Tuesday, August 31, 2021

A Cover Reveal and Preview of Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner


I have wonderful news to share today.  Author Natalie Jenner has a great new historical fiction novel, Bloomsbury Girls, ready to be published on May 17, 2022.  I'm happy to share all that I know about this new novel and reveal the beautiful cover.

One of my favorite novels of 2020 was The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner.  I am excited that Jenner is back with another novel with Evie Stone from The Jane Austen Society as one of the main characters. She has left Chawton to work at a bookstore that sells rare books in post-war London.  Along the way she'll meet new friends and meet one of my favorite authors, Daphne Du Maurier.  I can't wait to read this!  A book description from the publisher and the final cover reveal are below.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

“One bookshop. Fifty-one rules. Three women who break them all.”

The Internationally Bestselling author of The Jane Austen Society returns with a compelling and heartwarming story of post-war London, a century-old bookstore, and three women determined to find their way in a fast-changing world.

Bloomsbury Books is an old-fashioned new and rare bookstore that has persisted and resisted change for a hundred years, run by men and guided by the general manager's unbreakable fifty-one rules.  But in 1950, the world is changing, especially the world of books and publishing, and at Bloomsbury Books, the girls in the shop have plans:

Vivien Lowry:  Single since her aristocratic fiancé was killed in action during World War II, the brilliant and stylish Vivien has a long list of grievances - most of them well justified and the biggest of which is Alec McDonough, the Head of Fiction.

Grace Perkins: Married with two sons, she's been working to support the family following her husband's breakdown in the aftermath of the war. Torn between duty to her family and dreams of her own.

Evie Stone:  In the first class of female students from Cambridge permitted to earn a degree, Evie was denied an academic position in favor of her less accomplished male rival. Now she's working at Bloomsbury Books while she plans to remake her own future.

As they interact with various literary figures of the time - Daphne Du Maurier, Ellen Doubleday, Sonia Blair (widow of George Orwell), Samuel Beckett, Peggy Guggenheim, and others - these three women with their complex web of relationships, goals and dreams are all working to plot out a future that is richer and more rewarding than anything society will allow.

The beautiful new cover of the Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner.


What do you think about the cover?

QUOTES FROM AUTHOR NATALIE JENNER

“I never intended for Evie Stone to be a major character in my debut novel, let alone inspire my second one, Bloomsbury Girls. But as time went on, I found I could not leave her behind in Chawton with the other society members. And then one day I rewatched a favourite movie, 84 Charing Cross Road, and I remember thinking, there's a whole other story in here still to be told, of an upstairs-downstairs motley crew of booksellers, and right away the figures came to life.”

“As with The Jane Austen Society, Bloomsbury Girls features multiple characters and storylines revolving around one very charming location: this time, the quintessential Dickensian-type bookshop.”

“If The Jane Austen Society was the book I wrote when I was coming out of sadness, Bloomsbury Girls was written when I was very happy, and I hope it provides a little cheer to readers during this difficult time.

AUTHOR BIO

Natalie Jenner is the author of two books, the instant international bestseller THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY and BLOOMSBURY GIRLS. A Goodreads Choice Award finalist for best debut novel and historical fiction, THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY was a USA Today and #1 national bestseller and has been sold for translation in twenty countries. Born in England and raised in Canada, Natalie has been a corporate lawyer, a career coach and, most recently, an independent bookstore owner in Oakville, Ontario, where she lives with her family and two rescue dogs.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS


PURCHASE LINKS

 

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | INDIEBOUND | KOBO | GOOGLE PLAY | GOODREADS

 


Monday, August 30, 2021

No Names to Be Given by Julia Brewer Daily

 

What is your favorite novel or movie about adoption or featuring an adoptee?

Three young women meet in 1965 at a maternity home hospital.  All three are from different backgrounds, but they all share one thing, babies that must remain hidden.  As the years go by and their lives move on, will they ever be able to really put behind the secrets from their past?

 I found No Names to be Given to be a riveting novel.  Sandra, Faith, and Becca all led fascinating lives.  The novel was told from their three points of views, with later points of views of their children added into the novel.  The story started with their young adult lives, how they became pregnant, life at the maternity home hospital, and then their lives afterwards.  I enjoyed it all, although I wish there would have been more on the stay at the hospital and how the three became friends.  There was also intrigue in the novel when the three women start to receive mysterious letters and their secrets are threatened to be exposed.  I enjoyed it and this novel was a real page turner.

