction has appeared in the Iowa ReviewMississippi ReviewThe QuarterlyCarolina Quarterly, and other publications. She has reviewed fiction for the San Francisco Chronicle and the Iowa Review, and is a recipient of a California Arts Council fellowship in Creative Writing. In addition to writing, Martha is an instructor of creative writing at Stanford University’s Continuing Studies Program. She received her BA from Vassar College in History and English, and her MA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. Born and raised in Ohio, she now lives in San Francisco with her family, where the fog reminds her of lake-effect cloud cover in Cleveland.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | BOOKBUB | GOODREADS

REVIEW BY COFFEE & INK

A truly excellent story—well written and with the perfect amount of historical detail. The setting of how people adjusted to the war and afterwards is very interesting to me.

I loved Vita and her struggles to educate herself and perhaps gain her father’s approval. Vita learns so much through the course of the novel and her persistence pays off, though not without sacrifices and trauma. Jacob, too, has more than his share of struggle. The author did a wonderful job weaving the arc of these two characters together—how they meet, come to terms, and lose each other again. Their experiences and personalities drive the plot forward. It’s almost as if Vita has to go through a growing up period in order to appreciate Jacob, when she can truly help him. And he can do the same for her.

This is a remarkable story. I could gush on and on, but I don’t want to spoil it. Highly recommended for lovers of history and a damn good story.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 26
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Tuesday, September 27
Review at Amy’s Booket List

Wednesday, September 28
Review at Bookworlder

Friday, September 30
Review at Reading the Past

Monday, October 3
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks

Tuesday, October 4
Review at Novels Alive
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, October 5
Review at The Page Ladies

Friday, October 7
Review at Cover Lover Book Reviews

Sunday, October 9
Review at Older & Smarter

Monday, October 10
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Tuesday, October 11
Review at History from a Woman’s Perspective

Friday, October 14
Review at Coffee and Ink
Excerpt at A Darn Good Read
Review at Reading Is My SuperPower

#TheOtherSideofCertain #AmyWilloughbyBurle #HFVBT

The Other Side of Certain by Amy Willoughby-Burle

Publication Date: September 21, 2022
Fireship Press

Series: Love for Certain, Book 1
Genre: Historical Fiction

For the love of love…and books

Mattie Mobley planned to be a teacher, but when times grew tough during America’s Great Depression, and there were no teaching positions in her hometown of Asheville, NC, Mattie found work starting a school and helping the Pack Horse Librarians just over the mountains in the rural town of Certain, Kentucky. She’s not certain at all that this is a good situation, but she’s determined, and honestly, a little desperate. Of all the things that Mattie does have—money, comforts, a good name, she doesn’t have what matters most—friends, love, and a purpose of her own.

Daniel, “The Grizzly Bear,” Barrett had a lovely life for a little while. Overcoming his family’s bad name and worse reputation, he made a life for himself in Certain. He was married with children and a figure of respect in his church, but desperate times called for desperate measures and a terrible tragedy was the result. Now exiled with his children along the wily run of the Hell for Certain Creek, Daniel has gotten used to being the town pariah again. It’s in his blood after all. Right? Maybe not, but he’ll need the powerful influence of love not only to change his own mind about himself but to convince his estranged extended family and the whole town as well.

Can one librarian with a saddlebag full of books make people see the difference between fact and fiction? Mattie loves a good story, and this may be her best one yet. Fiction tells the best truths and the best truth of all is love.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Praise

“As a fan of southern fiction, I had high expectations for The Other Side of Certain, and Amy Willoubhy-Burle exceeded them all. She weaves an inspiring story of redemption and finding home in a rough-around-the-edges town that both intrigues and entertains from page one. Simply put, the book is lovely! With thought-provoking dialogue, characters you can’t help but cheer for, and poignant symbolism, Burle tackles the topic of hell on earth and in man-displaying God’s grace and mercy throughout. The ending will leave readers with a smile on their faces and hope in their hearts.” -Beth Pugh, award-winning author of The Valentine Proposal and The Santa Run

“Welcome to Certain, where mountain legends sway minds and secrets rule hearts. The Other Side of Certain is richly grounded in research, taking the reader on a sweeping journey. In the midst of the Great Depression, Mattie and Daniel discover the power of hope and the beauty of second chances.” -Rachel Scott McDaniel, award-winning author of The Mobster’s Daughter

