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Tiffany Blues by M.J. Rose (Giveaway)

Source: publisher
Hardcover, 316 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Tiffany Blues by M.J. Rose is as beautifully written as its cover suggests. Readers will fall in love with Tiffany and his stained-glass windows, as well as his other artisan works. Laurelton Hall is a dream-like world that Jenny Bell falls into when her friend surreptitiously enters her in a competition for a residency. Rose always creates complex characters and settings that you could fall into immediately — this is another case in which I fell in love with art and colorful landscapes. There are so many reasons why Rose is an auto-buy author, no matter her subject. Her tales are hard to put down, and Bell’s story is no different.

What happens when the color drains from your life and you lose everything dear to you? Bell’s life has been incredibly hard, but she still seems to carry her mother’s artistry with her — developing it even if her canvasses remain devoid of color.

Her vibrant laughter sounded like the coppery glitter of her dwelling.

Jenny Bell comes to Laurelton with nothing more on her mind than an experience of a lifetime, and her friend, Minx, has high hopes for her. But Bell learns that there is more to life than creating art in darkness. The light can be found in the best moments of our lives and that light is made up of different hues, some dark blue and deep and others yellow and airy.

Rose is a master at weaving in historical details, mysteries to solve, and a bit of romance. Her vision of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s Long Island home for artists is magical and readers will be enchanted. Tiffany Blues by M.J. Rose is not to be missed. Fall into this stained glass window and fall in love with the artists.

RATING: Cinquain

ENTER the GIVEAWAY to win a copy of Tiffany Blues. U.S. entrants only. Deadline for comments with emails is Sept. 5, 2018, 11:59 PM EST

About the Author:

New York Times bestselling author M. J. Rose grew up in New York City exploring the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum and the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park. She is the author of more than a dozen novels, a founding board member of International Thriller Writers, and the founder of the first marketing company for authors, AuthorBuzz.com. She lives in Connecticut. Visit her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Hotel on Shadow Lake by Daniela Tully

Source: Publisher
Hardcover, 245 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Hotel on Shadow Lake by Daniela Tully is a WWII tale that has roots in WWI and surpasses all of that history in its tale of enduring love, family bonds, and secrets. Young bookstore owner, Maya Wissberg, has felt adrift since her grandmother disappeared after she went on a study abroad trip and left no indication as to why she left or to where. It is not until the police in upstate New York come calling about her grandmother’s remains that Maya begins to rethink her relationship with her father, grandmother, and ex-boyfriend Michael. Tully takes us back into the past when her grandmother, Martha, meets a young German she pegs as the bad influence in her twin brother’s life.

“Maya was completely and utterly lost, cursing herself under her breath.” (pg. 67)

As the Nazis came to power, many Germans were caught up in the fervor of nationalism, including Martha’s brother, but Martha was a stronger woman who saw the writing on the wall. Eventually she found a kindred spirit in her brother’s friend, even though he warned her away from becoming involved with the resistance, which was still in its infancy in the late 1930s. Readers will lose themselves in Martha’s story as it is woven slowly to reveal how first impressions can be stripped away by truth and trust. Maya’s story disappears in the background for a while, until the reader returns to the present.

Maya has aviophobia, but this seems like a fear that she can overcome through determination. Her episodes on the plane over to the United States from Germany are barely seen, and for the amount of time Maya talks about the phobia, readers may want to see more of how she coped with it. In a way, this seemed like an unnecessary detail or a device that was used simply to explain why she had never gone many places. This is a small concern.

Hotel on Shadow Lake by Daniela Tully is a strong debut that delves into the climate in Germany at a time when nationalism and fascism was on the rise. It depicts a chaotic world for the German people, but also a world in which hope can turn into something disastrous quickly. At its heart, the debut novel is about the enduring power of love and the beauty of forgiveness.

RATING: Quatrain

About the Author:

DANIELA TULLY has worked in film and television for decades, including with famed film director Uli Edel. She has been involved in projects such as the critically acclaimed Fair Game, box-office hits Contagion and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, as well as the Oscar-winning The Help. She splits her time between Dubai and New York. Inspired by a real family letter received forty-six years late, Hotel on Shadow Lake is Daniela Tully’s first novel. Visit her website, Facebook, and Instagram.

Guest Post: ‘Set Europe Ablaze’ by David Gilman, author of Night Flight to Paris

War Through the Generations has been a bit dormant in the last couple of years, but I still read WWII related fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. There’s a new one that just hit the shelves and it has everything a reader could want from codebreakers to one man’s determination to save his family.

