Excerpt & Giveaway: The Last King by M.J. Porter


The Last King by M.J. Porter

Publication Date: April 23, 2020
Paperback & eBook; 314 pages

Series: The Ninth Century, Book One
Genre: Historical Thriller


They sent three hundred warriors to kill one man. It wasn’t enough.

Mercia lies broken but not beaten, her alliance with Wessex in tatters.

Coelwulf, a fierce and bloody warrior, hears whispers that Mercia has been betrayed from his home in the west. He fears no man, especially not the Vikings sent to hunt him down.

To discover the truth of the rumours he hears, Coelwulf must travel to the heart of Mercia, and what he finds there will determine the fate of Mercia, as well as his own.

Amazon US | Amazon UK


Excerpt

As I suspected, I find my Aunt amongst the gravestones of my ancestors, to the rear of the small priory the monks from Gloucester maintain, at my expense.

Her hounds appear to be sleeping at her feet, but I know better. They’re fiercely loyal and can be roused to snapping furies with just a word from her. One of the beast’s growls at me, the sound more terrifying than iron being drawn from a scabbard.

“Down Wiglaf,” my Aunt snaps. I turn to meet the hound’s eyes, and I fear that we both feel equally quelled by her tone. The hounds are named after the men who ruled Mercia after her father was deposed. Not that she had the naming of both of them. I consider that it might pain her, but then dismiss the idea. My Aunt is not the sort of woman to fear to speak a hound’s name.

“King Burgred has always been a bloody coward.” Her coarse words shock me so much I feel my mouth drop open.

She turns to gaze at me, the hint of amusement in her eye, and I consider what she sees when she looks at me. No one has ever said that I resemble my father, but neither have I been told I take after my mother. My blond hair is a mystery to me, my build the result of my warrior skills.

“Did you think I grew deaf every time you and your warriors made Kingsholm your home?”

“I,” I stutter, but nothing else follows the words. She cows me as no one else ever has. Not even my father.

“King Burgred is a coward, and your father was a fool not to stake his claim to the kingdom.” My father could never have ruled. He was a weak man, tormented by the death of his father. I vowed to never be like him.

“You’ll be king now.” It’s not even a question, but a statement.

“How did Bishop W├Žrferth get to you so quickly? Did he sail here?” I turn, as though to seek him out or spy the hint of sails to the west.

My Aunt’s sudden laughter takes me by surprise.

“So, he’s already suggested it to you. Good. At least I don’t have to force you to fulfil your duty.”

Again, my mouth opens, but no words sprout from it.

“The ealdormen will support you. All of them. The bishops as well.”

“I,” I try and speak, but she’s walking to my side, her hand stretched out to touch my arm.

“Mercia suffers because our line has been broken. You’ll heal it.”

“I.” I just can’t find the words to say.

“I know you never wanted this. But I always knew. I think your father and brother did as well.”

“I can’t be king,” I finally manage to force the words beyond my constricted throat.

“But you will be.” And she moves off, no doubt to find the bereaved women and the young girl. My Aunt has never shied away from the responsibilities she feels to the people of Mercia.

One of the hounds follows her, but the other one, the one she chastised, Wiglaf, remains, head low and whining softly. I reach out. Cup the hound’s muzzle, run my hand along his snout. His whining softens, dies away altogether.

Wiglaf was my brother’s hound before he belonged to my Aunt. That accounts for why she cares for it so well. He’s old now.

Only when we’re together, do we give in to our combined sorrow.

Together we walk to my brother’s grave.

It’s been over a decade since his death, fighting for Mercia. His hound is lined with grey and slow to move during the cold winter weather. Watching him struggle to his feet makes me realise how damn old I truly am.

I bend my head and rest my other hand on the gravestone that marks my brother’s grave.

These warriors I ride with were his men.

Edmund was once my brother’s closest ally, even closer than I was to him.

Coenwulf would have made a fine king of Mercia.

“Bugger it,” I complain, standing upright, shocking poor Wiglaf as he lies over my feet, and then struggles to stand.

“Bugger it, arse it.”

There was never a choice.

There rarely is.

About the Author


I'm an author of fantasy (Viking age/dragon-themed) and historical fiction (Early English, Vikings and the British Isles as a whole before the Norman Conquest). I was born in the old Mercian kingdom at some point since 1066. Raised in the shadow of a strange little building, told from a very young age that it housed the bones of long-dead Kings of Mercia and that our garden was littered with old pieces of pottery from a long-ago battle, it's little wonder that my curiosity in Early England ran riot. I can only blame my parents!

I write A LOT. You've been warned!

Not sure where to start your journey through Early England? Here are some pointers.

If you like action-adventure, with a heavy dose of violence, foul language and good old camaraderie - The Ninth Century series is for you, starting with The Last King, or The Seventh Century, starting with Pagan Warrior, has a little more politics to go with the set-piece battles.

If you like stories about the forgotten women of history, then the Tenth Century series, starting with The Lady of Mercia's Daughter, is a good place to begin. Or, The First Queen of England, with a little more romance.

If you're interested in the last century of Early England (before 1066) then The Earls of Mercia series is for you.

