Book review: Time and Regret by M.K. Tod

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  • Title:  Time and Regret by M.K. Tod
  • Publisher:  Lake Union Publishing
  • Published:  August 16, 2016
  • Pages:  366
  • Genre:  Historical Mystery
  • Tour dates:  September 1 – 10, 2016

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

When Grace Hansen finds a box belonging to her beloved grandfather, she has no idea it holds the key to his past—and to long-buried family secrets. In the box are his World War I diaries and a cryptic note addressed to her. Determined to solve her grandfather’s puzzle, Grace follows his diary entries across towns and battle sites in northern France, where she becomes increasingly drawn to a charming French man—and suddenly aware that someone is following her…

Through her grandfather’s vivid writing and Grace’s own travels, a picture emerges of a man very unlike the one who raised her: one who watched countless friends and loved ones die horrifically in battle; one who lived a life of regret. But her grandfather wasn’t the only one harboring secrets, and the more Grace learns about her family, the less she thinks she can trust them.

Buy the book:  Amazon   Barnes & Noble   

time-and-regret-mk-tod1About the author:  Time and Regret is M.K. Tod’s third novel. She began writing in 2005 while living as an expat in Hong Kong. What started as an interest in her grandparents’ lives turned into a full-time occupation writing historical fiction. Her novel Unravelled was awarded Indie Editor’s Choice by the Historical Novel Society. In addition to writing historical novels, she blogs about reading and writing historical fiction on www.awriterofhistory.com, reviews books for the Historical Novel Society and the Washington Independent Review of Books, and has conducted three highly respected reader surveys. She lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and is the mother of two adult children.

Connect with the author:   Website   Twitter   Facebook   Pinterest

EXCERPT:

“Beyond the next rise, the war burst into view, a zigzagging patchwork of Allied trenches facing German lines. The scene looked nothing like Martin had imagined. Instead of deep, carefully constructed trenches designed to protect their men, uneven ditches were connected together in haphazard fashion, with mounds of earth and sandbags marking the lip of every section, and soldiers standing guard at uneven intervals. A sudden breeze carried the smell of mud, sewage, rotting flesh, gunfire, and death.

As far as he could see, the land had been blown to bits, leaving nothing but brown and gray and black, devoid of vegetation except a pocket of shattered tree trunks to the far right. Great rolls of barbed wire and deep craters partially filled with water defined the space between the lines. No-man’s-land.

A dog barked. Shots rang out.

Nearby—and well behind the lines—was a stone hut with ammunition crates stacked against one wall. On the ground just a few feet away, a single boot lay encased in mud, the tongue flipped forward as though some soldier intended to return for it.

“________” Martin thought.

“Listen up,” Butler said. “Second Division is taking over from the First, who’ve been in place for months. They’re decimated and exhausted. Our line extends north and south from here, and we’ll have responsibility for roughly a mile of it. British units are holding the line north of us.” He gestured to a line of trenches marked at one end by a concrete bunker and a point at the other end where Canadian and German troops were so close it seemed their barbed-wire entanglements intersected. “Second Bavarian Corps opposes us. They’re tough and vigilant. On our left is Third Brigade, and on our right a cavalry brigade. No use for horses in this shit, so Alderson turned them into an infantry unit.”

A burst of gunfire erupted followed by innocent-looking drifts of smoke. Tomorrow that will be us under fire, Martin thought.”

REVIEW:

History, mystery and romance are intertwined in this novel about World War I and the art world.  Grace unexpectedly finds her grandfather’s diaries written during the first world war along with clues she understands that were written only for her.  Intrigued, she flies to France to follow her grandfather’s footsteps as he moved from town to town in the trenches to prevent the advance of the German army.

What she didn’t bargain for was having someone else follow her, intent on discovering the same secret.  With the aid of a charming Frenchman and art curator, she travels across France to find the clues her grandfather has left her.

I really enjoyed Time and Regret. It is a work of fiction but the historical aspect of the book was also quite interesting.  The timeline alternated between 1991 (Grace) and (1917-1919) Martin and was easy to follow.

GIVEAWAY:

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Book review: Sisters of Versailles by Sally Christie

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The Sisters of Versailles

(historical fiction)

Release date: September 1, 2015
at Atria Book/Simon & Schuster

432  pages

ISBN: 978-1501102967

Website | Goodreads

SYNOPSIS

A sumptuous and sensual tale of power, romance, family, and betrayal centered around four sisters and one King. Carefully researched and ornately detailed, The Sisters of Versailles is the first book in an exciting new historical fiction trilogy about King Louis XV, France’s most “well-beloved” monarch, and the women who shared his heart and his bed.

Set against the lavish backdrop of the French Court in the early years of the 18th century, The Sisters of Versailles is the extraordinary tale of the five Nesle sisters—Louise, Pauline, Diane, Hortense, and Marie-Anne—four of whom became mistresses to King Louis XV. Their scandalous story is stranger than fiction but true in every shocking, amusing, and heartbreaking detail.

Court intriguers are beginning to sense that young King Louis XV, after seven years of marriage, is tiring of his Polish wife. The race is on to find a mistress for the royal bed as various factions put their best feet—and women—forward. The King’s scheming ministers push Louise, the eldest of the aristocratic Nesle sisters, into the arms of the King. Over the following decade, she and her sisters—ambitious Pauline; complacent Diane, and cunning Marie Anne—will conspire, betray, suffer, and triumph in a desperate fight for both love and power.

