22/09/2014

GENTLEMEN OF PITCHFORK - INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR KAMIL GRUCA

First of all welcome and thanks a lot for being my guest at FLY HIGH!, Kamil. It’s a great pleasure to have the chance to present you and your new spellbinding novel, 'Gentlemen of Pitchfork,  to my readers, since they are always so interested in historical fiction!  Thanks also for granting them five copies of your book in the giveaway contest attached to this post (see rafflecopter form below)

Let’s start briefly introducing your book.
The book tells the story of three English knights, who joined Henry Vth in his campaign for the throne of France.

How would you describe the main heroes  of your novel?  Let’s play with 3 adjectives each.
Lord Arthur: combative, inspired, slow-witted Sir Robert: bright, observant, overeducated Sir Ralph: experienced, disillusioned, womanizing

Are they inspired to literary characters you admire?
Probably more than I would like to admit, but I couldn't honestly point at any specific one I had in mind while creating them. Some of the characters were however based (partly) on people I personally know from reenactment groups – and they are well aware of that.

How did you come to be so interested in English Medieval  history?
As a boy I had my head filled with the knight’s tales. The first originated from fantasy (my mother read Lord Of The Rings to me when I was 5). Then I joined a history reenactment group at the age of 14. The group initially reconstructed English archers from late XIVth and early XVth century. My senior collegues were reading everything they could find about English medieval history (they had good general knowladge of history as well, a lot of them are archealogists and historians). But why  they chose that particular period and unit, I don't really know. I just accepted it as my reality. That’s how it all began.

19/09/2014

SPOTLIGHT ON ... LACING SHADOWS: ANTHOLOGY

Lose yourself in the Shadows…

Five young women each encounter a different supernatural force: seductive werewolves, shadowy vampires, dangerous fae, mysterious ghosts, and nightmare creatures.
Asia, a young college student, struggles between two seductive temptations. Farren is desperate to escape her heart-wrenching grief when she encounters vampires. Holly finds herself home alone on winter break when she rescues a handsome Fae. Lena has always been aware of a world beyond our own when she attempts to help a mysterious ghost. Ruby is entranced by a creature made of nightmares...
Lace yourself in scintillating tales of fated meetings, undying love, and eternal life.

Lacing Shadows features New Adult paranormal tales from five talented authors.

Spirit of the Wolf
Asia, a young college student, struggles between two seductive temptations—her boyfriend, Jesse, and a new friend, Nati. Meanwhile, hidden forces strive to draw out the wolf spirit inside her. Will she embrace her nature…or have it driven out against her will? In the end, the spirit of the wolf may be the only thing that can save her and those she holds dear.

17/09/2014

SCOTLAND WANTS TO REWRITE HISTORY: GUN DEID LEAT!

Glasgow - 17th September 2014
Come what may, British history will be rewritten with 18th September 2014  referendum. The Scottish want their complete independence from the UK, not the palliative autonomy they have been offered so far.
I'm not Scottish, I love Britain as it is, with all its different nations and peculiarities, so I decided I'll be watching this extraordinary event without taking sides, with great respect for the passionate political campaign of the YES! front,  as well as for the matter-of-fact worries of the NO! party. 

Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland
I'll be giving a lesson to my oldest students tomorrow titled: "Fighting for a flag of blue and white". We will read articles and listen to interviews about the Scottish referendum and will revise the historical events involving Scotland we studied last year: Mary Stuart and her rivalry with Queen Elizabeth I, which ended up with the beheading of the Scottish Queen; the ascent to the English throne of Mary's son, James VI of Scotland after Elizabeth's death,  which meant the unification of the two reigns under one crown in 1605; the 1688 Bloodless Revolution, which led to the dethronization of  the Catholic  line of the Stuart dynasty.

In the second part of the lesson we will move to literature and start discussing Walter Scott's Waverley and its historical context - the Jacobite uprising of 1744-46. In that novel, Charles Edward Stuart,  Bonnie Prince Charlie, is one of the historical figures interacting with the fictional ones created by the great Scottish writer, father of the historical novel.

16/09/2014

BACK TO SCHOOL: MAY THE ODDS BE EVER IN OUR FAVOUR!