“Amy Willoughby-Burle’s The Other Side of Certain is a heartwarming, enduring tale of how libraries in even the most remote, impoverished towns can change lives since books are ‘so much more than little black words on a white page.’ Reading opens up new worlds for those involved and learning to read helps them heal to love again. A smashed stained-glass window becomes a metaphor for broken things being restored in this small Kentucky locale where many things are uncertain. The author carefully reconnects the shattered, colorful pieces of her character’s journeys and situations into a beautiful and memorable design.” -Delores Topliff, author of Books Afloat, Christmas Tree Wars, and Wilderness Wife

About the Author

Amy Willoughby-Burle grew up in the small coastal town of Kure Beach, NC, and now lives in Asheville, NC with her husband and four children. She teaches creative writing and works as a freelance editor when not working on her own fiction. She is also the director of Wildacres Writers Workshop. She is the author of the novels The Lemonade Year and The Year of Thorns and Honey. Her award-winning short fiction has been published in numerous journals and in her collection, Out Across the Nowhere. Her fiction focuses on the importance of family and friends and centers on the themes of forgiveness, second chances, and finding beauty in the world around us. She likes to write about the wonder and mystery of everyday life.

Visit her online at www.amywilloughbyburle.com. You can also Amy on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, September 21
Review & Excerpt at Books, Cooks, Looks

Thursday, September 22
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Review at McCombs on Main

Friday, September 23
Review at A Baker’s Perspective

Monday, September 26
Review at Reading is My SuperPower

Wednesday, September 28
Excerpt at Heidi Reads
Review at Novels Alive

Thursday, September 29
Excerpt at Novels Alive
Review at Books Less Travelled

Friday, September 30
Review at Bookworlder
Review at View from the Birdhouse

Monday, October 3
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Tuesday, October 4
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, October 5
Review at Tammy Reads

Thursday, October 6
Review at Older & Smarter

Saturday, October 8
Excerpt at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, October 11
Excerpt at Coffee and Ink
Review at Robin Loves Reading

Wednesday, October 12
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Friday, October 14
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Giveaway

Enter to win this fun prize package including:

Tote Bag
Journal & Pens
$25 Amazon Gift Card
Paperback copy of The Other Side of Certain

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on October 14th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

The Other Side of Certain

#Review#UnlikelySpy#historicalsuspense#sophieschiller#HFVBT

THE UNLIKELY SPY
BY SOPHIE SCHILLER

Publication Date: September 2022

Casablanca meets Notorious in a Hitchcock-style thriller of espionage, romance, adventure, and intrigue.

1917. Emma Christensen is a young widow who returns to the Danish West Indies to reclaim the life and the villa she left behind. When she discovers her husband has disinherited her in favor of his young heir—an illegitimate son—she turns to the one thing she knows, gambling, and soon finds herself deeply in debt.

Emma is approached by Cornelius Smith, a representative of an American shipping line, who offers an alternative: infiltrate the suspicious Hamburg-American Line and spy on its nefarious leader, Julius Luckner, to gain valuable business intelligence for his firm.

It doesn’t take long for Emma to realize that both Smith and Luckner are not as they seem. Close to the Allies but even closer to the enemy, Emma bravely engages in missions that could blow her cover at any moment. But with the Panama Canal at stake, how far will she go to help the Allies?

A gripping and suspenseful World War I spy thriller from an accomplished thriller and historical adventure writer.

Pre-Order on Amazon

REVIEW FROM COFFEE AND INK:

The Unlikely Spy is a woman who, at first, is unsure what she wants. Emma is unhappy with her choices, whether they were made by her or made for her. Her financial situation is dire and grows worse as she tries to amend it. She needs a job but is stuck in a time when (white) women do not work.

But she has untapped potential beneath all the unhappiness and desperation. Her desperation puts in her a position where success will pay well, but failure could mean death. The espionage will save many lives but she must work closely with a thoroughly despicable antagonist and his cronies.

The level of detail when it comes to the export and import business, the fueling and feeding of ships, is just wonderful. It feels very authentic and adds to the suspense.

I loved the comparison to Casablanca meets Notorious, as the setting certainly has that feeling.

A remarkable story, one I highly recommend.

