The Outrageous Fortune of Abel Morgan – Blog Tour

Outrageous Fortune Cover
ratingiconratingiconratingiconratingicon

Synopsis: 1660, England. War is at an end, yet for Christopher Morgan his personal conflict rages on. Haunted by the tragic death of his wife, Christopher is desperate to escape the pain her memory brings, although looking into the eyes of his young son, Abel, he cannot help but be reminded of what he has lost. Over time, father and son develop a strong bond until they are callously torn apart when Abel is snatched by smugglers and sold overseas. From the shores of Constantinople to the coast of Jamaica, time and tide keep them apart. Christopher will sail across oceans to find Abel, never losing faith that one day they will be reunited, and, as the years pass, Abel will learn that fortune favours the brave.

Book Information:
ISBN: 9780749023348
CATEGORY: Fiction
BIC: FV
FORMAT: B format
PB PAGES: 384
RIGHTS: World English
PRICE: £8.99
Turnaround Publisher Services Pubeasy E:
orders@turnaround-uk.com
EBOOK EDITION ISBN: 9780749023294
DISTRIBUTION: Faber Factory

My Review

Going to start off by saying that this was a really well-drawn out and plotted book, the pacing didn’t drag and the characters are so unique from each other. The plot and subsequent sea adventuring had a very Stevenson feel to it, I was transported back to Treasure Island in the whimsical and realistic writing style and I enjoyed that more than anything else.

While this is more about Abel when he gets older, it’s certainly just as much about his father and I have to say that Christopher was my favorite character in the novel. He had an array of emotions, prone to bouts of melancholy, and yet, there is a true kindness to him a lot of the times. He’s also proven to do whatever it takes to save his son, trying to track him down all the way to Constantinople! He finds himself along the way and redemption, never daring to seek forgiveness for past actions that haunt him but forced to face some of them along the way.

He is a man with certain morals and values and in my opinion the true hero of this story.

Another aspect I absolutely loved about Christopher was that he was bisexual, having an eternal love for his wife and well, I won’t spoil it for you, but also keeping another in his memory, a man yes, and a man that he often recalled on in his thoughts.

Abel doesn’t share as many as his father’s qualities, but he’s not to blame considering he was ripped away from his father and grew up under very different circumstances. Unfortunately, I didn’t really find him sympathetic after he gave up his seafaring ways. He does not have the same gentleness, again he grew up differently and at the end, I suspect I was ‘team’ Turlough rather than team Abel. This doesn’t take away from the journey of Abel and the subsequent journey of his father and they both have such fascinating lives because of this tragedy set in motion when Abel was taken.

I give this four cups of coffee just for Christopher and seafaring adventures alone, and the love of a father and son ❤

Content/Trigger Warnings: Slavery, abuse, marital rape, violent deaths

Highlight for Marital Rape explanation/spoilers: I really didn’t like Abel after a scene of Marital rape, I’m not sure it added anything to the story which is why I did not give this five stars. My sympathy lay with Marie after that and after another certain tragedy and from then on I couldn’t find Abel to be sympathetic. I do understand that his wife was supposed to be viewed as manipulative but it just didn’t seem to fit the rest of this really wonderful story.

 

About the Author

Cynthia Jefferies

Cynthia Jefferies is a long-established writer for children, whose work has been
translated into more than a dozen languages. She was born in Gloucestershire
and her love of history was encouraged by regular family outings to anything of
interest, from great cathedrals to small museums. Having moved to Scotland
and back to Stroud, she has always made time to write and her abiding interest
in Restoration England has never left her. The Outrageous Fortune of Abel
Morgan is her first historical novel for adults.

Author Website

 

The Rest of the Tour Schedule

Outrageous Fortune BT Poster

Ed Book Fest Day 3

Hey everyone!

So last night was my final day attending the Edinburgh International Book Festival. I’m now poor and more than that, I hate going around Edinburgh when it’s full-blown festival season.  [Road rage while walking is REAL for August in that city, folks]

Who did I go see?

The lovely Samantha Shannon again

AND

Holly Black!! [I have loved her books since I was like 15, which is half my life guys!]

Kirsty Logan did a great job panelling, asking questions and making sure that they were the sort of questions that could apply to both authors.

