Blog Tour Kick-Off: The Varangian by Bruce Macbain w/Giveaway


The Varangian by Bruce MacBain

Publication Date: November 29, 2016
Blank Slate Press
eBook & Print; 341 Pages

Series: Odd Tangle-Hair Saga, Book Three
Genre: Historical Fiction

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The third volume of Odd Tangle-Hair’s Saga finds our hero in Golden Miklagard (Constantinople), posing as an ambassador from the Grand Prince of Rus. But his real mission is to assassinate his former master, Harald the Ruthless, who has now risen high in the Emperor’s Varangian Guard. Odd is dazzled by the brilliance of the Byzantine capital and its beating heart--the Great Palace, with the astonishing Throne of Solomon that levitates above the heads of kneeling courtiers.

Here, Odd will meet Constantine Psellus, an ambitious young bureaucrat who mentors him in the ways of the court. He will be drawn into an intrigue that involves the Empress Zoe, who spends her days brewing vats of perfume, and John the Guardian of Orphans, the powerful and sinister eunuch who schemes to advance his family. And Odd will fall in love with Selene, an alchemist’s daughter, who supports herself by gambling in the waterfront taverns.

Finally, after a hard-fought campaign against the Saracens in Sicily and the overthrow of an Emperor, Odd reaches the pinnacle of power and believes he has vanquished his enemy Harald once and for all.

Then disaster overwhelms him.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

Praise for The Varangian

"Thoroughly effective at explaining the intriguing and highly complex circumstances of the time period, Macbain’s (The Ice Queen, 2015, etc.) book shines in a way that only historical fiction can. Who needs King Jon Snow in Game of Thrones when one can get a glimpse of the historically real and undeniably sinister John the Guardian of Orphans? Even the most terrifying dragon pales in comparison to the sheer horror of a society so comfortable with castration. As the story ventures outside of Constantinople, the reader is treated to a plot that can only be described as epic … a highly entertaining Viking adventure." - Kirkus Reviews

"This is the third and final of Macbain’s Odd Tangle-Hair novels. All three have been spellbinding in their storytelling, though this one may be the best. Odd’s journey takes us around the Mediterranean and eastern European world, and all the way north back to Iceland. The characters are wonderful, the story intriguing, the combat real but never superfluous, and Odd makes for the perfect protagonist. Highly recommended." - Historical Novel Society

"Written by a historian with deep understanding of the cultures, peoples, and languages of this world, The Varangian speaks with an authoritative and compelling voice that can equally present naval battles decided by Greek Fire and court intrigue culminating in advancement to lucrative rank or in mutilation and blinding. This is a masterfully written and suspenseful tale that weaves fictional characters into the dramatic story of eleventh-century Byzantium and ambitious women and men, some home grown and some drawn from afar, who aimed to profit from an empire of legendary wealth and splendor." - Emily Albu, Professor of Medieval and Byzantine Studies, UC, Davis

"The Varangian is the third and final volume of Bruce Macbain’s Odd Tangle-Hair’s Saga, and like the first two entries, it is as compelling and wild a ride as historical fiction offers. Macbain brilliantly weaves in his vast knowledge of 11th century Viking and Byzantine life with a great storyteller’s ability to drive the plot forward, a plot filled with intrigue, violence, betrayal, and lust." - Barton Kunstler, author of The Hothouse Effect

“Detailed and vivid writing.” -Albert Noyer, author of the Getorius and Arcadia Mysteries

About the Author

03_Bruce MacBainBruce Macbain holds degrees in Classics and Ancient History and was formerly an Assistant Professor of Classics at Boston University. He decided to stop writing scholarly articles (which almost no one read) and turn his expertise to fiction—a much more congenial medium. His previous novels include two mysteries set in ancient Rome (Roman Games, The Bull Slayer) and the first two novels in the Odd Tangle-Hair series (Odin’s Child, The Ice Queen).

For more information, please visit Bruce MacBain's website. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, March 20
Kick Off at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, March 21
Review at Rainy Day Reviews

Friday, March 24
Interview at Dianne Ascroft's Blog

Sunday, March 26
Excerpt at T's Stuff

Wednesday, March 29
Guest Post at The Writing Desk

Friday, March 31
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Tuesday, April 4
Review at Book Nerd

Friday, April 7
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Tuesday, April 11
Review at A Book Geek

Thursday, April 13
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Tuesday, April 18
Excerpt at Books, Dreams, Life

Wednesday, April 19
Guest Post at Myths, Legends, Books and Coffee Pots

Thursday, April 27
Review at Broken Teepee

Giveaway

To win a copy of The Varangian by Bruce Macbain, please enter via the Gleam form below. Three copies are up for grabs!

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on April 27th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US & Canada 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.

The Varangian


The Enemies of Versailles Blog Tour & Giveaway

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The Enemies of Versailles by Sally Christie

Publication Date: March 21, 2017
Atria Books
eBook & Paperback; 416 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: The Mistresses of Versailles, Book Three

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In the final installment of Sally Christie’s “tantalizing” (New York Daily News) Mistresses of Versailles trilogy, Jeanne Becu, a woman of astounding beauty but humble birth, works her way from the grimy back streets of Paris to the palace of Versailles, where the aging King Louis XV has become a jaded and bitter old philanderer. Jeanne bursts into his life and, as the Comtesse du Barry, quickly becomes his official mistress.

