Friday, March 24, 2017

Spotlight on The Galery Series by Aithal

Beyond the Milk Way (Book One)

Publisher: Season Ball
Pub. Date: November 25th, 2015
Pages: 362

Are we alone?

Three astronauts go to space in search of a planet that probably has water—one of the basic elements for humanity to survive. Do they find it? What else do they find? They encounter something—something strange—beyond their wildest imaginations, and their mission-to-explore becomes a mission-to-survive.

They experience something that makes them question their beliefs. All the things they had taken for granted, everything they had seen and learned, don’t seem to apply any longer.

Something happens along the way that makes them yearn to come back to Earth. After all, home is where the heart is.

This is not just another science fiction. Rather, it will make you question your own beliefs—may they be scientific, religious, political, or something else.

In the first installment of The Galaxy Series, find out about the strange world they discover.

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Book Trailer


Return to Earth (Book Two)

Publisher: Season Ball
Pub. Date: January 20th, 2017
Pages: 172

After their shuttle met with an accident and landed on a strange planet, the three astronauts return to Earth with the help of the aliens. However, they end up returning in the wrong time—in the future.

What they experience truly shocks them. They return to a time when separation, division, and hatred, rule the day. Indeed, they return to Earth. But is it really home? What has happened to their beloved planet? And what has happened to their country, the most powerful nation on Earth? Is it still the most powerful country on Earth? Whose doing is it?

In a place where how a human sees and treats a fellow human defines his existence. In a time when survival is the most important thing, the human spirit of endurance and sharing shows how life can be when things become dire.

In this second book of The Galaxy Series, join the adventures of the three astronauts and an alien on Earth. Take an emotional rollercoaster ride as they travel through America, see what they see and ask yourself—‘is this what I want to leave for my next generation?’

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About the Author

Aithal resides in Los Angeles with his wife and two children. Find out more about Aithal's books on the Galaxy Series website, and connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Cover Crush: The Ninth Life of Louis Drax by Liz Jensen

Hello, my name is Colleen and I am a cover slut. I know, I aren't supposed to judge a book by it's cover. I just can't help myself!  A beautiful cover draws my eye every single time and I can't help but pick up the book it's dressing and see if the inside seems as intriguing as the outside. Sometimes it does, and sometimes a pretty cover is just a pretty cover. Either way, I love getting an eyeful! 

One of my favorite bloggers, Erin at Flashlight Commentary, created a weekly blog post called Cover Crush and she and some other blogger friends are sharing their favorite covers each Thursday. I've decided to join in this year and will link to their posts down below.

So, without further ado, my Cover Crush this week is.....

This is such an interesting cover! I LOVE how the central picture of a boy coming out of a dark cave into water overlooking some sort of castle seems to be happening within the mind of someone (possibly the same boy?). Centering the title within the head just draws the eye right to it as well. I don't believe I've ever seen a cover quite like this before. It's just really stunning!

So what in the world is the story really about? Let's see:

Nine-year-old Louis Drax is a problem child: bright, precocious, deceitful – and dangerously, disturbingly, disaster-prone. When he falls off a cliff into a ravine, the accident seems almost predestined. Louis miraculously survives – but the family has been shattered.

Louis’ father has vanished, his mother is paralysed by shock, and Louis lies in a deep coma from which he may never emerge. In a clinic in Provence, Dr Pascal Dannachet tries to coax Louis back to consciousness. But the boy defies medical logic, startling Dannachet out of his safe preconceptions, and drawing him inexorably into the dark heart of Louis’ buried world. 

Only Louis holds the key to the mystery surrounding his fall – and he can’t communicate. Or can he?

Don't forget to check out what covers my blogger buddies are drooling over this week:

Heather at The Maiden's Court
Stephanie at Layered Pages

Created by Magdalena of A Bookaholic Swede

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

TLC Book Tours: The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan

Publisher: Crown
Pub Date: February 14th, 2017
Pages: 384


“Just because the men have gone to war, why do we have to close the choir? And precisely when we need it most!”

