Tuesday, August 22, 2017

G893 Book Review of The Secrets of the Abbey by Kathleen C Perrin

Name of Book: The Secrets of the Abbey

Author: Kathleen C Perrin

ISBN: 9780692877975

Publisher: Langon House

Part of a Series: The Watchmen Saga

Type of book: 1500s, Wars of Religion in France, christian themes and messages, prayer, Mount Saint Michel, marriage, knowledge, ancenstry, time travel, protection, memory loss, amnesia, fame and fortune, making decisions

Year it was published: 2017


In the final book (III) of The Watchmen Saga, Katelyn Michaels is distraught when she finds herself back in the United States in modern times after unwillingly leaving a comatose Nicolas behind on Mont Saint Michel in 1429. When a series of remarkable events facilitates her return to the Mount and unveils why Katelyn was called as a Watchman, her fondest hope is to be reunited with Nicolas, regardless of the circumstances.

However, when Nicolas unexpectedly appears with a new mission for Katelyn to help him thwart yet another threat to the Mount, she is devastated to learn that his head injury has deprived him of any memories of their relationship. Nonetheless, she is determined to once again find a way to save the Mount—this time in sixteenth-century France amidst violent religious turmoil—and to rekindle Nicolas’s feelings for her during the course of their mission.

The couple’s love and loyalty are tested as Katelyn and Nicolas attempt to unmask the true source of the threat, their adversary Abdon, sort out their conflicting emotions, and deal with the consequences of the astounding age-old secret that is finally revealed.


Main characters include Katelynn Michaels who is best described as resourceful, creative and is often seen as extremely knowledgeable about quite a number of things. Katelynn is also a teenager which means I found her full of contradictions because in one moment she is talking about how grownup she is since she has witnessed her best friend being burned for being a witch or being chosen for a mission (it's right at the start of the book,) and in another moment she tends to self deprecate herself a bit because she is not as intelligent as her brother or why was she chosen instead of someone else ? So yes, both humble and grandiose. Nicolas is Katelynn's boyfriend/husband who is slightly older than she and apparently it wasn't love at first sight for these two as it took time for them to build chemistry and affections they had for one another. Nicolas has recently lost his memory, in particular the years she and he have known one another and they will have to start again so to speak. Other characters include Brother Thiebault, a monk who is well versed in healing and is apparently awkward around women as well; then there is Katelynn's mentor who holds many secrets and refuses to divulge the secret of the Mount Saint Michel to her for fear of an evil being taking advantage of her or of those she knows. Other characters include Katelynn's friends, employees and family.


There are more commonalities than differences


The story is told in first and and third person narratives; first from Katelynn's point of view and third from everyone else's point of view. Prior to reading this book, I hadn't read the previous two, and I did feel that I miss out quite a lot on Katelynn's previous adventures as a watchman. I also unexpectedly appreciated gaining some perspective into Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe (that particular story takes place in 1580s around the same time this story does.) and for me 1500s France is a new era that I didn't learn about. While I appreciated the message as well as explanations on why Protestantism didn't take hold in France, I wonder if the author's messages are universal across all faiths and religions or only the dominant ones.

Author Information:
(From France Book Tours)

Kathleen C. Perrin
holds bachelor’s degrees in French and Humanities
from Brigham Young University
and is a certified French translator.
Besides being the author of The Watchmen Saga,
she has published several non-fiction articles, academic papers,
and a religious history about Tahiti.
Kathleen has lived in Utah, New York City, France, and French Polynesia.
She and her French husband have spent years
investigating the mysteries and beauties of his native country
—where they have a cottage—and have taken tourist groups to France.
The Perrins have three children and currently reside in Utah.

Visit her website.
See here gorgeous pictures related to the book
Follow her on Facebook, Twitter
Sign up to receive her Newsletter.
Buy the book  on Amazon
In advance I'd like to apologize for having a christian themed book on my blog. I consciously choose not to promote or read christian literature, and at the time I chose this book I was unaware that it was christian because it was being promoted as historical fiction. 

To be honest, minus certain elements that had to do with religion, I actually enjoyed reading the book and the story. It's also probably the first time travel book that I liked. (I'm not a fan of time travel books,) and at many points I was curious enough to want to read the previous two novels and to learn further adventures of Katelynn Michaels and her boyfriend/husband Nicolas. I did feel that although the story was written very well, it did not make a good stand-alone novel because the author does make one curious about Katelynn's previous adventures that are often eluded to. A lot of story elements are done well in the book, although I did find the main character, Katelynn, a bit annoying at times, but I could see the chemistry between her and Nicolas well.

