Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian

Chris Bohjalian is one of my favorite authors. He is amazingly versatile and can write all different genres. I follow him on social media and he seems like an incredibly nice and humble person to boot! His daughter, Grace Experience, is often the narrator of his novels on audio and she is amazing as well.

I was super excited when this came up on Net Galley (months ago) and I’ve been waiting until May to share about it because it is now available (yeah!!). Hour of the Witch is a truly intriguing story about a young woman in Boston in the 1660’s who seeks to divorce her abusive husband. I found this fascinating because I did not realize that divorce was an option at that time, especially in such a Puritanical society. I loved the character of Mary Deerfield and I loved that this story took place in Boston with familiar settings. I couldn’t put it down and it was clear that Mr. Bohjalian did his research.

If you like historical fiction that is interesting and where you learn about the times (my favorite kind of HF!), then don’t miss this one!

I will say that I love stories about witch hunts. I find them fascinating. (I’m currently reading The Crucible with my 8th graders and will soon head to Salem for a field trip; wish me luck!). Probably what fascinates me is that people had such suspicions and dark motives born of jealousy and greed that in part led to these events, and yet people are really not that different today. It’s an interesting study in human nature.

And thank you from my copy through Net Galley!

Here’s the scoop:

Boston, 1662. Mary Deerfield is twenty-four-years-old. Her skin is porcelain, her eyes delft blue, and in England she might have had many suitors. But here in the New World, amid this community of saints, Mary is the second wife of Thomas Deerfield, a man as cruel as he is powerful. When Thomas, prone to drunken rage, drives a three-tined fork into the back of Mary’s hand, she resolves that she must divorce him to save her life. But in a world where every neighbor is watching for signs of the devil, a woman like Mary–a woman who harbors secret desires and finds it difficult to tolerate the brazen hypocrisy of so many men in the colony–soon becomes herself the object of suspicion and rumor. When tainted objects are discovered buried in Mary’s garden, when a boy she has treated with herbs and simples dies, and when their servant girl runs screaming in fright from her home, Mary must fight to not only escape her marriage, but also the gallows. A twisting, tightly plotted novel of historical suspense from one of our greatest storytellers, Hour of the Witch is a timely and terrifying story of socially sanctioned brutality and the original American witch hunt.

I mentioned above that Mr. Bohjalian is a prolific author (and how did I now know that he was also a playwright?).

Here is his awesome bio from Amazon:

Biography

Chris Bohjalian is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of 21 books. His work has been translated into 35 languages and three times become movies.

His forthcoming novel, “Hour of the Witch,” arrives May 4, 2021. It’s a novel of historical suspense set in 1662 Boston, a tale of the first divorce in North America for domestic violence — and a subsequent witch trial. In a starred review, Booklist wrote, “Throughout Bohjalian’s prolific career, he has rewarded readers with indelibly drawn female protagonists, and the formidable yet vulnerable Mary Deerfield is a worthy addition to the canon. Conjuring up specters of #MeToo recriminations and social media shaming, there are twenty-first-century parallels to Bohjalian’s atmospheric Puritan milieu, and his trademark extensive research pays off in this authentic portrait of courage in the face of society’s worst impulses. Bohjalian is a perennial favorite, and this Salem Witch Hunt drama has a special magnetism.”

His 2018 novel, “The Flight Attendant,” debuted as a New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, and National Indiebound Bestseller. It is now an an 8-hour HBO Max limited series, starring Kaley Cuoco (who is also an Executive Producer), Rosie Perez, Michelle Gomez, Michiel Huisman (“Game of Thrones” and “The Haunting of Hill House”), and T.R. Knight (“Grey’s Anatomy”). It was recently renewed for a second season.

His most recent novel, “The Red Lotus,” is now in paperback. It’s a twisting story of love and deceit: an American man vanishes on a rural road in Vietnam and his girlfriend, an emergency room doctor trained to ask questions, follows a path that leads her home to the very hospital where they met. Publishers Weekly called it “a diabolical plot reminiscent of a Robin Cook thriller,” and Booklist described it as “masterful…a cerebral and dramatic dive into what happens when love turns to agony.”

