Excerpt & Giveaway: Petunia 1949 by Leah Brewer

Petunia 1949 by Leah Brewer

Publication Date: May 1, 2023

Genre: Historical Fiction

Spitfire, Petunia Hollings was born in 1935 in the deep South. She spends her childhood working the cotton fields and longing for her daddy to love her as he does her siblings.

Spending time with her best friend Opal is one distraction Petunia looks forward to. Opal’s skin color was never a problem. Or so Petunia thought.

After young love sweeps Petunia to a new life in Chicago, she learns to accept love as it’s offered instead of expecting more than one can give.

When circumstances force her to return home, her friendship with Opal helps Petunia's fractured heart start to heal.

Then a new, even more dangerous threat surfaces. Will Petunia find the strength to overcome the hatred surrounding her?



Petunia rolled over, and a wasp stung her right on the hip. She hopped out of the twin bed and landed a half-asleep gaze on the mattress. She better find the wasp before it got her again.

Upon inspection, it wasn’t a wasp, after all. It was a stupid spring that dug into her side. Time to flip the mattress. If only her bones weren’t aching after working for hours in the field and garden, she’d do it now.

She needed a day of fishing with her friends. Maybe she’d talk Mama into letting her skip out early to get them some supper one day this week. If not, she’d have to wait for the weekend, which would be better than not going at all.

The back door slammed, and Petunia shot off the bed. It wasn't even five o'clock in the morning. Who would be up in the house? She slipped on her only pair of boots and tiptoed to the bedroom door.

Voices drifted from the backyard. She eased the window up a notch and sat on the floor. She'd love to have a piece of cake to snack on. Or some pie. Her stomach complained by growling for what seemed like an entire minute.

That's what she got for thinking of sweets when she knew they didn't have stuff to make any of that right now. Maybe she'd take on some laundry from town to make enough money for another banana cake.

The wind carried Mama’s voice through the open window. "Oliver Dewitt Hollings, I swear if I find out you've cheated on me with that Marshall woman, I'll kill you both!"

Daddy balked. "Calm yourself down, woman!" His voice lowered, so Petunia leaned into the screen. "Ain't nothing going on between me and Gail."

"Lies! She thinks she's better than me and our kids, but she looks at you like you're her man. Not mine!"

Petunia clamped her hand over her mouth. Surely Daddy wouldn't cheat with that woman!

"Your cockeyed notions are a pain in the neck, woman! I ain't tellin' you again. Nothing happened. Her leg’s broke anyways."

Things got quiet for a few minutes. Petunia would give anything to see what was happening. Or hear what they whispered.

Daddy spoke again, but his voice sounded different. "You ain't got a bit of room to talk about cheating. Not when one of the kids probably ain't even mine!"

A crack sounded then Mama spoke between sobs. The hurt in her voice made Petunia’s heart lurch. "I told you my mama was a redheaded woman. Why do you keep accusing me of something?"

"You say she was a redhead, but how do I know that for sure since we never met?"

"Now you accuse me of lying about Mama's hair color?!?"

Lloyd poked his head out of the little closet he called a bedroom. He walked over and slid down the wall, resting his hand on the floor beside Petunia's knee. "You shouldn't be listening to Mama and Daddy fight."

Hot tears threatened to fall as her eyes searched Lloyd’s. "Am I Daddy's kid?"

"Sure you are. Don't let his rantings bother you none.” He reached over and ruffled her hair. “Now go back to bed."

"But Daddy don't think I'm his kid." Her voice came out flat even to her own ears.

Lloyd’s shoulder raised in a half-shrug. "Who cares what he thinks? I sure don't. And if you ask me, you're lucky if you ain't his kid."

Unable to hold the tears back, Petunia bolted off the floor and out the front door at a dead run.

She ran until her legs were jelly, not caring she was in her slip of a nightgown. She had to get away from it all. And the bayou was the best place to do it.

When she reached her destination, the sun peeked beyond the trees above the water. She stopped in her tracks and stared at the ball of fire's reflection. A fish jumped out and back into the water. Bright pink, orange, and yellow waves softly skidded in the circles the fish left behind.

She rubbed the chill bumps that sprang onto her arms and breathed in the smell of early morning on the water. This right here was her happy place.

It had been ever since Daddy got mad and cut down the swing Martin had set up in a tree for them to play on. That swing had been a piece of Martin after he passed away. Then Daddy took it away like everything else. All that had been left was ashes after he burned the swing in the woodpile.

She allowed her mind to drift back to a time of carefree laughter and playing outside. Evelyn pushing her as high as she could go in their swing while Teresa pretended to have a tea party. Those days of carefree playing were few and had passed way too quickly. The memory shattered, and the people from those days seemed like colorful fragments of broken glass. Broken apart by too many days of mind-numbing work in the cotton fields. She longed for a fishing pole to catch some good dinner and forget her worries. If her friend Opal was with her, she’d for sure fish.

A branch cracked, and then someone cleared his throat behind Petunia. She spun around and met Verlon Marshall's questioning gaze. He raised his hands to display two cane fishing poles in one hand and a tackle box in the other.

His eyebrows lifted as he set the tackle box at the water's edge. "Petunia? What in the world are you doing out here in your nightgown?"

Volcanic heat traveled from the soles of her feet to the top of her head. "None of your business is what."

He snickered and walked closer to where she stood. She bristled until he held his jacket out. "Put this on. You have to be cold."

Swallowing down the smart remark, she accepted the jacket. "Thanks."

He sat down on a log close to the water. "You didn't answer my question. Is everything all right?"

She raised her chin. "Maybe I wanted to catch some fish."

"Okay. Where's your equipment?" He craned his neck to look behind her.

She rested her right hand on her hip. "My what?"

"Tacklebox and fishing pole.” He scanned the area. “I don't see it."

She stomped a foot, then instantly regretted it. "Because I didn't bring it!"