“That beastly bourgeois Pompadour was one thing; a common prostitute is quite another kettle of fish.”

After decades of suffering the King's endless stream of Royal Favorites, the princesses of the Court have reached a breaking point. Horrified that he would bring the lowborn Comtesse du Barry into the hallowed halls of Versailles, Louis XV’s daughters, led by the indomitable Madame Adelaide, vow eternal enmity and enlist the young dauphiness Marie Antoinette in their fight against the new mistress. But as tensions rise and the French Revolution draws closer, a prostitute in the palace soon becomes the least of the nobility’s concerns.

Told in Christie’s witty and engaging style, the final book in The Mistresses of Versailles trilogy will delight and entrance fans as it once again brings to life the sumptuous and cruel world of eighteenth century Versailles, and France as it approaches irrevocable change.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Kobo

Praise for The Sisters of Versailles

“Such an extraordinary tale makes for compelling reading and, as the lead book in a planned trilogy, will draw in readers who are interested in royal lives before the French Revolution….historical fiction fans, unfamiliar with the history of the Nesle sisters, will be intrigued.” (Library Journal)

"Sally Christie's The Sisters of Versailles is an intriguing romp through Louis XV's France. Filled with lush backdrops, rich detail, and colorful characters, fans of historical fiction will enjoy this glimpse into the lost golden era of the French monarchy." (Allison Pataki, author of THE ACCIDENTAL EMPRESS )

“A stunning breadth of period detail, offered in a fresh, contemporary voice.” (Juliet Grey, author of the acclaimed Marie Antoinette trilogy )

“Tantalizing descriptions and cliff-hangers will leave the reader rapidly turning the pages in anticipation… A wickedly delightful read.” (New York Daily News)

About the Author

03_sally-christie_authorSally Christie is the author of The Sisters of Versailles and The Rivals of Versailles. She was born in England and grew up around the world, attending eight schools in three different languages. She spent most of her career working in international development and currently lives in Toronto.

Visit SallyChristieAuthor.com to find out more about Sally and the Mistresses of Versailles trilogy.

You can also find her on Facebook, Goodreads, and Amazon.

Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, March 15
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Interview at T's Stuff

Thursday, March 16
Review at Leeanna.me
Review at The Lit Bitch

Friday, March 17
Review at To Read, Or Not to Read
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Saturday, March 18
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Spotlight at Books, Dreams, Life

Sunday, March 19
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Monday, March 20
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Tuesday, March 21
Review at Book Lovers Paradise

Wednesday, March 22
Review at First Impressions Reviews
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Thursday, March 23
Review at Broken Teepee

Friday, March 24
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Sunday, March 26
Review at The Gadoury Dreamer
Review & Interview at Clarissa Reads It All

Monday, March 27
Review at The Reading Queen

Tuesday, March 28
Review at Book Nerd
Review at Luxury Reading
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Wednesday, March 29
Review at Impressions in Ink
Review at A Bookaholic Swede

Thursday, March 30
Review at Curling up by the Fire

Friday, March 31
Review at Bookramblings
Review at CelticLady's Reviews

Giveaway

Five copies of The Enemies of Versailles are up for grabs during the blog tour! To enter, please see the Gleam form below.

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on March 31st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US 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.

Enemies of Versailles


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Philippa Jane Keyworth's Fool Me Twice Blog Tour & Giveaway

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Fool Me Twice by Philippa Jane Keyworth

Publication Date: December 1, 2016
Madison Street Publishing
eBook & Paperback
ASIN: B01M6TZ9UY
ISBN13: 9780996264846

Genre: Historical Romance

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In the gaming hells of eighteenth century London, orphan Caro Worth is leading a double life. By day she plays a proper gentlewoman on the lookout for a wealthy husband. By night she plays the infamous Angelica, her fictional half-sister with a talent for cards and an ability to finance the life her respectable self has built. An introduction to a rich Marquis brings marriage and security within Caro’s grasp…until the arrival of the unpredictable and totally ineligible Mr. Tobias Felton.

Dismayed by Felton’s persistent appearances, shocking frankness, and enigmatic green eyes, Caro watches helplessly as he comes closer than anyone to guessing her secret, but when complete and utter ruin threatens, she finds that Felton’s suspicions just might become her salvation. As the walls she has built to protect herself crumble down around her, Caro learns that no matter how careful your plans, life and love have a habit of falling quite spectacularly out of control!

Purchase on Amazon

03_philippa-jane-keyworthAbout the Author

Philippa Jane Keyworth, known to her friends as Pip, has been writing since she was twelve in every notebook she could find. Originally trained as a horse-riding instructor, Philippa went on to become a copywriter before beginning a degree in History. A born again Christian, Philippa lives in the south of England with her handsome husband.

Philippa has always written stories and believes that, since it is one of her loves and passions, she always will. In her early writing career, she dabbled in a variety of genres, but it was the encouragement of a friend to watch a film adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice that began her love affair with the British Regency. Since then, she has watched every Regency film and TV series she could get her hands on and become well acquainted with Georgette Heyer’s novels which gave her the inspiration to write her own.

