Blog Tour: Threads by Charlotte Whitney

BookCover_ThreadsTitle: Threads

Author: Charlotte Whitney

Genre:   Historical Fiction, Women’s Lit, Book Club Lit

Blurb:

It’s a boring, hardscrabble life for three sisters growing up on a Michigan farm during the throes of the Great Depression.  But when young Nellie, digging for pirate treasure, discovers the tiny hand of a dead baby, rumors begin to fly.  Narrated by Nellie and her two older sisters, the story follows the girls as they encounter a patchwork of threatening circumstances and decide to solve the mystery.


Review:
fivestars
I really enjoyed this novel of three sisters growing up during the Great Depression. The way the author wrote each sisters’ point of view, while keeping it appropriate for their ages, took great skill. I have to say, my favorite character was Nellie. I loved her innocence and the way she made up imaginary friends and stories. Miss Whitney has that talent where, even though there are major world events occurring in the background, she focuses on the people living during those events, and envelops you into their lives. Certainly worth the read for any American historical fiction fan.


Excerpt:

When I got home from high school today, Jeepers, I knew immediately that something wasn’t right. Aunt Hazel and Ma were sitting out by the milk house on a couple of turned-over pails, and Irene and Nellie were sitting on the ground close by. All of them were looking towards the lane that goes down to the two meadows and onto the woods and crick. The county sheriff’s car sat empty near the silo. No one was talking. 

Worried, I raced across the yard. Could Pa have gotten hurt? As I ran toward Ma I looked over at the west field and saw Ace and King hitched up to the wagon piled with brush. Rover was sleeping near the wagon. 

It looked like Pa had finished about half of the field, but he was nowhere in sight. Pa never leaves the horses hitched up when he isn’t working. When he comes up for noontime dinner he al- ways puts them in the barnyard so they can rest, too. Naturally, I panicked. 

When Ma saw me running over she jumped up and walked over to me, a strange look on her face. 

“Is Pa all right?” I blurted out. 

“Yes, yes,” Ma answered. “He and Elmer are down in the woods with Sheriff Devlon.” Nellie pushed me aside and threw her arms around Ma’s legs. 

“Nellie thinks there’s a dead baby in the woods,” Irene piped up, all knowingly. “The Sheriff’s gone with them to look at it. Who in their right mind would bury a baby in that woods? Nellie musta gotten it all mixed up.”


Author ImageAbout the Author:

Charlotte Whitney grew up in Michigan and spent much of her career at the University of Michigan directing internship and living-learning programs. She started out writing non-fiction while at the University and switched to romance with I DREAM IN WHITE. A passion for history inspired her to write THREADS A Depression Era Tale chronicling the stories of three sisters on a farm during the throes of the Great Depression. She lives in Arizona, where she loves hiking, bicycling, swimming, and practicing yoga.


BUY LINK: 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/THREADS-Depression-Tale-Charlotte-Whitney-ebook/dp/B07ZBN35JF/ref


Author’s Website:

http://www.charlottewhitney.com

Facebook Author Page:

https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=charlotte%20whitney%20author

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/charlottewhitney65/

LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/charlotte-whitney-8235463a/

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/CWhitneyAuthor

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Blog Tour: The Last Collection by Jeanne Mackin

Cover_The Last CollectionTitle: The Last Collection

Author: Jeanne Mackin

Genre: Historical Romance

BLURB: An American woman becomes entangled in the intense rivalry between iconic fashion designers Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli in this captivating novel from the acclaimed author of The Beautiful American.

Paris, 1938. Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli are fighting for recognition as the most successful and influential fashion designer in France, and their rivalry is already legendary. They oppose each other at every turn, in both their politics and their designs: Chanel’s are classic, elegant, and practical; Schiaparelli’s bold, experimental, and surreal.

When Lily Sutter, a recently widowed young American teacher, visits her brother, Charlie, in Paris, he insists on buying her a couture dress—a Chanel. Lily, however, prefers a Schiaparelli. Charlie’s beautiful and socially prominent girlfriend soon begins wearing Schiaparelli’s designs as well, and much of Paris follows in her footsteps.

Schiaparelli offers budding artist Lily a job at her store, and Lily finds herself increasingly involved with Schiaparelli and Chanel’s personal war. Their fierce competition reaches new and dangerous heights as the Nazis and the looming threat of World War II bear down on Paris.


