Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn by Eric Ives: A Book Review

The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn
Author: Eric Ives
Genre: Nonfiction, History, Biography
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
Release Date: 2004
Pages: 458
Source: My State Public Library
 Synopsis: Anne Boleyn is the most notorious of England’s queens, but more famous for her death as an adulterer than for her life. Henry’s second wife and mother of Elizabeth I, Anne was the first English queen to be publicly executed. Yet what do we know of the achievements and legacy of her short reign?
     In The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn, Eric Ives provides the most detailed and convincing portrait we have of the queen. He reveals a person of intellect with a passion for the new culture of the Renaissance, a woman who made her way in a man’s world by force of education and personality. She played a powerful and independent role in the faction-ridden court of Henry VIII and the unceasing struggle for royal favour that was Tudor politics. The consequences can still be detected today. Indeed, Ives shows that it was precisely because Anne was a powerful figure in her own right that it needed a coup to bring her down. She had to be stopped, even by a lie.

     My Review: Anne Boleyn is one of Henry VIII’s most famous wives, simply because she was executed and was the mother of Elizabeth. She was also an important figure in English history because of Henry’s break with the Catholic church and the start of the Protestant reformation. This biography shows Anne as woman of power who was greatly feared. It would take a coup to bring her down, even if the conspiracy was based on a lie. Thus, Eric Ives portrays Anne as a true Renaissance queen.

  I have read many biographies of Anne Boleyn, and I was hesitant to pick this up, for I thought that I already knew a lot about her. However, Eric Ives's biography has been recommended to me many times by Anne Boleyn enthusiasts, and since my favorite historian, Alison Weir, was having a new historical fiction novel out about Anne Boleyn this year, I thought I might read this biography before I close the doors on Anne Boleyn for an indefinite amount of time. After reading this biography, I can definitely see why this book has been repeatedly recommended to me. Everything I thought I knew about Anne Boleyn has been turned upside down. The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn has shown me a different side to Anne Boleyn.

    This novel shows Anne Boleyn as a self-made woman. She was a woman who rose from her status simply based on her own merit. She formed a political faction and secured her own power. She was also heavily involved in politics. Anne was also a patron of the arts and supported English reform. Thus, she is portrayed as a powerful queen, and the real reason why she was beheaded is because she was too powerful for her own good and meddled heavily in state politics. Thus, while it would secure her position if she had a son, her enemies feared her increasing influence of the king and sought to bring her down.

     Overall, this biography portrays a different view of Anne. While Eric Ives does not hide Anne’s faults, it is clear that she was a major influence in the court of Henry VIII. It is through her intelligence that she was able to rise to be queen and lose her head. I was really enthralled by The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn, and I wished that I could have read it earlier. Yet, I'm pleased that I did because it has revived my fascination of Anne Boleyn again. This biography is not for the general reader because there are many parts that are bogged down with too much detail about Anne Boleyn. Thus, for those of you who have never heard the story of Anne Boleyn, this may not be the book for you because the amount of information may make you feel overwhelmed. I advise you to read Anne Boleyn: The King’s Obsession by Elizabeth Norton or The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir for a more generalistic overview of the life of Anne Boleyn. However, if you are an Anne Boleyn enthusiast, this is definitely a must read! This biography is not only sympathetic towards Anne, but it shows her as a remarkable woman. This is one of the penultimate works on her life, and is a classic biography on one of England's most famous queens.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence: A Story of Botticelli by Alyssa Palombo: A Book Review

The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence: A Story of Botticelli
Author: Alyssa Palombo
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: April 25, 2017
Pages: 320
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: A girl as beautiful as Simonetta Cattaneo never wants for marriage proposals in 15th Century Italy, but she jumps at the chance to marry Marco Vespucci. Marco is young, handsome and well-educated. Not to mention he is one of the powerful Medici family’s favored circle.

     Even before her marriage with Marco is set, Simonetta is swept up into Lorenzo and Giuliano de’ Medici’s glittering circle of politicians, poets, artists, and philosophers. The men of Florence—most notably the rakish Giuliano de’ Medici—become enthralled with her beauty. That she is educated and an ardent reader of poetry makes her more desirable and fashionable still. But it is her acquaintance with a young painter, Sandro Botticelli, which strikes her heart most. Botticelli immediately invites Simonetta, newly proclaimed the most beautiful woman in Florence, to pose for him. As Simonetta learns to navigate her marriage, her place in Florentine society, and the politics of beauty and desire, she and Botticelli develop a passionate intimacy, one that leads to her immortalization in his masterpiece, The Birth of Venus.

