Park Avenue Summer by #ReneeRosen

Park Avenue Summer is a walk back in time to an era when women were just emerging from the sexual dark ages into a generation of power, opportunities and revolution.

park ave summerAlice Weiss has left her small, midwestern town in search of big dreams and opportunities in New York City. It’s the mid-60s and times are changing, particularly at Cosmopolitan, the failing magazine where Alice has landed a job. The new editor, Helen Gurley Brown has shocked everyone as the first female editor of the publication but more so with her shocking bestseller, Sex and the Single Girl. Alice soon learns that it’s a man’s world as those in power try to draw her into a scheme to sabotage Brown’s work and ultimately lead to the failure of Cosmo. Alice learns, however, that in this new world a woman can make demands and have it all, succeed and come out on top!

Admittedly I’m a child of the 60s and 70s and remember well the days of both the sexual revolution and the feminist movement. Reading Park Avenue Summer was very much like a walk down memory lane for me. There was a very clear division in my life’s timeline: a before, when women were one way, and after, when things were very different. We have women like Helen Gurley Brown to thank for that. While Park Avenue Summer is the story of Alice’s time at the magazine, there is quite a bit of historical fact throughout the book. Much of what happened at Cosmopolitan and what transpired with Brown is documented. While we look back on her with our present sense of power and women’s rights, at the time so much of what she did and wrote about was considered scandalous. Churches across America were preaching against Brown and her magazine. Men wouldn’t allow their daughters or wives to flip through the pages of it at stores, much less buy it. The only place I ever saw it was at the hair dresser’s. We went there often. 😉  Through Alice’s eyes we see the world as it is changes; we see young women like Alice growing bolder and realizing their own power and strength. That is exactly what this period was about and Rosen captures that time, the feelings of empowerment beautifully. Park Avenue Summer is, in fact, the perfect 1960s historical fiction to illustrate the evolution of women from one era to the next.

“Filled with wit, heart and verve, Rosen’s novel dazzles and empowers” ~ Chanel Cleeton, author of Next Year in Havana

Many thanks to @ReneeRosen1 and Elisha @BerkleyPub  Park Avenue Summer will be available April 30 at your favorite bookseller and at amazon

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First Line Fridays: Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel

retro open book isolated on white background

Saturday, June 14, 1930, O’Leno, Florida

Jack Jammed a finger into each ear and swallowed hard. Any other time, he wouldn’t even notice the stupid sound. The river always sorta slurped just before it pulled stuff underground. His stomach heaved again. Maybe he shouldn’t even look, either, but he couldn’t tear his eyes away from the circling current. When the head slipped under the water, the toe end lifted up. Slowly the tarpaulin wrapped body went completely vertical…. 

CaponeOh yeah, you betcha!! A book that begins on my birthday – not the year just the day, thank you! And it is about my all-time favorite gangster!! I am beyond excited about this book. Actually, there are no words to describe… well, I jumped up and down and nearly passed out when I was asked to join the blog tour if that gives you any idea at all. So – does that make YOU excited too??  Please say yes!!!  🙂 

What about you!? What are you absolutely thrilled over this week. Share your First Line here and let me know!! 

 

Shakespeare’s Witch by Samantha Grosser #BlogTour #HFVBT

02_Shakespeares-Witch
Love, Witchcraft, Sorcery, Madness.
A fortune told …
When Sarah Stone foresees Will Shakespeare’s latest play has opened doors to evil, she begs the playwright to abandon it. But Will refuses, aware the play is one of his best. And so rehearsals for Macbeth begin.
Forbidden desires …
After her vision, Sarah fears for her life – she has never known the shewstone to lie, and she turns to her brother Tom for comfort. A strange darkness seems to haunt the playhouse, and when Tom sets out to seduce John Upton, the boy actor who plays Lady Macbeth, the boy sees the hand of witchcraft in his own forbidden desires for men. Then Sarah weaves a spell to win the love of the new lead actor, and John, terrified for the safety of his soul, begins to make his accusations.
The Spirits have spoken …
As rehearsals continue, Sarah and Tom must struggle to convince John he is mistaken and that his sins are his own – their lives and the fortune of the play are at stake. But the Spirits have spoken – will the fate that Sarah foresaw come to pass or is their destiny their own to decide?
Set against the first production of Macbeth in 1606, Shakespeare’s Witch is a seductive tale of the origins of the curse of the Scottish Play.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes and Noble

