Friday, June 23, 2017

0 Review: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

June 6, 2017
William Morrow Paperbacks
Historical Fiction
Source: Publisher


In an enthralling new historical novel from national bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.

1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She's also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie's parents banish her to Europe to have her "little problem" taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she's recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she's trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the "Queen of Spies", who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy's nose.

Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn't heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth matter where it leads.

My Thoughts

If you're going to read one book this summer, let it be The Alice Network. Kate Quinn has written an epic story based on the lives of the real Alice Network, a group of women spies during World War I.
This book is both tragic and wonderful. And one of the best books of 2017. The Alice Network is sure to keep you up way past your bedtime. 

1947, Charlie St. Clair steps off a boat with a piece of paper with Evelyn Gardiner's name written on it. Desperate to flee her controlling mother, Charlie boards a train in hopes that Evelyn (Eve) can help Charlie find her missing cousin. The woman Charlie encounters is rough, mean, and clearly haunted by events of the past.

Eve Gardiner is ahead of her time in 1915. She longs to be of use to the war effort. When an unexpected opportunity knocks on her door, Eve jumps at it, which leads her to be part of The Alice Network. Danger doesn't deter Eve from the mission, and she must do whatever it takes to try to end the war.

Told in a duel timeline, the events in the book have you on the edge of your seat. Eve and Charlie's stories, though separate at first, mingle together in a tantalizing way. Quinn doesn't back down from some of the questionable events the women often had to endure. And this book is one hell of a ride.

Once I picked up this book it was hard to put down. Do yourself a favor and read this book!

*This post contains an affiliate link. Which means if you click on the link and purchase the book, I'll get a microscopic commission.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

0 Q&A With Megan Easley-Walsh Plus An Excerpt From Flight Before Dawn

Before there was D-Day...

For over two years, she's watched him.
Now he's on her doorstep.
This is life in the Resistance.

In Normandy in 1943, Victoire leads a band of the Resistance. When Leal, the man she's had watched for over two years, arrives at her doorstep, she'll have to face new challenges in war and in love.

Robberies, a kidnapping and clandestine night adventures were not at all what Victoire planned for her life. And she most certainly never planned to be betrayed. But war — and love — are unpredictable. Joined by her friend Rainier who is mistrusted by Leal, the mysterious Voleta, and Father Pierre, Victoire and Leal must struggle for survival, the grounds of France, and the material of their souls.

When Leal unearths a twenty-five-year-old secret, with Victoire at the center, her whole life is shaken. As the Allies approach, the past, present and future hang in the balance. Can anyone be trusted when the world spins upside down?

1. Describe your novel in 120 characters or less.

Normandy, 1943. Victoire's biggest secret is the French Resistance, until a stranger uncovers a 25-year-old mystery.

2. How easy/hard was it creating Victorie?

On my website, I say that I'm an author befriending characters in need of an author. That was certainly true of Victoire as well. She had a very real story that needed to be told. Sometimes to readers that sounds odd, that our characters exist somewhere out there already, but as I talk to writers I discover that many feel the same. So for me, the process was more about discovering Victoire than creating her. At times, she was a bit shy as she is the keeper of many secrets.

3. What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

The most difficult part of my artistic process is having enough time to write everything I would like to. I write quickly, but I have many ideas that are ready to be told. I also dislike leaving characters in peril for too long and so I always make sure that I have enough time to really write and finish the work when I begin something.

4. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I have four novels (Flight Before Dawn, which is now a bestseller, What Edward Heard, North Star Home, and Across the River) that are published and a number of others in the works and each was unique for research. For Flight Before Dawn, I read thousands of pages of printed material, dug into historical archives, and also had firsthand experience from visiting Normandy and the beaches, museums, and memorials of D-Day. I tend to do the major structural research before writing. For Flight Before Dawn, that was a few months’ worth of reading and note taking. Then I research as needed while writing, to fill in any details that may arise.

