Book review: Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay!

  • Published:  March 28, 2017
  • Publisher:  Harper Collins Canada
  • Pages:  560
  • Genre:  General fiction

BOOK DESCRIPTION:  

In present-day Boston, Nina Revskaya, once a great star of the Russian ballet, has decided to auction her jewellery collection and donate the proceeds to the Boston Ballet Foundation. It is a mysterious gesture that has piqued the interest of two particular individuals: a rising associate director at the auction house, Drew Brooks, who seeks to unravel the provenance of the pieces; and a professor and Russian translator at the nearby university, Grigori Solodin, who believes the jewels might hold the key to his past.

The stakes are raised when an anonymous individual donates a necklace that perfectly matches the bracelet and earrings in Nina’s collection, claiming the pieces belong together. It is this donation that will bring Drew and Grigori together in unexpected ways to uncover the story behind Nina’s fabulous jewels—a bounty said to have been smuggled out of Stalinist Russia when she defected from the country in the early 1950s.

It was there, in Russia, that Nina first learned to dance, fell in love with the handsome poet Viktor Elsin, and struggled with the choice to pursue her craft or begin a family. Nina and her circle of free-thinking artist friends lived in constant fear of Stalin’s disapproval, of arrest and torture by the secret police for unpatriotic behaviour and so-called crimes against the state. Yet when their circle was broken by just such an arrest, a devastating misunderstanding parted the four friends and lovers forever.

BUY THE BOOK:   HarperCollins | Amazon

MEET THE AUTHOR:  Daphne Kalotay is the author of the award-winning novel Russian Winter, which has been published in twenty languages, and the fiction collection Calamity and Other Stories. She has received fellowships from the Christopher Isherwood Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, and Yaddo, and has taught at Boston University, Skidmore College, Grub Street, and Middlebury College. She lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.

Connect with the author:  Website – Facebook – Goodreads

REVIEW:

Russian Winter is a Dr. Zhivago-esque blend of fiction and history.  There are several storylines blending together in this book with Nina, a young Russian ballerina as our principal player.  She is now living in Boston and has decided to auction off the jewels she received as gifts while she was living in the Soviet Union.

Grigori Solodin, an immigrant Russian professor in Boston is haunted by artifacts in a purse he received from his parents.  He is unable to determine their provenance until he learns of the auction of Nina Revskaya’s jewels.

Nina grows up in Stalinist Russia and is chosen to work for the Bolshoi Ballet. As she makes her way to becoming the principal dancer, she must choose between what comes first in her life, the Bolshoi Ballet or those she loves.

During the 1950’s in Stalinist Russia it is impossible to trust anyone, and with Nina this mistrust includes her family and friends.   Intrigue, informers and fear are the background to this story.   Despite the political environment, Nina falls in love with a handsome poet, Viktor Elsin.  As artists, however, they are not free to pursue their own passions, they belong to Stalin.

I was concerned that I a very short time frame in which to read this 500+ page book for review. The pages flew!  The author left clues throughout the book and so it was fairly easy to guess what would happen.  However, I was not prepared for the gut-wrenching revelations toward the end of the book. This is a keeper!

 

Book Spotlight: Over Easy (The Continental Breakfast Club, Book One) by Pamela Ford

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Book Details:

Book TitleOver Easy (The Continental Breakfast Club, Book One) by Pamela Ford
Category:  Adult fiction, 260 pages
Genre:  Romantic comedy
Publisher: Aine Press
Release date:  May 10, 2016
Available for review in:  print, ebook (mobi, ePub)
Will send print books:  USA & Canada
Tour dates:  August 1 – September 9, 2016
Content Rating:  PG 13 (No sex or violence, but some f-words, shits, hells, and damns!)

Book Description:

Allie Parker’s had enough. Just because she’s a dog groomer, her overachieving family of doctors and lawyers treats her like a child. She’s convinced that a successful husband is all she needs to change their attitudes. So when she and her friends come up with a brilliant new way to meet eligible men, Allie squeezes into her sister’s stylish clothes and sneaks into continental breakfast at an upscale hotel to find herself the perfect guy.

