Thursday, August 21, 2014

G404 Book Review of Inamorata by Megan Chance

Name of Book: Inamorata

Author: Megan Chance

ISBN: 978-1477823033

Publisher: Lake Union

Type of book: 1878-1879, supernatural, paranormal, Venice, art scene, talent, incest, secrets, scandals, lovers, fame for infinity, pact

Year it was published: 2014

Summary:

American artist Joseph Hannigan and his alluring sister, Sophie, have arrived in enchanting nineteenth-century Venice with a single-minded goal. The twins, who have fled scandal in New York, are determined to break into Venice’s expatriate set and find a wealthy patron to support Joseph’s work.

But the enigmatic Hannigans are not the only ones with a secret agenda. Joseph’s talent soon attracts the attention of the magnificent Odilé Leon, a celebrated courtesan and muse who has inspired many artists to greatness. But her inspiration comes with a devastatingly steep price.

As Joseph falls under the courtesan’s spell, Sophie joins forces with Nicholas Dane, the one man who knows Odilé’s dark secret, and her sworn enemy. When the seductive muse offers Joseph the path to eternal fame, the twins must decide who to believe—and just how much they are willing to sacrifice for fame.

Characters:

There are four important characters, and just to let the reader know, incest between Sophie and Joseph is very heavily hinted, although beyond kisses its not shown. Odile Leon is a famous courtesan who has been alive for over 200 years. She has always hungered for fame, for something more than ending up like her mother, which she has received. Personality wise, she is intelligent, well conversed, cynical and regretful of what she has no choice but to do. Nicholas Dane is a former poet who used to be Odile's lover and had his talent sucked out by her. Once he learns of her nature, he is on her trail, determined to defeat her and win his talent back. Sophie and Joseph Hannigan are orphaned twins who have lived through darkness and hell, and its heavily possible that they are lovers, or else that there is very uncomfortable elements going on. Sophie always defers to her brother, depending on him to uphold her, and in beginning of the story she takes care of the practical matters such as finding a place to live in. She also has low self-esteem and doesn't really see herself the way her brother does. Joseph is charismatic, kind of a psychic, has abundance of talent in painting and is heavily in love with Sophie, unable to let her go unless an element forces him to do so. He also doesn't seem to see Sophie as a separate being.

Theme:

I'm not sure of the lesson, but what I found the most interesting are the questioning of gender roles in the story, that of women either being passed over or passive, and of men being active and aggressive and outshining the women.

Plot:

The story is told in first person narrative from Odile's, Sophie's and Nicholas's points of view. The author does name the chapters after the characters that are speaking, and the plot is pretty fascinating, as well as the issues it raises up, that of balance, completeness, how women are to act as models instead of being more active, and also the supernatural element is unique, which will be a relief to people who are sick and tired of being haunted by vampires.

Author Information:
(From TLC)

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1485753fd6e10a7e9d9aee.L._V195542718_SX200_About Megan Chance

Megan Chance is a critically acclaimed, award-winning author of historical fiction. Her novels have been chosen for the Borders Original Voices and IndieBound’s Booksense programs. A former television news photographer and graduate of Western Washington University, Chance lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two daughters.

Connect with Megan

Website | Facebook | Twitter




Opinion:

For some odd reason, when I saw the cover, it really reminded me of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. (Have to admit that I love the cover.) I think the vein that the author and story have tried to go into was sort of Anne Rice like, at least in terms of Sophie and Joseph, but despite the darkness and descriptions, I had a hard time buying into the atmosphere, and I tend to enjoy darker books. I'm really unsure of why the book didn't really grab me as I had hoped. I would guess that I feel the charismatic twins didn't really capture the chemistry of relationship, that is I didn't feel the chemistry buzzing around them. I also think that from beginning, the story felt very similar to The Color of Light by Helen Maryles Shankman. I didn't notice the length because the characters were all well done and were memorable as well.

This is for TLC Book Tour

Megan Chance’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, August 4th:  Ageless Pages Reviews
Tuesday, August 5th:  My Shelf Confessions
Tuesday, August 5th:  Reading Reality
Thursday, August 7th:  The Whimsical Cottage
Friday, August 8th:  The Book Binder’s Daughter
Monday, August 11th:  Bibliotica
Monday, August 11th:  Unabridged Chick
Tuesday, August 12th:  Patricia’s Wisdom
Wednesday, August 13th:  Books a la Mode - author guest post
Wednesday, August 13th: Unabridged Chick - author Q&A
Monday, August 18th:  Literally Jen
Tuesday, August 19th: Savvy Verse & Wit
Tuesday, August 19th:  Vox Libris
Wednesday, August 20th:  Brooke Blogs
Thursday, August 21st:  Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Monday, August 25th:  Books Without Any Pictures
Tuesday, August 26th:  No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, August 27th:  Wensend
Thursday, August 28th:  Ladybug Literature
Friday, August 29th:  Under a Gray Sky
Monday, September 1st:  Snowdrop Dreams of Books
4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

G383 A hero for the people: Stories of the Brazilian Backlands by Arthur Powers

General Information:


Name of Book: A Hero for the People: Stories of the Brazilian Backlands

Author: Arthur Powers

About the Author:
(From Book Junkie Promotions Website)

Genre: General Fiction/Literary
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About the Author

03_Arthur PowersArthur Powers went to Brazil in 1969 and lived most his adult life there. From 1985 to 1997, he and his wife served with the Franciscan Friars in the Amazon, doing pastoral work and organizing subsistence farmers and rural workers’ unions in a region of violent land conflicts. The Powers currently live in Raleigh North Carolina.
Arthur received a Fellowship in Fiction from the Massachusetts Artists Foundation, three annual awards for short fiction from the Catholic Press Association, and 2nd place in the 2008 Tom Howard Fiction Contest. His poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in many magazines & anthologies. He is the author of A Hero For The People: Stories From The Brazilian Backlands (Press 53, 2013) and The Book of Jotham (Tuscany Press, 2013).

Author Links

ISBN: 978-1-935708-83-4

Publisher: Press 53

Year it was published: 2013

Overall theme:

I'm not sure what lesson I should have learned from it: the stories all take place in Brazil prior to 2000s, and they encompass different areas of Brazil, from country areas to Rio de Janeiro, mostly dealing with victims and people who have little to no voice.

Summary:

"Set in the vast and sometimes violent landscape of contemporary Brazil, this is a gorgeous collection of stories-wise, hopeful, and forgiving, but clear-eyed in its exploration of the toll taken on the human heart by greed, malice, and the lust for land." -Debra Murphy, Publisher of Idyll's Press, Founder of CatholicFiction.net


1. The Bridge 

Setting and Date: Northern Goias, 1987

Summary:

Written in first person narrative, the man and his friend, Jack Hogan, agree to go to a bishop to talk. On the way there as they were driving over the bridge, it is revealed that Jack has a secret sin he wants to do. On the way back to Northern Goias, the narrator drives the car when he and Jack stop and begin to study the bridge and then  something unexpected happens.

2. Back Country People 

Setting and Date: Tocantins, 1992

Summary:

Ze Dias, who owns a truck and lives in a place that lacks cars, is asked to help a boy and his father who's suffering from malaria, to drive them over to Pedro Afonso. While driving to pick up the father, Ze Dias reflects on the way people live as well as issues that they face.

3. Hate

Setting and Date: Massachusetts and Northern Goias, 1989

Summary:

In first person narrative, the narrator introduces Dave Sorensen who comes home from Brazil. When they meet this time, the conversation turns to ghosts, and Dave tells them a story of Tumbao, a despicable man from a local village that had done hated things, as well as his history and what Tumbao has to face in terms of his life and whether or not he can be forgiven.

4. Claudio 

Setting and Date: Northern Goias, 1986

Summary:

Maria, a young lady who has recently gotten married gets complimented by a man from the city named Claudio and then she begins to imagine life with Claudio versus that of her husband Joao as well as reminisce about her past before she got married.

5. Stone

Setting and Date: Western Bahia, 1934-1964

Summary:

Epitacio dos Santos grants his follower, Domingoes Pereira land that he can use with the condition that he and others always have to acknowledge him as owner of the land, which he does. However, after his death, Leonidas, Mauro and Antenor at first sign the papers without giving the messenger the royal treatment, and then as years pass and the messenger changes, the brothers refuse to sign the paper acknowledging Epitacio dos Santos as the owner, becoming suspicious. Eventually their deeds lead to some deadly consequences.

