*UPDATE*

I have updated my review and giveaway policies page (now just titled Policies above). If you are entering a giveaway, please read and abide by the applicable policy.

Attention Authors! If you arrived here looking for information on the Two Sides to Every Story guest post series, see the tab at the top of the page for more info!


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Monday, June 26, 2017

DNF Discussions: The Summer Garden by Paullina Simons

the summer garden
The Summer Garden by Paullina Simons
Book 3 in The Bronze Horseman series
e-Book and Paperback; 752 pages
William Morrow Paperbacks
June 21, 2011
DNF
goodreads button

Genre: Historical Fiction

Source: Received from William Morrow for review

Book Blurb:

Through years of war and devastation, Tatiana and Alexander suffered the worst the twentieth century had to offer. Miraculously reunited in America, they now have a beautiful son, Anthony, the gift of a love strong enough to survive the most terrible upheavals. Though they are still young, the ordeals they endured have changed them--and after living apart in a world laid waste, they must now find a way to live together in postwar America.

With the Cold War rising, dark forces at work in their adopted country threaten their lives, their family, and their hard-won peace. To regain the happiness they once knew, to wash away the lingering pain of the past, two lovers grown distant must somehow forge a new life . . .or watch the ghosts of their yesterdays destroy their firstborn son.

The Summer Garden . . . their odyssey is just beginning.

Oh how I wanted to love this story!  I really, really did!  And I gave it such a valiant effort – I’ve been attempting to go back and finish this book four times since I started it in 2014 and I’ve only made it 33% of the way through, which in a book of this length is about 250 pages.  I LOVED the first two books, The Bronze Horseman and Tatiana and Alexander (my reviews are linked).  However, The Summer Garden just didn’t do the same for me.  This book felt SLLLLOOOOWWWW….  Where the other two books zipped along and had a lot of action (both of the battlefield and romance variety), The Summer Garden just plods nowhere.  Alexander is simply brooding and inside himself, Tatiana keeps worrying about him, and at least as far as I made it, nothing else happens.  It is BORING.  I understand that the author is attempting to deal with all the psychological drama that they encountered during the events of the first two books, but I just couldn’t become interested in these characters that I had loved in the first two novels.  While I want to know what the end result is for these two, I can’t push myself through another 500 pages of what I read so far.



Copyright © 2017 by The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Cover Crush: The Time Between

cover crush

We can all say that you should never judge a book by its cover, but I guarantee that we all have done so at least once! Cover Crush is designed to feature some of those covers that have caught the eye as a standout on the bookshelf.

the time between

I read this book awhile back, but I do still love this cover.  It’s a very sweet image: a young woman at the edge of the ocean looking out at its great expanse.  It doesn’t give you many clues to go on as to what the book will be about, which is ok.  I feel like I have been this girl before and that’s what draws me in.  It’s very simple, serene, and quietly beautiful.

What are your thoughts on this cover?

I wonder what my friends are crushing on this week? Let’s check it out: A Bookaholic Swede; 2 Kids and Tired Books; A Literary Vacation; Of Quills and Vellum; Layered Pages.   

keep calm and support book bloggers



Copyright © 2017 by The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Wishlist 5: Alternate History Novels

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Once a month I am planning on sharing with you all 5 of my biggest wish list books broken up by theme.  I know that you all need more on your TBR!!!  I have never read an alternate history novel, but I have been intrigued by them for awhile.  I think it would be cool to explore certain historical possibilities, but at the same time (at least for me) the author needs to walk a fine line of believability in order for me to want to buy into it.  Here are a few that have piqued by interest.

Lincoln’s Bodyguard by T.J. Turner

lincoln's bodyguardIn "Lincoln s Bodyguard," an alternative version of American history, President Lincoln is saved from assassination. Though he prophesied his own death the only way he believed the South would truly surrender Lincoln never accounted for the heroics of his bodyguard, Joseph Foster. A biracial mix of white and Miami Indian, Joseph makes an enemy of the South by killing John Wilkes Booth and preventing the death of the president. His wife is murdered and his daughter kidnapped, sending Joseph on a revenge-fueled rampage to recover his daughter. When his search fails, he disappears as the nation falls into a simmering insurgency instead of an end to the War. Years later, Joseph is still running from his past when he receives a letter from Lincoln pleading for help. The President has a secret mission. Pursued from the outset, Joseph turns to the only person who might help, the woman he abandoned years earlier. If he can win Molly over, he might just fulfill the President s urgent request, find his daughter, and maybe even hasten the end of the War."

11/23/63 by Stephen King

112363Life can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away...but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. How? By stepping through a portal in the diner’s storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke... Finding himself in warmhearted Jodie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is about to be rewritten...and become heart-stoppingly suspenseful.

Dominion by C.J. Sansom

dominionThe Great Smog. London. A dense, choking fog engulfs the city and beneath it, history is re-written . . .