If you want to read it all, then you can read in chronological order, or mix it up. The series weren't written in chronological order.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, January 11
Review at Hoover Book Reviews

Tuesday, January 12
Review at Bibliostatic
Guest Post at Novels Alive

Wednesday, January 13
Review at Rajiv's Reviews
Excerpt at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Thursday, January 14
Feature at Bookworlder
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks

Friday, January 15
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Saturday, January 16
Excerpt at Passages to the Past

Monday, January 18
Interview at Books & Benches

Tuesday, January 19
Review at Impressions In Ink
Excerpt at Madwoman in the Attic

Wednesday, January 20
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Thursday, January 21
Review at Books and Zebras
Excerpt at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Friday, January 22
Excerpt at Coffee and Ink
Excerpt at A Darn Good Read
Interview at Jathan & Heather

Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of The Last King by M.J. Porter! Two paperbacks are up for grabs!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on January 22nd. You must be 18 or older to enter.

The Last King

2020 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge - Wrap Up

Hello, dear readers! Happy New Year! I hope 2021 is a wonderful year for you! 

Well, now that our 2020 HF Reading Challenge has ended I wanted to check in with you all and see how you did! 

 Did you meet your goal? 
What were some of your favorite reads of the year? 

I need some new books added to my wishlist so let me know what you enjoyed :)



Book Blast: The Coronation by Justin Newland

The Coronation by Justin Newland

Publication Date: November 5, 2019
Matador
Paperback & eBook; 299 pages

Genre: Historical Fantasy


It is 1761. Prussia is at war with Russia and Austria. As the Russian army occupies East Prussia, King Frederick the Great and his men fight hard to win back their homeland.

In Ludwigshain, a Junker estate in East Prussia, Countess Marion von Adler celebrates an exceptional harvest. But this is soon requisitioned by Russian troops. When Marion tries to stop them, a Russian Captain strikes her. His Lieutenant, Ian Fermor, defends Marion's honour, but is stabbed for his insubordination. Abandoned by the Russians, Fermor becomes a divisive figure on the estate.

Close to death, Fermor dreams of the Adler, a numinous eagle entity, whose territory extends across the lands of Northern Europe and which is mysteriously connected to the Enlightenment. What happens next will change the course of human history...

"The author is an excellent storyteller." – British Fantasy Society

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes and Noble



About the Author


Justin Newland was born in Essex, England, three days before the end of 1953.

His love of literature began with swashbuckling sea stories, pirates and tales of adventure. Undeterred by the award of a Doctorate in Mathematics from Imperial College, London, he worked in I.T. and later ran a hotel.

His taste in literature is eclectic: from literary fiction and fantasy, to science fiction, with a special mention for the magical realists and the existentialists. Along the way, he was wooed by the muses of history, both ancient and modern, and then got happily lost in the labyrinths of mythology, religion and philosophy. Justin writes secret histories in which real events and historical personages are guided and motivated by numinous and supernatural forces.

His debut novel, The Genes of Isis, is a tale of love, destruction, and ephemeral power set under the skies of Ancient Egypt, and which tells the secret history of the human race, Homo Sapiens Sapiens.

His second is The Old Dragon’s Head, a historical fantasy and supernatural thriller set during the Ming Dynasty and played out in the shadows the Great Wall of China. It explores the secret history of the influences that shaped the beginnings of modern times.

Set during the Enlightenment, his third novel, The Coronation reveals the secret history of perhaps the single most important event of the modern world – The Industrial Revolution.

He lives with his partner in plain sight of the Mendip Hills in Somerset, England.

Website | Facebook | Goodreads

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, December 7
Rajiv's Reviews

Tuesday, December 8
Novels Alive

Wednesday, December 9
Jathan & Heather

Thursday, December 10
The Book Junkie Reads

Saturday, December 12
CelticLady's Reviews

Monday, December 14
Bookworlder
Adventures of a Travelers Wife

Thursday, December 17
Gwendalyn's Books

Saturday, December 19
Reading is My Remedy

Monday, December 21
Just One More Chapter

Wednesday, December 23
Donna's Book Blog

Monday, December 28
Passages to the Past

Wednesday, December 30
A Darn Good Read

 

Review + Giveaway: She Sees Ghosts by David Fitz-Gerald


She Sees Ghosts by David Fitz-Gerald

Publication Date: October 29, 2020
Outskirts Press
Paperback & eBook; 270 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction


A blazing fire killed her family and devoured her home. A vengeful demon haunted her. Ghosts of the Revolutionary War needed help that only she could provide. A young woman languished, desperate to survive, and teetered on the edge of sanity.

Mehitable grew up in a freshly tamed town, carved from the primeval forest. Family, friends, and working at the mercantile filled her days and warmed her heart. For Mehitable, life was simple and safe, until tragedy struck. When her family perished in their burning home, she retreated into a world of her own making.

As a young girl, she had seen glimmers, glimpses, and flickers of the spirit world. She closed her eyes. She turned her back. She ignored the apparitions that she never spoke of, desperately hoping they would leave her in peace. She was mistaken.

Grief-stricken, Mehitable withdrew from the human world. Ghosts were everywhere. They became bolder. She could no longer turn her back on the spirit world. Her friends feared for her survival. Nobody understood her. She would have to find her own way.

Fans of TV’s Ghost Whisperer and Long Island Medium will especially love She Sees Ghosts. This historical novel features memorable characters and delivers bone-tingling, spine chilling goosebumps. It stands on its own and it is the next installment in the Adirondack Spirit Series by the award-winning author of Wanders Far-An Unlikely Hero’s Journey. David Fitz-Gerald delivers a historical novel with a bittersweet ending that you won’t see coming.

Would she save the spirits’ souls, or would they save her? Only time would tell.

Available on Amazon


Review

★★★★

This past week has been super stressful so I'm grateful to have had the perfect escapist read with She Sees Ghosts by David Fitz-Gerald!

This is the second book I've read from David and what I really enjoy about his books is that they are out-of-the-box historicals. Combining history with elements of the paranormal and spirituality and human nature, it's a nice change from the usual fare.