5. If you can tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

I'd tell my younger writing self the same thing that I tell my clients (as a writing consultant and editor at 1. Keep reading. The more you read, the better you can write, because you are saturating yourself with words. 2. Keep writing. Your stories matter and you are the only person in the entire world that can write your characters, your plots, and your books.

Newsletter of the most up-to-date book information, historical happenings, seasonal celebrations, writing tips and more:

Connect with Megan: 

Buy the Book:

About the Author:
Megan Easley-Walsh is a bestselling author of historical fiction, a researcher, and a writing consultant and editor at Extra Ink Edits. She is an award-winning writer and has taught college writing in the UNESCO literature city of Dublin, Ireland. Her degrees are in history-focused International Relations. She is American and lives in Ireland with her Irish husband.


Part One

Autumn 1943
Normandy, France

Betrayed. I was always so careful and trusted so few. I never let myself get close to the “wrong” people. Yet, somehow, despite all that, I was betrayed. There are a thousand secrets in war. I have held many. Never did I suspect that as I guarded my secrets, someone else harbored a closely guarded secret with me at the center— a secret that's remained hidden for twenty-five years.
— Victoire
Chapter One
Pebbles slipped beneath Victoire's feet as she moved deeper into the cave. The waves lapped against her boots, urging her on in her steps. Shortly, the tide would wash over the area, but the contents of her pocket burned with greater compulsion.

A lone dog barked in the distance, reminding Victoire that others could also creep among the shadows. She had but one guarantee: danger. Moonlight served as a lantern, beckoning her farther into the cavern of solace. Her right hand lifted to trace the stones that she had touched countless times before.

“One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine,” she counted, her lips barely moving to ward off any breath escaping. In Victoire’s nightmares, she would trip and let out a small gasp that echoed through the cave before resonating across the beach and over the sleeping residents of the village. Her gasp thundered over the countryside and amplified over the cities, until at last it arrived in Hitler’s ear.

“Victoire, you knew you could not escape me. You knew I would find you,” he would sneer, his mustache twitching, as he erupted in villainous laughter.

“Ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen,” her counting continued. At stone forty-four, she tapped it twice and pushed it back. A little golden key glimmered from the moon’s glow. Her pale fingers retrieved the metal, as she kept her other hand on the stone. For a moment, she held it to her heart and then slid it into the pocket of her coat. So many depended on her. So much rested on this secrecy.

“One, two, three, four.” She removed the fourth stone and then the two to the left and right of it and then the three above and below it. Reaching into the gaping hole, her hand brushed an oak box and she removed it from its location. The key turned in the sturdy lock and the box clicked open to reveal its contents.

She lifted a small notebook and recorded a few markings. A solitary golden coin then slipped from her fingers, to be deposited into the box along with the notebook. Locking the box and returning it to its location, Victoire placed the stones back into their positions and prepared to leave the cave. She remained close to the wall on the way out, so as not to attract anyone else who was also breaking curfew this evening or, more importantly, anyone who was enforcing it. Some of the soldiers delighted in showing off the moon from these sandy stretches, to the local women they set their sights on. The French were not considered untermenschen, an inferior people, but France was undeniably occupied.

A scattering of clouds filled the expanse of night above Victoire's head, as she pulled the scarf closer around her to fend off the coolness of the autumnal evening breeze. She hurried toward her home at the edge of town, avoiding the illuminated sandy reaches. Leaning on the stone wall, she looked to the lunar lantern to see if it might somehow mercifully dim its glow. A dog was barking again, but this time it sounded closer.

Her back to the wall, Victoire inched toward the stony stairs leading away from the beach and up to the town. She was halfway up the stairs, when a branch snapped against her face. Catching her balance after the surprise, she pushed the branch back into place with one hand. With the back of her other hand, she wiped the water droplets from her face that had cascaded from the falling limb.
No sooner had she distanced herself from the branch, then she found herself flattening herself against the bush again. The lights of a car on the road ahead were flooding the steps in a basking glow. She held her breath as her heart pounded in her chest, like a thousand horses in the American cowboy movies that she had seen before the war. Flames lapped at her lungs. She was convinced there would not be enough oxygen to last.

