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Longbourn’s Songbird by Beau North

Source: Meryton Press
ebook, 300 pgs.
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Longbourn’s Songbird by Beau North, set in post-WWII America, touches upon the Deep South’s continued segregation, and the desire to maintain the old ways where women are concerned even though they stepped up in may cases to fill men’s jobs when they were away at war.  North has created a complex novel through which Will Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet have very different lives and expectations.  Lizzie has locked her heart away after her time away at school in Charleston, while Darcy has struggled to keep his own passions in check as he builds his textile empire.  North has focused less on the class expectations and differences, and more on the societal changes and the implications of those changes on the Deep South.

Lizzie is as strong-willed and teasing as ever, and Darcy is as mysterious and aloof, bumbling around in society. However, dark secrets lay beneath Mr. Collins piousness, Charlotte’s practical nature, and Bingley’s ever-sunny disposition.  North goes deeper into these characters motivations, pulling out the truth behind the facade.

While there were things that seemed a little out of place — maybe just by a few years — they did not detract from the story.  Lizzie is a songstress with a captivating voice, and Darcy is at a disadvantage and is captured in her nest before either realizes how things have changed between them.  But North knows how to keep readers interested by blowing up the Austen world, rearranging it satisfactorily, and making it her own.  Longbourn’s Songbird by Beau North is a wonderful addition to the Austen world, but it’s also much more than that.  It delves into the issues of segregation, women’s place in society, the rights of minorities, and post-traumatic stress disorder that accompanies so many soldiers home from war.

About the Author:

Beau North is a native southerner who now calls Portland, Oregon home with her husband and two cats. She attended the University of South Carolina where she began a lifelong obsession with English Literature. In her spare time, Beau is the brains behind Rhymes With Nerdy, an internet collective focused on pop culture. This is her first novel.  You can connect with Beau on Twitter, Facebook, or via http://beaunorth.merytonpress.com. If you’ve enjoyed this book, we welcome your fair and honest review on Goodreads and Amazon.

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A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest

Source: Purchased
ebook, 296 pgs.
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A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest is a short novella in which Sophia Claremont is kidnapped by vampires and brought to The Shade to become a slave. She’s given to Prince Derek Novak as a gift from his siblings, though his brother Lucas has already claimed her in his mind. Sophia has had a rough time growing up and was finally settled with a neighboring family and her best friend Ben, whom she’s had a crush on for some time. But she also has debilitating anxiety in crowded spaces, almost like she’s on sensory overload.  However, when she finally awakes on this vampire island, very little is seen of her disorders, until she’s attacked one evening.

“She was beautiful because, at a time when she had every right to be terrified, she managed to show comfort to another person who needed it.”

Derek, who has awakened from a 400 year long sleep, cannot stay away from Sophia and he keeps her like a caged bird in his treetop penthouse.  Her humanity has captured his attention, and even though her blood calls to him, he makes every effort to battle his desires.  As she teaches him about technology and he begins to show her respect, their bond intensifies.  Sophia is a naive character who is led by her emotions easily, and in many ways, she falls for the guy who acts like her protector — whether its teenage Ben at home or Derek the powerful vampire on The Shade.

“I know an excuse when I hear one.  Don’t you dare deceive yourself into believing that you’re the victim.”

A mantra that Ben has used many times to snap her out of her anxiety trances, Sophia finds it can be useful in more ways than one, but even as she tames Derek’s inner beast, she fails to see how she is a victim and needs to take action.  One failed escape attempt is all it takes for her to become complacent, which does little for the tension in the book.  While the characters, setting, and world are intriguing, there is little back story, which can leaving the feud between Derek and Lucas seem empty and can leave the lore of this vampire series feel incomplete.

A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest provides an engaging way to spend the afternoon, but unless there is more back story in the subsequent novels less telling, rather than showing, it would be hard to sustain interested beyond two more books.  There are 18 books in this series.  It boils down to wanting more from the setting and lore beyond the main characters who are dynamic and troubled.

About the Author:

Bella Forrest is the million-bestselling author of the “A Shade of Vampire” series.

