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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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.

 

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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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

You must read this book. TEXT ME, CUPID is amazing!

M. Jane Colette has a steamy (very steamy) rom-com releasing just in time for the holidays! To celebrate, she’s sharing with us a short video, your choice of an NSFW (so dirty) or Cleanish (it is M. Jane Colette, so it’s as clean as she could manage–it was hard) excerpt, and a chance to win a PRINT copy of Text Me, Cupid. Check it out:

Text Me, Cupid

a (slightly) dirty love story for 21st century adults who don’t believe in true love… but want it anyway

by M. Jane Colette

Genres: contemporary romance, romantic comedy, steamy (occasionally filthy)

HOLIDAY STRESS HAS NEVER BEEN THIS HOT

MEET FLORENCE: I’ve done this before, looking for a partner or soul mate or someone-to-grow-to-love, and you know what? I’m done with that. Honestly. I’m just looking for some casual sex.  All I’m interested in is a one-night stand, or several—not all of them with you. Just making it clear that I’m interested in playing with multiple partners. I don’t want to get attached and I don’t want you to get attached.

MEET WILL: I’m reeling from a recent divorce and incapable of having a meaningful relationship, possibly even a meaningful conversation. The only upside to my situation is that after fifteen years of monogamy I get to chase all the strange I want.

He’s freshly divorced and in denial. She’s twice-burnt and prickly. They’re a terrible idea. They know this. But every time their eyes meet, their clothes come off. Still—they’re not going to fall in love. They are not.

Not even if this one night stand has 365 days.

WANT A TASTE?

Here’s M. Jane Colette reading a semi-steamy (but still safe for YouTube and Facebook) excerpt from Text Me, Cupid:

Prefer to read?

WANT THE WHOLE THING?

Price: $3.99 US (ebook), $14.99 US (paperback), $9.99-$19.99 (audiobook)

BIO:

M. Jane Colette writes tragedy for those who like to laugh, comedy for the melancholy, and erotica for people who like their fantasies real. She believes rules and hearts were made to be broken; ditto the constraints of genres. Her novels include Tell Me, Consequences (of defensive adultery), and the award-winning rom-com Cherry Pie Cure.

WANT TO WIN?

Click here to enter on RAFFLECOPTER by December 16, 2018 to win a signed PRINT copy of
TEXT ME, CUPID
M. Jane Colette will ship anywhere in the world (because she’s crazy)

ADVANCE PRAISE

“I couldn’t stop reading this! The waiting, the need, the want, the desire… the story is a rollercoaster and I love it. Will and Florence are so vivid on the page, I was in agony with them from the start.” Alyssa Linn Palmer, author of Midnight at the Orpheus and Le Chat Rouge series

“No one does angst, family drama, hilarity, joy and eroticism better than M. Jane Colette!” DIANA SOBOLEWSKI, author of The Desire & Luxury Wine Series, (on Messy Christmas, Episode 1 of Text Me, Cupid)

“Text Me, Cupid was the first story I’d read by M. Jane Colette, and I love her fresh, taut style. Every word, every sentence counts. It’s smart and sexy. I can’t wait to read the rest!” Michelle Orloff, GoodReads + Amazon.com ARC Review of Delayed Valentine, Episode 2 of Text Me, Cupid

“M. Jane Colette writes complicated relationship dynamics into story lines that keep you off balance but leave you smiling in the end.” Amazon.ca Verified Purchase Review, Delayed Valentine, Episode 2 of Text Me, Cupid

“She spotlights those less than perfect relationships; often the source of hilarity in this author’s work. M. Jane Colette has a unique writing style. At least it’s unique to me. She believes in short sentences and sparse dialogue. Don’t worry, you will not be short changed in any respect. You’ll visualize and experience everything you’re meant to, including the angst, the joy, the funny bits and all of the eroticism. This author doesn’t succeed despite her minimalist approach. She succeeds because of it. M. Jane Colette has mastered doing more with less.” Amazon.ca Verified Purchase Review, (on Messy Christmas, Episode 1 of Text Me, Cupid)

