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Tag: "giveaway"

Giveaway: Manwhore by Katy Evans

[ 2 ] March 3, 2015

manwhore book coverI have 1 copy of Manwhore by Katy Evans to give away!

Open to US and Canada residents only

About the book

New York Times bestselling author Katy Evans is back with a new series and what Sylvia Day is calling “your new addiction”–billionaire playboy Malcolm Saint, the bad boy alpha of Katy’s upcoming Manwhore.

Sylvia Day got her hands on the first advanced copy and had this to say: “Meet your new addiction. A sizzling, decadent, tender love story that kept me up all night. I call dibs on Saint!”

Rachel Livingston is a young and hardworking reporter trying to save her magazine and given the assignment of a lifetime: write an expose on Malcolm Saint and reveal his juiciest secrets. When Rachel poses undercover to better understand the mysterious Malcolm, she finds both her body and her heart in danger of succumbing to the city’s most notorious womanizer.

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Giveaway: The Cake House by Latifah Salom

[ 12 ] March 2, 2015

the cake house book coverI have 2 copies of The Cake House by Latifah Salom to give away!

Open to US residents only

About the book

Part mystery, part compelling coming-of-age tale, The Cake House is a riveting debut novel that re-imagines the classic story of Hamlet amidst the hills of suburban Los Angeles.

Rosaura Douglas’s father shot himself when her mother left him . . . or at least that’s the story everyone is telling. Now her mother has remarried and Rosie is trapped in a new home she calls “The Cake House,” a garish pink edifice that’s a far cry from the cramped apartment where she grew up. It’s also the house where her father died—a fact that everyone else who lives there, including her mother, Dahlia, and her mysteriously wealthy stepfather, Claude, want to forget.

Soon, however, her father’s ghost begins to appear; first as a momentary reflection in a window, then in the dark of night, and finally, in the lush garden behind the house where Rosie spends most of her days. After he warns her that Claude is not to be trusted, Rosie begins to notice cracks in her new family’s carefully constructed facade. Dahlia is clearly uncomfortable in her marriage; her stepbrother, Alex, is friendly one second, distant the next, and haunted by troubles of his own; and Claude’s business is drawing questions from the police. And as the ghost becomes increasingly violent–and the secrets of The Cake House and her family’s past come to light–Rosie must finally face the truth behind the losses and lies that have torn her life apart.

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Giveaway: The Turnip Princess by Franz Xaver von Schönwerth

[ 8 ] February 23, 2015

turnip princess book coverI have a copy of The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales by Franz Xaver von Schönwerth to give away!

Open to US residents only

About the book

A rare discovery in the world of fairy tales – now for the first time in English. With this volume, the holy trinity of fairy tales – the Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault, and Hans Christian Andersen – becomes a quartet.

In the 1850s, Franz Xaver von Schönwerth traversed the forests, lowlands, and mountains of northern Bavaria to record fairy tales, gaining the admiration of even the Brothers Grimm. Most of Schönwerth’s work was lost – until a few years ago, when thirty boxes of manu­scripts were uncovered in a German municipal archive. Now, for the first time, Schönwerth’s lost fairy tales are available in English. Violent, dark, and full of action, and upending the relationship between damsels in distress and their dragon-slaying heroes, these more than seventy stories bring us closer than ever to the unadorned oral tradition in which fairy tales are rooted, revolutionizing our understanding of a hallowed genre.

Franz Xanver von Schönwerth (1810-1886) was born in Bavaria and had a successful career in law and the Bavarian royal court before devoting himself to researching the customs of his homeland and preserving its fairy tales and folklore. Maria Tatar chairs the program in folklore and mythology at Harvard, and has edited and translated many collections of fairy tales. Eeika Eichenseer is a historian and preservationist working for the Bavarian government and the director of the Franz Xaver von Schönwerth Society.

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Giveaway: The Half Brother by Holly LeCraw

[ 18 ] February 18, 2015

the half brother book coverI have 5 copies of The Half Brother by Holly LeCraw to give away!

Open to US residents only

About the book

When Charlie Garrett arrives as a young teacher at the shabby-yet-genteel Abbott School, he finds a world steeped in privilege and tradition. Fresh out of college and barely older than the students he teaches, Charlie longs to leave his complicated southern childhood behind and find his place in the rarefied world of Abbottsford. Before long, he is drawn to May Bankhead, the daughter of the legendary school chaplain; but when he discovers he cannot be with her, he forces himself to break her heart, and she leaves Abbott—he believes forever. He hunkers down in his house in the foothills of Massachusetts, thinking his sacrifice has contained the damage, and controlled their fates.

But nearly a decade later, his peace is shattered when his golden-boy half brother, Nick, comes to Abbott to teach—and May returns as a teacher as well. Students and teachers alike are drawn by Nick’s magnetism, and even May falls under his spell; when Charlie pushes his brother and his first love together, with what he believes are the best of intentions, a love triangle ensues that is haunted by desire, regret, and a long-buried mystery.

With wisdom and emotional generosity, LeCraw takes us through a year that transforms both the teachers and students of Abbott forever. Skillfully plotted, lyrical, and ambitious, The Half Brother is a powerful examination of family, loyalty, and love.

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: A Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor

[ 7 ] February 18, 2015

memory of violets book coverPlease welcome Hazel Gaynor, author of A Memory of Violets, who is touring the blogosphere with Tasty Book Tours!

