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Review: Hibernate by Elizabeth Eslami

[ 0 ] April 17, 2014

ESLAMI_-_HIBERNATE_COVER_JPGReviewed by Alisha Churbe

Hibernate is a collection of eleven rich short stories.  Each of these stories need a bit of time to marinate after they are read.  I tried to read two or even three in a single setting, but I found myself distracted by the story I had just read that it was too difficult to focus on a new story too quickly.  Short stories should very much stand on their own and demand singular attention.  Eslami has done a wonderful job of creating this emphasis, both in character and in the settings, in each of the stories that appear in this collection.

The title story, “Hibernators”, follows a young couple who are determined to embark upon new experiences.  They give up their ordinary life to head out on a new journey.  In “Victory Forge”, Eslami tells us a story of a boy who becomes a soldier and goes to war.  She shows how this boy changes throughout all the new experiences.  The story is narrated in second person, giving it the feeling of extreme distance and it felt like a secret you are not supposed to know.  The storyteller in “Yana Land,” is immediately intriguing when presented to the reader and narrator, “Maxwell Yana whispered a story in my head, his lips so close my ear began to thaw.” Eslami’s storyteller​s​ and narrators do a terrific job of grabbing us from the very beginning and holding on until the very end.  Each of the eleven stories have their own merits and will keep you reading in their own unique way.

Eslami’s storytelling is quirky, sometimes leaving large gaps in written word, leaving the reader to continue the narrative before the next part picks up.  Others use point of view placed at an unexpected angle or distance, distorting the known and the unknowns.  I enjoyed this style, it lent to the mysteriousness of the stories and was well intended, well executed.  Her stories can have dark undertones and subject matter, but there always seems to be a moment of clarity, redemption or hope that peeks through.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Part-time fiction writer, Alisha Churbe lives in Portland, Oregon. In the rare instances when you can pry her away from books, Alisha can be found travelling in foreign countries, cooking, or hiking with her husband Michael and dog Euro.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by BookSparksPR. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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Review: Lady of the Bog by Peter Hayes

[ 1 ] April 17, 2014

18619311Reviewed by Amanda Farmer

My Lady of the Bog was the first book I have read by Peter Hayes. After reading it, I have mixed feelings. The story opens to Xander Donne, an American anthropologist finding a mysterious lady buried in an English bog with her body staked, treasures buried with her, and a book that he is unable to translate without help. He becomes obsessed with finding out her identity and why she was buried in the bog seven hundred years ago. What he doesn’t realize is that his Lady of the Bog is not just any ordinary sacrifice. She may well have been a witch or something greater, possibly a Deshi princess–no one really knows. He is determined to uncover her identity at all costs.

As Xander strives to uncover his Lady, he soon finds himself transported to medieval India, with his complicated love, Vidya. Vidya has her own complicated past and quite a lot of baggage. Xander believes that no matter what, the two of them will find out his Lady’s identity and have a life together. The book he found with his Lady seems to be enchanted and has the ability to really pull the reader into its pages, literally. As he deciphers the book, he realizes there is more at stake than just his need to find out who his Lady is–his life and career are at stake.

I found the book’s summary to be interesting in that it had mystery, love, sacrifice, intrigue and history all in one. Unfortunately I found the book itself to be too long winded and confusing at times. I felt like there were too many plot holes to the story and that everyone just took whatever they saw as fact without questioning anything. All the pieces seemed to fall too neatly into place as the story progressed and became to unbelievable for me. I didn’t feel a connection to any of the characters and I wanted to. I wanted to like this story but had a hard time finishing it because of the inconsistencies. Towards the end, I found myself losing interest in who the Lady of the Bog was and why she was buried in the English bog all those years ago.

Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

Amanda loves spending time at home with her husband and their dog, Oreo. She loves reading, playing puzzle games, beading and watching movies. When she’s not reading, she’s working on her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by The Permanent Press. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: The Idea of Him by Holly Peterson

[ 11 ] April 15, 2014

IdeaOfHim-680x1024Please join Holly Peterson, author of The Idea of Him, as she tours the blogosphere with TLC Book Tours!

