Thursday, 14 December 2017

The Gray House by Mariam Petrosyan


The Gray House by Mariam Petrosyan
First published in Russian in Russia by Livebook in 2009. English language translation by Yuri Machkasov published in America by AmazonCrossing in April 2017.

Where to buy this book:

Abebooks

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Smashwords

Speedyhen

The Book Depository

Waterstones

Wordery


How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Gray House is an astounding tale of how what others understand as liabilities can be leveraged into strengths.

Bound to wheelchairs and dependent on prosthetic limbs, the physically disabled students living in the House are overlooked by the Outsides. Not that it matters to anyone living in the House, a hulking old structure that its residents know is alive. From the corridors and crawl spaces to the classrooms and dorms, the House is full of tribes, tinctures, scared teachers, and laws—all seen and understood through a prismatic array of teenagers’ eyes.

But student deaths and mounting pressure from the Outsides put the time-defying order of the House in danger. As the tribe leaders struggle to maintain power, they defer to the awesome power of the House, attempting to make it through days and nights that pass in ways that clocks and watches cannot record.

I received my review copy of The Gray House back at the beginning of 2017 but, being intimidated by its 700+ page length, kept putting off even starting to read it until now. This was a serious mistake - The Gray House is absolutely brilliant! Seclude-yourself-for-a-week-with-your-phone-turned-off breathtakingly brilliant! I could easily write a whole review of fangirl superlatives, I loved this book that much. Yet, that said, it won't be to everyone's taste. I have seen other reviews using The Lord Of The Flies as a comparison and inasmuch as that book centres on a group of unaccompanied boys I can see their point, but I wouldn't necessarily agree. Perhaps if Salman Rushdie had written Gormenghast the result might be closer to the fantastic and fantastical richness of The Gray House?

I obviously want to impart as much of my enthusiasm as possible, but am struggling to describe Petrosyan's novel in a way that will do it justice! It is set in a neglected House for physically disabled children, children who have mostly been effectively abandoned there by their families so, other than attempts at lessons, the tribes of boys (and, later, girls) are left to their own devices. Living by complex sets of rules and Laws, we see their limited world through their own eyes. I loved that this world is limited by the borders of the House, not by the various disabilities. Ingenuity, inventiveness and camaraderie seem to render most disability irrelevant.

The story is told from different points of view, some first person and some third person, with each speaker having their own distinctive voices. The Gray House is divided into three books each with their own lengthy character list at the beginning, but I didn't bother with the lists as I soon found myself easily identifying and remembering characters by their Nicks (nicknames) and actions. Like new boy Grasshopper, it took me a while to settle into the House, but once I began to understand its ways and its stories, I was absolutely engrossed.


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Mariam Petrosyan / Contemporary fiction / Books from Armenia

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Beauty And Beastly by Melanie Karsak + Giveaway + Extract


Beauty And Beastly: a steampunk Beauty and the Beast by Melanie Karsak
Self published in America on the 6th December 2017.

Where to buy this book:

Abebooks

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Smashwords

Speedyhen

The Book Depository

Waterstones

Wordery

Add Beauty And Beastly to your Goodreads

In this tale as old as time, Isabelle Hawking must tinker a solution to a heartbreaking mystery. When Isabelle Hawking and her papa set out from London on a sea voyage, Isabelle is thrilled. Visiting foreign courts, learning from master tinkers, and studying mechanicals is her dream. And it doesn't hurt that the trip also offers Isabelle an escape from her overbearing and unwanted suitor, Gerard LeBoeuf. But Isabelle never arrives. Swept up in a tempest, her ship is lost.

Isabelle survives the storm only to be shipwrecked on a seemingly-deserted island. The magical place, dotted with standing stones, faerie mounds, and a crumbling castle, hints of an ancient past. Isabelle may be an unwilling guest, but her arrival marks a new beginning for the beastly residents of this forgotten land.

See how NY Times bestselling author Melanie Karsak puts a steampunk spin on the classic Beauty and the Beast fairy tale.




Extract: Arrival at the castle

“Hello? Is anyone there?”
The sky overhead darkened, and in the distance, I heard the rumble of thunder.
Oh no. No, no, no.
I looked up at the sky. My head swam.
I needed to find shelter.
I turned to go back to the path, but when I did so, I didn’t see the path, nor the ring of mushrooms, nor anything else vaguely familiar.
Once more, the sky rumbled.
I felt the first of the raindrops on my head, but luckily, the thick leaves overhead sheltered me somewhat. As the storm rolled in, the forest grew dark.
I cast a glance around.
It didn’t matter which direction I went. Eventually I would find the shore once more.
Turning to head out, however, I spotted a bluish colored light in the distance. A house? A fire? A lantern? A…something.
“Hello?”
No reply.
Turning, I followed the bluish glow. I headed deeper into the forest, chasing after the light, but soon found its source. It was a mushroom. The glowing mushroom had been sitting on a rise. It had played a trick on my mind. Then I spotted another glowing fungus, then another, and another, all of which held an incandescent blue light. They grew in a straight line. Without a better recourse, and feeling half suspicious of the supernatural, I followed the glow of the blue mushrooms as the rain pattered overhead, the sky rumbling. I followed the blue lights deep into the ancient woods, aware that I was passing other sacred rings. I walked past a mound of earth, a barrow, the final resting place of some ancient person—and some said a passageway to the Otherworld—as I hurried deeper into the woods. Surely I would find the shoreline soon.
Lightning cracked overhead.
Then, on the horizon, I saw golden light. A fire? I squinted my eyes, trying to make out the shape through the trees, but my head ached miserably. Leaning heavily against my staff, I moved toward the golden colored light.
The forest thinned. The glowing mushrooms led me onward toward the glow of the yellow light in the distance. Praying to find someone—anyone—I followed along, well aware that my quick exertion had my stomach rolling. Black spots wriggled before my eyes. The line of mushrooms ended. To my shock, I’d blundered to the center of the island and found myself standing outside the gates of a castle.
I gazed up at the enormous structure. It towered over me, a black silhouette on the horizon. Light glowed through one of the windows in the upper floors. It was raining in earnest now. Not waiting a moment longer, I pushed the gate. It swung open with a creak.
It was pouring.
I leaned my walking staff against a metal bench in the perfectly manicured garden, then grabbing my skirts, I ran for the castle door. As I rushed, lightning flashed. It created an odd illusion on the bushes and flowers around me. For a moment, they all seemed to glimmer like metal under the bright light.
My temples pounded. My stomach rolled. I raced through the heavy rain to the castle door.
Hoping whoever was at home would forgive me for letting myself in, I pushed open the castle door and crept inside.
The place was eerily silent.
“Hello?” I called. “Is anyone here?”
Breathing deeply and quickly, I realized the moment I stopped that I was not well.
I cast a glance toward a roaring fireplace nearby. A chair was seated before the hearth, a glass of something dark sitting beside the seat. I heard a strange clicking sound.
“Hello?” I called again, but this time, my head began to spin. I put my hands on my hips, trying to catch my breath. I closed my eyes. Everything was twirling.
Footsteps approached.
“I-I’m sorry I let myself in but…” I began then opened my eyes.
Standing before me was a massive automaton, its silver eyes staring coldly at me.
A nauseous feeling swept over me, and my head swam. Black spots danced before my eyes.
“Pardon me. I think I’m about to—”
Faint.
But the word was lost.
And so was I.


