Thursday, January 10, 2019

Spotlight for A Hangman for Ghosts by Andrei Baltakmens

A Hangman for Ghosts by Andrei Baltakmens

Publication Date: July 1, 2018
Top Five Books
Paperback & eBook; 288 Pages

Genre: Historical Mystery

“We are transported. We are consigned to the ends of the Earth. And we are therefore as good as dead to the realm and its judges. There can be no hope of reprieve...”

Gabriel Carver, the convict hangman of Sydney Prison, knows that none of his kind may depart Australia’s penal colony without the system’s leave. Then three people are murdered, seemingly to protect the “Rats’ Line,” an illicit path to freedom that exists only in the fevered imaginations of transported felons. But why kill to protect something that doesn’t exist?

When an innocent woman from Carver’s past is charged with one of the murders and faces execution at his hands, she threatens to reveal an incriminating secret of his own unless he helps her. So Carver must try to unmask the killer among the convicts, soldiers, sailors, and fallen women roaming 1829 Sydney. If he can find the murderer, he may discover who is defying the system under its very nose. His search will take him back to the scene of his ruin—to London and a past he can never remake nor ever escape, not even at the edge of the world.

"Baltakmens (The Raven’s Seal, 2012), echoing the voices of 19th-century masters like Conrad and Melville, combines adventure and mystery in a high-stakes tale of class, morality, and justice." -Kirkus Reviews

“With rich historical details that evoke Australia’s early colonial days, this is a wonderful, traditional novel.…Folding in vivid details, bright characters, and compelling dialogue, the story is a page-turner, a savory treat to be devoured.” - Foreward Reviews

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Google Play | iBooks | Kobo

About the Author

Andrei Baltakmens was born in Christchurch, New Zealand, of Latvian descent. He has a Ph.D. in English literature, focused on Charles Dickens and Victorian urban mysteries.

His first novel, The Battleship Regal, was published in New Zealand in 1996. His short fiction has appeared in various literary journals, and his first historical mystery, The Raven's Seal, was published in 2012.

Since 2004, he has lived in Ithaca, New York and Brisbane, Australia, where he recently completed a doctorate in Creative Writing at The University of Queensland. He now lives in Palo Alto, California, with his wife and son, and works for Stanford University as an instructional designer.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, December 18
Feature at Tar Heel Reader

Wednesday, December 19
Feature at Donna's Book Blog

Friday, December 21
Review at Beth's Book Nook Blog
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, December 27
Interview at Passages to the Past

Friday, December 28
Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

Thursday, January 3
Interview at Bookish Rantings

Monday, January 7
Review at Broken Teepee

Thursday, January 10
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Monday, January 14
Review at A Book Geek

Tuesday, January 15
Review at Coffee and Ink

Wednesday, January 16
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Monday, January 21
Review at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, January 22
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a paperback copy of A Hangman for Ghosts! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on January 22nd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

A Hangman for Ghosts

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

G1060 Book Review of Mistress of Legend by Nicole Evelina

Name of Book: Mistress of Legend

Author: Nicole Evelina

ISBN: 9780996763288

Publisher: Lawson Gartner Publishing

Part of a Series: The Guinevere's Tale Trilogy

Type of book: Britons, England, Anglo-Saxons, 518-524, wars, Votadini, tribes, fall of Camelot, battles, King Arthur, Mordred, ruler, feud, Avalon, fantasy, history, new religion, starting over, alliances

Year it was published: 2018


Legend says Guinevere spent her final days in penance in a convent, but that is far from the truth.

Having escaped death at the stake, Guinevere longs to live a peaceful life in Brittany with Lancelot, but the threat of Arthur’s wrath quickly separates the lovers. Guinevere finds herself back in Camelot, but it is not the peaceful capital she once knew; the loyalty of the people is divided over Arthur’s role in her death sentence. When war draws Arthur away from Britain, Mordred is named acting king. With Morgan at his side and a Saxon in his bed, Mordred’s thirst for power becomes his undoing and the cause of Guinevere’s greatest heartache.

In the wake of the deadly battle that leaves the country in civil war, Guinevere’s power as the former queen is sought by everyone who seeks to ascend the throne. Heartbroken and refusing to take sides in the conflict, she flees north to her mother’s Votadini homeland, where she is at long last reunited with Lancelot. The quiet life she desires is just beginning when warring tribal factions once again thrust her into an unexpected position of power. Now charged with ending an invasion that could bring an end to the Votadini tribe and put the whole island in the hands of the Saxons, Guinevere must draw upon decades of experience to try to save the people she loves and is sworn to protect.


Main characters include Guinevere, while other characters seem to be more of supporting roles rather than ones controlling destinies. Guinevere is a priestess Avalon who has been stripped from her title and so forth by her husband, King Arthur. She is best described as very determined, compassionate and a survivor of whatever fate will throw her way. Very often she sacrifices her own happiness and desires for the sake of people and society, making her an admirable woman. While Guinevere was very well developed, I feel that other characters were not as well developed as I had hoped, and beyond their roles, I cannot say with certainty what personalities they have.


Life is not over after myths end


The story is in first person narrative from Guinevere's point of view. THE MISTRESS OF LEGEND does tie up a lot of loose ends and it begins immediately from ending of CAMELOT'S QUEEN, so reading the previous two book is a must, although in the third book there are brief introductions to previous characters. Also, a few old characters from the first and second book show up as well. While there are political intrigues in THE MISTRESS OF LEGEND as well, I felt that the entire book was more focused on battles and on fracturing of various kingdoms as well as attempts to rebuild them (unsuccessfully.) Personally because I tend to be fascinated by villains, I felt that villains of the novel weren't paid a lot of attention on trying to understand them. (Elga and the Votadiness in particular.) Other than that, a novel of fantasy, thrills and history that should become memorable for a long time.

