Book Review: Race to Tibet, by Sophie Schiller + an excerpt (& giveaway!)

 My review (skip below to enter the giveaway!)

I went through a period of fascination with Tibet in my mid-teens, and read Seven Years in Tibet (by Heinrich Harrer). (I saw the film later, and I didn’t think it was nearly as good as the book.) To come back to a book about Tibet, after so many years, reminded me of my earlier fascination.

As this was fiction of real-life events, I’m now intrigued to perhaps read the accounts of Bonvalot, and Prince Henri, and particularly of the priest Father Dedeken, who knew Chinese (apparently quite unusual for the time). Perhaps my greatest fascination, likely because of the lack of story about her, was the character of Camille, who joins the expedition in order to find her husband (who had gone missing in Tibet some months prior). I would have liked to see more of Camille, as she rarely showed up in the narrative. In some sections, it’s as if she didn’t even exist with the caravan. Fortunately her plotline does not disappoint in the end.

I think this book would be best for history buffs, or those interested in Tibet. At times it feels more a history lesson than fiction, which though in itself is not a bad thing, occasionally took me out of the story.

Excerpt

Bonvalot’s head was spinning. They were navigating across a frozen white world with no path in sight, no hope of escape. All around they were surrounded by steep ridges and dangerous cliffs that gave way to a blackened abyss. One wrong move could send them tumbling to their deaths. Bivouacking at this altitude was also impossible. The wind could blow them off a sheer cliff or into a crevasse where there would be no chance of rescue.

Several minutes later they were infused with hope.

Several yards away they spied a curious object, an obo: heaps of stones upon which prayers are inscribed. This particular obo had a line of colorful prayer flags that bore the ubiquitous Buddhist prayer Om mane padme hum (Hail jewel in the lotus). A short distance away they spotted another one, and another one. Bonvalot decided the safest course of action would be to follow the trail of obos until they had crested the summit, then course their way down to the plain below.

As the camels neared the summit their movements became more plodding, their breathing more laborious; foam appeared at their mouths as they struggled under the burdensome weight of their loads.

After what seemed like an eternity, they finally reached the summit, which resembled a gorge between two steep, snow-covered mountains. They rejoiced, thinking the worst of their ordeal was over. But that was not to be the case.

Out of the blue they heard a noise like thunder followed by a rushing sound. Looking up, the men scanned the mountainside, their eyes wide with fright. Then, without warning, someone screamed, “Avalanche!”

 

Race to TibetRace to Tibet

(historical fiction)

Release date: January 26, 2015
Self-published at Tradewinds Publishing

336 pages

ISBN: 978-0-692-25409-7

***

SYNOPSIS

An intrepid band of explorers headed by Gabriel Bonvalot, France’s greatest explorer, and his partner, Prince Henri d’Orleans, attempt to be the first living Europeans to reach Lhasa. Before they leave Paris, Bonvalot meets Camille Dancourt, the beautiful, strong-willed wife of a French surveyor who disappeared in Tibet, who desperately wishes to join the expedition. When the caravan sets out they face freezing temperatures, violent winds, mountain sickness, hostile Tibetans, duplicitous Chinese Mandarins, and a beguiling Tibetan Buddhist princess with a deadly secret. When the explorers reach Tibet, they discover a land of mystery and intrigue, a land of danger that promises them only one thing: death. On the verge of collapse, Bonvalot realizes they must resort to deadly force if they ever wish to escape Tibet alive. (provided by the author)

***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Race to Tibet - Sophie SchillerSophie Schiller was born in Paterson, NJ
and grew up in the West Indies.
Among other oddities
her family tree contains a Nobel prize-winning physicist
and a French pop singer.
She loves stories that carry the reader back in time to exotic
and far-flung locations. She was educated at American University, Washington, DC
and lives in Brooklyn, NY. She is currently at work on a new historical thriller set in the Caribbean.

Visit her website. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter

Buy the book: Amazon

***

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

Visit each blogger on the tour:
tweeting about the giveaway everyday
of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time!