Both as a reader and a writer, Philippa believes it is important to escape into a world you yourself would want to live in. This is why she writes stories that will draw you into the characters’ joys and heartaches in a world apart from our own. Her debut novel, The Widow's Redeemer (Madison Street Publishing, 2012), is a traditional Regency romance bringing to life the romance between a young widow with an indomitable spirit and a wealthy viscount with an unsavory reputation. The novel has been received well by readers and reviewers who have praised the heartfelt story and admirable characters. Her second novel, The Unexpected Earl (Madison Street Publishing, 2014), explores another romance in the Regency era when an impetuous young woman has her life turned upside down by the reappearance of the earl who jilted her six years ago. Her third novel a Georgian romance will come out at the end of 2016.

For more information, please visit Philippa Jane Keyworth's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, March 13
Review at The Sassy Book Lover
Review & Interview at The Book Junkie Reads

Tuesday, March 14
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Thursday, March 16
Review at Rainy Day Reviews
Interview at Book Boyfriends & Booze

Saturday, March 18
Interview at Books, Dreams, Life

Monday, March 20
Review at Book Nerd

Tuesday, March 21
Interview at Aurora B's Book Blog

Thursday, March 23
Interview at Ms. Stuart Requests the Pleasure of Your Company

Saturday, March 25
Review at Laura's Interests

Monday, March 27
Review at Queen of All She Reads

Tuesday, March 28
Review at Mel's Shelves

Wednesday, March 29
Review at Blushing Babes Are Up All Night

Sunday, April 2
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, April 5
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Giveaway

To win a copy of Fool Me Twice by Philippa Jane Keyworth, please enter via the Gleam form below. Two copies are up for grabs!

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on April 5th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US 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.

Fool Me Twice


Review & Giveaway: The Confessions of Young Nero by Margaret George


The Confessions of Young Nero by Margaret George

Publication Date: March 7, 2016
Berkley Hardcover
ISBN: 9780451473387

Genre: Historical Fiction

The New York Times bestselling and legendary author of Helen of Troy and Elizabeth I now turns her gaze on Emperor Nero, one of the most notorious and misunderstood figures in history.

Built on the backs of those who fell before it, Julius Caesar's imperial dynasty is only as strong as the next person who seeks to control it. In the Roman Empire no one is safe from the sting of betrayal: man, woman or child.

As a boy, Nero's royal heritage becomes a threat to his very life, first when the mad emperor Caligula tries to drown him, then when his great aunt attempts to secure her own son's inheritance. Faced with shocking acts of treachery, young Nero is dealt a harsh lesson: it is better to be cruel than dead.

While Nero idealizes the artistic and athletic principles of Greece, his very survival rests on his ability to navigate the sea of vipers that is Rome. The most lethal of all is his own mother, a cold-blooded woman whose singular goal is to control the empire. With cunning and poison, the obstacles fall one by one. But as Agrippina's machinations earn her son a title he is both tempted and terrified to assume, Nero's determination to escape her thrall will shape him into the man he was fated to become, an Emperor who became legendary.

With impeccable research and captivating prose, The Confessions of Young Nero is the story of a boy's ruthless ascension to the throne. Detailing his journey from innocent youth to infamous ruler, it is an epic tale of the lengths to which man will go in the ultimate quest for power and survival.

Praise for The Confessions of Young Nero

“Margaret George has performed about the most audacious act imaginable for a historical novelist—an epic work of fiction not merely sympathetic to Nero, but told largely in his own voice. I applaud. And so, I imagine, does that connoisseur of the arts Nero, watching from Elysium.”—Steven Saylor, author of Roma: The Novel of Ancient Rome

“[George] brilliantly recreates past eras and bygone civilizations.”—Sharon Kay Penman, author of A King’s Ransom

“A wonderful novel, from the riveting first scene to the breathtaking finale.” —Jennifer Chiaverini, New York Times bestselling author of Fates and Traitors and Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker

“Wow! Margaret George—the reigning queen of historical fiction—is back with this epic saga that vividly re-imagines the life of young Nero in all its operatic, dramatic glory.”—Stephanie Dray, New York Times bestselling author of Lily of the Nile

"Margaret George has an incredible talent in that she can stand in the shoes of her protagonist and speak in his or her voice.”—Barbara Taylor Bradford, author of The Cavendon Luck and A Woman Of Substance

About the Author

Margaret George writes biographical novels about outsized historical characters: Henry VIII, Mary Queen of Scots, Cleopatra, Mary Magdalene, Helen of Troy, and Elizabeth I. Her latest, The Confessions of Young Nero, will be published in March. All six of her novels have been New York Times bestsellers, and the Cleopatra novel was made into an Emmy-nominated ABC-TV miniseries.

She especially enjoys the research she has done for the novels, such as racing in an ancient Greek stadium, attending a gladiator training school in Rome, and studying the pharmacology of snake poison.

My Review

Readers of this blog are well-aware of my love for author Margaret George, so it should come as no surprise that I'm ending my reviewing hiatus just to share my love for her latest novel, The Confessions of Young Nero.

Ms. George is the author who drew me into the Historical Fiction genre when I picked up Mary, Queen of Scots and the Isles years ago and she continues to slay me with her amazing writing and fascinating historical characters. I love the way she chooses figures from history that are maligned or controversial. George now tackles Ancient Rome and the early life of the legendary Emperor Nero. From being nearly drowned by his uncle, Caligula, to his volatile relationship with his mother Agrippina, his marriage to Poppaea, Rome's battle with Queen Boudicca, his meeting with the Apostle Paul, and the burning of Rome, readers are swept back into history and given a front row seat.

