23/11/2014

BOOK REVIEW - ROGUE SPY BY JOANNA BOURNE

 (by guest blogger and dear friend K/V)

The signs were all there: anticipation and the thrill of the hunt (just imagine my increasing anxiety until I was able to locate a B&N bookshop in Manhattan – too few bookshops left there, IMHO!); the awareness of being hooked from the very beginning – “The end of her own particular world arrived early on a Tuesday morning, wrapped in brown paper and twine, sealed with a blob of red wax”; the unusual desire to lengthen the pleasure of reading by stopping before I really wanted to; the frequent re-reading of entire pages; the feeling of emptiness when the book was over; the lingering sense of bliss even days after I finished reading; the compelling need to tell someone about it... 
And what’s more, it happened AGAIN within a matter of months! I already felt that way last spring, when I devoured Joanna Bourne’s Spymasters series all in one swallow, ending with The Black Hawk. At the time, I resisted the impulse, but this time I simply couldn’t. Also because the authors I usually feel inspired to congratulate happen to be dead for a long time, centuries sometimes, and it is a privilege to be able to do so with someone who’s not only very much alive, but also friendly available to readers through her own website and even a Twitter account! What a temptation!

I have always liked Spy stories and historical novels: the addition of a bit of romance is very welcome, but not necessary. The mixture can be (it usually is) very dangerous for a writer to handle, and the models are quite hard to compare with. I’m thinking of classics like Dumas’s Opera omnia, Orczy’s The Scarlet Pimpernel, Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles and such. That’s why I admired Ms Bourne’s ability to blend the ingredients together creating her personal mix, with the addition of witty dialogue and insightful presentation of the characters’ psychology which I have seldom (if ever) happened upon. The characters, the main ones as well as the minor, are so cleverly portrayed and expanded,  that they immediately start to grow on the reader: you can’t help actually caring for them. That’s because you can follow their thoughts, not being just a witness of their actions. Ms Bourne handles their background stories very cleverly, moving to and fro along the whole series – this is the 6th book of the series (including Her Ladyship’s Companion, because of Hawker’s ‘cameo’). Ah, Adrian: how couldn’t we love him? Looks like the Author herself can’t let him off: even if other (major) characters don’t appear in every novel, Adrian “Hawker” Hawkhurst is always there - at various stages of his interesting and complicated life – and smart, witty, lethal and good-looking as always. Not flawless, mind you: but that’s another reason why we like him.

18/11/2014

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY - SPELL FOR SOPHIA

SpellForSophia_453x680 Spell for Sophia

Sophia Perez-Hidalgo’s survival depends upon her mastering magic and the supernatural before her lawless parents and their vengeful boss catch up to her. How far must she flee to escape them forever? Sophia runs until she’s out of stolen money, then…Fate delivers her into the arms of Louisiana teen Shiloh Breaux Martine, and his grand-mère, a voodoo priestess living deep in the bayou. Breaux knows Sophia is trouble — but he’ll travel through time, battle zombies, and risk his bright future to protect her. While Ainslie, best friend extraordinaire, will jeopardize her sanity to find and aid Sophia. When friendship, magic, and love are not enough, Sophia will have to save herself. But first, she must believe she’s worth saving. Sometimes the worst scars are the ones you cannot see.  





17/11/2014

LOVING LUCIANNA BLOG TOUR - FIVE QUESTIONS TO THE AUTHOR, JOYCE DI PASTENA, AND GIVEAWAY

What made you write a book about an older couple falling in love?

I belong to a Facebook group called the Clean/Sweet Romance Group. Last spring we held a joint promo event on Facebook, and afterwards the group leader challenged us to write a fall-themed short story, novella, or novel for a promo event to be held in the fall. At first I simply tried to come up with a story set during the autumn season, but then I thought, “What if I wrote a story about a couple falling in love in the autumn of their lives?” (All good plot ideas begin with “What if…?”  ) And then I remembered a pair of secondary characters who fell in love in my medieval romance, Illuminations of the Heart, who were in their 40s and 50s. Their romance was a very small part of the arc of that story, but I decided it would be fun to follow it up and see where their romance took them. And that became the kernel of my idea for Loving Luciannaand my Hearts in Autumn romance series. (Loving Lucianna is the first in my projected series. I have an idea for a second romance, hopefully to be completed by next fall.)