Meet the author:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Melanie Karsak is the author of The Airship Racing Chronicles, The Harvesting Series, The Burnt Earth Series, The Celtic Blood Series and Steampunk Fairy Tales. A steampunk connoisseur, zombie whisperer, and heir to the iron throne, the author currently lives in Florida with her husband and two children. She is an Instructor of English at Eastern Florida State College.

Author links:
Twitter ~ Website ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads ~ Pinterest ~ Newsletter
Join Melanie's newsletter and get 2 free books!


And now for the giveaway!
Open internationally until the 31st of January, the prize is a Disney’s Belle Funko Pop, a Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Writing Journal Beauty and the Beast Light-up Rose Cup from Disneyland.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Melanie Karsak / Steampunk fiction / Books from America

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

The Shelf Life Of Happiness by David Machado


The Shelf Life Of Happiness by David Machado
First published as Indice Medio de Felicidade in Portuguese in Portugal by Publicacoes Don Quixote in 2013. English language translation by Hillary Locke published in America by AmazonCrossing in 2016.

Where to buy this book:

Abebooks

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Smashwords

Speedyhen

The Book Depository

Waterstones

Wordery


How I got this book:
Bought the ebook from Amazon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ripped apart by Portugal’s financial crisis, Daniel’s family is struggling to adjust to circumstances beyond their control. His wife and children move out to live with family hours away, but Daniel believes against all odds that he will find a job and everything will return to normal.

Even as he loses his home, suffers severe damage to his car, and finds himself living in his old, abandoned office building, Daniel fights the realization that things have changed. He’s unable to see what remains among the rubble—friendship, his family’s love, and people’s deep desire to connect. If Daniel can let go of the past and find his true self, he just might save not only himself but also everyone that really matters to him.

I don't have much experience of Portuguese fiction, but the books I have read all seem to have a dystopian viewpoint and The Shelf Life Of Happiness fits right into that genre despite its present day setting. Perhaps its cover art doesn't really fit with the storyline because, although a road trip in a worn out minibus is part of the tale, the main narrative is of a man being reduced to homelessness and almost to destitution as a result of the crumbling Portuguese economy. It's a preview of how much of Britain will look after a few more Conservative years, those areas that aren't already wrecked anyway!

Daniel isn't an easy character to sympathise with but I found myself liking his bloody-minded refusal to give up hope. Even as his dream life falls apart around his ears, he still has hope for his own future and that of his family. The Shelf Life Of Happiness title is actually a mistranslation of the original Portuguese title which references an Index of Average Happiness (nations ranked by the average professed happiness of their people) and I couldn't see why this was changed for the English language edition. The Index is an interesting (and presumably genuine) list which, along with Daniel and his friends, got me to thinking about how I would score my life (pretty high, I think!)

For a book ostensibly about happiness, this is a pretty dark read. One character is trapped in his home by chronic agoraphobia, another spends his leisure time assaulting homeless men, the horrors of factory farming are reduced to a cute computer app, and Daniel himself is struggling to stay financially afloat. Yet, despite all this misery, Machado lifts his tale with black humour and an engaging writing style that I enjoyed reading. I was surprised that I wasn't depressed by the book at all!


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by David Machado / Contemporary fiction / Books from Portugal

Monday, 11 December 2017

The Element In The Room by Helen Arney and Steve Mould


The Element In The Room: Science-y Stuff Staring You in the Face (Festival of the Spoken Nerd) by Helen Arney and Steve Mould
Published in the UK by Cassell on the 5th October 2017.

Where to buy this book:

Abebooks

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Smashwords

Speedyhen

The Book Depository

Waterstones

Wordery


How I got this book:
Bought the ebook from Amazon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Why is it impossible to spin your right foot clockwise while you draw a 6 with your right hand?

Can you extract DNA from a strawberry daiquiri?

Would you make love like a praying mantis?

Should you book a holiday on Earth 2.0?

The Element in the Room will take you on a rib-tickling, experiment-fuelled adventure to explain everyday science that is staring you in the face. If you are sci-curious, pi-curious or just the-end-is-nigh-curious then this is the book for you.

Steve Mould and Helen Arney are two thirds of science comedy phenomenon Festival of the Spoken Nerd. As a trio they have appeared on QI, created their own experimental* comedy show 'Domestic Science' for Radio 4, toured their stand-up science shows to over 50,000 nerds (and non-nerds) and accumulated millions of views on YouTube.

I love going to the Festival of the Spoken Nerd live shows, but do sometimes find myself getting a little left-behind by explanations of the experiments I witness. Self-guided experimentation by way of The Element In The Room is therefore perfect for me. I can reread the scientific whys and hows enough times that the information actually lodges in my brain rather than skimming off into the distance!

The Element In The Room includes much of what is most fun about FotSN live shows - the humour, the tangential leaps of subject, and there's even a song. It is geared towards the home though and I have been enjoying trying out experiments in our caravan. I hadn't previously considered what a good laboratory it makes, but we have turmeric and noodles and I can cook up a curry. Making a grill pan chime like Big Ben is particularly impressive in such a small room. On the downside, poor Dave has had to listen to me recounting Quite Interesting facts and misremembered theories for the best part of a week. He's now reading The Element In The Room for himself and looking forward to extracting DNA from strawberries sometime soon.