Beyond Nero's political dealings, George delves into Nero's personal side as well. His love of the arts and music, and his inner turmoil of being an Emperor and the nefarious things he had to do along the way. George paints Nero as a flawed man, but one that knows he is flawed.

I look forward to George continuing Nero's story in her next novel, which she is currently working on now. I remember hearing somewhere that she is also thinking of writing a book on Queen Boudicca and I sincerely hope that she does. I wanted to hear more about Boudicca's battle with Rome.

I highly recommend you checking out The Confessions of Young Nero, it's a fascinating look at a real, yet flawed, Emperor Nero! May I note as well, the hardcover copy is absolutely gorgeous and has a deckle edge, which I love!

Rating: 4 Stars

Giveaway

Passages to the Past has one copy of The Confessions of Young Nero up for grabs! To enter, please leave a comment below and be sure to include your email address or alternate way to contact you should you win.

Giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on March 21st.

Amalia Carosella's Daughter of a Thousand Years Blog Tour & Giveaway

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Daughter of a Thousand Years by Amalia Carosella

Publication Date: February 21, 2017
Lake Union Publishing
eBook & Paperback; 442 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction/Medieval Romance

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Greenland, AD 1000

More than her fiery hair marks Freydís as the daughter of Erik the Red; her hot temper and fierce pride are as formidable as her Viking father’s. And so, too, is her devotion to the great god Thor, which puts her at odds with those in power—including her own brother, the zealous Leif Eriksson. Determined to forge her own path, she defies her family’s fury and clings to her dream of sailing away to live on her own terms, with or without the support of her husband.

New Hampshire, 2016

Like her Icelandic ancestors, history professor Emma Moretti is a passionate defender of Norse mythology. But in a small town steeped in traditional values, her cultural beliefs could jeopardize both her academic career and her congressman father’s reelection. Torn between public expectation and personal identity, family and faith, she must choose which to honor and which to abandon.

In a dramatic, sweeping dual narrative that spans a millennium, two women struggle against communities determined to silence them, but neither Freydís nor Emma intends to give up without a fight.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound


About the Author

03_amalia-carosella-authorAmalia Carosella graduated from the University of North Dakota with a bachelors degree in Classical Studies and English. An avid reader and former bookseller, she writes about old heroes and older gods. She lives with her husband in upstate New York and dreams of the day she will own goats (and maybe even a horse, too). For more information, visit her blog at www.amaliacarosella.com.

She also writes myth-steeped fantasy and paranormal romance under the name Amalia Dillin. Learn more about her other works at www.amaliadillin.com.

You can connect with Amalia Carosella on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Google+. Sign up for her newsletter, The Amaliad, for news and updates.

Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday, February 16
Review at Let Them Read Books

Friday, February 17
Review at Just One More Chapter

Sunday, February 19
Review at Carole's Ramblings

Monday, February 20
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Tuesday, February 21
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, February 22
Review at Book Nerd

Thursday, February 23
Interview at Yelena Casale's Blog

Monday, February 27
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Tuesday, February 28
Review at A Bookish Affair

Wednesday, March 1
Review at The Maiden's Court

Thursday, March 2
Spotlight at Laura's Interests

Friday, March 3
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Monday, March 6
Review at Luxury Reading

Tuesday, March 7
Interview at Books, Dreams, Life

Thursday, March 9
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective

Friday, March 10
Review at CelticLady's Reviews
Review & Interview at WTF Are You Reading?

Giveaway

To win a $25 Amazon Gift Card & a Thor's Hammer/Mjölnir Pewter Pendant, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on March 10th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US 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.

Daughter of a Thousand Years

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2017 Release: The Outcasts of Time by Ian Mortimer


The Outcasts of Time by Ian Mortimer

Publication Date: June 15, 2017
Simon & Schuster UK

The year is 1348 and brothers John and William have been infected by the plague. Their fate is sealed. Until a voice from the skies offers them a choice: ‘You may stay here and spend your last six days with your wife and children. Or you may put yourself in my hands now. I will wipe the scars from your face and the swellings from your body. I will extinguish your fever. I will let you live your last six days in the distance of the future.’

John and William agree: they will live for six more days and in return they will do good deeds in order to try to save their souls. But there’s a twist: each of those six days will begin ninety-nine years after the last, delivering them each time to an increasingly alien existence. As they travel, the reader travels with them, seeing the world change with conflict, disease, progress and enlightenment. But all the while time is counting down to a moment of judgement…

2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge: March Reviews


Welcome to the March link page for the 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge. This is the page where you will enter the links to your reviews during the month of March 2017.

If you haven't already signed up for the challenge, it's not too late! The sign up post is here.

Links to previous months...

January 2017
February 2017

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!

If you have any questions or need assistance please email Amy at passagestothepast@gmail.com.


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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Shadow of Whimsy: A Cape Cod Love Story by Ann Hymes

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Shadow of Whimsy: A Cape Cod Love Story by Ann Hymes

Publication Date: June 15, 2016
Secant Publishing
Hardcover, Paperback, eBook

Genre: Contemporary/Women's Fiction/Literary

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Several generations of one family have lived, loved, and lied at Whimsy Towers, a unique oceanfront house in Chatham, Massachusetts. Strong women who refuse to be suffocated by marriage have found excitement and refuge in this house filled with artists and parties. Love surfaces in unexpected ways.