I was also intrigued to learn at the end of the novel that the author, Julia Brewer Daily, was herself born in a maternity hospital in New Orleans.  She had pictures of her life growing up as well and it stated that she searched and was able to find her birth parents.  I was fascinated.

Favorite Quotes:

“Although we are from different walks of life, we have bonded in a way we might never have in the outside world.”

“They had no mothers to hold them, no names to be given.”

“Adoption is a two-sided coin – heartbreak and loss for the birth mother, joy and elation for the adoptive mother.”

Overall, No Names to be Given is a captivating look into maternity hospitals in the 1960s and how they impacted the lives of mothers and children for decades.

Book Source: Review Copy from Admission Press as a part of the TLC Book Tour.  For more stops on this tour, check out this link.

Check out my Instagram Account for a chance to win a copy of this novel.  Hurry as the giveaway ends on September 4th!

Information from the Publisher:

“A gorgeous, thrilling, and important novel! These strong women will capture your heart.”-Stacey Swann, author of Olympus, Texas

1965. Sandy runs away from home to escape her mother’s abusive boyfriend. Becca falls in love with the wrong man. And Faith suffers a devastating attack. With no support and no other options, these three young, unwed women meet at a maternity home hospital in New Orleans where they are expected to relinquish their babies and return home as if nothing transpired.

But such a life-altering event can never be forgotten, and no secret remains buried forever. Twenty-five years later, the women are reunited by a blackmailer, who threatens to expose their secrets and destroy the lives they’ve built. That shattering revelation would shake their very foundations-and reverberate all the way to the White House.

Told from the three women’s perspectives, this mesmerizing story is based on actual experiences of women in the 1960s who found themselves pregnant but unmarried, pressured by family and society to make horrific decisions. How that inconceivable act changed women forever is the story of No Names to Be Given, a heartbreaking but uplifting novel of family and redemption.

Purchase Links

IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Connect with Julia

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Sunday, August 29, 2021

It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey

 


Piper Bellinger is the stepdaughter of a rich and famous movie mogul.  She is known for her fashion sense, party ways, and penchant for being on social media.  After a wild night that leads to her arrest, her stepfather decides that she needs to go back to the state of Washington to take care of her father’s dive bar that was left to her in his will.  Piper and her sister Hannah set off on an adventure and find much more than they bargained for.  Piper immediately meets sea captain and widower, Brendan.  Will Piper be able to figure out in what direction she wants to take her life?

It Happened One Summer is a Schitt’s Creek inspired romance with Piper being a lot like Alexis Rose.  I thought it was a very fun book and loved Piper’s adventures.  I also love how she got to know more about herself and her biological father.  The chemistry between Piper and Brendan is very steamy.  My only negative of the book is being a closed-door romance fan, the door was wide open for a large part of the middle of the book.  I actually grew a bit bored in the middle of the book as there was no plot movement besides the main couple getting it on.  Luckily, the plot moved again, and the book had a satisfying conclusion.  I really hope there is a second book with Hannah and Brendan’s friend Fox having a romance.

Favorite Quotes:

“Maybe Hannah had a point about social media having too much ownership over her thoughts and enjoyment.”

“People tend to avoid grieving.  Grief in general.  And there’s no one with more grief than a parent who has lost a child.”

“Those visits made her feel a million times better than the momentary bursts of internet stardom.”

Overall, It Happened One Summer is a fun and entertaining romance that is a must read if you love Schitt’s Creek.

Book Source:  Review Copy from Netgalley and Avon Books.  Thank-you!

Legacy by Nora Roberts

 

What is your favorite book set in a small town?

Adrian Rizzo was seven when she met her father for the first time, and he nearly killed her and her mother.  Her mother has an exercise video empire, and Adrian sets up her own exercise online video empire when she hits her teen years.  Her safe place has always been her grandparent’s house.  When her grandpa leaves her his home, she decides to move to her favorite small town, Traveler's Creek.  While there she rekindles her childhood infatuation with a good-looking friend Raylan.  Adrian has been receiving threatening letters from a mysterious person for years, but they start to escalate.  Who is stalking her and why?