6. A Hero for the People 

Setting and Date: Southern Para, 1988

Summary

Brother Michel agrees to become a companion to Gil and arrives to Barreira das Almas until the old man dies and then they can close the center down. As time passes, Brother Michel becomes friendly with the locals as well as learning their stories and so forth. Eventually, Brother Michel helps the locals hold on to their lands against the local politicians.

7. Two Foxes 

Setting and Date: Tocantins, 1991

Summary

In first person narrative, a man is driving with his friend Adao, and Adao recalls a story about the time he injured the fox and what he decides to do in the end.

8. Four Liters of Wild Honey 

Setting and Date: Tocantins, 1991

Summary

Joao and Marilda, brother and sister, are selling wild honey when an incident occurs and they profit from it. Although money is meaningless to Joao, he wants for his sister to understand the difficulty in procuring the product.

9. The Moving 

Setting and Date: Espirito Santo, 1969

Summary

Maria is married to Ze, and they are moving from their fazenda. Maria recalls their life together from the time they met to marriage and to when they moved the first time, along with Maria's younger sister Estrela as well when they moved and what it was like for the family.

 10. Famine 

Setting and Date: The Brazilian Northeast, c 1970

Summary

A man and a boy had some truck troubles, and it would have been okay except the fact they have food in the truck and it is during the famine. While they are trying to fix the truck, the hungry residents come out and begin to beg for food.

11. Gilsa 

Setting and Date: Rio de Janeiro, 1979

Summary

Ademar, a man from a wealthy family, marries Gilsa who is poor and is noticed by Nelson Braga who has a very colorful past of making girls pregnant as well as being a king in the slum. Often after their marriage the two would come back to Morro Vermelho, and later on there's a confrontation as well as a choice to be made.

12. Come Into My House and Stay 

Setting and Date: Rio de Janeiro, 1976

Summary

Rosenthal, a man of Chinese/Jewish origin (Chinese mother and Jewish father,) is in love with Lydia who doesn't reciprocate his emotions back. Lydia married and had a daughter with someone else and after being dumped traveled to Brazil as a priest. While there she lived in slums and took in some children as well as helping others. When her husband passed away, Rosenthal began to communicate with her while she wrote back and eventually the two met in Brazil and have an important realization.

13. The Healer 

Setting and Date: The Slums Outside Rio de Janeiro, 1999

Summary

In first person narrative, a man visits Pastor Eugenio who disdains Catholic clergy, and Pastor Eugenio makes a shocking confession about when he was a healer and prays over an injured man and how eventually these prayers end up having dangerous consequences.

14. Colors 

Setting and Date: Belem, 1984

Summary

A young boy in first person narrative  recalls his family's history, in particular that of his grandfather being born in Amazonian frontier and forcibly moving into a city. The grandfather often tells his grandson about his own love for the colors.

15. Switzerland

Setting and Date: Recife, 1993

Summary

Maria Amelia, a trader who surpasses her own husband, Jorge, always desires to visit Switzerland. One day she and her husband win a free trip to Switzerland, but Maria Amelia becomes uncertain of whether or not to take the chance and see the land of dreams for herself.

16. Carla 

Setting and Date: Rio de Janeiro, 1968/Paris 1973

Summary

Carla Alves, a twenty three year old young woman arrives from Rio de Janeiro to Paris and reflects on what brought her to Paris as a graduate student and a survivor of what has happened. While in Paris, she meets up with Jaime who helps her put her past in perspective, as well as deal with it.

Personal Opinion:

I've read plenty of short story collections, and I have to admit that this is seriously the best collection I've read. I loved learning even more about Brazil, more beyond the party scene so to speak and beyond episode of the Simpsons. The stories are good and well-written and they all reveal fascinating aspects of people in Brazil. Why four stars then? I have to admit that in some stories I had trouble understanding the moral or what I should have learned from reading it.

This is for Book Junkie Book Tours

A Hero for the People Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 11
Spotlight at What Is That Book About
Wednesday, August 13
Review at Onyx Book Château
Friday, August 15
Spotlight at Closed the Cover
Monday, August 18
Review at Book Nerd
Tuesday, August 19
Guest Post at What Is That Book About
Wednesday, August 20
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Monday, August 25
Guest Post at The Bookworm
Wednesday, August 27
Spotlight at Unshelfish
Monday, September 1
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter
Thursday, September 4
Review at 100 Pages a Day – Stephanie’s Book Reviews
Friday, September 5
Review at A Bookish Affair
Monday, September 8
Review at Mel’s Shelves
Review at Savvy Verse & Wit
Wednesday, September 10
Review & Interview at 80 Acres and a Book
Friday, September 12
Review at A Rose in the City

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Progress Sheet...Week 32 of 2014

Book Tours to look forward to:

The Gifted-Daphne Michaels (August 12th, 2014 Pump Up Your Book)

The Gifted: How to Live the Life of Your Dreams is an inspirational, groundbreaking book from author, motivational speaker and licensed psychotherapist Daphne Michaels.
Describing and celebrating the nine gifts we are all born with, Michaels teaches readers how to recognize each gift and use it on their journey of personal development and spiritual growth.

Michaels shows us that the first three gifts we must recognize are Awareness, Potential and Stillness. These three allow us to identify and use with real life-changing power the remaining six: Disharmony, Harmony, Ease, Clarity, Freedom and Engagement.
By approaching these nine gifts with real-world metaphors, Michaels answers common questions about personal transformation -- such as how it works and what kind of commitment it takes to reach a life of authentic happiness. Even Disharmony, Michaels explains, does not need to rule us. It is ours to use in positive ways as we discover the real purpose of Harmony in our lives.
The final gift, Engagement, allows us to use all of the gifts with a joy and power we never imagined possible.

The Virtues of Oxygen-Susan Schoenberger (August 13th, 2014 TLC)


From the award-winning author of "A Watershed Year" comes a heartrending story of unlikely bonds made under dire straits. Holly is a young widow with two kids living in a ramshackle house in the same small town where she grew up wealthy. Now barely able to make ends meet editing the town's struggling newspaper, she manages to stay afloat with help from her family. Then her mother suffers a stroke, and Holly's world begins to completely fall apart.

Vivian has lived an extraordinary life, despite the fact that she has been confined to an iron lung since contracting polio as a child. Her condition means she requires constant monitoring, and the close-knit community joins together to give her care and help keep her alive. As their town buckles under the weight of the Great Recession, Holly and Vivian, two very different women both touched by pain, forge an unlikely alliance that may just offer each an unexpected salvation.

Sinful Folk by Ned Hayes (August 14th, 2014 TLC)

A terrible loss. A desperate journey.
A mother seeks the truth.

In December of the year 1377, five children were burned to death in a suspicious house fire. A small band of villagers traveled 200 miles across England in midwinter to demand justice for their children’s deaths.

Sinful Folk is the story of this treacherous journey as seen by Mear, a former nun who has lived for a decade disguised as a mute man, raising her son quietly in this isolated village.

For years, she has concealed herself and all her secrets. But in this journey, she will find the strength to claim the promise of her past and find a new future. Mear begins her journey in terror and heartache, and ends in triumph and redemption.

The remarkable new novel by Ned Hayes
Illustrated by New York Times bestseller Nikki McClure.

Books to be Reviewed:

A Hero for the People: Stories of the Brazilian Backlands by Arthur Powers (August 20th, 2014 Book junkie Tours)


"Set in the vast and sometimes violent landscape of contemporary Brazil, this is a gorgeous collection of stories-wise, hopeful, and forgiving, but clear-eyed in its exploration of the toll taken on the human heart by greed, malice, and the lust for land." -Debra Murphy, Publisher of Idyll's Press, Founder of CatholicFiction.net.












The Story of Land and Sea by Katy Simpson Smith (August 25th, 2014 TLC)

Set in a small coastal town in North Carolina during the waning years of the American Revolution, this incandescent debut novel follows three generations of family—fathers and daughters, mother and son, master and slave, characters who yearn for redemption amidst a heady brew of war, kidnapping, slavery, and love.