What advice would you give budding writers?

I  know this sound trite, but write. Write every day, even if it’s just 100 words. And most importantly, write whether you feel like writing or not. The best advice I ever received was from someone who said, “Real writers write even when they don’t feel like it.” That advice has gotten me through many a rough patch when I didn’t feel like writing but did it anyway. It’s the way books get finished. I may not enjoy every word that I write—some days it literally feels like pulling teeth to get 100 words on the page. But I have never once regretted “forcing” myself to write when I came back to the computer the next day and saw that I had made progress with my story instead of letting it stand still.

AN INTERVIEW WITH NLB HORTON, AUTHOR OF "THE BROTHERS' KEEPERS' + DOUBLE GIVEAWAY



In The Brothers’ Keepers, we meet archaeologist Grace Madison who is in Brussels cataloguing looted antiquities when her son’s bride is attacked in Switzerland. Her day careens from bad to catastrophic when daughter Maggie disappears in France.
Coincidence is a luxury Grace cannot afford as history — saturated in espionage — is repeating itself.


The title of the book, The Brothers’ Keepers, refers to heroine Grace Madison’s determination to protect someone important to her. To what lengths would you go to protect someone you cared about?



I would do whatever it took — and I remember the exact moment I decided that! I stood at the edge of the tel Dan (northern Israel) archaeological dig pit in 2007 with my husband and two then-teenage children. They had accompanied me on an archaeological survey as part of my master’s degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. Heavy artillery fire began booming from Syria as staccato machine-gun reports peppered near the Lebanese border. An Israeli Defense Force camouflage-painted plane broke through an unseasonal cloud cover, circling the site. I hoped they could see we were unarmed! Grace Madison was born from this harrowing experience.

 The Brothers’ Keepers largely focuses on doing the right thing. Tell us about a situation in which you chose to do the right thing despite personal cost. Was it worth it?



My business was thriving, my children were young, and I had to choose between a smaller role in their lives or limiting my company’s growth. My husband was trying to transition from one career to another, and I was the family’s wage-earner.



16/11/2014

AT THE CINEMA - TORNERANNO I PRATI - WWI SEEN BY ERMANNO OLMI

Why this movie now? Not only to join the celebrations of  WWI 100th anniversary. At  83, one of the greatest contemporary Italian directors, Ermanno Olmi,  makes up his mind to direct a new  “useful” movie, committed and lyrical at the same time, which is a visual poem against all and any war. In “Torneranno i prati”, each frame is poetic imagery and each line is true poetry wrapped in simple, direct words. 

War is absurd and terrifying. This is something Olmi has always been convinced of, since he and his brother were made the addressees of painful war tales by their own father, a veteran from WWI, who had experienced the trenches in first person.

15/11/2014

" ... THEY CAN'T FIND THEM, THEY MAKE THEM." AT THE THEATRE: MRS WARREN'S PROFESSION BY GEORGE BERNARD SHAW

“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, make them.”

It was a bit sad to be sitting in a half-empty theatre while  watching  this play,  one of George Bernard Shaw’s "Plays Unpleasant". The thought that The Eliseo is going to be closed at the end of the season, all those empty seats and what was said and performed on stage made me, in the end, quite melancholic. The "unpleasant" in the title is not a random choice. 

The cast was really good in the hard task to involve the audience in this not-at -all –easy- to - digest piece. You know, you can’t actually relate to any of the characters and you are constantly disturbed by the harshness of one or the hypocrisy of the others.

14/11/2014

HAPPY 10th BIRTHDAY, NORTH AND SOUTH!