Bleedovers by William Todd Rose

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Source: TLC Book Tours
ebook, 176 pgs.
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Bleedovers by William Todd Rose is the second dystopian novella starring Chuck Grainger — you’ll want to read Crossfades first — a man who works for a secret organization that helps lost souls cross The Divide. Grainger has become “famous” within the agency, although his fame is not something he’s comfortable with, especially when his supervisor reminds him of all the protocol he broke during the last Crossfade mission. Beyond his noteriety, he has experienced many sleepless nights related the ordeal, which he thought ended on the battlefield on the Crossfades. Evidence begins to pile up that the battle may not have been won.

Rose has created a world in which even readers who shy away from science fiction and more fantasy-related fiction can get swept up in by providing just enough technical detail to keep the story grounded and believable. Grainger has been a man on a mission and content in his work as a Whisk, but his nightmares have given him pause. He’s unsure if he wants to continue, but he finds that he has little choice when Bleedovers become more common than before. Marilee Williams enters our story, bringing with her special gifts that The Institute has enhanced to help with Non-Corporeal Manifestations (NCMs). Grainger, who acts like a lone cowboy in his work, is suddenly forced to work more closely with his partner, Control, and Marilee. The dynamics between Control and Grainger have evolved since the previous novella, and while Control could usually sense when he went off script, in this novella she is less like the voice of reason and more like a partner.

“The energy comes from Crossfades. As they jump from Crossfade to Crossfade, NCMs collect tiny bits of residual energy. They store it up, like a battery bein’ charged.”

Bleedovers by William Todd Rose is a strong second novella in a series, and readers will want more of this strange world. There is so much more to be explored. Is the last battle the end, or are there more to come? Will Grainger be able to fully free himself from the past and his notoriety? Rose has a gift for creating believable science fiction worlds that are wrought with real, and even imagined, dangers around every corner.

About the Author:

William Todd Rose writes dark, speculative fiction from his home in West Virginia. His short stories have been featured in numerous anthologies and magazines, and his work includes the novels Cry Havoc, The Dead & Dying, and The Seven Habits of Highly Infective People, and the novella Apocalyptic Organ Grinder. For more information on the author, including links to bonus content, please visit him online.

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Doughnuts & Deadly Schemes by Janel Gradowski

Source: Author Janel Gradowski
eBook, 210 pgs
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Doughnuts & Deadly Schemes (Culinary Competition Mysteries #3) by Janel Gradowski is just what you expect from a cozy mystery — an amateur detective helping out her police friend, baking up some savory dishes, and enjoying the ride. These are the kinds of books that are perfect for summer because they are full of adventure, laughs, and fun. Carla and Amy are best friends, and you can tell that they genuinely love one another and act like sisters. While one is a planner, the other is more spontaneous; when it comes to having the wedding of her friend’s dreams, though, Amy is doesn’t take no for an answer.

“‘You are a brave woman to put together a wedding that quickly.  Heroically brave to spring this on the Over-Planning Queen.'”

“‘Believe me.  We thought of that, but I’m pretty sure you would kill us if we snuck away like that.  So, as my compromise, instead of leaving you completely out of the wedding by eloping … I’m giving you over two weeks to pull one out of thin air.'”

Challenge accepted!  Amy has a tough task on her hands planning her best friend’s wedding in less than a month, but she’s never one to shy away from a challenge — including those culinary contests.  Not only is she baking up culinary confections for local contests in Kellerton, but she’s also slinking around trying to uncover who the extortionist hacker and murderer plaguing local businesses might be.  She’s not on the police force, but Carla’s fiance, Bruce Shepler, is quick to accept her outrageous theories for new perspective on a perplexing case that has business owners’ mouths taped shut.

Doughnuts & Deadly Schemes (Culinary Competition Mysteries #3) by Janel Gradowski is a fun ride, and I loved every minute spent with these ladies.  They are quirky and fun, and the confections in these pages will make readers drool.  Don’t forget, Janel always includes some recipes in the back of the book, which you’ll want to try — I’m already dreaming about that Peach Pie Iced Tea!  But I digress.  If you haven’t read these cozy mysteries, what are you waiting for?!