“M. Jane Colette knows how to write characters.” Caught Between The Pages (on Consequences)

“I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a sexy, intelligent, complicated, and fascinating read about relationships that are as complex and difficult and wonderful and confusing as most relationships usually are.” Grey Matter (on Tell Me)

“This book is a cure for divorce, depression, loneliness, boredom, you name it. Laugh-out-loud funny  from the first page!” Holly Owen, Alberta Romance Writers’ Association (on Cherry Pie Cure)

“Warning: You may breakout in spontaneous laughter, develop cravings for baked goods and become a life-long devotee of the author!” Carrie Austin Reviews (on Cherry Pie Cure)

WANT TO HEAT UP YOUR HOLIDAYS?

Price: $3.99 US (ebook), $14.99 US (paperback), $9.99-$19.99 (audiobook)

TEXT ME, CUPID online LAUNCH party #textmecupid   C.R. Moss (Tues, Nov 26, 2018)   Sip, Read, Love (Thurs, Nov 28, 2018)   Alyssa Linn Palmer (Sat., Nov 30, 2018)   UnConventional Bookworms (Mon, Dec 3, 2018)   Romance Novel Giveaways (Wed, Dec 5, 2018)   SJ’s Book Blog (Thurs, Dec 6, 2018)   Cameron Allie (Fri, Dec 7, 2018)  Dirty Bad Bloggers (Sat, Dec 8, 2018)  The Genre Minx Book Reviews (Sun, Dec 9, 2018)  Amanda Siegrist (Mon, Dec 10, 2018)  Stephanie’s Book Reports (Tues, Dec 11, 2018)  2 Chicks & A Book (Wed, Dec 12, 2018)  Angelica Dawson (Thurs, Dec 13, 2018)  Roxana Nastase (Fri, Dec 14, 2018)

 

Book review & giveaway: Paris Ever After, by K.S.R. Burns

Paris Ever AfterK.S.R. Burns

on Tour May 1-14 with

Paris Ever After

(women’s fiction)
Release date: May 1st, 2018
at Velvet Morning Press
ASIN: B079H32ND3
260 pages
Author’s website
Goodreads

 

SYNOPSIS

Can Amy’s rocky start in Paris turn into a happy ever after?

Amy didn’t realize how stale her life was until she jetted off to Paris without telling a soul—not even her husband—and had the adventure of a lifetime. Now as she tries to establish herself in the City of Light, she finds that despite a fun (and quirky) group of friends and the ability to indulge in French pastries whenever she wants, reinventing her life is much harder than she imagined.

Then on Amy’s thirtieth birthday, two unexpected visitors leave her wondering if she will soon be saying au revoir to Paris and the new life she’s struggled to build. Her estranged husband, Will, shows up—but is he interested in reconciliation or separation? And a young woman who arrives on Amy’s doorstep unleashes chaos that could push Amy out into the street.

As Amy’s Parisian dream starts to fall apart, she must decide: return to the stability of Will and Phoenix (if that’s even still an option) or forge her way forward in Paris? Amid secrets and surprises, set in enchanting gardens, cozy cafés, and glittering Parisian streets, Amy must choose between two very different worlds. And each has a claim on her heart.

***

MY REVIEW

I’ve read The Paris Effect (and reviewed it) and it didn’t take me long to dive right back in for its sequel (which I’d wished for, and so glad the author delivered!). Amy has established a life in Paris, though one that still seems a bit tenuous, as she is relying upon the goodwill of her friend Margaret for a place to live. She finds this to indeed be tenuous when Margaret has an unexpected guest, and that change leaves her more vulnerable than she expected.

It’s a struggle to write this review without giving away spoilers, so it’s going to be a bit short. Amy’s complications mount, and I couldn’t put this book down, wondering what would happen next, and how she’d get herself out of all the difficulties. I also was reading this on the plane on my way home from a trip to Paris, and I loved being able to relive some spots I’d visited. I may even have to re-read The Paris Effect, and then read this one again, just to have that fun once more.

I’m delighted to hear that The Paris Effect has been optioned for film rights. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll be able to see the film/tv program soon!

