Monday, April 13, 2015

Book Tour Spotlight & Giveaway: Scent of Triumph by Jan Moran

Please join author Jan Moran as she tours the blogosphere with HF Virtual Book Tours for Scent of Triumph: A Novel of Perfume and Passion, from April 1-17, and enter to win an autographed copy!

02_Scent of Triumph Cover

Publication Date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Length: 384 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance

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When French perfumer Danielle Bretancourt steps aboard a luxury ocean liner, leaving her son behind in Poland with his grandmother, she has no idea that her life is about to change forever. The year is 1939, and the declaration of war on the European continent soon threatens her beloved family, scattered across many countries. Traveling through London and Paris into occupied Poland, Danielle searches desperately for her the remains of her family, relying on the strength and support of Jonathan Newell-Grey, a young captain. Finally, she is forced to gather the fragments of her impoverished family and flee to America. There she vows to begin life anew, in 1940s Los Angeles.
Through determination and talent, she rises high from meager jobs in her quest for success as a perfumer and fashion designer to Hollywood elite. Set between privileged lifestyles and gritty realities, Scent of Triumph is one woman’s story of courage, spirit, and resilience.

Praise for Scent of Triumph

“SCENT OF TRIUMPH [is a] World War II epic.” -Los Angeles Times

“Though romance figures importantly in [SCENT OF TRIUMPH], Danielle’s professional life is most appealing, profiting from perfume expert Moran’s (Fabulous Fragrances, 1994, etc.) authentic experience…The casual demeanor with which Danielle always notices scents in her environment helps establish her character and professional credibility in a charming way…Danielle makes for a strong, unusual heroine who doesn’t always make wise decisions, although her resilience, style and knowledge remain admirable…. [A] historical fiction carried by a complex, resourceful heroine with a nose for business.” -Kirkus Reviews

“Warm and well written, with characters who attract the reader’s sympathy and affection. A lovely story well-told, which will appeal to romantics, fashion and perfume devotees, and fans of historical fiction.” -Amy Edelman, founder of

Buy Scent of Triumph

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About the Author

03_Jan Moran

Jan Moran is a Rizzoli bestselling and award winning author. She writes historical women’s fiction for St. Martin’s Press, contemporary women’s fiction, and nonfiction books. Her stories are smart and stylish, and written with emotional depth. Jan often draws on her international travel and business experiences, infusing her books with realistic details. The Midwest Book Review and Kirkus have recommended her books, calling her heroines strong, complex, and resourceful.
Jan has been featured in numerous publications and on television and radio, including CNN, Women’s Wear Daily, Allure, InStyle, and O Magazine. As an editor and writer, she has covered fragrance, beauty, and spa travel for a variety of publications such as Cosmopolitan, Elle, Costco Connection, and Porthole Cruise.
A perfume and beauty industry expert, she is the creator of Scentsa, a touch screen fragrance finder in Sephora stores.
From Jan: “I love smart and fierce female protagonists. I hope you enjoy these books, and if you’d like to Skype me into your book club meeting, simply send me a message!”
For more information and to sign up for Jan Moran’s newsletter visit her official website. Jan blogs at Jan Moran Writes. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Goodreads, and LinkedIn.

Special Offer from Jan Moran!

Jan Moran is running a special incentive on her website for a free digital ebook of her new non-fiction book, Vintage Perfumes, to everyone who purchases Scent of Triumph from March 31 to April 30! All you have to do is email your receipt to Jan Moran at, along with a photo of yourself with the Scent of Triumph book, eBook, or your tablet.

Vintage Perfumes Cover




Scent of Triumph Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, April 1
Interview & Excerpt at Passages to the Past

Thursday, April 2
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Spotlight & Excerpt at Genre Queen

Friday, April 3
Review & Excerpt at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Interview at Let Them Read Books

Monday, April 6
Guest Post at The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, April 7
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, April 8
Excerpt at The Never-Ending Book

Thursday, April 9
Review at The Eclectic Reader

Tuesday, April 14
Interview at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, April 16
Guest Post at Book Nerd

Friday, April 17
Review at The Lit Bitch
Guest Post at Mina’s Bookshelf
Interview at Reading Lark


To enter to win a signed copy of Scent of Triumph, please complete the giveaway form below.

Giveaway starts on April 1st at 12:01am EST and ends at 11:59pm EST on April 17th.
Giveaway is open to residents in the US only and you must be 18 or older to enter.
Winners will be chosen via GLEAM on April 18th and notified via email.
Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
Please email Amy @ with any questions.