He is also a playwright and screenwriter. He has adapted his novel, “Midwives,” for a play, which premiered January 21, 2020 at the George Street Playhouse, and was directed by David Saint. Broadway World said of it, “The fine playwriting by Bohjalian, the directorial talents of the Playhouse’s Artistic Director, David Saint, and the show’s accomplished cast make this play unforgettable.”

His first play, “Grounded,” premiered at the 59 East 59th Theatres in New York City in the summer of 2018 and is now available as an audiobook and eBook, “Wingspan.”

His books have been chosen as Best Books of the Year by the Washington Post, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Hartford Courant, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Bookpage, and Salon.

His awards include the Walter Cerf Medal for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts; the ANCA Freedom Award for his work educating Americans about the Armenian Genocide; the ANCA Arts and Letters Award for The Sandcastle Girls, as well as the Saint Mesrob Mashdots Medal; the New England Society Book Award for The Night Strangers; the New England Book Award; Russia’s Soglasie (Concord) Award for The Sandcastle Girls; a Boston Public Library Literary Light; a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Trans-Sister Radio; a Best Lifestyle Column for “Idyll Banter” from the Vermont Press Association; and the Anahid Literary Award. His novel, Midwives,was a number one New York Times bestseller, a selection of Oprah’s Book Club, and a New England Booksellers Association Discovery pick. He is a Fellow of the Vermont Academy of Arts and Sciences.

He has written for a wide variety of magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Reader’s Digest, and The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine. He was a weekly columnist in Vermont for The Burlington Free Press from 1992 through 2015.

Chris graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude from Amherst College. He has been awarded Honorary Degrees as well from Amherst, Champlain College, and Castleton University.

He lives in Vermont with his wife, the photographer Victoria Blewer.

Their daughter, Grace Experience, is a young actor in New York City. Among the audiobooks she has narrated are Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands and The Guest Room.

Spotlight on COMMITTED by Paolina Milana

Today I’m shining the spotlight on a new book about mental health challenges and what it’s like growing up in a family that has the challenge of dealing with schizoprenia. Committed: A Memoir of Madness in the Family is Milana’s own story.

Here’s the overview:

COMMITTED: A Memoir of Madness in the Family

Called “one of the best books on mental illness” by a librarian, Committed is a memoir that shows us what it’s like to grow up with a paranoid schizophrenia mother only to find out that your little sister shares a similar diagnosis of mental illness. A first generation Sicilian American, Paolina Milana had to play caretaker, secret keeper, and maintain a “normal” life while voices in her head worried her about her own sanity. In this beautifully written page-turner, Milana inspires us with her triumphs and resiliency and offers solace to anyone burdened with the role of caretaker to any family member with health issues. 

After a decade of caring for crazy and keeping her mother’s mental illness a secret from the outside world, twenty-year-old Paolina Milana longs for just one year free from the madness of her home. When she gets the chance to go to an out-of-state school, she takes it, but her family won’t leave her be. Letter after letter arrives, constantly reminding her of the insanity rooted in her family tree. Even worse, the voices in her own head whisper words she’s not sure are normal. “Please don’t make me be like Mamma,” she prays to a God she’s not sure is listening.

The unexpected death of her father soon after she returns home leaves Paolina in shock―and in charge of her paranoid schizophrenic mother. But it isn’t until she is twenty-seven and her sister two years her junior explodes in a psychotic episode and, just like Mamma, is diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and must be committed, that Paolina descends into her own despair, nearly losing herself to the darkness.

Poignant and impactful, Committed is one woman’s story of resilience as she struggles to stay sane despite the madness that surrounds her.

Author Paolino Milana

Website and Social Media:

https://www.facebook.com/madness2magic/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/paolinamilana/

https://www.instagram.com/madness2magic/

https://madnesstomagic.com/

Buy link: (Not affiliated with BBNB)

Amazon: Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Committed-Memoir-Madness-Paolina-Milana/dp/1647420423/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=committed+by+paolina+milana&qid=1610565473&sr=8-1

The Mary Shelley Club by Goldy Moldavky

If you know me, you know that I love reading twisty, YA thrillers. They are my guilty pleasure (extra points for taking place in a boarding school!). So, no surprise that I could not pass by The Mary Shelley Club on Net Galley. This was a quick read with suspense and twists. I enjoyed it!

