National Poetry Month: Travelling Light by Vickie Johnstone

April 18th, 2014

travelIt’s April and that means it’s National Poetry Month and once again Serena from Savvy Verse & Wit is hosting a blog tour to celebrate poetry.  Despite the fact that I don’t read a lot of poetry nor can I usually decipher the meaning behind most of it I do know what I like when I read it.  If it makes me smile, cry, or just strikes a chord somewhere within me I know I’ve read a piece of poetry that means something to me and ultimately I think that’s what makes poetry enjoyable for anyone.  Travelling Light by Vickie Johnstone is just such a book of poetry for me.

Originally I had chosen a different collection to highlight but then I ran across Travelling Light by Vickie Johnstone and downloaded it to my Kindle.  From the very first piece I was captivated by the beauty of Vickie’s words and I read this collection not once, but twice!  What I like best about this author’s work is that it is very straight forward.  I didn’t have to search for a hidden meaning because I knew what she was trying to say and I really appreciated that as a novice poetry reader.  Some of these poems are on the light side and some much darker – some I really liked and others were just ok but again that reflects back on how a piece reacts with the emotions of the reader.  I found it to be a very enjoyable collection and intend to read more of Vickie’s work.

Finally, I thought I’d share one of the pieces that I enjoyed.  I chose the poem November simply because it resonated with me.  We’ve had such a bad winter this year and it’s still not over and I long for spring and this poem perfectly captured that.



November chills me with its breath
It shocks me out of this limbo
With its icy fingers and numb breaks
Darkness comes creeping in earlier

Crisp steps it makes across the land
As the sky sinks down ever nearer
Trees reach skyward for past blossoms
Carried away on the back of the wind

I yearn to bury myself away in warmth
To hibernate like a sleeping hedgehog
In a small box of paper, hidden away
Nestled alone with my memories

Wake me in the warm glow of spring
As I’m sure I will not miss a thing
This slow slide into winter unnerves me
Season of change, death and seclusion

Bring me sunshine on a silver platter
With roses tinted pink in summer scent
The smell of green brought by the rain
Smile away the despair of the darkest day


(Taken from the ebook version of Travelling Light)


Be sure to check out all of the fabulous tour stops for National Poetry Month over on Savvy Verse & Wit!



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The Towers of Tuscany by Carol M. Cram & Giveaway (Open Int’l)

April 17th, 2014

The-Towers-of-TuscanyOne of the reasons I enjoy participating in book tours is because quite often I run across a gem of a book I may not have otherwise. One of those books is The Towers of Tuscany by Carol M. Cram which blends fact with fiction to deliver a captivating tale set in medieval Italy.

Sofia lives in a time when women had no rights and either bent to the will of their fathers or husbands. Sofia however grew up with a father who trained her secretly as a painter and it is her passion. Wanting to get out on her own though her heart is taken by Georgio and despite her father’s misgivings he gives his permission for her to marry him. While things are good in the beginning of the marriage it isn’t long before her wonderful husband turns into a tyrant and Sofia is left with an ever angrier husband as more time goes by and she doesn’t produce him a son.

The only thing that keeps her going is secretly painting for her father. At a party given for the unveiling of one of his paintings her father is killed and Sofia is devastated. Desperate now she decides to set up a way to escape his clutches by dressing as a boy and leaving for a short trip while never intending to come back. She goes to Siena where her father had contacts and she gets work as a painter but also as a boy being the only way she can stay safe. As she paints she reflects back on all the lessons her father taught her over the years and she misses him even more. When instructed to paint a piece for an important nobleman she ends up being discovered for the woman she actually is. Will he turn her in and have her beaten in the streets? Will she end up back in the hands of her cruel husband? Or will he love her?

Vividly descriptive of the time and place and rich in historical detail this novel takes us back in time on a wonderful journey. I was fascinated with all the detail on the painting techniques of the time period but even more so by the story woven throughout. I raced through this novel and it is a fine example of what great historical fiction should be! Highly recommended!


Other tour stops with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Read an excerpt
Author Links: Website, Blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads
Buy at: Amazon, Amazon Canada, and B&N


GIVEAWAY DETAILS (International)

I have one paperback or ebook copy (Winner’s choice) of The Towers of Tuscany to share with my readers.  Even better it’s open internationally!  To enter…

  • Leave a comment for 1 entry to the giveaway.
  • Tweet, share on Facebook, or blog for 2 extra entries.

Open Internationally
Draw Date May 3/14



Source:  Review copy provided by the publisher.  No compensation was received for this review and all opinions are my own.