If you're fascinated by the world around us and like your science based in practical experimentation, this could be the perfect book for you too.


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Helen Arney and Steve Mould / Science books / Books from England

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Blackmail, Sex and Lies by Kathryn McMaster + Giveaway + Extract


Blackmail, Sex and Lies by Kathryn McMaster
Published by Drama Llama Press in August 2017.

Where to buy this book:

Abebooks

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Smashwords

Speedyhen

The Book Depository

Waterstones

Wordery

Add Blackmail, Sex and Lies to your Goodreads

Blackmail, Sex and Lies is a story of deception, scandal, and fractured traditional Victorian social values. It is the tale of a naïve, young woman caught up in a whirlwind romance with a much older man. However, both have personality flaws that result in poor choices, and ultimately lead to a tragic end.

For 160 years, people have believed Madeleine Smith to have been guilty of murder. But was she? Could she have been innocent after all?

This Victorian murder mystery, based on a true story, takes place in Glasgow, Scotland, 1857. It explores the disastrous romance between the vivacious socialite, Madeleine Hamilton Smith, and her working class lover, Pierre Emile L’Angelier. After a two-year torrid, and forbidden relationship with L’Angelier, that takes place against her parents' wishes, the situation changes dramatically when William Minnoch enters the scene. This new man in Madeleine’s life is handsome, rich, and of her social class. He is also a man of whom her family approve.

Sadly, insane jealous rages, and threats of blackmail, are suddenly silenced by an untimely death.


Extract

The novel is based on the true story of the infamous Madeleine Hamilton Smith, a young socialite from Glasgow. In 1857, she was accused of murdering her working-class lover, Pierre ‘Emile’ L’Angelier with arsenic. In this excerpt we see L’Angelier’s young colleague, Robert Baird, being placed in an invidious position when he asks his aunt and uncle, on Emile’s insistence, if they could arrange a meeting between Emile and Madeleine. Emile is not of the same class as the Smith family, and the request is not well-received at all. How will Emile finally manage to contact young Madeleine on whom he has now set his sights?

‘Robert Baird hoped Emile would forget about wanting to meet Madeleine Smith. He did not. Emile’s constant bombardment of requests became insufferable until finally, under intense pressure, he broached the subject with his aunt and uncle one evening at dinner.
Robert cleared his throat.
“I’ve a friend who’d like to meet Madeleine Smith. He wonders if you’d help arrange it.”
“Well that depends, dear,” replied his aunt, briefly looking up at him before daintily manoeuvring her spoon around her bowl. “How old is he?”
“Difficult to say, perhaps ten years older than Madeleine. I think he’s about twenty-seven or twenty-eight.”
“I doubt he’s established at that age, unless he comes from good money. Do we know him?”
“I don’t think you do, Aunt.”
“Well why not? Who is he?”
“His name is Pierre Emile L’Angelier, but his friends call him Emile.”
“Ah, a Frenchman, that sounds intriguing, Robert. Is he part of the diplomatic corps?”
“Um, no, he isn’t. His parents are French, but actually he was born on the island of Jersey.”
“Well, there’s money in Jersey. What does he do?”
Robert stirred his soup for the twentieth time. Sweat bloomed on his neck. He could feel the small beads trickling down under his stiff shirt collar despite being seated nowhere near the fireplace. 
He drew in a deep breath, avoided looking at his aunt before he managed to say, “He’s a packing clerk at Huggins.”
Robert’s uncle, unusually mute during the entire conversation, roared. Robert involuntarily jumped. The silver spoon in his hand jerked too, ejecting tomato soup in a far-reaching arc over the crisp damask tablecloth. He stared in horrified fascination as the orange-red droplets beaded, sank and spread into the woven fabric leaving behind unsightly blotches. 
“The audacity of the man! Doesn’t he realize who she is? What man of his position would dare ask to meet a young girl such as Madeleine? A packing clerk? This is preposterous, Robert. I forbid you to raise this topic ever again in my company or your aunt’s. I will not entertain this conversation a minute longer, and you should know better than to have raised it.”
“Yes, Uncle.”
“You can go back and tell this scoundrel, Pierre or Emile, or whatever he calls himself, that Madeleine Smith is a young lady of good social standing and he should rather look to his own for female company. If he doesn’t, he will have me to answer to. A good whipping should soon settle this.” ‘

Review

I don't remember having been aware of the Madeleine Smith / Pierre Emile L'Angelier poisoning case prior to reading Blackmail, Sex And Lies despite, like Kathryn McMaster, being a keen reader of true crime books as a teenager. It's a fascinating affair of young love set against strict Victorian rules and I couldn't help but wonder if there would have been such a murderous outcome if the situation arose in our less class-defined society these days - excepting that it is now far more difficult to buy sufficient arsenic of course!

I liked how McMaster combines fiction and nonfiction elements within her novel. The writing style is very much nonfiction rather than historical fiction. The inclusion of lots of Madeleine's genuine letters to Emile adds great authenticity and fictional scenes are cleverly woven around them so we can experience events as McMaster imagines them before reading Madeleine's own words written at the time. Dialogue is occasionally a tad clunky, but I felt I got a good idea of Madeleine and Emile's characters - she the naive socialite, he the obsessive and controlling older man. At times I wondered what on earth attracted Madeleine to such a bullying and (by modern standards) obviously disturbed potential partner, but considering the other men she was allowed to meet and the example of her dictatorial father helped to understand her motivations.

Blackmail, Sex And Lies details every aspect of Madeleine and Emile's relationship, but refrains from 'taking sides' until the very end. We as readers are given the facts and allowed to make our own minds up about guilt and innocence before McMaster weighs in with her thoughts on the legal outcome. It's an interesting device, quite different to most historical fiction I read so refreshing in that sense, although as a result I did sometimes feel more detached from the story than I would have liked.


