Wednesday, September 30, 2009
David's doctor has a remedy. He sends him on a job interview for a position teaching history at Bamfylde School, a boys' school in isolated Exmoor. At Bamfylde, David finds something special: a father figure, a surrogate family and a place to begin to forget the horrors of his war experiences.
And he does. The doctor has somehow hit on David's calling. He is young for a teacher, at only twenty one, but he has a gift for it and a passion for teaching history. He earns his degree along the way and becomes part of the fabric of the Bamfylde world, indeed one of the most important pieces of it. In a saga that stretches over more than twenty years, David's life has the same tragedies and triumphs as anyone else, but his are enriched by the students and the school that seem to cushion the bad times and magnify the joys of his life.
This is a rich and complex story. Though I found parts of it a little slow, there can be few books that describe so clearly the point of view of a dedicated teacher as they watch successive generations come and go. And I'm glad that I read through until the end, because the author brings the story full circle in a charming way.
It is also a wonderful historical novel of England between the wars, the author does an excellent job relaying the shock and dismay of ordinary people watching yet another deadly conflict building. I enjoyed this novel and I think anyone interested in English history, teaching or historical fiction would enjoy it, too.
To Serve Them All My Days is published by Sourcebooks. ISBN 978-1-4022-1824-8
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Here's your chance to win a copy of one of my favorite books! The Historian was an instant success when it was published in 2005, and for good reason. It is part mystery, part classic Gothic novel and all fascinating, intriguing fiction. And now is a great time to spread the word about The Historian. Halloween is coming up and everyone needs a good spooky read for our favorite haunted holiday! This book would make an excellent choice for book clubs (lively discussion awaits), you will find the reading group guide here. Plus, Elizabeth Kostova's eagerly awaited second novel, The Swan Thieves, will be out in January. It has been VERY eagerly awaited...I can't wait to get started on it!
Valerie at Hachette Book Group has provided five copies for me to give away (Thank you, Valerie)!! To enter, leave me a comment here telling me what you favorite Halloween memory is. Winners must have a US or Canada mailing address and will be drawn at random. Enter through midnight eastern on October 21st. Below are some ways for you to earn extra entries. Please leave ONE comment for each thing you choose to do. You can combine your comments together if you like but please do not leave multiple comments for the same extra thing (for example, one comment if you fave at Technorati or subscribe via Feedburner, not three). Anyone who already follows, subscribes, or has faved at Technorati still gets the extras, just mention it in your comment! Thank you for visiting and entering!
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Thursday, September 24, 2009
He tries not to worry about it, but after two days she still hasn't arrived at her mother's and no one has heard from her. He is beginning to be frantic and files a missing persons report. When a Sheriff from the small Texas town of Rostov calls, Dan fears the worst. But he says that Tori is fine, though he won't give any other information. He insists that Dan must come to Rostov and see for himself what is going on.
When Dan arrives in Rostov, he is confronted with a mystery that has intrigued and frightened people for hundreds of years. The strange Rostov Lights are a phenomenon that occur out over the badlands, on the mesa towards the Mexico border. They appear at night, hover and shine, changing colors and size, merging into one another and breaking apart again. But not everyone can see them. Those that can are transfixed, caught by their beauty, like Tori. Those that can't see them are either disgusted or annoyed, sure that the viewers are making it all up. Sometimes reactions are completely unexpected.
While Dan talks to Tori and begins to unravel the reasons that she left and why she stopped in Rostov, outside events overtake the couple and they are swept into a violent maelstrom, which is caused by the lights. Putting their own problems aside, they join forces with the local police to try to uncover the source of the lights and the reason they sometimes incite uncontrollable behavior or worse in the people who see them.
This book is non-stop action from the first page, I couldn't put it down. I was intrigued by the premise, the author based the story on lights seen in the real life town of Marfa, Texas. They occur in other places in the world, too: Norway, Thailand and Australia all have areas where similar lights are seen. The phenomenon has never been explained, though there are lots of theories. David Morrell took the fact of the lights and built an intriguing story around them. Part action, part suspense, part mystery, and a taut thriller, The Shimmer has it all. I really enjoyed this fast-paced book!
