30/09/2012

SEPTEMBER GIVEAWAYS - THREE BOOKS, THREE WINNERS


Karen Essex, Dracula in Love 

London, 1890. Mina Murray Harker, the rosy-cheeked, quintessentially pure Victorian heroine, becomes Count Dracula’s object of desire. To preserve her chastity, five male “defenders” rush in to rescue her from the vampire’s evil clutches. This is the story we have been told. But now, from Mina’s own pen, we discover a tale more sensual, more devious, and more enthralling than the Victorians could have ever imagined. From the shadowy banks of the river Thames to the wild and windswept Yorkshire coast, Mina vividly recounts the intimate details of what really transpired between her and the Count—the joys and terrors of a passionate affair, as well as her rebellion against her own frightening preternatural powers.

Dracula in Love has been won by susied!!!

Buy it at Amazon.com as a paperback or kindle 

28/09/2012

PHILIPPA GREGORY, THE KINGMAKER'S DAUGHTER - MY REVIEW

Anne Neville and her sister Isabel are daughters of the most powerful magnate in 15th century England, the Earl of Warwick, nicknamed the "kingmaker". Ever ruthless, always plotting, in the absence of a son and heir. Warwick sets about using his daughters as pawns in his vicious political games.
Anne grows from a delightful child, brought up at the court of Edward IV and his beautiful queen, Elizabeth Woodville, in intimacy and friendship with the family of Richard, Duke of Gloucester. Her life is overturned when her father turns on his former allies, escapes England and invades with an enemy army. Widowed at fourteen, fatherless, with her mother locked in sanctuary and her sister a vengeful enemy, Anne faces the world alone.
But fortune's wheel  turns once again. Anne plots her escape from her sister's house, finds herself a husband in the handsome young Duke of Gloucester, and marries without permission, in secret. But danger still follows her. She finds that she has a mortal enemy in the most beautiful queen of England. Anne has to protect herself and her precious only son from the treacherous royal court, the deadly royal rival, and even from the driving ambition of her husband - Richard III.

This is not my first fictionalised Anne Neville's account of the facts which involved her in The Cousins' War , nor my first Richard III novel. However, I was totally absorbed in this new version of the story by Philippa Gregory and even often surprised by her choices. As much as I disliked her The White Queen, I really liked her latest The Kingmaker's Daughter. Especially the second half of the book.

26/09/2012

AUTHOR GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY - NELL DIXON, BE MY HERO


I'm Nell Dixon, a Black Country author, married to the same man for over twenty-seven years I have three daughters, a tank of tropical fish and a cactus called Spike. Winner of the RNA’s prestigious Romance Prize in 2007 and 2010, I writes warm-hearted contemporary romance for a number of publishers in the US and the UK including Myrmidon Press, Samhain Publishing, Little Black Dress, Astraea Press, E-Scape Press and Freya’s Bower.
My latest release is from Astraea Press and is called Be My Hero. Although it's my latest e book release it's also available from Audiolark as an audiobook and should appear at some point in large print.
I first wrote Be My Hero in 2007 and it had a short release life in 2008 until my previous publisher closed. It's a story that's very close to my heart. The heroine, Nathalie has a medical

25/09/2012

FRANKENSTEIN AT THE CINEMA - MY REVIEW


Dannis Boyle’s Frankenstein, the  pluriawarded 2011 theatrical production,  has been a terrific success live on stage at the National  Theatre in London and it has after that also been shown worldwide in movie theatres in the original language.  It arrived in Rome yesterday (Cinema Lux) and it’ll be on tonight too (Cinema Barberini).
I can’t imagine how exciting it must have been for the lucky ones  in the audience at the theatre, but it was amazing and enthralling to watch it on screen last night for me. It was like being on stage with the cast, so with  a really privileged perspective on the spectacular staging.
I’ve always been astonished by the idea of a 19th century woman, Mary Shelley, writing such a modern,  evergreen, disquieting  story and at her young age (19 years old).  However, Nick Dear, whose adaptation Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee - Miller brought on stage, surprised and moved me with his brilliant work, which turns the novel into a  touching play.
The originality of the show is in the idea of a symbiotic relationship between created and  creator, the monster and the scientist who gave him life, unusually rendered with Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee-Miller alternating and taking turns to play the two main roles, that of Victor Frankenstein and that of his unnaturally created monster.
The version I saw last night was with Cumberbatch as the creature and Lee-Miller as Victor Frankenstein. 