About the Author:

Janel Gradowski lives in a land that looks like a cold weather fashion accessory, the mitten­-shaped state of Michigan. She is a wife and mom to two kids and one Golden Retriever. Her journey to becoming an author is littered with odd jobs like renting apartments to college students and programming commercials for an AM radio station. Somewhere along the way she also became a beadwork designer and teacher. She enjoys cooking recipes found in her formidable cookbook and culinary fiction collection. Searching for unique treasures at art fairs, flea markets and thrift stores is also a favorite pastime. Coffee is an essential part of her life. She writes the Culinary Competition Mystery Series, along with The Bartonville Series (women’s fiction) and the 6:1 Series (flash fiction). She has also had many short stories published in both online and print publications. Check her Website, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Other books by this author, reviewed here:

Lost and by Jeff Griffin

Source: NetGalley
eBook, 170 pgs
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Lost and by Jeff Griffin, published by University of Iowa Press, feels more like a scrapbook than a poetry collection, and while there were poems included, most everything in the book are scraps he gleaned from his travels into the desert. Some of these pieces are lists, photos, and other scraps, including a letter from a woman to her alcoholic partner. While these items may reflect communities that have once thrived in the desert and are now abandoned, the collection is not what most readers would expect and there is little to link these pieces together.

From GoodReads:

Ever since he was a child sitting in the back of his parents’ car, Jeff Griffin has been taking explorative journeys into the desert. In 2007, as an art student, he started wandering the back roads of the Mojave Desert with the purpose of looking for a place to reflect in the harshly beautiful surroundings. What he found were widely scattered postmodern ruins—abandoned trailers and campers and improvised structures—whose vanished occupants had left behind, in their trash, an archaeological record.

While Griffin’s efforts to create an artistic rendering of these emptied communities, trailers, and lives, the pieces could have been better tied to one another with some text, explanation, or other commentary from Griffin. In many ways, the collection could have benefited from a demonstration of how Griffin was influenced or inspired by these pieces to create his own art — though the book itself is his modern art from those journeys into the Mojave Desert. Lost and by Jeff Griffin, published by University of Iowa Press, just didn’t work for me, but perhaps I’m not the target audience for this one.

About the Poet:

Jeff Griffin is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and an associate at Griffin Moss Industries, Inc., and he operates the publishing house Slim Princess Holdings. He lives around Nevada.

Remember the Sun: Poems of Nature and Inspiration by Melanie Simms

Source: The poet
Ebook, 35 pgs
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Remember the Sun: Poems of Nature and Inspiration by Melanie Simms, published by Sunbury Press, features poems and Lawrence Von Knorr’s photographs of Sunbury, Pa., and other local areas in the region.  In many cases, the photographs give additional life to the poems in Simms’s volume, but in others it is unclear how the poems and the photos connect.  Despite that, the photos are gorgeous, particularly the local shops and the pictures of the Susquehanna River.  Simms’s poems are chock full of imagery from ghosts harkening back to the past journey of Edison to the shadow puppets on the walls, but her verse examines not only the natural world, but the relationships between mothers and daughters, mothers and sons, and lovers.

From "Mother's Ashes" (pg. 7)

I love Emilio
for driving the long way
He doesn't have to do this.
"She's your mother," he says.
"We have to honor her spirit."
(I'd kept her ashes for years
in the cupboard in the kitchen).
I don't want to let go.  I wanted to
wake up each morning, knowing
some part of her remained.

Don’t we all want to keep a piece of our loved ones close, and we often very rarely realize how selfish that is. Is it better to honor their wishes or to keep them close? We all struggle with this dilemma at one point or another. Simms’s verse is historical and modern, and it is emotional and contemplative. There is something for every reader in this collection. Her collection also contains quite a few poems in which journeys are made — journeys to bury the dead, journeys away from and returning to loved ones, and journeys of emotion. When readers talk of place as a character in novels, there are moments like that in this collection as well, like in “Beauty and Magic at Barone,” about the Barone Beauty Academy in Sunbury.

From "The Suitcase" (pg. 3)

I watch you leave, but as the evening falls I imagine you
back in your chair.
I imagine that you have only stepped out for an evening walk.
How has it come to this?
All our dreams
packed away into one little suitcase
and carried off so easily?

Remember the Sun: Poems of Nature and Inspiration by Melanie Simms is a satisfying collection of poems and photographs that breathe life into the activities of a small town.  These people are no different than those that live in big cities; they still have dreams and big loves, and devastating losses.

