HFVBT Presents David Blixt’s The Prince’s Doom Blog Tour, March 16-April 3 – Excerpt & Giveaway (US only)

April 1st, 2015

Please join author David Blixt as he tours the blogosphere with HF Virtual Book Tours for The Prince’s Doom, the fourth book in the Star Cross’d series, from March 16-April 3.



Publication Date: December 23, 2014
Sordelet Ink
Paperback; 722p
ISBN: 0615894437

Series: Book Four, Star Cross’d Series
Genre: Historical Fiction


About the Book

The long-awaited explosive fourth novel in the Star-Cross’d series! Verona has won its war with Padua, but lost its war with the stars. The young prodigy Cesco now turns his troubled brilliance to darker purposes, embracing a riotous life and challenging not only the lord of Verona and the Church, but the stars themselves. Trying desperately to salvage what’s left of his spirit, for once Pietro Alaghieri welcomes the plots and intrigues of the Veronese court, hoping they will shake the young man out of his torpor. But when the first body falls, it becomes clear that this new game is deadly, one that will doom them all.

Other stops with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
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Buy: Amazon


Book Excerpt

Pietro reached Cesco along the stairs, the sound of the revels at their backs. “Cesco. Please, talk to me.”

Cesco spun, balancing on his heels. “Why? Are you starved for conversation?”

“I don’t think you see where all this is leading.”

“On the contrary, my eyes are unblinkered. It was earlier that I chose blindness. Unseeing, I fell into an obvious trap.”

The meaning was plain. “Love is not a trap.”

Cesco scoffed. “Says the man whose sole romantic love was a woman who lied, used, and manipulated him, all the while knowing that she would never let him taste of her lips. I’ve known more women in the last fortnight than you have in your whole life.”

Pietro blushed. “That would not be difficult.”

“We both know I was not meant to be pure. If I am damned, I mean to enjoy it. I will indulge in all the arts of love until I can claim a laurel wreath.”

“I thought you said love was a trap.”

“You mistake love for passion, Nuncle.”

“You said love.”

“I said arts of love. Art is short for artifice. Fake. Unreal. Deceptive.”

“Don’t let Manuel hear you say that. Is music so false? Or poetry?”

“As false as the emotions they inspire. But perhaps I misspoke, Nuncle. I am not done with love. I am done with dreams. Now, if you’ll excuse me…” He sauntered away, his step faltering slightly.

In no mood to rejoin the revels, Pietro exited the palace, reliving the conversation, wondering if he could have done better.

Probably not.


The Star Cross’d Series

Based on the plays of William Shakespeare, the poetry of Dante, and the history of Italy, the Star-Cross’d Series is a tale of wars won, friendships lost, and conspiracies both mortal and stellar, an epic journey into the birth of the Renaissance that recalls the best of Bernard Cornwell and Dorothy Dunnett.


Titles in the Star Cross’d Series

Book One: Master of Verona
Book Two: Voice of the Falconer
Book Three: Fortune’s Fool
Book Four: The Prince’s Doom



About the Author

David-Blixt-AuthorAuthor and playwright David Blixt’s work is consistently described as “intricate,” “taut,” and “breathtaking.” A writer of Historical Fiction, his novels span the early Roman Empire (the COLOSSUS series, his play EVE OF IDES) to early Renaissance Italy (the STAR-CROSS’D series, including THE MASTER OF VERONA, VOICE OF THE FALCONER, FORTUNE’S FOOL, and THE PRINCE’S DOOM) up through the Elizabethan era (his delightful espionage comedy HER MAJESTY’S WILL, starring Will Shakespeare and Kit Marlowe as inept spies). His novels combine a love of the theatre with a deep respect for the quirks and passions of history. As the Historical Novel Society said, “Be prepared to burn the midnight oil. It’s well worth it.” Living in Chicago with his wife and two children, David describes himself as “actor, author, father, husband. In reverse order.”

For more information please visit David Blixt’s website and blog. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.



 Giveaway is for one Prince’s Doom branded T-Shirt

prince shirt

*CLICK HERE* and fill out the form to enter

Draw Date April 15/15





Source: All post info received from the tour company. Giveaway sponsored by the tour company.  No compensation was received.

