#Spotlight / #Giveaway – Benjamin Franklin: You’ve Got Mail by Adam Mansbach & Alan Zwiebel

 Giveaways, Nana's Nook, Spotlights  Comments Off on #Spotlight / #Giveaway – Benjamin Franklin: You’ve Got Mail by Adam Mansbach & Alan Zwiebel
Jun 172017
 

Benjamin Franklin: You’ve Got Mail
Teens/Humorous/Historical Fiction/United States/Colonial & Revolutionary Periods
Disney-Hyperion (June 20, 2017)
Hardcover: 224 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1484713051

If the Future has any remedy for this situation, do not hesitate to provide it. That is to say, Ike and Claire Wanzandae, HELP! HELP HELP HELP.

I am (perhaps not for long),
Benjamin Franklin

Ike Saturday has seen better days. For one thing, his pen pal, Benjamin Franklin (yes, that Benjamin Franklin), is the target of an angry mob after Ike’s plan to help the Founding Fathers with some intel from the future seriously backfired. For another, he’s decided to mail himself back in time with the help of his girlfriend, Claire Wanzandae, and it’s not a particularly comfortable way to travel.

Once Ike tracks B-Freezy down in 1776, it becomes clear that his pal is less than impressed with the irritating, modern-day rescuer, partially because Ike has a habit of making things worse for Ben, and partially because Ben is incredibly cranky when not in the presence of numerous meat pies. Which speaks to another issue for the pair: they have no money, no food, and basically no plan for saving the country. But Claire won’t be able to cover for Ike back home in the future forever, and the British are looking pretty impatient, so Ike and B-Freezy will have to come up with something quickly if they want to avoid an epic, history-destroying disaster.

In this hilarious sequel to Benjamin Franklin: Huge Pain in My . . . , Adam Mansbach and Alan Zweibel take Ike and B-Freezy’s antics to the next level as this ill-paired (and sometimes actually ill) duo hold the future of the world in their not-so-capable hands.


Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

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Contest Will End July 1, 2017 at 11:59 PM CST
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Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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Sep 082016
 

letters from paris

Letters from Paris by Juliet Blackwell
Historical Fiction/Women’s Fiction
Setting – Paris, France
Berkley Books (September 6, 2016)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Paperback: 384 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451473707
E-Book – ASIN: B01BS7FY5Y
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From the New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Key comes the story of a mysterious work of art and the woman inspired to uncover its history in the City of Light.

After surviving the accident that took her mother’s life, Claire Broussard has worked hard to escape her small Louisiana hometown. But these days she feels something is lacking. Abruptly leaving her lucrative job in Chicago, Claire returns home to care for her ailing grandmother. There, she unearths a beautiful piece of artwork that her great-grandfather sent home from Paris after World War II.

At her grandmother’s urging, Claire travels to Paris to track down the century-old mask-making atelier where the object, known only as “L’Inconnue”—or The Unknown Woman—was created. Under the watchful eye of a surly mask-maker, Claire discovers a cache of letters that offers insight into the life of the Belle Epoque woman immortalized in the work of art. As Claire explores the unknown woman’s tragic fate, she begins to unravel deeply buried secrets in her own life.

*Note there are mentions of suicides in this story.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Claire/Chance Broussard goes home to Louisiana to be with her grandmother as she lives out her last days. When she finds a broken piece of artwork in the attic. Her grandmother tells her to go to Paris. There is a story that goes with the artwork she found but she will only hear it in Paris. Soon after her grandmother passes Claire heads to Paris and the trip changes her life forever.

the unknown woman

www.smh.com.au

As soon as Claire found the broken mask I was on the internet so I had the right picture of the mask in my head. But this story was about so much more that a mask. Ms. Blackwell takes us back in time where we meet Sabine, a young woman working as an artist’s model. It was not the life she had imagined. Then we alternate and come to present day and Claire’s experiences in Paris. The author entwines these stories together to give us a wonderful story. One I had a hard time putting down.

The characters from past and present feel so alive and real. I found myself immersed both of their stories at times not wanting to switch back and forth, but the author’s way of doing this made each of the stories even more powerful. These characters are unique but in certain ways the same. The were both searching for something and what they found was so unexpected. There is a twist toward the end the totally just floored me. I just didn’t see it coming at all.