Drawn to the ocean, ten-year-old Tabitha wanders the marshes of her small coastal village and listens to her father’s stories about his pirate voyages and the mother she never knew. Since the loss of his wife Helen, John has remained land-bound for their daughter, but when Tab contracts yellow fever, he turns to the sea once more. Desperate to save his daughter, he takes her aboard a sloop bound for Bermuda, hoping the salt air will heal her.

Years before, Helen herself was raised by a widowed father. Asa, the devout owner of a small plantation, gives his daughter a young slave named Moll for her tenth birthday. Left largely on their own, Helen and Moll develop a close but uneasy companionship. Helen gradually takes over the running of the plantation as the girls grow up, but when she meets John, the pirate turned Continental soldier, she flouts convention and her father’s wishes by falling in love. Moll, meanwhile, is forced into marriage with a stranger. Her only solace is her son, Davy, whom she will protect with a passion that defies the bounds of slavery.

In this elegant, evocative, and haunting debut, Katy Simpson Smith captures the singular love between parent and child, the devastation of love lost, and the lonely paths we travel in the name of renewal.

In the mirror-Kaira Rouda (August 28th, 2014 Pump Up your book)


If you knew you may die soon, what choices would you make?

Jennifer Benson has it all: a successful career, a perfect husband, two kids and abundant friendships. The only problem is she may be dying. IN THE MIRROR is the realistic love story about a woman facing a deadly illness, and her loves past and present. It's a story that unfolds with a delightful blend of humor and poignancy, ringing true in the heart of anyone who has ignored a warning of her own.








Books I'm Reading:

Letters from Wishing Rock: a novel with recipes by Pam Stucky (e-book)

Pam Stucky's charming debut novel is already garnering rave reviews and demands for book two in the Wishing Rock series. This engaging, fun read is written in the format of letters/e-mails amongst characters. It combines the easy readability of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and the sassy, irreverent tone of Bridget Jones' Diary, with the slice-of-life sensibilities of Alexander McCall Smith's 44 Scotland Street or Ladies' Detective Agency series.

What would happen if everyone in town lived in the same building? Ruby Parker is about to find out. Her fiancé has left her and she needs a fresh start, so she moves to Wishing Rock, Washington, a small town on Dogwinkle Island in the waters near Seattle, where she meets a quirky cast of characters who quickly become family. Letters between the neighbors and their friends chronicle the twists and turns of the characters’ daily lives. There’s Jake, a handsome and charming first-year medical student who catches Ruby’s eye from the start, despite his being over a decade younger. Millie, a Wishing Rock resident for forty years, runs the town’s library, post office, newsletter and grocery store, knows everyone and everything, and shares the history of the area with her playful wit. World traveler and psychic Alexandra bestows insight and wisdom with humor and compassion, and Ruby’s Gran heads to the United Kingdom, heeding her own advice to seize the day. And then there’s Ed; if something fun is going on, the grandson of the town’s founding father is likely at the center of it. Amidst all this action, Ruby manages to find passion and companionship, but will she be able to open her heart to love?

Online dating, a group trip to Scotland, a discussion about dogwinkles, a fateful hoedown, and friendships old and new, all interspersed with recipes from some of the town’s best cooks, make Wishing Rock come alive in this delightful and insightful look at life, love, relationships, and community.

Chapters: 4 out of 7

Pages: 81 out of 189

Sons- Pearl S. Buck


Second in the trilogy that began with The Good Earth, Buck's classic and starkly real tale of sons rising against their honored fathers tells of the bitter struggle to the death between the old and the new in China. Revolutions sweep the vast nation, leaving destruction and death in their wake, yet also promising emancipation to China's oppressed millions who are groping for a way to survive in a modern age.

Chapters: 13 out of 29

Pages: 121 out of 313






Inamorata-Megan Chance (August 21st, 2014 TLC)

American artist Joseph Hannigan and his alluring sister, Sophie, have arrived in enchanting nineteenth-century Venice with a single-minded goal. The twins, who have fled scandal in New York, are determined to break into Venice’s expatriate set and find a wealthy patron to support Joseph’s work.

But the enigmatic Hannigans are not the only ones with a secret agenda. Joseph’s talent soon attracts the attention of the magnificent Odilé Leon, a celebrated courtesan and muse who has inspired many artists to greatness. But her inspiration comes with a devastatingly steep price.

As Joseph falls under the courtesan’s spell, Sophie joins forces with Nicholas Dane, the one man who knows Odilé’s dark secret, and her sworn enemy. When the seductive muse offers Joseph the path to eternal fame, the twins must decide who to believe—and just how much they are willing to sacrifice for fame.

Chapters: 9 out of 51

Pages: 66 out of 408

What Counts Most is How You Finish-Shelia Payton (August 26th, 2014 iRead Book Tours)


What Counts Most is How You Finish is a book of short essays that shares ideas for addressing life's challenges. The book (which uses experiences from the author's life and the lives of others) is written with two ideas in mind:

• Each person has to find his or her own way in life
• We can learn worthwhile things from each other

To make it easier to find an essay that can help the reader address life situations in real time, What Counts Most is How You Finish is divided into seven topic areas: Being You, Taking Care of You, Dealing with People, Overcoming Challenges, Staying Focused, Achieving Success and Making a Difference.

While the primary audience for What Counts Most is How You Finish is people between the ages of 16-25, the book has received positive feedback from many older than that who say it’s a good reminder for them. ​ Finalist of The Next Generation Indie Book Awards, What Counts Most is How You Finish is filled with insightful lessons.

Chapters: 12 out of N/A

Pages: 51 out of 273

Someone Else's Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson(September 1st, 2014 TLC)

Someone Else's Love Story is beloved and highly acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Joshilyn Jackson's funny, charming, and poignant novel about science and miracles, secrets and truths, faith and forgiveness; about falling in love, and learning that things aren't always what they seem—or what we hope they will be.

Shandi Pierce is juggling finishing college, raising her delightful three-year-old genius son Nathan, aka Natty Bumppo, and keeping the peace between her eternally warring, long-divorced parents. She's got enough complications without getting caught in the middle of a stick-up and falling in love with William Ashe, who willingly steps between the robber and her son.

Shandi doesn't know that her blond god Thor has his own complications. When he looked down the barrel of that gun he believed it was destiny: It's been one year to the day since a tragic act of physics shattered his world. But William doesn't define destiny the way others do. A brilliant geneticist who believes in facts and numbers, destiny to him is about choice. Now, he and Shandi are about to meet their so-called destinies head on, making choices that will reveal unexpected truths about love, life, and the world they think they know.

Chapters: 3 out of 15

Pages: 40 out of 300

Beyond Hollywood Strip by Shamron Moore ( September 2nd, 2014 TLC)


Callie Lambert is the hottest starlet in Hollywood. With a hit TV show under her belt, the tabloid-targeted actress--christened one of “The 20 Most Tantalizing Angelenos”--leads a charmed life, hobnobbing with fashionistas in Paris and industry bigwigs in Los Angeles . She's sexy, sassy, and unsinkable....and currently unemployed.

Beyond Hollywood Strip offers an inside look into the realities of being famous and beautiful, following Callie as she navigates the seedy underbelly of the entertainment industry. Juggling hunky ex-boyfriends, battling lawsuits from rival actresses, staying one step ahead of the press, organizing a charity event to honor her murdered friend…Callie’s got it all under control. But when she receives a mysterious letter from a young woman claiming to be her long-lost sister, Callie’s world begins to crack around the edges and all bets are off.

An ode to the literary popcorn of Jacqueline Susann, Beyond Hollywood Strip is a steamy, action-packed ride down Sunset Boulevard. Better buckle your seat belt…it’s going to be bumpy...

Chapters: 4 out of 69

Pages: 17 out of 394

Three Story House by Courtney Miller Santo (September 3rd, 2014 TLC)

Renovating an historic Memphis house together, three cousins discover that their spectacular failures in love, career, and family provide the foundation for their future happiness in this warm and poignant novel from the author of The Roots of the Olive Tree that is reminiscent of The Postmistress, The Secret Life of Bees, and Kristin Hannah’s novels.

Nearing thirty and trying to avoid the inescapable fact that they have failed to live up to everyone’s expectations and their own aspirations, cousins and childhood best friends Lizzie, Elyse, and Isobel seek respite in an oddly-shaped, three-story house that sits on a bluff sixty feet above the Mississippi.