From the time that I first performed in a high school production of Macbeth, I have known of the rumors regarding the curse associated with the play. In fact, the curse has become as well known as the play itself.  Set against the backdrop of the original Macbeth production in the 1600s, coupled with sorcery and fate, Grosser has created a tale that is suspenseful, seductive and captivating.

Shakespeare’s Witch is, by far, one of the most intriguing and unique historical novels I’ve ever read. When Will Shakespeare’s new play is about to open, he calls on his friend, Sarah who is known to dabble in the occult, and asks her to see if his play will be a success or not. What Sarah sees badly frightens her and she begs Will not to go forward with the play. Of course, as we know, he does not listen and the play is forever cursed.

Grosser has done an amazing job creating believable characters that wind around one of the most well-known figures in history, Shakespeare, and brings him to life in a way I’ve never read before. They all are young, living in a time that is dark, forbidding, harsh and brimming with both religion and the occult. It is a confusing time on the brink of a new age, but still hidden in the shadows of so much darkness and ignorance. The way that Crosser illustrates this is sheer brilliance.

I admit that there are portions of the story that made me uncomfortable, and they should. The book does include incest, but that is a part of this era that cannot be overlooked. Only now are we able to look back on this time in history and take off our puritanical/Victorian glasses and see this era as it was, not what it would become. It’s important to remember when the story takes place and that England had very different ideas about a lot of things at that time. For me, this heightened the story, not detract from it, which is why I highly recommend it to you if you like historical fiction from this era. The magical realism works perfectly with the historical aspects from this time.

You can find the book on sale now. I am very appreciative to Amy @HFVBT @SamanthaGrosser and #SamanthaGrooserBooks for my copy of #Shakespeare’sWitch

About the Author:

untitledHistorical fiction author Samantha Grosser originally hails from England, but now lives on the sunny Northern Beaches of Sydney with her husband, son and a very small dog called Livvy.
Combining a lifelong love of history with a compulsion to write that dates from childhood, Samantha is now bringing her passion for telling compelling stories to the world.
Samantha has an Honors Degree in English Literature and taught English for many years in Asia and Australia. She is the author of wartime dramas Another Time and Place and The Officer’s Affair and The King James Men, set during the turbulent early years of 17th Century.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | BookBub | Pinterest | Instagram

Blog Tour Schedule:

Wednesday, March 20
Review at Passages to the Past

Thursday, March 21
Review at Book Reviews from Canada

Friday, March 22
Interview at Jathan & Heather

Saturday, March 23
Feature at Broken Teepee

Monday, March 25
Review at Amy’s Booket List

Tuesday, March 26
Feature at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, March 27
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Friday, March 29
Interview at Passages to the Past

Sunday, March 31
Review & Excerpt at Clarissa Reads it All

Monday, April 1
Review at For the Sake of Good Taste

Tuesday, April 2
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, April 4
Interview at Hisdoryan

Monday, April 8
Review at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Tuesday, April 9
Review at Bibliophile Reviews

Wednesday, April 10
Review at Macsbooks

Friday, April 12
Review at A Book Geek

Monday, April 15
Review at Donna’s Book Blog
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Tuesday, April 16
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, April 17
Review at Bookramblings
Review at Coffee and Ink

 

 

 

 

The Editor #Steven Rowley

Fridays are generally set aside for fabulous fiction here at Macsbooks and The Editor by Steven Rowley, author of the amazing book, Lily and the Octopus, certainly fits that description! 9780525537960_5fcef
amazon
James is a writer living in New York with his boyfriend, struggling to make ends meet and hoping for his first big break. His publisher calls informing him that his editor requests a meeting with him, which scares him senseless enough; but, when he discovers that his editor is Jackie Kennedy Onassis he is speechless. As Ms. Onassis continues to work with James through rewrites and deeper explorations into his novel and his own personal relationships, James realizes that his editor is, indeed, the perfect one to help him grow as a person and as a writer.