Can a TV series touch your heart and change your life? Nooo? You can only say that if  you haven't seen this one. I would have answered "no" myself before watching  it  by chance  a  few years ago. Unbelievable but true, this is what this miniseries did to thousands of viewers all over the world. If I had only suspected what a turning point   BBC NORTH AND SOUTH, would be in my life... I would have watched it earlier! Instead, I discovered  it only in the summer 2008 and it , incredibly, actually changed my life.
Exaggerating? Not a bit. I know the same happened to so many! Which other costume series had such an extraordinary response? Pride and Prejudice 1995, of course. But not many others.
Enthusiastic fans, hundreds of them, overwhelmed the BBC Drama message boards with messages about the series and,  in particular, its hero. Soon the BBC had to set up a separate message board for the discussions. The phenomenon of so many women taking to an Internet message board for the first time because of their love for this programme became the subject of an article by Anne Ashworth in The Times. She wrote: 
The BBC Drama website contains the outpourings of hundreds of thirty and fortysomething women for this year’s romantic hero. He is John Thornton, the northern millowner in Mrs Gaskell’s North & South, recently serialised on BBC One. Thornton was played smoulderingly by the previously little-known Richard Armitage as a blue-eyed, dark-haired stunner, the Darcy de nos jours. On the messageboard, character and actor merge into one object of desire: RA/JT (from http://www.richardarmitageonline.com/

13/11/2014

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY - RETURN TO CHELSEY FALLS

Return to Chelsey FallsReturn to Chelsey Falls

After the death of his mother, fourteen year old, Wyatt Barnes was sent to live with his grandparents in Chelsey Falls, Washington. That summer was filled with new friends and new adventures until his life was turned upside down for a second time. Almost ten years later, an offer to teach at the high school in Chelsey Falls, brings Wyatt back to the small town. Is he getting a second chance to make amends with Alexa, the young woman that had befriended him? Meanwhile, Wyatt’s sudden reappearance in town sends Alexa’s life into a tailspin. Alexa can’t help but wonder if Wyatt has finally found the peace he so desperately needed. Although apprehensive about opening old wounds, Alexa knows she can’t avoid Wyatt forever. Could what started out as a crush so long ago become more than that now? Or is it just too late? Return to Chelsey Falls is a heartwarming story of second chances and forgiveness.



  Praise for the Book:

 Alisa says: Good read! I enjoyed the story and the characters. The author’s description and character development allowed the reader to get into the story easily and quickly. A fabulous clean, good story about following your heart and not giving up

11/11/2014

BLOG TOUR + GIVEAWAY : FORGET ME NOT & REMEMBER ME BY STACEY NASH

Forget Me Not and Remember Me


Forget Me Not Forget Me Not

Anamae is drawn into a world which shatters everything she knew to be true. Since her mother vanished nine years ago, Anamae and her father have shared a quiet life. But when Anamae discovers a brooch identical to her mother's favorite pendant, she unknowingly invites a slew of trouble into their world. They're not just jewellery, they're part of a highly developed technology capable of cloaking the human form. Triggering the jewellery's power attracts the attention of a secret society determined to confiscate the device - and silence everyone who is aware of its existence. Anamae knows too much, and now she's Enemy Number One. She's forced to leave her father behind when she's taken in by a group determined to keep her safe. Here Anamae searches for answers about this hidden world. With her father kidnapped and her own life on the line, Anamae must decide if saving her dad is worth risking her new friends' lives. No matter what she does, somebody is going to get hurt.

04/11/2014

MY NAME IS BRYAN BLOG TOUR + AMAZON GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY

My Name is Bryan
My Name is Bryan by Stacy Lynn Carroll If your friends jumped off a cliff, would you jump too? Bryan chose to dive. Moments later, as he lay on the beach, unable to move his arms or legs, two questions ran through his mind: Would he walk again? And would he ever have kids? Based on the incredible true story of life, love, and never giving up.