As they work to restore the almost condemned house, each woman faces uncomfortable truths about their own failings. Lizzie seeks answers to a long-held family secret about her father in her grandmother’s jumble of mementos and the home’s hidden spaces. Elyse’s obsession with an old flame leads her to a harrowing mistake that threatens to destroy her sister’s wedding, and Isobel’s quest for celebrity tempts her to betray confidences in ways that would irreparably damage her two cousins.

Told in three parts from the perspective of each of the women, this sharply observed account of the restoration of a house built out of spite, but filled with memories of love is also an account of friendship and how relying on each other’s insights and strengths provides the women a way to get what they need instead of what they want.

Chapters: 5 out of N/A

Pages: 44 out of 376

The Captive Queen-Danny Saunders (September 4th, 2014 Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour)


Political schemes, religious partisanship and unbridled love shake the Royal Court of Scotland at the end of the Stuart dynasty.

Witness to sordid murders, spy for Her Majesty among the Protestants of the infamous preacher John Knox, forced to give up her one true love, thrown out onto the streets then ruthlessly attacked by a drunkard, Charlotte Gray will do everything in her power to remain the sovereign’s lady-in-waiting.

As for the Queen of Scots, she faces turmoil of a completely different kind: prisoner in a castle under the command of her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I of England, Mary Stuart learns that she is the victim of a vast conspiracy and that her English counterpart has ordered her imminent execution.

Despite their hardships, Mary and Charlotte will keep their dignity throughout the storm. The two women will finally find serenity, one in the arms of a man and the other in the arms of God.

Interwoven with historical facts of the era, the thrilling The Captive Queen saga is worthy of the greatest royal intrigues that still fascinate us several centuries later.

Chapters: 4 out of 15 plus foreword

Pages: 72 out of 311

The Duel for Consuelo by Claudia H. Long ( September 5th, 2014 Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour)

History, love, and faith combine in a gripping novel set in early 1700’s Mexico. In this second passionate and thrilling story of the Castillo family, the daughter of a secret Jew is caught between love and the burdens of a despised and threatened religion. The Enlightenment is making slow in-roads, but Consuelo’s world is still under the dark cloud of the Inquisition. Forced to choose between protecting her ailing mother and the love of dashing Juan Carlos Castillo, Consuelo’s personal dilemma reflects the conflicts of history as they unfold in 1711 Mexico. A rich, romantic story illuminating the timeless complexities of family, faith, and love.

Chapters: 4 out of 10 plus prologue and historical post script,

Pages: 65 out of 234

Edwin: High King of Britain by Edoardo Albert(September 8th, 2014 Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours)


Debut historical fiction series vividly recreating the rise of the Christian kings of Northumbria, England

In 604 AD, Edwin, the deposed king of Northumbria, seeks refuge at the court of King Raedwald of East Anglia. But Raedwald is urged to kill his guest by Aethelfrith, Edwin's usurper. As Edwin walks by the shore, alone and at bay, he is confronted by a mysterious figure--the missionary Paulinus-- who prophesies that he will become High King of Britain. It is a turning point.

Through battles and astute political alliances Edwin rises to power, in the process marrying the Kentish princess Aethelburh. As part of the marriage contract the princess is allowed to retain her Christian faith. But, in these times, to be a king is not a recipe for a long life.

This turbulent and tormented period in British history sees the conversion of the Anglo-Saxon settlers who have forced their way on to British shores over previous centuries, arriving first to pillage, then to farm and trade--and to come to terms with the faith of the Celtic tribes they have driven out.

The dramatic story of Northumbria's Christian kings helped give birth to England as a nation, English as a language, and the adoption of Christianity as the faith of the English.

Chapters: 3 out of 39 plus epilogue

Pages: 32 out of 348

Becoming Josephine-Heather Webb (September 9th, 2014 TLC)

Rose Tascher sails from her Martinique plantation to Paris to trade her Creole black magic culture for love and adventure. She arrives exultant to follow her dreams of attending Court with Alexandre, her elegant aristocrat and soldier husband. But Alexandre dashes her hopes and abandons her amid the tumult of the French Revolution.

Through her savoir faire, Rose secures her footing in high society, reveling in handsome men and glitzy balls—until the heads of her friends begin to roll.

After narrowly escaping death in the blood-drenched cells of Les Carmes prison, she reinvents herself as Josephine, a socialite of status and power. Yet her youth is fading, and Josephine must choose between a precarious independence and the love of an awkward suitor. Little does she know, he would become the most powerful man of his century- Napoleon Bonaparte.

BECOMING JOSEPHINE is a novel of one woman’s journey to find eternal love and stability, and ultimately to find herself.

Chapters: 3 out of N/A plus author's note

Pages: 29 out of 306

The Angel of Losses: A Novel by Stephanie Feldman (September 10th, 2014 TLC)


The Tiger's Wife meets A History of Love in this inventive, lushly imagined debut novel that explores the intersections of family secrets, Jewish myths, the legacy of war and history, and the bonds between sisters

When Eli Burke dies, he leaves behind a mysterious notebook full of stories about a magical figure named The White Rebbe, a miracle worker in league with the enigmatic Angel of Losses, protector of things gone astray, and guardian of the lost letter of the alphabet, which completes the secret name of God.

When his granddaughter, Marjorie, discovers Eli's notebook, everything she thought she knew about her grandfather--and her family--comes undone. To find the truth about Eli's origins and unlock the secrets he kept, she embarks on an odyssey that takes her deep into the past, from 18th century Europe to Nazi-occupied Lithuania, and back to the present, to New York City and her estranged sister Holly, whom she must save from the consequences of Eli's past.

Interweaving history, theology, and both real and imagined Jewish folktales, The Angel of Losses is a family story of what lasts, and of what we can-and cannot-escape.

Chapters: 2 out of 11 plus prologue and epilogue?

Pages: 47 out of 277

The Agincourt Bride by Joanna Hickson (September 11th, 2014 TLC)

The epic story of the queen who founded the Tudor dynasty, told through the eyes of her loyal nursemaid. Perfect for fans of Philipa Gregory.

When her own first child is tragically still-born, the young Mette is pressed into service as a wet-nurse at the court of the mad king, Charles VI of France. Her young charge is the princess, Catherine de Valois, caught up in the turbulence and chaos of life at court.

Mette and the child forge a bond, one that transcends Mette’s lowly position.
But as Catherine approaches womanhood, her unique position seals her fate as a pawn between two powerful dynasties. Her brother, The Dauphin and the dark and sinister, Duke of Burgundy will both use Catherine to further the cause of France.

Catherine is powerless to stop them, but with the French defeat at the Battle of Agincourt, the tables turn and suddenly her currency has never been higher. But can Mette protect Catherine from forces at court who seek to harm her or will her loyalty to Catherine place her in even greater danger?

Chapters: 4 out of 38

Pages: 43 out of 559

The Same Sky: A Traveler's Quest for Redemption and Peace by Debbie Yee Lan Wong


After a painful breakup, a young Chinese Canadian packed her bag, a journal and a camera and went on a solo journey through Southeast Asia. Brokenhearted and needing to escape, she embarked on a three-month trip that took her from the ancient Buddhist temples of Tibet, to the heights of the Mt. Everest base camp, through the bustling markets of Laos, and to the peaceful hallways of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Along the way, as she navigated the difficulties of traveling alone, she encountered locals who have lived through war, poverty and political repression. Their moving stories of loss and resilience inspired her to reclaim her independence and rediscover peace and strength after a traumatic event.
A deeply personal story with universal resonance, The Same Sky will appeal to anyone with an interest in Southeast Asia, and particularly to women who have experienced the exhilaration and vulnerability of solo travel. It is the inspiring story of how a young woman at the lowest point of her life began to heal by facing the challenges of traveling alone and opening her heart to people across cultures.

Chapters: 8 out of 24 plus prologue

Pages: 125 out of 402

My Half of the Sky by Jana McBurney-Lin

Jana McBurney-Lin's debut novel My Half of the Sky introduces Li Hui, a modern young Chinese woman of marriageable age who has recently graduated from Xiamen University. Her goal is to realize Mao's words: Women hold up half of the sky. Li Hui struggles with finding love and acting with honor. Guidance and advice come from all corners of her world as well as different and conflicing generational, historical and cultural values. Everyone wants something different for and from her, particularly her parents who mourn their lack of a son while attempting to marry Li to their greatest advantage. In fact most everyone has a selfish investment in what Li Hui will do and whom she might marry. Does this sound like Jane Austen writing about the dilemmas facing young women in China today? You bet. This original and insightful work is in the best traditions of classic novels that explore people caught in the crucible of change in complex cultures. The rewards are rich for the reader, including intriguing insights into folk tales and conventional wisdom of a culture of which few of us have an intimate and timely knowledge.