Set in the late 1800s She Sees Ghosts tells the story of Mehitable Munsch who can see spirits and helps them pass on to the afterlife. It's the Revolutionary War era and there are a lot of unsettled ghosts of Soldiers in the area. She is also haunted by one that followed her from her home after her family tragedy. Mehitable is a wonderful character that fascinated me from the start.

The author has a personal connection to the Adirondacks and his passion for the area leaps off the pages. I seriously need to travel there one day!

If you're looking for a fascinating read that will help you escape reality for a little bit, I highly recommend She Sees Ghosts!

About the Author



David Fitz-Gerald writes fiction that is grounded in history and soars with the spirits. If you’re looking for the atheist activist author by the same name, keep looking—this book is definitely not for you! After a chaotic day as a business person, Dave enjoys getting lost in the settings he imagines and spending time with the characters he creates. Writing historical fiction is like making paintings of the past. He loves to weave fact and fiction together, stirring in action, adventure, romance, and a heavy dose of the supernatural with the hope of transporting the reader to another time and place. He is an Adirondack 46-er, which means that he has hiked all of the highest peaks in New York State, so it should not be surprising when Dave attempts to glorify hikers as swashbuckling superheroes in his writing. She Sees Ghosts-A Story of a Woman Who Rescues Lost Souls is the next installment in the Adirondack Spirit Series.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | BookBub | Instagram


Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 7
Review at Rajiv's Reviews
Excerpt at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, December 8
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Wednesday, December 9
Feature at I'm Into Books
Interview at Books & Benches

Thursday, December 10
Review at Historical Fiction Reviews

Friday, December 11
Review at YA, It's Lit

Monday, December 14
Review at Books and Zebras

Tuesday, December 15
Review at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, December 16
Review at Older & Smarter

Friday, December 18
Excerpt at A Darn Good Read

Saturday, December 19
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Tuesday, December 22
Excerpt at Coffee and Ink

Wednesday, December 23
Interview at Novels Alive
Review at Jessica Belmont

Giveaways

One lucky reader will win the Grand Prize Giveaway which includes a candle, Coffee Mug, chocolates and a signed copy of She Sees Ghosts!

Other Giveaways:

1 Coffee Mug
3 Paperbacks
5 eBooks

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on December 26th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

She Sees Ghosts 



Book Blast: Into the Unbounded Night by Mitchell James Kaplan

Hello, dear readers! Happy FriYAY ­čą│ Today on the blog I am hosting the Book Blast for Into the Unbounded Night! I loved this book when I read it back in August (you can see my review here) and I think it would make an excellent gift for the bookish people in your life!


Into the Unbounded Night by Mitchell James Kaplan

Publication Date: September 1, 2020
Regal House Publishing
Paperback & eBook; 231 Pages

Genre: Literary Historical


When her village in Albion is sacked by the Roman general Vespasian, young Aislin is left without home and family. Determined to exact revenge, she travels to Rome, a sprawling city of wealth, decadence, and power. A “barbarian” in a “civilized” world, Aislin struggles to comprehend Roman ways. From a precarious hand-to-mouth existence on the streets, she becomes the mistress of a wealthy senator, but their child Faolan is born with a disability that renders him unworthy of life in the eyes of his father and other Romans.

Imprisoned for her efforts to topple the Roman regime, Aislin learns of an alternate philosophy from her cellmate, the Judean known today as the Apostle St. Paul. As the capital burns in the Great Fire of 64 AD, he bequeaths to her a mission that will take her to Jerusalem. There, Yohanan, son of Zakkai, has been striving to preserve the tradition of Hillel against the Zealots who advocate for a war of independence. Responding to the Judeans’ revolt, the Romans—again under the leadership of Vespasian—besiege Jerusalem, destroying the Second Temple and with it, the brand of Judean monotheism it represents. Yohanan takes on the mission of preserving what can be preserved, and of re-inventing what must be reinvented.

Throughout Into the Unbounded Night, Aislin’s, Faolan’s, Vespasian’s, and Yohanan’s lives intertwine in unexpected ways that shed light on colonization and its discontents, the relative values of dominant and tyrannized cultures, and the holiness of life itself—even the weakest of lives.

Regal House Publishing | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound



Praise for Into the Unbounded Night

“In Into the Unbounded Night, Mitchell Kaplan offers a rich rendering of war and humanity in first century Rome — of tradition and loss, and the transformative power of healing and collective memory to find one’s way home.” – Nichole Bernier, Boston Globe Bestselling author of The Unfinished Work Of Elizabeth D

“Mitchell James Kaplan is the gloriously talented writer of this dramatic, intense story of conflicting emperors, slaves, priests and exiles in a first century world whose roots and traditions are increasingly torn apart by the brutal rule of Rome. Men and women search for belief and reason, out of which will emerge a new Judaism after the destruction of Jerusalem’s Temple as well as the early beginnings of Christianity. A writer of enormous scope, compassion and poetry, Kaplan has written several of the most compelling characters you will meet in the pages of a book. Into the Unbounded Night sweeps over you like a succession of huge waves. It is truly a major novel.” – Stephanie Cowell, American Book Award recipient, author of Claude And Camille: A Novel Of Monet

“Kaplan’s prose is so rich and agile I felt I was breathing the air of these ancient places, and his evocation of character is no less palpable. Fully embodied and driven by ambition, grief, the clear-eyed desire for truth, and fierce maternal love, these characters plunge, march, and stumble toward their fascinating and entangled destinies.” – Marisa de los Santos, New York Times bestselling novelist of I’ll Be Your Blue Sky and award-winning poet