Back to work, which  in my case is back to school, of course. Honestly, I can't remember what it meant for me as a student. My memories, influenced by the nostalgic mood typical of the middle-age syndrome, makes me recall my teenage self as longing to go back after an endless boring summer. But, perhaps,  I was nothing like that. Maybe I was just like them, my half-resigned, half-bewildered, totally "I'm happy but I mustn't show it" students. Poor kids (they are not exactly kids, but they are to me)! What do we want? Do we want them already alive and kicking after coming back from the summer holidays country,  where night is day and day is night? You know, jetlag can be tough to deal with. 

15/09/2014

REWIND TO YOU - BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY

Rewind to You CoverRewind to You 

One last summer before college on beautiful Tybee Island is supposed to help Sienna forget. But how can she? This is where her family spent every summer before everything changed, before the world as she knew it was ripped away. But the past isn’t easily left behind. Especially when Sienna keeps having episodes that take her back to the night she wants to forget. Even when she meets the mysterious Austin Dobbs, the guy with the intense blue eyes, athlete’s body, and weakness for pralines who scooped her out of trouble when she blacked out on River Street. When she’s with Austin, Sienna feels a whole new world opening up to her. Austin has secrets, and she has history. But caught between the past and the future, Sienna can still choose what happens now…



Author Laura Johnston

 Laura Johnston lives in Utah with her husband and two children. Growing up with five siblings, a few horses, peach trees, beehives and gardens, she developed an active imagination and always loved a good story.

13/09/2014

THE HUNGER GAMES & READING YA FICTION


Getting ready for school and reading YA fiction

I feel the pressure of a new school year approaching and, maybe you have noticed  I've already started having some troubles with the daily or regular updating of my blogs. I haven't met my new  (4!) or old  (2) classes yet, but I'm working on my lesson-plans for the first weeks.
The two class groups I already had last year were assigned  their first book, entire book, in English to read during the summer. Tough job, I know, for foreign students. So, to gild the pill and make them undertake the task more willingly, I suggested a list of very popular YA novels (HERE): each of the students picked up one book. I had to read them all, of course. How could I test them on something I knew nothing about? Now, it was such a pleasant, exciting, entertaining journey that I will not dare complain or regret. I only hope my students didn't hate it, at least.

09/09/2014

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY: JUBILEE'S JOURNEY BY BETTE LEE CROSBY

Jubilee's Journey Book CoverJubilee’s Journey by Bette Lee Crosby

 JUBILEE’S JOURNEY…FPA PRESIDENT’S BOOK AWARD GOLD MEDAL WINNER

   When tragedy strikes a West Virginia coal mining family, two children start out on a trek that they hope will lead them to a new life. Before a day passes, the children are separated and the boy is caught up in a robbery not of his making. If his sister can find him, she may be able to save him. The problem is she’s only seven years old, and who’s going to believe a kid?   

Reviewer Praise:   

An uplifting story of hope, love and the kindness of strangers. Rainy Day Ramblings
I was drawn in from the first page and held captive to the end. Jubilee’s Journey makes you believe in the power of the human spirit and the kindness of strangers. The Caffeinated Reviewer 
 Real both in circumstances and dialogue Jubilee’s Journey is a book that will have you up late to finish. It will make you believe that you can triumph over tragedy. Mrs. Mommy Booknerd 
Crosby’s novels touch my heart big time, and Jubilee’s Journey is no exception. Even the Grinch would be hard-pressed to scowl at the Wyattsville Series books. They’ve got tension and suspense in their mysteries, Southern charm and lessons aplenty. Popcorn Reads

08/09/2014

TIME FOR A GOOD MOVIE - AN INDIAN CLASSIC FROM THE 50s: PATHER PANCHALI (SONG OF THE LITTLE ROAD)

Pather Panchali (in English: Song of the Little Road) directed by Satyajit Ray and produced by the Government of West Bengal, India. Pather Panchali is described as a turning point in Indian cinema, as it was among the films that pioneered the Parallel Cinema movement, which espoused authenticity and social realism. The first film from independent India to attract major international critical attention, it won India's National Film Award for Best Feature Film in 1955, the Best Human Document award at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival, and several other awards, establishing Ray as a distinguished filmmaker. It features in several lists of great films.
Paul Reynolds guest blogs about it . Read on.