24/09/2012

FOUR BOOKS THAT TEACH IMPORTANT VALUES TO YOUNG STUDENTS

(by guest blogger Nadia Jones)

There are several solid works of literature that teach the values of tolerance, good citizenship and humility, among other life lessons. These values are important and should be taught on a regular basis to young children and young adults. Literature is the perfect means for learning important principles, because readers are allowed to think through the themes at their own pace, without the distraction of other’s opinions. 
Several educational systems across the world have recognized not only the academic value of reading literature but the social value, as well. In the United States, several books with moralistic undertones can be found on the required reading list for public high schools. Although only two of the following four books are currently on that list, they are each equally worthy of reading by everyone, young and old.

Citizenship Papers: Essays

Written by National Humanities Medal recipient, Wendell Berry, this collection of essays is one of his finest works. Covering the topics of agriculture, global trade, home, family and sustainability, Citizenship Papers is less an explanation of why you should be a good citizen in terms of government and more an explanation of why you should be a good citizen in terms of stewardship. These essays cover important issues that many people living in developed economies never think about but that are the foundation of human survival. Wendell asks the question; “If our current economic system were to fall apart today, would you know how to grow your own food, make your own clothing and shelter and find fresh water?” The answer is a scary realization that should be seriously assessed by younger generations.

22/09/2012

SUSAN BREEN, FALLING IN LOVE - AUTHOR GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY


One of the best parts of being a novelist is you get to fall in love with anyone you want. You have to! It’s part of the job.

When I was working on my debut novel, THE FICTION CLASS, I knew a central element of the plot would be a love story. I had the protagonist pretty well worked out: Arabella was in her early 30s; attractive, but not preoccupied with her looks; hard-working; funny; caring. She taught a fiction class in Manhattan and liked her adult students, yet I sensed a wall up around Arabella that would make it impossible for her to truly connect with anyone. She’d spent a large part of her life caring for her difficult mother, and that had made her bitter. Why did the people she love suffer so much? Why were other people having such a good time?

20/09/2012

READING THE HOBBIT IN SEARCH FOR THORIN - PART III & A NEW TRAILER!


Part III in the series Reading the Hobbit in search for Thorin” focuses on chapters VII - X (Click HERE  for Part I and HERE for Part II).  I’m posting this third part on a very special day (the second magnificent trailer of the first movie has just been released - you can watch it at the end of the post) in a very special week, dedicated by Tolkien’s fans to the celebration of the 55th anniversary of the book (21st September 1937) and to Frodo and Bilbo’s birthday (22nd September). Here we go, then! 

18/09/2012

AUTHOR INTERVIEW AND GIVEAWAY: PAMELA HARTSHORNE, TIME'S ECHO


Join me and welcome Pamela Hartshorne at FLY HIGH! Today's guest has had a 20 years' experience as a romance novelist (pen-name Jessica Hart)  and has now published her first historical fiction novel with her real name. It's a brilliant time slip mystery set in York  in the years of Queen Elizabeth I (read my review) Leave your comment or questions for Pamela + your e-mail address to get a chance to win a paperback copy of Time's Echo.   Open worldwide, the giveaway ends on 30th September. 

Hello Pamela and welcome at FLY HIGH! Thanks for accepting my invitation. I’m really glad to have the chance to ask you some questions about yourself and your new “time slip” novel, Time’s Echo
Thank you for having me, Maria Grazia!  I’m delighted to be here.  Isn’t it great how the internet makes it possible for us all to communicate with each other like this?

