Treading the Uneven Road – a short story collection by L.M. Brown

I received an electronic copy of this wonderful collection of stories from the author a few months ago. They take place in Ireland and are all inter-related.

Description:
The stories in this collection are set 1980’s and 90’s Ireland. A by-pass around a small village has rid the residents of their once busy traffic. They feel forgotten by the world. The need to reach out and be heard is explored in every story, from the young woman who starts to have phone conversations with her husband’s gay lover, to the dyslexic man who confronts his cruel teacher years later and the woman whose dreams are shattered because of a married lover. Treading the Uneven Road introduces us to a society that is unraveling and we cannot help feel for Brown’s characters who need to make a choice on how to carry on.

Me again!! I love Ireland and I love short stories where there is a connecting thread throughout them all. These aren’t all happiness and light, but they do leave you thinking about the characters and wondering about their lives. Brown has the ability to develop character and evoke setting, so that these stories are vividly impressed upon you as you read.

Thank you so much for my review copy! You can find it on Amazon and other online retailers!

Tasty Book Tour for FALL OF POPPIES: STORIES OF LOVE AND THE GREAT WAR

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Today I’m part of the virtual book tour for a fantastic book: FALL OF POPPIES – Stories of Love and the Great War.

First I must admit that I had my eye on this title for a while since I saw that Heather Webb was a contributor. Ms. Webb wrote the recent RODIN’S LOVER and I heard her speak at The Concord Bookshop and I think she is fabulous, so I really wanted to read this. Added to that is the fact that while I read quite prolifically about WWII, I have read very little about WWI. Thus, I was quite excited to be part of this tour and to read these wonderfully crafted stories.

Here’s what the tour has to say:

About the Book

Top voices in historical fiction deliver an intensely moving collection of short stories about loss, longing, and hope in the aftermath of World War I—featuring bestselling authors such as Hazel Gaynor, Jennifer Robson, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig and edited by Heather Webb.

A squadron commander searches for meaning in the tattered photo of a girl he’s never met…

A Belgian rebel hides from the world, only to find herself nursing the enemy…

A young airman marries a stranger to save her honor—and prays to survive long enough to love her…The peace treaty signed on November 11, 1918, may herald the end of the Great War but for its survivors, the smoke is only beginning to clear. Picking up the pieces of shattered lives will take courage, resilience, and trust.

Within crumbled city walls and scarred souls, war’s echoes linger. But when the fighting ceases, renewal begins…and hope takes root in a fall of poppies.

356 Pgs. |Heat: 2 | Purchase: Amazon | B & N | Google Play | iTunes | Kobo

Here’s all the info on the authors:

About The Authors

Jessica Brockmole is the author of the internationally bestselling Letters from Skye, an epistolary love story spanning an ocean and two wars. Named one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Books of 2013, Letters From Skye has been published in seventeen countries.

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Hazel Gaynor is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Girl Who Came Home and A Memory of Violets. She writes regularly for the national press, magazines and websites in Ireland and the UK.

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Evangeline Holland is the founder and editor of Edwardian Promenade, the number one blog for lovers of World War I, the Gilded Age, and Belle Époque France with nearly forty thousand unique viewers a month. In addition, she blogs at Modern Belles of History. Her fiction includes An Ideal Duchess and its sequel, crafted in the tradition of Edith Warton.

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Marci Jefferson is the author of Girl on the Golden Coin: A Novel of Frances Stuart, which Publisher’s Weekly called “intoxicating.” Her second novel, The Enchantress of Paris, will release in Spring 2015 from Thomas Dunne Books.

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Kate Kerrigan is the New York Times bestselling author of The Ellis Island trilogy. In addition she has written for the Irish Tatler, a Dublin-based newspaper, as well as The Irish Mail and a RTE radio show, Sunday Miscellany.

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Jennifer Robson is the USA Today and international bestselling author of Somewhere in France and After the War is Over. She holds a doctorate in Modern History from the University of Oxford, where she was a Commonwealth Scholar and SSHRC Doctoral Fellow. Jennifer lives in Toronto with her husband and young children.

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Heather Webb is an author, freelance editor, and blogger at award-winning writing sites WriterUnboxed.com and RomanceUniversity.org. Heather is a member of the Historical Novel Society and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and she may also be found teaching craft-based courses at a local college

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Beatriz Williams is the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of The Secret Life of Violet Grant and A Hundred Summers. A graduate of Stanford University with an MBA from Columbia, Beatriz spent several years in New York and London hiding her early attempts at fiction, first on company laptops as a corporate and communications strategy consultant, and then as an at-home producer of small persons. She now lives with her husband and four children near the Connecticut shore, where she divides her time between writing and laundry. William Morrow will publish her forthcoming hardcover, A Certain Age, in the summer of 2016.

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Lauren Willig is the New York Times bestselling author of eleven works of historical fiction. Her books have been translated into over a dozen languages, awarded the RITA, Booksellers Best and Golden Leaf awards, and chosen for the American Library Association’s annual list of the best genre fiction. She lives in New York City, where she now writes full time.

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I loved these stories. They were beautifully written and each was so different; yet each masterfully evoked the sense of that time. As I said above, I am not too well-read on the First World War, and I enjoyed these short stories, though some of the stories were rather sad (or at least poignant).

And there’s a Giveaway!!

THREE copies of this book will be given away by the publisher! US addresses only.

You can follow the link below to the giveaway and follow the instructions:

Link to Rafflecopter Page: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/521ac4c8947/

Thank you for making me part of the tour and for my review e-copy!

 

 

Two for Christmas!

If you know me, you know I love Christmas! I recently got two books from Net Galley that focus on the Christmas season.