V.E. Ulett’s Blackwell’s Paradise Book Blast, April 1-30 & Rafflecopter Giveaway

April 16th, 2014


Blackwell’s Paradise
by V.E. Ulett

Publication Date: January 8, 2014
Old Salt Press LLC
Formats: Ebook, Paperback

Series: Blackwell’s Adventures, Volume II
Genre: Historical Adventure/Naval HF


Relive the pleasure of falling into the past with the author of Captain Blackwell’s Prize, in Volume II of Blackwell’s Adventures.

The repercussions of a court martial and the ill-will of powerful men at the Admiralty pursue Royal Navy captain James Blackwell into the Pacific, where danger lurks around every coral reef. Even if Captain Blackwell and Mercedes survive the venture into the world of early nineteenth century exploration, can they emerge unchanged with their love intact. The mission to the Great South Sea will test their loyalties and strength, and define the characters of Captain Blackwell and his lady in Blackwell’s Paradise.


Enter the Goodreads Giveaway


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Blackwell's Paradise by V.E. Ulett

Blackwell’s Paradise

by V.E. Ulett

Giveaway ends April 30, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win


Praise for Blackwell’s Paradise

“Not for the faint hearted – Captain Blackwell pulls no punches! Prepare for a right roaring romp in the company of two of the most captivating characters in historical fiction.” – Alaric Bond, author of Turn A Blind Eye, and the Fighting Sail Series


Buy the Book

Amazon (eBook)
Amazon (Paperback)
Barnes & Noble (Nook)
Barnes & Noble (Paperback)
Book Depository


About the Author



A long time resident of California, V.E. Ulett is an avid reader as well as writer of historical fiction.

Proud to be an Old Salt Press author, V.E. is also a member of the National Books Critics Circle and an active member and reviewer for the Historical Novel Society.

As the long war in Europe comes to its conclusion, so does Captain Blackwell’s career in the Royal Navy in BLACKWELLS’ HOMECOMING, a story of the dangers and rewards of desire.



Author Links

Old Salt Press


Book Blast Schedule

April 1 Historical Tapestry
April 2 Broken Teepee
April 3 Confessions of an Avid Reader
April 4 The True Book Addict
April 7 Layered Pages
April 8 The Maiden’s Court
April 9 Passages the Past
April 10 Just One More Chapter
April 11 Closed the Cover
April 12 Words and Peace
April 14 Luxury Reading
April 15 To Read or Not to Read
April 16 Peeking Between the Pages
April 18 So Many Books, So Little Time
April 21 Flashlight Commentary
April 22 Curling Up With a Good Book
April 23 HF Book Muse-News
April 24 A Bookish Affair
April 25 Oh, For the Hook of a Book
April 27 Kincavel Korner
April 28 CelticLady’s Reviews
April 29 Historical Fiction Connection
April 30 Reading the Ages



To enter to win a copy of Blackwell’s Paradise please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on April 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter on May 1st and notified via email.
Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Safe With Me by Amy Hatvany (Audiobook)

April 15th, 2014

safeAmy Hatvany once again amazes me with her beautiful writing and her newest novel Safe With Me. It is such an emotional and heart wrenching book and I’ll admit to shedding more than one tear while listening to it. Which brings me to saying that I listened to the audio version and all I can say is wow! It is narrated by the amazing and one of my favorites Cassandra Campbell as well as Joy Osmanski who I also enjoy and Rebekah Ross who I haven’t listened to before but would again. These three women bring such raw emotion to this story that the reader can’t help but be drawn into it.

The novel is told through Hannah, Olivia, and Maddie. Hannah, a single mother, is devastated when her young daughter is hit by a car and killed. At the hospital she is faced with the hardest decision of her life when asked to donate her daughter’s organs. Ultimately she says yes as she feels that this is what her daughter would have wanted.

On the other end of the spectrum is Olivia whose daughter desperately needs a liver transplant. She is overjoyed when a liver becomes available and yet sad that another mother had to lose their child for hers to have life. On a chance meeting Hannah meets Maddie and her mom Olivia and without revealing who she is finds herself drawn into their lives. Olivia though has problems that her seemingly perfect life now that her daughter is well doesn’t reveal. Her husband is abusive and she feels it only fair to hang on in the marriage until Maddie leaves for college. At what cost though?

This novel was such an emotional read for me because I connected so deeply with Olivia and Cassandra Campbell added so much depth to Olivia’s character with the way she portrayed her. Safe With Me would be a fantastic book club pick with its wide array of discussion topics. You have organ donation, loss of a child, abusive marriages, and so much more. This story really makes you question what you would do if in the same situation and the lines aren’t always as clearly cut as one might think.

While there is sadness in this novel there is also happiness, hope, and new life. Amy Hatvany has become a favorite author of mine and Safe With Me comes very highly recommended – especially the audio version!


Buy at Simon & Schuster, Audible, and iTunes


Source:  Review copy provided by the publisher.  No compensation was received for this review and all opinions are my own.


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