Review:
fivestars
A vivid exploration of fashion at the cusp of WWII, The Last Collection is exquisitely written, focusing around the three primary colors: blue, red, and yellow. I was captivated from the first page, and completely drawn in to Lily’s unusual experiences with Schiap and Coco.

This book is not rushed, exploring the theme beautifully, each color evolving as Lily does. Some other reviews say the story is unbelievable, but that’s why it’s fiction based around a historical context. The Last Collection is a prime example of how historical fiction should be written, with care. The slow burn and an amazing story that is definitely worth the read.


Interview with the Author:

If you could have one paranormal ability, what would it be?

Time travel, definitely!  I love historical fiction because it has that quality of transportation, taking us to a different time and place.  I’d love to have dinner with Ben Franklin (he was quite the ladies’ man), talk with Eleanor of Aquitaine about courtly love, be there on the opening night of The Cotton Club in Harlem, hear Jenny Lind sing. When I was writing The Last Collection, sitting down at my desk was like fastening my seat belt and going to Paris of the 1930’s.

What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?

I study belly dancing.  I was really active as a child and need to move. A lot. But after a certain age the knees don’t enjoy ballet classes as much as they used to, right?  One day I needed to do something light-hearted and even a little silly and decided to try belly dancing. And I fell in love with it. The music is wonderful, there’s a wide variety of styles (I prefer Turkish) and the chink-chink of the sequined hip scarves is absolutely enthralling.  It’s an art form by women, for women.

When writing descriptions of your heroine, what feature do you start with?

Psychologically, I start with her current frame of mind. Is she happy?  Anxious?  Something must happen immediately to challenge that frame of mind. A letter arrives. A phone rings. A train pulls out of a station.  And the story begins. Physically, I first imagine the eyes. Eyes say so much, their color, the shape, if they look rested or not.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I hate having to develop outlines.  Usually, I’ll start with a single paragraph with a beginning and ending date for the story line (which usually changes several times during the drafting of the book) and a few sentences about the situation of the protagonist, who the antagonist is, the main action…and go from there.  The first page of every novel is always one of the most exciting moments of my life, because I never know what exactly is going to show up. I love being surprised.

Did you learn anything from this book? If so, what?

Germans prisoners of war were housed in this country, after the English camps got too full.  And as it turned out, the first home my mother and father had after the war was in a camp built for German prisoners. It had been repurposed as an apartment complex.  It was an awful place and my mother was miserable, but there were few other housing options at the time. What also surprised me during the research was finding out how many of the rich and powerful, in England, France and the United States as well, were admirers of Hitler. Like many wars, World War II was about class and wealth as well as ideology.  I think it’s important to know, and to remember, that borders were quite blurred in the 1930’s and 1940’s; it wasn’t as clear as we may think. And we need to remember that once we give people in power permission to imprison and eradicate one group of people, we give them permission to do that to everybody. Justice and compassion must rule.


About the Author:

Jeanne Mackin’s latest novel, The Last Collection, A Novel of Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel takes the reader to Paris, just before world war II, and the intense, dangerous rivalry between the two queens of fashion. Her previous novels include A Lady of Good Family, the award winning The Beautiful American, The Sweet By and By, Dreams of Empire, The Queen’s War, and The Frenchwoman.        

Her historical fictions explore the lives of strong women who change their worlds…because we know the world always needs a lot of change! She has worked all the traditional ‘writers’ jobs’ from waitressing to hotel maid, anything that would leave her a few hours each morning for writing. Most recently, she taught creative writing at the graduate level.  She has traveled widely, in Europe and the Middle East and can think of no happier moment than sitting in a Paris café, drinking coffee or a Pernod, and simply watching, while scribbling in a notebook.

JeanneMackin.com

Facebook.com/JeanneMackinauthor

Twitter.com/JeanneMackin1

Penguin Random House – https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/531859/the-last-collection-by-jeanne-mackin/

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07H71Q5FQ/ref=dp-kindle-redirect

GIVEAWAY:

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Blog Tour: The Ultimate Betrayal by Kat Martin

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kat Martin will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


Review: 

fourstars
A fast-paced, action packed romantic suspense, The Ultimate Betrayal by Kat Martin is everything I would come to expect from a novel of this genre, along with some steamy sex scenes! I found myself more drawn to Jessie as a character than Bran, who I felt lacked some depth. I wish he would have given a bit more to his past with Jessie’s brother, and why he hardened his heart so much. It would have been interesting to read why Danny thought Bran was a man who would never be tied down. The plot surrounding the chemical weapons and the framing of Jessie’s father made for a fascinating read as the pieces began to fall into place.


