BOOK TOUR: Village of Secrets by Caroline Morehead


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Village of Secrets

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• Hardcover: 384 pages
• Publisher: Harper (October 28, 2014)
A copy provided in exchange for an honest review

Nazi opposition succeeds surrounding the small eastern French village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon in the mountains of Adèche.

Village of Secrets tells of the large number of French who resisted in some form involving themselves to save Jews, particularly the children from transportation to Polish death camps. Many feigned ignorance and looked the other way, mainly law enforcement, risking their freedom. Religious intolerance set aside, as varying groups forgiving their differences in saving as many Jews as possible. One standout, Pastor Andre Trocmé, a man urging nonviolence resistance to oppressors, hid many Jews, as well as his parishioners with the utmost of secrecy, thus saving many from certain peril.

The blot forever staining French history is the fact thousands of French people sadly collaborated with Germans, many actively aiding in the herding of Jews. Vichy government attitude towards Jews permanently mars French history. A sobering fact, heartbreaking to comprehend, painful to revisit.

The atrocities of the Holocaust are described as expected, however the courage demonstrated by remarkable people willing to put their lives in great danger to save others creates for a well researched memorable read.

Moorehead’s clean writing and extensive research provides a brutal yet beautiful story of the harshness of some and the imperious kindness of others.

About Caroline MoreheadCaroline Morehead
Caroline Moorehead is the New York Times bestselling author of A Train in Winterand Human Cargo: A Journey Among Refugees, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. An acclaimed biographer of Martha Gellhorn, Bertrand Russell, and Lucie de la Tour du Pin, among others, Moorehead has also written for the Telegraph, the Times, and the Independent. She lives in London and Italy.

 

Thrilled to be participating in the tour for Caroline Morehead’s Village of Secrets, be sure to check out the entire tour schedule here, it runs through 7 November. Thank you TLC

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BOOK TOUR: How to Bake a Man by Jessica Barksdale Inclán


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Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Ghostwoods Books (October 21, 2014)
A copy provided in exchange for an honest review

A cute quasi coming of age story involving Becca Munchmore, a 27 year old finally finding her footing in life and love. She’s on the precipice of sheltered, controlled by critical mother and emotionally immature. Finally she takes a leap on her own and pursues her passion of baking. She’s a charming character, endearing narrative as the reader follows her on her path of self discovery and love. Bonus, the book contains delicious recipes.

Becca is a warm character and I like the whole baking concept, very clever and added a distinct charm to both character and narrative. The approach the author took was sentimental plausible and enjoyable. I’m sure the younger audience will understand Becca’s situation in some capacity if not all. She comes across as weak but as you read on it isn’t a matter of lacking strength it’s a matter of truly not knowing border lining on fear/naivety/innocence,  not knowing in the sense of what you want or who you are exactly. All around read of claiming adulthood and your place, discovering love as well.

A cute story with an absolutely lovable character living life her way as she discovers who she is and what’s right in front of her. She controls her destiny without parental control. Fast paced enjoyable story.

About Jessica Barksdale InclánJB018a-200x300
JESSICA BARKSDALE INCLAN is the author of twelve traditionally published novels, including the best-selling Her Daughter’s Eyes, The Matter of Grace, and When You Believe. She has also published several ebooks and a women’s studies textbook, Diverse Voices of Women. Her work has been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, and Czech.
Inclán teaches composition, creative writing, mythology, and women’s literature at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, California, and online novel writing courses for UCLA Extension.

Find out more about Jessica at her website, jessicabarksdaleinclan.com.

Thrilled to be participating in the tour for Jessica Barksdale Inclán’s How to Bake a Man, be sure to check out the entire tour schedule here, it runs through 7 November. Thank you TLC

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BOOK TOUR: A Breast Cancer Alphabet by Madhulika Sikka


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Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Crown; First Edition edition (February 25, 2014)
A copy provided in exchange for an honest review

There is so much to cancer, more than the medical involvement, it’s the emotional, mental and physical toll it takes on the afflicted. Each person’s experience varies, however a few aspects might be shared and easily relatable of those suffering, Sikka herself states it is an immensely personal ‘journey.’ A Breast Cancer Alphabet addresses a myriad of challenges breast cancer imposes from a woman whose experience is shared.