Chapters: 8 out of 70

Pages: 57 out of 482

The Three Kingdoms: The Sacred Oath Vol I by Luo Guanzhong


This exciting new translation will appeal to modern readers who find the twists and turns of Game of Thrones so compelling.

The Three Kingdoms is an epic Chinese novel written over six centuries ago. It recounts in vivid historical detail the turbulent years at the close of the Han Dynasty, when China broke into three competing kingdoms and over half the population were either killed or driven from their homes. Part myth, part fact, readers will experience the loyalty and treachery, the brotherhood and rivalry of China's legendary heroes and villains during the most tumultuous period in Chinese history.

Considered the greatest work in classic Chinese literature, The Three Kingdoms is read by millions throughout Asia today. Seen not just as a great work of art, many Chinese view it as a guide to success in life and business as well as a work that offers great moral clarity—while many foreigners read it to gain insights into Chinese society and culture. From the saga of The Three Kingdoms, readers will learn how great warriors motivate their troops and enhance their influence, while disguising their weaknesses and turning the strengths of others against them.

This first volume in a trilogy introduces Liu Bei and his sworn brothers-in-arms Zhang Fei and Guan Yu, whose allegiance is sorely tested in a society that is in flux where each group is fighting for its survival against the other.

Chapters: 5 out of 35

Pages: 58 out of 414

Brilliance by Marcus Sakey

In Wyoming, a little girl reads people’s darkest secrets by the way they fold their arms. In New York, a man sensing patterns in the stock market racks up $300 billion. In Chicago, a woman can go invisible by being where no one is looking. They’re called "brilliants," and since 1980, one percent of people have been born this way. Nick Cooper is among them; a federal agent, Cooper has gifts rendering him exceptional at hunting terrorists. His latest target may be the most dangerous man alive, a brilliant drenched in blood and intent on provoking civil war. But to catch him, Cooper will have to violate everything he believes in - and betray his own kind.

From Marcus Sakey, "a modern master of suspense" (Chicago Sun-Times) and "one of our best storytellers" (Michael Connelly), comes an adventure that’s at once breakneck thriller and shrewd social commentary; a gripping tale of a world fundamentally different and yet horrifyingly similar to our own, where being born gifted can be a terrible curse.

Chapters: 13 out of 40

Pages: 122 out of 434

Future Readings:

My Whispers of Horror: Letters Telling Women's True Tales from Ex-USSR Nations by Brine Books Publishing, Olga Brine, Chris Brine (e-book)


"If he hits me, then he must love me."

"I am a cow and I am a bull. I am a woman and I am a man."

"If you don't find an ideal man by your age... it doesn't mean that you like girls. Don't worry, you can find a man! You will not be an old maid."

"That was also when these police officers, who were meant to protect the public, became my pimps."

What can be more deep and personal than reading what a woman wrote of her experiences? Cases such as domestic violence, forced prostitution, rape, and more. You won't be able to tear your eyes away as you read their quiet whispers of horror, while trying to understand why this still happens in other cultures today. Having these real women explain to the world what happened to them will help to raise awareness on why we still need to fight and stand up for them.

Much of the world is still stuck within sadistic patriarchal standards that oppresses women. And for a woman to survive in such a culture she must have enormous strength to defend her own or her children's lives from violence and oppression. Read what these brave women wish to confess.

Chapters: 22 plus Foreword

Pages: 139

A Matter of Mercy by Lynne Hugo (September 12th, 2014 TLC)

Caroline Marcum thought she'd escaped the great mistake of her life by leaving Wellfleet harbor, but is forced to face it when she returns, reluctantly, to care for her dying mother. Ridley Neal put his past-and his prison term-behind him to return home to take over his father's oyster and clam beds. Casual acquaintances long ago, when a nor'easter hits the coast, Rid and Caroline's lives intersect once again. When Rid and two other sea farmers are sued by the wealthy owners of vacation homes who want to shut them down, and Caroline accidentally meets the person she most wronged, they each must learn to trust-and love. Inspired by an actual lawsuit, A Matter of Mercy is a riveting novel about treasuring the traditional way of life in the shallows of beautiful Cape Cod bay by discovering where forgiveness ends. And where it begins.

Chapters: 30 plus author's note

Pages: 263

The Story Hour: A Novel by Thrity Umrigar (September 15th, 2014 TLC)


From the critically beloved, bestselling author of The World We Found and The Space Between Us, whom the New York Times Book Review calls a "perceptive and . . . piercing writer," comes a profound, heartbreakingly honest novel about friendship, family, secrets, forgiveness, and second chances

An experienced psychologist, Maggie carefully maintains emotional distance from her patients. But when she meets a young Indian woman who tried to kill herself, her professional detachment disintegrates. Cut off from her family in India, Lakshmi is desperately lonely and trapped in a loveless marriage to a domineering man who limits her world to their small restaurant and grocery store.

Moved by her plight, Maggie treats Lakshmi in her home office for free, quickly realizing that the despondent woman doesn't need a shrink; she needs a friend. Determined to empower Lakshmi as a woman who feels valued in her own right, Maggie abandons protocol, and soon doctor and patient have become close friends.

But while their relationship is deeply affectionate, it is also warped by conflicting expectations. When Maggie and Lakshmi open up and share long-buried secrets, the revelations will jeopardize their close bond, shake their faith in each other, and force them to confront painful choices.

Chapters: 42

Pages: 317

Accidents of Marriage-Randy Susan Meyers (September 16th, 2014 TLC)

Accidents of Marriage explores a topic rarely shown in fiction: the destruction left in the wake of spouse’s verbal fury. Ben never meant to hurt Maddy. He never imagined his recklessness would lead to tragedy.

Maddy is a social worker trying to balance her career and three children. Years ago, she fell in love with Ben, a public defender, drawn to his fiery passion, but now he’s lashing out at her during his periodic verbal furies. She vacillates between tiptoeing around him and asserting herself for the sake of their kids – which works to keep a fragile peace – until the rainy day when they’re together in the car and Ben’s volatile temper gets the best of him, leaving Maddy in the hospital fighting for her life.

Randy Susan Meyers takes us inside the hearts and minds of her characters, alternating among the perspectives of Maddy, Ben, and their fourteen-year-old daughter. Accidents of Marriage is a provocative and stunning novel that will resonate deeply with women from all walks of life, ultimately revealing the challenges of family, faith, and forgiveness.


ACCIDENTS OF MARRIAGE explores a topic rarely shown in fiction: the damaging effects of a spouse’s emotional abuse.

Chapters: 39

Pages: 352

Madame Picasso by Anne Girard ( September 17th, 2014 Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour)


The mesmerizing and untold story of Eva Gouel, the unforgettable woman who stole the heart of the greatest artist of our time

When Eva Gouel moves to Paris from the countryside, she is full of ambition and dreams of stardom. Though young and inexperienced, she manages to find work as a costumer at the famous Moulin Rouge, and it is here that she first catches the attention of Pablo Picasso, a rising star in the art world.

A brilliant but eccentric artist, Picasso sets his sights on Eva, and Eva can't help but be drawn into his web. But what starts as a torrid affair soon evolves into what will become the first great love of Picasso's life.

With sparkling insight and passion, Madame Picasso introduces us to a dazzling heroine, taking us from the salon of Gertrude Stein to the glamorous Moulin Rouge and inside the studio and heart of one of the most enigmatic and iconic artists of the twentieth century.

Chapters: 35 plus author's note

Pages: 414

Tower of Tears by Rhoda D'Ettore (September 18th, 2014 Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour)

"If God be good, Mr. Landon shall burn in the eternal flames of hell. If God be bad, he shall suffer much worse."

Despair. Love. Abuse. Murder. Mystery. Tragedy.

In 1820, Jane McClusky sets out for Philadelphia from Ireland with her toddler son, hoping for a better life. Her husband remains in Ireland, trying to save money for his voyage, while she resides with cousins she has never met. Jane must meet the challenges of crossing the Atlantic, residing with virtual strangers, and working a factory job in a new land.