“I’m a big fan of historical fiction when it’s as good as Mitchell Kaplan’s Into the Unbounded Night. Vividly imagined, Into the Unbounded Night pulls the reader along with beautiful prose, strong characters and a wonderfully realized story.” – Heidi W. Durrow, New York Times best-selling author of The Girl Who Fell From The Sky, winner of the PEN/Bellwether Prize

“A beautiful, informative book. It was gripping throughout, the research never overwhelms the story, but is always part of it. [The] writing is lyrical and evocative of time and place. All the characters are real and interesting. Loved it!” – Martin Fletcher, National Jewish Book Award winner, author of Promised Land

“From the mystical lore of Albion to the Roman siege and destruction of Jerusalem, Kaplan’s meticulous research and evocative writing meld seamlessly to create a vivid, textured, and richly imagined story.” —Beth Hoffman, New York Times and International bestselling author of Saving Ceecee Honeycutt and Looking for Me

“Set in Rome and Judea after the crucifixion of Jesus, Mitchell James Kaplan’s finely crafted and intense second novel delves into the minds and hearts of truly captivating characters. An excellent read.” – Eva Stachniak, winner of the Canadian First Novel Award, author of The Chosen Maiden

“Sensually provocative, verbally sharp and critically witted, Mitchell James Kaplan’s Into the Unbounded Night brings to life the tumultuous birth of Judeo-Christian monotheism in this intimately woven narrative brimming with righteous and riotous characters striving for survival and transcendence across the ravished landscapes of Judea, the Roman Empire, and Britannia.” – Jessica Maria Tuccelli, an Okra Pick winner of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance for her debut novel, Glow

“Kaplan weaves an intricate literary tapestry to create a poetic exploration of early Judeo-Christian and Roman history. He builds a diverse yet connected cast of characters whose encounters inspire timeless self-examination and advance the course of history. An engrossing work not easily forgotten.” – Therese Walsh, critically acclaimed author of The Last Will Of Moira Leahy and The Moon Sisters, founder of the literary blog, Writer Unboxed

About the Author

Mitchell James Kaplan graduated with honors from Yale University, where he won the Paine Memorial Prize for Best Long-Form Senior Essay submitted to the English Department. His first mentor was the author William Styron.

After college, Kaplan lived in Paris, France, where he worked as a translator, then in Southern California, where he worked as a screenwriter and in film production.

He lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with his family and two cats.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Book Blast Schedule

Thursday, December 3
A Darn Good Read
The Book Club Network

Friday, December 4
Bookworlder

Monday, December 7
Pursuing Stacie
Jathan & Heather

Thursday, December 10
Books, Cooks, Looks

Friday, December 11
Passages to the Past

Monday, December 14
Novels Alive
With A Book In Our Hands

Wednesday, December 16
I'm Into Books

Friday, December 18
Reading is My Remedy

Sunday, December 20
Al-Alhambra

Monday, December 21
Historical Fiction with Spirit

Wednesday, December 23
Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Monday, December 28
What Is That Book About

Wednesday, December 30
Coffee and Ink

Feature & Giveaway: The Waltz of Devil's Creek by Justine Carver

Today on the blog I am excited to feature The Waltz of Devil's Creek by Justine Carver! She is currenty on Blog Tour with HF Virtual Book Tours and has been received fantastic reviews! I hope you'll check it out and don't forget to enter the giveaway for a $25 Amazon Gift Card!


The Waltz of Devil's Creek by Justine Carver

Publication Date: October 20, 2020

Genre: Historical Fiction/Coming of Age


Judith Campbell is dying, and she cannot take the painful truth about where her son came from to the grave with her. While on her deathbed in Atlanta, Georgia in 1994, Judith tells him the tragic story of his conception, and which of two men his birth father could be: the young man who professed his love to her, or the pastor who assaulted her.

Set in the Deep South in 1947, The Waltz of Devil's Creek digs into the dark crevices of racism and women's rights during a heated political climate in an era of segregation. Combined with Judith's lack of social stature, and at a time when reporting sexual assault was unheard of, every injustice is stacked against her from the very beginning.

But there is a light in Judith's young life: her best friend, Joseph Bird, who has loved her since childhood. Joseph stands up for Judith when no one else will and proves that even in the darkest of times, a light is always burning.

"The Waltz of Devil's Creek is a poignant and memorable tale that outshines the standard conventions of its genre." – The Booklife Prize

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo


About the Author

Justine Carver was born and raised in the Southern United States on a heavy dose of creek-wading, lightning-bug-catching, and Saturday morning cartoons. She is a full-time writer, all-the-time reader, and every now and then, she pulls her head out of the clouds long enough to remember how much better it is up there.

Website | Instagram | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Saturday, November 28
Review at Amy's Booket List

Sunday, November 29
Excerpt at Coffee and Ink

Monday, November 30
Review & Excerpt at Novels Alive

Tuesday, December 1
Excerpt at I'm Into Books
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks

Wednesday, December 2
Review at Bri's Book Nook

Thursday, December 3
Excerpt at Bookworlder
Review at Rajiv's Reviews

Friday, December 4
Excerpt at Gwendalyn's Books

Saturday, December 5
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, December 7
Review at The Review Crew

Tuesday, December 8
Review at Books and Zebras

Wednesday, December 9
Feature at Passages to the Past

Thursday, December 10
Review & Excerpt at Older & Smarter

Giveaway

Enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on December 10th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

The Waltz of Devil's Creek

Excerpt + Giveaway: She Sees Ghosts by David Fitz-Gerald


She Sees Ghosts by David Fitz-Gerald

Publication Date: October 29, 2020
Outskirts Press
Paperback & eBook; 270 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction


A blazing fire killed her family and devoured her home. A vengeful demon haunted her. Ghosts of the Revolutionary War needed help that only she could provide. A young woman languished, desperate to survive, and teetered on the edge of sanity.