Also, I’m pretty sure there’s some conspiracy that makes all authors really super at reading out loud.

[In general, I sound like a really unimpressed chipmunk, so like, obviously my author dreams are out the window, but I digress.]

The authors were asked about how they do their worldbuilding to introduce the readers to their worlds.

Samantha starts us off with the answers, talking about it’s a balance as you have to avoid info-dumping but you still need to give a way for the readers to submerge into the world. There’s also the difference with Fantasy in that a lot of times you don’t need to understand the beginning of it, so as she read the book to her family who did not read a lot of the genre they had so many questions on the first page alone. This part cracked me up as she said they kept interrupting asking who the stranger in the sea was, why was he in the sea, and so forth. Seriously, my sides hurt from that panel.

Holly agreed on the info-dumping and that you have to try and not bring the story to a halt while explaining things to readers. The plot must go on!

When asked about their writings of female characters in the Fantasy genre, I mean we know that it’s still pretty male-dominated but the women are slowly taking over but Kirsty had them speaking about what it was like, did they make the conscious choice to have their female protagonists or did it come naturally.

Also as they discussed the fantasy genre and talked about the dominating protagonists of it, Kirsty Logan gave us this gem:

Pale, Male, and Stale.”

Such an accurate description of the genre.

Samantha Shannon wrote a book she wanted after watching Lord of the Rings, as we know Arwen is more prevalent and gets to be a badass in the movie versus in the books so when she read the books and was so disappointed, it spurred her to write the book she wanted to read.

Holly, on the other hand, said it was obviously a conscious choice to make female protagonists but it wasn’t one she did for any reasons other than…

I’m a lady, writing about ladies.”

And honestly, that’s fair enough, because that’s why I write female characters in my own hobby writing.

Holly then goes on to say she was about halfway through the book when she realized that the characters were almost all girls when reading The Priory of the Orange Tree. And her reaction was brilliant haha as was Samantha’s response of,

It’s because I tricked you by adding some men.”

They talk veered toward their discussion of characters, we went into the ‘strong female’ archetype and dissection of it with Samantha while Holly said she loved characters who make mistakes but of course for women characters, as they discuss ‘strong female character,’

Women [are] often punished for making mistakes.”

And it’s true, many times male characters do not face the same scrutiny and backlash that women characters do.

I won’t give you a rundown of everything but suffice to say we also covered retellings, their purposes depending on their reason of writing the retelling and their story origin ideas and processes. This includes writing a standalone compared to writing series books and diversity in characters.

And I think I’ll leave you all with these thoughts and end it here, for now, I will go into a post of my own about ‘strong female characters’ and diversity of characters and worlds another time built off this discussion!

Here are some pics of the books I had signed!

I was SO excited to have Holly Black sign these, and I LOVED that she was happy to see these editions and even complimented me on my upkeep of them despite having moved about 14x with them.

img_4890.jpg

 

This was my second time getting a book signed by Samantha Shannon so I brought along my charity shop find of The Bone Season and talked with her a little, mostly telling her I already had Priory signed and I accidentally dropped it on my foot and almost died. I wanted to be way more …normal while talking to her but it was like 10:15PM, I was barely coherent.

IMG_4891

 

Ike & Kay – Blog Tour

9780715652947 High res
ratingiconratingiconratingicon

Acclaimed author and managing director of The Times Literary Supplement, James MacManus, creates a compelling historical novel that brings to life an unbelievable but true love story set during the Second World War. In 1942, Cork-born Kay Summersby’s life is changed forever when she is tasked with driving General Eisenhower on his fact-finding visit to wartime London. Despite Eisenhower’s marriage to Mamie, the pair takes an immediate liking to one another and he gifts Kay a rare wartime luxury: a box of chocolates. So begins a tumultuous relationship that against all military regulation sees Kay travelling with Eisenhower on missions to far flung places before the final assault on Nazi Germany. She becomes known as “Ike’s shadow” and in letters Mamie bemoans his new obsession with ‘Ireland’. That does not stop him from using his influence to grant Kay US citizenship and rank in the US army, drawing her closer when he returns to America. When the US authorities discover Eisenhower’s plans to divorce from his wife they threaten the fragile but passionate affair and Kay is forced to take desperate measures to hold onto the man she loves…

My Review

MacManus has an effortless flow to his storytelling and you’re transported back to the 1940s. He doesn’t get overly flowery in details and yet he gives great descriptions. Like the title implies this is a story about Ike and Kay, his driver, there are a couple of other chapters that are from the POV of others but they are part of history and their story in a way so it does work.