She soon faces tragedy, betrayal, and heart ache. The New World was not what she expected it to be.

Each book of this series will follow different generations of the McClusky family as they become Americanized, while facing such events as the Potato Famine, the US Civil War, and the Industrial Revolution.

Chapters: 69 plus prologue and epilogue

Pages: 298

Round the Bend: From Luton to Peru to Ningaloo, a Search for Life After Redundancy by Alistair McGuinness(September 19th, 2014 Pump up your book)


From the Amazon to the Andes and Kilimanjaro to Cape Town. This adventure story captures the reality and exhilaration of leaving home to undertake Gap Year travel in South America, Africa, Fiji and Australia.

Three things happened simultaneously. The lioness charged, Alistair fled across the parched savannah and his wife screamed for him to run faster. Stuffed deep inside his tattered rucksack was a guidebook containing advice on what to do in wildlife emergencies, which he planned to read if he survived the next thirty seconds. Future plans to climb Kilimanjaro, teach English in the Amazon and live in Australia were temporarily forgotten as he turned to face the pouncing lioness, thinking back to the words of advice from his mother-in-law. "Don't do anything silly, and look after Francine." From deep underground in a remote Bolivian mine to the scorched Australian outback, Round the Bend is an adventure travel story. It explores the turbulence of redundancy, the excitement of travel, the anguish of leaving home and the challenges of starting a new life in Australia.

Chapters: 22

Pages: 246

I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe (September 23rd, 2014 TLC)

An extraordinary novel about a strong-willed woman who disguises herself as a man in order to fight beside her husband in the Civil War, inspired by a real female soldier's letters home.

Rosetta doesn't want her new husband Jeremiah to enlist, but he joins up, hoping to make enough money that they'll be able to afford their own farm someday. Though she's always worked by her father’s side as the son he never had, now that Rosetta is a wife she's told her place is inside with the other women. But Rosetta decides her true place is with Jeremiah, no matter what that means, and to be with him she cuts off her hair, hems an old pair of his pants, and signs up as a Union soldier.

Rosetta drills with the men, prepares herself for battle, and faces the tension as her husband comes to grips with having a fighting wife. Fearing discovery of her secret, Rosetta’s strong will clashes with Jeremiah’s as their marriage is tested by war. Inspired by over two hundred and fifty documented accounts of the women who fought in the Civil War while disguised as men, I Shall Be Near To You is the intimate story, in Rosetta’s powerful and gorgeous voice, of the drama of marriage, one woman’s amazing exploits, and the tender love story that can unfold when two partners face life’s challenges side by side.

Chapters: 37 plus prologue and author's note

Pages: 301

Behind You by Carly M. Duncan (September 24th, 2014 Pump up your book)


When a mysterious attack lands Heather in the hospital on the brink of death, her family rushes to her side. Through an inconvenient maze of shadowed memory and family secrets, Heather can trust only herself to discover if her husband, parents, sister or aunt tried to kill her. During the course of their own narratives, each character confesses to their various crimes of passion, envy and ignorance, weaving Heather's mystery into an untraditional tale about seizing the opportunity to start over.

Chapters: 22

Pages: 193




Spy Island by Sophie Schiller (September 26th, 2014 Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour)

A forbidden friendship that blossoms into love between an island girl and a German U-boat deserter is at the heart of this colorful historical novel.

In 1916, Abigail Maduro arrives in the Danish West Indies to live with her Aunt Esther, a bad tempered spinster, and her houseful of eccentric servants. Despite the island's veneer of tranquility, St. Thomas is a hotbed of German spies who use their Hamburg-America steamers to aid the Kaiser's war effort.

When a mysterious stranger suddenly appears in town, Abigail is drawn into the conflict. In the scholarly Erich Seibold, she finds the friendship and love she has been craving, even after she learns that Erich is really a deserter from a German U-boat. But their idyllic interlude comes to a crashing halt when the island's German consul also discovers Erich's identity, and blackmails him into committing sabotage. After a melee involving the Danish governor, Erich is thrown into prison, forcing Abigail to risk everything to save him. Action and adventure abound in this colorful historical novel that brings to life a fading West Indian sugar colony in the last days of Danish rule.

Chapters: 37 plus author's note

Pages: 348

Stevenson's Treasure by Mark Wiederanders (October 1st, 2014 Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour)


In 1879 Robert Louis Stevenson embarked on one of the most romantic, ill-advised but wildly successful quests a literary figure has ever made. Young, unknown, and in failing health, he journeys six-thousand arduous miles to make Fanny Osbourne his wife, despite the fact that she is already married (unhappily), has children, and is ten years older than he. And yet, from their first meeting, he knew instantly she was the only woman for him.

Chapters: 27 plus afterword,

Pages: 329





My Thinning Years: Starving the Gay Within-Jon Derek Croteau ( October 2nd, 2014 TLC)

As a child, Jon tried desperately to be his father’s version of the all-American boy, denying his gayness in a futile attempt to earn the love and respect of an abusive man. With this he built a deep, internalized homophobia that made him want to disappear rather than live with the truth about himself. That denial played out in the forms of anorexia, bulimia, and obsessive running, which consumed him as an adolescent and young adult.

It wasn’t until a grueling yet transformative Outward Bound experience that Jon began to face his sexual identity. This exploration continued as he entered college and started the serious work of sorting through years of repressed anger to separate from his father’s control and condemnation.

My Thinning Years is an inspiring story of courage, creativity, and the will to live—and of recreating the definition of family to include friends, relatives, and teachers who support you in realizing your true self.

Chapters: 23 plus preface, prologue and epilogue

Pages: 282

A Brief Moment of Weightlessness by Victoria Fish (October 6th, 2014 TLC)


A Brief Moment of Weightlessness is a collection of short stories that illuminate the beauty and extraordinariness of "ordinary" lives. Each explores the human desire for connectedness and grace. The stories range from large upheavals such as how a marriage shifts when a spouse loses a limb or how a girl reconfigures her world when her father goes to jail, to smaller moments such as when a woman experiences wonder again on a visit to a nursing home with her child and their dog, or when a man finds redemption in the midst of tragedy after being bitten by his dying dog. These illuminating, heartbreaking, poignant, astute stories take on serious issues of death/dying, injury, infidelity, aftermath of war, estrangement and more, but without a sense of gloom that could overwhelm them. They often, though not always, find that glimmer of hope or opportunity, and they are told in a voice that can cut to the quick of a character or conflict, with endings that don’t always resolve neatly. These stories explore, dissect and celebrate those small moments within the larger events that make all of our lives extraordinary.

Chapters: N/A

Pages: 126

Painting Juliana by Martha Louise Hunter(October 7th, 2014 TLC)

Juliana Birdsong is your typical eight-year-old with an obsessive-compulsive mother who's too paranoid to leave the house. Making double-lined, black-out drapes to protect their home from the outside world, her mother only looks up from her sewing machine when Perry Mason comes on TV - the type of successful man Juliana should marry if she wants to get anywhere in life. But Juliana has other things to worry about. Night after night, she's awakened by a terrifying dream where she's chased down a long, tapering highway on the back of her father's motorcycle heading for an enormous, twisting funnel cloud that waits on the horizon. Even after locking it away inside her bedside drawer, Juliana wonders if there are parts of the dream she hasn't seen yet. Years later, she finds dynamic trial lawyer, Oliver Morrissey and she marries him for love. Life is going reasonably well for the priviledged socialite - that is, until she's faced with losing everything, including her children. Stepping out of her Lexus, Juliana peels off her Chanel sunglasses and glares up at her childhood home that's now smothered in ivy. Inside, there's only her estranged father left, who she's sure caused her mother's death. Moving in, she discovers a nude portrait of her with an odd set of tiny red footprints on the ankle, and another surprise she's not expecting: Her father has Alzheimer's and he needs her. Plus, a shipment of mysterious oil paintings arrives, all with his signature. When Juliana puts a brush in his hand, it sets off a surreal time warp and the canvases eerily transform, painting a different picture of the parents she thought she knew. As tragic secrets emerge that mirror her own, Juliana's old demons come back to haunt her. Consumed with his care and desperate for her old life back, the dream is still chasing her and it's catching up fast. Just when she can't run any faster, the funnel cloud is waiting on the horizon, twisting even faster than before.

