Showing posts with label adult. Show all posts
Showing posts with label adult. Show all posts

Friday, March 23, 2018

"Waking Isabella" by Melissa Muldoon


EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
Waking Isabella
by Melissa Muldoon

Waking Isabella by Melissa Muldoon

Waking Isabella by Melissa Muldoon is currently on tour with Italy Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


Description
Waking Isabella is a story about uncovering hidden beauty that, over time, has been lost, erased, or suppressed. It also weaves together several love stories as well as a few mysteries.
Nora, an assistant researcher, is a catalyst for resolving the puzzle of a painting that has been missing for decades. Set in Arezzo, a small Tuscan town, the plot unfolds against the backdrop of the city’s antique trade and the fanfare and pageantry of its medieval jousting festival. While filming a documentary about Isabella de’ Medici - the Renaissance princess who was murdered by her husband - Nora begins to connect with the lives of two remarkable women from the past.
Unraveling the stories of Isabella, the daughter of a fifteenth-century Tuscan duke, and Margherita, a young girl trying to survive the war in Nazi-occupied Italy, Nora begins to question the choices that have shaped her own life up to this point. As she does, hidden beauty is awakened deep inside of her, and she discovers the keys to her creativity and happiness.
It is a story of love and deceit, forgeries and masterpieces - all held together by the allure and intrigue of a beautiful Tuscan ghost.

Book Video


Excerpt
Click below to read an excerpt.


Praise for the Book
Waking Isabella” by Melissa Muldoon is a must-read for all fans of Italy, history, romance and intrigue. Eccellente! Muldoon magically weaves together the lives of Nora, Isabella and Margherita, spanning the course of many centuries, into a story that will mesmerize and haunt readers long after the last page is read.” ~ Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views
“Another wonderful winner from Melissa Muldoon! Her tales of Tuscany, woven seamlessly between history and present-day, incorporate all the elements of a good book: characters we grow to know and care about, locations beautifully depicted, intertwining plots that unfold in ways that keep the reader enthralled. Great for the armchair traveler as well as those of us who know Tuscany well. Can't wait for the next one, Melissa!” ~ kara s.
“Melissa has the ability to transport you to another world and fall in love with her characters past and present. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and learned a lot about history and art that I didn't know about.” ~ Lunette Rawlin
“The plot is unique and full of mystery and hope. I loved learning about all three women - they all are strong and independent and for two of them, this is what causes their death. I loved the Melissa intertwined their past and future to help solve the disappearance of the Medici painting. In between this, we also have Nora re-discovering herself as an individual and a woman. It is a beautiful story of love, forgiveness, hope and the hurt that lies can cause.” ~ Carla
“A latter-day Renaissance woman, Melissa Muldoon blends fact and fantasy, history and art, English and Italian in this richly woven tapestry. Waking Isabella, carries us from 16th-century Italy to modern-day Arezzo, from palace plots to wartime intrigues. A perfect read for Italophiles, art lovers and armchair romantics. Brava!” ~ Dianne Hales

About the Author
Melissa Muldoon
Melissa Muldoon is the Studentessa Matta - the crazy linguist! In Italian, “matta” means “crazy” or “impassioned.” Melissa has a B.A. in fine arts, art history and European history from Knox College, a liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, as well as a master’s degree in art history from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. She has also studied painting and art history in Florence.
Waking Isabella is Melissa’s second novel and follows Dreaming Sophia, published in 2016. In this new novel about Italy, the reader is taken on another art history adventure, inspired by Melissa’s experiences living and traveling in Italy, specifically Arezzo, as well as her familiarity with the language and art.
As a student, Melissa lived in Florence with an Italian family. She studied art history and painting and took beginner Italian classes. When she returned home, she threw away her Italian dictionary, assuming she’d never need it again, but after launching a successful design career and starting a family, she realized something was missing in her life. That “thing” was the connection she had made with Italy and the friends who live there. Living in Florence was indeed a life-changing event. Wanting to reconnect with Italy, she decided to start learning the language again from scratch. As if indeed possessed by an Italian muse, she bought a new Italian dictionary and began her journey to fluency - a path that has led her back to Italy many times and enriched her life in countless ways. Now, many dictionaries and grammar books later, she dedicates her time to promoting Italian language studies, further travels in Italy, and sharing her stories and insights about Italy with others. When Melissa is not traveling in Italy, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Melissa designed and illustrated the cover art for Waking Isabella and Dreaming Sophia.

Giveaway
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win some great prizes, including a $10 Amazon gift card.

Links

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

"Hiding" by Jenny Morton Potts

REVIEW and GIVEAWAY
Hiding
by Jenny Morton Potts

Hiding by Jenny Morton Potts

Hiding has just been released and is ON SALE for $3.99 (save $2.00) to 1 March. Author Jenny Morton Potts joins us today to share a guest post and an excerpt from the book. You can also read my review and enter our exclusive giveaway for a chance to win an ebook copy of Hiding.