Mehitable grew up in a freshly tamed town, carved from the primeval forest. Family, friends, and working at the mercantile filled her days and warmed her heart. For Mehitable, life was simple and safe, until tragedy struck. When her family perished in their burning home, she retreated into a world of her own making.

As a young girl, she had seen glimmers, glimpses, and flickers of the spirit world. She closed her eyes. She turned her back. She ignored the apparitions that she never spoke of, desperately hoping they would leave her in peace. She was mistaken.

Grief-stricken, Mehitable withdrew from the human world. Ghosts were everywhere. They became bolder. She could no longer turn her back on the spirit world. Her friends feared for her survival. Nobody understood her. She would have to find her own way.

Fans of TV’s Ghost Whisperer and Long Island Medium will especially love She Sees Ghosts. This historical novel features memorable characters and delivers bone-tingling, spine chilling goosebumps. It stands on its own and it is the next installment in the Adirondack Spirit Series by the award-winning author of Wanders Far-An Unlikely Hero’s Journey. David Fitz-Gerald delivers a historical novel with a bittersweet ending that you won’t see coming.

Would she save the spirits’ souls, or would they save her? Only time would tell.

Available on Amazon


Excerpt

Mehitable stood in the cemetery beside her family’s marker. It was the first time she had returned to the cemetery since the funeral, four years earlier. She had dreaded going to the cemetery and had to force herself to look upon the words carved into the stone. Though she felt a sense of loss every day, New Year’s Day was always particularly hard for her. The painful memories cascaded around her like snow dropping from heavily laden branches on a sunny winter morning. She brushed the tears from her cheeks with a wet mitten and inhaled. She was glad that she visited the cemetery after all. Soon she would move away with Polly and Reuben, and she might never return to Poultney again. Other than the fact that her toes were cold, she realized that the visit to the cemetery was quite peaceful.

As she began to leave the cemetery, something caught the corner of her eye. It was a man. Not just a man, but a soldier. She walked slowly toward the road and cast her vision to the ground in front of her, where she planned to place her feet. Even with her eyes diverted, she was able to watch the man whose path she was certain to cross. She couldn’t remember ever having seen a soldier before.

As she got closer, her pulse quickened. He was an imposing figure of a man. The closer she got, the more intriguing he looked.

Every couple of steps he stopped to look off into the woods or turned to look back down the road behind him. He put his fingers in his mouth and sent a shrill whistle trumpeting down the intervale below. Then he put his hands to his cheeks and called out, “Pendennis!”

Mehitable walked slowly toward him. Normally she would have walked briskly but she tarried along because she was fascinated. She felt drawn to him. He had a certain magnetism, though he seemed somewhat distracted. She wondered if he was looking for a child, or perhaps a dog.

The man looked to be in his mid to late twenties. He was tall, significantly taller than most men, even taller than Reuben. His shoulders were broad and his waist was narrow. Instead of a red coat or a blue coat, like the soldiers she had heard of, the man wore a dark green jacket with bright gold buttons that matched the tassels that dangled from epaulets at his shoulders. He wore a tricorne, beaver skin hat with a cockade that resembled a chamomile flower. His waistcoat was tight, like his jacket and matched the color of his snug breeches. His neatly tied white cravat and ruffled jabot adorned his neck and chest. His tall black riding boots looked immaculate. Mehitable had never seen such a well-dressed man. She was working up the courage to politely say, “How do you do?” when the man began to fade. She gulped and hurried her pace. The air smelled strangely of woodsmoke, horse manure, and pomander, that intoxicating scent of an orange spiked with rare and exotic cloves. It had not crossed her mind that the man was a spirit. She wondered at the strength of his presence.

She chastised herself for getting all out of sorts over a dead man. Yet she couldn’t resist stopping and turning to look when she heard his voice again, calling. “Pendennis!” When she turned, he stood at attention and stared straight into her eyes. Then he removed his hat, bowed deeply, sweeping his long arm dramatically behind him before returning his hat to his head. Mehitable turned and hurried away as quickly as she could.

Finally, when she could only hear his call far off in the distance, she turned to look one final time. He appeared as a tiny green dot surrounded by white snow on the top of the hill. Despite his flamboyance and the fact that he was dead, she couldn’t help having romantic thoughts about him. Thoughts she hadn’t entertained about living men or boys, except Reuben, briefly and occasionally before sending those thoughts from her mind. As she hurried up Lewis Road that afternoon, she compared the man to Reuben. He was a bit taller, more muscular, and his facial features looked strong and boyish at the same time.

She tried to put the man out of her mind, but she couldn’t shake a feeling of sadness over his loss, and she felt a desperate need to know what or for whom he was searching.