Before Allie has taken her last bite of syrup-laden waffle, she’s met the man of her dreams. But what she doesn’t know is that he’s a jewel thief who mistakenly thinks she’s his contact—and so does everyone else who’s after his stash of diamonds.

Suddenly Allie’s world is crazily upended. And as she scrambles to prove her innocence and get back to her old life, she discovers happily ever after sneaks up when you least expect it.

Buy the book: Amazon  ~  Barnes & Noble

Pamela Ford author pic

Meet the Author:

Pamela Ford is the award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance. She grew up watching old movies, blissfully sighing over the romance; and reading sci-fi and adventure novels, vicariously living the action. The combination probably explains why the books she writes are romantic, happily-ever-afters with plenty of plot – and often lots of laughter.

After graduating from college with a degree in Advertising, Pam merrily set off to earn a living, searching for that perfect career as she became a graphic designer, print buyer, pantyhose sales rep, public relations specialist, copywriter, freelance writer – and finally author. Pam has won numerous awards including the Booksellers Best, the Laurel Wreath, and a gold medal IPPY in the Independent Book Publisher Awards. She is a Kindle Book Awards finalist and a two-time Golden Heart Finalist. She lives in Wisconsin where she is working on her next novel.

Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter   Facebook   Goodreads

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Book spotlight: The Winemakers, A Novel of Wine and Secrets by Jan Moran

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Book Details:

Book Title:  The Winemakers, A Novel of Wine and Secrets by Jan Moran
Category:  Adult fiction, 368 pages
Genre:  20th Century Historical Romance
Publisher:  St. Martin’s Griffin
Release date:  April 5,  2016
Tour dates:  April 18 – 29, 2016
Content Rating:  PG-13 + M  (for themes of out-of-wedlock sex and childbirth. Two scenes of tasteful romantic sex (no body parts), and very mild language (no strong profanity).

Book Description:

1956: When Caterina Rosetta inherits a cottage in the countryside of Italy from a grandmother she’s never known, she discovers a long-buried family secret — a secret so devastating, it threatens the future of everything her mother has worked for.

Many years before, her mother’s hard-won dreams of staking her family’s claim in the vineyards of California came to fruition; but as an old murder comes to light, and Caterina uncovers a tragic secret that may destroy the man she loves, she realizes her happiness will depend on revealing the truth of her mother’s buried past.

From author Jan Moran comes The Winemakers, a sweeping, romantic novel that will hold you in its grasp until the last delicious sip.

Buy the book:   Amazon  ~   Barnes & Noble  ~   Kobo  ~  Chapters
Books-a-Million  ~   Book Depository   ~  iBooks

Jan Moran author pic

About the author:

Jan Moran is a Rizzoli bestselling and award winning author. She writes historical women’s fiction for St. Martin’s Press (Scent of Triumph, The Winemakers), contemporary women’s fiction (Flawless, Beauty Mark, Runway), and nonfiction books (Vintage Perfumes, Fabulous Fragrances). Her stories are smart and stylish, and written with emotional depth. Jan often draws on her international travel and business experiences, infusing her books with realistic details.

The Midwest Book Review and Kirkus have recommended her books, calling her heroines strong, complex, and resourceful. She likes to talk to readers at www.janmoran.com and on social media. She lives in southern California and loves lattes and iced coffee, anything chocolate, and Whole Foods Double Green smoothies to balance it all out.

Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter   Pinterest   Facebook   Instagram

SPOTLIGHT TOUR SCHEDULE:

April 18 – Working Mommy Journal – author interview / giveaway
April 18 – Lavish Bookshelf – guestpost / giveaway
April 18 – Coffee books & Art – giveaway
April 18 – Brooke Blogs – guest post / giveaway
April 19 – Corinne Rodriges – guest post / giveaway
April 19 – JustOneMoreChapter – giveaway
April 19 – The Cheshire Cat’s Looking Glass – giveaway
April 19 – Words And Peace – author interview / giveaway
April 19 – The Autistic Gamer – spotlight
April 20 – Paulette’s Papers – giveaway
April 20 – Olio by Marilyn – author interview
April 20 – Discovering/Writing Life – author interview / giveaway
April 20 – Svetlana’s Reads and Views – giveaway
April 20 – StoreyBook Reviews – guest post
April 20 – thoughts on this ‘n that – giveaway
April 21 – Fantastic Feathers – author interview
April 21 – First Impressions Reviews – spotlight
April 21 – Cassidy Salem Reads & Writes – giveaway
April 21 – The Travelogue of a book addict – The Book Drealms – giveaway
April 22 – ABookGeek – spotlight
April 22 – Celticlady’s Reviews – giveaway
April 22 – Carole’s Book Corner – giveaway
April 22 – The Bookish & The Romantic – giveaway
April 25 – XoXo Book Blog – giveaway
April 25 – Il mio tesoro – author interview
April 25 – A Bit Bookish – giveaway
April 25 – Jayne’s Books – spotlight
April 26 – Mystery Suspense Reviews – guest post
April 26 – The Booktrail – author interview
April 26 – #redhead.with.book – giveaway
April 26 – Library of Clean Reads – giveaway
April 27 – Studentessa Matta – guest post / giveaway
April 27 – Kritters Ramblings – spotlight
April 28 – A Holland Reads – giveaway
April 28 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – guest post / giveaway
April 28 – 3 Partners in Shopping Nana, Mommy , + Sissy, Too ! – giveaway
April 28 – History from a Woman’s Perspective – giveaway
April 29 – Amie’s Book Reviews – giveaway
April 29 – Anglers Rest – spotlight
April 29 – FLY HIGH! – guest post / giveaway

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Book review: The Railwayman’s Wife by Ashley Hay

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Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Publisher:  Atria Books
Hardcover, eBook, & AudioBook
288 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction/Literary

Book description:

Amidst the strange, silent aftermath of World War II, a widow, a poet, and a doctor search for lasting peace and fresh beginnings in this internationally acclaimed, award-winning novel.

When Anikka Lachlan’s husband, Mac, is killed in a railway accident, she is offered—and accepts—a job at the Railway Institute’s library and searches there for some solace in her unexpectedly new life. But in Thirroul, in 1948, she’s not the only person trying to chase dreams through books. There’s Roy McKinnon, who found poetry in the mess of war, but who has now lost his words and his hope. There’s Frank Draper, trapped by the guilt of those his medical treatment and care failed on their first day of freedom. All three struggle to find their own peace, and their own new story.

But along with the firming of this triangle of friendship and a sense of lives inching towards renewal come other extremities—and misunderstandings. In the end, love and freedom can have unexpected ways of expressing themselves.

The Railwayman’s Wife explores the power of beginnings and endings, and how hard it can sometimes be to tell them apart. Most of all, it celebrates love in all its forms, and the beauty of discovering that loving someone can be as extraordinary as being loved yourself.

“Exquisitely written and deeply felt…a true book of wonders.” –Geraldine Brooks, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of TheSecret Chord

“An absorbing and uplifting read.” –M.L. Stedman, author of The Light Between Oceans

“This is a book in which grief and love are so entwined they make a new and wonderful kind of sense.” –Fiona McFarlane, author of The Night Guest

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound

f610eae8-b6a1-42d4-91c0-ffecba3fa633Meet the author:   Ashley Hay is the internationally acclaimed author of four nonfiction books, including The Secret: The Strange Marriage of Annabella Milbanke and Lord Byron, and the novels The Body in the Clouds and The Railwayman’s Wife, which was honored with the Colin Roderick Award by the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies and longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, the most prestigious literary prize in Australia, among numerous other accolades. She lives in Brisbane, Australia.

For more information please visit Ashley Hay’s website.

REVIEW:

The Railwayman’s Wife justly deserves praise  for it’s lovely prose.  Ashley Hay’s depiction of a young family in NSW, Australia during and after the second world war is particularly touching.  The war has not left their town untouched as it has taken away many of its fathers and husbands.  Although, Annika feels for these women, it is not until her husband Mac is killed in a railway accident that she fully begins to comprehend the grief and loss of someone she loved.