Kay was an interesting character and you could have a good bit of sympathy for her for the choices she makes, knowing she does things usually with the best intentions/out of love.

I do think MacManus did a commendable job with Ike, we’re not meant to idolize him in this and in fact he does a lot to show him as someone who achieved quite a bit but didn’t go unscathed by making mistakes in his personal life. I really didn’t like Ike, but not because of MacManus’s lack of competency, rather, because he did so well writing him. He is not the hero of this story.

The historical aspects of this were hands down my favorite parts, and the romance was as grey and confusing as I think it was meant to be.

Overall it was an intriguing read and I really enjoyed learning more about Ike through this as it definitely led me to look into him more after being fascinated by this book!

Thank you to Duckworth Publishing for a free eBook of this in exchange for my honest review as part of the blog tour.

 

About the Author

MacManus.jpg

James MacManus is the managing director of The Times Literary Supplement. After studying at St Andrews University he began his career in journalism at the Daily Express in Manchester. Joining The Guardian in 1972, he later became Paris, and then Africa and Middle East Correspondent. He is the author of several novels including On the Broken Shore, Black Venus, Sleep in Peace Tonight and Midnight in Berlin. James MacManus has three children and lives in Dulwich, London.

 

The Rest of the Tour Schedule

Ike and Kay Banner Medium-01

The Last Concerto – Blog Tour

ratingiconratingiconratingiconratingicon

Synopsis: 
Famed for its natural beauty and rich history, Sardinia in 1968 is notorious, too, for the bandits who kidnap wealthy landowners for ransom. Eleven-year-old Alba Fresu’s brother, and her father, Bruno, are abducted by criminals who mistake Bruno for a rich man. After a grueling journey through the countryside, the two are eventually released—but the experience leaves Alba shaken and unable to readjust to normal life, or to give voice to her inner turmoil.
Accompanying her mother to cleaning jobs, Alba visits the villa of an eccentric Signora and touches the keys of a piano for the first time. The instrument’s spell is immediate. During secret lessons, forbidden by her mother, Alba is at last able to express emotions too powerful for words alone. Ignoring her parents’ insistence that she work in the family’s car dealership and marry a local boy, Alba accepts a scholarship to the Rome conservatoire. There she immerses herself in a vibrant world of art and a passionate affair.
But her path will lead her to a crossroads, and Alba will have to decide how to reconcile her talent with her longing for love and family, and convey the music of her heart…

Book Information:
Written by: Sara Alexander
Published by: HQ
Publication date: 22/08/2019
Format: Paperback Original £7.99 [Available in eBook & audio]

My Review

I know I’ve said it probably about fifty times by now but as a musician, I tend to be drawn toward books that have music in them. The fact this one had a different musical term each chapter and sections divided into movements, well, I’m completely biased in loving that part of them. But, I’m here to talk about the content of this book, which took me on an extraordinarily emotional rollercoaster. This is a story about a woman having the courage to go after what makes her passionate, music.

The first chapter was a bit of a hesitant introduction for me, but the moment I got past it, it was like something just clicked in me. I could recognize a love of music and the difficulty of perhaps wanting different things than are expected of you. And I’m sure a lot can relate to one or the other if not both. Alba is quiet, the power of her voice is put into her music, and even then, due to her past, she would restrict it and the power of finding her voice.

Seriously, watching her deal with her childhood as being the odd one out, and a girl in her household to experience life in Rome and as a concert pianist, it’s all wonderful and you just want the best for her but Alexander gives us a healthy dose of realism in that she gives both highs and lows. Some things are so soul-crushing, I just want to hug Alba but you know that she is going through this route because she’s chosen music. And to be fair this ending won’t have you crying like a baby in sorrow, so, it’s got a satisfying ending.

Alexander enthrals with her descriptions of music and food, and for me, well, I delighted in the musical descriptions but I do think that if you’re not a fan of heavy descriptions you may not appreciate this paint brushing of each scene before you.