The newest owner, Theresa Alston Crandall, has just inherited the property and leaves her too-predictable husband in Virginia to spend time on the Cape and unravel family secrets and history. She swims, reflects, explores, and watches dramatic cloud formations float high over the ocean as she sorts through the choices in her path forward.

Romance arrives in the form of a young widower and landscape gardener with an awesome pickup truck, who likes Theresa’s dog and provides temptation to stay at Whimsy Towers. Tips of tree branches dance with the weight of birds that seem to scream warnings of danger, and the churning ocean disrupts family continuity.

Theresa learns how her Southern grandmother came to buy a storm-weathered New England house and how loveless marriage is not a mandatory life style. The final decision feels just right.

"In her debut novel, Hymes presents a conflicted young woman who is beginning to question her humdrum existence. From grief and loss to forgiveness and redemption, Hymes does not hold back. The author steers clear of predictable outcomes in this unexpected story, providing ample romantic suspense and witty prose to keep the reader turning pages. Chock-full of rich descriptions of the New England coast, as well as surprising scandals and an adorable dog named Gypsy, the book should satisfy even seasoned beach readers. A captivating and uplifting tale best suited for fans of meaningful beach-town romances." -Kirkus Reviews

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo

About the Author

03_Ann Hymes

Ann Hymes is a retired real estate broker and mother of two grown daughters. She has a B.A. in English from Mills College and an M.A. in English from Washington College. Her published work includes creative nonfiction. An active international volunteer, including service in the Peace Corps in the 1960s, Ann lives in St. Michaels, Maryland.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 27
Kick Off at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, February 28
Spotlight at The Lit Bitch
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, March 1
Review at Books, Dreams, Life

Thursday, March 2
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Friday, March 3
Spotlight at Cafinated Reads

Monday, March 6
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Tuesday, March 7
Review at Book Drunkard
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Friday, March 10
Review & Interview at The Book Junkie Reads

Tuesday, March 14
Spotlight at Susan Heim on Writing

Wednesday, March 15
Review at Book Nerd

Thursday, March 16
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews

Tuesday, March 21
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter

Friday, March 24
Review at Blushing Babes Are Up All Night

Giveaway

Five copies of Shadow of Whimsy: A Cape Cod Love Story are up for grabs during the blog tour! To enter, please click the link below.

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on March 10th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US 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.



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On My Wishlist: In Farleigh Field: A Novel of World War II by Rhys Bowen

In Farleigh Field: A Novel of World War II by Rhys Bowen

Publication Date: March 1, 2017
Lake Union Publishing

Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery

“Instantly absorbing, suspenseful, romantic, and stylish—like binge-watching a great British drama on Masterpiece Theater.” —Lee Child, New York Times bestselling author

World War II comes to Farleigh Place, the ancestral home of Lord Westerham and his five daughters, when a soldier with a failed parachute falls to his death on the estate. After his uniform and possessions raise suspicions, MI5 operative and family friend Ben Cresswell is covertly tasked with determining if the man is a German spy. The assignment also offers Ben the chance to be near Lord Westerham’s middle daughter, Pamela, whom he furtively loves. But Pamela has her own secret: she has taken a job at Bletchley Park, the British code-breaking facility.

As Ben follows a trail of spies and traitors, which may include another member of Pamela’s family, he discovers that some within the realm have an appalling, history-altering agenda. Can he, with Pamela’s help, stop them before England falls?

Inspired by the events and people of World War II, writer Rhys Bowen crafts a sweeping and riveting saga of class, family, love, and betrayal.

Kick Off Day for Hannah Fielding's Andalucian Nights Trilogy w/Giveaway!

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Indiscretion (Andalucían Nights #1)
by Hannah Fielding


Publication Date: April 9, 2015
London Wall Publishing
Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, AudioBook

Genre: Romance/Historical Fiction

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A young woman's journey of discovery takes her to a world of forbidden passion, savage beauty, and revenge.

Spring, 1950. Alexandra de Falla, a half-English, half-Spanish young writer abandons her privileged but suffocating life in London and travels to Spain to be reunited with her long-estranged family.

Instead of providing the sense of belonging she yearns for, the de Fallas are driven by seething emotions, and in the grip of the wild customs and traditions of Andalucia, all of which are alien to Alexandra.

Among the strange characters and sultry heat of this country, she meets the man who awakens emotions she hardly knew existed. But their path is strewn with obstacles: dangerous rivals, unpredictable events, and inevitable indiscretions. What does Alexandra's destiny hold for her in this flamboyant land of drama and all-consuming passions, where blood is ritually poured on to the sands of sun-drenched bullfighting arenas, mysterious gypsies are embroiled in magic and revenge, and beautiful dark-eyed dancers hide their secrets behind elegant lacy fans?

"Indiscretion"is a story of love and identity, and the clash of ideals in the pursuit of happiness. But can love survive in a world where scandal and danger are never far away?

