Saturday, December 26, 2009

Giveaway: Small Wars by Sadie Jones

The prizewinning author of The Outcast delivers the emotionally searing story of a marriage in crisis, an unflinching look at lives irrevocably altered by one of history's "small wars."

Hal Treherne is a major in the British Army, a young and dedicated soldier on the brink of a brilliant career. When he is transferred to the British colony of Cyprus in 1956, Hal is joined by Clara, his beautiful and supportive wife, and their baby daughters. The Trehernes quickly learn that the Mediterranean is no "sunshine posting," however, and soon Hal is caught up in the battle to defend the island against Cypriots seeking enosis, union with Greece.

Leading his men in difficult and bloody skirmishes, after years of peaceful service, Hal at last tastes triumph. But his confidence and pride quickly fade: traumatized by the brutality he witnesses—and thwarted again in his attempts to do the right thing—Hal finds himself well trained in duty but ill equipped for moral battle.

A seasoned army wife, Clara shares her husband's sense of obligation. She knows to settle in quickly, make no fuss, smile. But as she struggles to trust her own maternal instincts and resist the anxiety that surges with Hal's frequent absences, Clara grows fearful of her increasingly distant husband. When she needs him most, Clara finds the once-tender Hal a changed man—a betrayal that is only part of the shocking personal crisis to come.

What place is there for honor amid cruelty, and what becomes of intimacy in the grinding gears of empire? A passionate and brilliantly researched novel about the effects of war on the men who wage it and the families they leave behind, Small Wars raises important questions that resonate for our own time.

-Synopsis courtesy of the publisher

Harper Collins has generously provided two copies for this giveaway! For one entry, just leave me a comment here. If you would like extra entries there are instructions below. Giveaway open through midnight eastern time on January 20. The winner will be drawn at random and must have a US or Canada mailing address.

+2 Follow this blog any way you choose (Google, Feedburner, etc) and leave a comment...if you already do, include that in your comment
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Good luck everyone, thank you for visiting and entering!

Giveaway: The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell

In a clash of heroes, the kingdom is born.

At the end of the ninth century, King Alfred of Wessex is in ill health; his heir, an untested youth. His enemy, the Danes, having failed to conquer Wessex, now see their chance for victory. Led by the sword of savage warrior Harald Bloodhair, the Viking hordes attack. But Uhtred, Alfred's reluctant warlord, proves his worth, outwitting Harald and handing the Vikings one of their greatest defeats.

For Uhtred, the sweetness of victory is soon overshadowed by tragedy. Breaking with Alfred, he joins the Vikings, swearing never again to serve the Saxon king. Instead, he will reclaim his ancestral fortress on the Northumbrian coast. Allied with his old friend Ragnar—and his old foe Haesten—he aims to invade and conquer Wessex itself.

Yet fate has different plans. The Danes of East Anglia and the Vikings of Northumbria are plotting the conquest of all Britain. When Alfred's daughter pleads with Uhtred for help, he cannot refuse her request. In a desperate gamble, he takes command of a demoralized Mercian army, leading them in an unforgettable battle on a blood-soaked field beside the Thames.

In The Burning Land, Bernard Cornwell, "the reigning king of historical fiction" (USA Today), delivers a rousing saga of Anglo-Saxon England—an irresistible new chapter in his thrilling Saxon Tales, the epic story of the birth of England and the legendary king who made it possible.

-Synopsis courtesy of the publisher

Harper Collins has generously provided two copies for this giveaway! For one entry, just leave me a comment here. If you would like extra entries there are instructions below. Giveaway open through midnight eastern time on January 18. The winner will be drawn at random and must have a US or Canada mailing address.

+2 Follow this blog any way you choose (Google, Feedburner, etc) and leave a comment...if you already do, include that in your comment
+2 Tweet or blog this giveaway and leave me a comment to let me know that you

Good luck everyone, thank you for visiting and entering!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas!

Sitting under the mistletoe
(Pale-green, fairy mistletoe),
One last candle burning low,
All the sleepy dancers gone,
Just one candle burning on,
Shadows lurking everywhere:
Some one came, and kissed me there.

Tired I was; my head would go
Nodding under the mistletoe
(Pale-green, fairy mistletoe),
No footsteps came, no voice, but only,
Just as I sat there, sleepy, lonely,
Stooped in the still and shadowy air
Lips unseen—and kissed me there.

~Mistletoe by Walter de la Mare

Wishing everyone the happiest of holiday seasons!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Guest Post: Karen White, author of The Girl on Legare Street

Today The Tome Traveller's Weblog welcomes author Karen White! I enjoy Karen's books so much (see my review of The Lost Hours here). Her most recent book is The Girl on Legare Street, sequel to The House on Tradd Street. Thank you for joining us, Karen!

People are surprised when I tell them that my life isn’t glamorous. Sure, my eleventh novel hit bookstores in November and even managed to reach the New York Times extended list, and my publisher is already working on a major book tour for the release of book #12 in May, and I just bought the cutest, most impractical yet expensive shoes just to wear on TV interviews. But at the moment, I’m dressed like a homeless woman because I’m in “just finished a book and now I’ve got to get into the holidays” mode, I’ve been yelled at twice by each resident teenager (not including the one “You can’t make me!” from the 16-year-old male child regarding his haircut appointment later this afternoon), I’m sitting on a bed covered with three loads of unfolded laundry and umpteen unwrapped presents and wrapping paper, and I’m thinking I need to take the dog to the vet tomorrow because he’s chewing on his leg which means he has another skin infection.

See what I mean?