Alba deals with issues from the past that follow her, whether they arise from family or past lovers and I loved watching her handle things differently as she grows up and oh, that ending. ❤

If you are interested in reading a book about a woman following her dream against the odds, that has believable romance subplots, and a healthy dose of humanity, I definitely recommend reading The Last Concerto. Four cups of coffee from me!

 

About the Author

HarperCollins Author Page
Sara Alexander attended Hampstead School, London, and went on to graduate from the University of Bristol, with a BA hons in Theatre, Film & TV. She followed on to complete her postgraduate diploma in acting from Drama Studio London. She has worked extensively in the theatre, film and television industries, including roles in much loved production such as Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows, Doctor Who, and Franco Zeffirelli’s Sparrow. She is based in London.

 

GIVEAWAY ALERT

I happen to have an extra copy, thank you HQ Stories, so you know that means? GIVEAWAY TIME! [UK Only this round guys] Comment on here for an extra chance to win a copy, follow/RT on twitter for the ‘first’ chance!

The Rest of the Tour

LastConcerto_BTB

The Return of King Lillian Review


ratingiconratingiconratingiconratingiconratingicon

GoodReads:
The Return of King Lillian is a mythic journey tale – a metaphysical fantasy for dreamers and nonconformists of all ages.
So, why the manly moniker in tandem with the womanly name?
“The Firstborn Child of The Emperor-King Inherits the Ruling Crown, the Title of Emperor-King and All Powers Thereof.” (Item 37, The Royal Manual)
Enter Lillian, the firstborn child of said Emperor-King. Cast out of her Kingdom by malevolent forces, mysteriously waylaid by Destiny, the spirited, self-reliant Lillian sets off on an exuberant journey to find her way home and claim her birthright. As she travels through marvelous and mystical lands in search of her origins, Lillian encounters and befriends a kaleidoscopic cast of characters. Most of the tale is told by Lillian herself, as she chronicles her extraordinary adventures.
The audiobook of The Return of King Lillian is performed by the author, Suzie Plakson.
This is probably one of my favorite retellings ever now. I do have a soft spot for retellings in general but Plakson just knocks it out of the park for creativity. Lillian is such a bright, enigmatic, and innocent character with a heart so full and pure that I cheered her on from page one. This has a bit of a ‘Princess Bride’ meets ‘Wizard of Oz’/’Alice in Wonderland’ feel. It’s whimsical in all the best ways and though beautiful and lush with some darker moments it can fit a wide range of ages as far as reader audience goes.

Honestly, this was an incredible read.

Lillian writes in her book, and to her book, so as you read it’s as if she’s writing to you. She writes as she speaks so that makes from some creative spelling and word choice and it’s a lot of fun in that way. Also, this has a feel of the old fantasies and tales, there’s a character going on a long quest with a bunch of adventures along the way and a great slew of companions and character interactions.I’ll expand on this more when I write up a review on my blog but needless to say I completely love this book.

^ This was my GoodReads review, and to expand on it, this book really stuck with me. I mean I think about it randomly when someone asks about retellings. Obviously, there are some great ones out there but I just felt this was one of the more creative ones and it left me yearning in a pretty nostalgic manner. This harkened me back to again The Princess Bride [in terms of style, not content] where I chuckled, but more than that fleeting style comparison, it reminded me of the older books such as The Wizard of Oz, or Alice in Wonderland as I stated in the GoodReads review. There’s this sense of exploration of new lands and adventures, and a hero travelling through a world but instead of focusing on the world, we see bits of it as we go, piecing it together and focus on the adventures.

Lillian is a great protagonist and I loved her, and it’s not completely without heartache but it was little enough to be almost refreshing in that sense. She overcame quite a few things, and there was sadness, but that wasn’t the main focus of Lillian’s thoughts, she was carrying forward most of the time, toward a goal.

Not to mention, how many times can we recount a retelling or adaptation of The Emperor’s New Clothes and Plakson just completely blows me away. [I’m a HUGE Andersen fan so I can be picky]

I was also lucky enough to be gifted an audiobook copy from the Maestro herself, and I’ve delighted in listening to it with my daughter. In fact, this was an audiobook first and the fact that she has turned it into an equally beautiful novel on paper, that there’s no difference and they both flow flawlessly says a lot about her talent with words.