Today, we have the pleasure of a guest post from the author. Please welcome David Gilman, author of the new book Night Flight to Paris.

‘Set Europe ablaze.’ Churchill’s order in July 1940 when he gave the task to the Minister of Economic Warfare to form the Special Operations Executive. It was to be broad in scope, daring in its planning and execution, and created initially to specifically harass the Nazis in occupied Europe.

Night Flight to Paris was inspired by the men and women from all walks of life who volunteered for some of the most dangerous missions in the Second World War. Few had military experience, many did not. They were landed by Lysander aircraft at night or parachuted in on a supply drop from a Halifax bomber, and when on the ground they operated alone in hostile territory. Their life expectancy was short. Most were usually sent to organise, and often train, locals for resistance against the occupiers.

The French Maquis was riven with jealousies and differing political ideology and these conflicts made the life of an agent even more tenuous. And, of course, there were informers and traitors. Men and women betrayed members of the Resistance, agents and wireless operators because of fear of German reprisals, from being tortured or for personal gain. Letters of denunciation against a neighbour sent to the authorities were not uncommon. France was a nation turned in on itself in bitter rivalries, and the Nazis played to that. They used French gendarmes to round up Jews, and other undesirables for deportation and the French paramilitary unit the Milice was formed to fight against the French résistants. The French considered these men more dangerous than the Gestapo because they could operate in their communities, were familiar with the countryside where the Maquis operated and could quickly pick up an accent or dialect unfamiliar to that specific area. These units worked closely with the SS, and the feared SD (the Nazi Sicherheitsdienst – the SS intelligence agency). All these elements appear in Night Flight to Paris, making challenging demands on Harry Mitchell and the people around him.

Obituaries in contemporary newspapers recount men and women of that generation who fought the silent war behind enemy lines. Many did not speak of their exploits during the remaining years of their lives. There were only twenty-one years from the end of the Great War and the beginning of the Second World War. Young men and women who had served in the first were veterans by 1939, too old to serve for active military service (in the case of soldiers) but who could face their enemy in the most dangerous circumstances by joining SOE. When writing my books, I prefer flawed characters to make the challenge they face even more difficult. In Night Flight to Paris, I chose Harry Mitchell, a middle-aged, quiet, studious code-breaker at Bletchley Park, the British government code-breaking centre fifty miles north-west of London. He was no man of action given that he had once served as a rear echelon junior officer in the First World War. It was during this time that he was caught up in the heart-stopping horror of that conflict and became unable to inflict violence.

Not, it seemed, an ideal candidate to be trained in violent tactics and sent into France to uncover a traitor and rescue his family.

Mitchell taught at the university in Paris before it was occupied in 1940, and he and his wife had helped set up escape routes for downed airmen and those civilians persecuted by the Nazis. His contacts in Paris made him a valuable asset to SOE, and they bring pressure to bear. Mitchell carries the burden of knowing that he and his wife and daughter were separated when they attempted to escape and, for the past three years, he has been unable to make contact with them. The SOE give him the terrible news that his wife and daughter have recently been captured by the Gestapo. He has the opportunity to return clandestinely in an attempt to save them and unmask the traitor who betrayed them and others in the Resistance. Mitchell’s conflicting emotions about inflicting violence are soon put to the test when the flight to Paris goes terrifyingly wrong.

Research for Night Flight to Paris was aided somewhat by my time spent in the Parachute Regiment. The experience of jumping from a perfectly serviceable aircraft and the fear it instilled at the time is something that is easy to remember and write. Thankfully, though, what happened to Harry Mitchell was not part of my experience.

I had also reconnoitred the French countryside to seek out locations for my medieval series Master of War, and this helped take Mitchell on his journey north to Paris. Books written about code-breakers were invaluable as were autobiographies of those who had served in SOE. And for anyone interested in digging deeper into these exciting times, there is a vast amount of recently released material at the Public Record Office where information about both personal and training details of the men and women is held.

Thanks, David, for sharing the inspiration behind the novel. To think of ordinary men and women in these situations and making decisions that could affect everything in their lives is scary.

About the Book:

Paris, 1943.

The swastika flies from the top of the Eiffel Tower. Soldiers clad in field grey patrol the streets. Buildings have been renamed, books banned, art stolen and people disappeared. Amongst the missing is an Allied intelligence cell.