Half-praying, half-consoling herself, the words coursed through her veins,
Come on, just a little longer. Please let them go now. It’s all right. Almost there. Please. Please. Please.

Curving toward her, the light spread to the hem of Victoire's coat. Surrounded in an amber glow, she would be discovered. On suspicion, she would be detained and questioned. Relentlessly, the questions would fire at her like the machine guns of the Wehrmacht. She was certain of it. Convinced of the irony of her name and that no victory would come to her, she prepared to meet her fate.

Seconds slowing turned to minutes and at last the car turned— not toward her, but away from her. She did not allow herself to breathe, until the car had disappeared completely around the corner. Raindrops began to fall, as if the clouds too had been holding their breath and could breathe freely once again. Nearing the top of the stairs she turned toward home, thankful that the car had driven in the opposite direction. Tucking her hands into her pockets, she continued down the path. Skittish, but trying to remain in the momentary calm, she planted her eyes on her shoes.

A noise mixed with the sound of rain hitting the ground and bouncing against the buildings. Footsteps were gaining on Victoire. There was nowhere that she could retreat into. Well aware of the trouble she would face, if caught outside after curfew, she had no choice but to continue her journey. If only those steps had some way to identify themselves. Were they the small feet of some grandmother returning from church? Perhaps, they were the measured strides of another Resistance worker. Just as likely though, they could belong to Nazi feet.

She hastened her steps, without trying to appear as if it were for any reason other than the rain. Shuttered windows and steeped roof were in sight. Momentarily, she would be within those sheltered walls of her home. Sitting before the fire, she would savor her tea and evening reading. She would be ordinary and innocent of any accusations. Her hand lifted the latch of the gate. Falling heavy on her ears, the footsteps were much louder. Without turning her back, she opened the gate to her home.
Please, keep going. Keep walking.

The footsteps did not obey her.

“Pardon me,” a male voice punctuated the night air. Investing her safety in ignoring him, she continued walking.

“Pardon me,” he said again, in a slightly louder voice this time. Onward she moved, another step toward the door. A hand reached out and touched her shoulder, stopping her in her tracks. For the second time that night, Victoire was certain she had been caught and prepared to face her fate.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

0 Audio Book Review: Birtt-Marie Was Here

Narrator: Joan Walker
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Audio
Published: May 3, 2016
Length: 9 Hours and 18 Minutes
ISBN: 1508216665
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Publisher 


Britt-Marie can’t stand mess. She eats dinner at precisely the right time and starts her day at six in the morning because only lunatics wake up later than that. And she is not passive-aggressive. Not in the least. It's just that sometimes people interpret her helpful suggestions as criticisms, which is certainly not her intention.

But at sixty-three, Britt-Marie has had enough. She finally walks out on her loveless forty-year marriage and finds a job in the only place she can: Borg, a small, derelict town devastated by the financial crisis. For the fastidious Britt-Marie, this new world of noisy children, muddy floors, and a roommate who is a rat (literally), is a hard adjustment.

As for the citizens of Borg, with everything that they know crumbling around them, the only thing that they have left to hold onto is something Britt-Marie absolutely loathes: their love of soccer. When the village’s youth team becomes desperate for a coach, they set their sights on her. She’s the least likely candidate, but their need is obvious and there is no one else to do it.

Thus begins a beautiful and unlikely partnership. In her new role as reluctant mentor to these lost young boys and girls, Britt-Marie soon finds herself becoming increasingly vital to the community. And even more surprisingly, she is the object of romantic desire for a friendly and handsome local policeman named Sven. In this world of oddballs and misfits, can Britt-Marie finally find a place where she belongs?

My Thoughts

Britt-Marie Was Here was my first introduction to the work of Swedish author Fredrik Backman. I knew from the first five minutes of listening Britt-Marie was going to be an interesting character, to say the least. She's very, very particular about how things are done; she lives and dies by baking soda; she unknowingly insults people. But this is only a small facet of her personality.