Chapters: 80 plus Provenance

Pages: 352

The Summer of Long Knives by Jim Snowden (October 16th, 2014 TLC)


In the summer of 1936, the racial and political climate in Munich are growing tense, and Kommisar Rolf Wundt and his wife Klara are increasingly desperate to leave Nazi Germany while they still can. But when a member of the League of German Girls is found brutally murdered and posed in the yard of a dilapidated farmhouse, Rolf's supervisor declares that they can't leave until he's solved the case. Rolf's investigation leads him from the depths of the underground Communist movement to the heights of Germany's elite Nazi society, exposing the cracks in Germany's so-called unified society as well as the unspoken tensions in Rolf's complicated marriage. Ultimately, long-buried secrets and overwhelming evidence are laid bare, but how can Rolf bring the killer to justice in a country devoid of justice? And how can he protect himself, his wife, and his former lover from the barbarism of a corrupt and power-hungry government?

Chapters: 26

Pages: 319

The Lost Tribe of Coney Island-Claire Prentice (October 21st, 2014 TLC)

Readers of Erik Larson will love this tale of sex, greed, and the American dream: A huckster imports a tribe of Filipinos to Coney Island’s Luna Park, and two cultures collide.

The Lost Tribe of Coney Island unearths the forgotten story of the Igorrotes, a group of “headhunting, dog-eating savages” from the Philippines, who were transported to New York in 1905 to appear as “human exhibits” alongside the freaks and curiosities at Coney Island’s Luna Park. Millions of fair-goers delighted in their tribal dances and rituals, near-nudity, tattoos, and stories of headhunting.

Journalist Claire Prentice, who has spent years researching the topic, brings the story to life with her fluid prose and vivid descriptions. The book boasts a colorful cast of characters, including the disgraced lieutenant turned huckster Truman K. Hunt; his Filipino interpreter, Julio Balinag; the theme park impresarios behind Luna Park, Fred Thompson and Elmer “Skip” Dundy; and Dogmena, a beautiful girl who became a favorite with New York’s social elite. The Lost Tribe of Coney Island  is a fascinating social history and a tale of adventure, culture-clash, and the American dream.

Chapters: 32 plus cast of characters, introduction and afterword

Pages: 339

Palmetto Moon-Kim Boykin (October 29th, 2014 Pump up your book)


June, 1947. Charleston is poised to celebrate the biggest wedding in high-society history, the joining of two of the oldest families in the city. Except the bride is nowhere to be found…

Unlike the rest of the debs she grew up with, Vada Hadley doesn’t see marrying Justin McLeod as a blessing—she sees it as a life sentence. So when she finds herself one day away from a wedding she doesn’t want, she’s left with no choice but to run away from the future her parents have so carefully planned for her.

In Round O, South Carolina, Vada finds independence in the unexpected friendships she forms at the boarding house where she stays, and a quiet yet fulfilling courtship with the local diner owner, Frank Darling. For the first time in her life, she finally feels like she’s where she’s meant to be. But when her dear friend Darby hunts her down, needing help, Vada will have to confront the life she gave up—and decide where her heart truly belongs.

Chapters: 39

Pages: 303

Living Reed: A Novel of Korea-Pearl S. Buck



The Living Reed follows four generations of one family, the Kims, beginning with Il-han and his father, both advisors to the royal family in Korea. When Japan invades and the queen is killed, Il-han takes his family into hiding. In the ensuing years, he and his family take part in the secret war against the Japanese occupation.
Pearl S. Buck's epic tells the history of Korea through the lives of one family. She paints an amazing portrait of the country, and makes us empathize with their struggle for sovereignty through her beautifully drawn characters.

Chapters: 3 plus epilogue and historical note

Pages: 478




A House Divided-Pearl S. Buck



"A House Divided," the third volume of the trilogy that began with "The Good Earth" and "Sons," is a powerful portrayal of China in the midst of revolution. Wang Yuan is caught between the opposing ideas of different generations. After 6 years abroad, Yuan returns to China in the middle of a peasant uprising. His cousin is a captain in the revolutionary army, his sister has scandalized the family by her premarital pregnancy, and his warlord father continues to cling to his traditional ideals. It is through Yuan's efforts that a kind of peace is restored to the family

Chapters: 4

Pages: 343





The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather



Perhaps Willa Cather's most autobiographical work, The Song of the Lark charts the story of a young woman's awakening as an artist against the backdrop of the western landscape. Thea Kronborg, an aspiring singer, struggles to escape from the confines her small Colorado town to the world of possibility in the Metropolitan Opera House. In classic Cather style, The Song of the Lark is the beautiful, unforgettable story of American determination and its inextricable connection to the land.

Chapters: 61 plus Preface and epilogue

Pages: 417



Chasing Hepburn: A Memoir of Shanghai, Hollywood, and a Chinese Family's Fight for Freedom by Gus Lee


“Lee . . . has created a gripping and beautiful portrait of his family. . . . Chasing Hepburn is nonfiction, but it reads just as richly as any novel.”—Boston Globe

“Gus Lee brings to his first work of nonfiction the consummate storytelling skills that have always delighted us in his critically acclaimed novels. I promise you that you will be captivated by this epic story of two families who epitomize all that is rich and varied in Chinese culture.”
—Ron Bass, screenwriter of The Joy Luck Club and Rain Man

Gus Lee takes us straight into the heart of twentieth-century Chinese society, offering a clear-eyed yet compassionate view of the forces that repeatedly tore apart and reconfigured the lives of his parents and their contemporaries. He moves deftly from recounting intimate household conversations to discussing major historical events, and the resulting story is by turns comic, harrowing, tragic, and heroic.

Chasing Hepburn is a saga that spans four generations, two continents, and half of Chinese history. In the masterful hands of acclaimed author Gus Lee, his ancestors’ stories spring vividly to life in a memoir with all the richness of great fiction.

Chapters: 72 plus preface

Pages: 532

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay


Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is taken with her parents by the French police as they go door-to-door arresting French families in the middle of the night. Desperate to protect her younger brother, Sarah locks him in a bedroom cupboard-their secret hiding place-and promises to come back for him as soon as they are released.

Sixty Years Later: Sarah's story intertwines with that of Julia Jarmond, an American journalist investigating the roundup. In her research, Julia stumbles onto a trail of secrets that link her to Sarah, and to questions about her own romantic future.

Chapters: N/A

Pages: 293


My Ántonia by Willa Cather


The story of Antonia Shimerda is told by one of her friends from childhood, Jim Burden, an orphaned boy from Virginia. Though he leaves the prairie, Jim never forgets the Bohemian girl who so profoundly influenced his life. An immigrant child of immigrant parents, Antonia's girlhood is spent working to help her parents wrest a living from the untamed land. Though in later years she suffers betrayal and desertion, through all the hardships of her life she preserves a valor of spirit that no hardship can daunt or break. When Jim Burden sees her again after many years, he finds her "a rich mine of life", a figure who has turned adversity into a particular kind of triumph in the true spirit of the pioneer.

Chapters: 45 plus Introduction

Pages: 289


Claws of the Cat by Susan Spann

When a samurai is brutally murdered in a Kyoto teahouse, master ninja Hiro Hattori has just three days to find the killer before the dead man’s vengeful son kills both the beautiful geisha accused of the crime and Father Mateo, the Jesuit priest that Hiro has pledged his own life to protect. The investigation plunges Hiro and Father Mateo into the dangerous waters of Kyoto’s floating world, where they quickly learn that everyone from an elusive teahouse owner to the dead man’s dishonored brother has a motive to keep the samurai’s death a mystery.

Chapters:45

Pages: 270


The Three Kingdoms: The Sleeping Dragon Vol II by Luo Guanzhong



This exciting new translation will appeal to modern readers who find the twists and turns of Game of Thrones so compelling.

The Three Kingdoms is an epic Chinese novel written over six centuries ago. It recounts in vivid historical detail the turbulent years at the close of the Han Dynasty, when China broke into three competing kingdoms and over half the population were either killed or driven from their homes. Part myth, part fact, readers will experience the loyalty and treachery, the brotherhood and rivalry of China's legendary heroes and villains during the most tumultuous period in Chinese history.

Considered the greatest work in classic Chinese literature, The Three Kingdoms is read by millions throughout Asia today. Seen not just as a great work of art, many Chinese view it as a guide to success in life and business as well as a work that offers great moral clarity—while many foreigners read it to gain insights into Chinese society and culture. From the saga of The Three Kingdoms, readers will learn how great warriors motivate their troops and enhance their influence, while disguising their weaknesses and turning the strengths of others against them.