5 winners
Print/digital for US/Canada residents
Digital for other countries

CLICK ON THE BANNER
TO READ OTHER REVIEWS, EXCERPT, AND INTERVIEW

Race to Tibet banner

 

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I have a new book! MIDNIGHT AT THE ORPHEUS, out January 2016!

I’m delighted to announce that I’ve signed a contract for a new book!

MidnightAtTheOrpheusComing in January, 2016, from Bold Strokes Books!

Chicago, the Roaring Twenties. Cecilia Mills is new to town and struggling to survive. Her world is turned upside down when she falls for gangster Franky Greco’s moll Nell Prescott. Working at The Orpheus dance hall thanks to Nell, she becomes known as CeeCee and rubs elbows with gangsters and the city’s elite, and she and Nell hide their affair from Greco.

Patrick Sheridan is fresh out of prison, bent on revenge, with Greco in the crosshairs. He gets a job as CeeCee’s bodyguard, and despite her infatuation with Nell, love blossoms between CeeCee and Sheridan. When Sheridan sees his chance, thanks to a disillusioned cop seeking his own revenge, he must choose where his loyalties lie as CeeCee and Nell are caught in the middle.

It’s MIDNIGHT AT THE ORPHEUS.

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Yes, it’s been a long time.

I’ve been awfully busy. But coming in the pipeline are a few new things, including some book reviews, and most importantly, a special announcement.

That’s all I’m going to say about that for now ;-)

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Check out the Martini Club 4 – The 1920s!

Martini Club 4 – The 1920s

Amanda McCabe, Alicia Dean, Kathy L Wheeler and Krysta Scott have a unique friendship. Yes, they are all romance writers, and at different stages in their writing careers. But every Friday night, schedules permitting, they meet at the Martini Lounge in Edmond, Oklahoma where they chitchat, plan retreats to get away and for just a general get away. Over a period of time the idea to create a series of stories where the Martini Lounge would serve as a backdrop—well, as writers, that was inevitable. So here we are with our first go at it. Welcome to 1920s New York City where four young women run away from England excited to make their own way in a new world.

All four stories are now available for the pre-order price of **$0.99** until February 26, 2015, the official release. 

 

rebel

Rebellious: Martini Club 4 Series – The 1920s

Amanda McCabe

Blurb: Can an aristocratic lady melt the cold heart of a Russian gangster?

Lady Jessica Hatton fled her high-society London debutante life for one of investigative journalism in New York—only to be relegated to the fashion pages. Searching for a juicy story leads her to Club 501, the city’s most glamorous speakeasy—and its handsome, mysterious owner, Frank Markov. But his past of war and revolution puts their hearts—and their lives—in danger…

Excerpt: “Do you smell that, Meggie?” Jessica Hatton cried as she leaned into the cold, salt spray wind, her t-strap shoes perched on the lowest rung of the ship’s railing.  She’d lost her hat, and the short strands of her hair blew into her eyes, but she didn’t care.  England was far behind them.  They had escaped.

“It smells like freedom!” she shouted, and threw up her arms.  It felt like she could fly all the way to America.

“I only smell old fish,” Meggie said.  “Now come down from there, Jess.  If you tumble into the drink, it will all be over before it even starts.”

Jessica laughed and shook her head, but she did climb down.  She spun around to see Meggie stretched out on one of the deck chairs, the glossy mink collar of her coat drawn close around her.

The sky was grey and dismal-looking, the water not as glassy-smooth as when they slid past Ireland yesterday and headed out to open sea.  Several of the passengers had retreated to their cabins, but Jessica couldn’t stand staying inside.  Not when there was so much to be seen.

“It smells like fish and freedom,” Jessica insisted.  “But we can go in now.  Maybe Charlotte and Eliza will want to play some cards or mah-jong.”

“Finally,” Meggie grumbled as she swung her feet down to the damp deck.  But her smile was broad.  Jessica knew Meggie was loving it all just as much as she was.