Several main characters form part of this storyline.  Roy, a poet and former teacher is lost and foundering after returning home from the war and Frank, a medical doctor who deals with his feelings of inadequacy as a healer is unable to make a commitment to the woman he loves.  And there is Isabelle, Annika’s daughter who must learn to live without her father but who’s pragmatic view of the events around her teach Annika that there is life beyond grief.

As their lives intertwine, the healing that comes from finding contentment in  friendship, the joys of nature and the love of a good book help to put to rest the memories of war and grief.

 

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BOOK REVIEW: Two from Isaac’s House by Normandie Fischer

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Book Details:

Book Title:  Two From Isaac’s House by Normandie Fischer
Category:  Adult non-fiction, 416 pages
Genre:  Thriller / Mystery / Romance suspense
Publisher:  Sleepy Creek Press
Release date:  November 23, 2015
Available:  print, ebook, (mobi for Kindle)
Content Rating:  G

Book Description:

From author Normandie Fischer comes a new romantic suspense that takes the reader from the hills of Italy to the Jordanian desert and from there to an Israel on the brink of war with Hamas.

Rina Lynne has never traveled far from Morehead City, North Carolina. So when she inherits her father’s secret stash, she’s ready to kick up her heels and go adventuring before she settles down to marry her long-time fiancé. First stop, Italy.

Enter Tony (aka Anton), an engineering geek conned into helping his Israeli cousins as a sort-of spy. From the moment he meets Rina, he’s distracted, which is not a good idea when there’s already been murder and theft. And from the moment Rina meets Tony, she’s fascinated, which is also not a good idea. He’s an Arab-American, and she’s half-Jewish. And engaged. And then there are all those bodies dropping around them, each linked to the gathering storm in the Middle East.

Buy the book:   Amazon   

Meet the author:

9d3e7e_d658dcb31e2148cf9a22f7f2a1f64976Normandie had the best of several worlds: a Southern heritage, access to schooling in the DC area (which meant lots of cultural adventures), and several years of sculpture studies in Italy. It might have been better for her if she’d used all these opportunities more wisely, but it’s possible that the imperfect and the unwise also add fodder for the artist and the writer.

Her life changed radically when she married the love of her life at an age when some would have said she was over the hill and way past her prime. (Clichés often speak the truth, don’t they?) A lifelong sailor, she was delighted to find that Michael also longed to cruise lovely waters, which is what they did from Northern CA to Mexico, spending too-few years in the incomparable Sea of Cortez. Sea Venture, their 50′ ketch, is back home in North Carolina now because Normandie’s mama needed care. Still, it’s gorgeous there, too, and she can write from home as easily as she could on the boat.

Her two grown children, son-in-law, and two step-sons are handsome (or gorgeous, as the case may be), talented, and a delight. And now there’s a new granddaughter in the mix–woohoo! She just wishes they lived a lot closer to home.

Look for Sea Venture’s clipper bow and beautiful lines as she slips into a harbor near you.

Connect with the author:   Website   Twitter   Facebook
REVIEW:
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“Amazing how much one could hear, as if the silence weren’t silent at all”.
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Rina, an 5′ 10″ young American woman, has lived in shadows her entire life. Her miserly father controlled her life and forced her to live a life in penury and her manipulative fiance Jason will soon take over.  Her life is without passion. When her father dies leaving her unexpectedly financially independent, she is off to Italy to discover the world before she settles down to marry Jason.

However, Perugia has more in store for Rina than just language classes and exquisite food. She meets two men on a train.  She is unexpectedly attracted to a tall, polite, handsome Arab-American named Tony. The other man travelling next to her is hiding a gun under his jacket and looks middle-eastern. While on the train a murder is committed.   Danger seems to be closing in on Rina and as she tries to discover exactly who Tony is, is he American or Arabic? and why is the gunman from the train constantly in her peripheral vision? Although she fears for her life and wants to get on the next plane back to the US, her instinct tells her to stay and solve the enigma about Tony.

This story will keep your heart thumping as the storyline is alternately told by both Rina and Tony.  This is the first book I’ve read by Normandie Fischer and I found it to be a fast-paced, believable and intelligent read.