As England enters World War II’s dark early days, spirited music professor Primrose Trent, recently arrived to the village of Chilbury, emboldens the women of the town to defy the Vicar’s stuffy edict to shutter the church’s choir in the absence of men and instead “carry on singing.” Resurrecting themselves as “The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir,” the women of this small village soon use their joint song to lift up themselves, and the community, as the war tears through their lives.

Told through letters and journals, THE CHILBURY LADIES’ CHOIR moves seamlessly from budding romances to village intrigues to heartbreaking matters of life and death. As we come to know the struggles of the charismatic members of this unforgettable outfit– a timid widow worried over her son at the front; the town beauty drawn to a rakish artist; her younger sister nursing an impossible crush and dabbling in politics she doesn’t understand; a young Jewish refugee hiding secrets about her family, and a conniving midwife plotting to outrun her seedy past– we come to see how the strength each finds in the choir’s collective voice reverberates in her individual life. In turns funny, charming and heart-wrenching, this lovingly executed ensemble novel will charm and inspire, illuminating the true spirit of the women on the homefront, in a village of indomitable spirit, at the dawn of a most terrible conflict.

What Did I Think About the Story?

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir is, for me, perfect historical fiction. Told through the letters and journal entries of various women living in the small village of Chilbury in England, the reader gets to view WWII from a very unique perspective and to see, through the eyes of these women, how the war effected those on the home front in a myriad of ways. Through participation in this women's choir and through the support and strength of each other, the women of Chilbury are able to grow as individuals and as a community, immerging stronger as a result of the sadness, horror, and loss they each go through.

Making this story an epistolary novel is absolutely brilliant. Being presented as letters and journals we are able to see right into the hearts and heads of these women to not only learn what happens to them and those they love but to see the emotions and anxieties that drive them. I felt completely drawn to these women (most of them at least...I was not a fan of Edwina  Paltry, the midwife at the center of a particularly seedy conspiracy at the heart of the story) and became quite invested in what they were experiencing. Having these varying perspectives also allows the reader to get such a wide scope of the war and to really see how it affected so many different people. In this one novel we are given a conspiracy (with Ms. Paltry's letters to her sister), a coming of age story (through young Kitty Winthrop's journal), a fraught romance (in Venetia Winthrop's letters to her best friend), a mother's struggle to not live completely for her son and learn to find some strength and joy for herself (through the journal of Mrs. Tilling), as well as the heartache and uncertainty of a Jewish evacuee (through the sporadic journal entries of Sylvie, the young Czech girl living with the Winthrops). So many emotions and conflicts existing in one novel, yet fully developed given the nature of the way the stories are presented. Just brilliant!

Beyond learning about each of these women individually (and, through their eyes, other women and men in their village), having them all be a part of this choir was so fun to read. It was great seeing how they created this close knit family-like community and how the simple act of singing not only brought joy to each of them but also created a safe space to mourn and gave them a cathartic way to express their warring emotions. It also served to give strength to some of them when they needed it most, and a soft place to rest when others couldn't keep going on their own. There is so much loss within this story, but there is also hope and love and bravery and I felt wholly satisfied when I turned that final page.

Needless to say, I absolutely adored The Chilbury Ladies's Choir. Given the wide scope of the various perspectives within the story and the immense emotion showcased, I would recommend this novel to anyone wanting to really connect to a story and not only learn a little more about the "war at home" during WWII but to discover some amazingly brave and beautiful characters. I cannot wait to see what this author does next!

What Did I Think About the Cover?

This cover is GORGEOUS! It perfectly reflects the charming English village brought to life within the pages and highlights our women who are central to the story. The planes flying above are also important to the story and could also represent the looming danger and fear brought on by the war. I have very much enjoyed staring at this cover as I've read the book!

My Rating: 5.0/5.0

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for providing me with a free copy of The Chilbury Ladies' Choir in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Be sure to continue below for more information about the book, the author, and the rest of the tour!