He patted a space beside him on the log. "How about you join me then? Uncle Eddie was gonna come, but Aunt Gail needed his help with something."

She glanced over his shoulder and shrugged. "I dunno."

"Come on!" He pulled a fat worm out of a container. "You can keep whatever you catch."

A good old piece of fried Perch sounded too good to pass up. And she’d always had a good time fishing with Verlon when they were younger. "All right then. But I ain't a baby. I can put the worm on my own hook."

He raised his left eyebrow before handing her a pole. "Never said you was."

Three hours later, she skipped home with a string of Perch, Crappy, and a Bass. She couldn't wait to show Lloyd! And Daddy would even be happy to see her if she brought home dinner!

She walked past the barn, and loud crying caught her attention. She stuck her head in and sighed. Mama lay curled up beside the raggedy cat, bawling like an abandoned baby. Petunia meandered over to her and sat beside her.

Mama met Petunia’s eyes and raised her arms. Petunia wasted no time slipping into Mama's embrace and holding her close.

"He left again, Petunia!" Mama got out between sobs. "Don't ever marry a man who don't love you with all his heart."

Why would she say that? "Okay, Mama. I won’t.”

She should’ve known. Her daddy was gone again. And it was all her fault.

About the Author


Leah Brewer is a multi-genre author who writes clean novels. Even though she was the youngest of six and the only girl, she had a lot of time on her hands. She was born to her parents in a small town in Central Arkansas later in life. Growing up, you could find Leah playing make-believe near the White River or as she waded through water deep in the woods.

Leah is a Writers Ink of Northeast Arkansas member and is currently working on her third installment in her Seeds of Faith series.

Before she started writing, you could find Leah behind a computer working her telecommunications job that she’s had for over twenty-five years.

Leah spends her spare time with her husband, Mark, their grown children, and her brand-new granddaughter, Charlotte.

You can find Leah at facebook.com/writingleahbrewer or leahbrewerauthor.com.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, May 1
Excerpt at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, May 2
Review at Tammy Reads

Wednesday, May 3
Review & Excerpt at Connie's History Classroom

Wednesday, May 10
Review at Older & Smarter

Thursday, May 11
Review at Rajiv's Reviews

Friday, May 12
Review at Novels Alive
Review at Girl Who Reads
Review at Reading is My Remedy


Enter to win a copy of Petunia 1949 by Leah Brewer + $25 Amazon Gift Card!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on May 12th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Petunia 1949

Author Interview & Giveaway: The Rose of Washington Square by Pat Wahler

The Rose of Washington Square: A Novel of Rose O'Neill, Creator of the Kewpie Doll by Pat Wahler

Publication Date: January 20, 2023
Evergreen Press

Genre: Historical Fiction

She set out to make her way in a man's world, rising from obscurity into one of the most famous women of her era.

Self-taught artist Rose O'Neill leaves the Midwest for New York in 1893, determined to become an illustrator in a field dominated by males. Mindful of her duty to the impoverished family she left behind, Rose’s obligations require her to yield to the men who hold the reins of her career; as well as the men she grows to love.

Yet despite every obstacle facing her, she excels at her craft, eventually designing a new character, the Kewpie. Her creation explodes into a phenomenon, but Rose’s disenchantment with the status quo fosters new ambitions. She must decide whether to remain within the boundaries dictated for her, or risk everything she’s gained to pursue the creative and personal passions that ignite her soul.

With grit and tenacity, Rose O'Neill blazed an unforgettable path during the tumultuous times of the early 20th century.

Available in eBook


“Rose O'Neill was a trailblazer of her time, and her life is a testament to the power of perseverance in the face of impossible odds.”
—Kathleen Grissom, New York Times bestselling author of The Kitchen House

“A classic reinvention of the life of Rose O’Neill, the creator of the iconic Kewpie doll.”
—Nina Romano, award-winning author of The Secret Language of Women

“From start to finish, this story honors the talent, devotion to family, and the success that was such a huge part of Rose O’Neill’s life.”
—Readers’ Favorite

Interview with Author Pat Wahler

Hello Pat and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about The Rose of Washington Square!

Thank you so much for hosting me, Amy!

To begin, can you please tell us a little about yourself and your writing?

I’m a native Missourian with a family I adore. In addition to my family, my major interests lie in books and animals. Funny how books and animals tend to be two things that resonate with many of the writers and readers I know.

As a kid, my mother took me to the library where I’d check out a stack of books each week. I’d read until she glared at me and ordered, “Get your nose out of that book and go outside!” I believe avid readers often transform into writers, and so it happened with me.

What inspired you to write about Rose O'Neill, the creator of the Kewpie Doll?

My first historical novel, I am Mrs. Jesse James, focused on a woman with Missouri ties. This worked out conveniently in terms of research as well as opening for me many venues who were interested in the book. I decided to find another woman connected with Missouri and Rose O’Neill quickly jumped to the top of my list. She lived a fascinating life; one that included much more than the Kewpies. From artist to sculptor to writer to philanthropist to activist and suffragist, it seemed to me Rose did it all.

What research did you undertake when writing the book?

I spent about a year reading and taking notes on anything I could find about Rose. Books, articles, and newspaper accounts to name a few. I spent a day at Rose’s home in Walnut Shade, Missouri, with incredible volunteers who are the keepers of Rose O’Neill’s legacy, before I started to write the story.

What was your favorite scene to write?

That’s almost like asking who’s my favorite child. If I have to choose, I suppose it would be the beginning, when Rose sets out full of hopes, dreams, and determination to make her way in a man’s world.

What was the most difficult scene to write?

There were several scenes related to deaths of people dear to Rose that were difficult, but the toughest death scenes related to two of Rose’s family members. I cried while writing both of them.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

As I mentioned earlier, I do think most avid readers at least consider the possibility of writing something of their own. I can remember at the age of six, writing five pages I illustrated, where Matt Dillon and Miss Kitty got married. (I couldn’t understand why the Gunsmoke writers couldn’t manage to make that happen when clearly it needed to!) As time went on I got braver (and a little smarter about writing stories) and began to submit my work. When the first piece was accepted, I was hooked.