David Morrell has been called the father of the modern action novel (he created Rambo, after all). You can find out more about him and his books at his website and more about The Shimmer at http://www.shimmerbook.com/ .
The Shimmer is published by Vanguard Press, ISBN 978-1-59315-537-7
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
When Billy is dies violently, Lila's world is torn apart. She is unable to function without him, her compass for interpreting the world has been lost. She loves her husband of eleven years, Patrick, very much, but she can't seem to break out of the spiraling grief that has engulfed her. The fragmented memories that start to surface totally confuse her, as they are at odds to all she has believed to be true. She desperately wants custody of Billy's three children, he and his wife had been going through a bitter divorce, but Lila's mentally fragile state make such an attempt impossible.
So, Lila turns to sleeping pills to numb her pain. Patrick can't seem to get through to her or do anything that helps to life her out of the despair that she is in. He goes to see Billy's wife, Ashley, hoping to find some way to help Lila. Instead, Ashley shows him a sympathy card...from Billy & Lila's mother. He is shocked but thinks it must be some sort of prank. His wife couldn't have lied to him about a thing like this for so many years, could she?
Why would two adolescents claim that their parents were dead, when one of them at least is very much alive? What could have happened to cause them to construct a fictitious past and cut all ties to home and family? These are questions that they must all find the answers to, for the sake of the entire family. When Lila's splintered memories finally begin to emerge, will she be strong enough to accept what they contain?
I was completely riveted to the pages of this story. It is a fascinating psychological look at the lengths the mind will go to in order to protect the self. The relationships between Billy and Lila, their spouses and children, were intricate and interesting. The author explores the adult difficulties that result from the psychological abuse of children, the kind of abuse that doesn't leave any marks but twists and destroys just the same. A moving story with a depth of seriousness, I truly enjoyed this novel.
I received this book as part of the Blog Tour hosted by TLC Book Tours. For a complete list of the blog stops, please click here. For more information about the author and her novels, please visit her website.
The Promised World is published by Atria Books, ISBN 978-1-4165-7538-
Sunday, September 20, 2009
During his training as a knight, William was a bit of an outsider. Soon though, his talent with horses, plus a bit of luck, bring him to the attention of the new royal family. Henry I and Eleanor of Aquitaine take notice of the young knight and when William saves Eleanor's life during a surprise raid, he earns her lasting goodwill. He is placed with the heir to the throne, Prince Henry, and given the responsibility for his training and instruction.
As the young Prince and his brothers grow, turmoil begins to boil and the relationship between the brothers and their father sours. During the strife that pits each of them against the other, William steadfastly stands beside Prince Henry, even though he agrees with almost nothing that the young man decides to do. Despite many terrible actions on the Prince's part, William is there to support him and help him, he is loyal almost to a fault.
When the unthinkable happens, William is shattered. He departs on a two year pilgrimage to the Holy Land where he tries to reconcile his past and find a way to move forward with his life. After his return, all his service is eventually rewarded when he is given the hand of Isabelle de Clare, a rich but lonely young heiress. Despite the fact that William is years older than Isabel, the two form a surprisingly happy and supportive marriage.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
That necklace is the key to Adam's future. He resigns his commission and returns to England, where the germ of an enterprising idea is born during a trek on horseback through the country he has been away from for so long. He wants to create a delivery company that will haul goods in the areas that the railway doesn't reach. On the same trip he encounters a young woman, Henrietta, who has run away from her father and his plans to marry her off for his own personal gain.
Henrietta turns out to be unlike the women that Adam has previously known. She is bright and has an unusual way of looking at the world. She even dreams up the logo for his yet-to-be company. They are soon married and then Adam is off to make his commercial dreams a reality. He seems to have either an extraordinarily clear eye for business or the devil's own luck, because he succeeds and founds an empire in the booming world of Victorian England.