Scent of Triumph

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Review: Lady of the Eternal City by Kate Quinn

Title: Lady of the Eternal City
Author: Kate Quinn
Genre: historical fiction
Series: The Empress of Rome #4
Pages: 512
Published: March 2015
Source: received for review from the author
Rating: 5/5

National bestselling author Kate Quinn returns with the long-awaited fourth volume in the Empress of Rome series, an unforgettable new tale of the politics, power, and passion that defined ancient Rome.

Elegant, secretive Sabina may be Empress of Rome, but she still stands poised on a knife’s edge. She must keep the peace between two deadly enemies: her husband Hadrian, Rome’s brilliant and sinister Emperor; and battered warrior Vix, who is her first love. But Sabina is guardian of a deadly secret: Vix’s beautiful son Antinous has become the Emperor’s latest obsession.

Empress and Emperor, father and son will spin in a deadly dance of passion, betrayal, conspiracy, and war. As tragedy sends Hadrian spiraling into madness, Vix and Sabina form a last desperate pact to save the Empire. But ultimately, the fate of Rome lies with an untried girl, a spirited redhead who may just be the next Lady of the Eternal City . . .

It's taken four novels and thousands and pages to build Kate Quinn's sprawling and epic Empress of Rome historical fiction series. I've spent dozens of hours with these characters in various times of their lives; from children to adults, I watched Thea and Arrius, then Sabina and Vix grow and mature into their stories. They, and the city of Rome around them, all feel so real to me because of the depth and care woven into every facet of the last novel, Lady of the Eternal City. What Mistress of Rome began, and Daughters of Rome strengthened and Empress of the Seven Hills expanded, Lady of the Eternal City ably completes.

This series set in ancient Roman eras is over and none of those final five hundred pages are wasted in finishing off this grand tale that manages to span generations, continents, and empires. It's a big book, and while it's not a constant battle or a war or even a horse race, it flows and moves along well. In Kate Quinn's hands, Emperor Hadrian's twenty years of peace are as fascinating to read about as were Trajan's battles back in the beginning of book three, Empress of the Seven Hills. Politics are always a main theme and plot in these books and Quinn uses more of her sly writing to create plotlines that work exceedingly well both as narrative and as a substitute for real history. 

Quinn's characters here shine, as they always do. Both the returning favorites (like Vix, Vibia Sabina) and the newer additions and newcomers (Antinous, Hadrian, Annia, Marcus) all are well-rendered and vividly characterized effectively and hadnily. I genuinely cared about this book because of how invested I had become in these flawed and imperfect, wonderful characters. Sabina, with her life of free constraint, Vix and his blue-eyed women, Annia and her willfullness... they were all so alive on the page, and the author has a penchant for unexpecte emotional whiplash. Kate Quinn's cast is truly remarkable for its size and for the fact that they are all so distinct and recognizable.

Lady of the Eternal City is a worthy, gripping conclusion to a series that has only strengthened as it continued with each new novel. Kate Quinn's clear knowledge of fact combined with her talent for plausible fiction make for some of the historical fiction has to offer. The enveloping and authentic atmosphere, Rome with some of the strongest place-as-character that I have ever read...her version of Rome is inescapable, alluring, and vivid. For four novels she has led her characters and readers on a merry chase, and here at the end, it was more than worth the thousands and pages and dozens of hours. I would, and will, be visiting her Rome and her characters again soon.

This is how you end a series. I have enjoyed everything I had read before by this author, but Lady of the Eternal City's cleverness, its detail and depth, and unpredictability combined with its emotional core made for not only a fantastic read but a damned good ending.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Book Tour Review: The Masque of a Murderer by Susanna Calkins

Title: The Masque of a Murderer
Author: Susanna Calkins
Genre: historical fiction, mystery
Series: Lucy Campion #3
Pages: 336
Published: expected April 14 2015
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for review
Rating: 3/5
It’s 1666 and the Great Fire has just decimated an already plague-ridden London. Lady’s maid Lucy Campion, along with pretty much everyone else left standing, is doing her part to help the city clean up and recover. But their efforts come to a standstill when a couple of local boys stumble across a dead body that should have been burned up in the fire but miraculously remained intact—the body of a man who died not from the plague or the fire, but from the knife plunged into his chest.

Searching for a purpose now that there’s no lady in the magistrate’s household for her to wait on, Lucy has apprenticed herself to a printmaker. But she can't help but use her free time to help the local constable, and she quickly finds herself embroiled in the murder investigation. It will take all of her wits and charm, not to mention a strong stomach and a will of steel, if Lucy hopes to make it through alive herself.