Sikka gives a candid insight into breast cancer from the diagnosis continuing through survival, peppered with morsels of wit. No doubt this book will be helpful for a person recently diagnosed with breast cancer anxious to learn more than what the medical pamphlets describe. Looking for the answers to questions popping up in your mind, this book serves to anchor those hanging concerns from someone who’s been there sharing her personal experiences.

The book is cleverly formatted in the style of an alphabet book. Beginning with “A for Anxiety” continuing forward ending in “Z for Zzzzs” you gain a clear picture of the trials breast cancer presents, tips to reassure and assist as you try to navigate your way through the unknown waters.

“My breast cancer was not mystical, or enchanting or exotic. My breast cancer was not and is not a journey. Getting through cancer is no different from getting through some other terrible disease because that is what it is, a disease. It’s okay to treat it like one.”

“I for Indignities” a great section, she speaks loud and clear for ALL to hear about the bright side of breast cancer – a land of sparkling brightness personified by women who are happy and smiling while they are ‘battling’ this disease”. Ending the chapter with “My point is breast cancer is many, many things. What it is not is a fun ride. It is a painful and debilitating and public, and it is okay to feel indignant about that.” Her courage and honesty shines in her comment, thank goodness she voices what others silence.

A book serving as a lifesaver for some, certainly can’t hurt to peruse the pages arming yourself with knowledge. If you know anyone diagnosed I highly suggest this book, I urge you to read it if only to educate yourself on what they might be experiencing in hopes of serving as a vehicle of support.

About Madhulika Sikka

Madhulika-Sikka-Photo-Credit-Kainaz-Amara-199x300 Madhulika Sikka is a veteran broadcast journalist with decades of experience. Among other media outlets, she has worked at NPR News and ABC News.

Visit Madhulika’s website for more information.

 

Thrilled to be participating in the tour for Madhulika Sikka’s A Breast Cancer Alphabet, be sure to check out the entire tour schedule here, it runs through 26 October. Thank you TLC

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BOOK TOUR: Daring: My Passages by Gail Sheehy


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• Hardcover: 496 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow (September 2, 2014)
A copy provided in exchange for an honest review

After reading Passages, my curiosity was piqued. Sheehy demonstrated such insight in Passages I became interested in author and woman. If you haven’t read this book I highly suggest you do, unbelievable read. Her perspective and voice command your attention.

Sheehy’s memoir is one enthralling read, I was quickly absorbed in her life story, quite an exciting ride for both authoress and reader.

Sheehy takes you through numerous decades professionally and personally. We visit the pre-feminist era, civil rights movement to current times. A history lesson through the lens of a groundbreaking, fearless woman and esteemed journalist. She was an early pioneer in breaking the glass ceiling for women, specifically women journalists.

Sheehy possesses courage and takes serious risks, her career is proof. This woman continually challenges herself, downright exposing herself. A few situations requiring her undeniable moxie – she dressed up in hot pants and walked the streets with prostitutes; was caught in serious cross fire in the Irish civil war; interviewed several dignitaries and high level persons of interest: Bobby Kennedy, Anwar Sadat, Margaret Thatcher, the list continues which in itself is impressive.

Sheehy doesn’t limit her story to her stellar career, she also opens up regarding her personal life and her struggles most women face. The heartbreaking betrayal and demise of her first marriage, the complications arising from the fine art of balancing a demanding career with the demands of motherhood, we celebrate her discovery of her mentor and the love of her life Clay Felker, her experience in the adoption of a young refugee Cambodian girl. In all intents and purposes Sheehy opens the door to her life and once again presents herself in a fearless and exposed manner.

It’s a fair assumption I will never have lunch we Sheehy, we won’t spend hours compairing lives or gal paling around, however her memoir allows me to learn and become inspired by her fearlessness, wisdom and strength. I lived vicariously through this remarkable woman, what a time it was!