NB: The author’s previous book, The Paris Effect, featured here on France Book Tours, was just optioned for Film & TV!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

k-s-r-burns

K. S. R. Burns
is the author of the Amazon bestseller, THE PARIS EFFECT, its upcoming standalone sequel PARIS EVER AFTER, and THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF WORKING GIRL: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use. She has lived and worked in four countries and 22 cities, including Paris. No longer a wanderer, Burns now resides in the Pacific Northwest, where in addition to novels she writes a weekly career advice column for The Seattle Times.

Visit her website.
Follow her on Facebook, Twitter

Subscribe to her newsletter

Buy the book: Amazon | Kobo | iTunes | Nook

***

GIVEAWAY

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
5 winners

***

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

Paris Ever After banner

 

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Book review: The Last Days of Oscar Wilde, by John Vanderslice

About The Last Days of Oscar Wilde

• Paperback: 350 pages
• Publisher: Burlesque Press, LLC (January 15, 2018)

How is it possible that the genius author of such 19th century classics as The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest died destitute in Paris at the age of 46? In John Vanderslice’s vivid and heartbreaking novel, we meet Oscar Wilde after a two year incarceration in an English prison for gross indecency. Once free, his reputation and finances in ruins, he leaves England for Paris where, frequently inebriated, he stays in shabby hotel rooms paid for by his few, remaining friends.

In Vanderslice’s deftly-imagined portrayal, Wilde’s idiosyncratic and affecting greatness is revealed. Through his thoughts and interactions, we experience the heart and mind of a literary giant brought down by the “morals” of his time. For a while, Wilde manages to maintain his legendary sense of humor and joie de vivre, a superstitious religiosity, and the dogged pursuit of beautiful young men. Sadly, the formerly prolific author and raconteur no longer has the desire to write. Instead, he distantly observes the world and is ultimately felled by serious illness. It is at his funeral that his artistic reputation begins its slow rehabilitation as friends and a small devoted public flock to the church to honor the artist, who spoke openly about homosexuality, the hypocrisy of Victorian values, and the importance of art for art’s sake.

My Review

Almost immediately, you’re drawn into Oscar Wilde’s life. It only takes a page or two, and his personality is so vivid that I began to feel as if I might know him. I don’t know much about Wilde historically, so I can’t speak as to the accuracy (or not) of this fictional story to the real history, but to me it was very good at painting a vibrant picture of not only his life, but of Paris at the time.

I really felt for Wilde, and I knew that his decline was coming as I read, but the last part portrayed it well, in fits and starts as I’d imagine his last days would seem, sober and then not, in pain and then not. The book gives me a greater appreciation of Wilde, and I will have to seek out more of his work (I’ve only read Dorian Grey).

I’m also impressed with the writing of the author, John Vanderslice. I may also be looking up some of his other works, too!

I was provided this book by the author for an honest review.

Praise

“With elegant prose and a glittering wit of which Wilde himself would approve, John Vanderslice brings to life this agent provocateur’s final act. Masterfully merges insight and imagination with the historical and literary record to provide a portrait that is rich and nuanced and utterly compelling.” – Rachel Hall, author of Heirlooms.

“John Vanderslice lays bare the consequences of Wilde’s betrayal by those whom he loved and trusted. The Last Days of Oscar Wilde is a grim reminder of the destructive power of senseless persecution.” —Jennifer Steil, author of The Woman Who Fell From the Sky.

“A quiet, tender portrait of a literary giant.” Kirkus Reviews

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About John Vanderslice

John Vanderslice is the author of Island Fog (Lavender Ink), a collection of ten stories and two novellas set on Nantucket Island, named by Library Journal as one of the Top 15 Indie Fiction titles of 2014. A native of the Washington DC area, John has an MFA from George Mason University and a PhD from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette (ULL). After graduating from ULL in 1997, he began teaching at the University of Central Arkansas (UCA), where he is a much loved professor of writing. His fiction has been published in many leading journals, as well as several anthologies, including Chick for a Day and The Best of The First Line.