TLC

Book Blast: War and Me by M.A. Wood

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  • Genre:  YA / historical fiction / romance
  • Published:  September 26, 2013
  • Ebook:  200 page

Book Description:

Flying model airplanes isn’t cool, not for fifteen-year-old girls in the 1940’s. No one understands Julianna’s love of flying model airplanes but her dad. When he leaves to fly bomber planes in Europe forcing Julianna to deal with her mother’s growing depression alone, she feels abandoned until she meets Ben, the new boy in town.

But when he signs up for the war, too, she has to consider whether letting her first love drift away would be far easier than waiting for the next casualties.

Buy the book:  Amazon   Amazon.UK

Meet the author:

1da64a24-b0e3-475a-b0ca-de0b223a778eMarcy Blesy is the author of several middle grade, young adult, and new adult novels and short stories. Her picture book, Am I Like My Daddy?, helps children who experienced the loss of a parent when they were much younger. She has also been published in two Chicken Soup for the Soul books as well as various newspapers and magazines. By day she runs an elementary school library and enjoys spending time with her husband and two boys.

Marcy is a believer in love and enjoys nothing more than making her readers feel a book more than simply reading it.

Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter   Facebook  Email

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, February 15
A Chick Who Reads
Passages to the Past

Tuesday, February 16
A Holland Reads
CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, February 17
Beth’s Book Nook Blog
The Never-Ending Book

Thursday, February 18
A Book Geek
What Is That Book About

Friday, February 19
So Many Books, So Little Time

Monday, February 22
#redhead.with.book
Queen of All She Reads

Tuesday, February 23
Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, February 24
The Reading Queen

Thursday, February 25
Boom Baby Reviews

Friday, February 26
Eclectic Ramblings of Author Heather Osborne

Giveaway

To win a $10 Amazon Gift Card please enter the giveaway via the GLEAM form below.

Rules

  • Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 26th. 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 suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
  • Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

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BOOK REVIEW: Letters from a Patchwork Quilt by Clare Flynn

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Book Details:

Book Title Letters from a Patchwork Quilt by Clare Flynn
Category:  Adult fiction, 360 pages
Genre:  Historical fiction
Publisher:  Cranbook Press
Release date:  September 24, 2015
Available for review in:  Print and ebook: mobi (for Kindle)
Tour dates: February 15 – 26, 2016
Content Rating: PG – 13 + M (sexual situations)

Book Description:

In 1875 England, a young man, Jack Brennan, from a large and impoverished Catholic family refuses to be pushed into the priesthood and runs away to fulfil his dream of becoming a teacher.

Jack falls in love with Eliza Hewlett, but his dreams and plans are thwarted when his landlord’s daughter, Mary Ellen MacBride, falsely accuses him of fathering the child she is expecting.

Rather than be forced to marry his accuser, Jack decides to run away to America with Eliza. Just as they are about to sail, Jack is arrested and dragged from the ship, leaving Eliza alone en route to New York with just a few shillings in her pocket.

Buy the book:   Amazon

PRAISE

“The story is different, original and touching. It’s interesting to read how the lives of Jack and Eliza unfold in different countries. The plot is powerful, the characters are well sketched, memorable, and their personalities will remain in the minds of readers even after they finish the story. It’s a story of love loss and tragedy; a heartbreaking and moving tale where readers will wish to see Jack and Eliza reunited and happy together. The narration is descriptive; it also speaks about the society that existed during that age and pulls readers into the story. It’s well written and the story is not predictable, making it a engaging read.” -Readers’ Favorite (5 Star Medal)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

8151983Clare Flynn is also the author of A Greater World, set in Australia in 1920 and Kurinji Flowers, set in India in the 1930s and 40s. She is a graduate of Manchester University where she read English Language and Literature.

After a career in international marketing, working on brands from nappies to tinned tuna and living in Paris, Milan, Brussels and Sydney, she ran her own consulting business for 15 years and now lives in West London. Co-founder of the popular website, Make it and Mend it, and co-author of the 2012 book of the same name, Letters From a Patchwork Quilt is her third novel.