1952. Twelve years have passed since Churchill lost to the appeasers and Britain surrendered to Nazi Germany after Dunkirk. As the long German war against Russia rages on in the east, the British people find themselves under dark authoritarian rule: the press, radio and television are controlled; the streets patrolled by violent auxiliary police and British Jews face ever greater constraints. There are terrible rumours too about what is happening in the basement of the German Embassy at Senate House. Defiance, though, is growing. In Britain, Winston Churchill's Resistance organization is increasingly a thorn in the government's side. And in a Birmingham mental hospital an incarcerated scientist, Frank Muncaster, may hold a secret that could change the balance of the world struggle for ever.

Civil Servant David Fitzgerald, secretly acting as a spy for the Resistance, is given the mission to rescue his old friend Frank and get him out of the country. Before long he, together with a disparate group of Resistance activists, will find themselves fugitives in the midst of London's Great Smog; as David's wife Sarah finds herself drawn into a world more terrifying than she ever could have imagined. And hard on their heels is Gestapo Sturmbannfuhrer Gunther Hoth, brilliant, implacable hunter of men . . .

At once a vivid, haunting reimagining of 1950s Britain, a gripping, humane spy thriller and a poignant love story, with Dominion C. J. Sansom once again asserts himself as the master of the historical novel.

1812: The Rivers of War by Eric Flint

1812Eric Flint's acclaimed 1634: The Galileo Affair was a national bestseller from one of the most talked-about voices in his field. Now, in this extraordinary new alternate history, Flint begins a dramatic saga of the North American continent at a dire turning point, forging its identity and its future in the face of revolt from within, and attack from without.

In the War of 1812, U.S. troops are battling the British on the Canadian border, even as a fierce fight is being waged against the Creek followers of the Indian leader Tecumseh and his brother, known as The Prophet. In Europe, Napoleon Bonaparte's war has become a losing proposition, and the British are only months away from unleashing a frightening assault on Washington itself. Fateful choices are being made in the corridors of power and on the American frontier. As Andrew Jackson, backed by Cherokee warriors, leads a fierce attack on the Creek tribes, his young republic will soon need every citizen soldier it can find.

What if-at this critical moment-bonds were forged between men of different races and tribes? What if the Cherokee clans were able to muster an integrated front, and the U.S. government faced a united Indian nation bolstered by escaping slaves, freed men of color, and even influential white allies?

Through the remarkable adventures of men who were really there-men of mixed race, mixed emotions, and a singular purpose-The Rivers of War carries us in this new direction, brilliantly transforming an extraordinary chapter of American history.

With a cast of unforgettable characters-from James Monroe and James Madison to Sam Houston, Francis Scott Key, and Cherokee chiefs John Ross and Major Ridge-The Rivers of War travels from the battle of Horseshoe Bend to the battle of New Orleans, and brings every explosive moment to life. With exquisite attention to detail, an extraordinary grasp of history, and a storyteller's gift for the dramatic, Flint delivers a bold, thought-provoking epic of enemies and allies, traitors and revolutionaries, and illuminates who we are as a nation, how we got here, and how history itself is made-and remade.

The Virgin’s Daughter by Laura Andersen

the virgins daughterSince the death of her brother, William, Elizabeth I has ruled England. She’s made the necessary alliances, married Philip of Spain, and produced a successor: her only daughter, Anne Isabella, Princess of Wales. Elizabeth knows that her beloved Anabel will be a political pawn across Europe unless she can convince Philip to grant her a divorce, freeing him to remarry and give Spain its own heir. But the enemies of England have even greater plans for the princess, a plot that will put Anabel’s very life and the security of the nation in peril. Only those closest to Elizabeth—her longtime confidante Minuette, her advisor and friend Dominic, and the couple’s grown children—can be trusted to carry forth a most delicate and dangerous mission. Yet, all of the queen’s maneuverings may ultimately prove her undoing.


If you are looking to add more books to your list, here are some of the wishlists from a few of my friends this month: (to be updated as they go live)

  • Magdalena @ A Bookaholic Swede –
  • Colleen @ A Literary Vacation –
  • Erin @ Flashlight Commentary –
  • Holly @ 2 Kids and Tired Books –
  • Stephanie @ Layered Pages –

keep calm and support book bloggers




Copyright © 2017 by The Maiden’s Court

Monday, June 19, 2017

Let’s Celebrate Audiobooks in June & Giveaway

Blog_LoveAudiobooks

For those of you that might not know, June is audiobook month.  I’ve been talking a lot about audiobooks this year with both my reviews and Audiobook Discussions series, so I had to take part in this event to continue to share the audiobook love. 

For this tour, I was asked to share 5 audiobooks that I think would be great for a new listener or to introduce someone to the world of audiobooks.  I will link to reviews below, where applicable.  One of the things that I think all these audiobooks share is a compelling narrative that pulls you along and an excellent narrator that makes an already compelling story even more engaging and entertaining with the way they present it.  These are not presented in any particular order.

A Deadly Affection by Cuyler Overholt pulls you along with a compelling mystery and Carly Robbins imbues the main character with a personality that the reader can immediately connect to.  HIGHLY recommend this book and can’t wait for the next in the series.

