28/07/2014

TIME FOR A GOOD MOVIE - THE RAILWAY MAN (2014)


It is impossible not to think of war these days. Press and TV news keep our minds and hearts in constant worry. Though I usually avoid writing or discussing breaking news or politics here on my blog , toda I’m going to tell you about  this beautiful movie I have just seen, with all my heart to the news coming from the several open fighting fronts.

War is no game. War leaves a mark. Eric Lomax , like many other surviving soldiers,  lived haunted by his war memories all his life through, as if war never actually ended in his mind and his heart. The Railway Man, based on Lomax’s autobiography,  will come out in September 2014  here in Italy as “Le due vie del destino”, but it opened theatrically on New Year’s Day in the UK and , in the US,   in April 2014.  It is already available on DVD at amazon.co.uk and,  from August 12,   it will be at amazon.com too.

24/07/2014

SUMMER IS FOR READING: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS & OTHER LOVE STORIES

I've been reading quite a lot  in these lazy summer days. That's what summer is for,  in my case. I didn't manage to read much in the past year, so it is the perfect time to catch up, to read as much as I can, both in English and in Italian. I'm sure I won't manage to be completely satisfied in the end,  since to hope to go through all my ambitiously endless TBR list is utopian, but, at least,  I'll try to  make my read-in-2014 list a bit longer.

The latest two books I added to the latter are both romance fiction novels in the star-crossed-lovers/ don't-forget-your-tissues section.
Jokes apart, they are both novels I won't easily forget. I  love them.  Both, as different as they are.

The Fault in Our Stars

"The fault, dear Brutus,  is not in our stars but in ourselves, that we are underlings". Probably John Green had this line from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar in his mind while trying to give his beatiful love story a proper title. But more probably, more than Julius Caesar, he had Romeo and Juliet in mind (... A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life/ Whose misadventured piteous overthrows / Doth with their death... ) , while writing the story of Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters. Shakespearean influences apart, the author was really inspired while depicting his two young protagonists with black letters on white pages: they are two of the loveliest,  liveliest teenage characters I've ever encountered.

21/07/2014

PERIOD & MORE PERIOD - GOTHIC DRAMA SERIES: SALEM AND PENNY DREADFUL

Shane West and Janet Montgomery

Salem 


Phew! Lots of blood.  I've just finished watching this series. "Why did I ever start?", I wonder. And why did I watch all the 13 episodes in the series? I can't actually say why. Never been interested in horror movies or series. Bewitched? I don't think so. There was nothing magic in this TV series, nothing bewitching to me. 

I started watching it out of curiosity while reading The Crucible before leaving for London to see Arthur Miller's play on stage (read my review + personal report of the experience). I don't know what I expected to find, but nothing of what I did. It is obvious, but I'll make itclearer:  I didn't like it much. Witches and witch hunting, black magic and supernatural, superstition and Puritans' fear-ridden rule in 17th century Massacchussetts are the main features in this story, with a bit of romance added. There are no complex characters, no great writing. It lacks substance.  

19/07/2014

BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY - BECOMING LADY LOCKWOOD, INTERVIEW WITH JENNIFER MOORE

Hello and welcome on FLY HIGH!,  Jennifer. It’s a great pleasure to have the chance to present you and your new spellbinding novel,   Becoming Lady Lockwood to my readers, since they are always so interested in historical fiction!  Could you tell us something about your heroine,  Amelia?

Amelia is independent and resourceful. She has no problem digging in when there’s something to be done. She’s not squeamish or spoiled. She thinks she has a plan for her life, but her tyrant father has other things in mind.
She is a colonist who grew up on a sugar plantation, so she doesn’t quite fit in with the ton of London. Her clothes aren’t the right style, her manners aren’t refined. But frankly she doesn’t care about that sort of thing.
She has a good heart and while she’s wary and proud in the beginning, she learns to trust the captain and officers and even the seamen aboard the ship.

Is she inspired by any other literary heroine you admire?

Lizzie Bennett, of course, but also I like Sheridan from ‘Until You’ by Judith McNaught. For some reason I picture Amelia looking like the actress the who plays Snow White on Ever After. Sort of plucky and happy. Bright blue eyes.

15/07/2014

AND, THEN, THEY COME BACK ...