     Alyssa Palombo’s The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence vividly captures the dangerous allure of the artist and muse bond with candor and unforgettable passion.

     My Review: Simonetta is the daughter of a Genoese nobleman. One day, a suitor from Florence arrives named Marco Vespucci. Simonetta is excited at the prospect to live in Florence, a city where art and literature thrives. When she arrives in Florence, her beauty is the center of attention. A painter named Sandro Botticelli wishes to paint her. However, Simonetta realizes that being labeled as “the most beautiful woman in Florence” is not as thrilling as it appears to be. Her marriage to Marco has become unstable, and she grows increasingly attracted to Sandro. Can Simonetta defy the expectations of Florentine society and follow her heart?

    Simonetta is a really likable character. There were moments in this book that showed that she was a strong and capable woman. She is a lover of literature and wishes that she could have expanded her education. She believes that her beauty is cursed and does not wish to be in the limelight. She also dreams of falling in love and having a happy marriage with her husband. Thus, while she is naive and a dreamer in the beginning, she matures over the course of the novel. She fights for her independence. She is not afraid to stand up to those who have done her wrong. And, even though she suffers periodically from illness, she has a healthy and strong mind.

   Overall, this book is about marriage and the expectations within the Florentine society. Simonetta strives to be a good Florentine woman. She wants to be a model wife despite the attentions of men because of her beauty. Yet, her husband only treats her as his trophy wife. I would have liked more character developments from the other characters, especially Botticelli. He did not show much character growth, and there really isn’t any reason why Simonetta was attracted to him except that he painted her portrait. The story seemed rushed at times. The novel also suffered from showing and not telling. As a reader, I didn’t feel captured in that moment. I did not feel their great romance, and instead I was being told that they had a great love for each other. Still, I recommend this for fans of Renaissance art. The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence is perfect for fans of Da Vinci’s Tiger (in which Simonetta is a major character in the novel), The Birth of Venus, and The Botticelli Secret.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Seven Sisters (The Seven Sisters #1) by Lucinda Riley: A Book Review

The Seven Sisters (The Seven Sisters #1)
Author: Lucinda Riley
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Atria
Release Date: 2015
Pages: 463
Source: My State Public Library
Synopsis: Maia D’Apliese and her five sisters gather together at their childhood home, “Atlantis”—a fabulous, secluded castle situated on the shores of Lake Geneva—having been told that their beloved father, who adopted them all as babies, has died. Each of them is handed a tantalizing clue to her true heritage—a clue which takes Maia across the world to a crumbling mansion in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Once there, she begins to put together the pieces of her story and its beginnings.

Eighty years earlier in Rio’s Belle Epoque of the 1920s, Izabela Bonifacio’s father has aspirations for his daughter to marry into the aristocracy. Meanwhile, architect Heitor da Silva Costa is devising plans for an enormous statue, to be called Christ the Redeemer, and will soon travel to Paris to find the right sculptor to complete his vision. Izabela—passionate and longing to see the world—convinces her father to allow her to accompany him and his family to Europe before she is married. There, at Paul Landowski’s studio and in the heady, vibrant cafes of Montparnasse, she meets ambitious young sculptor Laurent Brouilly, and knows at once that her life will never be the same again.

In this sweeping, epic tale of love and loss—the first in a unique, spellbinding series of seven novels—Lucinda Riley showcases her storytelling talent like never before. 

     My Review: After the death of her adoptive father, Maia decides to move to Brazil to discover her origins. When she arrives in Brazil, she learns the story of her ancestor, Izabela Bonifacio. Before Izabela marries a Rio aristocrat, she decides to go to Europe with her friend. In France, Izabela forms a romantic relationship with the sculptor, Laurent Brouilly. Eventually, she must choose between her love or her family. As Maia learns about the star-crossed romance between Izabela and Laurent, she learns more about herself. She realizes that she must let the past that haunts her go and open herself up to a new love.

   The Seven Sisters was a very engrossing read, and it was hard to put down! I wanted to know the stories of both Maia and Izabela. Each of these women were very strong, and I loved their tales equally. Even though they are from two different eras, they are very similar. Both Izabela and Maia have loved and lost. They both made hard sacrifices that they believe were for the best. They both tried to live with the hard decisions they made and tried to come to terms with it. Thus, the stories of these two women will leave you utterly breathless, and you can’t help but hope that they will find their happiness.