Bio: Amanda McCabe wrote her first romance at the age of sixteen–a vast historical epic starring all her friends as the characters, written secretly during algebra class (and her parents wondered why math was not her strongest subject…)

She’s never since used algebra, but her books have been nominated for many awards, including the RITA Award, the Romantic Times BOOK Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Booksellers Best, the National Readers Choice Award, and the Holt Medallion.  She lives in Oklahoma with a menagerie of two cats, a Pug, and a very bossy miniature Poodle, along with far too many books.

When not writing or reading, she loves taking dance classes, collecting cheesy travel souvenirs, and watching the Food Network–even though she doesn’t cook.

Amazon buy link: http://amzn.com/B00RICWBC8

Contact info: http://ammandamccabe.com

 

 

ruin

Ruined: Martini Club 4 Series – The 1920s

Alicia Dean

Blurb: She vowed she’d be no man’s doxy, but fate had other plans…

After the Earl of Goodwin attempts to force himself on her, housemaid Eliza Gilbert flees England for New York, hoping to build a better life. But the land of opportunity proves as harsh as the London docks, and she finds herself in a situation more dreadful than the one she escaped.

Former boxer, Vince “The Fist” Taggart dreams of marrying, having a family, and living a quiet, peaceful life. But when a girl he’s known since childhood disappears, he heads to New York in search of her and meets Eliza, a woman with a less than honorable reputation. Inexplicably captivated, Vince can’t force himself to stay away, especially when he learns Eliza is the key to finding his missing friend.

Excerpt: Eliza lifted her gaze, then looked away when she met his eyes. They were just too…striking, too blue. “I’m afraid you’ll have to speak to Oscar. He handles all my transactions.” She could never have a normal outing with a man. A lump of regret rose in her throat. She turned and started up the stairs.

Vince caught up to her in a few steps and grabbed her arm, taking the bag from her at the same time. “That was a lousy thing to say.”

She opened her mouth to accuse him of going around Oscar so he didn’t have to pay. But that was ridiculous. He hadn’t taken what he’d paid for the first time. She lifted a hand and rubbed her forehead. His attention confused her. What was his angle? He didn’t want sex. Did he think she was hiding something about Cynthia and if he spent time with her he could draw it out? “What do you want from me?”

“A picnic.”

Bio: Alicia Dean lives in Edmond, Oklahoma. She has three grown children and a huge network of supportive friends and family. She writes mostly contemporary suspense and paranormal, but has also written in other genres, including a few vintage historicals.
Other than reading and writing, her passions are Elvis Presley, MLB, NFL (she usually works in a mention of one or all three into her stories) and watching her favorite televisions shows like Vampire Diaries, Justified, Sons of Anarchy, Haven, The Mindy Project, and Dexter (even though it has sadly ended, she will forever be a fan). Some of her favorite authors are Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Lee Child, Lisa Gardner, Sharon Sala, Jordan Dane, Ridley Pearson, Joseph Finder, and Jonathan Kellerman…to name a few.

Amazon buy link: http://amzn.com/B00RICLM2I

http://aliciadean.com

http://aliciadean.com/alicias-blog/

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008364070487

https://twitter.com/Alicia_Dean_

http://www.pinterest.com/aliciamdean/

 

 

reck

Reckless: Martini Club 4 Series – The 1920s

Kathy L Wheeler

Blurb: Lady Margaret turned Lady Bootlegger…

Singer Margaret (Meggie) Montley needs money…fast. Her friend is in a dire situation with nowhere to turn. While Meggie is on the brink of stardom, it’s not soon enough to save her friend.

Harry Dempsey is out to avenge the deaths of his father and brother at the hands of a ruthless gangster. But trouble spirals out of control when Meggie Montley shows up the night he meets his nemesis to settle the score. Saving the impetuous woman from a crime lord might be easier than saving her from her own reckless behavior.

Excerpt: Meggie launched herself from her hiding place and threw her arms about Harry’s neck. Locked in his muscular embrace, she rested her chin on his shoulder. His arms tightened around her. “Oh, Harry. I came as fast as I could. Just as we’d planned.” The words, she’d intended to carry, came out breathless.