Amazon

Praise for Indiscretion

"A captivating tale of love, jealousy and scandal… their romance is fraught with drama, and the reader is swung around in a flurry of passion and denial towards an unexpected conclusion." – The Lady magazine

"A powerful story that really captures you and pulls you in… Full of passion, danger, love and a fantastic setting, Indiscretion is a stunning story that is truly consuming and gripping." – Reading in the Sunshine

"A tense, compelling story… kept me enthralled to the very last page." – Novelicious

"A powerful and romantic story, one to savour and enjoy… Written in a flowing, vivid style, Indiscretion grips from the first." – Lindsay Townsend

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Masquerade (Andalucían Nights #2)
by Hannah Fielding


Paperback Publication Date: February 1, 2017
London Wall Publishing
Paperback; 448 Pages

Genre: Romance

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From the award-winning author of The Echoes of Love. Love, mystery and desire under the scorching Spanish sun.

A young writer becomes entangled in an illicit gypsy love affair, pulling her into a world of secrets, deception and dark desire.

Summer, 1976. Luz de Rueda returns to her beloved Spain and takes a job as the biographer of a famous artist. On her first day back in Cádiz, she encounters a bewitching, passionate young gypsy, Leandro, who immediately captures her heart, even though relationships with his kind are taboo. Haunted by this forbidden love, she meets her new employer, the sophisticated Andrés de Calderón. Reserved yet darkly compelling, he is totally different to Leandro but almost the gypsy's double. Both men stir unfamiliar and exciting feelings in Luz, although mystery and danger surround them in ways she has still to discover.

Luz must decide what she truly desires as glistening Cádiz, with its enigmatic moon and whispering turquoise shores, seeps back into her blood. Why is she so drawn to the wild and magical sea gypsies? What is behind the old fortune-teller’s sinister warnings about ‘Gemini’? Through this maze of secrets and lies, will Luz finally find her happiness… or her ruin?

Masquerade is a story of forbidden love, truth and trust. Are appearances always deceptive?

Amazon

Praise for Masquerade

"A brilliant romance concerned with love, revenge, identity and honour… Hannah Fielding writes of love, sexual tension and longing with an amazing delicacy and lushness, almost luxury." – Lindsay Townsend, author

"A beautiful journey back in time to a beautiful city to experience a story filled with passion, heartbreak, revenge, betrayal, and love… If you’re a fan of beautiful settings, fabulous imagery, and descriptions that make you feel, smell, and sense the place then definitely read Masquerade." – Unwrapping Romance

"I am in love with the writing style of the author! It brings not only the world alive, but the characters as well. She creates so much emotion and feeling… She truly did justice with bringing the beauty and drama of Spanish society alive yet again." – Carole Rae’s Ramblings

"A beautiful love story of passion and love, curses and family secrets… With beautiful descriptions and exotic locations the author weaves a heart wrenching tale of love and revenge… This story led me on an emotional roller coaster and I loved every minute of it." – Curse of the Bibliophile


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Legacy (Andalucían Nights #3)
by Hannah Fielding


Paperback Publication Date: March 2, 2017
London Wall Publishing
Paperback; 448 Pages

Genre: Romance

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A troubled young journalist finds her loyalties tested when love and desire unearth dark secrets from the past.

Spring, 2010. When Luna Ward, a science journalist from New York, travels halfway across the world to work undercover at an alternative health clinic in Cadiz, her ordered life is thrown into turmoil.

The doctor she is to investigate, the controversial Rodrigo Rueda de Calderon, is not what she expected. With his wild gypsy looks and devilish sense of humour, he is intent upon drawing her to him. But how can she surrender to a passion that threatens all reason; and how could he ever learn to trust her when he discovers her true identity? Then Luna finds that Ruy is carrying a corrosive secret of his own…

Luna’s native Spanish blood begins to fire in this land of exotic legends, flamboyant gypsies and seductive flamenco guitars, as dazzling Cadiz weaves its own magic on her heart. Can Luna and Ruy’s love survive their families’ legacy of feuding and tragedy, and rise like the phoenix from the ashes of the past?

Legacy is a story of truth, dreams and desire. But in a world of secrets you need to be careful what you wish for…

Amazon

Praise for Legacy

"Legacy is filled to the brim with family scandal, frustrated love and hidden secrets. Ruy is the ideal love interest, exuding both charm and intelligence, and Luna fits the part of innocent and fragile heroine perfectly. Fast-paced and addictive, it will keep you hooked from start to finish." – The Lady magazine

"Epic and timeless… In the vein of ‘Gone With The Wind’, this particular book is just as epic and timeless. Written with lively detail, you are IN Spain. You are engulfed in the sights, sounds and smells of this beautiful country." – Have You Heard Book Reviews

"I just got completely swept away… Just when I thought this trilogy could not get any better, it did! As with books 1 and 2 in this trilogy, I just got completely swept away by the detailed descriptions of locations and the history of each of the characters." – Debra’s Book Cafe

"This story has a magical quality to it, telling a fervent, tantalizing, and sweeping love story, is rich in details, and captured my imagination as well as my attention." – Romancing the Book

About the Author

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Hannah Fielding is an incurable romantic. The seeds for her writing career were sown in early childhood, spent in Egypt, when she came to an agreement with her governess Zula: for each fairy story Zula told, Hannah would invent and relate one of her own. Years later – following a degree in French literature, several years of travelling in Europe, falling in love with an Englishman, the arrival of two beautiful children and a career in property development – Hannah decided after so many years of yearning to write that the time was now. Today, she lives the dream: writing full-time at her homes in Kent, England, and the South of France, where she dreams up romances overlooking breath-taking views of the Mediterranean.