About the Author



David Fitz-Gerald writes fiction that is grounded in history and soars with the spirits. If you’re looking for the atheist activist author by the same name, keep looking—this book is definitely not for you! After a chaotic day as a business person, Dave enjoys getting lost in the settings he imagines and spending time with the characters he creates. Writing historical fiction is like making paintings of the past. He loves to weave fact and fiction together, stirring in action, adventure, romance, and a heavy dose of the supernatural with the hope of transporting the reader to another time and place. He is an Adirondack 46-er, which means that he has hiked all of the highest peaks in New York State, so it should not be surprising when Dave attempts to glorify hikers as swashbuckling superheroes in his writing. She Sees Ghosts-A Story of a Woman Who Rescues Lost Souls is the next installment in the Adirondack Spirit Series.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | BookBub | Instagram


Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 7
Review at Rajiv's Reviews
Excerpt at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, December 8
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Wednesday, December 9
Feature at I'm Into Books
Interview at Books & Benches

Thursday, December 10
Review at Historical Fiction Reviews

Friday, December 11
Review at YA, It's Lit

Monday, December 14
Review at Books and Zebras

Tuesday, December 15
Review at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, December 16
Review at Older & Smarter

Friday, December 18
Excerpt at A Darn Good Read

Saturday, December 19
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Tuesday, December 22
Excerpt at Coffee and Ink

Wednesday, December 23
Interview at Novels Alive
Review at Jessica Belmont

Giveaways

One lucky reader will win the Grand Prize Giveaway which includes a candle, Coffee Mug, chocolates and a signed copy of She Sees Ghosts!

Other Giveaways:

1 Coffee Mug
3 Paperbacks
5 eBooks

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on December 26th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

She Sees Ghosts 



2020 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge: December Reviews + 2021 News


Welcome to the December link page for the 2020 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge. I hope everyone is staying home & being safe and reading some yummy books!

Important News for the 2021 HF Reading Challenge!

It's been an honor to be the host of this challenge for the past five years and I appreciate all of you rocking the challenge and getting to know you. It's been a blast! For 2021 the Reading Challenge will be now hosted by Marg at The Intrepid Reader. Marg actually hosted the challenge before passing the baton to me and now I'm passing it back to her :) 

You can read her announcement post HERE.

HERE is the link to sign up for the 2021 HF Reading Challenge at The Intrepid Reader

Thanks to Marg for hosting the challenge, you all are in great hands! 



Reading Challenge Instructions...

  • Add the link(s) of your review(s) including your name and book title to the Mister Linky we’ll be adding to our monthly post (please, do not add your blog link, but the correct address that will guide us directly to your review). A direct link to your Goodreads review is also acceptable
  • Any sub-genre of historical fiction is accepted (Historical Romance, Historical Mystery, Historical Fantasy, Young Adult, etc.)
  • Don't forget to look some of the other links that are present. You never know when you will discover new blogs or books!


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Coming soon in Paperback: The Chelsea Girls by Fiona Davis

The Chelsea Girls by Fiona Davis will be released in paperback on December 8th from Penguin Random House and has a snazzy new cover! Isn't it great!?



The bright lights of the theater district, the glamour and danger of 1950s New York, and the wild scene at the iconic Chelsea Hotel come together in a dazzling new novel about a twenty-year friendship that will irrevocably change two women’s lives—from the New York Times bestselling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue.

From the dramatic redbrick facade to the sweeping staircase dripping with art, the Chelsea Hotel has long been New York City’s creative oasis for the many artists, writers, musicians, actors, filmmakers, and poets who have called it home—a scene playwright Hazel Riley and actress Maxine Mead are determined to use to their advantage. Yet they soon discover that the greatest obstacle to putting up a show on Broadway has nothing to do with their art, and everything to do with politics. A Red Scare is sweeping across America, and Senator Joseph McCarthy has started a witch hunt for communists, with those in the entertainment industry in the crosshairs. As the pressure builds to name names, it is more than Hazel and Maxine’s Broadway dreams that may suffer as they grapple with the terrible consequences, but also their livelihood, their friendship, and even their freedom.

Spanning from the 1940s to the 1960s, The Chelsea Girls deftly pulls back the curtain on the desperate political pressures of McCarthyism, the complicated bonds of female friendship, and the siren call of the uninhibited Chelsea Hotel.

You can pre-order your copy here.

Praise for The Chelsea Girls

“Davis tells a very good story and deserves all the praise she won for her other books set in famous New York landmarks… a tale that is intricate and subtle, unpredictable and exciting.” —The Washington Post

“Davis, who has given juicy supporting roles to New York landmarks in The Masterpiece and The Address, uses Chelsea as a metaphor for the grandeur that was within reach but spirals into a much darker place.” —Associated Press

“Another spectacular novel… Davis needs to be celebrated for this. Sure, she gets the history right and does a magnificent job of bringing the Chelsea’s special magic to life. Beyond that, she is an exquisite writer, who captures the essence of people and times.” —The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ)

“The glitz and glamour of the Chelsea Hotel provides a perfect backdrop for Davis's story of friendship, ambition, and behind-the-scenes theatrical intrigue… both a sharp-eyed commentary on female friendship and a vivid glimpse into the life of a New York City icon.” —Shelf Awareness (starred review)

“A fascinating and wholly immersive celebration of friendship, love, loyalty, and courage during a turbulent and often underrepresented period in American history… Richly detailed and transporting, historical fiction fans will love this one!” —Chanel Cleeton, New York Times bestselling author of When We Left Cuba

Other Novels by Fiona Davis

The Dollhouse
The Address
The Masterpiece
The Lions of Fifth Avenue

Book Blast & Giveaway: She's the One Who Thinks Too Much by S. R. Cronin

Next up on the blog today I am hosting the Blast for She's the One Who Thinks Too Much by S. R. Cronin! This is the first book in Cronin's The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters series. Check out the book below and enter to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card!

She's the One Who Thinks Too Much by S. R. Cronin

Publication Date: November 13, 2020
Cinnabar Press

Series: The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters, Book One
Genre: Historical Fantasy


Do you know what your problem is?

