July is Poetry Month!

As so decreed by my cousin Amanda (of the excellent blog, Plausible Prosetry).

Her poem for today (a limerick) is here: https://amandasobierajski.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/u-r-my-typus/

And my poem for today is this one, below. (Amanda’s writing one every day, but I’m writing only as many as I can manage this month.)

Whilst trying to sleep and failing.

Magpie sitting on the balcony rail
Squawking to raise the dead.
Wonder if he’d change his tune
If I let the cat out?

Book Review: The Morgenstern Project, by David Khara (+ giveaway & excerpt!)

First, the Excerpt (and skip below for the review & the giveaway)

“I mean seriously, what the hell are we doing here?” Hansen said. “There’s nothing but fucking rocks and sand that’ll wreck this tin can. I spend hours cleaning the engine every time we get back to base. Why’d they send only one team to check out the area if it’s a danger zone? Isn’t that messed up?”

“You’re a Marine, man. You knew what you signed up for,” Terry teased. “We’re a recon unit, so…”

“Chill. I know what we’re supposed to be doing. But does that mean we have to like being out here all by ourselves with our asses exposed? This is the perfect setup for an ambush.”

“We’re not exactly by ourselves. They’ve assigned us a backup chopper. So shut up. I’m trying to focus. And you two in the back, stay alert.”

Twenty minutes went by with only the steady roar of the Humvee engine and the whir of the helicopter blades.

Too many hiding spots for the enemy, Terry thought as he inspected the dry rolling landscape. They could surge out at any second.

An abrupt swerve threw all four passengers against the side of the Humvee. Hansen slammed on the brakes, inciting a chorus of protests.

“Just a small technical problem! Instead of giving me shit, how about you cover me,” he ordered.

Hansen opened the door and leaped out of the vehicle, followed by his fellow Marines. The newbies stationed themselves on each side of the Humvee. They lowered themselves into firing position, one knee on the ground.

Hansen made his way around the vehicle and opened the hood.

“God dammit! Shit!”

“What’s going on?” Terry barked as he approached his partner, his eyes still fixed on the surroundings.

“Broken drive shaft and an oil leak the size of Niagara Falls, Sergeant,” Hansen said, kicking the bumper. “And the tires are blown.”

“Did you hit any rocks?” Terry asked.

“No, I swear I didn’t!”

“Can you get us out of here?”

“Not in this piece of junk. It’s a good thing our loving commanders provided us with… Hold up, where’d the fucking chopper go?”

Terry looked up and searched the sky. Preoccupied with the vehicle, he hadn’t noticed the disappearance of their aerial support.

“I can’t believe it,” he grumbled as he held down the switch on the transmitter attached to his protective vest. “Vanguard to command, our vehicle is immobilized in the middle of unfriendly territory.”

“Command to vanguard, copy that loud and clear,” a choppy voice confirmed.

“Would you be kind enough to inform us of the whereabouts of our backup chopper?”

“Command to vanguard, we’re checking on that.”

“That’s right. Check on it, asshole. And take your sweet time,” Terry sneered after cutting off the transmission.

Beneath the wrecked Humvee, Hansen was cursing up a storm. When he came out a few seconds later, he was wearing a worried look, one that Terry had never seen on him before.

“Dude, there are shards of metal under there. Something busted up our ride.”

“Are you serious? What? A mine would have vaporized us.”

There was no time to get to the bottom of it. Terry knew they couldn’t stay out in the open.

“Guys, we’ll station ourselves in twos behind the rocks on either side of the hill over there,” he ordered. “Hansen’s with Baker. Charlie’s with me. We’ll cover each other while we wait for the cavalry. Go!”

The men started running toward their posts.

The first shot snagged Charlie in the arm. He fell to the sand with all the weight of his massive body. Seconds later another blast caught Baker and sent him flying through the air. He landed on his back, a hole in his belly.

Cut off before they could reach the hill, Terry and Hansen dashed back to the busted vehicle, their only shelter under what was now heavy fire. They hoped to cut off the invisible assailants’ field of vision.

My Review

I absolutely could not wait to get my hands on this book. I’d already devoured the other two books in the series (The Bleiberg Project & The Shiro Project), and I hoped this one would be just as good.

I was not disappointed. As a reader, we find out yet more about the enigmatic Eytan Morgenstern, and this time accompany him, and Eli and Jeremy & Jackie on a fantastic trip. However, my favourite parts of this book were the historical sections, where Khara has given more background on Eytan once he escaped the clutches of Bleiberg. These pieces fit well into the present narrative, deepening the reader’s understanding of Eytan. And the present narrative itself kept me on the edge of my seat, wondering if Eytan and his friends would escape the American military, and the designs of the Consortium.