Praise for the book: "I plowed through his story, amazed at how he could so easily accept something that would destroy anyone else and just move forward with such a positive attitude. I don't give many 5 stars, but it's well-earned. This book really touched me. It's the kind of story that stays with you for a long time." --Amazon customer 

 "I actually love stories like this. Ones that show the power of the human spirit and what love and determination can achieve. I cried multiple times while reading this but they were a happy sort of hopeful tears. If you are looking for something uplifting and motivational read this heart-felt story of love and hope." --Inspired Kathy 

"You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wring your hands in frustration, and you won't be able to put it down to go to sleep as you keep waiting to read about Bryan's happily ever after. This is one of those books that stick with you long after you've finished reading it." --Bookmom 

31/10/2014

THE MATCH MAKER BY CAREY WHITE - BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY

Match Maker Book CoverThe Match Maker by Karey White (The Husband Maker #2)

 (Summary contains spoilers if you have not yet read book #1 The Husband Maker) It’s been six months since Charlotte and Kyle broke up, and the Husband Maker strikes again. Kyle is officially engaged, while Charlotte is still nursing a broken heart. In an effort to get Charlotte out of her rut, she and her best friend decide it’s time for some good old-fashioned matchmaking. While Aleena arranges for Charlotte to meet up with a handsome Scottish tourist, Charlotte gets her two best friends together. But when sparks start to fly between Aleena and Angus, Charlotte is left feeling more alone that ever--at least until the charming Scotsman becomes more than just a safe, rebound guy and teaches her that maybe, just maybe, she can dare to open her heart again.

The Match Maker releases on November 1st
Order your copy Now!



30/10/2014

SWEET AND CLEAN ROMANCE COLLECTION BLOG TOUR + GIVEAWAY

Sweet and Clean Romance Collection

Hearts in Harmony and Something Blue



Ok clean romance lovers these books are for you!! Trifecta Books is excited to announce their new line of short contemporary romance novels for e-book. The Sweet and Clean Romance Collection will melt your heart and sweep you off your feet. There are currently four books out with many more titles coming soon.   


28/10/2014

SPOTLIGHT ON ... KITTY HAWK AND THE CURSE OF THE YUKON GOLD + INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is the thrilling first installment in a new young adult series of adventure mystery stories by Iain Reading. This first book of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series introduces Kitty Hawk, an intrepid teenage pilot with her own De Havilland Beaver seaplane and a nose for mystery and intrigue. A cross between Amelia Earhart, Nancy Drew and Pippi Longstocking, Kitty is a quirky young heroine with boundless curiosity and a knack for getting herself into all kinds of precarious situations. 

After leaving her home in the western Canadian fishing village of Tofino to spend the summer in Alaska studying humpback whales, Kitty finds herself caught up in an unforgettable adventure involving stolen gold, devious criminals, ghostly shipwrecks, and bone-chilling curses. Kitty's adventure begins with the lingering mystery of a sunken ship called the Clara Nevada. As the plot continues to unfold, this spirited story will have readers anxiously following every twist and turn as they are swept along through the history of the Klondike Gold Rush to a suspenseful final climatic chase across the rugged terrain of Canada's Yukon.

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is a perfect book to fire the imagination of readers of all ages. Filled with fascinating and highly Google-able locations and history this book will inspire anyone to learn and experience more for themselves. 

25/10/2014

FROM BOOKS TO MOVIES - CORIOLANUS (2011), TWO MOTHERS (2013): HATE, REVENGE, LOVE.

Among the latest films I managed to watch on satellite TV, two adaptations of literary works: a play by William Shakespeare, Coriolanus, directed and interpreted by Ralph Fiennes, and Two Mothers, based on a novella by Doris Lessing.

Fiennes's Coriolanus is not set in ancient Rome since it it a modernization of the Elizabethan play. Warfare characterizes the dark, bloody story of Caius Marcus Coriolanus in this movie, too. A great cast, including Vanessa Redgrave, Gerald Butler, Brian Cox, Jessica Chastain and James Nesbitt, give  life to the protagonists of this political historical play, who are really difficult to find appealing,  but who are, anyway,  complex and interesting, flawed and out of time. 