Meet the author:
Kathryn McMaster is a writer, entrepreneur, wife, mother, and champion of good indie authors. She co-owns the book promotion company One Stop Fiction, where readers can sign up to receive news of free and discounted 4 and 5 star reviewed books. She is also a bestselling author of historical murder mysteries set in the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Her debut novel, "Who Killed Little Johnny Gill?" was well received. All her novels are based on true stories, and she melds fact with fiction, writing in the creative nonfiction style. She lives on her 30 acre farm in the beautiful Casentino Valley, Italy for 6 months of the year, and during the other half of the year, on the small island of Gozo, Malta.


Author links: 
Website  ~ GoodreadsFacebook ~ Twitter

And now for the Giveaway

The Prize is one ebook copy of Blackmail, Sex and Lies by Kathryn McMaster.
The Giveaway is open worldwide. Entries must be submitted through the Gleam widget below by midnight (UK time) on the 25th December and I will randomly pick a winner on the 26th. If the winner does not respond to my email within 3 days, they will forfeit the prize and, yes, I will be checking that entrants did complete whatever task they said they did!





Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Kathryn McMaster / Historical fiction / Books from South Africa

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery


Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
First published in French in France by Gallimard in 1943. Bilingual edition with English translation by Wirton Arvel published by Kentauron in January 2015.

Where to buy this book:

Abebooks

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Smashwords

Speedyhen

The Book Depository

Waterstones

Wordery


How I got this book:
Borrowed from my partner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the story of a grown-up meeting his inner child, embodied by a Little Prince. Travelling from an asteroid, he left his rose there in order to discover the world. Before landing on Earth he visited many planets and their inhabitants where all grown-ups incarnate humankind’s most common vices. 

I'm proud to have finished Le Petit Prince because it is the first book I have read entirely in French since my A Level exams over twenty years ago! Admittedly this is a children's book and it took me the best part of two weeks, but it's an encouraging start!

I hadn't read this story before so wasn't prepared for how surreal it is. On one hand this was great for me because I thought it an entertaining tale and Saint-Exupery's imaginative details frequently had me laughing out loud. It's vitally important to keep your volcanoes well swept! On the other hand though, bizarre plot ideas often had me doubting my translation skills. I was sure 'Dessine-moi un mouton' meant 'draw me a sheep' but that made no sense. Nonsensical however is what Le Petit Prince is all about so sheep were indeed drawn!

Saint-Exupery veers from surreal to overly-sentimental and is often repetitive. Had I read the story through just in English, I probably would have been irritated by this, but for language study purposes it was useful to have new words reoccurring in later pages. Whether I will ever again need the words for someone who lights streetlamps or a man who manually changes railway points is another matter. The French did often seem overly flowery and I notice Arvel's translation sometimes paraphrases to simplify this. Overall I enjoyed this book and it is a fun tale, albeit a completely mad one!


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Antoine de Saint-Exupery / Children's books / Books from France

Friday, 8 December 2017

Lonely Is The Valley by Gwen Kirkwood


Lonely is the Valley by Gwen Kirkwood
First published in the UK by Robert Hale under the author name Lynn Granger in 1985. Republished by Endeavour Press in 2012.

This was my second book for the 2016 Read Scotland Challenge

Where to buy this book:

Abebooks

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Smashwords

Speedyhen

The Book Depository

Waterstones

Wordery


How I got this book:
Received a copy from its publishers, Endeavour Press, to read in preparation for their Virtual Historical Fiction Festival in April 2016.

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

After losing her parents at a young age, Ceri finds solace in the valleys where they settled and never dreams of a life elsewhere. Accustomed to life in the small community, Ceri is devoted to helping her grandfather maintain the farm. Although sheltered, Ceri does have someone to love. Hugh Davies is her childhood sweetheart who Ceri expects she’ll marry - one day. But Ceri’s expectations are thrown out of the window when a striking but domineering Scotsman named Mark Mackay, a newcomer to the area, introduces himself to Ceri.

Lonely Is The Valley is set in a rural Welsh farming community at the time of its writing, the mid-1980s. I admit to being surprised at its era having expected books with a greater time distance for a Historical Fiction Festival read. If my childhood years are considered history now, then I must be older than I think! The plotline follows a pretty standard 'light romance' trajectory from antagonism to love with most of the action being driven by missed communication and misunderstandings. I liked the descriptions of the valley itself and the close-knit community vibe, however I was disappointed with the shallow characterisation which made it difficult for me to believe in our protagonists' interactions. The novel is infuriatingly dated in its gender attitudes too.

Ceri Owen, the heroine, is frequently described as independent, yet rarely displays any behaviour other than that of a doormat. Mark, her would-be suitor, is creepily patronising, controlling and emotionally abusive yet, as readers, we are apparently not only supposed to find these attractive traits, but also to blithely accept that being sexually assaulted by him triggers thoughts of love in Ceri. I frequently felt very uncomfortable while reading Lonely Is The Valley. Mark's treating of Ceri as if she is a child and her own clinging need to be subservient to a male figure, almost at any cost, is decidedly awkward and an unhealthy example to promote as a desirable relationship.


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Gwen Kirkwood / Romance fiction / Books from England

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Emma by Jane Austen + Free Book


Emma by Jane Austen
First published in England by John Murray in December 1815.

I read my first Jane Austen book, Persuasion, in January, having previously only watched TV or film adaptations. Realising that 2017 is the 200th anniversary year of Austen's death, I challenged myself to read all six of her novels within the year - and have now done so!

Where to buy this book:

Abebooks

Amazon UK FREE

Amazon US FREE

Smashwords

Speedyhen

The Book Depository

Waterstones

Wordery


How I got this book:
Downloaded the ebook from Amazon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her. (...) The real evils, indeed, of Emma's situation were the power of having rather too much her own way, and a disposition to think a little too well of herself; these were the disadvantages which threatened alloy to her many enjoyments.The danger, however, was at present so unperceived, that they did not by any means rank as misfortunes with her.

Completely by chance I managed to leave two of the best Jane Austen novels - to my mind at least - until last so have finished my 2017 Jane Austen Challenge on a high note! I think Northanger Abbey is still very much my favourite, but I was pleasantly surprised by Emma. I had expected this book to be as slow as Sense And Sensibility. However I found it more energetic and I loved Emma's unlikeable traits. Her father's total inability to empathise with anyone who doesn't share his narrow views, particularly on ideal diet and exercise, entertained me and raised several chuckles. The small town life of Highbury is cleverly and often wickedly evoked. Austen's portrayal of Miss Bates frequently seemed uncharitable, but I have known a couple of women who chattered away in a remarkably similar fashion.