The SecretLifeofAnnaBlanc audiocover art Final_thumb[1]
Click on Picture to Play Audio Sample

The Secret Life of Anna Blanc by Jennifer Kincheloe is another top notch historical mystery that I have recently enjoyed.  I am quite sure this is the BEST audio production I have listened to and Moira Quirk is among my top rated narrators.  Her characters are individualized to such an extent that you can picture their mannerisms!  Another that I am eagerly awaiting the second book and will certainly await the audio release.


Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson by S.C. Gwynne is my pick for best of my non-fiction listens.  Not only was the book stellar in its ability to bring me to tears about a historical figure from the Confederacy, which I considered a major feat, but the narration was strong.  Non-fiction can be hard to narrate based on the material being more fact based rather than plot based, but you could feel the passion behind Cotter Smith’s words as he read the material and he brought it to vivid life.


My Last Continent by Midge Raymond brought me to tears.  I don’t honestly cry much while reading, but I have found that an on-point narration can imbue a story with so much more passion than just my own reading of a book that I find myself tearing up more when listening to a book.  A powerful book about love and relationships set in the treacherous world of Antarctica as narrated by the fabulous Cassandra Campbell cannot be recommended highly enough! 


Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed is a memoir, which is not my usual genre.  This was a book read for reasons very close to my heart, due to the loss of my mother last year and how the author chose this quest because of the same event in her life.  I laughed, I cried, and then laughed again throughout this moving and honest tale of her life.  Bernadette Dunne did a fabulous job with the material – this is actually the first memoir that I have read that was not narrated by the author, so that makes it interesting to me.  She made it feel like her own story.


I would encourage you to pick up any of these books and provided you enjoy the genre, you will not be disappointed in your experience.  And to help you take advantage of any of these books, I have an awesome giveaway courtesy of the Audiobook Publishers Association.  I have a set of earbuds and a card with codes for 3 free audiobook downloads from Audiobooks.com!  How awesome is that!  This giveaway rules are simple: entries are made via the Rafflecopter below and you must be a US resident (as I will be mailing this out).  I can’t wait to see what you choose to listen to!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Make sure to check out the other stops on this tour this month to check out all the AWESOME audiobooks out there!  I’m sure you will find something to fall in love with!

June 1 – Lost in Literature

June 2 – AudioGals

June 3 – Book Riot

June 4 – Collector of Book Boyfriends

June 5 –The Book Nympho

June 6 – BJ’s Reviews

June 7 – Everyday I Write the Book Blog

June 8 – Book of Secrets

June 9 – AudioGals

June 10 – Elsie’s Audiobook Digest

June 11 – Great Kid Books

June 12 – Adolescent Audio Adventures

June 13 – To Read or Not To Read

June 14 – Caffeinated Book Reviewer

June 15 – Beth Fish Reads

June 16  – AudioGals

June 17 – The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say Shh

June 18 – The Book’s The Thing

June 19 – The Maiden’s CourtHERE!

June 20 – I Am Indeed

June 21 – Shelf Addiction

June 22 – Under My Apple Tree

June 23 – AudioGals

June 24 – Books Movies Reviews Oh My

June 25 – Mumfection

June 26 – For the Love of Words

June 27 – A Bookworm’s World

June 28 – Literate Housewife

June 29 – Hot Listens

June 30 – Under the Boardwalk



Copyright © 2017 by The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Cover Crush: The Violets of March

cover crush

We can all say that you should never judge a book by its cover, but I guarantee that we all have done so at least once! Cover Crush is designed to feature some of those covers that have caught the eye as a standout on the bookshelf.

violets of march

I’m throwing back a little bit with this one – not a release from this year, but I really like this one.  I love how the background is a little faded/misty and the focus is simple – flower, book, chair.  Simple and pretty and a little bit mysterious.

What are your thoughts on this cover?

I wonder what my friends are crushing on this week? Let’s check it out: (To be updated as they go live).




Copyright © 2017 by The Maiden’s Court

Monday, June 12, 2017

New Book Alert: Highland Hellion by Mary Wine–Excerpt and Giveaway

9781492602507-PR

Highland Hellion by Mary Wine
Book 3 of the Highland Weddings series
e-Book & Mass Market Paperback; 320 pages
Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 1492602507
June 6, 2017
Genre: Historical Romance
goodreads button

Book Blurb:

KATHERINE CAREW:

  • Illegitimate daughter of an English earl
  • Abducted to Scotland at age 14
  • No family, no reputation...
  • No rules

ROLFE MCTAVISH:

  • Heir to an honorable Highland laird
  • Can’t believe how well tomboy Kate can fight
  • About to learn how much of a woman she really is

Scotland is seething with plots, the vengeful Gordons are spoiling for a fight, and the neighboring clans are at each other’s throats. All it takes is a passionate hellion with a penchant for reckless adventure to ignite the Highlands once more.

Buy the Book:  Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Chapters | iBooks | Indiebound 

Highland Hellion graphic

Check out this awesome EXCERPT from Highland Hellion!!

“What do ye mean by that?” Helen Grant demanded.

Marcus eyed his wife, crossing his arms over his chest and facing her down, as was his fashion. Helen’s eyes narrowed. “Ye heard me clearly, Wife.”

Helen scoffed and settled her newest babe into its cradle before she turned on him while pulling the laces on her dress tight. “What I heard was that ye seem to think what a woman does with her day is easier to learn than a man’s lot.”