About the Author

Sophie Schiller is an author of historical fiction and spy thrillers. She loves stories that carry the reader back in time to exotic and far-flung locations. Kirkus Reviews has called her “an accomplished thriller and historical adventure writer.” Publishers Weekly called her novel, ISLAND ON FIRE, “a memorable romantic thriller”, her novel RACE TO TIBET, “a thrilling yarn,” and her TRANSFER DAY, “a page-turner with emotional resonance.” Kirkus Reviews called her latest novel, THE LOST DIARY OF ALEXANDER HAMILTON, “an engaging coming-of-age story of heartbreak, bravery, honor, and triumph.” Her latest novel is THE UNLIKELY SPY, a historical spy thriller set during WWI. She graduated from American University, Washington, DC and lives in Brooklyn, NY.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 26
Review at Bibliotica

Tuesday, September 27
Review at Dive Into a Good Book

Thursday, September 29
Review at The Page Ladies

Friday, September 30
Excerpt at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, October 4
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Thursday, October 6
Review at Bookworlder

Sunday, October 9
Review & Guest Post at Older & Smarter

Monday, October 10
Review at Coffee & Ink
Excerpt at A Darn Good Read
Review & Excerpt at A Baker’s Perspective

Wednesday, October 12
Review at Novels Alive

#OurDaughtersLastHope #ElaineStock #HFVBT

Our Daughters’ Last Hope by Elaine Stock

Publication Date: September 19, 2022
Amsterdam Publishers

Genre: Historical Fiction/WWII
Series: Resilient Women of WWII, Book 2

A mesmerizing story, set during one of the world’s most harrowing carnages, of two mothers as they cross enemy lines for the sake of their daughters’ futures.

Amsterdam, the Netherlands 1940 Herta, and her family, Jewish refugees, are living contentedly until the Nazi invasion, which echoes the persecution and fear they experienced before fleeing Germany. Across town, another wife and mother, Julia, also faces upheaval when her husband becomes more involved in the Nazis’ effort in controlling the world.

When their husbands go missing, one accused falsely of crimes and the other to fight on behalf of the Nazis, Herta, despite the heartache, takes charge and places her daughters into hiding believing they’ll keep safe. Meanwhile, Julia, as the only parent home, chooses to redefine family. These unexpected developments bring Herta and Julia together… until their true identities surface and they’re thrown into dangerous consequences that could harm not only them but their daughters.

Following We Shall Not Shatter, Book 1 of the Resilient Women of WWII Trilogy, this story of friendship questions whether two mothers, acting to ensure their children’s future, can put aside the issues of faith and heritage that could bring the Nazis right to their doorstep.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Books-a-Million | Book Depository

About the Author

Elaine Stock writes Historical Fiction, exploring home, family and friendships throughout time. She enjoys creating stories showing how all faiths, races, and belief systems are interconnected and need each other.

Elaine’s grandparents, on both sides of her family, narrowly escaped World War II by immigrating from Poland and Austria to the US. Fascinated by the strong will of people to overcome the horrors from this era, she wrote We Shall Not Shatter, Book 1 of the Resilient Women of WWII Trilogy inspired by her deaf great aunt who was left behind as a teenager in Poland and perished in the Holocaust, while her other deaf siblings were permitted to enter the US when their young ages helped them to circumvent medically-revealing exams. Other extended family members also remained in Poland to lose their lives in the Holocaust.

Although multi-published in award-winning Inspirational Fiction, and a past blogger and online magazine contributor, Elaine now pens novels for the General reading audience. She is a member of Women’s Fiction Writers Association and The Historical Novel Society. Born in Brooklyn, New York, she has now been living in upstate, rural New York with her husband for more years than her stint as a city gal. She enjoys long walks down country roads, visiting New England towns, and of course, a good book.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | BookBub | Amazon

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 19
Feature at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, September 20
Review at A Baker’s Perspective
Feature at What Is That Book About

Monday, September 26
Review at The Page Ladies

Tuesday, September 27
Feature at Reading Is My Remedy

Thursday, September 29
Review at Books, Writings, and More

Friday, September 30
Feature at Coffee and Ink
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of Our Daughters’ Last Hope by Elaine Stock (paperback or eBook, winner’s choice).

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on September 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Our Daughters’ Last Hope

#Review#ThePortraitist #SusanneDunlap #HFVBTBlogTours

The Portraitist: A Novel of Adelaide Labille-Guiard by Susanne Dunlap

Publication Date: August 30, 2022
She Writes Press

Genre: Historical Fiction

Based on a true story, this is the tale of Adélaïde Labille-Guiard’s fight to take her rightful place in the competitive art world of eighteenth-century Paris.

With a beautiful rival who’s better connected and better trained than she is, Adélaïde faces an uphill battle. Her love affair with her young instructor in oil painting gives rise to suspicions that he touches up her work, and her decision to make much-needed money by executing erotic pastels threatens to create as many problems as it solves. Meanwhile, her rival goes from strength to strength, becoming Marie Antoinette’s official portraitist and gaining entrance to the elite Académie Royale at the same time as Adélaïde.