Thanks to NetGalley and the Publisher for a chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

Station Fosaan – Blog Tour

Book Cover (2)
ratingiconratingiconratingiconhafrating

Blurb:
Scientists and their families stationed on the remote planet of Fosaan were promised a tropical vacation-like experience. But Fosaan, devastated from an apocalyptic event nearly 300 years ago, is full of lethal predators and dangerous terrain. Earthers are forbidden to go beyond the safety zone of their settlement and must not engage the remaining reclusive Fosaanians, native to the planet. 16-year-old Quinn Neen is about to do both of those things.
During an unsanctioned exploration of the planet, Quinn discovers a Fosaanian girl named Mira stealing food from his family’s living unit. But before he can convince her to show him around, scientists are taken captive, leaving Quinn and the other young Earthers at the mercy of space raiders.
Quinn must go from renegade to leader and convince Mira to become an ally in a fight against an enemy whose very existence threatens their lives and the future of Earthers stuck on Fosaan and at home.

Book Information:
Title: Station Fosaan
Author: Dee Garretson
Publication Date: February 14th, 2017
Genre: YA Sci-Fi/ Space Opera/ Post-Apocalypse
GoodReads Link

Where to Buy

Amazon US | Barnes&Noble | Indiebound

 

My Review

I love when I’m pleasantly surprised by a book and Station Fosaan did that for me! Don’t get me wrong, I did pick this book to be on the tour for, but it’d been so long I wondered if I was going to want to read it just as much as I had the first time I read the blurb.

I did.

And.

It was such an enjoyable read! Quinn was a sixteen-year-old who loved science and when faced with a pretty girl who just appears in his house, Mira, he’s a bit taken with her. What I love though is that it’s not ‘insta-love’ he’s a boy curious about the native girl in his kitchen, and he develops a crush. It’s sweet, and it’s natural feeling the way Garretson wrote it. Since the tale is from his point of view in first person, the crush is quite one-sided as he has no idea what she’s feeling or thinking and again I really appreciated that. Also, he’s not completely stuck on her, which when faced with some dangerous moments. I like that Garretson had Quinn preoccupied with keeping safe versus ‘mooning’ over Mira.

Mira is fascinating and I can’t wait to find out more about her. This is the first tale in the Torch World Series and the ending leaves you wanting to jump right into the next one.

The planet is fascinating and I loved to dislike Ansun, but on the same token, I was completely on board for learning as much as I could about the natives of the planet and not just them but the natural wildlife and the history, I wanted more.

Overall a really solid start to this YA Sci-Fi/Space Opera series, I’ve already gotten the prequel and the second book in the series off Amazon and plan to go jump into the series again!

Thank you to Reeds&Reels for a chance to read and review this in exchange for my honest review as part of the blog tour.

 

About the Author

Author Pic

Dee writes middle grade, young adult and adult fiction under her own name and also writes for the Boxcar Children series under the original author’s name. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her family in a book-cluttered house surrounded by a semi-wild garden. Her two cats Piper and Poppy are her writing companions and the stars of Skype visits with book clubs. When Dee is not writing or reading, she is most likely watching old movies, cooking treats to go along with book reading or trying to learn to make jewelry.

Author Links

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

 

Giveaway!

Giveaway GoodiesA paperback copy, a key chain/backpack clip and a signed bookmark.  *North America Only*

Click Here or on the Pic to be directed to Rafflecopter for the Giveaway

 

Tour Banner (4).jpg

This blog tour was organized by R&R Book Tours

R&R Button (1).jpg

 