I enjoyed the description of the setting in both time periods and how over the years many of the places are virtually the same. I was so moved by Blackwell’s book The Paris Key that I ended my review of that book hoping to someday travel there. This book has me wishing even harder. I want to see with my own eyes and feel with my own hands these magnificent places.

I enjoyed learning the story of “The Unknown Woman of the Seine” even though yet again there was that suicide element. Learning about death masks was very interesting too. Somehow I feel as my son is nearby as I read these passages and he helps me know I can handle it and to just keep reading. The story overrides my moments of pain.

Letters from Paris is a story of discovery and strength, heartwarming and heartbreaking. A story that will resonate with everyone who reads it.

perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Juliet Blackwell on her webpage here.

While both of these stories are set in Paris, they are stand alone novels.



Also by Juliet Blackwell

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Jul 212016
 

as death draws near

As Death Draws Near
(A Lady Darby Mystery)

Historical Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Ireland
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (July 5, 2016)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425277720
E-Book ASIN: B016JPTK2I
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The latest mystery from the national bestselling author of A Study in Death tangles Lady Kiera Darby and Sebastian Gage in a dangerous web of religious and political intrigue.

July 1831. In the midst of their idyllic honeymoon in England’s Lake District, Kiera and Gage’s seclusion is soon interrupted by a missive from her new father-in-law. A deadly incident involving a distant relative of the Duke of Wellington has taken place at an abbey south of Dublin, Ireland, and he insists that Kiera and Gage look into the matter.

Intent on discovering what kind of monster could murder a woman of the cloth, the couple travel to Rathfarnham Abbey school. Soon a second nun is slain in broad daylight near a classroom full of young girls. With the sinful killer growing bolder, the mother superior would like to send the students home, but the growing civil unrest in Ireland would make the journey treacherous.

Before long, Kiera starts to suspect that some of the girls may be hiding a sinister secret. With the killer poised to strike yet again, Kiera and Gage must make haste and unmask the fiend, before their matrimonial bliss comes to an untimely end…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It seems Kiera and Gage can’t even have a honeymoon. Lord Gage sends them a message to travel to Dublin to investigate a nun that has been killed at an Abbey. He provides no details so the newly married couple find transport and get to Ireland as quickly as possible. The people of the surrounding area are not quick to provide much more information, even the other nuns at the abbey and the local Constable seems to holding back. Kiera and Gage have their work cut out for them to solve this case. It also tests their new married life as these two very independent people learn to trust their place now as man and wife.

Kiera has grown so much since this series began, much of the thanks to Gage, but now that she is his wife will he fall into the ways of most men in this time and curtail her independence and freedom when it comes to their investigations. The author has shown us both sides and not everything is resolved by the end of this book.

Huber’s stories are very character driven. Servants Anderley and Bree also play major roles in this mystery. Kiera has always been extremely close to Bree and we see Gage and Anderley are very close and trusting as well. We are also introduced to a wide variety of characters and a character from a past story reappears, much to Lady Darby’s dismay.

This mystery includes a lot of history and the murder takes a very interesting turn as we learn more about how that history impacts the nun’s death. I felt it was pretty complex and just a little hard to keep straight at times. There were so many players, secondary and minor characters that all played a part.

As I have come to expect from this author she paints amazing pictures with her words. The areas around the Abbey formed immediately in my mind. The portion of the story that takes place on the ship almost had me weaving with the motion of the waves.

As I have said in previous reviews to get the most out of these series the stories should be read from the start but this one does read well as a stand alone as the author gives us plenty of background.

I love that as the 5th book in this series that characters are fresh and engaging and the mystery is excellent. The author gives us a little tease for book number six and that made me so happy. I really want to go on more adventures with Mr. & Mrs. Gage.

perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

To Find out more about Anna Lee Huber visit her website here.

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the publisher I have 2 copies to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
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Contest Will End August 4, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Apr 292016
 

9WbGnJTR
On Flashback Fridays I will share with you the books I missed when they were first
released that have been screaming at me from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.

A GILDED GRAVE
A Gilded Grave
(NEWPORT GILDED AGE)

First in Series
Historical Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Cover Illustrator by Aleta Rafton
Cover Design by Lesley Worrell
Trade Paperback: 416 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425275849
E-Book – ASIN: B00OQS4FIA
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In 1895, the height of the Gilded Age, the social elite spend their summers in Newport, Rhode Island. Within the walls of their fabulous “cottages,” competition for superiority is ruthless … and so are the players.
 
