Review: Exposed by Jean-Philippe Blondel

Jean-Philippe Blondel

on Tour
May 15-28
with
Exposed
Exposed

(fiction)
Release date: June 4, 2019
at New Vessel Press
157 pages
ISBN: 978-1939931672
Website | Goodreads

SYNOPSIS

A French teacher on the verge of retirement is invited to a glittering opening that showcases the artwork of his former student, who has since become a celebrated painter. This unexpected encounter leads to the older man posing for his portrait. Possibly in the nude. Such personal exposure at close range entails a strange and troubling pact between artist and sitter that prompts both to reevaluate their lives.
Blondel, author of the hugely popular novel The 6:41 to Paris, evokes an intimacy of dangerous intensity in a tale marked by profound nostalgia and a reckoning with the past that allows its two characters to move ahead into the future. [provided by the publisher]
NB: this is NOT erotica!
Exposed deals with the joys and uncertainties of youth, as well as aging and regret, thwarted friendships and loves, and nostalgia and searching for renewal. It’s beautifully written and sensitively translated from French, highly engaging and accessible to a wide array of readers. It contains no explicit sex or anything that would put off a reader open to the experience of good literature.”

MY REVIEW

This book was a bit of a tough read for me. I found it hard to get into, and then hard to stay engaged. I usually quite like this author’s books, but somehow, the characters just didn’t do anything for me, didn’t liven my imagination. It could be that it was just too much interior development, too much “navel gazing” for my taste. Certainly I can relate to middle to late-aged white men having some sort of existential crisis, but this time, it was difficult at best.

As the synopsis points out, this isn’t erotica. Though I don’t know why someone would think it is, aside from the mention of a character posing for a portrait in the nude. (the “NB” seems a bit prissy, IMO, a bit too judgmental about erotica. In fact, this book may have done better to have some proper erotica in it. There is definitely homoeroticism in it though, between the teacher and the artist.)

I’ll likely read other books by M. Blondel, but this one definitely won’t get a re-read.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

portrait de Jean-philippe Blondel
Jean-Philippe Blondel
was born in 1964 in Troyes, France
where he lives as an author and English teacher.
His novel The 6:41 to Paris has been acclaimed
in both the United States and Europe.

ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR

Alison Anderson is a novelist and translator of literature from French. Among the authors she has translated are JMG Le Clézio, Christian Bobin, Muriel Barbery and Amélie Nothomb. She has lived in Northern California and currently lives in a village in Switzerland.
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GIVEAWAY

You can enter the global giveaway here
or on any other book blogs participating in this tour.
Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook,
they are listed in the entry form below

Enter here

Visit each blogger on the tour:
tweeting about the giveaway everyday
of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time!
[just follow the directions on the entry-form]

Global giveaway open to all US residents
5 winners

***

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AND EXCERPTS

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Release Day: Rayanne Haines’ AIR BORN!

 

Air Born (The Guardian Series), an all-new Paranormal Romance by Rayanne Haines is NOW LIVE!

 

Quinn Taleisin hates secrets, and shadows, and subterfuge. Which is why she still can’t believe she agreed to become a member of the Guardians, an elite force of immortals tasked with keeping the balance between good and evil in the world.

Sounds great, except, to be a guardian you must agree to live in secrecy. Quinn is a wind elemental. Being caged in by secrecy is worse than death for someone like her. She can’t imagine a worse fate—until she’s asked to work with Lachon Findel, the man she holds responsible for her mother’s death and her father’s insanity.

Lachon is the oldest living elemental in the world. Known as Lachon the Law, he’s an earth element; a man who sees the world in black and white, right and wrong. So maybe once, briefly, a hundred years ago she thought he was a good guy. She knew better now. No way would she fall for his savior of the world shtick.

When the dangers of the past catch up with them, Quinn realizes the only way either of them will make it out alive is if she can put the ghosts of the past behind her and finally trust the flesh and blood man in front of her.

 

 

Grab your copy Today!