   Overall, this book is about love, loss, family, sacrifices, and choices. The message of this book is to forgive and love yourself. I thought the setting was very unique because this is the only historical fiction book I have read that takes place in Brazil. I also liked the historical details of the making of Christ the Redeemer statue. The characters are very likeable, realistic, and complex. I empathized with each character and understood the actions that they have made. The Seven Sisters is a magical novel that will linger with you long after you have read the last page! For fans of historical fiction and romance lovers who are looking for a star-crossed romance in a unique setting, I urge you to not hesitate picking up a copy of this book! You will definitely fall in love with it! After reading this, I can’t wait to read the sequel, The Storm Sisters, which focuses on Ally. The Seven Sisters series may my new favorite series. I learned that it has been optioned for a tv series! If so, it definitely has the potential to be a hit for it has such great potential! Thus, I highly recommend this novel, and if the sequels hold the same level of excellence, this series could be an instant classic!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is the official book trailer for The Seven Sisters

Here is Lucinda Riley talking about her novel, The Seven Sisters:


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Interview with Jenni L. Walsh

    Today is the anniversary of the executions of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. To remember this event, I have interviewed Jenni L. Walsh, the author of Becoming Bonnie. Becoming Bonnie focuses on the early life of Bonnie Parker before her famous partner, Clyde Barrow. This is a fascinating interview about Bonnie and Clyde and the choices they made. I hope you enjoy reading this and that you will pick up a copy of Becoming Bonnie today! I loved it, and I can't wait for the sequel! Thank you, Mrs. Walsh!

This is your first novel. How long did it take to write and get Becoming Bonnie published?

     Yes! Becoming Bonnie is my debut! It was back in 2011 that I decided I wanted to try to write my first novel. The first two attempts didn't go so well, ha. My third novel resulted in representation with my former agent, but unfortunately that project never sold. Becoming Bonnie was my fourth novel with my second agent. I'd say it took about eight months to write, seven months for my agent to sell to a publisher, and around twenty months for Becoming Bonnie to be published after I received an offer from Tor. 

Why do you think Bonnie and Clyde are popular icons?

     There was almost this perfect storm surrounding Bonnie and Clyde during their crime spree that resulted in the duo becoming infamous. Bonnie and Clyde lived their life on the lam during the great depression. This meant that much of the United States was struggling financially. But a newspaper, which cost two cents, was readily accessible. Newspapers were so prevalent, in fact, that many homeless people used them to keep warm. Newspapers were often called "Hoover blankets," taking a jab at President Hoover, who many disliked. In these newspapers, headlines about Bonnie and Clyde were everywhere. But not only headlines, also self-taken photos of the duo in provocative poses. At the time, photos were beginning to be sent via wire/telegram. This meant that, in a flash, the iconic photos of Bonnie and Clyde, that are still commonly shown of the couple today, were in nearly every paper. It sounds a bit horrible to say, but many saw Bonnie and Clyde as a form of entertainment or as an escape from their own hardships. Many would read the newspaper to see what Bonnie and Clyde were up to, almost as if Bonnie and Clyde were stars in a soap opera.

What drew you to write about Bonnie specifically in your novel?

     I had my heart set on writing historical fiction, since that's what I typically read. Then, I wanted to write about someone iconic, because I'm often drawn to the "based on" or "inspired by" stories. After landing on Bonnie and Clyde, I knew I wanted to tell Bonnie's story. Partly because I thought I could tell a female's voice better than a male's, but mostly because Bonnie as a child was seemingly very wholesome. It made me very curious how Bonnie evolved from a good girl into a gangster's moll. In actuality, I couldn't find too much on Bonnie's background, but I was able to piece together that she could play the piano, she loved films, she sang at her church, she got straight As and won spelling bees, and she participated in talent shows and beauty pageants. All of those elements have been worked into Becoming Bonnie to help show her evolution as a character. I even changed Bonnie's name at the onset of the novel to Bonnelyn. I hope it has a wholesome sound to it, since that's what I was going for!

Bonnie and Clyde's story has been told many times through songs, books, and movies. How did you plan to breath new life into these notorious figures?

     It's interesting; I couldn't find a fictional book about the duo. As you said, there tons of songs, nonfiction books, and the award-winning 1967 film, but I saw my opportunity to tell this fictional tale within a novel. Of course, I still added some elements that would be unique to my own story. One element is that I have Bonnie pen a song with Clyde and the reader gets to see those verses as the story progresses. Another big element is that I put Bonnie in a speakeasy, so that's definitely a first for Bonnie and Clyde stories!