I love Nora Roberts and this novel started off with a bang.  I was reading quickly at first, but the story really seemed to drag in the middle. It was filled with making fitness videos and running errands. It seemed to go abruptly from scene to scene.  I enjoyed the characters, but they weren’t as well developed as I am used to in a Roberts novel.  Adrian herself I just didn’t connect with, which is troublesome when she is the main character.  I also wasn’t feeling the romance as I usually do in her novels.  I usually really love second chance romance and friends to lovers.  The suspense seemed to come rather abruptly to the front of the story at the end of the book.  Legacy felt like a mediocre Roberts novel, it was definitely not one of my favorites.  It pains me to say this.

Favorite Quotes:

“The first time Adrian Rizzo met her father, he tried to kill her.”

“If her childhood had taught her anything, it was to make time for her passion, her responsibilities.  And for the ones she loved.”

Overall, Legacy was an okay romantic suspense novel.

Book Source.  Review Copy from Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press.  Thank-you!

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Falling by T.J. Newman

 


Title:  Falling

Author: T.J. Newman

Read by:  Steven Weber

Publisher: Simon & Shuster Audio

Length: Approximately 8 hours and 26 minutes

Source: Review Copy from Simon & Shuster Audio.  Thank-you! 

 

What is the last book you read that left you on the edge of your seat?

 I can’t beat the Goodreads Summary for this one:

 “You just boarded a flight to New York.

 There are one hundred and forty-three other passengers onboard.

 What you don’t know is that thirty minutes before the flight your pilot’s family was kidnapped.

 For his family to live, everyone on your plane must die.

 The only way the family will survive is if the pilot follows his orders and crashes the plane.

 Enjoy the flight."

The story was fascinating from the start with such an interesting premise.  I couldn’t stop listening to this audiobook.  It’s told from the point of view of the pilot Bill, his wife Carrie, Jo the flight attendant, and Jo’s nephew Theo who is in the FBI.  Bill and Carrie had a disagreement before he went to work, but little did they know what lay in store for them.  As Bill is faced with an impossible choice, he quickly works to thwart the hijackers.  My favorite characters were actually the flight attendants, Jo, Big Daddy, and Kellie.  They were funny, heroic, and caring. The author is a flight attendant herself which may have something to do with it.  This book was very suspenseful. I would LOVE to see this one made into a movie – it would be fantastic. 

Steven Weber narrated this audiobook and he did a great job getting a unique narrative voice for each of the characters. 

Overall, Falling is a thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat for the flight of your life!

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Husband Auditions by Angela Ruth Strong (Review, Book Tour, and Giveaway)



What is the latest great romantic comedy that you read or watched?

Meri Newberg is the last of her group of friends to remain single.  Her best friend gives her the gift of a 1950s magazine article entitled “ways to get a husband.”  It has been passed through their circle of friends after each one has married.  Meri is outraged, but her brother’s roommate, Kai, sees it as an opportunity. He is a film editor that is trying to put together a film for a new job opportunity.  He talks Meri into starting in a new YouTube series called, “Meri Me” filming Meri trying out items on the list to catch a husband.  Meri and Kai have a lot of fun with this series, and it becomes a hit.  As Meri searches for a husband, is her real soulmate right in front of her?

I loved this book.  It was a fun read.  It had great characters, chemistry, and plot.  I loved Meri, Kai, and their friend Gemma.  The cast of characters were like a real group of friends.  Meri’s angst at not being able to find a soulmate was genuine.  I loved the humor and banter. 

The novel is told between alternating chapters from Kai and Meri’s point of view, which I enjoyed.  It has an item on the list for the start of each chapter.  The entire list is at the end of the book.  It is a Christian novel and I liked that the characters actually attended church.  It was a part of their life that drew them all together.

Favorite Quotes:

“If ever there was a time for a witty retort, this was it.  Tragically, the place where I keep my witty retorts – my pride – is still wounded from the memory of standing in the middle of a ballroom surrounded by giggly elementary schoolers who had to have the idea of a ‘bouquet toss’ explained to them by the DJ.”

“If it’s truly better to have loved and lost than to never loved at all, then she’s better off than I am.”

Overall, Husband Auditions was just the right fun romantic comedy novel that I needed right now.  I’ll be reading more from this author!

Book Source:  Review Copy from Kregel Publications for being a part of the book tour.  Thank-you!

More information from the Publisher:

How Far Would You Go to Find Love?