To say that I have a love affair with the Kennedys is an understatement, There are few, if any, books written by or about this family that I haven’t read. When I saw that this was a historical fiction book featuring Kennedy-Onassis in her final years as an editor, I literally jumped at the chance to read it. It did not disappoint in the least. As with Lily and the Octopus, Rowley has created a story that illustrates how even the most flawed characters can be lovable and redemptive. He weaves this story around an amazingly famous person but manages to place her in a tale that makes her human and real. To do this with someone like Kennedy-Onassis truly is astounding and my hat is off to Rowley for this alone. Most importantly, however, the core of The Editor is based on familial relationships; the struggle between a son and his mother. This is the story that is worth reading and it is here in which lies all of the beauty and the charm of this novel.

The Editor will available on April 2 and I highly recommend it.

Thank you to #Edelweiss, @StevenRowley and @PutnamBooks for my copy of #TheEditor

#Can’tWaitWednesday #ShakespeareWitch

cant-wait-wednesday

It is that time of week – WEDNESDAY! And Tressa at Wishful Endings hosts a wonderful tag each week – Can’t Wait Wednesday. So what are you waiting for!?

02_Shakespeares-Witch

Love, Witchcraft, Sorcery, Madness.

A fortune told …
When Sarah Stone foresees Will Shakespeare’s latest play has opened doors to evil, she begs the playwright to abandon it. But Will refuses, aware the play is one of his best. And so rehearsals for Macbeth begin.

Bwahahahahhaa….. I really cannot wait to get started on Shakespeare’s Witch by Samantha Grosser. In fact, I’ll be reading it tonight. Under the covers with my faithful pup tucked close for safety!!!

I’ll be joining up with Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tours for this one and I do hope you will stop by when it is my turn! As always they are fabulous! My stop is April 10th. Hope to see you then!

Thanks to Amy @HFVBT, and #SamanthaGrosser @SamanthaGrosser for my copy of this great book! I #CWW!!

 

A Stranger Here Below #CharlesFergus

I’ve got a lot of catching up to do with reviews. I’ve read so many books and written so few reviews that my head is full, my blog has been sitting empty and Netgalley and Edelweiss are wondering what’s up. Please don’t hate me as I overload your feeds with extra reviews and too many comments on your blogs as I read and write my way through all that I’ve missed.

41Ri0iutn1L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_amazonA Stranger Here Below is the first in what promises to be an intriguing historical mystery series set in early America. The series introduces us to Sheriff Gideon Stoltz, a man whose origins are Pennsylvania Dutch and who is still a bit of an outsider who speaks and acts differently from his fellow townsfolk. When the judge of the town commits suicide, Gideon cannot accept that any man would kill himself but especially not his friend, Judge Biddle. As Gideon discovers more about why the judge might have killed himself, his search for the truth becomes more dangerous to himself and those around him.

Fergus knows his history, has an incredible, intuitive feel for this region, the land and its people and it flows from each word in A Stranger Here Below. The prose is rich and atmospheric. Every detail, from the tools to the clothing, is impeccably accurate; I found myself immersed in the history of the tale and countryside. It took a bit of reading to get into the mystery itself. Perhaps it was because there was so much background needed to set to the proper stage for this era, rural Pennsylvania in the early 1800s. Perhaps it was the very simple writing as Gideon thought and spoke as any Pennsylvania Dutch would at the time. Regardless, I admit that I struggled with the slow pace in the beginning. As I grew accustomed to the writing, however, I liked the gentle flow of the words and the mystery itself began to build toward a rewarding conclusion.

This definitely is for a different type of reader, I won’t gloss over that. It’s not a thriller or suspense. It’s not a quick read or historical romance. My eighth-grade history teacher would have loved it and, most likely, she would have added it to an extra credit reading list – and I would have been the first one in line to sign up for it. If you’re a real American history fiend, then you will like this one, or, if you like slowly unfolding, atmospheric historical fiction you might enjoy it as well.

