Showing posts from November, 2014

Interview with Mary Burns

I ended up having to pass on a number of delicious tours while on maternity leave, and one I'm particularly heartbroken about is the tour for Mary Burns' historical mystery, The Spoils of Avalon. Set in 1877, the novel follows famed painter John Singer Sargent and his childhood friend Violet Paget, better known as writer Vernon Lee. I love the whole setup of this series, and I'm thrilled I was able to interview Ms. Burns in lieu of a review.  Hope you're as intrigued as I am -- read on to learn more about her book, her writing, and what she does when she's not writing.  And be sure to enter the giveaway to win a copy!

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

My very first piece of fiction was a short story I wrote in the eighth grade (WAY back in 1964) about…ta da! The Beatles! I wrote an ‘odyssey’ story about them that actually pre-dated “A Hard Day’s Night”! The four lads had to get in high gear when John Lennon’s (then) wife Cynthia and newborn so…


My apologies for the delay in announcing these winners -- newborns are a bit exhausting!  I'm thrilled to share them now, however.

The winners of Texts from Jane Eyre are ... Tracy B., Shannon D., and Jennifer @ The Relentless Reader!

The winner of A Day of Fire is ... Craig W.!

Congrats to the winners!  There's one more giveaway going on and a few more coming.  Hopefully I'll get back to reading and can share my reviews of the last few books from before I gave birth.

Interview with Stephanie Thornton

I have loved every singleone of Stephanie Thornton's historical novels and the only reason I'm not reviewing her newest, The Tiger Queens: The Women of Genghis Khan, is because I've got a six-day old baby.  But I'm dying to dig in (thank you, Ms. Thornton, for sending me a copy!) and I'm excited to share my interview with Ms. Thornton about this book and her writing of it. Be sure to enter the giveaway to win a copy, too!

Was The Tiger Queens the original title of your book?

Actually, it was! I'm three for three with my titles so far... They've all been my creation, which is pretty rare for authors these days. But The Tiger Queens is just the perfect for all of these women, considering how fierce they had to be to survive not only Mongolia's harsh climate, but also the political tumult of Genghis' conquests.

As you were writing The Tiger Queens, was there a particular scene or character that surprised you?

Fatima, a Persian captive, was actually the …

Little Reader is here!

I apologize for disappearing suddenly, but I went into labor last Monday, and at 1:35am on Wednesday, Little Reader arrived! 

Meet Winslow Alcott.  He's about 21 inches long and today, at five days in, weights about 7 pounds, 12 ounces.  He's such a sweetie, although we're all learning how to live together.  Needless to say, I haven't been reading much but I'm hoping once we figure out our routine together, I can resume reading regularly.

I hope to keep updating here, however -- I have some wonderful author interviews coming up, a few giveaways, too, and I will try to keep in touch with folks -- but apologies if I seem to go MIA for a while.

To close, one more photo of the Little Reader...

Interview with the authors of A Day of Fire, part two

I'm thrilled to share part two of my interview with the authors of A Day of Fire: Vicky Alvear Shecter, Sophie Perinot, Ben Kane, Kate Quinn, E. Knight, and Stephanie Dray (here's my review!). They kindly agreed to do a roundtable style conversation about the writing of this book. Be sure to check out part one of the interview to learn how this premise came about and what it was like for these novelists to write together (and there's a chance to win a Kindle copy of this book, too!)

What surprised you most about collaborating with the other authors?

Sophie: The sheer joy of it. This can be a very solitary business and so writers often come together to talk out snags in their work with fellow-writer friends. But this time group brainstorming had an extra layer of “all for one and one for all.” It was the most social writing experience I’ve ever had.

Ben: This part is where I missed out by living on the other side of the Atlantic! I know that four of the others met up a cou…

Cover Reveal: A Study in Death

I had the pleasure of meeting Anna Lee Huber at the Historical Novel Society's conference in St. Petersburg, FL in 2013.  We were both audience members at a panel and she had a fabulously striking manicure. That got us talking, and then I learned about her 19th-century historical mystery series. Her books are on my maternity leave TBR, and I'm delighted to share details about her fourth release, coming out next summer.