Gone to ground? Betrayed? Dead? Britain’s Special Operations Executive need to find out. They recruit ex-Parisian and Bletchley Park codebreaker Harry Mitchell to return to the city he fled two years ago.

Mitchell knows Occupied Paris – a city at war with itself. Informers, gangsters, collaborators and Resistance factions are as ready to slit each other’s throats as they are the Germans’. The occupiers themselves are no better: the Gestapo and the Abwehr – military intelligence – are locked in their own lethal battle for dominance. Mitchell knows the risks: a return to Paris not a mission – it’s a death sentence.

But he has good reason to put his life on the line: the wife and daughter he was forced to leave behind have fallen into the hands of the Gestapo and Michell will do whatever it takes to save them. But with disaster afflicting his mission from the outset, it will take all his ingenuity, all his courage, to even get into Paris… unaware that every step he takes towards the capital is a step closer to a trap well set and baited.

About the Author:

David Gilman has had an impressive variety of jobs – from firefighter to professional photographer, from soldier in the Parachute Regiment’s Reconnaissance Platoon to a Marketing Manager for an international publisher. He has countless radio, television and film credits. From 2000 until 2009 he was principal writer on A Touch Of Frost. He has lived and traveled the world gathering inspiration for his adventure series along the way.

Mailbox Monday #495

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Martha of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what we received:

Musing of a Netflix Binge Viewer by Kateema Lee, which I purchased after hearing the poet read from the collection pre-publication.

Kateema Lee‘s Musings of a Netflix Binge Viewer is full of surprises: sonic playfulness, encounters between pop culture icons and figures from childhood, insights spoken with a sharp tongue. These poems disarm you with familiar references and then take unexpected turns inward with the guidance of an introspective speaker. Lee tricks you into feeling wistful and then hits you with “something to cut the bullshit.” These poems are skillfully dark. From page one, this collection orients you within the disorienting experience of having too many choices, but Lee’s wild imagination knows exactly what to do with them. –Jonterri Gadson, author of Pepper Girl and Blues Triumphant

In “Musings of a Netflix Binge Viewer”, Kateema Lee streams poems, image by image, where pop-culture meets the reality of daily life. She explores “the imported sparkling water in a long-stemmed glass”. Lee is a poet juggling contemporary Netflix culture with humor and charm.
–Naoko Fujimoto, The winner of Oro Fino Chapbook Competition, “Home, No Home”

Even in moments as mundane as binge-watching prime-time dramas, we find ourselves interrogating the current states of our lives. In Musings of a Netflix Binge Viewer, Kateema Lee’s poems speak through the ambient sounds of the late-night television screen, offering deceptively quiet musings on love, loneliness, and grief. And, in the breaks, creatures of nature and myth appear, serving as apt metaphors for a mind flipping through the myriad channels of its existence. Although Musings couches the bulk of its activities in the passive—watching television, observing women in public, or petting a dead father’s cats—it is a complex work that begs of us to look beyond the veneer of the ordinary and into the many frequencies of ourselves, the myriad ways in which we remain unknown and unseen to everyone around us. –Destiny Birdsong, Poet, MFA, PhD

The Frame-Up by Meghan Scott Molin, which came as a surprise in the mail.

MG Martin lives and breathes geek culture. She even works as a writer for the comic book company she idolized as a kid. But despite her love of hooded vigilantes, MG prefers her comics stay on the page.

But when someone in LA starts recreating crime scenes from her favorite comic book, MG is the LAPD’s best—and only—lead. She recognizes the golden arrow left at the scene as the calling card of her favorite comic book hero. The thing is…superheroes aren’t real. Are they?

When too-handsome-for-his-own-good Detective Kildaire asks for her comic book expertise, MG is more than up for the adventure. Unfortunately, MG has a teeny little tendency to not follow rules. And her off-the-books sleuthing may land her in a world of trouble.

Because for every superhero, there is a supervillain. And the villain of her story may be closer than she thinks…

Nevertheless We Persisted essays with a foreword from Amy Klobuchar for review from the publisher.

“Aren’t you a terrorist?” “There are no roles for people who look like you.” “That’s a sin.” “No girls allowed.” They’ve heard it all. Actress Alia Shawkat reflects on all the parts she was told she was too “ethnic” to play. Former NFL player Wade Davis recalls his bullying of gay classmates in an attempt to hide his own sexuality. Teen Gavin Grimm shares the story that led to the infamous “bathroom bill,” and how he’s fighting it. Holocaust survivor Fanny Starr tells of her harrowing time in Aushwitz, where she watched her family disappear, one by one.