Pather Panchali, or the Song of the Little Road, was a film created in 1955. Bengali was the primary language of the film and it is 115 minutes in length. This movie was created by Satyajit Ray and was inspired by the novel “Pather Panchali” by Bibhutibhushan Banerjee. Government of West Bengal assisted the production of the film. Cinematography was overseen by Subrata Mitra, Editing was done by Dulal Dutta, Art Direction was done by Bansi Chandragupta and Sound Production was done by Bhupen Ghosh. The soundtrack of the film was composed by Pandit Ravi Shankar. The movie won Best Human Document. Cannes award and Diploma of Merit, Edinburgh in 1956. It was the initial phase of struggles for Satyajit Ray and he had to wait for two years to find a producer for the movie.

07/09/2014

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY - THE SENDING BY JANDY SALGUERO

The SendingThe Sending

 A city's peace is shattered when two university students go missing, and only Daneel and his friends know the shocking truth of what happened. Finding themselves under attack, Daneel leads them in a race to escape the mounting violence. Mara is willing to kill for the beliefs of the faction that raised her. But as she seeks out her mark, using a rare, mystical form of travel known as the Sending, Mara discovers a powerful connection that challenges the truth of everything she’s been taught. While Daneel fights to protect those he cares for, Mara must choose whether to cling to the ideology of her home—or open her scarred heart to a searing attraction and the promise of a new life.   

Praise for The Sending

 The Sending reads like a dystopian Romeo and Juliet where strong, full characters from very different places inevitably collide with passion and conflict. Salguero fills a fresh, vibrant world with a nerve-tingling fast plot. Prepare to be immersed. ~Tamara Ward, author of Hidden Betrayal The Sending is a thrilling, fast-paced, science fiction-romance that's impossible to put down. Edge-of-your-seat action scenes, and a romantic attraction so intense that it will make you want to turn down the air conditioning, The Sending is a great read that left me hungry for more. I loved this book! ~Sterling R. Walker, author of The Orphan Ship

06/09/2014

AT THE CINEMA - OKAY WILL BE OUR ALWAYS: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS IN ITALY (COLPA DELLE STELLE)

“The world is not a wish-granting factory.” 

I was so proud of myself because I had read all through John Green's book smiling or laughing, getting sad or moved,   but never giving way to tears.   I read The Fault in Our Stars not long ago and in a very short time,  appreciating Mr Green's talent at creating a brilliant YA romance (my review). 

Now, it is not that I'm not proud of myself anymore for what happened, but, you know, it is not easy for me to get moved to tears in public and it is always quite embarassing when the lights in the theatre are switched on and you are in a flood of tears and blowing your nose, isn't it?
In this case there were many wet eyes and noses blown here and there at the end of  The Fault in Our Stars (Colpa delle Stelle) which opened on 4th September here in Italy, so I felt a bit less foolish.

Anyway, what I especially loved in this movie is that, just like the book, it is not whining or melodramatic. What prevails is teenage lightness and bitter irony,  which becomes harsh, if not paradoxical,  sarcasm some times.

Cancer and young love, death and life, hope and desperation: tough dichotomies to deal with without ending up with sappiness or melodrama. I couldn't find traces of either in this touching story, honestly.

04/09/2014

SEPTEMBER KINDLE FIRE GIVEAWAY

229 giveaway
It’s time for September’s $229 Kindle Giveaway Hosted by I Am A Reader. We are giving away 2 great prizes both valued at $229. 

Winner’s choice of a Kindle Fire HDX or $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 Paypal Cash!   The first prize is available via the rafflecopter below. The 2nd is available only to those share this giveaway. You can find info on how to enter the 2nd giveaway in the rafflecopter.   


Win a Kindle Fire HDX 7", Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash ($229 value)
The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HDX (US Only - $229 Value)

03/09/2014

AN INTERVIEW WITH SARAH SUNDIN, AUTHOR OF IN PERFECT TIME


All of your books are set during World War II - what is it about that era that draws you in?


It was a time of such intensity, of great upheaval and of great unity, a time that showed humanity at its most cruel and depraved - and at its most noble and heroic. Ordinary men stepped out of their ordinary lives and discovered they could do extraordinary things. Women tried on exciting new roles, learned new things about themselves - and yet remained ladies. It was a time of drama, daring and romance.