Sure, I get lots of fan mail—my favorite part of this job—but all I have to do is glance up at the sticky kitchen counters, the shoes, text books, and sports apparatus scattered liberally around the house like pepper on scrambled eggs, and I’m back to the reality of my non-glamorous life.
I don’t want to burst anybody’s fantasy bubble, but I feel a dire need to set the record straight. I recently signed a two-book contract for the continuation of my Tradd Street mystery series, but the books are going to come out two years apart because I simply couldn’t fathom keeping up with writing two books a year and having a life, glamorous or otherwise. When I mentioned this at a book club, the readers—and I love them all!—were up in arms that they would have to wait so long between installments. I told them if I could get the two teenagers, husband, guinea pig and dog to move in with them for a year, I might be able to write a bit faster. Oddly enough, I didn’t have any takers.

Yesterday, as I was cleaning dog vomit from the back seat of my car, I found myself wondering why I make my life so crazy. Why do I have to write? Couldn’t I just keep to a leisurely schedule of a book every five years or so? The answer is easy: no. Writing isn’t just something I do—it’s who I am. When I get a story snagged in my brain, I’m compelled to write it—even if it means carting my laptop to the carpool line, the horse barn, the football field or the laundry room to get it written.

In my November book, The Girl on Legare Street, the protagonist, Melanie Middleton, is forced to reunite with her mother 33 years after her mother abandoned her. There are so many hurts and misunderstandings in their relationship until Melanie discovers the real reason why her mother left her all those years ago. But that’s more than three decades lost to both of them, decades of stories Melanie and her mother never shared with each other. And in all that time, Melanie relegated her mother to her past, as if she’d never existed and her stories didn’t matter.
I don’t want to be like Melanie; I want to experience life and all its stories—good and bad—then put them down onto the pages of books to share with others. Even if it means getting less sleep than I should, and sometimes picking my children up from school at 3:30 in the afternoon still wearing the pajamas I wore when I dropped them off.

My life might not be glamorous, but it’s mine, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Besides, my children won’t be teenagers forever, and before long I’ll have a quiet, orderly life and house, and they’ll be calling me and telling me how wonderful I am and asking for my advice about life. And if that doesn’t happen, then I’ll just have to write them into my books so I can bend them to my will. Hey, I’m the writer and in my world, fantasies happen.

For more information about Karen and all of her books, please visit her website. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Review & Blog Tour: Now & Then by Jacqueline Sheehan

After surviving three painful miscarriages and a devastating divorce, Anna O'Shea has given up her draining law practice and tried to put the scattered pieces of her life back together. A trip with a girlfriend to the British Isles is part of her healing process, including a quick one day stopover in Ireland on the way home. They have time to visit just one castle. As she is leaving, Anna meets an elderly Irish woman who says that she has been waiting for her. She gives Anna a small wrapped package, which gets tossed unopened into her luggage.

And there the package lies, forgotten. Once home in Massachusetts, Anna falls into a jet lagged sleep, only to be awoken abruptly by the telephone. Her mother is calling to tell her that her only sibling, her brother Patrick, has been in a horrible car accident. He was on his way to New Jersey to pick up his son, Anna's sixteen year old nephew Joseph, who had been arrested.

Eventually Anna is the one who springs the boy from jail. She has always tried to be there for Joseph, just as she always tried to be there for Patrick. She knows first hand the awful pain of child whose father is given to sudden rage. Her father had been volatile and she can see the same trait repeated in her brother.

They arrive home late, too late to visit the hospital. During the night, Joseph has a dream that sends him, almost still dreaming, out to the living room to go through his aunt's baggage. Just as he picks up the mysterious package from Ireland, Anna walks in and assumes the worst. As she angrily grabs at what he holds in his hands, both are sucked into a violent vortex and pulled apart...

When Anna awakens she is on a cold beach, battered and bloody, with a serious wound in her leg. Joseph is nowhere to be found, though she searches with the last of her strength. The people who find her and save her life are kind and generous with what little they have. But as she heals, she begins to realize that she is not in 2009. It is a shock to learn that it is the year 1844 and she is in Ireland. The Ireland of her own ancestors.

At first she is so weak and sick, it takes weeks to recover the strength just to walk. Her focus every day is to find a way to locate Joseph and figure out a way to get back to their own time. But it is impossible not to become entwined in the lives of the Irish people and it is a constant struggle for Anna to maintain a plausible story and refrain from mentioning anything that might color future events. She has no way of knowing if their very presence in the past will change their own future.

Time travel books have a special place in my heart and I am always drawn to them. I remember reading Ray Bradbury's short story "A Sound of Thunder" as a teenager, I think that is where it started. Next came the fantastic novel Time and Again by Jack Finney and I was a convert. Since then, I have been fascinated by the process and the possibilities...or maybe I should say possible repercussions. I liked that Ms. Sheehan's mode of time travel was a dangerous, bloody business. It seems so much more plausible than the fall asleep in one time, wake up in another that is usually used in novels. She even mentions string theory (my Dad would love that)! She knits together the lives of the characters in a subtle but magical way, and presents them with enough drama to draw in any reader. This is an absorbing story that I truly enjoyed.

For more information about Jacqueline Sheehan and her books, please visit her website.

I received this book as part of the TLC Book Tour. For a complete list of tour stops, click here.

Now & Then is published by Avon, ISBN 978-0-06-154778-2

Thoughts from an Evil Overlord

Thank you!!

Thank you to Beth at Beth Fish Reads and to The Blogger Guide for helping me to customize my template and to Andrea at The Little Bookworm for improving my header!!

About Me

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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.