Saturday, December 6, 2014

Blog Tour: Past Encounters by Davina Blake: A Book Review

02_Past Encounters 

Publication Date: November 22, 2014 |  CreateSpace | Paperback; 442p

Genre: Historical Fiction/Literary Fiction
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

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England 1955.

The day Rhoda Middleton opens a letter from another woman, she becomes convinced her husband, Peter, is having an affair. But when Rhoda tracks the mysterious woman down, she discovers she is not Peter's lover after all, but the wife of his best friend, Archie Foster. There is only one problem - Rhoda has never even heard of Archie Foster.

Devastated by this betrayal of trust, Rhoda tries to find out why Peter has kept this friendship a secret for so long. Her search leads her back to 1945, but as she gradually uncovers Peter's wartime experiences she must wrestle with painful memories of her own. For Rhoda too cannot escape the ghosts of the past.

Taking us on a journey from the atmospheric filming of Brief Encounter, to the extraordinary Great March of prisoners of war through snow-bound Germany, PAST ENCOUNTERS explores themes of friendship, hope, and how in the end, it is the small things that enable love to survive.

Includes bonus material for reading groups.

     My Review:  Rhoda is troubled by her husband’s behavior. He seems to be distant to her and quiet. She also finds out that he is hiding something. When she receives a letter from a woman addressed to her husband, she believes that he is having an an affair. When she finds her, she finds that this woman is the wife of her husband’s best friend, Archie Foster who just passed away. What stuns and confuses Rhoda is that Peter has never mentioned Archie. She then goes on a quest to search for answers which lead her to Peter’s past of when he was a prisoner of war in WWII.

     This novel  is about a married couple whose past has caught up with them. The novel is structured on Rhoda’s and Peter’s marriage in 1955; then it goes to their past from their first date, to Peter being a prisoner of war and Rhoda being faithful to him. Both of them must come to terms of their secrets in their past to have a successful marriage to the present. Therefore, I found the characters to be very realistic and human. The reader can connect to them and the story.

     I found the novel to be beautifully-written. The plot is simple, but it is mainly focused on the characters. This novel is also psychological because it deals with the trauma of the characters and their past and how they deal with it to overcome the present to have a great future. The story is told in first person from Rhoda’s perspective, with a little bit of Helen’s. It is also told in third person from Peter’s perspective. Through these different viewpoints, we are able to understand their characters and how they are affected by the events.

     Overall, the story is about love, friendship, acceptance, and hope. The message of the book is that love conquers all.The plot is predictable and simple. The pace is slow-going, but it’s an interesting story. The characters are well-developed for they are flawed and human. I recommend this book to anyone interested in WWII. I find that this book is great for people who are going through a crisis in their marriage, and people who are dealing with emotional trauma. I suggest that you should watch the movie Brief Encounter before you read this book because it highly referenced. I highly enjoyed this novel, and I would like to read more novels from the author.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Praise for Past Encounters

"Her characters are so real that they linger in the mind long after the book is back on the shelf. Highly Recommended!" - The Historical Novels Review


Praise for Deborah Swift

"stellar historical fiction" -Orange Prize Nominee Ann Weisgarber

"compelling'" -Westmorland Gazette

"The past comes alive through impeccable research...and the sheer power of descriptive prose" -Lancashire Evening Post


Buy the Book

Amazon US
Amazon UK


Deborah SwiftAbout the Author

Davina Blake used to be a set and costume designer for theatre and TV, during which time she developed a love of research which fueled her passion for the past. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and also writes successful seventeenth century historicals under the pen name Deborah Swift. 'Her characters are so real that they linger in the mind long after the book is back on the shelf. Highly recommended.' The Historical Novels Review From Davina: 'I was inspired to write Past Encounters because I live close to the railway station where the iconic Brief Encounter was filmed in 1945. I have often used the refreshment room that featured in the film when waiting for a train. I love a good cup of tea, preferably accompanied by a chocolate brownie!'

For more information visit Davina Blake's website and blog. You can also find her on Twitter.


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Friday, December 5, 2014

Blog Tour: Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads by S.R. Mallery

02_Sewing Can Be Dangerous Cover
Publication Date: December 16, 2013
Mockingbird Lane Press
Formats: eBook, Paperback, Audio Book
Pages: 276

Genre: Historical Fiction/Short Stories
Source: This book was given to me by Historical Fiction Virtual Book tours in exchange for an honest review.

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The eleven long short stories in Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads combine history, mystery, action and/or romance, and range from drug trafficking using Guatemalan hand-woven wallets, to an Antebellum U.S. slave using codes in her quilts as a message system to freedom; from an ex-journalist and her Hopi Indian maid solving a cold case together involving Katchina spirits, to a couple hiding Christian passports in a comforter in Nazi Germany; from a wedding quilt curse dating back to the Salem Witchcraft Trials, to a mystery involving a young seamstress in the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire; from a 1980's Romeo and Juliet romance between a rising Wall Street financial "star"and an eclectic fiber artist, to a Haight-Asbury love affair between a professor and a beautiful macrame artist gone horribly askew, just to name a few.

     My Review: Sewing Can Be Dangerous is a collection of short stories that incorporates action, mystery, and history. These topics also focus on social injustice such as drug trafficking, slavery, abuse, and prejudices. Each of these stories are connected through sewing.  For not only does it involve threads, but also in some stories it connects the present to the past. For a person from the present is interested in an event from the past, and digs to find the truth of the person and the incident.