Coriolanus is a war hero, a strong leader, a patrician who despises the plebeians, a powerful man who is arrogant, impulsive, stubborn, incapable of diplomacy or mediation, except when he accepts  to be allied with his worst enemy, Aufidius,  when it comes to take revenge against his own citizens who had  exiled him. He is ready to march on Rome and destroy it at Aufidius's side since he is blinded by his own rage, his furious, violent desire for revenge. Coriolanus is not a great Roman leader embodying great virtues, but a boastful politician who too easily becomes the victim of other plotting, scheming, and  not even smart -  politicians.  Is he capable of love? He is incapable of denying anything to his own mother, if that can count as filial love. To me, it sounds more like a never totally overcome aedipus complex. Strongwilled mother bends weakwilled son and, in the end, even succeeds in undermining  his convictions, making  him the victim of those other politicians, the ones he had entrusted of his own plan to destroy Rome: the leaders of the Volsci. When they see his undecisiveness in the attack to Rome, though they got their profits from the final peace treaty, they decide to kill him. 

24/10/2014

WHY I AM NOT 'A-MUSED', OR AM I? SARAH HAWKSWOOD, ON MR ARMITAGE AND HER NEW RELEASE, "THE LORD BISHOP'S CLERK"

No, I am not Queen Victoria, but the question of muses is interesting. Personally, I associate them with poets of dodgy mental stability and pre-Raphaelite painters, but some people find them helpful in the creative arts. However, writers, painters, and other creative people all use bits and bobs, ‘collages’, from reality, both experience and physicality, to infuse their fiction, consciously or unconsciously. I suppose I am wary of using the same person over and over again, lest that create the same character, and from preference I would blend even physical aspects. The danger there is that you end up with a Frankenstein’s monster, badly stitched together and a bit leaky at the seams.

Having declared against muses, I am then forced to admit I took one physical form for one of my two ‘detectives’ for my 12th century Bradecote and Catchpoll murder mystery series. I had two characters in mind, one the grizzled ‘seen it all before’ Sheriff’s Serjeant, and the other a manorial lord drafted in whether he wanted it or not, initially to keep the more lordly suspects ‘happy’. I began writing the first book in 2003, and a few months later opened my newspaper to see ‘Catchpoll’ staring at me fully formed.. It was an interview with an actor about to play Titus Andronicus, and staring at me was the perfect fit for my character.
Reader, I stole him.

Richard Armitage as John Thornton in North and South (BBC 2004)
From that moment on I could visualise Catchpoll in every gesture, grimace, every sucking of teeth. I knew his voice, the way he screwed up his eyes. I gave him a character that was a ‘collage’, but I could see him clearly. Now, it has been remarked that reading my work is like watching a television drama or film. Perhaps that is a consequence of creating a world and being ‘in it’ as I write. It does mean ‘seeing’ characters helps. It also meant that my Under Sheriff was a bit ‘thin’ on first draft.

19/10/2014

MGS MEETS MGS - INTERVIEW WITH BEST SELLING AUTHOR MARIA GRAZIA SWAN + GIVEAWAY




Hello and happy Sunday, everyone! Are you ready to meet my new cyber friend?  She's brilliant  and talented.  We curiously share quite a bit, starting from the same name, the same initials and the same nationality. She lives in Arizona and is a successful writer as well as  blogger. Her English is much, much better than mine. But she insists on flattering me ... Well, more in the interview. Read, enjoy and take your chances to win Maria Grazia Swan's latest release, Ashes of Autumn. (see rafflecopter form below)  

*********************************************

Hello MGS! How curious it is we share the same name, Maria Grazia, and even the same initials, MGS! Pretty awkward we found each other out because people mixed us up on facebook. Now we’ve virtually discovered each other, what else do you think we share? I think we’ll know after this chit chat. So … Welcome and thanks for accepting my invitation!
We both speak Italian and English. My maiden name is Tognolo. Swan is the last name of my former husband. But, honestly, Swan is such an easy name to remember and so easy to spell and pronounce, so I kept it.