To prove her father’s innocent of treason, she’ll have to face a killer–and risk everything …

When journalist Jessie Kegan’s father is accused of espionage and treason, Jessie has no doubt the man she looked up to her entire life is innocent. Worse yet, before Colonel Kegan can stand trial, he’s found dead of a heart attack…but Jessie knows it was murder. Forcing down her grief, she’s determined to use her investigative skills and resources to clear her father’s name. But going after the truth means Jessie soon finds herself in the crosshairs of a killer who wants that truth to stay buried with her father,

Protecting Jessie Kegan is a job bodyguard Brandon Garrett can’t refuse. Jessie isn’t just a client at Maximum Security—she’s the sister of his best friend, Danny, killed in Afghanistan. With dangerous forces gunning for Jessie from every angle, keeping her safe will mean keeping her close and Bran finds their mutual attraction growing, though being Danny’s sister puts Jessie out of bounds.

With their backs against the wall, Jessie and Bran will have to risk everything to expose her father’s killer—before his legacy dies with his daughter.

Read an Excerpt

Bran leaned back in his chair, his gaze fixed on her face. “So…no husband. No serious boyfriend, either?”

“No. Listen, if you’re finished with the third degree, I’m going to bed. It’s been a rough day.”

His gaze sharpened. “Sorry,” he said, not looking sorry at all and even more curious than before–unfortunately. “I’ll see you in the morning.”

“What time?” she managed to ask calmly.

“We leave at six.”

“I’ll be ready. Good night, Bran. And thanks again. I really appreciate your help.”

Bran casually nodded, but his beautiful blue eyes never strayed as she turned and walked away. She shouldn’t have let his questions get to her. It was a dead giveaway to a guy as smart as Brandon that there was more to the story than she was willing to tell.

Far more.

She thought of the man whose brutality had changed her life. Jordan Duran, Jordy, the man who was currently serving a ten-year prison sentence. She didn’t like to think about him. She refused to let him control any more of her life than he already had. As she had learned to do, she pushed his image from her mind and just thanked God she was still alive.

Yawning, she packed up the computer so she would be ready to travel in the morning and headed to bed. After the drama of the day–being followed from the airport, shot at, meeting Brandon Garrett and his friends, and escaping a possible tail, she should have been exhausted, and she was. Still, she couldn’t seem to fall asleep.

Every time she started to drift away, she saw Bran’s perceptive blue eyes and wondered what he thought of her. Wondered if he found her attractive. It had been months since she had been interested in a man. After Jordy, none of her attempts at a normal relationship had worked out and eventually she had just given up.

But Bran intrigued her. Both his physical beauty and his mind. She also knew that getting involved with Bran on a personal level was a terrible idea. He was exactly the heartbreaker Danny had warned her about. He was also ex-military, an adrenaline junkie who loved to be in the middle of the action. Guys like that never changed. Just as before, her judgment sucked.


About the Author:

New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. Currently residing in Missoula, Montana with her Western-author husband, L. J. Martin, Kat has written sixty-five Historical and Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels. More than sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Kat is currently at work on her next Romantic Suspense.


Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Betrayal-Maximum-Security/dp/1335080600

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-ultimate-betrayal-dwayne-t-martin/1125832346?ean=9781488056048

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-ultimate-betrayal-26

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Kat_Martin_The_Ultimate_Betrayal?id=GqmqDwAAQBAJ

Itunes: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-ultimate-betrayal/id1477473206

Social Media

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KatMartinAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/katmartinauthor

Website: https://www.katmartin.com/

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Book Review: A Perfect Bride

a-perfect-bride-kindleTitle: A Perfect Bride

Author: Ginny Sterling

Blurb:

Orphaned as a child, feisty Colleen O’Mara is discovered by the Cherokee people and adopted as one of their own. She becomes a sister to the chief’s only daughter. Learning their ways, she teaches them her language in return. As the United States Army uproots them from their homes, she is fascinated with the dark-haired lieutenant that has come to her rescue as they are forced to make the treacherous journey to the Oklahoma Territory.

