Friday, October 30, 2015

Upcoming Releases in Fiction

Radio Girls: A Novel by Sarah-Jane Stratford

Release Date: June 14, 2016

London, 1926. American-raised Maisie Musgrave is thrilled to land a job as a secretary at the upstart British Broadcasting Corporation, whose use of radio—still new, strange, and electrifying—is captivating the nation. But the hectic pace, smart young staff, and intimidating bosses only add to Maisie’s insecurity.

Soon, she is seduced by the work—gaining confidence as she arranges broadcasts by the most famous writers, scientists, and politicians in Britain. She is also caught up in a growing conflict between her two bosses, John Reith, the formidable Director-General of the BBC, and Hilda Matheson, the extraordinary director of the hugely popular Talks programming, who each have very different visions of what radio should be. Under Hilda’s tutelage, Maisie discovers her talent, passion, and ambition. But when she unearths a shocking conspiracy, she and Hilda join forces to make their voices heard both on and off the air…and then face the dangerous consequences of telling the truth for a living.

The Summer Guest: A Novel by Alison Anderson

Release Date: May 24, 2016

The translator of The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Alison Anderson, delivers a remarkable literary novel—with a stunning conclusion—inspired by historical events, in which a diary weaves together the lives of three women: a dying Ukranian doctor who befriends Anton Chekov in the 19th century, a modern-day London book editor, and the woman she hires to translate it into English.

Inspired by fragments of historical truth, The Summer Guest is a transportive, masterfully written novel about an unusual, fascinating friendship that transcends the limits of its time and place. It’s also a contemporary story about two compelling, women, both of whom find solace in Zinaida and Chekhov as they contemplate all that’s missing in their own lives.

Glory over Everything: Beyond The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

Release Date: April 5, 2016

The author of the New York Times bestseller and beloved book club favorite The Kitchen House continues the story of Jamie Pyke, son of both a slave and master of Tall Oakes, whose deadly secret compels him to take a treacherous journey through the Underground Railroad.

Published in 2010, The Kitchen House became a grassroots bestseller. Fans connected so deeply to the book’s characters that the author, Kathleen Grissom, found herself being asked over and over “what happens next?” The wait is finally over.

The Midnight Watch: A Novel of the Titanic and the Californian by David Dyer

Release Date: April 5, 2016

As the Titanic and her passengers sank slowly into the Atlantic Ocean after striking an iceberg late in the evening of April 14, 1912, a nearby ship looked on. Second Officer Herbert Stone, in charge of the midnight watch on the SS Californian sitting idly a few miles north, saw the distress rockets that the Titanic fired. He alerted the captain, Stanley Lord, who was sleeping in the chartroom below, but Lord did not come to the bridge. Eight rockets were fired during the dark hours of the midnight watch, and eight rockets were ignored. The next morning, the Titanic was at the bottom of the sea and more than 1,500 people were dead. When they learned of the extent of the tragedy, Lord and Stone did everything they could to hide their role in the disaster, but pursued by newspapermen, lawyers, and political leaders in America and England, their terrible secret was eventually revealed. The Midnight Watch is a fictional telling of what may have occurred that night on the SS Californian, and the resulting desperation of Officer Stone and Captain Lord in the aftermath of their inaction.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Review: The Thames River Murders by Ashley Gardner

Captain Lacy is happily married with a baby on the way, he lives in a nice home and always has money to spare, and his relationship with his estranged daughter grows stronger everyday. He wants for nothing now, and yet he still seeks the excitement and justice of amateur crime solving in early 19th century London. His latest sleuthing adventure takes us to the Thames River where a young woman's body was found years ago and the Thames River Police are still looking for her identity and killer, turning to Lacy for help in solving this cold case.

Meanwhile, Lacy is receiving threats and accusations of identity theft from an anonymous letter writer and he desperately attempts to keep his new family safe. He also gains a new ally with an interesting back story while visiting the infamous Mr. Denis.

I think what I love most about this series is the many sub-plots, the witty dialogue, and the continually evolving character development. It never goes stale, the relationships between characters are always growing and evolving, and the mystery always keeps you guessing.

The only downside is that each book is such a fun and quick read, I blow through it and then have to wait ages for the next book to be written and released. I should just be grateful that the author is really writing the series but dammit, I want more of Captain Lacy!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Review: Coal River by Ellen Marie Wiseman

Advanced review copy from publisher via NetGalley. My opinions are my own.

Release Date: December 29, 2015

Emma Malloy loved growing up in New York City, but after a fire breaks out at the theater where her artist parents worked as set designers, she is left orphaned at age nineteen. She has no choice but to return to the small coal mining town of Coal River, Pennsylvania (a fictional town somewhere near Wilkes-Barre) to live with her self-righteous aunt and uncle. It's a place where the wealthy are corrupt and the miners are on the brink of a strike in protest of the unfair wages and working conditions they are forced to live with.

Despite the historically interesting and moving subject matter, there was too much of this which felt unrealistic.

The dialogue felt forced at times, with there being way too much "telling" and not enough "showing" through both the dialogue and narrative. It's frustrating to watch Emma says things which will only make her situation worse, and doesn't benefit anyone or change anything. She asks stupid questions like, "don't you worry about your child working in the breaker?" Of course they do! It's like everything needs to be spelled out for Emma, because the author thinks the reader needs it spelled out.

The saint-like Emma could be a little hypocritical by criticizing her aunt for trying to avoid thinking about the horrors the coal miners and their families faced, but then Emma herself would sometimes look away from the destitute on the streets as she went passed, or ask why someone was "torturing" her by telling her all the gory details of the accidents that happened in the mines. Why is it okay for Emma to not want to hear about it, but her aunt is a bad person for not wanting to hear about it?

Then there was the usage of the old, "That's impossible! There was a little girl who lived here, but she died like 30 years ago" trope. Okay, it wasn't exactly that (kudos to those who got the Friends reference though), which is why this isn't a spoiler, but there is a very similar scene with the same cliche concept, which unlike in Friends was supposed to be real, not a prank. It just felt hokey and unoriginal.

It was a quick and easy read, so despite all this, it wasn't a chore to read. However, given the subject matter, this could have been a very powerful novel, and I felt it was let down by these fundamental flaws in the characterization and dialogue.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Historical Fiction Upcoming Releases

The Dark Lady's Mask by Mary Sharratt

Release Date: April 19, 2016

London, 1593. Aemilia Bassano Lanier is beautiful and accomplished, but her societal conformity ends there. She frequently cross-dresses to escape her loveless marriage and to gain freedoms only men enjoy, but a chance encounter with a ragged, little-known poet named Shakespeare changes everything.

Aemilia grabs at the chance to pursue her long-held dream of writing and the two outsiders strike up a literary bargain. They leave plague-ridden London for Italy, where they begin secretly writing comedies together and where Will falls in love with the beautiful country — and with Aemilia, his Dark Lady. Their Italian idyll, though, cannot last and their collaborative affair comes to a devastating end. Will gains fame and fortune for their plays back in London and years later publishes the sonnets mocking his former muse. Not one to stand by in humiliation, Aemilia takes up her own pen in her defense and in defense of all women.

Terrible Virtue: A Novel by Ellen Feldman

Release Date: March 22, 2016

In the spirit of The Paris Wife and Loving Frank, the provocative and compelling story of one of the most fascinating and influential figures of the twentieth century: Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood—an indomitable woman who, more than any other, and at great personal cost, shaped the sexual landscape we inhabit today.

With cameos by such legendary figures as Emma Goldman, John Reed, Big Bill Haywood, H. G. Wells, and the love of Margaret’s life, Havelock Ellis, this richly imagined portrait of a larger-than-life woman is at once sympathetic to her suffering and unsparing of her faults. Deeply insightful, Terrible Virtue is Margaret Sanger’s story as she herself might have told it.

The Rivals of Versailles: A Novel (The Mistresses of Versailles Trilogy) by Sally Christie

Release Date: April 5, 2016

And you thought sisters were a thing to fear. In this scandalous follow-up to Sally Christie’s clever and absorbing debut, we meet none other than the Marquise de Pompadour, one of the greatest beauties of her generation and the first bourgeois mistress ever to grace the hallowed halls of Versailles.

Told in Christie’s witty and modern style, this second book in the Mistresses of Versailles trilogy will delight and entrance fans as it once again brings to life the world of eighteenth century Versailles in all its pride, pestilence and glory.

The Graveyard of the Hesperides: Flavia Albia 4 (Falco: The New Generation) Lindsey Davis

UK Release Date: 14 April 2016
US Release Date: July 12, 2016

In first century Rome, Flavia Albia, the daughter of Marcus Didius Falco, has taken up her father's former profession as an informer. On a typical day, it's small cases---cheating spouses, employees dipping into the till---but this isn't a typical day. Her beloved, the plebeian Manlius Faustus, has recently moved in and decided that they should get married in a big, showy ceremony as part of beginning a proper domestic life together. Also, his contracting firm has been renovating a rundown dive bar called The Garden of the Hesperides, only to uncover human remains buried in the backyard. There have been rumors for years that the previous owner of the bar, now deceased, killed a bar maid and these are presumably her remains. In the choice between planning a wedding and looking into a crime from long ago, Albia would much rather investigate a possible murder. Or murders, as more and more remains are uncovered, revealing that something truly horrible has been going on at the Hesperides.

A Year of Ravens: a novel of Boudica's Rebellion by E. Knight, Ruth Downie, Stephanie Dray, Russell Whitfield, SJA Turney, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter, Ben Kane

Release Date: November 17, 2015

Britannia: land of mist and magic clinging to the western edge of the Roman Empire. A red-haired queen named Boudica led her people in a desperate rebellion against the might of Rome, an epic struggle destined to consume heroes and cowards, young and old, Roman and Briton . . . and these are their stories.

A novel in seven parts, overlapping stories of warriors and peacemakers, queens and slaves, Romans and Britons who cross paths during Boudica’s epic rebellion. But who will survive to see the dawn of a new Britannia, and who will fall to feed the ravens?

Friday, October 23, 2015

Ebook Deals

Click the cover to view and buy the book in the Kindle store. While I only post links to the Kindle store, often times you can find the same titles on sale at other stores.

Disclaimer: Ebook prices are subject to change anytime. I can only promise they are under a certain price at the time I post them.

US Kindle Deals, fiction under $4, non-fiction under $6:


UK Kindle Deals, fiction under £3, non-fiction under £4:

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