After she leaves her disastrous marriage, the proud Britt-Marie must learn how to be on her own. She unwillingly takes a job in Borg. The once thriving city is now a ghost town. Repulsed by her surroundings, Britt-Marie really isn't keen on staying. However, when the youth of the city implore that she become their coach, she agrees. She soon finds herself vital to the community as they grow in  their mutual appreciation of each other.

Listening to this book on audio was an absolute pleasure. Narrated by the talented Joan Walker, Britt-Marie and the town of Borg come alive. I laughed, I cried, I fell in love with the story. It's a thought-provoking book that reminds the readers you shouldn't judge someone. The more I got to 'know' Britt-Marie, the more I loved her. Life is messy and this book reminds me of the Rolling Stones lyric, "You can't always get what you want, But if you try sometimes well you might find, you get what you need." And that's what Britt-Marie does.

*This post contains an affiliate link. Which means if you click on the link and buy the book I get like a tiny, tiny percentage. Not even enough to buy a cup of coffee. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

0 Dragon Unleashed is out today and we're celebrating with a #giveaway!


Dragon Unleashed (Dragon Point #3) by Eve Langlais RELEASED on June 20th!

Dragon Unleashed (Dragon Point #3) by Eve Langlais 

Every dragon hoard starts with something…or someone.
Tomas hates scientists, especially since they abused him in such vile ways. And yet, there is something about the doctor that calms his inner beast.
Tomas craves her. A treasure for his collection, but how can he convince her to stay?
Chandra is frightened by the dragon keeping her prisoner in his aerie. He’s been hurt so who can blame him for the madness within? However she sees a glimmer of goodness too. Can he open his heart enough to let her in, or will he unleash his fury upon the world?

Reserve your copy today @
***More stores coming soon: Audible / Google Play etc

Dragon Point Series:

Becoming Dragon

Dragon Squeeze

Dragon Unleashed

Dragon Foretold


0 Traitor's Knot by Cryssa Bazos Book Blast

Traitor's Knot by Cryssa Bazos

Publication Date: May 9, 2017
Endeavor Press
eBook; 394 Pages
Genre: Fiction/Historical

England 1650: Civil War has given way to an uneasy peace in the year since Parliament executed King Charles I.

Royalist officer James Hart refuses to accept the tyranny of the new government, and to raise funds for the restoration of the king’s son, he takes to the road as a highwayman.

Elizabeth Seton has long been shunned for being a traitor’s daughter. In the midst of the new order, she risks her life by sheltering fugitives from Parliament in a garrison town. But her attempts to rebuild her life are threatened, first by her own sense of injustice, then by falling in love with the dashing Hart.

The lovers’ loyalty is tested through war, defeat and separation. James must fight his way back to the woman he loves, while Elizabeth will do anything to save him, even if it means sacrificing herself.

Traitor’s Knot is a sweeping tale of love and conflicted loyalties set against the turmoil of the English Civil War.

“A hugely satisfying read that will appeal to historical fiction fans who demand authenticity, and who enjoy a combination of suspense, action, and a very believable love story.” - Elizabeth St. John, author of The Lady of the Tower

“A thrilling historical adventure expertly told.” - Carol McGrath, author of The Handfasted Wife

Traitor's Knot is available in eBook from Amazon

About the Author

Cryssa Bazos is a historical fiction writer and 17th Century enthusiast, with a particular interest in the English Civil War (ECW). She blogs about English history and storytelling at her blog, the 17th Century Enthusiast, and is an editor of the English Historical Fiction Authors blog site.

Cryssa's debut novel, Traitor’s Knot, a romantic tale of adventure set during the English Civil War. Traitor’s Knot is the first in a series of adventures spanning from the ECW to the Restoration and is now available from Endeavour Press.