I did feel a little disappointed in Austen's abandonment of Harriet. I felt as though, having served her purpose to Emma, she became then just a minor plot point to tidy away. I would have preferred a stronger resolution to her storyline. Despite being one of the longer books, I felt Emma maintained a pretty good pace throughout, only seeming to drag in the last few chapters, and I wasn't so frustrated with inane conversations as I had been in previous books. Perhaps I have become more attuned to Austen's writing style this year!

Looking back over my challenge I am glad to have finally read all six of Austen's novels - and even more glad than I can't envisage myself ever having to read certain of them again! I will now have a far greater understanding when Austen characters are alluded to in other novels and may even recognise her storylines and plot devices being 'recycled'.


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Jane Austen / Women's fiction / Books from England

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

The Second Window by Erica Kiefer + Giveaway + Excerpt


The Second Window by Erica Kiefer
Published in America by CTP Pulse on the 5th December 2017.

Where to buy this book:

Abebooks

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Smashwords

Speedyhen

The Book Depository

Waterstones

Wordery

Add The Second Window to your Goodreads

As her senior year flies by on cruise control, seventeen-year-old Olivia Cole yearns for excitement—something her upscale private school no longer provides. Her job as a grocery store bagger isn’t much help…until the day she has a bizarre exchange with the cagey town recluse. When the woman abruptly surrenders to the police, Olivia feels compelled to dig deeper into her perplexing story. But the investigation stalls when Olivia receives another piece of news—Andre Steele, the golden boy of Westmont and her previous tormentor, has unexpectedly returned from his four-year stay in Brazil—and the whole school is buzzing! All at once, Olivia’s dull and predictable life is uprooted, and she wonders if “boring” was so bad after all.




Excerpt from The Second Window: Chapter 1 

A stranger to me, I knew nothing about Jodie except that she lived on the outskirts of town. People referred to her as a hermit because she rarely ventured from her home, and when she did, it seemed only long enough to purchase groceries. She was nobody important to me—just the occasional name carried through the wind when there was nothing else to talk about. However, like clockwork, I bagged her scant items every Thursday at four PM. The odd interactions I’d have with the woman would sometimes be the most interesting part of my shift at Wayland’s, a discounted store that served as employment during the summer, and now into my senior year.

I met her eyes again, which seemed to never leave mine, peering at me with an intense silence that I couldn’t explain. She didn’t frighten me, exactly. On the contrary, there was a meekness about her that suggested her gentle nature. While she hardly smiled, she didn’t have a mean face. It was more like the bland expression of a person who had little to smile about. Yet I wondered at her reservation, certain she had more to say than she ever allowed.

Jodie’s slender fingers pulled cash from her wallet and she handed over the bills. When she turned to me once more, her teary eyes alarmed me. She swallowed hard, like she was washing down emotions that rose against her will.
“Are… are you okay?” I asked, hesitating as I placed her grocery bags into the cart. Her hand fell swiftly on top of mine, squeezing my palm. Startled by the sudden physical contact, I jerked my hand away. I regretted my actions the moment her expression shifted.

Eyes wide, she shook her head, her mouth opening as though horrified by her behavior. A tear slid down her cheek, and she brushed it away in haste. “I’m sorry.” Sniffling, she snatched her three bags from the cart and scurried toward the exit. “Hey!” I called after her. I exchanged a look of confusion with Marlene before following Jodie to the automatic sliding doors. “Wait! It’s Jodie, right?” She paused, sniffing once more. She looked back at me over her shoulder, eyes red and sorrowful. “Um, can I help you to your car? I really should have double-bagged that one.” I pointed to the bulging bag containing the heavy soups, grasping for an excuse to stall her from leaving.

The tiniest smile crept along the corners of her mouth. Her green eyes brightened beneath the sheen of tears. Relieved, I smiled back. Her next words fell from her lips in a low, quiet tone. “You take care of yourself.” Then she walked out into the cool air.

I stood there perplexed, watching this strange woman escape to the parking lot. Jodie had been a consistent presence in my life for months now, a once-a-week visit in which she spoke no more than a murmured, Thank you. Why did I feel a sudden permanence to her goodbye?
A familiar female voice called out from behind me. “I need a bagger on lane three please!”

I rolled my eyes and flipped around to see my friend Jordyn standing at the other end of the store, hollering into her cupped hands. I glanced at Marlene. My grey-haired co-worker pushed out her lips with a frown, throwing a hand onto her plump hip. I cringed and held up my index finger. “One minute,” I mouthed, and hurried toward Jordyn before she could garner anymore unwanted attention from my employers.

“You know Marlene hates when you stop by, right?” I said to my best friend. She beamed confidence at me with her wide smile, her lips stained in a bright coral that I could never pull off. Though only one-eighth Native American, the tan skin she’d inherited helped her get away with wearing colorful makeup combinations that I would never attempt on my fair skin. Jordyn also relished in the theatrics that I shied away from.

“I’m a paying customer,” she said, grabbing a box of powdered donuts off the shelf. She held them up to make her point, waving wildly at Marlene’s scowling face. Jordyn raised her voice again, like she was hollering at the deaf elderly. “She’s just gonna bag these for me and I’ll be on my way!”

I shook my head at her. “You’re going to get me fired.”
“You’ve got other problems to worry about.” Jordyn put her hands on my shoulders, and spun me around.

“What am I looking at?” I asked, not seeing anything out of the ordinary. Leave it to Jordyn to make me guess, rather than just tell me. She rotated me forty-five degrees.
“Not what. Who.” She dropped her voice to a whisper. “Past the cashiers. Aisle twelve.”

I loved her to death, but sometimes her games were a bit much. “Jordyn, come on—” I stopped, suddenly very aware of just who she was pointing out to me. I caught a glimpse of his smile first, gleaming brightly against his bronzed skin—a deeper brown than I remembered, and a compliment from his Brazilian mother. I’d almost missed him, hidden behind the cluster of kids clamoring for his attention. But then I heard his laugh, boisterous and infectious. Unique.
And stirring memories I resented.