Here’s the overview:

New York Times best-selling author Goldy Moldavsky delivers a deliciously twisty YA thriller that’s Scream meets Karen McManus about a mysterious club with an obsession for horror. 

When it comes to horror movies, the rules are clear:

  • Avoid abandoned buildings, warehouses, and cabins at all times.
  • Stay together: Don’t split up, not even just to “check something out”.
  • If there’s a murderer on the loose, do not make out with anyone.

If only surviving in real life were this easy….

New girl Rachel Chavez turns to horror movies for comfort, preferring stabby serial killers and homicidal dolls to the bored rich kids of Manhattan Prep…and to certain memories she’d preferred to keep buried.

Then Rachel is recruited by the Mary Shelley Club, a mysterious society of students who orchestrate Fear Tests, elaborate pranks inspired by urban legends and movie tropes. At first, Rachel embraces the power that comes with reckless pranking. But as the Fear Tests escalate, the competition turns deadly, and it’s clear Rachel is playing a game she can’t afford to lose. 

Spotlight on the Destiny Falls series by Elizabeth Pantley

A while ago, the very pleasant Elizabeth Pantley reached out to me about her series Destiny Falls, which follows the magical adventures of Emily. It’s a mash up genre of paranormal, fantasy, and mystery. I thought Elizabeth sounded familiar to me – and she is! Many years ago, when I was a new mother, I used her No Cry Sleep Solution. It seriously was the best thing for us and I passed it on to friends. Now here she is, almost 18 years later with a fiction series!

I thought it would be fun to have my daughter read the books, since she was the baby those years ago, so I enlisted her aid. Anne enjoyed them. She’s much more a fantasy reader than I am (I am a historical fiction devotee). She found them engaging and felt they could be read by younger YA readers than her (she is 17) as well as older. We felt they were a “clean read” as well.

Here’s some info on the books, which can be found on Amazon:

FALLING INTO MAGICDestiny Falls Mystery & Magic: Book 1An accidental journey through a magic mirror. A portal to an enchantedland. A mysterious family she never knew she had. Hayden’s life is upended withthe wonder of Destiny Falls. But it’stainted by the danger that brought her here and that threatens her newfoundfamily. Can Hayden and her sassy sidekick remove the threat, so she can beginher magical new life in this captivating world?
When Hayden was a child, she lost her cat. Adults told her the cat ran away, but she knew the truth. The mirror had taken her. She knew because the mirror gave her a glimpse of an alternate world and had nearly pulled her in, so she was certain the cat had suffered that fate.

Twenty years later Hayden discovers the secret of the mirror when she is thrust into it. She learns of an enchanted world she never knew existed, and a family she never knew she had.

But danger brought her here, and it followed her. Now, Hayden is on a mission to remove the threat, so that she can begin her magical, meaningful new life in this enchanted world.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Elizabeth Pantley is the international bestselling author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution and twelve other books for parents. Her books are published in over twenty languages. She lives in the Pacific Northwest and is the mother of four and Nana to one. This is her first work of fiction. Visit her at nocrysolution.com

Bookouture Book Tour for AMERICA’S DAUGHTER by Celeste De Blasis

Today I’m dishing about a new historical fiction novel taking place during the American Revolution: America’s Daughter by Celeste de Blasis. This was a quick read for me and it’s part of a trilogy. I liked the characters, especially Addie, and felt that it added a lot of explanation about the guiding historical events during that time, so you could learn while reading. While it’s written for adults, I think it would be a good choice for older teens (there is some “wedding night sex” in it – FYI).

I look forward to the rest of the series! Thank you for making me part of the tour.

Book Description:
With Washington’s army, she joined America’s fight for independence…

1773. The night that Addie Valencourt sneaks out to witness the Boston Tea Party, she knows that her world is about to change forever. Soon, the love and security of her tight-knit family is torn apart by the fight for American independence.