What made them rise up through the hate? What made them overcome the obstacles of their childhood to achieve extraordinary success? How did they break out of society’s limited view of who they are and find their way to the beautiful and hard-won lives they live today? With a foreword by Minnesota senator and up-and-coming Democratic party leader Amy Klobuchar, these essays share deeply personal stories of resilience, faith, love, and, yes, persistence.

Walk to Run One Mile by Jaime McFaden free from Audible until Sept. 5.

Brand new to running? Tackle that first mile with the help of expert Aaptiv trainer and fitness industry veteran Jaime McFaden.

Achieving a new goal is all about taking the first step and with the help of certified personal trainer Jaime McFaden those first steps will lead to a successful first mile. In this four-week program you’ll complete 20 total classes in outdoor running, treadmill, strength, and stretching. These workouts are designed to increase your physical stamina and mental toughness. Each class is 25 minutes or less so you can train even on your busiest days.

Jaime’s encouraging and inspiring training style will have you feeling strong and confident.

The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth by Victoria Kincaid purchased from Audible.

What if Darcy and Elizabeth were plunged into the war between England and France?

It is 1803, and a treaty has allowed England and France to enjoy a brief moment of peace in the midst of the Napoleonic wars.

Darcy is despondent over Elizabeth’s refusal of his proposal at Hunsford, so Colonel Fitzwilliam proposes a trip to Paris as a distraction. At a ball, Darcy unexpectedly encounters Elizabeth, who is visiting Paris with the Gardiners. He sees this as his opportunity to court Elizabeth properly and rectify past mistakes.

Before he can make much progress, however, England declares war again, and Darcy must help Elizabeth flee France. As they make their way to the coast, Elizabeth and Darcy must battle brigands, French soldiers, illness, and their own mutual attraction – all without a chaperone.

When they return to England, Elizabeth and Darcy have their own secrets to conceal – even from those closest to them.

The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey by Don Jacobson purchased from Audible.

Lizzy gripped Mary’s hands and began her speech.

“Now is the time for you. Heal now. Future only, my dearest sister.”

Mary Bennet has spent her entire life fighting to be herself. If only she knew just what that was. For years she buried her nose in the musty musing of Fordyce’s Sermons to Young Women, trying to be exceptional. She hid her light brown eyes – and herself – behind useless spectacles.

With both Jane and Lizzy married, it is time for Miss Bennet to emerge from her cocoon. Learn how a young woman of deep faith and inquisitive mind emerges. Yet, even as Mary Bennet overcomes her troubled teenage years, she is challenged by her sudden and total love for a man who mysteriously appears on the night of a great calamity. And his secret grows out of a remarkable device – the Bennet Wardrobe!

The Keeper follows the life of Mary Bennet as she matures from the prosy, moralizing caricature found in Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice into a confident young woman looking to make her mark in the rapidly changing world of the Industrial Revolution. And discover how the amazing Bennet Wardrobe makes life interesting for all Bennets.

What did you receive?

Musings of a Netflix Binge Viewer by Kateema Lee

Source: Purchased
Paperback, 25 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Musings of a Netflix Binge Viewer by Kateema Lee speaks to the mind of a grieving daughter easing her sadness with popcorn thrillers, classics, and so much more. Characters pulled from Hitchcock to Kung Fu movies fill these poems with whimsy and darkness, but it is the gray areas that shine brightest. Lee has a knack for blending these iconic characters with real life memories and emotions. Imagine sitting alone in the dark watching late night movies, delving deep into the past and its tumultuous emotions to try to make sense of those disappointments to find peace.

From “Hiatus: Why I Bought a Mustang” (pg. 21)

like Steve McQueen in Bullitt, down sunny,
California streets; then busy streets changed to long,
tree-lined highways, windows down, air
blinding me in short bursts and celebrating
me at the same time. In the dream, my father
was the man he wanted to be, a military hero,

That’s the thing about dreams, we can be anyone we want to be. Much like when we watch movies, we can place ourselves in those alternate lives leaving our cares behind. Our fantasies can find us driving fast in a sports car or visiting different countries with people who have passed on. But there is that “buffering” that happens when our lives seem to be paused or stuck between what came before and what is to come.