Praise for The Chilbury Ladies' Choir

“There’s so much happening in Chilbury: intrigue, romance and an unforgettable cast of characters who aren’t always as they appear. The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir is a charming slice of English wartime life that warms the soul like a hot toddy.” — Martha Hall Kelly, New York Times bestselling author of Lilac Girls

“Lyrical, poetic, emotional, funny, endearing, surprising – it is a masterpiece.” — Veronica Henry, author of An Eligible Bachelor

“The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir sinks you deep inside the rich, intricate atmosphere of an English village in the middle of war, when quiet lives are upended and secrets unravel. With her unforgettable characters and vivid narrative, Jennifer Ryan creates the kind of wartime novel that plays out over the intimate territory of the human heart—full of soul, full of hope. You’ll be thinking about this book long after the last page turns.” — Beatriz Williams, New York Times bestselling author of A Hundred Summers and The Secret Life of Violet Grant

“World War II in an English village seen through the eyes of the most delicious cast of characters you’ll ever meet—The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir is a masterpiece of secrets, misdirection, village gossip, and gleeful disregard for anything but the main chance, as the Home Front learns to carry on. Seldom do you find a writer with such a deft touch—Jennifer Ryan sweeps the reader along to the very last page in a remarkable debut. “ — Charles Todd, New York Times bestselling author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge series

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About the Author

Jennifer Ryan Photo © Nina Subin

Jennifer Ryan lives in the Washington, D.C., area with her husband and their two children. Originally from Kent and then London, she was previously a nonfiction book editor.
Find out more about Jennifer on her website and connect with her on Facebook.

See the Author Discussing Research and Writing with Distractions


TLC Blog Tour Schedule


Monday, February 13th: Dwell in Possibility
Tuesday, February 14th: Building Bookshelves
Thursday, February 16th: Reading Reality
Monday, February 20th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Tuesday, February 21st: Laura’s Reviews
Thursday, February 23rd: BookNAround
Friday, February 24th: Kritter’s Ramblings
Monday, February 27th: A Chick Who Readsr
Thursday, March 2nd: Savvy Verse and Wit
Monday, March 6th: Bibliotica
Tuesday, March 7th: West Metro Mommy Reads
Thursday, March 9th: Joyfully Retired
Friday, March 10th: View from the Birdhouse
Monday, March 13th: Books and Bindings
Tuesday, March 14th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Wednesday, March 15th: Kahakai Kitchen
Thursday, March 16th: Just One More Chapter
Friday, March 17th: Art @ Home
Monday, March 20th: Diary of an Eccentric
Wednesday, March 22nd: A Literary Vacation

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Cover Crush: Bring Her Home by David Bell

Hello, my name is Colleen and I am a cover slut. I know, I aren't supposed to judge a book by it's cover. I just can't help myself!  A beautiful cover draws my eye every single time and I can't help but pick up the book it's dressing and see if the inside seems as intriguing as the outside. Sometimes it does, and sometimes a pretty cover is just a pretty cover. Either way, I love getting an eyeful! 

One of my favorite bloggers, Erin at Flashlight Commentary, created a weekly blog post called Cover Crush and she and some other blogger friends are sharing their favorite covers each Thursday. I've decided to join in this year and will link to their posts down below.

So, without further ado, my Cover Crush this week is.....

Me thinks something bad has happened to whoever is at the other end of that wispy blond hair! I love the fact that the cover gives nothing away, only seeming to show us someone amongst swirling leaves and a dark forest. I love when covers are mysterious and alluring, and this one definitely fits that bill!

Let's see what the story's about:

In the breathtaking new thriller from David Bell, bestselling author of Since She Went Awayand Somebody I Used to Know, the fate of two missing teenage girls becomes a father’s worst nightmare.... 

Just a year and a half after the tragic death of his wife, Bill Price’s fifteen-year-old daughter, Summer, and her best friend, Haley, disappear. Days later, the girls are found in a city park. Haley is dead at the scene, while Summer is left beaten beyond recognition and clinging to life.

