Book spotlight: The Painter’s Apprentice: A Novel of 16th-Century Venice by Laura Morelli

Book Details:

Book Title:  The Painter’s Apprentice: A Novel of 16th-Century Venice
Author:  Laura Morelli
Category:  Adult Fiction,  350 pages
Genre:   Historical Fiction
Publisher:  The Scriptorium
Release date:  November 15, 2017
Tour dates:  Oct 16 to Nov 17, 2017
Content Rating:  PG-13 (some adult situations but no sex or explicit violence)

Book Description:

In 16th-century Venice, a young woman is apprenticed to a painter under false pretense. But as the bubonic plague begins to ravage the city and she must take greater measures to keep her secret, she must decide whether to risk the future of her family workshop or the desire of her heart.

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Meet the Author:

​LAURA MORELLI holds a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University, has taught college students in the U.S. and in Italy, and currently produces art history lessons for TED-Ed. She authored a column for National Geographic Traveler called “The Genuine Article” and has contributed pieces about art and authentic travel to CNN Radio, The Frommers Travel Show, and in USA TODAY, Departures, and other media. Laura is the author of the Authentic Arts guidebook series that includes the popular book Made in Italy. Her fiction brings the stories of art history to life. Her debut novel, The Gondola Maker, won an IPPY for Best Historical Fiction and a Benjamin Franklin Award.

Connect with the author:  Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Pinterest  ~  Instagram

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Book review: What is Forgiven (The Anna Klein Trilogy Book 2) by C.F. Yetmen

  • What is Forgiven by C.F. Yetmen
  • Publisher:  Ypsilon & Co. Press
  • Date published:  September 5th, 2017
  • Pages:  367
  • Genre:   Historical romance / historical fiction / mystery / suspense

DESCRIPTION:

At the end of 1945 in a shattered Germany, Anna Klein is faced with tough choices about her future. Her plum job working as a translator for Captain Henry Cooper, one of the American Monuments Men, means she has a house and an income, as well as hands-on access to some of the world’s most precious art. But her life is falling apart on all fronts: her family is displaced, the boy in her care is being sought by authorities, and she must resolve to finally end her marriage. When she realizes that someone has tampered with two important paintings taken from a Jewish collector—paintings she was charged with safeguarding—Anna is determined to solve the crime. But without hard evidence and no motive, she can prove nothing and as State Department big wigs threaten to shut down the Monuments Men’s operation, she and her boss are under special scrutiny. As all signs begin to point to an inconvenient suspect in the crime, she has to play it by the book to keep her job and return the art to its rightful owner, if she can find him.

Buy the book:   Amazon
MEET THE AUTHOR:

C.F. YETMEN is a writer and consultant specializing in architecture and design.

She is co-author of The Owner’s Dilemma: Driving Success and Innovation in the Design and Construction Industry and a former publisher of Texas Architect magazine. The Roses Underneath is her first novel.

Connect with the author:  Website   Facebook   Twitter   goodreads

REVIEW:

This book is a sequel to The Roses Underneath where we continue to follow the activities of Anna Klein and Captain Cooper as they become unwittingly become embroiled in conspiracies involving a huge cache of stolen artwork they recently discovered in an abandoned farmhouse.

Anna’s life has taken on another element as she “adopts” a streetwise orphan boy.  Her home with her mother’s friend has been requisitioned by the army and she has two days to find somewhere to place her family.  Captain Cooper, not an army man per se, has “bucked the system” a few times too many and now the army has them both under surveillance.  Anna is beginning to feel the pressure and has doubts who she can really trust – the army – her new roommate – even Captain Cooper.  Her husband has been branded a “Commie” and is not welcome in Wiesbaden.  Anna is unwilling to return to the Russian held part of Germany.  Her love for her husband but her respect and admiration for Captain Cooper pull her in two directions.

An excellent follow through of Anna’s story and I can’t wait to read the third segment.  Kudos to a wonderfully talented debut writer!

