A Twisting Tale of Speculation

BOOK OF SPECULATION_MECH_01.inddOnce before in my reading and blogging journey, I wondered how a debut novelist could come up with a story wonderfully odd and unique and this is the second time I have had that feeling. THE BOOK OF SPECULATION presents a family story intertwined with other carnies and their descendants. It flips back and forth in time which is not my favorite writing technique but might have possibly been the only way to connect the turn of the 18th century to the present.  For this novel it was essential.

Simon Watson a librarian in a small town on Long Island.  He lives in his family’s home but both of his parents have now passed away and he is alone.  The house is falling apart around him and to save this beachfront home would take a great deal of money he does not have.  Things head downhill for Simon but a distraction soon arrives.  He receives a mysterious old book from a stranger that acquired this book at auction and felt it should be seen by Simon.

Nothing is by accident in this book. One has to read very carefully to catch the clues and the connections of those characters that come in and out of the story.  And in a favorite move of mine some of those twists are created by inanimate objects as well.

Lunch Erika? I would like to have lunch with an author that has to tale in her brain. But then I avoid all info about a novel and its background before I read it, that is just my way of experiencing it without any expectations or clues to its path. But you can bet I am going to jump in to find out more about where this  story line came from just in case lunch does not work out.


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Opening Day for Starstruck Book Tour

A chance to read a novel about Broadway, yes; and a novel that features the behind the scenes of a new Broadway production, yes.  I could not be more thrilled to join this Chick Lit Plus Blog Tour.  And the pages of STARSTRUCK did not disappoint.

starstruckYoung and first time producer Scarlett Savoy is taking her off-Broadway production to Broadway this season. This is a retelling of Swan Lake titled Swan Song. Even though Scarlett is the producer her life does not take a back stage to the actors or the production.  She has quite a few men in her life that are part of the production that come in and out of the story.

Read here for a run down of Scarlett’s men: There is Graham Stewart who was destroyed by his divorce and does not want another.  Scarlett and Graham dated in a faux relationship and he offered her a platonic marriage but that was not for Scarlett. But Graham still provided the Broadway theater to Scarlett for SWAN SONG.  Let’s not forget Lawrence, who also dated Scarlett, but more recently the leading lady of the show Bliss Hadley.  That ended badly so we have a nice platform for awkwardness between all. Finally, there is Marco who is Bliss’s recently hired PR guy and former grad student flame of Scarlett’s.  In the end Scarlett makes her choice.

But the reason I loved STARSTRUCK was reading about the launch of a Broadway show.  There is so much to consider and Preston did a great job of bringing those to life in the book. There was strategy and planning, rehearsals, PR and events and other factors that go in to this enormous endeavor. Not to mention the risk of course since many Broadway productions do not make it off the ground and still others only stay open for a short run.

It was not all smooth sailing for Scarlett and STARSTRUCK so dive in and find out if the show makes it and who Scarlett chooses. Thanks Ruby Preston for the light, fun Broadway novel that definitely should be a read for anyone that loves the Great White Way.  Best of luck on your own Broadway adventures, may you produce many shows for us Broadway lovers.

clp-buttonThanks as always to the amazing Samantha March for her attention to detail and for putting reads in the hands of readers.  Always something fun with books going on at her spots: Chick Lit Plus and CLP Blog Tours.  Be sure to check out the full blog tour Schedule: Starstruck Blog Tour. 



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Poldark: Do Not Miss One Stop on the Blog Tour

Poldark Blog TourThrilled to join this blog tour with Sourcebooks Landmark new tie-in editions for the Masterpiece Classic PBS series airing 6/21 – 8/2, 2015 (#PoldarkPBS).  Generally I do not enjoy reading the book that inspired a TV/movie project so this was a wonderful opportunity to ensure I was ready for its airing.

All of the hard work for this tour is performed by Laurel Ann Nattress @Austenprose and in conjunction with the good folks at Sourcebooks Landmark @sbkslandmark who have repackaged these books by Winston Graham to compliment the TV series.   There is even a giveaway with three chances to win for those who stop by and comment here and at my fellow bloggers site:  http://www.sourcebooks.com/buzz/ross-poldark-a-demelza-blog-tour.html.