17/10/2014

PERIOD & MORE PERIOD - AT THE CINEMA: A PROMISE


Germany 1912.  Friedrich  is a young man of humble origins with a degree in chemistry employed by Karl Hoffmeister,  who immediately understood the character and potential of the young man and decided to make him his protégé. Suffering from a serious heart disease, Hoffmeister is forced to work at home, where he lives with his wife,  Lotte,  and her son Otto. Impressed by Friedrich’s   zeal, he promotes him as his personal secretary and  urges him to move into his large mansion.

Happy but confused by the feelings he starts feeling for his master’s and benefactor’s young wife, Friedrich accepts both accommodation and challenge, anyhow. The proximity feeds the feeling and reveals an affinity difficult to control,  at least until Hoffmeister decides to send Friedrich to Mexico to follow a new and important project. Lotte can’t hide her own feelings any longer, especially because the idea of living without Friedrich is now unbearable.  However the two young lovers resist their passion and promise one to the other to wait until Friedrich is back and Lotte free from her duties to her husband.

16/10/2014

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY - JACK TEMPLAR AND THE LORD OF THE WEREWOLVES

Jack Templar 4Jack Templar and the Lord of the Werewolves 

 Fresh from confronting the Lord of the Vampires in the limestone catacombs beneath Paris, Jack Templar faces his toughest challenge yet as he searches for the next Jerusalem Stone, this one being held by the Lord of the Werewolves. But the narrow escape from the vampire lair came at a great cost and Eva battles to survive the new vampire blood in her veins. The only chance to help Eva is to continue their quest and find the Jerusalem Stones. Reuniting the Stones will not only stop Ren Lucre’s coming war against mankind, but also transform Eva back into her human self. From the ruins of ancient Delhi to the depths of the Black Forest in Germany, Jack and his friends face monsters, bewildering riddles and treachery from the most unlikely of places. Through it all, they are plagued by the Oracle’s prediction that at least one of their group with not make it through the adventure alive. Worse yet, they know that Kaeden, the Lord of the Werewolves, will do his best to make sure none of them do. But they are monster hunters of the Black Guard… and they will do their duty, come what may.

15/10/2014

PERIOD & MORE PERIOD - AT THE CINEMA: IL GIOVANE FAVOLOSO


“Freedom is the dream you dream
While putting thought in chains again --” 

Il Giovane Favoloso directed by Mario Martone is an Italian movie which participated in Venezia Film Festival last September. I was lucky enough and I could see it in a special premiere for teachers in Rome, before  it will be released in theatres on 16th October.

The film is a biopic of Italian Romantic poet, Giacomo Leopardi (1798 - 1837). Italian students inevitably meet him on their path through high school and two are the chances: either they love him or they  hate him. Impossible to remain indifferent.
For me it was love at first line, when I studied his poems in my final year at high school. I felt like that genius young man from a distant time could read my deepest thoughts and put them on paper in powerful words.

Touching and at times disturbing, his pessimism and his humanity, his melancholy and his sufferings, have stayed with me while turning into an adult.  I still treasure those poems as remarkable moments of  self-realization and growth.

Said that, you may guess my watching this film couldn't be nothing less than an emotional experience: it was something like meeting Leopardi in the flesh and finally giving him a body and face, while in my mind he had only been a voice.

14/10/2014

SPOOKTACULAR GIVEAWAY HOP - WIN TWO CLASSIC GOTHIC TALES

You know who started all this in English literature? I mean supernatural, horror and terror, fantasy, and alike? Horace Walpole, writing his The Castle of Otranto in 1764, which started a new genre that would become extremely popular in the later 18th century and early 19th century: the Gothic novel. Thus, Walpole, by extension, is the forerunner to such authors as Charles MaturinAnn RadcliffeBram StokerEdgar Allan Poe and Daphne du Maurier.  

Here is my choice, then,  for my giveaway contest here at FLY HIGH!,  which is included in the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop organized by Kathy at  I am a Reader: you can choose your prizes from the list of  classic Gothic novels below (in paperback edition). Pick up two titles and they will be yours,  if you are lucky enough. Take your chances to win in the rafflecopter form below this post and ... good luck!