Lee’s Musings of a Netflix Binge Viewer is a meditative examination of one’s life and memories through the lens of the movie camera and the lens of our desires for different outcomes. But it is also a review of a life lived and coming to peace with what has passed in order to move forward.

RATING: Quatrain

Other Reviews:

About the Poet:

Kateema Lee is a Washington D.C. native. She earned her M.F.A in Creative Writing at the University of Maryland at College Park. She’s a Cave Canem Graduate Fellow, and she’s a Callaloo Workshop participant. Her work has appeared in anthologies, print, and online literary journals, including African American Review, Gargoyle, Word Riot, and Cave Canem Anthology XIII. When she’s not writing, she teaches English and Women’s Studies courses at Montgomery College.

Mailbox Monday #494

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Martha of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what we received:

Whereas by Layli Long Soldier, which I purchased.

WHEREAS confronts the coercive language of the United States government in its responses, treaties, and apologies to Native American peoples and tribes, and reflects that language in its officiousness and duplicity back on its perpetrators. Through a virtuosic array of short lyrics, prose poems, longer narrative sequences, resolutions, and disclaimers, Layli Long Soldier has created a brilliantly innovative text to examine histories, landscapes, her own writing, and her predicament inside national affiliations. “I am,” she writes, “a citizen of the United States and an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, meaning I am a citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation―and in this dual citizenship I must work, I must eat, I must art, I must mother, I must friend, I must listen, I must observe, constantly I must live.” This strident, plaintive book introduces a major new voice in contemporary literature.

Eat This Poem by Nicole Gulotta, which I purchased.

Food and poetry are two of life’s essential ingredients. In the same way that salt seasons ingredients to bring out their flavors, poetry seasons our lives; when celebrated together, our everyday moments and meals are richer and more meaningful.

The twenty-five inspiring poems in this book–from such poets as Marge Piercy, Louise Glück, Mark Strand, Mary Oliver, Billy Collins, Jane Hirshfield–are accompanied by seventy-five recipes that bring the richness of words to life in our kitchen, on our plate, and through our palate. Eat This Poem opens us up to fresh ways of accessing poetry and lends new meaning to the foods we cook.

What did you receive?

Literary Book Gifts & Promo Code for You

I wanted to share with you a unique gift find for the book lover in your life. Have you ever wanted to find that perfect t-shirt or tote bag for your best friend?

Literary Book Gifts might have just the thing for you and your friends.

I talked with Melissa about her store and she’s generously offering my readers a 20% discount on their orders. You’ll find out the promo code later on.

Why did you start your shop?

I started my shop because I love the stories that come out of novels. Books are rarely expressed in the visual medium. Book covers often capture the essence of a novel, but these days with the rise of eBooks you don’t often see many book covers around. Wearing a book on your shirt or on a tote bag makes it tangible and allows you to experience the artwork during your daily life. A simple reminder of our attachment to the narratives of our own lives.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by the ability of some of the stories to make it’s readers feel such complex and often powerful emotions.

What’s unique about your gifts?

The massive variety of sizes and colors makes these gifts really unique in the industry. Each print is available in tons of colors, anywhere from about 8 to 15 (it varies based on the design itself). And women’s shirt sizes range from XS – 3XL and men’s sizes from S – 5XL. Beyond the print itself, I think color and sizing are the most important factors involved when buying clothing.

Why you think people should buy them?

Self expression is a primary part of the human experience. It allows for you to connect with others on a more intimate level than simply not expressing yourself at all by wearing a blank shirt. However, you cannot just wear any random clothing, you must feel as though it matches your personal style, and that is what these shirts are aiming to do.

Thanks, Melissa. I agree, self-expression is a big part of what makes us human.

Now, for the promo code and details, dear readers. I know you’re salivating.

The promo code SAVVYVERSEANDWIT20 is good for 20% off anything in the store, no minimum, and can be used unlimited times.

Go shop.

Mailbox Monday #493

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Martha of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what we received:

Eraser by Anna Kang, illustrated by Christopher Weyant, a Kindle freebie

Eraser is always cleaning up everyone else’s mistakes. Except for Ruler and Pencil Sharpener, none of the other school supplies seem to appreciate her. They all love how sharp Pencil is and how Tape and Glue help everyone stick together. Eraser wants to create so that she can shine like the others. She decides to give it a try, but it’s not until the rubber meets the road that Eraser begins to understand a whole lot about herself.