Ryalgar knows hers. People have been telling this over-educated 13th-century woman for years. So when an equally intellectual prince decides he loves her, it looks like everyone was wrong and her dreams have come true.

Except, this prince is already betrothed to another. He’s leading the army training to defend their tiny realm against an expected Mongol invasion and he is considering sacrificing Ryalgar’s home nichna of Vinx by abandoning it’s rich farmlands to their foes.

Another woman would flee to safety. Maybe she would seek another lover. But not Ryalgar. Living in a world where witchcraft has been allowed to flourish and problematic powers remain, she devises her own strategy to keep the invaders from destroying her home.

This is just the sort of thing that happens when a woman thinks too much.

Available on Amazon

About the Author


Sherrie Cronin is the author of a collection of six speculative fiction novels known as 46. Ascending and is now in the process of publishing a historical fantasy series called The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters. A quick look at the synopses of her books makes it obvious she is fascinated by people achieving the astonishing by developing abilities they barely knew they had.

She’s made a lot of stops along the way to writing these novels. She’s lived in seven cities, visited forty-six countries, and worked as a waitress, technical writer, and geophysicist. Now she answers a hot-line. Along the way, she’s lost several cats but acquired a husband who still loves her and three kids who’ve grown up just fine, both despite how odd she is.

All her life she has wanted to either tell these kinds of stories or be Chief Science Officer on the Starship Enterprise. She now lives and writes in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where she admits to occasionally checking her phone for a message from Captain Picard, just in case.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, November 16
Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Tuesday, November 17
What Is That Book About

Thursday, November 19
Donna's Book Blog

Friday, November 20
CelticLady's Reviews

Monday, November 23
Gwendalyn's Books

Wednesday, November 25
Passages to the Past

Saturday, November 28
Reading is My Remedy

Monday, November 30
Novels Alive
Coffee and Ink

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open internationally and ends on November 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

She Who Thinks Too Much

Book Blast & Giveaway: A Home for Christmas by MK McClintock

Hello, dear readers! Today on the blog I am super excited to be hosting MK McClintock's Book Blast for A Home for Christmas! I don't know about you but I am so ready for the Christmas season. It's my favorite time of the year and this year I especially need the twinkling lights and holiday music. This book sounds like the perfect way to get in the mood AND we have the best giveaway ever that will help keep you cozy and comfy.

A Home for Christmas by MK McClintock

Publication Date: November 5, 2014
Trappers Peak Publishing

Genre: Holiday/Historical Western Romance


Will six strangers find hope, love, and family at Christmas? A collection of three historical western short stories to inspire love and warm the heart.

"Christmas Mountain"

In search of family she barely knows and adventure she’s always wanted, Katherine Donahue is saved from freezing on a winter night in the mountains of Montana by August Hollister. Neither of them expected that what one woman had in mind was a new beginning for them both.

"Teton Christmas"

Heartache and a thirst for adventure lead McKensie Stewart and her sister to Wyoming after the death of their parents. With the help of a widowed aunt and a charming horse breeder, McKensie discovers that hope is a cherished promise, and there is no greater gift than love.

"Lily's Christmas Wish"

Lily Malone has never had a real family or a real Christmas. This holiday season, she might get both. From an orphanage in New York City to the rugged mountains of Colorado, Lily sends out only one wish. But when the time comes, can she give it up so someone else’s wish can come true?

If you love inspirational romance and heartfelt holidays, then you'll enjoy this trio of stories as we remember the true meaning of love any time of the year.

"Ms. McClintock has a true genius when writing beauty to touch the heart. This holiday treat is a gift any time one needs to remember the true meaning of love!" —InD'tale Magazine

"The cold nips at your face and delicious Christmas cake leaves you wanting more." —M. Ann Roher, Author of Mattie


Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Books-a-Million | Indiebound | Bookshop | Large Print



Also available in audio!

Audible | Apple | Libro.fm



About the Author

Award-winning author MK McClintock is devoted to giving her readers books laced with adventure, romance, and a touch of mystery. Her novels and short stories take you from the rugged mountains of Montana to the Victorian British Isles, all with good helpings of daring exploits and endearing love stories. Her works comprise multiple series, including: Montana Gallaghers, British Agents, Crooked Creek, and Whitcomb Springs. She enjoys a peaceful life in the Rocky Mountains where she is writing her next book.

Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Bookbub | Goodreads

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, November 23

Tuesday, November 24

Wednesday, November 25

Thursday, November 26

Friday, November 27

Saturday, November 28

Sunday, November 29

Monday, November 30

Tuesday, December 1

Wednesday, December 2

Thursday, December 3

Friday, December 4

Giveaway

One lucky winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card, a wool blanket from England, a Christmas candle, a tote/shopping bag, and treats!

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on December 4th. You must be 18 or older to enter.


Excerpt & Giveaway: Flirtation and Folly by Elizabeth Rasche


Flirtation and Folly by Elizabeth Rasche

Publication Date: November 10, 2020
Quills and Quartos Publishing

Series: A Season in London, Book One
Genre: Historical Romance


Marianne Mowbrey is a responsible country rector’s daughter who longs for the novelty and excitement she reads about in novels. When her crusty Aunt Harriet agrees to give her a Season in London, Marianne vows to dazzle the world, win a husband, and never go home again. But the Londoners who determine social success are inclined to pass over plain Marianne in favor of her beautiful, reckless younger sister.

In a world of ambition, fashion, flattery, and deceit, how can Marianne stay true to her real self—when she is not even sure what that real self is?