     I found these stories to be very intriguing. I like how in the historical short stories, the present introduces us to something that happened in the past, and it makes the reader curious to read what happened to that particular character. At first, I didn’t want to read about the person from the past because I thought that she was going to have a tragic ending, yet I was surprised that it was satisfactory. I also like the modern stories. They were also fun to read. In fact, I love all the endings in the short story. The writing is engaging, and the last sentence of each story is written beautifully.

     The writing is very well-written and engaging. The characters of the story are well-developed. We get attached to these characters emotionally and want to see them triumph over their hardships. Some of the stories can be dark, but I find them deeply moving. Most of the stories lingered with me even after I read each word. I felt that I was there experiencing the characters’ hardships, and I didn’t move but just read on to see what had happened to them.

     Overall, the story is about friendship, love, and family.  This collection of stories offers something for everyone, for it covers a broad range of genres, and also has contemporary and historical storylines. This book is also great for anyone whose favorite hobby is sewing. Thus, this book was a fun read.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Buy the Book

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Barnes & Noble


Buy the Audio Book

Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads is now in AUDIO!!! Listen to narrator, Suzie Althens, breathe life and depth into these stories!

Amazon
Audible.com
iTunes


About the Author

03_S.R. Mallery

S.R. Mallery has worn various hats in her life.

First, a classical/pop singer/composer, she moved on to the professional world of production art and calligraphy. Next came a long career as an award winning quilt artist/teacher and an ESL/Reading instructor. Her short stories have been published in descant 2008, Snowy Egret, Transcendent Visions, The Storyteller, and Down In the Dirt.

Unexpected Gifts, her debut novel, is currently available on Amazon. Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads, her collection of short stories, Jan. 2014, both books by Mockingbird Lane Press.

For more information please visit S.R. Mallery's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.


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Monday, December 1, 2014

Rebecca Hazell's The Tiger and The Dove Trilogy Book Blast

Please join Rebecca Hazell as she tours the blogosphere for the Tiger and
the Dove trilogy Book Blast, from December 1 - 14, and be entered to win
all three books in the trilogy!

The Grip of God (Book One)


The Grip of God is the first novel in an epic historical trilogy, The Tiger and the Dove. Set in the thirteenth century, its heroine, Sofia, is a young princess of Kievan Rus. She begins her story by recounting her capture in battle and life of slavery to a young army captain in the Mongol armies that are flooding Europe. Not only is her life shattered, it is threatened by the bitter rivalries in her new master's powerful family, and shadowed by the leader of the Mongol invasion, Batu Khan, Genghis Khan's grandson. How will she learn to survive in a world of total war, much less rediscover the love she once took for granted? Always seeking to escape and menaced by outer enemies and inner turmoil, where can she find safe haven even if she can break free? Clear eyed and intelligent, Sofia could be a character from The Game of Thrones, but she refuses to believe that life is solely about the strong dominating the weak or about taking endless revenge. Her story is based on actual historical events, which haunt her destiny. Like an intelligent Forrest Gump, she reflects her times. But as she matures, she learns to reflect on them as well, and to transcend their fetters. In doing so, she recreates a lost era for us, her readers.

Solomon's Bride (Book Two)




Solomon's Bride is the dramatic sequel to The Grip of God. Sofia, the heroine, a former princess from Kievan Rus' was enslaved by a Mongol nobleman and then taken as a concubine by the leader of the Mongol invasions, Batu Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan. Now, having fled the Mongols with a price on her head, Sofia escapes into Persia and what she believes will be safety, only to fall into the clutches of the Assassins, who seek to disrupt the Mongol empire. In a world at war, both outer and inner, the second phase of her adventures unfolds. Can she ever find safe haven, much less the lost love and family that was almost destroyed by the Mongols?

Consolamentum (Book Three)




In the finale of Sofia's memoir, Consolamentum, both dramatic and poignant, her dreams of home are shattered when her own family betrays her. Raising her child on her own, mourning the loss of her beloved knight, and building a trading empire, she seeks safe haven for her child and herself. Her quest takes her from Antioch to Constantinople to Venice. A surprise reunion in Venice leads her to France where she runs afoul of the newly established Holy Inquisition, possibly the greatest challenge she has yet faced. Can a woman so marked by oppression, betrayal, and danger ever find her safe haven, much less genuine happiness?

Buy Links

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble

Book Depository


About the Author




Rebecca Hazell is a an award winning artist, author and educator. She has written, illustrated and published four non-fiction children’s books, created best selling educational filmstrips, designed educational craft kits for children and even created award winning needlepoint canvases. She is a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage, and she holds an honours BA from the University of California at Santa Cruz in Russian and Chinese history.

Rebecca lived for many years in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1988 she and her family moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and in 2006 she and her husband moved to Vancouver Island. They live near their two adult children in the beautiful Cowichan Valley.

Visit Rebecca:

Website | Goodreads | Facebook

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, December 1:

History from a Woman’s Perspective

Tuesday, December 2:

A Book Geek

Wednesday, December 3:

The Never-Ending Book


Thursday, December 4:

Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Friday, December 5:

Must Read Faster 

Saturday, December 6:

What is that Book About 

Sunday, December 7:

The True Book Addict

Tuesday, December 9:

She is Too Fond of Books & Movies


Wednesday, December 10:

To Read, Or Not to Read

Thursday, December 11:

Historical Fiction Connection

Friday, December 12:

Book Drunkard 

Saturday, December 13:

Brooke Blogs 

Giveaway

To win all three books in Rebecca Hazell’s The Tiger and the Dove trilogy
(eBook and print, two winners), please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway
form below. Ebook giveaway is open internationally. Print book giveaway is
open to U.S./Canada.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on December 14th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter on December 17th and notified via
email.

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