Lieutenant Daniel Williams is among the soldiers called up to enforce the removal of the Cherokee people from Georgia. It only took one glance into Colleen’s pale green eyes amidst the chaos to become fascinated with the so-called Indian maiden. Feeling guilty over what is happening to the Cherokee and his love for the enchanting young woman, he abandons everything he had once known in order to make things right for his perfect bride.

** Note: Each book in The Bride series is a standalone book, in a mini-series, and you can read them in any order


Review:fourstars

As many of my readers know, I do have a strict review protocol as it were when it comes to historical novels. I’m a huge proponent of research and keeping the reader in the period. As this is a topic of interest to me, I was excited to read A Perfect Bride by Ginny Sterling. The blurb and cover were quite captivating, well-written to draw the reader in with just enough tease. A lovely combination.

I was very pleased with the beginning of the novel. It was crafted beautifully, where the reader could feel the distress of the native tribe as they were forced to move, the heartbreak and the concern.

However, the latter half of the story fell short to me. There were a couple times I sat thinking, would this be a realistic depiction of what might happen? I know with historical romance, we are allowed some leeway in regards to how we interpret history, but it was simply too rushed. There were also some aspects that had me pulled from the story, namely a description of Little Fire (Colleen) smelling Daniel’s aftershave on a scarf after he had been on a trail with them for many weeks. While I do know aftershave existed in the time period, it threw me out of the story because it felt too modern.

However, despite these things, taking the book on a whole, it is a good representation of the genre and well-written with no grammatical or spelling errors. Therefore, I would recommend it for someone wanting a taste of the era with a HEA ending.


About the Author:

Ginny Sterling is an avid romance writer. She enjoys telling tales that tug at the heart. She enjoys reading and creating stories that leave the reader smiling, laughing or crying. She mostly writes Western Romances Books – including two new series: Brokken Road Romances and The Lawkeepers. She also writes Contemporary romance, as well as the Timeless Brides Series (Time travel romance).

Having lived in several different parts of the United States, she and her family have settled in Kentucky. She spends all of her free time writing, quilting, or shopping for coffee mugs to add to her collection.

______________________________

If you want spicy romance, check out Gina Cole, her pen name that writes steamy Contemporary and Time Travel romances with a flair for the happily ever after. The Timeless Brides series is a fun, outlandish, group of sexy books that are designed to delight and surprise readers.

Find out more about Ginny Sterling at: http://www.ginnysterling.com

Book Review: The Liar’s Promise by Mark Tilbury

Mark Tilbury - The Liar’s Promise_cover

Title: The Liar’s Promise

Author: Mark Tilbury

Blurb: 

Do you love dark & compelling psychological thrillers? Mark Tilbury’s unmissable The Liar’s Promise is a suspenseful thriller which will have you gripped.

How does a mother protect her child from the unknown?

During a visit to a local theatre, four-year-old Chloe Hollis becomes hysterical. But her mother, Mel, doesn’t realise that this is just the beginning of the nightmare. In the coming weeks, Chloe talks of The Tall Man – Of death.

At her wit’s end, Mel confides in Charles Honeywell, the headmaster at the school where she works. But what Mel doesn’t know is that Charles is linked to what is happening to her daughter.

Will Mel learn the terrible truth? And can she overcome her own tragic past and save her daughter before it’s too late?

The Liar’s Promise is a story of past lives and future torment.


Review:
4 blog stars

After having read Mark Tilbury’s other novels, and swayed by the masses of advance praise for The Liar’s Promise, I was very curious to read this new standalone thriller. I was drawn to the tease of past lives combined with murder, as well as knowing Tilbury’s writing style.

Other reviewers have said this is a gruesome novel, but I must be immune to literary violence because I didn’t find it overly shocking or morbid (gotta wonder what that says about me!). The novel mainly focuses on Chloe’s experiences, as seen through the eyes of her mother and those around her. She is basically a catalyst for a spirit trying to reach out. Peter King, a twisted theatre owner with an obsession with Shakespeare, is the villain of the piece. I found him to be a very well written, complex individual—one of the more unique serial killers I have read about. Among the never-ending flow of crime novels, he does stand out, which is high praise.

