Excerpt from The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff

About the book,  The Orphan’s Tale The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff

Paperback: 368 pages

Publisher: MIRA (February 21, 2017)

A powerful novel of friendship set in a traveling circus during World War II, The Orphan’s Tale introduces two extraordinary women and their harrowing stories of sacrifice and survival 

Sixteen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier and being forced to give up her baby. She lives above a small rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep… When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the child that was taken from her. And in a moment that will change the course of her life, she snatches one of the babies and flees into the snowy night.

Noa finds refuge with a German circus, but she must learn the flying trapeze act so she can blend in undetected, spurning the resentment of the lead aerialist, Astrid. At first rivals, Noa and Astrid soon forge a powerful bond. But as the facade that protects them proves increasingly tenuous, Noa and Astrid must decide whether their friendship is enough to save one another—or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything.

Buy, read, and discuss The Orphan’s Tale:

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About the author, Pam Jenoff  Pam Jenoff

Pam Jenoff is the author of several novels, including the international bestseller The Kommandant’s Girl, which also earned her a Quill Award nomination. Pam lives with her husband and three children near Philadelphia where, in addition to writing, she teaches law school.

Connect with Pam

Website | Facebook | Twitter


Read an Excerpt from The Orphan’s Tale

Blog Tour – Excerpt 5

2

Astrid

Germany, 1942—fourteen months earlier

I stand at the edge of the withered grounds that had once been our winter quarters. Though there has been no fighting here, the valley looks like a battlefield, broken wagons and scrap metal scattered everywhere. A cold wind blows through the hollow window frames of the deserted cabins, sending tattered fabric curtains wafting upward before they fall deflated. Most of the windows are shattered and I try not to wonder if that had happened with time, or if someone had smashed them in a struggle or rage. The creaking doors are open, properties fallen into disrepair as they surely never would have if Mama been here to care for them. There is a hint of smoke on the air as though someone has been burning brush recently. In the distance, a crow cries out in protest.

Drawing my coat closer around me, I walk away from the wreckage and start up toward the villa that once was my home. The grounds are exactly as they had been when I was a girl, the hill rising before the front door in that way that sent the water rushing haphazardly into the foyer when the spring rains came. But the garden where my mother tended hydrangeas so lovingly each spring is withered and crushed to dirt. I see my brothers wrestling in the front yard before being cowed into practice, scolded for wasting their energy and risking an injury that would jeopardize the show. As children we loved to sleep under the open sky in the yard in summer, fingers intertwined, the sky a canopy of stars above us.

I stop. A large red flag with a black swastika hangs above the door. Someone, a high-ranking SS officer no doubt, has moved into the home that once was ours. I clench my fists, sickened to think of them using our linens and dishes, soiling Mama’s beautiful sofa and rugs with their boots. Then I look away. It is not the material things for which I mourn.

I search the windows of the villa, looking in vain for a familiar face. I had known that my family was no longer here ever since my last letter returned undeliverable. I had come anyway, though, some part of me imagining life unchanged, or at least hoping for a clue as to where they had gone. But wind blows through the desolate grounds. There is nothing left anymore.

I should not be here either, I realize. Anxiety quickly replaces my sadness. I cannot afford to loiter and risk being spotted by whoever lives here now, or face questions about who I am and why I have come. My eyes travel across the hill toward the adjacent estate where the Circus Neuhoff has their winter quarters. Their hulking slate villa stands opposite ours, two sentries guarding the Rheinhessen valley between.

Earlier as the train neared Darmstadt, I saw a poster advertising the Circus Neuhoff. At first, my usual distaste at the name rose. Klemt and Neuhoff were rival circuses and we had competed for years, trying to outdo one another. But the circus, though dysfunctional, was still a family. Our two circuses had grown up alongside one another like siblings in separate bedrooms. We had been rivals on the road. In the off-season, though, we children went to school and played together, sledding down the hill and occasionally sharing meals. Once when Herr Neuhoff had been felled by a bad back and could not serve as ringmaster, we sent my brother Jules to help their show.

I have not seen Herr Neuhoff in years, though. And he is Gentile, so everything has changed. His circus flourishes while ours is gone. No, I cannot expect help from Herr Neuhoff, but perhaps he knows what became of my family.

When I reach the Neuhoff estate, a maidservant I do not recognize opens the door. “Guten Abend,” I say. “Ist Herr Neuhoff hier?” I am suddenly shy, embarrassed to arrive unannounced on their doorstep like some sort of beggar. “I’m Ingrid Klemt.” I use my maiden name. The woman’s face reveals that she already knows who I am, though from the circus or from somewhere else, I cannot tell. My departure years earlier had been remarkable, whispered about for miles around.

One did not leave to marry a German officer as I had—especially if one was Jewish.

Erich had first come to the circus in the spring of 1934. I noticed him from behind the curtains—it is a myth that we cannot see the audience beyond the lights—not only because of his uniform but because he sat alone, without a wife or children. I was not some young girl, easily wooed, but nearly twenty-nine. Busy with the circus and constantly on the road, I had assumed that marriage had passed me by. Erich was impossibly handsome, though, with a strong jaw marred only by a cleft chin, and square features softened by the bluest of eyes. He came a second night and pink roses appeared before my dressing room door. We courted that spring, and he made the long trip down from Berlin every weekend to the cities where we performed to spend time with me between shows and on Sundays.

We should have known even then that our relationship was doomed. Though Hitler had just come to power a year earlier, the Reich had already made clear its hatred for the Jews. But there was passion and intensity in Erich’s eyes that made everything around us cease to exist. When he proposed, I didn’t think twice. We did not see the problems that loomed large, making our future together impossible—we simply looked the other way.


Follow the Excerpt Tour, and Mark Your Calendar for the Review Tour TLC Book Tours - The Orphan's Tale

The Orphan’s Tale Excerpt Tour:

Monday, February 6th: The Sassy Bookster

Tuesday, February 7th: Just Commonly

Wednesday, February 8th: From the TBR Pile

Thursday, February 9th: Chick Lit Central

Friday, February 10th: Bibliotica

Monday February 13th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Tuesday, February 14th: Read Love Blog

Wednesday, February 15th: The Lit Bitch

Thursday, February 16th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy

Friday, February 17th: Books a la Mode

The Orphan’s Tale Review Tour:

Monday, February 20th: A Chick Who Reads

Monday, February 20th: Barbara Khan

Tuesday, February 21st: Savvy Verse and Wit

Wednesday, February 22nd: Caryn, The Book Whisperer

Thursday, February 23rd: West Metro Mommy

Friday, February 24th: Reading is My SuperPower

Friday, February 24th: A Bookish Affair

Monday, February 27th: Building Bookshelves

Monday, February 27th: Just Commonly

Tuesday, February 28th: Bibliotica

Wednesday, March 1st: Kahakai Kitchen

Wednesday, March 1st: Susan Peterson

Thursday, March 2nd: A Literary Vacation

Friday, March 3rd: Cindy Burnett

Monday, March 6th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Monday, March 6th: Literary Quicksand

Tuesday, March 7th: The Lit Bitch

Wednesday, March 8th: The Romance Dish

Thursday, March 9th: Just One More Chapter

Friday, March 10th: Suzy Approved

Monday, March 13th: Reading Reality

Monday, March 13th: Diary of an Eccentric

Tuesday, March 14th: Patricia’s Wisdom

Wednesday, March 15th: Bibliophiliac

Thursday, March 16th: The Maiden’s Court

Friday, March 17th: View from the Birdhouse

Monday, March 20th: A Bookish Way of Life

Tuesday, March 21st: Write Read Life

Wednesday, March 22nd: 100 Pages a Day

Thursday, March 23rd: Silver’s Reviews

Friday, March 24th: Not in Jersey

Friday March 24th: SJ2B House of Books

Tuesday, March 28th: Travelling Birdy

Review: Remember My Beauties, by Lynne Hugo

About the book Remember My Beauties Remember My Beauties

Imagine a hawk’s view of the magnificent bluegrass pastures of Kentucky horse country. Circle around the remnants of a breeding farm, four beautiful horses grazing just beyond the paddock. Inside the ramshackle house, a family is falling apart.