What is the overall spiritual theme or message in this new book, In Perfect Time?

Both Kay and Roger feel they don't deserve God's gifts. Kay feels unworthy of God's love and His mercy. While Roger has accepted God's forgiveness, deep inside he doesn't believe he deserves God's grace, His blessings, His gifts. Both Kay and Roger learn that God doesn't give to us because we're good, but because He's good. They can't earn His gifts - and they should wholeheartedly embrace the gifts He gives.

02/09/2014

FINDING THE COURAGE TO MAKE UNPOPULAR CHOICES: THE DAUGHTER OF HIGHLAND HALL BY CARRIE TURANSKY - BOOK GIVEAWAY


When family expectations and societal pressures collide with love and faith, which values will emerge the victor? Award-winning author Carrie Turansky explores this theme in her new book, The Daughter of Highland Hall


Book two in the Edwardian Brides Series, The Daughter of Highland Hall, follows 18-year-old Kate Ramsey on a journey of self-discovery as she travels to London to make her societal debut. Her overbearing aunt insists she secure a marriage proposal from a wealthy, titled man. As Kate begins making the round of balls and garden parties, she attracts the attention of Edward Wellington, who seems to have all the qualifications on her list. Yet, is he the best choice? Will this lifestyle bring her true happiness?

Readers who were first introduced to Kate in The Governess of Highland Hall (a 2014 Carol Award finalist) can now journey with her through London high society and the East End as she learns to find her own path to love . . . and faith. "I chose Matthew 6:33, 'Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well,' as the theme verse for this story because it summarizes Kate's spiritual journey," Turansky reveals. "What is most important in life? Kate discovers when she lays down her own plans and seeks God first, He guides her toward the best path for her future."

01/09/2014

AT THE CINEMA - INTO THE STORM


What we can certainly thank Richard Armitage for is the variety of experiences he has been granting us, the ready-to-almost-everything RA well-wishers. Let's add a disaster movie experience to all the previous ones, then!

I went to Rome to see Into the Storm with the same friends who were with me in London for The Crucible experience (except one - we missed you, A.!)

The first part of the movie was the worst, I mean, it was a bit boring.  They thought we needed a proper introduction of all the characters while waiting for something to happen. So we meet them one by one:  the Vice Principal of the local high school, Gary Fuller (Richard Armitage) wearing   a greyish suit, a tie and glasses,  and  a don't-bother-me frown;  then his  two sons, Donnie the good (Max Deacon) and Trey the smart (Nathan Kress). Donnie is 17, he is sensitive and shy, he is working on a personal film project, he is going to film the upcoming graduation ceremony for daddy - if only he hadn't a crush on one of the prettiest girsl in school, Kaitlyn (Alycia Debnam Carey). Trey is 15 self-confident, resourceful and a bit rebellious. Donnie finally finds the courage to talk to Kaitlyn and the two head off to finish the girl's film project just on Graduation Day. The same day he had promised to help his father,  the same day in which a superstorm, a series of tornadoes,  will devastate  their town and the entire area they live in. 

29/08/2014

WE ACCEPT THE LOVE WE THINK WE DESERVE - THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER BY STEPHEN CHBOSKY (1999)

Since I watched the film adaptation of this book, I've wished to read it. The film -  starring Logan Lerman as Charlie,  Emma Watson as Sam and Ezra Miller as Patrick - came out in 2012, while the book was published in 1999.  

It is usually categorized as YA fiction, but,  think of The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger or The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath!  The fact that they are coming of age novels with teenage protagonists doesn't make them books for teenage demographic. They can be read, loved and appreciated by an adult reading public as well. I'm not saying Chbosky’s debut novel ranks to those high literary standards, of course, but that it is possible for older readers to care, relate and enjoy while reading it.  I mentioned those two great novels - which I'm fond of - because The Perks of Being a Wallflower is easy to connect to them due to many reasons. While reading it, it's impossible not to hear echoes of  Holden Caufield's or Esther Greenwood's restless lives.