When it comes to The Masque of a Murderer, Susanna Calkins' third Lucy Campion novel, there were several things I liked easily and right away. Lucy, was one, the time and setting another, as well as the inclusion of Quakers to the mystery. It's an easy, enjoyably lite thriller of a read - one able to power through on the character charisma as well as the mystery propelling the plot along. It's a solid novel in what I suspect is a series that hinges on the charm and appreciation for its characters as well as a cleverly laid whodunit plot.

London is at an interesting place when this novel occurs. After an outbreak of plague and the Great Fire that followed, a lot of life and culture is in flux. It's quite a clever time to insert a possibility otherwise anachronistic character like a female printer's apprentice like Lucy, but it works here for Calkins. It's well within suspension of disbelief and Lucy herself sells it with her love of words and ability to craft a story from the facts.

Unfortunately, though this novel can be read as a standalone, I did feel a bit left out on some parts of The Masque of a Murderer. Some of the social interactions between Lucy and others (particularly her love interests) were harder for me to read, some of the meaning behind particular memories didn't make any emotional impact. However, it didn't ruin the effect of this story's plot - since that's all contained and wrapped up in the novel - but it highlighted just how removed I was from Lucy's narration. 

I liked reading Masque of a Murderer for quick and easy mystery fix. Susanna Calkins has an able hand for crafting both characters and mystery and her third effort in the Lucy Campion mysteries was an easygoing entry into her bibliography. I didn't quite fall in love with either the story or the characters, though I enjoyed both. It's probably best to begin at the beginning and get to know Lucy and Lach and Sarah where it all starts rather than jump in midway.

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The Masque of a Murderer Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, March 16
Review at Bibliophilia, Please

Tuesday, March 17
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Guest Post at Bibliophilia, Please

Wednesday, March 18
Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Friday, March 20
Spotlight at Historical Readings & Reviews

Monday, March 23
Review & Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, March 25
Review & Interview at The Emerald City Book Review

Tuesday, March 31
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Wednesday, April 1
Character Interview at Boom Baby Reviews

Thursday, April 2
Review at Just One More Chapter

Monday, April 6
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Tuesday, April 7
Spotlight at The Genre Queen

Thursday, April 9
Review at The Lit Bitch
Guest Post at A Literary Vacation

Friday, April 10
Review at Book Nerd

Monday, April 13
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Tuesday, April 14
Review at Book Babe

Thursday, April 16
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Spotlight at Layered Pages

Friday, April 17
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Friday, April 3, 2015

Two Minute Review: 99 Days by Katie Cotugno

Title: 99 Days
Author: Katie Cotugno
Genre: young adult, contemporary
Series: N/A
Pages: 385
Published: expected April 21 2015

Source: publishers via edelweiss
Rating: 3/5

Day 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything—how I destroyed my relationship with Patrick the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. How I wrecked their whole family. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college, and be done.

Day 4: A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn’t finished. I’m expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it’s just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. “For what it’s worth, Molly Barlow,” he says, “I’m really glad you’re back.”

Day 12: Gabe got me to come to this party, and I’m actually having fun. I think he’s about to kiss me—and that’s when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who’s supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who’s never going to forgive me.

I haven't yet read How to Love so 99 Days was my introduction to Katie Cotugno's style and writing. With the lots of potential for the story, very dramatic, interesting characters, and occasionally overwrought situations shown here, it felt reminiscent of Katie McGarry's brand of contemporary young adult novels. I liked the risks that Cotugno took -- a storyline most authors would shy away from, a main character who veers on the side of unlikeable, etc. even if they didn't always pan out.

I was always an outside observer to the story in 99 Days; just very aware that I was reading a story, which is my chief complaint. I was never truly pulled into the story, either through the narration on behalf of the main character or because of anyone else. I never connected with the characters, any of them -- especially, sadly, Molly. It's not because she made a mistake once but because she continually makes the same mistakes over and and over and over again. She is so inconstant and inconsistent but it's particularly whiplash-worthy in the last half of the story. Molly doesn't really grow and her wildly fluctuating acts of relationshipdom are exhausting.

