Tuesday, February 18, 2020

1 The Lost History of Dreams by Kris Waldherr is now out in paperback, and you can win a copy!

The Lost History of Dreams by Kris Waldherr

Paperback Publication Date: February 18, 2020
Atria Books
Hardcover & eBook; 336 Pages
Genre: Historical/Gothic/Mystery

The Lost History of Dreams by Kris Waldherr is now out in paperback! In it, a post-mortem photographer unearths the dark secrets of a famed poet’s marriage in this “sensual, twisting gothic tale…in the tradition of A.S. Byatt’s Possession, Diane Setterfield’s The Thirteenth Tale, and Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights” (BookPage). Blurring the line between the past and the present, truth and fiction, and ultimately, life and death, The Lost History of Dreams is “a surrealist, haunting tale of suspense where every prediction turns out to be merely a step toward a bigger reveal” (Booklist).

When famed Byronesque poet Hugh de Bonne is found dead in his bath one morning in 1850, final arrangements are left to his estranged cousin, historian turned postmortem photographer Robert Highstead. De Bonne’s will instructs that he should be buried in a stained glass chapel set on the Shropshire moors, built to house the remains of his beloved wife and muse, Ada. It has since been locked to all outsiders—especially the cultlike fans of de Bonne’s final book, The Lost History of Dreams. Only Ada’s grief-stricken niece, Isabelle, holds the key, but she refuses to open the chapel unless Robert agrees to her bargain: Before he can lay Hugh to rest, Robert must record the real story behind her aunt’s ill-fated marriage to the poet over the course of five nights—a story that is both love story and ghost story.

Learn more here.


In addition, Kris is offering two giveaways, one for book clubs and a second for readers:

1. The Midwinter’s Night Read Sweepstakes includes six paperbacks and a $75 Trader Joe’s gift card for your book club ($177 value). Enter here.

2. The Uncover Your Lost History giveaway includes an autographed paperback of The Lost History of Dreams and a three card email tarot reading from Kris herself ($57 value); Kris is also the creator of the bestselling Goddess Tarot. Enter here.

Giveaways end 11:50pm EST on February 20th. US only. Good luck to all who enter!

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound

Praise for The Lost History of Dreams

“Scheherazade-like … haunting… Waldherr writes that ‘love stories are ghost stories in disguise.’ This one, happily, succeeds as both.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“An unexpected delight that grows steadily more compelling as its pages fly by.” —Booklist

“A sensual, twisting gothic tale that embraces Victorian superstition much in the tradition of A.S. Byatt’s Possession, Diane Setterfield’s The Thirteenth Tale and Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights.”—BookPage

“Eerily atmospheric and gorgeously written, The Lost History of Dreams is a Gothic fairy-tale to savor.” – Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of THE ALICE NETWORK and THE HUNTRESS

“The Lost History of Dreams is a dark, shimmering gem of a novel, glittering with love lost, secrets kept, and long-buried truths revealed. Wonder, memory, death and passion haunt every page of Kris Waldherr’s powerhouse Gothic debut.” – Greer Macallister, bestselling author of THE MAGICIAN’S LIE and WOMAN 99

“Brooding, romantic, and thoughtful, The Lost History of Dreams is a rare bird in that it shines throughout with wit. I loved every page of it.” – Erika Swyler, bestselling author of THE BOOK OF SPECULATION and LIGHT FROM OTHER STARS

“With luminous prose, stunning poetry and a fascinating cast of characters, Waldherr weaves a wonderfully atmospheric tale. Not to be missed!” – Hazel Gaynor, New York Times bestselling author of THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME and THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER’S DAUGHTER

“A riveting, addictive read. Sarah Waters fans will be entranced. – Mary Sharratt, author of ECSTASY and DAUGHTERS OF THE WITCHING HILL

“A novel of haunting mystery and passion reminiscent of Wuthering Heights and Byatt’s Possession.” – Crystal King, author of FEAST OF SORROW and THE CHEF’S SECRET

“An atmospheric tale of lost love, family secrets, and an inquiry into how our own histories define us, I relished every poetic page.” – Heather Webb, international bestselling author of LAST CHRISTMAS IN PARIS and THE PHANTOM’S APPRENTICE

"With beautiful prose and poetry, Waldherr weaves a darkly seductive Gothic tale of love, art, death, and obsession. You’ll want to keep reading this one late into the night.” – Alyssa Palombo, author of THE SPELLBOOK OF KATRINA VAN TASSEL

“A sumptuous feast for all the senses.” – Clarissa Harwood, author of IMPOSSIBLE SAINTS and BEAR NO MALICE