Marcus frowned. “Do nae go twisting me words.”

“I should have had charge of her years ago if ye wanted her trained properly in the running of a house,” Helen continued. “Ye are the one who allowed her to be a lad.”

“And for good reason,” Marcus answered back. “She’s English. Ye know how often ye have heard curses against her kin, and I assure ye, I have heard three times as much because the men do tend to mind their tongues around the women in the hall.”

Helen had finished closing her dress and settled her hands on her hips. “As I said, I do nae know what ye expect me to do with her now that ye’ve let her run wild for the past six years. She’s twenty now.”

“I know.” Marcus’s control slipped, allowing his exasperation to bleed through into his tone. “She’s a woman, and yet she was intent on riding out with us last evening.”

“It wouldn’t be the first time,” Helen replied. “Why is it a concern now?”

Marcus’s jaw tightened, and his wife read his expression like a book. There was no point in trying to keep the matter to himself. He let out a soft word of Gaelic.

“We went out and lifted some of the Gordons’ cattle.”

His wife stiffened. The Gordons hated the MacPhersons and would spill blood if they could. Old Laird Colum Gordon wanted vengeance for the death of his son, Lye Rob, and the old man didn’t seem to care that Bhaic MacPherson had killed Lye Rob with good reason. Lye Rob had stolen Bhaic’s new wife, Ailis, and no Highlander worth his name was going to let a man get away with that. Nothing seemed to matter to the old laird of the Gordons except vengeance.

Marcus knew he was playing with fire by going anywhere near Gordon land. Needling the local clans was one matter; going onto Gordon land was another altogether because it might get him killed. His wife was going to tear a strip off his back for chancing it.

“Damn ye, Marcus,” Helen berated him. “So, ye are still acting like a child?” She pointed at their son. “And what will become of the children I bear ye if ye get yer throat slit?”

Marcus only lifted one shoulder in a shrug. “Ye know it will nae come to that. The Grants took some of ours last month. It’s just a bit of fun.”

Helen made a soft sound. “With the Gordons, it is very different. Which is why ye do nae want Katherine along. Do nae think to pull the wool over me eyes.”

Marcus opened his arms in exasperation. “Aye!” He snorted. “There, I’ve agreed with ye. And ye would have a place if I were to pay for me choices in blood, so do nae insult me by asking such a question. Now tell me ye will take her in hand.” He made a motion with his hand. “And teach her…what a woman should be doing with her time.”

Helen wasn’t pleased, and as she looked at her baby, worry creases appeared at the corners of her eyes.

“I love ye, Helen, but ye know full well what manner of man I am.” He pulled her close, wrapping her in his embrace. She settled for just a moment, inhaling the scent of his skin before she pushed against his chest and he released her.

“Aye, well,” Helen said softly. “At twenty years of age, Katherine has decided what sort of woman she is as well. Something ye have allowed. Now ye expect me to be the one to destroy her world?”

Marcus’s expression tightened as he crossed his arms over his chest. “I’ll have words with her.”

Mary Wine & Blue Bird (close)

About Mary Wine

Acclaimed author Mary Wine has written over 30 works of Scottish Highland romance, romantic suspense and erotic romance. An avid history-buff and historical costumer, she and her family enjoy participating in historical reenactments. Mary lives in Yorba Linda, California with her husband and two sons.

Find Mary Wine: Website | Facebook | Goodreads


Giveaway!!

As part of this tour, Sourcebooks has an excellent tour-wide giveaway for two bundles of the 3 books in the Highland Weddings series, which includes: Highland Spitfire, Highland Vixen, and Highland Hellion.  Entries can be made through the Rafflecopter below or on any of the tour hosting blogs.  Please note, any questions should be directed to the publicist as I do not have any input in this giveaway.  Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway





Copyright © 2017 by The Maiden’s Court

Friday, June 9, 2017

Audiobook Discussions: 2017 Audie Award Winners

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I have been doing a lot of audiobook listening lately and I attended a recent blogger webinar about audiobook reviewing which got me thinking more and more about audiobooks.  So I wanted to know more of what you think about them!  From there, Audiobook Discussions has been born!

A couple posts back in this series I told you about the Audie Awards, which are prestigious awards for the audiobook community.  Well, the 2017 winners were announced and I just wanted to share the winner list with you all and make a couple comments at the end.

Audiobook of the Year: Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter, narrated by Mariska Hargitay with the authors, published by Hachette Audio

Audio Drama: In the Embers by Brian Price and Jerry Stearns, narrated by Robin Miles, Edwin Strout, Dean Johnson, et al; music by Mike Wheaton, published by Great Northern Audio Theatre/Blackstone Audio

Autobiography/Memoir: The Greatest: My Own Story by Muhammad Ali with Richard Durham, narrated by Dion Graham, published by Graymalkin Media

Best Female Narrator: Be Frank with Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson, narrated by Tavia Gilbert, published by HarperAudio

Best Male Narrator: Jerusalem by Alan Moore, narrated by Simon Vance, published by Recorded Books

Business/Personal Development: Humans Need Not Apply by Jerry Kaplan, narrated by John Pruden, published by Tantor Media, a division of Recorded Books

Erotica: Marriage Games by CD Reiss, narrated by Sebastian York and Elena Wolfe, published by Flip City Media Inc.