I know,  I've been often very critical to my students here at FLY HIGH! Who can forget my disappointment while in Dublin or Malta on school trips! There are posts here and there about school and about my constant sense of frustration or disillusionment, if you click on the tag school. To be honest, there are also rare ones in which I write about successful moments, lessons or activities, but as I just said, they are pretty rare. 

What I want to discuss today is a part of my job I still feel quite uncomfortable with. To be a teacher includes a very stressful task,  which is to  assess  and evaluate, and that is what makes everything so complicated in terms of relationship. If only I could give my lessons and avoid tests, marks, reports and final decisions that would make my job perfect. Education without evaluation. This must sound irrational or utopian to many of you,  but that would make everything much, much easier, you know. Will the students learn, anyway? I'm sure they will,  somehow.

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY - THE HUSBAND MAKER BY KAREY WHITE

The Husband Maker by Karey WhiteThe Husband Maker by Karey White

 Charlotte’s a girl with nicknames. She may not love being called Charles or Chuck, but the hardest nickname to take is the one she was given in college, the one that’s followed her now for too many years. They call her “the husband maker” and sadly, it fits. Every guy she’s dated since high school has become his next girlfriend’s husband. Not hers. Not three girlfriends down the road. The next. Is she doing something wrong or is she just cursed? When Kyle Aldsworth enters the picture and sweeps her off her feet, Charlotte begins to hope that maybe she's not destined to be single forever. A senator’s son with political aspirations of his own, Kyle's wealthy, handsome, and in need of a wife. Will Charlotte be disappointed yet again, or will she finally be able to make a husband for herself?


Get your copy of The Husband Maker for just $3.99!




Excerpt

I’d always heard the view from Top of the Mark was exceptional. When San Francisco Life listed the top ten places to view the skyline at night, Top of the Mark was ranked number three, so when the invitation to Harrison’s wedding arrived, I finally had an excuse to take in the view for myself.

13/07/2014

MOTHER & SONS


Today is my son's birthday. 23, a young man.  Don't worry, I'm not going to bother you with my memories of when he was just a baby in my arms, how fast time has passed, how kind a boy he is and neither I'll post a picture of him blowing at candles. Even less I wish to start crying on how old that makes me feel. Not. at. all.

It is just a special day which brought some special thoughts to me.
I have been thinking about what to be a mother to sons means. And my idea is that it is quite different from having daughters, at least, with my indirect experience,  it seems different. With my two sons, I sometimes lack the understanding I've got with my nieces, for instance, or the different relationship they have with their mother, my sister.

11/07/2014

WRITERS & ACTORS - A HALF SERIOUS, HALF BORING REFLECTION ON WHY I AM FASCINATED BY THEM

Richard Armitage as John Proctor in The Crucible
There are two kinds of people I am particularly fascinated by, writers and actors. Not for the glamour surrounding them. In fact, I'm not interested in the extremely popular ones, the very famous. Honestly, I'm more attracted to their jobs, than to their popularity or personal life. I consider good acting and good writing the result of meticulous craftsmanship, artistry and, only rarely, art. I'm particularly drawn to these two categories of people, widely known or not,  since their professions are somewhat magical to me. 
They've got the power to create life, to give life through words.

I know actors use their whole bodies, so , let's say, mostly through words. Most of an actor's job is based on words, and they are very often essential to the achievement of the main goal: a successful performance. 


Meeting author Fabio Stassi 
Writers and actors create life through words, they give life to characters, and characters do not only represent people, they are people once the actors lend them their bodies and voices.

I love to think  that , more than stories, actors and writers create personae (persons in Latin, characters in English)  and they,  the characters, interacting, contribute their story. They are not mere fiction, they are not unreal. They live,  and they live on long in certain cases,  in our minds and hearts. Longer than the human being who created them. 

As for actors, once they are in a movie, for instance,  they never actually die. The go on living in their characters, in those frames. They go on giving them life and voice. So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see ... in Shakespeare's words.