Free in Kindle Unlimited
Amazon US – https://amzn.to/2HS8zLw
Amazon UK – https://amzn.to/2CQi4XM
Amazon CA – https://amzn.to/2FBzLKY


New to the Guardian Series? Start Reading Today!
Free in Kindle Unlimited
Amazon US – https://amzn.to/2HSmcdI
Amazon Worldwide – mybook.to/FireBornRH

 

 

About Rayanne Haines

Rayanne Haines grew up on a small horse ranch in Alberta. She spent most of her youth re-enacting scenes from Anne of Green Gables to attentive audiences that included pygmy goats and roan stallions. The horses were thrilled. Her father could never figure out why it took her three hours to clean the barn.

Her mother was an avid reader and instilled a love of literature in her at a young age. She has always been fascinated with learning people’s stories.

She has a fondness for mountains and rivers and all the creatures that live within them. And she believes in magic, the spirit, that which we cannot see.

Rayanne knows stories and poetry can transform lives. She approaches her writing from a place of joy, wonder and empowerment.

Connect with Rayanne Haines

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/rayannehaines/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/rayanne_haines/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/inkrayanne

Website – http://www.rayannehaines.com/

 

Review: Nothing is Forgotten, by Peter Golden

nothingisforgottenNOTHING IS FORGOTTEN by PETER GOLDEN

Paperback: 352 pages

Publisher: Washington Square Press; Reprint edition (March 19, 2019)

From the beloved author of Comeback Love and Wherever There Is Light, comes “a sweeping tale full of humor and heartbreak” (Karin Tanabe, author of The Diplomat’s Daughter) about the life-changing journey of a young man who travels from New Jersey to Khrushchev’s Russia and the beaches of Southern France to discover long-hidden secrets about his heritage.

In 1950s New Jersey, teacher Michael Daniels—or Misha Danielov to his doting Russian-Jewish grandmother—is at loose ends, until he becomes the host of a nightly underground radio show. Not only does the show become a local hit because of his running satires of USSR leader Nikita Khrushchev, but half a world away, it picks up listeners in a small Soviet city.

There, with rock and roll leaking in through bootlegged airwaves, Yulianna Kosoy—a war orphan in her mid-twenties—is sneaking American goods into the country with her boss, Der Schmuggler.

But just as Michael’s radio show is taking off, his grandmother is murdered. Why would anyone commit such an atrocity against such a warm, affable woman? She had always been secretive about her past and, as Michael discovers, guarded a shadowy ancestral history. In order to solve the mystery of who killed her, Michael sets out for Europe to learn where he—and his grandmother—really came from.

“Both heartbreaking and mesmerizing, Nothing Is Forgotten is the sort of book you won’t soon forget…Cold War Europe, lingering Nazi secrets, and the tragic history faced by millions of families not only bring this tale to life but will keep you turning the pages” (Lisa Wingate, New York Times bestselling author) and will appeal to fans of novels by Anita Diamant and Kristin Hannah.

 

MY REVIEW

I didn’t know what to expect when I first started reading. Michael’s life was outside my own almost completely, both in experience and in the time frame. How to start to consider a teenage DJ who knew English and Russian and whose grandmother ran a candy store? I know, it’s fiction, and you’re supposed to relate. Even though I didn’t know what to expect, once I started reading, it was hard to put the book down! And there were twists and turns and details and trips that were (to me) completely unexpected, and completely intriguing. How Michael came to know Yuli, how his grandmother fit into things, how Yuli’s adopted papa fit… everything.

The book is vivid and compelling, and reminded me somewhat of reading Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. It also reminded me somewhat of The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff, another excellent historical novel. I’m always delighted to find more that I can read and immerse myself into an historical period. I highly recommend this book!

“Golden draws a vivid portrait of the Cold War era, but it is the complex and unexpected connection between Holocaust survivors and their descendants that turns this book into a page-turner.” (RT Book Reviews)

Nothing Is Forgotten is a Russian nesting doll of plot twists across continents and decades. This cleverly constructed Cold War tale, based on gripping true events, keeps readers eagerly anticipating what lies at its heart.” (Sarah McCoy, New York Times and international bestselling author of The Mapmaker’s Children)

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

About Peter Golden

Peter Golden is an award-winning journalist, novelist, biographer, and historian. He lives outside Albany, New York, with his wife and son. He is the acclaimed author of the novels Comeback Love, Wherever There Is Light, and Nothing Is Forgotten.

 

Cover reveal and preorder: City Kitty and Country Mouse is here!

I’m so excited to let you in on my big news and my favourite new book, the upcoming release of

CITY KITTY AND COUNTRY MOUSE!

This book is really a work of love for me, bringing together two of my favourite things: love stories and food. It’s an indulgence of Canadian Chinese and Western food, but also peeking into the lives of my two protagonists, Kitty & Lucy. What would a lawyer close to making partner do when she’s captivated by delicious blackberries, and meets the woman of her dreams? Suddenly being a lawyer isn’t all it’s cracked up to be… and Lucy has a few surprises of her own!City Kitty & Country Mouse

Pre-order here!

Kitty Kerr is a high-flying lawyer when her career plans are derailed by the luscious blackberries from Lucy Shen’s Country Mouse Farms. Kitty can’t get enough of the fruit, or of Lucy. Suddenly, she’s wanting things she never dared to want—Lucy, and the life on the farm. But how will being an artisan cook/farmer fit with her legal ambitions and city habits?

Between her beautiful farm and her sculpture, Lucy’s life is set. Falling for a big city lawyer is not part of the plan. Even as Kitty helps make her dreams of spotlighting her farm’s produce in restaurants a reality, Lucy’s terrified that she and the farm aren’t enough to keep Kitty interested in love and the simpler things in life.

Pulled in two different directions, will the city kitty and country mouse be able to make it work?

Cover reveal! Brandy Ackerley’s HUNTER’S GAMBIT!

HuntersGambit_promo

Brandy Ackerley has a new book out soon, and she’s sharing her absolutely gorgeous cover with me a little bit early so that we can drool and admire! Check out the blurb, below, and her links for more info.

Kuzunoha is running out of options. In just a month she’ll be an adult but as the illegitimate younger daughter of a rich noble she can only see two possible futures. Both leave her a pawn in her elder sister’s game as family matriarch, a future as unacceptable to Kuzunoha as it is unavoidable.

That changes when Kuzunoha saves the life of a stranger. In return for her help, the stranger offers her a way to have a future that doesn’t tie her to her family. He’s heard of a forgotten treasure nearby and needs a guide to help him search for it. Her family and friends don’t trust this dangerous man’s offer, but Kuzunoha accepts, knowing that she can’t live the life her sister wants for her anymore.

Will she succeed in proving she can have a life outside of her sister’s shadow? Or will it all fall to pieces around her?

Brandy’s blog @ https://musingaboutthewords.blogspot.com/

Facebook author page @ https://www.facebook.com/InkedFoxPress/

Brandy’s Instagram @ https://www.instagram.com/foxy_writer/

Valentine’s Day Sale!

BSB Sale
Oh, today is a good day!

Bold Strokes Books has put a ton (and I mean a TON) of their books on sale, including all three of mine. There are so many fabulous books! Check them all out here, or check out mine directly by clicking on the cover:

MidnightAtTheOrpheus

Betting on Love 300 DPI

BSB_The_Artists_Muse

 

The Lost Girls of Paris, by Pam Jenoff — Exclusive Excerpt!

51SrH4ZP0mL._SX331_BO1204203200_Paperback: 384 pages

Publisher: Park Row; Original edition (January 29, 2019)

From the author of the runaway bestseller The Orphan’s Tale comes a remarkable story of friendship and courage centered around three women and a ring of female secret agents during World War II.

1946, Manhattan

One morning while passing through Grand Central Terminal on her way to work, Grace Healey finds an abandoned suitcase tucked beneath a bench. Unable to resist her own curiosity, Grace opens the suitcase, where she discovers a dozen photographs—each of a different woman. In a moment of impulse, Grace takes the photographs and quickly leaves the station.

Grace soon learns that the suitcase belonged to a woman named Eleanor Trigg, leader of a network of female secret agents who were deployed out of London during the war. Twelve of these women were sent to Occupied Europe as couriers and radio operators to aid the resistance, but they never returned home, their fates a mystery. Setting out to learn the truth behind the women in the photographs, Grace finds herself drawn to a young mother turned agent named Marie, whose daring mission overseas reveals a remarkable story of friendship, valor and betrayal.

Vividly rendered and inspired by true events, New York Times bestselling author Pam Jenoff shines a light on the incredible heroics of the brave women of the war and weaves a mesmerizing tale of courage, sisterhood and the great strength of women to survive in the hardest of circumstances.

 

The Excerpt

Chapter One

Grace

New York, 1946

If not for the second worst mistake of Grace Healey’s life, she never would have found the suitcase.

At nine twenty on a Tuesday morning, Grace should have been headed south on the first of two buses she took to get downtown, commuting from the rooming house in Hell’s Kitchen to the Lower East Side office where she worked. And she was on her way to work. But she was nowhere near the neighborhood she had come to call home. Instead, she was racing south on Madison Avenue, corralling her corkscrew hair into a low knot and taking off her mint green cardigan despite the chill so that Frankie wouldn’t notice it was the exact same one she had been wearing at work the previous day and question the unthinkable: whether she had gone home at all.

Grace paused to study herself in the window of a five-and-dime. She wished the store was open so she could buy some powder to hide the marks on her neck and sample a bit of perfume to conceal the stench of day-old brandy mixed with that delicious-but-wrong smell of Mark’s aftershave which made her dizzy and ashamed with every inhale. A wino sat on the corner, moaning to himself in sleep. Looking at his gray, lifeless pallor, Grace felt a certain solidarity. From the adjacent alley came the banging on a trash can, a sound marching in time with the thudding in her own head. The whole city of New York seemed green and hungover. Or perhaps she was confusing it for herself.

Sharp gusts of February wind cut across Madison, causing the flags that hung from the skyscrapers above to whip furiously. An old crumpled newspaper danced along the gutter. Hearing the bells of Saint Agnes’s toll half past nine, Grace pressed on, her skin growing moist under her collar as she neared a run. Grand Central Terminal loomed hulking ahead. Just a bit farther and she could turn left on Forty-Second Street and catch an express bus downtown on Lexington.

But as she neared the intersection at Forty-Third, the street ahead was blocked. Police cars sat three across, cordoning off Madison and preventing anyone from going farther south. A car accident, Grace suspected at first, noting the black Studebaker, which sat jackknifed across the street, steam billowing from the hood. More cars clogged the Midtown streets than ever these days, jockeying for space with the buses and taxis and trucks making deliveries. There did not appear to be another vehicle involved, though. A lone ambulance sat at the corner. The medics did not rush about urgently, but stood leaning against the vehicle, smoking.

Grace started toward a policeman, whose paunchy face pushed up from the high collar of his uniform, navy with gold buttons. “Excuse me. Will the street be closed for long? I’m late for work.”

He looked out at her disdainfully from under the brim of his hat, as if despite all of the women working dutifully in the factories to take the place of the men who had enlisted and gone overseas during the war, the notion of a woman holding a job was still laughable. “You can’t go this way,” he replied officiously. “And you won’t be able to any time soon.”

“What happened?” she asked, but the policeman turned away. Grace took a step forward, craning to see.

“A woman was hit by a car and died,” a man in a flat wool cap beside her said.

Taking in the shattered windshield of the Studebaker, Grace suddenly felt sick. “Such a shame,” she managed finally.

“I didn’t see it,” the man replied. “But someone said she was killed instantly. At least she didn’t suffer.”

At least. That was the phrase Grace heard too often after Tom had died. At least she was still young. At least there had not been children—as if that made it somehow easier to bear. (Children, she sometimes thought, would not have been a burden, but a bit of him left behind forever.)