Book review: The Roses Underneath by C.F. Yetmen

  • The Roses Underneath by C.F. Yetmen
  • Publisher:  Ypsilon & Co. Press
  • Date published:  January 28th, 2014
  • Pages:  411
  • Genre:   Historical romance / historical fiction

DESCRIPTION:

It is August 1945 in Wiesbaden, Germany. With the country in ruins, Anna Klein, displaced and separated from her beloved husband, struggles to support herself and her six-year old daughter Amalia. Her job typing forms at the Collecting Point for the US Army’s Monuments Men is the only thing keeping her afloat. Charged with securing Nazi-looted art and rebuilding Germany’s monuments, the Americans are on the hunt for stolen treasures. But after the horrors of the war, Anna wants only to hide from the truth and rebuild a life with her family. When the easy-going American Captain Henry Cooper recruits her as his reluctant translator, the two of them stumble on a mysterious stash of art in a villa outside of town. Cooper’s penchant for breaking the rules capsizes Anna’s tenuous security and propels her into a search for elusive truth and justice in a world where everyone is hiding something.

In her debut novel C.F. Yetmen tells a story of loss and reconciliation in a shattered world coming to terms with war and its aftermath.

Buy the book:   Amazon
MEET THE AUTHOR:

C.F. YETMEN is a writer and consultant specializing in architecture and design.

She is co-author of The Owner’s Dilemma: Driving Success and Innovation in the Design and Construction Industry and a former publisher of Texas Architect magazine. The Roses Underneath is her first novel.

Connect with the author:  Website   Facebook   Twitter   goodreads

REVIEW:

This novel was an expected pleasure to read.  The book centers around Anna Klein, a mother with a five year old daughter who has fled the Russian held sector of Austria/Germany where her husband, a country doctor and communist, has decided to remain.  Fleeing to American controlled Weisbaden to find find her mother’s best friend, Anna struggles with extreme poverty and  lack of food .

She finds a job working for the Monuments Men, men of different artistic disciplines who were drafted from the US to recover art treasures stolen by the Nazis. Because of her ability to speak English as well as her background in art, she is hired as a translator for Captain Cooper, an architect drafted into the army to assist in the recovery of the artwork.

Although this is a piece of historical fiction with a gripping storyline, we also become privy to the private sentiments of extreme guilt felt by some the German civilians, even non-Nazi supporters, who saw or didn’t quite understand what was happening during the ethnic cleansing.  Anna’s need to expunge her past and redeem herself became a very meaningful part of this story.

Despite the serious nature of the topic, I found myself flying through the pages.  An intelligent and absorbing storyline.

Drawn by Chris Ledbetter

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Book Details:

Book Title: Drawn by Chris Ledbetter
Category: YA Fiction, 239 pages
Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy, Adventure
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Cover Artist: Jay Aheer
Published: June 2015
Available in:  eBook (mobi, ePub and PDF)
Will send books: Internationally
Tour dates:  June 1 to 19, 2015
Content Rating: PG-13 (Limited profanity, mild violence, not graphic or gory)

Book Description:

Caught between the sweltering fall landscape of Wilmington, NC beaches and southern illusions and expectations, all sixteen year-old Cameron Shade thinks about is art. That, and for Farrah Spangled to view him as more than just a friend. Cameron longs to win her heart through art.

After several warm interactions with Farrah, including painting together at the beach, Cameron discovers just how complex Farrah’s life is with her boyfriend and her family. Following a tense run-in with Farrah’s father, she forbids Cameron to ever speak to her again, but Cameron’s convinced there’s more behind the request.

To impress Farrah with a last-ditch effort, Cameron sketches her portrait. But the sketchbook he uses hides a dark secret. Farrah’s now in grave danger because the sketch he drew of her siphons her real-life’s soul into the sketchbook. Cameron now has twenty days to extract Farrah. To save her, he must draw himself into the book.

If he fails… they both die.

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Chris Ledbetter

Meet the Author:   Represented by Ella Kennen, Corvisiero Literary Agency.Chris Ledbetter grew up in Durham, NC before moving to Charlottesville, VA in 11th grade. After high school, he attended Hampton University where he promptly “walked-on” to the best drum line in the CIAA. And, without any prior percussion experience. He carried the bass drum for four years, something his back is not very happy about now.After a change of heart and major, he enrolled in Old Dominion University and earned his degree in Business Administration. He’s worked in various managerial and marketing capacities throughout his life. While teaching high school for six years in Culpeper, VA, he taught business management, business law, marketing, and sports marketing, and also coached football.He has walked the streets of Los Angeles and New York City, waded in the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and climbed Diamond Head crater on Hawaii and rang in the New Year in Tokyo, Japan. But he dreams of one day visiting Greece and Italy.He’s a proud member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and a strong supporter of the Need for Diverse Books. As a self-described, young reluctant reader, he writes young adult stories specifically to reach other reluctant readers. As a participant in the prestigious Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program, he was blessed to be mentored by Suzanne Morgan Williams, 2012 SCBWI member of the year.He now lives in Wilmington, NC with his family, including three cats.
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Connect with Chris:  Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook
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REVIEW:

Did you ever wonder what it would be like to be a character in a book? Literally?