About the Author

Kris Waldherr’s books for adults and children include The Lost History of Dreams, Bad Princess, Doomed Queens, and The Book of Goddesses. The Lost History of Dreams received a Kirkus starred review and was called "an unexpected delight" by Booklist. The New Yorker praised Doomed Queens as “utterly satisfying” and “deliciously perverse.” The Book of Goddesses was a One Spirit/Book-of-the-Month Club’s Top Ten Most Popular Book. Her picture book Persephone and the Pomegranate was lauded by the New York Times Book Review for its “quality of myth and magic.” Her fiction has won fellowships from the Virginia Center of the Creative Arts, and a works-in-progress reading grant from Poets & Writers.

As a visual artist, Waldherr is the creator of the Goddess Tarot, which has a quarter of a million copies in print. She has had illustrations published as greeting cards, book covers, and in calendars and magazines. Her art has been exhibited in many galleries and museums including the Ruskin Library, the Mazza Museum of International Art from Picture Books, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Kris Waldherr works and lives in Brooklyn in a Victorian-era house with her husband, their young daughter, and a very vocal Bengal cat.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | BookBub

Release Date Blast Hosts

Monday, February 3, 2020

0 I finished reading the Poldark series, and I regret nothing!

In 2015 I discovered, thanks to PBS, the Poldark saga. I fell in love with the television series first, and then I fell in love with the books. After the first season ended, I started devouring the books, only a few at a time as to go along with each season. However, this past year the television series came to an end, and I had made it a goal to finish all twelve Poldark books by the end of the year. I failed. I got so close with reading ten of the twelve books. So it then became my January goal--which I smashed!

Enough can't be said about how amazing these books are. The series is a complex tapestry with amazing characters. I loved and hated Ross. I adored Demelza. Elizabeth drove me crazy. George Warleggan is a piece of work. And of course all the other characters are what helps make this series so interesting, not to mention all the historical details and the vivid background of Cornwall.

I have enjoyed every minute I spent reading this series, both paperback and ebook, and I even listened to a few of the books on audible. Poldark is a series that I plan on visiting again and again. If you've not had the opportunity to read it or watch the television series, you're missing out.

Set in the closing years of the Napoleonic Wars, this novel is part of the Poldark saga. At the heart of the novel stand Demelza and Ross Poldark, their son, Jeremy, their daughter, Clowance, and the rival family, the Warleggans.

The Loving Cup is book 8 in the series. While Ross and Demelza are still the heart of the Poldark family, this book is more about their children: Jeremy and Clowance. Jeremy is heartbroken because the girl he wants to marry won't even consider him because he doesn't have enough money. He makes a dangerous plan to rob a bank coach with some friends. This book was stressful to read. I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see if Jeremy would get caught. Winston Graham did a fantastic job creating a character that was such a great mixture of both Ross and Demelza. Clowance has broken things off with Stephen. She wonders where  life with take her. She explores life as a single lady.

The eleventh novel in the legendary Poldark saga. Cornwall, 1815: Demelza sees a horseman riding down the valley and senses disruption to the domestic contentment she has fought so hard to achieve. For Ross has little option but to accept the summons - and travel to Paris with his family, as an "observer" of the French armed forces. Parisian life begins well with an exhilarating round of balls and parties. But the return of Napoleon brings separation, distrust and danger to the Poldarks... and always for Demelza, there is the shadow of the secret she does not even share with Ross.

The Twisted Sword refers to the twisted sword Winston Graham left in my heart. This book knocked the stuffing out of me. It had such a heavy undertone that left my feels all crazy. And frankly, it made me a little scared to read the final book. Graham really lets his characters suffer, and by extension, his readers. But that's why this series is so great. I didn't realize how attached I was to some of these characters until now.

The story of the Poldarks draws to a close in the 12th and final installment of this much–admired historical saga

Cornwall 1818. We continue the tale of Ross and Demelza; of the wayward Valentine Warleggan, whose existence keeps open the old wounds of the feud between Ross and George; of Bella, the Poldark's youngest daughter, whose precocious talent as a singer is encouraged by her old flame, Christopher Havergal, and by a distinguished French conductor, who has more in mind than Bella's music; of Clowance, the Poldark's widowed daughter, who considers remarriage to one of two rival suitors; and of a murderer who stalks the villages of west Cornwall.