As Bill holds vigil over Summer’s bandaged body, the only sound the unconscious girl can make is one cryptic and chilling word: No. And the more time Bill spends with Summer, the more he wonders what happened to her. Or if the injured girl in the hospital bed is really his daughter at all.

When troubling new questions about Summer’s life surface, Bill is not prepared for the aftershocks. He’ll soon discover that both the living and the dead have secrets. And that searching for the truth will tear open old wounds that pierce straight to the heart of his family...

Don't forget to check out what covers my blogger buddies are drooling over this week:

Erin at Flashlight Commentary
Stephanie at Layered Pages

Created by Magdalena of A Bookaholic Swede

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Spotlight on THE CONFESSIONS OF YOUNG NERO by Margaret George

Publisher: Berkley
Pub. Date: March 7th, 2017
Pages: 528

The New York Times bestselling and legendary author of Helen of Troy and Elizabeth I now turns her gaze on Emperor Nero, one of the most notorious and misunderstood figures in history.

Built on the backs of those who fell before it, Julius Caesar’s imperial dynasty is only as strong as the next person who seeks to control it. In the Roman Empire no one is safe from the sting of betrayal: man, woman—or child.

As a boy, Nero’s royal heritage becomes a threat to his very life, first when the mad emperor Caligula tries to drown him, then when his great aunt attempts to secure her own son’s inheritance. Faced with shocking acts of treachery, young Nero is dealt a harsh lesson: it is better to be cruel than dead.

While Nero idealizes the artistic and athletic principles of Greece, his very survival rests on his ability to navigate the sea of vipers that is Rome. The most lethal of all is his own mother, a cold-blooded woman whose singular goal is to control the empire. With cunning and poison, the obstacles fall one by one. But as Agrippina’s machinations earn her son a title he is both tempted and terrified to assume, Nero’s determination to escape her thrall will shape him into the man he was fated to become—an Emperor who became legendary.

With impeccable research and captivating prose, The Confessions of Young Nero is the story of a boy’s ruthless ascension to the throne. Detailing his journey from innocent youth to infamous ruler, it is an epic tale of the lengths to which man will go in the ultimate quest for power and survival.

Praise for The Confessions of Young Nero 

“If only history lessons had been like this.”—Cosmopolitan

 “Extensively researched with the highest integrity, and deeply engaging, it sets a new benchmark for the genre.”—New York Times bestselling author Alison Weir

“George leaves us with the most coveted prize of fiction: a world. . . we wished existed, and that thoroughly does between the covers.” —Chicago Tribune

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About the Author


Margaret George is the New York Times bestselling author of six novels of biographical historical fiction, including Elizabeth I, Helen of Troy, Mary, Called Magdalene, The Memoirs of Cleopatra, The Autobiography of Henry VIII, and Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles. She also has written a children’s book, Lucille Lost.
Connect with Margaret on Facebook.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Release Day Spotlight: A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner

Publisher: Berkley
Pub. Date: March 14th, 2017
Pages: 384

Genre: Historical Fiction

Wartime intrigue spans the lives of three women—past and present—in the latest novel from the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life.

February, 1946. World War Two is over, but the recovery from the most intimate of its horrors has only just begun for Annaliese Lange, a German ballerina desperate to escape her past, and Simone Deveraux, the wronged daughter of a French Résistance spy.

Now the two women are joining hundreds of other European war brides aboard the renowned RMS Queen Mary to cross the Atlantic and be reunited with their American husbands. Their new lives in the United States brightly beckon until their tightly-held secrets are laid bare in their shared stateroom. When the voyage ends at New York Harbor, only one of them will disembark...

Present day. Facing a crossroads in her own life, Brette Caslake visits the famously haunted Queen Mary at the request of an old friend. What she finds will set her on a course to solve a seventy-year-old tragedy that will draw her into the heartaches and triumphs of the courageous war brides—and will ultimately lead her to reconsider what she has to sacrifice to achieve her own deepest longings.