Hack, the patriarch breeder and trainer, is aged and blind, and his wife, Louetta, is confined by rheumatoid arthritis. Their daughter, Jewel, struggles to care for them and the horses while dealing with her own home and job—not to mention her lackluster second husband, Eddie, and Carley, her drug-addicted daughter. Many days, Jewel is only sure she loves the horses. But she holds it all together. Until her brother, Cal, shows up again. Jewel already has reason to hate Cal, and when he meets up with Carley, he throws the family into crisis—and gives Jewel reason to pick up a gun.

Every family has heartbreaks, failures, a black sheep or two. And some families end in tatters. But some stumble on the secret of survival: if the leader breaks down, others step up and step in. In this lyrical novel, when the inept, the addict, and the ex-con join to weave the family story back together, either the barn will burn to the ground or something bigger than any of them will emerge, shining with hope. Remember My Beauties grows large and wide as it reveals what may save us.

For more information on this and other Switchgrass titles, be sure to visit their website HERE.

Buy, read, and discuss this book.

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About the author, Lynne Hugo Lynne Hugo

Lynne Hugo has published ten previous books, including poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Her memoir, Where the Trail Grows Faint, won the River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Book Prize in 2004, and her sixth novel, A Matter of Mercy, was awarded an Independent Publisher silver medal for best regional fiction in 2014. The recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, she lives in Ohio with her husband and their yellow Labrador retriev

Connect with Lynne

Website | Facebook | Twitter

 

 


My Thoughts Melissa A. Bartell

I had a difficult time reading this book. The story is well-crafted. The characters are believable and dimensional. The horses (which are the ‘beauties’ in the title, but also characters in their own right) are powerful and lovely.

But I found myself getting sucked into the bitterness and anger that so many of the characters are feeling, and that made the read a difficult one for me.

One could argue that in provoking such a response, author Lynne Hugo has done her job, and done it exceedingly well. After all, literature is meant to inspire dreams and catalyze ideas. Literature, and all art, is sometimes a window, yes, but at other times it’s also a mirror.

I don’t have anywhere near the kind of anger and bitterness that Jewel, for example, feels towards her parents. I have an excellent relationship with my mother, and nearly three decades into their marriage, my stepfather and I have become really good friends. But there are old issues that resurface sometimes, and this book, Remember My Beauties brought a couple of them to the surface.

Art – literature – can be a mirror, but I’d prefer it if it wasn’t mine.

But aside for recognition of emotional tone (because the specific circumstances of the characters in this novel are completely foreign to me), I also felt annoyed at the characters. “You’re making poor choices,” I wanted to scream at them. “Just communicate!”

Ultimately, this book is not the story just of Jewel, caretaker for aging, sick parents, mother of a young woman who has dropped out of life, wife of an everyman (Eddie) who, while he may not have a heart of actual gold, has enough of a gold overlay to make his intentions shine. Sure, it seems like he’s muddling through his marriage at times, but doesn’t everyone muddle through in their own way?  It’s also not just the story of Carley (Jewel’s troubled daughter), or Hank and Louetta (Jewel’s parents) or even her brother Cal, back in their lives after a seven-year absence.

It’s the story of one family, and how their lives weave around each other, sometimes tacking out to the fringes for a breather, other times existing at dead center, and of how their horses keep them together, even when secrets and old hurts threaten to tear them apart.

It’s beautifully written, and while much of it is, as I said, tinged with bitterness and anger, there are reasons those two emotions are prominent, and at the end, while they are not completely gone, an air of Hope has pushed them mostly aside.

If you’re looking for an easy, breezy beach read, this is not your story.

If you want a story you can chew on, one that makes you examine your own life and choices, even as you’re reading about the lives and choices of Hugo’s fully-realized characters, read Remember My Beauties. You may find it a bit of a difficult read, but trust me, you’ll be glad you stuck with it, when you get to the end.

Goes well with scrambled eggs, home fries, and strong, black coffee.


Lynne Hugo’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS: TLC Book Tours

Wednesday, June 22nd: Bibliotica

Wednesday, June 22nd: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books

Monday, June 27th: BookNAround

Wednesday, June 29th: Travelling Birdy

Thursday, July 7th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Monday, July 11th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews

Wednesday, July 13th: Reading Cove Book Club

Monday, July 18th: Bibliophiliac

Wednesday, July 20th: Back Porchervations

Monday, July 25th: Patricia’s Wisdom

Monday, August 1st: Mama Vicky Says

Spotlight on Fighting Dirty by Lori Foster (@LoriFoster) – Read an Excerpt

Spotlight on Fighting Dirty Fighting Dirty

  • Series: An Ultimate Novel
  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: HQN Books (February 23, 2016)

He’s the hottest MMA fighter in the game, but one woman is ready to try out a few steamy moves of her own in an unforgettable new novel from New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster 

With the life he’s led and the muscles he’s gained, Armie Jacobson isn’t afraid of anything. Except maybe Merissa Colter’s effect on him. It’s not just that she’s his best friend’s little sister. Fact is, she deserves better. Women pursue him for one night of pleasure, and that’s all he wants to offer. Until rescuing Merissa from a robbery leads to the most erotic encounter of his life.

Good girl meets bad boy. It’s a story that rarely ends well. But Merissa is taking matters into her own hands. No matter how he views himself, the Armie she knows is brave, honorable and completely loyal. And as past demons and present-day danger collide, they’re both about to learn what’s truly worth fighting for…

Buy, read, and discuss Fighting Dirty

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Read an Excerpt from Fighting Dirty

Bestselling author Lori Foster shares a fighting scene from the last book in her Ultimate Series, Fighting Dirty

Fighting Dirty by Lori Foster is the final book in her addicting and wicked hot MMA-themed Ultimate Series. Check out the excerpt below to see just what we mean. Happy reading!

***

“Jesus, Quick. You’re a freak of nature. You know that, right?”

Armie Jacobson, known as Quick to his fighter friends, ignored the complaint and threw a few more jabs, then a solid body shot, making Justice, a six-foot-five heavyweight, double over. Stepping back, Armie flexed his hands, bounced on the balls of his feet, and waited.

Unfortunately, Justice only put his hands on his knees and sucked air.

Frowning, Armie removed his mouthpiece. “Seriously? Come on, dude. Let’s go.”

“Screw you.” Schlepping back to his corner, Justice grabbed up a water bottle. He doused his head and chest, and then started chugging.