“Fast, huh?” The whisper was against her ear where no one else could hear, raised goose prickles over her entire body. “Guess I’ll have to do something about that.” He lifted his head. “What are you doing with my girl, Joe?”

Joey’s hands flew into the air, indicating his surrender. “Sorry, Dempsey. Had no idea she was anyone’s quiff—”

Meggie’s cheeks burned, and she stiffened at the insult. Harry’s one arm gripped her closer. The other shot up, jerking her body like a rag doll. She couldn’t see Harry’s face with her own now buried in his neck, but she felt the corded muscles contract.  

Bio: Kathy L Wheeler (also known as Kae Elle Wheeler) writes both Contemporary and Historical Romance. She was born in Presque Isle, Maine.  How she ended up in Texas, then Oklahoma is as much a mystery to her as anyone. She graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma with a BA in Management Information Systems and a minor in Vocal Music.

She is published through The Wild Rose Press. She loves to travel.  Ports of call include a three week stint in Europe covering Madrid, Barcelona, Avignon, Paris, Koln, Amsterdam and London.  Other exciting places she’s visited are Grand Cayman, Puerta Vallerta, Mexico, Vancouver, Canada, and roaming from one romance writing conference to another nationwide.  You may have met her in Seattle, Dallas, San Francisco, San Diego, New York or Atlanta.  She is a member of the Oklahoma RWA Chapter, Dara, and The Beau Monde. Kathy lives with her musically talented husband in Edmond, Oklahoma. They have one grown daughter and one bossy cat, Carly!

Amazon buy link: http://amzn.com/B00RICW0G0

Contact info: kathy@klwheeler.com

http://kathylwheeler.com

http://kathylwheeler.blogspot.com

http://facebook.com/kathylwheeler

http://twitter.com/kathylwheeler

http://pinterest.com/kathylwheeler

 

 

 

run

Runaway: Martini Club 4 Series – The 1920s

Krysta Scott

Blurb: Can she prove her innocence before more than her dreams are destroyed?

After escaping an arranged marriage, Lady Charlotte Leighton lands on a new shore, determined to realize her dream of opening her own bakery. But her plans are shattered when her former fiancé follows her to New York. Now, she finds herself in a fight for her freedom.

Haunted by a string of failures, Detective Felix Noble is determined to solve his latest case. But his efforts to find a murderer are jeopardized by a forbidden attraction to his number one suspect. While he’s certain Charlotte Leighton is keeping secrets, instinct tells him she’s not the murderess he first believed.

Excerpt: Long thin fingers curled around a glass and lifted it from the tray. Charli followed the direction of the drink. Derrick Chaunce, or as the local duffs referred to him, “Slick”, grinned, exposing yellowed teeth.

“You … You…” Her throat closed. The rest of her diatribe wouldn’t budge.

He winked. His thin hair slicked back in the latest fashion exaggerated the gaunt cheekbones and sunken eyes, tinging him with an unhealthy, dilapidated look. He gulped the whiskey. A bit of the amber liquid escaped through the gap in his teeth and down his chin. Her stomach lurched.

“Thank you, sweet cakes. Put it on my tab.” He skulked off.

Charli whirled around. How did the bounder get past Tiny? Ira fumed about customers who ran up a high tab without reconciling at the end of the night. Now she would have to explain yet another charge added to Slick’s mounting debt. She sighed and rolled her eyes to the heavens. The customer was always right. Even when they were wrong.

Bio: Krysta Scott is a family law attorney in her false life. After years of writing and winning contests, she is now taking the plunge into publishing. A fan of sci-fi and dark stories surrounding people in crisis, she also enjoys way too much TV including Vampire Diaries, Breaking Bad, and Sherlock. Runaway is her breakout story.