This book is a grand family saga, the first in a trilogy that is followed by Theirs Was the Kingdomand Give Us This Day. I thought it was fantastic: a big, meaty, complex book that delves into the lives of the main characters and numerous side characters, as well. It vividly paints the world of Victorian England, the effects of the industrial revolution and arrival of the railway. It is intricate and interesting, with enough technical detail to please male readers and enough romance to keep women happy. A fine balance.
For some reason, though I have long known about R.F. Delderfield books, I have never read one before. It is always such a pleasure to discover a new (to me) historical fiction author, especially one who wrote close to twenty books....a whole list of promising reads for me to discover. If you love historical fiction, R.F. Delderfield is an author you won't want to miss!
Thursday, September 17, 2009
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Be sure to check out all of the fantastic giveaways going on this week to celebrate BBAW! Click the link or the button on the top left to see the ever growing list!
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Under This Unbroken Sky is a mesmerizing tale of love and greed, pride and desperation, that will resonate long after the last page is turned. Shandi Mitchell has woven an unbearably suspenseful story, written in a language of luminous beauty and clarity. Rich with fiery conflict and culminating in a gut-wrenching climax, this is an unforgettably powerful novel from a passionate new voice in contemporary literature.
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Tuesday, September 15, 2009
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Monday, September 14, 2009
When I got my copy, I immediately looked to see if my favorite restaurant dish was included. Guess what? IT WAS! I love P.F. Chang's Chicken-Lettuce Wrap...I always order it when I go there (which is not very often, unfortunately). So I was excited to see if I could make my favorite thing at home with my limited cooking skills.
I got everything together and sent my hubby out to get the real thing. (It is quite a trip to the closest PF Chang's, so I had plenty of time). The recipe was easy to follow, even though there were quite a lot of ingredients, some that I am not used to cooking with. The result was indistinguishable from the original...and I got to eat my favorite thing in my own home. I can't wait to try some of the other recipes in the book, I think Red Lobster's Cheddar Cheese Biscuits might be next...
America's Most Wanted Recipes: Delicious Recipes from Your Family's Favorite Restaurants is published by Atria Books. ISBN 978-1-4391-4706-1
First time Canadian novelist Cathy Marie Buchanan won my heart with this love story. I so enjoyed the setting and the way she brought the Niagara river to life until its presence in the book was equal to Bess and Tom, a character in its own right. It is a love story in so many ways: the love between man and wife, parent and child, family members, humans and the natural world. Love of country, too, the author's pride in Canada shines through the passages about the War and its aftermath. The character of Tom is loosely based on the legendary Niagara riverman William "Red" Hill and the story has a realistic feel to it. It could be an old diary you are reading, complete with struggle and despair, joy and elation. An excellent debut novel...I'll be waiting for more from Cathy Marie Buchanan!
Sunday, September 13, 2009
"If I'm a lousy writer,then an awful lot of people have lousy taste."
-- Grace Metalious
Grace married George Metalious in 1943 and by the mid fifties the couple had three children and a meagre existence. In desperation, she sat down and wrote Peyton Place, a book about the seedy underside of life that the chirpy fifties wanted to sweep under the rug. It was a smash hit, it ripped the veneer of respectability off of the decade and revealed the secrets and hypocrisy underneath.
The book was a huge bestseller. She did as much for the publishing industry at the time as Dan Brown (another NH author) did with The Da Vinci Code or J.K. Rowling did with Harry Potter. The popularity of the book spawned a sequel, the film Peyton Place was nominated for nine academy awards and then it was made into a prime time television serial, the first of its kind. She not only created a publishing sensation, she changed conventions and minds in America.
Of course, that kind of change is never easy. Grace was the focus of adulation and success as well as revulsion and hatred. She began to drink and by the age of 39, she was dead.