During her first Newport season, Deanna Randolph attends a ball given in honor of Lord David Manchester, a Barbadian sugar magnate, and his sister, Madeline. The Manchesters are an immediate success—along with their exotic manservant and his fortune-telling talents.

But on the nearby cliffs, a young maid lies dead—and suspicion falls on Joseph Ballard, a member of one of the town’s most prestigious families.

Joe humiliated Deanna when he rebuffed an engagement to her, but while he may be a cad, she knows he isn’t a killer. Now the reluctant allies must navigate a world of parties, tennis matches, and séances to find the real murderer. But a misstep among the glittering upper classes could leave them exposed to something far more dangerous than malicious gossip…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I escaped back in time with this wonderful debut. Newport in 1895, in all its glory, until a young maid is found dead on the cliffs.

Deanna Randolph and her maid, Elspeth, make a dynamic duo both in life and as sleuths. Deanna’s mother has warned her not to get too friendly with the help, but Deanna has ignored that piece of advice. They are friends and they both would do anything for the other. While the plans for Deanna and Joe Ballard to marry have fallen apart and she doesn’t want him around she knows he is not a killer.

The author brings the time period of the Gilded Age alive. The “cottages”, the cliffs, the clothes, the parties and daily life are described in colorful detail. Her words painted so fantastic images.

I enjoyed the character development as Deanna became more and more independent as the story moved along. Then again, her mother was out of town with her ailing sister so things may change when she returns.  I loved learning about Joe’s work and his ideas. Through Elspeth we come to understand life from a servants point of view. The Manchesters were interesting characters as well.

The story is well written and you know the author really researched the material to make it as accurate as possible. She gave me plenty of suspects and several red herrings to track as I followed the clues right along with Deanna and Elspeth.

Shelley Freydont has shown she can write a superb mystery set in present time in her Celebration Bay Mysteries, and now she has shown she can do historical mysteries too. The next book in this series, A Golden Cage, comes out June 7. I recommend that if you haven’t read this one yet, grab it so you are all ready for the next installment.  

perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Shelley Freydont is the author of the Liv Montgomery Celebration Bay Mysteries, Foul Play at the Fair, Silent Knife, Independence Slay as well as the Kate MacDonald Sudoku Mysteries and the Lindy Haggerty dance company mysteries, and the upcoming Newport Gilded Age Mysteries, beginning with A Gilded Grave (6/15)

As Shelley Noble, she is the NY Times Best selling author of women’s fiction (Beach Colors,Stargazey Point, Breakwater Bay, and Whisper Beach as well as several novellas. A former professional dancer and choreographer, Shelley lives at the Jersey shore and loves puzzles, light houses and antique carousels. She also loves to hear from readers.

A former professional dancer and choreographer, she most recently worked on the films, Mona Lisa Smile and The Game Plan. Shelley is a member of Sisters-in-Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and Liberty States Fiction Writers.

For more about Shelley, please visit her website www.shelleyfreydont.com.

* Author Links

Website  – Facebook

Amazon Twitter


Find more books by Shelley Freydont Here.
Writing as Shelley Noble

Coming June 7, 2016
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I am giving away my review copy!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

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If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End May 13, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Apr 162016
 

MODERN GIRLS

Modern Girls
Historical Fiction
Published by New American Library (April 5, 2016)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Paperback: 384 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451477125
E-Book – ASIN: B011IVWPCU
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A dazzling debut novel set in New York City’s Jewish immigrant community in 1935…

How was it that out of all the girls in the office, I was the one to find myself in this situation? This didn’t happen to nice Jewish girls.

In 1935, Dottie Krasinsky is the epitome of the modern girl. A bookkeeper in Midtown Manhattan, Dottie steals kisses from her steady beau, meets her girlfriends for drinks, and eyes the latest fashions. Yet at heart, she is a dutiful daughter, living with her Yiddish-speaking parents on the Lower East Side. So when, after a single careless night, she finds herself in a family way by a charismatic but unsuitable man, she is desperate: unwed, unsure, and running out of options.