Description
Keller Baye and Rebecca Brown live on different sides of the Atlantic. Until she falls in love with him, Rebecca knows nothing of Keller. But he’s known about her for a very long time, and now he wants to destroy her.
This is the story of two families. One living under the threat of execution in North Carolina. The other caught up in a dark mystery in the Scottish Highlands. The families’ paths are destined to cross. But why? And can anything save them when that happens?

http://amzn.to/2DGKzpg

Excerpt
They died, Rebecca Brown’s mum and dad. They were killed on a road with a big reputation. Rebecca could only imagine it. She was hundreds of miles from the scene of the crash when it happened. When she thought of that road, she pictured it covered in ice, black ice, since the accident took place on a bitter December night. The A42, was the road’s alphanumeric name. The Killer Road, they called it back then in the papers. The Killer Road has struck again! The headlines came into Rebecca’s mind like a voice, like Vincent Price, as if the road arched up into vertical life, a tarmac monster stalking its victims.
Rebecca Brown was four years old when she became an orphan, alongside her sister, Colette, and her brother, Austen. Rebecca was the youngest. She couldn’t even remember the moment she was told. What had they said? ‘Mummy and Daddy have had a terrible accident, dear. In the car.’  At the time, she knew little more than the fact. They were gone. They’d been there all the days of her life, and then they were not. Of the circumstances and detail, she knew next to nothing. Perhaps Rebecca hadn’t thought to ask questions. Perhaps there was little more to say to a child so young. As Rebecca grew, though, so did her thirst for knowledge. But it seemed that, even if there had been a window of opportunity to make her enquiries, that window got bricked up years ago. There was a solid wall now between Rebecca Brown and the truth.
Julia and Stephen, her parents had been called. ‘Julia and Stephen,’ Rebecca liked to say aloud when she was alone in her garret bedroom. She could barely remember them but she thought they sounded really nice. She was sure that they were kind people, with ready smiles and lovely clean clothes.
It was their grandparents who raised the Brown children. It was the Grands who took the youngsters into their care at Taransay, a red sandstone mansion in the north of Scotland. Taransay was only partially restored. It had vast, austere rooms and draughty, wood-panelled corridors; a real Amityville Horror of a home, scary even on a cornflower sky summer’s day, and a weird contrast to the heavenly Highland surroundings. They lived high up on a plateau that could have been made for a view. There was an imposing tree-lined driveway and the steading, as Rebecca’s grandfather Ralph liked to call it, overlooked the magnificent Morar Sands. The golden beach met the Atlantic Ocean which unfurled itself like ruffled navy silk on the calmest of days, but the fierce ones were just as precious to Rebecca, as she stood at her dormer window looking out across the sea’s tossing and turning. She loved it best when the gods got angry down there in the depths and rose up, throwing the spray right at her face.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
“A very well written novel with twists and turns that when unravelled will leave you wide eyed and feeling slightly breathless. […] This is the first novel I’ve read from this talented author and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Read it, persevere and love it as I did.” ~ Nora on Goodreads
“This tale has mystery, intrigue, action, sexual awakening and humour, which is accomplished with great skill and sensitivity. The author knows her craft and she knows it well.” ~ Sergiu Pobereznic (author)
“I really loved this book, I liked the way it grabbed my attention from the very beginning and did not let me go until the very last words. I wasn’t sure of where this book was going to take me, but as it had piqued my interest early on I was quite willing to be led and greedily kept turning the pages.” ~ Yvonne Me and My Books
“Jenny Morton Potts is a great writer and story teller, with a unique creativity and very contemporary.” ~ CWhedon
“… it’s a book with no excess verbiage, unnecessary padding or meaningless meanderings. The focus, intensity and momentum were maintained throughout. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable read.” ~ Denzil

My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.


By Lynda Dickson
When she was four, Rebecca was orphaned - along with her older brother Austen and sister Charlotte – and sent to live with her grandparents in Scotland. On her tenth birthday, Rebecca tries to find out how her parents died. She knows the rest of the family is keeping something from her and is determined to uncover the truth. Many years later, she meets Keller. He’s keeping secrets, too. Like the fact that he’s been stalking her for a long time and that his father has just been executed in prison. How are Rebecca and Keller connected? You’ll have to piece their stories together to find out.
The author weaves the two stories together in a masterful way, jumping backwards and forwards in time, revealing a bit here and a bit there. We are left to work out what happened all those years ago that will have such an impact on so many lives. I love the intricate descriptions of the characters’ lives. We come to know and love these flawed characters and their twisted relationships. This is one book I can honestly say I didn't want to put down. It will keep you enthralled to the end.
Warnings: coarse language, violence, sex scenes.

Guest Post by the Author
Dark Deeds?
What kind of person writes psychological thrillers? And why?
As Stephen King grew up, he was lonely and his father had left. King had nightmares about a local boy who was hit by a freight train. Additionally, the author had a host of phobias to contend with and was assailed by superstition too. So it’s not surprising perhaps that he found his way quickly to the horror genre.
But what about those of us who don’t mind walking under ladders, who check into hotel rooms numbered thirteen, without a second thought, and whose neighbours led uneventful lives (as far as we knew…)? Someone like me, for example. An optimistic girl, with ready humour and a life full of love, why am I writing about murder and mayhem?
Well, all cannot be entirely well, not even in people of the sunniest (and I’m not) disposition. One of our most common fears is being chased, hunted. I dream of this a lot. I have a recurring dream of being a child in a large house and someone is in there looking for me. My only recourse is to lure them away from the door and to run through it to freedom. (Actually, it’s a while since I’ve had that dream, but I expect I shall tonight!) This particular nightmare started around the time of a series of burglaries at home. I also regularly dream that men are killing me and I have to kill them first. And I do kill them, lots of them; not with a weapon but with my bare hands. I generally pick them up by their ankles and hurl them around my head, then dash their head against a building. This is not a scene I have used in fiction to date.
‘They’ say these terrifying dreamscapes are practice grounds, to equip ourselves for this actuality in our waking lives. Fortunately, I haven’t had to yet. And for this same reason, ‘they’ say, we like to watch horror (I don’t, only very occasionally because my son pleads for me to watch with him); that our minds need to examine and analyse life-threatening scenarios so that we might learn how to cope in such a situation. Of course, the more common explanation for lusting after horror on the page and on the screen, is simply the thrill, the adrenalin rush.
It’s certainly true that I address some of my own fears in writing psychological thrillers, but I address many, many other issues too. I get a strong sense of what is right for the storyline and I write towards that, rather than the other way around, i.e., incorporating a storyline which facilitates my inner gore. At least that’s what I thought. But now I’m not at all sure…  

About the Author
Jenny Morton Potts
Jenny is a novelist, screenplay writer and playwright. After a series of ‘proper jobs’, she realised she was living someone else's life and escaped to Gascony to make gîtes. Knee deep in cement and pregnant, Jenny was happy. Then autism and a distracted spine surgeon wiped out the order. Returned to wonderful England, to write her socks off.
Jenny would like to see the Northern Lights but worries that’s the best bit and should be saved till last. Very happily, and gratefully, settled with family.
She tries not to take herself too seriously.


Giveaway
Enter our exclusive giveaway for a chance to win an ebook copy of Hiding by Jenny Morton Potts.


Links

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

"Searching for Gertrude" by D. E. Haggerty

REVIEW and GIVEAWAY
Searching for Gertrude
by D. E. Haggerty

Searching for Gertrude by D. E. Haggerty

Searching for Gertrude by D. E. Haggerty is currently on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other participating blogs as well.



Description
While growing up in Germany in the 1930s, Rudolf falls in love with the girl next door, Gertrude. He doesn’t care what religion Gertrude practices but the Nazis do. When the first antisemitic laws are enacted by the Nazi government, Gertrude’s father loses his job at the local university. Unable to find employment in Germany, he accepts a position at Istanbul University and moves the family to Turkey.
Rudolf, desperate to follow Gertrude, takes a position working at the consulate in Istanbul with the very government which caused her exile. With Rudolf finally living in the same city as Gertrude, their reunion should be inevitable, but he can’t find her. During his search for Gertrude, he stumbles upon Rosalyn, an American Jew working as a nanny in the city. Upon hearing his heartbreaking story, she immediately agrees to help him search for his lost love.
Willing to do anything in their search for Gertrude, they agree to work for a British intelligence officer who promises his assistance, but his demands endanger Rudolf and Rosalyn. As the danger increases and the search for Gertrude stretches on, Rudolf and Rosalyn grow close, but Rudolf gave his heart away long ago.
How far would you go to find the woman you love?


Excerpt
As usual, the clerk rushed out of the room as soon as it was lunchtime the next day. Rudolf waited until the other administrative workers had left, and then he waited an additional five minutes to make sure no one was coming back. He didn’t sneak over to the clerk’s desk. He strolled over as if he had business to which he needed to attend even as his palms sweated and his heart beat erratically. He tugged on the drawer to ensure it was locked before pulling the letter opener out of his pocket. He looked around to ensure he was still alone before kneeling in front of the drawer and sticking the letter opener in the tiny lock. With only a bit of jiggling, the lock clicked open. As quietly as he could, Rudolf pulled the drawer open and peeked in. Sure enough, the cabinet keys were sitting in the tray on the top of the drawer. He slid the drawer closed and went to stand. That’s when he realized his mistake. The drawer had to be locked when the clerk arrived. Otherwise, he would immediately assume something was wrong.
Rudolf kneeled in front of the closed drawer and once again stuck his letter opener in the lock. If the letter opener could unlock the drawer, it stood to reason it could also lock it. It took quite a bit of fiddling made worse by his shaky hands before he felt a click. He heard the clacking of boots on tile and jumped to his feet while thrusting the letter opener in his pocket. The sound came closer. He didn’t have time to check the lock was engaged. He rushed in the opposite direction of the approaching person, entering the hallway on the far side of the office. He walked to the toilet and waited until he was locked in a stall before he dared to take a breath. He leaned against the stall door and took deep breaths while his heart slowly went back to its regular rhythm.
After he managed to gain some semblance of calm, he splashed cold water on his face before returning to his desk where he waited for the clerk to arrive. Was the desk drawer locked? Would the clerk know someone had tampered with the drawer even if it was locked? It took all of Rudolf’s willpower to not constantly glance at the clerk’s empty desk. When the clerk finally arrived, Rudolf tilted his chair in the clerk’s direction and waited with bated breath. But nothing happened other than the clerk unlocking his desk after sitting down. Rudolf waited for the man to notice things were amiss. It took several hours before he realized the clerk was not going to notice anything, and he could relax. He could breathe for the first time since lunch and got back to work.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
“This WWII era story, set in Istanbul, is emotional, captivating and amazing. The author has obviously done her research, and she makes actual historical events an integral part of the story.” ~ Book Babble
“This story is just full of historical details that really give the reader a sense of the life that the people in Europe were leading during this dark time in history. It provides an excellent backdrop for this information that keeps the reader wondering what the two characters will discover next.” ~ Books a Plenty Book Reviews
“Searching for Gertrude is in two words spectacularly beautiful. It is emotional, beautiful, captivating and just engaging and so so amazing. DE Haggerty’s creates the environment of what Rudolf and Rosalynn are going through that is so palpable and real. She creates the historical emotion and happenings in such a realistic way in both situations and emotion.” ~ hello-booklover
“The entire story is entrancing, the setting is perfect, and the trials and tribulations our characters endure are believable. Historical events are a pivotal part of the story, instead of being thrown in as background noise, and they’re intelligently written. There’s never a lull, and the author puts you in that time and place. I was hooked from the beginning and just hated to put it down!” ~ CeeCee Lawson
“This was a really good book and well written. I was drawn into the story and could visualize all that was going on. This is a book that I am still thinking about and I will read again.” ~ T from Florida


My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.


By Lynda Dickson
The book begins in Germany, 1933, when sixteen-year-old Gertrude and her family are forced to abandon their home and move to Istanbul, Turkey, because they are Jewish. Her nineteen-year-old neighbour Rudolf is forced to watch his soulmate leave, and he vows to be reunited with her one day. Eight years later, in 1941, Rudolf finally makes his way to Istanbul, after studying and gaining a position as a foreign diplomat. There, he meets Rosalyn, a young Jewish woman who has recently arrived from New York - in the guise of becoming a nanny - to help the exiled Jews in any way she can. Rudolf and Rosalyn form a mutually beneficial relationship, meeting on a bench in the park to update each other on their search for Gertrude. But, as their feelings for each other grow, what will happen once their search for Gertrude is over?
The story is told in alternating chapters from the perspectives of Rosalyn and Rudolf. The chapters headed with a quote by Rosalyn are from Rudolf’s viewpoint and vice versa, so these quotes serve to provide a commentary on the events of the preceding chapter. It’s obvious the author has done extensive research to write this book. The inclusion of German and Turkish dialogue adds an authentic touch; however, it is never translated, and the meaning is not always apparent in context. Many real-life events are also incorporated into the plot; the account of the Struma, a ship carrying nearly 800 Jewish refugees, is particularly heartbreaking.
While the author builds suspense by foreshadowing trials and tribulations to come, these never eventuate, and things are often resolved quite easily. This leaves us with more of a sweet, historical romance than a thrilling espionage thriller.
An entertaining and informative read.


About the Author
D. E. Haggerty
I grew up reading everything I could get my hands on from my mom's Harlequin romances to Nancy Drew to Little Women. When I wasn't flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed.
College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although on the odd occasion I did manage, to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear.
After surviving the army experience, I went back to school and got my law degree. I jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law.
But being a lawyer really wasn’t my thing, so I quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out being a B&B owner wasn’t my thing either. So, I polished off that manuscript languishing in the attic before followingd the husband to Istanbul, where I decided to give the whole writer-thing a go.
But ten years was too many to stay away from my adopted home. I packed up again and moved to The Hague, where I’m currently working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on my next book.
Searching for Gertrude is my twelfth book.

Giveaway
Enter the blast-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card.

Links