09/07/2014

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY - MATT ARCHER REDEMPTION BY KENDRA C. HIGHLEY

Matt Archer RedemptionMatt Archer: Redemption

“There’s more to me than you know…” 

 When Matt Archer’s sister, Mamie, said those words to him three years ago, he had no idea how prophetic they were, or what this would mean for his family. Now, he knows. And it changes everything, bringing the war right to Matt’s doorstep. In the epic conclusion to the Matt Archer series, the endgame is near. Betrayed by an enemy, the wielders have been called off the hunt by their own government, despite increasing reports of paranormal activity—and deaths—worldwide. Matt is forced to sit on the sidelines, knowing that proving monsters exist means revealing who—and what—he is. Soon the world will know his name…which will only make his job harder. Matt’s only hope resides with a man he barely knows—his father. If Erik Archer can put together the final puzzle before the monsters do, maybe they’ll have a chance. Maybe. Mystery, tragedy and the power of family combine as Matt races to win the war and save the people he loves. There’s just one thing he’s afraid of… It might already be too late.  


07/07/2014

JULY KINDLE FIRE GIVEAWAY

July Kindle

Enter to win 1 of 2 great prizes both values 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 bloggers who post about this giveaway. You can find info on how to enter the 2nd giveaway in the rafflecopter.

Win a Kindle Fire HDX, Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash ($229 value)

06/07/2014

LONDON - THE CRUCIBLE EXPERIENCE


After all these years, at last 



I know you've been reading  all those excellent reviews the show has been getting after press night and I don't dare compete with them. This is just my totally biased account of an incredible adventure, the one my friends and I shared going to London to see The Crucible and, of course, Richard Armitage. Can you imagine how thrilling it might have been meeting him and, above all, seeing him in action on stage? I bet you can, if you know me at least a little. And can a dream come true meet expectations? Yes, unbelievably so, in my case. Even surpass them. Before you go on reading, here are a couple of due warnings: 1. you'll find some spoilers here and there 2. you may suffer from sudden fits of envy or jealousy. Sorry. 

04/07/2014

FREEBIE! SPELL CHECK BY JULIE WRIGHT - GRAB YOUR COPY NOW!

Spell Check FREE


Spell Check Cover A skeleton is rattling its way out of the closet marked “FAMILY SECRET! KEEP OUT!” Allyson Peterson believes that being hanged by the Salem High Witches is the absolute worst thing that can happen. But when her powers, wrested from the trolls of ancient Sweden, manifest themselves, she realizes that a prank hanging by vindictive cheerleaders is the least of her worries. Ally accidentally sends her parents to the jungle to fight anacondas, turns her brother into a mute, and curses the entire cheerleading team with an illness that has no cure, proving that her spells need a little checking. Her Swedish grandmother shows up to help her through the worst part of all—surviving the Troll Trials and saving the guy of her dreams from a vengeance that has festered through-out generations. The power is in her, if she can just get the magic right.  

Grab your copy on Amazon

Author Julie Wright

Julie Wright Julie Wright (1972-still breathing) was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. She's lived in LA, Boston, and the literal middle of nowhere (don't ask). She wrote her first book when she was fifteen. She's written sixteen novels--nine of which are traditionally published. Julie won the Whitney award for best romance in 2010 with her novel Cross My Heart. She is agented by Sara Crowe at Harvey Klinger Inc. She has one husband, three kids, two salamanders, one dog, and a varying amount of fish (depending on attrition). She loves writing, reading, traveling, hiking, playing with her kids, and watching her husband make dinner. She used to speak fluent Swedish, but now speaks only well enough to cuss out her children in public. She hates mayonnaise.


BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY - UNCOVERING COBBOGOTH BY HANNAH L. CLARK

Uncover CobbogothUncovering Cobbogoth by Hannah L. Clark

 Norah Lukens needs to uncover the truth about the fabled lost city of Cobbogoth. After her archaeologist uncle’s murder, Norah is asked to translate his old research journal for evidence and discovers that his murder was a cover-up for something far more sinister. When she turns to neighbor and only friend James Riley for help, she realizes that not only is their bitter-sweet past haunting her every step, but James is keeping dangerous secrets. Can Norah discover what they are before its too late to share her own.