It is wonderful, indeed! My first  question for you is :   What’s it like to live in York?  Does living in a town so  full of history  influence your writing?
I love living here – York a very ‘livable’ city, small enough to walk across easily but big enough to have lots going on.  And yes, I love the fact that you can feel so much part of its interesting history.  Going in to have a coffee or post a letter, I walk along the same streets Hawise walks along in TIME’S ECHO, and every time I go out, I get newly inspired!

17/09/2012

FIVE CLASSIC BOOKS YOUR CHILDREN SHOULD READ


(guest blogger Paul Taylor)
Think back to your childhood and you probably remember spending nights snuggled up next to your parents as they read to you, or huddled under covers with a flashlight far past bedtime, sneaking in a few more pages of your favorite book. Many parents look back fondly on the books they read growing up, in a time that was far removed from the technology crazed society we live in today. However just because video games and TV shows have become the social norm doesn’t mean our children should go to sleep devoid of bedtime stories. These five books will appeal to children of varying ages, and are classics from previous generations that continue to make their mark on current ones:

14/09/2012

AUTHOR GUEST POST AND GIVEAWAY - KAREN ESSEX, TRAVELLING FOR DRACULA IN LOVE OR HOW TO RELOCATE A VAMPIRE

Readers often tell me that they take my novels on holiday as travel and history guides.  I love giving readers an experience on the page, but I love it even more when they are inspired to leave their armchairs and experience the characters and the history firsthand.  As an historical novelist, nothing informs my work like travel.  I love to walk in my characters’ footsteps, breathing in the air that they breathed, literally sharing molecules with them.
For Dracula in Love, which recreates Bran Stoker’s Victorian Gothic thriller from the perspective of Mina Harker, the vampire’s eternal muse, I planed to visit all of Stoker’s original haunted settings, but I also wanted to add some new geography to an old story.  Mina needed a history and a place of birth, both missing in the original.  Moreover—and more radical—I wanted to disentangle Dracula from his Transylvanian roots.  After all, Stoker made up that Dracula lived there.  Why couldn’t I change it?
My first step was to relocate myself to London and into a temporary flat in Pimlico, where early in the story, a na├»ve Mina dreams of settling with her future husband, Jonathan Harker.  Later, I moved to a neighborhood developed in 1890, the year in which the novel is set.  (My flat, coincidentally, is not far from where Bram Stoker resided.) 

13/09/2012

LOOKING FOR RICHARD III - LATEST NEWS AND COLLECTIVE READING OF THE SUNNE IN SPLENDOUR

Great news in the search for King Richard III's resting place. Yesterday the experts of the University of Leicester  officially announced  that the Greyfriars Project, which has attracted extraordinary global media attention over the past three weeks, had to date uncovered fascinating archaeological evidence. Key was the discovery of the lost medieval church of the Grey Friars where Richard is recorded as being buried after his death at the Battle of Bosworth. Moreover University archaeologists confirmed the discovery of human remains at the site (read the official announcement)

12/09/2012

NICOLA CORNICK, FORBIDDEN - GIVEAWAY WINNER


The book

As maid to some of the most wanton ladies of the ton, Margery Mallon lives within the boundaries of any sensible servant. Entanglements with gentlemen are taboo. Wild adventures are for the Gothic novels she secretly reads. Then an intriguing stranger named Mr. Ward offers her a taste of passion, and suddenly the wicked possibilities are too tempting to resist….

Henry Atticus Richard Ward is no ordinary gentleman. He's Lord Wardeaux and he is determined to unite Margery with her newfound inheritance by any means—including seduction and deception. But when the ton condemns the scandalous servant-turned-countess and an unknown danger prepares to strike, will Margery accept Henry's protection in exchange for her trust?



Forbidden is available as   Paperback at Amazon.com , as an e-book at Amazon Kindle Store and as a Paperback at Amazon.co.uk.