Amazon buy link: http://amzn.com/B00RIFHGPC

Contact info: http://krystascottauthor.com

Alyssa’s Note:
I’ll be reviewing all four novellas in the near future, and they are fantastic! I hope you’ll check them out :-)

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Every Valentine’s Day needs a motorcycle chick! Snag a copy of BETTING ON LOVE in ebook or print!

BETTING ON LOVE is out, and it’s the perfect read for Valentine’s Day, especially if you have a thing for hot biker chicks ;)

Buy it in ebook or print from Bold Strokes Books, or if you’re an Amazon fiend, pre-order it for release on Feb. 17th.

Betting on Love 300 DPILand poor, Elly leaves the family farm and heads to the big city to become something better than a waitress in a small-town diner. Though she’s succumbed to economic necessity and the siren song of her one-time lover, Alex, she can’t bear to give up the farm that has been in her family for generations. As much as she wants to, she can’t have everything she desires, and she’ll have to decide what is more important: the past or the future.

Alex has always been a daredevil, up for anything, never tying herself down to anyone. When she falls head over heels for quiet Elly, everyone’s surprised, no one more than her best friend and occasional lover, Will. As things heat up between them, Elly must choose between her past and her future, and Alex is faced with a decision that will shake her to the core of all she holds dear.

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#LoveSpanks is here! Read “Just Chaps” & enter to win prizes!

Love Spanks 2015 is here! 

Spanks-Lovespanks-2015-wnames-750x1125 The rules, in brief (full version here):

  1. Register here
  2. Visit all 17 blogs and leave a high-quality comment responding to the story content. Deadline: Midnight EST (UTC-5) Sunday, February 8
  3. Add VIP, FF (F/F author), A (non-F/F author), or Amb (Ambassador) to your comments
  4. Join the Facebook/Twitter author chats and parties 
  5. Prize announcements Saturday, February 14!

For more information, updates, and a list of participating authors, please visit Governing Ana(main page) or Love Spanks 2015 (announcement page) 

Like us on Facebook!
Twitter hashtag: #lovespanks

JUST CHAPS

Love Spanks is over for now, but you can check out the anthology, for just 99 cents! It’s available on Amazon as of Feb 14th :)

Betting on Love 300 DPIWant more of Alex and Elly? Find out how they first met in the short story, BETTING THE FARM, and read the tale of their romance in the newly released BETTING ON LOVE, from Bold Strokes Books. (buy on Amazon)

Land poor, Elly leaves the family farm and heads to the big city to become something better than a waitress in a small-town diner. Though she’s succumbed to economic necessity and the siren song of her one-time lover, Alex, she can’t bear to give up the farm that has been in her family for generations. As much as she wants to, she can’t have everything she desires, and she’ll have to decide what is more important: the past or the future.

Alex has always been a daredevil, up for anything, never tying herself down to anyone. When she falls head over heels for quiet Elly, everyone’s surprised, no one more than her best friend and occasional lover, Will. As things heat up between them, Elly must choose between her past and her future, and Alex is faced with a decision that will shake her to the core of all she holds dear.

About Alyssa Linn Palmer
Alyssa Linn Palmer is a Canadian writer and freelance editor. She splits her time between a full-time day job, and her part-time loves, writing and editing. She is a member of the RWA, the Calgary RWA, and RRW (Rainbow Romance Writers). She has a passion for Paris and all things French, which is reflected in her writing. When she’s not writing lesbian romance, she’s creating the dark, morally flawed characters of the LE CHAT ROUGE series and indulging in her addictions to classic pulp fiction. Her next book, BETTING ON LOVE, will be released in February 2015. You can find her online at www.alyssalinnpalmer.com, or on Twitter @alyslinn.

Click this link to get to the list of participating authors and all the other blogs!

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It’s almost time for #LoveSpanks !

Check out all the authors participating!

Spanks-Lovespanks-2015-wnames-750x1125

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My lesbian biker romance is out! Check out BETTING ON LOVE today!