For more information visit Cryssa's website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Book Blast Schedule

Wednesday, May 31

Thursday, June 1

Friday, June 2

Monday, June 5

Tuesday, June 6

Thursday, June 8

Friday, June 9

Monday, June 12

Tuesday, June 13

Wednesday, June 14

Thursday, June 15

Sunday, June 18

Monday, June 19

Tuesday, June 20

Wednesday, June 21

Thursday, June 22

Friday, June 23

Monday, June 19, 2017

0 Parties, Wonder Woman, and Exhaustion: Last Week In Review (51)

Last week was . . . exhausting! But also fun. 

I should say last weekend was exhausting. Friday: We celebrated my stepdad's 70th birthday. Saturday: I threw my niece a babyshower and went to a wedding. Sunday: We celebrated Father's Day. It was a weekend full of life, love, and laughter. But now I'm tired. 

Throwing a babyshower is way out of my comfort zone. I've been to tons of showers, but this was my first time hosting. I may never do it again. Well, maybe for my own son or daughter. But that's many, many years away. Hopefully I'll recover by then. But I guess it's good to step out of your comfort zone every once in a while. 

Among the business of cleaning and organizing for this weekend, we did manage to step out and go watch Wonder Woman. It was awesome! I was afraid it wouldn't live up to all the hype, but it did! And Sunday, we borrowed Beauty and the Beast from my mom and vegged out!

Also, Grantchester returned for its new season on PBS.

Last week was not my week as far as reading is concerned. I managed to read a few chapters here and there, but I didn't finish anything.  Here are the books I'm (still) reading.

I'm really hoping to get a lot more reading done this week, and maybe even take a nap sometime. I do enjoy going out and celebrating, but it always leaves me so exhausted. 

I hope you had a good week too! 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

0 American Roots, American Branches is the theme for Sync's free #Audiobooks #Iloveaudiobooks

It's week 8, and this week AudioFile and Sync bring you two new titles . Remember these audiobooks are only available: 06/15 - 06/21. You can download the audiobooks by clicking here: ←←← All you need to download them is the Overdrive app which is also free on the website.

by W.E.B. Du Bois | Read by Rodney Gardiner
Published by Dreamscape Media

A cornerstone of African-American literary history, The Souls of Black Folk is a classic work by W. E. B. Du Bois. Originally published in 1903, it contains many essays on race and equality, but is also a piece of seminal history as laying the groundwork for the field of sociology. Some of the essays in the novel were even previously published by the Atlantic Monthly magazine. When writing, Du Bois drew from his personal experiences as an African-American in America to highlight the issues of prejudice that were still going on into the 20th century.

by Christina Diaz Gonzalez | Read by Kyla Garcia
Published by Ideal Audiobooks

The Red Umbrella is a moving tale of a 14-year-old girl's journey from Cuba to America as part of Operation Pedro Pan—an organized exodus of more than 14,000 unaccompanied children, whose parents sent them away to escape Fidel Castro's revolution.

In 1961, two years after the Communist revolution, Lucía Álvarez still leads a carefree life, dreaming of parties and her first crush. But when the soldiers come to her sleepy Cuban town, everything begins to change. Freedoms are stripped away. Neighbors disappear. And soon, Lucía's parents make the heart-wrenching decision to send her and her little brother to the United States—on their own.

Suddenly plunked down in Nebraska with well-meaning strangers, Lucía struggles to adapt to a new country, a new language, a new way of life. But what of her old life? Will she ever see her home or her parents again? And if she does, will she still be the same girl?

The Red Umbrella is a touching story of country, culture, family, and the true meaning of home.