Congratulations to  Nancy Rodriguez on winning this gorgeous book and the  beautiful historically themed set of notepaper offered by Nicola Cornick. Many thanks to my kind and generous guest and to all the readers who entered the contest. 


11/09/2012

GREAT APPS FOR BOOK LOVERS


(guest blogger Susan Wells)
In this growing digital age we live in, it seems less and less people are taking time to read anymore. Great classics go ignored and new releases are never touched, because everyone is too busy checking their phones, playing with their tablets, or watching TV. Amid the sea of mobile applications for everything from the weather forecasts to insurance quotes, one is left to wonder if there's any love left for the world of literature.
Well, good news, apps aren't just for game lovers or marketing businesses anymore. Several developers have used their skills to create handy applications for those of us that prefer a good read every now and then. Whether you're seeking a local bookstore, or a quick literary download, these apps are sure to have what you're seeking.

BookBargain
Allowing users to create wish lists, browse new bestsellers and even download free e-books, this app is a book lovers dream. Understanding that many of us still like to buy and read our books the old-fashioned way, it even searches for the best deals at area bookstores. Whether you're in the market for new or used books, the application is sure to help you find what you're looking for with ease and convenience. Also, since it includes book deals from multiple countries, it will even convert foreign currencies into the one that applies for you, taking all of the hassle out of exchange rates and shipping fees—ah, booklover Heaven does exist.

10/09/2012

ROSANNE E. LORTZ, I SERVE. A NOVEL OF THE BLACK PRINCE - GIVEAWAY WINNER

The book

A Tale of Arms, of Death, of Love, and of Honor. 

Set against the turbulent backdrop of the Hundred Years' War, I Serve chronicles the story of Sir John Potenhale. A young Englishman of lowly birth, Potenhale wins his way to knighthood on the fields of France. He enters the service of Edward, the Black Prince of Wales, and immerses himself in a stormy world of war, politics, and romantic intrigue. 

While campaigning in France, Potenhale develops an interest in Margery, a spirited lady-in-waiting with a close-kept secret. He soon learns that Sir Thomas Holland, a crass and calculating baron, holds the key to unlock Margery's mystery and possesses the power to overturn all of his hopes. 

When the Black Death strikes Europe, however, Potenhale realizes that the fiercest enemy does not always appear in human form. Seeing the pestilence as a punishment for the sins of his generation, he questions his calling as a knight and considers entering the cloister. Margery or the monastery? Torn between losing his soul and losing the love of his life, he finds friendship with a French knight who might--just possibly--help him save both.

The winner
Congratulations to Anna on winning Rosanne E. Lortz's I Serve. A Novel of the Black Prince , many thanks to the author for her guest post, for granting the copy to give away and to all the readers who entered the giveaway contest.

08/09/2012

TIME'S ECHO BY PAMELA HARTSHORNE - BOOK REVIEW


She reached out from the past, and whispered her name... 

York 1577: Hawise Aske smiles at a stranger in the market and sets in train a story of obsession and sibling jealousy, of love and hate and carpe desire. Drowned as a witch, Hawise pays a high price for that smile, but for a girl like her in Elizabethan York, there is nowhere to go and nowhere toh ide
Four and half centuries later,Grace Trewe, who has travelled the world, is trying to outrun the memories of being caught up in the Boxing Day tsunami. Her stay in York is meant to be a brief one.
But in York Grace discovers that time can twist and turn in ways she never imagined. Drawn inexorably into Hawise’s life, Grace finds that this time she cannot move on. Will she too be engulfed in the power of the past?

Time's Echo  opens with a nightmare,  so vivid and gripping that your are inexorably drawn into the story and can’t stop wondering what happened to poor Hawise Aske in 1577. So you  go on , page after page,  eagerly wishing  for the mystery to be solved.  Then you start doubting with the protagonist, Grace Trewe: was it all only a dream?