Charlie, the protagonist and the narrator of the story,  is a very shy,  introverted , melancholic freshman terrorized by his new school, new mates, new teachers.
Making friends has always been very difficult to him:  he is a wallflower watching life from aside.  
He writes letters to an imaginary friend and he confesses him much of his life experiences, thoughts, fears, dreams. He is haunted by very sad memories from his past, which become  even hallucinations from time to time.
He  makes some friends  at school among the older students:    a few of those damaged souls nobody wants as mates,  usually bullied or emarginated.  Sam and  Patrick become Charlie's best friends.
As the story flows, letter after letter,  gifting the reader  with tender moments, memorable quotes,  funny anecdotes and  final surprising twist,  we witness Charlie grow  until the final  moment of self-realization, when he finally feels himself infinite. 

28/08/2014

HOW TO USE BOOKS TO WRITE ACADEMIC ESSAYS

Hello! I'm Eileen Archer and I'm here at FLY HIGH  as Maria Grazia's guest blogger. My post is a short guide for those who use books as part of their academic pieces of work. 

Why should I use books?
To write academically and correctly we must make use of the literature available to us. You must read as much as you possibly can before even starting to write your academic piece. Take notes of each book you have thought interesting and the relation between that and your own forthcoming work. Remember to mark the pages too, so you can come back to ideas later.

Which books?
When it comes to using the information from a book that you have absorbed, been interested in or found highly relevant to your field, you must decide when and where to use it. If there are two books that have the same idea, choose the one that clarifies the point better, and cite that one in your own piece of work. The clearer the idea, the easier it is for you to expand on the point and the easier it is for the reader to follow.

27/08/2014

WRITING AND DREAMING SCOTLAND - INTERVIEW WITH GLEN CRANEY, AUTHOR OF "THE SPIDER AND THE STONE"

If you follow FLY HIGH!  on blogspot or on facebook, you must certainly have noticed I'm (kind of ) hooked with Scotland and  Scottish heroes at the moment. This is why I was glad to hear from Glen Craney, author of "The Spider and The Stone", when he proposed me to review his historical novel set in 14th century Scotland. 
I've started reading his novel and I've invited Glen to tell us more about it,  his love for Scotland and for historical fiction.
He has generously granted the readers of this blog 10 ebook copies of the book! You are all invited to take your chances to win one of them. Check the book giveaway contest below the interview. Good luck!

Welcome Glen! I’m really glad you accepted my invitation to talk about Scotland and "The Spider and The Stone"  with me.
Thanks to you for the invitation, Maria Grazia.

Scotland is the setting of your historical novel. I’m quite hooked by that amazing land and its stunning wilderness and its castles, what about you? Have you been there ? Why did you choose it as your setting?
I’ve traveled to Scotland three times, and have some ancestral roots there. I often get inspiration for my books in dreams. About ten years ago, I awoke from a particularly vivid one in which I was a mounted knight fighting a duel near a stream with a black-robed hag who wielded a sickle. In the midst of this death struggle, the dream shifted to a photograph of me standing with six other knights around a seated king in a pose of celebration. Below the photograph, a caption read: "Americans aid the King at Bannockburn."

26/08/2014

PERIOD & MORE PERIOD: BELLE - NOW ON DVD & BLUE RAY





Out on DVD/Blue Ray todayBelle is a movie inspired  by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, a mixed - race woman raised by an aristocratic white family. Three times unlucky in the 18th century English society: Belle was a woman, a mulatto and an illegitimate child. 

The daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral and an enslaved African woman, Dido is brought up by the family of her great uncle, Lord Mansfield, in Hampstead, just north of London.
The family social standing affords Dido great privileges and she grows close with her cousin, Lady Elizabeth Murray. But Dido can never escape the colour of her skin  and, therefore, never be on the same social standing as her adoptive family. When Lord Mansfield, the Lord Chief Justice, must rule on an important slavery court case, Dido and the idealistic young man she falls in love with, John Davinier, will help to shape his decision, thereby paving the way for the eventual abolition of slavery.

24/08/2014

DISCOVER HEALING IN THE SEARCH FOR TRUTH - AN INTERVIEW WITH ELISABETH GIFFORD, AUTHOR OF 'THE SEA HOUSE'


About the book 

What happens when you bring the truth of who you are and where you’ve been into the light? In her impressive debut novel, The Sea House (St. Martin’s Press/April 15, 2014/ISBN: 978-1250043344/$25.99), author Elisabeth Gifford introduces readers to characters who are forced to dig up the pain and secrets of their past in order to let the fresh air of faith and grace purify and heal the broken places in their heart.