Excellence in Design: Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley, design by Jessica Daigle, published by
HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

Excellence in Marketing: Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000 by L. Ron Hubbard, narrated by Josh Clark, Scott
Menville, Jim Meskimen, Phil Proctor, Stefan Rudnicki, Fred Tatasciore and a full cast, published by
Galaxy Audio

Excellence in Production:  Alien: Out of the Shadows: An Audible Original Drama by Tim Lebbon and Dirk Maggs, narrated by
Rutger Hauer, Corey Johnson, Matthew Lewis, Kathryn Drysdale, Laurel Lefkow, Andrea Deck, and
Mac McDonald, published by Audible Studios

Fantasy: The Hike by Drew Magary, narrated by Christopher Lane, published by Brilliance Publishing

Fiction: Sister of Mine by Sabra Waldfogel, narrated by Bahni Turpin, published by Brilliance Publishing

History/Biography: In Harm's Way: The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors by Doug Stanton, narrated by Mark Boyett, published by Audible Studios

Humor: I’m Judging You written and narrated by Luvvie Ajayi, published by Macmillan Audio

Inspirational/Faith Based Fiction: Risen: The Novelization of the Major Motion Picture by Angela Hunt, narrated by P.J. Ochlan and Alana Kerr Collins, published by christianaudio, a division of Recorded Books

Inspirational/Faith Based Non Fiction: The Awakening of HK Derryberry by Jim Bradford and Andy Hardin, narrated by Milton Bagby, published by Thomas Nelson

Literary Fiction & Classics: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, narrated by Dominic Hoffman, published by Penguin Random House Audio / Books on Tape

Middle Grade: How to Train Your Dragon: How to Fight a Dragon’s Fury by Cressida Cowell, narrated by David Tennant, published by Hachette Audio

Multi-Voiced Performance: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult, narrated by Audra McDonald, Cassandra Campbell, and Ari Fliakos, published by Penguin Random House Audio / Books on Tape

Mystery: The Crossing by Michael Connelly, narrated by Titus Welliver, published by Hachette Audio

Narration by Author/Authors: A Life in Parts written and narrated by Bryan Cranston, published by Simon & Schuster Audio

Nonfiction: Hillbilly Elegy written and narrated by J.D. Vance, published by HarperAudio

Original Work: The Dispatcher by John Scalzi, narrated by Zachary Quinto, published by Audible Studios

Paranormal: Ghost Gifts by Laura Spinella, narrated by Nicol Zanzarella, published by Brilliance Publishing

Romance: Dirty by Kylie Scott, narrated by Andi Arndt, published by Macmillan Audio

Science Fiction: Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster, narrated by Marc Thompson, published by Penguin Random House Audio / Books on Tape

Short Story Collection: The Brink: Stories by Austin Bunn, narrated by Austin Bunn, Luke Daniels, Tanya Eby, Ralph Lister, Amy McFadden, Mikael Naramore, and Nick Podehl, published by Blunder Woman Productions via ACX

Thriller/Suspense: Cross Justice by James Patterson, narrated by Ruben Santiago Hudson and Jefferson Mays, published by Hachette Audio

Young Adult: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, narrated by Jorjeana Marie, Will Damron, Cassandra Morris, and Michael Crouch, published by Listening Library

Young Listeners: 28 Days: Moments in Black History That Changed the World by Charles R. Smith, Jr., narrated by Dion Graham, William Jackson Harper, Zainab Jah, January LaVoy, Robin Miles, Lizan Mitchell, Jonathan Earl Peck, and Carter Woodson Redwood, published by Live Oak Media


You can read more about the Audies here.


I’m not surprised that Hamilton took Audiobook of the Year, it is running away in all kinds of award categories.  Most of these books I haven’t heard of, which really surprised me!  I was happy to see In Harm’s Way won an award because I was recently looking at picking this book up, so I probably will with my next credits. 

Have you read any of these or do their awards make you want to pick any of these up?



You can check out the other posts in this series:



Copyright © 2017 by The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Cover Crush: Before the Rains

cover crush

We can all say that you should never judge a book by its cover, but I guarantee that we all have done so at least once! Cover Crush is designed to feature some of those covers that have caught the eye as a standout on the bookshelf.

before the rains

There are those jewel tones again!  I love, love, love those jewel tones!  I love how the cover is framed within the edges of the window/balcony.  And the monkey is super cute too!  Although I have struggled with the author before, she has some delightful covers!

What are your thoughts on this cover?

I wonder what my friends are crushing on this week? Let’s check it out: Layered Pages, A Bookaholic Swede, 2 Kids and Tired Books, A Literary Vacation, Of Quills and Vellum, Flashlight Commentary.    

keep calm and support book bloggers



Copyright © 2017 by The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

D-Day Remembered

I wanted to take a minute today to remember that on this day in 1944, the Normandy Landings, commonly referred to as D-Day took place.  Many gave their lives on this day, 4,414 on the Allied side alone.  I want to remember those that give their lives and thank those who served there.

normandy-d-day-cemetery-omaha-beach
Cemetery at Omaha Beach
Photo via
Visual Hunt

In doing so, I would like to share a couple of non-fiction books out there (and there are MANY) that are highly rated on Goodreads that you might find interesting to explore this historical event at greater length.