I crossed my arms over my black apron. “What is Andre Steele doing back in Arizona?”

Jordyn inhaled noisily, letting out her breath as she spoke. “I don’t know, but Brazil sure did a nice number on him.”
I scowled and nudged her with my elbow.

“But we still hate him,” she corrected, giving a nod of solidarity.

“Of course we do.” We watched him disappear down aisle nine with his posse. Another burst of
laughter trailed behind him, coupled with giggles from the girls hanging on him and the other guy slapping Andre’s back like they’d never heard someone so funny.

“Then again,” Jordyn added, “Four years can change a person. Maybe he’ll surprise you.”

I stepped away from her, returning to my position at the end of the register. I grabbed the boxes of toothpaste and floss sliding past Marlene and tossed them into a fresh bag. “I never liked his surprises.”


Meet the author:
Erica Kiefer’s debut novel Lingering Echoes was published by Clean Teen Publishing in November 2013. She continued the series with Rumors (A Lingering Echoes Prequel) and her newest release Vanishing Act. All of her books can be read as stand-alone contemporary YA fiction, touched with romance, emotional drama and suspense. With a degree in Recreation Therapy from Brigham Young University, Erica’s experiences working with at-risk youth have influenced the realistic and relatable nature of her writing. Her first inspirational non-fiction entitled Borrowed Angel (published in April 2014 with Currawong Press) describes the loss of her infant son and her journey towards healing.

Married since 2005, Erica resides in Las Vegas, Nevada with her four children and can often be found satisfying her sweet-tooth with chocolate-chip cookies and a glass of milk. Now and then, she dusts off her collegiate rugby skills and dives back into the game.

Author links:
Twitter ~ Website ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads

And now for the giveaway!
Open internationally until the 14th of December, the prize is a Clean Teen Publishing mystery box (ebooks if to an international winner).

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Erica Kiefer / Young adult fiction / Books from America

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

The Things We Learn When We're Dead by Charlie Laidlaw


The Things We Learn When We're Dead by Charlie Laidlaw
Published in the UK by Accent Press in January 2017.

Where to buy this book:

Abebooks

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Smashwords

Speedyhen

The Book Depository

Waterstones

Wordery


How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the author

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy meets The Lovely Bones in this surrealist, sci-fi comedy.

On the way home from a dinner party she didn't want to attend, Lorna Love steps into the path of an oncoming car. When she wakes up she is in what appears to be a hospital – but a hospital in which her nurse looks like a young Sean Connery, she is served wine for supper, and everyone avoids her questions.

It soon transpires that she is in Heaven, or on HVN. Because HVN is a lost, dysfunctional spaceship, and God the aging hippy captain. She seems to be there by accident. Or does God have a higher purpose after all?

At first Lorna can remember nothing. As her memories return – some good, some bad – she realises that she has decisions to make and that she needs to find a way home…

Don't be misled by the rocket on the cover of The Things We Learn When We're Dead. The novel does partly take place on a spaceship, but it is more literary fiction than science fiction. Our heroine, Lorna Love, starts out by dying rather abruptly and we then discover her life through her memories. It's not a unique plot device, but I thought it particularly well employed here. I liked Lorna and could easily empathise with both her immediate predicament and the choices she made to get herself there. For a novel centring on a death, The Things We Learn is very funny. Laidlaw's sense of humour is very similar to mine so, rarely for me, I was actually audibly laughing on several occasions.

There is a serious side to this story. Lorna explores how her younger self's idealism became diluted and how other people's expectations affected the life path she chose. I liked the contrast between the realism of these 'on Earth' settings compared to the 'in Space' scenes. Laidlaw has a great eye for scenic detail enabling me to envisage Crete, which I have never seen, just as well as Edinburgh, which I have visited. Ideas such a the bird-themed boyfriends and a brace of George Clooneys are fun - and you'll have to read the book yourselves to understand these!

The Things We Learn is an engaging novel which kept me engrossed throughout its pages. I guessed quite early on how it would end in principle, but not the varied themes and ideas that would lead there. I think this book can be read and appreciated on different levels and will appeal to a wide readership. It is an entertaining story that can be simply enjoyed at face value or it could be a trigger to consider our own life choices - how far we might have strayed from the lives we imagined we would lead.


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Charlie Laidlaw / Contemporary fiction / Books from Scotland

Monday, 4 December 2017

Smothered by M C Hall + Giveaway


Smothered by M C Hall
Self published in America by 50/50 Press on the 24th November 2017.

Where to buy this book:

Abebooks

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Smashwords

Speedyhen

The Book Depository

Waterstones

Wordery

Add Smothered to your Goodreads

Fifteen years ago, Kitty Holbrooke was set to be the greatest child star since Shirley Temple. Days after completing her debut film, the young girl was kidnapped from her home in the middle of the night. The next day, a rambling ransom note appeared in the family’s mailbox, but as the family scrambled to gather the money, police discovered Kitty’s body. Due to the media circus surrounding the case, changing testimony from key witnesses, and police missteps, lead detective Andrea Bennett was never able to bring Kitty’s killer to justice, and the case that rocked a nation went cold.

Today, an online tabloid has uncovered Kitty Holbrooke’s shocking case files including never-before-seen police interviews, confidential emails, secret text messages, and sealed grand jury transcripts. The Internet explodes as fans devour and comment on each piece of new evidence, desperately hoping that they, too, can help solve the mystery.

Loosely inspired by the Jon Benet Ramsey case, this unique, thrilling mystery is told through police transcripts and documents, and will keep readers guessing until the very end.



Murder in the Media by M C Hall

Most of us enjoy a good mystery. The process of being curious, of finding clues, putting a puzzle together, and coming to the right conclusion is satisfying. We become captivated by guessing a killer’s motives, intrigued by the investigative process, and emotionally invested in the outcome of a trial.

In the article “Why are We so Fascinated with Murder?” psychologist Paul Mattiuzzi explains, “In the real world, we are fascinated because of the powerful emotions aroused when we consider the fate and fortune of the victim, and the pain that remains for their survivors.” Yet, in this same article, Mattiuzzi claims, “When it’s on the news, we may recoil in shock and horror, but often and in other media, homicide is a source of entertainment.”