After the birth of five children—and twenty years as a housewife—Dottie’s immigrant mother, Rose, is itching to return to the social activism she embraced as a young woman. With strikes and breadlines at home and National Socialism rising in Europe, there is much more important work to do than cooking and cleaning. So when she realizes that she, too, is pregnant, she struggles to reconcile her longings with her faith.

As mother and daughter wrestle with unthinkable choices, they are forced to confront their beliefs, the changing world, and the fact that their lives will never again be the same….

Jenny Brown, June 9, 2015.

Jennifer S. Brown considers herself a Floridian, having moved to Miami as a three-year-old and spending the majority of her formative years in Miami Beach. But then again, she’ll also identify as a New Yorker after earning a BFA in filmmaking from New York University and sticking around the City to work in publishing and—for a very brief stint—at a talent agency (and to be technical about it, she was born in New York City). Her passion for Seattle developed when she earned her MFA in creative writing from the University of Washington and then settled into a job as an editor at, what was then billed as, “that little online bookstore,” aka Amazon.com. She now lives and writes in the suburbs of Boston.

Her fiction, articles, and essays have appeared in numerous publications, and she was the winner of the 2005 World’s Best Short-Short Story Contest (judged by Robert Olen Butler) in the Southeast Review. Her creative nonfiction piece, “The Codeine of Jordan,” published in the Bellevue Literary Review, was selected as a notable essay in 2012’s The Best American Travel Writing and included in volume 9 of The Best Women’s Travel Writing.

Her first novel, Modern Girls, set in 1935 in the Lower East Side of New York, is about a Russian-born Jewish mother and her American-born unmarried daughter. Each discovers that she is expecting, although the pregnancies are unplanned and unwanted, in this story about women’s roles, standards, and choices, set against the backdrop of the impending war.

Find her on Facebook, Twitter Instagram and Pinterest. Sign up for her newsletter on her webpage here.


Click cover to purchase from Amazon.
GIVEAWAY
Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 1 copy to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End April 30, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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Oct 272015
 

christmas bellsChristmas Bells: A Novel
Dutton (October 27, 2015)
Setting – Massachusetts
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0525955245
E-Book ASIN: B00SI02BZ6
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New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini celebrates Christmas, past and present, with a wondrous novel inspired by the classic poem “Christmas Bells,” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

I heard the bells on Christmas Day/ Their old familiar carols play/ And wild and sweet/ The words repeat/Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

In 1860, the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow family celebrated Christmas at Craigie House, their home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The publication of Longfellow’s classic Revolutionary War poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride,” was less than a month hence, and the country’s grave political unrest weighed heavily on his mind. Yet with his beloved wife, Fanny, and their five adored children at his side, the delights of the season prevailed.

In present-day Boston, a dedicated teacher in the Watertown public school system is stunned by somber holiday tidings. Sophia’s music program has been sacrificed to budget cuts, and she worries not only about her impending unemployment but also about the consequences to her underprivileged students. At the church where she volunteers as music director, Sophia tries to forget her cares as she leads the children’s choir in rehearsal for a Christmas Eve concert. Inspired to honor a local artist, Sophia has chosen a carol set to a poem by Longfellow, moved by the glorious words he penned one Christmas Day long ago, even as he suffered great loss.

Christmas Bells chronicles the events of 1863, when the peace and contentment of Longfellow’s family circle was suddenly, tragically broken, cutting even deeper than the privations of wartime. Through the pain of profound loss and hardship, Longfellow’s patriotism never failed, nor did the power of his language. “Christmas Bells,” the poem he wrote that holiday, lives on, spoken as verse and sung as a hymn.

Jennifer Chiaverini’s resonant and heartfelt novel for the season reminds us why we must continue to hear glad tidings, even as we are tested by strife. Reading Christmas Bells evokes the resplendent joy of a chorus of voices raised in reverent song.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

There are two stories in this book. One set in present time and the other in 1863. They are tied together by Longfellow poem Christmas Bells. The book alternates chapters going back and forth between the two stories.

The main story tells the reader about Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and his family before and through the civil war. As always Jennifer Chiaverini has researched his life and bought us a wonderful story and presented a slice of history in a very enjoyable way. His love for his family and the heartbreak he suffers leaps off the pages. His wonderful poems are given new life. That new life shines in the second story.