I still liked this despite a few shortcomings. The flashes of humor are welcome, as are the kissing scenes themselves. There's also some diversity shown in mostly positive light for the secondary cast, and it's very readable despite the slightly-too-long page count of 384. Some readers might discount 99 Days for the basic plot alone but I say it's worth at least a try if you like your YA romances very dramatic.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Book Tour Review: The Tapestry by Nancy Bilyeau

Title: The Tapestry
Author: Nancy Bilyeau
Genre: historical fiction, mystery, thriller
Series: Joanna Stafford #3
Pages: 400
Published: March 24 2015
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for review
Rating: 4/5

The next page-turner in the award-winning Joanna Stafford series takes place in the heart of the Tudor court, as the gutsy former novice risks everything to defy the most powerful men of her era.

After her Dominican priory in Dartford closed forever—collateral damage in tyrannical King Henry VIII’s quest to overthrow the Catholic Church—Joanna resolves to live a quiet and honorable life weaving tapestries, shunning dangerous quests and conspiracies. Until she is summoned to Whitehall Palace, where her tapestry weaving has drawn the King’s attention.

Joanna is uncomfortable serving the King, and fears for her life in a court bursting with hidden agendas and a casual disregard for the virtues she holds dear. Her suspicions are confirmed when an assassin attempts to kill her moments after arriving at Whitehall.

Struggling to stay ahead of her most formidable enemy yet, an unknown one, she becomes entangled in dangerous court politics. Her dear friend Catherine Howard is rumored to be the King’s mistress. Joanna is determined to protect young, beautiful, naïve Catherine from becoming the King’s next wife and, possibly, victim.

Set in a world of royal banquets and feasts, tournament jousts, ship voyages, and Tower Hill executions, this thrilling tale finds Joanna in her most dangerous situation yet, as she attempts to decide the life she wants to live: nun or wife, spy or subject, rebel or courtier. Joanna Stafford must finally choose.

Joanna Stafford's life has been as unlikely as her voice is distinct under Nancy Bilyeau's capable hands. A historical series that pivots on the life of an ex-nun novice, Joanna's continued adventures are still unpredictable, diverting, and harrowing. The plot of the third novel is of somewhat less political urgency and instead focuses more closely on Joanna's personal life and the fallout of her actions in The Crown and The Chalice. There is still plenty of action and adventure to be had, in England and out of it, but this feels like the most personal novel yet for the main character in the series.

Politics and religion are two themes that have readily and prominently stood out for The Crown, The Chalice, and now for The Tapestry. The  English Reformation was a major event for the people at the time and so it is still for the characters here. Be Joanna at Court or in Dartford or elsewhere, her life is constantly effected by these two forces in unexpected (and often unfortunate) ways. Caught between Henry VIII's decrees and her own personal ecclesiastical calling, Joanna struggles to find a real, fulfilling life for herself in Henry's England. The romance(s), with Joanna torn between a religious man and a (comparatively) more political man only further illustrate how unsettled her mindset can be.

Some authors dive deep into research before beginning their novels or series and it shows. I am half convinced that Nancy Bilyeau is a 500-year old vampire because she knows this era and these people so well she must have lived it. The amount of historical detail is impressive. This is an author that absolutely knows her stuff across the board. The scope and breadth of her information is extensive and only serves to further enhance both the atmosphere and tone of the novel. And none of it is heavy-handed. Even the most knotty political scheme isn't relayed to the reader in infodump or in clumsy exposition.

Well-paced and excellently plotted, The Tapestry is a fresh addition to the Tudor historical fiction subgenre. Finding an unlikely voice keeps the story both authentic and original without losing the drama of the conflict or the more well-known characters. I did have issues with the final part of the novel, however. Compared to the first part of the book, it felt hasty. Joanna makes some major decisions quite fast and that didn't feel right with how she has operated for hundreds of pages.

Small quibbles aside, the conclusion to the Joanna Stafford series was excellent. Well-rounded and vibrant characters populate a vividly-imagined and detailed Tudor England, dealing with religion and love and politics in compelling manners. The writing is clear and concise, the atmosphere is enveloping, and the plotting is deft. If this is the last time that Joanna ever has to skulk and sleuth to protect those she loves, it was a great way to send her off. This was a memorable and enjoyable series and I hope to see Nancy Bilyeau's considerable talent for writing in print again soon.