When not writing and reading, Clare loves to splash about with watercolours and grabs any available opportunity to travel – sometimes under the guise of research.

Connect with the author:     Website   Twitter   Facebook   Instagram   Blog   Goodreads   Pinterest

REVIEW:

What could be more intriguing that finding a letter stitched into the backing of a quilt?  Our curiosity is piqued when, under a magnifying glass the letters are unstitched from inside the quilt and the story unfolds.

Jack’s story begins in 1875 in Derby, England.  His very poor family intend for him to become a Catholic priest, sooner than later,  and as Jack has no ambition to become a priest he leaves for a teaching assignment in Bristol. Content with his new position and newfound love, Eliza it appears that his future prospects are well in hand.

Unaware of treachery brewing in the background, Jack falls victim to an unprincipled and unscrupulous priest who intends to ruin his life to protect his own reputation.  Jack and Eliza immediate make plans to leave for America, but at the last moment are separated.  Eliza, penniless, leaves for America alone.

The novel follows the storylines of both Jack and Eliza and what they must do to survive and move on with their lives.  Their love remains strong for each other even though they seem to be powerless to effect any change in their situation.  If you are looking for a light romance, this is probably not the story for you.  This book has its fill of plenty of tragedy and heartbreak. Personal weakness on Jack’s part as well as the methods used by the Catholic church to cover up wrongdoings of its priesthood arise time and again and you wonder, will things ever get any better?

This is not exactly a clean read, PG 13 + M.  The offensive subject matter is well within historical accuracy and has been inserted into the storyline for a reason.  Nonetheless, I found that the plot kept me interested until the last page.  Sorry, no spoilers!

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 15
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Tuesday, February 16
Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, February 17
Review at A Holland Reads
Review at With her Nose Stuck in a Book

Thursday, February 18
Interview at A Holland Reads

Friday, February 19
Excerpt at Layered Pages
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Monday, February 22
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, February 23
Review at Back Porchervations
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, February 24
Review at Book Nerd
Excerpt & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, February 25
Review at A Silver Twig
Review at Author Dianne Ascroft’s Blog

Friday, February 26
Review at #redhead.with.book
Excerpt at Boom Baby Reviews

Book review: Birds of Passage, An Italian Immigrant Coming of Age Story by Joe Giordano

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Book Details:

Book Title: Birds of Passage, an Italian Immigrant Coming of Age Story by Joe Giordano
Category:  Adult Fiction,  260 pages
Genre: Historical coming of age romance
Publisher: Harvard Square Editions
Release date:  October 9, 2015
Available for review in:  ebook (PDF)
Will send books: Internationally
Tour dates: October 19 to November 6, 2015
Content Rating: PG (PG because there is mild profanity, no sex scenes, some violence.)

Book Description: 

What turns the gentle mean and the mean brutal? The thirst for wealth? The demand for respect? Vying for a woman? Birds of Passage recalls the Italian immigration experience at the turn of the twentieth-century when New York’s streets were paved with violence and disappointment.

Leonardo Robustelli leaves Naples in 1905 to seek his fortune. Carlo Mazzi committed murder and escaped. Azzura Medina is an American of Italian parents. She’s ambitious but strictly controlled by her mother. Leonardo and Carlo vie for her affection.

Azzura, Leonardo, and Carlo confront con men, Tammany Hall politicians, the longshoreman’s union, Camorra clans, Black Hand extortion, and the Tombs prison.

Buy the book here:    Amazon  ~   Barnes & Noble

“With Birds of Passage, Joe Giordano delivers a rollicking, wholly entertaining take on the Italian immigrant story.  His rich cast of characters arrives seeking the usual: Money, honor, love, respect, a decent shot at the pursuit of happiness.  But things get complicated fast as they plunge into the rough-and-tumble world of rackets, scams, and politics of early 20th-century New York City.  Giordano serves up a thick, satisfying slice of the entire era in all its raw and brutal glory.”

Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, soon to be a major motion picture directed by Ang Lee.