Book review, excerpt & giveaway: One Sip at a Time, by Keith Van Sickle

One Sip at a TimeKeith Van Sickle

on Tour November 6-17 with

One Sip at a Time:
Learning to Live in Provence

(travel memoir)
Release date: January 28, 2017
at Dresher Publishing
ISBN: 978-0998312002
192 pages
Author’s page | Goodreads

 

SYNOPSIS

Can a two-career couple really pick up stakes and move to Provence?

Keith and Val had a dream – to live in Provence, the land of brilliant sunlight, charming hilltop villages and the deep blue waters of the Mediterranean. But there were two problems: they weren’t French speakers and they had full-time jobs. So they came up with a plan…

Follow their adventures (and misadventures) as they quit their jobs, become consultants and split their time between two countries. Laugh along as they build a life in Provence, slowly mastering a new language and making friends with the locals over long meals and just a bit too much wine.

If you’ve ever dreamed of changing gears and learning what joie de vivre is really all about, you won’t want to miss this delightful book.

EXCERPT

Fear the Beard
My beard trimmer broke so I went to buy a new one at the Intermarché.  I found it on the same aisle that had hair dryers and curling irons and things like that.  Except that the beard trimmers were kept in a locked cabinet.  Quoi?

I tracked down a clerk and asked her to unlock the cabinet so I could get the one I wanted, one that only cost about twenty bucks.  She took it out but wouldn’t give it to me. No, no, that would not be secure, monsieur!  Beard trimmers must follow a special security procedure! I think it must be like the one for a nuclear weapons factory.

First, I was told to go to the “Special Bureau” at the front of the store.  I did that, expecting the lady there to give me the beard trimmer so I could go pay.  Oh no, monsieur!  That would not be secure!  Instead, she gave me a long code to hand to the clerk in the checkout line. This mystified the poor clerk, who must only deal with women, children and clean-shaven men.

But eventually we sorted it out. I paid him and got another piece of paper, this one with a new code, to take back to the Special Bureau.

At this point, I was nervously expecting a retinal scan or maybe a cavity search, but happily I got my beard trimmer.

I asked the lady at the Special Bureau why beard trimmers were kept locked up while the much more expensive hair dryers were not.  She looked around carefully, leaned forward and said in a low voice, “Because of the thieves!”

Yes, it seems that beard trimmers were the most-stolen items in Intermarché stores
nationwide, thus prompting the lockdown.  I thanked her for this important news and held the trimmer tightly, scanning the parking lot as I walked carefully to my car.

Later I thought, is this really the best way to deal with the nationwide epidemic of beard
trimmer robberies? Is French society well served by having its thieves unable to trim their
beards, eventually looking like refugees from a ZZ Top concert? Maybe I should lead the other men in town for a protest march, a very French thing to do.
After trimming my beard, of course.

MY REVIEW

The title really says it all. One sip at a time. Lots of short pieces on living in Provence, and it’s easy to read a few in one sitting, or many (how about half the book? Let’s just say dinner was late that night!) As a not very skilled speaker of French, I could feel awkward along with them, and wince or nod or smile, and then laugh. The stories really make me want to go to Provence!

One anecdote that especially made me chuckle (and wince!) was France’s Worst Off-Ramp. Who knew that the French too had horribly designed roads? No traffic circles, cloverleafs…. just survival of the fittest. I wanted to clench my steering wheel with white-knuckled hands, if I’d had a steering wheel.

This book was a welcome indulgence, a way to live vicariously through the fun and travails of others. Now, though, I think I need to go book a trip to France.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

One Sip at a Time Keith Van Sickle

Keith Van Sickle
is a technology industry veteran
and lifelong traveler
who got his first taste of overseas life
while studying in England during college.
But it was the expat assignment to Switzerland
that made him really fall in love with Europe.
After returning to California, he and his wife Val dreamed of living abroad again
but were unable to find another expat gig.
So they decided to invent their own.
Now they split their time between Silicon Valley and St-Rémy-de-Provence,
delving ever deeper into what makes France so endlessly fascinating.