Angela Ruth Strong’s delightful new release is the perfect end-of-summer read


Grand Rapids, MI — How far would you go to find the perfect husband? All the way back to the 1950s? Those are the questions Meri Newberg finds herself asking in Husband Auditions (Kregel Publications/August 17, 2021/ISBN: 9780825447105/$15.99), the latest release from award-winning author Angela Ruth Strong.

For Meri, it seems the world is full of happily-ever-after love, or maybe it’s only because she’s just gotten home from the wedding of her now-former roommate. As of now, Meri is the only one left in her friend group who is still single, so she inherits “the list” from a 1950s magazine that has been passed from friend to friend. The list outlines “101 Ways to Get a Husband,” and out of desperation, Meri decides there’s nothing to lose and she might as well try some of them out. After all, she can’t get any more single than she already is, can she?

Her brother’s roommate, Kai Kamaka, knows a great opportunity when he sees it. He’s not interested in the love angle because he has no interest in the effort a serious relationship takes. Instead, Kai sees filming every one of Meri’s silly husband-catching attempts as the chance to get the cameraman job he has been wanting. In his mind, if the online show goes viral, his career is all but made.

When Meri Me debuts, it’s an instant hit. People love watching Meri lasso men on street corners, pretend to trip in front of unsuspecting potential beaus, and otherwise embarrass herself in pursuit of true love. But the longer this game goes on, the less sure Kai is that he wants Meri to snag anyone but him. The only problem is that he may not be the kind of husband material she’s looking for. Is he ready for a relationship? Will Meri see him for who he can be for her instead of who he seems to be at the moment, the unmotivated and lazy surfer who is stuck to the couch?

“When I was writing Husband Auditions, I had recently read a book about dysfunctional relationships, and it listed seven different heart issues. One of them was laziness, which is said to be the most frustrating for a woman to have to deal with, and it seems to be common in the younger generations,” shares Strong. “I wanted to explore the idea of a lazy but likable hero and what it would take for him to have to grow. I gave Meri the heart issue of fear because the fear of being alone could trap her in a relationship with a man who was just going to sponge off her. I believe many women choose bad love over no love at all, and I want to encourage them to invite their significant other into the light rather than join him in the dark.”

As far-fetched as the list that Meri inherited sounds, and as silly as the advice may seem, Strong was inspired by an actual magazine article that has floated around online in recent years. “The idea for Husband Auditions came from a real article, ‘129 Ways to Get a Husband,’ that was published in McCall’s magazine in the 1950s. Some of the suggestions were quite outlandish, such as standing on a street corner with a lasso, and I imagined what would happen if a modern-day woman tried them out,” the author explains. “When I created an original list for my book, I went to my reader group on Facebook for ideas. We had such a great time with all of them, and I can’t wait for my readers to see which of their ideas made it into the story.”

Some of the ideas that made the list include:

· Move to a state with more men than women. We recommend Nevada.

· Make friends with beautiful women. They usually have a cast of unwanted suitors.

· Why stop with a hat, when you could carry a hatbox? Be both charming and intriguing.

· Only let him see you cry if he has the power to cheer you up. Otherwise, you’re wasting your tears.

· There’s nothing more romantic than a view. Ask a Ferris wheel operator to leave you at the top of the ride for longer than usual.

With droll comic timing, unbeatable chemistry, and a zany but relatable cast of characters, Strong has created a heartfelt look at the reality of modern Christian dating that readers will both resonate with and fall for.

Advance Praise

“An irresistible hook, an unlikely (but perfect for each other) duo, and the winsome voice of author Angela Ruth Strong come together in Husband Auditions to form a sweet and funny love story readers will adore. Simultaneously an homage to and a lampoon of old-fashioned pursuits of matrimony, inspirational romance fans will gobble up this thoroughly modern tale. I was completely charmed from aloha to aloha.”

~ Bethany Turner, award-winning author of Plot Twist and The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck

“Husband Auditions is as hilarious as it is charming! Angela Ruth Strong once again brings her unique voice and quirky sense of humor to create memorable, laugh-out-loud characters that subtly teach important lessons in love—and not so subtly linger in our minds long after the final page is devoured.”

~ Betsy St. Amant, author of The Key to Love

“Original and fun! Husband Auditions is a wonderful staycation of a book. Grab your latte and prepare to giggle.”