This is for France Book Tours

4 out of 5

(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

G892 Book Review of a very French christmas; the Greatest French Holiday Stories of all time by various

Title of the book: a very French christmas; the Greatest French Holiday Stories of all time

Authors: Various

Publisher: New Vessel Press

Publishing Date: 2016

ISBN: 978-1-939931-50-4


A continuation of the very popular Very Christmas Series from New Vessel Press, this collection brings together the best French Christmas stories of all time in an elegant and vibrant collection featuring classics by Guy de Maupassant and Alphonse Daudet, plus stories by the esteemed twentieth century author Irène Némirovsky and contemporary writers Dominique Fabre and Jean-Philippe Blondel.

With a holiday spirit conveyed through sparkling Paris streets, opulent feasts, wandering orphans, kindly monks, homesick soldiers, oysters, crayfish, ham, bonbons, flickering desire, and more than a little wine, this collection encapsulates the holiday spirit and proves that the French have mastered Christmas. This is Christmas à la française—delicious, intense and unexpected, proving that nobody does Christmas like the French.

Author Info:

Alphonse Daudet, Guy de Maupassant, Anatole France
Irène Némirovsky, Jean-Philippe Blondel, Dominique Fabre,
Paul Arene, Francois Coppee, Antoine Gustave Droz, Anatole La Braz

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Buy the book: on Amazon

Personal Opinion:

I think I signed on to read and review the book as more of a curiosity because I wanted to know how French christmas was different than the stereotypical portrayal of American and Dickensian christmas. I also think I was curious how I would feel about the stories considering that I don't celebrate christmas (closest is New Years in Russian style which is similar to christmas style as I learned when I came to America.) What I found out is interesting: modern stories like the first one as well as one by Dominique Fabre and last one by Irene Nemirovsky for me they are far more enjoyable than the old stories by Alphonse Daudet and Francoise Coppee who apparently were hypocrites in their beliefs towards those who are not christians. Most of the 14 stories are dominated by Daudet and Coppee. I liked learning about the way French celebrate christmas and seeing something other than British or American, but I do wish that the stories would have been in more of a modern vein rather than the 1800s vein.

This is for France Book Tours


Tuesday, August 8
Review + Giveaway at The Fictional 100

Review + Giveaway at Reading for the Stars and Moon

Wednesday, August 9
Review + Giveaway at The French Village Diaries

Thursday, August 10
Review + Giveaway at Readerbuzz

Friday, August 11
Review + Giveaway at Reading To Unwind

Review + Giveaway at Words And Peace

Monday, August 14
Review + Giveaway at Books Are Cool

Review + Giveaway at Locks, Hooks and Books

Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Cover reveal for MY DEAR HAMILTON: A NOVEL OF ELIZA SCHUYLER HAMILTON by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

From the New York Times bestselling authors of America’s First Daughter comes the epic story of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton—a revolutionary woman who, like her new nation, struggled to define herself in the wake of war, betrayal, and tragedy. Haunting, moving, and beautifully written, Dray and Kamoie used thousands of letters and original sources to tell Eliza’s story as it’s never been told before—not just as the wronged wife at the center of a political sex scandal—but also as a founding mother who shaped an American legacy in her own right.

We’re celebrating Eliza Schuyler Hamilton’s Birthday today and you get the gift! Don’t miss the beautiful cover below and a special giveaway, and don’t forget to pre-order your copy today!

About My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton (Coming 4.3.2018):

Wife, Widow, and Warrior in Alexander Hamilton’s Quest to Form a More Perfect Union

From the New York Times bestselling authors of America’s First Daughter comes the epic story of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton—a revolutionary woman who, like her new nation, struggled to define herself in the wake of war, betrayal, and tragedy. Haunting, moving, and beautifully written, Dray and Kamoie used thousands of letters and original sources to tell Eliza’s story as it’s never been told before—not just as the wronged wife at the center of a political sex scandal—but also as a founding mother who shaped an American legacy in her own right.

A general’s daughter…

Coming of age on the perilous frontier of revolutionary New York, Elizabeth Schuyler champions the fight for independence. And when she meets Alexander Hamilton, Washington’s penniless but passionate aide-de-camp, she’s captivated by the young officer’s charisma and brilliance. They fall in love, despite Hamilton’s bastard birth and the uncertainties of war.

A founding father’s wife...