Until this last novel, Bella Poldark has been a small side story, but now she takes center stage. Bella Poldak is Ross and Demelza youngest daughter. She has a beautiful voice and a real chance to make it on the stage. She looks and acts older than she is and has already had an offers of marriage. Ross and Demelza want to nurture her talent while also keeping her from growing up too soon, especially after the loss of Jeremy.
I was a little concerned on how Graham planned on ending this series. I was afraid his readers would be in for another big heartbreak. And without any spoilers, I was happy with the way he ended the series. To be hones, I could have read twelve more books about the Poldark family. This whole series was an emotional roller coaster, but I regret nothing.

Disclaimer: I bought the entire series on Amazon, and I bought the audioboks on Audible. Thanks to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for providing an ebook of the books I reviewed today in exchange for a review.

Friday, January 17, 2020

1 The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Vol. III by Collins Hemingway: Review, Excerpt, and Giveaway @austenmarriage @hfvbt

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Vol. III by Collins Hemingway

Publication Date: November 4, 2017
eBook & Paperback; 338 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

The Stunning Finale to Jane Austen's Saga

In the moving conclusion to "The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen," Jane and her husband struggle with the serious illness of their son, confront a bitter relationship with the aristocratic family who were once their friends and face the horrific prospect of war when the British Army falters on the continent. The momentous events of the Napoleonic wars and the agonizing trials of their personal lives take Jane and Ashton to a decision that will decide their fate—and her future—once and for all.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Jane rushed into the drawing room more than twenty minutes after she had planned. Cassandra was already there, diligent at her needlework. Jane noticed that her sister’s dress was faded; the dullness of repeated washings did not present well against the shimmering blue-green wallpaper, the golden wood panels, and the lush rose-colored rug. Jane absorbed this image without judgment but rather as a woman who would wish—if it were possible without awkwardness—to gift her sister with fabric that might breathe more comfortably among the finer things at Hants.
The nurse soon brought George. Before Jane settled in for the afternoon feeding, Cassy held the little boy, who greeted his aunt with an energetic display of movements and noises and smiles. “And how is my young nephew?” she said.
“He is good—finally past all the colds and coughs. I had begun to believe that colic was a permanent condition.”
Cass sewed and Jane fussed over George for some little while.
“You must have run all the way,” Cassandra observed. “When you came down. Your face is still a little flushed.”
Jane’s face came all the redder for the comment.
“I hurried as fast as I could. I lost track of the time. Ashton enjoys a midday nap but professes not to be able to rest unless I join him.”
“I am certain you provide him all measure of comfort.” Cass’s face underwent subtle changes during the exchange—a raised eyebrow, a smile—but she did not look up from her needlework. “Everyone in the family will be reassured that the two of you have reclaimed your footing.”
“I have no idea what you mean.”
“There was a strain between you in Southampton. Love, affection—as before. Yet there was also limitation. As if the honeymoon had come to a rather precipitous end.”
“A sick child will do that. And it took us longer to readjust—after George—than either of us expected. We are just now—finding our way.”
And so they were. Her mind jumped back to those still-fresh moments with Ashton in the half-light of the curtained bedroom.
“I am reassured by your smile,” Cassy said. “But if you insist upon smiling to yourself, you must let me in on your secret.”
Jane did not know how to respond. Her private life was the only aspect of her marriage she had never shared with her sister. This was the first time Cass had pressed the point.
“I do not wish to flaunt my happiness in your face.” Jane halted, seeing where her words might lead her. “Especially about the particulars … of husband and wife.”
“You think it cruel to regale me with tales of marital happiness because I am single and always likely to be?”
It was impossible to think of Cassandra and her continually contracting prospects without feeling anxiety about the gulf between them. Her sister was not only a spinster, but she was three years older than Jane, herself now one and thirty. She had no one to share a life with, not even Jane anymore. Cass would have, Jane believed, warmly returned the physical affections of Tom Fowle, but she otherwise lacked a native sensuality. Her intelligence and honesty could still charm any man she might wish to charm, but with Tom’s death she had lost the demonstrable spark that would draw a man’s attention and alert him to those qualities. This is what Jane felt but could never say to her beloved sibling.
“I do not ask you to share the details. Well, I would love to hear the details!—but I am really interested in how that aspect has changed you. What it means. How it affects your view of life, the world.” Cassandra looked away for a few moments. Jane saw in her face an older, more somber, version of her own. “I am happy, Jane. You must believe that. It would make me miserable to my core if you withheld one ounce of your feelings for Ashton out of concern for me.”
“I seem to recall a wise father, and wiser sister, who cautioned a young woman about getting carried away.”
“I have come to believe that the world would be a better place if more people were carried away in the manner of you and Ashton. I bask in your love for each other. It warms me to know that you are happy. And Ashton too. I am also a practical mercenary. Your happiness will provide for me and Mother if worse should ever come to worst!”
Cass worked, Jane gave small attentions to George he nursed, and the sisters discussed elements of her private history. No particulars of any moment, but the way her intimate life with Ashton informed the rest, and the way the interplay between the emotional and physical reinforced one with the other.
Soon after, Ashton came by on his way out from the library to the field. He still moved with that mixture of sloth and concentration that implied overindulgence of a particular sort with his wife. He bowed and said to the ladies: “I shall be gone for the rest of the day. Is there anything I can do for you before I go?”
“No, you have done quite enough for today,” Jane said.
“Enough for us both, I should hazard,” Cassandra said, low enough that only Jane could hear. 