The present day story introduces us to Sophia, a schoolteacher whose music program is being slashed by budget cuts. Something that is happening all across the United States. Sophia is also the music director at her church. She is featuring the carol “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” based on Longfellow poem for the church’s Christmas service. This story takes place in a short period of time and each chapter is told from a different person’s point of view. This story was entertaining as well. Because parts of the story overlapped there was quite a bit a repetition. I found myself skimming those parts and wish the author had found another way to present this story. The characters were very engaging and I would have liked a broader story about them.

Chiaverini has added another wonderful book to her repertoire. Perfect for the holiday season.

just you and a friend4 STARFISHDollycas

You can find out more about Jennifer Chiaverini and her books on her webpage here.



GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End November 10, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Feb 192015
 

mrs grantMrs. Grant and Madame Jule
DUTTON
Published by The Penguin Group
Historical Women’s Fiction
Setting – Various
Release Date – March 3, 2015
Hardcover: 400 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0525954293
E-Book ASIN: B00SA4ZU94
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In 1844, Missouri belle Julia Dent met dazzling horseman Lieutenant Ulysses S Grant. Four years passed before their parents permitted them to wed, and the groom’s abolitionist family refused to attend the ceremony.

Since childhood, Julia owned as a slave another Julia, known as Jule. Jule guarded her mistress’s closely held twin secrets: She had perilously poor vision but was gifted with prophetic sight. So it was that Jule became Julia’s eyes to the world.

And what a world it was, marked by gathering clouds of war. The Grants vowed never to be separated, but as Ulysses rose through the ranks—becoming general in chief of the Union Army—so did the stakes of their pact. During the war, Julia would travel, often in the company of Jule and the four Grant children, facing unreliable transportation and certain danger to be at her husband’s side.

Yet Julia and Jule saw two different wars. While Julia spoke out for women—Union and Confederate—she continued to hold Jule as a slave behind Union lines. Upon the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, Jule claimed her freedom and rose to prominence as a businesswoman in her own right, taking the honorary title Madame. The two women’s paths continued to cross throughout the Grants’ White House years in Washington, DC, and later in New York City, the site of Grant’s Tomb.

Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule is the first novel to chronicle this singular relationship, bound by sight and shadow.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Marriage is a partnership and that theme blooms within the pages of Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule. When Julia Dent met Ulysses S Grant her life changed forever. A whole new world opened to her as he looked beyond her flaws and took her into his life. She followed him around the country as his military career prospered and slowly realized that all women no matter the color of their skin should be equal but it was too late as her maid Jule has run away several years earlier.

The Grant’s life is well chronicled but her maid Jules life in this story was created by the author. I am sure the research for a novel like this is immense. To fictionalize it like this must be very difficult but Chiaverini brings it all together in a way that captures a love story while portraying life at the time of civil war for those embroiled in the battles.

I enjoyed reading Jules part of the story but this was the story of Julia Dent Grant. Another slave, Gabriel, was very important to Jule but he was sold by Julia’s father and he left the pages of the story until the very end of the book. I wish we could have followed his travels as well.

Jennifer Chiaverini has written a few of these Civil War era stories and she covers the people and the battles very well. I totally had a different picture in my head of the type of man Ulysses S Grant was. In this account he was a strong military man but he was also a very strong family man and made sure to spend as much time with his family as possible, even  taking his son with him into battle. We never learn about the people when studying history in school, it is all dates, battles and proclamations.

The story is also relevant today as we still are facing civil right issues so many years later. There are lessons to learn from out past, important lessons. Tolerance, acceptance, respect, forgiveness, working together toward what is good for the many not just a few.

I look forward to more stories like this, shining light on important females in U.S. history.

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author

Jennifer Chiaverini lives with her husband and two sons in Madison, Wisconsin. In addition to the sixteen volumes in the Elm Creek Quilts series and four books of quilt patterns inspired by the novels, she designs the Elm Creek Quilts fabric line from Red Rooster Fabrics. For more information about Jennifer, please visit her website at www.elmcreek.net .

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Jan 142015
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

This week our Wednesday is not so cozy! but I think you may enjoy this author!

Bette Lee Crosby writes The Wyattsville Series. I reviewed the first book, Spare Change, back in February 2013. I read the second book,Jubilee’s Journey last month as my Just For Fun book and I hope to writing that review soon. The third book Passing through Perfect comes out today and Bette wanted to visit today so I decided to have a Not So Cozy Wednesday. I would classify these books at Historical Fiction. I have loved all 3 of these books and look forward to reading many more of her books.