Find the author on Facebook and Twitter
Visit his website

Subscribe to his mailing list and get information about new releases.

Buy the book on Amazon.com

***

GIVEAWAY

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
5 winners

***

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EXCERPTS, AND GUEST-POST

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Book review & giveaway: Drawing Lessons, by Patricia Sands

Drawing LessonsPatricia Sands

on Tour October 2-13 with

Drawing Lessons

(women’s fiction)
Release date: October 1, 2017
at Lake Union Publishing

ISBN: 978-1542045872
352 pages
Author’s page | Goodreads

 

SYNOPSIS

The author of the Love in Provence series returns to the South of France with a poignant portrait of a woman who must learn how to create a new life for herself…

Sixty-two-year-old Arianna arrives in the South of France for a two-week artists’ workshop full of anticipation but burdened by guilt. Back home in Toronto, she has been living with the devastating diagnosis of her husband’s dementia and the heartbreak of watching the man she has loved for decades slip away before her eyes. What does her future hold without Ben? Before her is a blank canvas.

Encouraged by her family to take some time for herself, she has traveled to Arles to set up her easel in the same fields of poppies and sunflowers that inspired Van Gogh. Gradually, she rediscovers the inner artist she abandoned long ago. Drawing strength from the warm companionship and gentle wisdom of her fellow artists at the retreat—as well as the vitality of guest lecturer Jacques de Villeneuve, an artist and a cowboy—Arianna searches her heart for permission to embrace the life in front of her and, like the sunflowers, once again face the light.

MY REVIEW

I’ve read Ms. Sands’ book Promise of Provence and quite enjoyed it, so I was excited to be able to read and review Drawing Lessons as well. Her descriptions of France and of her characters are so vivid that I find it quite easy to bring them all to life in my mind. Of course, it also makes me wish I could be there with them! In this case, in Arles, creating art.

I really felt for Arianna in this novel as Ms. Sands skilfully took me through her everyday life, and the difficulties and sadness that she was experiencing. I wanted to reach through the pages and hug her. Dementia of a loved one is a tough challenge to meet, especially when it progresses to the point that your loved one remembers little to nothing of their family and friends.

This book was on the quieter, introspective side, and it was just what I was looking for.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I Promise You This Patricia SandsPatricia Sands
lives in Toronto,
but her heart’s other home is the South of France.
An avid traveler, she spends part of each year
on the Côte d’Azur
and occasionally leads groups of women
on tours of the Riviera and Provence.
Her award-winning 2010 debut novel, The Bridge Club,
is a book-group favorite,
and The Promise of Provence, which launched her three-part Love in Provence series
(followed by Promises to Keep and I Promise You This),
was a finalist for a 2013 USA Best Book Award
and a 2014 National Indie Excellence Award,
was an Amazon Hot New Release in April 2013,
and was a 2015 nominee for a #RBRT Golden Rose award in the category of romance.
Sands also contributes to such Francophile websites as The Good Life France
and Perfectly Provence, and she appears as a public speaker for women’s groups.

Find Patricia on Facebook,
on Twitter
on Instagram
at her Amazon Author Page
or her website

Subscribe to her mailing list and get information about new releases.

Buy the book on Amazon.com

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Book review & giveaway: That Spring In Paris, by Ciji Ware

That Spring in ParisCiji Ware

on Tour August 15-28 with

That Spring in Paris

(women’s fiction / romance)
Release date: May 25, 2017
at Lion’s Paw Publishing
ISBN: 978-0988940871
ebook: 978-0988940864
468 pages
Website
Goodreads

SYNOPSIS

Two Americans literally collide at the entrance to a Paris hospital, each desperately searching for friends felled in the same unspeakable tragedy.

Patrick Finley Deschanel, an expatriate former U.S. Air Force pilot, quit the military after a career flying helicopter rescue missions in the Middle East. Now resident on a classic barge moored on the Seine, Finn is a man with both physical battle scars and psychic wounds that overshadow his day-to-day encounters at every turn.