Poldark GiveawayTwo lucky winners will each receive one trade paperback copy of Ross Poldark and Demelza, and one grand prize winner will receive a prize package containing the following items:

(2 ) Old Britain Castles Pink Pottery Mugs by Johnson Brothers

(1) Twelve-inch Old Britain Castles Pink Pottery Platter by Johnson Brothers

(1) London Telephone Box Tin of Ahmad English Breakfast Tea

(1) Jar of Mrs. Bridges Marmalade

(1) Package of Duchy Originals Organic Oaten Biscuits

(2) Packets of Blue Boy Cornflower Seeds by Renee’s Garden Heirloom (1) Trade Paperback Copy of Ross Poldark & Demelza, by Winston Graham

To enter the giveaway contest simply leave a comment on any or all of the blog stops on the Ross Poldark Blog Tour starting July 06, 2015 through 11:59 pm PT, August 10, 2015. Winners will be drawn at random from all of the entrants and announced on the Buzz at Sourcebooks blog on August 13, 2015. Winners have until August 20, 2015 to claim their prize. The giveaway contest is open to US residents and the prizes will be shipped to US addresses. Good luck to all!

I received a copy of each of the first two novels in the POLDARK series ROSS POLDARK and DEMELZA in exchange for this feature. The excerpt presented below is with the permission of Sourcebooks Landmark.



In the enchanting second novel in Winston Graham’s beloved Poldark series, Demelza Carne, an impoverished miner’s daughter Ross Poldark rescued from a fairground brawl, now happily finds herself his wife. But the events of these turbulent years test their marriage and their love. As Ross launches into a bitter struggle for the right of the mining communities, Demelza’s efforts to adapt to the ways of the gentry (and her husband) place her in increasingly odd and embarrassing situations. When tragedy strikes and sows the seeds of an enduring rivalry between Ross and the powerful George Warleggan, will Demelza manage to bridge their differences before they destroy her and her husband’s chance at happiness?

Against the stunning backdrop of eighteenth century Cornwall, Demelza sweeps readers into one of the greatest love stories of all time.

