Fly Away by Kristin Hannah – Book Spotlight & Giveaway (US only)

April 10th, 2014

Today’s spotlight is for the recent paperback release of Fly Away from best-selling author Kristin Hannah.  I’ve got this one on my audio pile to listen to soon and can’t wait.  I’ve read a few of Kristin Hannah’s books and I always enjoy the emotional stories she tells.  You’ll find below some information on the book and the author and be sure to enter the giveaway for your chance to win a copy of the book!

fly away

FLY AWAY (from Amazon)

As teenagers in the seventies, Tully Hart and Kate Mularky were inseparable. Tully, with her make-up and her halter tops, was the coolest girl in school. Kate, with her glasses and her high water jeans, was the geeky outsider. But chance and circumstance brought them together and through the decades they were devoted to each other. This was the story of Tully and Kate which began on a quiet street called Firefly Lane. Best friends forever.

But sometimes stories end, and we have to find a way to begin again.

Now, years later, Tully is a woman trying to deal with the loss of her best friend. She wants to fulfill her promise to Kate—to be there for Kate’s children, but it’s a promise she has no idea how to carry out. What does brash, lonely, ambitious Tully know about being part of a family?

Kate’s daughter, sixteen-year-old Marah Ryan, is as lost in her grief as Tully is…until she falls in love with a young man who makes her smile again and leads her into his dangerous, shadowy world.

Tully’s mother, Dorothy Hart, is an unstable woman who abandoned her child too many times in the past and ultimately broke her heart. Now, when Tully is in danger of losing everything and is more vulnerable and alone than she’s been since she put those rough childhood years behind her, Dorothy returns once more, desperate for another chance to be a good mother. But can she be trusted this time? To help her daughter, Dorothy must face her darkest fears and reveal the terrible secret in her past—only then can she become the mother her wounded daughter needs.

In Fly Away, tragedy will bring these three women together and set them on a poignant, powerful journey of redemption. Each has lost her way and they will need each other—and maybe a miracle—to transform their lives…

Read an excerpt
Buy at: Amazon, Amazon Canada, and B&N




KRISTIN HANNAH is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty-one novels. A former lawyer turned writer, she is the mother of one son and lives with her husband in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii. Visit her at or Facebook.

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I have  one paperback copy of Fly Away by Kristin Hannah to share with my US readers.  To enter…

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

Open to US residents only (no PO boxes)
Draw Date April 26/14



more to share!

The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte by Ruth Hull Chatlien & Giveaway (US/Canada)

April 9th, 2014

The-Ambitious-Madame-BonaparteThe Ambitious Madame Bonaparte is the debut novel of Ruth Hull Chatlien and is based on the true story of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte who was known as Betsy Bonaparte. While most of us have heard of Napoleon and Josephine Bonaparte numerous times Betsy is the much less known American wife of Napoleon’s younger brother Jerome. Weaving fact with fiction Ruth Hull Chatlien brings this woman alive for us in a novel sure to please historical fiction fans.

Betsy Patterson longs for more out of life than she has so far experienced. She doesn’t want to follow the rules set out for women of her time and end up married to some merchant having countless babies. Most of all she does not want to live in Baltimore where she is bored silly with all the tedious things that make up her life. It has always been her dream to marry a man from Europe and live there.

When she meets Jerome Bonaparte she is quite sure her dream has come true especially when he asks for her hand in marriage. However his brother Napoleon is adamantly opposed to the marriage but the couple marries anyhow hoping for approval from Jerome’s mother instead. So begins the tumultuous journey from marriage to bearing a son and the great battle to have that son recognized as a Bonaparte.

This novel is one of those that reminds me of why I enjoy historical fiction. It is very well written and while rich in historical detail, the story behind it is captivating as well. The novel breezed by for me and at almost five hundred pages that alone says a lot. It was very interesting to learn about Betsy and I admired her for her determination to be more than what was expected of women at that time in history. I liked Betsy as a character and could feel her pain at the rejection she felt from her father on a regular basis and then having her heart broken. While she frustrated me at times with her headstrong determination in some cases she was still one of those characters who you find yourself rooting for.

The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte captures this time in history perfectly. Well written, exciting, and educational – it doesn’t get any better than that! A must read for historical fiction fans!