Joe Giordano author pic

Meet the author:

Joe Giordano was born in Brooklyn. His father and grandparents immigrated to New York from Naples. Joe and his wife, Jane have lived in Greece, Brazil, Belgium and the Netherlands. They now live in Texas with their shih tzu Sophia. Joe’s stories have appeared in more than sixty magazines including Bartleby Snopes, The Newfound Journal, and The Summerset Review.

Connect with the author:   Website  ~   Twitter  ~   Facebook

REVIEW:   (written by Anne Benard)

As a historical fiction this book introduces the reader to New York City during its immigrant years. I enjoyed learning the history of the dock yards, Little Italy and the clashes between rival cultures and the Mafioso clans. I  found the descriptions of every day life to be realistic and engaging, giving me a feel for what life was like for these struggling young men and women.

However, the introduction of so many characters lead to some confusion at times and I eventually gave up trying to keep them straight.  Also the dialogue, at times,wasn’t clearly defined leading me to wonder who was speaking. It was a good story but it’s lack of clarity took away what could have been a 4 star rating for me.

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Book review: Mistress of the Court by Laura Purcell

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  • Series: Georgian Queens
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Myrmidon Books Ltd (August 4, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1910183075
  • ISBN-13: 978-1910183076

SYNOPSIS:

Orphaned and trapped in an abusive marriage, Henrietta Howard has little left to lose. She stakes everything on a new life in Hanover with its royal family, the heirs to the British throne. Henrietta’s beauty and intelligence soon win her the friendship of clever Princess Caroline and her mercurial husband, Prince George. But, as time passes, it becomes clear that friendship is the lastthing on the hot-blooded young prince’s mind. Dare Henrietta give into his advances and anger her violent husband? Dare she refuse?

Whatever George’s shortcomings, Princess Caroline is determined to make the family a success. Yet the feud between her husband and his obstinate father threatens all she has worked for. As England erupts in Jacobite riots, her family falls apart. She vows to save the country for her children to inherit – even if it costs her pride and her marriage. Set in the turbulent years of the Hanoverian accession, Mistress of the Court tells the story of two remarkable women at the centre of George II’s reign.

Buy the book:   Amazon  Amazon.uk

98XkSu2NMeet the author:   Laura Purcell is a writer, history fan and guinea pig lover living in Colchester. She is writing a series of novels about the women who loved (and hated!) the Hanoverian monarchs.

Connect with the author:

Website   Facebook    Pinterest   Twitter 

REVIEW:

Sometimes you just want to sit down with a really, really good book.  I enjoy historical fiction and was thoroughly engrossed in Mistress of the Court.  The book was well-written, the characters fully developed and the storyline easy to follow.

Henrietta is a noblewoman with no income or future, married to a drunken, abusive soldier. She is desperate to improve her life for both herself and her son and sells everything she has, including her hair to enable her to travel to the Hanoverian Court in Germany where, with time, she can earn enough for her freedom.  Soon she moves up from poor relation to the mistress of George, the future King.  She longs for security and love but the intrigues, false friends, backstabbing and powerplays create turmoil for Henrietta, who also fears the return of her physically and emotionally abusive husband.

The plot is written from the viewpoint of both Henrietta and Princess Caroline.  You are able sympathize with both women, each with her own internal struggle and ambition.  Their relationship is symbiotic yet simultaneously destructive.  Who will survive?

 

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Book review: The Inheritance by Marianne Perry