Gifford was inspired to write The Sea House after coming across a letter in The Times archives from 1809, in which a Scottish schoolmaster claimed to have spotted a mermaid. Weaving the ancient Gaelic myth of the selkies into her story, she has created a sweeping tale of hope and redemption that is an ode to the healing readers can find when they acknowledge the truth about themselves.

Your new release, The Sea House, is a fascinating historical mystery that was born out of a letter you found from an old edition of The Times. Can you tell us about the letter?

The Sea House is based on a real letter written to The Times newspaper in 1809 by a Scottish schoolmaster, reporting a mermaid sighting. There were lots of mermaid sightings up to 200 years ago around Scotland and even a recorded mermaid funeral in the islands. There were also persistent legends of selkies, seals who could take off their sealskins on land to become human. I thought these were simply old fairy tales from a more credulous time, but it may be that these sightings and legends were connected to something very real. For thousands of years the native Sea Sami used to kayak down to Scotland from Norway using Eskimo technology. Their sealskin kayaks would become waterlogged after a few hours and lie just below the sea surface looking like a wavering tail. On land, they removed their sealskin jackets and became human — just as described in the legend of the selkies. Some must have married locals and stayed on the islands, giving rise to certain families such as the MacOdrums, who were said to have come from the seal people.

23/08/2014

FLY HIGH HAS A FACEBOOK PAGE, RICHARD ARMITAGE HAS A TWITTER

FLY HIGH HAS A FACEBOOK PAGE

I don't like facebook much,  actually. In fact, I only have a personal account, run 2 pages (My Jane Austen Book Club and Fly High Maria Grazia's Blog) and am involved in I-can't-remember-how-many groups. Quite incoherent, is it? Still, I don't like it very much. I must admit I prefer Twitter, though someone told me I don't use it as it is supposed to be used,  meaning: to socialize. I just connect, post my links  and, from time to time,  read what the ones on my "people I like" list have tweeted in the latest hours. Then I may retweet,  if I like. Who's in that list? Well, it is private, not meant to be shared, sorry. I bet you can imagine a few names if you check whose tweets I more often favourite
I've got this awkward feeling of "not liking but not being able to stay away" from social networks, which I  can't really understand or analyze.

22/08/2014

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY - THE SECRET BLISS OF CALLIOPE IPSWICH BY MARCIA LYNN McCLURE

secret bliss
The Secret Bliss of Calliope Ipswich by Marcia Lynn McClure 

 “Oh! Do link arms with me, Calliope,” Blanche whispered, her brown eyes widening with apprehension. She took Calliope’s arm, tightly linking it with her own. “The old Mulholland house still gives me the willies every time I walk past it. I hate to think on what might have gone on inside. It’s truly terrifyin’!” “Oh, don’t be silly, Blanche,” Calliope said, feigning calm. “Poor Prudence’s lunacy…it’s sad. And besides, her fiendish acts were not committed inside the house. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s just…it’s just a sad, empty building.” 

Calliope Ipswich felt the hypocrite, however, as an uncomfortable shiver of residual dread and unease shuttered down her spine, More than six months had passed since the All Hollow’s Eve when the dangerous state of Prudence Mulholland’s fracturing mind had been revealed to the townsfolk of Meadowlark Lake. And now, each time Calliope thought of poor Prudence and her family, not only did her heart ache for their family’s unhappy lot but a chill of lingering horror rippled through her being. In truth, at times Calliope wondered if it had all been simply a bad dream—a nightmare. But it hadn’t. It really had happened—all of it.


Purchase your copy on

21/08/2014

SPOTLIGHT ON ... THE TEEN WYTCHE SAGA BY ARIELLA MOON + GIVEAWAY

Teen Wytche Saga

The Teen Wytche Saga by Ariella Moon Think magic will solve your problems? Bring you love? Cure you? Protect you? Help you find someone who is lost? Think again. Magic tests friendships. It hisses, chirps, stinks up the room, backfires, and explodes. Magic forces you to make tough decisions. Shatter limitations. Discover your true self. When you use magic, expect results in the ultimate triple-un—unpredictable, uncontrollable, and so undeniable. And you thought navigating high school was tough.