The Sisters of Versailles is a treat through and through – the characters are witty and engaging and come together to create an undeniable page-turner. Sally Christie has a wonderful sense of pace and the book unfolds in front of you like a delicious gift. Even as the scandals pile up and the intrigue mounts, you can’t help but fall in love with these sisters and their competing infatuations with the King.

In the tradition of The Other Boleyn Girl, The Sisters of Versailles is a clever, intelligent, and absorbing novel that historical fiction fans will devour. Based on meticulous research on a group of women never before written about in English, Sally Christie’s stunning debut is a complex exploration of power and sisterhood—of the admiration, competition, and even hatred that can coexist within a family when the stakes are high enough.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

unnamed-5Sally Christie was born in England of British parents and grew up around the world, attending eight schools in three languages. She spent most of her career working in international development and is currently settled in Toronto.
A life-long history buff who wishes time travel were a real possibility—she’d be off to the eighteenth century in a flash!
The Sisters of Versailles is her first novel.

Learn more about the sisters and the mistresses in the Versailles trilogy on her website.  Become a fan to hear about her next novels!   Check her Pinterest page

Follow Simon & Schuster on Twitter and Facebook

Buy the book | on Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble   | Books-a-Million  | IndieBound

REVIEW:

Madame de Pompadour comes to mind when we think of Louis XV. She was his official chief mistress, aide and advisor in governmental matters. What is little known is that, prior to her arrival on the scene, a family of four daughters, the Nesle de Maille sisters, played a role in the life of Louis le bien aimé’s Court at Versailles.

These four very different, uneducated women, daughters of an impoverished nobleman one by one end up at the glittering court of Versailles, a hotbed of jealousy, intrigue and scandal. The story is narrated by each of the sisters so we get a glimpse into their individual personalites through the letters written to each other. What I enjoyed about the story is the unpredictability of their actions at Versailles, despite being privy to their innermost thoughts throughout the storyline.

As a lover of European history, I enjoy reading the work of authors such as Alison Weir, Sandra Gulland and Philippa Gregory, amongst others. I would consider this novel to be “light” historical fiction because the story revolved more around the “romantic” lives of these five women and less about the historical events of the time. I was unable to develop an affinity for any of the women in this book, perhaps due to the lack of character development.

I was dismayed by the use of the “F-word” in several places. I really did not think that this was historically appropriate or necessary for this type of book. Because of the mature situations, I would consider this book to be PG-13 + M.

Despite its 417 pages, I consider Christie’s book to be a pleasant, light read.

 

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Book review: Quicksand by Gigi Pandian

Author Gigi Pandian

Quicksand-final-coverQuicksand:
A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery

(cozy mystery)

Release date: March 10, 2015
at Henery Press
280 pages

ISBN: 9781941962275

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SYNOPSIS

A thousand-year-old secret room. A sultan’s stolen treasure. A missing French priest. And an invitation to Paris to rekindle an old flame!

Historian Jaya Jones finds herself on the wrong side of the law during an art heist at the Louvre. To redeem herself, she follows clues from an illuminated manuscript that lead from the cobblestone streets of Paris to the quicksand-surrounded fortress of Mont Saint-Michel. With the help of enigmatic Lane Peters and a 90-year-old stage magician, Jaya delves into Franceís colonial past in India to clear her name and catch a killer.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 Gigi PandianUSA Today bestselling author Gigi Pandian
is the child of cultural anthropologists from New Mexico
and the southern tip of India.
After being dragged around the world during her childhood,
she tried to escape her fate when she left a PhD program for art school.
But adventurous academics wouldnít stay out of her head.
Thus was born the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery Series
(Artifact, Pirate Vishnu, and Quicksand).
Gigi’s debut mystery novel was awarded a Malice Domestic Grant
and named a ìBest of 2012 Debut Novel by Suspense Magazine.
Her short fiction has been short-listed for Agatha and Macavity awards,
and she also writes the new Accidental Alchemist mystery series.
She takes photos of gargoyles wherever she goes, and posts them on her Gargoyle Girl blog.

Visit her website. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter

Subscribe to her newsletter

Visit her Gargoyle photography blog: http://www.gargoylegirl.com

Buy the book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Itunes | Google Play

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You can enter the global giveaway here
or on any other book blogs participating in this tour.
Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook,
they are listed in the entry form below
.

Entry-Form

Visit each blogger on the tour:
tweeting about the giveaway everyday
of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time!
[just follow the directions on the entry-form]

Global giveaway open internationally:
1 winner will receive a print copy of the 3 books in the

Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mysteries Series

plus a beautiful set of recipe cards matching the 3 books!
Yes, you got that right:
1 winner will win the 3 books + recipe cards!

***

CLICK ON THE BANNER
TO READ OTHER REVIEWS, GUEST-POST, INTERVIEW

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Review:

This is the first book I’ve read by Gigi Pandian and found it to be so much fun! It is #3 in the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery but can easily be read as a stand-alone. I plan to go back and read the first two novels in the series.

Jaya Jones receives a mysterious letter and airline ticket to Paris from a former love interest who she hasn’t heard from in months.  She is torn between her new teaching assignment and pursuing the mystery of the French occupation in India.  What she doesn’t expect is the danger that awaits her!

It was a fast-paced Indiana-Jones style story that kept me glued to the pages. It’s a clean cozy mystery with plenty of excitement, romance and intriguing characters. I love history, especially anything about India and France and found the subject to be interesting and educational. I really liked Jaya’s character as a historian (I like smart female leads). The writing style was friendly and personal and I could really relate with what Jaya was thinking. Plenty of plot twists keep you interested until the end of the book.

This series would make a great TV series!