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Book Details:
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Book Title: The Inheritance by Marianne Perry
Category:  Adult Fiction, 280 pages
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher:  iUniverse
Published: November 2012
Available in:  Print, ebook (ePub)
Will send books: USA & Canada
Tour dates:  September 7 to 25, 2015
Content Rating:  G
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Book Description:
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The Inheritance tells the story of a family disintegrating from conflicting loyalties in Calabria, Italy. Set during the period 1897 to 1913, the region was subject to earthquakes and tsunamis; the land harsh and poverty the norm. Superstition clashed with religion and a class system ruled the people. Calabria is the perfect backdrop for the tragedy that unfolds in The Inheritance.Caterina is an atypical woman, and The Inheritance chronicles her life from birth to young womanhood. Born with an inheritance of loss into a society that has predetermined what she can and cannot do, she vows to live a life of her choosing. Caterina refuses to allow the limits of her gender, the constraints of her class and the demands imposed by those in power to stand in her way. Caterina remains steadfast in her commitment to become the woman she imagines. Her decisions ignite conflicts and fuel a chain of events that result in dire consequences for all whose path she crosses.
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Praise for The Inheritance:
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“Like a classic star-crossed love story, the novel is written with lush detail enriched with both likable and loathsome characters. In particular, Perry builds strong and decisive female characters. Although the key action doesn’t occur until the final chapters, Perry’s exquisite descriptions will transport readers back to the time and place of Lorenzo and Caterina’s romance-the brilliant colors in villa gardens, the smells and tastes of decadent food, and the menacing sounds of the ocean during an earthquake. After the engrossing storylines come to an abrupt end, a cliff-hanger will leave readers anxious for a sequel to continue Lorenzo and Caterina’s tragic story. Solid characters and vivid imagery capture the mood, traditions and uncertainty of the time.” – Kirkus Reviews, December 7, 2012
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“The premise for The Inheritance was inspired by the author’s genealogical research in Calabria, Italy. Marianne Perry’s research trip to Cosenza province is obvious in her vivid descriptions of the setting of “The Inheritance”. The landscape, colours, culture, native food, plants and flowers, and even the weather are all vibrantly described……Perry deftly weaves secrets and betrayals throughout the entire book, not only among the two families but the supporting characters, as well….Marianne Perry weaves a very vivid tale that might well have happened hundreds of times over the centuries. “The Inheritance” will definitely make you think about how our ancestors came to be aboard a transatlantic vessel for a perilous three week voyage to being a new life.” – Amanda Morehouse, The Ontario-Canada Genealogical Society, August 2014
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Buy the book:    Amazon     Barnes & Noble    Chapters/Indigo

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Meet the author:  Family dynamics, genealogical research to solve ancestral mysteries and international travel are Marianne Perry’s priorities. A second-generation Canadian-Italian, she is the author of The Inheritance, a historical fiction set in Calabria, Italy from 1897 to 1913 inspired by her grandmother’s early life in Calabria. With a thirty-year career in education and communications, Marianne holds a Master of Education Degree from The University of Western Ontario (Canada).A past member of the Board of Trustees, the Canadian National Arts Centre Corporation, she has also published non-fiction genealogical articles throughout North America.
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As a girl, Marianne fell in love with The National Geographic Magazine and dreamt of exploring the world. With her recent visit to Antarctica, she achieved her goal of stepping foot on every continent. The mother of two grown children, Marianne and her husband live on the shores of the St. Mary’s River, which drains Lake Superior on the outskirts of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada. She continues to research family history and write non-fiction genealogical articles. In addition, she is working on her second novel and planning further adventures.
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Marianne blogs about genealogy, travel, family and writing on her website. Visit her at http://www.marianneperry.ca. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Goodreads.
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Connect with the author:    Website   ~   Twitter   ~    Facebook
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REVIEW:
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In a time where women were meant to be decorative and to stay at home and raise children, Anna is a compassionate, strong-willed woman who endeavours to help those less fortunate than herself.  The inheritance she brings to her marriage allows her husband to expand his business activities. However, early on in their marriage her husband Santo, begins to lead another life  apart from her.  He soon removes her two oldest sons from her care to “follow in the family business”.   Anna is left with her youngest son, Lorenzo, who is very unlike his other brothers in that his artistic sensibilities allow him to aborb the beauty in the world around him.
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Anna’s protegee, an orphan and servant girl, Caterina, develop a close-knit bond that Santo, Anna’s husband disapproves of.  Lorenzo, as he matures into a young man begins to understand how different he is from his father and brothers.  This leads to conflict in several of the storylines in this plot and keeps you interested until the end of the book.
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I found the writing to be a bit choppy and sometimes I was a little confused as to the identity of the secondary characters in this book.  I love cliffhangers but I found the ending to be a little “abrupt”.  Is it possible that there is a sequel to this book?
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A quick and easy read with villains, saints and a good-natured chef.
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