Juliet Thayer is a fledgling landscape painter who seeks escape from a tyrannical older brother and her job at his violent video war games company in San Francisco. Her emergency trip to Paris also raises doubts as to her impending engagement to a colleague where she serves as packaging design director and “Chief Branding Officer” of GatherGames, a highly speculative enterprise in which her parents are heavily invested.

As Finn and Juliet form a tenuous attachment in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks that traumatized the French capital November 13, 2015, they wonder if the “City of Light” can provide a path out of the darkness for two emotional exiles who fear–along with the world at large—that their universe has descended into a permanent state of chaos and that the renewal of spring might never come.

New York Times bestselling novelist and Emmy-award winning news producer Ciji Ware displays her formidable skill at weaving fact and fiction–delivering a gripping story about the discovery of love and regained serenity in the wake of horrifying events.

MY REVIEW

It didn’t take me long to become immersed in this book, set as it was during some very recent events. The terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015, are still a very fresh memory, albeit one made by television and internet news sources (for me, at least). But the author didn’t sensationalize the attacks; her characters were affected by them, and the attacks formed the catalyst for the book, but the events were treated with sensitivity.

The characters were engaging, and I felt I could relate to both Finn and Juliet, though I am neither soldier nor game developer. I especially felt for Juliet, trying so hard to support her family, even though she was becoming increasingly unhappy in her role, and for having to deal with parents that treated her brother as the golden child. Finn’s struggle was portrayed well, and I felt both characters had depth.

There was romance, but it did not overtake the rest of the story; the author had a good balance between the external and internal plots, the personal struggles of both characters, and their growing support of each other. It was a book that was hard to put down, and it had a satisfying conclusion. I’ll be going to find more of this author’s work for sure.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

That Spring in Paris - Ciji Ware

Ciji Ware,
a graduate of Harvard University in History,
is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author
of historical and contemporary fiction,
and two works of nonfiction.
An Emmy-award winning
former radio and TV broadcaster for 23 years in Los Angeles,
her numerous writing accolades include a Dorothy Parker Award of excellence,
and being short-listed for the Willa [Cather] Literary Award.
Her family circle includes a husband of many decades,
a grown son and daughter-in-law, and now two grandsons under four,
along with a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Cholly Knickerbocker.
Ware lives in a cottage by the sea on San Francisco Bay.

Visit her website
Follow her on Facebook and Twitter

Buy the book: Amazon | B&N Nook | iBook | Kobo

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Book review & giveaway: The Madeleine Project, by Clara Beaudoux

Madeleine Project-CoverClara Beaudoux

on Tour July 12-18 with

The Madeleine Project

(biography/history)
Release date: September 12, 2017
at New Vessel Press
ISBN: 978-1939931498
288 pages
Website
Goodreads

SYNOPSIS

A young woman moves into a Paris apartment and discovers a storage room filled with the belongings of the previous owner, a certain Madeleine who died in her late nineties, and whose treasured possessions nobody seems to want. In an audacious act of journalism driven by personal curiosity and humane tenderness, Clara Beaudoux embarks on The Madeleine Project, documenting what she finds on Twitter with text and photographs, introducing the world to an unsung 20th century figure. Along the way, she uncovers a Parisian life indelibly marked by European history. This is a graphic novel for the Twitter age, a true story that encapsulates one woman’s attempt to live a life of love and meaning together with a contemporary quest to prevent that existence from slipping into oblivion.
Through it all, The Madeleine Project movingly chronicles, and allows us to reconstruct, intimate memories of a bygone era.

MY REVIEW

The blurb for this book fascinated me, as I’ve always wanted to be the fortunate one to discover a treasure trove of personal items from a time past. (So far, I haven’t had much luck!) The book covers the first two “seasons” where Clara finds and begins to dig through Madeleine’s effects, left in the cellar in suitcases and boxes. Each little bit of the past intrigued me, and though I enjoyed the book, it was also frustrating. The format is such that the pages are filled with the author’s Twitter posts. Nothing wrong with that overall, but you can’t enlarge any of the photographs she’s placed in the tweets. For me, liking detail, it defeats the purpose of the book altogether.