~ Kristin Billerbeck, author of Room at the Top

About the Author

Angela Ruth Strong sold her first Christian romance novel in 2009, then quit writing romance when her husband left her. Ten years later, God has shown her the true meaning of love, and there’s nothing else she’d rather write about.

Strong’s books have since earned Top Pick honors in Romantic Times, won the Cascade Award, and been Amazon best sellers. Her book Finding Love in Big Sky recently filmed on location in Montana and will air soon. She also writes articles for SpiritLed Woman.

To help aspiring authors, she started IDAhope Writers where she lives in Idaho, and she teaches as an expert online at Write That Book.

Besides writing, Strong teaches exercise classes, works for an airline, and enjoys Harley rides with her husband and camping with her three kids.

 Learn more about Angela Strong at www.angelaruthstrong.com, or find her on Facebook (Angela Ruth Strong Fan Page)Instagram (@ang_strong), and Twitter (@AngelaRStrong)




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Emma by Jane Austen

 

Title:  Emma

Author: Jane Austen

Read by:  Alison Larkin

Publisher: Alison Larkin Presents

Length: Approximately 16 hours and 46 minutes

Source: Purchased from Audible.

 

Emma is a Jane Austen classic that I have enjoyed since I was a teenager.  My gateway into Emma was the movie Clueless and the 1996 movie starring Emma Paltrow.  I remember taking my new college friends our freshmen year to see Emma in the theatre.  My last Emma movie experience was taking my daughter Penelope to it in March 2020.  Little did we know that everything would be shut down a week later and it would be the last movie we would see in a theatre for a long time.

I’ve reviewed this novel several times on this blog, so I won’t go into a detailed review here.  I do love listening to it as an audiobook.  Austen was meant to be read out loud as it was in her original time to her family.    This time I listened to the audiobook in preparation for a JASNA Wisconsin Section Virtual Book Club Meeting. Every time I reread Austen; I always get different points out of it.  It was enhanced this time with our book club discussion. My random thoughts along with book club thoughts this time were as follows:

  • -        Mr. Knightley was discussed at book club as being kind of an uncle figure being sixteen years older.  He is constantly reprimanding her and treating her in a way that seems more intimate than a neighbor should.  We all agreed that was true, but that we didn’t want to think of him as an uncle as he ends up being her love interest!!
  • -        Mr. Knightly is Emma’s intellectual equal, but the difference in age does make it seem creepy looking at it now.
  • -        It’s interesting that the novel Emma deals with a lot of loss.  Emma, Frank Churchill, Jane Fairfax, and Harriet are all missing parents
  • -        Emma has both realistic restrained society as well as a parody of society.
  • -        What is the line between parody and reality?  Is Austen writing for comic effect with Miss Bates and Mrs. Elton?  Or is it a well-drawn portrait of a real type of person that we can still recognize now?  Emma starts to understand that as an adult we need to really get to know people and their circumstances before you judge them.  We agreed that Miss Bates seemed like a real type of person that was well drawn, but that Mrs. Elton was unlikeable.  Jane was living like Miss Bates at this time and her real story paralleled Miss Bates.  It’s interesting to think about.
  • -        What are your thoughts about Mr. Woodhouse?  He makes a lot of demands of Emma and is a tedious character.  He loves Emma, but he is a hypochondriac that spends a lot of time talking about his perceived illnesses.  He gets his way all of the time, only thinks of himself, and everyone has to do what he wants or find ways to get around him. 
  • -        As we discussed this book at book club, it was interesting to see the great depths for each character.  We could discuss each character and their layers for quite a while.  Austen was so clever writing her characters, her society, and her plots.  Emma is a perfectly written novel.
  • -        Emma is a strong female character.  She does have great personal growth throughout this novel and its enjoyable to see it every time I read this book.
  • -        I was struck by the side characters in this story.  There was perhaps one paragraph that discussed Jane Fairfax’s parents and how her mother had married a military man.  They both died.  I really want a book on her parents fleshing this story out.  I felt the same way about Frank Churchill’s parents.  Mr. Weston discusses how Mrs. Churchill had risen from nothing when she married into the Churchill family, and she was the most against Mr. Weston’s marriage to Frank’s Mom.  Why?  I wanted to know more about their marriage as well.
  • -        I wish we knew more about Mr. Robert Martin.  I love that he loves Harriet and sticks by her and asks again even after her silly proposal.  He allows her the time to know herself.
  • -        Why does Jane Austen always write such despicable clergymen?  Mr. Elton thinks a lot about himself and has a vindictive streak.  He is not a nice man.
  • -        Would you have been friends with Jane Fairfax?  She has a lack of openness.
  • -        It is so fun reading this when you know how it ends.  I missed so many details or misinterpreted them like Emma the first time through the novel.  When you reread it, you can see how there were so many clues for the ending.