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Guest Post with Janel Gradowski, author of Chicken Soup & Homicide & Giveaway (US/Canada)

March 31st, 2015

Please join me in welcoming Janel Gradowski, author of Chicken Soup & Homicide to the blog today.  I’m really enjoying her Culinary Competition Mysteries series which includes Pies & Peril (my review) and Chicken Soup & Homicide which I just reviewed yesterday (my review).  It’s a great series and a lot of fun to read – perfect for summer reading when you’re looking for something a bit lighter.  Today Janel was nice enough to write up a guest post for us so grab your favorite drink, relax, and enjoy…


Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00001]

I write culinary mysteries. I have been a fan of foodie fiction for many years, but as I writer this genre has a bit of a challenge for me. Not only do I have to write stories that readers like, I also need to develop recipes for some of the dishes mentioned in the book. The challenge comes from the fact that when I am in serious writing mode, concentrating on adding thousands of words every day to a manuscript, cooking is pretty low on my priority list.

Yes, I know very well that chopping vegetables or stirring risotto can be calming, stress relieving tasks. Maybe I should make cooking more of a priority while I’m writing, just because I know it makes me feel better. Still, even though I am writing about food for hours, Amy’s meals or culinary contest entries, meals for myself and my family are much more difficult for me to come up with. I have collected many cookbooks about making meals ahead of time then freezing them so they just need to be thawed and heated, homemade convenience meals. But I haven’t gotten into the habit of freezer cooking yet. (It’s on my “must try” list.) So frenzied meal searches often ensue.

The more engrossed I become in my writing the simpler and easier meals get in my house. Tried and true recipes along with convenience foods dominate my meals plans. Although I can’t say there is much meal planning involved. Often I’ll finish up my writing tasks for the day a few minutes before I have to leave to pick my kids up from school and stop at the grocery store on the way. Those shopping trips are a treasure expedition with me starring as a confused pirate. If I’ve had a rough day with my writing, heat and eat meals could end up in my cart. Even though I know very well that they aren’t very good. They ALL have a mystery meat quality to them. If you too have to take the super easy route for dinner, I suggest a good quality brand of mac and cheese, like Stouffer’s, to avoid possibly unpleasant memories of unidentifiable school cafeteria meals.

In the end, I have to write my books in two parts. Because developing original, creative recipes while I am also creating a mystery novel is almost impossible for me. Once the manuscript is turned into my publisher THEN I start working on recipes that will be included with the book. I’m not sure how other authors work, but this is what I do. It isn’t a perfect strategy, but nobody is perfect so I try to do the best that I can. Do you have any quick and easy meals for when you don’t feel like cooking but still need to get dinner on the table?

Read an excerpt (scroll down)
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Buy: Amazon, Amazon Canada, B&N


About Janel

JanelGThere are hundreds of fictional characters living in my mind. I love to let them out to play in my stories. I have written about everything from an insane ghost to a jealous wife with an explosive personality. Over the past few years many of my flash fiction and short stories have been published both online and in print. I have also been designing and publishing beadwork patterns for over 10 years. In 2012 I began publishing ebooks in my 6:1 Series. Each volume has six stories based on one theme. In 2013 I will begin publishing a culinary fiction series based in my home state of Michigan. While I love writing flash fiction, this new series will include novellas, novelettes and longer short stories as well as flash fiction pieces.

My favorite place to write is in my recliner, nestled into the corner of the living room. I cacoopern glance over my laptop screen and watch the wildlife perusing the field across the road. Everything from deer to turkeys and pheasants pass by as I wrestle the characters out of my head and onto the page. My almost constant companion and writing buddy is my beloved Golden Retriever, Cooper. He’s a great listener and always reminds to get up a stretch once in awhile, on the way to his treat jar. Besides my fur baby my family consists of two wonderful children and a fantastic husband.

Janel’s Website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest
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GIVEAWAY – OPEN TO US & CANADIAN RESIDENTS (paperback)/International (eBook)

1 signed paperback copy to US/Canada & ebook Internationally

*CLICK HERE* and fill out the form to enter

Draw Date April 15/15



Source: All post info received from the author or author’s website.  Giveaway sponsored by the author.  No compensation was received.

