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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


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



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

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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Review: The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld

[ 2 ] April 12, 2014

The-Enchanted-Rene-Denfeld-e1395460252481Reviewed by Cal Cleary

An unnamed man has been on death row for… he’s not sure how long, really. He’s plagued by visions of golden horses racing beneath the ground, of tiny men living in the walls, of vines that kill. He’s crazy, but he’s been crazy for years – and it’s hard to tell anyway, because death row isn’t a place where sane men end up. It’s a delicate ecosystem, a world populated by the fallen, the falling, and those struggling desperately to rise into something better than what they have become. The unnamed man will never rise, and he knows that, but he still has hopes and needs, still has people who remember him, and most importantly, still has important insights about his world and its broken inhabitants.

The Enchanted could very easily be a grim, dire slog. Given the content, I don’t think anyone would be particularly shocked if it were. Instead, Rene Denfeld approaches her world – an awful one by any stretch – with vivid imagination that gives odd, implacable life to her setting and characters. Once you settle into the book’s jagged rhythms, the penitentiary will begin to fill out, the cast will begin to sprawl, and the book you thought you were reading will fall by the wayside.

Rene Denfeld, who has a history as an investigator for death row cases, peppers the book liberally with insights about every aspect of the business. It isn’t just the unnamed ‘lady’ investigating one of the men for his appeal, though her insights on the world these men have come from are particularly fascinating. Denfeld digs into prison corruption, food, mental illness, how favors are traded – some of her topics are common to the genre, but all are approached with unique insight and careful examination that could only come from experience.

The Enchanted is… something special. Rene Denfeld’s unique voice and stilted prose may take some time to begin to appreciate, but the rewards for the readers willing to dive into the deep end with her will be ample. This is a wonderfully inventive novel, filled with surprises and memorable moments, but even more than that, it’s a warm, smart book that acknowledges the hope and wonder that can be found in even the darkest places on Earth.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Cal Cleary is a librarian and critic in rural Ohio. He’s been writing online for over 5 years now, and you can currently find more of his work at read/RANT and Comics Crux.

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

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Giveaway: Giving In by Maya Banks

[ 5 ] April 12, 2014

GIVING-IN-682x1024I have a copy of Giving In by Maya Banks to give away!

Open to US residents only

About the book

The Surrender trilogy investigates three couples exploring BDSM relationships and each couple’s hope for a fulfilling love and enduring happiness. The third and final book in the trilogy, Taking It All, will be available in August 2014 to wrap up this seductive and enticing series.

Giving In picks up after the events of Letting Go, but centers on vivacious Kylie, Joss’ former sister-in-law, and Jensen, one of the partners at the consulting company where he works with Dash. Kylie is driven, feisty and uses sarcasm to deflect her pain from her abusive childhood. Working at the same company as Dash and Jensen, she notices the way Jensen stares at her and can see his desire for both her and her dominance in his eyes. Jensen has long been lusting after Kylie, but the way he craves her is unlike any previous relationship. He wants to show Kylie that dominance doesn’t have to mean pain or constraint, but instead submitting her heart to him.

As Kylie considers the ramifications of such a relationship, she struggles between a desire to escape her abusive past and embrace a future with Jensen and a deep-rooted fear to give up total control to a man.

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Review: Kitty Genovese by Kevin Cook

[ 13 ] April 11, 2014

9780393239287_custom-113f9b45a7b76ac664f82c62c6604fd07d7ad5f9-s6-c30Reviewed by Meghan Hyden

The story of Catherine “Kitty” Genovese has always been an interesting story to me. All murders are shocking, but something about THIS one really hit home with everyone who heard about it. We all know the story – Kitty was stabbed to death outside of her apartment building in Kew Gardens (a neighborhood in Queens, New York) back on March 13, 1964. It happened around 3am and, according to the papers, 38 people (neighbors who also lived in this building) heard her screams and did nothing.

Author Kevin Cook, after researching this event to great lengths (including talking to these neighbors, people who knew her, and her girlfriend) has written Kitty Genovese: The Murder, the Bystanders, the Crime That Changed America, a very thorough account of her murder and subsequent events (not just surrounding the murder, but how the city – and life – changed because of it). He tells of her early years, of her life with Mary Ann, and of life in general at the time the murder takes place. He even delves into the life of convicted murderer, Winston Moseley, about his life growing up and what he had done before Kitty’s murder, as well as his court case, his escape from prison and his attempts to be released.

The most interesting part (to me) was his in-depth research into the “myth” of the case to find out what actually happened on that night and things that went on to happen because of this brutal and heart-breaking event. I was also interested in what he said about the way this murder has been used in books, music, movies and TV since, including the homoly at the beginning of one of my favorite movies, Boondocks Saints.

Mr. Cook believes that the story – the myth – “did a disservice to Kew Gardens” because, as he says towards the end of the book, this could have happened anywhere and because what people believe to be true isn’t what actually happened. Through his research, he found out that many things that were reported in the news were not necessarily the truth, that facts were left out. The big things that he hits on in this book are the amount of “witnesses,” how many times she was attacked, what people could actually see from their homes and that no one called the police.

Because of Kitty’s murder, studies have been done on people’s willingness to call 911 (the bystander effect) and helped get three barely-exisiting fields of psychology moving (urban psychology, social psychology, and the study of pro-social behavior). Other things that stemmed from this event were: more lighting in the area, the 911 system, good samaritan/duty to aid laws, and victim and assistance programs were put into effect. He discusses these things in his book.

I was given the opportunity to listen to the audio book, narrated by Stephen Hoye, and I must say that he did a very good job at it. I have tended to stay away from audio books because I get sidetracked easily, but here lately I’ve been giving them a second-chance. Mr. Hoye not only kept my attention, but really put the emotion and events across in a way that I feel did the book justice.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is interested in real-life murder and mystery.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

You can find Meghan (that’s Meghan spelled the right way) over on her book-ish blog The Gal in the Blue Mask. She’s an avid reader, a book editor, a story teller, a purveyor of delectable fare and pulchritudinous confections, and the best aunt in the world. She loves gardening, hiking, cooking and spending time at the zoo, library and museums. She may not be able to find her wallet, car keys or sunglasses, but she always knows where her Kindle is.

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

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