Opinions very, but I think she was a great writer. Here are the first two paragraphs from Peyton Place:
"Indian summer is like a woman. Ripe, hotly passionate, but fickle, she comes and goes as she pleases so that one is never sure whether she will come at all, nor for how long she will stay. In northern New England, Indian summer puts up a scarlet-tipped hand to hold winter back for a little while. She brings with her the time of the last warm spell, an unchartered season which lives until Winter moves in with its backbone of ice and accoutrements of leafless trees and hard frozen ground. Those grown old, who have had the youth bled from them by the jagged edged winds of winter, know sorrowfully that Indian summer is a sham to be met with hard-eyed cynicism. But the young wait anxiously, scanning the chill autumn skies for a sign of her coming. And sometimes the old, against all the warnings of better judgment, wait with the young and hopeful, their tired, winter eyes turned heavenward to seek the first traces of a false softening.
One year, early in October, Indian summer came to a town called Peyton Place. Like a laughing, lovely woman Indian summer came and spread herself over the countryside and made everything hurtfully beautiful to the eye."
Grace Metalious is buried not far from where I live, and a friend of mine lives in the house that the Metalious family lived in when Peyton Place was written. That's about as local as it gets!
If you haven't read any Grace Metalious, give Peyton Place a try. You don't even have to buy it, the entire thing is available free online (click here), courtesy of Google Books. I thought you would like to see a glimpse of the television show:
Blackpool, England, 1959. The Singleton family is on holiday. For seven-year-old Beth, just out of the hospital, this means struggling to fill in her 'I-Spy' book and avoiding her mother Ruth's eagle-eyed supervision. Her sixteen-year-old sister Helen, meanwhile, has befriended a waitress whose fun-loving ways hint at a life beyond Ruth's strict rules.
But times are changing. As foreman of the local cotton mill, Ruth's husband, Jack, is caught between unions and owners whose cost-cutting measures threaten an entire way of life. And his job isn't the only thing at risk. When a letter arrives from Crete, a secret re-emerges from the rubble of Jack's wartime past that could destroy his marriage.
As Helen is tempted outside the safe confines of her mother's stern edicts with dramatic consequences, an unexpected encounter inspires Beth to forge her own path. Over the holiday week, all four Singletons must struggle to find their place in the shifting world of promenade amusements, illicit sex, and stilted afternoon teas in this touching and evocative novel.
I'm so excited to have Sallie here today to tell us a little bit about what inspired her book! Welcome, Sallie!!
The idea for the novel sprang from an impromptu trip back to the Lancashire mill town where I was born. During my long absence everything was so changed as to be unrecognizable. The smoking mill chimneys that had once dominated the skyline were no longer standing and Clean Air legislation of the 70s had put an end to the blanket of smog which used to percolate down into the dirty cobbled streets and terraced houses.
I decided on impulse to go on a walk around the mill area of the town (cotton mills, originally dependent on water power were sited beside fast flowing streams and later weaving sheds were built by the canal and within easy reach of rail / road links. The canal tow path had once passed the backs of several weaving sheds but now all the mills were demolished. Only one mill remained standing, and a passing local told me that even this was due for demolition the following week.
I stood and looked at the weaving shed I had known as a child when my father worked there as a manager. Soon I was lost in memories of the late fifties and sixties when the town was busily engaged in importing cotton from Africa and America and exporting finished cotton goods to the rest of the world. From this memory came more - where we lived, what we wore and our annual holidays in Blackpool.
I was still a small child 1959 and so there was a great deal of background reading to do for the novel - and this in turn inspired more and more memories, all bursting to be set down in writing. However I didn’t want to write a biography. I wanted to write a novel. Fiction is an altogether different beast and requires imagination added to a taste for drama.
Jack Singleton may have begun life as a portrait of my father but very soon he became a character in his own right with an exciting war record, and, in the face of an undemonstrative wife, a weakness for a pretty face. My father was very straight laced in comparison! Nevertheless some of the characters were real - Connie was based on a waitress whom I worked with for the whole of one summer. Other characters, among them Tiger Woman and Cora, were total invention. I had no idea where the story would lead me. I put the Singleton family in a relatively plush hotel and stood back to see what they might do next.