10/10/2014

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY - UNSTRUNG BY KENDRA C. HIGHLEY

UnstrungUNSTRUNG by Kendra C. Highley

Lexa Pate, seventeen-year-old thief extraordinaire, has burned a bridge or two in her life. You don’t make a career out of stealing other people’s property without making enemies. When a risky job goes from bad to worse, Lexa and her adopted family find themselves on Precipice Corporation’s hit list because they’ve accidentally stolen the wrong thing—plans for a new model of genetically engineered super humans. Now, every bounty hunter, cop on the take, and snitch in the city is after them. Lexa’s world crumbles around her as she fights to keep her family safe even as someone strolls out of her forgotten past. Quinn claims to know who Lexa really is, but can she trust a stranger she met while robbing his boss? More importantly, does she really want to know what Quinn has to tell her? Based on the fairy tale Pinocchio, UNSTRUNG takes you into a near future world where the lines between fake and real are blurred, all that’s pristine isn’t always innocent, and being a criminal isn’t always wrong.



08/10/2014

GOOD MUSIC, BRIGHTER CHILDREN - BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY

Good Music Brighter Children
About the book

 Good Music Brighter Children is written for parents, educators or anyone who wants to build a bigger, better brain using music. Scientific studies indicate that children introduced to classical music at a young age read earlier and perform better on achievement tests. Adults can also revive tired brain cells using music. This book gives you a step-by-step program that any parent or individual can follow. You’ll discover how introducing your children to good music can accelerate language development, improve math and science skills, enhance physical coordination, strengthen memory and reading retention, and benefit children with learning disabilities. Discover how to choose an instrument and music teacher for your child; how to get your kids to practice and how character traits such as confidence, responsibility, creativity and teamwork are taught when learning a musical instrument. Learn how to introduce your child to the music community and how to appreciate all kinds of music. Last, if you want to advocate for music in your schools, this book gives the ammunition and data to do so. Also includes a 35-page Resource Section on the best music, books, and DVDs for kids.

05/10/2014

AN INTERVIEW WITH SARAH E. LADD, AUTHOR OF A LADY AT WILLOWGROVE HALL + GIVEAWAY


When the noose of your secrets begins to tighten, it can cut off any hope for freedom and love in the future. Letting the light of truth sever your unhealthy tie to the past is a major theme of award-winning author Sarah E. Ladd’s book A Lady at Willowgrove Hall (Thomas Nelson/October 7, 2014/ISBN: 978-1401688370), the third and final installment in the Whispers on the Moors series. Set in Great Britain’s Regency era, A Lady at Willowgrove Hall perfectly conveys the romantic sensibilities of that time. Here's my interview with Sarah E. Ladd. Below this post there are a few chances for you to win this book! (Giveaway US only)


Hello and welcome, Sarah! A Lady at Willowgrove Hall is the third book in the Whispers on the Moors series set during the Regency period. Can you tell us something about the historical context you've chosen for this novel? 

The Regency era took place in England from 1811 to 1820. It was called that because when King George III was deemed unfit for the throne, his son, the Price of Wales, ruled in his stead as the Prince Regent. England was engaged in the Napoleonic War against France, and they were also at war with the American colonies in the War of 1812. The Industrial Age was in full swing, and the Romantic Movement was shaping the literature, art and music of the day.

What about the Regency period interested you most and made you want to write about it? 

I have always been a fan of Romantic British literature and enjoy the Romantic Movement in general, which, again, fell during the Regency era. I have read the literature and the poetry of this time period extensively, and those works had a profound influence on me. If I had to pick one favorite author, I would have to choose Charlotte Brontë, although Jane Austen is a very close second.

02/10/2014

HAND OF FIRE BLOG TOUR - INTERVIEW WITH JUDITH STARKSTON + GIVEAWAY


First of all welcome and thanks a lot for accepting to answer my questions, Judith. It’s a great pleasure to have the chance to present you and your debut  novel,  Hand of Fire, to my readers. How excited are you on releasing your first book?

It’s great fun to see the positive reaction to my book. Such a long journey to get published and now I feel proud. My book launch at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore was fabulous and we sold twice as many books as the staff had predicted. How thrilling is that!