But the union they create—in their marriage and the new nation—is far from perfect. From glittering inaugural balls to bloody street riots, the Hamiltons are at the center of it all—including the political treachery of America’s first sex scandal, which forces Eliza to struggle through heartbreak and betrayal to find forgiveness.

The last surviving light of the Revolution…

When a duel destroys Eliza’s hard-won peace, the grieving widow fights her husband’s enemies to preserve Alexander’s legacy. But long-buried secrets threaten everything Eliza believes about her marriage and her own legacy. Questioning her tireless devotion to the man and country that have broken her heart, she’s left with one last battle—to understand the flawed man she married and imperfect union he could never have created without her…

Pre-Order on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GooglePlayiBooks | Kobo

To celebrate Eliza Schuyler Hamilton’s Birthday today, we have a surprise for you! Share the cover of MY DEAR HAMILTON and fill out the Rafflecopter below to receive an Exclusive Excerpt!

New York Times bestselling author, Stephanie Dray is an award-winning, bestselling and two-time RITA award nominated author of historical women’s fiction. Her critically acclaimed series about Cleopatra’s daughter has been translated into eight different languages and won NJRW's Golden Leaf. As Stephanie Draven, she is a national bestselling author of genre fiction and American-set historical women's fiction. She is a frequent panelist and presenter at national writing conventions and lives near the nation's capital. Before she became a novelist, she was a lawyer, a game designer, and a teacher. Now she uses the stories of women in history to inspire the young women of today.

Stephanie’s Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter

New York Times bestselling author, Laura Kamoie has always been fascinated by the people, stories, and physical presence of the past, which led her to a lifetime of historical and archaeological study and training. She holds a doctoral degree in early American history from The College of William and Mary, published two non-fiction books on early America, and most recently held the position of Associate Professor of History at the U.S. Naval Academy before transitioning to a full-time career writing genre fiction as the New York Times bestselling author, Laura Kaye. Her New York Times bestselling debut historical novel, America's First Daughter, co-authored with Stephanie Dray, allowed her the exciting opportunity to combine her love of history with her passion for storytelling. Laura lives among the colonial charm of Annapolis, Maryland with her husband and two daughters.

Laura’s Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter Sign-Up

Monday, August 7, 2017

G881 Book Review of Whirligig by Richard Buxton

Name of Book: Whirligig

Author: Richard Buxton

ISBN: 9780995769304

Publisher: Self published

Type of book: secrets, crush, promise, war, Civil War, England, parliament, union army vs rebel army, 1862-1864, Tennessee, plantation, whirligig

Year it was published: 2017


Shire leaves his home and his life in Victorian England for the sake of a childhood promise, a promise that pulls him into the bleeding heart of the American Civil War. Lost in the bloody battlefields of the West, he discovers a second home for his loyalty.

Clara believes she has escaped from a predictable future of obligation and privilege, but her new life in the Appalachian Hills of Tennessee is decaying around her. In the mansion of Comrie, long hidden secrets are being slowly exhumed by a war that creeps ever closer.

The first novel from multi-award winning short-story writer Richard Buxton, Whirligig is at once an outsider’s odyssey through the battle for Tennessee, a touching story of impossible love, and a portrait of America at war with itself. Self-interest and conflict, betrayal and passion, all fuse into a fateful climax.


Main characters in the book include Shire, an Englishman and a schoolmaster's son who seems to harbor a crush on Clara and who has made promise to her. He seems to elevate Clara's memories and will do whatever he can for her. Clara is Shire's crush and is in upper class. She moves to America and gets married to a distant cousin Taylor and tries her best to fit into the southern society. (Unfortunately she is not as well drawn as I hoped.) She also is resourceful and a quick learner. Taylor is Clara's husband and eventually becomes Shire's adversary. Taylor has had a tragic upbringing in terms of childhood and he is best described as extremely cruel and warped. Other secondary characters include Taylor's mother, then there is Shire's friend Tuck who had his own secrets and few other people in the army as well as Taylor's slaves.


War is a messy business


The story is in third person narrative from what seems to be everyone's point of view, from Shire to Clara and so forth. I felt overwhelmed when it came to remembering characters because there are a lot of them in the book, and my lack of knowledge when it came to military aspects didn't help either, although the author has done his best with that.