  Praise for Uncovering Cobbogoth

"With a fascinating protagonist in Norah Lukens, a fully realized, never before seen fantasy world, and a fast paced, compelling story, Uncovering Cobbogoth establishes Hannah L. Clark as a major new voice in American fiction. The richness of the story and the scope of the world she's created screams for a film adaptation. This is a fantasy novel for everyone, even readers not usually drawn to the genre. Highly, highly recommended!" -Bryce Clark, author of Red Shirt Kids 

29/06/2014

FIERAMENTE IL LIBRO - BOOKS & WRITERS, A LITERARY FESTIVAL IN MY HOMETOWN

Books and writers have always fascinated me since I was a child, as soon as I could  read and write. These days I'm experiencing a full immersion of meetings with writers and discussions  of  books which makes me proud and happy.  The atmosphere is rather familiar and intimate, the location stunning and the people I met interesting or even inspiring. Nothing of the speculation over literature, culture and publishing we see in other literary festivals. 

Fieramente il libro is an event at its second edition in my home town, among the organizers two dear friends of mine, whom I must thank for the energy and the enthusiasm they put in everything they do  and, of course, for inviting me to be part of the event as a member of the reading jury. I've read the 3  books finalists in the Narrative section and tomorrow I'll have to choose the one I liked best.

Yesterday TrainDogs and Fabio Palombo gave start to a weekend of special encounters: beautiful words and awesome music in a show called, Abracadabra. Fabio Palombo read his stories of men and women in little less than 11 lines, which he used to post on facebook at firsr. They are an extraordinary example of how words can do magic. 

25/06/2014

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY - TRUE COLORS BY KRYSTEN LINDSAY HAGER

True Colors CoverTrue Colors

Landry Albright enters a modeling competition with her two best friends, but runs into jealousy when she advances to the next level without them. Enter the gorgeous Devon, who also makes the first cut of the modeling contest. Devon seems like the perfect new best friend, but can their friendship survive the competition? Throw in a new boy, jealousy and loyalty issues, and insults from hair stylists. How’s a girl to deal?


Excerpt 

The competition was for girls between the ages of thirteen and seventeen, but it felt like Ericka, Tori, and I were the youngest ones there. I only saw a couple of girls from school, and the lineup looked more like something you’d see on a music video set. All the girls were gorgeous, and they had these curvy womanly bodies. I looked like a skinny little kid next to them. The first girl walked out, and I heard the judges say she “owned the runway,” and, “walked like a gazelle.” I was starting to feel ill. I wasn’t sure which way it was going to come, but I knew I had to find a bathroom — fast. I started to get out of line when Ericka grabbed my wrist. “It’s almost time,” she said. A tiny bit of spit flew out of her mouth and hit my cheek. I wasn’t sure why she was so intent on me going through with it, but she had a death grip on my arm, so I didn’t have much of a choice. Her number was called and she walked out to the stage. One of the other girls said she walked like a kid with sand bucket stilts on her feet, but she came back with a smirk on her face like she knew she’d get chosen. “They said they had never seen such long legs,” she said. Tori was next. 

19/06/2014

BOOK REVIEW - URBAN GRIMSHAW AND THE SHED CREW (2005)

You're twelve years old. Your mother's a junkie and your father might as well be dead. You can't read or write, and you don't go to school. An average day means sitting round a bonfire with your mates smoking drugs, or stealing cars.
Welcome to Urban's world
Picture from the set of Urban and the Shed Crew
Let’s start being direct and honest: this book is one I would never have read if it wasn’t for Richard Armitage. This admission is not a  first, for me.  I have already thanked his acting projects for introducing me to readings and worlds I’d never have approached otherwise. After this totally truthful introductive statement,  I’m ready to tell you something about this story without,  I hope,  spoiling your pleasure to discover more reading the book yourself or watching the film adaptation, when it comes out.

Bernard Hare wrote  “Urban Grishaw and the Shed Crew” several years ago now (it was published in 2005)  mixing compelling reportage with deeply personal memoir. His alter ego in the book is Chop, aka Richard Armitage in the upcoming movie adaptation I mentioned before.  

Leeds in the 1990s is the setting for this story. Chop is an ex social worker who dropped his job and retreated in a world of drinking and drugs, living at the margins of society. It is in that unfortunate situation that he meets Urban Grimshaw and the Shed Crew, a gang of feral kids who live stealing or as young prostitutes.

16/06/2014

THE HUNT FOR TOMORROW

Huntfortomorrow



THE HUNT FOR TOMORROW 
  22 AUTHORS. 3 DYSTOPIAN BOXED SETS. 1 MASSIVE EVENT. 