Enter to win a copy of the book and a beautiful candle from Andrea Schroder below! Open to US residents only

Reviewed by Lindsay Yocum

Allie Crawford is a fantastic mother of two, a struggling writer and a highly respected public relations executive who has a seriously exhausting husband. She is all too often frustrated and exasperated, to say the least. And while her character was very relatable in some aspects, her blatant insecurities and blind eye made me cringe at times.

In this story we meet Allie’s over the top “high rolling” boss, Murray Hillsinger, who heavily relies on Allie’s way with words to get high profile clients and personalities to support his firm. We also get to know Allie’s magazine editor husband, Wade, (who is without a doubt the most self-centered, exhausting individual on the planet) and the elusive and gorgeous, Jackie Malone, who turns Allie’s world upside down after catching her in a not so innocent situation with her husband.

The story wavers back and forth between Allie coming to terms with a marriage that always seems to be on the cusp of breaking, and being oblivious to things happening right in front of her nose.

Even though I really enjoyed this book, there were parts and characters that didn’t seem to quite fit in it–at least to me. We learned of Allie’s childhood tragedy in the first chapter of this book and while that in itself was riveting, The Idea of Him candle2it didn’t make much sense to me to throw it in there. It was revisited a few times but only to bring in James, Allie’s childhood friend and “first love” who experienced the tragedy with her. James fit in the story because he acted as a muse for Allie during her screen writing class, where we met Tommy. Tommy and Allie’s relationship stifled me at times because it just didn’t seem realistic and was always going nowhere.

Allie always seemed to be at war with herself. She was so unforgiving of things she couldn’t change in her past, but was so forgiving towards the men in her life that continuously let her down. Her unlikely friendship with Jackie was a saving grace in this book because sometimes you wanted to reach inside the book to shake some sense into Allie. Jackie was able to maneuver Allie where she needed to be to open her eyes to the grim reality of her marriage, finances, and her job.

I honestly could not put this book down, or finish it fast enough. There was a lot going on in the book that made taking a break from it feel like torture. There were some definite shockers that happened – especially at the end – that I did not see coming at all. However, the ending of the book seemed forced and after enduring a roller coaster ride for most of the book, I was slightly disappointed. Overall though, it was a great read. It was gripping, at times intense, and always left you guessing. I’d highly recommend it. Holly Peterson did a wonderful job, and I look forward to reading more by her.

Visit Holly Peterson on Facebook and Twitter

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Lindsay Yocum resides in California with her 5 year old firecracker daughter, Bear, and her hilarious husband. She spends her free time traveling, baking, ruining DIY crafts she finds on Pinterest, and running, when she isn’t nose deep in a book.

Review and giveaway prizes were provided free of any obligation by William Morrow Paperbacks and Andrea Schroder. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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Interview & Giveaway: Anne-Marie Casey, author of No One Could Have Guessed the Weather

[ 8 ] April 14, 2014

16158568Please welcome Anne-Marie Casey, author of No One Could Have Guessed the Weather!

Enter to win a copy below – open to US residents only

We asked Anne-Marie Casey: 

What was your favorite part of being a transplant in New York City? What did you like about it? What did you hate about it? 

This is what I love about New York City: in no particular order (although I find myself starting with food): breakfast at Balthazar, lunch at Momofuku, dinner at Bar Pitti or a splurge at Babbo; Chris Botti at the Blue Note over Christmas; the High Line; the Temple of Dendur at the Met; the Morgan Library; the Imagine Memorial in Central Park; the portraits by Whistler at the Frick; coffee at Abraço in the East Village; the Third Street Music School Settlement; the Lyceum Theatre. And the feeling you get walking uptown on a perfect spring morning, as the spire of the Empire State Building rises ahead of you, glinting in the sunlight as it scrapes the sky, and for one moment you are the star of your own Manhattan movie. 

I could not say I ‘hate’ anything about the city, it feels too strong a word, but it’s good to love it a lot on the days when the weather is dreadful (freezing in winter, boiling in summer), the noise is overwhelming, the rats are particularly active round the garbage, and you sit down and realize that the fifty dollar note you put in your pocket at 8am has been spent two hours later, and you can only remember buying a cup of coffee and a newspaper. 

How did your TV script-editing experience help you write this novel? 