The character of Bonnie seems to be meticulously researched. How did you research her life?

     Thank you for that! I did pretty extensive research, including diaries entries, memoirs, nonfiction books, FBI files, documentaries, blogs on Bonnie and Clyde, and photos. Even still, most of the information I found on Bonnie was during the early 1930s when Bonnie and Clyde have their crime spree. As I mentioned, there wasn't a ton of information on Bonnie's past. I took what I could find, such as her being a middle child, her father dying when she was young, and being married to a boy named Roy prior to Bonnie meeting Clyde, and used those factual elements as guideposts. Then, I'd go back and fill in the rest. 

What the most challenging aspect of Becoming Bonnie?

     I'd say it was keeping Clyde present. Becoming Bonnie is very much Bonnie's coming-of-age origin story, so while Clyde is introduced in the opening chapters and is in the background (and sometimes the foreground) throughout the beginning/middle of the book, I make readers wait to officially meet Clyde until later in the book. But don't fret, you get full-on Clyde for at least a third of the book! And in the sequel, Being Bonnie, it's Bonnie and Clyde all the time!

Are there any facts about Bonnie Parker's life that surprised you?

     I think mostly that she did have some a wholesome start to her life. Bonnie was a gal who had big dreams for herself, but she was held back financially. While the Roaring Twenties were roaring for some people, Bonnie's family didn't have it so roaring. In my novel, Bonnie is very adamant that she'll have money and dreams one day.

If someone wants to know more about Bonnie and Clyde, what are some other books you may recommend?

     Blanche Caldwell Barrow is Buck Barrow's wife. Buck Barrow is Clyde's older brother. Anyway, I found Blanche's memoir to be really interesting. It gave an inside look at the Barrow Gang's crime spree.

Ultimately, what portrait of Bonnie do you want readers to take from your novel?

     A dreamer. Bonnie's dreams were the catalyst for all her decisions throughout the novel.

You are working on a sequel to Becoming Bonnie. Would you mind filling us in on what next's for Bonnie?

     Yes! I am so excited that I'll get to continue to tell Bonnie's story in Being Bonnie. It picks up where Becoming Bonnie lets off and quickly dives into the twenty-two month crime spree in which Bonnie and Clyde are infamous.

How do you reconcile Bonnie, the criminal, with the sympathetic Bonnie in your novels?

     Not that it makes it right, but I believe Bonnie to be a product of her times. I was also happy/relieved to learn that Bonnie herself never killed anyone. Even still, I wanted to be respectful of the fact that very real people with very real families were killed at the hands of the Barrow Gang and I tried to show Bonnie (and also Clyde's) remorse at the loss of lives. There's a real-life account of Clyde apologizing, which I latched onto and brought to life in Being Bonnie.

Do you think Bonnie was forced into becoming a criminal due to love and hardship, or could she have ultimately made better choices?

     Oh yes, she could have made very different choices. There are many people--then and today--who aren't dealt a good hand in life, but who make something positive of their lives. I try to show that both Bonnie and Clyde tried to lead honest lives and their hands were tied for them, but, at the end of the day, they are accountable for their actions. And, those actions could have gone differently.

       Jenni L. Walsh spent her early years chasing around cats, dogs, and chickens in Philadelphia's countryside, before dividing time between a soccer field and a classroom at Villanova University. She put her marketing degree to good use as an advertising copywriter, zip-code hopping with her husband to DC, NYC, NJ, and not surprisingly, back to Philly. There, Jenni's passion for words continued, adding author to her resume. She now balances her laptop with a kid on each hip, and a four-legged child at her feet. Becoming Bonnie is her first novel.

     Please learn more about Jenni and her books at You can also follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Blog Tour: The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein

Author: Elizabeth Wein
Pub. Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Pages: 336
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Find it: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Goodreads
Synopsis: Before Verity . . . there was Julie.

     When fifteen-year-old Julia Beaufort-Stuart wakes up in the hospital, she knows the lazy summer break she’d imagined won’t be exactly like she anticipated. And once she returns to her grandfather’s estate, a bit banged up but alive, she begins to realize that her injury might not have been an accident. One of her family’s employees is missing, and he disappeared on the very same day she landed in the hospital.

     Desperate to figure out what happened, she befriends Euan McEwen, the Scots Traveller boy who found her when she was injured, and his standoffish sister Ellen. As Julie grows closer to this family, she experiences some of the prejudices they’ve grown used to firsthand, a stark contrast to her own upbringing, and finds herself exploring thrilling new experiences that have nothing to do with a missing-person investigation.