Author Information:
(From HFVBT)

About the Author

Nicole Evelina is a historical fiction, non-fiction, and women’s fiction author whose five books –Daughter of Destiny, Camelot’s Queen, Been Searching for You, Madame Presidentess and The Once and Future Queen: Guinevere in Arthurian Legend (nonfiction) – have won more than 30 awards, including three Book of the Year designations.

Her writing has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Independent Journal, Curve Magazine and numerous historical publications. She is one of only six authors who completed a week-long writing intensive taught by #1 New York Times bestselling author Deborah Harkness.

Nicole is currently working on Mistress of Legend (September 15), the final novel in her Guinevere’s Tale historical fantasy trilogy and researching two future non-fiction books. She also teaches online writing and business classes for authors at Professional Author Academy.

Her website/blog is and she can be found on Twitter as well as on Pinterest, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram and Tumblr.

Traditionally, after the debacle of Camelot, Queen Guinevere and Sir Lancelot end up being repentant for their sins and are assigned to languish the rest of their lives in a nunnery or a monastery. In this book, however, the author dares to give a worthy alternative ending to Queen Guinevere's life; that after humanizing the woman who has made up much of my teen obsession, Queen Guinevere gets a different route, which I enjoyed a great deal. The first half of the book focuses on the tale after the ending of CAMELOT'S QUEEN, while the second half, after that fateful battle between Mordred and Arthur, is one that goes differently than expected. Post Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere tales, I barely have any familiarity with what happened after Queen Guinevere and Sir Lancelot were caught, but its good that the author takes that into account and we watch with Guinevere on the fall and destruction of Camelot as well as what was going on with the tribes of England at that time. It's both a fun and historical journey that should definitely inspire readers to dig deep into Arthurian legends.

This is for HFVBT

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 10
Interview at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, December 11
Review at Pursuing Stacie (Daughter of Destiny)

Wednesday, December 12
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, December 13
Review at A Book Geek (Daughter of Destiny)

Friday, December 14
Interview at Donna’s Book Blog

Saturday, December 15
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views (Daughter of Destiny)

Sunday, December 16
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective (Mistress of Legend)

Tuesday, December 18
Review at Book Nerd (Camelot’s Queen)

Thursday, December 20
Review at Pursuing Stacie (Camelot’s Queen)

Friday, December 21
Excerpt at Passages to the Past

Thursday, December 27
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views (Camelot’s Queen)

Friday, December 28
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit (Mistress of Legend)

Saturday, December 29
Review at Pursuing Stacie (Mistress of Legend)

Sunday, December 30
Review at Jorie Loves a Story (Mistress of Legend)

Monday, December 31
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at Curling up by the Fire (Mistress of Legend)

Wednesday, January 2
Review at Book Nerd (Mistress of Legend)

Thursday, January 3
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views (Mistress of Legend)

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.)

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Coming Attractions for January of 2019

For better or worse 2018 is over and 2019 has begun; time for resolutions, to get a fresh start, and for me, crossing fingers for more amazing reads. This year will mark the 9th year since I have started to blog, and this year I hope to start doing podcast instead of videos like I planned. (Videos seem to have too much involvement while podcast does have some involvement, but not as much as videos, at least in my thoughts.) What new books and reads should I tackle in January? Let's find out!

Book Spotlights and Tours



Finders Keepers: The Definitive Edition by Russ Colchamiro (January 22nd, 2019)

Melding Spirits by Michael E. Burge (January 23rd, 2019)


Planned Reads:

The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters by Emily Esfahani Smith

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Tamara Jenkins Reid

Scandal Wears  Satin by Loreta Chase

A Different Mirror; A History of Multicultural America by Ronald Takaki

The Master of Verona by David Blixt

The Last Pier by Roma Tearne

For Fresh Fiction:

The Abbot's Tale by Conn Iggulden

Lady be Good by Amber Brock

The Way of Beauty by Camille di Maio

Woman 99 by Greer McCallister

The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted by Robert Hillman

Don't Skip Out On Me by Willy Vlautin

January 2019

The Last Woman Standing by Thelma Adams
SR: January 29th, 2019
A hangman for the ghosts-Andrei Baltakmens
SR: December 18th, 2018
FR: January 7th, 2019
Master of Verona by David Blixt
SR: January 8th, 2019
A House Divided-Pearl S Buck
SR: March 11th, 2016
Melding Spirits- Michael E. Burge
SR: December 29th, 2018
FR: January 29th, 2019
Scandal wears satin- Loreta Chase
SR: January 14th, 2019
FR: January 30th, 2019
Finders keepers- Russ Colchamiro
SR: December 16th, 2018
FR: January 20th, 2019
Mistress of Legend-Nicole Evelina
SR: December 26th, 2018
FR: January 7th, 2019
A knife in the fog- Bradley Harper
SR: December 14th, 2018
FR: January 14th, 2019
The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen-Collins Hemingway
SR: January 7th, 2019
Woman 99-Green Macallister
SR: January 30th, 2019
The last pier- Roma TEARNE
SR: January 20th, 2019

Tree of Souls-Howard Schwartz
SR: February 10th, 2014
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