  A virtual scavenger hunt through twenty-two fictional dystopias. Friday, July 18 at 6:00pm (EST) - Sunday, July 20 at 6:00pm (EST).

Join THE HUNT FOR TOMORROW, an on-line scavenger hunt, and embark on a virtual odyssey through twenty-two dystopian futures. Become an intrepid scavenger and solve clues at each of the dystopian author stops as you navigate your way to the finish line where you’ll be entered into a random draw for the Grand Prize. For each correct answer collected along the way you’ll get an additional chance to win. During The Hunt, the authors will offer up their own exclusive material, sneak peeks, contests, and giveaways at their individual stops on The Hunt, giving all scavengers multiple chances to win bonus prizes.

13/06/2014

ADDING REALISM: ARE SOME PERIOD MOVIES TOO GORY?

Photo by Jonathan Kos-Read
(by guest blogger Ken Meyer)

Like any other entertainment genre, there is a certain following for gory horror movies. While some may not understand why the need for such detail is attractive for many, the amount of "blood" within a movie can suggest its popularity with those that enjoy the...entertainment. However, some movies were critically acclaimed by using the gore to add realism when telling a story. This is especially true when developing period specific movies that have undertones of being true. 
Gore in the War - The opening scenes to "Saving Private Ryan" demonstrated how bloody the Second World War actually was. Involving an almost artistic style to creating a realistic effect, the movie depicted parts of the war that are commonly overlooked. It was more than explosions of tanks and planes going down in the ocean. The movie provided a taste of what it would be like to be faced in similar situations through the 1940s in Europe. In this respect, the blood and displayed internal organs moved from the impact of "gore" to that of "art." However, was this gore viewed more artistically simply because it was a movie about World War II?

12/06/2014

BLACKWOOD CROSSING BY MK McCLINTOCK - BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY

Blackwood CrossingBlackwood Crossing

 If you had to make a choice, would it be loyalty or love? Torn between loyalty to her family and refusal to marry a laird she despises, Rhona Davidson accepts a dangerous proposal from a man she knows only as Blackwood. Leaving behind a life of leisure, Charles Blackwood bravely serves his country with honor and the skill of a trained British agent. When his newest case returns him to the wild Highlands of Scotland, he is faced with a choice between killing a man and saving the only woman he has ever loved. Charles and Rhona join their lives, only to discover that their choices will result in bloodshed, unless they can uncover a truth long buried, deep in the Highland soil. 

 Praise for Blackwood Crossing 

"MK McClintock has spun an enchanting tale deeply entrenched in the lands of Scotland and England that will leave you riveted to your chair until you turn the last page." - Donna McBroom-Theriot, mylifeonstoryatatime.com 

“This is a wonderful book with suspense to keep me on the edge of my seat and surprises to keep me guessing . . . a feisty heroine and a strong, gentle hero . . . My poetic soul is fed by the beautiful descriptions of nature.” – Verna Mitchell, author of Somewhere Beyond the Blue 

11/06/2014

PERIOD & MORE PERIOD: TURN, THE STORY OF WASHINGTON'S SPIES

Jamie Bell as Abraham Woodhull
AMC Turn


This was an amazing series! The season finale was broadcast last Sunday 8 June, with an amazing crescendo of emotions but no news of a second series.  I think this story deserves a second season, I would be more than disappointed if it didn't get it. 
An excellent historical fiction drama series,  starring a blend of great British and US actors, TURN  is a period piece that reveals the story of America's first spy ring. 
A historical thriller set during the Revolutionary War, this TV show is based on Alexander Rose's book Washington's Spies. It was developed and written by Craig Silverstein (Nikita), who also serves as showrunner. It stars, among others, Jamie Bell (Filth, Jane Eyre, Nicholas Nickleby, Billy Elliot) , J. J. Feild (Northanger Abbey, Austenland, The Ruby in the Smoke), Seth Numrich (The Good Wife) and Heather Lind (Boardwalk Empire).