Author Information:
(From HFVBT)

About the Author

Richard lives with his family in the South Downs, Sussex, England. He completed an MA in Creative Writing at Chichester University in 2014. He has an abiding relationship with America, having studied at Syracuse University, New York State, in the late eighties. His short stories have won the Exeter Story Prize, the Bedford International Writing Competition and the Nivalis Short Story Award. Whirligig is his first novel and the opening book of Shire’s Union trilogy. Current projects include the second book, The Copper Road, as well as preparing to publish a collection of short stories.

To learn more about Richard’s writing visit https://www.richardbuxton.net. You can also follow Richard on Facebook and Twitter.


For some odd reason, I though that the book would be similar to Gone with the Wind, at least in terms of showing the civilian life of civil war. However, that wasn't the case. I also gathered that the focus would be a lot more on love story between Shire and Clara, and while that was some of the case, it was only a small part of the novel. Most of the novel was focused on battles and on daily life in the army whether it has ugly or beautiful moments. What I found myself liking about the book is that the American civil war is shown from a foreigner's point of view, and someone who has fought for the union rather than the south. I also liked a little on how it filled some blanks when it came to Gone with the Wind (in particular the discussion Scarlett and Rhett had about England and whether or not it will help the South.) I applaud the author for trying to create a messy and realistic picture of the war, and I do wish that I could have better understood the military terms and what was going on because the military aspects of the book really went over my head, unfortunately.

This is for HFVBT

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, July 11
Feature at A Bookaholic Swede

Wednesday, July 12
Interview at Let Them Read Books

Friday, July 14
Feature at Passages to the Past

Monday, July 17
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Tuesday, July 18
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, July 20
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Feature at What Is That Book About

Friday, July 21
Interview at The Book Junkie Reads

Tuesday, July 25
Feature at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, July 27
Review at Back Porchervations

Friday, July 28
Review at Book Nerd

Thursday, August 3
Feature at Just One More Chapter

Monday, August 7
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

August 2017

True east- Raymond Ahrens
SR: August 10th, 2017
Traitors knot- Cryssa Bazos
SR: July 29th, 2017
A House Divided-Pearl S Buck
SR: March 11th, 2016
Whirlgig- Richard Buxton
SR: July 10th, 2017
FR: August 1st, 2017
Blood moon- Ruth Hull Chatlien
SR: August 14th, 2017
Casanova's Secret wife- Barbara Lynn-Davis
SR: August 4th, 2017
FR: August 14th, 2017
The Belle of two arbors- Paul Dimond
SR: July 25th, 2017
FR: August 24th, 2017
The Republic of uzupis- halJi
SR: January 4th 2017
The secret of the abbey- Kathleen c. Perrin
SR: July 23rd, 2017
FR: August 10th, 2017
The Comet Seekers Helen Sedgwick
SR: January 17th 2017
The Chesapeake Bride- Mariah Stewart
SR: August 24th, 2017
A gentleman in Moscow- amor Towles
SR: June 8th, 2017
A very french christmas-various
SR: August 1st, 2017
FR: August 4th, 2017

Tree of Souls-Howard Schwartz
SR: February 10th, 2014

Sunday, July 30, 2017

G900 Book Review of betrayal at iga by Susan Spann

Name of Book: Betrayal at Iga

Author: Susan Spann

ISBN: 978-1-63388-277-5

Publisher: Seventh Street Books

Part of a Series: Hiro Hattori Mysteries #5

Type of book: 1565. Shinobi clans, shinobi culture, Koga, Iga, deceit, murder, mystery, betrayal, believing not seeing, foreigner, religion, mute girl, family, high stakes, Japan, alliance, high stakes

Year it was published: 2017


Autumn, 1565: After fleeing Kyoto, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo take refuge with Hiro s ninja clan in the mountains of Iga province. But when an ambassador from the rival Koga clan is murdered during peace negotiations, Hiro and Father Mateo must find the killer in time to prevent a war between the ninja clans.

With every suspect a trained assassin, and the evidence incriminating not only Hiro s commander, the infamous ninja Hattori Hanz, but also Hiro s mother and his former lover, the detectives must struggle to find the truth in a village where deceit is a cultivated art. As tensions rise, the killer strikes again, and Hiro finds himself forced to choose between his family and his honor.


The main characters include Hiro and Father Mateo. Hiro comes from a Shinobi clan and has had a Shinobi upbringing. He is observant, calm within the storm and often trusts his own instincts over different evidence. He is also extremely knowledgeable and is seen as the best shinobi from Iga Ryu. Father Mateo is Hiro's charge and is from Portugal. Father Mateo has a big heart when it comes to accepting cases and in this book he is more of take charge rather than Hiro. While he is still struggling with culture shock, he often takes advantage of his being a foreigner and uses it for Hiro's benefit. Hiro's grandmother, mother and former lover also play big roles as well as his cousin who is the leader and the Koga Ryu emissaries and even a surprising mute girl.