I was prepared to take a back seat where the plot was concerned and content to ‘go with the flow’. Each chapter contained some new discovery, not all of them pleasant. I was saddened by Beth’s isolation and illness but I was downright horrified by Jack’s one night stand with an underage waitress. In the end the novel seemed to have written itself - as if it had been there in my subconscious all the time just waiting for an opportunity to surface!
Thank you so much for joining me here today and giving us a peek at the story behind the story!! I'm always interested in the author's inspiration. In celebration of Book Blogger Appreciation Week, I have five copies to give away, courtesy of Hachette. To enter, just leave me a comment here that includes your email address. The winners will be drawn at random and must have a US or Canada mailing address (no PO Boxes). Enter thru midnight eastern on September 18.
There are many giveaways going on this week to celebrate BBAW, I myself will have several more posted as the week goes on. Be sure to check out the complete list at the BBAW website by clicking any of the BBAW links in this post or the button in the upper left corner.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
I have always been fascinated with Ancient Egypt, so when I saw this book at BEA in May, I immediately wanted to get my hands on it! It is out this month and Hachette has provided five copies for this giveaway. Here's the synopsis from the author's website:
Master of suspense James Patterson reopens the ultimate cold case—the unsolved death of King Tut.
A secret buried for centuries: Thrust onto Egypt's most powerful throne at the age of nine, King Tut was challenged from the first days of his reign. The veil of prosperity could not hide the bitter rivalries and jealousy that flourished among the Boy King's most trusted advisers. Less than a decade after his elevation, King Tut suddenly perished, and in the years and centuries that followed, his name was purged from Egyptian history. To this day, his death remains shrouded in controversy.
The keys to an unsolved mystery: Intrigued by what little was known about Tut, and hoping to unlock the answers to the 3,000-year-old mystery, Howard Carter made it his life's mission to uncover the pharaoh's hidden tomb. He began his search in 1907 but encountered countless setbacks and dead ends before he finally discovered the long-lost crypt.
The clues point to murder: Now, in The Murder of King Tut, James Patterson and Martin Dugard dig through stacks of evidence—X-rays, Carter's files, forensic clues, and stories told through the ages—to arrive at their own account of King Tut's life and death. The result is an exhilarating, true crime tale of intrigue, passion, and betrayal that casts fresh light on the oldest mystery of all.
I have five copies to give away, courtesy of Hachette. To enter, just leave me a comment here that includes your email address. The winners will be drawn at random and must have a US or Canada mailing address (no PO Boxes). Enter thru midnight eastern on September 24. Below are some ways for you to earn extra entries. Please leave ONE comment for each thing you choose to do. You can combine your comments together if you like but please do not leave multiple comments for the same extra thing (for example, one comment if you fave at Technorati or subscribe via Feedburner, not three). Thank you for visiting and entering!!
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Thursday, September 3, 2009
Thank you for inviting me to your blog, I’m delighted to be here.
About the Author
Elizabeth Chadwick lives near Nottingham with her husband and two sons. She is the author of 17 historical novels, including Lords of the White Castle, Shadows and Strongholds, A Place Beyond Courage, The Scarlet Lion, The Winter Mantle, and the Falcons of Montebard, four of which have been shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Awards. Much of her research is carried out as a member of Regia Anglorum, an early medieval re-enactment society with the emphasis on accurately re-creating the past. She won a Betty Trask Award for The Wild Hunt, her first novel.
I have two copies of The Greatest Knight to give away, courtesy of Sourcebooks (thank you, Danielle!!) To enter, just leave me a comment here. The winners will be drawn at random and must have a US mailing address. Enter thru midnight eastern on September 19 (that's my birthday!). Below are some ways for you to earn extra entries. Please leave ONE comment for each thing you choose to do. You can combine your comments together if you like but please do not leave multiple comments for the same extra thing (for example, one comment if you fave at Technorati or subscribe via Feedburner, not three). Thank you for visiting and entering!!
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Tuesday, September 1, 2009
This September, Sourcebooks is exclusively releasing The Foundling by Georgette Heyer in Barnes & Nobles stores Nationwide!!