 

About the Poet:

Melanie served as the Perry County Poet Laureate from 2005-2006 and has published in over 180 newspapers, magazines, and poetry journals; her poems have been featured on state and local television shows and over fifty poetry radio programs. She has been a featured artist at various Pennsylvania colleges, high schools, and landmarks including but not limited to National Poetry Month at the Degenstein Community Library with presentations by State Rep. Lynda Schlegel-Culver and Sunbury mayor David Persing.  Her awards include a Sophie Award, Finalist in the Richard Savage Poetry Award (Bloomsburg University), Perry County Poet Laureate (2005-2006), a Vermont Writers Studio Award, a Pushcart Prize Nomination, Marquis Who’s Who of The World, Cambridge Who’s Who of Women in Publication, Poet of the Week (Poetry Superhighway), and an Evvy Award nomination for Waking the Muse (best self-published book in the poetry category).

She is a President and Founder of the Association of Pennsylvania Poet’s Laureate (founded 2006) and a member of the World Poetry Society and The Daughters of the American Revolution.  To learn more, visit her Website.

 

 

 

 

Medic Against Bomb: A Doctor’s Poetry of War by Frederick Foote

Source: NetGalley & Grayson Books
eBook, 82 pgs
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Medic Against Bomb: A Doctor’s Poetry of War by Frederick Foote is a collection of poems from a retired U.S. Navy physician, who also is the director of the Warrior Poetry Project at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.  Beneath the carnage depicted in many of these poems, there is a compassionate undercurrent.  Some of these poems are about the battle scars — physical and emotional — that shape today’s warriors, but they also are about sacrifice, discipline, and human comfort spawned from work on the hospital ship Comfort and the care of sick and wounded Americans.

From “Mountain Burial”

knowing we can’t retrieve
this well that’s now gone dry.
She lives in a field of green
whose thousand blades wave free,
scattered from us by war,
the ender of destinies.

From “Uncle Jim”

They say everything’s been written; it hasn’t.
Darkness and light are vast, and poets have barely begun.
Even when it hides, the hand knows when it’s writing a final death.

Foote’s narrator is a compassionate medic, but he is well aware of the carnage of war, facing it daily in surgeries and helping soldiers come to terms with the losses they have suffered. There is compassion for the soldiers as well as for the enemies, particularly those also marred by war. These poems are less trying to make sense of war, but geared toward demonstrating compassion and understanding. They pay homage to the dead, a way to honor their collective and individual sacrifices. Foote also includes some great notes about the different terms used, including Fedayeen, which refers to a generic fighter, and Mujahadeen, which refers to someone fighting for a religious cause. There also are great tidbits about events that occurred during the war that many may not know, including villagers who tossed unwanted children — particularly those with cognitive disabilities — onto Medevacs to get rid of them (“The War Child”).

Wife on the ICU

I watch at night and walk at dawn
forever in flight like the soul of a bird
the monitor shows a thin green line
I walk at night and watch at dawn
not knowing the end of the road I’m on
down which, possessed by a voice unheard
I watch at night and walk at dawn
forever in flight like the soul of a bird.

Medic Against Bomb: A Doctor’s Poetry of War by Frederick Foote is a collection of poems that is less focused on battles and who the enemy is and more on the compassion necessary to treat those men, women, and children who are scared by war — whether they are soldiers, bystanders, or the enemy. Some poems are better paced than others, but there are some gems that will have readers looking at war with a new perspective.

About the Author:

Frederick Foote is a poet and physician who lives in Bethesda, MD, USA. His work has appeared in Commonweal, JAMA, The Progressive, and many other journals. Click the tabs for a sample of these poems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Peculiar Connection by Jan Hahn

Source: Meryton Press
Ebook
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A Peculiar Connection by Jan Hahn is a Pride & Prejudice variation that will have readers guessing until the very end, biting their nails as they hope for a happy ending for Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet.  Lady Catherine de Bourgh shows up on the Bennet doorstep with an ominous warning, that a union between Darcy and Elizabeth would be “a sin against Heaven itself!”  Lizzy’s world is shattered, but she’s unaware how shattered it will become as she’s thrown into Darcy’s path repeatedly and his determination refuses to let what Lady Catherine exposes be reality.  Is he on a fool’s errand to uncover a family secret long buried or is his resolve just what Elizabeth needs to keep hope alive?

“Circumstances can shatter expectations as easily as dropping a china cup upon a slate floor splinters its beauty into misshapen shards of pottery.”