Please help me welcome Bette to Escape With Dollycas!

bette2

WHAT’S IN A NAME?
by Bette Lee Crosby

Some books start with a title, some start with a story. I’ve written both kinds and I can honestly say there is no right or wrong way. Neither assures you that the book will be wonderful. The only way a writer can do that is by letting their heart loose to find purchase in words.

CONTEST ENDS FEBRUARY 22 AT 12:01 A.M. EST

CONTEST ENDS FEBRUARY 22 AT 12:01 A.M. EST

Spare Change began with the title. I had part of the story in mind, but I knew that would be the title of the book; so I developed a scene to give meaning to the title. In that scene, Olivia has lost her husband and is trying to find her place in life. Canasta is the wise old woman she meets up with… now here is a small snippet of that scene:

* * *

See, sugar,” Canasta took Olivia’s hand in hers, “having a man crazy in love with you is like having your pocket full of money. When you got it you feel like a rich woman, but when you ain’t got it you start feeling poor as a church mouse.”
“That’s surely true,” Olivia nodded.
“Thing is, you ain’t.”
“I’m not?”
“Shoot, no. Making people think they can’t scrape up enough to buy a dime’s worth of happiness is the Devil’s doing. It’s his way of handing out heartaches. The Good Lord don’t do things that way. When he sees a person’s flat out of hope and feeling dead broke, He slips a bit of spare change into the bottom of their pocket. Not a lot maybe, but enough for them to get by.”

* * *
Passing_Through_Perfect_-_EbookWith Passing through Perfect, I didn’t have the title until the very end of the story and while I won’t spoil the book by sharing that scene here, I will tell you that we all pass through times of our life that are so absolutely perfect, we wish we could stay in the moment forever…unfortunately we can’t. But, you never know when the next “Perfect” is just around the corner.

About Bette Lee Crosby

Award-winning novelist Bette Lee Crosby brings the wit and wisdom of her Southern Mama to works of fiction—the result is a delightful blend of humor, mystery and romance along with a cast of quirky charters who will steal your heart away.

“Storytelling is in my blood,” Crosby laughingly admits, “My mom was not a writer, but she was a captivating storyteller, so I find myself using bits and pieces of her voice in most everything I write.”

Crosby’s work was first recognized in 2006 when she received The National League of American Pen Women Award for a then unpublished manuscript. Since then, she has gone on to win numerous other awards, including The Reviewer’s Choice Award, FPA President’s Book Award Gold Medal and The Royal Palm Literary Award.

Her published novels to date are: Cracks in the Sidewalk (2009), Spare Change (2011), The Twelfth Child (2012), What Matters Most (2013), Jubilee’s Journey (2013), Previously Loved Treasures (2014) and Wishing for Wonderful (2014). She also authored “Life in the Land of IS” a memoir of Lani Deauville, a woman the Guinness Book of Records lists as the world’s longest living quadriplegic.

Crosby originally studied art and began her career as a packaging designer. When asked to write a few lines of copy for the back of a pantyhose package, she discovered a love for words that was irrepressible. After years of writing for business, she turned to works of fiction and never looked back.

Author Links:

Blog:   http://betteleecrosby.com

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3222582.Bette_Lee_Crosby

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Bette-Lee-Crosby/e/B005TLT1PK/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

iBooks:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/bette-lee-crosby/id662962062?mt=11

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BetteLeeCrosby  @BetteLeeCrosby

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Bette-Lee-Crosby/284499021568642

Passing_Through_Perfect_-_Ebook
Passing through Perfect
(The Wyattsville Series) (Volume 3)

Historical Fiction
Setting: Alabama
Bent Pine Publishing – January 14, 2015
Paperback: 252 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0996080347
E-Book ASIN: B00OPBFV68
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It’s 1946. The war is over. Millions of American soldiers are coming home and Benjamin Church is one of them. After four years of being away he thought things in Alabama would have changed, but they haven’t. Grinder’s Corner is as it’s always been—a hardscrabble burp in the road. It’s not much, but it’s home.