Sourcebooks is holding a fabulous receipt promotion! Send us your receipt/proof of purchase of The Foundling from your local Barnes & Noble to our office or a scanned receipt in an email to email@example.com and you’ll be entered to win a $200 Barnes & Noble gift card! Receipts must be dated between September 1 – September 31, 2009, and can be from an in-store or online purchase. Any questions please contact mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
But WAIT—you can win a book from Sourcebooks now! As a thank you to The Tome Traveller for helping spread the word about our B&N Heyer Receipt Promotion, Sourcebooks is giving away 2 books from the list of books below! Leave a comment about your favorite Heyer moment and you’ll be entered to win your choice of book! 2 winners—US and Canada addresses only please.
Sourcebooks is so excited about the warm embrace everyone has given the Georgette Heyer reissues! Good luck—we look forward to hearing from you!
Send your Barnes & Noble The Foundling receipts to
PO Box 4410
Naperville, IL 60567
Remember: Leave a comment! Two lucky commenters will be able to choose a book from the following:
The Spoken Word Revolution edited by Mark Eleveld
Poetry Speaks Expanded edited by Elise Paschen and Rebekah Presson Mosby
Letters From Pemberley by Jane Dawkins
How (Not) to Have a Perfect Wedding by Arliss Ryan
Hundreds of Years to Reform a Rake by Laurie Brown
A Chain of Voices by Andre Brink
First Lady by Michael Malone
The Ultimate Bartenders Guide by Ray Foley
Improvisation for the Spirit by Katie Goodman
The Successful Novelist by David Morrell
Join our Georgette Heyer mailing list!: http://www.sourcebooks.com/spotlight/georgette-heyer.html
It began with a dive. Not the kind of dive that people take into swimming pools, but the kind where you squeeze yourself into a wetsuit and wonder just how tasty your rump must appear to passing sharks now that it looks exactly like an elephant seal. My husband and I had taken a trip to Egypt, and at the suggestion of a friend, we decided to go to Alexandria and do a dive to see the remains of Cleopatra’s underwater city. Let it be known that I had never done an underwater dive before, so after four days with an instructor (and countless questions: Will there be sharks? How about jellyfish? If there is an earthquake, what happens underwater?) we were ready for the real thing.
We drove to the Eastern Harbor in Alexandria. Dozens of other divers were already there, waiting to see what sort of magic lay beneath the waves. I wondered if the real thing could possibly live up to all of the guides and brochures selling this underwater city, lost for thousands of years until now. Then we did the dive, and it was every bit as magical as everyone had promised. You can see the rocks which once formed Marc Antony’s summer palace, come face to face with Cleopatra’s towering sphinx, and take your time floating above ten thousand ancient artifacts, including obelisks, statues, and countless amphorae. By the time we had surfaced, I was Cleopatra-obsessed. I wanted to know what had happened to her city once she and Marc Antony had committed suicide. Where did all of its people go? Were they allowed to remain or were they killed by the Romans? What about her four children?
It was this last question which surprised me the most. I had always believed that all of Cleopatra’s children had been murdered. But the Roman conqueror Octavian had actually spared the three she bore to Marc Antony: her six-year-old son, Ptolemy, and her ten-year-old twins, Alexander and Selene. As soon as I learned that Octavian had taken the three of them for his Triumph in Rome, I knew at once I had my next book. This is how all of my novels seem to begin – with a journey, then an adventure, and finally, enormous amounts of research for what I hope is an exciting story.
- The Tome Traveller
- New Hampshire, United States
- Bibliophile, Anglophile, Traveller... I have been an avid reader all of my life, since I took the Dr. Seuss Dictionary away from my Mom when I was less than a year old because I wanted to read it myself. In college, where I earned my degree in English Literature, I was often asked "What are you going to do with it?" Now I finally have the answer to that question!!! Being employed as a Flight Attendant for twenty years has given me a lot of life experience and, better still, a lot of time to read. I love to travel for fun, too.