The Fighting First: The Untold Story of the Big Red One on D-Day by Flint Whitlock

fighting firstThe Fighting First recounts the untold story of the 1st Infantry Division’s role in the invasion of France at Normandy. Using primary sources, official records, interviews, and unpublished memoirs by the veterans themselves, Flint Whitlock has crafted a riveting, gut-wrenching, personal story of courage under fire. Operation Overlord—the Allied invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944—was the most important battle of World War II, and Omaha Beach was the hottest spot in the entire operation. Leading the amphibious assault on the “Easy Red” and “Fox Green” sectors of Omaha Beach was the U.S. Army’s 1st Infantry Division—“The Big Red One”—a tough, swaggering outfit with a fine battle record. The saga of the Big Red One, however, did not end with the storming of the beachhead, but continued across France, Belgium, and into Germany itself, where the division fought in the battles for Aachen, the Huertgen Forest, and the Battle of the Bulge. The Fighting First is an inspiring, graphic, and often heart-breaking story of young American soldiers performing their missions with spirit, humor, and determination.

D-Day, June 6, 1944; The Climactic Battle of World War II by Stephen E. Ambrose

ddayIt is the young men born into the false prosperity of the 1920s and brought up in the bitter realities of the Depression of the 1930s that this book is about. The literature they read as youngsters was anti-war and cynical, portraying patriots as suckers, slackers and heroes. None of them wanted to be part of another war. They wanted to be throwing baseballs, not handgrenades; shooting .22s at rabbits, not M-1s at other young men. But when the test came, when freedom had to be fought for or abandoned, they fought (from the Prologue).


Overlord: D-Day and the Battle for Normandy by Max Hastings

overlordOn June 6, 1944, American and British troops staged the greatest amphibious landing in history to begin Operation Overlord, the battle to liberate Europe from the scourge of the Third Reich. With gut-wrenching realism and immediacy, Hastings reveals the terrible human cost that this battle exacted.
Moving beyond just the storming of Omaha beach and D-Day, he explores the Allies’ push inward, with many British and American infantry units suffering near 100 percent casualties during the course of that awful summer. Far from a gauzy romanticized remembrance, Hastings details a grueling ten week battle to overpower the superbly trained, geographically entrenched German Wehrmacht. Uncompromising and powerful in its depiction of wartime, this is the definitive book on D-Day and the Battle of Normandy.



Copyright © 2017 by The Maiden’s Court

Monday, June 5, 2017

Book Review: Becoming Bonnie by Jenni L Walsh

becoming bonnie
Becoming Bonnie
by Jenni L. Walsh
Book 1 in the Bonnie Series
ARC, e-Book, 304 pages
Forge Books
May 9, 2017
★★★★ ½☆
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Genre: Historical Fiction

Source: Received from publisher for review

From debut historical novelist Jenni L. Walsh, Becoming Bonnie is the untold story of how wholesome Bonnelyn Parker became half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo!

The summer of 1927 might be the height of the Roaring Twenties, but Bonnelyn Parker is more likely to belt out a church hymn than sling drinks at an illicit juice joint. She’s a sharp girl with plans to overcome her family's poverty, provide for herself, and maybe someday marry her boyfriend, Roy Thornton. But when Roy springs a proposal on her and financial woes jeopardize her ambitions, Bonnelyn finds salvation in an unlikely place: Dallas's newest speakeasy, Doc’s.

Living the life of a moll at night, Bonnie remains a wholesome girl by day, engaged to Roy, attending school and working toward a steady future. When Roy discovers her secret life, and embraces it—perhaps too much, especially when it comes to booze and gambling—Bonnie tries to make the pieces fit. Maybe she can have it all: the American Dream, the husband, and the intoxicating allure of jazz music. What she doesn't know is that her life—like her country—is headed for a crash.

She’s about to meet Clyde Barrow.

Few details are known about Bonnie's life prior to meeting her infamous partner. In Becoming Bonnie, Jenni L. Walsh shows a young woman promised the American dream and given the Great Depression, and offers a compelling account of why she fell so hard for a convicted felon—and turned to crime herself.

This book had me right from the description (and the cover too). I’ve always been interested in Bonnie and Clyde and there have been a few television shows about the duo recently, but they never really explored the backstory, just focusing on the flashy bank robbing crime spree. Bonnie is such a fascinating character and it is a fascinating time in history too (which I hadn’t really thought about combined with the characters). I’m pleased to say that Walsh met my every expectation with her debut, Becoming Bonnie, and I’m even more thrilled to hear that there will be a sequel coming out hopefully next year that takes us into the crime spree time.