When at last Adélaïde earns her own royal appointment and receives a massive commission from a member of the royal family, the timing couldn’t be worse: it’s 1789, and with the fall of the Bastille her world is turned upside down by political chaos and revolution. With danger around every corner in her beloved Paris, she must find a way to adjust to the new order, carving out a life and a career all over again—and stay alive in the process.

Buy The Portraitist

Praise

“An imaginative work that brings the story of a little-known artist to vivid life.” –Kirkus Reviews

“Deeply researched and imagined, The Portraitist offers a fascinating and dramatic plunge into the world of a brilliant female artist, struggling to make her mark before and during the turbulent and treacherous era of the French Revolution. I loved this novel.” –Sandra Gulland, international bestselling author of The Josephine Trilogy

“Written with breathless drama, The Portraitist follows the rise of the gifted portraitist Adélaïde Labille-Guiard in Paris during the last years of the late eighteenth century. The novel is a luminous depiction of Paris and those terrible times seen through the astute, compassionate eyes of a woman who had to paint. Every bit of lace, or royal carriage or bloody cobblestone is alive in the writing. The rain drumming on the skylight and a misbuttoned coat speak. Go to those streets with this book in your hand to follow her footsteps and those long-gone turbulent times will come alive to you as if they were yesterday.” –Stephanie Cowell, award-winning author of Claude and Camille

“In The Portraitist, Susanne Dunlap skillfully paints a portrait of a woman struggling to make her way in a man’s world — a topic as relevant today as it was in Ancien Regime France. Impeccably researched, rich with period detail, Dunlap brings to life the little known true story of Adélaïde Labille-Guiard, who fought her husband and society to make a name for herself as a painter to the royal family, the very apex of success– only to find everything she had built threatened by the Revolution. A stunning story of determination, talent, and reversals of fortune. As a lifelong Elisabeth Vigée-LeBrun fan, I am now questioning my allegiances!” –Lauren Willig, New York Times bestselling author of The Summer Country and Band of Sisters

“[The Portraitist is a] luminous novel of Adélaïde Labille-Guiard, whose livelihood and longing for respect are threatened by the institutions that deny women artists their due, compounded by the tumultuous events of the French Revolution. Deftly written and impeccably researched. Highly recommended.” –Michelle Cameron, award-winning author of Beyond the Ghetto Gates

About the Author

Susanne Dunlap is the author of twelve works of historical fiction for adults and teens, as well as an Author Accelerator Certified Book Coach. Her love of historical fiction arose partly from her studies in music history at Yale University (PhD, 1999), partly from her lifelong interest in women in the arts as a pianist and non-profit performing arts executive. Her novel The Paris Affair won first place in its category in the CIBA Dante Rossetti awards for Young Adult Fiction. The Musician’s Daughter was a Junior Library Guild Selection and a Bank Street Children’s Book of the Year, and was nominated for the Utah Book Award and the Missouri Gateway Reader’s Prize. In the Shadow of the Lamp was an Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award nominee. Susanne earned her BA and an MA (musicology) from Smith College, and lives in Biddeford, ME, with her little dog Betty.

For more information, please visit Susanne Dunlap’s website. You can follow author Susanne Dunlap on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Instagram, Pinterest, and BookBub.

Review by Coffee & Ink

From the opening sentence of the powerful first paragraph and every page thereafter, we know Adelaide is a woman unlike many of the women of Paris in the late 18th century. Every sentence is soaked in the colors and landscape of Adelaide’s discerning artist’s eye. She is running from her marriage into the unknown with only the beating soul of art to both push and guide her.

I love Adelaide’s voice—both practical and poetic. Nothing is ever easy for her, not the separation or supporting herself. She fights hard to paint every moment she has, to learn and grow her art.

It almost goes without saying there are tremendous barriers to being a woman artist in pre-Revolution Paris, to come to the attention of the massive male-dominated world of the Académie and its world.  To be a part of it and gain the coveted patronage of the royal family, with the aim of becoming the royal portraitist.

I love the other characters in the story—students, lover, her ex. The artist rival Mademoiselle Vigee. Very well drawn and believable, stepping out of history to take part in Adelaide’s story.

I found the story hard to put down, guided effortlessly around late 18th century Paris and the life of the artist Adelaide Labille-Guiard.