DEMELZA: Excerpt from Chapter 6

“He came in, his face still set in hard lines from his quarrel with the seamen. Her first thought was that he was old. He had taken off his cocked hat and he wore his own hair: it was gray at the temples and specked with gray on the crown. He must be over forty. His eyes were blue and fierce and the skin was drawn up around them from peering into the sun. They were the eyes of a man who might have been holding himself ready for the first leap forward of a race.
He came across to the desk and put his hat on it, looking directly at his visitor.
“My name is Blamey, ma’am,” he said in a hard, clear voice. “Can I be of service to you?”
All Demelza’s prepared openings were forgotten. She was overawed by his manner and his authority.
She moistened her lips and said, “My name is Poldark.”
It was as if some key turned in the inner mechanism of that hard man, locking away before it could escape any show of surprise or sentiment.
He bowed slightly. “I haven’t the honor of your acquaintance.”
“No, sir,” said Demelza. “No. You know my husband, Captain Ross Poldark.”
There was something ship-like about his face, jutting and aggressive and square, weathered but unbeaten.
“A few years ago I had occasion to meet him.”
She could not shape the next sentence. With her hand she felt the chair behind her, and sat in it.
“I’ve rid twenty miles to see you.”
“I am honored.”
“Ross don’t know I’ve come,” she said. “Nobody knows I’ve come.”
His unflinching eyes for a moment left her face and traveled over her dusty dress.
“I can offer you some refreshment?”
“No…no…I must leave again in a few minutes.” Perhaps that was a mistake, for tea or anything would have given her ease and time.
There was a strained pause. Under the window the quarrel with the orange woman broke out afresh.
“Was that your servant at the door?”
“I thought I recognized him. I should have known.”
His voice left no doubt of his feelings.
She tried once again. “I—mebbe I shouldn’t ought to have come, but I felt I must. I wanted to see you.”
“It is about Verity.”
Just for a moment his expression grew embarrassed; that name could no longer be mentioned. Then he abruptly glanced at the clock. “I can spare you three minutes.”
Something in the glance quenched the last of Demelza’s hopes. “I been wrong to come,” she said. “I think there’s nothing to say to you. I made a mistake, that’s all.”
“Well, what is it you made a mistake in? Since you are here you’d best say it.”
“Nothing. Nothing will be any use saying to the likes of you.”
He gave her a furious look. “I ask you, tell me.”
She glanced at him again.
“It is about Verity. Ross married me last year. I knew nothing about Verity till then. An’ she never told me a thing. I persuaded it out of Ross. About you, I mean. I love Verity. I’d give anything to see ’er happy. An’ she isn’t happy. She’s never gotten over it. She’s not the sort to get over it. Ross said it was dangerous to meddle. He said I must leave it alone. But I couldn’t leave it alone till I’d seen you. I—I thought Verity was right an’ they was wrong. I—I had to be sure they was right before I could let it drop.”
Her voice seemed to go on and on, into an arid empty space. She said, “Are you married again?”
“I schemed today. Ross has gone to Bodmin. I borrowed the horses and came over with Jud. I’d best be getting back, for I’ve a young baby at home.”
She got up and slowly made for the door.
He caught her arm as she went past him.
“Is Verity ill?”
“No,” Demelza said angrily. “Ailing but not ill. She looks ten years older than her age.”
His eyes were suddenly fierce with pain.
“D’you not know the whole story? They cannot fail to have told you the whole story.”
“Yes, about your first wife. But if I was Verity—”
“You’re not Verity. How can you know what she feels?”
“I don’t, but I—”
“She never once sent me any word…”
“Nor you never sent her any word neither.”
“Has she ever said anything?”
“Then it’s pitiable, this attempt on your part, this—this intrusion…”
“I know,” said Demelza, nearly crying. “I know now. I thought to help Verity, but I wish now I’d never tried. You see, I don’t understand. If folks in our way love one another it is more than enough to bring ’em together, drink or no. If the father’s against it then that’s some reason, but now the father’s dead an’ Verity’s too proud to make any move. And you—and you… But I thought you were different. I thought—”
“You thought I was likely to sit moping my time away. No doubt the rest of your family has long since written me off as a failure and a drunkard, drooling in taprooms and lurching home of a night. No doubt Miss Verity has long since agreed with her weakling brother that it was better for all that Captain Blamey was sent about his business. What for—”
“How dare you say that of Verity!” Demelza cried out, standing up to him. “How dare you! An’ to think I’ve rid myself sore to hear it! To think I’ve schemed and plotted and lied and borrowed the horses and one thing and the next. An’ to say such of Verity when she’s ill for pining of you! Judas God! Let me get out of here!”
He barred her way. “Wait.”
His epaulets and gold braid no longer counted.
“Wait for what? For more insults? Let me past or I shall call Jud!”
He took her arm again. “It is no reflection on you, girl. I grant you did it all from the best of motives. I grant you your goodwill—”
She was trembling but with great self-control did not try to wrench her arm free.
For a moment he did not go on but peered at her closely as if trying to see all that she had not said. His own anger was suddenly in ashes. He said, “We’ve all moved on since those days, grown, changed. It’s—you see, it’s all forgotten, behind us—but has left us bitter. There were times when I ranted and railed—if you understood—if you’d known it all you’d see that. When you stir up old things best forgotten, you’re bound to stir up some of the mud that’s settled around ’em.”
“Let go my arm,” she said.”


Do not forget to enter the giveaway:

Simply leave a comment on any or all of the blog stops on the Ross Poldark Blog Tour starting July 06, 2015 through 11:59 pm PT, August 10, 2015. Winners will be drawn at random from all of the entrants and announced on the Buzz at Sourcebooks blog on August 13, 2015. Winners have until August 20, 2015 to claim their prize. The giveaway contest is open to US residents and the prizes will be shipped to US addresses.



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The Intersection of Two Sisters

The wonderful folks at William Morrow make it easy and fun for a reader to select advanced reader’s editions titles.  THE PRECIOUS ONE is the latest from Marisa de los Santos. As I read and loved her three other novels I jumped at the change to read her latest.