Available on Amazon

Excerpt


As if the wayward Fates had declared themselves as much in favour of Marianne’s situation at table as they had been against it before, she found herself seated between two young men at Aunt Cartwright’s dinner. As one of those men was Captain Pulteney, Marianne’s bliss knew no bounds. The other young man was Frederick Lowes, an anaemic-looking gentleman with nut-brown hair stiff with pomade, a trim, clocked waistcoat, and a careless manner. Although the dinner table had been forced to expand for three guests more than the previous visit there seemed to be just as many eatables spread out along the table, as well as the occasional candelabra or well-stocked ├ępergne. There were even small folded bits of coloured paper fashioned into flowers, fans, and jewel shapes delicately arranged among the dishes.

“Shall I congratulate you on your position at table, Miss Mowbrey? Or would that be self-congratulation?” Captain Pulteney said. The gold trim of his regimentals caught the light in a way that made Marianne’s heart giddy. As handsome as he was when she first saw him, he looked even better in regimentals.

“I am always pleased to dine at my aunt’s,” Marianne said, proud of herself for avoiding too particular a reply. As the captain invoked the usual topics of conversation, she felt delightfully at ease, and much more the gracious lady of elegance she wanted to be. Captain Pulteney’s admiration made her feel beautiful and charming.

Glancing down the table, she saw Mr Hearn not far from them, chewing on roast chicken with a solemn air, and Miss Emily further on. As loud as Miss Emily could be with her family, she was decorum itself at dinner in society. Her voice never rose above a murmur, and Marianne could make out nothing of what she said to Mr Hearn. Every once in a while, Miss Emily threw a hard look in Marianne’s direction, but Marianne thought it likely simple envy, not anything personal. Miss Emily seemed eager to please the captain when she could, and Frederick Lowes seemed no small catch himself.

At least, he was no small catch from a worldly perspective. From a more personal view, Marianne could not say that she liked him. Mr Lowes’s demeanour had a studied indifference that she suspected was anything but genuine. His slight body looked too weak to impress anyone, but he held himself with confidence. In her judgment, his confidence was more the false bravado of a child, rather than the genuine self-assurance of an adult. Mr Lowes’s expression seemed to show little interest in others, but he scrupulously attended to his table manners in a way that suggested he was anxious to avoid reproach. Stranger still, Mr Lowes had the oddest way of throwing remarks across the table in a pointed way, as if trying to communicate something to Mr Hearn without addressing him directly.

“I hear you are from the country, Miss Mowbrey,” Mr Lowes said. He had accompanied his claim that she was from the country with a sneer, and then pasted a smile on his face as he spoke her name.

“Yes, my father is a rector—╦«

“Oh, a clergyman. I cannot say I envy him for that. But a country estate—╦« He leaned over his plate, and Marianne could not help but think he was trying to attract Mr Hearn’s attention with his raised voice. “I adore country estates. The prettiest of them are in Ireland, I would say. Have you ever been to Ireland?”

“I regret I have not.” Marianne tried to focus on Mr Lowes, but she, too, found herself staring at Mr Hearn, who listened to the conversation with a grimace. She did not understand what sort of allusion Mr Lowes was trying to make. Was he twitting his friend for being half-Irish? She could not see why Mr Hearn would choose a friend prejudiced against the Irish, but whatever the allusion, clearly Mr Hearn was angry. He was digging into his chicken with a ferocity that ill became a fashionable dinner party.

Mr Lowes continued, seemingly unaware of Mr Hearn. “I have several places in Ireland. I pick them up here and there, from people without the sense to hang onto them. There is always a risk associated with them, of course, but I never mind that. Are you afraid of risk, Miss Mowbrey?”

“I suppose I am, a little.” She gave him a puzzled look, and then looked across the table at Mr Hearn, only to see a scowl on his face.

“Now, I adore risk. Life is nothing but a gamble.” Mr Lowes roared with laughter at this, and Marianne began to wonder if he had had too much to drink. There had not been much wine served, but perhaps the gentleman was delicate. It was with relief she realised Captain Pulteney was trying to attract her attention again, and she turned to her other side.

About the Author

After acquiring a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Arkansas, Elizabeth Rasche taught philosophy in the U.S. and co-taught English in Japan. Now she and her husband live in northwest Arkansas, the ‘garden of America.’ (At least, she has only ever heard Arkansas called so.) She dreams of visiting Surrey (if only to look for Mrs. Elton’s Maple Grove), Bath, and of course, London. When she has a Jane Austen novel in one hand, a cup of tea in the other, and a cat on her lap, her day is pretty much perfect.

Elizabeth Rasche is the author of The Birthday Parties of Dragons and her poetry has appeared in Scifaikuest. Flirtation & Folly is her first historical fiction novel.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, November 10
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Wednesday, November 11
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Thursday, November 12
Review at Bitch Bookshelf
Review at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Friday, November 13
Excerpt at Coffee and Ink
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews

Saturday, November 14
Review at Book Bustle

Sunday, November 15
Review at Carole Rae's Random Ramblings

Monday, November 16
Feature at I'm Into Books
Review at Probably at the Library

Tuesday, November 17
Review at Bookworlder

Wednesday, November 18
Feature at Reading is My Remedy

Thursday, November 19
Guest Post at Novels Alive

Friday, November 20
Review at Library of Clean Reads
Review at View from the Birdhouse

Saturday, November 21
Excerpt at Passages to the Past

Sunday, November 22
Review at Robin Loves Reading

Monday, November 23
Review at Jessica Belmont

Tuesday, November 24
Review at Novels Alive
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a copy of Flirtation and Folly by Elizabeth Rasche! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on November 24th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Flirtation and Folly

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