08/06/2014

REMEMBERING SIGFRIED SASSOON AND HIS PROTEST AGAINST THE WAR BY GUEST BLOGGER ROSS BARNETT


"I am making this statement as an act of wilful defiance of military authority, because I believe that the War is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it. I am a soldier, convinced that I am acting on behalf of soldiers. I believe that this War, on which I entered as a war of defence and liberation, has now become a war of aggression and conquest. I believe that the purpose for which I and my fellow soldiers entered upon this war should have been so clearly stated as to have made it impossible to change them, and that, had this been done, the objects which actuated us would now be attainable by negotiation. I have seen and endured the sufferings of the troops, and I can no longer be a party to prolong these sufferings for ends which I believe to be evil and unjust. I am not protesting against the conduct of the war, but against the political errors and insincerities for which the fighting men are being sacrificed. On behalf of those who are suffering now I make this protest against the deception which is being practised on them; also I believe that I may help to destroy the callous complacency with which the majority of those at home regard the contrivance of agonies which they do not, and which they have not sufficient imagination

06/06/2014

PERIOD & MORE PERIOD: LOOKING FORWARD TO OUTLANDER, POLDARK, THE MUSKETEERS 2 & REIGN 2.


Outlander, based on Diana Gabaldon's best selling saga,  premieres on Starz on August 9th. Sam Heughan - 6' 3" of Scottish handsomeness -  wears Jamie Fraser's kilt and boots, while dark beauty Catriona Balfe is Claire Randall,  a married combat nurse from 1945,  who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743 and ends up caught in the dangerous events that will lead to the Jacobite rebellion, but also in the protective arms of young Jamie.
If you haven't read the books yet, at least the first one in the series, it may sound quite a confusing story, but I'll assure you it won't be once you familiarize with its gripping plot and characters.
In the cast also a few familiar faces, like Tobias Menzies (Game of Thrones, Rome, Spooks) and Graham MacTavish (The Hobbit).

05/06/2014

JUNE KINDLE FIRE GIVEAWAY


June Kindle Fire
Enter to win 1 of 2 great prizes. 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 bloggers who post about this giveaway. You can find info on how to enter the 2nd giveaway in the rafflecopter.    



Win a Kindle Fire HDX, 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)



02/06/2014

TEACHING SAROYAN, READING CASSANDRA CLARE

Teaching Saroyan

I’ve been flustered and terribly emotional these last few days. What’s going on? Is that the “getting older” mood? “I’m going soft in my old age”. This is  a quote, but I can’t remember where I heard it. It was a TV movie or series, can’t tell you more.   OK.  Add "has bad memory" to "gets flustered and emotional". 
These last days I have been giving my last lessons to my last year’s students (doesn't that sound really final?) reading them a couple of chapters from The Human Comedy by William Saroyan,  which I had chosen to say good-bye and wishes good life to them. And what happened?  I just couldn’t avoid it: my voice went broken,  my  eyes filled with tears.  Problem is they were all so silent and so focused on me and some girls had tears in their eyes too. Boys? They must be tough, you know.  But they were not giggling, nor being distracted. They looked, let’s say,  surprised?
This has actually hardly ever happened to me before. Not that it was a bad experience, it was just … weird. That’s all. Here are the “guilty” words:

30/05/2014

THE CRIMSON FIELD. A REVIEW BY R .L. BARTRAM, AUTHOR OF 'DANCE THE MOON DOWN'

The Crimson Field  - BBC1 drama
Have you seen The Crimson Field on BBC1? I have and I liked it a lot. Anyhow it is not my review  you are going to read but Robert L. Bartram's , author of Dance the Moon Down, who is an expert of WW1 and historical fiction.  Robert doesn't agree at all with my enthusiasm,  but this doesn't mean I can't appreciate his point of view and his analysis. Read his guest post and, please, feel free to share your opinion on the show in the comment section. 

As a writer of historical fiction who has spent the last five years immersed in the facts of the Great War, I’m always interested when anything new appears in this genre and curious to see if anyone has discovered a different way of approaching it.

The latest offering is the BBC’s production of The Crimson Field written by Sarah Phelps. It’s a story of the nurses in the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VADS) serving at a frontline field hospital in France during WW1. Nothing new so far, nevertheless a worthy subject and a golden opportunity to celebrate one of the many roles women performed during the Great War, most especially as this is its centenary year.