I spent many so many years editing and writing episodes of TV shows that my default settings are all about story structure; character arcs, opening sequences, plot points, turning points etc. etc.. When I decided to try writing fiction, I forced myself to let all those rules go and just write, trusting that my sixth sense about plot and structure would kick in. It did and it didn’t, but I knew I needed to be very free and explore characters and storylines in ways that the ruthless pace of television (and often film) doesn’t allow. Often, my editor will give me notes that say “expand more here”, “don’t just trust to dialogue”, and at those points I see where I am writing like a screenwriter, not a novelist. In a TV show or a film, you know that the director and the actors will supply a layer of detail and nuance to your words.

Giveaway copy was provided free of any obligation by Berkley/NAL. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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Giveaway: Blackwell’s Paradise by V.E. Ulett

[ 0 ] April 14, 2014

Blackwell's ParadiseBlackwell’s Paradise by V.E. Ulett

Publication Date: January 8, 2014

Old Salt Press LLC

Formats: Ebook, Paperback

Series: Blackwell’s Adventures, Volume II

Genre: Historical Adventure/Naval HF

Relive the pleasure of falling into the past with the author of Captain Blackwell’s Prize, in Volume II of Blackwell’s Adventures.

The repercussions of a court martial and the ill-will of powerful men at the Admiralty pursue Royal Navy captain James Blackwell into the Pacific, where danger lurks around every coral reef. Even if Captain Blackwell and Mercedes survive the venture into the world of early nineteenth century exploration, can they emerge unchanged with their love intact. The mission to the Great South Sea will test their loyalties and strength, and define the characters of Captain Blackwell and his lady in Blackwell’s Paradise.

Enter the Goodreads Giveaway

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Blackwell's Paradise by V.E. Ulett

Blackwell’s Paradise

by V.E. Ulett

Giveaway ends April 30, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Praise for Blackwell’s Paradise

“Not for the faint hearted – Captain Blackwell pulls no punches! Prepare for a right roaring romp in the company of two of the most captivating characters in historical fiction.” – Alaric Bond, author of Turn A Blind Eye, and the Fighting Sail Series

Buy the Book

Amazon (eBook)

Amazon (Paperback)

Barnes & Noble (Nook)

Barnes & Noble (Paperback)

Book Depository

iTunes

About the AuthorVE Ulett

A long time resident of California, V.E. Ulett is an avid reader as well as writer of historical fiction.

Proud to be an Old Salt Press author, V.E. is also a member of the National Books Critics Circle and an active member and reviewer for the Historical Novel Society.

As the long war in Europe comes to its conclusion, so does Captain Blackwell’s career in the Royal Navy in BLACKWELLS’ HOMECOMING, a story of the dangers and rewards of desire.

Author Links

Website

Goodreads

Old Salt Press

Book Blast Schedule

April 1 Historical Tapestry

April 2 Broken Teepee

April 3 Confessions of an Avid Reader

April 4 The True Book Addict

April 7 Layered Pages

April 8 The Maiden’s Court

April 9 Passages the Past

April 10 Just One More Chapter

April 11 Closed the Cover

April 12 Words and Peace

April 14 Luxury Reading

April 15 To Read or Not to Read

April 16 Peeking Between the Pages

April 18 So Many Books, So Little Time

April 21 Flashlight Commentary

April 22 Curling Up With a Good Book

April 23 HF Book Muse-News

April 24 A Bookish Affair

April 25 Oh, For the Hook of a Book

April 27 Kincavel Korner

April 28 CelticLady’s Reviews

April 29 Historical Fiction Connection

April 30 Reading the Ages

Giveaway
To enter to win a copy of Blackwell’s Paradise please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on April 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter on May 1st and notified via email.

Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

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Mailbox Monday

[ 12 ] April 13, 2014

Welcome to Mailbox MondayMailbox Monday are hosted by Marcia at Mailbox Monday blog

Here are the books that made their way into my mailbox last week:

For Review – Paper Copies

0514-9780778315971-bigw1947761_721680997872493_379753162_n1604498618207957186014309780393348781_p0_v1_s260x4209780778804758_p0_v1_s260x420A-Shining-Light-193x300cover_raildownload (1)05book"Fools" by Joan Silber.jane-austens-first-love-by-syrie-james-2014-x-350northSeaHouse_FINAL_scrSeaGarden2 (1)Supersurvivors-HC-c1the_house_on_mermaid_pointw496339

For Review – NetGalley and Edelweiss eBooks

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