Showing posts from June, 2013

She Rises by Kate Worsley

Title:She Rises
Author: Kate Worsley

Genre: Fiction (Historical / 18th Century / British / Nautical / British Navy / Lady's Maid / LGBT / Cross-Dressing / Romance)
Publisher/Publication Date: Bloomsbury USA (6/18/2013)
Source:TLC Book Tours

Rating: Okay to liked.
Did I finish?: I did, with great effort.
One-sentence summary: A country milkmaid becomes a ladies maid in 18th century Harwich and a teenage boy is press ganged into the British Navy.
Reading Challenges:Historical Fiction

Do I like the cover?: I adore the cover -- just stunning.

I'm reminded of...: Sarah Waters, Jack Wolf

First line: It's the singing that wakes him.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow or buy, especially if you like Sarah Waters-esque historicals and sinuous, snakey writing.

Why did I get this book?: Queering history is always good in my book! (No pun intended.)

Review: I'm sort of stunned I'm not in swoons over this book because it really seems like the type I would go ga-ga for: the author was mentored by…

Bathing Beauties, Booze and Bullets by Ellen Mansoor Collier

Title:Bathing Beauties, Booze and Bullets
Author: Ellen Mansoor Collier

Genre: Fiction (Historical / 1920s / Galveston, TX / Beauty Pageant / Murder Mystery / Reporter / Prostitutes / Cover Up)
Publisher/Publication Date: Self published (2013)
Source:Cozy Mystery Book Tours

Rating: Liked a great deal.
Did I finish?: I did!
One-sentence summary: Flapper and reporter Jazz Cross covers an pageant and tries to solve murders while her personal life gets increasingly messy.
Reading Challenges:E-book, Historical Fiction

Do I like the cover?: Adore it -- it totally captures the feel of the era and story.

First line: Rehearsals for the Miss Universe contest -- Galveston's annual "International Pageant of Pulchritude and Bathing Girl Revue" -- were in full swing when Nathan and I arrived at the Grand Opera House.

Why did I get this book?: I really enjoyed Collier's first novel and love the setting.

Review: I was completely charmed by Jazz Cross in Collier's first book, Flappers, Flask…

Flappers, Flasks and Foul Play by Ellen Mansoor Collier

Title:Flappers, Flasks and Foul Play
Author: Ellen Mansoor Collier

Genre: Fiction (Historical / 1927 / Galveston, TX / Prohibition / Gangsters / Reporter / Murder Mystery)
Publisher/Publication Date: Self published (2012)
Source: The author.

Rating: Liked a great deal.
Did I finish?: I did!
One-sentence summary: Flapper and reporter Jazz Cross decides to help out her half-brother when a man dies at his club, and finds herself becoming embroiled in a larger, more dangerous plot.
Reading Challenges:E-book, Historical Fiction

Do I like the cover?: I do -- but I love Art Deco!

First line: Everyone always warned me about Market Street after dark.

Why did I get this book?: A Jazz-Age cozy?! I couldn't resist.

Review: Now and then, I like a cozy mystery: no gore, a bit of drama, a big personality in our heroine, and a plot that doesn't require much but is still fun. Collier's new series, set in 1927 Galveston, Texas, hit the spot for me, and is a fluffy, entertaining bit of summertime e…

The Illusion of Separateness by Simon Van Booy

Title:The Illusion of Separateness
Author: Simon Van Booy

Genre: Fiction (Historical / WWII / Contemporary / Family / Missing in Action / California / New York / Blindness / Vignettes)
Publisher/Publication Date: Harper (6/11/2013)
Source:TLC Book Tours

Rating: Loved, broken hearted love....
Did I finish?: I did, in one night!
One-sentence summary: Six people, seventy years, and one war that connects them.
Reading Challenges:Historical Fiction,

Do I like the cover?: Maybe? It reminds me of a Europa Edition which is fine, and it captures a sense of the novel. I think it's good it isn't a WWII-oriented cover...

I'm reminded of...: Lawrence Durrell, Jeanette Winterson

First line: The mere thought of him brought comfort.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow or buy if you like poetic novels, World War II stories,

Why did I get this book?: I adored Simon Van Booy's novel Everything Beautiful Began After and am a devoted fangirl now

Review: In 2011, Van Booy took my heart, crushed it, reass…

Historical Novel Society 2013 Conference: Gushing & a Story

I'm back from both my work conference and the Historical Novel Society's 2013 Conference.

I had an amazing time.

Some off-the-top-of-my-head points:

I rode in the same van as Diana Gabaldon on the way to the conference, and me and my fellow shuttle-mates all tried to play it super cool.  Gabaldon was incredibly gracious. Amy of Passages to the Past and Historical Novel Virtual Book Tours and Heather of The Maiden's Court are as fabu as one would expect and I'm grateful that they were my con buddies! (Also, how crazy is it that I had to go to Florida to meet Heather, who lives, like, 40 minutes away from me!?!)got to meet bloggers like Meg of A Bookish Affair and reviewer/author/GoodReads friend Jane Steenevery author I met was adorable, gracious, enthusiastic, collegial, sweet, and supportive, not just of each other, but of the aspiring writers, bloggers, readers, and fanshad the head spinning experience of people gasping when they met me!the panels were fun and intere…

Mainstream vs non-mainstream historical fiction: my Historical Novel Society Conference workshop

On Saturday, I'm going to be part of a panel at the Historical Novel Society 2013 Conference talking about non-mainstream historical fiction. Our workshop is 'Off the Beaten Path: Reading and Writing Outside of the HF Mainstream'

Here's the panel description:

Trends in historical fiction are beloved for a reason, but readers (and writers) have broader tastes than many realize. There is a wealth of historical fiction available that veers off the expected path, from non-traditional relationships to rarely visited locations to blended genres, with surprising protagonists and fascinating journeys hard to find elsewhere. In this panel, comprised of both readers and writers, we’ll discuss motivations for writing outside the mainstream, the challenges of doing so, and take a look at some of the best historical fiction off the beaten path–both recently published and upcoming. Panel members include authors Heather Domin (The Soldier of Raetia, Allegiance) and Julie …

Historical Novel Society 2013 Conference Panelist: Meet V. E. Ulett

I'm leaving this week for the Historical Novel Society Conference!  Here's one last Q&A from one of the panelists, historical novelist  V. E. Ulett's.  Last year, I read Ulett's historical novel Captain Blackwell's Prize which was a fun romp. (I'm eager for the sequel!)

You can learn more about Ulett at her website.  Be sure to check out the other Q&As at the #hns2013 tag.

How do you find the people and topics of your books?

Captain Blackwell’s Prize takes place during the time of the Napoleonic conflict, a popular era for historical and nautical fiction authors. There is a great deal of primary source material from this time period, with enough interesting characters and incidents to accommodate any number of fiction writers.

Where do you feel historical fiction is headed as a genre?

In all directions, it seems; literary (Hilary Mantel, Ken Follett), time-slip, multi-period, biblical, and alternate. I think there is room and readers for all of these sub-…


Two winners this week!

The winner of Jack Absolute is ... Heather of Between the Sheets!

The winner of A Dual Inheritance is ... JoAnn @ Lakeside Musing!

Congrats to the winners!

I've got one more open giveaway and I'll be posting a bunch of great new giveaways when I'm back from my conferences in a week or so!

Historical Novel Society 2013 Conference Panelist: Meet Sharman Burson Ramsey

Just one week today until the Historical Novel Society Conference in St. Pete, FL!  I am so desperately excited!  (And stressed: in three days I leave for my work conference, and from there will go to this one!)

I'm thrilled to host another author and panelist, Sharman Burson Ramsey.  (You can check out the previous Q&As at the hns2013 tag.)  Ramsey is a new-to-me author, but after checking out her bio (her ancestor was a friend and neighbor of Andrew Jackson!), I'm eager to read her books.  Check out this Q&A with her to learn more about her writing, her inspirations, and who she is as a reader.  (How much do I love that she asked for, and got, Peyton Place (the book!!) and Lady Chatterley's Lover when she was 12?!) 

What got you first interested in historical fiction?

My mother received books from the Book of the Month Club and developed quite a library. To get me started reading, she also ordered the We Were There juvenile historical fiction series and I read ev…

The Registry by Shannon Stoker

Title:The Registry
Author: Shannon Stoker

Genre: Fiction (Future / Dystopia / Sexual Slavery / Teen Brides / Runaway)
Publisher/Publication Date: William Morrow Paperbacks (6/11/2013)
Source:TLC Book Tours

Rating: Disliked/unfinished
Did I finish?: I did not.
One-sentence summary: In a future United States where women are sold into marriage, a young bride realizes the greater world doesn't support this trade and escapes to find freedom and truth.

Do I like the cover?: It's fine.

First line: Pretty.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow, I guess -- you can check out a few chapters via this sampler.

Why did I get this book?: I like a dystopia now and then.

Review: Alas, this book wasn't for me, and I quit about one hundred pages in. While a unique premise, I wasn't sucked in for a few reasons.

Set sometime in the future, the US as we know it is gone. Instead, it is a series of regions dominated by, essentially, government-endorsed sex trafficking. At age 18, women are placed into the…


Somehow, I got very behind on announcing giveaway winners (I'm sorry!), so here's a huge glut of them.  Thanks for your patience!

The winner of A Prince to be Feared is ... Angela of Persephone Writes!

The winner of Murder as a Fine Art is ... Shannon D.!

The winner of In the Garden of Stone is ... Ilene!

The winners of Spirit of Lost Angels are ... Terry M., Shannon G., and Lisa G.!

The winner of The Age of Desire is ... Lara N.!

Congrats to the winners! If you didn't win, be sure to check out my open giveaways!

Our Held Animal Breath by Kathryn Kirkpatrick

Title:Our Held Animal Breath: Poems
Author: Kathryn Kirkpatrick

Genre: Poetry (Nature / Ecology / Politics/ Contemporary / Feminism)
Publisher/Publication Date: WordTech Communications (9/4/2012)
Source:TLC Book Tours

Rating: Liked.
Did I finish?: I did, very quickly.
One-sentence summary: More than forty poems on current events, the devastation of world politics and personal loss, the challenge of living hopefully when the body fails, friends die, and the joy of nature around us.
Reading Challenges:Dive Into Poetry

Do I like the cover?: I do -- the woman's shoe on the fence is both sad and playful and rather captures the feel of the volume and in particular, reminds me of a piece included here, 'Some Rough Justice'.

I'm reminded of...: Diane Ackerman

First line: I'll admit it's rusty with disuse/so when I say it lately in a group,/it comes up like machinery through sludge., from 'On Being Told Not to Use the Word Moral'

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow or buy.


Historical Novel Society 2013 Conference Panelist: Meet Marci Jefferson

I'm thrilled to share another interview with a panelist for the Historical Novel Society's upcoming conference. Like me, Marci Jefferson is an Air Force brat.  Her book Girl on the Golden Coin, a Novel of Frances Stuart will be released in 2014. Learn more about her by checking out her speaker bio here.

What got you first interested in historical fiction?

As a nurse focused on a career in administration, I'd neglected my love of reading for a few years. It wasn't until I was on pregnancy leave that I read The Other Boleyn Girl and decided I had to write historical fiction myself.

How do you find the people and topics of your books?

I first learned about the Royal Stuarts years ago during a trip to London. Atop a red double decker bus, someone pointed out the Banqueting House saying, "That's where Charles the First was beheaded." I thought kings did the head-chopping, not the other way around! I proceeded to study everything about the Stuarts they faile…

Interview with C.C. Humphreys

Last month I fell madly in love with Jack Absolute -- the book and the man. I'm thrilled to share an interview with C.C. Humphreys, the author, so read on to learn more about him, his writing, and his fabulous novel.  Be sure to enter the giveaway at the end!

What was the plot of your very first piece of fiction?

Very first? Like in childhood? Hmm, ancient history of course. I believe I tried to adapt the Battle of Hastings into a short play for my fellow ten year old’s at my English prep school. I think it was a little … epic for the confined space.

Do you have any writing rituals or routines?

Oh yes, must have some order to the chaos. I let the cat out, eat cereal, make coffee… then walk the twenty paces to my ‘hut’ – a cedar octagon. Give cat his treats, turn on computer… and I’m off! Very important to have boiled sweets at hand. Mint humbugs my favorite.

Was Jack Absolute the original title of your book?

Yes, never thought of any other. I think it’s a great title because it’s e…

The Sweet Girl by Annabel Lyon

Title:The Sweet Girl
Author: Annabel Lyon

Genre: Fiction (Historical / 4th Century BCE / Aristotle / Ancient Greece / Historical Figure Fictionalized / Coming-of-Age / Father-Daughter Relationship / Romance / Marriage / PTSD / Greek Mythology / Sex / Women's Spheres)
Publisher/Publication Date: Knopf (6/4/2013)
Source: The publisher.

Rating: Looooooooooooooooooooved. (Although my heart was repeatedly broken.)
Did I finish?: In a matter of hours.
One-sentence summary: The coming-of-age of Aristotle's brilliant daughter Phythias, who by Greek custom and her father's beliefs, remains hidden behind her veil until her father's untimely death forces her to find a way to survive.
Reading Challenges:7 Continents, 7 Billion People, 7 Books, Historical Fiction

Do I like the cover?: I do -- very striking -- and captures the feel of the book.

I'm reminded of...: Emma Donoghue, Naguib Mahfouz, Melanie J. McDonald

First line: The first time I ask to carry a knife to the temple, Daddy tel…

Historical Novel Society 2013 Conference Panelist: Meet Mary Hart Perry

Just twenty-one days until the Historical Novel Society Conference in St. St. Petersburg! I can't wait!

I'm excited to share another Q&A with one of the presenters at the conference. Mary Hart Perry is the psuedonym for Kathryn Johnson and she's the author of The Wild Princess: A Novel of Queen Victoria’s Daughters and Seducing the Princess. (Both on my TBR!) Please read on to learn about her and her books and her thoughts on writing historical fiction.

Do you have a most interesting question or crazy anecdote related to your writing you would like to share?

The idea for The Gentleman Poet: A Novel of Shakespeare's "The Tempest" (written as Kathryn Johnson) came to me while I was honeymooning in Bermuda. My husband and I were married on the cruise ship, in New York harbor, before we sailed for Bermuda. In a romantic mood, as you can imagine, I was thinking about love stories and adventures that might be set on the island. When I learned of the legen…

Mailbox Monday, June 3

I've had a migraine I can't shake so no beach today. I stayed in bed mostly. I'm completely off schedule once more, so doing my Mailbox Monday post today. (Cool interview tomorrow!) In June, Mailbox Monday is hosted by Bellezza at Dolce Bellezza (a favorite blog of mine!).

For Review


Won thanks to vvb32reads


For my wife, not me, who says Bartleby's 'catch phrase' any time she's surly.  (I also bought her the tote bag and t-shirt.)