The playful banter between them continues in Hahn’s book, as Lizzy and Darcy try to maintain propriety and adjust to their new reality.  And despite the challenges they face, both are determined to meet the challenge head on, though in different ways.  Lizzy is hopeful that she can learn to accept the revelations of Lady Catherine, while Darcy is determined to disprove them.  Hahn utilizes some of Austen’s iconic characters in new ways and weaves in new characters into a seamless narrative.

“‘You are clever enough.  I believe you will select a name for me.’

‘I suppose there is always “Fitz” or “Fitzy.”‘ I cut my eyes at him to see how he responded to my mockery.

‘I call my cousin “Fitz,” and no one shall ever call me “Fitzy.” I forbid it.'”

A Peculiar Connection by Jan Hahn will take readers on a journey into the illustrious past of Pemberley, through the country and city, and even on a sea voyage to Ireland.  Hahn has done a beautiful job demonstrating the tensions a secret of this magnitude would create between Darcy and Elizabeth, who have only recently become aware of their romantic feelings for one another and begun to hope.  She dashes those hopes quickly, but takes them on a realistic journey that tests their faith in love, romance, and themselves.  It is one of the best variations I’ve read in a long time.

Jan Hahn headshotAbout the Author:

After leaving a long career in the world of business, Jan Hahn began writing stories based on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in 2002. Her first novel, An Arranged Marriage, was published in 2011 by Meryton Press and won Best Indie Novel from Austen Prose that year. Her second novel, The Journey, was selected by Austen Prose as one of the Top Five Austen Inspired Historical Novels of 2012, and it won the Favorite Pride and Prejudice Variation/Alternate Path award from Austenesque. In 2014, Austen Prose listed Ms. Hahn’s third novel, The Secret Betrothal, among the Best Austenesque Historical Novels. She is a member of JASNA and lives in Texas. Visit her Facebook, her Blog, Meryton Press, and on Goodreads.

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Chicken Soup & Homicide by Janel Gradowski

Source: Janel Gradowski, the author
Ebook, 223 pgs
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Chicken Soup & Homicide by Janel Gradowski is the second in the Culinary Competition Mystery series, but readers can jump right into this series without worrying that they have missed something in previous books.  Amy Ridley is paired with Sophie from Riverbend Coffee in the Chicken Soup Showdown charity competition against some of the more polished chefs in Kellerton, Michigan.  Chet Britton has been a star chef in town and he has the ego to match, but his employees and many others in town find his demeanor abrasive.  He’s left a lot of scorched earth behind him in his rise to fame, but Amy isn’t there for the competition with him.  She’s in the competition to win money for her charity, as are many of the other competitors.  When Chet Britton ends up dead, Amy is thrust into the thick of it as a suspect.  Her best friend, Carla, is on the top of the list when a new detective takes over, and even dating a local cop Shepler doesn’t help.

“She should start wearing skull-and-crossbones patterned aprons to warn others of the possible dangers of competing with her, even though she certainly wasn’t the one committing the murders.”

“‘I honestly can’t figure out what that detective is doing.  This is a high-profile case, and the police department seems to have assigned some kind of bumbling idiot to it.  Shouldn’t my relationship with Chet have raised a red flag? Beyond that, I humiliated him a few weeks before he was murdered by demoting him at the restaurant he built.  I’m not sure if that detective hasn’t found that information or if he’s afraid of me.'”

Gradowski has a great sense of comedic timing.  Her one-liners will have readers laughing out loud.  Amy Ridley is a spunky character who has no qualms about hiding behind laundry bins to overhear conversations and also tends to be very careful when waging into her own investigations of town murders.  Should this cook be looking for killers among her friends, family, and fellow residents, probably not, but that doesn’t stop her.  Even as she’s investigating crimes, she’s thinking up recipes and reaching out to troubled friends.  She even finds the time to reach out to her vanishing husband.

Chicken Soup & Homicide by Janel Gradowski is fun and mouth-watering.  Readers will be looking to their kitchens longingly as the recipes are brewing and stewing, but never fear, there are recipes to try out in the back of the book.