When Benjamin attends a harvest festival in Twin Pines, he catches sight of Delia. Before their first dance ends, he knows for certain she’s the one. They fall madly in love; happily, impatiently, imprudently, in love. It doesn’t matter that her daddy is staunchly opposed to the thought of his daughter marrying a cotton farmer, never mind a poor one.

It’s true Benjamin has little to offer; he’s a sharecropper who will spend his whole life sweating and slaving to do little more than put food on the table. But that’s how things are in Alabama. Benjamin is better off than most; he has a wife, a boy he adores, and a house that doesn’t leak rain. Yes, Benjamin considers himself a lucky man until the fateful night that changes everything.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I read this book last week and then watched The Golden Globes Sunday night and though I have not seen the movie Selma yet, I thought all three of these things tied together nicely. With what has been happening around the country civil rights are still a huge issue even after all these years since that march from Selma to Montgomery. Rap singer Common said this in his speech as the Golden Globes when he won the award for Best Musical Score,

The first day I stepped on the set of Selma, I began to think this was bigger than a movie. As I got to know people of the civil rights movement, I realized: I am the hopeful black woman who was denied her right to vote; I am the caring white supporter, killed on the front lines of freedom; I am the unarmed black kid who maybe needed a hand but was instead given a bullet; I am the two fallen police officers murdered in the line of duty. Selma has awakened my humanity.

 Bette Lee Crosby’s Passing through Perfect takes us to Alabama when people of color entered only through the back door of white people’s houses and had separate bathrooms and water fountains. A time when colored people were not allowed in most stores. We have come past those times or have we. We have elected an African American President, but a portion of the country, including some members of Congress that do not support him because his father was a black man. We still have people who are being judged by the color of their skin by the police, by employers, by their neighbors. They are also judged by their economic status no matter what color their skin is. People living in poverty are considered lazy and living for government handouts.

All these things are in Crosby’s book. Benjamin and Delia are both black. Benjamin is a farmer and a veteran. Delia’s father is a preacher. He believes Benjamin is not good enough from his daughter. Love doesn’t matter. Delia has to make a huge sacrifice to be with the man she loves. Then she sees the other side of life for people of color. Not every town in like her home town of Twin Pines. Grinder’s Corner is so small that they need to go to a bigger city for supplies and there are only a few places she and Benjamin are even allowed to enter. Even when Benjamin heads North and reaches Wyattsville everyone is not thrilled by his arrival. It even pits neighbor against neighbor.

Crosby has written a powerful and moving story. Every story I have read by this author has stayed with long past  the final word. There are spots that bring a smile and several that may cause you to shed a tear. Her characters are so engaging you immediately feel invested in their lives and you hope and pray they have better days ahead.

I also hope and pray that people today that are being judged and held back have better days ahead. That there will be income equality, a stronger middle class, less people living in poverty, great education everyone can afford and that we all have equal rights. We have come so far in so many ways but have taken great steps backward in others. I wonder what historical novels written about 2014 will say about equality. This book has really made me think about what future generations may have to say. What stories will a future Bette Lee Crosby write?

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

GIVEAWAY

I am giving my Advance Review Copy away!

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Following the new Google+ Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book Fan Page will earn you 3 Bonus Entries.

Leave a comment for Bette for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End January 28, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Dec 132013
 

vanishng thief
The Vanishing Thief
(A Victorian Bookshop Mystery)

Brand New Cozy Series
The Berkley Publishing Group (December 3, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Teresa Fasolino
Cover Design by George Long
Trade Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425266601
E-Book File Size: 1592 KB
ASIN: B00BDQ39I0
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Georgia Fenchurch appears to be an unassuming antiquarian bookseller in Victorian London, but the life she leads is as exciting as any adventure novel. For Georgia is a member of the Archivist Society, a secret association of private investigators led by the mysterious Sir Broderick.

When a frantic woman comes to Georgia claiming that her neighbor, Nicholas Drake, has been abducted by the notorious Duke of Blackford, Georgia and the Archivist Society agree to take the case. But Drake is no innocent—he is a thief who has been blackmailing many of the leading members of London society. To find Drake and discover who is behind his abduction, Georgia and her beautiful assistant, Emma, will have to leave the cozy confines of their bookshop and infiltrate the inner circles of the upper crust—with the help of the dashing but dubious Duke of Blackford himself.