0 Q&A with Michael Bernhart

1. Describe How Speleology Restored My Sex Drive in three words.
A phenomenal book!
2. How did you come up with the title to this book?
It was a mistake. The structure of the novel was coming together and I threw on a working title. Only after copyrighting and publishing the thing did I remember that this was not a title I wanted to live with. Too late. It already had a (small) following. For openers, many people don’t know what speleology means. And it has only oblique relevance to the story.
3. What's the biggest adventure you've embarked on?
This will sound boastful, but I’ve had a genuinely exciting life. Shot at by age 12 (Iran); evacuated from a hostile country (Iran) at age 13; beaten by a gang of communist goons at age 17 (Philippines); two more evacuations from crumbling security situations (Indonesia and Jordan); USAF pilot of high performance aircraft; lived in fourteen countries and worked in fifty; plus two failed marriages and multiple firings for being a smartass. The list could go on. Recalling these, it’s hard to choose among them for ‘adventure’. That said, I can recommend piloting a very hot plane for a guaranteed daily rush. How hot is it? Scampered to 10,000 meters altitude in 89 seconds. Better than many rockets.
4. Name three books you would recommend to readers.
How I Made $3,200,000 from My Hobby – the first in the Max Brown series and the most ambitious. Debut novels tend to be that.
How Ornithology Saved My Life - the second Max Brown novel and the darkest. Written to prove I could grind out a potboiler like the big boys.
How Existentialism Almost Killed Me: Kierkegaard Was Right – the best.
5. What's the strangest thing on your desk?
It all looks pretty normal. Empty pie plate, unpaid bills, junk mail awaiting disposal. No severed heads or inflatable anatomically correct cheer-leaders.

This is me. Some gentle folk at a New Age festival snapped this with their aura-cam. They said it was an exceedingly auspicious aura, and, in truth, I was having a good day.
Since I have the floor, let me plug indie authors/publishers. Those of us who pay attention to the constructive feedback we receive can revise and re-upload an improved version of our work almost daily. Through successive approximations we eventually produce something good. In contrast, the conventional publishers are stuck with the original version until the last remainders table has been cleared. I won’t deny it; there are some awful books by indies out there. But have you looked at the dreck published under James Patterson’s name? By some estimates 3,000 new novels are squeezed onto the nation’s bookshelves every day. Some of them have to be good.

A fun fact: Researchers at the Yale School of Public Health found that people who read books (not periodicals) for half an hour a day live 23 months longer than others. If you want to spend those additional two years in pleasant company, you can start with my four novels.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

0 Excerpt and Giveaway: War of the Worlds: Retaliation Audio Book Tour

Authors: John J. Rust, Mark Gardner

Narrator: Samuel E. Hoke III

Length: 7h 38m

Publisher: Article94

Genre: Sci-Fi


1898: Martian tripods lay waste to Earth’s cities. The world’s armies are unable to stem the tide of destruction. When all hope appears lost, common bacteria kills the alien invaders. From the ashes, the human race uses the technology left behind by the Martians to build new, advanced weapons.

1924: Armed with their own spaceships, tripods, and jet fighters, the nations of the world are ready to take the fight to Mars. George Patton, Erwin Rommel, Charles de Gaulle, and Georgy Zhukov lead their troops in battle across the red planet to end the alien menace once and for all. But the Martians have one last, desperate plan to try, and if successful, it could mean the end for all humanity.

Buy on Audible/Amazon

John J. Rust was born in New Jersey. He studied broadcasting and journalism at Mercer County Community College in New Jersey and the College of Mount St. Vincent in New York. He moved to Arizona in 1996, where he works as the Sports Director for an Arizona radio group.

Mark Gardner is a US NAVY veteran. He lives in northern Arizona with his wife, three children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degree in Computer Systems and Applications, and is the Chief Operator for an Arizona radio group.

Samuel E. Hoke III is a 6'0" Scorpio who summers in Virginia with his wife two amazingly wonderful black cats named Inca and Maya. In the winter they all head to central Florida. Samuel is a veteran of the corporate world including IBM and Bank of America he now pursues his lifelong passion of acting.

Samuel has a Bachelors degree in Liberal Studies from Norwich University and an MBA in Global Technology Management from American University. He also conducted a Pre-Doctoral studies in Strategic Leadership at Cornell University. Samuel enjoys Rock and Roll music, photography, fast cars, and international travel.

*Click the play button to listen to an excerpt.


Jun. 12th: CGB Blog Tours

Jun. 14th: Spunky-n-Sassy

Jun. 15th: Buried Under Books

Jun. 16th: Lomeraniel

Jun. 17th: Book Lover's Life

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