Chicken Soup & Homicide by Janel Gradowski

March 30th, 2015

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00001]Chicken Soup & Homicide is the second book in the Culinary Competition Mysteries series by Janel Gradowski.  I read the first book Pies & Peril last year and really enjoyed it but I have to say that I liked Chicken Soup & Homicide even more.  What I like most about reading a cozy series like this is getting to know the characters and the town the books take place in and when some humor and a good mystery is thrown in it’s all the better.  This is the perfect book to curl up with in your favorite comfy chair or to read out in the sun that’s sure to come out sooner or later!

Amy and her friend Sophie are set to compete in the Chicken Soup Showdown.  They’ve got the perfect chicken soup and are up against other local chefs in their town of Kellerton, Michigan including the formidable Chef Britton.  Nobody is all that fond of the rude and obnoxious Chef Britton and that includes Amy’s friend Carla who once dated him.  As they get set to start the competition Amy has to run to the back to get something out of the freezer and boy does she find herself a big something.  Who but Chef Britton falls right out of that freezer and with a knife sticking out of his chest and deader than a doornail. Amy has to wonder what it is with her and finding dead bodies – once was enough and here she finds yet another one.

Needless to say trouble is brewing along with the ever present coffee pot (gotta love women who love coffee!).  Amy figures that Carla’s boyfriend Bruce who is a detective will be on the case and clear them all quickly but unfortunately he has to step down due to a conflict of interest.  Instead it is Detective Pitt and the only suspects he seems to have his eye on are Amy and Carla. Amy soon realizes that if she wants both herself and Carla to stay out of jail then she’s going to have to do some detective work of her own.  Hopefully she can solve the crime before she ends up a victim herself.

I really like the characters in this series especially Amy and Carla.  I really felt we got to know Amy on a different level this time as she struggles not only to clear herself of murder but is experiencing some marital woes as well.  The mystery is good as well and while I can usually pick out the culprit early on I didn’t realize this one until almost the end.  So yet another great addition to this series and I’m really looking forward to the next one and more adventures with Amy and her crew.  Highly recommended.


Read an excerpt (scroll down)
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Buy: Amazon, Amazon Canada, B&N




Source: Personal copy

A Reunion of Ghosts by Judith Claire Mitchell (Audiobook)

March 27th, 2015

ghostA Reunion of Ghosts by Judith Claire Mitchell centers around the three Alter sisters: Lady, Vee, and Delph, middle aged,  who live together in their rent controlled family’s apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.  The sisters are extremely loyal to each other and share a history of bad luck that hasn’t skipped a generation yet.  Has it been any different for the sisters? … Well, no.

Lady, Vee, and Delph, due to circumstances in their lives, have decided it’s time to put an end to the Alter family curse.  While the rest of the world is looking forward to the new millennium, the sisters are looking back.  They are recording their family history, every bad bit, which will ultimately end in the final chapter – theirs – at the close of 1999, following in the steps of many of their kin before them.

The novel then takes us back in forth in time between the lives of the sisters and their ancestors.  As they look back we learn that their great-grandfather was responsible for a truly atrocious event in history and this, in effect, has shaped the lives of the Alter’s going forward.  Throughout their own lives the sisters have tried to live as anyone would but they can’t escape the shadows of the past, when in middle life, they find themselves facing regrets, depression, and illness.  It leaves us questioning if one can ever really escape the sins of their fathers before them or are we doomed to the same fate?

While this may seem really depressing it isn’t.  The sisters are very witty and they bring humor to an otherwise dire story.  I laughed at times and felt their pain at others and ultimately I understood their decision to end their lives.  I had picked up the audiobook of A Reunion of Ghosts and it’s narrated by Kirstin Potter and William Charlton.  I felt that listening to this book really brought a lot to the story for me because there were a few times where the story lagged for me and the narrators drew me right back in.

Recommended for those who enjoy literary fiction.  I enjoyed it.


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Author Links: Website, Facebook
Buy: Amazon, IndieBound, B&N




Source: Digital copy provided by the publisher for an honest review.  Audiobook from personal library.  No compensation was received. 

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