When the British lay siege to Boston, Addie’s English-born father welcomes them into his home, while her childhood sweetheart Silas leaves to join General Washington. Addie is determined to follow him when she meets Scottish Highlander John Traverne. The frowning, dark-haired soldier is unlike anyone she has ever known, and he interests her more than he should. But any future with a man on the opposite side of this fight is impossible…

As the bitter war continues, Addie’s life becomes increasingly bound with the fate of America. When Silas is captured by the British, she risks all to search for him, but venturing into enemy territory brings her face to face with her Highlander again. Now Addie must make an impossible choice between what her heart is telling her, and protecting the secrets—and even the very lives—of the Patriots on the dangerous front line…

The first part of an epic, emotional and heartbreaking trilogy about a woman caught in the struggle for a new America. Readers who love My Dear Hamilton and Flight of the Sparrow will be swept away by America’s Daughter.

Author Bio:


Millions of readers have fallen under the spell of the lush, enthralling and bestselling novels by Celeste De Blasis. Tales of adventure and romance set against the sweep of history—all are storytelling at its finest. After graduating from Pomona College, Celeste devoted her life to impeccable research and spellbinding writing. A native Californian, Celeste grew up on the historic Kemper Campbell Ranch in the Mojave Desert, where she lived until her death in 2001.

Buy Links: (not affiliated with BBNB)

Amazon: https://bit.ly/3dw4oUk

Apple: https://apple.co/3rb9ppZ

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3sDVCsj

Google: https://bit.ly/3bMuRLe

For My Ears: The Mystery of Martha by Eliza Harrison

A few months back I received the offer of an audiobook of this intriguing story: The Mystery of Martha. This was a really interesting and engaging story, following two Martha’s (one Biblical). I loved it and I especially loved the author’s narration. I just wanted to close my eyes as she had to most wonderful voice (but I didn’t because I was driving!). The story was a unique take on the Biblical Jesus and his impact on those around him and those who follow him centuries later.

Definitely a little different from my usual fare of WWII, cozy mysteries, and light romances, I highly recommend it!

Thank you so much for sharing your novel with me!

Here’s the scoop:

TITLE: The Mystery of Martha

AUTHOR: Eliza Harrison

NARRATOR: Eliza Harrison

LENGTH: 9 hours, 14 minutes

PUBLISHER: Author’s Republic

AUDIBLE RELEASE DATE: 10/02/20

ASIN: B08KHQYD12

AMAZON LINK: http://bit.ly/TheMysteryofMartha

More About The Mystery of Martha

Martha of Bethany has Yeshua (Jesus) as friend and guide. With her sister Magdala and brother L’azar, she witnesses the last three years of Yeshua’s life and sees him embody the mystery and power of Love. This leads her on a journey to Avalon in the Sacred Isles, where she finds her own pathway to awakening.

Martha of Borrowdale’s story begins in 2000 AD as she faces personal challenges and betrayal. With her new partner Ben, she discovers the original Aramaic teachings of Yeshua that reveal timeless truths, which enable her to transmute her fears into love.

These two redemptive stories weave alongside each other until finally they converge. This revelatory tale of mystery and transformation sheds new light on events that happened two thousand years ago. It is also the story of the eternal search for truth, love, and freedom.

Eliza Harrison drew on her life and work to create The Mystery of Martha. She lives in Cumbria in the English Lake District, an area that she often writes about and photographs. A lifelong meditation practitioner, she currently runs Sacred Meditation with her husband David. Her journey from idea to finished novel took her to southern France, Spain, and Jerusalem.

Find out more at www.themysteryofmartha.co.uk orwww.sacredmeditation.com

Bookouture Blog Tour for BEYOND THIS BROKEN SKY by Siobhan Curham

I’m here today to tell you about a great WWII read: Beyond this Broken Sky by Siobhan Curham. I loved this one! I always like stories that are the present and then the past, with modern day people discovering the past lives of now elderly people and their heroic actions during WWII. This story takes place in London, a lot of it during the Blitz. It’s part historical fiction, part romance, part mystery. I just loved the character of Ruby!