Inspired by a school essay their daughter Kate wrote in the third grade, the author and illustrator behind Theodor Seuss Geisel Award–winner You Are (Not) Small have created a desktop drama about figuring out who you are, finding happiness, and the importance of second, third, and maybe even fourth chances.

No Such Thing as Luck by Nicole Clarkston, a Kindle freebie.

John Thornton is facing the collapse of everything he has worked for all of his life. Through his banker, he hears about a potential business opportunity that could save the mill. He decides to investigate, even if it means traveling from home when he can least afford it.

Margaret Hale, now living in London, learns that her godfather Mr Bell is visiting her brother Frederick in Cadiz. Bell is dying, and asking to see her before it is too late. She is determined to sail, regardless of the risk.

An accident on the docks leaves Margaret injured, and throws both together on the same ship. Thornton, resolved to protect Margaret’s honour despite their painful history, claims to be her brother to keep her safe. Unfortunately, pretending to be Margaret’s brother proves more difficult- and more dangerous- than he might have expected.

None But You by Sarah Shuff, a Kindle freebie.

Lyme 1806: While studying medicine in Edinburgh, Benjamin Whitehorn receives news of his father’s death and suspends his studies to attend the funeral. Upon his arrival, he comes face-to-face with Matilda Dyson, whom he saves from near catastrophe. He knows instantly that she is above him in social standing but he is unable to get her out of his mind.

After discovering his brother is on the verge of being sent to debtors’ prison, Benjamin goes against his principles and reluctantly accepts an offer from Captain Crawford for employment as a doctor aboard The Hadrian, a slave ship.

When he finds himself stranded in the West Indies without a penny to his name, he encounters Captain Wentworth of the Royal Navy who offers him a position aboard The Asp. What will Benjamin find when he returns to England after months away …

What did you receive?

Guest Post & Giveaway: Writing as Surgery by Caitlin Hamilton Summie

Last year, I read one of the most well-crafted short stories collections out there, and it was written by Caitlin Hamilton Summie, who many in the blogging world know for her marketing savvy for indie authors.

To Lay to Rest Our Ghosts is one year old today. It was on my best of list last year, and I still love it today. It is a collection that is poetic and holds imagery to a higher standard as each story is pregnant with emotion, particularly different forms of grief. Read the full review.

After reading short stories by Chekhov this year, I’m beginning to think that Caitlin Hamilton Summie is our modern Chekhov.

We often have guests talk about their writing process or their writing spaces, but we rarely hear about the after-publication process. In honor of this book’s anniversary, I asked Caitlin if she’d like to write up a guest post about her after publication experience as a short-story writer.

I think you’ll love this guest post and don’t forget to enter the giveaway.

Please give Caitlin a warm welcome:

Recently, in work correspondence, a reviewer let me know that she had wanted once to work in publishing or to be a surgeon. What came to my mind was how much surgery and creative writing have in common: they share a focus on precision, on cause and effect, on getting to the root of things. I imagine, though I cannot know, that there is an artistry in performing surgery that echoes the artistry in writing.

I have never wanted to be a surgeon, but I do believe in the power of stories to heal and connect, to make us empathize and reconsider.

In the year since I published my first book, a collection of short stories called TO LAY TO REST OUR GHOSTS, I have received a number of reviews that speak to the root-level emotional engagement the stories provide, to how deeply-felt they are. One reviewer said my stories made him/her feel less alone. I’ll never forget that review or cease to be overwhelmed by it.

I do write straight from the heart, and this is where I think many readers live, too— valuing stories that get to our very cores, get to the heart of the matter. We want characters we love as much as we want a gripping tale. We want to connect.

One year past publication, with reviews and interviews still coming in, with events still being offered, I am deeply grateful—for the connections with people I will never know over matters of the heart that are shared in my stories, written like a surgeon might operate, carefully excavating through each character the love and forgiveness that gets them—and us—through the days.

Enter the Giveaway by Aug. 19, 11:59 p.m. EST.

About the Author:

Caitlin Hamilton Summie earned an MFA with Distinction from Colorado State University, and her short stories have been published in Beloit Fiction Journal, Wisconsin Review, Puerto del Sol, Mud Season Review, and Long Story, Short. She spent many years in Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Colorado before settling with her family in Knoxville, Tennessee. She co-owns the book marketing firm, Caitlin Hamilton Marketing & Publicity, founded in 2003.

Mailbox Monday #492

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Martha of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what we received:

Dreams of Falling by Karen White, which came from the publisher.