The Precious One

This was a complete departure from what I was expecting.  In fact it was a little hard for me to read and return to each day.  But about halfway through I found my pace and started to be more pulled in to this novel and its characters.

Two sisters with the same father but kept from each other. A father who was difficult to deal with and finally deserting his family to make another.  When their dad suffers a heart attack he contacts his grown children from his first marriage, Eustacia (Taisy) and Marcus. Taisy’s curiosity and her need for her father’s approval and love sends her to see why her  dad (Wilson) after all these years reaches out to her.

Taisy finds that she likes her step sister (Willow) and her step mom (Caro).  Taisy it turns out is the glue this family needs.  And she also understands and likes her 16 year old sister even though Willow was not welcoming.

Old relationships are resurrected and new relationships are formed.  While this family has been broken any number of times, they find their way to a new normal as the sister’s find they love and need each other.

This story was hard for me to identify with and maybe that is what first kept me at a distance. But once again Santos’s writing and solid story telling won me over. Still not my favorite read from Santos but I look forward to her next novel.

To find out more about Marisa de los Santos visit her facebook page.  Be sure to pick up her other novels: Love Walked In, Belong to Me, and Falling Together.  Santos and her author husband, David Teague, write middle-grade fiction if you need some good reading for the kids this summer. 



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Always a fan of Jane Austen books and those imagining what the stories might look like if they went on and on.  I am so grateful for those imagining minds.

THE SECRET OF PEMBROOKE PARK is from Julie Klassen and is on tour from February 16, 2015 through 11:59 pm PT, March 9, 2015.  It is my first novel from Klassen and I am definitely going to return to one of her many other published novels.

This Regency book starts in the Spring 0f 1818 with lead character Abigail Foster fearful she will become a spinster. Her heart has been broken by a man who has fallen for her sister.

In poor financial straits the Fosters head to London to see if another season will produce a much-needed alliance for Abigail and the family.  The family has the opportunity to stay at an abandoned estate Pembrooke Park and while it was abruptly abandoned it seems the house holds secrets and many treasures…open its pages to find out more.



Chapter Five (Excerpt)

That night, Abigail went up to bed early, weary from sleeping so poorly the night before and hoping she would sleep better her second night at Pembrooke Park.

Polly helped her undress, cheerfully chatting about church—“Mr. Chapman preaches the shortest sermons. Witty too. Some folks don’t appreciate it, but I do . . .”—and about the afternoon she and Molly had spent with her parents and brothers out on their family farm. She also mentioned Duncan had just returned from visiting his mother in Ham Green, several miles away. As Abigail listened to the girl’s happy account, she was glad she had heeded Mac’s advice and given the servants the day off.

After Polly left, Abigail crawled into bed with a book she’d found in the library—a history of the Pembrooke family and manor. But she’d read only a few pages before her eyelids began drooping. She set aside the book and blew out her bedside candle. Lying there, Abigail thought back on the day’s conversation with Mr. Chapman. They had touched on so many topics—family and fear and church . . . .

Engulfed in darkness, her ears focused sharply, trying to catalogue every sound. For once identified, she would no longer need to fret about it. That howl? The wind through the fireplace flue. That rattle? A window shaken by the wind. Telling herself she would grow used to the sounds in time, she determinedly pulled the bedclothes to her chin, pressed her eyes closed, and willed sleep to come.

Then she heard something new. A creak, like a door opening nearby. Probably only Polly, she thought, checking to see if the windows in the master bedchamber had been shut after yesterday’s airing.

Faint footsteps reached her ears. In the corridor outside her room? No—it sounded more muffled, like footsteps on carpet and not wood. Was it coming from the next room? The room on that side of the wall was to be Louisa’s. Why would anyone be in there, when they hadn’t even started cleaning it yet?

A scrape—like a chair leg across wood? She was probably imagining things. It was likely only a simple creak of the house, of damp, warped walls and floorboards. After all, it was well past working hours and a Sunday yet.