Cameron, your typical geekish teenage boy, is an aspiring artist.  His mentor, 80 year old Mr. Cassisi, encourages Cameron to pursue his dream of not only becoming an artist but to pursue the girl he loves.  Upon Cassisi’s death, Cameron receives a leather bound sketch book with strict instructions to “draw things” and not “people”.

Cameron is feeling dejected because  Farrah, a girl he has a crush on in his journalism class doesn’t want him as a boyfriend.   He feels that, if he can’t be with her, then the next best thing would be to draw her in his new sketchbook.  What he doesn’t expect to see is “Farrah’s” image start to move and come to life on the very pages he just sketched.  The story becomes more complicated when another girl, who Cameron hasn’t sketched also turns up next to “Farrah” or “Echo” as Cameron calls her and tells him that Echo is in danger unless he joins them in the book.

The plot is fairly action packed with unexpected plots and twists.  The storyline does drag a bit every now and then but the action does pick up with the addition of new, unexpected characters. The characters were believable and the ending is quite exciting!

This book would be great for both teen boys and girls as Cameron’s love of gaming is featured throughout.  A fun read!

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Book Review: Botticelli’s Bastard by Stephen Maitland-Lewis

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About the Book:

Art restorer Giovanni Fabrizzi is haunted by an unsigned renaissance portrait. Obsessed to learn the truth of its origin, he becomes increasingly convinced the painting could be the work of one of history’s greatest artists, which if true, would catapult its value to the stratosphere. But in learning of the painting’s past, he is faced with a dilemma. He believes the portrait was stolen during the greatest art heist in history—the Nazi plunder of European artwork. If true and a surviving relative of the painting’s rightful owner were still alive, Giovanni, in all good conscience, would have to give up the potential masterpiece. His obsession with the portrait puts a strain on his new marriage, and his son thinks his father has lost his mind for believing an unremarkable, unsigned painting could be worth anyone’s attention. Regardless, Giovanni persists in his quest of discovery and exposes far more truth than he ever wanted to know.

Stephen Maitland-Lewis

Meet the author: (Photo credit: Nathan Sternfeld)

Stephen Maitland-Lewis is an award-winning author, a British attorney, and a former international investment banker. He held senior positions in the City of London, Kuwait, and on Wall Street before moving to California in 1991. He owned a luxury hotel and a world-renowned restaurant and was also the Director of Marketing of a Los Angeles daily newspaper. Maitland-Lewis is a jazz aficionado and a Board Trustee of the Louis Armstrong House Museum in New York. A member of PEN and the Author’s Guild, Maitland-Lewis is also on the Executive Committee of the International Mystery Writers Festival.His novel Hero on Three Continents received numerous accolades, and Emeralds Never Fade won the 2012 Benjamin Franklin Award for Historical Fiction and the 2011 Written Arts Award for Best Fiction. His novel Ambition was a 2013 USA Best Book Awards and 2014 International Book Awards finalist and won first place for General Fiction in the 2013 Rebecca’s Reads Choice Awards. Maitland-Lewis and his wife, Joni Berry, divide their time between their homes in Beverly Hills and New Orleans.

Connect with Stephen: Website – Facebook – Twitter

My review:

I found the main character to be a likeable fellow, Giovanni, an art restorer who feels somewhat displaced, having lost his beloved wife of many years as well as his studio and neighbourhood that he had grown to love.  His new marriage to a beautiful, young woman is foundering because he has yet to come to terms with his grief. He feels isolated in his misery until “will someone take me out of this dark crate!”

Giovanni finds himself face-to-face with Count Marco Lorenzo Pietro de Medici supposedly painted by the infamous Sandro Botticelli.  At first he is disturbed by a “talking portrait” but becomes intrigued by the stories the Count tells about his former owners.

The dialogue between Giovanni and the Count are full of wit and humour.  It is ultimately the Count who helps Giovanni come to terms with his past, his present and his future.

A good book for those who enjoy art, history and a bit of romance thrown it.  Easily read in a day (I couldn’t put it down!)

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