Highly recommend this fascinating story, a woman brutally honest in all facets of her life and career. Library of Congress named Sheehy’s bestseller Passages as one of the ten most influential books of our time, a multiple award winning journalist, it’s a wonder her memoir is captivating, she is simply remarkable.

About Gail SheehyGail-Sheehy-ap
Gail Sheehy is the author of sixteen books, including the classic New York Times bestseller Passages, named one of the ten most influential books of our times by the Library of Congress. A multiple award-winning literary journalist, she was one of the original contributors to New York magazine and has been a contributing editor to Vanity Fair since 1984. A popular lecturer, Sheehy was named AARP’s Ambassador of Caregiving in 2009. She lives in New York City.

Connect with her through her website, Facebook, and Twitter

Thrilled to be participating in the tour for Gail Sheehy’s Daring: My Passages, be sure to check out the entire tour schedule here, it runs through 15 October. Thank you TLC

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BOOK TOUR: Painting Juliana by Martha Louise Hunter


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Painting Juliana

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• Hardcover: 362 pages
• Publisher: Goldminds Publishing, LLC (May 20, 2014)
A copy provided in exchange for an honest review

Juliana is a woman being tested. Life is coming at her hard and fast, and of course, it is a domino effect – one challenge after the other. Hunter pens a tangled web for one impartial character.

Juliana is sideswiped by life, dealing with a few hard hitting blows, facing facts, and casting denial to the wind. At first you assume her life is falling apart but as you continue reading, her life is changing course in a very positive direction – always darkest before the storm. A victim of circumstance, issues brought on by her own doing, surrounding herself with poseurs, the reader deduces their opinions by Hunter’s ambiguous tone. The plot is somewhat convoluted which actually adds a spark of fascination. Multitasking the varying issues creates a level of suspense along with a subtle touch of magical realism opens the door of interest. Hunter demonstrates a level of creativity and imagination with a quasi intricate plot tightly threading it all together.

Hunter fails to develop Juliana’s character, I’m uncertain if this was intentional or unintentional, for me it worked well. Juliana is opaque, Hunter provides just enough details forcing the reader to stretch their imagination. You decide if she’s strong or weak, apathetic or feeling, right or wrong, I found her to be rather engaging and I preferred molding her into the heroine or loser I wanted her to be. The ambiguity approach offers Hunter’s artistic side, off beat and I welcome the change from an ordinary read. As the story progresses so does Juliana, once again you deciding if it’s enough or not.

Hunter is detailed, and has a knack exploring emotional issues without predictability. It’s clear Painting Juliana was an arduous effort, a reflection of her drive pushing through such a monstrous undertaking given this her debut novel.

Painting Juliana is a story of forgiving, leaving the past in the past and reinventing yourself when you set yourself free from all that binds you. It’s facing life head on forcing you to examine within yourself. A main protagonist unmistakably outlined allowing the peruser to color her within or outside the lines. Artsy edge engaging the readers attention and involvement, if you’re looking for something delivered in an uncommon manner addressing plausible issues add this to your TBR. Fine example of one door closes, another door opens.

About Martha Louise HunterMartha Louise Hunter
Martha Louise Hunter has an English degree from the University of Texas. After writing magazine features, working in politics and owning homebuilding and interior design companies, she now has an estate jewelry collection, http://www.marthasjewelrycase.com. With four children between them, she and her husband, David live in Austin, Texas. This is her first novel.
Painting Juliana was awarded finalist in the Writers League of Texas Mainstream Fiction Contest.

For more information, please visit: www.marthalouisehunter.com.
You can also keep up with her at her blog, www.beingmarthalouisehunter.com.

Thrilled to be participating in the tour for Martha Louise Hunter’s Painting Juliana, be sure to check out the entire tour schedule here, it runs through October 21. Thank you TLC

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Teaser Tuesday!


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This a weekly meme held on Tuesday’s that was created by Should Be Reading

Here are the rules:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Taking the Cross by Charles Gibson

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In the Middle Ages not all crusades were fought in the Holy Land. A two-pronged threat to the Catholic Church was growing within Christendom itself and Pope Innocent III called for the crusade against heresy to eliminate both the Albigenses and Valdenses, two movements that did not adhere to Church orthodoxy.