My Thoughts

It's impossible to review The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Vol. III by Collins Hemingway without spoilers from Volume I and II. So if you've not had the opportunity to read the first two volumes yet, I would direct you to check out my review of Volume I and Volume II first to avoid spoilers.

Authors like Austen and Bronte are often commented on writing so poignantly about love without having much experience in this area of their lives. What if she did, though. What if she had an earth-shattering love. How might that have affected her life and writing. Collins Hemingway explores that in his series The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen

Volume III begins after the birth of Jane and Ashton's son George. The couple is still trying to find their way back to one another as couples do after the birth of a child. Their world is consumed by their precious boy and a meddling mother-in-law. The couple does their best to reconnect but their world is plagued by trials and tribulations. 

I read this book with both excitement and trepidation. Excitement because I have enjoyed reading the first two volumes of this series, and I couldn't wait to see how Hemingway ended this series. Trepidation because I'm familiar with Austen's life, and I wondered how close the author would stick to her biography. Without spoiling the ending, Hemingway gave this series the ending that was most fitting to the storyline. 

Looking back at the series as a whole, Hemingway did an excellent job of portraying a 'what if' scenario about Jane Austen's life. He blends fact into fiction so smoothly that you want it to be real. The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen series will having you falling in love with Jane all over again. It will break your heart, but also leave you wanting more. 

Praise for The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Series

Hemingway again displays his notable ability to recreate time and place, moving on from the heady days of Jane Austen's early love to a marriage beset by difficulties and a country at war. Hemingway ... vividly and authentically portrays the times. ... [T]his is a lively, compelling read, [a] sobering but moving finale to Hemingway's successful trilogy. —BlueInk Review

Immensely satisfying ... Marriage is lively, compelling, and fun. ... [Her] relationship with her husband Ashton still sparkles. Marriage is a lovely ode to their connection. ... Hemingway has combined Austen's humanity with her fiction and created a Jane that lives and breathes on the page. Audiences will want her to be real... It offers a wonderful, imagined alternate life for the well-loved author. —Claire Foster, Foreword Review

‘Enjoyable … an imaginative, well-researched series.’ —Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Collins' passion for literature, history, and science enable him to create complete, sharply drawn fictional characters fully engaged in their complex and often dangerous worlds. His fiction is shaped by the language of the heart and an abiding respect for courage in the face of adversity.

As a nonfiction book author, Collins has investigated topics as diverse as corporate culture and ethics; the Internet and mobile technology; the ins and outs of the retail trade; and the cognitive potential of the brain. Best known for the #1 best-selling book on business and technology, Business @ the Speed of Thought, which he co-authored with Bill Gates, he tackles challenging topics with clarity and insight, writing for the intelligent but nontechnical reader.

Born and raised in Arkansas, Collins has lived most of his adult life in the American Northwest, with a career that has spanned writing, high tech, and aviation. He has a bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of Arkansas, Phi Beta Kappa; a master's degree in English literature from the University of Oregon; and numerous technical certifications in computer technology.

For more information please visit Collins Hemingway’s website and blog. You can also find him on FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 16

Tuesday, December 17

Wednesday, December 18
Review at Books and Zebras

Thursday, December 19
Excerpt at Jathan & Heather
Guest Post at Library of Clean Reads

Saturday, December 21
Review & Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Friday, December 27
Review at Pencils & Pages

Saturday, December 28

Wednesday, January 1
Review at Older & Smarter

Thursday, January 2

Friday, January 3

Monday, January 6
Review at @ya.its.lit

Thursday, January 9

Friday, January 10
Excerpt at The Lit Bitch
Review at Peaceful Pastime

Monday, January 13

Tuesday, January 14

Thursday, January 16

Friday, January 17
Review & Excerpt at To Read, Or Not to Read


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on January 17th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Vol III


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