Praise for The Tapestry

"Nancy Bilyeau's passion for history infuses her books and transports us back to the dangerous world of Tudor England. Vivid characters and gripping plots are at the heart of this wonderful trilogy, and this third book will not fail to thrill readers. Warmly recommended!" - bestselling author Alison Weir

“Illuminated by Bilyeau’s vivid prose, minor players of Tudor England emerge from the shadows.” —Kirkus Reviews

“In THE TAPESTRY, Nancy Bilyeau brilliantly captures both the white-hot religious passions and the brutal politics of Tudor England. It is a rare book that does both so well.” —Sam Thomas, author of The Midwife’s Tale

“In spite of murderous plots, volatile kings, and a divided heart, Joanna Stafford manages to stay true to her noble character. Fans of Ken Follett will devour Nancy Bilyeau’s novel of political treachery and courageous love, set amid the endlessly fascinating Tudor landscape.” —Erika Robuck, author of Hemingway’s Girl

“These aren’t your mother’s nuns! Nancy Bilyeau has done it again, giving us a compelling and wonderfully realized portrait of Tudor life in all its complexity and wonder. A nun, a tapestry, a page-turning tale of suspense: this is historical mystery at its finest.” —Bruce Holsinger, author of A Burnable Book and The Invention of Fire

“A supremely deft, clever and pacy entertainment. This is Nancy Bilyeau’s most thrilling—and enlightening—novel in the Joanna Stafford series yet.” —Andrew Pyper, author of The Demonologist and The Damned

“A master of atmosphere, Nancy Bilyeau imbues her novel with a sense of dread and oppression lurking behind the royal glamour; in her descriptions and characterizations… Bilyeau breathes life into history.” —Laura Andersen, author of The Boleyn King

US Publication Date: March 24, 2015
UK Publication Date: April 24, 2015

Pre-Order/Buy The Tapestry

Amazon Barnes & Noble IndieBound

About the Author

Nancy Bilyeau has worked on the staffs of InStyle, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Ladies Home Journal. She is currently the executive editor of DuJour magazine. Her screenplays have placed in several prominent industry competitions. Two scripts reached the semi-finalist round of the Nicholl Fellowships of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Her screenplay “Zenobia” placed with the American Zoetrope competition, and “Loving Marys” reached the finalist stage of Scriptapalooza. A native of the Midwest, she earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. THE CROWN, her first novel, was published in 2012; the sequel, THE CHALICE, followed in 2013. THE TAPESTRY will be released in March 2015.

Nancy lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Stay in touch with her on Twitter at @tudorscribe. For more information or to sign up for Nancy’s Newsletter please visit her official website.

The Tapestry Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, March 16
Review at Peeking Between the Pages
Review & Interview at Words and Peace

Tuesday, March 17
Review at A Bookish Affair
Review at The Eclectic Reader
Review at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, March 18
Review at Writing the Renaissance
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Thursday, March 19
Review at A Book Geek
Review & Interview at Tea at Trianon
Interview at Writing the Renaissance

Friday, March 20
Review at Impressions in Ink

Monday, March 23
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, March 24
Review at The Lit Bitch
Review at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, March 25
Review at Luxury Reading
Guest Post at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Thursday, March 26
Review at She Reads Novels

Monday, March 30
Review at Bibliophilia, Please

Tuesday, March 31
Review at The True Book Addict
Guest Post at Bibliophilia, Please

Wednesday, April 1
Review at Library of Clean Reads
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Thursday, April 2
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Friday, April 3
Review at Layered Pages
Review & Guest Post at Always With a Book

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Danielle and Jessie's Bookish Bingo Wrap-Up

Winter is finally over! That's probably far better news for the blogger in Ohio than the one in Phoenix, but regardless. With the beginning of April comes a new Bookish Bingo, and a time to say goodbye to the old one. Jess and I both did AMAZING this time around, (four Bingos on her first card and I was able to clear the board!) I love participating and opening myself up to new books. Of the 31 books I've read in 2015, 9 of them wouldn't have been on my radar without Bingo. So let's round these up! - D

 1. Middle Grade: Alistair Grim's Odditorium by Gregory Funaro - 1/2/15

2. Fairytale Retelling: Firebird by Mercedes Lackey - 1/3/15

3. Epistolary: The Martian by Andy Weir - 1/4/15

4. Gold Lettering: Sisters of Treason by Elizabeth Fremantle - 1/5/15 - 1/6/15

5. LGBTQIA MC: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz - 1/6/15

6. PoC MC: The Tiger Queens by Stephanie Thornton - 1/8/15 - 1/9/15

7. Mental Illness: I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios (PTSD, depression, survivor's guilt) - 1/12/15


8. Over 400 pages: The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima (Seven Realms #2) - 587 pages - 1/14/15 - 1/15/15