I received my copy from @Edelweiss and @SkyhorsePub

A Guardian of Slaves #NaomiFinley #HFVBTPartner #BlogTour #Giveaway

04_A Guardian of Slaves_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL[731]I am so excited to be part of the fabulous blog tour for Naomi Finley’s A Guardian of Slaves.

We were first introduced to Willow Hendricks in book one of this saga, A Slave of the Shadows. Willow Hendricks is now the Lady of Livingston, a plantation she manages with her father and best friend Whitney Barry. The two women continue her parents’ secret abolitionist mission. They use the family’s ships and estates to transport escaped slaves along the channels to freedom. Willow’s love for Bowden Armstrong is as strong as ever, but she is not ready to marry and have a family because of her attention to these noble pursuits. Torn by her love for him, can their bond survive his reluctance to support her efforts with the Underground Railroad?
Meanwhile, whispers among the quarters sing praises of a mysterious man in the swamps helping slaves escape. He is called the Guardian. They believe he will save them from brutal slave catchers and deliver them to the promised land. Masked bandits roam the countryside, but the Guardian and the criminals evade capture. A series of accidents and mysterious disappearances raise alarm throughout the region. Who can Willow and Whitney trust? One false move or slip could endanger the lives of everyone they love and bring ruin to the Livingston Plantation.

A Guardian of Slaves is an interesting and entertaining historical fiction tale of an era when African Americans were treated at chattel. The slaves would do anything, including risking their lives, to escape from this human bondage and the physical and mental suffering that accompanied it. There were a few white people in the south, more in the north, who helped these slaves move through secret trails, houses, caves euphemistically called “the underground railroad.” In A Guardian of Slaves, Willow and her friend, Whitney, are helping to move the slaves using her family’s cargo ships at a peril to her own safety and the safety of business as well.

My university degree is in US history with an emphasis on the south so I tend to read these books differently than most people. A Guardian of Slaves is an enjoyable read, it’s very light on historical fact, heavy on the romantic ideas of the era and doesn’t lend a lot to anyone’s historical perspective about the time or place during this time period. That does not mean that it’s not a good book. If you like historical fiction that is more of a well written story set in a romanticized era rather than a historical novel that will give you a new perspective, then it will be perfect for you – and there are many people who do enjoy these types of books. It is a very nice, charming piece of fiction with a little lite romance thrown in as well.

A Guardian of Slaves is on sale now at AMAZON  BARNES AND NOBLE  and ITUNES

03_Naomi Finley[730]Naomi Finley lives in Alberta, Canada. Her love for travel means her suitcase always is on standby while she awaits her next plane ticket and adventure. Her love for history and the Deep South is driven by the several years she spent as a child living in a Tennessee plantation house. She comes from a family of six sisters. She married her high school sweetheart and has two teenage children and two dogs named Ginger and Snaps.
Creativity and passion are the focus of her life. Apart from writing fiction, her interests include interior design, cooking new recipes, throwing lavish dinner parties, movies, health, and fitness.

JOIN EACH STOP ON THE BLOG TOUR:

Friday, February 15
Review at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, February 19
Feature at Maiden of the Pages
Wednesday, February 20
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Feature at Christine’s Book Corner
Thursday, February 21
Feature at Just One More Chapter
Friday, February 22
Excerpt at Random Things Through My Letterbox
Monday, February 25
Review at Macsbooks
Tuesday, February 26
Excerpt at Among the Reads
Wednesday, February 27
Feature at Cover To Cover Cafe
Thursday, February 28
Feature at The Caffeinated Bibliophile
Monday, March 4
Feature at The Book Junkie Reads
Wednesday, March 6
Feature at Old Timey Books
Thursday, March 7
Feature at What Is That Book About
Friday, March 8
Review at Coffee and Ink

GIVEAWAY:

During the Blog Tour we will be giving a paperback copy of A Guardian of Slaves! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on March 8th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

ENTER HERE

Many thanks to Amy at @hfvbt and @FinleyAuthor for my copy of this delightful book.