“You just never know where it will all end,” mused the flat-capped man beside her. Grace did not answer. Tom’s death had been unexpected, too, an overturned jeep on the way from the army base to the train station in Georgia, headed to New York to see her before he’d deployed. They called him a casualty of war, but in fact it had been just another accident that might have happened anywhere.

A flashbulb from a reporter’s camera popped, causing her to blink. Grace shielded her eyes then backed away blindly through the crowd that had formed, seeking air amidst the cigarette smoke and sweat and perfume.

Away from the police barricade now, Grace looked over her shoulder. Forty-Third Street was blocked to the west as well, preventing her from cutting across. To go back up Madison and around the other side of the station would take at least another half an hour, making her even later for work than she already was. Again, she cursed the night before. If it weren’t for Mark, she wouldn’t be standing here, faced with no other choice to cut through Grand Central—the one place she had sworn to never go again.

 

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

 

About Pam Jenoff

Pam Jenoff is the author of several novels, including the international bestseller The Kommandant’s Girl, which also earned her a Quill Award nomination. Pam lives with her husband and three children near Philadelphia where, in addition to writing, she teaches law school.

Connect with Pam

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Just released: Vee: Volume 2! Includes a new, previously unpublished story!

Vee Volume 2“Sylvia, my brightest star, my desire. My lust, my soul.

“She was Lia to her co-workers at the bookstore, Sylvia to her mother, who clicked her tongue disapprovingly at her bright blue and hair and her Monroe stud. But to me, she was simply Vee.”

In Alex’s notebooks, the story of Vee unfolds, from their first kiss, their first date, and the moments in between. It’s a May-December romance between a former punk girl gone conservative, and a gamine young woman in combat boots and fishnets, finding each other on the streets of New York City.

This is the second volume of a short collection of stories, two of which have appeared in anthologies, and others on my website. The short “White Dress” is brand new and previously unreleased.

Table of Contents:

Vee: Birthdays
Past Imperfect
A Vee Christmas
Will It Snow? (From Screw Chocolate)
Unmentionables (From Screw Chocolate 2)
White Dress (brand new!)

ISBN: 978-1-928098-14-0

Buy it!

A bit of Vee for Christmas!

It’s been a little while, but I wanted to share a link to one of my favourite Christmas free-reads, and two of my favourite characters, Alex and Vee.

Check out A Vee Christmas!

Here’s a little teaser…

Vee rolls her eyes. “Brothers.” She grasps my hand. “C’mon, I’ll show you my childhood.” We scoop up our bags and she takes me down the hallway to a door that’s been painted black with pink panels.

“I can’t believe they let you do that,” I say.

Vee shrugs. “Yeah, well, as long as I kept my mess to my room, they weren’t too concerned.”

Inside, her room is tidier than I’d expected, and I’m relieved. Posters of rock stars paper the walls, and I spot a few of Debbie Harry, Marianne Faithfull, and even David Bowie peering down at us from the myriad of images. The bed is a double, covered in a plain black coverlet. White towels are folded at the foot of the bed. Vee drops her backpack and plops onto the bed with a sigh. I set my bag beside hers and take a few moments to look around.

The bureau is covered in stickers, and I can see black paint beneath. The window is covered by a venetian blind, over which is draped a Union Jack. A bookshelf holds a stack of old Rolling Stone magazines, and a rather diverse selection of books.

“What do you think?” Vee sounds almost nervous, and I turn to glance at her.

“It’s just how I wished my room might be when I was growing up,” I say truthfully. My mother would never have stood for it, but I always wished.

“The bed’s comfy too,” Vee says, arching a brow at me, then winking. She holds out a hand. “Come try.”

I settle on the bed next to her, taking her hand, and she tugs me to her. “I always wanted to kiss you here.” Her lips brush mine, sending a tremor through me.

“But your parents,” I protest, halfheartedly.

“Don’t care,” Vee says between kisses. We sink down into the bed, our legs dangling over the side, entangled, sandwiched together as if we could become one person.

A door slams and I sit up, startled.