What does your daily writing routine look like?

Routine? I’m supposed to have a routine? I tend to operate on deadlines, and sadly I cannot seem to multi-task. This means I need a project that’s been researched and outlined before I can actually write it. I do prefer to write in the morning when my mind is fresh, but I make a point of getting up periodically to walk, even if it’s only for five minutes. I found out the hard way that too much sitting is bad for the back.

Are you a pantser or a plotter?

I have to start with an outline to know where I’m going with a story, but when the book begins to take on a life of its own, I don’t mind making changes in the original plan. Perhaps that makes me a plantser?

Do you write in a linear fashion (scene by scene) or do you jump around?

My brain works best when I keep things in chronological order. If I have thoughts about a future scene, I’ll jot down notes on it to expound upon later, rather than risk forgetting an inspiration.

If your book were made into a movie, who would you cast?

That’s a tough one. Maybe Amanda Seyfried as Rose and Emma Stone as her sister Callista. I could envision Marcia Gay Harden as Meemie. I’d better stop there since it’s kind of fun (but time consuming) to Google people and try to match them up to my characters!

What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Have you been able to overcome it?

Trying to juggle too many balls. There are an unbelievable amount of hats that must be worn by a writer these days, and most of them don’t involve writing at all. I suspect this is not a challenge that’s unique to me.

Who are your writing inspirations?

Oh my. So many literary talents. Harper Lee boggled my mind with the simple beauty of her prose. Writers like Susanna Kearsley, Paula McLain, Kate Quinn, and Kate Morton never disappoint.

What was the first historical novel you read?

As I youngster, I gravitated toward historical fiction. Little Women. Black Beauty. Beautiful Joe. It seems I always enjoyed reading about the past. Probably my first adult historical novel was Gone With the Wind. I read it in middle school.

What is the last historical novel you read?

I just finished reading The Surgeon’s Daughter by Audrey Blake, and really enjoyed it.

What are three things people may not know about you?

In my former career, I spent decades as a Juvenile Officer, working with kids who had run afoul of the law.
I’m a totally committed tea-drinker that cannot abide even the aroma of coffee.
If life gave out a report card, I’d get an “F” for multi-tasking. In research mode I can’t do anything else. In marketing mode, same problem. Ditto with writing. Sigh.

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

I love reading and writing historical fiction because it brings the past to life in a way history books do not. It’s as simple as that.

What historical time period do you gravitate towards the most with your personal reading?

I’m pulled most toward mid to late 19th century and early 20th century stories.

What do you like to do when you aren't writing?

I enjoy spending time with my family (I have the most adorable grandson who loves to read!) and I’m addicted to buying books. Stacks and stacks of books.

Lastly, what are you working on next?

I have in mind a woman I’d like to write about who made her mark in the field of medicine. However, as of yet I haven’t even started researching. (Did I mention I’m terrible at multi-tasking?)

About the Author


Pat Wahler is a Missouri native and avid reader. She is winner of Western Fictioneers' Best First Novel of 2018, a Walter Williams Award winner, and the winner of Author Circle Awards 2019 Novel of Excellence in Historical Fiction for I am Mrs. Jesse James.

Pat has also authored a three-book contemporary romance series-the Becker Family Novels, and two holiday-themed books; all named Five-Star Readers’ Favorites. A frequent contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, Pat is an avid reader with a special passion for historical fiction, women’s fiction, and stories with heart. She makes her home in Missouri with her husband and two rescue critters—one feisty Peek-a-poo pup and a tabby cat with plenty of attitude.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | BookBub | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 20
Review at Dive Into a Good Book

Wednesday, February 22
Interview at Passages to the Past

Friday, February 24
Feature at The Caffeinated Bibliophile

Monday, February 27
Excerpt at Books & Benches

Tuesday, February 28
Review at Girl Who Reads
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Wednesday, March 1
Review at Novels Alive

Monday, March 6th
Review at Little But Fierce Book Diary


Enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on March 6th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Rose of Washington Square

Cover Reveal: The Orchid Hour by Nancy Bilyeau

Today on the blog I am stoked to share with you all the gorgeous cover for the upcoming release by Nancy Bilyeau, The Orchid Hour! I absolutely adore it and cannot wait to read it. I've read every book Nancy has written and loved them all, so this is one of my most anticipated reads of 2023! If you'd like to pre-order it now there is a special price for the eBook!

The Orchid Hour by Nancy Bilyeau

Publication Date: August 10, 2023
Lume Books

Genre: Historical Thriller

There is a certain hour, in the dead of night, when the orchid’s scent can put you under a spell…

"Nancy Bilyeau has created a beautifully layered and utterly seductive tale… and, at its living, tender heart, a strong-willed and magnetic heroine." – Emilya Naymark, author of Behind the Lie, finalist for the 2023 Sue Grafton Award

Nancy Bilyeau, author of The Crown and The Blue, returns with a tantalizing novel about one woman caught up in a secret nightclub that one can only reach through a certain florist on a cobblestone street.

New York City, 1923. Zia De Luca’s life is about to be shattered. Having lost her husband to The Great War, she lives with her son and in-laws in Little Italy and works at the public library. But when a quiet poetry lover is murdered outside the library, the police investigation focuses on Zia. After a second tragedy strikes even closer to home, Zia learns that both crimes are connected to a new speakeasy in Greenwich Village called The Orchid Hour.

When the police investigation stalls, Zia decides to find her own answers. A cousin with whom she has a special bond serves as a guide to the shadow realm of The Orchid Hour, a world filled with enticements Zia has shunned up to now. She must contend with a group of players determined to find wealth and power in New York on their own terms. In this heady atmosphere, Zia begins to wonder if she too could rewrite her life’s rules. As she’s pulled in deeper and deeper, will Zia be able to bring the killers to justice before they learn her secret?