27/05/2014

THE FOREST LORD SERIES: THE WOLF AND THE RAVEN BY STEVEN A. MCKAY - AUTHOR GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY


Steven A. Mc Kay was my guest back in September 2013 with an interview in which we discussed the first instalment of his The Forest Lord Series, Wolf's Head and his choice of writing a new saga focused on an old legend: Robin Hood. Steven is my guest again to present his new book, The Wolf and the Raven and to give you the chance to win a copy (book or audiobook at winner's choice). Read the post and good luck in the giveaway contest!

The Forest Lord series, so far, comprises two novels: Wolf's Head and The Wolf and the Raven. They are my take on the age-old Robin Hood legend, written in a modern style, with plenty of action and adventure while still (hopefully) being historically accurate and closer to the “true” Robin than any of the fictional versions that have been done before. Be warned though, this version of the legend is not for children – there's a lot of violence, bad language and the odd bit of sex. Just like real medieval life!

26/05/2014

BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY - THE RIPPLE EFFECT, IMMERSED BY JENNIFER GRIFFITH

Immersed tour

Immersed NewImmersed by Jennifer Griffith

Lisette Pannebaker speaks five languages and has a brilliant business plan—personal language immersion. Clients can hire her to shadow them and speak all day in any language they need to learn for business or travel—whatever. But there’s a major hitch: she’s far too pretty. Clients with less than honorable intentions sign up just have Lisette at their side. Solution? A make-under. Way under.It works like a charm. None of her male clients show her the least bit of interest. Until… Erik. Erik Gunnarsson is charming, kind, and smart—everything she’s ever looked for. Even though he seems to have a secret and she swore she'd never date a client, Lisette is tempted to shed her disguise—even if it means jeopardizing her career.


25/05/2014

PERIOD & MORE PERIOD: REIGN, JAMAICA INN AND NEW WORLDS

Reign: when history becomes a fairy-tale


This series recently wrapped at its 22nd episode after being on US CW Network for months . Though far from being historically accurate, Reign kept faith to the gist of the true history of Queen Mary Stuart and her life at the French court,  as the betrothed of Prince Francis, Dauphin of France. The two royals  were actually married for one year, until he died very young of an infection.
It is a smart series that winkles at teenage  and young audiences with   captivating photography, a somewhat-anachronistic soundtrack, doll-faced actors and actresses, intriguing love stories and a bit of sex, supernatural events and magic, wicked villains and gorgeous costumes. I am definitely not intended demographic, but I liked it,  anyhow. Well acted and well written, the show caught me at first sight.

22/05/2014

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY - A IS FOR ABSTINENCE BY KELLY ORAM

perf5.250x8.000.inddA if for Abstinence by Kelly Oram

Six-time Grammy Award wining musician Kyle Hamilton has it all—money, fame, talent, good looks, and a job he loves. His only regret in life: walking away from a certain notorious virgin because he was too prideful, stubborn, and even afraid to give her the only thing she asked of him—his abstinence. Four years and a broken heart later, Kyle realizes that sex isn’t everything, and he suddenly can’t stop thinking about the girl that got away. Virgin Val Jensen got under is skin like no one else ever has. He wasn’t ready for her then, but things are different now. He’s grown up, he’s learned a few things, and he’s finally figured out exactly what he wants, or, rather, who he wants. Kyle Hamilton wants a do-over, and this time he’s willing to do—or not do—whatever it takes.


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21/05/2014

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY - GODDESS BORN BY KARI EDGREN

goddess born coverGoddess Born

Pennsylvania, 1730 Selah Kilbrid keeps a dangerous secret: she has the power to heal. A direct descendent of the Celtic goddess Brigid, it’s Selah’s sacred duty to help those in need. But as the last of the Goddess Born living in the New World, she learned from an early age to keep her supernatural abilities hidden. The Quaker community of Hopewell has always been welcoming, but there’s no doubt they would see her hanged if her gift was revealed. When a prominent minister threatens to try her with witchcraft unless she becomes his wife, Selah has only one hope—that her betrothed, a distant cousin from Ireland, arrives as planned. Marrying Samuel would keep her secret safe, preserve her sacred bloodline, and protect her from being charged as a witch. But when news of Samuel’s death reaches the Colonies, Selah is truly on her own. Terrified, she faces an impossible choice—forfeit her powers and marry the loathsome Nathan? Or find an imposter to pose as her husband and preserve her birthright?