I agree with Mattiuzzi that we’re fascinated when we consider the emotions of a case, but is he right that when a murder appears on the news, we recoil in horror? When I was writing the novel Smothered, I read several opinions like Mattiuzis and I just couldn’t agree with them.

Even in the 1800s, murder cases were sensationalized for a ravenously expectant public. For example, every detail of the Lizzie Borden murders was publicized. Newspaper headlines speculated as to her motives and drew conclusions about what happened during the twelve minutes she failed to have an alibi. Papers published not only her photos, but also artist renditions of Lizzie’s reactions during her nine-day trial. Even now, when the victims’ names, Andrew and Abigail, and the not-guilty verdict rendered by the court have faded from the public memory, the rhyme “Lizzie Borden took an axe, gave her father forty whacks” remains.

As with the Borden trial, the public has failed to shy away or “recoil in horror” from more recent crimes. When OJ Simpson was on trial for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, the trial coverage became “Must See TV” and television sets were set up around schools and offices so people could watch the verdict live.
I wanted these realities to be reflected in my novel. I also wanted to reflect the changes in how the public participates in crimes online. We no longer just gossip about murders around office water coolers or in the privacy of our own homes. We comment online and post our opinions and judgements for the whole world to see, agree with, argue against, and elaborate on with their own comments.
So, I decided to write Smothered as if the mystery of who killed child star Kitty Holbrooke was given to the public the way we’re given most of our true-crime mysteries nowadays—from a sensationalistic online tabloid that tries to simultaneously report on the crime and exploit the details. At the end of each chapter, the tabloid’s message board is filled with comments, remarks, and observations from insatiable readers, dying to hear every last detail of the case.

The book isn’t meant to condemn the way we read or participate in murder mysteries today, but I hope it serves as a comment to make readers think a bit about how murder is covered by the media and how we participate in that coverage.


Meet the author:
Megan Cassidy Hall writes books for adults under the name MC Hall, and writes books for children and young adults under the name Megan E. Cassidy. In addition to writing, Megan works as an English professor teaching a variety of courses including Creative Writing and Children and Young Adult Literature. Megan’s novels include Always, Jessie, The Misadventures of Marvin Miller, and Smothered. Her poetry and short stories have been featured in numerous publications including Bete Noire, Pilcrow & Dagger, and Centum Press's 100 Voices. All of her short work can be found on her website.

In 2016, Megan co-founded 50/50 Press with her husband Stephen Hall. You can visit their website at www.5050press.com or follow them on Twitter @FiftyFiftyPress

Author links:
Twitter ~ Website ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads

And now for the giveaway!
Open internationally until the 14th of December, the prize is a $20 Amazon gift card.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by M C Hall / Crime fiction / Books from America

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Discovering Aberration by S C Barrus + Free Book


Discovering Aberration by S C Barrus
First published in America by Away And Away in January 2014.

Sign up to S C Barrus' mailing list to get a free copy of this book

Where to buy this book:

Abebooks

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Smashwords

Speedyhen

The Book Depository

Waterstones

Wordery


How I got this book:
Downloaded the ebook

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An ancient map stolen. A lost civilization discovered. A terrible secret unleashed.

Thaddeus Lumpen's archaeology career is near collapse, thanks to the machinations of rivals who would kill to claim a discovery for themselves. In desperation he turns to Freddy Fitzgerald, a rebellious writer who still maintains connections from his days as a street hooligan. For Lumpen to get ahead of his even less scrupulous competitors he must steal an ancient map and forge a path to an island where a lost civilization waits to be found. For Freddy, it's a chance to sell the story of a lifetime.

But nothing is as simple as it appears from halfway across the world. Old acquaintances become enemies, professional rivalries turn violent, and a notorious gang lord wants his map back. The island itself holds dangers that Freddy and Lumpen couldn't have prepared to face--and horrifying secrets that might be better left buried. Beset by wild beasts, cutthroat competitors, and dangers darker still, the two men fight not for glory, but their own survival... before the island pushes them past the brink of insanity.

DISCOVERING ABERRATION is a alternative history adventure novel. Inspired by the classic science fiction, adventure, and horror writers who spawned what would later become the steampunk genre, DISCOVERING ABERRATION is part Victorian era urban romp, part dark fantasy adventure.

Excellent news reached me a week or so ago that S C Barrus' steampunk serialisation, The Gin Thief, is back on its rails and I can expect the second installment in the new year. I noticed I hadn't yet transferred my thoughts on its predecessor, Discovering Aberration, from Stephanie Jane to Literary Flits so am doing so today!

I first saw Discovering Aberration some three years ago marketed on Google+ as a 'steampunk adventure' which intrigued me so I downloaded a copy. The story is inventive with an interesting plot and a strong steampunk feel. It doesn't have a particularly fast pace but Barrus' wordy style is reminiscent of true Victorian authors so I found that this helped to add atmosphere. The varying viewpoints of the narration is a clever touch and nicely done. I did like the cheeky derivation of some characters' names. Overall reading this story feels like reading a classic adventure mystery so if you like that style of book, I would definitely recommend giving Discovering Aberration a try.

"I'm always homesick for the journey" too!


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by S C Barrus / Steampunk fiction / Books from America

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Beginnings by Helen J Christmas + Extract


Beginnings by Helen J Christmas
Published in the UK by Chichester Publishing in February 2012.

Where to buy this book:

Abebooks

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Smashwords

Speedyhen

The Book Depository

Waterstones

Wordery

Add Beginnings to your Goodreads

Beginnings is a romantic thriller set in the criminal underworld of 1970s London. Eleanor Chapman is 16. She has no idea her father is employed in a world of organised crime until the day he is forced to go on the run, leaving her at the mercy of dangerous people. Her life is spiralling out of control yet, on the night she plans to escape, she stumbles across a mysterious prisoner. His name is Jake, a rock musician from Holland and he has a contract on his life.

Their daring escape across London eventually draws them into a place of hiding before Jake’s chilling story begins to unfold. He was the one vital witness to a sinister scene leading up to the death of a British MP and now those responsible want him silenced. As two young people, thrown together by fate they develop intense feelings for each other. It does not take long for Eleanor to realise that she will do anything possible to keep Jake alive. Their tender love bond keeps you turning the pages as they live on a knife edge, desperate to escape London. Will they outrun the deadly enemies who stalk them? Or are the people at the top more powerful than they think?