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This is how Net Galley describes A STUBBORN SWEETNESS AND OTHER STORIES FOR THE CHRISTMAS SEASON by Katherine Paterson (one of my fave children’s book authors!):

A Stubborn Sweetness and Other Stories for the Christmas Season is a collection of modern-day short stories by Katherine Paterson, award-winning author of Bridge to Terabithia and The Great Gilly Hopkins—both loved by children and adults for over twenty years. This compilation includes stories of real-life people such as a shopping mall’s night watchman, a lonely widower, a pregnant teenage runaway, a political prisoner in China, a grieving mother, and a privileged American, who have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas because of loss, pain, greed, or circumstances. Through unexpected and uplifting ways, each is reminded of the first Christmas story and the vision of hope and peace it offers the world. They realize that even in the darkness, the light and song of Christmas can be seen and heard.

This heart-warming gift book, filled with stories of realistic people finding hope, courage, and faith amidst life’s circumstances, radiates the spirit of the season and reminds each of us what Christmas truly means. Originally written to be read during her church’s Christmas Eve service, this collection of holiday stories is perfect for individuals, families, and churches to read and share during the season.

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I love, love, loved this compilation of short but touching stories which have as their theme the true meaning of Christmas. I read one each night before I went to bed. Highly recommended for a calming read at night or to give as a thoughtful gift of the season.

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I loved the title of this book and was drawn to it right away. I love not only the Narnia chronicles but C.S. Lewis’ adult writings on faith.

Here’s how Net Galley describes it:

Description
“Walking into Advent can be like walking through the wardrobe.”

With its enchanting themes of snow and cold, light and darkness, meals and gifts, temptation and sin, forgiveness and hope–and even an appearance by Father Christmas–C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe fits naturally into the Advent season. As the reader seeks a storied king and anticipates the glorious coming of Christmas, these twenty-eight devotions alternate between Scripture and passages from the novel to prompt meditation on Advent themes. Each devotion also includes questions for reflection. The book also provides several resources for churches, including four sessions for small group discussion and ideas for creating a “Narnia Night” for families. Readers will ultimately come to know God better while journeying through Narnia.

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This was a series of devotions and reflections that the author, Heidi Haverkamp, had done, in part, with her own church congregation. What a brilliant idea! While I loved reading this on my own, I would have loved even more having a group to share this with.

As always, thank you for my review copies, Net Galley and Westminster John Knox Press. Both books are available online or at your favorite indie. Merry Christmas!!

Cover Reveal for FALL OF POPPIES! w/GIVEAWAY!

Look at this BEAUTIFUL cover which was revealed today for the new story collection FALL OF POPPIES – Stories of Love and the Great War —

There is also a GIVEAWAY for a copy of the book:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here’s what Harper Collins has to say —

Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War

by Heather Webb, Hazel Gaynor, Beatriz Williams, Jennifer Robson, Jessica Brockmole, Kate Kerrigan, Evangeline Holland, Lauren Willig, Marci Jefferson

William Morrow Trade Paperback; March 1, 2016; $14.99; ISBN: 9780062418548 Barnes & Noble / Amazon / IndieBound / Books-a-Million

Top voices in historical fiction deliver an intensely moving collection of short stories about loss, longing, and hope in the aftermath of World War I—featuring bestselling authors such as Hazel Gaynor, Jennifer Robson, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig and edited by Heather Webb.

A squadron commander searches for meaning in the tattered photo of a girl he’s never met…

A Belgian rebel hides from the world, only to find herself nursing the enemy…

A young airman marries a stranger to save her honor—and prays to survive long enough to love her…The peace treaty signed on November 11, 1918, may herald the end of the Great War but for its survivors, the smoke is only beginning to clear. Picking up the pieces of shattered lives will take courage, resilience, and trust.

Within crumbled city walls and scarred souls, war’s echoes linger. But when the fighting ceases, renewal begins…and hope takes root in a fall of poppies.

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Review: GRAND CENTRAL: Original Stories of Postwar Love and Reunion

I purchased a kindle edition of GRAND CENTRAL when I saw that it was short stories by some of my favorite authors. The author list includes (a la Amazon):

Melanie Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator’s Wife

Jenna Blum, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us

Amanda Hodgkinson, New York Times bestselling author of 22 Britannia Road

Pam Jenoff, bestselling author of The Ambassador’s Daughter

Sarah Jio, New York Times bestselling author of Blackberry Winter

Sarah McCoy, New York Times bestselling author of The Baker’s Daughter

Kristina McMorris, New York Times bestselling author of The Pieces We Keep

Alyson Richman, bestselling author of The Lost Wife

Erika Robuck, bestselling author of Call Me Zelda

Karen White, New York Times bestselling author of The Time Between

Each story takes place in Grand Central Station in NYC just after WWII and happens on the same day. One thing I loved was the overlap of stories – characters in one story will see or hear characters from another story.  Some of these stories I liked more than others. Some I felt left you hanging, which is never how I want to end a story. Most though, were interesting little microcosms of life at that time, my favorites being the first story and the last one!

One of the best things about short stories is that you can read them in a short period, so they are perfect for an office visit wait, a wait in the airport, etc. I chose to read one each night before bed.

You can see this book on Amazon where I got mine.

Quick Review: A Miracle Under the Christmas Tree by Jennifer Basye Sander

Another Net Galley find, this collection of true short stories focuses on the meaning of Christmas. Some of these stories were quite touching and inspiring. Some were better written than others. Each could be read in a short space of time. It was the perfect “quick read before I nod off” choice for this time of year!

Thanks, Net Galley and Harlequin Non-fiction, for my copy!