Walsh creates a fantastically believable Bonnelyn in her high school years. She has grown up tight on funds, but with a relatively happy life. She anticipates marrying the man that she has grown up alongside, Roy, and has big dreams of becoming a teacher with a real income. She is a “good girl” and someone that I could identify with, despite coming from different circumstances. Beset with family problems and the economy downturn that happens with the crash of Wall Street, Bonnelyn finds herself doing things that she never would have thought about doing before – bootlegging, interested in someone other than Roy, changing her thoughts about completing school. You can truly believe that the growing uncertainly in her family situation could lead her to make some of these choices, but she is also conflicted about her choices. You feel that inner struggle. The other characters here are fully fleshed too and equally as interesting as Bonnelyn (I won’t spoil how the name Bonnie comes about as it is sweet). Her best friend Blanche is a hoot! She makes up her own words (which I do a lot) and is always up for a good time and pushing at the rules a bit, however she is a good egg and really there when she is needed. Oh and Clyde! The author just keeps stringing the reader along awaiting when he will actually show up on the page – and it was a very appreciated tactic. I think I would have been less interested in him had he been present from the start and this just built the anticipation.

While Walsh brings her characters to vivid life, her settings are even more fantastically endowed. The speakeasies were pulsating with music, big personalities, and the air of constant anticipation of a bust. The depression of Cement City was palpable and in stark contrast to the bigger setting of Dallas. Walsh excelled at world creating in a place I have never been that made me feel as if I was there.

After a few slow or stalled books that I had read recently it was extremely refreshing to pick up Becoming Bonnie. I always wanted to read one more chapter or thought of all the little times that I could find to pick up the book and read further. Bonnie ends on a positive note and leaves the reader wanting to find out what happens when the crime spree begins!

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | RJ Julia


Also by Jenni L. Walsh:

image coming soon
Being Bonnie
(Book 2)
Coming in 2018!!!


Find Jenni L. Walsh:
Website | Facebook | Twitter




Copyright © 2017 by The Maiden’s Court

Friday, June 2, 2017

New Book Alert: Duke With Benefits by Manda Collins–Excerpt

Duke with Benefits_Cover

Duke with Benefits by Manda Collins
Book 2 in The Studies in Scandal Series
e-book & Mass Market Paperback; 320 Pages
St. Martin’s Paperbacks
ISBN: 1250109884
June 27, 2017
Genre: Historical Romance
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Book Blurb:

LADY + DUKE = TRUE LOVE?

Lady Daphne Forsyth is a brilliant mathematician with a burning passion for puzzles. When she learns that the library belonging to her benefactress houses the legendary Cameron Cipher―an encrypted message that, once solved, holds the key to great riches―Daphne is on the case. Unfortunately, her race to unlock the cipher’s code is continually thwarted by a deliciously handsome distraction she hadn’t counted on. . .and cannot resist.

Dalton Beauchamp, the Duke of Maitland, is curious as to why Daphne is spending so much time snooping around his aunt’s bookshelves. He’s even more intrigued by her bold yet calculating manner: She is unapologetic about her secret quest. . .and the fiery attraction that develops between them both. But how can they concentrate on solving a perplexing enigma once the prospect of true love enters the equation?

Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | RJ Julia

Duke_With_Blog_Benefits_Excerpt Blitz Banner

Check out this awesome EXCERPT I have to share from Duke with Benefits!

“There you are, my dear,” said the Earl of Forsyth with a beaming smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes.

Maitland saw at once that Daphne favored him. Her green eyes were the same shade as his, though there were lines of dissipation bracketing the earl’s. And though his expertly cropped blond hair was shot through with silver, what remained of its original color was the same shade as hers. But whereas Daphne’s gaze was focused off to the left of whomever she conversed with, like a bird hovering just over a branch, Forsyth’s speared one with cold calculation. As he did to Daphne now.

“You are looking well, Daphne,” the earl continued, stepping forward to embrace his daughter, who looked as uncomfortable with the contact as Maitland had ever seen her. “The sea air agrees with you. As I knew it would.”

“The sea is very beautiful,” Daphne replied woodenly. “Why are you here, Father?”

“Is that any way to greet your Papa?” the earl chided, stepping back from her and wandering farther into the room, standing to stare out at the gardens below through the window. “I’ve traveled all the way from London to see you. And this lovely estate. I must admit that when I first learned of your inheritance, I thought it was all some sort of trick. But you would have your own way and leave the loving bosom of your family no matter what I said. Now that I’m here, though, and see it in person, I must admit that it’s a lovely spot. And your chaperone, Lady Serena, is quite beautiful, isn’t she? A widow, I take it?”

His jaw clenched at the man’s mention of Serena, and Maitland thought perhaps it was time to announce himself. Daphne seemed not to realize he’d followed her in, and the earl was too busy waxing rhapsodic over the beauties of Beauchamp House.

“I don’t believe we’ve met, Forsyth,” he said forcefully, stepping up to stand side by side with Daphne. He gave a slight bow, perhaps not quite as deep as was warranted, but not caring. “The Duke of Maitland. I am a friend of your daughter’s, you might say.”

What he meant by that last, he could not say, but the man made every bit of protective instinct within him go on the alert. He was her father, but all the same Maitland knew that Daphne was no safer with him than she would have been with Sommersby if he still lived.