My first question may be quite tricky, but let’s try. What’s the difference between a good historical fiction novel and a brilliant one?

I’m so glad you asked. According to Helen Hollick, editor of Historical Novels Review and author of Forever Queen,”But what is the difference between a good historical novel and a brilliant one?

I suggest you read Judith Starkston’s Hand of Fire and you’ll discover the answer." I would never argue with a pro like Helen and any other answer would take a few hundred pages!


BOOKS TO MOVIES - GIVEAWAY HOP


I really like watching films and series inspired to books I love. I like to compare books and movies, and I'm always curious to see my dream characters come to life. Sometimes I am disappointed, sometimes I am thrilled, never indifferent.
Here are my choices for a great giveaway hop, BOOKS TO MOVIES, organized by Kathy at I am a Reader in collaboration with BookHounds.

You can choose one of these two books as your prize!


01/10/2014

BOOK BLAST: BEYOND THE GLOAMING BY BRENDAN MURPHY - WIN AMAZON GIFT CARD!

Beyond the Gloaming
Sebastian and the Hibernauts: Beyond the Gloaming

It is Easter, 1973 and twelve year old Sebastian Duffy has some serious self-esteem issues. He is beaten by his parents, bullied at school, steals from his friends and still mourning the death of his brother. To cap it all, strange things have begun happening around him and he is finding it hard to distinguish dreams from reality. After a nightmarish assault, he wakes in the Gloaming, a shadow world inhabited by ghosts. There to greet him is Porrig, a creature from Hibercadia, a magical realm crafted from Celtic dreams. Inhabited by Fir Bolg, Tuath and Milesians, it has been overthrown by brother gods from another dreamworld. One brother, Phobitor, is a tyrant and even the Tuath, who took to their underground sidhe millennia ago, are concerned. Sebastian discovers that he alone can save Hibercadia by finding an enchanted spear. Teaming up with the Hibernauts—a mercurial sorceress, an orphaned druidess, a taciturn warrior, a snuff-sniffing leprechaun and a lovelorn poet—he embarks on a fantastical quest, but can he succeed when he is yet to find his magical potential or even his courage, and half the realm is bent on his destruction?  


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24/09/2014

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY - LIFE ON HOLD BY BEVERLY STOWE McCLURE

Life on HoldLife on Hold

A paper found. A secret revealed. A girl’s life changed forever. Myra Gibson’s life is a lie. For sixteen years her parents have kept their secret, but the adoption paper she discovers while cleaning the guesthouse tells the truth. As the past and present collide, Myra finally stands up for herself and begins a journey she may regret.  


Praise for Life on Hold

 All I can say is wow! Beverly Stowe McClure knocked this one out of the ballpark. The story of Myra and her search for the truth touched upon one of the fundamental needs of all children (and teens): the need for a father in their lives. Darby Karchut, author of the Griffin Series and other books for tweens, teens, and adults. McClure exhibits rare talent in this story which follows a young girl on her journey to discovery as she struggles to be true to herself in this compelling coming-of-age novel. Children’s Literary Classics Book Reviews (Silver Medal Winner 2012) Teen readers can easily relate to Myra's pain and rebellion. Part coming of age, part teen romance, "Life on Hold" is full of surprises. Peggy Tibbetts, author, editor, and associate producer.

ROME - A MUSEUM, A FILM, A PIZZA

Going to Rome is in itself a very exciting occasion for me. Being with friends, visiting a museum, watching a good film, having a good pizza, made my going pretty special.

Musei Capitolini at Centrale Montemartini 


Situated on Via Ostiense on the left bank of the Tiber, opposite to the former General Markets, the Centrale Montemartini is an extraordinary example of an industrial building transformed into an exhibition space. It was originally the first public electricity plant in Rome, named after Giovanni Montemartini; now it is the second exhibition centre of the Musei Capitolini, and contains an outstanding collection of classical sculpture from the excavations carried out in Rome at the turn of the 19th century.

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.