Highly recommended, a ten-star read for history and art lovers.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, August 30
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books
Review at A Potpourri of Opinions

Wednesday, August 31
Review at Little But Fierce Book Diary

Thursday, September 1
Review at Coffee and Ink
Feature at Books, Ramblings, and Tea

Friday, September 2
Review at The Page Ladies

Sunday, September 4
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Monday, September 5
Feature at The Cozy Book Blog
Review at History from a Woman’s Perspective

Tuesday, September 6
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Wednesday, September 7
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Thursday, September 8
Excerpt at Books, Cooks, Looks

Giveaway

Enter to win a paperback copy or Audiobook of The Portraitist by Susanne Dunlap!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on September 8th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

The Portraitist

#ShootheHorsesFirst #LeahAngstman #HFVBT #historicalfiction #shortstories #coverreveal

Shoot the Horses First: A Collection of Histories by Leah Angstman

Publication Date: February 28, 2023 Kernpunkt Press Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Audiobook; 238 pages

Genre: Literary / Historical / Short Stories

***Finalist for the Shorts Award for Americana Fiction***

Through a historian’s lens and folkloric storytelling, the pieces in SHOOT THE HORSES FIRST revel in the nuances, brutality, mythology, and tiny victories of our historical past. A launderer takes us inside the linens of the richest families in early Baltimore. A child on the Orphan Train has his teeth inspected like a horse. Civil War soldiers experience PTSD. While one woman lands on an island of the Wampanoag tribe, a woman 200 years later finds Apache in a harsh frontier. Children survive yellow fever, the desert heat, and mistaken identities; men survive severed fingers, untested medicines, and wives with obsessive compulsive disorders. Frederick Douglass’ grandson plays violin at the World’s Fair on Colored American Day, a woman with disabilities is kept hidden away like she doesn’t exist, and a botanist is denied her place in a science journal because she is female. Themes of place, war, mental illness, identity, disability, feminism, and unyielding optimism throughout harrowing desperation resurface in this collection of stories that takes us back to time immemorial, yet feels so close, and all too familiar.

Available for Pre-Order

Praise

“I’m astonished by the historical breadth in this collection of stories and by the sensibility that unites them. It’s a thrill to be dropped, so vividly, into such a wide variety of settings and periods—and even more of a thrill to discover the strong new voice of Leah Angstman. Read it!”
—Ethan Rutherford, author of FARTHEST SOUTH and THE PERIPATETIC COFFIN AND OTHER STORIES

“In SHOOT THE HORSES FIRST, Leah Angstman blasts readers from the Twitterfied nowscape into the manifest past—to an America connected by the burgeoning railroad and shattered by civil war. As inventive and complex as the era itself, these sixteen fictions of nineteenth-century friction contain surprises on every page. Whether it’s an impromptu snowball fight on a battlefield during a ceasefire or a wayward orphan finding hope at the end of the line, Angstman astonishes us with complicated characters and crystal-clear prose. She is the literary heir to Shelby Foote, Willa Cather, and E. L. Doctorow. Get off the internet and read this book!”
—Ryan Ridge, author of NEW BAD NEWS, HUNTERS & GAMBLERS, AMERICAN HOMES, SECOND ACTS IN AMERICAN LIVES, WEIRD WEEKS, and OX

“Rudyard Kipling said, ‘If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.’ Nothing demonstrates the wisdom of that better than SHOOT THE HORSES FIRST by Leah Angstman. This is an immersive, expansive, and unforgettable collection of fictional histories. Drawn from various points in America’s past and clearly well researched, these stories are harrowing and hopeful by turns. All through, there are unexpected kindnesses and betrayals and acts of heroism and transformation. Characters so deeply wrought they seem to leap off the page. Soaring and vast and lyrical, this book is a must-read.”
—Kathy Fish, author of TOGETHER WE CAN BURY IT, RIFT, and WILD LIFE

“Angstman’s work is a joy to read. These characters see their worlds in the way that we see ours: naturally, and independent of the vastness of time in which life eventually situates itself in memory. Each one of these stories breathes troubling, beautiful life into the history that inspires it. The exhaustive research that must have gone into this collection lives in an easy harmony with the stories it undergirds, and it’s Angstman’s chief achievement here to strike that balance with poise and grace. Fear, love, heartache, and wonderment: it’s all right here, between both worlds.”
—Schuler Benson, author of THE POOR MAN’S GUIDE TO AN AFFORDABLE, PAINLESS SUICIDE

“SHOOT THE HORSES FIRST puts the ‘story’ in history. With scholarly rigor and the soul of a bard, Leah Angstman weaves tales of defiance and resilience that bring the past to life and show us what endures.”
—Jennifer Wortman, author of THIS. THIS. THIS. IS. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE

About the Author

Leah Angstman is also the author of the historical novel of seventeenth-century New England, Out Front the Following Sea, available now from Regal House, and the novel of the French Revolution, Falcon in the Dive, forthcoming from Regal House in spring 2024. She serves as the executive editor for Alternating Current Press and The Coil magazine and is a founding Quartermaster member of the American Battlefield Trust. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, including Publishers Weekly, Los Angeles Review of Books, and The Nashville Review. She’s recently been a finalist for the Laramie Book Award, Chaucer Book Award, Eric Hoffer Book Award, National Indie Excellence Award, Da Vinci Eye Award, Clue Book Award, Richard Snyder Memorial Prize, Cowles Book Prize, and Able Muse Book Award; a semifinalist for the Goethe Book Award; and longlisted for the Hillary Gravendyk Prize. This is her first collection of short stories.

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July 25th Hosts

Books Blog
Bookworlder
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McCombs on Main
Older & Smarter
Carole’s Ramblings
Reading is My Remedy
CelticLady’s Reviews
Dive Into a Good Book
The Book Junkie Reads
Bonnie Reads and Writes
Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

July 26th Hosts

Novels Alive
A Darn Good Read
Sadie’s Spotlight
My Reading Getaway
Passages to the Past
Booking With Janelle
Cover Lover Book Review

Giveaway

Enter to win an ARC of Shoot the Horses First & horsey prize pack!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on July 26th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Shoot the Horses First Cover Reveal

#TheNursesSecret #AmandaSkenandore #HFVBTBlogTours

The Nurse’s Secret by Amanda Skenandore

Publication Date: June 28, 2022
Kensington Books

Genre: Historical Fiction

From acclaimed author and registered nurse Amanda Skenandore, The Alienist meets The Light of Luna Park in a fascinating historical novel based on the little-known story of America’s first nursing school, as a young female grifter in 1880s New York evades the police by conning her way into Bellevue Hospital’s training school for nurses…

In the slums of 1880s New York, Una Kelly has grown up to be a rough-and-tumble grifter, able to filch a pocketbook in five seconds flat. But when another con-woman pins her for a murder she didn’t commit, Una is forced to flee. Running from the police, Una lies her way into an unlikely refuge: the nursing school at Bellevue Hospital.

Based on Florence Nightingale’s nursing principles, Bellevue is the first school of its kind in the country. Where once nurses were assumed to be ignorant and unskilled, Bellevue prizes discipline, intellect, and moral character, and only young women of good breeding need apply. At first, Una balks at her prim classmates and the doctors’ endless commands. Yet life on the streets has prepared her for the horrors of injury and disease found on the wards, and she slowly gains friendship and self-respect.

Just as she finds her footing, Una’s suspicions about a patient’s death put her at risk of exposure, and will force her to choose between her instinct for self-preservation, and exposing her identity in order to save others.

Amanda Skenandore brings her medical expertise to a page-turning story that explores the evolution of modern nursing—including the grisly realities of nineteenth-century medicine—as seen through the eyes of an intriguing and dynamic heroine.

“A spellbinding story, a vividly drawn setting, and characters that leap off the pages. This is historical fiction at its finest!” – Sara Ackerman, USA Today bestselling author of The Codebreaker’s Secret

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REVIEW BY COFFEE & INK

I expected an entirely different story from the one I actually read, and much better than what I’d imagined. 

Una Kelly is a compelling character, a strong yet poor woman in New York City during the Gilded Age. She works hard, she’s good at what she does, and she’s a thief.

Barney, a local newspaperman, knows who knows what and comes to Una for information. She can make him blush and stammer, but they share information about a strangler on the loose in the neighborhoods.

Here’s what I love about Amanda Skenandore writing—the absolutely seamless merging of history and story, matching the characters to their time eloquently. From the squalor of the urban tenements to the scrubbed clean wards of the hospital. Conversations are natural and steeped in accents and knowledge but not so esoteric as to lose the reader. I guess that’s what I like, the ease and naturalness of the writing.

Rags to—if not riches, to a better, more useful life, where Una’s old skills are hammered into new ones. A murder mystery with excellent sleuthing, and a light romance woven throughout. Double highly recommended. 

About the Author

Amanda is the author of Between Earth and Sky, winner of the American Library Association’s 2019 Reading List Award for Best Historical Fiction, and The Undertaker’s Assistant, released from Kensington in July 2019.