This book is a fantastic thriller, and not to be missed. I’d even say that it’d be likely that one could read this as a stand-alone novel, but I’d really recommend starting with The Bleiberg Project first.

The Morgenstern ProjectThe Morgenstern Project

(thriller)

(translated by Sophie Weiner)

Release date: April 9, 2015
at Le French Book

260 pages

ISBN: 978-1939474353

Website | Goodreads

***

SYNOPSIS

Past and present collide. When you kill a legend, it becomes inspiration, and you can’t kill inspiration. Jeremy Corbin and Jacqueline Walls lead a calm life in a New Jersey suburb, when one day everything changes. Eytan Morgenstern returns to save them, and this improbably team must take on the Consortium, leading them on an epic journey from London to Tel-Aviv, from the Polish forests to Manhattan high-rises, from the shameful past to the threatening future. After a lifetime of bringing Nazi war criminals to justice, the Mossad operative is once again fighting those who wish to study his superhuman body. The self-sacrificing secret agent must rely on the help of his friends to finally free himself of the physical and emotional scars of his past.

***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shiro project David KharaFrench author David Khara, a former journalist,
top-level sportsman, and entrepreneur,
is a full-time writer. Khara wrote his first novel–a vampire thriller–in 2010, before starting his Consortium thriller series. The first thriller in the series, The Bleiberg Project, was an instant success in France, catapulting Khara into the ranks of the countryís top thriller writers.

Follow David Khara on Twitter
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ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR

Sophie Weiner is a freelance translator and book publishing assistant from Baltimore, Maryland. After earning degrees in French from Bucknell University and New York University, Sophie went on to complete a masterís in literary translation from the Sorbonne, where she focused her thesis on translating wordplay in works by Oulipo authors. She has translated and written for web-based companies dedicated to art, cinema, and fashion as well as for nonprofit organizations. Growing up with Babar, Madeline, and The Little Prince, Sophie was bitten by the Francophile bug at an early age, and is fortunate enough to have lived in Paris, Lille, and the Loire Valley.

***

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
.

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 internationally:
2 US resident winners will receive 1 print copy of The Morgenstern Project
3 winners will receive this book in digital format

***

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Book Review: Runaway, by Krysta Scott

Throughout the other three novellas in this series, Charlotte is always baking, or just about ready to start baking, and I was becoming more curious about her story. While the other women seem to have managed to get away reasonably scot-free from their backgrounds in England, Charlotte is not so lucky. Her jilted fiancé follows her to New York, and it turns out he’s not the pleasant young man everyone thought him to be.

Detective Noble is a fascinating character all his own, and his agonies over his attraction to Charlotte, though she is his number 1 suspect, are very well portrayed. He really fancies Charlotte, but yet, she’s wanted for murder. The push and pull between his heart and his job really give him depth.

The ending was quite satisfying, and as it’s the last of the four I read, a good way to close the series.

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.

Book Review: Reckless, by Kathy L Wheeler

This was the third book I read in the Martini Club 4 series, and I was intrigued to see that it dealt more with the bootlegging side of the 1920s era. During the first two novellas, I wondered about what Meggie was up to, as she flitted in and out of the narratives, always up to something, and appearing when you didn’t expect it.

Turns out, Meggie was out risking her life, and trying to help Eliza escape the clutches of prostitution. She gets into some tight spots, and I was on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next, and if she’d escape danger.

The character of Harry wasn’t quite as sympathetic as Vince (in Eliza’s story), but I still found him quite interesting, especially the balance between good and bad. He’s a bit of a thug, but his rescue and care of Meggie reflects his interior goodness.

It was a satisfying read, and I’d recommend you read all four novellas.

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.

Book Review: Ruined, by Alicia Dean

Ruined was the second of the Martini Club 4 series that I read, and I found it fascinating. Unlike the other stories, this one features a woman who is not aristocratic or wealthy. Eliza is a housemaid in an aristocratic home, and when she fights back against a rape attempt, she thinks she’s killed the man, and must flee. By a stroke of luck, she is taken under the wing of three wealthy young women running away from home, and becomes their fourth companion. Once in New York, Eliza is not quite as lucky, and I found myself feeling quite sympathetic towards her, and wishing she wouldn’t have to go through so much.

I especially liked the full, vivid characterization of Vince Taggart, whose story is told nearly as completely as Eliza’s. He is also quite a sympathetic hero, and he and Eliza are well-matched. I would love to read more about him, and about his boxing career, so I hope the author will write another story :)

I definitely recommend reading all four stories, as they dovetail quite nicely with each other, and they’re all quite good.