On the banks of the North Santee River stands a moss-draped oak that was once entrusted with the dreams of three young girls. Into the tree’s trunk, they placed their greatest hopes, written on ribbons, for safekeeping–including the most important one: Friends forever, come what may.

But life can waylay the best of intentions….

Nine years ago, a humiliated Larkin Lanier fled Georgetown, South Carolina, knowing she could never go back. But when she finds out that her mother has disappeared, she realizes she has no choice but to return to the place she both loves and dreads–and to the family and friends who never stopped wishing for her to come home.

Ivy, Larkin’s mother, is discovered badly injured and unconscious in the burned-out wreckage of her ancestral plantation home. No one knows why Ivy was there, but as Larkin digs for answers, she uncovers secrets kept for nearly fifty years–whispers of love, sacrifice, and betrayal–that lead back to three girls on the brink of womanhood who found their friendship tested in the most heartbreaking ways.

Tiffany Blues by M.J. Rose, which came from the publisher.

New York, 1924. Twenty‑four‑year‑old Jenny Bell has escaped her past… her hard-hearted stepfather, murder, and the dank hallways of Canada’s notorious Andrew Mercer Reformatory for Women where she spent 2 years.

Now as one of a dozen burgeoning artists invited to Louis Comfort Tiffany’s prestigious artists’ colony. Gifted and determined, Jenny vows to avoid distractions and romantic entanglements and take full advantage of the many wonders to be found at Laurelton Hall.

But Jenny’s can’t help but be inextricably drawn to Oliver, Tiffany’s charismatic grandson.

As the summer shimmers on, and the competition between the artists grows fierce as they vie for a spot at Tiffany’s New York gallery, a series of suspicious and disturbing occurrences suggest someone knows enough about Jenny’s childhood trauma to expose her.

Supported by her closest friend Minx Deering, a seemingly carefree socialite yet dedicated sculptor, and Oliver, Jenny pushes her demons aside. Between stolen kisses and stolen jewels, the champagne flows and the jazz plays on until one moonless night when Jenny’s past and present are thrown together in a desperate moment, that will threaten her promising future, her love, her friendships, and her very life.

Button Man by Andrew Gross, which came from the publisher.

After a string of New York Times bestselling suburban thrillers, Andrew Gross has reinvented himself as a writer of historical thrillers. In his latest novel, Button Man, he delivers a stirring story of a Jewish family brought together in the dawn of the women’s garment business and torn apart by the birth of organized crime in New York City in the 1930s.

Morris, Sol, and Harry Rabishevsky grew up poor and rough in a tiny flat on the Lower East Side, until the death of their father thrust them into having to fend for themselves and support their large family. Morris, the youngest, dropped out of school at twelve years old and apprenticed himself to a garment cutter in a clothing factory; Sol headed to accounting school; but Harry, scarred by a family tragedy, fell in with a gang of thugs as a teenager. Morris steadily climbs through the ranks at the factory until at twenty-one he finally goes out on his own, convincing Sol to come work with him. But Harry can’t be lured away from the glamour, the power, and the money that come from his association with Louis Buchalter, whom Morris has battled with since his youth and who has risen to become the most ruthless mobster in New York. And when Buchalter sets his sights on the unions that staff the garment makers’ factories, a fatal showdown is inevitable, pitting brother against brother.

This new novel is equal parts historical thriller, rich with the detail of a vibrant New York City in the 1920s and 1930s, and family saga, based on Andrew Gross’s own family story and on the history of the era, complete with appearances by real-life characters like mobsters Louis Lepke and Dutch Schultz and special prosecutor Thomas Dewey, and cements Gross’s reputation as today’s most atmospheric and original historical thriller writer.

The Girl in the Pink Raincoat by Arlene Hughes, a blog giveaway win.

When a factory girl and a Jewish businessman fall in love it seems that the whole world is against them.

Manchester, 1939. On the eve of war Gracie Earnshaw is working in Rosenberg’s Raincoat factory – a job she hates – but her life is about to be turned upside down when she falls in love with Jacob, the boss’s charismatic nephew.

Through Jacob, with his ambitions to be a writer, Gracie glimpses another world: theatre, music and prejudice. But their forbidden romance is cut short when Jacob is arrested and tragedy unfolds.

Gracie struggles with heartbreak, danger and old family secrets, but the love of her first sweetheart comes back to her in an unexpected way giving her the chance of a new life and happiness.

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