She grew up in the mountains of Colorado and sang and danced her way through 68 cities on both sides of the Atlantic with the service organization Up with People before starting college. Her love of historical fiction started early with the stories of Kenneth Thomasma, Mark Twain, and Laura Ingalls Wilder.

When she’s not writing, Amanda works as an infection prevention nurse. She lives in Las Vegas with her husband and their pet turtle Lenore.

Amanda Skenandore is a historical fiction writer and registered nurse. Between Earth and Sky was her first novel. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. Readers can visit her website at www.amandaskenandore.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, BookBub, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, June 28
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks
Interview at Books and Benches
Review at A Potpourri of Opinions

Wednesday, June 29
Review at MTM Reads

Thursday, June 30
Review at Smashley Reads
Review at A Girl Reads Bookss
Review at Library of Clean Reads

Friday, July 1
Review at Bookworlder

Monday, July 4
Review at Reader_ceygo

Tuesday, July 5
Review at Momma Doc Reads

Wednesday, July 6
Review at The Page Ladies

Thursday, July 7
Review at Dive Into a Good Book

Friday, July 8
Review at Girl Who Reads

Saturday, July 9
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, July 11
Review at Book Reviews and More

Tuesday, July 12
Review at Rebecca is Reading

Wednesday, July 13
Review at Momfluenster

Thursday, July 14
Guest Post at Novels Alive
Review at Older & Smarter
Review at McCombs on Main

Friday, July 15
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Monday, July 18
Review at Novels Alive

Tuesday, July 19
Feature at Impressions in Ink

Wednesday, July 20
Review at Passages to the Past

Friday, July 22
Review at Coffee and Ink

Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of The Nurse’s Secret by Amanda Skenandore!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on July 22nd. You must be 18 or older to enter.

The Second Life of Mirielle West

#TheOath #TheValley #AMLinden #HFVBTBlogTours

The Oath by A.M. Linden

Publication Date: June 15, 2021
She Writes Press
Paperback & eBook; 336 pages

Series: The Druid Chronicles, #1
Genre: Historical Fiction

In the wake of a betrayal that threatens an end to their way of life, the last members of a secluded pagan cult send the youngest of their remaining priests in search of Annwr, their chief priestess’s sister, who was abducted by a Saxon war band fifteen years ago. With only a rudimentary grasp of English and the ambiguous guidance of an oracle’s prophecy, Caelym manages to find Annwr living in a hut on the grounds of a Christian convent.

Annwr has spent her years of captivity caring for the timid Aleswina, an orphaned Saxon princess who was consigned to the cloistered convent by her cousin, King Gilberth, after he assumed her father’s throne. Just as Caelym and Annwr are about leave together, Aleswina learns that Gilberth, a tyrant known for his cruelty and vicious temper, means to take her out of the convent and marry her. Terrified, she flees with the two Druids–beginning a heart-pounding adventure that unfolds in ways none of them could have anticipated.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Praise

“Linden’s well-researched tale eloquently brings to life a lesser-known period of transition in Britain…The author has created a strong foundation for her series with well-developed characters whom readers can embrace…[a] layered, gripping historical fiction…”
–Kirkus Reviews

“A fantastic well-crafted, well-written historical novel, about early medieval Anglo-Saxon Britain and with great characters! 5 stars”
–Readers’ Favorite

“Linden uses a fairy tale-like style almost as though this story has been passed down orally over the centuries. Though the kingdoms are fictional, Linden’s tale draws on meticulous historical research, especially in her dramatization of the Christian persecution of the druids.”
–Booklist

“The story rolls along at a lively pace, rich with details of the times and a wide cast of characters….Those interested in goddess-worshipping religions will be drawn to the novel. Any reader curious about 8th-century Britain will enjoy Linden’s innovative focus on the little-known Druids as well as early medieval Christians. Her plotting, shifting points of view of the three engaging protagonists, and evocative writing style make The Oath a pleasure to read. Highly recommended!”
–Historical Novels Review

“The Oath urges readers along on a richly textured quest among the Saxons and Celts of 8th-century Britain. Young and rather humorously naïve Druid priest-healer Caelym swears to ‘rescue’ a damsel in distress who turns out to be neither a young damsel nor in distress. With a feminist slant, this engaging tale brings the conflict between Druids and early Christians to vivid life through sympathetic and well-rounded characters. I particularly enjoyed the ironic voice of the aging midwife Annwr. Brava!”
–Sara Stamey, author of The Ariadne Connection