 Alison Larkin is a wonderful narrator.  I enjoy her light British accent and soothing tones.  Her mannerisms and voices for the characters are wonderful.  I always look for her as a narrator now when I’m searching for audiobooks.

Overall, Emma by Jane Austen is a wonderful book to treasure and the audiobook by Alison Larkin is excellent.  It’s even more fun to discuss this in a book club setting than reading it on my own.  Next up for the club is Persuasion.

 


Monday, August 23, 2021

Educated by Tara Westover

 

Title: Educated

Author: Tara Westover

Read by:  Julia Whelan

Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group

Length: Approximately 12 hours and 15 minutes

Source: Downloaded through Overdrive from the Kewaunee Public Library

Educated is the August Pick for the Rogue Book Club (FLICKS Book and Movie Club).  I listened to it on audiobook, and it was a story where I couldn’t stop listening.

Educated is the memoir of Tara Westover.  She was raised by survivalist parents in the mountains of Idaho.  Her parents didn’t believe in school or hospitals.  She is not really homeschooled but is able to overcome her lack of education by studying and teaching herself to be able to take the ACT and get into college.  She is eventually able to obtain a PhD.

I felt many things while listening to this audiobook.  It was interesting to read Westover’s coming of age story where she realizes that her father is probably mentally ill and that her parents have been gaslighting her.  She really believes that doctors and medicine are evil and has a hard time personally getting over this to be able to get herself help when she needs it.  She starts out so far behind when she goes to college, it’s amazing that she is able to pull herself up and make her way through classes.  She didn’t know about the Holocaust, wars, or even the presidents of the United States.

I was horrified through large parts of this book by the abuse and trauma that takes place.  Tara’s older brother Shawn is psychologically, verbally, and physically abusive.  Their parents don’t seem to want to see this and always believe him that Tara caused his outbursts.  The family lives through an entire series of horrifying accidents where they don’t go to the hospital, but after months of healing, they live to see another day.  Tara’s mother is brain damaged, but never taken to the hospital.  Instead, they believe in folk curing and the magic of essential oils.  Tara’s mother starts an entire business based on essential oils and selling them.

Educated got mixed reviews at book club.  Other book club members were also horrified by the abuse and lack of getting medical treatment.  One member made a great point – it was a great leap from only being able to barely read to being able to go to Harvard and Cambridge.  There were gaps that needed to be filled in to make it all work out.  Otherwise, it seems like Tara Westover is a superhero that taught herself everything. 

Julia Whelan was a great narrator and was the voice of Tara Westover for me.

Overall, this was a hard book to read, but it was also hard to stop reading it.  It was horrifying, but interesting to see how Westover was able to survive her upbreaking and strive in the world.


Thursday, August 19, 2021

Gone Too Long by Lori Roy

 


My friend Jen loaned me this book and told me I would be up all night to finish it.  I’ve been holding off reading it until I had that kind of time.  She was right and I couldn’t put this book down once I picked it up.

I didn’t know anything about this novel when I started to read it and honestly, I think that is a great way to go into it.  It tells the story of two different people.  Beth is a ten-year-old girl with an alcoholic mother.  One terrible day, she is kidnapped and locked in a strange basement.  She uses her skills to survive and tries to figure out a way to escape.  Seven years in the future, Imogene is getting ready to attend the funeral of her Klan leader father.  Her mother enlists her help to figure out some of the secrets he left behind.  Will Imogene find all of her father’s ghosts and figure out a way for herself to move on?  Will Beth make it out of the basement?

Gone Too Long was action packed with a swift moving plot.  It was very interesting, and I enjoyed reading it.  I will admit though that I wasn’t totally happy with the ending.  I really want to talk to someone about it!  I thought the look into the history of the Klan and how it has impacted the members, community, family, and victims of its hate was very interesting.  History of the Klan was told between chapters.  It was sad to see that it seemed to have had its day, but it’s risen back up again today and is as full of hate as ever.  Knowing that people filled with such hate can surround you in your community is a horror novel of its own.