 Other Tour Stops with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Connect with Ruth Hull Chatlien at her website or on Facebook.
Buy at: Amazon, Amazon Canada, and B&N



I have one copy of The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte by Ruth Hull Chatlien to share with my readers.  The book is available in paperback, mobi, or e-pub – winner’s choice.  To enter…

  • For 1 entry leave a comment entering the giveaway.
  • Tweet, share on Facebook, or blog for 2 extra entries.

Open to US and Canadian residents (no PO boxes)
Draw Date April 26/14



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

Carol Cram’s The Towers of Tuscany Book Blast & Rafflecopter Giveaway

April 8th, 2014

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and author Carol M. Cram are excited to announce The Towers of Tuscany Book Blast! Join us from April 7-13 as The Towers of Tuscany is featured around the blogosphere, along with a chance to win one of three copies of this amazing new novel! Called “a beautifully crafted masterpiece of historical fiction“, “lush”, and “page-turning” Cram’s debut novel will appeal to readers who enjoy a strong female lead who, against great odds, dares to follow a dream. The Towers of Tuscany includes a Reader’s Guide making it a perfect Book Club pick! In honor of the Book Blast we are giving away three copies to three lucky readers, see below to enter.



Publication Date: January 23, 2014
New Arcadia Publishing
Formats: Paperback, Ebook


Genre: Historical Fiction

Set amid the twisting streets and sunlit piazzas of medieval Italy, the Towers of Tuscany tells the story of a woman who dares to follow her own path in the all-male domain of the painter’s workshop. Sofia Barducci is born into a world where a woman is only as good as the man who cares for her, but she still claims the right to make her own mistakes. Her first mistake is convincing her father to let her marry Giorgio Carelli, a wealthy saffron merchant in San Gimignano, the Tuscan city of towers. Trained in secret by her father to create the beautifully-crafted panels and altarpieces acclaimed today as masterpieces of late medieval art, Sofia’s desire for freedom from her father’s workshop leads her to betray her passion and sink into a life of loveless drudgery with a husband who comes to despise her when she does not produce a son.

In an attack motivated by vendetta, Sofia’s father is crushed by his own fresco, compelling Sofia to act or risk the death of her soul. The choice she makes takes her on a journey from misery to the heights of passion—both as a painter and as a woman. Sofia escapes to Siena where, disguised as a boy, she paints again. When her work attracts the notice of a nobleman who discovers the woman under the dirty smock, Sofia is faced with a choice that nearly destroys her.

The Towers of Tuscany unites a strong heroine with meticulously researched settings and compelling characters drawn from the rich tapestry of medieval Italy during one of Europe’s most turbulent centuries. The stylishly written plot is packed with enough twists and turns to keep readers up long past their bedtimes.


The Towers of Tuscany



Praise for The Towers of Tuscany

“The Towers of Tuscany is a delightful escape to the Siena we all love. Carol Cram has crafted a delicious story about a strong woman torn between her secret past, her love of painting and the forbidden charms of her rich patron. Hard to resist and highly recommended!” – Anne Fortier, Author of The Lost Sisterhood and the New York Times bestseller, Juliet

“Carol Cram’s lush descriptions and intriguing characters bring this dramatic tale of medieval Tuscany to life. If you love Italian art, a feisty heroine, and a page-turning plot, you will adore this novel.” – Deborah Swift, Author of A Divided Inheritance

“The Towers of Tuscany has all the elements of a wonderful historical novel―a talented, frustrated heroine, a treacherous, feckless husband, and a promise to a dying, much loved father who orders the heroine on a dangerous mission. Carol is a first rate storyteller. The research is well done. Every chapter displays a fine knowledge of painting technique of the 14th century, and customs and mores of the age. The details of dress, fabric, food, are flawless. The clever dialogue and fast pace make the novel zing along.” – Roberta Rich, Author of The Midwife of Venice and The Harem Midwife

“Sofia will set your heart racing as she attempts to find what we all, in our own ways, strive to seek: love, resolution, and artistic freedom. The legacy of this story will leave you yearning for more.” – Cathleen With, award-winning author of Having Faith in the Polar Girls’ Prison


Buy the Book

Amazon (Ebook)
Amazon (Paperback)
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository


About the Author


Carol M. Cram has enjoyed a great career as an educator, teaching at Capilano University in North Vancouver for over twenty years and authoring forty-plus bestselling textbooks on business communications and software applications. She holds an MA in Drama from the University of Toronto and an MBA from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. Carol is currently focusing as much of her attention as she can spare between walks in the woods on writing historical novels with an arts twist.