To be published August 10, 2023, in the U.S., the UK, Canada, and Australia, in original paperback and ebook.

The pre-order is on a special discount for the ebook: geni.us/TOHPre-Order

Praise for Nancy Bilyeau

The Crown:
“Bilyeau deftly weaves extensive historical research throughout, but the real draw of this suspenseful novel is its juicy blend of lust, murder, conspiracy, and betrayal.”
—O, The Oprah Magazine, pick of the month

The Blue:
“Definitely a winner!”
—Kate Quinn, author of The Diamond Eye

“I could practically taste the salt-water taffy and smell the ocean air as I read Bilyeau’s latest, set in 1911 Coney Island. Beautifully written and impeccably researched, DREAMLAND is a rollicking ride.” —Fiona Davis, author of The Magnolia Palace

About the Author


Nancy Bilyeau is a historical novelist and magazine editor based in New York. She wrote the Joanna Stafford trilogy, a trio of thrillers set in Henry VIII’s England, for Simon & Schuster. Her fourth novel is The Blue, an 18th-century thriller revolving around the art and porcelain world. Her next novel is Dreamland, set in Coney Island of 1911, to be published by Endeavour Quill on January 16, 2020. A former staff editor at Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and InStyle, Nancy is currently the deputy editor at the Center on Media, Crime and Justice at John Jay College and contributes to Town & Country, CrimeReads, and Mystery Scene magazine.

To learn more, go to www.nancybilyeau.com. You can follow Nancy on Facebook, Twitter, BookBub, and Goodreads.

Cover Reveal Schedule

Wednesday, February 15
Passages to the Past

Thursday, February 16
I'm Into Books
Gwendalyn's Books
Impressions In Ink
My Reading Getaway

Friday, February 17
Miranda's Bookscape
Dive Into a Good Book

Saturday, February 18
One Book More
CelticLady's Reviews

Sunday, February 19
The Book Junkie Reads

Monday, February 20
The Lit Bitch
Books In Their Natural Habitat
History from a Woman’s Perspective

Tuesday, February 21
Amy's Bookshelf

Wednesday, February 22
Reading is My Remedy

Excerpt & Giveaway: The Genes of Isis by Justin Newland

The Genes of Isis by Justin Newland

Publication Date: August 28, 2018

Genre: Historical Fantasy

Akasha is a precocious girl, born into a world where oceans circulate in the sky waters. She dreams of releasing the Surge, the next evolutionary step for an embryonic human race. But it’s dormant, trapped inside every human.

Horque is a Solarii, a tribe of angels who’ve manifested in human form and settled in ancient Egypt. Desperate to return home, they must first undo the devastation caused by the Helios, another tribe of angels who came to Earth to deliver the Surge and instead left humanity on the brink of extinction and sired a race of interspecies monsters: the hybrids.

When Akasha foretells the falling of the sky waters and falls in love with Horque, her life becomes an instrument for apocalyptic change.

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Author Justin Newland reads an excerpt from The Genes of Isis


About the Author

JUSTIN NEWLAND’s novels represent an innovative blend of genres from historical fiction and crime, to supernatural thrillers and mystery. His stories deal with the themes of war, religion, evolution and speculate on the human’s spiritual place in the universe.

Undeterred by the award of a Doctorate in Mathematics from Imperial College, London, he found his way to the creative keyboard and conceived his debut novel, The Genes of Isis (Matador, 2018), an epic fantasy set under Ancient Egyptian skies.

Next came the historical fantasy, The Old Dragon’s Head (Matador, 2018), set in Ming Dynasty China in the shadows of the Great Wall.

His next historical fantasy, The Coronation (Matador, 2019), speculates on the genesis of the most important event in the modern world – the Industrial Revolution.

His fourth, The Abdication (Matador, 2021), is a supernatural thriller in which a young woman confronts her faith in a higher purpose and what it means to abdicate that faith.

His work in progress is a two-book series, The Island of Angels, set in Elizabethan England. The first novel, The Mark of the Salamander, explores the significance of Francis Drake’s circumnavigation of the world. The second, The Midnight of Eights, culminates in the repulse of the Spanish Armada in 1588.

He was born three days before the end of 1953 and lives with his partner in plain sight of the Mendip Hills in Somerset, England.

Website | Facebook | Goodreads


We have two copies of The Genes of Isis by Justin Newland up for grabs!

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

The Genes of Isis

Kickstarter Book Blast: The White Sails Series by Emma Lombard

The White Sails Series: Special Hardback Omnibus by Emma Lombard

If Bridgerton and Pirates of the Caribbean had a love child.

Are you a fan of sweeping romantic adventures?
Do you fall for tall, brooding Naval Officers?
Love a feisty female lead who makes you yell aloud?

Then hop aboard Emma Lombard's hardback Collector's Edition of The White Sails Series, and batten down the hatches!

But Why?

Well, firstly, let me tell you what my Kickstarter campaign isn't. It isn't a plea for donations, it's not a beg for money, and it's not just another retailer.

Okay, so what is it then?

Kickstarter is a wonderful way for me to give more to my fans.

It allows fans access to a special collector's edition that is not (and will never be) available from online retailers.

It allows fans to have each and every copy personalised, which is just not doable on retailers.

It also allows fans a more intimate view of the story behind my series.

And best of all, it allows fans to get involved in my next series, whether through an exclusive sneak peek of the first draft or even having a character named after them.

Oh, and did I mention there's an opportunity to win the original oil painting of the cover?

Where else in the world do you get all this extra cool stuff thrown in just because you bought a book?

What's in it for you, Emma?

Without wanting to sound too cheesy, I'm beside myself to put such a pretty book out in the world. I'm mean, just look at that dreamy sunset! I'm not going to lie, I love a chunky book. This collector's edition fulfils my ultimate author dream—to be able to hold (and smell) a weighty tome. I'm not the only one—I've had folks walk up to my books at the market and pick them up just to smell them! My kind of peeps!

I know it's taboo to talk about money, but the pledges received for this campaign will help me recoup some of the upfront expenses that I have already laid out, like editing, book cover design, audiobook narration, and it will give me the momentum I need to invest in those same services for my next series, The Gold Hills Series.

You'll be helping keep the indie publishing ecosphere turning, which in turn lets me keep creating more stories.

So, what's The White Sails Series about?

One of my readers described it best: If Bridgerton and Pirates of the Caribbean had a love child.

The idea for this series was born from a tiny nugget of family gossip that my grandmother shared with me. She told me how my 3x great grandmother left her well-to-do family in England to elope with an English sea captain, and live aboard his ship with him.

I took the basic concept of this story and had a blast creating an entirely fictitious imagining of what it might have been like for a woman to live aboard a ship in those days. Quite ironic considering that I get terribly sea-sick myself.

Curious? Never seen what a Kickstarter campaign looks like?

Just looking: Take an exclusive pre-launch look at Emma's campaign to see it in detail, click HERE.

Note: clicking on this link will not sign you up to anything, it's simply an exclusive behind-the-scenes look.

To follow the campaign: Open the campaign, and click 'Notify me on launch' button at the top of the page

Note: this will not commit you to any pledges, it's how you will be able to have ring-side seats to watch the campaign play out.


Batten down the hatches, m’lovelies, for a chance to win an exclusive, personalised, hardcover Collector’s Edition of The White Sails Series: Fill out the entry form HERE.

Book Blast Hosts

Books & Benches
Passages to the Past
The Book Junkie Reads
Books, Cooks, Looks
Elodie’s Reading Corner
Carole's Ramblings
My Reading Getaway
Gwendalyn's Books
Bookish Mya
I'm Into Books
Reading Is My Remedy
CelticLady's Reviews
History from a Woman’s Perspective
Jorie Loves a Story

Book Blast: The Lives of Lilly Parris by Daniel Sugar

Salem Burning (The Lives Of Lilly Parris Book 1) by Daniel Sugar

Publication Date: February 20, 2018

In 1692, a disreputable young man named Kyle Edwards breaks his engagement by accusing his fiancee, Lilly Parris, of witchcraft.

Kyle is a liar; he does not believe in witchcraft, he is simply trying to get rid of Lilly. But Kyle is in for a shock because, as it turns out, Lilly really is a witch.

"Salem Burning" is a fast-paced, brand-new take on the Salem witch trials.

The Witch And The Guillotine (The Lives Of Lilly Parris Book 2) by Daniel Sugar

Publication Date: January 26, 2019

After narrowly escaping the horrors of the Salem witch trials, Lilly Parris comes of age in 18th Century France, where she is pampered by Louis XVI and pursued by one of history's greatest fiends: Maximilien Robespierre, the monster who sent thousands of innocent men, women and children to the guillotine.

"The Witch and the Guillotine" is a fast-paced, brand-new take on the French Revolution.

The Witch and the Revolution (The Lives Of Lilly Parris Book 3) by Daniel Sugar

Publication Date: March 23, 2020

As the Tsar's subjects turn against him, Lilly Parris races to save Anastasia Romanov and her brother Alexis - the heir to the Russian throne.

The Witch and the Revolution is a fast-paced, brand-new take on the Russian Revolution.

The Witch And The Resistance (The Lives Of Lilly Parris Book 4) by Daniel Sugar

Publication Date: November 13, 2020

As the Allies prepare to liberate Europe, Lilly Parris learns of a diabolical Nazi plot.

"The Witch And The Resistance" is a fast-paced, brand-new take on the Second World War.

The Witch And The Merry Monarch (The Lives Of Lilly Parris Book 5) by Daniel Sugar

Publication Date: August 16, 2021

After witnessing the execution of King Charles I, Lilly Parris tries to save the life of his son, Charles II.

The Witch And The Merry Monarch is a fast-paced, brand-new take on the English Civil War.

The Witch And The Physician (The Lives Of Lilly Parris Book Six) by Daniel Sugar

Publication Date: July 7, 2022

As fear grips London, Lilly Parris matches wits with one of history's most notorious serial killers.

"The Witch and the Physician" is a fast-paced, brand-new take on a killing spree that shocked the world.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

Daniel Sugar has written for a number of celebrities and for several TV shows, including “The Tonight Show, With Jay Leno”. He has always been fascinated by witches, witchcraft, the Salem witch trials, and the French Revolution. The Lives of Lilly Parris includes six novels: "Salem Burning", "The Witch and the Guillotine", "The Witch and the Revolution", "The Witch and The Resistance", "The Witch and The Merry Monarch", and "The Witch and the Physician".

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Review & Giveaway: Sisters of Castle Leod by Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard

Sisters of Castle Leod by Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard

Publication Date: January 19, 2023
Black Rose Writing

Genre: Historical Fiction

Finalist - 2022 American Writing Awards

Millions are fans of Diana Gabaldon's popular Outlander books and television series, but few know that Gabaldon's fictional Castle Leoch was inspired by a real Scottish castle, Castle Leod. The two sisters who lived there at the turn of the twentieth century were among the most fascinating and talked-about women of their era.

Lady Sibell Mackenzie is a spiritualist, a believer in reincarnation, and a popular author of mystical romances. Petite and proper, she values tradition and duty. Her younger sister Lady Constance, swimming champion and big game hunter, is a statuesque beauty who scandalizes British society with her public displays of Greek-style barefoot dancing. The differences between the sisters escalate into conflict after Sibell inherits their late father's vast estates and the title 3rd Countess of Cromartie. But it is the birth of Sibell's daughter that sets in motion a series of bizarre and tragic events, pitting sister against sister and propelling Sibell on a desperate mission to challenge the power of fate.

Sisters of Castle Leod, by award-winning author Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard, is the emotionally charged story of two sisters torn apart by jealousy and superstition, and the impossible leap of faith that could finally bring them together.

Available for Pre-Order
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Rating: 5/5
Read this if...you enjoy Historical Fiction, Scottish settings, and strong women.
My thoughts: Before I get to my review I just have to gush over this cover! It's fantastically atmospheric and captures the mood of the novel perfectly!

Having just read another novel that featured famous sisters, I was eager to see what the two sisters of Castle Leod had in store for me. I can tell you that I was not disappointed!

Set in the late 1800s in Scotland, Sisters of Castle Leod follows the lives of Sibell and Constance. When their father passes he names Sibell as the heir to the Castle and lands (due to a ruling by Queen Victoria), leaving Constance a sizeable fortune. This decision proves to be a breaking point for the once-close sisters, driving a wedge between them that will only grow larger as time goes on.

I have not heard of either woman before, but Sisters of Castle Leod is based on a true story. Sibell Lilian Mackenzie was the 3rd Countess of Cromartie and one of the wealthiest landowners in Scotland. Unlike her responsible sister, Constance is more of a risk-taker and caused quite a few scandals. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know both of them and learning about their lives.

The author has written a fascinating story about two strong, yet very different women, who try to forge their own paths and find their own truths.

Recommend: Most definitely! Grab a warm blanket, a cup of hot cocoa, and travel back to the Scottish Highlands!


"Heartbreaking and redemptive...a thoroughly engrossing story that will have readers quickly turning the pages." -Megan Chance, bestselling author of A Splendid Ruin

"This expertly written novel is a beautiful example of how historical facts can be researched and transformed into a work of art. To say this novel was difficult to put down would be an understatement. From the first page, I knew this would become one of my favorite historical novels." -Sublime Book Reviews

"A magical, mystical, mesmerizing tale of two real-life noble sisters of Castle Leod, caught up in shocking passions that cast them in opposition, yet desperate for reconciliation." -Rebecca Rosenberg, triple-gold seed-winning novelist of Champagne Widows

"With shocking revelations and twists throughout the book, the reader is never sure what each new chapter will bring. Overall, with an excellent plot and character development, this book is awe-inspiring." -Pacific Book Review

"Whilst the historical element of this novel can easily be compared to some of the great historical novelists, like Sharon Kay Penman, the ghostly apparitions and contact with the spirit world add an original view of a woman who was, in so many ways, ahead of her time." -Readers' Favorite

"The stage is set for sibling rivalry [in this] grand novel about two fascinating sisters of the Scottish Highlands at the turn of the 20th century." -Sheila Myers, author of The Truth of Who You Are

"...a carefully researched historical novel with a touch of the supernatural." -Gail Ward Olmsted, author of Landscape of a Marriage: Central Park Was Only the Beginning

About the Author


Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard is the author of two Amazon bestsellers: THE BEAUTY DOCTOR, a compelling historical novel steeped in mystery with strong elements of a medical thriller (Readers' Favorite), and TEMPTATION RAG: A NOVEL, a resonant novel ... about the birth and demise of ragtime ... luxuriously crafted (Publishers Weekly). Her books have been finalists for the Eric Hoffer Book Award and National Indie Excellence Awards, received a gold medallion from Book Readers Appreciation Group, and been named a historical fiction Discovered Diamond.

Elizabeth and her family live near Phoenix, Arizona.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 19
Review at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, December 21
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks

Friday, January 6
Review at Novels Alive

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Feature at I'm Into Books

Friday, January 13
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Review at 100 Pages a Day

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Review at Little But Fierce Book Diary

Friday, January 20
Review at History from a Woman’s Perspective

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Review at jypsylynn

Monday, January 30
Review at Rajiv's Reviews

Thursday, February 2
Review at Coffee and Ink

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Review at Cover Lover Book Reviews


Enter to win a paperback copy of Sisters of Castle Leod by Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on February 3rd. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Sisters of Castle Leod

Book Blast & Giveaway: A Gentleman Never...Forgets a Lady

A Gentleman Will Never...Forget a Lady by Emily Windsor

Publication Date: December 1, 2022

Genre: Regency Romance
Series: The Governess Chronicles, Book 3

Get swept away to a romantic and rugged land in this joyful and heart-warming Christmas tale…

Having lost her beloved, Lord Tristan, to a storm at sea, Lady Gwen Evans is planning a life of travel, writing books on her adventures.

But will the arrival of a dark, scarred gentleman one December's eve disrupt all her plans?

With wassailing on frosty nights, dragon myths in the snowy Welsh hills, a rather unladylike list of D.I.S.G.R.A.C.E. and Hide and Seek in the seductive dark, this will be a Christmas never to forget…

‘Witty and wonderful. The storyline is unique and intriguing. And the amount of love in this story is absolutely beautiful.’ ★★★★★ Once Upon A Time

“Christmas is but a few weeks away. A time for wonder.”

Praise for ‘A Gentleman Will Never…Forget a Lady’

‘The only word that could describe this book is enchanting. I loved every moment.’ ★★★★★ Reading Rebel Reviews

‘…brimming with emotion. Filled with wonderful characters, secrets, longing, healing, new beginnings, ghouls, wassail… ’ ★★★★★ Flippin’ Pages

‘An achingly beautiful novel… I LOVED this book!’ ★★★★★ Gloria's Happily Ever Afters

‘…breathtakingly resplendent. You will become just as enchanted with Windsor’s creations as I have been because it's utterly magical.' ★★★★★ sammstormborn reviews

'Emily Windsor continues to write beautiful stories, and I was totally captivated by this one, as Tristan and Gwen found their way back to each other. I love the warmth, the family connections, and the satisfying resolution, which occurs during the Christmas holiday, the season of miracles.’ ★★★★★ Roses Are Blue Romantic Fiction Reviews

Amazon US | Amazon UK

About the Author


Emily Windsor grew up in the north of England on a diet of historical romance and strong tea.

Unfortunately, you couldn’t study Regency slang, so she did the next best thing and gained a degree in Classics and History instead. This ‘led’ to an eight-year stint in engineering.

Having left city life, she now lives in a dilapidated farmhouse where her days are spent writing, fixing the leaky roof, battling the endless vegetation and finding pictures of well-tied cravats.

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Monday, December 19
Passages to the Past

Tuesday, December 20
Reading is My Remedy

Wednesday, December 21
Dive Into a Good Book
History from a Woman’s Perspective

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Gwendalyn's Books

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Booking With Janelle

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Elodie’s Reading Corner

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Novels Alive
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Coffee & Ink

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Michelle the PA Loves to Read

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Lisa Everyday Reads
What Is That Book About


Enter to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on December 31st. You must be 18 or older to enter.

A Gentleman Will Never Forget a Lady

Spotlight & Giveaway: 1887: The Day They Turned off the Water by A.E. Wasserman

1887: The Day They Turned off the Water by A.E. Wasserman

Publication Date: October 4, 2022
Archway Publishing

Genre: Historical Thriller/Novella

This historical mystery thriller, a novella in the Langsford Mysteries, takes readers back to the American Old West where the fight for water in California is just beginning.

Spring 1887. Melting snowpack from the High Sierras will soon turn California’s central valley into lush fields, but an armed man with a Sharps rifle shut off a headwater gate to a watery-ditch and stood guard. After an unexpected confrontation with Double B Ranch owner, Jake Sanders, along with ranch-hand Kacha, this gunman now lies died and Jake along with wounded Kacha, are both jailed for murder.

The unscrupulous lobbyist who “steals to get the office and who gets the office to steal,” Billy “Boss” Carr, claims to know nothing about the man or the situation, in spite of owning the land where the headwater gate is. Water is profitable for Carr, however, and he is aligned with both the prosecutor and judge. It is up to Jake’s wife, Sally, to find a way to prove Jake and Kacha’s innocence: the truth of the matter. But with these powerful men stacking the odds against her, can she?

“Few writers can do what Wasserman has done: weave a historical thriller around the early battles over California water rights and the entrenched racism toward Blacks and the region’s Native Americans. Authentic characters enrich this crisp, exciting legal/thriller.” - Pamela Sheppard, Publishing Consultant

“A thrilling read, with twists and turns up until the very end.” - Will Klipstine, Hollywood Screenwriter/Producer

About the Author

The daughter of a newspaperman, A.E. Wasserman grew up in a household filled with books and stories. At age 14, she wrote her first novella and never stopped writing.

She is the author of the mystery/thriller Langsford Mystery Series--think Sherlock Holmes meets Downton Abbey. When Lord Langsford stretches the boundaries of Victorian Society, he finds himself in dire situations and must save others as well as himself from spies, thieves, and murderers.

Wasserman's work, critically acclaimed as “richly atmospheric,” is being noticed by readers and critics alike, and has garnered international attention, not only in the U.S., but Europe and the U.K. as well. She recently received top honors from Writer’s Digest for her work.

After graduating from The Ohio State University, she lived in London, then San Francisco. Currently, she resides in Southern California with her family and her muse, a Border Collie named Topper.

Visit the author’s web site at www.aewasserman.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.


Enter to win a copy of 1887 The Day They turned Off the Water + a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on December 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.


Spotlight & Giveaway: Campbell's Boy by Mary Kendall

Campbell's Boy by Mary Kendall

Publication Date: November 21, 2022
Moonshine Cove Publishing

Genre: Historical Fiction

Heartbreak...with an underlay of hope.

California plains in the 1850s. After losing his mother to cholera on the wagon train out west, Emmet Campbell mostly fends for himself in the boom town of Colusa, California where he and his busy and ambitious father settle.

Coming of age for Emmet means hiding in the corners of his father’s new saloon, scrounging for food in the local brothels and finding refuge in tunnels underneath Colusa’s Chinatown.

While fighting off town bullies, an evil Irish stepmother and his own learning disabilities, Emmet struggles to find his footing but never loses his curiosity about the world around him and the people in it.

When forced into a court case to establish his identity and rightful inheritance after the untimely death of his father, Emmet must find family and identity in places he might not have reckoned for. But can he?

With equal measures of the dark and the light, CAMPBELL’S BOY is a tender tale about a boy whose fractured beginnings lead him on a journey through life that reveals what it can mean to be human.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

Mary Kendall lived in old (and haunted) houses growing up which sparked a life-long interest in history and story-telling. She earned degrees in history related fields and worked as an historian for many years. Her fiction writing is heavily influenced by the past which she believes is never really dead and buried.

Fueled by black coffee and a possible sprinkling of Celtic fairy dust, she tends to find inspiration in odd places and sometimes while kneading bread dough.

The author currently resides in Maryland with her family (husband, three kids, barn cat and the occasional backyard hen) who put up with her mad scribbling at inconvenient hours.

THE SPINSTER’S FORTUNE , a mystery set in Georgetown, Washington DC, is her debut novel and is a twisty, tangled dive into a web of family deception murky with gothic undertones.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 21
Feature at Passages to the Past

Friday, November 25
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews

Tuesday, November 29
Instagram Feature at Dive Into a Good Book

Thursday, December 1
Review at Bookworlder

Sunday, December 4
Review at Reading Is My Remedy

Monday, December 5
Feature at I'm Into Books
Instagram Feature at Tammy Reads

Thursday, December 8
Feature at Coffee and Ink

Friday, December 9
Review at Novels Alive


Enter to win a paperback copy of Campbell's Boy by Mary Kendall!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on December 9th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Campbell's Boy

Feature & Giveaway: Our Daughters' Last Hope by Elaine Stock

Hello, dear readers! Today on the blog I am very excited to be featuring the newest release from author Elaine Stock during her current blog tour! You can read all about Our Daughters' Last Hope below and be sure to enter to win a copy!