Sleep, she told herself, closing her eyes again. Fear not.

In the morning, Abigail was still sound asleep when Polly came in with hot water and a breakfast tray.

“Oh. Sorry, Polly. I intended to be up before you came.” Abigail pushed back the bedclothes and hurried to the washstand. “I didn’t sleep well last night. The house makes  any odd noises. Have you noticed?”

“What sort of noises?” Polly asked.

“Oh, you know. Creaks and groans. Though last night I heard footsteps, long after you had gone to bed.”

“You likely imagined it.” The girl’s eyes twinkled. “Or perhaps the place is haunted, like the village children say it is.”

“Haunted?” Abigail echoed, drying her face. “By whom? I suppose my father and I have angered some ghost of Pembrooke past by moving in here?”

“Well, someone did die here twenty years ago. Was killed some say. Probably his ghost that does the haunting.”

“Who died here?” Abigail asked. “One of the Pembrooke family?” She recalled Mr. Chapman saying a Robert Pembrooke died twenty years ago.

Polly’s mouth slackened, face growing pale. “No, miss. I never said a word about the Pembrookes, did I? Please don’t tell anyone otherwise. I don’t know anything about the family. How could I? I was talkin’ about a servant—that’s all.”

Abigail regarded the young woman, surprised by her panic. Hoping to lighten the moment, she teased, “Which servant? A cheeky housemaid?”

But the girl did not smile. “No, miss. Robert Pembrooke’s valet. Walter something, I heard his name was, but that’s the last word I’ll say on the subject. I’ve said too much already.”

Abigail blinked. “Very well, Polly.”

The housemaid stepped to the closet. “My mouth will be the death of me yet, and you don’t want me hauntin’ the place, flapping my ghostly lips all night. Now, let’s get you dressed. . . .”

When Abigail left her bedchamber a short while later, she paused at the door of the room that would be Louisa’s. The door was closed, as it had been the day before. She opened the latch and inched it open, the mounting creak familiar. Is that what she’d heard last night?

At first glance the room seemed undisturbed. But then, in the morning light slanting through the unshuttered windows, she saw something. She frowned and bent to look closer. Yes, unmistakable. Footprints in the dust, all the way to the wardrobe. She had not even bothered to look inside yet, but someone had. The footprints appeared notably larger than her small shoes. So probably not one of the housemaids checking the windows.
Might it have been their manservant, Duncan? She didn’t like the idea of a man roaming about a lady’s bedchamber at night. Though she supposed he might have checked the windows as a favor to Polly, whom he seemed eager to help. But what business had he opening a wardrobe in an unoccupied room at night?

I thank Laurel Ann Nattress for inviting me to participate in this tour.  If you are a Jane fan or like this excerpt visit her blog to see who you have missed and to follow the tour: Austenprose – A Jane Austen Blog

Hope you are still reading as there is a giveaway:

Grand Giveaway Contest

Win One of Four Fabulous Prizes

In celebration of the release of The Secret of Pembrooke Park, four chances to win copies of Julie’s books and other Jane Austen-inspired items are being offered.

Three lucky winners will receive one trade paperback or eBook copy of The Secret of Pembrooke Park, and one grand prize winner will receive one copy of all eight of Julie’s novels: Lady of Milkweed Manor, The Apothecary’s Daughter, The Silent Governess, The Girl in the Gatehouse, The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, The Tutor’s Daughter, The Dancing Master, and The Secret of Pembrooke Park, one DVD of Northanger Abbey (2007) and a Jane Austen Action Figure.

To enter the giveaway contest, simply leave a comment on any or all of the blog stops on The Secret of Pembrooke Park Blog Tour starting February 16, 2015 through 11:59 pm PT, March 9, 2015. Winners will be drawn at random from all of the comments and announced on Julie Klassen’s website on March 16, 2015. Winners have until March 22, 2015 to claim their prize. The giveaway contest is open to residents of the US, UK, and Canada. Digital books will be sent through Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Good luck to all!