FLASHBACK TO JAKE’S STORY Extract from Chapter 4

“Oh my God,” Eleanor gasped. “It was on the news! Something to do with an MP celebrating his birthday party?”
“That was the one,” Jake said curtly, lost in his painful memories.
“I heard about it a few days ago,” Eleanor spluttered. “Albert Enfield.”
“Yes, that was the time it broke the news,” Jake sighed. “They feared there would be wide spread panic among the public if I remember. But yes, Eleanor, I was at that party.”
She was staring at him wide eyed.
As if that news item alone wasn’t scandalous enough. Jake had actually been there. He had witnessed the whole shocking event. The next question begging to be asked was who could have engineered such a plot?
“Did you say you were from Holland, Jake?” Eleanor asked him gently. “You’re Dutch?”
He allowed himself a brief smile. “Yes. My father is Dutch. I have lived in the Netherlands for most of my life. Mother is from England. She never really wanted to leave her homeland, so I’ve spent time in both countries. I am half Dutch.”
“I thought your accent sounded a bit different,” Eleanor added. “It’s the way you pronounce your vowels. Your accent sounds soft, a little like French. Whereabouts in Holland do you live?”
“Nijmegen,” Jake replied, closing his eyes. “It’s a beautiful town and I cannot wait to go back there. I expect my friends must be missing me...”
He allowed his mind to drift - imagining the town with its wide river spanned by the arches of a graceful steel bridge; the tall, ornate buildings sculpted in a mosaic of brickwork - the wide roads, the ever moving tide of cyclists. Nijmegen was one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands. He allowed the memories to pass before he opened his eyes. He saw Eleanor braced in front of him as if waiting for him to continue.
“So what did happen?” she whispered. “Before you were captured, I mean… What do you actually remember about that party and the bomb? Can you tell me?”
“Of course,” Jake replied, wrenching his mind away from his home town; back to the dramatic events which lingered in the current loop of time...
He fell silent, eyes cast down as he tried to piece it all together again. The ordeal of the last two days had left him so traumatised, some of the finer details had become muddled and confused. In some way, he was pleased to recollect it again; to finally tell someone of this momentous incident that had changed his life…



Meet the author:
Helen J. Christmas lives on the south coast of Sussex with her husband. With a love of writing since childhood, she started her decade spanning thriller series 'Same Face Different Place' in 2011. Her first book 'Beginnings,' set in 1970s London, combines romantic suspense with a hard-hitting conspiracy thriller. Writing is something she juggles around family and social life. Helen is self employed and enjoys running the web design company, she and her husband set up from home. They have no children but enjoy the company of a faithful border collie and a fluffy white cat. Helen confesses to have got most of her ideas for writing, whilst walking Barney along the beach.


Author links: 
Website ~ Blog ~ GoodreadsFacebook ~ Twitter ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram




Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Helen J Christmas / Thrillers / Books from England

Friday, 1 December 2017

Gingerbread At Moonglow by Deborah Garner + Giveaway


Gingerbread At Moonglow by Deborah Garner
Published in America by Cranberry Cove Press on the 10th November 2017.

Where to buy this book:

Abebooks

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Smashwords

Speedyhen

The Book Depository

Waterstones

Wordery


How I got this book:
Received a review copy via Beck Valley Book Tours

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The small town of Timberton, Montana, boasts an ambience of near-magical proportions during the Christmas season, due in no small part to resident artist and chef Mist's mysterious way of working small miracles in people's everyday lives. Each year, return guests and new arrivals mingle with local townsfolk to enjoy companionship, exquisite decor, and exceptional cuisine at The Timberton Hotel.

As the aromas of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and molasses mix with heartfelt camaraderie and sweet romance, guests share reflections on family, friendship, and life. Although decorating the outside of a gingerbread house may prove easier than deciding what goes inside, no one leaves Timberton without renewed hope for the future.


The Moonglow Series...
Each book may be read as a stand-alone novel, or as part of the series. Links go to my reviews.

Mistletoe at Moonglow, Book 1
Silver Bells at Moonglow, Book 2
Gingerbread at Moonglow, Book 3

I love these seasonal novellas by Deborah Garner! I read this first two last December and was delighted to be offered the chance to review their new companion this year. Reading Gingerbread At Moonglow is like immersing myself into the perfect secular Christmas and to give you an idea of how effective Garner's atmosphere creation is - I read it sat outside my caravan on a sunny Spanish campsite and came away feeling as though I had genuinely experienced the Montana festivities! These books are becoming traditional for me.

It was lovely to spend time with characters I remembered from the previous novels - meeting up without the antagonism and bickering of real people at this time of year! Much of the story revolves around delicious-sounding meals so I would caution readers to have snacks to hand! There's a tempting recipe section at the end too. Gingerbread At Moonglow is sweet without being saccharine. There's no great angst or dramas and the characters are refreshingly nice to each other. An unrealistic dream of course, but for escapist Christmas fiction I think I'd struggle to find anywhere better to visit than the Timberton Hotel.



About the author
Deborah Garner is an accomplished travel writer with a passion for back roads and secret hideaways. Born and raised in California, she studied in France before returning to the U.S. to attend UCLA. After stints in graduate school and teaching, she attempted to clone herself for decades by founding and running a dance and performing arts center, designing and manufacturing clothing and accessories, and tackling both spreadsheets and display racks for corporate retail management. Her passions include photography, hiking and animal rescue. She speaks five languages, some substantially better than others. She now divides her time between California and Wyoming, dragging one human and two canines along whenever possible.


Find the author on the following sites...


Follow the Book Tour

018836-glossy-silver-icon-symbols-shapes-square-2

I received this book through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, I have volunteered to share my review and all the opinions are 100% my own.

NOW FOR THE AUTHOR'S GIVEAWAY !!


Win your choice of $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal 
Ending on Sunday 10th December at 11.59pm EST
Open Worldwide

Enter Below & Good Luck !!
Are you a book reviewer or book blogger? Join our book tours reviewers team - Apply Here x
Current book tours open for sign ups HERE



Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Deborah Garner / Christmas fiction / Books from America