Miracle Creek – Blog Tour


ratingiconratingiconratingiconratingiconratingicon

Blurb:
My husband asked me to lie.
Not a big lie. He probably didn’t even consider it a lie, and neither did I, at first…
Miracle Creek is a gripping debut for fans of Celeste Ng, Liane Moriarty and Jodi Picoult, and about how far we’ll go to protect our families… and our deepest secrets.
In rural Virginia, Korean immigrants Young and Pak Yoo run an experimental medical treatment device known as the Miracle Submarine: a hyperbaric oxygen chamber that patients enter for ‘dives’, used as an alternative therapy for conditions including autism and infertility. But when the Miracle Submarine mysteriously explodes, killing two people, a dramatic murder trial upends the Yoos’ small community.
Who or what caused the explosion? Was it the mother of one of the patients, who claimed to be sick that day but was seen smoking down by the creek? Was it a group of protestors agaist HBOT therapy, who were at the site that morning? Or was it Young and Pak themselves, hoping to cash in on the generous insurance payment and send their daughter to college? The ensuing trial uncovers unimaginable secrets in Miracle Creek – trysts in the woods, mysterious notes, child abuse charges – as well as tense rivalries and alliances among a group of people drive to extraordinary degrees of desperation and sacrifice.

Book Information:
Title: Miracle Creek
By: Anige Kim
Publication Date: July 25, 2019
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Format: Hardback
Price: £16.99

 

My Review

This book was unlike any other I’ve read. I’m a huge mystery/thriller fan but I’d yet to read a courtroom drama and this sets the bar exceptionally high now for the genre. Angie Kim throws a story at you where you’re forced to look at the darker side of people, but, not because they’re evil but because they are simply human. There are tough decisions to face, and even tougher consequences as ever action echoes a ‘what could have been’ had the person not made that choice. And that’s the best part, each character is held accountable to their thoughts and actions. You also face a harsher reality of what families/people face when they choose to try and better their families lives by moving to America.

There is the story of a Korean family and its choice to move to the USA and how it affects them, there are the choices of a husband and wife pushed to the point of breaking over cultural (in-laws) and lifestyle differences and what they do to ease the tension, for better or extremely worse, and there are the choices of women with children all different in their own way, and the difficulties that come from their parenting choices, their children and their needs, and outside pressure. Honestly, this book was superb in every way. I would recommend this book in a heartbeat to anyone wanting to read a gripping and dramatic contemporary work of fiction.

^^^ This was my original review on GoodReads, and you know what, reading it again in its beautiful hardcover format simply solidified just how much I LOVE this book.

Even the way it’s divided, by what day of the trial and the flashes of the past are tastefully done.

Angie Kim is not afraid to show the utter darkness that we all are capable of carrying, and how sometimes not even good intentions are enough to justify acts. There’s so much love, and heartache, and all in different ways, romantic, friendship, familial, and it’s important to recognize all of these in the larger scheme of this book.

This really has set such a high bar not just for courtroom thrillers, or even thrillers in general, but for all books that come out this year. It’s so far managed to stay at the top of my list for best reads of 2019.

Angie Kim has used her own experiences and her own education to craft a contemporary masterpiece. I know I’m gushing but I can’t help it.

The first time I read this, my notes said ‘gripping from the first page’ and it was still just as intense the second time.

Don’t believe me on how much I straight up adore this book? I also bought a copy for my sister for her birthday. This book impacted me, and all my casual lingo aside, it is a true work of art as far as novels go, like I said, a masterpiece in its own right. Why? Because it’s so honest in the way Angie Kim wrote it, it’s a true thriller and in-depth look at the flaws of humanity.

If you’ve never read a courtroom thriller or don’t typically read thrillers but find the blurb fascinating, please, please give it a read.

I expect Angie Kim to go far in her writing.

Content warning: Sexual assault, death, death of children, abuse, suicide

Thanks to Kate and Hodder Books for a chance to be part of this tour and a chance to gush about this book again. [My review has been given honestly and was given before taking part in the tour]

 

That was the thing about lies: they demanded commitment. Once you lied, you had to stick to your story.

About the Author

Angie Kim credit Tim Coburn

Angie Kim moved as a preteen from Seoul, South Korea, to the subrubs of Baltimore. She attended Stanford University and Harvard Law School, where she was an editor of the Harvard Law Review, then parcticed as a trial lawyer at Williams & Connolly.

Her stories have won the Glamour Essay Contest and the Wabash Prize in Fiction, and appeared in numberous publications including the New York Times, Salon, Slate, the Souther Review, Sycamore Review, the Asian American Literary Review, and PANK.

She lives in northern Virginia with her husband and three sons. Miracle Creek is her first novel, inspired by her own experiences as a Korean immigrat, a trial lawyer, and mother of a HBOT patient. 

 

The Rest of the Tour Schedule

Twitter