     Her memory of that day returns to her in pieces, and when a body is discovered, her new friends are caught in the crosshairs of long-held biases about Travellers. Julie must get to the bottom of the mystery in order to keep them from being framed for the crime.

     In the prequel to Printz Honor Book Code Name Verity, this exhilarating coming-of-age story returns to a beloved character just before she learned to fly.

About Elizabeth:

     I was born in New York City in 1964, and moved to England when I was 3. I started school there. We lived practically in the shadow of Alderley Edge, the setting for several of Alan Garner's books and for my own first book The Winter Prince; that landscape, and Garner's books, have been a lifelong influence on me.

     My father, who worked for the New York City Board of Education for most of his life, was sent to England to do teacher training at what is now Manchester Metropolitan University. He helped organize the Headstart program there. When I was six he was sent to the University of the West Indies in Jamaica for three years to do the same thing in Kingston. I loved Jamaica and became fluent in Jamaican patois (I can't really speak it any more, but I can still understand it); but in 1973 my parents separated, and we ended up back in the USA living with my mother in Harrisburg, PA, where her parents were. When she died in a car accident in 1978, her wonderful parents took us in and raised us.

     I went to Yale University, spent a work-study year back in England, and then spent seven years getting a PhD in Folklore at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. While I was there I learned to ring church bells in the English style known as "change ringing", and in 1991 I met my future husband there at a bell ringers' dinner-dance. He is English, and in 1995 I moved to England with him, and then to Scotland in 2000.

     We share another unusual interest--flying in small planes. My husband got his private pilot's license in 1993 and I got mine ten years later. Together we have flown in the States from Kalamazoo to New Hampshire; in Kenya we've flown from Nairobi to Malindi, on the coast, and also all over southern England. Alone, most of my flying has been in eastern Scotland.

     We have two children.

Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive a finished copy of THE PEARL THIEF, US Only.

Tour Schedule:

Week One:
5/1/2017- YA and Wine- Blogger Post
5/2/2017- Beauty and the Bookshelf- Review
5/3/2017- The Blonde Bookworm- Review
5/4/2017- The Autumn Bookshelf- Blogger Post
5/5/2017- Rants and Raves of a Bibliophile- Review

Week Two:
5/8/2017- Booklove- Review
5/9/2017- Tales of the Ravenous Reader- Blogger Post
5/10/2017- Mundie Moms- Review
5/11/2017- YA Books Central- Spotlight
5/12/2017- History from a Woman's Perspective- Spotlight

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Becoming Bonnie by Jenni L. Walsh: A Book Review

Becoming Bonnie
Author: Jenni L. Walsh
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Forge Books
Release Date: May 9th, 2017
Pages: 304
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: From debut historical novelist Jenni L. Walsh--and just in time for the 50th anniversary of the Oscar award-winning film, Bonnie and Clyde--Becoming Bonnie is the untold story of how wholesome Bonnelyn Parker became half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo!

     The summer of 1927 might be the height of the Roaring Twenties, but Bonnelyn Parker is more likely to belt out a church hymn than sling drinks at an illicit juice joint. She’s a sharp girl with plans to overcome her family's poverty, provide for herself, and maybe someday marry her boyfriend, Roy Thornton. But when Roy springs a proposal on her, and financial woes jeopardize her ambitions, Bonnelyn finds salvation in an unlikely place: Dallas's newest speakeasy, Doc's.

     Living the life of a moll at night, Bonnie remains a wholesome girl by day, engaged to Roy, attending school, and working toward a steady future. When Roy discovers her secret life, he embraces it—perhaps too much, especially when it comes to booze and gambling—she tries to make the pieces fit. Maybe she can have it all: the American Dream, the husband, and the intoxicating allure of jazz music. But her life—like her country—is headed for a crash.

     Bonnie Parker is about to meet Clyde Barrow.

     My Review: Becoming Bonnie focuses on the early years of Bonnie Parker, the infamous partner of Clyde Barrow. Bonnelyn is a young girl who dreams of a big future. She wants to become a teacher and marry her boyfriend, Roy. One day, she finds that her mother hasn’t paid the electric bill, and the family struggles to make matters meet to pay the bills. Bonnelyn helps out her family by working at a diner. However, when her brother gets a bad injury where he can no longer work, and Bonnelyn gets laid off at the diner, she makes a tough decision to work at a speakeasy. As she joins the speakeasy, she realizes that her dreams may be harder to attain than she could imagine.