After reading Abattoir of Dreams, there were elements of The Liar’s Promise that fell short for me, not to say it wasn’t a good read. The reader is treated to glimpses of King’s victims, which did intensify the horrific nature of his character, however, after the halfway point, we are left wondering what happened to them as the rest of the action centers back on Chloe. This is solved, but I felt like that emotional connection to empathize with his victims was missing.

Readers who enjoy crime novels and thrillers will find Mr. Tilbury’s latest offering interesting and perhaps even thought provoking about what happens to us after we die.


Get your copy of A Liar’s Promise on all Amazon marketplaces!

Review: The Seven Year Dress

I seem to be on a trend of reading amazing books, because this historical fiction novel checked all my boxes! Also, the author donates all her profits to shelters to help dogs! Another good reason to buy and read, aside from it being FANTASTIC!


FRONT COVER The Seven Year Dress KINDLE(1) copy

Blurb:

One of the darkest times in human history was the insane design and execution to rid the world of Jews and “undesirables.” At the hands of the powerful evil madman Adolf Hitler, families were ripped apart and millions were slaughtered. Persecution, torture, devastation, and enduring the unthinkable remained for those who lived. This is the story of one woman who lived to tell her story. This is a narrative of how a young beautiful teenager, Helen Stein, and her family were torn asunder, ultimately bringing her to Auschwitz. It was there she suffered heinous indignity at the hands of the SS. It was also there, in that death camp, she encountered compassion, selfless acts of kindness, and friendship. Written by the award winning, best selling author of His Name Was Ben, comes a story of the resilience of the human spirit that will leave you thinking about Helen Stein and The Seven Year Dress for years to come after the last page is shut.

Purchase Link:

https://www.amazon.com/Seven-Year-Dress-Paulette-Maturin-ebook/dp/B01FEAX7AU


413GBctownL._UX250_About the Author:

Paulette Mahurin lives with her husband Terry and two dogs, Max and Bella, in Ventura County, California. She grew up in West Los Angeles and attended UCLA, where she received a Master’s Degree in Science.

While in college, she won awards and was published for her short-story writing. One of these stories, Something Wonderful, was based on the couple presented in His Name Was Ben, which she expanded into a fictionalized novel in 2014. Her first novel, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, made it to Amazon bestseller lists and won awards, including best historical fiction of the year 2012 in Turning the Pages Magazine. Her third novel, To Live Out Loud, won international critical acclaim and made it to multiple sites as favorite read book of 2015. Her fourth novel, The Seven Year Dress, made it to the Amazon kindle store bestseller list in its fourth week out. She has been ranked as an Amazon best selling author for several of her books.

Semi-retired, she continues to work part-time as a Nurse Practitioner in Ventura County. When she’s not writing, she does pro-bono consultation work with women with cancer, works in the Westminster Free Clinic as a volunteer provider, volunteers as a mediator in the Ventura County Courthouse for small claims cases, and involves herself, along with her husband, in dog rescue.

Profits from her books go to help rescue dogs from kill shelters.

Social Media Links:

Blogsite: https://thepersecutionofmildreddunlap.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Paulette-Mahurins-Books-695108163960200

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MahurinPaulette

Press release on Paulette Mahurin’s donating profits to help dogs: http://www.vcstar.com/lifestyle/ojai-authors-historical-novel-teaches-tolerance-benefits-animal-rescue-ep-363177738-351980511.html


Review:
five star blog

One of my favorite type of book to review is historical fiction taking place during the Holocaust/WWII Europe. In my youth, I did an immense amount of reading on the topic, fiction and non-fiction. I am always pleased when an author sticks to the history, showing they have used the research materials at their disposal.

The Seven Year Dress ticked all the boxes for me. Mahurin touched on a little discussed topic of the time, regarding homosexuality, through Max, one of the main characters. His conflict between who he was and what he had to pretend to be was heartbreaking. Helen’s experience in Auschwitz was raw, and Mahurin wasn’t afraid to push the boundaries of comfort for the sake of her reader. The loss experienced by Helen was palatable, harsh, and yet, she managed to survive her time in the camp, growing stronger with the memories of her family and friends.

I accept that this novel is fiction as well. If I wanted a history book, I would have read one. The Seven Year Dress is well-researched, well-written, and overall, a fantastic example of historical fiction. Five, enthusiastic stars from me!