Enter to win 1 of 3 copies of Gaynor’s The Girl Who Came Home below

Reviewed by A.D. Cole

Tilly Harper is more than happy to leave behind her mother and sister, her personal tragedies, and her reputation among the gossip-mongers of her home town. But as she arrives in London to begin her new position as housemother in one of the homes for disabled flower girls, she soon realizes that her guilt and grief will continue to torment her wherever she goes. And then she finds the diary of Flora Flynn.

A former housemother and flower girl, Flora once had a sister named Rosie. As Tilly reads the diary, she comes to see that Flora’s entire life was defined by her search for her sister who vanished at a very young age. Tilly comes to feel Flora’s presence in her life and is overwhelmed with a desire to reunite the two sisters. What Tilly finds in the process are answers to her own personal mysteries, as well as the truth that saving Flora and Rosie won’t assuage her guilt over her relationship with her own sister.

This story was a subdued read. The gothic aura and intertwining mysteries kept the pages turning. I enjoyed the exploration of the ideas of fate and destiny. There were times, though, when I felt the story was being skimmed over. For instance, Tilly arrives at the home of the flower girls and is understandably nervous. And then through a few paragraphs, we’re told that she has learned the details of each of her girls and has become friends with them. We don’t really get to see her relationships with the girls evolve. I think the story would have been better had there been less narration and more action…or as the advice goes, less telling and more showing.

As far as the historical context goes, this novel was an absolute treasure. In A Memory of Violets, Hazel Gaynor delves into a lesser-known corner of history. The novel centers around the very first Alexandra Rose Day, an event that continues to this day. Gaynor incorporates a fictionalized version of John Groom, a preacher who founded a charity organization to help the poor and disabled flower sellers. It was a well-researched, detailed historical setting. One of the things I want a historical fiction novel to do for me is excite me about a piece of history I’ve never heard about. This novel achieved that and I’ve been online reading more about John Groom and the flower sellers.

I would definitely recommend this novel to lovers of historical fiction. There’s also a gothic quality to it, for fans of ghostly stories, though this certainly isn’t a horror novel. The novel takes place primarily in 1912, so if you’re a fan of the show Downton Abbey, you’ll appreciate the setting. And as a side note, there was also a lovely little romantic sub-plot, which I have to mention, being such a fan of romance. It definitely tugged at the heartstrings. Overall, this was a satisfying, historical read.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

A.D. Cole is a homeschooling mother and aspiring romance novelist. She lives in the Ozark foothills and spends her free time reading, writing, baking and pondering life’s little mysteries.

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

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Guest Post & Giveaway: Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran

[ 14 ] February 13, 2015

rose hours at mazandaran book coverPlease join Marion Grace Woolley, author of Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran, as she writes about researching costumes for her story! Woolley is touring the blogosphere with TLC Book Tours.

Enter to win a copy below – open internationally

by Marion Grace Woolley

When I set about writing Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran, I really had to confront my prejudices. Well, not exactly prejudices, more those inbuilt stereotypes you unwittingly collect from the media and your parents’ bedtime stories.

I knew Iran to be a strongly Muslim country. Living in the West, the images you get bombarded with in the media tend to be of women heavily veiled in black, not an inch of skin showing except that between their eyes.

Somehow, I knew this wasn’t the correct image for my Mazandaran, the world which I wanted to write about. How could it be? The Persia of my dreams came from the fairytales I loved as a child. That, and I Dream of Genie.

Arabia, Persia, the Middle East – wasn’t that where Aladdin flew across the sky on his magic carpet? Where forty thieves hid in a cave? Where women danced the Seven Veils in colourful see-through costumes?

Well, not exactly.

Neither of those two stereotypes were quite correct, but there where elements of truth in both.

Some of the things that surprised me most whilst researching the costumes for this story, set in 1850s Northern Iran, are as follows:

1) Quite a few articles mentioned that the full veil was more of a status symbol than a religious one. Just as women in 1850s British society were looked upon favourably for the paleness of their skin, because it meant they had not been toiling in the fields, so, too, were women who wore the full veil. Its impracticality denoted high status, free from menial work. As such, it caught on as a bit of a fashion statement in the same way women in the West adopted high heels (a Persian import) from men. Up until the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, to be veiled or unveiled seems to have been largely a matter of personal preference.

iranian woman in short skirt2) Some women wore very short skirts. I first noticed this on a photograph of a peasant girl. She wore a bell skirt puffed out above her naked knees. I can’t find the link to that particular picture anymore, but here’s one of an Iranian lady who I think has the exact, impertinent pout of my main character, Afsar.

3) The height of fashion in the harem included some rather quirky fads, such as the darkening of the upper lip to look like a moustache – for those women not fortunate enough to have a natural mustache – and the use of kohl to create synophrys: a unibrow!

4) The Paisley pattern, long associated with Scotland, is, like high heels, originally a Persian export.

One of my favourite scenes to write comes towards the middle of the book, where Afsar attends a ball at the Shah’s palace, and everyone is dressed in the Western style of that time. She has to remove her şalvar and don a full crinoline with a bodice that accentuates her bosom. The sense of indecency this rouses means that she is almost incapable of leaving the house.

For me, that scene served to highlight how our sense of fashion is steeped in culture and tradition, and how personal clothing is to each individual. We use fashion to express our own personalities, and we seek refuge in it for our sense of identity. The surest way to upset a character is to dress them in something they would not usually choose to wear.

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