9. Start a series: Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan - Maids of Honor #1 - 2/1/15 - 2/2/15

10. White Cover: Soulprint by Megan Miranda - 1/26/15

11. Magical Realism: Bone Gap by Laura Ruby 2/12/15 - 2/13/15

12. Pretty Dress Cover: Venom by Fiona Paul - 2/14/15

BINGO x 2! Pretty Dress, Middle Grade, White Cover, LGBTQIA, Epistolary 

13. Graphic Novel: The Sculptor by Scott McCloud 2/14/15 - 2/15/15 

14. Fairies or fae: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas - 

15. Mystery or thriller: Liars, Inc by Paula Stokes - 3/17/15

BINGO x 3! Start a series, middle grade, mystery/thriller, mental illness, fae/fairies 

16. Blue cover: Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman 3/8/15 - 3/11/15

BINGO x 4! Blue cover, mystery/thriller, free, over 400 pages, graphic novel

2015 Debut: The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace - 3/17/15 - 3/19/15

Male POV: Knight's Shadow by Sebastien de Castell


2014 Release You MissedLegion: Skin Deep (1/4)
POC MC: The Oathbreaker's Shadow (1/11)
Forgotten Fridays Pick: Saving Francesca (1/11)
Mental Illness: I'll Meet You There (1/16)
Based on Mythology: Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes (1/18)
Male POV: The Piper's Son (1/26)
Romance: Trade Me (1/26)
Fairy Tale Retelling: The Mermaid's Madness (1/30)
Start a Series: Finnikin of the Rock (2/2)
Blue Cover: Seeker (2/8)
Mystery or Thriller: Iron Kissed (2/13)
Faries or Fae: Crown of Midnight (2/14)
Over 400 Pages: The Sculptor (2/18)
Pretty Dress Cover: The Sin Eater's Daughter (2/24)
Gold Lettering: A Tale of Two Castles (2/26)
Middle Grade: Witherwood Reform School (3/1)
White Cover: A Darker Shade of Magic (3/11)
Super Powers: Steelheart (3/12)
LGBT: None of the Above (3/16)
Magical Realism: The Dream Thieves (3/19)
Epistolary: The Boy Next Door (3/21)

Book Tour Review: Miramont's Ghost by Elizabeth Hall

Title: Miramont's Ghost
Author: Elizabeth Hall
Genre: historical fiction, mystery
Series: N/A
Pages: 334
Published: February 1 2015
Source: TLC Book Tours for review
Rating: 3/5

Miramont Castle, built in 1897 and mysteriously abandoned three years later, is home to many secrets. Only one person knows the truth: Adrienne Beauvier, granddaughter of the Comte de Challembelles and cousin to the man who built the castle.

Clairvoyant from the time she could talk, Adrienne’s visions show her the secrets of those around her. When her visions begin to reveal dark mysteries of her own aristocratic French family, Adrienne is confronted by her formidable Aunt Marie, who is determined to keep the young woman silent at any cost. Marie wrenches Adrienne from her home in France and takes her to America, to Miramont Castle, where she keeps the girl isolated and imprisoned. Surrounded by eerie premonitions, Adrienne is locked in a life-or-death struggle to learn the truth and escape her torment.

Reminiscent of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, this hauntingly atmospheric tale is inspired by historical research into the real-life Miramont Castle in Manitou Springs, Colorado.

Miramont's Ghost is a nice blend of a historical fiction novel with a somewhat mysterious/supernatural element. It has the dark allure and plot structure reminiscent of Rebecca but Hall crafts a capable and solid story that is rather hard to forget and ultimately, all her own. The loose addition of the supernatural --- Adrienne's visions, etc -- fits well within the frame of the story and also helps to create an added air of atmosphere to Miramont's Ghost.

The POVs of this book are distinct. Adrienne is easily identifiable and differentiated and by the end, the only real voice left in Miramont's Ghost. I wasn't a huge fan of the use of multiple narrators and thought that Adrienne carried the story best and most ably. It helps that Adrienne is the most developed character in the entire novel. She's pretty well-rounded and realistic (if a taaaaad too passive for my tastes), despite the situation she finds herself in. The other characters of the novel tend to be rather one-note, be they villainous or good-natured. I wanted to see more from the secondary cast; it would have strengthened the novel.

There's an even hand for the novel's progression and tension. The pacing moves along smoothly, even though it can feel a bit fast at times. As Adrienne grows and her story becomes ever more dark, it's easy to appreciate Hall's ability for crafting a creepy, unnatural atmosphere. It's a feeling that lingers, even after the close of the novel. The novel only becomes more interesting if you read the afterword and learn that it's a fictional tale based on real events and real people.

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