But the missing thief and his abductor are not the only ones to elude Georgia Fenchurch. When she spies the man who killed her parents years ago, she vows to bring him to justice once and for all…at any cost.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

There is a lot happening in this debut. A man is missing, a cold case (the murder of our protag’s parents) is brought to the forefront when the killer may have been spotted out and about in London and a death of a young woman is being questioned.

There are also a slew of characters from Georgia Fenchurch, to her employee and best friend Emma, Phyllida, their “aunt”, who all live together.  The members of the Archivist Society including Sir Broderick, Lady Westover and her grandson Inspector Grantham. Add to that Drake, the missing man, the frantic woman searching for him and all the members of the upper crust who could be responsible for his disappearance including the Duke of Blackford. There are many more supporting characters too.

At first all of this was a little hard to follow but then the story hits a rhythm where all 3 stories and all the characters come together.

I really like several characters. The dialogue at a formal dinner party between Georgia and her table mates was quite humorous. The Duke and Georgia are quite suitable despite of their different classes. Seeing her rub shoulders with the Lords and Ladies shows she is very intelligent  and resourceful and not just a woman who inherited a bookshop. 

The story has more than the expected number of twists and turns for a book of this type, keeping the reader on their toes.

I enjoyed this trip back to Victorian times. A time before phones, cars, and many things we take for granted. When a trip to the country took days and to call the authorities you had to send a person with a message or find a bobbie on the street.

This is my first Kate Parker novel but according to her website she started out writing Romantic Suspense.  She has made a fine transition to cozy mysteries by combining all her strengths  – history, suspense, humor and romance. The Vanishing Thief is a nice blend of all four. I anxiously await the next Victorian Bookshop Mystery.

just you and a friend

4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

To find out more about Kate Parker check out her webpage here.
Like her on Facebook here.
Become her Fan on GoodReads here.

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 1 copy to give away!

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End December 27, 2013 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Sep 272013
 

the spymistress
The Spymistress
Dutton Adult
Published by The Penguin Group
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Historical Fiction
Hardcover: 368 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0525953623
E-Book File Size: 2576 KB
ASIN: B00C1N96PY
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Elizabeth Van Lew was a paradox of her time…

Set in Virginia during the Civil War. When the state had seceded in April 1861, Elizabeth Van Lew dedicates herself to do anything she can to defy the new Confederate regime.

A fiction story based on a real woman that few people know about. Chiaverini takes us into the life of a woman inducted posthumously into the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
We know Jennifer Chiaverini for her wonderful Elm Creek Quilt series. This is her second book away from the series the delves into a special woman in history. I absolutely loved Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker.

Again she has intensely researched and brought us a story of another strong woman with courage and intelligence that put her life on the line to fight for this great country. She was a spinster, losing the man she loved way too soon. A woman who had no vote. A woman abolitionist, Unionist, loyal to President Lincoln living on the wrong side of the civil war. An independent woman who fought to give even a small amount of care and comfort to the Northern soldiers being held prisoner, many times with her mother by her side. 

There is a lot of content in this book. Each battle, each setback, each triumph. Elizabeth Van Lew was a smart, cunning woman who could think on her feet and was able to make Confederates believe what she was doing was good for the South while passing information and more to the North. The woman seemed to have no fear. 

The author’s story may not match to what others have written about Elizabeth Van Lew.  I have seen her referred to as “Crazy Bet” in other books covering this time but Chiaverini explains that her “crazy”  manner may have just been a way to avoid suspicion.  

I love the way this author writes but I have to say I enjoyed Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker more than the Spymistress. While both very worthwhile reads this one just had so much information I felt until overwhelmed at times. It is a very interesting and though fictionalized it is very educational. Jennifer Chiaverini has a way that makes her characters jump right out of the pages and you forget that these happenings they are enduring really took place.  I am so proud this writer calls Wisconsin home.

just you and a friend

4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author
Jennifer Chiaverini lives with her husband and two sons in Madison, Wisconsin. In addition to the sixteen volumes in the Elm Creek Quilts series and four books of quilt patterns inspired by the novels, she designs the Elm Creek Quilts fabric line from Red Rooster Fabrics. For more information about Jennifer, please visit her website at www.elmcreek.net

Jennifer may be coming to a bookstore near you. Check out her event schedule here.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Have Yourself a Beary Little Murder (A Teddy Bear Mystery) by Meg Macy Get Your Copy Today!
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