Betting on Love 300 DPI

I’m delighted to announce that Bold Strokes Books have released my lesbian biker romance Betting on Love a couple of days early! Pick up an ebook, paperback, or ebook & paperback bundle at Bold Strokes’ website now. :-)

Land poor, Elly leaves the family farm and heads to the big city to become something better than a waitress at a small-town diner. Though she’s succumbed to economic necessity and the siren song of her one-time lover, Alex, she can’t bear to give up the farm, which has been in her family for generations. As much as she wants to, she can’t have everything she desires, and she’ll have to decide what is more important: the past or the future.

Alex has always been a daredevil, up for anything, never tying herself down to anyone. When she falls head over heels for quiet Elly, everyone’s surprised, no one more than her best friend and occasional lover, Will. As things heat up between them, Elly must choose between her past and her future, and Alex is faced with a decision that will shake her to the core of all she holds dear.

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Review & Giveaway: Rodin’s Lover, by Heather Webb

The Giveaway

Win a copy of Rodin’s Lover in ebook or paperback (US/Canada only). Skip to the entry widget at the bottom of this post to enter!

My Review

rodins-lover-coverI knew only a little about Camille Claudel before I picked up this book. I of course knew about Rodin, and The Gates of Hell is one of my favourite sculptures ever. (If you haven’t yet, try to see it in person; the size and detail is incredible.)

The story was fascinating, and it ranged from Camille’s adolescence until her tragic descent into mental illness. I hadn’t known that of her; such an unfortunate end to a very creative life. The story was a page-turner for me, and I read this book in one, blissfully uninterrupted, sitting. There aren’t too many books I can say that about.

Camille’s path into sculpture, and the workings of an atelier, were my favourite parts of the book. That’s probably the art geek in me. But aside from that, I hoped and wished for Camille’s success, and felt her agonies and frustrations as my own, the sign of a well-written novel. I highly recommend it, and I know I will be picking up Heather Webb’s other work.

Synopsis

A mesmerizing tale of art and passion in Belle Époque France

As a woman, aspiring sculptor Camille Claudel has plenty of critics, especially her ultra-traditional mother. But when Auguste Rodin makes Camille his apprentice—and his muse—their passion inspires groundbreaking works. Yet, Camille’s success is overshadowed by her lover’s rising star, and her obsessions cross the line into madness.

Rodin’s Lover brings to life the volatile love affair between one of the era’s greatest artists and a woman entwined in a tragic dilemma she cannot escape.

***

ADVANCE PRAISE
“Dazzling!….. In Rodin’s Lover, author Heather Webb brings to life, with vivid detail, the story of brilliant and tormented sculptress Camille Claudel and the epic love affair with the legendary sculptor who worshiped her. Deeply moving and meticulously researched, this book will capture your heart, then hold it tightly long after the final page.” –Anne Girard, author of Madame Picasso

“A rich, sensuous novel…[was] written with great empathy for the very human Rodin and his lover, this novel of the visceral world of the 19th century Paris ateliers, of clay-stained dresses and fingernails, lithe models who vow to remain and then go, family love which stays through all difficulties and talent which endures, comes vividly to life.” –Stephanie Cowell, author of Claude & Camille: A Novel of Monet

Rodin’s Lover
[historical fiction/ women’s fiction]

Release date: January 27, 2015
at Plume/Penguin

320 pages

ISBN: 978-0142181751

About the Author

rodins-lover-heather-webb1Heather Webb is the author of historical novels BECOMING JOSEPHINE
and RODIN’S LOVER published by Plume/Penguin, a freelance editor, and blogger. You may also find her contributing to award-winning writing sites including WriterUnboxed and RomanceUniversity.org. When not writing, Heather flexes her foodie skills and looks for excuses to head to the other side of the world.

Visit her website and her blog. Follow her on FacebookTwitter

Subscribe to her newsletter.

Buy the bookPlume/Penguin |  Amazon  |  B&N  |  IndieBound

rodins-lover-banner

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My new lesbian romance, BETTING ON LOVE, is a Goodreads giveaway!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Betting on Love by Alyssa Linn Palmer

Betting on Love

by Alyssa Linn Palmer

Giveaway ends February 28, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

 

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