This second volume introduces Liu Bei's greatest ally, his advisor Zhuge Lian—a master strategist whose clever strategies allows Liu Bei to claim many victories in the never-ending battle for dominance during the Warring States period in Chinese history.

Chapters: 74

Pages: 447

The Three Kingdoms: Welcome The Tiger Vol III by Luo Guanzhong

This exciting new translation will appeal to modern readers who find the twists and turns of Game of Thrones so compelling.

The Three Kingdoms is an epic Chinese novel written over six centuries ago. It recounts in vivid historical detail the turbulent years at the close of the Han Dynasty, when China broke into three competing kingdoms and over half the population were either killed or driven from their homes. Part myth, part fact, readers will experience the loyalty and treachery, the brotherhood and rivalry of China's legendary heroes and villains during the most tumultuous period in Chinese history.

Considered the greatest work in classic Chinese literature, The Three Kingdoms is read by millions throughout Asia today. Seen not just as a great work of art, many Chinese view it as a guide to success in life and business as well as a work that offers great moral clarity—while many foreigners read it to gain insights into Chinese society and culture. From the saga of The Three Kingdoms, readers will learn how great warriors motivate their troops and enhance their influence, while disguising their weaknesses and turning the strengths of others against them.

This third volume concludes the tale of Liu Bei and his sworn brothers-in-arms, Zhang Fei and Guan Yu, whose loyalty and fidelity are sorely tested in a society at war for its very survival.

Chapters: 120

Pages: 510

A Better World by Marcus Sakey


The brilliants changed everything.

Since 1980, 1% of the world has been born with gifts we’d only dreamed of. The ability to sense a person’s most intimate secrets, or predict the stock market, or move virtually unseen. For thirty years the world has struggled with a growing divide between the exceptional...and the rest of us.

Now a terrorist network led by brilliants has crippled three cities. Supermarket shelves stand empty. 911 calls go unanswered. Fanatics are burning people alive.

Nick Cooper has always fought to make the world better for his children. As both a brilliant and an advisor to the president of the United States, he’s against everything the terrorists represent. But as America slides toward a devastating civil war, Cooper is forced to play a game he dares not lose—because his opponents have their own vision of a better world.

And to reach it, they’re willing to burn this one down.

From Marcus Sakey, “the master of the mindful page turner” (Gillian Flynn) and “one of our best storytellers” (Michael Connelly), Book Two of the Brilliance Saga is a relentless thrill ride that will change the way you look at your world—and the people around you.

Chapters: 45 plus prologue and epilogue

Pages: 376

The Heike Story-Eiji Yoshikawa

Kyoto in the twelfth century was a magnificent city, but crime, disorder, and lust were rampant. The people were abused by the nobility, while the armed Buddhist monks terrorized court and commoner alike. In despair, the Emperor called upon the Heike and Genji clans to quell civil disturbances. Although the clans succeeded, they quarreled over the spoils of war and plunged the country into a century of warfare.This novel describes the rise to power of Kiyomori of the Heike clan during this turbulent time. From a youth sunk in poverty, Kiyomori eventually rose to become the Emperor's Chief Councillor. Although he was a gentle, enlightened man, he left a trail of bloodshed and ruin in his wake. The strange twists of Kiyomori's fate are the core of this epic novel.The Heike Story is a modern translation of a Japanese classic. Its exotic atmosphere, narrative power, pageantry, and poetry will enthrall English readers and provide an entertaining introduction to an important source of Japanese culture.

Chapters: 50 plus On the Historical Background  and foreword

Pages: 547

The Golden Lotus Volume 1: Jin Ping Mei-Lanling Xiaoxiaosheng


A saga of ruthless ambition, murder, and lust, this classic novel—admired in its own time for its literary qualities and biting indictment of the immorality and cruelty of its age—lays bare the rivalries within a wealthy family while chronicling its rise and fall.

This edition features a new introduction by Robert Hegel of Washington University, and contains the complete text as translated by Clement Egerton with the assistance of Shu Qingchun, who as Lao She became one of the most prominent Chinese writers of the twentieth century.

Chapters:53 plus Introductions, notes and The Golden Lotus

Pages: 640




The Golden Lotus Volume 2: Jin Ping Mei-Lanling Xiaoxiaosheng

A saga of ruthless ambition, murder, and lust, this classic novel—admired in its own time for its literary qualities and biting indictment of the immorality and cruelty of its age—lays bare the rivalries within a wealthy family while chronicling its rise and fall.

This edition features a new introduction by Robert Hegel of Washington University, and contains the complete text as translated by Clement Egerton with the assistance of Shu Qingchun, who as Lao She became one of the most prominent Chinese writers of the twentieth century.

Chapters: 100

Pages: 640

Storm Siren by Mary Weber


“I raise my chin as the buyers stare. Yes. Look. You don’t want me. Because, eventually, accidentally, I will destroy you.”

In a world at war, a slave girl’s lethal curse could become one kingdom’s weapon of salvation. If the curse—and the girl—can be controlled.

As a slave in the war-weary kingdom of Faelen, seventeen-year-old Nym isn’t merely devoid of rights, her Elemental kind are only born male and always killed at birth — meaning, she shouldn’t even exist.

Standing on the auction block beneath smoke-drenched mountains, Nym faces her fifteenth sell. But when her hood is removed and her storm-summoning killing curse revealed, Nym is snatched up by a court advisor and given a choice: be trained as the weapon Faelen needs to win the war, or be killed.

Choosing the former, Nym is unleashed into a world of politics, bizarre parties, and rumors of an evil more sinister than she’s being prepared to fight . . . not to mention the handsome trainer whose dark secrets lie behind a mysterious ability to calm every lightning strike she summons.

But what if she doesn’t want to be the weapon they’ve all been waiting for?

Set in a beautifully eclectic world of suspicion, super abilities, and monsters, Storm Siren is a story of power. And whoever controls that power will win.

Chapters: 37

Pages: 333


Apprentice: A Novel of Love, the Talmud, and Sorcery by Maggie Anton

Hisdadukh, blessed to be beautiful and learned, is the youngest child of Talmudic sage Rav Hisda. The world around her is full of conflict. Rome, fast becoming Christian, battles Zoroastrian Persia for dominance while Rav Hisda and his colleagues struggle to establish new Jewish traditions after the destruction of Jerusalem's Holy Temple. Against this backdrop Hisdadukh embarks on the tortuous path to become an enchantress in the very land where the word 'magic' originated.

But the conflict affecting Hisdadukh most intimately arises when her father brings his two best students before her, a mere child, and asks her which one she will marry. Astonishingly, the girl replies, “Both of them.” Soon she marries the older student, although it becomes clear that the younger one has not lost interest in her. When her new-found happiness is derailed by a series of tragedies, a grieving Hisdadukh must decide if she does, indeed, wish to become a sorceress. Based on actual Talmud texts and populated with its rabbis and their families, Rav Hisda's Daughter: Book I – Apprentice brings the world of the Talmud to life - from a woman's perspective.

Chapters: 34 plus preface, prologue and afterword

Pages: 446

Enchantress: A Novel of Rav Hisda's Daughter by Maggie Anton


Fantastic tales of demons and the Evil Eye, magical incantations, and powerful attractions abound in Enchantress, a novel that weaves together Talmudic lore, ancient Jewish magic, and a timeless love story set in fourth-century Babylonia.

One of the most powerful practitioners of these mysterious arts is Rav Hisda’s daughter, whose innate awareness allows her to possess the skills men lack. With her husband, Rava--whose arcane knowledge of the secret Torah enables him to create a "man” out of earth and to resurrect another rabbi from death--the two brave an evil sorceress, Ashmedai the Demon King, and even the Angel of Death in their quest to safeguard their people, even while putting their romance at risk.

The author of the acclaimed Rashi’s Daughters series and the award-winning Rav Hisda’s Daughter: Apprentice has conjured literary magic in the land where "abracadabra” originated.  Based on five years of research and populated with characters from the Talmud, Enchantress brings a pivotal era of Jewish and Christian history to life from the perspective of a courageous and passionate woman.

Chapters: 35 plus epilogue and afterword

Pages: 370