About the Author:

Janel Gradowski lives in a land that looks like a cold weather fashion accessory, the mitten­-shaped state of Michigan. She is a wife and mom to two kids and one Golden Retriever. Her journey to becoming an author is littered with odd jobs like renting apartments to college students and programming commercials for an AM radio station. Somewhere along the way she also became a beadwork designer and teacher. She enjoys cooking recipes found in her formidable cookbook and culinary fiction collection. Searching for unique treasures at art fairs, flea markets and thrift stores is also a favorite pastime. Coffee is an essential part of her life. She writes the Culinary Competition Mystery Series, along with The Bartonville Series (women’s fiction) and the 6:1 Series (flash fiction). She has also had many short stories published in both online and print publications.  Check her Website, on Facebook, and on Twitter.  Check out her books.

Other books by this author, reviewed here:

 

 

 

 

Enter her giveaway here. (available through March 8, U.S. residents only)

Short Story Friday: Christmas Canapes & Sabotage by Janel Gradowski

In a renewal, I’ve been reading some short stories in collections, and I really love Janel Gradowski‘s writing.  Her cozy mysteries are always full of food and fun.  One of her latest stories was published in the Cozy Christmas Capers: Holiday Short Story Collection.  I wanted to share a little bit about why I am enjoying these cozy mysteries from Janel and why we as a community should support more writers like her.

Christmas Canapes & Sabotage by Janel Gradowski is part of the culinary competition mystery series of books — her new one is coming out this month, Chicken Soup & Homicide — that find an amateur cook embroiled in a deadly mystery at local food competitions.  Amy is a winner when it comes to these amateur cooking competitions, but she is always humble about her skills, even if she is as inventive in the kitchen as some professional chefs.  Why do I gravitate to these books?  1. food 2. humor.

“‘Old Man Winter can ease up any time now.  It isn’t even Christmas, and I’m tired of the deep freeze.  I think the girl who handed my my registration packet had blue fingernails, and the color wasn’t from nail polish.'”

“‘You’re like a foodie super hero, saving the masses with a pot of tea.'”

Janel is the queen of the instant one-liners, and she’s a book blogger who has made her writing dreams a reality.  She started with flash fiction pieces published in online journals, and from there dove into more challenging, longer projects.  I love her spunk in tackling larger projects that challenged her, and I think that she’s found a great niche.

Have you found other book bloggers who’ve entered the world of authorship?  Have you read their books?  I’d love to hear about it.

To enter Janel’s party giveaway, go here.

Mailbox Monday #309

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links.  Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

1. With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin, free Kindle download.

Lt. Mellie Blake is looking forward to beginning her training as a flight nurse. She is not looking forward to writing a letter to a man she’s never met–even if it is anonymous and part of a morale-building program. Lt. Tom MacGilliver, an officer stationed in North Africa, welcomes the idea of an anonymous correspondence–he’s been trying to escape his infamous name for years.

As their letters crisscross the Atlantic, Tom and Mellie develop a unique friendship despite not knowing the other’s true identity. When both are transferred to Algeria, the two are poised to meet face-to-face for the first time. Will they overcome their fears and reveal who they are, or will their future be held hostage by their pasts?

2.  All God’s Children by Anna Schmidt, free Kindle download.

Beth Bridgewater, a German American, finds herself in a nightmare as World War II erupts—a war in which she takes no side, for she is a Quaker pacifist. Just as she gains opportunity to escape Germany, Beth decides to stay to help the helpless. Meanwhile, Josef Buch, a passionately patriot German, is becoming involved in his own secret ways of resisting the Nazis. . . . Despite their differences, Beth and Josef join together in nonviolent resistance—and in love. Does their love stand a chance. . .if they even survive at all?

3. The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson, which came unexpectedly from Tandem Literary.

A provocative and hauntingly powerful debut novel reminiscent of Sliding Doors, The Bookseller follows a woman in the 1960s who must reconcile her reality with the tantalizing alternate world of her dreams.  Nothing is as permanent as it appears . . .

Denver, 1962: Kitty Miller has come to terms with her unconventional single life. She loves the bookshop she runs with her best friend, Frieda, and enjoys complete control over her day-to-day existence. She can come and go as she pleases, answering to no one. There was a man once, a doctor named Kevin, but it didn’t quite work out the way Kitty had hoped.  Then the dreams begin.

Denver, 1963: Katharyn Andersson is married to Lars, the love of her life. They have beautiful children, an elegant home, and good friends. It’s everything Kitty Miller once believed she wanted—but it only exists when she sleeps.