To date, Hannah has published four novels: Burning Embers, ‘romance like Hollywood used to make’, set in Kenya, 1970; the award-winning Echoes of Love, ‘an epic love story that is beautifully told’ set in turn-of-the-millennium Italy; and books 1 and 2 of the Andalucian Nights trilogy, set in sultry Spain, entitled Indiscretion and Masquerade.

For more information, please visit Hannah Fielding's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Sign up for Hannah Fielding's newsletter for news & updates.

Giveaway

To celebrate the Book Blast, we have one copy of the entire trilogy up for grabs! To enter, please see the Gleam form below.

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on March 3rd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in US & Canada 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.
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2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge: February Reviews


Welcome to the February link page for the 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge. This is the page where you will enter the links to your reviews during the month of February 2017.

If you haven't already signed up for the challenge, it's not too late! The sign up post is here.

Links to previous months...

January 2017

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!

If you have any questions or need assistance please email Amy at passagestothepast@gmail.com.


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Blog Tour Kick Off w/Giveaway: The French Orphan Series by Michael Stolle

Happy Monday and welcome to the Launch post for Michael Stolle's Blog Tour for his French Orphan Series! Read all about the series below and enter to win a copy of the first book, The French Orphan!

Don't forget to check out the schedule of stops below as well. We will have reviews on all four books in the series for you and an interview with author Michael Stolle.

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The French Orphan (Book One) by Michael Stolle

Publication Date: June 12, 2012
eBook & Paperback; 388 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

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The year is 1640, and Louis XIII is on the French throne. However, as far as you’re concerned, this is all pretty meaningless. After all, as a teenage orphan living in a monastery school in Reims, all you have to worry about is dodging the unpleasant advances of a few unsavoury monks and looking forward to a life of penniless and celibate servitude in a religious order.

After a childhood and adolescence plagued by a constant longing to know who he really is, orphan Pierre has not the slightest idea that his questions are about to be answered. But you know what they say – be careful what you wish for…

Suddenly finding out who you are can bring with it not only happiness and fortune, but danger, friendship and the sort of swift education that the monastery could never have provided! The discovery of who Pierre really is affects not only Pierre and his friends, but has ramifications for the French nobility, the English crown, and most dangerous of all, the machinations of Cardinal Richelieu and his fierce ambition for the Church and for himself.

Amazon


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The Secrets of Montrésor (Book Two) by Michael Stolle

Publication Date: November 12, 2012
eBook & Paperback; 298 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

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The Secrets of Montrésor is the eagerly awaited sequel to The French Orphan, and continues the story of young Pierre de Beauvoir…

Coming into a fortune at any age brings huge responsibility, but when you’re an inexperienced teenager, it seems that surprises are waiting for you around every corner.

Pierre, former orphan and now Marquis de Beauvoir, may have claimed his inheritance, but life is never that simple. For a start, he needs to learn pretty quickly exactly who to trust and who to keep at arm’s length. For example, how do you work out (and survive….) the changing motives of the most powerful man in seventeenth-century France, Cardinal Richelieu? And then what do you do when the people you should be able to trust try to deliver you into the hands of your worst enemy? And then there’s the small matter of a sacred quest to Italy…

Fortunately for Pierre he has his best friend Armand to support him as he gets to know his chateau at Montrésor, its people and… its secrets. (Armand, of course, has his own agendas to pursue, usually involving a pretty face and a willing smile.)

Far from being certain, Pierre’s future has yet to be settled and Pierre will have to draw on his own innate talents as well as those of the people around him to ensure he survives, as his enemies are just waiting to seize their opportunity.

Amazon


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Under the Spell of The Serenissima (Book Three) by Michael Stolle

Publication Date: December 15, 2013
eBook & Paperback; 302 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

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The third in the French Orphan series follows the exploits of Pierre, former penniless orphan who discovers he is heir to the de Beauvoir inheritance.

So far, Pierre has found friends in unexpected places, been surprised by love, learned the true meaning of friendship, discovered the extent of human cunning and depravity and dodged numerous attempts by his closest family member to despatch him to the next world.

In Under the Spell of the Serenissima Pierre’s search for the third Templar ring continues, but as ever, his path is not a smooth one. Pierre and Armand, along with Jean and Edoardo, are making for Venice, unaware that others too are racing towards the beautiful city, some intending to help, others with far more sinister motives.

As the various characters are drawn inexorably towards Venice, a conclusion will be played out that must decide Pierre’s fate, one way or another…

Amazon


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The Queen's Maid of Honour (Book Four) by Michael Stolle

Publication Date: March 31, 2016
eBook & Paperback; 300 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

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The year is 1643. The scheming Cardinal Mazarin is now Prime Minister of France, but on the other side of the Channel, unrest in England grows daily, as civil war is erupting. As the political situation in England deteriorates, the royal court flees London for Oxford, and King Charles is desperate to secure both funding and troops to come to his aid.

Mazarin, every bit as devious as his predecessor, Richelieu, engages the services of François de Toucy to save the Queen of England, a former royal princess of France. François and his friends will set sail for England, in a quest to ensure the safety of the queen.

Whilst François is walking a diplomatic tightrope across the political cauldron of the royal court, his friend Armand falls desperately in love with the Queen’s Maid of Honour, a lady as beautiful as she is cunning.

Soon the friends find themselves deeply entangled in a deadly combination of cut-throat politics, disasters on the battlefield and bitter machinations at court over love and war and the struggle between Protestants and Catholics that threaten to spell only death and disaster.

Amazon

03_michael-stolleAbout the Author

Born and educated in Europe, Michael has always been intrigued by the historical setting and the fact that what makes us human was as true in the 17th century as it is now.

He has been reading and writing about history for longer than he cares to recall...

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, January 23
Blog Tour Kick Off at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, January 24
Review at Books, Dreams, Life (The French Orphan)

Wednesday, January 25
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views (The French Orphan)

Thursday, January 26
Review at Book Nerd (The Queen's Maid of Honour)

Friday, January 27
Spotlight at What Is That Book About
Review at Clarissa Reads It All (The French Orphan)

Monday, January 30
Review at Books, Dreams, Life (The Secrets of Montrésor)
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views (The Secrets of Montrésor)

Tuesday, January 31
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Review at Clarissa Reads It All (The Secrets of Montrésor)

Wednesday, February 1
Review at 100 Pages a Day (The French Orphan)

Thursday, February 2
Spotlight at Broken Teepee
Review at Turning The Pages (The French Orphan)

Friday, February 3
Spotlight at A Bookaholic Swede
Review at Turning The Pages (The Secrets of Montrésor)

Sunday, February 5
Review at Books, Dreams, Life (Under the Spell of The Serenissima)
Review at Clarissa Reads It All (Under the Spell of The Serenissima)
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views (Under the Spell of The Serenissima)

Monday, February 6
Review at 100 Pages a Day (The Secrets of Montrésor)

Tuesday, February 7
Spotlight at Kinx's Book Nook

Wednesday, February 8
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews
Review at Clarissa Reads It All (The Queen's Maid of Honour)

Thursday, February 9
Review at Turning The Pages (Under the Spell of The Serenissima)

Friday, February 10
Review at Turning The Pages (The Queen's Maid of Honour)
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession (The French Orphan)
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views (The Queen's Maid of Honour)

Saturday, February 11
Review at Yelena Casale's Blog (The French Orphan)
Review at Books, Dreams, Life (The Queen's Maid of Honour)

Giveaway

To win a paperback copy of The French Orphan (Book One) by Michael Stolle, please enter via the Gleam form below. Three copies are up for grabs!

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 11th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US, UK, and CANADA 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.

French Orphan Series


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Nupur Tustin's A Minor Deception Blog Tour & Giveaway

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A Minor Deception by Nupur Tustin

Publication Date: November 15, 2016
Foiled Plots Press
eBook & Trade Paperback; 254 Pages

Series: Joseph Haydn Mysteries
Genre: Historical Mystery

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When his newly hired violinist disappears just weeks before the Empress's visit, Haydn is forced to confront a disturbing truth. . .

Kapellmeister Joseph Haydn would like nothing better than to show his principal violinist, Bartó Daboczi, the door. But with the Empress Maria Theresa’s visit scheduled in three weeks, Haydn can ill-afford to lose his surly virtuoso.

But when Bartó disappears—along with all the music composed for the imperial visit—the Kapellmeister is forced to don the role of Kapell-detective, or risk losing his job.

Before long Haydn's search uncovers pieces of a disturbing puzzle. Bartó, it appears, is more than just a petty thief—and more dangerous. And what seemed like a minor musical mishap could modulate into a major political catastrophe unless Haydn can find his missing virtuoso.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo


Praise

"A Minor Deception is a wonderful tour de force that pulls the reader into the intricate world of 18th century music, mystery and politics! Elegantly written and plotted, the reader will be hooked from page one." -New York Times Bestselling Author Emily Brightwell

". . . will enthrall music lovers and mystery lovers alike. With complex characters and vivid descriptions, the reader will be transported back to the eighteenth century to enjoy a fascinating tale of intrigue. . ." -Kate Kingsbury, Pennyfoot Hotel Mysteries

"A wonderful read for any music lover! Vivid historical descriptions, intricate details, and a fascinating central character kept me turning the pages. Bravo!" --Amanda Carmack, award-winning author of The Elizabethan Mystery Series

About the Author

03_nupur-tustinA former journalist, Nupur Tustin relies upon a Ph.D. in Communication and an M.A. in English to orchestrate fictional mayhem. The Haydn mysteries are a result of her life-long passion for classical music and its history. Childhood piano lessons and a 1903 Weber Upright share equal blame for her original compositions, available on ntustin.musicaneo.com.

Her writing includes work for Reuters and CNBC, short stories and freelance articles, and research published in peer-reviewed academic journals. She lives in Southern California with her husband, three rambunctious children, and a pit bull.

For details on the Haydn series and monthly blog posts on the great composer, visit the official Haydn Mystery website. You can also find Nupur Tustin on Facebook and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, January 16
Review at Bibliotica

Tuesday, January 17
Interview at The Book Connection
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, January 18
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Thursday, January 19
Guest Post at A Literary Vacation

Friday, January 20
Interview at Dianne Ascroft's Blog

Sunday, January 22
Review at Laura's Interests

Monday, January 23
Review at Luxury Reading

Giveaway

To win a paperback copy of A Minor Deception, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on January 23rd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in Europe & North America 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 Minor Deception


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