  

  

20/08/2014

FREEBIE! SHADOW ON THE HIGHWAY BY DEBORAH SWIFT - NEW RELEASE


May 1651. England has been in the midst of a civil war for nearly ten years.

The country has been torn in two, and the King is getting ready to make his last stand against Cromwell's New Model Army. Abigail Chaplin, a young deaf girl, has lost her father to the parliamentarian cause, but with her family now in reduced circumstances, she is forced to work as a servant at a royalist household - the estate of Lady Katherine Fanshawe. Abi is soon caught up in a web of sinister secrets which surround the Fanshawe estate, the most curious of which is the disappearance of Lady Katherine late at night.
Why are her husband's clothes worn and muddy even though he hasn't been home for weeks?
How is she stealing out of the house late at night when her room is being guarded? And what is her involvement with the robberies being committed by the mysterious Silent Highwayman?

Shadow On The Highway, the first book in 'The Highway Trilogy', is based on the life and legend of Lady Katherine Fanshawe, the highwaywoman, sometimes known as 'The Wicked Lady'. Suitable for teens and young adults 14+ includes historical notes from the author 

IS A PARENT'S JOB EVER REALLY DONE? AN INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR DEBORAH RANEY ABOUT HER "HOME TO CHICORY LANE"

Home to Chicory Lane 

Deborah Raney writes a story that examines how the love of our family can help us weather life's storms. The first book in the new Chicory Inn series introduces us to Audrey Whitman, a mother who has launched all of her children into life and now looks forward to fulfilling some of her own dreams during her empty-nest years. However, not all of her children are ready to stay out of the nest quite yet.

Raney has beautifully captured the tenderness - and turmoil - of family life in her new release. It was easy for her to do. "We have four grown children and five grandchildren . . . so far!" Raney says."So, as you can imagine, family is extremely important to us. We're both close to our families, and all of the good, the bad, the ugly, the wonderful of being part of a family, went into this series."

Readers of Home to Chicory Lane will meet all of the Whitmans, including Audrey and her husband, Grant, who are turning their beloved family home into a bed and breakfast. As Audrey works toward opening weekend, she is more than a little anxious, even as she joyfully anticipates her family and friends gathering from across the country to help celebrate the occasion.

What she doesn't expect is her youngest daughter, the newly-married Landyn, to arrive with a U-Haul, clearly intending to stay more than just a few days. Questions flood Audrey's mind: What happened in New York that sent Landyn running home? Where was Landyn's husband, Chase? It appears the Chicory Inn will be getting off to a bit of a rocky start.

19/08/2014

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY - GUARDIANS THE GIRL: BOOK 1 BY LOLA STVIL

GuardiansGuardians: The Girl by Lola StVil

 ******OVER 450 FIVE STAR REVIEWS!*******

Sitting there in the car, a part of me bitterly resented what she was doing to me. I knew it wasn’t her fault. But does she have to be so... alluring? I need to focus on something else besides the spot between her earlobe and neck. It looked so soft. Her lips were slightly parted as she looked out the window. I wanted to part them further with mine. I put both my hands on the steering wheel. I could not allow myself to let go until she was out of the car. Suddenly she leaned in and kissed me. It was far better than I could even begin to explain to you. I've fought and died a slow and painful death on earth. And nothing, NOTHING can compare to how hard it was for me to pull away from her lips. I don't think any angel could to do it twice in a lifetime...