4. The Uncertainty Principle by Roxanna Bennett, an unexpected surprise from Tightrope Books.

Roxanna Bennett’s debut collection of precisely crafted poems examines connection and consequence. The poems in The Uncertainty Principle are the aftermath of events both at an atomic and human scale, from the domestic intimacy of a dysfunctional family to the wreckage of an atom bomb.

 

 

 

 

5. Teacher’s Pets by Crystal Hurdle, an unexpected surprise from Tightrope Books.

Thought provoking, sexy, edgy, and affecting, Teacher’s Pets explores what happens along the line that should not be crossed. Join a group of Venturers, a Wilderness Training school group, on their treks into the great outdoors of supernatural British Columbia and the mysteries of love and loss. Told in a series of free-verse poems from a lively crew of characters, interspersed with student assignments and the comments on them, discussions in and out of the classroom, journal entries, report cards, lists, and horoscopes, this book will engage teens and adults alike.

6. Boston  Strong: A City’s Triumph Over Tragedy by Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

Veteran journalists Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge have written the definitive inside look at the Boston Marathon bombings with a unique, Boston-based account of the events that riveted the world. From the Tsarnaev brothers’ years leading up to the act of terror to the bomb scene itself (which both authors witnessed first-hand within minutes of the blast), from the terrifying police shootout with the suspects to the ultimate capture of the younger brother, Boston Strong: A City’s Triumph over Tragedy reports all the facts—and so much more. Based on months of intensive interviews, this is the first book to tell the entire story through the eyes of those who experienced it. From the cop first on the scene, to the detectives assigned to the manhunt, the authors provide a behind-the-scenes look at the investigation. More than a true-crime book, Boston Strong also tells the tragic but ultimately life-affirming story of the victims and their recoveries and gives voice to those who lost loved ones.

What did you receive?

Mrs. Darcy’s Diamonds by Jane Odiwe

Source: Jane Odiwe
ebook, 148 pgs
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Mrs. Darcy’s Diamonds by Jane Odiwe is part of the the Jane Austen Jewel Box series and it is a quaint novella to pass the holidays with, especially as all of Pemberley prepares for the Christmas Ball.  Set shortly after Elizabeth and Darcy get married, Elizabeth is just getting to know what her role is as mistress of Pemberley and the staff seem to admire her, even if Darcy’s aunt Lady Catherine does not.  In addition to Lady Catherine and the Bennets, Darcy’s French cousins Antoine de Valois and his sister Louise are also to attend on the invitation of Lady Catherine.  These distant cousins are barely known to the Darcy family, but Georgiana is quite taken with them and their exotic culture.

“Lady Catherine, now purple about the gills, opened and closed her mouth like the trout he fished in the Pemberley streams”

Odiwe has created a full novella in that it doesn’t feel too short, and it will satisfy readers looking for more Jane Austen fiction.  She has a firm grasp on characterization, particularly how Lizzy and Darcy would act with one another behind closed doors (though nothing too graphic) and in front of family, the servants, and society.  All of these faces of the Darcys provide a round picture of their societal obligations as well as how different they are from many other aristocrats.  Lizzy’s mother is the same as always, looking for suitors for her last daughters, Kitty and Mary, and still trying Mr. Bennet’s nerves.

“The Longbourn servants were already running hither and thither whilst Mrs. Bennet emerged from the breakfast parlour flapping her arms like a demented bird, barking instructions, scolding her daughters and generally not being very useful to anyone.”

Odiwe’s Austen fiction is among the best every time, and readers will always find that they are engaged from the onset in the plight of the moment.  In this case, one of the Darcy Diamonds goes missing, and with the ball coming up and the guests arriving, it is imperative that the new mistress of Pemberley find it.  But beyond the missing diamond, the Darcy name could be scandalized as a mysterious man is set about dragging their name through the mud.  Will Darcy find the mysterious man before its too late? Will the diamond be found?  Readers will want to spend part of the day reading to find out!

Mrs. Darcy’s Diamonds by Jane Odiwe is a lovely novella that will have readers rejoining Darcy and Lizzy in their happiest moments, while they still navigate the early days of a new marriage and plan a societal ball.  Readers will thoroughly enjoy the company in this novel and revisiting old friends.

About the Author:

Jane Odiwe is an artist and author. She is an avid fan of all things Austen and is the author and illustrator of Effusions of Fancy, consisting of annotated sketches from the life of Jane Austen. She lives with her husband and three children in North London.  Check out Jane Odiwe’s blog here.

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