To find out more about the author Julie Klassen visit her website: http://www.julieklassen.com/News%20&%20Events.html

Posted in Books, Fiction Light, Giveaway, Historical Light, Jane Austen, Mystery, Mystery Light, Novel, Regency | Tagged , , , , , | 62 Comments

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour Stop: RODIN’S LOVER

It is January and that means it is time for the next Heather Webb (@msheatherwebb) historical fiction novel.  This time I was proud to join the blog tour hosted by Amy Bruno and her Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour (@hfvbt): http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/rodinsloverblogtour/ .  This happens to be my favorite tour but Bruno has some other tours if your tastes run a different genre way.

Rodin's Lover

Camille found herself a student of Rodin who she struggled to love and at the same time get out from behind his shadow.  The relationship went from student/teacher to peers and then lovers.  In the end both of them had some touch of obsession and madness for their work and each other which jumped off the pages of RODIN’S LOVER.  Although, this was not always pleasant for the reader it was pure, raw and powerful.

Always enjoy the backdrop of Paris and to cross with the painters and other notable figures of the time including: Manet, Zola and Hugo I was intrigued. The way the emotion lifted off of the pages in this novel is lasting even for some time after you finish.  For me, I am compelled to seek out more information about Camille Claudel and go see the Rodin museum in Paris.  Okay, for now Goggle will have to suffice that itch but I never mind dreaming of my next trip to Paris.

Thanks to Amy Bruno for saying yes to me and to Plume Books for supplying the book.  And a special thanks to Heather Webb who fills my glass of historical fiction right to the top.  If you missed BECOMING JOSEPHINE you might want to pick it up.

********Enjoy the other stops on the tour*********

03_Rodin's Love_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

Rodin’s Lover Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, January 19
Review & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Review & Interview at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Tuesday, January 20
Review at Broken Teepee
Spotlight at Boom Baby Reviews

Wednesday, January 21
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Thursday, January 22
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Friday, January 23
Review at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Monday, January 26
Review at Poof Books
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Tuesday, January 27
Review at Library Educated
Spotlight at The Lit Bitch

Wednesday, January 28
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Thursday, January 29
Review at Book Babe
Review at The Book Binder’s Daughter

Friday, January 30
Review at Book Drunkard

Monday, February 2
Review at Unabridged Chick

Tuesday, February 3
Review at Caroline Wilson Writes
Interview at Unabridged Chick

Wednesday, February 4
Review at Brooke Blogs

Thursday, February 5
Review at A Book Geek

Friday, February 6
Review at The True Book Addict

Monday, February 9
Review at A Literary Vacation
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Tuesday, February 10
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection

Wednesday, February 11
Review at 100 Pages a Day – Stephanie’s Book Reviews

Thursday, February 12
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Spotlight at Historical Readings & Reviews

Friday, February 13
Review at The Maiden’s Court





Posted in Art, Books, Fiction, France, Historical, Historical Fiction, Novel, Reading | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A Touching Story for the Season

christmas-train-9781476779843_lgTHE CHRISTMAS TRAIN by Rexanne Becnel from Pocket Star eBooks was a touching story that can be read in one sitting but has moments that will stay in your heart for a long time to come.  A little girl, Anna, who never knew her dad is being sent to live with him after her grandmother who raised her passed away.  Scarred and confused she is sent to him on a train.

Her mother who has all kinds of issues finds out you cannot send a child Anna’s age on a train trip alone. She dumps her daughter with an older woman, Eva and asks her to safeguard her.  However, the elder woman has some issues with reality.  Thus it becomes Anna’s role to take care of Eva. This special little girl is used to caring for her grandmother so she seems to know just what to do.

Anna tries to put aside her thoughts and fears about her dad as she tries to help Eva who seems confused for much of the trip.  She was split from her family during the Second World II, her mother told her to run to escape the Nazis and that is what she did.  Eventually she got married and had a son.  But on the train she is caught somewhere back in time and in her memories.

This story is beautiful  of relationships, caring and compassion which definitely requires tissues be kept close.  There are so many precious moments that bring this story together.

Happy Joys of the Season to you and a Wonderful New Year of Great Reads Ahead.

Posted in Bring your tissue read, Holiday Books, Novel, Reading | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment