Monday, 30 November 2020

In The Nick Of Time by Deedee Cummings + #Giveaway


Join us for this tour from Oct 12  to Dec 4, 2020!

Book Details:

Book Title:  In the Nick of Time by Deedee Cummings / illustrated by Charlene Mosley
Category:  Children's Fiction (Ages 3-7),  28 pages
Genre:  Children/ Holiday
Publisher:  Make a Way Media
Release date:   November 2019
Content Rating:  G: Children's Holiday Book


Book Description:

A Timely Tale about a Little Brown Boy who Saves Christmas. Nick Saint never really put a lot of thought into his name until one snowy day in December when he accidentally receives a letter meant for Saint Nick. Realizing there is not much time left until Christmas, Nick opens the letter. The unexpected message inside ultimately leads him on a journey of understanding poverty, gratitude, and service to others while discovering the real meaning of the holiday spirit. 

Buy the Book:   
Amazon.com / Amazon UK
Make a Way Media
Add to Goodreads


You May Also Want to Read:

 
Book Details:

Book Title: This Is The Earth by Deedee Cummings / illustrated by Charlene Mosley
Category Children's Fiction (Ages 3-7), 32 pages
Genre Children/ Holiday
Publisher Make A Way Media
Release date:  April 2019
Format available for review:  print (USA and Canada), ebook (PDF)
Tour dates:  Oct 12 to Dec 4, 2020
Content Rating: G. Children's Holiday Book.

Book Description:

A recent Purple Dragonfly Award First Place winner, Cummings uses bold and bright illustrations in This is the Earth to share a message of peace, love, respect, compassion, inclusion. Published in early 2019, the book’s message bears repeating: peace is meant for all of us and it is everyone’s responsibility to care for each other like the united family that we really are. This exceptional and timely book shares the reality that we are all sharing this world that we call home instead of acting as though each continent, each, country, and each neighborhood is like a completely different planet. Within the pages of This is the Earth, readers will discover thought and conversation-invoking concepts on issues and struggles that has our world at odds with each other. Kids and adults will love the lyrical message and thoughtful artwork that reinforces the fact that every human being is our neighbor on Planet Earth; a place also known as Home.

Buy the Book:   
Amazon.com / Amazon UK
Make a Way Media
Add to Goodreads
 
Meet the Author:

Deirdre “Deedee” Cummings believes literacy is a fundamental human right. She is the founder of Make A Way Media, It Pays to Read & the Louisville Book Festival, as well as, an attorney, therapist, and CEO of Abi Behavioral Health in Louisville, Kentucky. Abi is an intensive therapy agency that works to prevent the placement of children in out of home care, such as foster care, hospitalization, and incarceration. Deedee attended Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina, one of only two all-female Historically Black Colleges in the country. After graduating from Bennett, she earned a master’s degree and a law degree from the University of Louisville. All of her writing focuses on sharing inspiring messages that remind us all it is never too late to begin again. Deedee encourages the children she works with to write as a way to process emotions, document their journey, and express themselves more clearly. In addition to presenting on multiple topics around the country, Deedee donates hundreds of books and volunteer hours every year to families, children, churches and the local school system. She is excited to announce the launch of her tenth children’s book, This is the Earth. The inspiration for this book came from overwhelming negative media coverage about race relations in our country and across the world. This is the Earth is a book about peace, respect, and diversity inclusion: a message that must be heard and repeated often. She and her husband Anthony live in Louisville with their three children Kayla (an actress in New York), Anthony (a college student and athlete), and Nick (in elementary school).

connect with the author:  website  ~ make a way media  ~ twitter  ~ twitter facebook  ~  facebook ~ pinterest ~ instagram ~ instagram ~ goodreads
 
Tour Schedule:
 
Oct 12 – Cover Lover Book Review – book review of In the Nick of Time / giveaway
Oct 13 – Cover Lover Book Review – book review of This is the Earth / giveaway
Oct 13 - Working Mommy Journal – book review of In the Nick of Time / giveaway
Oct 14 – meandmybooks – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Oct 14 - Leels Loves Books – book review of In the Nick of Time / giveaway
Oct 14 - The Pen and Muse Book Reviews  - book review of This is the Earth / giveaway
Oct 15 - Splashes of Joy – book review of In the Nick of Time / guest post / giveaway
Oct 15 - The Pen and Muse Book Reviews  - book review of In the Nick of Time / author interview / giveaway
Oct 16 – Sefina Hawke's Books – book spotlight
Oct 18 - Amy's Booket List – book review of This is the Earth / giveaway
Oct 20 – Pick A Good Book – book review of In the Nick of Time / author interview / giveaway
Oct 21 – Splashes of Joy – book review of This is the Earth / author interview / giveaway
Oct 22 – Leels Loves Books – book review of This is the Earth / giveaway
Oct 26 – Books for Books – book spotlight
Oct 27 – Rajiv's Reviews – book review of This is the Earth
Oct 28 – My Journey Back – book review of In the Nick of Time / author interview / giveaway
Oct 29 – Rajiv's Reviews – book review of In the Nick of Time
Oct 30 – Stephanie Jane – book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 3 – Rockin' Book Reviews – book review of In the Nick of Time / guest post / giveaway
Nov 4 – She Just Loves Books – book review of This is the Earth / giveaway
Nov 5 – Priya's Lit Blog – book review of This is the Earth / giveaway
Nov 9 – Because I said so -- and other adventures in Parenting – book review of This is the Earth / giveaway
Nov 10 –Priya's Lit Blog – book review of In the Nick of Time / giveaway
Nov 11 – Ice Fairy's Treasure Chest – book review of In the Nick of Time / giveaway
Nov 11 - Older & Smarter? – book review of This is the Earth / giveaway
Nov 12 – She Just Loves Books – book review of In the Nick of Time / giveaway
Nov 13 – Nighttime Reading Center – book review of This is the Earth / giveaway
Nov 16 – Because I said so -- and other adventures in Parenting – book review of In the Nick of Time / giveaway
Nov 17 – Books and Zebras @jypsylynn – book review of In the Nick of Time / giveaway
Nov 18 – Ice Fairy's Treasure Chest – book review of This is the Earth / giveaway
Nov 18 - Bound 4 Escape – book review of In the Nick of Time / giveaway
Nov 19 – Books and Zebras @jypsylynn – book review of This is the Earth / giveaway
Nov 20 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review of In the Nick of Time / giveaway
Nov 20 - Bound 4 Escape – book review of This is the Earth / giveaway
Nov 20 - Writer with Wanderlust - book review of This is the Earth / giveaway
Nov 23 – Amy's Booket List – book review of In the Nick of Time / giveaway
Nov 23 - Nighttime Reading Center – book review of In the Nick of Time / giveaway
Nov 23 - – Rockin' Book Reviews – book review of This is the Earth / giveaway
Nov 23 - Lisa-Queen of Random - book review of In the Nick of Time / giveaway
Nov 23 - Gina Rae Mitchell  - book review of This is the Earth / giveaway
Nov 24 - Gina Rae Mitchell  - book review of In the Nick of Time / giveaway

Nov 24 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book review of In the Nick of Time / giveaway
Nov 24 - Lisa-Queen of Random - book review of This is the Earth / giveaway
Nov 25 – Older & Smarter? – book review of In the Nick of Time / giveaway
Nov 27 – A Mama's Corner of the World – book review of In the Nick of Time / giveaway
Nov 27 - Reading is My Passion – book review of In the Nick of Time
Nov 30 - Cuzinlogic - book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 30 – Literary Flits – book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 30 – A Mama's Corner of the World – book review of This is the Earth / giveaway
Nov 30 - Writer with Wanderlust - book review of In the Nick of Time / guest post /giveaway
Dec 1 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review of This is the Earth / giveaway
Dec 1 - I'd Rather Be At The Beach - book review of In the Nick of Time / giveaway
Dec 1 - Lisa's Reading - book review of In the Nick of Time / giveaway

Dec 2 –  Jazzy Book Reviews – book review of This is the Earth / giveaway
Dec 3 – Bigreadersite – book review of In the Nick of Time
Dec 3 - Reading is My Passion – book review of This is the Earth
Dec 3 - Lisa's Reading - book review of This is the Earth / giveaway
Dec 4 - Bigreadersite – book review of This is the Earth
Dec 4 - I'd Rather Be At The Beach - book review of This is the Earth / giveaway
 
Enter the Giveaway:
Win signed copies of IN THE NICK OF TIME & THIS IS THE EARTH & a $25 Amazon Gift Card (1 winner) (USA only) (ends Dec 11)

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Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Deedee Cummings / Children's books / Books from America

Sunday, 29 November 2020

Conquistadores by Fernando Cervantes


Conquistadores by Fernando Cervantes
Published by Penguin on the 1st October 2020.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


The 'conquistadores', the early explorers and settlers of Spanish America, have become the stuff of legends and nightmares. In their own time, they were glorified as heroic adventurers, spreading Christian culture and helping to build an empire unlike any the world had ever seen. Today, they stand condemned for their cruelty and exploitation, as men who decimated the ancient civilizations of the Aztecs and the Incas, and carried out horrific atrocities in their pursuit of gold and glory.

In Conquistadores, Mexican historian Fernando Cervantes cuts through the layers of myth and fiction to immerse the reader in the world of the late-medieval imperialist. It is a world as unfamiliar to us as the Indigenous peoples of the New World were to the conquistadores themselves. Drawing upon a wide range of sources including diaries, letters, chronicles and treatises, Cervantes reframes the story of the Spanish conquest of the New World, set against the political and intellectual landscape from which its main actors emerged. At the heart of the story are the conquistadores, whose epic ambitions and moral contradictions defined an era.

From Columbus to Cortés, Pizarro and beyond, the explorers we think we know come alive in this thought-provoking and illuminating account of a period that irrevocably altered the course of world history.

I was drawn to read Fernando Cervantes new history of the early Spanish conquistadores because, other than Moctezuma, Christopher Columbus and Hernan Cortes, I knew very little about the leading men involved in this period of central American history. It turns out that I didn't know much about the three I could already name either! Cervantes details the years from just prior to Columbus' famous first voyage in 1492 through the reign of Emperor Charles V. I liked that he tried to explain how the political and religious motivations determined actions on both sides and he is obviously very well versed in the the contemporary documentation of the time. From the synopsis I had thought more original letters and diaries would be quoted whereas in fact they are more of simply referred to or described. I didn't feel that Conquistadores actually challenged my perceptions of the conquistadores though. I expected some ground-breaking insights, whereas what I actually felt I read was almost, at times, an apology for their behaviour. That the Spanish expeditions were driven in seemingly pretty equal parts by blind faith and greed isn't exactly news and sums up most imperial expansions throughout human history! What most disappointed me about this book though is how dryly Cervantes renders such a potentially fascinating an exciting period of history. As I found with the biography Francis I by Leonie Frieda, an examination of the French king's life through roughly the same period, I need more to engage with history than just lists of names engaging in endless battles. There are moments in Conquistadores where suddenly a person or scene sprang vividly to life for me, but unfortunately these were few and far between so, while this book is undoubtedly brilliantly researched and very informative, I found it a real slog to actually read.


Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Fernando Cervantes / History books / Books from Mexico

Saturday, 28 November 2020

Yuletide at Moonglow by Deborah Garner + #Giveaway


NEW RELEASE….
When a Yuletide festival promises jovial crowds, resident artist and chef, Mist, knows she’ll have her hands full, as will all of the regular townsfolk. Between Mist’s legendary Christmas Eve dinner at the Timberton Hotel and this season’s festival events, guests will be surrounded with opportunities for camaraderie and celebration. 

There’s a unique magic to Christmas in the small Montana town, one that offers joy, peace, and community to all who pass through. One thing is always certain: no one leaves Timberton without a renewed sense of hope for the future. *Recipes included! *Cookie recipes included!

*Cookie and candy recipes included!

Read my earlier reviews of the Moonglow Christmas Series...
Each book may be read as a stand-alone novel, or as part of the series.
Mistletoe at Moonglow, Book 1
Silver Bells at Moonglow, Book 2
Gingerbread at Moonglow, Book 3
Nutcracker Sweets at Moonglow, Book 4
Snowfall at Moonglow, Book 5

Available to buy from...... 


I declare Christmas officially started because I have read Deborah Garner's new Moonglow novella, Yuletide At Moonglow! These warmhearted stories have become an essential part of my seasonal traditions now - together with rushing to the kitchen to a bake a batch of cookies as soon as I finish each story. It's lovely also to realise I am one of a considerable number of readers who also relish these annual Timberton visits - the Moonglow global family extends far beyond Mist and Betty's hotel!

This year's story had a slightly different vibe because Timberton hosted a Yuletide festival so the story's focus wasn't entirely on the hotel. The festival reminded me of wandering London's South Bank some years ago in December with all the decorated cabins and the scent of hot cider in the air. I love how Garner manages to evoke the best of the season without being too saccharine sweet. There was a lovely mix of characters again this year with the new faces adding depth. I can't believe eighty people were fed that amazing meal without any kitchen stress though - Mist has such a serene aura! Now to find myself a Spinach Mushroom Strudel recipe so I can recreate a little Timberton magic in my own home.


About the author
Deborah Garner is an accomplished travel writer with a passion for back roads and secret hideaways. Born and raised in California, she studied in France before returning to the U.S. to attend UCLA. After stints in graduate school and teaching, she attempted to clone herself for decades by founding and running a dance and performing arts center, designing and manufacturing clothing and accessories, and tackling both spreadsheets and display racks for corporate retail management. Her passions include photography, hiking and animal rescue. She speaks five languages, some substantially better than others. She now divides her time between California and Wyoming, dragging one human and two canines along whenever possible.

Find the author on the following sites...


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Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Deborah Garner / Christmas stories / Books from America

Friday, 27 November 2020

Tic Tac Mistletoe by N. R. Walker + #Giveaway + Excerpt

Tic Tac Mistletoe
N.R. Walker
Publication date: November 27th 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Holiday, LGBTQ+, Romance

Hamish Kenneally is moving from Australia to the US for a fresh start, starting with Christmas at his sister’s place in Idaho. When a snowstorm diverts his plane to Montana and leaves him stranded two days before Christmas, he hires a car and drives right into a blizzard.

Ren Brooks has always called Hartbridge, Montana, and his family hardware store, home. After a few failed attempts at love, he’s resigned to being single forever—after all, no guy wants to stay in his sleepy little town for long. And after his dad’s passing earlier in the year, Ren’s Christmas is looking bleak. But when a car runs off the road in front of his property, Ren pulls the driver out and takes him home to get out of the cold.

With the storm and the holidays leaving Hamish with nowhere else to go, Ren kindly offers a place to stay. Hamish is certain he’s crashed right into a Hallmark Christmas movie, despite more car delays and road closures and the prospect of not seeing his sister for Christmas. And with help from Hamish, Ren is beginning to feel a little Christmas cheer.

These two unlikely strangers have more in common than they first realise, and after two days of Christmas decorations, cookies, and non-stop conversation, it looks like Christmas might be saved after all.

Goodreads / Amazon UK / Amazon.com

EXCERPT:

Hamish’s POV

A totally catastrophic, unmitigated disaster.

What is a totally catastrophic, unmitigated disaster, you might ask?

Let me break it down for you real quick.

My life, my relationship, my job, my plans, my future, and this whole damn trip.

So, basically me.

Me.

I am the totally catastrophic unmitigated disaster.

Hamish Kenneally, thirty-one-year-old Australian, who quit his shitty job and sold his shitty apartment and left behind his shitty life in Sydney, packed his said-shitty life into two suitcases, and boarded a plane to spend Christmas with his sister in God-knows-where, Idaho, USA.

Well, Christmas first. Then two years, at least, in America trying to unshitify his life.

And if the trip to said God-knows-where, Idaho, was any indication of just how spectacularly extra-shitified my life was going to get, I should have turned around and stayed right where I was.

Because if the flight from Sydney to LA was bad, which it was, then the second flight, LA to Spokane, made the first flight look like a joy ride.

Because I didn’t get to Spokane, did I?

Oh no, of course I didn’t.

Because you see, Christmastime in America is in winter. Which is weird enough for this Australian. Christmas should be hot summer days at the beach, seafood and salads, beers and watching the bronzed surfers and drunk foreigners at Bondi. That is what Christmas should be.

None of this “sorry folks; to avoid flying into a massive snow blizzard, we’re being diverted to Missoula, Montana” crap the captain of the plane said when we were halfway there. Like the screaming baby in the seat next to me, or the vomiting lady in the row in front of me weren’t bad enough. Like we had any choice about which direction we were flying into.

I had no choice. I was now going to Montana. In a freaking blizzard, of all things. Ever been on a plane that flew into a snowstorm? There is zero joy in that kind of turbulence, believe me. It would also explain the screaming baby and the vomiting woman. And the man behind me saying Hail Mary’s . . . which you’d think might be comforting. But oh boy, is it ever not. Especially when he yelled the prayer every time we hit a particularly large pothole in the sky on the descent. Honestly, if this flight was a scene in a movie, you’d think it was too ridiculous to be real.

After the plane landed—to which I would have clapped and cheered like everyone else if I wasn’t stuck in the brace position after trying to kiss my own arse goodbye—we were kicked off the plane without so much as a good luck in the wrong bloody state.

So there I was, a clueless Aussie, after flying for twenty hellish-hours and now a few hundred kilometres from where I was supposed to be, trying to wrangle two overweight suitcases down the concourse, when one little wheel on my suitcase broke.

Because of course it did.

Frazzled and trying not to cry— Yes, cry. A thirty-one-year-old man can cry; shove your toxic masculinity in your cakehole and stop judging me. I was having a jetlag-fuelled shitastic day meltdown, trying to keep my shit together the best I could, and clearly not doing it very well. I was allowed a little saltwater leakage.

Anyway, getting back to my story. I tried to call my sister.

No signal.

Because of course there’s not.

So, taking a deep breath and willing myself not to spiral, I found my car rental kiosk. Finally, something is going right. “I have a car booked,” I said, trying to keep my now-broken suitcase upright with my foot while rifling through my backpack for my booking confirmation and driver’s licence. After dropping my passport and half the contents from my backpack all over the floor, then scrambling to collect it all while still trying to keep my suitcase upright, I handed everything over with a flourish of triumph. “Oh, that flight was the worst,” I said, sagging onto the counter. I was about to tell her all about my day from the ninth circle of hell when she looked up at me with that look.

You know the one.

The look of superficial appeasement before they cut you off at the knees. “I’m sorry, sir. But I don’t have a reservation under your name.”

I stared at her. My brain short-circuited and the will to live left my body. It was an actual out-of-body experience, I’m sure of it. I could see myself staring at her, mouth gaping like I’d been lobotomised.

Because of course they didn’t have my booking.

Why would they? My rental car was waiting for me in Spokane. In Washington. Not in freaking Montana.

“Oh,” I whispered, and my left eye twitched. “That’s nice.” I looked around the airport, at the line of annoyed people behind me. “Excellent. I’ve seen that movie where Tom Hanks lives in an airport. It wasn’t so bad. Could be worse. Could’ve been the one where he’s stuck on the island, I guess. Though I didn’t pack a volleyball, so that would’ve sucked.”

She blinked and tap-tap-tapped away at her keyboard. “But sir, we’ve had a lot of cancelled flights today because of the weather. I can arrange a vehicle for you, if you’d like?”

Oh, my sweet baby Jesus in a manger, why didn’t she lead with that?

Author Bio:

N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance. She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way.

She is many things: a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don’t let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words.

She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things… but likes it even more when they fall in love.

She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.

She’s been writing ever since…

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bookbub


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Books by N R Walker / Christmas stories / Books from Australia

Thursday, 26 November 2020

Our Friendship Matters by Kimberley B. Jones + #Giveaway


Join us for this tour from Nov 11 to Dec 1, 2020!

Book Details:

Book Title:  Our Friendship Matters by Kimberly B. Jones
CategoryYA Fiction (Ages 13-17),  221 pages
GenreContemporary/Social Issues
PublisherRhetaskew Publishing Company, LLC
Release date:   October, 2020
Tour dates: Nov 11 to Dec 1, 2020
Content RatingRated G.






"Engaging and heartfelt. Our Friendship Matters opens and continues much needed discussions for young people and their families. Read and discuss!" Rita Williams-Garcia, NYT Bestselling Author

Book Description:

Leah and Sasha are 17-year-old friends who had been close to one another since elementary school, but as the summer approaches they find their friendship tested in ways they never anticipated. Following graduation, Sasha's privileged life and perception of the world around her is suddenly altered when an old childhood friend persuades her to join in a campaign against an injustice after his best friend is killed by the police. But joining the protest has unforeseen consequences for Sasha, distancing her from Leah, who becomes jealous of Sasha's new friends and finds herself on the opposing side, protesting alongside her group of new white friends. As the tension mounts between the two bitterly opposed factions, a tragedy strikes and threatens to make Sasha and Leah enemies. Can they find a way to resolve their differences, putting them to the side and learn to accept each other's viewpoints? Or is their long friendship finished for good?
 
BUY THE BOOK:
Amazon.com ~ Amazon UK ~ B&N
 

Meet the Author:

Kimberley B. Jones is a small country girl from St. George, SC. She followed her heart in college writing children books. Recently she decided to challenge herself and branch off to novels. She is your typical nomad who moves from place to place. Not by choice, but her husband serves in the military. She has a bachelors and masters in early childhood education. Kimberley is represented by Rhetaskew Publishing company and is best known for her debut novel, Our Friendship Matters. ​ When she is not writing, she is either thinking of another topic or reading. She loves writing , it gives her a chance to escape into another human character and express herself, other than being your typical mother and wife. If you don't want to be on her bad side, then she needs her white chocolate mocha every morning. Some days Folgers breakfast blend coffee is okay.

Connect with the Author:  website ~ twitter ~ facebook ~ instagram ~ goodreads
 
Tour Schedule:

Nov 11 – Working Mommy journal – book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 11 - Splashes of Joy – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Nov 11 - Lisa's Reading – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Nov 12 – Over Coffee Conversations – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Nov 13 – fundinmental – book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 16 - Character Madness and Musings – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Nov 17 – My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Nov 18 – Sadie's Spotlight – book spotlight
Nov 19 – mama_and_the_bookworms – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Nov 20 – Rajiv's Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 23 – Rockin' Book Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Nov 24 – Library of Clean Reads – book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 25 – Stephanie Jane – book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 25 - A Mama's Corner of the World - book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 26 – Literary Flits – book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 27 – Buried in Books – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Nov 30 – Books Tea Healthy Me – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Dec 1 – Instagram: All Booked Up Reviews – book spotlight

Enter the Giveaway:
Win an Autographed copy of OUR FRIENDSHIP MATTERS plus $10 Amazon Gift Card. (USA only) (one winner) (ends Dec 8)

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Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Kimberley B Jones / Young adult fiction / Books from America

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Everything Inside by Edwidge Danticat


Everything Inside by Edwidge Danticat
Published by riverrun on the 12th November 2020.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


From the internationally acclaimed, best-selling author of Brother, I'm Dying, a collection of vividly imagined stories about community, family, and love.

Rich with hard-won wisdom and humanity, set in locales from Miami and Port-au-Prince to a small unnamed country in the Caribbean and beyond, Everything Inside is at once wide in scope and intimate, as it explores the forces that pull us together, or drive us apart, sometimes in the same searing instant.

In these eight powerful, emotionally absorbing stories, a romance unexpectedly sparks between two wounded friends; a marriage ends for what seem like noble reasons, but with irreparable consequences; a young woman holds on to an impossible dream even as she fights for her survival; two lovers reunite after unimaginable tragedy, both for their country and in their lives; a baby's christening brings three generations of a family to a precarious dance between old and new; a man falls to his death in slow motion, reliving the defining moments of the life he is about to lose. This is the indelible work of a keen observer of the human heart--a master.

Everything Inside is a collection of eight short stories, each one centred on members of the Haitian diaspora in the USA and Haiti itself. Perhaps unsurprisingly most are tales of misfortune, but they explore more than specifically Haitian issues so one story shows the aftermath of marital infidelity and another is about how a grandmother's dementia colours her experience of her grandson's christening. A powerful thread of the importance of community and friendship runs through the whole collection providing a positive note to counter the sad circumstances in which our protagonists find themselves. My favourite stories were Dosas, Sunrise Sunset, and Without Inspection, all of which I felt had particularly memorable narratives and characters. Without Inspection even nearly had me tears. I would have liked a stronger sense of place in some of the tales, but Danticat has a deep understanding of her characters and what drives them. I loved spotting and translating the phonetically written Haitian-French. This is a strong collection which has left me keen to read Danticat's longer works on the strength of the talent she shows in Everything Inside.


Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Edwidge Danticat / Short stories / Books from Haiti

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Ruinsong by Julia Ember + #Giveaway + Excerpt

Ruinsong
Julia Ember
Published by: Farrar Straus and Giroux
Publication date: November 24th 2020
Genres: Fantasy, LGBTQ+, Romance, Young Adult

In Julia Ember’s dark and lush LGBTQ+ romantic fantasy Ruinsong, two young women from rival factions must work together to reunite their country, as they wrestle with their feelings for each other.

Her voice was her prison…
Now it’s her weapon.

In a world where magic is sung, a powerful mage named Cadence must choose between the two. For years, she has been forced to torture her country’s disgraced nobility at her ruthless queen’s bidding.

But when she is reunited with her childhood friend, a noblewoman with ties to the underground rebellion, she must finally make a choice: Take a stand to free their country from oppression, or follow in the queen’s footsteps and become a monster herself.

Goodreads / Amazon.com / Amazon UK / Hive UK

Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

The Book Depository / Waterstones

EXCERPT:

Cadence

I allow Lacerde to dress me without turning to examine myself in the mirror. I don’t want to see how I look, how they’ve fashioned me. In my mind, I already see stains of blood on the muslin fabric of my skirt, dotting the white leather of my gloves. Lacerde adjusts my skirt and smooths my hair. Then, with a grunt, she bends down and buffs my new shoes to a gleam.

She opens the door for me so I don’t get my gloves dirty and leads me down the dark corridor. My dressing room is the only one in use. All the others are boarded up, so that no one will use them to hide.

I imagine what the Opera Hall must have been like years ago, when so many singers performed here together for more willing audiences. The corridors would have been filled with the sounds of laughter, rustling taffeta costumes, and a chorus of warm-up scales. Above, the audience would be straining to get inside the house, clinking glasses together at the theatre bar, speculating on the wonders to come.

If I strain my ear, I can still hear the echo of their merriment in the walls, obscured by the more recent cacophony of despair and pain. The smell of thousands of spellsongs, layered atop one another for centuries, lingers in the musty air. It’s been eight years since this place functioned as a real theatre, but the Opera Hall remembers.

We climb the stairs up onto the stage. Elene and Lord Durand, her newly elevated pet footman, stand together on the edge, shouting instructions down to the conductor in the orchestra pit.

Elene glances up and nods to Lacerde, who positions me at center stage without releasing me. It’s as if they think I will run, even though there is no where to go.

No one has dimmed the gas lamps that line the theatre’s aisles yet, so I have a full view. The theatre is much grander than our replica at the academy. The ceiling bears a centuries-old mural of Adela gifting the first mage with magic. The singer kneels beside the sacred pool, and the goddess rises from the water, her mouth open with song and her arms spread wide. Musical notes surround them, each flecked with real gold leaf.

Portraits of the three other goddesses border the mural. Odetta, the goddess of spring and renewal, wearing a silver mask that covers her eyes and cheeks, and holding a sparrow’s skeleton in her cupped hands. Karina, goddess of justice and winter, thin and draped in a linen sheath, with her arms wide. Marena, the autumn goddess of war, chin lifted proudly, staring down with her hypnotic purple eyes, bejeweled with human teeth.

Beneath, row upon row of tightly packed red velvet seats stretch back to the imposing black doors at the rear of the theatre. They’re made from mageglass, a material designed by the elementals: sand spun, dyed and hardened so that not even diamond bullets could shatter it. Hundreds of people will fill the house tonight. Dame Ava, the queen’s former principal, told me that sometimes there are so many that folk have to stand along the walls.

My knees start to shake at the sight. My mouth goes dry.

All these seats. All these people. My unshed tears blur the rows of red seats together, like a smear of blood.

Author Bio:

Julia Ember is the author of The Seafarer's Kiss duology, a Norse myth inspired retelling of The Little Mermaid, published by Interlude Press (Duet Books), and Ruinsong, a standalone high fantasy reimagining of The Phantom of the Opera, forthcoming from Macmillan Kids (FSG) in November 2020. She lives with her wife and two fluffy cats in the Pacific Northwest.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram


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Monday, 23 November 2020

Double Deceit by Julienne Brouwers


Double Deceit by Julienne Brouwers
Published in the UK by Head Of Zeus on the 5th October 2020.

Found Them On Twitter challenge read.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Jennifer Smits is a young mother, married to a hotshot lawyer and living in Amsterdam. Her world explodes when her husband is found dead at a holiday park during a weekend getaway. Convinced that the police have failed in their investigation, she embarks on a desperate quest for the truth - but the deeper she digs, the more she gets enmeshed in a tangled web of lies, spun by a ruthless law firm. 

As Jennifer's search for answers intensifies, her grip on reality weakens. Barely able to manage her patients at the health clinic, or take care of her young son, Jennifer is at risk of losing it all – even her closest friends begin to desert her. And then a chance encounter with a charming stranger sparks a new chain of events that plunges her deeper into a world of threats and corruption. Soon, she begins to fear for her life - but who can she trust, and how far will she go in pursuit of the truth?

This is a gripping, addictive thriller for fans of Angela Clarke, Mel Sherratt and Rachel Lynch, that will make you question everything, including the flaws of forensics. Could we all be framed for a murder we didn’t commit? 


I was delighted to be offered a review opportunity for Julienne Brouwers new Dutch thriller, Double Deceit. This novel starts with a brilliantly tense scene as a toddler, Jennifer's son Tim, goes temporarily missing during a family holiday. The episode brings marital disharmony to a head resulting in Jennifer's husband, Oliver, storming off. When his body is finally located, Jennifer struggles to cope with bereavement, the stresses of caring for young Tim, and with the realisation that her marriage was even more flawed than she thought. I am always intrigued by unreliable narrator stories and particularly appreciated how Brouwers handles this aspect of Double Deceit. Jennifer can clearly see her perceived truth and her convictions seem perfectly plausible to readers, but when Brouwers has Jennifer explain her findings to outsiders, I began to wonder if she really was the person I should believe.

Double Deceit is a slow-burn thriller. I appreciated Brouwers taking time to develop utterly believable characters and her detailed portrayals of Amsterdam allowed me to clearly picture more of this city than just the touristy centre with which I am familiar. Jennifer herself is a fascinating woman. Out of her depth for most of the story, she just about manages to keep up with her everyday responsibilities, but her mental fragility is always obvious. The thriller narrative itself is well paced with new information gradually being added as Jennifer refuses to stop her investigation. I loved how the atmosphere slowly darkens in reflection of her increasing paranoia. Double Deceit kept me guessing right up to the end and I very much enjoyed this compelling read.

About the Author

Julienne Brouwers worked as a pharmaceutical scientist and medical physicist before becoming a writer. She lives in the Netherlands, with her husband and three children, where she has published two successful thrillers, and lived in the UK and US for a total of four years.



Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Julienne Brouwers / Crime fiction / Books from the Netherlands

Sunday, 22 November 2020

The Snow Song by Sally Gardner



The Snow Song by Sally Gardner
Published in the UK by HQ on the 12th November 2020.

More Than One challenge read.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Women imprisoned by superstition, chained by guilt.
 
Perched on a mountain in a land of ancient forests is a village, rife with secrets. Cut off from the outside world it is run by the elders, men to whom tradition is all.

Edith lives alone with her alcoholic father who is forcing her to marry the village butcher. But she is in love with a shepherd who promised to return to her.

As the village becomes isolated in a sea of snow, Edith loses her power of speech. And it is this enchantment that will have far-reaching consequences, not only for Edith but for the whole village.

The Snow Song is a beautifully wintry story which would be perfect, I think, for readers who also enjoyed books like Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I noticed, in the isolated village location and feminist fairytale style, parallels with Wondrous Journeys In Strange Lands by Sonia Nimr which I will be reviewing next month.

I loved Gardner's portrayal of this entrenched community and the stunning mountain location surrounding them. The Snow Song is a fairytale so characters do fall into stereotypical roles, but there is also a greater emotional depth and complexity than I had expected to each of them. Gardner deftly captures the people's fear and shows how easily this is used to manipulate them. She also understands how people, particularly certain of the women here, use and enforce repressive traditions to protect their own social standings. They would rather see themselves at the top of the second class echelon than fight for true equality and risk being only one among many.

Edith's daily life is constrained by her village's traditions - a series of edicts designed by the male elders in order to keep 'their' women within the village and to ensure all strangers stay away. When Edith flouts these rules by chatting to an itinerant shepherd, she sets in course a battle of wills that results in her not only being figuratively silenced, but literally so. Edith's narrative is very much a coming of age story as she matures from idealistic lovestruck girl to self-determined woman. She isn't actually a princess, but this story is firmly in the 'princess saves herself' genre and is a fine example! I highly recommend The Snow Song to young adult and adult fairytale readers.


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Books by Sally Gardner / Fairytales / Books from England

Saturday, 21 November 2020

X Marks The Pedwalk by Fritz Leiber + #FreeBook


X Marks The Pedwalk by Fritz Leiber
Published in Worlds Of Tomorrow magazine in America in April 1963

X for my 2020 Alphabet Soup Challenge.

How I got this book:
Downloaded the ebook free from Project Gutenberg

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Based in material in Ch. 7--"First Clashes of the Wheeled and Footed Sects"--of Vol. 3 of Burger's monumental History of Traffic, published by the Foundation for Twenty-Second Century Studies.

I discovered this deliciously grim short story during my now-annual Project Gutenberg hunt for a book title starting with X to complete my Alphabet Soup reading challenge. (Last year I picked out Xingu by Edith Wharton.) Leiber's tale is set in a futuristic American city where people are no longer divided by political affiliation, but by whether they get around on foot or by wheel. The animosity has grown so intense between the two groups and violent aggression so frequent that mowing down little old ladies on pedestrian crossings is now only illegal if one fails to honk one's horn beforehand! X Marks The Pedwalk is outrageously shocking, even more so perhaps because of its brevity. It's a chilling snapshot of an intolerant society with disturbing parallels in the present day situation.


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Books by Fritz Leiber / Science fiction / Books from America

Friday, 20 November 2020

Mages Unbound by Laura Engelhardt + #Giveaway

Join us for this tour from Nov 18 to Dec 22, 2018!

Book Details:

Book Title: Mages Unbound: Book 2 of the Fifth Mage War Series by Laura Engelhardt
Series:  Fifth Mage War Series

Category:  Adult fiction (18+), 480 pages
Genre Paranormal Women’s Fiction
Publisher:  Laura Engelhardt
Release date:  Nov 2020
Content Rating: PG-13 + M for battle sequences, bad language including F-words, and adult-themes mildly referenced. Euphemisms are used in lieu of graphic descriptions of sex/violence. There is NO sexual violence or child abuse.

Book Description:

It’s ironic to find out your whole life has been a lie when you’re married to a truth-teller.
If only Mary could find some humor in it. She’s drowning her sorrow in vodka and song when a surprise visit from her youngest sister jolts her into accepting the magical reality hidden from her for fifty years.  
Mary’s epiphany can’t come soon enough because her fresh start may be the only thing that can save her siblings and the world from an utter melt-down.
As the two Bant sisters grapple with sirens, faeries and the FBI in America, their brother is trapped in a high-stakes game of mage politics in Australia. Meanwhile, middle-sister Amy’s malfunctioning mage-sight forces her to seek help from the very same mages who tricked her once before.

Can Mary pull herself together in time to rescue her family from the coming war?
Mages Unbound is a paranormal women's fiction novel, told from the perspective of the Bant family members. This is Book 2 in the Fifth Mage War Series, a magical epic about sirens, fae, and family ties.

Buy the Book:
Amazon.com / Amazon UK

You May Also Want to Read: 


Book Details:

Book Title: Sirens Unbound: Book 1 of the Fifth Mage War Series by Laura Engelhardt
Series:  Fifth Mage War Series

Category:  Adult fiction (18+), 548 pages
Genre Paranormal Women’s Fiction
Publisher:  Laura Engelhardt
Release date:  July 29, 2019
Content Rating: PG-13 + M for battle sequences, bad language including F-words, and adult-themes mildly referenced. Euphemisms are used in lieu of graphic descriptions of sex/violence. There is NO sexual violence or child abuse.


"Loved it! Members of the Bant family become entwined in an upcoming mage war in this epic urban fantasy novel about sirens, fae, and family ties." -- Michelle Hogmire, Reedsy Discovery

"a unique take and meshing of different established ideas... Sirens that feed and aid? Fae trapped in England as a prisoner camp? Mage's getting optical surgery for magick sight? I really loved the combination of ideas and I thought they all worked together surprisingly well ... I found myself immersed in watching the fae emerge and interested in Amy's work. I appreciated not being talked down to on either side, as a reader. Some writers over-explain or use too much jargon. This was just the right mix for me. And the descriptions placed me in each scene. I'd definitely buy this." -- Mel Candea, Ink & Insights

 

 


Book Description:

Amy’s day starts with three things: Coffee, breakfast, then brains. In that order.
Relax, it’s not what you think. She’s just your everyday neurosurgeon who can fix everyone’s brain but her own. It doesn’t matter if she has fifty years of life experience and regularly works with mages—she’s still a mundane.

She’s turning fifty, and her last achievement was what, ten years ago? She’s not sure if anyone even remembers it.

Determined not to be a one-hit-wonder, Amy jumps head-first into a new opportunity. Literally.
Some people have affairs to deal with a midlife crisis—Amy has brain surgery.

The results are even bigger than her career ambitions, and Dr. Amy Bant will need the help of her siblings to survive what comes next. Cordelia, an agoraphobic underwater photographer, Thomas, a playboy with a Brazilian tourism business, and Mary, a choir director with a truth-teller husband are all keys to unlocking secrets a whole lot closer to home than any of them could have realized. 

Turning fifty doesn’t have to be mundane—not when you’re in the Bant family!
Sirens Unbound is a paranormal women’s fiction novel told from each member of the Bant family. This is Book 1 in the Fifth Mage War Series, a magical epic about sirens, fae, and family ties.
 
BUY THE BOOK:
Amazon.com / Amazon UK
 

Meet the Author:

An avid sf/fantasy reader, Laura Engelhardt writes the kind of book she likes to read: fantasy with intricate worlds and complex characters facing moral dilemmas. She started writing plays in college, then moved to Germany, where she continued to write while teaching ESL to executives. After moving back to the U.S., she supported her playwriting by teaching ballroom dance and working retail. Deciding that living in her parents' attic wasn't for her, Laura went to law school and then spent the next seventeen years as a lawyer and compliance officer in New York City. In 2017, she quit Wall Street and began helping people resolve disputes as a mediator and arbitrator. She now lives in New Jersey with her family.

connect with author: website ~ facebook ~ goodreads

Tour Schedule:

Nov 18 – Elizabeth McKenna - Author Blog – book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 18 - Book Corner News and Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 19 Stephanie Jane – book spotlight
Nov 19 - Splashes of Joy – book spotlight / guest post / author interview / giveaway
Nov 20 - Literary Flits – book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 20 - I'm Into Books – book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 23 –Sadie's Spotlight - book spotlight
Nov 24 – Instagram.com/asreadbydanielle – book review of SIRENS UNBOUND / author interview / giveaway
Nov 25 – The Momma Spot – book review of SIRENS UNBOUND
Nov 26 –The Review Crew – book review of SIRENS UNBOUND / author interview / giveaway
Nov 30 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Nov 30 - Pine Enshrined Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Dec 1 – eBook Addicts – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Dec 2 – Instagram.com/asreadbydanielle – book review of MAGES UNBOUND / giveaway
Dec 3 - Amy's Booket List - book review of SIRENS UNBOUND / giveaway
Dec 4 – Lamon Reviews – book spotlight / author interview
Dec 4 - Locks Hooks and Books – book review of SIRENS UNBOUND / giveaway
Dec 8 –Amy's Booket List - book review of MAGES UNBOUND / giveaway
Dec 9 – The Momma Spot – book review of MAGES UNBOUND
Dec 10 – Cheryl's Book Nook – book review of SIRENS UNBOUND / giveaway
Dec 10 - Gwendalyn’s Books  - book review of SIRENS UNBOUND / giveaway
Dec 11 – The Review Crew – book review of MAGES UNBOUND / giveaway
Dec 11 – Cheryl's Book Nook – book review of MAGES UNBOUND / giveaway
Dec 11 – fundinmental – book spotlight / giveaway
Dec 15 – Locks Hooks and Books – book review of MAGES UNBOUND / giveaway
Dec 15 - Gwendalyn’s Books  - book review of MAGES UNBOUND / giveaway
Dec 16 – Westveil Publishing – book review of SIRENS UNBOUND
Dec 17 – Westveil Publishing – book review of MAGES UNBOUND
Dec 21 – Books and Zebras @jypsylynn – book review of SIRENS UNBOUND / giveaway
Dec 22 - Books and Zebras @jypsylynn – book review of MAGES UNBOUND / giveaway

Enter the Giveaway:
Win a $20 Target gift card.
Open internationally until the 22nd December. 

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Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Laura Engelhardt / Fantasy fiction / Books from America