    I found Bonnie’s transformation from a good girl to a criminal to be very fascinating. We first see Bonnie as an idealistic dreamer. She believes that through hard work and determination, she can achieve her dreams. However, as she faces money situations and family problems, she is confronted with reality. She realizes how hard it is to achieve the American dream. She also dreams about love and happiness. Eventually, she realizes that love is not a fairy-tale. Thus, seeing Bonnie’s struggles as she tries to make ends meet is heart-breaking and tragic. We know that she is a character who will not meet her goals and transform into the notorious criminal that everyone knows her to be.

  Overall, this story is about family, friendship, love, and the quest for the American dream. The characters, except for Roy, were very fleshed out. I wish the author would have focused more on Roy’s spiral to the dark side because his transformation was very sudden and had no explanation as to why he took a dark turn. Still, Mrs. Walsh did a great job in portraying Bonnie. I also thought the Jazz Age was a very captivating setting. Thus, this was an engrossing in-depth psyche of Bonnie Parker, and I look forward to reading the sequel, Being Bonnie. I recommend this novel to fans of Platinum Doll, Marlene, and A Certain Age.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Blog Tour: Umberland by Wendy Spinale

Author: Wendy Spinale
Pub. Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 288
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Find it: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, TBD, iBooks, Goodreads
Synopsis: What began with a reimagining of Peter Pan and Wendy now twists into a stunning version of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass!

     Gwen, Pete, and the others have escaped from Everland. But the safe haven they hoped to find at Alnwick Castle doesn't exist. With the Queen of England on her deathbed, Duchess Alyssa has stepped in to lead, but things have gotten worse as the cure Doc created for the Horologia virus has mutated, accelerating the disease. The only possible solution he can think of is to go back to the virus's origin: an extinct poisonous apple.

     Legend has it a tree bearing the apple might be found at the center of a deadly labyrinth hidden deep within Germany. A place that no one in their right mind enters. Leaving Pete in charge of the survivors, Alyssa sets out with only her sword, her wits, and the help of Maddox Hadder, a wild boy who oversees the castle gardens. To get to the center of the maze, she'll be forced to battle monsters more terrifying than her darkest nightmares.

     But can anyone truly survive the madness of the maze? And what if there's no apple to be found there?

About Wendy:

     I must admit, I have lived an extraordinary life and will forever be grateful for the opportunities I have had.

     I was the middle of three kids, my older brother being deaf for as far back as I can remember. At the time, I didn't realize how much that would later impact my life. I was a sign language interpreter for a short time (although I'm extremely rusty now), taught my kids to sign as infants, and now am using that experience in my current manuscript.

     During college I was living in southern California working for Disneyland as a Cast Member in the Entertainment Department. I met my husband there who was also a performer. After four incredible years working with the Mouse, we moved to his hometown in the Bay Area.

     I eventually got my Bachelor's in Kinesiology and worked in the fitness industry for ten years before a knee injury ended my career. Not sure what to do with my time, I applied to job posting to be an online journalist. I loved writing, but had no experience. I didn't hear back so I wrote up a review about a local restaurant and sent it to them to prove I could do the job. Twenty-four hours later, I was a journalist with AOL Media/Pleasanton Patch.

     I spent three great years with them before cut backs forced me without a job again. That's when I started writing my first novel, which went nowhere. Dozens of rejection letters later. I started a second book. A year later I was offered representation by Thao Le from Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency and within another six months I was offered a book deal. EVERLAND (Scholastic) is scheduled to debut Summer of 2016!

     Today I live in the Bay Area with my husband and three sons who are my biggest fans. While they're off at work and school, I bounce ideas off my four-legged, furry family members, Odie and Sammy.

Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive a finished copy of UMBERLAND, US Only.

Tour Schedule:

Week One:
5/1/2017- Tales of the Ravenous Reader- Interview
5/2/2017- A Glass Of Wine Blog- Review
5/3/2017- Margie's Must Reads- Excerpt
5/4/2017- Swoony Boys Podcast- Review
5/5/2017- Brittany's Book Rambles- Guest Post

Week Two:
5/8/2017- BookHounds YA- Review
5/9/2017- Two Chicks on Books- Interview
5/10/2017- History from a Woman's Perspective- Spotlight
5/11/2017- YA Books Central- Interview
5/12/2017- Emily Reads Everything- Review