At the sound of the duke’s voice, Lord Forsyth turned with almost comical haste from the window and stared. For the barest flicker, he looked angry. Well, if he were upset at the knowledge that his daughter was not without friends, then he would simply have to swallow it. Because Maitland was damned if he’d leave her alone with the fellow.

“Duke,” Lord Forsyth said with a tilt of his head, “I am pleased to make your acquaintance. I was a friend of your father’s, and had little notion I’d be meeting you here. He was a good man, your father.”

His father had been nothing of the sort, but Maitland was hardly going to discuss it with Forsyth.

“I am here visiting my sister, Lady Serena,” Maitland said coolly, letting the other man know in tone rather than words that he had not appreciated the older man’s speculative words about her earlier. “And of course my cousin, Kerr. He only recently married another of the heiresses here, and resides here with her.”

Forsyth’s eyes narrowed at the implication that Daphne was well protected should her father wish to cause trouble. At least that was the message Maitland was endeavoring to send. And by the looks of it, Forsyth read him loud and clear.

“Capital, capital,” the earl said with false cheer. “A merry party you must all make here. I had no idea you were in such fine company here, Daphne. No notion at all.”

“Because we have not spoken since I left,” Daphne said, looking from her father to Maitland then back again, as if wondering what went on between them. “And now, father, I really must ask you to leave. I have a great deal of work to do and . . .”

“Don’t be absurd, Daphne,” her father said with a shake of his head. “I only just arrived. And there is something very important I must speak to you about.” He turned to Maitland with a raised brow. “I’m sure you’ll excuse us, Duke. I’m afraid what I need to tell my daughter is private family business.”

Maitland was opening his mouth to tell the man he would leave Daphne alone with him when hell froze over, when Daphne did it for him.

“Maitland stays,” she said, reaching out to grasp him by the arm. It was as much of a cry for help as he’d ever thought he’d see from her. Wordlessly, he slipped her arm into his, as if they were about to promenade round the room. He covered her hand with his, keenly aware of the thread of tension in her.

Once more, the earl’s eyes narrowed, and he turned an assessing gaze on Maitland, perhaps realizing for the first time the threat coming at him from that direction.

His jaw clenched, Forsyth said grimly, “Very well. If you wish your friend to witness our dirty linen, so be it.” As if needing to be in motion in order to speak, the earl began to pace the area between the window and the fireplace. “You know, Daphne, you left me without any obvious means of recouping what I lost from years of paying that tutor of yours, old man Sommersby.”

“You agreed to pay him,” Daphne said tightly. “After I threatened to expose . . .”

Hastily, Forsyth continued, “And I am currently in need of funds. As such, I must insist you return to London with me for the time being and meet a particular gentleman who has expressed interest in marrying you. Though his birth is not as high as yours, he’s quite wealthy and will make you a good husband, I trust. He’s assured me he has no concern about your odd ways, if you’re as beautiful as your portrait.”

Before Maitland could burst out with the string of invectives the other man’s pronouncement inspired in him, Daphne said, “I cannot marry this person. I’ve never even met him. You promised me that I would not have to marry someone for money as long as I won enough at the tables. I did so. You promised me, father.”

“I never actually promised, Daphne.” Forsyth said with a shake of his head. “If you chose to interpret it as such, that is not my fault. Now, go pack your things.”

Daphne’s hand on Maitland’s arm gripped him tightly. And before he even knew what he was doing, he said, “I’m afraid that’s impossible, Forsyth. Daphne is staying here.”

“I don’t know who you think you are, Maitland,” said the earl through clenched teeth, “but I am her father, and I am well within my rights to take her back to London. Now, kindly take your hands off of her and let her go pack.”

“It might once have been your right, Forsyth,” Maitland said coldly, “but Lady Daphne is my betrothed now and as such, she will remain here. With me.”

Copyright © 2017 by Manda Collins and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press.

Manda Collins

About the Author:

Manda Collins is the author of several books, including Ready Set Rogue and The Lords of Anarchy series. She spent her teen years wishing she’d been born a couple of centuries earlier, preferably in the English countryside. Time travel being what it is, she resigned herself to life with electricity and indoor plumbing, and read lots of books. When she’s not writing, she’s helping other people use books, as an academic librarian.

Find Manda Collins:  Website | Facebook | Twitter



Copyright © 2017 by The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Cover Crush: The Alice Network

cover crush

We can all say that you should never judge a book by its cover, but I guarantee that we all have done so at least once! Cover Crush is designed to feature some of those covers that have caught the eye as a standout on the bookshelf.

the alice network

You know what this cover says to me? The woman is thinking, “screw it, I don’t care if there’s a war, I’m off to [insert locale here]”.  She’s going anywhere else but where she is at.  I love the foggy, blurry nature of the cover – how you can tell where it is set but only just barely.  I can’t wait to actually read this one, love Kate Quinn and can’t wait to see where she goes with a more modern timeline.


What are your thoughts on this cover?

I wonder what my friends are crushing on this week? Let’s check it out: 2 Kids and Tired Books, A Bookaholic Swede, Layered Pages, A Literary Vacation, Of Quills and Vellum.   

keep calm and support book bloggers

 


Copyright © 2017 by The Maiden’s Court