Praise for A Bridge Across the Ocean

“I was utterly spellbound, beguiled, swept up in this ghostly mystery.”—Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

“A beguiling tapestry of storytelling and a unique look at one of history’s most enigmatic ships.”—Sarah McCoy, New York Times bestselling author of The Mapmaker’s Children

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About the Author


Susan Meissner is a multi-published author, speaker and writing workshop leader with a background
in community journalism. Her novels include A Fall of Marigolds, named to Booklist’s Top Ten Women’s Fiction titles for 2014, and The Shape of Mercy, named by Publishers Weekly as one of the 100 Best Novels of 2008. A California native, she attended Point Loma Nazarene University. Susan is a pastor’s wife and a mother of four young adults. When she’s not working on a novel, Susan writes small group curriculum for her San Diego church. 

You can learn more about Susan on her website and connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

Release Day Spotlight on A DEATH BY ANY OTHER NAME by Tessa Arlen

Publisher: Minotaur Books
Pub. Date: March 14th, 2017
Pages: 336

Series: Lady Montfort Mysteries #3

Building on the success of her last two mysteries in the same series, Tessa Arlen returns us to the same universe full of secrets, intrigue, and, this time, roses in A Death By Any Other Name.

The elegant Lady Montfort and her redoubtable housekeeper, Mrs. Jackson, investigate a murder among a group of amateur rose-breeders while the idyllic English summer days count down to the start of WW1.

When Mrs. Jackson receives a visit from a cook who believes she was an indirect witness to murder from a poisoned dish of breakfast kedgeree Lady Montfort promises to do what she can to clear the cook's name, and contrives an invitation to Hyde Castle, the home of a self-made millionaire, to investigate a murder of concealed passions and secret desires. With the help of the invaluable Jackson Lady Montfort sets about solving the puzzle surrounding the death of the rose society's most popular member and discovers a villain of audacious cunning among a group of mild-mannered, amateur rose-breeders.

While they investigate, the headlines bring news of the continuing conflict in Prussia following the assassination of the heir to the Austrian empire. As each day brings more threatening news and the very real fear that Britain will be drawn into war Lady Montfort and Mrs. Jackson must race the clock to solve the mystery before Britain declares on Germany.

Brimming with intrigue, Tessa Arlen's latest does not disappoint.

Praise for A Death By Any Other Name

"Arlen follows up on her two previous Downtown Abbey-era tales with the requisite stately mansion and quirky dramatis personae." —Kirkus Reviews 

"Arlen recreates a richly detailed pre-WWI England, seamlessly weaving historical events and people into her well-written third Lady Montford mystery... Lovers of traditional English country house mysteries will enjoy this story very much." —Publishers Weekly

Praise for The Lady Montfort Mystery Series

"Tessa Arlen returns with another intriguing mystery to be solved by the Countess of Montfort and her housekeeper Edith Jackson, a reluctant Watson to Lady Clementine's enthusiastic Sherlock…Arlen skillfully captures the uneasy moods and mores of the time." —Margaret Maron, award-winning author of the Deborah Knott series on A Death By Any Other Name 

"A neatly crafted whodunit that drips with diamonds, titles, and scandals." —Kirkus Reviews on Death Sits Down to Dinner 

"With a deliciously gruesome murder and an unlikely pair of sleuths, this is a treat for fans of Downton Abbey who will want to devour it with a nice steaming pot of Earl Grey." —New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn on Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman 

"This pitch perfect classic whodunit beautifully captures that brief moment when the world waited to hear whether war may be averted. Tessa Arlen’s observations of her characters and the intricacies of the English class system are conveyed with sparkling insight and wry humour." — Frances Brody, author of the Kate Shackleton mysteries on A Death By Any Other Name

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About the Author

TESSA ARLEN is the author of Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman. She is the daughter of a British
diplomat, and had lived in or visited her parents in Singapore, Berlin, the Persian Gulf, Beijing, Delhi and Warsaw by the time she was sixteen. She came to the U.S. in 1980 and worked as an H.R. recruiter for the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee for the 1984 Olympic Games, where she interviewed her future husband for a job. She lives in Bainbridge Island, Washington.

Learn more about Tessa Arlen on her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.