06/09/2012

THREE COMMON BOOKS ASSIGNED FRESHMAN YEAR TO GET EXCITED ABOUT - GUEST BLOGGER MELISSA MILLER


If you are just starting your first year in college, or if you are preparing for this experience next year, trust me, you have much to look forward to. Not only will you be experience an independence of sorts for the first time in your life, you'll me meeting new friends, living in a new town or city, and just generally coming into your own. For those of you who are bookworms, college will be the best time of your life. Even if you are more interested in contemporary fiction, here are some classic books typically assigned your freshman year of college to look forward to. Although they were written in a different era, they still resonate for many.

      Huckleberry Finn

Although Huckleberry Finn may not sound like the most appealing book, it's packed with adventure, humor, and perfectly encapsulates the urges and

05/09/2012

UNMAPPED COUNTRY BY CHRISSIE ELMORE - GIVEAWAY WINNER


Unmapped Country has arisen great interest among FLY HIGH  readers who love Mrs Gaskell's North and South and wish to go on following Margaret and John's story with new emotions, twists and turns. Thanks to Chrissie Elmore who gave me the chance to read her continuation of the novel  and then accepted to answer my questions and be my guest.
Now it's time to reveal the name of the lucky winner of the free e-copy of Unmapped Country and I hope all the others wishing to read Chrissie's novel will manage get their own copy soon.

Congratulations to...  lilianschild!!!

Read my interview with Chrissie Elmore

04/09/2012

READING DANIEL DERONDA, GEORGE ELIOT'S MOST CONTROVERSIAL WORK

Hugh Dancy as Daniel Deronda - BBC 2002

I decided my more- than- 500-pages tome for this summer  would be Daniel Deronda and I successfully got through  its 675 pages + notes +  introduction slowly but enjoying every bit . Long didactic passages about Zionism included? Yes, I found them interesting if not exciting.
My first meeting with George Eliot’s last novel  was actually 10 years ago with its 2002 BBC adaptation , which soon became one of my best favourites ,  when I hadn’t even read a page from the book and only  just heard about it.
BBC drama was stunning and I found the story so original and brave  that I promised myself I would read the book sooner or later. I’ve  kept the promise though it wasn’t sooner.  You know, how is it that we usually complain? Too many books, too little time. That’s it. Now,   let’s start my musings giving some order to my thoughts , focusing on few important themes  and,  especially,   let’s introduce the book properly.

02/09/2012

NICOLA CORNICK, IF THE SLIPPER FITS - AUTHOR GUEST POST AND GREAT GIVEAWAY!


It's a great pleasure to introduce today's guest:  bestselling UK author, Nicola Cornick! Nicola studied history at London University and Ruskin College, Oxford. She writes historical romance for Harlequin HQN Books in the US and MIRA Books UK. She is also a historian working for the National Trust at the seventeenth century hunting lodge, Ashdown House. A triple nominee for the Romance Writers of America RITA award, Nicola has been described by Publisher’s Weekly as “a rising star of the Regency genre.”
Don't miss the chance to win a paperback copy of Nicola Cornick's latest book, Forbidden, as well as a beautiful historically themed set of notepaper. The giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 12th September. What do you have to do to get your chance? Leave a comment below this post and don't forget to add your e-mail address. Good luck!

When I set out to write Forbidden, the final book in my Scandalous Women of the Ton Series, I didn’t intend to write a fairy tale. What inspired me first was the theme of the series – women doing exceptional and sometimes “scandalous” things by the standards of the Regency period or women who found themselves in scandalous situations. Previous books in the series had included heroines who were travellers, one who was a political cartoonist and a heroine who was a divorced woman. Forbidden was intended to be very much within that theme. The scandalous element is that it features a “pretender,” an heiress who had been given up as dead and who comes back twenty years later to claim a title. Her case is a cause celebre; she becomes a celebrity overnight, the most talked about woman in London, her past and present life dissected in the scandal sheets.