Excerpts  

 “Your courage is in your tears. Every time you cry, you lose a little bit more of it. That’s why you’re so breakable. Not because you’re human, because you’re always shedding courage from your eyes.”  
~~~
Marcus, choose me. Choose the path that is perilous and leads to certain annihilation because it’s also the path that leads to me. They can’t understand that we are powerless to stop what we have for each other. But we know. We know that if we don’t bend to the will of this love, it will break us.

18/08/2014

TEN GOOD REASONS NOT TO WATCH OUTLANDER

Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser
  




  















 1.  Jamie Fraser
      
Once you meet him, the least that can happen to you is that you get a crush on him. But,  watch yourself! You risk to fall desperately in love with him, become obsessed with him,  and there’s no way back! Mind you: you're warned.
He is strong, brave, witty, generous, loyal, charming, smart, passionate, principled, sensitive, reliable, honest, charismatic, sexually insatiable and handsome.  
And even if you come to accept he is just a fictional character and renounce finding his alter ego in real life, still you’ll go on comparing every man around you to him and … sigh!

16/08/2014

THE MEMORY OF MIDNIGHT BY PAMELA HARTSHORNE - BOOK REVIEW


Book Blurb
One hot day in Elizabethan York, young Nell Appleby is trapped in a wooden chest, and a horror of the stifling dark - and of the man who trapped her - dogs her for the rest of her life. Wed to the sadistic Ralph Maskewe, Nell must find joy where she can, until the return of her childhood sweetheart offers a chance of flight to the New World. Will Nell risk all to escape the dark at last?
Four and a half centuries later, Tess and her small son Oscar move to York. Eager to start a new life, away from her overbearing and manipulative husband, Martin, Tess tries to put her marriage behind her. But time in York has a way of shifting strangely, and memories of a past that is not her own begin to surface with disturbing effect. Living two lives, torn between two worlds, Tess must unlock the secrets of the past before she can free herself - and Nell -once and for all.

13/08/2014

PERIOD & MORE PERIOD - THE INVISIBLE WOMAN




















Directed and starring Ralph Fiennes  as Charles Dickens, THE INVISIBLE WOMAN is the latest period  movie I saw. It is an adaptation of Claire Tomaline's book of the same name. It was released in 2013, it hasn’t made it to Italian theatres so far, but it is fortunately already available on DVD.  
The invisible woman of the title is Ellen Ternan , played by Felicity Jones, seen as Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey 2007 or more recently in Hysteria. Ellen, Nelly, was  a beautiful young actress with whom Charles Dickens had a  secret 13-year affair and who was 27 years his junior.
Abi Morgan (Shame)   adapted Claire Tomalin‘s novel.  Tom Hollander , as the author Wilkie Collins,  Kristin Scott Thomasas Nelly's mother, Tom Burke (The Musketeers)  as Ellen’s husband, George Robinson,   are also in  the cast.

10/08/2014

THE HOBBIT THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG & MY NOT VERY SUCCESSFUL QUEST IN TOLKIEN'S FANTASY WORLD

Warning: I know I will shock or, at least, disappoint any Tolkien fan who may  stumble  onto this post. They are kindly advised not to read!

I've been striving on my personal quest in search for a spark between Tolkien's world  and me in the last two years.   It's been a long,  troubled journey, a real fight against my complete ignorance and  a rather visceral dislike. You know, Tolkien's work is not my cup of tea at all. I've tried to approach it anyway, overcoming my prejudices and preconceptions. This is just an account of my latest attempt and of some prior events. 

I started watching The Lord of the Rings movies with my son, who is fond of them, before the Hobbit trilogy came out, but it was rather frustrating because, as much as I wanted to like those films, I simply couldn't or, better,  I could but only mildly.

I read The Hobbit in search for Thorin (here, here, here and here) and wrote a series of posts waiting for Peter Jackson's new trilogy to come out.  Did I like reading it? Pass. Next question, please.

06/08/2014

ART, MUSIC AND LITERATURE BASED COMMUNITIES

(by guest blogger Vanessa Gallo) 
People are driven by inspiration, ambitions and needs in life. It is the zeal and passion towards life that makes them aspire for many things in life. Different people have different interests and passions. Some may find satisfaction in art, some others may love music and certain others will be fond of reading literature. Many people will not be happy to read a book, watch a movie or listen to music. They may want people with similar interests to talk to. Every individual is unique with different view points and opinions.

People who are interested in art, music and literature have many advantages on the web. They can create communities online and share their thoughts regarding these topics. Many people love to join with people with similar or related interests. Artists have a relatively more flexible schedule and hence many art communities have appeared all over the world, especially in the United States. Gatlinburg Artists’ Community, John C. Campbell Folk School and Sedona are a few art communities of the United States. Gatlinburg community is located in Tennessee where most of the artists of the US live and work. All their studios are open to the public and the artists specialize in themes related to the Great Smoky Mountains. This community attracts many tourists.