Andreas, a knight who longs to go on crusade to the Holy Land, finds himself fighting against one in his French homeland. While Andreas wages war for the lives and religious freedom of his people, a battle rages within his soul.

Eva, a young woman of a new religious order, discovers a secret message within a letter about the death of the father in the Holy Land. As she learns more of her father, she is forced to confront a profound and perilous spiritual inheritance for which she must fight.

Filled with battles of the flesh and the spirit, Taking the Cross reveals a passionate aspect of Medieval times where some fought ardently for the freedom of others.

Teaser

She heard the bells of the high church, low and rumbling, peals strong as the muscled belly of a warhorse, tolling for compline. It was nine and yet edges of the day remained. Dropping to her knees on the pine floor, she crossed herself and thrice recited the Paternoster.

Leave your TT links below!

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BOOK TOUR: Gutenberg’s Apprentice by Alix Christie


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Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Harper (September 23, 2014)
A copy provided in exchange for an honest review

An enthralling literary debut that evokes one of the most momentous events in history, the birth of printing in medieval Germany—a story of invention, intrigue, and betrayal, rich in atmosphere and historical detail, told through the lives of the three men who made it possible.

Christie exhaustively and brilliantly shares the story of Johannes Gutenberg’s moveable type invention and implementation, along with key players allowing this endeavor possible. Christie’s writing style is meticulous and sharp, difficult to comprehend this literary masterpiece is her debut. Undoubtedly she is a gifted writer worthy of following. Anticipating her next undertaking, she’s set the bar high.

The birthplace of moveable type Mainz, Germany 1450’s. No secret the Middle Ages were brutal. Christie leaves a breadcrumb trail with just enough to feed the reader with the difficulty of the time period. You understand the harshness and hardships without the author droning on.

The story fails to solely focus on Johannes Gutenberg, rather two other important figures responsible for moveable type. Three main protagonists – Johannes Gutenberg, Johann Furst, along with his foster son Peter Schoeffer all wonderfully developed serving as the hub of the narrative. Christie provides painstaking detail in the trios interactions, personalities and ethics. As with any group effort, these three are not exempt from their share of trials and occasional joys. On going conflicts take their toll and you question how these three very differing men changed the world. The three protagonists pull their weight, the level of frustration and empathy varied with each character. All were whiny man babies, I found myself tempted, on more than a few occasions, to strangle them from between the lines. Differences aside, they managed to change the world profoundly.

The narrative explicitly dives into the machinations of creating moveable type. No surprise religion, politics played their role and served as unwanted and additional challenges. Thoroughly presented, Christie does not spare the rod on extensive details in the personal and professional lives of the characters. You are well versed on the many sacrifices, blood, sweat and tears involved. The momentum grows as the story progresses, along with an array of complications and the beast of betrayal.

Christie masterfully converges fiction and nonfiction merging on the precipice of educational sans boring element. I was engrossed, characters added a spark to what could have been mundane. A fascinating read, provoking.

Amazing how print and publishing forever changed the world. As you read Christie’s novel you are propelled in the bowels of this monstrous and monumental undertaking. The journey is appreciated as this bibliophile understands the magnitude Gutenberg el al endured. Christie scrawls a literary riveting story reflecting on an invention forever altering all the world.

About Alix ChristieAlix Christie ap
Alix Christie was born in California, spent her childhood summers in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, and has lived in Paris, San Francisco, and Berlin. She has been a widely published journalist for thirty years, with work featured in the Washington Post, the International Herald Tribune, The Guardian, Salon, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Her short fiction has been published by Southwest Review and Other Voices. A letterpress printer since her youth, Alix Christie currently lives in London, where she reviews books and the arts for The Economist.

Connect with her through her website, Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

Thrilled to be participating in the tour for Alix Christie’s Gutenberg Apprentice, be sure to check out the entire tour schedule here, it runs through 17 October. Thank you TLC

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