I did, however, go find the author’s website and read through all four seasons, clicking happily to enlarge photos or to watch video. It was far more satisfying. (go here: http://madeleineproject.fr/ — Google can translate a lot of it for you if you don’t speak French, though Chrome doesn’t seem to like translating the storify’d pages of tweets.) I expect this book would be better in its print format than on ebook (I was provided a copy of the PDF via Edelweiss, which I found limiting), as a record of Clara’s experiences.

Don’t let the formatting put you off; the material itself was fantastic and fascinating.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Madeleine Project-Beaudoux

Clara Beaudoux
is a Paris-based journalist for the France Info news network.
The Madeleine Project has been wildly popular in France.
You can follow her on Twitter at @Clarabdx

In French: on Facebook, The Madeleine Project page,
and the author’s main website

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Buy the book: on Indiebound | on Amazon

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Book review, excerpt & giveaway: The Enemies of Versailles, by Sally Christie

enemies-of-versaillesSally Christie

on Tour March 20-31 with

The Enemies of Versailles
(historical fiction)
Release date: March 21, 2017
at Atria Books/Simon & Schuster
416 pages
ISBN: 978-1501103025

Website | Goodreads

SYNOPSIS

In the final installment of Sally Christie’s “tantalizing” (New York Daily News) Mistresses of Versailles trilogy, Jeanne Becu, a woman of astounding beauty but humble birth, works her way from the grimy back streets of Paris to the palace of Versailles, where the aging King Louis XV has become a jaded and bitter old philanderer. Jeanne bursts into his life and, as the Comtesse du Barry, quickly becomes his official mistress.
“That beastly bourgeois Pompadour was one thing; a common prostitute is quite another kettle of fish.”
After decades of suffering the King’s endless stream of Royal Favorites, the princesses of the Court have reached a breaking point. Horrified that he would bring the lowborn Comtesse du Barry into the hallowed halls of Versailles, Louis XV’s daughters, led by the indomitable Madame Adelaide, vow eternal enmity and enlist the young dauphiness Marie Antoinette in their fight against the new mistress. But as tensions rise and the French Revolution draws closer, a prostitute in the palace soon becomes the least of the nobility’s concerns.
Told in Christie’s witty and engaging style, the final book in The Mistresses of Versailles trilogy will delight and entrance fans as it once again brings to life the sumptuous and cruel world of eighteenth century Versailles, and France as it approaches irrevocable change.
MY REVIEW
I knew very little about this part of French history, aside from the very basics of Marie Antoinette’s story (though as I recently read Will Bashor’s new book, I know a lot more about Marie Antoinette and her time in prison, I’ve begun to know more), and I had only passing knowledge of the Comtesse du Barry, and less still of the king’s daughter, Adelaide.
I should have known there’d be scheming, and lots of it. Even from prim and proper Adelaide, though a lot of hers seemed to stem from her desire to be pleasing to her father and to have his company. The scheming of the du Barrys (and not just the Comtesse) was staggering, and even a bit cringe-worthy. From the first (getting Jeanne married to a du Barry) and then further one (trying to get the king to marry her), sometimes I wanted to slap her (and her associates) and other times look on in wide-eyed admiration for their nerve/gall. And yet, all the women in this book, particularly the main players, seem somewhat let down by their circumstances. If only they’d been able to do something with their lives beyond scheming and men and position. But given the period, of course, women weren’t even full citizens yet, if I recall correctly. So their roles are not surprising.
This is a great book, very rich in detail, and entertaining. It’s a good way to get an introduction to the period that won’t bore you with a dry history tome. I really need to make a point of reading the other two books in the series, because they sound quite good.
EXCERPT
excerpt-enemies

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sisters of Versailles - Sally Christie

Sally Christie
is the author of The Sisters of Versailles
and
The Rivals of Versailles.
She was born in England and grew up around the world,
attending eight schools in three different languages.
She spent most of her career working
in international development and currently lives in Toronto.

Learn more her Versailles trilogy on her website
Become a fan to hear about her next novels!

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Follow Simon & Schuster on Twitter and Facebook

 

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.

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