I will look for more from the author, Siobhan Curham, as she is new to me!

Thank you for my review galley and for making me part of the tour! And mea culpa! I am so very sorry – I had my date wrong, so my post is late!! I had put it into my blog calendar as later this week.

Book Description:


1940, London: An unforgettable novel about the strength of the human spirit in the face of war and the remarkable women who put themselves in danger on the front lines during the Battle of Britain.

As a volunteer for the ambulance service, Ruby has the dangerous task of driving along pitch-dark roads during the blackout. With each survivor she pulls from the rubble, she is helping to fight back against the enemy bombers, who leave nothing but destruction in their wake.

Assigned to her crew is Joseph, who is unable to fight but will stop at nothing to save innocent lives. Because he is not in uniform, people treat him with suspicion and Ruby becomes determined to protect this brave, compassionate man who has rescued so many, and captured her heart. Even if it means making an unthinkable choice between saving her own life and risking everything for his…

2019: Recently divorced Edi feels lost and alone when she moves to London to start a new life. Until she makes a discovery, hidden beneath a loose floorboard in her attic, that reveals a secret about the people who lived there in the 1940s. As she gradually uncovers a wartime love story full of danger and betrayal, Edi becomes inspired by the heroism of one incredible woman and the legacy that can be left behind by a single act of courage…

A sweeping tale of bravery and self-sacrifice that shows that even in the midst of war, hope and love can bloom. Perfect for fans of The Alice NetworkThe Secret Messenger and The Lost Girls of Paris.

Author Bio:


Siobhan Curham is an award-winning author, ghost writer, editor and writing coach. She has also written for many newspapers, magazines and websites, including The Guardian, Breathe magazine, Cosmopolitan, Writers’ Forum, DatingAdvice.com, and Spirit & Destiny. Siobhan has been a guest on various radio and TV shows, including Woman’s Hour, BBC News, GMTV and BBC Breakfast. And she has spoken at businesses, schools, universities and literary festivals around the world, including the BBC, Hay Festival, Cheltenham Festival, Bath Festival, Ilkley Festival, London Book Fair and Sharjah Reading Festival.

https://siobhancurham.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Siobhan-Curham-Author-398343120181969
https://twitter.com/SiobhanCurham
https://www.instagram.com/siobhancurham/

Buy Links: (Not affiliated with BBNB)

Amazon: https://bit.ly/3a6JWYh

Apple: https://apple.co/3kj9Qf5

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3dQBJdx

Google: https://bit.ly/37A88Rx

Teddy Rose’s Virtual Author Book Tour for: A September to Remember by Carole Bumpus

I am thrilled today to be dishing about Carole Bumpus’ new travel novel: A September to Remember: Searching for Culinary Pleasures at the Italian Table, about her and her husband’s month spent in Italy. I loved reading about Carole and Winston’s adventures and the food they experienced in Italy. The story was very readable and captured the good, the bad, and the ugly of travel! I laughed out loud at some parts! Carole includes recipes for some of the wonderful traditional dishes she and her husband enjoyed while there.

This is a stand alone title within a series of books about travel and culinary pleasures.

Highly recommended! Thanks for making me part of the tour!

Here's the overview:

This culinary travel memoir is an invitation to join in on a month-long trek through Italy, all in the search of the true Italian experience. Sprinkled with unforgettable characters, you will sup on sumptuous traditional foods, sip regional wines, and enjoy vast panoramas of extraordinary beauty. You may find yourself dancing at harvest festivals, climbing through Etruscan tombs, traipsing among Roman ruins, or bathing in ancient Roman termes (hot springs).

You may also enjoy climbing to the heights of wonder in Capri or to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica. Or delight in soaking up the ancient and cultural history in Milan, Firenze (Florence), Amalfi, Pompeii, Lecce and Rome. You can bask in the sun and rugged beauty of the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Adriatic Sea, or the gorgeous Amalfi Coast. Or you can chat for hours over family meals while collecting a compendium of regional and traditional recipes (cucina povera), while you capture a rare glimpse inside the secrets to the Mediterranean psyche. It is truly a trip of a lifetime.