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.

Book Review: Rebellious, by Amanda McCabe

Rebellious was the first book I read of the Martini Club 4 series, and it really set the scene. Four young women run away from their homes and lives in England in order to make their way as independent women in New York City. I already have a bit of a thing for the 1920s, so it was easy to get caught up in this book (and the others in the series).

Lady Jessica is quite the bluestocking, and determined to write more than just society columns and gardening party reports in the newspaper. This determination gets her into a heap of trouble when she begins frequenting a (very illegal) speakeasy. Her curiosity leads her to investigate the club’s owner, and she begins to unravel his secrets, which then (of course) leads to more trouble.

I loved that this novella was closely wrapped up with the other books, although as this was the first I read, I hadn’t realized how closely they would correspond. On reading the other three in the series, I started to see that each story was running concurrently, and I went back to re-read this one to see what I might have missed.

I’d definitely recommend reading all four! (and I will be reviewing the other three in the series soon!)

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…

Book Review: Scent of Triumph, by Jan Moran (+ giveaway!)

My review (for giveaway, see below!)

At first, the novel reminded me a bit of MJ Rose’s works (as she has books featuring perfumers), but MJ’s works are always somewhat supernatural, whereas this is not (and believe me, it doesn’t suffer for it at all.) Having just finished reading a book on Chanel, this one was a perfect follow-up, as Danielle Bretancourt is a very similar strong woman, and involved in similar work. Although Chanel was not a perfumer herself, and Danielle is. And I found the Hollywood life to be fascinating, and how Danielle struggles to succeed in her new life. (Chanel went to Hollywood only briefly.)

What I loved most about this book is that it felt epic. The word itself is perhaps a bit of an exaggeration, but it will do. There was a real sense of time and of history. This wasn’t a book that takes place within a few weeks or months; we get years of Danielle’s life, and get to really know her. There are threads of romance, history… really there’s a bit in this book for everyone. I’m definitely going to look into the author’s other works now that I’ve read this one.

SCENT OF TRIUMPHScent of Triumph:
A Novel of Perfume And Passion

(historical novel)

Release date: March 31, 2015
at St. Martin’s Press
384 pages

ISBN: 9781250048905

***

SYNOPSIS

Perfume is the essence of beauty, the heart of illusion, the soul of desire. It is my past, my present, my future. -from the journal of Danielle Bretancourt

When French perfumer and aristocrat Danielle Bretancourt steps aboard a luxury ocean liner, leaving her son behind in Poland with his grandmother, she has no idea that her life is about to change forever. The year is 1939, and the declaration of war on the European continent soon threatens her beloved family, scattered across many countries. Traveling through London and Paris into occupied Poland, Danielle searches desperately for the remains of her family, relying on the strength of Jonathan Newell-Grey, a British shipping heir and Royal Navy officer. Finally, in the wake of unspeakable tragedy, she is forced to gather the fragments of her impoverished family and flee to America. There she vows to begin life anew, in 1940s Los Angeles.

Amidst the glamour of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Danielle works her way up from meagre jobs to perfumer and fashion designer. Still, personal happiness eludes her. Can her sheer force of will attract the elusive love she desires, or will it only come at the ultimate cost?

***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Scent of Triumph - Jan MoranJAN MORAN is the author of Fabulous Fragrances I and II,
which earned spots on the Rizzoli Bookstore bestseller list,
and other contemporary novels,
including Flawless, Beauty Mark, and Runway.
A fragrance and beauty industry expert,
she has been featured on CNN, Instyle, and O Magazine,
and has spoken before prestigious organizations,
including The American Society of Perfumers.
She earned her MBA from Harvard Business School
and attended the University of California at Los Angeles Extension Writersí Program.

Visit her website. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest

Subscribe to her newsletter

Go deeper with her Reader’s Discussion Guide
***

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IndieBound | Powell’s | Books A Million | Kobo | eBooks.com | GooglePlay

***

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
.

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 internationally:
1 winner will receive 1 print copy of Scent of Triumph

*

Scent of Triumph Vintage Perfumes

BONUS OFFERED BY THE AUTHOR
ñ independently from this book tour ñ
With every purchase of Scent of Triumph,
she is offering a free ebook of Vintage Perfumes,
a nonfiction guide to the finest classic perfumes, for epub and mobi.
Just email her some proof of your purchase
(receipt, email receipt, photo of yourself with the book or ebook on your reader, etc.),
and she will send you the free ebook of Vintage Perfumes.
*

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