Our Daughters' Last Hope by Elaine Stock

Publication Date: September 19, 2022
Amsterdam Publishers

Genre: Historical Fiction/WWII
Series: Resilient Women of WWII, Book 2

A mesmerizing story, set during one of the world’s most harrowing carnages, of two mothers as they cross enemy lines for the sake of their daughters’ futures.

Amsterdam, the Netherlands 1940 Herta, and her family, Jewish refugees, are living contentedly until the Nazi invasion, which echoes the persecution and fear they experienced before fleeing Germany. Across town, another wife and mother, Julia, also faces upheaval when her husband becomes more involved in the Nazis’ effort in controlling the world.

When their husbands go missing, one accused falsely of crimes and the other to fight on behalf of the Nazis, Herta, despite the heartache, takes charge and places her daughters into hiding believing they’ll keep safe. Meanwhile, Julia, as the only parent home, chooses to redefine family. These unexpected developments bring Herta and Julia together… until their true identities surface and they’re thrown into dangerous consequences that could harm not only them but their daughters.

Following We Shall Not Shatter, Book 1 of the Resilient Women of WWII Trilogy, this story of friendship questions whether two mothers, acting to ensure their children’s future, can put aside the issues of faith and heritage that could bring the Nazis right to their doorstep.

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About the Author


Elaine Stock writes Historical Fiction, exploring home, family and friendships throughout time. She enjoys creating stories showing how all faiths, races, and belief systems are interconnected and need each other.

Elaine’s grandparents, on both sides of her family, narrowly escaped World War II by immigrating from Poland and Austria to the US. Fascinated by the strong will of people to overcome the horrors from this era, she wrote We Shall Not Shatter, Book 1 of the Resilient Women of WWII Trilogy inspired by her deaf great aunt who was left behind as a teenager in Poland and perished in the Holocaust, while her other deaf siblings were permitted to enter the US when their young ages helped them to circumvent medically-revealing exams. Other extended family members also remained in Poland to lose their lives in the Holocaust.

Although multi-published in award-winning Inspirational Fiction, and a past blogger and online magazine contributor, Elaine now pens novels for the General reading audience. She is a member of Women’s Fiction Writers Association and The Historical Novel Society. Born in Brooklyn, New York, she has now been living in upstate, rural New York with her husband for more years than her stint as a city gal. She enjoys long walks down country roads, visiting New England towns, and of course, a good book.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 19
Feature at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, September 20
Review at A Baker's Perspective
Feature at What Is That Book About

Monday, September 26
Review at The Page Ladies

Tuesday, September 27
Feature at Reading Is My Remedy

Thursday, September 29
Review at Books, Writings, and More

Friday, September 30
Feature at Coffee and Ink
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews


Enter to win a copy of Our Daughters' Last Hope by Elaine Stock (paperback or eBook, winner's choice).

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on September 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Our Daughters' Last Hope

Review & Giveaway: Out of the Ashes by Samantha Grosser

Out of the Ashes: A Novel of WWII by Samantha Grosser

Publication Date: August 4, 2022

Genre: Historical Fiction

England 1944. Amid the ruins of the Second World War, an illegal and tentative friendship begins.

War widow Clare Chapman is still grieving for her husband when the first German prisoners of war arrive in the village. Horrified by the presence of the enemy so close at hand, she knows it is only a matter of time until she is forced to face them.

German soldier Max Peterson has received no news of his family for almost two years when he arrives as a prisoner in England, and all he wants is to go home to Berlin to search for them. But meeting Clare Chapman in the village high street on a cold autumn morning changes everything. So begins an unexpected friendship.

Their secret doesn’t last. Shunned by family and friends for illegal fraternisation with the enemy, Clare risks losing all that she has. Then long-held secrets are brought to light and she must make a devastating choice.

In a world that has changed beyond recognition, can they find a way to build a future together, or will their happiness be destroyed by the burdens of the past?

An enthralling novel of love, forgiveness, and second chances perfect for fans of Deborah Swift, Sebastian Faulks and Ellen Feldman.

Available on Amazon



First off, I have to comment on this cover. I loved it the first time I saw it but now that I've read the book I see more just how perfect of a cover it is! Like the story it houses, the cover is simple yet beautiful and alluring.

Out of the Ashes is the first book in Samantha Grosser's new WWII series and features Clare Chapman, a school teacher in a small farming town. She gets word that her beloved husband, the loal Vicar who volunteered to be a Chaplain in the war has been killed by the Germans. The family is of course devastated, especially Clare's son and her mother-in-law. Clare's relationship with her mother-in-law is already on tenterhooks and things get worse when German POWs are sent to work on their farm as decreed by the government.

Max is one of the German POWs sent to work on the farm. He is in a foreign land with no word on his family is and the local town people are unwelcoming to the enemy strangers. One day Max helps save one of the town's children from drowning and Clare is intrigued by him. Between stolen glances and secret talks they soon develop feelings for each other. Which puts Clare in an extremely precarious position with her son and MIL who see every German as the killer of their loved one.

The relationship between Max and Clare unfolds nicely and I greatly enjoyed reading about the farm and the Chapman family. Grossman's writing flows easily - it's easy to pick it up and get sucked into the story! I highly recommend Out of the Ashes and I look forward to the next book in the series!

About the Author


Samantha Grosser is a very British author who doesn’t function without tea. Having spent many years teaching English in Asia and Australia, she has made a permanent home in Sydney, Australia, where she now lives with her husband, son, and a very small dog called Livvy. She is the author of wartime dramas Another Time and Place, The Officer’s Affair, and Out of the Ashes, and the historical fantasy series Web of Witches. When she isn’t writing or reading (which isn’t often) you can find her either doing yoga, going for long walks, or watching old movies.

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Enter to win a copy of Out of the Ashes by Samantha Grosser!

The giveaway is open internationally and ends on August 31st. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Out of the Ashes

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