Things are not what they seem


The story is in third person narrative from Hiro's point of view. This is a much stronger book than the previous four, and the characters are far better drawn out as well. The author has done a good job at creating a gripping read with a complex plot and wonderful characters. In here she isn't afraid to explore her characters and to conclude a tale from Hiro's past as well as introduce potential new characters in which I hope to see in the future installments.

Author Information:
(From the book)

Susan Spann is the author of four previous novels in the Shinobi Mystery series: Claws of the Cast, Blade of the Samurai, Flask of the Drunken Master, and THe Ninja's Daughter. She has a degree in Asian studies and a lifelong love of Japanese history and culture. When not writing or practicing law, she raises seahorses and rare corals in her marine aquarium.


Imagine: Peace negotiations between Koga and Iga shinobi clans who were previously rivals, a dinner set in enemy territory and a foreign priest with his shinobi helper who is part of Iga clan; what could possibly go wrong? Apparently, plenty, and murder and betrayal are the least of the detectives' problems. With each successive novel, the author gets better and better at character growth because I liked seeing how much Hiro and Father Mateo changed and grew from being around each other, and I also enjoyed seeing Father Mateo being more helpful, understanding and more in charge. I feel that previous mysteries put a lot of pressure on Hiro to solve the case, but in this mystery, both Hiro and Father Mateo are equals. I was thrilled as well to learn more about Hiro's past, and even finally understand why Hiro seems to detest women. I hope to see more of Kiku in future installments,and yes I am excited for 2018 and to learn about another cultural aspect of Japan.

This was given to me for an honest review

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

G888 Bonjour Kale; a Memoir of Paris, Love & Recipes

Title of the book: Bonjour Kale; a Memoir of Paris, Love & Recipes

Author: Kristen Beddard

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Publishing Date: 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4926-3004-3


A memoir of love, life, and recipes from the woman who brought kale to the City of Light

The story of how one expat woman left her beloved behind when she moved to France-her beloved kale, that is. Unable to find le chou kale anywhere upon moving to the City of Light with her new husband, and despite not really speaking French, Kristen Beddard launched a crusade to single-handedly bring kale to the country of croissants and cheese. Infused with Kristen's recipes and some from French chefs, big and small (including Michelin star chef Alain Passard) Bonjour Kale is a humorous, heartfelt memoir of how Kristen, kale, and France collide.

Author Info:
(From France Book Tours)

Kristen Beddard
is the American author of
Bonjour Kale: A Memoir of Paris, Love and Recipes
and a contributing author to We Love Kale.
She is the founder of The Kale Project,
a blog and successful initiative
that reintroduced kale to France
and was featured in The New York Times,
Conde Nast Traveler, Self Magazine and more.
She has a certificate in Culinary Nutrition
from the Natural Gourmet Institute
and is currently working on a new book Roots, Shoots and Stalks
about food waste and cooking with the whole vegetable.
She resides in New York City with her husband and daughter.

Follow her @thekaleproject and at www.thekaleproject.com.
You can also follow Kristen on Facebook and Instagram
Follow Sourcebooks on Twitter | on Facebook

Buy the book: on Amazon | on Barnes & Noble

Personal Opinion:

Where I live, I imagine that finding cuisine or specific type of food is as easy as one-two-three. I even take it for granted that if I desire to find a specific type meat or tea, I can easily drive to an ethnic market and buy it there, thus its difficult for me to imagine that prior to 2017, France didn't have any kale. Unlike the author, I only knew kale because it became popular recently and even then I just knew the name; I didn't know it was a cabbage (there are things I don't know) and I also had no idea that kale was so well known prior to 2017. Back to the book, the author has done an amazing job researching things about kale and introducing it to those who are new to the craze as well as making it an exciting fish out of water story about a young woman who has moved to France and the daily struggles she experiences while living life there be it returning things, language barriers or learning the norms of France.

This is for France Book Tours


Monday, July 24
Review at Suko’s Notebook

Wednesday, July 26
Review at Chocolate & Croissants

Thursday, July 27
Review + Interview + Giveaway at Library of Clean Reads

Monday, July 31
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Wednesday, August 2
Review + Excerpt + Giveaway at Reading To Unwind

Friday, August 4
Review + Giveaway at Words And Peace

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)
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