Overall, Gone Too Long is a thriller that you won’t be able to put down!

Book Source:  Borrowed from my friend Jen.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Jane in Love by Rachel Givney


 

What would Jane Austen choose, love in the future or becoming a successful writer in her own time?

Jane in Love tells us the story behind this choice.  In 1803 Bath England, Jane Austen is 28 years old and becoming a spinster.  She longs to be able to have her own independence without everyone trying to push her into marriage.  After a visit to a mysterious woman, she finds herself in present day Bath.  She meets Sophia Wentworth. Sophia is an actress playing Mrs. Allen in a new film version of Northanger Abbey.  She was once a major Hollywood star married to a famous director, but as she nears the end of her thirties, her career and marriage are in shambles.  As Sophia helps Jane find her way in modern England, will she also be able to find herself?

I always love time travel novels.  I thought it was an interesting concept to bring Jane Austen to the future and to see if she would choose love over her career.  I enjoyed her meeting Fred and their romance, but I never really felt the love connection between the two as I feel that I should have.  Part of it may be that I didn’t feel the character of Jane fit with the Jane Austen I know and love.  Persuasion is my favorite Austen novel and I loved how it worked with this novel.

My favorite part of this novel was actually Sophia.  I loved the details of her rise to fame, her marriage, and her trials of being an actress nearing forty in Hollywood.  The making of the movie was fascinating as well.  I would love a spin off novel on Sophia and her future adventures in film and love.

I kind of hope future versions of this book will change the year to 2019 or 2021.  The story didn’t fit in the 2020 setting as there weren’t movies being made that year.  It’s hard to have a story set in 2020 without mentioning COVID.

This is our August selection for the JASNA Northwoods Book Club and I can’t wait to discuss it with our group this weekend.

Favorite Quote:

“She was too old to act so childishly, gripped by juvenile longing, but then love never aged.  She’d feel the same at eighty.”

Overall, Jane in Love is an interesting time travel novel that looks at the impact of Jane Austen on our time.

Book Source:  Review Copy from William Morrow.  Thank-you!

 

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

The Merchant and the Rogue by Sarah M. Eden (Review, Blog Tour, and Special Offer)

 Join the virtual book tour of THE MERCHANT AND THE ROGUE, Sarah M. Eden’s highly acclaimed historical romance, August 16-29, 2021. Thirty-five popular on-line influencers specializing in historical romance, mystery/suspense, and inspirational fiction will join in the celebration of its release with a spotlights, exclusive excerpts, and reviews of this new Victorian-era novel set in London, England.



The Dread Penny Society helps the plight of the poor in Victorian London.    They also raise funds by writing penny dreadfuls (stories written and sold in installments) to amuse the masses.  Brogan Donnelly is an Irishmen that writes penny dreadfuls on the side while he goes undercover to try to investigate a criminal enterprise.  Vera Sorokina is a Russian immigrant that helps her father run a book and print shop.  She loves penny dreadfuls and helping out the poor when she can.  She hires Brogan to help with delivers.  Will these two be able to solve the mystery plaguing their community and the growing attraction between themselves?

This is the third book in the Dread Penny Society series, but it can be read as a stand alone novel.  There is an overarching theme with an evil mastermind that is discussed in the previous books, and it looks like will continue in future books. I loved the two strong leads, Brogan and Vera.  They were both interesting on their own, but I loved the chemistry between them.  Eden has written a vivid Victorian world like Dickens that shows that good and the bad side of that world.  The poor, downtrodden, good, and evil are all exposed. 

My favorite part of this series is that there are alternating chapters of two penny dreadfuls that run throughout the course of the book.  I love these extra stories.

Favorite Quote: 

“People are more than their labels, is what you’re saying.”

Overall, The Merchant and the Rogue is a delightful addition to the Dread Penney Society series with great characters and story.

Book Source:  Review Copy from Shadow Mountain Publishing for being a part of the Book Tour.  Thank-you.