Aware of others watching, Armie said nothing. Everyone worked out, trained and sparred in the rec center, but lately, whenever he did, a dozen or more people stopped to watch. He didn’t mind an audience. Hell, he couldn’t be a competitor if he did. For the most part he paid no attention. Once he got in the cage, he went into a zone and the world receded.

But this insane ogling shit, like he was a damned sideshow, bugged him big-time.

A trickle of sweat tracked down his temple from his headgear, and he swiped a forearm over his face. His muscles burned and more sweat soaked his chest, abs and rolled down his spine. He was figuring out what to say to Justice to get him back in action when he picked up her scent. The faint perfume cut through the rec center air, thick with the smells of sweaty men working hard.

Trying to look casual, Armie stared at Justice but in his peripheral vision he saw her striding across the room. No mistaking that long-legged gait, or that longer dark hair. He swallowed, frozen.

“What?” Justice asked, sounding both suspicious and ridiculously alarmed with the way Armie had locked onto him.

Armie shook his head – and thankfully Merissa disappeared into the hallway leading to the offices.

Releasing a breath, he looked toward the clock and frowned. Yeah, they’d been at it for a while, maybe longer than he’d intended. His cardio was better than most, definitely better than Justice’s, the big lug.

Armie walked over to him. “You need to get more gas in the tank.”

“Go fuck yourself.”

When Armie grinned, Justice eyed him warily. “Stop it.”

That switched his grin to a frown. “Bitchy much?”

Justice slouched against the wall and glared back. “You shouldn’t be able to grin, you prick. You should be as tired as me.”

A natural trainer, Armie took pity on him. “You’re a lot bigger.” As a six-foot tall middleweight, Armie stood five inches shorter and weighed a lot less than Justice.

“Lotta good it does me.”

Squatting down in front of him, Armie said low, “People are watching, so stop whining.”

Justice’s gaze slipped past him and he groaned.

“Yeah, the big dogs are here again.” Damned nosy bastards. Ever since he’d signed with the SBC, the powers-that-be had been scoping him out like their newest lab rat. “Stand up, go another two minutes with me, then we’ll call it quits.”

Huffing out a breath, Justice lumbered to his feet. “Freak of nature,” he muttered again, but he followed Armie out to the center of the ring, and he did his best.

His best was nowhere near good enough against Armie.

But then, they fought for very different reasons.

Twenty minutes later, fresh from the showers, Armie was ready to head out. The mid February weather left frost on every surface, so he tugged on a stocking hat over his still wet hair and pulled a thick hooded sweatshirt on over his clothes. Carrying his gym bag, he entered the main area cautiously. This late in the day, the mats were now cleared. Miles and Brand took their turn mopping with sanitizer. Many of the lights were turned down and only the core group of friends remained, clustered together in conversation.

The SBC heads were gone, and better still, he didn’t see Merissa anywhere. She’d probably just been dropping off paperwork for her brother, Cannon, who owned the rec center.

Relieved, Armie started for the door. With any luck, he’d manage it before someone stopped him –

“Hey, Armie.”

Damn. After a slight hesitation, he turned to where Denver, Stack and Cannon all stood together. “What’s this? The three Married Musketeers?”

Stack, who’d only married a month ago, reeked of satisfaction. “Aw, he’s jealous.”

Yup. But since he’d die before admitting it, Armie said, “Nope.”

Denver, still a newlywed himself, grinned. “Probably lonely too, poor guy.”

Very. Groupies, orgies, and random one-night stands could only take a guy so far. He had a rep for sexual excess, and that’s what the ladies wanted from him. That, and nothing more.

Checking the time, Armie said, “I could be lonely with three very nice ladies if you yahoos would let me leave.”

Unlike the others, Cannon didn’t laugh. “Seriously? Again?”

Why the hell did his best friend have to sound so disapproving? And if he knew why Armie had made those plans, he’d probably be pissed as well as disapproving, because it was thoughts of Cannon’s little sis that he worked so hard to obliterate. Not that a foursome would accomplish much beyond taking the edge off. His obsession with Merissa seemed to amplify by the day.

Copping an attitude, Armie shrugged. “Yeah, really. Unless you have something –” Or someone “- better for me to do?”

“As a matter of fact, that’s why I wanted to talk to you.”

Well hell. He hadn’t figured on that. Armie ran a hand over his hair. “Then let’s hear it.”

“Yvette wanted everyone to come over tonight to hang out and visit.”

Armie adored Yvette. She was perfect for Cannon and a real sweetheart. But damn… “Who all will be there?”

With a very knowing smile, Cannon said, “Everyone important to us. So don’t miss it.”

Double damn. Merissa definitely counted as important.

Armie didn’t want to, but with all the guys eyeballing him, how could he refuse? “What time?”

“Now.”

Armie scowled. “What do you mean, now?”

“Now, as in you don’t have time to do anything else, so forget it.”

Justice came dragging out, his faux-hawk hair still wet, his goatee in need of a trim, and his cauliflower ears worse than ever. He shoulder-bumped Armie as he passed. “If you hadn’t been determined to cripple me, maybe you’d have had more time for playing.”

“Wuss,” Armie accused with a grin.

“He has a point,” Brand said as he pushed a mop bucket toward them.

Miles, giving one last swipe of the mat, followed him. “Keep pushing that hard and you’re liable to hurt something before the competition.”

“I still have two months.” Two months of freedom and he’d spend it however he wanted. Sure, Armie knew there were established training methods, but they weren’t for him. Never had been, never would be – no matter who he fought for.

“This isn’t local fighting anymore,” Denver reminded him.

As if he’d forget.

“Carter Fletcher isn’t a slouch,” Miles added. “You might not walk through him like you do the local guys.”

“They call him Chaos for a reason.” Brand frowned. “I’ve seen him fight and he’s unpredictable.”

Yeah, so his first opponent was supposed to be a stud. Big deal. Armie shrugged to show he didn’t really care. Not that long ago the SBC, the most widely known MMA organization, had run him to ground and all but coerced him into signing on with them. Cannon had helped with that, pushing him to take the next step since he’d already demolished all the records in local venues.

It was a big step, too, something all the other guys had worked for. The SBC paid a lot more and offered incredible name recognition. Their fighters traveled the world to compete.

But Armie liked being low key; it was a hell of a lot safer for multiple reasons. If it wasn’t for Cannon –

“He’ll do fine against Carter,” Cannon said. “And don’t worry about his training. Armie motivates differently, that’s all.”

Always, no matter what, Cannon had his back. As the only other person to know why he’d avoided fame and fortune, Cannon understood. They weren’t related, but they were brothers all the same.

Which was the second biggest reason he couldn’t, shouldn’t, crave Merissa the way he did. Cannon protected those he loved.

And he loved his sister a lot.

“It’s getting late,” Cannon added. “Don’t want to keep Yvette waiting.”

Glad for the switch in topic, Armie pulled out his phone. “Guess I better make some calls and let the ladies know I won’t make it after all.”

Stack looked at Denver. “If it was anyone but Armie, I’d think he was making it up.”

“Lonely,” Denver confirmed.

Armie walked away knowing they were right.


About the author, Lori Foster Lori Foster

Lori Foster is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author with books from a variety of publishers, including Berkley/Jove, Kensington, St. Martin’s, Harlequin and Silhouette. Lori has been a recipient of the prestigious RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award for Series Romantic Fantasy, and for Contemporary Romance. She’s had top-selling books for Amazon, Waldenbooks and the BGI Group.

Connect with Lori

Website | Facebook | Twitter


Lori Foster’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS: TLC Book Tours

Monday, February 8th: Bibliotica – Excerpt 1

Wednesday, February 10th: Read Love Blog – Cover breakdown

Thursday, February 11th: Books a la Mode – Valentine’s post

Friday, February 12th: A Chick Who Reads – Arnie, a fan favorite character

Monday, February 15th: Bewitched Bookworms – Series overview

Wednesday, February 17th: Written Love Reviews

Friday, February 19th: Worth Getting in Bed For

Friday, February 19th: Mignon Mykel {Reviews}

Monday, February 22nd: Reading Reality

Monday, February 22nd: Let Them Read Books

Tuesday, February 23rd: Majorly Delicious

Wednesday, February 24th: Stranded in Chaos

Thursday, February 25th: Bibliophilia, Please

Friday, February 26th: The Sassy Bookster

The Memory Painter, by Gwendolyn Womack (@Gwen_Womack) #BookBlast #Giveaway

About the book, The Memory Painter The Memory Painter

  • Publisher: Picador (April 28, 2015)
  • Formats: eBook, Hardcover, Audio
  • Pages: 336
  • Genre: Supernatural Historical Thriller/Romance

What if there was a drug that could help you remember past lives?

What if the lives you remembered could lead you to your one true love?

What if you learned that, for thousands of years, a deadly enemy had conspired to keep the two of you apart?

Bryan Pierce is an internationally famous artist whose paintings have dazzled the world. But there’s a secret to his success: Every canvas is inspired by an unusually vivid dream. When Bryan awakes, he possesses extraordinary new skills…like the ability to speak obscure languages and an inexplicable genius for chess. All his life, he has wondered if his dreams are recollections, if he is re-experiencing other people’s lives.

Linz Jacobs is a brilliant neurogeneticist, absorbed in decoding the genes that help the brain make memories, until she is confronted with an exact rendering of a recurring nightmare at one of Bryan’s shows. She tracks down the elusive artist, and their meeting triggers Bryan’s most powerful dream yet: visions of a team of scientists who, on the verge of discovering a cure for Alzheimer’s, died in a lab explosion decades ago.

As Bryan becomes obsessed with the mysterious circumstances surrounding the scientists’ deaths, his dreams begin to reveal what happened at the lab, as well as a deeper mystery that may lead all the way to ancient Egypt. Together, Bryan and Linz start to discern a pattern. But a deadly enemy watches their every move, and he will stop at nothing to ensure that the past stays buried.

A taut thriller and a timeless love story spanning six continents and 10,000 years of history, The Memory Painter by Gwendolyn Womack is a riveting debut novel unlike any you’ve ever read.

Buy, read, and discuss The Memory Painter

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | iBooks | IndieBound | Kobo | Powell’s | Goodreads

Read an Excerpt of The Memory Painter

CLICK TO READ AN EXCERPT.

Watch the official book trailer for The Memory Keeper


About the Author Gwendolyn Womack Gwendolyn Womack

Originally from Houston, Texas, Gwendolyn Womack began writing theater plays in college while freezing in the tundra at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. During that time she lived in St. Petersburg, Russia on an independent study working with theater companies. She went on to receive an MFA from California Institute of the Arts in Directing theater and film where she was encouraged to write her own material. After graduating she focused on writing feature screenplays and was a semi-finalist in the Academy’s Nicholl Fellowship. In 2009 she moved to Japan and began THE MEMORY PAINTER the following year. Currently she resides in Los Angeles with her husband and son where she can be found at the keyboard working on her next novel.

THE MEMORY PAINTER is her first novel.

Connect with Gwendolyn

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Twitter


Giveaway

To enter to win a signed copy of The Memory Painter, please enter via the GLEAM form below.

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on July 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
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– Only one entry per household.
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– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

The Memory Painter


The Memory Painter Book Blast Schedule

Wednesday, July 1
Passages to the Past

Thursday, July 2
The Never-Ending Book
What Is That Book About

Friday, July 3
Bibliophilia, Please

Saturday, July 4
The Reading Queen

Sunday, July 5
CelticLady’s Reviews

Monday, July 6
Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Tuesday, July 7
A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, July 8
A Bookish Affair
Book Lovers Paradise

Thursday, July 9
Room With Books

Friday, July 10
Bibliotica

Saturday, July 11
Just One More Chapter

Sunday, July 12
Broken Teepee

Monday, July 13
100 Pages a Day

Wednesday, July 15
Genre Queen

The Memory Painter at HFVBT

EXCERPT TOUR: Untamed, by Diana Palmer #excerpt @tlcbooktours

About the book, Untamed Untamed

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: HQN Books (June 30, 2015)

Stanton Rourke lives life on the edge. The steely mercenary is dangerous in every way…especially to Clarisse Carrington’s heart. She and Rourke were playmates as children, but she’s not the innocent girl he once knew. When tragedy robbed Clarisse of her entire family, her life was changed forever. Besides, she’s a grown woman now, and there are secrets that hold her back from succumbing to her pursuer. As she struggles to keep her distance, sparks as hot as a Texas summer fly between them. But danger is following Clarisse, leaving her no choice but to rely on Rourke, even as the old wounds lying dormant between them flare up again…

Buy, read, and discuss Untamed

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million  | Goodreads


About the author, Diana Palmer Diana Palmer

An icon in western romance, Diana Palmer has been writing with Harlequin since 1980 and has published over 180 titles, with over 61 million books sold! When not writing, Susan’s hobbies are gardening, knitting, crocheting, astronomy, archaeology and animals. She also has dogs, cats, birds and lizards.


Enjoy an excerpt from Untamed Untamed

Rourke turned around. “Why?” he asked in a hunted tone. “Why did you do it?”

K.C. was momentarily taken aback. “Why did I do what, exactly?”

“Why did you sleep with Tat’s mother?” he raged.

K.C.’s eyes flashed like brown lightning. K.C. knocked him clean over the sofa and was coming around it to add another punch to the one he’d already given him when Rourke got to his feet and backed away. The man was downright damned scary in a temper. Rourke had rarely seen him mad. There was no trace of the financial giant in the man stalking him now. This was the face of the mercenary he’d been, the cold-eyed man who’d wrested a fortune from small wars and risk.

“Okay!” Rourke said, holding up a hand. “Talk. Don’t hit!”

“What the hell is wrong with you?” K.C. demanded icily. “Tat’s mother was a little saint! Maria Carrington never put a foot wrong in her whole life. She loved her husband. Even drunk as a sailor, she’d never have let me touch her!”

Rourke’s eyes were so wide with shock and pain that K.C. stopped in his tracks.

“Let’s have it,” he said. “What’s going on?”

Rourke could barely manage words. “She told me.”

“She who? Told you what?”

Rourke had to sit down. He picked up the glass of whiskey and downed half of it. This was a nightmare. He was never going to wake up.

“Rourke?”

Rourke took another sip. “Tat was seventeen. I’d gone to Manaus on a job.” Rourke’s deep voice was husky with feel­ing. “It was Christmas. I stopped by to see them, against my better judgment. Tat was wearing a green silk dress, a slinky thing that showed off that perfect body. She was so beauti­ful that I couldn’t take my eyes off her. Her parents left the room.” His eyes closed. “I picked her up and carried her to the sofa. She didn’t protest. She just looked at me with those eyes, full of… I don’t even know what. I touched her and she moaned and lifted up to me.” He drew in a shaky breath. “We were so involved that I only just heard her mother coming in time to spare us some real embarrassment. But her mother knew what was going on.”

“That would have upset her,” K.C. said. “She was deeply religious. Having you play around with her teenage daugh­ter wasn’t going to endear you to her, especially with the reputation you had in those days for discarding women right and left.”

“I know.” Rourke looked down at the floor. “That one taste of Tat was like finding myself in paradise. I wanted her. Not for just a night. I couldn’t think straight, but my mind was run­ning toward a future, not relief.”

He hesitated. “But her mother didn’t realize that. I can’t re­ally blame her. She knew I was a rake. She probably thought I’d seduce Tat and leave her in tears.”

“That could have happened,” K.C. said.

“Not a chance.” Rourke’s one eye pinned him. “A girl like that, beautiful and kind…” He turned away. He drew in a long breath. “Her mother took me to one side, later. She was crying. She said that she’d seen you one night at your house, upset and sick at heart because a woman you loved was becoming a nun. She said she had a drink with you, and another drink, and then, something happened. She said Tat was the result.”

“She actually told you that Tat was your half sister? Damn the woman!”

Rourke felt the same way, but he was too drained to say it. He stared at his drink. “She told me that. So I turned against Tat, taunted her, pushed her away. I made her into something little better than a prostitute by being cruel to her. And now I learn, eight years too late, that it was all for a lie. That I was protecting her from something that wasn’t even real.”


EXCERPT TOUR stops  for Untamed by Diana Palmer TLC Book Tours

Monday, June 22nd: Book Mama Blog

Tuesday, June 23rd: A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, June 24th: Broken Teepee

Thursday, June 25th: Urban Girl Reader

Friday, June 26th: Book Reviews & More by Kathy

Monday, June 29th: Read Love Blog

Tuesday, June 30th: Bibliotica

Wednesday, July 1st: The Sassy Bookster

Thursday, July 2nd: Bibliophilia, Please

Friday, July 3rd: Books and Spoons

Monday, July 6th: From the TBR Pile

Tuesday, July 7th: Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, July 8th: One Curvy Blogger

Thursday, July 9th: Romance Novels for the Beach

Friday, July 10th: Raven Haired Girl

Monday, July 13th: A Night’s Dream of Books

Finding the Rainbow by Traci Borum #review #giveaway

About the book Finding the Rainbow Finding the Rainbow

 

  • Series: Chilton Crosse
  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Red Adept Publishing (March 6, 2015)

 

Holly Newbury’s life is on hold in the cozy English village of Chilton Crosse. While her friends are marrying, having children, and embarking on successful careers, Holly is raising her three younger sisters and working part time at the village art gallery. Her life feels incomplete, but family is more important to her than anything. Then a film crew’s arrival galvanizes the community, and Holly becomes fast friends with Fletcher Hays, the movie’s love-shy American writer.

The production of an Emma film isn’t the only drama in town, though. Their father makes a choice that threatens everything she gave up her dreams for. Holly’s sisters endure growing pains. And Fletcher plans to return to America as soon as filming is over, ruining any chance of their relationship blossoming further. After years of sacrificing for others, Holly must find the courage to take a risk on a future she never dared to expect.

Read an excerpt from Finding the Rainbow

Finding the Rainbow – Excerpt

Buy, read, and discuss Finding the Rainbow

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Goodreads


About the author, Traci Borum Traci Borum

Traci Borum is a writing teacher and native Texan. She’s also an avid reader of women’s fiction, most especially Elin Hilderbrand and Rosamunde Pilcher novels. Since the age of 12, she’s written poetry, short stories, magazine articles, and novels.

Traci also adores all things British. She even owns a British dog (Corgi) and is completely addicted to Masterpiece Theater–must be all those dreamy accents! Aside from having big dreams of getting a book published, it’s the little things that make her the happiest: deep talks with friends, a strong cup of hot chocolate, a hearty game of fetch with her Corgi, and puffy white Texas clouds always reminding her to “look up, slow down, enjoy your life.”


My Thoughts

I fell in love with the first Chilton Crosse novel, Painting the Moon, when I read it last year, so when Traci Borum asked me if I’d read and review her newest book, Finding the Rainbow, I was delighted to do so.

It was so nice to visit Borum’s fictional English village again, to hang out with the locals at the pub (the owners are trying to get pregnant, when we first catch up with them), and to meet this book’s main character, Holly. I really liked her as a character, and I’d have loved to hang out with her, though I confess that I am more than a little jealous of her Hideaway Cottage, the playhouse she’s turned into a reading sanctuary. Seriously, every woman needs a room like that (although mine would have wifi).

I also enjoyed meeting Holly’s family – her three sisters, her father – Frank the gallery owner who has a ‘thing’ for Holly was another great character. And Fletcher (one of my favorite names) , the writer of the movie filming in town is a wonderful addition both to Holly’s life, and the village itself.

Here’s what I love about Traci Borum’s work: under anyone else’s pen, this story would be simperingly sweet, and drenched in lace. But Borum puts in the layers, the nuances, the dimensional personalities, the pipe dreams, and the promises that make her characters feel like real people, and the village of Chilton Crosse feel like a real place.  When she writes a domestic scene – like the sisters having breakfast in the early part of the book, Borum shows off her talent for dialogue and comic timing, but when she then has to convey emotion – unrequited love, flat out lust – of a different kind, she does so with grace and deftness.

Reading Finding the Rainbow may not lead you to a pot of gold, but it might lead you to brew a pot of tea and revel in peace and silence for a while.

Goes well with: Hot tea, buttered currant scones, and a soft rainshower.


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This blog post brought to you courtesy of Red Adept publishing. See the whole tour page HERE.

A Match for Marcus Cynster, by Stephanie Laurens #Excerpt Tour #Giveaway @TLCBookTours

A Match for Marcus Cynster Excerpt Tour

I’m so excited to be part of the TLC Book Tours EXCERPT TOUR for the release of the latest book in Stephanie Laurens’ Cynster Series, A Match for Marcus Cynster!

About the book, A Match for Marcus Cynster A Match for Marcus Cynster

  • Series: Cynster (#23)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 438 pages
  • Publisher: Mira (May 26, 2015)

Duty compels her to turn her back on marriage. Fate drives him to protect her come what may. Then love takes a hand in this battle of yearning hearts, stubborn wills, and a match too powerful to deny. #1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens returns to rugged Scotland with a dramatic tale of passionate desire and unwavering devotion.

Restless and impatient, Marcus Cynster waits for Fate to come calling. He knows his destiny lies in the lands surrounding his family home, but what will his future be and with whom will he share it?

Of one fact he feels certain: his fated bride will not be Niniver Carrick. His elusive neighbor attracts him mightily, yet he feels compelled to protect her—even from himself. Fickle Fate, he’s sure, would never be so kind as to decree that Niniver should be his. The best he can do for them both is to avoid her.

Niniver has vowed to return her clan to prosperity. The epitome of fragile femininity, her delicate and ethereal exterior cloaks a stubborn will and an unflinching devotion to the people in her care. She accepts that she cannot risk marrying and losing her grip on the clan’s reins to an inevitably controlling husband. Unfortunately, many local men see her as their opportunity.

Soon, she’s forced to seek help to get rid of her unwelcome suitors. Powerful and dangerous, Marcus Cynster is perfect for the task. Suppressing her wariness over tangling with a gentleman who so excites her passions, she appeals to him for assistance with her peculiar problem.

Although at first he resists, Marcus discovers that, contrary to his expectations, his fated role is to stand by Niniver’s side and, ultimately, to claim her hand. Yet in order to convince her to be his bride, they must plunge headlong into a journey full of challenges, unforeseen dangers, passion, and yearning, until Niniver grasps the essential truth—that she is indeed a match for Marcus Cynster.

~ Excerpt ~

They buried Nigel and Nolan three days later. The atmosphere was more that of a witnessing than an honoring. The ambiance was strikingly different from that which had prevailed at their father’s funeral—but then Manachan had been revered by the clan and respected throughout the community, while Nigel and Nolan had been tolerated purely on the basis of being Manachan’s sons. As for acquaintances within the wider community, theirs proved to be limited to young hellions of similar ilk to themselves—irresponsible males intent on enjoying a hedonistic life with nary a thought for anyone or anything else.

Several of the latter unexpectedly turned up, driving curricles and phaetons, and greeting each other raucously.

The clan ignored them.

Initially, Niniver had been surprised by how many of the clan had chosen to attend. Then she’d realized that, for them as for her, the somber service marked the end of two years of uncertainty and unrest—two years of confusion, of not knowing what was going on, and of lost faith in the clan’s leadership.

Nigel was buried next to their father and mother in the Carrick family plot.

Nolan was buried in a far corner of the graveyard—rejected and disowned by all.

It was she who cast the first sod on Nolan’s coffin. Stony-faced, the clan elders followed her lead.

And then it was done.

No one felt any need to linger; everyone was glad to turn their backs and walk away.

As the gathering dispersed and the clan returned to the carts and drays that had brought them there, several of Nigel and Nolan’s friends surrounded her and attempted to press their patently insincere condolences on her.

She avoided society—in part because of just such men—but she’d long ago perfected one social art, that of keeping her feelings concealed and maintaining a mask of unruffled calm. Yet to be invited to join several would-be dandies on a picnic and, when she politely declined, to have her words ignored…

Luckily, Thomas intervened, and with several cutting words and a black scowl, he sent the horde packing. Together with Ferguson, Thomas escorted her away; she allowed them to lead her to her carriage, help her in, and shut the door.

Sean set the horses trotting, and the carriage pulled into the road, and finally, it was over.

She rested her head against the squabs and closed her eyes, holding in the tears that, suddenly, threatened to overflow.AMFMC Quote

Her family was gone—all of them. Thomas was her nearest blood relative, and he had his own place, his own role as consort to the future Lady of the Vale.

She…was alone. Completely alone. She had no place, no role—no life.

She was the one left behind.

But she knew the clan wouldn’t throw her out; she would have a place, a role, within it, even if she didn’t yet know what that would be.

She told herself to remain positive, or at least to keep her thoughts focused on what she yet had to do that day, on what lay immediately ahead.

The clan meeting to elect a new laird.

She sighed, opened her eyes, and glanced out of the window. “One way or another, I will find a way.”

Buy, read, and discuss A Match for Marcus Cynster

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About Stephanie Laurens Stephanie Laurens

New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens originally began writing as an escape from the dry world of professional science. Her hobby quickly became a career; she has been writing historical romance novels for more than 20 years. Currently living outside Melbourne, Australia with her husband and two cats, she spends most of her days writing new stories in her signature ‘Errol Flynn meets Jane Austen” style.

Connect with Stephanie

Website | Facebook


Giveaway AMFMC Prize Pack

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Stephanie Laurens’ TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS: TLC Book Tours

Monday, May 11th: From the TBR Pile

Tuesday, May 12th: Reading Reality

Wednesday, May 13th: Mom in Love with Fiction

Thursday, May 14th: In the Hammock

Friday, May 15th: Broken Teepee

Monday, May 18th: Let Them Read Books

Tuesday, May 19th: Bibliophilia, Please

Wednesday, May 20th: Bibliotica

Thursday, May 21st: Bell, Book & Candle

Friday, May 22nd: Urban Girl Reader

Monday, May 25th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy

Tuesday, May 26th: Bewitched Bookworms

Wednesday, May 27th: The Romance Dish

Wednesday, May 27th: Read Love Blog

Thursday, May 28th: A Chick Who Reads

Friday, May 29th: Written Love Reviews

Mademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Gortner (@cwgortner) #review @tlcbooktours

About the book, Mademoiselle Chanel Mademoiselle Chanel

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (March 17, 2015)

She revolutionized fashion and built an international empire . . . all on her own terms.

Born into rural poverty, Gabrielle Chanel and her sisters are sent to a convent orphanage after their mother’s death. The nuns of the order nurture Gabrielle’s exceptional sewing skills, a talent that would propel the willful young woman into a life far removed from the drudgery of her childhood.

Burning with ambition, the petite brunette transforms herself into Coco, by day a hard-working seamstress and by night a singer in a nightclub, where her incandescence draws in a wealthy gentleman who becomes the love of her life. She immerses herself in his world of money and luxury, discovering a freedom that sparks her creativity. But it is only when her lover takes her to Paris that Coco discovers her destiny.

Rejecting the frilly, corseted silhouette of the past, Coco’s sleek, minimalist styles reflect the youthful ease and confidence of the 1920s modern woman. As her reputation spreads, her couture business explodes, taking her into rarefied circles of society and bohemian salons. But her fame and fortune cannot save her from heartbreak as the years pass. And when Paris falls to the Nazis, Coco is forced to make choices that will haunt her always.

An enthralling novel about an entirely self-made woman, Mademoiselle Chanel tells the true story of Coco Chanel’s extraordinary ambition, passion, and artistic vision.

Read an excerpt of Mademoiselle Chanel.

Buy, read, and discuss Mademoiselle Chanel

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Goodreads


About the author, C. W. Gortner C.W. Gortner

A former fashion executive, C. W. Gortner is a lifelong admirer of Coco Chanel. His passion for writing led him to give up fashion, and his many historical novels have been bestsellers, published in more than twenty countries. He lives in San Francisco.

Connect with C.W.

Website | Facebook | Twitter.


My Thoughts

I don’t think there’s a person in the world who hasn’t at least heard the name “Coco Chanel,” but I’m guessing most people don’t know much about her life. My mother went to fashion design school (FIT) on a Regent’s scholarship, so even though I don’t sew, I know all the icons of fashion, and understand the importance of Chanel to fashion in general and women’s fashion, specifically, and so it was with my mother in mind that I asked to review this novel.

I ended up not merely reading it, but devouring it. It’s a fantastic look at the life of one of the best-known names in contemporary history, and while it is technically fiction, I’m certain that the author C.W. Gortner has done a huge amount of research, because it all feels very real.

From a childhood in abject poverty to an adolescence in a convent, from singing in cafes to becoming someone’s mistress as a means of escaping her small-town life, Coco is a poster-girl for the concept of choice. Some of her choices are high percentage choices, some not so much, but her strong personality and desire not to be indebted people combine to make her, as depicted, a fierce, strong woman, and definitely a proto-feminist (whether or not she ever accepted the label.)

C.W. Gortner has given us Coco’s story in first person, and until I put together my review, I didn’t realize he was a man. I mean this as a compliment. Ususally when male authors write from a female POV there’s something a little ‘off’ about it. In this case, there was not. He writes a female viewpoint as deftly as Arthur Golden did in Memoirs of a Geisha, which was another novel about a strong woman making her own choices.

While I enjoyed all of the detail in this novel, I particularly loved Coco’s discovery of Jersey knits. (My mother would be able to rattle off fifty-three things you can do with Jersey, I’m sure.) That moment was really one of the ‘lightbulb’ moments in Gortner’s novel, whether he meant it to be or not, and I thought it was perfect.

Whenever you fictionalize the life of a real person you have to balance truth with facts (no, they’re not always the same). I can’t speak to whether or not Gortner got every fact correct, but I know that Mademoiselle Chanel has given us the truth of Coco Chanel’s life, and I can’t recommend this book highly enough.

Goes well with Cappuccino, chocolate croissants, and, for those who smoke, a Gauloise cigarette.


C. W.’s Tour Stops TLC Book Tours

Tuesday, March 17th: A Bookish Way of Life

Wednesday, March 18th: Books Without Any Pictures

Thursday, March 19th: A Chick Who Reads

Friday, March 20th: Kritters Ramblings

Monday, March 23rd: West Metro Mommy

Tuesday, March 24th: Walking With Nora

Wednesday, March 25th: Bibliotica – That’s ME!

Thursday, March 26th: Read. Write. Repeat.

Monday, March 30th: Drey’s Library

Tuesday, March 31st: Unshelfish

Wednesday, April 1st: Bibliophilia, Please

Thursday, April 2nd: Mom’s Small Victories

Friday, April 3rd: Svetlana’s Reads and Views

The Druid Knight Tales, by Ruth A. Casie (@RuthACasie) – #Cover #Reveal #giveaway #bibliotica @hfvbt

Join author Ruth A. Casie on her Cover Reveal for The Druid Knight Tales: A Short Story, from February 23-March 13, and enter to win an eBook of the first book in the Druid Knight Series, Knight of Runes. The Druid Knight Tales

Publication Date: February 23, 2015
Publisher: Timeless Scribes Publishing, LLC
eBook: 57 pages
ISBN: 0986246425

Series: The Druid Knight Series
Genre: Historical Fantasy/Romance

She would give her last breath for him. He would give up everything to guard her well and love her more.

Maximilian, the druid Grand Master, was given a year to find his soul mate. On the final day, the sacred mistletoe has shriveled and died—proclaiming his failure. He must do what no other Grand Master has done before and journey to meet with the Ancestors formally relinquish his title.

Ellyn of Brodgar has the gift of healing. But each use of her magick, through a kiss, depletes her energy and brings her closer to death. Time is running out as she searches for a way to continue saving lives—especially her own.

Max and Ellyn are tossed into the Otherworld together—a place filled with magick and wonder, it’s also fraught with danger, traps, and death. They have only until the third sunset to find the Ancestors, or be lost to the world forever. The domineering druid must work with the stubborn healer, not only for survival, but for the promise of the future—a future together.

Pre-Order the eBook

Amazon

Excerpt

Penetrating blue-gray eyes stared out from the cocoon of dark wool that enrobed the woman. The cheeks on her porcelain-white face appeared tinged with a splash of pink. Her natural berry-red lips were turned up in a welcoming smile. “Grand Master.” She dipped a well-executed curtsy.

Fendrel’s healer was much different than the old crone he had anticipated. This woman was regal and beautiful. The gleam in her eyes was calm and comforting. He had a strange sensation, which made no sense at all, that he had known her for a long time. At ease with her, he allowed himself to relax and returned her open smile with one of his own.

“This is Ellyn of Brodgar,” said Fendrel. “She has been our healer for the last year. Our situation was grave. It was her healing skills that kept us alive. I would like you to accept her into our clan.”

The knuckles on Ellyn’s hand turned white from grasping her staff firmly. Her head whipped around at Fendrel.

Max observed, fascinated the elder was oblivious to the daggers the woman’s eyes flung at him. So, Fendrel hadn’t told her of his plan and if Max wasn’t mistaken, she wasn’t pleased.

“Thank you, Fendrel,” said Ellyn. “Your request is a great honor. I will be your healer for as long as I am with you.” She turned to Max, her face serene. Her iron grip on the staff relaxed.

Fendrel sputtered.

“You are welcome into Fendrel’s clan for as long as you see fit to stay with us,” said Max. He was certain he saved Fendrel from getting his head bashed with the staff the woman carried. “Brodgar is in the Orkneys. You are far from home.”

“I go where I am needed.” Her voice was soft—her tone evasive.

Max gave her a benign smile. She was tall and graceful. Loose tendrils of curls softened her face. Dark lashes swept down against her cheekbone. She gazed at him with bright, intelligent eyes. The hairs on the back of his neck stood up. He sensed her trying to press in on his mind and blocked her attempt so fast she winced in pain. He’d made his point. She would not try that again.

“If you will excuse me.” She turned to leave. “I would like to look in on Dimia and the baby to make certain they’re settled in for the night,” she said to the new father.

“Of course, Ellyn. I will see you back to camp.” Fendrel approached the two men. “Thank you, Grand Master. Doward. We will see you tomorrow.” He and Ellyn went back down the small rise.

“Interesting girl,” remarked Doward after they were gone. “You didn’t have to be rough on her. She was only curious.” Doward chuckled.
Max stared after her.

She wasn’t at all what she seemed.

Titles in The Druid Knight Series

Knight of Runes – Available Now!
Knight of Rapture – Coming March 30, 2015
Knight of Redemption – Coming Fall, 2015

Druid-Knight-Series-3-Book-Spread

About the Author Ruth A. Casie

Ruth A Casie is a seasoned professional with over twenty-five years of writing experience but not necessarily writing romances. No, she’s been writing communication and marketing documents for a large corporation. Over the past years, encouraged by her friends and family, she gave way to her inner muse, let her creative juices flow, and began writing a series of historical time travel romance novels.

When not writing you can find her home in Teaneck, New Jersey, reading, cooking, doing Sudoku and counted cross stitch. Together with her husband Paul, they enjoy ballroom dancing and, with New York City close by, going to the theater. Ruth and Paul have three grown children and two grandchildren. They all thrive on spending time together. It’s certainly a lively dinner table and they wouldn’t change it for the world.

Ruth is a Trustee and on the Executive Board of Shelter Our Sister (SOS) in New Jersey. SOS is Bergen County’s only shelter for victims of domestic violence. She frequently speaks at various functions around Bergen County on behalf of the Shelter.

For more information visit Ruth A. Casie’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Sign up for Ruth A. Casie’s newsletter.

Giveaway!

To enter to win an eBook of Knight of Runes please complete the giveaway form below.

– Giveaway starts on February 23rd at 12:01am and ends on March 13th at 11:59pm EST.
– Must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner will be notified via email.

Knight of Runes

The Druid Knight Tales at HFVBT

Spotlight: Daughter of the Fallen by Madeleine Wynn – Enter to Win $50 Amazon Gift Card

About the book Daughter of the Fallen Daughter of the Fallen

Title: Daughter of the Fallen
Author: Madeline Wynn
Publisher: Book Baby
Pages: 250
Genre: YA paranormal
Format: Paperback

Most sixteen-year olds aren’t worried about the fate of their immortal souls. May Krieg should be.

Typically, honor student May’s biggest problems have revolved around her super-hot arch-rival, Jack. But when a school project takes them ghost-hunting in a local cemetery, she discovers that an ominous force roams in the darkness around her.

And it follows her home.

It claws its way into her life, burning messages into her wall and imprinting them onto her body. Even worse, she can’t tell if it’s trying to possess her… or protect her.

May’s thoughts soon become actions, causing the target of her anger severe physical pain and giving her a rush the likes of which she has never experienced. She quickly realizes that she needs to find a way to reign in this power before she kills someone. May hates the pleasure it gives her, hates herself for hurting others, but she can’t stop.

As her entire world shatters around her, she is forced to ask what her soul is worth– and who would she risk losing her soul to save?

Buy, read, and discuss Daughter of the Fallen

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Read an excerpt from Daughter of the Fallen

This is New England. And in New England, a town without a good witch hanging or ghost story just, well, isn’t considered to be a real town. So when I walk past the iron gate of the cemetery and feel the urge to bolt riding up my legs like a herd of football players bum-rushing the food counter on taco day, I set my shoulders and do my best to cowboy up.

Set between imposing stone walls and punctured by large granite fists, Hillside Cemetery definitely looks like it deserves its sinister reputation, making my attempt at bravery rather brief. “This place sucks. Maybe we should just go.”

“Here, watch your step,” Cay says and holds out his hand to help me over the uneven cobbles just on the other side of the entry. Once we make it over the stones, he drops my hand and pulls the recording equipment out of the duffle.

We’ve been friends ever since kindergarten, when some boy taunted me for living in a “little troll house.” Cay, the kickball king, told him that it was actually a gingerbread house, and everybody knows that only fairy princesses live in gingerbread houses.

He was wrong, of course; it was witches who lived in the gingerbread houses, a fact I pointed out to him later, but I gave him props for the effort. We’ve been “Cay and May” ever since, but the whole dating thing still feels… awkward.

“Is this all from school or is Jack bringing some of his dad’s?” I swipe an errant curl of hair out of my face and cringe at my surroundings as I reach for the big video camera. Why does it have to be so dark? Why can’t people ghost hunt in the daylight? You can still supposed get sound bites and whatever in the daytime, right? It’s not like ghosts go anywhere or sleep or, you know, whatever.

“Well, the big stuff is the professional gear with night vision from school. And then we have my stuff.” Cay stops in front of a wide tomb, laying his multiple cameras and his mini video recorder along the top like they are the most precious things in the world. “Weird that Mr. Dowd put both you and Jack on my team.”

“Yeah, weird.” And a nightmare. If it wasn’t for Jack, I’d be ranked first in our year, and, unlike Jack, if I don’t earn a ton of scholarship money for college, then I can’t go.

Cay fumbles with the equipment, his breath rising in great grey puffs of frost, lingering in his dark bob of curls. I shiver.

A BMW pulls up in front of the entry gate, looking sleek and new and out of place.

I run an unsteady hand through my untamable hair…right…Jack.

He gets out of the car and strides towards us, stepping out into the camera’s lights: short blond hair, high cheekbones, and a long neck leading to strong shoulders. Everyone at school, except for me, that is, adores him because he’s rich, intelligent and supposedly lost his virginity to a Victoria’s Secret model.

Watching the god-like way he strides across the cemetery, you can almost believe the hype. He lifts his eyes to meet mine as he nods a greeting. My heart flips.

Of course, it would be easier to dislike him if he wasn’t so damn… hot. I shake my head. I hate that about him, too.

“You’re late.” I grab the sound gear from Cay and hand it to him, eyeing the orange-clad harpy of a girl trailing after him.

“I had to pick up Alicia.” He indicates the thing as he straps on the professional sound gear. “And respond to your post on the AP History board about gun control.”

I huff. “You think we should arm everyone with a credit card?”

“What I think is irrelevant, Mason.” Jack’s the only one in the universe who calls me by my full name. “It’s what the Founding Fathers wanted that matters.” He holds out his hand to help me navigate my way over a broken tomb. I ignore it. He smirks, “Or do you not support the Bill Of Rights?”

God, please keep me from throttling him tonight. Cay clears his throat.

“WTF, losers? A graveyard?” Alicia Impestio. Wearing her designer hoodie unzipped so that she reveals way more skin than she has to, her straight brown hair is bleached at the tips and held off of her over-tanned face by some rhinestone-studded catastrophe. I grit my teeth.

“Hey Alicia, glad you could make it.” Cay holds the minicam out towards her and helps her onto the cobbled path of the graveyard.

“Whatever.” Alicia grabs the mini and swats at Cay’s hand as she struggles to gain a foothold. A challenging endeavor, I’m sure, for someone wearing flip-flops in November.

She gives me the once-over, lips curling.

“You really wore that?” She asks, mouth open with disdain.

“Alicia…” Jack’s voice is low, menacing.

“I mean” –she gives me the once-over and sneers- “Aren’t the Kardashians some of you people? They at least know how to dress. But, then again, they also know who their daddy is.”

That’s Alicia: hitting where it hurts. I blink through the stinging at my eyes as my mind races to find something snarky to say…something to…

“Alicia,” Jack snaps. “Stop.”

“Fine, but tell Clay Aiken over there to hurry it. I’m cold.”

Jack makes a motion with his head to indicate that Cay should ignore her as he adjusts the weight of the portable boom on his back.

“Okay, I’m filming.” I say and catch the low-hanging harvest moon before panning down to Cay. “In three, two, one…”

“This is Cayden Robison of Chase Hills High Broadcasting reporting on site at Hillside Cemetery. In 1734, three witches were reportedly hung just up the road, on the town green and buried, here, in this cemetery, in unmarked graves.”

“Then, in 1864, three men were arrested for grave digging, and ever since, people have reported strange things not only here, but especially out behind the burial grounds, in the woods.” Cay runs his hand along the top of a worn tombstone.

“Reports of paranormal activity really began to pick up in the past thirty years.” He pauses, and I pan the camera over to the creepy oak and the broken bench beneath it, hands a little unsteady. “Some people claim to hear voices, others see full-body apparitions, but most convincingly, in the 1980s, some kids back here partying say that they found satanists performing rituals in the woods. They watched as the group made a make-shift temple of one of the half-buried barite mines in the woods, and claim that the men actually raised a demon.”

He stops, looking intently into the lens of my camera. I flex my fingers, my breath rushed, like I’ve been running.

“Tonight, we’re going to dig for the truth and see if Hillside Cemetery is actually haunted.” Cays smiles.

Deep breath, May. It’s just a story. Fairytales. There’s no such thing as demons, or ghosts.


About the author, Madeleine Wynn Madeline Wynn

Madeline Wynn holds a master’s degree in procrastination. When she’s not writing, she can be found ghost hunting, gardening and parading around her home state of Connecticut with her husband, dog and two kids.

Her latest book is the YA paranormal, Daughter of the Fallen.

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