A STUDY IN DEATH is the latest installment in the award-winning Lady Darby mystery series by national bestselling author Anna Lee Huber. It will release on July 7th, 2015 from Berkley Publishing, but is available for preorder now.

Scotland, 1831. After a tumultuous courtship complicated by three deadly inquiries, Lady Kiera Darby is thrilled to have found both an investigative partner and a fiancĂ© in Sebastian Gage. But with her well-meaning—and very pregnant—sister planning on making their wedding the event of the season, Kiera could use a respite from the impen…

Interview with the authors of A Day of Fire, part one

Yesterday I reviewed the faaaaaaaaahbulous A Day of Fire, a marvelous historical novel set during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Uniquely, it's penned by six authors -- Vicky Alvear Shecter, Sophie Perinot, Ben Kane, Kate Quinn, E. Knight, and Stephanie Dray -- but reads as a single work, devastating and exciting in equal part.

On a whim, I asked if the authors would consider doing a roundtable interview/discussion for my blog and to my delight, the authors agreed! I'm so excited to share this interview -- it confirms what I've suspected: that authors really are among the most fun people out there! I've split the interview into two parts, so here's part one (part two to be live on Friday).

And I loved this book so much I've decided to splurge and offer a giveaway, so be sure to enter!

How did this project come about?

Stephanie Dray: It started when Kate, Sophie, and I were celebrating Kate’s latest book release and began chatting about how, in the romance genr…

A Day of Fire by Various

Title:A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii
Author: Vicky Alvear Shecter, Sophie Perinot, Ben Kane, Kate Quinn, E. Knight, and Stephanie Dray

Genre: Fiction (Historical / Ancient / 1st Century AD / Italy / Natural Disaster / Collaborative Novel / Interconnected Stories)
Publisher/Publication Date: Knight Media, LLC (11/4/2014)
Source: The authors.

Rating: Loved.
Did I finish?: I did.
One-sentence summary: The story of seven citizens of Pompeii on the day of the fateful Mount Vesuvius eruption.
Reading Challenges:E-book, Historical Fiction

Do I like the cover?: Eh -- I'm not wild about it, but it gets across what's important: volcano, and the kickass authors.

First line: I discreetly tightened my loincloth as I approached Pompeii's Sarno Gate.

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

Why did I get this book?: I'm a fan of all the authors in this collection -- I couldn't resist!

Review: I love the idea of collaborative novels but find that unless it's a duo, anything more is usua…

Texts from Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg

Title:Texts from Jane Eyre
Author: Mallory Ortberg

Genre: Fiction (Humor / Inspired By / Classic Literature)
Publisher/Publication Date: Henry Holt and Co. (11/3/2014)
Source: The publisher.

Rating: Loooooooooooooooooooved.
Did I finish?: Yeah, I did.
One-sentence summary: More than sixty poems, novels, and authors of classic and contemporary Western lit recast as a series of hilarious text messages.

Do I like the cover?: I do -- it captures precisely the feel of this.

First line: MEG
tell me it's a wretched lie
, from Little Women (p120)

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

Why did I get this book?: I have a soft spot for humor books that take on classic lit.

Review: Here's my one sentence review: this book is so hilarious, it's coming with me to the delivery room for when I need a laugh. (My midwife says laughing helps relieve pain and anxiety).

This deliciously irreverent volume re-imagin…


We're having a nor'easter here in Boston -- it's cold and rainy and a tiny bit snowy.  Despite myself, I rather like it, although everyone keeps teasing me the worse the weather, the more likely I am to go into labor.  (Eleven days and counting!)

The winner of Goddess Born is ... Holly!

Congrats to the winner!  I'll have a few more giveaways coming up, although things are slowing down while I go on "maternity leave" from the blog.  I don't plan to be wholly absent, but am not participating in tours for a few months, until I know I can go back to reading on a schedule.