QUICK FACTS

·       Title:

The Merchant and the Rogue: Proper Romance Victorian

·       Author: Sarah M. Eden

·       Series: Book 3 in The Dread Penny Society

·       Genre: Historical Romance, Historical Mystery/Suspense, Inspirational Fiction

·       Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing (August 17, 2021)

·       Length: (368) pages

·       Trade paperback ISBN: 978-1629728513

·       Audiobook ASIN: B0921TS4TF

·       eBook ASIN:  B098TVLLM7

·       Previous Books in the Series: The Lady and the Highwayman (2019) & The Gentleman and the Thief (2020)

·       Tour Dates: August 16 – 29, 2021

 

BOOK DESCRIPTION

London, 1865

 Vera Sorokina loves reading the Penny Dreadfuls and immersing herself in tales of adventure, mystery, and romance. Her own days are filled with the often-mundane work of running the book and print shop she owns with her father. The shop offers her the freedom and income to employ and protect the poverty-stricken Londoners she's come to care about, and it gives her father something to do other than long for their hometown of St. Petersburg. She is grateful for the stability in their lives, but she often feels lonely.

 Brogan Donnelly was born and raised in Ireland, but has lived in London for several years, where he's built a career as a Penny Dreadful writer. He has dedicated himself to the plight of the poor with the help of his sister. His membership in the secretive Dread Penny Society allows him to feel he isn't entirely wasting his life, yet he feels dissatisfied. With no one to share his life with but his sister, he fears London will never truly feel like home.

 Brogan and Vera's paths cross, and the attraction is both immediate and ill-advised. Vera knows from experience that writers are never to be trusted, and Brogan has reason to suspect not everything at her print shop is aboveboard. When the growing criminal enterprise run by the elusive and violent Mastiff begins targeting their area of London, Brogan and Vera must work together to protect the community they've both grown to love. But that means they'll need to learn to trust each other with dangerous secrets that have followed both of them from their home countries.

 

 AUTHOR BIO

Sarah M. Eden is the author of critically acclaimed and award-winning Proper Romance series novels including The Lady and the Highwayman and Ashes on the Moor. Combining her passion for history and an affinity for love stories, Sarah crafts smart, witty characters and heartfelt romances. She happily spends hours perusing the reference shelves of her local library and dreams of one day traveling to all the places she reads about.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

 

 TOUR SCHEDULE

 

Aug 16          Among the Reads (Review)       

Aug 16          Austenprose (Review)     

Aug 16          Reading is My Superpower (Review)

Aug 17          Literary Time Out (Review)       

Aug 17          Getting Your Read On (Review)

Aug 17          Heidi Reads (Excerpt)

Aug 17          Laura's Reviews (Review)         

Aug 18          Our Book Confessions (Review)         

Aug 18          Bookworm Lisa (Review)

Aug 19          Fire & Ice (Review)

Aug 19          From Pemberley to Milton (Excerpt)

Aug 20          My Bookish Bliss (Review)       

Aug 20          Gwendalyn's Books (Review)    

Aug 20          Storeybook Reviews (Excerpt)

Aug 21          Bookish Rantings (Review)       

Aug 21          The Calico Critic (Review)         

Aug 22          The Christian Fiction Girl (Review)     

Aug 22          Books, Teacups, & Reviews (Excerpt)

Aug 23          My Jane Austen Book Club (Spotlight)

Aug 23          Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen (Review) 

Aug 23          Reading with Emily (Review)     

Aug 24          Wishful Endings (Review)         

Aug 24          Relz Reviewz (Review)    

Aug 24          The Book Diva Reads (Excerpt)

Aug 25          Bookfoolery (Review)      

Aug 25          Greenish Bookshelf (Review)    

Aug 26          A Bookish Way of Life (Review)

Aug 26          Nurse Bookie (Review)    

Aug 27          So Little Time… (Excerpt)

Aug 27          Probably at the Library (Review)         

Aug 27          Bringing Up Books (Review)     

Aug 28          Books and Socks Rock (Review)        

Aug 28          The Bibliophile Files (Review)   

Aug 29          Book Confessions of an Ex-Ballerina (Review)       

Aug 29          A Darn Good Read (Review)     

                 

PURCHASE LINKS

 

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE BOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSHOP

| GOODREADS


SPECIAL OFFER

Please help Sarah M. Eden get her latest novel, THE MERCHANT AND THE ROGUE, to hit the New York Times best-seller list by purchasing a copy between August 15-22, 2021.

Everyone who submits a copy of their receipt and fills out the form during the week of August 15-22 will receive The Merchant and the Rogue - Swag Bundle. Supplies are limited, so act today. Please visit
the Swag Bundle webpage for details.