She and her husband, painter Gregg Simpson, share a life on beautiful Bowen Island near Vancouver, Canada.


Author Links



Book Blast Schedule

Monday, April 7
Literary Chanteuse
Bibliophilia, Please
Cheryl’s Book Nook
A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Confessions of an Avid Reader

Tuesday, April 8
Mari Reads
Peeking Between the Pages
History From a Woman’s Perspective

Wednesday, April 9
Reviews by Molly
Susan Heim on Writing
Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Thursday, April 10
Passages to the Past
Book Lovers Paradise
To Read or Not to Read
Curling Up With a Good Book

Friday, April 11
Words and Peace
The Mad Reviewer
Historical Fiction Obsession

Saturday, April 12
Book Nerd
Layered Pages
Princess of Eboli
Kelsey’s Book Corner

Sunday, April 13
West Metro Mommy
The True Book Addict
Caroline Wilson Writes



To enter to win one of 3 copies of The Towers of Tuscany please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open internationally.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on April 13th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter on April 14th and notified via email.
Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume (Audiobook)

April 5th, 2014

margaretHow many of you remember the book Are You There God?  It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume?  I probably read this book three or more times as a pre-teen girl and to this day the story had stuck in my mind.  As I was browsing the library for children’s titles for this week I came across it and I couldn’t resist listening to the audio.  It is still just as good today as it was then and I am very much out of the age range for this one.  LOL.  Are You There God?  It’s Me, Margaret is still relevant for a young girl growing up and struggling with puberty and just where she fits in the world.  I listened to the audiobook which is narrated by Laura Hamilton and she does a wonderful job and the way she portrayed Margaret brought her alive in this book!

Twelve-year-old Margaret has just moved to a new neighborhood in Farbrook, New Jersey and she’s not too happy about it.  She’s had to leave her friends behind and most importantly her grandmother.  Margaret is sure that is why they moved as her parents didn’t approve of how Margaret’s grandmother spoiled her with private schools and many more things.  Now Margaret will be attending a regular public  school and she’s worried.  Will she fit in?  Will she be able to make friends?  Lucky for her Nancy, who lives nearby comes over and befriends her.  They are the same age and in the same class at school.  Soon enough Margaret finds herself in a private girl’s group with Nancy, Gretchen, and Janie.

The girls decide the first order of business is to get them all in bras which leaves Margaret mortified as she’s going to have to ask her mother to take her shopping for one.  Margaret is pretty gutsy though and goes home and just blurts it out and ends up in a training bra soon enough.  The biggest thing though is they are all so anxious to get their periods.  Margaret especially felt this would be the gateway to making her more grown up.  I found it so funny because it isn’t long before us women are wishing we didn’t have them anymore. Another one that cracked me up was the ‘We must, we must, increase our bust’.  LOL.  I do remember doing that when I was a teen.  Then there was the more serious side of things with Margaret’s confusion over religion.  Her parents aren’t any religion, her grandmother is Jewish, and Margaret is caught in the middle.  Her parents told her when she was old enough she could choose what she wanted and there again the book highlights how hard it can be growing up and having to figure things out for yourself.

Are You There God?  It’s Me, Margaret was a trip down memory lane for me but for a pre-teen girl I think it would be a valuable resource.  Margaret is a normal, everyday teen girl making her very easy for a teen to connect with.  She realistically tells of her feelings, concerns, and fears and they are many that all girls go through.  I can still remember when I read it and it made me feel as though I was normal.  All the feelings I had were just the same as other girls had and that had made me feel better.  An excellent choice for a pre-teen girl!


Are You There God?  It’s Me, Margaret is available in paperback, Kindle, or Audiobook from Amazon


kid-konnection-newKid Konnection is hosted by Booking Mama and it posts each Saturday so I’ll be linking up my children’s books there. If you have a post relating to a children’s book, middle grade or young adult from the last week head on over and you can participate too!




Source: Copy from Library


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