About the Author:

Multi award winning author, Carole Bumpus is a retired family therapist, who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She began writing about food and travel when she stumbled upon the amazing stories of women and war in France. Her historical novel, A Cup of Redemption, was published in October 2014, and her unique companion cookbook, Recipes for Redemption: A Companion Cookbook to A Cup of Redemption, was released in August 2015.

Books One and Two of her Savoring the Olde Ways series, Searching for Family and Traditions at the French Table, were published in August 2019 and 2020; her third book in the series, A September to Remember: Searching for Culinary Pleasures at the Italian Table is due out April 27, 2021. All five books have been published by She Writes Press which is part of SparkPoint Studio, LLC.

But wait! There’s more!

There is a giveaway for 3 copies of ‘A September to Remember‘, (one copy per winner).

This giveaway is open to Canada and the U.S. only and ends on June 1, 2021. 

Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.

Please follow the link below:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e23ee71d1450/” 

Cruising from Boston to Montreal by Al and Sunny Lockwood

I like Sunny and Al’s easy-to-read travelogues and they tend to enjoy traveling to places that I enjoy, so I was more than happy to accept Sunny’s offer of a kindle copy of their book: Cruising from Boston to Montreal. What a treat! Sunny and Al start off in Boston (my city!) and enjoy a Red Sox game, then board a Holland America cruise ship north. If you know me, you know our family loves to cruise. We love having everything just steps away from where we are and we love exploring new ports of call. Sunny and Al are the same and they take you along on their adventures. During this COVID year, when we couldn’t travel at all, it was fun to read a book about going places! I’ve been to Quebec City but not to Montreal or PEI so I found Sunny’s descriptions and Al’s pictures interesting. This book would be fun to read even if you didn’t want to travel yourself. Sunny and Al are two retirees that seem to be open to adventure, fun, finding yummy food, and relaxing with a good book. It would be fun if our paths crossed on our travels in the future!

Thank you for sharing your book with me!

The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner

I love Susan Meissner’s writing, so I was excited to see this one come up on Net Galley. It tells the story of Sophie Whelan, who answers an ad to be the wife of a widower in San Francisco and stepmother to his young daughter. Sophie is an Irish immigrant who can’t wait to get free of NYC and she loves her new life in San Francisco with a lovely home, plenty of money, and most of all, her daughter whom she bonds with right away. But everything is not as it seems, especially with her quiet and secretive husband, and Sophie stands to lose all that she holds dear. In the midst of this, the 1906 earthquake occurs and Sophie and little Kat struggle to survive.

I couldn’t put this one down! I loved this story – I often love to read about California in the past. I loved the character of Sophie and how she was so resilient.

Highly recommended if you like historical fiction!

Thank you for my review copy!

Description

April 18, 1906: A massive earthquake rocks San Francisco just before daybreak, igniting a devouring inferno. Lives are lost, lives are shattered, but some rise from the ashes forever changed.

Sophie Whalen is a young Irish immigrant so desperate to get out of a New York tenement that she answers a mail-order bride ad and agrees to marry a man she knows nothing about. San Francisco widower Martin Hocking proves to be as aloof as he is mesmerizingly handsome. Sophie quickly develops deep affection for Kat, Martin’s silent five-year-old daughter, but Martin’s odd behavior leaves her with the uneasy feeling that something about her newfound situation isn’t right.

Then one early-spring evening, a stranger at the door sets in motion a transforming chain of events. Sophie discovers hidden ties to two other women. The first, pretty and pregnant, is standing on her doorstep. The second is hundreds of miles away in the American Southwest, grieving the loss of everything she once loved.

The fates of these three women intertwine on the eve of the devastating earthquake, thrusting them onto a perilous journey that will test their resiliency and resolve and, ultimately, their belief that love can overcome fear.

From the acclaimed author of The Last Year of the War and As Bright as Heaven comes a gripping novel about the bonds of friendship and mother love, and the power of female solidarity.