“Thrilling historical fiction with heart and soul.”
–Tim Pears, author of The West Country trilogy

“The Oath will appeal to a wide-ranging readership, reflecting Linden’s rich imagination and gift for weaving tales within tales evoking the romance of medieval Britain. Vibrant, determined, and relatable characters with disparate ethnic and religious identities discover their own strengths, and each other’s, as the intricate and engaging plot unfolds.”
–Anne Marie Tietjen, PhD, clinical psychologist and instructor at Western Washington University

“Linden’s knowledge and passion for history is soaked into every word of The Oath, combined with an obvious skill at storytelling. Linden succeeds at every level, but the world building is truly spectacular. Historical fantasy is hard to do well, but Linden makes it look easy. What could be dry details are presented so effectively that the world is elevated to almost being a character of its own. And in a cast of characters as well drawn as these, that’s saying something. I can’t wait to see what else this skilled author comes up with!”
–Bishop O’Connell, author of the American Faerie Tale series

The Valley by A.M. Linden

Publication Date: June 28, 2022
She Writes Press
Paperback & eBook; 464 pages

Series: The Druid Chronicles, #2
Genre: Historical Fiction/Medieval

Llwddawanden is a hidden sanctuary where remnants of a once-powerful pagan cult carry on their ancient ritual practices, supported by a small but faithful following of servants, craftsmen, and laborers.

Cut off from the outside world by both geography and conviction, the Druids of Llwddawanden continue to venerate the Great Mother Goddess and to view themselves as the first-born and favorite of Her mortal children. While the belief that the most important of all divine beings gave birth to their ancestors and that Her spirit inhabits the body of their highest priestess is a tenuous conclusion in view of their reduced lot in life, the Druids of Llwddawanden believe it and are, for the most part, committed to carrying on the traditions handed down to them by their forbears.

Herrwn, the shrine’s chief priest and master bard, has the responsibility of overseeing the education of Caelym, the orphaned son of the cult’s previous chief priestess, as well as keeping the peace within the upper ranks of their order—two tasks that grow more difficult as the rivalry over which of the three highest priests will claim Caelym as his disciple grows, and as mounting conflicts between the current chief priestess and her only living daughter threaten to rend the fabric of a society that has endured for more than a millennium.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Advance Praise

“A. M. Linden brings her imagined druid community to life with a skillful combination of research and informed guesswork. The Valley provides an intriguing glimpse into an 8th century Britain that might have been.”
–Juliet Marillier, author of the Sevenwaters and Warrior Bards series

“With the attention to detail, explanation of ancient rituals, and the mythology within the clan’s legends, this novel builds a community, exploring a people about which little is actually known. It’s an extraordinary portrayal, breathing life into a long-dead civilization….Highly recommended!”
–Chanticleer Book Reviews

About the Author

Ann Margaret Linden was born in Seattle, Washington, but grew up on the East Coast before returning to the Pacific Northwest as a young adult. She has undergraduate degrees in anthropology and in nursing and a master’s degree as a nurse practitioner. After working in a variety of acute care and community health settings, she took a position in a program for children with special health care needs where her responsibilities included writing clinical reports, parent educational materials, provider newsletters, grant submissions and other program related materials. The Oath is the first installment of The Druid Chronicles, a five-volume series that began as a somewhat whimsical decision to write something for fun and ended up becoming a lengthy journey that involved Linden taking adult education creative writing courses, researching early British history, and traveling to England, Scotland, and Wales. Retired from nursing, she lives with her husband, dogs, and cat in Bellingham, WA.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, June 28
Review at Jessica Belmont
Excerpt at Jathan & Heather

Wednesday, June 29
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Thursday, June 30
Excerpt at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Friday, July 1
Review at The Page Ladies

Monday, July 4
Review at Jorie Loves a Story (The Oath)

Tuesday, July 5
Interview at Books and Benches

Wednesday, July 6
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Friday, July 8
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Monday, July 11
Review at Bookworlder
Review at Novels Alive

Tuesday, July 12
Review at Potpourri of Opinions

Wednesday, July 13
Guest Post at Jorie Loves a Story

Thursday, July 14
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Friday, July 15
Review at History from a Woman’s Perspective

Monday, July 18
Review at Jorie Loves a Story  (The Valley)

Wednesday, July 20
Review at The Book Junkie Reads

Friday, July 22
Excerpt at Coffee and Ink

Giveaway

Two readers will win copies of The Oath & The Valley by A.M. Linden!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on July 22nd. You must be 18 or older to enter.

The Oath